I don’t think beauty products should be allowed to have the following in their names: miracle, wonder, instant, lineless, wrinkle-free, laser/lift/tightening/facelift/eyelift (unless we’re talking about the real surgical procedures), and flawless, to name a few. They are loaded words that appeal to emotions and give the user false hope that the products will be miraculous. The FDA here in the US does not regulate beauty products and many promises are delivered to consumers that the hottest skin care item was “Clinically tested and 100% of testers found it to be effective”, when perhaps there were only 80 people in the clinical trial. And the clinical trial was done by the company producing the product in a controlled environment. i.e. a “side effect” of product x could be darkening of hair, and all of the testers are already brunette, so therefore 100% of all testers did not experience that side effect.

I am a big believer in several OTC* skin care lines. I’ve seen my skin go from acne-prone to gorgeous, glowing, and clear with products I’ve purchased at Nordstrom and Sephora, when things the Derm tried didn’t work. It’s important to know that OTC and even prescription treatments may not completely eliminate a skin concern. I’m a big believer in trying OTC products first, then if needed, consult a derm. I’m also big on research. Most websites provide a list of ingredients. If you don’t know what something is, look it up. Know what you are putting on your skin, be aware of any interactions or precautions to take (if you are using a 10% glycolic wash, plus a 5% salicylic treatment, you must wear SPF to prevent sunburn and damage, plus you must know if it’s okay to use other products containing these ingredients and frequency of use).

I see soo many people who end up not liking a product because they didn’t give it enough time to work, or people who are mixing ingredients that should not be used all together. Please do not use an AHA/BHA cleanser every day, a glycolic toner, a vitamin c serum, a salicylic treatment, retinol every night, chemical peels twice a month, plus exfoliate with a scrub twice a week…and not wear SPF. Oh, and then get a brow wax (and not disclose the products you’re using to your esthetician) and then wonder why your skin is so much more sensitive than it was before. That’s just ridiculous overload and entirely too many active ingredients at one time. Likewise, I’ve seen those who don’t do anything to their skin and wonder why they have skin issues. I’ve even ran into women (and girls) who don’t wash their face and they wear makeup everyday! Oy.

Following directions: To see optimal results from any skin care product or treatment, one simply must, must, must use as directed. A pigmentation brightening treatment is not going to work in one week. Same with any type of anti-aging treatment or acne treatment. A single hair removal laser treatment at the derm is not going to treat a large area (there must be a series of treatments used). It must be used consistently and long enough to see results (this does not mean skipping treatments or using when you feel like it). Dermatologists, esthetician’s, and beauty industry sales associates are not telling you to be consistent just to hear themselves talk. It’s the truth, use as directed.

*OTC = over the counter. Any product containing an active ingredient (benzol peroxide, salicylic, glycolic acid, AHA/BHA,  titanium dioxide, etc) that’s readily available without a prescription at department or specialty stores and even drug stores.

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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.

Skin Care Expiration

August 31, 2009

suggestion

 

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

acne

 

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.

caudmask

 

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.

tbtbsc

The brand behind my most favorite concealer in the world has created TimeBalm foundation. Hooray! Packed with all of the great stuff that’s in the concealer, this “solid” foundation has vitamins A, C, and E to nourish the skin, it also has ingredients that help with eye-area aging. Basically, this is TheBalm concealer in larger packaging. A little goes a long way and it’s great for all skin types. For $28, you get triple the amount in the concealer pot, so this is a fantastic buy for your money.

It’s dreamy texture can go from light, medium, to full coverage with the more you layer on. It doesn’t feel heavy or greasy, and it actually seemed to help keep my oily skin in check, for at least an hour more then usual. I can see how the formula, like the concealer, is recommended for all skin types. It glides on smoothly enough for dry skins, and feels lighter then air for those on the combo or oily side.

The downside: it’s only offered in four shades. Hopefully, like the original concealer, more shades will be introduced as its popularity increases.

 Ladies also take note.

wf1

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 (www.sephora.com) 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).

What’s your type?

January 9, 2009

mask

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.

Fresh

November 6, 2008

Fresh is one of the many brands that I just adore and I always love trying anything and everything from the brand. Started by husband and wife team Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg in the early 90’s, the line embodies technology, quality and luxury. Lev is also a certified nose and took years creating their Cannabis Santal fragrance. Today I will be giving reviews of Sake Bath, Rice Dry Oil, Sugar Lychee Shower gel and Lotion, and the new Strawberry Flowers fragrance. If you are ever in San Francisco, check out the Fresh Boutique on Sutter Street (in the Financial District between Stockton and Kearny). You can also find locations near you on the site under store locator.

sakerice

Sake Bath, 13.5 oz, $80: Sake Bath’s claim to fame is that it features 50% pure sake to detoxify, relax muscles, soften skin and increase circulation. I definitely felt relaxed and warm. You do need to use very hot water and a lot of product (at least a shot glass worth for an average size bathtub) to see any benefits and it’s not meant for use by pregnant women or those with heart conditions. Is it worth $80? Probably not, although I wouldn’t mind receiving it as a gift.

Rice Dry Oil, 3.4 oz, $48: Relaxes mind and body and is quickly absorbed. Smells wonderful, almost reminiscent of the Sake fragrance. Feels luxurious and leaves skin feeling silky without being slippery or sticky. For me it was a bit irritating to use because of the pour spout-I either poured way too much or too little into my hands. While it’s a great product, the price tag is a bit steep for something I would use up so frequently.

sugar

Sugar Lychee Bath and Shower Gel, 10 oz, $28: Some bath and shower gels can leave my skin feeling dry and tight. This one feels and smells heavenly. It features sugar cane extract (sugar is a natural humectant so it draws moisture to the skin), it also has shea butter to further hydrate. I would buy this over and over I love it so much. A little goes a long way so it lasts through shower after shower.

Sugar Lychee Body Lotion, 10 oz, $28: light in scent and texture, this is my post shower bed time body lotion because it soaks into the skin without feeling greasy. The scent is calming and light enough that it doesn’t give me a headache. Definitely a must try in this and other scents.

Strawberry Flowers Fragrance, Sephora exclusive, 1 oz EDP, $38: Features notes of Mandarin, Yuzu, White peach, Mountain Strawberries, Freesia, Orange Blossom, Osmanthus, Orris, Musk, White woods. This fragrance is a soft floral and very pretty. Would make a nice gift for a fragrance aficionado, Fresh lover, or someone who wants a light fragrance suitable for daytime wear. Please note that this doesn’t and isn’t supposed to smell just like strawberries as there are several other notes that balance it out.