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:


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: Help! I’ve got a bad sunburn…

Sadly, we have all been there as it seems to be a rite of passage in enjoying your summer. And while there’s plenty of research and studies out there that prove daily use of sunscreen and sunblock are necessary for ALL ages and genders (parents, it’s not just for your kids, but YOU too!), a bad sunburn can sometimes happen when you either forget to apply before rushing out the door, or simply don’t use enough. Since there are so many articles and information readily available to you that talk about how to choose sunscreen and sunblock wisely, I’ll focus instead on daily care for a sunburn. This can be vital, especially in helping to determine 1) how severe it is and 2) how to calm skin down. The products I’ll be talking about are safe enough for kids and adults to use, but the since adults tend to be more forgetful about putting sunscreen on (or worse don’t think they need it) I’ll be speaking directly about the care that needs to be taken for men and women. Unfortunately, alcohol can increase skin’s sensitivity to UV exposure, so all-inclusive beach vacations require skincare to be taken seriously to ensure you can actually enjoy your time off. And don’t even get me started on the idea of going to get a “base” tan at your local tanning bed salon before a vacation – bottom line, it’s not a good thing to do. You are just that much closer to direct UV damage.

If your sunburnt skin is blistering and you get chills, or start feeling nauseous, then you need to seek immediate medical attention. The combination of these conditions do require medical staff to help and prevent further health issues. Otherwise, red, pink and swollen skin needs to have cold compresses or ice packs applied, kept away from more sun exposure, and it’s wise to drink lots of water and take pain relievers. But then there’s usually the dreaded question – “what happens when I get into the shower”, and “how bad is it going to sting?” First, I recommend taking colder or lukewarm showers for the next few days so that your skin is not additionally stressed. Having a sunburn often throws off your skin’s ability to regulate temperature correctly, so taking your usual hot shower will only make you feel worse and your skin a brighter shade of “lobster”.

Second, if you normally use a scented body wash or soap with synthetic fragrances or deodorant built in, that will most likely increase irritation or redness. Synthetic fragrances are one of the #1 causes of allergic reactions or rashes on skin, and having a sunburn significantly decreases your skin’s ability to defend itself against irritants. Bottom line, ditch any of your coconut + lime verbena or cucumber melon body washes with loads of synthetic fragrance, and stick to unscented moisturizing soap or body washes that contain a soothing blend of oats and vitamin E. This will make a huge difference in helping your skin to heal, and reduce redness. One of my favorites is Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap Body Wash (below) or Dove’s Sensitive Skin bar soap. African Black Soap is also naturally deodorizing by containing charcoal, so it’s perfect for eliminating summer sweat while caring for sunburnt skin.


And lastly, moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. A sunburn basically throws off the equilibrium of your skin, and your body’s natural defense is to try and shed this damaged skin as soon as possible. This speeds up your skin’s normal routine of shedding skin cells, as well as effectively drying out the excess, damaged skin as your body tries to repair itself. Peeling skin should NOT be picked. You can gently buff it away in the shower with a body puff or washcloth, but be very careful to not scrub it off harshly. After toweling dry, make sure to moisturize effectively with fragrance-free lotion – look for formulas like Aveeno’s Daily Moisturizing lotion (above) that contains colloidal oats and dimethicone to protect and soothe skin. Putting a lotion on with synthetic fragrances can cause little red bumps and additional stinging – it’s best to avoid them. Many people will automatically think to apply aloe gels, and while they can help, you truly need moisturizers that work to repair the skin’s natural moisture barrier which minimizes peeling.

But what happens if your face is also affected by sunburn? I have found that First Aid Beauty’s entire line up is perfect for repairing hyper-sensitive and sunburnt skin, and also contains the ingredients I just mentioned are beneficial in body care. These are some of my favorites (below) from their product line, as you can use them on your face and body for cleansing and moisturizing: Ultra Repair Lotion and Ultra Repair Gentle Cleansing Bar. These formulas contain oats, ceramides, and a blend of antioxidants to repair damage and immediately calm skin. In addition, I’ve been LOVING their 5 in 1 Eye Cream – it’s gentle and effective, and does not cause any stinging. A day of sailing in summer often causes my eyes to feel dry, irritated, and itchy; and this eye cream soothes and brightens my eye area skin tone.


A few simple switches to these products during summer, or on a beach vacation, can make all the difference in helping to soothe skin. I always preach about using a daily sunscreen, but it’s often the daily skincare that can make a big difference in how fast you heal. Plus, the benefits with making a full switch to products that have these skin-caring attributes means that your skin will be healthier in the long run, and avoid blotchiness or redness any time of the year. You can easily find these brands at ULTA, or online at various retailers. Another plus that is they are safe for the family, so you can maximize your dollar by having products on hand that everyone can use. Stay safe and enjoy your last weeks of summer!

© 2017 28daysbeauty

Beauty topic: Combat dry skin

In the dead of winter, the combination of moving in and out of heated buildings and wind chills outdoors take a toll on everyone’s skin. Static electricity also spikes, which makes your hair and clothing a mess. And to make it worse, if you catch a bad cold or the flu, your nose and lips can get irritated or cracked easily from the amount of medication or tissues you go through. There are a few quick and easy ways to combat dry skin, especially to ensure you are taking proper care of your body’s largest organ.

Daily Care:

Even if you have oilier skin, there are certain ingredients in products that will exacerbate drier conditions and throw skin out of balance. During winter, it’s wise to switch up your daily routine from gel cleansers or topical drying agents (benzoyl peroxide, for example) to creamier formulas if your skin seems flaky or irritated. Unfortunately, no amount of makeup can easily cover up cracked or irritated skin – and in most cases can irritate it further. Maintaining moisture balance within your skin is one of the key ways to not only stay healthy (your skin blocks germs and bacteria from entering your body) but also a means to keep skin looking youthful. Skin that lacks moisture balance has telltale signs; lines and wrinkles, uneven tone and texture, loss of elasticity, flaking or cracking, and redness or irritation. Skin can also experience breakouts if the moisture barrier in the epidermis is out of balance.

easy to use products to treat dry skin

I recommend switching to a creamier cleanser, such as CeraVe’s Hydrating Cleanser, as it helps to remove impurities and makeup, but contains ceramides to help maintain skin’s natural moisture barrier. A tip for use: use a makeup remover wipe or micellar water to pre-cleanse, then apply cleanser generously. Rinse with lukewarm water, and pat dry. Dove Sensitive Skin bar soap is also fantastic to use head to toe, as it moisturizes yet thoroughly cleanses. I do recommend using witch hazel as a toner after cleansing, as it helps soothe any irritation.

After cleansing and toning, apply a rich moisturizer that is suitable for any skin type: First Aid Beauty’s Ultra Repair Cream. This moisturizer absorbs easily, but will not make combination or oilier skin feel greasy. It calms redness and irritation, and can be layered to build hydration for severely dry skin. Plus, you can use it head to toe! It is also safe for several skin issues, including treating eczema.

For cracked skin, one of my favorite treatments is Altchek MD’s Doctor’s Skin Remedy balm. This is amazing for lips, cuticles, hands, tips of nose, or any where skin feels severely dry. It also helps tame flyaways at your hairline, and smooth down unruly brows. I keep a tube in my handbag from September through May, since the Midwest is known for crazy weather conditions and it’s an awesome multi-purpose skincare product.

Special treatments:

One other great treatment to incorporate into your routine is a facial mist. One of my favorites is Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir, which contains brightening, hydrating and anti-aging antioxidant ingredients. The brand is known for incorporating polyphenols from grapes into it’s skincare line, which fight aging. This can be misted onto skin at any time, sets makeup, and is especially great at night – layer it underneath your moisturizer and wake up to glowing skin. Head’s up to guys too – this feels great and soothing to the face after shaving.

one of my favorite facial mists!

If you are especially dry, I do recommend taking a cue right from your kitchen and applying either organic coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil onto clean skin. Both oils mimic skin’s own natural sebum, and are readily absorbed to heal. I recommend using them at night, since makeup will tend to slide right off skin if applied over the oils.

For acne sufferers, you may want to give benzoyl peroxides a break if skin is extremely red or irritated. Salicylic acid acne treatments are easier on the skin, and do not dry out the skin a much as benzoyl peroxide can. Clean & Clear makes a great spot treatment, with 2% Salicylic acid, which is considered a very effective strength.

Since we have more weeks of winter left, it’s crucial to make sure you take care of your skin. Not only will it help keep you healthier, it will make your transition into spring and warmer weather that much easier. Each of these products are unisex, and so I encourage everyone to take some time to care for themselves a bit more – you’ll feel more comfortable and confident even when the weather outside is frightful.

© 2017 28daysbeauty

Beauty Topic: What to do with beauty products you don’t like…

We’ve all been there – you thought you would try the beauty product that was hailed as the next “miracle” in a jar, only to wonder who actually defined the word miracle. Or you got suckered into buying a small fortune worth of products at a makeup counter, because you didn’t have the heart to say no to the salesperson. My golden rule of thumb is keep your receipt whenever you try new products. Most people think that they can’t return a used  beauty product, but in truth you absolutely can (at most large retailers) within a specified amount of time. Ordering products online or via infomercial (buying stuff at 2am while drunk happens!) is trickier for returns, so I do recommend trying more expensive products from a local store. You can try it from a tester, play with it for consistency, texture, or talk with a salesperson about it. But then it’s also local for returning it, if you absolutely don’t like it after taking it home.

But what do you do about products that currently may be taking up space in your closet, shower or drawers? Here’s some advice, and also some myth-busting tips:

1) Shower Gels or Bar Soaps- if you develop a rash from using, then either return or toss asap. Allergic reactions are nothing to mess with. But if you simply don’t like the scent, foaming factor, etc, then dump bubble bath or shower gel into a hand soap dispenser. These make great guest bathroom handsoaps, and don’t go to waste. Same with bar soaps – just use up by the sink.

2) Shampoo or Conditioner – if they just don’t work for your hair type, or if your scalp starts to itch, you can always use them to wash and condition the dog. If you bought them from your salon or stylist, see if they can give you a refund or exchange for different products. Human scalps can be sensitive to fragrances, and hair products are loaded with them. Shampoos could also double as hand soap, since they do clean and foam up. Conditioners also can double as shaving cream for legs.

3) Lipstick – all the rage is bright pink, but you feel like a clown wearing it? Or you thought that you could rock the ’90’s throwback brown Wet n’Wild shade that you spent all of your junior year in high school wearing, but it just doesn’t fit your vibe now? If you bought an expensive lipstick from a counter, see if they can give you a store credit. Or at least, you can give it a try as a cream blush. You can easily blend it in with a foundation brush, and layer a highlighter over it to give it some added effect and staying power. 

4) Eyeshadow Palette – I can tell you that in my 15 years in beauty, I’ve rarely met anyone who has used ALL shades within an eyeshadow palette equally. But if you are using one shade in the palette only, then look at using other shades as eyeliners, or matte brown shades as brow colors. Don’t ever feel pressured that if you don’t have a makeup palette, you aren’t doing makeup “right”. There are a couple of celebrities that don’t ever wear eyeshadow – and you probably can’t tell the difference.

5) Bronzer – similarly with eyeshadow, not everyone loves contouring or the sun-kissed look. If you have a bronzer you just don’t like, give it a try as an eyeshadow. 

6) Nail Polish – guilty of having a ton of nail polishes, but using only 2 shades routinely? Give these a try at Easter for decorating eggs with the kids, or try some fun crafts at home (vases, pottery, canvases) that normally call for acrylics. If they are old, and liquids are separating, then toss!

7) Facial Moisturizers or Serums – these make fantastic anti-aging treatments for your hands. Our hands often get neglected from the same care we give our faces – but the wear and tear on our hands is so easy to detect. Hands often show the first signs of aging, especially with sun damage. If you spent a lot on face cream and just don’t love it, give it a try as a nightly hand treatment.

My biggest tip of all is to know what you are comfortable with and stick to it. If you feel like you got “oversold” by visiting a makeup counter or a beauty store, then make a visit back with the products and give them a chance to make it right – based on what you like. As a former counter manager, I would rather have my customers happy and coming back, rather than fear approaching the counter at all. 

© 2016 28daysbeauty

Product Review: Mario Badescu skincare

Mario Badescu skincare has been a long time favorite for many, especially in it’s home town of New York City. One of the reasons I’ve grown to like the brand over the years is that they have very specific, problem-solving products to address most skincare needs. Here are some of the products I’ve used to target specific concerns, and had good results with.


skincare, mario badescu, cleanser, toner
great problem-solvers from Mario Badescu
If your skin is hyper sensitive, or you suffer from rosacea, the Keratoplast Cream Soap is a fantastic product to soothe and cleanse without irritation. This soap will not foam up much, but it is creamy and purifying. I do recommend using makeup remover wipes or micellar cleansing water to thoroughly remove any SPF or makeup products prior to using this soap, just to ensure a proper cleansing. But Keratoplast known to reduce redness and irritation, and help keep sensitive skin soothed.

If you have combination or oily skin, the Cucumber Cleansing Lotion makes for a great toner. I recommend this if you feel you need something a little more high-powered than witch hazel. I also tend to use this more in summer, or more humid climates, since this will help cut down on oil production in the skin. My step-daughter and husband particularly like it, as it also helps to control breakouts. Use this as a toner on a cotton pad, after cleansing, and before moisturizer.

My favorite eye cream is from Mario Badescu, so I’m always on the lookout for their products. Since it’s good to continually evaluate the needs of your skin over time, you may also find that exploring options for targeting specific concerns will give you better and faster results. Luckily, you can usually find this brand easily, and see if these solutions work for you. 

© 2015 28daysbeauty 

Beauty Topic: Allergies & Beauty Products

As this year is already proving to be one of the worst allergy seasons on record, I wanted to discuss a topic that is critical to understand. Allergy sufferers can actually make their allergies or skin reactions (like hives, rashes, swollen eyes, etc) worse, if they don’t understand the ingredients within their beauty products. And I’m talking head to toe too. From my days in the spa, working with a brand that starts with an “A”, and is derived from the word “Ayurveda”, it was very common for me to come across clients who suffered from allergic reactions to their beauty products and would ask questions during treatments. Plus, I am one of them, myself.

I have to laugh sometimes when I hear the comment “I use all-natural products, because they’re safer.” Nope, sorry, not true. For example, poison ivy and poison oak are natural substances. A bee sting is a natural substance. And all of these can cause serious allergic reactions. If you suffer from hay fever, pollen, or have plant-based allergic reactions (like grasses or flowers), my suggestion is to stay away from “Botanical” or “natural” beauty brands since their most active ingredients are coming from plants that may cause you a reaction. Same with bee-derived products. In summer, my mother has to carry an EpiPen with her in case she gets stung by a bee, to avoid a visit to the emergency room. Therefore, she also avoids any products with beeswax, bee venom, or royal jelly – all of which are commonly used ingredients , and the main focus for a very well-known national brand. Allergic to shellfish? Watch out for marine-based beauty brands. Have a nut or soy allergy? Read the labels of your products for nut butters or soy protein.

I’m not bashing or degrading all-natural or organic beauty brands. Having worked for several of them, I can tell you that there are better ways to do your homework in finding great products to use, rather than just trusting a brand’s marketing. I was introduced to the Environmental Working Group in beauty school, back in 2000, and their “Skin Deep Guide” has become my bible in helping me make good decisions in trying everything from shampoo to lip gloss. You can access the product information at, and clicking on the Skin Deep Guide to enter searches of brands or products. Or my favorite is using their free app, which allows your phone to scan a product’s barcode. For example, one of the most effective, gentle, and least allergen-containing beauty products on the market is Dove Sensitive Skin bar soap. EWG gives it a rating of 2 out of 10, with being closest to zero as optimal. Check it out for yourself, especially if you are an allergy sufferer. It will help you make decisions best for you and your family.

©2015 28daysbeauty 

Beauty Topic: Exfoliation

This is a topic that is often misunderstood within a skincare regimen. One of the primary reasons is because there are so many options to choose from that it’s easy to be confused about what to use. As an esthetician, I would often recommend that people try a few of the options (one at a time) to decide ultimately what works best for them, and delivers the best results for their skin type.

Before I speak to my favorite options out there, let me clarify two important points that everyone should know: 1) yes, it is possible to exfoliate too much (creates irritation), and 2) if you have rosacea or severe acne then you need to ensure your dermatologist helps determine what is best for you.

Physical exfoliators are also referred to as scrubs, sponges, or brushes. Think of them as polishing agents – they will remove dead skin and debris by using granular beads, fibers or bristles to create the exfoliation. I especially like these for dry skin, since flakes and small clogs will easily roll off the skin surface. Tip: use in the shower up to 2x a week on clean skin to start.

My favorite physical exfoliators are:

– Clinique 7-Day Scrub Cream – creamy and gentle, and great for all skin types

– Konjac sponges by Eco-Tools – these are made with Konjac vegetable fibers, and are all the rage in Asia. Gentle enough to use everyday with your cleanser, they are incredibly smooth on the skin’s surface.

– June Jacobs Radiant Refining Exfoliating Powder – this is similar to the ancient practice of rice powders being used in Asia to polish skin. This can be used on it’s own (creates a creamy polish with water), but I really love adding it to my Cetaphil or CeraVe creamy cleansers to brighten and clarify.

Chemical exfoliators are also referred to as peels, serums and solutions. These products rely mostly on alpha or beta-hydroxy acids (glycolic, salicylic, etc), retinoids (vitamin A), or enzymes (papaya) to create a non-physical reaction on the skin that loosens dead skin, clogs, and minimizes wrinkles. Tip: use at night to gain the most repair and avoid sun sensitivity during the day.

My favorite chemical exfoliators are:

– bliss That’s Incredi-‘peel’! pre-soaked pads – these use glycolic acid to refine skin and brighten. I love using them at night, after toning and before moisturizing.

– Olay Regenerist Serum Fragrance-Free (not pictured) – this serum is silky and instantly smooths. Use at night before moisturizing, and it helps boost hydration.

All of these can be used down the neck and chest to help brighten and give anti-aging effects. Men may also like these products as they help smooth skin, reduce ingrown hairs from shaving, and keep skin clear. Ultimately, the best advice I can give you on this is to be gentle to your skin – exfoliation is an essential step, but shouldn’t be overdone. Find something you like, and it will be like having a mini-facial on a weekly basis.

My favorite exfoliators & scrubs

©2015 28daysbeauty 

Beauty Topic: Facial Cleansers

My top picks for sensitive skin types.
One of the most common questions I receive from people is, “which cleanser is best for sensitive skin?” The answer is, “that depends.” Not to frustrate people, but it truly is the answer – not all skin is the same, and there are varying degrees of sensitivity. But, there are a few common qualities that make my favorites standout from the huge variety on the market. Plus, depending on what season you’re in, or the current condition of your skin, the choice for a cleanser may change often to fit your needs.

Here’s the common qualities of cleansers that I find work best:

1) NO fragrance. Fragrance is a known allergen.

2) Mild and easy to rinse/wash off – no waxes or heavy emollients that would leave residue behind.

You’ll notice that I’m not listing much else – well, think of it this way: a cleanser needs to be able to thoroughly remove dirt, debris, oil, dead skin and makeup from your face without causing irritation. Then it goes down the drain. My philosophy is to keep your cleanser simple and effective, and then invest in higher-powered treatments to do the heavy lifting. Plus, what I am recommending are proven to work.

Not all of top picks below are in the photo above, but I’ve listed them per skin type. And yes, sensitive skin can still have other concerns like acne, oiliness, etc. Choose based on your combination of needs:

Dry Skin

Use: Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser or CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser – both are amazingly gentle, yet effective. If you want more of an Anti-aging product, go with CeraVe. The ceramides and sodium hyaluronic acid provide powerful benefits to combat fine lines. Tip: apply to dry skin and work into a mild lather, then rinse.

Combination Skin

Use: Miracle Skin Transformer Hydroactive Cleanser or Clinique Mild Facial Soap. Both comfort dry patches and control oily areas. If you also want an Anti-aging product, go with Miracle Skin Transformer.

Oily Skin

Use: Trader Joe’s Nourish All-In-One Facial Cleanser or CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser. Both are amazingly refreshing, yet will not strip the skin. For an Anti-aging benefit, go with CeraVe.

Another interesting aspect of these cleansers listed is that they all will help combat acne. Wash 2x a day  (AM and PM) for the maximum results, and give your skin about 4 weeks to adjust to a new product. After cleansing, be sure to sure to treat and moisturize accordingly (more about this soon). These cleansers are all tried and true – I am sure you’ll find a favorite in one of them.

©2015 28daysbeauty