Fresh Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask Review!

Fresh

Hi everyone!  Thank you so much to all who sent me their well wishes!  I appreciate it!  I’m just waiting for the results now.

Today I have a review on a sample I received at Sephora from Fresh.  Here’s my take on this product. 🙂

Described as a mask that works in sync with the skin’s natural nighttime recovery process to achieve a lifted, firmer look by the morning. The intensely moisturizing treatment has a corset-like effect on the skin, giving the appearance of a visibly more defined, contoured complexion.”

Pros

Hydrating

Absorbs quickly

Not heavily scented

Good antioxidants

Cons

Pricey

Peptides are towards the bottom of the list

May not provide drastic firming results as claimed

Added fragrance

At a Quick Glance

Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester– peptide that can help strengthen skin (elastic fibers); sensitive skin soother and anti-aging ingredients.

Lychee– brightens, rejuvenates and protects skin caused by dehydration and UV damage.

Black Tea Ferment– provides anti aging effects and enhances skin smoothness.

 

Bottom Line: I think this product has a good range of anti-oxidants, including green tea, emollients and moisturizers and would be great for those who have normal, dry or combination skin that is looking for added moisture;my face felt nice and hydrated.  Although it doesn’t feel heavy and absorbs quickly, I wouldn’t recommend this for oily/acne prone skin.  It has peptides that can help strenghten the skin however I don’t feel it’s concentrated enough to make a drastic difference in respects to firming capabilities.  For the price, personally I would instead invest in a product that is more concentrated with peptides or a professional treatment if you’re looking for better firming properties. However, if you want a hydrating mask with great antioxidants and have the money to spend, this would be a great product to try out.

Have you tried this product? What are your thoughts? 

Stephanie 

Skin Tip: Over Exfoliating Can Lead to Sensitivity!

Happy Friday readers!

Over the weekend I had a consultation with someone who was concerned with dry and tight feeling skin. After asking her questions regarding lifestyle and product use, I learned that she was exfoliating daily with a cleanser that had tiny beads.  While exfoliating is great, moderation, like anything else is key.  Too much can cause sensitivity, inflammation and dry skin as the skin’s protective barrier  becomes impaired.  Limit use to 2-3x per week.

Quick updates: 

My laptop got some kind of weird virus so that’s getting fixed over the weekend but I apologize if I am behind on comments and commenting on your posts;it’s a bit difficult to keep up with a phone/tablet.

Next week is my UCLA class and I’ll be busy trying to get everything in order but I have a few short posts lined up.  Here’s to hoping nothing else goes wrong. 🙂

If any of you pray, please keep me in your prayers- I’d really appreciate it.  I have been sick on and off for about two months now and I feel some of the medications I’ve taken have led to other problems.  It is very frustrating when you get rid of one issue and something else pops up.  I have two doctor’s appointments Monday so I hope I can start getting this resolved.

Have a lovely weekend, 

Stephanie 

Why AHAs Are Important in Anti-Aging Skincare!

Hi everyone!  How was your weekend?  My week is off to a great start.  I was able to attend a special event at the International Dermal Institute headed by Jane Wurwand who is the founder of Dermalogica.  Such an amazing and inspirational woman!  Her motivational speech was beyond fantastic and she has a lovely sense of humor and heart.  Also, I found out I won the giveaway hosted by Maiko from SkinConciergeMaiko! Yay!  Check out her blog for other awesome reviews and tips. 🙂

Alright, enough about that.  Let’s get right to the topic of today’s post which is alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs.

What are Alpha Hydroxy Acids?

Technically speaking, alpha hydroxy acids “are a group of water-soluble carboxylic acids that work to release the desmosomes that hold skin cells together.”  Hmmm. I fear I lost you guys. 🙂 In plain English, they are naturally occurring mild acids used as chemical exfoliants that help shed off dead skin cells.  They are hydrophilic (attracted to water) and are pH dependent meaning they require a lower pH to be effective.

Why are they Beneficial?

AHAs are highly coveted and present in many anti-aging products/treatments for the following reasons:

  • Allows for easier exfoliation
  • Increased cell turnover (hello glowing skin)
  • Stimulate fibroblasts to produce collagen and elastin (something that decreases over time)
  • Firm the skin
  • Smooth and improve skin texture
  • Reduce lines and pigmentation
  • Leads to a more youthful appearance and feel
  • Increase ceramides (hydration)

*Note: Overly and aggressively exfoliating the skin can result in sensitive itchy red skin.

What are the Different Types of Alpha Hydroxy Acids?

  • Lactic acid– derived from milk
  • Glycolic acid-derived from sugar
  • Citric acid- derived from citrus fruits
  • Tartaric acid- derived from grapes
  • Mandelic acid- derived from bitter almonds
  • Malic acid- derived from sour apples

*A special note on AHAs:  Overly and aggressively exfoliating the skin, with or without AHAs can result in sensitive itchy red skin.  Also, when using AHAs, you’re more sensitive to the sun and more prone to burning so sunscreen is crucial! 

I hope you found this information helpful and as always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask me. 🙂

Have a good Tuesday,

Stephanie

 

My Morning Skincare Routine!

Morning Skincare Routine

Hello readers!  It’s a lovely day here in sunny California which is always great but I’m feeling under the weather.  At the beginning of the year, I always manage to get sick and though I thought I had broken this spell, I’m sadly mistaken. 😦  Anywho, I hope all of you are doing well.

I often get asked what my morning skincare routine so here it is.  Since I am often testing and trying new items, the product lines I use vary but the gist of my routine is the same.

1) CleansingDermalogica Special Cleansing Gel  I used this when I was in school and I really liked it so I pick one up every so often when I go to IDI (Dermalogica Headquarters).  It’s a basic, soap free cleansing solution that foams but doesn’t feel harsh.

2) ToningDermalogica Multi-Active Toner   Again, another product I used in school that I liked, I spritz this toner to wipe away any residue left after cleansing- you’d be surprised by what’s left behind after you cleanse!  It’s refreshing, doesn’t sting and has the humectant Sodium PCA.

3) SerumRenee Rouleau Vitamin C & E Treatment I always make sure to incorporate a vitamin C serum in the morning.  It gives your skin antioxidants to fight free-radicals, results in a reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, promotes the formation of collagen and can also reduce pigmentation due to its brightening properties.  (For more information on vitamin C, click here.)  Paired underneath sunscreen, it gives your skin extra antioxidant protection your skin needs from the sun’s harmful rays, which plays a prominent role in the breakdown of collagen.  This serum is one of the more hydrating vitamin C serums I have tried and I love the fact that it incorporates vitamin E, which nourishes the skin and enhances the effects of vitamin C.  (For more information on vitamin E, click here).  Apply to the face and extend to the neck and chest area.

4) Moisturizer/SunscreenDermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50 A staple in any skincare routine is sunscreen!  I’ve purchased this product several times because it combines moisturizer and sunscreen in 1- a true time  saver. It’s light-weight, works well underneath makeup and is formulated with antioxidant white tea.

5) Eye CreamRenee Rouleau Total Eye Repair Cream  Using an eye cream is a must to hydrate the eye area, especially during the colder months, to minimize the appearance of wrinkles.  This one contains hyaluronic acid and firming peptides.  It does not irritate my eyes, which some eye creams tend to do, and absorbs quickly into skin leaving it moisturized without a heavy feel.  As for the firming effect, my eye area isn’t lax so I did not notice a difference in this aspect.

Disclaimer:  The Renee Rouleau products were recommended and given to me by Renee (thank you!), however, ALL reviews are based on my own honest opinions and experiences. 

I hope you found this helpful on how I keep my skin healthy and protected! 🙂

Have a great Tuesday,

Stephanie

 

Pumpkin: Skin Treat or Trick?

pumpkin

With the commence of fall in full gear and Halloween coming closer, pretty much everywhere we turn we are inundated with the sight of pumpkins and alluring scents of pumpkins laced with cinnamon and clove.  Similarly, around this time, spas often start to offer pumpkin peels.   Although yummy in pies and lattes, what makes pumpkins in skincare so special?

Enzymes!

Pumpkins contain enzymes that “eat” old, dry skin cells-think of them like a Pac-Man- revealing healthy, glowing skin. Pumpkins are rich in antioxidants vitamin C and notably vitamin A- the anti-aging superstar that minimizes fine lines and wrinkles. Pumpkins are also high in beta carotene, infusing skin with vital nutrients, and zinc which purportedly reduces the appearance of inflammation associated with breakouts.

A few brands that include pumpkin in their products are Eminence, Ayurmedic, June Jacobs and Murad.

Pumpkin Peels 

Most skincare facilities offer pumpkin peels which are often formulated with glycolic, lactic and/or salicylic acid that provide the following benefits:

  • Improves skin texture
  • Targets hyper-pigmentation and acne
  • Stimulates collagen and elastin production.
  • Helps with the cell renewal process.
  • Reduces signs of aging by softening fine lines and wrinkles
  • Hydrates the skin

Pumpkin peels are a great way to refresh your complexion right before the holidays not to mention they smell amazing!

Love pumpkin peels or have a favorite pumpkin product?  Do share your experience!  

Stephanie

First Look: Renee Rouleau Pro Remedy Oil!

RR

Renee and I at Sofitel in Beverly Hills

Hi readers!  I hope you all had a great weekend!

I was given the unique (and awesome!) opportunity to assist celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau during one of her quarterly visits here in L.A. This is the second time I have helped her during her stay and words cannot express how blessed I feel to be able to participate in this event. Renee is one of the go-to skin care gurus with celebrity clients like Demi Lovato and Lisa Rina and generates rave reviews from beauty editors with good reason.  Aside from being extremely knowledgeable and formulating her own skin care line, she is also genuinely sweet, caring and humble.   When I first met her, she greeted me with a hug and smile that felt like I had known her forever.  Such a lovely person inside and out.

Pro Remedy Oil

I was one of the lucky ones that received a bottle of her soon to be released newly released Pro Remedy Oil!  Pro Remedy Oil is a blend of 12 natural oils including sweet almond oil, evening primrose oil, rosehip oil and cranberry oil that “helps repair dry skin from airplane travel, eczema, sunburn, dry climate and pregnancy.”  Since many of us receive chemical peels during the fall and winter months, this oil can also be used post-chemical peel to soothe skin.

Pro Remedy Oil is a clear light-weight, citrus scented oil that absorbs quickly into the skin.  Since I have combination skin, I mix about 2-3 drops with my moisturizer and apply to my face-a little goes a long way.  So far, I like how my skin has felt hydrated with no heavy after feel and I haven’t broken out.  We’ll see if that changes in the next couple of weeks.

If you have dry skin or eczema and haven’t found products that work, definitely look into this oil, especially during these next few months when we’re prone to losing more moisture.    Those with acne or oily skin types should tread lightly since you already produce enough oil and probably don’t need anymore.

RR 3

Other goodies I received: Bio Calm Repair Masque, Aloe Cleansing Milk and Bio Radiance Night Serum- can’t wait to try them out.

I’ve tried a couple of products from Renee’s line and although there were some I didn’t like or didn’t work for me, some items worth checking out that I love include Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel, BHA Clarifying Serum, and Triple Berry Smoothing Peel.

If you’re interested in Renee’s skin care line, visit her website www.reneerouleau.com

Hope you enjoyed this post and sneak peek! 

 

 

 

Can We Reach Pore-fection?

Aside from anti-aging, pore size seems to be a huge complaint from customers.

A study conducted by L’Oreal Paris revealed that roughly “45% of women wish they could change the size of their pores and            almost one in three women  (28%) are more concerned about  their pore size than wrinkles.”

With so many products out there that claim to shrink or eliminate your pores, how do we know what works?  Let’s take a closer look at what a pore really is.

What is a pore?

A pore is a small opening in the skin that allows oil to reach the surface.  On average, an adult has five million pores on their body with approximately 20,000 on their face alone.   Without pores, our skin would be dry and cracked since oil produced in the sebaceous glands travel up the pore to the skin’s surface and naturally moisturize the skin.

How is pore size determined?

For the most part, pore size is determined by genetics and generally speaking, is most prevalent in men.  However, oil, dirt, dead skin cells and our lifestyle can impact pore size.  For example, avid sun worshipers often see an increase in pore size because the sun’s UV rays breakdown and weaken the skin’s elasticity; the same can apply to aging skin.  Oily skin types typically have an excessive accumulation of dirt, oil and dead skin cells, leading to large, visible pores and in some cases acne.

How to minimize pore appearance

Since you can’t get ‘rid’ of pores (and really, you don’t want to as they flush out toxins and help regulate temperature) here’s a couple of suggestions to help reduce their appearance.   

  • Thoroughly cleanse skin daily
  • Regular exfoliation with either enzymes or hydroxy acids (i.e. glycolic, lactic, or salicylic)
  • Those with oily skin types can benefit from using clay-based masks (look for kaolin or bentonite) about 2x/week
  • Limit excessive sun exposure and always wear SPF
  • Make sure you are using the correct skincare products/makeup for your skin type- makeup primers can help reduce pore appearance
  • Consult with a dermatologist and/or esthetician for other options such as chemical peels
  • Avoid pore strips as in the long run can stretch out skin even more

Questions? Comments? Have a pore-minimizing product you love? Do share!

The Beauty in Sleep!

sleeping beauty

What’s one thing college students, new parents, teenagers and more than half of the American population have in common?

Sleep deprivation.

As important as it is to get enough sleep, a study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation in 2002 concluded that “74% of American adults experience a sleeping problem a few nights a week or more and 39% get less than seven hours of sleep each weeknight.”  Recently, The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement suggesting an 8:30 a.m. or later school start time for middle and high school students and with good reason.

Research has shown that young people who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to suffer depression, be involved in car accidents and have lower test scores.   Lack of sleep is also a risk factor for weight gain and can disrupt the body’s regulation of blood sugar.  An increase in stress-hormone levels contribute to an elevated rise in blood pressure and promote inflammatory changes associated with chronic disease, including heart disease and diabetes.

Much More Than Just A Phrase

We’ve all heard about needing our ‘beauty sleep’ but it turns out this phrase isn’t just superficial-it can accelerate the aging process!  On a visual level, not receiving the crucial shut-eye results in a dull complexion because when you are tired, blood doesn’t flow efficiently; fine lines also appear more prominent.  On a deeper level, your skin, as well as your whole body, transitions into repair mode when you sleep.  New skin cells grow and replace older cells.  An increase in inflammatory cells in the body lead to a breakdown in collagen and hyaluronic acid, both of which assist in giving skin it’s glow, bounce and translucency.

A Look at ‘Beauty Sleep’ by the Hour

Perhaps Charles Perrault’s tale The Sleeping Beauty in the Woods was inadvertently on to something, except let’s replace the 100 years with the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night. (Yet another example of how I love to tie beauty and literature together!)

Hours 1-3: The deepest sleep of the night, your body produces the most human growth hormone- critical to skin and hair repair.

Hours 4-5: Deep sleep shortens and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep begins. There’s also an increase in melatonin, a hormone with potent antioxidant properties to combat oxidative stress.

Hours 6-8: This is when you get the most REM sleep. Your skin’s temperature reaches its lowest point, enabling muscles to relax and allowing skin its deepest recovery.

Solutions to Promote Better Sleep

Sometimes sleep doesn’t come easily so if you have trouble sleeping, try these suggestions.

  • Schedule your bedtime and your wake-up time according to the number of hours of sleep you need.
  • About an hour or more before bedtime, stop phone calls and watching television and read or listen to music instead.
  • Try aromatherapy (my favorite!).  Lavender, neroli and sandalwood essential oils can relax and promote a restful sleep.  Fill half of a mini spray bottle with water, mix in your relaxing essential oil of choice and lightly spritz onto your sheets and/or pillow.
  • Learning to manage your stress or keep it under control will in turn yield to a more restful sleep. Breathing techniques, exercise, a spa visit and regular massages can keep stress in check.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend. What helps you catch more Zzzzz’s? 

 

Disclaimer: The contents on this website, and any related links, are provided for general informational purposes and should NOT be considered medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here. Please consult a healthcare provider if you have any questions about a particular health condition. 

 

 

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? 

Hands of Time

hourglass

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

– Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

This quote has stuck with me since my days as an undergrad English major, while taking a class in the Harlem Renaissance .  Albeit this quote was not aesthetically intended, my mind was always revolving around this concept, particularly on how it can tie into skincare.  How?  Simple.  Time will answer the question as to how well you took care of your skin.

Most of us spend so much time focusing on taking care of our face but forget about other telling signs: our hands, neck and décolleté,  These overlooked areas are also prone to sun spots, fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration and redness.  If you have inadvertently neglected these areas, here are some solutions to rectify these issues.

Sunscreen /Targeted Creams

Inarguably the least expensive and easiest to use is broad spectrum sunscreen.  When we are driving, UV rays penetrate the glass causing damage to our hands and décolleté leading to pigmentation later on.  Extending your sunscreen application to these areas (which we should already be doing anyway) will help.

Certain creams can also help with the appearance if sun damage is minimal.  PCA Skin Perfecting Neck and Décolleté and Revison Skincare Nectifirm are examples of great products to look into.

Microdermabrasion/Chemical Peels

Exfoliation treatments such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels can provide improvements in the color, tone and texture of treated areas and typically don’t require much downtime.

Other Options

For skin that has extensive damage, a visit to a dermatologist or plastic surgeon would suit best where they could perform IPL treatments, lasers (Fraxel, Active FX or Thermage), Botox or surgery, depending on the results you are looking for.

Remember that prevention is always the best rule to adhere to and will save you time and money in the long run.