Posts Tagged ‘Skin Care’

Eye Reviver

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

I celebrated my birthday last week and realized that although I don’t necessarily feel “old” being in my early thirties, I definitely have noticed changes to my skin and hair. I can’t say I’m too excited about seeing some gray hair or the tiny crow’s feet I can visibly start to see around my eyes. Lately, my eyes have started to look a little more tired than usual with slight dark under eye circles appearing. Knowing how to get rid of tired eyes can be a challenge because of all the rejuvenating and restoring potions that promise to deliver miracle results. It can be an overwhelming feeling walking into a beauty store or shopping online not knowing where to start. I wasn’t using an anti aging eye serum before but felt now was the time to start. I was introduced to Snowberry Smoothing Eye Serum. I really wanted to use a serum that would quickly be absorbed by my skin to be able to put my makeup on right after. I noticed the lines that made my eyes look like I hadn’t had my beauty rest were smoothed away and gave me a brighter appearance. It also hydrated the little dry patches I get around the outer corners of my eyes making my skin ready for a smoother makeup concealer application. I also discovered this serum is formulated with hibiscus extract, which naturally gives the skin a firming and lifting effect. It also softens and is a great antioxidant to protect against premature signs of aging.  I’ve only been using it twice a day for a week now, and love how it’s made my skin feel.

Beauty Survival Kit: What You Need to Pack for…the End of the World

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

OK, so maybe the idea of the end of the world (or an impending zombie apocalypse) is a bit too far-fetched. You can blame that on my recent trip to Peru, where I’ve had an exceptional, first-hand encounter with the brilliance of the Inca culture—a.k.a. one of the three ancient cultures believed to be proponents of the 2012-is-the-end-of-the-world phenomenon. Or it could be the inevitable effect of my growing addiction to TV gore (thanks, Walking Dead!). However, with all the talk about climate change, World War III, and Planet Nibiru colliding with Earth sometime this century, you can never tell when something unthinkable can happen. So, with this in mind, with or without a real Armageddon threat, I’ve put together my own beauty survival kit.

You must think I’m vain. You must think: why does she need beauty products in the event of an emergency of doomsday proportions?? Well, my friend, in case you’re not aware, our skin is our first level of defense against the world at large. It regulates our body temperature and protects our internal organs from bacteria, adverse environments and extreme weather conditions. Not to mention, our skin, hair and even nails are also the best indicators of our overall health. So, as you assemble the practical things that will help you thrive in the event of an apocalyptic episode, make sure to keep these products on hand. Actually, you can use them any time to ensure healthy skin.

1. Let’s start with the basics.  When I think of Armageddon, extreme temperatures come to mind—either there will be too much UV contact or total darkness. Whatever the outcome, it’s only prudent to arm yourself with a powerful sunblock and a time-tested moisturizer. If you can find one product that does both jobs well—like La Roche-Posay Anthelios SX Daily Moisturizing Cream with Sunscreen—the better! A lip moisturizer with SPF is also a must-have.

2. I don’t need to tell you that in the event of a power outage, hot water—or maybe even water itself—will not be available for your bathing pleasure. Don’t worry, there are other ways to keep yourself clean and fresh in between showers, like anti-bacterial hand sanitizers, on-the-go cleansing wipes, facial and body mists and dry shampoos. You’ll also find these products extremely useful, especially if you find yourself taking refuge in the jungle. I should know, I always bring these products with me whenever I go on camping and hiking trips.

3. As serene as nature can be, unfortunately, you would have to share the rest of the jungle with our cute little crawlers, blood-sucking fliers and poisonous plants. This is where insect repellents and itch-control creams can come in handy. If you have room for skin-soothers like aloe vera, thermal spring waters (a godsend!), and cooling creams, feel free to throw them in the pack as well.

4. Finally, you know those hypothetical questions they usually ask, like what is that one makeup product you’d want to have with you when stranded on a desert or a secluded tropical island? If you don’t have an answer to that yet, you better start thinking of one as early as now. As for me, the only makeup product I brought with me during my crazy Peruvian expedition was my jane iredale Dream Tint SPF 15 Moisture Tint. It’s a moisturizer and sunblock in one that offers just the right amount of coverage. So if it worked exceptionally well for me during my bargain-hunting spree in crowded Lima—and my hiking trip to the Andes mountains under the scorching sun—I’m confident it’ll work for me just fine when the dawn of the dead strikes (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

Pack these products along with sufficient water, some canned goods, protective clothing, a flash light, matchsticks, a medical kit and a badass machete and you get better odds at surviving the end of the world. Remember, if the Mayan/Incan calculations are correct, you only have approximately 18 days to pack your survival kit…and make each moment of your life count. Good luck!

Easy On the Eyes

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

I’m so excited to continue using this product! I just started a few days ago and I can honestly say this NeoStrata Skin Active Intensive Eye Therapy is just what ‘eyes’ needed.  The texture is so light and easily absorbed with a slight refreshing  tingle upon application. It’s almost like I can feel it working.

There is no avoiding it, Crow’s Feet and other signs of aging eyes are inevitable. You can try the expressionless approach and avoid smiling, laughing, frowning and squinting, but since that is not very practical (or fun) there is another option.  Find the right product  that can help fend off these fine lines and quite obvious wrinkles.

NeoStrata Skin Active Intensive Eye Therapy  is formulated with a combination of Apple Stem Cell Extract, Peptides, Vitamin E, NeoGlucosamine and Caffeine that works to correct all visible signs of aging for a lifted, firmer, younger appearance. It smooth’s Crow’s feet lines from the inside out.

The apple stem cell extract actually delays aging in skin stem cells. NeoGlucosamine, patented by NeoStrata,  gently exfoliates and supports the skin’s natural renewal process to smooth and plump the skin for a more lifted appearance. It also prevents a key enzyme in melanin formation reducing the appearance of uneven pigmentation.  Peptides stimulate the collagen production while Caffeine and Vitamin E provide antioxidant benefits and deflate puffiness.

I have confidence that over time this product will get the job done of eliminating wrinkles and puffiness resulting in noticeably younger looking eyes. This is by far one of my favorite eye treatments that I have come across. Did you get this in your Beautyfix kit?

Prevent Wrinkles in Your 20s with Murad

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

At this time and age, everyone is petrified of the “W” word: Wrinkles. Yes, even twenty-something, non-smoking, sunblock-obsessed gals like me. You can blame the massive anti-aging crusades that permeate every advertisement on TV, radio, magazine and the Internet. Or, you can simply accept the fact that the world we live in today is just more polluted, more crowded and more demanding than it was 50 years ago—and is therefore making a bigger contribution to what we call as extrinsic aging, or aging caused by external, totally avoidable factors.

Extrinsic aging chooses no one. It doesn’t matter if you just celebrated your 29th birthday a few days ago (ahem!). Everyone who’s exposed to today’s fast-paced, sleep-deprived, fast food-oriented lifestyle is at risk. In fact, as early as now, I’m already seeing my first few lines under my eyes. I don’t know about you, but I’m not going to sit here and waste any more time slacking off on my anti-aging routine. I won’t wait until my skin’s collagen and elastin production has dramatically dropped before I take any preventive measures.

While we can’t stop birthdays from adding years to our age, nor can we do anything about intrinsic aging (the inherent degenerative process we’re all bound to go through), there are a lot of steps that can be taken to thwart the effects of extrinsic aging and prevent wrinkles in your 20s—some of which are surprisingly doable with little effort. For starters, we can keep applying sunblock every 2 hours and avoid staying out in the sun too long. We can start reaching for vitamin-enriched fruits and vegetables instead of that microwaveable junk we eat for lunch. And we can definitely start using skin care products that contain potent anti-aging ingredients like retinol.

Retinol is one of the few ingredients out there that is clinically proven time and time again to really treat visible signs of aging like fine lines and deep wrinkles. As a vitamin A derivative, it combats the breakdown and weakening of skin-firming collagen that happens due to extrinsic and intrinsic aging. For the fine lines under my eye, I’m now trying the Murad Time Release Retinol Concentrate for Deep Wrinkles.  While it’s especially formulated to fight deep wrinkles, I chose this because it’s a targeted anti-wrinkle solution to problem areas. This is perfect if you’re not ready to go full-scale on retinol just yet.

This formula prides itself on two things. First, its formula is a rich concentration of powerful ingredients such as retinol, Matrixyl Synthe’6, hyaluronic acid and Ceramide-3. Second, to make sure these ingredients penetrate deep into the problem area, this product features a sustained release technology and a precision control applicator to micro-target deep creases and crow’s feet.  In case you’re wondering what the other ingredients mean, Matrixyl Synthe’6 is a youth-building peptide, which helps rebuild damaged collagen, while hyaluronic acid and Ceramide-3 attract and maintain essential moisture, restoring firmness and fullness and minimizing the appearance and formation of fine lines and wrinkles.

I’ve only used this a few times, apparently not long enough to see actual results yet. But with a formula as potent as this one, and with Dr. Murad at the helm, I’m confident it will nourish my dehydrated, fine line-infested under-eye area back to health in no time.

The Horrors of Gel Manicures!

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

By Jenna

On one foggy October morning, I could hear the eerie sound of a faint rip in fabric. Upon looking down I realized… it was a chipped nail ripping my pillowcase! Did I mention that I got a gel manicure about 4 days before this incident? KILL. ME. NOW. I have been iffy on gel manicures since this point, but that just sent me over the edge. Isn’t the entire point of the gel manicure to stay intact for at least a week? Isn’t the entire point of putting your hands in and out of a UV machine so that you don’t have chips? This gel manicure trend has been replacing nail polish since 2009 and until this year, I’ve kept quiet about my indecisiveness for quite some time. By far, the cons of the gel manicure totally outweigh the benefits – if there ARE really any benefits. Here we go!

1. They say its ‘safe’ and not as damaging to your nails as acrylic. LIES! Manicurists still have to grind down your nail to get the right texture for the gel to stick better. Grinding down until your nail is raw— which doesn’t take much by a hand or electric file— can cause weak, brittle nails that will allow the chemicals to seep in and potentially cause nerve damage. What chemicals you say? Some of the gel nail polishes contain a chemical called methyl acrylate which doesn’t really get along with your skin. This chemical can cause contact dermatitis or an allergic skin reaction where a rash may develop along with annoying itching throughout the day. Because we are always touching our faces, this rash can spread to our eyelids or other places. Already spend $40 on that gel manicure? How about an extra $10 for some cortisone cream to go along with your sexy rash. One more thing on chemicals, remember that one linked to cancer called butylated hydroxyanisol or BHA? Yup, that one is found in some gel polishes too.

2.  The removal process is horrible. Since when have you ever had to soak wrap your nails in pure acetone and foil for 20 minutes with regular nail polish? To remove gel polish, the nail salon will help you soak your nails in acetone for a while or they can grind it off (most manicurists are not able to be so delicate to grind off only the gel part – chances are they will get your actual nail during this at least 6 times). Acetone is an extremely drying chemical on your nails, not to mention it can wreak havoc on your delicate skin. After repeated removal processes your nails can become very brittle and even start peeling. All it took was once for me and my nails have never been in a worse condition. If you’re not an acetone fan, you can always start peeling them off. Once you do that, take a look at the underside of the gel polish and see what you find. The top of your natural nails you say? OH that’s strange, I wonder how that happened. (See #1 for nail filing)

3. Because the removal process is horrendous and you can’t do it yourself unless you have access to pure acetone, you’re stuck with not only the color you picked but the grown out look on your digits for a few weeks. Need to change your polish color for an important event? (Shakes head up and down yes) March right on over to the same nail salon for another gel application where you can get even weaker nail beds. Acetone, 10 minutes later, file down a little more, feel the pain, another 10 minutes of UV light exposure on your hands and VOILA! You have a new nail color that you’re stuck with for another few weeks. By that way, that’ll be another $40 plus tip. Not to mention, they may chip if you aren’t careful.

I’m on to you gel polish….

From this moment forward, I’m saying no to gel manicures. I’m also re-uniting with my massive collection of nail polish and asking them for forgiveness while I nurse my poor nails back to health. I do hope for your sake though that I’m not the only one that sees through these deceptive manicures.

No More Bacne

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

It’s really a nuisance getting an occasional blemish on my back of all places. I’ve heard this type of acne referred to as “bacne.” Our skin can also be prone to getting back acne because just like our face, we are also secreting oil through our back pores. When too much oil is being produced, the pores and hair follicles become clogged with debris. The debris blocks dead skin cells from shedding properly. Since our back skin is thicker, the pores are slightly larger too. How to stop back acne from becoming aggravated can mean a few changes to keep your skin feeling comfortable during a breakout.  Avoid rough massages, this can actually irritate back acne and make it worse.  Wear cotton clothes to let your skin breathe too. Causes of bacne can be genetic or brought on by stressful situations.

Luckily, I have found a solution that works for me. This back acne spray is a miracle worker for my back. Glytone Back Acne Spray is formulated with 2% salicylic acid to keep your back and shoulders free of acne, blackheads and whiteheads. Salicylic acid works by exfoliating dead skin cells and helps unclog pores to prevent new blemishes. I found this spray-on formula easier to use than a spot treatment or cream. After taking a shower, I simply sprayed some on my clean skin and went over my entire upper and middle part of my back, which is where I tend to get blemishes. This is definitely a must-have product to keep your back smooth and clear of blemishes.

Shades of Gray

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

At mid-twenties, I know I shouldn’t be stressing over aging just yet. Sure, I’ve amped up my skin care routine with a powerful antioxidant serum and layers of broad-spectrum sunscreen to nip premature skin aging in the bud. But while I’ve got my skin covered, another part of me is sabotaging my youthful look: graying hair. Yes, a quarter of my head—the front right section, that is—is already showing signs of old age!

 

I got my first gray strand when I was 18. “It’s because you keep tying your hair while it’s wet,” my mother used to say, although we both know she played a huge part in it too—she’s gone completely gray at 45! By the time I graduated from college, I already had a few dozens, something that extreme side parting could not conceal anymore. That’s when the tedious routine of monthly hair coloring began—and with it came dull, dry and damaged hair.

 

Hair goes gray when color-producing cells stop producing pigment. While it’s been known ever since that genetics plays a crucial part in premature graying, some scientists believe that psychological stress and certain medical conditions could also be the culprit. Thankfully, according to Dr. Leo M. Cooney of Yale University, people like me who suffer from this condition don’t necessarily die sooner than anybody else. “I think the study shows that gray hair has something to with your genetics and very little to do with premature aging,” he says.

 

Still, regardless of how stately Bill Clinton and Anderson Cooper have sported their gray heads, I don’t think a lot of women are ready to embrace that look just yet. While scientists are still busy trying to find a way to reverse premature graying, here are some tips on how to take care of your “aging” hair.

 

1. Permanent hair color chemically changes your hair, weakening the hair shaft and making it dry and brittle. If you must use permanent color, protect your hair by using a specialized shampoo and conditioner, preferably something with silicone to minimize damage.

2. Re-dye only the roots that start to show. Hair grows only about 0.3 to 0.4 mm per day, which means you only have to color about 1/3 of an inch after 4 weeks. If you must color your entire head of hair, wait at least 4 weeks after your last appointment.

3. Wash your hair less often, as frequent washing easily dries out your hair and washes away semi-permanent hair color.

4. Protect your hair from the sun’s rays with a scarf or a wide-brimmed hat.

5. If you only have a few strands of grays and you’re not ready to commit to monthly color treatments just yet, try the 1 Night Highlights from Alterna or Oscar Blandi’s Colore Pens instead.

 

 

Dark Under Eye Circles Dilemma

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Keeping my skin in fabulous condition has been a challenge for me ever since I was a teenager.  Being a little older now, I started noticing slight dark under eye circles. Finding the best treatment for dark under eye circles can be a little frustrating for some, especially when you’re not seeing a visible difference in the appearance of your skin. As for what causes dark circles under your eyes, there are so many answers: stress, lack of sleep, sun exposure and age can definitely contribute to this condition. Here are a few great tips to help minimize those raccoon eyes!

flickr source: RambunctiouslySoftspoken

  1. A great makeup concealer can do the trick by camouflaging the blue-reddish blood vessels and smoothing out the skin to brighten up your face. My new must-have I use under my eyes is Murad Eye Lift Perfector. It is formulated with a natural tint in a pen applicator for easy use. This miracle potion even hydrates and smoothes out any crow’s feet for younger-looking eyes.
  2. Get your beauty sleep on! A good night’s rest is essential to keeping your skin in good shape. Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep is best.
  3. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables and take vitamins. Drinking plenty of water can also help improve circulation.
  4. You can’t go wrong with putting cucumber slices over your eyes. They refresh tired eyes and even reduce puffiness. A slice one each eye for about 10 minutes every day works as an instant pick-me-up.
  5. Apply a vitamin k eye cream to reduce puffiness and discoloration. A great formula is Biolements Multi-Task Eye Creme. Just dab some eye cream all around the eyes before going to bed.

 

Coffee for Skin: Friend or Foe?

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

A few weeks ago, I’ve had the chance to try Juara’s Invigorating Coffee Scrub.  Of course, being the coffee addict that I am fell instantly in love with it. The smell—a heady mix of chocolate and coffee—was so invigorating; it smells good enough to eat! But more than the smell, I love how the ground walnut and Sumatra coffee bean granules left my skin clean, smooth and moist after I used it. Which makes me wonder…what does coffee or caffeine really do for our skin?

I’m not sure when coffee and skin became bitter enemies, but I do remember reading a lot of articles before about the negative effects of coffee or caffeine on our skin, which includes dry skin (from dehydration), liver spots and even acne. However, recently, a growing body of evidence suggests that a daily cup of joe can actually be good for us. One study even states that drinking coffee can lessen your risk of getting basal cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, by helping the body kill off sun-damaged cells that could later become cancerous. Here are the other positive proofs I was able to dig about coffee.

Caffeine Suppresses Skin Issues

Caffeine’s high doses of antioxidants offer amazing anti-inflammatory benefits, which can reduce redness and irritation commonly associated with skin issues like psoriasis, eczema and rosacea. Its ability to constrict small blood vessels and reduce inflammation also makes it a favorite ingredient in skin care creams designed to minimize fine lines and wrinkles, as well as dark circles and sagging skin under the eyes.

Caffeine Can Cure Cellulite?

Some sources say the dehydrating effect of coffee teaches the body to hold more fluids and fats, causing cellulite; others say caffeine’s stimulating properties –as well as its ability to cause dehydration—can actually increase circulation, drain excess fluid and toxins and tone the skin, reducing the appearance of cellulite. While there is currently no conclusive independent scientific research that proves this, several cellulite cream companies—as well as their patrons—swear by the effectiveness of this ingredient.

Caffeine for Longer Hair

Scientists have linked hair loss to dihydrotestosterone or DHT, a byproduct of testosterone that causes follicles to shrink and eventually stop producing hair. According to a study by International Journal of Dermatology, caffeine was found to stimulate hair growth by counteracting the effects of DHT. Applied to shampoo, caffeine may be able to stop thinning hair.

Now that we’ve cleared caffeine’s record, I can breathe easy knowing that I don’t have to give up my daily source of energy. But of course, as in anything in this world, moderation is key!

SPF All The Way!

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

I can’t believe summer is almost over. It seems like only yesterday I was shopping for my summer clothes and getting all my beauty essentials including the best face sunscreen to keep my skin in tip-top-shape while trying to survive the warm weather. As fall approaches, my beauty regimen tends to change a little from the shades of eyeshadow I wear to some of my skin care products I use. The one thing I definitely never skip no matter if it’s sunny or cloudy outside, is my sun protection lotion.

 

Protecting your skin from the sun is a must! It may seem like an extra step to add during your morning beauty ritual but the benefits are worth it. Wearing the best sun protection lotion doesn’t necessarily mean you will be left with a greasy finish that feels uncomfortable on your face. It’s so convenient now you can also protect your face from the sun with many different products including tinted moisturizers, foundations and face sunscreen with a hint of color. A full broad spectrum protection lotion with SPF is perfect because it protects your face from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays. It’s great to limit your sun exposure during the peak hours of 10 am to 2 pm, which is when the sun is at its harshest. And off course, shielding your skin during this time is ideal to prevent those unwanted wrinkles. Many lotions are even formulated with vitamins and botanical extracts to keep your skin nourished and younger-looking! My must-have is definitely Cotz Face Sunscreen with SPF 40.

flickr source: Paolo Lunardon

I love this product because it offers full broad spectrum protection and is water resistant. It also has natural color that dries to a matte finish and blends perfectly on my skin before I apply my foundation.