ZIIP Beauty Nano Device: Is It For You?

by Jesse Kadjo

I am a certified skincare junkie. I have suffered from chronic acne since I was 13, which immediately sends you on a quest for relief. After trying every acne and skincare product Walgreens had to offer, I graduated to the good stuff. I tried Biologique Recherche’s famed P50 Lotion after reading about it on Into the Gloss. It improved my skin texture by reducing the number of pimples I got. But I still had skin that was extremely oily in the day and dry in the night. I started experimenting with Korean Skincare after going down a YouTube hole of videos from K-Beauty maven, Gothamista. The combination of both a K-Beauty cleanser, essence and serums, along with the P50 has really regulated my skin on a more long-term basis. I still get hormonal acne but much less than before and less acne during the rest of the month.

Image result for P50 racked.com
via Racked

Now at 30, going on 31, my major skin concerns are hyperpigmentation. As with many dark skin women, I have acne scars that take a long time to fade away. I’ve tried creams with hydroquinone to good results, but you can only use it for 3 months in a row before it starts to darken your skin. So that was a bust. I’ve used Vitamin C and still do for all it’s antioxidant properties. It has worked to give my skin better overall clarity but does not fade the scars at a rate that I would like. In comes the ZIIP.

The ZIIP is a nano current device designed by celebrity electrical aesthetician Melanie Simon, that sends waves of electrical currents into your skin to address different skin needs. The device is a small and handheld, looks like a computer mouse and has two positive and negative charged discs on the bottom. It syncs up to an app which offers seven different “electrical cocktail” treatments. It comes with a gel that you put all over your face and allows the currents to be delivered to your skin. My favorite programs are Total Clearing for acne, Pigment Treatment for hyperpigmentation and Instant Gratification for exactly what it says, instantly plumped and brightened skin.

via ZIIP Beauty

At $499, the ZIIP is not cheap. But does it work?

I should start by saying I think it takes 60 to 90 days to see lasting results from any product. That being said, first impressions can be powerful and if you see something at the start, it will likely get better with time. The first night I tried this, I slathered the gel on my face, opened the app and synced the device to the Total Clearing Program. Each program comes with a step-by-step video that is easy to follow along. Initially I felt nothing, but then felt a sting. Melanie Simon says the sting is the electricity killing the bacteria. When there is no bacteria left, you feel nothing. The sting feels satisfying, in the way that extracting a pimple does. I went IN and did a Pigment program and the Instant Gratification. When I was done, my skin was super soft – baby soft – softer than it had been in a while. It was glorious.

After only 7 days, I can say this: I still have the same hyperpigmentation and I just got 2 huge pimples ( period is on it’s way). This was to be expected as it takes 30 days for my skin to turn over and longer for the spots to fade. However, in terms of instant gratification, the texture of my skin has improved, it looks brighter and my makeup goes on smoother and looks better longer.

So do I recommend it? Yes, but with an asterisk. Taking time out of your day to care for yourself is important. If you can do so with a state of the art device that gives you professional results over time, even better. If this is not within your budget, get yourself on a good skincare regimen in line with what you can afford. Skincare is not about getting every new product or treatment.  It’s about using the right products for your skin type with diligent and consistent use. No one serum or device can give you great skin. It takes a good diet, good skincare and above all, sleep to truly get that glow.


Jesse Kadjo is an activist and writer living in Oakland. You can follow her healthy life journey on her food blog thechocolatemousse.com or Instagram and Twitter @JesseKadjo

The Cut Caught Up With Tiffany Pollard AKA “New York” And I Am So Here For It

By Jesse Kadjo

New York GIF

This week I read the ultimate throwback piece by Allison Davis for The Cut. She wrote about an exhibit in Manhattan, dedicated to none other than Tiffany Pollard, aka New York, from such early aught greats as Flavor of Love, and of course two seasons of I Love New York. Pollard has gone on to star in a barrage of other reality shows, but none as iconic as her first season on Flavor of Love. Like many millennials my age (30), I spent my first years of independence consuming the absolute ridiculousness of VH1. Right when people were fully in I wish MTV still played videosmode, VH1 decided that it would launch us into a new era. Throwback shows declaring how much we loved the 80s and 90s, and reality shows about searching for love.

Flavor of Love was unique because it was the anti-Bachelor. With a similar premise, on its face, it seemed the same, but was far from it. The characters were so much better and knew that they were just that characters. There was no pretending that you actually gave a shit about this person. They were there for fame and money. Contestants often touted that they were on other reality shows, only to renege on those statements when questioned about their love for Flav”.

A Star Is Born

New York (as she will forever be in my heart), was the real star, because, despite her pursuit for that coin, you felt as though she really did have love for Flav. New York tells Davis, “ ‘Everything I did was real, everything I do is real’ […] ‘And if you wanna know, yes, I did fuck Flav.’” I mean…come on! You can’t make that up. Well you could…but that’s what makes her Reality Gold. She was raw, cutting, hilarious and even kind. She had a singular focus which was winning (his heart) and getting a prized Flav clock. The fact that a clock on a chain was given out in lieu of a rose just made the whole thing even better.

It all feels manufactured now, which is ironic because it obviously was back then. At the time New York auditioned for the show, she didnt even know who she would be dating. But there was an authenticity to it, because it still felt new. These days youd be hard pressed to find something quite like this. Turn on the last season of Keeping up with the Kardashians and you will know what I mean. Each episode has about three story lines, all of them boring, and follow the overarching meta plot about their job of filming their reality show. When your reality show has a cast of 8 and yet has devolved into eating salads and sitting in your kitchen, you know youve jumped the shark.

Dancing GIF

Energizer Bunny

These days, New York continues to breathe a second, third and 16th life into her 15 minutes of fame. She jokes that she must be related to the Energizer bunny, with a rechargeable 15 minutes of fame,Davis writes. Like many stars of the early 2000s, she has found new life on the internet through the magic and genius of GIFs. One of my all-time favorite GIFs is also her favorite of herself. Pulled from Season 1, she is sitting on a bed in in a white tank top, jeans and stiletto boots. Her sunglasses and chilled stare are the perfect visualization for me when I am done with EVERYONE.In some way, everything old feels new. I get to relieve one of the best periods of my life (college) in an ever evolving and hilarious way.

Nostalgia Is The Best

Those college days, especially the first two years, were so carefree and involved so much buffoonery. My roommate and I went to class, were back in our shoebox by 2pm and spent the afternoon watching the Nanny and Golden Girls. By sophomore year, we graduated to VH1 and binging on Haagen Das. It was the perfect use of our time. Now we call it Netflix and Chill and barely have time to do it. No matter the decade, its clear that we need lightness. Back then, New York was an antidote to the pressures of senior year and impending graduation. Now she’s an antidote to the pressures of being a real life adult with adult problems.

We need things that take little to no brain cells to consume. I think it is just as important as meditation. For me, it keeps me going, and in many ways, builds community with everyone else who is watching the madness. I loved New York, for everything she was and wasnt: crazy, fun, and unapologetically herself. These days, I still have love for New York. She has changed and evolved but remains very much aware of what has gotten her here. She may have been cast as the punchline, but was always in on the joke.


Jesse Kadjo is an activist and writer living in Oakland, CA. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @jessekadjo or at her blog thechocolatemousse.com where she shares recipes and food inspiration. 

A Word With Jesse Kadjo


Jesse and her fiance Marcos

Every week I will feature the kinds of everyday heroes I look up to. They come from all walks of life, age groups and beliefs. I hope you’ll learn as much from them as I have!

I first met Jesse at Loyola University Chicago. We didn’t live in the same dorm, but we ate lunch at the same dining hall, and eventually took a Psychology class together. Jesse always came prepared to learn, while I usually showed up ready to nap. That duality has been the through-line of our relationship: Jesse conquers, I goof off. Thankfully, my sisterhood with her as lead to some real breakthroughs that have shown me how much fun life can be if you live it with both eyes open (see what I did there?).  She’s a woman of unmatched strength and poise. She also lays out the kind of humor you wouldn’t anticipate from a worldly woman in a tea-length dress. I love Jesse for many reasons, but most of all for her inherent goodness. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did. The transcript is below!


What is your profession? Is it what you wanted to do?

I am a labor representative. Another term for it is organizer. I work for a labor union and teach workers how to advocate for themselves and make positive changes to their work environment through collective action and bargaining. This is not what I set out to do when I went to college. I wanted to be a diplomat, because I grew up abroad and saw that work around me. But, in truth, I don’t think that is what I would have been happy with either. I’m just good at talking to people and helping people learn how to work systems to improve their lives.


Jesse and I during a trip to the Francis Ford Coppola Winery where we caused a ruckus

If not, what would you like to do instead? Why?

I’m not sure what I would like to do. I have toyed with a lot – cosmetic chemist, food writer, food researcher, travel show host, podcaster, blogger. Some of these things I already am doing. I think that finding your passion in life is a real privilege, and being able to actually do it is a whole other thing. Even the passion is work. For right now the thing I greatly enjoy is food and and the feelings it brings to me. From the preparation, to the pictures, to the video, to the writing of it, I love thinking about it in all ways and its impacts on human life. This is what I’m trying to explore on my blog, The Chocolate Mousse. 

What are some ways you take care of yourself?

I love to meditate, read and exercise. If I’m doing one of those three, I feel good. If I’m doing all three, I feel amazing.

 Can you share a time or event you didn’t think you could survive?

My brother’s death is the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. It’s one you can never recover from, because death is permanent. I wouldn’t say I didn’t think I would survive it per se, it’s that I felt such deep pain that I did not know how I would come out of it. My mother was also so broken that I could not look to her. In many ways she felt this much more than I did, as this was her son. I had never suffered from depression or even negative thoughts until then. It was a sadness I cannot even put into words. At least not yet.

What/Who pulled you through it? What did you learn?

I can tell you that I knew I needed to speak to a professional, because the mind is a real forest, and you need a guide to get you to the other side. My therapist, Dr. Rebecca Chamorro, was an angel sent from God. I worked with her for two years, and she helped me through this time as well as helped guide me to the next stages in my life. I am deeply grateful for her. The path to healing is a long one and I’m still on it. I could not have started on this without her. I’ve learned that therapy is just as important as going to your doctor regularly. I’ve learned that if I want to have a good life, full of love and happiness, I have to do the work to learn how to better move in society, accounting for all my faults, not really to eliminate them but to understand how they were formed and how they remain. It is only then that I can tackle them in earnest.

 How did the event/time shape the way you live now?

I am much more aware of the impermanence of our experiences and relationships. Because of this, I value my friendships so much more and work to connect with my people wherever they are in the world. I’ve traveled more to see my friends and family since his death, because I don’t want to regret not having made that trip or made excuses for why I can’t go. You truly don’t know what can happen. I don’t live every day like it’s my last. because what does that even mean, but I do try to live a full life and an earnest one. When I’m upset with someone, I tell them. When I’m happy for someone, I tell them. When I want to talk to someone or spend time with them, I tell them. I tell them, I tell them, I tell them. I wish I could tell him too, in person. But I still tell him, every day, in prayer.

What was the best/ funniest/ most memorable piece of advice you’ve received?

The best advice I’ve ever received is from my mom. In high school she told me I only need 5 friends. She said this in response to me asking to go to a play with my friend Gwen. Like many times back then, I thought my mom was nuts and that she was trying to attack me. Mother daughter relationships are such a minefield and more needs to be written about them. Now, I completely understand what she meant. Of course you will have more than 5 friends. Facebook might even say you have 1000. But your quality ones, the ones that really matter, those you only need a few of. Those are the relationships that matter and that have to be watered. Those are the ones to invest in. Those are the ones that have great benefits all throughout your life.

When do you feel the most free?

At home, farting away, reading my book. Also, traveling alone. I love it.

What do you want to be remembered for?

Being a good friend and someone people can count on to be there in good times and bad.


Jesse with her dog Fancy. My second greatest love!