About Me

Saturday, May 17, 2014

What's in my Bag?

I've been seeing these posts a lot lately and I thought it would be fun to do one myself. In order for this post to have any meat to it, though, I have to describe everything that could possibly be in my bag at any given time. (I do usually carry a large purse, so it's actually pretty likely that everything listed here could be in there at one time.) So, besides my phone and wallet, here are my must-haves:

1) Hand sanitizer. Doesn't matter what brand, just needs to be there. Especially if you are not carrying #11, so you can use this and a napkin or one of #7 in a pinch. 
2) Mints. Usually Altoids, the small ones. The wintergreen flavor is my fav, but since they sell only Original in the smalls at Trader Joe's that's usually what I have. I made the mistake once of thinking I could live without having mints on my person at all times, and am pretty sure I traumatized a young child with my garlic-onion breath. Never again. 
3) Compact folding hair brush. You know what I mean; the little round ones that fold in and pop out like a sea anemone. 
4) Compact with pressed foundation with mirror. Even though I have not been wearing foundation as of late, I do not want to be stuck with a zit on my face or some redness when I have a work meeting or something of the like. And a mirror is always useful. Use the foundation sparingly. 
5) Hair ties. At least two.
6) Bobby pins. Again, at least two. The boppy pin monster and hair tie monster are actually much more lethal than the better-known sock monster. 
7) Tissue pack. I like these from Kleenex because they come in fun, chic prints, but they aren't as pricy as those fancier, but awesome, tissue packs from Sniff.
8) Lip balm. See this post. The L'Occitane one is still my favorite, but I actually am more likely to have Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15, untinted, in my bag. The SPF makes me think I'm doing the right thing for my lips during the day, even though if I listen to my own/Peaches' advice in my previous post I should probably be thinking otherwise.
9) Lip gloss. How have I not done a post about this topic yet? More to come, but Buxom glosses are my go-to.  I also am dying to try Burt's Bees new line of tinted lip balms and glosses. 
10) Hand cream. See this post. Lest you somehow find out on your own and I lose all trustworthiness, neither of those hand creams are actually in my bag right now -- a Johnson's body care, lavender & chamomile scented one is. I don't love it. In fact, I don't even really like it. I just am irrationally determined to use it up before throwing it out, because I don't want my $2 to have been wasted (or even....was this a stocking stuffer from my mom?)
11) Lemon-scented wipes. These ones from L'Occitane are a fancier version of the ones I usually use but can't find online. I got them at Target in the travel cosmetics bins section. These aren't always in my bag, and when they're not, I without fail find myself in a situation where they are gravely needed, like eating tacos with grease running down my arms. (If you're grossed out, you clearly haven't been to Lily's. The grease is totally worth it.) 

Only 11 items...I would say that's less than average for a young woman, no? Am I missing anything essential? Please tell me so I can go out and buy it immediately! :) Something I would like to add to the list is food, maybe in the form of a granola bar or nuts. I've definitely found myself out and about and hungry but not hungry enough for a full meal, and end up eating more than I needed to at a restaurant or at least spending more money than I needed to. For some reason I never think ahead to bring a snack in my giant purse --- going to work on that! :)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Acne Post - Revisited

It's been a while since my last post, and that's mainly because my skincare routine has been in a transitional period after I made some drastic changes about a month ago. I wanted to wait at least one month to write this post so I could give you some honest and time-tested feedback. 

I decided to get a facial at a place I've been going for years for bikini waxes called Peaches Skin Care here in Santa Barbara. My skin was majorly breaking out after I switched to a heavy daytime moisturizer with a high SPF (FYI, it was Boscia Restorative Day Moisture Cream SPF 15 -- heavy and greasy, ugh) and I was feeling desperate. I knew from doing my usual extensive online research that precedes any kind of beauty-related service that Peaches makes their own products, uses microcurrent and microdermabrasion (say what?) in their facials, and boasts on their website and social media sites that they can clear up any kind of acne, with before and after photos that seem too good to be true. So I had high expectations, and also high doubts that my uber-sensitive skin would do well with the two M's that I thought were reserved for "medical" spas (i.e. places you can get Botox but say you're going to the spa--or so I hear).

After a facial that was a little over an hour with a friendly and concerned esthetician, my face was looking a bit battered (she did very thorough extractions), but I was feeling hopeful. Here are my main takeaways from Peaches:

  • Regular facials with extractions, microdermabrasion, and microcurrent are important for skin maintenance. The extractions get all the acne-causing gunk out, microderm brings up layers of new skin, and the microcurrent lifts and tightens (they call it a "face lift without surgery"...which I think is more than a bit of a stretch).  A second facial a few weeks after the first is the most important to make sure the new skin that was brought up by the first facial stays clean (or maybe this is a ploy to get you to buy a facial package at Peaches...which gives you a small discount if you pay for 3 facials at once. Either way, I bought it).
  • Only pure antioxidants penetrate the skin and make a difference. I didn't feel pressured into buying their products, but the way the esthetician seemed to honestly believe they were the best out there and that they could change my skin sold me. I bought a cleanser, exfoliating wash, toner, and mask. (Full disclosure: I would've bought their moisturizer except that after testing it on my arm I had an allergic reaction.)
  • Yeast infection cream can cure your acne.  The esthetician also insisted I put Monistat 7 (yes) on my face morning and night after toning. She said that acne is often a fungal problem and so the Monistat helps with that.
  • Milk of magnesia is a fabulous face mask. They recommend you sleep with it on your face like a mask or at the very least in problem areas, as it calms skin, curbs oil production and helps acne. I've been leaving this on overnight on areas where I feel like I might have a zit coming on, and, sure enough, I wake up zit-free in the morning!
  • Wear sunscreen on your face only when necessary. This probably shocked me even more than the vag cream. According to Peaches, sunscreen ingredients are pore-clogging and cause breakouts. She recommended a titanium dioxide sunscreen to use only as needed, but since wide-brimmed hats are for sale in the Peaches lobby, I think it's safe to assume they prefer hats to sunscreen.
  • Makeup is the devil. Absolutely NO liquid foundation. Pure mineral makeup with no fillers is OK (i.e. no Bare Minerals) but they really hate foundation, saying it causes acne. 
  • Even worse than the devil: Wearing the devil while working out. Sweat will cause your makeup to clog your pores even more. 

All of this might seem pretty extreme and weird to someone who has not tried everything to clear their skin and had no luck. But people like me, think, hmmm, this actually kind of makes sense.

Was it instant omg-this-skincare-is-a-miracle? No. Have I had any breakouts? Yes. Have they been smaller than usual and few and far between? YES. They also go away quicker and without using any targeted acne treatments like the ones I reviewed in my original Acne Post. In fact, most of these minor breakouts happened while I was traveling and not following the routine to a T, and since I got back and had my second facial (3 weeks ago) those breakouts cleared up super quick and I have not had a single breakout since.

The main issue I am dealing with now is minor irritation that may or may not be related to the Peaches products and routine. After my first facial, my skin was definitely more sensitive and reactive, and I was also flushing at the littlest cause. Since my second facial, it's been a lot better. Some days I can feel my skin flushing more easily than others. I also suffer from bad seasonal allergies that always affect my skin, and it's prime season right now. Since my skin is looking so great otherwise, I am really hoping it's not the products. I will probably be in denial at least for another 6 months until I use them up anyway. :)