Enessa Natural and Organic Skincare

I love learning about lines that aren’t mainstream that I haven’t tried before. After hearing glowing reviews from my very particular and beyond informed facialist friend Tjaden about Enessa, I knew I had to give the line a look. After my EvanHealy disaster during my last pregnancy, I’ve been scared to try lines that use essential oils and clean ingredients for fear it isn’t enough to keep breakouts, wrinkles, and discolorations away. Tjaden assured me that Enessa’s ingredients were not only clean, but also mindful of the skin and what ingredients work synergistically to create results in a natural way. She was impressed, and after giving them a try so am I.

Their basic packaging and dated website don’t speak for the quality of the line and the brilliance of the products whatsoever. I saw results in my skin upon the first use, especially with my new obsession, the Seaweed Bio-Exfoliant. It’s a sage colored paste that smells like earthy lavender that exfoliates and purifies the skin. I leave it on for a few minutes to get a mask effect and I also use it as a spot treatment for any breakouts. It’s so ridiculously softening for the skin that I resist the urge to use it every day and night. It’s just amazing.

enessa

Their aloe-based Monoi Soothing Cleanser has really solidified what I always preach about cleansers. I tend to gravitate toward cleansers that have some sort of glycolic or lactic or something in them because I want that added benefit, but after using this cleanser I can see that I was needlessly drying my skin out and that tight feeling after cleansing that I’m so addicted to isn’t a good thing. It makes my skin really comfortable and soft and clean without stripping or drying.

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I’m also in love with their PlantCel Lifting Serum which is rich in plant-based actives that are meant to repair the skin at a cellular level. It’s basically an antioxidant, exfoliant, radiance-enhancing super serum that uses plant technology instead of chemicals to get the skin glowing. I’ve found that when I wear it I don’t need to wear as much foundation because my skin looks great. I’m hoping it helps to keep my melasma in check during this pregnancy as well as give some great long-term benefits as well.

Enessa PlantCell Lifting Serum

Worth mentioning that I didn’t get to try: Clove Acne Control, a clove and jojoba oil spot treatment to zap zits without any drying or irritation, and also their Diminish-Scar Treatment to minimize the look of scars.

Things I Buy: Ole Henriksen

When I was pregnant one of the first things I did was switch out my skincare. Goodbye Retin A and all the other hardcore products that keep my face properly sanded down and presentable. See ya later good skin- or so I thought. After some research I found that AHA’s, lactic acid, and a most natural exfoliating ingredients were safe to use so I looked into Ole Henriksen, a brand I’d been sent to review in the past and always really liked. I remembered their natural-yet-effective spin on skincare so I bought Sheer Transformation for a light moisturizer that would also aid in keeping dark spots away. (Sidebar: there’s no stopping that melasma when it comes on, you just have to wait until after the baby is born to tackle it and let it fade out on its own.)

Fast forward to today when I’m out of nearly everything and need to actually buy things because all of the samples on my desk are for skin types unlike my own. I remembered how much I loved my Ole Henriksen so I headed into Sephora to grab another Sheer Transformation. I had also read great reviews on their Walnut Complexion Scrub ($24) which I tried first on my hand- it’s gritty but not too chunky and foams up so I grabbed a jar of that too. I’ve also wanted to try the Invigorating Night Gel ($45) which is a big fave among Sephora reviewers for keeping pores cleaned out and skin really clear and bright. My Sephora bonus gift was Ole too! Small sized Truth Serum Collagen Booster, Ultimate Lift Eye Gel, Sheer Transformation, and Invigorating Night Gel.

I’m always excited to try some new skincare especially when I already know I’ll love it.

Check out the line HERE at Sephora.com.

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In my car after Sephora- the car is parked of course..

What is Cupping?

While this Jennifer Aniston pic circulates, so does talk of cupping and what it’s all about. The pic below her is of me several years ago when I first tried cupping treatments that would often supplement my Accupuncture. It’s used to treat pain, better circulation, and to just keep the general flow of energy in the body moving. My treatments were for my lower back which was trashed from hunching over too much while doing makeup.

A flame is quickly lit into the glass cup before the cup is put on your skin to create the suction. Your skin rises inside the cup as it reacts to the suction which doesn’t hurt at all. It’s this suction that improves the blood flow and energy as the cups stay on the skin for 10ish minutes. Check out this short vid which shows in more detail what it’s all about.

Cupping isn’t too pricey either, I remember it was around $20 added on to the price of Accupuncture, so on its own I can’t imagine it world be too much more.

My facialist does facial cupping (see here) to increase the circulation in the skin. It’s less intense (no fire!) than traditional cupping but you can often see rosier, healthy skin right after you’re finished. (Click here for a facial cupping vid.)

Cupping has been around since 3000 BC so it’s not something new. Find out more about cupping and its many uses here to see if it’s something that might help you.

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Professional Micro Needling and Q&A with Dr. Theresa Pacheco

The search is over! I’ve been looking for a doctor I can trust for about a year to help with my pigmentation and get my skin back to where it was just a few years ago. Having a baby made it worse, I swear my skin aged 5 years from the melasma and hormone stuff that go along with pregnancy. Anyway, I’m almost 7 months post-delivery so I figured now is a good time to explore what my options are as far as a safe (I’m still nursing!) treatment to get my skin back on track.

My facialist Tjaden Lotito couldn’t say enough great things about Dr. Theresa Pacheco. She’s an M.D., professor of Dermatology, and researcher on all things related to aging and damaged skin at the University of Colorado Anchutz campus. She knows the skin and non-surgical treatments as well or better than anyone else you’ll find. I liked her right away, she’s down-to-earth and a wealth of knowledge who isn’t there to sell you on anything (they don’t offer packages and I didn’t see any product lines anywhere), just to educate you on what your options are and offer the least invase way to achieve what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for fluff, frills, and a water with cucumber in your glass sort of experience- this isn’t it as you can see by their website, they’re all about the medical side of skin. It’s exactly what I was hoping for.

Dr. Pacheco

Dr. Pacheco

I walked in to see Dr. Pacheco already knowing what I wanted: Fraxel. The ultimate in laser treatments. I’d researched it, I knew all about it, and wouldn’t accept anything else. Fire the thing up and start zapping, I’m ready to go! After a quick look at my skin she said she could do a laser treatment and loves what lasers do for the skin, but I also had other options. One being a combo laser treatment with levulinic acid that would basically give me new skin but has quite a bit of downtime. The other was medical micro needling (aka Derma Rolling!) Now you know I love me some derma rolling and have one at home that I use. The medical treatment isn’t the same as what you do at home though because her instrument has longer needles to create deeper channels in the skin which forces even more repair and better results. Basically, I go in and have a numbing cream put on my skin for about 20 minutes then she rolls the hell out of my skin poking a zillion little holes in it (yes, there is some bleeding) which tells my body to go and make new skin to heal that damage. By the time I leave, my skin will just be a bit red and swollen like a sunburn, and then over the next few weeks and even months I will see an improvement in overall skin quality especially pigment and even fine lines. I can keep up with the results by using great skincare with my at-home roller a few times a week. After seeing some before and after pictures that were pretty impressive, that’s what I ended up choosing. I’m so exited because the cost of this treatment is so much less than I expected to spend and we’re just doing one for now to see how it goes. It’s so important to see someone whose paycheck isn’t dependent upon selling you a service. If you’re in Colorado, this is where I recommend you go, otherwise check out similar doctors and clinics in your area.

A micro needle aka derma roller.

A micro needle aka derma roller.

She was also nice enough to answer a few questions I sent her way about treating different skin issues. Check out what she has to say, and click HERE to see her services and to make an appointment.

Q. What treatments do you recommend for pigmentation issues?

A. Medical therapy – Vitamin C but only if a proper concentration. Vitamin A’s but only formulated appropriately. Also, a light device/laser  depending on Fitzpatrick Skin Type and whether the pigment is epidermal or dermal to decide if certain light devices or lasers would work. Old fashioned chemical peels also work, but again they need to be properly formatted with the correct ph and free acid (this is my chemistry brain talking).

Sidenote: Right after I saw her I went and bought SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, a proven C serum that all doctors I’ve talked to rave about. Don’t skimp on C serums, many are just a waste of money.

C E Ferulic

Q. What are your favorite ingredients that make the biggest difference in the skin?

A. Vitamin A but only when it’s formulated appropriately.Vitamin C but only if formulated with another antioxidant and a proper concentration. There are many other products that have benefit but it really depends on what difference you want to make in regards to skin health.

Sidenote: I’m using Vivant Exfol-A serum at night. An excellent vitamin A formulation that’s really concentrated and doesn’t make my skin red or flakey like Retin A does. I also use it with my derma roller so it has even better penetration.

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Q. What about treatments for acne?

A. Medical therapy , alpha hydroxyl acids, Vitamin A, and anti-inflammatory agents. Light device/laser, but there is no laser/light device approved for acne treatment and covered by insurance. FDA device approval is very different than FDA pharmaceutical approval. The ‘heat dispersion’ from the devices control active acne lesions (red pustules, cysts, but not black heads and white heads). The no!no!™ skin device was the 1st device on the market that used ‘heat’ to control active acne lesions. Old fashioned chemical peels work, but again they need to be properly formatted with the correct ph and free acid (this is my chemistry brain talking again!)

Sidenote: I reviewed the no!no! years ago when it first came out and I love it for hair removal, I didn’t know I could be using it on my face?! Glycolic acid is awesome and Glytone tells you exactly how much Glycolic (aka Alpha Hydroxyl Acid) you’re getting in each product. I’m using their cleanser and moisturizer.

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I’m hoping to schedule a treatment for next week where I’ll take pictures (maybe a video?) of the treatment and post it along with some before and after pics as the weeks progress. If you have any questions about micro needling or any other skin treatment, leave them in the comment section and I’ll get them answered for you!

Nude Skincare

I’ve been a fan of NUDE Skincare since they first came on the scene a few years ago, but now they’ve really stepped up their game with a new look and a new collection of 11 probiotic and omega-rich cleansers, treatment oils, and creams. I’ve been able to try out most of the new offerings and what I found was ultra concentrated, safe, effective skincare that delivers as promised.

Highlights for me include:

The beautifully delicate ProGenius Treatment Oil is rich in omegas, vitamins, and plant and flower oils, my skin gobbled up just a few drops which gave the right amount of hydration and left my skin really soft and luminous. Use it solo on combo skin or if you don’t like the weight of heavy creams, or layer it under your moisturizer for extra thirsty skin. I used it recently on a client with ultra dry skin by mixing it into her foundation with amazing results, she said her skin had never looked so pretty. She was so overjoyed in fact (and so sweet) that I gave her my bottle right out of my kit.

For years I’ve used various oils as a pre-cleanse to loosen both eye and face makeup to reduce the amount of scrubbing to my skin, so I’m well versed in what makes one particularly good. Perfect Cleansing Oil replaced my beloved Shu Uemura face oil because it felt lighter, I use much less, and it just works better. There isn’t any sort of oily residue left behind and it doesn’t burn my eyes either. I work one pump into my skin before mixing in my cleanser (which is optional since it’s made to be used solo), it makes a huge difference especially with dissolving stubborn mascara.

Which leads me to their cleanser. There are two cleansing options within the line, one is the oil and the other is Purify Cleansing Wash. It’s a fantastic, great-for-all cleanser with a unique feel- neither a gel nor a cream- but soft and pillowy without any foam or fuss. It cleans without stripping and leaves skin feeling balanced and great. I’m not in love with the scent, but it isn’t a deal breaker for me either.

And now for the big show; every line is only as good as their moisturizer and Cellular Renewal is great. Omegas, probiotics, vitamins and all their best stuff provide what feels like pure nutrition on the skin. The smallest amount goes a long way and since it’s without SPF, it works for day and night. I often let my (very picky) husband try moisturizers out because he doesn’t like things that are heavily scented, too heavy, greasy, or fussy. Luckily this is none of those so he’ll actually use it nightly and has even said it’s something he’d buy again which is a little insane actually since he isn’t a ‘products sort of guy.’ Great science and results aside, it makes skin just feel better and not slathered in anything.

Check out NUDE skincare at Sephora.

MyChelle: NASA Technology, Q&A, and Great Skincare the Natural Way

MyChelle has something other companies wish they had- NASA-grade technology to prove their skincare actually works. VISIA is the imager that gives an in-depth 3D look at your skin’s true condition so their team of professionals can provide some direction as to what products might work best with your skin. Want proof that their line actually work? Come back to a local Whole Foods where they’ll bring the machine by to see exactly how their products have helped your skin by using the imager once again for a side by side look that’s irrefutable. It’s a bold move and one that would only be done by a company so sure of their line’s effectiveness to prove that their natural-based line can stack up against all the rest.

I had a chance to ask Kristine Carey their VP of Marketing a few questions recently about the line and here’s what she had to say.

Me: Can natural products and treatments really be more effective than their mainstream counterparts?

MyChelle: You can see the visual before and afters from using our products that prove positive results that occur both on the surface of the skin and at the cellular level. Our VISIA Complexion Analysis program is our proving ground that MyChelle is effective. We offer a free VISIA Complexion Analysis consultation at Whole Foods Markets in various locations shown HERE.

Me: How does the Apple Brightening Serum stack up to a more mainstream treatment like Hydroquinone for fading dark spots?

MyChelle: The Apple Brightening Serum is Mother Nature’s solution to sun damage. This unique serum is loaded with nutrient dense ingredients including:

• Apple Fruit Cell Culture (PhytoCellTec™), a revolutionary ingredient in skin care that stops chronological aging. This is the first topical product to protect human skin stem cells and delay the natural aging process by maintaining the activity of skin cells.
• Apple Fruit Extract (Applephenon™) is shown to contain ten times the level of polyphenol found in ripe apples which maintains youthful skin. It’s also rich in malic acid to refine and rejuvenate.
• Nonapeptide-1 (Melanostatine®5) is a biomimetic peptide (mimics body’s natural response) shown to reduce hyperpigmentation by preventing activation of tyrosinase and blocking melanin synthesis.

The Apple Brightening Serum is like a two for one deal because not only are you diminishing hyperpigmentation but you are also minimizing fine lines and wrinkles.

Hydroquinone on the other hand, is considered the mainstream topical ingredient for inhibiting melanin production and reducing surface spots on the skin. This is not a natural ingredient and it is considered safe by many, but it’s not to MyChelle standards. The Food and Drug Association in September 2006 recommended that products containing hydroquinone be sold only with a prescription due to their opinion that it posed certain health risks (more about that HERE.) MyChelle chooses not to take the risk when there are natural options that are just as effective.

Me: How does the Clear Skin line compare to products like ProActiv?

MyChelle: A daily regimen of cleansing, toning and nourishing is the key to effectively balancing acne-prone skin. An over production of sebum (oil) and lack of proper exfoliation boost the overgrowth of blemish-causing bacteria and oil.

Most blemish treatments on the market today create an unhealthy cycle for the skin that includes episodes of severe dryness followed by periods of extreme oiliness. Harsh chemical ingredients are shutting down the sebaceous glands which ultimately dry out the skin. Once you stop using these products your sebaceous glands rev back up and leave the skin extremely oily congested.

The Clear Skin Teen Anthology is an effective, naturally pure, blemish treatment plan specifically formulated for youthful skin with active ingredients that include 6% Sulphur to draw out bacteria and oil, Zinc Sulfate to heal and protect, and Totarol an anti-viral antioxidant that effectively reduces acne disturbances.

The Clear Skin spot treatment is the perfect product. It will not only help minimize the breakout but it also helps to heal redness and inflammation. This line is easy to use and insures healthy, beautiful skin.

Me: What’s your most popular product?

MyChelle: Our Perfect C Serum with Buddleja Plant Stem Cells because it’s highly effective and provides visible results. It has an advanced formula to protect the skin’s health while combating the signs of aging. A potent 17% dose of clinically proven L-Ascorbic Acid helps to strengthen collagen and improve skin texture. Buddleja Plant Stem Cells protect against photo-damage and oxidative stress through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. L-Ergothioneine boosts cellular energy and helps interrupt the stress that destroys elastin.

Me: I love a good self tanner since I’m SPF obsessed. Tell me about your Del Sol Sunless Tanner.

MyChelle: Del Sol sunless tanner builds a beautiful glow within hours of applying. It’s made with:

• Dihydroxyacetone (Sugar) – A simple carbohydrate that is derived from beets and sugar cane for a sunless tanning action to give the skin a sun kissed glow.
• Erythrulose (Sugar) – A high performance self tanning agent derived from plant keto-sugar that encourages an even, long lasting tanning effect and protects against UV damage while keeping the skin hydrated.

It has a delicate aroma of citrus and smells nothing like the typical sunless tanner smell. It’s so easy to apply and feels light on the skin. You can reapply daily to build deeper color or use as need to maintain a summer glow all year long.

Click HERE to find MyChelle at a store near you.