How to get rid of spider veins naturally

Spider veins.  They can truly have a negative impact on a womans self esteem. This condition affects nearly half of the population.  If you often find yourself covering up with long pants and skirts, even on summers hottest days, these tips may be for you.

 

Here are ten ways to get rid of spider veins naturally.


  1. Elevate your legs.

This is crucial.  When you are seated, be sure not to cross your legs. Elevate them on an ottoman or step stool as much as you can while seated.  This is important for regulating blood flow in the legs and improving circulation.


  1. Get a massage.

Not only are massages a relaxing treat, but they may improve your spider veins.  Poor circulation is related to spider veins and we know that getting regular massages can improve your circulation. Thats why massages can be an excellent remedy for this condition. If possible, schedule a Swedish massage on a monthly basis.


  1. Cayenne pepper (Capsicum)

One of the most popular homeopathic remedies for spider veins involves the use of cayenne pepper. Anecdotal evidence suggests that mixing a spoon of cayenne into water and drinking it daily may bring relief because of cayennes effect on circulation. Cayenne pepper is also found in skin care products! My favorite one is Perfectly Posh Hot Pepper ShaBang Body Butter. This cocoa butter-based muscle rub features Capsicum, along with soothing aloe vera and may be worth a try for your pesky spider veins.


  1. Exercise!

Movement benefits all of us.  Whether it be riding a bike, swimming laps or taking a walk, exercise is essential to well being.  It gets your circulation moving, which helps improve spider veins.  These low impact exercises above use your legs, which will help prevent these unsightly veins from reappearing.


  1. Support hose may help.

Compression stockings arent exactly fashion forward, but they may greatly improve this condition. Plus, they are readily available at your neighborhood drugstore.  They gently add pressure and get the blood flowing in the legs to help get the problem under control. It is an affordable, painless, and effective way to treat spider veins.


  1. Be sure you’re at a healthy weight.

If you are overweight, try to shed some pounds slowly and in a healthy manner.  Not only will getting down to your ideal weight improve your overall health and self esteem, it may also help with your spider veins. If you are overweight, you are adding stress to your legs and feet, which both contribute to spider veins.


  1. Make an apple cider vinegar compress.

You can soak towels in a small basin of apple cider vinegar and wrap your legs in the towels.  You can also apply as a compress.  Why? The vinegar can help calm swelling, inflammation, and pain caused by spider veins.  We recommend chilled vinegar, as anything warm applied topically may make the problem worse.


  1. Apply witch hazel.

Witch hazel is a cooling ingredient and when it is applied to the spider veins with cotton balls, it can help reduce the pain and swelling.  Witch hazel also has astringent properties, making it an excellent choice for spider veins. Simply apply to a fresh cotton ball and pat onto affected areas.  This is one of the best ways to soothe the discomfort that goes along with this condition.


  1.  Consider Gotu Kola extract.

You know me. I love natural remedies, but I also need evidence and science when it comes to ingredients. This one I was not sure whether to include, but if you take supplements, you may want to give this a whirl. Gotu Kola has been used for thousands of years to treat many conditions.  It is well known for treating conditions related to veins and circulation, making it a prime choice for spider veins.  In fact, if you do an online search for this natural extract, you will find thousands of testimonials for people saying that their spider and varicose veins were cured by taking Gotu Kola.


  1.  Dont forget the sunscreen.

Skin care experts are quick to recommend sunscreen usage for many reasons.  Using sunscreen can also help to prevent spider veins.  Sun damaged skin and increased exposure to the sun actually make existing spider veins look much worse.  Be sure to protect your skin from the sun.  In doing so, you will help reduce the appearance of spider veins at the same time.

My top 3 sunscreen picks:

Alba Botanica Fragrance Free Very Emollient Sunscreen SPF 30

CoTZ Sensitive SPF 40 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

Perfectly Posh My Hero SPF 30+

Glossique Nail Deco Review

I am no stranger to nail wraps. I have tried the original — Minx — as well as hundreds and hundreds of Jamberry Nails nail wraps while I was a consultant for 21 months, most of those in leadership. I’ve used nail stickers and Sally Hansen, Incoco and Essie, as well as Avon and So Gloss. I know there are others, but these are the ones that come to the top of my head. From August 2013 through May, I used no others but Jamberry.

 

I have had so many to try over the years, but while I was a consultant I opted not to do so. Now that I am not affiliated with any nail wrap companies, I have had the chance to try some others out — including Glossique Nail Deco.

 

After experiencing peeling, sore, breaking nails, I took a several week hiatus between nail wrap applications. I had to get them back to a healthy and strong state. Here is what they looked like a few weeks ago. Thankfully, (seed) Fragrance Free Hand Cream and Perfectly Posh Cuticle Cutie — and time — repaired my nails.

 

When I was introduced to Glossique, I was extremely skeptical. “No heat? No way.” My previous experience with nail wraps not needing heat was really unimpressive. The heat is typically used to form a better bond to the nail. And I was worried that I would experience a setback in my nail growth and strength. Plus, to be frank, Jamberry holds an INCREDIBLY SPECIAL PLACE IN MY HEART. I did not even want to LIKE another brand.

 

 

Back to my experience with Glossique. No heat is needed, none was used, and my wraps still lasted very well without lifting, bubbling, getting little uneven spots. I removed mine at 7 days ONLY because I wanted to choose a different pattern. They were still on securely and I believe they would have lasted a few more days.

Glossique Nail Deco nail wraps are formaldeyde free, paraben free,  made in America (in Minnesota) and are cruelty free. There is no detectable odor. Also, unlike many others, they do not dry out. Sally Hansen, for example, is wasteful because you have to open the whole package to use. These are on a sheet (19 per sheet) and you remove each wrap as you use them.

Like other nails wraps, they are vinyl with a polyacryalate adhesive & silicone.

Gypsy Story is a favorite of mine!

 

Juicy Apple is lots of fun, too!

Glossique comes in TWO sizes. This is a game changer, as it is available for ALL wraps designs. You can choose Regular or Petite. Both work for me, although Petite is best as I do have smaller nails beds.

You just pick a size, cut in half and then peel off and apply to your prepped nails. Glossique advises using acetone to make sure your nails are well-prepped. I confess that I just washed my hands with Dawn (blue) liquid dish soap and then swiped clean with an alcohol pad. The wraps applied with great ease and I did my fingernails in about 5 minutes and a pedicure in less than 10.

Like I said, I was REALLY worried about longevity without heat. These stood up to gardening and heavy duty closet cleaning, as well as packing and taping moving boxes. I scrubbed the bathroom floors and tile with them, the messy lasagna pan, and more. No chips. No peeling. No lifting. No fraying.

You do NOT need to file these at all. You just trim. Glossique offers their own nail scissors. I used my own nail clippers and then smoothed one rough tip (my own fault) with my glass file.

To remove, you can gently peel off side to side. I was VERY skeptical, as that is not how I typically remove nails wraps. Even doing so “properly”, I tend to have nail damage. HOWEVER, these peeled right off and the couple sticky spots that remained I was able to swipe right off with nail polish remover.

My final thoughts:

I highly recommend Glossique. My experience with customer service has been really lovely. In fact, I need to say something. I debated whether or not to add this, but I just have to. Looking over at the Glossique Facebook page, I see some REALLY unprofessional posts from consultants at a competing company. Not only are they posting links to their own personal websites, they are being rude about the new product on the marketplace. Their tone is snippy. When you click their names, you can see that they represent another company. Here’s the thing: COMPETITION is a good thing. It is NATURAL. Just as Jamberry was not the first nail wrap on the market (nor is it the last), there are companies out there. Wouldn’t it be BORING if there were only one coffee brand you could buy? Or what if you could only drive a Ford? Having competition is not bad! So instead of posting things that give the impression that you lack grace and integrity, how about “Good luck with your new company. I also love nail wraps!”

I am a consultant with Perfectly Posh. I ***LOVE*** the products. Would I go to a competing site and badmouth them? Would I jump on a company’s corporate Facebook page and post my own link? No. Why? Because it is UNPROFESSIONAL.

My cousin and two of my friends sell Lemongrass Spa. Technically, you could say that Posh and Lemongrass are competitors. You know what? Lemongrass Spa makes some fabulous products, too. I have used them and I have blogged about them.

My point is that the powers that be over at Glossique have handled these unfortunate posts with kindness, respect and professionalism. THAT is how you run a business. 

The bottom line here: Do I adore Glossique? YES. I am pleasantly surprised! I am impressed. The wraps are nice and they are very gentle on my nails.

To buy: You order from their website, where wraps sell for $13 per sheet and the shipping is free if you spend $50 or more.

Glossique offers a very generous return policy: 30 day money back guarantee and 90 days for a credit.

Head over to http://glossique.com and tell them The Beauty Blogger sent you! 
Disclosure: I was sent nail wraps at no cost for possible review, like with most of my review posts. I received no monetary compensation for this review and all opinions are 100% mine.

How to get rid of your Keratosis Pilaris

I have been dealing with a skin condition called Keratosis Pilaris for the past 15 years. When my symptoms first appeared, it was particularly frustrating for me to deal with, as I had always been able to troubleshoot my own skincare woes based on professional experience. My tried and true products and remedies didn’t address this condition, which affects an estimated forty percent of Americans.

Having Keratosis Pilaris can have a negative impact on self esteem. In the summer, I like to wear sundresses and sleeveless tops. When the condition was at its worst, I found myself shopping for shirts that would cover my upper arms. I was very self conscious. Well meaning friends and family would point out that I had a “red rash” on my arms and asked if I was aware of it. Of course I was. It is something I could see in my mirror each day and planned my outfits around.
I went to my dermatologist, who advised me to use a lotion with lactic acid. Unfortunately, this popular lotion also has the strong odor of ammonia and parabens. After a few weeks, I only saw a slight improvement, so I gave up. I spent that entire summer covering my arms because the red bumps were so noticeable.
Let’s take an in-depth look at this condition and see what can be done to treat it.

What is Keratosis Pilaris?

Keratosis Pilaris is a common skin condition that causes very small white or red bumps to form on arms, cheeks, thighs and bottom. They are painless and tend to resemble a rash. People sometimes call it “chicken skin” and the bumps look very much like red goosebumps. The texture in the affected area tends to be quite rough and dry, worsening in the winter.
It is more common in children and those under thirty. My son, age 11, has it on his cheeks. Mine only affects my upper arms. While I am over thirty, this is less common with age.

What causes Keratosis Pilaris?

You have no doubt heard of keratin. Keratin is the protein that protects the skin, hair and nails from infection. It is fibrous. Sometimes too much keratin builds up. It ends up clogging the hair follicles, forming a plug. The result? Rough, scaly bumps. It is that simple. There is nothing that you are doing wrong to create this problem. Even those who are extremely conscientious about their skincare routines can still have Keratosis Pilaris.

Treating Keratosis Pilaris

Where I went wrong is when I assumed I would care for this skin condition the same way I would any other dry or rough spots — through applying a scrub. It was a logical choice. When you apply a manual exfoliant like a scrub, you are sloughing off dry skin. You cannot slough off Keratosis Pilaris, though. When you use a scrub, it may end up making the condition worse. I found my own skin to become more irritated, which made the red bumps more noticeable.
Exfoliation is key, but using the right type for this condition is a must.  The best skincare treatment for Keratosis Pilaris is a topical exfoliant that you do not rinse off. Products containing lactic acid, alpha hydroxy acid and beta hydroxy acid are your best treatment. The dermatologist gold standard is BHA.
Experts agree that the worst thing you can do for your KP is harsh exfoliation. You risk scarring by doing this.

Topical Salicylic Acid (BHA) is the single most effective way to treat Keratosis Pilaris

Salicylic Acid (beta hydroxy acid) is a highly effective Keratosis Pilaris treatment. BHA has the ability to get into the pores and help release the congestion. Applying a BHA treatment daily will help clear most cases of Keratosis Pilaris gradually over several weeks. Patience is key. If you do not see results after only a couple of days of use, please do not give up. It takes time to clear the blockage.

Glycolic acids (AHA) are viable options, too. However, the ONLY way to reach into the pores is with Salicylic (BHA).

 

Products I recommend

Spotless from Perfectly Posh contains 2% salicylic acid, aloe vera & witch hazel and comes in handy pads. Just $16 and these rival the most expensive brands.

Exuviance Clear & Smooth are also exfoliating pads. These are dermatologist grade and combine 2% salicylic acid with mandelic and benzelic acids for maximum exfoliation. When I worked as a skincare therapist for the company, it was a client favorite. I saw many with greatly improved self esteem after just a few uses of these pads!

Another sound product for Keratosis Pilaris is something that is in my shower right now: Emmaus Smiling Beads Body Wash. In my view, this is a MUST HAVE PRODUCT if you are suffering from Keratosis Pilaris. Why? This AMAZING body wash features both glycolic AND salicylic acid. It also contains jojoba oil, aloe vera, coffee, hibiscus & more. This is a new to me product and every time I get in the shower these past few weeks, I cannot wait to lather up because it DOES have a noticeable impact!

Paula’s Choice Resist Weightless Body Treatment 2% BHA is another product I highly recommend. This lightweight lotion is non-irritating, fragrance free and keeps the skin nicely hydrated.
Sources:

What’s In It Wednesday: Lemongrass Spa Foundation

I have mentioned Lemongrass Spa before. My cousin, consultant Ashley Sanford, introduced me to this handmade in Colorado brand of natural skin care and beauty products. I recently mentioned the body scrubs and have nothing but glowing things to say about these products!

I recently ran out of foundation and was pondering getting the Pur Minerals 4-in-1  Pressed Mineral Foundation, but decided to try a loose one again. I was browsing Ashley’s website and after hearing rave reviews about the foundation from my friend Krista, I decided to order the Sheer Minerals Foundation from Lemongrass Spa.

I chose the Oatmeal Light Foundation and have been using it the past few days now. It is talc-free, contains no harmful chemicals and offers physical sun protection.

Here are the ingredients:

Mica, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, iron oxide for color

That’s all — no artificial fragrance, irritating bismuth oxychloride or other unnecessary ingredients. This is as pure & natural of a foundation as you are going to find.

Does it work, though?

YES!

This is a lovely foundation. It provides a buildable coverage, does not settle into fine lines, and has a silky, non-chalky texture. I use the EcoTools Buffing Brush to apply.

My skin is fairly dry. I apply my skin care products, a light layer of primer and then apply this foundation. It is the perfect shade for my complexion and I love how it feels completely weightless. When you’re around 40, you also notice that makeup can settle into fine lines halfway through your day and this does not.

It is an excellent foundation. I highly recommend this to everyone who wants to get back to basics and eliminate the junk ingredients from the beauty routine.

It is now my go-to foundation!

I am so impressed. I had given up on loose mineral powder foundations. My favorite was $44 and I just didn’t feel it was worth the splurge. This one is $20 and rivals any mineral powders from Sephora or Ulta. The reason I stopped using them is because my skin would itch and just feel uncomfortable after using them. That is because of the bismuth oxychloride. This is a highly irritating ingredient found in many powders.

In fact, I’d like to take a look at some of the more popular loose mineral foundations so you can compare the ingredients.

Bare Minerals Original SPF 15

Active: Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide. Inactive: Bismuth Oxychloride, Mica, Iron Oxides

Tarte Amazonian Clay Full Coverage Airbrush Foundation

Quartz, Ruby Powder, Tourmaline, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Smithsonite Extract, Sea Salt/Maris Sal/Sel Marin, Hydrolyzed Pearl, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, BHT, Kaolin. May Contain(+/-): Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI77491, CI77492, CI77499), Ultramarines (CI 77007), Zinc Oxide (CI 77947), Manganese Violet (CI 77742), Chromium Oxide Greens (CI 77288), Chromium Hydroxide Green (CI 77289), Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163), Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide (CI 77510), Ferric Ferrocyanide (CI 77510)

Laura Mercier Mineral Powder SPF 15

Active Ingredient – Zinc Oxide. Ingredient: Pearl Powder. May Contain (+/-): Mica (CI 77019), Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)

L’Oreal True Match Naturale SPF 19

Active Ingredients : Titanium Dioxide 10.0%. Other ingredients : Boron Nitride, Kaolin, Isononyl Isononanoate, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Calcium Gluconate, Manganese Gluconate, Magnesium Gluconate, Copper PCA, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Tocopherol, Panthenol. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Bismuth Oxychloride, Mica, Iron Oxides

Neutrogena Mineral Sheers Loose Powder Foundation

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 7.5%. Inactive Ingredients: Mica, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Zinc Stearate, Silk Powder, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Flour, Tocopheryl Acetate, Pantothenic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid. May Contain: Bismuth Oxychloride, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide

The C & G Bottom Line:

As you can see, the most popular mineral foundations contain irritating Bismuth Oxychloride.

What is Bismuth Oxychloride? Let me preface this by saying that, in my view, you would be better off using talc than bismuth oxychloride in your makeup. Talc is actually more pure and natural than Bismuth Oxychloride. This “natural” ingredient is not that natural. Bismuth is actually the by product of the copper and lead refining process and then combined with water and chloride. It is notorious for irritating the skin, especially sensitive skin.

Why on earth is this a common ingredient? It’s common because it gives a slightly shimmery, pearlized effect,. Nothing more. It is in no way beneficial to your skin.  So skip it.

Some of the above powder foundations also contain potentially parabens, which are believed to be endocrine disruptors. There are so many truly unnecessary ingredients in the other brands — I am loving my Lemongrass Spa Foundation. It really is top-notch and I look forward to trying more makeup products from the line!

A disclaimer — most of the makeup I review on this blog was sent to me for the purpose of review. I purchased this product on my own and I am not affiliated with Lemongrass Spa.

$220 serum vs. $20 serum: Which is better?

BrighteningSerums

 

I used to try to blot the shine off my oily nose and forehead. Many of us have done this. I am approaching 40 and there has been a shift in my skin over the past year or two. I am dry. Parched. I am religious about taking care of my skin. It’s non-negotiable. I have been taking care of my skin since I was 21 working for Clarins.

With this dryness and just plain natural aging, my skin isn’t as naturally glowy as before. It had gotten JUST PLAIN DULL! No worries.

I have recently been using a brightening product I absolutely adore. It’s affordable, too! It’s from Avalon Organics and is their new Age-Less Illuimating Serum. I started using it a couple of weeks ago  and am already a big fan. This serum proves to me that EXPENSIVE IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER. Prior to using the Avalon serum, I had the chance to try a”luxury” brightening serum, with few — if any — visible results. I used the uber expensive Tata Harper Concentrated Brightening Serum. It was much-hyped, an Allure beauty award winner, and gets a 5-star review on the Tata Harper website. For the record, it is $220 for 1 ounce. The Avalon Organics retails for $19.99 for 1 ounce. I could buy 10 and a half bottles of Avalon for the same price as the Tata Harper!


Ingredients in the Avalon Organics serum:

Aqua (water), aloe barbadensis leaf juice(1), emulsifying wax NF, glycerin, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate,squalane, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil(1), tocopheryl acetate, hyaluronic acid, glyceryl laurate, panthenol, allantoin, cetyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, lecithin, melatonin, tocopherol, theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter(1), citrus aurantium bergamia (bergamot) fruit oil, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) peel oil, citrus limon (lemon) peel oil, borago officinalis seed oil(1), linum usitatissimum (linseed) seed oil(1), rosa canina fruit oil(1), arnica montana flower extract(1), calendula officinalis flower extract(1), camellia sinensis leaf extract(1), citrus limon (lemon) peel extract, laminaria digitata extract(1), lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower/leaf/stem extract(1), amodimethicone, ergocalciferol, phytonadione, retinyl palmitate, alcohol(1), ethylhexyl glycerin, phenoxyethanol, xanthan gum, citral, limonene, linalool.
(1)Certified Organic Ingredient
No synthetic fragrances, phthalates, harsh sulfates or parabens

 
Ingredients in the Tata Harper serum:

Aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, Glycerin, Rosa damascena flower water*, Propanediol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride,  Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) seed Oil, Hydroxystearyl Alcohol, Silybum marianum (Milk Thistle) ethyl ester, Glyceryl undecylenate, Leuconostoc ferment filtrate (radish root extract), Arachidyl Alcohol, Sesamum indicum (sesame) seed oil*, Leucojum aestivum (Summer Snowflake) Bulb Extract, Ascophyllum nodosum (Norwegian Sea Kelp) Extract, Lavandula stoechas (Spanish Lavender) extract, Narcissus tazetta (Daffodil) bulb extract*, Phoenix dactylifera (Date) seed extract, Sodium hyaluronate, Lilium candidum (Madonna Lily) leaf cell extract, Anogeissus Leiocarpus (Akulia) Bark Extract, Pancratium maritimum (Sea Dafodil) extract, Menyanthes trifoliata (Buckbean) Leaf Extract, Dunaliella salina (Algae) extract, Brassica Napus (rapeseed) extract, Squalene, Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) Seed wax, Cocos nucifera (Coconut) oil, Daucus carota sativa (Carrot) root Extract, Lonicera japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Populus tremuloides (Aspen) Bark Extract,Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Glyceryl,  Caprylate, Dictyopteris Membranacea (Sea fern) Extract, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan gum, Behenyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Hydroxystearyl Glucoside / Glucoside Hydroxystearyl, Cetyl alcohol, Gluconolactone, Aroma**, Limonene, Linalool, Citral, Geranioll, Benzyl Benzoate, Citronellol

The beneficial ingredients are in blue. Do you know why the Avalon Organics produces visible results? There are many similar ingredients in these two products, but the concentration of key ingredients differs. Remember that the closer to the beginning of the ingredients label, the greater the amount of an ingredient.

Both products contain hyaluronic acid, squalane, sunflower seed and vitamin E. Yet, these ingredients are much closer to the beginning of the ingredients listing in the Avalon product.

While I used an entire bottle of Tata Harper without seeing results, I have used the Avalon Organics for only around 2 weeks and see a visible difference. My skin IS brighter.

$220 for a serum? No thank you. The $20 product works and I highly recommend it! FYI, you can do some Google searching and find the Avalon product for around $15 at various vitamin websites. You’re welcome.

Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes Review

I first was introduced to Younique on a Facebook group for direct sales consultants. I repeatedly saw posts for this “all natural” mascara from multiple consultants. Claims ranging from “all-natural” and “100% natural” to “Vegan” and “opthamologist recommended” were being thrown out there.

When I saw the claims, I was curious. I asked a consultant for more info and she then offered to send me the “best selling mascara” for my blog at no cost to me.

A few days later, I had my Younique Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes.

And then I saw the ingredients list…. While the list is far more “natural” than some other products, the product is far from “all natural” and is definitely not vegan, as it contains beeswax. The consultant force needs to be sure what they are saying is factual. I didn’t mind that this was not all-natural, as you want proper preservation and a truly all natural product just can’t provide that.

A couple weeks later, I decided to try my new “mascara” for the first time. First of all, this is a three-part process. And step one is RIDICULOUS, as you need to already have a mascara! You apply “your own regular favorite mascara” and let it dry. You then need to apply the “transplanting gel” and then quickly apply the “natural fibers”. After that, you repeat the transplanting gel step.

The result? Sticky lashes that were more voluminous, but looked like fake, ugly spider lashes. This look is so unattractive! As a makeup artist, I tell you that pros are NOT using this stuff.

 
They also felt so sticky and coated. For $29, I was very sorely disappointed because there are SO many better products on the market– ones that, with the right mascara and an eyelash curler, look gorgeous! There is simply NO need for all of these additional products. I have used far superior $9 drugstore mascaras. The product I was told is a mascara is not a mascara at all, nor does it serve a purpose. Used on its own was probably better than the whole three step deal, but this was still very unimpressive. I am sorry, but they just looked ridiculous. Have you seen the pics on Instagram?

Ingredients:

Transplanting Gel Ingredients: Water, Beeswax (Natural Propolis), Carnauba (Brazilian palm glue), Iron Oxide Cl 77499 (Black), Collagen, Acrylates Copolymer, Nylon, Stearic Acid, Propylene Glycol. .23 FL OZ / 7 ml

Natural Fibers Ingredients: 100% Natural Fibers taken from the Campanulaceae of Green Tea. Net WT .02 OZ/ .5g

The Bottom Line
 
Skip it. Mine was free and even if yours was as well, I cannot recommend this product. There are far better products on the market with better ingredients that will give you gorgeous lashes in ONE step for far less money, that actually *look good* and don’t cause irritation. I do not mean to be rude, but I am going to level with you. I have yet to see ONE picture on social media of these lashes that actually look good. 

My recommendationsPrescriptives False Eyelashes Plush Mascara, Physicians Formula Organic Wear Mascara and Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes. All are FAR better in one application than this three step product.

Disclosure: This was sent to me at no cost for review. This has in no way influenced my write-up.

Mani Monday: Easy Jamberry Application Tips & Tricks

It is time for this week’s Mani Monday and I wanted to not only show you some recent Jamicures, but also take the time to answer some of the questions I have been asked about applying Jamberry Nails. People want to know if it is hard to do by yourself. I have gotten the application process down to a science, but the first couple times were harder.
I have a video tutorial to share for those visual learners (like me) and also a written list that I made down below.
First, let’s take a look at some nail pics!
And I am wearing Reminisce right now:
Here is the official Jamberry application video. This is so helpful! If you do not have the Jamberry Nails heater, you still can do this at home with your hair dryer. That is how I did it until I got my consultant starter kit several months after already being a Jamberry user.
maniessentials
 
How to get a great Jamberry application every time based on my *personal experience*
 
1. Remove all traces of nail polish.
2. Push back cuticles,trim &  file your nails, and buff.
3. AN IMPORTANT STEP: Often, our nail beds are oily. Plus, your fingertips will have natural oils. Wash your hands. Use a degreasing soap like Dawn. My favorite natural hand soaps are usually TOO OILY for this task. The exception?  Clean Well brand.
4. You can also wipe your fingernails with a bit of alcohol to be sure there is no oily residue left behind.
5. When you are choosing a nail wrap for your fingernail, do not choose one that is too wide. If it touches the cuticles at all, they will not adhere. It IS totally OK to have a teensy bit of nail uncovered on each side (just like when you get gels). It won’t be noticeable and makes a big difference.
6. Don’t heat your Jams for too long. Just a couple seconds will suffice. When you apply them, the heat will have made them pliable, so stretch to ensure there aren’t bubbles/ridges.
7. PRESSURE! Pressure and heat are key. Keep pressing. Apply pressure around your nail bed and keep pressing. Also pay attention to your nail tips. This area is often overlooked, especially on those of us with short nails. Apply lots of pressure!
8. Seal again with a touch of heat. And press again for good measure 🙂
9. TOOLS matter. We all have a dull pair of nail scissors laying around. I am guilty, too. Without sharp scissors or a nice and “buffy” buffing block, the results won’t be the same.
10.  Once you have your manicure, please keep your hands in great shape! Use  Jamberry Nails Cuticle Oil and your favorite natural hand cream daily. I have been using (seed) Healthy Hand Cream as my go-to 100% natural cream for years. I also use my favorite exfoliant, (seed) Therapeutic Hand Scrub, regularly.

I am also asked questions about whether you can use Jamberry Nails over artificial nails. Yes, you may use Jamberry Nails nail wraps over both gel and acrylic nails.

Another tip I read online that WORKS LIKE A CHARM FOR ME: the “baggy method”.  Again, this is *my personal experience* and not a Jamberry-approved method.  Apply your nail wraps and place a baggy (like a Ziploc) over the nail and apply heat. This will practically “shrink wrap” the nail wrap to your nails and–for me–it lasts longer!

I hope these tips will help you all out!

Silk’n Flash & Go Review


I am hairy. I admit it. I have super pale skin, but dark hair on my body thanks to my Greek genes. My hair also grows SUPER fast. It’s something I really have hated and been self conscious about since high school. I remember my friend Ryan saying to me, “Wow! You have more hair on your arms than I do.” That was the day I went home and shaved my arms.

Hairy arms, hairy legs….I can remember the horrible smell of Nair, followed by the rash and bumps that would follow after it only took off half my hair. I have shaved, wax, sugared, threaded, epilated, and tweezed hairs from all over my body for years and years. Once I hit the hormone jackpot after having kids, the hair came darker and faster. And in the worst places.

Because my hair grows so fast, waxing keeps it at bay for LESS THAN ONE WEEK. I kid you not. When I shave my legs in the morning, the hair is gone, but my skin is so pale that you can see that dark root deep down practically showing through.  If I sneeze and get goosebumps, it is all over. My legs (or arms) feel stubbly.

Chin hair? Yep. Got it. Pesky hairs growing on the upper lip? An errant hair near my belly button? Yep. It sucks, but it’s something I deal with. I can pluck it from the roots and it comes back by the next morning. It is awful.

I cannot even begin to think about how many hours I have spent just removing hair. And I am sick of it. A couple years back, I even had bloodwork done to see if I had some sort of hormonal issue. At least then I would know WHY I grow hair with such ease. It was all normal. I am just hairy.

Enter the Silk’n Flash & Go.

Here is how the website describes the device:

“Silk’n Flash&Go is an innovative light-based device for hair removal with FDA clearance for permanent results. The new high tech design of the Flash&Go applicator allows individuals to properly target and zone into any area that requires treatment. No area is too big or too small!”

The wonderful folks at Silk’n sent me a Flash & Go to experience first hand.  I began my first treatment on March 16th.  First of all, I need to say that I am the ideal candidate for this. It works best on people with light skin and darker body hair. That is me.

I also have to tell you that this is NOT an instant fix. It will take time and multiple treatments need to be done. I cannot tell you, “Wow! I started in March and now I have no hair on my body except where I want it and it is gone forever!”

That is not how this works.  You do treatments every two weeks. Silk’n recommends doing the treatments every 2 weeks at first, progressing to higher levels of energy (ouch factor, LOL). After that 3 to 4 treatments, they recommend once a month if you have hair growth going on.

Eventually, it is ADIOS to hair.

To use this, you need to shave first.  You can’t wax or use anything that rips out the root right before doing this. The device is hand held and you plug it in. It isn’t noisy, but there is a soft fan noise. If you have ever had a children’s hair styling play kit with a battery operated hair dryer, the Flash & Go has that same humming noise. The lights indicate when it is ready and you press the device on your skin and push the button. A flash appears–like an old fashioned camera with a popping noise.

You do the treatments every 2 weeks because of the hair growth cycle. As you know, there are three stages of hair growth. The light can only really impact the hair during the active growth cycle. It is estimated that about 20% of our hair is at that active growth stage at any given time, so you need to space out treatments to be sure that there is a point when it will truly work.

Back to what I called the “ouch factor”. I should not have even said “Ouch.”  This does NOT hurt. It is a warm sensation on level 1 and when you move up levels, it is nothing more than a warm rubber band snapping sensation. It is NOT painful. Not at all. This is coming from someone who CANNOT tolerate pain. Waxing, tweezing, and using an Emjoi are MUCH, MUCH more painful. This is just warm…on the highest setting it was just a tiny bit of a nuisance. That is all.

I can do the chin/upper lip area in less than 2 minutes.

It takes me about 30 minutes to do both legs up to my thigh and about 10 minutes for both arms. My underarms–the area which seems more sensitive to the discomfort than anywhere else–take all of 2 minutes for both.


The Cons

* My skin is MUCH more photosensitive. This is to be expected with this type of treatment. I typically wear an all-natural sunscreen based with zinc oxide. It is normally effective. After using my Silk’n Flash & Go, this sunscreen does NOT cut it. After being outside for my son’s lacrosse game, I have a sunburn on my arms and legs despite using sunscreen. I have found that I need a chemical (more unhealthy) sunscreen with HIGH sun protection if I am out in the sun. And the site does advise you to avoid sun exposure, so they do tell you. With kids playing outdoor sports, avoiding the sun isn’t feasible.

*After three treatments, the first cartridge died. The box included a replacement, but I will soon need another. These are $45 each. That said, because this product works and I will eventually not need razors or have to spend all that time on removing hair, this will be well worth it.

The Pros

*After three treatments, the hair on my arms has been reduced DRASTICALLY. In fact, I would say it is about 80% gone. What has grown back is growing very slowly and is MUCH finer and hardly noticeable.

*After three treatments, I do NOT have to shave my legs everyday anymore. I can get away with every 2 or 3 days which is unheard of for me. There are some spots that have NOT yet grown back. This only improves with each treatment.

*After three treatments, the area that seems to be taking the slowest amount of time is the pesky chin area, but it is much better than before. The hair is much softer and the growth rate is slowing down.

*This product is working. I promise to check back and share my results in another few weeks and then again a few weeks after that.

*Compared to laser treatments at a medical spa, this is VERY affordable. Yes, it is $299 right off the bat.  When you think of the thousands of dollars and time spent going to get laser done, this is so much more affordable and so much more convenient! You have privacy, do not have to make an appointment, and results are effective

*This is PERMANENT hair removal. If you are like me and have had it up to HERE with shaving, tweezing, and waxing, this is really a wonderful alternative.

The Biggest Pro

This one is easy. Having this little machine has helped my self esteem. It can be a real bummer to wonder if your legs (or worse–other spots on your bod) are getting a five o’clock shadow within hours of shaving. Who wants that!? The Silk’n Flash & Go is really a fabulous product and I highly recommend it!

For more information about the Silk’n Flash & Go or other Silk’n products, please click here.

Acure Organics Hair Care Review

I was unfamiliar with Acure Organics until early last year.  I had heard some positive buzz and then when there was a good deal in a flash sale online, I ordered the facial cleanser for me to use in the summer when I get some oily spots.

After trying the cleanser and enjoying it (although it really is meant for truly oily skin rather than combination skin), I started trying other items from the brand.

You may have noticed that their eye cream, lip balm and a shampoo all were named in my Best of 2012 skin care awards on December 31. Acure Organics has quickly become one of my go-to natural (and truly organic!) skin care brands.  But how is the hair care?

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you will know that I have been a HUGE fan of Original Moxie when it comes to hair care.  And it is a brand I really do love.

That doesn’t mean I don’t try others. And, truth be told, I am so glad I ventured out a bit.

Acure Organics makes some of the best — if not THE best– hair care products on the planet.  For ME to say that about another brand is a big deal. Yep, a BIG deal. These are my new favorite hair products. Because of the price, this is going to be my go-to hair care brand for shampoo and conditioner.

A bit about the products: fair trade, color safe, phthalate free, paraben free, gluten free,  vegan, cruelty free, SLS and sodium chloride free as well.

I am first reviewing the Lemongrass + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo.  Would you believe the #1 ingredient in this is Organic Acai Berry? Seriously! Most “acai” products have only trace amounts and it is the numero uno ingredient in this product.  The ingredients are absolutely stellar–from Rooibos tea to CoEnzyme Q 10 to aloe vera. Argan Oil too! And it lathers well.

My hair is left super shiny. And soft…But not greasy and unmanageably soft. I adore it.  It is great on color-treated hair.  I also need to use just a tiny amount (still have a pixie).

As for the scent…I will be honest and say I didn’t like it that much at first.  It has really grown on me. The fact that this product works so beautifully outweighs the fact that I don’t LOVE the lemongrass scent.

Price $10.99 for 12 ounces
Performance Grade: A+
Ingredients Grade: A+

Note: This is the best of the Acure Organics shampoos, in my view.  I have tried the other ones. Do NOT get me wrong–they are ALL very good, but this one works the best for me!

I also am in love with the Leave-In Conditioner.  I have been using this one for several months.  In fact, it is the same $9.99 bottle I bought in the late spring.  My impressions–this leaves your hair silky smooth and super shiny with a couple quick spritzes.  The argan oil and olive oil really enhance shine without weighing my hair down.

This gives me adequate conditioning.  Again, I have short hair.  Pre-pixie, I may have needed another conditioner as well.  The leave in spray is sufficient for me.

Price: $9.99 for 4 ounces
Performance Grade: A+
Ingredients Grade: A+

Where to Buy:

Acure Organics Website

Drugstore.com (I order from here because I get back “drugstore dollars” and can use with ebates too)

Disclosure: I have purchased all of the Acure Organics products on my own.

Review: Jane Iredale Glow Time BB Cream

BB creams are all the rage in the US these days. From drugstore brands to high end, just about every single brand is launching their interpretation of the traditional Korean multi-purpose creams.

So just what is a BB cream?

BB cream stands for Blemish Balm cream.  The concept for the product was developed by a German dermatologist who used it as a post-laser treatment makeup for patients.  Not long after, Korean celebs made BB creams famous.

The product is coveted by Asian women and is a very versatile product. And now it’s all the rage in the United States.  A good BB cream will give you the look of flawless skin.  It also can replace three staple products in your beauty routine: concealer, foundation, and moisturizer. Some even work well as a primer, oil control and anti-aging skin care product (depending on ingredients).

I have tried BB creams in the past from overseas, but that was a couple of years back and I am pretty much a mineral makeup devotee, so I hadn’t tried any of the chemical-filled drugstore versions that are cropping up all over.

I recently was sent Jane Iredale’s new BB cream called Glow Time Full Coverage Mineral BB Cream. As you know from reading this blog, I love Jane Iredale products, especially the Amazing Base SPF 20. I was eager to try this one!

According to the Jane Iredale site, “Glow Time covers blemishes, minimizes pores, disguises wrinkles and smoothes and brightens skin.”

My initial thoughts

I have applied this three different ways. I have used my clean fingertips, a latex sponge, and a foundation brush (EcoTools Bamboo Foundation Brush, for reference).

The first time I used this, it was on a freshly cleansed and toned face using my fingertips. I used a small amount, as the product is very thick. I was worried that with the heat and humidity, plus the fact that my skin is more oily in the summer, the product would melt away because it seemed too thick and creamy.

I liked the silky texture once applied. What I was not crazy about, however, is the fact that the coverage is very full coverage. I feel that full coverage products typically age a person and look mask like. This product accentuated the couple little dry spots around my nose right off the bat. I was not in love with how it looked vs. how it felt when using just my fingertips.

I used a sponge another time, but found that the best means of application is using a damp foundation brush. I also find that it works best over a separate primer or lightweight moisturizer, as it looks a bit chalky otherwise.

Once you tinker around a bit and use trial and error to determine the best way for you to apply it, I think you’ll be pleased with the outcome.

What I Liked:

  • I like the ingredients when compared to other BB creams readily available in the United States. Please do not read that as this being truly natural.
  • I love the fact that this is an SPF 25 and provides broad spectrum, mineral coverage.
  • I like how it looks once it is applied–bright, fresh, even skin tone
  • I like how it feels on my skin–gentle, silky, soothed
  • The area on my face with more visible pores, my nose, is completely poreless when I wear this.
  • When dabbed on lightly underneath my eyes, it completely conceals dark circles without caking! It is the best concealer ever.

Active Ingredient:  Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891) 20% Ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Stearoxymethicone/Dimethicone Copolymer, Maltodextrin, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Fruit Extract, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Glycerin, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Pectin, Chlorella Vulgaris/Lupinus Albus Protein Ferment, Sodium Ascorbate, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Root Extract, Lecithin, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract (and) Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Aluminum Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, May Contain: Iron Oxides (CI 77489, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Chromium Oxide Greens (CI 77288)

What I Am Not Crazy About

  • The price point is high at $48. Granted, it takes care of buying 2 separate products (foundation and concealer), but it is still $48.
  • Coverage is not truly buildable. I like something that starts sheer and I can make fuller if need be. This doesn’t give you that sheer look you can achieve with other products. It starts full right off the bat and unless you want to dabble in mixing it up with water, toner, primer, or moisturizer, it just won’t get lighter for you.
  • It does contain silicone (not a problem for me, but may be for others) and Aluminum Hydroxide, which I am on the fence about.
Chic & Green Grade: B+