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Beauty Musings & Rogue Ramblings


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How to Lighten & Brighten Skin Naturally

Most people suffer from some type of unwanted skin darkening at some point and there are many reasons why this can happen: friction, chafing, skin irritations from hair removal, sun exposure/damage (freckles, hyperpigmentation), scarring from injury, acne, skin allergies or rash, contact spots (knees, elbows, back of ankles), or simply genetics, etc…

Skin darkening can be annoying, bothersome, or even embarrassing… luckily, there are ways to reduce or even eliminate those darkened areas.

You can invest in skin lightening or bleaching creams, serums and over-the-counter specialty treatments, or go to your dermatologist for medical remedies.

You can also choose the natural method, using simple and affordable ingredients at home. Natural methods work more gradually than synthetic, chemical, or medical treatments; which can be more beneficial for your skin/health, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Important Note: If you are someone with a naturally deeper skin tone,  due to your ethnicity or race (i.e. African American, Hispanic, Indian, etc.), always consult your doctor and dermatologist before attempting any at-home full body skin lightening or whitening, whether over-the-counter or natural.

Now, onto the easy, natural process of lightening and brightening your skin..

  • If looking to lighten certain areas on your skin, you can choose to do this everyday or 3 times a week, depending on your skin’s sensitivity. Once your desired skin tone is reached, you may wish to maintain it by repeating the process on a routine basis.
  • If looking to brighten your skin, this can be done once a week, bi-monthly, once a month or simply when your skin needs a boost.
  • For face lightening: I recommend that you do not apply this more than 3 times a week, as your facial skin is more sensitive than your body, and you can over exfoliate resulting in dry skin.

This is a three part method, but you can choose to use one, two or all aspects.

Part 1: Exfoliate with Pure Baking Soda

  • Pure Baking Soda is sodium based, pH neutralizing, gentle exfoliant
  • It will help to loosen the  dead skin cells and prep the skin for the next steps
  • Create a paste, usually 2:1 baking soda to water ratio works
  • Gently massage the paste on the darkened skin areas for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on your skin’s sensitivity, and rinse off
  • Bonus: Since it is pH neutralizing, this exfoliant can help with acne and should not cause any irritation
  • NOTE: Since Pure Baking Soda is essentially salt, please take caution if you are on a strict low sodium health regimen, and while you will only be applying it for a couple minutes at most, what you put on your skin is absorbed into your body
  • NOTE: Exfoliate only once a day with the Baking Soda paste
  • FOR FACE: Do not apply to face for more than 30 seconds – avoiding the eye area, and at most once a day, 3 times a week

Part 2: Apply Lemon Juice or Papaya on clean, exfoliated skin

  • Apply an antioxidant- vitamin rich – alpha hydroxy acid, like lemon juice or papaya
  • Alpha hydroxy acid rich fruits, like lemon and papaya, naturally exfoliate skin
  • They also fight free radicals and help with new skin cell growth and turnover
  • Lemons, rich in Vitamin C and citric acid, help lighten skin
  • Papayas, which contain an enzyme call papain, help with hyperpigmentation
  • Slice fresh lemon or papaya (removing seeds) and rub slices over skin, coating the areas with the juice
  • 100% Lemon Juice from concentrate on a cotton pad/square/ball can be substituted
  • Allow to sit and dry on skin for 10 minutes, no more than 20 minutes, rinse with luke warm water
  • For very dark problem areas or spots, apply slices directly onto area and leave for no more than 10 minutes and rinse with luke warm water
  • If using papaya, it may help to dice and create a pulp
  • Remember, this is an acid treatment, meaning your skin can dry out if you fail to properly moisturize
  • NOTE: When treating with an alpha hydroxy acid always use an SPF lotion, as your skin is more sensitive
  • NOTE: Apply no more than twice a day, and if you have sensitive skin, opt for using a diluted lemon juice
  • FOR FACE: Avoid eye area, leaving juice or pulp on skin for no more than 15 minutes  then rinse with luke warm water

Part 3: Use oil to lock in moisture, brighten, help with skin renewal and anti-aging 

  • Oil is a great option for locking in moisture, and keeping skin soft and supple
  • It also helps in loosening dead skin cells, as opposed to a regular moisturizer
  • Antioxidant rich oils help against free radicals, sun-damage, and helping with anti-aging and skin tone
  • Massage the oil into all your skin, concentrating on the darker and more drying areas, up to 3 times a day
  • Remember to choose a light, gentle, non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging) oils
  • I use Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate on my face nightly and Neutrogena Body Oil
  • I also recommend Grapeseed and Evening Primrose oils, both of which I use/have used in the past and loved
  • NOTE: Using oil does not make your skin more oily, in fact it has the opposite effect and can help resolve oily skin
  • FOR FACE: Oil is usually applied in the evening for your face. Using 2 to 4 drops of oil is enough for the face and you can apply your normal nightly moisturizer after a few minutes.

There you have it… A LOT of info, but I hope it helps. Oh…and remember, fundamentally, 2 of these steps are salt and acid – so take precautions if you have cuts, sores or any type of unhealed wound – it will sting! Pass the info on to those you know who could benefit from this – no one should have to feel insecure about this issue 🙂

Oh and of course, remember good hydration – drinking plenty of water – is the best option for keeping your skin healthy! 


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Mini HAUL: Ulta

One thing I love about shopping at Ulta – their rewards program! I love receiving my certificate and being able to go pick up some free products! Plus, they always have sales!

So, in case you are unsure of how their rewards work (programs may vary based on your location), here is what they say:

The ABCs of earning gifts

Shop for what you love, and earn free gifts. You’ll get a fabulous rewards certificate from ULTA every quarter based on your spending. You’ll earn a certificate level for every $50 spent on beauty. The more you spend, the higher your certificate level will be. Once ULTA serves up your certificate, you have six weeks to redeem it in-store for beauty products from our menu of rewards items. Pretty fabulous.

The 123s of redeeming gifts

Bring in your Reward Certificate (found on the front cover of your ULTA catalog) and choose one item from the corresponding levels below. Members with Level 7 and above are able to redeem in any combination equal to their Reward Certificate Level.

So, first off, they were having a buy 2 get 1 free sale on Neutrogena products! I’m an avid lover of almost all Neutrogena products; one of my favorites being their Rainbath line.

I decided to pick up the  Gentle Exfoliating Creamy Oil Wash, in addition to my Neutrogena Naturals Purifying Facial Cleanser and my Ageless Intensives Anti-Wrinkle Deep Wrinkle Night Moisturizer. 

Now onto my free stuff!

I have become infatuated with the Orofluido brand and line of products (thanks to my April Birchbox)!

A little about the line from Orofluido:

Orofluido has its inspiration in the beauty
rituals of ancient traditions.

The Berber women who live in Morocco have taught us to protect and care for our hair with the prized Argan oil. The beauty secrets of Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt and still a symbol of seduction today, included a treatment based on Cyperus oil, which left her hair smooth, shiny and velvety to the touch. Linseed oil was used by Egyptians, Hebrews and Phoenicians alike as an incredible source of shine for hair.

AN EXQUISITE MIXTURE OF NATURAL OILS

Argan oil: liquid gold for your hair
Extracted from the seeds of the Argania spinosa fruit, Argan oil is rich in vitamin E and essential fatty oils, similar in composition to our own skin. It strengthens hair and makes it extremely light and incredibly silky.
Linseed oil: instant shine
The seeds of the linen plant are the source of a precious oil which seals and smoothes the hair cuticle, providing uniformity and control. The result is hair that captures and reflects the light, giving it a spectacular shine.
Cyperus oil: pure silk to the touch
Cyperus is a plant that has been cultivated in Egypt for more than 4,000 years. It is the source of an oil with a high content of fatty acids and tocopherol, which give natural protection against free radicals. It provides softness and volume, leaving hair manageable, smooth and flexible.

The oils in these products are truely amazing, for me at least; and the scent alone is worth getting your hands on the OROFLUIDO BEAUTY ELIXIR.

The fragrance, according to the company, includes:

A foundation of Bergamot and Orange Blossom; a body of Amber, Red Pepper and Cyclamen-Muguet; finished with Amber, Vanilla and Patchouli-Sandalwood.

Now to get to the point – I was able to pick up the full size Orofluido Conditioner or Shampoo for free! I also went ahead and purchased the Orofluido Mask. Proper conditioning is very important with my hair (nauturaly curly and very long, prone to be more susceptible to dryness and damage); which is why I opted for the conditioner and grabbed the mask too.

Since I had so many points, I was at a level high enough to get a couple more things free – let’s not dwell on how I frequently get to that level or above – eeek!

In theme with my conditioning obsession, I selected the Joico K-PAK Reconstruct Deep-Penetrating Reconstructor (for damaged hair).

About the product from Joico:

K-PAK Reconstructor contains the highest amount of Quadramine Complex than any other product in the Joico family.
Hair is left shiny, strong and in a healthy, manageable state.
K-PAK Reconstructor results in an immediately noticeable difference in strength, texture and appearance.

Essentially, it is an intense protein rich conditioning and repairing treatment, somewhat like a hair mask.

I also managed to pick up a much needed pack of headbands – for free!

And that’s all she wrote y’all – for now…


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A few of my favorite things: April

Wow! My second ever favorites of the month post!

A little late… but I will try and stick current obsessions that I haven’t included in previous “favorites” – which well, shouldn’t be too hard, since this is only the second time.

Just like my previous favorites post, I will include prices just in case anyone has been contemplating trying these out.

SKIN:

Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate ($44 to $68 USD)

From Kiehl’s: Purely Potent Over-Night Repair. • Lightweight, overnight treatment. • Regenerates, repairs, and replenishes skin for a smoother, healthier skin. • Works with the skin’s natural nocturnal activity when skin is most receptive to repairing itself from daily aggressors to dramatically restore skin. • 99.8% naturally-derived and paraben-free. 

Why I’m loving it:

  • Literally made a difference overnight!
  • After a month – my skin has improved dramatically
  • I don’t think I can go a day without using this stuff
  • P.S. It smells lovely!

BODY:

Neutrogena Body Oil ($9.99 to $15.99 USD)

From Neutrogena: Delicately light sesame formula that instantly vanishes into the skin, sealing in moisture. Skin feels moisturized, soft, silky and looks radiant. Lightweight, Absorbs quickly, Available in Original and Fragrance-free.

Why I’m loving it:

  • Hydrating – locks in the moister ( I apply it at the end of my shower)
  • You can add it to your bath water
  • Fragrance is subtly amazing and stays on your skin all day
  • Great for lazy days or days I’m so rushed I skip the body moisturizer  

FACE:

So the following products, in addition to being some of my favorites, are my current favorite daily face make-up combination.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Oil Free in “Bisque” ($42 USD)

Maybelline DreamLumi Touch Highlighting Concealer in “Nude”  ($7.99 USD)

NARS Bronzer in “Laguna” ($34 USD)

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in “Medium” ($29 USD)

MAC In Extra Dimension Extra Dimension Highlighter in “Whisper of Gilt” ($29 USD)

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in “Dollface” ($25 USD)

FRAGRANCE:

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb ($25 to $105 USD)

BOOKS:

So this one overlapped April and May, but it’s has quickly become an all-time favorite obsession!

E.L. James Fifty Shades Trilogy

Why I’m loving it:

  • CHRISTIAN GREY!
  • Hot, Sexy and Sensual
  • Complicated, Complex and Raw
  • Intriguing and Real

And that’s all for now 😀


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GUYS your skin matters…

And by guys I am referring to men in particular. While ladies should most definitely take care of their skin as well, as many do, this post is geared towards the men.  Though ladies, you can read up or pass this on to a guy in your life that could benefit from the info.

Come on guys, you spend money on food, your toys, your car and your clothes, and maybe your significant other, but what happened to taking care of your face? So many men forget that skin care matters even for men!

Invest in your skin, it is usually the first thing people see and it is a reflection of what you are putting in and on your body. It is also a good indicator of your stress level, for most people anyways.

So most importantly, drink water – your body is made up of approximately 70% water and it helps every part of your body and especially your skin.

You shouldn’t be washing your face with shampoo nor body soap and stop touching your face! Shampoos, hand soaps, body washes are NOT formulated for your face and the skin on your face is completely different than the rest of your body. Using products not meant for the face can (and quite possibly will) cause irritation, allergic reactions and acne breakouts, clog your pores and dry out your skin.

Touching your face, usually due to boredom, stress or sleepiness, is a bad habit. Your fingers have bacteria and oils that can cause (more) skin issues.  Also, pulling, scratching and rubbing your facial skin is unhealthy, especially around the delicate eye area. The skin around your eyes is much thinner and more sensitive than the rest of your skin, as should be treated as such.  Use eye cream – unless you don’t care about looking 45 when your 35!

Exfoliating and properly cleansing your skin is important, especially prior to shaving or grooming of any facial hair. This helps in softening facial hair, eliminating dry skin flakes and bumps reducing the risk of nicks, as well as opening your pores and  giving you a closer shave.  Also, ensure you use a shave cream, shave lotion or shave gel, which are formulated to aid you in shaving and skin hydration – unlike soap.

So important!! Use an SPF face lotion, even if you are going to be inside most of the time! UVA and UVB rays from the sun are damaging to your skin. The rays damage skin cells, in the upper and lower skin layers, aiding in the acceleration of aging skin and wrinkles, as well as increasing the risk of skin cancer.

Remember your skin needs to be hydrated day and night, as air indoors can be quite drying.  Also your skin cells renew faster overnight. Anti-aging products work best at night, since they are not being affected by UV rays nor having to compete with your SPF day protection.

As I am sure your attention span is waning… It really is pretty simply guys:

  1. Drink plenty of WATER – this helps to flush out toxins and hydrate you from the inside out
  2. Properly CLEANSE your skin, with facial cleansers formulated for men (or at least man-friendly) in the morning and evening
  3. EXFOLIATE your skin, but gently – just because your a man and you can, doesn’t mean you should be rubbing your skin off
  4. Use PROPER SHAVING PRODUCTS meant for your facial skin
  5. Use EYE CREAM day and night, to prevent puffy eyes and wrinkles
  6. Use an SPF FACIAL CREAM/LOTION even if you don’t plan on walking outside
  7. Use a man-friendly NIGHT CREAM (most often an anti-aging cream)
Some extra tips:
  1. If you want to wash your face in the shower, do so AFTER you wash your hair – as product residue from your hair styling products and cleansers can affect your skin
  2. Do NOT use the same towel to dry your face that you use to dry your body, body cleansers and soaps, as well as oils are not good for your face
  3. Try a HOT TOWEL treatment: Take a clean wash cloth and run it under hot water, wring out all the water and lay the towel on your face, pressing very lightly – allowing the steam from the towel to open your pores. Remove when the towel begins to cool. You can repeat this 3-5 times to remove your facial cleanser, post-cleansing and/or prior to shaving. FYI: Hot water drys out your skin, this is about the steam from the hot towel not the hot water.

It is important to note that men’s skin is different than women’s and we experience skin issues differently. You should look for product’s that are designed for men. My suggestion is to always look at brands and companies that have a dedicated line of skin care products for men.  

Here are some lines that are definitely worth a look, in my opinion:

Kiehl’s (http://www.kiehls.com/)

A favorite brand of mine for men AND women.

Jack Black ( http://www.getjackblack.com)

Clinique (http://www.clinique.com//)

I understand that money can be a factor, so here are some less expensive but still quality brands.

Neutrogena (http://www.neutrogena.com)

Nivea (http://www.nivea-international.com)