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Masks

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Herbivore’s Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask – A Definite Favorite

One of my absolute favorite face masks is the Herbivore Blue Tansy AHA + BHA Resurfacing Clarity Mask. As the name suggests, it uses both AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and BHA (Salicylic Acid) to gently but effectively exfoliate the skin while aiding with acne and congestion. For my problematic skin, it’s absolutely perfect! That said, I feel that anyone can benefit from this mask because it is really quite gentle and not skin-type specific.

Don’t Look At Me! – Lush’s New Scrubby Fresh Face Mask

I don’t often buy things at Lush. I shower instead of taking baths so half of the products are of no use and a lot of the others just seem overpriced to me. That said I absolutely lovetheir Fresh Face Masks. I was overjoyed to see a few new additions to the line the last time I stopped in and obviously I had to get one. 🙂 After 20 minutes or so of deciding…yes, I am thatindecisive…I finally settled on Lush’s Don’t Look At Me Fresh Face Mask. I am so glad I did! 🙂

Favorites & Feeling Festive ~ September 2015

Well September is over and Fall is officially here. Despite the shorter days and the dropping temperatures, I’m kind of enjoying this transition into Fall. It’s been a relatively good month and I have a decent collection of Favorites to share with you today! I may not be a huge fan of the Autumnal chill, but I have to admit that I loveFall makeup!!! JSo let’s take a stroll through the most fantastic of the beautiful things that Fall had to offer this month. JI present to you my September Favorites!

REN’s Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask – Worth the Hype?

In a recent post, I discussed the Andalou Naturals Kombucha Enzyme Exfoliating Peel, and today I want to discuss a mask I like to alternate with that one! It is the REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask and I am absolutely addicted! JThe feel like the REN mask is kind of like the stronger cousin of the Andalou Naturals Peel, and when I alternate between the two, I find my skin to be brighter, clearer and so baby soft! I think if I had to choose between the two and cost were no issue, I would pick the REN because it just makes such an immediately noticeable difference in my skin. It’s seriously worth the investment!

This is a mask – I would technically call it a peel – that is best for clogged or mature skin. It is supposed to aid in repairing sun-damage, acne scarring, blemishes and blackheads by sloughing away dead skin and revealing the newer, healthier skin that is hiding beneath the damaged and clogged layer. It claims to to improve the appearance of fine lines, while also improving the tone, firmness and radiance of the skin. I definitely notice an immediate difference in the appearance and texture of my skin every time I wash this mask off! And, I dare say, I feel like I’ve been less prone to clogged pores and breakouts since I began using this mask. Unfortunately, this is not a product that is recommended for those with sensitive skin, and even my tough as nails skin can tell that it’s pretty powerful stuff! So tread with caution if your skin is on the sensitive side.

 

So how does it work? It is basically a chemical peel that utilizes naturally occurring acids to exfoliate the skin. This may sounds a bit scary, but it’s completely safe and nothing to be afraid of. The REN Mask uses a complex of four different fruit acids – lactic, glycolic, tartaric and citric– plus papain enzyme to create a gentle, but effective chemical exfoliant for the face and neck. The acids are derived from passion fruit, lemon, grape and pineapple, while the papain enzyme comes from papayas! It is Dermatologist tested and approved, as well as free from nasty chemicals including parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, petrolatum, synthetic fragrances or colorants, T.E.A, D.E.A., glycols, silicones and PEGs. Whew! Quite a list! I love that it is not only effective, but it achieves results without harsh, unnatural ingredients.

 

The Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask comes in an airtight pump that allows easy control of the amount dispensed. It has an orange jelly-like consistency with a citrusy scent that I find neither unpleasant nor terribly appealing. JWhen applied to the face, it feels a bit like you’ve spread jelly-like goo everywhere. This “goo” can tingle a bit, but I do not find it unbearable. Maybe mildly uncomfortable, but I really only feel it for a minute or less. It does not harden like many masks, but you may feel it tighten a bit on the skin. After about 10 minutes, it’s time to remove and it is recommended you do so with a damp cloth. I sometimes do this and sometimes do not. Using a cloth with help remove even more loose skin and it ensures you’ve really gotten the skin free of the mask, but I don’t always have a clean face cloth on hand, so in those instances I’ll just rinse it off with water. I always use a gentle face wash to remove any reside from the mask and then go about my standard skincare routine. I tend to do this at night because it can make my combination to oily skin look a bit shiny during the day, but by morning it is absolutely radiant!

 

As I’ve said, I notice an immediate difference in my skin! It is most notably brighter and so much softer. It does seem to look a bit more youthful as well, though I couldn’t tell you exactly why. Over time, I have noticed definite fading in post-acne scarring marks (what I consider to be hyperpigmentation), and I feel like I have fewer, less severe and less frequent breakouts and clogged pores. My skin is smoother and I have less trouble with dry, flaky patches. I can’t say that I’ve noticed a decrease in the appearance of fine lines, but then I don’t really have much trouble with that…yet! J I would absolutely recommend the REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask to anyone dealing with pretty much any kind of skin issue, as long as the skin is not terribly sensitive.

 

The REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask comes in a 1.7oz airtight pump dispenser that retails for $55. It is pricey, but it should last quite a while as it’s meant to be used only once a week and does not require too much to cover the entire face and neck area. It is worth the money and, I dare say, my skin looks betterthan it does after a professional facial when using this mask! I highly, highly recommend this to virtually anyone!!!

 

REN Products are available from Sephora, REN’s websiteand at select retailers.

Andalou Naturals Kombucha Enzyme Exfoliating Peel – New Skin in a Tube!

I have been a huge fan of at-home face peels lately. They are a great way to achieve wonderful benefits for the skin, without needing to take a great deal of time out of your day. One of my favorite peels lately has been the Andalou Naturals Kombucha Enzyme Exfoliating Peel. This used to be called the Grapefruit + C Exfoliating Peel, but the packaging has been updated so don’t be confused if you see it listed with either name (my box says one thing, while the tube says the other). Anyway, this mask/peel uses fruit enzymes to create a chemical peel (from the fruit acids) that I don’t find at all uncomfortable while on my skin, and it makes my skin look renewed and refreshed once it’s removed! I find it also helps keep acne at bay and makes my face so soft. It’s an absolutely wonderful peel and it has rapidly become one of my favorite skin pick-me-ups, so I wanted to share it with you! J

Firstly, in case you haven’t tried one before, a peel is similar to a leave-on face mask. They are often more of a gel-like consistency that is left on for a specified amount of time (around 10 minutes for this peel) and then washed off, just like a traditional mask. However, peels usually do not dry or tighten on the skin, and they are not designed to draw out impurities as much as they are intended to slough away dead skin and to stimulate circulation. I find that with a peel, you are more apt to see immediate results than with a standard face mask, which makes it much more satisfying! JSo, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get into the specifics of the Kombucha Enzyme Exfoliating Peel!

This peel has a clear gel-like texture that smells faintly of grapefruit, and is filled with nourishing goodies for the skin. It uses grapefruit kombucha, pineapple and papaya enzymes to exfoliate the skin and unclog pores. These fruit enzymes also help to stimulate circulation to the skin, which improves the tone and texture of the skin and helps to impart that often elusive “glow.” In addition, this peel utilizes Andalou Naturals’ trademark Fruit Stem Cell Complex, as well as Vitamin C, to aid in cell renewal and a clearer complexion. Basically, this will remove the dead skin from your face leaving it soft, smooth and refreshed, while helping to avoid clogged pores in hopes of keeping the skin free from blemishes. I actually feel like the Kombucha Enzyme Exfoliating Peel lives up to all these claims. It doesn’t completely eliminate acne, but it certainly helps remove the dead skin that often leads to clogged pores that become pimples. And you will definitely see an immediate difference in your skin’s appearance! It does look more radiant and just plain healthier, while feeling incredibly soft, smooth and refreshed.
Though some enzyme peels can be rather harsh, irritating and not good for sensitive skin types, I find this peel to be quite gentle. I don’t have sensitive skin, but I have definitely felt some tingling, burning and/or stinging with other similar peels. Not so with the Andalou Naturals Peel. I cannot guarantee all those with sensitive skin that this will not aggravate the skin, but, at least in my experience, it is less irritating than most (I don’t find it irritating at all, but then my skin is pretty tough!). It is also pH balanced and Hypo-Allergenic, as well as Leaping Bunny Certified, Vegan and Gluten-Free. If you are looking for a good acid peel to start with, I would say the Andalou Naturals Kombucha Enzyme Exfoliating Peel is a great one to start with.

I have seen the Kombucha Enzyme Exfoliating Peel at Whole Foods and even in the natural section of a local grocery store, but it can also be found through a variety of online retailers like Vitacost, iHerb and the Andalou Naturals website. A 1.8oz tube retails for $14.95 (only $10.44 at Vitacost!) and should last quite some time since you need only about a quarter-sized amount for each use. I would highly recommend this mask/peel for just about anyone, though use your own judgment if you have very sensitive skin. As I’ve said, it seems like a gentle enzymatic peel to me, but I have skin of steel, so I’m not the greatest judge! J
 
 

Best of 2012 – Skincare!!!

With a new year beginning, I wanted to look back and see what products I grabbed for again and again this past year. Let’s face it, that is the real test of a product – how often do you actually use it? JThese are not necessarily products that debuted in 2012, but those that seemed to stand out to me this year. The best of the best, if you will. So without further ado, here are my favorite products of 2012!

To keep this post from being ridiculously long, I am going to break it up. To begin with, I will cover my favorites for skincare, because without great skin, nothing else will look quite as good!

            I tried a few facial cleansers this year, and regretted it every time I changed from my old stand-by: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. There’s nothing particularly spectacular about this face wash, but it is gentle and does what it’s supposed to – it cleans your face without drying it. Perhaps most importantly, this does not break me out or irritate my skin at all. It is not too expensive, it is available everywhere, and it lasts forever. I feel it would work for any skin type and every dermatologist I have ever spoken to has recommended this and only this. Cetaphil is made by a pharmaceutical company, so I’m sure the company tests on animals for various reasons, but I did email them and Cetaphil itself is NOT tested on animals.

 

            I discovered a stand-out eye cream this year in Tarte’s C-Brighter Eye Cream. I have never gotten too excited over eye creams, but my eye area often gets dry and flaky, especially in the winter. Within a week of using this eye cream, my eyes were soft, hydrated and free from flakey patches. They have stayed perfectly moisturized ever since and I LOVE this eye cream.
            If you’re looking for a great facial mask, I really love the Cupcake Fresh Face mask from Lush. It smells delicious! It’s a wonderful minty-chocolate concoction that helps absorb excess oil, while tightening and softening skin. Plus, you can walk around looking like you just dipped your face in the mud! J

 

            For facial scrubs, I really like Lush’s Ocean Salt. It may be a bit harsh for some, but I love that it’s an unforgiving scrub! JIt has actual sea salt granules in it that not only help to physically scrub away dead skin, but it also helps to tighten pores – can you tell that I hate my pores? JIt smells delicious and my skin always feels really soft and smooth after using Ocean Salt.
            A slightly milder scrub that still feels scrubby is the Be Fine Exfoliating Cleanser with Brown Sugar, Sweet Almond & Oats. This scrub has large sugar crystals to help eliminate dead skin, but they quickly dissolve and the remaining product turns into a wonderful creamy cleanser that feels silky on the skin. This also leaves my face feeling wonderfully soft and smooth. I tend to use this in the shower and the Ocean Salt at the sink – mainly because of the packaging for each. I feel like they yield similar results and I really like them both. The Ocean Salt may reduce the appearance of pores a bit more, while the Be Fine scrub is a bit more gentle. Depending on your skin type, one may be a better fit than the other.
            My last skincare must is specific to my cystic acne-prone skin, but it has greatly changed the condition of my skin. I started getting bi-monthly microdermabrasion treatments, or for insurance purposes, acne surgery, this year. As far as I know it’s pretty much the same as having a microdermabrasion facial, but it’s done in my doctor’s office AND it’s covered by my insurance. They basically exfoliate my face with a sandpaper-like tool that also suctions away the dead skin as it is removed. After that, the aesthetician takes one of those little blackhead removing tools and unclogs any blocked pores. Gross, I know. The purpose is almost to damage your skin so that the cells turn over faster and, over time, the skin learns to heal quicker. At least that’s what I remember being told when they started these “treatments”. (For more precise information about this procedure, check out this article from Discovery Health.) My skin really does heal faster. Pimples are smaller, less frequent, and disappear quicker. Any discoloration clears up in less time than before and I think my pores are a tiny bit smaller. This is obviously not something most people need, but for anyone who has serious trouble with acne, and other prescription treatments are not remedying the problem, this might be a good thing to discuss with your dermatologist. (Just a disclaimer, I’m no expert when it comes to these things, I just know that I have noticed an improvement in my troubled skin since starting these treatments – please, please, please talk with your doctor if you feel something like this is appropriate for you.)
That does it for my skincare picks for 2012. Stay tuned for body, hair and makeup picks coming soon!

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