Monthly Archives: August 2016

Change the Way You Wash Your Face

If you haven’t already met the cleansing stick, then prepare yourself for a life — and skincare regimen — that’s about to change for the better. Cleansing sticks are exactlywhat they sound like: a solid cleanser in the shape of a stick. They’re spill-proof, leak-proof and travel friendly, which means you can toss one into your gym or weekender bag without a worry (or a side-eye from your friendly TSA agent).

Even though they’re a relatively new category, cleansing sticks are no gimmick. They work really well, and we predict more brands will formulate their own in the months and years to come. Here are 12 awesome options that just might convince you to change the way you wash your face.

Charcoal is still enjoying its moment as a trendy skincare ingredient, and for good reason. It’s long been used as a natural way to detox the skin, and Boscia’s Charcoal Cleansing Stick does just that. It’s especially great for reducing pore size and zapping excess oil.

Pur isn’t messing around with this deeply cleansing, exfoliating stick. It’s loaded up with Moroccan lava clay to give dirt and oil the boot, and it contains jojoba seed extract to restore moisture to dull skin. It’s recommended for congested and acne-prone skin, specifically.

Blackheads? What blackheads? A’Pieu’s Pore Management Blackhead Cleansing Stick sends those pesky buggers on a permanent vacation. This Korean brand is yet to be sold widely in the states, but you can find it on e-commerce sites that ship directly from Korea.

Here’s another blackhead-targeting cleansing stick. This one, by Korean brand Etude House, utilizes a small amount of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and lemon water to break down blackheads and refresh your pores. Because of its potency, it’s more of spot treatment than the other full-blown facial cleansers on this list.

Best Face Serum

When it comes to skin care, the one question we as beauty editors get most often is, What is a serum? Followed by, do I need one? For a beauty product, face serums are strangely complicated: They’re in between a moisturizer, an oil and an essence. You apply serums directly to the skin after cleansing, before your moisturizer, in order to deliver potent anti-aging ingredients into your skin. Many are formulated with hyaluronic acid or vitamin C, the same moisturizing and complexion-brightening ingredients we see in moisturizers and other skin-care products, but in stronger, more effective formulas that penetrate deeper into the skin.

Most serums target a specific skin care concern, like sun spots, fine lines, sagging or dull skin. Others tackle multiple problems at once. There is one downside to extra-effective skin care: The price. Face serums use higher quality ingredients and higher concentrations than your daily moisturizer. Plus, it takes a lot of research and development to create a supereffective serum. The good news: As serums grow more popular in mainstream skin care, we’ve seen drugstore brands launch affordable versions that are as good as the pricier stuff.

There’s a reason why so many beauty products give vitamin C top billing. This powerhouse antioxidant helps brighten skin and protect against wrinkles and fine lines. Since it neutralizes skin-damaging free radicals, a vitamin C-packed serum means you’re working on your skin both present and future. This 10% vitamin C serum contains three forms of vitamin C for triple the antioxidant power. That explains the price tag, but it also means a stronger attack on discoloration and fine lines.

How dry your complexion

Whether your skin suffers from seasonal dryness (oh hi, winter), or just seems to be perpetually parched, a dry complexion can be problematic when it comes to makeup application… especially if your goal is to create a fresh, dewy, oh-so glowy effect. So we asked celebrity makeup artist Andrew Sotomayor to walk us through a step-by-step tutorial on combatting that dryness to make your skin look healthy, radiant and anything but dry. Check out these top tips and makeup picks, perfect for any dry-skinned gal.

We’re mildly tempted to insert an obligatory ‘duh,’ here, but we’ll refrain. It goes without saying, but no matter how moisturizing the makeup is that you’re using (more on that in a minute) starting with this important skin-care step will ensure that your canvas — i.e. your complexion — ends up looking as fresh as possible.

Sotomayor suggests using a moisturizer that contains heavy-hitting hydrators like jojoba oil, hyaluronic acid or glycerin. We like the newCetaphil Daily Hydrating Lotion, $12.49, which contains hyaluronic acid, yet doesn’t feel heavy or greasy. Slather it on, then reach for your makeup, stat. “Applying makeup immediately afterwards ensures that it will go on the smoothest,” he says.

Primers are a makeup must for their ability to boost the staying power and longevity of any products you apply on top, and they can also be yet another way to get an extra boost of moisture into your skin: “When your skin is dry, you need to up the ante by making sure that every product you use is hydrating and combatting that dryness,” explains Sotomayor. Point being, seek out a primer that specifically says it’s moisturizing.

Sotomayor uses La Mer The Perfecting Treatment, $240, which has the added benefit of a slightly pearlescent finish, a nice option when you’re trying to create radiant skin, he adds. The one caveat: If you’re trying to also conceal fine lines or wrinkles, opt for a hydrating formula without any added luminescence, since it may accentuate what you’re trying to hide. In that case, a plain moisturizing formula, like e.l.f Hydrating Face Primer, $6, is perfect. Either way, avoid anything that’s mattifying or shine-stopping (and a lot of primers are), as that’s the last thing you want for your dry complexion.

Help Kill Your Hangover

So, you went a little crazy last night. You said “yes” to a few too many rounds of flaming shots, performed a few too many whips and far too many nae naes, and now you’ve found yourself with a splitting migraine and zombie-like complexion. We’ve all been there.

Hangovers are no small inconvenience, and according to Lori Kenyon Farley, certified nutritional consultant and co-founder of Project Juice, they can have some pretty gnarly effects on your skin health. Hangovers mean fatigue, dehydration and the proclivity to binge on greasy foods, all of which can cause your skin to look dull, bloated and greasy.

Of course, one of the best things you can do for your hangover is to chug water and replenish your electrolytes. But if you want to infuse your skin with vitamins, antioxidants and other goodies from the outside in, try one of these luxe face masks. These sheet, clay and gel masks are specifically formulated to de-bloat, de-puff, rehydrate and treat other icky side effects of going too hard the night before. Here, nine hangover masks to help you bounce back, the beauty junkie way.

What it is: Leaders Daily Wonders What Happened Last Night Revitalizing Mask, $4

What it does: Restores the healthy dewiness that drained from your skin last night like Miller Lite from a beer funnel.

How it works: Apply this one-use-only sheet mask to clean skin, leave on for 15-20 minutes, and the ginseng and Artemesia extract-packed formula will get to work revitalizing your dull complexion. The mask is packed with an entire bottle of serum for a serious dose of hydration (think: an IV for your face). After use, pat the leftover product into your skin, chase with a large tumbler of cucumber water and marvel at your refreshed complexion.

Amazing in Your Snapchat Story

In the age of Instagram, Snapchat, and Instagram Stories, a beauty product is only as good as its ability to make people double-tap. Take, for example, the popularity of sheet masks: They may be a dime a dozen now, but the 4-for-$10 favorite was only a niche Korean novelty until models started appearing on social media wearing them like an accessory. See what we mean?

There’s nothing wrong with being popular, but when you scroll through your feed to find one sheet mask after another, you may start to wonder if there’s something a little more interesting out there. Something … different. Bonus points if it’s alien-looking enough to spark a long comments thread about what the hell it is.

The oft-ignored peel-off mask fits the bill — and then some. Smooth on one of these antioxidant-rich, oil-absorbing, wrinkle-reducing formulas, let it dry, and then peel it off your face like you would Elmer’s glue from your hands as a kid, and you’ve got the making of a great Boomerang. Film yourself tearing it off abruptly in front of your easily startled roommate, and you’re a viral YouTube sensation.

Oh, and did we mention that they’re all kinds of amazing for your skin, too? Sheet masks, step back: Peel-off masks are here, and they’re giving you a run for your inherently Instagrammable money. Just don’t get any in your eyebrows.

Good for: Tightening, brightening, softening and pore minimizing — basically, this spa-inspired mask is a one-stop shop for all of your skin-improving needs.

Standout quality: Packed with healing aloe vera, natural exfoliating (and blemish-fighting) acids and a potent botanical blend, this formula leaves no complexion woe unaccounted for. If you don’t know where to start with peel-off masks, start here.

Good for: Anyone who wants a clearer, more youthful, better-hydrated complexion. Your skin will be so bright, your friends will have to wear shades. (Har har.)

Standout quality: Even the most sensitive skin types won’t take issue with this gentle exfoliating formula, which contains soothing rosehip and moisturizing lecithin but leaves out harsh, drying alcohol-based ingredients.

Natural beauty dreams

Beauty wish granted: Based on the skin care prowess of Annet King, Director of Training and Development for The International Dermal Institute, and our annoyingly flawless friends who weighed in on the7 habits of perfect-skinned women story, reducing stress via workouts like yoga, or hiking, running, or power walking outdoors is a major piece in the blemish-free skin care puzzle.

Why’s that? King says stress causes our adrenal glands to increase the production of androgen hormones, which amplifies the creation of oil, yielding acne. So, all the benzoyl peroxide in the world won’t clear your skin unless you get to the root of the problem –keeping your stress hormones on mute. And of course eating healthy, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, not smoking, yada yada yada all contribute to better skin.

And King explains that skin care is like working out — eventually you reach a plateau if you don’t switch it up from time to time. Here are some of her suggestions for your skin care regimen, namely for those with acne-prone skin:

Step 1: Use a cleanser with salicylic acid morning and night. Look for one with tea tree, which will help fight inflammation. Try Dermalogica mediBac Clearing Skin Wash, $33.

Step 2: Use a liquid or cream exfoliating mask with hydroxy acids or enzymes, or even salicylic acid, two to three times a week. Try Zia Pumpkin Exfoliating Mask, $19.02.

Step 3: Look for a formula with five percent benzoyl peroxide, or sulfur or zinc oxide likeDDF Benzoyl Peroxide Gel 5 Percent with Tea Tree Oil, $24. And if you must pick your face — King shows us how to pop a zit the right way in this video.

Step 4: King recommends using two moisturizers:

First, for acne-prone areas of your face, use a light moisturizer that is also a mattifier and/or contains salicylic acid, green tea, niaminicide or zinc. For day, try Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Daily Mattifying Lotion SPF 15, $20.95 and for night try Clinique Acne Solutions Clearing Moisturizer Oil Free, $16.50.

Second, for the rest of your face, use a moisturizer that’s right for your skin type. For example, you may need an oil-based moisturizer if your skin is dry.

Beauty wish granted: While we don’t exactly have the power to make it so you’ll “never have to shave my legs/armpits/nether-regions again” (as one woman put it), we can make the process much less painful. First off, take this quiz to find out the best de-fuzzing method for you. Then, check out our comprehensive hair removal 101guide that includes hairless tricks from industry experts. Want the CliffsNotes? Here are tips for shaving your legs into silky perfection:

Step 1: To get an extra close shave, exfoliate the day before you pick up that razor. It will remove dead cells that prevent your razor from gliding smoothly over skin. Try Kiehl’s Gently Exfoliating Body Scrub, $25.

Step 2: Shave at the end of your shower/bath to allow skin to soak in the moisture from the water and hair to soften.

Step 3: Always use shaving cream; never use razor-clogging soap. Try The Art of Shaving Shaving Cream With Rose Absolute – Pump, $30.

Step 4: Use long strokes and gentle pressure with a sharp razor (replace after five shaves). When you reach your knees, stretch the skin as you shave it to make sure you get every single hair.