What I’m Loving Now: Summer Essentials

Summer is upon us, and it’s time to switch up products in your skin care routine. I love summer, but it definitely requires some makeup and skin care product tweaks. Since I love to be in the sun, my summer essentials center around ones that protect my skin from UV damage by amping up my sunscreen but allow me to indulge in sidewalk cafes and afternoons in the park. Here are some of the things I rely on to keep my skin healthy in the summer.

Sunscreen is so important in the summer. And for sunscreen, the key is bareMinerals SPF 30 natural sunscreenin reapplication. So how do you reapply like you should without messing up your makeup? I love the bareMinerals SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen. There are lots of touch-up sunscreen powders on the market, but I like this one because the brush is soft, and the sunscreen comes in several tinted powders to prevent that blue cast that mineral sunscreens are infamous for. Another bonus of touch-up sunscreens like this? You get a mattifying bonus if you’ve gotten a little shiny.

Korres Yoghurt Cooling Gel After-SunThe KORRES Greek Yoghurt Cooling Gel is one of my summer essentials. If you’ve ignored my advice about reapplying your sunscreen and gotten a nasty sunburn, this is one of my favorite rehabilitation products. It’s lightweight, anti-inflammatory, and hydrating. It has a cooling sensation when you apply it, so it takes the heat out of the burn. And yogurt has natural healing properties to repair damaged summer skin.

 

I like lighter textures in the summer, so I usually iS Clinical Hydra Cool serumswitch my skin care routine to use just a serum underneath a sunscreen. Skin that’s been in the sun is usually skin that’s dehydrated, so I try to get as much hydration as I can. One of my favorite hydration serums is the iS Clinical Hydra-Cool Serum. It’s light, super hydrating, and even includes a brightening agent to control summer pigmentation.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye liner, Zero

 

 

Sweaty summers make me switch to waterproof eyeliners. The Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil is one of my all time favorite eyeliners. I’m a black eyeliner kind of gal, so my favorite color is Zero, but sometimes it’s fun to wear a bright turquoise like Deep End or funky purple like Vice.

Sircuit Cosmeceuticals Savior Problem Skin Cleanser

Summer increases oil production, and that increases the tendency to break out. Even my super dry skin can get too greasy and break out in the summer, so I keep it under control by using a salicylic acid wash a few times a week. My favorite is the Sircuit Skin Savior problem skin cleanser, which breaks down oil and helps unclog pores, as well as having a light cooling effect from a touch of menthol.

These are a few of my favorites. What are some of your summer essentials? Tell me in the comments, or join the conversation on Facebook.

 

 

See a product here that you think would work for you? I earn a commission and you help to support this blog if you use the affiliate links provided. But your trust is important to me, and I’d never recommend something that I haven’t used or didn’t like. Read my disclaimer.

The Skin Care Puzzle

skin care puzzleMy job in life is to help people with their skin. Usually this means I’m helping them with a skin care problem. No matter where I am, at the spa or at the bar, I can’t stop until I’ve figured it out. Once someone’s given me a problem to solve, I start collecting information.

People are sometimes surprised at the number of questions I ask, and even what kind of information I’m looking for. But, like a detective, I am piecing together a puzzle. And everything you tell me is another piece of the puzzle. If I can gather enough pieces, I can see the whole picture.

So what kind of information do I need to figure out how your puzzle pieces fit together? I look at all kinds of details. I want to know what you’re currently using, from your cleanser to your prescriptions. Even oral prescriptions for conditions unrelated to the skin can affect how your skin behaves.

I especially need to know about what kind of exfoliants you’re using at home, and how often. Exfoliation is the puzzle piece that is often difficult to get just right. Not exfoliating often enough leads to dull skin, clogged pores, and flakiness. Exfoliating too often can lead to redness, irritation, and more flakiness.

I also want to know about your diet. What you eat or don’t eat can absolutely affect your skin. I’ve noticed that people on low-fat diets can be very dry. Your dairy intake can also affect your acne. If your stress levels lead you to eat lots of sweets, your skin ca be affected. Or you may simply eat fewer healthy foods, also affecting your skin.

Given this huge list of variables, it’s often hard to tell if a product is working well for you. If you are using an anti-acne regimen, but your stress levels are causing you to break out, you will still break out. We might be able to control them more, and diminish the frequency or the severity. Maybe your acne serum will work if it’s partnered with a different cleanser. It can be hit-or-miss to find just the right combo, but the more pieces of the puzzle we have, the faster we can put it together.

People look at skin care products as the end all, when in actuality, it’s only one piece of a very large puzzle. [Tweet this!] All the pieces must fit together to get you beautiful, glowing skin.

 

 

Like this post? Get skin tips and tricks delivered directly to your inbox by signing up for the newsletter!

Why Your Acne Products Aren’t Working

why your acne products stopped workingAcne. Persistent breakouts. It is one of the trickiest things to treat. And everyone claims to have a magic cure. If you’re an acne sufferer, then you’ve probably tried every product out there.

Unfortunately, acne is more than just a physiological issue.  This means that acne is often a problem that is that is deeper than just a case of too much oil, dead skin, and bacteria. Although all acne boils down to this basic issue, many hidden factors can impact why you might be more breakout prone. Sometimes these issues can make it incredibly difficult to find a good solution.

Hormones have a huge influence on your skin, for both men and women. The good news is, men typically grow out of the hormones that cause acne. The bad news for women is that we typically grow into that hormone. Many women are affected by persistent breakouts for the rest of their lives. Hormonal acne is a subject I’ll be exploring in-depth in a future post.

Let’s look at some other reasons why your acne products aren’t working.

  • You’re not consistent with your regimen. This may not necessarily mean using the same products every night, but it may mean rotating consistently. Your skin needs consistency at this point. Maybe you’ve been switching brands, or maybe you don’t use any skin care most of the week.  Stick with one product line for at least three months, if not six. Put into skin terms: your skin cell cycle is at least 30 days. If you use a product for 2 months, that’s only two skin cell cycles. Changing the skin is like steering a barge. It takes time to reverse a course. You can’t do a 180 in a day.
  • You’re not treating your type of acne with the right kind of product to address it. Not all acne is created equal. There are a finite number of ingredients that can fix acne. One kind of acne may respond better to one kind of treatment, while another may respond better to a different ingredient. For example, benzoyl peroxide is best for an inflammatory acne (the bumps come to a head and eventually pop). Retinol is best for non-pustular, bumpy acne (acne that causes texture but doesn’t necessarily become infected).
  • You’re over-treating your acne. If you inadvertently over-treat and dry your skin out, you will make acne worse. Skin that’s been over-treated also has inflammation because it’s irritated. Clogs become drier and more stubborn and won’t come out as easily. The skin is less pliable. Inflamed skin is more likely to contract around the pores, which creates a favorable environment for bacteria to replicate. And boom. More pimples.

Remember that may not be the quality of the product… it may just be that there is a greater issue causing your acne to be more persistent. Make sure to sign up for the newsletter to stay in the loop as I continue to talk about the kinds of acne and ingredients to treat them.

 

 

Speak your mind! Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

Just The FAQs: Do I Have To Wash My Face At Night?

You’ve got a lot on your plate. You’re tired when you get home. You start to unwind and, before you know it, you’re falling asleep and can do i have to wash my face at nightbarely stumble to bed. So starts the great nightly debate: To wash or not to wash?

Here are a few reasons why the answer is a resounding yes, you must wash your face!

  • It prevents break outs. If you wear makeup, you must remove it. Even light powders can trap excess oil and dirt on your skin, creating a favorable environment for bacteria. Washing removes this bacteria and lets you start fresh with clean skin … and avoid future breakouts. And no, makeup removing wipes don’t count. Even they can leave residue on your skin.
  • It prevents aging. Even if you don’t wear makeup, your skin still needs to be cleaned of excess oil, sweat, and pollution. [Tweet this!] Pollution is a big factor here. All those free radicals in the air land on your skin and wreak havoc. Your cells oxide and thus hasten the aging process. Cleansing can neutralize some of these adverse affects.
  • It prepares the skin for your fancy creams and serums. If you’ve invested any money or effort at all into your skin care routine, you want to apply those products to fresh skin. Removing all make up, dirt, and sweat reveals the healthy skin underneath. Applying your products to this skin means that they will absorb better, meaning you’ll get the results you’re looking for.
  • It reminds you to use the aforementioned fancy creams and serums. Skin care doesn’t stop acne or prevent aging if it only sits in a drawer. [Tweet this!] It must be applied to the skin regularly in order to see results. If you remember to start your routine, you’re more likely to finish it. And your future self will thank you for her radiant glow.
  • It helps you sleep better. Research has shown that having a bedtime ritual relaxes you and can yield a better night’s sleep. Train your brain that when you start your skin care routine, you’re getting ready for a peaceful night’s sleep. The habit will help your mind to unwind faster, meaning that you’ll be getting better beauty sleep while your skin repairs.
  • It guarantees you a few quiet minutes to care for yourself. You spend all day taking care of other people. Don’t you deserve five quiet minutes to invest in the future of your skin? [Tweet this!]

No one is perfect. I’ve inadvertently fallen asleep with makeup on before as well. I’ve used makeup removing wipes in a pinch. But I promise that building this habit is worth it. I’ve offered tips on maximizing your skin care time before, so check them out if you haven’t. And check out one of my personal favorite cleansers as well! On days when you’re really not feeling motivated, remind yourself that you are worth the five minutes that it takes to care  for your skin and yourself.

 

 

Speak your mind! Do you wash up every single night? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

The Law of Diminishing Skin Care Returns

My job is super fun. I get to spend the whole day talking and thinking about skin care and skin care products. I get to recommend skin care products that I like. I get free skin care products to try and judge (which is a great way to get judgy feelings out of my system, since I try hard not to judge people).

But sometimes my job is disappointing. I feel hopeful when I look at a new product. I can’t wait to see my skin magically transformhave you stopped seeing a difference in your skin care products? when I apply it. And I feel frustrated when that skin care is just okay. I am disappointed. I want instant results too!

I’ve been trying a new skin care line for work. I want to tell me boss that’s it’s amazing and that we should buy it immediately. But even though I like many of the products, I was a little disappointed. Couldn’t my skin glow just a bit more? Couldn’t it look a bit better?

Then I realized that I am a victim of the Law of Diminishing Skin Care Returns. If you’ve ever studied economics, you’re familiar with the original law. Applied to skin care, it means that when you use lots of good product, you don’t notice as much when you add another good product. Essentially, if your skin is already in great shape, it becomes harder to get a dramatic result. [Tweet this!]

Let’s look at a real life example. If you are using a bar soap, and you change to a cleanser that is less stripping, you’ll automatically see an improvement in your skin. You’ll notice your hydration will improve and your texture will soften. If you add a well formulated moisturizer, you’ll see even more changes. Now add a serum, and maybe you’ll decrease breakouts or improve your glow. But every product you add will change your skin less and less. The better the condition of your skin, the less you’ll notice the improvements. If you change from one moisturizer with great ingredients to another with different great ingredients, you may not notice the difference. Does this mean your skin care isn’t working? No, it’s still working… you just can’t see as much a change because your skin already looks great.

It’s hard to gauge good skin care if your skin is already healthy and glowing. We become immune to the changes in the mirror, and we naturally focus on our flaws. It’s easy to see this small line or that brown spot when the rest of your skin is smooth and glowing. Take one giant step back from the mirror, cut yourself a break, and remember that if your skin already looks amazing… miracle products become harder and harder to find.

Like this post? Want more? Sign up for the newsletter or like the Facebook and stay in touch!

>

Squeeze in More Time for Skin Care

how to squeeze in more time for skin care Who needs more hours in the day? Between working a full-time job and building my own business on the side, I need to know where I can apply to get an 8 day week or a at least a 28 hour day. And I know that I’m no different from any of my clients. Sub in a family for the business, or finishing a master’s degree, and my clients are as pressed for time as I am. So how do you stay looking your best? I’ve talked about beating stress before, but when will you action these tips? Here are a few tips that I use to multi task.

  • Do your evening skin care earlier in the evening. Everyone has a moment when they walk in the door and either change clothes, drop a bag, or kick off shoes. Wash your face then, and follow-up with your evening routine. This way you guarantee it’s done before you start passing out on the couch.
  • Mask while you work. I wrote this post with a mask on my face. No joke… I tweeted it here. I figured if I wasn’t getting a full night’s sleep, I might as well cheat one while I work, right? Bonus points for wine while you do it. You can also mask during your favorite TV show, if that’s the only down time you have a week, or while you cook dinner.
  • Benefit from shower time. I do enzyme or hydration masks under the steam in the shower. The steam softens the skin so the mask penetrates better and I get an extra boost to my routine. Plus, it’s easy to remove this way.
  • Mix your serums. I like to spike a hydration serum into my treatment serum and get more bang for my buck. The ingredients of both serums will all penetrate, and it saves me a few extra seconds in the morning.
  • Take just a few minutes to breathe deeply. Ever notice that when you’ve been busy and frantic for a long time, it seems like you can’t remember the last time you took a breath? I trick myself into inhaling. I have calming essential oils by my bedside, and right before I turn out the light, I take just a few seconds to inhale deeply. I’m obsessed with these chakra balancing oils. If this tiny practice of self care helps me sleep more soundly at all, then I’ve done wonders for my skin.

Taking time for yourself can be hard. We’re busy, and it’s just too easy to put everyone else first. If you can carve out even five minutes for some self care, you and your skin will benefit. [Tweet this!] If you do it consciously, even that small amount of time will reduce stress. Take that time. You deserve it!

 

 

Speak your mind! What do you do to squeeze in skin care? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

How To Find The Best Skin Care

It’s the eternal beauty quest… what is the best skin care? Who makes the best moisturizer? What cleanser is best? In mythe best skin care retail sales days, shoppers would come up to me and ask me, “What is the best skin care?” I would quietly ask them to follow me down a dark hallway, past all the other moisturizers. We’d pass the troll that guards the hidden door into a secret room, where there on a table, under a single beam of light, sits one single jar of the only good moisturizer in the store, which I’ve only showed to this customer because they asked for the best. When you use it, you’ll never break out, all your wrinkles will disappear, your checking account will never be empty, and your house will always be clean.

Just kidding.

There’s no troll.

Perfect moisturizers don’t exist. They don’t exist because everyone has a different opinion on what the perfect moisturizer should be like. So the question should not be “What’s the best skin care?” The question should be, “What’s the best skin care for me?” [Tweet this!]

For example, I was helping a client the other day whose primary complaint was that she was breaking out often. I asked her what she was using and she told me she was using a well known brand. I asked if she was using a product targeted for acne, like a treatment serum or even a cleanser, and she said no. She was using products that might be generally good, just not good for her, because they don’t target her primary concern.

So how do you find a skin care product that’s good-for-you? Here are a few tips.

  • Decide what your primary skin care concerns are. This is the magic question. If you could change one thing about your skin, what would it be? If there’s a bunch of things, prioritize your list. You’ll probably be able to treat a few things at once, but you want to make sure that your primary concern will be targeted.
  • Look at peripheral benefits of the skin care products. Do you want paraben-free? Do you want a natural skin care product? Do you want a moisturizer that fights acne and wrinkles?
  • Set a price. Remember that if you want a product that has many specific features, you may need to be willing to spend more. What is most important? It might be nice to be paraben free, but you might not be able to find skin care that fights acne and wrinkles, has no parabens, and is less than $30. You may have to decide which feature is the one that can be sacrificed.
  • Feel it and smell it. Textural differences and fragrances are very important. If you don’t enjoy using the product because it feels greasy or smells funny, you won’t use it. Your skin care is guaranteed to fail if it just sits in a drawer. [Tweet this!]

I want to know. What is most important to you when you buy a moisturizer or other skin care product? Do you make decisions based on price? Ingredients? A friend’s recommendation? Tell me in the comments below!

 

 

Like this post? Get skin tips and tricks delivered directly to your inbox by signing up for the newsletter!

Just the FAQs: Can My Skin Care Stop Working?

skin care productsI love this beauty urban legend. And it’s one of my favorite myths to bust. Here are a few reasons why you can’t become “immune” to your current routine.

You get used to your results. If you are using something that works, it will continue to work. Unfortunately, we just get used to seeing the glow in the mirror. Just like any other part of your body, your skin uses nutrients and discards waste. Once a nutrient is depleted, you need to feed your skin again. It doesn’t use a nutrient once and never need it again. If you take a vitamin C supplement, your body uses what it needs and discards the excess. Next week, you’ll need more.

  • Your skin’s needs may change. Let’s revisit the vitamin C analogy. If you are sick, your body may need more help to repair. Then you need more vitamin c than before because of what’s happening, not because you got used to the amount of vitamin c you were taking in. Circumstances changed; your needs changed. Your skin functions the same way. If you are stressed out, your skin may be depleted of more vitamins than usual, increasing your need for more. It’s not that your skin is used to the products. Your needs are different.
  • Your products have expired. Yes, in this case, they probably have stopped working. Expired product means less effective ingredients. Less effective ingredients mean less noticeable results. But this doesn’t mean that a new bottle won’t work as the first one you purchased.
  • We get bored and a shiny new product beckons from the pages of Allure. Even though I know that skin care doesn’t “stop working,” it’s always fun to try something new… and that’s okay! It’s good to do something different to mix up a routine, but be careful of shocking your skin too much or too often. But I encourage you to dig deeper if this is the case. Make sure that in your restlessness, you don’t throw out a product that really works for you in lieu of something less suited.

So never fear, you don’t have to give up a favorite product. You don’t need to switch up your skin care routine for fear of becoming “immune” to it. But if you’re not seeing the results you want, try a smaller tweak and keep your favorites on hand.

Thinking Out of the Box

woman jumping out of skin care boxSkin care companies have put you in a box for years, and I’m here to break you free.

People often confuse skin types with skin concerns. Skin types only indicate how much oil you produce. It’s a sliding scale with very oily skin on one side and extremely dry skin on the other. The center of the scale is balanced skin, or skin that produces just enough oil to be moisturized on its own. Many things can affect your oil production, like seasonal changes, hormonal changes, and medications. Make sure to flex your routine to match what’s actually going on with your skin.

Skin concerns are the specific things you want to change about your skin, like acne, pigmentation, or fine lines. Many people will tell me that their skin type is sensitive, but this is actually more of a concern. No matter what your skin type, you can absolutely treat whatever concern you have in a way that works for you.

Oily skin types generally want to stick with lighter textures. Oil free lotions can be helpful in the summer, but in the winter, be careful of not getting enough moisture. I find lots of oily skin types overestimate their oiliness and get a little dried out in the cooler months. Look for a lotion that is still lightweight but has some botanical oils in it, like jojoba, sunflower, or argan oils. Treat your concerns with serums. Most serums are lightweight enough to not create any more oiliness on the skin, and you can get them to treat any concern you have.

Balanced skin types have the most options of all the skin types, but you are also the ones that need to pay the most attention to external factors. You may find that having a few options for your routine allows you more flexibility. In general, you want to stick with medium weight textures. You may like layering a few serums to help address your concerns and keeping your moisturizer lighter. In cooler months, you may like a bit of a heavier moisturizer. If you’re prone to break outs, keep the moisturizer light and layer the serums to get the right amount of hydration.

Dry skin types can’t get enough moisture. You love a creamy, buttery texture. I’m a dry skin type, and in the winter, creams just can’t be rich enough. But dry skin types need to watch out for going overboard. Creams that are too heavy can lay on the surface of the skin, not only clogging the pores but also preventing moisture from penetrating the deeper layers of the skin. Dry skin types want to embrace layers, maybe using a hydrating serum before a deeper moisturizer. Your skin has more opportunity to absorb many light layers than one super thick layer.

I generally recommend that you pick a cleanser and moisturizer for your skin type and looking for a serum to address your concerns. All skin types can benefit from using a hydrating serum, even just as needed, to help build in additional moisture that is easy for the skin to absorb.

Do you treat for its type, or your concerns?

Just the FAQs: How Often do I Need a Facial?

As I do my initial consultation before a facial, I usually ask when you had a facial last. My clients often get a guilty look as they admit that it’s been “a while,” or “longer than I can remember.” So the next question I hear is, “How often should I get a facial?”

This is a tough question that varies with the individual. The easiest answer is that you need a facial as often as you Woman getting a facial at a spa. need your pores cleaned. Skin will always make blackheads and clogged pores, and some skin types make them faster than others. So if your blackheads seem to come up regularly, then you might need a monthly facial. If you don’t notice as many blackheads, you may be able to get a seasonal facial.

But facials have many benefits other than just getting those pores cleaned out, many of which people overlook when thinking about whether or not they need a facial.

  • Professional exfoliation. I’m a believer in the importance of regularly getting a professional peel. I work with products that are safe but are stronger than retail products. This deeper exfoliation stimulates cell turnover rates and rids the surface of excess dead skin. When you remove layers of dead skin, the products that you use at home penetrate better, which in turn gets you better benefits and longer lasting results.
  • Massage. It’s more than just a means of relaxation. It has many therapeutic benefits. It stimulates blood flow and draws oxygen to all layers of the skin. This helps to stimulate healing, lymphatic drainage, and nutrient delivery. Also, massage tones and relaxes muscles, which allows them to relax and contract as they should, leading to a softer, smoother complexion.
  • Professional consultation. In a facial, you get an hour to ask me questions about your skin. I analyze your skin and consult with you. This is a great time to figure out how to get more from your routine and check whether you’re using what’s really best for your skin and concerns.
  • Relaxation. Yes, relaxation is incredibly important to good skin. [Tweet this!] Furrowed brows and clenched teeth create repeated muscular movement that can eventually cause wrinkles. Additionally, chronic stress can change hormone levels in a way that can increase breakouts and stop nutrients from getting to your skin. Taking a little time to relax can reverse the aging effects of stress. Sometimes that hour you carve out for pore cleaning is also the only hour you have to relax and unwind.

Your need for regular facials really boils down to what your concerns for your skin are and what results you want. There are some treatments and skin conditions that must be treated more regularly, even weekly. After you achieve your desired result, you may be able to switch to a maintenance schedule and get facials monthly. Consult with a professional that you trust, who can guide you in setting up a customized program.

 

 

Like this post? Get skin tips and tricks delivered directly to your inbox by signing up for the newsletter!