Proper Prep for a Flawless Face

Proper Prep for a Flawless Face

Make Up Prep

There is more to getting a flawless makeup look than just choosing the right cosmetics and application tools. In order for your made up face to look its’ very best you need to start with a great canvas by preparing your skin before applying any makeup at all. What’s the very best way to go about doing this? We’ve broken the steps down for you:

Cleanse – Even if you cleanse your face well the night before (which you should have done) your morning routine should still begin with another cleansing. Oil and dirt builds up even while you sleeping and making up a dirty face is a definite no-no. Choose a cleanser that is suitable for your skin, not one based on an ad and make it one that is not too harsh, as stripping your skin of all of its natural oils is a bad thing as well.

Exfoliate – Skin cells die off all the time and when they do it dulls your complexion. In terms of product you have a couple of choices, usually a gritty scrub or one of the newer liquid exfoliators. Alternately you could opt for an exfoliating cleanser, cutting at lest one step out of your morning routine.

Moisturize – Daily moisturizing is essential, even if your skin is a little on the oily side. When choosing a suitable moisturizer you will know if it is a little too heavy for your needs if it is not completely absorbed after five minutes or if it leaves your face feeling sticky. You should also make sure that whatever product you do use has built in SPF protection of at least 15, even in the middle of winter.

Prime – This final step is actually the one that many women skip but applying primer really does make a difference. Primer for the face is just like primer for a blank wall ready to be painted (well, not exactly the same) in that it provides a great base to stop your makeup slipping, sliding and fading throughout the day.

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Most women find it most effective to use both a primer for their face in general and a separate product for the very sensitive skin of the eye area. There are a number of very good product options available. Some are colorless, others have a slight hint of very subtle color. A primer is not designed to replace foundation though, but to enhance it.

All of this might sound like a lot of extra work, something you might not want to have to deal with first thing in the morning. However we promise, if you do make the effort you really will notice the difference, both in the overall health of your skin and the effectiveness and appearance of your makeup.

Smoking, Your Skin and Your Looks – The Cold, Hard Facts

Smoking, Your Skin and Your Looks – The Cold, Hard Facts

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If you smoke you are already very well aware of the fact that you really shouldn’t. It increases your risk for all kinds of diseases, many of them fatal, scars your lungs and can even decrease your energy levels and libido. However, for many of those who do still smoke these are risks they take, often figuring that there are lots of other ways these days that their health can be impacted (including just pure fate) and the effort to quit is just too much.

Nevertheless, no one can actually say that smoking is in anyway harmless, so here’s a new way to look at the habit; it can ruin your skin and impact your overall appearance considerably. Not beating about the bush, here’s how:

Bags Like Suitcases

No one likes the look of bags under their eyes, especially as they are so difficult to even begin to conceal. And the major cause of those nasty bags is a lack of restful sleep, something that smokers report four times as often as non smokers do. Why the lack of sleep? Researchers believe that it’s the beginnings of nicotine withdrawal that causes the problem but whatever the root cause a chronic lack of sleep is never pretty.

Aging Before Your Time

There is nothing wrong with wrinkles; on an cute octogenarian. Premature skin aging is not even remotely fun though, and yet by continuing their habit on average smokers end up looking 1.4 years older than their nonsmoking peers with noticeably more lines and wrinkles appearing earlier than they really should. This is because smoking hampers the flow of blood to face, depriving it of oxygen and lessening its ability to repair itself and its elastic qualities that should be helping to keep the wrinkles.

The Scar Factor

A number of research studies have shown that smokers take longer to heal wounds than their none smoking counterparts. In terms of the complexion, that means that any blemishes (even small ones) will take longer to disappear and are far more likely to leave behind noticeable scarring because of this. This is a real problem for those who suffer from even mild acne, as even if it is effectively treated a person’s smoking habit can result in scarring that never needed to happen.

The Glow’s Gone

Often a smoker’s skin, even under makeup, just looks unhealthy. In fact a study conducted in 1985 came up with the characteristics that they found, after studying thousands of unretouched photographs, made up what they termed ‘smoker’s face’. These included ‘wrinkles, gauntness, and a gray appearance of the skin’.

Cigarette smoke contains a significant amount of carbon monoxide which actually displaces the oxygen in the facial skin which will leave it discolored and dry. Cigarette also depletes the skin of many of the nutrients that it needs to thrive, especially Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that should be protecting skin from free radicals.

Sick Skin

Smokers have been warned over and over again that smoking significantly increases their risk for lung cancer as well as cancer of the mouth, throat and esophagus. What they are less aware of is that it also increases the risk for developing skin cancer. A recent study found that smokers are four times as likely to develop the second most common form of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, than non smokers regardless of their ‘sun consumption’ habits.

If you are a smoker who wants to quit, you can try with an e-cig starter kit as some researches recommend them.

Skincare in the Kitchen: DIY Fixes for Common Skin Problems

Skincare in the Kitchen: DIY Fixes for Common Skin Problems

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Did you know that the key to great skin may not always be onsale at the department store beauty counter but readily available in your own kitchen instead? As a move towards ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ skincare gains momentum many people are spending an awful of of money on specialist ‘all natural’ products. But in many cases they really don’t need to, as there are some excellent alternatives to be found at the grocery store. Here are just a few of the most effective (not to mention inexpensive) to make use of them.

Yogurt and Lemon Whitening Mask

Many of the skin lighteners you can find at the beauty counter contain an active ingredient called hydroquinone, a substance which literally kills off melanin producing cells in order to achieve the desired effect, something that is a pretty drastic measure.

Some also contain mercury, a throwback to the Middle Ages when they literally used to cover their faces with the stuff to achieve a whiter look (and often killed themselves in the process) and even a trace amount of mercury absorbed through the skin can used long term can cause health problems.

This tasty sounding mask can do the trick without all of that nastiness and can be particularly effective to correct larger discolorations and even ‘blur’ fine lines and wrinkles as it contains both AHAs and Vitamin C, both of which are common ingredients in anti aging serums.

All you need to do is mix the juice from one lemon with a small (6oz) cartoon of plain yogurt in a bowl, apply to the face and leave on for 10-15 minutes. Repeat the process every 3-4 days and the discolorations will begin to fade noticeably in just a few weeks.

‘Magic’ Acne Spot Treatment

You may have seen little bottles of ‘spot acne treatment’ at the beauty counter that are designed to zap a zit fast. And they usually work, but they are also rather expensive. An alternative that is just as effective is to make a paste using brewers yeast, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and water. Mix it to a relatively thick consistency, dab on the pimple you want gone and leave on for 15 minutes before rinsing off.

Sugar Almond Facial Scrub

Exfoliation is a must for glowing skin, but you don’t actually need to spend a fortune to do so effectively. This gentler than most scrub can be whipped up in minutes in your kitchen with the bonus that it smells pretty wonderful as well!

Ingredients

3 tablespoons of fresh cream
1 cup of white sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of ground almonds
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix of the ingredients together in a bowl until well combines. Apply the paste to dry skin in a gentle circular motion and massage gently. Rinse off with lukewarm (never hot) water and store any leftover mixture in the fridge for later use.

Gelatin Blackhead Buster

You know those little Biore pore strips that admittedly do a great job of removing nasty blackheads with no squeezing? This mask can do the same thing and leave your skin feeling super smooth to boot!

Ingridents

Unflavored gelatin-1 packet
Fresh fruit juice- ½ cup
Choose the juice as per your skin type:

Normal to Dry: Apple, Peach or Strawberry
Oily/Acne Prone: Carrot or Grapefruit

In a small saucepan combine juice and gelatin and begin warming over a low heat. Once the gelatin is totally dissolved remove from the heat and transfer mixture to a bowl. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to firm the mixture up but do not allow it to set completely. Apply the chilled mixture to the face and neck with CLEAN fingers and allow to dry for 20-25 minutes.

Once dry you will find that the mask has become a peel off, just like the fancy ones on stores. Peel it off in an upward motion (while marveling at all the blackheads it has removed) and then rinse your face well with lukewarm water.)

5 Big Skincare Myths That Need to Be Busted

5 Big Skincare Myths That Need to Be Busted

Skin-Myths

Technically skincare should be a fairly straightforward thing. But, perhaps because it is such a huge industry, it’s not and there are so many myths and misconceptions around the subject that it’s actually hard to know if you are doing the right things at all.

Many of the myths are rather harmless, simply designed to make you spend a little more at the beauty counter. Others however are actually downright harmful, and if believed could actually ruin your skin, and your looks. Here are some of the biggest that really need to be busted for good:

Tanning Beds are OK as Long as They Don’t Give Off UVB Rays

As little as five or six years ago women all over the world were happily heading to tanning salons as many as three or four times a week to bake themselves under the heat of tanning lamps because they believed that attaining that elusive but oh so desirable ‘sun kissed glow’ in this way was safer than sitting out in the sunshine. Then came a rash of research and reports that demonstrated that no, that is not the case at all.

And yet some tanning salons still maintain that their booths are safe because they filter out the so called ‘burn rays’, UVB light. However, contrary to popular belief the UVA rays that tanning booths emit are very bit as likely to cause premature skin aging, wrinkles and most worryingly, skin cancer. The simple fact is a spray tan, or an at home self tanner, are the only safe ways to get a tan and save your poor skin from all kinds of problems.

Popping Pimples Clears Them Faster

If a pimple is really bugging you, both by the way it looks and the way it feels then in a way it seems to make sense that popping it to release the pus would help get rid of it faster. However, even it feels kind of good doing so is not a good idea. When a pimple is popped some of the pus actually gets driven deeper into the skin, resulting in a pimple that lasts longer and, in many cases, will leave a scar and cause more pimples by spreading the pus under the skin.

Expensive Skincare Products are Always Best

Expensive skin care products are nice, but they are not always the best, or the most effective option available, no matter what all of those very glossy magazine ads say. In addition often the ingredients in a swanky skincare product and its drugstore counterpart are pretty much the same, you are just paying for a well known name and a fancy package. When shopping for skincare products it’s far more important to go with what works for your unique skin than being swayed by glitzy gimmicks.

Anti Aging Creams Really Do Erase Wrinkles

There are a thousand and one ‘anti aging’ creams and serums on the market these days that all come along with pretty much the same claim; that they can ‘erase’ wrinkles. But they really can’t. Photoshop is about the only truly effective wrinkle eraser out there that you can truly rely on!

That is not to say that these products are totally useless. All of them plump up the wrinkles, lessening their appearance temporarily and those that contain retinol can indeed make that effect a semi permanent one to a certain extent, but no cream is going to get rid of them all for good.

You Only Need Sunscreen in the Summer

Many people do now have themselves trained to make sure that their skin is nicely protected by sunscreen during the summer months whether they are on the beach that day or not. But once the summer’s over they put away their SPF products until the colder months are over. Mistake. Even on a cloudy, or freezing cold day the suns rays, and all of that skin unfriendly UV radiation, are streaming down from the sky, whether you can actually see it or not, so sunscreen, especially for the delicate facial skin, needs to be permanent part of your skincare routine 365 days a year.

Skin Care for Every Season for Healthy Skin All Year Long

Skin Care for Every Season for Healthy Skin All Year Long

As the seasons change a lot of things do. Your clothes, your makeup, possibly your hair, so shouldn’t your skincare routine change as well? The answer is yes, it absolutely should, as the changing seasons put different demands on your skin and expose it to very different problems. Not sure just what you should be doing at what time of year? Here’s a guide to great year round skincare that is applicable to anyone, no matter what their age.

In the Winter

portrait of a winter fashion  woman

 

The winter months are the most difficult for your skin to survive. The cold weather robs your skin of a huge amount of its natural moisture, leading to dry, flaky, crack prone skin that will also show any little lines and wrinkles far more prominently. And although it’s cold the sun is still out, and sun damage from a bright winter sun can be every bit as bad as that you avoid in the summer.

Making sure that you replenish all of this lost moisture is therefore absolutely crucial. If you usually stick to a very light moisturizer you may want to consider adding a richer night cream to your daily routine during the winter to combat the increased dryness. You should also ensure that whatever moisturizer you are using, especially during the day, has SPF protection of at least 15, even if it’s been snowing for weeks in your neck of the woods.

It’s also important that you protect the very delicate skin on your lips. Choose a lip balm with SPF protection and reapply it as it fades throughout the day. Not only does this prevent painful lip chapping but what people do not always realize is that sun damage to the skin on the lips is as likely to cause skin cancer as damage to any other area of skin.

In the Fall

Simple-Fall-Make-Up-Tips

For your skin Fall provides a brief respite from the ravages of the two seasons that can damage it the most, summer and winter. As the weather cools this is a great time to choose a heavier moisturizer both for face and body, as increased moisture loss will already be beginning.

You also need to be a little more concerned with exfoliation. The summer will have left you with all kinds of dead skin that really should be scrubbed (gently) away and although you may be trying to hang on to your tan and therefore avoiding doing that, it’s far healthier for it in the long term.

In the Summer

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Summer really is the most dangerous season for your skin, because although we all love the beautiful summer sun and spending lots of time outside in it, it is not a friend of your skin at all. Not only is there the ever present danger of skin damage that could lead to skin cancer the sun’s rays are also real wrinkle makers and even age the skin prematurely as well.

This does not have to mean that you become a summer shut-in though, just that you exercise reasonable care and caution. Do not reserve the use of sunscreen just for for when you are at the beach, it should be applied whenever you are outside, even if the most of the sun you are going to see all day is while you sit outside for lunch when at work.

As for when you are at the beach, sunscreen should be reapplied every 2- 3 hours and immediately after bathing, You should also make sure you wear a hat (there are lots of lovely ones) and protect your eyes with a good pair of sunglasses (dollar store sunglasses may be cute and kooky but they are not going to protect your eyes.) Limit the amount of time you spend in the direct sunlight and for your skin’s sake and your own health make sure you drink lots of water and remain hydrated. And no, beer does not count, as it actually dehydrates your body, even though when it’s going down it might seem nice and refreshing.

In terms of facial skin care you may switch to a light moisturizer. One great idea is to replace your regular one, and that too heavy for the summer foundation with a tinted moisturizer with SPF protection. Not only will that help you give your skin just the right amount of moisture but it will also give you a lovely, glowing natural summer look as well.

In the Spring

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The spring is, in general, a time of renewal and rebirth so why not make that the case for skin care routine as well? Take a look at your current skin care product line up and pick some new ones out for summer. You should also choose your sunscreen wisely too though. Often the general recommendation is that any sunscreen product you use should have a minimum of SPF 15. However, if you are fair skinned that simply won’t be strong enough to protect you for more than a short time in the sun so you really should step up to SPF 25-30 products for season long use.