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All About Acne – Part IV: Cosmetics for Acne-prone Skin

  • Posted on July 1, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Brand CollageAfter my last post I’m sure there was a lot of exasperation, like “what the heck IS safe to use?”  I wanted to give you a list of just some of the foundations I’ve found that do not have the ingredients that may cause irritation and breakouts.  Obviously something may not have any of the Big Nasty ingredients and still irritate your skin, or you might not like the particular formula, but I didn’t want to leave you with only the bad.

 

High End Foundation

 

BareMineralsbareMinerals Original Foundation SPF 15

My favorite mineral foundation by far is the Bare Minerals Original Foundation with SPF 15.  This is the foundation that I used through my twenties, and still have in my rotation today.  It has only 5 ingredients.  That’s right – no huge paragraph of hard-to-read chemicals, just 5 simple ingredients – 2 of which are for sunscreen!  The fewer ingredients you have, the less of a chance for irritation.  It also offers 20 shade variations, and those shades are very forgiving.  That means that you don’t have to get a near-exact match in the way you’d expect with a liquid foundation.  They’re very blendable.

Now, I know the price for this foundation can be a deterrent for some.  There may be other mineral foundations out there that are cheaper.  I would caution you to make sure that the brand has no fillers or additional ingredients for shimmer or shine.  Check those ingredients!

 

Additional Products – I thought it would be helpful to mention that not only does bareMinerals make foundation, they also carry a line of concealers, blushes, bronzers, highlights and basically every type of cosmetic you may want.  Their loose mineral powders have the least amount of ingredients and are the ones that I would recommend.  You can’t go wrong checking out this line.

 

 Tarte Tinted Moisturizer

Tarte Amazonian Clay BB Tinted Moisturizer

This is my other go-to face product.  It’s not a true foundation; the coverage is too light for that.  But it doesn’t claim to be.  I use this for light coverage when I just want to even out my skin tone and I want something more moisturizing.  This is definitely not a matte tinted moisturizer.  It does have a more satin finish to it.  Sometimes I will layer this with a dusting of the bareMinerals over top.  It goes on easily, doesn’t slide all over my face in a grease fest 20 minutes after applying it, and is great in the summer when I don’t want to have anything heavy on my skin.

 

Additional Products – Tarte, like bareMinerals, has a whole line of cosmetics you can check out.  Their blushes are beautiful and really do last all day like their name claims.  They have a silicone-free primer called the Clean Slate Flawless 12-Hour Brightening Primer which is a great alternative for oily skin.  Just stay away from the Aqualillies palette!

 

Drugstore Foundation

Let me tell you, within the category of drugstore brand cosmetics, the selection of “safe” foundations for acneic skin is very limited.  VERY.  LIMITED.  It was surprising to me how many foundations have names that would suggest that they are perfect for acne-prone skin, only to read the ingredients and see several horribly irritating and breakout-causing heavy hitters listed.  That’s why you have to ignore the names, the claims, and go straight for the ingredients.  If you are shopping online and the ingredients are not listed anywhere – skip it.  Move on.  Even if it’s called “Amazing Acne Clearing Best Thing For You Foundation.”  Resist the urge!

 

Neutrogena Skin Clearing


Neutrogena SkinClearing Oil Free Makeup

This foundation has salicylic acid in it, which is an ingredient that actually helps treat acne.  A word of caution about this one though – it also has Vitamins A, C, and E, which for some people can be irritating (especially the Vitamin A).  I have not tried this foundation personally, so I can’t talk to the formula or the wearability.  I’m basing this solely on the ingredients.

 

Neutrogena Healthy Skin
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Compact Makeup

Neutrogena gave me two options for the drugstore.  I promise, I looked at other brands and either was not able to get a list of their ingredients or they had some of the Big Nasties in them.  This foundation option has a whopping 55 SPF, which is awesome!  It’s rare that you will see an SPF that high in a foundation.  The down side is that there appear to only be eight color options, catering to the light and medium skin tones.  I haven’t used this foundation to be able to give you an idea of the coverage.  Like the Skin Clearing foundation, I am listing it here based on it’s ingredients.  I’d love to hear if you’ve tried this foundation, or any of the ones I have listed.

 

 

Bottom Line

Read the ingredients on any product that is going to be against your skin.  Don’t rely on the name of the product as a guide for what you should be purchasing.  Especially when you are looking at drugstore brands… it is a mine field out there.

It’s important to note that you may have a foundation that you love that might have a questionable ingredient in it.  The best way to test how your skin reacts to a product is to only add one new product at a time into your routine.  Or conversely only take one product away at a time from your existing routine and see if it changes things.  However, if you looked at your skincare and makeup and saw that the majority of the items had Big Nasties in them – STOP USING THEM NOW.  But if you are in love with a particular product, and don’t want to believe it may be hurting your skin, remove it and see if it helps at all.  If you’re following the skincare routine I outlined in my previous post here, your skin should be reacting positively to the changes.  If the foundation was breaking you out, you will see a change.

Let’s Talk Makeup Primers

  • Posted on June 11, 2013 at 9:54 pm

“I love the confidence that makeup gives me.”  ~Tyra Banks

Primer Main Collage

You know that feeling when you have a “good makeup day”; everything went on right the first time in the morning, you didn’t end up with half of your eyeshadow falling down onto your cheeks, you were able to blend out the colors perfectly, and you strut your way out the door feeling great… only to look in the mirror a few hours later and discover that somehow your eyeshadow migrated from your lid to underneath your eye, your blush has disappeared, you look splotchy, and you wonder in horror how long you have been talking to people looking this way?  Primer is your ticket away from looking like a hot mess halfway through the day.


What’s The Big Deal With Primers?

Many people feel that they can skip a primer altogether; that it’s not needed.  Or they tried a primer and didn’t like the way it felt so they nixed them all.  I’m here to tell you that a primer can be your best friend!  I use eye and face primers every time I put on my makeup.  Why?  Because they are awesome!  Haha.  Let me explain …..


Benefits of Eye Primer

  • Stops creasing
  • Stops color fading
  • Stops shadow migration (when your eyeshadow decides it wants to try to be blush instead)
  • Intensifies the color of your shadow
  • Locks it all down until you are ready to remove it

If you have an oily eye area and you feel that you can’t wear makeup, even waterproof makeup, because it uses your face as a slip and slide – you need to try the right primer!  Waterproof makeup is just that – waterproof.  It is not oil proof.  In fact, how do we have to remove waterproof makeup?  With an oil-based makeup remover.  So waterproof makeup is not the answer if you have oily lids.  A primer is what you need to help combat the oil.


Benefits of Face Primer

  • Provides a protective layer over your skin
  • Allows foundation to be applied easily
  • Allows you to use less foundation for the coverage you want
  • Minimizes pores
  • Color corrects
  • Keeps your makeup from being sucked into your pores and disappearing mid-day


Bonus Use For Face Primer

If you don’t take anything else away from this post, please remember this little tip!  If you want your night creams to work exponentially better and see results quicker, after you apply them to your face before bed cover them with a layer of primer.  This will keep all of the nutrients and good-for-you ingredients from your creams and serums from being absorbed by your pillow, your hair, your comforter, evaporating…. You will be amazed at how this little addition to your nightly routine will change your skin!

** This is also a great way to use up primers that you have tried and don’t particularly like under your makeup, or samples that you’ve received that are taking up space.  Don’t throw them away, use them over your night creams and serums.


Guide to Color Correction in Primers

You may look at an avocado green face primer and say why in the world would I put that on my face?!  Color correcting primers are great underneath your foundation to help address issues you may have with your skin.  Don’t be afraid of them.  They go on sheer and really come alive to work their magic when you put your foundation on top of them.  I made a guide to help explain what each color corrector is perfect for.  For myself personally, I use a green primer most days because my cheeks, around my nose, and my chin always have a slight redness to them that I hate.

Color Correction Collage

 

Primers to Try

I have gone through so many primers, and the range of formulas is sometimes daunting.  It also means that with a little perseverance you will find one that is exactly what you need.  The few that I have listed here are ones that I have used and like.  Primers are very subjective, and one that I love may feel odd to you, but it’s a place to start.

Eye Primer Collage Face Primer Collage


Splurge or Save?

So should you go for the high end primers or something inexpensive?  My opinion in a nutshell – save on the eye primer and splurge on the face primer.  Most of the eye primers will give you similar results, it just depends on what formula you want (drying, tinted, moisturizing, slippery, etc).  However when it comes to my face, I am very particular about what I put on it.  If you find a cheaper primer that is good for your skin, works the way you want it to, and can save you money – great!  But it is one item that I will splurge on without feeling bad about the cost.

The Balm: Bronzers and Highlights

  • Posted on May 31, 2013 at 7:40 pm

“I always wear bronzer because I love the way my skin looks when it’s tan.”  ~Lauren Conrad

Part Two of my The Balm Cosmetics shopping spree included picking up their bronzer, contour and highlight products.  I was so excited to try these out, and I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you.

The Balm Cosmetics

The Balm Cosmetics

Bronze and Contour

Bronzing and contouring your face can turn into a hot mess, depending on the product you use and how you use it.  Knowing that The Balm tends to have highly pigmented products, I was a little nervous about purchasing their bronzers.  In the end I just couldn’t resist.  Let me walk you through what I got, and what I think about them.

 

Bahama Mama – Bronzer and Contour

Purchase: TheBalm Bahama Mama Bronzer

Bahama Mama is a matte finished multi-tasker.  You can use it as a bronzer, a contour shade, or an eye shadow.  It looks very dark in the pan.  Like scary-dark for someone with my fair-medium complexion.  I was surprised to find that I was able to apply it sheerly enough to work for me, and build it up if I wanted to.  As with all of The Balm cosmetics – a little bit goes a long way!

I love that it is matte; I am not a fan of bronzers with any kind of shimmer, glitter or sparkle to them.  I feel they tend to look odd on the face.  When you’re contouring or bronzing you’re looking to add shadows, depth, warmth to the face, not turn into a tanned, sparkly Twilight vampire chick.  Once I started using Bahama Mama it quickly replaced the others I had in my collection as my go-to product.

Application:  The key to applying this is to lightly touch your brush to the product, tap it off, and then blend.  DO NOT swirl your brush around in the pan like there is no tomorrow.  It won’t be cute.

The Balm: Bahama Mama Swatches

The Balm: Bahama Mama
Swatches

 

Betty-Lou Manizer Bronzer and Highlight

Purchase: TheBalm Betty-Lou Manizer

I realize that not everyone agrees with my opinion that bronzers should be matte.  Betty-Lou Manizer is certainly NOT matte.  This product has shimmer galore!  It’s not something that I would reach for to use as a bronzer or contour; it just doesn’t do it for me in that capacity.

I do however love that I can use this as an eye shadow.  It has a warm copper glow to it, which I love on my eyes more than the glitter party that a lot of eye shadows with sparkle tend to be.  This is also a great highlight for darker complexions.  Gorgeous!

The Balm: Betty-Lou Manizer Swatches

The Balm: Betty-Lou Manizer
Swatches

Highlight

I am constantly trying out different highlights.  I think the right highlight can bring a youthful glow to your face, make your cheekbones appear more defined, and really finish your over all look.  The wrong highlight can accentuate every fine line, wrinkle, and pore that is on your face.  That’s never a look that I’m going for.  I picked up The Balm’s highlight for fair – medium/tan skin to see how I would like it.

 

Mary-Lou Manizer Highlight

Purchase: The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer

This is a champagne highlight that has definite shimmer to it.  It is finely milled so that you’re not seeing glitter pieces on your skin, but you can definitely apply too much rather easily and get out of hand.  I use this with a soft hand on top of my cheeks for a beautiful glow.  I have also used it under my brows and around my tear duct to brighten my eye area.

Additional Application Trick: If you happen to use mineral makeup, like Bare Minerals foundation, you can apply some of the Mary-Lou Manizer on your skin UNDER that foundation (along the top of your cheekbones and the center of your forehead).  When you swirl your mineral foundation on top of it, it diffuses it enough to give your skin a ‘lit from within’ quality that can be quite pretty.

The Balm: Mary-Lou Manizer Swatches

The Balm: Mary-Lou Manizer
Swatches

The Bottom Line:

While some of these won’t be products I turn to on a daily basis, they are all quite lovely.  There are multiple uses for each of them, and with the amount of product you get in each… I will be bronzing and highlighting with The Balm cosmetics for a long time.

Sunscreen: What You Need To Know About the #1 Anti-Aging Product

  • Posted on May 15, 2013 at 5:20 pm

“Trust me – sunscreen is so, so, so important.”  ~Lea Michele

Sunscreen Collage

Why is it that as soon as I decided to write about sunscreen I visualized a collective rolling of the eyes by anyone who may read this post?  I think so many people feel that sunscreen is something that they need to worry about when they’re older, when skin cancer shows up on their radar.  People may have a huge awareness of anti-aging products.  They may line their counters with the latest and greatest serums, night creams and peels, or even have regularly scheduled Botox sessions – all in an effort to try to turn back the clock of aging on their skin.  Yet they still lather on the tanning oil and bake their way to a summer tan with no idea what they’re doing to their skin.

I am known in my circle of family and friends as the Queen of Sunscreen.  I line everyone up and slather them with sunscreen – men, women, and children.  There is no option to politely decline.  If you are in my presence you will get covered.  I don’t want the people I love and care for the most to increase their risk for cancer, and I want them to have the best shot at aging gracefully.

There is so much misinformation out there about sunscreen and tanning, I had to write about this.

 

Nobody Wants Leather Skin!

Nobody Wants Leather Skin!

Sunscreen is the #1 Anti-Aging Product Out There

Forget Retinol.  Forget Peptides.  Forget Vitamin A or C.  The #1 Skin Ager is the sun!  There is nothing that you will do, nothing that you will encounter in your lifetime, that will age you as much as the sun.  All those anti-aging products you may own are just trying to reverse all of the damage you’ve done to your skin through sun exposure.  Stop it at the source!

When you’re looking at a bottle of sunscreen and you see “UVA  and UVB protection” on the label, consider the A in UVA to equate to Aging and the B in UVB to stand for Burning.  Sunscreen not only stops your skin from burning, it also acts as the best anti-aging product you can have in your arsenal.  If you want to go back to your high school reunions with skin so fresh you look like you never left – use sunscreen!  Daily.

What you do to your skin in your teens and twenties will absolutely come back to haunt you in your thirties and beyond.  We’ve all seen the leather-skinned people at the beach.  They started out tanning in their teens, either out in the sun or in the tanning beds, and it’s caught up with them.  Not a cute look!

 

The Infamous Tanning Mom

The Infamous Tanning Mom

Indoor Tanning – Stop the Madness

I know that it sucks when you’re pastey white and you have to bare your albino legs for the first time in the summer.  Trust me, as soon as summer is over I basically live in pants until the spring rolls around again.  My legs can be blinding.  I hate it.  I totally get it.  But I don’t understand actually paying someone to let you lay in a lit up tube that more than doubles your chances of getting skin cancer.  It’s like saying, “Cancer – Shmancer.  Bring it on God!”  Don’t do it!  Wearing sunscreen doesn’t mean you won’t tan.  It means you’ll tan protected.  And there are many sunless tanning products out there that give your body the same dark tan without the added boost to your risk of cancer.

 

 

Sunless Tanner Suggestions

Bare Minerals Faux Tan Body Sunless Body Tanner

Tarte Maracuja Self-Tanner & Application Mitt

St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse

 

Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation with SPF 15

Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation with SPF 15

 

Using A Foundation with SPF is NOT Enough

Makeup that has SPF will only protect your skin if you apply a LOT of it, and reapply every 90 minutes.  Not a good look.  Also, most makeups containing SPF skimp on the UVA-blocking ingredients, which, again, are the rays that cause not only skin aging but also cancer.  The best thing you can do is use a separate broad spectrum SPF moisturizer before applying your makeup.  I have some listed in the next section.

 

 

 

Bioelements Sun Diffusing Protector

Bioelements Sun Diffusing Protector

 


How Much Broad Spectrum SPF Do You Need?

You want to choose a sunscreen that says “broad spectrum SPF” on the bottle so that you know it is protecting you from both UVA and UVB rays (protection from premature aging of the skin, burning and cancer).

 

 

Find The Right SPF For You

If You Are: Someone who only gets exposed to the sun on your daily commute to work or school, or on the occasional walk to the local store. You want protection from skin aging and the risk of skin cancer, but you know you aren’t in the sun much during the day.
Your Number: SPF 15

Bioelements Sun Diffusing Protector SPF 15 – FYI: This is my go-to daily SPF for my face.  I love it!  I don’t have to wear a moisturizer with this; it gives me all the benefits of a daily moisturizer along with the SPF.  It is not greasy.  I have had just this on as sunscreen for an unexpected day out, when I really should have bumped up to 30+, and it performs amazingly.


If You Are:
Mr. or Ms. Outdoorsy.  You love being outside!  You hike, bike, jog, garden, play sports, etc. You need protection from prolonged exposure to the sun that will decrease the risk of skin aging and skin cancer.
Your Number: SPF 30 and higher, depending on your skin

Bioelements Raydefense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen – Again with the Bioelements, because I love their products!

Aveeno Continuous Protection Lotion Face SPF 30 – This one definitely feels and acts more like a typical sunscreen on the face, but has not broken me out when I use it.  I usually apply a separate moisturizer before this to give my skin a boost.  You can have a slight white pallor left on your face; it’s something you need to blend into your skin well.  I lather this or the SPF 70 on my son when we’ll be out all day.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sunblock Body Mist, SPF 45

Neutrogena Ultimate Sport Sunblock Spray, SPF 70+


If You Are:
Concerned specifically about lines, wrinkles, and sagging.  Fighting aging caused by the sun is a priority to you. You want a combination of an anti-aging moisturizer with broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection while you are out and about.
Your Number: SPF 50

Bioelements SPF 50 Facescreen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen – This lends itself better to people with combination/dry skin.  It improves the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and the feel of firmness, along with giving you the SPF of 50.  It takes the place of your daily moisturizer.  If you are very fair skinned you will still likely want a higher SPF.

 

The Facts on Skin Cancer

  • Half of all cancers in the U.S. are skin cancers (source: American Cancer Society)
  • UV ray exposure is the most preventable cause of skin cancer (source: American Academy of Dermatology)
  • One or more blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence more than double a person’s chances of developing skin cancer later in life (source: The Skin Cancer Foundation)
  • A person’s risk for skin cancer doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns at any age (source: The Skin Cancer Foundation)

 

Bottom Line

Make sunscreen a priority for yourself and your family – regardless of age.  You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing so.  You’re ensuring that you’re fighting the #1 cause of aging, as well as doing what you can to decrease your risk of getting skin cancer significantly.