Beauty Topic: Dry brushing & argan oil for healthy skin

With the arrival of fall weather, many people cringe at the thought of their dry skin getting worse. There are few tools that you may not be familiar with, but that are very effective at keeping skin healthy, glowing, and conditioned – dry brushing and argan oil. Both are actually ancient practices, dating back to Middle Eastern and Japanese cultures. But in our Western culture, it’s not something that has been usually taught or recognized in our day-to-day lives. When attending beauty school, I learned about both of these topics as means as both treatments and a healthy routine to adopt daily. Plus, they are easy and affordable to use!

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Let’s talk about dry brushing first: this is a method of lightly brushing the skin with a specially designed brush to gently exfoliate body skin, and promote a healthy lymphatic system. There are a bunch of YouTube videos and websites that talk about techniques on how to brush, as well as recommendations on the type of brush. For me, I love Sephora’s Dry Body Brush ($14), since it has a easy to grip design with two circular sections. Dry brushing should occur in the morning, and only take you about 3-5 minutes total. I do caution people with hyper sensitive skin that 3 minutes is usually enough – you don’t want to over-stimulate the skin, or risk irritation. For basic technique, start near the tops of your feet, using the larger of the brush’s sections to start circular, quick motions up your legs and body. I then use the smaller section on my arms, chest and shoulders in the same circular motions. After brushing, shower as normal. The benefits from routine brushing include helping to stimulate circulation, improve lymphatic flow, detox the body, and reducing the appearance of cellulite.

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And now let’s chat about argan oil: this oil has been used for centuries in Morocco, in both food and cosmetics. You will see it named or packaged differently within the beauty industry as Moroccan oil or argan oil, but it is essentially the same thing. Argan oil has a high content of Vitamin E, fatty acids, and is more resistant to oxidation than other plant oils, such as olive oil. But the benefit is that it’s easily absorbed into skin, and helps promote healthy moisture balance and skin cells. Some people do dry brush after applying oil to the skin – but I’ve found that this just makes the dry brush a bit gross after a few uses. So, I prefer the other common method of dry brushing first, showering, and then applying oils or lotion after showering. I don’t usually use argan oil just on its own – I especially like to boost my body lotion with a few drops of oil (combining both in the palm of my hand) to help my skin hold moisture. Argan oil mimics the skin’s own sebum, but it does not cause clogging even within combination or oily skin types. I love Trader Joe’s Argan Oil, which is a steal at $6.99. There’s no added fragrance that would irritate skin – it’s just pure, organic argan oil!

Another benefit to having a bottle of argan oil on hand is that it helps tame frizzy hair (just a drop or two), heal dry cuticles, and boosts the effectiveness of any moisturizer. I don’t recommend using it on the face during the day, for two reasons. One, if you have somewhat oilier skin, this can cause your makeup to slide a bit or not last the full day. And two, oil breaks down SPF protection – which you should be wearing during each day! Unless you have extremely dry skin, I suggest using argan oil on your face at night if you typically wear a full face of makeup.

Give these a try, especially if you typically suffer from dry, itchy skin. It’s also great practice to keep up with year round – you’ll notice smoother, radiant skin without having to spend that much!

© 2017 28daysbeauty

Product Review: ULTA Silicone Sonic Facial Cleansing Device

Per my previous blog post, I’ve been able to try quite a few new products in the past 2 months. One of those products includes the ULTA Silicone Sonic Facial Cleansing Device, which I picked up during a sale on ulta.com. With the craze in skincare tools emerging over the last few years, including the Foreo silicone tools, I figured I would try a lower cost version to see how it stacks up against higher-priced brands. The concept and benefits are similar to rotating facial cleansing brushes, but the vibration used within the silicone separates these tools a bit in capability.

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Facial brushes are all designed to clarify skin, breakup embedded dirt and makeup, and remove loose skin cells. Rotating bristles do have the risk of causing irritation, as even the most gentle brushes can disrupt sensitive skin if used too much. Exfoliation is great, but it must be used in moderation to not disturb the skin’s natural moisture barrier. If there are micro-tears or irritation, this can lead to breakouts or rash. The concept behind a silicone tool is to gently exfoliate and polish with small, rounded “nubs”, but also utilize vibration to stimulate circulation and lymph flow within the skin. The silicone used in this tool is anti-microbial, and is safe for sensitive skin. There are 2 speeds in the tool for level of vibration – the higher the speed, the more exfoliation. This can be used for cleansing, or helping the skin to absorb serums and moisturizers. I use this mostly for cleansing, and the tool is water-resistant so I keep it in a dry corner of the shower. Here’s a few tips for using the tool to cleanse:

  • Use a foaming cleanser: lather up the cleanser in your hands and massage over skin. Wet the brush and turn on to the level of vibration you like – rub lightly over skin to spread the lather, and work gently into corners like the edges of your nose.
  • Use for about a minute, and make sure to rinse the brush well.
  • If your skin is very sensitive, I recommend only using 1x a day.

The reason I recommend lathering cleansers is that I’ve found they work best with the tool. A creamy cleanser tends to get a bit “stuck” in the nubs of the brush, so it doesn’t benefit your skin as much as the suds will. If you are interested in using the tool to help your skin absorb serums or moisturizers, you’ll need to make sure it’s clean and dry between each use. The theory behind using it for those products is that it stimulates quicker absorption into the skin cells. My advice is to apply the serum or moisturizer to your skin first, and massage in and then use the tool until fully absorbed. For us sensitive-skinned peeps, just be sure you don’t over-do it. Any time that circulation is increase you’ll naturally see a rosier glow on the skin. But don’t mistake it for irritation or a rash! My advice is to work this tool in gradually to your skincare routine, and see what your skin responds to best. I found that after using for several weeks with my favorite foaming cleansers that I noticed my skin was polished and had a nice, smooth texture. I’ve also used this while washing my shoulders, chest and top of my back, as it helped with exfoliation of drier skin from being outdoors.

In comparison to bristle brushes, I do like the silicone alternative – I think it’s much gentler and better for troubled or sensitive skin. I will say that this tool doesn’t deliver as precise a clean as the Foreo tools do – those have a wedge-shaped tip that can get into the nooks and crannies of your nose and contours of your face. But if you are looking for an overall clean for polishing, or are new to skincare tools, I think this is a good entry-level product.

© 28daysbeauty 2017

Beauty Topic: Beauty Tools (part 1 – Skincare)

In the last 5 years, the beauty industry has exploded with various tools to help you achieve results previously only found through spa, salon, and dermatologist office services. But the question I get asked all of the time is “are the tools worth it?” My goal is to help you navigate through the hundreds of choices out there by explaining the purpose behind these tools.

The next several posts of mine will address this as a category type of discussion, breaking down the tools per the beauty category they sit within. This first post will be about using tools as part of your daily skincare routine.

 

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Any skin type has to be careful with how much exfoliation is incorporated into the skincare routine. Per my previous posts on exfoliation, there are two types of exfoliation: chemical and physical. Facial cleansing brushes and Konjac sponges are physical exfoliators. They just happen to work with your cleanser to amp up the cleansing process, but also exfoliate at the same time. My favorite way to look at this is as ‘power tools’ vs. ‘manual labor’.
Rotating or sonic facial brushes range in price, technology, and intensity. If you use a sonic toothbrush, you know how deeply it cleans – but also how your gums have a couple of weeks of getting used to the high-intensity cleansing action. So, if you have rosacea or other hyper-sensitive skincare concerns, I recommend going the manual labor route by using a Konjac sponge, if you are wanting a deeper clean. Reason being is that you have much more control over much exfoliation you are receiving. Also, Konjac sponges are incredibly gentle and smooth to the skin’s surface – you’d really have to scrub hard to cause irritation. Facial brushes are a great option if your skin can take a little more physical action, and I’ve found great results with the non-sonic, rotating versions. Not that sonic isn’t a great choice, but I wanted to try something bit less pricey to incorporate into my daily routine. Back in my spa days, I would use brushes that were literally the same technology on my clients during facial services. Sonic versions are a bit more pricey, due to advanced technology, and are best used with foaming cleansers. Think of sonic brushes as truly high-powered tools for cleansing the skin – they also often have an auto-shutoff function to prevent you from doing too much.

If you’d like to try these tools out, here are my tips for use before you purchase:

  • If price is a concern, Konjac sponges or rotating brushes are most affordable
  • If you get a rotating or sonic facial brush, make sure to get one that offers more than just 1 speed – this gives you more control over intensity if you have sensitive skin
  • Make sure the tool has a place to dry properly after use. I keep mine in my shower caddy, so that it can air dry easily
  • Foaming cleansers work best with both facial brushes & sponges 
  • If you start using one of these tools daily, you’ll find that you don’t need to use scrubs or peels as often – you are getting a daily exfoliation instead 
  • Don’t overdo it!! For example, I use my facial brush in the morning, but at night, I cleanse, tone, and then apply an anti-aging serum (chemical exfoliator), as it will address other skin concerns at a deeper level in the skin while I sleep. I found this balance keeps my skin from getting irritated.
  • Lastly, replace brush heads or Konjac sponges every 3 months, like you would your mascara or toothbrush

You will find that your skin is more polished, smoother, clearer, and brighter with regular use of a cleansing tool. And logically, yes, people that invest money into a tool are more often likely to use it, so therefore their skin will be in better condition with regular use. There are bunch of options out there, so if you are interested, I suggest giving a few a try to see what works best for you. 

© 28daysbeauty 2015