Kiehl’s Facial Fuel

Kiehl’s Sky Flyin’ Foaming Facial Fuel is pretty genius. Realizing that most men wash their faces with Irish Spring or whatever bar soap is in the shower, Kiehl’s created a shave gel that doubles as a facial cleanser to keep their routine nice and easy. Its light lather coats the skin for shaving and pumps it with caffeine and vitamins to hydrate and clean without stripping and drying the way soap can. Mike liked the clean scent and how his skin felt without taking an extra step that he probably wouldn’t otherwise do.

Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water

I get confused looks when I answer the question that most of my clients want answered: What’s my very favorite foundation that I carry in my kit because the cult following of Koh Gen Do’s Maifanshi Moisture Foundation hasn’t quite trickled down to the masses. It’s a well-loved staple though for Makeup Artists and their celeb clientele as is their Cleansing Spa Water, something I’ve wanted to try since I saw it in practically every Makeup Artist’s kit backstage at New York’s Fashion Week. Typically, I carry baby wipes to clean client’s faces because it’s so quick and easy, but I needed something to remove stubborn waterproof mascara without burning or stinging the eyes so I couldn’t wait to try another solution out.


Maifanshi Moisture Foundation

It’s a totally unassuming looking liquid; crystal clear and completely unscented, but it’s a soapless, mineral-rich cleanser that gets skin sparkling in just a few wipes. It comes with special cotton pads that you saturate and use to gently work off makeup or to give skin a refreshing once over in the morning. No need to rinse after or even tone because your skin will feel perfectly balanced and so soft.


Cleansing Spa Water

I’m loving this ease and effectiveness of the water- not to mention how much space it saves in my kit. It’s one of those things that I’ll actually order and use again and again.

My Summer Cleanser

Sheckys.com included me in their best in summer beauty from Beauty Experts around the web where I talk about my new fav foaming cleanser. Check out my, and others’ summer loves HERE.

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.

Blissoma Botanical Skincare

Blissoma’s science-meets-nature approach is what I love about great skincare. It’s the happy medium of having more than just two ingredients of nuts and berries or being solely engeneered with chemicals you can’t pronounce. You can pronounce all of their ingredients, most botanical, but there’s also a lot of science that goes into every little jar so that each ingredient helps another to work better, penetrate deeper, and give a better result than if used alone. Blissoma is award winning and popular enough to be sold at Abe’s Market yet remains slightly under the radar.

I had a chance to try out the line recently and really liked it. Nothing caused my skin to freak out as some botanical lines do (I’m looking at you Hauschka and Evan Healy. Sidebar: I might do a separate post on Evan Healy which was the worst skincare experience I’ve had in years.)

Anyway, here are a few standouts from the line I liked best.

Most certainly natural, but not all the way hippie is the scent behind this thick serum of plant-based moisture. Awake is designed for normal to oily skin, it works to both hydrate and lightly mattify giving the perfect prep for makeup. I found that it felt very neutral on, just how I like my skin to feel. If you’re looking for something more hydrating, check out Restore and its blend of 10 essential oils that gives skin a healthy glow and a ton of clean moisture.

As much as I can, I use natural-based cleansers which I’ve found to strip less and leave skin really clean. Their Mild Rice Cleanser is thick enough to grab onto impurities but still really gentle. I used olive oil and my Magic Mitt to remove my eye makeup as I always do, so I didn’t give it the mascara removal challenge. I had a client with Eczema use it to see what she thought and she said it was one of the best cleansers she’d ever tried because it didn’t leave her skin red and inflamed after washing. She’s so sensitive she was down to using just Vaseline and water so she was thrilled. I gave her mine. The girl deserves a calm face.

Check out Blissoma HERE or at Abe’s online.

Because It’s Worth It… Where to Spend a Little More Money

If you haven’t watched the adorable Marcel The Shell video that’s such a huge hit on YouTube – you have to check it out below (and click HERE to see it if you get this post delivered via email). The the couple who produces it has already written a book and is in talks to develop a series staring their lovable one-eyed shell after just 2 videos. I watch it religiously. It just makes me smile.

http://youtu.be/Ta9K22D0o5Q

My favorite line is at the end when he says he smiles because it’s worth it. Which caused a mental domino about what’s really ‘worth it’ in terms of popping the lock off the wallet and spending a little more for an investment in your skin looking great. I’m not someone who thinks you have to spend a ton to look great – I recommend drugstore finds as often as department store ones – but there are a few exceptions that are so great that I’ll spend the extra cash because I know they’re worth it.

Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation:

I’m scraping the bottom of my jar of Chantecaille Future Skin that I got almost 2 years ago. I heard so much about their foundations that I purchased the jar at a counter not knowing it was $72 and then tried to play it off when she told me my total like it wasn’t twice as much as I’d ever spent on foundation. I quickly discovered that after I tried every type of foundation that passed my desk, I’d happily return to Future Skin. Its coverage is fantastic, staying power terrific, and the look of it is so natural – which might be because it’s made of 60% water and seaweed. The higher price tag could be attributed to its treatment benefits like reducing sebum and calming redness with chamomile and green tea – but who knows. All I know is that I’m mentally preparing for another $72 purchase very soon, but at least this time I know it’s worth it.

Liz Earle Cleanser:

Cleanse & Polish, the cleanser that I’ve referred to as ‘near perfect,’ is so worth an order from the UK based Liz Earle (or from Fred Segal Santa Monica- their only stateside location I know of.) It’s not a pricey buy at $25 for a 3.3oz pump (and around $7 to ship), it’s the ordering that makes it a little more of a challenge than grabbing a bottle at a store like we’re all so used to doing. I’m so addicted to this thick, creamy, lightly Eucalyptus scented gentle cleanser which removes all makeup so effortlessly, that when I try out a new cleanser to review it’s what I measure them all against. It’s a gold standard for a cleanser and one that’s so popular they have an automatic refill service and also a 3 pack available to make getting this perfect cleanser as easy as possible.

SkinCeuticals Serums:

SkinCeuticals is renowned for their high-potency, crazy effective serums designed to correct, fade, protect, and calm – whatever your skin happens to need. Their C E Ferulic is probably their best known do-it-all serum with vitamins C and E and Ferulic acid to protect the skin against environmental damage and skin aging. They use the purest, best forms of vitamins (like L-Ascorbic for their C) for maximum benefits and create combinations with other vitamins and acids for the very best skin absorption. Serums compliment any skincare routine and are so beneficial using only a few drops a day making them worth their $100- $150 cost.

Estée Lauder Eye Creams:

Eyes show age. It’s that simple. Getting that thin skin moisturized and protected is important, as is finding an eye cream that has some beneficial ingredients and proven science. So many eye creams are a complete waste – basically just plain moisturizers in a smaller jar without any true benefits. I trust and love Lauder’s eye creams – they have something for every skin type and concern, but their Re-Nutriv eye creams are their supreme offerings. With too much science in them to explain (or understand, really) I just know that when I use a Lauder eye cream, I can see the difference. I can waste money $35 at a time with something that isn’t working, or just fork out the $100 (ish) to see a difference and keep the Botox away a little bit longer.

Don’t worry, I’m also rounding up a ‘not worth it list’ (hello mascara!!) so you can save your pennies on things that are all pretty much the same.