Bargain Beauty, Blemish Control, Cetaphil, Cleansers, Face, Maintenance, Skincare

The World’s Easiest Resolution

I’m not a resolutions person. Obviously. I mean, here I am, knocking the dust off this blog well into the second (technically third) week of January. A resolutions person would have been here that first Monday. To me, New Year’s resolutions are amateur hour. I’m making and breaking promises to myself 365, BAYBAY!!

My problem is, I always go too big. Lose weight, save money, find my life’s purpose, blah blah. That stuff is a lot of work! You know what’s probably way better for our mental well-being? Starting small. Make your bed every day! Kick your panties into the hamper instead of leaving them sunny-side up in the bathroom! Mop!
No. Don’t mop. I’m sorry I said that. FUCK mopping.

How about, instead, you could resolve to have cleaner skin? You don’t even have to buy a new face wash, or an expensive cleansing brush. Are you all ready for my ONE WEIRD TRICK?

Here it is:

Wash your face longer. For 60 whole seconds. That’s it.

Real talk, you guys; I know what you’re doing. I see how quickly you wash your face. I SEE YOU. But, it’s ok! I used to do the same thing! In fact, I considered myself a pretty accomplished face washer. I washed my face every night and most mornings, I used my Clarisonic. I would even wash my face when I was three sheets to an ill wind! Some of the mascara might be left behind, but, I’d AT LEAST use a cleansing wipe. So, pretty good, right? Pretty good, but could be better. Like, maybe better if I didn’t rush through it in just a few seconds. You know, like how washing a fork with soap real fast is good, but making sure you get all the crud off is preferable?

Still not convinced? (Pretend you’re not convinced.) Will a little bit of Beauty School Confidential help? Consider this; a big reason for the effectiveness of a spa facial is the extensive time spent on cleansing. Most estheticians will cleanse your skin twice during a facial. When all is said and done, you’re going to get, probably, a combined five minutes of solid cleanser on skin action. It’s not an accident that your skin is so bright after that! I mean, the default time on my Clarisonic is 60 seconds, and that thing is using sonic vibrations, or whatever, AND bristles. If the Clarisonic needs 60 seconds to get your face clean with all that technology behind it, your sweet lil fingers need at least that long. It’s so easy though! A big part of this cleaner face resolution is the simplicity, because hopefully, you’re already washing your face. So, you don’t have to do a whole new thing, you just have to a regular thing differently.

“But, Sarah,” you might be thinking, “60 seconds is a long time to count! What if I get bored or lose my place? What if I count too fast or too slow? How am I supposed to keep track of the time when I’m in the shower in all my nudely glory?!” It’s easy! Zones, guys. It’s all about zones. Your forehead? ZONE. Nose down to your chin? ZONE. Those precious cheeks? ZONE(S). Three zones, 20 seconds each. That’s all you need to do to get cleaner skin. It’s free, it’s easy, it works!

Since I’ve been making an effort to wash my face more thoroughly, I’ve seen a visible improvement in my skin. I have a lot less tiny white heads around my eye/cheek area, and, I haven’t been getting random, underground, throbbing, volcanic breakouts on my jaw and chin. I even managed to avoid the inevitable eruptions I deal with whenever I get sick, and those are usually really gross, and really hard to kill.

clean skin

HASHTAG NO FILTER

HASHTAG NO FOUNDATION, too. That’s right. No foundation. I have on a little concealer around my nose to cover some tissue related redness, and, I have on a little under eye brightener. But, that’s it. No foundation, no powder. No filter! Just my clean, moisturized skin. For comparison, here’s an unedited photo from the end of last summer.

clean face comparison

I think you can tell a difference. In the first picture my skin looks brighter, clearer, and smoother. I’m wearing a full face in this photo, and my skin still doesn’t look as good. See what I’m saying? I’m not making it up!

I don’t even use an expensive cleanser.

cetaphil cleanser

Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser, $7.49, Walgreens

Bet you didn’t think it was going to be THAT cheap. A cheap cleanser and your free fingers. That’s all you need. It’s really so easy! Easier than losing weight, easier than kicking your underwear into the hamper, easier than pretty much most things, and you get nicer skin. Happy freaking New Year! So fresh and so clean in 2015!

Standard
Blemish Control, Face, Josie Maran, Moisturizer, Skincare

Josie Maran 100 Percent Pure Argan oil

josie maran

Sephora, 1.7 oz., $48

Do people still say other people are “sprung?” Do people still get sprung? Can you be sprung on things that aren’t other people or their crotches? I’m not sure about the answer to any of these questions, so I’m going to take a big risk here when I say I am sprung on this Josie Maran Argan Oil.

BOI-OI-OI-OING!!!!!

That was the sound of me being sprung!! This blog is so high tech and interactive! Now, imagine you can smell lavender Febreze and chihuahua kisses…that’s right…..immerse yourself in the sounds and smells of my world.

I got a deluxe sample bottle of this Argan oil at Sephora a little over a month ago, and I am straight up obsessed. Although the bottle was small, it provided enough oil to find out that I love this product. I’ve been using it about twice a day, morning and evening, since I got it, and it has made a huge improvement  in my skin. I actually started using it in the first place because I was desperate. For the last couple months, my skin has been really off; it’s been dry, patchy, really uneven and super dull. My skin even looked yucky under my makeup! Foundation would cake up, or settle into creases. I HAD CREASES. It was bad. On top of THAT, I grew this zit on my chin that was throbbing, underground, and about the size of a pencil eraser.

Wait. Everyone knows what a pencil is, right? How old is everyone? Are pencils obsolete? Probably. Pencils were pretty obsolete 20 years ago. PENS FOREVER!!!

Are pens obsolete? Don’t care! I’ll never stop admiring my own name when written with a fancy pen.

Back to the face oil!

Like I said, since I’ve been using this oil, my skin has made a huge turnaround. It’s soft, smooth, bright, clear, and definitely younger looking. I even went out to fancy dinner and a show last week without wearing any face makeup! I just put on my oil after my shower, threw on some bronzer, and that was it. I looked like a gotdanged natural angel. This oil makes my skin, like, luminous. It works SO WELL, that I keep expecting strangers to come up to me out in public and demand to know what makeup I have on. Then, I’d be all, “I’m not wearing any makeup!” And they’ll be all, “What!? You’re so inherently beautiful! Here. Have a town car, chauffeur, and a modeling contract!” It hasn’t happened yet, but, like I said, I’ve only been using this oil for a month.

Buy Josie Maran 100 Percent Pure Argan Oil HERE.

Standard
Aging, Badger, Beauty Tools, Blemish Control, Clarisonic, Face, Fresh, GlamGlow, Mario Badescu, Masks, Moisturizer, Ole Henriksen, Pixi, Skincare

My Skin System

makeupfree

Today’s post is going to be all about my current skin care regimen. So, I decided to get right to the point and show you a photo of my makeup free face. There it is. I’m not going to do that thing where I act like I’m super grossed out by my own bare face, because, I’m not. I think I look fine without any makeup on, I just think I look better when I’m wearing mascara.

Right now, I’m pretty happy with my skin. The texture is good, the overall tone is decent. I rarely get blemishes. It’s not perfect, as you can see, I have some dark spots. I also have a little bit of redness around my nose, but that could just be hormonal. I *did* have a giant pimple above my top lip, right in the center last week. It literally popped up out of nowhere. I did my makeup, then I got in the car to leave, and suddenly, there was this huge, pulsing zit. It really gave me a lot of trouble, but it’s gone now. Unfortunately, it left some scarring/discoloration behind. This is a new thing for me. Over the last year or so, my skin has changed a lot, and I think it’s an age thing. My mom has the same problem with scarring and hyperpigmentation when she gets a particularly troublesome blemish. Whatcha gonna do? I just gotta roll with it, and try to find the best products for my changing skin.

skin care products

These are the products I’m currently using. As you can see, I’m not into buying an entire skin care system from the same line. I think all of our skin is so different, it can sometimes be best to mix and match. You do have to be careful when you do this though, because some ingredients can interact weirdly, or cancel each other out. Do your due diligence and research that shit! I always read tons of reviews and information before I buy a new skin care product. It doesn’t always keep me from making a mistake, but I make them less often. When things go wrong, and they sometimes will, I just pull the new product and go back to what I was doing before. I let my skin settle down, and I try again. It’s an ongoing process, but I enjoy it. Also, I really know everyone’s return policies.

Let’s take a look at my ALL-STARS! LEFT TO RIGHT, Y’ALL!

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser – I did a complete review of this a few months ago, and I am still loving it. It’s such a nice, gentle cleanser. It doesn’t dry my skin out, and it keeps it clean. I’ve had this big bottle since June, and although I’m running low, I think I’ll make it through the end of this month. So, it’s not super cheap, but a little goes a long way. I pretty much only use this once a day, in the evenings. Either with, or without my Clarisonic. Hey, speaking of my Clarisonic…..

MY CLARISONIC! – Remember when I waxed rhapsodic about my Clarisonic? I love this freaking thing so freaking much. I love how it removes allllll my makeup, I love how it keeps my skin so soft, I love how it scrubs all my little face crevices. As far as beauty products go, it’s sort of a big ticket item. But, I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it forever, they’re totally worth it. I use mine every 2-3 days, and pretty much every time I need to clean off a full face of makeup.

Pixi Glow Tonic – This baby is kind of new to the crew. I’ve been using it for about a month, and it’s been a great addition. It’s helped to clear up some rough patches, and my pores have stayed clearer. I use it every night, after I wash my face with my cleanser. I don’t wash my face with cleanser in the morning, I rinse with cool water, and then I follow that with this toner.

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster & Truth Creme – I bought this set as my first shot fired in the war on my aging skin. I haven’t been using it long enough to see a difference in my dark spots, but I know I like the other things it’s doing. I use the serum first, then follow it with the creme. My skin feels soft and velvety, and it looks plump and bright. I use this system most nights, before bed.

Mario Badescu Rose Hips Nourishing Oil –  I’ve written about this here before. At first, I thought this product was kind of strange. But, the longer I use it, the more I love it. Although it’s an oil, it isn’t greasy. It’s got sort of a watery consistency, and it just sucks up moisture. It sucks it all up into your skin. I can’t get enough of how good this makes my skin feel! It has helped immensely with my dry patches, and my flakiness. I use this, in the morning, on its own; and I use it under my moisturizers and treatment oil.

Badger Damascus Rose Antioxidant Face Oil – This is my treatment oil! I use this on the nights I don’t use my Ole Henriksen products, and whenever I feel like my skin needs some deep hydration. It feels nice, the price is right, and it lasts a long time!

Glam Glow Tingling and Exfoliating MaskI’ve covered this mask here before, too. After I ran through my initial sample, I bought the small jar during the Sephora Friends & Family sale. I’ve used it once a week since then, and it has really helped to keep my skin looking clear. I credit this mask for helping to keep my nose pores under control. Those bad boys act up whenever they can. Jerks.

There it is! The system, the systo, the systrain! It’s all trial and error, guys. You just keep looking and trying and until you find the products that work for you. It takes time, but it’s worth it.

Standard
boscia, Face, Skincare

boscia Pore Purifying Black Strips

pore strip

The border on this photo is an artistic reinterpretation of what the inside of my pores look like. I think it’s pretty accurate. Also, it hides the fact that I am very obviously topless. Although technically, it’s true, please don’t tell everyone you saw a topless photo of me on the internet, I’d hate to get the world’s hopes ups.

Remember pore strips? Remember how fun they were? Remember how they freaking hurt to take off? I do! Well, I forgot about that hurting to take off part. I remembered with a quickness though!

I’ve had this pore strip hanging around ever since a friend sent me a package of skincare products a couple months ago. I didn’t even realize it WAS a pore strip at first. I thought it was a sample of Boscia’s black mask, which I don’t care for at all. I’ve been putting off using the strip, for one reason or another, since then. But, lately my nose pores have been looking really dirty. Those are pores in the danger zone for me; sometimes I can squeeze them clean without causing a bunch of damage, but mostly I end up with fingernail marks on my nose, and a blemish that only I could see turning into a whopper that everyone can see. Pore strip to the rescue!

When you do things like this, it’s best to do them after you’ve been in the steam and warmth of the shower, that way your pores are open and the crud is softened. So, after a long shower and a thorough cleansing, I applied the strip to my nose. 15 minutes later, it was dry and stiff. Time to pull it off!

On the real, that part hurts. It feels like waxing your nose! But, you know, whatever. Pain is temporary. Clean nose pores are temporary, too, but worth it.

I peeled it off, and OH MAMA!! Huge success! The strip was covered in the contents of my pores. It even pulled out the bigger, darker ones that had really been bothering me. The overall effect was really great. My entire nose looked so much clearer. I hadn’t realized how clogged up it was!

After I removed the strip and stared at it all grossed out for a minute, I rewashed my nose with my cleanser. This is another important step; you don’t want to leave behind any remaining pore dirt all stirred up and half hanging out. They will turn into inflamed monsters the second they get the chance! Plus, you want to clean up any residue leftover from the strip.

After the strip and cleansing, my nose was a little red, but it went away quickly. I was left with a much cleaner and smoother looking nose, and my pores looked much smaller.

These boscia strips are more expensive than the usual drugstore strips, but they’re nicer, more effective, and they include useful ingredients like witch hazel and charcoal powder. I’ll probably pick up a box for myself because the nose pores issue is a big one for me as I am genetically predisposed to having large pores. My dad has HUGE pores on his nose. It’s gross. No offense, dad.

Don’t worry, he’s not offended. He knows the insides of his nose pores are gross. When I was a kid, to our great delight, he used to do this thing where he would push up, hard, underneath the tip of his nose and squirt out the contents of the pores. It was like a super nasty Play-Doh machine, and we would squeal and run around all grossed out, but then we’d make him do it again. Super sick, totally fun! Dads!

Buy boscia Pore Purifying Black Strips HERE.

Standard
Beauty Tools, Clarisonic, Cleansers, Friday I'm in Love, Maintenance, Skincare

Worth it! Clarisonic Brush

clarisonic

That’s my Clarisonic up thurr. It’s a beloved member of our household.

I’ve been putting off doing a post about these because they’re pretty expensive, but today is the day! This is why…

Last night, for funsies/research, I sat down and did a full face of makeup. I’m talking FACE BEAT. Foundation, contouring powder, concealer, blush, two different kinds of highlighter, three shadows, my waterproof liquid liner, several coats of mascara, lip liner, lipstick, and a finishing powder. I don’t need to tell you it was fucking beautiful. But, I will. It was fucking beautiful. Later, in the shower, I used a cleanser whose specific job is makeup removal. That’s its whole schtick. After I rinsed my face, I was suspicious of the results, my face just didn’t feel clean, so I took another pass at my skin with my Clarisonic. Would you like to guess what I found?

Tons of makeup on my brush!!! The bristles were tan!

I was properly horrified. I even shook my head in disgust.

BECAUSE I WAS DISGUSTED!

It was at that moment that I decided it was time to do my civic duty, and write my post. So, today, Friday I’m in Love with my Clarisonic!

Like most people probably do, I initially balked at the price. They’re costly, there’s no way around that. But, last night’s experiment was all the validation I needed that mine was worth the money.

I bought my brush after The Great Kiehl’s Disaster of 2010. My skin had been destroyed by a beauty experiment gone awry, and I was desperate for answers. I was breaking out a lot, and my face was dull and rough. My cheeks, specifically, were a mess. They felt thick, like scars, and I was afraid I’d done long term damage. I’d gone back to my old skincare routine, and I was exploring more drastic options, treatments, masks, etc. I did some research on the Clarisonic, convinced Jason it was practically a medical necessity, and bought one.

After my first use, there was a difference; my skin was softer and brighter even using my usual cleanser. A week after I got it, my skin showed a lot of improvement. My makeup went on smoother, my moisturizer absorbed better, and my breakouts stopped. It was the first sign of hope that there could be a turnaround on my skin. I can’t even begin to describe my relief. I was thisclose to adopting a veil over my face when I left the house like I was Blanket Jackson.

Since then, I’ve taken on a routine with my Clarisonic. They say it’s gentle enough to use twice a day, I think that’s overkill. I think using it every day is overkill. I suppose this varies by face, but all my education and real world experience has taught me that it’s very rare for anybody to really need to exfoliate every single day. If you decide to get one, you can easily figure out what’s too much; just pay attention to your skin. Be careful of any redness or soreness, and adjust accordingly. Someone who wears makeup every day should probably use it more often than someone who doesn’t. I don’t wear makeup every day, and I know my face doesn’t like to be exfoliated every night, so I use my Clarisonic 2-3 times a week. Unless I’m reviewing a product for the site, I always use it before I do masks or treatments. It gets your skin very, very clean, and I always include it when I’m wearing A LOT of makeup.

I don’t know how you can justify the price to yourself. If you never get the chance to indulge in spa facials, maybe indulge in a Clarisonic. If you struggle with chronic or frequent skin problems, maybe tell yourself you’re upping the game! To be fair, you for sure would be, so it wouldn’t be a lie. Or, how about maybe you just want one, you are a GROWN WOMAN, and you deserve it! TREAT YO SELF.

treat yo self gif

HEY! It’s time for people to give you presents, riiiiiiiight? Put it on your list! If you write it there, under “pony,” it looks totally reasonable!

Buy your Clarisonic from Sephora HERE.

Or, buy it directly from Clarisonic HERE.

Be wary about buying it from anywhere else, there are a lot of fakes out there. Don’t want to spend all that money on a knock off!

Standard
Beauty Tools, Cleansers, Education, Maintenance, Skincare

Cleaning Your Brushes: Bacteria and YOU!

When was the last time you washed your makeup brushes? A month ago? Last year? Never?

NEVER?!

DID YOU JUST SAY NEVER?!

I just…

I mean…

I can’t even…

That’s not ok.

It’s not like I’ve never been guilty of letting my brushes get dirty. For a long time, it didn’t even occur to me to wash them. I think I thought since I was the only one using them, it wasn’t necessary.

WRONG. JUST SUPER, SUPER WRONG.

Oils, dust, dirt, makeup, bacteria…these are the things that live on your dirty brushes. So then you use them, and you smear all that gross stuff around your skin. Doesn’t that sound awful? Keeping your brushes clean is good for the life of your tools, and it’s good for the life of your skin. Plus, it’s really easy and super satisfying.

photo-2

These are my dirty brushes. It’s been way too long since the last time I washed them. I’m really trying to get my skin in tip top shape, and I figured getting my brushes clean was a good idea. I’m not really acne prone, but I get those little white bumps. You can’t really see them unless you’re really looking, but I know they’re there, and I know what they are. Tiny little underground bacteria rocks. Gross. Have you ever tried to squeeze one of those out? That’s how I end up with a big hole in my face.

First, you’re going to need a cleanser. You can use a mild shampoo, like a baby shampoo, but I prefer to use a cleanser specifically for brushes. Those usually have the added benefit of being antibacterial.

sephora brush shampoo

Sephora, 2 oz., $7

I use this brush shampoo from Sephora. It does a great job of pulling even the most pigmented colors out of my brushes, and a little bit goes a long way.

After you’ve decided on a shampoo, and you’ve washed all the dirty dishes in your sink, you’re ready to get started!

First, thoroughly saturate your brush with lukewarm water.

photo 2

DO NOT drop it down the garage disposal. This was a dangerous game I was playing here. If any of those suckers had slipped down into that disgusting pit, that brush would have been dead to me. Like, might as well flip the switch and chop it into a million pieces because I never want to see it again. So, yeah, get your bristles good and wet, being careful not to lose it forever.

Next, squirt a small amount of brush shampoo into the palm of your hand.

photo 3

Don’t skimp, but don’t go crazy either. You want enough to break everything up, but not so much that you can never rinse it out, or you waste a bunch.

Then, swirl that brush around in the palm of your hand. You can go crazy here.

clean brush gif

Really scrub it good! You’ll start to see all the makeup coming out of the bristles, it’s pretty gnarly. Add more shampoo if you feel like it’s running short. Sometimes, I do this part twice. Especially on my foundation brush. That’s the one in all the pictures, as you can see, it was really dirty.

After you’re satisfied the shampoo has lifted out all the makeup and debris, give it a good, thorough rinse in the lukewarm water.

photo-2 copy

I see that this photo is sort of redundant. But, I’m trying to be as detailed as possible! Rinse, rinse, rinse the brush. Rinse it so good. Rinse it until the water is clear, and the bristles feel clean. You DO NOT want any extra shampoo or makeup left behind. That would make this whole thing totally pointless.

After your brush has been fully rinsed, gently squeeze out any excess water, and then reshape your bristles and lay your brush flat, to dry.

photo-2 copy 2

I like to put mine on a towel so they don’t go anywhere, and water doesn’t collect underneath the handles. I also like to let the bristles hang over the edge. That way, they dry evenly and you don’t have to come in and flip them. I wash my brushes when I know they’ll have plenty of time to dry, preferably overnight.

When everything is dry, just get the bristles fluffed back the way they need to be, and you’re all set! No more gross tools of cross contamination!

How often you clean your brushes is up to you. If you use your brushes on anyone else, you have to wash them after every time you use them. If yours is the only face they touch, then once is a week is the gold standard. If you never ever clean your brushes, try to get into the habit at least once a month, and work up from there. It’s a good thing to do for your tools and your complexion. My brushes are an investment, and they’ve been pretty carefully curated. I’d like them to last as long as possible.

Keeping your brushes clean is the kind of thing that seems obvious, but I have a feeling that it’s the territory of people who are really serious about makeup. I know I sleep on cleaning my brushes more often than I should, and I’m a state licensed beauty professional. I should really know better! Let’s make it our Thanksgiving resolution to keep our brushes cleaner. Together, we can make the world a less bacteria laden place.

P.S. I cleaned my BeautyBlender with Ivory soap. It took forever to rinse it clean, and I haven’t used it since then, so I don’t know if it was a complete success. It LOOKS like it’s clean, but the jury is still out. I’ll let you guys know.

Standard
Blemish Control, Face, Skincare

Shower Scene

If this all sounds less cohesive than usual, it’s because I’m on the PMS/stress eating special, and that includes wine and drugs and cookies and In N Out cheeseburgers, so, WHEEEEE!!!

wine and cookie

MOMMY NEEDS HER MEDICINE.

Look at me!! I’m Hemingway!! Blah, blah, bullfights, blah, blah cats, blah blah Key West, blah blah blah big sweaters, blah blah blah blah I’m drunk and everyone loves me!

Anyways, I was just reading something on another site, and the author of the article casually mentioned her shower routine. It went like this: rinse, shampoo, wash face, wash body, conditioner. I don’t want to write one of those “the way you do this totally normal thing is wrong” pieces, but that’s wrong. I’m sorry. It’s wrong.

I was shocked by it, actually! It’s one of those things that I assume everyone knows.

Maybe I just have too much time on my hands, so I spend too much time thinking about dumb shit, but there’s a reason that shower order is wrong.

Conditioner.

Conditioner, your face bumps and YOU!

You guys see how this is wrong, right? Conditioner is creamy grease for your hair. If you’re washing your face prior to conditioning your hair, you’re just re-greasing your face. You’re greasing your face in a steamy, wet, warm room, so your skin is good and receptive to all those extra deep conditioners, oils, cremes, whatever.

You really should be washing and conditioning your hair prior to washing your face or your body. That way, all your polluted hair soap, and conditioner runoff will be cascading down your dirty, dirty bodies, instead of your already clean bodies and faces. So, like, my routine goes: get everything wet, wash and condition my hair, wash my body, detail my butt, THEN I wash my face. Last.

It’s a really small change that can make a big difference; especially if you have persistent bumps around your hairline, jaw and chin.

Ok. That’s it. I’m going to schedule this to go up in the morning and go back to my wine, drugs and cookies. You can’t have any wine until you finish all your drug cookies!

Meown.

 

 

Standard