Category Archives: perfect pores

4 Perfunctory Puss Perfectors

Want to put your best face forward? Here are four new and tried-and-true products to help you do just that.

First up, Goldfaden just released Daily Scrub. This very scrubby exfoliant contains ruby crystals, anti-aging red tea, hyaluronic acid and seaweed extract to help remove dead surface skin cells and other impurities to reveal fresh, soft skin and nourish your complexion all in one. Goldfaden Daily Scrub saves time since you just mix a small amount with your regular facial cleanser, plus it saves money because it enables your skin to better absorb your precious toners, serums and moisturizers.

Developed by Carmelite monks, Easeamine is a new and innovative adenosine-enriched anti-aging facial treatment. What’s adenosine? In its usable form, adenosine triphosphate, or ATP is a special carrier of energy in all living things. It acts as a chemical ‘battery’, storing energy when it is not needed, but able to release it instantly when the body requires it. According to Easeamine’s own research, the adenosine in their cream increases protein synthesis, increases cell size, and it benefits skin by decreasing the amount of wrinkling, roughness, dryness, laxity, sallowness, and discolorations in skin. Some of the proceeds of this relatively affordable ($65/tube) treatment supports the work of the Carmelite Charities which include feeding, clothing and educating the needy as well as helping to fight global warming.

Skin Again, a leader in the production of skin care products that are infused with the Energies of healing elements, introduced pRo-Tone serum, which is specially formulated with all-natural ingredients, including pure aloe, calendula, chamomile, burdock, and Vitamin E. pRo-Tone was originally developed to help mitigate and heal burns of all types — razor, waxing, sunburn, chemical and otherwise — when the company’s founder severely burned her face when lighting a backyard fireplace. pRo-Tone healed her skin completely…no scars or discolorations. It contains a unique blend of soothing phyto-nutrients and peptides and a patented Dermavibe formula which consists of vibrational energies of hundreds of natural extracts that work to reduce pain, inflammation, redness and blistering caused by different kinds of burns. It also works as an extremely effective anti-aging and anti-inflammatory treatment for your face, neck, decollete and hands.

To help stop ‘disappearing makeup’ syndrome, Senna Cosmetics developed its Silky Primer under makeup smoothing serum. Packed with anti-oxidants like Vitamins A and E, this colorless primer makes your makeup go on effortlessly and last all day. By filling in pores, fine lines and wrinkles, your skin looks and feels silky smooth and super soft.

Never Get the Wrong Foundation Color Again

Senna Cosmetics Mineral Mix FoundationI recently discovered Senna Cosmetics, and glad, glad, glad am I!

So far, I’ve tried a plethora of goodies from Senna, each of which I’ll be reviewing soon. But, first up is a Senna best-seller, Mineral Mix Cover & Finish Foundation.

Mineral Mix marks the end of getting the wrong foundation color. How so? It contains a beautifully blend-able loose mineral powder foundation in the base along with a darker pressed mineral foundation powder in the lid. Simple and smart.

Mineral Mix isn’t just a color-matching miracle. It’s also smart in other ways. A special milling process gives this mineral foundation a supremely silky smooth texture that glides onto the skin. The neutral color range looks fresh,  clear…more natural than any I’ve tried before. Natural minerals supply the dewy soft light reflection needed to diminish lines, wrinkles and flaws while also providing chemical-free sun protection. Plus it completely covers blemishes, discolorations, redness, even rosacea and is gentle enough for the most sensitive, problem-prone skin.

I really love that Mineral Mix is chemical free. Not only that, but it’s also free of talc, oils, fragrance, waxes, and dyes. So if you’re looking for a super-natural foundation that actually lives up to its promises, you’ve finally found it.

Moreover, Mineral Mix is great for all skin types, but it’s particularly good for oily skin. In fact, makeup artist Wei Lang gives it two thumbs up, saying Mineral Mix “gives the ultimate soft-focus finish.”

Don’t forget: GET 10% OFF AT SENNA THROUGH TODAY (8/30) by entering “tweet10″ at check-out.

$5 DIY Cleanser for Skin As Soft 'n Smooth As a Baby's Butt

Yesterday I ran out of my mediocre foaming facial cleanser — I use it because it was expensive and it removes my makeup pretty well, but frankly, it’s pretty much so-so. Well, in a pinch I used a little olive oil and a warm washcloth to remove my eye makeup last night. Aside from the obvious oiliness, I was quite pleased that my makeup came off completely and lickety-split, plus my skin stayed soft and supple around my eyes.

Today, instead of heading off to the department store in search of another high dollar, mediocre facial cleanser, I decided to make my own.

Based on the oil cleansing method — the gist of which insists that the best way to remove dirt and oil from your skin is to use oil (sort of like fight fire with fire?) — I grabbed some ingredients from my kitchen cupboard and bathroom medicine cabinet and got to work.

The result of my efforts was a cleanser than not only cleansed my face without stripping it but one that also made my skin super-smooth and soft.

Here’s the recipe and what I did:

In a kitchen mixing bowl, I threw in about 1/2 cup of olive oil, two tablespoons of liquid bath soap (castile or whatever you have is fine) two tablespoons of water, one tablespoon of plain glycerin (available at your local drugstore) and 1/2 teaspoon of Optiphen, a paraben-and-formaldehyde free preservative. Then I whisked everything together and poured it into my old facial cleanser bottle. That’s it.

I applied about a quarter-sized portion to my face and neck, massaged in circular motions for a minute and rinsed. Ah, clean, soft, smooth skin.

Total cost for my new fabulous facial cleanser? Because I typically buy organic stuff, my version may be a little pricier than yours’ll be. All told, I made 4 oz. of safe, pure, effective, anti-aging, skin-softening cleanser for about $6.

Optional ingredients:

Also quite inexpensive, these ingredients can be found at bulk soap-making/skin care ingredient suppliers, health food stores or handicraft stores. Warning: If you add any of these to your recipe, be careful around your eyes as they could irritate and sting.

  • Alpha hydroxy acid – I always have some lactic acid in my bathroom cabinet (I know, I’m weird that way). Used regularly and in the proper amount, AHAs are gentle and effective anti-aging exfoliants. Add a teaspoon or so to this recipe.
  • White willow bark extract – a great source of salycin or beta hydroxy acid, WWBE is one of the best, most gentle exfoliants available. Plus it helps keep pores clean and blemishes at bay. 1/2 to one tablespoon is ample.
  • Essential oil – I like lavender because it’s good for your skin for countless reasons, and it smells divine. Other good ones include heliochrysum, lemongrass, tea tree, Clary sage, rosemary, sandalwood, rose or chamomile. Add a few drops up to 1/4 teaspoon to suit. Start with just a little to be sure it doesn’t irritate your skin — you can always add more later if you want.

Acne Myths and A Recipe to Clear It All Up

Acne in plain English …

  • Myth: Washing your face more often will help clear up acne

Reality:  Zits aren’t caused by dirt. Contrary to what you may have seen in advertising, pores don’t get blocked from the top down due to “impurities”. Rather, the walls of a pore stick together deep within the skin, starting acne formation. Far from keeping acne at bay, frequent washing may actually irritate pores and cause them to become more clogged. A washcloth can add even more irritation. The best bet is to wash your face gently with clean, bare hands, and only wash twice a day.

  • Myth: Stress causes acne

Reality: Stress may have an effect on hormones and theoretically can promote acne. However, an effective anti-acne system is more powerful than a bout of stress any day. Some medications may cause acne as a side effect, but stress itself is no big deal (for your skin, that is). Your time is better spent determining the right course of acne treatment rather than feeling stressed about stress.

  • Myth: Masturbation or sex causes acne

Reality: This totally antiquated notion, originating primarily to dissuade young people from having premarital sex, is just plain wrong. Don’t believe the hype. ‘Nuf said.

  • Myth: The sun will help get rid of acne

Reality: The sun may work in the short-term to hasten the clearing of existing acne while reddening your skin, thus blending your skin tone with red acne marks. However, a sun burn is actually skin damage. It’s important to prevent damage to your skin while trying to get rid of acne. Sun exposure causes irritation which can make acne worse. People will often notice their skin breaking out as it heals from sun damage. The sun is a short-term band-aid which will often bite back with more acne in the weeks following exposure. Having said that, I don’t want to give the impression that the sun is evil. It’s not. We get our vitamin D from the sun. Limiting sun exposure on acne prone areas of your body is prudent, but some exposure from time to time is not only unavoidable, but is perfectly okay. Just wear a good sunscreen with at least SPF 30.

Acne Cream Recipe

  • 1 ounce of Sea Kelp Bioferment
  • 1/4 tsp. of White Willow Bark extract (Salicylic Acid)*
  • 1/2 tsp Rosehip Seed Oil**

Dissolve willow bark extract in sea kelp, add rosehip seed oil and mix well. Leaves skin velvety soft! Best of all: it’s soooo inexpensive and effective.

*Do not use this recipe if you’re allergic to aspirin.

**If you’re afraid of the oil, FEAR NOT. Rosehip seed oil is one of the best things you can put on your face, oily skin or no. If for whatever reason you experience breakouts as a result of using this cream, mix up another batch without the oil.

all ingredients can be purchased from Bulk Actives (www.bulkactives.com) and NCN Professional Skincare (www.ncnproskincare.com)

Dull Complexion? Fix It with a Fruit Fiesta!

Mychelle Fruit Fiesta PeelPlagued by blah winter skin? Longing for fresh, dewy skin in honor of spring?

Then check out MyChelle Fruit Fiesta Peel.

I sampled this all-natural dermaceutical peel recently, all I can say is, “Wow!” The texture is similar to strawberry jam, minus the sweet stickiness. The smell is just like a tart, juicy raspberry.

As the website claims, “Antioxidant and nutrient dense organic raspberry puree, and natural acids romance your skin to a more radiant, youthful glow. You will feel a light tingling and stimulating effect that will leave your skin refreshed.” Romance your skin…did ya get that?

All true! And yes, YOU WILL feel a tingling. The website appropriately warns that Fruit Fiesta Peel is not for beginners, so if you’re not accustomed to facial peels, approach with caution. Although it looks and smells de-lish and is called “Fiesta,” this is one serious fruity product. In fact, a patch test is recommended especially if you have sensitive skin or allergies (to berries, in particular).

Once you’ve determined your face is good to go, Fruit Fiesta really is like a party on your face. Just apply a thin layer — a little goes a long way — to cleansed skin. And please try to avoid your eye area. Take it from me, you don’t want this stuff in your eyes. After three minutes, rinse Fiesta away. I’ll say it again, expect a tingle. NOTE: If your skin gets too irritated or stings, wash off immediately with warm water.

After three short minutes, you’ll find your skin baby soft, super smooth, refreshed and renewed. Just in time for spring! Follow with your favorite fruit mist or floral water and a nice rich moisturizer.

BONUS: MyChelle Dermaceuticals is offering 15% off select products (including Fruit Fiesta Peel) through April 30, so there’s no time like the present to try a party on your face.

Other beautiful and all-natural favorites from MyChelle include the divine-smelling Serious Hyaluronic Firming Serum; luxurious, non-greasy Hand Cream; and the aptly named Supreme Polypeptide Cream.

Primed for Perfection

Arbonne Virtual Illusion Makeup PrimerI recently had the good fortune to sample Arbonne’s Virtual Illusion Make-up Primer. I’ve used dozens of primers, and frankly never really understood why people wore them. After sampling Arbonne‘s, now I get it!

For example, Saturday I went into work for an important event. I was going to be doing lots of running around, schmoozing, rubbing elbows, meeting-and-greeting…I think you get the picture. Anyway, by the time I finally took my make-up off at around 1:30AM (!!!), it was FLAWLESS. Looked just as perfect as when I put it on that morning. I was amazed. To the point that I almost didn’t want to take it off (it looked really good).  Plus, my pores were virtually invisible! To say the least, I’m purchasing full size of Virtual Illusion…and can’t wait to get it, ‘cuz now I get it.

P.S. Arbonne is one of the rare few product lines still made in the U.S. so you can be assured of its quality and efficacy.

Special thanks to Sondra Wright, Arbonne Reg. VP for the Virtual Illusion sample. Image courtesy Arbonne.

Want to look flawless? Here's the 1-2-3

Flawless Faces1. Apply a good foundation, like Make Up For Ever’s new HD Invisible Cover, to your cheeks, forehead, and chin using a foundation brush or round sponge. Then BLEND the foundation all the way to your natural hairline with long, light strokes. Check your face and neck in natural light to make sure the foundation is completely blended in all areas.

2. If under-eye circles or red spots remain, do not add more foundation; it can look heavy and cakey. Instead, try a concealer. Yes, you can apply concealer over foundation.

3. Set your foundation with a light dusting of powder like Benefit’s “Hello Flawless” blendable powder. BONUS: “Hello Flawless” has an SPF 15 and can be applied dry or wet.

Tip: Choose the shade of your foundation carefully. When testing shades, pick one that matches the tone of your jawline exactly.

Tip: Begin by applying a small amount of foundation then increase amount to achieve the degree of coverage that suits your skin. But beware: don’t apply too much or you end up in cake city…definitely not flawless.

Tip: For daytime, mix your foundation with a light SPF moisturizer before applying for a smoother, more sheer application. GirlPaint loves Sharps Barber and Shop Daily Prep Oil Free SPF 15.

Flawless-finish tool:  Beauty Blender at Cult Beauty LTD.

image courtesy of Make Up For Ever at Sephora

30 Days to Healthier, Younger-looking Skin

On Memorial Day, it’s appropriate to remember your skin, no?

Last post, I gave you a recipe for a youth-inducing serum.

This time, we’re going to add some active ingredients to the Fountain of Youth Serum to bump up it’s healthful qualities and increase your skin’s ability to maintain its youthfulness…and maybe even take a few years off.

First, use the recommended quantities. Period. Click on the links to purchase the individual ingredients.

To 1-2 tablespoons of plain vegetable glycerin, add

  • pinch Ellagic Acid - antioxidant, cancer preventive, anti-inflammatory, helps improve discoloration
  • pinch Ferulic Acid - cancer preventive, protects the skin against UVB-induced erythema, skin lightener, increases stability of vitamins C (MAP) and E
  • 1/8 teaspoon of Coenzyme Q10 - topical application restores mitochondrial activity, increasing energy production plus minimizing energy needed to make new collagen; antiaging, antioxidant, stimulating active, it will push your skin into “high gear”

Mix thoroughly until all actives are dissolved. If you have difficulty dissolving, microwave for 10-15 seconds and mix, mix, mix. Set aside.

Next, to the Fountain of Youth serum, add:

  • 1/8 teaspoon Alpha Lipoic Acid** - (aka ALA) essential for youthful cell function; our bodies’ own production dimishes as we age
  • pinch Beta Glucan - anti-aging, cancer-preventive
  • pinch Carnosine - accelerates and improves healing. Prevents wrinkles and loss of elasticity brought about by aging and exposure to sunlight, .also an antioxidant and seems to improve immune response
  • 1/8 teaspoon DMAE** - antioxidant, increases firmness and overall appearance of aging skin
  • pinch Green Tea ECGC - antioxidant, repair of damage done by UVA radiation, cancer preventive
  • 1/4 teaspoon Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate - (aka MAP) the “real” ester-C, a stable and soluble form of ascorbic acid, stimulates collagen synthesis, anti-aging, anti-oxidant, anti-acne, skin brightening, decrease appearance of sun spots
  • 1/8 teaspoon Niacin - relieves itching, controls sebum products, skin lightening effects

Last, add the glycerin-active mix to the serum. Mix thoroughly. Put the mix into a glass dropper-top bottle or other non-reactive liquid dispensing container.

Some of the actives may never dissolve completely, but they will release their active ingredients continuously. If the undissolved ‘grit’ bothers you, strain your serum using CLEAN muslin, cheese cloth, nylon or any fine-sieve strainer.

DIRECTIONS: Use this super-active serum once or twice a day, after cleansing your skin, before you apply your moisturizer and sunscreen, and after 30 days, you will see smoother, brighter, clearer, younger-looking skin.

If you experience ANY irritation…

  • either your skin doesn’t like one (or more) of the ingredients–in which case you should stop using it altogether and toss it
  • OR your mix is too concentrated–dilute it with some distilled water until your skin can tolerate it
  • OR your skin is simply adjusting to one or more of the ingredients–use your serum only once a day when you are not using any other products and if the irritation doesn’t subside after 3-4 days, stop using it and toss it

COSTS: The active ingredients is this serum are exactly the same as those found in the most exclusive, expensive skincare products on the market today. What you’ll spend: $87.00, plus shipping. If you don’t have glycerin, you can find it at most pharmacies or grocery stores, about $6 for 4 oz.

BONUS: You’ll have LOTS of the active ingredients leftover, which you can add to most any moisturizer (NOT sunscreen, NOT already-active cream…plain Eucerin, Olay, et al are okay) to make your own super-active skincare cream–way better than the high-dollar stuff at the department stores. Whether you use your mix on your face or body–or both–is completely up to you. But keep in mind with all these actives: A LITTLE BIT GOES A LONG WAY.

**Many people experience mild stinging with Alpha Lipoic Acid and DMAE, especially when they first start using them. However, if the stinging is intense or if you experience ANY redness and irritation, OR if the stinging occurs for more than a few days, STOP USING THIS SERUM.

NOTE: If you have rosacea or sensitive skin, or if you want to avoid the irritation issue, DO NOT USE Alpha Lipoic Acid or DMAE.

AS ALWAYS: When mixing, take extra precautions to wash your hands and be sure to use sterilized mixing, measuring, straining implements and containers.

Fountain of Youth for less than $35

DIY (do-it-yourself) Skincare can be fun, easy and best of all, work wonders on your skin…plus, it costs WAY less than those ultra-expensive beauty products, most of which are a bit of a rip-off (and some of which are a complete scam).

The following Fountain-of-Youth serum is one that can be used by itself but it can also act as a base for other active skincare ingredients. Click on the links to purchase the individual ingredients. Distilled water (a must…no tap water, please) can be bought at your grocery store:

Optional ingredients include aloe vera juice (substitute 1/2 tablespoon of water) and plain vegetable glycerin (add up to 1 teaspoon).

Seakelp bioferment is a kelp extract containing vital nutrients that feeds your skin. It’s the “magic” Miracle Broth ingredient in Creme de la Mer.

Hyaluronic acid (also called hyaluronate or hyaluronan), produced naturally by the human body, is a component of connective tissue whose function is to cushion and lubricate. It’s been nicknamed the “key to the fountain of youth” because it has been noted that some people who ingest a lot of it in their diets tend to live to ripe old ages and also because it provides volume and fullness to the skin.

To mix: stir together the water and hyaluronic acid first and let it set for a few hours to overnight. This mixture will thicken (you can add more or less hyaluronic acid depending on the consistency you prefer), then add the remaining ingredients, adding the preservative last. If you use another preservative, be sure to use one that is water-based or will work in a hydrophilic solution — and that you use the proper amount.

Directions: Apply to your face and neck after cleansing your skin, 1-2 times per day. Moisturize and apply sunscreen over the top of the serum.

Costs: $32 (plus shipping for the actives and Germaben II) depending on what distilled water costs at your grocery store.

Bonus: LOTS of leftover Seakelp Bioferment, distilled water and Hyaluronic Acid that can all be used in other youth-inducing skincare mixes you make yourself.

Please note: When mixing ANY products you put on your face or body, take extra care to wash your hands and use sterilized implements and containers (mixing sticks, bottles, droppers, etc.).

Next time, I’ll recommend different active ingredients to add to the base serum. Each active or group of actives will address different issues, i.e., free-radical protection, collagen building, firmness, and so on.

DIY Skin Care…Is it all it's cracked up to be?

In the world of do-it-yourself, there’s home repair, tech gadgetry (see make.com for some pretty cool projects) and then there’s your skin.

I started dabbling in DIY skincare a few years ago. My introduction started innocently enough with homemade lipbalm…some recipes incredibly successful–a chocolate-mint balm that used real chocolate chips…yum–and a few not-so–picture a sluggish mess of shea and cocoa butters sitting on a layer of glyercin goo…ewwww.

After a short while, I graduated to essential oils and aromatherapy home-study (ahhhh, lavender oil, the cure-all). The result of a solid year or so of investigation? Not much, I’m afraid, but I do still use a homemade concoction including sweet orange oil to clean my bathroom and freshen my linens. Plus, I know exactly which little smelly bottle to reach for when the signs of a cold sore pop up.

About a year and half ago, I disovered a little website called Skin Actives Scientific, a supplier of bulk skin care ingredients. And my DIY hobby became an obsession…as did my obsession with blogging about it.

Bulk actives suppliers, among them Bulk Actives, Lotioncrafter, The Herbarie and The Personal Formulator offer individual active skin care ingredients. The same ones found in the best, most expensive and most effective skincare products available on the market today–along with a nice selection of ready-made products–at a fraction of the price. So you can literally make your own version of Creme de la Mer…or just about any other high-end skin care product you can think up…as long as you have the INCI ingredient list.

My own first DIY products–mostly face treatments–were hit and miss. And many of them–the misses, anyway–looked a like anything from a vegan’s kitchen project gone bad to, well, baby poop.

Since then–after a few skincare experiments gone awry–I’ve learned *some* restraint, had a lot of fun…and gotten much improved skin, too boot. I was born in 1970, and my age is often guessed at least 10 years younger (even with my grey hairs showing!).

Over the next few months, I plan to post some of my successful recipes, along with some tips about what to do and not do when mixing your own skincare concoctions. I hope you enjoy the process as much as I have and that you save a few bucks. Who knows? We might just start a little DIY skincare revolution right here. Well, I can dream, can’t I?

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