Self-Expression, Beauty Rituals, and Uplifting The Trans Community With Mariana MarroquinLearn about LA's Trans Wellness Center and how to become a better ally for the trans community.
Cherie is an online community of beauty lovers sharing their stories; whether that's their favorite products, makeup tutorials, or skincare routines. Download the app today to be a part of #BeautyWithoutBarriers and show the world what beauty means to you!It's Pride Month! Here at Cherie we're celebrating it by amplifying queer voices and stories. It's important that with every month of celebration we also include moments of education. While continuous support and education for all parts of the LGBTQ+ community is important in creating understanding, I wanted to bring light to the "t"— trans lives. Trans people have been underserved for far too long with people often not knowing that intersectional bodies are some of the most endangered. The lack of understanding and acceptance towards the trans community from the broader majority of people, primarily cis-gendered heterosexuals, have disproportionally harmed trans lives. I spoke with Mariana Marroquin, the Program Manager of LA LGBT's Trans Wellness Center, to talk about her life, trans allyship, the hardships they face, the wonderful work being done by community centers like TWC, and what beauty means to her. What is the importance of spaces like LA's Trans Wellness Center?The Trans Wellness Center is a space where people like me have worked for more than a decade, asking to have our own space and to be led by our community. That’s something that makes us very unique. For many years, when we would talk about HIV and STD prevention and care, we were a community that would be left behind. We were always being told about what we need to do, but we never had the opportunity to be the ones actually making the decisions. I think when we finally opened the Trans Wellness Center two years ago, it carried that legacy of my trans sisters who have worked to have our voices and our bodies and our lives uplifted in many different ways. Why do you think the T for trans lives is often left out in conversations when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community?I think people still don’t have the chance to actually listen to us. Someone asked me “How can I be a good ally to the trans community?” I’m like, “Just forget about every assumption you have about me and just hear me. Just listen to my needs, who I am, and what my message is in this world. And what I need to say.” And that happens a lot. People want to come alongside trans women and the trans community without giving us the space to explain our needs or our goals in our lives and as a community. And we have a new generation of gender non-binary and gender non-conforming people who I celebrate and who I’m learning from. I take a step back and I just want them to tell me about them. I’m an immigrant woman from Guatemala who came here to be a woman and know what it means to be a woman. It’s interesting how, in many years working with my community, I keep learning about what it means to be a woman and what it means to be a trans woman and what it means to be a trans leader as well. Because everything is changing and evolving and I’m so happy about that. I think talking about beauty isn’y about physical beauty; it’s about who you are and what your contribution is to society. That’s the most important thing people need to know about the T. That message, when we talk about other issues… I remember when we were talking about marriage equality. The trans community was supportive of marriage equality. The trans community has always been behind every movement, but when it’s time to talk specifically about the T, we don’t have that many spaces to do so.What are some issues that the trans community deals with?We don’t have the same opportunities for employment. Regardless of our qualifications, education, or skills, we just don't get the same opportunities. Employment and education are important things that we all need to have access to. A lot of our youth decided to not continue their education because there's a lot of bullying, staring, and misgendering of them at school. It’s a shame because I believe we are a community that humanity can learn about resilience from. It doesn’t matter what we go through, we keep going every day. It doesn’t matter if our family or any other people say “I don’t see you” or “You’re not who you say you are”—we keep going out into the world. Every day is a challenge of people questioning who we are. People will ask “but what is your REAL name?” These are things that any other human being wouldn’t get asked every day. People don’t get questioned about who they are and whether they belong in certain spaces. People are beginning to also see how many transgender women of color are being murdered every year due to hate and prejudice and no one is doing anything about it. So that is the reality out there. If you are a parent and you have a very young child who is beginning to express themselves as a transgender person, and you see that there is so much hate out there, you’re going to worry and you’re going to try and change that kid instead of supporting who they are. But there is a community out there and there are allies who are curious about who we are and who want to give us the platform to show the world who we are. Ann: It makes me think about how there’s this inherent misunderstanding of the trans community and I think a lot of the time, people, when they don’t understand something, don’t take the time to understand it. They just dehumanize it because it’a easier to stay on course with things you do know than to be uncomfortable and learn about things you don’t know.We are so open to speak and to talk about our lives. I always say to not focus on the trans part. Ask me who I am and where I came from. Ask me what my goals are and about my experiences. In that moment, all those ideas you have about the community go down and you can actually meet the real human being behind the T.How do you continue to uplift yourself and members of the trans community?Something that every human needs is a sense of belonging. In LGB communities, the T was always left behind. When we go out and we go to school and we go to work every day, people can tell that we’re very unique and that we’re very different—that’s something that I appreciate when it comes to having this platform where we can share who we are as human beings, and not just as a letter that we celebrate every year. For us, pride is every single day. When I wear makeup, it's a celebration that I have a job and that I have a place to go and I have a mission that I need to accomplish. That’s something I’ll never take for granted. We all have the power to be the person to make the difference for others. There’s always someone you can help, no matter how down you’re feeling. Sometimes we think about how we’re the ones who need help but that’s not always true. There’s always something you can do for others. I’m part of a team where, despite what we’ve been through, we’re able to put others first and we’re able to empathize. We all can find the place where we can be a part of a team where we can make others stronger.What are some of your greatest accomplishments in your life?Having a job where I can be who I am. If I were to lose my job tomorrow, I believe I would be in a place where I’m struggling to find a job and to find a new place in our society. I’ve been able to help create a place where I can allow people to be themselves and I’ve been able to provide a safe space for others. I’m happy that, while at some point in my life I needed a chance, now I’m the one who is able to give people chances. Being about to create those opportunities for others is so fulfilling. I feel like I’m wise and experienced now and like I have something to tell new generations. I never imagined that I would be alive to witness this and be a part of this. It’s amazing. I work in immigration too and there are around 100 individuals who came to this country in my same situation — with fear, without knowing the language, without knowing what their situation would look like. And I was the one connecting them with immigration attorneys and telling them “I know you’re scared right now, but things will be different in a year to two.” I always keep in contact with them and it’s so nice because I know that feeling and I get to work on behalf of these people. What are some of your favorite beauty rituals? What do you love about beauty?My grandmother and my mother are two women who I love and admire so much. They always talked about finding the best way to feel good and to look good. Growing up, I remember putting on my first peel-off mask and that was a moment where we connected so well. I was that little boy who was very close to her. Those little moments were so important because we shared something together. We’re still doing that now. In that time, it was not okay for other people to see. But it was okay for my mom. Because she knew that I was, no matter what, her child. She knew she needed to protect me. We’re still bonding through beauty: finding the best lipstick, finding the best masks, making homemade treatments for hair and everything. That’s something we enjoy a lot together. I think that’s something that we share intimately. I think that boys have that with their dads; I had that with my mom. She had the same thing with her mom. It’s fun and I enjoy everything that makes me closer to the way I feel inside. I didn’t have the chance to do that growing up, so I do that now. I own my own beauty and I own my own face and I own my own body and I can’t ever take that for granted. I have a message to send every day through beauty: I’m here and I’m not going anywhere. I really love that families are being more supportive of their children and their gender expression. Growing up in Guatemala and having my uncles talking about me and criticizing my mother for letting me be me was very hard to go through. Now I can see kids wearing feminine clothes and playing with barbies and being who they want to be and that is the most gratifying thing to witness. It’s interesting how you have the chance to educate your parents. My mother always knew I was different, but she didn’t know anything about being trans. Now I have the chance to talk about other trans people and I have the chance to tell her that re lipstick is not the best lipstick for everybody. We need to celebrate body shapes, color, and everyone in life. We’re getting into good conversations all the time and we’re learning together.Fill in the blank: I express ________ through beauty.I express my true self through beauty. There is a beautiful word in the trans community: transition. Transition isn’t only for trans people. Transition is for everyone. Every day you need to try to be your best self, the best person you can be. It’s a constant transition. It doesn’t start and it doesn’t end. You should be always trying. I believe that’s a beautiful journey that we need to enjoy and that applies to every human being. If yesterday you have one style and tomorrow you decide to go for something different, that’s okay. That’s great because you OWN that and it’s your right as a human being to send a message to others. That is important to remember. People focus on being complete and it’s not about that. It’s a beautiful journey of transition every single day. You can have hard days and you can be sad. But tomorrow you need to keep going. Growing up it was very sad and very depressing. Sometimes I remember that. But now I’m so vivid and so full of life that it was so worth it.
7 HOURS AGO
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The Truth Behind Propylene Glycol
You may have read articles about this ingredient used in both kitchens and beauty counters - Propylene Glycol (PG) but what exactly is this chemical? I decided to do some research on credible sources online to find out if the ingredient is beneficial for my combination skin. A colorless and odorless liquid that is completely water-soluble, PG is mainly regarded as a moisturizing agent used in skincare products to attract hydration and locks it into the skin. Generally, anyone who is seeking deep hydration and smoothness of the skin can use products containing the ingredient. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review board (an organization of scientists who review the safety of cosmetic ingredients) have confirmed that it’s ”safe for use in cosmetic products when formulated to be non-irritating.” This means that companies need to conduct skin irritation testing on new formulas to ensure PG does not cause irritation when mixed with other ingredients, which is a standard test that many skincare companies run before launching any new product. As long as you do not have an allergy to PG, it is a safe ingredient to use regularly. Due to its multiple functions, PG works well with almost all other ingredients. While I do not specifically seek products that contain PG, I find that products that contain PG helps to hydrate my combination skin well, giving it a dewy glow throughout the day. Other than its main function as an emollient, there are also various other benefits, including addressing visible signs of aging, enhancing penetration of the skincare product, and prevent skin hydration loss. I have two products containing PG in my bathroom counter now. I use Nivea Oxygen Boost Micellar Water as a make-up cleanser before my gentle facial wash. Micelles in the liquid cleanser help to attract water, oil and the dirt that comes with them, which is effective when combined with a cotton pad or wipe work to remove stubborn make-up. Micellar water works well for my combination skin as a gentle and hydrating cleanser that is powerful to remove water resistant make-up at the same time. My skin does not feel too tight and taut after using this, thanks to its water based formula of hyaluronic acid, golden algae, Hydra IQ and marine salt. Another product containing PG is CLINIQUE - Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly. The lightweight water-jelly face moisturizer looks and feels different than most creams. The unique clear water-jelly texture feels fresh and penetrates quickly into my skin, especially for hot summer days. It delivers round-the-clock hydration repair, plus pollution protection with the formula’s “Clean Shield Technology”, formulated with a moisture barrier blend of sunflower seed cake, barley extract and cucumber fruit extract to strengthen skin’s barrier and retain skin’s moisture levels. On days when I want a lighter and more refreshing moisturizer, this is a nice change of texture.
Why you need Niacinamide
Also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinamide, Niacinamide is a water-soluble vitamin that works with the natural substances in your skin to help visibly - *minimize enlarged pores *tighten lax pores *improve uneven skin tone *soften fine lines and wrinkles *diminish dullness, and strengthen a weakened surface I don’t think there is one person out there needing help in at least one of these areas!! Niacinamide + Zinc @ $6.00 This water-based serum is has a light gel texture that absorbs quickly and layers perfectly – loads of people rate it as a primer because it instantly makes skin super smooth. Ideal for oily skin, apply it twice daily and you’ll soon notice you skin balancing out. Plus, it has the added bonus of zinc, which helps with healing blemishes. Zinc aids in healing the skin and prevents acne by regulating the activity of the oil glands. Zinc promotes a healthy immune system and the healing of tissues. It is also an antioxidant which helps to fight and prevent the formation of free radicals. Niacinamide can aid in reducing inflammation, which can help with acne, eczema and other inflammatory skin issues. It also helps regulate our natural skin oil production. And the benefits just keep coming...Niacinamide can help slow down the production of Melanin and lighten existing dark patches of skin. Additionally, Niacinamide has been shown to boost collagen, improve skin hydration levels, and even strengthen the skin to protect against environmental pollutants. When working with Niacinamide you want to use it early on in your skincare routine. Always remember- “thinnest you thickest.” Niacinamide is a serum and think of serums as extra treatments that address individual skin concerns outside of regular cleansing, toning, and moisturizing. So Niacinamide should be after toning but before moisturizing. Like most skincare products you are not going to see immediate results. Visible results can take up to 8 weeks, although you may notice a change in your skins texture. I like to use a product for 2-3 months before deciding to keep on with it or move onto something else. For me, Niacinamide will always be apart of my skincare routine. I’ve noticed positive changes in my pores, reduced acne and overall I feel it pairs well with the other products I use, boosting their effectiveness. I especially like to add mine after Cleansing, toning and then applying it after my Hyaluronic Acid. Then I follow up with my other products. There has been debate whether or not Niacinamide is safe to use with Vitamin C, but more and more information is coming to light that it is indeed safe and the two actually pair well together. It was said that Niacinamide cancelled out the effectiveness of Vitamin C, but research now indicates that unless you have overally sensitive skin, the two can be used together. Just be sure to test patch an area of your skin if you are prone to sensitivity. (Some of my facts and info were taken from: www.healthline.com)
One in a Melon🍉
A little background about thisGLOW RECIPE - Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask . It is a hydrating and lightly exfoliating nighttime mask that retails for $45 USD for 80 ml and $22 USD for 30 ml. It’s also made for all skin types. I used this mask once a week for a month and a half. My first impression was that, like most of their products, it smells so good I want to eat it. Their watermelon scent is just like sour watermelon candy and not too overpowering either. Upon my first application, I noticed that it has a very thick slip to it, similar to a facial oil. I thought this was the natural separation but even after mixing the mask, the same thing happened. I don’t think it affected the performance of the mask, but it did make washing it off my hands a little bit of a hassle. Just make sure to mix it well to minimize this! I have sensitive skin, so I opted to wear the mask for about 3 hours instead of overnight. I used a nickel-sized amount, and that was enough to cover my whole face. One feature of this mask is that it’s supposed to be pillow-proof. I haven’t tested that myself, but I can say that the mask dries down completely and no residue comes off when I tap or rub my face. If you plan to wear it to sleep, I recommend waiting at least ten minutes before coming in contact with your sheets! And unlike some exfoliating masks, this one didn’t give me the “exfoliating” sensation as it dried down. All in all, this mask is pretty comfortable to wear throughout the night (or day) and it isn’t tightening on the face. Towards the end of the 3 hours, I noticed some peeling around my inner cheek area and forehead. Glow Recipe said that this effect is normal – it’s just the exfoliating part of the mask doing job. I used a warm washcloth to remove the mask (didn’t experience the weird slip like when washing it off my hands) and saw the usual things I experience after face masks. My skin was soft and looked a little more luminescent. One difference I did see was that the pores around my chin were significantly cleared up! I usually get most of my white heads in that area and this mask totally erased them. That was an unexpected yet huge plus for this mask! For the following weeks, I went through the same process and saw similar results each time. The mask is good for upkeep in the sense that my pores stayed clean and I kept my skin cell turnover high. I wouldn’t call this mask a hero product, but it certainly is a pretty darn good one! I really enjoy the experience of putting it on and would recommend the mini size to anyone who wants to try. A little goes a long way and it’s not something you use everyday. I like mild products like this that still allows me to get the resurfacing effect I’m looking for every now and then. And it’s such a cute present to gift your fellow skincare pals :) #CherieCreator
My Favorite Sunscreen ☀️
I have combination skin that is sensitive and acne-prone. I’m also someone who doesn’t like anything with a sticky feeling on my face! 🌱This is the Centella Green Level Unscented Sunscreen and it is gorgeous. ✨First of all, it passes the Not Sticky test and doesn’t leave a white cast at all. It’s basically another hydrating moisturizer for your face in the way it applies and interacts with the skin. For this reason, reapplying doesn’t feel gross or heavy and this is one of the few sunscreens I actually enjoy reapplying throughout the day which is so important! ✨This has Hyaluronic Acid in it as well as Centella to enhance the skin barrier which provides protection from ultraviolet rays and any external stressors. It also avoids things like fragrance and essential oils so it is good for sensitive skin. ✨This is $16 for 2 oz which in my opinion is great for what you’re getting. What’s your favorite sunscreen? 🌞
Oily skin moisturizer awards 🤩
To piggy back on my “oily skin still needs a moisturizer” post I thought I’d present my oily skin moisturizer awards to give a boost to three of my favorites. I wanted to start this out by stating I do have very oily skin. My main concerns are large appearing pores, uneven skin tone, dullness/dehydration. My Holy Grail Moisturizer - FARMACY - Daily Greens Oil-Free Gel Moisturizer with Moringa and Papaya If I had to pick one moisturizer to use for the rest of my life this would be it. For $38 you get 1.7oz of whipped hydration. Despite it being a whipped gel texture it’s very lightweight on the skin. A little goes a very long way as it smooths on to give your face the hydration it needs without it feeling heavy. Farmacy claims it has moringa seed extract and moringa water to remove skin impurities while papaya extract gentle exfoliates the skin. I have seen a little difference in the appearance of my pores while using this. I think the only turn off to this product is the very strong sweet smell it has. Best Moisturizer for Oily yet Sensitive Skin - CLINIQUE - Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly This is my go to moisturizer for myself when my skin is freaking out and I need to take a step back from my routine. It’s also what I recommend to customers at work if they have oily yet sensitive skin. It’s one of the best no nonsense moisturizers on the market. It’s fragrance free, dye free, sulfate free, and oil free. The jelly is super lightweight and feels very hydrating on the skin. It contains sunflower seed cake, barley extract, and cucumber fruit extract to help strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier which is paramount of sensitive or compromised skin. For $28 you get 4.2 oz of product which will last you a while. They also have iD cartridges you can put into it which dispense serum into the moisturizer. The one I have above targets pores which is a concern of mine. It helps bring my skin back to its normal state when irritated while delivering the hydration I need. Best Exfoliating Moisturizer for Oily Skin - GLOW RECIPE - Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask Exfoliation is important for oily skin! When I do take a step back from my normal exfoliators I like to use this product in its place. The texture of it isn’t for anyone. It does have a more gloopy formula but I feel like once I work it into the skin it absorbs really nicely. For $45 you get 2.7 oz of product. It has hyaluronic acid and glycerin to hydrate the skin and glycolic and lactic acid to help exfoliate. When I do use this I tend to use it every other day because I don’t want to over do it (even though it is more on the gentle side of chemical exfoliators). When I do use this I notice my skin is extremely soft and hydrated in the morning. It also smells of watermelon jolly ranchers which is amazing!
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