Friday, June 17, 2011

For the Love of Lashes!

I am obsessed with eyelashes! I love gorgeous lashes on guys or girls... I don't care. Who doesn't adore the look of lashes that are long and thick?...they frame the eye and look so amazing. I can admit I am pretty lucky in the eyelash department considering they are black and long...but what harm could a little more thickness and length do? I also HAVE to curl my lashes because they like to grown straight down...odd for a curly haired lady like myself.
So, I am going to share my favorite products with you that produce eye catching lashes that people will stop and ask you if you are on a special "lash prescription". They are inexpensive, non-prescription and user friendly.

I love this product! RapidLash is an amazing! It uses natural peptides, botanicals, vitamins and pumpkin extracts to help grow lashes. There are no side effects like darkening of light eyes or irritation. You simply apply the serum to clean eyelids before bed. You brush on the serum in the exact way you would a liquid liner to the top lash line only. I saw results in 4 weeks with nightly use. My lashes were, stronger, longer, thicker and darker. The serum really lasts since you only use a tiny amount. The tube is also very easy to travel with. Compared to other products on the market I find RapidLash to be very affordable for how long the tube lasts. This step is important for maintaining lash health and growth. *It is also useful for helping to grow eyebrows.

Shu Uemura makes so many great makeup tools but this has to be my all time favorite. Their lash curler creates the "perfect curl" for your lashes. It does not bend or crimp the lash, it just creates a nice curve. Curling the lashes makes your eyes look bigger and your lashes look longer. EVERYONE should take those few seconds to curl lashes. This curler will not stress or damage your lashes and it will literally last you FOREVER. All you need are occasional refill pads (ultra cheap). Always curl lashes prior to your mascara application.

L'Oreal Extra-Volume Collagen lashes aren't dressed without it. I used to be somewhat of a mascara snob who thought nothing of spending twenty six bucks a tube. I recently came back to planet earth and realized there are tons of great products in Drugstores...I just had to test drive a few. This mascara by L'Oreal is unbelievable. It truly does it all! It lengthens, thickens, darkens and separates lashes. If you build this mascara you can get a sultry false lash effect that still looks natural. The formula also has vitamins and lash conditioning benefits while you wear it. The brush has me's big and plush and will give you big, fat gorgeous lashes. It works like a luxury brand for a fraction of the cost.

HIP is an extension of L'Oreal and has AMAZING pigment. My little trick to faking amazing lashes is lining my upper lash line with a very dark brown or black gel liner. This liner comes in a glass pot with an awesome little angle brush. The formulation is water resistant and very long can smudge it with a Q-tip for a more diffused look. I suggest curling your lashes first, applying eye shadows, thinly lining your upper lash line, blending the liner gently and then applying a couple of coats of your L'Oreal Extra Volume Collagen Mascara. You will have red carpet worthy lashes and you won't have to spend a lot to get them looking that way. *wink*

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Miss Brazil...A Girls' Best Friend

Many of us shudder to think about the pain of waxing their nether region. I am here to tell you it is WORTH THE PAIN! Yes, 110% worth it. The first Brazilian waxing experience is usually pretty awful...but it gets easier every time. So why wax? So many reasons...

-Waxing prevents pesky ingrown hairs! You are removing the hair completely  from the root. It looks and feels cleaner and smoother.
-The hair grows back Slower and Finer! In some cases some people experience no regrowth in certain areas. The consistent removal of the hair discourages strong regrowth. No stubble.
-More time! Most people have to get waxed every 4-6 weeks. Shaving is at least once a week and shaving constantly encourages ingrown hairs.
-Thorough and Precise ! There are some hairs you just cannot see when you are grooming yourself. Those rogue hairs often get missed. However, your Aesthetician can see these areas, and will make sure those hairs are history! Aestheticians are not shy about doing this, and you will feel better knowing all of those annoying hairs are gone!
-Wax & Go! If you are going on vacation, waxing is the way to go. You will save so much time and money not having to bring along your razor, refill cartridges and taking time in the shower shaving. It's more time you can spend enjoying your trip!
-It's Clean! As long as you visit a reputable spa/salon with a Certified Aesthetician the process is very sanitary. Your Aesthetician should always wear vinyl gloves and use a new disposable spatula EVERY time. No double dips. After she will apply a calming lotion or oil to your skin to prevent ingrown hairs. Razors can harbor bacteria and in some cases cut your skin. Waxing does not cut or abrade the skin.

The wax I love to use for Brazilian waxing is very unique. It is a French company called Cirepil, and they have been around for years. I use a combination or their Nacree Blanche Soft Wax and their famous Cirepil Blue Hard Wax. The hard wax is especially useful in very sensitive hard to reach areas. The Blue wax goes on as a warm liquid, shrink wraps and hardens around each individual hair, and is then pulled off quickly. Blue wax only adheres to the hair and never to the skin, which makes it a fabulous choice for delicate skin types. I would be very cautious in going to a place that uses 100% honey wax for their full Brazilian. Honey waxes can pull at the upper layer of skin. In tender areas such as the labia you have to be very careful. Blue wax also has a very low melting temperature, so that it will not go on hot or cause a burn. Always make sure to inform your Aesthetician if you are on any kind of Antibiotics or Accutane, which could sensitize your skin or cause a burn.
Brazilians are a love-hate treatment for many women. They hate the discomfort of the treatment itself, but they love the beautiful and lasting result it gives! The first waxing a client will swear she can't stand the pain...but she comes back the next month so happy with how long it lasted her. Each time she comes in they she says it is a little easier...and soon she's not even phased. I always advise women to take 2 Extra Strength Tylenol 45 minutes prior to their appointment, not to come when they are pre-menstrual or menstruating, and not to tan right before or after their waxing. It is good to wear light cotton undergarments after a waxing, so the skin can breathe. Also, avoid heavy Cardio after waxing.
A Brazilian waxing will give a woman an instant feeling of freedom and sexiness. It's similar to the giddy, secretive feeling of wearing a black lacy lingerie under quietly feel alluring and strong. Women often start off saying to me they are getting a Brazilian waxing for their boyfriend or husband...then as time goes on they proudly say that this is a treatment they do for themselves. Many of them swear they will never shave again!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Out Damned Spot! My personal experience with Acne & how I prevent it...

Being a pre-teen is hard. When you're a girl who is taller than all of the boys in her class, with curly, frizzy hair and big, thick feel super awkward. The summer between 5th and 6th grade I started noticing tiny little bumps forming on my nose...blackheads!! NASTY!! My sweet mother went out and bought me a 3 step system, (the name will remain anonymous) to put me on a healthy skincare regimen. I remembered the 2nd step in the system burning and tingling my skin...I figured it was "killing" the pimples so I put on more. All the system succeeded in doing was drying out my skin and getting pushed into the very back of my linen closet. I still had acne and now I had flaky skin on top of it.
Around sixth grade I started sneaking makeup. My mother thought I was WAY too young to wear makeup but I quickly learned makeup could "hide" flaws. Concealer was my best friend...and when I discovered foundation you would have thought I'd struck gold! I didn't look at product ingredients...all I cared about was that it covered my acne. At the end of the day I would wash my face and all the beige water would wash down the drain and I would feel so naked without my makeup. I would look at my bumpy, red skin and feel very ashamed and angry. The acne was getting progressively worse because I was caking on SO much foundation and I couldn't face the world without it. I didn't want ANYONE seeing me without my makeup.
The acne was getting so bad that I knew I had to do something about my SKIN...that makeup was only going to cover the redness but not the bumps. I read teen magazines for advice, and started scouring drugstore shelves for the next magic facial potion that would fix me. I did mud masks, scrubs, cleansers, treatment gels, creams, high end brands and low end products. I would sometimes MIX products that probably shouldn't have been mixed...trying to design a miracle concoction. Most of the acne product I applied would tingle, and make my skin very tender or red. I always thought more was better, and the process being painful meant it was "working".
As I got deeper into my teens I backed off on wearing SO much makeup. I learned to read labels...looking for things that were fragrance free and non-comedogenic. I also started treating my skin more kindly. After educating myself that over washing your face will actually INCREASE oil production. Scrubbing your skin too much can over stimulate your skin. I admit I used to go tanning to "help" my acne...however, it only helps temporarily. It will temporarily dry up excess oils in your skin...but then after the oil tries to overcompensate for the moisture loss in the skin. I stopped PICKING...that was what made mountains out of mole hills. Picking spreads acne bacteria to one part of the face to another. It creates scabbing and scarring...I am so lucky that my skin healed.
These days I have many of my facial clients and random people tell me what beautiful skin I have. They never believe me when I tell them that I had acne...and sometimes still get a couple breakouts. These days I have a game plan on how to fight acne in a gentler way and I am going to share some of MY favorite tips with you. I am not a Dermatologist...I am an Aesthetician with 10 years of experience. If your acne becomes severe and you feel you have tried everything see a Dermatologist specializing in Acne treatment.

Healthy Steps for Clear Skin:
1. A Gentle Cleanser: My Favorites are Naturopathica Aloe Cleanser, Cetaphil Cleanser (foaming or non-foaming) and Johnson & Johnson Purpose Cleanser. Wash 2x a day. And after sports or heavy activity.

2. Pumpkin Enzyme Treatment: My favorite: Naturopathica Pumpkin Enzyme Mask. I prefer enzyme exfoliants over heavy scrubs for active acne. It is less stimulating on the skin...much more gentle. Use it 1-2x per week.

3. Clay Mask: My favorites: Naturopathica Purifying Clay Mask and DDF Sulfur Clay Mask. Clay Masks are wonderful used 1x week in oily/acne prone areas only. Also great for spot treating a blemish overnight.

4. 100% Pure Aloe Gel: My Favorite: Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel. This is a great oil free, soothing hydrator when acne appears to be red or inflamed. Just apply a thick layer to the skin for 10 minutes and wash it off.

5. Oil Free Moisturizer: My favorite: Avene Cleanance K. A good moisturizer that controls sebaceous secretions, great under makeup, dries to a matte finish and hydrates areas as needed. No aroma and non-comedogenic.

6. Sunscreen: For oily-acne prone skin I like Ayur-Medic SPF 30 Tinted formula for summer. Always apply when you will be exposed to the sun.

7. AHA Serum: My favorite: Peter Thomas Roth AHA/BHA Gel. Alpha/Beta Hydroxy Acids will refine the look of pores, fight acne, and even out your overall skin tone and it also encourages collagen production.

8. Spot Treatment: My favorite: Mario Badescu Pink Drying lotion. As long as you don't have a Sulfur allergy, Sulfur is great for bringing down redness, inflammation and kills bacteria. If you DO have an allergy to Sulfur I also recommend Origins On The Spot Acne Treatment with Salicylic Acid. Apply these treatments ONLY on spots.

9. Supplements: Now this part is optional and I am in no way PRESCRIBING this to anyone. I just had a GREAT experience with this supplement. ACNEASE Herbal Tablets. They are based on Chinese Medicine and help bring overall balance to the body which they claim affects the beauty of the skin. I can say that I noticed a HUGE difference in the clarity of my skin when I took the tablets. I wanted to try this before trying Accutane or a harsh antibiotic. It really helped me...even with cystic acne breakouts! My only complaint is that it is a bit pricey. However, I love that it is natural and I really felt good while taking it. It did not have any side affects which was a relief.

10. Exercise and Water: This is pretty self explanatory. Water is essential for the health and beauty of our entire body. It is very important to stay hydrated. Exercise helps increase blood flow, increases circulation and also causes us to perspire. Perspiration is our skins' natural cleansing mechanism and is very healthy for flushing out toxins. Be sure to gently wash your face after workouts.

These are my tips for what has worked for me personally. I found these things out through trial and error but now I have a great system designed. Treat your skin with kindness, be gentle and be patient. Acne is an angry condition so if you counter it with treatments that are soothing you will get results. The key is to be diligent in maintaining your skincare routine. Beautiful skin is natural for some and a bit more of an effort for others.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Eat - Drink - & Be Pretty!

When we traditionally think of the old saying "eat, drink and be merry" it may conjure up thoughts of gorging endlessly on naughty snacks like fries, chocolates and drinking some fuity mixed martini. A recipe for picture perfect health and skin...think again. Here's a list of some of our favorites to eat and drink... to BE PRETTY!

Fruit- Put quite simply, fruit is packed with antioxidants, fiber and pure vitamins. Think of Blueberries, Raspberries, Pomegranates, Papayas, Goji Berries, Purple Grapes, Strawberries and Apples...the list goes on and on. The more deeply colored the fruits the BETTER! Try to get your fruit Certified Organic to avoid pesticides,Wash well and enjoy!

Nuts- Nuts provide Omega III fatty acids, Essential Fatty Acids, Vitamin E, Antioxidants and Protein. These all help to keep your skin healthy, resilient, hydrated and strong. Look for RAW nuts, that are not roasted or salted. If they have to be salted look for nuts lightly dusted with Sea Salt. The best nuts are Almonds, Walnuts, and Macadamia nuts.

Coconut Water- Coconut water is great because of it's purity. It provides great levels of potassium and magnesium without tons of added sugar. It is great for keeping your body properly hydrated. When you're hydrated your skin looks better and you FEEL your best. It is low in far and calories and is a great alternative to chemical laden, sweet sports drinks.

Raw Greek Yogurt- Raw Greek yogurt has incredibly high levels or Probiotics (good bacteria for our GI tract). As many of us know, many diseases form in the colon. Having a healthy balance of good bacteria in the colon helps to keep sickness at bay. For people who have taken regular rounds of antibiotics, raw yogurt is great for them to rebalance the intestinal flora in the GI tract. Raw yogurt also is known to help acne sufferers when they incorporate this wonder food into their diet. Mixing Greek yogurt with a tiny bit of Raw honey makes it much more palatable.

Greens- Arugula, Spinach, Wheatgrass, Barley Grass, Dandelion. Green mixes and pure Green Drinks are a great way to keep your body and system in an Alkaline state. This benefits your skin, your digestion, your energy and SO much more. Green drinks look REVOLTING but their benefits are endless. One green drink a day provides your body with wonderful live active enzymes. Greens are good for purifying the blood and the liver, keeping everything functioning at it's very best. You can get Green's powder at your local health food store or freshly juice your greens at home. I reccomend the ease of the powder.

So these are personal, tried and true favorites of mine. You may not notice the beauty benefits immediately but you will notice that you start "feeling" less sluggish rather quickly when you eat this way. Your skin and body are so closely connected that you will them start to notice that your skin has an undeniable internal radiance from all the wonderful things you are feeding it. So here's to "Eating - Drinking - and being PRETTY...but above all HEALTHY!"