Saturday, October 19, 2019

Why you should choose an expert instead of choosing a treatment

Do you find yourself searching the internet for "best treatment for X issue" (redness, sun spots, acne, etc.)? I know I did this MANY times over the years for treatments and even more for products, and this method NEVER worked for me. Not to say that searching for a treatment and purchasing that way doesn't work, but it certainly isn't the best approach.

Instead, what you should be doing is looking for a expert in your area that can come up with a plan just for you. WHY?
They can ask the important questions such as... What bothers you? What are you trying to correct? What are you trying to prevent? What are you trying to achieve? and more... we have a very extensive list of questions when doing an in depth consultation to help develop a personalized plan for your skin.
When you see an expert we can determine your skin type, where you fall on the Fitzpatrick scale, and recommend appropriate treatments based on this and your specific concerns.
Customization is key here! You don't want a one size fits all plan, because when it comes to skin it is NOT one size fits all!
What may have worked for your favorite blogger's acne won't necessarily work for your acne. We all have different skin types and skin tones, and treatments need to be chosen carefully What you may mistake as dry skin could be dead skin sitting on top of the surface and you need exfoliation for product penetration! What you may think is sun damage may not be sun damage at all and what you may think is run of the mill acne could be something completely different (rosacea for example).
Look for an office in your area that offers a WIDE array of treatments so you're not limited to the only treatment that office may be trying to sell, and find someone you TRUST!
You are guaranteed to get better results and achieve your skin goals when you search for an expert rather than googling "best treatment for X problem" because you may not being a candidate for that particular treatment and if put in the wrong hands you could end up burned, scarred, and in worse shape than before.
This brings up another issue I see a lot of in the industry, and that is that buying treatments off of GROUPON is NOT a customized approach. Most people see these treatments and again that treatment could be totally wrong for you, but there is no one there to tell you otherwise before you click BUY!
Also, (most of the time) those providers are usually not looking at the whole picture, but only performing the service you've purchased without taking your skin type, what specifically you are trying to treat, or concerns into consideration. Since you are purchasing this treatment on a whim because it's a "great deal" doesn't mean that it's the treatment for you!
So, you may spend a little more finding an expert rather than googling and grouponing, but I promise you it is SO worth it. Why invest that money at a "great price" when you could end up NOT achieving your goals or worse causing more damage than good?? Same goes with products, people waste A LOT of money over the years trying to find products that work for them by trial and error (myself included)  because so and so said it worked for them, and I know from experience that this approach does not work.
You won't regret finding someone you trust with expert skills to take your skin to the next level.

What do I mean by "expert"?
Look for a licensed aesthetician and certified laser technician with experience and expertise in the area and/or a board certified dermatologist, PA, NP, or RN!

I want to end this by saying that I will of course still be giving my reviews of certain treatments and products, but that is not to say it's necessarily for YOU or a specific person and I'll always explain in detail what it's for! It's best to see someone in person for an accurate and thorough consultation before making my recommendations, I can only say what I like from experience!
When you find someone you want to let take you through your skin journey, by all means, ask questions about specific treatments you may be interested in and they will be able to fully explain why it would or would not benefit you!

I hope all of you beautiful people reach your skin goals!!
XOXO and wear SPF!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Current Beauty Favorites

I've found a ton of new products I've been loving lately... here are the current favorites!

PCA Skin Hyaluronic Acid Boosting Serum: This is a savior for dehydrated skin. It puts back so much hydration in the skin and makes the skin look and feel plump and glowy. I love using this when I haven't had enough water, in the winter when my skin is dry and chapped, if I've had too much sun (rare), if I'm flying/doing a lot of traveling, or a few days after I've used retinol and I'm feeling drier than normal. My favorite thing about this product is that not only does it add back HA to the skin, but it helps your skin to continue to produce it's own HA. Absolutely loving this lately!

Loreal Infallible Fresh Wear Foundation: There are so many beauty gurus out there who have fallen in love with this foundation and are singing its praises and for good reason! This foundation is absolutely beautiful on even oily skin. This truly looks like skin, very natural all while providing good coverage and staying in place all day. When I put this on I don't feel like I have foundation sitting on my top of my skin, it feels light and weightless. I don't look like a grease slick at the end of the day, and it stays where I put it. This has impressed the heck out of me and I can't stop using it (I feel bad for the rest of my foundations because they're not getting much use these days but I can't help it!).

Dose of Colors lip gloss in "Can you not": I picked this up on a whim at Ulta and I'm so glad that I did. The formula of these glosses are like no other gloss I've used before. I'm going to be honest, if I skip a makeup product it's always lips. It's easy for me to walk out of the house with a full face and bare lips and I don't know why. Since buying this, it's almost all I wear on my lips. It's a lovely natural nude color and the texture isn't sticky like most glosses. It feels moisturizing and hydrating on the lips. This particular shade is a bit lighter than my natural lip color and my favorite way to wear this is on top of my Charlotte Tilbury lip liner in the shade "pillow talk". These two together is a match made in heaven! (Also love it with Mac "Subculture").

Flower Beauty Light Illusion Full Coverage Concealer: Since it's been colder here lately, my eye area has been much more dry than normal and it's hard to wear concealers that are super drying so I've been reaching for this Flower Beauty one a ton. This one is more hydrating, but yet stays in place so well. It doesn't accentuate dryness around the eye area or make you look aged. It sits beautifully under the eyes and when you set it, it locks in and does not move.

Smashbox Primer Water: I don't know how I'm just getting around to trying this, but I am hooked! I got a sample of this in my Sephora Play box a few months ago and I have been using this nonstop. I love it on days when I'm being lazy with primers because it's so easy to just spritz on. It gives you some extra moisture to help your foundations sit just right on the skin. It's not too glowy or dewy which I like and it definitely helps with the application and longevity of my makeup. I've already purchased the full size of this and will continue to use this on an everyday basis!

Morphe Continuous Setting Mist: This mist feels SO good to apply on the skin after my makeup is on and helps everything to melt together. It truly pulls the look together and helps anything from looking cakey or dry. I'm not sure how this helps the actual longevity of the makeup, but it is a necessity to finish off any look. The mist is so fine and never leaves product droplets like some sprays do and this one is much more affordable than the Urban Decay one (although for a long lasting look I will still use the UD spray). Loving this one so much!

Have you tried any of these products? What are your favorites lately?

Had to include this since she was being so cute while I was taking pictures!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

3 Skincare Staples

There are 3 skincare products that absolutely everyone, no matter your skin type, should be using on a daily basis and no, it's not a cleanser (although, yes, you need that too.) These 3 products can be formulated for specific skin types so that you get what you need. I will break it down into each category, my favorites and suggestions for each skin type. These 3 things are for preventative as well as anti-aging in general. These are the best 3 things you can do for your skin as far as home care.
These 3 critical products are Vitamin C, SPF, and a Vitamin A. Vitamin C and SPFs should be used in the morning and Vitamin A at night (usually every other night). Vitamin C is a very powerful antioxidant that helps protect against environmental damage such as sun and sun spots, pollution, and the many other environmental factors. SPF speaks for itself. You CANNOT use vitamin C and vitamin A WITHOUT an SPF or you will cause even more damage to the skin. It must be protected from UVA/UVB rays. This is SO important. Many people think sunscreens are too greasy and it deters acne prone skin from using them and some people are too lazy and/or forget. There are so many good sunscreens out there that are non-greasy and sink into the skin so easily and this should be a step that is NEVER skipped. And lastly, a Vitamin A. These are so SO beneficial to the skin. Vitamin A helps to exfoliate the skin by turning over skin cells, helps reproduce collagen and reduce fine lines and wrinkles, clears pores, and helps to brighten the skin/fade sun spots over time. Vitamin A is amazing for anti-aging as well as clearing acne. This can come in different forms such as a prescription Retin-A which usually causes a good bit of irritation to the top layer of the skin. There are retinols, which are a derivative of Retin-A. These are usually formulated with other ingredients that can help moisturize the skin and calm irritation while still delivering the anti-aging benefits. If you've never used a Vitamin A you will most likely see slight irritation when starting to use it, but there are ways that it can be used to not be so irritating. You can either mix your retinol in with your moisturizer and apply them together, or you can apply your retinol, wait a few minutes for that to sink in, and then follow with your moisturizer. Like anything you add into your routine, you must be consistent. These 3 powerhouse products will 100% change the way your skin looks (for the better), but be consistent!

Favorites by brand and skin type:

Vitamin C:
1. Skinceuticals Phloretin CF (combo to oily skin)

2. Skinceuticals CE Ferulic (dryer skin types)

3. PCA C&E Advanced with Hexylresorcinol and Silymarin (all skin types-this one has ingredients in it to calm down slight irritation that can be caused by higher percentages of Vitamin C)

1. EltaMD (UV Daily-dryer skin types, UV Clear-oily/acne prone skin/rosacea, UV Physical-anyone post procedure or with sensitivity to chemical filter ingredients.)

2. PCA Weightless Protection (great for all skin types)

Honestly those are my favorites, there's no #3 because I always will recommend one of these. There are other good sunscreens out there, but for the formula and the price you can't beat these!

Vitamin A/Retinol:
1. ZO Skin Health Wrinkle & Texture Repair (acne prone and deeper set wrinkles-this one is made for "leathery skin" or anyone with higher grade acne)

2. PCA (Intensive Age Refining- main concern is aging and Intensive Clarity- main concern is acne) I love the PCA ones because not only are they a great formula, but they are made for specific skin concerns. They also offer one for sensitive skin.

3. Glo Renew Serum- fantastic for acne-this formula includes salicylic acid and glycolic acid in addition to retinol. I love this one for acne prone skin, it is a very thin formula and not going to be one that moisturizes.

I personally have worked with all of these products and have seen major changes in my patients skin because of these. I use Elta MD myself, and I own all 3 of the retinols I mentioned. I stand by these products and if you have any questions about them, let me know!
These are pricey, but they last a long time and as I mentioned, are the best thing you can do for your skin at home.

At Elements, we offer these in a bundle (buy the retinol and vitamin C, get an SPF free) and I know a lot of places that do bundles like that, so you can find great deals!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Toners in Rotation

I'm so excited about this post... For the longest time I thought toner was a waste of time and money, but I have found a few that I LOVE and they make SUCH a difference!
Toner is one of those things that you can get away with not using if you are trying to be minimal with your routine and/or on a strict budget, but if you want to take your skincare routine to the next level and make sure your face is free of dirt, oil, and leftover makeup then I would try one of these out!
I almost always double cleanse (especially when I have makeup on). I oil cleanse first with hemp seed oil to get the bulk of my makeup off and then follow with my ZO exfoliating cleanser. Toner gives me that extra squeaky clean, get all the excess makeup off feeling. Now, I always follow with a good moisturizer so I never feel dried out.

Lately I've been using one of these fantastic toners (never all 3)...

1. PCA Skin Smoothing Toner- This one is great for oily/acne prone skin. I'm still pretty oily because my super oily skin is hereditary... thanks dad. This one has lactic acid as well as aloe... to keep the skin exfoliated yet hydrated and soothed. I have honestly been loving this one lately and I feel like I've seen a major difference since using this product. I mostly use this one every other night if I'm not wanting to use more salicylic acid. I find I can use this with a salicylic spot treatment if I have a blemish and it's not too harsh for my skin. 

2. ZO Skin Heath Complexion Renewal Pads or Oil Control Pads-OK STOP. If you have acne prone skin you 100% need these in your life. I am totally obsessed with these and they are my absolute favorite. These are presoaked pads with 2% salicylic acid as well as glycolic acid which is fantastic for acne prone skin. My favorites are the Oil Control pads because those are the ones with 2% salicylic, I just happen to have the complexion renewal open and currently in rotation. The complexion renewal also have salicylic but not as much as the oil control pads.These give you a clean feeling without being TOO drying. If you use these do NOT use them twice a day. I would suggest once a day if you are SUPER oily otherwise every other day. I am so in love with these and I even use them on other parts of my body if I'm having a breakout (my back, shoulders, chest, etc.) These are so good and I cannot recommend them enough.

3. Obagi CLENZIderm MD Pore Therapy- This one is so similar to the formula of the renewal pads. They were both created by doctor Obagi this is just the first formula. I will rotate these two (you don't need both, just giving options) and I apply this with a cotton pad. I will say I don't like that this one has the purple coloring to it, so if you're not about that, then stick to the ZO pads. Honestly, I don't mind it and it doesn't irritate me or bother me in any way. The ingredients are very similar and pretty much work the same. This one also has 2% sal acid. It also has glycerin which is a soothing ingredient and will help to reduce irritation. I find the only differences between the two are that this one is just the liquid, no pads included, and the fact that this has menthol in it. I believe this is for that cooling as well as "pore tightening" effect. This one has a nostalgic scent for me and I don't know why. I feel some deja vu when using this and I LOVE this scent. It tingles a bit when applying (menthol), but I don't mind it. Again, it's not too drying for my skin especially when I follow this with my PCA clearskin moisturizer. Loving this one as well.
There is a pretty hefty price difference between the two, the ZO pads will run you about $51 and the Obagi clenziderm about $30. Either of these are a fantastic option for oily skin and I highly recommend both.

These are my favorites lately! You can find these through a local skin professional in your area (always support local estheticians and there is almost always a special going on in office!)
If you're in the Austin area, let me know if you want the hook up!
If you''re in the BR area, my lovely ladies at LWCA offer both the Obagi line as well as ZO Skin Health. 

I honestly use and love each of these. 
If you don't have oily skin I still would recommend using a toner. I love the PCA Nutrient Toner for ALL skin types (this one is SO good, let me know if you want more details) as well as the Thayers witch hazel toners.

Hope this helps!


Sunday, December 2, 2018

November Empties (2018)

I've gone through some great things lately, some newish and some regulars!

Biolage Smooth Proof Conditioner- This was ok, nothing fantastic. I feel like I had to use a lot of product to smooth and condition my hair and I ran out too quickly. I normally don't need a lot of conditioner especially because my hair is naturally oily, but I felt like a lot more of this product was necessary to get all of the tangles out. I won't repurchase this, but I do love the shampoo!

ZO Oilacleanse- This cleanser has unfortunately been discontinued. This was a part of the ZO medical line which they merged with their skin health line. They discontinued this cleanser because the formula was too similar to the ZO exfoliating cleanser. There are very few differences between the cleansers and I love the exfoliating cleanser as well which will be the one that I pop open next. I will say that I liked this cleanser better than the exfoliating cleanser. For some reason I felt like this one packed a bit more punch. This cleanser has exfoliating beads in it as well as red colored beads that contained vitamin E. Those are meant to be rubbed into the skin until the color disappears. This also has salicylic acid in it which again is great for oily skin like mine. Loved this so much and I'm sad it's discontinued BUT I will be using the exfoliating cleanser next!

ZO Skin Health Daily Power Defense- I ran out of this two days after I took these pictures, so it didn't make it in, but still an empty and I've definitely shown in before. Still obsessed. All time favorite product, cannot live without. Of course I have a back up. I won't type anything else about this because I swear it's been mentioned in a million posts of mine.

EltaMD UV Physical- I used this SPF constantly on our honeymoon in Costa Rica. This is my favorite facial SPF when I know I will be sweating/outside and I need a full physical block. I usually rotate between this and the Elta Clear SPF for my daily wear, but if I'm outdoors I always choose this one. I did repurchase this!

PCA Skin Clearskin Moisturizer- My favorite night time moisturizer. For my oily skin it isn't too thick, but gives me enough moisture to keep me from being too dry when using acne spot treatments and retinols. I have definitely repurchased this and it is one of my holy grail products for sure.

Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 gel (mini)- I believe I've reviewed this in full before, but I absolutely love this stuff. I haven't repurchased the full size yet, but it is on my list. This is so great especially in the winter because it gives you the extra hydration your skin may be lacking in the colder months.

Well People Biocorrect concealer (mini)- This was a very good concealer that was full coverage and did not crease! Some reviews on this say it's not for dryer skin so dry skin beware, but speaking for an oily skin gal this was great. The only thing I didn't love about this was the color. It was a bit dark to use under the eyes so it wasn't brightening enough for me, but I did have the shade "light" and could have gone one down. If you are into more clean makeup this is a great option and would definitely recommend! I am not repurchasing this simply because I have others I like better and need to use up.

What have you gone through lately and repurchased?

Monday, October 8, 2018

Post workout recovery snacks

After you finish a workout it is important to refuel your body of the nutrients that have been depleted. It is best to refuel within 30 minutes of completing your workout. When it comes to recovery snacks, you need to eat something with a good amount of protein and carbs to replenish your energy stores and repair your muscles. Here are some of my favorite recovery snacks...

1. Protein Shake: This is the quickest and easiest way to refuel. You can either make your own as soon as you get home, or stop and pick one up on your way home. Our gym and I know many others offer shakes in house so I will make one right after I finish up. I will usually mix the chocolate whey protein with a little peanut butter and half of a banana. YUM. If I'm mixing it up I will use vanilla protein with blueberries and banana. Equally as delicious!

2. Peanut butter & banana toast or rice cake: I recently discovered that I actually like rice cakes... They are so easy to top with whatever you want! Post workout (or even quick breakfast) I've been doing peanut butter, banana, and a sprinkle of cinnamon! SO good and great for refueling your body. If you're not a fan of the rice cakes you can use toast instead!
I have also topped my rice cakes with a HIGH PROTEIN cream cheese and blueberries with a little drizzle of honey!

3. Greek Yogurt with fruit and granola: You can play around with this and choose whatever fruit you like on top! I love greek yogurt with honey (my favorite is from Trader Joe's) to give it a little more flavor. I like to top with fresh berries, granola, and some sliced almonds!

4. Hummus and Pita bread: This will give you a good mix of protein and carbs to refuel your muscles, and if you want some extra protein grab some sliced turkey!

5. Turkey and cheese roll ups: Easy enough and delicious. Grab an apple too to add some extra carbs!

It's so important to eat after you finish a workout to replenish your body of what you just burned, but it's also important to be mindful of WHAT you eat after. You definitely want to have a good amount of protein as well as carbs, (about 1:2 ratio) but make sure what you're putting in nourishes your body rather than putting in empty calories that do nothing for you. Happy snacking!


Monday, October 1, 2018

Wear Test: Stila Stay All Day

I got a sample of this from Sephora and it was described (obviously) as a long wearing foundation so I figured I would do a wear test of this one! The color that matched me best was Light 3 and it blended in well.
This foundation is supposed to be a concealer and foundation in one so that makes me think full coverage and long lasting. It says that it is lightweight, high-definition, buildable coverage, oil-free, matte foundation. So lets get into it...

7:30 am upon application:
This looked great upon application and it is definitely a matte foundation. Pretty full coverage and everything layered on top well.

(tired eyes)

9:30 am update:
It still looks good, but I find it has seeped into the pores a little more than I would like...

2:00 pm
This has definitely broken up around my nose and around my jawline. It doesn't look too bad, but those spots are really falling apart...

6:00 pm
I am looking really oily here and my nose, chin, and jawline have not held up well. It still doesn't look terrible and I wouldn't say it's a BAD foundation, but not my favorite so far. There are definitely others that are more long wearing. I liked the finish of this and it went on nicely, but to me it's not worth purchasing.