Natural Solutions for Dry Skin

If you want to improve dry skin using naturally formulated products, look for ones that contain essential oils, shea butters, and food-based ingredients to help restore the skin’s lipid barrier by providing a big (chemical free) drink of moisture. Here are a few I’ve tried that can really help to bring dry skin into a more quenched state.

Cleanser:

H2O Sea Pure Creamy Facial Cleanser

Those with dry skin should avoid gel and soap cleansers that can strip away needed moisture. Sea Pure’s Creamy Cleanser uses citrus oils to melt away dirt and makeup in a soft, cushiony formula that leaves skin feeling hydrated and refreshed. It’s one of their best sellers with good reason, it’s hard to find a cleanser that foams up without stripping the skin. It’s just a bonus that it’s without sulfates, parabens, petrochemicals, pthalates, and synthetic chemicals.

Exfoliant:

Arcona Golden Grain Gommage

I first met the Arcona team backstage at Fashion Week a few years ago and I fell instantly in love with the small-batched line that’s been pioneering chic, holistic skincare since the 80’s. Arcona’s Golden Grain Gommage is perfect for dry skin, it’s full of essential fatty acids, lemon extract, and oatmeal to soothe and gently buff away dullness associated with dryness in an ultra gentle way.

Moisturizer:

Bioelements All things Pure Moisturizer

I love the All Things Pure Moisturizer, an organically formulated 12 ingredient cream that uses the best of nature to moisturize even the driest of skins. I gave mine to a friend with skin so dry, she stacked on 2 heavy moisturizers day and night just to get some relief. She’s now totally committed to the whole ATP line since the moisturizer successfully renewed her moisture levels and gave her skin a whole new look. (She also swears by their Eye Oil which she also uses on her driest spots pre-moisturizer.)

Balm:

Decleor Aroma Night Angélique Nourishing Night Balm

You haven’t felt pure moisture until you’ve tried one of Decleor’s balms. They’re known for their soft solid essential oil based balms that melt and glide into the skin. Angélique is a mix of 7 of the most hydrating oils blended together to nourish the skin overnight so you wake up with softer, hydrated, and ready for makeup skin.

Beauty Essentials You Don’t Already Have

You think you have beauty product known to (wo)man you’ll ever need. You’re the Macgyver of beauty, the one your friends go to when they need something to grow their brows, plump their lips, and make their skin glow. Would it surprise you to find out that you’re missing a few things? These uniquely cool offerings will add value to your beauty arsenal and sharpen your routine not to mention hold firm your reputation as your friends’ resident beauty know-it-all.

You Don’t Have: An Eyeliner This Color

Aside from the fact that the wear time of this liner is limitless, the color is nothing short of incredible. Every woman should own Estée Lauder’s Silver Zinc liner, a somewhat smokey grey with a touch of warmth. I’ve been using it to line under the eyes while still using black on top. It breaks up the look and adds a softness where black might be overpowering especially during the day. It’s a totally eye catching look that works on all ages and skin tones. FYI- it’s a limited edition color, grab one while they’re still available, I predict they’ll sell out soon.

You Don’t Have: A Shower in a Bottle

Admit it, there are days when laziness wins and the daily shower gets pushed aside. Instead of piling on a fragrance, you can spray on a shower-fresh scent like Lush’s Dirty Body Spray (nice name btw.) It’s meant to neutralize a not so fresh scent with their own yummy blend to successfully fake out the noses around you into smelling a much cleaner you.

You Don’t Have: Professional-Grade Vegan Brushes

Makeup Artist Samantha Champan knows what makes a good brush and her brush line reflects just that. They’re made with synthetic taklon brushes, so they’re vegan and 100% cruelty free. They’re ultra plush, high performing, and designed to take up minimal room- each one stands up on its end. Grab them at Ulta where you’ll find sets of 3 or 4 brushes being offered for less than you’d normally pay for just one in a department store.

You Don’t Have: A Waterproof Bronzer

Cargo is known for their legendary cheek colors and bronzers. This huge tin of perfectly balanced Water Resistant Bronzer is in my kit so I can bronze brides who have a good amount of dancing (and sweating) to do. It doesn’t move or change color even in the most humid conditions making it a go-to for the Makeup Artists on Dancing With the Stars.

You Don’t Have: Gluten Free Skincare

Brittanie’s Thyme is one of the better USDA certified organic lines out there with solid gluten-free options. This kit includes one of my favs from the line, their Organic Everyday Moisturizer that uses a base of Aloe and Coconut Oil to gently moisturize and nourish even the most delicate skin.

You Don’t Have: Razor Burn Relief

Res-Q from Satin Smooth delivers quick rescue for ingrown hairs, razor burn, bumps, and skin irritation after waxing, shaving, or threading. It’s one of those really useful things to have around in case of emergencies or to use daily if you’re prone to skin irritation from shaving.

You Don’t Have: A Cleanser That Smells This Good

My beloved Sanitas has this Lemon Cream Cleanser that I swear smells like a really decadent dessert. Sure it removes makeup and acts as a gentle, all-around great cleanser with hydrators and vitamins, but it’s the scent that makes using it an addiction.

Skincare for the Hot Summer Months

When it’s hot, sticky, and humid, slathering on heavy creams is the last thing you want to do. Here are a few things you can use to get skin that’s clear and cool when the temperature rises.

Gel Cleanser: IMAN Time Control Liquid Assets Oil-Free Gel Cleanser $14

Start with a queaky clean surface right outta the gates. Using a gel cleanser instead of a cream will leave your skin feeling fresh and fully cleansed,  Iman’s gel cleanser foams up big, smells great, and even washes away makeup.

Light Weight Acne Treatments: Intraceuticals Clarity Treatment Gel $89

Heavy acne treatment creams can clump under makeup, especially when layered with sunscreens. I love the lightweight Clarity Gel from Intraceuticals. It’s an advanced formulation that calms redness and inflammation while creating an environment on the skin that’s free of bacteria and irritation. It’s a unique way to fight acne without causing the usual peeling and redness that can make skin look even worse.

Facial Masks to Dig Out Oil: Erno Laszlo Beta Mask $50

Beta Mask is my go-to when my skin starts acting up. It’s so refreshing and cool on my skin, it’s like an instant facial with results that rival a true spa treatment. It isn’t the kind of mask that you need to scrub off either, it’s easily removed with warm water. Use it weekly to rid skin of dirt and oil from sweating and being outdoors.

Back Spray: Glytone Back Spray $28

Running, yoga, and hot summer activities that leave you sweaty can lead to a back breakout – the worst kind mostly because you can’t see what’s going on. Glytone’s Back Spray really works, just spray it post-shower or pre-activity to prevent ‘bacne.’

Body Mud: Borghese Fango Brightening Mud Mask $64

I had a gift certificate to a spa once so I did this body wrap thing which was basically a body mask with hot towels wrapped around me. It was cool, but not $200 cool. I can do the same thing at home using a body mud like Borghese, the experts in at-home spa treatments. Their Brightening Mud Mask is the one I like, it deep cleans skin so well that you can see an difference in the clarity and texture of your skin right away. Perfect to slough away dullness for the time of year when you’re showing a little more skin.

Preventing Stretch Marks and Breakouts During Pregnancy

For moms-to-be who are looking to moisturize their growing bellies, LUSH has a 100% organic Therapy Massage Bar ($10) made from shea butter, cocoa butter, sweet orange oil, and lavender oil. It smells heavenly – like chocolate covered orange candies and it gives skin a healthy dose of natural moisture. It’s free of synthetics so it’s mommy-friendly and the long-lasting hydration is just what you want when trying to keep stretch marks away.

And while we’re on the topic, LUSH Herbalism Cleanser ($11) is known to clear up breakouts naturally, so during pregnancy you can use the Ground Almonds and Kaolin based cleanser to slough away rough skin keeping it clear and smooth.

Cetaphil Cleanser: As Good As You’ve Heard?

Does the long-loved Cataphil cleanser live up to its hype? Dr. Frank Lipman takes a closer look at its ingredients and explains why this iconic cleanser may not be doing your skin any favors.

You can check out the article HERE

Best Cleansers of 2011 (thus far…)

I had a steady stream of cleansers sent my way lately which were quickly adding up, so over the past few months I’d use a different one for a full 7 days, twice a day to get a real feel for how it worked and how my skin responded. They didn’t all make the cut of course, but I did find several I really liked based on the following:

  • Completely cleans skin and removes makeup
  • Has a unique spin
  • Smells good (one was excluded just because it smelled like old lady)
  • Doesn’t dry or strip the skin
  • No irritation or breakouts caused

So here we go, the first batch of cleansers I’m loving in 2011.

Kosmea Clarifying Facial Wash

It’s not only the intoxicating rose scent that makes me love this Clarifying Facial Wash, it’s the feeling it gives my face after using it that I call squeaky soft because although it removes all impurities, there isn’t a hint of tightness once my skin dries. $32

Caudalie Cleansing Water

Now you have no excuse not to remove your makeup nightly. Caudalie’s Cleansing Water is one of the best I’ve used to really remove the day using a quick, gentle solution of Grape Extract and Plant Glycerin. Soak a cotton pad with the water and with just a few swipes, you’ll have a sparkling clean face that even the most sensitive skin can tolerate. $26

Sensai Silky Purifying Creamy Soap

Sensai’s Soap in a tube is such a hit that Saks wouldn’t let you buy more than 6 a month. I can understand why – the travel size I received will probably outlast most of my standard sized cleansers. It’s so rich and dense that just a dab produces a hearty foam nabbing dirt and makeup, and leaving behind a really soft moisture finish. $50

Bioelements All Things Pure Cleanser

A good clay cleanser is hard to find. I like Bioelements‘ version because of the amount of organic aloe it mixes in with the clay to soothe and calm the skin. It’s the first clay-based cleanser I’ve used that would be suitable to all skin types, and it’s definitely ‘green’ girl approved with mostly natural and organic ingredients. $35

Kate Sommerville Detox Daily Cleanser

Facialist-to-the-stars Kate Somerville formulated her Daily Detox Cleanser for those who struggle with breakouts but also want some anti-aging benefits. In short, it’s not a harsh cleanser that will strip the hell out of troubled skin. Daily Detox gives you the foam you want for slightly oily and inflamed skin while also helping to lighten acne scars using Phytic Acid and also stabilize oil production. $32

Wei Chinese Rose Foaming Cleanser

Yes I know I’m slightly obsessed with all things Rose, but this is a perfect example of a great cleanser that didn’t just use the scent to brand the product – Rose Flower Infusion is its first ingredient. I found it to be surprisingly thorough and one of my favorites of the bunch because of its light and easy ability to cleanse and leave the skin looking bright and glowy. $32

L’Oreal Go 360 Clean Deep Facial Cleanser for Sensitive Skin

I tried several drugstore offerings in this batch, some I’ll review for my blog for Walmart.com, but I thought this one was special and had universal appeal. 360 for sensitive skin is a soap-free, gentle cleanser that washes away clean without leaving a trace of irritating residue. $7