January Skincare Favorites: Hydrating Through Winter

Hi everyone,

This week, I’m sharing my favorite beauty products to help you get through the rest of winter season (or if your skin is extra dry lately). Most of these products are Kiehl’s, and this post is in no way sponsored. All opinions are my own.

Proper hydration is crucial, I’ve known this for years. Actually finding products that successfully hydrate my skin is another story.

The tough one here is, a lot of heavy creams and moisturizers have comedogenic ingredients, meaning they’re capable of clogging your pores. While you may be hydrating your skin, you could also suffer breakouts as a consequence. For this reason, given the sensitivity of my skin, I steer clear of comedogenic ingredients.

Kiehl’s has been a game changer for me. I look for simple, non-irritating products that penetrate deeper into my skin. My skin isn’t flaky, it just often looks like it needs to be quenched. So it’s more on the dehydrated side, and I try my best to chug water!

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The three products I’ve been routinely using are the Kiehl’s Ultra facial cream, hydrating masque, and deep moisture balm.

I’m going to start with the deep moisture balm because it’s AMAZING for dry skin. The label actually states its for “dry to very dry skin types.” AKA, it’s formulated for me. The description said to compare the balm to the ultimate hydration blanket, and I couldn’t agree more. The balm has a high level of glycerin, which is always good to look for when finding hydrating products. The interesting ingredient is Edelweiss flower extract, from the Swiss Alps! How festive.

For the balm, the third ingredient being Shea butter worried me a little. Shea butter is very dense, and although I had never tried it in a cream, the possibility of it being comedogenic was there. But so far so good, I’m totally sold.

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The Kiehl’s Ultra facial cream is the #1 Kiehl’s product, and for good reason. It’s great for daily use. I put on a thin layer on top of the deep moisture balm at night, and put it under my makeup during the day. I purchased the one without SPF so it could be nighttime use as well, so definitely purchase a sunscreen or SPF moisturizer for daytime use if you haven’t already.

The facial cream also contains high levels of glycerin, and the ingredient squalane, which is known for moisture absorption in the skin.

The third product, the hydrating masque, has a sort of Vaseline consistency to it, but it spreads super easy over the skin. It’s a long lasting hydration product, and it’s great for keeping your skin in better shape. I use my cleanser first to make sure my face is clean and makeup free. I put a thin layer on while I go on my computer or watch a show before I sleep, and then I towel dry it off before applying my moisture balm and facial cream. The masque contains glacial proteins and desert properties for moisture retention.

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Aquaphor is like the timeless pieces in fashion that never go out of style. It always delivers. I carry small tubes in my purse for my lips and I have a large bottle at home for any chaffing that may happen in winter. It’s a winter must have.

I hope you all enjoyed my #1 hydration products for winter! Stay hydrated xx

-Kelly

Clear Skin Diet: My Personal Tips

Hi loves,

If it is not already clear from my previous posts, I care a lot about the health and clarity of my skin. Unfortunately, it is often portrayed that the one and only saving grace to clear skin is a prescription, or using products with intense ingredients. I personally have not experienced either of these options to be a saving grace. And I’m going to share why I’ve changed my mind about what it takes to achieve clear skin.

Often times, prescriptions are antibiotics. Your body will progress to adapt to this antibiotic, and it will stop working if you try to continue usage for long-term. Essentially, prescriptions are short-term solutions. Not that these medications don’t help severe cases of acne, however, if you’re constantly getting more mild forms of blemishes, you should look to other reasoning.

Drink tons of water. Carry a water bottle around with you to hold yourself accountable.

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Your diet is huge for your skin. Have you ever heard “you are what you eat”? It doesn’t just apply to your figure. The food you consume can most definitely alter your skin negatively, just as much as it can improve it.

A list I normally follow for my skin:

➳ Limit refined sugars, which are essentially derived from sugar cane. Refined sugar is present in soft drinks, fruit juices, and candies and sweets. They are used to sweeten food, and you do not gain any benefit from the addition. Speaking of soft drinks, they are high in fructose corn syrup, which is a very common aggressor to insulin spikes, in turn causing a stage of inflammation in the body. Due to this inflammation, enzymes actually break down collagen and elastin, causing premature wrinkles and loose skin.

➳ Ease up on the dairy. The effect of dairy on someone’s skin varies quite a lot, and studies have been all over the board on if dairy causes acne. Given that I would consider myself somewhat resistant to dairy to begin with, I take it out of everything I eat that can have a dairy substitute.

♥ Take your coffee with a non-dairy milk (soy, almond, hemp, coconut)

♥ Don’t overdo it with cheese, and even consider replacing the cheese with a spice or other addition.

♥  Re-consider whey based protein substances. In other words, you can get vegan protein powder and bars. Whey protein is a milk protein, and even dermatologists are catching on to tell athletes to consider non-dairy vegan protein powders.

➳ Fast food will show in your pores. Your pores will thank you if you eat cleaner, and reduce your fast food intake. To put it in perspective, I might have a batch of fries with a meal every two weeks, or have white bread in a sandwich once in a while. Pizza will occasionally happen. But I don’t frequently eat these things, because they are not going to aid you in the path to clear skin. Besides fast food being highly caloric and full of processed unnatural ingredients, they are also packed with high amounts of sodium and sugar, again spiking insulin levels and clogging pores.

Here’s a pic of super clean, whole food at a market in London:

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➳ Eat like you carefully choose skincare. I think of the ingredients of my food and how it will impact my skin. Salmon and avocados are great Omega 3-s, for instance, and the more you  look at food as a reflection of your skin, the better your skin will look. I promise! Here’s a pic of one of my favorite things to make: a salmon protein bowl.

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Ingredients:

1 piece of salmon filet

Handful of kale (or more)

1/2 an avocado

Carrots and mushrooms

Yumm sauce (from Café Yumm)

Salt and garlic

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Just like when you’re training to be fitter, you can definitely make exceptions sometimes and splurge to eat something that isn’t the best for your skin. The key is not to make it a habit! On that topic…

Alcohol. Do not underestimate the negative effects of alcohol on your skin. It comes out through your pores! If you drink on a regular basis, I would be very surprised if your skin remained poreless and plump. In general, alcohol dehydrates you, and by extension your skin. Dehydration causes premature wrinkles and reduces the elastin in your skin layer. It’s tough to maintain your skin’s hormone levels as well because alcohol will change them.

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However, the link of an unhealthy complexion and alcohol depends on the frequency of alcohol consumption. If it’s less frequent and you drink more water to compensate, you should be totally fine. When you do drink:

Reach for clear liquors, not dark. Dark liquors contain congeners that are from extra fermentation. Congeners will cause premature aging in the skin if frequently consumed.

Another fact about alcohol’s negative effects is the sugar content. The excess sugar in cocktails and other mixed drinks will spike your insulin levels and cause systemic inflammation, worsening your complexion and putting you at risk of premature wrinkles. Alcohol in general is better to avoid completely for better skin health, however, the above tips will be exponentially helpful to reducing effects on your skin.

There are no negatives of making your diet cleaner, and your skin will only thank you. This way you can keep your skin healthy from the inside out, not rely on products and medication to do the work.

I hope this information helped you towards a clear skin diet of your own, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to comment below or email me. xx

-Kelly

 

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

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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

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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

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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

 

 

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

 

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