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

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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

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