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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Spa at Home? Yes you can

Why spend your savings on treatments that you can do at home during a recession? Facials, or or what I call 1st degree skin assault is something I wouldn’t recommend. Yes its fancy, and feels nice, but do you know what exactly they are slathering on your face or how sanitary everything is? Based on personal experience, I ended up with a face that resembled a pizza, because my cosmetologist wasn’t experienced in extractions. After 150 dollars of pure abuse I decided to work on home spa procedures and here are a few that I personally love. If you have any of your own please submit them!

Honey Sugar Scrub

1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl. Apply scrub to face. Gently, massage your face for two minutes and then leave on the scrub for 10 minutes. Wash off with warm water and enjoy.

Papaya Yogurt Mask

The whole point of facials, peels and many other procedures is to get rid of the dead skin cells polluting your face. Chemical peels are harsh, expensive and just plain scary. I have heard and seen horror stories about people buying fake peels on ebay, applying them and discovering in a few minutes that their face is hideously disfigured. Folks if you want to buy the peel here is the website please don’t risk it, there are a lot of sick people distributing paint thinners and rust removers as peels. On a happier note this mask will effectively exfoliate and if used once every week will make you look fabulous.

1 Small piece of fresh papaya, two tablespoons of plain yogurt (try Faje). Mash the papaya to a pulp add yogurt and apply to face. Leave on for 20 minutes and then gently wash off with warm water. The lactic acid in the yogurt and the Papain in the papaya will take care of everything.

The next procedure is for those that want a deeper exfoliation, it may sound a bit strange bit it works.

Aspirin Face Mask

Dissolve four coated Aspirins in a few drops of mild water. Add more water if needed until you get a paste that can be applied to the face.Leave the mask on for 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. This mask contains salicylic acid in a milder and more natural form, it is great alternative for those who mistrust contemporary skin care.

Last but not least is a hydrating mask for those with dry skin.

Cucumber and olive oil mask

About half a cucumber very finely diced, three teaspoons olive oil, two teaspoons plain yogurt. Mix above ingredients into a fine paste, preferably mash the cucumber. Leave on for 15 minutes then wash off with cold water. Your skin should feel soft and healthy.

Strawberry Mask

Ever heard of AHA's and BHA's? AHA is an abbreviation for alpha hydroxy acids. BHA's are an abbreviation for beta hydroxy acids (one example is salicylic acid). Both of them are amazing at exfoliating the skin. Strawberries are conveniently loaded with both and with a little twist can be used in an amazing mask. Take 5 strawberries two tablespoons of sour cream, mash together in a paste and apply to your face for 20 minutes. Afterwards gently wash off the mask with warm water.

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Natural Amazing and Affordable Products!

For those of you who are acne suffering natural cosmetics fans I have a few products you might be interested in! Everyone’s make-up routine is different however, there are three components that most women have and use. They are the cleanser, toner and lotion. The following is something I do every morning. My evening ritual is a bit different and it will be covered in another blog.

The cleanser that I love is African Black Soap by Nubian Heritage. This soap contains palm ash, plantain peel extract, tamarind extract, papaya enzymes and a tiny amount of salicylic acid for an extra bit of exfoliation. In addition it doesn't dry out you skin because it contains Shea butter, an ingredient that gets often confused with cocoa butter. Shea butter is very good for the skin and doesn’t clog the pores. If you would like to order it or just know more just visit this link.

As a moisturizer I enjoy Bee Yummy Skin food. This wonderful cream contains just Wildflower Honey, Honey Cappings, Bee Pollen, Propolis, St. John’s Wort Oil, Royal Jelly, Purified Water, and Balsam Fir Needles as fragrance. Many of you are thinking, I can probably make this at home, or how is honey going to help if nothing else has. Honey believe it or not is a miracle worker, and so is Propolis. Honey unlike benzyl peroxide is a natural antibacterial agent, that will kill bacteria but still be gentle to your pores. Honey contains a variety of enzymes while Propolis, St. Johns Wort and Bee Pollen all have wonderful anti-inflammatory properties. Fir needles are a natural source of vitamin C which will invigorate and brighten skin tone. Unimpressed or just plain skeptical? Check it out

Lastly toner, something that you buy and end up NOT using. Maybe you just didn’t buy the right toner, or laziness took over, I don’t know, but the following product is pretty awesome. Lush Cosmetic’s Tea tree and grapefruit detoxifying facial spritzer is fantastic. It has even fewer ingredients than the Bee Yummy, you can pronounce all of them and its vegan which is a pretty rare find. Overall its light, has tee tree oil which is known as a great anti-inflammatory and goes great over and under make-up!! Need I say more?? Find out for yourself

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STOP! Put that down and listen to my story

Many of you ladies ... and gentlemen, have purchased cosmetics,lotions, sprays, cleansers, gels, etc that fraudulently advertised “non-comedogenic”, “wont clog pores”, “dermatologist tested”. It would be nice to trust your skin to a group of professionals that spent a good half of their life in college, unfortunately, it is difficult to do so. Ever purchased an acne kit, that claimed to erase your problems forever, I have, and to my surprise it didn’t work. To an even bigger surprise it didn’t work for many others even though according to the celebrity endorsing it the product was a sure thing. Why does this happen? For two very big and annoying reasons.

Reason 1 : Cosmetic lines have peddled products riddled with pore clogging ingredients for decades. Even the ones that are supposedly “anti-acne” contain a despicable collection of chemicals that are cheap to use for the companies as preservatives, dyes, thickening agents, etc. These chemicals are too small to be effectively washed away and end up accumulating in your pores. Then, before you know it the product that you purchased four weeks ago just made you horrifically break out. We do not have radars on our skin to tell us what to use and what not to use. We solely depend on pharmaceutical companies to be honest and helpful. Although not all of the products are deceitful a good number are which is why I have created the following list of avoidable ingredients.

Note: The ones with exclamation marks really should be avoided at all cost. If any one of them appears within the first eight ingredients please chuck the product. PLEASE.

Acetylated Lanolin
Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol
!!!! Algae Extract (wow, sounds natural right?)
Butyl Stearate
!!!! Carrageenan
Ceteareth 20
Cetearyl Alcohol + Ceteareth 20
Cetyl Acetate
Cocoa Butter
Coconut Butter
Coconut Oil
Cotton Awws Oil
Cotton Seed Oil
D & C Red # 17
D & C Red # 21
D & C Red # 3
D & C Red # 30
D & C Red # 36
Decaglyceryl decaoleate
Decyl Oleate
Dioctyl Succinate
Disodium Monooleamido PEG 2-Sulfo
Ethoxylated Lanolin
Ethylhexyl Palmitate
Glyceryl Stearate
Glyceryl Stearate SE (NSE ok)
Grape seed oil
!!!! Hexadecyl Alcohol
Hexylene glycol
Hybrid safflower oil
Hydrogenated lanolin
Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
Isocetyl Alcohol
!!!! Isocetyl Stearate
Isodecyl Oleate
Isoparaffin C13-16
Isoparaffin C9-11
!!!! Isopropyl Isostearate
Isopropyl lanolate
!!!! Isopropyl Linolate
!!!! Isopropyl Myristate (this one is a killer)
Isopropyl Palmitate
Isostearic acid
Isostearyl alcohol
Isostearyl Isostearate
Isostearyl Neopentanoate
Laneth-10 acetate
!!!! Lanolic acid
Lanolin Alcohols
Laureth -23
Laureth 4
Lauric Acid
Mink Oil
!!!! Myreth 3 myristate
Myristic Acid
Myristyl Lactate
!!!!Myristyl Myristate
!!!! Myristyl propionate
Octyl dodecanol
Octyl Palmitate
!!!! Octyl Stearate
!!!! Oleic Acid
!!!! Oleth-3
Oleyl Alcohol
Peach kernel oil
PEG 16 Lanolin
PEG 200 Dilaurate
PEG 8 Stearate
PG Monostearate
!!!! Potassium Chloride
PPG 15 stearyl ether
PPG 2 Myristyl Propionate
PPG 5 Ceteth 19 Phosphate
Propylene Glycol Monostearate
Propylene glycol stearate
!!!! Red Algae
Shark Liver Oil
!!!! Sodium Chloride (Salt)
Sodium Laureth Sulfate
!!!! Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Solulan 16
Sorbitan Oleate
Sorbitan Sesquinoleate
Soybean Oil
Steareth 10
Stearic acid
Stearic Acid Tea
Stearyl Heptanoate
Sulfated Castor Oil
Sulfated Jojoba Oil
Sweet Almond Oil
Syearyl Heptanoate
Wheat Germ Glyceride
!!!! Wheat Germ Oil

Quite a list huh? If you want, you cant minimize the font, print it out and carry it with you. I know its a hassle and sounds crazy but this is your skin, it absorbs everything. You wouldn’t be ok spraying DDT on it, yet half of these chemicals are just as horrible, so please take caution.

List on common irritants (sensitive skin types please avoid even if it sounds nice or refreshing)

Alcohol, Alcohol Denat., Flowers of Sulfur , Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA), Cajeput Oil, Caprylic Acid,Tridectyl Neopentanoate, SD Alcohol 40, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Menthol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Colloidal Sulfur (just nasty)

Its funny that menthol, something used in “natural” hollistic skin care is a cheap, common irritant. Yes it smells divine, and feels good, however it also irritates, may cause allergic reactions, and is just completely unnecessary.

Reason 2:

Why sell natural ingredients that are good for people, when you can easily bombard a huge audience with extremely strong bactericidal agents? Ever heard of benzyl peroxide and its side-kick salicylic acid? You probably not only heard but OD'd on them at some point in your life. These two chemicals (I refuse to call them any other way) are the golden children of most skin care care lines. They are affordable, easy to produce ad work well, for a very small amount of time. Benzyl peroxide from my personal experience completely dried out my skin. My cheeks were red, unhealthy and I could barely smile since everything was so stiff and sore. Ideally BP gets into pores and annihilates the bacteria residing within them that causes acne. Unfortunately its so strong that in reality it attacks not only bacteria but everything within the pore, including natural oils that serve as a UV shield, various hydration sources and many other components and should be left on your skin. In addition your skin gets addicted to it, and when you stop using BP the bacteria inside the pores goes completely insane which can takes days to adjust. In conclusion BP should be used on teenagers with extremely active sebaceous glands that can only be tamed by industrial strength chemicals. Salicylic acid, is the lesser of two evils. Its main purpose is to push out dirt and dead skin cells that accumulate in your pores. In summary, on a good day, Salicylic acid is an effective exfoliating agent. However, it too can be troublesome, causing redness and irritation, which is why i suggest it should be administered every other day or two- three times a week in order to give your skin some rest! WHOOO what a lecture! Read on to see the hundreds of options you have in your battle against acne.

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