Archive for the ‘beauty’ Category

The Art Of Wearing Fragrance – Part 1

In beauty, fragrance on March 14, 2018 at 11:26 am

“A woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.” – Coco Chanel

Do you remember the first fragrance you ever wore?  How old were you?  Where did it come from?  How did it make you feel?

Fragrance is a form of self expression and can be considered the ultimate accessory.  It can “linger – in rooms, clothes, your fingertips” and has the ability to seduce, boost confidence and evoke memories.  Scent can connect a person to a specific moment in time, a geographical location or even a person.  If applied correctly, fragrance makes you smell incredible, leaving wonderful lasting impression.

Signature vs Fragrance Wardrobe

There are two schools of thought when it comes to purchasing and wearing a fragrance.  There are those who believe in having a signature scent they are known by.  Those who prefer a signature scent might find it advantageous to do so because they want to be known by a specific scent.  It might be that it holds sentimental value because it was presented as a gift from a loved one or was worn for a particular moment in time. It may be for no other reason than it is a favorite, a go-to, eliminating the need to find the “right” fragrance.

On the other hand, there are those who take great pleasure in building a fragrance wardrobe (or closet) with a collection of fragrances.  A fragrance wardrobe can be like a photo book of snapshots relating to various moments in one’s life.  They can be worn in the same way as accessories – like shoes and jewelry- to complement various looks, moods and occasions.  In addition, many take great pleasure in collecting fragrance bottles, which look beautiful on one’s vanity.  With their beautiful design, every bottle, as well as the actual fragrance is created with a perfumers inspiration.  Knowing a perfumer’s back story can lead to a deeper appreciation of a fragrance (in both instances).

Whatever your preference, fragrance is personal and, in that regard, there is no right or wrong way to select and wear a particular scent.

Tell A Story

Because it is the ultimate accessory,  fragrance can be worn in different ways.  It can be seasonal, worn during specific times of the year. For instance, lighter, clean, fresh fragrances are usually worn in the spring/summer as well as the earlier part of the day vs deeper, richer, more full bodied fragrances which are reserved for the fall/winter as well evening.

Other factors to consider when wearing a fragrance include details such as fabric/material of clothing, venue and mood.  What comes to mind when you think of soft, crushed red velvet, smooth to the touch or a romantic, candle lit evening at your favorite hideaway?  Perhaps Dior J’adore or Tom Ford Black Orchid.  What comes to mind when you think of a gentle breeze and white linen or silk on a bright, warm sunny day at a beach resort?  Perhaps Nest Citrine or Tory Burch Bel Azur.  Are you feeling bold, playful or confident?  When in close proximity to other people, will your scent be appreciated or a nuisance?  Whatever the case, however you choose to wear your fragrance will tell your unique story to others.

How To Approach Selecting A Fragrance

With hundreds of fragrances to choose from, how do you choose what smells good on you?  Like finding the perfect pair of jeans, hairstyle or skin care, choosing a fragrance is trial and error – a journey if you will.  And, just because a fragrance is new, popular or your favorite celebrity wears (or creates) a fragrance doesn’t mean it will smell good on you.  Here are a few fun facts and simple tips to help you understand fragrance and discover what you like.

  1. Ever wonder why the fragrance that smells amazing on your BFF smells like hot garbage on you?  It’s because body chemistry/pH level affects the way a fragrance develops and smells on a person and therefore does not smell the same on everyone.  Spray one fragrance on 5 different people and you will get 5 different smells – some good.  Others not so good.
  2. The juice (concentration of oils in a fragrance) smells different inside the bottle, the nozzle, what is actually sprayed in the air as well as what is sprayed on a fragrance strip.  Yes, you can form an initial impression or idea by spraying it in this manner but it is best to begin judging a fragrance based on the way it develops on your skin.  Fragrance evolves over a period of time and has a dry down period.  This dry down period can be anywhere between 30 minutes (top note) and an hour and a half (bottom note).  The bottom note is where you will get the lasting impression of a scent and is where you will be able to make an informed decision about how a particular fragrance smells on you.
  3. When starting your fragrance journey, stick to smelling three fragrances per visit.  Smelling more than that leads to olfactory fatigue where your sense of smell becomes overwhelmed and you have difficulty distinguishing between the fragrances you are smelling.
  4. No coffee beans please.  Those shopping for fragrance have been trained to ask for coffee beans to reset their nose.  Coffee is another strong scent that can actually affect the way you perceive fragrance.  Instead, sniff the inside of your elbow that doesn’t have fragrance so you reset your nose with your natural scent.
  5. Get a sample of the three fragrances you are considering.  Spray the sample on an area of your body that won’t be disturbed.  Check in every 20 minutes or so to see how it is developing on you.  Another way to test a fragrance is to put it on a few hours before you retire for the evening (after your bath or shower).  This way you will able to experience the evolution process of the fragrance, thus allowing you to make a more informed decision.
  6. Enlist the help a trusted source.  Sure the ultimate decision is yours to make but because your fragrance will be experienced by many, getting a second opinion can be a good thing.  You want don’t want to be THAT person wearing that stank a$$ scent by which people will harshly judge you.

Stay tuned to learn more about fragrance notes and categories and how these affect your fragrance choices/outcomes.


Clean Up Your Act With Farmacy Green Clean Make Up Melt Away Cleansing Balm

In beauty, makeup, skincare on February 26, 2018 at 12:00 pm

When I first started hearing about the benefits of using facial oils as a moisturizer, I was not the least bit interested.  For someone who is very oily, somewhat of an Exxon Valdez oil spill to be exact, I wasn’t trying to hear it. Yeah, yeah, oil cuts oil but whatever.  Long story short, I eventually started using facial oils as moisturizer for my skin and discovered a world of difference.  By using oils, my skin became more balanced, less oily and had never looked better.

Now about those oil cleansers – that was another thing.  Yes I understood the benefits of oil cleansers but I just never felt they cleansed my skin the way I was accustomed to.  All I felt was residue on my skin that made it feel like my skin wasn’t clean.  My skin just felt slick which then made me have to double cleanse anyway.  So pointless.  As someone who is an avid makeup wearer (and make up artist), I need to be sure that whatever makeup and pollution is on my face is gone and that my face is squeaky clean.  That’s just me.  And those cleansing balms didn’t seem to be any better.  It just felt like I was swishing Crisco around on my face.

Then One day curiosity got the best of me after getting a demo on a new product from Farmacy  – Green Clean Make Up Melt Away Cleansing Balm.  Although I was impressed with the demo, I still wasn’t sure.  I was given the product to take home but I didn’t use it right away.  It actually sat on my bathroom counter.  I stared at it.  It stared back at me.  This went on for two weeks.  Then one evening I decided to use it.

I had on a face full of makeup so I figured this would be a great time to put Green Clean to the test.  I scooped out a small amount and apprehensively applied to my face – eyes and lips included and hopped in the shower to continue my evening beautification rituals.  I rinsed the Green Clean off my face which was, at this point, a colorful mixture.  My face actually did not feel slick and greasy.  It actually felt clean. Hmmmph.  Ok.  Interesting.  I still decided to use my regular cleanser and Clarisonic cause I’m looking for a reason to discredit Green Clean (remember, I’m a skeptic and a double cleanser anyway).  When I rinsed my face off, THE. WATER. WAS. CLEAR.  I was done.  I had been won over.  Super amazed, I told everyone I knew about green clean.

So what makes Green Clean so good?  Made with green echineacea evny, Farmacy’s own proprietary blend, Green Clean is great for all skin types.  It is a balm made from all natural ingredients that literally melts pollution, debris, and All makeup away, including the smokiest of smoky eyes.  This product also is not animal tested, and doesn’t contain unfriendly ingredients such as formaldehyde or artificial coloring.  What I also like about Green Clean is that it doesn’t drip all over the place when you apply it to the face nor does it irritate my eyes.  Just scoop out a small amount with the included spatula and apply to your face.  When it makes contact with water it turns milky and rinses away clean.

As I have said before, I am a double cleanser and always will be however I will now always include this cleansing balm as part of my beauty line up. Not only am I fascinated with the fact that I have found a balm that I actually love, it will also help me conserve my regular facial cleanser as well.

Winter Skincare Tips

In beauty, skincare on February 24, 2018 at 7:16 am

Protect your skin from the harsh, cold, disrespectful weather with these helpful tips.

There is always something about the freezing cold winter weather that sends emotional and literal chills up one’s spine.  You know – the thought of walking from the house to the train station.  Walking your pet in the dark, cold early hours of the morning.  Warming up your car while scraping off thick, heavy, icy snow.  Add to that the fact that you have to spend the extra time layering on pounds of clothing so you don’t freeze to death and you’ve created a whole new way of living.  With all the adjustments you make to your wardrobe (and life in general) to survive the cold weather, it’s a good idea to re-evaluate the effectiveness of and make adjustments to your winter skincare routine.

We all know the cold winter months are particularly harsh on the skin.  There is less humidity in the air so between the cold air outdoors, dry heat from indoor/car heat and super hot showers which deplete moisture, skin can become more sensitive, dry, and flaky.  Your skin is also more likely to show fine lines and wrinkles when it usually doesn’t.  So, since your regular skincare routine wont suffice…

Consider Your Cleanser

This time of year, you may actually need to use a different cleanser to help break down makeup and dirt.  An oil cleanser such as Amore Pacific Treatment Cleansing Oil Face & Eyes or balm cleanser like Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm tends to be gentle yet highly effective on the skin.  Even more oily skin types can experience dryness and dehydration during the winter months and could benefit from a more gentle cleanser that lathers such as Fresh Soy Face Cleanser or Tatcha The Deep Cleanse.  If you are sensitive or extremely dry, consider a milk cleanser like Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk.

For the body, Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Wash which includes soothing emollients and colloidal oatmeal can do wonders for dry itchy skin.  To seal in moisture, when drying off, be sure to pat your skin dry with your towel and follow up with a rich moisturizer like Nivea Essentially Enriched Body Lotion with Almond Oil.

Amp Up Your Moisturizer

Adding oils to your moisturizer and using overnight sleeping masks can be the key to added moisture, keeping skin soft and supple during cold weather months.  While face oils alone may not hydrate, they are great for adding to moisturizers and foundations for an added boost in efficacy and skincare benefits.  The Ordinary 100% Cold Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil and Sunday Riley Juno Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil are great because they help restore the skin’s moisture barrier and give skin radiance and luminosity, both of which tend to fade away during the cold months.  Sleeping masks like Laneige Water Sleeping Mask work overnight to recharge and deeply hydrate the skin.  This is a great time for skincare products because they do the work while your skin is in repair mode.

During this time of year, you may also need to switch your eye cream.  It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye not only adds moisture to the under eye area but it also brightens and depuffs, helping the under eye area look smooth, making it a great prep for under eye concealer.  Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Eye Cream helps to illuminate the under eye while delivering intense hydration.  If you need a quick boost, apply eye patches like Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Hyaluronic Cloud Hydra-Gel Eye Patches.  Used in addition to your eye cream, these patches will give additional vitality and boost of hydration to the under eye area.

Lips also suffer tremendously during this time of the year.  From eating and drinking (which can remove lip product you apply), to using products like matte liquid lip stains, lips will get dry and flaky.  Using products that are rich in emollient butters will help to repair and protect the lips.  Bite Beauty Agave Lip Balm restores lips with shea butter and jojoba oil.  If you need a product that does deeper repair, Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask is an overnight treatment that heals with vitamin C and antioxidants, leaving your lips nice and soft in the morning.

Remember not to neglect the skin on the rest of the body and pay particular attention to feet, knees and elbows with a moisturizer that will replenish oils and nutrients to the skin.  Nivea Essentially Enriched Body Lotion with Almond Oil  not only relieves dry, itchy skin but also gives skin a glow.  Hands and cuticles also suffer because of activities like extra hand washing to help prevent winter sickness.  deborah lippman rich girl handcream (SPF 25) and Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream both contain avocado and shea butter to heal and replenish dry, cracked hands and cuticles.


Gently exfoliating 1-2 times a week does wonders for the skin but don’t overdo it.  Over-exfoliation does more harm than good by disrupting the moister barrier, leaving it prone to irritation and even breakouts.  Other than that, by removing dead, flaky skin, all other skin products will absorb and work better.  For face, Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Rescue Mask Seaweed Radiance Facial is a two in one facial, great for all skin types, that smooths and restores radiance.  If you are a Clarisonic lover, although you can use it twice a day, consider using it only in the evening or every other day if you find that your skin feels drier and tighter after you have made other adjustments in your skin care routine.  For the rest of your body, SW Basics Cream Scrub, a moisturizer and gentle scrub in one, will make skin soft and smooth in one step.  And for those who are minimalists when it comes to ingredients, this one is for you as it is made in small batches with only four organic ingredients:  sugar, shea butter, coconut oil and olive oil.

Monitor your heat sources

Yes, you are cold to your core and yes, all you want to do is thaw out but putting your central heating and your bath/shower water on hell will make matters worse.  Home heaters, whether they are space heaters or central heating is dry air and will dehydrate your skin.  When heating your home, have the heat come up intermittently and consider getting a humidifier to add moisture into the air.  When showering or bathing, keep both activities short and the water tepid.

You Are What You Eat

Sounds so cliche but making sure you have balanced eating habits is always a good idea.  Things like added sugars, caffeine and other processed foods can exacerbate dry skin concerns.  Refined sugars lead to inflammation which robs skin of nutrients making it dry, flaky, irritated and can even aggravate acne problems.  You don’t have to vilify and completely stop consuming these foods however moderation is always a good practice.  Also, it goes without saying to increase your water intake.  In addition, make sure your eating plan includes foods that are nutrient dense as well as with fatty acids and have a higher water content.

When changing your skincare routine, remember that consistency is key.  You can always seek advice from a quality beauty professional and if serious concerns/issues arise with your skin, seek a health professional.

What are your favorite winter skincare tips?