Friday, July 25, 2014

A Message from Your Hormonal Skin: Stop Poking the Bear!

bandage

It astounds me how many women stick to their same skincare regimen during their periods. Hurricane Flo blows into town wreaking havoc on your moods, your body, and of course your skin — but you don’t think to go easy on the skincare? Really? Did you happen to notice your mood isn’t the only thing that’s easily irritated during this special time? SO TAKE IT EASY!

DO:

- Replace your aggressive cleansers and exfoliators (especially anything with a physical scrub) with a soothing cream cleanser like Fresh Soy Face Cleanser.

- Unless you have very oily skin, give your Clarisonic a rest and use a damp cotton pad to remove any remaining makeup or grime.

- Skip your usual dose of topical Vitamin C, which can irritate sensitive skin, and instead apply a soothing serum  like Jurlique Calendula Redness Rescue Restorative Treatment Serum.

- Avoid moisturizers with active ingredients and replace with soothing hydrators like REN Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream for day and Korres Greek Yoghurt Advanced Nourishing Sleeping Facial  for night.

- Put off applying sunless tanner to your face if you’re prone to breakouts or oiliness. Sunless tanners can block pores and you don’t want to take any chances when your body is going through a hormonal roller coaster.

DON’T YOU DARE:

- Apply a toner with alcohol. Instead, opt for a botanical or herbal toner like Kiehl’s Since 1851 Calendula Herbal-Extract Alcohol-Free Toner.

- Pick or pop pimples, blackheads or whiteheads. You are just asking for ugly marks that are going to have an even harder time healing that usual.

- Over treat said pimples with aggressive products. Most pimple medications will just dry your skin out and make your skin even angrier. I always use my TANDA Zap Power a few times a day to blast pimples without dryness or irritation.

- Get a facial. That’s right — it’s the only time (besides the week before your wedding) I will advise you not to get a facial. You think extractions usually hurt? Try getting them on your period. Not only will the prodding and squeezing hurt like hell, but expect those ugly red welts to stick around a lot longer than usual. Even if you wanted to get a facial without extractions, the exfoliation process could put your skin over the edge.

Don’t forget to take Advil or something similar, which will not only help your cramps but will help calm your skin down as well. And, if all else fails — keep a pint of ice cream handy.

crying

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Ultimate Summer Beauty Survival Guide: Tips and Tricks to Make the Heat Your B*tch This Summer

Well my lovelies, it’s that time of year again… You may call it the middle of summer — I call it my Vietnam. What once looked like perfect applied makeup and a sleek blowout can morph into your worst nightmare within a few minutes of being exposed to the ungodly head and humidity. You don’t have to suffer! Read my Ultimate Summer Beauty Survival Guide on Huffington Post to find out how to beat the heat into submission this summer.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Holy Hangover Skin! Redness, Pimples, and Dehydration, Oh My!

Never. Drink. Tequila. Again. 

I hope everyone enjoyed the long holiday weekend, and quite frankly, that you didn’t make the same mistakes I did.  We double dated Saturday night with a couple that apparently brings out my wild side. Now don’t get your panties in a bunch… I didn’t start dancing on the bar and lifting up my shirt (Let’s not forget I breastfed Stella for several months. If I flashed the bar all I would be doing is mortifying the other patrons).  What I did do was ingest ungodly amounts of tequila and sake (that’s right, sake – we had drinks at a mexican restaurant, then went for sushi, and then went back to the mexican restaurant to ensure we really killed our Sunday).

Okay, so I’m pretty embarrassed to confess this next part of the story. To be quite honest it’s worse than flashing pancake boobs… I slept in my makeup for the first time in probably 15 years! I won’t even attempt to make excuses for my careless actions. I was actually considering telling you that I did it on purpose as field research so I could properly dish out advice.  But even I can’t convince myself of such lies. So, to make a long ugly story short — I woke up with my lash extensions sealed together and skin that hasn’t been this pissed off since the Clinton administration.

If you’ve experienced my dreadful situation, I’m sure you were tempted to scrub the hell out of your skin the next morning. No bueno. It’s just teasing the bear — your skin is already red and irritated, don’t anger it further! First, apply a deep cleansing oil-based cleanser like Elemis ‘Pro-Collagen’ Cleansing Balm to dry skin and leave it on for at least a minute to allow the cleanser to penetrate and start dissolving skin sludge. Then, slowly add water and massage.  Next, use your Clarisonic Cleansing Brush to gently (GENTLY!!!) go over your face and rinse. If you don’t have a Clarisonic, use a super soft face cloth or a moistened cotton pad.

Now, assess the damage in the mirror. And by the way, don’t be fooled and think you’re staring back at the worst of the damage. Your skin will air its distain with your alcohol-induced decisions by surprising you with pimples, dry patches, whiteheads and blackheads for the next 24-48 hours. Your strategy is to calm down your skin’s tantrum so no picking, squeezing or over-treating!

I digress… After your skin is cleansed, swipe or spray on a hydrating, alcohol-free toner like Indie Lee Co Q10 Toner which has skin-plumping Hyaluronic acid and soothing Aloe Vera.  Then, press into your skin a calming serum like Jurlique Calendula Redness Rescue Restorative Treatment Serum  and if your skin is dehydrated (which most hungover skin is) then apply a Hyaluronic acid-based serum like Kerstin Florian Correcting Hyaluronic Serum. Since Hyaluronic acid attracts 50 times its weight in water, I spritz mineral water and then follow with a calming moisturizing cream like REN Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream.

For the rest of the day I try and do the obvious things to avoid conflict with my skin — stay out of the sun, go makeup-free, avoid hot steamy showers, say no to the hair of the dog, etc. And, if you do brave the sunlight, slather yourself with non-irritating mineral sunblock and don your biggest, most glamour sunglasses. If you do have blemishes that pop up or detect a painful red bump that you fear will morph into an alien-size pimple, instead of drying it out with topicals try zapping out the bacteria with a TANDA Zap Power.

I can’t promise your skin will bounce back to its glorious self by Monday. In fact, mine still isn’t speaking to me and punished me this morning by having me wake up to still-dehydrated skin and red angry patches. Fun times. Eventually we’ll make up and everything will go back to normal. In the meantime, maybe I should avoid the tequila and sake and just stick with vodka. Jokes!

 

 

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Two Products That Will Get You the Best Face Faux Glow EVER!

For those of you longtime readers, you know I’m  a complete disaster when it comes to sunless tanning.  No matter what brand of self-tanner I tried, either I ended up looking like an Oompa Loompa (that was the best case scenario) or I would have enough streaks and white spots (I tended to consistently miss entire areas of my face and body) to make me look like I was suffering from a rare skin condition. And quite frankly, I felt like most self-tanners would piss off my sensitive skin and make me breakout.  So at some point I simply just gave up and resigned to the fact that a pale face is better than a wrinkled one.

But that was before I started testing new products for my upcoming summer story for Huffington Post… 

I couldn’t resist trying the Tarte Maracuja Bronzing Serum  because A) Tarte is one of my favorite brands B) I love slathering on the Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil  every night for a dose of hydration and essential fatty acids C) Tarte calls it a “gradual bronzing serum” — “gradual” being the operative word for someone like myself who is self-tanner challenged.

The serum itself is lightweight and absorbs quickly. I apply a few drops at night after I cleanse and then follow with my nightly moisturizer. If you have oily skin you can definitely use this serum alone since it has the same hydrating and brightening power as the original Maracuja Oil. When you wake up and rush to the mirror you will be greeted by a subtle natural glow.  It’s so natural-looking and streak-free I’ve applied it every night for the past seven nights and  I love the results.

Since the serum is so gradual I thought I would try the  By Terry Tea to Tan to give my color a little depth. Again, I’m usually not a fan of liquid or cream bronzers because they always look and feel too heavy and unnatural (especially the way I tend to apply them). What makes the  By Terry Tea to Tan so different is it’s literally a water consistency and provides two different looks — 1) Don’t shake the bottle and you get a subtle natural tan 2) Shake the bottle and you get a little glimmer to your tan. I tend to shake it every time since the glimmer is so slight.  The bronzing elixir is buildable and works beautifully on days when you don’t want to apply makeup and just want a healthy glow. The elixir is also tea-based (hence the name) so it’s chockfull of skin-loving antioxidants. It’s more like tinted skincare rather than a bronzer with beneficial ingredients.

So ladies, now I’ve given you a viable alternative to worshipping the sun. I don’t want to hear your sob stories this summer about premature wrinkles and unsightly uneven skin tone because you decided to ignore my sage advice.

If you insist on sunbathing, at least do me the courtesy of wearing a wide-brimmed hat. My sister Loni gets a gold star for picking up her first wide-brimmed hat this week. Good girl! Now wear it to the beach!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Banished to the Beauty Graveyard: Clarisonic Pedi Sonic Foot Transformation

Yeah, that’s right… I’m the jackass who shelled out $199 for the CLARISONIC Pedi Sonic Foot Transformation…  You know you were tempted to buy it when you saw it at Sephora, but of course you probably saw it was $199 and intelligently put it back on the shelf.

Okay, so here was my rationalization:

1) Clarisonic has cred (or at least they did before this debacle)!  Their CLARISONIC Sonic Skin Cleansing System ($199) is considered revolutionary for deep cleansing skin and reducing pore size. And, Clarisonic’s Opal Sonic Infusion System Kit ($185) is by far the most effective product I’ve ever used to battle under eye puffiness. I use it twice a day  – first with eye gel in the morning and then with an anti-aging eye cream at night.  My eyes definitely look brighter more rested since I started using the Opal.

2) I’m never happy with my pedicures. I get home and feel like the bottoms of my feet are still rough. Who wouldn’t want a fun little contraption to finish the job?

3) I had a bunch of Sephora credit, so in my mind, I wasn’t actually buying it with real money.

So what does $199 buy you? From their website:

Transform your toes with CLARISONIC® Pedi sonic foot transformation, a system proven to smooth, soften and hydrate rough, dry heels and toes so you’re sandal ready in no time at all. The precision engineered device gives you a professional quality buff with at home ease.

Set includes:

- Pedi handle
- Pedi Wet/Dry buffing brush head
- Pedi disc
- Pedi boost (1 oz.)
- Pedi buff (6 oz.)
- Pedi balm (3.5 oz

How to use: Charge for 24 hours before first use and between uses. Every day, scrub away set-in debris and smooth dry, rough skin with the Wet/Dry Buffing brush head and Pedi-Buff. Follow with the Pedi-Balm to hydrate and protect smoothed feet. Twice a week, use the Pedi Smoothing disc on dry feet before your daily buff followed by the Pedi-Boost for total foot renewal and additional skin softening. Seal with the Pedi-Balm.

Okay, so it’s nice that the kit includes a scrub, peel, a balm and two different brush heads, but you’ll notice in the instructions above  the words “every day” and “twice a week”. Who the fuck has the time for all that?  I certainly don’t. Even if I did and I religiously spent 15-20 minutes a day essentially giving my feet a facial, it still wouldn’t be worth the money. I tried using the dry disk head more than once and it barely did anything. The wet/dry buffing head is a joke. A wet wash cloth could have easily done the job.

This product was beyond a disappointment.  And, with that I cast it into the ugly depths of the beauty graveyard… Where all useless beauty products go to die.

 

Janna Posted by Tags ,
Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Radical Skincare Instant Revitalizing Mask: It’s Like a Party on Your Face!

Hello, my lovelies! Please forgive me for my prolonged absence!  Things have been a bit busy, but rest assured I’m back and ready to binge!  

You all know I’m a whore for a good face mask… With a 7-month-old baby who just learned (like 2 nights ago) how to sleep through the night, you can imagine my skin is a bit stressed (along with the rest of me). I don’t have loads of time so I try and decompress a few nights a week with a little mask love — exfoliating, hydrating, soothing, purifying — I mix it up depending on my bitchy skin’s latest demands.  When a lovely publicist sent me the Radical Skincare Instant Revitalizing Mask  ($65) my first thought was,”that’s a small ass bottle for $65.” I’m so judgey.


Little did I know before I made my ugly snap judgement, that this mask starts as a serum so you need about a dime size for your entire face. You give it a good shake before you start, to get all those oxygenating bubbles excited. Once you put on the thin serum, the mask starts thickening into a foam. Then, the magic happens a few minutes later…

The mask starts tickling your face and it begins to crackle and pop in random spots. It’s not subtle either. Put it this way, you’re going to want to rush to a mirror and watch the mask transform. And if you have a stoner friend, but nice and let him or her watch the magic.

Wait until all the excitement has died down (you’ll know you’re done because the foam will have disappeared) and rinse. The results?  Brighter, smoother, clearer skin.  A word of warning – if your skin is sensitive, use the mask at night. I got a little pink, but the next morning my skin looked amazing.

I’m not sure if Willy Wonka has opened a skincare factory, but I’m pretty sure this mask is made by Oompa-Loompas. It’s that magical…

From their website:

Restores, Stimulates, and Boosts Radiance.

The Instant Revitalizing Mask is the ideal coach for the skin: it delivers the nutrients necessary for hydration and regeneration while teaching it to breathe, stock up on energy and optimize its oxygen resources in rarefied conditions.

BENEFITS:

  • Optimize oxygen resources for a lasting youthful glow
  • Stimulates energy production
  • Controls oxidation reactions
  • Smoother skin

 INGREDIENTS:

  • Antioxidants are the best defence against free radical damage and ageing.
  • The strongest antioxidants are found in nature’s dark night shade fruits like resveratrol, coffee berry, acai, grapeseed, red wine extract, pomegranate, and cranberry to name a few.
  • Multiple antioxidants are required to fight the numerous types of free radicals. Using one or two antioxidants is simply not enough.

 

 

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Reader Question Answered: What Is the Best Beauty Subscription Box?

I recently got an email from Lauren, a beauty addict in Dallas, asking me if I have a favorite beauty sampling program. Um, obviously. It’s not like enough is ever enough for this beauty addict so of course I’ve belonged to more beauty sampling programs than wine clubs over the years (which is tough to do, mind you).  The declared winner by a long shot? Glossybox!

Aside from Glossybox, I found with the majority of the sampling programs — Birchbox, Beauty Bar Sample Society, Beauty Army — I ended up giving away 90% of the samples. No bueno. Not only have I been disappointed with the practicality of the samples themselves (lipsticks that aren’t my color, ugly nail polishes), but the size of the items were always underwhelming. Basically, the only full size items would be unusable makeup and the good skincare and hair care items would be tiny single-use samples.

But, then I was lucky enough to discover Glossybox ($21 a month)…  True beauty addicts created this sampling program.  Not only are many of the items full size, but lots of them are from independent brands I wouldn’t have discovered had I not gotten a sample in my monthly box like Anatomicals and Etre Belle Cosmetics. There are also samples from luxury brands — this month’s Glossybox included a deluxe sample of Sisley Paris Black Rose Cream Mask.

So, how does it work? Basically, you fill out your beauty profile and based on your answers the Glossybox team selects samples catered to your answers. You get 5-6 products per month.  Honestly, I get more excited about opening up my monthly Glossybox than my wine club boxes (well, actually unless we’re talking a box from Frank Family Vineyards, in which case that box trumps even the best beauty products. Try their reserve chardonnay and you’ll be changed forever!)

Janna Posted by
Thursday, March 20, 2014

Drugstore Cowgirl: Garnier Fructis Style Deconstructed Pixie Play Craft Cream

As you can imagine, I get tons and tons of beauty products (we’re talking several boxes a week). I spend several hours going through the products — testing, touching, trying on — classifying the products into categories (like / don’t like, want to wear right away / can wait). In one of my treasure trove boxes, I came across Garnier Fructis Style Deconstructed Pixie Play Craft Cream ($4.29). I cast it aside for a few days, making the mistake of thinking since the product had “Pixie” in the title it wouldn’t work for my long curly hair.

Au contraire.

I decided to test the Craft Cream on a day I wasn’t planning on leaving the house (Lesson #1: Always dress rehearsal new beauty products!). After I had applied leave-in conditioner, I opened the jar of product to find a surprisingly non-sticky cream. I took a quarter-size scoop and finger-combed it through my hair. I flipped my head and scrunched my hair with a paper towel and let it air dry. While my hair was air-drying I twisted random curls around my fingers into corkscrews. After waiting eons for my thick hair to dry, I looked in the mirror to find soft, sculpted, curls. The curls I had corkscrewed were smooth and flexible.

I also tried this product by diffusing my hair instead of letting it air dry.  I still got soft, touchable curls but my hair seemed much thicker and more voluminous. I think this is one of those magic hair potions that will basically work on almost any hair type. This is how Garnier describes the product:

Add texture and create piecey or out-of-bed looks for all De-Constructed style.  Get touchable control and a subtle, satin finish that is non-tacky, not stiff or too coated.  Extra Strong Hold.

Even though Garnier describes the cream as “extra strong hold,” it didn’t make my hair stiff or crunchy.  I honestly this this product would work on almost any hair type… Except of course if you have super thick, coarse locks. Then, it may be a little too  much volume and thickness to handle.

 

 

 

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Trip to the MAKE UP FOR EVER Boutique and My Top 3 Products

Okay, it didn’t hurt that I also got to sip pink champagne during my introduction to the MAKE UP FOR EVER Boutique in Santa Clara, CA (don’t worry there are more locations throughout the U.S. and Canada), but I would have made the trek anyway!  Experiencing one of my favorite makeup brands in boutique form rather than the confines of a Sephora kiosk… We’re talking 1600 products in the boutique vs. 300 – 600 at Sephora. BINGE ON!

Forget the products for a second (I know it’s tough…) but the main draw for these boutiques are the cute little makeup school stations in the back.  Every Monday, the boutiques host Make Up School ($25 a class) on how to achieve a certain look — smoky eye, contoured face, etc.  And don’t think for a second you’re just going to watch in the mirror and hope you remember how to achieve the look once you get home… Oh no! The makeup artist is only going to apply the makeup to half your face, then it’s your turn! If you don’t paying attention, expect to look more like a Picasso than a makeover after shot.

Some of the boutiques even have a Video Make Up Lesson Recording Studio so you can record your lesson with the makeup artist and take it home with you and watch it on loop. ;-)

Getting back to the products…  My top 3 products  (which by the way if you can’t make it to a MUFE Boutique, you can find all these products in Sephora):

-MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Blush 210   This cream blush literally melts into your skin, leaving no visible texture.  It’s really easy to blend and gives my cheeks a pretty “just pinched” look.

-MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Microperfecting Primer 1 Green  Redness has really become an issue for me since my pregnancy.  I apply this green (yes green!) primer ONLY where I’m red and blend until the green hue goes away. Then I put my normal primer on over it.  It’s the only thing that works as far as covering my redness without looking heavy.

-MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Eyes Black Purple 6L  I literally have these long-lasting, highly pigmented waterproof eyeliner pencils in almost every color. My new favorite hue is black purple, which brings out the blue in my eyes but is a subtle enough purple that it doesn’t look wild.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Boutiques are currently located in California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Jersey, and Canada. To find the nearest boutique  click here.

 

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Your Binger Guide to the Neiman Marcus Beauty Event

 

And on the eighth day, God created the Neiman Marcus Beauty Event

Sure, other department stores have their share of Gift with Purchase (GwP) bonanzas but none top Neiman Marcus in terms of  brands and goodies. Neimans is the granddaddy of them all… Not only does this iconic institution offer a bag stuffed with samples from the likes of premium brands like ReVive, Cle de Peau, and Oribe, but most of the brands offer their own fabulous GwP incentives.

Granted, the spend minimum on some of the GwPs are ridiculously expensive (like you have to spend $650 at ReVive)  but then there are some totally attainable goals like spend $150 at Armani Beauty or $100 at NARS.

Take it from me… with all these amazing GwPs it’s a little TOO easy to go a bit crazy and wind up spending the rent money. So take the beauty event in stride, especially if you plan on visiting a Neiman Marcus in person.  The bright pretty products and delicious-smelling air can be a quite intoxicating.  Though, the brands do offer all kinds of special in-store events like facials and makeovers, which can be fun as long as you don’t lose yourself and buy out the entire counter.

So what should you buy? Here are my top picks:

Cle de Peau Concealer ($70): Um, obviously. Anyone who reads my blog knows I’ve been using this celebrity secret weapon for the past couple years. Now is the time to stock up!

Sisley-Paris Botanical D-Tox ($240): I know it’s a hefty price tag but beauty addicts swear by this detoxifying serum. Supposedly women have seen a total turnaround in terms of visible pores, lines and frequency of breakouts. It’s supposedly safe for sensitive skin so I’m going to give it a try.

Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask ($50): I’m a whore for overnight masks as it is since skin repairs itself at night and is most conducive to products. I’ve been using this mask for three weeks now and I’m in love with the results.  I seem to wake up to brighter more hydrated skin. Bonus: It absorbs right away so you don’t have to worry about getting it all over your pillow.

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Complex ($46 – $120): I’ve been using this elixir of essential oils and distilled botanicals as a serum under my Sulwhasoo mask. It smells lovely and seems to be calming and hydrating. For those of you with oily skin, you could wear this alone at night to get the full benefits.

Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani Sheer ($34): This is the queen of all lip sheers. Forget all you’ve known before of tinted lip balms and sheer lipsticks — this ultra-hydrating confection takes the cake. Not only does it drop the perfect amount of color, it locks in the color and hydrating for several hours. Winner.

So, as you can imagine I personally do not have the willpower to go to Neiman Marcus in person, even though their stunning San Francisco location is only 30 minutes away and their well-appointed facial room beckons to me.  I will be a good girl (relatively) and do my shopping online.

The Neiman Marcus Beauty Event lasts until March 2nd, so whether you decide to do your shopping in-person or online, just remember to binge responsibly and even Sisley-Paris skincare isn’t worth spending the electricity bill money. (On the other hand,  your skin will look amazing in candlelight…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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