Fav N Rave Fridays: Fall & Winter Skin Care

Have you noticed that as the days grow shorter and colder, your skin is changing right along with the season? Maybe it’s going into a full blown seasonal depression and you barely recognize the dull lifeless skin covering your face and body. Are you wondering how you’re going to be able afford to buy all new products when it feels like you just bought the final product to round out your summertime skin care regime? Well, don’t worry (it gives you frown lines) because this week’s Fav n Rave Friday is all about tweaking your warm weather skin care products with just a few inexpensive additions that will take you right into Groundhogs Day!

First, let’s talk about products for the body – this is where you can get away without having to change much of anything. The biggest issue my skin tends to have with colder weather, is that it starts to dry out big time (picture that 5000 year old frozen “Ice Man”.) So the key to keeping my skin from cracking is to moisturize, moisturize… and moisturize! Do you have a delicious-smelling body lotion that you just can’t part with during Fall and Winter? You don’t have to! Just make sure you crank up the moisture content and you’re golden. 

As shown above, I really love the Hempz body lotion brand – they smell divine and are very adequate warm weather moisturizers. All I do when the weather gets drier is add 1 part virgin coconut oil to 2 parts lotion and that adds in just enough extra moisture to make my parched skin happy. For my feet I like to take things a little further and add an intense shot of moisture to my easily cracked soles. When I get out of the shower and after I use my body lotion, I will rub a little Extra Emollient Night Cream from Mary Kay on my feet and immediately cover with thick socks for at least 15 minutes. 

So now that we’ve talked about the body, let’s get down to business and discuss the facial routine. As a sidebar, the products described herein are what work for me at the moment. We are all unique and have varying skin issues and needs to take into consideration – please use common sense, caution, and if unfamiliar with how you may react, do a skin test on the inside of your elbow overnight. If you are going to have a nasty allergic reaction – better to have it on the inside of your arm rather than all over your face. The principles of adding in extra moisture still apply when it comes to taking care of the skin on your face. I happen to have combination skin but once authentic Fall weather kicks in, I get much drier. So as to avoid my face tightening up like a recent face-lift recipient, I have to walk a fine line between getting enough moisture but not getting that slick greasy look where the product just sits on my skin. 

For my skin, I find the two most vital steps for me are daily (gentle) exfoliation and toning. I can usually get away with keeping my regular foaming face wash as long as I use it with my “broke girl’s clarisonic” as this provides regular exfoliation without being too harsh on my skin. After cleansing, I use a Moroccan Rose Water Toner mixed with just a hint of apple cider vinegar. This toning step serves to close my pores, calm my skin and slough off any remaining dead skin cells. Right now, I am not using a serum so in place of that I massage a few drops of grapefruit Essential oil into my skin to treat the little bit of acne I still get from time to time and as a serum of sorts. Since I have some major acne scars under my chin, I have been using a dark spot fade cream from Avon just in the areas with heavy acne scarring and on the rest of face I use a retinol moisturizer that is a little thicker than what I would wear during summer, this is also from Avon. Twice a week I’ll use a sulphur mask from Origins before toning and mmoisturizing to purge my skin of any toxins that may be just waiting to spring a surprise attack.

And that’s it folks! None of the products listed are going to set you back more than $20 at the very most, and others like the coconut oil and essential oil have multiple uses other than those listed here. So dear ones, this has bwent my Friday Fav n Rave product reviews and beauty tips. It is my sincere hope that your skin and your wallet can make it through the cold months ahead unscathed by applying these simple principles.

In closing, I leave you with the deep and insightful quote on inner beauty below…

Until next time Xo 

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Face Saving Tips for Keeping your Makeup Fresh all Day!

This past weekend I spent three days at my annual religious convention. I had a chance to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen for a while, take in some great spiritual “food” for the soul and scope out the *ahem* single men (I’m only human!) Throughout the weekend, I wanted to (literally) put my best face forward which meant keeping the face I started the day with (see above image) as fresh as possible. This was more than a notion when you consider my makeup had to last anywhere from 10-12 hours in 80°+ southern California weather. It may sound daunting, however, I was quite successful at keeping my face from melting by the end of the day. How, you may ask? Well, as you may have guessed from the title of this article, I fully intend to share my tips and tricks with you!

As it is true with most things in life that are intended to last, the quality of materials used and the foundation are the most important aspects. The same is true of a long-lasting makeup look. As you can see from the preceding image, I put some thought beforehand into what products I wanted to use and laid them out in advance. It may not seem like it from first glance, but this is a streamlined product assembly for me – I am a makeup artist after all. Since I knew that I was going to be in a warm & humid environment, I decided to go with airbrushed foundation as it tends to provide a longer lasting yet lighter feeling look. Like I do with any foundation, I primed my skin first using a primer that I could feed through my airbrush gun. I took great care to set my foundation thoroughly with translucent setting powder to lock it in and make it easier to blot later on in the day. I decided to forgo heavy contouring and even blush (since I forgot to pack my blush pallette – boo). As I was keeping the focus on one feature, bold red lips, the rest of my makeup was kept more neutral. I lined my eyes and used a few coats of mascara but eyeshadow was fairly light.

Now we get to the secret weapon – my touch up kit. This is essentially a personalized version of what I give all of my bridal clients to keep on hand. It is very simple: blotting papers to soak up excess oil, lip balm that will truly provide long-lasting moisture, a long wearing lipstick or cream, & a translucent powder to reset your makeup and erase shine. Not pictured is a makeup refreshing spray that I did use one day. The specific products I used are as follows:

  • Nyx Cosmetics blotting papers
  • MAC Retromatte in High Drama
  • Ben Nye Banana Powder
  • Wild Herb Soap Co Lip Balm in “Spearamint” 

My two favorites from this mini kit would be the lip cream and lip balm. I honestly cannot say enough about the lasting power of the Retromatte formula. I only had to touch up my lips twice in 12 hours… that includes eating, drinking and wiping my mouth in between. Part of the lip cream’s power has to do with the moisturizer you use underneath it. That brings me to my second product rave, the lip balm from Wild Herb Soap Co – it’s been my personal favorite for 2 years now. I keep it stashed Everywhere so I am never caught without it. There are no nut oils used so it never gives you that dry feeling you can sometimes get with other natural lip balms, it’s all natural and organic, and you never have to worry about any unwelcome allergic responses. I use it with all of my clients. For the quality and performance, it is surprisingly very inexpensive. Don’t just take my word for it, you can try it for yourself by clicking here. Trust me, it will change your life!

So what did my face look like at the end of the day? See for yourself! The picture below is of my mother and I at around 5pm, after we had been wearing our “faces” since before 6am. Naturally I shared my extensive face-saving knowledge with my best girl. 

As you can see, keeping your makeup looking fresh throught a long day is pretty easy as long as you put a little thought and planning into the types of products you use beforehand. Not having to worry about my face turning into something that resembled those oil stains left behind in the driveway after a leaky car has been there, allowed me to focus on the reason I was at my convention in the first place – to enjoy the association with good friends and feed my soul. I hope these tips will be of assistance to you dear readers – all 5 of you – the next time you have an event that requires you to put your makeup to the test. Most importantly though, remember that no matter what your face or clothing looks like – the most beautiful thing any of us can wear is a genuine smile!

Until next time, keep smiling 🙂

XOXO 

All Dressed Up with Nowhere to Go

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Let’s face it, at some point or another we’ve all experienced the sting of being stood up for a date. The circumstances may vary, but the result is the same; you’ve taken the time and effort, and in some cases gone to expense, to put together your very best outfit, you’ve spent a good amount of time on your hair and makeup and you are eagerly anticipating whatever the evening holds. Then you sit yourself down and await the call or the car to arrive. The agreed upon time comes and goes, yet there you sit, all dolled up, still waiting. If you are like me, you may even wait far past the point where it’s obvious he isn’t going to show – eventually becoming angry at both him for being thoughtless and yourself for continuing to hold on to that tiny bit of hope.

Well dear readers, this very thing happened to me this evening. As embarrassing as it is to admit, this is not the first, second…or third time something like this has happened to me. Every now and then I go against my better judgement and find myself attracted to the type of men who don’t know how to pick up a phone to let me know their plans have changed (simple concept right?) But since this is a beauty related blog and not a place for bad relationship advice, I will tell you how I turned a negative evening into an opportunity for some self care and some much needed self love.

After I finally realized tonight wasn’t happening, I took an inventory of my skin and hair care supplies. I realized that this would be an excellent opportunity to try out some of the new beauty products I had acquired over the past week. I had received a Vox Box product from Influenster with a full size sample of L’Oreal Ever Creme. It’s a 6in1 cleansing balm for “dry damaged hair”, which fits the current situation on top of my head perfectly. I also picked up a skin care set at Sephora today by Belif – it was one of their “Winter Moisture Land” kits that they still had in stock from Christmas. It came with their Aqua bomb moisturizer, Hungarian water essence, and Creamy cleansing foam.
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Bringing my new finds with me, I ran a nice warm shower with a few drops of grapefruit oil on the shower floor for an instant mood lift. I washed my hair with the cleansing balm and immediately felt how soft my curls were becoming from the moisture injection – they sprang back to life. I then washed my face with the creamy cleansing foam which took care of the rest of my makeup and cleansed thoroughly. After I finished my shower and dried off, I added a very small amount of the Ever Creme to my hair as a leave in conditioner. I then used the toner and moisturizers included in my skin care kit.
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I now finish writing this blog entry feeling stress free from the comfort of my bed with soft supple skin and hair that feels repaired and smells wonderful. I would encourage any woman who has been through a similar experience to turn to self love, taking the time to care for yourself as it can do wonders to lift your spirits. It is a much better alternative to letting yourself waste any more time lamenting over someone who, to be honest, wasn’t worth your time in the first place. You will always attract people who treat you the way you treat and value yourself, so why not choose to start loving yourself right here and now so that next time you can spot a waste of time from a mile away. Please don’t evet forget you are all goddesses and you are worthy of being treated as such and should accept nothing less. I thank you for taking this journey with me this evening.

Skin Care and Makeup for Mature Skin (part 1)

I found that my last article on “The Art of Aging Gracefully” was so popular, that I decided to follow it up with an extended discussion on how to take care of mature skin. This will be a two part discussion, with this part focusing on skin care.
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Now, when I talk about mature skin, I am generally speaking of women who are 40+, however this article may also be helpful for those of us who are slightly younger that have less than ideal skin for our age. In addition, it is never too early to establish good skin care habits.

There are two main aspects for a woman to consider when thinking about long term care of her skin and oveall looks – the actual skin care regimen, and makeup choices (application and product types). The problem I run into most with some of my mature clients is that they expect me to work miracles with makeup alone and knock a decade or more off their looks. This is a very difficult situation for a makeup artist, as the most unrealistic requests tend to come from the most demanding clients (which is why just hearing the words mother of the bride will sometimes send me into a desperate search for a Xanax! )

What most women (young and old alike) don’t realize is that, just like any other type of painting, it is crucial to start out with the most flawless canvas possible before you lay down the first brush stroke. This is where good skin care habits come into play. Women who take excellent care of their skin will provide a smooth canvas for makeup application, ensuring a beautiful & even more youthful appearance as the finished product.
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Your face is the only one you have to work with, and unless you plan on shelling out thousands on the Russian roulette game that is plastic surgery, it is wise to start investing your time and energy into taking care of it.

Establishing a solid skin care program as early as possible is the best way to go, letting it get more comprehensive as you age to target specific areas of concern. However, just as it is never too early to start, I also believe it is never too late to decide that you are worth the investment in your skin. The most basic program consists of a good quality mild cleanser, moisturizer and weekly mask. There are thousands of companies that offer packages for skin care, but I simply do not have the time nor point of reference to go into even 1% of them. I can, however give you my opinion on one company that I was introduced to early on & have first hand knowledge of how it can save skin of all ages and types. That is Silk Skin.
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Silk Skin is the product that my mother has always used and it is what I used briefly until I switched over to the oil cleansing method. My mother swears that this line is what has “held her face together” all these years and is such a faithful client that she should have stock options. I find that their products are actually of very good quality. If you find, however, that their prices are a little out of your budget, you can also find excellent kits and packages from companies like Mary Kay and Avon. I feel that it matters less about the brand, and more about having a routine and sticking to it religiously.

No matter what brand you go with, there are certain prudent actions you will want to take to improve and protect your skin. These include, but are not limited to:

*Cleansing daily
*Moisturizing after cleansing
*Exfoliation and/or mask weekly
*Protecting your skin from the sun (I.e. sunscreen and limiting exposure)
*Drinking plenty of water to flush toxins
*Balanced diet that provides essential nutrients
*Reducing and eliminating stress! (This is a big one as stress will not only age you prematurely but it can also shorten your life span)

As I wrap up this segment on skin care, please keep in mind that, while I do have a good deal of practical knowledge about skin care from years of working on peoples’ faces – I am not an esthetician, I am a makeup artist. This information is simply meant to point you in the right direction. In part two I will discuss the types of makeup best for mature skin. You will see in these two articles, that your skin care practices in addition to choosing the correct type of makeup work together in a cohesive fashion. You can’t have one without the other and expect great results – it’s a bit like the proverbial lime in the coconut (not really, but you get my point) 😉

Combating Stressed out Skin…With Oil?

This week has delivered more than its fair share of stress. I have had quite a large workload in addition to a FAST approaching menstrual cycle (ain’t it grand being a girl!) There has, however, been a silver lining to it all, because despite everything else going on – stressed, broken out skin has not once been something I’ve had to worry about. I attribute this, not to any pricey miracle skin care system, but to a few common ingredients that I always have on hand – oil.

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Yes, you heard me correctly. I actually take oil, and rub it into my face on purpose! It is really not as crazy as it may sound, for this is actually a tried and true skin care method that has been around for centuries. It is called the Oil Cleansing Method (or OCM for short). There are articles all over the interweb that go into laborious detail about this routine, its history, and the thousands of oils you can use – I do encourage you to take the time to read more about it if you would like to know the technical, chemical and historical side. However, so as not to stress YOU out with tedious details, I have chosen to give you the simplified version.

The Process
1. First mix about half a tablespoon each of Castor Oil & Olive Oil (I prefer extra virgin) in your hand and massage into your face.

2. If you have a Clarisonic brush, this would replace the little facial brush shown, however both will accomplish the same thing. Use the facial brush to massage the oil further into your skin using soft circular motions. This will serve to exfoliate and stimulate the circulation in your skin and dislodge any dirt or clogged pores.

3. Take a clean washcloth and run it under very hot water from the sink faucet (as hot as you can stand to hold). Squeezing out the excess water, place the heated cloth over your face to steam in the moisturizing oil. Once it cools, simply whipe away any excess oil.

4. Your skin should feel incredibly smooth, soft, and moisturized. However, for those who have more dry skin problems, you can dab on a bit of vitamin E oil in areas that feel a little dry. I also like to use the vitamin E around my eyes and on my forehead to prevent fine lines.

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And that, dear ones, is all I do to keep my skin in good working order. I would like to point out the side by side comparison photo above from October of 2013 to the picture I took this evening. It isn’t a drastic infomercial type difference, however you will notice that my pores are smaller and my skin texture has become much smoother. Oh and did I mention my cycle starts in 2 days! (No major breakouts)

No matter what your skin concerns, I firmly believe you will be very impressed with the effectiveness of this skin care regimen that has stood up to the test of time. Suitable for all skin types, not only will it save you a great deal of money, but you can also rest easier knowing that what you are putting on your skin is something natural,  chemical free, and safe enough to ingest – if you are so inclined (Note: Castor oil is a laxative, if you do feel like ingesting any of these oils – please keep that in mind!).