Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Quick Thanks!

So I was just logging onto my blogger homepage, and I got a little surprise: Two new followers! I thought I should take the time to thank the lovely ladies who follow my blog, and all my readers who prefer to browse rather than follow. I really appreciate it because it makes blogging that much more enjoyable, just knowing that people do find what I write worth reading. I've got a busy week coming up with exams and essays and novels to read, so I don't know how soon my next post will be, but I thought you all deserved a thank-you before my next post.

Happy Reading!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Heat and Hair: The Great Debate

Hello dear readers!

As I was walking to class with rather damp hair this morning (which I really don't recommend in winter, by the way, because my hair literally froze temporarily and I couldn't touch it until it dried for fear of snapping it) I started mentally measuring how long it had been since I had last used heat on my hair. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I have not used heat on my hair in over a month. Now I'm not one to straighten my hair more than a few times a year, so when I say I've avoided heat I mainly mean I've avoided the blowdryer. I'm a rather low maintenance girl when it comes to hair (and makeup), but I often go on blowdrying kicks. For several months last year, I thought the only way to make my hair look good in the morning if I showered at night was to blow it dry every single night. Then I took a break from the blow dryer for several months, and this fall I went for another couple of months believing that the only way my hair could ever look decent was to blow dry it after showering every morning. Needless to say, I have a very dysfunctional relationship with my hair dryer.

Yes, it's ionic and supposedly wonderful, but these days I'm not only better off without it, but I've got no time to blow dry my hair anyway. In any case: heat and hair. I'm on a bit of a ramble, aren't I? If you're still with me, I give you a round of applause and a hearty thank-you-for-listening. So to take us back to the present, I'm thinking about how every time I get a haircut I promise myself I will no longer use heat on my hair. Well I'm proud to say that this time I've held out pretty well. I got my hair trimmed on December 29, 2010, which I know you were all dying to know, and I haven't used heat since.

Which brings me full circle back to the title of the post, referring to this question: What does heat actually do to your hair? I mean, hair is essentially dead protein so it can't really be killed because it's already dead. It can't really be healthy, because it isn't alive. Redundant, no?

This is where the research came in. I called up my old friend Google and asked him what exactly are the effects of heat on hair. I came up with these informative articles and some new knowledge about the relationship between thermal styling and hair:

Image from the website above

Image from the website above

What I understand from these articles is that heat essentially breaks down the bonds of hair temporarily, and the effects of moisture in the air will bring hair back to its natural state. However, heat also opens the cuticle. This can be a good or bad thing. If moisturizing or deep conditioning treatments are applied, heat can help open the cuticle so the treatments are better absorbed. Too much opening, on the other hand, can permanently damage the cuticle. Also, heat can actually restructure the hair by breaking down proteins. If hair is straightened too often, the hair itself can be trained to appear straight in the long run, and it will take a long time without heat for the proteins to renature themselves.

These websites provide good basic information on heat and hair, and I recommend them if you'd like to read a bit more in depth on the effects of heat on hair. As for me, I'm going to try to remain heatless, if you will, for as long as possible. So take this information as you will, and may you always have beautiful tresses!

Just don't freeze your hair.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Who You're Reading!

UPDATE: The concert was fabulous and girls' night was a wonderful success. I just wanted to reiterate that I know the quality of pictures, or lack of pictures whatsoever, is poor, and it will take me a bit to get all of this blog formatting up to beauty/life blog standards. So I apologize for the lack of good pictures, and I promise this problem will be fixed as soon as possible!

Hello Lovely Readers!

I don't have much time to write because I'm off in about 15 minutes to have a girls' night with a few good friends. We're going to see an a cappella concert at the university and then just relax and enjoy each other's company. I just thought I should show a really crappy webcam photo of myself so you can get an idea of what I look like and who you're reading.

Please excuse the incredibly expressionless face and very washed out lighting. But yes, I am this pale.

Until next time.


Friday, January 21, 2011

I'm Making My Beauty Confessions

Hi everyone!

Today I'm over at Modesty Brown today making my Friday Confessions. Check it out! Lyuba is also confessed her beauty sins today. I'm sorry about the lack of pictures here, but I still have to figure out exactly what I want this blog to become, and my better camera happens to be at home. I'll be making another post very soon!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

15 Random Facts Tag

Hello lovelies!

After surviving my first week of second semester of college, I thought I'd unwind with this 15 Random Facts Tag. I wasn't tagged by anyone specifically, but I did see this tag over at Funky Makeup Junkie and I thought it looked quite fun. I can't figure out how to make the number system double spaced, so I'll just make the answers different colors in the hopes that it's marginally easier to read. So here goes:

  1.  I can never read one book at a time. Seriously. I'm always juggling four or five books for pleasure all at once, on top of what I have to read for school. Needless to say, it takes me quite a while to actually finish some of them, as they're all of varying lengths and I have little to no time for pleasure reading. (Then how do you have time for blogging, you ask? Excellent question). I love reading, but I just can't be a monogamist when it comes to books. Besides the Harry Potter series, my favorite books are by Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, and Jane Green, respectively. 
  2.  I'm in love with the Spanish language. This is my eighth year studying Spanish, and it's really paid off. I won a trip to Peru the summer before senior year of high school through the National Spanish Exam. I was one of 32 students nationwide who got to participate, and one of only four who won through the exam. I'm pursuing a Spanish minor at my university, and I'm rereading the Harry Potter series in Spanish. I'm currently on the fifth one. 
  3. I enjoy a wide variety of music genres, but I'm not a huge fan of major pop stars like Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, or Kesha. Their music is catchy and they're fun to watch, but my favorite singers include Eric Hutchinson, Jon McLaughlin, Michael Buble, Jason Mraz, Juanes, Reik, Luis Fonsi, Sara Bareilles, and Colbie Caillat. As you can see, I like the less overtly famous singers [except, I guess, Jason Mraz I suppose]. I prefer slightly mellower but still catchy pop with clever lyrics, and I am in love with jazz, big band music, Latin pop and traditional Latin music.
  4. My family has taken the weirdest vacations, but I've loved them all. To name a few of the quirkiest, we've been to Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota. We've also been to Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Iowa, Ohio, Colorado, Missouri, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, West Virginia, Canada, and New York. Only a few of these destinations are actually destinations for vacations that most people take. My dad likes going to random places with lots of historical value, museums, nature centers, and, for my benefit, some sort of great shopping. Even though these are extremely quirky destinations, I've loved all of them. I'm sure I'm forgetting a few as well.
  5. I will watch my favorite over and over and over again, sometimes three days in a row. I saw the most recent Harry Potter movie three times in a week, and a fourth time in the same month. I watched Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland three times in a week in the summer, and another three times within a week this fall. Three seems to be the magic number here; I promise there's no reason for it! I also never get sick of watching 27 Dresses or 500 Days of Summer. I have way too many favorite movies to name, but a few that I've not yet mentioned are The Princess Bride, Tangled, Enchanted, Ella Enchanted, The Devil Wears Prada, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Casanova, and Stardust.
  6. I absolutely love to hula hoop. It's one of my favorite ways to exercise. I prefer to exercise in my house, or, in this case, my dorm room. Thank goodness it's big enough. I can hula hoop through an entire movie. The longest I've gone without stopping was a little over two hours. I like to watch a movie or read a book or magazine while hula hooping and walking. Yes, this may seem crazy, but that's only because it is.
  7. I don't watch a lot of TV, but I'm absolutely in love with Flight of the Conchords and Castle. Flight of the Conchords only ran for two seasons, and I only found out about it last year when my brother and I started watching music videos from the show. It's so low budget and terrible that it's absolutely wonderful. How could you not fall for the New Zealand accents and total lack of success of the show's title band in America? Castle is an extremely clever and hilarious show with starring Nathan Fillion. I usually hate mysteries and crime solving shows, but this one has just enough humor to make it great. I'm also addicted to Glee, but this season just isn't that good.
  8. I don't have texting on my phone. Yes, that's right. The only time I've ever texted was when my friend was driving and she asked me to tell our mutual friend that we'd be there in a few minutes. Shocker, I know. In a world dependent upon 24/7 connection, most of my friends find it hard to believe that I'm still alive without text. However, it's actually been a blessing. I don't have to constantly worry about offending people by not texting them back because I'm busy or don't feel like responding, and I never have to worry about my friends or some boy not texting me back. I've also converted a couple of my friends into callers rather than texters. They actually now prefer talking on the phone. It's amazing.
  9. I strongly dislike typical American barbecue food. That includes hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips and french fries. The greasiness is so unappealing. I'm not a huge meat eater either, but I'm not a vegetarian. If I could live off cheese and pasta, I would.
  10. I've been in choir since first grade, excluding my junior year of high school. That makes this my thirteenth year. I absolutely love to sing. I know there are other much more talented singers, but I've enjoyed being in advanced choirs and ensembles, as well as jazz choir and show choir throughout my life. I love singing in front of huge auditoriums because I don't have to concentrate on any particular faces. I get more nervous singing in front of small crowds of people I know than in front of huge crowds of people I don't know.
  11. I live a pretty drama-free life, but I often get caught in the middle of friends who are fighting with each other for some insignificant reason. I've been stuck as peacemaker my entire life and I tend to concentrate much more on the well-being of others than on my own, which is something I feel I need to work on.
  12. As you may or may not have guessed from the title of this blog, I'm absolutely addicted to lipstick. My first addiction was nail polish. I wore a different color every week from fourth grade until my sophomore year of high school, and now I wear it more sporadically. My collection is still huge, but smaller than the 70 some polishes I had at the height of my addiction. My second addiction was lipgloss. I was so jealous the first day that my sister was allowed to wear lipstick, and so I decided to collect lipgloss in the meantime. My collection has grown ridiculously, but over the last year my enthusiasm for lipgloss has died down and the lipstick-addict gene has kicked in. My best friend thinks I need to stop indulging my addiction, but my collection is, by my standards, still quite small.
  13. I have a love/hate relationship with my appearance. I have extremely pale skin and thick, dark wavy hair. I'm quite small and petite but curvy at the same time. Besides my constant struggle to tone up, I've often felt that I look like I belong in another decade. I'm not stick-thin, and there's nothing tiny about my facial features. My face is very youthful looking and round, and I'm not quite old enough to appreciate it. Most people think I'm in high school now, which is a step up from when they thought I was twelve, but I'm still a bit uncomfortable with it. My looks just aren't typical of this era's idea of beauty. I've sometimes been told  I look like I stepped out of the '50s. I often take that as a compliment, but I still struggle with my looks.
  14. The only pets I've ever had are goldfish and guppies. Thrilling, I know. My family has babysat bunnies, birds, turtles, dogs and guinea pigs, but we've never actually owned a pet that can be held and petted. 
  15. I'm addicted to all kinds of magazines. I'm subscribed to Seventeen and I often buy Allure, so I'm considering a subscription to that as well. My mom subscribes to Family Circle, and I absolutely love reading through it and looking at the style and family sections. I used to love Woman's Day until a new Editor-in-Chief took over. I always borrow Teen Vogue from my best friend, as well as People and People StyleWatch when she borrows it from her dad's office. I own some issues of Vogue, Elle, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan as well.
I hope you've enjoyed reading this tag as much as I enjoyed writing it. I tag anyone who reads my blog. I'd love to hear 15 random facts about you!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tips I've Learned for Healthy Looking Hair

As many of you already know, hair can't actually be healthy. That is, simply put, because hair is dead protein. The only hair that is actually alive lies beneath the scalp. What's important is to maintain the appearance of healthy hair by minimizing damage, and by keeping the scalp healthy inside and out. I've learned quite a lot of these tips from other bloggers, YouTubers, and websites, so you've probably heard most of this before, but I always enjoy reading tips on hair anyway, so here they are:

1. Depending on your hair type, length and texture, you can go different amounts of time between trims. I've heard somewhere around 10-12 weeks for curly, longer hair. Very close-cropped hair of any texture needs to be maintained with trims every 4-6 weeks. As always, you can be the judge of this yourself. If you're petrified of getting all your hair chopped off by a scissor-happy stylist, be very specific with what you want and make sure she or he shows you a sample of how much they plan to cut off.

2. Curly hair should be cut dry. I know this from myriad bad hair experiences where the stylist cuts it wet and it bounces up several inches higher than its actual length. I finally found someone who cuts curly hair dry.

3. On the contrary, straight or slightly wavy hair can be cut wet because it doesn't affect length quite so much.

4. Try to limit the amount of heat you use, but if you must use heat only apply with a heat protectant to DRY hair. I know there are people who say it doesn't damage their wet hair, but even if there's no visible damage you're still frying your hair.

5. Try to let hair air dry at least part way if you must blow dry.

6. Never brush or comb curly hair when it's dry. It will just cause huge amounts of frizz. Try not to brush wet hair either, regardless of texture.

7. Try to avoid sulfates in shampoo and conditioner, especially sodium lauryl sulfate. Sodium laureth sulfate is really not as irritating or menacing as its made out to be, but if you can avoid both that's great.

8. Shampoo your roots and scalp; condition your ends. I'm sure you've all heard that tip a million times by now.

9. Don't ever rub your hair vigorously with a towel. You'll just tear it and cause frizz.

10. You don't have to wash your hair every day, because it does strip oils from your scalp. However, if you have a ridiculously oily scalp and absolutely have to wash every day, the beauty police won't arrest you. I promise. On the days you don't wash, you have some options: You could put your hair in a shower cap so it doesn't get wet; you could wash with just water; or you could just condition your hair. Curly or dry-haired girls can co-wash.

11.  Drink plenty of water and eat a healthy diet. This is a no-brainer, but it helps every aspect of our lives. What you put inside you definitely shows on the outside.

That's all I can think of for now. I hope you enjoyed reading [re-reading in some cases] these tips.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Since I Should be Sleeping...

...I naturally decided to look for a survey to fill out. I think they're tons of fun to read, and they give you a bit more knowledge about the person whose blog you're reading, Facebook you're stalking, etc. Before we get to that,  I want to apologize for the weird inconsistencies in font size and color. I'm a bit technologically impaired, so I think it's best to warn you all that it will take me a while to figure out the format.

But on to the survey

I found this "This or That??" survey here.

Here goes:

This or That?? - Beauty Survey

blush or bronzer:
 I'd choose blush, simply because I'm so pale that I think any bronzer would look ridiculously out of place.
lip gloss or lipstick Lipstick. I use formulas with a bit of natural shine/shimmer in them anyway, so it's easy to swipe and go.
eye liner or mascara Mascara
foundation or concealer Concealer
neutral or color eye shadow Neutral
pressed or loose eye shadows Pressed
brushes or spon ges Brushes

OPI or china glaze OPI
Long or short Short, but not ridiculously so
Acrylic or natural Natural
Brights or darks I like both, and I often use bright darks!
Flo wer or no fl ower no flower

perfume or bo dy splash body splash
lotion or bo dy butter body cream, which is probably closer to body butter
bo dy wash or soap body wash
lush or other bath company I've actually never bought from lush. SHOCK! HORROR! So, other bath company.

jeans or sweat pants Jeans, but I've just recently bought sweat pants and they are wonderful for lounging around in my room when I've nowhere to go.
long sleeve of short Short
dresses or skirts Dresses
stripes or plaid I love both. I don't think I can choose. 
flip flops or sandals Sandals, but I really don't wear either. I'm sort of a ballet-flats-year-round type person.
scarves or hats Again, I don't wear either of these but I do love scarves.
studs or dangly earrings Dangly
necklaces or bracelets Necklaces
heels or flats Flats, simply because that's what I live in in the warmer months, and I've yet to buy heels I really like.
cowboy boots or riding boots Riding boots
jacket or hoodie Those serve entirely different purposes to me, so I can't really answer this.
forever 21 or charlotte russe I love both of these, but I think I've had slightly more success at Forever 21.
abercombie or Hollister I don't shop at these stores.
saks 5th or nordstrom Nordstrom

curly or straight Well, personally I like to keep mine natural, so curly. But both are pretty.
bun or ponytail A bun is what I wear most often when my hair's not down.
bobby pins or butterfly clips hahahahaha. If you had asked me this 12 years ago, my answer would have been butterfly clips. As of now, it's bobby pins without a doubt.
hair spray or gel cream gel because it's less crunchy than either but provides light hold
long or short Long
light or dark I prefer my hair dark. I've never colored it.
side sweep bangs or full bangs Side-swept
up or down Since I don't know any fancy or exciting updos, I'll have to go with down.

Rain or shine shine
Summer or winter SUMMER! Is anyone else ready for winter to end? I am!
Fall or spring I do like both of these season, but I'd have to say spring because the weather is generally warmer
Chocolate or vanilla Chocolate for everything except ice cream
East coast or west coast
I've only ever been to the East Coast. I'd rather live on the East Coast, despite the weather though. If I had to move out of the Midwest, that's where I'd go.

So there you have it. If anyone wants to do this tag, and I know it's been on YouTube as well, I'd be thrilled to read it! Have a lovely evening/morning/afternoon wherever you are!


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Naughty and Nice Products of 2010

A tag has been going around YouTube for quite a while now in which beauty gurus list their five "naughty" and five "nice" products of 2010. Since this is self-explanatory, I feel the need to continue with explanatory mumblings. "Naughty" products are those we've discovered in 2010 that are either horrible products all together or just don't work for us. "Nice" products, as the name would suggest, work well for us and our just all-around great products. I'm limiting myself and sticking strictly to items I've tried first in 2010.

I'll start with the naughty list, which is considerably shorter:


The first product on this list is NYX Round Lipstick in Indian Pink.
This lipstick is an absolutely gorgeous color, just not for me. I was on the search for a natural, not nude, pinky/coral color and I thought this would do the trick. In the lighting at the Ulta I was at, I couldn't tell how orange and warm-toned it really is. This would be a beautiful color on warm or neutral skin tones, but with my extremely fair, cool-toned skin and pinky red natural lip color, it just didn't work out at all.

The next product that didn't work for me was Avon Beyond Color Radiant Lifting Concealer in Fair.
I learned my lesson with this concealer: unless you're actually sure what concealer shades work for you, never buy from a catalogue or online. Avon notoriously has wonderful products but really untrue pictures of the colors of their products. The shade "Fair" for this concealer was nowhere near white enough for my super-pale skin. When applied over my dark circles, it just looked like I had applied beige concealer over purplish circles. Yeah. Exactly what we women want: concealer that makes it look like we're wearing makeup. Not only was the shade wrong, but the coverage wasn't opaque enough. It just didn't hit the mark for me. I had actually never worn undereye concealer, or any concealer for that matter, until 2010. So this was my first concealer "miss." I'm still on the lookout for the perfect one for porcelain skin.

The next is also a concealer. It is Almay Smart Shade Concealer in Light 010.
Because the link is choosing not to work for the picture, you can check out this product here. First of all, the fact that it claims to match your exact skin tone is a bit ridiculous, but my friend did recommend this product to me so I thought I'd give it a go as an undereye concealer. The problem with this, besides its ridiculous claim, is that it's so sheer that it never fully conceals the circles. It works nicely to brighten up inner corners and it lightens dark circles a bit, but it just doesn't live up to its claims. The color is by far a better match than the Avon one, but I'm afraid that if it was actually opaque enough, it would prove to be too beige/peachy for my skin tone. The search continues for a perfect undereye match.

This next product is a hair product that has been raved about in the beauty community. It is It's A 10 Miracle Leave-In Product.

This product claims to do ten things, including smoothing hair and getting rid of frizz, fixing damage and working as a heat protectant. It also claims to protect color and detangle. The hairstylist I used to go to recommended this product to me and gave me a small bottle to try out for free. Honestly, I think it's just a glorified detangler/leave-in conditioner/ heat protectant. There isn't anything special as far as ingredients in this product, and after a month or so of near-nightly application to damp hair, I saw no difference at all in my hair. There are definitely cheaper heat protectants, and if that's all this product is good for then I am not going to repurchase. It's really an overpriced detangler in my opinion.

The fifth and last item on my naughty list is actually a general and not a specific beauty item and that is: fragranced body lotion. It pains me to say that I can no longer wear my favorite Bath and Body Works scented lotions. Over the past couple of years, my skin has become ridiculously sensitive. Any type of fragrance makes my skin sting, so I can only use hypoallergenic, fragrance free lotion. This means that all of the wonderful lotions I've been given as gifts have to be given away, and the only people I know who'd want half-used lotions are probably my mom and sister, and my sister doesn't live in the state. That's a lot of lotion that I sadly can no longer use. 


Over the past year I discovered several new lipsticks, so I'll try to limit myself to my absolute favorites. The first is L'Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in Tropical Coral.
Unlike Indian Pink, this lipstick is a reddish coral, and it's cool-toned. It picks up the red in my lips, and, although it's pigmented it somehow manages to be completely wearable and almost natural on my lips. I first discovered this shade in New York City this summer, but I didn't actually purchase it until I got home from vacation. It was one of the first success stories in lipstick shades of 2010, and it quickly became a staple. When I first started college, I wore this lipstick every single day for at least a month and have recently been picking it up again. The formula is fairly long lasting and not drying, though I wouldn't apply it without a balm underneath.

The next lipstick is one I've been reaching for quite a lot over the past couple of months, and that is Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in Latino.

At first I was a bit disappointed in this lipstick because it's got quite a noticeable shimmer when first applied. However, I've discovered that I was the only one to actually notice the shimmer, and it gives the illusion of a fuller lip rather than a frosty one when the shimmer dies down. I've found myself reaching for this every day, and it's half gone by now. This is a super moisturizing formula. Again, I always use balm before lipstick, but this one is moisturizing on its own. It also has SPF 18, which is a nice touch. It's the perfect soft, wearable everyday pink color. I kept going to different drugstores and Ultas and opening this one up and gazing at it before my mom got sick of me staring at it and bought it for me. Now she loves it, too, and keeps reminding me that I'll need to get a new one soon.

The next item is a hair product. The reason I started using it is actually because I discovered this product in the Beauty section of Seventeen magazine. It was an article for girls with thick waves, messy curls, and/or frizziness, or something along those lines. I don't know if I've got the exact wording correct, but basically my hair fits all of those descriptions. This product is Suave Professionals Weather Protection 365 Anti-Frizz and Flyaway Cream Gel.

My hair has gone through many transitions throughout my life. I had huge barrel curls when I was little, then I got it cut extremely close-cropped (I HATED that) and it grew back stick straight. Then it got sort of lank and wavy. Eventually it got really curly, went back to wavy, and now it's back to curly. My type of curl is the kind where it's flat on top and curly on the bottom. Because it's so thick, it tends to fall into waves. I wanted a product to get rid of frizz and define curls without giving the wet look of strong-hold gels. This product does the trick. I like to towel-dry my hair for twenty minutes and then comb and scrunch this into damp hair. It helps to define the curls and keep them defined. It eliminates a lot of the frizz within the curls and gives a nice shape to my hair. I still need to use a serum to get rid of the frizz and flyaways that remain, but this product is amazing. The only downside is that I go through it so quickly. I currently have four tubes at home, and one back in my dorm room. It's kind of a miracle-worker.

The next product is Physician's Formula Concealer 101 Perfecting Concealer Duo in Green/Light.

This product came to my attention in a rather unconventional way. I had been going to a dermatologist for years, and my skin had suddenly started breaking out on my chin and forehead, and nothing was curing it. I've only just discovered the cause of this, but at the time my dermatologist gave me an antibiotic to take and then, curiously, asked if I ever wore concealer. The answer at the time was that no, I never used concealer. Because the antibiotic was going to take a month or so to take effect, he suggested a Physician's Formula green-toned concealer to cover blemishes. This was the second type I tried, and, even though it gets a lot of hate on MakeUp Alley, it works wonders for me. The brush isn't great and the packaging is terrible, but I find that applying the green to blemishes and covering the green with the skin color works wonderfully to cover up blemishes and redness. The only way it can get cake-y is by applying too much, as it is a cream to powder formula. The skin color really is nowhere near my actual skin tone, but for some reason when applied over the green it blends right in. Unless I find a better concealer, I'm sticking to this until my skin clears up. Another bonus is it doesn't aggravate my breakouts.

The last of my five Nice products is Avon Moisture Therapy Intensive Extra Strength Cream for Extremely Dry Skin.

As I've mentioned, my skin reacts to even the slightest hint of fragrance. My hands also get ridiculously dry and visibly flaky in the winter, so I need something extremely strong and non-irritating to calm them down.  This cream does the trick. I use it on my hands and elbows at night, though I'm not very diligent at applying lotion regularly. When I do apply this nightly, it softens my hands and visibly reduces flakes and redness caused by cold, dry winter weather. It also comes in the tube form in two different sizes. I have all three varieties, and they really are life-savers, but my favorite is definitely the kind that comes in a jar. Its consistency is just thicker and creamier and easier to blend into the skin. 

That concludes my Naughty and Nice list for 2010 beauty items. I hope 2011 brings another slew of wonderful products for us all to indulge in!

Happy hunting!


Monday, January 3, 2011

Honorable Mention Skincare

Hello readers!

I didn't think I could write about skincare without mentioning the last item in my skincare routine. That item is Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture for Sensitive Skin.

Photo insert here:

There isn't really much to say about this product besides the fact that it was a wonderful skincare discovery of 2010. I don't find it necessary to wear moisturizer with SPF at night, but it's really hard to find any without SPF unless it's an anti-aging cream, and I don't feel the need to use an anti-aging cream at this point in my life. I just want something simple and moisturizing that's not too heavy and is oil free, and that's what this product is. There are no miracle ingredients in it; it's just an oil free, fragrance free, gentle moisturizer that has served me well throughout summer, fall, and winter. Besides my prescriptions, this is the only other skincare item I rely on, and it works quite well.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Favorite Skincare Line: Olay


Today I thought I'd do a post on a skincare line that's served me well for years. My absolute favorite skincare brand is Olay. Through the ups and downs of my struggle with hormone-aggravated acne, and dry/sensitive/combination skin, Olay has always proved to be a very simple and very effective skincare range. The products I use never break me out and are very well formulated. My skincare routine is extremely simple because I also use prescription acne medication. I'd rather use gentle products for the rest of my skincare and let the prescriptions dig in deeper and do the dirty work.

Here are my absolute favorites:

                                Olay Complete All Day UV Moisturizer, SPF 15, Sensitive Skin

The sensitive skin range is obviously the one I reach for, as I have very touchy skin. However, I would recommend that everyone try the sensitive skin range as it's the only SPF 15 moisturizer from Olay with physical sun protection. This means that the sun protection is derived from minerals and physically blocks the rays from damaging your skin. The mineral sunblock in this product is zinc oxide. Zinc oxide and titanium oxide are the best ingredients to look for in sun protection because they are physical rather than chemical blocks and better protect from signs of aging as well as all sun damage. It also contains Vitamin E, an antioxidant that works against aging, soothing aloe, and it's non-comedogenic and fragrance free, meaning it won't clog pores or irritate skin. Some people might think SPF 15 isn't enough, but it works just fine for me during fall and winter when I'm not outside as much.

                    Olay Complete Defense Daily UV Moisturizer SPF 30, Sensitive Skin

In the spring and summer, I reach for the SPF 30 version. Unlike the SPF 15, I do believe all the ranges of SPF 30 moisturizers from Olay have zinc oxide in them. It's formulated the same way as its less-strong contemporary, with Vitamin E, aloe, and physical sun protection. Both these products last forever even though I like to slather on my sun protection. I've been using both of these since I was about 12, and seven years later I still absolutely love them. Neither have caused me breakouts or irritated my skin in any way, and my face has never been burned or seen any signs of sun damage while wearing them. Again, it's fragrance free and non-comedogenic. Both are also oil free and dermatologist tested.

                                        Olay Foaming Face Wash Sensitive Skin

The last skincare product I use from Olay is their foaming face wash. This is soap and oil free as well as fragrance and dye free. It doesn't have sodium lauryl sulfate, which is really the most harmful of the sulfates. There's a lot of debate in the beauty community about sulfates, but according to Paula's Choice Beauty Bulletin, which does scientific research of ingredients in skincare and makeup, it's sodium lauryl sulfate that people should worry about the most, not sodium laureth or ammonium sulfates. Again, I like to use gentle cleansers so that they don't interfere with my prescriptions, and so far this has done the trick quite well.

Olay is a fabulous skincare brand, and their anti-aging lines are supposed to be great as well. I've only done research on the products I use consistently, but I'm sure there are other winners in Olay's ranges of skincare.

What are some of your skincare favorites?