Top 7 Exfoliators

So the last few months, I haven’t done any updates. Good news is I am finally seeing some progress. So, at the bottom, I will have some 5 month progress pics to share. Until then I thought I would talk all about my favorite exfoliators.

 

BeFunky Collage

Overall, my time on isotretinoin hasn’t been too bad. I haven’t had any adverse effects. The only noticeable thing has been the dry skin. Mostly, I can handle it. Where it becomes problematic is when I want to put on makeup. If you try to put foundation over all that dry skin, well it just doesn’t look cute.

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Korres Wild Rose Exfoliating Cleanser  ($28) is a great choice if you are needing a daily exfoliator. It should be gentle enough to use frequently for most skin types. The only downside is that it has a light rose scent. I enjoy it but some people may not, especially if you have sensitive skin.

  1. Another great option for a gentle exfoliation is the Fresh Umbrian Clay Purifying Face Exfoliant ($33). I really enjoy this one because it is gentle enough for me to use daily and the brand is very clean and natural. These light exfoliators are great for people got don’t have a lot of dry patches.

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Ole Henriksen Transforming Walnut Scrub ($28) has been a favorite of mine for a long time. I love it becauses it exfoliates as well as cleanses. I would only use this one a few times a week. It is a little rougher on the skin but always leaves my skin feeling good.

For some people, the Boscia Charcoal Deep-Pore Exfoliating Peel Gel ($34) might be a intense scrub. For me, I have found that I can use it a few times a week. It works decently well, but doesn’t completely get rid of all the dead skin. It is a mix between a physical and chemical exfoliant. I think this is a good one to try if you are too worried to go straight to a chemical exfoliant.

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The Dior Hydra Life Glow Better Fresh Jelly Mask ($69) is a great option for beginners to chemical exfoliants. This one is nice because you only have to leave it on for three minutes. It has a nice smell and it stings just a little bit. It exfoliates fairly well. It smooths my skin, but I usually have one or two spots that are missed.

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial™ ($80) is expensive, but it is so good. The packaging is great because it keeps the product from getting bacteria and gives it a longer shelf life. It does sting a bit when you put it on and you do have to let it sit for 20 minutes. That being said, it completely gets rid of any dry skin. You do want to make sure to use this once a week. There is a reason why this brand is so hyped, it is just that good.

I didn’t think I would find anything better than the one above, but I did. The Boscia Exfoliating Peel Gel ($34) is a great price and it works so well. It doesn’t sting and you do not have to leave it on the skin. It is quick and easy to use plus it left my skin baby smooth. I would only use this every three days or so. It is truly amazing.

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The important thing with exfoliators is to always use a good moisturizer afterwards. Now that you know my top 7 favorites, here is a little update.


My skin has really been clearing up. I have only had one or two breakouts. Now, my biggest concern is reddness and scaring. I have also had a problem with my hands.


As you can see, they are so dry. I found out that it is a form of ezcema. The doctor have me a cream, and it is already clearing up a lot. So far, I only have a couple more months and I will be all done.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Xoxo Sammie

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It Cosmetics: Confidence In Your Glow

It Cosmetics is known for their good for your skin makeup products. They do everything from foundation to eyeshadows to skin care. If you are looking for a product, chances are they have it. I first fell in love with the It Cosmetics Confidence in a Compact. Since then, I have also fallen in love with their CC+ Cream. When I first saw their take on the neapolitan face palette, I knew I had to have one. Originally, I bought the Instant Natural Glow. But, I recently won the entire collection, including the special brush, from Serein Wu. So, I just want to give a big shoutout to her! She is an amazing Youtuber and blogger. You can check her out here.


Here is the description of the products according to the It Cosmetics website, “from the sensorial experience of the fresh orange scent to the powerful vitamin C-infused radiance-boosting and brightening formula, Confidence in Your Glow™ transforms the look of your complexion with high-performance, anti-aging ingredients and talc-free, ultra-luxe pigments. Combined with proprietary Drops of Light Technology™, your skin will feel instantly softer and smoother with a younger, airbrushed appearance! Developed with plastic surgeons and perfect for all skin types and tones, this compact is truly your one-step wonder for your most beautiful-looking skin.” There are three different shades in this collection as well as the Heavenly Skin One-Sweep Wonder Brush #705.


The first, and lightest, of the compacts is Instant Nude Glow. The website describes this product as being perfect for achieving “the softest, sheerest naturally pretty glow.” I would describe the highlight as a light champagne color. The blush is a nice peachy pink and the bronzer is a soft warm bronze.


The only palette that I bought myself was the Instant Natural Glow. This compact is perfect “for a natural rosy kiss of radiance and natural boost of warmth.” The highlighter here is a little more pink tones. The blush is definitely rosey with a light, more cool toned bronzer.


Finally, we have Instant Warm Glow. On their website, it is described as “your richest shade of bronzer for the deepest color payoff, with a gorgeous peachy-pink flush for your brightening radiance.” This really says it all. The blush is a brighter pink with a darker bronzer and the highlight is a cream color.


The It Cosmetics brushes are unique because they are infused with skin care ingredients. The hair of the brushes are “infused with anti-aging collagen, silk, peptides, niacin and antioxidants.” The Heavenly Skin One-Sweep Wonder Brush #705 was made specifically to go with these palettes. You are supposed to be able to sweep the brush across the palette, from bronzer to highlight, and then sweep the brush across your cheeks back towards the hairline.


While this method does work, it is not my favorite. It is fast and looks pretty on the cheeks, but it does not work to well for bronzing the face. In actuality, I best like the brush for applying the bronzer by itself. It is so soft and blends the product like a dream. After applying the bronzer, I will go back in with other brushed to apply the blush and highlight.


Overall, I really love these products. They are pigmented, creamy and easy  to blend. You only have to barely touch your brush to pick up product. Just make sure to use lightly as the product does have some kick up. On the It Cosmetics website, each palette retails for $32 and the brush for $48. At those prices, I definitely think the palettes are worth it, but the brush is not necessary. However, if you head over to the QVC site, you can get a palette and brush combo for only $35.92. 

Which palette is your favorite? Mine has to be the Instant Nude Glow.

Xoxo Sammie

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DIY: Whole Foods Face Masks

While everyone knows how important whole foods are for our health, not many realize the benefits that whole foods can have for your skin. Think of it this way, why should you spend extra money to put harsh chemicals and other unknowns on your skin when you can achieve the same results with produce from the local market? Here are some of my favorite foods for your skin:

Customize Natural Face Masks

Honey is a humectant, which promotes the skin to absorb moisture and lock it in. It also is highly antibacterial which can be beneficial for acne-prone skin.

Oatmeal is fantastic to soothe irritated skin and to reduce inflammation. A mix of flavonoids, phenols and avenanthramides act as natural anti-inflammatories. It is best to use oats ground up or in a flour form.

Cocoa is rich in antioxidants which help to protect your skin against free radicals. It also contains caffeine which is great in helping to firm the skin.

Turmeric has antiseptic, astringent, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. When used in a face mask, it works to help fight wrinkles and smooth the skin. It has also been shown to help fade acne scars. Just be sure to dilute with other ingredients as it can stain the skin when used alone.

Avocado and Avocado Oil are rich in healthy fats. They are easily absorbed while moisturizing and helping with skin regeneration. These particularly help dry, sensitive or sun damaged skin.

Green Tea is high in antioxidants and has been shown to help reduce inflammation, soothe damaged skin and calm irritated skin. Tea leaves or brewed tea can be used for rinses or in DIY face masks.

Greek Yogurt is another great moisturizer and soother due to its protein, calcium and probiotic properties. It also works as a chemical exfoliant due to the lactic acid. Mixed with other ingredients, it can be used in a hydrating mask to promote glowing skin.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil not only moisturizes the skin but also cleanses it. It helps to remove makeup and pull out dirt and impurities from the pores. It has also been found to help prevent cell damage due to the sun’s radiation.

All of these ingredients are amazing on their own, but they are even better when combined. Mix two or three of these together to create the perfect face mask. Apply to clean skin and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water and pat your skin dry.

By making your own masks at home, you know exactly what is in them. Even better, each time you make a new mask, you can tailor it to your skin’s needs at the time. No more spending money on large amounts of chemicals or standing in the beauty isle confused by the hundreds of different products. There are so many wonderful foods for you skin, these are just a few of my favorite.

What kind of masks are you planning on making?

Xoxo Sammie

 

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My Skin Diary

This last month has been great! At least it has when its come to my skin. I haven’t noticed any symptoms with taking isotretinoin except for my skin is getting increasingly more dry. However, it isn’t too bad and I think that has to do with my use of oils in my skin care routine. I’ll discuss that more below, but first here is my morning and evening skin care products in order.


AM Face:

  1. Farsali Rose Gold Elixir (DIY Version)
  2. Origins Ginzing Moisturizer 
  3. Origins Ginzing Eye Cream
  4. Hanalei Lip Treatment

AM Body:

  1. DIY Shimmer Body Oil
  2. Sunscreen
  3. Essence of Beauty Hand Cream

PM Face:

  1. Tarte Gel Cleanser
  2. Tarte Maracuja Oil
  3. Origins Night-A-Mins Cream
  4. Origins Plantscription Eye Cream
  5. Lumene Gel Mask

PM Body:

  1. First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

I think the oils have really been helping the most. A lot of people are afraid to use them because they think that the oil will worsen their acne. However, I haven’t had any breakouts and I also checked with my dermatologist. She agreed that as long as the oils are noncomedogenic then it should be fine. Here is my progress for the last month:


    They decided to bump up my dose one more time. So for May, I was taking 40mg. Now I am taking 80mg of isotretinoin. The best part has to be that even my dermatologist noticed that my skin was clearing up.

    What are your go to skin care products?

    Xoxo Sammie

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    DIY: Smoothie Face Mask

    One of the best parts about summer has to be all the fresh fruit. While we can always find apples and oranges, during the summer I love indulging in apricots, cherries and mango. One of my favorite breakfasts during the summer is fruit smoothies. It a quick and yummy way to give your body a lot of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. So, I figured why not make a smoothie face mask?

     What you need:

    1/3 Banana- has many different good skin ingredients. Potassium hydrates the skin, B-vitamins protect against free radicals, Vitamin-A heals scaring and Zinc fights acne.

    ¼ Ripe Mango- has high amounts of Vitamin-A and Vitamin-C. Vitamin-C has been shown to help boost collagen product as well as protecting against UV induced damage from free radicals.

    1 Aloe Vera leaf- soothes and moisturizes skin without clogging pores. It also has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

     First, you will want to peel the skin off the aloe and add it to the bowl. I like to rage the skin and rub the excess on my face to make sure I’m using all of the plant. Then, all you need to do is take a fork and mash all the ingredients together or you can use a blender. You can double the recipe to accommodate multiple people or you can put any leftover mixture into the fridge for 2-3 days to use later. I would recommend keeping any left overs in an airtight container. Cleanse your face and apply the mask in an even, thick layer. I would recommend laying down after applying so that it does not slide off of your face. Let the mask sit for 15-20 minutes. Then just rinse with cool water and pat dry.

    You can leave your skin as is, but I do use a moisturizer since I am taking isotretinoin. I love this mask! It leaves my skin feeling so soft and hydrated. It also gives me such a pretty glow. I like making a double batch and using it twice a week.

    I really enjoy being able to use good, natural whole foods to benefit my skin. What are your favorite summer fruits?

    Xoxo Sammie

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    DIY: Shimmer Body Oil

    When I think of summer, I picture sunshine, the beach and tan glowing skin. I always dreamed of being tanned and for a lot of years, I tried. I thought that was the only way to get that summer glow. Unfortunately, my fair complexion does not tan well.


    Then came the highlighter trend. I fell in love with highlighters and using them all over my body. Finally I could glow without harming my skin. I thought it couldn’t get much better than that. Then I came across the Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess Shimmering Body Oil. But, at $42 for 1.5 oz, I couldn’t justify purchasing it. I knew that I could make a similar product. Not only could I save a lot of money, but also customize the product for my skin’s needs.



    What you need:

    Spray or Dropper Bottle

    Pumpkin Seed Oil

    Mica Powder 

    How I chose my ingredients: I really love pumpkin seed oil because it absorbs quick, moisturizes and fights free radicals. It can also be used all over the face and body. As for the Mica powder, you can choose any color you’d like. Since I am so fair, I decided to go with a iridescent gold color. I was looking for a glow, but was afraid to go with a bronze tone as it could contrast with my skin and look more dirty rather than glowy. If you tan or have a darker complexion, I recommend checking out this bronze mica powder. Just a quick note, you will only need a tiny bit of the mica and will have plently left for other projects.

     

    I love this project because not only is the end result beautiful, but you can do it all in under 5 minutes. First, fill your empty bottle up with oil. I like to fill it almost all the way to the top, but leave a little room to make it easier to add and mix in the Mica.


    Next, add the mica. I suggest starting with 1/4 tsp and to add more from there. 1/4 tsp will give a subtle glow. If you want a glow that pops, use 1/2 tsp of the mica powder. Then just put the top on the bottle, shake well, and spray away!


    ​I am so excited to use this all summer! The pumpkin seed oil moisturizes and nourishes my skin while the mica gives me that beautiful summer glow. Although this product doesn’t offer sun protection, it can be used on top or you can always add some of the extra mica to your favorite sunscreen. Just be sure not to add this on top of your makeup, as oil will remove makeup products.

    What are you most looking forward to this summer?

    Xoxo Sammie

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    DIY: Chocolate Macaron Lip Scrub

    Since starting Isotretinoin (Accutaine), the biggest change I have noticed is my lips. I tried to be proactive with hydrating them, but they started to get dryer as my first month went on. Luckily, I’ve found that by using light exfoliation and a mix of oils, I can keep them soft and moisturized.


    I’ve been using a homemade scrub that not only gets rid of the dead skin, but keeps my lips so soft and tastes great too!


    What you need:

    3 tbsp white or brown sugar

    1 tbsp cocoa powder

    2 1/2 tsp olive oil

    1 tsp vanilla extract

    3/4 tsp honey


    The best thing about this recipe is that it is so quick and easy. Just measure out each ingredient into a bowl and mix together. Then, put the mix in an airtight jar to keep for up to one month.


    This recipe does make quite a bit. I have found that it also works really great for use on the face. The honey acts as a natural antibacterial while the olive oil draws out impurities and adds moisture to the skin.

    Overall, I’ve been obsessed with with scrub. I use it nightly to help polish my lips and keep them smooth. Just make sure to put on some Lip oil or a good balm after exfoliating.

    Have a great week!

    Xoxo Sammie 

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    Origins #MyPerfectWorld Launch Party

    You may have noticed by now, but I love natural skin care. So when I received my last Voxbox from Influenster, I was stoked! It was full of goodies from Origins. If you are unfamiliar with Influenster, it is a website where you can review products and qualify to receive more products for free in exchange for honest reviews. You can get more information here.


    In this vox box, we received 5 products from Origins: Checks and Balances Cleanser, Ginzing Moisturizer and Eye Cream, High Potency Night-A-Mins and the Clear Improvements Mask. Honestly, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I’ve fallen for all of these products. Here is some quick reviews:


    Check and Balances Cleanser: this is honestly my new favorite Cleanser. I even bought the full size. It smells amazing and leaves my skin feeling clean without being too dry or feeling tight.

    High Potency Night-A-Mins: how cute is the name? As for the product, it smells great as well. I find that it is very moisturizing and does not clog my pores. However, this may be too heavy for some.

    Ginzing Moisturizer: I really liked this cream and have used it every morning. It feels really fresh and helps perk up my skin. However, it may not be the best choice if you struggle with oily skin.

    Ginzing Eye Cream: amazing! This cream actually helps to illuminate my under eye and moisturize. It is light weight and really gives me that “I just slept 8-hours” look even if I spent all night studying.

    Clear Imporvements Mask: now, I have used a ton of charcoal masks and this is the only one I can say is truly amazing. It is comfortable to wear and does not overly dry my skin out or make my face feel tight. The real magic is when I wake up the next morning. I always see a noticeable difference in any breakouts I am having.


    Now what was different about this Voxbox was that there was a VIP event. We were invited to come to the store to try products, chat and have fun! Let me just say, the store was so beautiful! I loved the natural and wanderlust vibes. Plus, how cute is the essential oils wall?


    First, we were treated to free mini facials. It was so relaxing! Let me tell you, it was the perfect way to end the week. The women working there were very knowledgeable and so helpful. 


    After masks, we all chatted and ate cupcakes and took tons of photos. There was a woman there that was doing tea leaf readings, so I figured why not give it a a go? I was very skeptical and was careful not to tell her anything other than my name. I wasn’t wearing my wedding ring or anything  because I was curious if she would give me the generic “you will find love” story. However, she was able to tell me a lot of things that were actually happening in my near future. It was so freaky! I was pleasantly surprised and it was fun.


    Overall, I am so happy and thankful to have been a part of this vox box and to be invited to such a fun event. I really enjoyed the products I received and even picked up a few more. I highly recommend all of these products and definitely suggest checking out Origins. Some are a little pricey, but they do sales and email discounts. Plus, I honestly believe that good skin care is worth the investment.

    Happy Wednesday!

    Sammie

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    My Skin Diary

    Makeup is wonderful. Not only can it be used to accentuate your natural beauty, but it can also be used to conceal the things we don’t like. Growing up, I had fairly good skin. I can remember  just brushing on light mineral foundation or maybe a little bb cream and being happy. I rarely broke out and when I did, it was controllable.

    #fbf junior year of high school

    Unfortunately, that all changed about  4-5 years ago. I started to not only break out,  but to get terrible cystic acne. The worst areas were my jaw and chin,  meaning it is hormonal. The problem with that: it is harder to treat. I’ve tried everything it seems. Though my skin isn’t cured, it has improved a lot.

    The thing that has helped the most? My Clarisonic Mia Fit. Here is a shot before I got the Clarisonic.

    12-19-16 pre Clarisonic

    As you can see, my skin is super inflamed with a lot of break outs. You can’t see them, but I have several cystic areas on my chin and jaw. This was December 19.

    Fast forward to now, April 7, and here is an update:

    4-6-17 post Clarisonic

    The actual breakouts have greatly decreased. A lot of what you see is discoloration and scaring. I am not getting as many cystic breakouts and my pores are not clogged.

    My go to skincare products

    Usually, I use my Bosica cleanser in the morning with an oil free moisturizer. If I have too many dry patches, I will use a light exfoliating peel before moisturizing. In the evening, I remove any makeup with an oil. Then I use my Clarisonic and the Clarisonic Pore Cleanser to really clean my face. I follow with my diy facial oil and a moisturizer. You can find a full list and review of my favorite products here.

    I have found that these products and steps all greatly help. However, it isn’t enough for me. I dream of having really great skin again. So, I have decided to go on Accutaine. I will be starting next week and decided to document my journey here. So I will be posting occasional Skin Diaries entries as I go through this jounrey.

    Wish me luck!

    Sammie 

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    Top 10 Essential Oils for Skin Care

    You have probably noticed, but I use a lot of essential oils. Essential oils are great for so many different things. I like to mix and match different ones for aroma therapy, but each one has different benefits for your skin as well. So, I figured why not make a list of my favorite top 10 essential oils for skin care so that way when you try a DIY, you can fully customize it for your skin’s needs.


    Top 10 Essential Oils for Skin Care

    Chamomile: My first thought when I think of chamomile is sleepy time tea. However, it is quite good for skin too. One of the greatest benefits is that is helps with scaring and blemishes. It can work wonders for people with skin conditions as it isn’t too harsh.

    Eucalyptus: Perfect for dry skin, eucalyptus is commonly found in hair products. It has been shown to help with dry skin and dandruff. As for aroma therapy, it is quite calming and soothing. It is also a good option for many people with sensitive skin.

    Frankincense: This oil is great for acne prone skin as well as mature skin. It can help reduce redness as well as make your pores appear smaller. It is also great to help reduce wrinkles and tighten the appearance of skin. Some say it has also been helpful is treating eczema and lightening stretch marks and acne scars.

    Lavender: One of the most universal oils, lavender has benefits for every skin type. Not only is it great at reducing stress, but it is full of antioxidants. It has been shown to improve skin tone and help with signs of aging. It can also help some skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. It is suitable for most skin types.

    Lemon Grass: This oil is a great natural astringent. It’s antiseptic and astringent properties make it great for achieving even, glowing skin. Its very popular to add to hair products as well. Perfect to help tighten the look of pores and your overall skin.

    Orange: If you have dealt with adult acne, this oil is perfect for you. The high levels of vitamin C help to protect and heal the skin. It also has anti aging properties for the skin as well as fighting dark spots and wrinkles. Orange is antibacterial and anti inflammatory, so it is a great option to help with acne.

    Peppermint: I love this oil not just for the benefits but also the scent. Because of the menthol, peppermint can have a brightening effect on the skin. This oil is also particularly good for oily, acne prone skin as it helps control oil production.

    Rosemary: This particular oil is most commonly used in hair care. That being said, it has benefits for the skin as well. It has shown beneficial in treating eczema, acne and is helpful to dry skin. It is an oil that stimulates blood flow and has been shown to work well for mature skin.

    Tea Tree: This oil is particularly great for acne prone skin due to it’s antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. This oil also has many healing properties. It is believed to help stimulate circulation. So, not only will it help cure acne, but more blood circulation means that it can also help scaring and other skin conditions. Take caution: it can be too drying for some.

    Ylang Ylang: If you have dry skin and are looking for anti aging benefits than look no further. This oil is perfect for maintaining a healthy, youthful glow. It helps fight signs of aging and it is also an anti inflammatory.

    As always, I recommend spot testing all essential oils on a small part of your arm or leg to make sure you will not have a reaction. You always want to dilute essential oils as well. I hope you find this guide helpful going forward. Soon, I plan have a guide for choosing the best skin care oils.

    I have also made an easy to save or print chart to keep on hand. 

    Essential Oils Chart (download)

    Have a wonderful Monday!

    Sammie

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