Yay Himalaya Neem Cleanser, Boo EvanHealy

When I first found out I was pregnant I was freaked out by changing my skincare routine. Hey later, Retinol. See ya around, Benzoyl Peroxide.. I’m so screwed. Hardworking acids and harsh yet effective treatments were commonplace for my can-take-anything skin so the thought of using just nuts and berries for 9 months had me in a panic. Coming off Botox was bad enough, but now the thought of my true, chemical-free face being revealed was too much to bear. I was doomed to many months of breakouts without any reasonable relief. Always favoring a natural solution first, I headed over to Whole Foods in search of something safe.

Recommended to me were two things, one I love and will buy over and over again- it’s this Himalaya Neem Face Wash, a lightly foaming cleanser I use with my Clarisonic daily. It looks a little like an aloe gel without a discernible scent and works great with natural ingredients, and costs like $7. Sold.

Also highly recommended (as in she practically forced me into buying) was this EvanHealy Blemish Kit $34 containing their Pomegranate Repair Serum, Tea Tree Gel Cleanser, Blemish Treatment Roll-On, Green Tea Clay, and Lemon Thyme Facial Tonic Hydrosol. I found the line to be a shining example of what’s wrong with natural and organic lines. Sure on paper the ingredients used are supposed to be antiseptic and healing for blemish-prone skin, but in practice nothing worked and the scents were gag-inducing – especially the Pomegranate Repair Serum. My skin was decidedly worse after a few faithful weeks of use, it caused a massive breakout that my skin hasn’t experienced before or since I stopped using it. Total waste of money. I can’t speak for the rest of the line, but as far as this kit goes, I’d say there are far better options out there.

I did eventually put together a safe, effective skincare routine (which you can find HERE) that has worked perfect – my skin hasn’t looked so good as is has these past 8 months. Maybe it’s my foreskin cream? I’ve found that I need a little bit of science mixed in with nuts and berries, that’s just how my skin rolls.

What are BB Creams?

Have you heard about the BB Cream craze? BB Creams (short for blemish balm or beauty balm or beauty base) were first developed for women whose skin was left bruised, raw, and red from lasers and other surgical treatments. These creams were made by doctors to soothe, heal, and protect delicate skin with the added bonus of breakthrough invisible coverage to hide the irritations without having to use any traditional concealers or foundations.  Essentially they’re unique, lightweight coverage creams with sunscreen and other skin benefits built right in. BB Creams are a true marriage of skincare and color – and are often found in the skincare section and not with makeup. They’re traditionally offered as a one-size-fits-all in terms of color using a universal shade that blends into your skin tone perfecting and seamlessly covering redness instead of masking a it the way a foundation does – it reminds me a little of Philosophy’s The Supernatural which gave similar instant results (see my review and photos HERE). You’ll also see some with a PA+, PA++. or PA+++ sunscreen rating (+++ being the best) which tells you how effective the SPF is in guarding against UVA rays – the nasty ones that breakdown collagen and age the skin.

If you like a full coverage foundation you might find that these aren’t enough so use them as a primer to get more skin benefits than what basic silicone formulas provide.They’re really different from anything else out there so go to Sephora where the selection is the best and ask for samples of a few before you commit. I also want to try Lauder’s new BB Cream they’ve incorporated into their Daywear collection which I’ll review separately once I give it a try. For now, here are the 3 I sampled at Sephora and the pros and cons of each.

Clinique Age Defense BB Cream $37:

-Pros-

Oily skin can benefit from its mattifying properties.

SPF 30

A good shade (01) that would work for very fair skin tones – the lightest I found.

-Cons-

It was the heaviest of the 3 and it settled into the skin making pores look more noticeable.

No PA rating.

I couldn’t figure out what the added skincare benefits were (what a BB is all about).

Their site refers to it as a ‘weekend makeup’ along the lines of a quick tinted moisturizer, but it’s called a BB. Not sure if it’s a true BB or just marketing.

Its radiance was a little unflattering (at least on my skin) where it bordered shiny instead of healthy.

Overall:

I liked the thick, creamy texture and easy blendability. It’s probably best for those with good skin who favor a tinted moisturizer or quick powder for their daily routine.

Boscia BB Cream SPF 27 PA ++ $38:

-Pros-

Great skincare benefits (help for fine lines, dryness, and large pores), which is what a BB should offer.

SPF 27 and a PA++ rating

It has a natural formula without parabens, phthalates and other chemicals.

It did give my skin an immediate boost.

Good coverage.

-Cons-

It has these tiny bits of shimmer that, although slight, might not be a fit for oily or mature skin.

Like most BB Creams, the one shade isn’t for very fair or very dark skin tones.

Overall:

This was my favorite and the only true BB of the bunch, it made my skin look better and covered redness well. It’s something I would buy and recommend to those looking for quick and easy coverage.

Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm Multi-Benefit Skin Care Makeup $32:

-Pros-

Shade range; if you have darker skin you’ll have the best luck finding a color to suit you here.

It gave the most coverage of the 3 I tried, almost as much as some foundations.

You’ll get a pretty glow from its finish.

-Cons-

It does contain some vitamins and minerals, but overall it really is more of a quick makeup than a true BB Cream.

No PA rating and an SPF 20, the lowest of the 3.

Overall:

These are along the lines of what you’ll begin to see more and more of – a foundation with a built in primer and less of a BB Cream but marketed as such. It’s not a bad thing since I really liked the look and coverage, but if you want more of the skin treatment this one will leave you wanting more. Best for those who want great coverage from a tinted moisturizer and don’t care as much for the added skincare bonuses.

A few others to consider:

Sephora now carries Dr Jart’s signature BBs which are favorites in Asia where competition is big. Check out their Premium BB SPF 45 PA+++ $39 for more mature skin and the Water Fuse BB PA++ $32 for normal to oily skin. They’re both great for the skin formulated without synthetics and are exactly what BBs are supposed to be – skincare/makeup hybrids.

Garnier launched the first drugstore BB for just $13 that comes in two shades – Light/Medium and Medium/Deep. I’m can’t find its skincare benefits (or SPF), but it’s getting some good reviews for its light, even coverage. Look for it in the skincare aisle, not next to the makeup.

What to look for in a BB Cream:

- Sunscreen, PA ratings are a bonus.

- Vitamins and minerals.

- Enough coverage so you aren’t using concealer or anything else over it (unless you want to use it as a primer).

- Adequate moisture for your skin.

- Added benefits whether it be for skin lightening, acne, moisture, or whatever- find one that’s helping to target what your skin needs most.

For a full listing of the popular Asian formulas, check out THIS article from 08′ before the US versions hit the stores.

Melvita Argan Oil and Such

I couldn’t wait to hit up Melvita during our Cali trip, I needed another big bottle of Argan Oil which I picked up last year in their Newport store and used it slowly until I couldn’t milk another drop out of the bottle. Even with all of the argan oils I’ve tried, I still love theirs the very best. It’s so soothing on the skin and you just need a little to really moisturize. You can use it on both skin and hair but since they don’t have a store in Denver, I hoard it like it’s gold and just use it as a body moisturizer. It’s a light, EcoCert (Europe’s organic certification) formula that feels like silk. With help from Moroccian Oil’s popularity, argan is now the ubiquitous ingredient touted as a cure-all for everything from wrinkles to eczema and even healing old scars. I think it’s a miracle for KP- those bumps on the backs of your arms that are so annoying and hard to get rid of. This is the only treatment I’ve used that really clears them up for good. It is pricey ($56 for 6.76 oz or $25 for 1.7oz) but it’s pure – only 100% real Argan Oil not mixed with anything else which is what you’ll want to use to see some type of results.

I tried a little of their Ultra-Nourishing Body Balm and of course loved it. I’m not typically a fan of body balms and heavy creams – they usually feel like lard to me, but this one was so softening and non-greasy that I knew I’d use it all the time. It has the most perfect, thick texture so you just need a little to keep your skin feeling smooth all day. The only caveat? It smells exactly like that pink ‘bubblegum’ flavored antibiotic we took as kids – remember that? Well if you don’t, good – you’ll think it smells just fine.

Nigella Oil (which I never heard of before) is cold pressed from seeds of a flowered plant that has apparently been used for centuries to relax sore muscles and purify the skin so they suggest using it on oily and breakout prone. I’ve used Suki’s face oil (which they also recommend for acne) for a long time and really love it’s ability to reduce sebum production and give just a really light hydration. Suki’s oil is a half ounce for $32, this oil is $19 for 1.7 oz and it’s organic. Face oils rule – they’re so light and without the needless creamy bases of glycerine or whatever else – they’re just pure beneficial ingredients that are great for the skin.

So far, Melivita stores are only in Newport Beach, San Francisco, and Seattle with one coming to New York soon. Subscribe to their newsletter to get sales notifications (which they have often) since you’ll probably need to order online to give it a try. I’d would suggest against the haircare line, which I felt was totally worthless and not worth the money at all. Stick to the oils and hydrosols, two things they’ve perfected making.

PCA Skin Clearskin

I love PCA Skin and their effective professional grade line of affordable skin treatments, so when Dermstore.com reached out offering a voucher good on any product on their site in exchange for an honest review of what I chose, I had to get something I hadn’t tried from PCA. My skin is temperamental with breakouts that come and go, so I explored their moisturizers to see if they had something for my crazy skin. I ended up choosing Clearskin mostly because of its almost 200 glowing reviews from really happy customers who claim it changed their skin and now they’re totally loyal.

It’s not designed to be an acne treatment, though its antibacterial properties make it perfect for that sort of thing – it clarifies and heals using vitamins and natural acids in a base of aloe to improve the look of all types of skin. It has a texture that could be pump-dispensed so don’t let the jar fool you, it isn’t heavy. More of a gel-cream really. Dry skin might need to add moisture on top, other skins will find it hydrating enough.  I loved how soft my skin felt and how it alive and clear it looked after a few week’s use. It’s also great for redness, fading old acne scars, and balancing oil over time – which I’m excited to see happen over the next few months.

I would buy Clearskin – especially with the $32 price tag, well within reason for a good moisturizer and skin treatment rolled into one.

Check out PCA Clearskin at dermstore.com

How to Cover Acne Video Plus Best Full Coverage Foundations

My friend Cassel sent me this video last week (below) about a girl with severe acne who bravely takes all of her makeup off (for almost 3 million people and counting) and starts from scratch showing every step she takes to make sure her red welts are well hidden. Though my skin is temperamental at times, I don’t apply nearly as much makeup as she does (I think she has 7-ish steps!), because one good full coverage foundation should do the trick in most cases. Here are a few of my favorite full coverage foundations for when your skin just isn’t cooperating.

I never really fell in love with Armani’s Luminous Silk, their signature foundation that was all the rage a while back – I found it to be too light in weight to do any serious covering. Their new Designer Lift Foundation however, is like a delightfully thin coat of paint (I mean this in a good way) that covers the worst of it while maintaining a natural finish. The bases for most foundations are white or even black, then pigment is added in to create a skin color – but this one begins with blue pearl giving it a beautiful base to create luminosity and cancel out dullness. It’s one of the best foundations I’ve tried in a long while – worth the $65 especially when you’re serious about coverage.

Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover $40 is what she uses in the video to get her liquid coverage, it’s a great foundation that I’ve used it in the past for a before and after post. Its medium to full coverage and luminous finish is best followed up by their HD powder so you can enjoy the glowy look it gives the skin. Blending is your friend, use tiny dots at a time and work it in as you go around each section of the face to build up the coverage you’d like until all of your redness is gone.

Cover FX gained fame when it was rumored to be the foundation used to cover Angelina Jolie’s tattoos on a movie set years ago. Good enough for me. Their Natural FX Water Based Foundation SPF 15 $37 is the one I carry in my kit for when I need to bust out some super serious coverage on the most challenging skin. It’s oil, fragrance, and paraben free and will outlast your desire to wear makeup for the day. I’d say it gives the most coverage of the bunch and it’s especially formulated to cover acne, eczema, rosacea without adding additional irritation or causing breakouts.

Check out the video below, click HERE to see the video if you’ve received this post in an email.

 

Hydrating Serums for All Skin Types

For all skin types and those who favor natural brands:

Firming Flax Serum from New Zealand’s natural line Living Nature is wildly popular because it suits all skin types beautifully. It locks in the skin’s moisture helping dry skin to retain hydration, oily skin to keep balanced, and troubled skin to clear up with its mild astringent properties. It’s oil free, mostly organic, and so light in weight that it just melts into the skin.

For oily, slightly dry, or acne-prone skin:

Aloe-based Moisture Intensifier Serum from Lexli is a light, soothing serum that adds moisture to compromised skin. It’s especially good for those who use acne treatments and have some dryness as a result. You can also use it for your daily moisturizer if you’re afraid to use a heavier lotion or cream.

For dry or sensitive skin:

If this dry weather has your skin looking dull and lifeless, you’ll love Hyaluronic Concentrate from Sanitas. It pumps your skin full of moisture by providing a deep down boost of hydration giving your skin a more youthful appearance and your moisturizer a great head start.