Dec 27, 2011

Flaxseed Oil

Since becoming more responsible in regards to my skin care routine I thought it was time to not only take care of myself on the outside but also to become more pro-active in regards to helping my skin from the inside. Like many of you I am very aware as to the importance of a good diet but of course in reality I for one do not always put this into practice.
I have always known the importance of Omega 3's in regards to skin quality but was pleasantly surprised that it also has benefits for hair, nails and the digestive system and the only way to get omega 3 fatty acids is from your diet as they are not naturally produced by your body.       Foods high in omega 3s help your skin protect itself by increasing natural oils that your skin secretes on the surface. These fats and oils are critical for keeping your skin soft, protecting it from irritants and preventing it from drying out.
Tired of the after taste from Fish Oils?
Unlike many of the fish oils that are on the market and due to flax oil or flaxseed oil being derived from the blue flowering flax plant 'after taste' is not an issue therefore making consumption much easier. I originally tried to take the suggested daily amount straight from the spoon but found it to be a little unpleasant (probably psychosomatic!) but found mixing the flaxseed oil into yogurt was the best option and if mixed well it is barely noticeable.
How to use Flaxseed Oil
You can add flax oil as a dressing in salads, as a substitute for other oils (except in cooking, since flaxseed oil breaks down quickly when heated), or add to yogurt (I prefer this method).
Like vitamin C and olive oil, flax oil has benefits not only from eating it, but also from applying it directly to your skin. When smoothed on your skin, flax oil can help lock in moisture and prevent water loss through the skin. Applying it can also improve your skin’s dry dull appearance and even improve the appearance of fine lines but due to using other products I choose to take this by mouth.                                                       
Will it make us look younger?
Well I am not too sure about that but combined with using Retin a, vit c serum, sunscreen and regular peels I believe that it can only do good and according to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who 'consumed' the most linoleic acid had the youngest-looking skin among 40-74 year-olds therefore I presumed it was worth a try and I have been adding it to my yogurt for a six week period and I have noticed the following benefits:
:Skin does appear softer which is helping all my other products to penetrate more efficiently.
:Two small dry patches of skin that I have had for years have completely gone. 
:Hair appears 'fuller' and is also more 'bouncier' if that makes sense!
:Definite growth in nails which are also far less brittle.

As an added benefit, omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory, which can help minimize redness and skin irritation. There is also evidence that omega-3s can improve chronic skin conditions such as eczema (atopic dermatitis), rosacea, acne, and psoriasis.  Omega 3s have been shown to aid in wound healing as well. There is also some evidence that flax seed oil might protect against sun damage.
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition adding flaxseed oil to foods, or taken with a meal, creates a feeling of satiation (feeling of fullness). The essential fats in flaxseed oil cause the stomach to retain food for a longer period of time as compared to no-fat or low-fat foods. The addition of flax oil to food also results in a gradual release of this combination into the small intestine. The physiological effect is a slow, sustained rise in blood sugar, then a prolonged plateau of blood sugar. Ultimately, the blood sugar undergoes a slow and gradual drop. You will experience a corresponding feeling of prolonged energy, stamina and satisfaction with no immediate hunger pangs following the meal. The net result is that you feel fuller, longer, and actually eat fewer calories in the long run than if you would have chosen a no-fat, low-fat diet
What to look for when buying flax seed oil:
Because flax seed oil is easily oxidized, which diminishes its antioxidant capabilities, it is important that you find flax oil that is
  • in a dark container
  • protected from light
  • vacuum sealed when you buy it
  • stored in the refrigerator after opening it
What about cold pressed oil? Heat and/or high pressure is needed to extract the oil from the seeds 'but' Flaxseed Oil that is labeled as cold pressed apparently use 'less' heat to extract the oil therefore making it more effective but it is more expensive.
Organic vs non-organic
  1. Organic flax oil does not contain traces of additives that are found in conventional flaxseed oil. Consumers are assured that what they take in is purely natural and chemical-free.
  2. The absence of chemicals in organic oils lessens the probability that the body will respond unfavorably after intake; hence the body has lower tendencies to develop allergies or adverse skin /physiological reactions.
  3. Consumer reviews indicate that organic flax oil tastes better compared to conventional oil. This can be explained by the interaction of the chemicals and the natural components both present in flaxseed oil which may alter the distinct taste of the product.
I took all of the above into consideration and after six weeks of using Organic Flax Oil I came to the conclusion that this is an item I will continue to use on a regular basis as I feel the results are beneficial.             I personally feel that Organic Cold Pressed Flaxseed Oil is better due to the fact that there are no chemicals or pesticide's used during farming and cold-pressing is known as one of the best methods of processing organic flaxseed however, due to this process only yielding very small amounts of oil involving the most minimal of heat possible (*See note at bottom of article) and does not use added chemicals it is more expensive at approximately $10.00 for 8 fluid ounces and will last about 10 days.

*In the case of some flaxseed oil brands, solvent-extraction is the primary method of obtaining the oil. Compared to cold-pressing, chemical solvents such as hexane is added to increase the volume of oil squeezed from the seeds. Most of the time, traces of these chemicals can be found on the commercial oil consumed by users thus they reduce the organic value of the original plant source.

Dec 24, 2011

What are Parabens?

How many times do we read on labels the words 'Paraben Free'....well there are those of us out there who may be unaware as to what a Paraben actually is so I thought I would break it down in layman's terms:-)
What are parabens?
Basically Parabens are preservatives widely used in cosmetics and personal care products such as soap, hair shampoo, conditioners, moisturizers, lotions etc.
Why use parabens?
Parabens are used to extend the shelf life of products and prevent growth of bacteria and fungi therefore 'paraben free' products do have a much shorter shelf life.
Dangers of Parabens
Besides being carcinogenic, they can mess with natural estrogen levels in the body, a vital hormone (especially for women.) They can cause skin rashes, irritation, and other allergic reactions.
Often when we introduce a new product into our skin care routine and have a adverse reaction such as inflammation or dryness, we immediately presume that the product itself is the cause rather than the paraben (preservative) that is in the product. Also due to it technically being a chemical substance, it can even interfere with the body's endocrine system (which is responsible for tissue function, metabolism, and even mood.)

Check your ingredient labels
Words like “natural” and “organic” do not necessarily mean paraben-free.
Below is a list of Parabens
Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Benzyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, Methyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, Ethyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, Propyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, Butyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, Parahydroxybenzoic acid and Parahydroxybenzoate are all forms of parabens.
However if you prefer to use products that have preservatives in them which is understandable considering how expensive creams, lotions and serums can be look for the safe ones such as:
Grapeseed extract, phenoxyethanol, potassium sorbate, sorbic acid, tocopherol (vitamin E), vitamin A (retinyl), and vitamin C (ascorbic acid) these are the safest preservatives that seem to cause the least irritation and have the fewest allergic reactions.

If using paraben free products you can extend the shelf life by doing the following:
  • Store your products in dark containers or opaque packaging to keep them away from the harmful effects of sunlight.
  • Ensure that your packaging is airtight (natural products can oxidize and go rancid when exposed to air).
  • Heat can also be damaging to natural products therefore try to store products in a cupboard or other cool place.
  • Because our fingers can be a host to bacteria, try to avoid dipping your fingers into your jars and bottles. Instead use a clean spoon, toothpick, popsicle stick to obtain the amount that you wish to use. Lotion pumps are great for dispensing fluid ingredients such as lotions and gels and these are easily available for purchase.
Paraben Pros & Cons
Parabens increase the shelf life of the product.
They can cause allergic reactions, irritation, and interfere with your endocrine system therefore having no benefit for your skin whatsoever.

Nov 29, 2011

Glycolic Acid Facial Cleanser

I originally tried this product on the advice of a dear friend prior to using a Jessner Peel for the first time. Glycolic Acid Facial Cleanser states that it is for 'mature' or 'sun-damaged' skin and considering I fit into 'both' these categories (yes I admit it I am not only old but also damaged!) so I thought it best that I gave it a try.          It is produced by Reviva Labs and can be purchased through and at $8.64 for 4 fl.oz it is quite cost effective. This is a soap free, oil free Hydrophilic (water activated) cleanser.
Glycolic Acid is an exfoliant and initially (being the doubting Thomas I am) I was not convinced that it was necessary for me to use anything other than my regular Cetaphil cleanser but I was pleasantly surprised. My initial concern was that this cleanser would be extremely drying on my skin due to it being an AHA but this was not the fact it left my skin feeling silky smooth.
I have been using this particular cleanser for one month now and am very pleased as to the quality and benefits of use. When used on a regular basis I have noticed that it appears to increase the intensity of some of the other products I use such as Retin A, Alpha Hydrox Souffle and last but not least the Jessner Peels I have been doing. Will I stop using my Cetaphil Cleanser..... absolutely not! but without doubt this now has a very important place in my skincare routine.
I have not had any irritation from this product and would advice anyone, young or 'mature' to try this cleanser. The price is very cost effective and the customer service and speed of delivery from is first class.

This should be massaged onto your face for two minutes with damp fingers (remembering that this is a water activated product) you then leave it on the face for a further one minute. Finally rinse thoroughly with warm water followed by cold water then pat skin dry.

Please Note:
Do not expect this to lather as it is a non lathering product
This is a cleanser not a makeup remover
Cleans without drying out the skin
Paraben Free

Benefits of Glycolic Acid
Removes dead cell build up which causes dull skin
Cleans the pores (remember that it is medically impossible to reduce pore size but keeping them clean will make them appear smaller)
Reduces pigmentation i.e sunspots, melasma etc.

Nov 18, 2011

Alpha Hydrox AHA Souffle' 12%

Not too sure how I missed reviewing this before as I have been using it now for a couple of years.....but better late than never!
This was one of the first products I introduced to my skin when I made the decision to start on a more 'serious' skin care routine. After much research it became apparent that one of the reasons products either fail to work 'or' take so long to work is due to them not being able to penitrate the skins surface adequately. Therefore I decided to find a product that could remove the 'glue like' surface of the skin enabling Retin a's and the like to do there job more efficiently and that is when I came across alpha hydrox AHA Souffle'.
AHA is a chemical exfoliant and it helps to break down the "glue" that holds dead skin cells together, allowing them to slough off more easily.
Alpha hydroxy acids are reported to improve wrinkling, roughness, and mottled pigmentation of photo damaged skin after months of daily application. The majority of OTC AHA products are around 5-8% but this product is 12% and very effective.
The two major side effects of alpha hydroxy acids are irritation and sun sensitivity. Symptoms of irritation include redness, burning and itching. The use of alpha hydroxy acids can increase sun sensitivity by 50% which creates an immediate issue.... alpha hydroxy acids may be able to reverse some of the damage caused by photoaging, but at the same time they make the skin more susceptible to photoaging (sun sensitive). Therefore it is imperative that when using alpha hydroxy acids you must use a good physical sunscreen.
Prior to starting on Retin A I used alpha hydrox AHA Souffle' for a total of one month, Even though this is an OTC product do not be fooled as to how powerful this stuff is. The instructions state that you can use this twice daily (morning and night) but I would suggest that you introduce it once a day in the evening for the first week before jumping to twice per day.
I noticed a difference in my skin after 10 days of continuous use. My skin was definitely clearer and brighter and I immediately noticed that foundation makeup was much easier to apply.
However what really amazed me was how 'unaware' I was as to how much my skin needed an AHA to remove the 'glue' like substance that I had on my skin and I am very happy that I introduced this product prior to using Retin. However since I now use Retin A, Tazret and facial peels on a regular basis I find that I only turn to AHA once every 3 months and use twice a day for one week.

Only use once per day for the first week (preferably in the evening).
After the first week start using twice per day.
If you have any prior irritation or sore areas do not apply to those areas as it will 'sting'.
Use a microfiber cloth twice per week to encourage removal of skin surface.
Remember to use a physical sunscreen as you 'will' become more sun sensitive.

This is a great introduction to prepping the skin for Retin a's and chemical peels.
Definitely improves skins texture.
Improves skins appearance giving it a 'brightness and glow'.
Works relatively fast....I noticed an improvement within the first 10 days.
Easy to find in local pharmacy's (CVS, Walgreens, Walmart).
Cost: around $12.00 for 1.6oz's.
Only a small amount needed therefore last a long time.
The following link is the official Alpha Hydrox Website who have plenty of other great items and hold regular sales:

The only con I can think of is if your have easily irritated skin or have an allergic reaction otherwise this product is suitable for all.

Nov 9, 2011

Primer Debate....To Use or Not to Use

Is it 'really' necessary to use a primer before applying foundation.....well this was a question I debated for many many months until I finally gave it a try. I, like so many out there, was convinced this was just another sales ploy to make us spend more money on unnecessary products that we could do without....but (yes I admit it ladies) I was wrong. Is it a necessity....probably not, but using a primer does the following things:

1. Without doubt foundation glides on more easily when used on top of a primer.
2. Makeup will stay put all day.
3. Makeup will appear more 'flawless'.
4. Pores definately (in my experience) are reduced especially on the nose.
The most important thing with all primers is to remember to use one that is compatible with the makeup you will be wearing i.e 'water and oil do not mix'....what do I mean by this statement, I will explain.
Water based foundations require a water based primer.
HD (silicone based) foundations require a silicone base primer.
Oil based foundations require an oil base primer.........remember like attracts like.
So often many of us (myself included) fail to like primers due to there lack of 'promised' performance when usually we are using a primer than is incompatible with the makeup we are wearing.
I personally love HD foundations (reviews coming shortly) but when I first starting trying primers I was confused as to what all the 'hype' was about unbeknown to me that I was using an incompatible primer . On learning as to how important it is to use a 'compatable' primer I am now a true believer and convert!
Below are a few primers I have tried and tested along with what is compatible with different foundations in the hope that this will give you a head start in finding one that will work for you without having to make the numerous mistakes I made along the way!

Monistat Chafing Relief Powder Gel.....Yes you read correctly! This has the identical formula as Smash Box Photo Finish Primer ($30.00) for a fraction of the cost. It can be purchased at any local CVS or Walgreen Pharmacy and costs around $6.00.
This primer is silicone based and can be used under any HD (High Definition) silicone based foundations such as MUFE, Ketts, Temptu etc.
I personally have been using this as a primer for over a year and absolutely love it.
1. Definitely reduces pore appearance.
2. Foundation glides on effortlessly.
3. Foundation stays 'put' for over 8 hours.
4. Gives a flawless finish to foundation.
The only con I can think of is if you are allergic to silicone in general otherwise this is an all round great primer.
Graftobian Anti-Shine Foundation Primer works wonderfully if you have a tendency for oily skin.
This is a great primer to use with Graftobian HD Foundation.
All primers create a light barrier between the skin and your foundation therefore this one will reduce oils from your skin mixing with your foundation therefore reducing the need to 'blot' shine throughout the day and overall enabling your foundation to stay in place longer.
Again I have personally used this primer (and continue to do so when I use my Graftobian HD foundation) and love it. However it is more expensive than the Monistat at $26.99 for a 1/2 oz jar. This can be purchased from:
So lets recap for a moment.
1. Read the labels so as to make sure it is compatible with the foundation you are using.
2. Remember 'Like Attracts Like'
3. 'Oil and Water do not Mix'
So simple but so very often overlooked!

Nov 4, 2011

Rosehip Oil and Retin A

I am always on the look out for 'proven' products that can repair sun damage and/or wrinkles including preventative methods for those who wish to be 'proactive' in their skincare regime.
I was introduced to Rosehip Oil by a dermatologist friend of mine who at 55 has beautiful skin that many half her age would envy. Her routine, like many of us includes Retin A, DIY Vitimin C Serum, Lactic Acid Peels, TCA Peels and of course Sunscreen. She also includes regular use of Rosehip Oil which appears to give her the 'edge' with her success of radiant skin.
I have decided to give Rosehip Oil a try and will give regular updates as to how this has an effect on my skin in conjunction with my regular use of Retin A, Vit C and Tazret. I purchased my Rosehip Oil from for $5.34 for a 1 oz bottle which should last a long time considering you only need use 2 drops for your whole face.
I will be apply the Rosehip Oil by rotating alternate nights with my Retin A.
Below is a study I found which gives some great information for those wishing to give it a try:

Rosehip oil is widely recognized for the effects of the natural topical trans-retinoic acid (vitamin A) it contains. The unique properties of rosehip oil were first discovered in 1983 by a team of researchers from the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacology at the University of Concepcion (Chile).
In a two-year study, rosehip oil was applied to 180 patients with surgical, traumatic and burn scars, as well as to a group suffering from premature aging of the skin. The results were remarkable. Continuous application of rosehip oil effectively attenuated scars and wrinkles, halted advancement of premature aging, and restored lost skin natural color and tone.
The action of rosehip oil in helping to regenerate damaged skin tissues was originally attributed to its high content of unsaturated essential fatty acids. These acids are important for healthy skin (when taken internally) for they are components of cell membranes and precursors of prostaglandine/leucotriens. Their presence did not successfully explain the regenerative effects of rosehip oil. Drs. Pareja and Kehl, identified trans-retinoic acid as the component responsible for these effects.
Trans-retinoic acid is a derivative of Vitamin A and is marketed as Tretinoin. The therapeutic effects of Tretinoin in the treatment of a variety of dermatology disorders have been well-researched and recognized for almost 30 years. Tretinoin can produce quick and positive changes in the skin, but because it is a very strong substance, it must be applied under medical supervision.
However, Rosehip oil produces the benefits of Tretinoin, but without secondary side effects, because the trans-retinoic acid is contained in a natural state as part of a complex of unsaturated fatty acids. The action is controlled and slowly released, eliminating the risk of overdoses.
PHOTOAGED SKIN Changes produced on skin by the action of the sun (photoaging or dermatoheliosis) are very common in all countries of warm climate. Exposure to sun causes important morphological changes in skin. Dermatoheliosis appears in different ways and varying intensity ranging from surface wrinkles, active keratosis and variation in the distribution of the melanin granules.
For this test volunteers were selected from people who usually spend the 3 months of summer in resorts by the sea or who go to the beach every day. The tests were carried out on 20 women aged
between 25 and 35. The most frequently noted signs were surface wrinkles and brown spots. All applied rosehip oil on the face during four months (May to August, 1988). Observations were made every eight days. Significant changes were noted starting on the third week. Surface wrinkles started to disappear and spots started to fade. By the end of the fourth month skin presented a smooth and fresh aspect and the spots had almost disappeared.

Oct 27, 2011

Vit C Serum Percentage Chart

Vit C Serum Percentage Chart for DIY Vitimin C Serum 
Below is a quick and easy percentage reference for DIY Vitimin C Serum

Serum %              Ratio      LA Powder*       Tsp DS*
     5%                     1:19           ¼ tsp                   4 ¾
   10%                       1:9            ¼ tsp                   2 ¼
   15%                       3:17        3/8 tsp                  2 1/8
   20%                       1:4            ¼ tsp                   1 tsp
*LA Powder = L Ascorbic Powder
*DS = Distilled Water

Oct 20, 2011

Best Volumizing Mascara's

Since using (bimatoprost ophthalmic solution) 0.03% eyelash growth serum I have like so many of you out there, found it difficult to find a mascara that works with my now 'incredibly long' lashes. Why you might ask? Well in my 'pre' long lash days I only had to set my attention on finding a mascara that 'lengthend' my lashes where as now I only need one that produces volume. The problem I have found is that 'volume' usually equates to a very thick and 'clumpy' consistency of which I despise!
Below are some of those I have tried with my personal opinion as to how I rate them for those of us who are only looking for volume,

Maybelline Full 'n' Soft

This is my overall does exactly as the name states and gives me 'Full N Soft' lashes. It does not clump and only requires one coat to give me the finished look I want. It dries incredibly fast and I have learned to work speedily with it. I choose to use the non waterproof version purely because I do not like having to use excess force around the eye area when removing mascara and I can promise you that this product has never run or smudged whilst I have been using it...even when I am working out. I have ventured away from this on a couple of occasion's to try other products but always return to it. This really is a HG staple of mine.

Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes

I purchased this mascara from Costco on a 'two for one' promo which was a great deal. At first I found the brush a little on the large size for me personally but overall this is again a 'good' mascara. I found this does require at least two coats but it gives very good fullness. It lasts all day without smudging and I rate this second to Maybelline Full N Soft.

Maybelline Lash Stiletto
Due to the name of this mascara being 'Stiletto' you are led to believe that it would lengthen your lashes and I was a little reluctant to try this due to only wanting fullness. However this does not have any fibers which are often used to create the lengthening appearance. This is a good mascara, but not great in my opinion. When I first pulled the wand from the container I immediately noticed the dreaded 'clumps' and on the advice of a dear friend I took a clean tissue and gently wiped the brush so as to remove the excess product. Once I had done this and applied it to my lashes I was pleasantly surprised by the results. It went on very smoothly (clump free), took a little longer to dry than the Full N Soft and needed two coats. I again chose to use the non water proof version and this did not run or smudge throughout the day. The main downside to this mascara was the need to wipe the excess from the brush with every use hence why I give it a 'good' rather than a 'great' rating.

Oct 7, 2011

The Quest for the Perfect Foundation

Like so many ladies out there I am always on a quest for the 'Perfect' foundation. Something that would make my skin look flawless, cover all my imperfections, stay put all day, feel light on my skin, have a dewy but not 'shiny' appearance, match my skin tone perfectly and of course make me look years that should not be too much to ask should it?
I actually got to a point were I thought that I would never find a foundation that could do all that I hoped it could and spent many years just 'settling' for  something that 'nearly' covered my imperfections and 'nearly' matched my skin tone.
When I started on the road to having a 'serious' skincare routine, I then took it upon myself to do some research so as to find a foundation that would complement my skin rather than just having to 'camoflauge' it and I have narrowed it down to three which in my opinion, come pretty close to being the perfect foundations.
Make Up For Ever HD Foundation does a wonderful job and is one of my favourites. This is a silicone based foundation that does everything it claims to:
Coverage: light to medium and very build-able.
Application: Fingers, Sponge, Stippling brush (I will give tips on stippling application at bottom of page).
Staying power: 8 hours
Overall appearance on skin: Flawless and dewy but not shiny or oily.
Color match: Fantastic....MUFE have a total of 26 shades covering the following undertones: Pink, yellow, olive, beige, peach, coral and finally a beige pink combination. Without doubt they are by far one of only two companies I have found to have such a vast foundation color range and I would be very surprised if anyone could not find a perfect match.
Cost: A bit high at $40.00 for a 1.01oz pump dispenser bottle.
Tip # 1: Before venturing into your local Sephora to color test them take a look on their website and try to narrow it down to a total of four taking into consideration your overall undertone. The reason I suggest this is due to the fact that it can become so overwhelming when you are confronted by so many shades.
Tip # 2: Try to match the shade of foundation to your decolletage. When we apply foundation to our face and neck we need it to match our decolletage. We are often told by professional makeup artists how we must 'always' blend our foundation into our neckline and not stop at the chin (this is a mistake many of us have been guilty of) therefore the simple fact is our face and neck need to match our decolletage! I received this wonderful advice from a friend and professional makeup artist and since applying this I have never had a problem with color matching.
Tip # 3: Do not make a decision on your color whilst in the store as the lighting will give you a false reading. Ask for samples.....I have never been refused. Take them home and work with them and if none of them work go back for more. Remember this is a quest ladies!
Tip # 4: Use a compatible primer underneath your foundation. I find a primer underneath any foundation makes an enormous difference to its staying power and application and my choice for use with MUFE HD Foundation is Monistat Chafing Powder Gel....yes you heard correctly this is the same exact formula as Smashbox Primer but for a fraction of the cost. Monistat Chafing Powder Gel costs approximately $6.00 for 1.15oz compared to $36.00 for 1oz of the Smashbox!

Graftobian Glamour Creme HD Foundation
This is another one of my favourites especially if I want a little more coverage than MUFE can give me. It comes in 53 shades in Warm, Neutral and Cool undertones. This is a 'silicone free' foundation and a minimal amount is needed for  full coverage.
Coverage: Medium to full very build-able
Application: Damp sponge
Staying power: 8 hours
Overall appearance on skin: Soft, flawless and dewy.
Color match: Fantastic...53 shades in Warm, Neutral and Cool undertones.
Cost: Reasonable at $15.00 for a 1/2oz pot which is much more cost effective than MUFE and you also need use a tiny amount so it will last a long time.
Tip # 1: Due to only being able to purchase Graftobian foundations online the problem lies with color matching but they do sell HD 5-color creme sampler palettes in Warm, Neutral and cool tones enabling you to test them out at home at a cost of $25.00 each. If after trying these samples you find that your color lies in between 'two' shades they do have a wonderful customer service and once you explain to them your issue they respond immediately with advice as to which color they feel you need. Also on there website they do have a color comparison chart for MAC RCMA, Cinema Secrets,Visora and Black Opal which is extremely helpful.
Tip # 2: Application is most flawless when using a damp sponge and will glide on effortlessly.
Tip # 3: Use a compatible primer (remember water and oil do not mix)! Graftobian HD Glamour Creme Foundations intend to slide if you do not use a primer. There Anti-Shine HD Foundation Primer provides a no slip surface enabling the makeup to bond to the skin completely. It is paraben, silicone and alcohol free and costs $25.00 for 1/2oz but again this will last a very long time....around six months.

Last but not least is Temptu Silicone base Pro Foundation.

The only down side to this wonderful foundation is there lack of color choices having only twelve, 'but' due to it's incredible coverage, flawless finish and cost effectiveness it is well worth trying.
Coverage: Medium
Application: This was originally designed to be used with an airbrush but it can also be applied with a damp sponge, stippling brush or fingers (I choose to apply with my fingers).
Staying power: 8 hours +
Overall appearance on skin: Flawless with a soft dewy glow.
Color match: Without doubt the majority would have to use a combination of two shades mixed together.
Cost: Reasonable at $25.00 for a 1.0oz plastic squeeze bottle which lasts me around 3 months with everyday use. This also comes in a 4oz size for $90.00 which I should think is mainly purchased by professionals who use it on clients and need larger quantities.
Tip # 1: Unless you have the Temptu airbrush and compressor the 2nd best way to apply this is with the fingers. I choose to use my fingers and get a flawless finish every time.
Tip # 2: Again use a compatible primer which needs to be silicone based and my choice again is the Monistat Chafing Powder Gel.
Tip # 3: Consider purchasing one of there S/B Adjusters as this permits you to adjust your shade accordingly allowing for a perfect match. They are $25.00 per 1.0oz bottle but it will last forever!

Stippling Brush Application Tip:
For those who prefer to stipple there foundation I have found the best brush to use is either the MAC 188 small stippling brush or the Mac 187 large stippling brush. I originally started with the 187 (the larger of the two) but have found that the 188 works much better allowing closer application to the eye and nose area.
Start by placing a small amount of foundation on the back of your hand and gently tap the brush onto the makeup placing it only on the tips of the brush fibers. Using a tapping technique apply this onto the skin and slowly building until you reach the desired coverage. When you have the coverage you want then finish by buffing the surface with the brush in gentle circular motions which will create a flawless and smooth finish.

Oct 3, 2011

DHC Cleansing Oil Review

I found DHC Cleansing Oil after searching high and low for a cleanser that would remove my zinc based sunscreen efficiently. My first thought was "why on earth would I want to place oil on my face"....but once I got over that fear I decided to give it a try. If like me you live in fear of putting anything on your face that could possibly clog your pores I can announce 'Do not worry'! DHC Cleansing Oil actually does a very good job (in fact a great job) at not only removing the zinc SS but also removing makeup (even waterproof eye makeup). It did not leave an oily residue or (in my experience) clog pores or break me out. In fact it did a great job of dissolving the oils that may be clogging your pores. I choose to follow up with a facial cleanser (Cetaphil) along with my Clarisonic but this is just a personal choice and I am sure others will find using the DHC Cleansing Oil alone will be sufficient.
Apparently, it is also rated as being very good to use if you have oily or acne prone skin before using a glycolic cleanser (or any other acne cleanser) as those alone do not always do a sufficient job of removing makeup.
It is a little costly at $26.00 for a 6.7oz but I choose to only use this when I have a zinc based SS on and a little goes a long way.
Ingredients: olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, sorbeth-30 tetraoleate, pentylene glycol, phenoxyethanol, tocopherol, stearyl glycyrrhetinate, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil.

Sep 17, 2011

List of Low, Medium and High Pore Clogging Ingredients

I have often found it very confusing as to what I 'should' or 'should not' be placing on my skin in regards to 'pore clogging' and I thought it would be useful for everyone out there who have the same problem as I do to have a reference to turn too. Hopefully the list below will be helpful.  

Low Clogging Probability (non-comedogenic)                            
Almond Oil (Sweet Almond)
Anhydrous Lanolin
Apricot Kernal Oil
Avocado Oil
Bentonite Clay
Candelilla Wax
Castor Oil
Cetearyl Alcohol
Emulsifying Wax NF
Emu Oil
Evening Primrose Oil
Hydroxypropyl Cellulose
Kaolin Clay
Olive Oil
Peanut Oil
Polysorbate 20 and 80
Safflower Oil
Sesame Oil
Stearic Acid
Sunflower Oil
Aloe Vera (cold pressed)

Medium Clogging Probability
Corn Oil
Cottonseed Oil
Glyceryl Stearate SE
Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil
Mink Oil
Soybean Oil
Sulfonated Castor Oil

High Clogging Probability
Cocoa Butter
Coconut Oil
Wheat Germ Oil
Algae Extract
Hexadecyl Alcohol
Isocetyl Stearate
Isopropyl Isostearate
Isopropyl Myristate
Laureth 4
Myristyl Myristate
Octyl Stearate
Potassium Chloride
Red Algae
Sodium Chloride (Salt)
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Aug 26, 2011

Lactic Acid Peels

No down time
Cost effective

Cannot really think of any major con's to Lactic Acid peels

Personally I love Lactic Acid peels from MUAC (makeupartistchoice)

They come in 3 strengths...40% 55% and 65%. I started with the 40% and am now going to purchase the 55%.

When you first start it is suggested you only leave the peel on for 3 minutes which I did but quickly progressed to the full 7 minutes. Now this got me thinking that due to the fact that I tolerated the 40% with ease it would be wiser to purchase the sample size so as there would not be any waste.The sample size from MUAC is sufficient for approximately 6-10 facial peels and very cost effective. 
The sample size contains enough for 6-10 peels which is plenty for you to be able to see if you will tolerate it or not. You could on the other hand purchase the 55% straight off and just leave it on for a couple of minutes and slowly increase the time.
It is very tempting(if you are anything like me)to leave the Peel on for longer than the suggested 3 minutes due to there being no initial discomfort but I strongly advice you against it. I done this on my 2nd peel and it felt fine whilst on my skin but it caused a couple of minor burns the next day (ouch)!

Area's I found to be more sensitive to the peel:
Very top of the cheek bones near the eye socket may want to remove the peel from this area after a few minutes.

Neck and decollete.....both became very irritated and remained so for about 5 days therefore I have chosen not to apply to these areas in the future.

  • Apply with your finger tips or a q tip either works very well
  • Purchase the sample size as there is enough for 6-10 full facial peels and is very cost effective 
  • Only use as much as is needed to cover the area's you are addressing (no need to saturate)
  • Use a stop watch (I use mine on my cell phone) as it is very easy to leave this on too long.
  • Recommend usage: once a week for 6-8 weeks for optimal results.
  • It is not necessary to purchase the 'prep' solution.
Remember to 'prep' your face before and after the peel...MUAC sell a prep lotion but this is not necessary to buy as it has the same ingredients as Witch Hazel.

Witch Hazel can be purchased just about anywhere BUT nearly all witch hazel has alcohol in it which is very drying to the skin. Thayers sell 'alcohol free' witch hazel which is readily available at Whole Food store's. If you do not have a store close to you Thayers Witch Hazel can be purchased online at 

Is it necessary to prep the skin?
Yes! The reason this is a necessary step is so as the skin is correctly balanced and it allows the peel to work better...the purpose of using the witch hazel immediately to remove the peels is so as to neutralize the peel and stop it continuing to penetrating the skin.

Another alternative to witch hazel is baking soda just mix 1 tsp with water until dissolved. I make this to a watery consistency (usually 3 tsp of distilled water and apply it to the face with a cotton pad. This does the exact same job as witch hazel and the majority of us have it readily at hand in the home.

Be aware that when you do apply the neutralizing solution on your skin after the peel it WILL sting! This is not unbearably painful but you will definitely notice it...the first thought when this happens it to think that something has gone 'wrong' with the procedure but I promise you this is absolutely normal and will happen each time you apply.
I thought my skin was is reasonably good condition before I started using the peel due to the fact that I had been using Retin A which exfoliates pretty well but I was very surprised when the day after my first peel I had patches in some areas over my face where the peel was lifting old skin that the Retin A had not exfoliated, which pleasantly surprised me.

Lactic Acid peels are not a deep peel but they are a perfect introduction prior to trying the TCA peel which I am going to give a 'attempt'once I can arrange the down time that will be necessary....I will update you once I decide to give it a try!

Aug 22, 2011

Skin Care Journey Part 3 Vit C (L Ascorbic Acid)

Vit C (L Ascorbic Acid)

Claims to lighten skin tone and brighten overall complexion and is proven to be one of the most effective topical skin lighteners out there.

Initially I was a little reluctant to give DIY Vit C a try due to the fact that I felt I was already placing enough products on my skin and did not want to complicate matters by adding another concoction:-) but I am very pleased that I did.
Due to the fact that Vit C oxidizes and becomes unstable and totally ineffective when exposed to sunlight, is the main reason it is so important to make your own serum (which is very easy). OTC serums containing Vit C are not only very expensive but also ineffective once opened and  exposed to the elements.

 Tell tale signs that your Vit C has oxidised is that it will take on a yellow tint.

The benefits of making your own Vit C Serum are:
  • Very cost effective
  • You can make a fresh batch daily or weekly
  • It is always fresh (therefore always effective)
  • Very easy to make
  • Formula can be adjusted to you personally
How much you make is of course up to you. I choose to make a fresh batch every couple of days but there are others who choose to make enough for a couple of weeks and if that is your choice remember to place it in a dark container and also place container in your bathroom drawer so as to keep it as fresh as possible.

L Ascorbic Acid is applied in the a.m underneath makeup before anything else is placed on the skin. It is a potent antioxidant and helps not only lighten and brighten the skin but also helps sunscreen to do its job so much better. Once it penetrates into the skin it can stay there for up to 72 hours.

I personally found L Ascorbic Acid really does 'brighten' your skin and I noticed a significant improvement in pigmentation due to sun damage within the first week of using it along with my other skin care products which I described in Parts 1 & 2.

DIY Vit C Serum Recipes

Formula needs to be between 10% & 20% to be effective

1. Dissolve 1gram of L-ascorbic acid in 5 ml of water (preferably distilled), in small glass container using a stirrer. Make sure it is fully dissolved before proceeding to next step.
2. Add 5 ml of glycerin and mix.
3. Put in a sealed jar, (not clear glass as this allows light in, and light degrades vitamin C.) Store in cool dry place.

Alternatively, you can also make your own Vitamin C face cream or body lotion (I personally prefer this method)with the following:

Mix 1/8th tsp L Ascorbic Acid with 5 ml distilled water and stir until completely dissolved.

Add the above to 5ml (1 tsp)of your favorite unscented cream or lotion(I choose to mix this with CeraVe moisturizing cream)and remember to only make enough for a maximum of two weeks (preferable one week)so as to maintain the integrity of the Vitamin C.

I purchase my L Ascorbic Acid from it dissolves very easily and shipping is fast.

Update 10/27/11
Recently I have been adding the above recipe to either CeraVe or Cetaphil 'Lotion' rather than the cream as I was finding the cream a little to heavy especially under makeup.The consistency is perfect!


Aug 17, 2011

Skin Care Journey Part 2 Hydroquinone 4%

Like so many out there I have sunspots, uneven pigmentation, liver spots, age spots....whatever it is we wish to call them from years of sunbathing without adequate protection (if only I had listened to my mother)! Retin A will not reduce sunspots BUT the reason I have found it imperative to use Retin A whilst using Hydroquinone 4% is due to its exfoliation capabilities, allowing the skin to efficiently absorb the HQ (Hydroquinone)making is more efficient. 
Sunscreen Importance
Without doubt sunscreen is important no matter what products you are applying to your skin but when using Hydroquinone/Retin A combo it becomes imperative! You can work for months reducing pigmentation only to have 'bounce back' issues if you do not protect your skin from the sun and I have more information coming in the next few weeks in regards to the 'never ending' search of the 'perfect' sunscreen.

Hydroquinone without doubt, has some controversy attached to it and there is a lot of 'scare mongering' out there, but after much research it appears that any issues that have risen from its usage seem to exist only with those that apply it to large areas (their entire body) for long periods of time(years)in high percentages. I personally found that Hydroquinone 4% combined with Retin A/Taz lightened my spots quite dramatically but appeared not to show any improvement after a period of 4 months.
I then became 'determined' to see if I could find anything else I could incorporate into my skincare routine which would help with the 'much improved' but still existing sunspots and that is when I came across Vit C (L Ascorbic Acid)and I will discuss that in another thread in the coming week.


I received my Clarisonic in a swap on MUA (makeupalley) and immediately fell in love with this incredible skincare tool!

As I use Retin A and Taz I wanted to give this a try in the hope that it would help with the occasional 'peelies' I experience and I am happy to say that I am very pleased with the results.

However, it is very easy to get 'carried away' with this piece of equipment and over use it. The Clarisonic uses gentle pulse waves supposedly 300 sonic movements per second! Stupidly, I felt the need to give this beauty tool some additional help by using circular movements whilst on my skin and also applying this is where the problems can start! I cannot reiterate enough that the Clarisonic does 'not' need any additional help as it is very capable of doing the job on its own:-)

As to 'how often it should be used' it really is a personal choice. When I began using the Clarisonic I used it on a once a day basis slowly increasing usage to twice a day (morning and night). However, I did find that to be 'overkill' and have now chosen to use it 4 times a week in the evening only.

I must add that on the occasion's I haved used my Clarisonic in the morning 'prior' to applying my foundation my makeup always applies so much easier and looks flawless.

Aug 16, 2011

Eyelash Growth Serum

Oh how we all love long lashes!
I started my Careprost journey about nine months ago and have had amazing tiny drop of Careprost is enough for both eyes and the bottle should last you at least 6 weeks.

Careprost is the generic of Latisse (bimatoprost ophthalmic 0.3%) at only a fraction of the cost. This product was originally created as an eye drop for glaucoma patients and it became apparent that all patients who were using the product had a significant increase in lash length.

For cosmetic purposes it is applied along the lash line on a once a day basis. I started to notice a significant increase in length around the six week mark with my lashes reaching there optimum length by week 14.

Once optimum length is achieved you can (on the suggestion of the manufacturers of Latisse) reduce the usage to 3 times per week.....I tried this and found that I lost some length (which of course I was not happy about)! and decided that I would continue using it every day.

There is some controversy in regards to eye color change......personally I have never met or heard from anyone that this has happened to and when applied as directed to the lash line for lash growth this should not be an issue.

However, I did notice a small amount of irritation during the first 3 weeks which was isolated to the upper lid, but this was not at all bothersome and soon passed.

Overall I 'love' this product and will continue to use it indefinitely.

Application Tips

Apply with a thin liner brush which can be purchased at any CVS or Walgreens.
Place one small drop onto the indent on the upper outside lid....this is more than adequate for both lash lines.
Keep the brush clean.
The product can be applied either in the morning or evening as it drys very which ever one works for you.

Skin Care Journey Part 1 Retin A & Tazorac

When I initially decided to take it upon myself to take better care of my skin I first introduced  Retin A and this by far is probably the most important long term product anyone can use.
I can remember vividly just how confusing the whole process became when I first began my 'serious' skincare routine but hopefully the information below will help you eradicate some of the unnecessary 'mistakes' I made along the way!
Pro's of Retin A & Tazorac
Reduces existing wrinkles (Yay)!
Holds off aging of the skin (wrinkles) with continuous use
Easy to apply
Very cost effective if purchased from ADC
Takes at least 5 months before you notice a significant difference in existing wrinkles
Makes your skin extremely sun sensitive therefore it is imperative that you use a good sunscreen
When you first start using Retin A or Tazorac it can take a little time to get through the initial 'peelie's' but this can be helped by manual exfoliation such as a moist wash clothe in the shower, but the best thing I have found is the use of a Clarisonic. Unfortunately they are quite expensive but got mine through a swap on the MUA board and I am so glad I did as this alone makes my skin look flawless when I apply my foundation.
If you have normal skin i.e no acne, not excessively dry or oily the 'cream' is by far the best way to go as the gel is more for acne sufferers and can be very drying.
Start with the lowest strength (0.025%) then if you can tolerate this increase to the 0.05%.
It is not necessary to increase up to the 0.1% (the highest) as it has been proven that using the 0.05% is as efficient but less irritating.
Retin A and Tazorac must always be applied in the evening due to the sun sensitivity issue.
When you remove your makeup and cleansed your skin try to always leave at least 30 minutes before applying the Retin A...this is something that originally I did not do and at one point I was going to quit completely as I could not stand the irritation... but once I followed this simple '30 minute'rule everything just fell into place.
When you first start with the Retin A you can weaken the formula more by 'buffering'...all this means is mixing equal parts of moisturizer to Retin A before applying.
Start by applying twice a week then slowly increase to every other day.
I have been using Retin A 0.05% for over 4 years now and have recently changed to Tazorac 0.05%...
When I first started on the Retin A I originally jumped straight in with the 0.1% and boy was that a mistake! My face peeled continuously and was red raw. I decided (on advice from a friend) to use the 0.05% and only apply it every third day and everything calmed down and I finally started seeing results:-)
Gel Vs Cream
The cream causes less dryness....remembering that there is a difference between the 'flakies' (peeling) and dryness.
The Gel is more drying and appears to be mostly used by those who suffer with acne.
Percentage Controversy!
There is the 'big' controversy as to what percentage we should use. Professionals advice that if you have never used Retin A before you should start off with the lowest which I believe is 0.01% then jump to the 0.025% then the 0.05% then the 0.1%. After much research and trial and error I have found that it is not necessary to start off with the very lowest because you can create a gentle introduction to Retin A by doing the following:
Below is how I have worked the Retin A over the years to what I feel enables me to get the best results:

I Started with 0.05% (gel or cream which ever will work best for your skin)
Apply the 0.05% first wait 5 minutes then apply your regular moisturizer (this is called buffering)
Do this every third day for one month.
If you are not having any irritation other than what is meant to happen when using Retin A bump it up to very other night.
Do this for a couple of weeks.
If you think you are again tolerating it well start using the Retin A one evening without the moisturizer then alternate with.
Do this for a couple of weeks until you think you can tolerate the Retin A without buffering.
After much research, it has been proven that jumping up to the full strength of 0.1%  is not necessary as the 0.05% has the exact overall long term effect but with less irritation, hence why I decided to stay on the 0.05%.
After approximately four years on the Retin A 0.05% I started to look into Tazorac which is a retinoid but a different formula and started to notice that many were raving about it so I started asking some questions. One lady on the board said that sometimes after a few years on the Retin A you can start to notice that the initial repair starts to slow down (keeping in mind that the long term use of Retin A truly does stave off the signs of aging) so long term use is the key here. I decided to give Tazorac a try and I am so pleased I did as it has given me a much needed boost to my skin care routine and has taken me into the next level I had been looking for.
Tazorac comes in either 0.05% Gel or 0.1% cream but considering Taz is stronger than the Retin A I decided to try the gel as it was of a lower strength (Tazorac gel does not have the same drying effect as the gel Retin A)

Here is my routine when I first started introducing Tazorac:
Wash and remove makeup
Wait at least 30 minutes (this is very important because if you do not you will become very irritated) then apply Tazorac.Wait 30 minutes then I applied a moisturizer
I started off doing this twice per week only and slowly increased it to every other night over the next month.
So far I have not had any irritation nor excessive peeling but this may be due to my skin already be accustomed to the Retin A use.
Of course this is what worked for me and I was (am) continuing to work on sun damage, wrinkles, uneven skin tone and texture...all the usual aging things with the intention staving off the ageing process as long as I possibly can!