Category: Skin Care

Beauty Affordability: Learning to Handle the Guilt of the Price Tag

Published in: Guest Post, Just For Fun, Skin Care

$325 well spent.

Last year I wrote a brief essay on what it feels like when “budget beauty” starts to actually hurt your bank account. In short, I explored why I thought it was no longer fruitful for me to have seven of the same lipsticks in varying shades of red that were all dupes for a higher priced lipstick when for the total of all seven, I probably could have bought the higher priced thing by now.

A lot of my opinions in that essay still ring true. I do believe that investing in yourself is worth the time and waiting if you can’t afford it at this very moment, but as a person who grew up in the far reaches of the Adirondacks with little money, I can’t say that I will ever necessarily feel good about spending money on anything, especially myself, or my beauty products.

When I look at my makeup collection, the highest priced item on it at the moment is my Clinique Even Better Makeup. I purchased it on the recommendation of a Sephora employee, and I do love it as far as liquid makeup goes. I was looking for something that wouldn’t clog my pores, and that would cover up my acne and redness. At $27, it’s not that expensive compared to some items I’ve seen, but it’s more than I had been used to spending.

When my skin began revolting due to adult acne, I started rethinking my skincare routine. I knew that I would have to spend more money on creams, ointments, and moisturizers because my skin demanded quality and care. But this was the only area on which I relented. I still tried to find the best deals, the cheapest brands for the best quality (which, don’t we all, at times?)

Currently, my skincare prices look something like this:

  • Aczone Gel Prescription: Around $45
  • Tretinoin Prescription: Around $5
  • Retin-A Prescription: Around $10
  • Moisturizer: $9
  • Cleanser $7

Total: $76 (Give or take a few dollars.)

Not bad, considering my prescriptions last me almost 6 months, and the giant bottle of Neutrogena Cleanser I bought a few months ago is still going strong. These are prices I can deal with, because I feel that investing in my skincare is almost a part of my health. I’m very cautious when it comes to sun care and putting on SPF. As a super pale girl, I slather on as much as I can, even when it’s cloudy out.

What gets me, however, are the items that I don’t have to spend money on, and the pressures that I’m bombarded with daily when I even think about buying any kind of beauty item. That’s why I was sucked into the dupes for so long. Why buy the quality when you can find a cheaper version? (And that’s not to say some drugstore brands aren’t becoming better quality.) But as someone who grew up with a strict budget and started buying most things for herself very early, learning how to budget for things I needed versus things I wanted was one of the lousiest lessons to learn, because it makes you feel awful.
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Sea Results With H2O+ Face Oasis Hydrating Treatment and Oil Infused Renewing Serum

Published in: Guest Post, Skin Care

H2O Face Oasis Hydrating Treatment Oil-Infused Renewing Serum

Feeling hydrated already…

Want to hear a joke about seaweed? (Shore you do)

“What does seaweed say when it’s stuck on the bottom of the ocean…?”

“KELP, KELP!”

I love a good seaweed pun. I also love a good moisturizer/serum combo.

Enter the H2O+ Face Oasis Hydrating Treatment and their Sea Results Oil Infused Renewing Serum. The H2O+ line is full of influences from the ocean, from their Black Sea Body Line to the Sea Lavender Skin Smoother. Each product boasts different blends of sea elements such as wakame, a seaweed that has been proven to reduce inflammation, to sea lettuce, which “supports skin firming collagen and elastin,” to fennel, which helps with anti-aging.

That’s a lot to absorb, all puns intended.

H2O+ Face Oasis Hydrating Treatment ($36 for a 1.7-oz. jar) and Sea Results Oil Infused Renewing Serum ($58 for a 1.0-oz. bottle)

Starting with a clean face just out of the shower, I dove into the Renewing Serum. The smell wasn’t irritating or overpowering, but there was an unidentifiable scent, which I chalked up to the fennel and sea lettuce.

You’ll either love it or hate it, but I was all over it. As it dried, it left a slightly cooling sensation. While this is the pricier of the two, I only required two short pumps for my entire face.

I’ve always been afraid of putting anything with oil in it anywhere near my body (I was a greasy kid), but this serum was light and delicate, absorbing into my combination skin in just a few seconds. It dried completely matte, leaving me ready for the next step in undersea skincare. 

H2O Face Oasis Hydrating Treatment Oil-Infused Renewing Serum

Feel the marine essence…


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A Brief Essay on Seeing Eye to Eye With My Bare Skin

Published in: Guest Post, Just For Fun, Skin Care

Marcella Yakalis

I catch my reflection in the window of the downtown D train. In my bathroom mirror, as I pass by a shop. While I still struggle everyday to live comfortably in my body (I am a size 22, 5 foot 6), I often find it even harder to live in my skin.

Around six months short of 25, I noticed the blemishes forming on my chin and forehead were not just the occasional stress related zit. They were cyclical, they scarred even when I didn’t pick them, they were incredibly painful. Through my late teens and early twenties, I never had more than the occasional flareup, and never ones that gave me so much shame. I went off my hormonal birth control, thinking that was the issue, but it still persisted. I stopped wearing makeup entirely, afraid to agitate my skin.

Like so many other women, I was struck with sudden adult acne as a result of PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) and didn’t know it. It wasn’t until I actually went to a dermatologist, who suggested, from my acne patterns, that I might have the condition. I made a mental note to check on it and asked what could be done about my skin. I was prescribed Aczone Gel, 5%, as well as a retinoid (Adapalene) and a tretinoin (Atralin)

Marcella Yakalis

These medications greatly improved my skin over a short period of time. The combination of all three settled the horrifying red bumps that littered my chin, cheeks, and my forehead. As my face cleared up, I became excited at the prospect of being able to wear makeup without feeling like I was just covering up a disaster. I didn’t realize at the time how badly the marks had scarred me, in more than just a physical sense.

When I looked in the mirror, this is what I saw: sunken eyes and horrible skin, broken capillaries around my nose, bags under my eyes that I’ve had since I was four, that weird chicken pox scar above my right brow. When my skin began to clear up, I saw my face, my bare face, and I didn’t like what I was seeing. When I was wrapped up in the acne covering my face, I didn’t have to deal with the fact that I didn’t particularly like my face.

Despite the myriad of treatments I now use, I am still reluctant to wear makeup and try new products. I’m afraid that my skin will react poorly or that it will burn. This fear, however, has made me more comfortable in showing my bare face. When I used to go out with a bare face (and I mean bare, not even concealer) I was ashamed to look in the mirror. I still had the allergy eyes and the scars, but as I learned to deal with my bare face as it was, I realized that while I had been ashamed of the acne, I had often used it as a blanket for my insecurities when it came to my natural looks. Now that my skin was on the road to recovery, I had nothing to hide behind.

Living with my acne, and learning to actually like my own face again, is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I always used to think scars were really cool until I started seeing them on my face…and feeling them far deeper.
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:)

For Sensationally Soft, Squeaky Clean Skin, Scrub-a-Dub-Dub and Exfoliate Before You Turn on the Shower

Published in: Clarins, Makeup Tips/How To, Skin Care, Soap & Glory

exfoliators

Next time you exfoliate your bod in the shower, instead of wetting your skin first before you get down to it, try applying your scrub to your skin while it’s still dry, with the shower turned off. Then, after rubbing your little heart out, turn on the water and rinse.

Sooo, why would anyone do it this way?

LOL! Good question… No, but seriously, I think I get a better, more intense scrub when I scrub while my skin is dry. My skin feels softer and squeakier clean than when I scrub while it’s wet.

The first time I heard about doing it this way was at a spa years ago, but, wouldn’t you know it? After getting home, I promptly forgot.

But I remembered after seeing it mentioned recently in a magazine. I think it was this month’s Allure… There’s an article in there about multitasking and getting the most out of your shower time.

Anywho, I did it last night with three different exfoliating scrubs. I hopped in the shower (with the water off) and used one of the scrubs on my arms, one on my torso and the other one on my legs. Then I stood there for few minutes scrubbing everything south of my neck.

Doop-da-doo…

After I turned on the water and rinsed, my skin felt smooth as a baby’s bottom — smoother, I feel, than it would have had I used the scrubs on wet skin.

And I’m sure I also ended up using less product.

By the way, the three scrubs I tried last night were…

  • Tree Hut Vanilla & Honey Gentle Oatmeal Scrub ($7.99) — This gentle, non-abrasive creamy scrub smells faintly of yummy oatmeal cookies. Mmm… Oatmeal cookies…
  • Soap & Glory Flake Away ($15) — This highly moisturizing, fragrant scrub (the strong scent reminds me of the old Dior Miss Cherie, which I loved) contains shea butter, sugar and pretty big scrubby bits, so it’s a little more intense than the Tree Hut Gentle Oatmeal Scrub. It also leaves behind a slightly oily residue.

    I really like this one. It did the business, and my skin felt soft and great.

  • Clarins Exfoliating Body Scrub for Smooth Skin ($38) — This creamy concoction has medium-sized scrubby bits made from natural bamboo fibers and a very faint, almost imperceptible peach scent.

    It also did a great job. Plus, I didn’t have to use much, and it didn’t leave behind an oily residue.

Have you been using any good scrubs lately? And do you usually use them on wet skin or dry? Inquiring minds want to know…

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,

Karen

Day in Beauty Vol. 6: Narwhals, Foaming Face Cleansers, More Korean Skin Care, and an Improv Journal

Published in: Just For Fun, Skin Care

day-in-beauty-vol-6

Note: any time you start your day seeing a narwhal, or a picture of a narwhal, emerging from the sea with Christmas ornaments or other seasonal or holiday decorations on his/her tusk, well, chances are you’re gonna have a good day. 🙂

trader-joes-candy-cane-green-tea-1

This is one of the reasons I looove this Trader Joe’s Decaf Candy Cane Green Tea. My heart will break into a trillion tiny pieces when I finish the box.

I was hoping it would last me through this last leg of my pregnancy, up through BG’s big debut, a.k.a. the day she gets her eviction notice, but I don’t think that’s gonna happen, and I’m kinda freaking out a little… Since it’s seasonal, I think they already pulled it off the shelves for the year at Trader Joe’s.

Serves me right for not stockpiling…

Also in green tea news, this cleanser!

neogen-naturals-real-fresh-foam-green-tea

It’s called Neogen Dermalogy Real Fresh Foam Green Tea Cleanser. It’s $19 and looks good enough to drink (but please don’t).

It looks like there are bits of real tea down there at the bottom…

Anywho, I’m still on that Korean beauty and skin care kick, so I’ve been trying lots of Korean products, and this Neogen Dermalogy is another one of them.

The bottle says that it’s a 100% Naturally Brewed Soothing Bio-Cleanser for sensitive skin.

I’m very finicky about my cleansers, and a lot of them leave my combo skin feeling super tight and dry, but this foaming face cleanser doesn’t. As far as I can remember, I’ve never used a foaming face cleanser before (I’ve used plenty of foam hand washes, but never a face cleanser), and I like it. It feels like I’m really babying my face.

When I rinse off the foam, my skin feels clean, great, and it smells faintly of green tea.

The ingredient list is RIDICULOUSLY LONG, but most of the things in there are plant extracts…

neogen-dermalogy-real-fresh-foam-green-tea-cleanser-ingredients

I’ve also started using Son & Park Beauty Water, a $30 hydrating toner that smells like roses and adds a great deal of moisture (I apply it with a cotton pad after cleansing).

son-park-beauty-water
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