Product Review: The Ordinary 30% AHA + 2% BHA Peeling Solution

BOO! Nope, it’s not your friend’s gory Halloween makeup, it’s The Ordinary’s 30% AHA + 2% BHA peeling solution! I posted a picture of myself on Facebook and immediately got questions on PRP (or the vampire facial), getting into a fight with a cheese grater, a chimney sweep and my favorite – my husband proclaiming he did not inflict any damage to his wife. Take a look at my goofy face. For many reasons it’s a little frightening.Ordinary_30

The Ordinary is a great little company that has taken the beauty market by storm. Anything but ordinary, they make really good, straightforward products that are both effective and very affordable. It’s a great way to inexpensively try things you’ve never heard of before like HA spheres and squalene. They’ve also recently been incorporated at Sephora, which is an interesting play for them to bring in lower cost options but goes to show you they’ve been making enough noise in the industry for the big players to notice.

A quick intro to acids

Acids are the absolute most essential part to my skincare routine and I suggest that Readhead readers incorporate them as well.  My skin both loves it, and requires it. I have dehydrated oily skin.  Think of the dehydrated skin as saran wrap over oil.  If you don’t get that layer off, the oil gets trapped in my large pores and breakout city. For drier skins, they may be too delicate for harsh scrubs and a lack of cell turnover can produce dull, crepey skin.

The main thing to know about acids is they fall into basically two camps – AHA (or alpha hydroxy acids) or BHA (beta hydroxy acids). AHAs are great at removing the “glue” that holds the top layers of skin together.  They will brighten and tighten.  Common names are glycolic, lactic and mandelic acids and come in formulations from 7-75%.  They are great for resurfacing, treating sun damage and fine lines. BHAs are generally lower percentages, with most functioning properly at 2%.  They bypass sebum (aka oil) to get into the pore to unclog them and are generally a form of salicylic acid. You can see some peeling at higher percentages, but this is more of a getting down and dirty type of acid vs. the AHA which will show immediate brightening effects.  Rest assured though, they are both acids and require careful use and SPF!

The Ordinary’s 30% AHA + 2% BHA

As mentioned above, it should make sense to you then why formulation in The Ordinary’s 30% AHA + 2% BHA has a much AHA higher percentage than the BHA.  But, it’s great that this formulation includes both. especially for skin types like mine – read anything other than very sensitive or reactive.  I would also like to throw out there that if you don’t plan on a good SPF/hat/shade game, then please skip this.  Not only will you undo any of the benefits, but you’ll also make your skin more photosensitive.

Ingredients:

Here’s the ingredients from The Ordinary’s site: Glycolic Acid, Aqua (Water), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Daucus Carota Sativa Extract, Propanediol, Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Salicylic Acid, Potassium Citrate, Lactic Acid, Tartaric Acid, Citric Acid, Panthenol, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Xanthan gum, Polysorbate 20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.

You’ll see the AHAs glycolic, tactic and tartaric and citric acids listed which help get to that 30% formulation. Salicylic acid is the BHA.  Then you’ve got a host of hydrators and soothers like sodium hyaluronate, sodium hydroxide, glycerin and what gives this stuff it’s signature (and frightening) blood-red color is the Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf extract.

Packaging and Application:

This states, and I agree, that this is for seasoned skincare folks who know how to use and can tolerate high percentages of acids. It comes in a bottle with a dropper.  No frills, but looks clean and in line with the Ordinary’s slightly hipster anti-packaging flare. I started with a clean, dry face and put a few drops on my hands and then slathered it on.

The reddish-pink color was a bit shocking but I have to admit that I appreciated that you could easily see where you put the peel on.  I then patted in a few extra goes on my forehead, nose, chin and cheeks which need some extra de-clogging. You’ll see that is the more streaky areas from the picture. I let it sit for 10 minutes; it was very simple to use and didn’t require extra steps or tools. I can dig that.

Result

I am very acclimated to OTC acids and I could feel this one.  It certainly wasn’t unbearable, but I could feel it.  Definitely do not use this with any open cuts, acne, after sun exposure or recent exfoliation.

I rinsed it off and voila! My face was tight, bright and shiny.  Here’s my face again with no filter and no makeup…or hair styling for that matter.  See Readhead readers, there’s nothing but keepin’ it real here.Ordinary_30after

You’ll see I’ve got a nice glow customary of AHA peels.  My pores were temporarily diminished and the majority were clean.  I have two stubborn blackheads that didn’t budge though, unfortunately.

I decided to wait a couple of days to review this to see what happened.  My skin felt somewhat dry, but did not visibly flake. That ultra bright glow did fade but as the days went by my skin was still brighter than previous.  My one caveat to that was that I broke out in tiny white heads in a few places.  Since you’ve read my pimple puzzle post I knew that this was caused by some irritation from this peel.  They weren’t ragers, but they popped up and came to a head very quickly. I had read some reviews from others that this happened to. I don’t believe in purging, especially my skin since I’m not starting a skincare routine from scratch, so I chalked this up to irritation. For those who have sensitive skin, you may want to patch test first. I would also caution using this on your neck or your chest area without patch testing as these areas are typically more sensitive and delicate than your facial skin.

Final assessment

This did what a mask of this type should do.  It was kind of fun to use in the process as well!  The ingredients are good and YOU CANNOT BEAT THE PRICE.  It’s a whopping $7.20 compared to the $80 that my beloved Drunk Elephant Sukari Babyfacial retails for.

It’s got a lot going for it, and now that I’m basically back to being a poor college student (more on that in another post) I think this is a great option for budget-seekers. Where it does fall down for me though, is the irritation. For someone of my skin type it is missing that extra blend of luxuriousness like the Babyfacial which left me with similar results, no irritation and missing that feeling of dry “if you rubbed your finger over my skin it would sound like Tupperware” skin afterwards.

When you’re talking $8 vs. $80 though, you’re willing to forego some things.  I’d recommend this one, but with a cautionary note.  It’s high powered and makes no excuses. It lacks overall availability like a drugstore product, but you can easily order it online or stop by Sephora or another Ordinary shop.

Overall: 4/5

Price: $$$$$

Packaging:  5/5

 

Have you used The Ordinary products? Drop us a line in the comments.

Put down the polish. Great nails start here

Search the interwebs and you will find countless postings about what your nails can be telling you about your health.  I happen to like some of the fun facts found in this Huffington Post write-up.

The short of it is, your nails are made out of proteins and a host of other amino acids.  Your hair and your nails have similar make ups, driven mostly by keratin which is the prime protein.  The things that you see (your hair, nails, skin) are often expressions of what is going on inside of you, or what you’re making available to the factories within your body to do their best work.  I took a biology course a few months ago which dabbled into protein synthesis – it’s a complex thing and I’m constantly reminded how amazing the human body really is. If you’d like to get nerdy about the make up of your nails, check out this link. It can be helpful if you have underlying issues to help determine what could be amiss.

It’s no secret that a healthy diet is good all the way around.  But when it comes to your nails, they could just be telling you what you might be missing.

Two disclaimers here.  I am not a doctor and am not attempting to diagnose or cure anyone.  And, how your nails perform is also up to genetics.  If you take that in mind and have realistic expectations, you can feel confident that you’ll be on a path to healthier, more beautiful nails.

Background

I am a reformed nail biter.  Gross, I know.  I don’t really know when it began, but up until a few years ago it was part of my daily life.  I remember my dad commenting all the time “you bit them down to the quick!” He was right.  They were pretty gnarly.

But what my little nubs were also telling me is that I likely wasn’t getting enough nutrients to keep them strong.  I had a relatively healthy diet (strike that comment from college up until well, a few years ago) but I played sports full time and many times skipped lunch for homework or other things. I wasn’t taking in enough for the output, so my nails would just break and rip off. I look at my nails today and I really don’t know how I’d bite them without some serious effort.  They are that strong.

Here’s a picture of my lovely nails.  Yes, my hands need lotion, and yes my nails aren’t beautifully shaped or manicured. I purposefully cut my nails and then put them out of sight until I cut them again.  Remember that nail biting story? If you can ignore that then let’s look at the items on the counter.  This, along with a [somewhat] healthy diet is what helps my nails grow strong.

Put down the polish

Sometimes doing less is more. Those fake nails, shellac and regular manicures are doing you more harm than good.  Think about it.  The scraping, cutting, buffing, acetone removal, alcohol-laiden polishes, chipping and peeling…the list goes on.  I hear so many times that people get manicures because it keeps their nails strong, or they’re ugly without them.  I’m here to tell you, that’s not the case and you’re likely perpetuating the problem.  Polishes severely dry out your nail, and do not allow for natural oils and air to help them grow.  Fake nails or other long-lasting polishes breed bacteria which can injure the nail bed.  And if they look terrible without something on top of it, the best thing would be to address what is causing your nails to look that way vs. covering it up.

Am I against manis and pedis?  NO!  I love a great mani/pedi.  But, as with everything humans enjoy, it’s everything in moderation.  I’d challenge you to let your entire nail grow out at least twice a year with no polish on them. And look at how much your wallet will thank you.

Still want something to pamper your nails? Opt for a great hand massage and moisturizing oil treatment.  It will get that blood flowing which is great for your nail beds and keeps brittle nails hydrated and active.

If you’re expecting me to write about a topical nail product that does wonders, I’m sorry to disappoint you that I’m not.  A nail oil and daily lotion on your hands is about all you need. Economical and straightforward!  Truly though, it starts from within.

My secret sauce

In the picture from left to right:

Green Superfood & Protein Shake: daily

What it’s made with: Water, BIOHM Probiotic Supplement w/ Super Greens, Amazing Grass Green Superfood with Energy, Dr. Axe Multi-Collagen Protein

This goes beyond nails of course, but certainly is a top contributor. I use a trusty shaker bottle with some water and voila.  Each of these items has a specific purpose – boost my energy while getting healthy fruits and veggies, help with digestion, provide building blocks for my body to use in making strong nails and fill the gaps where my diet may be missing.  Both the Amazing Grass (watermelon) and BIOHM (Maca Root) are naturally sweetened without sugar, although AG does have a small amount of Stevia if that bothers you. These flavors helps to make it palatable.  You could add these to sweeten up summer drinks and smoothies. I saw a recipe on AG for watermelon lime popsicles. YUM.  I’m not going to lie and say it’s a substitute for brownies, but the fact I do this every day is a testament to it’s drinkability. The collagen powder is tasteless and dissolves easily.  This is more versatile and can be added to coffee or another drink.  I don’t suggest cold drinks as you’ll read in my I drank collagen for 30 days post. I also like Vital Proteins which is a little more straightforward on the types of proteins, but nearly undetectable.

Alive! Whole Food Supplement: daily

Has so many B vitamins to boost my energy and too many greens/veggies/minerals to count.  I can tell this works because I see the bright yellow tinge in my urine for the next 24 hours.  Different than others that you see once and goes away.  This means it’s being flushed right out of your body. It is a large pill, so if you have troubles you may want to look somewhere else.

Nature’s Bounty Hair, Skin and Nails supplement: daily

This has been my ride or die biotin supplement for years.  I can immediately see a difference in my nails and hair if I stop taking it regularly.  This is a slow race, so don’t expect miracles right off the bat, but it’s been a staple for me for a long time.  It is more of a multi-vitamin, so I only take one of these since I’m taking everything else.  I don’t want to overdo it.  But, you can take up to three a day. These are also very small and easy-to-swallow pills if you have problems with that.

BIOHM Probiotic: daily

They were a client of mine and I really like their probiotic.  It’s pricey, so it’s more of a splurge for me, but the enzymes within help to break down food within the body and get more out of it (including bettering my digestion).  While I wouldn’t say this is the key to great nails, it does help overall health.

What you get

Ok now that you’ve read this big long post and you’re thinking hmmm OK sounds good and all, I’d just like to remind you what you’re getting in this process that takes oh about 3 minutes to do and is less than 100 calories. (these are posts from the ingredients on the respective item’s website):

Bovine collagen, Chicken collagen, Fish collagen, eggshell membrane collagen, Spirulina, Barley Grass, Alfalfa Leaf, Wheat Grass, Chloerlla, Dulse, Spinach Leaf, Broccoli (Whole Plant), Parsley Leaf, Kale Leaf, Echinacea angustifolia Root, Licorice Root, Milk Thistle Seed, Siberian Eleuthero Root, Beet Root, Rose Hips, Acai (Fruit), Green Tea Leaf, Raspberry Leaf, Blueberry (Fruit), Goji Berry, Bilberry (Fruit), Ashwagandha Root, Rhodiola Root, Reishi Mushroom, Maca Root, Bee Pollen, Nettle Leaf, Ginko biloba (4:1 Leaf Extract), Royal Jelly (3x Concentrate), Grape Seed (2:1 Extract), Sunflower Lecithin, Apple (Fruit), Brown Rice Bran, Inulin) PathoBiome 15B: (B. breve, L. acidophilus, S. boulardii, L. rhamnosus), Digestive Enzyme Blend: (Amylase, Bromelain, Cellulase, Lipase, Papain, Protease) VITAMIN A, VITAMIN C,  VITAMIN D, VITAMIN E, VITAMIN K, THIAMIN, RIBOFLAVIN, FOLIC ACID, VITAMIN B12, BIOTIN, PANTOTHENIC ACID, CALCIUM, IRON, IODINE, ZINC, COPPER, CHROMIUM, MOLYBDENUM, SODIUM, POTASSIUM, SPIRULINA, KELP, ALFALFA, BARLEY GRASS, DANDELION, WHEAT GRASS, MELISSA, LEMON GRASS, NETTLE, BLESSED THISTLE, CHLORELLA, PLANTAIN, BLUE GREEN ALGAE, CILANTRO, PROVIDING AMINO ACIDS: GLUTAMIC ACID, ARGININE, LEUCINE, LYSINE, SERINE, PHENYLALANINE, VALINE, ISOLEUCINE, ALANINE, PROLINE, GLYCINE, THREONINE, TYROSINE, HISTIDINE, METHIONINE, CYSTEINE, TRYPTOPHAN). CARDIOVASCULAR BLEND WITH RESVERATROL  – (HAWTHORN (BERRY) JAPANESE KNOTWEED, COENZYME Q10, ORCHARD FRUITS BLEND:  – (POMEGRANATE (SEED), ACAI (WHOLE PALM FRUIT) EXTRACT, JUICE POWDERS: PLUM, CRANBERRY, BLUEBERRY, STRAWBERRY, BLACKBERRY, BILBERRY, CHERRY, APRICOT, PAPAYA, ORANGE, GRAPE, PINEAPPLE) GARDEN VEGGIES JUICE POWDER BLEND:  – (PARSLEY, KALE, SPINACH, WHEAT GRASS, BRUSSELS SPROUT, ASPARAGUS, BROCCOLLI, CAULIFLOWER, BEET, CARROT, CABBAGE, GARLIC) ORGANIC MUSHROOM DEFENSE BLEND  – (CORDYCEPS; RESHI; SHIITAKE; HIRATAKE; MAITAKE; YAMABUSHITAKE; HIMEMATSUTAKE; KAWARATKE; CHAGA; ZHU LING; AGARIKON; MESIMA) DIGESTIVE ENZYME BLEND:  – (CONCENTRATED ENZYME FORMULA: (PROTEASE I, PROTEASE II, PEPTIZYME SP, AMYLASE, LACTASE, INVERTASE, LIPASE, CELLULASE, ALPHA GALACTOSIDASE); BETAINE HCL; BROMELAIN (FROM PINEAPPLE); PAPAIN (FROM PAPAYA) OMEGA 3/6/9 FATTY ACID SEED BLEND:  – (FLAX SEED POWDER (DRY, COLD PRESSED); SUNFLOWER SEED POWDER (DRY, COLD PRESSED) CITRUS BIOFLAVONOIDS COMPLEX  – (FROM LEMON,ORANGE,GRAPEFRUIT, LIME, TANGERINE) PROVIDING:HESPERIDIN, NARINGIN, NARIRUTIN, ERIOCI TRIN, FLAVONOLS AND FLAVONES), SIBERIAN ELEUTHERO  – (ROOT), INOSITOL, RUTIN, BORON, LUTEIN, ENERGY BLEND  – ORGANIC YERBA MATE EXTRACT AND MATCHA GREEN TEA, AMAZING GRASS ANTIOXIDANT BLEND  – ORGANIC ACAI, ORGANIC MACA, ORGANIC CARROT, ORGANIC BEET, RASPBERRY, ORGANIC ROSE HIPS, ORGANIC PINEAPPLE AND ACEROLA CHERRY DIGESTIVE ENZYME AND ACTIVE CULTURE PRE/PROBIOTIC BLEND  – F.O.S. (FRUCTOOLIGOSACCHARIDE FROM CHICORY ROOT) LACTOBACILLUS ACIDOPHILUS, PROTEASE (ASPERGILLUS ORYZAE), AMYLASE (ASPERGILLUS ORYZAE), LIPASE (ASPERGILLUS NIGER), LACTASE (ASPERGILLUS ORYZAE) AND CELLULASE (TRICHODERMA REESEI), Horsetail Powder (Equisetum arvense) (aerial).

In closing

Try to incorporate amino-acid, biotin, collagen and protein-rich items into your diet.  You’ll need it to be well rounded to see results, but you’ll likely see a positive effect on your nails within 90 days (giving time for your nails to grow out).  A positive side effect may be stronger hair, glowing skin and longer lashes.  Who wouldn’t want that?

 

Have something you’ve tried and love? Drop us a line in the comments.

Product Review: Dr. Jart Dermaclear Trans-foam Clay Trio

As someone who loves Korean skincare, I’m definitely a Dr. Jart fan.  My love with the brand started when my skin went haywire and still needed protection, so I tried the Dr. Jart Premium Beauty Balm.  With all the options in my arsenal, this is the one I still use today. Pretty impressive coming from a beauty junkie!

When I see a new (to me anyway) Dr. Jart product comes on the market and it addresses exactly what I need, I snag it.  It was winter time and my skin was angry.  Between flying back and forth between Cincinnati and New York, an absolutely brutal winter, and those pesky pimples that I assessed via my trusty way thus figuring they were caused by dehydration and bacteria while using a scarf to literally cover my face.  A straight up clay mask was too dehydrating, and ding! Dr. Jart to the rescue.

What it is

Dr. Jart’s Dermaclear Trans-Foam Clay Trio is pretty darn descriptive of what it is.  You get a package with three different tubes – pink, white and green – that are in essence still a clay mask that busts through oil and debris in your skin, but targeted to different needs.  The pink is moisturizing, white is clarifying, and green is calming.  I’ll take that, that, and that.

Packaging

These three flexible metal tubes (think toothpaste) come in a see-through plastic box with a sturdy piece at the bottom where all three caps rest into.  This would help them stand up if needed.  I liked that it kept them separated and easy to know which one I was pulling out, but the “stand” did get stuck and was hard for me to pull the tubes out the first few times.  I also liked the toothpaste-like tubing which would make sure you could get the last drop out.

Much like most of Dr. Jart’s products, the look is a clean and clinical.  All three tubes are white with silver and black lettering.  The differentiation between pink, gray and white is very subtle on the label, reminding me of those pastel chalky buttery mints you get.  If you weren’t paying attention, they could easily get confused.

Application

Since I was breaking out, I tried the white (or clarifying) one first. I squeezed it onto my fingers and low and behold.  Trans-foam clay was exactly what it felt like.  It was substantial, yet airy.  It almost felt like liquid styrofoam. Not gel-like, not mud-like, not granular, not pasty…just…airy and foamy clay.

I squeezed out about the length of the tip of my pointer finger. It held it’s shape, but spread easily bordering between clay and soap.  Such a strange consistency!  I put it all over my face, tapping it in areas where gunk tends to accumulate and let it sit. The smell was somewhere between clay and Dr. Jart’s signature herbal scents.

It dried down, but not to an uncomfortable dryness that can happen with clay. I could still move my face without it feeling like it was cracking and tugging. There was no tingle.  I didn’t see hoards of oil pouring out of my face.  What was this stuff doing?  I had no idea.

I washed it off and the consistency changed to almost a thick, moisturizing yet foamy face wash.  It took me some extra rinses to get it all off.  Once I finished my skin was clean, but not squeaky clean.  My skin looked clear, but it didn’t blast through my blackheads on my nose.  Hmm.  Could Dr. Jart be letting me down?

Final Assessment

I used these a few more times, and while I can’t say that I felt a noticeable difference between the colors (although the pink did have a different smell), they were “nice.”  They certainly didn’t hurt my skin, but I didn’t see miracles happening either.

However, what I found as an AMAZING way to use them, is after working out.  I tend to break out because my gigantic pores clog so easily.  Now, after a good run I come home and slap some of this on and let it dry.  This gets in my open pores with sweat and grime and pulls it out gently before I hop into the shower where I can rinse it off and use my trusty CeraVe SA.  I can use this multiple times per week which is great.  A straight up clay mask, or ones with acids would be too harsh to do this frequently.  I’ve noticed a marked improvement from when I wasn’t using this, especially where my jaw meets my neck.  I’ve been plagued with pesky pimples in this area for a few years now.  Finally!

Would I buy these again?  If I’m on a health kick, or in the summer when I have the potential for sweat and sunscreen to wreak havoc on me, then I probably would.  But, it’s not something, at least at this point, that I feel I couldn’t live without.  If you’re someone who suffers from breaking out due to sweating and you have sensitive skin, this might be a great alternative for you.

At $35 for three tubes it’s not a budget buster, but if you had to make some choices in your beauty routine, this is one I think you can do without.  Sorry, Dr. Jart, one of the first products you make that’s not HG for me.

Overall: 3.5/5

Price: $$$$$

Packaging: 4/5

Do you have a product from Dr. Jart that you love?  Drop us a line in the comments.

 

Blondes have more fun with purple shampoo

If you’ll notice on my blog, my reviews skew heavily towards skincare products.  There’s minimal mentions of haircare.  Why is that?  Well because I’ve been blessed with hair that doesn’t need a ton of attention – until I started lightening it. And then my mind was blown.  And I’m still getting acclimated. There is a whole other world (and routine) for blondes. And when you’re a redhead, getting there and that routine is not so straightforward.

Balayage, ombre, babylights and platinum blonde tones are all the rage.  The process alone of a cut and color can cost you $150-$300+ for one visit, plus the cost of upkeep. Not to mention the dreaded “it’s going to take a few visits to get you there” which in all fairness can be true, but feels like buying new Jordans and then not getting picked for the basketball team.

You have dreams of becoming a blonde bombshell but here’s the other bombshell –  to do it right, it’s going to cost you. 

And that’s what ReadHead is here for, to show you how you can love your blonde and know what you’re getting into.

Post-blonde care – banishing the brass

Ever since balayaging my hair a few years ago I have been on the hunt for products that don’t let me down.  Different than brunettes or black-haired beauties, red hair immediately starts to pull brassy.  Any regrowth looks brassy.  It’s like we’re born with sass – and brass.  Nothing is as disheartening as giving up a whole day in the salon, gifting a kidney and then SASSBRASSIFRASS  starts to creep in. I loathe it as much as those who watch one of my favorite TV shows – Antiques Roadshow (nerd alert) – and think they have something plated gold and OH NO! It’s brass.

I know my dark-haired friends will attest to this.  That yellow has got. to. go.

Why the brass?

I won’t even begin to pretend like an expert on coloring.  But, I’ve appreciated going to the smaller salons and seeing the work in progress.  There’s letters and numbers galore.  It reminds me of my recent chemistry course.  Ladies and gents, hair styling expertise is no joke.  And it’s easy to see how it goes wrong all too often.

Lifting hair, whether using a high-lift color or bleach, uses ammonia and other chemicals to open up the hair cuticle and remove the color.  It’s a precise and potentially very damaging process left in the hands of someone untrained, or not familiar with lifting your type and color of hair. *Pro tip – I suggest when you call to make an appointment with someone new that you mention/ask for someone who has experience in your hair type and ask for an in-person consultation.

When the hair is lifted, it is then toned with other colors or glazes, to give it that fresh-out-of-the-salon look.  Over time, washing, mineral deposits, sun damage and environmental free radicals can strip, dull and even turn hair in shades of yellow or orange.  Before you go running to the salon for another touch-up, here’s some tips to help you keep that blonde, or silver for you mature foxes, bright.

Prolonging your investment

Use a purple shampoo.  Purple is on the opposite end of the color wheel from yellow, and will help to cancel out those brassy tones.  It won’t effect other colors, for example if you darken your roots.  It does, however only target blonde so your blonde pieces will get brighter, not your whole head.  Some of my favorites are:

  • Kevin Murphy Blonde Angel (higher end) – smells great, works well, is gentle and what a cool package.  However, it is prone to leaking. But it just looks sleek in your shower. You’ll need to find a salon that carries this unless you trust Amazon.
  • Pravana’s The Perfect Blonde (mid range) – smells divine, salt/sulfate/paraben free and highly pigmented.  Check out my review on their line here. Available at Ulta and other retailers.
  • Clairol Shimmer Lights (economical) – this stuff is a powerhouse worker and an OG to blondes and stylists.  It doesn’t have the best smell (almost like old lady perfume) and it does tend to really dry you out, but if you’ve made a terrible oops and need something that will whip you into shape without spending all your money, this one’s it!

Fall in love with dry shampoo. Typically as you go blonde, your hair gets roughed up and is drier.  The more you wash it, the more you’re also apt to dull your blonde color.  Dry shampoo will allow you to extend time between washes, thus protecting your locks. Some that I’ve liked:

  • Suave (economical) – this is my go-to.  Smells nice, does the job, and doesn’t break the bank.  You can get this anywhere!
  • Not Your Mother’s (economical) – this one has a cult following and is cheap to boot.  While I liked this one, it isn’t as easy to find as my Suave favorite, so it doesn’t make the top of my list. It also has no scent for those who prefer something more natural.
  • Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo (higher end) – you can get this one from Sephora.  Smells great, gives fantastic volume, and works really well.  More expensive than the others, and does have a powerful smell which may be too much for those with sensitive noses.  It can also look a little powdery if you spray it too targeted/close to your head.

Protect your locks with hats and sunscreen – although the sun can naturally lighten hair, it doesn’t do so with your perfect golden hue customized just for you in mind.  You have to keep in mind that your hair has been altered from what it was when you were a young kid running care free around the neighborhood.  Blonde is an investment, protect it.

Fortify it with strengtheners – options like Olaplex Hair Perfector #3 is a life-saver for blondes and those with hair that is prone to breakage.  Not a conditioner, these strengthening treatments use proteins and other amino acids to strengthen the hair cuticle which protects it from damage, fallout and breakage.  As a side effect, it does make hair softer, but shouldn’t replace conditioners.

Invest in a deep conditioning mask and leave-in conditioning products – the lighter you go, the more you need to quench your hair’s thirst. Use a deep conditioning mask once a week to keep your hair silky, and finish it off with a great leave-in which can act as a heat protectant to do double duty.

Use a cool rinse when leaving the shower – just like your pores, heat and steam open up the hair cuticle.  Using a cool rinse to seal down your hair cuticle before leaving the shower will keep your products in (including any toners on your hair) and give it some extra shine in the process.

ReadHead’s thoughts on going blonde

So is going blonde worth it?  Yes! I happen to love it because it is versatile for my wardrobe, and cuts down on the pinkness of the slight rosacea in my skin. I love the lift it gives my hair and that it air-dries wonderfully into a faux “I spent time on this” Cali-vibe wave.

But before you walk in with that toe-head bright blonde picture of yourself when you were four, talk to your stylist about what the cost to get you there AND KEEP IT will be.

Taking a few of these steps, even by interjecting a little purple shampoo into your routine, will bring new life to your blonde and leave you feeling like that beachy beauty or ring-the-alarm Aphrodite that you are.

Have a product you love? Drop us a line in the comments.

 

Product Review: Jergens Wet Skin Body Moisturizer

Does this describe you?

Hate the effort of putting on lotion but loathe dry skin?

Easily get cold when getting out of the shower so you rush to the finish line sans adding back needed moisture?

Use lotion but just never feel like you have enough moisture afterwards?

Although embarrassed by your snaky scaly self, you somehow do nothing about it?

Hate the feel or smell of lotion?

Think lotion is just for women?

Introducing your new best friend and my favorite product I’ve stumbled upon in 2018 – Jergens Wet Skin Body Moisturizer

What it is

Jergens Wet Skin Body Moisturizer is a silky, non-sticky feeling lotion (boom! #5) jam packed with additional emollient moisturizers and oils (bang! #3) that you use IN the shower (ca-chow! #2) that allows you to quickly slather it on (bye Felicia! #1 and #4) and makes your skin soft like a well-oiled cabana girl (or boy) plus smell like a tropical coconut paradise that is both appropriate for men and women (I got 99 problems but #5 or #6 ain’t one).  The technology in this is slightly different than the other in-shower lotions I’ve tried which instruct you to use during your shower and wash off, like an extra-moisturizing body wash.

This in-shower moisturizer is used after you turn your shower off and while you’re still wet.  Then, you just simply pat dry.  It works by entering your pores while they are open from the steam, and the oils trapping moisture into the skin.

Not having to stand in my bathroom freezing your coconuts off while slathering lotion on? Now THIS I can get on board with.

Packaging

The packaging comes in a soft blue plastic bottle, similar to what you’d experience with any body wash.  The bottle tapers to a wider bottom which also has the flip-top lid.  This provides a sturdy base to keep it from tipping over and eliminates any need for shaking to get the product out.  It looks appropriate for a man or woman’s shower.  The blue although pale, does not come across as overly masculine and there’s no flowery imagery which shouts girl-power.  It’s edges are rounded and although no frills packaging, it was well-thought out and is nice for the category. It’s a utility product which easily blends in with all your shower basics.

Application

When I squeezed the lotion out, it was a consistency you’d expect.  It’s a lotion, but much more oil-based.  It’s thinner, but not runny.  The creamy color also has some transparency to it. I put about a silver dollar-sized dollop in my left hand, and then scooped a little here and there to place on my arms, legs, stomach, chest, and back area so that it was evenly spread.  Next, I got to work rubbing it in everywhere.  My hands slid around like I was putting oil on, but there was no sticky/oily/tacky feel.  It was almost as if it dissipated into water.

I lathered myself up for about 30 seconds, making sure to pay special attention to my knees, elbows and decollete area which tend to get dry.  It too so little time that I hadn’t begun to freeze in the shower yet and ta-dah!  I was finished.

I purchased the coconut which caused some apprehension on my end.  I do not like overly sweet or sugary smells.  This was great.  It smelled like coconut oil without the sugar and reminded me of being at the beach getting a tan (without the fake Banana Boat waft).  It also wasn’t overpowering that it would interfere with other stronger scents.

The first time I tried it, I wiped myself down after the shower.  I then tried it again with patting, and this seemed to work better, allowing the moisturizer to remain a bit longer and penetrate deeper.

Overall

If you can’t tell by my review, I absolutely love this product.  I find myself touching my shoulders and my decollete which have been blasted by the sun over the years and they are soft as a baby’s behind.  It’s not going to solve all the dry skin problems (please don’t use this on your face), but if you’re like me who’s shower water is may be heated by nuclear reactors and ANYTHING better will be an improvement, this is a great option.  If you’re already using great products, this will also help kick it up a notch.

For 10 oz. at $5.59 on Amazon or availability in just about any drugstore which always carry sales, you can’t beat the price and convenience on this product. Ulta typically has buy one get one half off sales, so I plan to stock up.

I highly recommend that men and women alike give this one a try! I’m rating this one as a Certified ReadHead Best!

Overall: 5/5 

*Certified ReadHead Best 

Price: $$$$$

Packaging: 5/5

Have an in-shower moisturizer or lotion you love? Drop us a line in the comments.

 

Tips for layering products

These days there are so many products out there.  Add in getting older or troubled skin and you end up having a bed time routine that rivals painting the Sistine Chapel.

I believe that effective multi-taskers which give you everything you need in one or two steps is like a unicorn that will never be found.  Buy really good products that target what you’re solving for, and layer ’em up.

What actually seems like a straightforward idea is the cause for much confusion.  How do you know what to put on first? Readhead to the rescue!

Getting Started

There are two really great ways that can help you remember how, and which products, layer well and in which order.  One, determining what the individual products are supposed to do and two, the consistency or viscosity of those products.  Read on for more.

Step 1: Determine what the individual products are supposed to do

You’ve got targeted serums high in actives?  Those should go closest to your skin so they can get in there and do their job.  As you layer, the ones closest to your skin are generally more concentrated.  You’ll want your acids, retinoids and peptide powerhouses to be slathered on before your heavier products.

Concentrated serums —> moisturizers —> protectants

Make sure to check out ingredients that play well together and during certain times of the day, and those that don’t.  For instance, vitamin C helps with photoaging and is best used during the day.  Retinoids can make skin photosensitive and may have negative effects if used during the day, especially without a proven form of SPF.  Others, like glycolic acids and salicylic acid work beautifully together to remove and declog layers of the skin but can be irritating to those with a compromised skin barrier or sensitive skin.

It can seem like your local beauty associate is selling you up the creek by suggesting different products for a day and night routine, but if you’ve got the resources (read time and money) you should tailor those routines as much as possible for the most efficacy.  Be aware of products that are high in ‘ones (i.e. silicones) that have a silky or waxy slip as they create a barrier that may be harder for other actives products to break through.  Use those towards the end.

Step 2: Feel the viscosity to know what goes first to last

This trick rings tried and true for me if I get a new product and I’m not quite sure where it fits in the continuum.  The more watery (and usually clear) your product is, the closer to the front of the line it should go.  As products get more occlusive (meaning thicker and sealing down) less and less of the goodies will be able to penetrate it.  For example, my Skinceuticals C E Ferulic is straight like water.  That goes on first.  My retinoid is a slightly thicker watery gel consistency.  The SkinMedica TNS product I use is slightly thicker and my moisturizer the thickest.  Easy!

How long do you wait between steps?

Ideally, you’d want to give each layer 5-10 minutes of dry-time if you can spare.  With busy schedules I say as long as you give time between the different viscosities, you’re OK to speed up using a few products together.

What about oils?

This one is up for debate and tricks even the savviest of skincare connoisseurs, however if you think about the science of oil, it makes sense that oils should be the LAST piece to the puzzle (except for SPF).  If you think of the old term “oil and water” you know that they don’t really mix.  Moisturizers, although made of oils, are meant to hydrate the skin and generally contain water-friendly ingredients, including hyaluronic acid which helps to draw water into the skin.

If you put oil on first, then a moisturizer, your oil is working to keep anything water-friendly out.  By using oil afterwards, it seals the moisturizer in by repelling it until it’s absorbed, and then the oil continues to hydrate. And there you have it, Readhead readers.  Moisturizer first, oil last.

How many steps do you have in your routine? Drop us a line in the comments.

Product Review: Sara Happ’s The Lip Scrub

Since the first step is admitting, here goes.  My name is Stacie, and I am a lip picker.  Yes. My lips have been chronically dry since before I came out of the womb I suppose. Since I have sensitive skin that is prone to clogging, scrubs either weren’t enough or balms too rich or just flat out didn’t work.  So there they remain, dry, and totally pick-able.

I received Sara Happ’s The Lip Scrub as a gift from a co-worker (hayyy Angie!) and the same night I took it home I used it with such enthusiasm. I had never heard of this brand but Sara Happ touts herself as “the lip expert” and word-of-mouth from a friendly beauty enthusiast is priceless to me. I appreciate when a product developer is focused on a certain area.  It gives me confidence that they know what they’re doing if they can be successful in one area.

The Sara Happ brand’s promise is conscious-friendly: “No animal testing, ever. 100% paraben-free, always. Using the highest grade essential oils and extracts, every time. Dressing our gems in eco-friendly packaging. Manufacturing in the USA, proudly.”

Off I went to scrub the day away!

Ingredients:

Unlike your run-of-the-mill gas station last minute buy, this one has few ingredients that are natural.  I didn’t see anything that caused me pause, or made me afraid to try it given my acne prone skin. Plus there were some nice additions of vitamin E and oils that both moisturize and pack an antioxidant punch.

From the box: Sucrose, Petrolatum, Caramel, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) seed oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (jojoba) see oil, Oryza Sativa (rice) Bran Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol, Helianthus Anuus (Sunflower) seed extract

Packaging:

This comes in a clear glass jar with a silver top, adorned with the moniker of sh.  It looks sleek, and higher end.  The box it came in was a gorgeous dark, rich caramel-y brown that appropriately paid off the name of the flavor I was gifted – brown sugar. It is small but well-crafted.  On top the box had foiled Sarah Happ in a cute script and her claim to fame, “lip expert” with a lip smooch. I did have to frown there. So sophisticated until that last bit.

Application:

I opened the jar and saw a tightly packed concoction of dark brown sugar.  However, there’s no whipped or gel about it.  It’s a super condensed and somewhat hard to dig out of the jar.  I had to use my ring finger with some gusto but I found that works because you really don’t need that much.  *You may want to invest in a tiny spatula for sanitary reasons. Then, spread it on around in circles with my ring finger even outside of my lip line to exfoliate where those little lines like to creep up.  Around and around I went for about 2 minutes, making sure to get the creases and the driest parts of my lips.  The product held on for dear life, didn’t dissolve, didn’t feel too scratchy but wasn’t a fine grain, either.

I tasted the brown sugar and it was pretty good.  Not artificial or overly sugary.  You could taste the caramel.

Overall:

Once I was complete I wiped it off with a tissue and voila! Moisturized, buffed lips that felt buttery and smooth.  They, and the area around my mouth didn’t feel roughed up or slathered in oil.  It felt, well, just nice.  I’ve used this a few times and follow up with a lip balm (currently using Hempz Sweet Pineapple and Honey) to which my lips stayed moisturized, happy and flake free.  I didn’t notice myself picking because there was no dry skin!

It is on the pricier end at $22 for .5oz.  It states on the box 30 uses, but after using it a few times I’ve hardly made a dent.

If you’ve got dry skin and enjoy a glass of red wine (but not the leftover evidence) then this is a great option to try!

Overall: 5/5

Price: $$$$$

Packaging: 5/5

Have you tried a Sara Happ product or have a lip product you love? Drop us a line in the comments.

 

New year, new items: What’s in my beauty bag

Happy new year to all the ReadHead readers!  I can’t believe it’s been almost a year to the day that I’ve written my first post.  A big thank you to all who have supported my passion project.  If you’ve learned something new or tried something you liked, I’d love to hear it through the comments!

As a skincare fanatic, I try a lot of different items.  My goal is to give it to you straight, and to show you that more money doesn’t always mean better – but sometimes it does.

I took a look at the things that continue to be my staples over time, whether it be my other items didn’t continue to work for me anymore, or I found something to replace it.

If the new year means new you, here my go-to items to give you some inspo for your own makeup and skincare routine.  Happy reading!

Skincare items I can’t live without (everyday routine):

Cerave SA Renewing Face Wash – has ceramides, niacinamide and hydrators, plus removes all my makeup and has a kick of BHA to keep my pores clean and has a friendly drugstore price.

L’Oreal Hydrafresh Toner – while there may be options with better ingredients (i.e. sans denatured alcohol) this one boasts 99% alcohol free, is hydrating and you can’t beat the drugstore price & availability. It helps to remove any traces of dirt and makeup, is refreshing and has added BHA to help with clog-prone skin.

Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum – is perfect for someone with skin like me – clog and milia prone (ultra rich eye creams are a no-go), anti-aging and reducing puffiness.  Luckily dark circles aren’t a problem for me (yet) but the ferulic acid will help.  This is a gel serum so it won’t be ultra hydrating if that is important to you. Pro tip: If puffiness is something you struggle with, put this in the fridge to get some extra benefit!

Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Treatment – much like the above, it has fantastic ingredients that help to brighten, protect and refine skin, and is gentle yet effective.  I have other retinol products that pack a bigger punch (Peter Thomas Roth 3% for example), but I can use this consistently and layer with other acids with no irritation, and notice brighter, clearer skin.

Skinceuticals CE Ferulic Serum – I did a ReadHead 2 Head on this vs. Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma (which continues to be my most reviewed post on ReadHead).  I recommend reading it if you’re new to vitamin C.  The vitamin C and additional layer of ferulic acid helps to give an extra layer of sun protection (key for someone with fair skin and correcting sun damage) while destroying free radicals and helping the skin function at its healthiest.

SkinMedica’s TNS Essential Serum – this is my ultra splurge item which utilizes growth hormones and antioxidants to trick older skin into think it’s a younger version of itself. This helps to regenerate new, healthy and less wrinkled skin.  It’s not surgery (nor should you expect the same result), but it’s one of the best topical cosmeceuticals on the market with clinical trials to boot.

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Serum – a nice AHA acid that I alternate at night with my retinoids to keep my dead skin and clogged pores at bay. If I start getting little pimples, this removes the top layer of skin and away they go.

Neutrogena’s 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment – this is my ride or die BHA serum that I use when I’m needing an extra dose of pore cleaning and Neutrogena discontinued it.  I have absolutely no earthly idea why as this has a cult following that may have some feeling one would need to pry whatever’s left on the market from their cold, dead hands.  I think it’s because it worked so well people didn’t need their products anymore! Anytime I can find this, I snatch it up and use it like it’s as precious as 24 carat gold.

Belif’s the True Cream Moisturizing Bomb – this has become my HG moisturizer.  Calming, hydrating, basic and effective.  It leaves my skin feeling awesomely dewey and minus the clogged pores of overly heavy/silicone feeling.

Dr. Jart Premium BB 45++ – the last step in my skincare routine, this is similar to foundation but has amazing ingredients, helps to cover redness and has an awesome amount of SPF in  it.  Talk about a multi-tasker!

Obagi Professional-C Sunscreen – I use sometimes under my Dr. Jart, or on days when I’m going makeup free.  It has vitamin E and the most stable form of vitamin C, l-ascorbic acid.  I like this formulation, but I received it for free from a promotion.  I like that it leaves me matte, but I wouldn’t say it’s an HG.  Great ingredients, and a good finish for oily-skinned folks who don’t want to layer makeup on as I find that it does pill up.

Rimmel’s Lash Accelerator – great lash conditioner which helps lashes grow by keeping them healthy.  I put this on at night (and not under mascara like it says you can do). It won’t compare to a Latisse or other lash growth items on the market, but it will help keep hairs conditioned and strong – plus you can’t beat the drugstore price!

Nature’s Bounty Hair Skin & Nails + Alive Whole Food Energizer  + Vital Proteins Collagen Peptide Powder – these supplements/powders help to give me the added amino acids, proteins, and goodies I need like B vitamins, biotin, collagen, hyaluronic acid and elastin to boost my beauty routine from the inside and give me a little pep in my step.  The combination of these help my hair grow strong and my nails like a weed.

Just for fun (rev up that routine!):

There’s the steps that I take as an avid skincare connoisseur with skin that changes like the weather.  If you notice there’s a lot of de-clogging, brightening and exfoliating happening here.

If you’re new to the game don’t get overwhelmed – any steps beyond what you’re doing will bring improvements and take these slow.  You don’t need top of the line either, you just need to know helpful ingredients.  But, if you’re in the prime anti-aging years, it may be worth it to give your beauty counter a boost. And, if dry-like-the-Sahara skin is your concern (different than dehydrated) you may need to incorporate some extra moisture here.

I hope you got excited to try something new!  Have a favorite routine? Drop us a line in a comments.

 

 

 

 

 

Product Review: Milani Strobelight Instant Glow Powder

While perusing the makeup aisle at Walgreens looking for some fun additions before a work holiday party, I wandered over to the Milani section which I must admit, I’ve never taken seriously because it’s all the way in the back.  I pass my trusty go-tos long before I reach their products, which is next to the off-brands and hodge podge of nail/tweezers/cotton balls.

I have been hearing more and more about Milani’s quality drugstore items and I was in the mood for a new highlighter, so I snatched this one up.  And I must say, if this product is an indication of Milani products in general, well it’s time I get on the fan-girl bus!

What is Milani Strobelight Instant Glow Powder

Milani’s Strobelight Instant Glow Powder is a finely milled highlighting powder that comes in an impressive array of colors – seven to be exact. There’s a great chance that you can find one that works with your skin tone, and that you can experiment with for different looks. It’s best used to highlight the high points of the face and body (much like bronzer, you use it where light would reflect off your skin) and to give you a soft – or high wattage – sheen. Highlighters provide a “dewiness” effect which can make skin look younger, more awake.  It is also a nice final trick to a contour job to help further emphasize the good – eyes, bridge of the nose, lips – and divert the eyes away from problem areas.

I tend to have dehydrated, oily skin and use a lot of emollient products, so highlighters aren’t something I use everyday.  But, when I’m going glam or feel winter dryness sucking the life from my face, I appreciate the look that a good one can provide. I surprised myself by reaching for a powder because I’m borderline obsessive about not putting anything powdery by my impending crow’s feet so I’ve gone the liquid route in the past.  But for the price and the sheer curiosity, into my basket it went.

First Look & Packaging

I went with the color 01 Afterglow because I’m fair-skinned and I believe it was the last one left which hints at its popularity.  The presentation of the product itself was nice; it has a raised swirl pattern to it which picks up light and also provides additional texture to help lift the product from the pan onto the brush. Typical to your average drugstore product the packaging is just fine.  That’s it.  Just fine.  No frills here but it was sturdy enough at the hinge and was easy to hold.  It didn’t come with a mirror or a brush which is not a deal breaker for me.  I don’t do my highlighter on the go and the brushes you get are generally junk but if you’re looking at a convenience factor and those things are important to you, what you see is what you get.

Application

I used a typical blush brush and first lightly swirled it in one circle around the pan.  I do this for all products especially the first time because I had no idea how sparkly or opaque this would be and to make sure I pick up any variance in color throughout the pan. I then started at my upper cheek bones (and cringed while putting powder here…I digress), swiped it back and forth in a diagonal line to follow my cheek bones and then blended by changing that to a C shape –  bit under my eye area and up around my temples and brow.

I was impressed at how buttery this came out.  No glitter, no dusty chalkiness.  Because I was feeling frisky I did one more light pass just the same and came out with an impressive “lit from within” look to my skin.  I then proceeded to do the same down the bridge of my nose, a dot on my chin, a smidge in the middle of my forehead by my nose, and my collar bones.

Pro tip: use a shadow brush, dip it into your highlighter, and trace your Cupid’s bow (where your top lip dips) and bottom lip, and add a dab to the middle of both of your lips.  Make sure to blend it out.  This will help accentuate your lips without using a gloss. Get multiple uses by using it as a brow highlight or inner-corners of your eyes.  You can also give yourself some quick dimension and all-over glow by using a big brush and running it down your shoulders/arm, and front of your legs.  I recommend using a different pan for your face and body, however.

I did use this another time and added more than a light second layer.  It gave me that Instahighlight that really caught the light.  It was more bold than I like to go with my highlighter, but wasn’t garish, still blended nicely and proved you can get some serious color pay-off with this little gem.

Overall Thoughts

For $10 at .3 oz which will last me forever, and the convenience of finding this at any drugstore (if it’s in stock) I think this is a fantastic buy.  The highlight is versatile to fit lots of different looks for different occasions (yes, you’ll light up the floor at your unce unce unce club if you want!).  It’s fun for baby-faced glowsters, and also very age-appropriate for the um shall I say “slightly more matured” woman or man.  It has no glitter or sparkles, and was very buildable.  You will want to be moisturized before using this, but it did not dry me out, settle into fine lines or accentuate texture issues.  This is #1 of importance to me as an aging woman with large pores.

New Year’s is right around the corner and is a perfect opportunity to have some fun with your routine to ring in the new year.  I may grab up one of the golden colors to try something new.  In the meantime, I’m going to keep Milani on my radar as a strong contender for amazing drugstore finds!

Overall: 4/5

Packaging: 3/5

Price: $$$$$

Have you used Milani products or have a highlight tip you love? Drop us a line in the comments.

Five tips you should start today if you want to look younger

Google “tips to look younger” and you’ll see a million different tips and tricks. 75% of them will follow the same mantra – drink water, use SPF, get sleep, don’t smoke, don’t sunbathe…the list goes on and on.  Those are absolutely things that you should be doing that will certainly aid in at least preserving what you have.  I’ll take it a step further to talk about some other ideas you might not have thought of.

  1. Take 3 minutes to look at the sky (or ceiling) per day.

A weird little suggestion, eh?  No, it’s nothing philosophical although taking a break throughout the day can have it’s benefits.  Too often we are sitting staring down at things – our computer, phones and tablets. There is actually a thing called “smartphone face” or “tech-neck.” Doctors and experts (which I am not!) are saying that due to our constant frowning, looking down and faces stern with concentration, we are giving ourselves wrinkles and a sagging lower face faster than ever before.

Try it for yourself.  Put your finger under your chin and look at your phone.  You’re smashing your face and chin by constantly looking down.  You’re also causing your neck muscles and ligaments to shorten, which can pull your lower cheeks and neck down and loosen elasticity at an accelerated rate.  Scary?  Absolutely.  The fix? Make sure you take a break and stretch your neck muscles throughout the day.  Taking a break will also pull you away from constantly squinting of frowning at your computer.

2. Invest in a good razor….for your face

The secret, unspoken “s” word.  Shaving your face. I may have just ruined the mental image for men everywhere who believe that women are born like a hairless cat in all the places we choose to be.  Not the case. Call it dermaplaning or whatever fancy name you want so as to not let on that you are, infact, shaving your face, but it can do wonders for your skin.

A professional dermatologist or esthetician will take a little scalpel-like razor to your whole face to remove dead skin cells.  In the process, it also removes peach fuzz and leaves a bright, glowing and smooth canvas.  I say to save your money and talk to a guy friend who won’t spill your secret (or just check out reviews) and invest in a run-of-the-mill razor.  By regularly shaving your face, you remove the top layer of dead skin and encourage skin cell turnover while removing any peach fuzz that can impede on a great foundation finish.

As we age, hormones change which can create more of those whiskers than we care to admit, and our skin gets drier while shedding itself less.  This type of exfoliation will help give you a smooth, bright complexion and will help your skincare products get deeper into the dermis. Make sure to use a base so that you aren’t tugging or causing irritation to your skin, and follow up with a good BHA to get into the pore to keep from ingrown hairs or infections.

3. Ditch the eyeliner under your eyes

As we age, we develop fine lines around our eyes and a general lacking of elasticity in our skin.  The skin around the eye is one of the most delicate of the body, and generally is the first area to see the signs of aging.  This also means that eyelids can start to become hooded when once we had big, round, youthful eyes. Knowing this, we can use optical illusions to help stave off the look of aging as much as we can.  Lining your eyes underneath draws the visual down, and especially if you’re also lining at the top, closes in your eyes emphasizing sagging, circles or puffiness.

The goal is to make the eyes feel lifted and wide.  If you like to line your eyes, stick to the top with a sultry smudge at the outter corners to give some dimension or a cute flick of a winged cat eye. If you absolutely can’t forego it, try a light eye shadow that gives you some lining capability but is soft and reflects light.  Be careful to choose a neutral color with light relecting properties but steer clear of metallics or glitter which can have the opposite effect. Applying these products to the top-only also applies to mascara.  Unless you’re going for a specific dramatic look, adding mascara to your bottom lashes creates the opportunity for black smudges throughout the day which make you look tired and can settle into fine lines.  Using a white pencil to tight line your eyes can also help brighten the whites of your eyes and make them look more open, awake and youthful.

4. Invest in a good hair stylist

I love people watching at the airport because I see some of the most stylish women roll through.  Two things I notice about a really well put-together woman of any age is a trendy yet age-appropriate hair style and clothes that reflect a classic style with a flavor of trendiness – meaning that it’s not trying too hard .

There are so many amazing choices these days with color and products and my favorite…the tools. It’s worth spending the $10-20 more for a hair cut or color for someone who really knows what they’re doing and for your type of hair.  If someone doesn’t break out a pair of thinning shears on me, I wonder how they graduated hair school.  I’m still paying for an ill-fated cut from 8 months ago. You just cannot cut my hair properly without them. Someone who can give you texture and a playfulness that fits your personality, while looking refined just has that extra set of confident polish to them.

Don’t underestimate a good stylist.  They are not all created equal, NOR do they cut all types of hair with the same expertise.  If you like someone’s hair that is like yours, snatch ’em up.

5. Lotion & lip balm are like American Express.  Don’t leave home without it

This one is where I should listen to my own advice.  I cannot stress how important lotion is and yet I despise the whole process so much it’s laughable. As we grow older our weight tends to fluctuate.  Our skin stops shedding and rejuvenating itself. All of our past sins are starting to show themselves.  This is when fine lines around the lips reveal their evil ways all of a sudden when your lipstick bleeds for the first time, or you ate too much turkey on Thanksgiving and your love handle starts to itch.  It’s because…it’s dry skin…stretching.  Which can cause stretch marks and skin that’s just flat out tired of bouncing back.  You can read about my rubber band analogy here.

This is where the ounce of prevention quote comes into play.  Ladies and gents in your late teens and 20s?  Fall in love with moisturizing your whole body.  Hands, feet, lips, you name it.  A good workout routine, some leafy greens and fruits, and a healthy obsession with your favorite moisturizer and you’ll maintain beautiful skin well past your peers.

Find something that was interesting or have a tip of your own? Drop us a line in the comments.