10 Timeless Beauty Favorites

Monday, January 23, 2017


Oh my goodness, I first started using Lancome Modele Sourcils when I was freelancing for Lancome as a college junior. Over the past 20+ years in the beauty industry, I have used countless brow groomers. Modele Sourcils in Taupe is my go-to to keeps these brows in place.


I first started using Bi-Facil to remove eye makeup with my very first Lancome gift with purchase. Yes, you can use more affordable options, from natural beauty brands to high end -- even plant-based oils in your kitchen. Bi-Facil is magical. A little goes a very long way and it thoroughly and gently removes even the most stubborn of waterproof mascaras.



Estee Lauder Double Wear is in my top 5 foundations of all time. I started using this back in 1998 while working for Estee Lauder. Bone is my shade. They now have a couple different versions of Bone (I get the warmer toned to neutralize the pink in my skin) and it is a perfect match. Double Wear is fragrance free, won't budge, and looks as flawless at 9pm as it did at 9am. It has beautiful texture, too. This one won't rub off on your collar, nor does it fade throughout the day. It is my favorite higher end long-wearing formula.



Another Estee Lauder favorite of mine is Advanced Night Repair. I have used Advanced Night Repair on and off since 1997. This is the best higher end anti-aging serum on the market and has only gotten better over the years. I especially appreciate that this one is a fragrance free product. When I was working for Lauder, this was ALWAYS first on my list of gratis products because I loved it so much. It really, truly works when used consistently.



I recently repurchased the blush shade that I wore on my wedding day: Clinique Soft-Pressed Powder Blush in Plum Gorgeous. Oh my, how I had forgotten what a beautiful product this was. I hadn't worn it in so many years. Since I have been much more flexible with what I use (because of acknowledging science over fear when it comes to ingredients), I have started falling in love again with some really lovely products from my past. Yes, there are more "sexy" or "trendy" brands and I use them and love them, but there just some really amazing products I am so happy to be using again.




Speaking of Clinique, this is the very first Clinique product I ever purchased. I was in high school and it is still in my makeup bag (not the same tube, of course). Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey is a cult favorite -- and with good reason. It's nourishing and it's sheer, yet when you apply it to your lips it just transforms to a beautiful wash of plum.



My first full-time job out of college was as a Clarins Counter Manager. That is when I was first introduced to the concept of using oils on the face to help balance oily skin. It went against my esthetics training. I thought it was crazy until I tried it myself. I had pretty oily skin back then and I was apprehensive about trying the oil. I was sold after the first couple of applications. Clarins offers other oils, but Lotus Face Treatment Oil is my favorite to help balance excess sebum and keep it in check.


Another Clarins favorite is Beauty Flash Balm. I have been purchasing it on and off for 2 decades. It truly adds a boost of radiance and health to your skin. It was an essential for me when I was in my early 20s working at Clarins after long nights out so I looked wide-eyed for work, and it was a must when I was a sleep-deprived mom to two babies. It continues to be an essential for me now at 41. Clarins Beauty Flash Balm actually works best OVER your makeup. If you dab it on, it doesn't disturb your makeup and gives a wonderful radiance.


I will never forget my introduction to *magic Liquid Powder from Prescriptives. I was in my 20s working as a makeup artist at Estee Lauder at the Eastview Mall Kaufmann's store. On my lunch break, I wandered over to visit my friend at the Prescriptives counter, which was located by the women's fragrances. I thought she might be ready to head to the food court, but she was busy unpacking a box of the latest Prescriptives release -- *magic Liquid Powder. I remember her telling me about it and then she offered to let me try some. I almost laughed at the idea that a powder could be a liquid. I mean, it looked just like regular old loose powder to me. When I felt it applied with a brush, I was in awe. It felt like liquid. And when I looked in the mirror, my face was absolutely radiant. I bought my first jar. Now, 18 years later, I am still using it. There were years I did not -- but there really was never anything out there that was the same concept.


Absolutely underrated these days is the skincare brand most loved by my grandmother: Elizabeth Arden. Eight Hour Cream Skin Protectant has been around FOREVER. Well, not forever, but since 1930! Yes, it has petrolatum. It isn't cutting edge or glamorous, nor does it possess the "it factor". Do you know something, though? It is a darn good product for weathered, chapped skin. I like to keep one of these tubes with me in the wintertime to really protect my skin from low humidity and dehydration. 

5 Skin Saboteurs

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Today we’re talking about the 5 greatest skincare sins.  Are you guilty of them?  Let’s find out!




1. You eat too much sugar.

Sugar causes the skin’s collagen and elastin fibers to break down. In fact, I recently wrote about glycation if you'd like to take a look. The result? Lines and wrinkles creep up more quickly. Before you take another bite of that Twix bar or swallow another handful of Reese's Pieces, head for your fridge and and grab some raspberries, blueberries or blackberries instead.  Not only are berries rich in antioxidants, they are also a sweet substitute for less healthy sugars.

2. You go to bed with your makeup on.

Big mistake, my friends. We all have had those nights. Perhaps you’ve been out too long with friends or maybe you’re just plain exhausted. Going to bed without thoroughly washing your face and removing your makeup is one of the worst things you can do for your skin.

Why? When you don’t remove your makeup, you are creating a breeding ground for bacterial growth. Your pores will get clogged and you’ll eventually end up with a zit or two (or three). Your skin will also look older. No one wants that to happen.  I didn’t even mention the possibility of infection caused by leaving on mascara all night that may get into your eyes. Just don’t do it. Take a couple of moments and remember to remove all that makeup. Let your skin breathe.  Your complexion will thank you!

Cheat: If you don't want to wash your face, I like the super duper affordable Simple Kind to Skin Cleansing Wipes in a pinch.


3. You’re not wearing sunscreen.

The bulk of skin aging is caused by sun UV damage. Since we know that the sun will make your skin look older, why not commit to using sunscreen each and every day. You cannot control your genes, but this is one type of aging you actually have a say in. Plus, broad spectrum sunscreen can help prevent cancer. Don’t you think that this is reason enough to start wearing it?

My favorite facial SPF is from Exuviance. It is pricey, though. A close second favorite is available right at Target for about 1/3 of the price. It's by Coola and it called Bare Republic SPF 30 Mineral Face Lotion.

4. You’re not having enough sex.

This is not a joke. Now in no way am I saying to run off and pick some random person off the street for this task, but did you know that research proves that having sex improves your skin?  Dr. David Weeks, of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, actually conducted a study for more than a decade just on this subject.  The results?  Women who were having sex regularly looked 7 years younger than the others in the study group. Have sex.  Look younger. What’s not to love about that?

5. You fill up on flour.

White flour is one of the leading dietary causes of acne.  The bulk of cookies, cakes, pastas, and cereals are high on the glycemic index.  In other words, these are the “bad carbs.” White flours are notorious for causing breakouts and inflammation.  If you are prone to skin swelling and acne, it may just be because of the white flour in your diet.

Are you guilty of the above 5 skin saboteurs? Whether it’s not getting enough nookie or getting too much sun, making simple lifestyle and dietary changes may dramatically improve the condition of your skin.

Should you try the Korean Skincare Routine?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Beauty trends come and go and one that is really popular right now is what's known as the Korean Skincare Routine. Just what is the Korean Skincare Routine and how does it differ from other facial skin care regimens? Let's learn more about this multi-step trend that has a cult following.





There is a great emphasis on prevention versus correction



  • At a young age, women in Korea are taught to take good care of their skin, often heading to bathhouses with their mothers. It is cultural to invest time and energy into the art of a skin care routine in order to keep skin looking younger longer.
  • By contrast, in the United States, women are generally more likely to take the minimalist approach with their daily regimen.
  • In the US, trends indicate that we do not typically to stick to a consistent routine until we begin to notice subtle signs of aging.

The Korean Skin Care routine is labor-intensive



  • There are ten steps, to be exact. Ten. It is truly a ritual -- and that is its appeal.
  • The idea is that a lengthy (typically 30 minutes) routine helps pamper and nurture your skin.
  • Says esthetician and Korean beauty expert Charlotte Cho: "It’s the lifestyle and mindset behind skin that’s really getting people interested in Korean skin care rituals."

10 steps of the Korean Skincare Routine: Layering is the name of the game



  • Cleansing oil dissolves makeup and remove environmental debris. Massage into face and neck, add a splash of water in order to emulsify the oil, and repeat. You can't go wrong with DHC Facial Cleansing Oil.


  • Foaming cleanser is used to remove all traces of makeup and other impurities left behind after step one. Following an oil cleanser with a water-based cleanser is known as the “double cleanse” method that is one of the hallmarks of the Korean skincare regimen. A gentle, fragrance free option is Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Cleanser.


  • Exfoliation is the third step. This step should be done once or twice a week and allows dead skin cells to be sloughed off. It is, perhaps, the most crucial step, as a clean face allows treatment products to absorb more readily into the pores. In other skincare routines, we tend to focus on chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid. A good old fashioned manual scrub is the norm in the Korean routine. My favorite manual scrub is one I have used for over 20 years! It's the Queen Helene Oatmeal & Honey Facial Scrub.


  • Toner is applied with a cotton pad to assist in restoring skin pH and helps to rehydrate the skin. Think of it as somewhat of a liquid primer for the skin. A makeup primer creates a smooth canvas with which to apply foundation and, similarly, a toner creates the right canvas for serums and masks. A soothing option is Seed Advanced Botanicals Toner. There are two options. My go-to is their Lemon Balm toner.


  • Essence is a lightweight, less concentrated product used before a serum and is considered to be the core of the Korean skincare routine. Think of essence as a toner-serum blend. Apply this skin repairing liquid into the skin with your hands and gently massage in. Caudalie Beauty Elixir is my top pick. 


  • Serum is applied after essense and it known as “ampoule” in Korea. It is highly concentrated and is the skin perfecting step. In this skincare regimen, your choice of serum is based on your key concern, whether it be congested pores, lack of brightness or fine lines. A luxurious choice for cell regeneration and brightening is Siam Seas Twilight Be Calm Elixir. I received three Siam Seas products in my last Boxwalla box and am VERY impressed with the quality.



  • Sheet mask follows a serum. Unlike the masks we are used to in the United States, a wet, paper-like mask is used. This step is relaxing and takes a bit longer than the other steps, as it is on up to 15 minutes. Sheet masks can be used every day of the week if desired. Unclog your pores with the Dr. Jart+ Pore Minimalist Black Charcoal Sheet Mask
     



  • Eye cream is a twice daily must. As the skin under the eyes is thinner than an eggshell, it is quite fragile and lacks hydration. A rich, nourishing cream formula is what is advised. My favorite eye cream is CeraVe Eye Repair Cream. I bought this on a whim after Christmas and am super impressed! 

    

  • Moisturizer to help skin seals in the previous steps and leaves the skin looking plump and dewy. Whether you prefer a lightweight lotion or a rich cream, be sure to look for one with niacinamide for its nourishing and anti-aging benefits. A tried and true is Seed Advanced Botanicals Daily Moisturizer. I personally use the Lemon + Grapefruit for brightening.
     

  • Sunscreen is non-negotiable in any skincare routine, but it is emphasized even more so in the Korean skincare routine. It is the very last thing to go on the skin and should be used every single morning -- whether it be cloudy and dreary or sunny and bright. Look for a product with broad spectrum protection to help prevent UVA and UVB damage. A non-greasy choice for the face is Exuviance Sheer Daily Protector SPF 50 . Yes, it is expensive, but it really is the best protective facial sunscreen available in the US.

Are ten steps really necessary?

No, no, no.

Here's my take: I have been in the skincare industry now for more than half of my life. I believe that taking preventive measures -- beginning a solid skincare routine with potent vitamins and active ingredients -- is really important. I believe that as a culture, we are always busy and in a hurry. This aspect of our lives tends to carry over to our skincare, doesn’t it?

We rush. We skip steps. We opt for fast over thorough. Sometimes we "forget" or our too tired to take off our makeup at the end of the day. Other times, we go a couple weeks without exfoliating, thinking "What's the big deal?"

In that regard, I really think that the aspect of taking a break to sit back, relax, and truly pamper ourselves is really important. I used to be rather skeptical of this routine thinking that it was nothing more than a ploy to get you to purchase more products. 

Here's my take: I have been in the skincare industry now for more than half of my life. I believe that taking preventive measures -- beginning a solid skincare routine with potent vitamins and active ingredients -- is really important. I believe that as a culture, we are always busy and in a hurry. This aspect of our lives tends to carry over to our skincare, doesn’t it?

We rush. We skip steps. We opt for fast over thorough. Sometimes we "forget" or our too tired to take off our makeup at the end of the day. Other times, we go a couple weeks without exfoliating, thinking "What's the big deal?"

In that regard, I really think that the aspect of taking a break to sit back, relax, and truly pamper ourselves is really important. I used to be rather skeptical of this routine thinking that it was nothing more than a ploy to get you to purchase more products. 

I was apprehensive about so many steps and the likelihood that it might irritate the skin and clog pores. I still am. It's unnecessary.

While this is still a big concern and YOU DO NOT NEED TEN STEPS IN YOUR ROUTINE (that's just cray), I really think that if we can learn a lesson from the lengthy routine: Take the time to relax and focus on the relationship between better self care and better skincare. In doing so, both our skin and our spirits will be revitalized.
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