Happy Birthday to my daughter Everly Joy who was born October 29th. I just wanted to share a photo of her (all 8.12lbs!!) and let you know that all went well. I’ve barely set her down since she’s been home- it’s all so much easier the second time. Harper is getting used to having a sister and now gives her kisses and reaches out to touch her. We’re so happy and grateful to have a house buzzing with our happy girls.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
The new generation of lipstick/gloss hybrids have quickly taken over my kit. Rich in pigment with a little sheen but without the tacky glossy feel is how the best ones like Estée Lauder’s new Pure Color High Intensity Lip Lacquers feel. They’ve basically replaced my high pigment and long wearing formulas like OCC’s Lip Tars and CoverGirl Outlast which work well but with a catch; Tars are messy and long-wearing formulas are drying. Lauder combined the best of lip color; long wearing, creamy feel, vibrant color, and shine into an easy to apply wand that pretty much covers everything I need as a Makeup Artist. My hair was recently revitalized into a much lighter blonde so I kicked up my lip color a little with Mirrored Mauve even though Vinyl Rose is still one of the best pinky-nude shades I’ve tried, such an easy color to wear every day.
Those sleepless/uncomfortable nights during this pregnancy meant lots of time on Pinterest. Instead of just pinning away and collecting photos of projects I’ll never do, I actually did a few things that I never imagined possible.
I debated for a long time whether or not to paint these dressers from Ikea once we decided to use them in the nursery. Both nurseries have white cribs and dressers because I didn’t like any of the wood options and black seemed too harsh for a girl’s room. This meant two similar looking rooms and the oppertunity to go a little more creative to try and make each unique. I love the ombré painted furniture that’s so popular right now, and that look just seemed perfect in this room since I went big on color whereas my first daughter’s room has splashes here and there. Why not I figured?! The very worst thing that could happen is I’d just paint it white again.
It’s so easy and fast. Here’s what I did.
These are the dressers we used from Ikea which were originally intended to be nightstands for our room but turned out to be way too big. Because one was already put together when we discovered how massive they looked, I decided to re-purpose them in the new nursery instead of taking them back to Ikea to fight for a store credit. Harper’s dresser is never enough storage it seems and we already have these mostly filled so I’m glad this is what we went with instead of one smaller dresser.
Here they are before the paint, just plain ol dressers. I went to Guiry’s and paid a few bucks for 3 of each color in sample sizes (pictured on the dresser) which was just enough to cover the drawers with 2 coats. Not shown is the priming step where I used this primer that we also used to stain our nightstands.
I thought at first it was going to look too dark, but I love it. The darkest color is what’s used in the room for the curtains and accessories, so that’s what I matched to. More photos of the nursery to come (I’m thisclose to being done!!)
I’ve been hearing such good reviews on Murad’s Pore Reform line including two friends who swear by it. One started off with buying just the moisturizer and saw such big results that she went back to Sephora for the whole line. They say that their pores have never been clearer and their stubborn blackheads which were once resistent to any sort of treatment were totally gone. After receiving the products from Murad to try, I decided the best thing to do (since my skin is clear right now and being pregnant I can’t do retinol which is in the T-zone Serum) was to hand it over to another friend whose skin is a total roller coaster ride in terms of breakouts and blackheads.
Now all three of them are in love.
They all agree that the cleanser is a good formula, but the foamer reduces its richness and they’d like to see sturdier suds in their cleansing routines. They also loved the T-Zone pore Refining Serum that you use after cleansing day and night to dig out the trapped dirt and keep pores clear. They said that it leaves skin really soft and zaps shine for those who were a bit on the oily side, yet isn’t too drying. But the real heros are the Blackhead & Pore Clearing Duo, a twice weekly treatment starting with the cream that you leave on for 10 minutes before washing it off and applying a lotion to seal the skin to prevent any additional blackheads from forming. I’m sad I gave this one away because they all swear by it and say that it gives their skin an instant fresh looking glow like no other. It’s like an extraction for the skin minus the painful poking and prodding.
Seeing all of the pretty fall decorations on Pinterest inspired me to make glitter pumpkins for my fall mantle I put together every year at this time. It turned out to be so easy and I love the touch of sparkle they add to an otherwise dull palette. Here’s how I did it.
All you need is craft glue, a brush, ultra fine glitter, and ‘funkins’ which is what the plastic kind is actually called. I found it all at Hobby Lobby.
Use the brush to spread the glue on the pumpkin then sprinkle on a good amount of glitter to really coat it. Do it over a paper towel so when you’re done with each one you can fold the paper towel and dump the excess glitter back into the jar. The final step I didn’t show was painting the tip of the pumpkin stem black. Not a must but I had the paint sitting around and thought it would add some pop.
It took no time at all and wasn’t the mess I thought it would be.
There are so many ways to display them, but I wanted them on or in something to contain any glitter fall-out. I put two of them on pine cones in large vases and the others on top of a baking dish I turned upside down. I like the varying heights in the display so it’s perfect.
Be brave and try a little DIY for holiday decor. It’s not as hard as you’d think.