The product you NEED in your skincare routine

Yes, I write about products all the time. So many options. BUT recently I started using something new…and you know what?

It’s not expensive, at all

It’s not exotic (aka hard to find)

You’ve heard of it before

It’s so simple, you prob won’t believe how great it is

I started using it after I ran out of a VERY overpriced serum. And I saw better results with this < $15 product than that $135 serum. It’s true – price ain’t nothing but a number.

Krystina, one of the (awesome!!) medical estheticians at Belle Sante Spa in Boston, MA –  suggested I try this product on my face instead of coconut oil. As a medical esthetician, Krystina, is a believer in science for skincare but she also promotes the benefits of natural skincare methods. This was one product she suggested as an easy and very beneficial add to any skincare routine.

Soooo, What is it?

  • JOJOBA OIL
  • The oil is derived from the Jojoba seed; although we call it an “oil” it’s actually a liquid wax
  • Want to know how to pronounce it properly? It’s one of life’s great mysteries – click here. I still can’t say it without laughing.
My favorite brand of Jojoba. Found at Whole Foods. This bottle will last forever

My favorite brand of Jojoba. Found at Whole Foods. This bottle will last forever

What type should you get? 

  • 100% pure jojoba (organic and/or pesticide-free); it has a light golden color. Some say it has a light nutty smell. The kind I use doesn’t smell like much at all – which I like

Why is it great?

  • Anti-inflammatory properties, helps to heal irritated skin (think: eczema, psoriasis, sunburns)
  • Anti-aging agent due to moisturizing & hydrating properties (without being too greasy)
  • Smaller molecular structure than coconut oil so it sinks into skin better. This was a BIG selling point for me. Coconut oil is great for hair and body – but jojoba oil is better suited for your face/neck
  • Anti-bacterial properties – given this, it helps fight acne and blemishes. I have not had a pimple since using this
  • Helps regulate production of sebum – which can help counter excess oil production, clogged pores etc.

When do I use it?

  • Every damn day. Day and night.
  • After I wash and tone – I apply this before my Skinceuticals Vitamin B serum. Then, I let it sit and then apply serum & moisturizer on top
  • It sinks it well but if there is excess for some reason – I blot with a tissue

How much do I use?

  • 2-3 drops or so for my entire face and neck
This is a few drops. It's far less greasy than coconut oil and absorbs much better - which is great esp if you use under moisturizer and make up

This is a few drops. It’s far less greasy than coconut oil and absorbs much better – which is great esp if you use under moisturizer and make up

Probably the most riveting video you’ll ever watch. I want you to see the texture of it and how it sinks in. I used only a couple drops for my hand – but you can see how well it spreads and sinks in. Side note: be gentle rubbing into your skin especially your face (for some reason, my application looks a little rough in this vid). See below:

Where can you get it?

    • I got mine at Whole Foods. I started with a baby sizes bottle and then upgraded to the 8oz size (pictured above). I like this brand: The JoJoba Company 
    • Random tip: when I want to travel with it – I squeeze some into a ziplock bag and double bag it.
    • You can also buy here:

Click here to buy —> Hobacare Jojoba Oil 8.45oz oil

I kid you not, this is an amazing product. For all the random creams and fancy serums I’ve tried – this is skincare simplicity at its best and it works.

There are other uses for jojoba that you can read about – including: eye make up remover, hair/moisturizing treatment, it is also a great carrier oil for massage!

Have you treated jojoba oil before? 

Tips from Mom: 1). pimple buster 2). power smoothie

She was my first and continues to be a go-to source for beauty and healthy lifestyle tips. She is my Mom – Jane!

 

one of my favorite pics of my Mom. Taken at my wedding. She looks so happy, bright, and beautiful!

one of my favorite pics of my Mom. Taken at my wedding. She looks so happy, bright, and beautiful!

From an early age, I always remember my Mom taking good care of her skin and having a good skincare regimen morning & night. One of my favorite things to do was play around with her vanity…so many things to try! It felt so glamorous sitting in that chair reaching into her brush jars, opening her lipstick draw, and testing all the products she had in there. This is also the seat where I over-plucked my eyebrows for the majority of my middle school and high school years. She had a great, magnified mirror soooo with some tweezers in hand I’d go to town on my brows – it was always a bad idea.

Now, I have a vanity of my own full of products and samples. And I always opt for professional brow styling vs. my own “design.” (Believe me, it’s worth the money to have a professional shape your brows.) One thing will never change though, I still look to my Mom for tips – and this weekend she shared 2 great ones…one is more skincare the other is more lifestyle/healthy living:

 

  1. If/when you get a bad pimple (I actually had one on my neck this past weekend – so gross) – she told me to crush up an ASPIRIN add some water to it and make a paste. Apply the paste directly to the pimple. Aspirin is derived from salicylic acid which has known anti-acne/anti-inflammatory properties. People have long used Aspirin topically (in small doses) to treat blemishes. Speaking from experience, I applied the paste to this cyst-like pimple for about 30 minutes. When I removed the paste, the pimple was definitely dried up and today it is in full healing mode (i.e. no more inflammation or the feeling that something is under the skin). I’m just going to put some triple antibiotic on it because it was seriously a painful red pimple that seemed to be infected. I find triple antibiotic ointment (used as a spot treatment) speeds up the heeling process without drying out my skin and within a day or so the scab (sorry, gross…but true) will dry up and flake off

 

I bought this marble mortar at HomeGoods for under $5! Originally, I bought it to smash up avocados but it's kinda small so instead I use it to crush up ASPIRIN! Clearly you don't need this but it's a handy tool

I bought this marble mortar at HomeGoods for under $5! Originally, I bought it to smash up avocados but it’s kinda small so instead I use it to crush up ASPIRIN! Clearly you don’t need this but it’s a handy tool

I use Bayer Aspirin for the paste - this is a mini bottle - less than $5 @ the pharmacy. Make sure to buy the TABLETS

I use Bayer Aspirin for the paste – this is a mini bottle – less than $5 @ the pharmacy. Make sure to buy the TABLETS

there is the Aspirin/water paste! Use a clean fingertip or Q-tip to apply to the blemish, let sit for 15-20 mins and wash off

there is the Aspirin/water PASTE! Use a clean fingertip or Q-tip to apply to the blemish, let sit for 15-20 mins, and wash off

  1. If you’re having trouble taking your vitamins – add them to your morning / daily smoothie. I have these large pre-natal vitamins I’ve been trying to choke down daily. I got them from The Honest Company. I like that they are more natural but the ‘serving size’ is 3 hard pills. I gag trying to put them down. So, using my Mom’s recommendation, I added them to my morning smoothie – which included some greens, coconut water, water, and frozen strawberries. I was able to get it all down easily! A high powered blender is key (I’m still wishing for the Vitamix) but just make sure you run the blender a few times and stir things around so that it can chop up the pills. I like that I got everything down at once – it was fun to make my smoothie even more super powered with vitamins!
Vitamins, Green Super Food mix by Amazing Grass, and my compact Cuisinart blender

Vitamins, Green Super Food mix by Amazing Grass, and my compact Cuisinart blender

upside down! I throw in a couple organic frozen strawberries to cool it down

upside down! I throw in a couple organic frozen strawberries to cool it down

I added some chocolate coconut water to sweeten it up

I added some chocolate coconut water to sweeten it up

don't forget some extra water to keep it from getting too thick

don’t forget some extra water to keep it from getting too thick

now, I a pic of the vitamins - I used my ring to show how big these babies are! I threw all 3 into the blender and boom - delish, refreshing smoothie. And I COULDN'T taste the vitamins!

now, I a pic of the vitamins – I used my ring to show how big these babies are! I threw all 3 into the blender and boom – delish, refreshing smoothie. And I COULDN’T taste the vitamins!

 

I hope you enjoy Jane’s tips. Do you have any beauty tips from your Mom? Please share!

Pumpkin face mask for Fall!

(I wrote this post the other day but then got sick and forgot to share it!)

 

Hope you like it!

Fall really hit me today. I don’t know what took so long – because things have been a little brisk around Boston for the last couple weeks, I went apple picking WEEKS ago, and the leaves have been turning for awhile. But today, with my boots on and a long sweater, I felt it. Ahhh, I love Fall.

With summer behind us, I like to try something new with my skincare routine. I’ve been in the market for a fruit enzyme exfoliator. The difference with a fruit enzyme exfoliator vs. a ‘regular’ exfoliator is that it uses fruit enzymes to break down and get rid of dead skin cells vs. using beads, grains, or seeds. I came across this lovely PUMPKIN exfoliating mask and BOOM I knew I had met my Fall-face-care match!!

Love it! And affordable! Andalou Naturals PUMPKIN Honey Glycolic Mask

Love it! And affordable! Andalou Naturals PUMPKIN Honey Glycolic Mask

What I like:

  • This mask is actually “Pumpkin Honey” yum!
  • Pumpkin enzymes have long been known to be great at breaking down dead skin cells so you can swipe em’ right off
  • No GMOs, gluten, parabens, petrochemicals, phthalates, sulfates, synthetic colors, dyes and fragrances
  • This cost me around $12 at Whole Foods. Pumpkin masks are known to be pricier so I was PSYCHED about this price point!
  • I’ve used it 2x – I can feel it tingling. When I wash it off my skin, my skin feels so fresh. And after each use people have mentioned my skin has a different glow to it. Ya! Noticeable results

How to use:

  • Cleanse and dry skin
  • Apply a healthy amount to dry skin
  • there it is - kind of looks like baby food!

    there it is – kind of looks like baby food!

  • Avoid eye and lip areas. I’d also suggest avoiding your nose if you’ve been blowing it alot and the skin is tender. I found it stung my nose :/ BUT, if my nose wasn’t raw – I’d totally suggest spreading all over it – because it’s within those creases that the mask can really do it’s work
  • Leave on for 10 minutes
  • Rinse with cool water (and I used a wash cloth too)
  • Your skin might be a bit red, but I found that it fades
  • Moisturize and go!

So, even if Fall isn’t your favorite season – this Fall mask is great any time of year. I’d recommend trying it out – sensitive, acne-prone, sun damagaed skin – whatever it is, we all need to get off those dead skin cells to help the new ones shine through. Happy Fall!

Tried & True: COCONUT OIL (read me!)

A few months back I was talking to my sister about ‘natural’ skin care products…she mentioned that she uses Coconut Oil every night on her face and neck. After this conversation, it seemed like Coconut Oil and its many benefits kept popping up. Finally, I gave into my curiosity and went to Whole Foods (my safe haven for truly ‘natural’ and high quality products) to get some Coconut Oil and try it out for myself. While I was there, one of the employees helped educate me on what to look for when buying Coconut Oil – she told me to look for 2 key things on the label (she also told me she uses it all over her body and for cooking!):

  • ORGANIC/Non-GMO: Organic certification lets you know the coconuts were grown as naturally as possible with no pesticides, artificial fertilizers or food additives. If you want 100% natural coconut oil, then this is what you should look for when you buy coconut oil

AND

  • COLD or EXPELLER PRESSED VIRGIN: This is also referred to as Expeller-pressed. This is one of the best ways to make virgin coconut oil since it doesn’t use solvents or chemicals to extract the oil from the coconut meat. When buying coconut oil, make sure to look for a product that’s cold-pressed

There are many different brands of Coconut Oil – and with that, many different labels and methods for production. However, if you make sure you look for these 2 key criteria, you will be buying the right quality Coconut Oil. In terms of where to buy, I’d recommend a natural food store such as Whole Foods. This is where I got mine, in the vitamin and supplement section, it is the Whole Foods 365 brand. Here is the exact one I use – I love this tub!!!:

Image

If you’ve read or heard anything about Coconut Oil – it seems to have many benefits and uses from hair/skin care to aiding in weight loss and proper digestion and metabolism. It can be consumed (in other words, used for cooking/as an ingredient) or used topically on the body for a variety of benefits. I have yet to cook with Coconut Oil but it can be used as a substitute for butter in some recipes and I know people who put it into smoothies or protein drinks (in small quantities!)

For me, I was most intrigued by the idea that Coconut Oil can be used on the skin…my initial thoughts were…OIL on my skin? That sounds like a break out situation. Am I going to be a shiny mess? But the more I read up on Coconut Oil – the better I felt about using it on my skin – the main benefits are linked to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid and the antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, properties of Coconut Oil.

So, I tried Coconut Oil over the course of a week and here are a few highlights:

  • You don’t need to refrigerate. It is an ‘oil’ but if kept at room temperature, it should stay in a congealed form which makes it easy to scoop up and apply. It is super smooth and spread easily
    • Beware: in warmer months, store in a cool place otherwise, it will liquefy which makes it really difficult to apply to the skin without making a mess
  • Depending on the size of the area you want to cover, you only need a small blob of Coconut Oil
    • For example, for my face, I use a dime size blob. It should sink into the skin within a few minutes, but if not, or if I accidentally apply to much, I swipe off the excess with a tissue
  • When first applied, it does leave a noticeable sheen on my skin…my technique is to give it a few minutes to sink in…then, should it still feel or look too greasy, I tissue some of it off…the key is, give it some time to sink in before applying anything else (i.e. make up/foundation or clothing)
    • If you’re scared of the sheen effect, apply at night and it’ll sink into your skin during the night
  • It has a very light, if non-existent scent. It’s natural so clearly it has no added perfume – perfumes can be really irritating to the skin
  • The brand of Coconut Oil I bought is approx. $11 and depending how often you use it/how much you use, it will last for months. My lasts about 3 months – I use it everyday all over my face and body. So, it is very affordable! This is big for me because I’ve bought $20 tubes of fancy a$$ body lotion that last 3 weeks max., BOOoo!

Overall, this is how I feel about using Coconut Oil as a skincare product –

  • Although I was nervous to put an ‘oil’ on my skin, especially my face – I found Coconut Oil actually helps me avoid break outs…you can attribute this to the antibacterial properties. I have broken out LESS since I’ve used it
  • It is an excellent moisturizer, it goes on smooth and my skin feels supple after using it. I’ve noticed a difference in my complexion over the course of a couple of weeks. I’ve never really seen such noticeable results before with other products and I’ve purchased some fancy face creams that make big promises!
  • It doesn’t irritate my skin – it actually has the opposite effect because I’ve applied to my eczema (which tends to break out right under my nose) and it calms the itching and takes away the dry, flakey skin
  • I use it on my face AND I mix a few globs with body lotion and apply it all over my body…and I love it. Adding Coconut Oil to my body lotion makes it a bit greasier when I first apply, so I tend to let myself air dry or a throw on a pair of PJs while I do my make up so that the excess can soak into my skin. My skin looks and feels healthier
  • Oh and, IT’S NATURAL! Paraben free…chemical free! Which is fantastic. It makes me feel good that I’m using something without additives…we encounter so many chemicals during the day, it’s good to know there are natural, healthier options that actually work

Point blank, I now use it every day on my face and body.

My Coconut Oil regimen in the morning is, if you’re curious – shower, towel dry, wash/tone my face – then apply a small amount of Coconut Oil to my face. Next, scoop a good chunk of Coconut Oil from the container, then pump a couple of squirts of (paraben free!) lotion into my palm and mix the two together. Then, I apply all over legs, arms, stomach, etc. Let sit…sometimes I put a comfy pair of PJs back on and eat my breakfast or start blow drying my hair (typically 10 minutes). Then, I apply my regular face moisturizer which has an SPF and do my make-up…and get dressed. Boom, done.

Overall, I would recommend Coconut Oil to anyone looking for a natural face/body moisturizer. If you have any more specific questions, just let me know! I could go on and on about this stuff 🙂

Sources: organicfacts.net; Whole Foods