Oct14th

Reviva Labs Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Categories: Beauty Products
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reviva labs hyaluronic acid serumHyaluronic Acid Serum by Reviva Labs is an affordable skin care product that promises to “gain and retain skin moisture.” Used alone, or under other moisturizers or face creams, it’s supposed to instantly plump up skin and temporarily fill in wrinkles. Does it work? Do I suddenly look ten years younger? Read on for my review…

A few months ago a friend of mine raved to me about a pricey $150 serum that instantly made her look like she got her face injected with a syringe of Restylane. She claimed an annoying wrinkle that bothered her magically disappeared a few days after using this expensive serum. I was intrigued, yet skeptical. I looked at the ingredients of the product and noticed hyaluronic acid was the main ingredient, so I sought out a much cheaper alternative that also received positive reviews – Reviva Labs Hyaluroinc Acid.

• What Is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic Acid (HA, and it’s also called Sodium Hyaluronate) is a substance that is naturally found in your body – it cushions and lubricates the body’s connective tissues, and it helps with tissue repair. But as you age, and as your skin is exposed to damaging UV rays, hyaluronic acid gets depleted. In cosmetics, plant-derived, skin-identical hyaluronic acid is sometimes touted as a “fountain of youth,” but that’s a highly exaggerated claim. HA does have the capability of mimicking healthy skin and protecting its structure. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which means it has a high water-absorption capability, and it can draw water into the skin from the environment.

• Reviva Labs Hyaluronic Acid Serum Review
HA sounds like an exciting anti-wrinkle ingredient, and while I’ve used lots of products with it before, the Reviva Labs Hyaluronic Acid Serum has the highest concentration of hyaluronic acid I’ve tried (hyaluronic acid is the product’s third ingredient, after water and glycerine). About the serum, Reviva Labs says it’s ”our highest-potency daily moisture booster! Now compounded with a higher level of premium Hyaluronic Acid into a precious fluid that can help raise skin’s moisture level to fill-in furrows, plump up tissues and tone-down lines.” The product is meant to be applied under creams at night, or you can use it alone to hydrate your skin.

I bought Reviva Labs Hyaluronic Acid Serum on Amazon for about $12. Yep it’s super cheap! I’ve been using it for a few months and have tried it in a variety of ways – under my sunscreen and makeup in the mornings, at night by itself, and at night under cream moisturizers, or mixed with other moisturizers. I am always on the lookout for products that really plump up my skin and give the illusion of a more hydrated, well-rested, less wrinkly me. I was expecting this hyaluronic acid serum to provide that, but I’ve been slightly disappointed. By itself, it’s not very moisturizing on my dry skin, so I can’t use it alone as a moisturizer. It has a lightweight consistency and sinks into my skin quickly. I’ve experimented with putting it on one side of my face, and then layering on moisturizer on my whole face, and I can’t tell the difference. So it’s not much of a moisturizer booster to me. Maybe if you have normal or oily skin the product would work better as a light moisturizer.

I read in Leslie Baumann, MD’s book The Skin Type Solution that if you live in a dry climate (like I do), hyaluronic acid may actually make your skin even more dry. What?? Remember when I said the ingredient is a humectant and it can draw water from the environment into your skin? In dry climates it can do the reverse and actually pull water out of your skin, increasing dryness! I haven’t noticed my skin becoming more dry from the serum – it just seems the same – not more or less moisturized. Reviva Labs even addresses the humectant issue and says: “unlike products that depend on moisture in the air, HA can help hydrate skin even in dry climates or heated rooms that rob skin of moisture.” So I’m not sure what to believe. A few weeks ago I was excited because Las Vegas had one of its rare humid days, and I eagerly wore the HA serum all day and night, but I didn’t notice any sudden temporary plumping of my face – it looked the same as always. Oh well.

In Leslie Baumann’s book, for the best hydrating results, she suggests pairing humectant ingredients like hyaluronic acid with occlusive ingredients (to hold the water in) such as mineral oil, petrolatum, dimethicone, jojoba oil, ceramides, etc. She uses the word occlusive, but that doesn’t mean those ingredients cause acne (they don’t usually). Today I tried mixing the Reviva Labs Hyaluronic Acid Serum with jojoba oil, and that seemed to slightly increase the hydrating properties of the jojoba oil. I will keep experimenting with the HA serum by layering it under different moisturizers.

The serum should be safe for acne-prone skin, and I personally haven’t experienced any breakouts from it. The online reviews of the serum are fairly good, with a lot of people reporting a temporary plumping of their skin, and a temporary reduction in fine lines. Other people are like me, and don’t notice much of a benefit.

• An alternative to dermal fillers like Restylane, Juvederm, and Hylaform?
Remember my friend that told me about her expensive “fountain of youth serum?” She also told me the serum was a topical alternative to having to get expensive, painful fillers like Restylane. This isn’t true. It’s true that Restylane, Juvederm, and Hylaform are made of hyaluronic acid, but topical serums do not have the capability of penetrating the skin like fillers injected by a doctor. Serums can only work superficially, and topically hyaluronic acid is only a temporary way of plumping up skin – it doesn’t help to reduce wrinkles in the long-term like retinol products, for example. It just helps the skin appear more hydrated and line-free while you’re wearing it, and to some degree it could help keep your skin in better condition.

• Bottom Line
Reviva Labs Hyaluronic Acid Serum is the first skin care product I’ve used that contains a high level of hyaluronic acid, and I haven’t yet compared it to similar serums. I wasn’t expecting a miracle, but I was expecting a noticeable temporary plumping up of my skin, and a temporary softening of my wrinkles. I will continue experimenting with the serum by layering it under other moisturizers to see if I can come up with an effective combo. There aren’t really any side effects, and due to the mostly positive online reviews of the product, and the fact that it’s only $12, I would still recommend people try the Hyaluronic Acid Serum for themselves.

Reviva Labs Hyaluronic Acid Serum Ingredients: Demineralized spring water, glycerine (vegetable), hyaluronic acid, polysorbate 20, hydrolyzed mucopolysaccharides, green tea extract, hydroxyethylcellulose, simethicone, carmelized sugar, methylparaben, propylparaben.

Have you tried Reviva Labs Hyaluronic Acid Serum, or a similar product? Did it benefit your skin? Do you have a favorite hyaluronic skin care product?

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Sep23rd

Robinul For Hyperhidrosis (Excessive Sweating)

Categories: Body
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robinul hyperhidrosisHyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) totally sucks, if you happen to be afflicted with this ailment. Robinul for hyperhidrosis is a medication I just learned about – one that really works to control excessive sweating! I have this slight obsession with finding the perfect deodorant and antiperspirant that actually works, and if I had the money, getting Botox for excessive sweating was actually on my list of things to get if/when I strike it rich. This may not be an exciting topic for everyone, but if you suffer from excessive sweating, read on for a possible cure…

• Robinul for Hyperhidrosis
About 10% of people suffer from hyperhidrosis, so it’s pretty common, and I am convinced I have a mild case of it, even though I haven’t been officially diagnosed. I sweat when I’m cold, or when I’m anxious, and my entire wardrobe is planned around clothes that are sweat-friendly. The only time I don’t feel like there’s something wrong with me is when I’m exercising, or it’s 110 degrees out, and everyone around me is sweating too. I haven’t taken a poll, so I don’t know how normal or abnormal I am – if you look at celebs on the red carpet, tons of them have sweat stains, so maybe no antiperspirant or deodorant is 100% effective.

A friend of mine is also plagued by sweating issues and her doctor just gave her a prescription for something called Robinul (Glycopyrrolate is the generic name). It’s also called Robinul Forte. I was intrigued because I had no idea there was an oral medication that could control sweating – did you?? I had thought Botox or surgery was the only solution if topical antiperspirants didn’t work. My friend has been taking Robinul for a few weeks and has had good results so far. She says it works for her when she takes it on an empty stomach, and the only side effect she has is a dry mouth. She’s happy with the results and will continue taking it.

Robinul is a prescription medication, so obviously speak with your doctor to find out whether or not it’s right for you. Your Dermatologist or General Practitioner should be able to prescribe it, or offer an alternative. Robinul is a medication that is used to control ulcers and reduce stomach acid, but it turns out it also reduces sweating, as well as other bodily secretions. A lot of people already have low stomach acid and don’t even know it, so I would hope your doctor would also discuss this issue with you. There are varying doses of the medication, and your doctor may have you take it one to three times per day. I don’t know the actual price of Robinul, but it looks like the generic runs almost $1 per pill, although that’s the price without health insurance, so you would have to check with your pharmacy for actual pricing.

• Robinul for Sweating Reviews
Some of the online reviews of Robinul are pretty amazing. People say the drug: ”is life-changing,” “is a miracle drug,” “makes me feel normal,” “means I no longer have to wear black every day,” “is a god-send,” “is the best thing that’s ever happened to me!” Wow! I have seen TV shows about people that have severe sweating, and about how it can ruin your life, so it’s great that there is a possible solution that is cheaper than Botox and less invasive than surgery. Why did I not know about this treatment before? Some of the reviews of Robinul aren’t quite as glowing (mainly due to the side effects), and not everyone finds complete relief from excessive sweating with it. The most common side effect reported is dry mouth.

I am really tempted to try Robinul for my excessive sweating, but I probably won’t right now because I’m already on a few medications, and I take allergy pills every day, which dry me out too much. I’ve also been dealing with dry eyes from living in the desert, and as a side effect from medications. I guess it’s ironic that I have dry skin and dry eyes, yet I’m too sweaty at the same time! If I had more than a mild case of hyperhidrosis, I would jump at the chance to get relief from sweating since I personally haven’t had success with “clinical strength” antiperspirants, and Botox is totally not in my budget (and if it was, it would fix my wrinkles first). But given the success I’ve read about, Robinul looks extremely promising as a solution for sweating. This is awesome news!

• Robinul Side Effects
No medication comes without side effects, and unfortunately Robinul does have many potential side effects. The most common ones include dizziness, drowsiness, blurred vision, dry mouth, dry eyes, headache, and nausea. Severe side effects include hives, an allergic reaction, an irregular heartbeat, and eye pain. You should use alcohol cautiously while on Robinul, and pregnant women shouldn’t take the drug.

Many people shouldn’t take Robinul for hyperhidrosis – those include people with: glaucoma, kidney disease, a urinary tract blockage, colitis, and myasthenia gravis. Also tell your doctor if you have: thyroid disease, liver disease, high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat, asthma, allergies, reflux disease, or an enlarged prostate. You can read more about Robinul side effects at drugs.com, and I haven’t listed every possible side effect – again your doctor should go over all of this with you.

• Robinul for Sweating – the Bottom Line
Since I haven’t taken Robinul myself I can’t vouch for it personally, but it actually looks like a really promising treatment to control or stop excessive sweating. The medication doesn’t come without risks and side effects, but maybe there is now a simple cure for hyperhidrosis! If you suffer from excessive sweating, do you have any tips for how to cure it, or have you tried Robinul or Glycopyrrolate?

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Sep6th

Good Plastic Surgery

Categories: Plastic Surgery
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good plastic surgeryDespite my love for sunscreen and anti-aging products, I have a feeling one day I’ll be embracing plastic surgery. If that day comes, my goal is to achieve  “good plastic surgery.” Why would I get plastic surgery? I don’t consider myself overly vain, but I want to look good as I get older, and given what I know about my genes, sunscreen, and even Botox and Restylane, probably won’t be enough to allow me to “age gracefully.” Plus, unfortunately, I spent the first 25 years of my life gloriously tanning at the beach whenever I could, and I’m paying the price for it right now. Even though I’ve been almost a saint with my skin for the last 10 years, that can’t make up for my earlier years of sun debauchery. Things were going pretty good for me until last year, when I turned 35, and I feel like I aged 5 years overnight. Wrinkles, crow’s feet, under-eye bags, a droopy eyelid – UGH!!

Most people may balk at the idea of plastic surgery, but I’m all for it as long as it enhances your appearance – thus I’m all for good plastic surgery, which basically means you look better afterwards, not overdone. After watching the return of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, though, I’m slightly freaked out about plastic surgery. If I have something done, I want to look like Courtney Cox or Demi Moore, who have both somehow completely stopped aging, but they don’t look weird. I’ve seen Demi Moore in person and she looks awesome – she looks better now that she did in her 20s! I’ve written before about celebrities with plastic surgery, but half of the women in Hollywood have probably had a few nips and tucks, yet we don’t know about it because they have achieved good plastic surgery.

Here in Las Vegas, sometimes I feel like the only woman without a breast augmentation. If I were an A cup I would probably get breast implants, but for now I can save my money for Botox, and eventually something more dramatic like an eye-lift. This breast implants website has good before and after photos of a variety of women that have undergone breast augmentation and breast lifts. Most of the women I know with breast implants have natural looking breasts that good and natural - they don’t have crazy big Heidi Montag breasts.

• How To Achieve Good Plastic Surgery
With all this plastic surgery talk, how do you ensure you end up with good plastic surgery? I’ve only done preliminary research on the topic since I don’t see myself getting any work done for at least another ten years, but I will be extremely vigilant about my research when the time comes – I want to end up like Demi Moore, not Meg Ryan (sorry Meg).

If you have any friends that have had good work done, I would find out which plastic surgeon they used. Then you want to make sure the plastic surgeon is board certified, and up to date on his or her qualifications to perform the surgery you’re getting. On abms.org (American Board of Medical Specialties) you can look up doctors to ensure they are board certified, and you can find out if they’re certified with The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS), for example. Other acceptable plastic surgery boards and societies are: ASAPS, ASPS, and The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Next check your state medical board records to confirm the doctor you choose is in good standing with state board.

Find out how what your doctor specializes in, and how often he or she do that procedure. If you’re seeking a face lift, you want a plastic surgeon that has extensive experience doing face lifts. Find out what the pre-treatment and post-treatment guidelines are, if there are any contraindications due to health or medication issues, and of course review before and after photos of actual patients the doctor has worked on. I would suggest meeting with several doctors, because each one might offer a different treatment plan. You want your doctor to go over the potential risks of surgery and anesthesia, and to really explain the procedure and expectations to you.

Many plastic surgery procedures are not performed in hospitals, but in the plastic surgeon’s office facilities. If that’s the case you’ll need to make sure the facility is accredited with one of these organizations: AAAASF, JCAHO, AAAHC, AOA, or CAAASF. If there happens to be an emergency, discuss the emergency plan, and if there will be proper equipment and staff on hand. And find out which local hospitals the doctor has privileges at for performing your specific type of surgery.

The website About Plastic Surgery is a good place to start your search for plastic surgeons in your area. The site also has a lot of info about breast implants, what you should ask your doctor at your first visit, and what you must know before getting a breast enhancement. Plastic surgery is an extremely complicated subject – please do extensive research on your own too! Have you had plastic surgery, or would you ever get it? In my case I am sure I will be getting it one day… When I do, I am praying for a good plastic surgery outcome!

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Aug30th

Makeup Dupes

Categories: Makeup
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makeup dupesI hate spending a lot of money on cosmetics and makeup, so I’m always on the lookout for makeup dupes. What’s a makeup dupe? It’s a cheaper identical (or very similar) version of a high end makeup product. So why splurge on an ultra expensive lipstick or eyeshadow if there’s a cheaper version waiting for you at the drugstore?

• Why do makeup dupes exist?
There are several reasons why you can find almost identical versions of your favorite expensive makeup, but sold by affordable brands. Even though there are thousands of makeup brands out there, several big companies own many different brands. For example, Estee Lauder currently owns 27 brands including prestige brands MAC, Smashbox, Clinique, La Mer and Bobbi Brown, plus they own the cheaper brands Flirt! and American Beauty, which are sold at Kohl’s. Drugstore brand L’Oreal Paris is part of the biggest beauty company in the world – L’Oreal – and L’Oreal makes cosmetics for luxury brands Kiehl’s, Lancome, Skinceuticals, Shu Uemura, and Giorgio Armani. But they also own drugstore brands Maybelline and Garnier.

Even though the same companies own many brands at different price points, the products still get manufactured at the same places, and many of the formulas in prestige brands are nearly the same as their drugstore counterparts! Another reason why makeup dupes exist is because inexpensive brands blatantly rip off the higher end makeup brands. Is this legal? I’m not sure. But if you see an awesome new Chanel nail polish color, don’t be surprised if you wait a few months and another company comes along with almost an identical shade – for $5, instead of Chanel’s $25. Ironically, sometimes expensive brands copy the ingredients of cheap brands - have you seen my post about my discovery of a Creme De La Mer skin care dupe for 99 cents?

• How do you find makeup dupes?
While there’s not a cheap twin for every eyeshadow or foundation, with a little research you may be able to find a dupe for a lot of your favorite products. For example, you can find dupes for several MAC products from drugstore brands Rimmel, NYX, E.L.F., Wet N Wild, Maybelline, L’Oreal, and Milani. Here are resources to find makeup for less:

Temptalia.com has a Makeup Dupe List where you can search by brand, shade, or product type. If you find a new makeup dupe, you can also submit it to be added to the list.

MakeupTalk.com has a Makeup Dupe & Swatches Forum where you can read about all sorts of dupes, or ask if anyone knows of a dupe for your favorite product.

Specktra.net has several makeup forums including MAC chat, Product Swatches, and Recommendations, where you can find info about makeup dupes.

MakeupAlley.com has a makeup board where you can post messages. Plus if you read the reviews of your favorite product on MakeupAlley, someone may have commented about a dupe they’ve found for that product.

Beautypedia.com is now free for everyone. This website doesn’t list many makeup dupes, but it has product reviews, and some of the reviews list similar, or better alternatives to that product. You can also search the site for the best products in different categories, if you are open to finding a better alternative to your current foundation or powder, for example. The site also lists the ingredients for all products, so if you’re looking for a skin care dupe, you could type in the first 5-10 ingredients of a coveted product into Google and see if another cheaper product comes up with those same core ingredients.

Youtube.com - Go on YouTube and type in “makeup dupes,” and there are all sorts of videos about great dupe finds. This might be a hit-or-miss way to find specific products, but it will give you ideas of ways to save money on cosmetics. Or you could type in a specific product, and someone may have made a video about it, and compared the item to a cheaper version.

Google.com - to find cheaper makeup alternatives, try searching for your favorite product, plus adding the word dupe on the end. So, for example, you could type in: “Benefit High Beam dupe,” or “Urban Decay Primer Potion dupe.” If you want to see what a new product looks like, as an example, you could search for: “Les Jeans de Chanel swatches” to see if people have pictures of what that nail polish collection looks like. Many times bloggers will review the item and then compare it to a cheaper, similar version.

What are your tips for finding makeup dupes? Do you bother trying to track down low cost alternatives, or are you happy sticking with higher end makeup if you find a product you love? Feel free to share any makeup dupes, or skin care dupes that you know about. Or if you have a blog and write about makeup dupes, leave a comment. Personally I tend to be drawn to makeup swatches I see on blogs, and since I like to try products before I buy them, I then find myself at Sephora or Ulta trying out those various expensive eyeshadows or nail polishes on myself. But I also hate spending tons of money on makeup, so I will definitely be searching more diligently for makeup dupes in the future. How about you?

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Aug24th

LashDip Semi-Permanent Mascara

Categories: Beauty Products
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lashdipHave you heard of LashDip? It’s a new semi-permanent mascara that is professionally-applied, and it’s supposed to last up to six weeks. Imagine not having to apply mascara for six weeks! Okay personally I have no problem applying mascara every morning, and I’m perfectly happy with my average eyelashes, but I know there are lots of women that would love to try this new eyelash enhancement treatment. I’ve recently read reviews about semi-permanent LashDip mascara in a few magazines, and the LashDip company touts their product as “the world’s most perfect coat of mascara.”

According to the LashDip.com website, by getting your lashes dipped you will “wake up beautiful,” you can “cut your makeup routine in half,” and you can “shower, swim, and sweat” without ruining your mascara. It only takes me about twenty seconds to apply regular mascara, and if I want thick, dark eyelashes at the pool or gym (not that I normally do), I just wear waterproof mascara. While I’m not a big fan of Latisse eyelash growth treatment either, LashDip is different in that you don’t need to apply any mascara – with Latisse you would still want to apply mascara, plus do your daily Latisse application. It turns out you can use Latisse while wearing LashDip (you would need to discontinue Latisse for the first 72 hours after having LashDip done).

• LashDip FAQ
You can only get LashDip done by a a certified salon professional, which you can locate on the LashDip.com website. The treatment “adds volume, increases length, provides lift, curve & separation” and of course it’s supposed to last up to six weeks. However, after two or three weeks you will need to go in for a follow-up appointment for a LashRefresh treatment. LashDip is free of formaldehyde and aniline, and the company claims it’s hypoallergenic and safe, but the actual ingredients of the product are not provided anywhere. Personally I would be wary of getting the procedure done because I don’t know what’s in it, and I would worry I would get a bad reaction, even though that’s not supposed to happen. You can get LashDip done if you wear contact lenses, but you should remove your contacts during the application.

How Much Does LashDip Cost?
The procedure costs $200-300, and that may or may not include the LashRefresh appointment! A lot of women get eyelash extensions, and this costs about the same as the extensions. Eyelash enhancement is big money! I think the price is outrageous, and I’d rather save my money for Botox. Of course a lot of women think Botox is scary and ridiculous – I’m just much more obsessed with wrinkles than skimpy eyelashes.

LashDip Don’ts
Don’t use any oil-based makeup remover with LashDip, use LashSeal once weekly (which is provided with your treatment), and do not get any water on your eyelashes for the first 24 hours. You also don’t want to rub or touch your eyelashes when washing your face (how do you get the rest of your eye makeup off?), don’t steam your face or use a sauna, and don’t use an eyelash curler while wearing LashDip.

Real-World LashDip Reviews
Most of the information I’ve written so far has been gleaned from LashDip’s website, but in the August 2011 issue of Allure there was a brief LashDip review. The writer said the LashDip application took 90 minutes(!) While she reported that her lashes were darker and thicker, they weren’t longer and she still used her regular mascara, which completely defeats the point. She noticed LashDip flaking off after a week and a half, but I wonder if that’s because the mascara interfered with it?

One of the bloggers at Truth In Aging got the procedure done (while another one watched carefully), and you can read the extensive LashDip review here. Definitely read this article if you are interested in getting LashDip. The blogger confirmed the procedure took 90 minutes, but it wasn’t painful or uncomfortable, and she opted for extra inserts, which I assume are little eyelash extensions? She was warned not to sleep on her face (which I always do), and not to rub her eyes to avoid messing up the dipped lashes. The LashRefresh appointment is necessary, which extends the LashDip wear time, and you should also schedule to have your LashDip removed a few weeks after that. That’s a lot of appointments!! Overall she was highly impressed with her LashDip initially and thought her lashes looked great. Like me, she was wary of the fact the ingredients of LashDip are not public information. Her initial love of LashDip wore off, though, because she woke up with crunchy lashes, and ironically she found applying makeup was harder because her eyelashes got in the way! She would recommend LashDip for a special occasion, but not as part of a regular beauty regimen.

Final Thoughts
LashDip is not the only new semi-permanent mascara to hit the salons. CryBaby Mascara is another similar professional eyelash enhancement treatment – one that seems to be faster and cheaper. I will have to look into it more. As I’ve said before, dipped lashes are not something that appeals to me personally because I’m totally happy with old-fashioned mascara. But if I had really sparse, short eyelashes I might be more inclined to spend the time and money on a “better” solution to mascara. I would also worry about side effects from LashDip or other semi-permanent mascaras – like allergic reactions, or losing more eyelashes than before, but I don’t know how common these problems are.

Have you had LashDip? Would you do it? What’s your take on semi-permanent mascaras?

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Jul14th

Yikes! The UV Index Is 11+

Categories: Skin care
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uv indexI wrote this post about the UV Index scale a few summers ago, and now that summer is in full-force I feel like nothing has changed – I’m still paranoid about leaving the house in the day time! While half the world is out tanning and enjoying the hot weather, I’m more vampire-ish than ever. I have one friend now that is even more paranoid than me, and she claims her sun-avoidance is making her age backwards! How about you – are you enjoying the sun this summer? Or do you freak out when the weather forecaster announces it’s another 11+ UV Index day?

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned about the UV Index (a measurement of how hot and intense the sun gets on a given day). At the time, I thought the index went from 1-10, with 10 being the absolute hottest rating possible. Imagine my horror when I realized the UV Index is generally 11+ almost every day of the Las Vegas summer! Holy crap – The UV Index actually goes to 15! The heat must have fried my brain because I’m a total sun-phobe, yet I cemented my plans on staying in Las Vegas by recently buying a condo (update: wow, that was a bad idea!)

While Vegas is a bit extreme since it’s a UV Index of 9 or higher half the year, most cities in the US see extreme UV ratings during the summer. You can check your city’s UV Index by entering in your zip code on the EPA website. The site also gives you a map of the UV Index of the entire US. Here is how I go to extremes to deal with the crazy high UV Index:

  • I try to avoid leaving the house before 6pm! Currently I’m self-employed, so unless I have a freelance photography job during the day, I generally don’t leave the house til 5 or 6pm. The sun is still out, so I still get to see daylight, yet avoid the hottest time of the day. I’m not a morning person, or otherwise I might get up super early, and then avoid being outside from 9am-5pm. When I get a job outside of the house, a night job would probably be ideal for me.
  • I keep most of the shades in the house drawn, and have curtains up on the windows. The hot sun can still come through the windows and while it can’t burn you, UVA rays can cause premature aging, and possibly skin cancer. When I move to my own condo, I’m going to look into having my windows UV tinted. I have no idea how much this costs!
  • I tinted my car windows with a UV coating to deflect the sun. Just because you’re in your car doesn’t mean the sun can’t harm you, so car window tinting adds an extra layer of protection.
  • If I have to go outside, I spend as little time outside as possible. I always wear SPF 30+ Zinc Oxide-based sunscreen, even at 6pm! If the sun is out, I have on sunscreen!
  • I always wear big sunglasses with UVA/UVB coating, and my next purchase will be big wraparound sunglasses, so that my crow’s feet get extra protection! I really don’t like hats, or else I’d wear a hat whenever I left the house as well.
  • I carry around sunscreen with me, so that I can reapply in case I have to be in and out of the sun all day (which of course I try to avoid at all costs).

Suddenly that song “Sunglasses At Night” almost makes sense to me! Basically my answer to the heat is to stay inside like a hermit. The problem is when friends don’t share my extreme views, and they think it’s great fun to go outside when it’s 115 degrees! So I find myself making a lot of excuses, since most people have a hard time accepting that a UV Index of 11 = DO NOT GO OUTSIDE!

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Jun12th

Beauty-Obsessed Lolcat Pics

Categories: Beauty Products
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Most women may be obsessed with makeup, beauty products and achieving awesome hair, but so are these lolcats! These beauty-obsessed lolcat pics come from I Can Has Cheezburger, which is probably one of your favorite websites if you like cats. Also check out my beauty tips from lolcats post for more cats that like makeup, Botox, and styling their hair. And finally I did a pics of  lolcats with hair issues post on my hair website. 

Makeup and beauty-loving kittehs, and cats that mock your attempt at looking good:
beautylolcat
beautylolcat
beautylolcat
beautylolcat
beautylolcat
beautylolcat
beautylolcat
Hair stylist lolcats:
beautylolcat
beautylolcat
beautylolcat
beautylolcat
beautylolcat
Fashion model kitteh:
beautylolcat

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May24th

Pretty Hurts

Categories: Botox, Restylane
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pretty hurts“It’s kind of amazing how much power one needle can hold.” Pretty Hurts is a new reality show about the Beverly Hills Leaf & Rusher Medical Skincare Clinic. It primarily focuses on Rand Rusher, the injection specialist who works on many celebrity clients, and people who think they’re celebrities. Rand injects 15-20 clients a day with Botox, Restylane and other cosmetic fillers. While he’s not an actor in Hollywood, “you’ve definitely seen his work.” He keeps very secretive about clients – except the ones that come on the reality show.

Leaf & Rusher actually have a skin care line, so I’ve heard of them before, and I remember wanting to buy a microneedle roller that they were selling a few years ago, but it was too expensive. Now of course I want to go to LA to get some “freezers and fillers” injected into my face by Rand Rusher, but I don’t have the money for that right now.

So far I’ve watched the first three episodes of Pretty Hurts, which airs on the Logo channel. Rand Rusher, who has twenty years experience working in Dermatology and with injectables, is only an RN (registered nurse) – so I find that interesting. He works under Dr. Leaf, who’s the medical director and plastic surgeon of the company. As I’ve said about Botox and Restylane before, great results are all about the skill and experience of the injector, more so than if the injector is a doctor.

Rand is very personable on the show, and since the show is on Logo, some of his clients include drag queens, Janice Dickinson, and someone who calls himself the “gay Sharpei” because he has so many wrinkles. Jeana Keogh from Real Housewives of Orange County (one of my favorite reality shows) was on the first episode buying “birthday lips” for her daughter. Like mother like daughter.

I find the dynamic between Rand and the CEO Curt interesting because they dated for twelve years, but now they are exes. Can you imagine working every day with your ex? Surprisingly the show is pretty drama-free so far. It goes on and on about how devastating it is to age in Hollywood, so it’s slightly depressing. Since pretty hurts, Rand Rusher says he’s not the most gentle injector because he wants you to suffer for your beauty – yikes! But he also likes to be conservative with his technique to avoid making clients look like cartoon characters. Aside from getting rid of wrinkles, Rand also injects Botox for underarm sweat, and uses fillers to smooth out acne scars.

You can watch episodes of Pretty Hurts on the Logo website, and it airs at 8pm on Logo. Oh and it’s not in HD – I guess seeing needles poked into women’s foreheads in high definition is not a good idea. Have you seen Pretty Hurts?

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May10th

BurnOut Sunscreen – 18% Zinc Oxide!

Categories: Sunscreen
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burnout sunscreenBurnOut sunscreen is the latest zinc oxide sunscreen I’ve tested – now that summer is fast approaching, I’m once again excited about sunscreen, my favorite skin care must-have. If you’re looking for a safe, gentle, lightweight, mineral / physical-blocking sunscreen, one that is nearly sheer, and more than likely safe for acne – BurnOut is a sunscreen I highly recommend. It contains 18.6% zinc oxide, which is a very high zinc oxide percentage for a sunscreen!

BurnOut Eco-Sensitive Zinc Oxide Sunscreen SPF 32 Review
You can find BurnOut at Whole Foods but I picked mine up on Amazon because it was a little cheaper. At $17 for a 3.4oz tube, it’s pricier than drugstore sunblocks, but not as costly as ones sold at department store and specialty skin care stores. I bought the regular BurnOut sunscreen - in the blue and white packaging, but they also make one called: Kids Physical Sunscreen and Ocean Tested Physical Sunscreen. All three of them are safe for kids. If you’re concerned about the potential safety hazards of your skin care products, you’ll be happy to know the Cosmetics Database rated this sunscreen a low hazard.

BurnOut only uses zinc oxide as its sun protection ingredient, so this is great news for people with sensitive skin, or for those that prefer to use sunscreens with physical blocking agents, instead of chemical blockers. I always use sunscreens with high levels of zinc oxide in them, but also frequently use ones that have both zinc oxide and chemical sunscreen ingredients. I’m always experimenting. I like zinc oxide because it’s stable in sunlight (unlike most chemical sunscreen ingredients), it’s not as likely to cause acne as the other physical blocker titanium dioxide, and it protects more of the UV spectrum than titanium dioxide.

* Buy BurnOut Sunscreen *

• BurnOut Safety & Application
The BurnOut label says it’s petroleum-free, paraben-free, water-resistant, eco-sensitive (biodegradable, ocean safe), non-greasy, non-comedogenic, and fragrance-free. The packaging is made with recycled plastic and BurnOut says they don’t test on animals. On my face, the product goes on really light and it is almost completely sheer (which is quite a feat for a sunscreen with such a high percentage of zinc oxide). Plus it’s not shiny at all. Some people report a slight white cast, but on me it’s clear, and of all the physical sunscreens I’ve tried, this is the sheerest and lightest. BurnOut sunscreen is extremely similar in all ways to Dermaquest ZinClear SPF 30, except it’s about 1/3 the price per ounce, so I would definitely pick BurnOut over Dermaquest, but Dermaquest is very good also.

Normal to Matte Finish
I’ve been wearing BurnOut over moisturizer, and under makeup. Once I have my makeup on, it leaves me with a matte finish, more so than most sunscreens I’ve tried. It looks about the same under makeup as my other favorite: Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream. I don’t have any pilling issues when applying makeup over it. I have dry to very dry skin, and this makes my skin feel slightly tight and dry after a few hours. So this sunscreen would actually be great for someone with normal skin, and I could even see it working for people with oily skin, which is good because it’s somewhat hard to find good sunscreens that look okay on oily skin – especially physical sunscreens. For very dry skin BurnOut might be too drying, but for everyone else, it should work with your skin type.

Safe for Acne-Prone Skin
BurnOut doesn’t appear to have any ingredients in it that would cause acne. So far I haven’t had any breakouts from it. Even though it should be safe for acne, as with any product, the only way to know for sure if it will work for you is to test it yourself.

BurnOut vs Vanicream Sunscreen SPF 60
BurnOut is more matte while Vanicream is more dewy. BurnOut is water-resistant, unlike Vanicream. They are both almost sheer, but Vanicream feels thicker. Vanicream has a higher SPF, and contains both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. In theory Vanicream shouldn’t cause breakouts either, but the high percentage of titanium dioxide could cause a problem for some people. Both products are fragrance-free and good for sensitive skin. Vanicream is cheaper. You really can’t go wrong with either product if you are looking for a physical sunscreen – it just comes down to personal preference.

BurnOut vs Blue Lizard Sensitive SPF 30+
Blue Lizard is not recommended for use on your face if you are prone to acne, so I only use it on my body. It goes on thicker than BurnOut, but once you rub it in, it dries pretty clear – not as clear as BurnOut though. Like Vanicream, Blue Lizard contains high levels of both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Price-wise Blue Lizard is cheaper than BurnOut. They are both fragrance-free and good for sensitive skin. Blue Lizard is another great sunscreen, but BurnOut is better for acne-prone skin.

Bottom Line
I haven’t worn BurnOut sunscreen out in the hot sun for hours yet. I will update this post when I do. But from my experience so far, if you are looking for a good sunscreen without chemical UV absorbers, BurnOut is a great option for almost everyone. It’s slightly drying on very dry skin, though, but since it’s so light and sheer it should work better for people with oily skin than most physical blocking sunscreens. Have you tried BurnOut? What’s your favorite sunscreen that contains only zinc oxide or titanium dioxide? ps. Sorry this post is boring, but it’s hard to make sunscreen sound exciting!

* Buy BurnOut Sunscreen *

Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 18.6%, Aqua (Deionized Water), Capric/Capryllic Triglycerides, Vegetable Glycerin, sorbitol, imperata Cylindrical (Root) Extract, Caprylyl glycol, soybean Lecithin, Arabidopsis Extract, Plankton Extract, Aloe Vera, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Citric Acid

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Apr24th

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil Review

Categories: Skin care
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DHC deep cleansing oil

I think I have found my new favorite cleanser, one that removes makeup and sunscreen well, while leaving my face baby soft and breakout-free – DHC Deep Cleansing Oil! Woohoo! I’ve been wanting to try this cleanser for years but am so cheap that I kept putting it off because I was happy enough using Philosophy Purity Made Simple, and Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Cleanser. Both of those cleansers are good, and safe for acne-prone skin, but they don’t remove eye makeup or waterproof sunscreen that well.

• DHC Deep Cleansing Oil Review
Since I live in the desert, I currently have dry skin so the idea of using oil on my face excites me because I would envision it would help moisturize my skin without stripping it of its natural oils. And that’s exactly what DHC Deep Cleansing Oil does – it leaves my face feeling hydrated and not tight and dried out, a problem I have with a lot of cleansers. I bought the DHC cleanser on Amazon for about $26 for 6.7 oz. Per ounce, it’s a little more than the Philosophy Purity Made Simple, and quite a splurge compared to the Neutrogena cleanser. But since neither of those cleansers remove makeup well, I end up having to use a second product to successfully remove my eye makeup.

DHC is a Japanese company, and here in the US I’ve never seen the product in a store, which is another reason why it took me this long to buy it. It appears the best place to buy the DHC cleanser in the US is on Amazon or the DHC website. According to the DHC website, the cleanser is their best-selling product worldwide. The site claims “dirt, excess oil, makeup – even waterproof mascara – and other pore-cloggers dissolve easily, leaving your face a grime-free zone that is soft to the touch. Its unique water-soluble formula rinses completely, so you’ll never see a greasy residue. Olive oil and vitamin E help ensure you won’t see dryness either.” I would agree!

* Buy DHC Deep Cleansing Oil *

• Instructions and Results
The cleanser comes with instructions written in Japanese, but on the website I found: “dispense into dry hands, then massage dry face to dissolve makeup, dirt and other impurities. Rinse thoroughly.” Pretty simple. One full pump of the cleanser is enough to thoroughly wash my face, and the product easily removes waterproof sunscreen and face makeup. I have a little trouble getting my eye makeup off, but with help of a washcloth, almost all of it comes off – a big improvement over my other cleansers. The cleanser really does leave my face feeling soft, and it even makes my skin appear smoother, more even, and my pores appear smaller. It doesn’t get rid of the blackheads on my nose (my biggest skin care issue I can’t seem to fix) but it helps reduce them slightly. The DHC cleanser reminds me of how my skin looks and feels after putting on some jojoba oil. One thing to note – I started using the cleanser before I looked up the instructions online, and I used it on a wet face with wet hands. When I did that I was left with soft, hydrated skin. When I used the cleanser per the instructions – on a dry face – my face felt dry and tight afterwards for some crazy reason. If I had oily skin I would use it that way, but you might want to try it both ways and see what works best for you.

I looked up DHC Deep Cleansing Oil on the cosmetics database to check for its safety rating, but it wasn’t listed there. After looking up the product’s individual ingredients, it appears to be an extremely safe product. The first ingredient of the cleanser is olive oil, which is a great ingredient to use on your face. The product has a very faint pleasant scent (olive oil) and while I am bothered by a lot of scents, I actually like this one.

• Safe for acne-prone skin?
So far I haven’t had any breakouts from the DHC cleanser, and the ingredients all appear non-comedogenic and safe for acne-prone skin. As with any product, if you are prone to breakouts, unfortunately the only way to know for sure if a product will be safe for your skin is to try it yourself. After reading online reviews, I see most people with acne-prone skin like this cleanser, although a few people do report breakouts (which could be from this cleanser, or something else they are using). This product could potentially help acne-prone skin because it removes makeup well, so if you happen to wear pore-clogging makeup, this may remove it better than a lot of cleansers. Either way, Amazon will normally let you do returns if you don’t it.

• Good for all skin types?
As someone with skin that ranges from very dry to normal, this cleanser works great for my skin type when I use it with water. A lot of reviews from people with oily skin also report loving this cleanser when they follow the instructions and use it on a dry face.

• Oil-Cleansing Method
Have you heard of the concept of using an oil-based cleanser on oily skin because “like dissolves like?” According to Paula Begoun’s article on the oil-cleansing method, this principle is flawed because “Dissolving oil from the surface of your skin cannot affect what is happening below the surface, inside the pore, or in your body, where these hormones are generated. Using cleansing oil may remove facial oil from the surface of your skin, but that’s about all it can do.” Again I can’t personally attest to whether or not the oil-cleansing method works since my skin is normally dry, but out of curiousity I would still try it out if I had oily skin.

• Bottom Line
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil is a great cleanser that should work for all skin types because it removes makeup and sunscreen well, without overly stripping the skin. I plan to repurchase this product as long as it lasts for several months (because it’s expensive)! This cleanser is worth trying if you are acne-prone, but don’t hesitate returning it if it doesn’t work out for you. Have you tried this DHC cleanser? Do you love it or hate it?

Ingredients: olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, sorbeth-30 tetraoleate, pentylene glycol, phenoxyethanol, tocopherol, stearyl glycyrrhetinate, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil

* Buy DHC Deep Cleansing Oil *

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