Skin Tip: Chamomile Tea Bags!

Chamomile-tea-bag

Keep chamomile tea bags in your kitchen! Although chamomile is best known for alleviating an upset stomach or helping induce sleep, a wet chamomile tea bag can soothe stressed skin and a chamomile compress can help reduce irritation.

*Note: Always perform a patch test to avoid adverse effects.

Wishing you a relaxing weekend!

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One Lovely Blog Award!

Blog AwardI was honored with a nomination for the One Lovely Blog Award by the awesome Cameron from Threads!  I’m truly grateful for this as I’m still getting the hang of how all of this blogging world works so thank you Cameron for taking the time to nominate me.  Anyone who is interested in fashion should definitely check out Threads 🙂

Rules:

1. Thank and link back to the person who nominated you.

2. List the rules and display the award.

3. Include seven facts about yourself.

4. Nominate five or more  bloggers and let them know about the award.

5. Display the award and follow the blogger who nominated you (if not already!)

Facts:

1.  I helped out with makeup at USC’s dance production Alice in Wonderland

2.  I was able to meet and assist celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau

3.  My eyes appear hazel in bright light or when I wear pink eyeshadow

4.  When something is bothering me, cleaning helps me sort out my thoughts

5.  I first learned to drive stick shift…but that didn’t last too long

6.  My favorite food is Italian

7.  I have a dance background in tap, ballet and jazz

Nominees:  Some great blogs that I enjoy reading

http://jacquienavarro.wordpress.com/

http://lifeaslisaknowsit.com/

http://leahpereyra.com/

http://simplyquaintblog.wordpress.com/

http://megjacobsblog.com/

 

 

Beauty Benefits of Tamarind Water!

tamarind

Since healthy skin works from the inside out, here’s another idea inspired by drinks I grew up with that are great for beating the summer heat: tamarind water, also known as agua de tamarindo!  

Tamarind is a sweet and sour fruit that is rich in tartaric acid, which is a powerful antioxidant and a good source of iron, thiamin, niacin and vitamin C.  Antioxidants can help protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays, guarding your cells from damage and vitamin C helps the body repair itself.  Tamarind can be found in any market that appeals to Hispanic, Asian and Indian cultures.  To make tamarind water, follow below.

10-15 tamarind pods

Water (about 10 cups)

Sweetener of choice

1) Take the tamarind pods and remove the outer shell and any veins (strings) that may be attached.  Discard the shells and veins.

2) Place the inner portion of the tamarind (looks like seeds) inside a pot and boil for about 25-30 minutes.

3)  After 25-30 minutes, remove from stove and let it cool down completely.

4) Once the tamarind water has cooled down, squeeze the remaining pulp from the seeds with clean hands and discard the seeds.

5) Next,  blend the water and pulp in a blender and pour into a pitcher after running it through a sieve.

6) Lightly sweeten to taste (emphasis on the lightly!) and enjoy!  You can always add a bit more water to dilute some of the tartness without having to add tons of sugar.

Hope you enjoyed this post! 

 

LUSH Review!

I’ve heard some great things about LUSH so when I came across this store, I stopped by to check out what they have.  If you’ve never heard of LUSH, they are a company that prides themselves on creating and selling fresh, handmade products with little to no preservative and they support humanitarian, environmental and animal rights causes.  Their items range from shower gels, face masks, hair products and makeup among other little knick knacks. After glancing at their products, I decided on a face mask and shower gel.

The Sacred Truth Fresh Faced Mask

LUSH 1

LUSH describes this mask as being for dry or mature skin but I definitely think combination/oily skin would benefit from this a bit more. The reason? It’s made with kaolin clay which helps remove sebum and removes impurities from the skin- not too ideal if you have dry to very dry skin.  Among other ingredients, this mask also has honey ( a great humectant and antibacterial ingredient), shea butter, green tea, yogurt and fresh papaya juice, whose enzymes provide an exfoliating effect.  After using this mask, my face did seem a bit brighter and smoother and my T-zone was less oily.

LUSH 2

 

Pros

$6.95 for 2.1 oz

The bottom of the jar lists the date it was made, the person who made it and the date you should discard it

LUSH 3

Handmade and fresh

Enzymes provide a gentler exfoliation effect

Nice cooling effect (especially for hot, summer days and nights!)

Cons

Because it is fresh, it needs to be stored in the fridge

Only sold in stores because it needs to be kept in the fridge

The smell- you either love it or hate it.  Not the best smell in my opinion but tolerable

You get a good amount of product for the price but because it doesn’t have preservatives, it needs to be tossed out sooner than most products.   Use it as a body treatment (i.e. your back and décolleté) so you don’t waste the product.

Can enhance your complexion but don’t expect major changes

It’s Raining Men Shower Gel

LUSH 4

lushusa.com

 

 

Absolutely LOVE this shower gel!  My skin is pretty sensitive to shower gels and I usually stick to Aveeno Baby Soothing Relief Creamy Wash since it’s the only body wash that doesn’t irritate me or cause my skin to itch.  So, needless to say I am very wary of trying anything new but I gave this a try and gladly so.  It smells amazing-think honey, citrus and bergamot- and leaves skin super soft.  I find the scent to be very soothing and the best part is no adverse reactions on me as of yet.

Pros

Moisturizes your skin and leaves skin soft even if I forget to moisturize

Leaves behind a faint scent that is not overwhelming

A little bit of product goes a long way

The bottle states when it was made and when to discard

Several sizes available

Cons

There is added fragrance so if you’re sensitive or allergic, tread with caution

Main ingredient is honey so if you’re allergic to it or to bees, steer clear

 

Price- it’s a bit more pricier than most body washes found in drugstores- $9.95, 3.3 oz; $$18.95, 8.4 oz; $28.95, 16.9 oz

Bottom Line- I think they have some great products to try but I was disappointed a lot of the products meant for the face have ground almonds in them.  Ground nuts and fruits can be too abrasive for the delicate skin on your face and cause microscopic tears-save this knees, elbows and feet.  Also, as I stated before, these can enhance your complexion but if you’re wanting professional results, this wouldn’t be the best line.   

Have you tried LUSH products? What do you think about them? 

 

Beauty And The Oils

Oils have been around since…well, forever but recently the beauty industry has seen their resurgence.  It almost seems like there is a new ‘beauty’ oil discovered every week, each superseding the one before.  From kitchen pantry and health food stores to the beauty aisle, the following oils are lauded as the ultimate ingredient for your face, body, hair and/or nails.

Argan-Oils

Argan  (Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil)

Pressed from nuts found in argan trees-exclusive only in Morroco- argan oil is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids including linoleic acid, omega-6, which helps in maintaining the lipid barrier in skin and natural tocopherols (vitamin E).  It nourishes, regenerates and protects the skin.

In hair, it adds moisture to dry hair, calms frizzy ends and can help with a dry scalp.

coconut_oil

Coconut (Cocos Nucifera  (Coconut) Oil)

A staple in tropical regions of the world, coconut oil moisturizes, strengthens connective tissues, provides antibacterial properties through lauric acid, nourishes and heals.  I think it’s important to note that although coconut oil has anti-bacterial properties and some people claim it’s a great treatment for acne, use caution.  Those who suffer from acne may find it feels too heavy, clogging pores and potentially leading to more breakouts.

In regards to hair, coconut oil can penetrate better than other oils and therefore is commonly used as a deep conditioner (or found in conditioning products).

grapeseed

Grapeseed (Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil)

Extracted from the seeds of grapes, this is rich in linoleic acid and acts as an emollient and antioxidant (high in vitamin E).  Linoleic acid is an unsaturated EFA that is found in skin lipids like ceramides and cholesterol which protects the skin barrier function, prevents the drying of  skin and soothes.  It’s ideal for massage oil since it glides well on skin.

jojoba oil

Jojoba (Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil)

From the  jojoba plant and known for resembling sebum (oil found on your face), jojoba oil moisturizes, reconditions the skin and provides barrier potection. Interestingly, jojoba oil is thought to balance oil production which could be great news for people with oily skin.  The tocopherol content provides excellent antioxidant activity. *Note: Sometimes only small amounts are needed to reap the benefits so tread lightly if you apply the oil straight to your face.  It might be best for those with oily skin to look for skincare products formulated with this ingredient instead.

OLIVEOIL

Olive (Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil)

Olive oil is rich in vitamin E and antioxidants which help repair and renew skin from oxidative stress, soothes inflammation, smoothes the skin and helps maintain skin elasticity.

In hair, olive oil doubles both as a deep conditioner and dandruff controller, and when rubbed on nails, it helps cuticles stay plump and hydrated while producing a natural shine.

sunflower

Sunflower (Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil)

Produced from sunflower seeds, sunflower oil replenishes and restores the skin with nourishing fatty and amino acids.  Amino acids supply nutrients to nourish the skin, which in turn strengthens connective tissue and keeps the skin smooth.  Sunflower oil also increases moisture retention (great for dry skin!) and provides natural barrier protection.

 

sweet almond

Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil)

This oil contains high levels of oleic acid and unsaturated triglycerides provide moisture to skin that is easily absorbed into the skin. Oleic acid, found naturally in vegetable and animal oils, is high in unsaturated omega-9 fatty acids, providing emolliency and a soothing factor to skin.

In hair, it adds shine and purportedly controls hair fall.

 

Bottom Line: Although the benefits of these oils are superb, it may not work the same for everyone.  You may find that some oils dry out your hair instead of  smoothing them or they work wonders for your body but can wreck havoc on your face.  ‘Natural’ can be great but isn’t exempt from producing adverse reactions so use with caution.

Have you tried any of these oils?  What was your experience like? 

When in Vegas…

Main Pool

I took a week off for vacation, went to Vegas and had a blast.  I don’t really care much for gambling and all the smoking but I do like walking around exploring the hotels and shops and getting to relax and swim.  Here’s a small glimpse of how it went.

What I Packed

Travel Essentials

 

Some of my travel essentials.  It’s good to pack light and take travel sized products when possible.  For skincare, I  keep it simple.  Sunscreen, cleanser, toner and moisturizer.  Optional: Eye cream with SPF (I used Dermalogica’s Total Eye Care SPF 15) and if you use any antioxidant serums, i.e. vitamin C or E, you can layer them under your sunscreen.  For makeup, I really love the Urban Decay Naked palette where you can create natural or smokey bronze looks.

Fun Under the Sun… Er, Shade

Seeking Shade

Seeking shade on a hot day behind the waterfall.

Pool Essentials

Pool side essentials: Sunscreen, a good book and a relaxing jacuzzi.

Special Occasion Night

Dinner En Route

Me and one of my sisters en route to dinner.

Tommy BahamasWe had a great dinner at Tommy Bahama’s located in the Las Vegas Town Square.  If you’re ever in Vegas, stop on by, especially for dessert.  Key Lime Pie (love the tartness) and Triple Chocolate Cake (not as overly sweet as it seems, at least to me) are amazing!

Before Show

Waiting for the show to start at The Mirage.  For a fast, special occasion look, I like a bold red lip, bronze eyeshadow on the lid, black eyeliner, mascara and a swipe of bronzer.  Products used: Urban Decay Naked palette eyeshadow in Smog, Urban Decay Glide-On 24/7 Eye Pencil in Black Velvet and Sephora Collection Rouge Infusion Lip Stain in No. 10 Red Essence.

Sight Seeing/Activities

Paris at Night

Until I can see the actual one in Paris, this will suffice.

NY

The New York, New York hotel view from the M&M store.

Hershey's World

Calling all chocolate lovers, visit Hershey’s World located inside the NY, NY hotel.  There’s an impressive Statue of Liberty replica made out of chocolate and some yummy treats.

Zipline

One of the best parts of my vacation: getting to zipline at night passing a dome of lights and images!  It’s smaller than most, but well, baby steps first, right?

vegas zipline

Zipping by through Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas at night although, to be honest, I didn’t see really notice the dome or lights because I was busy hanging on for dear life!  It was a bit nerve wrecking at first but once you get the courage, it’s an amazing experience!

If you ever find yourself in Vegas, definitely try ziplining!  How do you like to spend your vacation?

 

 

But I’m Sensitive To Sunscreen…

Sunscreen is perhaps one of the most, if not the most, important ingredient to guard against aging and more importantly, skin cancer.  However, I find that it is the skincare product most people skimp on.

“I’m sensitive to sunscreen,” or “It stings my eyes after a while,” are common responses as to why sunscreen isn’t used on a daily basis-if at all. While I too have suffered that wrath of a sunscreen that has seeped into my eyes (oh the stinging sensation!), there are plenty of options out there that won’t work against you.  Mineral sunscreens,in the form of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, may be your best bet.  The reason?  Whereas chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s rays and release them as heat, mineral or physical sunscreens sit on skin and reflect UVA and UVB rays, meaning less irritation.  Here’s a list of  some physical sunscreens you may want to look into.

Colorescience

http://www.colorscience.com  $52 and refills $25-$30

Colorscience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush SPF 30

Boasting the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Approval, this mineral sunscreen comes in a few select shades and finishes, making sunscreen reapplication easy.  Also worth checking out from this brand: Mineral Eyescreen SPF 30.

.

Coola Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint

Formulated with shea butter and evening primrose oil that help retain moisture and rosehip oil which is rich in antioxidant vitamin C. Remember that antioxidants like vitamin C and E work synergistically with sunscreen.

jason

http://www.drugstore.com $14.95; Whole Foods

Jason Mineral Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30 

This sunscreen is fragrance free-great news if you are sensitive/allergic to fragrances-and includes calming aloe vera, chamomile and green tea.

 

Alba Botanica Very Emollient Sunscreen Mineral Protection Fragrance Free Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Also fragrance free, this sunscreen provides antioxidant support from vitamin E and grapeseed oil and is gluten and paraben free.

 

La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid, SPF 50 Face

An Allure Best of Beauty Award Winner, this paraben and fragrance free sunscreen has an ultra-light matte finish that won’t leave behind a white cast on your face.  It features Cell-Ox Shield technology which is comprised of physical sun filters for improved protection and a powerful antioxidant complex to protect from free radicals.

Once you find a sunscreen that works for you, it’s vital to remember to reapply every two hours or so, especially when you’re outdoors.  

Have a favorite mineral sunscreen you don’t see listed here?  Feel free to share!