beautygrind

Archive for the ‘skincare’ Category

How To Look Better In Your Next Video Call

In beauty, how to, makeup, skincare on May 18, 2020 at 9:25 pm

Image Courtesy of Cottonbro via Pexels

It’s no secret that video has become a valuable tool in our technologically advanced society, especially during these strange times.  From FaceTime and Skype to the ever increasing popularity and use of Zoom, video is a great way to stay connected.

Now, more than ever, video calls are the go to tool for many of the things we do, from work to virtual happy hours and parties.  With that being said, how we look on video is just as important as the information that is being exchanged.  It usually doesn’t matter when we communicate via phone call, text and email but obviously, in video, people see you.  In most cases, when it comes down to work and even things like virtual dating, looks matter.  Think about it – how would you present yourself to your current or potential boss, client or even a romantic prospect?  You wouldn’t show up in pajamas or a dusty t-shirt or a face mask for your zits.  You, instead, would put your best face forward.  Again, looks matter so it’s important to look your personal best.  Also since many of us are currently stuck inside, that’s all the more reason to put on that lipstick, hair or outfit you’ve been wanting to wear.  So go ahead, you can still slay through that screen with these simple tips/reminders:

Lighting.  When you take a selfie, you usually make sure you show up in the best light.  The same goes for when you are doing a video call.  Natural light is the better option as it most flattering.  The key when using natural light is positioning yourself at the correct angle.  To catch the best light, sit facing the window (or other light source for that matter).  If the sun is particularly bright you can close the blinds a little or put up a white curtain to help filter the light.  On cloudy days you can sit more directly in the light source because your features won’t be blown out.  Whatever the case, be sure to not sit with your back to your light source which will cause your figure to be shadowy.

You can always add a light source if necessary.  Ring lights are very popular and can be found on Amazon (or eBay).  I’ve been using the Make Up Light for several years because I like the ability to customize the fixtures and the fact that that it breaks down quickly, making it easier to carry and can fit mostly in a large tote bag.

You can always use a regular lamp if necessary.  Remember to position it in front of you (behind your computer or other video source).

Sound.  Be sure that your sound is working, without feedback/echo.  This is especially important if you are a presenter or leading the meeting.  Usually the sound on your chosen device is sufficient however if you need something that works better, there are microphone options on Amazon (or eBay).

Setting.  Where you take your virtual meeting (or event) is just as important as how you look.  Choose an area free of excessive distractions.  If possible, set up at a desk or table with ample lighting and a comfortable chair.  Make sure that whatever people see behind you is clean, neat, organized and visually appealing.  Add plants or artwork to add dimension to your space.  If you live with other people or other people will be present in your space, make sure they know when you will be participating in your meeting/event and that they are aware that they should keep noise to a minimum or non-existent.

Position.  Make sure your device (laptop, phone, tablet) is positioned at face/eye level.  and make sure you have good posture.  This will help you to not look distorted and again helps to present you in the best “light” possible.

Wardrobe.  Although, for the most part, you will only be seen from mid chest upwards, it’s still important that whatever people see looks nice.  Choose flattering colors that will complement your skin tone and contrast nicely with your background as well as ensure the right fit for your clothing.  Keep prints to a minimum and be sure that what you are wearing is not too revealing.  A blazer and camisole/t-shirt/blouse is a no fail combination, as well as just a blouse or nice sweater.  It all depends on your work environment, dress code and expectations.  Don’t forget accessories like a simple pair of earrings and/or necklace to complete the look.  However, be sure to avoid noisy jewelry as that can be a distraction.

Makeup.  Whether you know very little about makeup or don’t care for it, the fact  remains that a polished look makes for a good impression.  Again, looks matter.  And not in a “I look like a supermodel” but more of a way in which you don’t look like you just rolled out of bed and was dragged behind a dump truck.  You don’t have to do the most, just follow the basics of giving good face – “flawless” complexion, soft yet well defined brows, lash lift, lip tint/color, sculpting and definition.

  • Flawless Complexion.  Since makeup is never a substitute for good skin, start with a basic skincare routine for your skin type (if you don’t already have a 50 step process in place) – cleanse, tone, moisturize.  Once you have those basics in place,  a primer is your next step.  A primer will keep your makeup up on longer and can help your makeup look better on your skin.  Next apply a lightweight tinted moisturizer or foundation with a beauty blender or foundation brush.  If you need more coverage you can  definitely choose a medium/full coverage foundation.  Dark under eye circles/hyper-pigmentation (acne scars, etc) is a common concern for many so don’t forget a concealer.  Follow up with a setting powder to lock everything in place and to cut down on shine.
  • Brows.  I cannot stress the importance of having good brows.  Brows are the architecture of your face and can make or break your look.  If  you have full brows already, all you may need to do is use a brow gel to tame and shape them.  If you have brows that are more sparse, there are a multitude of products that you can use from brow powder to pencil to fill in/create the perfect brow.
  • Eyes.  You don’t have to do a full smoky eye.  In most cases, eye liner and mascara will suffice.  If you want to give a little more,  you can always choose a color slightly deeper than your complexion in your crease to give a little more depth and structure to the eye by applying/blending with a crease brush.  Finish off with 2-3 coats of your preferred mascara.  For eyeliner, choose an off black or black/brown to define the eye shape and use a smudge brush to soften the lines.  These two color choices will define without looking too dramatic or harsh.
  • Lips.  First off, exfoliation and moisture is so important – whether you choose to wear lip color or not.  Speaking of color, you don’t have to do full on color – a lip tint can suffice if you don’t want to do the most.  But for everyone else, go ahead and  put on that bold bright beautiful color to liven things up.  Mattes are good choice because in many cases, depending on formulation/brand, there is minimal transfer.
  • Sculpting with blush.  Add a little blush to add warmth to the complexion and  to sculpt and define those cheekbones.

Hair.  Brush it.  Comb it.  Shave it.  Cut it.  Do whatever you have to do to make sure it looks nice and presentable.  Styling products are your friend.  Add accessories if you need to like a headband or a nice hair clip.  Chances are you have many of these things in your arsenal.  You just need to use them.

 

Loved this post? Subscribe to beautygrind.com to receive the latest blog posts filled with resources, tips, tricks, and inspiration delivered to your inbox.

Need one on one consulting, customization or updates for your beauty and fashion questions and concerns, visit khalilahneals.com.

Skincare And Wellness Ingredient Trends Worth Knowing

In skincare on February 2, 2020 at 11:29 pm


Just when we thought we’ve gained a thorough understanding of all the ingredients in our favorite skincare, a new or alternative ingredient makes it’s way onto the scene.  These new/alternative ingredients, which show up in entirely new products or as new iterations of the products  we’ve been using might make you wonder if what you are currently using is “the one”.  But, if you are anything like me and other beauty enthusiasts and experts out there, you are definitely one to do some research, shopping and testing.  With piqued interest, we do whatever is necessary to get our hands, faces, lips and hair acquainted with these new products on the market.  Contained in these products are breakthrough ingredients that promise to be better than their predecessor and revolutionize how we do skincare and beauty.  Are these ingredients here to stay or will they eventually fade into oblivion?  Only time will tell.  Below are 8 ingredients/concepts that are making a mark in the skincare, beauty and wellness industries and taking up space on our vanities and bathroom sinks.  

Cica.  Around the later half of 2018 I started noticing products with the ingredient cica. Cica, also known as centella asiatica, is a well known herb in Asia and very popular in Chinese medicine. A more familiar name is tiger balm and is associated with the tigers who supposedly roll around in the herb to help regenerate their skin from battle wounds.  For humans, cica, which has antibacterial properties, is great for sensitized skin and aids in repairing the skin barrier.  It is also great for caring for the skin after procedures like chemical peels and laser treatments. Dr Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Cream

Polyhydroxy Acids aka PHA’s.  Just when we got a handle on understanding what AHA’s did for our skin, another acid makes it’s way into the spotlight. Unlike AHA’s which can cause irritation to the skin and make it more sensitive to the sun, PHA’s have larger molecules which don’t penetrate as quickly and deeply, causing less irritation thus making PHA’s a possibly better alternative for sensitive skin.  The end goal of a PHA is the same as AH  (chemical exfoliation for brighter, smoother skin) but less aggressive.  Ole Henriksen Phat Glow Facial

Retinols/Retinol Alternatives.  Although this ingredient is the holy grail of skincare ingredients, nothing raises eyebrows more than the word retinol.  As a vitamin A derivative, retinol is responsible for making skin cells act younger. Today’s versions of this old school ingredient originally prescribed for acne, now shows up in serums, moisturizer and various other treatments with buffers such as manuka honey to counteract the sometimes aggressive effects of retinol.  Now there  are retinol alternatives such as bakuchiol which promise to deliver similar line reducing, collagen producing results as traditional retinols but that are less irritating and invasive.  Herbivore Botanicals Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative Serum

Overnight Eye Sleeping Masks.   We all know the importance of using eye creams for the delicate eye area EVERY SINGLE DAY AND NIGHT. There are many formulations to address various concerns such as fine lines, wrinkles, brightening, puffiness and refreshing – you name it, there is a a potion for it.   Recently, I have seen an uptick in overnight eye sleeping masks and like overnight sleeping masks for the face, these particular masks provide the same benefits to the eye area while you sleep.  Laneige Eye Sleeping Mask

Liquid Exfoliators.  Back in the day, one of the skincare steps that was included in a solid skincare routine was the use of a physical exfoliator. These physical exfoliators helped to refine and brighten the texture of the skin and are still a product of choice for many.  The newer kid on the block, liquid exfoliators, which are acids that exfoliate (AHA, BHA, PHA) provide a form of chemical exfoliation without the abrasiveness and helps to unclog pores, brighten, smooth and get rid of dark spots. Please note if you are using retinols and liquid exfoliators ask part of your skincare routine, alternate your days between the two products until you build up tolerance and to prevent excess drying and irritation.  Nip + Fab Exfoliate Glycolic Fix Liquid Glow Daily 2%

CBD.  It’s no secret that many of today’s beauty products – from mascara, serums, body and intimate care – seem to be infused with CBD.  But what exactly is CBD and will you start tripping off of it?   Well, CBD, also known as a cannabinoid, comes from the canibus sativa plant and because it doesn’t contain THC, a known psychoaticive, you will not get high or start tripping.  So then why would you want a product that contains CBD?   CBD has antioxidants and can treat inflammation, anxiety and pain.  It can also help with skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema and psoriasis.  Hora Skincare Super Serum + CBD

Adaptogens.  Although not a new concept as adaptogens have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayuvedic healing/medicine, the conversation around adaptogens has ramped up in recent years.  Adaptogens are a category of non-toxic plants (and some mushrooms) that help the body resist stressors.  We all know the long term effects that stress can have on the immune, neurological and physical aspects of our being and it is though that the use adaptogens in addition to a balanced diet and lifestyle can lead to better health.   Adaptogens can be found in various forms including teas, pre-mixed powders as well as pills and capsules and includes rhodiola, ashwagandha, reishi, maca root, turmeric and ginseng.  Moonjuice Super You Dietary Supplement

Sustainability.  So we know about the impact our lifestyle is having on the environment in the way of global warming. It’s not a new thing for brands to pay attention to the ingredients they are putting in the products we use on our bodies but more and more beauty companies and brands are putting more effort into recycled packaging – even down to the ink that is used in printing on the packaging. Companies even have goals on being completely sustainable within a particular timeframe. Wildcrafting is a term (as it relates to skincare ingredients) that I have been hearing more of recently and refers to the sustainable practice of harvesting a plant as it grows naturally in its environment.

The Rise Of Single Ingredient Skin Care: Does your skin care have to be complex to be effective?

In skincare on December 9, 2019 at 5:15 pm

Simple, effective, and customizable describes the new trend disrupting the skin care industry.

As more people begin to understand the importance of taking care of their skin, many are starting to invest more time and money in pursuit of products to support their skincare goals.  For some that may mean actually putting a routine in place where there was none.  For others, that may mean an upgrade to a moisturizer they’ve used for years or adding a sunscreen or eye cream.  If you are a more advanced skincare user, you might also be one to use an essence, serum, peel, mask and an oil.  And, if you are really fancy pants, you might be a jade rolling, micro needling aficionado who has monthly appointments with your facialist.  All in the pursuit of beautiful skin.

That might seem like a of products (or steps) for someone to use on their face.  In some instances it is which is why it’s important to assess what your skin really needs.  Within the various product categories, most, if not all of the skin care products one uses on their skin has multiple benefits because of the many ingredients they are created with.  Nothing is wrong with that if you are getting the results you desire. Many of our favorite skincare brands spend years in research and development to create products that deliver first in class, highly efficacious products.

But then attached to this multi-step, muti-product routine is the all too familiar hefty price tag.  And the fact that you can still be confused about what may or not work best for your particular skin concerns – even after going to a skincare expert, reading multiple articles and reviews or watching YouTube videos.  To ease the pain of the sometimes exorbitant price tag, there is always the option of going to the local drug store to purchase your skin care.  But have you noticed that even drugstore brands are becoming more advanced, complex and expensive?

With that being said, many people are not opposed to using a $200 serum if it really works.  But what if there is a single ingredient product that gets right down to the heart of your skincare needs?  And what if that single (or fewer) ingredient item costs significantly less than its counterpart where a particular hero ingredient shares space with other active ingredients that your skin may not need at the moment?

Welcome to the trend of what has been considered fast skincare.  Fast skincare usually features a single or hero ingredient and a focus on customization without the hefty price tag.  With customization as one of the key components of this newer trend in skincare, customers know what they are purchasing, are able to target a specific concern and can use in addition to the products they are already using – thus allowing one to address their skin’s ever changing needs without the high price.  Why is this trend considered fast skincare?  Because there are shorter R & D times.  With shorter R & D times, the average product turnaround, from concept to production to market is about 18 weeks vs 18 months – a concept similar to fast fashion.  That, in addition to leveraging the power of social media and using simplistic packaging that’s still Instagram worthy allows brands to come to market faster and get in the hands of consumers ASAP.  Below are 4 brands that fall into the category of fast or less expensive targeted skincare with a single/hero ingredient.

The Ordinary.  Just a few years old, The Ordinary, which falls under the Deciem umbrella, focuses on “clinical formulations with integrity”.   This results driven skin care line is very affordable with prices starting at $6 and is free of parabens, sulfates and mineral oils.  It is still important to know your ingredients – the varying percentages and various ingredients can leave one confused.  It’s almost like staring at a chemistry exam.

Versed Skincare.  Versed Skincare is Who What Wear‘s sister brand and has 19 essential products under $20 that cleanse, seal, boost or treat.  There is a line up of serums, oils, cleansers and peels, all of which are vegan and cruelty free – products are only tested on humans.  The simplistic packaging features pastel colors with symbols that speak to the function or focus of the product:  hourglass – aging, bulls eye – target, sun-dullness and is definitely Instagram worthy.

Good Molecules.  Good Molecules is created by Beautylish as a budget friendly brand.  Products are fuss free and start at $6.  Rest assured that the ingredients are up to standard as this product line was created by beauty industry veterans.  They have worked directly with top labs to create products that address texture, acne, dryness and hyperpigmentation with easy to understand terms.

The Inkey List.  UK based brand The Inkey List focuses on 15 hero ingredients – all $15 and under.  Created by former Boots branding and product development team Colette Newberry and Mark Curry, their focus is on simplifying popular skin care terms.  The Inkey List includes skincare heavy hitters such as retinol, salicylic acid and vitamin C and is cruelty free.  They do not work with suppliers who animal test and they do not enter into any test market where there is no alternative to animal testing.  They also have an environmental and sustainability policy  and are making an effort to source ingredients from sustainable sources.

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.

These 7 Ingredients Can Help Fight Acne

In skincare on September 10, 2018 at 12:00 pm
person s face covered with white powder

Photo by Ricardo Garcia on Pexels.com

Having a breakout is never a fun thing.  Whether it is periodic or a regular occurrence, breakouts are the kiss of death.  Sure, having acne is terrible when you are an awkward teenager but what about when you are a full grown adult?  In your career?  On the dating scene?  Advancing toward the next milestone of your life?  In a perfect world, adulting would never include fighting acne.

But it’s not a perfect world and adult acne is a real thing.  And while some people may think focusing on your looks is vain and self centered, those struggling with adult acne know better.  Oftentimes, there is an embarrassment and shame as well as the physical and emotional scarring that is overlooked.

To cope, some acne sufferers may just chalk it up to breakouts being their lot in life and just move on.  Depending on the severity, some may suffer depression and never leave the house while others will spend time and money undergoing treatment.  The latter is always an option in the fight against breakouts but there are also over the counter (OTC) options that can help you in the war against acne.

But wait.  With all of the OTC options that exist, how do you know which brand to choose, let alone which ingredient to choose?  Continue reading to get the 411 on several pimple fighting ingredients.

Benzoyl Peroxide.  An old school acne fighting ingredient, benzoyl peroxide, which is perfect for whiteheads, kills the bacteria that causes acne and keeps pores from being blocked.  Found in concentrations between 2.5% and 10%, it is best when used on a continual basis.  Proceed with caution because it can be drying to the skin and cause redness.  Paula’s Choice CLEAR Extra Strength Daily Skin Clearing Treatment.

Glycolic Acid. This popular alphy hydroxy acid which is derived from sugar cane is a master at exfoliation and skin clearing.  Having the smallest molecule, it is able to penetrate the skin to help with concerns such as acne, blackheads, dullness, scarring fine lines and wrinkles, helping to reveal smoother, brighter skin.  Helps with whiteheads.  Mario Badescu Glycolic Gel.

Light Therapy.  This kind of treatment uses different colors (blue and red) of visible light to treat acne.  Red light, which stimulates collagen, not only treats anti-aging but helps with inflammation and helps to reduce oil production.  Blue light is an anti-bacterial and helps to reduce the appearance of pores and active breakouts.  Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Spot Treatment.

Salicylic Acid.  A beta hydroxy acid, salicylic acid is an anti-inflammatory that treats whiteheads and blackheads.  Performing like Drain-o, salicylic acid dives past oil and gunk to get down to the pores to clear them out and dissolves the cement that holds the sticky cells together.  Although salicylic acid is found in most acne treatments, it does not kill bacteria.  Sunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil.

Sulfur.  Another ingredient that wages war against the bacteria that causes acne, sulfur can be used to treat mild acne.  It is keratolyic – meaning it dries the skin and makes the epidermis thinner.  Sulfur helps to reduce oil and has anti-microbial properties.  Helps with whiteheads and blackheads.  Dr Dennis Gross Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask.

Niacinamide.  Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide has multiple benefits for the skin, helping with the appearance of enlarged pores as well as fine lines and wrinkles.  It can also help brighten the skin and help reduce redness.  Fights whiteheads blackheads.  The Ordinary, Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%.

Retinoids.  If you are looking for a product with an ingredient that addresses multiple concerns, retinol might be for you.  A derivative of vitamin A, retinol is anti-aging in that it helps with fine lines and wrinkles.  As an exfoliator, it helps refine skin texture and pores as well as helps to speed up cell turnover to reveal new skin.  Retinol is also an anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce oil production.  You may experience drying if you have dry skin.  Use at retinol products night and use a sunscreen during the day.  Treats whiteheads and blackheads.  Differin Gel.

8 Eye Creams To Help You Look Brighter, Smoother, and More Awake

In skincare on August 22, 2018 at 11:00 am

It’s no secret that everyone wants to look younger and more awake, especially when it comes to the under eye area.  Lots of time and money is spent looking for makeup, concealer in particular, to hide a multitude of concerns such as lack of sleep, puffiness, fine lines, wrinkles, and darkness.  The secret is not always in the makeup but in your skin care routine in the form of an eye cream.

If you use some form of moisturizer for your face, you might be the type to use that same product under your eye, if you even pay attention to that area.  The truth is, the skin around your eyes is the most delicate and sensitive of all the areas of your face (think tissue paper vs construction paper) so what you use should be specifically formulated for that area.  The under eye is also thinner and has no oil glands to replenish the delicate under eye skin so it is prone to show the first signs of aging.  Other contributing factors to under eye aging include improper removal of eye make up, rubbing, squinting and other environmental aggressors.  A good eye cream and healthy life style choices can help.

When shopping for an eye cream, look for those formulas that contain peptides, hyaluronic acid, retinoids, anti oxidants and optical diffusers.  Your eye cream should have a consistency you like, preferably be fragrance free (avoids invitation) and have good absorption.  Formulas that come in pumps are best as there is less exposure to air and light which degrades the product.  If the product does come in a jar, be sure to use clean hands or spatula to apply product.

SkinCeuticals Eye Balm With Triple Age Defense $82.  This rich emollient cream is great for those with mature or aging skin around the eyes.  Contains vitamin A & E and helps with collagen production, lipid replacement, and hydration.  Dimethicone helps to smooths under eye skin and makes for smoother concealer application.

First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy AM. Gel Cream $36.  This cooling eye cream is perfect for revitalizing eyes first thing in the morning.  It addresses the concerns of firming and hydration and also targets the upper eyelid.  Key ingredients include red algae for hydration and anti-aging as well as peptides for plumping.

Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum $60.  This powerhouse eye serum addresses multiple concerns of the eye area.  Powerhouse ingredients of copper and black tea ferment create a smoother, radiant appearance under the eye while the Shaba Complex of niacinamide and edelweiss stem cells diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  COQ10 provides anti-oxidant protection.

PCA Skin Ideal Complex Restorative Eye Cream $87.  Target multiple signs of eye aging with this scientifically backed eye cream.  Optical diffusers instantly brighten while peptides help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and niacinamide helps with tone and strength of the skin.

Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Eye Serum $88.  This fast absorbing formula contains 3 forms of retinol which helps to stimulate collagen production and strengthens the eye area, creating a firmer, more toned look to the eye area.  Marine kelp extract brightens the eye area.

Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream $18.  Lightweight and fast absorbing, this eye cream contains the key ingredient of hyaluronic acid which is highly effective at moisturizing and smoothing.  Aloe vera helps to calm and sooth the delicate eye area, making this eye cream perfect for daily use and prep for concealer application.

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Eye Gel-Cream $19.99.  A gel-cream hybrid, this eye cream is cooling, hydrating and fragrance free.  Key ingredient hyaluronic acid boosts moisture and locks it in all day.  It also smooths the skin under the eye without leaving an oily residue behind.

Dr Brandt No More Baggage Eye De-puffing Gel $42.  Banish the look of puffy, tired, aging looking eyes with this advanced de-puffing eye gel.  Quick acting, apply this in the morning to smooth and depuff.  The apricot color provides brightening to help you look well rested, caffeine helps to tighten and the peptides will plump and hydrate.

These Peels, Scrubs, And Exfoliators Will Keep Your Skin Glowing All Year Long.

In skincare on August 15, 2018 at 11:00 am

Caution:  Increased use will make your skincare absorb better into your skin, making you even more amazing….

We are constantly bombarded with images of our favorite celebrities and their beautiful, glowing skin.  Sure, this look is achieved with the help of their go-to makeup artist and their arsenal of glow inducing products.  But before the makeup is applied, much attention is given to a celebrity’s skincare routine, whether it is in the form of trips to their favorite skincare professional with state of the art tools or the use of at home treatments.

Then there is you.  Wondering if your skin can be that amazing- especially if you have some skin care concerns.  The truth is yes your skin can be that amazing and there is easy access to great products.  When you feel like your skin needs a daily glow, the enviable radiance before a big event, or you just need to banish uneven texture, dark marks, red spots and hormonal breakouts, you can still head over to your dermatologist’s office for treatments which may include post procedure down time. The other option is reaching for at home solutions in the form of peels, scrubs, and exfoliators  to deliver amazing results.  Whatever you choose, be sure to be consistent, follow the directions and use your sunscreen.

Cane & Austin 30% Miracle Pads $88.  These peel pads are ideal for turning up the cell renewal process.  Key ingredients include glycolic acid (resurfacing), vitamins A, C, E, (lighten, brighten, tightening) and salicylic acid (clears pores) which work together to banish breakouts, reduce the appearance of age spots and hyperpigmentation and refine the look of pores.  COQ10 provides powerful anti aging protection.

Algenist Multi-Perfecting Detoxifying Exfoliator $38.  This oil free, clay based exfoliator will help improve texture, tone and clarity, making your skin soft and luminous with salicylic acid and oligosaccharides (moisturize, resurface).

Philosophy The Microdelivery Exfoliating Facial Wash $8-$60. More like a mini peel, this facial wash is perfect if you want to cleanse and treat in one step.  Gentle enough for daily use.

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive Exfoliating Mask $42. Great for all skin types except sensitive, the organic fruit hydroxy acids and raw cane sugar will help to get rid of discoloration and makes the skin smoother and brighter.

Mario Badescu Almond And Honey Non Abrasive Face Scrub $15.  This super gentle facial scrub contains finely ground almonds and honey and sweet almond oil to gently buff away dead skin cells and nourish and hydrate your skin.

Tatcha Polished Gentle Rice Enzyme Powder $65.  This water activated enzyme powder turns into a creamy foam, gently buffing away dull, pore clogging dirt to reveal smooth glowing skin.  Key ingredients include Tatcha’s proprietary Hadesi 3 complex of antioxidant green tea which aids in skin detox, red algae which plumps and moisturizes and rice which exfoliates.

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.

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.