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Beauty Musings: Skin Secrets for Your 20s

1 May
antioxidants great skin secrets spf anti-aging
I recently read that beauty experts generally agree that signs of skin aging typically begin at 29. Since I’m less than a week from my 29th (sob!), I’ve been thinking more about this and the preventative routine I maintained in my 20’s.
I’ve always been very interested in skincare, health, wellness and beauty, but I remember the exact day that I became more conscious about the cumulative affects of protecting my skin. I was in my early 20’s and a gorgeous, female friend and co-worker shared that she was a few years older (much to my surprise, since she looked so young). She impressed upon me the need to use eye cream NOW, not at 25-26 when she’d started.

my preferred eye cream: Patricia Wexler 3-in-1

I started to live by the mantra: It’s easier to prevent than erase. I remember taking vitamins like Fish Oil, B12, Alpha Lipoic Acid, and CoQ10 and using broad spectrum sunblock every day on my face, neck, chest and hands. I avoided the sun between 10 and 2 PM and always wore sunglasses (and a hat, if I was going to be in full-sun for long periods of time). It killed me to give up my killer tan every summer, but I became an expert self-tanner in no time. I exfoliated with AHAs, used retinol at night, used antioxidant serums and applied eye cream religiously.

Do Matcha green tea - best brand of green teaobscene amounts of matcha green tea happen over here

But I’ve always believed in an holistic approach to health and beauty thanks to my family and always believed that what happens IN your body matters more than what you put on your skin. My grandmother always advised that the best thing I can do for my skin is to drink LOTS of water but I was also lucky to have parents who grew a lot of our food, cooked meals at home, and made sure my siblings and I developed really diverse, nutrient-rich palates. Beets, brocolli, swiss chard — they were on all on the menu. Today, it’s a breeze to get those skin-saving antioxidants via green tea, berries and leafy greens.

All in all, I feel really lucky to have taken such a pro-active approach to my skincare and health from an age when many may take it for granted. I feel like my skin is in pretty good shape thanks to faithfully following and tweaking a solid skin care routine for so many years. Although I’ve only dabbled in chemical-free, natural product alternatives up until now, that’s another area I’m going to really start to think about as I look ahead to my 30’s.

But first, bring it on, 29!

Valentine’s Day Beauty Prep

11 Feb


Skincare, hair, and beauty are a few of my favorite topics so it’s probably not surprising that I love prepping for special occasions weeks in advance. This Valentine’s Day I’m focusing on clear, glowing skin and soft, touchable hair. I haven’t decided whether I want to go with a smoky eye or a red lip, but I’ll have a perfectly prepped canvas to start with thanks to my “Valentine’s Day Beauty Prep” routine.

How To

Valentine’s Day Beauty Prep Routine

Monday AM:
– Before showering, dry brush all over the body starting at the feet and moving up to stimulate blood flow and exfoliate skin.
– Wash face with Clarisonic Mia and usual cleanser, apply skin treatment products, then sunscreen.

PM: Use a fruit acid exfoliant like Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate before applying skin treatment products and eye cream.

Tuesday AM:
– Before showering, dry brush whole body again.
– In shower, use a fruit-acid exfoliant all-over body to slough off dead skin.
– Wash face with my usual cleanser, then once dry, apply skin treatment products (for my breakout-prone skin, this means benzoyl peroxide), and sunscreen. Apply Am-Lactin body lotion, $13, all over. (It’s an alpha-hydroxy packed body lotion that will help slough off even more dry, flaky, dull skin.) Apply hand cream. I love the one pictured above from CVS because it also has alpha-hydroxy acid as well which is wonderful for conditioning raw cuticles and nails.

– Wash face with Clarisonic Mia using a glycolic acid face wash.
– Then apply glycolic acid peel pad to exfoliate skin (these Avon ones are my favorite), and eye cream.
– Next, use a lip scrub or try a DIY version: Dip a wet finger into a little brown sugar or raw sugar. Rub on your lips to exfoliate. Apply lip balm.

Wednesday AM: Wash face with my usual cleanser, apply skin treatment products, then sunscreen


– Wash face with Clarisonic Mia using usual cleanser.
– In-shower, use a hair mask for 20-25 minutes. Moisturize with Am-Lactin afterwards.
– Apply a fruit acid face peel like Earth Science’s Gentle Skin Peel, $9  to deep clean any lingering impurities. After thoroughly rinsing, apply Retin-A cream (I have a prescription through a dermatologist — this makes my skin GLOW, I swear), then eye cream and hand cream.

Thursday AM:
Wash face with my usual cleanser, apply skin treatment products, then sunscreen.


– Wash face with Clarisonic Mia and glycolic acid cleanser. Apply body lotion to dry spots (elbows, knees, ankles) before applying self-tanner all-over. *Let dry completely before changing for bed. And remember to sleep in dark clothes!*

Friday AM:
Shower and wash face with my usual cleanser. Wash and blow dry hair.
– Apply any gradual daily self-tanner/lotion to even out and boost self-tanner color a bit more before the evening. *Remember to wash your hands!*
– Apply Philosophy face serum, then sunscreen.

PM: Moisturize face and body, apply foundation primer, and apply makeup. Ta dah!

Wedding fragrance + signature scents

22 Jan

Chloe Wedding perfume

I dove into the details when I planned our wedding, right down to the perfume I planned to wear. I wanted something special for our wedding. Not so much for Brian because he never notices the scent of anything (except cookies), but for me, so I could spritz it for years to come and immediately recall the happiest day of my life.

Ultimately I decided on Chloe, but not without intense research and a lot of reminiscing. Although I have other fragrances in my collection, I’ve had exactly 3 “signature” scents in my lifetime and they correspond with very specific periods of my life:

Anna Sui “Dreams” was my junior high school pick. It was a Vanilla Oriental scent with top notes of nectarine, mandarin orange, bergamot and bitter orange; middle notes of freesia, peach, chinese peony and rose; and base notes of nutmeg, sandalwood, musk, tahitian vanilla, cedar and anise. It was fun and light and reminded me of cake.
Michael” by Michael Kors was my favorite in high school. It might have been a little too sophisticated for me at that stage of my life, but I adored it. It was a Floral Woody Musk with top notes of freesia and labdanum; middle notes of tuberose, violet root, iris and peony; and base notes of musk, cashmere wood and vetiver. I couldn’t wait for college, particularly study abroad. Funnily enough, a few short years later when I was living abroad in Italy, I smelled this on a new friend as we hugged hello and we immediately bonded over our love of the Michael Kors fragrance. Someday I’d love to buy a bottle again to keep in my fragrance collection.  The body lotion is heavenly too.

Dolce & Gabbana “Light Blue” was my go-to during and just after college. My friend Stephanie wore it and I loved it so much I committed the ultimate fragrance crime: I started wearing it. She had amazing taste in fragrances and her collection was impressive. She also introduced me Bath & Body Works’ “Sensuous Amber,” a scent I’d have never ever tried based on the name. So I have her to thank for teaching me to never judge a perfume by its name or bottle. I’ve discovered quite a few favorites thanks to this. (Thanks Stephanie!)

Some of my other collection favorites include Tocca’s “Stella,” Juicy Couture’s “Viva la Juicy,” Issey Miyake, Escada’s “Rockin’ Rio,” Chanel’s “Miss Dior,” Coach “Poppy,” and Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb. Now that I’m settled into married life, I’m on the hunt for my next signature scent. But I still love to spritz myself with Chloe and remember walking down the aisle.