SKINCARE

Organic Cleansing Oil :: why you may want to get some, pronto!

Cleansing Oils

Are you lubing your skin to grease slick status and still seeing dry skin or redness? Could be your cleanser.

You may switch out your moisturizer or add an extra moisture-boosting product for the dry season, but cleanser is oft overlooked. I mean, it just cleanses, right? Wrong. A foaming cleanser can strip away the skin’s natural oils leaving you with a parched canvas and maybe irritation. No amount of lotion, cream or oil is going to combat over cleansed skin.

Don’t treat the symptoms, fix the problem. Here’s how…

An oil used as cleanser is a very good thing for dry or irritated skin. How could oil possibly cleanse the skin? Oil binds to dirt and debris, removing it from skin. It’s also excellent at removing makeup. Simply warm a small amount of oil in your hands and gently massage into skin. Rinse with a warm water.

My skin is never as happy (perky, plumped, and glowing) as when I use an oil cleanser. You can opt for an oil combo made for cleanser or use something straight from your kitchen. My favorite, hands down, is olive oil. If I have to use a foaming cleanser, say after a workout, I’ll often apply a layer of olive oil to my face once I hop out of the shower and give it a quick rinse. Skin is back to happy and redness disappears.

If you’d rather buy than use good ol’ olive oil, here are some oil cleansers to try:

Avapure Citrus Cleansing Balm

One Love Organics Skin Savior

Suti Cleanse Organic Facial Cleansing Balm

Product Love :: May Lindstrom Skin

May Lindstrom Skin

Hey! This week has been short and sweet, following our mini fall break. But…I did make time to do some sampling.

I can always tell when cooler weather starts to affect my skin. Slight redness and drier skin appear, along with uneven texture.

Enter May Lindstrom The Clean Dirt. I’d heard good things about this product. Spirit Demerson, of Spirit Beauty Lounge, loves the stuff. So it has to be good, right? Well, it is. Cleanses and exfoliates, super gently, and makes your skin feel like it’s been rolled back a few years. Evens out bumps and imperfections, and gives the complexion a nice glow. I’m seriously using this twice weekly for, possibly, ever.

The Clean Dirt is a powder scrub. Just add water and apply to skin, cleansing gently. Made with Moroccan rhassoul clay to absorb impurities and anti-inflammatory turmeric.

I also tried the much heralded Blue Cocoon. Doesn’t the name just sound so mysterious? Like, I gotta get me some o’ that! That’s what I’d been thinking since I first heard about he product and finally did something about it. Blue Cocoon is a balm meant to fix anything cool/cold weather could do to your skin. The aforementioned redness and dry spots were the test subjects for this product. I dabbed on a bit of the balm (a-little-goes-a-long-way type product) and went to bed. It noticeably reduced the redness. The balm has a slight cooling feeling, which you’d think would be counterproductive for somewhat irritated skin, but is so healing and gentle and protective. Cocoon-like, you might say.

The Blue Cocoon is made with natural antihistamines and anti-inflammatories. The balmy texture makes it perfect for dry skin, but it is said to work on cystic acne too.

I know these two products are on the pricier side. If you’d like to try before you buy, and I would recommend it, don’t forget about the Spirit Beauty Lounge awesome sample program. Choose 6 product samples from the SBL store for $25. I use this option regularly to try new stuff. Love it!

Serums :: How to Choose + Use

Serums :: How to Choose + Use

Serum is the superstar of beauty products. The benefits seemingly endless. There are serums for oily skin, dry skin, acne prone skin, mature skin. Serums to brighten, lighten, refine pores, smooth texture, calm irritation, decrease puffiness, even skin tone…the list goes on.

A little something for everyone, no? Yes! But how to choose the right serum for your skin and how best to use?

Ok, there are two main types of serum – oil and cream. There are oils mixed with other ingredients, or very simple oil combinations. Creams may be thinner or thicker, or even more of a gel. Safe to say, you’ve got options.

Oily or acne prone skin benefits most from a thin, light weight serum. Most gals with oily skin are blessed with fewer wrinkles. Still, these lighter creams can minimize any fine lines. There are also those with antibacterial ingredients to help ward off breakouts and balance oil. Pat on a thin layer and allow to soak in before applying your usual moisturizer. If this seems too heavy, go for serum only at night. Try Tata Harper Boosted Contouring Serum, Living Nature Firming Flax Serum, Tata Harper Concentrated Brightening Serum, Tata Harper Rejuvenating Serum.

Dry or mature skin? Gotta love oils. Facial oils seal in moisture, so they work best when applied over moisturizer. I pat mine onto skin in my problem zones; those that are driest and where I’d like to reduce wrinkles. My picks here are Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Fruit & Seed Oil Blend, Tata Harper Replenishing Nutrient Complex, La Bella Figura Organic Barbary Fig Seed Oil/Prickly Pear Seed OilMullein & Sparrow Immortelle & Myrrh Facial SerumKYPRIS – The Moonlight Catalyst.

Another I love that works on all skin types is Suzanne Organics Liquid Oxygen Therapy Facial Serum. This weightless serum feels cooling on skin and seems to tighten and firm. It also makes my skin look all glowy, which is always a good thing.

A serum is built to compliment your regular moisturizer, not replace it. Think of it as the secret weapon in your beauty arsenal.

Product Love :: Tata Harper

Tata Harper Product Review

Gosh, I’ve been sitting on a lot of product samples. Like, A LOT!

Seems like the most fun part of beauty blogging would be sampling products, right? And it is. But sometimes in a biz, the most fun thing takes a back seat to less fun business-y tasks. Such is life.

So on this fresh Monday I am bringing you a lovely yet long overdue product review. Yippeeeee!

You for sure know about the gorgeous Tata Harper who grows the healthy ingredients for her uber luxe organic products right on her very own organic farm. Sounds like a dream and her products match up to that picture. Pure, lovely, effective.

The equally lovely Eve, of Eve Organics, sent me some samples I’d been wanting to try from the range. Namely, Boosted Contouring Serum and Concentrated Brightening Cream. The serum for obvious reasons, who doesn’t want to erase a line or two. And most of us, espesh post-summer, have some spots we’d like gone, enter the brightening cream.

I really did feel like the serum softened my forehead lines. It gives skin a nice smooth, healthy appearance. As for the brightening cream. I used it on a particularly apparent spot I have on my jaw line. It did lighten a bit, but may require longer use for absolute banishment.

Anyway, you won’t be sorry if you try anything Tata. They are all so posh and smell ridiculously great. My favorites are Replenishing Nutrient Complex and Love Potion. If you are down under, best get shopping Eve Organics. If you are in the US, Spirit Beauty Lounge carries the line too.

Fall Skincare Plan

Fall Skincare Plan

Fall has officially arrived. You’ve probably already started shopping for clothes to add to your autumn wardrobe. Have you revamped your skincare yet?

Yep, with the seasonal shift we adjust our menu, clothing, and skincare too. And, as you can likely guess, we are talking added moisture.

Don’t wait until your skin is already dry to infuse it with more moisture. Then you are simply doing damage control. Start now and increase as needed to keep your complexion looking its best.

Here are my fall moisturizer recos:

For Oily Skin – That’s right, I’ve said it before, even oily skin needs moisture. A light product that soaks into skin is going to offer adequate hydration without causing problems. Try Dr. Alkaitis Organic Day Crème with soothing aloe. Acure Organics Day Cream is another non-greasy formula suited to oily skin.

Normal/Combination Skin – Normal skin can become slightly more dry in colder seasons. The perfect way to combat this issue is with a facial oil. Apply a drop or two to drier areas of the face after applying your moisturizer. My favorites are: RMS Beauty Beauty Oil, Tata Harper Replenishing Nutrient Complex, and Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil.

Dry Skin – If you fall under this skin type feel free to go all out here. I’ve recently started patting a thick cream on the areas of my face that tend to become the most dry. SW Basics Cream is a straight forward yet highly versatile moisturizer. Use on face, body, lips…Same with RMS Beauty Coconut Cream and One Love Organic Skin Savior.

Secret Stash :: Vered Organic Botanicals

Vered Organic Botanicals

Whilst poking around my samples basket for a good exfoliant (do you have post summer bumpiness too?) I kinda hit the jackpot.

See, a while back, when I put together a diy spa style facial, Vered Back of Vered Organic Botanicals sent me a Cacao Vanilla Beauty Mask that I ended up including in the facial. Yum! What I didn’t remember were the oils she sent along with it. Since I have a hardcore crush on oils, it was like Christmas in my bathroom when I discovered this forgotten stash.

I’ve been using Anti-Wrinkle Eye Treatment and Anti-Aging Face Treatment Oil for about 5 days now, and am in love. I love an oil eye treatment. No pulling on delicate eye skin, just gently pat on the oil. And it leaves skin feeling so super soft and pampered.

As for the face oil. Oh my goodness, this stuff rocks. Not only does my skin adore it, but the scent! All warm and soft and spicy. Every time I catch a whiff of my face (which is often, since that’s where my nose is) I can’t believe how delicious I smell.

Even though we have our staple skincare products, I firmly believe it keeps skin happiest when we switch things up from time to time. And these are most likely new staples.

Reader Question :: Serum for Oily Skin?

Serums for Oily Skin

Hi, I am a 32 year old Asian woman with oily skin, large pores ,dark spots, and some pimples. Do you think a serum will help reduce my skin problems? If yes, which organic and natural product will help me? Thank you so much!

Serums hold many benefits for all skin types. The difference is in the ingredients.

For oily skin types you need light, easily absorbable ingredients. Argan oil works well on oily skin. It absorbs readily into skin, offering all the nourishment with no extra oiliness. My friends with oily skin love this stuff.

I’m also going to suggest one of my favorite all time oils here, and that is rosehip oil. It is very lightly moisturizing (to help balance oiliness), lightly exfoliating (to help with breakouts and skin texture), and offers lightening and brightening effects (to fade spots).

You may or may not need a daily moisturizer with a serum, depending on how oily your skin is. If you do give serum a try, wait 10 to 15 minutes and if your skin feels tight, go ahead and apply a light moisturizer over the serum.

You may also want to consider a product for pore refinement. Amala Purifying Moisturizer offers very light hydration, balances oiliness, refines pores, and evens skin tone. This product may work very well for you, with or without a serum.

I’m happy to see you are considering a serum to control your skin issues. So often those with oily skin tend toward drying treatments. While this may seem like the way to go with oily skin, over doing it will only exacerbate the issues. Spot treatment is fine, but stripping the skin of natural oils means flakiness. Sebum becomes trapped under skin flakes and this causes breakouts.

One last note. To protect against more dark spots and prevent further darkening of existing spots, wear a mineral sunscreen when spending prolonged periods outdoors.

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 Unsplash.com

We All Have Issues

Girl with hair mustache by Shandi-lee Cox at Flickr.com

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 Flickr.com, 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 picjumbo.com