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Speckled Podcast: Snake Venom with Ed Myers of AMNH and Simply Venom

Podcast, Skincare

Welcome back to Speckled! This week we’re exploring the exciting world of snake venom. To help us learn a little more about this mysterious ingredient and the logistics of venom, we first chat with Ed Myers, a postdoc in the Department of Herpetology at the American Museum of Natural History. We then discuss snake venom in beauty with Simply Venom co-founders Dr. Monica Lilore and Dr. Milija Milic. Is this ingredient as dangerous as it sounds, or is it an anti-aging powerhouse changing the future of beauty? Listen to find out!

For more information about Simply Venom, check them out on social media @simplyvenom and at

Subscribe and listen to the podcast on iTunesSoundcloud, & Stitcher.

You can also check out Speckled on Facebook and Instagram @speckledblog

Produced by Jorge Estrada
Art Illustrated by Leyan Xu

April & May Beauty Favorites 2017

Beauty, Skincare

Phew! It’s been a crazy past few months. It’s been so crazy, in fact, that I forgot to write a monthly favorites for April! Oops. To make up for my lack of monthly favorites during April, I’m combing April and May for aa huge spring favorites post. And unlike my other monthly favorites, the following products have been carefully curated and much loved this spring (so much in fact, I have to refrain from sounding overly sing songy). Proceed reading with caution, some of these beauty products might be the best of the best (and you might not want to go back to your old standbys ever again).

Skin Laundry Gentle Foaming Face Wash

I’m on a constant search to find a cleanser that is gentle enough for my sensitive, dry skin yet powerful enough to remove my makeup. I’ve searched tirelessly, and yes I’ve tried all the brands you’re probably thinking of: Simple, FAB, Burt’s Bees, you name it. It’s not that these cleansers are bad necessarily, it’s just that they’re not the best thing I’ve ever used. But this one, this hidden gem, might just be the closest I’ll get. I got this deluxe sample in my Sephora Play, and I didn’t think anything of it. But after using it daily for a few weeks now, I’m happy to say that this cleanser is amazing. The formula is gel at first, but when you suds it with water it foams up on the face nicely. It’s very gentle and non-irritating which my skin loves, but it also takes off basically everything but a little bit of left over mascara. Color me impressed.

Belif Hungarian Water Essence

This is another goodie found amid Sephora Play. I really like essences, and I enjoy their weightless feel, but sometimes I wonder if it’s even making a difference. This essence has helped to change my POV. I feel completely different if washed my face and not followed up with this essence. It is very hydrating, like water (as the name aptly says), and it provides the most wonderful base for my serum. 100% worth it.

Tatcha The Water Cream

I think I might have an addiction to face lotions and face creams. At one point in time, I most likely have 10 different lotions and creams to choose from. I’m not complaining in any way, but it does get hard to formulate a concrete opinion when there are so many options. This cream is, hands down, one of the best I’ve ever used. It ranks up there with my First Aid Beauty cream, and that’s high praise. What makes this so unique is it’s consistency: it’s a cream, but it’s not too thick. It’s watery, so it gets absorbed fairly quickly (which is ideal for spring time). At the same time, it leaves behind a very faint scent. It’s no wonder this is the #1 best seller right now at Sephora. It’s phenomenal, and I highly recommend to any skin type.









Dolly Wink Liquid Eyeliner

I’d heard rumor that this eyeliner was good, but I didn’t image it was this good. This eyeliner blows other liquid felt-tipped liners out of the water. I first heard about the liner a couple months ago when Estee Lalonde talked about picking one up when she was in Japan. Estee happened to pick up the pencil version pf the liner. But when I was at Disney World Epcot earlier this spring , I found the Dolly Wink felt tip in Epcot Japan. TBH, I’m sort of obsessed with Japanese beauty right now (but more on that later – hint, hint, nudge). Since that day — literally — I haven’t stopped wearing it. This. Eyeliner. Is. The. Shit. Unlike other felt-tipped liners I’ve used and struggled with in the past, this liner applies in one flawless swipe, the pigment is true black, and it stays puts all day.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Lip Shine

I’m unsure why other companies don’t put Hyaluronic Acid in more beauty products. I think Neutrogena is onto something with this product. Unlike most glosses or lip toppers that feel sticky and heavy, this gloss is light weight. For someone like me who doesn’t wear lip glosses every single day, it’s ideal. I love having this in my bag at all times (similar to the Korres Lip Butter Gloss), because it’s an extremely sheer rose color that just adds the slightest something something. I’m also a huge fan of the applicator: it’s a large oval that makes it easier to cover more surface area quicker.

My Favorite Products For Banishing Breakouts

Health, Skincare

neostrata glycolic washAhhhhh, adult acne. The wonders and woes of adult acne. Sometimes, I can’t help but wonder, “why am I 22 and still suffer from the occasional breakout on my face?!” Whether they’re caused by hormones, inevitable stress, pollution or oils, I continue to find my face plagued with acne from time to time. As I type this, I have four sprouting up on my chin and cheek. And, unfortunately, I know I’m not the only one.

In order to cope with the unfortunate friends on my face, I’ve come up with a system of sorts. Its because of four trusty products that I’m able to say that I’ve drastically cut down on the amount of acne scars on my face, as well as the frequency which I get acne. And, my skin thanks me. Interested in my secret formula? Check it out:

1. Spot Treatment

I have to be extremely careful when it comes to applying spot treatments. Most treatments with benzoyl peroxide can burn my sensitive skin, so when I do, I reserve spot treatments for the acne that’s really bad. I go for spot treatments when I have deeply rooted acne (the kind that’s painful) because those are the times when I really need the medicated treatment to get into my skin and do its thing. Sometimes, I can’t lie, I pick at my face and pop my white heads (don’t we all??). When that happens, I like to use Neosporin on my open acne. Somehow, when I use Neosporin, my face responds really well and the open cut goes away much quicker. Obviously, this might not work for everyone, and I highly recommend spot treating Neosporin elsewhere before putting it on your face where your skin is very sensitive.


2. Chemical Exfoliant

I have completely fallen in love with the NeoStrata Resurfacing Foaming Glycolic Wash. This face wash contains 18% glycolic acid, an AHA, that helps to resurface the skin, retexturize and get rid of those nasty acne breakouts. It’s a chemical exfoliant, meaning it strips away the top layer of the skin chemically, rather than with an abrasive physical exfoliant. I love how gentle the wash is, and my skin feels immediately different after using it, never tight or dry like other chemical exfoliants I’ve used. I have to be honest, you have to be careful again and make sure that you’re not over-washing your face. This stuff is powerful; it won’t take more than a pump, and it won’t take long to work its magic on the face. Use it sparingly, only when you’re suffering from bumpy skin or inflamed breakouts, because it’s definitely not an everyday acne wash.

3. Toner

Say it with me: toner is so important. Especially if you’re looking to banish an acne breakout, or prevent one, toner can help a lot. Gone are the days of using toners only to rebalance a skin’s PH level after cleansing. With that said, it’s still so important to use toner to wipe away the water build up (phosphates, fluorides and what not) that might be left on your skin after rinsing it when cleansing. Even more, so many toners offer side benefits to the skin. As I mentioned before, my irritated or acne-ridden skin loves this carrot oil toner from Snowy Owl Cove. But if you weren’t so keen on trying a chemical exfoliant, you can also try a chemical toner, like the Pixi Glow Tonic (it’s personally not my favorite, but a lot of people swear by it).

4. Vitamin C Serum

Say it with me: Vitamin C is ALSO important. Seriously. If you’re not consuming it, or even if you already are, it’s important to apply topically. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant, so it does well to fight breakouts. It’s also important if you’re using chemical exfoliants with AHAs because your skin will be more prone to UV rays, and Vitamin C protects the skin from inflammation caused by UV rays (still apply an oil-free sunscreen though, just to be extra safe!!!) This one from Lumene is great. I love that it’s formulated with hyaluronic acid so it moisturizers while also killing any acne. I use this one every morning when I’m feeling the need for some vit C!



Special thanks to Neostrata for sending me their product to test out. This post was sponsored and back by Brandbacker, but my thoughts and review are my own!