How Makeup and Drag Helped Gottmik Understand His Trans Identity

Portrait of Gottmik in Malvern PA shot by Michelle Watt for Allure Magazines September 2021 IssuePhotographed by Michelle Watt. Gucci dress.

In 2021, Kade Gottlieb, better known by his stage name Gottmik, became the first trans man to compete on RuPaul’s Drag Race — the Olympics for drag queens. (He took home the bronze.) Gottmik, a makeup artist, arrived in the competition's werkroom wearing clown-white foundation and villainously black lipstick. "Time to crash the cis-tem!" he sang. His talent for transformation borders on the otherworldly, like when he remade himself into Paris Hilton (a client) for a celebrity-impersonation challenge. (Other tricks include: Turning Lil Nas X into a note-perfect Nicki Minaj.) Allure joined the performer at a suburban stop on his victory tour across the United States. By the time you're reading this, he'll be packing for the European leg.

I went to Catholic school, where you're not allowed to wear makeup when you're younger. I remember being in fifth grade and trying so hard to sneak mascara or a little bit of eyeliner on and get away with it. I don't know if it was the fact that I couldn't wear it or if I was obsessed, but I just wanted to wear it so badly. Before I got into the artistry of makeup, I would take a gel liner and do raccoon eyes in all black with blue mascara. I was in that emo-kid phase and living for it.

Portrait of Gottmik in Malvern PA shot by Michelle Watt for Allure Magazines September 2021 Issue

Terrence Zhou dress. Manolo Blahnik shoes.

Michelle Watt

When we got to high school, me and my then-best friend started a makeup YouTube channel. This was in 2010 when YouTube was starting, so I don't even know how we got that idea. We thought everyone wanted to see us on our bathroom floors and watch us do really bad makeup. Then when I moved out to L.A., I just fell in love with drag queens. I thought, "This is such a fun way to express yourself and how you feel." It was my dream.

My passion for drag amplified my makeup passion. When I started getting into drag queens and watching their makeup tutorials, I knew I loved makeup and that I could draw, so I followed along. And I was kind of good at it, weirdly and randomly, so I just practiced every day and started meeting drag queens. The first drag look I ever did, I was trying to recreate Bianca Del Rio…. I always wanted to pick the biggest features ever. I did not know how to cover my eyebrows, but I was trying.

The process of finding my drag makeup [aesthetic] helped me realize my gender identity. I didn't even have the language to know I was transgender; I knew something was off. I was testing the waters of what I was comfortable with. I was not a huge fan of how I looked when I was done up in girly, girly, girly makeup, but I did love expressing my feminine self a little bit. So how do I make this drag? It was very confusing. Then, when I painted my face white for the first time, not only were the colors popping more, but I felt like this alien creature. And I was still able to make everything pretty in a way. It was game over. I never looked back with the white clown face.

portrait of drag queen gottmik for allure september 2021 issue

Terrence Zhou dress.

Michelle Watt. 

Going on RuPaul's Drag Race, my first thought was, "I'm a makeup queen. I am not about to get read by Michelle Visage." But when I started experimenting with skin-tone drag [makeup] and feeling pretty, it made me realize how far I'd come out of drag with my transition, and how I am more comfortable with that now. It allowed me to open up and realize I'm not just a makeup queen and that I have so much more [to offer] than that. I had grown so much as an artist without even realizing it. Makeup opened me up on the show and I'm excited to explore that more in the future. It’s definitely not my favorite [thing] in the world, but I do love a skin-tone moment every once in a while now. 

On a normal day, I use two colors, but if we're stuck on an island and I only can bring one, I'd bring a white Ben Nye Creme Stick Foundation. I love using a skin tone-ish one that has a pink undertone and highlight with the white so it gets a little dimension, which you barely even notice, but I do. Everyone asks me what my favorite black lipstick is, and I always use Hank & Henry's. It smells amazing.

I put a lot of effort into my makeup, so when it comes to products I truly don't care what it is, as long as I don’t have to touch it or move it. I'm so lazy after I've finished. The second I have to touch it up, I don't want to use it again. If I'm not feeling it, you will tell from my makeup. If I'm angry that day, you will tell from my makeup. 

Portrait of Gottmik in Malvern PA shot by Michelle Watt for Allure Magazines September 2021 Issue

Terrence Zhou dress. Manolo Blahnik shoes.

Michelle Watt

I've done a few solo campaigns since being on the show where I'm out of drag — a boy, shirtless, wearing eyeliner and an earring. And if you would've asked me in high school if that would have happened, that would have been a definite no. I'm just so proud of that. In every aspect of my life, I always say that if I'm too comfortable with some part of my art, it's time to move on because it's getting boring and repetitive. I need to keep pushing forward and pushing my limits to grow as a person and an artist. In the next 10 years, hopefully, I'll be something crazier than I've ever expected.

This story originally appeared in the September 2021 issue of Allure. Learn how to subscribe here.

Undereye Filler Makes Dark Circles Disappear, But Proceed With Caution

Photo of woman getting injected with filler in the undereye area on her face by a doctor wearing glovesGetty Images

Dark circles. Undereye bags. Raccoon eyes. No matter what you call the darkened area of thin skin right below the eyes — maybe due to genetics or a telltale sign of a lack of solid sleep — that everyone (literally everyone) has been plagued with at least one point in their lives. Just know that there's a cosmetic treatment to clear them up — and for a long time. 

Tear trough filler injections encapsulate the best and worst of plastic surgery: they're easy to get wrong, but when done right, patients walk away looking like they just came back from the most relaxing vacation on Earth.

What is tear trough filler?

A tear trough procedure, more commonly referred to as "undereye filler," targets the tear trough, which is the lower, sometimes blue-ish area under the eye, just before the cheek. According to plastic surgeons, the procedure's popularity has soared over the last few years — especially among the younger crowd — without any indication of slowing down.

"Wrinkles and hollowing around the eyes begin at around age 35, and it's a common area that both women and men are concerned with," says Daniel Maman, a board-certified plastic surgeon at 740 Park Plastic Surgery in New York City. 

Adds Min S. Ahn, a facial plastic surgeon based in Boston: "It is especially popular with millennials who complain of looking tired, but because of their age are not ready for surgery — filling the tear trough area makes them look less tired, completely rejuvenating the lower eyelid area."

Who is an ideal candidate?

Contrary to popular belief, the procedure is far more nuanced than most patients realize — and certainly comes with limitations. One of the most common misconceptions is that tear trough filler can completely revitalize the undereye, yet undereye filler "does not address the 'puffiness' or bulging around the eye," says Maman, "because that is fat and requires surgery."

Anyone who has woken up with puffy eyes, only to look totally normal by noon, knows very well that the eye is notoriously delicate and finicky. And for this reason precisely, says Chicago-based board-certified plastic surgeon Julius Few, that "absolutely" makes it the trickiest area to treat with filler. "Part of the reason why treating tear troughs is so tricky, especially if somebody is not an expert injector is number one: the anatomy, and then diagnosing that someone needs filler in the tear trough," explains Few, of the blood vessel-rich area.

Placing dermal fillers under the eye, while incredibly popular and safe in the hands of an experienced injector, is an off-label procedure, which means that it has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in this specific area. In other words: Don't mess around with injectors who aren't board-certified dermatologists or plastic surgeons. Instead, do your research and pony up the money to see the true expert in your area because, for this location, in particular, injector experience is the key to a happy outcome.

Here's where the nuance really begins. For patients with consistent daily puffiness — usually indicative of a condition called chronic malaraderma, which is essentially morning eye puffiness that subsides by the afternoon, caused by abnormal fluid drainage — the procedure is even trickier. "If you put a water-loving hyaluronic acid filler there, you’ve now made their puffy eyes worse," explains Few.

Patients with light skin sometimes have an additional step in the tear trough procedure because their veins are more prominently visible through their fair skin. "You have to do a laser first before treating them with filler in order to make those veins shrink first," explains Few. "Otherwise, the filler would actually lift the vein closer to the surface of the skin and make their dark circle worse."

But that's not to say tear trough filler can't be done in patients under these circumstances, it just means that the condition has to be properly evaluated and identified. "It's this algorithm of understanding the anatomy, understanding pre-existing subtleties of the area, and knowing when a filler is the right choice versus a laser versus surgery," says Few.

Two photos one on top of the other featuring a person's undereye area showing the before and after of getting undereye...

Before-and-after photos of a patient with tear trough filler.

Courtesy of Min S. Ahn

What can I expect when getting tear trough filler?

Because the area is sensitive, the injection technique has become relatively standardized. The skin is first cleaned (in order to prevent infection), and then small ice cubes are held up to the skin for about five to 10 minutes to anesthetize the area, says Ahn.

Once numb, a small needle is used to create an entry point for the doctor to inject the filler. Most doctors inject undereye filler with a blunt-tip cannula (a tube that can be inserted into the body), rather than a needle directly, for increased precision and because "the blunt tip of the cannula is less likely to bruise patients than when using a sharp-pointed needle," Ahn says.

For the undereye area, Few relies on two specific brands of hyaluronic acid filler: Restylane, which he estimates he's used on more than 6,000 patients, and Belotero Balance, which he considers to be "very predictable, perfect for this area."

The injections themselves take less than 30 minutes to administer and patients require little to no downtime, or as Few says, "they're cruising." Around 30 percent to 40 percent of patients, estimates Few, will wake up the next day with mild swelling in the area that "usually goes away in the first couple hours they're awake," he assures, recommending the holistic remedy, Arnica Montana, a lightly applied cool compress and "just being up and active" will make it go away.

How long will it last?

The blessing and the potential curse of tear trough filler is the fact that the undereye is relatively stagnant, especially when compared to the lips or cheek, meaning that this area offers the longest lifespan to fillers. "If an injector knows how to place filler in the tear trough at the right level, I've had it last in this area for six or seven years," says Few. "Less is more, and the goal should be to improve the area by 85 percent."

His 85 percent rule, surprising at first, makes perfect sense. HA fillers are always at risk for attracting water, even months or years after the injection, "so you need to have that little bit of wiggle room" in case the undereye unexpectedly attracts water. "For example, on a hot day, the filler will swell a little bit," warns Few, listing a cold, congestion, and a sinus infection as other puffy-inducing culprits. "With 15 percent of wiggle room, it means that day in and day out, somebody can look good, no matter what else is going on."

How much does it cost?

Ahn warns, before you book an appointment, do your research. "It is very important to find a provider who is experienced in treating this area, as the skin is thin and, if not done properly, can give the patient a 'puffy' look," Ahn says.

Three key questions to ask a prospective injector, recommends Few, are:

  1. How many tear trough filler injections have you done?
  2. Do you use a cannula or a needle? ("And if they say needle, really give this second person a second thought," he says)
  3. What issues have you seen in your injecting experience, and what are you prepared to do to make those issues go away?

No one should be coupon shopping when it comes to aesthetics, but least of all for the undereye area. The average cost per tear trough treatment is about $950, depending on your location and injector.

Cardi B’s Bathroom Shelfie Is Overflowing With Drugstore Products

Cardi B arrives at the PreGRAMMY Gala and GRAMMY Salute to Industry Icons Honoring Sean Diddy Combs at The Beverly...Getty Images

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

We all know Cardi B is a beauty maximalist when it comes to hair, makeup, and nails, but it looks like the rapper's body-care routine is more simple than we'd assumed. On Thursday, August 12, the singer posted a bathroom shelfie on Twitter with the caption, "Would you shower at my place?" We, of course, would say yes a thousand times over because her bathroom get-up is chock full of some of our drugstore favorites. Many of her fans also replied with a resounding, "yes," and one fan even cheekily asked Cardi to send over her address. 

In the photo, there appear to be several renditions of Dove's body wash (which snagged a 2021 Reader's Choice Award), two tubs of Vaseline's Original Healing Jelly, four sticks of Degree deodorant, and Dove Beauty Bars. It also looks like two containers of lotion from Palmer's are sitting right behind a tub of Vaseline.  

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While there are a ton of body-care products lining Cardi's bathroom stand, it looks like she also has some face scrubs from St. Ives, including three tubes of the St. Ives Acne Control Apricot Facial Scrub. Of course, her bathroom set also seems to have some of daughter Kulture's go-to body-care products, such as Dr. Teal's Kids Melatonin 3-in-1 Body Wash and Elderberry & Vitamin C Epsom Salt (also a part of the brand's kids' line). 

jar of vaseline original healing jelly on a white background

Vaseline Original Healing Jelly

$5VaselineShop NowSt. Ives Acne Control Apricot Scrub on white background

St. Ives Acne Control Apricot Scrub

$5St. IvesShop NowDove Renewing Peony & Rose Oil Body Wash on white background

Dove Renewing Peony & Rose Oil Body Wash

$9DoveShop Now

Plenty of these products have likely been fixtures in Cardi's body-care routine for years, but we should also point out that Cardi was probably gifted this comically large selection of products from Unilever (the parent company behind most of these brands) and posted the photo as a thank you. Either way, we're all here for it. And, if you want your body-care routine to look just like Cardi's, chances are you can find these items at your nearest drugstore. 

A Standing Ovation for Lizzo’s Bantu Knots and Bedazzled Gucci Barrette, Please

Lizzo smiling on naacp awaards red carpet with purple eye shadowGetty Images

Not a day goes by when Lizzo isn't amazing us with her breathtaking beauty. (We still haven't recovered from the braided slime-green wig and matching makeup she gave us in July.) But she also takes our breaths away with her comedic genius and expert trolling on TikTok that we guarantee will have you bent over with laughter. TikTok is also the platform where she shows off beauty moments that usually never make it to Instagram — for example, the wavy Bantu knots and Gucci barrette she wore in several posts on August 11. 

Lizzo begins one TikTok video by walking into blinding sunlight and saying, "News flash!" After she finds the perfect amount of sunlight to serve face, she continues with, "I'm pretty bitch but you already knew that." And she's absolutely right. For this look, it's hard to decide if her Bantu knots, wavy tendrils, Gucci barrette, dreamy makeup, or color-blocked bodycon midi dress is the star of the look, so we'll start with the hair. 

These medium-sized buns have not one but two hair colors. The two-toned look mixes dark brown and cinnamon hues for a gorgeous color combination that suits Lizzo perfectly. These are pretty standard Bantu knots, except for the wavy tendrils of medium-brown hair that lie around the perimeter of her face. Her baby hairs are slicked and swooped around her hairline — no adult hairs found over here. The final element of the look is the bedazzled Gucci barrette that sits smack dab in the center of her crown. These Bantu knots are beautiful enough on their own, but the blinged-out barrette and wavy pieces of hair add an eye-catching touch to the style.

TikTok content

View on TikTok

Lizzo opted for a glowy makeup look with hints of orange and pink that match the hues in her dress. Her radiant skin features a hint of golden highlighter on her nose and a punchy coral blush that sits on her cheekbone. You can't miss the glistening champagne pigment on her lids or the orange and brown shades blended into her crease. The fluttery falsies and pinky nude lip gloss are a great complement to the eye and face. 

As always, Lizzo looks sensational. These wavy Bantu knots and bedazzled barrette may make an appearance on her Instagram later or exist solely on TikTok for us to cherish. If and when that IG post happens, we'll be ready to shower her with heart eye and fire emojis. 

Tiny Beauty Details You Might Have Missed From Lizzo and Cardi B’s New Video

side by side of lizzo with golden headpiece accessories and gold dressCourtesy of Alexx Mayo 

It's official: The internet is broken again. The culprits this time are Lizzo and Cardi B who transformed into glowy Grecian goddesses for their "Rumors" music video that was released at midnight on August 13. The duo reimagined the legendary Muses from Hercules with shimmery gold makeup, avant-garde brow looks, and braided hairstyles that are so long they put Ariana Grande's ponytails to shame. But if you were too busy watching in amazement to notice, we've compiled all the wonderful beauty moments you may have missed.

The Perfectly Placed Highlighter

Honestly, where do you even began with a music video like this? There's so much to obsess over, but let's start with the glowy makeup, which was painted on by makeup artist Alexx Mayo using Charlotte Tilbury products. Glistening gold pigments are clearly the star here. For the first look, Lizzo appears on a ceramic jar with a brilliant gold highlight that matches her golden dress and headdress. Mayo blended the limited-edition Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte's Magic Star Highlighter and Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Beauty Light Wand in Goldgasm onto her cheeks to create the glow. 

screenshot from Lizzo Rumors music video showing Lizzo with glowy skin golden dress headpiece and arm piecesCourtesy of YouTube/@Lizzo Music

The Extra-High Cut Crease

Her shimmery eye makeup isn't super visible until the next scene but it's truly epic. On the base of her lids, Mayo blended out a few black and gray hues to create a smoky effect. There's a sharp black wing right on her lid and below her waterline creating a dramatic effect. Above the black-winged liner, Mayo painted on Charlotte Tilbury's Eyes to Mesmerize cream eye shadow in Champagne as if he were cutting her crease but it extends upwards to the temples. With the creamy pigment, he drew on another line that extends from her inner crease up towards her brows, which appear to be completely nonexistent. Which brings us to…

The Tiniest '90s Brows

On June 28, Lizzo officially joined the bleached eyebrows club, so that's why her brows appear to be invisible. Instead, Mayo drew on a faint brown line around where her brows would be (you can see some faint blonde hairs in the picture below). The gold pigment that sits at the end of her bleached brows takes the look to the next level. 

behind the scenes shot of lizzo wearing a golden hairpiece and gold smokey eye with gold stiletto nail jewelryCourtesy of Alexx Mayo 

The Body Highlight

Gold is pretty much the theme throughout the whole video whether it's the dresses, breastplates, nails, or out-of-this-world highlighter. All the dancers in the video look ethereal with their glistening skin that you can see when Lizzo walks up to the rest of the muses laying down. All seven women are glowing from head to toe, and that sickening highlight is especially on display when they busting a few moves on the columns. Just gaze in amazement at the blended streak of highlight on this queen. 

screenshot from rumors music video with lizzo standing with outstretched hands in front of six backup dancers laying on...Courtesy of YouTube/@Lizzo Musicscreenshot from rumors music video of lizzo bent over dancing in golden dress and bright shimmery highlighterCourtesy of YouTube/@Lizzo Music

The Eye Gems

Cardi makes her appearance later on in the video, sitting on a throne with a golden breastplate, huge gold teardrop earrings, and an angled liner with sparkly gems. The Bronx-rapper looks absolutely gorgeous while rapping her clever rhymes. This liner is very mod, with a sharp wing right at the lash line and another eyeliner line right at the crease that both angle upwards towards her temple. You can see a few well-placed gems that sparkle and gleam in her inner corner and along the topmost liner. 

screenshot from rumors music video of cardi b holding scroll while wearing a gold breastplate and teardrop earringsCourtesy of YouTube/@Lizzo Musicscreenshot from lizzo and cardi b rumors music video where cardi b wears golden breastplate with her hands raisedCourtesy of YouTube/@Lizzo Music

The Exceptional Nails

And just look at those talons! We knew fire nails were coming because Lizzo gave us a teaser on August 10, but wow they truly exceeded our expectations. Cardi's stiletto-shaped golden talons match the metallic sheen on her breastplate to a T. Lizzo has a more ornate-looking pair in the beginning of the video that looks more like expensive jewelry than a set of nails. For the final scene, she has ombré stiletto nails that transition from white to a shimmery gold glitter at the tips. 

screenshot from rumors music video with cardi b and lizzo in gold and white outfits holding their stretched out hands to...Courtesy of YouTube/@Lizzo Music

More Brow-spiration

Of course, Lizzo and Cardi delivered with their final looks. Lizzo's bleached brows aren't nonexistent this time. A few spaced-out black strokes sit right where her brows would be. On the other hand, Cardi's brows are angled and fully filled in. But underneath those angled brows sit a few dazzling gems. Creative brow looks have been having a moment lately, and we love to see these two artists' takes.

screenshot from rumors music video of lizzo singing in a bedazzled mesh gown long braided hairstyle with golden...Courtesy of YouTube/@Lizzo Musicscreenshot of cardi b from rumors video with gold headpiece and bedazzled eyebrowsCourtesy of YouTube/@Lizzo Music

The Veil-Like Braids

Lizzo's Rapunzel-esque braided hairstyle and Cardi's voluminous curls may just be our favorite hair looks in the video. As Lizzo dramatically walks down a winding staircase in one of the final scenes, you can see the aggressively long train of braids that follow behind her. It took 80 hours and 400 packs of Kanekalon braiding hair to create the 43-and-a-half-foot hairstyle on Lizzo, according to an Instagram carousel shared by hairstylist Shelby Swain. It took an impressive team of 17 braiders and 80 hours to complete these out-of-this-world braids. If you swipe through the carousel, you can see the behind-the-scenes videos showing all the work, skill, and dedication put into this gorgeous hair.

Her braided hair at the front is gathered into what looks like almost a pompadour and secured together with a bedazzled gold headpiece. The intricate accessory lays on her forehead and has two golden wires that swirl from the back of her head to right around her cheeks. Cardi also wears a stunning golden headpiece, but hers is a capital (the topmost part of a column) that sits on her head like a crown. 

screenshot of lizzo descending staircase with train of black hairCourtesy of YouTube/@Lizzo Music

Neither Lizzo, Cardi B, nor the six amazing backup dancers came to play with us with this Hercules-themed music video. We've just barely recovered from seeing Cardi B and Normani together for "Wild Side" and can hardly contain our excitement over this breathtaking video as well. Honesly, the best part may be all the amazing fan recreations of these beauty moments that are sure to come.

The Best New August Skin-Care Launches to Make a Part of Your Routine

The Best New August SkinCare Launches to Make a Part of Your Routine

Allure/Ingrid Frahm

Yes, it's still summer. With more than a month of the season left to go, there's still time to switch up your skin-care routine to nail it for your current needs, or simply invite the best newness into your regimen. So, to help you out, we're sharing the new August skin-care products that we know you'll love. 

Changing your regimen up can feel scary. Is this serum worth the splurge? Do we really need another self-tanner? And what the hell do all of these ingredients actually do? To help answer any and all questions you may have about what you should be using, we've tested and tried every product — moisturizers, cleansers, serums, masks, and more — that comes our way to help you make an informed decision.

You can count on us to keep you in the know about the skin-care launches that excite us and that we think will make you feel your best. This August, treat yourself to a new skin-care regimen with the latest products to hit both physical and virtual shelves — including a gentle way to exfoliate every day (thanks, Murad) and an overachieving face mist packed with peptides from Ghost Democracy.

Be sure to check back weekly for new skin-care launches that are dropping this month. (Trust us, you don't want to miss out.)

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Keywordsproduct launchesshoppingnew skin-care launchmuradclarinsmaskexfoliationface mistmoisturizershopping guideGuerlain

My Body Acne Is Finally Gone — Here’s How I Did It

Rearview shot a young woman touching her bare shoulderGetty Images/LaylaBird

As a pre-teen athlete, body acne and I had our fair share of confrontations. Rushing between my school’s varsity volleyball practice — sliding on the floor as the team’s libero — followed by a 15-minute car ride to club soccer practice, my skin was on overload between sweaty, tight jerseys and, of course, puberty. On those days when my shoulder blades were flush with whiteheads and my chest with tiny red bumps, I contemplated quitting my passion for sports, all in the name of feeling “pretty” in a tank top or bikini. For years, body acne became a giant insecurity I let take control of me — instead of me working to control it. That was all until I made a dermatologist appointment where I finally saw hope and light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks to my newfound knowledge of topical retinoids, I’m now able to continue pursuing the active lifestyle I’ve always loved dearly.

What Is Body Acne, Exactly?

Before jumping into the benefits of topical ointments, like retinoids, Rhode Island-based board-certified dermatologist Tiffany Jow Libby breaks down what causes body acne in the first place. “Acne, regardless of whether on the face or body, occurs due to several factors: clogged pores, excess oil production, and inflammation,” she says. Although blackheads are still common and can occur on the body, Libby’s practice tends to see “more whiteheads, inflammatory acne, and cysts on the body, which are prone to more oil production — along the back and chest.”

Claire Chang, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, also calls out “hormonal fluctuations, stress, and certain foods (including dairy and high glycemic diets) as acne triggers,'' too. While whiteheads are commonly seen on many of her patients' bodies, she says, blemishes like papules, pustules, cysts, and nodules all can show up on the skin barrier.

While body acne can affect people of all ages, both Libby and Chang name puberty as the starting point for many cases. “Hormones called androgens cause oil glands to increase in size,” says Libby. This causes acne to appear over many areas of the body. Chang also points out, “the chest and back have a higher concentration of oil glands, making this area more prone to acne, while hair-bearing areas may be more prone to a related condition, folliculitis, caused by inflammation around the hair follicles,” she says.

It’s no secret excess oil production acts as a prominent conductor for clogged pores. “Oily skin types are more prone to body acne, promoting a good environment for bacteria to grow,” says Libby. This, in combination with clogged pores and inflammation, is the perfect formula for body acne.

So, why are certain areas more common for body acne to crop up, athlete or not? “Irritants, like sweat and friction from tight-fitting clothes, tend to be more commonly affected by body acne,” answers Libby. Medically, this phenomenon is called acne mechanica, which Chang describes as friction or rubbing in combination with heat and sweat that irritates and inflames [hair] follicles. Reflecting on my own personal journey with body acne and the areas I found breakouts most commonly as a young teen, this was me to a tee.

Treating Body Acne With Retinoids

After back-to-back sports practices, my shower routine would consist of a soapy loofah rubbed (aggressively, might I add) across my back, shoulders, and chest in hopes it would unclog and "pop" my stubborn, headstrong whiteheads. But in reality, this practice left me with nothing but an irritated, red skin barrier — creating the ideal canvas for inflamed acne that wasn’t going anywhere.

Although dermatologists enlist many solutions when treating acne along your body, one of the most effective approaches is topical retinoid creams. “Not only will using topical retinoids help prevent and treat acne, but it will also help minimize the post-inflammatory pigmentation, like brown spots, that occurs after acne lesions resolve," says Libby. This is music to my ears — and my acne scars — after years of scrubbing and picking my olive-toned complexion’s bacne, with little to no results.

For those not familiar with topical retinoids, Libby describes them as being “vitamin A derivatives that prevent and treat acne by unclogging pores, exfoliating skin, and decreasing inflammation.” Chang even goes as far as to call topical retinoids “the gold standard for treating acne.”

Chang says that while retinoids are safe and effective in treating both non-inflammatory and inflammatory acne on the face or other parts of the body, like any new skin treatment, retinoids should be started slowly, to decrease the risk of irritation and excess dryness. “It can take six to eight weeks of consistent use to know if an acne regimen is effective, so be patient,” she says. In fact, this timeline is exactly how long it took for my skin to process this newly-introduced treatment, before completely ridding my skin’s clogged pores and whiteheads. As they say, patience is a virtue.

Since treating my skin with a topical retinol every night, the body acne I was self-conscious of no longer exists — nor has control of my activities or hobbies I so cherish. After all, feeling good in my skin is my number-one priority, and for me, it started with treatment. Whether you're just experiencing body acne for the first time or have had a long, ongoing battle with acne, you’re not alone, and there are products and dermatologists out there to help you begin your journey to clear, healthy, and happy skin. You have to start somewhere, and in the case of body acne, it can be with a topical retinol cream.

You Have to Watch Gabrielle Union Teaching Daughter Kaavia to Love Her Moles

Gabrielle Union smiling in a white dress in front of brownstone stepsGetty Images

Growing up as a kid with a mole near her mouth, my feelings about that little area of raised, darker skin could have gone in any number of ways. Thankfully, just as I was entering middle school, supermodels Cindy Crawford and Niki Taylor were on countless billboards and magazine covers with their own lip-adjacent moles, which me not only feel OK about my beauty mark but sincerely believe that it was a beauty mark. Not everyone gets such glamorous mole validation from celebrity role models, but Kaavia James Union Wade is getting a lesson on loving her skin from the best celebrity role model possible: her own mom, Gabrielle Union.

Union posted to TikTok on Thursday, August 12, writing, "Teaching her to love every part of herself 🤎," over a video of Kaavia and herself in a pool. But the relaxing moment was also a teachable one as Union showed her almost-three-year-old daughter that it's OK to have, accept, and even be enthusiastic about moles.

"Mommy has a lot of moles," Union says as she points to her chest and then her cheeks. "I got moles on my face."

"Oh no! I not have a mole," Kaavia replies, shaking her head.

"Well, I think you have a couple," Union says.

"Oh no, I got a couple right there," Kaavia decides, pointing to her mouth, at which point Union gently informs her that those are just her lips. 

"I'm pretty sure you have a mole somewhere," Union says, pulling one of Kaavia's feet out from under the water. "Oh, there's your mole!" Kaavia seems fascinated as Union continues, "But see, it's not bothering anyone. So you just leave it!"

"Leave it?"

"Yeah, it's a part of you," Union says. "So that's Kaav's mole. And mom's mole."

"Yes! We got moles!" Kaavia exclaims with adorable excitement — a sentiment Union repeats with equal energy. In fact, it's what she wrote in the caption, too.

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I think it's safe to say that, as Kaavia gets older, Union will continue to impart mole widsom — like getting her skin checked by a dermatologist every year for any new ones or strange changes in existing ones. In the meantime, Union continues being a role model not only for her kiddo but for everyone who can use a little reminder about self-love and acceptance. 

21 Fragrances to Make Your Fall Signature Scent

21 Best Fall Perfumes of 2021  Fragrance Reviews

Just when you think summertime sadness is inevitably setting in, you catch a sniff of sweet pumpkin spice and a peek at the new fall fashion statements — and know everything's going to be all right. What summer delivers in easy living, fall delivers in style, helping us ease into the whole layering process that comes with the seasonal shift.

While we swap out our sandals and tanks for boots, sleeves, and coziness, we're also looking toward a fall fragrance lineup that plays to the woody, sweet, musky scents of season. Pumpkin spice fan or not, these new fall fragrances play to all noses with the classic combination of notes found in Valentino's newest scent, rich, sweater-like comfort from Rihanna's first Fenty scent, and unexpected blends like those found in Dior's and Floral Street's latest releases. No matter which one you spritz, these new fall scents bottle up the season and serve as the perfect invisible accessory to top off your meticulously crafted fall fashion statement.

Whether you're in search of classic autumn sweetness or looking to experiment with a moodier oud, this eclectic lineup of new fall fragrances includes something for everyone. So before you fret about tucking away your summer swim collection, here are 21 reasons to get psyched for fall and winter.

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Keywordsbeauty productsFragranceperfumescentGuccigucciFloral StreetByredobath and body worksPradaFenty BeautyellisBond No. 9Dolly PartondiorBurberryLe Labolancometom fordouaiVictoria's Secretelizabeth ardenshoppingshopping guide

Hailey Bieber’s Hair Tutorial Reveals the Flatiron Technique Behind Her Signature Waves

hailey bieber posing at an eventGetty Images

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Every now and then, Hailey Bieber gives fans the rundown on her tried-and-true beauty routines via YouTube. She's already shared her nightly skin-care routine and at-home facial regimen, but in her latest YouTube video, she's dropping her go-to beach wave hair routine "for an evening of fun." Thankfully, it's suitable for both beach wave newbies and pros. 

Although there are a plethora of curling irons and wands that can help with creating loose beach waves, Bieber's simple technique proves that using a flatiron is just as effective. As she's demonstrating the technique, she admits she can't gather the words to describe the exact motion she uses to make the waves, but she concludes by saying she makes "kind of just a wave motion" throughout each section of the hair. 

To create her loose beach waves, Bieber uses a Dyson Corrale Straightener, which she says was a gift from hairstylist Jen Atkin. However, she doesn't go in with the flatiron right away and explains that prepping the hair before and after making the waves is a must. She always washes her hair before styling and likes to add some volumizing spray to her hair before blow-drying. Her go-to volumizing spray is Ouai's Volume Spray. After blow-drying, Bieber sprays each section of her hair with some texturizing spray and clips up the top layer of her hair. Then, she's ready to make some waves with her flatiron. She likes to start at the bottom layer of her hair and then finish with the top layer. 

dyson Corrale™ Hair Straightener on white background

Dyson Corrale Hair Straightener

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Ouai Volume Spray

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Once she's finished the whole head, Bieber looks for any areas on her hair that may need some retouching. When she's satisfied with the results, she applies texturizing spray one more time. Then she sprays some dry shampoo on her roots — but her post-styling routine doesn't end just yet. For what she calls her "last-last step," she sprays a light-hold hairspray all over her hair. 


The next time you're going out on a date or to dinner with friends, consider taking some hair pointers from Bieber. To check out her go-to beach wave routine, watch the video above.