April 18, 2017

Made in the Shade!

Growing up close to the beach, I spent summer vacations taking swimming lessons every day. Rain or shine, my friends and I headed to the beach to swim, eat lunch on the sand, and hang out!  Not once in all the years I spent at the beach, did I ever apply sunscreen.  I don’t remember hearing about sunscreen, but I do remember the Coppertone commercials and according to my mother, I didn’t need it, I had Mediterranean skin.  When I got older and realized that I could cut down on tanning time by covering a record album with tin foil. I adopted the habit of using a foil covered record album as a reflector.  Another genius  plan I adopted was purchasing baby oil and iodine mixed together.  I would generously slather on this concoction of  aromatic magic lotion and wait and bake until the golden goddess results appeared!  

 

Unfortunately, as I got older, I did notice that more products were advertised to protect you from the sun.  Yet,  I never paid attention to the advertisements and continued to use oil to tan, without any sun protection factor (SPF).  As time marched on I continued to spend weekends at the beach and even spent my honeymoon on a tropical island!  I love the beach and swimming in salt water!  Even though I am a teacher and have more discretionary time during the summer, my beach time is now limited mainly to walking early mornings or early evening, not laying in the suns direct rays! 

Well, a few weeks ago I visited a dermatologist with a skin complaint which I swore would be a result of the rheumatoid arthritis.  As with any complaint I  have, I automatically assign blame to RA. The dog ran away; we are out of milk; or, being late for work!(RA may have something to do with this!)  But it certainly was a surprise when my biopsy results came back with a diagnosis of solar keratosis.  So, no big deal I think, I’m being treated for solar keratoses, I’m told that; “This is very common for people in this area and age bracket.”  The symptoms, scaly lesions are the result of long-term sun exposure and sun damage, common on fair-skinned people, this made sense to me!  What is most upsetting is this was preventable!  So now, in addition to seeing my  dermatologist more often, I will  follow rigorous preventative measures, to ensure I don’t further damage my skin.

What is most upsetting to me now, is the fact that the information was available decades ago on how to protect myself from the sun.  For whatever reason, I decided this message did not apply to me, and now I have another health concern to deal with.   

So now I would like to share some of the preventative measures that were explained to me. These suggestions may be of some help to you in preventing skin cancer and premature aging. 

Seek shade/cover up when the sun’s rays are the strongest, 10 am to 2 pm.

Wear Sun Protection Factor (SPF)/sunscreen of 30 or higher on exposed skin, and make sure that your sunscreen protects against UVA rays (cause premature aging/wrinkles and dark spots) and UVB rays (they burn your skin).  

Wear sunglasses and any hat as part of your summer uniform.

Avoid ultraviolet light tanning beds.

Use common sense!

I for one will continue to go to the beach. Instead of sitting in the direct rays of sun, I will be comfortably seated, reading my books, under a very large umbrella.

April 4, 2017

NEW MASK REVIEWS!

In a previous blog post, Cold Weather Skincare Update!   I shared my impressions of the Sephora Mask Products that I used. I felt that all the products lived up to their intended purpose, and were reasonably priced.  Recently, I came upon some great new products that are considerably less expensive and just as effective or better, by Daylogic and Yes. Daylogic, is a personal care and beauty product line exclusively available at Rite Aid  for a price of $2.99 per application. What a bargain? I selected four to try.  What impressed me most about the product was the packaging, the easy readability, and easy to locate information that would prompt you to purchase the product was front and center.  All individual packets are labeled on top with the amount of time needed for results.  Packing is also clearly labeled with the type of mask it is, what the mask will do, and what it contains and does not contain.  For the price, I had nothing to lose!  I also purchased two Yes masks that I had read about for the same price, these are my impressions of the six products I’ve purchased repeatedly over the previous month!

 Daylogic Rejuvenate Facial Creme Mask

Onto a clean face, apply a thin, even, layer of the mask onto your face avoiding eyes and lips. Leave mask on for 15 minutes (I left it on longer, it felt good!), then rinse with water.  The mask is creamy and has a slight pleasant scent.  I have combination dry skin, I felt the mask was moisturizing and left my smooth and refreshed.  Definitely worth the $2.99.

Daylogic Glow Facial Peel Off Mask 

This mask is intended to reduce the appearance of enlarged pores, as well as removing excess dirt and oil with purifying tea tree extract, revealing a more refined complexion.  I really don’t know the difference between tea tree extract or tea tree oil, I only know that this facial peel is sulfate, paraben & artificial dye free, but it is not a natural product.  I do know that masks and other products that contain tea tree oil that I have read about, are considerably more expensive than this product.  I do know that I had no adverse reaction from using this product on my extremely sensitive skin.  This clear gel, that I sparingly applied, peeled off 20+ minutes later left my skin smooth and refreshed.  

Daylogic Bright Eyes Gel Eye Mask

Unlike the Sephora eye/lip paper masks, the Daylogic product is a gel patch that was much easier to apply, and it was not messy in any way!  There is a slight pleasant scent to this mask even though it is labeled as fragrance free.  When the mask was removed, I was pleasantly surprised with positive results, it definitely diminished my dark circles around my eyes.  I use this mask at least twice per week.

Daylogic Illuminate Gel Eye Mask

The gel eye mask magically reduces under eye puffiness.  I use this product on the occasions of the morning after a difficult time staying asleep due to pain.  It could be a combination of starting as such a distressed point that this product is so remarkable or that it just is, you be the judge!

 

Yes to Coconut Hydrate & Restore Paper Mask & Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Detoxifying       Charcoal Paper Mask

Paper masks are not my favorite, but the reasonable price and the enticement of detoxifying my skin with charcoal was reason enough to give the Yes masks a whirl!  I started off with the coconut ultra hydrating paper mask because I was particularly dry that day.  I was not impressed with the coconut hydrate mask, it began to feel uncomfortable within minutes, was not positioned properly on my face, it was an annoying experience.  I didn’t keep it on my face long enough to have an opinion about the mask!  A few days later I read/reread the directions on the Yes to Tomatoes Clear Skin Detoxifying Charcoal Paper Mask before the application.  I felt the tingling, but left the mask on.  I was not distracted by the tingling feeling because I carefully applied the mask, and before I knew it, the tingling subsided.  When the mask was removed I was left with a ruddy complexion and unimpressed with both of these products.

I have no regrets trying these new products!  I know I’ll probably never purchase another Yes mask, but I do love their cucumber soothing hypoallergenic facial wipes. Daylogic gel masks will be in my refrigerator, ready for my weekly indulgences.  It is always exciting trying new products, especially when there is a minimal investment.  Trying new product allows you to appreciate the quality of the products you currently use or add new favorites to your arsenal of besties!

 

March 21, 2017

BOX OF STYLE

Last week I blogged about my new experience with the Birchbox subscription service, a box of selected samples of makeup and beauty related products, that are sent to you each month.  What I didn’t share in last week’s blog is that I also subscribed to Box of Style The Zoe Report!  Box of Style The Zoe Report  is a quarterly subscription service that delivers each box filled with fashion, beauty, and lifestyle items that will upgrade the wardrobe you already own.  If you subscribe to the Box of Style, you are getting a box of items put together by Rachel Zoe for each season of the year. My subscription started with the spring box.  All items are anchored around a “Hero” piece.  The cost of this subscription is $99.99 each season/$400 yearly, and it can be cancelled at anytime. It is advertised that the total value of the products are over $400/box.  I received my first box last week and here are my impressions of what was sent.

Tribe Alive Custom Carryall, retail value: $238

♦This is the “Hero” piece; the bag is constructed with hand-woven cotton, fully lined, brass zippers, and leather trim.  It has one interior zippered compartment and two open side pockets.  It is surprisingly light in weight, roomy, and the picture does not do it justice. Tribe Alive was founded by Carly Burson. She partners with female artisans to help employ impoverished women at fair-trade wages.

Tatcha Polished Rice Enzyme Powder, retail value: $65

I was ecstatic when I found Tatcha Polished Rice Enzyme Powder in this box.  I’ve used different brands of exfoliating powders, and I knew this one was the best. I currently use this product.  The rice based powder activates when it comes into contact with water, you massage in circular motion and the powder becomes a creamy foam.  Rinse with water and you now have a soft and smoother complexion.  I use this at bedtime.  It is a great exfoliator, but even better, this was a full size bottle of the product.  Tatcha was founded by Victoria Tsai.  

Adornmonde Ivo Earrings, retail value: $62

 ♦These are a pair of convertible earrings/ear jackets.  They are a bar bell stud design, with an open circle ear jacket.  They are very nice, but are just not my style.  Adornmonde was founded by Niki Allworth, she designs limited edition jewelry.  

BKR 500ml Water Bottle, retail value: $35

♦When I opened the box and saw the glass water bottle, I was disappointed.  I had already destroyed two infusion water bottles and didn’t think I’d have better luck with this one.  The silicone cover is thick and has protected the bottle.  Yes, I’ve dropped it already, but I like it!   The lid does not leak, and the cap has a comfortable carrying ring.  The bottle and  silicone cover are easy to clean.  All glass water bottles are heavy, a small price to pay for an eco-friendly product! BKR, founded by Tol Winter and Kate Cutler.

Symology Scarf, retail value: $50

A great accent to any outfit.  Love the gold and berry color, and the softness of this scarf. This scarf can be used as a hair tie, on a bag, or draped loosely around your neck. Symbology was founded by Marissa Heyl.

butter London Piece of Cake Nail Polish, retail value:$18

Absolutely adore this nail lacquer!  I’ve only recently started using it and was very pleased to find this in the Box of Style.  What makes this lacquer so great is that it promotes stronger and healthier nails while being chip and fade resistant.  butter London does not add the following chemicals to their lacquer:   Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, DBP, Toluene, Camphor, Ethyl Tosylamide, Xylene, and TPHP.   butter London was founded by Sasha Muir with the help of Nonie Creme.

The Spring Box  pleasantly surprised me!  I was anxious to know whether I had made a good decision when subscribing to this service, and now I anxiously await the summer edition!

Hopefully the end of Winter!

     

March 14, 2017

FIRST IMPRESSIONS!

Dealing with rheumatoid arthritis and all the negative effects it can have on one, both physically and mentally have been a challenge.  This challenge has led to my ingenuity to bet RA at its own game!  Not all individuals with chronic illnesses choose to acquiescence and live the symptoms of the condition.  Other than the pain and suffering it sometimes causes, I am most interested in thwarting the physical manifestations of the condition!  I don’t mean camouflaging swelling or disfiguration, I’m talking cosmetic appearance.   Many individuals with active chronic diseases choose to continue actively in their pre-diagnostic world, and I’m one of them!  My pre-chronic illness was full of superficial choices, now, all choices are determined on how they may adversely affect me.  Since health and beauty products are pricey, and there are times that a product did not work out, a viable option was to sign up for the Birchbox, and test drive products!  

Birchbox is a health and beauty product subscription service which sends you a box with five samples, each month.  The service is reasonably priced at $10/month or $99/annually. This is a modest investment to ensure that a make-up or skincare product agrees with you. Even though cosmetics are returnable, not all cosmetic representatives are amenable when you return a product.  So, I signed on February 23rd, and within weeks, I received the March Birchbox!  

The attractive box contained:

♥amika Silken Up Dry Conditioner

Used this product to refresh my hair in between washes (used as a dry shampoo).  The conditioner made my hair look as if I just dried it, with a lovely aroma.  Satisfied, would probably purchase this product.

Coastal Scents® Revealed Smoky Eye Shadow

The sample of the eyeshadow contained only two of the four shades of the full size version. I was able to create a smokey/muted eye, with the two shades.  The eyeshadow is easily blendable and can be worn sheer or built to a bold intensity. 

Davines OI Shampoo and Conditioner

Single foil packets of the shampoo and conditioner, both paraben and sulfate free. Comparing the results of Davines shampoo and conditioner, to my Living Proof products, resulted in no obvious difference.

Davines OI All in One Milk

A post shower leave-in treatment, a couple of spritz and I dried my hair.  It is a weightless conditioner that gave my hair body and shine.  I really liked this product.  

♥Real Chemistry Fresh-Start Foaming Cleanser

A cream-to-foam cleanser that gently cleansed while nourishing, left my skin soft and supple with a light and fresh grapefruit scent.

Coola® Mineral Face SPF30 Unscented Matte Tint

This is a tinted sunscreen/BB Cream with anti-aging benefits.  It is supposed to even your skin tone, I didn’t see it.  

So, that’s the whole contents of the box.  Whether I purchase any of these products, I can’t really say, but it certainly was worth the money to try them out.  There is no shipping and handling fees when you join annually. Even though stores have return policies and Sephora is very generous with samples, it makes me uncomfortable to go into stores and ask for samples or return disastrous products.  Having a box delivered once a month will keep me satisfied in my quest to find the best fitting products.

 

February 21, 2017

Is Makeup Really Good For You?

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think makeup was necessary or good!  I only wanted to wear makeup sparingly, on special occasions or Halloween, because I questioned how good it could be for my skin, since you needed special removers to clean it off your face. Well, being of a certain age; and dealing with the side effects of RA medications, my opinion has changed, I need makeup.  When I wear makeup I not only feel good, I get a boost of confidence that I need on difficult days, so if I feel good, I look good!

I’m extremely self-conscience of facial age spots, what better way to deal with them is to apply a tinted moisturizer containing protection from the sun.  It’s a win-win for me, I’m protecting my skin from the elements and camouflaging my facial imperfections.  I don’t apply makeup to display my physical attractiveness (remember I’m no Spring chicken) and I’m not trying to transform myself into something different from what I am.  I’ve just come to the conclusion, out of necessity that make-up lifts my spirit and makes me look put together and polished.   This being said, I’ve found the silver lining associated with wearing makeup, many products contain ingredients that are good for your skin.  Most of the products I purchase are anti-aging, contain antioxidants, and since they contain sunscreen, I can eliminate one product from my morning ritual.

NEIGHBORHOOD SQUIRELS 

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