Friday, October 16, 2009

Best Avene Products for Acne Prone Skin

Cleanance K - Helps eliminate spots, blackheads and various imperfections. The gel like creme has glycolic acid, salicylic acid and extract of pumpkin to help properly exfoliate the top layer of the skin. The formula is non-comedogenic, but unfortunately it does sting quite a bit if applied to an open pimple, however it does do its job. Using this AM/PM my skin has acquired a rosy glow. If using this under makeup I suggest you wait 10-15 min before applying foundation, by that time the redness from you face will be gone. If you have dry skin this should be used in conjunction with a lightweight moisturizer.

Diacneal - This creme should not be applied to the entire face but to problematic areas only. The formula contains .1% Retinaldehyde (a derivative of Vitamin A) regulates keratinization and 6% Glycolic Acid, which is quite a powerful combination. Like cleanance its job is to peel away rough spots blackheads and pimples. The creme is VERY strong so do not abuse it however it is also very effective. It can be used AM and PM.

Cleanance Purifying Lotion - To gently ged rid of any remains of cleanser this is a great product. Contains 2.5% salicylic acid in order to properly exfoliate. Also contains absorbent materials that mattify your face throughout the day. Very gentle and pleasant to use if you have also sensitive and dry skin. Read full article »

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chapped Lips and What to Do about them

Its that time of the year folks as winter rolls by our skin will become drier and drier and drier. My lips have been driving me crazy these past weeks and after trying out many products I have come up with a very original approach. To begin with, in the winter you MUST drink water, many people assume that drinking lots of water is a summer thing, and while this is partially true due to excessive sweating, water keeps you skin very hydrated and winter months suck out all the moisture. When I drink 6 glasses a day my skin is more hydrated and I generally feel better. Secondly Burt's Bees has a wonderful little product that I love, Burt's Bees Medicated Lip-balm,and it is a life saver. When I put it on it feels tingly and very soothing. If you are prone to cold sores, this in conjunction with your anti-viral medication will be very beneficial. The ingredients are natural and great, this little wonder contains Shea butter, eucalyptus oil, black currant, extract calendula extract as well as many other wonderful ingredients ALL for the price of 3.50. Lastly, "plumping lip glosses" usually get rid of any dryness or flakiness on your lips. Its strange but the other product I need if my lips are chapped and in horrible condition is Victoria Secret's Extreme Lip Plumping Gloss. It deep conditions so well that by the end of the day my lips feel as god as new. Read full article »

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Blue Lizard Sensitive Sunscreen

Today we will discuss sunscreen, its importance and the one brand I use and adore. Many of you love tanning, I myself was tanorexic in high-school and would throw a hissy fit leaving the house with that "glow". Sadly a year ago my fellow tanee needed for large moles removed on her back due to a change in shape and diameter. When asked if she tanned, she casually responded "all the time" to which the doctor announced that the moles were cancerous and needed to be surgically removed at once. For me this was a reality check, although I love the look of a nice tan, I questioned the necessity of it. Finally I went back to my pasty self and got comfortable with the idea that pale is also beautiful. Which brings me to the product I will discuss today. Blue Lizard Sunscreen is pretty darn wonderful. Although it is annoying to apply due to its thick consistency, and if you don't rub it in it will leave a white residue. Its main ingredients are zinc oxide(10%) and titanium dioxide (5%), which is a non irritating UVA/UVB blocking agent. The sunscreen has SPF 30 and comes in 3 different varieties, Sport, Sensitive and Regular. Personally I love the Sensitive because its fragrance free and the smells in most sunscreens usually scream strawberry daiquiri or pina colada (which irritates me). Sport has a mild floral fragrance and Regular is coconut scented. Blue Lizard does a fantastic job at protecting me from burns, and if I spend a day in the sun I get some color. Sadly I cant use this for my face, due to some pore clogging ingredients, however my tinted moisturizer has SPF 30 so Im fine. Blue Lizard can be bought in most drug stores and is great for people who are sensitive to various chemical sunscreen ingredients. Read full article »

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fall Must Haves : YSL. Givenchy and Estee Lauder

In Sephora I bought a few things that I actually really like and want to share with you. The first was the Rouge Volupte Lipstick in #2 Sensual Silk, which is a medium nude lipstick with a a little bit of pink hue. The lipstick itself is quite amazing, it smells like mangoes, moisturizes and the color is a very flattering nude. I raved before about MAC's Myth, and while i still love it, this color is much better for the day time, and looks fine without smokey eyes, which is a must have for Myth. The tube is gorgeous and I feel very cool whipping it out of my make-up bag. The only problem is the price, its 34 dollars, and can run out quickly due to its silky formula. However, it is worth every penny, Lingerie Pink is also a lovely color, but for me it is more for the evening since it is very bright.

Estee Lauder, has a few fall collection and one of the lip glosses I really liked, its name is Honey Flower and the shade is of a light amber color. The gloss smells fantastic, is very moisturizing but does not have that sticky feel that many other glosses have, including MAC lipglass. The color looks quite nice with my favorite MAC Stripdown liner, but can also look great with any nude lipstick. Lastly, if you are looking for a pigmented one Honey Flower will disappoint you, the shade is very sheer and gives just a hint of color and shimmer. The price is 18, which I think is great.

Finally I bought a foundation from Givenchy which I have wanted to get for ages but never got down to it. The name is ridiculously long, "Photo'Perfexion Fluid Foundation SPF 20 PA+++" and my shade is # 4 Perfect Vanilla. The product is medium to full coverage which is build able. Overall I have been using it for a few days so my review wont be very solid. I check all the ingredients and the only one that annoys me is Stearic Acid, however its at the bottom of the list which is acceptable. Otherwise this foundation is quite amazing, its moisturizing but not greasy, feels very refreshing and smells like Bulgari White Tea (I have no idea why). The coverage is good and the color matched my skin tone well. If I experience any kind of breakouts from this I will let you know, for now everything seems fine. Read full article »

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mario Badescu Haul 2

Hey so Im back to blogging about my favorite skin-care brand, Mario Badescu. Like a maniac I ran back after recieving a few samples that I absolutely adored.

1. Enzyme Cleansing Gel - A very simple, non-foaming gel with extracts of papaya in it. I really like this product because it has very few ingredients, its non comedogenic, the smell is wonderful and my skin does not feel flakey and dry. The only problem is that as a morning cleanser its completely fine on its own, however at night when I need to get rid of my make-up I use CeraVe in conjunction with the Enzyme Cleansing Gel, does the trick without over drying.

2. Strawberry Tonic Mask - Also quite simple, but each ingredient is great. This mask contains soothing Balsam Peru (be careful some people are allergic), extract of strawberry which is full of AHA's, and Kaolin which acts as a deep cleansing agent. Overall after using it my face feels clean, refreshed and has a lovely pink hue.

3. Buffering Lotion - hmmm, I dont know, ok this lotion is great for cystic acne but for regular acne it will not work. The smell rivals that of the drying mask, but I don't mind. Overall it shrunk a large cystic pimple I had on my jawline, but to get rid of small bumps I wouldnt recommend it.

4- Glycolic Serum - OH MAN, this one is 100% a keeper. Its a lightweight gel, you use at night for chemical exfoliation. I was very pleasantly surprised, this product is great If you need to get rid of acne scars or those pesky bumps on your cheeks.
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Monday, September 14, 2009

Flying and Looking Great

Today we are going to discuss, skin care and traveling, in particular how to treat your skin before, during and after a long plane ride. As you know, and most likely experienced, plane rides are not an enjoyable treat for you face and hair. When a plane is in the air, the humidity level within it is around 4-5%, (as compared to cities where the lowest is 50%) this is needed to battle corrosion (since its made out of metal). Although this is great for the plane, for your skin it means NO MOISTURE!

If people with oily skin comment on how dehydrated and dull their skin feels and looks after a few hours on board, then how do the dry and sensitive survive? Logically reasoning, if you will be flying, you must moisturize thoroughly before the flight, nowadays they wont let any beauty products to go with you, so be prepared beforehand. Secondly you should moisturize your eyes and eyeballs, what I mean is invest in a great eye-cream and put some Visine in since after every flight most people look like red eyed zombies. Thirdly if you use acne fighting products that contain drying agents, such as Isopropyl Alcohol, Benzol Peroxide, etc lay off, your skin will later on produce even more oil to combat the extreme dryness. If you are able to, don't wear make-up, I know some of you will not even consider it, but even the best make-up will end up looking dry and flaky towards the end of the trip. If you can skip the foundation and just use some concealer and blush, eye and lip make-up can be applied as usual. Next is what you should and shouldn't eat/drink in order to save your skin. Most of my friends fear flying so the minute alcohol can be served they attack it and then sleep their way through the voyage. If you are more afraid of looking terrible than flying I suggest to stay away from the alcohol, coffee, tea because all of these drinks dehydrate you even more. Water and drinking lots of it will make the trip more bearable, in addition its much healthier. Before you depart eat your vitamins, Vitamins A, C the B group and Chromium will further protect your skin and hair from dehydration and irritation. Lastly, I suggest to eat a hearty, healthy meal before you set foot on the plane, because airplane food is evil. Not only is the stuff laden with unwanted calories, but the amount of sodium it contains is unbelievable, remember sodium will dehydrate you even further. If you're hungry and cant take it anymore nibble on the bread and salad and just wait till you land, its not that difficult. After you land, use a calming mask (such as the Mario Badescu Azulene Mask) and continue drinking a lot of water for the next 1-2 days.
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Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Pros and Cons of Mineral Make-up

Today we’re going to discuss mineral make-up, its pros, cons, and how I personally feel about it. What is mineral make-up? The title is pretty much self explanatory, mineral make-up is composed of a select combination of minerals, such as mica, boron nitride, magnesium stearate, etc. Mica has light reflecting qualities, that gives you a “glow”, Boron Nitride increases adhesion, while Magnesium Stearate is responsible for a matte effect. A few other ingredients are Talc, Corn Starch (read my warnings about it) and most importantly Bismuth Oxychloride.

To you Bismuth Oxychloride might sight like any other chemical component, however it plays a very significant role in mineral make-up. After using make-up brands that contain BO, many people report horrendous allergic reactions, break-outs, dermatitis, and a general burning sensation in the cheeks, chin and other areas. Sounds pretty nasty right? The worst part is that it may take months to get rid of the damage, damage that you would never expect from something that screams “healthy”. Well, this very ingredient is found in Bare Escentuals, the company that made Mineral Make-up a craze in the world of cosmetics. What are the pros then? Not everybody has an allergic reaction, and secondly the make-up has a small amount of ingredients, no fragrances and it looks quite good. If you are planning to buy Mineral Make-up make sure it doesn’t have BO, even if you are sure you have no allergic reactions to it, its always better to be safe. Secondly make sure to get a great shade, otherwise you will either look dirty or have a blue/grayish tinge. Lastly, mineral make-up is not white-wash so use it sparingly, because it will usually contain Mica, slathering it on will give you too much “glow”, and the staying power will be weak.

Finally, as a last reminder, if you do decide to buy something from Bare Escentuals feel free NOT to buy ALL of the products they recommend. Some of the products and what they claim are completely ridiculous (for example the powder that you can sleep in, how retarded is that, nighttime is the only time your skin rests, AND its 60 dollars). How do I personally feel about it? Mineral Make-up is not my first choice but if I ever decide to get it I will nit-pick and find a brand that is completely hypo-allergenic and non-comedogenic, in addition no matter how much you want to cover your skin its more important to heal it, so I invest more into skin-care than make-up.
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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cosmetic Corn Starch and Why it Should be Avoided

If you are a user of pressed powder, or powder blush here is some information you should consider, corn starch and rice powder should not be in your products. People who are prone to acne should not use powders that contain both ingredients mainly for the following reasons. Starch is derived from corn and sometimes used as an absorbent in cosmetics instead of talc (which is safe to use). However, when cornstarch becomes moist, it can promote fungal and bacterial growth. Rice powder is also an absorbent substance that is sometimes included in products rather than talc. It can cause allergic reactions and, because it is a food derivative (as opposed to a mineral derivative like talc), it can support bacterial growth in pores. Most importantly, if you are acne-prone avoid starch altogether, your face will sweat during the day and trap the starch within the pores. Although its difficult to find suitable products Neutrogena's pressed powder is safe and L'oreal's Softening Blush, both contain talc instead of cornstrarch. Read full article »

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My MAC Nude Lip Tutorial

OK. Im going to steer away from skin care (sorry) and blog about my quest for the perfect Nude, lipliner, lipstick and gloss. For me, nude lips are elegant and low-key, however, as I have realized the word "nude" does not mean the same for many cosmetics companies. For me nude, is a light pink/beige/peach color, not as light as foundation but light enough to cover and tone down pigmented lips. Before I became a MAC worshipper, I trusted drug-store brands like Revlon, Neutrogena, Maybellene, etc. For a long time I was using Revlon's Taffeta lipstick, which is a "light nude", in reality it was not. Then Revlon came out with a matte line, and with a light nude shade called nude attitude. Many called this lipstick a dupe for MAC's myth, this is also not true. First of all the two have different finishes, which is important. Myth has a Satin finish (slightly more hydrating than matte) and Nude Attitude has a very drying finish which I personally hated. Why I love MAC, is because their color collection is far more superior. Nude Attitude may be called nude, but it is quite more orange and darker than Myth. Some of you might not care, but I personally did not like the way the color looked on me. Myth is a gorgeous nude color, however for many it is, even for a Satin finish too drying. Fortunately, the color Creme d' nude is almost the same as MAC, but has a creme-sheen finish. What about liner? Nude lip liners in drug stores are either too pink, too orange, come off easily or too dark, trust me I know. MAC's lipliners Stripdown and Spice are perfect for nude lips, for me personally Stripdown is perfect. Now for the gloss, obviously since I found both lipstick and liner in MAC, I decided that the gloss should be from there too. My three personal favorites are Underage (light peachy pink), Florabundance (similar to underage more peachy) and Wildly Lush Plush Glass, this one is less sticky and looks nice on its own. Now, to achieve the look is easier than you think, I have always been more of a lip than an eye girl so I use liner, stick and gloss all together because it comes out more finished and neat. In addition, because its so light, nude lipstick is easier to apply when you have some kind of a border. So, with that said line your lips with Stripdown or Spice, if you want a more pouty look line just outside, but very carefully we don't want to look like Joan Crawford. Next, if you are applying Myth please use a lip-brush, its more convenient, if you're applying Creme d' Nude there is no need, the lipstick is more sheer. Once you've applied the lipstick, brush a coat of gloss, not too much though, smooth and you are done! Why not too much gloss? MAC gloss, if used in obnoxious amounts tends to settle into fine lines and settle into the corners of your mouth where it mixes with saliva and forms white residue. Yes it sounds gross, but many women complain about this problem, just don't use so much gloss. Read full article »

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mario Badescu

Today I am going to talk about Mario Badescu and why he is completely amazing. One day strolling in the Upper East Side I came upon the Mario Badescu Salon and decided to see what all the hype is about. Inside I was recommended a few products for my lovely combination/sensitive/acne-prone skin, so here's what I bought.
The Drying Mask: A Mask truly like no other, I was speechless after I washed it off. Yes it smells like turpentine, or something I would use for my Boyfriends Maxima but the results are incredible. I have break outs mainly on my cheeks, and it really bothers me, this mask dried everything up and took care of those nasty scabs that form after you pick at your skin. In conclusion my skin felt very clean and healthy.
Glycolic Foaming Cleanser - A great product but use with caution, it can easily dry out even oily skin if used everyday. Overall has a great sent, good ingredients and it deep cleans very well. Usually I use Philosophy's cleansers but once in a while when I feel that my skin is getting too oily and congested I use this.
Azulene Calming Mask - Oh god this smells amazing and feels so soothing when you use it!!!! A truly wonderful mask that gets rid of any redness and gives your skin a healthy rosy glow. Many people complain about a waxy residue on their face after washing the mask off, if it bothers you a toner should get rid of it, I personally leave it on.
Special C Cleansing Lotion - OK, the smell nasty and the color reminds me of urine, HOWEVER, product is a staple if you have oily or troublesome skin. Yes I know some of you get easily turned off by weird smells and colors, however many products mask odors with fragrances which can be composed of thousands of different chemicals, something not good. Overall leaves skin disinfected (has Boric Acid and Nonoxynol 9 both antibacterial agents) and quite refreshed (also has cucumber extract).

Whitening Mask - A creamy white mask designed to lighten your face and get rid of pesky discoloration. For a natural product this works quite well, I sometimes leave it overnight for those annoying scars that take forever to fade and in the morning they are less visible. I like this mask and leave it on for about 20 minutes instead of 5-10 (out of laziness).
Out of all of them I recommend The Azulene and the Drying Masks, they are keepers.
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Friday, July 31, 2009

Oil Cleansing Method

Today we will talk about the Oil Cleansing Method or OCM. The oil cleansing method involves simply cleaning you face with an appropriate mixture of oils. The method is relatively simple, inexpensive and effective. However should you pick the wrong oils or perform the procedure incorrectly the results can be quite unsatisfactory. The main oil, or cleansing oil that is mandatory in any mixture is Castor Oil. Castor oil is very effective in getting inside pores and scooping out bacteria, dead skin cells, etc. It, however can be very drying which sounds surprising since it is an oil. Therefore Castor Oil should be accompanied with a more soothing oil to balance out your skins moisture level. Depending on your preference the following oils are safe to use: Jojoba Oil, Sunflower Oil, Safflower Oil. What do I mean by safe? All three are noncomedogenic, which is crucial since the oil will be rubbed into your skin. The HUGE mistake that most people, who are not a fan of this method, make is picking the wrong oil. People use coconut oil. olive oil, sweet almond oil, wheat germ oil, ALL of these are villainous pore cloggers that will leave you with cystic acne in a few weeks. Another huge mistake is doing this cleansing more that 2-3 times a week. No matter how much your hands are itching to strip your skin of ALL the gunk, you must understand this is a very deep cleansing procedure. Castor Oil is like a vacuum cleaner, therefore if you do this more than 2-3 times a week your face will be a graveyard of skin cells followed by a cystic acne nightmare. Why? Because your face will dry up, the flaking off skin will congest your pores, and you will probably put more oil on afterwards to get rid of the “tight” feeling. WRONG! Your skin is not retarded and it will punish you for abusing it. Now that we got that covered the last mistake is cleansing improperly. Many believe you just rub in the oil splash some water on your face and off to bed. I don’t know where these people are coming off with the fact that oil can just be washed off. Surprise it cant! Therefore I will tell you exactly what to do, so that you wont have a bad experience.
All that’s required to try the oil cleansing method is the right oils, a soft washcloth, and hot running water.

  1. Mix up a blend of any two or three oils of your preference (preferable natural and un-processed)

  2. Massage a small amount of the oils into your face using slow circular motions. Spend a few minutes rubbing the oils into your cheeks, nose, forehead, neck, and chin, allowing the oils to penetrate into the skin and pull out wastes, bacteria, dead cells and other dirt. Spend about 5-10 min.

  3. Wring out a facecloth or washcloth in hot water, and drape it over your face to steam

  4. After a minute or so when the cloth is at room temperature, wipe away the oil, along with any dirt, using the washcloth. Repeat the process of steaming and wiping 3 more times until every bit of oil is gone. Afterwards was you face thoroughly with just water. If your face is tight use a moisturizer, just not the oil blend, trust me.
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Friday, July 24, 2009

Six Natural Brands You Should Give a Whirl

Korres - Love this brand, because it really is natural and safe to use on your face, hair, armpits, what have you. Established in Athens, Korres offers a great line of make-up products that just hit Sephora as well as a wonderful line of skin care products. Some of the skin care masks Im not crazy about since its easy to make the same thing at home, but the make-up is incredible. My current favorite is the Watermelon tinted moisturizer, its natural, safe to use and I cant get enough of it.

Jason - This line has been around for a while, and if you read my hair blog, offers a great line of truly natural shampoos. The one that Im currently using is the Kiwi Volumizing Shampoo, and although its difficult to apply (doesn’t foam a lot and is pretty runny)my hair feels very different after using it. First of all, my hair gets oily after about 3 days of washing, where as before I needed to wash it every day. Secondly I actually have volume and my previously limp hair no longer looks like a feather duster. Lastly it SHINES, in fact (many of you will hate me) it looks much better now than after using Redken and Bumble and Bumble shampoos. Jason also has a great line of natural deodorants that are safe to apply and have no industrial chemicals.

Kiss My Face - this brand carries a great line of moisturizers for the body that smell divine and contain all sorts of healthy botanicals. The one that I love is the Chinese Botanical Moisturizer, it has a lovely scent, no parabens or mineral oil and feels very refreshing. Kiss My Face also carries a great selection of organic shampoos that you should give a try.

Burts Bee’s - Who hasn’t experienced Burts Bee’s? This brand took natural skin care to a new level and created more consumer product awareness. Everything in this brand is great and really works, especially the beeswax hand creme. Another great perk is their baby line, which is really necessary if you are an expecting mother. Burts Bees uses ingredients like propolis, shea butter, and royal jelly in their products, something everyone should use or at least try out.

Alba Botanica - A brand that is now thankfully being sold in pharmacies, Alba Botanica has two lines that I find very nice. One of them is tropical and exfoliating the other is marine and deep cleansing. The tropical one is loaded with papaya, pine apple and many other naturally exfoliating ingredients. The papaya enzyme mask is my favorite because its a safe alternative to chemicals peels and other drastic procedures.

Lush- This brand is my favorite, because its hand-made, very natural and innovative. Lush has solid shampoos that are effective and don’t endanger the environment, or your hair for that matter. Lush also has fantastic soaps, scrubs, masks, bath fizzes, creams, lotions etc. All of them are organic and many of them are vegan which is also great. My favorite is the Ocean Salt Scrub, its moisturizing and leaves my skin very clean.

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Hair Care ingredients to be avoided

Just like the skin on your face, the hair on your head is very sensitive and can easily be irritated by various ingredients. What I have learned is that the word “natural” and “sulfate free” really means nothing for you hair if you don’t pay attention to the rest of the ingredients. In total there are ten ingredients to avoid, if you are browsing for a shampoo and/or conditioner. Remember, when you wash your hair some of these ingredients can transfer to the skin on you face also causing sensitivity.

  1. ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL: First off the word alcohol should already tell you that it dries everything out. This ingredient is both a solvent and substance that changes another substances natural qualities. As well as in shampoo, this ingredient is found in many other hair care products. In respect to hair, isopropyl alcohol will dry your hair out and make it weak and brittle. According to A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients, inhalation or ingestion of the vapor may cause headaches, flushing, dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting, narcosis and even coma.
  2. 2. MINERAL OIL: Mineral oil, a derivative of petroleum, is used as an industrial cutting fluid and lubricating oil. This substance coats the skin and hair with a film of grease, disrupting the skin's natural barrier. The skin's ability to breathe and release waste is barricaded promoting acne and irritation. It further deoxygenates the skin on your scalp and in doing so slows down skin function and normal cell development. In conclusion Mineral oil causes the skin to prematurely age along with many other undesirable conditions.
  3. PEG: This is an abbreviation for polyethylene glycol, used in oil dissolving cleansers as well as in product thickeners. PEG dehydrates hair and is also potentially carcinogenic.
  4. PROPYLENE GLYCOL (PG): This ingredient is actually the active component in antifreeze and sadly there is no difference between the industrial PG and the PG used in cosmetics. It is used in factories and lab’s to break down protein and is also found in most forms of make-up, hair products, lotions, after-shave, deodorants, mouthwashes and toothpaste. Because of its ability to quickly penetrate the skin, the EPA workers are required to wear protective gloves, clothing and goggles when working with this substance. The Material Safety Data Sheets warn against skin contact, since exposure to PG can cause brain, liver and kidney abnormalities.
  5. SODIUM LAURYL SUFATE (SLS) & SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE (SLES): Used in detergents and surfactants, these closely related compounds are found in car wash soaps, garage floor cleaners and engine degreasers. Unfortunately both are used in about 90% of all shampoos and products that foam (this is key).The main reason behind that is BOTH ARE CHEAAAPPP. A small amount creates a large amount of foam creating a false concept of thickness. SLS irritates the skin on your scalp and is quickly absorbed into the skin and other organs.

When combined with other chemicals SLS can be transformed into nitrosamines, a potent class of carcinogens, which causes the body to absorb nitrates at higher levels than eating nitrate contaminated food.

  1. CHLORINE: Exposure to chlorine in tap water, Showers, pool, laundry products, cleaning agents, food processing, sewage systems and many others, can effect health by contributing to asthma, hay fever, anemia, bronchitis, circulatory collapse, confusion, delirium diabetes, dizziness, irritation of the eye, mouth, nose throat, lung, skin and stomach, heart disease, high blood pressure and nausea. It is also a possible cause of cancer. Even though you will not see Chlorine on personal care product labels, it is important for you to be aware of the need to protect your skin when bathing and washing your hair.
  2. DEA (diethanolamine) MEA (momoethnanolamine) TEA (triethanolamine):. Look for names like Cocamide DEA or MES, Lauramide DEA, etc since most of the above mentioned are listed in conjunction with other chemicals. These are hormone disrupting chemicals and are known to form cancer. They are commonly found in most personal care products that foam, including bubble baths, body washes, shampoos, soaps and facial cleansers.
  3. FD & C Color PIGMENTS: Many color pigments cause skin sensitivity and irritation. Absorption of these pigments can cause depletion of oxygen in the body and even death according to A Consumer's dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients. Experiments on rats have shown most of them to be toxic.
  4. FRAGRANCE: Present in most personal care products they are both toxic and carcinogenic. Fragrance on a label can indicate the presence of up to 4,000 separate ingredients. Most or all of them are synthetic. Experiments have shown that exposure to fragrances can affect the central nervous system, causing depression, hyperactivity, irritability, inability to cope, and other behavioral changes.
  5. IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA and DMDM HYDANTOIN: These are just two of the many preservatives that release formaldehyde. Formaldehyde can irritate the respiratory system, cause skin reactions and trigger heart palpitations. Exposure to formaldehyde may cause joint pain, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pains, ear infections, and loss of sleep. It can also aggravate coughs and colds and trigger asthma. Nearly all brands of skin, body and hair care, antiperspirants and nail polish found in stores contain formaldehyde-releasing ingredients.
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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fabulous Facial Cleansers!

Cleaning your face properly makes a huge difference in your skin care regime, this is why I find it important to list the cleansers I find to be perfect for every skin type, non-pore clogging, and efficient. If you suffer from breakouts, using products laden with harsh chemicals will only make it worse. The key to clean skin is using simple, hypo-allergenic yet exfoliating cleansers. With that said Im a huge Philosophy fan, two of the products come from their line and both are amazing. If you are concerned with their price then Cetaphil, a cleanser sworn by models is the way out.

Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash - This stuff is amazing, and I use it religiously every day. We frequently make the mistake of scrubbing our skin raw to make sure EVERYTHING is squeaky clean. This is not necessary since our skin is not a kitchen sink. This relatively simple product goes a long way and feels very gentle when you use it. Its a scrub/cleanser and its perfect for even the most sensitive persona. Your skin will literally glow after using it, and it never feels drying or harsh. Give it a try you wont be disappointed.

Ingredients : Water (Aqua), Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Cocoyl Apple Amino Acids, Diatomaceous Earth, Acrylates/Steareth-20 Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Glycerin, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Tocotrienols, Panthenol, Sodium Magnesium Silicate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.

Philosphy Purity Made Simple - Another wonderful product that I love. It will clean like nothing else, leaving no greasy residue or tightness. It smells very herby which takes some getting use to but its a cleanser and who cares how it smells as long as it gets the job done. After trying products like Neutrogena, Biore, even get this Sisheido, I discovered Purity made simple and stuck to that. This product just proves that most products claiming their spectacular cleansing abilities are all talk. After using this my skin feels refreshed, clean and soft. I experienced no break outs or irritation after using this product.

Ingredients : Water, Disodium Lauroamphodiacetate, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Coco-Glucoside, PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Geranium Maculatum Oil, Guaiacum Officinale, Cymbopogon Martini Oil, Rosa Damascena Extract, Amyris Balsamifera Bark Oil, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Cinnamomum Cassia Leaf Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Piper Nigrum (Black Pepper) Seed Extract, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, Hexylene Glycol, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Alcohol, Polysorbate 20, Glycerin, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Imidazolidinyl Urea, FD&C Yellow No.5.

Lush Baby Face - Ah yes the strange product that works but many people have no idea how to use it. Thats because its a solid little block of various oils that needs to be rubbed on hands, applied to the face then wiped off with a wet cotton ball. Yes it sounds completely weird but the products is effective, vegan and organic. What’s more, is that Baby Face lasts a very long time and will not clog your pores. Your skin will be luminous and not a tiny bit dry. Baby Face removes eye and lip makeup very well and is at the same time very gentle. I would recommend this product immensely for those who suffer from dry skin.

Ingredients - Fair Trade Cocoa Butter (Theobroma cacao), Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii), Coconut Oil (Cocos nucifera), Fresh Avocado Butter (Persea gratissima), Tangerine Oil (Citrus Tangerina), Narcissus Absolute (Narcissus jonquilla), Everlasting Flower Absolute (Gnaphalium uliginosum), *Limonene, *Linalool, Perfume.

Cetaphil Facial Cleanser - Allergin and fragrence free, cheap and effective. Wont strip your face of essential oils or cause breakouts. This cleanser is very gentle and comes in a convenient pump bottle. Although I don’t use it I find Cetaphil to be a dupe for Purity Made Simple, for its price its well worth a try.

Ingredients - Water, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Acrylates/Steareth-20 Methacrylate Copolymer, Glycerin, PEG-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Butylene Glycol, PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, Phenoxyethanol, Masking Fragrance, Panthenol, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Perfect Tinted Moisturizer

After searching high and low for a perfect tinted moisturizer I have concluded that Korres Ginger and Vitamins Foundation and Tarte Smooth Operater are perfect. Tinted moisturizers are amazing if you have acne prone skin. Before I would use foundation but it looked way too heavy, and believe me I have tried almost everything. In addition most foundations, about 95%, have at least one pore clogging ingredient, even if they say they are non-comedogenic and dermatologist tested. Therefore I concluded that tinted moisturizers and some face powder are a much better alternative.

Korres Ginger and Vitamins Foundation- all natural, contains no parabens, synthetic fragrances or sulfates. Although it says that its a foundation, it is quite light and water based therefore it will give you a fair amount of coverage. This wonderful product contains ingredients like Vitamin C that eliminate redness and uneven skin tone. It never clogged my pores, and I am very sensitive, and looks fantastic all day long. In my opinion, heavy foundation just accentuates acne prone skin, especially if its matte. This products looks very nice with powder, however if you want a satin finish, just leave it one its own. Lastly its SPF 15, and comes in 15 different shades, available now in Sephora.

Tarte Smooth Operator - I love the Tarte Brand, I have been using their Gel Blush for years now, however the tinted moisturizer is just as amazing. Like Korres it is all natural and contains no petro-chemicals or phthalates. In addition, it also has no pore clogging ingredients, is water based and has SPF 20. If you want a more soothing tinted moisturizer, then this one is better since Tarte contains chamomile and Vitamin A. The coverage is a little lighter than Korres however I believe this product covers enough without looking chalky and mask like.

Both of these products look great with some face powder, if you have very oily skin and require frequent touch ups. Since I myself never use face powder I cant recommend however I have heard very good things about Shiseido.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Skin Vitamins

One of the most important factors in achieving healthy skin is proper nutrition. Living in big cities, and having a hectic schedule can often lead us to consuming vitamin deficient food. As a rule, you are what you eat, and a poor digestive system can lead to dull, acne prone skin. There are two exceptions however, one is having an upset endocrine system and the other is usage of birth control. Usually women who break out around the jaw line have a hormonal disbalance. If this is accompanied by excess facial hair, irregular menstruation and truncal fat you might be suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, a condition that if untreated can lead to infertility. The other reason is that some women experience candida a yeast growth in their gastrointestinal system when on birth control. This too can lead to acne that is difficult to manage with proper skin care and diet. If you suffer from candida, it is prudent to either stop using birth control or to get your colon properly cleansed (an enema, or a visit to your proctologist). Also your diet should include plenty of fiber. If you want to make sure you are getting a healthy dose of fiber every day supplement your meals with Metamucil or any other dietary fiber supplement.

There are two important minerals that people with acne prone skin should consume in abundance, they are zinc and chromium. Zinc regulates the activity of oil glands and chromium reduces infections of the skin. If you are buying a multi-vitamin make sure that both are present and in a good percentage. Iodine should be avoided if you are suffering from acne since it makes inflammation even worse. You can avoid large amounts of iodine by staying away from shellfish. Of course completely eliminating iodine from your diet would be problematic since its essential for your thyroid gland. With respect to vitamins, Vitamins A, C, E and the entire B complex should be taken on a regular basis. The following two recommended products not only work but one of them is very enjoyable.

Frutels - Vitamins in chocolate candy is basically what this is. Its delicious and full of amazing components such as choline, folic acid, biotin and PABA. I eat these every day and couldn’t be happier. If taking vitamins in pill form makes you either forget to take them or just find a way to ignore them, this is your answer.

Perfectil - A leading British dietary supplement for hair, skin and nails, it is commonly prescribed in modeling agencies. Perfectil contains Grape seed extract, magnesium and natural carotenoids, all of which contribute to a healthy glow. Although I prefer Frutels to this, Perfectil might suit other people more. Its a wonderful product and should be tried out.

Overall if you are struggling with your skin remember to eat as much fruits and vegetables as you can and drink a lot of water. Once again avoid large amounts of iodine and vitamin B12, they aggravate acne flares. In addition don’t overindulge in white bread (it causes your blood sugar to rocket) and dairy (cheese, milk, etc) although yogurt and kefir are both very beneficial.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Skin Picking

Up until recently I thought I was the only person who suffered from skin picking, apparently there are thousands just like me who have this awful habit. Although I realize that having good skin is not very important I’m constantly bombarded by advertisements and celebrities flaunting their photoshopped images. Sadly, whenever I’m stressed I take out my frustration on my face and its visible, only to me, imperfections. It begins with a trip to a bathroom mirror, first one then time flies and my face becomes an open wound. The outcome? I cannot leave the house for a week. Why does this happen and how come we cant stop. I believe there are two reasons.

Reason 1 : In Social Psychology there is a term called the “spotlight effect”, this term refers to the condition where each person believes their imperfections or anything about them is far more noticeable to the public than it is in reality. When I am around people Im always afraid they will judge my appearance, and If I have a blemish on my face its agony. Once it got out of control when I lied to my friend that I left for vacation and could not be reached. The truth was that I was repulsed by my appearance. Afterwards I understood that my problem, feeding off of poor self esteem, had just morphed into body dysmorphic disorder. At that point it was clear, if I continue obsessing about something thats irrelevant to my friends and family I would destroy myself. Who cares what everybody thinks? If you saw a beautiful woman..or man with a great sense of humor would you care about a pimple on their nose? Probably not. Sadly nobody gives themselves this reality check on time and end up stressing about their appearance and even worse, taking it out on themselves. The only way out is this. Being perfect and being your best is something that many people confuse, being perfect is an impossible goal that you will drive yourself into the dirt achieving, being your best is something that will reward you greatly in the end. Upset with your appearance? Learn to compensate. Years of experience have taught me that in the end if you are being hit on because of your face and/or body instead of your intellect the relationship will be temporary. Would you really enjoy that? Knowing that you will grow old and no longer be the object of adoration you once were? This is exactly why you should work on your other best features. If you are a woman learn to be more feminine, read more, perhaps get a new hobby. If you’re a man work on sense of humor, and being more patient. Whatever you do regardless of sex it should be to enrich and culture your inner beauty something that withstands the test of time, something that really matters.

Reason 2 After doing some research I came across a theory that skin picking is a form of OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder. I knew I was in trouble when after another episode of disfiguring my face I swore to never do it again, and within a few days I was back to my old habit. It was a feeling of guilt that I imagine anorexic people experience after a slice of pie. What I realized was that my face was decent whenever I would stop picking, but then when it was at its best the cycle would begin again. There are many forms of addiction and perhaps hurting yourself is a way of blocking out other problems in your life. From what I heard about other people’s experiences this habit can take a big toll on your life, it creates a hostile antisocial environment where you loose your ability to express emotions in an open way. Instead you take out that anxiety on yourself and suffer even more. The way I deal with this issue, is that I place post-its on my bathroom mirror with messages like “you are beautiful”, “don’t touch” and “you’ll regret it”, it sounds weird but it works. Whenever I visit the bathroom the mirror creates a sort of trance where my actions are on autopilot and I cannot control myself. The post-its snap me back into reality, and I think twice before I do something to my face. Another trick is simple, just don’t look in the mirror very often. Stay away, the longer you stare the more chances you have of finding something disagreeable. Lastly whenever you have the urge of harassing your face just find something to do with your hands like writing, cooking or even playing a video game, distract yourself!

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Say no to peels

For those of you who have considered having “work done” there is a safe alternative. Frankly when I see the amount of plastic surgery gone wrong my skin crawls, but sadly accidents happen everyday and many people end up looking horrible. The skin on your face is very sensitive and shouldn’t be a canvas for heavy duty acids and scrubs. Therefore, this blog is dedicated to natures answer to proper exfoliation. Before I began my research I was a big fan of scrubbing my face RAW until it was numb. My belief was that only intensive scrubbing can get rid of all the dead skin cells accumulated on my face. This is not the best way to go around the problem. There are two ways of possible exfoliation, one is chemical the other is physical. The chemical way seeps into your pores and sloughs away the debris, the chemicals way simply sweeps it off. Instead of using large amounts of Glycolic acid and harsh scrubs you can discover the three P’s: papayas, pineapples and pumpkin. Yes thats right, common fruit. You may also ask why is this important and what’s all the fuss about? Exfoliating properly improves your fight against acne (if you have it), dull skin color and dryness. All three conditions are derived from an improper skin shedding cycle.

What...Why? All three fruit contain powerful enzymes that basically eat away the invisible dirt sitting on your face. All of the following masks I recommend have been tested on my own face and approved. Furthermore they are noncomedogenic and wont irritate the skin (unless you’re EXTREMELY sensitive, in that case I will dedicate my next blog to you)

Alba Botanica Papaya Enzyme Face Mask - Papain, the main enzyme in papaya will promote better blood circulation and pineapple enriched with a multitude of vitamins will make your skin look radiant. The mask is gelly like and a little goes a very long way. This mask is awesome because it really does work, and it feels refreshing when you put it on. This mask costs around 12 dollars and you can easily purchase it on line.

Make-up Artists Choice Pumpkin Exfoliating Mask - Yes, its pumpkin and its powerful. This mask is full of minerals like zinc, niacin, riboflavin which contain anti-inflammatory properties. And it contains Lactic, Ascorbic and Glycolic acids, in small amounts, to boost skins exfoliation. Its 20 dollars and you can purchase it at

Soft Papaya and Pumpkin Mask by Galina Todd- Im Russian and therefore know a few small businesses that sell amazing products unknown to many Americans. One of them is owned by Galina Todd, a former TV host who introduced a best selling line of skin and hair products. This mask is great because in addition to papaya and pumpkin it contains green tea and French white clay which minimizes pores and soothes irritation. Its 24 dollars and very worth it. Heres the link:

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Jerry Lopez - A wonderful lipgloss with a little sparkle created by master make-up artist Jerry Lopez. The ingredients are great making this lipgloss hydrating but not sticky at the same time. The gloss also contains collagen peptides which plump the lips safely and effectively. There are twelve shades running from clear to deep bronze, each lipgloss costs around 20 dollars. Yes its pricey but its definitely worth it.

Victorias Secret Extreme - If you have very thin lips and don’t want to pay 40 dollars for a tiny tube then I suggest this gloss, and trust me you wont be disappointed. This gloss has a pen like applicator which you twist at the bottom to release the gloss. The only color is clear, so that makes it great to put over and under lipstick. Applying it burns just a tiny bit but the effects are excellent. It actually works unlike DuWop, Sovage, and Lip Fusion. The ingredients include GABA and marine collagen microspheres for deep moisture penetration. The gloss runs at 26 dollars but you can snag it on sale right now for 12!

Revlon Creme Lipgloss - This lip gloss smells amazing, like a vanilla cupcake, and is very creamy. The colors are opaque and in addition they last a very long time. My preferred color is nude, since it goes great with Revlon’s nude attitude lipstick. If you want the nude lip look try this combination, it will look great. The gloss comes in a squeeze tube and runs at around 7 dollars. Since it is sold in most large pharmacies I wont leave a link.

Fresh Lipgloss - What I love most about this lip gloss is the color, it is build able but does not come off looking too bright or tacky. The gloss is loaded with jojoba oil and shea butter as well as beeswax and Vitamin E. The line carries about 7 colors ranging from light peach to dark berry and the gloss has a wand applicator, so its never messy. Price tag is 20 dollars. Fresh lip gloss is sold in Sephora, Ulta and many other stores.

Korres - Need a really light and silky lipgloss? Then Korres Cherry Full Lip Gloss is your answer. This lip gloss smells like cherries because its main ingredient is cherry oil which offers long lasting color and creates a water-resistant shield. It also contains jojoba oil and Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant. This gloss is never sticky and looks great on lipstick. The price of this product is 16 dollars, don’t believe me? See for yourself.;jsessionid=VMVOQAINWO5AMCV0KRRQQAQ?id=P199107&categoryId=C11245#moreInfo

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Cold Sores and what to do about them

Where do I begin to describe how livid I feel when cold sores emerge on my face. They are evil, painful and sometimes quite embarrassing. However for some people, such as myself, they crop up unexpectedly and are something we have to live with for the rest of our lives. Fortunately there are certain remedies that can be administered to either slow down their emergence or speed up healing time. Having tested out dozens of different options I would like to list the most effective ones. But first a little about the herpes virus. Although most people get infected when exposed to the virus, only 10 percent will actually develop sores.The sores from the primary infection heal completely and rarely leave a scar. However, the virus that caused the infection remains in the body. It moves to nerve cells where it remains in a resting state. When exposed to stress, extreme cold, certain foods and large amounts of sunlight the usually dormant virus responds by developing a blister near the mucus membranes of your face. Note herpes simplex type 1 is different from genital herpes, which is herpes simplex type 2.


Zovirax (cream)- an antibiotic cream which contain 5 % Acylcovir. Zovirax is effective initially, however , my body quickly got used to it and stopped responding to it as well as it used to. Zovirax requires a prescription from the doctor and has potential side effects such as itching and burning of the skin.

Zovirax (oral tablets) unlike the cream which worked slowly, oral Zovirax worked rapidly and my cold sore stopped from forming and disappeared completely. Unfortunately I really don’t like long term usage of antibiotics because your body will get immune, besides the fact that antibiotics attack not only the virus but everything around it. Oral Zovirax may also have side effects including : headache ,nausea, vomiting and skin rash.

Abreva - basically the most effective treatment for cold sores without a prescription. Contains 10% Docosanol, which stops the blister from spreading to neighboring healthy cells. Abreva is something I would recommend, since it really does work. Abreva does not work as fast as Zovirax but its safer to use in the long run, plus its very soothing on the skin.

Natural Remedies

Lysine - Lysine is an amino acid which is crucial in producing infection-fighting antibodies, enzymes, hormones, and body tissues. Lysine inhibits the spread of the herpes simplex virus 1. We get lysine through food sources such as red meat, milk, eggs, cheese, wheat germ, brewers yeast, and fish. Lysine however competes with another amino acid, arginine, for absorption, therefore the less arginine you ingest the more lysine you will have in your body. Foods that are rich in arginine include chocolate, peanuts, and almonds. This explains why a a lot of people suffered from cold sores after consuming large amounts of chocolate.

Lysine supplements (e.g. 1,000 mg taken three times a day) may help to shorten the duration of cold sores.

Lysine ointment - is also very effective if you cant get your hands on the supplement. In addition it has no side effects so you are free to use as much and as often as you like.

Eating garlic is also very important when you have a herpes outbreak. Garlic is nature’s antibacterial agent and it is very powerful. Either eating garlic or rubbing it on the cold sore will either delay its formation or speed up healing time. “In 1858, Loius Pasteur observed garlic's antibacterial activity, and it was used as an antiseptic to prevent gangrene during World War I and World War II. More recently, it has been found from a clinical trial that a mouthwash containing 2.5% fresh garlic shows good antimicrobial activity”

Propolis - a brownish, resinous substance collected by bees from poplar and conifer buds in order to keep their hives germ-free. It is sold in most health food stores. Propolis is effective in stopping the herpes virus from entering near by body cells and replicating. Sounds similar to abreva no?

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