How To Easily Restore Your Acid Mantle

Have you ever heard of the acid mantle? If you have, well done, most people haven’t. The acid mantle while not well known, is the reason for a lot of skin issues. Things such as dryness, oiliness, acne, premature aging and much more can be attributed to an acid mantle that isn’t working at its highest capacity.

Skin has a PH, a balance that keeps everything normal and healthy. The acid mantle is a barrier that is made mostly from sebum. Your skin’s PH is naturally a little more on the acidic side and that’s where it likes to stay. Unfortunately most of what we do and interact with on a daily basis plays with that PH. Skincare products, (especially acne products and exfoliants) the environment, toxins, and lifestyle break down that protective barrier. Once this happens you’re likely to encounter some indicators that things are going wrong. Your skin could feel too dry or too oily, breakouts could follow as well as redness and irritation. Since it really is your skin’s first line of defense, it’s not unpredictable that once damaged, things like viruses and bacteria can get in quicker. A classic indicator that your skin’s PH is off is a feeling of tightness or if it is suddenly producing more oil than what is normal for your skin.

The good news is , as delicate as the acid mantle is, it can be restored. It’s safe to say a few years ago my acid mantle was quite off. When I was around 15 and getting breakouts on my forehead I decided I would do the old toothpaste trick. Instead though, I decided to do the nuclear option and put a thin coat of toothpaste on my ENTIRE forehead. As redness and more breakouts showed up I continued to do this along with sulfur spot treatments. My skin was not happy as it shouldn’t have been. About two years later after many more prescription acne products I started doing some research and realized there was a possibility part of the acne could be contributed to my skin’s PH being out of balance.

After reading that there was a fine balance of oil and moisture going on I decided to use plain grapeseed oil to give back what had been lost. Feeding oil back into something that needs oil allows your skin to relax. It’s the reason a lot of times cleansing oils will be recommended to people with oily skin. I immediately noticed a difference. It was like hitting a reset button on my skin. Technically the acid mantle can restore itself in anywhere to 15 minutes to around 15 days, however I felt that everything came back to life in about a month, but after the abuse it had endured it’s not surprising it took a little longer.

Using the oil and completely removing stripping acne products was pretty much all I had to do to get my skin back to a place I could work with it again. It can be scary to go off the acne topical medications and things of that nature, but they could be the very thing causing the acne to be there in the first place. I would recommend using a plain grapeseed, jojoba or olive oil at night after cleansing with a cleansing milk. Use a toner if you wish, just make sure that it does not contain alcohol or witch hazel. Also, you don’t have to douse your face in oil, your skin knows what to do with even a little bit. You can dab off excess with a paper towel to ensure that what goes on your skin goes in your skin. It’s that simple. Once you notice a difference in your skin and it is in a place where you feel healing has taken place you can introduce other products again, but this time around go a lot gentler.

*One more word to the wise, wear something you don’t care about to sleep in just in case it does get oil on it.*

 

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How To Slim Your Face Naturally

 

 

Sometimes the fullness of your face is not about weight loss. There are other factors that can contribute to a puffy face. When weight loss is the issue there are also things you can do if your face is not the first place you lose weight. Here are a few things I have tested and found to be helpful:

Massage: Massage is great for both toning the muscles in your face as well as flushing out excess fluid. There are parts of our face that store more than others. A lot of this has to do with lymph drainage. If your face is not as svelte as it used to be whether or not you have gained weight it might be a good idea to look into lymph drainage massage. You can do this at home or have a professional do it. Considering how much this type of massage can accomplish it is takes a surprisingly light touch, so go easy. Like most things it will take a few times to see the results, but you may see a difference right after the first time.

Ruling Out Allergies: This step includes all kinds of allergies, things you would normally look past such as allergies to metals, seasonal allergies, face/skin products. For a while all along my jawline was inflamed, it wasn’t red, but it was bloated somehow. I didn’t know what was going on, I went for a facial and the esthetician mentioned to me  that it was most likely due to an allergy to the metal in my earrings. As soon as I changed my earrings my jawline and lower part of my face returned to normal. I notice now also that seasonal allergies can cause swelling of your face, around your eyes, nose and mouth. Irritants in skin products, makeup and sunscreen can change the appearance of your face looks if you have a bad reaction with it. The thing that is tricky with all of this is that it may not always be accompanied with redness.

Icing Your Face: I started applying an ice cube all around my face once a day and it really makes a difference in bringing down any inflammation. It also helps with acne, redness, and has a firming effect. You can’t really go wrong with this. Just don’t apply for too long in one spot and of course be careful around your eyes.

Watching Salt Consumption: This is I feel pretty well known at this point, but it is repeated so heavily for a reason. If you are eating food containing a lot of sodium it will show up in unwanted ways. The good thing about this is that you can make adjustments quickly and within a few days it will go as quickly as it came.

 

 

Eco-Friendly Beauty Tips

I recently finished a Bio of Environmental Concerns class in school, among many other things during the class we discussed how much waste is produced, the quality of products, how all of it is disposed of and how it impacts the environment. Of course everything needs to be done on a very large scale for it to make a real difference, but there are things we can do even during our beauty routine that can help out. A lot of these options have other benefits as well, such as saving money, time and effort.

Air-drying hair– Most of the time I air-dry my hair anyway because blow-drying my hair is time consuming and not that fun. It’s easier I find to just let it dry on its own, especially now that it’s summer it is is easy to brush out your hair and let the sun hit it.

Using everything to completion– Scrape the bottom, cut the container, use every last drop. Don’t throw things away that have product left. If you aren’t crazy about what you’re using and are tempted to throw it out offer it to someone else or sell it.

Taking shorter showers– This one is the least appealing, I know. Sometimes it is nice to take a long shower, but it’s all water being used. I found out that we are consuming water 50% faster than what can be replaced. Most of the time we just stand under the water, the actual time that it takes to shampoo/shave/wash etc. is relatively short. It’s nice to know also that your skin won’t be as dry.

Making it yourself– DIY is great because you’re using things you already have, most of which are natural ingredients.

Buying palettes vs individual packages– The palettes that allow you to switch out products are especially good. Rather than buying something with extra packaging get it down to the bare-bones and have the palette. In the end it is more economical plus you’ll have everything in one spot. Reusable packages, palettes, containers are what we are looking for.

Passing on the wipes- On a field trip to a sewage plant (yes it was as gross as one would imagine)  I was told that wipes never break down. They might say they are recyclable, but apparently none of them really do what they are supposed to do. Now, this was referring to baby wipes, but I would make the assumption that none of the wipes are good.

Thanks to that class I am almost hyperaware of what is going on all around us, however it is nice to be able to identify opportunities where I can do things differently. Most of it is really small and accessible to anyone.

Level Naturals Coffee + Sugar Body Polish Review

Some coffee scrubs can be really abrasive, even some sugar scrubs can be a bit much. This body polish is a good mix both of exfoliating and moisturizing.

Since this is an item that you will be using while trapped in the shower, the scent had better be pretty pleasant. The smell of this body polish is satisfying. Well, I say this as a coffee lover, but I think even people that don’t like how coffee tastes can agree it smells really good. There is also a sweetness that isn’t too powerful, but definitely present, like a hint of vanilla.

Aside from the smell the second thing I noticed was the firmness and density of the product. You will most likely need a spoon or paddle to scoop it out. Even after being kept in the shower in the heat it didn’t soften it any. The plus to this is that a little bit goes a long way and you won’t have the case of grabbing too much and wasting. It takes you actively scrubbing it in to get it to melt down. I would definitely rather have this than the similar products that have a scoop of sugar swimming in oil.

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As summer is approaching, I am fairly tired of coming out of the shower and immediately having to moisturize, let’s face it, we’ve been doing that all winter. Often enough I will end up skipping that step in the warmer months, but I can’t get away with that forever. I still need something on my skin or it will get a little dry, even with nicer weather on my side. Probably the friendliest aspect of this body polish is that it stays with you after the shower. You can really feel the shea butter, coconut oil and other oils doing their job. It’s like a built in moisturizer. You’ll notice after you get out of the shower there is a luminosity to your skin. It’s the look right after you use a body lotion.

This polish covers all the bases as it is gluten free, cruelty free and vegan. To close this review out I will end with what I started with, there is harmony in this product. You get moisture, exfoliation and a pleasant smell.

How To Be Taken Seriously as a Young Makeup Artist

I’ve had my business card thrown out in front of me. I’ve had salon/ spa owners laugh at me making it clear that they were not taking anything I said seriously simply because I was young. It’s true, I was 19 and new to it all. It is hard going to an industry where you have to prove yourself and people have decades more experiences than you, but everyone has to start somewhere. I toughed it out and now that I’m a bit older and have been doing it for longer I want to give advice to those who are starting out as young or younger than I was.

1. Do not cheapen yourself or let someone else do it. People will try to convince you that you should take less money because you are young, but keep in mind that there is a difference between young and inexperienced. Sometimes they overlap, you can be both young and inexperienced, or you could be young but have a lot of experience and talent. While there is something to be said about the amount training and years into something you have the more you can charge, if you have come up with your price and you confident with it do not settle for less. If you charge something at one place or with someone know that that number may follow you. Makeup artistry is a lot of word of mouth and you can’t have people comparing vastly different numbers in a short amount of time. It’s a fast way to lose customers and clients. Another reason this is bad is because you’ll get in the habit of changing your prices because someone older than you told you to. If they are telling you that you are overcharging because of a legitimate reason, then it might be good to listen and do your own research, but keep in mind that if people sense you are young they may try to pull a fast one.

2. Get experience, but not always for free. I’ve done a lot of free gigs, but sprinkle them in with paid gigs. You will be taken more seriously when you get paid for your service, it’s just the way it is. Another way to look at this is to get experience through training, go to free classes and take any free advice you can get, but sometimes it is good to invest in a class and pay for a certificate or class.

3. Team up with someone else. It’s good to get together with someone else who is new and combine your skills. It’s also good if you can have someone take you on like an apprentice. This will most likely increase your chances of getting projects and clients. Don’t feel like you always have to find another makeup artist, team up with a hairstylist or a photographer.

4. Observe what others do. Do other people utilize social media? Do they carry around a pocket hand sanitzer while they work? Check out little details and see if any of them work for you. It will save you time from having to figure everything out yourself.

Show up on time, be as professional as you can be and know what you can bring to the table no matter how old you are.

Biossance 100% Squalane/ Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil Review

When I first heard about squalane it was in aesthetics school. It stood out in my mind as one of the stranger ingredients we learned about because most squalane is derived from shark, more specifically the shark liver. Pretty gross, but then a lot of strange stuff is marketed all in the name of beauty. Previously I would have never considered trying squalane, but then I was doing some research and I found the brand Biossance which uses squalane formulated from sugarcane and it definitely peaked my interest. Thankfully they had free samples of both their 100% Squalane Oil & their Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil. I had to try it.

The 100% Squalane can be used on hair, skin and nails. The first thing I noticed was the consistency was unlike any oil I had used before. It was extremely light and pretty much scentless. I liked the weightlessness of the oil. When I applied it to my skin it blended beautifully and gave my skin a healthy shimmer rather than an oily appearance. I put it all over my hands including my nails. I noticed a definite difference in my nails, they were moisturized and smooth even after taking nail polish off which usually leaves them dry. I generally wait a few days in between doing my nails to let them breathe, but after using the oil on them I feel like I could do them back to back without a problem.

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The Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil had a lovely pure rose smell. Initially I couldn’t put my finger on what happened when I applied the oil to my face, but it made my face almost “bouncy?” What I was experiencing was the firming/smoothing effect it has on the skin. I hadn’t come across a product that worked that effectively and quickly. As mentioned with the 100% Squalane it was extremely lightweight and my skin ate it up, it was really unique to use an oil that didn’t have an oily feel to it.

Overall I loved both products, I’m partial to the oil with the Vitamin C and rose oil, but it could be because of the smell. I love that Biossance uses sugarcane as a nice alternative and gives everyone a chance to try before buying, especially those who have never used squalane before. I definitely plan on getting the full sized oils next time.

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Why Do I Need A Toner?

 

If you’ve been recommended a skincare routine that is more than a few steps long it can be uncomfortable and confusing. How did you suddenly go from a wash and moisturizer to a middle step and steps after that? Today we’ll focus on the toners.

If we’re honest a lot of times toner appears to be an overpriced bottle of liquid. If you’ve never used it you may wonder if it’s really necessary or just an extra thing to buy. It’s a little bit of both. Can you get away without it? Yes, however if you have any goals for your skin you may want to reconsider. If there is any condition with your skin it can likely be further addressed through a toner. A toner’s speciality is balance. Things such as makeup, the environment and the act of washing your face can disrupt your skin’s PH. If your skin is too oily or too dry, there is most likely an imbalance in your skin’s PH. While it is pretty much impossible to avoid all factors that could negatively impact your skin’s health, you can counteract them by using a toner.

One of the main reasons I love to use toners is to remove any excess makeup that is left over after washing my face. Even in the case of cleansing twice, using an oil based cleanser, you name it,  you will still be able to find more makeup residue when using a toner. You’ll also find that days that you don’t wear any makeup at all you’ll still find after sliding a cotton ball with toner across your face it will not come up clean.

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Generally for everyone starting off just to give a feel of how toners work and can make a difference in your skin I would recommend using something neutral and calming. Something that is a pretty safe choice for anyone any age or skin type would be a rosewater, chamomile or aloe toner. The nice thing about using something like those options would be that you could use them throughout the day to refresh your skin.

Your options for toners also include astringents. Astringents are good for oily and acne prone skin.While most toners contain alcohol, astringents contain the most amount of alcohol, so it’s best to see how your skin reacts. If extreme dryness occurs it’s likely it’s doing more harm than good, keeping in mind that these products are meant to balance and not strip. In this case look for something that has a lower or no alcohol content.

The feelings your skin should experience after using a toner should be refreshed, clean and slightly tight (a tightening sensation is normal for toners.) If you’re ready to find your skin smoother, tighter, and more balanced it might be time to try a toner.