Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Making Your Mani Last

Doing your nails takes time and effort, so I try to keep my manicure looking as fresh as possible for as long as possible.  Chips and peels can look really sloppy, so take some of these simple measures to prolong the life of your polish:

1.  Wear gloves to wash your dishes 
Dish washing gloves will not only save your nails, but your skin too.  That prolonged exposure to water and dish soap can dry out your skin as well as take a toll on your nails.  In addition, handling all of those dishes can scratch polish.  I just keep a pair of gloves next to my sink so that I never forget to wear them.  It takes almost no effort to put them on and keeps your hands looking and feeling so much nicer.

2.  Start wearing a base coat
Many of us like to skip the base coat, but it's equally as important as the top coat.  A base coat like the Essie First Base Base Coat ($8.50 at Ulta) will help create a sticky surface on which your nail polish can cling.  The base will also prevent your polish from seeping into your nails and causing discoloration or damage.  Just make sure that you're using a base coat, not simply a clear nail polish or a top coat (a base and top coat combo product is perfectly fine).  It's a quick and easy step that will really make a difference!  Like a base coat can attract polish, oily substances can cause a barrier between your nail and polish.  Don't moisturize your hands right before you apply polish unless you wipe down each nail afterwards.  The moisturizer will sit on nails and prevent the polish from drying and sticking to your nail properly.  Also, be sure to remove any cuticle oil that you have applied.

3.  Choose your top coat wisely
A top coat is also important in putting a protective barrier between your polish and the outside world.  It's most convenient to opt for top coats that will quick dry your nail polish.  But to keep your polish sealed onto your nail for a long time, look for "no chip" formulas like the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Anti-Chip Top Coat ($6 in drugstores), which happens to have a quick dry formula (dries in 30 seconds).  Most top coats have some form of protection against UV related fading/discoloration.  For summer days in the sun, look for a specific UV top coat like the Avon Nail Experts UV Gloss Guard Top Coat ($6.50 on avon.com).  It also leaves nails beautifully glossy.  To make your mani extra long-lasting, refresh your top coat every 2-3 days.

4.  Skip the hand sanitizer
Although alcohol doesn't remove nail color completely, it can definitely remove the finish on your nail polish, discolor it, or allow it to chip more easily.  Since most hand sanitizers contain alcohol to kill germs, constantly using them can wear away at your nail color.  Instead, try to wash with soap and water if you can.  I have also found that hand sanitizers with natural alcohol are a little bit more gentle as well.  For example, the Jao Hand Refresher ($10 on amazon.com) is formulated with alcohol derived from grapes as well as other natural antiseptic oils.  This natural product kills germs without the harshness that can over dry skin and eat away at nail polish.

5.  Change the color of your polish
In general, dark polishes and matte finishes tend to be the most obvious when they chip.  So, try light, shimmery pink shades, which provide less of a contrast with skin color and deflect light.  They make for a very classic, elegant look that matches with any outfit.  When these polishes chip, they look way neater than darker colors.  Zoya Nail Polish in Melanie ($8 on zoya.com) is a nice light shimmery pink color, and Zoya is one of my favorite brands because it's Big 5-free!  Glittery polishes also deflect light, but I find that many of these formulas peel more easily. 

I find that I my manicures usually hold up for about a week, but I definitely experience some chipping along the way, which can get on my nerves.  We don't usually have time to redo our nails multiple times per week...unless you can do it fast.  Sometimes, I just can't stand chips and prefer to do a quick polish change mid-week.  Just soak of the polish with the Sephora Collection Instant Nail Polish Remover ($10 at Sephora).  This product is my favorite remover because it makes removing polish effortless.  You simply insert your nail into the sponge opening in the bottle, and the nail polish dissolves instantly.  And with no strong unpleasant remover smell.  

Then, apply some Sally Hansen Insta Dri Fast Dry Nail Color ($5 at
Ulta).  With the way that the brush is designed, you only need 1 stroke, and the formula is thick enough, where you only need 1 coat.  As the name implies, it dries in 60 seconds.  So, the whole process (including removal and dry time) takes 10 minutes.  The Insta Dri polish definitely chips faster than regular polish (it usually lasts 3-4 days for me), but it's definitely a lot quicker and more convenient. Two Insta Dri manis end up keeping my nails looking neater with the same amount of time that it would take to do 1 manicure with ordinary nail polish and remover.

How do you keep your mani looking fresh?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Tips For Summer Beauty

Yay!  Summer is on its way, and it's certainly getting warmer.  What does that mean for your skin?  Since there's more moisture in the air, it's probably feel less parched than it did in January.  In addition, your makeup may feel a little heavy and sticky in the heat.  Check out these tips for summer beauty:

Tip #1:  Swap your moisturizing creams for moisturizing gels. 
I don't know about you, but I can't stand the feeling of moisturizer on my body on a hot summer day.  So one of my favorite beauty products of all time is the L'Occitane Citrus Verbena Sorbet Body Cream ($36 in department stores).  It's a non-sticky, gel-like body cream that melts into your skin, provides hydration, and cools skin.  Plus, the light lemon scent is perfect for the summer.  Another refreshing summer product is cooling gels, which provide just enough hydration for your face in the midst of summer heat.  Use the Boscia Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel ($38 at Sephora) as your evening summer moisturizer.  This gel disappears into skin, but keeps moisture sealed in, brightens, and minimizes pores.  And it's much more light-weight than a traditional moisturizer. 

Tip #2:  Boost the SPF
SPF 15 for daily wear is okay for the winter, but kick it up to SPF 30 during the summer when rays are more intense.  Remember that mineral sunblocks are ideal for sun protection.  Just dab a generous amount of bareMinerals Advanced Protection SPF 20 Moisturizer ($30 at Sephora) on your face every morning.  It hydrates and provides mineral-based sun protection.  And don't leave the skin on the rest of your body defenseless against the sun!  You may not care about wrinkles on your arms, but you can certainly get skin cancer there.  Rub some Vaseline Aloe Fresh Body Lotion SPF 15 ($8 at drugstores) on any exposed skin - neck, shoulders, arms, hands - before you go about your day.  I like this Vaseline product a lot because it's affordable, easy to find, and most importantly, healthy.  For more information on SPF, mineral sunblock, and sun protection for the beach, check out: http://beautyforlife127.blogspot.com/2013/06/summertime-means-sunscreen-time.html

Tip #3:  Rethink your coverage 
Heavy foundations can feel and look worse in hot weather.  Increased oilyness, perspiration, and humidity can make your makeup feel sticky on your face and cake more easily.  I know my foundation looks like a mess at the end of a 90 degree day...liquid foundations can sometimes feel as if they're melting off your face.  Stick with a BB/CC/DD cream or tinted moisturizer if you can.  They are a little bit lighter than an actual foundation and get absorbed by skin more easily.  The Perfekt Skin Perfection Gel ($28 at Sephora) is a BB gel that is light and ideal for summer weather.  If you really prefer fuller coverage, try a mineral makeup like the Becca Perfect Skin Mineral Powder Foundation ($40 at Sephora), which often stays better through perspiration and heat.  The powder foundation type will also help control humidity-induced shine. 

Tip #4:  Repack your purse

There are three items that you should add to your purse during the summer.  First, remember to pack your sunglasses.  Not only do they protect your eyes against developing cataracts, but they also protect the area around your eyes from wrinkles from the sun.  Second, I find myself brushing some Alison Raffaele Transparent Finish Powder To-Go ($46 on dermstore.com) on my face at some point during the middle of the day.  It's a weight-less, clear powder that absorbs excess oil and sets makeup.  This to-go version comes with the brush and mirror attached to the powder.  The powder dispenses into the brush for easy application and storage in your bag.  Lastly, keep some Evian Mineral Water Spray Duo To Go ($14 at Sephora) handy to spritz your face throughout the day.  The cold mist will feel so cool and refreshing on a hot day.  The water formula also sets makeup, restores hydration, and helps remove sweat.

Tip #5:  More vitamin E, less mineral oil
As I mentioned, you have an added sun stressor on your skin during the summer.  In
addition to protecting your skin from the sun during the day with SPF, it is also important to
assist with repairing any damage related to sun exposure during the night.  Using a vitamin E treatment can help with the recovery process, provide antioxidant protection against the sun, and soothe sunburned skin.  The Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil Light ($48 at Sephora) is a summer must-have.  This product is a pure oil, and argan oil is rich in natural vitamin E.  You may be thinking that the oil may feel too greasy in the summer, but Josie Maran makes a "light" version that is fast absorbing and super lightweight.  On the other hand, mineral oils (baby oil, petroleum jelly) attract sunlight and can cause burns.  Remember in the 1970's when people used baby oil to tan?  So make sure you're not using mineral oil or products that list mineral oil (or derivatives of it) as an ingredient in the morning.

Tip #6:  Tone down the deeps and have fun with brights.
Put those deep shades away.  Dark eye and lip makeup can get magnified by sunlight and often looks too heavy during the summer.  Ditch the ruby lipstick for a more natural looking shimmery peach lip gloss like the Buxom Full-On Lip Polish in Amber ($19 at Sephora).  Shimmer is nice in the summer because it reflects the sunlight and gives off a pretty glow.  Another part of summer fun is bright nail colors.  The brightest pinks, oranges, blues seem more "acceptable" in the summer so take advantage of it!  I personally love the new Sally Hansen Triple Shine in Pixie Slicks ($5 in drugstores), an ultra shiny bright pink color with a hint of coral...super fun and pretty for summer!

Enjoy the warm weather everyone!

**All product recommendations are toxin-free

Monday, May 12, 2014

Best Healthy Products for Your Skin Type

Oily Skin

People with oily skin, should be looking for light-weight, gel-based products that are oil-free.  Labels like "mattifying," "for blemish-prone skin," or "pore minimizing" are good for oily skin.  Try this healthy oily skin regiment with some of my favorite products:


Most people classify their skin as combination.  It's tricky balancing the drier areas of the face with the more oily ones.  In general, look for hydrating oil-free products, keeping a good mix of purifying/clarifying (will remove excess oil without overdrying dry areas) and moisturizing products. 


Since oil and dryness aren't a concern for people with normal skin, look for products that are balancing to maintain healthy levels of sebum, hydration, and nutrients.  Opt for products that will help boost radiance and aid with natural processes like cell repair.


If you have dry skin, steer clear of oil-free products.  Also, many sensitive skin and mature skin products are gentle and suitable for dry skin too.  Look for thicker, creamy consistencies, moisture trapping ingredients like shea butter, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and shea butter, as well as skin-soothing ingredients such as vitamin E and fatty acids.
**All product recommendations are toxin-free :)

Monday, May 5, 2014

How to Perfect the Afternoon Touch-Up

I don't know about you, but my makeup certainly does not look as fresh at 4:00PM as it does at 10:00AM.  During the day, simple tasks like walking around, eating, blinking...movement of your face in general can take a toll on your makeup.  In addition, your skin will replenish oil during the day as time progresses after washing it as well as lose moisture.  All of these factors can cause our makeup to cake, smudge, and fade.  Thus, many women refresh their makeup throughout the day.  Check out these tips for your mid-day touch up:

1.  Clean up around your eye area
The most noticeable area that smear and fades is generally the eye area.  Always keep some Q-tips with you to clean up around the eye area.  Tackle more stubborn mascara and eyeliner smudges with Almay Oil Free Makeup Eraser Sticks ($6 at Ulta).  They're basically Q-tips with a makeup remover formula in the middle of the wand.  When you break it in half, the solution dispenses to one side of the Q-tip.  And it doesn't leave an oil or residue behind.  Even though I typically wear gel eyeliner, I keep a creamy pencil liner in my purse for any easier liner touch up.  
After all that, sometimes my eyes still don't look as awake as they did in the morning.  If I'm going out to dinner or something after school or work, I'll line the inner corners of my eyes with a shimmery, white eyeshadow (using a brush, wand, Q-tip, or white eyeliner pencil) and dust a light cost of the shadow under my bottom lash line to make my eyes pop and my eye makeup look sharper.  It really helps counteract any darkness around the eyes (from makeup smudging or fatigue) and acts as a light-reflecting luminizer to brighten.

2.  Mattify oil
When you wash your face in the morning, you rid your pores of excess oil.  However, during
the day, your skill will slowly replenish that supply.  By mid-day, your face may appear shinier than it was in the morning.  Excess oil may also cause some foundations and powders to cake.  So, keep some Palladio Oil Absorbing Rice Paper Tissues with Rice Powder ($4 at Ulta) in your purse.  You don't need to invest in expensive blotting tissues because drug store ones can do the job.  I really like the Palladio ones because they absorb oil really well without smearing makeup like other blotters do (make sure to pat not wipe oil from your face).  Just don't overdo it...you shouldn't be blotting more than three times per day because constantly removing oil will send a signal your skin to produce more oil.  Eventually, this can cause your skin to overproduce oil. 

3.  Wake up your complexion
To top it off, dust your face with a sheer pressed powder like the Urban Decay Naked Skin Ultra Definition Pressed Finishing Powder ($34 at Sephora).  The powder will help also help absorb any excess oil.  I prefer a pressed powder because they are generally a more light-weight, and they're more mess-proof for easy storage in your purse and reapplication.  In addition, I prefer a powder with a sheer coverage (rather than a transparent one or one with fuller coverage) and radiant finish because a slight touch of color and luminosity won't interfere too much with the makeup on your face.  In fact, it can even your skin tone and give your
complexion a little lift.  
For days when your complexion is looking particularly dull, gently pat a small amount of Mally Perfect Poreless Primer ($35 at Ulta) over your face before you apply the powder.  I save it for certain occasions only because I don't like the fact that it contains bismuth oxychlorideBut I must say that it's the only primer that I have stumbled across so far that looks okay over makeup.  As a primer, it helps seal in moisture, smooth, and brighten.  Mally herself claims that this is a good way to rid your face "mid-day crusties" and keep your complexion glowing.

4.  Reapply
With eating, it's pretty hard to keep your lip color on all day, so don't forget to reapply it throughout the day to keep your face looking fresh.  Adding an additional coat of mascara can also spruce up your look.  Lastly, you may need to retouch any blemishes or dark spots that you spot cover with concealer.  Slim concealer pens like the Shiseido The Makeup Corrector Pencil ($18 at Sephora) are perfect for the job.  It's compact for carrying around, while the stick formula glides on easily and allows for a precise application.

5.  Rehydrate
Throughout the day, your skin will lose moisture as time passes after applying your morning moisturizer.  Also, many foundations work by pulling moisture from your skin, which can be dehydrating.  To set your reapplied makeup and replenish your moisture supply, spritz with some Avene Thermal Spring Water ($9 on drugstore.com) over your makeup.  Not only will your skin look refreshed, but it will feel refreshed too. 

If you find that you have to reapply your makeup multiple times a day, you can probably take better measures to keep your makeup on.  For example, try using a setting spray like the Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Spray ($29 at Sephora) to set makeup in place better than a setting powder or long-lasting foundation alone.  You can also use primers to keep your mascara, eyeshadow, foundation, and lip color in place.  Some really effective healthy options include:
Hopefully, these tips will help you freshen up so that you can put your best face forward every time of the day :)