We all have the occasional pimple that seems to come out at the worst time, like right before an event. The key for me is finding a spot treatment that will dry out the pimple but also bring down the inflammation. Salicylic acid is one of the most common ingredients in over the counter spot treatments. This topical acne treatment is used to treat acne, dandruff, psoriasis, dermatitis of the scalp, corns, and even calluses. Salicylic acid works by dissolving the substance that causes cells to stick together. This makes it easier to shed skin cells. In many cases, acne occurs because the pore is clogged with dead skin cells that need to be exfoliated. Salicylic acid treats the breakout by reducing inflammation, and redness, and unplugging the blocked pore. In the past when I have first started using a salicylic acne treatment, my skin was very dry and a little irritated, but this only occurred at the beginning of use. I simply used less product less often and did not have any more issues going forward.
My favorite acne spot treatment is the Juice Beauty Blemish Be Gone. This product not only contains Salicylic acid but Vitamin C as well. I love how this product is packaged—perfect for on the go! This is definitely a product you want to keep in your purse so you can catch the first signs of a breakout. This salicylic acid reduces the size of my blemish right away, while the Vitamin C works on evening out the tone and texture of my skin. The aloe, green and white teas help to hydrate and sooth my skin so that over-drying does not occur. This is a must-have for every acne-prone client who needs something fast, easy, and very effective.
If you’re a makeup lover like me, you probably dread removing it at the end of the day. But removing makeup and cleansing your skin before bed is very important, because while you sleep, your skin is in repair mode. Failing to cleanse the skin at night can lead to the accumulation of environmental pollutants in the skin, which then leads to free radical damage, which can cause premature aging. There are many different makeup removers and cleansers on the market, and as a makeup lover I have tried them all, from wipes and cream cleansers to micellar waters. Here are a few of my favorites:
UltraLuxe Nourishing Wash. This is an oil-based cleanser that is meant to be used on dry skin. It contains 7 nourishing essential oils that leave the skin comfortably clean and free of all traces of makeup (even waterproof). Don’t be afraid to use an oil cleanser if you have oily skin, as oil actually helps to break down the oils in the skin, so your other products can penetrate better.
Koh Gen Do Cleansing Water Cloth. I love keeping wipes by my bed. Let’s face it, we all have those days where we’re too tired to stand at the sink and wash our face at the end of the day. Wipes are the most convenient way to remove makeup. These wipes remove even the most stubborn eye makeup and feel like nothing more than water. They are alcohol-, mineral oil-, and fragrance-free and also contain skin-nourishing herbs.
NUXE Micellar Cleansing Water. Micellar waters are like 3 products in 1. They remove makeup and impurities, cleanse, and tone. I love this one by NUXE because it contains hyaluronic acid and leaves the skin soft and hydrated.
First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser. A gentle cream cleanser that is not only great for dry, sensitive skin, but also effectively removes makeup. A pea size amount is all you need for each use; this cleanser creates a soft lather that leaves skin feeling supple and hydrated.
The only sponge you’ll ever need. Many brands have tried to duplicate it, but none compare. Created by a Hollywood makeup artist, Beautyblender’s unique egg shape is designed to cover 360 degrees and fit into all the contours of the face. The Beautyblender is latex-free and made from a proprietary hydrophilic sponge material that is made to absorb only water. This means that once the sponge is wet, it won’t absorb whatever cosmetic you’re applying. Every sponge is handmade and dyed with all natural vegetable dyes.
You can apply everything: moisturizer, sunscreen, primer, foundation, powders, highlighters, bronzers, and even self-tanners. Applying products with a sponge gives a more even, flawless application then you’d get with a brush or your fingers. Be sure to wet the Beautyblender and squeeze out the excess water, (I squeeze it into a paper towel) before each use. I like to apply moisturizer, primer, and foundation to the back of my hand, dip the Beautyblender into the product, and then apply. Apply product in a bouncing or twisting motion to achieve a flawless airbrushed-like effect. I use the Beautyblender daily because I like the convenience of using one sponge to apply several different products. I apply moisturizer, primer, foundation, concealer, and setting powder with the same sponge. I love how easy it is to blend with it, and if you make a mistake or apply to much product you can gently rub away your mishap.
The best way to clean the Beautyblender is with their solid cleanser. I soak the sponge in hot water for a few minutes then rub it in the solid cleanser, lather and rinse thoroughly. The container the original Beautyblender comes in is the perfect size to rest it on to let it dry. Each sponge is meant to last three months with daily use and proper care.
Masks have a variety of beneficial functions for the skin. They come in many types, as the do perks. You can find masks for brightening, hydrating, purifying, soothing, exfoliating and/or restoring. A mask can really boost the effectiveness of your regimen, no matter your skin type. You’ll get the greatest benefits out of a mask after exfoliation. Twice a week is all it takes to bring your skin into balance and create a youthful radiance!
Sheet masks are a great way to relax after a long day. They are pre-soaked, with cutouts for your eyes, nose and mouth. Simply unfold the sheet, place the cutouts over the appropriate areas and smooth the mask over your face to ensure it is flush with your skin. If you have time, lie down and soak in all the nutrients. Typically, the sheet has some extra residue even after you’ve used it. Don’t waste it. Rub it over the back of your hands, neck and decollate for an extra treatment! One of my favorites is the SkinCeuticals Biocellulose Restorative mask. It will soothe and cool while deeply hydrating.
Mud or Clay Masks are great for pulling out impurities from the skin and de-toxifying. If you have congestion such as blackheads or whiteheads this would be your go-to complexion picker-upper! Depending on the formulation, mud and clay are a little richer and a little harder to remove. You can help dissolve this type of mask a little by adding water to it and emulsifying before you remove it. One of our newest masks is the Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud mask. A little warning: it’s dark green like the moor mud so you may just blend in if you are going to the forest. If you need camo, this is your mask! But seriously, it’s a great choice and it was surprisingly easy to remove. Also the Somme Institute Boost Mask warms, exfoliates, purifies, hydrates and soothes, all with a heavenly pumpkin aroma.
Lastly, the most common type of mask—cream, is the best for almost any situation. Alchimie Forever’s Kantic Brightening Moisture Mask is amazing before an event. Intensely hydrating and brightening, it truly leaves you with an irresistible glow. Just smooth over clean skin, leave on for 10 minutes, or as long as time allows, and rinse with a washcloth.
Any formulation you choose will help you maximize the results of your regimen.
Are you tired of endlessly searching for different products in an effort to give your hair some extra oomph? Weary of product claims that fall short? Well look no further, your go-to regimen is here! Alterna Caviar Repair RX Transformation Kit is a naturally-formulated line (meaning no parabens, sulfates or phthalates) that will do exactly what is says—repair your hair! One of my favorite features about the Alterna hair care line is that all of their products are highly concentrated, meaning that you only have to use small amounts. Another nice feature about this kit is that you get a complete hair care regimen for about ¼ of the cost.
This kit includes trial size shampoo, conditioner, a treatment masque and a styling protein cream. It all comes in a cute, convenient travel bag. The Caviar Repair RX Instant Recovery Shampoo is a thick luxurious shampoo which replenishes moisture, protects color and has strand-building proteins, which help to reconstruct the hair individually. The Caviar Repair RX Instant Recovery Conditioner, much like the shampoo, helps to protect hair color, restore and rebalance moisture and prevent future damage. Within just one week, you’ll notice your hair feeling softer and silkier and overall, HEALTHIER! The Caviar Repair RX Fill and Fix Treatment Masque is a wonderful weekly treatment to give your hair that extra oomph. This hair masque has strong strand-building proteins which help to restructure, fill in any gaps and smooth the hair cuticle. Using it about once a week will give you the best results. The final product in the kit, Caviar Repair RX Re-Texturizing Protein Cream, is a thick, luscious styling cream that will help transform dry, brittle hair, making it manageable and silky-smooth. This product is best applied when hair is damp, before styling.
Do you suffer from dry skin? Are you using retinols, or do you travel frequently? A good hydrating mask is something everyone can benefit from, whether you have dry skin or not. There a few different ways you can use these masks. Apply a thin layer at night and sleep with the mask in place of a nighttime moisturizer and you will wake up with smooth, perfectly-hydrated skin. Apply in the morning after you cleanse, leave on for 10-15 minutes, then cleanse or tissue off and proceed with your normal skin care regimen. Feel like you’re always on an airplane? Flying is very dehydrating to the skin. You can apply a mask at the beginning of your flight instead of a moisturizer, or use it once you touch down to combat your skin’s dehydration. Everyone can benefit from a hydrating mask every now and then. Here are a few I recommend:
Sothys Hydradvance Mask: This mask contains two types of hyaluronic acid; one that penetrates the skin deeply, and one that sits on the top layer for an instantly smooth result.
Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Mask: This mask contains hyaluronic acid as well as Vitamin B5 that is reparative and provides the skin with essential nutrients.
ARCONA Wine Hydrating Mask: This mask contains nourishing macadamia nut oil which mimics the skin’s natural oil, as well as hyaluronic acid.
Brows are the most important feature on your face in my opinion. A poorly defined brow can accentuate what you don’t like about your face as well as the shape. It’s best to stick with the natural shape of your brows and just clean them up a little, but if you’re like me and you weren’t blessed with a naturally flattering brow line that compliments the shape of your face, here are some recommendations for selecting a shape that’s flattering for your face.
If your face is round, the goal is to make the face appear longer by creating a high arch. A high-arched brow follows a straight line from the beginning of the brow to the arch; this creates a vertical line on the face which diverts the attention from the roundness.
Oval is considered the ideal face shape, so the brows don’t play a hugely important role. However, the ideal shape for oval faces tends to be a softer angled brow. This brow shape goes straight to the arch and then has a gentle curve from the arch to the end of the eye. Jessica Alba is the perfect example of an oval face with a soft angled brow.
Heart-shaped faces look best with a softer, rounded brow. The arch of the brow should be soft and feminine to accentuate the beautiful shape of the face. Think of the point of the chin as the end of the heart and the arches as the top of a heart.
Long faces should have a flattering brow shape to detract from the elongation and make them appear shorter. Sarah Jessica Parker is a great example of a long face shape with a flat brow. The square-shaped face has a strong, angular jaw line, and a fuller brow with a soft arch helps balance the angular shape of the face. Demi Moore and Cara Delevingne both have this brow perfected!
Last but not least, we have the diamond-shaped face. A highly-curved brow helps to soften the appearance of the widest portion of the diamond. Create an almost-straight line upward from the beginning of the brow to the iris of the eye, then angle the brow downward from the arch. Linda Evangelista has a diamond-shaped face and a highly-arched brow to suit her shape.
I recommend that you see a licensed esthetician to help you select a brow shape suitable for you, then maintain by tweezing and filling in the brows between visits. Anastasia has a brow kit with stencils if your brows are very thin or sparse and need a lot of filling in.
3. Clarisonic Mia 2 Value Set – Help mom cleanse her skin 6 times more effectively than just a wash cloth, with a Clarisonic Mia 2. The Mia 2 has two different cleansing speeds and is one of our bestselling models. I love this set because it comes with a sensitive brush head as well as a radiance brush head, and the color is fresh for spring.
4. SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Mask – One of our bestselling hydrating masks is the perfect pick me up after a long day, or can even be worn overnight to reveal plumper smoother skin in the morning.
5. Jurlique Hand Cream Trio – Pamper her with this luxurious trio. It contains 3 of Jurlique’s bestselling hand creams: Rose, Lavender, and Citrus. Mom is sure to find a scent she loves, and her hands will be smooth as silk.
6. Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Replenishing Moisture Duo – A shampoo and conditioner duo that leaves hair silky smooth and doesn’t contain any harsh Parabens, Sulfates, Phthalates. Our customers rave about this stuff and say it’s worth every penny.
7. L’Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil – This lightweight oil leaves skin soft and smooth. I love the light almond scent and the way my skin feels after it’s applied, so I’ve ditched traditional body creams for this amazing oil.
8. Kneipp Red Poppy and Hemp Pure Bliss Herbal Bath – Does your mom enjoy a relaxing bath? This is a perfect addition to her routine if she does. Kniepp uses essential oils of red poppy and hemp. One of our estheticians swears by this stuff and said it helps her wind down after a long day.
9. Trind Perfect Nail and Cuticle Nail Kit – Help Mom’s nails stay strong and less brittle with this bestselling kit. The kit contains a cuticle balsam, nail balsam, and Trind’s bestselling Nail repair, which tightens the proteins in the nails for stronger, healthier nails.
10. Kniepp Healthy Feet Foot repair – Does Mom suffer from dry cracked feet? This is one of the best foot creams I’ve tried. A little goes a long way, and it absorbs quickly enough to be able to apply, slip on your sandals, and go.
Many of us love using glycolic products on our faces, but haven’t used them for extra exfoliation on the body. The benefits are incredible when you switch to a glycolic body lotion as your moisturizer. Glycolic Acid exfoliates dead surface skin cells and debris. Using a glycolic acid all over the body will smooth out rough skin, and it’s great for people who struggle with Keratosis Pilaris symptoms. My favorite is the Glytone Body lotion. This lotion contains 17.5% glycolic acid. It is very rich in moisture and gives my skin a beautiful glow all year long.
When your skin has a buildup of dead cells, it can lack luster, have an uneven tone, and not be quite as soft as you’d like. You may require more exfoliation than a standard shower scrub offers. A glycolic lotion is great for the dry spots such as elbows, knees and heels, plus will also help with the itchy red bumps on the back of the arms, known as Keratosis Pilaris, or KP. In the past I have always had little red bumps on my legs after shaving, but after using a glycolic lotion this problem has gone away! As a freckly girl I am always looking for products that will reduce the pigmentation and after using this product for a couple months, I was shocked to realize that my skin tone is much more even than it has ever been.
The benefits of using a glycolic acid are endless: Cleans the pores, helps with ingrown hairs, scarring, skin texture, skin tone, and much more. Spring and summer are right around the corner, which makes it the perfect time to get your body looking its best!
Bring the luck of the Irish home with you with this mask! Irish Moor Mud comes from the Irish countryside, which is full of rich, nutrient-dense black soil, said to be a 9,000-year-old beauty secret. This mask is perfect for any skin type. Moor mud is the result of the natural disintegration of vegetation over thousands of years. It contains minerals, trace elements, amino, and fatty acids. Like a “Garden of Eden” for the skin, this mud is deeply nourishing and healing for the skin. To get more out of the Moor mud mask, Peter Thomas Roth also added Hijiki Seaweed, a black sea vegetable found off the coasts of Korea, Japan, and China. Seaweed deeply hydrates and is rich in vitamins B1, B2, and C. Volcanic Ash and Charcoal are also added to detoxify and draw out impurities.
Sunday is my mask night, and since my skin has been congested in some areas and dry in others, I decided to give this mask a go. I applied a thin layer and left in on for 20 minutes even though the instructions say to leave it on for 10. The mask has a thick gel consistency that doesn’t create a drying effect like traditional mud masks. I noticed my skin looked radiant and was soft to the touch after I removed it. I was impressed! Usually I follow up mud masks with a really hydrating mask or moisturizer to combat that dry, tight feeling I despise. Not this time! I loved how my skin looked and felt. I am going to incorporate it into my routine a few times a week because I loved the cooling effect and the results. If you’re not feeling very festive this year, celebrate St. Paddy’s Day at home with this lucky Irish gem!