Apr 29, 2012

Vitamin C Serums/Lotions

I have found Vitamin C to be a very important part of my overall skincare routine and am constantly amazed as to how my skin reacts to this wonderful but 'very' unstable product.
Below is some information and tips in regards to its uses, application, stability (or lack of) and oxidization.
Vitamin C is without doubt one of those so often missed steps in skincare routines. This could be due to a couple of reasons:
1: OTC serums and lotions containing Vitamin C are often overly expensive
2: Once having tried these overly expensive potions we are often disappointed in regards to the lack of results
In response to the above:
1: Why are OTC Vitamin C serums etc so expensive? There is 'no' reason behind this other than the fact that company's and suppliers are fully aware as to Vitamin C's benefits (and rightfully so) and therefore use this fact to convincing us to purchase there products. What they' fail' to inform the consumer of is the lack of stability of Vitamin C hence making the Serum/Lotion we purchase from them ineffective by the time we place it on our skin.
2: Why are we disappointed in OTC Vitamin C serums and stop using them? Combined with them being expensive they often do not work efficiently.
Topical use of Vitamin C serums and lotions are fantastic for our skin they help:
minimizes fine lines and wrinkles
Increases Skin Elasticity
reduces sunspots and acne scars (I can personally vouch for this one)
Vitamin C is not only necessary for collagen production and maintenance, but it is also a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals in the skin. See Link
Here is how they damage the skin and cause aging.
When a free radical steals an electron from one of the proteins in a strand of collagen, it causes a change in the chemical structure of the collagen at that point, creating a tiny break in the strand. Once a bundle of collagen has multiple points of damage that occur over the years, it becomes damaged and disorganized. As a result, the skin begins to sag and wrinkle.
Applying Vitamin C topically is a very effective way to boost the skin’s natural protection against age-causing free radicals. Once absorbed into the skin, this water-soluble vitamin can also help regenerate vitamin E that has been oxidized. Vitamin E is a potent lipid-soluble antioxidant that is important for preventing oxidative damage in the lipid cell
An ideal vitamin C serum should be able to easily penetrate into skin and release L-ascorbic acid in amounts sufficient to boost collagen synthesis (so we really do not need all the fancy additives OTC Vitamin C serums place in there lotions and potions) In order for anti- aging benefits to be realized, it is vital that your Vitamin C serum contain at least a 10% L-ascorbic concentration with a pH level of less than 3. Doses lower than 10% will lose their effectiveness. Since Vitamin C is unstable, only buy Vitamin C packaged in opaque bottles as exposure to sunlight will cause the product to oxidize and break down therefore becoming 'ineffective'. When Vitamin C serums are fresh, they are mostly clear in color. They turn yellowish when 'spoiled' (hence why some company's add a yellow tint in the hope that we will not notice if the product has already oxidized).             Many experts recommend using Vitamin C serum on a daily basis since it helps prevent the damaged caused by the sun's rays. A few drops of concentrated Vitamin C serum or cream should be applied to your skin daily BEFORE your moisturizer and sunscreen and this is something I do every morning and evening.
Topical Vitamin C also promotes an increase in collagen production and is believed to have the ability for reversing the aging process, by breaking through the skin's surface to provide skin cells the essential energy for repair. Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) is one of the few topical anti-oxidants whose efficiency against wrinkles and fine lines is support by a good amount of reliable scientific evidence.

My Vitamin C Serum is made fresh to order in either 10, 15 or 20% and will be delivered to you in a 2oz Amber Glass spray bottle. BUY NOW

Apr 10, 2012

List of Silicone Derivatives

I personally love silicone based products, especially in foundations and primers but I realize there are many out there who dislike them as much as I love them. However, I have found it has become more and more difficult in regards to understanding ingredient lists on products due to the fact that the word 'Silicone' is rarely used on packaging whereas derivatives are used in its place. I have found this to be very frustrating and decided to get a list together of alternate names that are being used in the hope that it would be helpful to those who are as frustrated as I am when all I want to do is to look at the formula and see if it has silicone in it or not.
Everything on the list below means Silicone!
METHICONE DIVINYLDIMETHICONE, Atomic number 14, to name a few and the new versions…..hidden with “sil” CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, CYCLOHEXASILOXANE.Orthosilicic Acid, Phytolithic Silica, Silica, Silica Hydride, Silice Hydride, Silicea, Silicio, Silicium, Silicium de Sodium, Silicon Dioxide, Sodium Silicate.

The Silicone Debate

Is Silicone good for the skin?
Proponents of the use of Silicone in skincare say that silicone is not bad for the skin. The molecules in Dimethicone are too large to penetrate into the skin layers and only sit on top of the skin. By having this silicone layer on top of the skin, the skin moisture is prevented from escaping, thus helping keep the skin moisturized and hydrated. Silicone in skincare products is also supposed to be better for those with sensitive skin due to this occlusive nature and it does not irritate the skin nor does it cause acne.
In the beauty world, Dimethicone (Silicone) is commonly used in primers and liquid foundations because it fills up imperfections in the skin and creates a smooth canvas for the foundation to go on. Just think of putting on makeup like painting a wall and you’ll get the general idea. If you use long wearing or waterproof makeup, chances are is that it contains silicone's too because silicone repels water and sweat. (source) Silicone's are also present in oil-control or mattifying products so you will notice that some products with silicone give a matte look to the skin. I reckon it is because it is holding the oil in under the layer of silicone so you don’t notice it so much.
In hair products, silicone is commonly found in hair serums and conditioners. It is what gives that shine to the hair and makes it feel smooth and soft. The principle is pretty much the same. The silicone coats the hair so it feels and looks soft and smooth.

Is Silicone bad for the skin?
On the other side of the fence are the detractors who say that silicone's are in fact bad for the skin. Because the silicone sits in a layer on top of the skin keeping in moisture, it also keeps in any sebum, dirt and bacteria that may already be on the skin therefore this is why thorough cleansing of the skin to remove silicone products is essential and the only way I have found that works thoroughly is by using a cleansing oil. I feel that often when a silicone based product is used by an individual and they then break out it is not 'always' the product that has caused the reaction rather than the lack of thorough cleansing that is the overall issue.
Could prolonged use of silicone's lead to allergic reactions? well anything is possible but I have not experienced this problem and I have been using silicone based products now for a couple of years with no adverse side effects at all. But without doubt there will be those who will be allergic to silicone.

Tips On How To Use Cleansing Oils
To use cleansing oil, you must make sure your face and hands are dry. Gently massage a small amount into your face and work off all your makeup with your fingers.  Because it's oil, it will dissolve every trace of your makeup, including waterproof eye makeup. Then rinse with water (preferably distilled)....you will notice that when you add water the oil may become white....this is normal. This method also removes Zinc based sunscreens.
While cleansing oil hasn't become very commonplace in the U.S. yet, MAC makes one now. Other brands that make cleansing oil are DHC, FANCL, Kose, and Shu Uemura (all Japanese brands)
You can buy the Japanese cleansing oils online.

In skincare, silicone is commonly found in serums and moisturizers.
In makeup, silicone is commonly found in primers and liquid foundations.
In hair products, silicone is commonly found in serums and conditioners.

We then come to the subject of Silicone's in hair care products, which without doubt is still one of the best ways to condition and add shine to our hair. Silicone's water-repelling properties make it a great humidity fighter and protector against heat damage from the sun, curling irons, flat irons and straighteners. Unfortunately, silicone-based hair products still get bad press in the hair-care world. They can build up on the hair and create a waterproof layer that blocks further conditioning of the strands. Without the ability to get much needed moisture, the hair can begin to feel limp, greasy, weighed down and just will not hold a style no matter you do (all of which on occasions I have experienced) and the only way to overcome this is to use a clarifying shampoo so as to remove the silicone buildup. I find this happens to me about every 4 weeks or so and 'usually' after much complaining and moaning as to what a mess I look the penny 'finally' drops and I realize that it is time for me to use a Clarifying Shampoo!
Products really do build up on our hair and the majority of us are guilty of using a fair amount of them including hairsprays, mousses, gels, serums, thickeners the list is endless. We then have to contend with hard water and mineral deposits. Now, even if we do 'not' use many products hair can still, over time, become limp and lifeless due to the waxes and moisturizers in shampoos and conditioners. This build up can also cause hair to appear dull, heavy, greasy, and limp. A clarifying shampoo can help remove those deposits, give your hair a fresh start, and restore shine.

How often should you clarify?
The answer to this question depends on how much your hair goes through on a daily basis. If you use a lot of hair products or have very hard water you may find it necessary to clarify every other week. But, if you use minimal hair products or have soft water you may only need to clarify as little as every other month. I would say that the average person should clarify their hair 1-2 times per month.

Clarifying shampoo is useful for anyone that applies hair products regularly, and is particularly recommended for swimming enthusiasts, as it aids the removal of chlorine from your hair. Chlorine is perhaps more damaging than acetic acid, and removes color and moisture, so should be combated effectively. If swimming leads you to more frequent use of clarifying shampoos, a popular recommendation, based on science, is that you use conditioner immediately afterwards.
On average hairstylists recommend using clarifying shampoo once or twice a month for the average person. If you ask your hairstylist she can tell you based on how your hair feels to them.

How do you clarify?
Using a clarifying shampoo is really no different than using a regular shampoo with just a few tweaks. Start with a nickle to quarter sized amount of clarifying shampoo and work it into your scalp only with light massage for a good 60 seconds. Depending on the amount of build up and oils on your hair, the shampoo may not lather very much, but that's okay. Rinse very well.
Next, take a smaller amount of shampoo (the more hair you have, the more you'll need to use, but typically no more than a quarter sized amount) and work the shampoo through your hair. You should notice lots of suds. Now, let the shampoo sit on your head for a minute or two. Letting the shampoo sit will help release the product build up. Then rinse really, really well. If your hair is in particular need of a clarifying treatment, this step can be repeated.
Condition your hair as you normally do. You may need to use a bit more conditioner than usual, as the clarifying shampoo does not have moisturizers that your regular shampoo may have.

Can I clarify my hair if I color my hair?
I have naturally blonde hair....(okay, okay I have naturally dark brown hair but I can dream cant I). I have my hair highlighted every 4-6 weeks which is extremely time consuming but that is another story! However, using a clarifying shampoo on colored hair too often will cause your hair color to fade faster than normal. So, it's best to clarify colored hair no more than once a month and definitely do not clarify your hair within the first few weeks of a fresh color.

What Is A Clarifying Shampoo
Clarifying shampoo is a product used to  cleanse hair by removing the build-up of hair products that can remain in your hair, even after regular washing. Popular and frequently used shampoos and conditioners (usually containing Silicone) don’t fully wash out of your hair, which can make your hair look dull and limpless attractive. Overtime, hair gel, hair mousses and hair sprays can leave your hair with that heavy almost greasy look and feel.
Clarifying shampoos are not always easily identified, as many bear a similar appearance to regular shampoos. Clarifying shampoos can be spotted if you take the time to read ingredient lists on shampoo bottles, and look for the inclusion of acetic acid. Acetic acid is the essential component in a clarifying shampoo.
Most popular clarifying shampoo
  • DERMALOGICA-Shine Therapy Shampoo
  • American Crew Peppermint Cleanse-formulated with peppermint and tea tree oils.
  • Paul Mitchell Shampoo Three-removes dulling build up, chlorine and impurities by reducing chlorine, iron and minerals
  • Molton Brown Cleanshine Quillaja Hair Wash- gentle cleansing for men
  • Abba Pure Detox Shampoo - detox shampoo for the removal of heavy build up and impurities.
  • Alterna Life Solutions Clarifying Shampoo-Sulfate free, weekly shampoo, used to remove chlorine, hand water deposits, sytling product build up and environmental pollutants.
  • Goldwell Colorglow IQ Preparation Shampoo - hair residue remover
  • Philip B. Peppermint and Avocado Shampoo-contains 2.3% peppermint extract
  • Enjoy Sulfate Free Hydrating Shampoo- sulfate free
  • Abba Pure Detox Shampoo-contains molasses and baking soda to remove impurities (Formerly Molasses Purifier)
  • BURT'S BEES Shampoo Grapefruit & Sugar Beet-Pomegranate blended with natural coconut and sunflower oil cleansers.
  • Swisa Beauty Spa Mud Shampoo-helps remove dirt and build up
  • TRISWIM Shot- personal care shampoo for swimmers
  • EI Solutions Intense Nutrition Hair Cleanser
  • Apivita Propoline Balancing Shampoo for Greasy Hair
  • Terax Orginal Latte Shampoo- deep cleaning shampoo to remove hand water build up, salt, copper chlorine
  • Shampoo Just For Him-deep cleaning shampoo for men
  • BACK TO BASICS by Graham Webb  GREEN TEA Normalizing Shampoo- unisex back to basic shampoo
  • Nature's Gate Chamomile Replenishing Shampoo-for color treated hair with chamomile
  • Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat Shampoo
  • Giovanni Hair Care Gold Wheat shampoo- deep cleansing shampoo
  • Alfaparf Semi Di Lino Diamante Anti Aging Shampoo
  • Pert Plus Hair Shampoo-cleans and conditions hair
  • Home Health Hairever Shampoo - 
  • Redken Cleansing Cream      
  • Kenra (this is a great one and is gentle enough for more regular use and color treated hair)
Which clarifiers are the best?
Most professional product lines have a clarifying shampoo as do many over the counter product lines and considering they all work very similarly there really is no need to purchase anything super expensive.

Apr 7, 2012

Alpha Hydrox Body Wash & Glycolic Lotion Review

Well guess what ladies....I have just discovered I have skin on the rest of my body other than my face that needs taking care of.....how amazing is that! Well, since this 'discovery' (of which I am sure you will now all run off and tell your friends about) I decided to jump in and do something about this rather neglected skin.
As many of you probably realize, I really am not convinced that all good things need to be 'high end' and overly priced to do a good job. Without doubt there will always be exceptions to the rule but I always try my best to give an honest opinion of products I have tried and tested myself and below are two I can honestly say work exceptionally well and have improved my skin way beyond my expectations.
I decided to give Alpha Hydrox Moisturizing Body Wash Sea Mist with Glycolic AHA (LINK) a try. This has a pH Level of 4.5 and at only $7.49 for 12 fl oz it really is a bargain. I apply this using a mesh pouf shower sponge and  it lasts for about six weeks. Within 3 days I noticed a 'big' difference in my skin texture and smoothness and will continue to use this on a daily basis as this is now my HG body wash. So please give this a try as I know you will love the results!
Ingredients: Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Glycerin, Glycolic Acid, Sodium Myristoyl Sarcosinate, Ammonium Hydroxide, Cocamide DEA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Aloe Vera Gel, Glycol Distearate, Cocamide MEA, Laureth 10, Wheat Germamidopropyldimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Fragrance, Propylene Glycol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Benzophenone-4, FD&C Green No.3

I then decided that it was about time I 'upgraded' my body moisturizer rather than just using anything that was within reaching distance and ordered MUAC (makeup artists choice) Glycolic Body Lotion (LINK)and I cannot rave enough about this as my skin is now silky smooth and glowing....Love it! I must add that this can sting a little if you have any nicks on your skin from shaving but it is not bothersome enough to stop me from using it considering the lovely results I am getting. My only disappointment with this item is the size of the product as it only comes in an 8 fl oz bottle for $19.00 of which I find can go rather quickly when applying it all over the body. However I have spoken with them suggesting they sell it in a 16 fl oz and I will keep you updated as to there response.
Ingredients:Purified Water, Capric/Caprylic Triglycerides, Glycolic Acid (15%), Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Octyldodecanol, Dimethicone, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyl Dimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Glyceryl Monostearate, Ceteareth 20, Phenoxyethanol, Sorbitan Laurate, Sodium Lactate, Sodium PCA, Caprylyl Glycol, Niacinamide, Inositol, Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate.