You Need This Cleanser. Yes, You.

I think I finally have a pretty good idea of how to take care of my skin after all these years of drying the shit out of it then wondering why I don’t have that radiant glow thing going on that we’re all chasing.

It’s as simple as this, are you ready? Exfoliate and soften. That’s it.

By exfoliate I mean manual (like with a scrub or Clarisonic) and chemical (Retin A, or anything to speed up cell renewal), and then soften. I’m saying soften instead of moisturize or hydrate because when I think in terms of hydration the greasy 15 year old in my head says ‘use the oil-free stuff,’ but the 37 year old me is like ‘let’s not go through the trouble of all that Botox and then fry your skin to hell by not nourishing it properly.’ So by thinking about softening over hydrating I can grab whatever makes my skin feel soft with each skincare step I do. For example: This totally amaze balls Ole Henriksen Pure Truth cleanser that I ran out and got as soon as I read about its launch. I’ve always been a fan of a good pre-cleanse (and if you can’t afford to get this, use straight up olive oil on your face and lids every night before your cleanser. It’s life changing) just because of how much cleaner your skin will be if you use something oil-based (oil attracts oil!) to remove makeup and dirt. It’s such a unique consistency- a gel at first that melts right into the skin leaving only a soft slip behind so you can gently massage away makeup. It’s concentrated with oils (olive, almond, rose hip, cherry seed) and vitamins so only a small amount is needed.  Sidebar: if you don’t wear makeup this might be the only cleanser you’d need, but if you do it’s best as a pre-cleanse before your usual cleanser.

In the last few years I’ve started to realize how important it is not to rub the hell out of your eyes. Seeing my clients with droopy lids scares me because other than surgery, there isn’t anything you can do to get that skin firmed up and lifted. This one is worth a look next time you’re in Sephora, it really is something I’d recommend for everyone.

ole henriksen

Alba Botanica Vs Johnson’s Natural Shampoo. Which is the ‘Greenest?’

Johnson's Naturals

As you know by now, I’m an ambassador for Johnson’s Baby which basically means I get access to their line of products to review as well as company info to pass along to y’all. As you also know by now I’m a bit of a hippie. A vegetarian, tree-hugging naturalist at heart who avoids chemicals and toxic crap whenever I can. But, my friends, I still love me some Botox. And my Chanel bag isn’t exactly made from tofu. So as you can see, it’s a balancing act as most things are.

The Johnson’s Baby products sent to me have slowly crept their way into our bathrooms as mainstays we love to use but I’m still careful when it comes to what I use on my now 2 1/2 year old and almost 1 year old girls. I’ve gone back and forth using Johnson’s Natural Baby Shampoo with the sweet smelling Alba Botanica one I pick up at Vitamin Cottage or Whole Foods. Even though I like the Johnson’s one better, the bright packaging, fruity fragrance, and assurance by its presence at natural store that it’s a ‘clean’ line encourages me to use it on Harper a few times a week trading off with the non-fragrant, less splashy packaged Johnson’s shampoo. It wasn’t until last week when I saw the backs of the bottles sitting side by side that I noticed the pretty long list of ingredients on the Alba bottle compared to the relatively short list on the Johnson’s one did I even give a thought to which was a greener choice for the girls. So I looked them up on the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Database site to see what their safety scores were. I was surprised (and a little pissed) to see that Alba’s score was a 7 out of 10 meaning there are moderate to high concerns for toxicity in their ingredients. Not at all something I would use on my kids not to mention not something I’d expect to see shelved at a natural grocer when I thought they were weeding products like this out for me. Then I checked Johnson’s shampoo and found that their safety scoring was a 3 meaning it had very low concerns about its ingredients.

Here’s what I found below from the EWG site.

Johnson’s Natural Baby Shampoo $5

Ingredients 14 total:

Water, Decyl Glucoside, Cocoglycerides, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Benzoate, Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Fragrance, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide

Get the full EWG report HERE

johnsons naturals

Alba Hawaiian Shampoo Body Builder in Mango $10

Ingredients 39 total:

Aqua (Water), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Lauryl Glucoside, Aleurites Moluccana Seed Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice(1), Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract(1), Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract(1), Laminaria Digitata Extract, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract(1), Yeast Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract(1), Ascorbic Acid, Babassu Oil Polyglyceryl-4 Esters, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydrolyzed Sweet Almond Seedcake, Linolenic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Panthenol, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Sodium Laurylglucosides Hydroxypropylsulfonate, Sodium Sulfate, Tocopherol, Alcohol(1), Benzoic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Limonene, Fragrance (Parfum).

Get the full EWG report HERE

alba

One thing that throws me off every time is looking at the ingredients and seeing fruit names versus ‘chemical’ names so I always just assume that when I can pronounce the ingredients they’re safer, but you’ll never see a fruit name on a Johnson’s label because they use what’s called INCI labeling. It’s a type of uniformly recognized scientific names for ingredients, like the gold standard for labeling- and essentially the equivalent of calling someone James instead of Jimmy. Even if they’re using Vitamin E, it would be listed as its ‘formal name’ tocopherol so their ingredients will always look foreign and scary unless you know that Decyl Glucoside is just a harmless kind of soap used in a bunch of shampoos and body washes.

Lesson learned! I won’t assume something on the shelves of a Whole Foods is a cleaner product than something at Target and I’ll continue to research the products I bring into my home instead of being swayed by fancy packaging or a hefty price tag.

Kiehl’s Super Multi Corrective Eye Opening Serum

Kiehl’s has finally convinced me that their eye creams are as good or better than the higher priced ones I’ve been buying for years. Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado ($28) has been my go-to because I’m seeing fewer fine lines thanks to the targeted, intense hydration. Then a few months ago they sent over their Super Multi Corrective Eye Opening Serum, a more deluxe solution for those needing firming and lifting as well as softening which helps makeup to glide right over. It feels so light because the Sodium Hyaluronate in it creates a weightless film of hydration on the skin. That combined with the illuminating minerals make it a perfect daytime solution to get your eyes looking brighter and more awake.

The efficacy of their line has me looking into their Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution serum that comes with a 28 day money back guarantee if it doesn’t work. I still can’t seem to find a really targeted serum for my melasma and dark spots that doesn’t have hydraquinone or isn’t part of some expensive skincare system. $50 and a guarantee doesn’t sounds pretty reasonable to me.

Kiehls-Super-Multi-Corrective-Eye-Opening-Serum-Bottle

2 Amazing Uses For Baking Soda

After seeing a zillion pins touting the amazing results of a DIY Baking Soda face scrub, I finally gave it a try. Most people mix it with coconut oil which is good for dry skin, but I used olive oil which is what I use for a pre-cleanse because I know it won’t break me out. There’s something about the super fine grit that’s so reminiscent of a high-end scrub, effective but not scratchy or harsh. Its natural brightening abilities give an instant result so my skin looks really fresh and feels so soft. Mix it into either oil until you form a paste and scrub it for several minutes. I pre-mixed a batch and put it into an empty jar to leave in the shower replacing the expensive ones that probably don’t work as well anyway.

DIY scrub

THEN! I spotted another baking soda-related miracle DIY concoction but this one is for laundry stains. It’s seriously the ULTIMATE in getting pretty much anything out, even old stains- the kind you’d otherwise toss a shirt out for having. It took out some crazy stain Harper managed to get on her PJ’s months back even though I’d washed and dried them numerous times since. I mix Dawn (important to use Dawn specifically because of how it cuts food grease), peroxide, and baking soda together. there might be a formula for how much of each but I just throw it all in. I squirt on a generous amount and scrub it in and watch the stains literally disappear even before getting them into the washer. It’s crazy. THIS blog post details a full play by play if you’re into reading about that sorta thing. Throw out that Shout or whatever gross chemical-bomb you have now and just make a batch of this to store in your laundry room. You’ll love it.

DIY

Stuff I Buy: Fighting Discoloration Naturally

When will this damn melasma go away? It’s such an uphill battle fighting skin discoloration in the summer, even with an SPF 50 on every day. I’m outside so much that I know I’ll have to wait a few months before another round of lasers to get deeper than any skincare can, but until then I’m hoping a few things I grabbed this week will help get my skin to get back to a more radiant state.

Oz Naturals Vitamin C Serum

I’ve never heard of this line before and I’m not even sure where it’s sold other than online, but it’s an Amazon.com bestseller with 1,400+ glowing reviews. Oh, and it’s only $23. It’s an organic vitamin c, amino acid blend, and hyaluronic acid serum that people swear gives them more a radiant skin texture. Could it be a big marketing campaign from people within the company leaving false feedback? Sure, it happens on amazon all the time. But there are a ton of verified customers who left great feedback, enough to get my money and see for myself.

oz naturals

Skin Obsession 40% Gycolic Peel

Yet another amazon.com best seller for skin peels, a huge sort of underground category on there for skin. They’re basically professional caliber peels available to the public from companies I’ve never heard of before. Totally legit right? Again, the reviews got me- 400+ singing the praises of how well this peel worked. Basically, I’m using it for my melasma, fine lines, and overall texture which is still not back to normal since my pregnancies. There’s just a dullness and blah to my skin that makes me look tired and probably old which really sucks. The great thing about peels is that the acid (whether it be glycolic, lactic, or whatever) dissolves the waxy layer of oil and dead skin that builds up on your face over time (why consistent exfoliation is key!) and gives that dull, dry, wrinkly look. Once that’s removed you’re left with a fresh layer of new skin that looks more radiant and less lined. Do a ton of research (I’ve looked for over a year) and google around. I was going to go with a peel from THIS line, but after reading several times how they plant positive reviews from within their company I decided it was best to skip it. Just follow their directions to a T which includes knowing how to neutralize the peel once it’s on otherwise you could end up with permanent burns and even scarring.

skin obsession

Éminence Eight Greens Whip Moisturizer

My girl Alexa, an aesthetician to Denver’s who’s who over at the swanky Spa Vital in Cherry Creek has been an Éminence fan for as long as I’ve known her. After my facial today she sold me on their Eight Greens moisturizer which has a thick, almost balm-like texture that dissolved into my skin so completely and left it looking really fresh and hydrated and I didn’t even get that typical afternoon shine. It addresses tone and aging using natural ingredients like yucca, stone crop, and flaxseed. It’s a really cool line with a big upscale spa presence that you can check out HERE if you’ve never heard of it before.

eminence

Éminence Lemon Cleanser

Alexa turned me onto this cleanser like 8 years ago. It’s a cream that doesn’t foam up (which is why I think I quit using it) but now that I’m older, I can finally appreciate a cleanser that cleans without stripping and drying. This one does that and also happens to have the best slightly sweet and tangy lemon scent that I just adore.

eminence lemon cleanser

Next up; more laser research on CO2 vs Fraxel. I think I’ll wait until October so I have a little time. Tweet me your thoughts if you’ve tried either before and had a great result.

How to Spend Less Money on Expensive Shampoos

I’m a total Living Proof addict. What started as a curiosity with the company Jennifer Aniston co-owns has turned into a full-blown obsession to where I’ve slowly replaced most of my old cleansing and styling products to something from their line. But it’s expensive. Like $24 for shampoo and after just 6 months I’m on bottle #3. Which is crazy.

Typically I wash my hair every 3rd day and when I do I wash it 2 or 3 times just to make sure all of my product is out which could be  why I burn though so much shampoo. What I started doing is using my Johnson’s Baby Shampoo & Conditioner for Thick/Curly Hair for my first wash. Of all the shampoos they’ve sent me, this works best for my coarse hair by cleansing and softening at the same time. I can cut through dirt and product on that first wash and then use the Living Proof for the second wash along with whatever conditioner. Now I’m using way less of the Living Proof  shampoo which will definitely save me money.

If you love a pricey shampoo that you’d like to go through less often, try alternating it with a less expensive one. You’ll save money without even noticing a difference.

johnsons shampoo