How I'm healing my acne from within

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had acne. It had become so normal that I didn’t even hope it would go away at some point, I was pretty sure I’d be the 80 year old with acne! One thing I’ve learned this year is that acne isn’t normal. Like we shouldn’t have acne - it shows an imbalance. Whether it’s hormonal or diet related, it starts by healing from within. And healing from within starts at the Gut. The bad bacteria in your gut feeds on sugar, and it basically breaks apart the tight junctions in there - which makes us have leaky gut. Why do I talk about the gut for acne? Because it all works together - we are one body after all. So you’ll see me talking about what we changed, took out and added. Make sure you read the part on supplements!

I’m pretty sure I’m on the road to having clear skin for the first time in my teenage/adult life. Usually blog posts talk about a million things before getting to the point, so let me (try) to get right into the HOW I cleared my skin.

  1. I got rid of sugar, Dairy and gluten

This is always my least favorite part of any blog post. Seriously, no sugar? Dairy? Gluten? What can I eat?! First of all, I totally understand where you’re coming from, but when I quit these foods years ago I realized that the American diet keeps us stuck in a perpetual loop of carbs and sugar. Here’s the thing, there is undeniable proof that dairy and sugar make your acne flare up. They are inflammatory foods, they were never intended to be eaten at the rates we do. Have you noticed that Americans eat how the government tells us to, and yet we’re one of the least healthy nations in the developed world? (I’d suggest watching the following documentaries on Netflix to see understand the big picture of the American diet: What the Health, The Magic Pill, and listen to this podcast)

Without getting into the nitty gritty of our nation’s food crisis… you will see amazing results in your skin when you stop eating sugar and dairy. The reason I include Gluten in there is that it is a carb, and carbs become sugar. No bueno when you eat as much as the average American does today.

Second of all, I try not to think of it as a restriction - sure I’ve gotten rid of 3 foods, but that opened me up to such a diversity of ingredients I would’ve never NEEDED to know about before. Even if you don’t have acne, I would suggest you listen to the podcasts/watch the movies I mentioned - every single person reading this will benefit from learning about the dangers of these foods on our gut, brain and body.

YOUR CHALLENGE THIS WEEK: go through your cupboards and look at the ingredients of all the sauces you have. If one of the ingredients is cane sugar/syrup or any kind of sugar give it away. You don’t need any of those pesky sugars hiding around your kitchen. If you want to go a step further, do the same for EVERYTHING in your kitchen: cookies, biscuits, chips, etc.

We eat way more good fats and completely stopped eating out

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen Cole and I go on our Taco Bell dates more than once. Here’s the thing - once you know about the food you eat you can’t let yourself eat it anymore. We are way past just thinking of calories in/calories out at this point: we know that not all foods are created equal and they deeply affect your gut, skin, body, hormones, and health long term!

So, don’t go to Taco Bell anymore okay?

Here’s one you won’t want to miss: Omega-3 fatty acids are amazing anti-inflammatories. You can find Omega-3s in lots of delicious foods:

  • salmon

  • sardines

  • chia seeds (I use these in our smoothies daily!)

  • flaxseeds

  • walnuts

  • brussel sprouts

  • spinach

  • eggs

Cole and I buy and eat all organic (if you’re like us and your budget is low, buy less! That’s been our thought process) - mostly because foods that are drenched in pesticides are stripped of their nutrients and really won’t do much for your skin/body.

YOUR CHALLENGE THIS WEEK: next time you’re grocery shopping, grab organic chia seeds and eggs. If you don’t like leaving the house, use Thrive like I do! You’ll save on organic foods and do it from your couch. Click here.

I Take these supplements:

This is one of the biggest things things that has changed for me: Fermented Cod Liver oil. Here’s what goodies you’ll find in them:


“Vitamin A: Supports the healthy function of the immune system, making the body more resistant to viral and bacterial infection. Also maintains healthy vision. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Ensure an anti-inflammatory response, which decreases the pain of arthritis, can relieve pulmonary disorders, and prevent allergies. EPA: Impoves cardiovascular health, can reduce inflammation, and has been used to ease depression. DHA (Fatty Acid):  Supports eye health, maintains skin, and promotes healthy nervous system function.” - Nourishing World

Here is my skincare routine:

First of all, remove your makeup - I use the Maskcara makeup wipes because they’re delicate and not greasy.


  1. Clean face with the Tres Leches Cleanser: Milk Cleanser uses a milk base, which contains a wealth of highly active skin rejuvenating substances in naturally balanced proportions. Washing the skin with moderately or highly alkaline soap or detergents is one of the most common mistakes made that strips away the protective acid layer. This lactic acid creme-based cleanser will gently remove bacteria without stripping or irritating the skin, retaining the natural acid and lipid protective cover of the skin. Link here

  2. Apply this high-strength vitamin and mineral blemish formula: Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% (it’s only $5.90!) : Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) is indicated to reduce the appearance of skin blemishes and congestion. A high 10% concentration of this vitamin is supported in the formula by zinc salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid to balance visible aspects of sebum activity. Link here.

  3. Apply Milk Creme: Milk Creme contains 16% natural milk components and moisturizes the driest of skins, leaving you with a youthful glow. With its combination of the alpha-hydroxy lactic acid and vitamins A and E, it gently penetrates the skin surface and helps exfoliate and release dead skin cells. This helps promote healthy skin cell turnover and reduces fine lines and wrinkles. It is non-comedogenic and absorbs into the skin quickly without a lingering greasy feeling. Milk Creme is alcohol free and contains allantoin, jojoba oil, and rhodopsin oil, which are all natural and beneficial to the skin. Link here

  4. Apply makeup: make sure you’re using makeup that doesn’t clog pores. I use Maskcara’s Creme products and they’re perfect for my skin.

  5. Clean your brushes weekly: they’re filled with bacteria and will definitely clog your pores with dirty stuff, make sure you’re actively cleaning them. I use the Restore Spray - it’s super easy and there’s no drying time! Link here



  1. Remove makeup: I use the Maskcara makeup wipes because they’re hydrating, and don’t hurt my sensitive skin. They’re also really inexpensive! Link here.

  2. Clean face with Tres Leches Cleanser

  3. Apply salicylic acid 2% solution with witch hazel: only $5.30! Salicylic Acid is a beta hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin. This 2% treatment solution helps exfoliate the inside walls of pores to fight the appearance of blemishes and for better visible skin clarity with continued use. Link here.

  4. Apply 100% organic cold-pressed rose hip seed oil: filled with lonoleic acid and vitamin A, it’ll really bring your skin back to life! Link here.

  5. Get enough sleep! And make sure you change your pillow-case every 3 days. I’m serious!


As I learn more about my body and acne, I realize it’s so much more than a few creams. It’s going to the base of the problem and understanding what imbalances you have. More than likely your gut needs some healing!

I hope this is helpful, I’m not a medical professional but I’ve legit tried everything under the sun, including some really bad medicines. I hope I can help people heal themselves without strong drugs!


This is an unconventional before and after

Ya’ll it’s not perfect. But my face doesn’t hurt constantly and now what I’m working on most is scars. Blog post coming soon.

Our wedding: preparing my skin, hair and soul for the big day

Anyways, we're getting off subject. Lots of bride tend to want to overdo their makeup for their big day, and lots of makeup artists actually go too far in the look they create - I am here to tell you, you really don't need to go that far!

Months ahead of the big day: bright, beautiful skin

The first thing you want to do as you're coming closer to your wedding day (meaning a few months ahead of that day) is to really and truly take good care of it. Remember, taking care of your skin includes your face, neck, back and body! 

  • Wash your face morning and night (I've been using the Milk Cleanser)

  • Moisturize in the morning (Milk Creme) and at night

  • Exfoliate your skin twice a week - face, chest and back (our Facial Resurfacer is a GAME CHANGER! Have you got blackheads? Not anymore sister, this stuff is digging deep and cleansing your face)

Facial Resurfacer Senegence - if you want true baby skin this is what you need!

Facial Resurfacer Senegence - if you want true baby skin this is what you need!

  • Use an eye creme (if you want your makeup to not look crusty, make sure you're taking care of that skin)


Weeks before your big day: very moisturized skin and shiny hair

That means drinking lots of water, decreasing your salt intake and all around doing everything to stay hydrated. For your hair, my trick has always been to wash my hair every 3 days, brush it thoroughly with a boar bristle brush, put oil on it each night, use Protein shampoo once a week  and sleep with a loose bun on the side of my head. I promise you, that has led to the softest, happiest hair! If you haven't ordered the oil I posted up there, please do. It is by far my most exciting find and I'm SUPER loyal to it. 

The week of: calm. 

I know. Girlfriend I know. Trust me. My family and friends were helping us alot and they were a real blessing! But I totally know, the week of your wedding is CRAZY! I was NOT a bridezilla at all, and I really wasn't stressed about the wedding but darn it my brain was being pulled in a million different directions. Between the delivery of the chairs, cleaning up the yard, trying not to break a nail and totally getting a sunburn I was kind of brain dead. Enjoy the crazy, it's actually the best part. I don't know what your big day will be like but chances are it's going to go by really fast... so enjoy each day leading up to it, it's a tiny bubble of fun memories. 

DO rest, DO go home early if you want to. But also remember to enjoy your family coming from all over, enjoy the fact that your husband to be wants to help you and doesn't know all the details (it's cute), enjoy those last moments with your best friend, say thank you to everyone helping you. So much love. 

Looking back my favorite evenings were the few we spent at my parent's rental where we all brought our own food and enjoyed something we rarely get: time together. We all live really far from each other (California, Florida, north of France and Lyon) so any time we can spend time together we really take advantage of it. I loved every minute we spent together, even the random trips to Target or beach trip madness :)


The day of: even more calm. 

The morning of your wedding is quite interesting. You wake up and realize you're getting married today. By tonight you won't be a Varak, you'll be a Harris. Girlfriend this is such a fun day! No one is going to care about that typo in your menu, no one will notice that one of the groomsmen broke his leg (okay maybe that's a little obvious)... Girl, enjoy marrying your HUSBAND! What a lovely and wonderful day to remember forever, don't you dare make it a stressful day, don't you dare have any regrets about your attitude or your words. Be full of love for your husband, your family and your friends. Sniff your bouquet of flowers, smile at your mom and dad, and walk down that aisle. It's a beautiful day.

Our wedding was the most stunning thing I've ever seen (I know, I'm biased). The weather was perfect, the setting was amazing (thank you Babbs!), the boys looked so handsome and the girls were beautiful. Our families were with us, they love us, and we celebrated in style. 


  1. Keep it really simple and take your time. You want to have makeup that looks great on camera, as well as close to your guests. That means making sure you used enough Foundation and concealer to have perfect skin (and powder to set it), but not so much that you look cakey. For me, that was all about taking time between each step: 2 minutes after Silk Primer, 2 minutes after each layer of foundation, etc. I really took my time and was calm.

  2. Focus on our eyes: in photos that will definitely be the prettiest: practice trying on fake lashes weeks before and learn how to line your eyes lightly - nothing better than long lashes in photos! Also, learn what eye shape you have and make sure you are respecting it to make your eyes look beautiful!

  3. Don't go too dark, and don't go too intense: one person came to see me after the wedding and said he really liked my makeup because I didn't look like a clown: it seems many brides do way too much! Once again, simple is the best!

  4. Do a light beige or light pink on your lips with a little shine and gloss (I did Goddess and Sassy Z)

  5. Highlight and contour: you won't regret learning how to do that and you certainly will not regret the results on camera. Contour is such a powerful thing- I used Moca Java and Natural + White Concealer.

If you're doing your own makeup, I'd love to help you through out! Tell me when your wedding is and we'll schedule a call :) 

Here's a list of the makeup I used: 


  • Climate Control

  • Normal to Dry Moisturizer

  • Silk Primer (let it sit 2 minutes)

  • Pearlizer all over face

  • Color correcting tinted moisturizer

  • White and light concealer for highlighting

  • Crème Beige Foundation

  • Pouty Pink blush

  • pink opal shimmer to highlight

  • Candlelight under eyes

  • Sandstone Pearl over eyes

  • Natural powder and bronzer and blush to top off


  • Moca java, mulberry, garnet, Rose gold shimmer, onyx for eyeliner, black lashsense

  • Elfcosmeticsmetics Lashes


  • Pink Champagne and Sassy z

SPRAY: @urbandecaycosmetics

Check out some of my favorite photos:

Getting Ready


First Looks

The wedding



PHOTOS: Emily Ganey

FLOWERS: Sydney Merritt and Anna Graham

MAKEUP: Me with Senegence + Morphe Brushes


FOOD: Bodega

DRINKS: Walmart bro

DRESS: crap I don't remember. 

MUSIC: Jonathan Talley

LOCATION: Tiffany and Johnny Babb