ALL ABOUT THAT FACE (The At Home Spa Series…Part 1)

My name is Tamara and I’m a beauty addict.

There I said it. The first step is admission…right?

You see, for me, the love affair with skincare/cosmetics and make up was born more out of necessity than the actual love of playing dress up or desire to look older for a crush. I was a teenager who was plagued with bad skin. Well not really bad skin…more like sensitive skin that just looked really bad.

The teenage years, the 7 to 9 year period in a young person’s life, that parents the world over dread. Raging hormones cause extreme mood swings and wreak havoc on the body—especially the face. For me, when the breakouts started the real lessons in skincare began. Trial by fire—and almost in a literal sense.

Remember the “Noxzema Girl?” Also known as Rebecca Gayheart (I just found out her name the other day), the Noxzema girl had teens around the country (and maybe even the world) believing that slapping on some cold cream every night was the cure all to acne prone skin. Don’t get me wrong…it did work for some. But this chica soon learned she had sensitive skin. And my using the famed product resulted in mild chemical burns on my cheeks (where the breakouts were the worse) and extreme scarring. Hence sensitive skin that just looked really bad.

Over the years, I would experiment with a variety of products– from all natural soaps, glycerin soaps, high end products (my mom was a huge fan of Chanel and Lancôme) , beauty counter staples (like Clinique) and later cocoa and shea butters (which actually over time helped fade the scars). It took a few years, but my skin finally cleared up– just in time for college. By then, I was already a skin care junkie.

Fast forward to present day.

One of the perks I love the most about being a blogger is getting the chance to test some of the newest beauty products to hit the market. From established brands to those just bursting onto the scene, I love trying them all. Lou (my postman), Alex (my FedEx guy), and John (my UPS guy) are the couriers of my addictions. I literally do a happy dance when I hear the doorbell ring. A new product to test!

After Fashion Week my skin needs a chance to recuperate from the 24/7 make-up, lack of sleep, and all the wine and champagne (water? What water?). Add to all the stress of 7 days of nonstop running around the city and partying– the onset of fall and its blustery winds; all of which do a number on one’s visage. For the past month or so I have been all about the face (get it? Thanks Meghan Trainor for the title idea) — testing a number of products. Some were hits and others…not so much. But after a four week trial period I’ve come up with a list of faves that I think my fellow beauty addicts will be adding to their home spa arsenal.

DERMOLOGICA DAILY MICROFOLIANT

Dermologica Daily Microfoliant

Not a new product by any means (it first hit the market in 2001), Dermologica’s Daily Microfoliant is a definite must have as we transition into the fall and winter. A powder exfoliant, this rice-based formula activated with just a little water to gently but effectively lift dead skin cells for smoother, brighter skin. A half to 1 teaspoon’s worth goes along way– releasing active ingredients papain, salicylic acid and rice enzymes. I guess that’s why it’s been one of the brand’s best sellers worldwide since its debut. Safe for daily use, I use it every morning after cleansing my face. Afterwards I follow with a serum and a moisturizer with an SPF.

MONAT REJUVENIQUE OIL INTENSIVE

Rejuvenique Oil Intensive by Monat

Speaking about serums…I’m in love with Monat’s Rejuvenique Oil Intensive. Actually a dual purpose product (seriously who doesn’t love a product that multitasks?), the Rejuvenique Oil can be used on both your hair and skin. For the purposes of this trial I focused on its benefits for use on my skin. Utilizing its key ingredient Abyssinian Oil (derived from the crambe seed), Rejuvenique Oil does what its name suggests—rejuvenates the skin by replenishing and repairing the skin by providing nutrients, Omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants that help prevent premature aging. With the late nights (as I write this post at 1am…) and lack of sleep due to stress, work and life in general, why look older than you are? This product is super light and absorbs quickly into the skin. I use it twice a day (in the morning after cleansing and before moisturizing and in the evening as a treatment). A little goes a long way. For those of us who are a little wasteful with oils, Monat has conveniently included a dropper which miraculously supplies the perfect amount to cover your face and neck.

CLAYSPRAY MATTIFYING RED CLAY

ClaySpray Mattifying Red Clay Masque

I have declared time and time again that I have the oiliest skin in New York. But after recent weeks, I am about to relinquish this title. Thank you Clayspray! I am singing the praises of the brand’s Mattifying Red Clay because it literally has changed my T-zone from an oil slick mess to a normal forehead, chin, and nose. Though many an aesthetician has told me I should thankful for oily skin (they claim it “keeps you young”), I can’t stand the shine that takes the sexy dewy look (let’s face it you can achieve that with bronzer) to looking like I just slathered Vaseline on my face. Since using the Mattifying Red Clay masque, it’s like I have a whole new face (I’m close to saying “bye Felicia” to my blotting papers). Why does it work? Well, the masque uses enriched mineral clay which helps regulate oil secretion in the skin, helps combats blemishes and purifies by really giving you a deep cleanse. Added benefit…the Mattifying Red Clay has minerals that have anti-aging capabilities including silica to boost collagen, iron to activate circulation and magnesium to heal the skin. It absorbs impurities while helping regulate the oil in your skin. Used in conjunction with ClaySpray’s H2O Spray (mineral rich mountain spring water), twice a week I use the masque on my t-zone. I let it dry and then rinse off followed the remainder of my facial routine.

ILLUMASK ANTI-AGING MASK

illuMask Anti-Aging Phototherapy Mask

Don’t we all wish we had the latest and greatest beauty products and technologies at our disposals like our favorite celebs? Please…many have an aesthetician on call (or better yet on staff) for their skin care emergencies. Since many of us aren’t that fortunate and daily trips to the spa aren’t in our budgets, we have to opt for the next best thing. Introducing illuMask. Now this is a product that brings the daily spa treatment right into your home. IlluMask uses phototherapy (the process of using “good” light to treat the skin) which has been used by dermatologists, spas and skin clinics forever. With illuMask you can get a top quality high end treatment in the comfort of your own home using a similar technology. I admit, it does look a little space-agey. It uses red light to even the skin and reduce roughness and infrared light to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The other thing—invoking the spa experience) you are forced to be still for 15 minutes (the length of the preset treatment). For a month (each mask is set to give you 30 treatments—yes they advise for optimal results to use this everyday) I carved out 15 minutes where I would put on some relaxing music (thank you Songza for your Yoga activity setting) and let the mask do its thing. Because there is no way for you to see (no eye holes) there’s no checking your email or texting to be done. But it is worth it. It works. Mr. Socialite (like most men…doesn’t really notice much) made a comment about my skin looking really nice. So illuMask is Mr. Socialite approved.

SILK’N REVIT MICRODERM

Silk’n ReVit Microderm

After attending a holiday preview event a little while ago, I was introduced to the brand Silk’n. A boutique brand, the company is known for providing professional aesthetic devices for home use. In a contest at the event, I won a ReVit Microderm Kit. It is everything! ReVit is all about creating beautiful skin—ReVitalizing it by removing dead skin cells using a very soft vacuum like process with a gentle “diamond peeling” tip. Sounds fancy right? Let me get down to the nitty gritty… ReVit literally slough off the dead skin cells helping to improve skin tone, texture and elasticity as well as reduce the appearance of age spots, fine lines and acne scarring (yay!). And the best part…it only takes 5 minutes. The other thing I love about it is that you can see the results after each use. What do I mean by that? Well you can literally see the skin flakes (gross but sooo cool—skincare geek) after each treatment. Recommended for use twice a week or as needed, the kit comes with three detachable diamond peeling treatment heads—Precision (for small and hard to reach areas), Fine (for a more gentle treatment) and Coarse for a more powerful exfoliation. Perfect for the face, neck and hands (the places that can show the most damage), the ReVit is definitely another must have for your at home spa. Be careful while letting others in your household try it. They’ll get addicted and you will find out that they are using it twice a week too (yes I’m calling you out Mr. Socialite!).

Alright…now I feel like a pusher (you know, that person who introduces you to the drug—thank you  former First Lady Nancy Reagan and the whole SAY NO TO DRUGS campaign of my youth for instilling that in my head)—talking about how amazing you will look and feel after using these products. You know you want to try ‘em. You know you’ll like ‘em. It’ll be worth it…believe me. You know you can trust me. LOL. Besides it’s the holiday season and between Thanksgiving and the one million parties that will take place between then and New Year’s you skin will need it. Just click on the links in each post…you want regret it!

* To learn more about each featured item, click on each product title to visit the brand’s site.

BEAUTY FROM THE INSIDE OUT (Health Supplement Review)

Since I started the Curvy Socialite a few years back, I have focused on what makes us look good on the outside (fashion and beauty). Maybe it’s because I am getting older or maybe it’s because certain things just happen to go hand-in-hand, I’m introducing a new topic to the blog…Health & Wellness. I think I might have heard a groan or two out there in the blogosphere, but give me a second to clarify…

We all know that a great outfit and flawless make up and skin care can work wonders, but what happens when you remove all the finery and you are looking at the blank canvas in the mirror? Is it as good-looking as what it looked like all dressed up a few moments before? Let me take it a step or two further….have you started noticing a few fine lines appearing here and there? Or dare I ask…has your significant other even seen you without make-up on?  Though we would love to think we will be young and beautiful forever, at some point we need to take measures to ensure that—and I’m not talking about plastic surgery.

With many of the readers of this blog coming from diverse backgrounds and age groups (I have readers from as far as Singapore and Australia and as young as 20 and as old as their 70s), they all have one thing in common…they love to look good. And as we get older, we just need a little extra help doing so. When we were kids, we relied on our parents to make sure we ate right and got all the necessary nutrients we needed to be active, healthy kids. By the time we got to college and could choose our own food (and could say no to the brussel spouts and asparagus), those good eating habits…well, they weren’t so good. Then we started working and it was all downhill from there. You were lucky if you could have a home-cooked meal once a weeks (or month) like you did as a kid with something from every food group. And that lack of balanced eating started letting itself be seen with tell-tale signs (lack of energy (also from lack of sleep), slower metabolism, foggy mind and more. But fear not dear readers! We can start to counter act these ill effects. How…you may ask?

(Drum roll please….) with VITAMINS & SUPPLEMENTS!

Ok…no you can’t fix everything with a pill. But for the woman (or guy) on the go…vitamins are a start. As a thirty-something-year-old woman who is always going someplace or doing something, I know I am not always getting the all the good-stuff I am supposed to.  It didn’t help that in July I found out that I had thyroid problems which were leading to issues. I try to lead a healthy life—exercise regularly, eat healthy foods and all that jazz. But who am I kidding? I haven’t had a meal containing on the food groups in ages. And sleep…well…I think I get at least 4 hours on average a night. That’s just not going to cut it.

According to experts, a woman in her 30s is looking for a few key things when it comes to her health in addition to overall wellness:

  • To rev up her metabolism (we’re not in our 20s anymore and the phrase “a moment on the lips equals a lifetime on the hips” takes on a new meaning)
  • Anti-Aging (we want to keep our youthful  glow as long as possible)
  • Energy (with everything we have to or choose to do, we need as much as possible)
  • Heart Health (heart disease is the number one killer of women—thank you to the Heart Truth campaign for bringing the awareness to that)

Add to this list we want to have healthy pregnancies (as many of us are thinking about having families).  And though we try our best, we are not always getting everything (or as close to it) we need as possible.

I have always been concerned with my health (according to my significant other…I’m a hypochondriac). Though for the most part, I have been relatively healthy, the Virgo in me wants to be perfectly healthy.

Doctors and other health experts say that the following vitamins and minerals are key to a woman’s health in her 30s

  • antioxidants
  • vitamins E & C
  • folate (found in B vitamins and folic acid)
  • calcium
  • iron

Because in today’s society, we are always on some type of diet, not eating some food because it will kill you (and then eating it the next week because it will give you eternal life) we are always lacking something that is vital to our health and well being.  So I am working on getting myself back on track.  Here are some of the supplements I’ve added to my diet to help me on this journey.

SAINTHOOD HERBS™ Mental Agility (Boost Series)  

MENTAL AGILITY by Sainthood Herbs

Be it from lack of sleep or not enough of the good stuff in my diet, I find myself from time to time suffering from a bit of brain fog (you know…when you are brain is shot and you can’t even remember your own name). I was fortunate enough to be introduced to a new brand of products from California named SAINTHOOD HERBS™. More than just herbs, Sainthood Herbs offers three specific product series with a distinct set of benefits (BOOST, SOLUTION and WOMEN)—eliminating the guesswork of trying to find the right product. Their concept is simple: give the healthiest alternative to enhance your lifestyle with effective, naturally made supplements. And added benefits…all of their products are naturally gluten free, wild-crafted herbs, healthy, safe, non-GMO, sustainable and eco-friendly.

For 30 days, I sampled the supplements targeted for Mental Agility from their Boost series and I noticed a difference after about a week. I found myself more clear-headed and able to focus on what I had to get done each day. Because I am a list maker, I measured success by how many items ended up being carried over to the next day. By the end of the 30 days, I was super focused and able to knock out of my to-do lists with no problem even adding more tasks giving me more time for myself as the end of the week.

Click here to see the full range of products offered by Sainthood Herbs.

 

APTEKA NATUREL™ Vitality Naturel Energy Enhancement Supplement

Vitality Naturel™ Energy & Well-Being Dietary Supplement.

APTEKA NATUREL is a company that prides itself on being small and ensuring the highest quality of products. They hand pick the best of the best natural products (many are exotic—hailing from such distant locales as Nepal, India, Siberia and the Amazon).This all natural health and wellness company provides a full range of supplements and oils.

Because during the time leading up to Fashion Week and right afterwards, sleep isn’t always my friend (and the weather changes aren’t helping either), I find myself a little lethargic. And because coffee (despite my love for a fresh brewed cup of Café Bustelo—yeah I’m that old-school it’s-so-strong-it-puts-hair-on-your-chest coffee drinker) can’t always cure all, I tested Apteka Naturel’s Vitality Naturel Energy Enhancement Supplement.

For 30 days I popped the Vitality pill with a glass of water first thing in the morning instead of my coffee. Within a few days I notice that I wasn’t dying for a cup of Joe first thing in the morning like usual. Very different for the “high” one would get with caffeine, I felt awake without the crash towards the afternoon. By the end of the trial period, I found myself being satisfied with one cup of coffee a day instead of the 4 that I sometimes had to combat fatigue. And with all natural ingredients (with this particular supplement, the ingredients came from New Zealand) I had no weird side effects and I actually found that I slept better at night (because I didn’t have an overload of caffeine in my system).

Click here to see more of the Apteka Naturel line of supplements and oils.

 

 

This is just the beginning of my journey of finding the right balance that will work for me and my health, but I will gladly share the process with you. But let me add a disclaimer here….before you take any supplements, vitamins, etc., please consult a doctor.

 

BEAUTY REVIEW: Artistry Intensive Skincare Anti-Wrinkle Firming Serum

Ever heard of Artistry Skincare? Chances are you may not have but you have definitely seen the brand’s effects. Confused? Let me clarify for you.

Artistry Skincare, an Amway brand (one of the first direct sales companies in the United States), has been around since the 1960s. Boasting a cosmetics line that includes over 400 products, Artistry is ranked one of the top cosmetics brands in the world along side, industry legends Clinique, Estee Lauder, Lancome and Chanel.  In 2010, the beauty brand became the official cosmetic and makeup line of Miss America.

I had the luxury of sampling their product line recently after attending their product launch and meet-and-greet event with the new Miss America, Laura Kaeppeler. A fan for years, I was super excited to get a chance to sample the newest collection.

A firm believer that it is never to early to start an anti-aging regime (seriously who really wants to use botox and fillers?), I was eager to sample the brand’s new Anti-Wrinkle Firming Serum. I was a little hesitant when I saw that it contained Retinol (known to be effective, but to have some unpleasant side effects including redness, dryness and flakiness). But science team at Artistry took care of that. Teaming with the University of Michigan, Artistry has used a breakthrough technology (utilizing botanicals) to produce their anti-wrinkle firming serum. Not once did my skin have a negative reaction to the Retinol.

I’m always skeptical of a product (no matter how much I love the brand) that boasts results in as little as four weeks. Artistry definitely lives up to the hype. Though I didn’t have wrinkles per se, I did notice some wear and tear starting to appear due to the craziness of life (late nights working, events, and a recent bout of insomnia). Two weeks after starting to use the anti-wrinkle serum, I started getting compliments on how “bright” and healthy my skin was looking (mind you, I still don’t sleep). After four weeks, strangers were telling me that i looked like I just came from a spa visit (A-OK in my book).

Not “cheap” by any means, at $138 a pop, the anti-wrinkle serum is an intensive treatment that is definitely worth it’s price.

Interested in trying it for yourself, visit the Artistry website here.