Thursday, May 30, 2013

Great Products You Didn't Even Know Existed

Today, I wanted to share with you some unique beauty products and tools that you may not have heard of, but will change your life.  Of course, all of these products are free of toxic ingredients.

Check it out:

1.  Almay Makeup Eraser Sticks ($5.99 at drugstores)
Almay Makeup Eraser Sticks are Q-tips with makeup remover in them.  How do they work?  The two ends of the Q-tips are dry with a gentle, non-oily makeup remover solution in the middle of the two ends.  Just snap the wand at the purple line, and the solution will dispense into one end of the Q-tip.  Definitely a great product to keep in your purse!  I like to use it during my mid-day makeup touch-up to clean up any eyeliner or mascara that has migrated during the day.

2.  Sephora Instant Nail Polish Remover ($9.50 at Sephora)
My cousin, Serena, bought this stuff for me for Christmas (Thanks Serena!), and it is great. Inside of the jar/bottle is a foam cushion soaked in a nail polish remover solution.  You simply stick your finger in the bottle, and place your nail against the foam cushion.  Watch as the nail polish dissolves in 10 seconds.  No cotton ball or rubbing necessary!  This product is especially helpful for taking off those stubborn glittery nail polishes.

3.  Makeup Forever Aqua Seal ($21 at Sephora)
Want to turn that shimmery, bronze shadow into a eyeliner that won't budge?  With Makeup Forever Aqua Seal you can turn any powder eyeshadow into a liquid eyeliner.  Add a drop of the seal to the shadow, mix with your eyeliner brush, and then apply.  I like to use powder eyeshadows as liners for a softer, more natural look.  Sometimes if I really like an eyeshadow shade that isn't available as a liner, I simply turn that shade into a liner.  The Aqua Seal makes the shadow liner much easier to apply and keeps it on my eyes all day.

4.  Yu-Be Heel & Elbow Moisturizing Socks ($13.50 on
One of the best ways to lock in moisture to get baby soft feet is to moisturize your feet and then put socks over them.  But socks can be really hot and uncomfortable when you are sleeping or in the summertime.  So check out the Yu-Be Heel & Elbow Moisturizing Socks.  They are thin socks that cover only the heel of the foot, leaving your toes exposed.  Made with a material called chitosan, the socks are both hypoallergenic and anti-microbial. 

5.  Revlon No Pinch Mini Curler ($3.99 at drugstores)
Ouch!  If you have ever pinched your eye with your eyelash curler, you know it's not a pleasant feeling.  Revlon's No Pinch Mini Curler is here to save the day!  The padded, innovative design allows you to get close enough to the eye to curl even sparse, fine lashes (like my own Asian lashes) without accidentally clamping your skin.  A painless way to prep your lashes for mascara!

6.  Three Custom Color Custom Blending (
Don't you hate it when a company discontinues your favorite shade of eyeshadow or blush?  Well now you don't have to worry about wasting time and money trying to find a similar shade.  The Three Custom Color specialists offer a custom color blending service.  You can either find a discontinued shade (from any brand) that is already on their website database or mail in a dime-sized sample of the lipstick, lip gloss, eyeshadow, blush, bronzer, powder, etc. (from any brand) in the discontinued shade.  Three Custom Color will then send you their product in the shade that they have recreated for you. 

7.  Too Faced Better than False Lashes Nylon Lash Extension System ($35 at Sephora)
False eyelashes can be uncomfortable to wear, and lash extensions can be both costly and time consuming to maintain.  Another way to get long, sexy lashes?  The new Too Faced Better than False Lashes Nylon Lash Extension System.  This system uses three mascaras in three different steps and works by attaching small nylon fibers onto the lashes.  Step one is applying a base.  Next, brush on the nylon lashes until you have attained the desired length and volume.  Lastly, apply the mascara seal to accentuate the lashes with bold color and to stick the fibers to your lashes.  One bonus of this product is that is gives a more natural look than falsies.

8.  Sephora Perfect Manicure ($7 at Sephora)
For those of you with a shaky hand, the Sephora Perfect Manicure tool is here to help.  This handy tool acts a stand for you to rest your finger against when painting your nails.  It helps isolate the nail so that the nail polish ends up on your nails, not the skin around your nails, during the application process.   

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Swapping ChapStick for EOS: Healthy Substitutes for Popular Unhealthy Beauty Products

I'm sure many of us have stumbled upon those Shape Magazine or Weight Watchers articles that suggest healthier substitutes for popular snacks.  I thought...why not the same guide for beauty products?  As I always mention, choosing healthy beauty products can be just as important as choosing healthy foods.  So, here are some healthy substitutes for some common personal care products that you may be using:

1.  Walgreens Aloe Vera Replenishing Body Gel ($6.79 at Walgreens stores)
As one of nature's most powerful natural skin-care ingredients, aloe can be a great daily skin treatment.  Its hydrating, soothing, calming, antiseptic, healing, and anti-oxidant properties make it useful for treating burns, acne, aging, and a variety of other skin conditions.  Be careful of aloe vera gels on store shelves.  Many of them like the Walgreens Aloe Vera Replenishing Body Gel contain a paraben to preserve the product.  
Instead, try Lily of the Desert 99% Aloe Vera Gelly ($8.49 at Whole Foods). 
Lily of the Desert makes really great paraben-free aloe products.  Their 99% Aloe Vera Gelly is just as easy to apply as generic drugstore brand aloe products with all of the same wonderful skin benefits. 

2.  Vaseline Spray & Go Moisture ($7.99 at drugstores)
Moisturizing your body everyday can be a time-consuming task.  The Vaseline Spray and Go Moisture tackles this problem.  You simply spray the product on your skin, and the fast-absorbing formula means that there is no need to rub.  Another advantage is that it doesn't leave your skin feeling greasy like other lotions often do.  Unfortunately, this spray-on moisturizer contains two types of parabens.

Instead, try Solar Recover Save Your Skin Spray ($13 at Whole Body).
The Solar Recover Save Your Skin Spray works similarly.  It hydrates skin and absorbs pretty nicely too.  One bonus is that this spray contains natural skin conditioners and protectors like natural vitamin E and lavender oil that are not in the Vaseline spray.  Great as a daily moisturizer!

The Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer is definitely a fan favorite.  The light-weight moisturizers offers sheer coverage with a dewy finish and even blends smoothly over fine lines.  Too good to be true?  Sadly, yes because the formula contains two different types of parabens.
Instead, try Hourglass Illusion Tinted Moisturizer Oil Free SPF 15 ($55 at Sephora).
The Hourglass Illusion Tinted Moisturizer is a paraben-free version of Laura Mercier's oil-free moisturizer with SPF.  Many natural, oil-free tinted moisturizers can have an unflattering drying feel and look.  But the Hourglass Illusion Tinted Moisturizer provides sheer coverage with a subtle, natural glow that is similar to the effects you would see with the Laura Mercier moisturizer.
4.  Clinique Almost Powder SPF 15 ($25 at Sephora)
For those of you, who have oily skin like me, shine control is a must, and powder is an important step in the makeup application process.  With hint of color and SPF 15 sun protection, the Clinique Almost Powder is a best-seller.  The downside to this product?  Parabens.

Instead, try Bare Minerals Ready Touch Up Veil Broad Spectrum SPF 15 ($22 at Sephora).
Like the Clinique powder, the Bare Minerals Ready Touch Up Veil uses minerals to create light coverage and to reduce shine on the face.  It also has the same level of sun protection.  But the best part about this product?  No parabens!

5.  Clearasil Stayclear Daily Clear Daily Pore Cleansing Pads ($5.50 at drugstores) 
Those of us, who have tried to treat acne with over-the counter products (myself included), have probably used cleansing pads and/or Clearasil products at some point.  You simply wipe the pad over your face 1-2 per day after washing.  However, the Clearasil Stayclear Daily Clear Daily Pore Cleansing Pads contain two types of parabens.  
Instead, try MyChelle Clear Skin Clarifying Pads ($9.99 at Whole Foods) 
Just like the Clearasil ones, these pads have a ridged, exfoliating texture, but with safer ingredients.  If the Clearasil pads were effective for you, chances are the MyChelle ones will be too because both products use salicyclic acid as the key acne-fighting ingredient.  MyChelle uses naturally derived salicyclic acid from willowbark and even incorporates other natural acne-fighters like tea tree oil.      

Nourishing cocoa butter can be really beneficial to your skin by providing hydration and lightening scars and stretch marks.  Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula has become quite recognizable with its yummy chocolate scent, but did you know that its formulated using petrolatum, mineral oil, and two types of parabens?
Instead, try Jason Softening Cocoa Butter Hand & Body Lotion ($7.79 at drugstores).
The Jason Softening Cocoa Butter Hand and Body Lotion is a great alternative to the Palmer's product.  You get the same hydrating and lightening effects without the parabens or mineral oil.  Jason products are also distributed by many of the same retailers that sell Palmer's lotions.

Most of us have some kind of daily moisturizer lying around in our bathroom, in our car, or on our desk at work.  Next time you reach for the Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion on the store shelf, consider this:  This product contains three different types of parabens along with mineral oil.
Aveeno products are generally available in the same places in which you can find Lubriderm lotions.  The Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion has the same effect as the Lubriderm version and has no harmful ingredients.  Don't worry about breaking the bank because the two lotions are practically the same price!

8.  Philosophy Miracle Worker Retinoid Pads ($73 at Sephora)
Retinoids can be great for fighting signs of aging like sunspots and wrinkles in addition to skin conditions like acne.  One of the most popular retinoid treatment products on the market is the Philosophy Miracle Worker Retinoid Pads, which has an oily serum-like consistency.  When deciding whether or not to use this product, consider the fact these pads contain BHT.  
All REN products are made with clean ingredients, and the Bio Retinoid Anti-Aging Concentrate is no exception.  Like the Philosophy retinoid pads, it is one of the few retinoid treatments (rather than a retinoid moisturizer) on the market and has an oily serum-like consistency.  Just remember that retinol products make your skin extra sensitive to the sun, so pile on the sunscreen!

9. ChapStick Classic ($1.59 at drugstores)
ChapStick has definitely grown to be the "go-to" brand when it comes to lip balm.  It's been reliable, cheap, easy-to-find, and easy-to-carry.  But did you know that Chapstick products not only contain two types of parabens, but also petrolatum and mineral oil

Instead, try EOS Lip Balm ($3.29 at drugstores).
Lately, EOS Lip Balms have been the latest craze with their cute, ball-like shape.  Why should you jump on the EOS bandwagon?  Their products are equally as effective as ChapStick products are and without the parabens or petrolatum.  And you can find many of the same lovable ChapStick flavors in the EOS line. 

Nut body scrubs are a great treat for your skin.  Scrubs remove dead skin cells, stimulate circulation, and soften skin.  I especially like the calming effect of nutty scents.  Like many of their other body products, The Body Shop Brazil Nut Scrub is made with two different types of parabens.
TreeHut makes some really great, affordable personal care products.  One of my favorites is the Brazilian Nut Shea Sugar Scrub.  It does the same job as The Body Shop one and has the same sweet scent, but without the toxins. 

What healthy substitutions are you making?