Posts Tagged ‘skincare’

Beauty Resolutions

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

Another year, another New Year’s resolution to make and break. I’m not one to make excuses for my minor misdemeanors, but let’s face it, life happens—and with it comes all kinds of impediments that make following the rules impractical. So to break the cycle this year, I’ve decided to stop making grand promises that I can’t keep and start streamlining my beauty resolutions to make it more…well, feasible.

 

1.       Wake up 10 minutes earlier. 

Mornings usually find me scrambling around like a lost puppy, leaving me no time to dry my hair thoroughly—let alone, put proper makeup on! So this year, I promise to add 10 minutes to my waking moments so I could groom myself accordingly before facing the world.

Here’s the plan:

2 minutes – After cleansing, apply moisturizer, sunblock, lip balm and foundation and eye primers.

3 minutes – Partially dry my hair.

2 minutes – Apply foundation, eye makeup (shadow and liner), blush and lip color

2 minutes – Continue drying my hair.

1 minute – Curl my lashes, apply a coat of mascara and lip gloss. Finish with a pump of hair serum applied at the ends of my hair.

(For more 5-minute makeup ideas, click here.)

 

2.       Declutter.

Hoarding has always been one of my worst traits. I tend to hold on to things: post cards I snagged from museums, newspaper issues bearing important events, movie tickets, parking receipts, Starbucks napkins, clothes I’ll one day wear, and yes, makeup products from eons ago. Before this year concludes, I promise to sort my makeup and skin care products, and toss the old and unusable ones away.

(For a quick guide on makeup expiration, click here.)

 

3.       Try a new trend every month.

With all the hot new colors coming out this spring, there’s no way I’m playing it safe this year! Some of the trends that I intend to master include colored, geometric eyeliners (emerald green makeup will be big this year, as Pantone’s color of the year and all), bold brows and voluminous lashes, and bloody-red lips (I know it’s not exactly new, but does this ever go out of style?).

(For more Spring 2013 makeup trends, click here.)

 

4.       Invest in key tools.

With multipurpose products and affordable, professional-quality tools available for every beauty junkie and newbie alike, there’s really no excuse for slacking off on your beauty routine. Here are some key investments I’ve made so far:

Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing System – Three words: money well spent! It’s on the pricey side, but believe me, once you’ve tried this, you’ll never use your fingers to cleanse your face again!

Blowout Beauty Ultra Power Professional Hair Dryer – If I want to keep up with the schedule I’ve listed above, I have to have a power tool like this to make it happen. I tried this hair dryer and it really cut my hair drying time in half. The best thing about this is that the finish is super sleek that I never have to use a flat iron afterwards to tame my wayward strands!

Still on my wish list: TEMPTU Signature Starter Set

 

5.       Finally, be a little more diligent about my beauty routine.

I’ve been on the nice list for religiously slathering myself with layers of moisturizer and sunblock all year round; however, I do feel that I fell short on hair and nail care. So this year, I promise that no matter how busy life gets, I’ll make it a point to get a trim every 3 months (per hairstylist advice), do weekly deep conditioning treatments, and get a mani/pedi every 3 weeks.

There you have it—my 5 beauty resolutions! Do you have a list of beauty resolutions, too? Go ahead and share it with us!!!

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.

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.

 

 

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!

Nurse Your Nails Back to Health with Nailtiques

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

Nails can make or break a look. A set of freshly painted nails can easily top off a perfect fashion ensemble—just as a set of chipped, brittle and discolored ones can easily ruin it. But more than just a fashion accessory, did you know that your nails also reflect the general state of your health? This is why it is absolutely necessary to take your nail health seriously.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably tried just about every nail art design this summer. And just like my nails, yours are probably just as in dire need of nourishment. Remember, just like our skin, our nails also dry out, peel, break or become infected—especially when they are frequently exposed to harsh chemicals. If you find yourself in this situation, you may want to try Nailtiques Nail Moisturizer and Formula Kit to save yourself an expensive trip to your nail salon.

Nailtiques offers a therapeutic line of conditioning protein-based nail enhancers that are formulated to keep nails strong and healthy. The good thing about this kit is that it includes four of Nailtiques most popular products: the Nail Moisturizer, Cuticle and Skin Gel, Nail Protein Formula 2 and Oil Therapy.

Nail Moisturizer – Formulated with jojoba, aloe and soluble collagen, this non-greasy nail cream nourishes, conditions and moisturizes the nails. It also promotes nail flexibility. Use this if your nails break or split easily.

Cuticle and Skin Gel – This is a glycerin and aloe-based cream that’s designed to soften and smooth dry and cracked skin around the nails. To get the most out of this gel, apply this at bedtime, and put on a pair of cotton gloves. As a bonus, you can also use this on your elbows and knees!

Nail Protein Formula 2 – This protein-based healing formula is designed to treat nails that are soft, tender, peeling, or growth-resistant. If you want your nails to grow faster, this baby is a must!

Oil Therapy – This formula features a blend of natural, vitamin-rich oils that restores and seals in moisture to extremely dry and brittle nails, cuticles and skin. This can also serve as a drying agent to help set nail polish.

Cheers to Healthy Skin!

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Have you ever heard of the phrase, “garbage in, garbage out?” It’s mostly used in the computer science world, but it’s also true for skin. As an outside indicator of good health, our skin shows not only if we’re eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet and getting enough hydration, but also if we’re taking in too much garbage or poison—like alcohol. Allow me to elaborate.

Doctors and beauty experts agree that there’s a direct correlation between alcohol and skin aging. For one, alcohol increases the rate at which the body excretes water—and we all know what happens when our skin gets too dehydrated. Dehydrated skin ages more quickly, making it more prone to deep lines and wrinkles. Alcohol also causes blood vessels to dilate, producing flushed, coarse skin and worsening existing skin conditions like Rosacea. Finally, alcohol limits the absorption of nutrients vital for skin health like amino acids, minerals and vitamins.

While we can’t avoid occasional drinking with friends, there are other liquids that we can drink to counter the aging effects of alcohol. Here they are…the best drinks for healthy skin!


WATER
Drinking plenty of water rejuvenates skin cells. More than hydrating cells, it also helps cells get toxins out and essential nutrients in. Nutrition expert Liz Lipski also says that when the body is properly hydrated, it sweats more efficiently, keeping our pores clean and clear.


GREEN TEA
Green tea is rich in antioxidants that reduce inflammation and protect cell membranes. Because it’s said to be high in polyphenols, compounds that help eliminate cancer-causing free radicals and reactivate dying skin cells, some say it’s very effective in reducing the damage of sunburns and overexposure to ultraviolet light, which makes it a good prevention weapon against skin cancer!


RAW FOOD SMOOTHIES

Drinks made with blueberries and carrots don’t just taste amazing after an intensive workout; these are also one of the most nutritious drinks for the skin. Experts consider blueberries as the highest food source of antioxidants and phytochemicals, protecting the skin cells from damage and disintegration. It’s also an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber, vitamin C, manganese, vitamin E and riboflavin. Carrots, on the other hand, are an excellent source of vitamin A, which is a required nutrient for healthy skin. Carrots are also a superior source of fiber, biotin, vitamins K, C and B6, potassium and thiamine.

And since we’re talking about beauty drinks, I can’t help but mention Borba Clarifying Skin Balance Crystalline – Pomegranate. This fruity drink is not just perfectly refreshing during hot summer days. It also delivers all the essential nutrients to keep my skin well-hydrated, healthy, radiant and youthful-looking!

Murad Hybrids: Skin Care Meets Makeup

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

When I think about Murad, the word “makeup” isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind.  I’d think “anti-aging” or “acne solution” or “comprehensive skin care regimen.” So when I heard about Murad’s Hybrid line, Murad’s ambitious attempt to combine skin care and makeup into one product, I was definitely curious.

The strength of Murad Hybrids lies in its ability to conceal imperfections and even skin tone while improving the skin’s health over time. That sounded too good to be true at first, but then I read so many rave reviews in several publications about two of its products—Skin Perfecting Primer Matte Finish and Eye Lift Perfector—so I decided to try them!

I’m very particular about using primer, not only because it acts as a barrier between my skin and the chemical compositions of my other makeup products, but also because of the slew of benefits it provides like balancing oil production, filling in lines and pores, evening out skin tone, and holding my makeup in place throughout the day. Sometimes, it’s all the makeup I use.

As a primer, Murad’s Skin Perfecting Primer – Matte Finish does its job so well! It’s refreshingly cool on my dry skin, hydrating it while delivering skin-nourishing ingredients that would eventually refine the texture of my skin and shrink my enlarged pores. When it dries up, I get a smooth and shine-free finish that’s ready for makeup. What’s more, this product comes in one, universal shade, so it takes the guesswork out of finding the right primer that matches your skin tone and type. And because it’s oil-free, it doesn’t clog my pores and cause breakouts.

Murad’s Eye Lift Perfector is another wonder product, and it perfectly complements the Skin Perfecting Primer. It has a light, sparkly tint that not just conceals dark circles and discoloration, but also brightens my eye area and makes me look more awake. As a bonus, it features an advanced formula that hydrates, smoothes, firms and nourishes the skin, providing long-term solutions to skin issues under the eyes.

Overall, I’m very happy with my new discoveries. Using products that act both as a treatment and makeup don’t just save me money and application time, it also reduces my skin’s exposure to potentially toxic ingredients that come with applying too many skin care and makeup products.

Lady Luck

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

The work week is almost over and I’m eagerly awaiting my annual girls’ trip to Vegas this weekend. 110 degrees…what better time to go to a hot desert and sit out by the pool in the scorching sun? Might not be the best idea, but what the heck, I’ll go with it. To prepare for this adventure I have been going down my Beauty checklist.

Aside from eating right and hitting the gym extra hard, there are a few beauty essentials that are a must when preparing to be in a bikini by a crowded pool for the weekend: Mani/Pedi, spray tan, cry baby mascara and packing the right essentials to easily transition from a day to night look.

To start, I did a DIY mani/pedi, due to lack of time and the fact that I’m saving money for the Black Jack tables (hopefully lady luck is on my side). SpaRitual has a wonderful collection and my color of choice for this trip is Poppy Crème. This will come along for the ride in case I need to do any touchups. As for the other beauty products, sunscreen is a MUST and I will be slathering it on several times throughout the day to ensure maximum coverage and protection. In case my friends or I do get a burn, the Hydrating Aloe Continuous Mist Spray by Hampton Sun is a great way to soothe, hydrate and cool the skin. This will help transition our sun-kissed (or burned) skin to the night time fun!

After a long day of…“lounging” by the pool the last thing I want to do is take a long time to get ready for the night, so I try to make this process as easy as possible. With the crybaby mascara, I can check lashes off my list, as I have no need to even worry about applying additional mascara for at least two weeks! I got this process done yesterday and I’m good to go. The only other essentials I will need to bring is a good tinted moisturizer and/or BB cream as both are extremely convenient, eyeliner, a good lipstick and last but definitely not least, my No More Shine Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray. There it is the day/night transition-Vegas here we come!

What are some of your beauty tips for an easy day/night transition?