Beauty Topic: multi-tasking sun & skincare for travel

My husband and I just got back from vacation in Italy, and we needed to keep our luggage rather light due to regular travel between various cities. We have the exact same skincare type: sensitive, reactive, and easily sunburnt. 

san gimignano
Countryside of San Gimignano

The climate and weather of Italy in June is very consistent – high 80-90 degrees, and very sunny. So instead of relying on lotions and toiletry items given to us by our hotels, I specifically choose products from brands that I knew would be high-performing, and also preventative/corrective to help take care of both of us. Think about it – have you gone on any vacations where you got badly sunburnt or had a rash/reaction that made you feel awful the rest of your trip? It happens, and so here’s my recommendation that any skintype can use to look and feel great:

olay, first aid beauty, cerave, cotz
top picks for moisturizers & face sunblock

Moisturizers & facial sunblock:

1) First Aid Beauty is quickly becoming one my top beauty brand picks of all time. Why? All of their products are jam-packed with high-performing ingredients that also soothe even the most sensitive skins. The Ultra Repair Lotion can be used on face and body, and is fantastic for repairing over-heated skin, reducing redness, hydrating, and balancing the skin. We used this lotion at night, as our night cream and body moisturizer.

2) Olay Complete Sensitive Skin Moisturizer – this is my gold-standard for daytime moisture and SPF protection (see my other posts about this). We used this head to toe, even as a body moisturizer, in order to make sure we had SPF coverage. A 6oz bottle was the perfect size for us to share.

3) CeraVe Eye Repair Cream – I didn’t want to pack too heavy of an eye cream, since I knew we’d be dealing with humidity, but I wanted a formula to mostly treat and soothe. This formula nails it everytime. It is lightweight, but is loaded with anti-aging and hydrating ingredients. For the price, it’s one of be best values on the beauty market for performance. Plus, the tube is perfect for travel. 

4) CoTZ Face – with SPF 40, and an all mineral-based formula, this product was our workhorse for targeted facial sunblock protection. The formula is perfect for men and women, and absorbs quickly. I used it prior to makeup, and on the areas that would be affected most by sun – cheeks, nose, forehead, back of my neck, and ears. It worked perfectly, and didn’t add any shine or a greasy/sticky feeling that some sunblocks do.

neutrogena, altchek md
high-performing must-haves

For body care, I did pack along my favorite high-performers to prevent sunburn, and treat cracked/dry skin:

1) Altchek MD Doctor’s Skin Remedy is a multi-tasking balm that repairs chapped lips, ragged cuticles, small irritations, flakiness, and other dry skin issues. A little goes a long way, and it makes a great lip balm base for lipstick. We used it as a hand cream, since we were constantly washing our hands due to public places. It has made it’s way into my daily skincare regimen.

2) Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen – for all skin types, this truly is one of the best you can get for sun protection that won’t cause allergic reactions. So many people buy spray sunscreens or chemical based sunscreens, and then end up having reactions, redness, bumps, and other skin issues. This never failed us – it is sweat proof and waterproof, and didn’t cause any irritation. One tube was great for the both of us, and we used it over the Olay moisturizer to give extra coverage to arms, legs, and shoulders.

first aid beauty
first aid beauty’s bar soap

Finally, the best multi-tasker of the bunch was the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Gentle Cleansing Bar. Don’t let the name fool you – this is a really highly performing product that we used head to toe (face and body) that got us squeaky clean yet feeling hydrated and soothed. This is a fantastic new soap on the market, and I was so impressed with the condition of our skin. It performed in various water (hard and soft), and washed  away the sweat, dirt, and grime from us being active tourists. One bar was plenty for us to share – it’s a great value! 

By packing smart and effective products that care for your skin, you can save space in your luggage and feel comfortable during your travels. Many people rely on hotel provided products, but then end up feeling itchy or irritated due to unknown ingredients. Plus, these have changed my routine at home a bit, to help save time and money in buying multi-taskers that perform!
© 2016 28daysbeauty

Beauty Topic: Safer sunscreens for face & body

It dawned on me this morning as I was applying sunscreen that I haven’t actually done a post dedicated to this topic. Plus, earlier this week my friend Holly told me that she broke out after wearing sunscreen over the weekend, and asked me what sunscreens she should wear to avoid that again. Soooo, duh, I completely flaked on posting a topic that would probably be really helpful!!! Especially for those who do have sensitive skin, and have reactions from these types of products regularly. My bad…. Here we go! 

There is a pretty heavy debate about sunscreens and sunblock, and their safety due to the types of chemicals and ingredients they contain. The debate is even bigger in Europe. My best advice it to do your own research, and also check out the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database to ensure the products you purchase align with what you want to use. What I will recommend below are those products that my family and I use, and have had extremely good luck with – not only from a sun protection aspect, but also as people who have highly reactive, sensitive skin. Also, I believe in avoiding products containing allergen-causing sunscreens (particularly Avobenzone and Oxybenzone). The reason that they are used is that in product testing, most users favor a silky, sheer texture – this has driven most cosmetics and skincare manufacturers to use those ingredients in order to meet the requests of the general consumer. But in my logic, what is the point of using something that will most likely cause you a reaction? (See: breakout, rash, irritation) This logic also effectively narrows down my choices in the marketplace too. Oh, and please don’t ask me my opinion about spray sunscreens – I’ll just say I avoid them at all costs. Not to sound extremely harsh, but if you want to know more about them, just Google the topic to see the amount of controversy surrounding their usage. 

Bottom line, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and octinoxate sunscreens are what I’ve had luck with as ingredients within products to be effective and not cause reaction. Plus, don’t worry too much about SPF numbers higher than 30. Research has shown that anything higher than SPF 30 isn’t really that more effective. Ok – enough of that – on to the fun part!


cotz, miracle skin transformer, cerave
great sunscreens & sunblock for sensitive skin
For Face:

Everyday I wear SPF 15 between using my Olay Complete moisturizer for sensitive skin, and then layering with my foundation (which also contains sunscreen – hint: see my previous posts on these). However, for those days where the sun is really intense or I know I’ll be active outside, I skip the Olay and instead moisturize first with my Trader Joe’s Nourish oil-free moisturizer, and then apply Cotz Face. This formula comes in both a Light and Medium shade to pick from, and has a sheer, matte finish. Let’s just say that this stuff ROCKS!!! I have had great luck with it as a base under my foundation too! This is a newer brand to gain attention on the market, and I think they really hit the nail on the head for what sensitive skins need.

For Body:

If you need a great, basic sunscreen for the whole family, CeraVe really gives one of the best overall body formulas to choose from. It uses micronized zinc oxide for a very smooth formula, and lasts through sweat and fun in the pool. Plus, it contains ceramides to give a skincare-like quality to help care for sensitive skins. 

If you want something more sexy, try Miracle Skin Transformer’s Tinted Beauty Balm. This gives body skin a beautiful bronze tint and protects with SPF 20. I love it on legs and arms when wearing summer dresses. It also contains great skincare qualities such as firming and toning. Just make sure to use a body puff or sponge to exfoliate skin before using a bronzing product – it will ensure smooth color application. 

As a rule of thumb, sunscreens usually labelled as “baby” formulas are generally good to choose. Typically, they don’t contain those allergen-causing ingredients. But just make sure to read the labels and ingredient listings. You’ll lessen your chance for a reaction and maintain great looking skin! 

© 2015 28daysbeauty