Favorite Finds: First Aid Beauty Hello FAB Skincare Line

Skincare babes,

I’m currently packing all of my skincare getting ready for my week trip to Palm Springs, and I wanted to share my love for this skincare line. First Aid Beauty is catered more for the sensitive skin types, and the Hello FAB products are infused with the best ingredients to brighten and soothe skin. All of them are noncomedogenic and hypoallergenic.

The three products I’ve been trying out:

♥ Coconut skin smoothing priming moisturizer

FAB 1.jpg

This is a primer and moisturizer all in one. It leaves your skin dewy and radiant, so for a drier skin type like mine this has been amazing. It’s naturally scented from one of its core ingredients, coconut water, and creates a radiance with its micro-pearls. It also has a mineral blend that supports skin health. If you’re looking for a comparison, I used to use the Too Faced Hangover RX Primer, and this one knocks it out of the park.

♥ Caffeine matcha wake up wipes

FAB 4.jpg

I love these in the morning to brighten up my complexion with the included vitamin c, or when my skin needs to “wake up.” These wipes also contain vital skin superfoods including matcha green tea, to hydrate and detoxify the complexion. You can also use these to remove your makeup, however, I use them as more of a preparation step.

♥ Vital greens face mist

FAB 3.jpg

I ran out of my Urban Decay setting spray and wanted to try something new. I love this face mist! It doubles as a setting spray, and I like to keep it in my purse to spritz my face when my makeup starts to separate throughout the day. Given that my skin is on the drier side, it’s easier to see this happen on the surface of my skin, so I like to keep my face refreshed to avoid that separated look.

My tinted moisturizer goes on so well after I’ve used these, And after a few weeks my winter skin has balanced out. There are always more inexpensive options for skincare, however, if you’re a dedicated Sephora customer these are definitely at a lower price point when compared to the rest of the store (cough Peter Thomas Roth and Kate Somerville..)

When buying skincare products, it’s about the i n g r e d i e n t s. Not the brand. Certain brands carry a certain weight due to their reputation, when in reality those products might not suit you. And who doesn’t love a lower price point?

Feel free to let me know in the comments if any of you have tried these!

Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly

Two Skin Care Ingredients That Will Change Your Skin

Hi everyone,

I haven’t done a post on skin care in a bit so I wanted to share my two recently added ingredients that have changed my skin for the better.

The ingredients include collagen and glycolic acid. If used appropriately, I guarantee you will see a noticeable difference! Let me touch on the benefits and properties of each, and describe how I have integrated them into my daily skin care.

C o l l a g e n 

Collagen is essentially an anti-aging protein. It is even found in our muscles, tendons, and bones. It is essential for the healthy appearance of your skin, especially by boosting skin elasticity.

Fine lines/ wrinkles: As you age, you lose collagen steadily over time. This is completely natural, however, with the addition of sun exposure, environmental toxins, and diet, collagen loss can be additionally decreased.

Improvement of general skin tone: Making your skin tone a priority not only makes for a more youthful appearance, it also improves your self-esteem and overall mental health in regards to your skin. Most skin collagen is located in the dermis, however, the amino acids in this particular protein aid the outer epidermis in hydration and a smoother appearance.

Moisturizer: Collagen is a very effective moisturizer, when take internally and as a topical moisturizer. In other words, collagen plumps up your skin, thus helping diminish lines and imperfections as results of dryness and dehydration.

Joint health: In addition to the skin benefits, collagen aids in joint health, which compliments an active and healthy lifestyle.

In order to really get the full benefits of collagen, I recommend using a skin care product with it as a primary ingredient, such as the PCA Skin Collagen Hydrator I’m currently loving. I have also had great results by taking it in powder form, and the brand I use is below. GNC has the collagen for a really reasonable price, and the brand is considered the best for what you’re getting.

Collagen products I currently use:

➳ PCA Skin Collagen Hydrator

link: https://www.pcaskin.com/collagen-hydrator.html

➳ GNC’s NeoCell Super Collagen

link: http://www.gnc.com/NeoCell-Super-Collagen-Type-1-3/product.jsp?productId=3704754

G l y c o l i c  A c i d

Glycolic acid is a great multi-tasker of an ingredient. It is in the AHA compound group (Alpha Hydroxy Acids). It originates from sugar cane. Given how small of a molecule it is, it can penetrate deeper into  the dermis when compared to other compounds.

Exfoliator: Glycolic acid removes dead skin cells with its exfoliation properties, without physically aggravating the skin. This helps dullness of skin due to outer layer dryness or flakes, and your skin will be more radiant when that layer is sloughed away. I am also completely sold on chemical versus physical exfoliation, to better cater to sensitivity.

Diminishes pores: Pores often get clogged on the surface layer of the skin due to oil, dirt, and makeup.

Hyperpigmentation: glycolic acid diminishes dark marks and redness by its rejuvenation of the outer skin layer.

I currently use glycolic acid as an occasional “peel” for when my skin is starting to look a little dull. Glycolic acid cleansers are also popular, however, when purchasing a cleanser with glycolic acid be sure to keep your skin type in mind. Higher concentrations of the acid can in turn worsen redness or cause irritation, if your skin is not adjusted. The great thing about adding it in a cleanser is it will not be sitting on your skin for a long time, but you will still get the benefits.

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Of course it is very beneficial to eat a healthy diet and exercise to get a healthier complexion, however, sometimes you need an extra boost from the right ingredients. Climate, skin type, and age play major roles in how your skin appears on the surface, and these boosts can preserve the health of your skin even as you age.

*A common myth: You don’t need to use anti-aging ingredients and products until you are older.

I reject this statement because you are never too young to take care of your largest organ. You may be surprised at the improvements anti-aging essentials can do for you!

In addition to the above information about collagen and glycolic acid, these are some of my mainstay skin care rules for a healthy complexion:

➳ Do not fall asleep with your makeup on. This may seem obvious, but coming from someone with naturally dry skin, sleeping in your makeup is very drying and your pores are being clogged as you sleep for hours. If you’re having a lazy moment, even using makeup wipes would be a better alternative. That gets to my next rule.

➳ Use proper cleansing methods. I prefer to double cleanse, first with a micellar water to get my makeup off and then I use an actual cleanser for a deeper clean. I do not use makeup wipes because these must be made with preservative chemicals to kill bacteria. You might want to switch to micellar water or a cleansing oil without strange unpronounceable ingredients! *I use the Garnier micellar water with the pink cap*

➳ Don’t over- exfoliate. I get nervous when someone tells me they scrub their face daily with a physical exfoliator. Some even use them twice a day. The weird thing about exfoliating is that too much of it will actually cause the problems you’re trying to scrub away (dry flakes and dead skin). I like to use chemical exfoliators with active ingredients like glycolic acid, so I don’t have to physically scrub my face with beads.

➳ Always check ingredients when you are buying anything that will go on your face. Get to know your skin type and any sensitivity you might have to specific ingredients. It’s always wise to be aware of the contents you’re putting money towards.

I hope you enjoyed this skin care check-in! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below. Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly

 

 

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

Hi everyone,

I hope you are all having a great weekend so far preparing for Christmas!

Over the years I have gone more minimalistic with my gifts for family and friends. I feel as though one thoughtful gift is more special than five. I find it less stressful this way as well! I have put together some ideas of last minute gift ideas and why they are my favorite choices.

I love aesthetic, so a given for me for small gifts are things such as candles and lotions. Getting someone holiday scented candles with beautiful wrapping could be much more successful than one might think. Lotions and hand creams are also a way to pamper yourself, and the holidays give you a break to be more luxurious. As for stores to find these, my top two would be TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. I find the most unique scents and decorative products there. And for an affordable price. Another great place would be Bath and Body Works, and they always have holiday gift sets making your decisions a bit easier!

Skincare is always a great Christmas gift option. Quality skincare can be pricey at times, and people often hesitate to splurge on themselves in this category. Whether it is winter dryness, fine lines and anti-aging, or just soothing masks, these make awesome gifts or even sample size stocking stuffers. I go to Sephora, given they have majority of my skincare as well as makeup. If you want to do more of a mix of sample size products, the maze-like check out line there always has small sizes often decorated for the holidays. Essentially, everything is done for you.

So let’s discuss tea. There are a lot of tea drinkers walking around. I personally take coffee in the morning and tea at night. Some just prefer tea for their caffeine fix as well as winding down after a long day. Tea tins and various tea flavor packs could make someone’s day, as simple as it is. There are major health benefits of drinking tea regularly, the obvious one being more hydration. I took a visit to Teavana to pick up their holiday gift set, complete with an pressure infuser, rock candy, two tea flavors, and decorated tea tins. The entire set was $50. For a tea drinker, you just might become their new favorite person if you give them a set like this one.

Books? No I’m not talking about a kindle download, or an ebook ready to scan while you’re waiting to board your plane. I’m talking about the real books, the ones that smell brand new and you can actually physically flip the pages as you read. I may be a little biased, but I prefer books over kindles and reading on a screen. Getting someone a book doesn’t mean you couldn’t come up with anything else, but more so you are giving them an excuse to take some down time and dive into a different reality. If you pay attention to someone’s interests and get them a book that compliments that, that’s major points right there.

For the fitness lovers like myself, fitness related gifts are always welcome. Whether it is a stainless steel S’well water bottle or a new Fitbit tracker, these are very thoughtful ideas for someone that is dedicated to an active lifestyle and be fashionable while doing so.

These are my last minute gift ideas for Christmas 2016. I hope you enjoyed! Merry Christmas and stay warm xx

-Kelly

Low Coverage, Natural Makeup Routine

What’s on my mind:

The natural beauty of low coverage makeup. I have officially made the switch and I’m so happy with it. Below i’ll share my current makeup routine with a lower coverage as well as the benefits of going this route! Enjoy.

First off, I used to wear a foundation pretty regularly. My skin would fluctuate in clarity due to many reasons. Going back on the timeline, in high school I always wore a high coverage foundation, not necessarily out of need, but I just felt more comfortable with the extra layer. It was the Loreal Infallible foundation. Safe to say I haven’t purchased this foundation in over four years, and here’s why:

The possible drawbacks of long-wear, high coverage makeup

1. Foundation is one of the main culprits of skin problems due to makeup. It is meant to cover more, which is a temporary relief to anything you want to hide. If your skin does not need the high coverage, opt for something lighter than a foundation. Many of them cause irritation and breakouts, mainly because they don’t allow your skin to breathe. It’s understandable to wear foundation in a skin purging phase, but once your skin clears up it will thank you for the switch.

2.  Your pores will have a higher chance of getting clogged. Pore-clogging makeup is the worst, and even non-comedogenic makeup still has the ability to do so. It really depends on your skin and how often you wear high coverage. Ingredients are also an issue here- specific ones can cause congestion if your skin doesn’t react well.

3. When using high coverage makeup, you will most likely need makeup tools for cleaner and more precise application. Although you will get a better finish, these tools can cause bacteria buildup, especially if not cleaned regularly.

4. Thick makeup in the form of liquids and creams often contain more pore-clogging oils. They can even worsen acne. If you insist on using a foundation, look for terms such as “hypoallergenic”, “non-comedogenic” and “non-acnegenic” to better ensure you aren’t going to worsen any skin condition. I use the drug store brand Almay, which follows these terms and is known to be sensitive skin safe. I use the cc cream, so I can’t be much help to the foundation lines!

5. Heavy makeup, such as foundations, often make your face even more dry, and the result can be dull and flakey skin. As this happens, makeup will then sink into fine lines and worsen the appearance.

The above reasons are why I no longer wear foundations. In addition, I want to be able to still see my skin. If I’m wearing something that covers up my natural flush or my freckles, it’s a little too much. I’m on a progression with my skin to get to the point where I can forgo makeup whenever and feel just as confident. I will definitely post about this once I get there! For now i’ll use the cc cream. 🙂

My current makeup routine includes a hydrating primer, cc cream, and a concealer. This gives me light coverage and an even finish, without overdoing it. I also draw attention to certain facial features more in order to keep the face makeup minimal. I fill in my eyebrows, add a little blush, and dab on a lip color. A major plus is when I take off my makeup, there isn’t a dramatic difference like there was when I wore a foundation.

The last point i’ll make about makeup is that your skin is important long-term. It is more important to let it breathe. I totally relate to having periods when higher coverage is a way to get through a bad skin spell, but high coverage makeup doesn’t have to be a permanent solution. And one thing is for certain: natural beauty and healthy skin are not achieved with your favorite foundation. Get good sleep, hydrate, and keep your stress levels down. That will get you a lot further than what comes out of the pump.

Products:

Makeup Forever hydrating primer

Almay Smart Shade cc cream (light)

Covergirl Ready, Set Gorgeous concealer (light)

Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm in Hibiscus

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions on the above contents or how to switch up your makeup routine, leave a comment below. xx

-Kelly

 

My Take on Medical Grade Skincare

What’s on my mind:

Medical grade skincare. Skincare is on my mind often, however, I wanted to share what I’ve learned and tested about the argument of medical grade versus over the counter skincare. Before I share my own personal experience with this question, I wanted to go over some differences between the two groups.

Medical grade products are not just more expensive, nor is the distinction heavily based on brand name. I consider the two groups to be separated not by price or “luxury,” by by concentration of specific ingredients .Medical grade products have higher concentrations of active ingredients than over the counter ones. Over the counter products are less expensive due the lower concentrations, resulting in more filler ingredients. So in hindsight, it makes sense that there is a spike in price when it is more expensive to leave out the fillers.

A major difference that should be noted is the support from scientists, dermatologists, and aestheticians on medical grade products. There is a reason why dermatologists offices and spas sell only medical grade. Yes they are inclined to sell the line to patients in order to gain more of a profit, but they would sell these higher qualified lines in order to get the maximum results from those that visit their office. Makes sense right?

Dermatologists often describe skin in a more detailed way to patients, in order for them to understand the importance of proper investment into effective products. Skin has multiple layers, and higher concentrations are needed to penetrate through deeper skin tissue. Over the counter products can do a great job of aiding the surface level, however, skin conditions often needed to be targeted at the source: underneath.

For those very dedicated to anti-aging: This still applies to you, and at any age. Medical grade products, when used for extended periods of time, will strengthen the surface layer of your skin, increasing the production of collagen. Collagen is what gives the skin a youthful look, or in other words, making it look plump from the inside out.

Lastly, medical grade products are specifically designed to correct skin at the cellular level. They are meant for consistent use, and results show as the healed skin comes to the surface.

I completely understand the desire to being frugal, and although I have dedicated myself to medical grade, I’m still the same frugal person. You have your skin as your largest organ, and you will have it the rest of your life. Taking care of it for the long-term should not be considered frivelous.

The skincare line I use and why I love it:

I am now using PCA skincare. I purchase the products at the spa I’ve been going to for facial peels, and I’m completely in love with them. This includes a face wash, moisturizer, gentle exfoliant as well as targeted treatment with salycyclic acid. I plan to go in further detail of these products in a future skincare routine post.

There are many options of medical grade skincare lines along with PCA, I just like this particular one because the ingredient lists are sensitive skin safe and I got introduced to them due to my regular peel appointments. Less is more when applying these products, so they will last you a long time.

I also want to clarify that there are amazing accessory products out there that will be a great starting point, or a second option if you are just recently dipping your toes into the medical grade product pool.

ROC is a brand I still use in my regimen. The line has a face retinol cream as a well as an eye cream, and I’ve been using them in combination for weeks now along with my PCA products. Retinol specifically should be slowly introduced to your regimen, given its tendency to purge your skin and cause initial irritation. If you are going to be excessively exposed to sunlight or are doing facial peels, use retinol sparingly. If used correctly it has amazing anti-aging properties as well as ingredients that even out skin tone. ROC retinols are talked about nationwide.

I also use Origins face masks for an extra boost two times a week. I like the charcoal “clear improvement” one to purify my pores!

I hope this helps anyone currently deciding whether to go for medical grade quality. Your skin is a proper investment, and your future self will thank you for taking it seriously.

A sidenote: For readers’ convenience and as a result of my need to organize, my posts are officially categorized on kstateofmind.

A question for this week: What are your current skincare loves? I’d love to hear about them in the comments, and by all means ask any questions about the above content.

Thank you for reading! xx

-Kelly

Healing Skin from the Inside Out

Hi everyone,

I wanted to share my research as well as personal experience on the correlations of skin issues with diet and lifestyle choices. Of course there is a plethora of information on the internet on this subject, so I’ve taken to the wisdom within book pages. I love to sit down and read a book cover to cover (weirdly I have done that in one sitting), rather than always finding solutions on the internet.

I also just got a public library membership, with an official card, so I rented 7 books of various topics to cater to my post-graduation relaxation :). I’ll mention quite a bit of information that I found to be insightful to the association of skin with these factors, so bear with me as I pull it all together at the end.

A summary of what needs to be considered for the process of healthier skin:

  • Sleep quality (and even better, regulation of sleep schedule).

Pictured below is Copper, who sleeps in more than me, and he’s modeling beauty sleep. He gets a lot of compliments at the dog park, and his sleep addiction probably helps that.

sleepy cop

  • Establish any skin allergies or sensitivity through patch tests
  • Eliminate any products that cause any reaction or discomfort
  • Wear sunscreen
  • Drink water! Try to go for 8 glasses a day (tea also helps if this is difficult, it is for me as well)
  • A dedicated balanced diet (I aim for 80% clean)
  • Incorporation of exercise to relieve stress and sweat out toxins
  • A simplified skincare routine free of strange “skin-clearing” ingredients
    • I will discuss skincare in more detail in a future post
  • General relaxation (this is customized)
    • Relaxation can be yoga, meditation, reading, etc
    • Focus on stress-reducing activities
  • Most importantly: Look at your skin as a reflection of what you put into your body on a regular basis. Our skin is our largest organ, so take care of it!

This is emphasized by nutritionists everywhere: You cannot have healthy, radiant skin if your diet heavily consists of processed foods, and foods that contain high amounts of trans and saturated fat, as well as sugar. The more fruits and vegetables and nourishing foods you add into your diet to replace the bad forms of fat and sugar, the better your skin will look.

There has also been a constant debate between dairy and pores/acne, and the consensus is that there is an association. A good way to tell is to either keep a food diary or take a mental note of how your skin looks after regular dairy consumption. I tend to avoid dairy regardless because I don’t like lactose.

My dairy fix: (customize this to what works for you!)

  • The option to substitute regular milk for soy or almond milk
    • My exception is a splash of half & half in my morning coffee (compromise!)
  • Quantity control
    • At a restaurant, an olive oil-based spaghetti with parmesan just on top would be a better choice than a three-cheese macaroni. This way you would have cheese, but not over-do it.
  • I mix up my breakfasts, so I will only have eggs maybe twice a week
    • No cheese, my favorite is actually with dijon mustard and garlic powder (might sound weird, but if you’re curious I can add it in a future post recipe)
  • Sorry about the bad news, but pizza has a lot of cheese…
    • Make the pizza yourself. You can even get thin flatbread to reduce the bread intake and make your own sauce base, as well as control the amount of cheese.
  • As for ice cream, in general I wouldn’t make it a habit due to the sugar spike and dairy overload. I hardly ever have it. Whenever I do have ice cream I get it in a shop in a cone, because cones are everything.
    • My substitution: I LOVE applesauce. Unsweetened with cinnamon on top. I actually consider this a dessert because I love it so much but this probably isn’t a thing.
  • Yogurt: Another food I limit in consumption. There is also a lot of sugar in yogurts now, so I would recommend getting it unsweetened and adding honey, nuts, or berries to it yourself. We all have time for that.

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The book I rented is called The Clear Skin Diet by Alan C.Logan and Valori Treloar. Given that these authors consist of a certified physician as well as a dermatologist, I found the book to be of high credibility. And it does not promote prescription medication as the #1 solution.

This book is mostly comprised about the knowledge behind skin issues such as acne and inflammation, and the many reasons why these problems arise. The book also covers all of the methods and medication dermatologists recommend much more often than advice on a healthier lifestyle and diet. The main thing to take from this: don’t try to take a pill for everything.

In addition, The Clear Skin Diet goes over ways to improve your sleep, develop a relaxation routine, and focus on your diet and exercise into your daily routine. The combination of these things are full-proof for better looking skin. The issue is sometimes the process takes longer to show results as opposed to a harsh topical a doctor hands to you.

You cannot heal your skin from the outside in.

The Clear Skin Diet touches upon the Japanese diet to make a comparison to America. It’s probably a spoiler which country has better looking skin, right? Right. Japan for the win.

Some reasons why they are winning:

  1. Green tea consumption. Green tea contains phytochemicals that act as natural antioxidants for the skin. They have anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, this type of tea prohibits the production of bad bacteria. *Also: a note for coffee drinkers, green tea has 1/3 of the amount of caffeine than coffee. If you’ve already had your morning jolt and need more energy, green tea would be a great choice. Just don’t drink it before you try to sleep and then blame insomnia (me).
  2.  Ginger- also an anti-inflammatory. This has been used traditionally in Asia for approximately 2,500 years. Incorporating ginger into your diet would be useful, and it also settles your stomach. I carry ginger chews called Gin-Gins (cutest name ever) with me on plane trips when I’m traveling a lot. It also makes sense why ginger ale is a common order on the plane by those who had too much fun the night before…
  3. Fish and seafood over other protein sources like red meat
  4. More fruit and vegetable intake. If you’re a visual person, aim to pick something of each color of the rainbow. If you’re making a stir-fry, get a yellow, green, and red pepper. If you’re making a fruit salad, choose fruits of all colors so the salad looks prettier and you can show everyone afterwards. The idea here is that different colored fruits and vegetables give you different nutrients and vitamins.

Pictured below is a standard dinner I make for myself. Brussel sprouts, teriyaki tofu, onions, and mushrooms. I only use olive oil as a base and I put in garlic and liquid aminos (which I love far more than soy sauce). I often pour this over wild rice or quinoa.

Veggies .jpg5. Less sugar. This is huge for skin, because sugar can increase hormones that stimulates sebum production, which leads to acne and skin issues.

6. Less animal fat, trans fats, vegetable oils

7.  More fiber, anti-oxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids

A key thing to remember is processed foods spike your insulin levels which can also lead to acne and inflammation.

Lastly, on the book note, the end incorporates healthy recipes for reference. When trying to make a change in diet, I recommend renting cook books or going online for ideas. It makes it easier to go to the grocery store with meals in mind.

General grocery shopping tip: Shop the perimeter of the store in majority. The processed foods packed with hidden sugar and bad fats are located in the middle aisles. Abort mission. I took a picture in the grocery store to prove I’m not a poser. It features my blue keds!

Grocery cart.jpg

On a serious note, it’s a huge self-esteem blow when your skin is not looking its best. I wanted this post to inspire those that need solutions to invest into more quality options as opposed to immediately rushing to the dermatologist.

If these above methods do not work and your skin condition is more severe, by all means take necessary measures. Do what work for you. However, at the end of the day, medications are created in a lab. Ingredients matter as well as side effects. Take care of yourself, and look after your long-term health of your skin in priority over the short-term.

I hope this post found you well and provided some useful tips. Skin research has always been a sort of side interest to me, and I wanted to bombard any potential readers with everything I’ve learned!

If you have any questions/comments, feel free to use the comment box below. I’m more than open to giving advice or expanding on any points made above.

Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I started a health and wellness blog

I have decided to create a health blog because I love to write. I love to research, organize myself, utilize pro and con lists, and journal about my thoughts that keep me awake at night. I’ve always loved to write essays in school and I think poetry is a form of art. Do you?

I think literature has an incandescence. It’s ignited from the tip of a pen or the flurry of fingers on a keyboard. Connecting through these platforms is a gift of the current century.

I think health should never be outdated. It should never be seen as a prescription bottle or the number on a scale. It’s a feeling, and a progressive one at that. One can improve their health every day, mentally and physically. There are many ways to do this, whether it is recommended from the ancient temples of buddhism or hidden in the coasts of the mediterranean. I love my passion for living a healthy life, and I want to be a part of a much larger inspirational community online that motivates people to feel the same way.

Being mindful of one’s behavior is so important, not merely to function or perform, but to thrive. I’m so excited to share my thoughts to readers about so many ways we can make a healthy difference for ourselves!

xx

-Kelly