Entries from January 31st, 2011

January 31, 2011

beauty scoop | kaylala no. 7 afterglow rejuvenating serum

Winter is still in full swing. While I’ve been protecting my skin with some of my favorite facial oils — jojoba oil and argan oil — I’ve recently introduced a powerful new antioxidant-loaded facial oil to my winter skin care lineup: Kaylala No. 7 Afterglow Rejuvenating Serum.

kaylala no. 7 afterglow rejuvenating serum

{Kaylala No. 7 Rejuvenating Serum packs the top-moisturizing facial oils into a half-ounce tube — for $75. Photo Courtesy Kaylala.}

Kaylala No. 7 Afterglow Rejuvenating Serum is packed with all the incredibly moisturizing oils and ingredients I regularly praise — evening primrose oil, vitamin E, hemp seed oil, grapeseed oil and jojoba oil — but its secret ingredient is one I’ve never tried before getting this sample product: emu oil.

Emu oil is made from the fat of emus and contains anti-inflammatory, essential fatty acids, such as omegas 3, 6 and 9, that help nourish the skin and keep it soft. Kaylala sources its emu oil from its own family, free-range emu farm in Maryland that is certified by the American Emu Association.

Emu oil has been used as natural medicine for years in Australia and other parts of the world. For skin-care purposes, I found Kaylala’s emu-oil infused No. 7
Rejuvenating Serum to be just as light and equally moisturizing as my standby jojoba and argan oils. Kaylala No. 7 Rejuvenating Serum has a distinct scent that may be off-putting to some scent-conscious beauty mavens … and Kaylala No. 7 Rejuvenating Serum’s price tag ($75) may be off-putting to most budget-conscious beauty buffs.

If you want to try emu oil, I’d recommend starting with a smaller, less-expensive trial size; you can get an ounce of straight Kaylala Emu Oil for $15 and bypass the Kaylala No. 7 Rejuvenating Serum until you figure out if emu oil is right for you. If you need an ultra-loaded moisturizer to use sparingly every night, though, Kaylala No. 7 Rejuvenating Serum is the end-all, be-all of moisturizing facial oils. It packs in the most of the best moisturizing oils (except my other favorite, argan) into one half-ounce tube that should last you three months ($25 a month for facial oil) if you are very conservative with it — a drop or two should do!

If you’re interested in trying a few other products from Kaylala, the Face Sampler is a good buy at $30; you get a sample size of the No. 7 Rejuvenating Serum as well as cleanser, moisturizer, toner, face polish and face mask. This is the same Face Sampler kit included in gift bags at the Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) awards last night.

screen actors guild gift basket

{Indulge in a sampler of Kaylala’s best — pictured in the bottom row to the right of "alking dirt" – the same sampler given out in gift bags at the SAG Awards in Los Angeles on January 30, 2011. Photo Courtesy Kaylala.}

Have you ever tried emu oil? What did you think of it? Would you rather have one facial oil — even at a high price tag — rather than several facial oils that you blend together in your skin care routine? Leave me a comment and let me know!

January 17, 2011

beauty scoop | eos smooth sphere lip balm

It’s a widely known fact that I am addicted to lip balm. With a lip balm supply that could have me using a new lip balm a day for at least a month, I will be the first to admit that I have a lip balm-hoarding problem. Pretty soon, I’m going to run out of space for all these lip balms — especially if I keep going back for more eos smooth sphere lip balms, which come in the oddest egg-shaped packaging that takes up too much space in my makeup bag and purse, yet makes me smile every time I use it.

eos smooth sphere lip balm

{eos' tagline for its smooth sphere balm is "lip balm that makes you smile." Now there's truth in advertising! Photo Courtesy eos}

I like eos smooth sphere lip balm because it’s light, never waxy or overly thick and comes in USDA organic, medicated and SPF-added versions.  I use the lemon drop SPF 15 eos lip balm to protect my lips from getting chapped and sunburned from the harsh winter rays. Its powerhouse moisturizing ingredients include shea butter, vitamin E and jojoba oil while excluding the bad stuff: parabens, phthalates and petroleum.

While I can’t really stick this lip balm in my pocket too easily (damn you, skinny jeans!), I toss it in my makeup bag that usually accompanies me to work and slick it on throughout the day when my lips are feeling dry. The best thing about eos smooth sphere lip balm is how affordable and easy-to-find it is — it’s just $3.29 and is available at major retailers and drugstores.

Have you seen or used eos smooth sphere lip balms? What do you think of them? What are your other budget beauty basics? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

January 12, 2011

beauty scoop | queen helene mint julep masque

While I could (and do) spend hours of time and hundreds of dollars at Sephora, specialty beauty boutiques and skin care counters every year, I’m loyal to a few budget beauty basics that have proven their effectiveness over the years. Today, let’s talk facial masks.

I have nine different jars and tubes of facial masks in my beauty arsenal (that’s after I pared down my collection from 15 — I wasn’t joking about beauty resolution number four!). Of those nine, one of my favorites — and the least expensive — is my 8-ounce tube of Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque.

queen helene mint julep masque

{You can find Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque at most retailers and drugstores. It usually costs less than $4 — what a steal!}

Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque has been a staple in my beauty stash for more than 5 years. It’s the perfect, minty mask for unclogging oiled-up pores and relaxing a stressed mind and body after a long day. I tend to be a little overindulgent with this mask — it’s easy to cake it on until you have a bright green facial mask that takes 20 minutes to dry — but it doesn’t concern me too much because it’s so inexpensive. When I don’t have time to put on a full mask, I sometimes like to spot-treat blemishes with the Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque. It’s simple, fast and effective at drying up pimples while also treating the skin around them.

So who hasn’t tried Queen Helene Mint Julep Masque? Tell me some of your budget beauty basics in the comments section.

January 3, 2011

11 beauty resolutions for 2011

Cheers to a beautiful new year. While I’m not huge on new year’s resolutions (my main one this year is to write more consistently), I always have some beauty-related resolutions each year. A few of my 2011 resolutions overlap from my 2010 beauty resolutions. It’s more of a recommitment to my structured beauty routine, but it’s always effective to think about how you can constantly improve.

1. Wash my makeup brushes twice a month.

makeup brushes

{Keep your makeup brushes clean with warm water and a mild soap. Photo By FeatheredTar/Courtesy Flickr}

Though this is simple (it takes all of five minutes to wash your makeup brushes in mild soap and warm water), I always fall short on washing my makeup brushes on a regular basis. For those of us who are prone to breakouts, washing your makeup brushes more often helps keep the bacteria count down and your face that much cleaner. To wash your makeup brushes, simply choose a mild soap or shampoo (baby shampoo is a popular choice), place a drop of it in your hand and gently massage it into your slightly dampened brush. Rinse the brush, keeping the running water away from the brush head (where the glue meets the bristles — you don’t want to weaken the glue), and gently squeeze out any excess water. Set your brushes on the edge of the bathroom counter to dry so the brushes dry evenly and back into shape — this could take a few hours, so be patient (and invest in a few extra brushes to use while you alternate cleaning).

2. Wash my face every night before bed.

asian baby washing face

{Establish good beauty habits early. Photo By cathyse97/Courtesy Flickr}

We’ve all been there: It’s been a long night, you’re dead tired and you just want to crawl into bed. Washing your makeup off and prepping your skin for recovery takes all of 10 minutes, but knowing that you’ll have to drag yourself away from the comfort of your warm bed and slightly awaken yourself a little more sounds terrible. But you know what else sounds terrible? Waking up to a fresh crop of breakouts, mascara smudges on your pillow and beat-up looking skin that is deprived of moisture and oxygen. Going to bed with a caked-on layer of makeup keeps your pores from breathing and regenerating, giving you a less-than-stellar glow the next day. This year, I’m recommitting myself to my trusted bottle of baby oil (it’s excellent at removing eye makeup and oh-so-cheap) and a quick splash of warm water and facial cleanser every night.

3. Invest in a monthly manicure.

manicured nails

{People notice your nails. Keep them well-groomed! Photo By Zicon/Courtesy Flickr}

If you’re the type of person who talks with your hands a lot, listen up. Whether it’s investing time or money, a monthly manicure makes a difference in your appearance — for both women and men. One of the first things I notice about a person is the state of their hands. Are their nails jagged? Are their fingers callused? Taking time to trim, file and buff your nails (polish optional!) makes a statement about who you are. Do you pay attention to detail? Do you take your nerves out on your nails? Try to send the right impression. While I may not make it to the nail salon every month, I’m going to take a step back from my busy lifestyle and make sure my hands reflect who I am: a put-together, clean, stylish woman.

4. Purge my beauty stash.

stash of beauty products

{This stash of beauty products is amazing, but can one person really use all this stuff? Photo By Nathan Branch/Courtesy Flickr}

This resolution is a recommitment from last year’s list, but it still holds true this year. While I’m not much of a hoarder in general, when it comes to cosmetics, I just can’t get enough — and then I just can’t bear to part with them even when they’re past their prime (or a discontinued color to which I have become too attached). As I begin to go through my cosmetics collection, I’ll be revisiting this list from last year so I can remind myself how to know when it’s time to get rid of beauty products.

• Cleansers/Moisturizers: Toss after six months. Active ingredients in natural cleansers and moisturizers will break down over half a year’s time, so be sure to only buy what you can consume in that amount of time.

• Liquid Foundation: Toss after six months. Foundation becomes thick and goopy, which makes for uneven application. Plus, liquid foundation is a breeding ground for germs and bacteria (especially if you dip your fingers in it or use a dirty sponge).

• Powder: Toss after two years. I don’t know anybody who has been able to make her powder last that long, but after a couple of years, powder can get dry and cakey.

• Mascara: Toss after three months. Don’t chance it with makeup that can affect your eyes! Mascara can easily go rancid and dry up, so this one is an easy toss. Just look at the consistency when you take the wand out. Mascara tubes are breeding grounds for eye mites, so just don’t risk it.

• Eyeliner Pencil: Toss after two years. Luckily, every time you sharpen your eyeliner pencil, you eliminate the old surface and any bacteria on it — just be sure to give your sharpener a good wipe-down with alcohol.

• Lip gloss: Toss after a year. Lip glosses with wand applicators invite bacteria, and pots of gloss aren’t much better (unless you’re diligent enough to apply it with a lip brush or cotton tip every single time). Lip gloss can also become very goopy and sticky, so again, check the consistency before you apply an aged gloss.

5. Wear sunscreen every day.

sun's rays

{Protect yourself from the sun's damaging rays every day by wearing SPF 30 sunscreen. Photo By dockdrumming/Courtesy Flickr}

Here’s another recycled resolution. Throughout most of 2010, I was diligent about wearing a daily facial sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every single day. Toward the end of the year, I put my small bottle of facial sunscreen away and resorted to using my tinted moisturizer with SPF 15 — not as great an option, as most women don’t apply enough foundation to get the full spectrum SPF offered on the tinted moisturizer’s bottle — but better than nothing, right? This year, I’m putting my bottle of facial sunscreen back on the bathroom counter and using it over my daily moisturizer and under my foundation.

6. Schedule a skin cancer screening.

bare back

{Your dermatologist can check your body's hard-to-see places for signs of skin cancer. Photo By megaul/Courtesy Flickr}

No one likes to think about upcoming doctor’s visits, but this year, you should definitely consider this one. Find a dermatologist in your area and schedule a skin cancer screening. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. A skin cancer screening will probably be the easiest, least-invasive doctor’s visit you’ll have this year; your dermatologist performs a visual inspection of your skin — your body’s largest organ — to check for abnormal moles, freckles, spots or birth marks. Your dermatologist will also teach you how to perform self-skin cancer examinations. Take charge of your health. Being proactive is your best bet against preventing skin cancer (and if you haven’t already, please ditch the tanning beds — use some pretty bronzer if you must have that sun-kissed glow when it’s negative degrees outside.).

7. Moisturize every day.

smooth legs

{Hydrate your legs with a rich, creamy moisturizing lotion. Photo By anothernamedrose/Courtesy Flickr}

In the winter, I’m all about the moisturizer. I load on the creams, oils and lotions to keep my skin from peeling and flaking. But that’s just on my face. My poor, white legs are dying of thirst, but I choose to towel off quickly and get dressed rather than taking a couple minutes to slather on some body oil and light lotion to keep my gams silky and smooth. This year, I’m breaking out the body oils and pumping some uber-moisturizing, organic oils onto my legs to keep them quenched and flake-free. Some of my favorite body oils are from Aromafloria; I love the Rosemary & Mint Bath & Body Oil. Its refreshing, energizing scent, derived from natural essential oils, combined with a luscious base of organic soybean oil, provide all-over moisture and sheen. If I want to stay especially smooth, I’ll top my legs with a layer of thick, creamy lotion to set the body oil and really treat my moisture-deprived legs.

8. Cut my hair and maintain a healthy hairstyle.

josie maran organic argan oil

{Josie Maran Organic Argan Oil is pricey ($14 for half an ounce), but a little goes a long way when it comes to helping calm split ends. Photo Courtesy Josie Maran Cosmetics}

I’ve never been the girl with long hair. Last year, I only trimmed my hair a couple times in an effort to grow it out to “the perfect length,” but now that it’s there, my long hair kind of bores me. This year, I’m going to find a fun style and stick with it. Stylists recommend trimming your hair every six to eight weeks to maintain the hairstyle’s shape and keep the ends healthy. My ends are far from healthy; until I find the perfect cut, I’ll continue to treat my split ends and lifeless long hair with a few drops of argan oil after a shower and a thickening cream to keep my hair at least looking healthy and full. I like to use Josie Maran Organic Argan Oil coupled with Living Proof Full Thickening Cream.

9. Dispose of my contacts before my eyes get really, really red.

brown eyes

{Take care of your eyes to avoid unsightly redness. Photo By Haleyface/Courtesy Flickr}

I’ve learned this lesson the hard way! Because I like to stretch my budget (and spend my money on things more fun and pretty than contact lenses), I’ve had a few days where it has stung to put my contacts in my eyes. This year, I’m vowing to replace my disposable lenses (I wear Acuvue 2) every month instead of every three months (oops). My eye doctor got after me at my appointment last year and told me that there were obvious changes to my corneas because of the lack of oxygen to my eyes. Contact lenses break down with daily wear and let less oxygen in to your eyes as the lenses get older. My doctor told me that if I’m not replacing my lenses every two weeks as directed, I should at least try to pop in a new pair every month. Done. Now I can save some room in my purse by getting rid of the Visine and rewetting drops I usually have stashed in there. :)

10. Take shorter showers.


{My goal is to shave 5 minutes off my shower time. Photo By stevendepolo/Courtesy Flickr}

This one may be difficult to implement, as I love my long, hot showers, but if I want to save my skin (and my water bill), I’ll need to wise up about my time in the shower. Exposing your skin to long bouts of hot water actually dries out your skin, and with all the moisture-heavy resolutions I’m making this year,  it would be counterproductive to lose it all every time I step into the shower. During long, hot showers, you wash away your skin’s natural oils, or sebum, which results in that tight, itchy feeling you may sometimes feel afterward. Turn down the hot water dial. Opt for warm, short showers, and remember to load up on the lotions while your skin is still damp to lock moisture into place.

11. Get more sleep.

siamese cat napping

{Cat naps are great, but a solid 8 hours a night is divine. Photo By Ani Carrington/Courtesy Flickr}

I’ve always been a night owl and used to pride myself on being able to get by on 4 hours of sleep or less. Not anymore! Toward the end of 2010, I got a little smarter about going to bed at a reasonable hour, and I hope to continue that trend into 2011. The Centers for Disease Control puts it beautifully:

“Sufficient sleep is not a luxury — it is a necessity —and should be thought of as a ‘vital sign’ of good health.”

I couldn’t agree more. When you have a good night of sleep — 7 to 9 hours for adults, according to the National Sleep Foundation — your skin is brighter, the bags under your eyes are gone and you just feel better. I’d rather function on sleep than coffee during a demanding day at the office (though I won’t turn down a second trip to the coffee bar even if I did get a full 8 hours!).

What are your 2011 beauty resolutions? Do we have some of the same ones? Share yours in the comments section.

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