Monday, November 17, 2014

$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.

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!

CLICK HERE TO ORDER.

VOTE Today!



A reminder from Chic & Green to get out there and do your civic duty: VOTE today. No excuses.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Review of (seed) Lip Oils: Say goodbye to lip balm forever!


I used to LOVE lip balm. Love it. I could never have too many. I used to make lip balm and shared the recipe here with you on the blog. When I heard that (seed) was coming out with lip oils, I was excited -- but to be 100% honest, I did not think that I would stop using lip balm. I had SO many that I adored. Then I tried them.

I write the (seed) blog. I have done so for more than two years. I help out with Facebook and I genuinely love the company, ever since I was introduced to their fabulous hand cream. I adore the owners, Rebecca and Benjamin Gournay, and deeply respect the company and their philopsophy of providing HEALTHY products that are affordable. Plus, they are dog lovers like me and are passionate about being cruelty-free. I have not been shy about this. But, like with ALL of my posts here on this blog, my opinions are my own and if I do not truly like something, I won't recommend it. I am not paid to post reviews either. That out of the way. I just have to tell you about (seed) Lip Oils.

There are two formulas, each retailing for $5. The first, the Therapeutic Lip Oil, is a natural mint aroma. The second, the Smoothing Lip Oil, is vanilla. I will talk about each one separately, as they are both amazing in their own unique ways. I use them at different times of day and for different reasons.

In the morning, I apply Smoothing Lip Oil. This is the most lovely vanilla ever. Actually, they use a proprietary vanilla extract and it is just wonderful. After I get out of the shower and brush my teeth, I apply my Smoothing Lip Oil. I then apply my other skin care products. I let the non-greasy oil absorb while my other skin care sinks in. Then I apply my makeup, finishing with  my lipstick. I truly believe that the ingredients in this product have dramatically improved the texture of my lips. They are no longer rough at all. My lipstick can be applied with ease and I do not have to worry about flaking or uneven texture during the day.

Ingredients: Vitis vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Coconut Oil), Vanilla Planifolia Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E)

At night, I focus more on extra hydration and treatment of my skin concerns. After I wash my makeup off, I use my serums and rich creams. This is also when I apply my Therapeutic Lip Oil. This is also lightweight and non-greasy, but contains pumpkin seed oil, avocado oil and raspberry seed oil for added therapeutic benefits. 


Ingredients: Vitis vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerice (Coconut Oil), Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E)

I also cannot say enough about my son's experience using Therapeutic Lip Oil.My 11 year old bites thhe bottom of his lip when he is anxious. When he does this, it leaves a red ring under his lip. It then gets sore. Nick hates lip balm. He doesn't like the texture and he always complains that it "tugs" his lips. This is not his experience using (seed) Lip Oil. Nick carries his with him almost everywhere. He applies it on his own and says that is "so much easier" to use the rollerball than traditional lip balm.

I have to say that I don't think I'll ever use standard lip balm again! There is NO waxy feel, it doesn't get smooshed with you close the cap, nor does it melt. 

Do yourself a favor and try the lip oils today. Find them at shopseedbodycare.com.

Important to know about (seed) Lip Oils:


  • Vegan
  • Dairy-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Soy-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • 100% plant-based
  • Made in America

Monday, October 13, 2014

Skin woes? 5 health issues that impact your complexion

We know that lifestyle and environmental factors can impact our skin. Certain health conditions may affect your skin in negative ways. Today, we're taking a look at five health conditions and the effect they may have on skin health. Some of these conditions may surprise you.


1. Hypothyroidism

Millions of Americans have an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism. While the hallmark symptoms of mood changes, weight gain and feeling sluggish are well known, noticeable skin changes are another sign of this condition. The epidermis of the skin goes through a renewal process called homeostasis. This process is controlled by the thyroid gland. When you have an underactive thyroid, it affects homeostasis, resulting in changes to the appearance and texture of your skin. A rough, scaly texture and excess dryness are common skin changes associated with an underactive thyroid.

2. Lupus

More than 16,000 new cases of Lupus are reported each year. This autoimmune disease can have a major impact the skin. It is estimated that two thirds of patients with Lupus will develop some form of cutaneous lupus erythematosus, a skin disease resulting in rashes and lesions on the face, neck, arms and legs. Those with this disease are much more susceptible to UV damage, which worsens the skin side effects. Wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen is a must for those with Lupus.

3. Celiac Disease

There are multiple skin side effects associated with Celiac Disease. One of the more common skin conditions related to being allergic to gluten is Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH). DH affects about one quarter of those with Celiac. Red skin, fluid-filled blisters and chronic itching are all symptoms of DH. Vitiligo, psoriasis, eczema and alopecia (hair loss) all have links to Celiac. Often, once a person is diagnosed with Celiac Disease and begins avoiding gluten, he or she will find that the skin returns to a healthy and balanced state.

4. Diabetes

Too much sugar in the blood ages the skin (See: Sugar: It's not so sweet for the skin). It also has other negative effects. Skin issues can be one of the many warning signs that one has diabetes. Diabetics are also more likely to develop fungal infections such as Candida, ringworm, vaginal yeast infections and jock itch. In fact, Candida is quite common among diabeticsThis fungal infection results in red, itchy rashes which tend to be located in moist parts of the body such as armpits and between the toes.Keeping blood glucose levels under control may prevent these skin issues from developing.

5. Milk allergy

Milk allergies are on the rise and the most common skin side effect is eczema. My own son, Nick, had a severe milk allergy until he was about four years old. The first noticeable sign that clued me into a milk allergy was the fact that he had dryness and itching on his skin after drinking anything with cow's milk. He did have other signs that prompted me to take him right to the doctor, but the first sign was his eczema. Dr. Scott Sicherer, Chief of the Division of Allergy and Immunology at the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai in New York says that there may be a direct link between milk allergies and eczema. An allergy and immunology specialist can conduct a test to see if you are allergic to milk if you have concerns.   Many health conditions tend to be "silent" illnesses where there are not any major physical symptoms at the beginning. Visible skin changes are often one of the first signs that there could be a problem. 
Pay attention to your skin -- if it looks unhealthy, there may be an underlying link to your physical health.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Treating acne scars without hydroquinone

Scars are a visible reminder of  acne. While acne skincare products are able to help clear existing acne and prevent new flare ups, acne scars can linger long after the breakouts have gone away. I've compiled a list of some of your most common questions related to acne scars, from how they happen to how to fade them.


acnescarskincare for blog



1. I have acne now. Will it leave scars later?

Not necessarily. While it is estimated that as many as 95% of acne sufferers may experience some form of scarring, this is not a cause for concern if you only have an occasional pimple every now and then.
While most acne scarring is very mild and hardly noticeable, there are many who will experience severe scars.  The more inflamed your acne, the more likely you will be to experience scarring. Lasting scars have an impact far more reaching than just the physical -- embarrassing scars can lead to low self esteem and depression.

2. What makes acne scars form?

When the dermis of the skin is damaged, scars form. In the case of acne, pores can experience swelling and inflammation. When this happens, the swelling may cause the follicle wall to rupture. If there is a minor break, the resulting acne scar tends to be very minor. A larger rupture will destroy healthy skin tissue because dead skin cells, excess sebum and bacteria will seep into the dermis. Generally, new collagen fibers are produced by the skin and will ultimately repair the problem. Sometimes, too much collagen tissue is formed, which results in a bumpy or uneven texture.

3. How can I prevent acne scars?

It is imperative to treat your breakouts right from the start in order to prevent scars. Using the right products for your acne are first avenue to take. Choose gentle formulas without harsh chemicals that will strip your skin and cause it to produce even more oil than before. In most cases, the right acne care regimen will quickly improve the appearance of your skin, helping to clear pimples. If you do not find any improvement with your acne skincare routine, you may want to make an appointment with a dermatologist to discuss other options. Be sure to include sunscreen as part of your acne skincare product lineup. I recommend the acne care line from Eminence Organics.

4. Are there different kinds of acne scars?

Yes, there are actually different types of scars associated with acne.
  • Hypertrophic scars are caused by too much tissue being formed during the acne healing process. These scars are raised and often shiny and dome-shaped. An example of this type of scar would be a Keloid.
  • Atrophic scars are depressed and sunken scars. This is a result of lost tissue and can create a pitted appearance. Common types of atrophic scars include boxcar and icepick scars.

5. How do I treat my acne scars?

There are very potent skincare ingredients that are very effective at treating acne scars. The most controverial ingredient out there proven to help fade discolorations associated with acne scars is hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is effective and will lighten your scars faster than any other ingredient, but is it safe? I would not use it myself. Some medical experts believe it is safe, while others consider it one of the most dangerous ingredients out there. I would err on the side of caution and personally cannot recommend it.
Sun protection also plays a role in acne scar treatment. If you have scars, these areas react differently to the sun than areas of normal skin. The sun actually has a greater impact on scarred areas, as they are less resistant to the effects of the UV rays. In other words, this makes the skin more likely to burn. Additionally, when these sun-induced changes occur, the scars will be more likely to change color. Be sure to wear a broad spectrum sunscreen daily.While I normally advise mineral-based sunscreens, they are NOT the best for acne prone skin. In this case, I recommend Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Control Moisturizer SPF 30.
Bumpy, uneven texture -- another visible effect of acne scars -- can also be improved with products formulated with gentle Ascorbic, Lactic and Glycolic acids. These help create a smoother appearance on the skin surface. Combining this type of product with gentle acne skincare products can give a fresh and glowing appearance to the skin, make skin feel more even and lighten discolorations. My pick? The Purifying Acne Serum from Suki.
Do you have a question for us about a particular skincare topic? Please ask us in the comments below and we may answer it for you in a future blog post to help others with the same question!

Everything you need to know about antioxidants

One of the questions I am asked most about is antioxidants -- more specifically, how they work in skincare products. Whenever my friends ask me about antioxidants, I say that I consider them to be great skin defenders.
antioxidants and skincare, free radical damage


Think of the term "antioxidant" as a shield against harmful flying objects. In reality, these "flying objects" are free radicals.Free radicals are molecules that cause tissue damage and aging. These could be things such as cigarette smoke, radiation, UV rays, pesticides, various drugs, smog, and other forms of environmental pollution.

Picture these harmful microscopic contaminants swirling around you. Antioxidants will help shield you from harm, essentially. Think of them as superheroes!They are special molecules that can help stop those free radicals -- they are able to neutralize their effects.

Choose antioxidant-rich foods.

According to a study published by The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries and blackberries are ideal sources of antioxidants. These are commonly referred to as superfoods. New research suggests that there are actually many other food sources of antioxidants, from kale to chia seeds. 

Other food sources that contain antioxidants:

  • Green tea
  • Black tea
  • Coffee
  • Red wine
  • Pomegranates
  • Dark chocolate

Antioxidants protect at the cellular level.

For your health, antioxidants are believed to help inhibit cell damage and are said to help prevent skin damage from the sun's UV rays, lower the risk of heart disease, help prevent Alzheimer's and more.
Antioxidants are also wonderful when used in skincare products. Earlier in this post, I mentioned those nasty little free radicals. These not only impact your health, but they also impact your skin. UV damage, smoke and other pollutants can wreak havoc on your skin, accelerating the aging process and damaging cells. This damage causes collagen and elastin to break down, making you look older.
When you apply skincare treatments with antioxidants, you are shielding your skin from harm.

Look for these antioxidants in your skincare products:

  • Beta carotene
  • Grape seed extract
  • Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid)
  • Vitamin E (tocopherol)
  • Coenzyme Q-10
  • Copper
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide)
  • Green Tea
Check your labels! Many products are abundant in potent antioxidants to help protect your skin.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Why argan oil?

Are you using skincare products made with argan oil? If not, you may  be missing out. Less known than coconut oil or jojoba oil, argan is truly a special oil. Argan oil itself contains more antioxidant and cell regenerative properties than olive oil, grape seed oil and avocado oil combined.


When applied to the skin, it absorbs quickly, and without an oily film, leaving behind a silky and satiny feel. It also works beautifully to restore shine and lustre to the hair.
Argan oil is commonly referred to as "liquid" gold -- and with good reason. Not just a filler, argan oil provides the skin with many nutrients and a whole list of benefits.

Argan the protector.

  • Argan oil is rich in phenols, making it a protective oil. It contains 200% more Vitamin E than olive oil. Argan is not just nourishing, it's a potent antioxidant and can effectively fend off free radical damage.

Need moisture? Look no further.

  • Argan oil is highly moisturizing. It is rich in Omega 6 fatty acids to help plump the skin, boost moisture levels and give a supple and healthy appearance. Choose a facial moisturizer with argan oil to ease dryness . You will be happy to discover that argan hydrates the skin without leaving a greasy film like other oils often do.

Slower skin aging? Yes, please!

  • Argan oil may make your skin look younger. Abundant in vitamins to improve skin elasticity, argan also boasts something called Triterpens, which aid in cell restructuring and can slow down the cell aging process. Because of the regenerating properties, your skin will benefit from a facial serum with argan oil.

Could this oil help combat acne?

  • Argan oil may even fight acne, as many believe that it is not only antiseptic, but anti-bacterial as well. It's light and fast-absorbing and will not clog the pores.

Reduce inflammation with argan oil.

  • Argan oil may help fight inflammation. Anecdotal evidence suggests that, when applied topically, argan oil may reduce pain, itching and swelling associated with various skin ailments. 
We've only begun to hear about the many skincare benefits of argan oil. It seems like new research appears every few months promoting more and more benefits. Are you using skincare products yet with argan oil? Have you noticed a difference in the appearance of your skin.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lipstick Love: CARGO Lip Color in Napa

Sharing a picture of my new favorite bolder fall lippy!
CARGO Essential Lip Color in NAPA.
Click to go to the website.


Soooo.... I recently accepted a position with CARGO Cosmetics to travel to stores in the Rochester and Syracuse areas training beauty advisors, planning events, boosting sales & doing makeovers. I never intended to go back to work outside of the home. I have been so lucky to be able to work from home all these years. I have a thriving Jamberry Nails business and team of 115 women. I enjoy writing, however with the exception of my freelance work for (seed) Body Care, I don't feel a passion for it anymore.

Nick is settled at his new school, Ben is a happy-go-lucky 4th grader, and I -- well, I can get a little lonely, even hermit-like when the fall and winter hits. I was thinking about my work before kids came along. I loved working in the skincare and cosmetics industry. It was fun and creative and something I truly have enjoyed doing, writing about, reading about & thinking about forever.


The CARGO display at Kohl's in Victor, NY


Out of curiosity one day a few weeks back, I stumbled upon a job listing for 15 hours a week freelancing for CARGO. I was intrigued, as I was a fan of their former Plant Love line and I clearly remember buying my first CARGO lipstick in 1998 at Eaton's in Toronto. The shade was Copenhagen, which has been discontinued.

Anyway, I decided to write to the person who was hiring to see if it would even have the flexibility I was looking for -- no nights, pick my own hours, etc. It did. I interviewed over the phone and was hired last Monday.

I started Thursday and truly enjoy it and feel at home with my makeup brushes swirling across strangers' faces once again.

You'll be seeing more posts about CARGO from me with tutorials and images soon!




SHOP:

Above on me -- minimalist makeup with NAPA on the lips. Wearing CARGO Picture Perfect CC Cream in Medium (Light is actually a bit too pale on me), Picture Perfect HD Translucent Powder, Onebase Concealer/Foundation in 02, 3 Triple Action Mascara in Black on top lashes, Also - Brow Kit in Light

Skin lost its glow? Try yoga.

Are you looking to regain that lost healthy glow your skin once had? Yoga may be the ideal exercise to promote glowing skin.


Yoga? Seriously? Until I began practicing Vinyasa flow yoga, I used to think of yoga as a relaxing, meditative practice. I was wrong. Yoga is so much more than sitting calmly and saying "Om."
Vinyasa flow yoga is a fast-paced form of yoga that many believe  is ideal for ridding the body of toxins.
One of the more popular yoga poses, downward dog, is believed to help with lymphatic drainage. This helps to rid our bodies of toxins. Vinyasa yoga is typically done in a heated studio of 85-90 degrees, making you sweat throughout the entire session. Sweating helps your body eliminate accumulated toxins and waste, which may improve skin health.
Your skin is your body's largest organ, so it would make sense that if you have an accumulation of unhealthy toxins inside your body, it will be evident by looking at your skin. This is something we touched upon before when I talked about the effects of sugar on the skin.

Yoga gets your blood flowing.

If circulation is sluggish, your skin will be dull -- even ashy. Many yoga poses help improve blood circulation.For example, the Warrior pose is ideal for regulating blood circulation. Anything that increases blood flow will help skin look radiant.

Improved digestion is another perk.

Research continues to show a link between your gut and skin health. If your digestive system is not getting rid of toxins effectively, it may show in your skin with conditions such as eczema, acne and Rosacea. The poses you use while practicing yoga help aid digestion, improving the condition of your skin.

Certain poses may make you look younger.

Have you seen oxygen facials on the menu at your favorite spa? Many aesthethicians perform oxygen facials on clients as an anti-aging skincare treatment. Asanas -- yoga postures -- help to increase oxygenation, so you may notice a reduction in the visible signs of aging. Not only will yoga help improve strength and flexibility, but it may make you look younger.
Are you a yoga practitioner? Aside from the health and wellness benefits, have you noticed any changes in your skin?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sugar: It's not so sweet for the skin

Cookies, soda, candy, pasta -- just some of the edibles filled with sugar. They are delicious, yet addicting. We know that sugar can have a negative impact on the waistline, but did you know that it may be making us look older, too? Today, we will examine the relationship between sugar and your skin.


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Sugar and the skin -- my personal story

I am going to share something personal with you first. My own skin is the perfect example of sugar's impact on the skin. In the past 15 months, I have shed just over 50 pounds.
I already ate pretty well. I didn't drink beverages with sugar, nor did I eat processed foods. Plus, I exercised several times per week. I have a sluggish metabolism, though, and I found it exceptionally difficult to drop the pounds after having two children 21 months apart. At my heaviest, I was over 200 pounds on my 5'8" frame. 
Fifteen months ago, I broke up with grains and sugar. Wheat, corn, rice -- they all were giving me digestive woes, despite testing negative for Celiac Disease. My doctor did say that I am gluten sensitive, so I decided to cut grains  from my diet.
To lose weight, I already was adamant about getting rid of sugar. Eliminating the grains was not so hard. Reading labels and avoiding sugar was another story. Sugar is in everything from pastas and breads to cereals and "diet" foods. My "healthy" granola and yogurt were  both sugar-laden. The first 2 weeks were rough. After that, though, I began to feel different -- no more afternoon hunger or headaches. In addition to dropping 3 sizes and feeling energetic, the skin care specialist in me could not help but notice the difference in my skin.

I do not think I realized the difference until people started remarking how much younger my skin looked. My skin has become so much brighter.  I can wear a tinted moisturizer over sunscreen instead of traditional foundation. The tone is more even. Of course, I can attribute much of that to having a consistent skin care routine, but the only thing truly different has been my diet. As time has gone on, my skin continues to look even better. The most noticeable difference can be seen around my eyes.
I am going to step outside of my comfort zone and show you the difference, using my own photos. The picture on the left was taken in March 2009. The photo on the right was taken today -- Sept. 11, 2014. I have gotten 5 years and 6 months older since the photo on the left was taken. I have not had any in-office treatments, nor has any retouching be done on the photograph. My skin has improved and the lines around my eyes have diminished greatly.
The cause of this change?  Greatly reducing sugar from my diet. 


Sugar damages skin cells.

Let's look at the science. Excess sugar is linked to both inflammation and glycation. Both processes have a negative impact on the skin.
  • Inflammation is believed to be one of the leading causing of aging. Experts believe that surges in blood sugar raise the level of cytokines, which are inflammatory messengers. The more sugar in the blood, the more likely you are to experience inflammation.
  • Glycation makes you look older.  According to Dr. Nicholas Perricone, "When blood sugar goes up rapidly, sugar can attach itself to collagen in a process called "glycation," making the skin stiff and inflexible. Losing this elastic resilience of young skin will give you deep wrinkles and make you look old."
Finally, more than speculation -- there is a science supporting the claim that sugar can make your skin look older.

Ingredients to fight the effects of sugar on the skin

There are ingredients that may help repair the signs of glycation and prevent further skin cell damage. Choosing anti-aging products with these ingredients may be just what your skin has been craving --  not those sugary treats.
  • Fight inflammation with Alpha Lipoic Acid. Many dietary supplements contain Alpa Lipoic Acid, which is known for its ability to combat inflammation. Andrew Weil, MD, renowned naturopathic doctor, author and founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine has long been a proponent of the use of Alpha Lipoic Acid to fight inflammation. Try Reviva Labs DMAE & Alpha Lipoic Vitamin C Ester Firming Eye Serum.
  • Powerhouse antioxidants such as Green Tea have been proven to significantly halt the glycation process as they promote collagen synthesis. Choosing skincare products formulated with Green Tea can help fight glycation and minimize the signs of skin aging  caused by sugar consumption.I recommend John Masters Organics Green Tea & Rose Hydrating Face Serum.

So what do you think? Are you ready to say goodbye to sugar? Have you eliminated sugar from your diet before? I'd love to hear your story.


Today's Makeup




FYI: What am I wearing in the "after" photo from today? I have Cargo HD Picture Perfect CC Cream in Medium, Prescriptives Magic Liquid Powder , Au Naturale Creme Concealer, Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Inspired by Carmindy Lipstick in Plum Shimmer (discontinued), Au Naturale Lip Gloss in Orchid, Cargo Beachblush in Miami Beach, Silk Naturals Medium Ash Brow Cream and Tarte Lights Camera Lashes.