If Your Face Has Pores You Should Give Charcoal A Chance!

Give Charcoal A Chance

I like to switch up my skin care routine every once in a while to target specific needs, especially as seasons change. Since we’ve had a few humid days here in NY, I think it’s wise to consider some products to keep skin feeling refreshed and renewed.

Activated charcoal, also called activated carbon, is ideal for “detoxing” skin (especially oily or acne-prone skin) and drawing out bacteria and toxins (which increases the more you sweat and stew in your summer makeup–Eww!).

The carbon in the charcoal itself acts like a magnet, grabbing the impurities trapped in your pores and gradually pulling it out of your skin without drying it out. I find that products containing active ingredients like charcoal and clay might cause a minor breakout when used for the first time.

If you check out Google or YouTube, you’ll find a bevy of uses for this stuff, including water filtering, DIY teeth whitening, antidote to poisons and doctors may administer a dosage for treatment of diarrhea and alcohol poisoning/drug overdose (of course, please consult a doctor before ingesting!).

This article explains a bit more of the science, this article breaks down the most common uses, and this article gives some us some interesting history–Did you know charcoal was used as early as 3750 B.C. by ancient Egyptians and that the “father of modern medicine” himself, Hippocrotes, began using charcoal for medicinal purposes around 50 A.D.?

 

Now that you know a bit more about nature’s original detox agent, why not consider adding it to your beauty regimen?

Two products I have been enjoying are from Bioré and Freeman:

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Bioré Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser

Bioré Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser (8.46 Fl. Oz.)

Average Price:  $7.99 USD

Product Claim: “Draws out and traps 2x more dirt & impurities than a basic cleanser, purifying pores to leave your face deeply cleaned and your skin tingly-smooth. Pore are twice as clean after just one use.”

Ingredients: WATER, GLYCERIN, SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE, COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE, SORBITOL, LAURETH-­‐4 CARBOXYLIC ACID, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, ACRYLATES/C10-­‐30 ALKYL ACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, METHYLPARABEN, FRAGRANCE, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, MENTHOL, POLYQUATERNIUM-­‐39, DISODIUM EDTA, PROPYLPARABEN, CHARCOAL POWDER, MANNITOL, CELLULOSE, IRON OXIDES, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE, HYDROXYPROPYL METHYLCELLULOSE

First Impression: The consistency is like a thick gel with tiny beads. The gel has a mentholated/cooling effect and the beads are very gentle, less for exfoliating and more for helping to move the product around the face. There is a slight minty, fresh fragrance but I actually like it (I don’t find it too overpowering).

I like to wet my face, take a very small amount (pea size) to create a light lather and apply it onto my skin for 1-2 minutes.

I prefer to use this face wash daily–especially on a hot day, after a workout or in the shower, as it is very refreshing and cooling.

Biore Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser

 

 

 

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Freeman Facial Polishing Mask Charcoal & Black Sugar

 

Freeman Facial Polishing Mask Charcoal & Black Sugar (6.0 Fl. Oz.)

Average Price: $4.00 USD

Product Claim: “This unique mask and scrub works double time to detox skin. First, naturally purifying Activated Charcoal helps absorb oil and impurities without over-drying. Then, Black Sugar helps exfoliate away dulling skin cells for softness and clarity. Perfect for all skin types.”

Ingredients:

Key Ingredients: 
Activated Charcoal
Sugar
Coconut Extract

Ingredient List:
Sucrose, Propylene Glycol, Carbon*, Kaolin, Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Extract , Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Psidium Guajava Fruit Extract, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Maranta Arundinacea Root Extract, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Fruit Extract, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Extract, Macrocystis Pyrifera Extract, Nasturtium Officinale Extract, Aleurites Moluccana Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Carbomer, Fragrance (Parfum), Iron Oxide (CI 177491).
*Activated Charcoal

First Impression: This mask/scrub combo pretty much matches the description. The consistency is just like a concentrated sugar scrub paste for the body (why not use on your legs, too!) that goes on fairly easily. This is not your typical cream, clay or gel mask.

I like to apply a generous amount and make sure to keep it away from the eye area. I would recommend lightly wetting the face first so the paste has something to adhere to and moving the scrub around to help the formula enter the pores. The formula has a slight fruity, clean fragrance and actually feels luxurious on the skin. You only need 5-7 minutes for the mask to dry so you could definitely do this in the morning before school or work.

Unlike the Bioré cleanser, this formula actually feels warm once I work it into my skin. It could just be heat caused by the pressure from the black sugar granules, but it feels nice and calming. The scrub is gentle enough to use 2-3 times per week, depending on the condition of your skin.

Freeman Facial Polishing Mask Charcoal & Black Sugar

 

Check out this video for a quick lesson on the difference between absorption and adsorption. Do you remember learning about this in school?

 

Have you tried using activated charcoal in your skin care routine? Let me know!

 

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J’Adore: Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil

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{Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil}

JAdore...

I’ve been a big fan of Clarins skin care products for a while now. I believe it is necessary to start with the best canvas (aka healthy skin) for your makeup to be radiant and enhance your features and I have not been let down by this product line.

When I was in college I worked briefly at Sephora and one brand clients often asked about was Clarins. I would explain my philosophy that putting effort into a solid skin care routine will ensure the best possible face. After all, makeup on blemished or tired skin tends to become a mask, rather than enhancement.

Many clients were hesitant to try it because of the price tag but after trying samples and seeing the results, they understood the quality of the products make it a worthwhile investment.

I’ve been experimenting in facial oils and surprisingly, I love them (main staple is Josie Maran 100% Argan Oil). The facial oils help balance natural face oils by sort of tricking the pores into thinking they have produced enough oil so your face won’t keep producing them,  which too much oil can clog pores and cause breakouts. I used oils during the summer and thought they would make me super greasy in the humidity, but they actually kept inflamation down and brightened my skin.

So I decided to try the Clarins version and I am loving the Lotus Face Treatment Oil. Ive been using this for about two weeks and I have noticed better retention of hydration and softening of dry patches (mainly around my nose and mouth).

Oils in general feel so luxurious and elegant, dahhhling. The Lotus oil is infused with rosemary, geranium, camomile and of course lotus extracts (100% pure plant extracts) and has a rich, earthy fragrance.  The description claims the rosemary and geranium combo helps reduce sebum production, which should mean fewer breakouts. The lotus extract is supposed to refine the skin.

I generally prefer my skin care and cosmetic products to be fragrance free; however, I rather like this fragrance. The only downside is it is strong and if you happen to dislike the fragrance in general, you might be disappointed when you apply it.

I use this as a nightly ritual after taking off makeup and washing my face I apply about three drops on my fingers. I lightly rub my fingers together to heat up the oil and apply on my face. I gently massage the oil onto my skin and allow it to absorb fully before making contact with my pillow.

I wake up with a slight glow, educed dryness and a more supple feeling (victory!). I expect this will be a savior during cold weather, which temperatures are already starting to drop!

Available: Sephora

Retail: $50.00 USD for full size (30 mL or 1 Fl. Oz.)

Have you tried this or a similar product? What are your thoughts or questions–Let me know!

XOXO Liz Signature

Nailed It!: Essie Sleek Stick Nail Appliqué in ‘Oh My Gold’

2013-08-09 18.46.28{Essie Sleek Stick nail appliqué in ‘Oh My Gold’}

Out of curiosity I’ve purchased a few nail appliques/wraps/decals from various brands and they’ve just been chilling out for a while. I have a few events coming up and thought now is a great opportunity to start dressing up my nails and see what these have to offer.

First up is the nail appliqué stickers from Essie.

I love the simple, fun design and sophisticated color of the ‘Oh My Gold‘ pack. The dots are actually hexagons with a gold outline and silver interior. This two-tone look makes it much more interesting and versatile for how you pair this design with nail polish or match your outfit.

It’s kind of a sassy reptile, geometric metallic confetti effect. It’s essentially a party on your nails.

 This kit comes with a set of:

  • 18 appliqués so you can select the best fit for each nail
  • A plastic orange stick to push back cuticles
  • A small file to remove excess material
  • A booklet of instructions

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The directions are pretty straightforward: You need to prep the nail area, find the right size for each nail, line up, apply, press firmly and file off the extra.

Overall time to prep, apply and finish took me 8 minutes. This was my first time trying these out, so I could probably reduce the time to 5 minutes one I get the hang of it.

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I quickly prepped my nails and decided to paint my ring finger white (using Essie’s nail polish in Blanc) and make this my accent nail. White + Gold is modern, clean and classy.

Tip: To make any nail color pop, especially neon shades, paint one layer of white nail polish first. Just like adding a white color to your eye lids before applying darker shades, this helps to make a striking base for more vibrant color payoff.

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Once I started with the first two fingers, it was fairly easy to breeze through the rest of the nails. The appliqué can be re-adjusted so long as you only place it on the nail and not press down. I did have to re-adjsut a few times to make sure the design wasn’t crooked.

Once you have it placed, press down firmly from the cuticle toward the end of the nail to remove any bumps.

Tip: When you are removing the appliqué from the film, try picking it up from the end facing away from the middle (where the two strips line up). This is the end that will be filed off anyway so it won’t matter as much if you damage this part when you take it off the film.

And for the final look!

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{My thoughts} Worth it. I’m not confident that this will last me more than three days, especially with typing, cleaning and whatever else I might need to do this weekend. But that’s fine. I think the Essie appliqué is perfect for a special occasion or for any time you want to make your nails look super unique.

{Value} The great thing about this particular set is that it comes with everything you need. The file and orange stick can be re-used–in fact I have it in my purse as part of my travel nail kit!

{Removal} Day two and my nails are still looking pretty fresh. I have not tried to remove these yet, but it should be as easy as peeling off a sticker. No polish remover should be required.

{Application} Very easy, clear instructions.  I suppose you could also use these on your toes. Not sure if layering would work.  I actually enjoyed applying these and was excited about the results. So easy that you could probably do this on the go, right before an event with no drying time, during your lunch break, in the cab…you get it. Very simple for the nail chameleon or anyone who is impulsive or indecisive!

I hope you give these a shot and let me know what you think. Happy nail decorating!

Available: Target

Retail Price: $9.99 – $11.79 USD per kit

{Liz}

#Elizabethology

Best Summer Concealers Part 4: The Drug Store Score

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{The Drug Store Score: Revlon ColorStay Blemish Concealer}

{Formula} Created with a “time release” formula to keep coverage looking fresh for up to 24 hours, this drug store score is one of the best investments you can make. Affordable and accessible, you might want to stock up on a few as backups and to keep in your purse. Product glides on easily and the creamy texture makes for a smooth application; very easy to blend under the eye or on blemishes.

{Packaging} The ColorStay line from Revlon mimics the sophisticated, minimalist appearance of higher end lines such as MAC and Chanel. The doe foot applicator applies product directly onto skin; however I would recommend using a finger or concealer brush on any breakouts so you do not transfer bacteria into the tube.

Tip: because the doe foot applicator can bring unwanted air and bacteria into the tube, you should consider a simple way to sanitize. Having air trapped inside the tube (from taking applicator in and out) can promote drying out of product and makes an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.

How to quickly sanitize: Dab some isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol (at least 70% alcohol) on a cotton pad and wipe off excess product from of the applicator. Add some more alcohol to the pad and place on the tip for 30 seconds to ensure germs are killed. Alcohol evaporates fairly quickly. Once tip is dry, insert back into tube. Good job!

{Application} I like to take the product on my clean finger and apply directly to the areas that need it. I find it is strong enough to cover broken capillaries around the nose but is not drying, even when I have allergies.

Tip: to create a precise eye liner or lip liner application, use the concealer to line the area under eye liner or around the lips and blend with concealer brush or damp sponge. This particular formula is concentrated enough to create clean lines and fix any smudge situation.

Available: Target

Retail Price: $8.49 for 0.21 Fl oz.

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Have you tried this product? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!

In case you missed it:

Part 1: The Lightweight

Part 2: The Heavyweight

Part 3: The Multitasker

{Liz}

#Elizabethology

Best Summer Concealers Part 3: The Multitasker

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{Clinique Advanced Concealer}

There comes a time in every woman’s life when she trades in the mediocre for something with more substance. In the case of concealers, you should never settle for anything sub-par. You do so much every day that your makeup needs to be versatile and be able to keep up with you. That’s why the Multitasker concealer is a go-to choice for the on-the-go type of gal.

The Multitasker: Clinique Advanced Concealer

{Formula} Creamy application dries to a matte, powder finish. Excellent full coverage for blemishes and under eye circles. By comparison, the Lightweight is most suitable for concealing under eye circles and the Heavyweight is most beneficial for covering dark spots and blemishes.

You will get more use from the Multitasker since it can essentially do both jobs. Sounds like someone deserves a promotion! Note: The cream-to-powder finish is not ideal for very fine lines or severely dry skin, as powder texture can accentuate these characteristics.

{Packaging} This concealer comes in a squeezable plastic tube with needle-nose nozzle. Very easy to control how much product is dispensed. The small opening is ideal for sanitizing, as it minimizes the amount of unused product that is exposed to air. Very easy to clean–no icky build up here.

Tip: Any plastic tube, be it for concealer, lip gloss or lotion can be cut with scissors so you can access every last morsel. That means more bang kaboom for you hard earned buck. Just make sure that you secure the opened end with something strong like a binder clip and keep it in the fridge for up to one week. Toss the leftovers if the product hardens, changes color or develops an odor. Gross.

{Application} Just like toothpaste, gently squeeze the tube from the crimped end and move product toward the opening. The nozzle is small like a frosting piper and allows for precision. I place the product on the back of my hand and use my ring finger to apply to face.  Just dot four times under the eye and blend inward toward inner tear duct.

For blemishes, I apply a thin layer right next to the redness and pat around the area. I gently move inward until the whole blemish is covered. Set with a translucent powder and be prepared to watch dark circles and spots disappear. Victory!

Available: Clinique
Retail Price: $16.50 USD for 0.28 oz

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Have you tried this product? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!

In case you missed it:

Part 1: The Lightweight

Part 2: The Heavyweight

Coming up next:

Concealer Collage

{Liz}

#Elizabethology

Best Summer Concealers Part 2: The Heavyweight

 

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{MAC Pro Longwear}

 

Have you ever held a cosmetic item in your hand and said “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you”?

You might just sing the praises of the second featured concealer!

 

The Heavyweight: MAC Pro Longwear

{Formula} Camouflage. This military grade coverage can conceal any land mine that pops up on your face. Thick and creamy, but not cake batter. Medium to full coverage makes a great base for color if primer is not handy. Recommended for all day wear (will get you through work and at least two drinks), but be aware: the pigment is highly concentrated and a light hand will ensure a seamless coverage.

{Packaging} Simple, sleek and air-tight is the MAC way. The small air pump keeps formula fresh and sanitary. The glass vial keeps product safe and ideal for travel. Don’t let the size fool you–a little bit goes a very long way. It took me some time to get used to the pump as it is easy to press too hard and dispense too much product for one application.

Tip: I recommend giving a few taps rather then pressing on the pump all the way for a controlled release. Ahem.

{Application} Utilizing a clean metal disc or the back of my clean hand, I use half a pump of concealer, about the size of half a pea. I dip my ring finger in and dot four times under my eyes and on any blemish. You may use your finger or synthetic fiber concealer brush to apply and blend.

Available: MAC Cosmetics
Retail Price: $18.00 USD for 9 ml / 0.30 US fl oz

 

Have you tried this product? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!

 

Coming up next:

Concealer Collage

 

{Liz}

#Elizabethology