Tag Archives: moisturizer

Good Skin For All: Sephora Edition

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I LOVE Sephora. Even before I was an esthetician or had any interest in skin care, even before I was as obsessed with makeup as I am now, I loved Sephora. And I know that automatically makes a lot of estheticians hate me. Because I know when I was working in the school’s spa and making their product recommendations, a lot of clients would say, “what can I find that’s comparable at Sephora?” And most estheticians argue that for the same price you can buy their products that are professional, have a higher concentration of active ingredients (which is NOT always true), etc. But I have to ask these other estheticians: would you hate Sephora so much if you didn’t retail a skincare line you were recommending? Probably not. Although I am a practicing esthetician, I do not retail any product line, so I can remain a bit more objective. I make non-professional skincare recommendations much like a parent giving their teenager a condom: if you’re gonna do it, do it safely. Once again, I’ve left out Clinique and others whose ingredients are not listed online. So with that, let’s get into it!

oily

Goals for oily skin: to keep everything hydrated and balanced without drying out the skin and causing even more oil.

What to avoid:

  • drying, stripping ingredients
  • heavy, occlusive ingredients that will lead to breakouts

The routine:

dry

Goals for dry skin: to hydrate and treat signs of aging while avoiding drying ingredients.

What to avoid:

  • drying alcohols commonly found in moisturizers
  • anything TOO occlusive, as breakouts and troubled skin are issues

The routine:

combo

Goals for combo skin: to balance and treat the face as needed-dry spots as dry, oily as oily.

What to avoid: 

  • anything drying
  • one size fits all skincare

The routine:

acne

Goals for acneic skin: to clear up breakouts while keeping the skin hydrated and healthy.

What to avoid:

  • drying ingredients
  • harsh ingredients

The routine:

antiaging

Goals for anti-aging: to keep things hydrated, and utilize collagen.

Things to avoid:

  • drying ingredients
  • miracle-in-a-bottle products
  • anything harsh

The routine:

Eye Cream

Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum ($85); Origins Eye Doctor Moisture Care ($38); Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye Gel ($42); Clarins Extra-Firming Eye Wrinkle Soothing Cream ($63); Tata Harper Restorative Eye Creme ($95); Fresh Lotus Eye Gel ($48); or Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Eye Treatment ($45). That’s just half of the first page. The main thing to look for in a good eye cream is hyaluronic acid, arnica extract, vitamins A, C, E, and K; and collagen. Always avoid alcohols.

What have been your best Sephora scores? Let me know in the comments below!

XOXO,

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Good Skin For All: Ulta Edition

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I have such a love-hate relationship with Ulta. They have awesome deals and coupons…with a dozen limitations. It’s cool that they have a drugstore side and high-end side…until you wander over to the high-end side with a drugstore product in hand and the sales people shame you for your choices. I could just go visit family if I wanted to be shamed for my choices. But, it is a popular destination, and carries an assortment of brands. I’ll be including both drugstore and high-end options. I’m also going to include eye creams and treatments in the Ulta and Sephora editions. While I do think eye creams are necessary, I think they’re a waste of money if they aren’t concentrated, just like serums. So I left them out of the more drugstore editions, and have given them their own category at the end of the post. I’ve left out Dermalogica, because there are plenty of professionals retailing the line who you should be buying from.

oily

Goals for oily skin: to balance and keep clear without stripping.

What to avoid:

  • drying, irritating ingredients
  • skipping moisturizer
  • avoiding sun care since oily skin ages slower

The routine:

dry

Goals for dry skin: to hydrate and repair compromised protective barrier.

What to avoid:

  • drying alcohols in moisturizers
  • harsh cleansers
  • comedogenic ingredients

The routine:

combo

Goals for combo skin: to balance the skin and treat each zone as needed.

What to avoid: one size fits all skincare.

The routine:

acne

Goals for acneic skin: to treat the acne without damaging the healthy skin.

What to avoid:

  • menthol and other drying ingredients
  • harsh abrasives

The routine:

  • Cleanser: Choose from the oily options; there are no denatured alcohol-free cleansers when you select “acne” under cleansers on their website.
  • Toner: Once again, choose from the oily options. The search specifications only brought up Clinique, and the Ulta website does not list Clinique ingredients.
  • Exfoliant: Hey…so…guess what. Yeah.
  • Masks: I’m just gonna end this here and refer you to the oily routine because ULTA’S WEBSITE SUGGESTS SHIT FOR ACNE.

antiaging

Goals for anti-aging: deep but gentle exfoliation, intense hydration, and proper usage of anti-aging ingredients.

What to avoid:

  • products that claim to have surgical results
  • sun exposure
  • harsh, drying ingredients

The routine:

Eye Creams

Eye creams are pretty universal in the sense that everyone really needs the same thing: hydration, ingredients that address dark circles and sluggish circulation, and DON’T contain “cheap” (i.e. drying) alcohols. So regardless of your skin type, you should choose from the following:

Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm ($68); SheaMoisture SuperFruit Renewal Eye Cream ($12); Clarins Extra-Firming Eye Cream ($63); Juice Beauty Green Apple Brightening Eye Cream ($38); Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Cream ($45); Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM Eye Cream ($55; I hesitated to include this one because of the ambiguous “alcohol” towards the bottom of the ingredient deck, but given its low concentration, I included it anyway); or the Andalou Naturals Luminous Eye Serum that I cannot seem to find on the site. That’s the one I use, and I bought it for around $20.

What are your thoughts on shopping at Ulta? Let me know in the comments below!

XOXO,

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Good Skin for All: Target Edition

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Target is one of my favorite places to shop because I like to be a basic bitch and get a chai latte to sip on while I shop. As far as skincare goes, you have to dig! But, Target carries Andalou Naturals, which is my most recommended non-professional line, as well as Derma E and SW Basics. While I’m on the subject, I’m not a “naturals only” esthetician. I believe there is a time and a place for everything, and products need things like preservatives to give them shelf life. However, most drugstore/OTC lines that are not “natural” do not have a good concentration of active ingredients, whereas drugstore “natural” lines do. As with CVS, I’ve left out higher end lines that can be bought elsewhere. Unlike CVS, Target’s website doesn’t include the price-per-ounce, and I failed every math class I ever took, so if you’re looking for the best price using those parameters, you may need to do some in-store comparing for yourself. (If you’re just now coming in, please see my disclaimer from the Good Skin For All: CVS Edition post.)

oily

Goals for oily skin: balance without drying out.

What to avoid:

  • drying, irritating ingredients that will only cause your skin to produce more oil to compensate
  • anything too thick and suffocating that may clog your already acne-prone pores

The routine:

dry

Goals for dry skin: hydrating, gentle exfoliation, and acid mantle repair.

Things to avoid:

  • anything drying (obvs)
  • anything irritating
  • anything too terribly thick (dry skin is still prone to breakouts!)

The routine:

combo

Goals for combo skin: to balance everything out.

What to avoid: one-size-fits-all skincare.

The routine:

acne

Goals for acneic skin: to clear up and control breakouts without drying out and damaging the healthy skin underneath. Good exfoliation is key.

What to avoid:

  • anything abrasive or drying (you can’t scrub away your acne)
  • anything that will clog pores, leading to further breakouts

The routine:

 

antiaging

Goals for anti-aging: to avoid further sun damage and dehydration.

What to avoid:

  • magic-in-a-jar claims (nothing will beat Botox and fillers)
  • anything drying
  • anything irritating

The routine:

Follow the product suggestions for dry skin. Target has shit anti-aging skincare.

Have you had better luck with Target skincare than I have? Let me know in the comments below!

XOXO,

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Good Skin For All: CVS Edition

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A huge part of my personal philosophy is making skincare more approachable and accessible. That’s Why I’m Cool With Non-Professional Skincare. I wanted to expand on that and REALLY help you guys put together an effective routine, no matter where you’re shopping. As I’ve stressed so many times before, it comes down to using the right ingredients for your skin type and concerns, so I’m going to put together a full skincare routine for each skin type based off of labels alone. I’m going to leave professional skincare recommendations to the professional who knows your skin best, so I’m going to be working with CVS, Target, Ulta, and Sephora. In the case of CVS, I’m going to leave out brands such as Clarins, Dermalogica, etc. as those can be bought from higher end stores or professionals. These posts are going to be really long just because there’s SO MUCH, but I’ll do my best to condense and label things well for easier scrolling!

disclaimer

I have not personally tried every product I’m going to suggest. 1.) That’s too damn expensive, and 2.) the vast majority of these products are not suited to my skin type. I’m making these recommendations based on ingredients and my ingredient knowledge alone. Be smart and stay away from things you know your skin is allergic or sensitive to; discontinue use immediately of any product that isn’t agreeing with your skin. Professional skincare may produce better or longer-lasting results due to higher concentrations of active ingredients. While I recommend professional lines for things like exfoliants, serums, and treatments, the point of this series is to piece together a comprehensive routine using OTC skincare only.

oily

Goals for oily skin: balancing oil without drying out the skin, and keeping things clean to reduce potential breakouts. Oily skin requires more cleansing and exfoliating than other types.

What to avoid:

  • Things that make your skin tingle-I’m looking at you, Noxema. That tingling feeling is meant to evoke illusions of cleanliness, but really it’s your skin screaming in irritation from drying ingredients like menthol and SD or denatured alcohol. The goal is to BALANCE oily skin, not dry it out to the point that it produces even more oil to compensate.
  • Things that are overly thick or emollient-bar cleansers, stick foundations, occlusive moisturizers, and balms leave ingredients that mix with your skin’s excess oil and add to the greasiness. These things can also clog your already acne-prone skin.

The routine:

Be sure to find a sunscreen you’ll use daily. Just because your skin will age slower to due to your higher oil content, doesn’t mean you don’t need sun protection.

dry

Goals for dry skinto stop damaging the outer layer by avoiding drying, abrasive, and damaging things such as bar soaps and unprotected sun exposure; to use good exfoliation and proper hydrating products to build up the damaged outer layer. Dry skin also tends to age quicker, so products that utilize vitamin A and glycolic acid are vital.

What to Avoid

  • bar soaps
  • water-soluble cleansers
  • irritating ingredients such as menthols and abrasive scrubs (fruit, shell, or nut fragments)

The Routine:

combo

Goals for combo skinbalance. That’s pretty much it. Combo skin is tricky because you need to treat the oily areas with products designed for oily skin, and dry areas with dry products. For the sake of this series, I’ll recommend products based on the “combo” category on the CVS website.

What to avoidone size fits all skincare.

The routine:

acne

Goals for acneic skinclearing the skin and keeping it clear WITHOUT drying it out or causing more damage.

What to avoid

  • anything inflammatory, as acne is an inflammatory disorder
  • anything drying (menthol, harsh detergents, over concentrated acids/peroxides/alcohols)
  • overdoing the cleansing; keeping the skin clean and exfoliated is crucial, however, you CANNOT wash away your acne. All you’ll do is irritate it!
  • unprotected sun exposure (no, sunscreen will not give you acne, and no, sunlight does not “clear up” acne)
  • thick, waxy textures

The routine:

  • Cleanser: nothing harsh, stripping, drying, or abrasive. That’s a tall order for drugstore skincare. Here are some good ones: Yes to Tomatoes Daily Clarifying Cleanser ($9.99, or $2.96/oz); Derma E Very Clear Acne Cleanser ($15.49, or $2.58/oz); or Burt’s Bees Acne Purifying Cleansing Gel ($9.99, or $2/oz).
  • Toner: the major concern with toners for acne-prone skin is avoiding anything that is too astringent. Again, you cannot dry out your acne; you can’t scrub it away, wash it away, sting it away. The only one I found that is worth the money without doing further damage is Andalou Naturals Clarifying Pore Minimizer ($12.99, or $2.16/oz). “Pore minimizer” is a bit of a misnomer, because you can’t minimize your pores once they’ve been stretched out. But it is a lovely toner all the same. Run away from anything that has denatured alcohol (sometimes listed as SD alcohol) anywhere near the beginning of the ingredient deck; this is what dries your skin out and makes it tight, which makes you think it’s working, but it’s just making your skin angry which leads to more breakouts.
  • Exfoliant: a leave-on AHA or BHA is ideal, because exfoliation (GENTLE exfoliation) is key to keeping acneic skin healthy. That can be hard to find outside of professional lines, so the next course of action is to find a good scrub. Acne scrubs are so, so abrasive and irritating. Here are the most gentle acne scrubs I found: Derma E Very Clear Acne Scrub ($13.99, or $3.50/oz); Reviva Labs Microdermabrasion Pomegranate Scrub ($18.99, or $9.50/oz); or Burt’s Bees Acne Pore Refining Scrub ($9.99, or $2.50/oz).
  • Moisturizer: just like with oily skin, you might be tempted to skip the moisturizer in the name of keeping your skin clear. This is a huge mistake! When your skin is stripped of the oil it’s putting out, it puts out more oil, which causes more breakouts. The key is to find a moisturizer that is light but still hydrating. The ONLY one that I can happily recommend is Burt’s Bees Acne Daily Moisturizing Lotion ($17.99, or $9/oz). CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM ($14.49, or $4.83/oz) is an alright choice, especially since it’s SPF 30 and contains niacinamide, but it has a lot of preservatives for the price. I’m not anti-preservative or paraben, but I do believe there should be more active ingredients than preservatives in products.
  • Masks: I stand by my bentonite clay powder recommendation for oily skin. You’re going to want to find something that is purifying without drying, lightly hydrating, and soothing. I’m gonna be real honest, drugstore acne masks are shit. The best options I found are these two: Beauty 360 Detoxifying Perfecting Black Facial Mask ($11.99, this one has a decent ingredient deck AND IT’S BLACK), and Queen Helene The Original Mint Julep Mask ($4.99, or 62 cents/oz). I hesitate to recommend the Queen Helene mask because although it has some great ingredients for the price, it also has two or three possibly irritating ingredients in higher concentrations. So watch out.
  • Serums/treatments: spot treatments are great for minimizing individual spots, but they aren’t a long-term or all-over treatment. They won’t keep spots from coming back. Keep that in mind when shopping for one. Most of the drugstore options are crazy drying and overpriced for how much active ingredient is in the product. Even my good friend Burt’s Bees had denatured alcohol as the first ingredient (damn you Burt). Derma E Very Clear Acne Spot Treatment ($11.49, or $21.28/oz) is the only good option I found. When you look at the price-per-ounce, you might consider another option.

antiaging

Goals for anti-agingthis is such a tricky skin concern because everyone expects miracles that will turn back the clock as quickly as the signs of aging appeared. Only surgical procedures and injectables will give you (almost) instantaneous results. You want to incorporate as much of the following ingredients as possible: antioxidants (vitamins A, C, and E; superoxide dismutase; beta carotene; glutathione; selenium; green tea; soy extract; grape extract; pomegranate extract), skin identical/skin repairing (ceramides; lecithin; glycerin; hyaluronic acid; sodium PCA; collagen; elastin; proteins; triglycerides), cell-communicating (niacinamide; retinol; synthetic peptides; lecithin; ceramides). Sun protection is an absolute most because the most visible signs of aging are due to sun exposure and damage.

What to avoid:

  • “miracle” products that claim to mimic the effects of Botox and other medical procedures. Nothing can fully replicate the effects of those measures.
  • irritating products. As your skin ages, it doesn’t recover quite as quickly. It’s very important to avoid anything that could prolong that.

The Routine:

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