September 10, 2015

A Beauty Must #2: Mario Badescu Drying Lotion

I have written before about the impact Mario Badescu Drying Cream has had an (almost) eliminating effect on my adult acne. It is one of those products that I will keep multiples in my skincare stash so I never run out; however, there are times when a need to grab something else to tackle my acne.

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion is what you use when you have a pimple below the skin that has yet to come to the surface. Often this type of acne is on your chin and is associated with hormonal fluctuations (aka that time of the month); it usually hurts and the skin is raised and red; and, no matter how much you mess with it, nothing is going to come to the surface in order to clear the pore out and allow healing. The bacteria is blocked in by dead skin cells and sebum which it consumes to continue growing.

The Drying Lotion works by constricting the skin and drawing all the unwanted material up and eventually out. Its power ingredients are calamine, salicylic acid, and zinc oxide. The calamine gives it its unusual pink color and the acid penetrates into the pore to start the unplugging process. It also contains alcohol which doesn't bother me, so it is something to consider before purchasing.

When you get your bottle, you will have this instinct to shake it up. But don't! It is meant to be separated. To apply you stick a clean q-tip into the pink powder and pull straight up. You will be surprised at how much product actually clings to the cotton bud. You just need to dab the lotion on the pimple. There is no need to rub it in. You will most likely feel you look like a little kid covered in calamine because you walked into poison ivy, so plan on using it when you know you will be staying in.

If your experience is like mine, the pimple will have come to a head overnight to allow you clear the debris out of the pore. But, as always, don't over do the extracting. You really need to stop once all the white matter is gone. Continuing to squeeze after that will take the spot longer to heal and it will likely leave a scar.

If you buy this beauty must, come back and let me know your results.

September 4, 2015

The best shampoo to use for scalp psoriasis

I have had psoriasis since I was in my Tweens. It is a autoimmune disease that is often hereditary.  Basically, the body goes on hyperdrive and produces skin cells at a much higher rate than normal. Instead of every 28+ days, psoriasis sufferers produce cells every 6+ days. As a result the dead skin cells build up very quickly into these white, thick patches that can be unsightly and itchy.

These patches can appear almost anywhere. I have small spots and patches on a few places on my body, like my left elbow, but my biggest area is on the back of my scalp. Anyone who gets to know me will notice that I subconsciously scratch my head because it is often extremely itchy. It truly can drive you crazy from time to time. And when I scratch, small flakes of skin fall off and collect on the top of my shoulders. Luckily, my closest pals will whisper to me to give it a good swipe from time to time.

There are so many "options" for scalp psoriasis sufferers out there and believe me, I have tried them all. And, for the most part they generally are worse than just leaving it alone. I have fine, "blond" (aka dyed) hair so using tar shampoo darkens the hair that I am spending tons of money on to lighten. Can I get a hashtag Fail. The other topical creams, potions and lotions just seem to make my hair greasy or clumpy and my vanity prevents me from using them. So, I went years just using regular shampoo and struggling with the flaking and itching.

And then everything changed. Enter Sebamed Everyday Shampoo.

Sebamed is a German company that focuses on developing non-soap products that maintain the ideal pH level of 5.5. The result is healthier and less dehydrated skin.

I used it for about a month a really thought it had made a huge difference, but I became sure when my hair stylist of 15 years told me she had never seen my scalp looking as good as it was. It was the confirmation that I needed to know that I would definitely repurchase.

If you have scalp psoriasis, I highly recommend Sebamed.  Come back and let me know if it worked for you too.


September 2, 2015

A Beauty Must #1: Seche Vite Dry Fast Topcoat

Every once in awhile you run across a product that is life changing. I know that sounds over the top but in this case it is true. Seche Vite is a must-have for anyone who loves painting their own nails.

I have never been a great nail painter. I tend to apply multiple coats very quickly, never allowing enough drying time. I also tend to change my color right before bedtime knowing full well they aren't dry but convincing myself they are. I wake up to find that my nails have tiny little bubbles that never go away no matter how much a I press them down with my thumb. And, more often than not, they are covered with unattractive textile patterns because they stuck to the sheets. By the end of the next day I have fretted so much about the mess I made, I have picked most of my previous evening's efforts off onto whatever floor I happen to be standing on. Not good. Not good at all.

Seche Vite has stopped all of this. I usually put on two layers of my nail polish and pop on a quick layer of the top coat. It instantly works its chemical magic and I have nails that look shiny, presentable, and almost look like acrylic nails. No need to fret. No need to pick. And for an extra bonus, I have noticed that it creates a strong bond so I don't seem to break or tear the tips as often as I used to. 

If you have ever experienced this beauty woe, I encourage you to try it out. 

June 2, 2015

How I got rid of my adult acne - finally!

I have had acne for a very long time. It started in my teenage years and is still a part of my life some 30 years later. Yes, I am in my forties and still deal with acne. No, not the occasional one off pimple on your forehead or cheek or chin. I always have a good handful spread strategically around my face with various "healing" spots and left over hyper pigmentation.

Well, until now. And, believe me, it has been a long time coming. 

So, what have I done different? I started using a new product. Enter Mario Badescu's Drying Cream.

I have always tackled my pimples with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. The BP kill d the cone bacteria and the SA helped unclog the pores that were filled with sebum and dead skin cells. The cycle was never ending and they honestly never really made any kind of lasting impact.

Drying cream's main ingredient is zinc oxide. ZO gets rid of acne by drying up the excess oil your skin is producing which prevents pores from getting clogged and does leave anything for the acne bacteria to feed off and grow into large, painful spots. The effect on my skin has been, well, astonishing.

I use the product in the evening as it is thick and does not blend into the skin. I apply it more like a mask than a spot treatment, but that is personal preference. It is very drying, so dont be surprised if your skin flakes a bit. It has aloe in it to help the area stay moist and heal more quickly.

Needless to say, I highly recommend this cream. I would set aside your other acne skincare for several days to a week and just use it to see what you think. I think you are going to be pleased.

Oh, and it does have a bit of a smell. To me it smells medicinal and since it works so well, I am willing to put up with it.


May 23, 2015

Top Celebrity Makeup Artists on YouTube

We all know that YouTube is the home of beauty gurus from around the world, But, did you know that many of the top professional makeup artists who work with celebrities, brands and magazines have their own channels as well?

Below is my list of international makeup artists who are worth watching and following:

Whenever a new video from Lisa pops up in my subscription stream, I stop everything to watch. She has worked with some of the most well known celebrities and models including Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley and Emma Watson. She is also the Global Creative Director for Lancome.

Her videos focus on teaching viewers how to easily and confidently apply makeup and skincare no matter what your age, ethnicity or skin issue might be. She is down to earth style mixed with her soothing British accent makes watching her videos a wonderful way to spend a few moments to relax and learn.

Jaime Greenberg is always fun to watch. She works with some of television's top celebrities and it isn't unusual to see her filming from her's or her client's kitchen right before they are about to hit the red carpet.

This sister duo, Sam and Nic, has become one of England's most watched YouTube channels. They do easy-to-replicate makeup tutorials showing off how to get the same look as your favorite celebrity. They also fill you in on what has just hit (or about to hit) your favorite cosmetic counter so you can get your shopping list ready.

Monika Blunder works with some of the top A-listers in the business. She often films tutorials of the makeup looks she used on her clients, both for red carpet events and magazine spreads.

5. Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte has taken her experience of her years working as a makeup artist to develop her own line of cosmetic and skincare. She creates tutorials that show you tips and tricks for a flawless face as well as how to copy some of the most photographed women in the world.

6. Harriet Hadfield

Harriet of Harry Makes It Up gives you a behind the scenes view of being a makeup artist. She shares what is in her kit as well has showing you how to replicate the looks she has created for some of the top beauty magazines across the world.

Think I missed someone important? Please add them in the comments.

May 21, 2015

New to Periscope? Here are some tips to get started

Periscope is the latest social media app that seems to be taking the interwebs and smartphones by storm. And, I have quickly become addicted and I have a feeling you will be addicted as well.

So here are a few facts and tips that will hopefully get you up to speed:

1. Apple only as of this posting: This will change very quickly. There has been a lot of chatter that the Android app will be available this week and the increase of users is expected to explode just due to the sheer number of smartphone Android owners.

2. Owned by Twitter: Twitter purchased this app recently with the expectation that this would be a natural extension to what Twitter is all about. So, it comes as no surprise that if you have a Twitter account, joining is very simple. When you launch the service, it will ask you to access your twitter account and your profile will be imported into Periscope.

3. You don't need a Twitter account: For those who do not have a Twitter account or do not want to associate Periscope with Twitter, the app can be joined by providing a phone number. However, expect to be encouraged to join Twitter. And, truthfully, one reason good reason is Periscope will send a post to your Twitter feed announcing you have begun a live stream. It gives you another way to gather viewers and followers.

4. It is easy to use: One of the reason I think Periscope will be adopted quickly is its easy to use interface. Yes, there are always odd idiosyncrasies that come with every new app but this one has fairly few to make you nuts. When you join, you will see a few "featured" 'scopes at the top of the feed that most likely have lots of participants. These are a great place to start. You will pop into the live feed and you will be announced as "just joined". Don't worry. You can pop back out as fast as you popped in.

5. Bottom icons have meanings: From left to right, there is the TV which when clicked gives you a listing of current and recently aired 'scopes of accounts you follow. The Globe is a very long list of live 'scopes literally from around the world. You can hop into anyone you choose. The Lens allows you to start a 'scope using your phone or pad and will ask to use your camera, microphone, and location. The Heads help you find people to follow. You will see a list of people who you follow on Twitter and have also joined Periscope. Keep in mind only 1% of Twitter users have joined so far so not everyone will be there. You will also see featured accounts to follow as well as the most "hearted" users.

6. It is not all about the Hearts: Periscope created a "like" system using hearts as its icon of choice. Hearts are given to 'scopes that you are enjoying watching. All you need to do is tap the screen and a predesignated-by-periscope colored heart will shoot up on the screen.You can tell what color your heart is by looking at the shade of your profile picture when you enter a comment.

While this is a great way to show love and support to a 'scoper, it has already been corrupted IMHO. There are those who are building an audience and trying to grow their viewer base and since channel recommendations are "pushed" by the number of hearts someone has received, heart-begging has become one of the seeder sides of the platform.

7. Get prepared to swipe and to tap: Once you join a 'scope, you will go directly to the camera view where you will see the broadcast plus hearts and comments. When you swipe right, you will see the title of the 'scope as well the 'scopers profile name. You will also see a circle with a head and plus sign so you can start following them. That way when they begin broadcasting in the future they will pop up under the TV icon page.

When you tap on the name, the profile opens to show their blurb (links don't work, fyi), who they follow and who follows them and if they have any recent 'scopes. The settings gear lets you block the user, and sadly, over time this is a feature you will be glad exists. Trolls and Haters are e'rwhere, y'all. When the 'scope is live, you will have an opportunity to share it to your followers and it will pop up in their stream. An option to hide comments exists too. Since comments can completely cover what is being shot, it comes in handy.

8. A comment about comments: This is how the viewers interact with the 'scoper. Depending on the connection, the stream may not seem to match what you are seeing or hearing. Sometimes Periscope will limit the number of viewers who can comment. As to why or how this happens, the jury is still out.

You can also respond to another commentor by clicking on the comment and you will have a chance to directly reply. Their @name will automatically be filled in and you can type what you wish. But, be fast! Comments disappear quickly.

9. Let's look at the Replay: Once you finish a 'scope (you end a session by swiping down, something that may not be completely obvious), it will be available for replay for 24 hrs. However, there are some limitations to availability.

First, the 'scope must be saved to the phone or pad being used, and if there isn't enough space, then it is, for a lack of a better term, lost. You can automatically save the broadcast through your settings, which probably is a good idea to do from the beginning. But, you still need to stay on that screen and watch it save to ensure it happens. If you click away, it will more than likely disappear. Periscope keeps a copy as well on its servers and has said it does not know when (or if) 'scopes will be deleted. You can manually delete 'scopes if necessary.

Second, the time it takes for saving is completely dependent on your wifi or phone connection as well as the length of the 'scope. A recent recording will show up on the recents list, but it may have a greyed-out icon. It will switch to a play arrow when it is available to everyone.

10. Copyrights, Safety, Privacy, and Reuse are all in play: If you stream a movie on your TV or in a movie theater, be prepared to get shut down and even lose your account. Periscope got in a pretty big scrape over the number of people who streamed the Pacquiao and Mayweather fight, and the new CEO had to go on a quick press tour to smooth over some very ruffled feathers.

You also need to consider your safety when broadcasting as you are potentially providing enough information for someone meet up with you. And, keep in mind that when you signed up, you gave Periscope the permission to use your 'scopes to promote the company, but others can digitally capture your stream and rebroadcast it. Others do not have the legal right to rebroadcast your 'scope as you own the copyright; however, we all know that those who want to skirt legalities, will and once it is out on the internet, it is basically impossible to remove. (Isn't that right, Kim K?)

Periscope is in the wild wild west stage of its existence. It will evolve as more people join and figure out how they want to use it. Its features are pretty good for an app in its infancy, but there are many that need to be added for a better experience. Little things like better search and private messaging have got to be added. And, of course we can all expect to start seeing those pesky ads popping up in the very near future because Twitter put out $100 mil for this little gem and it expects to get paid.

Bottom line? I think you should join. I have seen a man feed hummingbirds from his hand, watched an Aussie walk through the streets of Paris at sunset, and participated in a debate on whether Game of Thrones has gone to far. You will find something to watch, I promise.

Leave your own tip or commentary below if you have something to add!

Oh, and I have absolutely nothing to do with Periscope. I just wanted to pass on what I have learned so far, and all opinions are my own.

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