Update! New Recommendation for Face Wash

Hello readers,

Lets talk about an super important product in your skincare routine – Face Wash! There are a couple of things I want to say before we talk product though.

Firstly, always use a product specifically designed for your face. I have met so many people who say they use body wash, hand wash, or something other than face wash (I once had a client tell me they used Clorox wipes, no lie!) – Please don’t. Those products will strip your skin, add scum and are just down right inappropriate for your face. Unless you are using a super hippie, natural ingredient cleanser on your body with minimal ingredients and you just won’t use anything else, I can’t condone it.

Secondly, and I feel very strongly about this one, if you don’t have clinical acne (I’m talking about real, cystic, debilitating acne) I don’t recommend using acne products. Use products for oily skin if you have oily skin, but not for acne if you don’t have it. There is a difference between having a few breakouts with oily skin, and having acne. Breakouts can be caused by hormones, diet, product irritation and many other things and can occur frequently or occasionally. Acne is a condition and occurs despite any of these factors.  If you perpetually use harsh treatment products on your skin that is really normal with a few breakouts, you will create even worse problems and perpetuate breakouts. I personally don’t like salicylic acid as an ingredient in cleansers; I prefer it as a topical treatment only to affected areas or as a chemical peel for those who need it. Over time salicylic acid can kill the surface level cells (with over use) and create a thick dead skin layer that becomes like a callous and never sheds, causing a suffocating barrier that leads to severe dehydration and aging.

Previously I had quickly recommended Neutrogena’s Ultra Gentle face wash in a post about Micellar Cleansing water. Well I can no longer say that is my favorite face wash anymore. While it did a good job and gently cleansed my face, it still didn’t turn out to be the best. I noticed after a while it began to turn an icky brown color. I think the product just got old and I immediately threw it out. I decided to buy a face wash from a very great product line that I love called Pacifica. They are an Oregon based company that is 100% vegan, cruelty-free and free of petroleum, parabens, SLS or Phthalates.

I currently use their Sea Foam cleanser for all skin types and its awesome. It is “Made with Papaya Extract, a natural skin softener and non-abrasive exfoliant, Coconut Water that acts as a natural toner, skin balancer and cleanser, and Sea Algae Extract which helps normalize skin’s moisture content and helps re-mineralize skin to promote natural brightness.”

I highly recommend their Kale Detox cleanser for oily skin, and their Quinoa Gentle Cleanser for sensitive skin. They all foam really nicely, which is essential for me in a cleanser. They remove makeup and leave the skin feeling fresh and clean. The best part: their cleansers are $10!

I highly recommend all their other products too such as their Underarm Deodorant wipes (theses are excellent for traveling), Micellar Face Wipes and Coconut Water Face Wipes. They have an amazing face cream called Cactus & Kale which is for stressed sensitive skin. Its oil free and helps reduce inflammation seal in moisture. For those that don’t like any greasy feeling but have dry sensitive skin, this product is for you, it soaks right in.  I want to try these body butters, face creamsThere packaging is just stunning and there skincare sets make a beautiful gift. They use fragrances that are from essential oils and they donate to support clean water as part of their mission.

You can purchase these at Ulta and Target.

Hope this has been helpful and thanks for reading!

Please note: these are just my opinions based on my experience and education as an esthetician. Other estheticians can disagree with  me, so of course, use your own judgement and do what you feel works best for you 🙂

The Importance of Exfoliating your Scalp!

Hello Readers!

So I have discovered another amazing gem of a product and I am here to tell you about it!

For a while now, I have been struggling with my scalp. It gets oily, itchy and flaky after about 3 days of not washing it. You might be thinking, “Eww, 3 days Sara?!”. Well, I have read many an article that says you should not wash your hair too often as it drys out your hair strands, which is true – my color fades and my hair gets dry if I wash it too often. I use dry shampoo (Batiste) which is an amazing product and I love it, but it makes my scalp even more itchy and flaky and I have to wash my hair the next morning for sure. Lastly, the cherry on top, I have wavy hair which is supposed to be naturally voluminous, yet I struggle to keep any bouncy volume at my roots and my hair gets limp on top and dry at the bottom resulting in a lovely mushroom shape. So I decided to do some research about this and see what I could find.

I found some interesting articles talking about the importance of treating your scalp with as much care as you would your face. Especially the importance of exfoliating your scalp to remove dead skin cell buildup and product buildup. Product buildup leads to dead skin cell buildup, so it creates a continuos problem. It makes complete sense and explains why I get itchy, oily roots. My scalp is suffocating!

So why don’t I just scrub a little harder when washing my hair in the shower? Unfortunately shampoos, especially if you are using hydrating shampoos for your dry hair, don’t effectively clean and more importantly, don’t exfoliate the scalp and can add to the product buildup problem on the scalp. I did a search and found that there are many high end, expensive products (shocking!) out there that are marketed to be exfoliating shampoos. I almost purchased one until I was browsing the Costco-like store here in the Caribbean and found a Shea Moisture product. Of course, seeing a brand that I recognize and love, I rush to it and find that it is their: African Black Soap Deep Cleansing Shampoo for Dry Scalp. My prayers have been answered, in the Caribbean no less. Miracles do happen.

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Now lets pause for a moment because this is an interesting note: For someone like me, experiencing oiliness, itchy and flaking, why would I go for a product that’s for dry scalp when oiliness is primarily my problem? The fact is I have both oily and dry scalp if you can believe that. One problem creates the other. They co-exist like evil twins. The buildup of dead skin and product creates a barrier on your scalp, preventing it from getting nourished and hydrated and the skin therefore produces more of its own oil to compensate, creating an oily mess. I understand this well because it’s the same thing that happens to the skin on your face when not cleansed and exfoliated regularly OR when using harsh, stripping products. *Cough* Pro-activ … Cetaphil *Cough*

If you want me to explain further about my “coughs” just let me know and I will do a post on it.

Back to the deep cleansing shampoo – so of course all the ingredients are non-GMO, organic and sustainably produced because it’s Shea Moisture brand, so – already winning! It exfoliates with tea tree oil and willow bark extract and calms irritation with plantain enzyme extract.

As you would with your skin, you should only exfoliate your scalp once or twice a week depending on your needs. Over exfoliating can lead to the same oily problem and cause irritation, so I wouldn’t recommend using this product on a daily basis but as a treatment product, weekly.

From the first time I used this product my hair was SO shiny, soft, and BOUNCY! I had incredible volume especially at my roots and I don’t experience oiliness, itching and flaking half as much as I used to and I can go longer without washing my hair. My scalp feels so much healthier and my hair looks so much better. I typically will use it once a week and follow it with a treatment mask that I also use weekly. Shea moisture has a hair mask that I have yet to try. Currently I use Macadamia Professional Deep Repair Hair Masque, which I love!

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You can purchase these products at a drugstore or at Ulta Beauty.

I hope this has been helpful to at least one person, because I know it has really been a life saver for me!

I have so many topics I wish to discuss on my blog but I just haven’t had enough free time to put it all together, but please keep watching this space because I will get it out there eventually!

As a sneak peek: I plan to talk about the dangers of using salicylic acid on normal skin that is breakout prone but not true acne, I have a plethora of products that I want to review, I want to share makeup vloggers that I love, and a foundation trick that will change your life – So stay in touch!

BE beautiful friends! xxx

Product Review: Shea Moisture Renewal Peel Pads

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Wow! Hello again world!

As forewarned in my last blog post I have been out of touch for the last 4-ish months due to work, but now I am back and loving it. Of course, the very first thing I did upon arriving back to the glorious USA was go on a much longed for shopping spree with my mom. Just so you know, I spent the majority of my down time during work researching new products and planning out exactly what I wanted to buy and then went to ULTA equipped to the teeth my lists, skipped around like a kid in a candy store and bought even more than I anticipated. But that’s okay, I got it all out of my system … for now!

I am excited to tell you about this little gem of a product I found. Shea Moisture’s Renewal Peel Pads. Now, I own a Clarisonic brush, which I love dearly, but I am lazy and therefore don’t use it everyday. I like to use it every other day and when I do, I go all out and put on a good mask and make the most of my good-deed day. When I am working on charter and going to bed at 3am after taking care of wealthy vacationers who drink ALL the booze, I am definitely not inclined to use my Clarisonic (in fact I’m barely inclined to brush my teeth at this point really) and therefore my skin starts to suffer. So I bought these to use everyday to maintain my dead skin build up so it doesn’t get to the point where I have to do a major detail and extraction on my face to get it decent again.

I have been using them for about 2 weeks now and they are absolutely wonderful. I use them at night after cleansing but before moisturizering, just like a toner pad. The next morning my face is smoother and brighter. I’ve noticed my pores don’t build up as much gunk and extractions are easier.

Let’s talk about what’s in the product. Hopefully you have seen my previous post about Shea Moisture’s products and what they are all about, if not, click here and give it a read before you go on.

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This product has what they call a ‘Superfruit Complex’ and upon closer inspection of the ingredient list you will find: Grapefruit, Orange, Lemon, Raspberry, Acai, Goji, Guava, Apple, Aloe, Shea, Sugar Cane, Sugar Maple, Oat, Papaya and Rice.

Now, in this list alone you are getting a plethora of benefits such as Vitamin C that comes from grapefruit, Orange, Lemon and Acai, which is so important for reversing UV damage caused by the sun. In fact, Vitamin C is the first and foremost component to effective anti-aging skin care. If you are not using it, you should be!

Raspberry has brightening and antioxidant components. All those clinical skincare lines you see that promote brightening, like Clarins for example, they are all using raspberry extract as their main ingredient because it is a powerful brightener and breaks up melanin clusters which result in dark spots.

All the fruit extracts above especially papaya, sugar cane and maple, have AHA/BHA (Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids) that are natural acid exfoliators and work by eating up dead skin cells and effectively breaking down what I like to call, “the cellophane wrap” on your skin. These acids are by far the most effective and safest exfoliators to use on the skin.

Listed as the 2nd ingredient on the list (FYI: ingredients are listed in order of highest quantity to lowest quantity) is straight up Glycolic Acid which is derived from sugar. It is also the smallest form of AHA and can therefore penetrate the skin much deeper allowing for maximum exfolaition, safely. This acid is a high quality ingredient and is found in all expensive high-end skin care brands.

Lastly this product has Lotus Seed extract which is one of the best antioxidants out there, praised for its potency and soothing qualities. Again, this is a very high quality ingredient found in high end brands.

I am extremely impressed with this product not only for its genuine effectiveness but also because it contains not just one, but many exceptional ingredients that you would normally find in very expensive products generally averaging from $30-$100. This product cost? $14.99 at Ulta, Walgreens and CVS (at which you can use coupons too. Can I get a Whoot-Whoot!). Absolutey a no-brainer.

Well I hope you enjoyed this review and found it helpful and informative. I should be back on the wagon now with my posts so keep a lookout for more!

Thank for reading and be beautiful friends 🙂

Brand Disovery: Shea Moisture

Hi Readers!

To begin this blog, I am going to tell you about my product purchase evolution. For a long time I purchased products just to try them because I read about them in a magazine or someone recommended it, or (mostly) because it looked pretty on the shelf. I’ve been known to say that I’m never brand loyal and I will try anything. I almost never use the same product twice and is takes a lot of discipline to actually finish a product before buying something else that I’ve been eyeing on the shelf.

This is how my curiosity and love for beauty started: experimenting with lots of products. But then I became an esthetician and I learned to appreciate what goes into products and how that impacts the effectiveness of a product. As an Aveda student, my education was based on the knowledge that pure, plant derived and non-toxic ingredients are essential. However, despite my schooling, I was still tempted to try anything that claimed to have great results regardless of how they are made and sourced. Marketing and packaging do a great job of enticing me to buy their products, I am a sucker for smells and pretty packaging. More recently though, I have become more concerned with ingredients and my product choices have changed dramatically. I really scrutinize the ingredients list when researching new products. My one very strict change that I have made is, I will NOT buy anything that is tested on animals. It has become so important to me to really analyze what is going into products and how they are made.

There are so many choices out there and as consumers we have buying power and what we demand determines everything. So with that power, I can choose to give my money and loyalty to those companies who are striving to be the natural, organic and cruelty-free companies on the shelf. It’s challenging for these companies to niche themselves, because there is not much regulation for beauty ingredients, so basically anything goes, consumers don’t know a whole lot about what is what, and it’s expensive to be organic. So these companies deserve my money and loyalty and I’ve made a decision to change my buying habits.

I would like to introduce you to a brand that I have seen around for a long time, in stores that are super convenient, like pharmacies and grocery stores, but I never gave a second look at. Why? I don’t know. Maybe the packaging didn’t grab me enough to pull my attention away from the cheaper, more popular known brands I was buying. But recently, I did look twice, and I was blown away at what I had been ignoring for so long.

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Say hello to Shea Moisture! I couldn’t believe how awesome this company was when I read about it. They have been around for a long time, widely available in stores and very reasonably priced.

Shea Moisture is a family company started by Grandmother Sofi Tucker who sold Shea Nuts at the village market in Bonthe, Sierra Leone in 1912. By age 19, the widowed mother of four was selling Shea Butter, African Black Soap and her homemade hair and skin preparations all over the countryside.

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I extracted their mission and story from their website SheaMoisture.com –

What We Stand For:

Inclusively Exclusive

The best in personal care and beauty should not belong to the few. Our accessibility comes compromise-free.

Modern Wisdom

Recipes handed down from a healer make for potent 21st century cures.

Sensory Solutions

Potent salves stimulate, soothe, surprise and speak to all the senses.

Cultures Cultivated

The best ingredients gathered from around the world and picked to complement perfectly.

 

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I am so impressed with this company and love that they are so widely available already and so reasonably priced. I have tried their coconut and hibiscus body wash and I love it. I plan to try more products and switch my current products to this brand. I truly feel we should all consider supporting companies like Shea Moisture and start purchasing products conscientiously, so that they get the support they deserve, and we get the products that we deserve!

Thank you for reading and be beautiful friends! xxx

Under-Eye Concealing: The Do’s and Don’ts

Recently a friend asked me to help her with some issues she had been having with her under-eye makeup routine not giving her enough coverage or lasting throughout the day and I thought it would be a good idea to do a blog post as I think this is a common issue we all have. There are some do and don’t with this delicate area and I have a few tricks up my sleeve that might completely turn your routine around and give you the results you looking for.

Firstly, you must must must hydrate the area before applying any product first. (This goes for your whole face actually). Skin that is not hydrated enough prior to makeup application is going to absorb moisture from the makeup and it will result in an uneven, patchy and non-lasting application. So, pat some eye cream around your eyes and let it sink in.

Note: A good thing to know about moisturizing the skin is that you should always apply it on damp skin. This goes for whole body and face as well. Damp skin absorbs moisture more effectively and will retain water better.

There are a few things to know about what products to use for concealing the under eye area before we talk about application. Contouring has become all the rage nowadays but you must understand that under-eye concealing actually does not fall into this category. Just because it is a “highlighted” area, does not mean that it should be part of the contouring plan. Under-eye concealing is part of your basic routine make-up application, regardless of whether you contour or not. Therefore, contouring products, especially those with shimmers in them, are not appropriate for the under-eye area. The shimmer will look oily in that area and those products are not designed for coverage but for highlighting. It has become so misconstrued and misleading in some of these videos I have watched, because the under-eye area is always thrown in when some artists demonstrate contouring. They always somehow forget to advise those watching that it is not a one-product-fits-all areas situation and that the under-eye is special and require a totally different product.

With that said, you should only use products designed specifically for the under-eye area as they will be highly pigmented, hopefully contain ingredients that are healthy for the extremely sensitive skin this is your under-eyes, and also be more long lasting. My favorite product is of course: It Cosmetics – Bye Bye Under Eye concealer. As with all their products, it is formulated with skin-loving ingredients that work like skincare, and the quality and performance of the product is outstanding. They make a waterproof version, which is fantastic for those who tend to sweat under their eyes, I use this one and it’s awesome.

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To apply, I usually warm up the product with both my ring fingers and then pat on the product in a triangular shape under the eye. Never smear on product, especially under the eye, as you will cause micro tearing that causes aging and sagging. This product blends seamlessly and quickly. Next, you need to set the concealer. A rule of thumb is, any creamy product you apply to your skin needs to be set with a powder otherwise it will melt and you will loose coverage over the day. I like to use either a small brush or a damp sponge with translucent powder and just lightly tap a fine dusting of powder. You don’t need a lot.

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It is also important to note that once you set your foundation with powder, you cannot use another creamy product on top of it as creams and powders don’t mix and will result in caking. This mainly refers to whether you are using a cream highlighter/contouring product or a powder one. If you are using a creamy one, you should apply it before setting your face with powder. Make sure you are always dabbing, or tapping product onto the skin after applying foundation so you don’t move the foundation around, causing less coverage in that area.

Another side note: powders are really all you need for setting makeup. I am not a fan of makeup setting sprays because the ingredients in some of those products are frightful. Well moisturized skin, a good quality foundation and a powder setting are really all you need to make your make up last all day.

I hope this has been helpful and as always I love your questions and I am always happy to answer any issues or concerns you might have.

I will be quite busy for the next couple of months so you may not a see a post for a while, so I hope I don’t lose any followers, but be assured that I am always working on my next post when I can!

Sara xx

 

Product Review: Garnier – Micellar Cleansing Water

Hello Beautifuls!

It has been some time since my last post, but not by choice! This post is a bit of a two-fer, but mostly about Garnier’s micellar water. However, I will also present my favourite foaming cleanser: Neutrogena’s Ultra Gentle Foaming Cleanser, to partner up with micellar water.

SO! Get ready to toss out your regular makeup remover (or quickly finish it off) to make room for this beauty. Also, you might want to get rid of your makeup removing towelettes too (I am not a fan because they leave a chemical residue and cannot be left on the skin) because this amazing product trumps them all.

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Huffington Post Article on Micellar Water

Micellar Water has actually been around for years and is now making an epic comeback. Personally, I think it’s because those lovely French gals have finally given up one of their coveted beauty secrets to the world. Micellar Water originated in Paris in the 1990’s to combat the effects of hard water, because it actually does not require any rinsing.

This micellar cleansing water is the most gentle and most effective makeup remover I have ever used. It is absolutely perfect for all skin types, especially sensitive skin types, and requires no rubbing to make it work. It is also the only thing I would recommend using if you have eyelash extensions and delicate skin, because of this no-rubbing-required benefit. It effectively removes all make up including waterproof and long wearing formulas. Another reason this cleansing water is great, is for those nights that you are just too tired to wash your face. There is no excuse anymore. Since there is no rinsing required, you can safely and easily cleanse your face and go to bed if you are too tired.

The difference between traditional cleansers and this miracle water is that traditional cleansers use one cleansing molecule per dirt molecule. That means, one molecule of cleansing agent can pickup only one molecule of dirt at a time, and requires you to move that cleansing agent around to get it to work and lift away. Micellar water uses a cluster of molecules to lift dirt away and because of this “power by numbers” effect, it attracts dirt and oil like a magnet and allows your skin to be effectively and throughly cleansed with no effort at all.

Here is how to best use this product:

As you will see there are different formulas of this product. I believe in the US we have the pink and blue one. The blue cap is the one formulated for waterproof makeup and the pink cap is the original formula. The difference is: the blue cap contains 15% makeup removing agents to remove the toughest makeup – waterproof, long wearing and transfer resistant. If you don’t wear this type of makeup regularly or have sensitive skin, I would recommend using the original (pink cap). I also recommend using the large oval cotton rounds for this product as well.

According to Garnier, the recommended steps are: POUR/PRESS/PROOF. Give the bottle a shake and pour a generous amount of the product onto the large oval cotton round. I like to start with my eye makeup first. Gently press the cotton round over your (closed!) eye and hold for a few seconds, then sweep away and repeat all over your face until it is cleansed. You will be amazed at how easily and effectively it removes makeup. It does not leave any oily residue, it does not burn your eyes or your skin and in just a few moments your skin is clean, refreshed and moisturized.

I am a clean freak so I like to wash my face after, however I recommend using a gentle but effective cleanser, regardless of your skin type. In my years as an esthetician, all I ever saw in clients with troubled skin was that stringent, deep cleansing products only ever made problems more aggravated and worse, it caused the skin to age. Not all problems, but most of the pimple-prone problems I dealt with that were not hormonal-based issues, were caused by an underlying sensitivity to product and a to-harsh approach to skin care.

That said, I absolutely despise Cetaphil. Why? Because IT DOES NOT CLEANSE! The only person I would tolerate using this product is someone with absolutely perfect, baby-like, fine-pore skin who does not use makeup OR someone with ridiculously sensitive skin. But even then I would recommend something else better. It has no purpose at all except to move junk around your face and let it sit there. If you own this product and you don’t fall into those two categories, my recommendation: Throw. It. Away! I know dermatologists recommend this product all the time, but that’s only because it is guaranteed not to irritate skin and therefore their butts are covered. But it is essential to cleanse your skin thoroughly and therefore, in my books, it’s rubbish.

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Now that I have said my peace about that cleanser (woo-sa), my #1 recommended cleanser is Neutrogena‘s Ultra Gentle Foaming face wash. It is such a fantastic cleanser, and it won’t strip your skin. It has no harsh cleansing ingredients that can irritate your skin and is totally appropriate for all skin types including sensitive. Since I started using it, my occasional breakouts and skin problems have completely cleared.

 

And there you have it! As always, if you have any questions about this product or anything else, or if you would like personal recommendations about skincare and problems you might be having, please just comment below, I am happy to help! And also, I would appreciate sharing my blog with you friends too!

Be beautiful friends!

Sara xxx

 

Product Review: IT Cosmetics – CC Cream with SPF 50+

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Let me start by saying that in my 30 years I have bought and collected an enormous amount of products. So, when I say this is one of my favourite products, that’s really saying something. I often feel, like when I am talking about skincare to those who use maybe use one product a day, that I should stand up and say, “Hi, I am Sara, and I am a product junkie!” I can never have enough.

IT Cosmetics: what a fantastic company! The founders of this brand are really on the right track. With makeup products these days it seems like you have two choices: use something that is good for your skin but doesn’t have that spectacular performance of high end makeup, or use high end make up, but forfeit any good-for-you ingredients, and be forced to buy 3 or more products to layer on so that you can have sun protection, hydration and color correction. This is where this company changes it all – no more trade off!

This company’s philosophy closely mirrors my own in that they believe that beauty and skincare can empower women (and men who like make-up) to look and feel their best. Their products are developed with world-renowned plastic surgeons and dermatologists. A big one for me: it is NEVER tested on animals. Their makeup is infused with skincare quality ingredients so that your skin is taken care of while you are wearing makeup. Only natural, physical and chemical-free sunscreen is used, which is great for sensitive skin types. And the cherry on top, through the company’s ‘Live Beauty Fully’ initiative they have donated over 10 million to helping women who face cancer.

When shopping for a great product, it all starts with: Who do we think makes the best products and let’s benchmark that price. So what is the biggest, most important question we must ask ourselves when deciding on that ultimate brand? Who do I have the most confidence in, to get me results? – and everything about this brand from its philosophy to my experience with it, gives me the confidence that I am buying a great product.

Okay, so let’s talk about this awesome product: Your Skin But Better CC Cream with SPF 50+. This is not your everyday CC Cream. If you have ever tried a BB cream or CC Cream or an ABC-XYZ Cream, you will probably have found that is just like a tinted moisturizer but it has several other skincare tasks it has promised to do as well. But at the end of the day you wear it to the gym, or the beach or use it under your foundation when you’re feeling fancy. This CC cream however, is like no other. The coverage is amazing! Thanks to it’s high pigmentation you could actually toss your foundation and walk out with full coverage, but really feel like your breezing around naked. The texture of this product is super-smooth and velvety and it positively glides on the skin. It smooth’s texture, color corrects and protects your skin with non-chemical, physical sunscreen of SPF 50+.

The cream is also infused with high quality skincare ingredients such as Peptides, Niacin, Algae, Vitamins A, C, B, E, Hyaluronic Acid, and Hydrolyzed Collagen that will improve texture, brightness, and hydration by a staggering 79%. For those of you who, when reading an ingredient list, only see a long fancy word that makes no sense, I can tell you this: I worked at a spa for 5 years, which specialized in using a high end, French skincare line called Thalgo, that also harnessed the power of hydrolyzed collagen and algae, and it had remarkable benefits on my client’s skin. These ingredients really are high quality and will improve your skin.

[One day I will do a discussion on all important skincare ingredients to tell you exactly what they do for your skin.]

The durability of this product is another great factor. I have very fair skin with a pinkish undertone. I burn exceptionally easily and freckle quickly. I will burn within 15mins of sun exposure. I used this product while in the Bahamas, working and playing, and it stood the test of time. I put it on in the morning, went snorkeling and swimming all day and without reapplying, I did not burn my face at all. The best part was that I did not look like I was wearing make-up to the beach, but my skin looked flawless! This product is build-able but it does not cake, melt or flake. After buying this product I have actually not used my regular foundation at all.

Normally I would never recommend anyone using his or her fingers to apply makeup. It has always been a huge no-no for me, I always use a brush – but as per the recommendation of the brand, the product goes on much better with your fingers. Now before I go on condoning the use of those piggies, I must inform you on proper usage of said piggies. Whether it is foundation, moisturizer or primer, do not ever rub anything into your skin, vigorously or otherwise. Never use the palm of your hand to warm up product and then plaster it on your face. You are as fragile as a porcelain doll and you should put cream on as such. Pump a pea sized amount onto your first three fingers and then warm up the product by rubbing your fingers together in a circular motion. Then place your fingers on your forehead, nose cheeks and chin accordingly, placing product down as you go. Then gently (and I say, gently) blend in the cream in with your fingers. You will be amazed at how easily this product will spread and blend. You can use a large fluffy brush to buff out any heavy spots and the outer edges of your face. Finish with a dusting of finishing powder.

In terms of choosing the right tone, I am very fair-skinned and even at my most color during the summer I will be no more than the light tone. If you have fair skin but tan and pick up color easily you will be light to medium.

Well there you have it! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comment section below, and please hit follow if you want to hear more from me!

Now go and be beautiful!

P.s I have also tried and used their makeup brushes and they are absolutely phenomenal.

http://www.itcosmetics.com

Discussion: Sun Protection and Vitamin D

I originally had this post as part of a product review but when I got going on it, it quickly became larger than I expected and I decided it needed to be its own post. It’s about sun protection and Vitamin D, how silly of me to think I could cram such important topics into a product review!

Did you know that sunblock and sunscreen are two different things? I didn’t know that for a long time, I used to think it was just a cultural language thing: toe-may-to, toe-mah-to – Suncreen/Sunblock what’s the difference? Turns out, it’s a pretty significant difference. I will also discuss Vitamin D and provide informative links to health journals and I will try my best to put it all into layman’s terms.

If you feel I‘m droning on, keep in mind that the more you understand (technically) about what you are putting on your skin and how your skin works, the better you will understand what the product is doing on a biological level and THAT my peeps, will make you reach for that sunblock everyday. Knowledge is power, people.

Firstly, the difference between sunscreen and sunblock is important. Sunscreen is made of ingredients like avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone, just to name a few, and are generally the creams that are non-greasy, easier to use and absorb well into the skin. The blend of chemical UVA/B blockers allows UV rays to penetrate the skin and then create a chemical reaction in the skin to prevent burning and damage. The problem with that however, is the chemicals themselves can cause damage to the skin and cause problems later on. So it seems you might be swapping one issue for another.

Sunblock, which is usually made from zinc and titanium oxide is that typical white, cakey sunblock that you despise because it makes you look like Casper the Friendly Ghost is taking a holiday at the beach. This SPF is a physical blocker. It behaves just like wearing a t-shirt, it prevents any rays from entering the skin by deflecting them away. A skin-brella! Dermatologists recommend physical blockers over sunscreen but there are brands out there that are redefining how sunscreen is formulated and are developing ways that use the powerful properties of natural antioxidants to achieve easy to use, healthy sun protection. (Stay tuned because I will be reviewing a really amazing product that does just this!) For more info, here is an article in the Wall Street Journal that discusses sunscreen vs. sunblock.

So what do we know about sunscreen, sun damage and Vitamin D on a general level? We are told over and over again that we need to prevent sunburn because it ages us, will cause skin cancer and make us look like a shriveled raisin. The statistics are alarming, here are some cold hard facts from skin cancer research: One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, each year 5.4 million skin cancer cases are treated and in the past three decades more people have had skin cancer than any other cancer combined. The one good piece of information is that the survival rates are high at 98% if it doesn’t spread.

UVB (UV-Burning) rays are the ones that cause reddening and damage to the skin. When they hit the skin they cause a kind of oxidation, which damages the cells of the skin causing mutations (cancer cells). That is why antioxidants like Vitamin C are essential in reversing the damage as it ANTI-oxidases the skin, repairing the damaged cells preventing any mutations and preventing damage from showing (i.e. hyper-pigmentation/dark spots). So this is serious and not just something your mom nagged you about when you were a kid because she could. Men, I know you think skincare products are just for ladies, but sunscreen is essential for you too.

Now sunlight seems to get a bad rap, but it is also essential to our health because it helps us synthesize Vitamin D, which is an absolutely essential vitamin. That’s right we synthesize it in our skin, which is the best way to absorb it as apposed to taking a supplement. Unfortunately not too many foods contain it and we need to consume a lot in order to increase our levels. We currently have an epidemic in Vitamin D deficiency in America.

According to medical articles you need about 10 minutes in the sun. The major role of Vitamin D is to maintain regular levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood promoting healthy bones, but Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to cancers, immune disorders and gastrointestinal issues. According to the Harvard Health Publications (I recommend reading the full article here) there are six things you need to know about Vitamin D but the two I want to highlight are:

Use of Sunscreen – Theoretically sunscreen/sunblock will block UVB rays that are responsible for igniting Vitamin D production in the skin, but researchers say that people don’t put on enough sunscreen to block all UVB rays or use of it is too irregular, and so far they have found no differences in studies on people’s Vitamin D levels when using sunscreen and not using sunscreen.

Weight – Body fat actually absorbs Vitamin D as a kind of back up storage process which is supposed to act as a source of the vitamin when levels are low, but studies have shown that obesity is highly correlated with low Vitamin D levels and that being overweight can affect the bioavailability of Vitamin D in the body.

So, all in all, your 10 minutes in the sun each day is important for your Vitamin D levels, but persistent use of sun protection is critical in preventing skin cancer and aging. Think about how much sun you see in a day, you are bound to catch 10 minutes worth. You are at a much higher risk of getting sun damage than not getting enough UV exposure. Healthy levels of Vitamin D are achieved mostly through healthy diet and exercise and a little sunshine. So there you go: USE SUNSCREEN DAILY.