Tag: skincare

Why Haven’t There Been Any Recent Posts? Where Have I Been? My struggle with High Blood Pressure and New Allergies

longer title

Are you still blogging?” I get this question a lot.

It is not an easy question to answer because I feel a bit of shame over it, but I feel like I owe it to you to be vulnerable and honest about my shortcomings in the blogging arena. I love my blog. I love doing it. It brings me such joy to purchase new products, try them out, test them under the harshest Louisiana heat, and report back to you where your money is best served. However, I have not been able to do that lately due to some health issues and my work schedule.

First, I am a full time litigation attorney, which requires a great deal of my brain space. I love my job, and I love advocating for clients, but it wears on you emotionally, mentally, and physically at times. I took a new job in May 2015 that significantly increased the need for my brain space causing increased emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion. When I got home, I just didn’t have the energy to pull out my laptop and work on my blog. It felt like I was working 100+ hour weeks, which left no time to take care of myself and no quality time for me and Justin.

During this transition, I became suddenly ill and was in the hospital for four days with blood pressure that would not come down. (It was 265/165 – surprisingly I wasn’t having strokes or heart attacks.) I was placed on new medications, and sent on my way. On top of that, my physical activity decreased because I was not allowed to work out until the doctor’s cleared me to do so. As a result, I quit eating healthily and managed to put on nearly 30 pounds! (This is crazy to me.) What came next was, and to some extent still is, the most frustrating situation with which I’ve ever dealt. I began having allergic reactions to everything skincare, body care, and hair care. My skin began to break out into dry patches on my face, neck, and lips, then crack and bleed. It itched, it burned, and worst of all it hurt to eat. Any time anything vinegar-based, alcohol-based (even wine), or spicy touched my lips, I wanted to scream out in pain. I stopped wearing makeup and using skincare because everything burned. EVERYTHING was searing my horribly ill skin like a steak on a grill.

It is difficult for me to share these photos. But these were all taken in January when the staph was at its worst. You can see the swelling and dry red patches.
It is difficult for me to share these photos. But these were all taken in January when the staph was at its worst. You can see the swelling and dry red patches.

So, I set off to the dermatologist to begin our journey to healing this skin issue. We began treatment and after a month, it had not gone away. Eventually we figured out that I was experiencing a staph infection on my face. I had never heard of such a thing, but apparently it is very common in children. I had to throw out all makeup, skincare, makeup brushes (including my Beauty Blender!), makeup/beauty tools, etc. that I had used during the staph infection. I was forced to purchase prescription steroid and antibiotic creams instead of skincare. I didn’t feel like myself, but I thought it would be temporary; that we would treat it for a few weeks and everything would be fine because we finally had an answer. We treated the staph accordingly, and a month later, the dry patches, cracking and bleeding came back. This time, there was no staph present, and therefore, no real answer. I was heartbroken. I felt like screaming “What gives? What is happening to my body? I want my body back! How did all of this happen so quickly? Why can’t we fix it?

In an effort to find the culprit, my doctor did the T.R.U.E. Patch Testing to determine if I was allergic to the most common ingredients found in skincare, body care, makeup, etc.

Here's what the TRUE Patch testing looks like.
Here’s what the TRUE Patch testing looks like. I had to wear this stuff, covered in tape (which I was allergic to because of the carba mix in adhesives) for two days. It itched like crazy.

It turned out that I was reactive/allergic to fragrance mix (synthetic fragrance to mask other chemical smells) and carba mix (synthetic accelerator in manufacturing rubber and agricultural chemicals) — which are in nearly EVERYTHING! Here’s a quick list of what products contain each component:

  • Fragrance Mix — perfume, body lotions, face lotions, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, dry shampoo, eye cream, foundation, mascara, detergents, dish soap, candles, cleaning products, soap, bath gel, etc.
  • Carba Mix — shoes, flip flops, rubber gloves, pesticides, tires, underwear with rubber elastic, swimwear, toys, balloons, condoms, garden hoses, waistbands, slippers, mattresses, earphones, rubber bands, some soaps, shampoos, and adhesives, etc.

Let me tell you, these are the two components to which you DO NOT want to be reactive. Justin and I had no idea what we were doing and how to purge our home of these substances in the most practical way. After the staph diagnosis, we used regular cleaning products to clean up the entire house only to later learn that I was reacting to those products the entire time. So, we spent a great deal of money on replacing all soap, detergent, dryer sheets, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotions, etc.

Here are a few of the fragrance free beauty products I have been using.
Here are a few of the fragrance free beauty products I have been using.

At this point, we are maintaining. Every time I have tried to get off the antibiotic that keeps the inflammation at bay, it comes right back. So, we are slowly trying to taper off, and more extensive testing will be done soon. Having gone through this whole story with you, I hope you understand my absence. I felt that since I was unable to try new products, I couldn’t bring you valuable worthwhile information. Months of watching my skin crack and bleed became depressing. I didn’t feel like me anymore. I felt unattractive, unworthy, and I even began fat shaming myself with my internal dialogue. I am working through that by eating healthy, working out again, and slowly tapering off medications. I’m finding that the more healthy I become, the better my skin gets. I honestly believe that a great deal of this bodily inflammation is a result of weight gain and unhealthy food choices. If you’re interested in my health, food, and workout journey, let me know in the comments, and I can start working that in as regular posts.

Here are two shots of my skin during the antibiotics without makeup. You can see the redness on my cheeks on the left still present. On the right, you see a great improvement, except for the lines and wrinkles around the eyes due to extreme dryness.
Here are two shots of my skin during the antibiotics without makeup. You can see the redness on my cheeks on the left still present ( I promise that’s not blush). On the right, you see a great improvement, except for the lines and wrinkles around the eyes due to extreme dryness and a little redness on the upper cheek bones.

In another light, I now have some insight into what it’s like to have really reactive and sensitive skin. I can help more people than I could before this experience. I have found great products that work and are readily available at drug stores and Sephora. I’ve learned how to read labels better, because manufacturers will try to trick you! Fragrance mix alone has 42 legally usable names. Forty freaking Two!! Carba Mix has 45! Manufacturers are even allowed to advertise a product as “fragrance free” if the fragrance mix added is to mask another scent or chemical smell, but not if it is used to perfume a product. Y’all, that’s insane! My attorney brain gets very angry over the ways our FDA is regulating (or rather not regulating) the labeling of products.

So, as I lay ALL MY MESS before you, I want you to know that I will be blogging again. I will be featuring new products that I have found that I know are safe for ALL skin types. And, as I continue this journey, I will share what I’m learning about labels, the FDA process of approving (or lack thereof) cosmetics and skincare, and how to find the safest products for you. Don’t worry, I’m not gonna go all crazy on you and swear off everything because trust me, I have refused to give up my dry shampoo which contains fragrance mix. I won’t do it. It’s the only one I like that works. (I may be a bit stubborn. lol)

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask! I’m happy to talk about this with you. A month ago, I was not in a place to do so, but I have pulled myself up by the bootstraps with the grace of God, Justin, some really amazing friends, family, and my medical team. Thank you for reading this. Please accept my apologies for being absent. I truly love writing this blog, and it has been difficult not having this community of beauty lovers in my life. I will resume regular posts again soon! Stay tuned for some cool new products!

Hope you have a wonderful day!

xoxo,

Candice

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What’s In My Travel Bag? (Packing for France – TSA Approved Liquids)

 

I am leaving for France this week on a two week wine and beauty trip with my friend, Myrna, and her company, Roux Wine Tours. I decided early on that I would only be taking a carry-on and a large tote/purse so I don’t have to heave luggage through the streets of Paris and on trains! In an effort to keep everything compact and simple, I’ve been rummaging through my beauty collection to see what travel sizes I have on-hand and what I really need to purchase.

If you’ve traveled at all in the United States, you are likely aware of the TSA’s ban on liquids over a certain size. The rule is 3-1-1, which means no liquids more than 3 oz., in 1 quart-sized clear bag, for 1 person. The quart-sized bag I’m using today came with my London Fog Carry On, and it has a loop to strap into the case. I was pretty excited to find that included with my luggage, so I didn’t have to purchase one. So, here are a few tips and a peek into what’s in my travel bag and packing for France.

TSA approved liquids composite

Top Row from Left to Right:

1. Using an old empty Korres moisturizer container (1.35oz) and a beauty spoon, I transferred my Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm into the container for easy transport. I always save the sturdy containers for traveling when I’m finished with a product. Good ones to keep are glass pots and the LUSH fresh facemasks pots! In this situation, I transferred it because the regular Emma Hardie packaging is over the approved limit for size and is quite bulky to travel with. Plus, this is plenty enough product to get me through 2 weeks. (For my review of the Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm, click here).

2. Travel size Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet  (0.33oz) as my moisturizer. I love this stuff! It has a great mousse-gel texture and just quenches skin’s thirst using a blend of grape water, grape seed extract, and shea butter extract. (I actually purchased this kit from Sephora, which includes the sorbet, the serum, and the spray.)

3. Regular size (2.2 oz) Women’s Mitchum 48 Hour Protection in Shower Fresh. Because, sweat and body odor. Nobody wants that.

4. Weleda Skin Food (2.5oz), available at Target, as my in-flight skin saver. I have not tried this yet, so I’m really hoping it works. Since this is a long-haul flight and air cabins contain a 80% deficit in the proper humidity for skin, it’s necessary to moisturize in-flight. Because I already have such dry skin, I’m taking Skin Food since it is super thick and nourishing (or is supposed to be!) I’ll certainly update you as to my feelings on this product!

5. Shampoo & Conditioner. First, I bought a set of these cute little polka dot travel containers at Target to put my products in. You can find those here. I’ll let you know if they leak or not. Next, I simply transferred my current shampoo and conditioner into the bottles, and packed them up. Right now, I am using Proganix AntiFade Cherry Blossom shampoo and conditioner. I’ve only been using it a few weeks, and so far I really like it. It is sulfate free color protection, and I like that it claims to protect against UV damage. You can find them at Ulta, Walgreens, and CVS. Here are the links if you want to check them out: shampoo and conditioner.

6. For my in-flight skincare regimen (on flights over 4 hours), I like to use a hydrating facemask to lock in moisture. Obviously, a clay mask would be quite conspicuous, so I opt for one that goes on clear and can be used as a sleeping mask. Because of its size, I chose the Nuxe Masque Crème Fraiche de Beaute for 24 hour rehydration. I got this in my Glossybox, and you can actually purchase it from their website, here. I love this mask so much! It’s one of my favorites for hydration.

7. Of course, I cannot travel without a micellar cleansing water, so I used a smaller bottle to use for some of my Bioderma. I have the 500 mL size at home, so that is not only against the 3-1-1 TSA rules, but also it’s just way too bulky to travel with anyway. I will be restocking on this when I’m in Paris. It’s the only place you can get the travel-sized Bioderma, so that will replace this little dinky bottle for future travel. (If you’re interested on some different micellar waters, have a look here.)

Bottom Row Left to Right:

1. Perfume samples. I didn’t want to pack a large bottle of perfume, and I’m actually running super low on all my favorites at the moment, so I couldn’t decant them into my Travelo. Since I have so many samples on stand-by, I opted for three sample sizes : Oscar de la Renta’s Coralina, Tocca’s Bianca, and Joya’s Composition No.1 mini-rollerball.

2. Navy Pots: Like I mentioned earlier, sometimes it is easier and more convenient on space to decant some of your liquids, creams, and gels into smaller containers. I thought the set I purchase from Target came with a good selection of container sizes, so here we have 2 small pots.

  • Smaller Pot — coconut oil. I cannot do skincare without coconut oil, so I liquefied about a tablespoon, and put it into the little pot to solidify. I use it for so many things, so if you’re interested in that, I’ve done a full post here.
  • Larger Pot — my heavier overnight moisturizer, which is currently the Vichy Liftactiv Nuit. I love this moisturizer. It’s not too thick, and it sinks into your skin almost instantly. When I wake up in the morning, it’s completely obvious my skin got a heavy dose of much needed hydration.

3. Toothpaste (0.25oz). I did not get super picky here; I just picked up what was available in the travel section at Walgreens.

4. Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer. This is my favorite concealer. It has great coverage, staying power, and it’s brightening. Oh, and it’s cheap! Another great UK drugstore find. (I’m still searching for an online retailer. I’ll update this post as soon as I get a viable link that will ship to the US.)

5. NYX Butter Gloss in Strawberry Parfait (0.23oz). This color is a great everyday gloss that also goes over most lipsticks well for added shine. The formula is very moisturizing, but because it’s so slippery, consistent reapplication is necessary. You can find NYX at Target, CVS, and Ulta.

6. Garnier Ultra Lift Miracle Sleeping Cream (0.5oz) as my eye cream. I just started using this based on a recommendation from a friend. So far, I like it, but I haven’t been using it long enough to report on the effectiveness. It’s a jelly consistency eye gel for overnight use, and is very cooling on the skin! It contains hyaluronic acid in to boost collagen production, increase moisture, and help to slough off dead skin cells. (available at drugstores)

7. Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster (0.25oz) for my serum. This another product I’ve just recently started using, but so far I like it. And again, I haven’t been using it long enough to report on effectiveness or results. It contains Vitamin C for boosting collagen production, brightening skin tone, and reducing fine lines. (This is another one I’ll get back to you on via an update right here). This product is available at Sephora.

8. Foundation. Right now I’m using the Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation (in No.54). It comes in a TSA approved size, but the packaging was too bulky and took up too much room, so I opted to make room by decanting it into the small pot. (The foundation is available on Amazon, as it is only sold in UK drugstores.)

So, I was able to get 16 products into my 3-1-1 TSA Approved Travel Bag. Here’s the final result.

Side A of the quart-sized liquids bag.
Side A of the quart-sized liquids bag.
Side B - final pack
Side B – final pack

I hope you found this post helpful or interesting. Check back tomorrow to see what I managed to fit into this makeup bag!! If you have any travel/packing suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!

travel makeup bag

xoxo,

Candice

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DIY Brightening Face Masks

Title Photo

Hello! We are back with part 3 of 6 of the DIY face mask series, and today it’s all about brightening. I love brightening masks because over time they aid in evening out skin tone, lightening dark spots, and giving skin an all over glow. Just as in the other posts, you’ll find masks for sensitive skin, normal skin, and oily skin. But don’t forget, if you are allergic to any of these ingredients when ingested, then you will also be allergic to them topically. If you aren’t sure, do a small test patch for 15 minutes to be certain! So, let’s get to it!

Sensitive Basil

Ingredients

  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

Muddle basil in the squeezed lemon juice like you would in a cocktail. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle (which I don’t), use the end of a spatula or wooden spoon. Apply the mixture to the skin and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Benefits

  • Basil — Basil is great on the eye area as it aids in reducing inflammation, prevents infections, and soothes stress-induced fine lines. It also helps to prevent the appearance of blackheads, and improves skin’s appearance by evening out skin tone.
  • Lemon Juice — Filled with citric acid (an alpha-hydroxy acid), lemon juice serves to lighten skin while simultaneously exfoliating the top layer. Interestingly, lemon juice works in the same way a low-level chemical peel does. Plus, it has Vitamin C, which serves to aid in reversing damage from free radicals to improve tone and texture.
Tip: If you have super dry skin, add a tablespoon of honey to this recipe to combat any dryness the lemon juice may cause!

sensitive papaya

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon Fresh squeezed pink grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 cup pureed papaya
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Directions

Cut papaya in cubes, and pulse in a blender or food processor for a few seconds until it’s almost the consistency of a puree. Combine papaya, honey, and grapefruit juice. Apply to skin for 15 minutes. Remove with warm water.

Benefits

  • Pink Grapefruit — Like lemon juice, pink grapefruit has loads of Vitamin C and citric acid, which are both great ingredients for skin brightening and helping with collagen production. (We need healthy collagen production to keep skin looking plump and youthful.) But grapefruit also contains lycopene which is an amazing antioxidant (also why the fruit generally has such bright color). Lycopene improves cellular functions in skin cells on a DNA level which means that the body doesn’t need to use its internal repair system! Lycopene helps protect from overexposure to UV light (naturally has an SPF of 3! How cool!) and aids in blocking the enzymes that break down your collagen supply.
  • Papaya — Also a great source of lycopene, papaya contains the enzyme called papain, which helps heal skin by removing dead skin cells without harming healthy skin cells/tissue, which gives skin a healthy glow while improving texture. It also contains Vitamin A (an alpha-hydroxyl acid for exfoliation) and has a “low sodium content” which means it helps skin retain moisture. If you are most concerned with brightening/whitening of skin or pigmentation spots, be sure to choose a green (unripe) papaya because it has more papain than ripe ones.
  • Honey — Honey naturally antibacterial, antimicrobial, and packed with antioxidants, so it is fabulous for moisturizing as it opens up pores to help unclog tired or angry pores. It’s also  a natural humectant, it helps the skin to attract and retain moisture. Honey is great for sensitive or oily skin, so for this recipe, it helps to balance out any potential dryness caused by the citric acid in grapefruit.

Substitutions — you can substitute papaya with cooked and cooled tomatoes, watermelon, cooked and cooled asparagus, mango, or carrots (but as you progress through this list of substitutions, the amount of lycopene drops).

Normal Kiwi

Ingredients

  •  2 slices kiwi, peeled & muddled/mashed
  • 1/4 avocado, mashed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed orange juice

Directions

Peel and slice kiwi, place in bowl. Peel and slice ripe avocado, place in bowl. Mash and/or muddle kiwi and avocado together. Add in fresh squeezed orange juice and mix thoroughly. Apply to skin for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Benefits

  • Kiwi — Kiwi is a lovely skincare ingredient because it does so many things. With the Vitamin C, it helps brighten skin and aid in collagen production to keep skin looking youthful. It also contains high concentrations of Vitamin E, which is great for hydration and helps natural regeneration of cells. Kiwi also has Omega-3 fatty acids that are wonderful in decreasing inflammation and reducing the risk of acne occurrences. Also, when kiwi is mixed with a citric acid (like orange, lemon, or grapefruit juice), it will control any excess sebum/oil production on the skin. It’s also high in amino acids, which help fight harmful sun exposure, thus preventing sun damage. Kiwi contains enzymes that help exfoliation of dead skin cells. Last, but certainly not least (I could go on and on about kiwi), its like a transporter of nutrients, so it basically functions as a conduit for nutrients to the dermal layers of your skin (and it’s generally pretty difficult for anything topical to reach those layers).
  • Avocado — loaded with monosaturated fatty acids for moisturizing, nourishing, softening, regenerating damaged skin cells, and reducing irritation
  • Fresh Orange Juice — oranges have massive amounts of Vitamin C, which helps to brighten your complexion, fade dark spots, and bring a general glow to the skin.

Oily

Ingredients

  •  2 tablespoons fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 banana, mashed or pureed
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Directions

Mash or puree banana. Mix pureed banana with honey and grapefruit juice. Apply to skin and leave on for 10-15 minutes

Benefits

  • Pink Grapefruit — Like lemon juice, pink grapefruit has loads of Vitamin C and citric acid, which are both great ingredients for skin brightening and helping with collagen production. (We need healthy collagen production to keep skin looking plump and youthful.) But grapefruit also contains lycopene which is an amazing antioxidant (also why the fruit generally has such bright color). Lycopene improves cellular functions in skin cells on a DNA level which means that the body doesn’t need to use its internal repair system! Lycopene helps protect from overexposure to UV light (naturally has an SPF of 3! How cool!) and aids in blocking the enzymes that break down your collagen supply.
  • Banana — Bananas are high in Vitamins A, B, C, and E, so they are great for hydrating, brightening, and exfoliating. They are also great at reducing inflammation and itching. High concentrations of manganese protect the skin from damage of free radicals, and the Vitamin B6 helps in keeping skin’s elasticity in check. Vitamin A keeps skin look bright as it helps combat dull sallow skin, and of course, the Vitamin C helps to brighten!
  • Honey — Honey naturally antibacterial, antimicrobial, and packed with antioxidants, so it is fabulous for moisturizing as it opens up pores to help unclog tired or angry pores. It’s also  a natural humectant, it helps the skin to attract and retain moisture. Honey is great for sensitive or oily skin, so for this recipe, it helps to balance out any potential dryness caused by the citric acid in grapefruit.

That concludes the brightening episode! Please let me know if you try any of these, and which ones you’ve liked best so far!

Stay Glittery, Beauties!

xoxo,

Candice

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Mardi Gras Skin Recovery (or Hangover Skin Recovery)

mardi gras skin recovery

Mardi Gras is officially over, and we’ve all partied our little hearts out, while also dehydrating our bodies and angering our skin. So, I’ve devised a little plan to help you rejuvenate tired hungover skin.

before and after

1. Hydrate

We all know the importance of hydration in general, but when it comes to hangovers or multiple days of partying, it’s critical. Not just for your internal organs, but also for your skin. While there is only one bottle of water pictured here, that was my third that morning. Keeping your body hydrated helps keep your skin plump and less dry which reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and sallowness.

2. Cleanse

I can’t stress this one enough – cleanse and cleanse well, not harshly, but well. Removing all the dirt, sweat, and other environmental nastiness your skin absorbed is essential to giving it an opportunity to recover. I love the Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm. It’s a gentle, but insanely effective, cleanser that doesn’t foam. It can be used as a basic cleanser or even as an overnight mask. I’ve done a review here if you’re interested in reading more, but the basic point of Step 2 is to make sure you properly cleanse.

3. Calm

This is an essential step. Calming the angry skin is necessary. It needs soothing ingredients to reduce inflammation and absorb necessary nutrients. For this, I like the Ayesha Fresh Face Mask from Lush as its main purpose is to refresh tired dull skin. The Ayesha features a blend of kiwi (rich in Vitamin C for brightening), asparagus (to nourish and absorb excess oil), honey (for hydrating and reducing inflammation), and witch hazel (for tightening). Truth be told, this is one of my favorite masks of all time.

4. Nourish

As you might know by now, I am a huge fan of coconut oil for skincare. It’s cheap, easy to find, and provides a host of skin benefits. For this step, I do a coconut oil mask. All you need to do is liquefy about a tablespoon of coconut oil and massage it into your skin. Let that absorb into the skin for 30 minutes to an hour. Gently wipe your face clean with a warm washcloth. This helps nourish the skin due to the high concentrations of lauric acid. Basically, it’s food for the skin! (For other beauty uses of coconut oil, check out this post!) You’ll begin to notice your skin reviving around this step.

5. Repair

Now that you’ve revived your skin, it’s time to repair it using a good serum. Any current serum you are using will do the trick. I like serums because they are designed to enhance the absorption of products that come after them, and are concentrated to such a degree that you’re providing your skin with high levels of vitamins and nutrients. I used the Skin & Co Truffle Oil Serum, which I reviewed here. But I also love the Skin, Inc. serums (they will custom blend one suited to your skin’s needs and issues).

6. Strengthen

Its helpful to strengthen the eye area when giving your skin recovery time. The key is finding an eye cream that contains hyalauronic acid. Hyalauronic acid is a fabulous ingredient that not only helps skin retain moisture, but also helps exfoliate without rubbing or scrubbing. I love the BeautiControl Restructuring Eye Creme, which you can read more about here. I’ve been using it for years, and  I love it.

7. Moisturize

The last step is to moisturize to restore hydration from the outside in. Any quality moisturizer will do the job, but today I used Vichy Lift Activ Nuit. I have just started using this one, so I’ll have to get back to you with a full review. Quality moisturizers are key because they help infuse moisture into the outer layers of the skin, which also helps to plump skin, reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and nourish newly forming skin cells.

As you can tell from the before and after photo, there is a very noticeable difference. Skincare isn’t difficult, but with the right steps it can make a drastic change in the appearance of your skin, despite the craziness you put yourself through the night before.

I hope you enjoyed this post! Let me know if you try this! I want to see your before and after pictures!

Stay Glittery, Beauties!

xoxo,

Candice

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DIY Exfoliating Face Masks

Title Photo

Welcome back to the DIY Face Mask series. This installment will cover exfoliation, which is an important part of any skincare routine to remove dead skin cells and increase natural cell turnover. Proper exfoliation helps ward off blackheads and blemishes, as well as reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. As with all of these recipes, know your skin! if you are allergic to any of these ingredients when ingested, you will be allergic to them topically. If you are uncertain, do a small test patch for 15 minutes to be sure! Happy Exfoliating!

DIY Sensitive exfoliating

Ingredients

  • 5 drops lavender oil
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Directions

Mix all ingredients together fully. The consistency of this will be more liquid than a paste. Massage into skin gently for sixty seconds. Let sit for 5-10 minutes. Rinse off residue with warm water.

Benefits

  • Lavender Oil — never apply essential oils directly to skin without a carrier oil (i.e. olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, etc.); when used topically, lavender oil helps to decrease inflammation, kills bacteria, reduces scarring, soothes pain or irritation, cleanses skin, and helps prevent acne.
  • Brown Sugar — brown sugar is a great gentle exfoliant that contains glycolic acid (natural alpha hydroxyacid aiding in cell turnover) that slows the aging process; also helps with sunspots; brown sugar is also a natural humectant, which means it deposits moisture into the skin and protects skin from toxins
  • Raw Honey — naturally antibacterial, antimicrobial, and packed with antioxidants, honey helps unclog tired or angry pores, and as a natural humectant helps retain good moisture; in this recipe it is a booster for the exfoliating ingredients
  • Olive Oil — filled with Vitamin A and Vitamin E, olive oil is a great moisturizer and environmental damage preventive; it penetrates deep into pores, so when combined with an exfoliating agent (here: brown sugar) it allows deep and thorough cleansing of bacteria, dead skin cells, and unnecessary oil; helps reduce the signs of aging leaving skin plump and glowing

Tip: This exfoliating mask works very well as a body scrub too. Just multiply the recipe accordingly. I gave these out as Christmas gifts and put them in small 8 oz jars, which allowed me to multiply the recipe times 

DIY Exfoliating sensitive 2

 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup coffee grounds (you can use dry or used; I prefer used because they contain more antioxidants)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions

Mix ingredients together fully. The consistency will be quite oily. Scoop out of container used for mixing and massage into skin for 60 seconds. Let sit on skin for another 60 seconds. Rinse off with warm water.

Benefits

  • Coffee Grounds — filled with antioxidants, coffee grounds are great for gentle exfoliation, making the skin appear younger, and aid in reducing the size of pores, while the caffeine helps to reduce inflammation
  • Olive Oil — filled with Vitamin A and Vitamin E, olive oil is a great moisturizer and environmental damage preventive; it penetrates deep into pores, so when combined with an exfoliating agent (here: coffee grounds) it allows deep and thorough cleansing of bacteria, dead skin cells, and unnecessary oil; helps reduce the signs of aging leaving skin plump and glowing

Tip: This can also be used as a body scrub, because coffee also helps to temporarily reduce stretch marks (for about 3-4 hours), which is great for a date night or a beach afternoon.

Normal (2)

 

Ingredients

  • 1/8 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • Water until it forms a paste

Directions

Mix Greek yogurt and baking soda together, adding in water as necessary until it forms a gooey paste. Massage into skin for 30 seconds, and rinse with warm water.

Benefits

  • Greek Yogurt — loaded with natural lactic acid (an alphahydroxy acid), Greek yogurt helps to exfoliate, rejuvenate, and aid in preventing wrinkles
  • Baking Soda — good as a gentle exfoliant and contains antiseptic properties, but there is a lot of information out there as to whether baking soda is good or bad for the skin because of its alkalinity. Compare these two articles: for baking soda and against baking soda if you’re interested in what people are saying. I’ve used it, but I’m no scientist, and I want to ensure you have all the information to make your own skincare decisions. That said, you can always substitute brown sugar in this recipe.

DIY exfoliating Oily

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of steel cut oats
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/4 cucumber, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Drections

Blend ingredients together in a blender. Scoop out mixture and massage into skin for 60 seconds. Let sit for 5 minutes. Remove with warm water.

Benefits

  • Oatmeal — oatmeal is widely used as a gentle exfoliator with skin calming benefits and is one of the few skicnare ingredients given great rank by the U.S. FDA; great for moisturizing and exfoliating, oatmeal is also known for its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties; it helps to restore the skin’s normal pH levels and soothes irritated skin
  • Agave Nectar — very similar to raw honey, agave nectar has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, it also helps to brighten skin and remove pigmentation spots
  • Cucumber — known for its calming and soothing properties, cucumber reduces inflammation and because it’s high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Vitamin A it will help fight dark circles and hyper pigmentation; the B-5 in cucumbers aids in moisture retention while the silica aids in fighting wrinkles because strengthens connective tissues
  • Fresh Lemon Juice –contains loads of citric acid and Vitamin C, which is great for toning, evening out dark spots, and aids in controlling unnecessary oil; lemon juice is a natural exfoliant and helps target and prevent acne

That concludes the exfoliating installment! If you haven’t already, check out the hydrating installment here! Please let me know if you try any of these! If you have any exfoliating DIY skincare recipes, put them in the comments below! Next up in this series, we will have a look at DIY recipes to target brightening the skin to make it appear glowing!

Stay Glittery, Beauties!

xoxo,

Candice

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DIY Hydrating Face Masks

 

Title Photo

Welcome to the DIY Face Mask Series! All of the masks you will see in this series use ingredients straight from your kitchen or pantry, and they are all super easy to make! This series will include 6 posts on different DIY masks to achieve different results — hydrating, exfoliating, brightening, pore-clearing, calming, and aging. Further, each will feature recipes for each skin type, so there will be something for everyone in this series! (Can you tell I’m excited about this one!?)

I wanted to share some of my favorite recipes with you. First, know your limitations and allergies. If you’re allergic to any of the ingredients when you eat them, you will have a reaction on your skin too. If you aren’t sure, do a small test patch on your hand or wrist before applying. I should note that I have dry sensitive skin, so my repertoire is going to be a little fuller in those areas. Plus, the sensitive skin masks will be safe for all skin types. In fact, most of these are great for any skin type, so feel free to experiment. Due to the nature of the ingredients, they are all more sensitive than chemically-driven face masks.

Keep in mind that many of these natural ingredients serve many different functions in skincare, so feel free to mix and match as you think it suits your needs. For each mask, there will be a recipe plus the reason each ingredient was included.

So, let’s get started!!

Sensitive skin avocado greek yogurt lemon

Ingredients

  • 1/4 ripe avocado, mashed
  • 2 tsp plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/8 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

Directions 

Mix all ingredients into a creamy paste. You want the consistency to be something that will smooth onto the face like a thick cream. Apply to face and let sit for 15 minutes.Rinse off with warm water.

Benefits

  • Avocado — loaded with monosaturated fatty acids for moisturizing, nourishing, softening, regenerating damaged skin cells, and reducing irritation
  • Greek yogurt — loaded with natural lactic acid (an alphahydroxy acid) which helps exfoliate, rejuvenate, and aid in preventing wrinkles
  • Lemon Juice — contains loads of citric acid and Vitamin C, which is great for toning, evening out dark spots, and aids in controlling unnecessary oil (be careful, don’t use too much lemon juice in this recipe, too much can be drying, so start with a small amount and if you need more, you can add it later)

Sensitive skin avocado banana honey

Ingredients

  • 1/4 ripe avocado, mashed
  • 1/2 banana mashed
  • 1/4 cup honey

Directions

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. The consistency should be that of a very thick creamy-paste. Apply to skin for 15-20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Benefits

  • Avocado — loaded with monosaturated fatty acids for moisturizing, nourishing, softening, regenerating damaged skin cells, and reducing irritation
  • Banana — filled with loads of Vitamins C and B6, it deposits necessary minerals into the skin for rejuvenation, and because bananas are 75% water, they are great for hydrating the skin to prevent drying and peeling
  • Raw Honey — naturally antibacterial, antimicrobial, and packed with antioxidants, honey is fabulous for moisturizing as it opens up pores to help unclog tired or angry pores, but because it is a natural humectant, it helps the skin to attract and retain moisture

Normal skin

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup steamed and mashed carrots
  • 1/4 ripe avocado, mashed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice, fresh squeezed
  • 1/4 cup raw honey

Directions

Boil or steam carrots. (I prefer steaming so it doesn’t eliminate all the nutrients through heat). Mash carrots and allow them to cool. (Tip: on a night you’re cooking steamed carrots for dinner, reserve enough for your facemask and keep it in the refrigerator).

Mix all ingredients together well. This one is going to be thick and somewhat goopy in its consistency. Apply to face for 15 minutes. Massage as you rinse off with warm water. Wash face well to ensure egg yolk doesn’t stay on the face. You’ll know it’s time to take this one off when the egg dries to the point your face becomes tight when you smile.

Benefits

  • Carrots — rich in several vitamins and minerals, the potassium in carrots can lead to replenishing skin’s natural moisture, and the high content of Vitamin A helps to heal skin conditions (i.e. rashes, dermatitis, etc caused by Vitamin A deficiencies)
  • Avocado — loaded with monosaturated fatty acids for moisturizing, nourishing, softening, regenerating damaged skin cells, and reducing irritation
  • Egg Yolk — contains Vitamin B3 which boots circulation in the skin making it appear healthier; also helps to treat breakouts
  • Lemon Juice — contains loads of citric acid and Vitamin C, which is great for toning, evening out dark spots, and aids in controlling unnecessary oil (be careful, don’t use too much lemon juice in this recipe, too much can be drying, so start with a small amount and if you need more, you can add it later)
  • Raw Honey — naturally antibacterial, antimicrobial, and packed with antioxidants, honey is fabulous for moisturizing as it opens up pores to help unclog tired or angry pores, but because it is a natural humectant, it helps the skin to attract and retain moisture

Oily skin

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp fresh squeezed orange juice

Directions

Place coconut oil jar in a sink or bowl filled with very warm water for 5 minutes to liquefy. Combine liquefied coconut oil and fresh squeezed orange juice. Massage into skin. Leave on for 20-30 minutes. Gently remove using warm wet washcloth.

Benefits

  • Coconut Oil — You may be concerned that oil on oily skin is NOT OK! Don’t worry, coconut oil is great on oily skin because it’s anti-fungal, antimicrobial, and actually works to pull out the bad oil production from oily skin. This helps balance oily skin while infusing naturally necessary moisture to the skin cells. Think of it this way — with natural oils, it’s Like Attracts Like! So, coconut oil on oily skin is really quite fabulous! I could go on and on about coconut oil, but I won’t! If you’re interested in all the ways coconut oil is great for skin, check out my previous post on the 8 Beauty Uses for Coconut Oil for more detailed information.
  • Orange Juice — oranges have massive amounts of Vitamin C, which helps to brighten your complexion, fade dark spots, and bring a general glow to the skin.

That concludes the hydration episode! Next up is exfoliation, and I’ve got some fun ones for you! Please let me know if you try any of these. If you have a great DIY hydrating face mask, PLEASE leave it in the comments below! I want to try the ones that are working for you!

Stay Glittery, Beauties!

xoxo,

Candice

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Empties II: Skincare Part 2

skin composite 2

Welcome Back! This post will serve as Part 2 of the skincare empties! So, let’s get right to it!

Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream with Super 7 Complex by Fresh

Fresh Youth Preserve Face Cream, $42. Available at Sephora and Ulta.
Fresh Youth Preserve Face Cream, $42. Available at Sephora and Ulta.

Admittedly, this is my second or third empty of this particular face cream. It’s been in the rotation for a long time — pre-blogging. I love the Fresh line — all of it! This moisturizer is light and fluffy, yet manages to provide long lasting moisture. The formula contains sodium hyaluronate, which is a salt of hyaluronic acid – an ingredient I always check for when purchasing a moisturizer. In non-scientific terms, this ingredient aids in sloughing off of dead skin cells to fill lines, wrinkles, and plump skin. In addition, it contains lotus flower extract (improves skin texture and appearance); limonene (for brightening and fast absorption); fig extract (deep moisturizing); citrus oil (for brightening, Vitamin C); and cucumber (for soothing), among other ingredients. I use this one as a day cream, and it leaves my skin feeling fresh (no pun intended), clean, and glowing. I will continue to keep this one in the rotation. You can find it at Sephora or Ulta, and it will run you $42 for 1.7 oz, which is totally worth it for a quality moisturizer.

Omega Daily Moisturizer by SoPhyto

SoPhyto Omega Daily Moisturizer, $40-50 on Amazon.com
SoPhyto Omega Daily Moisturizer, $40-50 on Amazon.com

I absolutely LOVE this moisturizer, but it’s so hard to find! This is my fourth empty of this one, and honestly, I hate hunting it down. But, alas, I have found it on Amazon. This one is super natural and fabulous for sensitive skin. I started using it after a very bad allergic reaction to benzoyl peroxide, and it really helped to rehab my skin! Not only is it a great moisturizer, but it also functions as a great primer for foundation! When a product pulls double duty like that, I get really really happy! Keep an eye out at TJ Maxx, as they do sell it on the cheap from time to time. Otherwise, here’s the Amazon link!

Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm

Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm, $50-100 depending on size. Available at FeelUnique.com or EmmaHardie.com
Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm, $50-100 depending on size. Available at FeelUnique.com or EmmaHardie.com

Oh, Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm, how I love thee. I could sing the praises of this cleansing balm for paragraphs on end. But, I won’t. This is my winter skin go-to cleanser. If you’ve never used a cleansing balm, it’s a different beast than most cleansers. It’s got a vaseline-jelly-like consistency. All it takes is about a quarter size dollop, and you simply massage it into dry skin. It takes off ALL of your makeup, including eye makeup, and cleanses your skin beautifully at the same time (there’s that double duty again!). Next, all you have to do is rinse or wipe your face gently with a warm wash cloth. It leaves my skin feeling softer than a baby’s bottom, and the refreshing feeling it leaves behind makes me think my pores and skin cells are having the most relaxing spa experience ever created. Oh, and it smells heavenly. I’d buy it in a perfume if the smell came in a perfume because it smells slightly floral, but so clean! It contains grape seed oil (aids in regulating sebum/oil production); almond oil (helps to reduce irritation); bergamot oil (treats acne); citrus oil; sunflower oil, and a host of other natural oils/ingredients. The packaging is sturdy and beautiful. It’s truly a luxury product, all around. Unfortunately, Emma Hardie is not sold in the United States; however, you can purchase it online from England, as I do. It’s not cheap, but I PROMISE YOU it’s worth it. My tub of 3.4 oz lasted me a little over 5 months. Yes, nearly half a year. It also comes in a 6.7 oz option. You can find it at FeelUnique or on the Emma Hardie site. I’m going to reorder this tomorrow, actually. I miss it so much.

Cosmetic Lad by LUSH

Cosmetic Lad by LUSH, $23.95 for 1.5 oz
Cosmetic Lad by LUSH, $23.95 for 1.5 oz

This is one of LUSH’s moisturizers for men. I’ve included it in this empties series because I got a little sample (pictured in the composite picture at the top) for my brother who has terrible eczema, and part of my sisterly-beauty blogger duty is to help him find products to make his skin better. Nonetheless, my brother purchased the full size and actually used it. He says that when paired with LUSH’s Dirty (their men’s shaving cream), he found great improvement in the hydration of his skin. When I tell you his eczema is terrible, I truly mean it. We have searched everywhere and tried so many remedies for his skin, including slathering him with lotions and wrapping him in plastic trash bags. (He’s going to kill me for making that fact public.) But, when I find a product that he actually likes and uses on a regular basis that gives him some relief, then I’m a happy happy sister. Cosmetic Lad contains lavender oil (for soothing and reducing redness); chamomile (soothing); and cocoa butter (for deep moisturizing). I highly recommend this for the guy in your life. I’ll keep repurchasing this one for my brother as long as he will continue to use it.

Truffle Therapy Serum by Skin & Co.

Truffle Therapy Serum by Skin&Co. $80 available at Skinandcoroma.com
Truffle Therapy Serum by Skin&Co. $80 available at Skinandcoroma.com

Skin & Co. contacted me on Twitter just prior to their USA launch, and were kind enough to send me this serum and a few other products. I absolutely fell in love with this serum. When we had a super super cold snap in South Louisiana that resulted in iced over roads for days on end, my skin went super dry and nasty. This serum really helped to revive my skin and bring it back to its baseline. The packaging is super sturdy and I love that it has a pump. It looks and feels super luxurious, not to mention, it smells incredible! The truffle oil is straight from a family business in Italy, and is super nourishing for skin. Who ever thought truffle oil would be a skincare product? I sure didn’t!  I loved how quickly it absorbed into the skin without feeling super greasy or leaving an oily residue. (Generally oils take a few minutes to absorb, and do tend to stay a tad greasy after absorption.)

Skin&Co 4

The only gripe I have about this product is this — the inner  “straw” of the pump did not extend all the way down to the bottom of the bottle. So, I couldn’t easily use up all the product. Small manufacturing issues like this make me question whether it was intentional or a manufacturing defect. If it’s a defect, I’m more forgiving, but if it was intentional, all I can say is WHY???? Why leave that much product left in the tube? I loved this, and I wanted to use it all, but even banging the bottle around on my hand, I couldn’t retrieve the last bit of product. It was such a disappointing moment, and if I had paid for it, I’d likely have been angry because it’s expensive. It’s a lovely product, but I am not necessarily willing to spend $80 on a serum, considering I have been using oils in place of serums lately. Overall, I loved the product and everything about it, but the price, I just can’t justify it right now.

Blue Green Algae Toner by Michael Todd True Organics

MT Organics 1

This is probably one of my favorite skincare products of all time. It’s a simple post-cleansing toner that smells like lavender (my favorite). It contains all organic ingredients including lavender oil, blue green algae, kelp, aloe vera juice, willow tree extract, and tea tree oil. It penetrates deep into the skin to flush out toxins, which really helps in keeping your skin clear. I noticed a huge difference in my hormonal breakouts while using this product, and many of my friends have purchased it with the same results. It also contains hyaluronic acid — one of my favorite ingredients so it works as a natural exfoliant. Exfoliating toners are on the rise in the beauty industry, and they are not your grandmother’s alcohol based toner (ahem, anyone remember Sea Breeze? HA!). The Blue Green Algae toner does not contain any alcohol, and it’s all natural ingredient makeup leaves your skin feeling refreshed, exfoliated, and properly cleaned. I use this one in the morning and at night because it’s very gentle on the skin and feels super refreshing.

MT Organics 2

Even more, the packaging is great. It has a small hole at the top to regulate how much product you use in each application. I love that because it really lasted me a while. I will continue to purchase this product over and over again. You can find it on the Michael Todd True Organics website, and it’s super affordable at $18.50 or in the trial size for $4.50.

Caudalie Micellar Cleansing Water

Caudalie Cleansing Water, $14-28 depending on size. Available at Sephora.
Caudalie Cleansing Water, $14-28 depending on size. Available at Sephora.

This is another repeat empty for me! I buy the travel size often because I like to keep it in my every day makeup bag. It’s great for a quick cleanse on a no makeup day because it’s super refreshing. It takes off eye makeup, but not very well, so I wouldn’t recommend it for that, but you could use it for that in a pinch. It’s also great as a post-cleanse toner. Caudalie makes really beautiful products, and this one is no different. Cleansing waters, as a general rule, are made for makeup removal, but I find so many other uses for this one — makeup removal, toner, small clean ups for eye makeup mishaps, and as a quick swipe after an overnight face mask. It doesn’t contain a lot of unnecessary ingredients, and is made with grape water, chamomile, and citric acid. It smells beautiful too. It’s a great product to keep around. The travel size is 3.38 oz for $14 and the 6.7 oz bottle is $28. A makeup bag staple for certain!

I hope you’ve enjoyed part 2 of the skincare empties! Please let me know what product you’re looking forward to trying! Be sure to check back next week for the next installment in the empties series!

Stay Glittery, Beauties!

xoxo,

Candice

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Empties II: Part 1 Let’s talk about skincare!

skin composite 2
The empties series is back with four full installments! I have learned that I go through WAAAAYYYYYY more skincare than I do any other category of product. Due to the fact that I have 18 products here, I’m going to break this post into two parts. I’ll do seven products in this post, then another eight in the next post — that doesn’t add up because one product has a total of 4 empty containers. Read on to find out.

I suppose I have so many because I have travel versions of products I use (that I know will not irritate my skin) on the go or on a trip. For example, the It’s Potent eye cream, Caudalie cleansing water, and Josie Maran Argan Oil Light lived in my everyday makeup bag in my handbag. You never know when you need to redo your whole face or take it all off — like before a workout or pre-happy hour after a long work day.

So, let’s just dive right in and get started!!

1. Angels on Bare Skin by LUSH

Available at Lush stores (or online). Ranges from $13.95-$33.95 depending on size
Available at Lush stores (or online). Ranges from $13.95-$33.95 depending on size

I have gone through 4, yes FOUR, containers of Angels on Bare Skin in the last 8 months, as this one is always in my travel bag. It’s one of those products that I will always have in rotation. Here’s why:

  • It’s all natural and fresh
  • Great for all skin types, including sensitive (yay for me and all my sensitive skin girls!)
  • Has kaolin clay, ground almonds, lavender flowers, lavender oil, and rose oil
  • Ground almonds and lavender flowers are both great for exfoliation (even after your regular cleanser. bonus!!)
  • Lavender oil smooths and calms the skin
  • Rose oil reduces redness
  • It smells heavenly, or what I imagine heaven smells like

I love using this as a cleanser on its own, or as an exfoliator after I cleanse. It always leaves my skin soft and looking super healthy. It does have a gritty sort-of mealy texture, so don’t expect a lotion, gel, or foam here. It’s more like damp brown sugar. (TIP: I keep a pack of Popsicle sticks in my bathroom for this. They’re cheap and come in handy for all types beauty maneuvering!) If you don’t have a LUSH store where you live, you can always order online.

2. Love Lettuce & BB Seaweed Fresh Facemasks by LUSH

Love Lettuce & BB Seaweed Fresh Facemasks, $6.95 each
Love Lettuce & BB Seaweed Fresh Facemasks, $6.95 each

These fresh face masks are available at LUSH in their refrigerated section. They are so fresh that you must keep them refrigerated. Why? They do NOT contain any preservatives, but DO have an expiration date. However, each one is 2.1 oz and usually gets me 4-6 masks. These are 2 of my 4 favorite go-to masks!

Love Lettuce

A great choice for all skin types, so definitely a winner in my book! This one also smells so good because of the lavender oil in it for soothing and calming, but it also contains ground almonds for exfoliation. It’s more dense with the ground almonds than the Angels on Bare Skin cleanser, so it really gets into the pores to wash away dead skin, scoop out dirt, and force out unnecessary oil. It also contains honey, which helps to nourish and soften skin, and seaweed, which balances oil production in the T-zone. Personally, this one is my absolute favorite LUSH mask! My skin is usually at its best when I’m using Angels on Bare Skin in tandem with this mask and coconut oil steam treatments. (If you’re curious about that, you can get that info here.) LUSH is super affordable, so at $6.95 per pot, who can say no???

BB Seaweed

I love to use BB Seaweed when my sensitive skin starts freaking out. This mask is specifically formulated for sensitive skin to calm, soothe, and moisturize. Each batch of BB Seaweed made contains seven pounds of seaweed! Seven pounds! Seaweed is known for its soothing effects, and I can attest to its almighty green power! This mask also contains finely ground almonds for ultra gentle exfoliation. In addition to that, the copious amounts of aloe vera gel and rose target sensitive spots while the honey and olive oil surge the moisture into your pores. This is one of those masks that saves me if I try a new product and have a less than favorable reaction.

3. Puffy the Eye Bag Slayer by Anatomicals

Puffy the Eye Bag Slayer Patches of collagen goodness, $11, available at Glossybox.com, Asos.com, and Amazon.com
Puffy the Eye Bag Slayer Patches of collagen goodness, $11, available at Glossybox.com, Asos.com, and Amazon.com

Puffy 2

First, let me say that I love the cheeky (and adorable) way that Anatomicals names and labels its products! Nearly every product in their line is just super catchy. I think this one is just so clever, and it makes me smile. But, I do really like this little product. Basically, they are jelly filled collagen stickers to help decrease under eye puffiness. I’ve gone so far as to wear them on my way to work after a night of intense ugly crying…and they WORKED! I kept them in the refrigerator to add a little chill to enhance the de-puffing process, and while cucumber slices always work, this is great for the girl on the go. And, it contains grape seed oil, aloe vera, collagen, green tea extract, and plum extract — all fabulous ingredients for hydration, soothing, and de-puffing. I’d say these are useful when hungover, having an existential ugly cry meltdown, during allergy season, or whenever you just haven’t had enough sleep and need to look rested. You can purchase them through Glossybox.com here for $11.00, or from Asos.com here for $11.37, or on Amazon, where they sell the full individual Puffy the Eye Bag Slayer overnight eye mask! (Seriously, I now want this overnight mask!) Here’s a little example of my trial with Puffy and her minions.

On this day, I was having allergy problems, but in the picture on the left you can tell how swollen my under eye area was. I wore these on my way to work that morning.
On this day, I was having allergy problems, but in the picture on the left you can tell how swollen my under eye area was. I wore these on my way to work that morning.

4. Glam Glow Youth Mud Facemask

Glam Glow Youth Mud Face Mask. Available at Sephora, GlamGlow.com, and Amazon.com
Glam Glow Youth Mud Face Mask. Available at Sephora, GlamGlow.com, and Amazon.com

This product is one of those cult beauty products that took off like a rocket earlier this spring. I received a free sample of the Youth Mud (there are several GlamGlow varieties from which you may choose to suit your skin type/target issue). The Youth Mud is designed for all skin types and claims to have you movie-star-camera-ready in just minutes. Yes, it’s AMAZING, and does make your skin look incredible afterwards. It lives up to the hype…almost. But first, let’s chat about the ingredients. Youth Mud contains kaolin clay, green tea extract, chamomile, marigold, cucumber, ivy, comfrey herb, lavender, and volcanic rock. The combination of these ingredients makes this mask a superstar. It exfoliates, nourishes, plumps, soothes, smooths, and gives you that all over glow, hence the name. The volcanic rock serves as the exfoliation agent while the French sea clay (kaolin) detoxifies, purifies, and leaves good natural oils in place. The herbs and tea extracts provide antioxidants to boost skin’s plumpness and revitalize it. While I absolutely love love love this mask, I did find the tingling sensation a bit harsh (but I do have pretty sensitive skin), and at $69.00 for 1.7 oz, I find it to be a tad on the pricey side for a face mask. I was able to get two masks out of this sample if that’s any indication. Therefore, I’d recommend this one wholeheartedly (a) if you have the extra cash to spend or (b) if you’re willing to splurge for an upcoming event (i.e. wedding, prom, big interview at your dream job, etc.)

5. Garnier Clean + Nourishing Cleansing Oil

Garnier Nourishing Cleansing Oil, $7.99, available at drug stores.
Garnier Nourishing Cleansing Oil, $7.99, available at drug stores.
Garnier 2
This packaging has taken a bit of a beating. I apologize.

When I first saw this in Walgreens, I knew I HAD to try it. I’m a huge fan of naturally occurring oils as a makeup remover (i.e. coconut oil or olive oil), and this one contains jojoba and macadamia oil. I’m OVER THE MOON about this product. It’s all of $5-7, depending on where you purchase it. When I stumble upon amazing, and yet affordable products, my inner couponer gets insanely excited. Nonetheless, this is probably the BEST product launch of the skin care year for me. So, let’s talk about the pros and cons. Cons first — I like to end things on a positive note. The packaging could use a little help. I’d pay an extra $5 for Garnier to up their game on the packaging. I love the pump, so I hope they don’t change that – EVER, but it leaks at the seal. And when I say leaks, I mean you will have cleansing oil on whatever you put it in, and you will find it EVERYWHERE! I traveled with it on a road trip and everything in my overnight kit was just soaked in this stuff. BUT, I use it every single night to take off my makeup. Two pumps takes off everything, including eye makeup, and just feels so nice on the skin. I do use my regular face wash after, though. And while this is my only empty of of this, I’m almost done with my second bottle and I have another one ready to go under my counter. I have recommended it to every girl I know because it is an insanely fabulous product. The oils not only clean your skin, but they also nourish your skin.

Jojoba oil is giving coconut oil a run for its money. It’s great at fighting acne as it dissolves the bad oil in your pores that cause breakouts. How cool is that?? (I have noticed less breakouts, especially hormonal breakouts since I started using this product.) Jojoba oil also functions as a moisturizer, antibacterial, and anti-aging oil due to its superfluous amount of natural antioxidants. Sold. On the other hand, it’s companion, the Macadamia oil, is a lesser-known oil in the beauty industry (at least to me), and its greatly known for quick absorption for deep moisturization. In addition to that, it contains a ton of good fatty acids which help in repairing skin damage from sunburn or age. Basically, it gets in quickly and fights the good fight. Sold.

I’ve spent some time on this product in this post because I believe in it. My skin loves it. It’s great for all skin types, including oily (don’t forget – like attracts like – the proper oils on oily skin is OK!). Garnier has really really nailed it here, and I truly hope they leave the formula alone because it’s brilliant, but I would like to see stronger packaging.

6. It’s Potent Eye Cream by Benefit

It's Potent Eye Cream by Benefit, available at Sephora, Ulta, and Benefitcosmetics.com
It’s Potent Eye Cream by Benefit, available at Sephora, Ulta, and Benefitcosmetics.com

I often find myself going back to this eye cream, specifically keeping it in my everyday makeup bag to apply just before my foundation. It’s really great at noticeably decreasing dark circles. It contains botanical extracts and a peptide complex that aids in brightening to combat dark circles. Out of all of the eye creams I’ve tried that claim to reduce dark circles, this is the ONLY one that actually performs. It’s not going to completely erase your dark circles, but it certainly does decrease them. While it is a tad on the pricey side, at $34 for 0.5 oz (which is much larger than the travel size pictured in this post) I still find it to be worth the money. It’s very light and airy in texture, and moisturizes well. I will continue to purchase this product, but since it’s not my night and day eye cream, I like the travel size for my makeup bag.

7. Josie Maran Argan Oil Light

Josie Maran Argan Oil Light, available at Sephora or JoseiMaranCosmetics.com
Josie Maran Argan Oil Light, available at Sephora or JoseiMaranCosmetics.com

Josie Maran 4

I tried this product after trying the Josie Maran Argan Oil, which I love, but felt to be a tad on the heavy side. If you have never used an argan oil product, it’s such an awesome oil. It can be used on your skin and on your hair! I like the the lighter texture of this oil from Josie Maran’s line. I tend to use an oil after I’ve cleansed my face thoroughly and before I apply moisturizer. Of course, you don’t need an oil and a moisturizer, but you can substitute an oil for a serum. It’s 100% argan oil so don’t let the “light” notation fool you. Light, here, refers to it’s quicker absorption rate and, as a result, less sticky feel after application. Similar to other naturally occurring oils, argan oil hydrates, decreases sebum production, and helps reduce fine lines. I keep the travel version of this in my everyday makeup bag for application just before my foundation (and along with the It’s Potent). I find it to be a great skin prep for makeup allowing my skin a hydrated smooth canvas on which to paint. The packaging is super sturdy, and it comes with a little dropper. You only need a few drops to cover your whole face so it lasts for quite some time! It ranges in price depending on what size you purchase – $16 gets you 0.5 oz (pictured); $48 for 1.7 oz; and $96 for 4 oz. I love that you don’t have to splurge to try it! Grab the 0.5 oz bottle and go for it. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Even more, Josie Maran’s line is just so giving — she seeks to empower women, give back to communities in need around the world, and really tries to create products that are both good for us and good to the Earth. Who can argue with a mission statement like that? Right now, if you head over to her site, you’ll find that 50% of the Argan Oil Hair Serum sales will be donated to the More Than Me Foundation which is currently helping to fight Ebola. Natural beauty that gives back? Count me in every time!

Please come back next week for the next installment, where I’ll walk through all the other products shown in the first photo! It’s been a skincare year for me and I hope you enjoyed this post. What was your favorite skincare product of the year? Let me know in the comments! My number one favorite that I purchased this year will be in the next post. Can you guess which one?

Until next time, Stay Glittery Beauties!

xoxo,

Candice

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8 Beauty Uses for Coconut Oil

coconut oillogo

I’m constantly raving about all the ways you can use coconut oil in your beauty regimen, so it’s about time I gave y’all a run down of all the ways I incorporate it. I’m certain there are many more ways to use coconut oil than I list here, so if you have more to offer, please leave them in the comments! I love learning new ways to use it!

Basic Coconut Oil Info:

Before we get into the uses, let’s talk a little bit about WHY coconut oil is so awesome. First, it occurs naturally and is made directly from the “meat” of a coconut. It contains medium chain fatty acids which are healthy fatty acids easily broken down by the body in digestion.  The active ingredient making coconut oil great for skin and hair is called lauric acid. Lauric acid is good stuff, and breast milk is the only other place where such high concentrations of lauric acid is found.

Lauric acid converts to monolaurin which is why coconut oil has antiviral, antimicrobial, antiprotozoal, and antifungal properties. This makes it great for use on cuts, scrapes, diaper rash, athletes foot, nail fungus, dandruff, ringworms, eczema, etc. In addition, for skincare purposes, coconut oil functions as an antioxidant which combats premature aging. (Skin naturally oxidizes the fats in skin cells, which is how it ages, and coconut oil fatty acids work to replace those fats.) Basically, the natural fatty acids in coconut oil are like food for your skin.

It comes in a solid form, so you do have to go through a few extra minutes to get it to liquefy. To do that, just place the jar in a sink full of hot water, and within minutes it’s liquefied. Once it cools again, it will return to its solidified state.

Coconut Oil -- solid in the jar
Coconut Oil — solid in the jar
Coconut Oil -- solid scooped out
Coconut Oil — solid scooped out

Now that you know some cool facts about coconut oil, let’s talk about the stuff you came here for….beauty!

1. SCALP & HAIR MASK

Because coconut oil is antifungal and dandruff is generally due to a fungus, the hair and scalp mask is fabulous! It’s also great for deep conditioning hair, leaving it smooth, soft and silky! Here’s how you do it:

  • Place your jar of coconut oil in a sink full of warm water to liquefy it.
  • Take a small amount of the oil and massage it into your scalp and hair.
  • Pin your hair up for 30 minutes (you can let it stay on longer, even overnight, but it’s oil so it will stain sheets and pillowcases, so prepare accordingly)
  • Shampoo out as normal.
This was a photo from earlier this week right after I did the hair + scalp treatment. All I did was blowdry it.
This was a photo from earlier this week right after I did the hair + scalp treatment. All I did was blowdry it.

2. BATH OIL ADDITIVE

Since coconut oil increases the lipid content in your skin, it’s a great addition to your bubble bath. I usually put about 1/4 cup of coconut oil in my night time bubble bath. It doesn’t leave your skin oily or greasy, either!

3. HOT OIL FACIAL TREATMENT

This is probably one of my favorite at-home facial things to do. Friends with oily skin, don’t worry!! It’s perfectly okay to put coconut oil on your face. “Like attracts like” so certain kinds of oils are actually good for oily skin to help rid the skin of bad oil and aid in balancing natural production of oil. So, here’s how you do it:

  • Place jar in a sink full of warm water to liquefy.
  • Remove makeup and wash your face as you normally would.
  • Coat your face in coconut oil.
  • Using a washcloth, wet it with the hottest water you can stand.
  • Drape the washcloth over your face to steam until it cools.
  • Repeat the previous step anywhere from 4-10 times.
  • Use the cloth to wipe your face clean.

This will deep clean your pores as well, and any residual makeup you missed in your regular cleansing will come off onto your washcloth.

4. EYE MAKEUP REMOVER

I make my own eye makeup remover using coconut oil and Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo with filtered water. You can find the full tutorial here.

5. BODY MOISTURIZER

When I have really dry skin in the winter, I put coconut oil on my entire body as a moisturizer. It’s great and seems to absorb fairly quickly. Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to leave my skin oily or greasy as you might expect. I have friends who use it on their babies as a moisturizer, for diaper rash, and to treat eczema.

6. SHAVING CREAM

Because coconut oil is a natural moisturizer, it makes for a great shaving cream for women and men alike. It leaves a nice smooth finish post shave, conditions your hair follicles, and moisturizes your skin simultaneously!

7. SUNBURN HEALER

Coconut oil is a great way to feed sunburned skin to aid in the healing process. (Of course, you should always wear sunscreen, SPF 15 or higher!) You can put the oil directly onto sunburned skin or you can do this:

  • Wet a washcloth with Apple Cider Vinegar and rub lightly on the sunburn to help with stinging. (This part is a God-send.)
  • Follow up with coconut oil.

Easy, right!? I’ve noticed a drastic difference in healing sunburns using this process!

8. ANTISEPTIC/ANTIBACTERIAL FOR CUTS AND SCRAPES & ANTIFUNGAL FOR NAIL FUNGUS

Just apply coconut oil directly onto the cut, scrape, or nail at issue. The monolaurin contained in the lauric acid disrupts the lipid membranes of bacteria, viruses, and fungus thereby helping to destroy them.

I know there are thousands of other ways to use coconut oil. But I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little bit about coconut oil and how I have learned to incorporate it into my beauty regimen.

Please let me know if you try any of these and how it worked out for you. If you’re on social media, tag me in your pics when you do one of these!

Stay Glittery, Beauties!

xoxo,

Candice

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Skincare Empties! 1st quarter 2014

composite final

Welcome to part 2 of the empties series! Today, SKINCARE! Let me first start by saying that I have dry, dehydrated, and sensitive skin, so I’m overly cautious about ingredients in skincare. Therefore, all of these products are suitable for sensitive dry skin, and may not be suitable or effective for other skin types or other/specific skin concerns.

Without further ado… I’m gonna save you the suspense, and go ahead and tell you that I have already repurchased all of these. Some of these are my second or third repurchase, so I am confident in my recommendation of these products. If you’re interested in knowing why I’ve repurchased them or how I use them, read on for additional details!

Sophyto Omega Daily Moisturizer, available at Sam’s Club, TJMaxx, Amazon, Ebay (prices range from $25 – $59/2pack)

SoPhyto Omega Moisturizer, available online, prices vary
SoPhyto Omega Moisturizer, available online, prices vary

This is my absolute favorite moisturizer! I purchased the dual pack at TJ Maxx for $7.99. But, I’ve just learned it’s being discontinued!! Not to fret! You can still find it on Ebay, Amazon, and at Sam’s Club and TJMaxx (in the 2 pack and on the cheap!). I began using this after a very bad allergic reaction (to benzoyl peroxide) because it is completely organic and does not contain irritating chemicals. What I learned, over time, is not only is it a FABULOUS moisturizer, but it also functions as an amazing primer for foundation. I’m really really sad that it’s being discontinued. So, I guess I’m going to have to restock with every bit I can find online. Originally, this was priced at around $50 per tube, so it could potentially be pricey online. Don’t worry, though, it’s totally worth it. I’ll pay $50 for this moisturizer!

Spectrum Expeller Pressed Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (Unrefined), $11 (available at your local health food store)

Spectrum Expeller Pressed Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, $11, available at health food stores
Spectrum Expeller Pressed Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, $11, available at health food stores

This is my third full jar of this coconut oil. I use it for almost every beauty remedy known to man — hair masks, face masks, eye makeup remover, overnight moisturizer, bath additive, etc. I could do an entire post on coconut oil and the amazing beauty product it is, but I’ll spare you the long diatribe on this post. I’ll do a full coconut oil post soon, but in the mean time, check out my DIY Eye Makeup Remover using coconut oil here! Oh, and go buy some. You’ll be super glad you did…well, as soon as I get all those coconut oil DIY beauty uses blog post done, right? 🙂

 

 

 

Caudalie Makeup Cleansing Water (Eau Micellaire Demaquillante), $14 (3.38oz) or $28 (6.7oz), (available at Sephora)

Caudalie Makeup Cleansing Water, $14 (3.38 oz)
Caudalie Makeup Cleansing Water, $14 (3.38 oz)

Micellar/Micellaire Cleansing Waters are one of the trendiest new products in the beauty market, and this is the first one I’ve tried. I quite liked it as a makeup remover, but not as an eye makeup remover. I did a comparison on Instagram between my DIY eyemakeup remover and this product, which you can find here. And while I don’t use it for eye makeup remover, it is a great face makeup remover. I found myself going back to this product over and over again first thing in the morning to just clean overnight skin. It is so refreshing, smells amazing, isn’t oily, and cleanses off any missed makeup or dirt from overnight. I also used it as clean up for makeup mishaps. While it is on the pricey side, I really really recommend this product, and have already repurchased it in the larger size. Simply put, this is a great all around product to have around whether you’re in a clean-up pinch or in need of a morning skin refresher.

Buche de Noel Cleanser, $14.95 (available seasonally at Lush)

Buche de Noel, $14.95, seasonal cleanser, available at Lush
Buche de Noel, $14.95, seasonal cleanser, available at Lush

Buche de Noel Cleanser is Lush’s seasonal cleanser available at Christmas time each year. (Lush has seasonal products made fresh and available at certain times each year.) I love this cleanser. It contains almond shells and kaolin clay for exfoliation, satsuma oranges for brightening, shea butter and glycerin for moisturizing dry skin, Nori seaweed for intense nutrients, and a shot of Brandy for toning. It is one of my favorite cleaners, and I always buy two at Christmas to last me a little longer. It’s a clay/mud-like consistency, so it’s not your typical cleanser. However, in the off months that this one is not available, I purchase Angels on Bareskin, which is pretty similar in texture, and seems to do the same for my skin although it contains some different (and similar) ingredients. If you haven’t tried either of these cleansers, I urge you to give them a try. They are incredible!!

 

BeautiControl Spa Facial Restructuring Eye Creme, $35 (available from your local BeautiControl Constultant)

BeautiControl Spa Facial Restructuring Eye Creme, $35, available through your local BeautiControl Consultant
BeautiControl Spa Facial Restructuring Eye Creme, $35, available through your local BeautiControl Consultant

I have been through so many of these eye cremes, I’m losing count. It’s been my favorite for years, and if you’re interested, I’ve done a full review here. In a nutshell, it is highly moisturizing and contains ingredients to slough off dead skin (visually!) and encourage cell turnover. Need I say more?! If you need a recommendation for a BeautiControl Consultant, please feel free to ask. I am not a consultant, as I like to remain as impartial as possible with this blog, but I can provide you with some recommendations in your area.

 

 

 

 

c.Booth Honey Almond Nourishing Dry Oil Mist, $8 (available at Ulta and Glossybox — link below)

c. Booth Honey Almond Nourishing Dry Oil Mist, $8, available at Ulta or online via Glossybox
c. Booth Honey Almond Nourishing Dry Oil Mist, $8, available at Ulta or online via Glossybox

I received this in a Glossybox months ago, and have become addicted. It’s the first thing I grab after I put on my serum and I truly notice a difference when I do not use it. It’s a light oil you mist onto your face and decolletage that absorbs into the skin immediately without leaving your skin greasy. It smells lovely of almonds and honey, surprise surprise! Once, I forewent using this for about 2 weeks, and my skin started freaking out. (Let’s be honest, I ran out of it!) As soon as I put it back into my routine, my skin immediately rebounded. Is it a miracle product? Probably not. But is it a product that functions as a building block in your skincare routine? Absolutely. And at $8, who can resist?! For the Glossybox link to purchase, click here. Oh, and it lasts for ages, so it’s a super bargain there too!

I went into a little more detail here than I did with the hair empties because I feel like what you put on your face is important. It can make you feel beautiful or make you extremely frustrated, so I like to take more care and detail with skincare products. Please let me know in the comments if you’ve tried and/or finished a skincare product recently that you cannot wait to repurchase! I am dying to know what you’re finding out there!

Stay Glittery, Beauties!

xoxo,

Candice

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