How to clean your makeup brushes

So you want beautiful skin. Who doesn’t?! You’re willing to pay big money for the best skin care products and beautifying treatments out there, but did you know that the quality of your makeup and the makeup brushes you use play a huge role in how healthy your skin is?

Yes, that’s right! The makeup brushes too! Because with each use, dirt, oils, dead skin, and bacteria get trapped in between the fine bristles, and if we don’t clean them regularly, we apply all of those things on our skin with each makeup application.

Therefore, I will detail here how to cleanse your makeup brushes effortlessly.

First of all, you need to wash your brushes once a week. They take a few hours to dry out, so make sure you have spare ones to use or wash them after you have applied your makeup for the day. You could also use a hair dryer to dry them out quicker.

So you’ll need:

1. Warm running water

2. Baby shampoo or a sulfate/paraben free shampoo

3. Paper towels

You apply a few drops of shampoo in the palm of your hand, run the brush under lukewarm water until it is wet, then swirl the brush in the palm of your hand for a few seconds lathering up the shampoo. Rinse the brush and repeat this procedure until the foam and water in your palm is clear. Shake extra water off your brushes and lay them flat on a bed of paper towels until the next day.

And… Voila! Not hard or time consuming.

Secondly, I’d like to mention that after each use, it is recommended that you spray a disinfectant spray on each brush, and wipe off the residual makeup on a paper towel. I personally use the Color Science disinfectant spray, but you can use any daily brush cleaner you like.

 

Believe me, your skin will thank you!

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Comprehensive guide on how to use your skin care products

products-2-editedBeauty is a billion dollar industry; therefore, we have a very large palette of cosmetic, skin care, and medical products to choose from. This can be overwhelming for many of us most of the time.

First of all, it is hard to choose the products that are the most appropriate for our skin type and condition. Second of all, it is both time consuming and difficult to figure out the order in which we should use these products.

So I’ve decided to elucidate this mystery. Every day, I write comprehensive skin care regimens for my patients, so I will put these in writing here for everybody who is interested in learning how to layer correctly.

MORNING

  1. Mild Cleanser. Generally it is recommended that you don’t strip your skin off of all the “good” oils that it naturally produces overnight. Therefore, it’s recommended that you use a very gentle milky cleanser to wash the face; my personal preference is to use room temperature water to wash my face. Hot water is dehydrating and drying for the skin. Skin Ceuticals Gentle Cleanser or Avene Clean AC are perfect for the morning wash. 
  2. Toner. It’s not a must. However, if you love that squeaky clean feeling, after you wash your face you can use a toner or astringent. You have to make sure that your toner does not contain alcohol, as that would dry out the skin, and in time damage it, just like hot water. I personally don’t like to use toners too much, but it’s just my preference. 
  3. Serum. This is one of the most important steps in skin care. It is as important as using a Retinoic acid at night, and using sunscreen during the day. I recommend a concentrated antioxidant serum every morning, in the form of a dropper or lotion. The reason we need to use an antioxidant serum every morning is because antioxidants help neutralize free radicals that damage our skin throughout the day. Think of free radicals for the skin and body in general, like cavities are for the teeth. They damage from the inside by breaking down the collagen and the elasticity inside the skin. My personal all-time favorite antioxidant serums are Phloretin CF and CE Ferulic from Skin Ceuticals. 
  4. Moisturizer. The reason we apply moisturizer after the serum is because moisturizers have a different chemical formulation which does not allow them to penetrate into the skin too much. They create an occlusive layer which locks in the previous products and the naturally occurring moisture. Now in order to avoid too many steps in the morning, I generally prefer to use a moisturizer with an SPF 20 or 30 already included, like Avene Hydrance Optimale SPF25.  But if you prefer a separate sunscreen, this would be your next step.
  5. Sunscreen. I am a big believer in physical/mineral sunscreen. I personally don’t like the idea of a chemical sunscreen, simply because physical sunscreen creates a protective “shield” which reflects away damaging sun rays, while the chemical ones neutralize the damaging sun rays once they have already entered the skin. Therefore, some of my favorite physical sunscreens are MD Solar Science Tinted Cream , Physical Matte UV Defense SPF50 from Skin Ceuticals, and Color Science Sunforgettable SPF 50 in case you have oily/acne prone skin and prefer a powder sunscreen. 

products4-editedEVENING

  1. Cleanser. In the evening, it is important that we cleanse the skin very well, and wash off all the dirt, pollution, and residual products. If you use makeup, make sure you remove all makeup first, with a makeup remover like Micellar water. After removing all your makeup, you’ll want to wash the face with a foamy, possibly medicated cleanser.
  2. Exfoliation. I strongly recommend that you exfoliate your skin at home. If you have a Clarisonic Brush, you can use it every day (only once) because it provides just the right amount of exfoliation on a daily basis, without being too abrasive. If you like to exfoliate with other products, such as mild facial scrubs or exfoliating serums (like Blemish and Age Defense from Skin Ceuticals), this would be the time to do so.
  3. Treatment product. After exfoliation, I recommend that you use any medicated products you might have, such as Salicylic Acid, Retinoic Acid, or Hydroquinone, for acne, anti-aging, or brightening purposes. Generally if you have a good Retinol or RetinA product, I recommend that you use only a pea size amount at a time. Take one pea size amount of that product and spread it evenly all over the face, avoiding the area around the eyes and the mouth. Using it this way, you’ll avoid the unpleasant irritation and peeling that occurs almost every time a retinoic acid product is used incorrectly. One of my favorite Retinol products lately is the PCA Retinol.
  4.  Serum. Now, you’ll want to apply a hydrating/anti-aging and replenishing serum to face, neck, chest, and hands. Or, you can also use the anti-oxidant serum from the morning. A little extra Vitamin C never harmed anyone! My favorite serum I like to use at night though is Metacell Renewal B3.
  5. Night moisturizer OR facial oil. In order to lock everything in and help with the repairing process over night, I recommend a good peptide cream or a replenishing oil like Jojoba oil, for the face, neck, and chest. I really like this Perricone MD Neuropeptide Firming Cream, but it is on the pricey side. 
  6. Eye treatment. Last but not least, a good eye cream, eye serum, or even pure Vitamin E will help the sensitive skin around your eyes while you sleep. I usually apply the same treatment around my lips, to avoid those vertical fine lines. You’ll really like this Neocutis Lumiere eye treatment

Enjoy your beautiful skin! signature pic monkey ed 1

Oils for your forever beautiful skin (Part2)

Hello busy moms and dear followers!

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As promised a while ago I am following up with a couple of oils I love and I am using in my beauty routine on a daily basis. These two are in fact my favorite ones. I hope you’ll enjoy them too as they are very accessible and so easy to use.

 

Jojoba Oil

jojoba oil

This oil is not an oil. It’s actually a wax. Its amazing anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties make it one of the best “oils” for your skin. It has a very long shelf life so we can have it in our bathroom for a couple of years. However I go through a 4 oz bottle every couple of months, so no reason to keep it for so long. Use it! It’s an amazing oil with a lot of attributes that can work wonders when you want to remove your makeup in a natural way, to moisturize your skin (I apply 6-7 drops on my clean skin and dab off the extra with a tissue paper, for a matte finish), and its powerful properties will aid in the treatment of acne, killing the harmful bacteria that causes acne (or make it thrive) in some cases and reducing the inflammation often accompanying the acneic skin. It can help heal warts, Athlete’s foot infections and and nails that suffer with fungus!

These are just a few most important properties of this golden wax. You can massage it on your skin morning or night. When you buy yours make sure it’s a pure Jojoba oil and not a blend.

 

argan-oil

Moroccan Argan Oil

This oil is indeed a superfood for the skin. It’s so easy to use and it penetrates into the skin so nicely, without leaving any residual oily film on your skin. It has the ability to decongest the pores, while hydrating, nourishing and stimulating the skin’s regeneration. It is very rich in essential fatty acids, Vitamin E and other nutrients which help maintain the skin in great shape, without a huge effort.

You can massage it in your hair, on your scalp, use it on your hands, tips of fingers and on your feet (then put on socks and some gloves for a couple of hours) for a softer, smoother skin.

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Oils for your forever beautiful skin (Part 1)

Bianca-1smallAre you one of the people who’s suffered with acne all your teenage years and then some… and who has always tried to find the latest best thing in skin care which could help you get rid of that unwanted acne? Of course in your tireless searches you’d buy anything with the condition to be OIL FREE! Because in your mind your skin was already very oily naturally, so it didn’t make any sense to apply more oil on it…

Or maybe you are someone who has rosacea and sensitive skin and you’re always on the look for the best thing out there to hide and possibly treat that redness…

Or maybe you are like me, someone who has never dealt with the terrible acne or rosacea, but always conscious of the aging signs; always wanting to look good and for the skin to not look prematurely dry and wrinkled and stained…

Well, today I will tell you my secret about the oil cocktails I’ve been using on my skin, which work wonders, even on acneic or rosacea skin. Especially after I turned 30 my skin started looking less plump, more fatigued, dryer, my pores started looking enlarged…So I started reading about the use of oils in skin care and because I found them very accessible wherever I am, I said why not! Anything is worth trying when it comes to aging! Well, almost anything. So far I have been so happy with my results and I think when used correctly, they beat any moisturizer out there! Oils are lipophilic, which means that they love or are attracted to fat, so they are able to penetrate through the skin’s lipid layer faster and more effectively, providing the skin with moisture and preventing the water loss much better than other regular skin care products.

So here we go!

coconut oil

Coconut oil

It has a very light molecular formulation, which is why it is able to penetrate through the skin layers deeper than your regular skin care products, to hydrate and maintain that hydration in your skin, as it bonds really well with our skin proteins. I use it to massage my face lightly once or twice a week, to remove my makeup, I make my own body scrub with it (you can find my recipe here), I apply it on my cuticles and I also apply it in my hair (as you can see here), alone or in combination with a couple of other ingredients.

 

rosehip oil

Rosehip Oil

It’s an intensely hydrating, brightening and healing oil, rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, which has the ability to penetrate deeply into the skin as well, and it is perfect for applying on the skin at night for an instantly hydrated and plump skin in the morning. Before I massage the Rosehip oil into my skin though, I apply about 10 drops of pure Vitamin A oil on clean skin…and these nights I skip other brands of Retinol/RetinA, because this oil is a pure retinol acetate itself. So you wouldn’t want to use too much of it, because it can dry out and irritate the skin.

vitamina A

 

 

Vitamin A oil 

It’s a natural anti-aging, which stimulates your skin’s cell turnover, without the sting that some RetinA products can give you sometimes. It is also a very affordable product and it really delivers great radiant clear skin. Great for aging, acneic and dull skin. I usually like to apply it underneath Rosehip Oil or an anti-aging night moisturizer. And it’s also great for the eye area. I buy mine in Romania, but I am sure that with a little research you can find one in your area.

 

 

avocado oilAvocado Oil (cold pressed)

Very rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, similar with the ones contained in the olive oil, it’s a natural hydrator for the skin. It’s molecular formulation is very similar with the molecules that compose our natural oil (sebum) produced by our own skin. That’s why, when massaged into the skin, it’s able to penetrate, retain the moisture and give your skin this velvety smooth sensation. Being very rich as well in vitamin E, C and K, makes it also a great antioxidant. I like to apply it on damp skin. Just 4-5 drops, then follow with a mineral sunscreen and makeup and you’re good to go.

That’s all for today, but next timeI’ll write more about this topic, as I find oils so highly effective, and I have an entire collection in my bathroom. Thanks for reading!

Please share with me which are your favorite oils to use topically on your skin.

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Myth vs. Reality (essential Collagen)

I hear all the time how my patients use collagen skin care products, erroneously thinking or hoping that they will improve the quality of their skin. Unfortunately as good as this sounds it’s not exactly true. Imagine how easy it would be for everyone to look young and for the skin to look plump just like baby skin, if collagen infused products would actually work.collagen2

While those products might have some collagen in them, they simply will not do anything good for the skin, besides at the most provide it with some hydration. It’s as simple as that. Imagine that you’d take a broken bone and on top of it you’d set another bone. Would the initial bone become stronger and it would get fixed only because it touched the new bone we set on top? No. The new bone would fall off eventually and it would be somewhere next to the broken bone.

The same way it works with collagen. Collagen is a large molecule, which does not have the ability to penetrate into the skin or stick to the already existing collagen, so eventually it would be washed off and your skin would not be or feel any better.

In order to look younger and for the skin to look more plump and elastic, collagen (essential binding protein in your skin, joints, muscles and bones) growth has to be stimulated. The cells responsible for collagen growth and synthesis are called  fibroblast cells and they are found deep in the dermis (layer of the skin), which is impossible to reach with any creams ever invented.collagen

Some key ingredients and procedures that will help stimulate and synthesize your natural collagen are: Retinol and RetinA, Vitamin C, Growth Factors which have to be in a very concentrated number in your skin care product in order to work, Red Light Therapy, Chemical peels indirectly to some degree, Microneedling, ultrasound devices such as Ultherapy and Thermage and last but not least Radio Frequency also called RF. While some of these procedures are resurfacing for the skin, they also help stimulate indirectly our collagen and elastin by stimulating the skin’s cell turnover and also by forcing the skin to heal, after creating some intentional micro wounds.

I hope this helps you understand a little better the collagen myth and will help you make better decisions when it comes to choosing your skin care products and in office procedures.collagen3

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Saving my hair from Androgenic Alopecia

As many of you know I have been suffering, yes that’s right “suffering” is the right word… of androgenic alopecia for many years now. I was diagnosed only 3 years ago, but as it is often a genetically transmitted  or inherited disease, I’ve probably had it for my whole life, but it had become very severe during the past 10-15 years. While I’ve had a very beautiful hair during my childhood, once I started being really stressed, with the adult life, my hair started going away. And I mean every day I would kiss goodbye anywhere between 100-200 hairs.

I’ve been dealing with severe hair loss , for so many years now I barely can remember, and during this time I’ve got a lot of opinions from doctors. That I was anemic, that I had a vitamin deficiency, that I had to check my thyroid, or that it couldn’t be SO many hairs I was losing and that they thought I still has beautiful hair.  Well, I finally did check my thyroid 3 years ago and yes, I do have Hashimoto’s disease, which is a form of hypothyroidism. However, while my hypothyroidism has been controlled ever since I got diagnosed, my hair loss has not.

Needless to say that I have tried everything over the years. From massaging my scalp with coconut oil and chili peppers, to massaging with olive oil and raw onion juice (FYI this last one is going to make your hair smell like raw onions for 2 months straight!), to taking all kind of supplements and vitamins like Iron (both pill and liquid form), Vitamin D, Biotin, Saw Palmetto (a natural remedy for enlarged prostate which has been shown to help with hair loss), marine algae supplements….and the list can go on and on for a while. Not to mention the solutions I’ve tried topically on my scalp! Oh boy. You name it, I’ve tried it! Nothing worked.

Recently though, after many conversations with different doctors and friends, and after hours of research online, I seem to have found “The Solution”! Well at least the solution that works for me, and that seems to have decreased my hair loss with 50%(just approximating here, but trust me that when you see the tub and the sink completely covered in hair, after each wash, and after endless tears I’ve poured seeing my hair leaving my head, I think I can approximate pretty well)!

So I thought I would share my combination of remedies with you all who suffer of this terrible disease, called androgenic alopecia, but please keep in mind that I am not a doctor, so I am not prescribing this, nor promising that it’s going to work for you. But when you’re losing all your hair pretty much anything is worth it!

This is what I’ve been doing for the past 3 months and it’s been working!

hair

  1. 30 min before washing my hair I massage my scalp with rosemary oil mixed with castor oil (in Mexico this is called (aceite de ricino). Sometimes I also mix a few drops of Vitamin A to this cocktail, but I noticed that it dries my scalp, so I don’t do it much.
  2. In the shower I apply Tio Nacho shampoo on my scalp and hair and leave it on for 5-10 min. This is a shampoo from Mexico that is supposed to strengthen the hair and reduce hair loss, in a natural way. The ingredient list does not show that it’s so natural, however since I was desperate, I’ve decided to try it anyway…Since my whole life I’ve probably used mainly un-natural shampoos 😉
  3. After rinsing this shampoo off, I apply another one called Pilopeptan shampoo (also found here in Mexico) and leave it on for another 5-6 minutes.
  4. After rinsing all these off very well, I apply a conditioner, strictly on the hair length, and NOT on the scalp. This is something I’ve learned from my hair stylist friends who I trust, so I’ve been respecting this rule very carefully.
  5. Once out of the shower, I towel dry my hair, very gently, and while it’s damp, I apply one bottle of this concoction called Kevis 8, a trycozymes, enzymes and peptides cocktail, to the scalp, and I massage it in gently.
  6. Every morning, I take 2 medications. One is Pilopeptan oral supplemets and another is Aldactone A 25 mg with the active ingredient Spironolactone. This is a medication that might help you with fluids retention in your body, as it is a diuretic. So for me this works and I haven’t been too concerned about its potential negative effects, nor have I had any. Please make sure you consult with your doctor though, if you decide using this medication. hair1

A couple of other notations: *I do not style my hair unless absolutely necessary * I do not blow dry my hair unless absolutely necessary *I only color my hair once every 3-4 months. Yes, I do have grey hairs, but I am choosing to have my hair as opposed to it looking always freshly colored but not healthy!

Hair PicMonkey Collage

I hope all this info is going to help someone out there!

 

Yours truly,

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The best face mask for Acne and not only!

Turns out that Clay is a miraculous ingredient that’s used a lot in skin care (especially for acneic skin) but also as a teeth whitener and for internal health purposes. Yes, that does mean that some people swear by it and its ability to heal,  or improve internal health. I have been trying to get myself to order some for me to try out, but it’s hard to order things and get them shipped to Mexico, so I’ll wait until my first trip to the U.S., to be able to pick up some.

Meanwhile, if you have access to a Whole Foods store or have the ability to order online, I highly recommend to get yourself some Clay masks. Clay can make an astringent and regenerating mask, which is going to deliver nutrients and minerals to your skin, exercise your capillaries to stimulate blood flow to the surface of your skin,  meanwhile withdrawing impurities and refining the pores and reducing inflammation and bacteria on the surface of your skin. I know! Amazing!

I do one for myself regularly at home, and my skin loves it. It brightens, it delivers key ingredients to the skin, it tightens, cleans my pores….What else should I want!

Here it is how to do it. If you have sensitive or dry and dehydrated skin you mix the Clay powder  with the juice from 1/2 cucumber and you can also add one teaspoon of honey optional. Mix it well until it becomes a paste. With your fingertips or a brush you apply it all over the face and sometimes I also do my neck.

clay PicMonkey Collage

For more oily/acneic skin types, it’s best if you mix it with the juice from one orange (for the citric astringent properties), and a couple of drops of Tea Tree oil. You can do this procedure once a day for the first 7 days, and then just once per week.

You leave it on your skin until….attention!…it is semi-dry. Never leave a Clay mask on your skin until it’s so dry that it starts flaking off and the skin starts hurting, because at that point the dry clay will start actually withdrawing all the hydration from your skin and your face will hurt and become sensitive after the procedure.

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After about 10 minutes from application, start rinsing it off with room temperature water. Make your whole face damp and start working the clay in circular motions for a couple of minutes. After this, go ahead and rinse off the whole face, until the skin feels squeaky clean. Follow with a hydrating serum and your favorite moisturizer and enjoy your soft, exfoliated and bright happy skin.

In this magnified picture I am showing my results after one application.

clay8 edHere are some of my favorite Clay masks:

Skin Ceuticals-Clarifying Clay Mask – which is already pre mixed with Alpha Hydroxy Acids and it comes in a white paste, ready to apply! I use this one on my acne patients and everyone loves it!

Asla Vital Clay Powder – The one I am using at this moment, and I also use it on my patients.

Aztec Secret- Indian Healing Clay

A. Vogel White Clay 

 

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