Fun Spring Look!

spring look

Spring is perfect for a few bold and bright shades in makeup. Here’s a neutral look splashed with a pop of color I created. The products I used are in parenthesis.  You can also simplify this look by skipping the crease color and using only one eyeshadow,  either the medium shade or the lightest shade on the lid; you’ll still get the pop of color.

Face: Use a light-weight foundation to provide an even base. (Smashbox Liquid Halo HD Foundation)

Concealer: Use concealer only if you need it.  (Kat Von D Lock-It Tatto Concealer)

Cheeks: A soft pink blush gives checks a bit of color without competing with the overall look. A swipe of bronzer can also be used in place of blush to provide a subtle hint of color. (Nars Blush in Douceur)

Eyes Primer: This step is optional, however it does keep the eyeshadow from creasing (Too Faced Shadow Insurance)

 Eyeshadows: Use neutral colored eyeshadows, one light, one medium and one dark. Pat the medium shade on the lid and use the darker shade in the crease.  The lightest shade, also known as a highlight shade, should be used just underneath the brows and make sure to blend well. (Urban Decay Naked 3: Trick (lid), Factory (crease), and Strange (highlight).

Eyeliner: Line the top lid with black liner and the bottom with a blue. (Stila All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Jet Black and Maybelline Master Drama Chromatics in Blast of Blue)

Mascara: One to two coats of your favorite mascara (Milani Total Lash Cover Mascara with 3 Zone Brush)

Brows: Shade in brows with powder (Merle Norman Natural Brow Powder)

Lips: Choose a bold lip color, preferably pink, coral, or orange (Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil in Tart)

What are your favorite spring makeup shades?

spring makeup

Ready. Set. ‘Defeet’ Cancer!

number 5k

This past Sunday was the 9th annual Kids 4 Kids 5K and 10 K Run/Walk 2014 in Downtown L.A. which benefits the Children’s Cancer Research Fund.  As I’ve mentioned before, I love helping people, but to be able to help and participate in helping brave kids who are fighting cancer is awesome! It’s my third time partaking in this event and every year I am amazed to see how many people (of all ages and fitness levels!) come out and support such a great cause.  Parents encouraging their little kids to keep running, volunteers cheering us on, heck we even get encouragement from Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, which gets major smiles from all the children.

I had a family remember who although didn’t have cancer,  was given the same treatment as someone who did.  Sadly, he passed away two weeks after his sixth birthday.  Despite all his pain, his face would light up whenever he had visitors, especially if they brought him toys.  There aren’t too many feelings you experience that can top that of bringing joy to a child who is sick, at least in my opinion.  That captivating smile on his face is an image that will forever be engraved in my memory, and now, this 5K has an extra special meaning to me.   I run for Bryant and all the little angels watching us from heaven as well as the current ones here on earth who battle such a devastating disease.

I believe it’s important to take time out of our busy schedules to make time for ourselves as well as to help others out. It’s such a gratifying feeling that focuses our perspective on what truly is important.

 

My inaugural medal

My inaugural medal

 

What the Milia?

milia

If you’ve ever examined your skin and noticed tiny, white hard bumps that resemble sesame seeds, most likely you have a skin anomaly known as milia.  No need to panic though. Milia aren’t harmful, they’re just more of a complexion nuisance, and boy, are they stubborn!

Milia are usually found around the eyes, cheeks, and forehead and occur when oil, debris and dead skin cells become trapped beneath the surface of the skin.  Although they resemble whiteheads, milia won’t go away easily because they don’t have an escape route, meaning they’re not in the pores but rather ‘stuck’ under the outer layer of your skin. Therefore, trying to extract them yourself is NOT recommended since you can damage surrounding tissue and cause scarring.

So what options are available?

First, let’s examine the common culprits. Milia can be genetic and can also be caused by using too-rich ingredients such as mineral oil, lanolin, and isopropyl myristate.  If milia are prevalent around the eye area, make sure your eye cream and/or makeup remover is free from these ingredients.

Now, on to the treatment.  Thoroughly cleansing your face at night (read: more than just splashing your face with water) can help keep them from forming.  Mild exfoliation (enzymes are great for this!) and using a serum or cream with either hydroxy acids (lactic, glycolic, or salicylic) or retinol can also help.  If this solution doesn’t work (and frustratingly, it often doesn’t) or you want faster results, visit a dermatologist or esthetician where they can remove milia with a lancet.

Do you have milia? What treatment worked best for you?

 

 

 

Special Event Makeup Tips!

Makeup SE

Any special occasion- be it prom, a performance or dinner party- can send you into a frenzy to find the right dress, shoes and hairstyles.  Makeup is usually the last item on the checklist but in my opinion, it’s the most fun and helps pull the look together.  While many hire a professional makeup artist to achieve their coveted look, if you opt for the DIY route, here are some tips to help you look your best so you can be less worried about touch-ups and more focused on the event.

Skin care

Having a good skincare regimen in place facilitates your makeup application.  Cleansing, toning, moisturizing, and exfoliating are basic steps that can help you achieve a fresh, youthful look.  Proper exfoliation can also minimize the appearance of pores and ensures makeup does not cling on to dry, flaky patches.

*Note: While facials and microdermabrassion are excellent in enhancing your complexion, always schedule your appointment at least a week before your event to avoid an unwanted surprise.

Face

Liquid foundation is a popular choice as it’s easy to apply, and can benefit all skin types.  However, mineral makeup works especially well for those who have acne and cream foundation doesn’t melt as fast so it lasts longer.

Using a primer underneath your foundation and then setting your foundation with loose translucent powder makes it last longer and can keep oil in check.

Concealer

You can spot correct imperfections with concealer.  A concealer with a yellow undertone is great for counteracting the redness found on blemishes and scars while a concealer with a peach undertone is a good option for dark under eye circles.

Concealer can also be used as an ‘eraser’ to fix any mistakes- think eyeliner and lip color.

Brows

Use a brow powder on your eyebrows, and fill in only sparse areas to get a natural but defined look.

Eyes

Whether you are going for a natural or smoky look, using an eye primer helps eye makeup from creasing and can even enhance the eyeshadow color(s).  My personal favorite is Too Faced Shadow Insurance.

Water-proof eyeliner is a must to keep your eye makeup from smearing. My current liquid eyeliner obsession is Stila All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner.

Lashes

False eyelashes (falsies) are always a fun way to give that extra pop.  If possible, try out a pair of eyelashes a few days before the event to rule out the possibility of having a reaction to the adhesive (glue).

If you don’t have false eyelashes or can’t wear them, a few coats of waterproof mascara should do the trick.

Cheeks

Powder blush flatters most skin types (except dry) and lasts longer. Dry skin can use a crème blush.

Lips

For long-wearing lip color without the fuss, lip stains are the way to go.

 

Most important, have fun with your look and embrace your unique beauty! 

 

 

What Your Skin Does For You!

skin works

For the most part, I write about skin and how to take care of it.  Investing time in a skincare routine, along with adopting healthy lifestyle choices, leads to skin health, enhanced appearance, protection from skin cancer, and prevention from premature aging.

However, have you ever stopped and wondered what your skin does for you?

Confession: Before esthetic school, skin to me was just…well…skin.  I knew it encased our organs, protecting them from falling out and responded to sensation but my knowledge about the subject was limited.  So what did I learn?

Skin, also known as the integumentary system, is the largest organ in the body and has six primary functions: sensation, protection, heat regulation, excretion, absorption and secretion.

Sensation: Our skin contains sensory nerve endings that respond to touch, pain, colds, heat and pressure.  These nerve endings detect stimuli, sending messages to the brain to react as a protective defense mechanism or to react in a positive manner.

Protection: Skin is a thin but strong protective barrier to outside elements and microorganisms.  Sebum (oil), lipids (fat), sweat and water make up what is known as the acid mantle.  The acid mantle has a pH of about 5.5 and this acidic level protects us from pathogens, irritation, and from the skin drying out.

The most fascinating aspect of skin is its ability to repair itself when injured, protecting the body from infection and damage from injury.

Heat Regulation: The body’s internal thermostat is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.  Sweat glands release heat from the body through perspiration to keep us from overheating.  Through evaporation on the skin’s surface, the body is able to cool itself.  To protect ourselves from the cold, our blood vessels constrict and decrease the blood flow. The body’s fat layers help to keep the body warm.

Excretion: Sweat glands excrete perspiration and help detoxify the body by ridding it of excess water, salt and unwanted chemicals.

Secretion: Sebum (oil) protects the surface of the skin and lubricates both skin and hair. It’s responsible for keeping skin soft, protecting from outside elements, slowing down the skin’s evaporation of water, and maintaining water levels in the cells.  

Absorption: Absorption of water, oxygen, and ingredients are essential for skin health.  Select topical products help keep skin moisturized, nourished and protected.

So there you have it.  A tiny, simplified glimpse of what your skin does, regardless if you take care of it or not.

Showing it some consideration and TLC  a few minutes a day does not seem that like that much work after all, does it?

Happy Thursday!

Shaving 101!

shaving

Razor burn. Ingrown hairs. Razor bumps. Sensitivity. Inflammation.

Sound familiar?

For most men, shaving has become a habitual ritual since their adolescent years. Shaving is a fast, easy, and effective way  to remove hair but can all too often leave you with some skin woes.

Follow these proper shaving techniques and tips to minimize undesired skin problems- it’s simple and makes a difference!

1)      Choose a multi-blade razor with replaceable cartridge blades.

2)      Change razors/razor cartridge blades frequently.  Most razors allow for 5-7 uses.

3)      Store razors in a cool, dry place.  Blades need to be thoroughly rinsed of any debris/product.

4)      Always cleanse your face first and make sure your face is wet prior to shaving.

5)      Allow shaving gel/foam/cream to sit on skin for a couple of minutes to create a barrier between skin and blade and to soften the hair.  Use of bar soap, shampoo, and hair conditioner is NOT recommended as it can leave a film on the blade, thus dulling it quicker.

6)      Shave with minimal pressure.

7)      Keep in mind that if you shave the same area multiple times, the chance for razor burn increases.

8)      Never shave with a damaged blade.

9)      Soaking the razor head and blade in rubbing alcohol for one minute can minimize the spread of bacterial infections.

10)   Never shave an infected area/broken until it’s been completely treated.

11)   Never share razors.

12)   Chamomile, allantoin, licorice root and aloe are a few ingredients to look for to calm and soothe the skin.

13)  Products with chemical exfoliants like salicylic acid and lactic acid can help prevent ingrown hairs and can lift ingrown hairs to the skin’s surface.

Anthony Logistics for Men, Jack Black, and The Art of Shaving seem to be popular (and loved!) brands that offer simple, no fuss but effective shaving products for men.

I hope this post was helpful!

Thoughts or comments, please share!

 

Is Exercise Wreaking Havoc on Your Skin?

exercise

The advantages of exercise are numerous.  It increases endorphins, elevates your mood, decreases your risk for disease, controls your weight, focuses your mind, reduces stress, and keeps you healthy and strong.

Beauty bonus: As your heart rate increase, it sends oxygen to your skin and creates a healthy glow.

Pretty great benefits if you ask me.  But what happens when you start developing a host of other issues? Dry skin. Sudden breakouts. The dreaded bacne.  Not really what you signed up for, is it?

Instead of throwing in the towel, a few adjustments to your skincare routine can make a huge difference.

Here are some guidelines and factors to keep in mind before and after your workout.

Wear sunscreen!  Use a broad spectrum SPF of at least 30 and reapply frequently when sweating or swimming, especially when outdoors.

Exercising makes your skin lose moisture so wear a light-weight moisturizer.

If possible, immediately wash your face and body after working out.  Alcohol-free towelettes or makeup remover wipes can work to remove sweat and dirt if you can’t wash your face.

If your skin feels dry after cleansing (meaning no oil), try switching to a cream based cleanser.  Adding a hydrating mask 2-3 times per week can help.

 Combination/ Oily skin can use a gel or foam wash. If you are prone to breakouts, choose a cleanser with acne fighting ingredients- tea tree, sulfur, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and/ or papain (papaya enzymes) are a few ingredients to look for. Using a clay based mask up to 3 times per week can help control sebum and draw out impurities.

Tight-fighting workout clothes sweat and friction can lead to breakouts on your body, especially your back.  Adding breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics and showering right after you workout can help.  If you’re prone to breakouts on your back, use a salicylic acid body wash, gently exfoliate with a scrub, and spot treat.

Excessive sweating and heat can cause flare ups if you have eczema– something to keep in mind.

I hope this post was helpful!

Feel free to leave a question or comment.

Should You CC?

 

CC Cream 2

Me wearing Bobbi Brown’s CC Cream SPF 35

After an unfavorable experience with Dr. Jart’s Water Fuse Smart Gel BB, I decided to forgo BB creams and dive in to CC creams.  The appeal of a CC (Color Correcting) cream is that it can address issues like redness, dullness, uneven skin tone, age spots and sallowness while providing SPF coverage and a light feel on the skin.  It’s normally aimed at those who have minor skin issues but they can have buildable coverage.

The CC cream I have been testing out for the last couple of weeks is Bobbi Brown’s CC Cream SPF 35 in Warm Nude-geared towards light to medium skin tones-and I love it! Below, the breakdown of my review.

Pros

Feels light on the skin

Excellent in concealing redness

Provides good moisture to my combination skin without feeling oily

Broad Spectrum SPF 35

Cons

Limited Color Selection

Takes a little bit longer to blend than I would normally like

Buildable coverage for those who have minor skin imperfections but not as much as a foundation can provide

Price: $44 1.35 FL OZ

Overall: While in my opinion CC creams don’t replace your skincare routine, they are a great everyday option if you have minor skin imperfections and want light-weight coverage; over time you may see a slight improvement in your skin.  Also, although the inclusion of SPF is a plus and great for when you are in a hurry, I still wear my normal SPF underneath to make sure I apply the recommended amount- 1 teaspoon.

CC Cream

What’s your preferred medium: tinted moisturizers, BB Creams, CC Creams, foundation or powders?

Lights, Curtain, Dance!

 

Latinva Group

Last week I talked about the importance of making time for you, and besides skincare (of course!)  here is a glimpse into one of my “me time” indulgences-dance!

I participated in the Gym Crew Challenge at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre over the weekend, performing with the Latinva Dance Crew and it was a blast! I used to do ballet, tap and jazz when I was younger but I had forgotten how much fun and nerve wrecking it all could be. Running late to tech time, a tiny wardrobe malfunction, hair piece not staying in place, makeup touch-ups and numerous run throughs can leave you feeling exhausted before you even perform.

Then, it’s show time!

That ‘butterflies in your  stomach’ feeling when it was announced we were on deck, the adrenaline rush once the the curtain rises and the lights (and all eyes!) are on you, recalling all the steps you’ve learned- turn right, pivot left, (was it left?)- at light speed, all while remembering to smile, smile, smile.  And, oh yeah, celebrity judges like Brian Friedman, Chris Scott and Comfort Fedoke will be watching and critiquing us at the end, so no pressure whatsoever.  Despite all this running through my mind,  the performance was almost perfect.  All those hours spent practicing were put to the test, and although we didn’t win, it was great nonetheless.

I feel so lucky to have met and worked with such a wonderful group of inspirational, positive, and motivational people, including my lovely mother.  It’s funny how back then, she was the one who would help me learn my routines and now I was helping her.

This dance experience reminded me that sometimes life is like a dance routine: you have to take it one step at a time and be willing to step out of your comfort zone- it’s a way to make you grow!

Below, a video of our performance that felt a little like an episode of Dancing With The Stars and a picture of me with the makeup look I opted for.

Steph
I hope you enjoyed this post!