Philosophy Oil-Cleanser

Recently I have started using a water-proof, silicone-based foundation on days when I need to look extra professional. (I have quite sensitive skin, but I am finding Face Atelier Ultra Foundation to work quite well for me, in moderation. Reviews to come at the end of the summer, as I am still experimenting with it on myself and others.) The problem is, my gentle face wash just doesn’t cut it! I had been resorting to washing my face over and over and over again and really scrubbing to get it off. Not very nice for my skin!

My skin care routine prior to all of this was all Philosophy: Purity in the evening and Microdelivery in the morning. I love Philosophy. They market themselves extremely well, with thoughtful packaging that has a natural, but also a very luxurious feel. Now, I would not necessarily recommend them to people who are devoted to natural products because Philosophy does use dyes and a few other very chemical things. There are many products in the line i cannot use for this reason. But the cleansers are so gentle on my skin, much more than a lot of natural products that can be quite harsh, going overboard on essential oils. Just about everyone in my salon/spa uses some combination of Philosophy products, despite having a lot of different skin issues. So I would definitely recommend them to anyone looking for something new. Also, the cleansers last a long time! Much, much longer than your St. Ives drugstore cleanser or other department store cleansers.

So, naturally I wanted to try this oil cleanser. I must say, I have been very happy with it. I am even using it on some days where I don’t need it. It also gets all my eye makeup off. I don’t wear a ton but occasionally I will have some stubborn black eyeliner and I use the oil cleanser and a Q tip to get it off. It is simple to use, so great when I am a bit lazy before bed. All I do is poor a little in my hand and then rub all over my face, dry, then rinse off after massaging for a bit. Sometimes I will use Purity or Microdelivery after, but there isn’t a need to. The lady at the Philosophy counter also said you could add the oil to either of the other cleansers to change the consistency.

It also makes my face more receptive to moisturizer, which is great. I am the sort that needs to reapply moisturizer over and over, no matter how much I exfoliate and no matter how wet/dry my face is when I apply it.

All in all, I am a big fan.

Natural is Not Necessarily Best for Sensitive Skin

I truly believe that the trend towards more natural foods and cosmetics is a wonderful development. It is a great step and it is a necessary step. I think there are a lot of unknowns in regards to all of the chemicals we consume on a day to day basis. That being said, I do not see why people see the words “natural” and “organic” on cosmetics and believe that they are fundamentally unable to cause irritation.

It is completely bizarre to me that some women will smell a flower, sneeze countless times, and yet believe that their skin will only improve if they rub a concentrated essence of that flower on their face. A few weeks ago, while visiting Portland, Oregon, I had a lady at a department store cosmetic counter doing a makeup application on me. I told her ahead of time my allergies/sensitivities and yet she didn’t look at the back of any products. Luckily I knew the product line fairly well and knew I was mostly safe, but she snuck a serum on my face and the tingling turned to burning. I told her how my face felt and she looked at me like she didn’t even believe me and said, “Well, I don’t know how that could be, everything in this line is completely natural.”

First off, not true, it is a brand I like quite a bit (so I won’t mention the name here) but it does use dyes and it does use fragrance that isn’t denoted as organic, on top if the natural oils it uses. This sort of miseducation bothers me a lot as a cosmetologist because it gives us a bad name. The general public doesn’t believe us when we talk because department store workers who are on commission occasionally lie (or say the “correct” answer without checking) to sell more product. I also don’t like the fact that they feel a need to lie because the public is so obsessed with the elusive “truly natural” product.

One argument in favor of organic products is that the ingredients have been around forever so we would know if they caused significant harm to humans. However, it is not the actual substance that is the problem, it is how it is processed and the concentration. A hundred years ago people may have been using perfumes but not in the quantities we do today. Natural or otherwise, how much do we really know about any kind of fragrance used multiple times a day in virtually everything we use on our skin. Products aside, just the frequency with which we use everything is crazy relative to how much people used to shower.

Even natural substances our occasionally found to be harmful, for example, coumarin, a popular choice in men’s fragrance (for that earthy, fresh cut grass scent), used to be in many food additives before it was banned by the US, and other countries, because it was toxic to lab mice. There is no evidence at this point to necessitate banning it in fragrances, but between an unknown synthetic fragrance and a mildly toxic natural fragrance I would probably prefer the synthetic.

Most of us are not chemists, which makes us extremely vulnerable to marketing. Things can say sulfate free and call something that is basically sodium lauryl sulfate organic coconut oil. If you go back far enough, everything is from nature.

All I am trying to say is: listen to your skin! It will tell you what it likes, and it won’t necessarily be any old thing that says “organic” on the bottle.

Blinc Tube Technology Mascara

Hello Everyone! As many of you know I have bad allergies that keep me from wearing much eye makeup. I am also not into huge eyelashes (for myself) on an every day basis. I have never been big on mascara and one of the biggest problems has always been getting it off. Whether it is the various eye makeup removers or the actual product getting into my eyes I am not a happy camper!

Blinc Tube Technology Mascara works by coating lashes with copolymers that form into tiny tubes surrounding the lashes. It isn’t paint that will smear or smudge, once dry they are cohesive units surrounding each lash.

Blinc’s mascara is wonderful for people like me. I love definition and I don’t need my lashes to be enormous, although they do have an another formula for bigger lashes that I haven’t tried, and primers and things like that for serious big lash fans. They just need a little pick-me-up that won’t get in my eyes, under any circumstance. Literally, you could swim in this mascara and be fine as long as you just dabbed your eyes with a towel, rather than rubbing. It comes off so easily. All you have to do is wet your eyes and gently massage the little tubes off. It is very strange the first few times, especially if you have forgotten and a few lash-tubes comes off when you wash your face, but it is great to be able to wash my face without becoming a raccoon!

Blinc needs water AND light pressure to come off, it will not come off with the water or just pressure no matter how much of either you apply.

Since my hair is near black naturally, sometimes I use it on my brows, too, just to thicken up a few areas. Sometimes I will also fill them in with shadow, other times that is enough for a casual look. I wouldn’t recommend this for many, but if you have black or near black brows it is a nice trick and the product won’t budge until you wash your face.

Here it is, on one side, brows and lashes, no other makeup:

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Smashbox HD Powder

Hello everyone! Today’s post is about my FAVORITE powder. I have extremely dry, sensitive and fair skin and all three of these issues make it extremely difficult to find makeup. I apply the powder with a kabuki brush after moisturizing and then applying OCC Tinted Moisturizer. The coverage is wonderful for a powder and on my better skin days I am comfortable wearing this powder without tinted moisturizer underneath. When my skin flares up with a rash or dry, itchy patches this powder is light enough it doesn’t irritate my skin. It is long wearing and has a great finish. It looks like skin and doesn’t get too cakey.

I love the packaging on this product!

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The compact comes with a mirror and a grinder, so it is a pressed powder underneath and then you grind a little bit out as you need, which avoids a lot of mess and keeps the mirror clean. It is also a great compact for professionals because you can just grind off some powder which eliminates the need to dip into a compact with your brush. It also makes it easier to mix powder colors for professional use. I, personally, don’t use it in my kit because I prefer a heavy liquid foundation with a lighter setting powder, but it is a great product for people that do more wedding and event work. For photo work I prefer other products. I don’t really take makeup around with me but it would be a great compact to take around in your purse.

Let’s talk about price! If you have ever thought about using this product, you probably saw the price and yelped. I have also sought out other, cheaper products. This product runs for just under $60, which is no small price. But if you love this product it is worth it. You get .75 ounces of product, which is more than double virtually all other comparable, high quality brands (such as Laura Mercier, Make Up For Ever, etc.) which run for around $35. And as I said the coverage is great so you don’t need to use a ton. Compare that to Bare Minerals where you get under .3 ounces and you need to use more to get the same coverage and can’t really get proper coverage without approaching cakey-ness.

But the biggest reason I love this powder is that I don’t need to worry about oxidation! Maybe others have experienced oxidation with Smashbox, but it truly wears better than any other powder I have tried, staying true to color and not settling into fine lines or pores. What is oxidation? It is a fair lady’s worst nightmare! Have you ever tried on a foundation, loved it, then looked in the mirror an hour later and your makeup has turned darker? Sometimes there is a bit if an orange tinge, too. Smashbox works well on my fair skin and really blends in and STAYS that way.

Smashbox does not have nearly the color selection of many other brands. I generally use a very yellow based tinted moisturizer layered over the red parts of face to get my ideal color. But even on my days off where I just wear powder, Smashbox does a great job really blending in with my skin tone, which is surprising to me since I am usually hard to match.

As for the claims that it reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, I am not sure. I have fairly youthful skin. I do know that it wears well under my eyes where other powders sometimes settle into fine lines.

All in all, this is my preferred powder foundation. It is gentle and looks great and I really feel like my skin looks and feels better when I wear it regularly.

Natural Moisturizer for Dry, Sensitive Skin

My skin is extremely sensitive. I am sensitive to many fragrances and very prone to eczema and dryness. I have struggled and struggled to find a moisturizer for me, and just recently found one in a very strange place. I was researching different mixing mediums to use to convert my cream foundations to liquid and stumbled upon a homemade mix. After using it on a client and seeing the dewy glow on her face, I thought I’d try it on my own face.

This mix is simple: vegetable glycerin and water. Start with a 1:3 ratio and add more water if you find it too oily. I keep it in a little squeeze bottle and wipe it over my face immediately after washing. I don’t dry my face after washing, I just wash the mixture right over my wet face and let it soak in, then towel my face off.

Now, for most people I would only recommend using this in the winter time, and even then maybe it isn’t for every day. Personally, I use it twice a day, after each washing. Certain times a month I might switch to only once a day but for the most part, twice a day is all I need. After applying, I notice an immediate softening effect, which is awesome for me because my skin can get a very rough texture and if I exfoliate too often my skin gets very red.

For me and my many skin allergies, it is a great advantage to know exactly what is in my skin care products. Anything that simply says “fragrance” or “parfum” is a gamble for me. I have Eucerin, Cetaphil, Cera Ve and many of the other fragrance free lotions, but many of them are very heavy and eithere don’t soak into the skin, don’t moisturize, or leave a film. This glycerin/water mixture soaks right in and doesn’t leave much behind. I have found that by the end of the day, I do have some shine, but nothing a tiny bit of powder can’t handle. A small amount of shine is nothing compared to what Cetaphil leaves behind and it is infinitely better than my skin flaking up under my foundation.

Glycerin is available at most grocery stores for about $4. It is used as a natural sweetener. I would not recommend putting it on your face without diluting it quite a bit. Water is free and can be found at your local faucet.

The bottom line is, if you don’t have dry skin, this isn’t for you. Even if you do, it might not be the right fit for you. I just wanted to share because it has a made a big difference in my skin and for $4 it is worth a shot if you have fussy skin like me! And don’t forget, never change multiple steps of your beauty routine at once. If you try this, try to keep everything else the same at first.