Choosing Skincare :: Some Real Life Examples

Woman using iPad by timothy muzat Unsplash

So we’ve been talking about how to choose the right skincare for your skin type and particular issues. As straightforward as that may be, sometimes it helps to have a real life example. Or four. Here ya go…

Example #1: Here is what my skin care profile looks like…

Skin type: I have dry skin that can be sensitive
Issues: I am allergic to aloe vera
Likes, Dislikes & Ideals: I don’t like products that have a strong scent or are too “earthy”, they must be high performance, and preferably cruelty-free.

While I sometimes purchase ingredients for sensitive skin, I am first on the lookout for products that are suited to dry skin. Keeping my skin hydrated usually keeps redness and irritation at bay. While many chemical skin care ingredients irritate my skin, there are some natural ones that do too. These are the more heavily scented ingredients, like tea tree or mint. I read my labels and skip anything heavy on aloe. If I end up with a product that is too strongly scented or looks like putty-colored pudding I will send it back.

Example #2: This is from one of my readers…

Skin type: “super-sensitive and acne-prone without being particularly oily or dry”
Issues: Drugstore brand products for sensitive skin cause breakouts, those for acne cause dryness
Likes, Dislikes & Ideals: Looking to switch from conventional products to nontoxic. Btw, she mentioned she is active and a healthy eater, so the culprit has to be the skin care.

This woman most likely has Normal skin type that is sensitive to synthetics. These harsh ingredients imbalance the skin, which causes irritation, and natural oil production ramps up causing breakouts. Using too many different products at once can also throw skin into imbalance.

Solution: Use nontoxic products formulated for Normal skin type. If these products still cause skin to become irritated, see if there is a similar ingredient(s) in the product compared to that of the drugstore brands she’s been using. If she still has issues with acne after switching to nontoxic products (give it a week or so) try natural acne treatments designed to be gentle and non-drying. My guess is that simply switching to toxin-free skin care will balance her skin and bring back a clear, healthy complexion.

Example #3: Also from a reader…

Skin type: Sensitive
Issues: Dry, flaky skin in the winter and fairly sensitive to soaps, foaming agents, and fragrance ingredients.
Likes, Dislikes & Ideals: Would like some anti-aging benefits (lightening of spots and softening/preventing wrinkles)

Solution: Most sensitive skin types do well with a milk or cream cleanser, versus a foaming cleanser which can be too drying. If you need a foamy cleanser, say after workouts, use it only when necessary and opt for a cream cleanser (or just warm water) the rest of the time. Dry, irritated skin is a common symptom of over cleansing.

Safe nontoxic skin care brands use natural fragrance ingredients, but even these can irritate sensitive skin. She should opt for fragrance-free moisturizers or those made specifically for sensitive skin. A rich cream moisturizer, or even a balm, will help to relieve excessive dryness in winter. As for the anti-aging and spots: rosehip oil is gentle, softens lines, and helps to reduce the appearance of spots and scars. This oil can be used on its own, and is used in many products for sensitive skin. Love it!

Example #4: Also from a reader…

Skin type: Oily
Issues: Acne, flakiness, clogged pores, but no allergies
Likes, Dislikes & Ideals: Interested in DIY skin care

Solution: Oily skin and acne go hand in hand. But flakiness? Doesn’t that sound more like a dry skin problem? Nope. Many people with oily skin, who are prone to acne, end up with flakiness. This is due to the products and measures they use to get rid of the acne. Even oily skin types benefit from moisturizer and most often people in this skin type will skip this important step.

“My skin is already oily, why would I apply moisturizer to it?”

Guess what happens if you don’t. Skin becomes dry due to lack of moisture, cleansing and over-zealous scrubbing and treating. This causes flakiness. The skin then attempts to self-remedy the situation by producing more oil, which gets trapped under the layer of dry skin, and *voila* you have zits.

This woman should purchase nontoxic skincare designed for Oily skin. Including a light, balancing moisturizer. Those made for oily/acne skin types use lighter emollient ingredients that will balance oil production and keep pores clear. A great place to start with DIY skincare is exfoliation. All skin types benefit from this step, and it should be done regularly. A mixture of organic sugar, organic milk and a dab of honey is my absolute favorite scrub for the whole body, including face. Always massage gently when exfoliating.

*Image by Timothy Muza at

Reconstructed :: Alexa Chung’s Signature Makeup Look

Alexa Chung Makeup Look Reconstructed

I came across this video on of Alexa Chung doing her own makeup. Pretty cool. Alexa has that 70’s makeup vibe down pat.

How about we reconstruct her look with all natural products? Here is what I’d use:

1 :: Kjaer Weis Cream Foundation

2 :: RMS Beauty “Un”-Cover-Up Concealer

3 :: 100% Pure Dual-Ended Creamstick Cholcolate/Champagne

4 :: Benecos Natural Liquid Eyeliner in Black

5 :: Dr. Hauschka Mascara in Black

6 :: RMS Lip2Cheek in Smile

7 :: Ilia Beauty Organic Lipstick in Humble Me

We All Have Issues

Girl with hair mustache by Shandi-lee Cox at

Last week we talked skin types and how knowing yours will help you to purchase the right skincare products for your skin. This week we are taking things one step further. Let’s talk issues.

Whether it is added dryness in winter or an ongoing issue, like rosacea or eczema, it is important to use products formulated to work on your skin’s needs.

This is also where allergies enter the picture. I happen to be allergic to aloe. It is a great ingredient (and widely used in natural skincare) but hives do not look good on me so I avoid anything that contains a lot of aloe. If you are sensitive to certain ingredients, scan labels to see if products include them. Easy enough.

Now name your likes, dislikes, and ideals.

Start with your likes and dislikes. Do you hate using anything even slightly greasy? Maybe you cannot stand the scent of rose. Some like a thick mascara, others like something a little thinner. If you purchase products that you feel you should like, but really cannot stand, you are not going to use them. I speak from personal experience, I’m sure you have been there too.

In this category also fall your ideals — gluten-free, vegan, cruelty-free. These will be marked on products or at the manufacturer website.

Now you know your skin type, your skin issues, and your likes and dislikes where skin care is concerned. Taking them into account when shopping will help you to buy the perfect product for your skin. You wouldn’t go grocery shopping without a list, would you?

Have questions? Ask them in the comments. That’s what I’m here for!

*Image by Shandi-lee Cox at, cc

What’s Your Type?

Girl in Sunglasses by Viktor Hanacek a tpicjumbo

Skin type that is.

Seems like a simple enough question, right? And you probably think you know the answer. But are you using the best products for your skin?

Here’s the deal…

Many women use the wrong skin care for their skin. Just because a product or line keeps your best friend/sister/favorite movie star looking gorgeous does not mean it will do the same for you. Maybe it will, maybe not. Rather than purchasing the most popular products, look at your own skincare needs. Most skincare creators design products for specific skin types or concerns and say so on the package. The stores I shop also sort by skin type, making it easier to search.

Not sure what your skin type is? Here is a snapshot of each skin type:

Normal/Combination – Normal skin type appears neither overly oily or overly dry, but balanced and supple with minimal breakouts. Normal skin that is oily, or becomes oily throughout the day, in the T-zone (forehead, nose, chin) is considered Combination skin. For combination skin you may need to use different products on the T-zone than you do on the rest of the face. Remember: even normal skin can become dry, irritated, and broken out.

Dry – Dry skin may appear dry, taut, flaky, dull, or irritated. This skin type usually has few breakouts, but tends to show signs of aging earlier than oilier skin types. Sensitive is often associated with dry skin, as is mature skin type because our skin tends to become more dry as we age.

Oily/Acne – Oily skin appears oily, shiny, and is prone to breakouts, though this skin type usually sees fewer lines and wrinkles. Oily skin is often associated with acne.

Mature – Mature skin is that over 40 which is beginning to show signs of aging – fine lines, wrinkles, sagging, and increasing dryness.

Sensitive – Sensitive skin is usually, but not always, thin and fair. Prone to irritation, this skin type is often associated with dry skin but can be oily or normal.

*Image by Viktor Hanacek at

Monday Vibe

Motivational Monday

You always hear about people taking Fridays off. I, personally, find it much more difficult to get going at the beginning of the week than the end. Maybe it is a personal preference sort of things but… Whatd’ya say? How about Mondays off?

Ok, most of us can’t just take every single Monday completely off, but we can afford 5-30 minutes of pure enjoyment. So here is my deal for you. On Mondays I will post something entertaining, mildly informative, pretty or otherwise purely gratifying. All for you.

Let’s kick things off with some things I’ve been pinning for a while now on my Motivation board. Stuff that makes me want to workout, people who inspire, quotes that clear things right up, and thigs that generally get me revved.

If you find a pin that ties in with this Motivational Monday vibe, pin it and add #motivationalmondayvibe in the description so the rest of us get to see it too.

Happy Monday!

A Sampling :: Vered, One Love Organics, Tata Harper…

Beauty sample basket

Want a peek at what’s in my samples basket right now? Chock full.

Brands and PR reps are always sending me green beauty samples. Which I love. But sometimes I get a wee bit behind.

So many yummy things to try. Not everything rings my bell, but some of these products have been on my to-sample list for a while. Like…

Anything Vered. I did include their Cacao Vanilla Bean Mask in this diy facial.

One Love Organics Discover Brand New Day. Have heard so much good buzz around this product. I’ve had a chance to use it once, and would say it is a cleanser meets scrubs meets mask that is both gentle and hard working. More on that soon.

Anything Tata Harper that I haven’t already tried. One of my favorite brands, I always love to see Tata products arrive in my mailbox. Have sun spots? I do, and plan to put that brightening serum to the test.

All natural lash enhancer! How sweet is that ?! BUT, I’m allergic to aloe, which is one of its main ingredients, so I will have to pawn this one off on someone else, which shouldn’t be too tough. Shucks.

While I wade through my testers, how about you tell me what’s on your green beauty wish list. Mineral sunscreen? Self tanner? New peachy makeup for summer? I’ll try to point you in the right direction. Who knows, maybe it’s in my basket right now.

Organic DIY Facial

DIY Organic Facial

Most of us have a love/hate with facials. Love because, well, they make your skin look and feel so gosh darn gorgeous. Hate because who has time to go get a professional facial? If you do get these little luxuries on a regular basis, I worship you. But if you are like me, you’d rather lie on the couch and catch the finale of Southern Charm if you have a few extra minutes than hop back in the car to drive across town yet another time.

So I decided to create a spa style facial right in my very own bathroom. And with all organic products, of course.

This 3-step facial goes like this: Exfoliate away dry dead skin cells, absorb excess oil and dirt from pores, and give skin a good boost of healthy hydration. The three luscious products I chose for this facial are listed below, and the sweeties behind these brands were nice enough to send them over to me.

For the exfoliation step I went with Vered Botanicals Cacao Vanilla Bean Mask. It is dark brown and smells like something you would want to taste. If you were a chocolate lover. Which I am. So I did. The mask does taste good, but what it does to your skin is even better. I massaged in a small amount with my fingers and a little warm water, then left it to dry for about 10 minutes. My skin felt warm, like the mask was doing something, in a good way.

After rinsing with warm water I moved on to the absorption phase with Wedderspoon Organic Raw Manuka Honey Active 16+. Yes, it is honey, and if you have not heard of the healing and softening properites honey has over skin, take my word for it. My skin was so soft after these first two steps I could easily have stopped there.

But I didn’t. The final phase was the super smoothing Amala Intensive Brightening Mask. This treatment goes on like moisturizer, and feels super soothing and pampering. Once removed, my skin looked plumper and had a serious glow.

Anyone can do this simple facial. If your skin is seriously sensitive you may want to leave each mask on for less time, and always go easy on the exfoliating. I followed these 3 steps up with my favorite moisturizer and a dab of facial oil. Can’t wait to do it all again.

Product Love :: Yuzen Beauty Box

Yuzen Box Review

You know how the subscription box is a big deal now? Snacks, clothes, beauty supplies…

Here’s my deal with a beauty box: It needs to be filled with products that are not easy to get samples of, stuff you super bad want to try, items that make you are excited to try.

That’s how I felt about Yuzen. I’ve sampled many of these beauty boxes, so when the folks at Yuzen asked if they could send me one I didn’t have high hopes for it being something new and different.

From the packaging down to the actual products, I was impressed. The contents are pretty and I did feel excited about the products. Two of the items were on my must-try list, and they are all absolutely nontoxic. Totally love that!

Here’s what the Yuzen box included:

Acure Organics Radical Resurfacing Facial Treatment – One of the items on my must-try list, but can’t use it because of the aloe allergy. My sister is testing it out (and excited to do so), so I’ll let you know on that in the near future.

Balanced Guru Balm Me Up – I tried this balm over the winter and it is a favorite around our house. Not sad to see another one show up.

Chocolove Cherries and Almonds Chocolate Bar – Chocolate doesn’t last long on my desk. T’was delicious and a fun addition to the box.

Lotus Wei Infinite LoveMist – I’ve been wanting to try this brand but, honestly, had kind of given up on natural perfumes/scents. They always turn out to be a let down. Other than my favorite by Tata Harper, that is, and now this one too. Lotus Wei manages to make a personal scent that smells fabulous, no overly essential oil-y or like it is trying too hard. I tried Infinite Love –a mandarin, rose, honey mix- which is light, delicate, and feminine. Try this spray! You won’t be sorry.

Sranrom Urban Wellness Calm Down Hand Cream + The Mindful Living Compassion Candle – Yummy smelling hand cream that softens skin. Not sticky or greasy. I am constantly burning candles at home and always on the look for ones that are less toxic. Fun to find one here.

Sumbody Bath Fizzer + Bath Melts – Have not tried yet, but they smell awesome. Will let you know…

Read more about each of these brands on the Yuzen brands page.

Bottom line: I really like this every 3 months-subscription beauty box. And guess what, Mother’s Day is coming up, so there’s your gift idea.

Product Love :: The New RMS Beauty Mascara

New RMS Mascara review

Last week I mentioned a brand new mascara from one of my favorite beauty brands. RMS Beauty came out with their own mascaras this month, and I got my hot hands on one to try out. Thanks, Kathleen from Purple PR!

RMS has long been one of my natural brands. Simple, pure products that operate like the glam-est of glam makeup and skin care + founder Rose-Marie Swift is just so gosh darn cool. Read my interview with Rose-Marie on Feelgood Style. Then check out my top-pick must-haves from RMS on my Brands I Love page.

RMS Beauty Mascara is what I call a wet mascara. As in it is more wet than dry. In my opinion, wet mascaras are where it’s at. I just don’t see how anyone can stand a dry mascara with all of that thick clumpiness. Nope, I’ll take a smooth, light, glide-able mascara any day.

I love the look of one simple coat to add a bit of spark to eyes, but you can definitely layer it for a more is more look. And still, no clumping.

Into the gloss featured a different take on mascara application last week with this three-layer look. The idea is rather than having to choose between volume, length and intensity mascaras, you add a layer of each type for the perfect lash. If I had to choose 3 natural mascaras for this task they would be:

RMS Beauty Defining Mascara for definition
Lavera Long Lash Mascara in black for length
Dr. Hauschka Mascara in black for volume and intensity

So, are you going to give it a try?