How to Heal Chapped Lips

Valentine’s Day is less than a month away! Meaning it’s almost time to pucker up for your special someone. The Winters are brutal here in New York and my lips are always asking for a little TLC. After a bad cold, my lips were left completely chapped, I took to the internet and hit up every beauty blogger I know for the best tips and tricks. I mentioned a few of these lip products in my last post but here are my top recommendations for treating chapped lips.


Step 1

Exfoliate! This step is widely debated in the skincare community, however, in my opinion, this works almost instantaneously to renew your lips. Some people believe that the outer layer of skin on your lips protects the other layers and should not be removed. After some research, I can say that there’s truth to this, however, once your lips are chapped it’s time to start new. I’ll use a scrub when I notice my lips are pale in color, rough in texture, or showing signs or red cracks on the outer edges. I scrub them maybe once a month but never more. My favorite product for exfoliation is the Fresh, sugar lip polish exfoliator, which I mentioned in My 7 Holy Grail Beauty Products that will Up Your Skincare Game article. It’s a little pricey but it’s lasted me years since I only use a little! Apply a small “rice-grain” sized amount onto lips and massage on with a washcloth. After you’ve rubbed the product in, rinse and immediately apply lip balm. If you’re on a budget you can use brown/turbinado sugar and coconut oil in lieu of the Fresh product.


Step 2

Apply Lip Balm! A good lip balm is key. If you’re a friend of mine you know that I am a ride or die for the Burt’s Bees Pomegranate Lip Balm. It’s all natural, leaves a little bit of color, and is extra moisturizing. I could honestly, write a full essay on how this chapstick has changed my life but just open any bag I’ve ever owned and you’ll see why! Plus, I’m a long time fan of Burt and his passion for all natural products.


Step 3

Moisturize while you sleep! In recent years, I’ve found that by applying certain products before bed my skin has changed drastically for the better. Those extra 8 hours dedicated to hydration are key for softer skin. Naturally, your lips are no exception. The Laneige lip sleeping mask is everything you could ever ask for in a moisturizing lip mask. It’s ultra thick and has a light tint yet doesn’t leave a mess while you sleep.


If you follow all three steps, your lips will be ready to take on even the harshest of winters. After these three steps, I noticed an immediate change after just two days! Have you used any of these products before? Any other tips? Let me know in the comments below.

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My 7 Holy Grail Beauty Products that will Up Your Skincare Game

If you’re as beauty obsessed as I am, you’ve probably heard the term “holy grail” on more than one occasion. The “HG” in skincare is given to a beauty product when it lives up to the buzz-worthy hype that’s bestowed upon it by the all-powerful internet. In other words, really good sh**. What I think is probably the most fascinating thing to me about skincare is that it’s actually a science, chemistry to be more specific. Every individual’s skin has a different chemical reaction to a product based on their genetic makeup. Basically, every skin reacts differently to different products and what works for me may not work for you. Skincare is all about experimentation, however, with that being said, I’ve found myself picking up these products time and time again for the simple reason that, for me, they work! Here are my go-to skincare products…


Grapeseed Oil

If you’ve been reading my articles, you have noticed by now that I’m OBSESSED with grapeseed oil. It can literally do no wrong in my eyes. So, I jokingly say that I put coconut oil on the market after learning about it on my first trip to Thailand back in 2013. My only issue with coconut oil is that it’s not made for all skin types. Coconut oil has a high comedogenic level, which is a fancy technical term for saying it makes some people break out. It’s a thick oil and if you have sensitive skin it can clog your pores. For me, love it in the winter and HATE it in the summer. Grapeseed oil has a lower comedogenic level meaning it’s great for sensitive skin and good for all year round. I’m not kidding when I say I use it as a moisturizer, I use it as hair oil, I use it to cleanse my face, in my lotion, etc. At $10 a bottle, this will be the best investment you make this year! You can find the bottle I use, here.


The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

Works so well for de-puffing under eye bags. Although the effect takes a few minutes to work, it does the job well. After I double cleanse my face, I apply a face oil all over and then squeeze a drop of the solution under each eye. Then, I follow up with a  dermaroller with my fresh out of the freezer Refa. The cold + the caffeine does wonder for my tired eyes so I look refreshed and ready to take on the day. In the past, I would typically opt for creamier textured eye creams but would go through them like water and as you know, they’re not cheap. I use this in the morning and splurge for the creamier eye cream at night which not only saves me a product but it also saves me money. This is a great bang for your buck by a great company that provides simple ingredients at affordable prices! You can find the product on the ordinary website, here.


Dermask Micro Jet Clearing Solution Mask by Dr. Jart

In my honest opinion, this mask not only works for all skin types but it also does exactly what it says. Noticed a significant improvement in my Acne after using this mask after only one use. It was recommended to me originally from the store owner of Mask Bar in the West Village but has since then been recommended by skin care gurus everywhere. The brightening mask is also a fan favorite! You can buy it at Sephora, here, but if you live in NYC hit up a beauty market in Korea town and get 5 for the price of 4.


Aztec Secret – Indian Healing Clay

I’ve posted about this mask before but it is seriously magic! After a quick mix with apple cider vinegar, this clay mask pulsates as it pulls out all the dirt and toxins from my pores. It’s been recommended by every beauty blogger alive and why? Because it works. I’ve been using this for years now and have yet to find a better substitution. You can read my full article The Easiest 2 Ingredient Face Mask Beauty Bloggers Swear By, and buy it, here


Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask

This is a new product that I tried this year and absolutely loved! It’s seriously brought my skin to the next level. I look forward to my nighttime skincare routine just so I can put this on before bed. Make sure to shake up the bottle before you apply to make the consistency more liquid than lather, sleep and wake up with baby soft skin. I just read that they came out with a new avocado formula that I’m dying to try too! They have a moisturizer that I also like as well, plus, both these products smell so so so so good! Seriously, it’s intoxicating. I bought mine at Sephora, which you can find, here.


Sugar Lip Polish Exfoliator + Balm

Had to mention these products because I’ve been using them since the 8th grade! No seriously, they’re that good! The balm’s texture on your lips feels like straight up butter. So hydrating and glossy. I have a tinted one that I use for going out but the Lip Polish Exfoliator is actually what I can not live without. This scrub is the KEY to smooth and soft lips. Did you know when your lips are dry they actually become lighter in color? Well, I didn’t until I tried the scrub and had a whole new hue of lip! I looked it up it’s legit. This is a must for Winter and the product has lasted me years. Use a small pea size amount on lips and a slightly damp washcloth to rub it in. Then, rinse with water, dry lips, and apply balm for your softest lips ever. You won’t regret it. You can find it at Sephora, here.


Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

Speaking of lips, this lip mask is seriously next level. I like to put this on at night and sleep with it on but you can wear it in the daytime as well. It goes on thick but I promise it’s so moisturizing! After a bad sinus infection, my lips were the driest they’ve ever been. I needed a rescue ASAP! By day three my lips were back to normal. This mask is definitely deserving of the title holy grail. You can find it at Sephora, here.




Get glowing,



The Easiest DIY Hair Oil for Long and Shiny Hair

As I sit in my NYC apartment, soaking wet from the rain, scolding myself for not buying a replacement umbrella for the one I lost weeks ago, I can’t help but stop and laugh as I pass the mirror and see the giant fluffy, pom-pom, cotton ball that my hair has morphed into. At the faintest sight of moisture, my hair expands to volumes no self-proclaimed beauty blogger should ever have to endure. In fact, I’m sure many of my thick haired ladies out there know the struggle I’m referring to. Even women with thin hair, know what it’s like to leave the house after meticulously blowing out their hair to find that moments later it’s demolished as soon as “moisture hits the fan.”

So the big question is, can weather really effect our hair that much? The short answer is, YES. In summer months, humidity will attract water molecules from the air causing your hair to expand or become too heavy. In the winter months, the scalp is more prone to dehydration causing dry and brittle hair. Not to mention, the excess heat you apply during these months from excessive blow drying. As we approach winter here in New York, I’ve slowly started to switch all my beauty products over to my winter routine. My hair oil, however, is a staple that works for me year round.

Did I mention its only one ingredient? Grapeseed oil! I originally bought this oil for my skin many years ago. It’s lightweight and good for sensitive/oily skin types. Once I read it was good for hair, I had to try it for myself. My hair has never been the same from there on out. The oil leaves my hair feeling shiny, smooth, and knot free. That’s because this oil is full of nutrients like vitamin E, C, and D. It protects against heat, sneaky weather conditions, breakage, and it detangles. Plus, the fact that my hair has reached incredible new lengths is something to write about. I mentioned this hair oil in a previous article, “three tips for longer healthier and hair,” and I’ve finally had a chance to sit down and blog about it. So I give you the easiest hair oil recipe that actually works…

DIY Hair Oil


  • 7 parts Water
  • 1 part Grapeseed Oil (10 drops for fine hair, 20-30 drops for thick hair)


  1. Using a spray bottle combine the two ingredients.
  2. Feel free to add other hair friendly essential oils for added benefits or fragrance, such as rosemary, chamomile, grapefruit, or lavender.
  3. Shake, spray, and brush!

Side note: If you spray too much and find that your hair is too oily brush a little baby powder or dry shampoo over it. This will absorb the excess oil. 

Have you tried hair oil before? Have any questions or love this post? Let me know in the comments below!

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Till next time,


3 Beauty Tools for Better Skin

For years, the beauty industry has been dominated by makeup brands all promising to help you achieve better looking skin. In recent months, I’m happy to report that skin care has slowly started to steal the show as women are starting to realize that the secret to a radiant complexion has little to nothing to do with makeup. Showing your skin some extra TLC means you’ll need less makeup or even better, your skin will be so flawless, you’ll have the confidence to walk around makeup free! In addition to sunscreen, moisturizer, and a good serum, I lend my skin a helping hand with a few “go to” beauty tools. A smooth canvas is the key to glowing skin and I’m here to share some of my favorites that I’ve been coveting and testing for the last few years. Let’s start with my morning routine, one of the first things I grab in the AM after I wash my face is a…


Facial Roller




How I’ve made it this far without a facial roller is beyond me! For those of you who aren’t familiar with this tool, a roller is a device that is designed to message the face, decrease puffiness, and minimize the look of fine lines. Essentially the tool replicates an in person facial massage which encourages the natural drainage of the lymph nodes, which carry waste products away from the facial tissue. As someone who suffers from bad allergies, this really helps with getting rid of inflammation and fluids that like to linger in my sinus cavities.


This also really helped with my under eye bags. I use The Ordinary Caffeine Solution with the roller and my under eye bags immediately disappear. Plus, I’ve noticed I don’t have as much puffiness in the morning after a month or two of using this! What I find to be the most effective is: putting this roller in the freezer. I learned from women in Scandinavian countries that the key to having virtually no pores is to wash your face with cold water. This shrinks the appearance of pores, helps with redness, and reduces inflammation. I’m obsessed with my roller from ReFa Carat Face Roller! I started with an ice roller, then tried the jade roller (which is also a great budget friendly option), but nothing beats the Refa!





So I know this is an awkward topic BUT…I shave my face! Hear me out, it’s rumored that one of the reasons why men look younger as they age is due to the fact that they are constantly exfoliating their face, removing dead skin cells, and in effect, causing rapid cell turnover for younger looking skin from shaving. I know multiple beauty bloggers and skin care guru’s who swear by this! So naturally I had to test it out and I am now a coveted believer! After the razor removes the dead skin cells, I’m left with a silky smooth canvas. Meaning my makeup glides on easily, the finished product looks more natural, and skin care products absorb more easily into my skin.


For me, In the summer when I get tan, the blonde hair becomes more visible and after a little shave I’m fuzz free! If you have hyperpigmentation on your upper lip this product is for you! One of the best ways to shave your face is by dermaplaning. Once every two to three weeks an aesthetician takes a scalpel and gently shaves your face. I don’t always have time to get dermaplaning done, unfortunately, so I use a “Tinkle Razor.” Pull the skin-tight and in gentle sweeping motions, working from the outside in towards the chin, follow the natural contours of your face until all the hair is removed. Just be careful around your eyebrow area as you don’t want to accidentally remove those guys.  This is a great budget friendly option and I got mine from Amazon, here.


Face Cloth




I know this doesn’t fit the standard beauty tool “status quo” but everyone should have one in their skin care routine! The reason is simple, when taking off your makeup, it’s important to use a face cloth to remove all the buildup. Your fingers simply won’t do the trick this time. In the past I used to use makeup wipes. If you’re using a makeup wipe, STOP! Wipes can be harsh, pulling the skin and most products contain chemicals that are not great for your skin or even worse, make your break out! Plus throwing away all those wipes isn’t the best for the environment.


My recommendation would be the face halo round washcloth pads! The pads are so soft, they don’t pull on your skin, and you can SEE the makeup residue on the cloth. Trust me, you won’t be able to go back. My favorite thing about them is you don’t have to wash them every day either. You can use soap and water to clean then. I wash mine, in the wash machine, once every three weeks. I personally like to double cleanse, which I’ll do a separate post for, but using an oil based cleanser or makeup remover I use the halo round to remove makeup and then follow-up with benzoyl peroxide face wash for my acne prone skin. My face has never felt cleaner and my skin couldn’t be happier.



Photo credit: Chris Loupos





Disclaimer: I was provided with a free service in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I only support companies I would actually use in real life and like. 

The Microdermabrasion Facial

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Believe it or not, some of my best travel tips are related to skin care! When traveling, I don’t like wear to a lot of makeup. On a typical travel day you can find me scuba diving or hiking through conditions that would be considered without a doubt non-makeup friendly. Before a big trip, I like to prep my skin before I embark on yet another 18 hour flight that wreaks havoc on my face. As you may know, I do a lot of at home masks and facials, however, about once a month I treat my skin to a spa facial and let the professionals do their thing.


In may, I took a trip to one of my favorite NYC hotels, The Loews Regency. They just recently renovated the hotel from top to bottom. The très chic design perspective effectively echo’s throughout the space, perfectly complimenting the airy spring feel vibes of Central Park. What’s even better? The hotel is connected to the Julien Farel Spa. The Julien Farel Spa provides everything from haircare to full on med spa. On my last visit, I treated my skin to a Deep Intensive Repair & Renewal Facial. Let me tell you…I have NO regrets. The lead aesthetician, Oksana, gave me a great consultation from start to finish. Oksana walked me through the step by step plan she had curated to target my problem areas. I had a lot of dead skin, white heads, and a bit of redness. We started the treatment with microdermabrasion.


What is Microdermabrasion?

Microdermabrasion is a medical tool used to remove dead skin cells and clean out pores. Using a fixed diamond exfoliation tip, the tool scrapes away top surface layers, while the suction hose, in the middle, sucks up debris and clogged pores. Oksana showed me all of the dead skin that had been collected from my face after the treatment and believe me when I say…I was shook. I usually use a physical scrub for my face a few times a week, however, it’s recommended to use a medical grade tool to remove a few surface layers one a month, so that new skin can regenerate. In my opinion, after the treatment my skin felt baby smooth almost immediately.

Oksana then followed up with a high frequency wand, to kill bacteria, a white head extraction, aka she popped my pimples, a facial steam, to open up the pores, and finished with an oxygen facial.

How does it work?

Here are some of the benefits of this treatment:

  • Reduce fine lines and wrinkles
  • Refine skin texture
  • Minimize the appearance of large pores
  • Stimulate circulation, collagen, and cell renewal
  • Allows for better absorption of products

The Verdict

I’ll definitely be trying microdermabrasion again! I walked out of that spa with GLOWING skin and I couldn’t be more pleased. Plus, no downtime after the procedure. After an hour-long treatment I was immediately on my way. If you’re in New York City, definitely check out the Julien Farel Spa and ask for Oksana. If you’re visiting from out-of-town, I highly recommend staying at the Loews Regency, conveniently located next to Central Park. You can watch videos from my experience under the “beauty” highlights of my Instagram page, @citygirlriss. Keep checking back to see more New York City recommendations from your favorite city girl.





Disclaimer: I was provided with a free service in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I only support companies I would actually use in real life and like. 

DIY Body Scrub for Smooth and Cellulite-Free Skin

If you’re anything like me and are counting down the days until summer, you’ve probably started to panic about your summer body (or lack thereof much like myself.) My body may be a work in progress, however, my skin is always ready with this incredibly easy body scrub. I’ve been using this recipe for YEARS and not only is my skin incredibly smooth but my stretch marks have nearly vanished and my skin is super firm.

Now, there is no way to banish cellulite and “thigh jiggle” without exercise and a healthy diet but the caffeine in this scrub reduces the appearance of dimples and divets by stimulating blood flow which aids in collagen production thus leading to a visibly tighter and firmer texture. Recently, you may have seen caffeine appearing in eye creams and facial products meaning not only does it work but you can use this scrub on your face too. Grapefruit essential oil is my other miracle ingredient that helps to firm the skin and provide healthy antioxidants. “Toxin buildup and fluid retention create cellulite in fat cells. When toxins are not flushed out of the body, they accumulate in cells. Grapefruit oil flushes out the free radicals that create cellulite.” For even better results, or if you’re just as extra as I am, try dry brushing. Dry brushing promotes healthy blood circulation, rejuvenates the nervous system, reduces cellulite, exfoliates, helps define muscle tone, unclogs pores, and gives you a boost of energy.  Just always be sure to brush towards your heart and counter-clockwise on your stomach (helps with digestion.)


I use this scrub three times a week but you can use it more or less depending on your skin type. I would suggest no more than four times a week as over exfoliating can actually damage your skin. For best results, I always recommend using organic products.

DIY Coffee Scrub


1 cup of Ground Coffee

  • Don’t use instant coffee. I use leftover coffee grounds from my morning coffee. The caffeine does absorb into your bloodstream, however, I use this at night and find it has no effect on me although I am an avid coffee consumer.

1 cup Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

  • Liquid or solid form is fine but you can use any carrier oil of your choice. In the summertime, I use grapeseed oil.

15 – 30 drops of Grapefruit Essential Oil

  • You can get creative and add other oils like tea tree or lemon. Grapefruit is an energizing essential oil so it’s great for morning showers. Again, I use it before bed and find it doesn’t hinder my nighttime routine.


Have you tried a coffee scrub before or have a different variation to this recipe? I’d love to hear it! Let me know in the comments below or ask any question you might have about beauty or skincare.





Three Tips for Better Breath

Recent Harvard studies show that when someone offers you a mint, it’s not to be nice but rather a passive way to hint that yo breath stanks. Okay, so that’s not actually a true study, however, it should be because I am a subtle hint mint peddler. Bad breath is unpleasant, unattractive, and it’s killing your social skills. However, all is not lost, with these three simple tricks, you could totally change the overall health of your mouth with just a little effort. Of course, the utmost basic steps for a healthy mouth are brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and getting a cleaning every six months.


So what causes bad breath? Bad breath is caused by a build-up of bacteria in the mouth. According to WebMD, “If you don’t brush and floss teeth daily, food particles can remain in your mouth, promoting bacterial growth between teeth, around the gums, and on the tongue.” Which is why brushing, flossing, and cleanings are so important. However, even with the basics, bad breath can still occur. So here are my three tips for better breath and an overall healthier mouth…

Oil Pulling

If you haven’t heard of oil pulling you’ve been missing out! Oil pulling is the process of swishing oil around to detox your mouth. What are the benefits? Coconut oil is said to detoxify by pulling out impurities and bacteria that over time build up in the mouth. It eliminates bad breath bacteria, whitens teeth, reduces inflammation, soothes sore throats, prevents cavities, heals dry cracked lips, strengthens gums, and more. It’s recommended to do in the morning before even brushing your teeth but occasionally I skip this when I’m in a rush. So, if you do it mid-day or before bed, that’s okay too. I like to oil pull while I’m in the shower or getting ready. Plus it’s easy. You take a tablespoon amount of extra virgin coconut oil, swirl it around your mouth for 10-15 minutes, spit it out (in the garbage), brush teeth as normal.  You can do this 3-5 times a week, I typically do more than that but I’m OBSESSED with having good oral hygiene. So oil pull to your heart’s content. This is the coconut oil I use, Trader Joe’s Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.


Alcohol-Free Mouth Wash

No, Listerine is not alcohol-free. Why does that matter? Well, recent studies in the medical field have revealed that mouthwash containing alcohol can actually cause bad breath. Alcohol is a drying agent which means even a small amount can dry out your mouth making it ineffective at flushing out bacteria. Do you brush your teeth before bed and wake up in the morning to find that you have “morning breath?” You didn’t eat anything and your teeth are clean so how is this possible? Sleeping with your mouth open or in a room without proper humidity causes dry mouth which then leads to airborne bacteria that multiplies and causes a bad case of funky breath. Which is why you can find my humidifier and essential oil diffuser all the way up every night. However, I live in a pre-war apartment in NYC with an old heating system so I still have dry mouth in the AM every now and then. Most of the mouthwash products you buy at the local drugstore contain alcohol and even other harsh chemicals like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) which is used in ACT mouthwash to create a foaming effect similar to toothpaste. They do this so that you associate the foam to toothpaste and think, “It must be working.” However, this too is actually causing you to have dry mouth and has been known to cause microscopic damage to the lining of oral tissue, aka canker sores. My favorite mouthwash is TheraBreath Fresh Breath Dentist Formulated Oral Rinse. This stuff works and there’s absolutely no burning sensation like the classic Listerine flavors. Most mainstream drugstores now sell TheraBreath but if you can’t find it there’s always Amazon.


Tounge Scraping

Is this reaaaaal extra? Yes, but it works! Do yourself a favor and go to the closest mirror and look at your tongue right now. What color is it? Is it white, grey, or even a little yellowish? It’s covered with, you guessed it, bacteria! Yuck. Your tongue should be a pale pink or light reddish hue. Your dentist will tell you to brush your tongue but do yourself a favor and just TRY a tongue scraper. I’ve been tongue scrapping for years and I will never forget my first time seeing layers of a white film come off my tongue.  The appearance of a white coating is caused by debris, bacteria and dead cells getting lodged between the enlarged and sometimes inflamed papillae, fingerlike projections (papillae) on the surface of your tongue. After a few scrapes (think long brush strokes from the back to the front, rinse clean, repeat) your tongue will be unrecognizable, in a good way. I got mine from whole foods but a great option is Dr. Tung’s Tongue Cleaner, Stainless Steel. Stainless steel works best and is preferred over plastic and copper versions.


Do you already practice some of these tips? Did you learn something you didn’t know before? Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your feedback. If you have any other great tips please share! I love learning and trying new things. That’s all for now!






Three Tips for Longer and Healthier Hair

The number one question I get asked daily, besides how do I travel with no money, is how do you grow your hair so long? It looks so healthy, do you get it cut every six weeks? The short answer to that question is no. I just recently got a haircut and my hairdresser mentioned to me that it had been ten months since my last cut. TEN! Typically I cut my hair every six months but sometimes life happens, you know? What about the dead ends you might ask? I keep my ends healthy with three simple tricks but first, let’s examine the every six weeks haircut myth.

I invite you to look back at a time when the world was obsessed with “The Rachel” haircut from friends. Jennifer Aniston’s hairdresser revealed that he trimmed her hair every six weeks religiously. Since Jennifer Aniston was hair goals, this became the status quo for haircuts. After some extensive research and my own personal experience, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this. If you have a specific hairstyle or short hair and want to maintain a certain look definitely get a trim every 6 weeks. However, if it’s length you seek, we have to look at some basic facts.

When you think about growing your hair, length isn’t really a factor since hair grows from the scalp. The average person’s hair grows about a quarter of an inch to an inch per month. So, if you trim your hair every six weeks you’re not giving your hair enough time to grow. This is why keeping your ends healthy is so important! I’d recommend getting a haircut once every two and a half to three months for starters. Then, once you incorporate this routine and remove excess dead ends you’ll be able to prolong the cut longer and longer each time.

So without further ado here are my three tips for keeping your ends healthy…

Deep Condition

Once a week, take an extra 10 minutes in the shower and treat yo self. A deep conditioning hair mask will add some much-needed moisture to your strands. Your hair gets easily dried out by heat from various elements, blow dryers, and any other styling products you may use. I like using the Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Deep Conditioning Mask.

Hair Oil

I didn’t learn this trick until much later in life but hair oil should be your hairs new best friend. There’s a reason why in recent years Moroccan Oil and various other lines all came out with hair oils, they work! Organic is best in my opinion. I personally make my own hair oil but you can easily purchase one at your local drugstore these days, Sephora, or a salon. When applying the oil, apply from the ears down and avoid your roots as a greasy scalp can look less than appealing. You can always use dry shampoo if you get a little heavy-handed. Your ideal oil will absorb into your strands and leave a light residue of shine.

Hair Mask

When I say hair mask I’m not referring to the same deep conditioning mask as before. A hair mask is for when you’ve been curling and blow drying your hair multiple times in a week repeatedly. Our bodies are actually great storytellers and if you know what to look for you can read the signs. For me, when I use a lot of heat my hair starts to resemble a pile of hay. It gets really dry and it seems that no matter what I do I can’t achieve that enviable Victoria Secret straight off the runway flowy goddess vibe. A hair mask will fix this quick. If you visit your salon a glaze or a gloss would be the equivalent, however, if you’re boujie on a budget, like me, a DIY is the perfect remedy. There’s plenty of DIY’s out there but my personal favorite is organic carrot juice! Carrot juice contains vitamin A which is super hydrating. Leaning over the tub, I drench my hair with juice, wrap it in a shower cap with a towel around my shoulders (sometimes the juice will leak out), and let it sit for 20 minutes. Then wash it out, let it air dry, and enjoy your noticeably softer and shinier new hair! I do this once a month but once every two months works just as well too. Be sure to test a small patch on a small amount of hair first.

Let me know if you have any questions or any other great hair tips! I love learning new tricks. Also, if you try these tips and love them let me know in the comments below.




The 15-minute Laser Facial


If you haven’t heard by now, the word on the street is that skin is IN! Your skin is the largest organ on your body. Think of it as a coat of armor that protects the most vital contents of your inner self. Like any armor, over time, it can begin to develop a few chinks in the chain. Factors like the sun, acne, and hyperpigmentation are all contributors in damaging your skin. Which is why skin care is so important as it’s the first thing people see upon meeting you. Of course, with any canvas, you want to start with a smooth surface. Which leads me to my latest obsession, as well as the topic of this post, laser facials!


What are Laser Facials?

Laser Facials use cutting-edge technology to penetrate deep into your pores and vaporize any dirt or bacteria. It’s effective in treating acne, redness, unevenness, dullness, and hyperpigmentation. In addition, it also improves skin’s smoothness, tone, texture, radiance, and clarity. Side effects are smaller pores, reduction of fine lines, wrinkles, and firmer skin.  It’s different from a topical facial because the laser can reach farther into the skin and remove twice the bacteria without stretching your pores, which can happen with traditional face masks.


How Does it Work?

After filling out a skin survey, your facialist will review your survey and discuss what your personal skin needs are. At Skin Laundry, the process is divided into two parts. First, a YAG laser penetrates 2.5 mm below the skin to the dermis layer, which can only be reached by laser, to remove debris and excess oil. Then, an IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is used to fade sunspots, get rid of acne scars and broken capillaries to achieve a dewy smooth finish.


The Verdict

Recently, I went to Skin Laundry and had my first laser facial after it was highly recommended to me by a friend. To my surprise, the laser didn’t hurt at all. You definitely feel a tingling sensation that is noticeable but nothing more intense than a slight pinch. They also offer numbing cream if you’re extra sensitive.  The entire facial only took 15 minutes with no recovery time needed! The sessions are simple and gentle enough that in theory, you could get one of these treatments every other day. The norm is typically 1 session per week but you can choose a plan that works best for you depending on your skin needs. Typically, you don’t see results until your third session. For scarring and hyperpigmentation, it usually takes about eight sessions. After one session, I noticed a difference immediately. My skin was glowing and instantly smoother. The winters are brutal here in NYC, I had some weather-induced redness on my cheekbones and nose. The redness had vanished after one treatment and my acne looked significantly diminished. Your first session at Skin Laundry is complimentary and in my opinion, worth it. I definitely see a few more sessions in my future and will keep you updated with results on Instagram, @citygirlriss. Have any questions? Have you tried a laser facial before? What were your thoughts? Tell me in the comments below.



Self-care Sunday

& Riss




The Easiest 2 Ingredient Face Mask Beauty Bloggers Swear By

Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to reorganize, refocus, and detox. In 2018, it’s back to eating healthy, clearing out the clutter, and working on my skin!  Although this face mask has been a staple in my routine for several years now, I had to share it with everyone because it’s cheap, easy, and effective. I’m not the only fan of this 2 ingredient miracle, beauty blogger Lauryn Evarts Bosstick, creator of, “The Skinny Confidential,”  is a fan of this tip as well as makeup guru Huda Kattan, creator of, “Huda Beauty.” To start, you’ll need a small bowl and flat brush. I typically will use my clean hands to mix the ingredients together, however, a brush is best. Our first ingredient has recently taken the beauty scene by storm…

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay

Have you started noticing all your favorite skincare lines adding clay to their products? It’s because clay is so good for your skin! This healing clay is effective in that it detoxes your skin by pulling out dirt and oil stuck in your pores. Which means its great for acne.  I don’t think I’ve ever done a face mask where I could feel the effects of the mask on my skin working as well as this one has. When the mask begins to dry you can feel the clay hard at work drawing out those toxins. It’s a funny feeling the first time you try it, however, it’s safe for even the most sensitive skin. My skin is extremely sensitive, which is why I love all natural products. After this mask, my face gets red but nothing a little moisturizer can’t fix. Our next ingredient is also a local celeb in the healthcare world…

Apple Cider Vinegar

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay mixed with equal parts Apple Cider Vinegar is all you need to make this mask. Used once a week or every two weeks, this mask will keep your pores under control. Why is it so good? In addition to the healing properties of clay, apple cider vinegar balances pH, detoxes, and possess anti-aging benefits. Just to name a few.

Of course, for additional benefits you can add lots of other ingredients to aid in any other skin care emergencies you may need to address. I personally will sprinkle in a little turmeric when I feel like my skin could use an extra boost of brightness. Or I’ll add a few drops of tea tree oil if I have a lot of breakouts. The possibilities are endless. I always do this mask whenever I come back from traveling. It’s saved my skin more times than I can remember and is now in my weekly skincare routine.


Happy New Year,