[Top Shelf] Summertime Skin Solutions

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After so many iterations around the sun on our beautiful planet, thirty – if you want to get technical, I’ve begun to tell the changes in the season by the way my body acts and reacts to the world around me.  Slight aches in my knees and ankles in the morning happen more frequently as Fall ebbs into Winter, while my nails feel like they chip more frequently as Spring flows though to Summer.  Not to mention, my skin gets put through the wringer at the shift of each season, and even more if I’m not careful.  The thing about skin, is it’s your biggest organ and you’ve only got the one, weather and seasons and the great outdoors are always going to be a factor, as is your diet, nicotine and alcohol consumption (I’m looking at you, college me).  Now that I’ve entered my thirties, I’ve been a lot kinder to my skin on purpose – making sure to treat my body like the temple that it is.

A swimmer since I was a little one, I would jump in the pool year round – playing around for hours on end without sunscreen and burn once every few years.  I always reached a nice golden brown while my hair faded from brunette to blonde with every dip into the chlorine and back into the sunshowers. Needless to say, I’ve been a bit lackadaisical with my skin care until pretty recently. Back when Winter was kicking itself into full gear, which is not so coincidentally when my birthday hits, I took one long look at the expression lines on my forehead that have etched a permanent place on my body since childhood and the awkwardly ashy cracks in my joints and made a mad dash for the skin care aisle.  Just think – if everything worked out well with hydrating your Winter skin during the blustery cold dry spells, then give back into the urge to treat yo’ face and body and lotion up because it’s going to be a hot Summer.  When the heat comes, like it literally just did this past weekend to Los Angeles, it takes, takes and takes from your body: zapping skin, pulling moisture out of your hair and leaving lips feeling chapped and sad.

Hydration is a Major Key

Back in winter it was about hydrating your face – which is still valid, but lets take this a step further because as my significant other always reminds me: hydration is the key to a long and successful weekend.  When you’re out and about, prancing at the beach, sunning by the pool or simply enjoying some sunshine infused shenanigans – the Sun is busy draining your body of energy and water, as your body fights to not overheat.  Ever had heatstroke, heat exhaustion or saw someone suffering from it?  It’s the exact opposite of a good time and incredibly hard on your internal organs, your cardiovascular system and – your skin.  It’s simply just as important to take care of your body from the heat on the inside as much as we do from the outside.

Water is your friend – but drinks with electrolytes like coconut water, smart water, juices and sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade come jam packed with nutrients that replenish your body.  You’ve heard of preloading for festivals?  Well, you can preload for anything – including extreme heat. And sometimes, water alone isn’t enough.  Before you bounce out on your adventures this Summer, make sure you drink at least a liter before you step out the door and come prepared with 1L bottle of water or Gatorade for every two hours you plan on being outside.  You might think it’s overkill, but your body – and your friends that forgot their water – will thank you later.

 

Protect Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

 

Now that we’ve taken care of the internal body, let’s tackle what the sun is hitting directly: Your lips, skin and even your hair are all susceptible to sun damage, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and take some extra precautions.  First things first, SPF.  Those little letters stand for your Sun Protection Factor, which can range from nearly none at all, a 2-5 exists in some tanning lotions, to a ridiculous high of 80.  Now, do you need an SPF of 80? Absolutely not. But if it helps you feel better, go for it. As it turns out, SPF 15 blocks 94% of the rays, while SPF 30 blocks 97%, in contrast -SPF 45 only blocks 98%.

When the sun is out in full force, it sends UVA and UVB light waves down – sunscreens only block out the UVB rays, and some are far more effective than others.Products within sunscreen have shifted dramatically over time, especially with research on skin cancer and melanoma, but it’s still smart to check that your sunscreen is rid of PABAs.  That said, be on the lookout for “physical sunscreens” that contain zinc oxide and titanium oxide – the two compounds reflect light off of the skin instead of filtering the light that hits the skin. Physical sunscreens are only effective up until an SPF of around 50 – which is pretty perfect, since above 50 doesn’t change it’s effectiveness.

For skincare, my personal favorite is actually gift bag swag from Blue Medi Spa:  Fenix Hydrating Sunscreen in SPF 30. I swear by it daily and highly suggest you go grab yourself some ASAP.  If you’re looking for something more generic, I’m also a huge fan of Hawaiian Tropic’s Sport Lotion Sunsreen in SPF 30 – because you can bounce from the ocean to the volleyball court and back to your towel without sunscreen smears and streaky sweat. Not to mention, it smells delightful!  Kiss your chapped, lips goodbye and dive into some lusciously tasty lip balms.  Make sure you snag the ones that have some SPF in them like Chapstick brand.  Their lip balms range from SPF 12 up to SPF 25 and SPF 50+. And don’t forget about your hair – especially if you’ve invested a lot in the color!  I haven’t dyed my hair in over a decade, but when I did – the color would fade so fast in the Summer months.  Enter Oscar Blandi’s Capri Sun Shield Spray – it’s so good, that I spent 20 minutes hunting down a link because I thought it was discontinued, but no – just only available in obscure online stores.  But hey – at least it’s available!

With your after sun care, Aloe Vera shouldn’t just be a want this Summer, it’s a necessity; one luxurious soak in it after a long day at the beach and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.  There’s some great creme after sun lotions out there to use as substitutes to the pure gel like Alba’s Very Emolient After Sun Lotion which comes with 85% Aloe , but baby – ain’t nothing like the real thing and Trader Joe’s has a great one for an incredibly affordable price (though, as a warning – it definitely has a smell, which I now associate with feeling cool as a cucumber).

Think your skin care game is lacking but you’re not sure why? This might sound a little silly – but hear me out: if you have the cash to buy yourself a random Martini on a Tuesday night, then you can definitely treat yourself to a $10 IPSY or Birchbox Subscription.  The boxes come monthly and you can cancel at any time; with each delivery, you get to dive into a package of skin care samples and goodies with highly sought after trial sizes and even a full sized product or two. The last few months, they’ve both been killin’ the skin care game and I’ve discovered some new favorite products to add to my daily routine. Among them, I’ve fallen head over heals for the Coola Classic Sport Face Sunscreen from Birchbox and  HeyHoney’s 24seven moisturizing creme from my last IPSY Bag – it feels like you’re soaking in creme.

What are some of your Summer skincare secrets? Let me know in the comments below!

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[Beauty in a Box] IPSY’s April Picks: Makeup for Dreamers 

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For the entirety of my post-teenage life, I’ve claimed that if makeup were considered paint – more women would be considered painters, myself included.  The only difference between the me of 2016 and the me of 2003 is the want to go makeup shopping and a daring eye of new styles and novel products.  Back then, I used to frequent sparkly cascades of rainbow colored eyeshadow paired with electric eyeliner and all sorts of concealer, moisturizer and foundation; now, I barely use four makeup products on my eyes, let alone my entire face.

When it comes to discovering new products, you could say I’m basically a noob all over again – so, I’m beyond thankful that monthly beauty subscription boxes have blossomed into commonality.Beyond just makeup, there’s literally hundreds upon hundreds of monthly boxes to choose from – and for as little as $10 a month, you’re showered with lots of fun goodies – some of which, you might become a superfan of in a heartbeat. More on the litany of boxes later – and back to the makeup, my fav! Once a month, their makeup mavens toss together an esteemed ‘Glam Bag’ chalk full of tantalizing treats and new fanged products – and I’ve been itching to get my paws on them for a good minute – turns out, there’s no time like the present.

With a menagerie of monthly makeup boxes to choose from, I made a note to choose wisely – but for the low cost of $10 a month, I let myself splurge a bit and try out a couple.  There’s the tried and true makeup and skincare favorite Birchbox – which I have cruising my direction in May (woot), the jealousy inspiring Sephora Box and last but certainly not least – my first box, IPSY.

 

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Among the samples for April are two facial masks from Pur-lisse, a cute little Tarte lip sensation, a lively lavender nailpolish from ProBelle, a Highliter Trio, a highlighter brush and a makeup pounce that takes an ode from the pastels of Springtime. I’ve ranked each of the items on a scale of 1-10 on whether I’d buy the full size retail version, as well as a link to where you can purchase the items individually.

(From Top Right, Counter Clockwise)

(1) Probelle Nail Lacquer in In or Out // Retail: .5g for $6 // Take my money

Let’s be real, I’d rather buy five new nail polishes, a mini manicure set and some nail polish remover than go to a salon to get my nails done – so when I get a full size nail polish, the little girl inside me starts giggling with glee.  Not to mention, it’s a beautifully rich lavender – which makes for an exceptional Spring time color for your toes or your fingers.  I’ve never even heard of Probelle before this past week, but after how my nails held up over three days of Coachella -I’ll definitely be ordering some new colors for festival season.

(2) 2 x Pur-lisse Treatment Sheet Masks // Retail: $8 for 1, $36 for 6  // Take my money

I’m a sucker for a good skincare product, and this one completely takes the cake.  Best known for her role as the villain Vypra in the Power Rangers of my childhood, Jennifer Yen is now revolutionizing the skincare game – one Asian fusion product and face at a time. I’ve always used lotion or actual product as a mask instead of a cut cloth mask that was saturated in the product, so I definitely felt a bit silly walking around the apartment – but if that’s the price you have to pay for clear skin, I’ll gladly give in.

(3) City Color Highlighter Trio + Luxte Highlighter Brush  // Retail: $8.99 + $24 // Neutral

For me, highlighter is a lovely little touch on top of my makeup – and a wonderful double for neutral eyeshadow; but something I already have a ton of, brush included.  I’m thankful to have something else to toss into my reservoir of travel makeup, but I wouldn’t purchase a trio of highlighters – I’d prefer just one rich bronze color.  The makeup brush is soft and wonderful, and though I have others – I’ll actually probably replace them with this one, good on you, IPSY.  Now I won’t need a new one of those for a few years!

(4) Tarte Lip Surgence in Wonder  // Retail: 3g for $24 // Pass 

Though I’m a huge fan of the Tarte brand, and this comes in a pretty pink packaging and leaves a sultry smooth stain behind – I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never really been a fan of lip cremes or lip stain – this one included.  I’d never purchase this on my own, but I’m glad I have it around for special formal occasions, weddings or big nights out on the town.  For now, I’ll stick to my Mango Burt’s Bees please and thank you.


All in all, this was a great first Glam Bag because I’ve been in desperate need of some facial masks and Summer highlights for my cheekbones, not to mention – I’m a bit obsessed with pastel polish.  But I’d definitely skip the Tarte lip stain and go in the direction of a natural lip balm with a dash of SPF and little to no tint.  Is it time for the next one yet?!

Do you have any subscription boxes that you’re a sucker for?

I’m always looking to try out new things, let me know in the comments below!

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