Skin-Care Secrets, and a Kitchen-Chemical Peel

skin care

Winter can be a rather painful time for your skin. I’m pretty sure come December it’s wondering why you can’t hibernate. I know I wonder that every year. Cold, dry air is a quick killer for the lovely mien you’ve been working on all year, and add to that some Christmas stress and dark evenings and you’ve made a recipe for some not so pretty things.

All the Christmas movies and holiday ads show sparkling faces in cozy sweaters, but this is real-life people, and I don’t know about you but I definitely don’t look like a beautiful snow bunny…I barely have the time, or the motivation, to add some mascara to these orbs.

So, if you’re out of time, out of caring, and SO out of money to run off to a spa for a nice facial before Christmas photos begin, here’s some cheap, quick, fix-your-skin tips:

tips, tricks, and homemade skin-secrets (shhhhhh!)

How to Look ExpensiveWhile I was reading my new favorite beauty-book, How to Look ExpensiveI kept running across some really fantastic tips. I picked out the ones you don’t need to buy another product for to share with you. I know some products do work wonders, but **confession** I am THE ABSOLUTE WORST with products. I buy them, see them on my shelf, and more often than not, never use them. For some reason, I can’t muster up the 20 extra seconds I would need to make them part of my routine. It’s terrible, I know, but it’s the truth. So, Without giving too many away, here’s a few of my no-new-product faves:

  • Don’t forget your neck, chest, arms, and hands. (tip via Dr. David Colbert) So true! Whatever you do to your face (moisturize, exfoliate, sunscreen) with your current products, apply them to these problem spots as well. I think we’ve all seen the ladies with a near-perfect face, and then you glance down at their chest and hands expecting a similar smoothness and instead are greeted by wrinkle-town.
  • Use ice to shrink breakouts. (tip via Nerida Joy, facialist). This ensures no scarring when trying to minimize pesky breakouts.   
  • Apply Afrin Nasal Spray to sooth irritated skin. (tip via Dr. Bobby Buka) Apparently the  ingredients in this product also reduce redness. Squeeze a few drops on your finger and rub over problem spots. Genius!
  • Starbucks napkins to reduce shine. Talk about multi-tasking: a coffee-stop and a fresh-face. Lustig says the texture of these napkins makes them the perfect de-shine face blotters. Yet another excuse for a caffeine stop, yay!
  • Green tea ice cubes to reduce dark circles. (tip via Dr. Bobby Buka) Massage two cubes of frozen green tea underneath each eye to reduce darkness.
  • Drink, sleep, and run. Lustig says dermatologists always emphasize that staying hydrated, getting at least twenty minutes of exercise, and sleeping seven to nine hours for the majority of your week is the quickest way to liven up a dull complexion.

Kitchen-chemical peel:

Lustig offers this little recipe for a DIY facial per the suggestion of Stacy Cox, a supposed skin-care guru. I was a little dubious, but since none of the ingredients sounded like they would have some horrifying side-effect, I gave it a try:

skin-care secrets

skin care secrets

I was expecting the mixture to be a bit thicker but the book didn’t offer any additional mixing directions besides stirring them together so that’s all I did. I kept rubbing as much as I could onto my face and then let it sit for about 20 minutes. The egg tightens your skin and makes it feel pretty strange, but when I rinsed it off with some warm water my skin was fantastically smooth. So, what did it do?

Esthetician Answers

skin-care secretsThis girl says milk is a fabulous skin softner and great for hydrating during the winter months. She should know too, since she’s a licensed esthetician. Natural things like apple juice also are rich in vitamins that your skin loves. And the egg? Even though I was a bit grossed out by slapping it onto my face, it actually serves as a firming mask. Reagan says natural ingredients are always the best, so when you do go out in search of new products, stay away from the chemicals. She says sodium laurel sulfate is in many intense cleansers that are meant to get rid of acne, but actually, it often dries the skin out too much causing more build-up of dead skin cells and clogged pores: yuck!

If you’re wanting to stay in the kitchen for your skin-care, Reagan says an avocado mask is always a great idea for hydration, and for a scrub? mix cornmeal, honey, olive oil, yogurt, and any type of fruit. I’m always excited to try out something new, especially if I can just wander into my pantry and emerge with a new face! Happy new complexion everyone-

– <3 A.

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E.L.F. products  
Tips from a November Baby                 Nailed It 

Tips from a November-Baby

I celebrated my birthday over this past weekend. Even though I always say that I hate how the weather never cooperates with my dreams of being forced to snuggle inside to hide from the frigid outside, I have to say it’s pretty nice to be able to take the party outdoors even though I’m a November-baby. For once, thanks California.

This year I celebrated pretty casually. A game of croquet that suddenly became a race to who could beat the Birthday Girl the fastest-I lost, a lot –homemade bread and a pasta-dinner made by my wonderful mother, some black and white, pink and mint, brownies and lemon bars, trick-candles (thanks mum), and sharing the day with my favorite people.

party tablescape



owl ornament

homemade bread in five minutes

mirror made of paper

I was showered with love and beautiful things. One thing I thought would be perfect to share with my blog-friends though was my gift from this girl:

how to look expensive by andrea lustig

She lived up to her reputation of impeccable candle scents. Her choice of Calvin Klein’s “Winter Fruit” was pretty spectacular. She also gave me the book How to Look Expensive by Andrea Pomerantz Lustig. The book is packed with info and tips on how to look expensive even if you have a very cheap budget.

How to Look Expensive

Lustig gives the classic “splurge” and “save” suggestions so you can choose where you want to skimp a bit and where you want to spend more. While I was browsing through the makeup section, I kept noticing that a lot of her “save” suggestions were E.L.F. products.

I was kind of surprised actually. I’ve bought E.L.F products before but that’s mostly because I cringe at spending $10 on a new eye-shadow color that I will probably hate anyway so I try it out for $1 instead. According to Lustig though, they actually make pretty good stuff!

Two of her “save” options from E.L.F. really caught my attention:

E.L.F. products

She recommended these two products as a “save” option if you’re looking to try a primer or a highlighter. With all of the new makeup products now, by the time you’ve bought concealer, powder, foundation, primer, highlighter, eye-brightener, and moisturizer, you could have spent a small fortune and only have tackled skin products! According to Lustig though, with the primer you get a nice base to apply your more expensive foundation to, and the illuminator gives your skin some glow instead of covering it with a matte powder all the time.

It wasn’t in the book, but I use some of E.L.F’s brushes as well as their eyelash curler and you seriously cannot beat the price. And, unless you are a bit of a makeup snob, they are also perfectly good utensils. I don’t know about you but I’d much rather spend my cash on something other than a fancy eyeshadow brush.

– <3 A.