Friday, February 20, 2015

No glow? No problem.

It is the middle of winter, I just ran out of my personal foundation, and I'm not a bit upset. If the polar vortex is sucking all the life out of your skin, here are some of my suggestions to get your smoothness back. 
  • Jumpstart your immune system and brighten your skin from within by eating plenty of citrus fruit, cucumbers, and carrots. I've gotten in the habit of shredding about two cups of carrots every night. The next day they are ready to go, whether it's to blend with fruit and greens for a morning smoothie or to make a quick fuss-free salad to take along with me. Now that I'm experimenting with gluten-free baking, I'm also expanding my knowledge of carrot desserts. (Feel free to send recommendations!) I love to grow cucumbers, and when I have them in the garden they are a mainstay of my summer diet. To make up for that, I'm buying citrus fruits to use as a base for smoothies, salsa, marinades, and sauces. Fresh, canned, or frozen: even in winter, eating a diet rich in brightly colored, antioxidant-rich veggies will increase your chances of having soft and even toned skin. 
  • Juice Beauty is a beauty and skin care brand with a strong stance on organic ingredients, and pure fruit juice is one of Mother Nature's greatest exfoliators. The Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel is available in several different strengths. There is one formula for the sensitive skin client and a different one geared towards customers like me, who prefer a little tingle when they exfoliate. Use it twice a week for the best results because it encourages cell turnover, gets rid of dead skin, and it definitely brightened my dull spots. 
  • Shea butter is one of my favorite ingredients of all time, and I am a huge fan of the Shea Moisture brand of products. I am always enthusiastic about trying sulfate/fragrance/dye/allergy free brands, but every time this brand puts a new product out, they slay the competition. I just tried the Shea Moisture Olive and Green Tea Body Butter, since I tried the shower gel last year. It's creamy, but not greasy, and SO unbelievably, buttery soft. The light, herbal scent is gender-neutral (Dude approved!), and my skin stayed smooth all day. 
  • The Shea Moisture CC Cream looks effortless, feels weightless, and I'm wearing it daily. In my prior BB and CC cream experiences, formulations from other skin care brands ended up fighting on my face. The end result was often the familiar chalky grey sheen negatively associated with the SPF CC creams, tinted moisturizers, and hydrating primers some rival brands are selling to women of color for over forty dollars. This product was under 20 dollars, but the pigment and the SPF work perfectly together. Finally I can protect myself from the sun, hydrate without looking oily, and even my skin tone in one step. (I've added a serum to my evening routine because I am sleeping with a heavier moisturizer at night.) The finish is luminous, but more pearlized than shiny. I'll replace my personal foundation a couple of months from now when I run out of this. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

That time I went out to buy a media cabinet, and came home with more beauty supplies...

When I was shopping in Ikea, I fully intended to use this for it's actual purpose: DVD storage. Then I decided to repurpose these media drawer liners as brush drying mats.

A good set of brushes is so essential to a good makeup application, and if you take proper care of them they can last you for a decade or longer. My favorite indestructible brushes, both from my personal stash and for professional use, were made by Bdellium Tools, Royal Langnickel, and Shu Uemura. Obviously, I have invested a great chunk of money into making sure that I have the proper brush for every job, so I am meticulous about their care. Bad things happen when excess moisture stays in the brush. At best, it can get in the ferrule, weaken the glue, the hairs begin to shed, and your 65 dollar brush is now just a stick. What's the worst that can happen? The combination of excess moisture, haphazard cleaning, and improper drying or storage can lead to spreading of germs and bacteria to yourself or your clients.
I clean each brush individually, disinfect it, squeeze out the excess moisture, and lay them flat to dry. My Inreda Makeup Brush Drying Mat (because that's what it is) is 3/4" deep, which elevates my tools away from whatever hidden bacteria may be lurking on surfaces, allows for air to completely circulate around and through the bristles, and gets the brushes dry faster. Do you feel the need to sanitize your fancy new drying surface? Spray it down with alcohol or pop it in the dishwasher.
The Inreda DVD rack costs seven dollars in the media storage area of Ikea, so I bought two when I thought that I would use them to organize video games and DVDs. Laid out side by side, the two mats can evenly dry about 100 brushes at one time.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Effaclar Serum is effective and the price is right.

I am officially obsessed with Effaclar Serum from La Roche-Posay. The miracle serum is engineered to help normal-to-oily skin types address and combat signs of environmental damage and aging. It can be used daily with sunscreen and/or nightly under moisturizer. Since I started using it nightly I have seen a dramatic difference in the texture of my skin. Pores around my nose appear smaller, and they no longer swallow up my makeup and primer when I wear foundation. I have oily/combination skin, and this serum has lessened the texture of both dry patches AND the acne scars. My skin is not only smooth (literally, like butta), but much brighter and more even-toned. I love this product and cannot say enough good things about it.
I have noted here in my blog before that I am extremely sun-sensitive, and usually steer clear of using deep exfolating methods in the summer. Follow the directions on the bottle (with any type of AHA or glycolic serum) to avoid getting a sunburn. Effaclar contains a 7.5% AHA-Glycolic Complex, which is strong enough to get the job done, but hasn't left my skin irritated. It tingles just enough to let you know that it is working.
The best part of it all is the price. I have paid upwards of 150 dollars for similar products and not seen these kind of results. Effeclar is costs a little more than 40 dollars, and available at CVS or Ulta. When I factor in the coupon that I used to get the serum, I am amazed that it is possible to get spa-like results from a product I paid 25 bucks for at a drugstore.