Shani Hillian: Beauty + Wellness Writer

Between the 68 degree weather I experienced in LA during Memorial Day Weekend and the 90 degree weather in North Carolina, I’m confused. I’m sure I’m not the only one, neither! I saw New Yorkers wearing full on coats and ponchos during the Alexander Wang show just this Monday! I’m fully aware the Earth is being impacted by global warming, but I think we all would appreciate clear climate direction. Just saying.

In the midst of the constant changes, keeping up a skin care routine that works for one season can be daunting. But have you ever considered switching up your regimen between seasons like you do your clothing? I had no clue! I decided to chat with my new friend, Shani from Instagram (because, where else). I learned a lot more consideration for your skin between seasons is not only beneficial but easy!

Shani is a holisitic and beauty writer based in New York that adopted self-awareness and healthy practices that she now shares with the world. Her experience within the hair and fashion industry ignited her passion for wellness. Understanding the connection between happiness and health, in the total sense of the word: mind, body, and spirit, Shani spreads her knowledge to others on the pursuit on wholeness. 

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This was a fun interview with gems for both women AND men! I’m a nerd when it comes to learning about anatomy and science so I thoroughly enjoyed Shani’s insight. Read our conversation below and I’m sure you will appreciate it, too!

 

The J Spot: Tell us about yourself!

Shani Hillian: My name is Shani, I’m a wellness advocate, writer, and model based in Brooklyn, NY.

TJS: How did you become interested in skincare?

SH: My interest in skin care began at an early age. I'd see my mom make homemade masks and walk around the house with it while tidying up haha. I started to do the same and I've been obsessed with masking ever since:)

TJS: What made you want to write about skincare?

SH: I'm a licensed cosmetologist and esthetician with some knowledge to share and I dig writing so I decided to pair the two with the hopes of helping some folks live their best life.

TJS: We connected about Hand & Stone. Do you mind telling my readers about your experience working there?

SH: I worked at Hand & Stone Spa very briefly during a transition period in my life of having just moved back to the east coast from Los Angeles. The company was lovely, to be honest. Calming atmosphere, they provided educational classes at the Dermalogica Institute, complimentary, in addition to the credentials you already have. They were great.

TJS: What’s your favorite part about being an esthetician?

SH: My favorite part about being an esthetician is helping people. What's the first thing you notice when you meet someone? Their skin, whether gleams or has blemishes. It's cliché but I want people to love the skin they're in. It's our largest organ, we must take care of it.

TJS: Is there a big difference between men and women’s skin, in terms of the genetic makeup?

SH: Yes, there is a major difference. In addition to having facial hair, there are structural differences between men's skin and women's skin. Androgen (testosterone) stimulation causes an increase in skin thickness, which is why a man's skin is about 25% thicker than a woman's. A man's skin is tougher, oiler and warmer because they have more blood vessels than women. As women, we suffer more, unfortunately. Our skin is thinner,  dryer and more susceptible to dramatic changes. Example: Hormonal changes. Our skin gets drier as we age which is why 98% of all anti-aging, collagen infused products are created for women.

TJS: Is it necessary to use as many products that women use or should we all go the less is more route?

SH: It's subjective, to be honest. I personally go for minimal skin care but that's because I don't have problematic skin and my skin benefits from such a regimen. I've treated people with all types of skin issues and some needed more, some needed less so it just depends on your skin type and what works best for you at that moment.

TJS: How can the weather affect the skin? Is it different living in different regions or should skincare be based on skin type?

SH: The environmental conditions of where you live can impact the way your skin behaves, so paying attention to the weather will determine what type of treatments your skin will need. If you live in the Northeast like me (NYC) where winters are brutal, we are definitely susceptible to developing skin ailments such as eczema, dry skin due to the lack of moisture, chapped lips, and atopical dermatitis, which I've developed this past year. Creams, oils, hydrating masks are your best friend during this time. People that reside in warmer climates tend to sweat more so they can be more acne prone, especially if your skin is naturally oily. Products that aim towards detoxifying will help and opt for an oil-free moisturizer in this climate.

TJS: Tell me about the importance of transitional skincare in between the four seasons. Is there anything people of color specifically need to focus on when it comes to these transitions?

SH: Just like you switch up your wardrobe in accordance with the seasons, you should also be rotating your products to protect your complexion against the elements. Most people also tend to have a seasonal diet whether you're conscious of it or not. We eat fruits and vegetables in abundance during the spring/summer, and hearty foods in fall/winter. The same should apply to your skin. Lighter products during warmer seasons, heavier products during colder seasons. People of color truly benefit from using oils and creams on our skin. It's more than just making sure we're not "ashy" haha, it's cultural and I love that about us. We tend to use the same products all year round as we live by the motto " If it ain't broke, don't fix it". If you're an oil lover like myself, the only thing I would suggest is using a lighter oil in spring/summer like Jojoba oil. It's closest to the natural oils in our skin which will hydrate and nourish without being too heavy and greasy.

 

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TJS: How do you switch up your skincare routine between the seasons?

SH: I tend to exfoliate more( 3x a week) during the warmer seasons and aim towards using detoxifying masks to help balance my sebum levels due to the humidity in the air. During the colder seasons, I exfoliate less (1x a week) because my skin is so dry. I also mask more in the winter (2-3x a week) with intense hydrating masks. That's what works for me.

 

TJS: What’s the biggest mistake someone can make when it comes to skincare or trying products?

SH: The biggest mistake someone can make when it comes to skincare is thinking a regimen is "one size fits all". That is 100% false. Just because a product works for your sister or bestie, doesn't mean it'll work for you. You have to know your skin type (dry, oily, combo) and try products that gear towards that specific type. Don't use oil-based products if you are oily/ance prone trying to achieve that Fenty Glow. You will clog your skin, I promise you and it's never worth it. If you are unsure of what skin type you have, I recommend seeking help from a Board Certified Dermatologist or Licensed Esthetician.

TJS: What are 3 fun facts about skin?

SH: Hmmm, let me think. 3 Fun Facts about skin would be:

+ Sometimes, babies can get acne in their first few weeks of life and it takes up to 6 months for babies to develop their permanent skin tone

+ There are 2 types of Melanin

  • Pheomelanin which is red, yellow tones
  • Eumelanin which is Brown, Black tones

+ Every minute your skin sheds over 30,000 dead cells

TJS: Here on The J Spot, I refer to those closest to me as “My Tribe.” Who is a part of your tribe and how do you they help or contribute to your life?

SH: Oh wow, my soulmates are my tribe. My soulmates include the people closest to me either family, friends or ancestors. I have amazing soulmates I talk to on a daily basis that keep me inspired, they champion with me and ride the waves of life with me. Forever grateful for them.

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You heard her! Don’t sacrifice your skin thinking you’re going to get that natural Fenty highlight with incorrect products! She knows what she’s talking about.

Thank you to our second feature on The J Spot! Shani, it was a pleasure and I can’t wait to see more from you.

Make sure to follow Shani on Instagram: @shanihillian and visit her website:

https://www.shanihillian.com/

Her IG Stories are one of my faves to follow! She has it all: Flawless Skin, flourishing hair, holistic wellness practices and down to Earth...It can’t get any better!

How do you take care of your skin?

Let me know in the comments!

Fashion Feature: MILLERSROOM

While in LA, I visited The Melrose Trading post and met the owner of Millers Room! He was so inviting and such a great spirit that I had to purchase a piece or two. When Miller found out I was headed to New York, he sent me the Death Row shirt below in addition to the camouflage pants. Look how I styled it at Fashion Week! 

INSTAGRAM: @millersoom

Melrose Trading Post - Sundays 9am-4:45pm; booth b-32

pull up.

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World Tour: Series Part 4 - Los Angeles

For many who do not know, I was born and raised in Los Angeles and although I call North Carolina my place of residency now, I try to go back to visit my family as often as I can. More recently, I visited just to have fun but this visit was definitely a trip to check on my family and my best friend. 

As soon as I landed, I met up with my favorite people! My aunt and uncle. It was my Uncle's 70th birthday and I was excited to celebrate with them. As tradition, they always make reservations at Houston's. Although I used to go when I lived with them, it has almost been 5 years since I last went. I love my aunt and uncle because they may be seasoned with age but they are young at heart. They travel all the time, they're retired, educated, and well established. Honestly, they're goals. They don't have any children so I don't mind being spoiled by them from time to time. 

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I believe this dinner was the first time they saw me in a different light and more as an adult. We touched on topics regarding police brutality, net neutrality, 45, all the way to social media, how it works, what are influencers, etc. etc. It was nice to teach them about how my generation interacts and informs one another via social networking. My uncle and I also had a slight debate regarding his concern for my generation's plan of action with the current state of the world. I'm sure I could insert that [here] but then this post will be never-ending. Either way, with the help of my aunt as the mediator and translator (haha), we were able to see each others' point of views. In reality, my uncle and I are very much alike and if anything, this brings us closer. As always, dinner was amazing and I had a great time. 

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Upon arrival to my best friend, Aaryn's, house I was greeted with birthday presents! Little did she know I put Mario Bedescu's toners on my Christmas List! I was elated! She also gave me the book salt. by Nayyirah Waheed and I can't wait to finish it. I'm sure it will force me to deal with some "subconcious feelings that have not been addressed" but we'll cross that bridge when we get there. Last, but certainly not least, I got Pantone postcards! Pantone is a color matching system used in different industries but primarily printing. So, if I were to have a logo with a specific color code, I could use that code on a variety of items such as business cards, websites, shirts, banner, etc. Pantone Books, which include thousands of colors, cost thousands of dollars. To see at least 100 in postcard form was super cool and new! I'm not sure how I will use them yet but I'm thinking for inspiration boards or photo shoot concepts.

My friends own homes! What do yours do? HA! I'm laughing but it's not a joke. It was so cool and super inspiring to see my oldest friend accomplish a huge goal of purchasing her own home. It reminds me that stability is attainable!

Saturday Night we had dinner at Rush Street in Culver City. Great ambience, cool lighting, and great food. We decided to share different appetizers: Spicy Ahi Tacos, Mesquite Turkey Sliders, Fried Jumbo Shrimp with Cajun Tartar Sauce, and their infamous Mac n Cheese.  Highly Recommend!

Saturday Night we had dinner at Rush Street in Culver City. Great ambience, cool lighting, and great food. We decided to share different appetizers: Spicy Ahi Tacos, Mesquite Turkey Sliders, Fried Jumbo Shrimp with Cajun Tartar Sauce, and their infamous Mac n Cheese. Highly Recommend!

I'm always here for cool lighting.

I'm always here for cool lighting.

Of course, Aaryn and I had to do brunch on a Sunday because well..duh. I have been crowned as The Mimosa Queen and it is only fitting that we indulge in bottomless rounds for   five dollars   to start the day off right at Market Provisions in the Fairfax District.

Of course, Aaryn and I had to do brunch on a Sunday because well..duh. I have been crowned as The Mimosa Queen and it is only fitting that we indulge in bottomless rounds for five dollars to start the day off right at Market Provisions in the Fairfax District.

This is actually a moment that needed to be documented because I don't even like eggs, let alone fried eggs. But their "Breakfast Sandwich" with roasted turkey, melted gruyere, bacon, grilled onions, lemon aioli + 2 fried eggs on ciabatta was impeccable. 

This is actually a moment that needed to be documented because I don't even like eggs, let alone fried eggs. But their "Breakfast Sandwich" with roasted turkey, melted gruyere, bacon, grilled onions, lemon aioli + 2 fried eggs on ciabatta was impeccable. 

Did someone say "Happy Hour?" Maragaritas, of course.

Did someone say "Happy Hour?" Maragaritas, of course.

Tacos...in LA...Mandatory. Aaryn pretty much ordered her favorites for the table but I think we have two chicken street tacos, guacamole, lamb barbacoa skillet wit lamb slow roasted in an adobo sauce marinade , and calamari. 

Tacos...in LA...Mandatory. Aaryn pretty much ordered her favorites for the table but I think we have two chicken street tacos, guacamole, lamb barbacoa skillet wit lamb slow roasted in an adobo sauce marinade , and calamari. 

The view on Stocker will never get old.

The view on Stocker will never get old.

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I'm a sucker for views and landscapes so I'm sure you won't mind the obligatory airplane scenic pictures. I would be grateful because there are more where those came from.

It never fails. I come to LA, get comfortable, my skin clears up, I adapt a natural glow and then BOOM I'm on the next flight back to North Carolina with 30 degree weather. Despite the worst Mercury Retrograde that I've ever experienced taking place in all three cities, this was the best trip in a while. I got to see my aunt and uncle, my best friend, and my grandpa (not pictured). I need to start planning my next one soon. But after this tour, I'm thinking I should stay put for a while. Actually, I'll be honest with myself, traveling for a living would be the dream.

While on this "world tour," I did attend a few events that will be separate posts so make sure to check back soon! Have you ever been to any of the cities mentioned? If so, leave comments on your favorite places! Maybe even recommend a restaurant, store, or museum for me to stop by the next time I'm in town.