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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Post-Baby Skin Care: What I’ll Be Using to Get Rid of My Melasma (Round 2)

Well here we are, today is the day I’m giving birth to my daughter (Note: of course I’m not writing this in the delivery room, it’s actually the night before) and I’m once again planning my new skincare routine to banish the melasma that reared its ugly head from pretty much day 1 of this pregnancy. I actually think it never went away from the first pregnancy and just kept on building throughout this one. Either way, I’m ready to attack. I’ve done a ton of research and have come up with what I think is the best of the best as far as attacking pigment and restoring my skin without using hydroquinone or Botox.

Cleanser:

I was thinking about getting this Pigment Bar from PCA Skin, a medical line that I really like but I nixed the idea and will stick with my cleanser that I love. I’m just not sure how much help a cleanser is in fading dark spotting since it’s only on the skin for a few seconds and the ingredients are washed away. If you’re curious though, check it out- it’s a cool concept and people seem to really like it.

pca skin

Toner:

Hands down, one of the most effective things I’ve ever used on my skin has been Mandelic acid from Vivant, a line sold through skin pros and doctors that is really picking up steam in the industry for its skin-changing ways. Mandelic acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid extracted from bitter almonds, so it’s a safe alternative to hydroquinone (a skin lightener that really works well, but has safety concerns.) This 9% solution will help to lighten while also making my skin soft enough to allow the serums and creams to penetrate and work that much better.

vivant toner

Serum:

I was a little on the fence about this one so I ordered two and then canceled one. I wanted to get Skinceuticals Phyto + which I ordered from Amazon (before canceling) because of its botanical formula and kojic acid, a known skin lightener. In the end the shaky reviews mixed with the fact that I know Mandelic will definitely work were what swayed my decision to stick with a more potent formula. So I ordered Vivant’s Mandelic 3-in-1 Serum 15% which combines Mandelic with Lactic Acid, a combination that will lighten and brighten my skin without question.

vivant mandelic serum

Retinol:

Can I use a retinol while nursing? My derm thought so and she recommended Afirm, a Retin-A alternitive (sidebar: Terntinoin and Retin-A both break me out because they put the vitamin a into a cheap cream that’s all greasy terrible so I can’t use it anyway) that’s easily absorbed into the skin and gives the same results as a prescription retinoid at a fraction of the cost. A good retinol will diminish wrinkles, fade discoloration, and give better clarity and tone to the skin. Another interesting fact: Retinoids are the only FDA approved treatments for wrinkles. I bought the 3X, formula which amounts to a 0.6% retinol which is their strongest treatment. Again, I’m getting the higher percentage treatments for all of the formulations just because my skin is used to really active stuff.. Start with the 1% just a few times a week if you’re just venturing into the world of retinol, but really if you have wrinkles or discoloration to get rid of this is a really good place to start.

afirm

Antioxidant:

I always use an antioxidant serum during the day to combat further damage (and you should too), so I’ll use Vivant’s Spin Trap serum with vitamins C&E. I’ve used this one in the past and for some reason it seems to keep longer than others, it doesn’t turn that dull color vitamin serums turn after just a few months which means its potency is also in tact.

vivant spin trap

Moisturizer:

I went out on a limb for this one. I’ve never used Nia 24 but I see it everywhere and am fascinated by it since it’s the only niacin-based product I know of. There’s a bunch of research they have on their site (independent from them) showing how niacin heals sun damaged skin and can even play a role in skin cancer prevention. Their signature treatment cream is this Intensive Recovery Complex, pricey at $118 but something I’ve literally looked at buying for years. Because it’s meant specifically for hyperpigment issues, I thought it would fit in perfectly with my whole skin-lightening regimen.

NI005-intensive-recovery

SPF:

Good SPF is key when you’re using an active bunch of products like this. Even in the winter when you don’t think you’re getting sun exposure, you are. I’ve been using Coola SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint as a daily primer and skin perfector. The look and feel is just like a slightly tinted primer that helps to even out skintone pre-foundation. I love Coola’s sunscreens, it’s an organic line that only does suncare so they do it really well. It’s basically a really good SPF disguised as a great makeup primer that will help even out my skin on days when I won’t be wearing foundation (which will be quite often in the coming weeks.)

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Oh- and I’ll be using my Dermaroller to get super maximum penetration and faster results. Read HERE and HERE to catch up on the magical wonders of Dermarolling (aka microneedling) if you missed my past posts on the subject, and keep an eye on Hautelook (get the app) because they often feature them for just $20 or $30.

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.

L’Occitane Beautiful Shape Almond Scrub

You should be exfoliating, both your face and body. Buffing away dull, old skin is the best way to get a glowing complexion. I’m a big fan of anything almond scented but a bigger fan of a shower scrub that’s not in a big messy tub. I’ve been using Almond Beautiful Shape scrub from L’Occitane scrub to shave my legs for a few weeks now and my skin feels so smooth I can often skip post-shower lotion. It’s designed to reduce the look of cellulite create micro-exfoliation to firm the skin while the almond proteins reduce dimpling making it perfect for summer when you’re showing a little more leg. Skin benefits aside, its scent, texture, and tube makes it one of the easiest to use and best exfoliants I’ve tried in a while.

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.

Facial Scrubs; Dense, Denser, and Densest

Whether you realize it or not, you choose a scrub based on its density, or how packed the formula is with the scrubbing particles. You either like the feeling of a lot of little scrubbers, or you don’t. If your skin is mature, thin, or sensitive, you probably like a lighter exfoliation but if you have dry, oily, or troubled skin, you’d want something dense with beads to really sweep away dead skin.

I’m surprised I have any skin left after trying out these scrubs, but at least I can tell you which ones are the densest right?

L’Oreal Go 360 Clean Deep Exfoliating Scrub

Density Score: 2 out of 5

I hate gimmicky stuff, so I was fully expecting not to like the little scrubber thing that rests in the open cavity of the bottle for L’Oreal’s 360 Scrub. It’s job is to give a little extra exfoliation beyond the light smattering of beads in the cleanser. It’s a formula that’s great for all skin types because the scrubbing beads aren’t very dense so there’s more cleanser in there to cushion the exfoliation.

If you’re feeling like you need a little more oomph, pop out the scrubber and let the little rubber-tipped points massage your face. It isn’t harsh at all, it’s actually super relaxing and leaves skin so soft.

Mmmm doughnuts…
Not a ton of beads, but the little scrubber kicks it into high gear.

Naturopathica Oat Facial Polish

Density Score: 3 out of 5

The Oat Facial Polish from Naturopathica uses jojoba beads encased in Apricot Kernel oil and Oat Beta Glucan to polish and hydrate. It’s a best seller for the line because of its ability to soothe the skin while exfoliating, a difficult thing to pull off. You’ll be able to feel the fine beads buff the skin in a ratio of about 50/50 beads to creamy skin nourishers. It’s not overly scratchy but it certainly gets the job done.

SkinMedica Skin Polisher

Density Score: 4 out of 5

SkinMedica is a professional line, so when they create a  Skin Polisher it’s one that really polishes. It has a unique feel for a scrub because it completely coats your face in tiny jojoba beads but it doesn’t feel the least bit abrasive. I loved how completely soft my skin felt after I used it which helped my makeup to smooth right on.

Tiny little beads

DERMAdoctor Physical Chemistry

Density Score: 5 out of 5

It’s not just buffing, it’s renewing your skin. DERMAdoctor’s Physical Chemistry is the densest scrub of the bunch with a thick consistency and tons of polymer beads to remove your skin’s top layer of dead cells. You’ll feel a little somethin’ extra going on because of their Multiacid Resurfacing Complex – a cocktail of Glycolic, Lactic, Azelaic and Beta Hydroxy Acids to combat an uneven skin tone and fine lines.

Ooh thick

It stayed this way until I used it again

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