Dec 17, 2012

Thinning Hair in Women

I started to notice my hair was thinning when I was around the 40 year mark. I stressed about it for a year or so then finally decided to go to my doctor who told me that it was par for the course and an age related thing of which I should just accept. As the years passed I started to 'forget' just how thick my hair had been until I looked back at some old photographs and was shocked as to how much thinner it had become and decided to take positive action and try to regain some of the luster and thickness I once had.
There are many products out there for men but there really does appear to be a huge gap in the availability for hair growth products for us women and I decided to research and try some of the 'few' that are out there. 
There are many reasons and causes to thinning hair i.e bad diet, stress, skin disorders such as psoriasis, hormone imbalance, illness and medication to name a few.

Current treatments on the market 
Rogaine (Minoxidil) 2%
The issue with this product is the percentage. The male version contains 5% Minoxidil and this works 'reasonably' well. I say 'reasonably' as I have a family member (male) who has applied this product twice per day for over 20 years and although 'new' hair growth has not been in abundance it most certainly has slowed down and dare I say stopped the loss of any additional hair.Using 5% Minoxidil on women commonly causes an increase in hair growth in 'unwanted' places such as on the face. It can also heighten the risks of headaches therefore only the 2% is FDA approved for women. 
Oral Contraceptives
Since birth control pills decrease the production of ovarian androgens, they can be used to treat women's androgenetic alopecia. Keep in mind, however, that the same cautions must be followed whether a woman takes contraceptive pills solely to prevent contraception or to treat female pattern baldness. For example, smokers age 35 and older who take the Pill are at higher risk for blood clots and other serious conditions.
Discuss your medical and lifestyle history thoroughly with your doctor. Contraceptive pills come in various hormonal formulations, and your doctor can determine which is right for your specific needs, switching pills if necessary until you are physically and emotionally comfortable with the formulation.
Only low-androgen index birth control pills should be used to treat hair loss. High androgen index birth control pills may contribute to hair loss by triggering it or enabling it once it has been caused by something else.
Finasteride Propecia,Proscar                                                                  The drug finasteride inhibits the enzyme 5-alpha reductase in the hair follicle, thereby inhibiting the production of follicle-harming dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT shrinks hair follicles and makes it difficult for healthy hair to survive.
Finasteride was first marketed under the brand name Proscar to treat the prostate gland. It was available in 5 mg pills. In 1998, a 1 mg version with the brand name Propecia entered the market as the first pill approved by the FDA for men's hair loss.
It works quite well to prevent hair loss and trigger regrowth for most men, and it may work for some women, although women must not take it if they are pregnant. Also, women should not get pregnant while on the drug because of the risk of birth defects in a male infant.
Biotin Supplements
There has been a lot of talk about biotin in regards to hair growth so I thought I would give it a try and report my findings. I have been taking 5,000 mcg per day of Biotin for the past 60 days and I have just started to notice a positive effect. My hair feels softer to the touch and I am experiencing less breakage. However the biggest effect I have just recently noticed is my eyebrows! Having plucked my eyebrows to to 'barely' there in my teens and early twenties I am now suffering the long term effects of being over zealous. The sudden appearance of thicker and darker eyebrows has been quite a shock as I was not expecting this to happen, but I want to emphasize this has been a wonderful and joyful surprise! I, like so many others spend a good part of my makeup application 'filling in' the sparseness of my non existing brows when I unexpectedly noticed that my brows had become thicker and darker since using Biotin.
How Biotin Works
Biotin is created from yeast and bacteria. We naturally produce biotin in our bodies, which is then used for many different things, including the strength of muscles, bones and tissues. Biotin is also used in the growth of hair and new skin cells, making them healthier and more abundant. For individuals who are experiencing hair loss, extra biotin may help the hair grow in thicker, healthier and longer.
Biotin Topically or Orally
There is a lot of information that is contradictory regarding whether biotin is best taken topically or orally. The truth is that experts don’t think biotin can be absorbed through the skin. Much like collagen, which is available in thousands of topical creams, biotin is thick and if it is possible for the skin to absorb it, it is not done easily. However, when biotin is taken orally and goes into the body through the blood stream, it has better potential to work. This allows the body to use the supply of biotin to boost hair growth and prevent or alleviate hair loss.The only way to really change the health of your hair is by taking supplements that work internally on the follicle where hair is made, any shampoos or oils or other topically applied things do nothing to change hair's structure, that can only happen with systemically provided support, which means supplements that you take internally
Biotin Deficiency
The reason biotin may work to stop hair loss or encourage new hair growth is because individuals who are biotin deficient often experience hair loss as a symptom. As the individual provides the body with the biotin it needs, the body is able to function again properly. Other signs of biotin deficiency include brittle fingernails, depression, chronic fatigue and more. In cases of biotin deficiency, a supplement may work to stop the hair loss an individual is suffering from.

Nov 14, 2012

To B or not to B that is the question

The BB Cream Debate
Okay, I could not resist any longer and decided to jump on the BB cream wagon and give it a try! But before I give my opinion on some of the BB creams I have personally tried and tested I think it best to explain what a BB cream is and 'claims' to do.
Is there a difference between Asian and US BB creams?
The answer is a clear 'YES'
US BB creams are no more than a tinted moisturizer with very little coverage whereas Asian BB creams
are more like skin care. Most of them whiten your skin, have anti-aging benefits, brighten, and even skin tone and the Korean BB creams have more coverage than American BB creams.
What does BB stand for.? BB stands for Blemish Balm and it is promoted as an all-in-one facial cosmetic product to replace serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation and sunblock It can be worn alone, over serum and moisturizer as a regular foundation, and under powder, depending on the desired amount of coverage.
BB Cream was originally formulated in the 1960s in Germany by dermatologist Dr. Christine Schrammek to protect her patients' skin after cosmetic surgery. Introduced to South Korea and Japan in 1985 – where healthy-looking, porcelain skin is heavily prized – the cream was hailed as "the secret of Korean actresses," and was heavily endorsed by Korean celebrities.
Because Korean companies focused initially on the Korean and East Asian markets, they are offered in a limited number of shades however, most formulas are designed to oxidize to match the user's skin tone.
The cream is promoted as a multi-tasker, an all-in-one treatment, but Korean women mostly use it as an alternative to foundation, especially Western foundations that tend to be too heavy for their taste. The coverage is often mineral-based, and is intended to both cover and treat blemishes such as acne, sun spots and age spots. It also has anti-wrinkle, anti-inflammatory and soothing effects.
BB Cream provides coverage just like a foundation, but instead of clogging pores and damaging the skin, it claims to tighten the pores and help improve skin complexion.
So, you may ask yourself how do these claims stand up.
Skin79 sample kit

I first purchased Skin79 sample kit which contains:
Diamond Prestige
Super VIP Super Plus
Super Plus Triple Function
Diamond Luminous Pearl
Oriental Gold (this was not included in the sample kit but I am reviewing it below)

Skin79Diamond Prestige SPF 25 PA ++
The coverage is light to medium with a slight shimmer and for those who just need light coverage with the added benefits that BB creams provide then this could be the one for you. However I would not recommend this for anyone who needs to cover scars or blemishes.
Skin79Super VIP Super Plus SPF 25 PA ++
This does have a dull grey tint to it when first placed on the skin and I felt made my skin look a little unhealthy as if I had been sick. I found this particular BB cream to be a little heavier in texture than the others I tried and decided this would not work for me at all.
Skin79 Super Plus Triple Function SPF 25 P ++
This BB cream is for oily skin and states that it will leave skin feeling matte all day. However I asked a friend who has oily skin to test this for me and she said that she had to 'blot' her skin after 4 hours and therefore would work more effectively if set with a finishing powder. The Super Plus Triple Function is best for those who have combination/oily skin who prefer a light coverage.
Skin79 Diamond Luminous Pearl
This has a very soft 'mousse' like texture and applies very smoothly.
This gives a very 'sparkly shimmery' look and I would hesitate to suggest anyone (unless very young) wear this all over the face without anything on top.
This is very oily and felt uncomfortable on the skin. Fortunately I do not suffer with break outs but once I applied this to my skin I felt that if left on to long it would clog my pores and could not wait to remove it!
The only other item I could possible compare this to is MAC Strobe cream and therefore is best used as a highlighter underneath makeup.
Skin79 Oriental Gold SPF 30 PA ++

This without doubt is my favorite BB cream as it does everything I wanted and hoped it would do. This has a rich creamy texture and feels like I imagined a BB cream should feel. It has a thicker constancy than the others and the color melts into my skin giving me a very good color match and can be applied all the way from sheer to full coverage concealing redness, blemishes, freckles etc and does an 'excellent' job of completely covering pores which was absolutely amazing to witness. Once applied it feels wonderful and 'barely there'. It drys leaving a soft and flattering glow to the skin leaving a flawless finish.

Missha Cho Bo Yang SPF 30

This is a full coverage BB cream with a thick texture. It comes in two shades (which is rare for BB creams) and would cover scars and blemishes very well. Due to it being of a thicker consistency I would recommend gradually building for coverage as this could easily appear 'cakey' if applied too much at once. This BB cream gives a semi-matte finish and would be good for oily skin and my friend (once again) tested this out for me and said this controlled her oily skin for a full 8 hours with no need for blotting.

Having never used a BB cream before but reading numerous 'mixed' reviews I did not know what to expect and without doubt Korean BB Creams to do come with a 'learning' curve in regards to application. I tried numerous ways including damp sponge, Beauty Blender and brushes but found the best way was by using my fingers.
BB cream is best applied after allowing it to 'warm' in the palm of the hand as this allows the cream to blend into the skin so much easier.
Little is more when using a BB cream, as over application is an easy error to make when first starting out. Blend from the center of the face out towards the temples and jawline for a smooth and flawless finish. Also remember that BB creams can be applied underneath your regular foundation be it mineral powder or liquids as they create a perfect canvas allowing you to skip sunscreen,  moisturizer and primer as these are already included in all Korean BB creams.
But hold off purchasing any of the above as I will shortly be placing a review on a product I have tried and tested for over two weeks now and feel is even better than BB creams (including my favorite Oriental Gold) with all the same benefits but some added bonuses!

Oct 24, 2012

Oil Cleansing Method

I have been using the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) for quite a few months now and must say I am pleasantly surprised as to the results I have experienced.
At first I was a little concerned in regards to applying 'oil' to my face on a regular basis convincing myself that I would start to break out and increase the oiliness of my skin but this was not the case.
I originally used DHC Oil Cleanser (Click HERE for more information)  but due to the cost ($26.00 for 6.7oz) I decided to experiment and make my own (Click HERE for more information). After much trial and error I came to the conclusion that Mineral Oil is the least likely of all oils to irritate or clog pores.
The Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) dissolves oil and dirt deep inside the skins pores and removes dead skin cells. It also helps remove bacteria and overall enhances a more healthier skin. But most importantly it is an extremely effective method of removing makeup and sunscreen (especially difficult to remove physical sunscreen and waterproof mascara).
The Oil Cleansing Method is based on the chemistry principle that “like dissolves like” – known as 'The Dissolution Theory'. To say it another way “oil dissolves oil” or “water cannot dissolve oil”. This principle explains why many water based cleansers are not very effective at removing makeup, sunscreen, or deep cleansing the pores of the skin. Surprisingly many do not realize (me included) that there is a distinct difference between OCM Oil blends and basic Cleansing Oils.
OCM directions for removing makeup or sunscreen:
Step1: Place the oil blend in the palm of the hand, rub the hands together then massage into the skin (over makeup and or sunscreen) for a few minutes. As you continue to massage, you will start to feel little grainy bits. When I first experience this I was under the impression that I had transferred grit from my hands onto my face but this was not the case and after much research (again) I came to understand that these 'grainy bits' where clogs coming out of my pores of which I found to be absolutely fascinating!
Step 2: Fill your sink with hot water and place a washcloth in the water until saturated.
Step 3: Wring the washcloth out until just damp.
Step 4: Open washcloth and place completely over face and leave there for 2-3 minutes or until washcloth has cooled. This will open the pores and permit the oils to soften hardened oils and draw out dirt and clogs from the skin. Wipe skin with washcloth.
Step 5: Repeat steps 3&4 three to four times (what ever works for you personally) then wipe the oil off the face with a cool temperature washcloth. This last step is done numerous times until the oil is completely removed and your skin feels clean and oil residue free. (I personally find wiping twice with a cool washcloth is sufficient).
The 'traditional' OCM process above can be quite time consuming but is well worth the time and effort. However, you can choose to do a shortened modified version of OCM.
Modified version:
Step 1: As above
Step 2: As above
Step 3: As above
Step 4: As above
Step 5: Wipe face with cooled washcloth
Step 6: Finish with your usual cleanser so as to remove all oil residue

I alternate between the full and modified version throughout the week and as with all of my skincare routines I monitor my skins needs and reactions and adapt accordingly. So far, I have found that I get good results by doing the full OCM once or twice a week and the modified version on the remaining days.
On the occasions I have either been too tired or just too lazy to do the Oil Cleansing Method, I am very aware as to how other methods of cleansing are not adequate in regards to removing all the residue of makeup and sunscreen. When returning to OCM I am always amazed as to how clean and clear my skin feels.
Give it a try, even if you only try the modified version as I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. 

Sep 24, 2012

Treating Melasma

Recently I was approached by a dear friend who suddenly had the appearance of a brown 'splotchiness' on her upper lip of which she was finding very distressing. When she is not wearing any makeup it appeared (her words not mine) as if she had a mustache and as you can imagine she found this very stressful and embarrassing. I suggested she visit with her doctor and he diagnosed her with Melasma. 
Together, over the next few months we are going to keep a record of the treatment she will undertake along with the results and outcome which hopefully will be of some help and encouragement to those who are experiencing the same condition.
What Causes Melasma
Melasma is caused by over active melanin producing cells called melanocytes. This is caused either externally (excess sun) hormonally (oral birth control, hrt treatment and some oral medications) or genetic predisposition.
It really is important that you find out what is the root of the problem because if you don’t you will just end up wasting your time, money and even worsening the situation as melasma is notorious for returning the second time darker than the original outbreak. 
External Causes
If the cause of your melasma is through external causes treatment is somewhat easier. However the process is still rather slow and it takes comitment and patience along with religous use of sunscreen and protective clothing such as a large protective hat and staying out of the sun as much as possible.
Hormonal Causes
If you are currently on oral birth control or on hrt treatment this could be the root of your problem and you should check with your doctor to see if your melasma is hormonal based and you can do this by having your Estrogen levels checked to see if you are Estrogen dominant. Also Melasma can rear its ugly head after a pregnancy, however once the underlying hormonal cause is taken care of you can then work on it topically.
For optimum health, the progesterone to estrogen ratio should be between 200–300 to 1

The above chart shows that from the age of 35 to 50, there is a 75% reduction in production of progesterone in the body. Estrogen, during the same period, only declines about 35%. By menopause, the total amount of progesterone made is extremely low, while estrogen is still present in the body at about half its pre-menopausal level.
With the gradual drop in estrogen but severe drop in progesterone, there is insufficient progesterone to counteract the amount of estrogen in our body. This state is called estrogen dominance. Many women in their mid-thirties, most women during peri-menopause (mid-forties), and essentially all women during menopause (age 50 and beyond) are overloaded with estrogen and at the same time suffering from progesterone deficiency because of the severe drop in physiological production during this period. The end result - excessive estrogen relative to progesterone, a condition we call estrogen dominance.
Diet and Melasma
Women who drank four to five cups of coffee daily had nearly 70% more estrogen than women who consume less than one cup of coffee. Tea is not much better. And for that matter, neither are soft drinks with caffeine in them like Red Bull or Mountain Dew.
Having a high body fat content also intend to have an Estrogen dominance therefore losing some weight along with exercise will lower Estrogen levels.
Vitamin B6 and magnesium are needed to neutralize estrogen in the liver. Therefore make sure you do not have a Vitamin B6 deficiency.                                                                          Who Can Get Melasma 
Melasma is most common in women 20-50 years of age
Melasma Appearance
Melasma looks like brown, tan, or blue-gray spots on the face (hyperpigmentation).
Most Common Areas for Melasma
Melasma is characterized by three location patterns (central face, cheekbone, and jawline)
Melasma may clear spontaneously without treatment. Other times, it may clear with sunscreen usage and sun avoidance. For some people, the discoloration with Melasma may disappear following pregnancy or if birth control pills and hormone therapy are discontinued. But most commonly it requires topical treatment along with long term sun avoidance,
Finacea (Azelaic Acid) 15%-20% Azelaic acid is a non-hydroquinone cream that can be used to treat melasma. Studies have reported that 15%-20% azelaic acid was very effective and safe in melasma. There are no major complications reported with azelaic acid. Possible minor side effects include itching, redness, flaking and a temporary burning sensation that tends to improve after 14-30 days of use.
Retin-A 0.025%-0.1%
Tazorac 0.05%-.01%
Both of the above help increase the effects of the Azelaic Acid (Finacea) enabling it to penetrate deeper
Topical Vitamin C 10%-20% (click HERE)
Obagi Nu-Derm system (click HERE)
Lactic Acid Lotions 12% (click HERE)
Regular skin lighteners that have arbutin, mulberry extract, bearberry and licorice can help especially in combination will the above.

Sep 19, 2012

Beautyblender Sponge Review

I know this item has been on the market for quite some time but I finally succumbed.
The Beauty Blender Official website states:
'Now you can look like a movie star without the pricey services of a major make up artist. Introducing Beautyblender, the ultimate make up sponge applicator. Invented by top Hollywood make up artist Rea Ann Silva, Beautyblender has been created to leave you with a professional finish and a flawless complexion. Silva knows that the key to a perfect face is simple: a perfect blend. So forget your fingers or sharp-edged triangular sponges, these application methods waste make up and can leave visible streaks.
Beautyblender’s patent-pending elliptical shape makes application foolproof by allowing you to access hard-to-reach areas with stunning ease. Its suede texture is sensual to the touch and its unique curves fit the contours of your face, leaving your make up dazzling and undetectable. Beautyblender is latex free, non-allergenic and odor free'.
I followed the instructions and held the Beautyblender under running water (cool) and squeezed it half a dozen times. Whilst doing this the Beautyblender increased approximately double in size I then I squeezed the excess water out and finally placed the Beautyblender inside a clean washcloth so as to remove the moisture leaving it slightly damp but 'not' wet.
I must admit that before trying this I thought it was going to be another beauty 'fad' that would prove to be a waste of time and money but I was wrong!
I have tried numerous methods of apply foundation including foundation brushes, sponges, fingers and a stippling brush (which up until trying the Beautyblender was my favorite method) but without doubt the Beautyblender in my opinion really is the best so far. I now understand what all the hype is about and I can say with confidence that the Beautyblender will be the only way I will apply foundation from now on.
Application Method:
I prepped my skin in the usual way, sunscreen followed by primer and placed a small amount of foundation in the palm of my hand. I gently touched the Beautyblender onto the foundation and 'tapped' this onto my face and was amazed as to how easy and 'fool-proof' this was.
The Beautyblender is perfectly shaped. The 'larger' end is for the overall face and the 'narrower' end for around the eyes and nose.
This without doubt is the most simple and fastest method I have ever used to apply my foundation.
Overall application finish:
Foundation appears flawless when applied with the Beautyblender and even if you have dry or flaky skin the 'tapping' method used is so gently and non irritating that it does not cause the skin flakes to lift, in fact the complete opposite occurs....everything stays in place just like we need it too!
Simple to use
Perfect for all skin types especially dry or flaky (Retin A user here)!
Gives a 'flawless' finish to makeup
Gives fuller coverage using less product (foundation)
A little on the expensive side, but still cheaper than some of the foundation brushes out there
Would I recommend this to a friend?
Yes...without hesitation!

Sep 10, 2012

Sunscreen...The Never Ending Search! Updated 09/09/12

Summer is finally coming to an end and throughout the intense heat of Phoenix Arizona I have tried and tested many SS on the continuous quest of finding the 'perfect' that will not only protect my skin from any further sun damage but also be non irritating, does not leave a white cast, non greasy and totally compatible underneath my makeup. Have I found this bottle of perfection yet......I think I just may have!
I have tried and tested quite a few sunscreens and the majority do not even warrant a mention due to the fact that they are usually either extremely heavy, irritating, greasy or totally ineffective. However there are some which deserve mentioning and in my opinion are worth trying.

#1 Pick for Face
SARA SARA UV Aqua Rich Watery essence Water base SPF 50+ PA+++                            Cost anywhere between $15.00 to $25.00 for a 50g bottle.

Key Ingredients:
Water (Aqua), Alcohol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Lauryl Methacrylate/Sodium Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Dimethicone, Acrylates/
C10-30 Acrylate Crosspolymer, Glyceryl Stearate, Agar, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum(Lemon) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Xylitol, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Fragrance (Parfum).
This has now taken the #1 spot as my all time favorite sunscreen which was previously held by Devita Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30+
This is a very light weight gel like cream which turns into a water like consistency the moment you place it on your skin. It absorbs into to the skin within seconds (yes seconds) and I am left wondering if I have applied it due to it not leaving any residue at greasiness like most sunscreens, but also does not mattify leaving the skin feeling dry and parched....its is totally invisible to the eye and to the touch.
It works wonderfully underneath makeup as a primer and does not ball-up when applying foundation. This may all sound to good to be true but I promise you this is a Japanese water based sunscreen which I highly recommend you try.

Excellent protection. I live in the intense heat of Arizona and do not get any color when using this.
The most incredible base underneath makeup
I can apply my makeup within seconds of application as this sinks into to the skin with 'no' residue almost immediately
Leaves skin feeling silky smooth
Non greasy
Non drying
Non irritating
Cost effective
The only con I can think of is if you should be allergic to any of the ingredients

#2 Pick  for Face
Skin Aqua Sara Sara Skin Care UV Essence SPF 50+ PA+++
Cost $15-$25                                                          

This comes in as a close 2nd place to the above with identical advantages 'except' I find it does not perform as well underneath makeup hence I intend to use this on the days I do not wear makeup (which is very rare)!
Excellent protection. I live in the intense heat of Arizona and do not get any color when using this.
Leaves skin feeling silky smooth
Non greasy
Non drying
Non irritating
Cost effective
Can ball up under makeup (depends on application)

#3 Pick for Face Devita Solar Protective Moisurizer SPF 30+
Cost $25.95 2.5 oz

ACTIVE INGREDIENT: Micronized Zinc oxide 19%
I apply this sunscreen approximately 15 minutes before I apply my makeup allowing it to settle on my skin. I then apply a silicone base primer before applying my silicone base foundation. However I do want to add that on the occassions I have not used a primer before applying my foundation I do notice that my makeup will 'slide' a little throughout the day....hence why I 'always' use a primer after applying the sunscreen. After attempting to previously use the Devita Body Block for my face I have found this to be far less greasy. Yes, it has the same ingredients as the Body Block but minus the Shea Butter therefore making the greasiness nonexistent.
#1 Pick for Body
Allie EX UV Protector (Perfect Alpha) 50+ PA+++

Cost $34.00

Key Ingredients

Again I purchased this one to use on arms, hands and decolletage and have only been using it for the past couple of days so my opinion is a little premature as yet 'but' so far I am really liking the feel and texture of this SS. It doe not have that 'powdery' feel to it like the above SS with the advantage of it also being waterproof and sweat-proof and like all the above this also does not need any special treatment in regards to removal.
#2 Pick for Body
Devita Solar Body Block SPF 30+
Cost $27.95 for a 7 oz bottle

ACTIVE INGREDIENT: Micronized Zinc oxide 19%.
Originally this was the best sunscreen for body I had tried until it was superseded by Allie (review above) but this runs a very close 2nd to Allie and overall is more cost effective. 
It is a 'physical' sunscreen with the only active ingredient being Zinc Oxide at 19% which is incredibly high. Usually zinc oxide will alway leave a 'white cast' on the face, especially at 19% but his product does not do this.
This is a full spectrum sunscreen which is very light and absorbs very quickly and is Paraben free.

Cost effective
No white cast whatsoever
No irritation due to it being a'Physical' SS
None that I can think of

#3 Pick for Body
Biore' Sara Sara UV Perfect Milk for Face & Body SPF 50+ PA+++

Cost $14.00

Key Ingredients

I purchased this for use on my arms, hands and decolletage as I was aware that it would not be very compatible underneath makeup.
Again this works wonderfully in regards to sun protection as I have used this throughout the summer and have not got any tan at all 'but' I have found this to be a little drying on my skin so the jury is still out on this one until I can find something with the same protection but feels a little more 'comfortable' on my skin. However this may work well for the face if you have oily skin.

Most easily available
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 55 with Helioplex
Cost $9.50 for a 3.0 oz bottle
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3.0%, Homosalate 10.0%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 2.8%, Oxybenzone 6%

This without doubt gives great protection from the sun. I tried and tested this product whilst spending a week in Panama City Beach Florida and my skin did not even turn the slightest bit pink and I was very impressed. This sunscreen is also non-comedogenic (will not clog pores).
However, I was under the impression that due to the product having the description of 'Dry Touch' in its title that there would be very little 'shine' or 'greasiness' but this was not the case. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch is very shiny and greasy when applied to the skin. I found it impossible to use underneath makeup and no matter how long I gave this product to absorb into my skin (which it never did) foundation was impossible to apply. However, I highly recommend this sunscreen and will continue to use this for outdoor protection but feel it is totally incompatible for using underneath makeup.
Excellent protection
Very cost effective
Totally incompatible underneath makeup
Very greasy and shiny
Leaves a faint white cast

#1 Disappointment
La-Roche Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid
Cost $23.00 for a 1.7 oz bottle.

Key Ingredient's

Avobenzone 3% (sunscreen)
• Homosalate 15% (suncreen)
• Octisalate 5% (sunscreen)
• Octocrylene 5% (sunscreen)
• Oxybenzone 6% (sunscreen)

What I loved most about this sunscreen was just how light it was on my skin. It has a very 'watery' consistency and absorbs into the skin within minutes. It is also non-comedogenic (won't clog pores). It did not leave a greasy residue and the protection was first class as I did not experience any increase in pigmentation issues which is fantastic considering I live in Phoenix Arizona where the sun shines with intensity for 365 days each year!
Why oh why did I not continue to use this wonderful product? unfortunately around day 10 I started to notice some irritation which slowly increased with noticeable redness on my skin with me reluctantly having to conclude that I was allergic to one of the ingredient's which also cause sensitivity to my eyes causing them to sting and constantly run.
First class protection
Very light consistency 
Non greasy 
No white cast
Balled up under makeup
Stings eyes no matter how careful I was with application
Caused my skin to be irritated becoming dry and blotchy

Aug 25, 2012

Obagi update including before and after photo's

I decided to give the Obagi Nu-Derm system a try due to the wonderful reviews on Makeupalley along with so many raving about it on the web but due to the overall cost of the system I have done some research and with the advice and guidance of a wonderful MUAer have found a way to get the same results at a much lower cost. (please email me if you wish to purchase the Obagi Nu-Derm products)
Before I go into the details of the products along with a step by step guide as to how to apply, I want to emphasize that after only 4 weeks of doing the system the results so far are absolutely amazing and I am excited to see what my skin will look like after the full 18 weeks.
Over the course of the next few weeks I will be placing regular updates as to how my skin is reacting along with the improvement and reduction in hyper-pigmentation, texture, color etc.
Below is what the system consists of when purchasing the Obagi Nu-Derm products:
Obagi NuDerm Foam Cleanser
Product Description:
A gel-based cleanser that removes impurities, oil, and makeup to leave even the oiliest skin clean and fresh.
Obagi NuDerm Toner
Product Description:
A toner that adjusts the pH of the skin for increased penetration of the system ingredients.  
Obagi NuDerm Clear
Product Description:
A topical prescription treatment that includes 4% hydroquinone to correct hyper-pigmentation (discoloration) and improve and even skin tone
Obagi NuDerm Exfoderm Forte
Product Description:
An alpha-hydroxy acid (6% glycolic acid, 4% lactic acid) that removes old skin cells while promoting new skin cells for a lighter, brighter, firmer complexion for skin that needs deeper exfoliation.
Obagi NuDerm Blender
Product Description:
A topical prescription treatment that contains 4% hydroquinone to target hyperpigmented (discolored) areas of the skin and increase the penetration of the active ingredients of the system
Obagi NuDerm Retin A
Product Description:
Tretinoin Cream USP 0.025%, 0.05%, and 0.1%
A topical prescription treatment for acne.
Obagi Professional C Serum 5,10,15 or 20%

Obagi NuDerm Sunscreen
Product Description:
A sunscreen with 18.5% zinc oxide that helps to protect the newer, healthier skin created by skin transformation. 2.0 oz (57 g)
The Obagi Nu-Derm system cost upward of $350.00-$500.00 and this is not inclusive of the Blue Peel they advice you to have once completing the 18 weeks.
Below is the Obagi Nu-Derm item I purchased along with products I substituted:
Obagi Nu-Derm Blender. This was the only product that appears to be a necessity in the whole system.
I substituted the following:
Obagi NuDerm Foam Cleanser: 
Substitute: Reviva Labs Glycolic Facial Cleanser (LINK) in the AM and Cetaphil Cleanser in the PM
Obagi NuDerm Toner:
Substitute: DIY Niacinamide Toner Link
Obagi NuDerm Clear:
The above has the nearly identical formula as the Blender so I use the Blender when this is required
Obagi NuDerm Exfoderm Forte:
Substitute: Alpha Hydrox 12% AHA Souffle Link
Obagi NuDerm Retin A:
Substitute: ADC Retin A 0.05% Link
Obagi Professional C Serum
Substitute: Vit C Serum LINK
Obagi NuDerm Sunscreen:
Substitute: Biore Watery Essence Sunscreen (review coming soon)
I also add a DIY Vit C Serum to the list (LINK)
Application directions:
Reviva Labs Glycolic Acid Facial Cleanser
DIY Niacinamide Toner
Wait 10-20 minutes 
DIY Vit C Serum Link
Alpha Hydrox 12% AHA Souffle
Obagi Nu-Derm Blender
Biore Watery Essence Sunscreen
Cetaphil Cleanser (I wish to emphasize that if you choose to use a Zinc based SS during the day it will be necessary to remove this with an oil based cleanser before proceeding)
DIY Niacinamide Toner
Wait 10-20 minutes
DIY Vit C Serum
Alpha Hydrox 12% AHA Souffle
Obagi Nu-Derm Blender
ADC Retin A 0.05%
What To Expect Whilst Using The Products:
Redness: Skin will be 'tomato' red for the first two weeks
Itchiness: The intense need to scratch lasted for a total of 8 days
Flaking Skin: I looked pitiful for the first two weeks so much so that complete strangers were giving me sympathetic 'Oh I feel so sorry for her' stares
Day One:
I set everything up ready to use and applied everything from the above AM list. CAUTION I had been warned by a MUAer that the DIY Niacinamide Toner really does sting when applying it to the skin especially in the first week of use....of course I took this warning with a very large pinch of salt but boy oh boy was she right! After jumping around a little and trying desperately to hold back on all the bad words that were going through my head I waited the suggested 20 minutes before applying the DIY Vit C Serum followed by everything else on the list and got on with my day.
Followed the instructions for the PM application adding the Retin A to the Blender product.
Day Two:
Today my face and neck were 'tomato' red! I had been warned that this is par for the course but I must say I was quite shocked as to how 'red' I actually was and when I applied the DIY Niacinamide Toner I nearly jumped through the roof with the stinging but just kept repeating to myself that the final results would be worth it!
Day Three:

Days 4-8:
The intensity of the itching sensation drove me crazy at times to the point that I had to apply neosporin to my neck so as to calm it down. The 'tomato' red appearance continued and concerned my husband so much that he asked me if I just might be 'over doing' this skincare 'thing' I have going on (husbands just don't get it do they girls)! But with one glare from me he decided to back off!
The peeling has been intense. Flakes fall off whilst I am talking which is not a pretty site for those within eye contact.
Days 9-14:
Finally, the intense itching subsided and I now only had to contend with the 'red, flaky' skin. Every alternate day I used a warm damp wash clothe to gently remove some of the dead skin and this was so soothing.
Day Fifteen:
Today I saw light at the end of the tunnel...the intense redness had subsided leaving me with a warm glow rather than a burnt look. Today was a good day as two of the very dark sunspots I have on my left upper cheek have faded by at least 50%.
Days 16-21:
My skin has calmed down completely. The redness that was so intense has completely gone and the flaking skin is now only noticeable to me.
Days 22-24:
I noticed on day 22 that my overall skin was much lighter, so much so that I appeared 'ashen'. This bothered me as although I want to have a clear even skin tone and complexion I do not want to have a 'unhealthy' appearance:( However this only lasted a couple of days as on day 24 my skin peeled in sheets and underneath was a healthy glowing complexion:)
Days 25-28:
The dark sunspots on my left upper cheek are now 75% lighter and I am amazed as to how this system works so fast and can hardly wait to see my skin when I have completed the full 18 weeks. 
Days 29-35:
Over the past seven days my skin started to flake a little heavier than it had last week and the majority of this was around my mouth and chin, on the corners of my eyes. My neck also became very dry and flaky but I resisted applying any moisturizer as I do not want to interfere with the Obagi Nu-Derm system doing its job.
Again this week sunspots on my left upper cheek have faded even more and I am so excited about this!
Weeks 6-8: 
My skin has settled down completely and the Obagi Nu-Derm system seems to be doing its job minus any irritation or peeling.
Weeks 8-10:
Throughout this past couple of weeks, especially around week 9, my face started to peel just a little. However I no longer have any redness and my sunspots continue to fade.....I love this stuff!!
Week 11:
The clarity of my skin is amazing especially on my cheeks, forehead and neck. It is so smooth with even skin-tone and for some reason (which I think is due to the Niacinamide toner) my cheeks appear more 'plump'.
Week 12-14:
My skin continues to improve, especially with the fading of sunspots and overall skin-tone. Skin has completely adapted to the Obagi Nu-Derm system and I no longer have any irritation in regards to the products which is making it so much easier to use. However I am finding the twice per day intense regiment of this system quite demanding in regards to the commitment it takes BUT I am determined to see this through due to the wonderful results I have so far had.
Week 15:
During this week I experienced some 'itching' which reminded me of week 'one'. I started to wonder if my skin was about to go through the cycle of intense irritation, redness and flaking that I had experienced in the beginning of the Obagi Nu-Derm system but thankfully this was not the case:)
Week 16:
Skin clarity is very good. Makeup application is smooth and flawless....can this really be my skin I ask myself! I find myself looking in the mirror far too often and this is due to having to reiterate to myself that the skin I see in the mirror is really mine....clear, plump, even skin-tone. Dare I say 'flawless', not quite but pretty darn close!

Below are photograph's of my skin before and after without makeup (how brave am I). The little boy in the picture is Colton one of my six grandchildren.



Jul 2, 2012

Lactic Acid Body Lotion with Niacinamide

After purchasing MUAC (makeup artists choice) 8 fl oz  Glycolic Body Lotion 15% and absolutely loving what it has done for my skin (read review HERE) I decided to  customize a Lactic Acid version which included Niacinamide
Why would I decide to use Lactic Acid in place of Glycolic which are both AHA's  you may ask? 
Three main reasons:
1: Lactic Acid is less irritating to the skin
2: Lactic Acid stimulates cell turnover and cell renewal at a higher rate than Glycolic Acid
3: Unlike Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid has added benefits: it hydrates the skin, increases natural ceramides (barrier lipids) in the epidermis and whitens the skin when used at concentrations greater than 5%.
So why is it that we are led to think Glycolic Acid is the more beneficial AHA to use? Unfortunately, people often equate irritation with efficiency, and because Glycolic Acid causes more irritation, people tend to believe this means it works better. But this is not the case.
I have been using this now for 3 weeks and am amazed as to how it has improved the quality of my skin. The KP on my arms has completely gone and the majority of the raised moles (yes I had them checked out and they were fine) have flattened and faded considerably.My skin always feels silky smooth after applying and the effects are accumulative and long lasting.
Hydrates the skin
Fades freckles and moles
Completely got rid of my KP on my arms
Leaves my skin silky smooth
Non irritating
Long shelf life
Cost effective
This will sting if applied to an open wound (I found this out after accidently applying to a scratch I had after shaving my legs) ouch! but this lasted only briefly.
Lactic Acid smells like sour milk if used minus a fragrance hence why I add orange oil when customizing.
For more information on how to purchase click BUY NOW

Jul 1, 2012

Welcome to Butterfly Kisses Beauty Blog

When I first started out on a 'serious' skin care routine I found it to be extremely overwhelming.I searched endlessly online for help and advice for a 'newbie' but did not find anywhere dedicated just for beginners. After much trial and error with skincare products and wasting endless funds on things that did not work I decided to record my journey in the hope that it would be of some support for anyone taking their first steps on there own personal skincare journey. With a nudge in the right direction I promise you it can be enjoyable, fun and very rewarding to see your skin transform from dry,blotchy,sun damaged and dull to clear and vibrant. Hopefully I can be of some help along the way to those of you who are just venturing out on what can often be a very 'confusing' and 'frustrating' time.
I love researching ‘old’ and ‘new’ products that are skin and makeup related and have had some great experiences and advice from the wonderful members of Makeupalley, Skincaretalk and the Beautybling forums and hopefully my experiences (good and bad) may be of some guidance and help to others.
I regularly organize Group Orders to ADC (alldaychemist) so as to help with the highly priced shipping costs from India (please see the link to get more information)
I also have a supply of generic Latisse (bimatoprost ophthalmic 0.3%) the ‘incredible’ eyelash growth serum that will give you the lashes of your dreams for $45.00 per bottle with immediate and free shipping within the US and Canada (please check for availability). I do ship internationally for a minimal shipping fee and your package is shipped within 24 hours of receiving your order and funds. I accept PayPal and all the details are in the links provided.
Along with Generic Latisse I custom make to order Vitamin C Serum/lotion (click HERE for more information)and Topical Niacinamide Toner (Vitamin B3)                                               If you wish to place an order for any of the above please click on the following ITEMS FOR SALE or if you wish to participate in the monthly Group Orders to ADC please click on the Contact Me link in the side bar and send me your order.
Made to order 12% Lactic Acid with Niacinamide Body Lotion REVIEW

May 28, 2012

CeraVe cleansing Products

CeraVe Foaming Cleanser
This is a staple Gel cleanser for me when I have been wearing a Physical sunscreen. First I remove the Physical SS using the oil cleansing method followed by CeraVe Foaming Cleanser and my skin always feels so fresh and clean afterwards.
It states that this is for Normal to Oily skin and even though I have Normal skin with the occasional dry patch I find it works extremely well for me.
The majority of foaming cleansers I have tried in the past have left my skin feeling extremely parched of moisture but this is not the case with CeraVe Foaming Cleanser.

Removes all traces of oil cleanser.
Does NOT dry my skin out.
Supposedly excellent for those suffering with acne (however I cannot vouch for this as I do not suffer with acne).
Fragrance free.
Leaves skin feeling very clean without feeling dry and 'stripped'.
Does not 'over' foam (which I prefer).
Rinses off easily.
Low foaming (this is only a negative if you want a high foaming product).
Could be drying so I would not recommend this for those who have suffer with excessive dry skin.
CeraVe® Foaming Facial Cleanser Ingredient List:
Purified Water
Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine
Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate
PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Terastearate and PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides
Propylene Glycol
Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate
Ceramide 3
Ceramide 6-II
Ceramide I
Hyaluronic Acid
Sodium Chloride
Citric Acid
Edetate Disodium, Dihydrate
Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate
Xanthan Gum

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
This is another cleanser by CeraVe which I highly recommend trying. Unlike the CeraVe Foaming Cleanser this is a very hydrating product which leaves my skin feeling silky and clean. I do intend to favor this product if I have not worn a physical sunscreen as I find it much more hydrating than the foam version. This is a very gentle cleanser so much so that when I first tested this product I was concerned as to if it was actually 'cleansing' my skin and therefore decided to swipe my face with an alcohol toner to make sure that it was doing its job. I can safely say that it does as my cotton pad was totally clean and residue free. So even though this cleanser may feel too gentle and soft to be doing a good job I can assure you it does. However this is not for you if you prefer a product that produces 'sud's' or 'foam' as this is in lotion form.  
Excellent for dry/sensitive skin
Fragrance free
Leaves skin feeling clean not tight
Probably not advisable for those who have excessively oily skin or for acne prone skins
CeraVe® Hydrating Cleanser Ingredient List:
Purified Water
Behentrimonium Methosulfate and Cetearyl Alcohol
Cetyl Alcohol
Stearyl Alcohol
Glyceryl Monostearate
Hyaluronic Acid
Ceramide 1
Ceramide 3
Ceramide 6-II
Potassium Phosphate
Dipotassium Phosphate
Disodium EDTA
Polyoxyl stearate
Polysorbate 20
Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate
Xanthan Gum

May 17, 2012

Topical Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) Toner

I have been using my Vit C Serum for over a year and have had wonderful results in regards to overall skin luminosity with moderate lightening of sunspots and after much research I decided to add Niacinamide to my current routine. Being constantly concerned as to the quality and stability of the products I place on my skin I decided to go the DIY route and make my own Niacinamide Toner and so far I am very pleased with the results.
Vitamin B3, also know as Niacin, is found in foods such as fish, milk, meat, grains, beans and yeast. However when in the form of Niacinamide it can be applied topically.
Niacinamide Toner along with Vit C Serum, Retin A and the Obagi Blender LINK have transformed my skin and this has all happened in a matter of 4 weeks.
Niacinamide Toner when used alongside Retin A, Vit C and AHA is not for the 'faint hearted' as this baby stings...and I do not mean stings a little this stuff 'REALLY' stings but oh so worth it. However, when used minus any exfoliation products there is no discomfort at all.
Benefits of Niacinamide in skin care products: 
Niacinamide has many quite impressive effects, and it can be used by anyone at any age of adult skin. Topical niacinamide helps to protect your skin's immune function. Skin contains cells called Langerhans cells, and these are responsible for triggering your body's responses to skin immune abnormalities. Langerhans cells can detect abnormalities including precancerous lesions and microbial activity. But when the skin is exposed to Ultra Violet light, Langerhans cell activity is suppressed, making it more difficult for the cells to protect the skin's immunity. Niacinamide in topical form has been demonstrated to help those cells maintain their function throughout the day, resulting in more viable, healthier skin. 
Visible Benefits of Topical Niacinamide 
Niacinamide can be used on all skin types including sensitive skin. It treats acne, rosacea, wrinkles, sunspots, hyper-pigmentation and lightening of the skin. The beneficial effects on rosacea, a skin condition that can cause deeply red pigmentation and inflammation on the complexion works by helping to alleviate skin sensitivity, and thus reduces the reactivity of the skin to irritants of rosacea sufferers. One of niacinamide most powerful benefits is its ability to get rid of acne spots, and fade acne scars.
Like Vitamin C Serum make this fresh or purchase from someone who makes it to order so as you can be sure of the quality of the product.
All the benefits are listed above. This is a product I highly recommend including in your daily skincare routine.
There really is no down side to using this product just keep in mind that when using it with Retin A and AHA it will sting on application but this does not mean anything is wrong, to the contrary it actually means it is doing its job.
If you have any questions in regards to Niacinamide Toner please feel free to email or place a comment in the comment box.
To purchase click BUY HERE