Posts Tagged ‘skincare’

Ready for the blush Mystery Beauty Box?

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

After 19 seasons, Beautyfix is officially closing up shop. While I’m also officially sad to see Beautyfix go (I have separation issues—especially with beauty products), I’m really excited about DermStore’s new and improved beauty discovery program, the blush Mystery Beauty Box available at blush.com. If you love the brands featured in Beautyfix, I assure you that you’ll love this beauty box just as much (if not more). Here’s what’s great about this box:

  • Each month, you get over $100 worth of mostly full-size and some travel-size skin care, makeup and hair care products—curated by a new beauty expert each month
  • As in any DermStore, blush or HairEnvy order, you get a free gift, free samples and free shipping on every order
  • You have a choice to try one box for just $34.95, or you can sign up for monthly subscription and save $10 a month

If you think about it, it really comes out cheaper than Beautyfix. And if you’re a beauty junkie just like all of us here, you’ll love the thrill of not knowing what beauty products you’re going to try each month. It really is the best way to discover and experience new beauty brands and products. In fact for July, I was so happy to see that the box actually has 6 full-sized products—that’s way, way better than any beauty box out there!

I’m sure I’ll miss Beautyfix. (I mean, if it weren’t for Beautyfix, I wouldn’t have discovered some of my favorite brands like Eminence, Nick Chavez and jane iredale—brands that you don’t normally see in your local, brick-and-mortar beauty store, or being advertised on TV.) But with the blush Mystery Beauty Box arriving at my doorstep anytime soon, I’m sure I’ll get my addiction to beauty products equally satiated.

Give Your Limp Hair a Little Oomph!

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Please tell me you’re not using your heat styling tools in this scorching weather. Please tell me you’re doing the world a huge favor by not adding to the heat! If you still are, consider this post an intervention. Please step away from those tools and listen to me very carefully: summer sun + metal plates = toasted strands!

The good news is that nobody cares if your hair is a little bit on the unpolished side when it’s 100 degrees out. That doesn’t mean, however, that “unpolished” can’t be chic. Here, I give you 3 no-heat hairstyles for summer. (Actually, I sport these styles all year round because I’m too lazy to use styling a tool.) These are all so easy to do, they don’t take more than 2 minutes, and you only need your pair of hands, some hair ties and Nick Chavez Horsetail Root Lift Spray. While it’s great to work with your natural hair texture, none of these hairstyles will look great on limp and flat hair, which is why a volumizing spray is necessary. I like this one in particular because unlike other sprays, this one isn’t sticky, smells great and adds a glossy sheen. Now that we got that out of the way, here are 3 ways to add oomph to your summer hair.

1. Tousled Waves

Beachy waves are just as much of a summer staple as SPF. But if you don’t have natural waves, create them! Here’s how: At night, braid your hair while your hair is still damp. Spray Nick Chavez on your roots before unraveling your hair in the morning for that bombshell finish.

2. Messy Pony

Ponytails are making a huge comeback. Not that they were ever out of style, but recently we’ve been seeing a lot of them on and off the red carpet. For a summer-perfect pony, flip your towel-dried hair forward and mist it with volumizing spray from roots to ends. Once it’s dry, scoop your hair up in a high pony. (For that beautiful mess, don’t bother using a comb or a hairbrush.) Run your fingers through your crown and loosen big clumps of hair to add volume and texture.

3.  Undone Bun

Or, instead of a high pony, tie your hair up in a loose low bun. Pull your bun slightly away from your head until a few face-framing strands fall naturally on the side.

 

There you have it! 3 ways to make hairstyling easy and fuss-free this summer!

 

 

7 Makeup Must-Haves for ‘Faux’ Naturel

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Doesn’t Angelina Jolie look absolutely glowing at the World War Z world premiere in London? That’s considering she had just undergone a preventive double mastectomy to lessen her risk of getting breast and ovarian cancer.

But it’s not just her breasts—or her lack thereof—that inspired me to blog about her today. It’s her makeup choice, which looks virtually non-existent from where I am. I really like it when celebs dare to go fresh-faced for a change. It’s always interesting to see the real face that’s buried under those heavy layers of foundation. But more importantly, it reveals those distinct qualities, those seemingly imperfect attributes that really make a face standout.

Going au naturel is probably the easiest look to master and requires the least amount of time to do—IF you have Angelina’s naturally flawless complexion, perfectly arched eyebrows, prominent cheek bones and pillowy pout. If you don’t have at least 3 of the qualifying requirements—most mere mortals like us do not—don’t fret, as that’s what makeup is for. Here are 7 makeup products you need to complete an au naturel look.

1. BB Cream – You can never go wrong with a BB cream. It conceals minor imperfections while providing your skin with some skin care and sunscreen benefits.

2. Tinted Moisturizer/Sunscreen – If, after everything we’ve written about BB creams in this blog, you’re still a “non-BBliever” (sorry, I couldn’t resist), you can always reach for a tinted moisturizer or tinted sunscreen. These products will give you the same lightweight coverage, just less skin care perks. My absolute favorite and the one I use every day is CoTZ Face SPF 40. I can do away with makeup, but not if I don’t have this on!

3. An Eyebrow Filler – Trust me, a well-defined set of eyebrows makes a world of difference! It frames your eyes and really draws attention to their shape and color—this is especially crucial if you’re deciding to do away with eye shadows and liners. For a more natural finish, try SmartBrow.

4. Concealer – Not all of us are blessed with a blemish-free complexion, but to keep your look believable, try not to conceal every square inch of your face. Apply concealer only where you need them: under the eyes, sides of nose and blemish marks.

5. Cream Blush – Here’s why I prefer cream blushes over powder: It gives my cheeks a sheer wash of color that never looks like makeup. Apply it on the apples of your cheeks and continue to blend until you don’t know where the blush ends and your skin starts. If you haven’t tried a good cream blush yet, Face Stockholm has a lot of color options.

6. Lip Stain – The best thing about lip stains is their unbeatable staying power. You can go the whole day without retouching. To make it believable, choose a shade that mimics your natural lip color.

7. Highlighter – Natural skin is never matte, so don’t shun a little bit of shine. Apply highlighter on strategic “high points” of your face—forehead, cheekbones, down the center of your nose, brow bone and Cupid ’s bow—to make your skin look naturally glowing.

And there you have it—everything you need to fake that au naturel look we’re all dying to sport this summer!

My Personal Skin Saver

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

This month has been a killer for me. I am sure my friends, family and coworkers are pretty sick of hearing my complaints about my travel schedule, especially since the majority of the month has been fun (REALLY FUN) trips that I scheduled myself- an impromptu marathon with one of my favorite friends, Grandma’s surprise 80th birthday on the East Coast, girl’s trip to Las Vegas, a bachelorette party in Palm Springs, plus a little work trip to NY. All super fun but the back to back trips are starting to take its toll on my sanity and my skin. I am a stick-to-my-routine and eight-hours-of-sleep-per-night kind of girl, so multiple red-eyes, smokey casinos and late nights dancing (with Grandma, not in Vegas) can really throw me off. I generally have pretty resilient skin but I noticed after my most recent jaunt that my skin was looking really dull, I developed circles under my eyes and I was starting to breakout. Who would have guessed that traveling and not sleeping could do so much skin damage so quickly! I asked my go-to skin gurus, AKA my coworkers, what I should do rectify my skin care issues and everyone recommended trying out a serum.

Initially, I was a little skeptical because some serums I have tested leave my skin oily and greasy; however, after reading reviews on DermStore.com, I decided to test out DDF’s Amplifying Elixir. The name alone was enough to sway me- an amplifying elixir was exactly what my poor skin needed.  The first time I put it on, it felt like my skin literally drank it up. I am sure it had something to do with my skin’s level of dehydration but it absorbed so quickly and felt amazing! The DDF skin care product is full of botanical extracts- think lotus flower, banyan leaf, cactus and red clover- that work together to detoxify and hydrate the skin. After just a few uses, I noticed my skin had regained an even skin tone, my breakouts were vanishing and my complexion looked brighter! Additionally, a little bit goes a VERY long way. I don’t think I have even put a dent in the bottle after several uses! This 1.7 oz bottle of skin-saving goodness will be tucked safely in my carry-on this weekend…and the week following… and then the next weekend. Welp, I might not be well rested, but at least my skin will not be what gives it away!

 

How to Deal with Aging Hands

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Research shows that most people can accurately guess the age of a woman just by looking at her hands. That statement wouldn’t be true for me, because if someone were to guess my age based on my dry and wrinkled hands, I bet that person would say I’m over 60 years old!

Blame that on years of neglecting my hands. Of washing my hands profusely with bar soaps and slathering them with alcohol-based hand sanitizers.  Of scrubbing the bathroom floor without wearing any gloves. And of using my fingernails to tinker with just about everything. For years I was convinced I did all my skin care regimen right, cleansing, exfoliating, and slathering moisturizer and sunscreen on my face religiously and accordingly—until I saw how miserably my hands have aged. It was only then that I realized that I should’ve extended the same care and attention I gave the skin on my face to the skin on my hands.

But it’s not just me. In fact, even renowned celebrities like Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker, Nicole Kidman and Angelina Jolie are suffering from the same veiny, crimpled and crepey skin on hands! “The hands are one of the first places where we see the signs of aging, and also the area most people neglect when it comes to skin care,” says dermatologist Rhoda Narins, MD, professor of dermatology at the NYU School of Medicine in New York.

Aside from constant sun and chemical exposure, loss of moisture is one of the most common causes of premature aging on hands. Of course there are several procedures now that can reverse this, like the “hand lift,” Fraxel laser and fillers—but not everyone has enough disposable income to afford those. Thankfully, there are several skin creams and oil-based moisturizers that promise the same effect. Trust me, I’ve tried a lot of them. And while some of them have eased the discomfort associated with dry and flaky skin, I’ve never encountered anything that immediately transformed the look of my aging hands—until I’ve tried AmLactin Ultra Triple Action Alpha Hydroxy Acid Hydrating Body Cream.

I was really amazed at how fast my skin responded to this cream. In just 30 seconds, the lines and wrinkles on my hands softened, and my skin looked brighter, plumper and smoother. It turns out that easing dry skin isn’t all about supplying your skin with enough moisture. In order for that moisture to effectively penetrate your skin, you have to remove the dulling debris that clog your pores. That’s why this cream contains alpha hydroxy acid, to exfoliate your skin first before drenching it with rich humectants and creamy emollients.

Now this cream is nowhere near luxurious. It’s not expensive, it doesn’t come in fancy packaging, and it doesn’t smell like a botanical garden. But it sure does the job well, and for me that’s all that matters. If you want your hands to look younger, I assure you this is the best cream there is.

 

A Breath of Fresh Air for Skin

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Oxygen has a very complicated love-hate relationship with our skin. You’ve probably heard about how antioxidants (a.k.a anti-oxidation) protect our skin from oxygen molecules in the air that causes wear and tear, disintegration and premature death of cells, causing premature skin aging. But on the other hand, every living cell in our body needs that very same oxygen in order to produce proteins and form new and healthy cells. So how do we give our skin the oxygen it needs without inviting damaging free radicals with it? Read on.

Oxygen facials have gotten so much media attention lately, not only because of the supposed benefits of oxygen for skin, but also because Madonna, Kate Middleton and Nicole Kidman are allegedly avid supporters of this. The theory goes like this: If oxygenating your body improves the health and appearance of your skin (the reason your skin assumes a more glowing complexion right after a rigorous workout), then applying it directly onto your skin through mists, masks, gels or facial creams would work even better. Sounds exciting? Maybe. However, several dermatologists don’t subscribe to the idea that the oxygen in the air has the same advantage as the oxygen being carried by our blood.

While the effectiveness of oxygen facial is still debatable, the idea of giving your skin the opportunity to breathe makes a lot of sense. I don’t mean this in a literal way (last I heard, skin doesn’t help us breathe in any way), but if you’ve ever slept with makeup on and wake up the next morning with a huge zit sitting on top of your nose, you’ll understand what I mean. So how do we achieve this? How do we ensure our skin can take in the good stuff and exhale the toxic ones? Simple: by removing makeup and product buildup at the end of the day, and only using products that won’t clog the natural mechanism of your pores, like Oxygenetix Oxygenating Moisturizer.

Oxygenating Moisturizer contains hyaluronic acid and sodium PCA, both ingredients are natural humectants (they naturally occur in the human skin) and known for their ability to absorb moisture from air and bind it to the skin. It lubricates the skin, reducing the look of dehydration lines and wrinkles. And because it’s easily absorbed by your skin, it won’t clog your pores, too. What’s more, this moisturizer contains antioxidant-rich grape seed extract and vitamin E, so that should shush your concerns about oxygen-induced free radicals. I don’t have sensitive skin (thank goodness!), but for those of you who do, it helps that this has aloe, an instant skin-soother and redness-reliever.

Overall, I really like this moisturizer, which makes sense because I’m also a fan of Oxygenetix’s foundation. I generally don’t like the feel of foundation on my face, but because this foundation is super light and doesn’t feel like I’m wearing anything at all, I use it when I absolutely have to wear one. But don’t just take my word for it. Try these products and see for yourself why everyone in our office is obsessed with them!

Is it Too Late to Fix an Aging Neck?

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

A few months ago I was having headshots taken for work. As I was looking over the images I saw something I had never noticed before, so I took a closer look and was aghast! On my neck were visible signs of CREPEY SKIN! I thought maybe it was just a shadow or a bad angle so I proceeded to have several more photos taken … and yes, in every shot the skin on my neck did not look the same as the rest of my face.

How could I not have noticed this before? I mean, I am very good about taking care of my skin. I cleanse thoroughly morning and night, exfoliate 2-3 times a week, use the appropriate moisturizer and sunscreen for my skin type and use an eye cream. In fact, a few months ago I probably would have told you I may be using too many products as I am a self-proclaimed beauty junkie. After all, it’s hard not to be working in the beauty industry.

I have been neglecting two of the first areas to show signs of aging and I KNOW THAT….. I have not been listening to the advice I give to others! I know the skin on the neck is thinner and has few sebaceous glands so of course it would be an area to become dry and show signs if aging first.

However (prior to now that is) I have been using my neck as a hanger for necklaces and scarves (which I will be wearing a lot more of if I do not take care of my neck now).

At this point you may be thinking this is depressing, but it gets better. Immediately, I set out on the hunt for the best product to improve the look and appearance of the crepey skin on my neck and hands.

When I obsess on something I REALLY obsess on it, and for the past few months I have diligently been using the products I picked. Now there are many good products out there and the main thing that I have learned is neck and hand products ARE different than regular moisturizers which up until now I did not pay attention to as long as I was moisturizing and using sunscreen.

The other good news is it is never too late! In just the few months I have been using these products I have seen a major difference! HALLELUJAH!!!!! I am not going to have to wear scarves or gloves every day after all.

These are the products I picked:

StriVectin –TL Tightening Neck Cream: This cream has an immediate firming effect; it contains an exclusive molecule called NIA-114 which boosts the skins ability to hold natural collagen and moisture. I could feel the tightening the first time I used it and began to see an improvement in 2-3 weeks .Now, after several months the skin on my neck is much smoother and firmer. I don’t feel like I have the crepey appearance any longer.

Nia 24 Sun Damaged Repair for Hands and DécolletageFirst of all this cream feels great! Plus it contains ingredients to lighten and even out the appearance of age spots and discoloration. It also contains a molecule called Pro-Niacin which can penetrate the epidermis and strengthen the skin barrier. I have been using this cream morning and night on my hands but it can also be used on the décolletage, shoulders or any areas that have discoloration.it has made my hands smooth and virtually spot free.I am happy as I have improved the appearance of my neck and hands and I have added new products to my ever expanding beauty ritual which of course I love!

No More Dark Spots!

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

Thanks to my mother’s genes, I never had to suffer from acne breakouts, even during the peak of my puberty, when all my peers would spend half their waking hours pricking and prying on their zits. I on the other hand would feel horrified if I even get 1 or 2 around the chin area once every few months. What my skin is prone to, however, is something that no amount of pricking and prying can cure, even temporarily—and that is skin discoloration.

Blemish marks, brown spots, freckles, darkened areas—yeah, I have all of them. Sometimes, depending on the season, I would get a huge white patch at center of my forehead (of all places!). I can’t recall how many drugstore creams I used to treat my pigmented skin, only to find out that to address this issue, I had to know what’s causing it.

Few of the major causes of uneven skin tone are sun damage, acne scars, dry and flaky skin, hormonal changes, medication reactions and medical conditions. Once you know what’s causing the discoloration, you can now start deciding on your next course of action. As for me, it’s years of UV exposure. I must admit I wasn’t very adamant about the use of sunscreen until a year ago. So aside from applying sunscreen (and re-applying every 2 hours) every day, I’ve also started using exfoliating cleansers with glycolic or lactic acid in it to buff away the darkened layers of my skin. And to help hasten the process, I’ve also started using Sonya Dakar Hydrasoft Lotion – Discoloration as my moisturizer.

This hydrating cream doesn’t just smell so good and refreshing, it also feels super cool on the skin because it uses eucalyptus as its main ingredient. According to my research, eucalyptus oil has been used for centuries by aborigine ethnic groups to treat everything—from wounds and insect bites to asthma, sinus infections and colds to headaches, fever, inflammation and muscle aches. Today, several skin ointments contain eucalyptus oil because of its antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-parasitic qualities. It soothes burns and blisters, calms skin rashes and irritations, and treats acne, eczema and insect bites. It also cleanses the skin, clears blackheads and blemishes and evens out uneven skin tones.

Aside from these eucalyptus oil benefits, Hydrasoft Lotion also contains ceramides and vitamin E to hydrate the skin without the greasy feel, neutralize free radical damage and rebalance the skin’s pH level.

Thanks to today’s advanced products, skin discoloration can be easily treated even without going to your skin doctor. But remember, some discolored patches are not as harmless as it looks. Always keep an eye out for changes in shape, size and color as it could be a warning sign for cancer. Lastly, in case I haven’t mentioned this enough: NEVER forget to apply sunscreen!

4 Ways to Include Antioxidants Into Your Beauty Diet

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

With the flu season off to an earlier-than-usual start this year—and with the best vaccine available far from perfect—it’s only wise to turn to antioxidants to boost your immune system and strengthen your defense against viral infections. But did you know that the benefits of antioxidants on skin are tremendous as well? Applied topically, antioxidants don’t just protect against cell-damaging free radicals, they also boost collagen production, lighten hyperpigmentation and enhance the effectiveness of your other skin care products.

Fortunately, with today’s advanced formulations, you don’t need to buy one separate product to satisfy your skin’s antioxidant needs. After all, antioxidants come in all shapes and sizes, and you would want to maintain a balance intake of vitamins and minerals to get the most out of them. Here are 4 ways to incorporate antioxidants into your beauty diet.


Cleanser + Antioxidants

Healthy skin starts with a clean skin, so I always start and end my day by washing my face with Eminence Lemon Cleanser. This was recommended to me by my esthetician when I asked her about including antioxidants into my regimen. She likes this cleanser because it offers a nourishing blend of vitamins A, C and E, CoQ10 and alpha lipoic acid—all of which are powerful antioxidants that help eliminate potentially harmful substances from the body. Of course we know how important vitamins A, C and E are, but did you know that alpha lipoic acid, a fatty acid naturally found inside every cell in the body, has the unique ability to recycle vitamins after they’ve been used up? CoQ10 on the other hand—aside from being an antioxidant—helps produce the energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance.


Moisturizer + Antioxidants

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of moisturizer-cum-antioxidant products in the market, but the one product that even my editor swears by is Sanitas Skin Care Vitamin C Moisturizer. Aside from vitamin C, this oil-free formula contains beta-glucans, or sugars found in cell walls of bacteria, fungi, yeasts and algae. Beta-glucans have powerful free radical-scavenging properties, and are even used to boost the immune system in people whose body defenses have been weakened by fatigue, stress and chemotherapy.


Sunscreen + Antioxidants

Here’s a shocking revelation: Studies say that even the best broad-spectrum sunscreens can only block up to 55% of UV-induced free radicals, leaving the skin still susceptible to environmental damage. Luckily, there are plenty of sunscreen products out there that offer antioxidant protection as well, such as Replenix Ultra Sheer Sunscreen SPF 55. I first tried this product as a sample here at Beautyfix, and it has been my go-to sunscreen ever since. I really like the texture and consistency of this product. It’s oil-, fragrance- and paraben-free, which makes it safe for sensitive skin. But more importantly, this product features green tea, one of the best food sources of flavanoids or phytochemical compounds said to be more powerful than vitamins C and E in thwarting oxidative damage to cells.  This product also contains reservatrol, found in the skin of red grapes, peanuts and berries and known for its anti-aging and disease-fighting properties.


Anti-Aging Serum + Antioxidants

According to Women’s Health Magazine, antioxidants “patrol every part of our body, repairing damaged molecules that if allowed to run rampant would accelerate aging and disease.” So if you’re hoping to treat wrinkles, uneven skin tone and other visible signs of aging, look for anti-aging products that offer superior antioxidant properties, like Glytone Anti-Oxidant Anti-Aging Facial Serum. This product features time-released vitamins C and E, red tea flavonoids and glycolic acid—the chief ingredient Glytone is known for. Derived from sugar cane, glycolic acid is one of the best at sloughing off dead and dull skin cells, smoothing out wrinkles and evening skin tone. By combining antioxidants with glycolic acid, Glytone offers a two-tiered approach to rejuvenating your skin.

How to Wear Rose Gold

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

In metallurgy, rose gold is a mixture of gold, copper and a little bit of silver. In fashion, it’s the kind of bling that you can wear any way, from dressy to casual. It’s feminine, romantic and sophisticated. It’s more relaxed than diamonds, more refined than silver and more discreet than yellow gold. It transforms the laidback into elegant. Not to mention, it flatters all skin tones.  In fact, it’s this versatile quality that makes it a huge hit even in beauty. The blend of warm gold tones with cool pink ones makes rose gold makeup a one-shade-fits-all hue.

Not sure how to rock this shade? Take your cue from Vera Wang’s Spring 2013 show. Makeup artist Lucia Pieroni achieved that beautiful rosy glow by sweeping gold shadow over the lid, brown shadow on the crease and smudging bronze under the eye. Even better—you too can replicate the results using only one product: jane iredale 24 Karat Gold Dust in Rose Gold. This powder, which contains real, food grade 24-Karat gold flakes, is already the perfect rose gold shade, so you don’t have to mix different shades of gold and copper to get the color you want. What’s more, this product can be applied literally anywhere on your body! Here are some ideas:

1. On Eyes: Sweep over your lids alone or with your favorite neutral eyeshadow to glamorize a nude look.

2. On Cheeks: Sweep on top of your bronzer onto the apples of your cheeks and your temples to add warmth to your complexion during fall and winter.

 3. On Cheeks: Brush as a standalone blush on the apples of your cheeks to add color and highlight your cheekbones in one go. This shade works well with summer whites and dainty spring florals.

4.  On Lips: Sweep over your lip gloss for a subtle color and sparkle.

 5. On Your Face: Apply as a highlighter or finishing powder over your foundation on your cheeks, forehead and chin to brighten your skin and lend your face a beautiful glow.

 6. On the body: Apply on your neck, décolletage, back and arms for a sexy shimmer.

 

Photo Credit: Harper’s Bazaar