I’m not sure if it’s the dry air, Christmas sweets, or my recent trip to the Northeast (or maybe a combination of all three?) that’s turned my skin into a dull, flaky mess. Therefore, I’ve made it one of my New Year’s resolutions to take better care of my skin. In addition to drinking more water, cleaning my makeup brushes more often, and accepting that I need to wash my face before bed, I also took a few new products out for a spin. The most recent additions to my medicine cabinet are a few goodies from InstaNatural.
Astonishingly, I’d never used any sort of facial serum before trying out the InstaNatural Vitamin C Serum*. The thick, viscous formula (reminiscent of orange juice) absorbs almost immediately into my skin and contains 20% vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, ferulic acid, vitamin E, and rosehip oil. Used underneath the InstaNatural Pure Argan Oil*, my skin has never looked so radiant. I’ve used Argan oil in the past, but the skincare habit became too expensive for me to maintain – sorry Josie Maran! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this MASSIVE 4 oz. bottle of Argan oil for well under $20. I honestly thought it might be too good to be true (p.s. it’s not). For me, this Argan oil is the perfect moisturizer. My skin is never greasy – always perfectly balanced, even-toned, and fresh.
In addition to the skincare goodies, I also tried out the InstaNatural Argan Oil Hair Mask*. My poor, parched strands soaked up that buttery goodness. Wintery weather doesn’t stand a chance now that I have this in my haircare arsenal! Besides the fact that this hair mask contains lashings of Argan oil, it’s also loaded with shea butter, coconut oil, and vitamin B5. So. Good.
Now that you know mine, what’s your New Year’s resolution?
Origins is one brand that I’ve heard many great things about but never gotten into. So, as a first foray into the brand, I decided to order this six-piece Origins Bestsellers set from Sephora (now sold out!!!!). I’ve found myself drawn to more skincare products lately and wouldn’t mind actually splurging on the full-sized versions if these products live up to their hype.
Long winters with your feet stuffed in socks and boots can lead to some pretty scary toes. Want to know the secret for getting sandal-ready feet? Get your dogs in tip-top shape by trying a foot chemical peel. It’s a Japanese product called Baby Foot (super creepy name…) and it works wonders. Just like a chemical peel for your face, this foot peel gets rid of all (ALL) the old, dead skin on your feet and you’re left with smooth, baby soft feet. However, nothing can prepare you for the intensity of this foot peel. Your skin will peel off in sheets (in a snake-shedding-skin kind of way) for about 7 days. You will wonder why you ever did it, and it may ruin the inside of your shoes, your living room carpet, and your love life. But, be patient… it works better than anything else. A concentrated blend of lactic acid and alcohol gives this foot treatment its one-two punch.
Here’s how to do it:
Soak feet in warm water for about 15-20 minutes and wash with soap. Dry feet. Do not skip this step – it is essential for the gel to absorb properly.
Place dried feet into the provided gel-filled plastic booties. Secure booties with tape (provided).
Slide on another pair of socks over the booties and kick back for an hour. Do not attempt to walk around because the gel will ooze out.
After waiting an hour, remove socks and booties. Wash feet with soap and water.
After about 7 days, your feet will start to peel (my toes started peeling first). Resist the urge to peel until you’re at home. You will inevitably get skin everywhere unless you constantly wear socks around the house (probably recommended). It took about 7 days for my feet to finish peeling. In total, it was about a two-week process, so be patient.
Once your feet have completely finished peeling, you’ll be left with soft, smooth soles. I usually have pretty deep heel fissures and they were completely healed after this process. I like to keep my feet looking their best by applying Bag Balm (old school, I know) to my feet every night before bed. This will keep them looking sandal-ready all summer.
What do you think? Are you willing to try Baby Foot? Let me know in the comments section below!
Boscia Luminizing Black Mask: After showering, I slathered on this tarry mask and waited about 20 minutes for it to harden. Unlike other masks that lighten as they dry, this one stays extremely black (fun to scare your cat with) and you must wait until it turns smooth and plasticky to peel off. Underneath the mask, my skin felt tight and dry. This mask provides mechanical removal of impurities (as opposed to chemical removal), so it was quite painful to peel off my skin. After removal, my pores looked clearer but my skin was red and slightly irritated.
Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask: Right after applying, my skin felt tingly and cool. The mask had a different consistency than the Boscia one and was easier to spread across my face (less sticky/tarry). The mask went on a shark blue color and dried to a dark gray. Once it had fully dried (about 20 minutes), it was very easy to rinse off with warm water and left no residue behind. I felt that it cleared my pores and brightened my complexion immediately.
The verdict? Origins Clear Improvement Mask won hands-down over Bosica Luminizing Black Mask. Not only does it ring in at $10 less for more product ($24 for Origins’ 3.4oz vs. $34 for Boscia’s 2.8oz), my skin felt softer, looked brighter, and was much less irritated than after I’d used the Boscia mask. The Origins mask has become a weekly skincare ritual for me and helps keep my skin looking its best.
Have you ever tried these products? Do you agree with my choice? Let me know in the comments section below!
It wasn’t until recently that I’d heard of the Japanese skincare line SK-II, via Cate Blanchett. How could you resist skincare endorsed by Cate Blanchett’s creamy visage? Girl’s gotta be doing something right. SK-II opened a pop-up studio in San Francisco where you can stop by and receive a complimentary digital skin analysis and try out their Facial Treatment Mask. I took one for the team (women everywhere) and stopped by to check it out after work Tuesday night.
I was greeted at the door by a friendly SK-II skincare professional who offered me a beverage and took me to a have a seat at one of their stations. She asked what I like about my skin and what I’d like to improve. I told her that overall I’m pretty happy with my skin but would like to work on texture refinement and dryness. She recommended a few different products like the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, which is a moisturizing facial treatment that you apply like a toner. The main ingredient in their products is Pitera. Derived from a strictly controlled natural fermentation process, Pitera is a clear liquid rich in vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and organic acids. This combination of nutrients work to dramatically improve the skin’s natural surface rejuvenation process.
The coolest part of the whole experience was the digital skin consultation. She snapped an image of the left side of my face with her fancy camera. The left side statistically gets more sun/weather exposure (driving habits, etc.) than the right side, so there’s usually more damage. She pulled up my photo on her tablet and the computer analyzed my skin. Surprisingly, even though I’m only 23, the computer concluded that I had a “skin age” of 29! This was determined by a combination of factors such as skin hydration, sun damage, firmness, and prevalence of wrinkles. I was able to see both the visible and invisible sun damage on my skin, my visible and invisible pores, and micro-fissures where wrinkles were starting to form (scary!). The whole process was definitely enlightening and made me want to proactively care for my skin.
Lastly, I got to try SK-II’s Facial Treatment Mask, which is 30 days worth of Pitera essence in one treatment. It felt cold and wet on my face, which was a refreshing reprieve from the California heat wave we’ve been having this week. The mask makes you look like The Mummy, but at least I wasn’t the only woman there with one on! She removed the mask after 10 minutes and my skin instantly felt more refreshed.
I even snapped this CUTE selfie after leaving (don’t mind the smudged eye makeup – this photo is not retouched…) to see for myself. I definitely felt my skin looked healthier and more radiant. These masks are very pricey for us twenty-somethings, but they’d be great to use before special occasions. The Japanese like to use these Facial Treatment Masks as a bridal skincare ritual 90 days prior to the wedding day.
Singing Satellites necklace by MJXL Jewelry.
I also walked away with a goodie bag of free SK-II samples and a voucher for a free deluxe sample of their products at Sephora. Everything that they did was completely complimentary and free of charge.
If you’re in the San Francisco area, you should definitely check it out! The pop-up studio runs until May 23rd, 2014. For more information, check out their website.
Your symptoms: flaky face, raw nose, chapped lips, and cracked hands. The culprit? You make be suffering from… winter. Even before the snow flies, winter weather is taking its toll. Amp up your usual skincare regimen and you’ll be glowing even when it’s snowing (I’m corny). Keep reading for my recommendations!
There’s nothing worse than dry, cracked lips! Every night before bed, exfoliate your lips with a damp washcloth. Then, apply an emollient lip balm like Aquaphor Lip Repair. It also works wonders on a raw nose!
Before showering, dry brush your entire body with a natural bristle brush. Brush the skin on your arms and legs up towards your torso, and the skin on your back down towards the floor. This promotes circulation, rids your body of dead skin cells, and stimulates your lymphatic system. After showering, apply Kiehl’s Creme de Corps to damp skin.
Winter weather calls for a heavy-duty eye cream like Mario Badescu Ceramide Herbal Eye Cream. The eye area does not have any of its own oil glands, therefore, the area needs to be supplemented with a rich eye cream so that it doesn’t dry out! Every night, apply three dots to each brow bone and under eye area and lightly tap to blend.
Even during the winter your skin still needs to be protected from the sun. Use a light, yet emollient moisturizer like Mario Badescu Collagen Moisturizer SPF 15 during the day. It protects the skin from moisture loss without the use of heavy oils.
After washing your face at night, apply a thicker, richer moisturizer to your face. I like Mario Badescu Seaweed Night Cream because it leaves my skin soft and silky without clogging my pores.
What are some of your winter skin regimen recommendations?