Friday, October 2, 2015

Friday Favorites!

Hello, beauties!

What's new here in New York? Let's see. It's windy, gray and in the upper 40s right now. The perfect weather for a cozy sweater and boots. I am sitting here as we speak with my Tealightful Toasted Almond Spice Cake tea, purchased by my AMAZING consultant, Jarrod.

I have been super duper busy lately, but I like it that way. I guess I always have, haven't I? I have been homeschooling Nick -- actually, he is mainly taking college courses online --but we have been enjoying field trips and working on writing and art together. I also have been immersed in writing projects, having more articles published in the latest copy of CosmoBiz Salon. I've had features in the August, September and October issues and am currently working on November. It's been a great addition to my freelance writing!

I wanted to share some of my latest finds that I am coveting right now. First of all, I need to mention that I received my Au Naturale order yesterday. I am COMPLETELY BLOWN AWAY by the powder foundation and my new lip gloss. They will be reviewed next week in a separate post. This order seals it, though. Au Naturale is *the best* brand of natural makeup on the market. No ifs, ands or buts.

I also have been testing out the two new cleansers for Humboldt Soap Company. If you recall, I gave a rave review of the Egg White Complexion Bar in the spring and was eager to try Arice's newest creations. Humboldt Soap has two new liquid facial cleansers called Cleanseplexion with Argan Oil. One is a basic cleanser and the other is exfoliating with Jojoba Beads. I am super impressed with both formulas. They will not take off your makeup -- use the oil cleansing method or your favorite eye makeup remover for that -- but they do gently cleanse the skin with a simple, non-irritating formula. I am not generally a fan of exfoliating cleansers, as most are laden with plastic beads which are horrible for the ecosystem, but this one naturally and gently helps slough dead skin cells. Arice, I continue to be impressed with your products! 

Ooh, do you see the pretty autumnal bronze nail polish I am wearing in the above photo? It's from Butter London and is called Trifle. I am wearing it with Jamberry Stardust Top Coat. They go so well together. I adore Butter's creamy, easy to apply formulas. That reminds me, I also tried a NOT so good top coat recently which also will get a full review next week. That was $10 down the drain for sure. This is Friday Favorites, however, so I am only sharing things I am really positive about today.

I am a big fan of rosewater as a toner. I also love facial mists. I am so happy to have found the perfect rose facial mist and it is from one of my favorite brands on earth, Jane Iredale. The Smell the Roses Hydration Spray is full of fabulous ingredients, such as Aloe, Rosewater (REAL, not rose fragrance oil), radish root, rosehips, white tea and more. My face is so dewy and smooth and perfectly hydrated. I use it after cleansing morning and night. Best of all, 100% of the profits benefit Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Seed Custom Blends Body Wash Review

I really appreciate it when I have a chance to have something created JUST for me. There was the time when I had a beautiful black mod winter coat made especially for me, exactly customized for my measurements and then mailed a week later from eShakti, and then my exquisite custom blended foundation from Prescriptives, where I was able to have the perfect formula blended for me after a webcam conversation. Those experiences were delightful and made me feel pampered.

Body care is personal. It uses all of your senses. You might have something that is the perfect scent and amount of lather, but not like how it makes your skin feel after showering. Or, you might have the perfect consistency, but not enjoy the fragrance.

The brand new Custom Blends line from (seed) Body Care is revolutionizing the way we choose skincare. You can have a Lip Oil, Body Oil or Body Wash made especially for you, choosing up to three essential oils, giving you the possibility of over 1000 blend combinations.

I went on the (seed) website and selected a new Body Wash. I decided to choose Orange, Lemon  and Rosemary Essential Oils in my custom product. I had so much fun choosing my blend. There are just so many options, and I just went with my mood at the time when making my selections.

A few short days later, my customized product arrived.

I confess-- I am in love with my new Custom Blend Body Wash from (seed) Body Care! This is the BEST natural body wash ever. If you have ever tried a sulfate free body wash before, you know that it can be really hard to find one that (A) doesn't feel greasy or slimy and (B) that actually lathers.

Logically, I know that you do NOT need a lather! Lather typically comes from sulfates and have nothing to do with how clean your skin is actually getting. Yet, I still enjoy a bit of a lather. It's just a psychological thing, I suppose. The body wash from (seed) has a light and creamy lather without sulfates. It soothes and hydrates my skin without leaving an unpleasant film.

It smells cheerful and uplifting without  artificial fragrance and contains no gluten, parabens, phthalates, soy or dairy. Vegan & cruelty free too! You knocked this out of the park, (seed)!

I love that I can leave this in my shower for my boys to use without worrying about the ingredients. You see, I am that mom who makes sure the kids are using the best, most wholesome and natural (YET PROPERLY PRESERVED-- this one features an Ecocert  preservative) products because I worry about their health more than I do my own. I am anal when it comes to the products I use on them. Plus, Nick has very sensitive dry skin with occasional Eczema and Ben has dry skin with a small patch of Keratosis Pilaris. I know that (seed) is so gentle and effective. This is a product the whole family can enjoy with good for you ingredients that FEEL amazing and SMELL lovely!

Are you unsure which oils to pick? You have to take this super fun & quick personality quiz from (seed) that tells you your ideal oil. My quiz revealed that my ideal oil is Palmarosa. How about you?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Samantha's Bellafill Journey: Part 1

My name is Samantha Behiry. I’m guest blogging for Karley regarding an exciting journey I’m taking to improve my skin. For background, I am 29 years old and have been battling skin and acne issues for as long as I can remember. My acne breakouts have subsided for the most part, but I now find myself plagued by the marks left behind from having troubled skin for so many years. I have literally been praying to God for a solution to this problem that has significantly lowered my self-esteem on a daily basis. 

A couple months ago my prayer was answered when I came across a blog post here on The Beauty Blogger from Karley  asking if any of her readers were interested in trying a new, long-lasting dermal filler called Bellafill®, which was recently approved by the FDA to treat acne scars. I was literally jumping for joy when I heard of this new innovation.

I am not the type of person to use anything on my skin or in my body without doing research first. I spent hours going through all the testimonials and reviews of this product. By the end of my research, I knew nothing would stop me from having the procedure done. I found nothing but positive remarks and results from other people just like me who had suffered from unsightly acne scars and found the solution through Bellafill®. Bellafill® was originally approved by the FDA and used to treat nasolabial folds (smile lines) and was just recently approved for correcting acne scars, and boy am I happy about that!

I just had a skin test appointment in my hometown of Atlanta with Dr. Gabrielle Sabini, who has been amazing. I needed a skin test to make sure that I have no reaction to the filler. It was quick and painless. My treatment appointment, where my scars will be injected with Bellafill® is right around the corner and I cannot wait to see the results! Stay tuned for more as I will continue to be blogging about my Bellafill® journey.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Weekend DIY: Acne Home Remedies

I know there are so many people out there who love a good do it yourself (DIY) project. I happen to love whipping up different home remedies in my own kitchen. Some are duds -- like my cocoa face mask that stained my skin so it looked dirty -- but others actually work beautifully. If you are having a spa night with your girlfriends, making your own kitchen-inspired skincare can be fun.

Did you know that there are some ingredients in your fridge and cabinets that may help mild cases of acne? Today I am here to share two of my personal favorites. Know that these are not long-term acne solutions, nor will they work for difficult cases of of acne.

Strawberry Apple Cider Vinegar Astringent

Ingredients to gather up:
  • 2 cups distilled water
  • 1/2 cup of lavender sprigs from your garden
  • 1 cup of aloe vera juice
  • 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • Handful of chopped strawberry leaves
  • 20 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil
Why use these ingredients?
Strawberry leaves don't look like much of anything when you're cutting up your berries, but they actually have more than four times the vitamin C -- in the leaves alone -- than a large orange! Strawberries also contain natural salicylins. These are a natural source of salicylic acid (beta hydroxy acid) and are oil-soluble, meaning they can penetrate into the pores and help "de-gunk".
  • Lavender is soothing and helps to keep the skin balanced. It is a gentle humectant. Many believe lavender may also help prevent ingrown hairs and clogged pores.
  • Aloe vera juice is soothing and nourishing to the skin. It helps act as a gentle, protective barrier as well.
  • Tea Tree Essential Oil is native to Australia and it has been used for years and years by aromatherapists to help prevent acne and maintain healthy, clear skin.
Combine ingredients and strain. Put in a bottle and store no more than a few days in the fridge. Apply with natural cotton pads as needed.

Tea Tree and Jojoba Spot Treatment

In a pinch and need to quickly fade a pimple? Try this homemade spot treatment using only two ingredients: Jojoba Oil and Tea Tree Essential Oil.

We just discussed the benefits of Tea Tree Oil. It can also work effectively as a spot treatment. It's wonderful for oily skin, it's antibacterial and helps to dissolve facial oils.

You will need a carrier oil to dilute your Tea Tree Oil as most find it too concentrated to apply directly to the skin. Try Jojoba Oil for this recipe, as it's a lovely natural for acne-prone skin. Jojoba Oil is not really an oil in the traditional sense. It is a wax ester. This means that it mimics your skin's own sebum, drawing excess oil out. Be sure to choose only 100% pure jojoba oil.

Add several drops of Jojoba Oil to the Tea Tree Oil. I recommend a ratio of three parts Jojoba to one part Tea Tree Essential Oil. Gently combine and apply directly to your pimples.

Do you like making homemade skincare in your kitchen? What are your favorite home remedies? Share them in the comments section below!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

$90 Way Too Tan® Giveaway!


What's up for grabs? -- WayTooTan® Dark HYBRID TANNING SILICONE™

What is Way Too Tan®?
Luxe Silicone Emulsion + Organic Antioxidants + Anti-Aging Formula

Way Too Tan® Dark HYBRID TANNING SILICONE™ is a high-end, one-of-a-kind, multi-purpose sunless tanning lotion that can be used year-round. Any time you want a SAFE, SUNLESS tan without damaging UVA and UVB rays, this is a stellar skincare luxury! Instead of the sun, Way Too Tan is a DHA & Erythrulose bronzer.

The luxe silicone emulsion delivers an exceptional, non-irritating, non-sticky, non-oily, velvety smooth feel on the skin. After it sinks it, it transforms into a matte appearance for a shine-free natural glow. Excellent water-repellency, resistance & wrinkle correction are additional benefits.

Skip the harmful aging and burning rays and get a *natural looking* deep tan without the sun. Not only is this a sunless, moisturizing formula, but it also contains anti-aging ingredients. Did I mention that it smells AMAZING? It's a sweet tropical vanilla that smells like heaven.

Why I love it 

First of all, it has one of my most favorite skincare ingredients: Grape Seed. Grape Seed Extract provides 20 times more antioxidant power than Vitamin E and 50 times more than Vitamin C. It helps fight free radicals to protect the skin from damage, nourishes and strengthens the skin cells. Rich in Resveratrol, Grape Seed extract also helps to keep the skin firm and youthful in appearance and also improves collagen flexibility & strength.

Japanese Green Tea and White Tea extracts provides a high concentration of polyphenols to protect skin from harmful free radicals and tighten skin.

Hyaluronic Acid helps to provide deep moisturization & hydration, and improves skin elasticity, while rreducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Plus it gives skin a more youthful appearance.

The advanced airless pump system keeps the formula fresh and long lasting and is unlike the delivery and packaging systems of other sunless tanners. Because of the airless pump, it keeps the lotion more stable and preserves product integrity.


 Unlike most paraben-filled sunless tanners on the market, Way Too Tan provides an abundance of antioxidants including Grape Seed Extract, White Tea, Green Tea and more. Panthenol (B5) and Hyaluronic Acid will keep your skin looking smooth & supple while tanning. This product is gluten free, and for those with unique allergies, there is no aloe or hemp.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Nailed It! New Glossique Fall Wraps!

A couple months ago, I shared my experience with Glossique Nail Deco nail wraps. These American-made nail wraps do not require any heat, remove with zero damage, and are cruelty-free & vegan. I wanted to show off my latest Glossique mani.

This design is called Aztec Legend and I am currently on my third day wearing them. I usually get at least a week with them. I know they'd last longer, but my nails grow pretty quickly and showing the regrowth at the bottom bothers me.

What I love about Glossique:

  • The wraps are available in two styles: Regular and Petite. I get the Petite because I have smaller nail beds and these fit perfectly.
  • You do not need a heater.
  • They bond well to the nails without looking like "nail stickers".
  • They remove without lifting up tiny layers of nail, ultimately causing nail damage.
  • Free shipping when you spend $50
  • They offer a "Guaranteed Bliss" return policy.
Have you tried Glossique yet? What's your favorite design?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Splurge Worthy: Monat Review

Have you tried Monat yet? Chances are, you have seen posts about this direct sales brand pop up on your Facebook newsfeed or on Instagram. Is it worth the hype? An emphatic "yes" is what I say to that!

May I confess? A few months back, I was given a tube of shampoo of Monat shampoo to try. I was pretty unimpressed, actually. I tried to like it. Truly. But I just couldn't. I learned, however, that I was using the wrong system for my hair and that is why I didn't love my results.

My hair is full and thick with waves and volume of its own. It is also color treated. Last fall, I went dark and every few weeks it's colored "Medium Cool Brown." It can get pretty dry, too. See what I mean? If I do not flat iron, it is a frizz fest:

Jenny Sanzo over at the Flower City Fashionista is a Founder with Monat. She hooked me up with samples of the Balance system and last week, I gave it a try.

"You won't need a flat iron," Jenny had said in an earlier conversation.

In my mind, I was practically rolling my eyes because I ALWAYS NEED MY FLAT IRON to have smooth locks. Jenny was right. I washed my hair with the Renew Shampoo. First off, this is a sulfate-free shampoo with an amazing scent (phthalate-free). It lathered pretty well for a sulfate-free shampoo and left my hair feeling clean, but without dryness. I followed with the ultra rich (but not at all greasy) Replenish Mask. My hair felt so silky and healthy!

After washing my hair, I sectioned off my hair after using my Wet Brush. Then I used my round brush to blow dry. My hair was smooth, free of frizz, shiny and did not need a flat iron. Not only did this save me a good 15 minutes, but it saved my hair from more heat styling.

I am a believer!

Yes, Monat is more expensive than your typical hair products. If you splurge, though, I know you are going to love it! Whether you are a handbag girl or buy designer shoes -- we all deserve to have one splurge item in our lives. If yours is hair care, you'll adore Monat.

Check out Jenny's website today and tell her The Beauty Blogger sent you.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

5 Fall Skincare Favorites

Fall is right around the corner. Do you know what that means? Before you know it, furnaces will be turned on and the air will be less humid than the 91 degrees it was today. When it comes to your beauty routine, that means changing things up to compensate for dry skin.


1. Nix the foaming cleansers and choose a creamy formula.

A milky cleanser will be gentler on your skin this time of year. Most foaming cleansers contain irritating soaps. Creamy cleansers are best unless you have oily skin. Look for a sulfate free formula for gentle cleansing. Cleansers with green tea and cucumber are especially gentle around the eye area.
Try the Yes to Cucumbers Gentle Milk Cleanser, $7.99

2. Spritz on some hydration!

Facial mists are a fabulous addition to your skin care regime this fall! When you spray on moisturizing ingredients, they help nourish skin cells and will help your facial cream work more effectively. Use a mist prior to moisturizing and again to set makeup. You can even use them throughout the day if you are feeling dry. Try  Jane Iredale Pommist Hydration Spray, $27

3. Switch from a lightweight, oil free moisturizer to a cream.

While fluid formulations are ideal when your skin is holding more moisture, a richer cream is often necessary to help keep the skin hydrated. Massage a night-time facial cream into your skin each night so you can wake up with velvety soft skin. Try: Perfectly Posh Never Grow Up Anti-Aging Face Creme is infused with coffee seed, anti-aging peptides, argan oil, meadowfoam seed oil, Vitamin C & more, $24

4. Exfoliate with fruit enzymes.

Using harsh, granular scrubs will irritate the skin. Fall’s dry skin craves exfoliation from natural fruit enzymes such as papaya and pineapple. These natural sources work best to lift dead skin cells and help the skin look renewed and refreshed. Try: MyChelle Dermaceuticals Fruit Enzyme Scrub, $18

5. Use body oils to quench the skin after your shower.

Hot water can dry out your skin. Very often, you step out of the shower only to find that your skin itches from the dehydration. Unlike traditional body lotions, oils absorb right into your skin instantly and help your skin retain moisture. The new breed of body oils come in spray form, so you won’t have slippery hands -- or bottles to drop! Try: (seed) Relaxing Blend Body Oil, $14

As seen in...

I am so fortunate to do what I love.

The new September 2015 issue of CosmoBiz is out and I have 5 articles in it this time around.

Click the cover image above to read the digital edition.

*Curious about the safety of gel polish for your nails? I have an in-depth look at this issue on page 66.

*What makes you feel beautiful? Asking others this very question led me on a very personal journey. Take a look at page 70.

*Thinking of coloring your hair? I dish on the latest trends from top colorists. Find it on page 40.

*Are you in a rut? Is it time for a makeup shake up? No worries! I am here to share tips from the experts on page 68.

*Pumpkin -- it's not just for lattes! Why is this ingredient so amazing for the skin? Learn more on page 46.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Here are the top 5 things that I have discovered about myself over the years:

1. I no longer give a flip what people think of me. I am a recovering people-pleaser. I used to do myself a real disservice by being a "yes" person. Each time I said yes to something that made me cringe on the inside, I would be showing myself disrespect. As I get older, I say "no" more often and do not let any guilt eat at me. Life is too short to say NO to yourself by saying YES to everything else.

2. I FEEL and look better and am healthier at 40 than at 30. Ten years ago, I turned 30 suffering with pretty severe depression. My dad had just died at age 56 of pancreatic cancer, I had two under age 2 and was EXHAUSTED. I was overweight and eating to make myself feel better. I was not in a good place. I've shed the weight (literally and figuratively) and feel younger at 40 than I did in my twenties. It's all about loving and respecting myself (and my family) enough to be kind to my body.

3. I have always been my toughest critic. I am really hard on myself. I am working on this. No matter what I do, it is not quite good enough in my eyes. This one is a real work in progress. Stop back when I turn 50 and hopefully this will be a thing of the past.

4. Gosh darn it, though, I like me. I do. I think I am--as my big brother used to say--pretty SWELL. I like to make others feel good. I like to help people. Sure I am quirky, but like a fine wine or a block of cheddar, I get better with age. I am a much more accepting person, more forgiving. I no longer go through life holding onto things-- like they say in Frozen, you have to "let it go." I am more patient. Being a mom has helped with that.

5. Nothing is more important in this life than the people you surround yourself with. I know this. If people suck the life out of you, don't associate with them. Simple enough. My children, my husband, my family, my crazy group of friends who have become my other family-- they make my life complete. If you have people you can talk to, laugh with, whose shoulders you can cry on -- if you have people who truly bring you joy, then you are lucky. I am so fortunate. No amount of money, number of bylines or kudos or things of that nature could EVER measure up to what truly makes one rich -- family and friends. I realize that each day. My life is rich.

I have been enjoying some time off with my family the past couple weeks. I will resume regular posting after Labor Day!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Myths and Truths About Preservatives

We've talked about "bad" ingredients in your skincare and beauty products before at length over the past 8 years here at The Beauty Blogger. You know the ones-- DMDM Hydantoin, Parabens, BHT, Formaldehyde, and about a dozen other ingredients I do not like to see in personal care products.

Today, I am taking a different approach. IS all-natural the BEST way to go in every situation?

The above product is one I received here for blog review. Upon opening, it had an "off" odor and mold.

The ingredients I would like to talk about today:

  • MOLD

I have been concerned about the ingredients in skincare products for years now. I have been writing about the issue for more than 8. For me, natural beauty is not just eco-friendly beauty products or sustainable packaging, but also SAFER ingredients. I am also the first to admit that my opinions have changed a bit as far as ingredients go. I used to rely wholeheartedly on the EWG's Skin Deep Guide, but years later, I have a different view point.  The EWG, in many ways, presents an alarmist point of view and doesn't get down to the nitty gritty and say that their rankings are all black or white--they do not say that there is a HUGE difference in an ingredient used at 100% concentration vs. 0.05% concentration. And, yes, there is a HUGE difference.

Admittedly, I have relied too much over the years on the EWG. One cannot rely solely on the EWG, just as people need to accept that effects can be cumulative, so caution and research are needed.

A couple years back, I was even thinking of changing my mind on using products preserved with phenoxyethanol as part of the ingredient makeup.  I was introduced to a brand with a natural "preservative" derived from a rare tree bark that may have broad spectrum protection. I was skeptical, but kept a truly open mind. I was avidly using these products and then, wham--3 months later, I opened my jar of furry, mold covered face mask. My face cream soon had beige lumps and an odor. 

I was willing to take a gamble and have an open mind.  And I was wrong.  My original feelings on broad spectrum preservation were only validated after experiencing rancid items, mold, and skin irritation. The real problem is not "parabens may cause cancer" or "propylene glycol is the same thing as anti-freeze" (it is not, by the way).

The real danger, I believe, is from what we KNOW FOR A FACT to happen: that improperly preserved products cause mold.  They can lead to serious bacterial infections. They may cause staph. We know this for sure. 

A few months ago, I received skincare products for review from a direct sales company with NON-TOXIC in its name. Within 3 months, half of them had developed visible mold. This line contains a plethora of products lacking effective preservation.

For the record, I am not in favor of products with parabens. They are too questionable for me.  But if it came down to it and I was offered a completely natural, homemade unpreserved skincare product and a mass produced cream with parabens and could ONLY choose one or the other, I would choose the one with parabens. And I do not say this lightly.

More research is needed.  I am hoping that we will know with absolute certainty whether parabens will cause cancer (right now, it looks like they do not, based on perr reviewed scientific studies) or whether formaldehyde releasers will make you grow three heads. Until that time, what we DO know, is that there is great risk with improperly preserved products. I have been very critical over the years of certain synthetic ingredients--but have always spoken about the need for preservation and product safety. 

More and more websites are popping up with stories of the latest "dangerous" or "toxic" beauty ingredient. What worries me, though, is that while everyone is happy to jump on the natural products bandwagon, they are not considering the possibility that they will be, with CERTAINTY, putting themselves at risk of having mold, bacteria, yeast, etc. in their products if they are using preservative-free ones.  This is not a better option than the alternative.

These are preservatives *I* trust to protect the the products I buy. I am not saying these are guaranteed to be 100% safe. No one can say that. There is not enough conclusive evidence to say that these ingredients will always be deemed safe, but that is the beauty of research & science. The below preservatives WILL protect your products from the nasties, but are healthier alternatives to parabens.

  • Phenoxyethanol when used with more natural preservatve boosters such as Ethylhexylglycerin a
  • Gluconoactone and Sodium Benzoate (Geogard)
  • Glucose Oxidase/Lactoperoxidase
  • Japanese Honeysuckle Extract (although, this is an ingredient not without controversy)

The biggest threat to your well being is buying products which are NOT properly preserved. I'd like to look at some preservation myths today.

MYTH #1: Grapefruit Seed Extract is an all natural preservative.

GSE is not all natural.  People often confuse Grapefruit Essential Oil with Grapefruit Seed Extract. The essential oil is all natural and is great for aromatherapy. Actually, the name Grapefruit Seed Extract is misleading. One would assume that GSE is pulverized grapefruit seeds. It is anything but. What is Grapefruit Seed Extract then? GSE actually comes from chemically-altered grapefruit seeds which have been treated with Ammonium Chloride via a chemical process. 

Does GSE preserve products in any way? Not really. Some people believe GSE may be mildly preservative, but research has consistently shown that it is ineffective and that it is actually the tainted chemical components used to preserve the GSE itself--including triclosanbenzethonium chloride, and methylparaben-that are doing the tiny bit of preservation.  In other words, a paraben-free business may be using GSE which actually might have parabens in it. Kind of defeats the purpose, no?

MYTH #2: Vitamin E and Rosemary Oleoresin Extract are all-natural preservatives.

Wrong again. These 2 ingredients are antioxidants. Antioxidants are good. They help fight free radicals.

When used in a product, it can help to protect your more sensitive oils from oxidizing and becoming rancid. It is NOT a preservative. I used to use ROE in my eye balm and sleep balm back when I was formulating --not to preserve (as there is no water & oil mixture to require a preservative) -- but to protect the oils.

MYTH #3: Herbal tinctures and extracts are natural preservatives.

When you see an ingredients listing and a product description indicating that the product is all-natural and preserved only with herbal blends, extracts, and tinctures, this is very misleading. What is not being revealed on the ingredients list is that it is only a "preservative" because some tinctures and extracts are preserved in butylene and propylene glycol. In other words, that "natural" ingredient used to "preserve" your product actually contains about 50-75% synthetic ingredients. Butylene and propylene glycol aren't evil either, by the way. They still won't preserve effectively.

MYTH #4: Grain alcohol is a safe, natural preservative.

No! Grain alcohol (ethyl alcohol) is NOT an effective preservative. While it is antibacterial, it would need to be used at a level of around 70% in the product to be effective. I don't know about you, but if I put a product with mainly alcohol on my skin, it would be drier than the Arizona desert in the summer time. Even if you would venture to try using it on your skin at such a high level, it will not protect against mold, fungus, and yeast.

Too much of a good thing?

Full disclosure-- I am not a filler fan. I hate needles. I believe in anti-aging skincare. I have very mixed feelings on the lengths people will go to in order to look younger. That said, I am not here to judge. It's YOUR face. If you want fillers, go for it!

Botox. Restylane. Juvederm. Chances are you have likely heard of these fillers.  Many of you have considered these treatments yourself. Perhaps you have already had them done.  Did you know, though, that injectable treatments can make your face look older?

Think about some of the Hollywood celebs who have had too much of a good thing--some of those ladies have had so much Botox that they can’t even move their eyebrows.

We seem to be in a never ending quest for the fountain of youth.  Injectable treatments can help turn back the clock, even if only temporarily.  Going to the dermatologist for fillers can be done quickly, often over the lunch hour.  The results are usually positive.  Those frown lines soften and you look more awake.  

Unfortunately, many women are unaware that getting regular injectable treatments such as Botox can make their skin look older. How can clinically proven anti-aging treatments like Botox make you look older?  Let’s look at the causes.

Muscle Atrophy

When we do not use muscles for an extended period of time, they begin to atrophy.  They lose strength. Muscle mass is diminished.  Have you ever broken a bone before and noticed a difference in the appearance of the broken area after the cast is removed?

A few years back, I broke my left leg.  I had a cast for several weeks.  Despite having regular physical therapy sessions while in my cast, the muscles were no longer being used the same way.  I wasn’t walking, running, or jumping.  When my cast was removed, my left leg was thinner than the right.  My left calf muscle lost its tone. There was a definite reduction in muscle mass.

When injectable fillers are used, the ingredients paralyze the facial muscles.  That is the reason people are often unable to furrow their brows or show expressiveness in their face.  The facial muscles are not being used.  If injectable treatments are performed repeatedly, these muscles may begin to atrophy. The result?  Skin sagging and loss of firmness-- the very things you are trying to avoid by having the injectables in the first place.

Patient addiction

I hate to use the word addiction because it seems so strong, but it really can apply to some people who have in-office procedures to combat the effects of aging. It can happen to any of us.  Have you ever had a skin care product you just loved, but the package insert said to use it only twice weekly?

I remember back in college, I had a facial scrub I adored. It made my skin feel squeaky clean and fresh.  The back of the bottle said to use it two to three times a week. I told myself that since it worked so well three times a week, the results would be even more spectacular if I used the product six times a week. So I did. I quickly learned overusing a product can have a negative effect. I soon began to experience red, irritated skin. Pores became clogged. My skin started to break out.  

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.  The same applies to injectables. Many people love the results they experience after having these treatments done. They look more youthful.  They have an increase in self confidence.  What ends up happening is that these patients will often decide to have treatments done more frequently, believing that “more is better”.  When it comes to injectable treatments, though, less is more.

Repeated treatments at a frequent rate can make the facial features look unnatural--almost distorted.  When this happens, a much older looking face is likely.

How to avoid looking older with injectable treatments

  • Is your doctor heavy-handed with the injectables? Is he or she trying to get you to have more areas done or at a greater frequency? Find a new doctor. You want to be sure your doctor is well trained in performing these injections. If something doesn’t feel right to you, there is no harm in finding a doctor you are comfortable with.

  • Resist the urge to overdo it. Stick with the maintenance schedule recommended by your dermatologist. Having treatments done too often will only result in an unnatural look, which makes your face look much older.

Tell me about your experience with injectable treatments.  How often do you go in for maintenance?  Are you happy with your results? I want to know!

Monday, August 17, 2015

The 5 Best Bar Cleansers for the Face

Are you a cleansing snob?

Don't be! I want you to get that idea out of your head that bar soaps are bad. We have discussed this before at length. Bar soaps are good for your skin!

The cheap bars you buy at the store -- Dove and Zest come to mind -- are NOT real soap at all. They are bars made of beef fat and harsh cleansing agents and fragrances which tend to be devoid of any true skincare benefits. REAL soap contains natural butters, oils, vitamins and minerals to care for your skin.

A well-formulated bar soap can do wonders for your skin! Today, I am sharing the 5 best bar soaps for the face:

  • A couple of months back, I told you about Humboldt Soap Company Egg White Face Soap. Have you tried it yet? In addition to argan oil, crushed grape seeds to exfoliate, and egg whites, you will find olive & coconut oils. If have normal to combo skin, you will absolutely adore this bar! $7.50

  • Are you still using LUSH Coalface for your oily skin? Stop! I know it is popular, but there is a much better option. The LUSH contains sodium lauryl sulfate. The Perfectly Posh Gender Bender Chunk contains activated charcoal, silt (Dead Sea mud) and nourishing shea butter. When my t-zone is oily mid-summer, I swear by this. I also see an improvement using this on Nick's eczema.By the way, you will save money and get a better product with Gender Bender. The LUSH bar is $13.95 for 3.5 ounces. Gender Bender is just $9 for 7 ounces!

  • If you are hypersensitive or have flaky skin, Rosacea or other skin concerns, I recommend the Suki Sensitive Cleansing Bar. Enriched with colloidal oatmeal & shea butter, this bar is free of artificial dyes. $11.95

  • I cannot say enough about the Carrot & Goat Milk bar from Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soap. It is positively delightful and ideal for mature, sensitive and dry skin types. There are no added fragrances of any kind and it is full of good-for-your-skin ingredients such as wheat germ oil, carrot puree, grapeseed oil, coconut oil and more. $6

  • If you are looking for a fragrance-free bar cleanser to treat acne, check out the Sibu Beauty Cleanse & Detox Sea Buckhorn Facial Soap. I love the fact that Sibu is another good company out there making sure that they are using sustainable ingredients. This bar contains organic Sea Buckthorn Oil, citrus peel, oat kernel flour and more. $6.95

Thursday, August 13, 2015

New issue of CosmoBiz

I have a new article in the August issue of CosmoBiz Salon, and it talks about taking care of our skin as we get older.

Take a look at the digital version:

Stay tuned, as I will have several articles in the magazine's September issue on the topics of hair, skin, makeup & nails. It is a fabulous magazine based in the Washington, DC metro area. It is truly a beauty-only magazine, which is right up my alley!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Have more sex, look younger?

Today we’re talking about the 5 greatest skincare sins.  Are you guilty of them?  Let’s find out!

1. You eat too much sugar.

Sugar causes the skin’s collagen and elastin fibers to break down. In fact, I recently wrote about glycation if you'd like to take a look. The result? Lines and wrinkles creep up more quickly. Before you take another bit of that Kit Kat or swallow another handful of M & M’s, head for your fridge and and grab some berries instead.  Not only are berries rich in antioxidants, they are also a sweet substitute for less healthy sugars.

2. You go to bed with your makeup on.

Big mistake, my friends. We all have had those nights. Perhaps you’ve been out too long with friends or maybe you’re just plain exhausted. Going to bed without thoroughly washing your face and removing your makeup is one of the worst things you can do for your skin.

Why? When you don’t remove your makeup, you are creating a breeding ground for bacterial growth. Your pores will get clogged and you’ll eventually end up with a zit or two (or three). Your skin will also look older. No one wants that to happen.  I didn’t even mention the possibility of infection caused by leaving on mascara all night that may get into your eyes. Just don’t do it. Take a couple of moments and remember to remove all that makeup. Let your skin breathe.  Your skin will thank you!

3. You’re not wearing suncreen.

The bulk of skin aging is caused by sun UV damage. Since we know that the sun will make your skin look older, why not commit to using sunscreen each and every day. You cannot control your genes, but this is one type of aging you actually have a say in. Plus, broad spectrum sunscreen can help prevent cancer. Don’t you think that this is reason enough to start wearing it?

4. You’re not having enough sex.

This is not a joke. Now in no way am I saying to run off and pick some random person off the street for this task, but did you know that research proves that having sex improves your skin?  Dr. David Weeks, of the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, actually conducted a study for more than a decade just on this subject.  The results?  Women who were having sex regularly looked 7 years younger than the others in the study group. Have sex.  Look younger. What’s not to love about that?

5. You fill up on flour.

White flour is one of the leading dietary causes of acne.  The bulk of cookies, cakes, pastas, and cereals are high on the glycemic index.  In other words, these are the “bad carbs.” White flours are notorious for causing breakouts and inflammation.  If you are prone to skin swelling and acne, it may just be because of the white flour in your diet.

Are you guilty of the above 5 skin saboteurs? Whether it’s not getting enough nookie or getting too much sun, making simple lifestlye and dietary changes may dramatically improve the condition of your skin.