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!

4 Mistakes Even Beauty Experts Make

I’m on a mission to get good skin care information out there. It’s the main reason I started writing this blog. So I get frustrated when I hear the same beauty myths persisting. Here are a few things that I hear even beauty experts get wrong.  mistakes even beauty experts make

  • Drinking enough water will cure chapped lips and dry skin. [Tweet this!] There are many benefits of drinking water, but sorry, this just isn’t one of them. I hear people say this over and over, and I feel like Debbie Downer every time I say that it won’t. It’s the Salad Dressing Theory. Oil and water are not interchangeable. Drinking more water cannot replenish a lack of oil.
  • Your skin needs to breathe. Your skin doesn’t have lungs. [Tweet this!] Your skin can’t even absorb gases from the outside environment. In fact, it’s hard enough to get your skin to absorb solid nutrients. I even cracked open my super skin nerd text-book Physiology of the Skin for scientific confirmation on this one, and sure enough, Dr. Pugliese has many things to say. First he states that “the skin uses very little oxygen since 90% of the metabolic process in the skin is anaerobic, or does not require oxygen.” He also states that “oxygen is a gas, and gas will diffuse into other gases before it will dissolve into anything else.” Basically, your skin isn’t absorbing the air because the air can’t penetrate the skin. It’s not breathing. And no amount of makeup or lotion will change that your skin doesn’t breathe.
  • Fair skin is sensitive skin. I’ve had dozens of estheticians insist that I am sensitive, simply because my skin is light. The color of the skin doesn’t dictate sensitivities. Fair skin has a tendency to be thinner, but even that doesn’t mean that doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll be more sensitive. I go back to my soapbox about what sensitive skin even means. I define sensitive skin as someone who has frequent reactions or many allergies. Skin of all colors can be allergic to an ingredient. Skin of all colors can have an adverse reaction to a product or get an irritation.
  • Products with alcohol will dry out your skin. We need to split hairs here. If you’re looking at a toner with SD alcohol or denatured alcohol in it, yes, it will probably dry you out. If you’re oily or acne prone, you might need that drying or extra help killing bacteria. If you’re dry, it may not be a good idea. If you are looking at a cream, chances are that product has cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, or stearyl alcohol in it. These forms of alcohol are all fatty alcohols, meaning that they are actually moisturizing. I don’t know enough about chemistry to be able to explain why these different ingredients are still all alcohols (chemistry experts, chime in!), but I promise you that fatty alcohols are important in a moisturizer and won’t dry you out.

Have you ever heard any skin care myths that you know aren’t true, but you hear everywhere? Shout out in the comments and tell me what they are!

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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!

 

 

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How To Tell If Your Natural Skin Care Is The Real Deal

how to tell if your skin care is naturalEveryone wants natural skin care these days, and I’ve talked about the fact that there is no regulation for this term before. My readers are savvy skin care shoppers, so I want to help you figure out if a brand is really natural, or just capitalizing on a trend.

Since there is no regulation for the word natural, you must decide what natural skin care means to you. Does it need to be paraben free? Are you simply looking for more botanical ingredients or essential oils? Do you have other ingredients that you want to avoid, like petrochemicals, dyes, or sodium lauryl sulfate? I have my own idea of what natural means, and I’m sharing it here. It starts by flipping over the box and looking at the ingredients.

  • High percentage of natural ingredients and botanical extracts. When you look at the ingredients, do you see a large number of botanicals? Are there only a few words that look like chemicals? Some of those chemically looking words can still be derived from natural sources, so you may want to look them up in a ingredients dictionary like A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients by Ruth Winter.
  • Low to no synthetic preservatives. Skin care products must be preserved some way. There’s really no way around it. Mostly what I’m looking for here is how many preservatives are they using? If they’re using six parabens, I doubt their commitment to being a natural skin care line.
  • No synthetic fragrance. This can be hard to figure out from the ingredient list since even a certain amount of essential oils must be listed as perfume. Your nose will tell you if the product smells like botanical ingredients or a bottle of perfume. When you check the ingredients, does the product smell like the oils and botanicals listed? Beware the product that smells like nothing. Every ingredient, especially botanicals, has a scent. If your product smells like nothing, that may mean that something, like a masking fragrance, has been added to remove or neutralize an unpleasant smell.
  • No synthetic dyes. Check the ingredients list. See anything that looks like Red 40 or Blue 9? Again, I doubt just how natural that natural skin care is if there are dyes.
  • Corporate transparency. I like to see companies openly sharing their practices. It is still marketing, but I respect companies that are willing to pull back the curtain and let us look behind the scenes. I was recently browsing the Tata Harper website, and I noticed that they offer percentages of the organic ingredients for each product. Ren Skincare lists where they derive some of their ingredients that look more like chemicals, which is also helpful if you have allergies. If you’re gung-ho to use the most natural skin care possible, call the company and ask about their ingredients. If they won’t answer all your questions, they may not be as natural as they claim.

You’ll need to make your own decisions about what you want in your skin care and what you consider natural. My goal is to put enough information out there to help you make your own informed decisions.

 

 

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How To Save Your Skin From Stress

tips to stop your stress from showing on your faceNo matter how perfect your skin care routine is, we all hit points in life when we look less than radiant. Often it’s stress that zaps your glow. And the last thing you need when you’re feeling run down and tired from stress is looking like you’re run down and tired.

Stressed skin usually looks dull, and a dull complexion needs three things: exfoliation, hydration, and nourishment. [Tweet this!] Stress causes your body to deplete its vitamin stores, and your skin loses its nutrients first. It’s also more likely to break out as cortisol changes oil production. Here are some of my cheats to revitalize skin that needs extra help.

  • Mask, mask, mask. Facial masks can do just about anything you need for your skin. Fresh Rose Face Mask When my skin is looking dull and tired, I let a mask soak into my skin, even if I just squeeze in a few minutes in the shower. Whether I’m getting an extra shot of vitamins, a bit of exfoliation, or even a dose of hydration, my skin loves the help. Some to try? I love the Fresh Rose Face Mask for hydrating and revitalizing. Another favorite is the Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel for extra exfoliation.

 

  • Brighten with a multi-vitamin serum or moisturizer. If you’re not alreadyiS Clinical Poly Vitamin Serum using a serum that lists vitamin C or niacinamide among its ingredients, get one now. Since your dull complexion is telling you that you’re lacking nutrients, make sure to add as many as you can. Some of my go-to skin care products are the iS Clinical Poly Vitamin Serum, which covers all of your needs with a blend of glycolic acid, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid, or the Astara Antioxidant Light Moisturizer, which infuses tons of botanicals and nutrients into one lightweight product.

 

  • Grab a green juice. Finding time to eat healthy can be a challenge, and stress just makes me want to eat brownies. Maybe I’m the only one? Sometimes it’s easier to drink my veggies on the go. Greens have tons of phytonutrients and vitamins, and giving your body this boost will also help your skin get the nourishment it needs.

How do you save your skin when stress takes its toll?

Video: Eye Massage and Lymph Drainage for Dark Circles and Puffiness

I chose to use my Rodan and Fields Redefine Multi Function eye cream as my massage medium. I like this eye cream because of the creamy texture, and also because it has many beneficial ingredients. You want to choose something that is creamy and has a little slip to it, so you can glide across the skin without dragging or pulling.

  • Apply the eye cream or a tiny bit of coconut or jojoba oil all around the eye area.
  • Using gentle pressure, sweep upward on the brows. Massage the frown lines between the eyes and stretch them out.
  • Work up to release tear duct, and sweep across brow. Find the pressure point at the bottom of the brow and press in for a few seconds.
  • Work across the length of the brow in gentle, soft strokes
  • Return to the tear duct and gently pull down on the inside corner of the eye. Sweep from the inside to the outside without pulling on the skin.
  • Work a little extra eye cream into the crow’s feet and around the temples.

These techniques are helpful to stimulate lymph drainage, which can reduce dark circles and puffiness. It can also be beneficial to reduce sinus pressure due to allergies or illness.

 

 

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BB Creams… Decoded

Flip through any magazine, watch any channel on TV, and you will see an ad for a BB cream. They seem to have come out of nowhere and are suddenly everywhere. The million dollar questions are, what is a BB cream, and do you need one?

The concept of the BB cream originally came out of the Asian market. The BB stands for blemish balm or beauty balm. They are designed to camouflage any blemish or imperfection in the complexion. They are generally lightweight, tinted foundation creams that also contain various treatment ingredients to treat your skin concerns while concealing. They are both solving the problem and covering it up at the same time. The truth about BB creams is that it’s not a new concept. Many of the foundations and tinted moisturizers from just a few years back are similar to the BB creams that we’re seeing advertised today. Those formulations also featured treatment ingredients to address different concerns.

what is a bb cream?BB creams are incredibly tempting because they seem to solve so many problems at one time. But beware the jack of all trades. Even I find a product that is 12-in-1 a little overwhelming. These creams may help with your concerns, but they can’t ever replace the treatment benefits of a serum. At the end of the day, they are still a cosmetic product. If you have a skin concern, make sure to address it with a targeted treatment. But if you’re going to wear a complexion product, you might as well pick something with some added beneficial ingredients.

Most BB creams claim to hydrate or moisturize. As with tinted moisturizers, whether you can just use a BB cream really depends on your skin type. I generally feel that people need a little something more than just a tinted moisturizer or BB cream. Those who are super oily may feel like this is just enough. I like to layer since I am very dry.

If you are looking for a full coverage complexion product, you may like a BB cream as a foundation primer or extra layer of coverage. If you just like a little complexion evening and control, a BB cream alone may be just enough for you. Pick the right BB cream for you by first finding a texture and coverage you love. Remember, it’s a cosmetic product first. Do you want more coverage, or just a hint? Do you want a tint and primer in one? Does the brand you’re considering offer a color that suits your natural skin tone? If you’ve got it narrowed down to just a couple now, does this product treat your other concerns? Does it hydrate, or help to fade marks? Think of these benefits as your bonus points.

Look at your BB cream as the frosting on the cake… not completely necessary but it’s sure nice to have it there!

 

 

Speak your mind! Do you have a favorite BB cream? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!

Proper Picking Procedures

It’s never my first recommendation, but sometimes the temptation to pick a pimple is overwhelming. And I understand… sometimes those guys just scream to be squeezed! I have a list of rules that must be followed how to properly pop a pimpleshould you succumb to the urge to pick.

  • Start with steamed skin. Usually after a shower is best. Steam softens the skin and allows the debris to come out more easily.
  • Use an enzyme mask before. Enzymes also soften the skin, making the extraction process easier. One to try? The Murad Vitalic Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask is a great option.
  • Only pick the most obvious whiteheads, with the infection right at the surface. If you’re going for a blackhead, only go for those that at the surface and opened.
  • Wrap your clean fingers in tissues. Never use your nails. Use gentle pressure. Don’t force it if it doesn’t give immediately. Wait a few days and try again.
  • Cleanse the area and sanitize it with a salicylic acid spot treatment, like Sircuit Skin Fixzit. You can even apply ice for a few minutes to reduce the inflammation.
  • Use a sulfur mask to kill bacteria and help the pores contract. You can even leave it on the spot overnight. One of my all time favorites for this is Peter Thomas Roth Sulfur Cooling Masque. I do this to reduce blemishes when I first notice them too, so I don’t ever get to the point where I have to extract them.
  • Leave it alone. This is the point where not picking becomes very important. If you repeatedly pick at a blemish, you slow down the healing process, and ultimately you can cause long-term scarring.

Ideally, we will never get to the point where something screams at us to be picked. But it happens to all of us, and using these precautions can prevent the long-term collagen damage that occurs when we’ve overpicked. Also remember that sometimes the best way to control your urge to pick is to take one giant step away from the magnifying mirror. [Tweet this!]

 

 

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What I’m Loving Now: Oils

favorite facial oils including coconut oilThe Northeast is bracing for what will hopefully be the last snow storm of this season, and I have been relying on whatever I can find to keep my dry, itchy skin under control. Here are a few of products that I keep going back to.

 

Argan oil is a popular ingredient these days. It popped up a few years back and fans are Kahina Giving Beauty Argan Oilkeeping it front and center. I love the Kahina Giving Beauty Argan Oil. It has a rich texture that is amazing to soothe dry skin. I especially love it because Kahina gives so much back to the community of Berber women that make the oil. Try a couple of drops under a lotion to amp up your moisture, on cuticles, or even on the ends of hair to tame frizz.

 

Tata Harper Replenishing Nutrient Complex


All winter, I’ve been using this Replenishing Nutrient Complex from Tata Harper in my facials. I love the double whammy – it’s wonderfully aromatic and soothing, as well as super moisturizing. I find the rollerball incredibly convenient. I keep it in my bag for touch ups over makeup during the day. Remember that dry skin is dull skin, so a hint of oil on the cheeks can restore your glow.

 

You can’t get more of a multi-tasker than coconut oil. I’m not one for making my own skin Organic Coconut Oilcare; I’d just rather buy something that comes in a pretty box. But I’ve been making this One Minute Chocolate Cake from Chocolate Covered Katie just about every night, and I kept getting coconut oil all over my hands. Not wanting to waste, I started working the excess into the ends of my hair, removing my eye makeup, and rubbing it onto my arms. Now I’m almost out, and I’m obsessed. I need my chocolate cake and my moisture. By the way, if you don’t have a nut allergy, coconut is a hot new ingredient for your skin and for your diet.

 

I do find that oils work best with a moisturizer. The oils seem to soak in and disappear on their own. But if you mix a few drops into your moisturizer, or apply the moisturizer over the oil, it really helps to seal in that extra moisture. Don’t be scared of oil. If your skin is dry, it needs the help.

Do you have any favorite oils for these last few cold weeks?