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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

What to Use For Crow’s Feet and Dry Eyes; Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment

Maybe it’s all the smiling I do, or maybe it’s all the tanning I used to do.. either way my crow’s feet are horrible. I used to Botox the hell outta that whole area, but then I look dull when I smile and then I can’t squint so when I went outside I’d be all dramatic like a vampire in the sunshine covering my eyes while they’d water in reaction to the brightness. Terrible right? So now I just up my hydration around my eyes which helps a ton with the wrinkles. Think about it- when your hands are dry they literally crack and look all old lady-ish. Same goes for the skin around your eyes. Getting a good dose of moisture not only lessens the look of lines, but it gives a vibrancy and glow – it erases that dullness that dehydration causes. This is why for years I’ve paid way too much for eye creams. Some $60 some $100, the thicker the better but I’m so beyond thrilled with the new Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado Kiehl’s sent me recently so now my eye cream will set me back less than $30.

Forget the complicated buzz-words surrounding products that claim to turn back time using unpronounceable ingredients, anti-aging is all about protection (SPF & antioxidants), and hydration. Period. Even if you have oily skin, you should be slathering on a thick eye cream to keep that delicate area as moist as possible. Creamy Eye Treatment has a very unique texture, the thickest I’ve used. It’s strange at first because I’m used to formulas that are less weighty and rub right in. This formula needs to be patted on and given a few seconds to absorb but once it does, there isn’t a greasy after-feel and makeup will smooth right over. I love it so much that I’ll put a few thick layers on at night because my skin just drinks it up. It’s not fussy, or heavily scented, or in some fancy gold jar- but it works and I will certainly buy it when I’m out. And then more when I’m out of that one too.

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Andalou Naturals Chia + Omega Radiant Skin Polish

There was a time BC (before children) when I’d on occasion wander around the skincare aisles of Whole Foods or Vitamin Cottage while I was grocery shopping. I’d look, smell, test, and spray every bottle that caught my eye. It’s these natural, organic, off the beaten path lines that I’ll first browse when it comes to my own skincare whenever I’m out of something. I’ve seen this Andalou line a million times but never bought anything until I saw this Skin Polish which is usually a term for a finer grain scrub versus a traditional exfoliant with larger beads or bits of grit.

Here’s what I love- the finely ground chia seeds are in a rich cleansing aloe base so it feels like a microdermabrasion and it quickly buffs away dry skin and dullness which leaves my skin noticably softer and brighter. I love the natural ingredients like jojoba, flax, vitamins, and walnut powder and the exclusion of GMO’s, Petrochemicals, Phthalates, Sulfates, Synthetic Colors, Dyes, Fragrances, Triclosan, PEG, MEA, TEA, DEA, or Paraben Preservatives which goes for every product they offer.

Online it sells for $15, but I got it for $10. Based on this scrub alone I’m excited to try more- like their BB Cream from their 1000 Roses line, and this Beta Hydroxy cream for pigmentation and skin healing.

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More Stuff I Buy: Caudalìe, Marc Jacobs, Dr Jart, Living Proof, Anastasia, & A Fan Brush

A few weeks ago Sephora had their VIB event where insiders (just like a frequent flier) got 15% off of anything in the store. It’s not a huge amount but if you’re out of something anyway, it’s a good time to pick it up.

I bought two more things from Living Proof hair care, the mousse which works great for volume without being sticky and their PHD shampoo which I also love. The only thing I’ve bought so far from the line that I wouldn’t buy again is this volumizer which doesn’t actually volumize because you aren’t supposed to use it on your roots so I don’t get the point. Everything else is magic and makes my hair look better. Really, give it a try if you aren’t loving what you currently use. I can’t praise it enough.

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My bronzer is now applied by this fan brush. Bronzer and blush brushes can apply color in a too-concentrated, streaky way but the fan dusts on powders like blush or highlighter really lightly so it’s hard to overdo it. Brushes make all the difference.

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I bought another Caudalîe Beauty Elixir which I’m never without for my kit or my own bathroom. I also got another brow powder from the best around, Anastasia. My last one lasted me close to 3 years.

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Not pictured: Living Proof PHD Shampoo and the Fan Brush

Now for the best and worst of it:

I really wanted to love Dr Jart’s SPF 45 BB Cream mostly because I love a good BB Cream and this formula is wildly popular and really well reviewed on Sephora.com. But here’s the thing- see the color on my hand below? It’s like a weird clay color that looks really ashy and dull on the skin. It’s also really light so most women wouldn’t be able to wear it. I looked like I had a weird mask on and it never blended into my skin. It also broke me out which never happens these days. I hated it.

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The best for last. Believe what you’ve read- Marc Jacobs’ color line is pretty amazing. This pencil combines the longevity and of a gel with the ease of a pencil and comes in a rainbow of shades. The black one I have is so rich and glides on with barely a swipe. I can even use it to tight line without it transferring or running down. When I returned my Dr. Jart BB Cream I picked up his shadow palette (the starlet) and couldn’t be happier.