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A magic number: your skin’s pH level

Today’s post is a refresher course in luminous skin and its relationship with a certain special magical number. Confused? Don’t be. We’re going to dive back into our junior high chemistry class memory banks and talk about pH levels, specifically where it applies to your skin. A recent study in British Journal of Dermatology revealed the cold hard fact that when a guy or gal’s skin is too alkaline (pH balance was too high), they were more likely to develop fine lines and crows feet than if their pH level was balanced (their skin was acidic). *gasp!

Dry patches, acne, oiliness and redness can all be signs that your skin’s pH level is out of whack and the barrier that protects you from exposure to the elements is damaged. Excessive scrubbing, overly hot showers and harsh chemical cleansers can all be culprits as to how your skin and it’s finicky pH level got out of whack — and don’t get us started on environmental factors — but does it really matter how? Let’s focus on getting it back on track.

The magic number when it comes to the perfect pH level for your skin is 5.5 — ever-so-slightly acidic to optimize the skin to seal in hydration and protect you from pollution, environmental irritants and free radicals. The trick, it seems, to getting your skin back on track to beautiful is to be nice to it (aka. correcting it’s pH level.)

Yes, that means temporarily cutting back on some of the more hardcore treatments you’re currently using. Cutting back on the vigorous exfoliating, washing with harsh chemical cleansers and extreme water temperatures or excessive drying techniques is a good start. Consider tucking your exfoliants, serums and other topicals neatly into a drawer, and choose a cleanser that’s gentle and free of surfactant, so you’re not stripping your skin’s acid mantle and causing your pH level to shoot through the roof. Using balanced products will help to heal your skin in a few weeks, after which you can return to your beloved and more targeted products — which, btw, won’t even penetrate the outer layer of your skin is your pH level is out of whack.

It’s science really. Balanced skin is beautiful skin — moisturized, glowy and receptive to the hard-working ingredients in your other skincare products. Consider it a back-to-basics approach. Your welcome.

 

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Tina Fey Expands Her Role at Garnier

It’s official. Media’s multi-tasking darling, Tina Fey has been tapped as the face of Garnier’s new skincare campaign.

The beauty brand most noted for its hair color announced on Thursday that writer/ producer/ actress/ comedian Fey, would be pulling double duty for the company, expanding on her previously successful spokesperson role for Garnier’s Nutrisse hair color.

“Tina’s personality, beauty and approachability resonate with our consumer,” noted President of Garnier, David Greenberg. “We are thrilled to keep her in the Garnier family,” he said in a statement.

The award-winning superwoman will represent the new line of products in it’s entirety, which will including an anti-aging line, and will launch next month. Congrats Tina Fey!

 

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“T” is for toner

You obediently exfoliate, cleanse, moisturize, and apply sunscreen, but your skin is still not the glowing, flawless canvas you envision when your plunking down cold, hard cash for your favorite products? The bad news is: you may be missing a step. The good news is that we have the answer: a good toner.

We know what you’re thinking — “another product to purchase and apply?!” Yes.

It seems that toner isn’t the purposeless skincare step we thought it was. Instead, it’s the final frontier in cleaning your skin, helping to remove any residue left behind by your cleanser, as well as any lingering pollution, dust, and impurities.

A toner is a water-based liquid containing any mixture of hydrating, calming, balancing, and soothing ingredients like plant extracts and essential oils. Some toners are designed to calm and soothe sensitive skin (look for ingredients like chamomile), some to hydrate (look for the inclusion of rosewater), and some can act as an anti-bacterial astringent (look for an alcohol-based toners.) The toner you choose, like all of your skincare products, should be geared towards your particular skin type.

Start with a freshly washed face and saturate two cotton pads with a skin-appropriate toner. Swipe the pads over your face, neck, and décolletage and then proceed with any serums, eye creams, and moisturizers. Do the same in the morning and you’ll reap the most benefit from your toner, and give the ingredients in your serums and moisturizers and nice clean base to cling to.

So you see — adding a toner to your daily routine, isn’t so bad after all. 

 

 

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Essential Oils: An Eco-Cure For Soul And Skin

“All natural” is “all the rage” when it comes to cosmetics these days. Skincare brands are busy harvesting ingredients from their own organic farms to put the cool back in eco-conscious skincare and even color cosmetics, relying in large part to essential oils.

Essential oils, with their moisturizing properties and aromatic scents, are being touted by tastemakers like designer Donna Karan and Lucky’s Editor-In-Chief Eva Chen, who isn’t shy about shouting out organic brands like Olie Biologique, Elemental Herbology and H. Hillerman.

“Essential oils are very powerful substances extracted from plants that have been evolving for eons,” explains H.Gillerman founder and holistic healer Hope Gillerman. “You can use them to process what your mind and body are going through.” That includes calming anxiety, curing jet lag, soothing your skin, improving circulation, or strengthening both the memory and the immune system.

Look for scents like basil, tangerine, ylang ylang, and rosemary to stimulate energy, increase vitality, and soothe chronic fatigue, as well as carrot seed essential oil, which when applied topically is anti-aging and balances both dry and oily complexions.

Applied topically or inhaled for their aromatherapeutic benefits, essential oils are not only a perfect gift, but also a great way to calm yourself through the hectic holiday season.

Going green has never smelled so sweet — or felt so good.

 

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Order Up: A How-To On Applying Your Skincare Products

There are endless oceans of skincare products on the market today, but the real quandary comes in, not only finding the perfect fit for your skin’s tone, texture, and type, but also applying the products in an order that best utilizes the beneficial properties of each product.  If you’ve ever found yourself wondering if the application and order of your daily eye cream, moisturizer, serum, and sunscreen matter, then here’s the validation you’ve been dreading — Yes. It matters.

Dallas-based esthetician Renee Rouleau breaks down the general rule in skincare application by recommending that “you go thinnest to thickest.” For example, a toner is much thinner in consistency than a moisturizer, so that would be the first product you apply post-cleansing. “[Toner] goes on like water and you want to leave it damp so that whatever you put on next seals in all that hydration and any other active ingredients.”

Next comes your serum, which ranges in texture from liquid to gel, followed by an application of your moisturizer of choice. There is some debate as to whether rubbing a product into your skin or pressing the product over the skin is the best way to get the most out of your product without damaging the skin. Some schools of thought adhere to the rubbing method in order to stimulate blood flow, while others swear that pressing the product gently into the skin from the center of the face out to the lymph nodes behind the ears helps decrease puffiness and increase circulation without pulling and stretching the skin.

Eye creams are up-to-bat next, and should be pressed (not rubbed) into the skin around the entire socket cavity. Start by warming your eye cream in the palm of your hand, and then use three fingers to press the product into the inner corner of the eye, then towards the outer corner, and into the upper cavity.

And finally — and probably most important — a healthy application of sunscreen. Not your BB cream, not a tinted moisturizer, and certainly not your own homemade mixture of both. “Sunscreen is a drug that’s been tested and approved by the FDA in its final form,” Roleau says. “And anytime you alter a drug, you don’t really know what’s going to happen; you can’t feel 100% confident that it’s going to protect you.”

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The Lazy Gal’s Guide To Terrific Skin

From expensive eye-creams, moisturizers, and serums, to time-consuming daily skin care regimens—great looking skin doesn’t come without a price. Or does it? A recent issue article in Allure magazine cued us in on a few DIY-tips and tricks to help shave time off of your skincare routine without giving up any of the benefits. Calling it the “Lazy Girls Guide: Skin-care Shortcuts,” the lady mag offers up a slew of tips to help keep you looking great without missing out on any of the summer seasons fun. Naturally, our interest was piqued… and we knew yours would be too. Here are five of our favorite multi-tasking tricks to keep you looking fabulous without cutting into that oh-so-busy social schedule.

1. Staying out too late or enjoying one to many poolside cocktails, the summer is rife with opportunities to sport excessive undereye baggage and puffiness. Allure cues us in that anything chilled—even that Diet Coke you’re sipping—can be used to depuff your peepers.

2. Summer is a prime time to damage your delicate dermis, but a layer of antioxidant serum under your daily slathering of SPF can help protect you from the suns damaging rays. Extra bonus: they tend to stick around on your skin, so you can even apply them every other day.

3. There’s no need to book that time- and cost-consuming facial, when you can steam your way to a soft healthy glow anywhere. Allure even alludes to the benefits of steaming with the help of your dishwasher. Clean dishes + soft, dewey skin = a multi-tasking dream!

4. Dry skin is a serious no-no. Help avoid a flaky facade by popping a daily 1,000 milligram flaxseed-oil supplement to help your skin retain moisture.

5. Admit it. You’ve been guilty of dragging your party-pooped self to bed without washing your face. Unfortunately, that’s a prime cause of dull, tired looking skin. Instead of skipping your nightly suds-up, invest in a tub of cleansing cloths and keep them next to your bed. A simple once-over with one is a better bet than not washing at all.

Stay beautiful… and party on.

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NARS Gets Into The Skincare Game

In the vast ocean of beauty brands, you’d be hard-pressed to find a company so besought with loyal followers as NARS. The luxe brand virtually monopolizes the market with it’s line of Orgasm stick and powder blushes… next stop: world domination.  Or at least skin domination.

Replacing it’s currently limited skincare products, NARS is looking for a bigger piece of the skincare pie.  The NARSskin collection includes nine new pieces: Purifying Foam Cleanser ($29), Gentle Cream Cleanser ($29), Optimal Brightening Concentrate Serum ($72), the heavily-buzzed about Double Refining Exfoliator ($34), Multi-Action Hydrating Toner ($32), Total Replenishing Eye Cream ($55), Luminous Moisture Cream ($62), Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisture ($58), and the Aqua Gel Luminous Mask ($39).  And lest you think the excessive use of the word “luminous” was due to an overzealous copywriter, the concept of the new line is light — as in brightening up the skin before the makeup goes on.

“Light is a key element to the entire line because it plays a huge role in how healthy skin can look.” François Nars explained to WWD. “Skin care should reflect the light and makeup should catch it.  When I launched Nars in 1994, one of my biggest goals was to also create a skin care line one day.  It not only aligns with my philosophy that beautiful makeup starts with beautiful skin, but also my obsession with light.”

The products will enjoy an exclusive launch at Saks Fifth Avenue on August 1st and will be available elsewhere on August 15th.  Just in time to start thinking about repairing your skin from all the summer sun.

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