Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Soap Rocks

Aren't they the coolest thing! They look fun and funky in your bathroom and glisten when they are wet.

These glycerin soaps are full of natural, moisturizing ingredients including Jojoba and Olive Oils to leave your skin feeling moist. There are a variety of colors, shapes and scents. $14.95 each.

Ingredients: Aloe, calendula, chamomile, comfrey, lavender, vitamin E, vegetable glycerin, chlorophyll, almond oil, jojoba oil, olive oil, essential oils, mineral earth, kaolin clay, and glycerin dew™.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Q&A: Moisturize with Oil?

Q. Can I use oil to moisturize my face?

A. You can. I like olive oil. Wash your face then, pat it dry leaving it slightly moist. Massage on a few drops of olive oil. You may want to use a traditional moisturizer if you are going to apply foundation. The foundation will go on smoother over moisturizer.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Gel Polish and Cancer

Visit Jill's Beauty Adventures

Women love their gel polish and gel nails. I know, it stays on great for weeks with no chipping. It has always been a concern that the UV light exposure could cause skin cancer. The companies that manufacture these products assure us that these UV light curing products are safe. Even many dermatologists say that the amount of exposure is low therefore, the risk of UV damage is low. Dermatologists seem more concerned with the damage that is caused to the nails in the soaking in acetone to remove the product. They say sunscreen should be applied before hands go under the light to protect the skin. Still, I don't recommend gel products.

Well, I'm here to tell you, I know of someone who has cancer of the nail beds. It is in all 10 nail beds! She has been using gel products for 2 years. Her doctor told the cause of her cancer was due to the use of gel products. Sunscreen would not have helped her. The cancer is in the nail bed not on the skin on her hands. People it is not worth the risk! Just use regular old fashioned nail polish!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What are Alpha Hydroxy Acids?

Alpha Hydroxy Acids or AHAs are naturally derived acids that occur in foods. They are sometimes called fruit acids. These acids are used in skin care products to remove dead cells, improve the appearance of the skin and encourage firming of the skin by thickening the deep layers of the skin.

AHAs are used to treat wrinkles, acne and acne scarring. AHAs cause a mild irritation and exfoliate the skin. They are used by dermatologists and estheticians in a high concentration as peels. A doctor can use an AHA peel with a concentration of 50%-70%. An esthetician can use an AHA peel with a concentration of 20%-30%. Glycolic peels are well known Alpha Hydroxy peels.

Creams for consumer use are at a concentration of less than 10%. An anti aging AHA cream works best when it contains a concentration of 5%-8%. The products labels don't usually tell you the percentage of AHA in the product. Check the ingredient list. A cream is likely to have the right amount of AHAs in it if the AHA is the 2nd or 3rd ingredient on the ingredient list.

Professional AHA peels are most beneficial when done in a series of peels every 3-6 months. The number of peels and the space in between them varies according to the product being used. For instance, a peel maybe done once a week for six consecutive weeks two times per year. The skin will likely be sensitive, inflamed and flaky after a peel but will heal and have a smoother appearance. 

When using an AHA cream at home, don't use it as a daily product. You will get the most benefit if you use it as a treatment 3-4 times a year. For instance, YonKa Fruitlia is used for a one month course 4 times a year to get the most benefit from the product. Use it one month per season, December, April, June and September. Then, go back to your regular skin care routine the other months.
YonKa Fruitelia
AHAs exfoliate the skin causing you to be more susceptible to sun damage. Be sure to use a sunscreen when using AHA products. 

Beta Hydroxyl Acid (BHA) is another exfoliating acid found in skin care products. It is salicylic acid derived from willow bard and is related to aspirin. It is an excellent ingredient for un clogging the pores. 

Read more about Salicylic Acid (BHA) and aspirin allergy

Here are some common AHAs and their sources:

maltic acid is from apples

lactic acid is from milk
glycolic acid is from sugar cane 
tartaric acid is from grapes
citric acid is from citrus fruits

       Have a Beautiful Day! 

Licensed Cosmetologist, Makeup Artist

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 Wedding, special occasion or everyday makeup and skin care services available in the Philadelphia, Pa. area. Visit my makeup page for more information!

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Firming Eye Treatment: Yes to Blueberries Eye Firming Treatment

My never ending quest to find the perfect eye cream continues. I find all eye creams add moisture but none of them do any miracles. My latest is Yes to Blueberries Eye firming Treatment. I like the ingredients. It is loaded with blueberry which contains great free radical fighting anti oxidants including Vitamin C. It contains glycerin which is great for holding water to the skin.  It also contains soothing oils and moisturizers sunflower seed oil, olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil (another favorite of mine!), shea butter and Vitamin E. 

My review: It is moisturizing nicely without feeling heavy. Some creams can be too rich for under the eyes and cause puffiness. This eye cream is not causing  puffiness. Fine lines are softened but not gone. Is it firming? Maybe a little. It has a potent sweet smell to doesn't bother me but some people may object to it. Makeup goes on nicely over it. I like it and will use it for a while, until I get the urge to continue my quest to find the miracle cream.

Find it for about $14.00  at drug and superstores and at Yes to Carrots.com.



Have a Beautiful Day!

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Q&A: Bridal Eye Makeup

Q. I am getting married this spring. What color eye shadow is in for brides?

A. It is best for brides to steer away from trendy eye shadow 
colors on their wedding day. Neutral shadows such a soft pink or peach with shades of brown and beige bring attention to the eyes 
without being overpowering. You want people to say that you look beautiful not that your eye shadow is a beautiful color!
bride with veil
Have a Beautiful Day!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Burn more calories!

Which is better for you sitting or standing? 

If you want to burn more calories, stand. You will burn 60 more calories per hour than sitting!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Stila Custom Color Blush

I painted my bedroom ceiling with the most fascinating paint I ever used! How can paint be fascinating  you ask? Well, it went on pink and turned bright white when it dried. Magical! Oddly, it made me think of a blush that is also a bit magical.
It is Stila Custom Color Blush. This blush reacts with the pH of your skin to change into a color that is perfect for your skin tone. The colors look bold and are highly pigmented. A little goes a long way. The pink is an incredibly bright bluish pink. It looked clown like upon first application, but magically, it turned to a soft nice pink on me. The coral was also lovely on my friend. This powder blush comes in a coral, a pink and a bronze. Ulta and Sephora have testers so you can try it on yourself. $20.00. More info at stila.com.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Nerium AD: An Aloe Product (part 4)

I have been talking about Nerium AD all week and have come to the conclusion that it is nothing more than a glorified aloe cream.  The first and second ingredients are aloe. The nerium content has to be very minimal due to nerium's toxic nature. It has protein in it too, but protein molecules are too big to penetrate the skin and they do not fill in lines or stimulate collagen production. Collagen and elastin proteins are used as moisturizers. They are derived from bovine sources.

You don't have to spend $80-$110 to buy a nice aloe product. You can find many aloe products in stores that sell natural products for $10 or less. As I said previously, I like aloe it is very hydrating and soothing for the skin. Aloe leaves contain a clear gel that can be used on the skin. It has a slippery feel and creates a tightening feeling on the skin as it dries. It makes the skin look plumper and healthier. 

Aloe was used 6000 years ago by the Egyptians.  It has been used for years topically and orally as a folk and traditional remedy for a variety of ailments including acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, dry skin, dandruff, indigestion and other stomach issues, diabetes, asthma, burns and sunburn. It has anti bacterial, anti viral, anti fungal and anti inflammatory properties. It has not classified as an active anti aging ingredient, though.  It may cause irritation in some people. Some people can be allergic to it since it is a plant extract, but that doesn't make it a bad ingredient. People who are allergic to garlic, onions and tulips are more likely to be allergic to aloe. 

Here are  a few inexpensive aloe products that have nice ingredients to soothe and give your skin a moist, hydrated, younger look and feel.

An aloe moisturizing cream from Jason.

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (1), Aqua (Water), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil (1), Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Carbomer, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Potassium Hydroxide, Sodium PCA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Amyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Hydroxycitronellal, Limonene, Linalool, Fragrance (Parfum)
(1) Certified Organic Ingredient

$8.65 at Jason

Hydrating Serums containing Aloe

Yes to Blueberries Intensive Skin Repair Serum


$19.99 at Yes to Carrots and select drug and superstores

The Body Shop Aloe Protective Serum

Aloe Barbadensis Gel, Water, Pentylene Glycol, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Cyclomethicone, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Alpha-Glucan Oligosaccharide, Caprylyl Glycol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Panthenol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Lanolin, Polysilicone-11, Sodium Hydroxide, Bisabolol, Lecithin, Disodium EDTA, Tocopherol, Avena Sativa (Oat) Bran Extract.

$21.00 at The Body Shop.com and Ulta

Antho Unscented Organic Face Serum with Seabuckthorn for Sensitive Skin

organic aloe oil* , organic jojoba oil* , organic sunflower oil* , organic grapeseed oil* , organic sea buckthorn extract* , natural GMO free tocopherols (natural vitamin E, not synthetic tocopheryl acetate) , * USDA certified organic

John Masters Organic Green Tea and Rose Hydrating Face Serum

Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, glycerin*, rosa damascena (rose) flower water*, cocoglucoside, coconut alcohol, leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, borago officinalis (borage) seed oil, oryza sativa (rice) extract*, camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract*, spirulina platensis (algae) extract*, butyrospermum parkii (shea) nut butter*, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract*, cananga odorata (ylang ylang) flower oil*, rosa damascena (rose) flower oil*, anthemis nobilis (chamomile) flower oil, boswellia carterii (frankinscense) resin extract, sclerotium gum, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate, linalool†, geraniol†

$26.00 at John Masters.com

Avalon Organics Essential Lift Lifting Serum

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice(1), Sea Silt Extract, Glycerin, Aqua (Water), Dehydroxanthan Gum , Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract(1), Secale Cereale (Rye) Seed Extract(1), Tapioca Starch(1), Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Cedrus Atlantica Bark Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Copaifera Officinalis (Balsam Copaiba) Resin, Coriandrum Sativum (Coriander) Fruit Oil, Geranium Maculatum Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Pogostemon Cabin (Patchouli) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil , Styrax Benzoin Resin Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract(1), Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Extract(1), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract(1), Panax Ginseng Root Extract(1), Alcohol(1), Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Limonene, Linalool.

(1)Certified Organic Ingredient

$25.95 at Avalon Organics

An Aloe gel from Millcreek Botanicals


Aloe Vera Gel (Organic) , Deionized Water , Cucumber Extract , Comfrey Extract , Allantoin (Comfrey Root) , Carbomer , Tetrasodium EDTA , Triethanolamine , Oleth 20 , Potassium Sorbate , Sodium Benzoate , Essential Oils

$5.99 at Walgreens.com

I hope my series on Nerium AD has been informative for you!

 Always do a little research before you spend a lot of money for a skin care product that makes big promises.

More in my NeriumAD series:

Nerium Part 1: Nerium Oleander Side Effects

NeruimADPart 2: How does it work?

NeriumAD Part 3: Ingredients

Have a Beautiful Day!

PS: Thanks for using my affiliate links๐Ÿ’‹

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Nerium AD : Ingredients (part 3)

nerium AD
Let's review the ingredients in NeriumAD and talk about the most prominent ingredients. Nerium International claims the nerium oleander is the active ingredient in Nerium AD. I question the amount of nerium oleander extract that is actually in it due to the toxic nature of oleander. Brand partners seem to be very excited that oleander fights cancer. What makes people think, because nerium oleander extract has shown some evidence in studies that it fights cancer, that it is a good thing to use on the skin? Cancer drugs are potent toxic chemicals that kill cancer cells and cause tremendous side effects.
An ingredient list lists the product ingredients in descending order of prominence. The first ingredient is their NAE-8 Proprietary Blend, which is a secret blend of Aloe Baradensis leaf and Nerium Leaf Extract. Being first, it is the most prominent ingredient, the NAE-8 not nerium leaf extract. Aloe is listed before nerium in the parentheses letting us know that there is more aloe than nerium in the NAE-8. Believe me, I have tried and I have had other people try to find out the actual percentage or even a ballpark percentage of nerium oleander extract that is in it, but no one will give out the information.  I speculate that the percentage of nerium extract is extremely low which implies that NAE-8 is mostly aloe. There has been very little research done on nerium extract and it's effects on the skin therefore, there isn't enough evidence to consider it to be an active anti aging ingredient.

The second ingredient on the list is Aloe Barbadensis Leaf. I like aloe it is very hydrating and soothing for the skin. Aloe leaves contain a clear gel that can be used on the skin. It has a slippery feel and creates a tightening feeling on the skin as it dries. It makes the skin look plumper and healthier. Aloe was used 6000 years ago by the Egyptians.  It has been used for years topically and orally as a folk and traditional remedy for a variety of ailments including acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, dry skin, dandruff, indigestion and other stomach issues, diabetes, asthma, burns and sunburn. It has anti bacterial, anti viral, anti fungal and anti inflammatory properties. It has not classified as an active anti aging ingredient, though.  

It may cause irritation in some people. Some people can be allergic to it since it is a plant extract, but that doesn't make it a bad ingredient. People who are allergic to garlic, onions and tulips are more likely to be allergic to aloe. 

The third ingredient, Proprietary Protein, is another mystery. Again, I tried to find out the exact protein source and percentages, but no one will say. I personally do not use collagen or elastin products due to the fact that they are derived from bovine sources. They can't penetrate the skin so they will not fill in lines. They are used as moisturizers.

There are a variety of emollient and humectant ingredients on the list that are good for conditioning and hydrating the skin. They are not necessarily active anti aging ingredients but the will make the skin look plumper and moister. 

The last ingredient, Vitamin E, is an active anti aging ingredient, but it is last on the list which tells us there isn't much in there. (Top 12 Anti Aging Ingredients)

The Ingredient List for NeriumAD:

NAE-8 Proprietary Blend (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf, Nerium Oleander Leaf Extract) - Aloe barbadensis leaf and nerium oleander  leaf extracts. This remain a mysterious blend. Nerium International will not tell you the percentage of nerium in this product.  

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf- A compound expressed from the leaves of the Aloe Barbadensis plant. It is 99.5% water and contain various plant compounds. It good for hydrating the skin and plumping up wrinkles. Used in the treatment of burns. Can cause allergic reactions.

Proprietary Protein (Collagen, Elastin, Glycosaminoglycans)Collagen and Elastin are derived animal tissue frequently bovine sources. It is not shown to have an effect on producing or building collagen or elastin within skin when applied topically. The protein molecules are too big to penetrate the skin but are good water binders. Nerium International will not tell you the source of their protein. Glycosaminoglycans are mucopolysaccharides that are unable to penetrate the stratum corneum when topically applied. Hyaluronic acid is part of this ingredient group. Used as moisturizers.

Oryza Sativa Bran Oil- Rice oil- An emollient

Stearic Acid- A commonly used emollient that occurs naturally in butter acids, cascarilla bark, and other animal fats and oils.

Cetearyl Glucoside and Cetearyl Alcohol - Fatty Alcohols used as emollients, emulsifiers, thickeners and carruing agents. Made synthecically or can be naturally derived as in coconut fatty alcohol.

Glycerin- A humectant, it draws water to the skin.

C14-22 Alcohol and C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside - Long chain alcohol emollients.

Glyceryl Stearate- A widely used emulsifying ingredient.

Ricinus Communis Seed Oil- Castor oil.

Cetyl Alcohol- An emulsifier and emollient.

Olus Oil- A vegetable oil.

Chondrus Crispus Powder- Carrageenan. A red algae. Used as a thickener.

Sodium Borate-  A pH adjuster. Can be irritating.

Dicaprylyl Ether- An emollient.

Hydrolyzed Quinoa- A protein. Binds moisture to the skin. It is a film forming agent.

Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylate-  emulsifier

Dimethicone- Silicone. Great as a primer to fill in wrinkles.

Sodium PCA- A water binding agent.

Proprietary Blend (Caprylyl Glycol, - a skin conditioning agent, Glycerin- a humectant,  Glyceryl Caprylate -wetting, fatting, moisturizing agent,  Phenylpropanol- solvent )


Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate- A preservative

Tocopherol- Vitamin E

Here is more in my NeriumAD series:

Nerium Part 1: Nerium Oleander Side Effects

Neruim Part 2: How Does It Work?

NeriumAD Part 4: An Aloe Product

Links for more info:

Read a review from Paula Begoun, The Cosmetics Cop

Recipe for more Beautiful Skin

Anti Aging Skin Video

If you must try it, try it for less on Amazon!

Thanks for stopping by!

PS: Thanks for using my affiliate links๐Ÿ’‹

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Nerium AD: How does it work? (part 2)

oleander flowers
How does the controversial nerium oleander extract do it's anti aging to the skin? How can a plant that is one of the most poisonous plants in the world make the skin look younger? I set out to find out. After scouring the pages of Nerium International, Nerium Skin Care and Nerium Biotechnology, I find no explanation. There is very little research regarding oleander as a cosmetic ingredient due to it's toxicity. The Nerium people just tell you it works. Research shows "age defying results". Pictures show anti aging effects. Blah, blah, blah. It's amazing how a change in lighting can effect a photo!  What does oleander actually do to the skin?

Other anti aging ingredients have specific actions on the skin. Peptides trigger a response in the skin telling it to make collagen. Anti oxidants fight free radicals that cause aging damage to our skin. Fruit acids (alpha hydroxy acids) and retinoids remove dead skin cells and cause an irritation below the skin's surface stimulating collagen production. Basically, the body is trying to defend itself from the irritant. I suspect nerium oleander works in the same fashion. Being a toxin, it causes an irritation. 

Dr. John of Bare Faced Truth says this, "If we take the Dr Newman’s MD Anderson research at face value, oleander extracts are likely causing an inflammatory stress response. In the short term this causes fibroblasts to pump out matrix (GAGs, collagen, elastin) and draws fluid to the area, which may hide wrinkles in the short term, and superficially, but the underlying structures are “inflammaging” with bad collagen cross linking leading to an ultimately more disturbed architecture (but feels like “skin tightening”). Take away the stress stimulus, the excess fluid leaves, the real damage appears. The cake has fallen. Now of course we keep hearing things like “it’s not the same stuff”, the extract is a new “non-toxic” one. So, why would you start with oleandrin in the first place, if you wanted something that doesn’t work like oleandrum? And why would your “proof of safety rest on testing to make sure that you cannot detect potentially deadly glycosides in blood after topical application? Do you see how this toxin turned miracle cure just doesn’t add up scientifically or logically?"

Let's have a closer look at the active ingredient. The first ingredient listed on the Nerium AD label is NAE-8 Proprietary Blend (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf, Nerium Oleander Leaf Extract). This is a mixture of aloe and nerium extracts. How much nerium is actually in there? No one will tell you. I have repeatedly contacted Nerium to find out the percentage of nerium that is in NAE-8. “The information on our Proprietary Blend has not been disclosed to our customers.” says Miriam G, a member of the support team.  “As that's part of our proprietary blend, we're not able to release that information. Enjoy your day.”  says Mary of Nerium International. I have also had Brand Partners ask to no avail.

The Nerium web page tells us this, "NeriumSkinCare products use a patent-pending extraction technology known as Bio-PL²®. This extraction technology incorporates pure liquid Aloe Vera to extract specific Nerium Oleander plant components while preserving the natural integrity and beneficial properties of both plants. The results of this new technology NeriumExtractNAE-8® has allowed NeriumSkin Care to create a "first of it's kind", age-defying night cream, NeriumAD®"  Hey! I remember hearing that "first of it's kind" phrase about Anvirzel!

Do you think this unique extraction process renders the extract non toxic? I don't know that it does. They say the process "preserves the natural integrity" of both plants. The leaves are toxic. The Nerium statement says it extracts specific Nerium Oleander plant components. Are components the same as compounds? It has been reported that there are over 500 different compounds in oleander. Nerium told one brand partner that there was a "molecule" of nerium oleander in the product. A molecule is the smallest unit (particle) of a compound that has the physical and chemical properties of that compound.

There is no sense in asking Nerium International. They won't tell you anything about their secret NAE-8. Which makes me wonder. In the creating of NAE-8, aloe is used to extract specific components of the nerium which makes me believe that NAE-8 is more aloe than nerium. Aloe is listed first in the parentheses after NAE-8 Proprietary Blend. Aloe is also the second ingredient on the ingredient list. Hmmmmmmmm! Maybe there is really just a minuscule amount of the active ingredient nerium in it. Maybe it's really the aloe that is making the skin look better. Let's talk about aloe and the other ingredients in Nerium AD tomorrow. (NeriumAD Part 3: Ingredients)

Here is more in my NeriumAD series:
  Nerium Part 1Nerium Oleander Side Effects

Nerium Part 3: Ingredients

NeriumAD Part 4: An Aloe Product

Links for more info:

Oleaner and it's compounds

Recipe for more Beautiful Skin

Anti Aging Skin Tips
If you must try it, try it for less on Amazon.

PS: Thanks for using my affiliate links๐Ÿ’‹