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!
Comprehensive guide on how to use your skin care products
Beauty 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWIDwEQ9ik4
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Hello busy moms and dear followers!
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.
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.
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.
Are 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!
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
- 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.
- 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 😉
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
I hope all this info is going to help someone out there!
I’m all about healthy skin…
One of my go to looks I’ve created with the makeup products I wrote about in my previous post. Easy! In 20 minutes I was ready to go! I love makeup and I love it even more when it’s easy to use and it is skin and environmental friendly.
Here are my favorite brands I wrote about, which are not going to damage your skin if you love wearing makeup.
1. Colorscience 2. Physician’s Formula 3. GS/Gerda Spillmann
The skin is your best accessory
As a professional in the health and beauty industry, I have developed a bad habit! When I meet someone for the first time, I always check out their skin. I look at the face initially, then neck, chest, hands, knees (if I have visual access to them) and last, but not least, I look at their heels and toes. Nothing speaks more about someone than the appearance of their skin, hair and nails. I would say that having beautiful, flawless skin is just as important as having a good, fresh manicure and pedicure. Ladies trust me, all of the above speak volumes about you! And also trust me when I say that if you achieve beautiful, flawless skin on your face and body, everyone you’ll meet will notice!
I have a body routine I do once a week, that I wanted to share with you that will help with that dead scaly skin on different areas of your body, with blood circulation and the lymph flow.
Here are some simple steps for you to follow at least once a week, before and during your shower, in order to achieve flawless, young looking and vibrant skin!
1. Before you get in the shower take a dry body brush (natural bristle brush) and brush your whole body, starting at the soles of your feet, your back, arms and upper body.
Use long, upward, gentle strokes towards your heart and get your partner to help with your back, if necessary. Your skin is the biggest organ on your body and you need to keep it exfoliated in order to make sure that the pores are not clogged and that its ability to excrete toxins and sweat is not impaired. If the natural detoxification ability of your skin is impaired, then your other body organs will have to take on the extra work, and it’s going to be harder on them and on your body in general.
P.S. Dry body brushing can be done every day if you have time and you are passionate about the health of your skin.
2. After your dry brushing, get in the shower and you use this body scrub I have perfected over time. Please note that it is a bit of a messy procedure, so there is a bit of clean up to do afterwards.
NATURAL BODY SCRUB
1) 3 spoons olive oil
2) 5 spoons coconut oil
3) 2 tea spoons honey
4) juice from 1/2 lemon (or orange)
5) 2 spoons sugar
6) 3-4 spoons coffee grounds
7) 1 spoon corn flower
8) 4 tbsp cinnamon
9) 2 spoons greek yogurt (or milk)
Mix them all together in a bowl and apply. Focus on rougher areas of your body like the heels and elbows. Rinse off with tepid water and maybe a little shower gel. But, I don’t like to use shower gel after this exfoliation, because all the oils feed the skin essential nutrients, so I don’t want to remove that nutritive film from the surface of my skin.
This body scrub is loaded with vitamins, essential nutrient oils, anti-oxidants and recently some studies showed that coffee not only helps exfoliate your skin, but it stimulates the blood flow and it helps reduce sun damage.
You’ll achieve soft, velvety skin even from the first procedure and your skin will thank you!
I said once that I will not publish anything on this blog, regarding my views on life, world, people, relationships and personal matters…And I stand by that as much as my fingertips are itching to write about my newest heart ache. Which probably convinced me for good that as women, we need and we owe it to ourselves to trust our instincts. Which is probably why I will remain forever single. Well…divorced!
Let’s just say that I have been burnt in life. Burnt so much that I can’t look at you or at the camera straight.So I have decided to do a semi selfie shoot, without showing my eyes too much, because they are embarrassed to face the world these days
Here is what I wore: O.P.I. “Purple with a purpose” nail polish, MAC Heroine matte lipstick (my new obsession), MAC Dazzleglass lip gloss and MAC Magenta lip pencil. And….Wallaroo FRANKIE hat. Simple.
New Year without Dark Circles
Hi ladies and this time gentlemen as well,
I know how annoying dark circles and bags under the eyes can be. I am one who always had to deal with one or another or both at the same time.
Unfortunately these are problems that we inherit genetically most of the time. And there is not much that can be done about them. Attention, I did not say that there nothing you can do…
You have to know that if you have sinus problems, allergies, thyroid or kidney problems, the under eye bags and circles can be more pronounced.
Also, the skin around the eyes is the most sensitive and thin skin on the face. This could as well be an inherited trait, or it could be dehydration. If the skin is dehydrated, it loses the elasticity and it gets that crappy look, which will allow more transparency unfortunately. If you have naturally very skin transparent skin under the eyes, the body fluids but mainly the blood circulating through that area, are going to be more visible and you’ll get that dark, shadow effect under your eyes.
Other common reasons could be a sodium rich diet, not enough water intake, too much alcohol intake and not enough rest. Recently I have found out that sleeping on your stomach does not help, on the contrary.
Here are a few remedies I happened to try and I loved.
- First of all if you have allergies or hay fever, some over the counter or prescribed medications might help.
- Sleeping faced up and placing an extra pillow under your head, so that you allow some fluid drainage during sleep will also help. Plus 8 hours of sleep every night will feel devine on your body and your tired puffy eyes.
- Avoid sodium rich foods (even if the sodium comes from soy sauce) and alcohol before bed.
- Try frozen cucumber slices placed over the eyes for 30 minutes in the morning and also green tea (rich in anti-inflammatory flavonoids) cold compresses over the eyes.
- In terms of products, I rarely ran into an eye cream/serum that actually works for these two common issues. I’ll tell you though that you have to look for some specific ingredients known to stimulate the blood circulation under the eye area when you purchase your eye cream, and for some with brightening properties: These ingredients would be caffeine, ginseng, licorice, green tea,nitroffeine, centella asiatica, peptides, anti-oxidants and flavonoids.
- Using a good eye concealer will also help. Mainly to cover up as opposed to fix, but hey, as long as it has good ingredients, gives you that flawless look and covers imperfections, why not!
Personal tip: When you apply your eye products, use the ring finger and try to apply as less pressure possible, in order to not stretch the skin around the eyes, over time.
Some of my favorite eye products:
A.G.E. Eye Complex Skin Ceuticals
Skin Ceuticals Eye Cream
And my favorite two concealers of all times are: Dior Nude Hydrating Concealer and Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer. I find this one less hydrating but it provides great coverage.
Cle de Peau Concealer
Dior Hydrating Concealer
Different shades of red I wear all the time!
Obviously for all who know me and for those who don’t, I love makeup. Love wearing it and love teaching ladies how to play with it. And probably first and foremost I love a red lip, well contoured, which stays in place. I don’t know anything else that can make such a great impact as a well done red lipstick. Not to mention that it can be a great pick-me-up for most of us
Here are a few easy steps for you to implement into your makeup routine in order to accomplish astonishing results.
1. Exfoliate the lips a few hours before applying the makeup or even the night before. You need this in order to avoid dead skin flaking off your lips and in order to create a smooth hydrated canvas. Your lipstick is going to go on much smoother. Trust me!
a) You can use a soft bristle tooth brush to brush your lips softly.
b)You can use a regular face exfoliating scrub or you can make one. Yes ladies, It’s very easy. Take a dime size face moisturizer and mix it in your palm with a teaspoon of white or brown sugar. Rub this onto your lips for one minute or so.
FYI my fave face scrub so far is the Skin Ceuticals Micro Exfoliating Scrub. You can get it here.
2. When ready for the makeup, apply a primer for longer lasting results and to prevent “bleeding” and “feathering.” There are some specific ones for the lips or I sometimes apply the face primer over my lips as well. My favorite one for the lips is KISSKISS Liplift by Guerlain. For the face the best primers by far are the Color Science ones. This line has a very healthy concept for the makeup they create and the ingredients are very healthy for your skin.
3. Follow with lining the lips with a lip pencil. It has to be the same shade as your lipstick or it could be one shade darker. But attention! Don’t go much darker than the lipstick in order to avoid looking older.
a) Draw a horizontal line in the middle of the vermilion line of the lower lip.
b) Draw two dots on the top angles of the “Cupid’s Bow”. Top of your upper lip.
c) Connect the dots and the line on the lower lip. Attention. Don’t try to draw long lines at once because more likely it’s going to go wrong. Use short strokes, patiently, until the lips are contoured nicely and perfectly.
4. Use a lip brush for more control and apply the Red Lipstick of your choice. Of course, coordinated with the Lip Pencil you applied already.
Here are a couple of my favorite Reds of ALL time: Mac Ruby Woo for a dry/matte velvety finish. Dolce and Gabbana Venere, for an opaque coverage and satin finish. For something more affordable yet very good quality, try L’Oreal Paris Color Riche Lipcolor in British Red.
5. A dust of face powder/powder foundation over the Red Lipstick is going to set it in place.
Personal tip: Use your pinkie finger to dab a small amount of creamy/powder highlighter (the one for your cheeks and brow bone) in the middle of your lower lip. I recommend Jane Iredale In Touch Highlighter Complete.
And Voila! You are ready to wear those Red Lips proudly and confidently, all over town!