The One Product You Should Never Leave The House Without

I bet you thought I was going to give you some miracle product that was going to get rid of your wrinkles and clear your acne and magically give you a better life all around. Well, not exactly. BUT, I am going to talk today about the single most important step in your skin care routine and the best all-around anti-aging product you can be using on your skin. 

That product is SPF. Now, a lot of you might be wondering why I'm calling SPF the single best anti-aging product you can be using. Well, it's just that. ANTI aging. The #1 cause of the signs we associate with aging is damage from the sun's rays. There are two types of rays that are emitted by the sun that make it down to the surface our delicate skin, UVA and UVB. The distinction between the two is how they affect your skin. UVA rays can be thought of as the "aging" rays. These rays from the sun have a longer wavelength so they penetrate deeper into the skin. These rays have lasting effects that may not be seen until years later. Much of the sun damage we see appear later in life as wrinkling and dark spots can be traced back to our younger years. This is why I am adamant with all of my clients (but especially the younger ones) that they MUST be diligent about sunscreen usage. UVA radiation is up to 95% of the radiation that actually reaches the surface of the earth, as these rays are not absorbed by the ozone layer. They are also able to penetrate through glass, so even if you're not outside if you're near a window you can still be getting skin damage from these rays. There is a famous photo of a trucker who spent many years with one side of his face (the side nearest the window) getting sun and the other side staying protected in the shade. And guess what, the result is dramatic. 

You can still see signs of aging on the other side but the proof is in the pudding. Protecting your skin from UVA rays will help slow the signs of aging dramatically. So before I've even talked about the other type of rays have I convinced you to wear your SPF?

The other type of ray is UVB rays. UVB rays can be thought of as the "burning" rays. These are the ones everyone seems to be concerned about, and the reason why most people wear sunscreen when going to the beach. Your sun burns are caused by UVB rays. Most sunscreen protects against these rays as they a visible and painful result. UVB rays have a medium wavelength, are absorbed by the ozone layer and don't penetrate very deeply into the skin, hence the surface damage of a sun burn. This can still cause lasting damage, and once the skin is burnt we've already done damage so we definitely want to protect against this as well. 

So WHAT can we do? Wear SPF! Everyday. Rain? Sunscreen. Blazing hot sun? Sunscreen. Four inches of snow on the ground.....sunscreen! Even though we may have passed 18 we can help our skin by not accelerating the aging process with the sun and avoid more serious damage like skin cancer.  Even if you've got darker skin like I do and don't necessarily burn, that does not mean that you're not susceptible to UVA rays and the potential of skin cancer. Make sure your sunscreen is at least SPF 30 as this will protect your from 97% of the the suns damaging rays (spf 15 protects from 93%, spf 50 protects from 98%) and it should also be Broad Spectrum.  Broad Spectrum means that it will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. If you're already seeing the signs of sun damage make an appointment and we can do a series of treatments to help lessen the visible damage the sun has done to your skin. 

Sheer Protection SPF 30
24.00
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How To Erase Dark Circles

We all have them, and we all hate them. The dreaded dark circles. Whether they're genetic, like mine, or they're due to lack of sleep, most people deal with these pesky dark circles. And most of you have probably noticed that when you put concealer directly over the circles they don't seem to completely cover and they tend to turn ashy and grey. 

That's because we need to correct the color of the circle to properly cover them. Since concealer is just covering it up and not correcting the color, some of that color peeks through and gives you that ashy grey look. So how do I cover my dark circles? Follow along below for the step by step guide on how to erase your dark circles. 

Before: 

Here is what my dark circles look like before anything is applied to them. 

before.jpg

Step 1: 

Apply a corrector to your dark circles. My personal favorite is the Kett Fixx Creme Correctors. They have them in a variety of intensities to match your skin tone as well as the intensity of the discoloration under your eye. As a general rule, you should match the level of your skin (how light or dark it is) unless you have extreme discoloration. You may then need to go with a corrector darker than your skin tone to properly cancel out the discoloration under your eyes. 

Step 2: 

Blend the edges of the corrector so there are no harsh lines. 

Step 3: 

Apply a concealer over top of the corrector to neutralize the slight yellow/orange cast that the corrector gives. I personally use the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind concealer. Blend out any edges of this. 

Step 4:

Set the concealer with powder. You can use a translucent powder or a colored powder that matches your skin tone. 

So there you go! Those are my everyday steps to erase my dark circles. Feel free to comment if you have any questions or comments! 

The One Ingredient Everyone Should Include In Their Skin Care Routine

You've probably heard of hyaluronic acid---it seems to be in all the hot skin care. But what exactly is hyaluronic acid? Well, hyaluronic acid is a glycosaminoglycan, which is a carbohydrate that helps to maintain and support collagen and elastin. It is a key ingredient in both fighting the signs of aging and preventing them in the first place. What is so remarkable about this little molecule is that one gram of hyaluronic acid can hold up to six liters of water! It's a powerful hydrator, and hydration is the key to proper skin health. Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that is already present in your body, and applying it topically has been proven to reduce wrinkles and hydrate skin. 

But hyaluronic acid isn't just good for anti-aging, it is also good for acne sufferers. When the skin is dehydrated and its barrier is stripped, the p. acne bacteria that usually live on the skin's surface move into the pores looking for the oil that they use as food. That is when we get inflamed acne, so keeping the skin properly hydrated will reduce the breakouts. 

In addition to the hydrating properties, new research suggests that high levels of hyaluronic acid are also linked to a higher level of protection from free radical damage, another cause of aging. 

You may also see it as "sodium hyaluronate" on an ingredients label. This is a salt derived from hyaluronic acid which has the added advantage of absorbing into the skin easier. 

So where can you find hyaluronic acid? It is featured in both the Cucumber Toner and the Ageless Hydrating Serum. Everyone can benefit from having both of these amazing products in their skin care routine. 

Ageless Skin Hydrating Serum
30.00

For all skin types.  This serum can be used to firm and plump fine lines. Hyaluronic attracts and binds moisture around cells for extra hydration.

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Cucumber Hydration Toner
20.00

For all skin types.  This toner contains heavy water, hyaluronic acid, and cucumber.  Voted #1 Face Mist of 2013 by Les Nouvelles Esthetique & Spa!

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Red Flags To Look For When Hiring A Makeup Artist

After a recent client experience where I was called in a panic because a bride's makeup artist had no showed on her wedding day (which thankfully I was able to go help with), I knew this blog post needed to be written. I hear too many horror stories of clients getting burned by unprofessional makeup artists and wanted to warn people of a few red flags to look out for when you're hiring a makeup artist to ensure you're going to have the best possible experience. 

Red Flag #1: No experience or no reviews

Look out for artists who can't prove that they have a track record of successful weddings. Now, I'm not saying to not give newer artists a chance but even newer artists should have ways to prove to you that they are reliable, like experience working under or for another artist or personal recommendations from friends. Look out for reviews on independent review sites like WeddingWire, The Knot, Yelp, or Google. If you see anything concerning, take that into consideration. If you like the artist otherwise, maybe bring it up with them. They could have an explanation for the reviews. None of these are hard and fast rules, as there can always be someone who has it out for an artist for no reason, but it's good to take these things into consideration before hiring an artist. 

Red Flag #2: No contracts or retainers

Look out for an artist that doesn't ask you to sign a contract or pay a retainer. These things are there to protect you just as much as they protect the artist. A contract gives you a legal footing to stand on in case something were to happen, you have the ability to show the agreement in court to prove that the artist did not fulfill your obligation. An artist having a thorough contract gives you the peace of mind to know that they are not going to flake out on you or if an emergency arises they will do their best to help you find a replacement artist. The same goes for a retainer. Looking for these signs of a legitimate business can help to ensure you're not hiring someone who will flake out on you. 

Red Flag #3: Poor communication

If you're constantly having trouble getting to talk to your artist or routinely waiting days or weeks to hear back from them via phone or email, this is a big red flag. Your artist should be willing to communicate with you and answer any questions you have. They should be on top of scheduling and you shouldn't have to be constantly asking them about the same things over and over. This should be something you can tell from the beginning of communication with an artist and should be able to avoid someone who isn't committed to you. 

Red Flag #4: Too much of a bargain

I get it, we all like a deal. But if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Someone who charges incredibly low prices probably is not running a legitimate business, and this should make you nervous when booking them. If they're not serious about their business, they potentially will be flaky, won't be carrying liability insurance, or just won't show up at all. Your wedding is not a place you should want to take chances on a bargain, you should ensure you hire a professional who knows what they're doing and will be reliable. 

Red Flag #5: Asking you to bring your own makeup

This is another indication of someone who is not running a real business. If you are a makeup artist, you should have a kit full of makeup for every skin type, shade, and anything your clients may request. The only time a legitimate artist would ask you to bring your own makeup is if you have severe allergies and they don't have the time to patch test their products on you, but otherwise your makeup artist should be providing everything for you. 

Red Flag #6: Poor sanitation

This may not be a red flag for someone who won't show for you, but this should be a BIG red flag for you. If an artist is using dirty tools or their kit looks nasty, RUN far away. Many people don't realize how dangerous a makeup application can potentially be, but makeup artists who don't practice proper sanitation can spread eye infections, herpes simplex, and many other undesirable illnesses. You definitely don't want to take chances with your health or your eyesight, so make sure the artist you hire for your wedding practices proper sanitation. 

 

Is Alcohol In Skin Care Bad?

This is a question I get a lot from those of my clients who like to take a look at the ingredients label of the products they use. They sometimes get tripped up because they'll see something with alcohol in the name and assume it's bad for their skin. But not all alcohols are created equal. There are different types of alcohols and they have very different effects on your skin. 

There are two main types of alcohols we'll be talking about--simple alcohols and fatty alcohols. Simple alcohols are ingredients like ethanol, denatured alcohol, ethyl alcohol, methanol, benzyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, and SD alcohol. These can be used as a solvent, astringent, to enhance absorption (of both good and bad ingredients), as a preservative, or to buffer the pH of a product. These alcohols are extremely harsh on the skin, and can disrupt the skin's natural barrier function, which is crucial to having healthy skin. You see these alcohols a ton in drug store products, particularly in drug store astringents and toners, which are often very high in alcohol. 

The good alcohols are the fatty alcohols. These are formed when fats and oils are chemically reduced. They can be used as an emollient to help product spread and to help prevent water loss in the skin and can also be used to help cleanse the skin. For most people, these alcohols will be perfectly fine for their skin and will help to increase the health and hydration of their skin. There are some studies that on very sensitive people these can still be an irritant, but for anyone who is sensitive we always recommend they patch test products before they start using them. 

The main fatty alcohols we see in skin care are cetyl alcohol, which is derived from coconut oil and can be used as a stabilizer and emollient; stearyl alochol, which is also derived from coconut oil and can be used as an emollient and emulsifier; and cetearyl alcohol, which is an emulsifying wax that can help to thin and soften very thick formulas. 

Hopefully this information about alcohol in skin care will help you to be a better label reader and understand the ingredients that you are putting on your skin better! 

How To Choose Your Wedding Day Makeup Look

The makeup you choose for your wedding day is important, it's going to be there on the day of as well as in every photo of the event. I have a lot of brides that stress out about choosing their look for the big day, but it isn't as difficult as it seems! Here are some of my tips for choosing a wedding day bridal look you'll love now and for years to come. 

 

Don't go too trendy. 

Trends can be fun, but ideally you want to look back in 20 years and not have a "What was I thinking?" moment. Try to avoid super trendy looks. This means that chunky glitter or neon is probably not the best look for your wedding day. But it also means that the super "Instagram" looks of heavy, full coverage foundation and harsh lines are probably also not the best idea for your wedding day look. 

 

Stick with what you're used to. 

If you're someone who never wears makeup, a full face is probably not going to be your style. Ditto for a girl who likes to be done up all the time, a super natural look probably won't be your thing. I always recommend being a little more "done up" than usual for your wedding day, but don't take it as an opportunity to try a completely new style that you're not sure you're comfortable with. You want to feel like a really beautiful version of yourself, not a complete stranger. 

 

Don't skip the trial. 

Your trial is the time for you and your makeup artist to determine the exact look you want for your wedding day. I have a Pinterest board that I send to my brides that has a ton of inspiration images to get them started thinking about their look. This is a great place to start looking for inspiration for your bridal look. Once at the trial, this will give you an opportunity to see the makeup on yourself and determine what you are comfortable with. 

 

Skin is always in. 

Having beautiful, glowing skin is never out of style. Focusing on the skin and keeping your makeup fresh faced and natural is my preferred style of makeup for your wedding. You will look gorgeous, fresh, and glowy and won't have to worry about looking at your photos years down the line and seeing something crazy that you completely regret. 

Don't Believe The Hype! Stay Away From Those Black Masks You're Seeing On Social Media

We've probably all seen these black masks all over our Facebook and Instagram timelines. And we've all probably gotten a good chuckle out of the videos of people in agony trying to peel them off. But yet somehow I'm also still seeing tons of people using them.

Just FYI---your skin care shouldn't make you cry! These masks are basically a Biore pore strip for your entire face. And yes, they may pull some debris out of your pores, but the majority of what they're pulling out are natural sebaceous filaments that aren't doing any harm to your skin. Not to mention these masks are also peeling off the top layer of your skin as well as all of the vellus hair on your face. 

I totally get it---the satisfaction of seeing all that gunk is fun (my fascination with getting gunk out of people's faces is part of why I love being an esthetician), but these masks are ultimately doing more harm than good to your skin, and it's just not worth it. 

Your skin might feel baby smooth after you do one of these masks, but that's because you've just ripped off the top layer of skin and all of the hair on your face, revealing brand new skin to be exposed to the elements. Your skin's natural defense system is important, and these masks completely strip your skin of its defenses. 

So what can you do? Charcoal can be good for cleaning your pores, but use a professional quality mask instead. I love the charcoal mask by the line that I use in my practice, Skin Script. It's gentle on the skin and you wash it off with a wash cloth to avoid any damage to the skin. 

How To Pick The Right Cleanser

Picking the right cleanser is tough. You want to pick a cleanser that will complement your skin type and not over dry your skin. Many over the counter products are way too harsh for most people's skin and can compromise the delicate protection system your skin uses to stay healthy. Your skin should not feel dry and tight after cleansing, this is a sign that your cleanser is too harsh and is stripping your skin. This is one case when "squeaky clean" is NOT a good thing!  So how DO you pick the right cleanser? Seeing an esthetician is your best choice, as they can look at your skin and choose the products that will best complement your skin. You can also do research into the ingredients of the products that you put on your skin. Even if you don't know an ingredient, Google is your best friend! Just search for the ingredient and you can often find information about it and whether or not it is harmful to the skin. Below are a few of my favorite cleansers: 

Pomegranate Antioxidant Cleanser
26.50
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The Pomegranate Antioxidant Cleanser is awesome for dry skin. It is a creamy cleanser, so it doesn't foam up, but does a great job at cleansing the skin while moisturizing the skin and not stripping your skin's natural barrier. This is also a great makeup remover, so you don't need to use two steps to take off your makeup! 

Green Tea Citrus Antioxidant Cleanser
26.50
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The Green Tea Citrus Cleanser is great for all skin types, particularly normal to oily. This one will foam up, and will help to cleanse and soothe the skin. 

Raspberry Refining Cleanser
26.50
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The Raspberry Refining Cleanser is awesome for those battling acne! It contains both glycolic acid which helps to break the bonds between dead skin cells and allow them to slough off, opening up impactions, as well as salicylic acid which helps to normalize oil production and get rid of excess oil. It also contains tea tree oil which is naturally antibacterial to fight acne. 

If you're still not sure or are in need of more skin care help, I always offer free consultations and product recommendations to help people get their skin care on track! Give me a call at 763-486-7531 to schedule your appointment. 

What To Look For In A Wedding Makeup Artist

Finding the right artist for you can be tough. Here are some tips on what to look for when you are booking your makeup artist for your wedding. 

  1. Find an artist who specializes in bridal makeup. There are tons of people out there who love makeup as a hobby, but only someone who does this as their job knows the intricacies of the art. Not only do they understand how to avoid any makeup malfunctions, but they also are intimately familiar with how a wedding day goes, and know how to schedule and plan to ensure it goes off without a hitch. 
  2. Don't wait until the last minute to book. Seasoned pros can book up months in advance, so do your research early and once you have settled on the artist for you, book them! This will ensure that your date doesn't get booked by another bride and have you left high and dry.
  3. Find an artist who is running a real business. An artist that does this as a hobby may love it, but they may be skimping in other ways. They may be slower to respond to emails, or they may be flaky. You don't want to be left with an emergency on the wedding day and nobody to fix it. Ensure that you sign a contract with your artist, this will protect both you and her. Ensure she runs a real business, this means having a license and paying her taxes. Finding someone who follows the rules will ensure that you are going to get the best, and most professional, experience possible.
  4. Find someone who you like. Obviously, you want to love their work, but they're going to be spending the morning of your wedding with you and you want to make sure that's a pleasant experience. Pick an artist that you feel comfortable around, as they will be the one setting the tone for your wedding day.
  5. Make sure you know your budget, but also know what bridal makeup costs in your area. It is totally fine to be on a budget and to look for vendors that fit into that. But don't expect vendors to change their pricing for you. Most wedding vendors do not negotiate on pricing as they have set it at a rate that is both fair to you and ensures that they are getting properly compensated for their time, talent, and experience.
  6. Find someone who listens to you. You know yourself and your comfort level best, so your artist should listen to you about the style of makeup you want and the amount you feel comfortable with. Don't let yourself get pushed into something you're not comfortable with, you are the client and you should be getting what you want. Your makeup artist may have suggestions for photography or what might look better on you, which are great to take into consideration as they are a professional, but ultimately you should be the one choosing your final look.
  7. Look for a makeup artist who practices good sanitation. Brushes should not be re-used from client to client unless they are being cleaned first. Watch for someone who sanitizes their hands and does not work directly out of any cream products. The best practice is for your artist to use a palette and spatula to get the exact amount of product they need without contaminating the tube. This is a HUGE deal, a makeup artist can potentially pass an infection from client to client so you need to make sure your artist is taking proper precautions to prevent this.
  8. Look at an artist's online reviews. These are a great way to get an idea of what past brides loved about their artist (or if there are any red flags to be aware of). Finding an artist with good reviews online will ensure you are getting the highest quality experience possible. 

Bridal Makeup Do's and Don'ts

Planning for your wedding can be super overwhelming, so I wanted to put together some quick do's and don'ts to follow for your bridal makeup. 

Do: 

  • Go with a classic style for your look. Going for something too trendy can leave you 10 years down the line looking at your photos and wondering "what was I thinking?"
  • Book a trial with your artist. This is the time for you and your artist to get to know one another and determine the look for your wedding day. This can either be done prior to booking, or, if you know which artist you'd like to book, is best done about a month before the wedding. 
  • Do book early. In demand bridal artists can book up months in advance, so don't hesitate to secure your date once you have determined the artist you would like to work with. 
  • Wear false lashes. Even if you're not used to them there are a variety of lashes from natural to dramatic and they make a huge difference in photographs! 

Don't: 

  • Book with just anyone. Your makeup will affect how you look on the day of as well as in pictures, so you want to be sure you're booking someone who knows what they're doing. You may have a friend who really likes makeup but to ensure that you are going to look your best and avoid any makeup mishaps, booking a makeup artist who specializes in bridal (this is not a hobby for them, this is their job) will ensure that you look your best on your wedding day. 
  • Book an artist without a contract. The contract is there to protect both of you, and ensures you're working with a professional. 
  • Get a wax or invasive facial the week of your wedding. To avoid any potential skin reactions, keep it simple the week of the wedding. 
  • Be afraid of more makeup than you're used to. You are having pictures taken with high-end cameras that can pick up any tiny imperfection. You'll need to be wearing a little more makeup than you would every day to ensure that you look flawless in photos.