Monday, January 19, 2015

Monday Beauty Round Up: Caffeine Edition

Introducing a new Monday feature: The Monday Beauty Round Up. Each Monday, I will have a collection of favorite beauty, skin care, hair care or body care items with a theme. The first up is CAFFEINE.

Caffeine contains many skin care benefits -- from reducing inflammation and swelling to temporarily reducing the appearance of cellulite.

I am sharing TRIED and TESTED products with caffeine that I can wholeheartedly recommend.

Here they are:

1. I have a FAVORITE new eye cream. It is called Impish Eyes De-Puffing Eye Serum Potion and it is from Perfectly Posh. My former caffeine-based favorite eye cream was from 100% Pure and this one blows it out of the water (Please note, I am in no way affiliated to Perfectly Posh and purchased this product myself. I have tried several of their products now and am IN LOVE). Impish Eyes contains polypeptides, Coenzyme Q10, cucumber extract and more It is 0.9 ounces --most eye products are half an ounce -- and it is just $19. It helps with puffiness, dark circles and fine lines.

2. Wash With Joe Coffee Mint Invigorating Body Wash -- You *must* try this! The scent is amazing--think of peppermint, coffee ad maybe even the warmth of caramel. Certified Vegan and Paraben Free.

3. Clarins Body Lift Cellulite Control  -- Yes, this is a splurge. However, it works. I was first introduced to this in 1997 when I was working as a Clarins Counter Manager when I was fresh out of college. I was a size 6, small for my frame (that is a whole other story, parts of which have been shared here over the years), but was self conscious about the backs of my thighs. My weight has varied wildly with pregnancies, being immobile for a couple months with a broken tibia/fibula, and FINALLY finding what works for me. Anyway, even though I exercise at least 4 days a week, I still get self conscious about the backs of my thighs. I am approaching 40 and cellulite is bound to happen. Anyway, this product is expensive. If not for me receiving products for free through the blog to give me a largely untapped beauty budget of my own, I would not purchase this regularly. In the summer, I use this when I wear shirts, dresses or shorts. Why? Because it TEMPORARILY (for several hours) does lessen the appearance of cellulite. Does it cure it? No. Are results permanent? No. However, it is fabulous and it's free of parabens.

4. Origins GinZing Energy Boosting Moisturizer is formulated with coffee beans, lemon & grapefruit essential oils and Panax Ginseng to boost skin radiance and gives it a brighter, healthier glow. I just started using it and already see a difference.

5. It's another Perfectly Posh favorite. I am loving the Daily Grind Body Coffee Scrub. It combines the best of both exfoliators -- sugar and salt -- to gently slough off dead skin cells to reveal a fresh, glowing complexion. As for the claims that is is anti-cellulite, it does give the appearance, albeit temporarily, of more youthful, taut skin. Love it!

Monday, January 5, 2015

GIVEAWAY: seco dish® Beauty Drying Dish

Hello beauties! 

It's our FIRST giveaway of 2015 here at Chic & Green and it is a product I personally use and adore: the seco dish® Beauty Drying Dish.

I am a brush cleaning nut. I carry several of my favorite brushes to work with me, even though I am able to use the fantabulous Real Techniques brushes while I am in store. Between clients, I always use the provided blush cleaning spray. Since I use the brushes, too, I am oh so careful to clean them at home -- and often.

A few years ago, I shared my homemade brush cleaner recipe. If you are looking for a ready-made makeup brush cleaner, I can wholeheartedly recommend Mineral Fusion Brush Cleaner. It sprays right onto the brushes.

For a deep clean, however, I use baby shampoo and give them a thorough cleansing. To dry, I used to lay my brushes on a towel or else stand them up in a glass. There is a BETTER way and that is one of my new favorite products-- the seco dish®.

Girls, I'll be honest. When I first saw it, I thought it was just a cute saucer. Nope. It's not.

The seco dish® Beauty Drying Dish provide EASY and hassle-free air-drying  of all of my tools-- from my Beauty Blender to my makeup brushes.

What is different about this drying dish is that it is antimicrobial. There are special little air venting grooves to ensure proper drying. This is made in the USA from recycled materials and it is dishwasher-safe (top shelf). I recommend that EVERY makeup artist and at home beauty maven (like all of you!) have one for your makeup brushes.

You can purchase the seco dish® over on AMAZON for $11.99.

YOU have the chance to win one of your own, thanks to the lovely people at seco dish®.

Enter NOW through Friday for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Found: The PERFECT body butter!

I have found the most incredible smelling chocolate body product on earth and I have to tell you about it!

"Skindelicious" is right!

My friend Cassandra is a consultant for a company called Perfectly Posh. She announced her new venture right before Christmas, so I decided to take a look. I wasn't expecting much, but thought the packaging was so much fun. I was incredibly impressed with the ingredients, so I placed an order for two products: Caffeinator and Ho Ho Holiday Cocoa Skindelicious Body Butter. I will be reviewing the Caffeinator (but I am telling you it is an AWESOME product right now) at a later date.

I have searched high and low for an affordably priced ultra rich (and non greasy) body butter that smells like chocolate. So many chocolate body products smell sickingly artificial. This smells like a mug of hot chocolate.

Shea Butter is the number two ingredient in this product. It also features Aloe Vera and Vitamin E (tocopherol). There are no parabens or formaldehyde releasers. It is, however, adequately preserved with a broad spectrum preservative so you do not have to worry about mold or bacteria forming.

What do the ingredients do?

Shea butter soothes, adds hydration, and has healing benefits. It is helpful for those with skin conditions such as eczema.

Aloe Vera calms irritated skin and moisturizes the skin. It also has balancing properties.

Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant and has many protective benefits.

The details

This body butter is a vegan skin care product containing natural fragrance. It is handcrafted in the USA and is sold by independent consultants like Cassandra. The butter comes in a generous 7.5 ounce container and sells for $12. A giant seal of approval from C & G!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Are gel manicures dangerous?

I am revisiting the topic of gel manicures today. There are so many blog posts floating around with outdated information -- such as UV lamps used for gel manicures. By now, most people know that reputable salons haven't used UV lamps in a while--unless they just are not up to date with technology. LED lamps are where it's at when it comes to gels.

 Safe? Unsafe? Gel manicures: do I condone them or not?

I took a look at this issue last year and I wanted to take another look. I was researching this issue a couple months back and looked at more studies, so we'll talk about that. Plus, I have learned a great deal about gel nail polish from someone who works with this medium five days a week.
First, the SCIENCE (not fear).
According to a December 2012 study by the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, the risk of harm is VERY minimal.  The research showed that it would take over 13,000 sessions with a UV lamp and more than 40,000 sessions with an LED lamp to equal the UV dosage received during a single treatment of phototherapy, which is when doctors use UV rays in a medical setting to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis. 
Dr. Jessica Wu, Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at University of Southern California says that one that one phototherapy session has "a very low risk of skin cancer." Again, you would need more than forty THOUSAND sessions under your nail tech's LED lamp to cure your gels to equal that one session of phototherapy. The risk here is SO minimal. You know I am very conservative about beauty products and treatments that may be harmful. I have practically shouted from the roof tops about wearing sunscreen to prevent skin cancer. I have spoken on the dangers of UV rays from tanning beds.
I spoke to licensed Nail Technician Elizabeth West of the Michael Spitale Salon in Rochester, New York to give us the lowdown on gel manicures with her expert point of view. She tells me that "if done carefully and properly, gel polish is not all that different than classic polish. True, it isn't '5 free' like many polishes are going now, but, when applied and removed correctly and with care, gel polish won't damage your natural nails."
Why are gels so popular?
I love anything and everything nail-related just as much as I adore a good mascara.
I love having my nails done. One could say I am a bit nail obsessed. Do you know what I did before I went to the hospital to deliver my boys? My nails. Even though I couldn't see over my belly, I wanted a nice pedicure.
I have so many bottles of 5-free healthier nail polishes. I have oodles of Jamberry Nails nail wraps, glitter polishes, lacquer, and even a home gel kit that the lovely folks at Gelish sent for me to try. I had my first gel manicure in December of 2012. I don't get them done frequently, but they are amazing for special occasions!
I have had two different brands of soak off gel polish used on me -- Gelish and Artistic Colour (which is what Michelle Obama has had on her nails). The main appeal is that they are rock hard, shiny, and long wearing. The durability is a huge draw. In fact, they are very chip resistant! You can walk right out of the salon with completely dry nails. We have cold winter in New York and I have put my gloves right on after my gel manicures.
I have gotten full 3 weeks out of my gels. My nails had gotten weak for a period of time last year. Despite vitamins, biotin and strengthening nail products, they were SO fragile. Getting gels again IMPROVED my natural nails. I wore gels with my Jamberry wraps, in fact!
The Soak Off Process
This is where I see horror stories about gels. Some people have reported sitting with their hands in bowls of acetone to remove their nails and then have someone filing down the nails and scraping the remaining color off. Please know that this is NOT the norm and this is not how the process is supposed to be! In fact, West tells us that "there is NO REASON WHATSOEVER that an electric file should EVER touch your natural nail."
Please be careful if this is the removal process for your gels, as it is not the norm.
Each individual nail is covered and wrapped in foil so your skin doesn't get dried out or soaked in acetone. It is a careful process to ensure that your skin is protected. After the 15 minutes, there is no harsh scraping with sharp tools or electric files. It shouldn't be like that. There are usually a couple little polish flecks left that Elizabeth gently removes and she VERY GENTLY uses a buffing block (like most of us have at home) to buff my nails ever so carefully before doing a new color.
I continue to look over my nails carefully and there has been absolutely no damage and my nails tend to be in BETTER condition with gel polish. The only reason I do not still regularly get gel polish to go with my wraps is because I have less time on my hands with my job.
It is crucial that you find a reputable salon that truly cares about the health and safety of their customers and a highly trained nail tech who doesn't take shortcuts to get you in and out faster.
Curing Comments: UV or LED and what it all means
When you get gel polish, they need to cure. 
To cure your gel polish, LED light is used. Or some salons still use UV.
I know Dr. Oz mentioned not too long ago that he was concerned about UV lights for the curing of gels, but most reputable salons now uses LED lights instead and my nail polish is cured in just 30 seconds. That is all it takes to completely dry the nail color! Placing the nails under the LED lights is super quick, painless, and easy. If the salon happens to still use UV lights, West says that "any good salon still using UV lamps will also provide special gloves that protect all but your nail plates from the UV light."
In fact, friends, you do get what you pay for. If you are going to a strip mall nail salon and paying $15 for your gel manicure, chances are you are not going to get the safest or most hygienic treatment. You should absolutely be given gloves like Elizabeth mentioned and you also need to be proactive and know that you should apply a broad spectrum sunscreen in addition to wearing those UV gloves if you are going to a place that still uses UV light.
The Nitty Gritty
I cannot tell you this is the safest option for nails. The safest option would be never to put any color on your nails. Or no wraps, or  polish of ANY kind for that matter.
There is NO SUCH THING as a completely safe nail polish or nail wrap or nail polish remover. That is just a fact.  Even the most "natural" nail polishes STILL have chemicals. And the nail wraps I love so much that I sell them still are not all-natural, as they use an adhesive that is not a natural ingredient. We all have choices to make--coloring my hair, wearing makeup and doing my nails are things I am willing to do because of how I feel about having those things done. 
We make trade offs sometimes. I don't wear heels because they aggravate my old break. I can't stand sore feet. Or blisters. Plus, I am clumsy and have been known to get my heel caught in the sidewalk cracks. That's why I only wear them about 5 times a year. On the other hand, it is a trade off many women are willing to make.
While I cannot say, "Go get gel nails--they are completely totally safe and green," I can tell you that you will not be breathing in the odor of nail polish or nail polish remover every couple days anymore. We are talking every couple weeks. As an aside, I have never detected an odor when I've gotten gel nails done. Maybe it is just me, but it is worth mentioning.
I can also tell you that both Gelish and Artistic Colour are BOTH 3-free, which means there is no toluene, formaldehyde or DBP (toxic phthalates). Chic & Green is opposed to harmful chemicals and toxins in your skin care. Truth be told, you should be more worried about what's in your shampoo or perfume than gel polish. Listen up, friends. I sell nail wraps. I could easily say, "Hey, gels are toxic." But I won't, as research indicates otherwiseThose things are being absorbed through your skin--and those pose the more serious risk to your health. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Annual Best in Beauty Awards Special

Hello beautiful readers! Every single year I look forward to sharing my favorite non-toxic beauty products with you. This year's list is my biggest, as it has 50 items on it.


All of these products are free of parabens, phthalates, and other nasty ingredients. Many can be found right at Target or Wegmans, while others are sold online, in department stores or through boutiques. I have personally tried and tested each and every single item and adore the ones on my list. If I have not used--and loved-- them myself, they are NOT on this list.

I know that we all have different types of skin, so keep in mind that my skin care needs may not be the same as yours. I am 39 with mainly dry skin. I do not suffer from acne and my only skin concern is the lack of radiance that I have as I grow older. This has been remedied with my product recommendations, though.

The Best Facial Skin Care Products of 2014

1. Best Facial Cleanser -- Reviva Labs Organic Cleansing Milk

2. Best Facial Toner -- Thayer's Alcohol Free Cucumber & Aloe Vera Witch Hazel

3. Best Scrub -- Acure Stem Cell & Chlorella Growth Factor Brightening Serum

4. Best Peel -- Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Full Strength

5. Best Mask -- Josh Rosebrook Cacao Antioxidant Mask

6. Best Day Moisturizer without SPF -- Sibu Beauty Sea Buckthorn Nourishing Facial Cream

7. Best Day Moisturizer with SPF -- Juice Beauty SPF 30 Oil Free Moisturizer

8. Best Night Moisturizer -- Burt's Bees Sensitive (Fragrance Free) Night Cream

9. Best Eye Cream -- Borghese Hydrology ReEmerge Luminoue Eye Infusion

10. Best Serum -- Avalon Organics Age-Less Illuminating Serum

The Best Makeup of 2014

11. Best CC Cream -- CARGO HD Picture Perfect CC Cream

12. Best Tinted Moisturizer -- Jane Iredale Dream Tint

13. Best Liquid, Cream or Stick Foundation -- W3LL People Narcissist Stick Foundation

14. Best Concealer -- Au Naturale Organic Creme Concealer

15. Best Pressed Powder  -- It Cosmetics Celebration Foundation

16. Best Loose Finishing Powder -- CARGO HD Picture Perfect Translucent Powder

17. Best Eye Shadow --  It Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Volume 1 Matte Luxe Palette

18. Best Eye Liner -- CARGO Swimmables Eye Pencil

19. Best Brow Definer -- Too Faced Brow Envy

20. Best Mascara -- CARGO HD Picture Perfect Mascara (the wand is so unique!)

21. Best Blush -- Alima Pure (whether you prefer matte or shimmer, they are all stellar)

22. Best Bronzer -- Au Naturale Organic Creme Bronzer Stick

23. Best Lipstick -- Cargo Essential Lip Color

24. Best Lip Gloss -- Au Naturale High Shine Lip Gloss

The Best in Body Care

25. Best Body Wash --  Out of Africa Tropical Vanilla Shea Butter Body Wash

26. Best Body Lotion -- Lemongrass Spa Candy Cane Hand & Body Lotion

27. Best Body Cream --  (seed) Body Care Fragrance Free Body Cream

28. Best Body Oil -- (seed) Body Oil Fragrance Free

29. Best Bar Soap --  Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soap (ANY unscented or essential oil variety I highly recommend)

30. Best Body Scrub -- Antho Beauty Purists Chocolatiers Gift Body Scrub

31. Best Sunscreen -- Alba Fragrance Free Mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 30

32. Best Lip Product -- (seed) Body Care Nourishing Lip Oils

My Picks for Manis and Pedis

33. Best Foot Cream -- Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Cream

34. Best Cuticle Treatment -- Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream

35. Best Hand Cream -- (seed) Healthy Hand Cream Fragrance Free

36. Best Hand Scrub -- (seed) Therapeutic Hand Scrub

37. Best Hand Wash -- Out of Africa Pure Shea Butter Hand Wash

38. Best 5 Free Nail Polish -- Zoya (hands down because of the price and without competition, in my book)

39. Best Base Coat -- Essie Protein Base Coat

40. Best Top Coat -- Zoya Armor UV Top Coat

41. Best Non Toxic Nail Art or Nail Polish Alternative-- Jamberry Nails nail wraps (gluten free, long wearing, vegan)

The Best Hair Care Products

42. Best Dry Shampoo -- Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo

43. Best Liquid Shampoo -- Jason Gluten Free, Fragrance Free Daily Shampoo

44. Best Daily Conditioner -- Original Moxie Featherweight

45. Best Deep Conditioner -- Alba Botanica Deep Conditioning Minute Mask

46. Best Pre-Blow Dry Product -- R + Co One Prep Spray

47. Best Volumizing Spray -- R + Co Dallas Thickening Spray

48. Best Finishing Hair Spray -- Ion Keratin Flex Finish Spray

49. Best Mousse -- R + Co Chiffon Styling Mousse

50. Best Shine Product --  Oscar Blandi Pronto Gloss Instant Glossing Cream

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chic & Green's Guide to Rosacea

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition affecting more than 16 million Americans. Many sufferers don't even know they have Rosacea, so awareness is key. Do you have the following symptoms?
  • Visible blood vessels
  • Skin tends to flush easily and it often looks like you’re blushing
  • Swelling of the eyelids and watery eyes
  • Soreness and itching of the skin
  • Bumpy and rough skin texture
  • Pus-filled pimples
  • Skin is almost always red and inflamed

If you’re experiencing two or more of the above symptoms, you should visit a dermatologist because you may be suffering from Rosacea. There is still no exact cause of Rosacea, despite years of research. While we don't know the cause, there are several known triggers. Being aware of these triggers and avoiding them may help to reduce Rosacea flare-ups.
Beat the heat
Hot, humid weather can aggravate Rosacea. The heat tends to promote flushing and redness, so avoiding it when possible can help keep flare-ups at bay.  People also find that sweating and overheating due to exercise can make things worse. Even relaxing spa treatments such as saunas and steam rooms are common triggers, so they should be avoided.
Food and drink culprits
Certain foods and drinks can wreak havoc on Rosacea symptoms, so knowing these triggers will be beneficial. Spicy foods made with aromatics such as curry and cayenne can make your flushing worse, as can alcohol. Hot beverages such as coffee, tea and cocoa also may lead to more redness and irritation.
Read your product labels
Skincare products often contain harsh ingredients known to contribute to flare-ups. Menthol, camphor, alcohol, peppermint, clove and eucalyptus are all common Rosacea triggers found in skincare.
Be 'scentsible'
Synthetic fragrance is a common contributor to the side effects of Rosacea. Yet, it is hard to avoid. From perfumes and shower gels, to shampoos and laundry detergents, fragrances are everywhere. Avoiding anything with artificial fragrance that comes into direct contact with your skin will be helpfful. Look for fragrance free personal and laundry care items and see if using them rather than their scented counterparts makes a difference in your skin.
Sun smarts are essential
Sun exposure is considered the number one Rosacea trigger, so protection is key. Wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen will not only help to prevent a sunburn, but it also will help prevent flushing and redness. Thirty minutes before you head outdoors, be sure to apply sunscreen to all exposed skin to help minimize UV damage.
Find your moment of zen
Emotions -- good and bad -- are known to exacerbate Rosacea flare-ups. Something as innocent as laughing can trigger flushing just as much as crying or yelling. Many Rosacea sufferers also find that being embarrassed can literally have them seeing red. While we are not suggesting you ignore your feelings, trying to find a sense of balance and calm can help prevent flare-ups caused by extreme emotions. While there is no cure for Rosacea, knowing and avoiding the most common triggers may help keep redness, irritation and flushing at bay.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Shop Small Holiday Pop-Up Boutique Going On Now!

Today is Small Business Saturday.

While Small Business Saturday has become an annual event, please remember that by choosing to patronize small businesses, you ultimately help families pay for soccer or karate or new sneakers for ever-growing feet -- you are doing a GOOD thing.

Chic & Green has long been  a supporter of something called the 3/50 Project. Follow the link to read more about its mission. Did you know that if HALF of the employed adult population in the US spent $50 per month in locally owned businesses, it would actually result in more than $42.6 billion in revenue?

Shop with your favorite brick and mortar boutiques like Peppermint on Park Avenue in Rochester. Go have lunch at the Market Grill at I-Square here in Irondequoit. Get the Market Sandwich on a croissant -- or the veggie quesadillas. The sidewinder fries are salted heaven. Grab some ice cream at I-Scream, try some phenomenal creations at Encore Chocolates and grab a latte at Sips.
These are a few of my favorite places in the area.

Get your body care -- all 100% plant based, gluten-free and vegan-- from (seed) Body Care, based in Princeton, New Jersey. You can find it here at Wegmans! Looking for some lovely, hand-crafted hair care? Original Moxie is my pick. Rachel is based in Michigan.

Shop with your favorite direct sales consultants. I am proof that you can have a successful direct sales business and have it be life-changing. I have been with Utah-based, sister-owned Jamberry Nails for 15 months. I have a team of 140 consultants across the United States and sales of greater than $170K -- in NAIL WRAPS! Buy selling an American-made product I LOVE, I am able to send my son to a private school we would not have been able to afford. I am able to help others achieve THEIR dreams and financial goals, too. It's a really special thing!

In honor of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and today -- Small Business Saturday -- I assembled 20+ incredible small businesses for the Shop Small Holiday Pop-Up Boutique on Facebook.

Through December 5th, we will be sharing our favorite products and a bit about our businesses with you. We have several handmade artisans, as well as direct sales consultants. Stop on over and visit us!

I also am listing each one here, along with links to our websites (if applicable):

Blue Honey Jewelry by Julie Rodda

The Happy Life by Sheryn Kelderhouse

BonBonStudios, Bonnie Lee Fontaine

Handmade Ornaments by Ed Tucciarone

Teething necklaces by iPuke, Inc. on Etsy, Sandy Sundlov

Karley Ziegler Mott, Jamberry Nails

Ashley Sanford (she's my amazing younger cousin and mom to twin boys), Lemongrass Spa

Tastefully Simple, Stephanie Butler

LulaRoe with Tanvi Asher

Norwex, Lisa Celestino

Liana Duyssen, Thirty-One Gifts

Jenifer Beldue, Mary Kay

Pam Korte, Steeped Tea

Laura Jane Prokarym, Plexus

Kelli Cheney, Scentsy

Peggy Derivan, Young Living

Monday, November 17, 2014

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


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.

Jamberry Nails Fundraiser: Wrapping for Lustgarten

Design is called Date Night by Jamberry Nails

November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

My dad died of Pancreatic Cancer not long after he celebrated his 56th birthday. It is a cruel and painful disease. Sadly, once diagnosed, most people have advanced stage cancer, as it is truly a silent killer. My dad was diagnosed when his had already spread to his liver and beyond. He died in 3 months. Despite the frightening odds, there is still NOT ENOUGH RESEARCH FUNDING for Pancreatic Cancer.

For years, my family and I have supported the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research in Bethpage, New York. My first fundraiser for them was called Soaps for Hope and it was held in January 2007. The foundation is highly regarded and 100% of donations actually go to research funding, thanks to the support of Cablevision.

I am once again raising money for Lutgarten and am doing so with my nail wrap business. What is so great is that Jamberry Nails will also be donating through their generous fundraising program.

With your purchase on my website through November 30, Jamberry Nails will donate 10% to the Lustgarten Foundation and I will match it from my commission earnings. The total raised will be 20%.

You already are Christmas shopping, so why not shop for a great cause? Jamberry has nearly 400 wraps designs -- all are gluten free, vegan, paraben free and formaldehyde free. They are easy to apply, last up to 2 weeks on fingernails and up to 6 weeks on toenails.

Here are some of my own manicures--

This is my current Jamicure. The polka dots are called Veiled and the black and silver tips are called Little Black Dress.

This one is called Gilded Leopard. This photo was taken on DAY 11!

Be sure to select "Wrapping for Lustgarten" at checkout so your order will go to the foundation! THANK YOU!  Click to shop.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

From blonde to brunette

I have made a dramatic change. It's going to take some getting used to, but I like it! I am now a brunette!

This was kind of a big decision for me! With the exception of a few days here and there experimenting, I have been some shade of blonde since I have had hair on my head.

My skin is pale and gets lighter from fall to winter. I have been looking at all of the rich and vibrant makeup hues and have been thinking, "This would work great if I had dark hair."

Well, now I do.

This was NOT simple. I have dirty blonde hair that I apply a permanent color (Champagne Blonde) to and then highlight 3 times a year. I could not just apply dark brown hair over it and have it come out the way I wanted.

First, I used a red demi-permanent color. The red helps to essentially "fill" the hair. If I didn't, it would be muddy and maybe even green and just NOT what I wanted. Then I used 5N, a Medium Brown, over it. It was too auburn, so then I used 5A over it. In the light, there are still a few red hues, but I love it!

Hair Care Faves

As you can imagine, these colors made my hair feel like straw! Thankfully, I have some amazing hair care products that have helped get my hair looking super duper healthy -- even with this transition!

My secret? Sounds silly, but at night, I have been using my go-to body oil right before bed -- and on my hair! It is (seed) Fragrance Free Body Oil. I spritz a bit onto my hands and then lightly rub over the top of my hair. In the morning, it is silky without being greasy.

Another love? Original Moxie Oasis Moisture Gel (also known as OMG!), which I apply to wet hair after my shower. It helps my hair stay bouncy and shiny all day. I then style my hair as normal after I do my makeup.

What else am I using? For shampoo and conditioner, I am currently LOVING the Jason Natural Gluten Free Daily Shampoo and Daily Conditioner. FINALLY, there is something without any fragrance! Wahoo. It is SO gentle and I love this duo. I can be a product snob and I love my Bumble and bumble, but this stuff is just what my hair needs right now!

Before I blow dry my hair, I start with R + Co. Chiffon Styling Mousse. I also use R + Co. Dallas Thickening Spray. I have uber thick hair already, but the wave get pulled down. I use this for oomph and volume and it is THE BEST.

I dry and flat iron it and finish with John Frieda Brilliant Brunette Liquid Shine Shocker.

Like I said before, this was a BIG DEAL for me to do--it took me outside my comfort zone. That said, it is really growing on me. My blue eyes pop now and I feel more comfortable trying out bold lipstick hues -- I can't wait to try some new colors. I think that fair skin with dark hair in the winter can be really striking and I cannot wait to share some new beauty finds with you!

Do you ever feel like making a change? What would you do if you could change something today? I'd love to know!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Erase the day with just water?

I wear makeup. Daily. Well, I should say I wear it unless I am sick or am enjoying a lazy Sunday in my jammies.

Today I want to tell you about a product I was VERY skeptical about. I don't like gimmicky things. I DO like products that work. You know the drill. I tell it like it is.

When I first heard about the Makeup Eraser, I thought, "Just what the world needs: yet another micofiber cloth for 20 bucks."

And, yet another time for me to suck it up and say, "I am wrong." Remember when I tried Jamberry Nails for the first time and thought they would be like all those other "nail stickers" out there?

I wear HD foundation, mascara and powder, as well as water resistant eyeliner (90% of what I wear is all CARGO). These can all be harder to remove without lots of elbow grease. Even with an oil-based cleanser, I am left with raccoon eyes followed by more rubbing.

I have used other cleansing cloths before and have enjoyed the ones from One Love Organics and Norwex, especially. I just have never felt that both got ALL of my makeup off. Always willing to try new products, I decided to try out Makeup Eraser.

Makeup Eraser cloths feel so soft, like an ultra luxurious robe almost. They are 100% polyester and are plush to the touch. You need to DRENCH the cloth in warm water. It really has to be sopping wet. You use the cleansing side to remove makeup. GENTLY massage in circular motions and it WILL get all your makeup off. Follow with the gentle exfoliating side. No need for abrasive, granular scrubs ever again.

I still "deep clean" twice a week with my Foreo Luna. My face at bedtime is squeaky clean and I just use my Makeup Eraser, toner (Dickinson's Witch Hazel), serum and face cream.

The Makeup Eraser lasts thousands of washes. Stick it in the washer as needed. Easy peasy. It is eco-friendly and will save you money. Unlike other cloths, this one will NOT stain! Yay.

I am in love. 

I also want to mention that the Makeup Eraser is ideal for cleaning makeup brushes!

I am NOT a distributor for Makeup Eraser. I have not paid any money to join or buy a kit. I just happen to LOVE the product and use it myself. I am an affiliate, so if someone goes to the link to order, I do get a small portion like I do for other affiliates.

The Makeup Eraser will last YEARS. Years....and is under $20. I use it, love it and will be giving these away for Christmas for sure!