You Need This Cleanser. Yes, You.

I think I finally have a pretty good idea of how to take care of my skin after all these years of drying the shit out of it then wondering why I don’t have that radiant glow thing going on that we’re all chasing.

It’s as simple as this, are you ready? Exfoliate and soften. That’s it.

By exfoliate I mean manual (like with a scrub or Clarisonic) and chemical (Retin A, or anything to speed up cell renewal), and then soften. I’m saying soften instead of moisturize or hydrate because when I think in terms of hydration the greasy 15 year old in my head says ‘use the oil-free stuff,’ but the 37 year old me is like ‘let’s not go through the trouble of all that Botox and then fry your skin to hell by not nourishing it properly.’ So by thinking about softening over hydrating I can grab whatever makes my skin feel soft with each skincare step I do. For example: This totally amaze balls Ole Henriksen Pure Truth cleanser that I ran out and got as soon as I read about its launch. I’ve always been a fan of a good pre-cleanse (and if you can’t afford to get this, use straight up olive oil on your face and lids every night before your cleanser. It’s life changing) just because of how much cleaner your skin will be if you use something oil-based (oil attracts oil!) to remove makeup and dirt. It’s such a unique consistency- a gel at first that melts right into the skin leaving only a soft slip behind so you can gently massage away makeup. It’s concentrated with oils (olive, almond, rose hip, cherry seed) and vitamins so only a small amount is needed.  Sidebar: if you don’t wear makeup this might be the only cleanser you’d need, but if you do it’s best as a pre-cleanse before your usual cleanser.

In the last few years I’ve started to realize how important it is not to rub the hell out of your eyes. Seeing my clients with droopy lids scares me because other than surgery, there isn’t anything you can do to get that skin firmed up and lifted. This one is worth a look next time you’re in Sephora, it really is something I’d recommend for everyone.

ole henriksen

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 Amazon.com 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 amazon.com 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.

eminence

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.

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.

20140508-190629.jpg

Best Beauty Buys at Trader Joe’s

When Trader Joe’s opened three (!) stores here in Colorado everyone was buzzing- even those who had never stepped foot into one were excited to see what all the hype was about. I knew what I was in for having lived in Arizona and California where I enjoyed all that TJ’s has to offer, but the things I was most excited about weren’t food (or wine..) related at all. It’s the cheap face washes, soaps, lotions, and oils in their concise beauty aisle. Here’s a rundown of a few along with their can’t-beat prices.

Top to bottom, left to right:

Spa Face Wash with Tea Tree Oil: This light castile-like soap cleanses skin and leaves a tingly fresh feeling behind from the tea tree. It’s a great basic cleanser for day and night and all skin types.

Moisturizing Shave Cream: This is one of my favorite shave creams. It’s so rich that a tiny amount goes a long way, this tube will last me several months.

Nourish Spray Sunscreen SPF 50: You can’t do much better than $6 for a big can of SPF 50. You can spray down the whole family all summer long.

100% Pure Jojoba Oil: I LOVE this oil so much that I used to buy several of and bring them back to Colorado whenever we’d visit CA. I don’t know what it is about this body oil but it’s a perfect balance of hydration and slip. You can even rub it on your eyes to pre-cleanse to remove eye makeup or use it on your face. It’s that good.

All-In-One Facial Cleanser: I haven’t used this cleanser but at $6, another great deal.

Coconut Body Butter: I bought this and I’m obsessed. The smell of coconut is intoxicating to me and this has a balanced scent that’s sweet and tropical.  It’s the best bargain I saw, $5 for a body butter that’s normally sold for $20 at other stores. A must-have for sure.

Nourish Oil-Free Antioxidant Moisturizer: A good, lightweight all-purpose moisturizer for those who are looking for something basic and effective.

20140418-082658.jpg

What’s the Best Foundation For Oily and Breakout-Prone Skin?

It’s a question I’m asked a lot. It’s tough to find a formula that hides everything and won’t make bad skin even worse. Right now I’m loving the new Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation so it’s what I recommend most often.

First, it’s truly matte. If you just think your skin is oily but it really isn’t, this foundation isn’t designed for your skin and you won’t like it. It’s called a liquid powder for a reason, it’s the absence of oils that makes it so perfect for troubled skin because it clings to an oily surface giving a full coverage that stays put all day long. It easily covers breakouts, redness, and scaring while leaving a powder-like finish to combat shine.

Second, it doesn’t just cover well, it actually helps with oil production immediately and over time. It’s a water-resistent formula that uses clay to actually absorb sebum and moisture on the skin, soaking it up like a mop. Over time, you’ll start to see less oil production, fewer breakouts, and an overall improvement in your skin. It’s a treatment and foundation all in one.

Because it dries quickly and doesn’t have extra oils that typically make spreading around and blending a foundation easy, you’ll want to apply it section by section and blend completely before moving on. I like to spread it around a little with my fingers first, buff it in with a foundation brush and then press it in with a damp beauty blender. I know that sounds like a lot, (and you can find a different way that works too) but it takes just seconds because you want to work it in fast and it’s so worth it once you see how great it looks. It’s really unique and such a must-have for anyone who has struggled to find the right coverage for their skin.

20130816-105147.jpg

hourglass immaculate

Dr. Oz and The Wonders of Sea Buckthorn Oil

I didn’t know that Dr. Oz recently touted Sea Buckthorn ‘the new miracle berry’ when I ordered it from Amazon a few weeks ago. I was searching for natural skincare to help with my melasma and such during this pregnancy when I fell upon Sibu Buckthorn Oil and 180+ sparkling reviews about how amazing it is. It has a cult following for calming rosacea (a big theme among the reviewers), but it was also said to clear acne, fade dark spots, heal burns, and give skin a glowing new appearance. Really! People are losing their damn minds over it (see the reviews HERE on Amazon where I bought it.) There are a few different brands who sell this type of oil, but Sibu was the best reviewed and under $10. Sold.

I started using it under my moisturizer at night only as recommended because it takes a little while to fully absorb. It isn’t greasy or heavy and doesn’t really have much of a scent at all. I like the added hydration it gives and it hasn’t caused any breakouts – a big concern when using a new product on my skin especially an oil. Right away I noticed how calming it is and how I wake up with a glow. I think it’s too early to see long term benefits, but since it’s 100% natural and safe so I’ll continue to use it. It’s one of those things that you know is just good for your skin long term so I’ll be patient and wait for some great results.

Next I’ll try their Cleansing Bar, another fave among reviewers, as well as check out their supplements since it’s meant to be taken internally as well.

sea buckthorn