Sunscreen is my favorite part of my 7 step skincare routine; as someone who is usually the lightest shade in any given foundation, I am not friends with the sun. I’ve been wearing SPF daily for at least five years, constantly wear sunglasses, and have a bit of a penchant for berets and baseball caps. I also pen skincare reviews almost daily and make sure to fit my annual skin screening in each February.
So, imagine my surprise when I received a phone call from my dermatologist saying my biopsy came back positive for skin cancer and I need to have Mohs surgery. I’d had my screening nearly two weeks before and she took a biopsy from a small, raised, reddish pink spot near my temple. I assumed it was negative when I didn’t hear back in the typical seven day window.
Having a biopsy isn’t too concerning; most doctors prefer to err on the side of cautious over-testing than risk missing a possible issue. I’ve had four biopsies taken over the past decade and all were negative. However, skin cancer has run in my family for generations and I’m sprinkled with freckles and moles, so annual screens are necessary. My parents have had squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC) unfortunately. From their experiences, I learned about the different types of skin cancer and thankfully wasn’t terrified when I was diagnosed with BCC, the most common form.
Still, I’ve been questioning my diligence around reapplying sunscreen throughout the day and wondering if maybe my chemical exfoliants or (infrequent) retinol usage caused this. I’ve taken a step back from blogging because being diagnosed with BCC made me feel like a bit of a failure as a “skincare expert.” How could I possibly share my opinions and recommendations when my own defense routine let me down?
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, BCC is “usually caused by a combination of cumulative and intense, occasional sun exposure.” That means over the course of a period of time. Forgetting sunscreen once last September didn’t cause my skin cancer; I’ve had that spot on my temple for at least a couple years. No routine is a perfect shield and my genes are already vulnerable to skin cancer despite what I’ve done to minimize sun damage. In other words, this is not my fault. I’m a skincare blogger and having skin cancer doesn’t make me a failure. Noticing that the spot changed colors over the past few months and scheduling my appointment makes me proactive in supplementing my daily defense. We all should be more proactive when it comes to our skin, especially considering that non-melanoma skin cancers are the most frequent cancer diagnosis in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute.
My Mohs surgery is scheduled for a couple weeks from now (planned around an overseas trip or I would have done it sooner!) and should completely remove the cancerous cells and hardly leave a scar after it heals. If you take one piece of advice from any of the hundreds of posts I’ve written, please make an appointment for your annual skin screening.
My favorite sustainable products
I’ve been making an effort over the past couple years to use more sustainable items and cut down on waste, especially single use plastics. I did an Instagram Story about this (saved in my Highlights) and so many people mentioned how they’re doing the same or that they loved learning about these products, so I wanted to share here as well! I’ve switched out things like cling wrap and traditional TP for these earth-friendly options and I couldn’t be happier:
- Reusable Sandwich Bags ($7) – Isn’t the pattern on these bags cute? They’re perfect for toting snacks to work or storing leftovers in the fridge. I’ve also used mine as a carry-on liquids bag and to gather together all of the lip balms, hair ties, and face powder in my purse. They’re durable, roomy, and seal tight.
- Seedling Tree-free Bath Tissue and Paper Towels ($8 and $10) – These renewable Bamboo and Sugarcane paper products are probably my favorite find from Grove. This is such an easy swap because you can have a bundle auto-ordered every month or two.
- Thinx Hiphugger ($34) – These have already allowed me to avoid sending dozens of pads to landfills where they would have taken over 500 years to degrade. So worth the price, especially when a box of pads is $15 here in New York. I’ll have a full review on these soon, but I cannot recommend them enough!
- Reusable Travel Flatware Set ($14) – I love the way these fit together to store conveniently. They’re also made out of 100% recycled material and come in a variety of cute colors. As an alternative, I purchased this set last year because it also comes with chopsticks and a little case.
- S’well Insulated Water Bottle – If you’re still using plastic water bottles, this should be your number one switch. A reusable bottle is so much less wasteful, cost-effective, and keeps water cold for 12 hours. I have a couple S’well ones and they’re definitely nice, but you can also find cute ones at Target for half the price.
- Bees Wrap ($7) – This is great for wrapping up a sandwich or covering a small plate of food in the fridge. I realized how often I use Saran wrap in January and made the switch to these coated fabric wraps instead.
Do you have any sustainable options I should work into my routine or tips on reducing waste? Would love to hear your thoughts!
The perfect everyday palette
No secrets here: this one is a complete delight! I’ve exclusively been wearing the Natural Beauty Eye Reflection Shadow Palette since Pixi Beauty kindly sent this over a couple weeks ago. The shade selection is right up my alley and the formula is beautiful as well! I would highly recommend this palette, especially for $24.
The mattes and satins are soft without being powdery and they layer and blend out nicely. The shimmers are truly the star of the show here as they catch and reflect light better than any other drugstore shadow I’ve tried (and probably most of my expensive palettes too!). I apply the shimmers with my finger and get intense color and coverage in one swipe. You can also use a brush to diffuse the pigment a bit if you want something more subtle.
I’m loving the neutral color scheme with a great mix of warm- and cool-toned shades. There are a couple options for crease colors, the perfect matte bone shade, and several shimmers in a variety of depths. I love how you can create so many different looks with this palette! I’ve done a nice all matte look, a simple one shadow shimmer all over the lid, and even a dramatic smokey eye. Because it’s so versatile, I think this is an awesome every day palette and it would make a great travel option too.
Here are the swatches! From the top left we have Sheer Sand, Metal Mauve, and Petal. The second row is Antique Rose, Rose Clay, and Metallic Rose. Then there’s a warmer row with Deep Taupe, Foiled Bronze, and Soft Brown. Lastly, the bottom row is Chocolate Brown, Cocoa Shimmer, and Bronze Gleam.
I continue to be impressed with Pixi Beauty, you guys! The quality of everything I’ve tried is fantastic, plus the line is quite affordable and there’s the convenience of grabbing anything during your next Target run.
So there’s another delight this month! What have you been loving from the drugstore?
An easy, orange-y look
I’ve been using these palettes so often lately! Here’s a quick demo of one of my go-to looks plus the rest of my makeup routine and favorites at the moment!
Check out swatches and my full reviews for the Pixi Glow Cakes and Kaleido Cosmetics eyeshadows.