If you’ve grown up in Vegas like most of the ‘Co has, you can appreciate the intense heat a whole lot more than visitors do. I’ve had some of our clients tell us that coming here in July is like sticking your head in the oven- it can definitely be unpleasant if you’re not used to it! But, for those of us who have spent many hot summer nights here, Spring is a sign of margaritas and pool time and planting tomatoes and opening the windows to let the stuffiness of winter breeze out.
The idea of spring cleaning may not sound that exciting to you- who wants to scrub the house when it’s so beautiful outside? But, if it’s gotta get done, you might as well make the most of it. If I’m going to be indoors and out of the public eye all day, it’s yoga pants and beauty treatments all the way. And it makes me feel super-decadent. Somewhere around 5 pm, my house smells amazing, my body feels amazing, and I’m sitting outside sipping wine and dreaming of hot summer nights. Here’s 5 spring beauty tips that you can totally do on your spring cleaning day, to lighten up both your body and your home.
1) Even the most intimidating scrub-downs can be a little more pleasant with a frilly, super girly rubber glove. Before you slip them on, coat your hands with an ultra-rich Shea butter or coconut butter. Really rub it in and thick, then pop your rubber gloves on and get to work. By the time you’re done, you’ve got your own home-made hand softening treatment. The heat from your body and the gloves will help the intense moisture really penetrate those dried out cuticles and the scaly patches between your fingers- which you probably have if you washed your hands plenty during cold and flu season.
2) I love all those hair treatment masks, but who has time for that? If you take a shower in the morning, you probably don’t have 30 minutes to sit around waiting for it’s magic to work. There’s a good chance your going to shower off all the grime from a day of cleaning anyways, and hopefully no one is going to stop by for a surprise visit, so now is the perfect time. Whip up a quick home-made hair treatment on dry hair (it’s OK if it’s dirty). Massage it into your scalp and down through your ends, then comb through with a wide-tooth comb. Pop a shower cap on (or a plastic grocery bag and clip will do!) and forget about it. When you shampoo it out, get ready for some seriously silky locks!
3) Boost your beach-body work outs with a watermelon detox. This isn’t the sexiest thing to talk about, but roll with it. We eat, and eat, and eat all winter long. Even if you’ve changed your diet and started your morning runs again, you’re body is still hanging onto all kinds of toxins from all that merry. Watermelon is a super hydrating way to detox your body and flush out your system. When I say flush, I mean flush. If you’re going to be toilet-bound for a whole day, I highly recommend you do it in the comfort of your own home. Detoxing clears up your skin, slims you down, and gives you a major energy boost. It won’t be pretty, but it will be worth it. Check out this recipe and guidance on how to do a watermelon detox. You’re going to be at home cleaning anyways, might as well clean out your body, too.
4) Pamper your feet and get your toes sandal-ready. It’s way too easy to skip those regular pedi’s during winter. No one is going to see your toes under those chic winter boots anyways. Although our feet don’t take winter that hard when they are bundled up, there’s a good chance that they could use a little pick-me-up too. Slather your Shea butter or coconut oil that you used on your hands onto your feet as well, and pay extra attention to the side of your big toe and heel. Slip on thick socks and your sneakers, then go about your housekeeping. At least you won’t be embarrassed when you make your first trip to the nail salon for summer!
5) Triple-treat your beautiful face. You don’t need to be in a spa to get the deluxe treatment action going on. Before you do all of the things listed above, before you start your cleaning, get your skin in order. Start your day with your normal face wash, taking a little more time than usual to really clean your skin. Your next step is to exfoliate- you always want to exfoliate before a mask to help with better penetration. My preferred exfoliant is 5-6 non-coated Aspirin tablets dissolved with a little water and mixed with a little cleaners. Scrub your face in small, circular motions, taking care not to press too hard. Rinse off your scrub and top with a mask that suits your own unique skin needs. If it needs to set for a while, get a jump start on your cleaning. Come back, rinse it off, and either follow up with a double pack (meaning, another mask for another treatment) or, if you’re all set, layer on a thick amount of moisturizer. You won’t be wearing makeup today, so here’s a chance to really hydrate your skin without too much moisturizer getting in the way of your foundation.
Happy Spring everyone! Looking forward to grill-outs, warm nights, all things coconut, and maxi dresses!
Authors Note: This article was written in 2010 and updated Sept 2013, and since then I’ve learned even more about the safety of our cosmetics. Specifically, the Safe Cosmetics Database. Something worth noting is that “hypoallergenic” makeup doesn’t mean much. It just means that the ingredients in the product do not generally cause a reaction in most people. Regarding the safety of mineral makeup because it’s “natural”… well, scorpions are natural, too. You going to rub one all over your face? The point is this: YOU, and only YOU, can determine what’s important to you in cosmetics. For me, I’m Vegan, so I recently switched most of my makeup brushes to synthetic fibers (in LOVE with Cozzette, if your interested). But, I despise mineral makeup. Use the information at hand to make your own choices about what cosmetics work for you.
A while ago, I was forwarded an email inquiring about lead-based lipsticks. You know how you get those chain emails where everyone is worried about a health or public safety concern and it’s the same email that’s been circulating for like, years? That’s what this was. Only, it was true.
The government, at best, loosely regulates the cosmetics and body care industry in Las Vegas. Loosely, at best.
Read that twice, girls and boys who want to be girls.
The stuff you shellac on your face and body every day really hasn’t been approved by a safety commission or regulatory group. Maybe some things kinda sorta get watched, maybe there’s some basic idea’s about what you can’t put in cosmetics, but it’s so loose and so unregulated that it really doesn’t matter. No one really cares if the emollient in your body lotion is a known carcinogen. I suppose you would, if you knew, but as most of us aren’t chemists we are none the wiser.
Cue hero music, enter the Environmental Working Group (EWG)
The EWG is a wonderful organization who has taken the liberty of collecting the very information that we are not privy to and putting in an accessible place so we as consumers can go and get an unpleasant education about our beauty products. By visiting their website Safe Cosmetics Database, you can look up the various goodies in your makeup bag and see how they rank on their comprehensive Hazard Scale. The scale rates cosmetics from 0, being the most benign to 10, being toxic sludge. It also includes in their crafty little ranking why that particular cosmetic was ranked as such. Case in point: My new favorite mascara, Lash Hugger by Tarte. Let’s see how it looks to EWG:http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/product/234542/tarte_Lash_Hugger_Eco-Friendly_Natural_Mascara%2C_Black/ Not bad. Not bad at all. Get’s a 4, which is pretty low, so that’s a good start. I know that the tube itself is made from recycled aluminum, which is a bonus. Still has hazardous ingredients but on a scale going up to 10, it’s pretty mild.
I try to go through this process every time I make a new purchase. It doesn’t always happen. If I need a product and there are no other options, I won’t look it up in the database because if I’m going to have to buy it regardless, why torture myself. If there are multiple options available, I always compare products through the database. You should do the same. Do that with your cosmetics NOW so that you know what to refill and what to change next time you run out of something. While your there, make a donation. It doesn’t have to be crazy, five or ten bucks is plenty. But these people are going to save our asses if we let them so let’s fund our own education.
Another thing that fascinates me about all this is that there are some cosmetic lines that are actually banned in the UK for toxic ingredients. So, it’s OK for us American girls to slowly slaughter ourselves with our own vanity because ignorance it bliss? I don’t think so. I’m not going down without a fight.
And when you hear me pull out the soap box, just remember: There is no real government investment in regulating the cosmetic industry.
Stress and Weight Gain: The Big Fat Truth
The magazine racks are nearly bowing under the weight of all those glossies with screaming taglines about sex, makeup, and weight. And all of them have valid points- weight gain, especially in women, is a source of both inner and outer controversy. There’s this massive sign on the side of this super gym I drive past almost every day promoting free enrollment for women. We get it, society! You can launch all the “real women” campaigns you want but when you market your gyms and shape wear and fit models and motivational boosters, it’s hard to drown out the noise and desperation to be thin. And until recently I saw all this grand marketing as just more propaganda mixed in with everything else shoved in my face daily. But when I suddenly ballooned out last week after weeks of dieting, daily workouts, and general good health I was reduced to tears and became very hyper aware of all the “think thin thoughts” around me.
Diet and exersize has been a part of my life pretty consistenly for the past five years or so. Not because I felt over weight or had body issues, but because I liked looking better in my clothes and I liked the light, springing feeling being fit gave me. No crazy diets or work outs, either. Mostly daily cardio and plenty of clean eating. I wasn’t stick thin, but I felt balanced and never felt totally denied. I wanted to keep that comfort level, so in Janurary when I quit smoking, I immediately went on a diet as well. No reason to bloom out just because I stopped asphyxiating myself. All was well, and I’m super proud to say that as of today I am still smoke free!!! Except…
I started on the patches with lasted several weeks, and then when I finished the cycle used lozenges as needed. A few days of lozenges just to ease myself into being smoke free and just like that, I am taking my first shaky steps on the tight rope that is living life nicotine free. My proud high lasted for a brief, shining moment before plunging down into the utter depths of the depression as my dopamine levels became almost non-existent. Allow me to explain: When one smokes for a significant amount of time, the body stops producing dopamine on its own and becomes dependant on the nicotine to kickstart dopamine release. When one quits smoking, it takes a while for the body to start doing it’s job again. It’s that period between that’s the hardest. Doctors try to counteract this by prescribing various anti-anxiety and anti-depression meds, but that’s just trading one substance for another. Eventually, if you truly want to be chemical free, you gotta get through the dopamine dip and let your body start doing it’s thing again.
So here I am, sitting around way stressed out. My anxiety level is through the roof, and suddenly everything seems cataclysmic and urgent. I know I just gotta grit my teeth and get through it, so that’s the plan. In the meantime, I am not as stringent on my diet as I was at the beginning. The intense and unforgiving 4HB diet designed by my fav author, Tim Ferriss is effective only as a lifestyle. And I just couldn’t hack it and be stressed out with low dopamine at the same time. So I modified the diet slightly so it wasn’t so intense, but still pretty good.
And then… last week… my waistline ballooned out as if I just had my way with a fair-ground full of fried oreos. Because, you know, when you’re stressed out the thing you want the MOST is to suddenly gain weight. I stared in the mirror naked and just cried.
It couldn’t possibly be the change in diet. Granted, I wasn’t eating super clean, but small and rare cheating may be cause for no weight loss or slight weight gain, but certainly not such a rapid weight gain.
My BFF Google had my back and it didn’t take long to figure out the culprit in the case of Sudden Weight Gain: A sneaky little bastard named Cortisol.
I’m no dietician or scientist, so rather than try to summarize it for you here’s some link hookup:
A quick spree under the term “cortisol weight gain” will give you even more info.
So I guess at the end of the day, there’s more to stress management than the superior feeling of being calm in a crisis. If you get stressed out, you’re probably going to put on weight. If you put on weight, you’ll probably get stressed out.
Take two chill pills and call me in the morning.
Confession: I LIVE for Vegas Summers. Where out-of-towners liken our heat to sticking ones head in an oven, I live for soaring 100+ temps. And after spending nearly thirty years in the sweltering Vegas heat, I’ve learned a thing or two about keeping your makeup in place well past margarita-hour.
The key to any water-resistant makeup is…wait for it… silicone. That’s right, silicone! And if not silicone, oil. Sounds strange, I get it, but hear me out. I know right now you’re picturing something like bacon fat in a frying pan, grease slowly dissolving under the heat into a runny mess. But let me ask you this- what would happen if you put salt water in that bacon grease? It would just bead up, right? Please don’t go slather your face in Crisco, just trying to give you a visual here. Silicone-based makeup is the sexier, savvier version of the old oil-based products. And it also happens to be the base of choice for most professional artists. We can use it for traditional application and airbrush application; it blends beautifully and leaves a silky but matte finish. Sweat and tears just bead up on its finish and roll right off. Eureka! Thankfully professional line Makeup Forever has the ultimate collection of silicone-based foundation, and Temptu has some stellar product as well. For home use, I suggest the Makeup Forever HD line.
The other not-going-anywhere product you need to have to survive our summers is eye shadow primer. Unlike other parts of your face, the eyes always have some kind of friction going on. Open, close, open, close. The lid of your eye is constantly rubbing on your crease. If you’ve ever come home and seen that unattractive line of makeup where all your carefully applied shadow has migrated to, you know what I’m talking about. Enter primer to save the day! Primer acts as a kind of adhesive, although it’s not. It locks the shadow in place from underneath, so that all those come-hither looks you’re casting about don’t skew your makeup.
Finally, the thing you need to take with you, your go to, your touch up maven, is blotting paper. (Please don’t over pay. e.l.f. makes a great blotting paper, cheap enough for each bag or clutch.) We can put anti-shine on you, we can use silicone-based makeup, we can use primers, but there is absolutely nothing we can do about your oil and sweat glands. You WILL get shiny. Blotting papers lift the moisture from your face without moving your makeup underneath. In a pinch, those toilet seat covers in public bathrooms work wonders. (Unused, please.) Unless your day exceeds 10+ hours, resist the urge to take powder with you. Oil/sweat plus powder creates an icky, cakey looking finish on the face. Gross. Far better to appear a little dewy and smooth than to look like water and flour had a fight on your face.
Amelia C & Co
I’ve been a smoker since I was 13. It all started in English class- this super cool girl who’s clique I was pining to get into smoked. Teenagers aren’t exactly charismatic, so all I was able to come up with was “Can I bum a smoke?”
Confession: I quit smoking for totally shallow, vain reasons. Now the big 30 is looming in the near future bringing with it all the emotions of middle age. (Does 30 count as middle age? I’m very stressed out about this!) A solid 60 seconds are spent in the mirror analyzing faint fine lines, I look forward to daily stock updates from my husband, and if I’m not careful I’ll find myself perusing baby name websites and plotting epic birthday parties. Oh, and wine is no longer an option, rather mandatory promptly at five pm as long as I am not wielding a curling iron.
So I had to quit. I didn’t quit smoking because of all the health reasons or obnoxious billboards. I didn’t quit smoking because it’s suddenly socially unacceptable. I didn’t quit smoking out of fear of lung cancer or emphysema or gum disease. I quit smoking because I am totally, utterly, unapologetically vain. If your like me, and the dramatic anti-smoking campaigns didn’t do it for you, try these very real reasons to quit smoking now on for size.
1- I am starting to see smoker’s lines around my mouth. Ew. I have nice, full lips and LOVE my lipstick. But my lipstick was starting to feather out from my smokers lines.
2- My hair would stink like an ashtray, but if I washed it too often my color would fade faster. I had some hair refresher spray, but that stuff made my hair feel waxy and look kinda clumpy, so I didn’t use it often. My choices were to either have my hair stink or have faded color.
3- I’ve damn near ruined many purses with spilled lotions and perfumes. Any lady who smokes knows that you practically have to bathe yourself in fragrance after a smoke to douse the stench. It’s only a matter of time before one of your fragrances spills in your bag.
4- Fine lines are starting to appear around my eyes. I knew smoking dehydrated the skin, but for God’s sake I’m 29! I thought this was something I didn’t have to worry about till at least my 40’s! It is more important to me to delay the inevitable eye lift (let’s face it, we ALL know I’m going to get one eventually) than it is to save my health. Pathetic, huh?
5- I have burned holes in some of my very favorite shirts. And I have burned the ends of my hair trying to light a cig. I love my hair, and I love my clothes. You can’t play with fire that much and NOT burn something eventually.
6- My dermatologist says I’m good for business. Seriously, I am on a first name basis with the cosmetics nurse and the receptionist can always find time for a last minute appointment. That’s because I’ve spent thousands of dollars on my skin! If you’ve been reading my blog for any time, you know I had a long, ugly battle with acne. Now that we’ve finally got it cleared, my husband still cringes when he gets the credit card bill because I’m investing in fixing the horrible scarring it left behind. I did NOT invest all this money into my skin just to botch the whole thing with smoking!
I get it- I SHOULD have quit smoking because I was worried about my health. I SHOULD have quit smoking because I was worried about the environment Shoulda, woulda, coulda, whatever. I quit because I’m vain, proud, and want to be a sexy beast well past the age of 35. It just so happens that I feel a ton better and I won’t have to suddenly quit when my husband and I get knocked up!
It happened last night. One minute I was fine, having a wonderful time at a new hipster bar downtown celebrating a friends birthday, the next moment the floor was very anxious to meet me. I should have known our sweet waitress was the devil when she suggested the specialty cocktail after I ordered my simple gin and tonic. I should have known! Instead, I thought “Sure, I can have a slightly sweeter drink, no problem” and it all went downhill from there.
With the help of my husband and a girlfriend, I was able to discreetly leave the party before I ended up in some terrible meme about drunk chicks. I woke up remembering WHY I don’t drink like that, and thankfully the only damage done was a small amount of dignity lost and a dirty pillowcase from not removing my makeup. My skin, however, is another story. I will be pampering my face today as an apology for what I did to it last night. Ladies, take note- it’s the season for parties, so you need to know how to get back to your pretty self ASAP when things get a little too merry!
1) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Alternate one glass of juice to two glasses of water. Aside from helping you detox fast, re-hydrating will instantly plum up your thin skin and also help prevent a weeks worth of dry, flaky skin (if you nip it in the bud, fast!) The sugars in the juice also help your body deal with any remaining alcohol.
2) Go for high protein for breakfast, and try to do it within 30 minutes of waking up. There’s a very good chance you scarfed some disgusting, greasy food at some point on your way home last night. Something you would never eat in your right mind. It seems like eating more would be counter-productive to losing weight, but by eating the right thing at the right time you actually kick start your metabolism. (And, after a drunk meal, you’ll need all the help you can get burning that off.) I opt for a protein shake because goodness knows I can’t stand the sight of food right now.
3) Detox teas are wonderful. Any time you add toxins to your body, weather it’s alcohol or food, your organs work overtime without pay. Your skin is the largest organ on your body, so whatever is going on inside will usually show up on the outside in protest. Think of a detox tea as the holiday hired help. Yes, it tastes like rancid licorice, but after what you ate and drank last night your not exactly a delicate flower, are you?
4) Get up, get your chores and work done, then go back to sleep. It’s already bad enough your hungover, don’t make it worse by delaying whatever you have to get done today because you’ll just feel guilty about it tomorrow. (And then you’ll get those worried eyebrows and need Botox.) Suck it up, get it done, and then get back to sleep to give your body the downtime it needs to repair the damage. And take that detox tea with you to work.
5) EyeDews are your best friend! These slippery little under-eye masks are your best friend for fine lines (dehydrated skin), dark circles (lack of sleep), and puffy bags (usually a reaction to histamines in alcohol.) If you can lay down for about 20 minutes with these bad boys on, it will brigten and tighten that eye area taking your whole face from drab to fab. Also good when your not hungover, but expecially good when you are!
Best Advice: Try to avoid drinking too much in the first place! If you know you’re going to be at a party for a few hours, stick to what you know. That was my mistake last night- I can’t drink sugary drinks because if I can’t taste the bite of the alcohol, it’s hard for me to gauge how much I had and I’m certainly not counting. “Drunk” is not a good look on anyone! Know yourself, know your limits. And, when mistakes like mine last night do happen, just go through this list to get back to beautiful fast.
Jersey Shore has scarred us for life. That bronze, golden tan we once coveted now gives us nightmares about skin cancer (tanning beds) or Snookie reincarnations. Well, my dear pale girl, this is your guide to glowing goodness without fear! Really read this blog and commit it to memory. It’s not much, but what I’m about to tell you will give you a tan and keep you from getting Tanged. (You know, that orange powdered drink thingy.)
Side Note- you know we do spray tans, right? Yup! We will come to you and hose you down for that wedding, event, or just because. And every single time, without fail, we get asked “I’m not going to look orange, right?” First of all, even if you were going to come out orange, if we are selling this service we sure wouldn’t say so, would we? “Why yes, you will. We call it the Oompa Loompa special.” No darling, you will NOT turn orange… IF you do EXACTLY as we say. If something goes wrong with your tan, 99% of the time it’s because you did not follow our instructions or complete our waiver form honestly. (So far, we haven’t had any orange tans, but we sure have heard about them!) Alright, time to get those fears under control! Top three ways to avoid a bad spray tan:
1) Be honest about your typical tanning abilities.
The most important factor we look at to determine what level of solution to use on you is your typical tanning abilities. For example, if your so fair that you burn to a crisp in the sun, we need to know that. You may think that if you tell us you “sometimes tan” or “always tan, never burn” that your going to get the darkest solution possible. And your right! If you tell us that you tan easily, we are going to assume that your skin is capable of handling the high levels of DHA in darker solutions, and will use those. Using too high of a DHA level for your skin is the number one reason why tans go orange.
2) Have squeaky clean pores and follow our preparation instructions to the letter.
It is. If you use deodorant prior to your tan, or didn’t full scrub your underarms, your going to turn green. That’s right, swamp green. Here’s why: DHA is actually a sugar that oxidizes. Think of an apple, when you bite into it, the sugar oxidizes and turns brown. So, when we spray this sugar-derived product on your skin, it will penetrate that top layer and turn your skin brown. If you have any other chemicals, such as aluminum very often found in anti-perspirants, that sugar is going to react to that product for a lovely moss hue. Lotion and perfume will act as a barrier on the skin, and the product won’t be able to penetrate. That’s why some tans can be splotchy. If you want an even colored tan, you need to start with squeaky clean pores.
3) Know the post-spray care, and stick to it religiously till the tan starts to fade.
Most tans take up to 8 hours to fully penetrate and work. Getting wet by showering, sweating, or cleaning before that is a quick way to ruin a perfectly good tan. Once your tan is showered off, life as normal can resume but with a few precautions: No soaking in tubs, no lazy long swims in chlorine, no scrub-a-dub dubbing for about a week. Spray tans usually start to fade about a week after (though some of our clients have said our product, Bronze Body, lasts a good two weeks.) Your tan will fade quickly if you do any of the above, because all those things exfoliate the skin. Since tanning solutions only penetrate the top layer of the epidermis, if you scrub or soak that layer off it’s going to take your tan with it.
It needs to be said that this is not a total and complete list. There is a chance you could do all of the above and still end up orange, depending on what product you use and who your tanning technician is. Here at Amelia C & Co, we use Bronze Body products because their base is olive-colored, and therefore very unlikely to turn brassy on us. But, if something does go wrong, chances are there’s something amiss in the common areas we just covered.
You glow girl!
I’m always curious as to what a client’s regular beauty routines are, it helps me go through a mental checklist to find out what’s important to them and what they need to see in the mirror when I’m done so they feel like themselves. Beauty is an art and is totally subjective- it really doesn’t matter what a woman does with her makeup or hair as long as she feels beautiful after. Judgments about what and what doesn’t look good should be reserved for those who ask for it. Artistically speaking, there is no right or wrong.
Some of your beauty routines are downright dangerous! If you do nothing but eliminate the worst of the offenders, we can pawn the rest off on your OCD and call it a day. Kick these bad beauty habits now!
1) Using a safety-pin to separate your eyelashes
Who on earth said it was a good idea to take a sharp object so very close to your eye? The one and only time something that could cut be near your eye is if your getting Lasik, and the person wielding it has had nearly a decades worth of education. You, my dear girl, have absolutely no business being near your eyes with anything sharp. Got clumpy lashes? You need a thinner mascara- probably a fresher mascara. When you pull the mascara out of the tube, scrape the excess off on the inside of the tube rim and you won’t goop up your eyes. Also, it’s important to note that absolutely no one is going to notice if two little lashes are stuck together. You know what they will notice? The pirate patch you’ll be sporting when you impale yourself. And no one is going to see your perfect lashes when a patch is covering it anyways.
2) That sponge in your compact
If there is one flaw in major-cosmetic production I could change, it would be to remove that little puff that comes with every compact you buy. At first glance, it totally makes sense… you need some kind of applicator for your powder or foundation. So you wake up in the morning and use that fresh, new sponge to apply your makeup to your fresh, clean face. You throw the compact in your bag for your mid-day touch-up. Noon rolls around and you freshen up with this mornings sponge. Here’s where it gets bad… you then take that very same sponge to your face the next morning, on your fresh clean face. Your literally wiping yesterdays dirt, oil, and bacteria onto your fresh skin. It only get’s worse from there. Imagine how many days, how many WEEKS, of down-right gross-ness is caked into that sponge you touch up with mid-day, every day. Every morning your telling your sensitive skin “Boy, I’d love to have a zit today!”. So what’s a girl to do? If you must touch up during the day, invest in two very seperate compacts. One which is your “clean” compact, that you only use in the morning on clean skin, and another that is your “dirty” compact that you use for your touch ups. Wash both at least once a week. I have a lovely anti-bacterial tea-tree hand-soap I use on my personal sponges, you don’t need a professional grade cleanser if your the only one using it. (And you should be, the only people who should be sharing makeup and applicators is professional artists and we know how to sanitize.)
3) Skipping moisturizer
Whenever someone tells me why they don’t use moisturizer, I usually hear something along the lines of “my skin is already oily”. If your cleansing your skin twice a day, as you should be, your stripping if of all that oil your producing. Did you know that dry skin can cause breakouts just as much as oily skin? If the surface layer of your skin is dried out because you aren’t moisturizing, your forming this hard, scaly crust over your fresh new under-layer. Oil can’t escape and becomes trapped under that layer, mixes with some of the dead skin and next thing you know, you’ve got another breakout. That’s the least of your worries, though. The worst part is this: When your skin is dehydrated, it makes putting on foundation an absolute nightmare. Instead of settling into the skin, makeup sits on top and puts a spotlight on all that scaly texture. You now look like a cakey lizard. Not exactly an improvement. Spend some time to find the right moisturizer for your skin type… if you only make one investment into your skin care aside from your cleanser, it needs to be that. There are thousands of different moisturizers on the market and there is one for you.
Bonus Note: The one and only product line I’ve found that helps with severe acne yet does not contain a moisturizer is Obagi. You’ll want to talk to your dermatologist about the line to deterime which version suits your skin type best, then visit amazon.com for more economic refills.
It was Friday night and 5 days away from my next facial, and my skin just looked terrible. I was having some breakout, plus was feeling dry and rough- not the way I wanted to start my Saturday! Even if I had wanted to, I couldn’t move up my facial appointment because I knew the weekend was jam packed and that was no time to be dealing with all the havoc a great facial can wreck on your skin.
**Heads up Ladies, a GREAT facial WILL make you break out! It get’s all that gunk out of your skin, not to mention professional products usually singe the top layer to reveal the new skin underneath. This is all wonderful… THREE DAYS after the facial. Do not get a facial the day before a big event!**
Story starting to sound familiar? Ever had that happen? Here you are, like a good woman you have all your appointments lined up and just days before you see your guru your suddenly wishing you had made your appointment for three and a half weeks, instead of the usual four.
I needed a pick-me up, something to get me feeling smooth and glowy without the unavoidable down-time a true professional-grade facial brings on. Good thing I’ve got a trick or two in my kitchen! I’m a huge fan of going natural and organic when I can, so I’ve got quite the collection of books on home-made skin care recipes. They are mild enough for my emergency facial, but strong enough to perk up my face before a long weekend. Consider this your go-to for a facial emergency when the powers that be keep you from your aestheticians bed for a few more days.
Step 1) Cleanse your face
I always have two parts to cleaning my face: First, I remove all my makeup with a wipe. I just can’t help being grossed out by the idea of dumping face wash on my face and making a brown sloppy mess when I’m supposed to be cleaning! It’s like trying to mop your floors and not sweep first. Then, go in with your cleanser and warm water. Spend at lease 3 minutes massaging your cleanser into your skin, and don’t forget your neck and hairline. Pat dry.
Step 2) Steam
Those steam machines in your spa make a big difference! The reason why they are used is because the gentle, hydrating heat of the steam opens up your pores, allowing whatever goodness your about ready to use on it to penetrate deeper. I love a good home-made steam, even if it’s not facial-day. In a heat-proof bowl, microwave approx 5 cups of water. I like to add a few sprigs of mint and some rosemary from my yard. Place bowl in front of you, drape a towel over your head and bend over the bowl but do not let your face touch the boiling water. Steam for your face for 3-5 minutes.
Step 3) Make your mask
One of my favorite masks is super easy, super effective and nearly always in my kitchen: Oatmeal and Milk Mask. The oatmeal works as a mild anti-inflammatory, soothing any sensitive spots on your face. It also helps draw out impurities in the skin as it dries, for an even deeper clean. Milk is one of the holy little wonders of the kitchen, and way over-looked: milk contains lactic acid, which in much stronger concentrations is used in dermatologists offices for intense exfoliation. Lactic acid is a chemical exfoliant. For you crunchy moms out there, next time your baby doesn’t finish their sugar-free natural baby cereal, take a spoonful of it and smear it on your face. You and your kid will look alike, and you’ll get a quick facial while they are giggling at you.
Recipe: 1/4 cup oats, coarsely crushed with a mortar and pestle or with the bottom of a heavy glass. Add milk a few teaspoons at a time till it forms a thick paste. It should look like breakfast!
Apply to the face and neck, then grab your favorite book and chill out for at least 10 minutes. Be sure to protect your hair if it’s not your wash day!
After about 10-20 minutes, the mask will have started to dry. It’s easier to remove if you gently wipe your hands over your face to remove the bulk of the oats. Follow by a good rinsing. That milk does wonders, you’ll notice right away how much smoother your skin is!
Step 4) Tone
I’ve only found two toners that I like: Witch Hazel and Obagi. Most toners contain such high concentrations of alcohol that it totally wipes your skin out of any moisture and leave’s it shiny and tight- that is NOT healthy skin, healthy skin is soft and supple and has some natural oils to it. In this case, I used witch hazel, the perfect ending to my natural facial. I’ll talk more about Obagi in another post.
Wet a cotton ball with toner and apply to the face and neck.
Step 5) Moisturize and Protect!
You should always follow up every cleansing with moisturizing! Allow me to repeat: Always moisturize after cleansing! There is one time and one time ONLY when you do not moisturize, and that is when you are on a specific skin-care regimen that a professional has designed for you. And by professional, I do not mean the ads in beauty magazines. Going to bed? Skip sunscreen. Going out? SPF 30 or more, please!
Long Lasting Makeup Tips from the Pro’s
If you’ve ever come home from a fabulous night out only to look in the mirror and gasp, this is the post for you. Your carefully applied makeup has not lasted, and you’re not even sure when it all went wrong. What KILLS me about it is that half of the time, your friends are snapping camera-phone photo’s of you for those real-time Facebook updates that you will have to untag your self in RIGHT NOW- and not one of them said anything to you! The WORST of it is when your eyeshadow is reduced to nothing but an oily line in the crease of your lid… something only appropriate in a Lady Gaga video, and let’s face it, that broad has the funds to look however she pleases.
As professional artists, half of our battle battle isn’t just making our clients beautiful, but making sure that they look that way for hours to come. Now granted, makeup can only hold up so well under the following circumstances: excessive drinking, cliff diving, skinny-dipping, and those who are so ugly on the inside that Kevyn Aucoin himself couldn’t help them. However, for those of you not taking up extreme sports or libations, you can arm yourself with the right tools and techniques that will leave you regret-free at 2 am.
Who doesn’t love a good smokey eye? It’s totally appropriate for a GNO, date night, or general cavorting around the town. However, most pencils with the creaminess to create the look lack the stability to have it stay in place. This bad boy delivers the best of both worlds… uber creamy and decadent, but when it sets, it SETS. The pigment payoff is superb, so your going to get that rich, intense look your after too. Well worth the price of admission, even if it is “just a pencil”.
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion in EDEN
Can you tell I’m a fan? I make it a point to diversify my kit so that I don’t get sucked into the “one line” only way of thinking, but UD does eyes so very well. This should be your daily primer whenever you want to wear shadow. Use your fingertip to dab a little on the lid, blending ALL the way up to your brow bone and into the inner and outer corners of your eye. A little goes a long way, so order the smaller tube because it will last. Allow to dry for just a few moments then get to work. Note: Have makeup-remover wipes handy because I’m telling you, this stuff does NOT come off without them.
Drinking, sweating, and club-lights do not make for a premium photo op! Not to mention the unflattering flash of a camera phone. Give yourself a fighting chance by wearing the best foundation possible, and I’m here to tell you, this is it. The best part about it, besides the fact that its super long wearing, is that you can build up the coverage where you need it. Glooping on heavy concealer (or any product for that matter) is a recipe for disaster. Those with oily skin like me can rest easy knowing it dries to a matte finish. NOW- that being said- I do have to use blotting papers if it’s a long day or night. I don’t care how miraculous the product is, nothing you put on top of your skin is going to stop what’s going on underneath, and if your oil glands are having a party your just going to have to work around that. In a pinch, the (unused, please) toilet seat covers in most public restrooms double nicely has a blotting tissue.
Course, there’s a bunch of other stuff that I schlep around on a regular basis, but I’m pretty certain without these three things I’d be at a loss when I showed up to a job. This is where you want to put your money for a look that will last longer than the effectiveness of your Sugar Free Red Bull. (That, and a good bronzer, because only Oompa Loompa’s look good orange. But that’s another post.)