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Elevate Your Skincare Game With The Power Of Retinoids

In beauty, skincare on May 30, 2019 at 11:15 pm

Retinols, which are a form of retinoids, have long been the go to when it comes to skincare multi-tasking and anti-aging.  Considered to be the gold standard in skincare, retinoids are like your big sister who can do it all.  Retinoids have been around since the 70’s and were originally prescribed for acne concerns because they help to slough off dead skin and clear pores. Dermatologists and patients began to see that with regular use skin was more clear and smooth, with fewer pimples and less discoloration.  Skin looked better overall.

What Is A Retinoid And Where Does It Come From?
To first understand what a retinoid is and what it does, it is important to understand where retinoids come from.  Retinoids are derived from Vitamin A which occurs naturally in the body and can also be found in animal or plant sources.  Vitamin A is important because it is responsible for things like good vision and healthy bones as well as healthy cell turnover and collagen production.  

The term retinoid is the category name or umbrella under which the terms retin-a and retinol fall under.  Retin-A (aka tretinoin) is available with a prescription.  Retinol, the more common form of retinoid, is known by more familiar terms such as retinol palmitate, retinol acetate and retinol linoleate.  These forms tend to be more gentle and are a perfect introduction into the world of retinoids.   Retinols don’t need a prescription and can be found over the counter – in your favorite beauty stores.

How Do Retinoids Work And How Are They Different Than AHA’s And BHA’s? 

Retinoids, which work in the deeper layers of the skin, help to reduce the appearance of fine line, wrinkles, discoloration and enlarged pores.  They also help with cell renewal and collagen production.  The later two functions are important to note as they relate to anti-aging concerns because when you reach the age of 30, cell renewal begins to slow down, occurring evey 60 days or so as opposed to every 28-30 days when in your twenties. Slower cell turnover leads to dull, lackluster, congested skin.   In addition, collagen production, which is responsible for giving our skin, bones and connective tissues the structure they need, also begins to decline as well when we age.  This reduction in collagen production is responsible for fine lines, deep wrinkles and sagging, less plump skin. Retinoids work to increase skin thickness and elasticity in the deeper layers where wrinkles begin.  They also slow down the breakdown of collagen and curb the production of melanin (brown spots).

So what is the difference between retinoids, AHA’s and BHA’s?  AHA’s work on the surface of the skin to improve what we see while BHA’s work just below the skin’s surface.  Retinoids affect the deeper layers of the skin to push out permanently better skin and are more effective in the long run. 

How Does One Incorporate Retinoids Into Their Skincare Routine?

Start slowly and follow the directions of the brand you choose.  Directions usually instruct to use every other evening or 1-2x weekly, eventually working your way up to every evening.  Always use a sunscreen and keep in mind that results can take anywhere from 3-6 months of regular use to really see results.

What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Retinol Use?  What Precautions Should One Take When First Using Retinol?

Possible drying, peeling, or redness.  However, the new generation of retinoids deliver the same results with less irritation because these formulations include ingredients such as honey and jojoba to help soothe and calm irritation.   If you do experience any side effects, you can reduce dosage/usage but don’t stop completely because you won’t see the benefits.  Make sure you are using a moisturizer/oil to keep the skin hydrated and to counteract any possible irritation associated with retinol use.  Don’t use if you are breastfeeding or pregnant. 

Differin Gel.  Once available only with a prescription, Differin gel is the first FDA approved retinoid gel approved for over the counter use for the treatment of acne.  Differin gel contains adapalene, a form of retinoid that treats/clears acne.  Available in a 30 day and 90 day supply and has an accompanying cleanser and moisturizer. The highest dose still requires a prescription (.3% adapalene)

Peter Thomas Roth Pro Strength 3% Retinoid Plus.  Perfect for normal, oily, combination and dry skin, this lightweight serum helps to get rid of the signs of aging.  A key ingredients include caffeine which helps with penetration and the buffering complex of symitive 1609 and symcalmin to calm irritation.

Dermalogica Age Reversal Eye Complex.   This vegan, gluten-free eye cream is microencapsulated, ensuring potency of the retinol as well as better absorption into the skin.  Niacinimide, vitamin C and peptides help to ensure hydration, reduction of dark circles and plumping of fine lines.

Darphin Ideal Resource Youth Retinol Concentrate.  Infused with nourishing botanicals, this retinol encourages cell turnover, moisturizes and is perfect for face and eye.  To preserve potency and protect from light damage, this retinol concentrate is housed in individual opaque capsules.

RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream.  This cream has the highest strength of retinol available without a prescription and works overnight to help reduce the signs of aging with pure RoC Retinol and an essential mineral complex.

Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol Booster. This lightweight fluid is a slow release retinol that actually boosts the efficacy of your other skincare products such as serums and moisturizers.  It also helps to even skin tone and improve radiance.  Can also be used alone.

Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinol Serum.   This serum which is perfect for normal, dry, combination and oily skin contains a 6.5% blend of retinoid ingredients to fight the signs of aging as well as Hawaiian white honey, bisabolol and ginger to help balance and soothe the skin.

Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream.  The key ingredients of Vitamin F, triple peptide blend and Retinol 1% work together to help target UV damage and other signs of aging while helping to firm and smooth the skin.

Are you a retinol user or is it something you have considered adding to your skin care routine but haven’t done so yet? Leave your comments below.

PIT STOP: What Happened When I Tried Natural Deodorant For 5 Months?

In beauty, clean beauty, skincare on April 29, 2019 at 8:53 am

I have been on a journey of sorts for the past 5 months or so trying to navigate the natural deoderant space.  For years, I have given the side eye to the thought of using natural deodorants (and many beauty products with the word “natural”) because I have considered these types of products to be ineffective.  That coupled with people’s account of their own testy experiences with natural deodorants was enough to make me never want to convert.

Clean Beauty

Natural beauty products and their use is nothing new as these types of products have been around for some time.  However, with greater and more recent focus on the environment and sustainability, people have also been shifting their focus to cleaner living by using products (food, beauty and cleaning products, etc) that are perceived to support better health with fewer to no toxins.  With that said, although there are some products I love that I’m not ready to part with, I decided I would begin my clean(er) journey by starting with my deoderant.  A Degree and Dove user for years, these two deoderants have NEVER let me down with profuse sweating or smelly pits. I have always been confident when raising my hand, hugging people or just being outside of my house for that matter.  In addition, the pits of my clothing have not been ruined with stains or smells and life was good.  So, before stumbling head first into this arena, I felt I needed to do some research.  I needed to be educated and ensure that I wasn’t jumping on some scare tactic bandwagon.  Why should I, or anyone for that matter, consider clean/green beauty products in general and deoderant specifically.  Why is this a good idea?  I also wanted to stop feeling guilty and worthless because I wasn’t interested in making the change – despite what everyone was saying. Cause no one has time for stinky pits.  EVER.

Back To That Research

During my research,  I learned that that one of the active ingredients of concern in traditional deoderant/antiperspirant is aluminum. Aluminum, which is responsible for blocking odor and keeping you oh so fresh and so clean is also stopping a natural process by which your body gets rid of toxins – sweating.  Sweat in and of itself doesn’t cause odor but when mixed with the naturally occurring bacteria on your skin can cause odor.   It has also been found that traditional deoderants/antiperspirants contain other ingredients that can cause skin irritations as well as can be can be linked to certain health issues.  With the application of these questionable ingredients being applied regularly so close to the breasts, there is concern of increasing estrogen related hormones as well as increasing lymph node and breast health concerns.  While organizations such as the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National institutes of Health (NIH) have not concluded that not using a natural deoderant can negatively impact one’s health, switching over is definitely worth consideration so I decided to give it a try. During my research, I also learned that there can be a significant detox period with your pits as you make the transition which can result in you smelling like a 15 year old boy after gym class.

With that being said,  I decided that I would wait until the fall/winter months to give natural deodorants a try.  I figured that I would be less sweaty from the hot weather.  To me, less sweaty means less funky.  Or so I thought. Not sure what would make me think that I was exempt from the impending detox period. 

So now, a run down of the clean deoderant brands that I have tried thus far…

Tarte Clean Queen Vegan Deoderant. Because I respect Tarte as a brand and enjoy using their Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blushes and Tarteist Clay Paint Liner, I was excited to try this deoderant.  My initial impression of this deoderant was that it smelled pleasant and applied smoothly.   As I went throughout the day, I was unable to get past the moist feeling under my arms but that was to be expected right? Right.  Then the unpleasant scent began to linger under my arms.  I was definitely uncomfortable but decided to stick to it.  I would also reapply mid day to ensure fresher smelling pits but to no avail.   I also noticed that the deoderant dried out rather quickly and became harder to apply and yes, the cap was on tightly.  My intent was to finish what I started and use the entire tube.  However after a month or so of funk, swamp like wetness and general torture, I figured this particular deoderant was not for me and decided to try a different natural deoderant.

Kopari Coconut Deoderant.  Kopari is still a fairly new brand to me and I do like their Coconut Lip Glossy so I decided to give the deoderant a try.  Let me just say it was love at first swipe.  I loved the way this deoderant smelled and was infatuated with the texture and the smooth way it applied to my armpits.  I looked forward to using this during my am and pm beauty routines.  It did feel more moist under my arm than with the previous deoderant BUT my pits smelled good.  Initially.   The good times lasted for a couple of weeks then one day I got a whiff of myself and was frightened.  How could this be?  I wasn’t going to run away and again decided to stick it out.  I made sure I reapplied throughout the day which curbed odor but I honestly couldn’t get past the fact that my armpits felt like a raging ocean during hurricane season ALL. DAY. LONG.  After almost 2 months I decided to move on.

Farmacy Freshen Up All-Natural Deoderant. Farmacy is a brand that I absolutely love. From their Green Clean Makeup Melt Away Cleansing Balm to their Honey Savior All In One Skin Repair Salve, Farmacy is definitely a brand that I will spend my money on and feel good about it.  So when this deoderant launched I was extremely excited.  I liked the cool, menthol-like scent and feel and loved the way it applied smoothly.  I felt good about the fact that my pits were dry and stayed that way throughout the day.  I felt like I was winning.  Then a few weeks in I happened to get a whiff of my pits. The scent was enough to choke a baby elephant.  Again I was going to stick it out. After a month or so, nothing changed.  NOTHING. Enough already.

So after all that, what did I do?  I went back to my regular deoderant/antiperspirant  – Degree to be exact.  I have received some recommendations for a few other clean brands that I want to try.  But not right now.  I need a break.   I will definitely give an update on this journey because I really want to change but I just can’t right now.

Have you considered switching to a natural deoderant or are you a hardcore traditional deoderant user?  If you have switched over, how has your journey been?   Leave your comments below.

On My Radar: Weekly Beauty, Fashion and Lifestyle Roundup

In beauty, jewelry, lifestyle on August 31, 2018 at 1:00 pm

On My Radar is a roundup of all the things I love, discovered, and that have piqued my interest this week that you should know about.

Discover one product to exfoliate both your scalp and body, cut down your clothes drying time in an eco-friendly way, learn how to build your social capital and more this week On My Radar.

Ouai Scalp and Body Scrub $38.  Dry, itchy scalp be gone with this luxurious, creamy scalp and body scrub.  Use this as a pre-wash to prep your scalp for your shampoo and conditioner or use it as a body scrub to reveal smooth, silky, radiant skin.  Key ingredients include sugar to exfoliate, probiotics to balance scalp/skin and coconut oil to nourish and moisturize.

Dr Dennis Gross SpotLite Acne Treatment Device $52.  Reduce menacing pimples fast with this compact, FDA cleared treatment device.  By using medical grade blue and red LED light technology, SpotLite reduces inflammation and other symptoms related to breakouts such as scarring.

Alexis Bittar Armor Cuff Bracelet $195.  Be art in motion with this beautiful sculptural cuff.  Big and bold, this rose gold tone cuff will create the ultimate fashion statement this season.

Grove Collaborative Wool Dryer Balls $15.95.  Eliminate the need to buy dryer sheets and cut down your drying time with these eco-friendly wool dryer balls.  Hypoallergenic and reusable (lasts 1000 loads), these dryer balls help to eliminate wrinkles and make your clothes soft and fluffy.

Safavieh Bar Cart $397.79.  Stock your adult beverages in style with this beautiful chrome framed bar cart, making this an elegant addition to your home decor.  If alcoholic beverages aren’t your thing, this cart serves a multitude of other uses such as a plant holder, bathroom organizer, book shelf, bedside table or even a coffee bar.

Never Eat Alone And Other Secrets To Success One Relationship At A Time $17.  Master networker Keith Ferrazzi discusses the importance of building relationships with people to foster mutual respect and success.  Reaching out to others before there is a need, mastering social media, building your social currency and your brand are some of the key attributes of those who are successful and are covered in depth this must have book.

On My Radar: Weekly Beauty, Fashion and Lifestyle Roundup

In beauty, fashion, lifestyle on August 24, 2018 at 11:00 am

On My Radar is a roundup of all the things I love, discovered, and that have piqued my interest this week that you should know about.

This week it’s all about products that keep your skin glowing, invisible bust coverage that can possibly solve your low cut/strapless clothing dilemma, a stylish way to drink on the go, and a more efficient way to get your workout on.

Nars Illuminating Loose Powder $28.  An ethereal glow is at your fingertips with Nars Illuminating Loose Powder.  Created in the cult classic, universally flattering shade Orgasm, this powder is soft, silky and blendable.  Apply directly to wherever you want to glow or mix into your favorite lotion, body butter or foundation.

Caudalie Vinopure Purifying Toner $28.  This purifying toner is great for those with normal, sensitive, combination and oily skin.  Natural salicylic acid helps to control oil, reduce breakouts and minimize the appearance of pores.  Grape seed polyphenols provide antioxidant protection while grape water and rose water calm and soothe the skin, leaving it radiant, smooth and refreshed.

Brassybra $35.  Goodbye duct tape and hello to breast tape that actually works – even if you have a larger bust line.  Brassybra, a disposable adhesive breast tape, provides invisible support where and when it matters the most.  Made with Second Skin Technology which is a 97% cotton based material with elastane, Brassybra is like a second skin that promises to be invisible, breathable and waterproof – yes you can even go swimming!  Even more exciting is that unlike other products which stop at a D cup, Brassybra goes up to G(DDDD).

Soma Brew Bottle $40.  Coffee and Tea lovers rejoice!  Take your pour over coffee, cold brew or loose leaf tea on the go in this sleek, beautifully designed bottle.  The Soma Brew Bottle is as durable as it is beautiful with a leak proof flip lid, stainless steel filter and double walled borosilicate glass, all to keep your beverage contained, hot and delicious.

Trtl Travel Pillow $29.99.  Sleep comfortably while traveling and say goodbye to the nodding head that often comes with sleeping in an upright position.  This ergonomically correct travel pillow has internal ribs that provide head and neck support, is smaller than traditional u-shaped travel pillows and is machine washable.

Powerblock Sport 24 Dumbbells $159.  Be done with multiple pairs of dumbbells in your home gym with the Powerblock Sport.  The best in downsizing and multi-tasking, these dumbbells come in multiple weight ranges that are adjustable anywhere between 3-90 pounds per hand.

On My Radar: Weekly Beauty, Fashion, And Lifestyle Roundup

In beauty, fashion, lifestyle on August 17, 2018 at 4:00 pm

On My Radar is a roundup of all the things I love, discovered, and that have piqued my interest this week that you should know about.

Peter Thomas Roth 24 K Gold Pure Luxury Lift & Firm Hydra Gel Eye Patches $75.  Firm, lift, calm and brighten in one step with these gold, anti-aging eye patches.  Perfect for when preparing for an event or even before work, these luxurious patches deliver 24k gold, collodial gold, hyaluronic acid, hydrolized collagen, and caffeine which helps with hydration and reduces puffiness.  Great for all skin types.

Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm $34.  Cleanse and nourish your skin at the same time with this amazing cleansing balm.  Perfect for all skin types, this cleanser removes all forms of makeup, including waterproof.  Because no greasy residue left behind, there is no need for a double cleanse.

Rag & Bone Army Cheetah Low Top Sneakers $275.  No footwear collection is complete without animal print.  Update your sneaker game and any outfit you wear with these super cute cheetah print sneakers.

Mango Leather Envelope $59.99.  Show up in style with this envelope clutch.  Made of bovine leather, this clutch is large enough to hold all of the items you need for a night out but small enough to not feel like you are carrying luggage wherever you go.

Aveleda Vinho Verde $6.99.  This medium dry white wine is crisp, light and delicious.  Perfect for a mid day snacking on the balcony and is also a great base for adding your favorite juice for a refreshing spritzer.

Hadley Cheese Knives, Set of 4 $48.  Elevate your flatware collection and serve delicious cheeses (and wine) to your friends or yourself with these beautiful imported handcrafted cheese knives.

Jonathan Adler Canaan Marble Tic-Tac-Toe Set $298.  “Is it modern art or a luxe pastime.  Let your guests decide.”  Decorate your space and change the face of a classic game with the impeccable craftsmanship of this Canaan Marble Tic Tac Toe set.

Don’t Forget These 7 Places When Applying Your Sunscreen

In beauty, lifestyle, skincare on August 13, 2018 at 11:00 am

Remember back in the day when wearing sunscreen on a regular basis wasn’t really part of your skin care routine?  No one concerned themselves with the dangers of bathing in the sun for hours, and slathered in baby oil at that.  And if you had a deeper complexion, you thought you were immune to the effects of sun damage because of the depth of your built in melanin.

Fast forward to today where people are more educated about the dangers of UVA and UVB rays.  There is now a lot more information available about the various forms of skin cancer, how they develop, as well as the steps you can take to protect you and your loved ones.  Startling statistics show that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States (1).  In addition, skin cancer in people of color is usually detected in later stages when it is more difficult to treat (2).  The key is understanding that absolutely no one is immune to this disease, which, in most cases, if detected early can be cured.

Now you may be thinking to yourself that because your makeup has SPF or because you don’t spend your days outside in the sun, that all is well.  Not so fast.  SPF in makeup is insufficient because it (SPF) should be reapplied every 2 hours and most people don’t even apply enough of said makeup to get enough protection in the first place. Furthermore, ultraviolet light penetrates windows and clothes so you still need a sunscreen.

With that said, although people are actually taking the time to apply sunscreen before leaving home, there are still sensitive areas of the body that are often overlooked and are some of the places people wouldn’t necessarily consider developing skin cancer:

Lips. Fresh Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen SPF 30.  This targeted, nourishing formula is water resistant and perfect for the lip, eye and face area.

Ears/NoseAlgenist Sublime Defense Ultra Lightweight UV Defense Fluid SPF 50.  This lightweight, oil free sunscreen is fast absorbing and contains anti-oxidants that help delay the aging process.  Sublime Defense does not leave a gray cast on deep skin tones.

Eyelids.  Shiseido Sun Protection Eye Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 34.  Gentle and non-irritating is the way to go when it comes to applying anything to the eye area.  Anything you apply in that area should also treat.  This sunscreen eye cream is fast absorbing, lightweight, hydrating and makes the eye area appear brighter.

Scalp.  Coola Organic Scalp & Hair Mist SPF 30.  Even though your hair may be covering your scalp, both are at risk for sun damage.  Good for all hair types including tightly coiled, Coola Organic Scalp & Hair Mist keeps hair moisturized, manageable, protects color.  Contains monoi oil and panthenol and is vegan, cruelty free, and non-gmo.

Feet/HandsMD Solar Sciences 40 SPF Quick Dry Body Spray.  Oil free and water resistant, this sunscreen is great for those who live an active lifestyle and is safe enough to use on children 6 months and older.

The great thing about these sunscreens and many others is that they come in various forms like finishing sprays, primers and balms, making it easier to choose a formulation that fits your preference and lifestyle.  And remember, sunscreen (between 30 and 50 SPF) isn’t just for the bright sunny days of summer.  It is to be used every day of the year.

(1) https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/statistics/index.htm

(2) https://www.aad.org/media/stats/conditions/skin-cancer

UVA rays are associated with aging the skin.

UVB rays are responsible for burning the skin which can lead to cancer.

Find out more about blue light skin aging (HEV) here.

On My Radar: Weekly Beauty, Fashion and Lifestyle Roundup

In beauty, fashion, lifestyle on August 10, 2018 at 11:00 am

On My Radar is a roundup of all the things I love, discovered, and that have piqued my interest this week that you should know about.

Bite Beauty French Press Lip Gloss.  Rich, creamy and smooth, these coffee inspired lip glosses describe the perfect cup of coffee and are the perfect addition to your lip gloss collection.  Available in 6 sumptuous shades, French Press Lip Gloss is made with coffee butter and arabica cold press coffee oil which keep your lips smooth and conditioned.  These won’t be around long so hurry up and choose from these limited edition colors which describe the perfect flavor of coffee such as Flat White and Salted Caramel (a personal favorite).

Tom Ford Ombre Leather.  Experience how sultry leather notes in a fragrance can be with Tom Ford Ombre Leather.  A “textural scent” with notes of jasmine sambac, black leather, and white moss, this fragrance which comes in a minimalist matte black bottle is bold yet gentle, adventurous and sensual.

Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra Longwear Concealer.  This lightweight, medium to full coverage concealer hydrates and blurs and it’s fluidity makes application and blending a breeze.  Flawless Fusion doesn’t crease or fade and holds up against 12+ hour days.

Drunk Elephant C Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream.  C Tango eye cream is rich and creamy without being heavy and suffocating, leaving the under eye area smooth, bright and hydrated.  Formulated with five forms of vitamin C and eight peptides, C Tango is great for all skin types and can be used am and pm.

Zara Floral Jacquard Pants and Blazer.  These are the perfect two pieces that look great together or worn separately.  The rich texture and color of the fabric are perfect for the upcoming fall/winter season and can be dressed up or down.  Pair with a loafer or sneaker for a paired down look or with a heel to dress these pieces up.

Alexis Bittar Folded Knot Ring.  NEVER shy away from a beautiful piece of jewelry.  This brushed gold tone ring is bold without being over the top and is the perfect addition to your ring collection.

H&M Wool-Blend Coat.  Although it’s still warm outside, now is a good time to consider what cold weather outerwear pieces you need to add to your wardrobe.  This soft wool belted coat can be one of those pieces that can take you from late fall to early winter.

Modern Alchemy Hyacinth & Bergamot Candle. This beautiful blue marble candle is the perfect pop of color for any room.  In addition to the beauty of the candle, The lingering scent is like that of a cool, gentle ocean breeze that lasts long after the candle stops burning.

World Market Oval Gray Faux Shagreen Katy Desk.  This glamorous desk is the perfect accent to any room in your apartment/home.  With a soft grainy textural finish, deep drawer and gold steel legs, you can use this as a vanity, entryway table, or as a desk in your home office.

The Power Of Red Lipstick: What To Consider When Choosing The Perfect Red Lip For Your Complexion.

In beauty, makeup on May 31, 2018 at 1:30 pm

A red lipstick is like an LBD.  Every woman should own at least one.

Remember the first time you wore a red lipstick?  I remember my first time.  I was a young teenager, perhaps 14 or so.  I don’t remember the color but I do remember purchasing it from the local beauty supply store and excitedly hurrying home to try it on.  I ripped open the packaging and remember just slapping it on my lips.  No prep and prime.  No liner.  No technique.  Honestly it wasn’t even really that red.  It was more of a berry color because I didn’t think that with my deep complexion I could pull off such a color so I played it safe.  Whatever the case, I was still excited and felt like I looked perfectly fine.

And then there were the stigmas.  The negative thoughts about women who wore red lipstick.  Whore.  Harlot.  Slut.  Jezebel – Jezzy for short.  Only immoral women and women of the night wore red.  And oh no- you didn’t dare wear red lipstick (or red anything) to the workplace or church.  Yes the ancient Egyptians wore it and even our favorite screen sirens but that was for them.  Not you.

Fast forward to today.  The negative mindset around wearing red lipstick has relaxed for the most part and many more woman are wearing it on a regular basis.  You see, women with cajones wear red lipstick.  And they wear it wherever and whenever they like.  Red is bold.  Sexy.  Iconic.  It commands attention and it is powerful.  Red lips are also the quickest way to look pulled together, like you have your entire life together- even if you really don’t.  Not for the faint at heart, red lips announce “I AM HERE”.

But what do you do if you aren’t comfortable with wearing a red lipstick or you haven’t had success in selecting a shade that actually looks nice on you?  You see your friends and favorite celebrities rocking a red pout but you aren’t sure about your ability to pull it off.  Or maybe you tried to actually wear a red lip outside of the house but you felt more like a clown instead of a sophisticated grown woman.  Whatever the case, if you are just exploring the possibility of wearing a red lipstick, there are options for you.  For example, if you are just starting out, you might opt for a sheer lip stain, balm or gloss.  Liner and balm is always an option to help you test the waters of wearing various shades and tones until you are more comfortable with the look.

As you journey through figuring out what looks good on you, here are some things to consider:

  • Formulation and finish.  There are many formulations and finishes of lip product that can influence the way a color looks on you.  Do you prefer a formulation that is an actual lipstick or more of a balm, gloss, stain or a hybrid like a liquid lipstick?  Would you prefer a glossy finish as opposed to matte (usually wears the longest), frost (shimmery with a pearl finish), satin (opaque without the dryness), or metallic?  Formulation sometimes determines finish (like a gloss) and taking both of these factors into consideration helps when you are deciding how you want the product to wear and what you want it to look like when creating certain looks and focuses for make up design.
  • Time of day.  The time of day, the occasion, or the setting can determine what color/finish you wear on your lips altogether.  Is it day or night?  Is this something you are going to wear on a daily basis or occasionally?  Do you work in a conservative environment where a sheer lip stain might be the only acceptable lip look? Are you going on a job interview at a law firm vs a trendy creative job?  These are just some of the factors to consider when shopping for a red lip (or any lip color for that matter).
  • Subtle or bold.  Are you going for a subtle or bold look?  What will your focus be – eyes, lips or complexion?  The answers to these questions can be used to determine the intensity of the red.  If you have a more dramatic eye, you might choose a more subdued red vs wearing a more bold/brighter lip.  If the latter is the case, leave the eye more neutral with liner and lots of lash and add blush for a neutral but not naked face.

What’s Your Undertone?

What exactly is an undertone?  It is the tone that is just under the first (or top) layer of your skin.  This information is used to determine what tone of lip color would look best on you.  How does one determine their undertone?  Two common ways to make that determination are jewelry and veins:

  • Jewelry Test.  If you feel you look better in silver jewelry, you most likely have cool (pink/red) undertones.  If you feel you look better in gold jewelry, you most likely have warm (yellow/golden) undertones and if you feel that you look good in both silver or gold, you most likely have neutral undertones which can be considered to be equal parts cool and warm undertones or the absence of both, depending on how you look at it.
  • Veins Test.  If you have blue veins, you are most likely a cool undertone.  If your veins are green, you are most likely a warm undertone.  If your veins are blue/green, you would most likely have neutral undertones.

Keep in mind that when it comes to finding the right red, you also have to consider more than complexion, although that is usually the main determining factor.  It’s also hair color and what you are wearing as well.  Ever notice that when you change your hair color, you may not be able to wear the same colors and tones that you did before you changed your hair color?  With undertones, you can complement and illuminate the complexion or create a beautiful contrast in skin tone and therefore should be used as a guide and not law that will keep you confined to a particular beauty box.

Once you have determined what undertone you are:

Keep in mind there may be overlap in regard to which undertone can wear what, as well as personal preference so again use this as merely suggestions and not law.

Ultimately, when choosing to wearing a red lip, wear what you are comfortable with.  The boldness of red lip is something you have to commit to and wear with confidence.

Four Wardrobe And Beauty Tips To Stay Flawless When You Are Busy And On The Go.

In beauty, fashion, makeup on May 9, 2018 at 11:00 am

It is no secret that being busy has become a normal part of life.  Between working the proverbial 9-5, building a business, going to school, maintaining relationships and the like, you have a lot on your plate which can cause distraction.  This distraction can sometimes lead to a sacrifice of self care and grooming/personal style but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Neglecting basic self care and grooming, can cause other things to suffer.

Looking good is feeling good.  When you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, you operate differently – from a place of confidence.  You might be thinking to yourself that you don’t have the time, knowledge or expertise to pull together your look (wardrobe, makeup, hair, etc.) but the success actually comes with planning and strategy.  By not making excuses and creating good habits such as planning out your week, getting up earlier or being more organized, you can put your best foot forward.  Below are some basic tips in the areas of wardrobe, makeup and hair to help you remain flawless and polished on the go…

Plan Your Wardrobe In Advance

Just like you would plan your upcoming week which may include tons of meetings, events, appointments and the like, take time to plan out your wardrobe in the same manner.  Pull all items together, including accessories, shoes, and proper undergarments to avoid the frenzy of trying to get ready in the morning.  Doing so helps to ensure you are able to get dressed and go instead of discovering at the last minute that your clothes need to be cleaned, pressed, or hemmed when instead you should already be ten minutes into your commute.  In addition, planning your wardrobe for the week, allows you to decide and schedule when your garments need laundering, repair or even disposal.  If you want to avoid the extra fuss and energy with coordinating all of the elements of an extensive wardrobe, you can create a uniform of sorts.  This may consist of several pieces (shirts, blouses, pants, skirts, etc.) of the same or similar pieces in colors such as black and white that you can wear repeatedly so you still look sharp and polished.  Keeping your color scheme neutral with strategic pops of colors makes it easier to mix and match your separates.  You can also explore the option of creating a capsule wardrobe.

Keep Makeup And Hair Simple

If you wear makeup, plan that out as well or at least have a well organized makeup bag and/or drawer and an idea of the look you are going for.  In all seriousness, if you want to try a new look, practice in your free time so you can nail the look and avoid having to clean up the mess you’ve created and starting over when you should have already left the house. You can always keep your look basic yet flawless with a good brow, mascara, gloss and radiant skin.  Remember that a good skincare routine cuts down on the need to put on tons of makeup.  If you want to do a little more than those basics but still not do too much, you can create a palette of frequently used eye shadows and blushes or use multi use products that you can use for more than one feature or purpose.

There are many options when it comes to hair and since hair doesn’t take care of itself, you will need to figure out how to care for and maintain it, even if you have a stylist that you go to.  This may mean consistently scheduling your appointments as well as figuring out how to do a great chignon or top knot, doing twist outs consistently, or keeping your hair cut on a regular basis.  Whatever the case, figure it out.  The same thought process goes for nails and brows as well.

Master The Day To Evening Look.

Many people have jobs that require a more conservative look but after work activities may require something less conservative.  Going home to change may not be an option so this is where creativity and planning is required.  Keep (or bring) items such as an extra pair of shoes, clutch and other accessories to switch into.  For your makeup, you might add a little more liner, blush and change your lip color before you head out.  If your hair is in a chignon, you might let your hair out or vice versa.  You can even add a hair accessory or put on some different hair altogether.  The options are endless.

Keep In Touch

To keep your look in tact be sure to touch up throughout the day.  Sure you may think that because you are super busy, you cant take 60 seconds to make sure everything is in place.  You have to use the bathroom at some point, right?  Hopefully?  Honor yourself enough to re-center yourself, take a few cleansing breaths, brush your teeth or at least gargle after that tuna fish sandwich.  Keep a small pouch in your desk or purse with travel items such as:

  • Toothpaste/toothbrush/mouthwash
  • Deodorant
  • Wipes
  • Tissue
  • Feminine care
  • Basic makeup items to reapply as well as a refreshing face mist.

To reiterate, being on point in the various areas of life, including your physical presentation, it takes planning, focus and consistency.  Take those few extra moments in the beginning of your week to ensure your days go as smoothly as possible and that you stay on top of your game.

What are some of the ways you stay flawless when you are busy and on the go?

Your Beauty Products Have A Shelf Life – Learn When To Toss These Items To Ensure Your Safety.

In beauty, makeup, skincare on May 7, 2018 at 11:00 am

There is a big chance that the makeup you used this morning has expired.

Lets face it – most of us are beauty product hoarders.  We hold onto lipsticks and eye shadows forever because we don’t want to let them go.  It’s also cool to collect and hoard product just to say we have something.

And, even though we hoard makeup, we also love new beauty products as well.  The thrill you get when you open a new tube of lipstick or blush and apply that first swipe is like no other.  It’s kind of like exhaling.

Whether said beauty product is something we’ve purchased ourselves, received as a gift or won in some type of social media give away, we all pride ourselves with having the latest and greatest.  And let’s not even talk about an order that is coming in the mail:  we stalk the delivery guy, staring out of the window, making sure the doorbell is still working and incessantly check the tracking status to see where our package of hopes and dreams are- even though we literally just placed the order.  Not to mention, when our favorite makeup artist, beauty guru or celebrity launches a new product, no moment or cost is spared to purchase the newest palette, highlighter or foundation.

But what happens after the initial joy of our new makeup wears off?  Like the older, once beloved products,  it gets tossed to the side, stored away in a drawer somewhere until we decide to wear a particular product again.  If your makeup falls into the latter category, proceed with caution before you bring that product back into circulation:  chances are that product has expired.

What is a makeup shelf life?

Makeup can be stored away for a long period (up to 3 years) of time before it actually reaches you.  These products will eventually go bad but it will take longer because they are not opened and are usually stored in a cool dark place, preserving the shelf life.  For the purpose of this discussion however, we will discuss the shortened shelf life of product after purchase, when it is opened and exposed to various conditions.

All makeup has a PAO – period after opening, which is marked by an expiration date.  This expiration date is usually on the back of packaging with a small jar with a number in it.  This number indicates the life span of that product after opening.  Since most people don’t keep the original packaging their product comes in, it’s a good idea to write the date you opened the product or keep a log.  This is extra work but makeup that has gone bad is a breeding ground for bacteria and can cause a host issues such as irritation, swelling, breakouts and infection that may require medical attention.

Having said all of that, how do you know when to throw your makeup and other beauty products away?  When there is a change in color, texture, consistency, odor or performance. If your product is preservative free, you will definitely need to be mindful of the shelf life.  Keep the following guidelines in mind when purchasing and storing product:

  • Control the temperature your makeup is stored in.  If possible, dont keep your makeup in the bathroom where the temperatures fluctuate consistently and definitely do not leave your makeup in your car.
  • Don’t share your makeup and replace eye makeup after an eye infection.
  • Wash your hands before using your product.
  • Avoid jars when possible.  Every time you open a jar and stick your fingers in your product, it becomes contaminated.  Use a spatula or cotton swab instead.
  • Use a makeup sanitizer spray.  Also use a tissue to wipe off layer of uncertainty and make sure you clean your brushes.
  • Although it can be more economically sound to purchase the larger size of something, consider how often you will use the product.
  • If you find that you need to dispose of a product, do so by putting it in the garbage instead of pouring down the drain to avoid clogging the drain and contributing to contaminated water ways.

Below is a list of the estimated shelf life after opening for frequently used products (give or take):

Foundation

  • Oil free – 12 months
  • Cream and liquid – 18 months to 2 years

Concealer

  • Sticks – up to 18 months
  • Liquid and cream – up to 6 months

Powders

  • Most powder products, whether they are foundation, eye shadow, blush, bronzer or highlighter, can last up to 2 years.

Eyeliners

  • Pencils can last up to 2 years.  By sharpening the pencil before use, you will shave off some of the layer of uncertainty.
  • Liquid and gel – 3 months

Cream Eye shadow – up to 6 months.

Mascara – up to 3 months.

Brushes 2-5 years, sometimes longer with proper cleaning, conditioning, and storage.

Lipstick/liner – up to 12 months and gloss up to 2 years.

Cleanser/toner – up to 12 months.

Eye Cream – 6 months to 2 years

Serum/Treatment – 6 months to 2 years

Face/body moisturizer – up to two years.

Sunscreen – up to 12 months.

Nail Polish – up to 12 months.

How consistent are you with throwing away older beauty products?  Share your comments below.