Day 1: Peel day. I was ready for a run-of-the-mill facial when my esthetician friend says, “How would you feel about doing a light chemical peel?” Um, yes please! I felt a slight tingling during and after, which wasn’t really a big deal. My skin felt soft, was a little pink, and was super shiny (it’s always shiny, anyway). When I got home I noticed some of my congested pores were already starting decongest themselves, especially around and on my nose.

Day 2: My skin is clear, smooth, and glowy. When I did a shortened version of PM skin care routine, I noticed a little peeling/flaking action but it wasn’t too bad. I’ve been instructed to stay away from my beloved AHA’s, BHA’s, any other exfoliant, and any harsh anti-aging/anti-acne treatments. I cleansed, spritzed on a hydrating mist, and applied a hydrating PM moisturizer. I did cheat and spot treat a blemish that found its way to the surface of my skin.

Day 3: Note to self: Do not use Shiseido Sunscreen after a peel. It was way too thick and showed every little area of peeling skin. Other than that, my skin felt and looked good. I started to see some congestion coming up and my skin will most likely be showing signs of an acne flare up very soon.

Day 4: More peeling. It’s still not bad or noticable, mostly exfoliates off when I cleanse with my Clarisonic Brush (only 1x a day instead of the usual 2x). I have not been wearing any makeup. More congestion from my pores is starting to surface.

Day 5: First day wearing makeup. My skin looked great without makeup today but it was back to work and that meant makeup time. A tiny blemish decided to make an appearance but it’s not a big deal and not noticeable.

Day 6: Again, my skin looks great. Glowy, gorgeous, mostly clear except for the visitor that popped up yesterday.

Day 7: Blemish gone. Skin looks radiant. I want another peel!

The month after: My skin still looks beautiful, though a bit of hormonal acne has surfaced near my jaw, which is to be expected, thanks to Auntie Flo. I still want another pro peel and under the advice of a trusted skin care guru, I am now using the OTC  Ole Henriksen Micro/Mini Peel. I have received the Ok to use it and have tried it twice. LOVE! Easy to use and gentle, except that I’m not fond of the first step, which is a seemingly abrasive scrub.

I might try microdermabrasion next. We’ll see.

By the way, I think you all should know that I love 24 and will be very sad when it’s over.


I first tried Bare Escentual’s Bare Mineral foundation back in 2005 and despite all of the fabulous infomercials that promised this foundation would deliver beautiful skin, it did not work for me at all. The coverage was OK and application was easy (albeit very messy) but it made my oily skin feel greasy and the bismuth oxychloride made my face itch like crazy. I also did not like how shiny it made my skin look.

I swore off the brand, even after a colleague of mine ended up working for the company and tried to convince me that it was a good product. When the matte foundation was released, she gave me my very own jar to try out and said I would like this new formula better. It sat in my makeup organizer for months until recently when I decided to break it out and finally give it a try.

I like the new packaging; its user-friendly closable sifter ensures that you won’t end up with a powder explosion when opened. I also love that it is matte and is free of bismuth oxychloride. I did not like the coverage as it seemed to be lighter than the original. I also didn’t care for how it felt on my skin, though to be fair I feel this way about all mineral makeup, not just this brand. I felt itchy when it was first applied and then that feeling went away after a few moments of wear. For me, it is totally better than the original. I can absolutely see how others love Bare Escentuals products and I’m still not a fan of the brand.

PSA: I know that the B.E. slogan is “makeup so pure you can sleep in it,” but please don’t. Even though the makeup won’t clog your pores, you are still producing oil and not washing your face after wearing any kind of makeup can contribute to clogged pores or acne.

The new matte foundation is $28 and can be found at Bare Escentuals stores and Sephora.

Skin Care Expiration

August 31, 2009



Have you ever been using your favorite skin care or body product and think, “So when does this expire, anyway?”

Some products do have expiration dates, though those are few and far between. Many brands have an expiration suggestion printed on the back of the bottle, jar, ot tube. It looks like a jar with the lid open and has a number printed inside. This number indicates the number of months after opening the product that it should be good for. Conditions such as contamination (IE dipping unwashed hands into a jar) or forgetting to put the lid back on the product can shorten that amount of time.

In the above photo, one of my products is optimal to use until six months of opening, while another is good for 24 months. The amount of time will vary from product to product depending on factors such as ingredients (essential oils, plant or fruit extracts, parabins aka preservatives, and etc.).

if you are using a skin care product as directed, it should not last longer then the expiration suggestion. Some products (body items, for example) may last longer then the suggested amount of time. In these cases, it’s best to monitor the texture, color, and scent for any changes which can indicate it has spoiled.

Don’t remember when you first opened a product? I always try to mark the bottom or somewhere inconspicuous with the month and year, just so I don’t forget. This is also a good idea if your product doesn’t suggest any time frame of expiration so you will know how long it’s been around.

Secret Breakout Causes

July 22, 2009



Arg! I’m breaking out randomly on my face and chest! I haven’t broken out on my chest since I was 14 and it’s annoying. Not much in my skin care routine has changed, except for last week I ran out of my MD Skincare Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel Pads and I used a different sunscreen then usual. Those two could be the culprits, or it could also be something below. I’m banking on it being a little of everything.

  • Did you know that not washing your pillow slips (or pillow cases…which ever you prefer to call them) regularly can cause or worsen acne? That’s because bacteria and oil from your skin and scalp can collect on them causing more breakouts. I usually wash mine twice a week but I kind of skipped a week. Icky, I know, I just got lazy. I made sure to toss them in the wash today.
  • Leaning or resting your face on your hands can cause breakouts on your chin from oils in your skin. I try not to do this but sometimes it happens. I’m not breaking out around my jaw so I can nix this as one of my current acne causes.
  • Not washing your makeup brushes regularly can be a big acne-causing culprit. I keep my makeup brushes super clean and I just washed every single brush I own last night (close to 90) for added insurance that none of my brushes are causing it. BTW: I keep seperate brushes for clients and seperate brushes for myself.
  • I own a Clarisonic and absolutely adore it. Best thing ever! You are supposed to change the brush head every three months and wash it weekly with an anti-bacterial soap. Yeah, I kinda sorta forgot last week so I did it today.
  • Picking and “popping” acne can also lead to more acne in surrounding areas. Bacteria can spread via your fingers, so if you must pick (please don’t-it could possibly leave behind a scar), always do it on a clean face with your fingers wrapped in tissue. I like to take a steaming hot towel to the area and leave it there for a minute or two. If it “pops” then yay! If not, I leave it alone because it’s not ready to go.


For the past two weeks, I’ve been using Josie Maran Argan Oil under my PM moisturizer (currently Korres Thyme Honey Moisturizer). Love, love, love! I want to bathe in it but alas, I only have a small sample vial of the product. You can also use Argan Oil as a hair treatment, on your body, and it’s also recommended for dry cuticles and eczema.

My oily skin is prone to occasional breakouts, especially when I’m PMSing. Since I started using it, my skin looks clear, radiant, and feels a tad less oily. It’s certainly not a miracle product but I do admittedly adore it, so far. The texture is neither thin nor thick, it is quickly absorbed, and doesn’t have a heavy scent. I’d describe it as slightly earthy in a good way. While I like this brand, I am also researching other brands that sell the same product for perhaps a bit less. I might break down and buy a bottle if I don’t find a suitable alternative. Buyer beware: make sure you check ingredients of what you are buying as some companies add fillers to keep the price down.



I’ve been using this mask for nearly a month and I have to say, it’s pure perfection! Oh Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Revealing Mask how I love thee. My skin can be fairly sensitive and it hasn’t caused any irritation, it leaves my skin exfoliated and glowing, and it helps to reduce the appearance of my large pores. I love the brush because it makes for a truly indulgent treatment minus the indulgent price at $42. Psssssst: at the NYC Caudalie Spa the 50 minute Vinoperfect treatment is $185.

 Ladies also take note.


1. First, and most important, be consistent! The more you take care of your skin, the better it will look. Think of it like going to the gym: once a week won’t really do much for you but if you go daily, you’ll notice a real difference. It’s the same with your skin.

2. Cleanse your skin twice daily. If you are aiming for clearer skin, this is an important step to cleanse away dirt and oil.

3. Protect your skin by using an SPF of at least 15 and if you work outdoors, make sure to reapply every few hours.

4. Exfoliate! Not only will it help shed dull, dead skin cells, it will help any creams or lotions penetrate the skin more effectively. Some cleansers do double duty by exfoliating, so check the label. Look for BHA’s (or beta hydroxy acid) or anything that mentions exfoliation.

5. Hydrate your skin with a good moisturizer, preferably without an SPF in the product. A moisturizer sans SPF can be used in the AM and PM.

Shopping Tips:

While there are skincare brands that specifically cater to men, you can use any brand. There aren’t any “women only” brands, though quite often the packaging is designed to appeal to that market.

You don’t need to drop a lot of cash on your skincare routine. The age old debate of department/specialty store VS drug store products is a personal decision and neither is right or wrong.

Heads up: unlike drug stores, you will receive personalized help at a department store counter or store like Sephora then at a drug store, so if you have questions, they tend to be good places to start.

If you do have a Sephora in your area, you can make an appointment for a complimentary consultation. This is a free session (usually a few minutes in length up to a half hour) where a skincare expert can demo the products on your skin, help establish a routine that fits your skincare needs and lifestyle, and they can answer any questions you may have. You can check their website ( to find store locations.

If you need a few items at once, are trying a new brand,  or are just starting out using skincare, gift sets and travel packs are a great way to try products out. They are often smaller then full size items and can help you figure out what you like best. They also tend to be great values for your money.

Some department store counters charge for consults, so be sure to check prices. Sometimes the cost of the consult is redeemable in products.

You can also walk up to any counter or store at any time and they should be able to help you find products right for you if you are short on time. This should be free and quick (under five minutes).

If you feel pressured to buy something and aren’t ready to commit, see if you can take home a sample of the product to try first. Some places sample generously and some don’t.

If heading to the drug store, most brands have packaging on the box that will tell you what they do (i.e.: cleanser for oily skin or moisturizer for all skin types).


February 10, 2009


I love the brand Fresh! They have a few new products out and I also indulged in an older one.

The new Soy Face Cream is for all skin types and packs a punch. Vitamins A, C, and E are infused as well as tea, rose water, soy proteins and jojoba seed oil. The result equals a moisturizer that’s light weight and also leaves your skin looking glowy and smooth.

The first day I tried the new Rose FreshFace Primer my skin was a little irritated. It seemed to calm my skin down a bit, thanks to anti-inflammatory ingredients. After the third day of use, my skin felt better and as I passed by a mirror, noticed my makeup still looked great after work. All in all, this is one of the better primers I’ve used.

I’ve also been sniffing my newest bath time acquisition, SugarBath Lychee Bath Cubes, every chance I get. They are lightly scented and slightly fizz under running water. I’d save these for an occasional bath since they’re fairly pricey for what they are and the scent doesn’t linger on your skin after your bath.

What’s your type?

January 9, 2009


What’s your type? Personally, I like tall boys with dark hair and brown eyes. Just so we’re on the same page,”tall” (for me) is generally anything over 5’5, being that I’m only 4’11. Learning my skin type, however, ended up being a little more painful then just liking what I see. I remember being 14, in the dermatologist office for the first time, staring at the tourture-esque tools on the table and scared to death. My derm told me I was acne-prone, oily, and needed extractions. I would spend the next few minutes trying not to cry from the pain of having my pores poked and prodded.

My bad derm experience aside, knowing your skin type can help you figure out the best way to care for your body’s largest organ. If you have oily skin, you certainly don’t want a moisturizer for dry types as it may be too rich and emollient. Below are simple and easy ways to determine your type–skin type, that is. 😉

Dry skin: Your skin may feet tight, especially after washing your face. Throughout the day your skin has a matte finish with no T-zone shine. You may also experience flaky patches and sometimes redness.

Oily skin: Yours skin looks shiny and feels slightly greasy to the touch a few hours after washing your face. Throughout the day you may notice more shine. The texture of your skin might be coarse, like the skin of an orange, due to large pore size.

Optimal (or normal) skin: You neither feel dry or oily. Your pores tend to not be enlarged. Skin tone is often times even with zero to little redness.

Sensitive: Your skin tends to be easily irritated. You may have mild to severe redness (rosacea) and experience a sensitivity to some products. Skin is delicate and can turn red easily.

Combination skin: If you experience two of the above skin types, you may have combo skin. Combo skin types often need to treat their skin according to both types.

Acne prone skin: Anyone, regardless of skin type, can be acne prone. Oily skins tend to, on average, be more acne prone then others. “Acne prone” skin can be mild ( a few breakouts here and there)  to severe (cystic acne).

Still not certain what skin type you have? Try an easy little experiment: cleanse your skin as usual in the morning and follow your daily routine. Check in a mirror throughout the day to monitor shine. If your entire face looks shiny, you are oily. If you have no shine at all and your skin feels tight, you are most likely dry. If your face feels neither oily or dry, you are optimal. If you experience any of the above types, you are combo.

Next up: The best ways to care for your specific skin type.