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

Down in the Grease Pits

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One of the biggest questions skin questions people ask me is how to help their oily/combination or acne prone skin.  There are so many different ways to answer this, so I’m going to address the most common concerns I’m asked.

1.    Are You Oily?

Most people have a little oil in their t-zone by the end of the day.  This is normal; it doesn’t mean you have oily skin.  Truly oily skin will be shiny on the t-zone (forehead, nose, chin) and cheeks within a few hours of waking up.  Combination skin will be shiny in the t-zone by mid-day, but shouldn’t be too shiny on the cheeks, or may even be dry there.  Normal skin will have a slight shine to the nose maybe forehead by early evening.  Dry skin will look like the Sahara from the moment they wake up.  Your skin type probably changes based on where you live, visit, and time of the year.  I’m Oily on the East coast 8 months out of the year and on the West coast I’m Combination with a little dehydration all year.  Ugh the struggle.

2.    Cleansing

Oh you wash your face with your shampoo and wondering why you have clogged pores?  Well no shit brah, shampoo may get the beard nice and shiny but it isn’t going to help get your skin glowing.  Cleansing may be the most important part of an oily skins routine.  You need to find a perfect balance between detoxifying and exfoliating without stripping your skin completely. Your skin should feel smooth and slightly tight after it has dried off, not dry and patchy (sometimes you’ll see white flaking, no bueno).  If you strip your skin of all its natural oils, it may over compensate by creating even more oil.  I’ve used about 1,000 different cleansers, it definitely takes some experimenting to find which one works best for your skin, here are a few of my favorite oily/combination skin cleansers (some are good for all skin types as well)

Erno Laszlo Deep Sea Mud Soap $45 – Legit one of my all time favorite cleansers.  I started getting acne for the first time when I was 26, and my pores were massive.  A girlfriend told me to get this, and it changed my skin almost instantly.  Mr. Laszlo creating an special cleansing method: Fill your sink with warm water, dip soap in water, massage soap on face, rinse soap back in water and set aside, lather face, splash face 20 times with water in the sink, then 10 more times with clean running water.  I still do this cleansing method with most every cleanser I’ve used. Great for Normal-Oily Skin

Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip $45– I hated this the first time I tried it as I was so use to a lather.  After tossing it aside for a few months, I revisited and fell in love.  You have to get use to a very mild cleansing feeling, but trust that your skin is clean and balanced.  It tightens pores, boosts radiance, stimulates circulation, and helps with irritation.  Great for Normal-Combination Skin

Milk Makeup Charcoal Cleanser $28 – Yeah I work for them now, so I gotta do a plug, but I have been using this for 2 weeks now and I’m liking it more than I thought I would.  This sulfate free cleansing contains charcoal from the Japanese Ubame oak tree + vitamin E, cleanses the skin gently without over drying.  Great for All Skin Types.

3.    Toning

I’ve used toner since I was 12, so I’ve always felt it a very necessary step in my skincare routine.  Oh your cleanser has a built in toner?  How?  That’s never made sense to me.  I apply my toner to a cotton square (Shiseido makes the best, you use less and makes your bottle last forever) and sweep it all over my face, excess cleanser and any remaining debris is seen on the square.  So how exactly is your cleanser doing that?  Yeah…  I have a very hard time finding a toner I like, there haven’t been many, these are the exceptions. 

Erno Laszlo Light Controlling Lotion $55 – I grabbed this after I fell in love with the soap.  When my skin is on the oilier side I love a little alcohol in my toner.  This one tightens pores, exfoliates, controls shine, and also has added humectants to bring hydration to the skin.  Great for Combo-Oily skin.

Belif Eucalyptus Herbal Extract Toner $28 – More recently I discovered this guy on a hunt for a less expensive toner.  Fell in love, even purchased a second time (which never happens).  This toner contains a blend of herbal extracts to control sebum and shine without stripping.  Great for Combo-Oily skin.

4.    Targeted Concerns

Black Heads
These are those black dots you seen on your nose, forehead, and chin.  What causes them is excess sebum and bacteria; these can turn into blemishes, so its good to take care of them.  I usually steam my face and squeeze my skin (works great on the sides of the nose) to get the blackheads out.  If done wrong though, it can leave some redness and scarring, so best to get a professional to do this.  Pore Strips are a great quick fix (I love the ones from SkinFood), but it’s best to maintain by cleansing and masking regularly.

Pores
Pores are where these black heads are chilling out.  Oily skin will have larger more visible pores, this is how the oil gets to the surface of your skin.  You can’t make pores smaller, you just can’t, sorry.  You can keep them clean though, which makes them look smaller.  Keeping good about your skincare routine helps, so cleanse, exfoliate, and mask regularly.  Now I have heard there are certain lasers that can help make pores smaller, but I’ve yet to experiment with them, have you?

Blemishes/Zits/Whiteheads
These will be those pesky bumps on your skin that you want to pop, don’t, that’s how acne scars are formed.  For emergencies I like to use a Benzoyl Peroxide based spot treatment (Murad Acne Spot Fast Fix works great) but using them too frequently causes irritation, sun sensitivity, and your skin can build up a tolerance.  Stick to using it directly on blemishes and not on large areas.  Salicylic Acid is milder and great for more regular use to control blemishes and is usually in a gel texture that’s easy to smooth over acne prone areas and large pores (Clinique Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel).  If you have an event tomorrow and need that mammoth zit to shrink overnight, Sulfur (Mario Badescu Drying Lotion) is the way to go.  If you had chicken pox as a kid, this clearing method won’t look so strange to you.  Dip a cotton swab in the formula and apply the pink stuff directly to blemishes before bed.  This will shrink blemishes overnight allowing you to cover them more easily with makeup.

Cystic Acne
Cystic Acne is that crazy painful blemish you get that you can’t pop and hurts like hell when you touch.  I get these on my forehead and the tip of my nose a few times and year and I hate them so much.  I mean I’ve gone as far and sticking sterilized needles into them to pop them (I DO NOT recommend doing that, lesson learned).  Cystic acne comes from an internal bacteria (in most cases).  If you have severe Cystic Acne, topical products alone will not help, you need to see a dermatologist.  Anyone trying to sell you a topical saying it cures Cystic Acne is just throwing you a sales pitch and doesn’t know what they’re talking about.  In mild cases I’ve seen taking probiotics help (I take Natures Sunshine Bacillus Coagulans), but for severe cases a Dermatologist prescribed antibiotic is necessary.  They will usually prescribe a retinoid (Like my favorite A313) to apply at night to smooth at the skin and help with the scarring.

5.    Hydration

So many people with oily skin don’t moisturize because they think it will make them even oilier.  Note that I listed this topic as “Hydration”, Hydra=Water, oily skin can also be dehydrated, making it produce even more oil.  There are also tons of environmental aggressors and free radicals floating around you need to protect your skin from; this is where a moisturizer comes in.  I could list a million different moisturizers here, but unless oil control is your only concern, you should pick a moisturizer based on your skin concern, be it brightening, anti-aging, age prevention…  Just look for lighter weight formulas, usually water based formulas or products listed as lotion vs a cream.  Below are a few products I’ve used when looking to re-balance my skin and calm down the oil, these I’ve used as incremental treatments, then go back to my normal skin routine.

Clarins Lotus Treatment Oil $54 – I talked about this in a previous post.  It was the first all over oil I ever used and its still a favorite of mine.  Use every night directly after toning (while skin is still wet) for 3 months at a time to help rebalance.  Great to use as your night treatment in the hot summer and underneath clay masks as a booster.

Decleor Aromessence Ylang Ylang Purifying Night Balm $42 – Even when my skin is oily, I love a rich texture on my skin!  This night balm is an emollient oil/wax blend that smells like happiness and leaves the skin feeling fresh and brightened in the morning.  Cleanses and purifies, re-balances, and reduces imperfections and inflammation.  Great for that dry-acne prone skin as well.  Also available in a purifying Serum/Oil that can be used during the day.

6.    Masking

More than any other skin type, masking is most important for oily and congested skin.  Cleansing and toning can only go so far without being to aggressive on the daily, that’s when adding that masking boost comes to play.  I love clay based masks and have gone through 100s of them.  These are best when trying to combat blackheads, control oil, and maintain clear skin.  Sheet masks are great for adding treatment into the skin, but they don’t pull anything out, so when you’re looking for that quick detoxifying fix, reach for the clay masks.  Use as needed, but not more than 3 times a week.  To add an extra boost to your mask, mix a drop or 2 of Tea Tree Oil with your toner right before masking.

Apivita Face Mask with Green Clay $21.70 - I grabbed one of these at a pharmacy in Spain and instantly fell in love.  Its not at all drying, but leave the skin feeling fresh and the pores diminished.

Bliss Steep Clean Pore Purifying Mask $55 - This is one I've used for years!  Dispense the dual pump product into your fingers, warm it up, massage it in, and in 15 minutes your skin will look poreless!  Definitely must have!

7.    Exfoliation

Granular exfoliation stimulated the skin, which can make oily skin produce even more oils.  It can also spread bacteria around creating more blemishes.  I'm a big fan of chemical and enzyme exfoliants.  These work by breaking down the proteins holding dead skin cells to your skin.

Amore Pacific Enzyme Peel $60 - I talk about this one all the time cause its so damn good.  The powder foams up and removes all dead skin, leaving your face fresh and glowing.  A definite must have, and it last forever.

First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Blemish Control Pads $30 - These are like your old school Stridex pads, only they won't rip your skin apart.  You can use them after each time you cleanse to gently exfoliate while helping control oil and tighten pores.

8.    Foundation

You have all your skincare on and want to cover up some of your blemishes and/or control oil, but are scared that foundation will clog your skin.  There are definitely some foundations that should be avoided for oily/acne prone skin (I won’t name names, but it won’t “Fix” anything), but there are plenty of foundations that are amazing for your skin type.  Look for something oil-free, mattifying, liquid or powder based on your preference.  Personally, I like the flexibility of a liquid, you can work it into hard to cover blemishes, and adjust the coverage as necessary.  My favorite for oily-acne prone skin is the Hourglass Immaculate Liquid to Powder Foundation, yes I use to work for them, and I’ve seen it completely transform people’s skin.  I even wore it myself on an occasion as a spot treatment to hide blemishes and pores and my skin looked better when I look it off than before I had applied.

 When you do get shiny through out the day, be sure to have some blotting papers handy.  Just press onto the areas of concern to absorb oil.  I'm loving the Milk Makeup Roll + Blot, they're made out of hemp and double as rolling papers, whats not to love!

Death Becomes Her

If you’ve ever met me I’m sure you’ve heard me mention 1,000 times how my mom is a Naturopathic Dr and how many supplements I take.  If you haven’t, my mom’s a Naturopathic Dr and I take a shit ton of supplements.  Years ago I started working for this company called Glowelle (which is unfortunately no longer) they created a drink that contained a ridiculous amount of nutrients and and anti-oxidants for the skins benefit.  I was 24 at the time I started working for the company and back then I even noticed how hydrated it kept my skin and how “glowy” I looked.  This was back in 2008, the economy was in the crapper, and people didn’t understand “beauty from within” and couldn’t afford $120 for a 30 day supply.  Now That I’m a bit older and definitely seeing signs of aging, I wish and pray every day that this product comes back.  Until it does, I’ve endlessly researched different types of supplements to keep my skin in top shape from the inside out.  You are what you eat, and what I don’t get from my diet I supplement with supplements :)  Here are a few new and old that I can’t live without.

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In August last year I decided the Man Bun was fading out of style a bit too quick and I wanted my long hair back, but damn was it going to be a bitch to grow my sides out to match the top of my hair.  It was time to buy some Biotin!  I first started with the Maxi-Hair for Men from Country Life as it was the most popular one I could find.  I went through about 3 bottles of this and wasn’t very impressed.  I noticed a little faster hair growth, but it wasn’t anything outstanding.  When I was going to replenish one day I ran across the Irwin Naturals Biotin-6000 with Bamboo Extract, being a sucker for packaging this one really appealed to me.  I’m on my 3rd bottle of it and I’m SOOO happy.  My hair has been growing much faster and much healthier, my nails, which have gotten brittle as I’ve gotten older, have been growing much stronger, even my lashes have been staying healthier!  I’ve also noticed it helping my skin as it contains ingredients to help with elasticity, hydration, and free radical protection.  The only slight issue I have with the pill is that they do tend to leak just a little, so be careful not to get them on anything white, there’s usually 1 pill in the bottle that isn’t totally sealed, these pills are however easier to swallow than a lot of other ones I take.  2x a day the bottle will last you 1 month.  Irwin Naturals Biotin-6000 4.5/5 Stars $16.49 a bottle (I usually buy 2 so I don’t have to pay shipping)

Now my mom, being the loving and caring person that she is, loves to help out my neurotic beauty habits by sending me over any skin and health related articles and information she receives.  She also loves to send me different supplements she thinks may help my skin.  Regeneplex is definitely the best beauty supplement I’ve taken, Momma bear sent it to me a few years ago and I can’t stop taking this miracle pill.  After 2 weeks of taking Regeneplex I was trying to figure out why I was getting so many compliments on my skin, it looked brighter, plumper, rested, and just all over glowing, then I remember of yeah, that new pill I’ve been taking!  Whenever I run out its like okay, sad face, I need it ASAP.  It’s rich in Carotenoids -Lutein, Beta Carotene, Lycopene- help fight free radical damage, fight photo-aging, and even improve skin smoothness.  Also high in Zinc and Vitamin C to boost collagen and fight free radical damage. A proprietary blend of a bunch of other ingredients like Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin B, and Camu Camu just add to this amazing supplement.  90 Pills in a bottle 2x per day for best results. Now, the only problem is its not exactly easy to find, you have to buy it through an authorized retailer, non of which are online (I found one bottle on Amazon for $130).  Standard Process Regeneplex 5/5 Stars, If you want to get a bottle and can’t find a retailer, hit me up and I can order some for you, its $42.50 a bottle just shoot me a message ihrichak1@gmail.com.

I’ve recently become fascinated with Ayurvedic medicine, one of the worlds oldest holistic healing systems.  Turmeric is probably the most well known of these herbs.  Its mostly used as an anti-inflammatory, which is why I originally bought it, I do so many peels and aggressive skin treatments that my skin does get inflamed and irritated, as well as my muscles being inflamed from either stress or exercise.  Turmeric has also been show to help detoxify the liver, inhibit growth of skin cancer, help with psoriasis, speed up the healing of wounds, help with depression, aid in weight management, natural painkiller, it pretty much does your laundry and makes you dinner.  I’ve been taking it for a few weeks now and noticed less redness in my skin, my body aches have definitely gone down, and one friend said that its made my skin look more tan?  I guess eating a lot of something thats yellow can make the skin more yellow, but I can’t find any studies on that.  I’m enjoying the Gaia Turmeric Supreme 4/5 Stars $20.99 for 120 pills per bottle, 1 pill 2x a day with food.

Being one to buy anything that says it’d good for the skin I’ve decided to give He Shou Wu a try.  This ancient Chinese secret is said to nourish the blood, hair, skin, nervous system, shen (Spirit), and Jing (primary essence/life force).  The last 2 I clearly copied from their website cause I have no clue whats thats all about, but count me in.  People are said to have had their grey hair turn back to black and hair grow stronger from this.  It’s also said to help with liver and kidney tonifying.  It tastes a bit like earthy sadness, so I recommend mixing it in with your favorite tea and a little honey.  I’ve only just started taking this, so the verdict is still out, but I’ve found great reviews for it online, and I mean, when has an ancient Chinese secret ever been wrong?  Sun Potion He Shou Wu available cheapest through Thrive Market (a new favorite store of mine) at $32.95 vs $55 check them out for 15% off your first order.

In addition I take a few other skin beneficial supplements from my favorite herb brand Natures Sunshine, which I’ve been taking for some 20 years.  
Coenzyme Q10 100mg 2pills a day in the AM $41.95 retail, $27.95 member cost- Protects against photo-aging, stimulates cellular activity, stimulates collagen production, and free radical protection.
Super ORAC 1 or 2 pills a day $53.85 retail or $35.90 member cost, also available in the Super Trio daily supplement pack (thats how I take it) - Contains a whole slew of anti-oxidants to fight off free radical damage including Green Tea/EGCG, Mangosteen, Resveratrol, Acai Berry, Turmeric, Quercetin, Selenium, and Apple Fruit Extract.  These are actually all the ingredients that were in the Glowelle drink I use to take.
These can be purchased through Natures Sunshine, hit me up if you want the details on how to get them at member cost (or just follow the link above), it doesn’t cost anything to join, ihrichak1@gmail.com

Have you found the potion to give you eternal youth?  Let me know, I want to start taking it!

8 Bad Skin Habits

In my 15 years in the Cosmetics industry I've seen it all, the bad habits people have that don't know any better and the bad habits that they keep on doing even though they know they're bad.  Most the bad habits are ones I've personally had and over the years and regretted, but seen results from quitting.  Here are a few things that you should and shouldn't be doing

1.     I Don’t Wash My Face At Night
Oh you thought sleeping with a full face of makeup on was good for your skin?  So did Paris Hilton in her book Confessions of an Heiress, but I highly doubt she still is 11 years later.  I can't tell you how many girls sit in my chair, I'm removing their 17 layers of built up mascara and lash glue and all their lashes are falling out.  "Why do my lashes keep falling out"...  Um...  Well princess, the tar from your waterproof mascara and the lash glue you keep re-applying are clogging the hair follicles, making the hairs weak, and they're falling out.  Remove it every night.  Oh and those layers of foundation and colour you're wearing all day?  Pollution from the environment sits on top of their and when you sleep with it on, it all absorbs into your skin, leaving the skin red, blemish prone, and blotchy looking.  Even if you're not wearing makeup, remember that everywhere you've been during the day, a little bit of that is left on your face.  For those oh so lazy, buy some wipes (Ole Henrikson Makeup Removing Wipes are great and remove waterproof makeup) leave them by your bed and wipe away your sins before bed.

2.     I Don’t Use Eye Cream

So you wear eye makeup, tug and pull at the eyes applying and removing it eh?  Well that’s aging your eyes.  The skin around the eyes is super thin, which means it will age faster than the rest of your skin with no fat or collagen under it to make it look plump. I started using eye cream at 15, because I’m pretty neurotic about these things, but I recommend anyone over the age of 18 use an eye cream for preventative measures, day and night to help keep the skin hydrated and soft.   Try Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Eye Cream is a good starter

3.     I Go Tanning

 Oh how I took advantage of my unlimited tanning membership at 23

Oh how I took advantage of my unlimited tanning membership at 23

We all know better than to go to tanning beds, but I know, they feel like happiness and dreams, I had a tanning membership off and on from ages 16-26 and I’m fully paying for it now.  In our younger years we don’t think about the consequences, but so maybe of out parents can attest to the fact that sun damage doesn’t rear its ugly face until much further down the road.  You may love that deep brown skin now, but the deep brown sunspots will be an evil reminder in 20 years.  Now I love the beach, and will not stop going out in the sun all summer, there are “safe” ways to tan, use sunscreen and reapply every 2 hours.  The quicker you burn without sunscreen, the high the sunscreen you should be wearing.  I have medium olive skin, and don’t really burn, so I start my summer off with SPF30 on my face and SPF15 on my body, as the summer goes on I move to SPF15 Face and SPF6 body (Lancaster Sun Tan Deepener SPF6 is my JAM).  Am I still getting some sun damage?  Of course, but Istvan likes his colour and will burn off the sun damage with lasers and retinoids all winter.

4.     I Don’t Wear Sunscreen

Did you know you get more sun damage in your daily activities than laying out by the pool all day?  When you’re in the sun for an extended period of time your skin puts up its natural defenses giving you some natural protection (especially if you have a good amount of Omegas in your diet), but intermittent sun exposure causes the skin to only take in the bad.  I recommend wearing an SPF30 daily.  Now I am definitely a culprit of this bad habit, at 12 years old I would wash, tone, and moisturize w/ SPF15 every day, as an adult I NEVER wore sunscreen.  Only until about 2 years ago did I start using a sunscreen regularly, and its made the biggest difference in my skin.  I hate the texture of most suncreens, they either burn or make my skin itch like fire ants are crawling all over.  Experiment, see which works better for you skin either mineral or chemical or a combo of both.  Mineral sunscreens reflect light (Titanium and Zinc) and last longer, but sometimes the small particles can irritate the skin.  Chemical sunscreens (Those crazy names you can’t pronounce) absorb light so it doesn’t hit your skin, and lose potency after 2 hours.  My skin reacts best with a combo heavy on the chemical side, I love the Tony Moly My Sunny Watery Sun Gel SPF30, it feels like water that goes on and disappears.

5.     I Don’t Moisturize

I can’t tell you how many people I have told me “Oh I have oily skin, I don’t need to moisturize” um yeah you do.  Remember me talking about all the pollutants in the air?  They all sit on your skin throughout the day causing free radical damage, aging, acne, redness, and irritation, basically jacking up your skin.  If you balance out your oily skin by adding a little water based moisture (Dr Jart+ Water-Sure Gel is great) it won’t produce so much oil and your skin will feel balanced.  I’ve also heard a lot of people saying nothing has worked for them and they’re using coconut oil as their moisturizer, all the people who have said this to me have the worst black heads I’ve ever seen, like black black black blackheads, its gross.  If you’re going to use coconut oil, don’t skimp; buy that $30 bottle from Whole Foods.

6.     I Eat Like Crap

When I was 19 I moved out on my own, and like every child on their own I ate exactly how I wanted, McDonalds, Pizza Rolls w/ Ranch, and Haagen-Dazs.  Now I did know to get a bottled water with my McDonalds order, I quit soda at 15 and the small amount of acne I had immediately went away.  The saying “You are what you eat” does have a lot of merit.  A diet rich in Omegas (salmon), Good Fats (olive oil, avocado), lots of water, and Anti-Oxidants (think of eating an entire rainbow of colourful fruits and vegetables) helps keep your body happy and your skin glowing from within.  I completely understand that this isn’t so easy to do every day, especially if you travel a lot and have a busy schedule.  I make sure to get all my missed nutrients in pill form, having a mother who’s a Naturopathic Doctor has definitely helped with this!  I take vitamins, omegas, an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity aka anti-oxidants), minerals, herbal supplements, and probiotics every day to keep my health up and my skin refreshed.  If you’re interested in a supplement regime I’m more than happy to help you out, shoot me an email at ihrichak1@gmail.com or visit my Natures Sunshine page to scout out the supplement brand I’ve been taking for almost 20 years.

7.     I Don’t Exfoliate

You can have the most expensive face cream in the world, but if you have a bunch of dead skin piling up, the moisturizer won’t make it past the first layer of your skin.  It’s important to sloth off those dead layer 2-3 times a week, this stimulates the skin and reveals a brighter more radiant complexion, and also allows for your products to work so much better!  I’m personally a fan of enzymatic and chemical exfoliates vs. a physical/granular exfoliatant.  The Amore Pacific Enzyme Peel is my favorite exfoliator, the $60 bottle will last at least a year, I had a bottle for 2 years once, I swear it replenishes itself.

8.     I Don’t Get Facial

Sometimes all the steps you’re doing at home just don’t cut it and you need to boost up your routine.  A visit to the estheticians office can help you get your skincare routine back on track!  I love to go get a facial massage, chemical peel, and micro current facials.  These are great supplements to your routine, if you can afford them, go once a month, if its something you can’t do all the time, save up and go twice a year, your skin will thank you. 

If you’re in SoCal go visit my girlfriend Jessica at Definitions Salon and Spa 951-371-3410 she’s taught me so much about skincare and tools I can’t even begin to explain

If you’re in the DC Area, my girlfriend Laura at Green Revolution Skin Studio 301-656-2000 will hook your skin up with the best natural and organic products out there

9.     I Overdraw My Lip Liner

So this doesn’t have to do with skincare, it’s just a faux pas that annoys the shit out of me.  When you overdraw your lip liner the only person you’re fooling is yourself, save some time (and embarrassment) and go get some filler.

 

Lip Service

Ever since I can remember, I've had an obsession with lip balms.  As a kid I always had the newest chap stick I could find at the drug store, I just needed a cure for dry lips.  I believe I have found some of the most life changing lip products, and I'm always trying new ones.  Here's a mix of my staples and new finds.

 

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Moving to the dry West Coast with Hourglass Cosmetics, from humid East Coast, cracked and deflated my Restylane plumped lips and I was not thrilled.  After being trained on the brand, I had to try the No 28 Lip Treatment Oil.  The applicator is plated in 24k Gold, I needed it based on that alone!  It's base is made up of 14 Essential Oils, 10 Lipid Rich Plant Oils, and 4 Vitamins + 3 additional anti aging actives.  The Lip Oil boast redefining the lip line, plumping out fine lines, and 1 ingredient (Saliporine-8) even claims to boost hydration levels in the lips up to 6000% when used twice a day for 28 days.  I will testify that yes, it does all of this.  I use this every night before bed and every morning as the last step in my skincare routine, because it works, and my lips always look great and feel hydrated.  It has a very thick and glossy texture, so it stay put, great as a clear gloss throughout the day as well.  I always said I would buy this even if I didn't work for the company, well now I'm going to have to, ugh... Hourglass No28 Lip Treatment Oil 5/5 Stars $42

Skinn is a top selling TV exclusive brand which focuses on creating effective products by using all their resources on formulations, not packaging.  Their Lip Lip 6x Balm is no exception.  I got my hands on this balm a few months ago and I'm so hooked!  It's packed with a bunch of plant butters and oils as well as anti aging actives to help hydrate and plump fine lines.  I love the texture, it's this unique wax like balm that isn't terribly glossy, so it's great for men or anyone who wants a really natural looking lip treatment.  This has been one of my go to out and about lip balms as I love a lip treatment in a compact (vs a twist up), it slips right in my pocket and I can apply as much or as little as I want.  It definitely helps with the long term appearance of the lips.  Skinn Lip 6x Balm5/5 Stars $24.95

When I was headed to Paris I looked up all the must buy products and the Nuxe Rêve de Miel Lip Balm was on a lot of them.  Honey is one of my favorite ingredients, be it as a sweetener or in my cosmetic products, it's such an effective multi-taskers, I'd put it all over my body, and probably kick it off.  This balm comes in a little glass jar, which I love, except when I want to run out the door with it, it's not really pocket friendly.  But I definitely don't lose this one as easily as my others!  The balm has a very lightweight hydrating texture, stays on well, but it does have a slight gritty texture, which is usually from the Shea Butter.  I've been using this one before I run out the door to go on errands cause it stays on and I don't have to worry about reapplying.  Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm 4/5 Stars $19

As I'm in Whole Foods like 3 times a week, I usually find myself browsing the cosmetics section for for products I don't need.  I happened upon the Weleda EVERON Lip Balm on one trip when I was going out for the night and couldn't find my other lip balm.  One of the best purchases I've made at Whole Foods!  It has all your basics, Shea butter, jojoba oil, beeswax, but my favorite is the Rose wax and oil it has.  This lip balm smells like happiness and dreams!!  It stays on great, is affordable, and is a favorite of my friends (they always use mine) and I. Weleda EVERON lip Balm 5/5 Stars $4.69

 

Lip scrubs are honestly all pretty much the same.  Sugar, flavor, oils, it's not too complicated, here are a few I like.

The Lip Scrub by Sara Happ $24 - Comes in a bunch of really fun flavours, she always has seasonal and limited ones (I loved the Red Velvet Cake!) larger sugar granules in this one,  probably not the best for sensitive lips, but I like it and use it twice a week.

Fresh Sugar Lip Polish $24 - Probably the most popular and well known scrub out there.  Smaller sugar granules, gets the job done, not recommended for sensitive lips.

Bite Beauty Whipped Cherry Lip Scrub $18 - A lip scrub you can eat off, I'm sold.  Hydrating wax beads are gentle enough for the most sensitive lips, the brands signature Resveratrol for anti-aging, and a bunch of oils for hydration.  A definitely must have!

 

Do you have any favorites I should try?

First Giveaway!

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A friend of mine who lives in Paris and came home for holidays and asked if I needed anything.  Clearly I took advantage and asked him to pick me up a few tubes of A313.  I've decided to be nice and share the wealth in my first contest! On top of the A313, I'll be throwing in 2 of my favorite Skin Food Carrot Collagen Eye Sheets and an Ageless Radiance Mask from Cosmetic Supply Innovations!  There are 3 ways to enter, do 1 or all 3 for bonus entries!

1. Like and tag 2 friends in the Instagram post

2. Like and share your favorite Youth Is A Choice blog post, be sure to leave a comment with your email address in the same post.

3. Repost the Instagram post, be sure to @istvanh1 and use the hashtags #forever27 and #youthisachoice

Contest winner will be announced 2/1!  Good luck!  Available to US residence only :)

Body Beautiful

While we take such great care of the skin on our face, often times we neglect the rest of the skin on our body.  Nothing worse than face 25 body 55, you know what I mean, smooth tight face, and a sun damaged, wrinkly decollete, or a dull dry looking tummy.  These are the fears that keep me up late at night.  I extend most of my skincare (and definitely sunscreen) down my chest, but I always worry that while I exercise regularly, the skin on my body will start to age.  Here's a few body products I'm currently obsessed with that keep my skin soft and supple.

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If you're a product junkie, chances are you've used Kate Sommerville's Exfolikate, I recently discovered she makes a body version!  I've been looking for a product like this for a LONG time, and nothing else has come close.  This body scrub contains some amazing exfoliating and refining ingredients such as Lactic and Glycolic acids, Papaya and Pumpkin Enzymes, exfoliating beads, plus Vitamin E to hydrate, and Caffeine to tighten the skin.  I've been using this twice a week for a few weeks now and I'm totally hooked.  Use after cleansing, while still in the shower, scrub all over the body (don't use on your face) and leave for 2 minutes.  The steam from the shower helps activate the enzymes for deeper exfoliation.  This has really smoothed out the texture of my skin and my body moisturizers absorb so much better.  Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Body 4.5/5 Stars (only cause the beads can be a little difficult to wash off) $65.

I've been following Bisou Beauty Bar on Instagram for a little while now, and she always gets some of the coolest products from the newest brands!  On my most recent purchased, I picked up the Illi Total Aging Care Body Oil, and I'm super obsessed.  It has the most beautiful smell (which disappears after applying) and such a soft lightweight texture that moisturizes without feeling greasy.  It contains Ginseng, Green Tea, and Camellia Oil which are anti-inflammatory and offer free radical protection.  Illi is a division of the Amore Pacific Group that focuses mostly on body products (thought I tried their sheet masks and wow, definitely a new favorite) I've noticed the skin on my stomach looking smoother and tighter, and all the skin on my body absolutely glowing.  Apply as a last step before leaving the shower, while skin is still wet, it absorbs best that way. Illi Total Aging Care Body Oil 5/5 Stars $22.56 (its cheaper on Bisou than all the other sites I've checked as well!)

When it comes to cleansing I love me a good bar soap.  The Zum bar soaps are one of my favorites, made with hydrating Goats Milks, natural oils, and no sulfates, this bar cleanses while leaving skin hydrated and lightly fragranced.  Since I'm a total hippie, I love the Patchouli soup, even when I don't wear cologne I get compliments on how I smell.  Zum Bar Goats Milk Soap Patchouli 5/5 Stars $5.35

Beating The Winter Blues

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During the winter months I use my peels, retinals, and brightening product to help get rid of the sun damage I've accumulated over the years (why did I think a tanning member was good a good idea as a teenager...).  But all this lightening leaves my olive skin looking like the ghost of the Jolly Green Giant.  With all the layers of products I apply, self tanner doesn't exactly sink in over top.  When I saw the Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster, I was like oh yes, this is the one.  Now back in 2004 I started working for Clarins, and I was already the self tanning King, Clarins self tanner is some of the best. A little science on self tanner: All self tanners use DHA (dihydroxyacetone) a sugar from beets that oxidizes on the skin giving you colour.  Now Clarins was the first to discover and use Erythrulose, a sugar from raspberries, that is used in combination with DHA and counteracted its orange shade, developing a more natural and longer lasting shade.

So back to the Booster.  This product is my new favorite.  Whenever my skin is looking a bit too pale, I add 3 drops into my moisturizer, apply like normal, wash my hands, and within a few hours I have a natural sun kissed effect.  I use it a few times a week, and multiple days in a row if I want darker colour.  Great for all skin types, all ages and can be used morning or night. 5/5 Stars $30 also available for body (which I haven't tried yet) $45.