Benefits of a consistent facial care routine (and what I'm using now)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015



There’s something comforting about my bedtime beauty routine. Once I massage my creamy cleanser into my skin, it is as if I am washing away any stress from the day. Those few minutes spent on pampering actually come with other perks. In fact, there are several benefits to having a consistent skincare routine.


1. Your skin will be in better condition.

You change the oil in your car every few months in order to properly maintain it. You know that routine maintenance is a priority to extend the life of your car. You need to respect your skin the same way.

For many of us, we skip steps in our routine because we think it’ll take too long. We are all stretched for time. Once you find the right products, you'll soon realize that it only takes about 5 minutes to do your face. Faithfully keeping a skincare routine will help to treat wrinkles, prevent acne & improve the clarity of you skin.

2. Your skin will work harder for you.

It might sound silly, but it’s true. When you take care of your skin, your skin will take care of you. Did you know that your skin is actually working hard while you sleep to regenerate? Cell turnover is faster at night and this allows your products to do their job more efficiently. If you are careful and make a point to cleanse your skin and remove your makeup every night, your skin will be better able to repair itself, while treatment products and moisturizers will absorb more deeply.

My favorites--




At night, I wash my face with Yes to Cucumbers Cleansing Milk



I also use Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion (with salicylic acid) as a toner.


My night time serum is Suki Even Tone Brightening Serum



Decleor Neroli Essential Night Balm is my go-to night cream.




I also treat my eyes with First Aid Beauty Detox Eye Roller.


3. Your youthful glow will start to come back.


Dullness. At some point, most of us will notice a decrease in skin radiance. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. If you make exfoliation a regular part of your skincare routine, you’ll get your glow back. Cell turnover slows down as we age, so it’s important to help the process along so our skin can shed dead cells.


Exuviance Performance Peel AP25 uses mandelic and glycolic acid to effectively sloughs top layers of the skin,and the results are VERY similar to what you would get at the spa. By exfoliating that top layer of skin, over time your skin will look fresh and healthy once more.


4. With consistency comes visible results.


How many of you have purchased the latest skincare item promising results only to use it a couple of times before declaring it ineffective? People get so caught up in the notion of miracle ingredients or finding the fountain of youth that they expect instant results. Dramatic results will not happen overnight. It can often take weeks of consistent use for noticeable results to happen. The key to seeing those changes is to stick to your skincare routine.

5. Those results you’re beginning to see? They will be easier to maintain.

I like to think of a skincare routine like an exercise routine. When you first start your exercise routine, you might not see results those first few days. Once your routine is established, you take notice. You’ll begin to think, “Wow. Look at the definition in my waist.” When you stick with that exercise plan, you’ll continue to notice changes in your body and if you keep at it, you will be able to maintain those changes. The same is true with a consistent skincare regimen. Your skin will continue to look healthy and refreshed as long as you don’t give up on the routine. If you stop using your products, your results won't last. Please know that it is also okay to change up your routine! Skin changes with age, hormonal changes, weather changes, etc., so what may work now may need to be adjusted down the road.

Holiday Gift Guide: Gilded

Thursday, December 10, 2015

I adore gold. In fact, when we move next week, my living room is going to feature a mix of black & white, along with silver and gold. 

Gold is a great neutral, yet it adds that touch of elegance. I am sharing some gold favorites today. 




Add a bit of sparkle to your hair this holiday season with DryBar Gold Mine Shimmering Leave In Conditioner. Cruelty-free, paraben free, phthalate free. sephora.com, $29






This eye shadow is perfect for the holiday season! It is the Powder Eye Shadow in Gold Rush from Au Naturale

Au Naturale is my most favorite of the truly natural cosmetic lines and it is not just the ingredients that are so stellar -- the quality, texture and packaging are all lovely, too. 

Au Naturale products are made in the USA and are paraben-free, fragrance-free, gluten-free, bismuth oxychloride-free, non-nano, carmine-free, vegan, cruelty-free. aunaturale.com, $17






The Swept Away mini brush collection features 5 beautiful brushes and comes with a bag. This one makes a great gift! bareescentuals.com, $28



Add a touch of gold to your skin with the Golden Face and Body Shimmer Lotion from Jane Iredale.
This adds a gentle golden shimmer without being disco ball sparkly. Let's face it, only teenagers need to be that sparkly! I am so happy that this limited-edition product is back for the holiday season. I will put in on my arms and legs when I am wearing my favorite dress during the party season! This is more than a shimmer lotion, though. It contains a slew of beneficial ingredients, from apple fruit extract to green and white tea.  janeiredale.com, $32




The Gold Sparkle wrap from Jamberry is gorgeous as an accent nail. Need a consultant? Let me know, as I have a few friends to recommend!  jamberry.com, $15




Looking for a facial highlighter in powder form? My favorite with a golden hue is the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal. sephora.com, $38






Decleor Aromessence Neroli Serum & Hydrating Night Balm Review

Monday, December 7, 2015

I think I am in love. Shh. Don't tell my hubby.

Just kidding.

But I am in love enough with these facial care products that I recently "broke up" with the serum and night cream I had been using that I believed were irreplaceable. These products are that good.




I have been using the same facial products since May. They are quite lovely. And they worked pretty well for me. Also back in May,  I received a package from Decleor. It was full of luxurious looking products, but I never opened them until about 5 weeks ago because my skin was just fine. It happens each fall -- when the air temps drop and the humidity falls, my skin becomes dry. That is when I remembered that I had just packed the items from Decleor in a moving box (eek, 10 more days till the big day is FINALLY here). I took out the products and am completely blown away with the quality  and the results.

I have not used the BB Cream or the Rose serum yet, but I will unpack those soon and try them out and get back to you with my thoughts.

What I have been using religiously -- Aromessence Neroli Essential Serum and the Aromessence Neroli Essential Night Balm.




Serum Review -- I have long been a fan of facial oils. My first experience with them was when I was a Clarins Counter Manager right after college. I remember that I was not quite 22 and had fairly oily skin. When our visiting exec recommended I try the Lotus Treatment Oil, I was scared. Using an oil on my skin went against everything I had previously been taught. That oil turned my skin around, though, and I was forever convinced that oils can benefit even the oiliest of skin types.

I used to use oils at night. This one says to use in the morning and even I was skeptical about this. What if my makeup slid off? What if it had my looking like an oil slick?

Here is my AM routine:

*Cleanse skin with Avalon Organics Wrinkle Therapy CoQ10 & Rosehip Cleansing Milk

*Apply Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion Alcohol Free (It has salicylic acid to gently exfoliate too)

*Apply two drops of Decleor Aromessence Neroli Essential Serum

*Wait 5 minutes and apply Bare Minerals Prime Time primer

*Apply It Cosmetics SPF 50 CC Cream (Radiance formula, shade Light) with a Real Techniques Stippling Brush

This facial oil serum absorbs very quickly into the skin and does not leave an oily film or residue behind. I have never had luck with an oil before my makeup, but this one is different. It really leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated without any unpleasant greasiness.

Did I mention the ingredients? They are really top-notch and beneficial to the skin.


  • Corylus Avellana (Hazel) Seed Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Neroli Oil, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil, Juniperus Communis Fruit Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Oil, Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Oil, Linalool, D-Limonene, Geraniol, Farnesol, Citral




Night Balm Review -- This is my most favorite product from Decleor. It was the first one that I tried. Let me share my experience. I started using this when my mother was recovering from hip surgery and I was traveling back and forth. My husband was on a business trip in Dallas and the dog had a tummy bug. At the same time, we accepted an offer on our house and had to find another. I was SO stressed, sleeping less than two hours a night, and felt like I was barely functioning. My skin was DULL and I looked as tired as I felt.

I started using the balm on a Wednesday night. I remember -- it felt so wonderful on the skin, immediately quenching the dryness. The dog got me up every hour to take him out and I remember looking at myself in the bathroom mirror around 3:30. My skin was glowing and looked so refreshed. The results from the balm appeared quickly.

Over time, I have seen a softening of those coupe pesky fine lines that have crept in. My skin tone is even. It is healthy looking.

The trick with this gem of a product? Only add a TINY amount to your fingertip -- I mean less than a size of a pea. Then massage between your finger tips and gently massage into the skin.

Ingredients --

  • Corylus Avellana (Hazel) Seed Oil, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax , Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Neroli Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Dipteryx Odorata Seed Extract, Tocopherol, Coumarin, Farnesol, Geraniol, D-Limonene, Benzyl Benzoate, Eugenol, Linalool.

The Skin Benefits of Corylus Avellana Seed Oil 


You do not often see this one in skincare. What is Corylus avellana? It's common name is European hazel or hazelnut oil and it really is splendid for the skin. It is the #1 ingredient in both of these products. So what are the benefits, exactly?
  • Astringent oil delivers non-greasy hydration to the skin 
  • Quick to absorb
  • Ideal for normal, combination and oily skin types
  • Rich and Vitamins B and E
  • Abundant in flavonoids
  • Gentle enough for sensitive skin
  • Hydrating and skin balancing

The Skin Benefits of Neroli Essential Oil

Neroli is very special. This essential oil is also very expensive. Why? To yield just one pound of the oil, you need at least one thousand pounds of orange blossoms!

Neroli comes is distilled from the flowers of the bitter orange tree. It has myriad skincare benefits.

  • May help improve the appearance of acne scars
  • May help improve skin elasticity
  • Calming and relaxing to sensitive skin

Thoughts on Decleor  


Decleor is a luxurious brand of HIGH QUALITY, effective skincare. It reminds me of a combination of three lines: Tata Harper, Clarins and Suki. In many ways, it marries those three into one ideal collection.

I didn't think I would find myself changing things up so much, but I am so grateful that I gave the products a chance, as they are truly exquisite.

For more details, visit http://www.decleorusa.com/.

Holiday Gift Guide: Blueberry Edition

Friday, December 4, 2015



If you love the scent of blueberries, you absolutely will want to try the Whish Body Blueberry On the Go Travel Set. This adorable set includes TSA-friendly sizes fof their body wash, butter and shaving cream, all in a cute travel bag. $20







Blueberries are potent antioxidants, and you will get your fill in Catastrophe Cosmetic Fresh Face Mask. This facial mask from Lush features blueberries, orange, almond, Irish moss, calamine and chamomile to soothe uber sensitive or irritated skin. $7.95







Blueberries & Cream Rooibos from Tealightful (my consultant is Jarrod Parsons) is a berry-licious drink. It is creamy and sweet without being too sweet and is just delicious on a cold night. $16.50




Blueberry Ale Beer Soap from the Brown Bag Soap Company on Etsy combines Sweet Water Blueberry Wheat Aloe, coconut oil, olive oil and more. I love blueberry beer and you could make a gift basket with blueberry beer, blueberry soap and blueberry candles. Wouldn't that be a fun gift? $5.95


If you are looking for an indulgent gift for the blueberry lover, the Trish McEvoy Home Collection Blueberry Vanilla Scented Candle would make a special gift. $20.50


Holiday Gift Guide: Palette Edition

Thursday, December 3, 2015

There are so many gorgeous eye shadow palettes out there in every price range. it can be hard to know which ones are worth it, though. Some look beautiful, but the actual product is choppy when applying or you may even experience the dreaded eyeshadow fallout.




I am sharing my TEN FAVORITE EYE SHADOW PALETTES -- all are ideal for giving!

Bonus: All of my favorites are paraben free.




If you are looking for the BEST assortment of truly matte shadows, the It Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Vol. 1 Matte Luxe Transforming Eyeshadow Palette is a must have. This is my most favorite collection of matte colors in any price range and it is a staple. It Cosmetics is in my top 3 favorite brands of cosmetics because the ingredients are great, the packaging is beautiful, and the products actually live up to their claims.  Something unexpected? These can ALL be transformed into a pearl finish if desired. $42

The Venice Enchantment Eye Shadow Palette from Cargo is made of rich golds and wines and comes with an eye pencil in a coordinating shade. $34



Jane Iredale is one of The Beauty Blogger's longtime favorite brands. The ingredients are really stellar, as is the quality -- plus the packaging is truly gift worthy. In the Blink of a Smoky Eye Kit  features a blend of neutrals and colors of the highly pigmented Pure Pressed shadows. $50


Another favorite is the Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette. Oh, this one is gorgeous. It is a really wonderful palette and the colors, especially the bold sapphire, are simply stunning. I confess-- I am not a big UD shadow fan. I have the Naked Basics palette and do like it, but the larger Naked palettes just aren't the best in terms of quality. I am happy with this one, though. Get it before it is gone! $58




Looking for a kit that includes a bit more AND has absolutely fantabulous ingredients? Then check out the Au Naturale Julie Henderson Glam Eye Palette. It is an incredible value -- regularly $130 for $48.


The Too Faced Chocolate Bar Eyeshadow Collection is a lovely blend of matte and shimmer shades. I love the fact that there is natural cocoa fruit powder in the shadows, which delivers a rich and chocolatey scent. $49



I've had this one for years and it continues to be a night-out favorite. It's from Honeybee Gardens and is the Rock the Smokey Eye Palette. A friendly tip -- this is $29.99 nearly everywhere, except Ulta's website, where you will find it for just $16.99.



The PRO Palette 2  from LORAC is one of the most reached for palettes in my makeup collection. I used it on the brides and bridesmaids for the weddings I did over the summer and it is just one I will always want in my personal stash. Like the other brands features here, this is not the only eye palette from LORAC, but it is by far my favorite from the brand.  $42




What drugstore palette is far superior to the Urban Decay Naked palettes in terms of quality of ingredients AND no fallout (which the Nakeds are notorious for)? Yep, it's the $11 Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Classic Nude Palette. No parabens. No gluten. No artificial fragrance. It's fabulous!


This is a true classic. Laura Mercier never disappoints with her powder shadows and the Eye Artist's Palette is like that Little Black Dress -- this will be an essential in your beauty repertoire. Find it at Sephora. $55

Argan Oil Must-Haves

Tuesday, November 24, 2015



I've been writing about the benefits of Argan Oil for years.




Are you using skincare products made with argan oil? If not, you may be missing out. Less known than coconut oil or jojoba oil, argan is truly a special oil. Argan oil itself contains more antioxidant and cell regenerative properties than olive oil, grape seed oil and avocado oil combined.


When applied to the skin, it absorbs quickly, and without an oily film, leaving behind a silky and satiny feel. It also works beautifully to restore shine and lustre to the hair.

Argan oil is commonly referred to as "liquid" gold -- and with good reason. Not just a filler, argan oil provides the skin with many nutrients and a whole list of benefits.

Argan the protector.

Argan oil is rich in phenols, making it a protective oil. It contains 200% more Vitamin E than olive oil. Argan is not just nourishing, it's a potent antioxidant and can effectively fend off free radical damage.


Need moisture? Look no further.

Argan oil is highly moisturizing. It is rich in Omega 6 fatty acids to help plump the skin, boost moisture levels and give a supple and healthy appearance. Choose a facial moisturizer or serum with argan oil to ease dryness (try Beautycounter Lustro Face Oil 1). You will be happy to discover that argan hydrates the skin without leaving a greasy film like other oils often do.


Slower skin aging? Yes, please!

Argan oil may make your skin look younger. Abundant in vitamins to improve skin elasticity, argan also boasts something called Triterpens, which aid in cell restructuring and can slow down the cell aging process. Because of the regenerating properties, your skin will benefit from hydrating products with argan oil. My go-to? Perfectly Posh As Good As Gold Argan Oil Skin Stick. It's the best $13 you will ever spend!


Could this oil help combat acne?

Argan oil may even fight acne, as many believe that it is not only antiseptic, but anti-bacterial as well. It's light and fast-absorbing and will not clog the pores.


Reduce inflammation with argan oil.

Argan oil may help fight inflammation. Evidence suggests that, when applied topically, argan oil may reduce pain, itching and swelling associated with various skin ailments.

We've only begun to hear about the many skincare benefits of argan oil. It seems like new research appears every few months promoting more and more benefits -- but it's not just limited to the skin these days.


What about argan oil in beauty products?

Yes! You will find many cosmetics out there now formulated with argan oil. My new favorite argan beauty item is also my NEW FAVORITE MASCARA! I have been using a new paraben-free mascara the past couple months and I love it so much that I just ordered another. If you have been reading over the years, you will know that this rarely happens. If you have not yet tried it, do yourselves a favor and try the Pur Minerals Big Look Mascara lengthens, thickens, and conditions without irritation, smudging or clumping. It's a winner!




Need a gift idea for the beauty junkie? Head to Sephora for the Josie Maran Whimsical Wonder Argan Oil Color Essentials boxed set.




*Sources:

Guillaume D, Charrouf Z. Argan oil and other argan products: use in dermocosmetology. The European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology. 2011;113(4):403–408.

Rawlings AV, Matts PJ. Stratum corneum moisturization at the molecular level: an update in relation to the dry skin cycle. J Invest Dermatol. 2005;124(6):1099–1110.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303768104577460504019108684

Samantha's Bellafill Journey: Part 2

Friday, November 20, 2015


Editor's Note: This is part 2 in a special series featuring a reader's journey with Bellafill -- an acne scar treatment performed by select dermatologists. Thank you to Bellafill for providing this treatment to our blog reader, and thank you to Samantha for sharing your experience!


Hello again! Samantha here for part two of my Bellafill® journey. It has been a crazy couple of months for me with my wedding happening and all my family in town!

Since my last blog post, I went in to Dr. Sabini for my first round of treatment with Bellafill® for my acne scars. My skin test came back negative so I was ready to go! Going into the treatment appointment I was very nervous mostly because I have never had any type of cosmetic injection before. Upon arriving, I was greeted by a very sweet nurse. She put some numbing cream on my face and gave me some ice to place on my face for about ten minutes. I have a feeling they normally don't do this, but she saw how nervous I was and offered it to comfort me. Dr. Sabini was very thorough and injected every scar on my cheeks that she could see as being a fit for Bellafill® treatment. Remember, Bellafill® treatment is only approved for facial rolling acne scars. I do have a few ice pick scars, which look like little holes, but not many. Bellafill® is not for these ice pick scars.


Before she injected each scar, Dr. Sabini would gently break up the existing scar tissue with the needle. This is to help Bellafill® more evenly fill in the scar. It was not as painful as I expected it to be, just a little uncomfortable. The whole process took about an hour, at most. I left the office and drove home just fine. My face did bruise and swell slightly at some of the injection sights, but this only lasted a day or two. Overall, I am extremely happy with this process so far! My wedding date was back in September, and I could see a major difference in my skin just a couple of weeks after the treatment.


I am excited to see how much more my skin will improve throughout the course of my treatment. Dr. Sabini said the appearance of my acne scarring will be less noticeable as time goes on. It should only take one or two more treatments to achieve optimal results, and she is confident they will almost all be gone. Stay tuned for more in my next blog about my second treatment! :)

Debunking a popular internet beauty myth

Thursday, November 19, 2015

If you have been reading for any of these 8.5 years, you know that I try to link to scientific studies and peer-reviewed articles to substantiate any worries about ingredients. I used to fall for fear mongering. We've talked about this before. I once took the Cosmetics Database as the gospel. As a new mom and as someone who'd just lost a loved one to cancer, I wanted to do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to protect my family from being more likely to develop cancer down the road.




And then I took my blinders off and came down to earth and and remembered that EVIDENCE and FACTS are stronger than fear and hysteria. Before I express a concern over an ingredient or product, you will see that I link to sources or mention studies. I am not talking about quoting Mercola, Food Babe or Natural News -- but actual, factual science in terms of peer-reviewed articles and studies.

Just because your cousin's friend's neighbor's stepmother read on Facebook that something is "toxic" does not make it true.

Today I am starting a weekly series on some of the claims floating around social media and the blogosphere that we should examine. Today is the first of many of these in-depth looks at scary claims.


Claim: "It only takes 26 seconds for the ingredients in your skincare products to be absorbed into your bloodstream."

You've seen this claim floating around Facebook and on blogs in colorful memes. It sure sounds scary, doesn't it?

Do not worry, friends, as this is just a MYTH.

To quote the ladies on the popular Esurance commercial, "That's not how it works! That's not how any of this works!”

When it comes to penetration, the 26 seconds claim is not how things work. In fact, there is no scientific data to back this claim, which seems to have originated on an organic health and beauty blog a few years back. The claim has spread like wildfire, but just because you read it on the internet does not make it true. By the way, the "Your body absorbs 60% of what you apply to your skin" is NOT backed by any peer-reviewed studies or other forms of credible science either.

A little skin primer


  • Our skin is made up of three layers. The epidermis is the outer layer that we see and feel each day. The dermis is the layer of living tissue found underneath the epidermis. It has hair follicles, nerve endings, sweat glands, etc. The hypodermis is also known as the subcutaneous fat layer. This is where fat is stored, body temp is controlled, and this is where the upper layers of your skin are attached to muscle and bone.

Some Skincare Facts

A bit of confusion to clear up

Part of the trouble out there is that the words penetration and absorption tend to be used interchangeably. The problem is, these are NOT the same thing.

Let's break it down. Start with a topically applied skincare product. Let's say a body lotion for the sake of this post. You rub that lotion into your skin and what happens? Skin penetration signifies the amount of the topically applied chemical (remember, everything is a chemical) that is between the top and bottom layers of the epidermis. At this stage, the chemical is not absorbed into the body.

On the other hand, skin absorption is when the ingredients get through the skin barrier and into the bloodstream. At this time, it is either filtered out when you go to the bathroom or is let to accumulate.

  • Some ingredients can  penetrate deeply into these layers. Some don't actually penetrate the skin at all. An example of this would be nanoparticles, which are often vilified. 
  • There are many factors that have an impact on whether or not something will penetrate the skin. These include whether an ingredient is water or oil soluble and its molecular size and weight to name just a couple.
  • Most ingredients do NOT actually absorb. They have molecules that are just too large or are only water soluble. They sit on the outer layer and cannot get any deeper into the skin.
  • When it comes to ingredients like retinol, ingredients called penetration enhancers are used so the active ingredients will be able to deeply penetrate the skin.
  • Let's talk about what happens when a skincare ingredient only penetrates the upper layers of your skin. In this case, it does not get absorbed into your bloodstream. These ingredients ultimately accumulate and are naturally sloughed off in the form of dead skin cells.
  • Even when an ingredient does manage to penetrate deeply and get absorbed into your bloodstream, your body will almost always flush it out thanks to the natural "detox" function of your kidneys.

The Bottom Line

Yes, we should be mindful to choose products with wholesome ingredients. However, there is so much misinformation out there. Science matters. Much of what you read on the internet condemning ingredients is written by people with ZERO background in formulation, chemistry, skincare, health, etc. Be wary -- do your own research -- and look for science. Research the websites from which you are gathering your info.



Sources:

C.L. Gummer,R.S. Hinz,H.I. Maibach; The skin penetration cell: a design update, International Journal of Pharmaceutics.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23722409

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19401210

http://www.wellsphere.com/general-medicine-article/do-cosmetic-ingredients-really-absorb-into-the-blood-stream-in-26-seconds/1940812

International Journal of Pharmaceutics 06/2014; 472(1-2).

http://journal.scconline.org/pdf/cc1969/cc020n08/p00487-p00499.pdf

http://personalcaretruth.com/2011/01/the-impermeable-facts-of-skin-penetration-and-absorption/

The Hypoallergenic Myth

Tuesday, November 17, 2015






HYPOALLERGENIC.

It's a popular, official sounding term, isn't it? It is meaningless, though -- doing nothing other than providing customers with a false sense of safety. "Hypoallergenic" implies that a product is less likely to cause a skin reaction, but science tells us that, in many cases, these claims are truly false.

“The FDA does not regulate or define the term hypoallergenic,” says Dr. Rajani Katta, professor of dermatology at Baylor and director of Baylor’s Contact Dermatitis Clinic.

There is NO regulation, nor are there any federal definitions or standards when it comes to hypoallergenic. In fact, hypoallergenic can essentially mean whatever a company wants it to mean.

When a company claims that their product is hypoallergenic, they do not have to submit any research or documentation to substantiate that their product is hypoallergenic.

MYTH: Here is a quote from a "hypoallergenic" skincare brand's website: "Hypoallergenic products do not contain allergens." 


TRUTH: This is nonsense.


 Here is what Co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Stacy Malkan, says about this-- "People think 'hypoallergenic' means there are no allergens. That is just not the case." 

If you have ever had an adverse reaction to a product, you know all too well the redness, itching and irritation associated with that experience. Unfortunately, companies use that as an angle to market their products and provide a false sense of trust that their product is safer for you.

Do not fall for this. Anything can cause an allergic response. There is no regulation of this marketing buzzword and it is just a gimmick leading consumers to spend more money on their products.

Let's talk "hypoallergenic" skincare.


Many of the products on store shelves labeled as hypoallergenic contain the most well-known irritants there are.

Researchers at Loma Linda University School of Medicine confirmed that products bearing the hypoallergenic label, especially those marketed at children, actually contain common allergens. In fact, of the products they studied, 89% contained one or more chemical known to cause contact dermatitis.

When one examines the ingredients found in "hypoallergenic" skincare, it is troubling. For example, Methyisothiasolinone, a common preservative, was found in more than ten percent of the "hypoallergenic" products tested by Loma Linda researchers. For those unfamiliar with this preservative, it is one of the most irritating ingredients used in skincare and was named "Allergen of the Year" in 2013 by the American Contact Dermatitis Society.

Another ingredient known to cause an allergic response: fragrance -- both synthetic and those which are natural, such as essential oils. Fragrance can be highly allergenic, yet there are companies hawking their "hypoallergenic" products formulated with large amounts of fragrance.


One such product with this claim is Musti Eau de Soin Spray. It is a "hypoallergenic" perfume with the following ingredients:



AQUA, PEG-40 HYDROGENATED CASTOR OIL, PARFUM, GLYCERIN, SODIUM BENZOATE, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, 1,2-HEXANEDIOL, CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, TARTARIC ACID, CHAMOMILLA RECUTITA FLOWER EXTRACT, MEL EXTRA


The third ingredient is parfum. It also contains chamomile. While I am in no way suggesting chamomile is bad - it's not - it is actually a common allergen. I find it quite disturbing, though, that this brand markets the product as hypoallergenic and with instructions that say, "Musti can be used from the day your baby is born." Babies do not need perfume. Babies don't need the above ingredients sprayed on them from day one. Why on earth risk baby's extremely delicate skin?


Mustela, which makes Musti, isn't the only brand marketing so-called hypoallergenic products to parents of young children. 

Johnson's Baby Lotion claims to by "hypoallergenic" as well. While this formula is now paraben free, Johnson's should really know better than to say that their lotion (silicone + petrochemicals) is hypoallergenic. FYI, here are the ingredients:


Water, Isopropyl Palmitate, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Mineral Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 20, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Fragrance, Carbomer, P-Anisic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexylglycerin, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-di-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Red 33

It's just not those two brands. Burt's Bees is also guilty of making this claim. They market their Baby Bee products as hypoallergenic, when they very clearly contain ingredients more likely to cause a response. 

Here is a look at their Baby Bee Shampoo & Body Wash:

Aqua (water, eau), decyl glucoside, coco-betaine, lauryl glucoside, sucrose laurate, glycerin, parfum (fragrance), betaine, sodium cocoyl hydrolyzed soy protein, coco-glucoside, glyceryl oleate, sodium chloridexanthan gum, glucose, citric acid, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase, limonene

Again, understand that I am not calling these products unsafe, bad, or that you should not ever use them. I am saying that these contain artificial fragrance and other ingredients known to cause contact dermatitis.

Be an informed consumer. Do not fall for meaningless marketing gimmicks. Much like "chemical free", "dermatologist tested", "non-comedogenic" and other popular buzzwords, you need to be an ingredients detective!


Here are some of the most common allergens in skincare. Some may surprise you!


Fragrance
Parabens
Sodium Laureth/Laureth Sulfate
Essential Oils 
Triethanolamine
Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives: Quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl urea, bronopol
Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate
Lanolin
Kathon CG (the preservatives methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone)




Sources:



    Zirwas, M. J., & Stechschulte, S. A. (2008). Moisturizer Allergy: Diagnosis and Management. The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology1(4), 38–44.


    Kenneth A. Arndt, Jeffrey T. S. Hsu. Manual of Dermatologic Therapeutics

    University of Gothenburg. "Even Natural Perfumes May Cause Allergies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2009.


    Wallace DV. Pet dander and perennial allergic rhinitis: Therapeutic options. Allergy Asthma Proc 30:573–583, 2009.

    European Commission. 2013. Cosing, the European Commission database with information on cosmetic substances and ingredients. Accessed on March 1, 2013 at http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/ .

    Löffler H, Pirker C, Aramaki J, Frosch P, Happle R, I. E. Evaluation of skin susceptibility to irritancy by routine patch testing with sodium lauryl sulfate. Eur J Dermatol. 2001;11(5):416-9.

    Foti C, Bonamonte D, Mascolo G, Corcelli A, Lobasso S, Rigano L, et al. 2003. The role of 3-dimethylaminopropylamine and amidoamine in contact allergy to cocamidopropylbetaine. Contact Dermatitis 48(4): 194-8.

    Pumpkin, Cranberry & Ginger Delights!

    Thursday, October 29, 2015



    1. I have two limited-edition fall favorites from Perfectly Posh. The first is a body scrub and it smells like a delicious slice of homemade pumpkin pie. Pie to Die For features the best of both worlds for a body scrub -- sugar AND sea salt. It is a non oily scrub, so you will not find yourself slipping in the tub. It features real ginger, as well as cinnamon and ginger and sloughs off dead skin cells. I love how this makes my skin feel!




    2. The next is one that I just had the chance to try for the first time the other day. It is a super decadent -- yet lightweights and non greasy-- Skindelicious body butter called Lil Ginger Gets Snappy.

    I cannot get enough of it! It smells JUST LIKE my homemade gingerbread cake recipe shared here years ago. And what I love about this is that it is chock full of fantabulous skincare ingredients!You will find cocoa butter, coconut oil, aloe, shea butter, banana fruit extract, real ginger, carrot seed, white tea, cranberry, coffee leaf, and so much more. I promise you will LOVE it. $24






    3. Next is is my MUST HAVE fall perfume! In fact, I just ordered a new bottle today because I packed mine a while back (we are moving in a few short weeks!) This one is from Solstice Scents and is an absolutely intoxicating pumpkin perfume called Pumpkin Spice Latte. It is a blend of sweet pumpkin, coffee, cinnamon, gingerbread, whipped cream and nutmeg. It smells so heavenly and it layers beautifully with the scrub and body butter mentioned above. $15



    4. An old favorite that I will never stop recommending comes to us from Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soap in Tucson, Arizona. Nan's Pumpkin Soap is oh so creamy and lathers gently without stripping the skin of needed oils. It smells divine and is a goat's milk soap. $6





    5.  Make YOUR OWN fall Custom Blend at (seed) Body Care! You can choose their Lip Oil, Body Oil or Body Wash formula and mix your own recipe. For fall, how about a nice blend of Ginger and Orange? If you are more daring, one of the body products in a blend of Patchouli, Orange & Ginger would work beautifully, too. $7-$16


    6. Not bath and body related, but my neighbor gave me some Yankee Candle Scenterpiece Easy Melt Cups for my birthday and my most favorite is the Pumpkin Buttercream. It smells wonderful and I use it in a wax warmer. $4.99



    7.  If you are looking for an alternative to pumpkin and bakery scents, why not try the tart, yet sweet aroma of cranberries? Lemongrass Spa has a great Frosted Cranberry Body Collection for just $39 for four products! Get yours from my cousin Ashley.

    Friday Favorites!

    Friday, October 2, 2015

    Hello, beauties!



    What's new here in New York? Let's see. It's windy, gray and in the upper 40s right now. The perfect weather for a cozy sweater and boots. I am sitting here as we speak with my Tealightful Toasted Almond Spice Cake tea, purchased by my AMAZING consultant, Jarrod.


    I have been super duper busy lately, but I like it that way. I guess I always have, haven't I? I have been homeschooling Nick -- actually, he is mainly taking college courses online --but we have been enjoying field trips and working on writing and art together. I also have been immersed in writing projects, having more articles published in the latest copy of CosmoBiz Salon. I've had features in the August, September and October issues and am currently working on November. It's been a great addition to my freelance writing!



    I wanted to share some of my latest finds that I am coveting right now. First of all, I need to mention that I received my Au Naturale order yesterday. I am COMPLETELY BLOWN AWAY by the powder foundation and my new lip gloss. They will be reviewed next week in a separate post. This order seals it, though. Au Naturale is *the best* brand of natural makeup on the market. No ifs, ands or buts.




    I also have been testing out the two new cleansers for Humboldt Soap Company. If you recall, I gave a rave review of the Egg White Complexion Bar in the spring and was eager to try Arice's newest creations. Humboldt Soap has two new liquid facial cleansers called Cleanseplexion with Argan Oil. One is a basic cleanser and the other is exfoliating with Jojoba Beads. I am super impressed with both formulas. They will not take off your makeup -- use the oil cleansing method or your favorite eye makeup remover for that -- but they do gently cleanse the skin with a simple, non-irritating formula. I am not generally a fan of exfoliating cleansers, as most are laden with plastic beads which are horrible for the ecosystem, but this one naturally and gently helps slough dead skin cells. Arice, I continue to be impressed with your products! 





    Ooh, do you see the pretty autumnal bronze nail polish I am wearing in the above photo? It's from Butter London and is called Trifle. I am wearing it with Jamberry Stardust Top Coat. They go so well together. I adore Butter's creamy, easy to apply formulas. That reminds me, I also tried a NOT so good top coat recently which also will get a full review next week. That was $10 down the drain for sure. This is Friday Favorites, however, so I am only sharing things I am really positive about today.



    I am a big fan of rosewater as a toner. I also love facial mists. I am so happy to have found the perfect rose facial mist and it is from one of my favorite brands on earth, Jane Iredale. The Smell the Roses Hydration Spray is full of fabulous ingredients, such as Aloe, Rosewater (REAL, not rose fragrance oil), radish root, rosehips, white tea and more. My face is so dewy and smooth and perfectly hydrated. I use it after cleansing morning and night. Best of all, 100% of the profits benefit Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

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