Thursday, January 20, 2022

 As you might already know, I’m a believer in the idea of “going to bed greasy” by sealing the skin with an oil or ointment before bed.  This practice is also known as slugging by Reddit’s beauty community.  I’ve seen the benefits of using Vaseline long-term with my very own eyes.  My neighbor is in her late 50’s and looks so much younger thanks to her faithful practice of sealing her skin with Vaseline every night.  


@lexniko Reply to @angeladefina idk where this @cerave healing ointment came from but it’s incredible #cerave #healingointment #skintok #fyp #tiktokmademebuyit ♬ original sound - lexniko is for the girlies

I’ve always wanted to get into this routine but, deep down, I’ve been a little apprehensive of putting a thick ointment on my face not knowing how my skin will respond. I want to experience all the benefits that long-term vaseline users rave about but haven't been brave enough to take the plunge. 

Then, one day, I happened to be scrolling through TikTok when I was introduced to a product from CeraVe that changed my mind about everything.  

What's important to note is that CeraVe's Healing Ointment seems almost identical to Vaseline but with one obvious difference....it contains ceramides.   Beyond ceramides, CeraVe's Healing Ointment also contains various types of ceramides, hyaluronic acid, panthenol (vitamin B5), and vitamin E.  

The moment I learned about this super-ointment, I immediately purchased a tube so I could see what the fuss was about.   As soon as I smoothed a small amount over my dry lips, I became a believer.  My lips felt instantly softer, more nourished. Then I tested a tiny amount on my legs which tend to get really dry this time of year.  But, instead of using Cereve on both legs, I used Aquaphor on the other. Both are good, but Aquaphor felt greasier, less nourishing on the skin. Both products immediately eliminated all signs of dryness but CeraVe's ointment felt a bit more nourishing...hydrating even.


Although I instantly fell in loved with my new purchase, I was still hesitant to wear it on my face overnight.  Days went by until I finally took the plunge after noticing flaking from reintroducing retinol to my routine.   Before bed, I applied a thin coat of CeraVe's ointment and woke up to wonderfully hydrated skin.  I tried to tell my husband to give it try but, little did I know, that he was already on the bandwagon and had been using the ointment on his face for days.   He had nothing but glowing remarks after switching from Aquaphor to CeraVe. 

With this healing ointment in my corner, I plan on finally pushing past that "awkward phase" where my skin peels uncontrollably any time I go near retinol.  I'll also slather it on all the areas that tend to suffer the most this time of year (heels, lips, hands, etc).  This is easily one of my favorite recent finds and, for that, I'm grateful. 



Monday, January 17, 2022

I don't know about you, but regular mask-wearing really wreaked havoc on my skin.   Full disclosure, I enjoy wearing masks.  I like the fact that they may add a little extra sun protection vs. wearing sunscreen alone.  I also appreciate the anonymity they offer.  But for the acne-prone, like myself, they provide the perfect environment to trigger breakouts.  As you would imagine, most of my summer was spent trying to address random breakouts on my cheek jawline.  Months later, I’m still dealing with the aftermath.

Could things have been different if I had known about MasqueBar's Sheild & Soothe Hydrogel Mask?

The first time I saw someone wearing this half mask, I thought "why did it take me so long to become aware of this?"  The idea is a stroke of genius.  Imagine the beauty of masking publicly without anyone knowing.  While on a long flight, you can discretely keep your skin supple and hydrated.  If your work requires you to wear a mask for hours on end, a demi-sheet mask might save your skin. 

This doesn't feel like your typical sheet mask that's typically dripping wet with serum.  MasqueBar thought of everything and realized that a gel-like consistency made much more sense.  A saturated sheet mask wouldn't be ideal under a mask, but a cooling, hydrating gel mask changes the entire game.


I have yet to try a hydrogel mask but I'm reading that they are superior because they offer a better fit and more intense hydration because gel holds moisture better than traditional sheet masks.  Some say that gel masks produce a greater plumping effect than your typical sheet mask.  So not only does this sheet mask help protect the skin from unwanted acne, it might also act as an antiaging tool against signs of aging around the mouth area.  What’s better than that?





Thursday, January 13, 2022

 I've been really good about adhering to my skin routine lately and my efforts have been paying off.  Thanks to a little consistency, my skin is becoming clearer and more supple. The better my skin looks,  the more I notice issues that are going on with my scalp.   I realized that if I go too many days without using an acidic toner, my skin goes haywire.  But, at the same time, I'm doing absolutely nothing to keep my scalp calm in between washes. 

Isn't the skin on the scalp just as important as the hair on the face?

Actually, our scalp health might be even more important because our scalp health is directly related to the health of my hair.  Flaky scalp is bad enough but if we ignore the issue for too long, we're leaving the door open for unwanted hair loss.  

So I've decided to try scalp exfoliation again. Years ago, I attempted to exfoliate my scalp using products with tiny beads or even sugar scrubs.  That was a huge fail.  Huge. Not only did my scalp not really feel different after use, the tiny beads often got stuck in my thick hair and became a pain to remove.  I almost gave up on scalp exfoliation altogether until I realized that there was another way I could approach this...

Acids toners work wonders on my face, wouldn't they also do the same for my scalp?

To experiment, I grabbed a bottle of The Ordinary's 7% Glycolic Acid solution and poured a little on a cotton round and proceed to rub it into the visible areas where I noticed obvious signs of flaking.  Like magic, the tiny flakes began to disappear, allowing my scalp to look normal again. I have several acidic, exfoliating toners in my arsenal but I find this one to be mild enough to use on my scalp without fear of adverse side effects.  

Acids are great because they gently remove dead skin, dirt and oils without aggravating the scalp.  I suspect that, with regular scalp exfoliation, I'll probably experience a reduction in shedding and healthier hair growth come summer.

The only issue I seem to have is accessibility to the parts of my scalp that I don't see.   Instead of using a cotton round, I think it's time to graduate to using a spray bottle to mist my scalp directly.   Years ago, I used tiny misters to spray diluted ACV directly to my scalp.  That method worked like a dream.   I only stopped doing it because it was darn near impossible to mask the scent of my scalp being lightly coated in apple cider vinegar.  But with the Ordinary's toner, I don't have to worry about such a thing which makes it easier to seamlessly integrate it into my regular rotation.  I plan on doing this pretty regularly until my dermatitis calms down, but if your scalp isn't as troubled, but you still want to treat your scalp a facial,  you tack on this step on wash day as part of your pre-shampoo routine. 

I'm not the only one singing the praises of chemical scalp exfoliation, there are countless folks online who have experienced this for themselves.  My recommendation is that you start with a gentle acid toner that you already use on your face.  If your face responds well to it, chances are your scalp will too.  Not long ago, I discovered that our scalp is aging more rapidly than our face.  We routinely exfoliate our faces to keep the skin young and vibrant, doesn't our scalp deserve the same?



Friday, January 7, 2022

Years ago, after receiving a nice bonus at work, I mosied down to the local Neiman Marcus so I could treat myself to something nice.  While there, I noticed a distinguished-looking older woman standing near a display of fragrances.  For some reason, I felt drawn to her.  Typically, I avoid department store salespeople but this time was different.  

Before I knew it, I was standing in front of her, saying hello. She eagerly treated me with her English accent.  After exchanging pleasantries, I informed her that I was a novice when it came to fragrances.  She took the opportunity to share her background.  This woman was no ordinary Neiman Marcus associate, she was a representative visiting directly from the fragrance house.  In fact, she had decades of experience working with various Parisian fragrance brands.   She delighted me with stories of how she's traveled the world representing well-respected perfume empires.  She then invited me to sample some fragrances from Atelier.  The scents are heavily citrus-based. Because I was looking for a fresh, everyday, summery scent, I was sold.  I grabbed a bottle of their signature scent, Orange Sanguine, and one that was scented like deliciously sweet lime

Prior to completing our transaction, the lovely woman demonstrated, in full detail, how to properly apply cologne for maximum effectiveness.  She instructed me to take a "bottom-up" approach. This meant that I should start by misting behind my knees then work my way upward to the inner elbows, wrist, and finally behind the ears.  Although I listened closely, I had no intention of following her advice.  Instead, I continued to spray perfume directly on my chest like a barbarian.

....and guess what happened. 

I was likely triggering breakouts on my chest.  I've suffered from acne pretty much all of my life.  But I've been focused on the pimples on my face that I didn't stop to reflect on why I also dealing with chest breakouts.  Looking back, it makes sense that my fragrance application technique was flawed and likely caused my skin woes.   

Perfumes can sometimes contain synthetic oils and alcohols that can dry the skin.  Couple that with friction from clothing and suddenly you have a potential breeding ground for acne.  When covid first became widespread, I spent more time at home than ever.  Which meant that I wasn't really wearing any fragrance.  Whenever I wanted to wear a scent, I'd opt to use a rollerball and wear a little on my wrist.  It took me a while to realize but, over time, my chest acne pretty much went away.  The scars from past breakouts are now fading into obscurity.  

I just wanted to share my experience in case anyone might be dealing with the same issue.  Following that nice lady's advice could've solved a lot of my issues.  From now on, I'm only applying my fragrance like a french girl. 


Thursday, January 6, 2022

I’ve always been a lemon water kind of gal. One reason why I'm a lemon water believer is because I've enjoyed real benefits by simply adding freshly squeezed lemon juice to room temperature water.  Aside from apple cider vinegar, and green tea, I can't think of another single ingredient beverage that offers as many benefits. 

I don't think that anything could top lemon water, but I may have found a formidable alternative. 

Monday, December 27, 2021

 The deeper we go into the winter season, the more my skin craves moisture.  So, of course, I make the necessary adjustments by breaking out the thicker textured moisturizers.  My absolute favorite is Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream.  I'm not the only one who loves it, celebrities swear by it too!  

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream never lets me down, but recently, I've been craving a little more hydration.  Instead of hopping over to Sephora's website in desperate search of yet another product, I decided to get a little crafty and figure out a way to transform my Kiehl's cream into the ultimate moisturizer.

All it took was a quick-thinking to formulate an ultra-hydrated version.

How did I do it?

Simple.

I added a couple drops of my favorite hyaluronic acid serum to the facial cream, infusing it with maximum hydration.  

I didn't add serum directly to my moisturizer like you see in the image above.  Instead,  I blended a couple of drops with the portion I scooped for immediate use.  The results were extraordinary.  A little serum took my favorite moisturizer to the next level!  Best of all, it didn't cost a single penny.  

Instead of continuing your endless search for the perfect moisturizer, try this instead. 



Monday, December 20, 2021

 

A few years ago, someone in my family suffered a brain injury.  It wasn't until that family member was released from the hospital that I realized how much that brain injury affected daily their life.  I noticed a drastic change in their memory, cognition, focus, and overall well-being.  I couldn't just sit back and watch them deteriorate mentally, so I did some research to find out if anything was available to slow down or reverse the damage.

After a little bit of research, I compiled a list of various supplements to support brain health.  After many months of being consistent use, I noticed a clear improvement in my family member's memory and mental clarity.  The change was undeniable.

Not long afterward, I realized that, although I hadn't suffered a brain injury, my mind wasn't operating at an optimal state. Specifically, I had the hardest time focusing on my work and could barely get anything done.  I knew that a routine of daily meditation could solve all of my problems but I couldn't even focus enough to do it.  

So I decided to take the path of least resistance by asking myself "what's the easiest thing I could do right now to improve my brain health?"  

...the answer was....nootropics.

Nootropics are supplements geared at improving brain health and cognitive performance.  If you've seen the movie, Limitless, you've seen nootropics at work.  Limitless was fictional but there are supplements on the market that improve our focus and brain function.  After seeing the effects of nootropics on my family member, I had to try them for myself.

I bought a few bottles of various brain supplements and combined them in one jar to create my very first nootropics stack.  Last week, I started this experiment where I took a few of the supplements at once to combine their power for maximum effect.  I'm really impressed with the results. For instance, I've noticed a clear difference in my mental clarity within hours of supplementation.  I shared a quick glimpse on IG and got a few messages from people wanting to know more so here's a brief rundown of some of the supplements I'm taking at the moment:

-Pterostilbene - A natural molecule found in fruits and veggies. Blueberries are very high in this compound.  Many people compare this compound to resveratrol which has awesome health benefits. This compound is said to be able to help DNA to repair itself and improve brain function. In a few animal studies, pterostilbene was demonstrated to have a positive impact on working memory while reducing the effects of aging. 

-Vitamin B Complex- A couple years ago, I had bloodwork done to determine my nutritional deficiencies.  One area where I was lacking was in my b vitamins.  Shortly thereafter I got serious and invested in B12 & B6 injections.  One immediate side effect was that I often felt motivated and energized for a few days afterward.  So then I looked into the cognitive benefits and learned about the connection between b vitamins and the brain.  Studies have shown that populations that don't consume enough b vitamins in their diet will often suffer from lower brain function.  In fact, low levels of B 12 is associated with poor memory and decreased brain volume. 

-Bacopa Brahmi - An Ayurvedic herb with cognitive benefits.  Helps to improve age-related cognitive decline.  Studies were done using this herb resulted in the study group experiencing higher memory scores and lower instances of stress and anxiety.

-Ashwagandha- When your mind is all over the place, and you have a lot to get done, your anxiety levels might rise.  That's where ashwagandha comes in.  It's an herb that's known for its ability to reduce cortisol, reduce anxiety and increase mood.  This herb isn't just for our mood, it's also been shown to help improve attention span.  

-Ginko Biloba - Ginko was one of the main additions to my family member's regimen because it's been shown to promote blood flow to the brain.  Blood flow is especially important to someone with a brain injury.  Where blood flows, nutrients go.  Blood flow and improved circulation are also healing to the affected area.   

-N-Acetyl-Carnitine- An amino acid that enhances the production of a neurotransmitter that supports brain function. This supplement really makes a difference in the elderly.  Amazon reviewers often take this in the afternoon to avoid that late afternoon energy slump.

-Fish Oil - Prior to adding the standing nootropics to my regimen, I noticed increased mental clarity whenever I added high-quality fish oil to my routine.  When I took fermented cod liver oil, I had the most vivid dreams ever.  My brain was crystal clear. 

The world of nootropics runs deep so the list above is far from complete.  I'm still learning and researching other supplements to add to my stack.  Since taking brain supplements I feel more like I'm the observer of my actions which allows me to make conscious, clear decisions on my actions versus feeling like I'm stuck in an endlessly repeating loop.

We routinely take supplements for healthy hair, for gut health, or to strengthen our immune system, so why not feed our brain with the nutrients it needs to operate at its peak?


Saturday, December 18, 2021


I own a lot of eye shadows.  A lot.   No matter how many palettes I purchase, I always seem to end up buying more.  Sure, you can blame this on my uncontrolled spending habits, but I think there's a deeper issue at play.  

I've come to realize that when I buy the same type of product over and over again, it's because I'm looking for the perfect version of said product.  In the case of eyeshadow, I'm searching for the holy grail formula with the maximum color payoff.  As someone who has highly pigmented lids that tend to get oily, wearing eyeshadow feels like a losing battle. 

But today, I feel a renewed sense of hope because I may have been introduced to the product that will end my eye shadow buying habit for good.  

Ladies, may I introduce you to Milk's Hydro Grip Eyeshadow Primer

Milk Makeup knows what they're doing when it comes to primers.  Twitter practically bullied me into getting their Hydro Grip primer and I have absolutely zero regrets.  Little did I know that they also developed an eye primer that holds magical powers.  

Check out this video to see exactly what I'm talking about.  


@greeneggsandglam

OKAY NEW FAVE EYE PRIMER @milkmakeup ##makeup ##sephora ##eyeshadow ##GiveWithAllYourHeart ##NBCAnnieLive ##beauty ##viral

♬ FEEL THE GROOVE - Queens Road, Fabian Graetz
I mean..... How can you watch that video and not be totally excited about the possibilities?  I think of all my shadows collecting dust in a drawer because the pigment just wasn't giving what it was supposed to. This eye primer seems to have the ability to help mediocre shadows to reach their fullest potential.  I can't wait to try the Monochromatic Lid using this amazing eye shadow primer.   
 
@roseandben

I really didn’t expect this 😱💫 @milkmakeup ##viralmakeup ##makeupreview

♬ original sound - Rose Siard

Purchasing this single product could end up saving me countless dollars on my eye shadow budget.  Milks Eye primer is a must-have.

Friday, December 17, 2021

 


When I first got into the world of sheet masking, I was amazed at how much moisture one could experience from a serum-laden mask.  But then I thought to myself, "if only there was a way to make this sheet mask experience even better!"  

Not long thereafter, I learned of the existence of the silicone sheet mask covers.

They were basically a dream come true.  These reusable silicone masks were designed to fit (somewhat awkwardly) over your favorite sheet masks allowing for deeper penetration of the yummy serums and essences.  They also offered a ton of convenience by preventing excess drippage allowing you to wear a sheet mask while doing a bunch of household chores. 

I thought my silicone mask cover was pretty awesome and couldn't get any better......

...until I learned that one could use silicone cover without a sheet mask at all. 

The discovery came as I was scrolling through TikTok.  Jessica Alba's account suddenly appeared on my feed.  As some of us may know, she launched her beauty empire Honest Beauty a while ago.  In an effort to promote sustainable beauty, the brand added silicone masks to its lineup.   But, instead of labeling it as a sheet mask cover, they invite us to utilize them without the addition of a sheet mask.  
@jessicaalba

Our @Baby2Baby annual Gala is back! Celebrating 10 years! Committed 2 supporting families living in poverty. Head to ##Baby2Baby 2 c how u can help🤗

♬ took some time off to rest and now its game time - emm.
After watching that TikTok, my very first thought was "where's her sheet mask...how is her skin so glowy?"  That's when I realized that Jessica was using the silicone mask as a tool to trap the moisture and hydration from her skin routine.  

Sheer genius.

This means that we don't always need a sheet mask laying around to infuse the skin with maximum hydration.  The silicone mask cover will trap moisture preventing it from evaporating quickly after application.  Notice how Jessica used her mask as part of her pre-night-out ritual.  I'm a huge advocate of using a sheet mask before going out but I can also admit that sometimes sheet masks can over saturate causing the skin to appear too glossy/dewy (if such a thing exists).   By skipping the sheet mask, she can still enjoy the benefits of enhanced moisture without potentially going overboard. 

If your skin could use a bit of a hydration boost. Give these "mask covers" a try.

Thursday, December 9, 2021


 How's your water intake been lately?  Mine has been kinda sporadic.  In winter we don't get as thirsty so we have to make more of an effort to stay hydrated.  It's easy to get busy and go all day without drinking much water at all.  So I've decided to create a water drinking strategy/schedule specifically to harness as many benefits as possible.  Drinking water is good for you but drinking more water at the right time is next level. 

DRINK WATER FIRST THING IN THE MORNING

If you're one of those people who let the day slip by without drinking much, my advice is to start your day by drinking a full liter of water.  This little habit will benefit you in several ways.  

1. Drinking water first thing in the morning is the perfect way to increase your daily water intake.  I like to drink at least 2-3 liters of water a day.  It's really hard to fit in 3 liters if you don't start drinking early.  When I start my morning with a full liter, I'm 1/3 of the way to my goal.  Even if I don't drink much water throughout the rest of the day, I've still had much more than if I skipped my morning bottle.

2. If you drink a full glass or bottle of water first thing in the morning, you kick start your digestion.  This time of year, our circulation slows down and one of the easiest ways to increase blood flow and circulation without actually moving your body is by drinking a full glass of water.  If you have sluggish digestion, I invite you to start each morning by flooding your body with hydration.

DRINK WATER BEFORE YOUR MEALS

Once your first bottle of water is gone, make a mental note to drink throughout the day in between meals.     Basically, you start losing the water you consume pretty quickly.  If you aren't taking extra trips to the bathroom, you're losing fluid simply from the act of breathing.  I read that we lose about a cup of water a day through our breath. 

Imagine that.  

To make matters worse, our body will try desperately to supplement its water intake by cranking up your food cravings. So if you're trying to avoid mindless snacking throughout the day, keep your water bottle nearby.  Drinking water before meals has been proven to help us lose additional weight beyond just dieting alone.  This could be because drinking water is such a no-effort way to boost your metabolism.  

WATER BEFORE BED

A couple of years ago, I made the commitment to drink 500ml of water as part of my night routine.  You can read up on all the benefits I experience here.   I've stocked up on my bottles of Fiji and I'm ready to bring this routine back for winter.  This year, I'm gonna go a step further and build out an entire nightly routine around my water drinking ritual. So maybe I'll wear a sheet mask as I sip my bottle  Perhaps I'll also do a quick scalp massage before heading to bed.

PRO TIP// 
Keep Bottles of Water Handy at ALL TIMES.

So now we have no more excuses for forgetting to drink water all day.  Start off with a full bottle first thing in the morning, drink in between meals, and close out the day by hydrating before bed.

Simple. 

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

 Every year, around this time, I tend to get ultra-motivated about the goals I've set for the year ahead.  Over the past several weeks, I've reached a couple of positive milestones linked to some bigger goals.    Sadly, I often don't reach many of them.  But, thankfully, I was reminded of a life lesson that could create the breakthrough I need to achieve goals consistently.

A few months ago, my elderly dachshund started having trouble walking.  Every time he tried to take a step, he seemed to fall over.   I rushed him to the emergency vet who informed me that my dog had suffered a back injury that would require minimum $10,000 surgery. Another vet confirmed the problem and even suggested that I didn't do surgery because it wouldn't be worth it due to his age (she also subtly implied that I may have to put my dog down because he would never improve).  Discouraged, I went searching the internet for ideas on how to treat disc disease as his condition began to worsen.  Before long, I compiled a collection of supplements aimed to help heal his back.  

Every single day I followed a regimen, that I developed for him, in hopes that I'd see my dog walk again.  In the span of around 2.5 months, he went from not being able to move or stand on his own, to fully walking again. 

 No $10,000 surgery required. 

What do I owe for this unexpected result? 

CONSISTENCY + DURATION.


Once I established a set daily routine to help his recovery, I never wavered from it.  I followed the same exact process day in and day out even on days where he seemed to get worse.  What kept me going was reading success stories from others who followed a similar process.  I knew that if I just kept executing the same steps, things could possibly turn around for my pup. 

 Looking back at those few months, I realized that I wasn't consistent with other routines as much as I was with his journey to recovery....that realization really opened my eyes to why I only achieved my goals sporadically.  

Consistency is a major key but what really made things happen was repeating the same behavior for several months.  

One of my fundamental flaws is taking my foot off the gas whenever I start seeing results.  If I lose a few pounds after eating healthier for a little while, I treat myself to a bunch of junk food wiping away what little results I had.  Creating sustainable results has always been a weakness of mine.  Now, I've come to realize the error of my ways.

Have you already written down your goals for next year? Great!  Now you gotta identify the routine that will guarantee your success.  Like me, you can mirror the routines of others who've accomplished what you desire.  Then you have it identify a minimum length of time that you'll allow before ever giving up.  With every goal established, you should consider dedicating 3-6 months at a minimum.  I once went to a seminar where the speaker talked about dedicating a full year of consistent action in order to reach the big goal she set for herself. In order to stay dedicated for the entire year, you simply set up various milestones along the way so you know that you're heading in the right direction.  

So now that my eyes are opened to the power of long-term consistency, I'm extremely excited for the year ahead. No more will I be discouraged after working on my goals for a few weeks at a time.  From now on, I'm in it for the long game.  This will also lower any potential anxiety or discouragement if I don't experience results right away.  

Consistent daily, long-term, action has the power to change everything. 

Monday, December 6, 2021


 Winter is the time of year when I start paying any mind to my scalp.  I have no choice but to pay attention because, every winter, I'm always dealing with excessive shedding and dryness.  Dry scalp is an issue but today I want to deal with a more pressing concern.  

The other morning I was doing a face massage aimed at toning and lifting my cheeks.  That's when I speculated that some of the facial sagging that I was experiencing probably originated at my scalp.  I thought to myself "I wonder if the scalp experiences aging and how it compares to the skin on the rest of my body" (particularly the face). 

Moments later Google informed me that our scalp does indeed age and it does so at a rate much more rapidly than our face.  So while I'm trying to tone and lift my face, the scalp could be losing laxity and strength. 

  Rapid scalp aging could result in unwanted side effects such as sparse, thinning hair and (theoretically) sagging skin on the face.  So now I have to develop an anti-aging strategy for my scalp.  

Fundamentally, one of the potential causes of scalp aging is the reduction of blood flow to that area.  As we age the size of our hair follicles starts to shrink.  With that comes reduced blood flow and fewer nutrients being delivered to the hair strand.  This is the main culprit of age-related hair thinning.  

I've decided to make increased blood flow to the scalp a priority.  In the early days of my hair journey, I incorporated scalp massages and even scalp brushing into my routine.  But once I reached my hair goals, I gave up on scalp massages because I felt that there was no real need.  Now that I'm older, I've come to the realization that scalp massages are even more necessary than ever before.  So now I will dedicate a few minutes a day to promote scalp stimulation using a massage technique that involves moving the scalp vigorously for maximum blood flow.   

Scalp massages are great but I might take things one step further by bringing inversions back into my routine.  Inversion is simply the process of promoting increased blood flow directly to the head and scalp by hanging upside down.  I used to hang my head off the couch or bed for a few moments at a time.  Youtube is filled with videos from folks who've skyrocketed their hair growth via inversion paired with other growth-promoting hacks like drinking bamboo tea

As you can tell, increasing blood flow will be a priority.  Next on the list is lymphatic drainage.  Scientists are beginning to understand the link between a healthy lymphatic system and hair growth.  Fundamentally, proper lymphatic drainage is key to anti-aging.  If you're a believer in gua sha facial massage then perhaps you experiment with gua sha scalp massage. Proper lymphatic drainage will keep the blood vessels healthy which will enhance the results of my circulation increasing activities (scalp massage).

Knowing what we know about how a reduction in blood flow impacts the scalp and hair, it's no wonder that one of the first signs of aging we experience are the changes in our hair.  We wear sunscreen every day to prevent facial aging but what are we doing to slow down aging where it's happening the fastest?

Increasing the blood flow and circulation to the scalp is step 1 in the overall strategy. We'll talk more about the next steps in future articles.  

  

Thursday, December 2, 2021

By now, I'm sure you've heard about using ice to promote healthier skin.  I first discovered the wonders of cold therapy after experimenting with cold showers.   Initially, I got into the routine of taking cold showers as part of my personal development journey.  But it wasn't long before I realized that my skin loved cold showers!  Not only was my skin soft and hydrated, I also realized that cold water directly on my face made me look more vibrant.

I only get access to the coldest water during winter when pipes are affected by the outside temperature.  Once the weather warms up, my water is cool at best.  That's when I turned my attention to the use of tools developed to bring cold therapy to our beauty routines.  

Over the years, I've tried a lot of techniques. 

-I've placed my jade face roller in the freezer to cool before using.

-I've purchased one of these handheld facial ice rollers from Amazon.  They didn't seem to hold the cold temperatures long enough.

-I also bought the glass cryotherapy globes but predicted that I'd break them so I saved myself the heartbreak.

With each attempt at mastering an easy way to bring ice therapy into my daily routine, I brought myself one step closer to finding the ultimate solution....a silicone-based ice facial mold.  
Here's an example of one that makes a perfectly round ball of ice you can use on your face.

Notice how easy that was for her to use?  Silicone protects the fingers from getting too cold which allows time for you to do a proper facial.  I opted to purchase a larger, dome-size mold that holds enough ice for several sessions without having to refill it over and over.

The very first time I used my new silicone ice face roller, I knew I stumbled on something special.  I kid you not, my skin was glowing by the time I completed the very first session.  Even my hubby mentioned my glow when he came home from work.  This ice facial roller is the real deal, unlike other tools that cool stone, plastic, or metal, you're exposing your skin directly to the freezing cold temps of ice.  

BENEFITS OF ICE FACIAL ROLLING.

Since I have found the world's most perfect ice facial tool, my search is now complete.  Every day, I can treat my skin to a simple routine that will enhance blood flow to the face.  With blood flow comes additional oxygen and precious nutrients that keep the skin looking young and healthy. 

The ice also seems to magically erase pores as the surface of the skin constricts in response to the cooler temperatures.  But my absolute favorite benefit of doing at-home ice facials is how firm and taut the skin becomes.  When it's cold out, our body prioritizes blood flow to our internal organs leaving our extremities to fend for themselves.  I believe that lowered blood flow to any area of the body is a precursor to aging.  Maybe that's why our hands and face tend to show signs of aging before the rest of the body.  My mission in life is to promote healthy blood circulation to my face as much as possible....and I can't think of an easier way to do it than using this.

One benefit I've noticed personally is that if I do an ice facial before using a microcurrent device, I can feel the tiny shocks of the current. This leads me to believe that the moisture levels of my skin are higher allowing the electrical currents to better penetrate.  Ice also helps minimize inflammation which is perfect if you're suffering from breakouts.   Someone also mentioned that her makeup stays on longer when she does an ice facial as a priming step.

The benefits are endless.

Cold showers aren't your thing? Get yourself a silicone ice facial massager.


Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Are you ready to experience your most hydrated lips ever????? If so, you are in the right place.  For so long I've had to fight the struggles of dry winter lips.  But this year, things will be different.  That's because I've devised a 5 step plan that will eradicate all signs of dryness.  

In the past, my lip care routine only consisted of 1 or 2 steps.  That may have worked when I was basking in 100% humidity but it won't cut it now.  Five steps may seem like a lot but it barely takes any time.  Even if you skip a step or two, you'll still have more hydrated lips than if you only applied balm.  

Our lips don't have as much of a moisture barrier as the rest of our faces so it's nearly impossible for them to stay hydrated from lip balm alone.  Low humidity and wind only work to make it worse this is why we have to build a lip routine that can withstand the harshness of winter.  

STEP 1:  The Lip Scrubber

The first step on the road to soft, healthy lips is exfoliation.  If your lips are visible dry and flaky, you don't want to skip this step.  I was first introduced to silicone lip scrubbers by reality star Nikki Saint Claire.  This tiny scrubber was specially made for gentle exfoliation.  With lip scrubbers, your lips are instantly softer and ready for the next step of your ritual.  
 

Step 2: Facial Essence

Once you have been prepped, the next step will be to add hydrating essence to your lips.  Basically, we're going to follow a routine that's similar to what we would do with our skin.  Facial essence has the consistency of water without over-drying as it evaporates.  Plus it has some pretty nifty anti-aging properties that dry lips can really benefit from.  

Step 3: Moisturizer

Next, we move to the moisturizer step.  I first learned about applying moisturizer to the lips as a tip from a celebrity makeup artist.  Adding this extra step changed the game for me.  There is nothing like the feeling of happing truly hydrated lips.  The problem I have is that if my lips feel dry, I start to lick them. And we all know what happens when we lick our lips.  The saliva evaporates quickly making them feel even dryer than before.  I find that by using a moisturizer, that feeling of dryness is gone and so is the underlying urge to lick. 

Step 4: Facial Oil

Now we move on to a critical junction in this 5 step lip routine.  This is a step that I haven't included before.  Instead of jumping straight to lip balm, I urge you to nourish your lips with a couple drops of your favorite oil.   Unlike balm, oil is meant to be absorbed into the lip infusing it with yummy micronutrients and fatty acids.  It's also the first step that seals in all the work you've done so far.  Please do not use a high shine gloss for this step, you need to use an actual plant oil.  Preferably one that your skin already loves.  Lightweight oils like squalane work well but if you live in a particularly dry, cold area, go for a more nourishing option like vitamin E.

Step 5: Lip Balm 

Finally, we move on to the step that we all know and love.  Our winter lip routine is not complete until we break out the lip balm. I recommend thicker balms like Aquaphor, Vaseline, or Glossier's Balm.com.  These products are designed for optimal lip protection. Their job is to offer maximum protection for all the steps the preceded them.  A lot of people make the mistake of applying balm to dry lips thinking that all of their dry lip problems will be solved.  Unfortunately, they find themselves reapplying balm non-stop hoping to experience some semblance of moisture.   If your lips aren't already moisturized  (not with saliva) lip balm can only do so much. 

Try this 5 step routine for yourself and experience what truly hydrated lips can feel like. 

Monday, November 22, 2021

 

 I've been on a lifelong quest to find little hacks that help extend the life of my nail polish. I envy those women who are able to enjoy unchipped nail polish for days or weeks at a time.  Whenever I go to the salon, I try to buy the exact polishes they used in hopes of recreating a similar outcome but never seems to work out for me.  

This afternoon, I looked down at my nails that were painted just days ago and have already started to chip.  Before painting my nails again, I decided to seek the help of the nail polish queens on social media for any bit of advice that could change the game for me....and I think I may have found exactly what I was looking for.

Because I was short on time, I opted to go to Tik Tok. Within minutes, I learned two little tricks that could make all the difference.  

HACK #1. CAP YOUR TIPS WITH POLISH.

Capping is basically the practice of applying nail polish to the very tips (edges) of your nails.  We do this to add an extra layer of protection to the ends of our nails because that's where chipping typically starts.  

I've capped my nails before but haven't really noticed the benefit of doing so.  That's because  I was doing it all wrong.  Check out the video below to see what I'm talking about.  Pay close attention to how she caps her polish.  

@sonailicious

Reply to @natimcmack this is how I do my nails to make my manicure last... ##nails ##diymanicure ##nailtok ##nailtutorial ##diynailsathome ##foryoupage

♬ Fire for You - Cannons
When applying her nail color, she caps the nail first before painting the length of the nail. She follows the same process on the second coat (cap the nail first, then paint the length).  Finally, she applies the top coat using the same process once again (cap first, then topcoat along the length).   

I've always capped my nails last.  I certainly didn't cap my nails with every coat of polish. That's probably why my tips start chipping within 24 hours of application.  When I tried this method of capping my tips first, I could see how bad my technique was.  When I painted the length first, I couldn't tell how poor my attention to detail was whenever I capped my nails.   It's no wonder why my polish chipped so quickly.


HACK # 2// FLOAT YOUR TOPCOAT

I thought I knew how to apply topcoat until I found this wonderful video that rocked my world. 

@ibdbeautyofficial

Try this topcoat technique called floating! This makes your nail polish last longer! 💅🏽 ##nailcheck ##nails ##selfcare

♬ death bed (coffee for your head) - Powfu & beabadoobee
Topcoat floating is the art of applying your topcoat in a way that creates a greater protective layer to prevent chipping.  I had to pay close attention to the video to spot the difference between normal topcoat application and the "floating" technique.  While "floating" she barely presses down with the brush. This produces a thicker layer of topcoat.  A thicker layer means greater protection which leads to longer-lasting nail color.   

I'm hoping that combining these two techniques will change the entire game for me.  Another tip I found while scoping out the comments was to make sure we allow ample time for the polish to dry fully before adding a new layer.  

I'm extremely confident that by combining these tips, I'm extending the life of my polish by at least a few more days. Who knows, I might even join that elusive club of women that boasts of an at-home manicure that lasts over a week. 
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