Archive for the ‘Skincare’ Category

How much is your face worth? (Not as much as A.Rod.)

January 18, 2010

The always lovely Rae of theNotice had an interesting post this morning calculating the cost of her “face” today. Count all the products on your face right this very minute (i.e., no cleansers of exfoliators, but including serums, treatments, moisturizers, etc.) Mine’s kind of unfair, since I hardly ever use the same products two days in a row.

German Nivea, $15 (according to Rae, but I got mine for a measley $4)
Desert Essence jojoba oil, $6
Acne-Free senstive treatment, $8 (got in a kit for $10 on clearance at Walgreens)

Px All Skins mineral foundation $34 (scored for $15 on eBay)
Coty Airspun powder $8

MAC Gentle mineralize blush, $22 (bought on LJ for $16)

Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy, $10
Almay Pure Blends eyeshadow in Wheat, $9 (scored for $2ish at CVS beauty clearance)
WnW cream eyeliner, $3 (paid $1.50 at Walgreens sale)
WnW MegaLengths mascara, $3

Cover Girl TruShine Wine Shine, $7 (less than $2 on clearance 😦 at RiteAid )

from the gorgeous miss Kristina at Sasquatch Swatch

$77.50!  And I’m sporting the super-natural, low-key look today.  Also, did you notice how many products I got on sale?  My face probably “retails” for over $100.  Still not too bad.

How much is your face worth today? Link ’em or leave ’em, pretties!


Strike 1: new skincare routine

January 7, 2010

So I wrote a post a few months ago about my super-duper-awesome skincare routine that I was sure was going to solve my every dermal problem and end world hunger. Except for I realized I was sensitive to the dimethicone in my acne treatment and my cleanser couldn’t wash it (or all of my makeup) off, leading to more clogged pores and blemishes.

On to round two! I’ve been using this exact routine for a few weeks now and it seems to really be working (I am literally knocking on wood as I type this).

Current skincare:

AM – wash with Desert Essence Completely Clean face wash (castile soap based)
treat with AcneFree Terminator 2.5% regular (w/ alcohol)
moisturize with Avon Banishing cream

PM – wash with MAC Cleanse-off Oil (OCM with safflower/castor oils 1x/week)
treat with Avene Diacneal
moisturize with Avon Banishing cream

The castile soap seems to dry out my skin (which, for me, is fantastic) and I surprisingly haven’t had a single problem with the alcohol in the AcneFree treatment. Even though the Avon cream has dimethicone, it was recommended to me by a girl with some of the most beautiful skin I’ve ever seen, so I HAD to give it a shot. Plus, the Cleanse-off Oil and OCM really break down whatever’s on top of the skin so I haven’t had as much pore-clogging action as usual. Diacneal = <3.

My mom has been bugging me literally for YEARS to try ProActiv, and while I was at Walgreen’s yesterday I saw the AcneFree sensitive kit on clearance for about $10. I used the regular AcneFree kit and HATED it, but the ingredients in this one looked nice (sulfate-free, tea tree oil, benzoyl peroxide in a lose dose, salicylic acid, retinyl palmitate, triclosan, silicone-free, yay!) and it had the treatment I love so much, but in a sensitive version without the alcohol. Starting today I’m using it in place of my AM routine (I hope I don’t regret this) and I’ll post updates if anyone’s interested.

Another couple of things I think are really helping:

  • Changing pillowcases often (I just got a sheet set with FOUR pillowcases, score!)
  • Using microfiber hand towels and baby washcloths to exfoliate at night (and it feels soooo good to wipe off the cleansing oil)
  • Washing things that will touch my face (i.e. towels, washcloths, sheets, pillowcases) in sensitive skin, fragrance free detergent and bleach, when I can
  • I used to use witch hazel religiously but not as much anymore. I still love it in emergencies, though.
  • I also read online at that skincare treatments are more effective and work faster when refrigerated. I have no idea what the science is behind this (if any) but I need to remember to put mine in my beer….ummm…..I mean, beverage fridge.

If you have any good skincare tips, please please share!

Last loves of 2009

December 31, 2009

Here on the last day of 2009, I came across a few posts of monthly “favorites” that I never got around to posting. Let’s do a quick & dirty of some goodies I’ve used over the past few months.


  • Tresemme 24-hour body shampoo (only used a few times, but it was good)
  • Soap & Glory the Righteous Butter lotion (smells DELICIOUS)
  • regimen (doesn’t work as well as it used to. btw, my old skincare regime is trash, so an update is coming soon.)


  • Quantum Beautiful Brunette shampoo (found on Miss Natty’s Beauty Diary)
  • Natural Instincts haircolor (I mix dark brown and brown-black)
  • Pretika sonic dermabrasion skincare brush (kinda ehh now but I did love it)
  • Femme Couture baked bronzer in Summer Love (MAC Pleasureflush dupe)
  • DIY brush cleanser and disinfectant by EnKore (find it here)


  • Witch hazel as toner (still amazing, but drying)
  • Revlon Colorstay foundation (love. that is all.)
  • MAC Cleanse-Off Oil (rediscovered hardcore love)

I read theNotice every day and so should you.


  • Avene Diacneal (I will never be without this again)
  • Rimmel lipsticks (my favorite is Airy Fairy, but I have and love Celeb and Kasbah too)
  • Wet ‘n’ Wild cream liners (these suckers stay put)
  • MAC Creme Cup (been wanting this forever)
  • Avon Beyond Color Plumping lip conditioner (thanks Rae for the rec)

BONUS: Wild Animals by the Pinker Tones and Backspacer by Pearl Jam

The Pinker Tones are a Spanish pop group I found on one of the DirecTV music channels. You can’t help but dance when you hear “Electrotumbao.” And who doesn’t know Pearl Jam? Some of the tracks on Backspacer are just kinda eh but I could listen to “The Fixer” over and over again, while “Just Breathe” can make me cry a little:

“Yes I understand that every life must end
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go
I’m a lucky man to count on both hands
The ones I love
Some folks just have one
Others they got none
Stay with me
Let’s just breathe”

In memory of Tommy Tyson. I know you’re up there singing with the angels.

The all-star, pro-bowl, MVP skincare routine

October 18, 2009

My skin has spent the last, oh, 22 years or so trying to make my life miserable. There has never been a time I don’t remember it being oily, and as a teenager is was constantly red and broken out, a lovely contrast to my otherwise Snow White complexion. During spring break of my sophomore year of college my mom offered to buy me ProActiv. Before accepting her offer, I did a little research on my own. I stumbled upon the regimen and thought I’d give it a shot; it was cheap and I had a suitable cleanser and moisturizer anyway. I am not exaggerating when I say it changed my life. For the rest of college I hardly wore foundation and was comfortable going nearly bare-faced almost all the time.

Well that all changed about three weeks ago. I wasn’t using the regimen anymore, I was trying a bunch of different cleansers, and God only knows what else I did, but my skin punished me. It looked worse than in high school, and I was running out of ideas. Again I stumbled on, and after getting my breakouts under control, I modified it into my perfect skincare routine.


  • Wash with Aquanil cleanser. Aquanil is Cetaphil’s cousin in that it is super-gentle, but it actually cleans the skin. You can get it behind the counter at any pharmacy. I bought a 16-ounce bottle for about $12.
  • Treat with Paula’s Choice 2% BHA liquid and Blemish Fighting Solution. I keep the BHA in a small spray bottle and 3-4 squirts is enough for my face. Rub that in, then apply a generous amount of the Blemish Fighting Solution. It has 2.5% benzoyl peroxide, which is the key ingredient in the regimen. I have the crazy belief that no matter what you put on your skin, you won’t break out if you use BP. These products are a little pricey but they are very carefully formulated to be gentle on the skin, so I think they’re worth it.
  • Moisturize with original Nivea creme or Nivea Soft creme. I usually use the Soft creme in the daytime because it’s lighter but still does a great job moisturizing. I never would have thought to put this on my face until last weekend while I was staying with the fauxsister. My skin was super dry and flaky from the BP, and dousing my face in chlorine while swimming with the baby that morning hadn’t helped things. “I’ve got something for you,” said fauxsister when we left the gym, and when we got home she pulled out her little blue tin of Nivea. I was hesitant (I had only used the creme on my hands and body), but she’s got beautiful, glowing skin so I slathered it on. Best thing ever, and I feel so budget-savvy with a one ounce tin ringing in at 99 cents.

How cute are these?!


  • Cleanse with Aquanil. If I’m wearing heavy makeup I’ll use MAC Cleanse-off Oil or just add some olive oil to the Aquanil (it really helps moisturize too). I LOVED the Cleanse-off Oil when my skin was more oily because it really deep-cleans without stripping the skin. I still like it but it dries out my skin a bit.
  • Treat with Paula’s Choice BFS and RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle serum. Don’t be fooled, retinol does so much more than improve the look of wrinkles. I use it to treat current breakouts and blackheads, fade old acne scars, and improve my skin’s texture. Just a pump covers my whole face. I’m looking at trying some other retinol serums, namely DERMAdoctor’s Poetry in Lotion or Philosophy’s Help Me during Sephora’s upcoming Friends & Family event.
  • Moisturize with Nivea creme. If my skin is really dry, I’ll reverse the order and moisturize before I treat. It doesn’t seem to affect the absorption of the treatments, but I’m not a scientist so I don’t know.

I also use the Oil Cleansing Method two times a week at night in lieu of regular cleansing. I LOVE IT. I can really feel it unclogging my pores and it feels so good to use natural ingredients on my face. You can read more about it here. I use a mixture of castor and jojoba oils.

My skin is looking so good these days I’m going without foundation, and my family and friends are commenting on how it looks. I’m almost to the point that I don’t need any “face” makeup, and that’s really exciting! I’m waiting on a Pretika sonic skincare brush in the mail, and I hope that will just put me over the top. I’m also taking a daily multivitamin with iron, vitamin B-complex, and extended-release fish oil. I think the fish oil is doing great things from the inside out!

What are your skincare secrets? Share in the comments!

Who doesn’t like FREE STUFF?!

October 2, 2009

I mean, really. I got a message recently from my own fierce fashionista C-tina wanting to know where I find all these freebies and good deals. “Oh, you know, here, there…everywhere.” (Points if you know what movie that’s from). So here’s your guide for looking gorgeous on the cheap. Or on the free, whatever.

Bionic Beauty often posts freebies on her blog. I recently signed up for a free bar of handmade soap.

Person & Covey, makers of the amazinggg Aquanil cleanser (review to come), are super generous with samples. Just fill out this form and tell ’em you want some, and tell ’em B&tC sent you!

Mario Badescu got me hooked with a customized sample kit. Fill out their skin questionnaire and get hand-picked samples just for your skin! I LOVE and ADORE their Ceramide Eye Gel as an eyeshadow primer.

While waiting for my dad in the derm’s office this week (yay! he’s now cancer-free!!!), I read a very interesting article in Ladies’ Home Journal (I know, I know) about how to get free beauty samples. My girl Erika at MAC will hook me up with a sample ’cause she’s amazing like that, but I’ll have to try the subtle approach with the other counters.

Keep an eye on beauty blogs and beauty message boards, ’cause we always got the lowdown on who’s having a sale and what’s in the GWPs (gift with purchase). Sephora Friends & Family starts SOON! Get your lists ready!


I’m babysitting my little muffin tomorrow! I’m so excited! This is her with my ELF haul. She proceeded to take my brushes and swirl them all over her face. Hey, if they’re soft enough for her, they’re soft enough for me!

Scouting report: Mario Badescu Self Tanning Lotion SPF 15

September 17, 2009

Summer’s dwindling to its end (finally!), but for some reason I can’t kick the desire to be bronzed and beautiful.  I recently got and liked some free skincare samples from Mario Badescu, so I thought, what the heck, the tanner’s got to be okay too. I scored this for 99 cents plus shipping on eBay; usually a four-ounce bottle retails for around $12 (still a decent price).

The most interesting thing about this tanner is its smell. No, it doesn’t smell like traditional tanners. It smells like breakfast. Seriously, I put this on all over my legs and it smelled like I had bathed myself in Aunt Jemima’s maple syrup. You may think that sounds like an okay thing, but trust me, it’s not.

It applies like any lotion-based sunless tanner, and the consistency is neither too thick nor too runny. However, it is STICKY…again, just like maple syrup. It takes hours (and hours….and hours….) to fully dry and until then I felt a bit like a fly strip. One night I put it on my arms and legs and went outside to get something from my car. Admittedly, it was a humid night, but when I came back inside I felt a cloying, heavy coating on my skin. Not what I was going for, really.

But what about the color, you ask? Well this is where the good news comes in…kind of. See I’m the (slightly tacky) type who likes to see South Beach results from a sunless tanner. If I’m going to take all that time to slather it on, I want someone to notice I’m a bronzed goddess. Not so with my old buddy Mario. Color develops slowly over several days and looks very natural, like you might have gone to walk the dog or to an afternoon baseball game. Change in skin color is very slight, but you can tell if you look really hard. This might be just up your alley, but I wanted a little more “oomph.”

I might use up the bottle, but I’ll still be on the lookout for my beloved Hawaiian Tropic Island Radiance gel. Mmmm, it’s summer in a tube, y’all.

The hand off: tips for a closer shave

September 7, 2009

To say that I don’t like to shave my legs is an understatement.  It just doesn’t work for me.  (Once, I went to a new beau’s house and while we were snuggling he ran his hand over my leg and said, “Um, you need to shave.”  I just did, I said.  “Maybe you should get a new razor.”  …It was a new razor.)

So I got really excited when Amber of Beauty Blogging Junkie wrote about this awesome shave oil by Lab Series Skincare for Men.  I’m pretty much a sucker for anything “oil” (just bought my second bottle of jojoba and it is still love after all this time) and with Amber’s comparison to Sex and the City and the proclamation that it produces a “SUPER close shave,” I knew I had to try it.  But at $18 an ounce, it would have to wait.

Fast forward to Total Beauty, where I took this quiz about shaving.  Lo and behold, what do they recommend for sensitive-skinned ladies (and lads)?  Olive oil as a pre-shave prep.  So I whipped out my super-sized bottle of World Market extra virgin olive oil ($9), applied to towel-dried legs, and shaved away.  Then I rinsed and wiped off the excess oil with a washcloth (or bathcloth, as my grandma would say).  Five minutes later the oil had my skin had drunk up all the oil, leaving my legs naturally soft and smooth.  I tried again yesterday on just-out-of-the-shower skin, and this time I just rinsed with water.  That left my legs (and super-sensitive ‘pits) a bit oilier, but soft as a baby’s bottom nonetheless.

My all-time favorite hair remover is still Softsheen Carson Magic Razorless Beard Remover ($3).  Slap some of that on (wear rubber gloves so you don’t get it all over your hands) then check your email or call your mom for 10 minutes before rinsing off.  Voila!  You can then run over your legs with a razor to get any spots you missed.  This stuff literally lasts DAYS before stubble starts to show.

If any of you are feeling particularly generous and want to give back, I’d love some tips for how to keep my unruly cowlicks under control.  Seriously.  Leave it in the comments!

P.S. If you were wondering…I’m SO a Samantha.