November Beauty Empties

November Beauty Empties

In November I attempted to challenge myself to stop buying new products because I have a plethora of products in my bathroom and I’m running out of space to put new stuff.  One day I walked into my bathroom and I realized I had 10 different face washes, 5 different skin toners and don’t get me started on scrubs and body lotion.  It was starting to get out of hand. So I decided that each month I’ll keep the bottles of the items I use during the month and blog about what I think about each item I used and if I would purchase them again after emptying the container.

Here’s what I used in November:

Korres Shower Gel $19 (can be found at TJMaxx for $8)

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I went into TJMaxx one day looking to see if they had the Jasmine Sandalwood Dr. Bronners soap but couldn’t find it.  I saw this Korres shower gel and decided to give it a go… It was amazing.  A little bit went a long way and it gave my skin the same tingling feeling I get when i use Dr. Bronners Castile Oil Soap.

Repurchase?  Definitely

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter $3

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I forgot how much I love this product. I’ve been using it for years.  I love that its paraben and sulfate free and it gets my skin really soft during the dry winter months.  My heels suffer big time when the cold weather hits so this is probably going to be a staple in my regimen from now on.

Repurchase? Yes, but only after I run out of my back stock of products.

Shea Moisture Coconut Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie $7

My hair is the texture 4c.  It’s been really hard for me to find products that work for me, so when someone told me to try this Coconut Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie I was a bit skeptical.  But, after trying it for a month I was hooked. Its really thick which is perfect for my coarse hair because it really soaks up the product.  It leaves my curls feeling moist and plump.  This was a major key for me.

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Repurchase?  No, but not because I don’t like the product

* Due to personal reasons, I will no longer be purchasing Shea Moisture products.  I still have a back stock of several of their products and will be doing reviews on what I have left, however I will not be re-purchasing anything. 

Asquith & Somerset Mango Body Cream $13 (Can be found at TJMaxx for $5)

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I’ve loved the Asquith & Somerset line for some years now.  Their scrubs are amazing and super cheap if you buy them from TJMaxx.  I had never tried any of their other products before so I decided on a whim to give this body cream a whirl.  While it moisturized my skin, it wasn’t as thick as I like my lotions and body butters to be so it didn’t really last me very long.  About a week after opening the container I was all out.  usually, my lotions and scrubs last me a very long time.

Repurchase?  No

Giovanni D:tox System Purifying Facial Cleanser $10 (Can be found at TJ Maxx for $6)

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I suffer from cystic acne so I tend to be drawn to products that contain activated charcoal. I had used this product before but its hard to find so when I spotted in TJMaxx I had to grab it.  I’ve posted before about the benefits of activated charcoal and how it helps draw out impurities especially when it comes to cystic acne.  This product really has helped me get my cystic acne under control.

Repurchase? Yes

Julep What Your Skin Needs Restorative Facial Milk $38

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I got this sometime last year when I used to subscribe to the Julep Maven box.  When you’re a Julep Maven, they have secret stores where you can get discounted products and when this one went on sale in the secret store I purchased it, because I remembered how much I loved it when I got it in my first box.  Its light weight, doesn’t leave your skinny oily and nourishes the dryness away.  I love it!

Repurchase? Yes

Shea Shea Bakery Foaming Facial Skin Care (discontinued)

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I absolutely love Shea Shea Bakery.  I post about their products all the time on Instagram.  Unfortunately, this product was the first product I’ve ever used that I didn’t like.   It smelled terrible, like burned rubber and it also didn’t feel like anything was happening to my skin.  It was extremely light weight so it honestly felt like i was washing my face with air.  I realized that its intended for persons with sensitive skin, so I just started using as hand soap when I realized it wasn’t for me.

Repurchase? N/A

Dr. Bronners Castile Oil Soap $10

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I’ve posted before about how much I love Dr. Bronners.  It gives my skin that tingly feel you get when put altoids in your mouth.  Its deep cleansing, mild for sensitive skin and a bottle will last forever!

Repurchase? Yes

 

Glycerin Soap Review

One of my really good friends is always keeping me hip to new things to try.  Recently she told me about glycerin soap and  how it helped bring moisture to her dry skin. During the summer, the majority of my skin is typically pretty moisturized and soft naturally, but my underarms seem to get extremely dry and flaky especially after shaving or waxing. So I decided to try the soap out to see if it would help my issue.

After my conversation with my friend, I immediately went online and purchased a bar from iHerb.com.  I decided on the Unscented version by Clearly Natural Essentials.  It was only $2, I got $5 off of my first purchase so it was actually free so I only paid a portion of the shipping cost.  The awesome thing I liked about iHerb.com is, I got the package in the mail the next day!!!

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Glycerin soap is free of synthetic chemicals and is all natural.  Its perfect for people with sensitive skin or allergies to certain chemicals or synthetic soaps.  You know they had me at “all natural”.   It’s also a humectant, and is capable of drawing moisture to the skin by locking water molecules into it.  The moisturizing benefits of glycerin soap even prevent certain skin problems such as stretch marks and wrinkles.  It also has been known to act as a natural anti aging product.

Since the body wash craze of the 90’s I haven’t  really been a bar soap fan, so this was definitely out of my comfort zone.   While in the shower, I decided to replace my normal shaving cream with glycerin soap and shaved my excess hair as normal.  I was really shocked at how well the soap lathered on my skin.  Based on how the bar of soap looked, I thought it was going to turn into a liquid once hot water hit it.  Normally after shaving, my skin is very dry and sometimes irritated.  But after using the glycerin soap for a few weeks, I noticed that my skin was smooth, the dark spots were not as prevalent and and the irritation had completely gone away.  Glycerin soap is definitely going to be a staple in my home from now on, especially when I have children.

Have you tried glycerin soap?  If so, which one do you use??

Until next time…

Why I Stopped Using Noxema

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Noxema has been a staple in my skin care routine for years.  I can honestly remember seeing a blue Noxema jar on my bathroom counter as far back as the 80’s.  I wasn’t using it back then, but my parents swore by it.  So it was only natural that I would use it too when I was old enough.  I remember how fascinated I was with the smooth creamy texture of it, and how it smelled like mints.  When I was 13 I was finally able to use it, and I have been using it ever since.

In recent years I’ve been a bit more cognizant of what I put in and on my body as far as chemicals.  My diet consists of mostly non GMO and organic foods, and the products I use on my skin are typically organic, vegan/vegetarian, paraben and sulfate free.  I’ve gotten rid of all of my skin care products that were made with harsh chemicals, but for some reason I couldn’t let the Noxema go.  I knew there was nothing about the product that was non GMO or paraben free, but I couldn’t bring myself to stop using it.  A few days ago I decided to check the label for the ingredients and my heart dropped when I researched what I saw.

While the label states that Noxema is filled with Eucalyptus oil, it also has several harsh and dangerous chemicals in it.  Here’s a little info on some of what I found:

  • Propylene Glycol – Has been deemed by the FDA to be “safe” for use in food, but is also used to make artificial fog, and is used as a solvent in the paint and plastic industries.  Depending on the grade of PG being used, it can also be found in coolants and antifreeze.  The grade is never indicated on the Noxema container (side eye).  When used in food, its referred to as a carbohydrate.
  • Stearic Acid – Several studies have linked it to cancer.  Known to cause organ toxicity and neurotoxicity problems
  • Ammonium Hydroxide –  Used in industrial cleaning and tire manufacturing.  Not something I want on my skin.
  • Potassium Chloride – Used in ice melters and is known to cause gastrointestinal distress

These are just a few of the chemicals found in Noxema, but it was enough to get me to stop using it.  This just proves that we need to be pro-active in reading the label of the products we use and consume.  We need to become familiar with the names of the chemicals that have been placed in the items we are purchasing, our bodies will thank us for it later!

Until next time…

My Scrub Day Routine

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Recently on Instagram St Ives asked me “What’s your scrub day routine”.  My typical scrub day (exfoliating day) routine is fairly simple, and only has 4 steps:

  1. To exfoliate I use one of three products from St Ives:
  • Blackhead Clearing Green Tea Scrub
  • Acne Control Apricot Scrub
  • Even & Bright Grapefruit Scrub
      Note: I exfoliate first after I read this article in 2012.

2. To cleanse my skin on scrub day I use the Love Your Bare Face Cleansing Oil by Julep,             since its gentle and wont cause my skin to be irritated after exfoliating

3. To tone, I use the Kiehl’s Rare Earth Pore Refining Tonic

4. To moisturize I use the What Your Skin Needs Restorative Face Milk by Julep

See, my routine is quick and easy! What’s your routine on scrub day?

Until next time…

 

Buyer Beware: Imitation Essential Oils

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I have had a love for essential oils since 2013 when I stopped getting relaxers.  I loved infusing my whipped shea butters and hair cocktails with essential oils like almond, avocado, lavender, jojoba and tea tree.   At the time I started using essential oils  I was purchasing them at Whole Foods and paying $10 or more for each bottle.  Then, I thought I had discovered an easy way out.  I went to TJ Maxx and found some jasmine “essential oil” and it was only $3.  I thought it was too good to be true, it turns out it was!

Due to the high demand of essential oils, many stores are now selling oils that have been cut with synthetics and other chemicals and labeling them as “essential oils”.  Its extremely important to read the label of what you are buying to prevent being scammed by the essential oil label.

How to Tell if its Fake:

  1. Price – Many stores selling imitation essential oils have extremely low prices.  But oils like rose, jasmine, lemon balm and chamomile should always be expensive.  If you find one for $3 chances are its probably cut with synthetics.
  2. The Name – When purchasing essential oils, check to see that the latin name for the plant it derives from is listed.  If you’re buying rose oil, look for rosa damascena  to be listed on the label
  3. How its Harvested – Essential oils come from plants, so its important that they not be treated with any pesticides and are organic.  Check to make sure “wild crafted”  or “USDA Organic” have been listed on the bottle you plan to purchase.  Both of these phrases confirm that the oil has been harvested in the wild and have not been touched by chemicals

In today’s world, so much is hidden from us about whats really in the products we are using, don’t be afraid to question everything and read the label.  Your life depends on it!

Until next time…

Activated Charcoal: The Un-glamorous Key to Glamourous Skin

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Activated charcoal is seriously one of the best things to have in your skin care routine.  I’m sure the first thing many of you are thinking is I’m not putting something I use to grill my food on my face.   Relax!  Grilling charcoal and activated charcoal are two different things.  When used properly, activated charcoal can have numerous benefits when it comes to beauty.

As stated before, activated charcoal is not the same thing grilling charcoal.  So, don’t try to go dip into your 4th of July charcoal stash to make a mask, chances are you’ll end up breaking out.  Even though its not for grilling, it is a medical grade version of whats used in air filtration systems and its used in hospitals to treat poison.  As chemicals bind to the activated charcoal, it removes chemicals from the body.  This is also true for skin care, as dirt and oil from our skin bind to the charcoal, the impurities are removed from our skin. Think of it as a magnet pulling pieces of metal.  This makes activated charcoal an excellent skin purifier.

Activated charcoal is all natural, and it won’t add any harsh chemicals or parabens to your skin.  This means, that there is less of a risk that your pores will be clogged from an ingredient that is meant to clean.

Benefits of Activated Charcoal 

Tackles oily skin – When used as a cleanser or mask, the activated charcoal can remove excess oils from your skin leaving it smoother than a babies bottom

Treats acne – When used in soap form, the gritty texture provides gentle exfoliating needed to treat acne.  Since it is a deep cleaner, it absorbs the oil and toxins below the surface of the skin that cause acne.  It can even be used a spot treatment.

Deep cleans your skin –  Say bye-bye to those chemical filled deep cleansers you’ve been buying.  The magnetic feature of activated charcoal can gently pull out any unwanted toxins out of your skin.  Be careful not to use activated charcoal daily, as it can remove the healthy oils your skin needs in order to stay moisturized.

Soothes skin irritations –  When applied as a paste, activated charcoal can help absorb venom and infection.  It can also bring swelling down and ease the pain.  To make the paste, simply add a tiny bit of water to activated charcoal powder and keeping mixing and adding until a spreadable substance is formed.

Products to Use

DIY Activated Charcoal Mask:

  1. 2 capsules of activated charcoal (purchase as any health food/vitamin store)
  2. 1/2 teaspoon of bentonite clay
  3. 1 1/2 teaspoons of water
  4. 1/2 teaspoon of sugar (optional if you want to make a polishing mask)

Mix all of the ingredients together and voila! You have your DIY charcoal mask.  Leave the mask on for about 10 minutes.  Rinse off and pat your face dry with a towel.  Proceed with your normal beauty regimen

(Note: be sure to use a metal spoon when mixing since both the clay and the charcoal pull toxins from metal.  Also, be sure to store your clay in a non metal container)

If you’re not into the DIY thing, here are my favorite products to buy in stores:

  1. Aspen Kay Naturals Dead Sea Mineral Mud $9 Amazon
  2. Freeman Beauty Charcoal & Black Sugar Polishing Mask $4 Ulta
  3. Origins Clear Improvement $17 Macy’s 
  4. Dark Angels $13 Lush
  5. Giovanni D:tox System Purifying Facial Cleanser $7 iHerb
  6. Boscia Detoxifying Black Cleanser $28 Sephora

 

Honestly I could list a million products that I like to use with activated charcoal, I’ll  just stop here!  Are you guys already using products that contain activated charcoal?  What are your favorites???

Until next time…

Mineral Sunscreen vs. Chemical Sunscreen

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It’s officially summer!!!  I’m not sure about the other areas of the country, but in the DC area its been a long time coming!  Winter stuck around far too long and pretty much kidnapped spring and summer hit us with a BANG!!!  I’m so ready for street festivals, movies on the lawn, outdoor concerts and wine festivals!  With all of the outdoor activities that go hand in hand with summer, its important to include a good sunscreen in your daily routine.

Even though it should be worn year round, sunscreen becomes a staple in most people’s beauty routine during the summer months.  One of the biggest questions people have when it comes to using sunscreen is which is better: chemical sunscreen or physical sunscreen (also known as mineral sunscreen)?

Mineral Sunscreen –  Contains active mineral ingredients like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.  These minerals work by actually sitting on top of the skin which allows it to push UV rays away from the skin. Mineral sun screen is frequently referred to as “Physical Suncreen”  or “Physical Blockers”

Pros of Mineral Sunscreen

  •  Mineral sunscreen works as soon as it is applied, no need to wait
  • Lasts longer when in direct contact with UV rays
  • Longer shelf life
  • Protects against both UV and UVB rays
  • Perfect for sensitive skin, because it rarely clogs pores
  • Ideal for persons that suffer from rosacea and redness since it pushes away heat from the skin
  • Won’t cause stinging if it drips into the eyes from sweat

Cons of Mineral Sunscreen

  • Requires frequent application due to it rubbing off easily
  • Not ideal for daily use under makeup due to it potentially being opaque
  • Tends to be thicker, making it hard to rub in
  • Can be less effective if not applied properly since UV rays can sneak between the sunscreen and hit the skin

Chemical Suncreen –  Contains organic compounds like octisalate, octinoxate and avobenzone.  These compounds create a chemical reaction and convert UV rays into heat, the skin then releases the heat.  Chemical sunscreen is often referred to as “Chemical Absorbers” or “Organic Absorbers”

Pros of Chemical Sunscreen

  • Spreads easily on the skin due to it being thinner than physical sunscreen
  • No risk of spaces between sunscreen, so less is needed
  • Less expensive and can be found in discount stores like Dollar Tree
  • Formula is easier to add additional treatment ingredients, such as peptides and enzymes, which offer other skin benefits

Cons of Chemical Suncreen

  • Leaves an ashy film on darker skin tones
  • Can cause stinging if drips into the eyes from sweating
  • Can clog pores for those with oily skin
  • Requires a 30 minute wait after application in order to be effective
  • Can cause brown spots and discoloration due to heat
  • Risk of irritation for those that may have dry skin

 

If you’re confused about which type of sunscreen to use, then I recommend looking for a sunscreen that uses both chemical and mineral compounds for a happy medium, Dermstore has an excellent selection of chemical and physical sunscreens.

Which SPF is Best?

I’ve always been taught to use a mimimum of SPF 30 for sunscreen and a maximum of SPF 50.  According to WebMD any products over SPF 50 is “just silly”.  Sunscreens with higher SPF rating block a bit more UVB rays  but NONE offer 100% protection.   The FDA is actually trying to ban products over SPF 50 since there is no scientific proof that they offer stronger/longer protection than lower numbers.

What do I use?

For mineral sunscreen I like to use Mustela SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen, even though its for babies.  I just like how lightweight it is and the mild scent

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Nordstrom $22

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 If I’m using a chemical sunscreen, I like to use Anthelios 45 Body by La Roche-Posay.  Its excellent for sensitive skin, since I’m prone to body acne during the summer its definitely a staple for me

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Amazon $37

One extra product I like to use with my sunscreens is a vitamin C serum to prevent visible aging and increase the effectiveness of my sunscreen.  I love to use the Serious-C Serious Beyond serum by Serious Skin Care

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$70 Home Shopping Network

 

I hope I’ve provided a bit of insight on mineral and chemical sunscreens.  It will take a bit of trial and error to determine which product is best for you.  Remember, when it comes to skin care you get what you pay for.  Don’t be afraid to empty your piggy bank to find the right product that works for you.

Until next time…

Fasting, and Your Skin

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This is the time of year where many people are entering into spiritual fasts.  A spiritual fast is a period of time where on abstains from pleasurable activities.  This could mean fasting from various foods, television, shopping or even alcohol.

Many people use this time to abstain from meats and sugary foods, allowing their body to detoxify.  The detoxification period allows your body to reset itself and get rid of all impurities that form in the body when consuming bad foods.  While it can make your body feel renewed and rejuvenated, this period can cause some major or minor issues wit your skin.

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When your body is detoxifying, it is looking for ways to rid the body of impurities.  These impurities can be release in many ways, through bowel movements, cold like symptoms, Boils, cold sores, or even breakouts.  For me, when I fast my skin becomes very dry and I suffer from severe breakouts.  I realized that when fasting I needed to modify my skin care routine so that my skin is cared for properly during the fast.

Here are some tips:

1. Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of water, this allows your skin cells to rehydrate
2. Moisturize often – During this time your skin may be drier than usual (make sure your moisturizer has some form of sun protectant)
3. Avoid Scrubbing – Your skin may be in a sensitive state during this time so try to avoid harsh exfoliants to avoid further breakouts.  If you normally use a harsh exfoliator try replacing it with something less harsh like baking soda.
4. Tone Daily – Toning sets your skin back to its normal pH, during fasting our pH may be thrown off more than usual
5. Take your vitamins! Our bodies will be missing certain nutrients while we are not eating meat so its important to replenish our bodies with the nutrients that are missing.  During fasts I try to remember to take a Fish oil vitamin, biotin and a multi-vitamin.
6. Try to avoid dairy – The natural hormones (pregnant cows) in dairy can sometimes cause our skin to break out.
There are a few foods that you can consume during the fast that promote good skin care.
  • Avocados
  • Green Tea
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggs
  • Pomegranates
  • Walnuts
  • Beans

Add these items to your diet during your fast and you will notice a major difference in your skin during the fast and after you break it.

 

God bless, and godspeed during your fast.  Remember this is a temporary sacrifice but the rewards of fasting will stay with you forever!

Until next time lovies…