Entries from September 30th, 2011

September 30, 2011

ask the aesthetician | sarah wallace | revive day spa | fayetteville, arkansas

Though I consider myself a beauty buff, it’s always good to reach out to those who have the privilege of working in the beauty industry to either reinforce your knowledge or enlighten you about the best way to take care of your skin.

I’m privileged enough to be able to call upon my sister-in-law for expert skin-care advice every now and then and to talk about the latest beauty trends and product innovations.

Sarah Wallace is the co-owner and aesthetician for Revive Day Spa in Fayetteville, Arkansas. After saying goodbye to the corporate world (she used to be an accountant!), she obtained her aesthetician license in February 2007. Sarah is skilled in microdermabrasion using DiamondTome technology and has also consulted on injectable procedures such as Botox and Radiesse.

sarah white wallace, revive day spa

{Who wouldn’t take skin-care advice from this gorgeous woman? Photo Courtesy Revive Day Spa}

Sarah also has extensive experience with many types of chemical peels and has attended several Rhonda Allison Advanced Peel training courses.

Today, Sarah answers five popular skin-care questions and offers product advice.

1. How do I figure out my skin type?

There are four types: Normal, Oily, Dry and Combination. To determine your skin type, I first cleanse your skin and then examine it under a magnifying lamp.

  1. Normal skin is determined when there is no oil or flakiness. Skin is typically clear.
  2. Oily skin typically has larger pores and is thick and coarse. Oily skin tends to be problematic and prone to breakouts.
  3. Dry skin appears flaky and tight and typically has small, fine pores.
  4. Combination skin is the most-common skin type. It is oily in the “T zone” (forehead, nose and chin) and dry to normal elsewhere.

2. What products should be in every person’s skin-care arsenal?

Every person, male or female, should have a great daily sunscreen with a minimum SPF (sun protection factor) of 30.

I carry Rhonda Allison in my spa. I highly recommend Rhonda Allison’s Daytime Defense SPF 30. It’s a broad-spectrum sunscreen for all skin types. It uses zinc oxide, an all-natural sun barrier.

I also highly recommend Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral Powder SPF 30. It’s an easily portable brush-applicator SPF that is translucent, absorbs oil and serves as the perfect way to reapply your sunscreen throughout the day.

I also recommend a good exfoliating scrub. You should use a scrub once or twice a week to rid your skin of dead, dull skin cells. For men, a good scrub can also help prevent ingrown hairs caused by shaving. I recommend Rhonda Allison’s Brightening Scrub.

3. What’s the biggest skin care misconception?

I am always shocked by how many people do not use a daily sunscreen. I hear excuses such as “It’s in my makeup” or “I wear it when I am swimming.”

You should apply sunscreen every single morning, just like brushing your teeth. It is the number one thing you can do to prevent aging of the skin — let alone skin cancer.

Sun damage causes wrinkling, sagging and discoloration — so easily preventable! It is never too late to start.

4. What should people in their 20s, 30s and 40s be thinking about when it comes to skin care?

People in their 20s should be focusing on building a skin-care regimen targeted to their skin type. And I can’t repeat it enough: Sunscreen.

When we reach our 30s, our skin cell turnover slows down considerably, and we start to notice the first signs of aging. I recommend adding a retinol product and a hydrating eye moisturizer in your skin-care regimen.

Retinol is an amazing ingredient; it works deep into the skin for maximum skin regeneration support. Retinol smooths the skin’s texture and minimizes fine lines. It also stimulates collagen growth.

I love Rhonda Allison’s Retinol Supreme. Some people can be sensitive to products containing retinol, so I recommend easing into it by using it every other night for about two weeks before using it nightly.

People in their 40s and beyond will want to add products to their routine that stimulate collagen, so if you aren’t already using a retinol product, now is the time to start.

I also recommend having a licensed aesthetician perform a glycolic acid peel or a microdermabrasion. Glycolic acid sloughs off dead skin cells, brings new cells to the surface and stimulates collagen growth.

Microdermabrasion is a fantastic anti-aging treatment and one of my most sought-after services. Microdermabrasion removes dead skin cells, stimulates collagen and elastin production and reduces the look of fine lines. You get an instant glow and can both see and feel immediate results.

5. How can you improve your complexion if you have large pores, acne or sun spots and brown spots?

You can improve the appearance of large pores by keeping them free of oil and debris.

I love the Clarisonic Pro. I use it twice a day with Rhonda Allison’s Pumpkin Cleanser. The Clarionic Pro vibrates 300 time a second and has a built-in timer, effectively removing pore-clogging debris.

You can improve acne by using products that contain salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid that causes cellular turnover, unclogs pores and neutralizes the bacteria within the pores. It is a great exfoliant for acne-prone skin. Rhonda Allison’s Blemish Serum is a great corrective product that contains salicylic acid.

The best way to treat hyperpigmentation (discoloration of the skin caused by healing blemishes or the sun) is by getting a series of microdermabrasion treatments or a series of chemical peels suited to your skin type. These treatments must be administered by a licensed professional.

For home care, I recommend using products that contain kojic acid, lactic acid and/or azelaic acid.

If you’re in the Northwest Arkansas area, be sure to stop in and see Sarah at the spa — and if you check in on Facebook with your mobile device, you can get 5 percent off your service! Also, today’s the last day to get a free Shellac upgrade on your mani/pedi appointment.

Be sure to take advantage of all the deals Sarah’s spa posts on Facebook by becoming a fan!

Do you visit an aesthetician at a spa? What skin-care advice do you have to share, and what products do you love? Tell me in the comments section!

September 16, 2011

this makes me happy | essie nail polish on sale at beauty brands

I’ve been slowly rebuilding my nail polish collection. For a while, I never wore polish and simply kept my nails buffed and shiny. In the past few years, I’ve become more diligent about manicures and at least a little bit of pale polish.

Recently, though, I’ve been having way more fun with color — and with the way nails looked on the spring 2012 runways, it doesn’t look like I’m going to be any less inspired to get a little creative on my nails.

spring 2012 nail art

{Glitter tips aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Photo Courtesy Fashionista}

(Check out this great slideshow from Fashionista to see more nail art looks for spring 2012.)

If you want to get these looks (you can always try these styles now, no need to wait until spring), the first thing I suggest is investing in some great nail polishes. Essie is my favorite, and I always take my own bottles of polish to the nail salon so I can do some upkeep in case anything chips.

Right now is the best time to invest in new polishes; Beauty Brands is running a buy two, get one free promotion on all Essie polishes. Sadly, a sales associate told me this is because the company will no longer carry Essie, so stock up now while you find a new place to buy your favorite polish! Here’s what I scored on a recent trip to Beauty Brands:

essie nail polish beauty brands

{I think I can pull these colors off for fall, even though they aren't the official fall 2011 Essie colors.}

Clockwise from left:

Chinchilly: I love this gray! It almost has a mauve tint to it — such a great color for fall. Chinchilly is from Essie’s “Cuddle with Color” fall 2009 collection.

Very Cranberry: I haven’t tried this polish yet, but it’s a beautiful, creamy cranberry color with a hint of shimmer in it. It makes me think of Thanksgiving! Does anybody know what season/year this color debuted?

Delicacy: This is such a soft, shell-like pink. I have it on my nails now, and it catches light so beautifully. This is one of those polishes that is easy to apply yourself because its light blush tone is more forgiving on any mistakes you may make. It’s part of Essie’s main collection.

Chubby Cheeks: Another creamy color! Though Chubby Cheeks came out in summer 2009, I think it has enough warmth to it to pass for fall. Call it coral in summer and pumpkin in fall — done!

Yes, I got four polishes. Delicacy was on clearance (60 percent off!). I couldn’t help myself.

What are your favorite nail polish brands and colors?

September 12, 2011

scenes from my weekend | a visit to benziger family winery | glen ellen, california

If you’ve ever been to a winery in Napa or Sonoma, you know the drill: Maximize your time at as many wineries as possible to take advantage of (i.e. get tipsy off of) some of the best wines in America.

If you secretly wish you lived among the organic grapevines in Northern California (ahem), however, when you go to wine country, you seek out the best-treated vineyards in the area to drink the best-tasting wine from the most naturally grown grapes.

I got to live the natural Northern California life a bit at Benziger Family Winery in Glen Ellen, California, over the weekend. I learned more about Biodynamic winemaking (and wine drinking) amongst a family of New Yorkers-turned-Northern Californians. It was an incredible experience. I stayed at the Benziger guest house, which is adjacent to Jack London State Park, and took in breathtaking views of the Sonoma Valley.

Sorry I couldn’t take you with me.

Here’s a few scenes from my weekend in case you feel the need to Photoshop yourself into my pictures.

While you’re doing that, be on the lookout soon for some more in-depth reviews of my wine country visit as well as individual reviews of Benziger wines. They’ll be up in the coming weeks!

benziger family winery guest house

{I stayed at the lovely guest house that is adjacent to Jack London State Park.}


view from benziger family winery guest house

{I took this photo from the deck of the guest house. I wish this is what I woke up to every morning!}


benziger family winery tram tour

{The rolling hills and perfectly imperfect vines of Benziger were amazing.}


benziger family winery scottish highlander

{During our tour of the property, we stopped by to visit the various animals that live at Benziger (jealous!). A basic principle of Biodynamic winegrowing is including native plants and animals — not pesticides — on the property to help nurture the ecosystem. This Scottish Highlander cow provides organic manure and, with a face like that, a little eye candy to cow lovers everywhere.}


benziger family winery biodynamic dried herbs

{On another stop of our tour, we visited the medicine shed, where various Biodynamic herbs, preps and props are dried, stored and readied for the growing season. Here, herbs dry before they are integrated into Biodynamic preps and sprays that encourage healthy grapevines.}

kimberlyloc drinks bella luna pinot noir at benziger family winery

{Upon arriving at Benziger, the teacher man and I had a picnic on the grounds and enjoyed some 2009 Bella Luna Pinot Noir. Everything that Benziger does on the farm is reflected in its wine. And let me tell you…the farm tastes pretty damn good.}

September 7, 2011

complexion perfection | 5 beauty products to make your skin glow

Though Labor Day marked the unofficial end of summer, that doesn’t mean that you have to let your skin succumb to cooler weather’s drab, blah tone. To keep your complexion looking warm and radiant (even if you are a pale girl), invest in some makeup basics that can give your skin a glowing, defined look even on the dreariest days.

While no makeup is a substitute for great skin care (gentle cleansers, creamy moisturizers and light sunscreen every day!), these five basic makeup products (and three funky brushes!) can give your face a flawless look in about 10 minutes.

clinique nars smashbox becca face makeup

{Five products and four brushes can help you build the perfect complexion.}

1. Tinted Moisturizer

I like to use tinted moisturizer for light, sheer coverage that is more forgiving of foundation blending mistakes. My current tinted moisturizer, Clinique Almost Makeup SPF 15, is discontinued, but its replacement will most likely be Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 – Oil Free. Be sure to choose a tinted moisturizer with sun protection in it, especially if you are bad about using a sunscreen in the first place. This will help your complexion in the future (sorry, there’s no OTC beauty product for wrinkles and skin cancer!).

2. Concealer

To help fake eight hours of sleep, be sure to use concealer — I like NARS Concealer in Custard — under your eyes and around their corners. I also dab concealer around my nostrils to help conceal broken capillaries and redness. NARS Concealer replaces my old standby, Prescriptives Camouflage Cream, because it has far superior coverage, doesn’t crease easily and is highly pigmented.

3. Contour Kit

During the weekend, I splurged on the Smashbox Step By Step Contour Kit because I’d been obsessing over different contouring kits online after watching a few makeup vloggers’ videos. Contouring is a new step in my everyday beauty routine — I’m still mastering it (read: blending like crazy every morning) to get well-defined, sculpted cheeks. I like the Smashbox contour kit because it comes with a mini-angled contour brush and instructions glued right onto the compact’s mirror.

The idea behind contouring is simple: First, use a shade a few colors darker than your skin tone to fill in the hollows of your cheeks, creating shadows that make your cheeks seem to pop and slim your face. Next, blend in a shade one color darker right on top of that curve to add some warmth to your cheeks; dab some more color on your chin and down the sides of your nose, too. Be sure to blend these colors well both in the hollows and out to your ear so there are no harsh lines on your face. Finally, dust on a shade one color lighter than your skin tone to highlight the bridge of your nose and above your cheekbone — any place light would naturally hit your face.

Before committing to a contour kit, have a makeup artist (or a vlogger) give you a demo.  And don’t forget to blend, blend, blend — that’s what that short kabuki brush is for after you’ve gotten all the color on your face with the contour brush.

4. Pressed Shimmer Powder

Instead of the contour kit’s highlight powder, I like to dust on a bit of Becca Cosmetics Pressed Shimmer Powder in Hyawatha. This shimmer powder casts a luminous glow with light-catching shimmer, not glitter. Use the contour brush from the contour kit to pat this on right above your cheekbones, above your brows and above the point of your lips for a sun-kissed glow without bronzer — perfect year-round.

5. Blush

I’ve yet to stray from my obsession with NARS blushes; I do like to play around with my color selection every now and then. For a long time, I was devoted to NARS Powder Blush in Deep Throat, a peachy-shimmery cheek color; now I’ve grown attached to NARS Powder Blush in Sin, a deep berry color with flecks of gold that looks amazing on olive-toned skin or brown-eyed babes (it really brings out the flecks of gold in brown eyes). Using a flat-top blush/bronzer brush, pat just a bit of blush onto the apples of your cheeks — you don’t need to overdo it on the blusher unless you want to look like a porcelain doll. The goal with blush is to look healthily flushed, like you just ran up the stairs or won a breath-holding contest with your cubemate.

What are some of your perfect-complexion secrets? What products do you use on a regular basis? Share your makeup obsessions with me in the comments section.

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