I C, I C

The night of my micro-needling treatment, I starting the PerriconeMD Thio:Plex Intensive 2 Step Brightening System. This 2 Step treatment is designed to brighten skin, reduce hyper pigmentation, and lift and tighten the skin using potent active ingredients. Step 1 uses the "Thio Antioxidant" (Glutathione) a detoxifying and repairing agent.Step 2 uses high levels of a fat soluble Vitamin C, which does ya know, everything, brighten, lighten, and tighten.

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Usage of this isn't exactly clear in the instructions, it says at night to do Step 1, wait till it's absorbed, then apply Step 2, wait 20 minutes, rinse off, then reapply to targeted areas.  After speaking with reps from the brand I was told to do this 10 nights on, 10 nights off.  The website says to use it for an 8 week period.  My review is based on the 10 nights I used it.

Perricone's consumer studies reported nearly 100% of users saying their skin was brighter, smoother, tighter, more youthful, and that it improved the dullness of their skin.  Here's what I saw...

Holy shit yes!  After a few nights of use my skin was GLOWING.  I passed on the '20 minutes and rinse" and just left it on, following with my night cream and tretinoin.  Mind you, I did just do micro-needling, an AHA peel, and was using tretinoin every night, yet my face didn't peel like it normally does.  My down time was reduced and my skin was back to its glowing ways and then some.  In just the 10 nights I noticed my concern areas (dark spots around my eyes) looking brighter, less dark. Pores were tight, skin was smooth and bright.  When I stopped my 10 nights my skin did start to look a little less bright, so I plan on starting back up and using it every night for the 8 recommended weeks to see what kind of results I get.  If you are sensitive to smell, be warned, Step 1 does smell like absolute sadness (think a fish market on a hot day), and while it does linger, the results more than make up for the smell.

If you're looking for an intensive brightening boost to your routine, consider trying Thio:Plex $145, you won't be disappointed!

Space NK Sale

London based beauty boutique Space NK is having a huge sale on some top brands, if you wanna stock up, nows the time. Here are a few of my favorites on sale.

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Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm $32 down from $65 - This is an eye cream I've used multiple times and always loved.  Rich texture really hydrates and smoothed out fine lines.  Great for AM/PM use.

Algenist Overnight Restorative Cream $45 down from $90 - Another rich cream, smooths, firms, and lifts skin overnight.  My skin always looked amazing after this one.

Caudalie Premier Cru Riche $79 down from $158 - If you have dry skin, this is the answer.  I swear by the lighter weight version, but if your skin can handle intense, you neeeeeed this one.

Darphin Organic Orange Blossom $40 down from $80 - Darphin is always a favorite brand of mine, amazing aromatic products with that make you feel like you're at the spa.  I'm using the 8 Flower oil at night and so damn good.

Lots of other Algenist, Caudalie, Kevyn Aucoin, and Darphin (Prédermine and Stimuskin smell like happiness) products on sale, head on over to SpaceNK.com and check it out.

Micro-needling

I've always thought face tattoos aren't the best investment, but microneedling or mesotherapy, has been my obsession for the past year.  By request from everyone I know, here's the what, why, and how to's on my current favorite anti-aging treatment.

Let me preface this post by saying, I am not a licensed esthetician, dermatologist, or even a nurse.  I'm just an beauty industry veteran with a passion for staying young and willing to do whatever it takes.  All the information provided is based on my research and educated opinion, so take caution with this procedure

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What is microneedling?  It's the process of puncturing the skin with a tattoo gun-like device at 0.1mm-2.5mm.  This is beneficial in 2 ways. 1. These punctures act like an irrigation system on the skin, creating pore-like holes that active skincare ingredients can penetrate deeper through, allowing them to treat the deeper layers of the skin where that they can't normally reach.  2.  These punctures are small injuries (that don't scar) so your body goes into repair mode, boosting collagen and plumping the skin, similar to how a laser works, just a different aggressor.  People see reduced acne scars, smoother texture, fine lines and wrinkles plumped out, and promote hair growth (I'm always sure to hit my eyebrows and hairline)

Microneedling vs Dermaroller - Microneedling goes straight down into the skin creating holes parallel to your pores, the creates less visible damage and is easy to heal. Dermarollers go in at an angle and can damage the skin.  Dermarollers are also difficult to sanitize, Microneedling uses 1 time use disposable needles.

How to use.

  1. I like to make sure there's no dead skin that can get in the way of the needles, so a gentle scrub or clay mask work great to make the skin smooth. I also use retinol products every day leading up to and at least 5 days after the procedure, this makes sure skin is its smoothest.
  2. This isn't the most pleasant feeling, it's like a tattoo all over your face. For anything over 0.5mm, I recommend numbing with lidocaine prior to treatment.  I use the LMK 4% lidocaine which can be purchased OTC at your local pharmacy.  Price ranges $30-$65 for a tube.  (I also just purchased Numb 520 from Amazon, it's way cheaper and 5% lidocaine and it works great) Applying a medium layer all over the face and cover with plastic wrap for 20-30min. You want the face VERY numb, especially the forehead, with the bone just beneath it, that part hurts the worst.
  3. After you've rinsed that off (please remember you can't feel your face, the product is probably off, it just feels weird) I clean the skin off with alcohol, you don't want any bacteria on the skin prior that could get into the holes.
  4. I like to put a treatment on the skin, depending on your concern, 1 to get the first boost into the openings 2 to give a slip to the gun to make the pen glide easier.  I usually use a hyaluronic acid serum and/or Vitamin C serum
  5. Now you're ready for the fun part.  Choose a needle , either 9, 12, or 36 prong.  Only do the 36 needle if you're ready to have a very red face for a few days.  Your pen should have a range from .25mm-2.0mm or 2.5mm.  You can go as high as 2.5mm on the face (forehead, cheeks, temples, chin, jaw, neck) .25-.5mm on the eyes and nose (be careful, men who have thicker skin can usually handle .5mm, women may .25mm especially on the nose) and .25mm on the lips.  I do not recommend needling the eye lids.  The deeper you go, the better the results you will have, but also the longer the down time.  If you start bleeding, you're doing it right.  My forehead will typically bleed at 2.0-2.5mm, if you find you're not bleeding, especially on the cheeks, try holding the skin taut.  You can do the 2.0-2.5 every 8 weeks, 1.0mm every 4 weeks, and .25-.5mm every 2 weeks.  I like to do the intense treatment every 8 weeks, and do the .25-.5mm at the 4 week mark before a mask, aha peel, and retinol.  Gliding the pen over the skin can be a little difficult at high lengths, so a stamping method may be needed, especially on the forehead, you don't want to feel the skin pull.
  6. Your face will be red and may be a bit bloody, take toner on a cotton pad and clean up the skin.  Follow with your active treatment - Vitamin C for brightening, Hyaluronic Acid to plump and hydrate, and/or Peptides for firming.  You may also chose to do a sheet mask and/or mild AHA peel, which will go super deep, so be ready for your skin to start peeling after a few days.
  7. Always follow your treatment with retinol, it just works.  Your skin will be red and irritated for 2-5 days but after that you get this "holy shit" glow that makes all that pain worth it

I've seen med spas charge from $500-$1000 per session for microneedling, doing it at home is way more cost effective, but please use caution! I don't want anyone stabbing their eyeball with a 2.5mm needle or getting an infection from reusing needles.

Where to buy

There are a lot of microneedling pens on the market, I have one similar to this one, but there are plenty out there.  Just be sure to get one that has a rechargeable battery, no body wants to deal with a cord.  Be sure to also get needles from the same manufacturer to make sure they fit your gun.  Please, never reuse needles, that's gross.

Prep Serums
I like something with a nice slip so the pen can easily glide.  Lately I've been using my essence, Dr Ci Labo VC100 Essence, it has amino acids, hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C, and a nice slip that lasts, making it easy to glide the pen over your skin.

After Treatments

- Brightening
If your main concern is brightening, stick with a Vitamin C serum over after your treatment, as of lately, my favorite has been the Skin Medica Vitamin C + E Complex $58, I didn't love the silicone texture at first, but the results make it worth it.  For added brightening, use the Dr. Jart Brightening Solutions Mask $9 right after needling, before your serums, that mask kicks ass.

- Hyaluronic Acid
If your main concern is hydration and plumping out fine lines, go with a Hyaluronic Acid treatment.  I'm loving the Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift $95 and Dr Perricone Hyalo Plasma $135.  Boost up with a hydrating sheet mask directly after your treatment, I love the SK-II Facial Treatment Sheet Masks $17, $95, or $135, they kinda do everything and just make you look perfect.

- Peptides

One of my absolute favorite serums is the Skin Medica TNS Essential Serum $150-281 depending on where you buy it.  It's dual pumps contain "Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media" on one side (allegedly baby foreskin stem cells) and a bunch of antioxidants and peptides on the other.  If you can afford this Serum, it's definitely one of the ultimate anti-aging products, I ❤️❤️❤️ it.

- AHA Peels

Korres Wild Rose Petal Peel is an amazing 2 step peel that exfoliates and brightens with AHAs and Vitamin C.  I've used this one the most after my microneedling treatments and as a weekly treatment, its one of my all time favorites.

- Retinol

Minimum 5 days prior to and 5 days after microneedling, you should be using a retinol.  If you have sensitive skin, yes you will peel a ton and have dry irritated skin, but isn't it worth it for the results after?  If you have a Rx tretinoid, use that, if not, these are a few of the retinols I use.

Skin Medica has 3 strengths in their Retinol Complex - .25 for sensitive skin, .5 for more tolerant skin, 1.0 for those of us who use everything on the face and have no problems.  This is one of my favorite you can buy without a prescription.

A313 $33 is still probably my favorite, even more so than prescription.  I love the thick texture of this French Vitamin A cream, and usually apply it as the last step in my PM routine, it always gives great results, especially for the low price point.

After my treatment tomorrow night I will be trying out the Dr Perricone Thio-Plex Intensive 2 Step Brightening System $145 which is an all over mask and overnight spot treatment to brighten the skin.  I've been meaning to try it and what better time than the new year! For my eyes I'm gonna to use the new Murad Eye Lift Firming Treatment, I got some samples as Sephora 100 point perks and I've loved the results!

Out Of This World

Lately my pores have been total assholes, just getting all kinds of clogged.I have combination skin, even though it's drier over here on the West coast, it still acts like combination skin when it comes to types of products I can use.My philosophy has always been strip off what I don't want with my cleanser and toner and then add in all the stuff I want with the many layers of products I use, but lately the heavier products I've been using have just been clogging my pores so much.I've very picky when it comes to cleansers and toners, I know within a few days if I will like them of not, there has only been 1 cleanser (Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Soap) and 2 toners (Belief Eucalyptus Herbal Extract Toner and Erno Laszlo Light Controlling Lotion) that I've purchased multiple times.

Enter Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip and Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner, within 2 weeks my pores shrunk back down without drying my skin at all.  I've used Ceramic Slip twice before and really liked it, despite it not lathering, (which takes a little while to get use to) it leaves your skin feeling so soft and clean. It's active ingredients are:

- French Green Clay removes impurities and tightens pores while infusing minerals into the skin
- Vitamin C also helps to tighten pores, brighten skin, and stimulate collagen production
- Black Pepper stimulates circulation, leaving the skin looking revived

The new Martian Mattifying Melting Water-Gel Toner contains:

- Bentonite Clay which clarifies and tightens pores
- Manuka (a favorite ingredient of mine), which is closely related to the Tea Tree plant, is antibacterial and just kills anything bad
- Mashmallow to soothe and calm, probably why this Toner is so non irritating
- Cucumber, Green Tea, and Witch Hazel to tone and tighten.

As always, I apply my toner with the Shiseido Cotton Pads, you use so much less product and they are so soft!

I've also been using my Clarisonic Mia2 once a day, I bought their Alpha Fit Men's Brush Head and it's really helped by getting through my scruff to clean my skin that was starting to look a bit rough.

These have helped me to keep my winter routine of heavy creams going, to which I'm very happy, cause the Cle de Peau La Creme is working wonders on my face!

Sephora VIB Discount Time!

Chances are, If you're a Sephora shopper, this is your favorite time of year.  Sephora is offering 20% off for their VIB Rouge and VIBs this weekend and next.  This is the best time to stock up on all your favorites, try out new ones, and get those splurge items you've been holding off on.  Here are my must haves for this Bi Annual event!

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Colour
If you haven't tried Milk Makeup yet, I'm gonna need you to jump on the band wagon and try out this easy to use brand (that I just happen to work for).

Sunshine Skin Tint $42 > $33.60 - Click-Roll-Blend. This is the easiest foundation you will ever use. Enriched with nourishing Avocado and Grape Seed Oil, this preservative free foundation gives coverage that looks like skin and wears all day.  Great for Dry to Oily skins who want to look fresh and natural.  I wear it in Honey.

Matte Bronzer $24 > $19.20 - I hate being white and this natural looking bronzer lets me live the lie of being bronzed during these winter months of heavy retinol usage.  Milk Melt Technology melts at the temperature of your skin blending in seconds. 

Concealer $24 > $19.20 - Since I don't like looking like I'm wearing makeup, and rarely sleep more than 5 hours a night, this gem is a life saver, and by gem I mean it has diamond powder in it!  What better way to brighten your eyes??  Arnica helps treat the dark circles, and Milk Melt Technology gets that concealer to blend super easy without creasing

Skin Care
So many great products I've been using lately, sorry I haven't had the time to post about them, I've been hella busy, but these some some products you just need to try.

Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser $40 > $32 - I've been using this every night for about a month.  You massageinto dry skin then add water and massage some more.  It never lathers, but once rinsed, your skin is left exfoliated and smooth.  Great as a daily exfoliator.

Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift $95 > $76 - My skin has been so dehydrated from traveling, I'm obsessed with this hyaluronic acid rich spray.  Plumps fine lines and gives the skin so much moisture while still being weightless.  A must have during winter months.

Jurlique Nutri-Define Eye Contour Balm $90 > $72 - I just started using a deluxe sample size of this rich eye balm and I'm so in love.  The texture is so creamy, yet it absorbs into the skin leaving it feeling super plump and hydrated.  Might be my new favorite eye cream cause my tired eyes are looking real good y'all.

Caudalie Premier Cru The Cream $158 > $128.40 - Always a favorite of mine, this moisturizer does it all.  Hydrates, lifts, brightens, fills wrinkles, does taxes, cooks dinner.  I mean, if you haven't tried it, definitely give it a go!

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil $105 > $84 - Night time retinoid oil hydrates, brightens, smooths, calms, reduces pores, minimizes fine lines, everything you want from a retinal product without any irritation.  If you've been wanting to try a retinal but are scared of the side effects, Luna Oil is the for for you.

Hair Care
I hate washing my hair because day 1 always looks like a cheap cotton ball.  These are the products I've found to get my hair looking perfectly messy.

Rahua Voluminous Shampoo $34 > $27.20 - Rahua Voluminous Conditioner $34 > $27.20 - I had a sample packette of these that I fell in love with, then purchased the mini size to make sure, and yep, its my new favorite shampoo and conditioner.  My hair normally looks so frizzy after washing, this duo gives my hair volume, softness, and texture.  Plus the conditioner doubles as a styling creme!

Milk Sunshine Oil $38 > $30.40 - Since I like my hair to look lived in, I like a little oil in it to give that dirty look.  Sunshine Oil is also great on the face and body.  I mix it with the Reverie Rake $36 > $28.80 to give texture, hold, and an amazing earthy smell.

Milk Natural Dry Shampoo $14 > $11.20 - Since I try and only wash my hair every 4-5 days, this dry shampoo really helps me go the distance.  Cotton Fibers + Rice Starch absorb oil, leaving you feeling clean, no white residue, no texture, and a soft White Tea Scent.  I literally cannot live with out this.

Splurge
You're getting 20% off, so why not buy yourself something fancy!

Iluminage Skin Rejuvenating Eye Mask $35 > $28 - I just got my 3rd one of these cause I keep leaving them in my hotel rooms!  This eye mask is infused with copper to help minimize fine lines.  Whether that works or not I don't know, but it does comfortably block out all light letting me get the best nights rest.

Clarisonic Smart Profile $299 > $239.20 - The ultimate cleansing system with attachments for face, body, and feet, you'll be cleansed and smoothed from head to toe.  If you've never used a Clarisonic, this is the only one you'll need to buy!

 

A Mask A Day...

My favorite part of my skincare routine is masking. It's fun, gives instant results, and makes a very forgiving selfie. When I heard L'Oreal was making 3 new clay based masks, I said oh hell yeah, sign me up! I mean, at $13 each, buying all 3 is still cheaper than any of my other masks. I tested them all out for you and have been pleasantly surprised.

As soon as I saw they were out, I checked out the ingredients online and was so happy to see they didn't have titanium dioxide. TD is the most widely used mineral sunscreen, and is also used to make skincare products have a white colour. When used in masks it doesn't do a damn thing except act as a cheap filler. As much as I love my inexpensive Korean brands, so many of them use it, probably why I haven't found a Korean clay mask I love.

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Purify & Mattify Treatment Mask - Designed to unclog pores and keep this shine free, this green mask contain 3 clays to draw out impurities and eucalyptus to soothe skin.  Out of the 3 masks this was my least favorite.  Did I notice a big different? No. Will I try it again? Definitely, but it will have to go back to the end of my mask queue.

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Detox & Brightening Mask - After reading the ingredients on all the masks, this mask contains the highest concentrate of the 3 clays.  Charcoal gives this mask it's jet black colour and pulls out dirt and impurities leaving skin super smooth.  This is my favorite of the 3 masks, my face looked super bright and felt hella fresh, my pores were noticeably clearer.  I think I only left it on for 10min, next time I'll leave it on for 15-20.  Great to use before a night out or to recover from a long night out.

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Exfoliate & Refining Treatment Mask - Again we have the 3 clays, Kaolin, Moroccan Lava Clay, and Montmorillonite plus Red Algae to refine.  This mask has more of a grit to it than the other masks, provided by Apricot Seed Powder.  After its dried on the skin 10-15min, splash the face with water and massage to get extra exfoliation.  A great alternative to traditional scrubs, who doesn't love a multi-tasker??

For drugstore masks, even compared to high end masks, these are definitely great products, a total win for L'Oreal.  I'm hoping that they do well and L'Oreal continues to grow their masking category, I'll be the first in line to grab the next ones.  Which is your favorite?

Skincare from Down Under

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I'm obsessed with anything Australian, like extremely obsessed.  Kylie Minogue, for starters, is my music idol, Aussies have the best accents, hottest guys, the best coffee you'll ever have, and create some amazing skincare.  Jurlique is one of the strongest brands out of Australian.  Pioneers in natural skincare technology, Jurlique started in the 1980s, moving the Australia from Germany, due to their pure lands ideal for starting a farm.  To this day, they still grow the majority of the ingredients use din their products.  I've always been a fan and now's a great time to try some of my favorites since they're doing 30% off for their 31st birthday! Just use code "CHEERS" at checkout

Rosewater Balancing Mist $35 down to $24.50 - This is probably Jurliques most well known product.  It has the most amazing rose scent, refreshes and hydrates skin, and has antioxidant properties.  Can be used to tone after cleansing or to hydrate throughout the day.

Sun Specialist SPF40 High Protection Cream $38 down to $26.6 - I went through a tube of this over the winter and fell in love after the first application.  It has a rich texture that goes on weightless and smells nothing like sunscreen, it have very earthy herbal scents that's hella refreshing.  It has broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) protection and antioxidant protection.  It can be used for beach wear, but I really like it on the daily.

Skin Balancing Face Oil $50 down to $35 - I just added this to my routine about a week ago and like it so far.  Rose Hips, Avocado, and Macadamia oils plus Shea Butter make this oil deeply hydrating and and help with tone and texture.

Herbal Recovery Advanced Eye Serum $48 down to $33.6 - I've been using this for about a month now, it's a super lightweight serum that helps reduce the look of fatigue around the eyes (and let me tell you, I'm regularly fatigued).  Great for use under makeup.

Rose Hand Cream $25 down to $17.50 - Put it all over my body!!!  This rich hand cream hydrates, smells like magic, and leaves lasting softness.  Definitely one of my favorite hand creams (and I need more, perfect timing Jurlique!)  Also Available in Lavender, Jasmine, Citrus, and a limited edition Rose Hand Cream Handpicked with roses from their 2016 harvest.

Rose Love Balm $10 down to $7 - This is the perfect pocket balm.  I always need something to throw on my lips, cuticles, and hands throughout the day, but so many of those kinds of multi taskers don't come in pocket friendly sizes.  This is one of my go to's (and I'll be ordering one of these as well...)

Audacity

I recently finished my second bottle of the Odacité Wild Carrot serum and first bottle of the Green Tea-Lemongrass.  I'm always skeptical of all natural brands as so many of them have proven ineffective, especially on my Teflon tough-product resistant skin (I mean chemical peels rarely even make me peel).  Odacité (a French play on the word Audacity) was created by a cancer survivor who wanted to cut toxins out of her life but didn't want to sacrifice performance in her skincare.  This is a story I feel I've heard 100 times and have still been let down by the products.  I was so pleasantly surprised when I tried these oils. Within just a few days of use my skin glowing, radiant, and super smooth.  Here's the details

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Vital Glow - Wild Carrot Serum Concentrate $55 - Just 2 ingredients, Wild Carrot oil from a small French village and non-GMO Vitamin E.  Wild Carrot is rich in Vitamins A, C, and E, they pack a strong punch to fight wrinkles and smooth out the skin.  Just mix 2-3 drops with your face cream.

Radiant Effect - Green Tea + Lemongrass Serum Concentrate $39 - 3 clean ingredients in here, Green Tea seed oil, non-GMO Vitamin E, and Lemongrass oil.  Green Tea is rich in free radical fighting antioxidants and Lemongrass is detoxifying and uplifting.  These work together to give the skin a beautiful luminosity, I was so surprised how glowy my skin got, I started to ration this oil for special occasions, but really, at $39 it's a steal.

These are the only products I've tried from the line, but methinks I need to invest in a few more! Definitely give them a try to give your current skincare routine a boost!

Perricone Sale

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One of my all time favorite eye serums is on sale as well as a bunch of other Perricone amazing products!  I'm about to start my 3rd bottle of PerricneMD Acyl-Glutathione Eye Lid Serum, its been one of the only eye products I've seen quick results with.  I haven't had the serum for about 2 months and I've noticed my eyes look much more tired since Its left my routine, even after getting Botox recently.  The Acyl-Glutathione Serum had key ingredients DMAE to firm and tone (I just bought some DMAE pills to take as part of my supplement routine) and Acyl-Glutathione which helps with fine lines, creases, and skin vitality.  Consumer tests show great improvements in most all eye care concerns, including dark circles, redness, tightness & firmness, and eye lids looking smoother.  Its definitely one of my favorites, and at $70 vs the normal $120, its a must have! (Also in a set with their Firming Eye Cream I've yet to try, but only $109 vs $192)

A few other Perricone Items on sale that I love
Face Finishing Moisturizer $50 down from $75.  This moisturizer can be used day and night for healthy glowing skin.  Great for all skin types, all ages, and definitely a great start if you're looking to step up your skin care game.

Blue Plasma Cleansing Treatent $30 down from $45.  Apply to cotton pad and sweep onto the skin to gentle cleanse, exfoliate, and reveal a brighter complexion.  Removes makeup but I like to use after cleansing as an exfoliating toner.

Intensive Pore Minimizer $40 down from $60.  If large pores are your concern, this toner helps to keep them in check.  Use after cleansing to keep oily skin matte all day.

 

Mission Multi-Mask

I would say that I was having a pre-travel mask night but I do masks 3-5 times a week, so I was just having a special 2 Part mask night.  Multi-Masking is my favorite because I just feel like I accomplished soooo much.  I started my night with the TaTa Harper Moisture Mask as I knew my skin would be drying out from flying, but my pores have been so clogged from heat and sweat, so I used the The Face Shop Blackhead Out Nose Strip to rip out some black heads.

After I rinsed the mask off I noticed how tired my eyes looked and that the pores on the sides of my nose were super clogged too.  I grabbed the Skinfood Egg White Pack Peel Off which includes strips for nose and in the same box, strips for forehead and chin, but since I have facial hair, the chin triangle won't stick in my chin, so I cut it in half and used it on the congested sides of my nose (shown in the pic) which ended up working out really good!  The Skin Food Carrot Collagen Eye Sheet is another favorite of mine since it's so inexpensive and works great, I buy them 10 at a time (they are NEVER in stock because everyone buys them up!).

While I let those masks do their job, I laid back on my Heavenly Acupressure Mat.  If you don't have one, and you have back pain, you need to get one immediately.  My friend Nina recommended it to me and I lay on it at least 15minutes every night before bed and it knocks me right out!  If you've never had any type of acupuncture or have a low tolerance to pain, just lay with your shirt on the first few times, after that you'll be so hooked you'll crave it, I've fallen asleep on it a few times.  I especially love the head piece, it's like someone giving you a scalp massage.

Woke up looking fresh faced and poreless, ready to pack my suitcase in the 30 minutes I allocated to getting ready for TX after hitting snooze 8 times... I'm clearly not a morning person...

4th Day's a Charm

There are few things I hate more than washing my hair.  The actual act of washing my hair I love, it's the drying of the hair and style that I loath.  My hairs looks so good on day 3 and 4 I just want it to look like that all the time!  Enter Dry Shampoo.  Dry shampoos work by absorbing oils and odor leaving hair with a cleaner feeling (even though it's really not...).  Here are some of my favorites.

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Klorane Dry Shampoo w/ Nettle Oil Control $11.90 or $20.71 x2 (Cheapest price on Amazon!) - This is the Oil Control version of the cult classic French Dry Shampoo and it's totally my jam.  It really absorbs oil, even heavy yoga class sweat!  Adds amazing texture, volume, and really refreshes my hair style.  The only problem I have with it is that it leaves a lot of powder on my scalp, like sand after the beach, the grit of it starts to build up and feel pretty gross, so this guy usually only gets me to day 3 before I feel the need to wash.  Still one of my favorites!  4.5/5 Stars

Alterna Bamboo Style Cleanse Extend $22 - I'm a huge fan of Alterna (The Caviar line is magic) but this was a huge miss for me.  I've tried using this multiple times, but for me, it literally does nothing.  No oil absorbed, no texture added, nothing.  Just an aerosol spray of air.  I guess is smells kinda good? 0/5 Stars.

Verb Dry Shampoo $14 - I got this one at a conference a few months ago and found it in my bag while on another trip that I had forgotten to bring my regular dry shampoo on.  Now the squeeze bottle applicator is kind the worst.  If you try and put it directly on your hair you either get no product or WAY too much.  So I squeeze some into my palms, rub it together, flip my hair over and massage it into my roots and scalp.  It absorbs the oil, adds volume (I've even liked this one on clean hair for texture), and it also helps to protect the hair.  Great formula doesn't leave hair white, but the applicator isn't my favorite.  3.5/5 Stars.

Milk Makeup Dry Shampoo $14 - How I could talk about dry shampoo without a shout out to my company!  This guy uses cotton fibers and rice starch to absorb oil and add texture, it leaves a soft white tea scent that's not at all overpowering (I hate heavy feminine fragrance in dry shampoo, I have my own cologne thank you).  I put this one to the test while on a trip to Chicago and lasted 4 full days without washing, and my hair looked great!  Absolutely no powder build up on my scalp, which is much appreciated.  At $14 you really can't go wrong.  4.5/5 Stars.

Speaking of second day hair, I was in Texas a few weeks ago, I had just washed my hair and as always, it looked like frizzy ass.  While I was in Sephora I found this product from REVERIE that smelled like happiness and dreams, so I figured my hair couldn't look any worse and threw some in.  I quickly became very obsessed, the RAKE Styling Balm has a blend of oils and butters to hydrate, protect, soften, and provide lightweight hold.  The blend of essential oils smell earthy, like a cologne I would wear.  It gives me second day hair on day 1 making washing my hair not so awful.  Apply to damp hair or on dry hair to add texture.  5/5 Stars $36.

Tales of Tanning

The sun is the leading causes of skin aging, it leaves dark spots, encourages wrinkles, and causes cancer.  Enough to make you want to avoid it at all cost, right? Yeah, maybe not.  My desire for a rich-even tan during the summer outweighs all that.  Here's how I've achieved a super dark tan over my past few weeks of travel, but in the safest (kinda) way possible.

Trunk Bay in St John

Trunk Bay in St John

Leading up to my vacation I boosted my omega intake.  Omegas are shown to boost your skins natural defenses against the sun.  This in combination with sunscreen can help prevent burning.

The Day 1 lineup

The Day 1 lineup

With only a few shirtless hikes on Runyon under my belt, I headed to St Thomas on a family vacation without a base tan.  Generally I like a little colour to prep my skin for the intense island sun, but I just didn't have the time for it.  So during my first day in the sun I did the Sun Bum SPF 50 Clear Zinx Oxide on my face and a L'Oreal Quick Dry SPF 30 on my body.  I got hardly any colour, but I didn't burn, so that was a plus.

Day 2 I kept the Sun Bum SPF 50 on my face but switched to Kate Somerville Body Glow SPF 20 for body, I had received it a few months prior and was excited to try it.  I was even more excited when I realized it had gold shimmer in it, cause nothing says "vacation" like gold shimmer.  Now the second day of sun was slightly more booze fueled than the first and I may not have been reapplying my sunscreen correctly.  *You should always reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or after a lot of time in the water*.  Since it's usually only my shoulders that burn, there's where I was reapplying.  This vacation was an exception to that, I burned my stomach around where my sternum is, so random, but it got super red.  I brought along with Kate Somerville Tan Maximizer, I applied this liberally every evening to calm down the redness.  It has that distinct sunscreen smell, which I'm not a very big fan off, but whatever, I needed the hydration.

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Day 3 Since I was still feeling a bit burnt, I kept using the Kate Somerville SPF 20 on body and switched to my favorite Jurlique Sun Specialist SPF 40 for my face, it just smells so damn good and feels rich and hydrating.  I wear it on the daily even though its designed for beach use, its just so good.

Day 4, I needed a break from the sun and pretty much slept all day, had a quick workout, and bathed in after sun lotion.

Day 5 Still feeling a bit worried about my not yet peeling burn, I bought some Sun Bun SPF 50 for my body so I wouldn't get anymore burnt.  My tanning had haulted, but I wasn't peeing yet.  I stopped by a shop in St John and got Solar Recovery - Save Your Skin that has a concoction of natural oils to stop burns.  The label even said something to the effect of "We don't know how it works, it just does" sounds good to me!  My skin looked better over night, it is such a nice light hydrating spray and smells amazing. I'm still spraying it on myself when I get out of the shower every morning.

The Ultimate Tanning Lotion

The Ultimate Tanning Lotion

Day 6 I wasn't about to leave this island without a dark tan, time to call in the big guns! I busted out my absolute favorite Lancaster SPF 6 Tan Deepener, and proceeded to bake in the sun, seriously nothing is better!  Without fail it got a beautiful tan and my burn didn't get any worse, woo-hoo!!

I continued using the Solar Recovery Spray to prevent my tan from fading, but I knew my tan would start fading if I didn't find something heavier for hydration so I grabbed the Coola ER+ Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion and instantly fell in love.  Almost 100% natural ingredients, an emollient formula designed to prolong your tan and reduce inflammation.  It's been my body moisturizer since.

A little poolside stretch  

A little poolside stretch  

The following week I was working in Vegas, my sister was kind enough to get me a cabana at the Caesars Venus Pool for my bday.  I laid out for about 4 hours using the Lancaster SPF 6.  I would have stayed out longer, but when you're getting free drinks and they're the size of a big gulp, nap time comes a bit sooner than normal.

And the week after that I went in Hawaii for work, I took full advantage of the little sunny free time I had (about 4 hours total in 2 visits) and again used the Lancaster SPF 6.  This stuff is legit a tanning miracle, every time I use it I get amazing colour without burning.  Only problem with it is the sheer tint is a bit staining on white clothes.  Being that I was sporting my white AussieBum booty shorts, it can be a bit of a problem.

In case you couldn't figure it out, here's my formula for tanning.  Start off with a high SPF to get your skin use to the sun and gradually lower your protection to get darker once you've built up a tolerance.  Always use hydrating and anti-inflammatory after sun products, this will calm down your skin, prevent peeling, and help maintain your tan for a longer period of time.  It's been 2 weeks since I've been in the sun and the tan on my body hasn't faded at all.  My face does get a little lighter due to all the exfoliants and retinoids I use, but a few drops of the Clarins Radiance Plus Glow Booster helps fix that problem.  This is my routine all summer long, then come winter it's time to break out the chemical peels and heavy retinals to get rid of all that sun damage I just caused...

Sephora VIB Sale!

t's every cosmetics junkies favorite time of year, the bi-annual Sephora VIB Discount weekend! With 15% It's the best time to make your big purchases and stock up on your essentials. These are my recommendations for this season, so add them to your cart so you don't forget!

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Milk Makeup Sunshine Oil $38 > $32.3 - Gotta plug the new company.  This oil has a beautiful bright citrus scent with essential oils of grapefruit peel, lemon peel, mandarin orange peel, and hydrating oils like avocado and grape seed.  Great lightweight feel in a super portable-glass roller ball.

Clarisonic Smart Profile $265 > $199 > $169.15 - This set is already on sale, and I love me a sale on sale.  The Smart Profile can use any of the Clarisonic brushes, face, body, and feet.  At this price it's definitely a steal.

Foreo Luna2 $199 > $169.15 - For those who don't want to buy replacement heads, the Foreo is a great investment.  Holds a charge for an entire year and uses vibrations and super soft silicone tips to cleanse.  I always bring this one along when I travel.

SK-II Facial Essence $99-$290 > $84.15-$246.50 - One of my all time favorite skincare products, contains the miracle ingredient Pitera, it legit will change your skin.  Hydrates, brightens, and makes your skin GLOW.  Definitely in my Top 5 favorite products.

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil $105 > $89.25 - In my current evening routine, this oil contains exfoliating and revitalizing oils as well as anti-inflammatory oils for a very well balanced treatment.  Totally my jam and a great retinol alternative for sensitive skin and normal skin alike.

Shiseido Facial Cotton $9.50 > $8.07 - I use these with all my toners, they make them stretch so much further, so when VIB times comes around I always stock up with 2 or 3.

Fresh Crème Ancienne Ultimate Nourishing Honey Mask $140 > $119 - Definitely a skincare splurge, this mask smells and feels like happiness and dreams.  As I'm obsessed with anything containing honey, this is one of my all time favorite masks for hydration and soothing skin.  The Crème Ancienne Eye Cream is my current PM eye cream and is amazing for dry skin.

AmorePacific Treatment Enzyme Peel $60 > $51 - My go to exfoliant, uses natural enzymes to break away dead skin, leaving skin feeling super smooth and look bright and radiant.  If you haven't tried it, you are seriously missing out!

Iluminage Sleeping Beauty Deluxe Set $99 > $84.15 - Being one to try anything that claims to be anti-aging, I fell in love with the Iluminage Eye Mask.  I've yet to get the pillow care, but this set is a steal, and I really really think I need it...

Nude Skincare only has a few products online, but in store they have the entire brand and it's currently 30% off!  If you find some pieces you love (ProGenius oil is my jam!) take advantage of getting that additional 15% off!  

What's on your VIB list??

New Product Review

Been a bit crazy with the new job, but I’ve added some great new products to my skincare routine that I’m sure you’re just dying to hear about.

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Dior Capture Total Le Sérum $165-$225 4/5 Stars– Now I haven’t used Dior skincare since I used the No Age range 3,000 years ago (it smelled like nana and I loved it), and I was a little hesitate to use Dior skincare as they are known for using a lot of fragrance.  The active ingredient is Longozo of Madagascar Extract, the Dior Researchers have boosted the Longoza extract enhancing its properties, making is capable of synchronizing cells, including stem cells, in every layer of the skin. Dior reports say that when used twice a day for a month, 92% of users noticed fine lines and wrinkles smoothed, 88% noticed facial features were firmer, and 92% said their skin reflected light better.  Now I don’t know how a serum can turn my face into a light reflective prism, but I’m into it.  I’ve been using Le Sérum for 2 months now and while I thought I would hate it, I really really like it.  It absorbs easily after my essence and doesn’t have a strong fragrance.  My skin is noticeably smoother and is definitely glowing, so maybe it does turn skin into a prism…

Odacité Green Tea-Lemongrass Serum Concentrate $39 – I just started using this guy 2 weeks ago and I LOVE the smell!  I had previously used the Wild Carrot-Vital Glow which I really liked, so I’m just as excited about this one.  This serum only has 2 ingredients, Camellia seed oil (Green Tea) and Lemongrass oil.  Green Tea is a powerful anti-oxidant great for protection and adding radiance, Lemongrass has tightening properties and also helps refine sluggish, lackluster skin.  I mix 3 drops in with my moisturizer in the morning, now if you don’t like the smell of Lemongrass, you won’t like this, I however love the smell of Lemongrass.  I did lightly notice the smell throughout the day, which was invigorating.  I’ve definitely seen it perking up my skin as I’ve been crazy tired lately.

Kate Somerville CytoCell Dark Circle Eye Cream $75 3.5/5 Stars – This eye cream has a huge cult following and I had been hearing about it for so long I just hand to get some.  Its an all in one anti-aging eye cream with a focus on fighting dark circles.  It contains 2 peptides to refresh, hydrate, and smooth, plus Vitamin C and Light Diffusing Pearls to brighten the eye area.  I find it funny that on the Kate Somerville website they list 4 user studies, none of them mentioning dark circles (I mean, it’s a Dark Circle eye cream…) then I look to the Sephora website and see they do have a user result but its only 60% of users that said is dramatically reduced the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.  Dark Circles are one of the hardest concerns to treat, probably why there is such a low number.  I’ve been using this for just over a month, and I have noticed my eyes looking brighter, it definitely hydrates instantly and with the smallest amount.  I give it a 3.5 because I've noticed more of a difference in hydration and firmness than dark circles, and that's really what I wanted out of it.  I do really like it though.

Boscia Sake Balm $46 3/5 Stars– The texture on this one is just the coolest.  It’s this weird gel that bounces back into place like a memory foam mattress (If you ever used the Mizon Returning Starfish Cream, its similar to that).  This lightweight balm contains Sake, which is loaded with antioxidants to help with loss of water, radiance, hyper-pigmentation, and pretty much every other skin concern.  Glycolic Acid helps with texture, fine lines, and hyper-pigmentation.  Vitamin C to help brighten and protect the skin, as well as boosting collagen.  Lastly a botanical blend of Jojoba Leaf and Willowherb to fight free radicals and help with inflammation.  I’m on week 3 of using this every morning, I like that its so light weight, making it great for layer with other products, but I can’t help but feel it’s a bit too light weight for dry LA weather.  The texture definitely makes it ideal for combo to oily skin, but I feel drier skin types probably won’t love it.  To see results from the actives in this, it usually takes a little time, so I plan on finishing the jar to see if it can fade some of my sun damage.

Skin Medica Retinol 1.0 $93 – Retinol is one of the only ingredients proven to fight fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and improve texture, so everyone needs one.  I recently finished a tube of my favorite A313 and decided to give the SkinMedica a try.  Going from using an Rx strength retinol to OTC strength, I’ve definitely noticed less irritation, but I’m still getting similar smoothing results.  Skin Medica makes their retinol in 3 strengths, .25, .5, and 1.0, so if you’re not use to using a retinol product, definitely start on the lower end; Start by using it every 3 nights working your way up to every night.  The nights I haven’t used this I see why I definitely need to keep using a retinol, its smoothes out the texture of the skin and helps sloth off the dead skin so my cleanser can remove it all in the AM.  If you’re in the market, I definitely recommend the SkinMedica Retinol range.

4 Week Before & After

4 Week Before & After

Elizabeth Arden-Prevage-Clinical Lash + Brow Serum $100 – So I may not be the best at taking before and afters (getting the same lighting is so hard!) but you can see by the photo of week 1 vs week 4 that there’s definitely an improvement in length of the lashes and thickness of the brows.  Being that I tweezed the fuck out of my brows as a young gay, they just don’t grow anymore, that arch is permanent.  I won’t say that I noticed a lot of new hairs in my brows, but they look MUCH thicker than they did before.  My brows normally disappear in photos with a flash, but now I can actually see them!  My lashes also are much fuller.  I’ll definitely continue to use it, I’m happy with the results.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Sleeping Cream $38 – I’m slowly becoming more and more obsessed with First Aid Beauty.  The brand is really clean, meaning no harsh chemicals, no parabens, colourants and the such.  I was always under the impression that the products were designed for the most sensitive of skin (which they are) and that they wouldn’t be active enough for someone wanting more.  This has definitely proved that theory wrong.  I’m so obsessed with this Sleeping Cream, and its only $38, seriously??  It has peptides to boost collagen, ingredients to firm and improve elasticity, as well as Hyaluronic Acid, Colloidal Oatmeal, plant butters, and waxes for tons of hydration.  The texture is creamy, but not heavy, and the hydrating and calming ingredients make it ideal for anyone using retinols, chemical peels, or with sensitive skin.  Give is a try, and experience some of the other products in their range (I’m loving the Vitamin Hydrating Mist right now as well!)

Cooking for the Neurotic

So yum! 

So yum! 

The one thing I can always count on to making my stressful day all better, is coming home at night, going to the gym, showering off, smoking a bowl, and cooking a great dinner.  I love to cook, its in my DNA, everyone in my family can cook, I just didn't learn till later in life.  Trying new recipes is always a fun challenge for me, as I have one of those typical LA "I eat rice and ice cubes" diets.  No Meat, No Gluten, No Dairy when possible (I do cheat here), Organic when possible, No Artificial Ingredients, Minimal Sugar, just as healthy as I possible can.  I do eat eggs (organic) and fish, though mostly only Wild Alaskan Salmon.  So I like to take normal recipes and switch out ingredients to fit my diet, which forces me to think outside the box, and I always have fun no matter the outcome.

You know those 15-30 clips everyone posts on Facebook with the areal shot of what they're doing?  I'm obsessed with them cause they always make everything look so good, but rarely do the ingredients fit my diet, so I change them around.  Tonight I made one that just looked so fun and I immediately knew all the ingredients I could use.  You can check out the original here Tastemade Cheeseburger Stuffed Mushrooms, I followed the recipe exactly, just switch out to these ingredients.

  • 24 baby bella mushrooms (I accidently used Organic Cremini)
  • 2 tbsp Earth Balance Vegan Butter Stick
  • 1 bag on Beyond Meat-Beyond Beef (I mixed the Beefy Crumble and Feisty flavours)
  • 1 Organic Shallot, diced
  • 2 tbsp Daiya Vegan Cream Cheese
  • ½ tsp Whole Foods Organic Worcestershire Wauce
  • 1 tsp Annies Organic Ketchup
  • 1 tsp Organicville Organic Yellow Mustard
  • Daiya Montery Jack Non-Dairy Cheesy, cut into small squares
  • 4-5 Organic Cherry Tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 tbsp Organic Butter Lettuce, thinly shredded
  • Organic Salt and Pepper, to taste

I am so happy with how this turned out, I mean it taste like happiness and dreams.  I was meant to make it for some friends who were coming over for facial night, but they had to cancel, so its my dinner.  The only thing I would change for next time is get the shredded Daiya Cheddar Cheese, the one I got didn't melt, and I think cheddar would taste even better on this.

Check out the rest of the recipe at Tastemade.com