Monthly Archives: August 2017

10 Nontoxic Skin Care Ingredients That Beauty Experts Swear By

Whether you’ve dipped a toe into the world of healthy living (organic wine has to be healthier than regular wine, right?) or gone a bit deeper (vegan diet, bike to work, homemade cleaning products . . .), you’ve likely heard something about what toxins do to our bodies.

Toxic exposure can come from food, beauty products, environmental pollution, and mold in the home and work place, and is linked to health issues like premature aging, hormonal disruption, and even cancer. It is pretty much impossible to avoid toxins completely, but one area that is fairly easy to control is your skin care routine.

We know there are certain cosmetic ingredients we don’t want to use on our complexions. Then there are the well-known ingredients we look for to treat specific skin issues, such as tea tree for acne, chamomile for sensitivity, argan oil for aging. And then, there are other nontoxic ingredients in skin care products that don’t get a second glance. They may not be as popular, but these supporting players also offer big time skin results.

We asked three leading experts in the natural beauty world to reveal their favorite nontoxic skin care ingredients. Keep reading to find out how these beauties can benefit your skin and health.

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How a Basic Hair-Removal Product From the 1950s Changed My Life

Women will stop at nothing to get a hairless face. Hair removal is not exactly a fun and luxurious beauty treatment – it can be costly, and it can often leave behind red skin irritation.

There are the obvious methods of hair removal for the standard lip, brow, and chin strands. You can spend time and money at a salon to get great results, and many try all different methods at home, including shaving and tireless plucking with a magnifying mirror.

As an Italian woman, hair removal is a constant chore that I’ve had to face since the ripe age of 11 years old. Something commonly referred to as peach fuzz strikes almost every woman’s face at some point or another. However, no matter what ethnicity you are, growing hair on your face as a woman is unsightly, difficult to control, and hard to manage.

It is important to note that makeup simply does not look its best on a hairy face (I say this as a working makeup artist). When bronzer, in particular, is applied to the hollow of the cheek and jawline, it can look muddy and uneven when there is fuzzy hair in the way.

This very fine hair growth can be found on the jawline and chin and is hard to remove. I have never wanted to wax my whole face, as that can result in more hair growth. Also, I feel like I will create yet another beauty maintenance task that will become overbearing.

I tried threading the area, which resulted in tiny red bumps all along my chin and hairline. I attempted bleaching the hairs, however, this simply results in a white/blond beard that is just as disturbing as the black beard in certain lighting.

So what’s a girl to do?

I mentioned my dilemma to my facialist. “Oh, just use Nair Face,” she said casually, as though the world knew about this secret from the 1950s.

“What? Nair – my face?” I asked with horror.

“Yes! It will get rid of everything and your skin will be totally smooth and perfect,” she said matter-of-factly.

When I was growing up, Nair was a popular way to groom unwanted leg or bikini line hair. It also works well on arms or any other area that shouldn’t have unsightly hair. Since then, hair removal has become a booming industry. Nowadays, a woman can get sugared, threaded, waxed, dermaplaned, or plucked into hairless perfection. The thought never crossed my mind to “Nair” my face.

I ventured into the hair-removal aisle warily at my local drugstore, not really even believing that such a product existed. Lo and behold, there it was, for a mere $4. I was still a bit skeptical but I made the purchase and brought it home and tried it out. What happened next was absolute magic.

It was like an amazing gift from the olden days.

Here I was waxing and threading and bleaching like a fool, when all along, there was this amazing depilatory face cream just waiting for me. The amount of peach fuzz that came off was alarming. The cream was gentle and hydrating, and my face felt like baby skin. I examined the ingredients and found almond oil and baby oil were main ingredients, which explained why my skin was so soft.

My first test was to look at my face in the most evil of all mirrors. The rear-view mirror in my car in the blazing sunshine showed not one hair on my face.

Next I applied my bronzer and contour. My makeup went on my skin seamlessly without one imperfection. I had no idea just how much those little fuzzy hairs had been disrupting my gorgeous makeup application. The makeup brush glided across my cheekbones and deposited color more evenly than ever before. Also, the texture of my skin was so soft and smooth that it looked absolutely perfect.

It did tingle a bit and it did seem to lighten my skin in areas, but both of those cons were not relevant compared to the unbelievable plusses of smooth hairless skin.

This trick is a way to instantly transform your face. Even if you feel like you have just light peach fuzz that isn’t that bad – seeing is believing.

Nair your face today and thank me later.

You're 3 Ingredients Away From Clearer, Brighter Skin

While we love testing the hottest masks and skin care treatments on the market, nothing can beat a no-frills DIY. If you’re struggling with a dull, blemish-prone complexion, whip up an aspirin mask. The effective ingredient in aspirin is chemically similar to salicylic acid, which helps exfoliate skin. Just mix the over-the-counter medicine with three ingredients (you already have them!) for an affordable treatment that really works. Use it as a resurfacing paste, or leave it on for about five minutes as a mask. No matter how you use it, you’ll see clearer, softer, more radiant skin.

You will need:

  • Four or five uncoated, plain aspirin pills (Advil, Aleve, Tylenol, and the like won’t work)
  • A tablespoon or two of lukewarm water
  • Honey or plain yogurt (optional)

Directions:

Mix the aspirin with just enough water to make a paste. If you want a thicker mask, then add a dollop of honey; if you prefer a more soothing mask, then some plain yogurt can do the trick. Apply the mask in a thin layer on your face, then allow it to dry. Remove it with warm water, rinsing away the mask in gentle circular motions.

Please note: Some people are allergic to aspirin, so try a patch test on your forearm before spreading this all over your face.

Hold the Phone! A Ring Light With Cat Ears Exists

By now, we all know the importance good lighting plays in capturing a fierce selfie. You may have even pulled a Kim Kardashian and invested in a flashbulb iPhone appliqué. One brand (fittingly) named Flawless Lighting produces products that are meant to perfectly illuminate your face, and we found one in particular that just might turn us all into cat people. That’s because the Cat Ear Selfie Light ($45) is the cutest dang accessory we’ve seen all day.

Available in soft pink, baby blue, and jet black, this rechargeable attachment has three levels of brightness. It can be placed on both Apple and Android products, along with laptops and tablets, because you never know when and where your photo-shoot inspiration might strike.

We like to think of it as a portable, affordable, mini-Diva Ring Light Nova that’s fit for a feline. True cat ladies can use it to make their their Hello Kitty Body Glitter shine even brighter. However you selfie, this whimsical Cat Ear Light is sure to make you smile right before your phone’s shutter clicks.

After Just 6 Months of Vlogging, This Mother Won the NYX Face Awards

The sixth Annual NYX Face Awards came to a close on Saturday, with an awards ceremony like no other. Hosted by vlogger (and Face Awards alumni) Patrick Starrr, the show kicked off with a performance by drag queen Alyssa Edwards, included a performance from Willow Smith, and ended with the crowning of the 2017 Face Awards Vlogger of the Year.

The honor went to Jessica A.M. Kalil, a mother of two and former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. Jessica is a relative newcomer to the beauty vlogging scene, having started her YouTube channel only six months ago and with a smaller subscriber base than all of the other finalists. Her talent landed her in the top six, along with Colour Creep, ItsLikelyMakeup, AshGhotCakessTV, NSomniaksDream and Victoria Lyn Beauty.

The finalists were asked interpret the theme of “The Magic of Makeup,” and Jessica, who majored in musical theater and dance in college, transformed herself in stunning detail into two characters. Her video blew away not only the judges – Mykie from Glam & Gore, Chrisspy, Lex from MadeYewLook, and film makeup artist Ve Neill – but the entire audience with her take on the theme. These included a nostalgic ’90s moment that you’ll have to watch for yourself. Her incorporation of acting and singing, along with her meticulous attention to detail, was worthy of the overall trophy of the competition, as well as the Storytelling award.

The Face Awards have helped catapult many vloggers careers, from winners like Mykie to contestants like Kristen Leanne, Laura Sanchez, and Alex Faction. Before her win, Jessica had around 4000 Instagram followers; she’s since jumped to almost 9,000 overnight.

What did you think of Jessica’s video? Let us know in the comments!

I Got Bad BO After Getting Laser Under My Arms – and 6 Other Unusual Side Effects

It might not be fast, painless, or cheap, but laser hair removal is quickly becoming one of the more preferred methods of hair loss. The main reason is because it’s permanent.

Why spend a lifetime shaving your pits when you can spend the better part of a year getting rid of it – for good? That’s what I thought when I decided to get the procedure. And while I’m glad I did, it was a lot more intense than I expected. After all, it directs a strong, targeted laser light straight to your hair follicles and damages them irreparably.

“During laser hair removal, wavelengths specifically able to target melanin (a pigment in hair and skin) transfer energy and cause photothermolysis (aka blow up) cells and structures that contain melanin pigment,” explained Dr. Cynthia Bailey, MD, dermatologist and founder of Dr. Bailey Skin Care. “When those structures are ones important for hair growth, the growth is altered, which can change more than just the hair, or lack thereof.” In other words, LHR is no simple treatment – and like most permanent procedures, it can come with side effects.

In my experience, since getting LHR, I’ve had way more BO than ever before. In fact, I hardly worried about applying deodorant before I had hairless pits. I read online that other women have experienced the same side effect. But when I asked dermatologists, they said this was the first they’d heard of a body-odor-related symptom after LHR.

“Although it can be found online in blogs and various discussions, I have found no credible evidence to substantiate a correlation between laser hair removal and body odor,” said Dr. Dendy Engelman, MD, of Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, even said that the majority of his patients who’ve had laser hair removal actually experience less body odor.

But one dermatologist, Dr. Natasha Sandy, MD, had heard of increased body odor as a side effect and explained it to me: “The skin at the axilla contains bacteria (good and bad), and there is a delicate balance of microbes. One of the purposes of axilla (under arm) hair is to keep the area dry from sweat and maintain normal flora. Colonization by odor-producing bacteria is thereby transferred away from the skin to the hairs. With the removal of hairs it is possible that these bacteria now remain present on the skin and the skin flora is changed leading to increased body odor.” She did point out, however, that it is rare.

So maybe I stink for other reasons (though I swear I have two deodorant sticks in my bag at all times), but it got me thinking: are there other unsuspecting side effects to LHR? I asked top dermatologists to weigh in, and here’s what they said you can sometimes expect after treatment.

Burns

Thankfully this is a less common side effect. Rarely, the heat from the laser device can lead to burns in the skin. “This may be more common in sensitive areas such as the bikini where the skin tends to be more pigmented than other parts of the body,” Dr. Zeichner explained. “In the event that you develop a burn from laser hair removal, make sure to use basic first aid care for it.”

Light spots

“Because the laser targets pigment in the hair, in certain cases, the laser may become confused and destroy pigmentation in the skin as well,” Dr. Zeichner said. “But this is more common in patients who have darker skin tones or in patients who have hair removal after getting a tan in the skin.” He recommends you avoid tanning before having the procedure to minimize this risk and also to make sure you see a dermatologist who is specifically trained in laser hair removal. In some cases, light blotches will return to normal.

Dark spots

“Any type of interaction in the skin can cause your pigment-producing cells to go into overdrive,” Dr. Zeichner noted. And, once this inflammation cools down, you may be left with dark blotches or spots on your skin. The good news is that these are not scars, but rather stains in the skin that will fade on their own over time. To help them speed up, your dermatologist can give you a prescription for a lightening cream or you can try over-the-counter skin brighteners similar to what you may be using to treat dark sunspots. Dr. Zeichner recommends an ambi fade cream that contains hydroquinone to help lighten the dark spots resulting from inflammation caused by the laser.

Scarring

A definitely unpleasant side effect of LHR that’s rare, but possible, is scarring or dyspigmentation. “This implies a wound of significant size to require your body to make collagen to heal the injury,” Dr. Bailey said. “There may be color change (redness, less or excess pigment) in the overlying skin and may be a lump, a keloid (a scar that is much bigger than the body needed to heal the injury, verging on a tumor of scar tissue), or there may be an indentation.”

She explained that this happens if treatment laser light ends up targeting melanin in skin or other targets like hemoglobin, blowing them up (photothermolysis) causing a burn. “This can heal with a whiter area, a darker area, or even a scar and is why darker skin is harder to treat.”

Hair growth

One vexing side effect is the exact opposite of hair reduction – it is hair growth that occurs from the actual laser treatment itself. “This can happen when doses are delivered that are too low to blow up the melanin at the hair bulge and instead stimulate hair growth,” Dr. Bailey advised. “Used on the scalp, this concept is now marketed to reverse balding.” When it happens inadvertently on treatment sites where hair reduction is the goal (i.e. a woman’s face), however, it is a disaster.

Sensitivity or itching

It’s normal for skin to be red and even show some swelling after laser hair removal. Skin may also be sensitive for one or two days after. “If sensitivity lasts longer than a few days after treatment, however, it could be due to placement and intensity of the laser,” Dr. Engelman said. “Avoid sun exposure and wear sunscreen to limit more inflammation and do not use any fragranced or exfoliating products on the skin.” Instead, she recommends using only a gentle soap and water to clean.

Is Daenerys Trying to Pay Tribute to Khal Drogo's Signature Hairstyle? Hear Us Out

Khal Drogo may have perished in the very first season of Game of Thrones, but his spirit lives on through the “moon of his life,” Daenerys Targaryen. A recent theory is taking that one step further by analyzing the noticeably long locks of the Mother of Dragons. Is Daenerys channeling her deceased boo with her full mane? Let’s discuss.

On Reddit, a Game of Thrones enthusiast resurrected a scene from the first season in which Daenerys is speaking with her brother, Viserys, before he sells her off to be Drogo’s wife. As they watch Drogo from afar, Viserys says, “Do you see how long his hair is? When Dothraki are defeated in combat they cut of their braid so the whole world can see their shame. Khal Drogo has never been defeated.”

Clearly, Daenerys must have been taking notes because she has kept her hair long as f*ck since season one. Not only that, but she has also been sporting a similar hairstyle, although her braided variation is decidedly more intricate than Drogo’s simple, segmented ponytail. Daenerys’s decision to keep her hair long may be a nod to her own strength and resilience.

11 Women-Founded Beauty Brands That You Should Have Tried by Now

If you’re both a beauty-lover and a feminist, you’ve probably experienced makeup shaming in spades. “You can’t be a feminist and be obsessed with how you look!” say some. “Makeup is inherently antifeminist!” spout off others. We say that’s total bullsh*t. Feminism is about freedom and self-empowerment, and if you feel empowered rocking beach waves and a fierce red lip, then do you.

That’s why we rounded up eight badass women who started their own beauty lines. One sold her engagement ring, while others quit their high-power finance jobs in the name of following their dreams. After all, in our minds, few things are as empowering as seeing your name on a product on Sephora shelves. Read on to learn more about these incredible women and discover their brands.

8 Amazingly Innovative Korean Beauty Products Launching For Fall 2017

Korean Beauty products are known for being on the cutting edge of everything cosmetic – making new products even more exciting. For Fall, be sure to try out some of these brand-new K-beauty products packed with skin-loving ingredients that will make you look refreshed and radiant.

Bubble masks, acne pads, and even lip gels will renew your face and get you ready to restart your Fall routine. Read on to find out which K-beauty products need to be on your radar – and in your shopping cart!

99 Halloween Costumes from Reddit That Are Terrifyingly Gorgeous

We consider ourselves among the Halloween makeup experts, but even we have to admit that these Reddit users have our skills beat. Some of these makeup creations have us cringing in terror (especially the demented clown), and it’s all done with just eye shadows, body paint, false lashes, and incredible talent. This is the creepiest makeup artistry we’ve ever seen, but we’re already getting renewed inspiration for our costume this year.