Monday, October 28, 2013

Pumpkins: Why they're great for your skin!

Fall is in full bloom, which means that it's pumpkin time!  From all of the jack-o-lanterns on front porches to pumpkin spiced lattes in coffee shops, there are a ton of pumpkin products around during this time of the year.  Did you know that pumpkins are great for your skin too?  

Here are some of the benefits:

  • Antioxidant protection against free radical damage.
  • Pumpkin enzymes and acids provide mild exfoliation to soften skin.
  • Pumpkin extracts contain vitamin A and C to help promote cell turnover, and boost radiance.
  • Pumpkin oils are rich in vitamin E and fatty acids that help calm skin, regulate oil production, and fight blemishes.
...and it does it all naturally!

Luckily, there are a few fabulous healthy, pumpkin skincare products.  Try this autumn-inspired bedtime regiment:

1.  Cleanse with the MyChelle Creamy Pumpkin Cleanser ($18 at Whole Body).  In addition
to pumpkin extract, it has honey enzymes and algae extracts to help detoxify and soften even the most sensitive skin.

2.  Exfoliate with the DermaQuest Mini Pumpkin Peel ($22 on with pumpkin puree for mild exfoliation and skin nourishment.

3.  Tone with the Rhonda Allison Pumpkin Rinse ($14 on  This product uses pumpkin extract in conjunction with other beneficial ingredients like honey extract to help maintain a proper pH balance, moisturize, freshen, and protect the skin.

4.  Treat your skin to the Eminence Pumpkin Latte Hydration Masque ($52 on, which is packed with tons of powerful skincare ingredients such as pumpkin puree, aloe, willowbark, green tea, orange pulp, and avocado oil to provide deep hydration as well as nutrients to soothe, condition, repair, and protect.

5.  Brighten your complexion with the Om Aroma & Co. Pumpkin Seed Night Organic Serum ($58 at to boost radiance by promoting cell regeneration and locking in moisture.  Rose hip oil also works to even out your skin tone and lighten dark spots.

6.  Moisturize with the MyChelle Pumpkin Renew Cream ($27 at Whole Body), formulated with pumpkin seed oil as well as organic shea butter to provide skin-saving nutrients and
long-lasting hydration while still allowing your skin to breathe.

Currently, there aren't many pumpkin-based products on the mass market.  MyChelle is one of the few brands that has a really nice selection of pumpkin products, and I have yet to try one of their products that I didn't like.  Also, unlike some of the other pumpkin brands, which are sold exclusively online,
MyChelle can be conveniently found at Whole Foods.  Just double check that you are buying a product that actually contains pumpkin and isn't simply pumpkin-scented when you're shopping. 

Don't forget that eating pumpkin can be great for your skin too!  Whether you add a scoop of pumpkin puree to your oatmeal in the morning, pick up a pumpkin muffin on your way home from work, or split a slice of pumpkin pie with a friend, your skin will enjoy it as much as your taste buds do.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sleeping Beauty

When it comes to beauty, I don't believe in rigid guidelines because you should really do whatever works for you.  However, one rule that every girl should always follow is removing your makeup at night.  Why?  

That being said...there are always those times when it's inevitable that you're going to sleep in our makeup - whether you're taking a red-eye flight or crashing at a friend's place after a late night outing.  The challenge is finding products that will still look great on your face when you wake up and will cause minimal disruption to your skin's overnight repair process.  On those occasions, try these healthy products to keep your skin feeling as healthy and looking as fresh as possible:

The Eyes

The eyes are definitely the trickiest part when it comes to sleeping in makeup.  There's no way to avoid the fact that leaving it on when you sleep can definitely make you more prone to eye infections and styes.  So the following product recommendations are more based on how well they stay on while you slumber.  From
personal experience, I can say that sleeping in a smokey eye look can result in looking like a raccoon when you wake up.  So opt for a simpler look with shimmers and mattes only...sparkles can end up all over your face by the end of the night.  In general, if you know you're going to sleep in eye makeup, stick to smudge and crease-proof products, rather than products that blend well.  This means that you should stay away from pencil or powder liners.  A gel or liquid liner will stay on your eyes for longer and won't smudge.  I'm all for
drugstore products, but I find that they peel more easily and don't last as long as liners like the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner ($20 at Sephora). It has a nice thin tip for a precise and smooth application and does not run or smudge.  Or try the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner ($23 at Sephora), if you're more of a gel person.  It is also a very long-lasting formula and comes in some really pretty colors like Chocolate Shimmer and Hunter.  Similarly, try a cream shadow like the shimmery Buxom Stay-There Eye Shadows ($18 at Sephora).  They're light-weight, crease-resistant, easily to blend, and richly pigmented.  And don't forget mascara! 
Look for long-last mascaras that are smudge-proof rather than waterproof (since waterproof formulas are more likely to peel).  The two big long-lasting, volumizing mascaras on shelves are the Maybelline XXL Pro 24HR Bold Mascara ($8 in drugstores) and the Cover Girl LashBlast 24 Hour Mascara ($9 in drugstores).  There's even a new, hot mascara product that lasts 72 hours!  Unfortunately, the Max Factor Lashfinity 3 Day Mascara has only been released in the UK.  I can't wait for it to make it over here!

The Lips 

As you sleep, your lips lose moisture, so you definitely need to wear a moisturizing product at night.  Your best bet for long-last lip color is always a lip stain because they literally "stain" your lips.  The problem with lip stains though is that they don't provide hydration.  So products like the Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm ($17 at Sephora) and the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain ($9 in drugstores) have introduced a solution in the form of balm + stains, which are similar to chubby crayons.  Balm + stains are the perfect product for beautifully pigmented, soft, kissable lips morning and night.

The Face 

Like your lips, your skin will also lose moisture as you sleep, and many foundations even pull moisture from your skin in order to keep from caking.  Instead of a foundation, stick to a BB or CC cream for better hydration and coverage that will last.  In this case, a CC like the Ole Henriksen Total Truth CC Creme Broad Spectrum 30 ($36 at Sephora) that is suited more for dry skin types will do the job.  Or if you're more of a BB person, try the Dr. Jart+ V7 Beauty Balm ($36 at Sephora), which is packed with vitamins to assist with the skin-renewal process when you sleep (so that your skin is supple and radiant when you wake up!).  Both products contain hylauronic acid to help your skin lock in moisture.  As for your blush, try a gel formula that will stay on without drying out your skin.  I've always been a fan of the Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee ($22 at Sephora) because it is very natural looking, and the coverage is buildable.  Plus, it water infused and formulated with coconut, a super hydrating natural ingredient.  Alternatively, you can try a rollerball gel blush, which is also very natural looking.  Tarte makes a nice Maracuja Blush and Go ($32 at Sephora) and for a sheerer color, use the Perfekt Cheek Perfection Gel ($28 at Sephora) with Smart Color Technology that adjusts to your skin tone.  These rollerball blushes are great for sleeping because they're light-weight, moisturizing, and contain beneficial vitamins and antioxidants.
And don't forget to top it all off with powder!  One of the most innovative beauty products to hit the market is the bareMinerals Pure Transformation Night Treatment ($60 at Sephora), the first makeup product that is specifically designed for sleeping.  In fact, it is an overnight treatment that replenishes skin so that you wake up with a luminous glow.  At the same, the powder is pigmented, providing coverage to mask imperfections, minimize pores, and even skin tone.  Overall, it is pretty transfer-resistant and moisturizes without feeling oily.  It's definitely one of the coolest products that I've tried! 

To help your makeup last throughout the night and stick to your face rather than your pillow,
check out these tips.  The morning following up your night in makeup, your complexion may look a little dull.  After cleansing, try a mask that will help renew your skin and restore its natural glow.  Simply smooth some JUARA Skincare Turmeric Antioxidant Radiance Mask ($35 at all over your face and rinse it off with cool water after 15 minutes...your face will be instantly brightened!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Beauty Rituals That Do Good AND Feel Good

How many times do you find yourself torn between what feels good and what does good for your body?  Well luckily, there are a few skin care rituals that do both:

1.  Take a warm bath.
Not only will the warmth and aromatherapy relax your mind, but your skin will thank you too.  All you have to do is soak in a lukewarm water...make sure it isn't too hot because hot water can strip your skin of good oils.  Warm water will help lock in moisture while opening your pores.  Don't forget to pour in some some bath salts like the Ahava Honey Herbal Bath Salt ($22 at Ulta).  Bath salts can help detoxify by ridding your skin of impurities.  I especially like the Ahava one because it is formulated with honey, herbs, and minerals from the dead sea to help condition and nourish the skin.  You can also add some essential oils like the Dr. Hauschka Moor Lavender Bath Essence ($30 at Whole Body) to further boost hydration.  In addition to the fact that is smells great, the Dr. Hauschka lavender oil has great calming and protective properties.  Simply allow your skin to marinate in the bath for 15-20 minutes to get that long lasting fresh scent.  Like a body wrap that you would get in a spa, a bath will leave your skin will feel soft, soothed, and purified...and not to mention that it helps soothe sore muscles...for barely a fraction of the cost.  Just grab a good book or continue a round of Candy Crush for perfect ending to a stressful day!

2.  Exfoliate.
Brighten up your complexion by shedding those dead skin cells.  Use a gentle facial brush (move it in a circular motion) with your face cleanser or a gentle facial scrub to mechanically slough off residue as well as dead cells.  Women of every age should exfoliate regularly.  For young women, it will help tame acne by preventing particles on your face from clogging pores.  For older women, it will polish your skin and leave you with a more youthful glow.  Exfoliating also helps scars and dark spots fade more quickly.  When you're done, you'll be left with fresh skin that feels super soft.  You'll see the results as your makeup goes on more smoothly and your skincare absorbs more efficiently.  The best part?  The gentle scratching of the exfoliating beads or brush feels great too!  Try the Caudalie Deep Cleansing Exfoliator ($35 at Sephora) for your face.  It not only exfoliates and cleanses but it's also hydrating and packed with powerful grape-derived antioxidants.  And don't forget about your body!  The Pacifica Kona Coffee & Sugar Detox Whole Body Scrub ($28 at Ulta) is healthy, smoothing, and smells delicious.

3.  Give your face a nice massage. 
Each morning, give your skin a little one-minute wake-up massage.  After sleeping, your face is tense, so it's a great way to loosen up the muscles in your face.  Gently pat your face and tap your fingertips all over.  Apply a little bit of pressure by pressing down on pressure points such as your temples and the sides of the bottom of your nose.  You can also slide your fingers in upward motions (downward motions promote sagging) away from the center of your face along your bones.  Do it when you're washing or moisturizing your face (when your face is lubricated) and avoid kneading or pulling to prevent wrinkles.  Martha Stewart Living gives a great DIY face massage with visuals.  By removing dead skin cells and stimulating circulation, your face will appear more radiant and feel energized.

4.  Steam on a cold day... or spritz on a hot one.
We all know how good a facial steam feels...especially on a cold day.  All you have to do is
microwave or boil some water so that it is steaming.  Afterwards, hover over the steam and allow it to open your pores (a good opportunity to follow up with cleansing or extracting impurities) and add moisture to your skin.  Alternatively, in the summers, I love to keep some Avene Thermal Spring Water Spray ($18 on in my purse.  It's a refreshing spray that helps calm and soften skin.  Plus, it will cool you off on a hot day with a few spritzes.  The nice thing about water sprays is that you can even use them over makeup.  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Marble Nails

I'm usually pretty conservative with my nails...I tend to go with the French mani look because it's simple, classy, and matches with everything.  But I must say that sometimes, seeing all of the fun, bright nail colors in stores, makes me more adventurous with my nails.  I'm pretty awful with nail art, so I've found that marbling it is a quick and easy way to spice up my manicure.

Use your nail polish brush and drop a dot of each color (that's about 1/4 the size of your nail) on your nail. It works best with "gooey" formulas like Sally Hansen Insta Dri ($5.49 at drugstores) or Revlon Colorstay Longwear ($7.99).  I prefer the Sally Hansen Insta Dri because it as you can infer from its name, it dries in 60 seconds (just make sure you seal it with a top coat to prevent chipping).  Then, take a toothpick, and swirl the colors together in a circular motion, covering the surface of your nail.  And voila!  You have nails that are interesting, yet not over the top.

Sally Hansen 2013 Limited Edition Rent the Runway Insta Dri Collection in Style Steel and Pink Fast.

What do you think?