Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Two Acne-Fighting Face Cleansing Routines

After writing my first post earlier I realized it might not make sense.  I mentioned that I don't usually have a problem with acne, but I have an older post saying that I do.  The older post, "Guide to Using Benzoyl Peroxide Face Treatments", looks like it was just posted this month, but since it was carried over from my old blog it's really more like two years old or so.  At that time I was having a lot of problems with acne.

At that time, I started using the routine I describe in the entry.  It worked extremely well.  I had zero whiteheads and my blackheads were disappearing as well.  Not long after that though, I decided I wanted to try to start using more natural products.  As I experimented with different brands, my face started getting bad again.  Finally, I found a second routine using more natural products that had, at least for me anyway, even better results.  I discussed that routine briefly in my last entry, "Holistic Approach to Acne".

I would like to post both of those here so you can see them side by side (well, one on top of the other).

Routine #1: Benzoyl Peroxide and Friends
(These are drugstore products, not what I would consider "safer" products in regards to their ingredients.)

Morning:

  • Oxy Acne Treatment (Maximum Strength, 10% Benzoyl Peroxide)
  • Olay Refreshing Toner (A non-intense toner that doesn't irritate my skin after using such a strong cleanser)
  • Olay Complete UV Moisturizer (SPF 15)*
*You always want to use a moisturizer with at least an SPF of 15 when using products with Benzoyl Peroxide. That, and it's just good to keep your skin safe from too much sun anyway.

Night:
  • Olay Regenerist Daily Regenerating Cleanser
  • Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner
  • Olay Regenerist Deep Hydration Regenerating Cream (I'm technically using Walmart's Equate version of this right now, but same dif.)
If I got a flare up:
  • I used various drugstore spot treatments with salicylic acid and they all worked the same.
Routine #2: More Natural Anti-Acne Routine

Morning:
  • Burt's Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser (once or twice a week I add a little brown sugar so it exfoliates)
  • Moisturize as needed (I don't need to after using this cleanser) with either Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions Daily Moisturizing Lotion (for any skin type), Aubrey Organics Vegecol with Aloe Moisturizing Cream (for sensitive skin), or Aubrey Organics Blue Green Algae with Grape Seed Extract Moisturizer (for combo/oily skin)... OR find one you prefer.  I've tried all three and prefer the last two by far and change out as needed
  • You can also use straight 100% Jojoba oil, but you'll have to wait quite awhile for it to soak in before you can apply your makeup... which is why I don't just use it in the morning.  No time.
Night:
  • Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Original Face Wash
  • Burt's Bees Rosewater & Glycerin Toner or straight witch hazel (stuff is amazing!)
  • Moisturize with 100% Jojoba oil or other skin-safe oil, such as hemp seed oil or carrot seed oil (a couple drops will probably do your whole face; avoid coconut oil as this has been known to make breakouts worse in a lot of people)
If I get a flare up:
  • Burt's Bees Herbal Blemish Stick
Where's the SPF?
  • There are many safety issues associated with sunscreens, so I try not to use anything with SPF in it anymore unless I'm going hiking or something where I'll be out in the sun for prolonged periods of time.  Check the EWG's Sunscreen Guide for the safest sunscreens.
Which Would I Recommend?

Hands down, I would pick the more natural routine #2.  Not only does it have less harsh and harmful ingredients, but it works better out of the two routines and it did not create sensitivity over time.  I had some issues with that when I was using routine #1, especially if I was out in the sun.

Holistic Approach to Acne

I am breaking out like crazy.  I am not a person that breaks out like crazy.

I have worn makeup twice in the past month and washed it off completely as soon as I got home.  Makeup is not the cause for what's currently going on with my face.

Someone familiar with my other posts might ask if the pain meds I had to take for my broken foot are to blame?  I'm no longer taking Vicodin, which is linked to cystic acne, but I am seeing primarily an increase in blackheads.  I don't believe the Vicodin is the issue though, as my face started breaking out before I was prescribed it.

I was taking Naproxen prior to the surgery, which is a anti-inflammatory that has actually been used to relieve acne.  So why did my acne start to flare up while I was on Naproxen?

When your system (your body as a whole, I mean) is out of whack, it can cause you to break out.  When your immune system is busy dealing with something within your body--like a cold or, in my case a broken bone--it apparently doesn't multitask well and can't fight your acne too.  Also, it pushes any yucky stuff (toxins in your system, etc.) out however it can.  (There were so many sites that all said this same thing in different words, so I'm just going to refer readers to the Google Search I did.)

So what can you do to combat this?  While I am not a professional dermatologist or anything else in the medical field, I do have common sense.  Common sense says, "If your immune system is taxed and not able to fight your acne, maybe you should give your immune system a hand and build it up."  So build up your immune system!

How do you do that?  There are tons of things that you can do that, in combination, will help boost your immune system.  The Harvard Medical School has a great page that explains everything you can do.  I will leave it to the experts to fill you in.

Dehydration can also help promote acne.  If you don't believe me, I promise I'm not making it up.  A boat load of sources back that up.  So drink up!  Drink at least the daily recommended amount of water for someone of your age, weight, etc.  The Mayo clinic website has information on how to calculate how much you should be drinking.

Going back to common sense, you also want to make sure you're keeping your face clean.  This part is up to you.  Different cleansing routines work differently for everyone.  For me, the only thing that will clear this up will be rotating between Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Original Face Wash and Burt's Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser.  I will be using pure witch hazel as an astringent, Burt's Bees Herbal Blemish Stick for spot treatment, and jojoba oil (with a drop of tea tree oil if needed) as a moisturizer.  Seriously, I don't know why I ever switch from this routine.  I let myself be lured in by other products just to be disappointed.  Find what works for you and stick with it!  Of course, I recommend finding something that works by a brand that is all-natural and doesn't include questionable and/or harmful ingredients.

(Images are of different types of acne, and were created by the FDA.)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saw It Online: July 2012 Edition

What's trendy on Pinterest this month?

3. Chevrons
From clothing to nails this design is everywhere; either done simply with two colors, or by getting funky with multiple colors.  This is a simple, yet stylish and sophisticated pattern that many people love.  I like it myself, in moderation.  Others may find it reminds them of traffic signs...

 2. Braids
This is pretty classic and you can't go wrong with this one.  The basic idea behind each style is to include some variation of the braid into your hairstyle, usually some sort of up-do.  This is great for work, as you can pull everything back tightly and neatly or you can wear it out by letting some strands fly free.

1. Ombre
When you see this incredibly overused term, it just means that the item in question is not one uniform color, but that it is graduated in color from light to dark.  One end will be a lighter shade of the color and it will slowly build up to the darker shade at the other end.  This one makes me giggle, mostly because it seems to be seen most in hair.  It wasn't too long ago that when you looked like that it just meant it was time to get your roots touched up.  I'm not in love with this one, on hair anyway.  I don't mind it on clothing and nails.

What is "Saw It Online"?

As I work to build up this blog, I want to start including new features (theme weeks, regular articles, etc.).  This one--"Saw It Online"--is the first of those little experiments.

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm recovering from foot surgery and I'm stuck in the house 24/7.  This means I have a lot of time to play around on the interwebs.  I started using my long-lost Pinterest account right after I broke my foot, and have been on almost fanatically since.  I have noticed that in the Hair & Beauty section, sandwiched between the misplaced weight loss scams (there is a section specifically called "Fitness", people!), there are a lot of people pinning stuff that's pretty much all just variations of the same basic ideas.

This monthly post that I have decided to start will focus on that.  Basically, it's going to be a super quick rundown of the three trends I'm seeing pinned the most each month.

Why?

My purpose is two-fold.  First, people who like being on top of the latest trends can incorporate these things into their lifestyle.  On the other hand, people who don't want to be doing the same things as everyone else know what to avoid.  Everyone wins.

Stay tuned for the first edition of "Saw It Online", which will be posted shortly.  (Very shortly.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Living Beautifully with a Broken Bone


I broke my foot earlier this summer—a Jones Fracture—and had to have surgery to have a screw put in.  I’m currently in recovery-mode and am almost completely reliant on the help of others for most things.  It has not been a pleasant experience (though it has been as pleasant as we could make it).  But complaining about my life right now is not the point of this blog or even of this entry. 

I’m in my third week of recovery, almost fifth week since I broke the foot.  That is a long time to struggle with keeping yourself clean and fresh feeling, especially when you don’t have the balance needed to properly shower while keeping your leg out of the water and you can’t just sit in a bath because you can’t get your bandages wet.  Nor would I be able to get out of the tub without someone helping me.  I’m currently staying with my parents so they can help me.  I could happily go the rest of my life without either of them seeing me naked as a grown woman.

Traditional showering and bath-taking are just out of the question.

What does one do in a situation like this?

The Cerulean and Pink™ Guide to Not Being Disgusting While Recovering from a Broken Bone (w/ Shopping List!)
(Note: If you have one of those fancy stools you can just put in the shower and/or don’t have to worry about getting bandages wet, then a lot of this might not apply to you.)

Removing the Betadine Post-Surgery:
Betadine is the orange stuff you will have all over the area that required surgery.  It is a topical antiseptic the hospitals use pre-op.  It serves no purpose once you're home though and should be cleaned off.  My doctor painted my leg past my knee with the stuff, and it would not come off.  I did a search online and found site after site recommending straight rubbing alcohol.  That didn't work for me at all unless I scrubbed the same spot until it was raw.  The closest thing to me that could possibly help were my Pond's Wet Cleansing Towelettes.  These took it right off with very little scrubbing!

For DAILY body washing:
Scrub!  This can be done with a damp washcloth and a small amount of soap, but that requires a lot of rinsing and rewetting of washcloths.  I don’t have the balance for that, and my good leg doesn’t love holding me up for the amount of time it takes for me to accomplish this.  This will change once I no longer have to worry about wet bandages, but for now I’ve found an alternative to sponge/washcloth bathing that works.  I use makeup remover wipes—the really soapy ones—to scrub my skin.  I follow it up with unscented baby wipes because they remove the soapiness without leaving a residue of their own.  (I’m sure I could skip the soapier wipes and just use baby wipes, but I don’t feel as clean doing it that way.)

It’s important to note that you still need to do a traditional sponge/washcloth bath whenever you’re up to it.  Otherwise you get a weird residue buildup on your skin and your skin can get pretty dry.  At least mine did, but that was also a side effect of the pain meds, so I can’t really say what was causing it.  You will also be much cleaner bathing this way, so definitely make the attempt as often as possible, doing the other stuff in between.

For armpits:
If you are worried about armpit smells or really do have an odor despite washing with the other things, I strongly recommend a wipe down with witch hazel.  You can put a couple drops of essential oil in there too if you want fragrance.  If you’re willing to pay a little more, Sprouts and similar stores carry Desert Essence Natural Cleansing Pads.  These are really for your face, but work really well on your underarms too.  They contain Tea Tree oil and other natural oils that are good for your skin, acting as antiseptics, antifungals, and antimicrobials.  Good stuff all around.  This is what I have been using and have not needed to use deodorant this whole time.  (This works all the time too!  Not just when you're recovering from a broken bone.)

For face:
My face was breaking out even though I haven’t worn makeup since my pre-op appointment four weeks ago.  I’m assuming it’s a reaction of my immune system to the break and the healing process.  I break out whenever I’m sick as well.  I was washing with pre-moistened face cloths, but things were actually getting worse.   I started following that up with the Desert Essence Natural Cleansing Pads and have seen a huge improvement.  That got rid of most of it.  I also did a facial with straight lime juice that cleared up everything that was left.  Just rub a lime or lime juice (fresh, not bottled) all over your face, let sit for a minute or two (no more than that!) and then rinse.  I didn’t use a moisturizer after, but you may need one if you have super sensitive skin.

For hair:
You can just use whatever you usually do here.  You’ll have an interesting time figuring out exactly what works for you to get this done.  This is the only place I’m having a hard time being self-reliant.  My mom is having to wash my hair for me, but it’s a pain, so we aren’t doing it as often as I prefer to wash my hair.  My scalp and roots get oily fast, but we’re only washing my hair every two days or so.  Who is going to see it?  It does gross me out though, so as soon as I’m given the go-ahead by the doctor to move around more I’ll go back to washing it daily.  Right now I just get on my knees in front of the bathtub and hang my head in face-down so my mom can wash it.

For your stanky Aircast or similar protective boot, if you have one:
This was a challenge.  The thing gets so gross, so fast!  My mom was rubbing it down with alcohol, but that wasn’t working like it should.  I started wiping it with witch hazel, and that lasted longer, but smelled funny.  Today I used witch hazel with some lavender essential oil drops added to it on the cloth and it worked great!  The boot didn’t just stop smelling gross, it actually smelled good!

Additionally, you should be doing whatever you can to prevent the smell from starting in the first place.  If you are able to wash your foot, wash it daily with an antibacterial soap (I will be using Dr. Bronner’s Tea Tree Oil LiquidSoap once my bandage is off).  Keep it dry.  Wear breathable cotton socks if you can and change them regularly.  Some of the suggestions I saw on health forum said to change them at least twice a day.

The Aircast liners come out and can be washed following their instructions.  I also bought a second liner so I can have one in the boot still while the other is air drying.

That’s really all I can think of for now.  If anything else pops into mind I’ll be sure to add it.  I hope this will be helpful to someone.  :)

Shopping list:
  • Baby wipes (I use whatever hypoallergenic and fragrance-free ones my parents grab for me, but I would get one with more natural ingredients if I were doing the shopping.  It’s up to you.)
  • Face cleansing wipes (I’m using Pond's, but only because I got a smoking deal on them.  Otherwise I would be using Yes to Cucumbers or something along those lines.)
  • Desert Essence Natural Cleansing Pads
  • Witch hazel (Walmart has this for cheap next to the rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide.)
  • Lavender essential oil (You can get this at Sprouts or similar stores and most health food stores.)
  • Antibacterial soap of your choosing
  • Hair cleansing products of your choosing (I’m using Yes to Carrots, but skipping the conditioner to reduce oil buildup.)
  • Breathable cotton socks (A lot!  Or you’ll constantly be doing laundry!)

Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone: Why 'Paraben Free' Means Nothing to Me

Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone.

Try to say those three times fast.

Ouch.

Are these chemicals as bad as they sound like they might be?

Yep.

According to this site (and tons of others--even unbiased sites that aren't trying to sell something), both of these chemicals are preservatives. They are also known to be strong allergens.

Additionally, they're becoming something I'm seeing more and more of on product labels, especially since the paraben-free craze began a couple years ago.

Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone are alternatives to parabens, which are also preservatives. I assume companies started using them because the word "paraben" was becoming so recognizable as a detrimental ingredient. As people started avoiding products with parabens, my guess is companies started developing products with Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone as unrecognizable alternatives so they could stamp "paraben free" on their labels and win back health-conscious consumers.

The chemical structure of Methylchloroisothiazolinone

Let's head on over to the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database to get a little more information...

Here are the scores for the parabens:
Methylparaben = 5
Butylparaben = 6
Propylparaben = 6

Remember, on this scale of 0-10 a 10 is the worst. These chemicals are in the mid-to-high range, which, I guess, might not seem bad to some people, but these are often used in combination. More than one of them will show up on one product's ingredients list. So yeah... that concerns me and those who think like I do.

But this entry isn't about parabens, so let me move on.

Here are the scores for these hard-to-pronounce alternatives:
Methylchloroisothiazolinone = 6
Methylisothiazolinone = 6

Guess what! These two aren't just allergens. Methylchloroisothiazolinone is also linked to cancer, immune system toxicity, and asthma. Methylisothiazolinone has ties to immune system toxicity and neurotoxicity.

Yes, the parabens, if you look them up, are just as bad--maybe worse (they also are linked to developmental/reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity, and endocrine disruption)--but in my mind they're near enough to comparable. Usually I'll be the first to say "some change is good change", but in this case I don't think that's true and I intend to go out of my way to avoid them as much as I do to avoid parabens.

Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone are definitely on my no-no list.

(This article was originally posted on my old blog, Glamoursaurus Goes Natural, which is now defunct.)

What is Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate?

Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate? This is something we're seeing in brands (such as Organix) as a sulfate alternative.

Wowzers. That sounds like it should definitely be on the no-no list, right?

This is another one of those things, though, where we need to remember: If our goal is just reduction of "bad" stuff then even some improvement is good improvement.

Please read the following entry written by a fellow blogger, Kittenish, over at Kittenish Beauty. It will explain a bit about the chemical and its pros and cons. It's a good place to start and says a lot of the same things I would have. (She even contacted Organix for info and they cooperated.)

Check it out: http://kittenish.onsugar.com/Disodium-Laureth-Sulfosuccinate-vs-Sulfates-6216981

(This article was originally posted on my old blog, Glamoursaurus Goes Natural, which is now defunct.)

Homemade, All-Natural Loose Face Powder

I got the basic recipe for this powder from this site, which suggests using a mixture of cornstarch and French green clay. To color the powder they use cocoa powder.

I have tried using this recipe and a few different variations.

First, let me describe my skin, so that you have an idea of how to adapt it to work for your skin. I have total combination skin. My forehead and chin get oily, and my nose and the skin around it can get flaky from dryness on occasion.

The first time I tried this, I used a little clay (I used white clay instead though, as I had it on hand already), some cornstarch, and enough cocoa powder to get the mixture to match my skin tone. It looked good, but it hurt a little--much like when you leave an irritating mask on for too long. The skin on my forehead also felt tight. I knew it couldn't be the cornstarch, as cornstarch is an ingredient in many of the store-bought cosmetics I have used before. (You might have seen it listed on ingredients lists as "zea mays".) It didn't seem to me that the cocoa powder could be the problem, so I decided to experiment by eliminating the clay.

I used this cornstarch/cocoa powder combination for several weeks and loved the way my skin looked. I didn't break out any worse than I would have if I'd been using a store-bought powder. In fact, if I followed a regular face cleansing routine and made sure I washed my makeup off at night I had clearer skin than I did using store-bought powders. I'm really bad at getting my act together in the evenings and washing my makeup off though, so I'd still break out of course, but I don't think it's necessarily from the cocoa powder.

The one thing I did have a problem with in regards to the cocoa powder was that I have some enlarged pores on my cheeks, so it would sometimes settle into them and look pretty unattractive all day at work until I had a chance to go home and wash my face. I'm wondering if I would've had that problem still if I had used a finer cocoa powder, or if I had done a better job of mixing the two ingredients.

In the end though, I ended up eliminating the cocoa powder too. I have very light skin--especially in winter. I have been able to use cornstarch alone with pretty cool results. Since I have lighter skin, if I use a just light dusting it doesn't make me ghost-white but still mattifies (i.e. gets rid of oiliness) my skin. It hasn't caused any breakouts either; even on the days I don't wash my face before bed. My complexion looks way better than it did when I was using store-bought powders and I'm not putting possibly harmful ingredients on my skin anymore. Pretty awesome.

What will I do when summer comes and I have a little more color? I'm not really sure about this part yet. I'm not willing to pay over $20 for the all-natural face powders out there--not to use straight from the box anyway. I am considering, though, buying one of these powders in a shade similar to cocoa powder and then mixing it with cornstarch (like I did with the cocoa powder) to make my summer-skin shade. I will have to write an update when/if I try this.

So, to wrap this all up, here are the combinations I think might work for different skin types:

Normal/Combination: cornstarch + cocoa powder to color (eliminate if you have light skin)

Oily: cornstarch + clay (go for the French green though, not the white) + cocoa powder to color (eliminate if you have fair skin)

Remember, the cocoa powder shouldn't make you breakout or anything unless you're bad like me and don't wash off your makeup. (Cocoa powder actually has antioxidants in it and is used in mask recipes all the time because of this.) Just wash your face! I'm actually going to go do that right now...

PS -- Corn starch is rated as only 0-1 (on a 0-10 scale, with 10 being the worst) on the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. French green clay, white clay (aka kaolinite), and cocoa powder all received zeroes.

(A version of this article was originally posted on my old blog, Glamoursaurus Goes Natural, which is now defunct.)

What is Coco Sultafe?

We're seeing more and more products with Coco Sulfate (aka Sodium Coco Sulfate) in them. Many people are wondering: Is this anything like the Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfates? Is it harmful?

I have finally done a bit of research to help us with this. :)

According to one site Sodium Coco Sulfate and the SL Sulfates are the same thing. They are not. Some make this claim, saying the two chemicals have the same CAS Registry Number. (To explain CAS Numbers simply, that's just the number assigned to chemicals that's used by chemists instead of using all the many names they have.) The problem with this is that they don't have the same CAS Registry Number--meaning they're not the same chemical!

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate has the assigned CAS Registry Number of 151-21-3. Sodium Coco Sulfate's number is 61789-31-9.

Yeah... those aren't the same numbers at all...

(If you'd like to run it for yourself, there is a searchable database of CAS Registry Numbers. You can also do web searches for "Coco Sulfate CAS Number" and "Sodium Lauryl Sulfate CAS Number" and find sites that sell chemicals. They also show the two as having different numbers.)

Now that all that craziness is solved, we are still left wondering what is this Coco Sulfate stuff? I was able to find a very good definition at the Essential Wholesale (a company that sells SCS) website.
"Sodium Coco Sulfate is a naturally derived alternative to Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in flake form. Sodium Coco Sulfate is derived from pure coconut oil. It can be used in a wide variety of personal care applications in which viscosity building and foam characteristics are of importance. The product formulates similar to synthetic alkyl sulfates, but is less defatting to the hair and skin. SCS being less soluble than synthetic alkyl sulfates leaves the skin and hair with a conditioned feel. It can be incorporated into shampoos, hand soaps, bath products, shaving creams and medicated ointments. It is especially useful for opaque, pearlescent, or cream products."
But aren't SL Sulfates derived from coconuts too? Yes, but according to Livestrong.com, SLS "is contaminated with a toxic byproduct during the manufacturing process". For more information about SLS from Livestrong.com, you can go here.

Let's look at another thing that sets these ingredients apart. If you visit the Environmental Working Group's website, Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database, you can search to see how harmful these chemicals are on a scale of 0-10 and also see what problems are associated with each. Having looked up both the Coco Sulfate and the SL Sulfates, I have found that their safety ratings are quite different as well.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate = 3
Sodium Laureth Sulfate = 4

Sodium Coco Sulfate? A big, fat zero.

Admittedly, there is still research being done on Coco Sulfates, so that rating might change, but so far everything I've read--aside from that one misguided website--shows that Coco Sulfate is a safer alternative to the SL Sulfates.

I will no longer be worried about using products with SCS in them, but...

Yes, I said "but"...

I am still annoyed by the products that call themselves "sulfate free" and still list SCS on their ingredients list. (Organix, for example.) It's still a sulfate, just a safer one. I wish these companies would stop doing weird stuff like that to try and win over consumers. And trust me, those weird things will come up again in another post soon! :)

(This article was originally posted on my old blog, Glamoursaurus Goes Natural, which is now defunct.)

Guide to Using Benzoyl Peroxide Face Treatments

I no longer use standard drugstore products, and buy more natural products or make them myself, but most people don't do that.  When I was using those products though, I did find a really good routine that worked very well.

I know this isn't news--or even really anything exciting (like you care about my face, right?)--but perhaps someone will find something beneficial from me sharing what I've discovered.

For years I have had issues with clogged pores. I don't get whiteheads and very rarely get those crazy painful red bump-type zits. (* * * Gross TMI Alert * * *) I am, on the other hand, plagued with blackheads (for lack of a better term, as they look nothing like the pictures of blackheads I've seen while researching the issue). I've also noticed that my pores seem to be getting bigger as time passes.

NOT COOL.

I finally decided to start a real face skin care routine. I've always washed my face (though I admit to forgetting to wash my makeup off at the end of most days), but I wasn't using quality cleansers, or at least wasn't using them in conjunction with other helpful products. I would sporadically use a cheap toner and would only moisturize right before putting on my makeup in the morning. (Since I don't wear foundation it gives my loose powder a little something to cling to.)

BUT I worked out a routine that was not horribly expensive and was working for my sensitive, combination, clogged-pore prone skin (before I switched to all-natural/DIY products).
Morning:
  • Oxy Acne Treatment (Maximum Strength, 10% Benzoyl Peroxide)
  • Olay Refreshing Toner (A non-intense toner that doesn't irritate my skin after using such a strong cleanser)
  • Olay Complete UV Moisturizer (SPF 15)*
*You always want to use a moisturizer with at least an SPF of 15 when using products with Benzoyl Peroxide. That, and it's just good to keep your skin safe from too much sun anyway.

Night:
  • Olay Regenerist Daily Regenerating Cleanser
  • Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner
  • Olay Regenerist Deep Hydration Regenerating Cream (I'm technically using Walmart's Equate version of this right now, but same dif.)
In the past when I've used acne products with Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid (a.k.a. Beta Hydroxy Acid, which is also similar to the Acetylsalicylic Acid in aspirin), my face would feel tight, dried out, and like it was burning. Now that I am including the other products--especially the moisturizers--I don't experience that irritation.

Apparently, THAT is the key! So please don't give up on your acne face washes until you've started incorporating the other products that take the edge off the intense cleansers.

(A version of this article was originally posted on my old blog, Glamoursaurus Rex, which is now defunct.)

Using the Right Size Cosmetic Brush

Things I see at my work as a high school teacher are often the inspiration for many of the blog entries I've got cooking up in my head. (In fact, one such situation is what made me want to start this blog in the first place.) This time, my inspiration was a girl sitting in the hall before school, applying her blush with a massive loose powder brush. Oh... oh my goodness. Just no. She not only had blush in places blush has no right to be, but it was bright pink.

(Don't get me wrong. I wear pink blush, but I use a more appropriate brush and blend it. I don't just leave it sitting there like I'm intentionally trying to blind people with my technicolor cheeks.)

I've decided to post a link to the Japonesque company's website. I'm not necessarily promoting their products as the best, but their site does show the many kinds of brushes available and has side-by-side images of a powder brush and a blush brush, which I appreciate because it seems the two are often confused or just carelessly misused... with annoying consequences. LOL!

(Click HERE to go to the Japonesque Brushes page.)

Award Studio has a brief article on choosing makeup brushes that discusses the appropriate size of a blush brush. Click HERE to see it.

There are, of course, many brands to choose from. Stores like Ulta and Sephora have tons to choose from. Here are some tips for choosing the best brushes:
  • You want natural bristles when working with most makeup, not synthetic ones. Squirrel hair--as icky as that seems--is the best.
  • Run the brush across your hand and very gently tug on the bristles. If any fall out easily, move on. (A few are bound to fall out over time with use in even the most expensive brushes, but they shouldn't be falling out before they ever leave the store!)
  • Look for brushes that are rounded/domed, not ones with straight edges. (Unless its use requires a straight edge, like an angled liner brush for instance.)
I've also known people very talented in makeup application who use paintbrushes.  I have tried it myself and was quite pleased with the fan brush for eyeshadow fall-out and a very thin one for eyeliner application.  Much cheaper than makeup brushes too!

(A version of this article was originally posted on my old blog, Glamoursaurus Rex, which is now defunct.)

Hard Candy Bronzer Review

Hard Candy just isn't very tasty...

When I was a young'un (like, 13) I wore foundation and powder by Covergirl (it was trendy to have a Covergirl compact), tons of black or brown eyeliner (far more than I do now) and mascara (far less than I do now). That was my entire makeup kit.

The teen magazines at the time touted the greatness of products by a brand called "Hard Candy". At the time, it was a popular and reputable brand. One of my closest friends at the time actually owned some of it, and boy was I jealous of her! I stuck to my kit though, eventually bringing in cheaper Jane and Covergirl eyeshadow... and even more eyeliner. I never owned anything by Hard Candy.

Until now...

I was in Walmart a few months ago and stumbled across a shelf full of it. I was excited to see it had made a reappearance, and at lower prices than I remembered from years before.

I needed a new mascara, so I decided to give it a shot. What a giant waste of money! It took several more coats than I usually apply and it still looked bad.

A couple weeks ago I went on a mission to find a bronzer that wouldn't just make my face look dirty. I searched the makeup aisles at Walmart (trying to stick to my ever-tightening budget), but everything looked too dark. Then I saw it--a light gold bronzer on the Hard Candy rack. (The "So Baked" Bronzer to be exact.) Seven bucks. Not too bad. Bought it. Hate it.

The shit won't even come off the cake onto my makeup brush in order for me to apply it. I had to scratch at it with my fingernails to get it to budge, and even then the color I did manage to get onto my face was weak and way too light. I am really pale! There shouldn't be a bronzer on Earth too light for me!

I will not be wasting anymore money on Hard Candy, unless there's some super sale on it and then I'd only buy lip glosses. (It's hard to mess up lip gloss.)

My guess is, a lot has changed with the products' formulas since first made popular in the mid-90s. I'm apparently not the only one disappointed in the new products. For more about the changes in the Hard Candy line of cosmetics, click here.

Can you see it?  It's on there.  I promise.


(This article was originally posted on my old blog, Glamoursaurus Rex, which is now defunct.)

Avon Supershock Mascara Review

I ordered some things from Avon because they were having a really good sale. I got a bunch of lip balms (reviewed here), some lotions, a face cream, and two tubes of their Supershock mascara.

Pros:
The mascara looks decent enough on, and it's only a three coat mascara for me, which is a big deal. (Usually to get the length and volume I want I have to do four or five coats.)

Cons:
It's a short term mascara. Meaning, it only holds up for a couple hours and then something really weird starts to happen.... My eyelashes start sticking together. I don't mean lashes next to each other get smooshed together, because that happens with most mascaras if worn heavy for long amounts of time. I mean my top lashes start sticking to my bottom lashes, especially at the outer corners. This is without having cried or anything throughout the day. It just does it. And it's gross feeling.

Overall:
1/5 stars.  Don't waste your money.  Much better mascaras can be purchased at the drugstore for a similar price.

(A version of this article was originally posted on my old blog, Glamoursaurus Rex, which is now defunct.)

Avon Lip Balms Review (and a Better Alternative)

One word: Gross.

Avon had a sale on their lip balms. I'm a lip balm addict, so I decided to stock up. Bad move. (I should know better than to stock up on stuff I've never tried before. Huh?)

Here are the items I purchased and some quick remarks for each...

Dew Kiss Lip Dew: Cheap chemical taste. Lasts for awhile, but not worth the "what the heck have I put on my lips?" concerns.

Flavor Savers Lip Gloss: Cherry flavor? Um, no. Definitely just cheap chemicals again. Wears off fast.

Slick Tint for Lips: Bought in "Glossy Opal" and "Glossy Wine". Colors totally weird and tacky. Chemical taste yet again.

There was another one I bought, but I think it was a limited time thing, as it's not on the site anymore. It was something that was supposed to be chocolate flavored. It was nasty tasting and smelling. It wasn't long-lasting either.

Bottom line: Avon lip balms are a waste of money.  Additionally, some of them have questionable ingredients.

For a good, better-for-you lip balm, check out NOW Foods' Completely Kissable Pomegranate Lip Balm.  This is the best stuff I've ever used--even better than Chapstick brand--and is on $1.18 currently at Swanson Vitamins.

(A version of this article was originally posted on my old blog, Glamoursaurus Rex, which is now defunct.

Buying Cosmetics on Ebay

I am guilty of buying cosmetics on Ebay and have so far been happy with all of my purchases. except one. (See the second item on the bulleted list below.) If you are operating on a budget, this might be the way for you to go too. I'm discovering it's quite common for people to get their stuff from the online auction site. I'm also discovering it's quite common that Ebay sellers try to rip people off. Luckily, I've got a pretty good eye for that sort of thing and haven't fallen victim to any such sellers so far. My goal is to help others avoid it as well.

Here are some things to keep in mind when buying cosmetics on Ebay:
  • There is always the possibility you might end up getting screwed
  • Read everything thoroughly to make sure you really want it before bidding
  • Determine if it's a full size or trial size (Be careful not to pay a lot for samples!)
  • Ask the seller questions--be prepared for dodgy responses (Example: I want to know if an item is full size or trial size. The seller might respond by telling me how many ounces I am receiving. I then need to do a little research to see for myself if it's trail or full. I don't like these sellers. My guess is they're hoping to sell a trial sized item for full sized price--which they get away with often.)
  • Only buy NEW--used makeup is a breeding ground for bacteria, like Staph
  • Never buy "testers" as you don't know who's dirty finger has been in it (Go to Ulta some time and watch the teenagers sample the products... ew...)
  • Watch the packaging and don't buy it if it's in a product's older style of packaging because that means it's an old product
  • Check the seller's feedback ratings and comments to see if they're respectable--this is where you'll see if they're notorious for selling bad products or fakes
  • Ask the age of perfume, which begins to just smell like alcohol if it's old
  • Remember that stuff might get damaged during shipping
  • Consider the shipping cost and then compare the total price with what it would cost to buy the product from a retail store (I've seen people paying more on Ebay for things than they would have by ordering items directly from the product's website!)
  • You might need to do some research to make sure you're not buying a fake--cross referencing what packaging should look like, names of shades, etc.
(This article was originally posted on my old blog, Glamoursaurus Rex, which is now defunct.)

    Sunday, July 15, 2012

    What is "Cerulean and Pink™"?

    Once upon a time I had a blog called "Glamoursaurus Rex", and it's all-natural/DIY sister-blog "Glamoursaurus Goes Natural".  Being someone who loves makeup like a teenage girl and dinosaurs like a little boy, this was perfect for me.  But then tragedy struck...

    At the risk of sounding like a hipster, I liked dinosaurs before dinosaurs were cool.  (The same goes for mustaches and capri pants.)  I created my blog before the massive surge in dinosaur popularity amongst teens and adults.  Additionally, I ran searches to make sure I wasn't cutting in on anyone else's creativity.  No one had that name on a blog.  I was good to go.

    Other people apparently didn't care about this like I did.  I recently discovered another blog with the name, which was covering many of the same topics I had been.  Additionally, a Google search revealed people were using the term as a screen name all over the Interwebs.

    Honestly, I hadn't written a post in quite awhile, but I was still annoyed.  Rightfully so?  Probably not, but I was nonetheless.  Especially since I have quite a bit of free time on my hands and was planning to go blog-crazy and get all caught up.

    I chose not to be the "Other Glamoursaurus Rex".  Instead, I'll be transferring my best posts here to this beautiful new blog--Cerulean and Pink™.

    Check back soon to see the posts!

    PS--I hold nothing against any of the many G. Rexes out there!  You go Glen Coco!