tarte Maracuja Bronzing Serum

This serum is flat out amazing. Revolutionary. A must-have gradual self tanner to achieve the most convincing  tanned look for your face. Below is me before and after just one application. I used a few drops before bed in place of my usual skincare and I woke up with subtle but noticeable color. Maracuja Bronzing Serum is a light oil that absorbs right away and leaves no scent behind,  it’s also streak-free (and has been every time I’ve used it since) and didn’t leave any color behind on my white pillowcase. It’s a self-tanning serum disguised as skincare that’s so gentle you can use it nightly. It didn’t break out my sensitive skin and the color becomes more rich with each application but not overly bronzed or unnatural. It really is amazing stuff.

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I will of course review other self-tanning products for the face in the future, but this is the one I will continue to buy and tell all my friends to do the same.

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Don’t Buy This Cleanser: Burt’s Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream

I’m typically a Burt’s Bees fan which is why I grabbed this cleanser recently when I realized I was out of my Sebu bar I’ve been using in the shower. Bad move. It’s one of the worst I’ve ever tried. It’s not listed on the front label but it has some sort of menthol or peppermint in it that’s so strong it burned my eyes without even using it directly on them. Combine that with its lard-like texture that’s hard to break down and does nothing to cleanse the skin and it’s just a total disaster. I wish there was something redeeming about it but I think it’s just a waste of $8.

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My Hair Is STILL Falling Out: Living Proof Haircare & Sibu to the Rescue

Of course I’ve totally fallen in love with Living Proof haircare – it’s expensive and I have to go to Ulta or Sephora to get it. However it’s one of those rare lines I want to shout from the rooftop about because it’s so crazy good. It’s magic, a game changer in the industry, and something you should try. In the short time I’ve used it my static is gone, my hair looks fuller, and I have to remind myself when it’s been 3 days to wash it because it always looks (and smells!) freshly washed. Their technology is so advanced that their shampoos help hair to repel dirt and oil so it stays cleaner longer and the conditioners improve hair’s health over time. This stuff isn’t just to wash and style, it’s a long term solution to get your hair healthy and looking great.

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And speaking of hair…

Mine is totally falling out still. In huge clumps. Everyday for 4 months. Last time (meaning last time I had a baby which was just a year and a half ago) it fell out for 6 months. It was just starting to grow back when I got pregnant again so it never fully recovered which makes this current loss even worse.

Here’s a shot of me from last weekend (left) and one from just a few years ago. Such a difference in the texture, sheen, and thickness of my hair. You can see around my part how thick it once was. *Sigh*

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Instead of relying on topical treatments alone, I’m also starting to take Sea Buckthorn from Sibu – the makers of that oil I use on my face. Their liquid supplement and Cellular Support with Omega 7 softgels both use sea buckthorn berry which is naturally rich in vitamins and omegas to nourish skin and promote growth of hair and nails. Ever since Dr Oz talked about its ability to signal the body to stop storing fat- making it a natural weight loss aid of sorts- sea buckthorn has become hugely popular.

So, longer hair, healthy skin, strong nails, and it melts fat? It’s like Gisele in a bottle. Bottoms up.

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Sibu Beauty Sea Buckthorn Oil

You must check out Sebu Beauty and their skincare made with the nutrient rich sea buckthorn berry. I just bought my second bottle of Sea Buckthorn oil from Sprouts today along with their cleanser. I bought my first bottle of the oil a few months back along with the cleansing bar (which is almost gone) and I use them both daily. The oil regulates my skin’s moisture levels and leaves it really glowy- a huge help since the cold weather is sucking the life out of my skin and I don’t always have time to slap on foundation.

Next I’ll order their supplements (I couldn’t find them at Sprouts) which I read are good for hair growth. Mine is still falling out in clumps thanks to my thyroid so anything right now is worth a shot.

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Prevent Sun Damage All Year Round

Remember this big story from last spring about the truck driver with extreme sun damage on the left side of his face where the sun would hit while he drove?

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After that I was especially diligent about daily sunscreen on my face and body. Even in the dead of winter I use an SPF body hydrator on my arms and chest to make sure that even the slightest daily sun doesn’t accumulate and create damage on me. Coola is what I use daily – half hydrator, half unscented SPF 30 using a safe mineral formulation free of the nasty chemicals some sunscreens use. It’s one of the best sunscreen lines around for organic suncare that doesn’t leave your skin zinc white and feels just like a great moisturizer.

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Just replacing your body moisturizer with one that has SPF is the easiest way to keep sun damage (and skin cancer..) away.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.