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.

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Alba Botanica Vs Johnson’s Natural Shampoo. Which is the ‘Greenest?’

Johnson's Naturals

As you know by now, I’m an ambassador for Johnson’s Baby which basically means I get access to their line of products to review as well as company info to pass along to y’all. As you also know by now I’m a bit of a hippie. A vegetarian, tree-hugging naturalist at heart who avoids chemicals and toxic crap whenever I can. But, my friends, I still love me some Botox. And my Chanel bag isn’t exactly made from tofu. So as you can see, it’s a balancing act as most things are.

The Johnson’s Baby products sent to me have slowly crept their way into our bathrooms as mainstays we love to use but I’m still careful when it comes to what I use on my now 2 1/2 year old and almost 1 year old girls. I’ve gone back and forth using Johnson’s Natural Baby Shampoo with the sweet smelling Alba Botanica one I pick up at Vitamin Cottage or Whole Foods. Even though I like the Johnson’s one better, the bright packaging, fruity fragrance, and assurance by its presence at natural store that it’s a ‘clean’ line encourages me to use it on Harper a few times a week trading off with the non-fragrant, less splashy packaged Johnson’s shampoo. It wasn’t until last week when I saw the backs of the bottles sitting side by side that I noticed the pretty long list of ingredients on the Alba bottle compared to the relatively short list on the Johnson’s one did I even give a thought to which was a greener choice for the girls. So I looked them up on the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Database site to see what their safety scores were. I was surprised (and a little pissed) to see that Alba’s score was a 7 out of 10 meaning there are moderate to high concerns for toxicity in their ingredients. Not at all something I would use on my kids not to mention not something I’d expect to see shelved at a natural grocer when I thought they were weeding products like this out for me. Then I checked Johnson’s shampoo and found that their safety scoring was a 3 meaning it had very low concerns about its ingredients.

Here’s what I found below from the EWG site.

Johnson’s Natural Baby Shampoo $5

Ingredients 14 total:

Water, Decyl Glucoside, Cocoglycerides, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Benzoate, Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Fragrance, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide

Get the full EWG report HERE

johnsons naturals

Alba Hawaiian Shampoo Body Builder in Mango $10

Ingredients 39 total:

Aqua (Water), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Lauryl Glucoside, Aleurites Moluccana Seed Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice(1), Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract(1), Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract(1), Laminaria Digitata Extract, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Fruit Extract(1), Yeast Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract(1), Ascorbic Acid, Babassu Oil Polyglyceryl-4 Esters, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydrolyzed Sweet Almond Seedcake, Linolenic Acid, Linoleic Acid, Panthenol, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Coco-Sulfate, Sodium Laurylglucosides Hydroxypropylsulfonate, Sodium Sulfate, Tocopherol, Alcohol(1), Benzoic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Limonene, Fragrance (Parfum).

Get the full EWG report HERE

alba

One thing that throws me off every time is looking at the ingredients and seeing fruit names versus ‘chemical’ names so I always just assume that when I can pronounce the ingredients they’re safer, but you’ll never see a fruit name on a Johnson’s label because they use what’s called INCI labeling. It’s a type of uniformly recognized scientific names for ingredients, like the gold standard for labeling- and essentially the equivalent of calling someone James instead of Jimmy. Even if they’re using Vitamin E, it would be listed as its ‘formal name’ tocopherol so their ingredients will always look foreign and scary unless you know that Decyl Glucoside is just a harmless kind of soap used in a bunch of shampoos and body washes.

Lesson learned! I won’t assume something on the shelves of a Whole Foods is a cleaner product than something at Target and I’ll continue to research the products I bring into my home instead of being swayed by fancy packaging or a hefty price tag.

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.

Other Household Uses For Baby Shampoos & Baby Powder

A big perk of being an Ambassador for Johnson’s Baby is that I’m fully stocked at all times with their products. Aside from the obvious uses, I’ve found they come in pretty handy for a few other things too. Check out what I’ve been doing with my stash and let me know if there are other uses I’m missing out on.

Head-To-Toe Wash: Brush Cleaner

I used this after I ran out of my usual brush cleanser and I was really impressed. It literally melts the makeup and dirt off of the brushes like magic. I’ve been using my other brush shampoo for so long I forgot how quickly they could be cleaned with minimal effort. I squirt a little in a cup then fill it with warm water to create some suds. Then I drop in all of the brushes and swirl them around to get all of the bristles saturated with soap. Then I swirl each one in the palm of my hand until they foam up just like you do with your hair, and I rinse them under running water until they feel clean. The lipstick and eyeliner brushes will need extra cleansing so just squirt a little of the wash into your palm and really work the soap in. It has saved me so much time and it’s way less expensive than specialty cleansers anyway.

head to toe wash

Baby Shampoo: Bubble solution

Harper is bubble obsessed. It’s part of our morning routine to go outside and blow bubbles after breakfast. The bottles are expensive though especially when we go through them so quickly, and it’s a hassle remembering to pick more up so I found this recipe on Pinterest that I use. It doesn’t have to be exact, I do roughly 4 parts shampoo to 1 part Karo syrup. You can see how much I used of each after just one refill of a bottle that was about 24oz (It’s a 7oz shampoo bottle and 16oz Karo BTW), which will last us about a month.

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Baby Powder: Too many uses to list

A quick search of ‘baby powder uses’ on Pinterest (click HERE) will yield all sorts of amazing tricks from dry shampoo to creating longer lashes (I need to try this!), it even removes sand from your skin at the beach. It also works to get rid of ants as well as keep pests out of your garden. It’s really usefull stuff.

baby powder uses

Pharmaca

I’m so obsessed with Pharmaca that I used to drive an hour to go to Colorado’s (then) only store which was in Boulder. I’d stock up on skincare, sunscreen, vitamins, and protein powders then wander around exploring and learning all I could about natural based formulations and how they worked on the skin from the helpful team who work there. Ever since one opened near me (next to Trader Joe’s!!) in Greenwood Village last month, I’ve already been 3 times. If you like a more natural spin on skincare, you won’t find a bigger selection anywhere else, and their vitamin prices are hard to beat as is the help you get from their staff who always point me to what I need.

This location has an especially large beauty section that spans about half the store. Today I bought an Apricot Kernel Oil that was on sale for $4, Schmidt’s natural deodorant because the packaging was so cool even though I’ve never heard of it before, these supplements that they recommended to me last time for Mike which he claims have taken away his daily pains from running for the first time in years, and the whole reason I was went in the first place- Supergoop! They carry my all time favorite sunscreen! I got the SPF 40 Mineral one today (THIS one) which I have setting out by the garage door so I can always rub some on the girls and myself before our impromptu walks outside we have throughout the day. My melasma has reemerged and I need to get serious about wearing sunscreen at all times if I really want it to go away.

If you’re here in Denver, check this one out or click HERE to see if there’s a Pharmaca near you!

pharmaca

pharmaca 2

pharmaca 3

How to Wear a Pink Primer

Koh Gen Do is a pro line beloved by Makeup Artists that has crept its way into the mainstream because of its everyday wearability. Their foundation is still a go-to in my kit, but now their primers are slowly replacing the silicone ones that were once the only pre-foundation option. Theirs come in 4 shades depending on what your skin’s needs are, I use this Lavender Pink one a ton to perk up otherwise dull skin. You can wear it under foundation of course but I like to use it on top of it, right under the eyes to add brightness and light.

Below you’ll see a before and after along with how much I use. There isn’t a pinky appearance at all, just a brighter look. It’s especially helpful for tired eyes to look more awake without piling on dark makeup. It’s a trick I’ve been using a lot lately on myself given how tired I’ve been and it really makes me look less haggard and a little more put together.

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Before, how much primer I used under my eyes, then after.

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