Blog Archives

Over-The-Counter Power: Avène Rétrinal + 0.1 Cream

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Recommended by dermatologists, Avène Rétrinal + 0.1 Cream is currently one of the most innovative skincare products on the market.

Available in three different strengths including 0.1% retrinal (French for retinol) which is currently the highest amount of retrinal available in an over-the-counter product. The lowest strength is 0.025%, which is where someone who has never used a retrinal product should begin. Classified as dermo-cosmetics, Avène Rétrinal Skin Care products are considered to be cutting edge skincare with a medical approach to skincare.

Avène Rétrinal + 0.1 Cream is quite effective for a couple of reasons. The product is a form of Vitamin A which through clinical studies has been proven to improve elasticity, radiance and skin texture – as well as reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. You will get the normal side effects with any retrinal/retinol product – skin sensitivity, peeling, dry skin. But it is all well-worth the end result. Clear, glowing, firm skin.

The easy to apply product should be applied to the face and neck after cleansing. As with all anti-aging products it is imperative that broad-spectrum sunscreen be used at all times when exposed to the sun.

I have used many retinol/retrinal products, over-the-counter and prescription – this is by far the best over-the-counter product I have used.

Fast Favorite: Dermalogica Ultra Sensitive Tint SPF30

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Quickly get the benefits of a broad spectrum sunscreen and tinted moisturizer with Dermalogica Ultra Sensitive Tint SPF30. This amazing formula provides just-the-right protection while creating the perfect summer glow.

Targeted to sensitive skin types, this Broad Spectrum sunscreen is gentle and nourishing. Formulated with Dermalogica’s exclusive UltraCalming Complex, that contains oat and botanical actives to help minimize discomfort, burning and itching. Natural mineral sunscreens help shield against photodamage and UV exposure and leave no heavy feeling and/or white cast on the face. The sheer formula provides optimal hydration and helps protect and reinforce barrier lipids, which are often compromised in sensitized skin conditions.

Benefits:

  • Lightly-tinted sunscreen in a rich base to protect against moisture loss.
  • Helps reduce redness associated with skin irritation.
  • Blends easily on face.

Dermalogica Ultra Sensitive Tint SPF30 is the ultimate fast fix in the morning. Perfect for summertime skin, Ultra Sensitive Tint leaves the skin glowing and fresh.

Smart Sponge: Daily Concepts Dual Texture Srubber

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Shower sponges and/or loofahs are the perfect vehicles to work-up a rich lather, clean and exfoliate the body. However, before you start scrubbing, ask yourself how long it’s been since you have replaced it. If you can’t remember, it’s probably been too long. Hanging on to a well-used bath sponge/loofah may mean that you’ve created a new home for bacteria and mold. Eww.

In the warm, wet atmosphere that exists in most bathrooms, bacteria can grow quickly. Regularly switching old sponges for new ones can keep bacteria and mold at bay.

The Daily Concepts Dual Texture Scrubber is a unique shower sponge that not only effectively exfoliates and cleans the skin but has an indicator that tells you it is time to replace. A small label attached to the sponge reads “When the writing fades it’s time to replace me.” Genius!

The Dual Texture Scrubber has two sides of texture, perfect for the entire body. One side offers a ‘scrubber’ texture – great for exfoliating the skin while the other side is soft and gentle – great for sensitive skin.

All of Daily Concepts scrubbers are soy-based bath sponges so they contain 98% less germs, bacteria and mildew than other regular bath sponges. They have a built-in antimicrobial which inhibits bacteria reproduction and functional and clean packaging that suction cups to the wall of your shower.

Create a bacteria-free shower environment with Daily Concepts.

Holiday Gift Sets: Skin Care

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With so many skincare products on the market, it can be tough to nail down the right regimen. Luckily, more companies are offering skin solutions in cost-effective kits that deliver the same refreshing results as their full-sized products – but at a much cheaper price. These carefully curated skin care sets are an easy gift or selfish selection to help you stock up on your favorites.

Here are a few winners:

Soap & Glory ~ Smooth Over Darling: $48.00 (sale)

A fabulous vanity bag filled with a full-size Clean, Girls Body Wash, Scrub ‘Em & Leave ‘Em Body Scrub, The Daily Smooth Butter, and Mist You Madly body spray—plus a super sudsing shower puff. Deploy the contents of this bag on dry skin, flaky legs, and rough elbows and watch them simply smooth over. The all-in-one bath and body set with an addicting scent formulated with blackcurrant, freesia, and musk.

LaLicious ~ Luxe Body Bundle: $50.00

A dynamic duo of nourishing and moisturizing all-natural body products. LaLicious Sugar Soufflé Scrub  and Body Butter is made with Coconut Oil, Almond Oil and Vitamin E Oil. The Body Butter has a Shea Butter base that melts into the skin with no greasy residue. Comes in all kinds of yummy scents from Coconut Cream and Tahitian Flower to Sugar Kiss and Peppermint.

First Aid Beauty ~ Smooth Operator Kit: $45.00

Feel luxuriously lush and supple head to toe with this set of clinically-proven moisturizers from the Ultra Repair collection. A four-piece collection of hydrating favorites for the silkiest, softest skin possible. The Ultra Repair Cream is a super-emollient formula with a spectacular whipped, non-greasy texture that treats severely dry skin, whatever the cause. The Oatmeal Mask is a 10-minute fix that provides deep hydration to calm, nourish, and soothe distressed skin. The Lip Therapy treatment is an intense lip cream with the healing power to repair, nourish, and protect your pout.

skyn Iceland ~ Quench Kit: $45.00

Four products designed to harness the power of cryogenic technology from the Arctic to help moisturize, repair and protect super dry, sensitive skin. Ideal for aging or severely compromised complexions, this set is infused with mineral-rich Icelandic glacial waters, replenishing Arctic berries and soothing hydrators like shea butter, collodial oatmeal and Arctic algae. Together they rejuvenate exhausted and depleted skin, bringing back the glow you left behind.

Boscia ~ Little Black Book: $48.00

A set featuring the very best of Boscia’s black collection that work together to mattify shine and minimize pores. This collection of products work together to mattify shine and minimize pores. The cooling Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel moisturizer provides ultra-light hydration as it brightens skin clarity, minimizes pores, and refines skin texture. The innovative, Luminizing Black Mask boosts skin clarity and radiance by removing dirt and impurities, while the multi-tasking No Pores No Shine T-Zone Treatment instantly reduces the appearance of pores and blackheads. The Detoxifying Black Cleanser is a warming gel cleanser deeply cleans and detoxifies, dissolving pore-clogging impurities, makeup, and oil, leaving skin refreshed and revitalized.

Laura Mercier ~ Body & Bath Trio - Fresh Fig: $65.00

Laura Mercier Fresh Fig Body & Bath Trio features a full-size Crème Body Wash and 6 oz. glass jars of Body Scrub and Soufflé Body Crème in the sweet, fresh, intoxicating scent of fresh Celeste Figs blended with dewy fruit bouquets of Apricot Nectar and sensuous Ylang Ylang. Blended with the finest ingredients, each delectable item contains active ingredients that instantly nourishes the skin. This Holiday Trio comes in three of Laura Mercier’s luxurious scents: Fresh Fig, Almond Coconut Milk and Crème Brûlée. Or stop by your local Laura Mercier counter and mix and match your favorites for a truly personalized gift!

Powerful Peptides: REN Keep Young and Beautiful Anti-Aging Eye Cream

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Keep Young and Beautiful” with REN’s new anti-aging eye cream. REN Keep Young and Beautiful Anti-Aging Eye Cream promises to dramatically reduce the appearance of wrinkles, crow’s feet and deep expression lines around the eye area.

Rich in skin-plumping peptides and moisture-boosting collagen, REN’s new eye cream contains Hexapeptide-11, a plant peptide that stimulates collagen production for firmer skin. Peptides, or mini proteins if you want to think of them that way, are active molecules that send signals to your cells. When collagen breaks down, it forms specific peptides that signal to your skin that it was damaged and needs to make new collagen. So by applying peptides topically, we can trick the skin into thinking that it has lost collagen and needs to make more.

REN Keep Young and Beautiful Anti-Aging Eye Cream is wonderful for sensitive skin, as it is free from perfume, petroleum and parabens. The lightweight formula feels incredibly moisturizing and sinks into the skin in seconds. After just three weeks of using the product I have noticed a more hydrated and smoother eye area. I will continue to use this product as I have already noticed a positive difference. I expect to see more positive changes in the near future.

Summer Travel: Beauty Essentials

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Whether it’s a weekend road trip or a long-haul to an exotic locale, there is nothing like a summer vacation. Look your best while traveling with these beauty essentials:

Oxylent Oxygenating Multivitamin Drink: The effervescent multivitamin drink is formulated with the highest quality of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and electrolytes. Perfect for travel, the convenient packets are easily transported, so you can drink it anytime, anywhere – just add water. It is great for keeping the immune system in peak condition; a low calorie choice before or after working out; a true friend to the outdoor enthusiast; an easy-to-use daily multivitamin; or a wonderful late afternoon pick-me-up at work. Oxylent not only offers a unique effervescent delivery system, but unlike most, all of the formulas are both sugar and calorie free. Oxylent’s formulas do not contain any gluten, caffeine, lactose, artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors.

Kerstin Florian Rehydrating Neroli Water: This uplifting aromatherapy water instantly refreshes and hydrates the skin. Made from the bitter orange blossom, this facial spray soothes and hydrates the skin. The moment your face feels tight, one spritz will instantly hydrate and refresh the skin. Use as a toner after cleansing the face or as a body spray after showering. Or keep cool in the refrigerator and spray on hot, humid days. Perfect for après beach.

Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum: This light yet powerful serum is both a moisturizer and a broad-spectrum SPF 30. It fights the signs of premature aging – think fine lines and sunspots – and prevents future photo-damage from UV rays. Built for year-round use, this serum is amazingly lightweight and comfortable. Supergoop’s unique Hydrovotin 24 complex works with the skin’s own moisture mechanisms to increase hydration levels, while vitamins E and B5 heal past damage. It absorbs both UVA rays that lead to premature aging and UVB rays that cause sunburn. The top-of-the-line “PA +++” rating means the formula meets the highest standards for sun protection.  Also paraben and fragrance-free—just what the doctor ordered for sensitive skin.

Rodin Olio Lusso Luxury Face Oil: Formulated with an aromatic blend of 11 essential oils, this opulent oil relies on flowers and botanicals for their calming and illuminating properties. A staple of many top pros and makeup artists, this oil can be used to take makeup off, to moisturize and as a massage oil (expensive massage oil?). Add a couple drops to foundation to create a dewy finish or pat on the cheekbones and undereyes for a beautiful, fresh glow. Just a few drops will make your skin look radiant. Use as an alternate or supplement to your moisturizer and apply whenever your face needs a pick-me-up.

Dior Hydra Life BB Cream: READ FULL REVIEW: HERE

Bobbi Brown Bronzer/Blush Duo: Inspired by the look of “skin bathed in afternoon light,” this dynamic duo creates healthy-looking skin. On one side, Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder in Bahama Brown packs a blend of sheer powder and micro pearls (for a seamlessly glowing finish all over the face). The other side boasts Bobbi Brown Shimmer Blush in Pink Peony, the perfect way to add a pop of color to the apples of cheeks. Great for travel, this duo eliminates bulk and the need for too many face products. Tip: Sweep bronzer over eyelids for instant contour.

MAC Bare Study Paint Pot: This multi-purpose paint pot is perfect for travel. Bare Study is a metallic nude/champagne cream eye shadow that can be used as a primer, eye shadow and/or highlighter. Sweep onto the eyelid before applying a powder shade to ensure longevity. For highlighting, pat product on the cheekbones, brow bone, cupid bow and décolletage for subtle illumination. The soft, light-reflecting pearl finish will brighten any area.

Kiehl’s Lip Balm SPF 15 in Hue 30G: Lip balm with SPF is a must while traveling. Lips are often neglected and can suffer the same effects of the sun just as much as any other part of the body. Kiehl’s Lip Balm SPF 15 offers protection, relief and color. Lip products like gloss, stains or lipsticks can attract the sun with their shiny finish. This formula combines a sheer wash of color with UVA and UVB protection. Hue 30G is a beautiful light golden color with peach undertones.

Blinc Mascara: I have a love/hate relationship with waterproof mascara. While most formulas do last all day, they are a pain to remove. Blinc Mascara is a “tubing” mascara. It uses a copolymer-based formula to create little tubes around each one of your lashes preventing flaking, running or smudging. The formula is waterproof, sweat-proof and won’t irritate even the most sensitive of eyes so you can wear it all day without worrying about touch-ups. At the end of the day, use a damp washcloth to gently dislodge the tubes. They’ll slide off with just a little pressure.

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray: READ FULL REVIEW: HERE

Adara Organic Virgin Coconut Oil for Body & Face: Organic and biologically pure, Adara Virgin Coconut Oil is a gorgeous multi-tasking body and hair oil. Great for travel, coconut oil solidifies when temperatures are below 76 degrees – this makes it wonderful to pack and not worry about leaking. Adara Virgin Coconut Oil is available in five scented oils and travel-size, Oriental Jasmine, Soothing Lavender, Heavenly Peach, Innocent Rose, and Refreshing Green Tea. (Favorite: Jasmine) READ MORE ABOUT THE BENEFITS & USES OF COCONUT OIL: HERE

Flo Refillable Perfume Atomizer: Packing a big glass perfume bottle can be inconvenient and cumbersome. Tote your favorite fragrance wherever you go with the Refillable Perfume Atomizer by FLO. This ingenious gadget allows you to carry your perfume in an easy-to-use, compact atomizer. The modern design enables fast and efficient refilling without a funnel – preventing any danger of spilling a single drop of your expensive perfume. Suitable for all types of perfumes, this atomizer holds up to 77 sprays. Perfect for a purse, clutch, beach bag or travel bag, never leave home without your favorite fragrance again.

Kate Spade Cosmetic Bag – Garance Dore Davie

Skin Rehab: Exuviance Daily Antioxidant Peel CA (10)

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Get glowing, healthy-looking skin instantly with one swipe of Exuviance Daily Antioxidant Peel CA (10). This one-step, daily peel gently exfoliates the skin delivering a powerful dose of protective antioxidants to help prevent visible signs of aging.

The Daily Antioxidant Peel CA (10) is formulated with 10% Citric Acid (antioxidant found in citrus fruits) to exfoliate dead skin cells, neutralize free radicals, and help prep skin for moisturizer and serum absorption. With no rinsing or recovery time required, the result is impossibly smooth skin with improved texture and tone.

Exuviance Daily Antioxidant Peel CA (10) is an amazing rehab for the skin. Gentle enough for everyday use, this peel provides the instant gratification of glowing skin after every use.

The product comes with a  jar containing 36 pads (+1 test pad), and a bottle of solution. When ready to start the regime, pour the solution over the pads and let it soak in. Then begin to use one pad over the face (can also be used on hands, neck and chest) each morning, or as tolerated. Skincare and makeup can be applied immediately after. There is no rinsing, waiting period, stinging, drying or flaking.

In a clinical study, 100% of participants reported healthier looking skin, smoother texture and a more even tone after just one use.

“The skin is constantly shedding and renewing itself. Failure of old cells to slough off leads to a dull, more aged appearance to the skin. This peel is an innovative way to incorporate gentle exfoliation and antioxidant protection into your daily routine with one easy swipe. It’s formulated by the dermatologists who created the original glycolic peel, and utilizes 10% Citric Acid to scavenge damaging free radicals brought on by environmental exposure and help prevent future signs of aging. I recommend using it between office visits to help refine skin texture, smooth fine lines, even skin discoloration, and help diminish the appearance of acne scars and environmental damage.” -Dr. Julie K. Karen, a board certified dermatologist who currently practices at the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of NY.

What are AHAs – Alpha-Hydroxyacids?

AHAs are a group of naturally ocurring acids, many of which are found in fruits (hence “fruit-acids”). AHAs are used to help improve a variety of skin disorders including xerosis (dry skin), acne, ichthyosis, seborrheic keratoses and psoriasis. They also improve pigmentary disorders and symptoms of photo-aging; such as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, skin laxity and dullness.

AHAs penetrate the dead surface cells of the skin, loosening the molecular bonds that attach them to the underlying tissues. The loose cells slough off, exposing newer skin.

The following are the 5 major types of alpha-hydroxy acids found in skincare products and their sources:

  • glycolic acid – sugar cane
  • lactic acid – milk
  • malic acid – apples and pears
  • citric acid – oranges and lemons
  • tartaric acid – grapes

About Citric Acid:

Citric acid is a substance that is found naturally in citrus fruits. It is a powerful antioxidant that can improve the health of skin cells. It stimulates collagen production, fights and protects from free radicals, has skin lightening properties, reduces fine lines and wrinkles and improves the appearance of scars.

Summer Must-Have: Facial Mists

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Stay cool this summer with a tantalizing facial mist. A Summer must-have, these sprays will instantly boost your spirits and skin. Throw one in your handbag, beach-bag and/or travel-bag for a quick pick-me-up. Here are my five favorites:

TIP: Always refrigerate facial mists for extra freshness and stimulation.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir is great for those wanting a quick radiance boost. Part-toner/part-serum, this potion contains a mix of essential oils that will tighten pores and awaken the skin. Mist onto face anytime your skin feels dull and in need of a little hydration. Great for travel.

Kerstin Florian Rehydrating Neroli Water is an uplifting aromatherapy water that refreshes and hydrates the skin. Made from the bitter orange blossom, this facial spray soothes and hydrates the skin. The moment your face feels tight, one spritz will instantly hydrate and refresh the skin. Use as a toner after cleansing the face or as a body spray after showering. Perfect for après beach.

Chantiecaille Pure Rosewater ~ See full review HERE.

Avène Thermal Spring Water is a mineral-rich water, great for softening and soothing sensitive skin. Gentle and effective on irritated, sunburned and post surgery/procedure skin. This calming solution provides antioxidant protection that leaves a soothing barrier on the skin. It creates a dewy, healthy finish on the skin. Essential for sensitive skin.

Suti Peppermint Water is a cooling burst of refreshing hydration. Known as the “wake-up” water, this facial spray stimulates the senses as well as the skin. Made with organic peppermint leaves this facial spray relieves redness, inflammation and is famous for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. It instantly energizes and replenishes the skin creating a healthy glow. A beach-bag must-have.

Tips & Tricks: Perfect Summer Glow

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I have spent the last couple months aggressively testing the best self-tanning products on the market. From sprays to mousse, wipes to lotions, I have discovered some great formulas and techniques. (Reviews to follow)

Along the way, I have picked up some tips and tricks to get the perfect summer glow:

PREP:

☀ Do a patch test: Skin may be sensitive to DHA (a sugar derivative) or other ingredients in the product.

☀ Wax 24 hours in advance. Shave 12 hours in advance.

☀ Exfoliate! To get the smoothest, streak-free color possible, apply self-tanner immediately after exfoliating. The outer layer of the epidermis, which is what the self-tanner interacts with, is composed of dead skin cells that last only 7 to 10 days before they shed. You want to make sure you have an even layer of dead skin cells so that they all tan and slough off together. If you don’t properly exfoliate some of the skin will begin peeling in a day or two, which can result in a splotchy tan job.

☀ Apply a light body lotion to dry areas such as knees, elbows and heels. Body lotion will prevent the tanner from saturating these areas.

☀ Choose your favorite self-tanning formula: Aerosols are easy to apply and dry very fast. Mousse has quick-drying power and gives you more control. Wipes are great for on-the-go. Lotions are the most hydrating and will generally last the longest.

APPLICATION:

☀ 99% of the time you will end up with a streaky or uneven tan because of lack of product. Always work with enough product so you are able to glide it over the skin freely. Your skin will only absorb a certain amount of product so it is better to follow the “more is better” rule.

☀ With many application methods to choose from: gloves, mitts, brushes… I believe the best device is your hands. To prevent tan-palms, do not wait until the end to wash your hands. Scrub hands after each section of the body is completed.

☀ Apply product section by section. Always start at the bottom, so you won’t crease the color as you bend over. Start with feet: Apply product to a cotton round and blend on the tops of feet, toes and ankle area. This is my biggest problem area and have found this technique to be the best.

☀ Continue to apply over the shin and calf of a leg. Then apply tanner to your thigh from front to back, using the excess to cover your knee. Repeat on your other leg. For the final step, apply tanner to your hips, stomach and torso, following with your shoulders and arms.

☀ For application to the back area – your best bet is have someone do it for you. Otherwise, use an aerosol formula for an easier reach.

☀ Hands – same technique as feet. After applying product to the body. Wash hands vigorously. Add product to a cotton round and smooth over the backs of hands and lightly on the fingers, blending down onto the wrist area.

☀ An easy way to soften or slow down the absorption of self-tanner on areas that tend to grab a lot of product such as the elbows, knees and heels is to use a dry wash cloth to gently buff these areas after application. It will pick up some of the excess self-tanner and prevent them from getting too dark.

☀ Ever notice that areas like sunspots, melasma or old scars tend to get darker and more noticeable when you’ve slathered on self-tanner? Once you apply self-tanner to the area, take a slightly damp Q-Tip and gently wipe off the self-tanner from the areas where the dark spots are most prevalent. If it still grabs to the spot – try dipping Q-Tip into some rubbing alcohol. This will minimize the chance of the area getting darker and create a more even tone to the skin.

☀ Wait at least 15 minutes before dressing.

EXTENDING YOUR TAN:

☀ Moisturize! Try to moisturize the skin a couple times a day.

☀ Try a gradual tanner. This will not only extend your tan but will even it out as well.

Drugstore’s Finest: CeraVe

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Recommended by dermatologists everywhere, the CeraVe line of skincare products are all non-irritating, non-comedogenic and fragrance-free. Better yet, they are all available at a drugstore near you.

The CeraVe line was created in conjunction with dermatologists and was intended for use in the treatment of dry skin and other conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea and atopic dermatitis. CeraVe is the first brand to contain essential ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids that healthy skin needs. CeraVe uses a patented “multivescular emulsion” or MVE® system that was only available through prescription not long ago. This system consists of a controlled and steady release of various ingredients over time allowing skin to be hydrated longer and more efficiently with one application. The daily regimen of cleansers and moisturizers helps repair, replenish and protect the skin’s barrier to leave it looking and feeling soft, clean and healthy.

The CeraVe line of skincare products are drugstore’s finest. Here is a review of the first few products I have tried and tested:

CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser: Gentle yet powerful, this cleanser removes makeup, dirt and oil like a champ. It leaves the face feeling soft and clean, not stripped or dry. It contains the brand’s signature ceramides and hyaluronic acid – two ingredients that help lock in moisture so your skin will never feel tight or dry.

CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM SPF 30: A great daytime moisturizer that feels light on the skin but wards off UVA/UVB rays with it’s standout broad-spectrum sunscreen. It keeps skin hydrated and restores the skin’s barrier with Niacinaminde (vitamin B3) making it less vulnerable to the elements.

CeraVe SA Renewing Lotion: This body lotion does it all – exfoliates, smoothes and softens. Skin can only be truly hydrated when the top layer of dead skin cells are removed. This allows moisturizing ingredients to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin. The Renewing Lotion does all of this for you. Formulated with both salicylic acid (used for epidermal exfoliation) and ammonium lactate (a mild exfoliant and humectant) this lotion gently removes dry, scaly skin. While, vitamin D, glycerin, ceramides and hyaluronic acid smooths, firms and hydrates the skin.

CeraVe, in my opinion, is the best affordable line of skincare products. All of the products are gentle, fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, non-irritating and readily available at mass retailers and drugstores nationwide.

Festival Beauty Essentials

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Be prepared for hot and sticky situations with Glow-T’s Festival Beauty Essentials:

Tory Burch Double Zip Train Case: A great travel case with cool ikat design.

Supergoop! Sunscreen Swipes SPF 30 (21 count): These sunscreen wipes are individually packed, perfect for throwing in your bag. The pre-moistened towelettes are formulated to calm and soothe the skin while providing complete UV protection. Great for sensitive skin, these wipes can be used all over the body.

Coola SPF 30 Unscented Matte Finish Tint: This lightly tinted moisturizer delivers broad spectrum SPF 30 protection. Infused with antioxidants, shea butter, plankton, borage seed oil and evening primrose extract, this lotion will rejuvinate, hydrate and protect. The water-resistant formula and matte finish is great for long days in the sun.

Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25: My favorite lip balm to date, this product is incrediably soothing and moisturizing – provides SPF 25 and lasts. Enriched with superior skin conditioners and antioxidants, this emollient balm relieves dry, chapped and irritated lips.

Donna Karen Cashmere Mist Deodorant: Keep dry and odor-free with Donna Karen’s Cashmere Mist Deodorant. Delicately scented with perfume, this advanced formula controls wetness and perspiration.

CleanWell All Natural Hand Sanitizing Spray: Thousands of people and porta-potties… hand sanitizer is a must. This all-natural formula is made with thyme oil that kills all germs and the portable spray makes it easy to carry everywhere.

Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo (Travel Size): Extend time between washes with a dry shampoo. This gentle formula smells nice and absorbs oil and dirt – an instant refresher. Infused with oat milk, it also nourishes the hair while creating volume and texture.

Josie Maran Bear Naked Wipes: Remove makeup, dirt and oil quickly with these all-natural wipes. Formulated with aloe vera, cucumber, chamomile and vitamin E, the easy-access wipes cleanse and refresh the face and body. Bonus: When purchased, these biodegradable wipes support to protect the endangered Polar Bear.

RMS Cream Eyeshadow – Solar: Perfect for the desert princess, this cream eyeshadow reflects a sheer wash of gold. A great all-in-one eye product, it doubles as an eye cream to nourish and moisturize the eye area.

NARS Cream Blush – Cactus Flower: The name alone implies desert beauty. This bright coral/spicy pink cream blush can be used on both the cheeks and lips. A very subtle gold shimmer leaves the skin flushed, dewy and healthy.

Givenchy Phenomen’Eyes Waterproof Mascara: Waterproof mascara is a must-have. I assure you Givenchy’s will not budge or smudge. The spiked-ball wand takes a little to get used to but defines, separates and lengthens exquisitely. Tip: With your finger, smudge on the lashline for an instant liner effect that will last.

Laura Geller Balance-n-Bronze: A genius design, adding bronzer and foundation, all-in-one. The color-correcting foundation is sheer but never looks powdery. The baked bronzer is infused with layers of color to achieve the perfect sun-kissed shade. Swipe separately or swirl together to get a glowing, sun-goddess look.

Silicone Synopsis: Makeup Primers

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Face primers are a great way to smooth, prep and perfect the skin before applying foundation. If you have acne scars, fine lines or large pores, a makeup primer can spackle those spaces for an even coverage. However, some people can be allergic or sensitive to the main ingredient found in most makeup primers, silicone.

Silicone is a chemically derived product that sits on top of the skin to protect and keep moisture in. Any product used with that “slippery/silky” feel to it, more than likely contains some kind of silicone. To identify silicone in a product, look for Dimethicone or Methicone in the ingredient list. The general rule of thumb is that anything ending in “cone” is likely to be silicone. Opinions however, are divided as to whether silicone is indeed good or bad for the skin.

Unless you have a sensitivity to silicone and your skin reacts with break-outs or irritation, it seems quite harmless. Silicone is used in almost every product we use on the body from haircare to skincare. To immediately confirm sensitivity to silicone, notice if you breakout on your back from the hair conditioners used. Silicone is abundant in these products and can be the culprit for reoccurring back acne.

Currently, I have two favorite face primers, one silicone-based, one silicone-free. The main activities I look for in a primer are: skincare properties (I do not believe in adding another step to my daily routine – unless it is good for the skin), ability to smooth the skin and longevity.

Hourglass – Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15: This is a wonderful silicone-based primer. It applies effortlessly, smooths the skin, increases the longevity of my face makeup and gives the skin a subtly glow. It contains anti-aging benefits and restores moisture to dehydrated skin. I use this primer for “special occasions” – mostly when I am wearing a full face of makeup. I have found that mixing a small amount of this primer with your foundation produces a flawless, airbrushed-look.

Fresh – Rose Freshface Primer: This is the first silicone-free primer I have tried and now can’t live without. I use this primer on a daily basis and sometimes as my primary moisturizer. Packed with rosewater and cucumber extracts, this lightweight lotion immedietly soothes redness and evens out my skintone. It contains vitamins and botanicals that are beneficial to the skin and smells like a bouquet of roses.

I do notice a difference between the two products, in terms of skin smoothing. Silicone is currently the best ingredient for reducing the appearance of fine lines and pores. This is why the majority of  makeup primers on the market contain them. However, there are many silicone-free products on the market and I assume many more will emerge in the future.

Seasonal Skincare: Clarisonic Deep Pore Cleansing Brush Head

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Deep Pore Cleansing Brush Head

As the seasons change, so should your skincare. Effective seasonal skincare means swapping our favorite summer formulas and replacing them with products that are better suited for the cool, dry weather that lies ahead.

When skin is dry and sensitive in the cooler months, many women believe it is better to skip exfoliation. However, this the ideal time to slough off those dead skin cells that create a dull complexion. Plus, exfoliating enhances the effects of hydrating lotions, creams and serums used.

As an advocate of the Clarisonic Cleansing Sysyem, review here, the Deep Pore Cleansing Brush Head is my favorite. As gentle as the original, graduated bristle firmness and dual-action movement are used to clean out stubborn pores and hard-to-reach areas, like around the nose.

This brush head is ideal for those with oily skin or large pores, but is perfect for deep cleansing and exfoliation.

Tried & Tested: Too Faced Primed & Poreless

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Too Faced Primed & Poreless

Too Faced Primed & Poreless is a makeup primer formulated to erase pores and imperfections, soften fine lines and help create a flawless face.

This primer aroused my curiosity with one ingredient, a powerful dose of retinol. Always a fan of multi-tasking, finally a primer formulated to prime the skin while restoring moisture, elasticity with anti-wrinkle fighting ingredients.

The primer slides onto the skin seamlessly, easy to blend and sets quickly. The nude tone becomes invisible once applied, so can be used on any skintone. Pores were airbrushed away and my combination skin felt less oily. Makeup lasted all day, no touch-ups needed.

The retinol in the product is quickly noticeable with a slight “itchy” feeling. Nothing to be discouraged about, but very sensitive skin might be fore-warned.

Too Faced Primed & Poreless is a great primer for oily and combination skintypes. Just remember to apply your sunscreen as retinol can make skin sensitive to the sun.

Simple Sponge: Konjac Sponge

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Konjac Sponge

Konjac is a natural food source that has been used in Japanese cuisine for over 1500 years. Ninety seven percent of Konjac is water and three percent is a dietary fiber. Rich in vitamins and minerals, the Japanese have been using Konjac sponges as beauty treatments for centuries.

The unique net like structure of the Konjac sponge, gently massages and stimulates blood flow and new growth of skin cells.  A naturally moisture-rich plant fibre in the sponge balances the acidity of the skin and leaves it extremely clean and refreshed with no need for additional cleansers or soap.

Available in diferent ranges, according to skin type, the Konjac sponge can be infused with clays and charcoal for added benefits. Pink clay has been used for tired, devitalized skin, green clay for normal to oily skin and red clay for dry and sensitive skin. Also, available in bamboo charcoal for very oily or acne-prone skin.

To use, gently massage sponge over the face and body in a circular motion. A cleansing solution can be added, but is not necessary. If added, the smallest amount is needed as the sponge will create an immense lather. Splash with warm water to reveal squeaky clean and refreshed skin.

Each sponge lasts for around one to three months and can be found at any health-food stores. Can be used on the most delicate, sensitive skin and is even recommended for newborn babies. The Konjac sponge is simple yet effective and works on every skintype.

Correct & Protect: NIA24 Sun Damage Prevention 100% Mineral Sunscreen

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NIA24 Mineral Sunscreen

Due to the importance of sunscreen, I test a lot of them and am always on the hunt for a light, non-chalky version that is also beneficial to the skin.

NIA24 Sun Damage Prevention 100% Mineral Sunscreen receives high-marks for all search criteria. This sunscreen contains a blend of active sunscreens that help to protect the skin from UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays. It has a rating of PA+++, which is the highest grade of defense against aging rays.

NIA24 contains Pro-Niacin, a skin strengthening compound clinically shown to improve skin tone, texture and reduce hyper-pigmentation. It also contains ceramides, which promote vibrancy and mango butter to nourish the skin.

The super-absorbent formula feels weightless on the skin and does not leave it looking greasy. The advanced sheer formula leaves no white residue behind, is oil-free, non-comedogenic, dermatologist recommended and suitable for sensitive skin.

NIA24 Sun Damage Prevention 100% Mineral Sunscreen will correct, prevent and benefit.

Tried & Tested: Micellar Cleansing Waters

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Micellar Cleansing Water is used to remove impurities, tone and hydrate the skin without the need of water. These delicate waters immediately eliminate makeup, dirt and oil from the skin with one sweep.

Based on a micelle principle, these technologically advanced products release softening agents to hydrate and calm the skin while effectively removing all traces of make-up on face, eyes and lips. Gentle enough for sensitive skin, (some brands provide a separate sensitive-skin formula) these refreshing waters cleanse and tone the skin without irritation.

The difference between Micellar Cleansing Water and simple makeup removers…

According to Bernard Pochic, Bioderma’s National Trainer, “Micellar Cleansers dissolve the bond between cosmetic pigments and your skin so you can wipe it off.” Doesn’t sound all that different, simple makeup removers primarily smear the cosmetic pigments allowing an easy removal when you wash your face. The Micellar Cleansers is a one-step process that eliminates the need for a second cleanse.

Simply apply product to cotton pad and wipe gently where needed. These products will dissolve even the most stubborn or waterproof product.

Primarily made by French skincare brands, Micellar Cleansers are now popping up everywhere. Here are a few of my favorites, all but one (Bioderma) can be found online, in drugstores or beauty supply.

Vichy – Purete Thermale Cleansing Micellar Lotion, Avene – Micellar Lotion Cleanser and Make-up Remover, Embryolisse – Micellar Lotion , La Roche-Posay – Physiological Micellar Solution, Bioderma – Sensibio H20 Micellar Solution

Brilliant Balm: Rodial Glam Balm

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Rodial Glam Balm

Rodial Glam Balm is a multi-purpose skin treatment that revitalizes the skin. This anti-aging balm can be used on the face, lips, neck or hands.

Glam Balm contains Myrrh extract that plumps-up fat cells in the skin for a fuller appearance. Vitamin C that brightens, stimulates collagen and provides antioxidant protection. Calendula, shea butter and vitamin E which help restore moisture and sooth the skin. It also contains Bergamot Fruit oil which is an antiseptic used to treat acne.

Glam balm can be used as a mask or simply to spot-treat. This product has a similar texture to petroleum jelly, but richly thicker. It goes on clear and feels extremely hydrating on the skin. Glam Balm retains no scent and can be used on even the most sensitive skin.

With a multitude of benefits – reduces fine lines, plumps lips and wrinkles, calms and heals sensitive/irritated skin and increases collagen production – there is bound to be a reward for everyone.


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