The Beauty Blogger's Tips for Younger, Glowing Skin

Friday, June 24, 2016



Stop the clock! Aging is a fact of life. Looking older, however, doesn’t have to be something you just sit back and accept.

I’m here with 8 simple tips on how to slow down the signs of aging. Try them--you’ll thank me later! 

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1. Use sunscreen every single day. 


An effective sunscreen is your best friend when it comes to looking younger. The most common signs of aging are from sun damage--brown spots, uneven texture and tone, noticeable fine lines, and wrinkles. Sunscreen is your very best preventive measure when it comes to looking younger. 

My top paraben-free facial sunscreen right now is from Exuviance. Their Sheer Daily Protector SPF 50 is water-light, offers broad spectrum protection and is non-sticky. It can be so difficult finding a facial sunscreen, but this works well under makeup and can be used even on very oily skin.
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 2. Look for retinol night creams.



Retinol, a Vitamin A derivative, is proven to help target fine lines, crow’s feet, brown spots, sun damage, and uneven texture. With so many “miracle” ingredients on the market, retinol is one that has been recommended by dermatologists and estheticians for years.  It has been proven to be effective in multiple scientific studies. It does make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so be sure you only use it at night. 

My top pick-->My favorite over the counter facial retinol product is Paula's Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment, which combines a high concentration of retinol with peptides to help reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

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 3. Get the glow! 

Having radiant skin makes you the picture of good health and it brightens your entire complexion. Brighter skin will help you look younger.  When it comes to makeup, search for powders with “radiant” or “luminous” in the name and they will set your makeup while leaving a soft focus, youthful glow. Highlighters, applied with a brush to the middle of your nose & above the cheekbones will also add a luminous glow.

My top pick--> My favorite products to give your skin a glow are the highlighters from Colour Pop, which are really affordable and of great quality. 


4. Whiten your teeth. 

 A clean, white smile instantly takes yours off your face and can help brighten your eyes and complexion. Even though you brush and floss and take good care of your teeth, they naturally become more yellow by consuming drinks like coffee, tea, or red wine. There are many home kits to easily whiten your teeth in as little as two hours that work as well as expensive bleaching procedures at the dentist. Teeth whitening is an important step in your overall beauty routine and it can take years off of your face.

My top pick--> My fave is actually a Target Up & Up brand product. Their Luminous White 7 Day Whitening Wraps are great! I use them twice a year to help reverse my daily tea, coffee, and occasion red wine drinking. My teeth aren't white a la Ross on Friends, but they get much whiter after using.

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 5. Try an at-home peel. 


There are many facial peel products available for home use, from glycolic and mandelic acid to fruit acids. Perhaps the most popular option is glycolic acid. Glycolic acid has been researched for many years and we know that it works on the upper layer of the epidermis. Not only does this ingredient help reverse sun damage, but it reduces other signs of aging such as fine lines and age spots. 

As a gentler, still effective option to glycolic peel pads, I advise using exfoliating pads with fruit enzymes. Don't think that they won't work just because they use natural ingredients -- fruit enzymes can work as well as their more irritating counterparts. A good peel pad will help lift off dead skin cells, reduce the appearance of large pores, improve texture and clarity, and give a radiant glow.

My top pick --> You have to try the Countertime Enlightening Treatment Pads from Beautycounter.  Sugar cane extract, apple, lemon and orange all brighten the skin naturally. The ingredients are absolutely stellar, too! 


6. Embrace antioxidants. 

I often refer to antioxidants as skincare super heroes. They help shield your skin from the harmful free radicals that are swirling around you. Free radicals come from environmental pollution, cigarette smoke, UV rays, and more. All of these have a negative impact on your skin and actually speed up the aging process. Antioxidants in skin care products include Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin E, resveratrol, and green tea extract. Look for these ingredients when you are shopping for moisturizer to help reverse some of the signs of aging.

My top pick--> This one is an oldie but goodie: Estee Lauder Day Wear Advanced Multi-protection Anti-Oxidant Creme. When this product launched in the 90's, I was working as a Counter Manager for Estee Lauder. The whole concept of antioxidants was new to me. The product has stood the test of time and it was one I have recommended for years after leaving the company.

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 7. Apply eye cream twice daily. 



Yes, you do need an eye cream! Some people believe that all you need is your regular facial cream under the eyes. This is false. The skin under the eyes is thinner than an eggshell. It requires extra care. Think about it--does your under eye area experience the same troubles as your cheeks or forehead?  No. The skin is different. Think of smiling, squinting, and all of the other expressions by the eyes. That is one reason the first signs of aging appear near the eyes. You do need an eye cream.

My top pick--> Beautycounter Vibrant Eye Perfector with Marine Extracts is my favorite eye cream. The ingredients are top-notch and effective. In addition to caffeine and Vitamin C, you will find raspberry, cranberry, grape seed, apricot, and chlorella (marine extract). This lightweight eye treatment contains anti-aging peptides, soothing calendula, and nourishing camellia. You will see that I am mentioning Beautycounter again. Please note that I am not a consultant, but a VERY happy fan. If you have any questions about Beautycounter, Donna Casali is the one to ask. 

8. Stay hydrated. 


“Are you drinking enough water?” 

We’ve all heard this question from our mothers, but mom was right! You do need to drink more water. Drinking water is quick, it is easily available, and it costs nothing. Unfortunately, it is one of the most underutilized skin care tips to look younger. When you drink 8 to 10 glasses of water each day, your skin looks more hydrated, supple, and younger.

Following these eight tips won’t erase 20 years from your face. Being consistent with the above will help prevent future signs of aging, though!

Safer Sunscreens: Why you may want to skip the EWG's "good list"

Monday, June 13, 2016

Let's talk about sun care today, why don't we?

I have spent so much time over the past several years researching the science of sun care, especially the last 3-4 years of magazine writing. My work involves taking a look at studies -- not just the fear you will find circulating on the web.

This guy, now almost 11, was covered in sunscreen at the beach.


The EWG's annual sunscreen guide is out. Before you toss your current sunscreen and run out for a new bottle of "Organic, Non-GMO, Ecofriendly, So Safe You Can Eat It" sunscreen, there is something not many people are aware of:

Making the "good list" is good for marketing. Nothing more. It does not mean that the sunscreen is effective. 

You see, I used to believe that to be ranked highly by the EWG was REALLY A GOOD THING -- that they tried and tested and evaluated the products, that they verified the ingredients, that they really investigated each product in their Skin Deep Database.

This is NOT the reality.
  • The EWG's sunscreen list is truly meaningless. It is in no way based on credible science and the EWG does not even test the products it recommends, which is just ridiculous. I used to do PR for a direct sales "organic" skincare brand. They had a "safe" sunscreen made with "fresh spring water" and aloe vera juice and it had no broad spectrum preservative (yuck) . It was zinc oxide based. The product was really quite dangerous from the perspective of it being likely to quickly form mold, staph and other nasties. There are many similar products-- products that are not shelf stable, products that fail to truly offer adequate sun protection -- but the EWG doesn't seem to consider those little tidbits. Anyway, it was my job to get this product included in the annual sunscreen guide. To do so, a company ONLY needs to submit a photo of the ingredients label, usage instructions, and copy and paste ingredients label. Nothing more. No product samples. No supplier info. Nada. This particular product has now been recommended 4 years in a row by the EWG despite multiple customer complaints of it being ineffective- much like The Honest Co. fiasco. Sadly, scientific research has discredited most of the EWG's fear mongering. I am a huge proponent of healthier, better ingredients - but the EWG does shoppers a huge disservice. 

  • Now let's go back abut a decade to when I had my own skin care brand, KZM Facial Care Boutique. I made natural facial care products and sold them online via Etsy and in small boutiques. My line was Leaping Bunny Certified Cruelty Free, appeared in multiple newspapers, and was featured in Martha Stewart Whole Living. My skin care was in celeb swag bags at film festivals and I was SO PROUD that a stay at home mom with a passion for ingredients and a background in esthetics and makeup could have a successful, well-respected little business. I submitted my products to the EWG and thought they might like to try them before posting them on the website. No. No need. I was really stunned at the lack of oversight. And today, 7 years after closing my business and contacting them multiple times to make them aware, my company  STILL SITS IN THE SKIN DEEP DATABASE. I told them immediately that I was closed. They kept individual products (which were scored 0-2 in terms of safety) up for more than 5 years!  There is ZERO oversight. If you really believe there is someone personally checking each and every product, you're quite mistaken.
But wait, are you saying that the typical Neutrogena and other brands are good for you? No. I am not saying that at all. You know after 9 years of reading this blog that ingredients are VERY important to me. I will not try or buy a product without studying the ingredients with a fine tooth comb. It is just important for me to say that natural isn't always better and synthetic isn't always the devil. 

I recently spent a couple of weeks studying up on the latest information again as I prepared a beauty magazine's guide to sun care. Here is my piece in the June 2016 issue of Cosmo Biz-





There are some TRULY good sunscreens out there with mineral ingredients AND decent preservation. My recommendations to you are:


Beautycounter Protect All Over Sunscreen SPF 30 -- Excellent ingredients with a broad spectrum preservative! Tell Donna that The Beauty Blogger sent you on over. I am NOT afffiliated in anyway, but she is knowledgeable, caring and kind and will provide you with outstanding customer care.


Alba Very Emollient Sunscren Fragrance Free SPF 30  -- I have used this on my boys for years and they have NOT gotten a sunburn. It is preserved properly and fragrance free.


La Roche Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Tinted Sunscreen -- GREAT for the face. This has a slight tint and offers really solid sun protection. Paraben free and I have never experienced pore clogging from this one.


Sunscreen is CRUCIAL. And ingredients really, truly matter. If you have the choice of protecting kids with an unpreserved "organic" "all natural" SPF though or a brand like Neutrogena or Banana Boat, I stand with the SCIENCE. Choose the "unhealthy" brand name if you are in a true pinch. One blistering sunburn during childhood has been PROVEN to greatly increase your risk of melanoma as an adult. Please keep that in mind -- oh, and repeat after me -- COCONUT OIL IS NOT AN EFFECTIVE SUNSCREEN! That is another wacky claim found on the net from bloggers who have taken some of the research out of context. YES, it can provide you with POSSIBLY an SPF of 4-6, but you would need copious amounts and fails to offer the necessary broad-spectrum protection. The same with carrot seed oil...
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