NuFace For a New Face

giphyAging can be super scary, and unfortunately, a lot of people go to the wrong places to try and reverse the signs of their time on earth. Here I review an alternative to needles and scalpels, the NuFace microcurrent device.

If you aren’t familiar, microcurrent devices are like a boot camp for your face muscles, unlike Botox which literally freezes them in place. It sends waves of current through your skin similar to the current already present in our body to wake up collagen and elastin production. The treatment doesn’t hurt at all and does not leave your face red or burning and it’s something you can do for five minutes a day or more. The catch is, you have to keep up with it, they recommend five times a week for the first 60 days and then you can start ramping down, but honestly, with the results I’ve had, I will use it each and every single day for the rest of my life.

giphy2Every morning after washing my face with a non-oil based exfoliator (oil will block the microcurrent!), I apply my eye cream and the NuFace Booster Copper Complex. Then I use my NuFace for five minutes and follow up with the rest of my routine. The NuFace has honestly shocked me with how well it works, I am only 31 years old but I have started to get a few lines on my forehead and smile lines that were bothering me. I’ve been using the NuFace for over a month now and I know that with continued use I can push the hands of time, the lines that have been taunting me are almost completely smoothed out. I’ve also noticed that my cheekbones have been more defined and my skin tone is glowing!

The NuFace also helps with product absorption, so using your favorite serums before a session will amplify them that much more. One caveat is that you need to use a conductive gel while using the NuFace to help the device glide on your skin and to allow the microcurrent to reach your skin. The gel primer that comes with the device has to be rinsed off which doesn’t work if you want to layer your serums underneath. They do have a hydrating leave-on gel primer but it burned a little on my face. I started using an aloe vera gel with vitamin C which does not need to be rinsed off and allows me to layer my serum underneath.

giphy3Adding this simple step to your day can really reverse many signs of aging and make your skin glow. I tried the device on my mother when she was in town and it did wonders for her mature skin in just three days. It does take commitment and a well-rounded beauty routine to get the best results along with continued use. The results were enough to convince me to use it daily so that I don’t have to meet men on my back like Blanche here.

Have you tried a microcurrent device facial? Do you think it’s worth the time, money and effort?

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Best of Face: What I Love

This list is subject to change since new products and gadgets come out and I get obsessed with the newest thing, but the following are either products I’ve gotten from my beauty box subscriptions like BirchBox and Petit Vour, or just oldies but goodies that have never failed me.

giphy1Face Wash – I got a travel size of the OSEA Ocean Cleanser in the Follain Start Kit (which comes with an adorable travel pouch!) and I’ve been enjoying it so far. It definitely shows that it’s working with a bit of a tingling sensation if you leave it on too long, but my skin has really felt clean after using it. Another cleanser that I have had a good experience with is the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Deep Dive Cleansing Gel.

Face ScrubSt Ives Exfoliate & Nourish Facial Oil Scrub is not the harsh scrub you’re thinking about. This is the oil version that is more gentle while still being effective, I use it every morning and the grapeseed oil leaves a nice moisturized barrier.

giphyFace Towel – It may seem silly to have a favorite face towel, but what you dry your face with 2+ times a day is pretty important! I got these Muslin face cloths and they are so soft, thin and gentle on my face. I also got a 10 pack so I can swap them out every few days which prevents me from using the same towel for too long (which I admittedly neglect to keep track of).

Face Wipes – I love the Simple Kind to Skin Facial Wipes but I hate that they don’t have a snap closure. For better packaging, I get the e.l.f. studio makeup remover cleansing cloths.

TonerThayers Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel in Rose Petal or Lavender gets your skin feeling clean without any stinging or dryness.

giphy2Face Spray – I always fall back on my basic Rose Water for a nice refreshing spritz, but I have a nice DIY face and body spray recipe that you can tailor to your skin. I have these tiny travel spray bottles to keep them with me on-the-go as well.

Face Mister – I am all about any gadget that will give me hydrated skin. This is essentially a portable humidifier that you can point directly at your face on-the-go, it will even take toners, rose waters and small amounts of viscous essential oils (so no carrier oils!) at an 80:20 water to oil ratio. Perfect for travel, your desk at work, the car etc!

giphy3Eye Cream – I will never stop singing the praises of the Juice Beauty Smoothing Eye Concentrate. I have seen a noticeable difference in the line around my eyes, smile lines and forehead lines.

Acne Serum for Day – The Evologie Intensive Blemish Serum is a nice, natural, multi-tasking serum that feels like a traditional acne serum. If you like a more nourishing, moisturizing balm then check out the Zabana Essentials Tamanu Calendula Face Balm, I got a sample of it from Petit Vour and I love it so much. I may even splurge and buy it when my sample runs out!

Retinol for Night – I’m basic and got a generic tretinoin prescription from my dermatologist. I use it every other day or else my skin starts to flake, but a retinol is imperative in the anti-aging journey.

Face Moisturizer – There are a lot of great moisturizers out there but Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer Stress-Minimizing Daily Hydrator really is a life-saver for angry skin. Its base ingredient is Squalane Oil which on its own is very calming for irritated skin.

Face Oil – I have read a few posts about how many oils that have a high concentration of polyunsaturated fats can harbor free radicals and further age your face, which to be fair there is a lot of debate about this. If it is true then a lot of our favorites oils, basically anything derived from a nut or seed (almond, rosehip seed, etc) is aging us while we use them. Now with proper use and storage of these oils, I don’t think there is much to worry about but to avoid it all together you can stick to jojoba oil (which is actually a wax), plant-derived squalane oil, vitamin e oil and coconut oil. This works for me because I happen to be a big fan of the Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil, but I also use Josie Maran Argan Oil when I travel when my skin is most compromised and my skin never looks better.

Face SPFJosie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 with Sunboost ATB is so moisturizing that it doesn’t’ even feel like a sunscreen.

giphy4Face Mask – My favorite DIY face mask is simply blending Aztec Secret Indian Deep Pore Cleansing Healing Clay with either water or Apple Cider Vinegar if your skin needs some extra blemish targeting. Get it into a nice paste consistency and apply, it will dry and make your face look crazy, but while you rinse it off it acts as a nice exfoliant as well!

Lip Color – I don’t wear bright colors on my lips, so the Fresh Sugar Lip treatment in Nude with SPF 15 is my go-to. I’ve posted about this one before and it glides on so well, leaves the best nude color that matches my skin tone and a little goes a long way. Plus I love that it has SPF 15!

giphy5Lip Treatment – I have been using the Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Serum with the Lip Treatment and my lips have been very happy, plump and moisturized.

Do you have any go-to face products or tools you can’t live without? Let me know in the comments!

Header Photo by Anna Sastre on Unsplash

Winter vs Skin: How to Combat Dry Air

kfalpezWhether you are heating your home with central air or radiators, dry winter skin only gets worse once that heat kicks in. If you are lucky to live in a nice new home with a built-in humidifier then you may not know what I’m talking about, but living in an NYC apartment means I have noisy radiators. There is the bowl of water trick to disperse some humidity in the air with the heat, but mine are all covered up. I had to invest in a good humidifier to make my skin, sinuses and plants happy this winter.

IMB_kL23aq.gifI had a small essential oil diffuser which doubled as a humidifier, but once I got a larger bedroom it wasn’t cutting it anymore. I have since moved the small one to work which my co-workers are very thankful for. I did a lot of research and fell on this warm/cool mist humidifier by VAVA, not only does it look cool but it had all the features I wanted in a humidifier. It has a water filter but if you are concerned about the quality of your water the warm mist feature will take care of most of the impurities for you.

It also has a sleep mode to disable the screen light and sounds and a remote for all the controls. I have it running pretty much 24/7 and I have to refill it once a day. My plants seem to be suffering a little bit less and my lips aren’t as parched every morning. You’ll know it’s overkill if your rugs and carpets are damp or if your windows seem to be fogging up. If your bed is in a large living space, like say a studio, try to keep the humidifier close to your bed and on a higher surface, at least two feet from the ground.

If your face and sinuses seem to be suffering the most, you can also invest in a face steamer for a direct hit. I have this same facial steamer in pink which comes with a sinus attachment as well if you don’t want to smudge your eye make up. It boils water in the metal pan below and gives your face a nice steam facial, you can also add a drop of your favorite essential oil to make it an aromatherapy steam! Eucalyptus would be great for the sinuses while Lavender or Geranium would be lovely for the skin. I like to follow it up with a clay mask since the pores are open. Start with a clean face and use a toner after rinsing the mask to close the pores back up.

What do you do to combat dry air in your home? Any humidifiers or tools that changed your life?

Header Photo by Breather on Unsplash

The Order of Things

giphy5The Koreans have a 10-step beauty regimen that has become more of a lifestyle. Their obsession with perfect skin and the latest products has made the K-Beauty scene very popular, but how early are you willing to wake up to accommodate a sheet mask every morning? Below is a more realistic plan that can maximize the best products that are available to give you your best skin day every day.

Morning

1. Exfoliate

Exfoliate with a scrub to prep your skin for makeup, it is super important to exfoliate in some form every day. Just ask Beyonce’s dermatologist, I’ve been meaning to read his book!

2. Tone

Tone your face with a cotton round and alcohol-free witch hazel. This step makes it feel like my face is really truly clean.

3. Face Mist

Spray with DIY glycerin face mist, let dry. In the Korean 10-step routine, it is also imperative to never let your face dry, the mist is a good way to prevent that.

4. Eye Cream

Apply your favorite eye cream, I sing the gospel of Juice Beauty Smoothing Eye Concentrate, I also put whatever is leftover on my fingers on my laugh lines and forehead lines. They have honestly gotten smoother since I started using this eye serum.

5. Serum

Depending on your skin concerns, find a serum that works for you. I need one for acne, discoloration, hyperpigmentation and scarring like this one by Evologie Intensive Blemish Serum. I’ve been trying a lot of serums out lately from Birchbox and Petit Vour, I am a big advocate of trying as many samples as you can for a fair period of time in order to find what really works for you. There is something for every skin type!

6. Chemical Sunscreen

This only goes before your facial oil if you use a chemical sunscreen. It needs to be able to soak into your skin to be fully effective.

7. Face Oil

Oils seal in everything you layered on to your face and is why this is the last step (unless you use a mineral sunscreen). For day I like to use a face oil that has a natural SPF in it because, why not? Carrot Seed Oil and Red Raspberry Seed Oils both have naturally high SPF factors. This is also a good time to get in a little facial massage while applying and distributing your face oil!

8. Mineral Sunscreen

If you use a mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide for example, this needs to go on last. I would let the face oil absorb for a few minutes before applying. Mineral sunscreens work by physically blocking out the suns rays so it needs to sit on top! I have probably mentioned before, but the Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 with Sunboost ATB is by far my favorite.

Night

1. Double Wash

The double wash is very important if you have makeup and/or sunscreen on. This shouldn’t be an exfoliant since they can push the grime and makeup from the day further into your pores. Take a nice sulfate-free face wash and do one thorough wash, rinse, then wash again! If you have acne concerns find one with salicylic acid, using the acid in a wash is better than in a cream since that can be very drying. This way the salicylic acid has a chance to get into your pores for a brief moment. The Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser With Salicylic Acid is so gentle and removes makeup while clearing out pores.

2. Remove Eye Makeup

I know most will say to try and remove makeup before washing, but I like to get it wet so that it comes off more easily instead of tugging at my skin and delicate eye area with a face wipe. Once you wash and pat dry, then you can go in with a wipe and remove your eye make up thoroughly. I just focus on the eye makeup with the wipes and make sure the skin is clean in the next step.

3. Toner

Just like in the am, tone your face with a cotton round and alcohol-free witch hazel to make sure that your pores are not going to be bogged down by any dirt overnight under your hydrating serums and creams.

4. Face Mist

giphy15Spray with a face mist, I like to make my own DIY glycerin face mist with lavender and tea tree oil. After cleansing and toning it’s a nice step to start layering the humectants and get the skin hydrated. Let dry.

5. Eye Cream

I use the Juice Beauty Smoothing Eye Concentrate day and night. I like to apply it first before any serums since the eye area is so delicate and shouldn’t really have harsh retinols or serums applied.

6. Serum or Retinol

I alternate between my serum and retinol every other day since the retinol can make my skin pretty dry, especially in the dryer winter months.

7. Moisturizer

Find a nice hydrating moisturizer to work it’s magic overnight. I have a ton of samples I’m always trying to get through, but one of my favs is the Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Face Butter.

8. Face Oil

In the evening I opt for a nice thick oil like tamanu or squalane and do an extended face massage that extends down to my neck and chest. This Aura Cacia Organic Tamanu Face Oil Serum with lavender and tea tree oils is so nice to apply before bed. Another wonderfully luxurious option is the Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil.

Shower

I have been plagued by little bumps and pimples on my chest and back and for the longest time and I could not understand why. No amount of tea tree or salicylic acid would help. Turns out the order of things in the shower matters just as much as your routine once you get out.

giphy2If you are like me, you do most of your business in the shower while your conditioner is settling in on your head. This means you are rinsing your head last, and all that comes down from your head then settles on your back, shoulders and face. Conditioners have silicones and panthenol which can clog the pores on your skin. Get ready to have your mind blown.

Wash your face and body last.

Ever since I started doing this the back and chest acne has considerably gotten better. My routine now looks something like this (mind you I shower at night unless it’s after a ClassPass class on the weekend):

1. Wash Face

giphyWash face, shoulders and chest with salicylic acid face wash, I like this one by Neutrogena (the pump is convenient in the shower!). Remember we are double washing since I shower in the evening, second wash comes last. If It’s the weekend I’ll use a face scrub instead like St. Ives Coconut & Coffee Scrub, it’s pretty coarse so it is best used ~ once a week! It does smell like you mashed a slice of tiramisu on your face.

2. Shampoo

Any sulfate-free shampoo for your hair type works! If you are a blonde invest in a good purple or blue shampoo to use every other wash to keep those blonde tones bright.

3. Conditioner

One of my favorite conditioners is S-Factor Smoothing Conditioner, it smells like a green jolly rancher and makes your hair feel amazing.

giphy6Now normally I would have washed my body, washed my face again and fit in any other things like shaving or pumicing my feet, but now I needed to find something else to bide the time while my conditioner did its magic.

4. Body Scrub

I made a glorious DIY Coffee Coconut Body Scrub that I like to use on my thighs and butt, but any body scrub is a good time waster!

5. Miscellaneous

Pumice your feet! I literally do this every day in the shower and my feet look like a newborn’s. It may seem excessive but again it’s just another way to pass the time while your conditioner sits. This is a good time to shave as well (optional, especially in the winter).

7. Rinse Conditioner

Now we can rinse the conditioner and clip up your hair to move on.

8. The Final Wash

Wash your face again and then move on to your body, you want to work top down here to make sure you rinse all residue. Dr. Bronner’s Tea Tree Liquid Castille Soap is my jam, it will make your home smell like a spa and since tea tree is naturally antibacterial it will help with body acne!

9. The Final Rinse

Take hair down and do a full body cold rinse, this is great for the hair and seals your pores.

These all should be pretty self-explanatory but when you really break it down and pay attention it all makes so much more sense. Why spend so much money on all these products if you aren’t going to use them correctly? Any order life-hacks you have to offer? Let me know in the comments!

Header Photo by STIL on Unsplash

No Needle Lip Plumping

giphy24The key to working what you already got is hydration. Shocking right? The key to that youthful glow will always be hydration and preventing dehydration of your skin and lips. Drink plenty of water, stay out of the sun, don’t consume too much salt or alcohol. But there are also topical ways to keep lips plump and youthful.

Fresh Sugar Lip Line

IMB_7sbdmf.GIFI am obsessed with the lemon tart scent of Fresh’s Sugar lip line, they have an array of products that are absolutely worth the money with the way they make your lips look and feel. My all-time favorite is the Lip Treatment with SPF 15 in the color Nude. It has the perfect nude color to get you through the day. The Fresh Sugar Lip Serum Advanced Therapy is meant to be layered under a balm, it feels a little dry on its own. I’ve been using it after I brush my teeth morning and night, then follow it up with the Fresh Sugar Advanced Therapy Lip Treatment in the morning and the Fresh Sugar Lip Polish at night. The serum has really made a difference in how smooth my lips are. If balms aren’t your jam then they also have the Fresh Sugar Cream Lip Treatment that comes in a tube. To me, it has the same smell and consistency as the balms. If you like dipping your finger into a pot, the Fresh Sugar Caramel Hydrating Balm is a dream. There is a Fresh Sugar lip treatment for everyone!

Lip Masks & Exfoliants

These gel collagen lip masks are a nice pampering treat. I’m not too sure if they work, but they look cool and claim to seal in hydration and give a dose of collagen to your lip area. Fresh also has a Sugar Lip Polish that works great as a lip mask and exfoliant duo. As stated before I like to apply it over the Fresh Lip Serum right before bed, no need to rinse. If you wake up with flaky skin in the morning you exfoliate, and it shouldn’t be any different for your lips! You may have heard to take a basic toothbrush to exfoliate your lips, but I think they are too harsh for the delicate skin around your lips. I like to take these simple little silicone scrubbers and gently rub them over my lips after I apply my face oil to wipe away any dead skin. The stimulation also plumps and pinks!

DIY Lip Plumper

Many store-bought lip plumpers are too sticky and make very lofty claims for the price they are selling for. With a few ingredients, you can make one at home and customize for your needs, everything has to be edible since it’s going on your lips. Just grab an empty lip balm pot and follow along.

  • Honey is antibacterial and hydrating, it will also give this balm some consistency. Manuka Honey specifically is said to be a godsend for beauty and hydration though I have not tried it before. Any honey should do.
  • Vegetable glycerin is a great humectant and will make sure the balm lasts
  • Ground cinnamon will act as a bit of an exfoliant while also irritating your lips enough to plump and get all nice and rosy. Do not cinnamon oil since this can be too irritating.
  • Peppermint oil is optional and can be used in small amounts as a breath freshener. The oil will also act as an irritant to plump your lips.
  • Olive oil for moisture
  • Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel or Rose Water for mixing and consistency
  • Vitamin E is very nourishing and also acts as a preservative.

The following instructions are for a lip scrub and treatment. I like to put it on in the bath and let it sit while I soak. This is a little runnier and will set a bit on your lips once you stop scrubbing. You can adjust this recipe to fit your needs, for example, less ground cinnamon will not be as harsh of an exfoliant. Or more honey and less oils/rose water will be more of a balm.

  1. IMB_xucU3h.GIFPut equal parts ground cinnamon, olive oil and rose water or witch hazel in the bottom 1/4 of the pot. Add the optional peppermint essential oil here, but use very little! Mix with a fork.
  2. Fill half the pot with honey so you are at 3/4 of the way up. Mix well.
  3. Top it off with a few drops of vitamin e and vegetable glycerin. Mix a little then put the cap on and shake well before each use.

How do you keep your pout perfect? Any life-changing products I’ve missed?

Header Photo by ian dooley on Unsplash

What Not To Wear: Ingredients To Avoid

giphy3There is nothing worse than looking at a favorite product and realizing it has sulfates or parabens or petrochemicals. Ever since I have become more conscious of the ingredient list on my beauty products I’ve been able to educate myself on what is worth using and what to toss or retire.

Petrochemicals

Petrochemicals can come in many forms: mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffin, petroleum, propylene, ethylene, butadiene, benzene or xylene. These are found in most candles, many beauty products such as Neosporin type gels and of course, Vaseline. The scary thing about petrochemicals is that they cannot be metabolized by your body, which means once they go in, they don’t come out. Ever. They just accumulate in your body, and on top of that they aren’t nourishing, are possible carcinogens, hormone-disruptors and they don’t let your skin breathe. There are so many alternatives out there, so pay attention to the labels and try to swap out any products with petrochemicals for ones that don’t mess with that ish.

Parabens

animated 4.GIFLook for any word ending in -paraben on a label and you will find a product that uses this hormone-disruptor as a preservative. It is usually found at the end of the ingredient list, which means the ratio is small, but still not worth risking. To my dismay one of my favorite angry, winter-skin products the Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream for Dry Skin had parabens. I haven’t decided if I won’t replace the tube once it’s gone, you have to decide for yourself if it’s worth it to hold on to the products you love.

Sulfates

giphy3Sulfates are used as a foaming agent is many shampoos, face washes and hand soap. It strips the moisture out of your skin and scalp and can also make your hair color fade faster. It is very easy to find products that don’t have sulfates, it’ll usually be the second ingredient but most shampoos will advertise sulfate-free right on the bottle! Sulfate-free shampoos won’t be as foamy and it may feel like your hair isn’t getting squeaky clean, but this is better in the long run. I like to use a buildup removing shampoo every other wash since blonde hair likes to cling to the minerals in the water. Fairy Tales Lifeguard Clarifying Shampoo doesn’t have any nasty ingredients and smells like Juicy Fruit gum. You use the clarifying shampoo first then your regular shampoo and you’ll notice even if it’s sulfate-free the shampoo you follow up with will be very foamy. That’s because you’ve removed the product and mineral buildup and it can do its clean thing.

Aluminum

giphyAluminum is an ingredient found in most deodorants to serve as an antiperspirant. It does so by blocking your sweat glands from perspiring, which already sounds pretty bad since your body needs to be able to release some steam that way. It has also been linked to breast cancer and disrupts the lymphatic system, which is unfortunate given the proximity of the breasts to the armpit. I love these deodorants by Native, the scents are great and they are all-natural, effective and aluminum-free. While I have tried to make my own deodorant with coconut oil, arrowroot powder and essential oils, this stick is way more convenient.

Oxybenzone

giphy1Chemical sunscreens are very effective and convenient, but oxybenzone can contribute to cellular damage and hormone disruption. Mineral sunscreens are a great alternative but they require some more babysitting and reapplication. Chemical sunscreens work by being absorbed by your body while mineral sunscreens using, for example, zinc oxide, sit on your skin and block the rays that way. My fav mineral sunscreen is Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 with Sunboost ATB. It is so moisturizing and does not feel or smell like a sunscreen at all.

Triclosan

giphy2Another hormonal nightmare, triclosan is often found in anti-bacterial washes, toothpaste and mouthwash. It also has been linked to having a negative environmental impact when it gets into the water supply on UV contact as well. My favorite triclosan-free toothpaste is Tom’s of Maine Luminous White, it has fluoride which my cavity-prone teeth need and whitens wonderfully.

While we’re on the topic of teeth, do yourself a favor and get a new-gen Philips Sonicare toothbrush (with the clip on heads, not the screw tops) and get the DiamondClean heads. My teeth have never been whiter and they feel like I just left a dental cleaning.

Dedicating yourself to paying attention to and adhering to avoiding chemicals in your beauty products is hard work. Looking at a beloved product hoping that it has been serving you well all this time only to find that it is filled with parabens or petrochemicals will absolutely break your heart. It can feel like losing a best friend, a confidant, someone you have relied on for so long and now you have to find a replacement. Which means you get to go shopping!

What ingredients do you look out for? Are there any I’m missing? Let me know!

Header Photo by Matt Briney on Unsplash

Face Oils For All Seasons and Reasons

giphy10I‘ve never been a big makeup buff, I don’t like the way powder feels on my skin, gets all over the place and makes my skin flaky. I only ever used makeup to cover up things I didn’t want to show like blemishes, under eye circles or to contour my face. I’ll never give up contouring, but the key to using less makeup is to get your skin in order so that you don’t even need it. Finding the right combo of facial oils takes a little time but once you find the recipe for you, your skin will be glowing from within that only plump, hydrated skin can offer.

Winter Skin

Once it starts to get cold and dry my skin does this fun thing where it gets red, flaky and angry. It’s usually the worst around my mouth and under my nose, and for when it gets really bad I have to deploy Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer. Regularly using oils to target your winter skin woes can help protect you from that initial shock of cold wind burn.

Almond Oil

giphy14Almond oil is a super hydrating base that is perfect for flaky winter skin. You can use it alone, mix it with one of the anti-aging oils below or an essential oil to target specific issues with your skin. It’s the essential neutral base that you can use as a vessel for other oils. You can use it under your eyes to combat dark circles, even better when you infuse coffee grounds in it, but that’s a post for another day.

Squalane Oil

Squalane Oil is the main ingredient in Kiehl’s Skin Rescuer and it is great for angry skin year round. Not to be confused with squalene oil which is the natural, vegetable-derived version of squalane oil. Yes, in this case, the unnatural version is best due to the hydrogenation process that the squalene oil goes through to remove the instability that can make the oil go rancid. Rancid oil = free radicals aging your skin. One issue I have with this oil was that my blackheads got a little worse when using this alone, but maybe if I added some tea tree and lavender oils to it that would counteract them. It is a very hydrating oil that even helped with the little bumps on my chest that are caused by dry skin.

Summer Skin

giphy12This is the time of year when things start to get a little greasy, so more lightweight oils do the trick. We want oils that absorb quickly and nourish our skin when we inevitably get too much sun. Do not be afraid to put oil on your face even in the summer!

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba Oil can be used directly on the skin or as a hydrating face wash. It is actually a wax that imitates the bodies natural sebum production, so if you have an oily skin problem this will be your best friend! It’s kind of reverse psychology since if you apply jojoba oil to your face, it will curb the production of oil. Finessed them. If the thought of putting oils on your face freaks you out, you can use jojoba oil as a face wash which will still give you the benefit of reducing your sebum production while also giving you hydration you can rinse off. Just apply it to dry skin, rubbing it in gently in a circular motion and you will start to feel all the gunk pill under your fingertips. Then you can wet your hands and rub a bit more before rinsing off.

Argan Oil

Argan oil is great for the summer since it absorbs very quickly. I never understood why anyone would pay so much for Josie Maran Argan Oil when you can get a huge bottle from Vitacost or Whole Foods for a fraction of the price. But I did get sample sizes of Josie’s that I used for travel when my skin acts up the most, and my skin had never felt better. It also comes in a Light version that is great for day use.

Anti-aging

Rosehip Seed Oil

giphy13Rosehip Seed Oil is very restorative and has essential fatty acids for skin regeneration. Miranda Kerr’s skincare line Kora uses a lot of rosehip seed oil and we all want to look like Miranda Kerr no? Rosehip Seed Oil should be in an airtight container with a pump to minimize since it can go rancid easily. It’s also best kept in the refrigerator.

Red Raspberry Seed Oil

Red Raspberry Seed Oil is an amazing anti-aging oil because of the anti-inflammatory properties, both vitamins E and A and a natural retinoid. I like to use this one in the day since it has a naturally high SPF factor. I still recommend using a chemical or mineral sunscreen regardless of an oils SPF factor.

Carrot Seed Oil

Carrot Seed Oil is another oil with naturally high SPF, so another great daytime oil with many other benefits. Aside from also being high in vitamins A and E, it is perfect for angry, aging skin since it is very soothing and also can help with discoloration and hyperpigmentation. It kind of smells like dirt but that fades very quickly.

For All Seasons and Reasons

Vitamin E Oil

Vitamin E Oil is a great addition to and DIY oil concoction since it acts as a preservative, but it is also an antioxidant that protects your cells from free radicals. I’ve never used this oil alone but only in conjunction with others, but it can be dabbed under the eyes or on other spots that need a little extra boost of hydration.

Vegetable Glycerin

giphy15While Vegetable Glycerin can be used on its own, it is pretty sticky and has a thinner honey-like consistency. In fact, it can also be used as a natural sweetener. It is an excellent humectant and is great for DIY face and body mists to use in your beauty routine.

Tamanu Oil

I love using this Aura Cacia Tamanu Oil with Tea Tree and Lavender at night because the scent is soothing and creates a little aromatherapy paradise on my face. This oil has a lot of healing benefits for scars and wounds while being hydrating and easy to absorb.

imb_faydxbSo many oils, so little time. I have to restrain myself from buying more and more before I use what I still have. My advice would be to buy small bottles to see if it is the best oil for you. You should find your perfect fit before settling down with a subscription.

What oils do you use for your skin? Anything I should try? Let me know!

Header Photo by Katherine Hanlon on Unsplash

Sleeping Your Way to Better Skin and Hair

giphy7We all lead busy lives, we do what we can in the way of lotions, potions, habits and diet, but what if you could also utilize those eight hours of shut-eye to prevent aging and repair your skin? I’d give all the money in the world to wear Melisandre’s necklace and be done with it but unfortunately, we have to take other precautions.

Satin Pillowcase

giphy8Bedhead no more, if you hate showering in the morning (or would slip fall and die like I would), then a satin pillowcase will be your best friend. Non-satin fabric will tangle your hair and make it a bird’s nest by morning, but any satin fabric is going to let your hair slip and slide to prevent tangling. Beauty-boosting pillowcases by mē Glow or illuminage have double the benefits because they are also good for your skin (more on that next). But if your hair is your only concern then any satin/silk fabric pillowcase will do.

Copper Oxide Infused Cloth

The copper oxide fabric works by improving elasticity in your skin on contact. Anti-aging gloves, socks, pillowcases, eye masks; can they please also make whole sheet sets and clothing? I don’t feel a need for the socks by illuminage, but I did get the anti-aging gloves because I’m getting a few age spots on the back of my hands. I sleep with them every night and have only occasionally ripped them off somehow. I’ve been using them for a few weeks and the back of my hands have much less hyperpigmentation. The eye mask by mē Glow also ends up slipping off in the middle of the night, but I’ll take whatever fleeting benefits I can. It’s meant to help smooth out wrinkles around the eyes but the way it lays I don’t see how it can reach some areas around the eyes to do its magic. It is probably more effective on the crow’s feet area and the forehead lines. These products may seem silly to a partner you share a bed with, but seeing as I am single I have not yet encountered this issue. In some of the reviews for the gloves women have stated that they wear them at work (???) which is a commitment…

Anti-Aging Pillow

giphy6This crazily shaped pillow by Save My face! will help alleviate wrinkles by not letting you smush your face into the pillow for hours while you sleep. Your face ends up in the cut out so that it floats instead of creasing. This works great if you are a stomach or side sleeper, but it also works for the back sleepers by keeping your head in an optimal position so your double chin doesn’t create neck wrinkles all night. It always ends up on the floor by the time I wake up but at least it helps while it can. I also like to fold it in half and have both crescent ends cup my neck when I am reading or watching something in bed.

All of these items are machine washable, just don’t use fabric softener or dryer sheets, I air dry mine. I think they do specify a limited amount of washes before you should replace them to be effective, but seeing as all of these options come into personal contact with your skin they would probably need to be replaced regularly anyway.

giphy9On a final note, aging is inevitable, even for Melisandre who is some sort of red witch. It’s never too early to start thinking about how your habits and lifestyle will affect your aging and what you can do to slow it down, but embracing the way your body reacts to your time spent on this earth is a privilege!

Do you have any crazy products, tools or techniques you use to stave off aging? Tell me about them in the comments!

Header Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

How to Detox Through Your Skin

They all have one thing in common which is to stimulate the lymphatic system and create blood flow to your skin to move and transport toxins out. This can help with existing and budding acne (even the deep cystic kind), promote healing, anti-aging and create that healthy glow only a good rush of blood can offer. Here are a few ways to detox and flush out your system without a cleanse.

Jade Rolling

Jade Rolling and Gua Sha trending.The Jade Roller is a great tool keep handy in the fridge for those times when you have a headache, hangover or puffy eyes from watching This Is Us. Rolling the cool stone on your skin feels lovely, but I wasn’t able to work it into my routine. Taking the time to roll in front of an open refrigerator door isn’t realistic in the long term, I need one of those refrigerated medicine cabinets! I have not tried Gua Sha yet but it seems to be the 2018 buzzword, this crystal place by my office has it on their chalk sign. It takes the stone part from the jade roller but instead is shaped into dull blades that you can use to give yourself a smooth facial massage. With both of these tools, you start at the center of your face and swipe outward with as much pressure and speed as feels comfortable. Do not wipe them back and forth, you want to drain everything OUT of your face. The good thing about the Jade Roller is that you can also gently roll it over your eyes, and has the smaller end to get into the nooks and crannies around the eye socket.

Honestly, instead of using all these tools, I like to take my last three fingers (middle, ring and pinky) to do a quick facial massage after I apply my facial oil morning and night. This low maintenance, tool-less technique is free and ensures that you actually get the thing done and get that blood flowing! Just make sure that you start at the center of your face and work outward with every stroke. Don’t forget the jaw and neck!

Cupping

I found out about cupping from Farah Dhukai, her Instagram is amazing and she slathers all sorts of weird things all over her face and hair (but beware of Tumeric, it will stain your skin and everything you love). I won’t give a step by step instruction, just the video below. Note: this is not Michael Phelps cupping, if you google it you will see scary bruises and blood. This is nice and gentle facial massage that you can do for five minutes a few times a week.

I use chia oil as a lubricant for these, any edible oil is best since you will be applying this on your lips, and make sure it is not too thick like castor oil so that the cups can glide smoothly on your skin without tugging. One note about chia oil is that it can stain a little bit, my cups and the white bag they came in are a little yellow, but it is full of Omega-3s and is very nourishing for your skin. After coating your skin with it and massaging it in, you use the two small face-sized rubber cups to suction and massage the skin in outward motions. Just make sure to avoid thin-skinned areas like under the eyes and eyelids. Keep the cups moving, don’t let them sit on your face as you will give yourself a hickie!  This is best done before bed since you will get flushed, but it shouldn’t persist. BONUS: Steaming your face before cupping is a nice way to open up the pores and stimulate the skin even more.

You can also cup your body! Get yourself a cup set that includes all size cups for different areas of the body. The large cups can be used on your thighs and butt to help remedy cellulite and spider veins. The face cupping doesn’t hurt at all (or at least it shouldn’t if you are doing it right) but the thigh cupping can pinch a little bit. Videos online will show them moving the cups in circles, but I think it’s best to push stuff towards the heart so that it can get pumped out. I haven’t noticed a difference in my spider veins behind my knees but maybe I’m not doing it frequently enough. Again you apply an oil like chia oil and suction the cups to your skin and sweep them around to bring toxins to the surface and hopefully out.

Dry Brushing

IMB_7INTZv.GIFLast but not least, dry brushing can be done all over your body aside from the face. You take a natural bristle brush and starting with your limbs brush your skin in circular motions towards your heart, circling around it once you get to your abdomen. This is best done before hopping in the shower since you will be exfoliating a bit and might want to rinse off the dead skin cells. As much as I like the sensation of this, I NEVER REMEMBER TO DO IT when I’m standing naked outside the shower. I get in and curse myself for forgetting yet again even though the brush is in a basket next to the tub. The one time I do remember is before I take my weekly detox bath since that whole process is a little more deliberate. It’s such a quick easy thing to add to your routine that can really have great health benefits.

giphyIf you want to pay someone to do all this for you there are plenty of people willing to do it! You can find jade rolling and gua sha facial massages, body cupping and good ‘ol massages that will get those toxins flowing right out of you. And while it must feel hella nice to have someone else rub stones on your face, unless you’re Gwenyth Paltrow you are probably going to have you maintain it on your own with whatever tools you choose. Look at this cow, she knows dry brushing is good for her.

Have you tried any of these techniques? Any magical results? Any other recommendations? Let me know!