Color Street Review: Why You Need to Try These!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Let's dish about nails this Mani Monday, why don't we? We NEED to talk about Color Street real nail polish strips. 

My go-to Color Street girl is also a presidential founder, Danielle PowandaShe is AMAZING and I am proud to call her my friend. I met Danielle a few years back when I was with Jamberry. She was my mentor and incredibly respected and very much loved by my colleagues.

I am wearing Color Street Real Polish Strips in Tokyo Lights.
Bracelet is from Karley Mott Jewelry.

These are THE BEST product in the nail wrap genre on the market. The BEST.

  • They are super duper easy to apply. Foolproof, actually.
  • No heat! No expensive heaters to purchase in order for them to go on properly
  • No nail damage. Zero, zip, nada 
  • These are real nail polish and not a vinyl applique, so they remove JUST LIKE nail polish. These are NOT like the others. In fact, Color Street features globally patented technology.
  • Easy peasy to take off -- no weird tricks and damaging methods-- just use your regular nail polish remover. 
  • INCREDIBLE longevity

  • The picture above is after 6 full days of wear. You can see bare nail from my nails growing. 

  • I am in my jewelry studio 4-5 days a week hammering, bending, stamping, and painting. At the end of the day, my nails are stained with patinas and black enamel. My friend Elizabeth says nails are jewels, not tools -- and I abuse them and treat them poorly :( These nail polish strips, though, are amazing. Absolutely fabulous. In 6 days, there is one tiny chip in the glitter that I think no one else can see. That is because I am so hard on my nails.
  • Our dishwasher broke, so I am also handwashing dishes and my nails stood up to blue Dawn and a greasy mac and cheese pan. :) These are so easy to apply, do NOT peel or lift like the more expensive vinyl adhesive type of wraps (cough, cough, Jamberry)
  • Plus, they are part of the well respected Incoco family, one of the most well known brand of high quality nail products.

Watch Danielle's Video

Final Thoughts

Color Street may be the new kid on the block, but let's not knock the New Kid! I am in my 40s and my friends still go to NKOTB concerts - just sayin'. As far as nail products are concerned, Color Street is a rising star. Fabulous products, no damage to the nails, and affordably priced. What's not to love? SHOP NOW for Color Street!

The Beauty Writer Reviews LipSense

Friday, July 7, 2017

You all have heard about LipSense from SeneGence, haven't you? Chances are, this ULTRA LONG WEARING, vegan, cruelty-free lip color has popped up on your Facebook or Instagram feed.

I have seen all the posts -- they are more numerous than those lash posts from Younique a few years back. Unlike Younique, though, the quality of LipSense is decent.

I am going to be honest. I wasn't a fan at first. My lips BURNED and were crying out for the LipSense Oops Remover after the first few applications. I just needed it off my lips!

I waited a few days, tried again, and was happier. It no longer burns. It does sting when I initially apply the color. Then that sting goes away after I apply the gloss. The feeling is similar to applying a lip plumping gloss (like Too Faced, for example). I have mixed feelings. It's a love-hate relationship with this one. 

I always tell it like it is, though, so here goes.

Color Shown: Purple Reign


1. This lasts, on me, 6 to 8 hours without reapplying. I can eat, drink, wipe my mouth, kiss the dog (and even my hubby) without it coming off.

2. The color selection is fabulous! 

3. My consultant, Katie Rich, is a true gem. You will not find better customer service. She knows the products inside out, is kind, helpful, and someone you just will enjoy doing business with!

4. I love that you can change things up by applying a different finish of lip gloss top coat, so you can have matte lips one day, glossy the next (and many other options available). 4. I would DEFINITELY keep these in my arsenal if I were still doing bridal makeup regularly. These would be great for the whole wedding party.


1. I do not like the tacky feeling on my lips, even hours after applying.

2. I am often sensitive to artificial fragrance and this one is strong on my lips.

3. The Alcohol Denat in LipSense is VERY drying to my lips when I wear this multiple days in a row. I have seen memes floating around Facebook erroneously stating that this is required by the FDA in all lip products. I have no idea who started that rumor, because it is untrue.

The Beauty Writer's Bottom Line:

This is a great product despite the cons I mentioned, as it is the most long-wearing lip color on the market. It'll be a night out staple for sure. I will stick with my normal favorites for regular daily wear because I don't like stickiness and actually don't mind an occasional touch up of my favorite colors. I WILL get more LipSense colors and am already eyeing a rich berry hue called Lexie Berry.

Should you consider adding supplements to your beauty regimen?

Thursday, June 29, 2017

To preserve your youthful glow and help prevent fine lines, wrinkles, and loss of skin elasticity, consider adding a beauty supplement to your anti-aging regimen. There is no skincare miracle product that can work at the cellular level the way a well-formulated supplement can.

Thankfully, modern scientific researchers have developed many skincare breakthroughs so you don’t have to just sit back and age gracefully.

While most of us have tried skin serums and creams to ward off the visible signs of aging, there are several dietary supplements that have been shown to help keep your skin looking younger. There is a reason that not all skincare products work effectively --  only certain ingredients have a small enough molecular structure to penetrate the skin and work their magic. The rest of the ingredients just sit on top of the skin and impact the very top layer. This does nothing to have a long term impact on the skin.

Anti-aging supplements, though, can often work at the cellular level. Think of it as beauty from the inside out. Not all supplements are created equal, though, and we understand that knowing which ones to buy can be confusing. Some beauty supplements are nothing more than hype -- or contain such a minimal amount of beneficial ingredients that there is no visible skin impact.  We wanted to take the guesswork out of which ones to try, so we have spoken to industry experts to help you find the best supplements that are available today in the beauty arena.

Antioxidants are a good place to start. In fact, if you take a peek in the medicine cabinets of leading dermatologists, you will likely find antioxidants, which help fight free radical damage. Dr. Amy Wechshler, author of the best-selling Mind-Beauty Connection tells us, “Ingesting antioxidants combats the oxidative stress and damage done to cells by aging, stress, smoking, and UV rays.”

3 Beauty Supplements We Recommend

1. Dull skin? Perricone MD Skin Booster may help to boost your skin's radiance. This product contains Astaxanthin, green sea algae, to help with collagen support, as well as to help protect against ultraviolet damage. Sicilian blood orange extract is rich in Vitamin C and anthocyanins, which are flavonoids and may reduce the look of hyperpigmentation spots and help boost skin luminosity.

2. Do you notice loose, sagging skin? Collagen breaks down as we age. Collagen is what helps keep the skin plump, strong, and firm. Once it starts breaking down, skin begins losing its firmness. GNC Collagen contains collagen and hyaluronic acid to support the skin and nails. Like other supplements, results don’t happen overnight, but in about 3-4 weeks you will likely see a plumper, healthier appearance.

3. Do you have acne? Perhaps the most promising supplement on the market for those suffering from acne, particularly cystic acne, is Jane Iredale Accumax Supplement. This product contains an effective combination of antioxidants, such as Vitamins A, C, and E, as well as Diindolylmethane, which is naturally found in broccoli and other veggies and is believes to help ease skin congestion.

5 Budget Beauty Bargains We Love

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Don't be a product snob! I used to be.

To think of the products I missed out on because of the notion that "I only use organic/green/luxury/natural/beautifully packaged" products. Enough already.

The drugstore, Target, Walmart, Amazon, and your local grocery store may very well just have some of the best beauty and skincare products you've ever tried.


Here are five freakin' fantabulous products you'll regret not trying:

Freeman Polishing Charcoal + Black Sugar Gel Mask + Scrub -- If this product nixed the synthetic fragrance, it'd be near skincare perfection. I have tried so many charcoal masks, from Beautycounter and Origins to GlamGlow and The Body Shop and Posh. None are as good as the Freeman for just $3.27. Seriously. I have used this one for 2 weeks now and love it more each time. There are multiple skin-perfecting ingredients, including Kaolin, Banana Fruit Extract, Papaya, Raspberry, and more. It helps to pull out the "gunk" from your pores, but does so gently. It scores an A+ in my book.

There are many amazing drugstore mascaras. I love Maybelline Full & Soft and L'Oreal Voluminous. Another tried and true was a repurchase of Rimmel Extra Super Lash. It had been more than 10 years since I last used it and I had a HORRIBLE budget mascara (Essence Beauty in black & mint green tube) that was the worst purchase ever in recent memory. I stumbled upon a two pack of Rimmel at Walmart for $4.47 & bought it. It's really lovely.

Speaking of Essence Beauty, it's not all bad! While I didn't like the mascara, I love the Make Me Brow. It is a gel brow mascara and it is a great dupe for Lancome Modele Sourcils. I use it over my NYX Brow Sculpt & Contour.

Another rave -- at Walmart, I found LA Color Craze Nail Polish. I bought shade 788. I had low expectations for this since it was $0.98, but it is actually pretty good. Well worth the buck and much better than other cheap polishes like Sinful Colors. It's not Essie, OPI, Butter or Zoya, but it is a great pedi color.

Lastly, I have mentioned Alpha Skincare before. It's high end caliber, well-formulated skincare at an affordable price. I use their AHA cream daily and the Enhanced Wrinkle Repair Cream (.15% Retinol) at night. It is a great gentle retinol with an effective concentration for sensitive skin and at the right pH. It works. Try it!

The Beauty Writer's Guide to Exfoliation: Under $20 Edition

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Exfoliation is one of the most overlooked steps on people’s skincare regimens. It is also one of the most important. People seem to be aware of the fact that using an exfoliant is crucial, but they are often unsure of why it’s necessary.

An Intro to an Essential Skin Care Step

The skin that you are seeing right now is actually dead skin cells. It sounds far-fetched, but your skin sheds approximately 35,000 skin cells per minute. It is part of a 28-cycle where our skin is constantly exfoliating itself. This process slows down around the age of 35 and skin may appear bumpy or uneven and dull as if it has lost its glow.

These skin symptoms are caused by an accumulation of dead skin cells on the sratum corneum, or the top most layer of the skin. When we exfoliate the skin, we are speeding up cell turnover by sloughing off the accumulated dead skin cells. The result? A fresher, more radiant complexion with a smoother texture.

Exfoliation also helps your other skin care products work better. Picture an old door that you would like to repaint. The door is peeling, with layers of paint and environmental debris. If you attempted to paint over the door, the door would still be peeling and worn. It would be uneven and the painted would not be smooth and flat. Instead, what would you do first? To get a smooth paint finish, chances are you would scrape off the old paint, sand it down, and prep it for the rest of your painting.

This concept can be applied to your skin. If your skin is dull and uneven with an accumulation of dead skin cells, your other skin care products will not work as efficiently. Once you have exfoliated, however, the active ingredients in your skin care treatments will penetrate more deeply and reach the pores. Another perk? Your skin will look younger with regular exfoliation.

Mechanical vs. Chemical: Which is better?

There are two main varieties of exfoliation, each with its own advantages. It’s a matter of finding the best treatment for your skin’s needs.

What does the Derm say?

I recently talked to board-certified dermatologist Dr. R. Sonia Batra of Batra Dermatology in Santa Monica, CA to get the scoop on skin sloughing. She broke down the two key types of exfoliation -- mechanical and chemical -- and explained the benefits of each.

Mechanical Exfoliation

Mechanical exfoliation, or physical exfoliation, uses scrubs, sponges, microdermabrasion and brushes to buff off dead skin cells. Dr. Batra recommends this form of exfoliation to older people whose skin is becoming dry or showing signs of dullness, as opposed to those with oily and acne prone skin.

Just say NO to nutshells: What to look for in a manual exfoliant

  • When choosing a facial scrub, be sure it is free of nut shells, as they can scratch the skin and do more harm. If it contains nuts, be sure it says "flour" after it on the ingredients list.
  • Avoid scrubs with polyethelene beads, as these are bits of plastic that harm the earth. 
  • Look for natural fibers in sponges and brushes as opposed to synthetic. 
  • Mechanical exfoliation should be done no more than twice a week. 

Products to try:

Acure Organics Brightening Facial Scrub is right around $10 and if gentle and effective. This reminds me of the brightening scrub from 100% Pure, but I like this one more and it is much less expensive. It is rich in antioxidants, including pomegranate, blackberry, and acai. Walnut shell flour very carefully scrubs, while lemon peel helps brighten and exfoliate, This one also contains Rooibos and kelp.

One Love Organics Cleansing Sponge is made of 100% pure plant fibers and bamboo charcoal to gently exfoliate and clean the pores. Simply apply your gentle cleanser to the sponge and use instead of a traditional washcloth.

Chemical Exfoliation

Chemical exfoliation is different. You may hear it referred to as chemical peeling, even though a true chemical peel is not a procedure one would do at home. A chemical exfoliant involves the use of skin care products formulated with hydroxy acids (alpha, beta, etc.), retinoids, or enzymes to loosen the connection between skin cells and stimulate cell turnover. Chemical exfoliation can remove several layers of skin, help correct sun damage, and treat wrinkles. Dr. Batra recommends this type of exfoliation is for acne prone skin. NEVER use a manual (scrubby) exfoliant on acne. It is one of the worst things you can do!

Choosing the right chemical exfoliant

  • Beta hydroxy acid (look for salicylic acid) is best for acne, blackhead, whiteheads and rosacea. BHAs, unlike other hydroxy acids, can penetrate and unclog the pores. Another benefit of BHAs is that they are anti-bacterial. 
  • Alpha hydroxy acids are best for sun-damaged or dry skin. These acids cannot unclog pores. Of the different AHAs, glycolic has the smallest molecular size and is best able to penetrate the skin. 
  • Retinol (topical Vitamin A) works to encourage cell turnover from the deepest layers up, as opposed to working primarily on the outer layers. It is effective for deeper wrinkles. 
  • Fruit enzymes are ideal for congested skin. Looks for products containing pineapple or papaya, because they contain bromelain and papain to lift off dead skin cells. 

Chemical exfoliants to try at home:

 AHA/BHA -  Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads are the perfect sloughing cocktail. Glycolic acid helps to improve the look of patchy, flaky skin while the salicylic acid works to unclog bacteria from the pores. Hyaluronic acid (not an exfoliant -- but plumps and softens). These come in pad form and are very affordable.

RETINOL - Alpha Skincare Enhanced Wrinkle Repair Cream with 0.15% Retinol  targets deep lines and wrinkles over time using a stable form of retinol. The packaging is great, as it properly protects the retinol to keep it stable. I use this one every night and it works as well as products 5 times more expensive.

FRUIT ENZYMES - There are a couple enzyme based exfoliants I love, but not this affordably priced. The one I am really loving that is super affordable is Garden of Wisdom Pineapple Red Wine Enzyme Gel. You leave this light, gel-like mask on and the enzymes do their magic, lifting off the dead skin cells. Burgundy wine is also present.

SALICYLIC ACID - For an exfoliant that is strictly BHA based, you cannot go wrong with Humane BHA Clarifying Toner Blackhead and Pore Minimizer Salicylic Acid 2%. On Amazon, it is around $18 and the ingredients are very good.

You can get too much of a good thing.

A word of caution when it comes to skin exfoliation. Many people are so happy with the results they see from their exfoliation that they decide to do it daily instead of as recommended. Excessive exfoliation can damage the skin and even make you look older. Use your products only as recommended and you’ll see your long-lost glow beginning to return.

Posh Mask Review

Thursday, June 1, 2017

I have talked about Perfectly Posh on the blog here before. I first tried this line of skin pampering products back before Christmas 2014, when I tried a chocolate scented body cream and the Caffeinator Skin Stick. I have ordered on and off and I joined Posh to get a seller discount briefly back in 2015. Posh has some really good stuff!

As you know if you're a regular reader, my day job is as a magazine beauty writer. I love some of the products so much that I have even featured them in my recommendations in magazines. Smashing Good Pumpkin and the Daily Grind Body Scrub are two of these products I have mentioned in print.

When I found out from my dear friend Steph that her niece, Bri Connaughton is a Posh consultant, I knew I had to get right on it and TELL YOU.

Posh makes some incredible products and Bri is The Beauty Writer's go-to Posh girl from here on out and I want her to be yours, too. In my opinion, though, the brand really excels at formulating some top-notch masks, so I am focusing on those today.

I was recently compiling a list of favorite masks to share my for the face and body with you and realized that half of my favorite skin masks are from Posh, so let's dish.

It is VERY rare that when I am making a list of favorite products (such as mascaras or conditions, for example) that half of my favorites would ever be from one brand -- in fact, I have never done that before. Posh hits a home run with their masks, though, and I wanted to share my thoughts with you.

Apricots Overnight is actually my favorite skin mask in ANY price range. As someone who has been in the skincare field for more than 20 years, I have had access to professional and boutique brands and Apricots Overnight really is an incredible product.

First of all, it contains a cocktail of proven anti-aging ingredients such as Acetyl Hexapeptide and luxurious Argan Oil. Protective sunflower seed oil is rich in antioxidants to help fight free radical damage, while Sodium Hyaluronate (AKA hyaluronic acid) holds 1000 times its weight in water. WHy does that matter? Well, it matters because as we get older, our own level of hyaluronic acid is greatly reduced, which causes a loss of elasticity. The result is looser, sagging skin with lines and wrinkles forming. When you apply a skincare product with hyaluronic acid like this mask, it helps replenish lost moisture and prevents new moisture loss. It is also known for giving skin a plumper, healthier appearance. 

Additionally, aloe vera soothes irritated skin and jasmine flower has been shown to help improve the appearance of scars, including those left behind from acne. 

Another standout ingredient in Apricots Overnight is CoEnzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone), which is an enzyme with antioxidant benefits. It is also a proven anti-aging skincare ingredient with many years of research behind it.

What I really love about this mask is the fact that it is a mask that you leave on while you are sleeping. It is a proven fact that skin cells work their magic most effectively at night. While you are getting some ZZZs, your skin is actually working really hard. 

Says dermatologist Dr. Howard Murad: 

"While cells repair and rebuild at all stages of sleep, the majority of cell turnover and regeneration occurs during deep REM [rapid eye movement] sleep."

After you cleanse your face at night, apply a layer of this mask and leave on overnight. Rinse clean in the morning. I personally use this mask twice a week, but you may find that more or less works best for you. A little goes a long way with this product. Mine lasts me for several months and at $22 per tube, you are left with skin that feels buttery soft and smooth and is dewy and plump in the morning. If you can only buy ONE product from Posh, trust me when I say that you need to snap this one up from Bri YESTERDAY. ---Apricots Overnight

The Stripper -- Let me preface this with a plea: For the love of all things holy, please DO NOT use this one on your face.

I see photos of it on Instagram and then people want to know why their skin is burning. It is NOT a facial mask. The Posh website clearly states this. The esthetician in me begs you to stop applying it to your face (trust me, your skin will thank you down the road) and use it the way it was intended. Now that I have gotten that off my chest, this product is the ONLY mask that I use on my body regularly. 

About 20 years ago, I started using an expensive body mud called Borghese Fango Active Mud. It was a splurge, but it made me feel like I was having a mud treatment at the spa. I used it twice a week as part of my regular "spa nights" at home. I had never found anything I liked that was similar, so I continued to purchase it. Since I have tried Stripper, though, I have not reached for my Fango mud. That is a big deal, my friends. In fact, we moved to this house a week before Christmas last year and I still have not unpacked that jar.

So just why would you want to use a body mask like The Stripper Detox Body Mud? I mentioned earlier that I like to have mud masks on my body at the spa. Let's face it, though, I don't have time or the desire to strip down naked anymore and have a stranger rub me with mud. It's just not happening. It was one thing when I worked at a spa and could have it done for free, but I'd rather get mud-rubbed in the privacy of my own bathroom, thank you very much.

The ingredients in muds such as these help draw out environmental impurities from the skin. Charcoal, for example, has myriad skin benefits when used in a mask. Activated charcoal has the ability to "attract" skin impurities, pulling them from the skin. These are the same impurities that can trigger breakouts, a dull complexion, and skin congestion. 

Are you oily? Do you suffer from the embarrassing -- but very common -- acne on your back or butt? Then you will likely see a dramatic visible improvement after a few applications of this mask.

Charcoal is believed to help expedite wound healing and soothe inflammation, too, so that is another big perk.

There is also kaolin in The Stripper. Kaolin, a clay that is naturally occurring, is oil-absorbing, tightening, and anti-aging. A mud mask like this is great to get the skin from the neck down looking healthy and radiant. 

A tip: Get yourself a dry skin brush and use that first, then apply your mud. The brushing boosts skin circulation and will help the mud work even more effectively.

The Stripper is going to quickly before your favorite mud mask for the body! A large jar is just $24.
Get it here ---> The Stripper

Smashing Good Pumpkin

If you are oily, acne-prone or combination, you will adore this mask. It is a such a fantastic product that I wrote about it in the September 2015 issue of Cosmo Biz:

I love this mask because it contains Salicylic Acid, which is oil soluble and can get into the pores and help clean out the bacteria. Tea tree oil is naturally antibacterial, while the pumpkin contains Essential Fatty Acids and antioxidant Vitamin E, which can help to regulate oil production. 

In addition to being an exceptional mask for those with acne, it is also a good choice for those who are aging. I would recommend this for those going through the hormonal changes of menopause, which is actually a time when many women experience acne. The carotenoids in the pumpkin fruit (yes, it is a fruit!) will help improve skin cell turnover and make your skin look fresher and renewed.

Smashing Good Pumpkin ---; Find it here.

While Posh has so much more than just masks, the masks are my most favorite products, so try them without reservation. Shop with Bri and tell her The Beauty Writer sent you.

Yes, your oily skin really needs oil

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Yes, your oily skin really needs oil!

What we’re about to say may have you scratching your head, because it seems counterproductive.

Your oily skin needs oil. Forget everything you have heard in the past about avoiding oil at all costs if your skin is oily. In fact, you may be doing your pores a major disservice by omitting oil from your skincare routine. For years, people have shunned oil and had a real fear of it, believing that adding oil to already oily skin would only make matters worse. The opposite is actually true.

Oily skin is shiny and often looks greasy because there is so much excess sebum. It is more prone to acne breakouts, as it tends to be congested. Oily skin affects your makeup’s ability to stay put on the skin, and it even more negatively impacts self esteem.

If you look at the skin care products marketed toward those with oily skin that have been around for years, you will notice something they all share in common: harsh and drying ingredients. If you have ever tried them, you will know that most of them end up making your oily skin look even worse. There is a reason for this. The harsh ingredients in traditional oily skin products strip away the skin’s natural oils. When this happens, your oil glands overcompensate and produce even more oil. In other words, by trying to eliminate oily skin, you are actually causing your pores to produce even more oil.

Research suggests that using face oils for oily skin may be the solution. Your oil glands will find balance with gentle, non-clogging oils. Many skincare oils contain antibacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredients to soothe and balance oily skin. The right plant-based oils will help to eliminate toxins and ingredients that increase the likelihood of skin congestion.

Don’t be afraid of oil! It is just what your oily and combination skin craves!

The 5 Best Face Oils for Oily and Combination Skin

1. Biossance 100% Squalane Oil is just incredible. I have tried many "pure squalane" oils before and they are NOT created equal. This product from Biossance was formerly known as the Revitalizer. It is amazeballs. I absolutely love this oil. Why squalane? It is a very stable oil, which is essential. Unlike many other popular oils (even argan), it is a 100% saturated oil, so it is even more shelf stable than the good old standby coconut oil. It is ideal for those with an uneven skin tone, roughness, and acne scars from oily skin. It nourishes rough patches, making skin look smoother and softer without increasing sebum production. Note: Squalane is NOT the same as squalene, which should be avoided.

2. Belif Tea Tree Oil is best for those with oily skin who are trying to combat pimples. Tea tree oil is naturallly ant-bacterial. Plus, it is scientifically proven to work as well as harsh benzoyl peroxide, making it an excellent spot treatment. This product also adds in rosemary, chamomile, and lavender.

3. Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil is considered by many to be the gold standard, as it has been around for decades. I have used Clarins Lotus Oil for 20 years! It purifies, improves skin texture, and reduces the appearance of large pores without causing irritation. It is the perfect choice for those with oily skin that is beginning to exhibit the signs of aging.

4. Dr. Hauschka Clarifying Day Oil is just what your skin is begging for if it is irritated, red, and inflamed. Wheat germ and calendula help calm and soothe, while neem oil helps ease oil production without stripping natural emollients.

5. Are you looking for an overnight treatment to work its magic while you get your beauty sleep? Origins High-Potency Night-A-Mins Skin Refining Oil contains salicylic acid, which can penetrate the pores and help lift out bacteria. It also is rich in antioxidants to protect the skin from environmental contaminants. This is a great choice for combination skin prone to oily patches.

The 5 Best Products to Minimize the Look of Pores

Friday, May 26, 2017

One of the most common questions estheticians are asked is, “How can I make my pores look smaller?”

Large pores can wreak havoc on a person’s self esteem. If you could banish your pores with ease, I think it’d be on pretty much everyone’s wish list. The idea that you can shrink pores, sadly, is just a myth. The size of your pores is largely determined by your genetics. You can temporarily minimize the look of large pores, but there is nothing that can be done to permanently shrink them, no matter how tempting ad copy makes a product sound.

So just what can you do to minimize the appearance of large pores? There are many steps you can take.

  • Exfoliate the skin. Just lifting out excess bacteria and sebum by exfoliating can help minimize the look of pores. Look for products with beta hydroxy acid (also called salicylic acid) to help unclog pores, leaving them cleaner and smaller. Glycolic acid, mandelic acid, and fruit enzymes are other effective exfoliants. While they cannot penetrate the pores the way salicylic acid can, just the act of a thorough sloughing goes a long way.
  • You can visit the dermatologist’s office or your favorite skin therapist for a chemical peel. Peels can help refine and resurface an uneven texture, making pores look less visible.
  • When searching for skincare treatments, look for products containing Retinol. This ingredient is derived from Vitamin A and, when applied topically, can help slow down and minimize sebum production. Less oil production equals less visible pores.
  • Be sure you are using a broad spectrum sunscreen. UV damage affects the pores, which is a little known skincare fact. The sun’s rays weaken cells and decrease elasticity, making your skin looser with larger pores.
  • When you apply makeup, be sure to apply a skin smoothing primer. These silicone-based products help to minimize the appearance of pores while creating an even surface. Today’s primers can make even the largest pores look nearly invisible.

There are so many well-formulated products on the market to help with this skin concern. Which pore minimizer is best for you? We’re sharing 5 favorites:

1. Skinfood Peach Sake Pore Serum is the perfect recipe for those who are looking for both anti-aging and pore minimizing benefits. Featuring Vitamin A and Vitamin C to lessen the appearance of fine lines, this serum also contains reparative ingredients to help improve overall texture and tone. These include Argan Oil, gotu kola, and other tropical extracts.

2. Make pores disappear before your eyes with Dr. Brandt Pores No More Refining Primer. Apply to cleansed skin under makeup to help blur imperfections and provide an even canvas for selfie-ready makeup all day long.

3. Aloette Aloe Pure Restorative Enzyme Peel is a gentle, yet effective exfoliant that helps to brighten dullness as it exfoliates lackluster, flaky skin that gets trapped in the pores and leads to breakouts. Natural fruit enzymes, such as papaya and pineapple help reveal smoother, silkier skin as it lifts away the dead skin cells that make pores appear larger.

4. If your skin could use a moisture boost, Skinceuticals Daily Moisture plumps the skin with hyaluronic acid, to help repair collagen. Natural thyme, horsetail and licorice increase hydration while reducing the appearance of pores.

5. Beautycounter No. 3 Balancing Facial Mask is your best choice for oily skin. Naturally astringent activated charcoal helps to purify, detoxify, and reduce oil as it minimizes the appearance of large, deep pores. Salicylic acid helps exfoliate and kaolin clay draws out excess moisture.
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