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

Origins Mask and Scrub Review

Hi everyone!

What’s on my mind: sharing my Saturday afternoon with Origins skin care.

Featured in the photo:

*Origins Out of Trouble 10 Minute Mask

*Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask

*Origins Modern Friction Nature’s Gentle Microdermabrasion 

First off, Origins is a great skin care brand due to the content of natural ingredients. The brand utilizes the powerful properties of plants from around the world to make scientifically proven results for healthy skin. I can say that my dedication to these three products makes me trust that description.

The Out of Trouble 10 Minute Mask is amazing for purifying skin when it has been in a trouble period. It has zinc oxide and sulfur to extract oil and slough away dead skin, as well as camphor to keep your skin calm in the process. I don’t use this mask more than once a week on my whole face give my skin is on the drier side. It works great as a spot treatment, in fact, it’s the only one I use because ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide prove to be too harsh for me.

The Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask is my go-to for pores. Since I have discovered this mask I haven’t reverted back to pore strips, because I prefer the mask feeling for pore purification. The mask contains the main ingredient of bamboo charcoal, China clay, and lecithin. All three in combination absorb environmental toxins and draw out pores.

Lastly, the Modern Friction Nature’s Gentle Microdermabrasion is my favorite scrub to date. It does a great job smoothing your skin’s texture without the added irritation. The mask contains a rice starch to help with uneven skin tone and discoloration, as well as dead skin cells. However, it is important to note that over-scrubbing the skin is a common skin care mistake and can increase irritation and dryness. I use this scrub, depending on the conditions of my skin that week, 2-3 times a week. The one in the photo is actually a free sample size, which has already lasted me over three weeks!

All three of these products are staples in my skin care regimen. I love that my skin has responded well to this brand due to its natural origins (hence the name!).

I took a mini spa day today with these after a long week and I hope this review added some clarity to the benefits of masks and scrubs in moderation, and how natural products free of parabens and sulfates are of high value.

The products are available at Macy’s Origins counter as well as Sephora! This post was in no way sponsored. ❤

Thanks for reading! For correlated photography to my blog, refer to my Instagram @kmzwicker

xx

 

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

 

Affordable Gym Gear and Where to Buy it

What’s on my mind: Ways of getting quality and fashionable gym gear, without the high cost. Interested? Read on, because these stores contain beautiful bargains. It’s all about the bargains.

First off, I want to love the gym gear I work out in and feel comfortable, because I’m doing a lot of movements that require both flexibility from me and the fabric. Getting super low for squats or doing shoulder presses, quality gym gear is key.

The top places I have found steals:

  1. TJ Maxx/ Marshall’s: These stores have the best deals. I find brands such as Nike, Under Armour, and Athleta in the fitness sections. Recently I got a pair of Nike cropped tights for $29, regularly around $85. You save a ton of money scouting these stores. Another thing to look for are zip ups and sweatshirts. I have also gotten my protein shaker, jump ropes, yoga mats, as well as free weights from one of these.
  2. Costco: I know Costco is a beautiful place due to free food samples, but the clothing section is actually pretty sweet. There are regular brands such as Calvin Klein or Adidas, and then less known brands that have recently collaborated with Costco. Ladies: the tights featured in the above photo are from Costco, a brand called Tufts Athletics. I bought two pairs, each for $16.99. They are super comfortable and flattering on, and the patterned one is fun to wear to weight sessions.
  3. Nordstrom Rack: This one is lower on the list because this store is such a hit or miss for me to find something, and usually the gym gear is shoes not clothing. Then again, I am very picky about running shoes in terms of arch support. However, if you want to snag a pair of Nikes for maybe $60 or less, go here.
  4. Target: So Target carries a lot of gear made by Champion, and I have on occasion gotten tights from there that lasted a long time. I find the brand to fade faster than higher end ones like Nike and Adidas, but the cost is super reasonable.
  5. Amazon: Shout out to those addicted to Amazon prime for fast deliveries and bargains. You find some really good gear and workout accessories on here. I purchased a spiked foam roller for my shin splints in college, made by a company is Utah. One of the best things ever, although rolling out shins is not a pleasant thing.

Another sidenote: I did work for Athleta for a year, and I absolutely love their clothes. The quality is amazing and the clothes are completely functional. However, it didn’t make the list because I wouldn’t consider the store “affordable” for many people. Athleta is a great store to splurge on. The reason why I own 5 pairs of yoga pants (as well as tights) from there and some tops is because I had a 50% discount as an employee. If you’re looking for a retail job and live in the gym, consider working there because you’ll be covered for a while.

These are the places I think of for the best deals on workout gear. Why buy full price when you don’t have to?

Where is your favorite place to get gym gear? I’d love any other recommendations for steals. 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