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 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.

oz naturals

Skin Obsession 40% Gycolic Peel

Yet another 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.

skin obsession

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.


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.

eminence lemon cleanser

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.

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.

Bath Nation; Fantastically Unique Stuff for Bath and Shower

Bath and shower lines usually bore me to tears, it’s an endless stream of shower gels and scrubs that seem to only differ by scent. It’s hard to stand out in a cluttered landscape  but that’s just what Bath Nation has done. It’s a line produced here in Golden, Colorado whose goodies grace the shelves of select spas and boutiques. Although they’re still growing, Bath Nation has a lot of heart and a complete dedication to offering some creativity to an otherwise mundane category. Here’s what I especially loved.

Pumice Stone Foot Scrub, Botanical Shaving Cream, Cabernet Salt Rub, and Cocoa-Mint Foot Butter are their stand-outs. 

A look at their thick Shaving Cream which easily ranks among my top favs of all time. I wasn’t crazy about the citrus scent which seemed too manufactured, but the silky feel of the cream melted into my skin assisting a close, nick-free shave as well as a lasting post-shower softness. 

What makes this salt rub so special? Well it has a lot to do with the fact that it had a  Cabernet scent – a hint of soft sweetness that’s unique but doesn’t overpower the experience. 
Salt granules are medium sized to polish skin without scrubbing too harshly. 

There’s nothing like a minty one-two combo for tired feet, start with their Pumice Stone Foot Scrub which has tiny bits of pumice to buff feet back into a softer state before using the Foot Butter.

I have a weird thing about my feel being dry. I can’t get into bed if they aren’t adequately softened so I’ve been using their creamy Cocoa-Mint Foot Butter for its grease-less approach to complete hydration.

Also totally noteworthy are their Lip Conditioners which seem to sink right in and soften lips instead of just sitting on top of the skin.

I really appreciated this well thought out line that promises not to waste your time with ho-hum basics.

Check out the rest of what Bath Nation has to offer HERE

Supporting Local Companies; Lavishea

As the holidays approach, and everyone is searching for the perfect gifts, keep in mind that supporting your local business is just a good idea for keeping that money in your community. A simple Google search will churn out beauty brands that you may not even know lie within your states’ borders. Find them, support them, and keep the money local.

Here in Colorado, there are a few companies who churn out some really fantastic stuff that would make for excellent gift giving, and here is one of my favorites.

Lavishea is one of those products I stumbled on completely organically. Their founder and I share a mutual friend who couldn’t stop raving about their gluten-free lotion bars made from moisturizing shea butter. The scents unique and fresh, they’re all hand-made right here in Colorado, and they have the best overall feel of any lotion bar I’ve ever used. They’re non-greasy and absorb completely into the skin for hours of moisturization. It’s a perfect one-size-fits-all gift for anyone, and especially great for those with Celiac Disease who can’t tolerate gluten (even in their skin care), and for frequent travelers since they’re able to be taken along in a carry-on bag.

$12 Lavishea

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Lash Tinting

Women have been getting their lashes tinted for many years now, but I never did. As a blonde, you’d think I would jump at the chance of having darkened lashes but I guess I didn’t understand the benefit.

The first photo is without mascara (complete with a little waxing mishap). It was my final photo after using Latisse for a while, which was supposed to darken lashes, but it didn’t mine. Growth- yes, thickness- yes, but not really darkening like it suggests. Not for me anyway.

Under that is a photo of my newly tinted lashes which I’m completely obsessed with. I had no idea that it would make such a huge difference and that I wouldn’t need to wear mascara. No more mascara smudges (!) and better yet- no more tugging at my eyes at night trying to work off the long-wearing formula that I wear to prevent the smudging in the first place.

Because of smudging, I’d never use mascara on my bottom lashes, but I really like the effect of them being darker which adds so much depth and interest. Future brides would really benefit too since mascara on the lower lash line mixed with tears can lead to disaster.

If you’re here in Denver, my esthetician Tjaden, owner of The Skin Studio (303-204-7767) has been using a long lasting tint that gives great results with no negative side effects. She’s tinted tons of lashes over the years for brides, women going on vacation, and everyday women who want to simplify their routine- and for a really fantastic price ($25).

If you tried tinting in the past, but had a bad experience, you should know things have changed. “These new formulas are a far cry from the old ones,” Tjaden explained. “The old ones only lasted a few days and burned a lot of women’s eyes, there was never any permanent damage, but it was uncomfortable.”

It’s not a guaranteed winner for all women though.

“Women with really short, sparse lashes would probably want to wear a coat or two of mascara,” Tjaden said. “So you’d cover up the tinting and it wouldn’t be worth it.”

Good tinting should last 4-6 weeks before naturally fading out, just ask your esthetician how much wear they get from their formula since they’re not all the same.

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Bridal Makeup; Melissa

Getting to work with Travis Broxton is always a treat. He’s a well known, widely respected photographer here in Denver who travels all over the world beautifully capturing weddings. He’s also a super nice guy.

Melissa was married at a private residence in Estes Park, Colorado on an unbelievably perfect day. She’s already gorgeous with perfect skin, so I just brought out her best features for the camera.

I used Kett waterproof creme foundation to even her skin out just in the center where needed- this formula is my BFF during the hot summer months since it lasts all day and doesn’t move. I skipped using powder since she doesn’t usually get shiny, and I wanted her skin to look as natural as possible in the daylight.

For her eyes, I used a lightly shimmered light blue shadow from this Smashbox kit all over her lids into her crease for a pretty contrast against her skin. I lined her eyes using Jet Set liner in black from Smashbox on top only disguising the band from the false lashes (ModLash #22).

We finished with a berry color on cheeks and lips using a long wearing formula by L’Oreal.

If this posting was delivered to you via email, click HERE to see the photos.

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