Wednesday, April 22, 2020

My Skincare Routine

I'm a big fan of consistency, and rarely change or add anything to my skincare regimen. I've used all these products for several years, and have had a great experience with all of them. Several things were also recommended by my dermatologist (even better!), and can easily be purchased from Amazon which is very convenient right now. 

 My skin is fairly normal, but used to be on the drier side. One perk of Houston humidity is dewier skin, so dryness isn't really an issue anymore unless it's "winter" or I'm traveling. Other than that, I do suffer from a little bit of redness, but find that many of these products help me manage/control it. What's nice about the majority of these products is that they're great for all skin types. 

I believe that having healthy skin doesn't have to take 100 steps or cost a fortune. My skincare routine is fairly straightforward, and everything I use is under $100 (with the majority being under $30). Here's a look at my skincare routineđŸ™‚



Cleanser

This cleanser was recommended to me by my dermatologist. It's great for sensitive skin, and is fragrance free. I use it in the morning and evening. At night I use it in conjunction with my Clarisonic

I came across this cleanser at the hair salon I used to go to. Unlike most exfoliating scrubs, this one is soft and gentle. Since it isn't so abrasive,  it's great for daily use, and will not leave your skin dry. Its great for removing that dull layer or skin, as well as any impurities. I use this every night (unless I am using a face mask). 

Ever since I got my first Clarisonic nearly a decade ago, it has been a game changer for my skin. I use this every night with my Vanicream Cleanser. If you're not familiar with the Clarisonic brand, here's a little background from their site, "One mode, one button, one minute for fast and simple skin cleansing. Mia Prima Sonic Facial Cleansing Brush minimizes the appearance of pores and allows skincare products that follow to absorb better. The soft start helps skin adjust gently to sonic cleansing, gradually increasing power. Mia Prima works with any Clarisonic facial cleansing brush head, is easy to charge, and gently cleanses skin six times better than hands alone. You’ll see visibly minimized pores, a more radiant glow, and smoother, softer, more even skin. Patented, proven, and safe to use two times a day, it removes makeup, sunscreen, and pollutants hiding in pores." The brush is definitely an investment ($99), but it really is worth it and lasts forever. The only additional cost is brush replacements, which I change out every four months or so. 


Toner

After I cleanse or get out of the shower/bath, I spray this all natural toner on my face. It leaves my skin hydrated, evens out skin tone, and helps with redness. I'm prone to redness, and I have found this to be very calming. It's also great to mist on your face throughout the day if you're feeling dry, or when you travel. 


Lotion

Daytime
Also a referral from my derm! This lotion is lightweight and hydrating. I use this in the morning and evening. 

If I can recommend one item to you, this would be it - it's a game changer.  It is so important to wear SPF daily, so it should come as no surprise that my dermatologist recommended this, as well. This moisturizer has SPF 40 in it, but unlike a lot of SPF's, it doesn't go on thick or leave a white film. It is incredibly light, and gives you AMAZING coverage. It comes in one 'tint,' which leaves you looking perfectly sun kissed! I put this on after my moisturizer above, and before my makeup.

Evening
My evening routine differs depending on what my skin is needing. I still always use my Rose Water toner, but sometimes I use different lotions/creams en lieu of  my Vanicream if my skin is feeling a bit dry. 

This French brand is absolutely amazing. I first came across it at a pharmacy in Paris a few years ago, and then stared ordering it from Amazon. I can also find it at Walgreens sometimes, too! The cream is silky, and leaves my skin feeling instantly hydrated and luxurious. It definitely gives me that added boost of moisture when I need it, and isn't too heavy. It also smells great. 

If my skin is really in need of some hydration, I use avocado oil. The brand I use is Now, and can be purchased from Whole Foods or HEB in the beauty/pharmacy section, as well as from Amazon. This is 100% pure, and a great natural way to hydrate dull skin. Its very soothing and isn't so heavy that it clogs your pores. It is oily and does look a little greasy (it is oil after all), but it's worth it. I will normally put it on and let it soak in while I use body lotion, brush my teeth, etc., and then top it with my Vanicream Lotion to seal it in. This tends to help keep the greasy look at bay. 


 Eye Cream

Eye cream should be applied before your moisturizer. Did you know that? I only learned a few years ago what the process should be - cleanse, tone, serum, eye cream/spot treatment/etc, then lotion! I guess it makes sense since you want all your potions to penetrate the skin, and by adding lotion your creating an additional barrier. Anyhow, this eye cream is great. It helps reduce wrinkles and noticeable dark spots, and has cooling effect which key for depuffing tired eyes. A little bit goes a long way, and it can be used day or night.

Another great eye gel. I alternate between this one and the one above. This brand also has a specific AM/PM version, as well. 



Everything below I only use in the evenings


Masks
I typically take a bath 4+ nights a week, and that's when I like to use my face masks. This may be the only time I really experiment with new products. That being said, there are only two masks that I continually repurchase. I also only use masks a total of 2x per week, because that seems to be what works best for my skin.

This mask has a cult following and it's not hard to see why. This product literally gives you a great at-home facial. Not only does it exfoliate, but it helps decrease the size of pores, and also leaves skin smooth and hydrated. I use this once a week, and follow it up with my Avocado Oil to make sure I really suck in as much moisture as I can. My skin is glowing the next morning. Highly recommend. 

This mask is from another great French brand that prides itself on clean beauty. I use this mask typically once a week to help with any congestion I'm having with my skin. It zaps blemishes, and prevent new ones from happening. It also doesn't leave my skin dry, which I've experienced with other purifying masks. 


Serums

I just started using this about three months ago, and have been loving it. I kept reading about it everywhere, and heard several beauty bloggers recommend it. Not only does it help brighten dark spots and even out skin tone, but it reduces fine lines and wrinkles. My skin looks more radiant and younger (I think) since I started using this. I use this 3x per week. It is one of the more pricey products I use, but it's proven to be worth it. 

I don't really think this falls under the category of 'serums,' but I do put in on before my moisturizer, so lets just got with it. No one likes seeing wrinkles on their face, and since we've been sheltered in place, gone are the days of getting my Botox. I did some combing through the internet and came across this product. The reviews and results I saw were pretty unbelievable. It definitely has helped lessen some of my forehead lines, and I've started using it on my neck, as well. Again, another pricey product, but compared to Botox it's a steal. Plus, it's less invasive.  


Acne

My eighth grade self is loving that I'm sharing this with you right now. I remember when I first started using Clean & Clear and it was all the rage. I've never really suffered from acne, and do not have acne prone skin. That being said, I've tried countless spot treatments over the years, ranging from budget finds (like this one) to super expensive ones, and nothing works as well as this. Quite simply it zaps my zits! It also doesn't dry me out. 


And there you have it! If you try one of these products, or have tried them in the past, I'd love to hear what you think!


Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Easy (and affordable) at Home Gel Manicure Kit




Since we won't be getting to the nail salon anytime soon, there's no time like the present to perfect your at-home manicure skills. #selfcare, right? 

 Even though I'm a mess at doing my nails, I also recognize how much time (and money) gets spent going to the nail salon. After some practice, I found I can easily do an at home pedi, but when it comes a manicure, that's another story. I always end up with more polish on my hands and fingers then on my actual nails. Also, I usually will get normal polish on my toes which is simple to do at home, but for my manicure, I like to get gel. Gel not only lasts longer, but it dries almost immediately and rarely chips. Gel also requires a UV light. 

I had looked at some at home gel kits, but was only coming across ones that were very expensive, and had mixed reviews. I eventually found this one on Amazon, and actually purchased it about a month before we were asked to quarantine ourselves/shelter in place. It not only received 4.5 stars with over 700 reviews, but it's affordable (under $50). The the first time I tried it, I was shocked how well it worked and how easy it was to use. It comes with everything you needed to start your own at-home salon! The kit includes the following: 


1. 48W LED UV Nail Lamp
2. Six Gel Nail Polishes 
 3. No Wipe Top Coat and Base Coat 
4. Cuticle Oil 
5. Nail File 
6. Nail Buffer 
7. Nail Brush for Hands 
8. Nail Brush for Toes 
9. Cuticle Fork 
10. Cuticle Pusher 
11. Nail Clipper 
12. Nail Separator

It also comes with step-by-step directions on how to use the kit, light, and the polishes. The only modification I make to their directions is the dry time/time under the UV light. They recommend 60-90s for the base, polish, and top coat, whereas I've found it's better to do 120s for each coat.

For anyone that's had gel on their nails, they know the benefits of it (dry time, two-week no chip guarantee), but it does come with a downside - the soak off. The polish has to be soaked off in acetone, and takes about ~10 minutes or so.  They buff your nails to get the shiny coat off, then they’ll soak a cotton ball in acetone, place the cotton ball on your nail, and cover with tinfoil. The polish is then easily removed with an orange stick (the small wooden nail sticks). 

At home you follow the same steps, but I recommend ordering these Polish Remover Clips (pictured above on the bottom right). They’re under $10, and are a quick, clean and efficient way to hold the cotton ball/remover in place. Trying to get tinfoil individually wrapped around all your nails is an arduous task, so this is a game changer. 

All in, the price of the kit and the remover clips is only $57.98! A great deal. 



 

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