Product Review: Safe(r) Sunscreens

So, last summer, I went on a rant about sunscreens and how annoyed I was at the selection available to customers at local retailers (such as Target®) since the majority of their products contained chemical sunscreen and fragrance, which can cause severe allergic reactions. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE Target®, and I’m happy to see that their selection has started to improve by providing customers with more variety. But there are also other specialty retailers that have stepped up to the plate and are focused around holistic and healthier options that actually perform. One of them is Thrive Market®, which is membership-based, and provides a lot of great beauty and bath products that align with greener, more conscientious formulas. In the last several years, growing concerns around chemical sunscreen ingredients from consumers has caused even the American Academy of Dermatology™ to weigh in on the subject. Their current guidance, per the FDA, is that there are two sunscreen ingredients that are considered “generally recognized as safe and effective” (GRASE), which are Titanium-dioxide and Zinc-oxide. Reason is that these are physical sunscreens, and generally cause no irritation or reaction on the skin. The FDA is currently calling for more safety data on the majority of chemical sunscreen ingredients on the market (like avobenzone) in order to determine if they can be classified as GRASE. Remember to take that into consideration as you shop for products! The product technology keeps getting better and better, and I’m excited what these newer brands are bringing to the table for both kids and adults.

This past Spring, I selected both Target® and Thrive Market® as retailers to shop for mineral-based sunscreens, and put them to the test for the first half of summer. My competitive sailing season starts in May, and our outdoor concert series (that I help organize) begins in June, so I’ve had plenty of opportunity to truly test out the performance of these products by spending some long hours outside. Here’s my review of two brands that I’ve really come to love over the past two months!

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First up, Bare Republic® is gaining wider shelf presence and online assortment depth within Target. Their products offer higher-SPF levels, closer to other national brand sunscreens. Most experts will say that you should at least use an SPF 30, but some people with ultra-fair skin may want a higher Sun Protection Factor (SPF) based on their personal needs. This Zinc-oxide + Titanium-dioxide formula is easy to apply and melts quickly to absorb, and doesn’t leave the feeling of a film on the skin. Plus, it’s fragrance-free, hydrating, and acts like a beauty product – it contains antioxidants derived from algae extracts, and natural oils. It’s also vegan, paraben free, and water-resistant. The staying power of this product is great too. My husband commented that he felt it performed well during his longer cycling rides, and wants the stick version for his bike pack. This brand offers up multiple sunscreen application styles, such as sticks and sprays. With all the controversy around spray sunscreens affecting asthma and allergy sufferers, I’ve decided to stay with the simplicity of the tube style and avoid any adverse side effects.

Second, Thrive Market® has been offering a growing assortment of suncare items, including the brand Raw Elements®. I decided to try two styles from them (stick and tin), as I was really intrigued per it’s multi-purpose approach and avoidance of plastic packaging for the larger product. I always have a sunscreen stick in my purse since they are so convenient and quick to use. But I’ve been super critical of formulas – they can’t feel like a ton of wax or be sticky, and need to be smooth under my lipstick. Well, Raw Elements® definitely delivered and then some. This is a Zinc-oxide based formula, packed with natural extracts and ingredients. Like Bare Republic, it contains beeswax, but even in the stick style it didn’t feel heavy. Oh, and the tin style? Amazing. It’s hydrating, creamy, and buildable – almost the same type of adjectives you’d expect to describe a good foundation. It does not feel heavy under makeup, and the product does what it says. Application tip: run the back of your index finger along the top of the product, using your fingernail to scrape up a dime-sized amount and rub gently between your fingers to heat it up for smooth absorption in to the skin. The tin looks small, but really lasts. Also, it’s been great to travel with, as the cap screws on tightly and has less risk of bursting open from pressure.

In short, both brands really deliver great protection for kids and adults and are very affordable. The skin-friendly formulas are as performance-driven as they are eco-conscious. For those living on the coasts, or going on a beach vacation, both are also reef-safe. If you’ve done any research on the topic of tourism and ocean water around reefs, you’ll know that the sunscreen chemicals of oxybenzone and octinoxate harm corals and are of growing concern to marine biologists. My tip? You’ll provide huge impact to speak with your wallet by choosing safer formulas for yourself and your family, which in turn will help convince large manufacturers to change their formulations.

©2019 28daysbeauty

Beauty Topic: Caring for your skin when you’re battling the flu or a cold

Speaking from firsthand experience, those of us with ultra-sensitive skin seem to get the one-two punch of extra irritated cheeks and scaly or raw noses when sick. But in truth, colds and the flu season affects all of us and our skincare regimen to some degree. I’m just getting over a nasty virus that most conveniently arrived JUST as my beloved Midwest was smacked with 10 inches of snow last week. How wonderful to be outside shoveling and snow blowing while trying to prevent your nose from resembling the now-frozen Niagara Falls. Winter’s cute, isn’t it?

Kidding aside, we also have to contend with the age-old best practice of washing our hands frequently – it keeps colds and the flu at bay but also can cause rashes, dermatitis or cracked and bleeding skin. Or going through a ton of facial tissue due to clogged sinuses, which can strip needed oils and moisture off of our noses and upper lips. Everything that I’m describing can actually make you sicker (as raw or broken skin can allow bacteria to seep in) or just add to your overall feeling of misery when ill. But never fear – there are 3 easy tips that I recommend everyone follow, young and old, to ensure that skin stays as healthy and well as possible this winter. Friendly reminder: your skin is not only your body’s largest organ of elimination (sweat, oil, shedding dead skin cells), but it’s also your first line of defense to a healthy immune system. Treat it well, and it will care for you in kind.

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Tip #1: Wash your face, body and hands with a moisturizing, unscented soap daily.

CeraVe® makes a fantastic Hydrating Cleanser Bar soap that can be used virtually from head to toe, and by anyone in the family. During a cold or while fighting the flu, scented or deodorant body washes may further irritate skin, or cause you to sneeze more, due to allergy-causing synthetic scents. Plus, the CeraVe bar contains ceramides, which are essential to rebuilding the skin’s moisture barrier and protecting it even while deep cleaning. I also love it as it helps to reduce redness – this can be especially helpful for raw or irritated hands. I usually keep a few packs of these soaps around the house as they are also great for travel and gym, as an all-purpose cleanser and body wash. For just a couple of bucks, your skin will feel comforted by soothing lather and squeaky clean, and it’s safe to use on kids who may be suffering from colds too.

Tip #2: Load up on unscented moisturizers from head to toe, and go VERY easy on anti-aging or anti-acne products.

Moisturizers, creams, lotions and serums with added fragrance (or “parfum”) in them will sting, burn, cause irritation, redness and quite possibly cause a further allergic reaction when you are sick. Your body is using all of its strength to mend itself during a cold or the flu, and so your skin can be extra-sensitive during this time. Don’t add unnecessary synthetic fragrances, or even some scented essential oils, into the mix – it will probably just make you more red, or hurt like hell when you apply. Also, alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids (such as salicylic acid) will further dry out skin and most likely cause more irritation while sick. For the couple of days or week or so that you may be sick, don’t worry about fighting wrinkles or pimples. Focus on soothing the skin and retaining its moisture barrier. I LOVE First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream® – it’s the holy grail of moisturizers for any skin type. Oily skin types still love it because it hydrates but does not feel greasy. Use this product from head to toe, especially on dry, cracked skin that needs to heal asap (like hands or noses). I always have a jar of this on hand in our house, especially in winter, and it’s safe to use by the entire family.

Tip #3: Turn your shower into a healing spa by incorporating soothing aromatherapy, even at lower temperatures.

CVS Health and a few other brands make these fantastic little 3-packs of effervescent tablets that turn your shower into an aromatherapy session. When I was a kid, my mom would use Vick’s VapoRub™ on my chest to alleviate congestion, but I’ve found over the years that it irritates my skin due to the amount of essential oils contained in the formula. Instead, I’ve found that these eucalyptus and menthol shower vapor tabs are a great way to get the same benefits for my sinuses, but forgo the irritation of my skin. When your skin is super sensitive, you should avoid taking hot showers, and instead go for more “warm” showers. This will prevent your skin from drying out further, or staying irritated longer. Since these tabs are water activated, you can still get the great benefit to open up your congestion, soothe your aching head and body, and breathe better even at a lower temperature. Hint: put on a deep-cleaning clay mask while showering, and add these tablets in at any time to feel like a relaxing, home-spa experience! Find these near the cold medicine aisle.

Just by making a few small changes in your skincare regimen, and having a couple of these products on hand, you can start feeling better and lessening the side-effects from a nasty cold. Take care and stay safe and warm!

©2019 28daysbeauty

 

Beauty Topic: DIY all-purpose coconut oil

If you haven’t been under a rock, you’ll have been completely aware that coconut oil has been having a HUGE moment the last couple of years in the beauty industry. But it’s not technically a new phenomenon. Coconut oil has been used for centuries by various island cultures as a natural beauty product, especially because it’s a multi-tasking superstar. In its raw form, coconut oil is an effective hair conditioner, skin moisturizer, makeup remover, cuticle conditioner, and contains essential fatty acids that make it an excellent cooking oil as well. Due to its multiple benefits and relatively low allergy risk, it’s used as a base ingredient in many beauty products. If you have dry, brittle or damaged hair, dry skin, wear a lot of makeup or waterproof formulas, or suffer from dermatitis or eczema, then coconut oil is highly recommended to work into your daily routine.

There are several premium brands that hit the market recently, but one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to use coconut oil is to purchase it from your local grocery store. However, the packaging is not always appropriate for a bathroom. Case in point, I was at the gym about 2 months ago, and saw a woman with a 16oz glass jar of coconut oil (from a local grocery brand) on the counter next to her, as she was finishing getting ready after showering. While I completely appreciate her resourcefulness and cost-effectiveness, I worried for her safety since a 16oz glass jar with a tin lid is NOT very safe around slick bathroom surfaces. So, this experience inspired me to write this post, since I already create my own more user-friendly packaged coconut oil. It’s very easy to complete as a do-it-yourself project, and takes about 20 minutes tops. Here we go!

First, gather the following materials:

a. 16oz jar of virgin organic coconut oil. My #1 choice is from Trader Joe’s, as it’s usually about $5 for a full-size jar. Hard to beat that price!

b. Grab a clean, large mixing bowl from your kitchen cupboard.

c. Get a clean teaspoon to stir the oil (see step below).

d. Prior to starting, purchase a clean 3oz plastic travel jar with lid (I got mine from The Container Store for under $2) – make sure to wash both in hot water with soap, to remove any contaminants and bacteria, and dry thoroughly. Keep the lid off to start.

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Second, use the following steps to create a bathroom-friendly and travel-safe coconut oil beauty product:

  1. Make sure the lid of the coconut oil jar is initially loosened up. Keep the lid on the jar, tight enough to keep out water.
  2. Place the mixing bowl in your kitchen sink, and put the coconut jar inside. Fill the bowl with hot water (not boiling) so that the jar is mostly submerged but not fully underwater.

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3. After a few minutes, the coconut oil should start turning slightly “clear” on the sides of the jar, but still white in the middle. Once this happens, take the jar out, and place on the counter and dry off completely with a towel.

4. Unscrew the lid, and stir up the coconut oil with the spoon to fully blend. The oil’s consistency should mimic milk or heavy cream, and still be white in color.

5. Pour the oil into the open plastic 3oz travel jar, filling to the edge of the lowest thread on the jar’s lip.

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6. Put the metal lid back on the large 16oz coconut oil and place into a cabinet to cool down and solidify again. Hint: if you haven’t yet tried it for cooking, give it a whirl! It’s super tasty and good for you.

7. Lastly, let the small 3oz travel-sized jar sit still and cool down on the counter for a while – this may take about an hour or two for it to solidify. You can also place within the refrigerator, if preferred. Once it’s solid, the coconut oil is now in safer packaging for use in a bathroom – plus, it’s easily packable for travel!

If you know you want multiple travel-sized jars, one large 16oz jar will make about 5 small 3oz travel jars – and you can easily pour them all at the same time, and then just let them chill! Store all coconut oil in a cool cabinet or shelf, and out of direct sunlight.

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If you are wondering how long the 3oz size will last you, you only need to use about a dime to a nickel-sized amount at a time. When using coconut oil, let the natural heat of your hands melt down the oil into a creamy texture, and use wherever needed. For example, my current 3oz jar has lasted me about 2 – 1/2 months with daily use. I scoop out two nickel-sized amounts daily as an overall body moisturizer after I shower. At night, I scoop out a nickel-sized amount to use as a full-face makeup remover, and gently breakdown mascara – I then remove it all with a Costco makeup wipe, and then wash my face with my normal nightly routine. Plus, it’s a great cuticle treatment before bedtime, and conditions rough elbows and heels. With winter weather coming fast, it’s a perfect time to start using coconut oil and keep hair and skin properly conditioned.

The uses don’t stop there! There’s a lot people who love making their own lip balms and soaps, and coconut oil is often a base ingredient. Simply search recipes on Google that call for coconut oil, and you’ll find various homemade projects and recipes for almost any beauty concern. Have fun!

© 2018 28daysbeauty

Beauty Topic: A short rant about sunscreen & chemicals

I recently visited a local Target after work to pick up a few items, and one of them was a new tube of sunscreen for my family. Being a former esthetician, and a sufferer of very sensitive skin that is also prone to sunburn, I knew exactly what brand and product formulation I was looking for.  While I won’t mention the location of this Target, I will rant about my disappointment in the selection that I was presented with in store, and why I’m afraid that the average consumer doesn’t realize that this is a problem. I normally don’t say negative things within my blog. But I’ll admit that I’m very concerned and rather ticked off, since a company or a brand’s product offering decisions can negatively affect people’s health and perception when it comes down to their purchasing options.

I walk into the aisle, and this is what I see:

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  1. Rows of products that are chock-full of chemical sunscreens that have known issues (ie. oxybenzone). Simply Google “safe sunscreen” or “sunscreens to avoid”, and you will be presented with a long list of professional opinions on chemicals to avoid in formulations. I would say that the majority of this wall (and my photo only shows part of the upper half) was composed of mostly ALL chemical-based formulas.
  2. Spray formulas or aerosols – if you Google this as well, you’ll find a ton of research over the years that shows these spray formulas send tiny particles into the air, and can aggravate asthma or allergies. In addition, these often have high levels of oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate, which are known from government data and reports to cause skin reactions and lesions. I get that it’s a convenient delivery method, but you have to weigh the cons in lieu of any pros for a “fast application”.
  3. “Sport” or SPF 100+ claims on a sunscreen product. I’m sorry, but WTF? SPF 100?? Does it mean that a tent or a roof comes out of the tube, and builds itself like a Transformer over your head so that you can walk around all day in the shade? If you read the labels, like on Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 100+, it still says that you have to reapply after 80 mins of swimming or every 2 hours. So, in essence, it’s still following the rules that any other sunscreen asks for, which is to reapply every 2 hours or so if you are active (sweating due to sports) or swimming. Why SPF 100+ or “sport” then? To me, this is a misleading label on a product, since the instructions are basically the same as any other sunscreen and doesn’t give the user any extra advantages.
  4. And lastly, the selection available of safer sunscreens was TINY. If you look in the upper left corner of the photo that I took, or at my other photo below of a different angle of the wall, there was a small space held for brands such as BARE Republic or Sun Bum that actually offer legit mineral-based formulas that perform. These broad-spectrum formulas are based on Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide physical sunscreens, and are not only safer for humans, but also the environment (such as ocean reefs). Neutrogena does offer a few mineral sunscreens, but they label them as “baby” formulas when, in truth, anyone can use them. Baby formulas are great for anyone with sensitive skin, as they are often fragrance-free, and safer in formulation for people who suffer from eczema or acne.

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Bottom line, in retail, the brands pay for shelf placement to get the eye-level views and arms-reach distance to most consumers; but these are NOT always the best formulas or products to choose from when it comes to overall skin health and allergy avoidance. Fifteen product rows just to promote the Up & Up (Target private label) brand of Sport sunscreen alone says, to me, that the buying and merchandising teams are out of touch with the growing concern among consumers to buy safer sunscreens. And Neutrogena’s product claims of SPF 100+ is a bit ridiculous, which can give a false sense of security to an average consumer who is rushing in to buy a few last-minute products before attending an outdoor event. Target has been on-point with other product lines and assortments, giving more space and promotion to health-conscious brands. So, I’m thoroughly confused on why they don’t give the same thought and consumer-research planning into the sunscreens they merchandise each summer. Especially with a product that contains chemicals with known health concerns.

Also, one of my favorite brands, CeraVe, didn’t get any product placement within the wall of sunscreen offerings at this Target. Their products utilize micronized Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, so that the formula is more sheer, and absorbs quickly. Their sunscreens are also fragrance-free, and incorporate ceramides, which add anti-aging benefit and help maintain the skin’s natural moisture barrier.

In my opinion, the technology and skincare knowledge that we have today proves that safer sunscreens are a necessary part of overall health, and being a conscious consumer. Skin cancer is a huge issue across the globe, and I ask retailers, such as Target, to do a better job in giving their customers better choices to protect themselves – especially with the transparency and ample amount of information there is for any buyer or product developer to use in their decision-making process. I understand that they look at sales and last year’s numbers to make their plans, but this also puts customers in a bind who may not do their own research and put “trust” into the retailer to offer them safe products. Allergies, asthma, chemical burns, eczema flare-ups, dermatitis, and acne break-outs aren’t worth just spreadsheets of past customer buying decisions – it’s worth helping people to make better health choices, and giving brands who are responsibly making products the credit and shelf space to accurately market themselves.

© 2018 28daysbeauty

Beauty Topic: Quick & easy beauty fixes for summer

It’s been a while since I last blogged! Life got a bit cray-cray, but I’m super happy to have time to relax and blog just before the Memorial Day holiday kicks off. Even though it’s not officially the start of summer, it seems that everyone is finally ready to start living life outside and in the sun this weekend. Naturally, that can pose a few beauty issues that only seasonal weather changes can bring as we start showing more skin. Let’s take a look at a few hot topics and tips below for quick and easy skincare / makeup solutions, just in time for summer:

  • Avoid sunburnt skin: I’m still a bit shocked with how many people I know don’t take sun care seriously. The amount of data that the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Cancer Society has published on the long-term health effects of improper sun exposure has been widely publicized and distributed. This is not to be taken lightly. Sunburn can create immediate damage to healthy skin cells, and adults need to pay attention for their own (and family’s) health. Over time, prolonged sun damage can cause serious heath problems. If you or your family do experience a sunburn this summer due to fun in the sun, there are a few quick fixes that you should utilize asap to soothe skin:
    1. Take a cool bath or shower asap. Sunburnt skin is not able to easily correct it’s own temperature, and you may need to take cooler showers or baths over several days to reduce swelling or pain.
    2. Add 2 cups of baking soda or ground oats to your cool bath and soak – this is safe for children, and also immediately offers relief of itching or painful skin.
    3. Hydrate and moisturize! Keep drinking cool water, and keep the skin hydrated by apply unscented lotion – this also helps to reduce peeling. TIP: Avoid any products with fragrance – this will irritate the skin even further, and create more redness.
  • Change up your skincare: If you live in an area that experiences the changes of seasons, then you do need to plan for switching up your skincare accordingly. For summer, I stress using formulas that are gentle and fragrance-free. This includes body lotion – per my first point above, if you get a bad sunburn, the LAST thing you’ll want to put on your skin is a scented lotion. This cleanser and lotion below from CeraVe are two product staples that I keep stocked for my family at all times – if skin is at all irritated from being outside too long, or feeling dry from chlorine, these two products are great at soothing skin quickly. TIP: Add Witch Hazel to your daily AM/PM routine too, as it will naturally soothe and refresh skin each day, plus regulate oily shine.

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  • Use proven formulas to deliver quick results: Restating the importance again of proper skincare also extends to products that can be multi-tasking to prevent and correct issues. These are two products that I actually use year-round, but are even more important coming into the summer months.
    1. CeraVe’s Skin Renewing Cream Serum tackles anti-aging with an all-in-one type of serum. Using encapsulated Retinol and ceramides, this serum not only reduces fine lines and wrinkles, but repairs the skin’s protective moisture barrier. This is crucial to reverse the damaging effects of UV exposure. I love using it at night on my face, neck, chest, shoulders and arms – Retinol lightens discolorations, dark spots, and evens out my skin tone overall for a more uniform appearance. For under $20 a tube, it’s so worth it! TIP: If you get into the daily habit of apply a serum like this, it helps avoid the awkward effect of your facial skin tone not matching your neck, chest or shoulders as you age.
    2. Olay Complete UV365 Daily Moisturizer SPF 15 Sensitive Plus is a lotion I use every single morning, and can be used head-to-toe all summer long. Head to toe?? Yes. Especially if you use a Retinol-based serum or anti-aging skincare (like I mention above), you NEED to use daily sunscreen. Otherwise, you basically cancel out the benefits that your anti-aging products are giving you. I love this lotion because it absorbs quickly, soothes skin, and helps makeup to stay fresh. TIP: This is great to travel with as an all-over daily moisturizer + sunscreen duo. For under $10 a bottle (6oz), you can’t go wrong! (Good skincare does not have to cost a ton)

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  • Use powder makeup to help your look stay-put in humidity: I love liquid foundations, but in hot or humid weather, they can often loosen up easily and slide due to sweat. Here’s two of my favorite powder makeup solutions for summer:
    1. I’ll reach for my favorite powder foundation, PUR’s 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Powder Foundation SPF 15, to help minimize shine for my combination skin. This mineral makeup contains skin-loving, anti-aging ingredients that balances tone and minimizes fine lines. For best results, use a shorter-bristle powder brush (or “chisel” brush) to apply in small circles. Make sure to blend along the jawline, and on to the neck and chest to help even out skin tone. TIP: Use a large eye shadow brush to dust eyelids BEFORE applying eye shadow or liner. This helps to set a base that absorbs sweat and moisture, and allows eye makeup to last longer. fullsizeoutput_76d
    2.  I love to use Wet n Wild’s MegaGlo Highlighter in Precious Petals: this rose-gold hued pressed powder looks amazing on pretty much every skin tone, and is under $5 for a big compact. I use it for eye shadow, and highlighting the bridge of my nose, brow bones, and cheek bones. TIP: Using a blush brush, apply in circles to your chest, shoulders, upper arms, and down the shins and calves of your legs to create a sexy overall glow during summer. The powder formula adheres to skin, resists sweat, and catches the natural light to give skin a warm, shimmery sheen. I like using this trick more than body bronzer!fullsizeoutput_765

A few simple tricks and switching up products can make a huge difference going into warmer weather, and give your skin an added boost to look it’s best!

© 2018 28daysbeauty

Product Review: Glossier skincare

This is the second part of my Glossier brand review, and since it’s focused on their skincare products, I needed a bit of extra time to see how my skin reacted to their formulas. Having extremely sensitive skin, and pushing 40, I wanted to see if the hype around Glossier’s dewy-fresh, moisture-boosting results was real. For the most part, I really love the skincare products that I’ve been using for several years. But there are several products in the Glossier lineup that have achieved cult-favorite status, and so I wanted to compare and see for myself.

As I mentioned in my Glossier makeup review, I’m impressed that Glossier offers kits to introduce you into their regimens and save money. In the kit that I chose, you get to choose the flavor of the Balm Dotcom all-purpose skin balm – I chose “mint”. The other kit components are their best-selling Milky Jelly Cleanser and Priming Moisturizer. Like their makeup, their skincare is paraben-free, hypoallergenic, and cruelty-free. Let’s get into each product:

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a. Mint Balm Dotcom: I chose mint as I knew I’d primarily be using this as a lip balm. I have had issues in using other products that have peppermint oil added, but so far I’ve had zero irritation with this. The concentrated balm is super silky, and gives a non-shiny finish on lips, cuticles and other rough patches. I love using this at night, as it absorbs quickly, and I wake up with soft lips and healed cuticles. There are several flavors to choose from; from rose to cherry. I think the next time I order this, I’ll get the Original, which is fragrance-free, so that I can use it in more areas on my face and body.

b. Milky Jelly Cleanser: Of the three products that I chose in my kit, I’ll admit that I’m not as in love with this as I am with the others. This cleanser stays in a jelly-like texture, and does not foam. It is very hydrating, and can be applied on dry or wet skin. I found that it just didn’t stand out to me against my usual routine. While I don’t question that it is a best seller, and especially great for those with very dry skin or rosacea, I will probably stick to my other CeraVe, Clinique, and Trader Joe’s favorites. Having sensitive skin, I do appreciate the fragrance-free, super soothing formula.

c. Priming Moisturizer: I really like the results of this product, as it delivers exactly what is says it will do. Per the Glossier website, this is also considered a best-seller. The moisturizer creates a smooth / even base for makeup, instantly hydrates, and fights redness. It’s buildable as well, meaning that you can control the amount of moisture without it feeling goopy or greasy. I also love that it comes in a tube! Jars can create issues with bacteria growth, and pumps don’t always travel well or give the right amount of product when dispensing. I’ll be buying this again, especially since it works as a great moisturizer for anytime of day.

Overall, I have to say that I’m impressed with the Glossier brand, and their alternate approach to beauty standards and product staples. Their site offers a growing assortment of innovative products, and I’ll be keeping my eyes on their lineup additions. I can definitely say that I’ll be reordering their Balm Dotcom, Lip Gloss, Generation G lipstick, Boy Brow, Stretch Concealer, and Priming Moisturizer. One of their products that I’m looking to try soon is Haloscope, a dewy creme highlighter stick. I love finding new brands to mix it up and play within my daily routine, and especially that have products that are easy to use and deliver results. Give them a try!

© 2018 28daysbeauty

Beauty Topic: Saving money in 2018 & top picks to stay on budget

It’s the start of a new year, and many of us make resolutions to improve our lives. Mine this year is to save more money. I want to travel more, and pay down debt, so in order to do that, I need to look at my overall lifestyle. If you Google “how long does it take to develop a habit”, there are few studies that come back with a variety of time ranges – anywhere from 21 days to 66 days is the average. But one thing that I think that can help in achieving a new goal, or fulfilling a resolution, is to think about the various factors that contribute to it overall. To achieve my resolution of saving money, I thought about the amount that I spend on beauty products in a given year and how I shop. Within the beauty industry, there’s a ton of marketing and advertising to drive the message home that you NEED to have prestige beauty products. But in reality, is that really the case? In a PeopleStyle.com study from March 2017, they determined that the average woman will spend $15,000 in her lifetime on beauty products. This doesn’t apply to services like hair cuts or pedicures, but just beauty products alone. I’m here to say “no” – you don’t need to spend a ton to look great and take proper care of your skin, hair, body and nails. Especially in this day and age, there are so many great brands that are delivering high-performance products that provide you with multiple options to spend exactly the amount you are comfortable with, without having to sacrifice quality or style. If you absolutely love a prestige beauty product (like perfume, foundation or lipstick), you can also look at splurging where it matters most to you, but then saving money in other beauty categories to make up the difference. Let’s take a look at some of these brands, products that deliver, and my top picks to help you spend less this year on beauty:

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Clockwise from the top:

  1. Trader Joe’s beauty: from skincare to body care, their formulas rival top dollar brands’ ingredients and performance, but cost a fraction of the price. The Nourish All-In-One Facial Cleanser is great for both men and women, and helps to combat acne while also being anti-aging. Their Enrich Moisturizing Face Lotion SPF 15 is a great dupe for the Olay Complete SPF 15 lotion, and is safe for sensitive skin. If you love lavender, their Spa Lavender Hand & Body Lotion is naturally scented and soothes skin. I usually keep these stocked, as my entire family loves to use these products daily.
  2. e.l.f. Cosmetics: this brand was started years ago to provide quality beauty products for very low costs. I hate to call them “cheap” because it has such a bad connotation. What they do is remove the hype and high-cost markup that is found in prestige beauty brands, but still deliver on-trend and classic colors that perform. In addition to their Mineral Mascara (amazing!!), one of my favorite e.l.f. products is their “Tickled Pink” Blush, which is a direct dupe of the iconic NARS “Orgasm” blush. For $3, you can’t go wrong to give this a try and see for yourself.
  3. Simple skincare: available at almost all drugstores, this brand is focused on quality care for sensitive skin. I LOVE their Micellar Water, which gently removes all makeup, dirt, and oil as an essential pre-cleanse step in your nightly routine. This award-winning product rivals some of the most expensive French formulas on the market. I’ve often gone into a Walgreens or Target when traveling to pick up skincare products by Simple, especially if I realized I left an essential at home.
  4. LORAC makeup kits: yes, this prestige brand holds a special place in my heart. It’s founder, Carol Shaw, is an icon in my book. But what I also LOVE about this brand is that they often package their best selling products in kits or gifts at an incredible value! For example, a single LORAC Alter-Ego lip gloss is around $17 each. During the week between Christmas and New Year’s, I got this amazing Mod Goddess Alter-Ego lip gloss collection from ULTA on sale for less than the $26 sticker price! It’s a beautiful 6 piece set of high-performance lip gloss at a steal (worth $102). If you’ve never tried LORAC’s lip gloss, I highly recommend them – the color payoff is incredible, and the long-wearing formula deeply moisturizes. Makeup kits from prestige brands are a great way to save while shopping your favorites.
  5. L’Oreal mascaras: in truth, L’Oreal is one of the largest beauty companies in the world, and owns a large percentage of many beauty brands on the market. But one of their best performing values is the Voluminous Carbon Black mascara. If you want dramatic, long and full lashes, this is a go-to mascara for less than $10. Extra bonus, you can usually use coupons when purchasing or find a BOGO deal as well! Mascara needs to be changed out every 3 months to avoid eye infections, and there’s really no reason to spend more than you have to!
  6. EOS lip balm: while their classic round spheres are immediately recognized, I prefer the stick version of these awesome lip balms. I bought a few twin packs, as I keep one in my gym bag, desk drawer, night stand, and purse. Packed with organic ingredients and natural butters, they are a much healthier alternative to the petroleum-based lip balms and cost an average of $4 for a twin pack. I freak out if I can’t find my lip balm, so these packs make it easy to stock up and keep in convenient places.
  7. TRESemmé shampoo and hairspray: oh, how I love TRESemmé! One of my former coworkers once commented that she wished to be able to afford “fancy shampoo” someday. Why? There’s TRESemmé! I use their Extra Firm Control hairspray daily, and I’ll switch back and forth at times between their shampoos and other brands. They recently launched the Repair & Protect 7 shampoo, which is fantastic for color and chemically-treated or heat-styled hair. Shampoo goes down the drain, literally. So, I’m much more apt to switch up shampoos when needed, based on how much I want to spend. If your hair needs some serious repair, while maintaining color, give this one a try!
  8. Dove Sensitive Skin soap: this truly is a family-friendly, daily beauty product, and can be used from head to toe. It’s also incredibly budget conscious, and you can buy it in bulk at Costco, or multi-packs at Target. There are no synthetic fragrances to irritate sensitive skin, and it keeps skin healthy by cleansing without stripping moisture. Plus, it makes a really great shaving lather for legs!
  9. SheaMoisture skincare, hair and body care: this brand is fantastic! Not only for it’s social consciousness, but also it’s variety of quality, high-performing natural products. This brand is available at both ULTA and drugstores, and offers great solutions for beauty challenges, such as problem skin, dry hair, and anti-aging. If you want to take better care of your skin this year, and perform home facials more often, I suggest their African Black Soap Clarifying Mud Mask. Priced around $15 for a generously-sized jar, this mask deeply cleanses, soothes, brightens and unclogs skin, while being safe for those with sensitivities. Tip: Once a week in the morning, smooth this on your face, and then jump in the shower. The steam activates the charcoal in the mask, and allows it to work even better. As you wash your hair and body in the shower, let the mask sit for a few minutes to get spa-quality facial in a few minutes! Rinse and finish your shower as usual.

As you use up products in your daily routines, and want to cut back on costs, think about where you may be able to save while still maintaining your personal style and quality. Plus, all of the brands I mention above are raved about by beauty editors and magazines alike – the proof is in their performance, and you’ll see a savings!

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