First Impressions: Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy Mask

First Impressions: Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy Mask

It’s been pretty hard to miss these gorgeous Herbivore Botanicals products all over Instagram and I’ve been dying to know what all the hype was about. So I finally gave in and bought the Blue Tansy Mask and Lapis Oil Duo! And because I’m always up for some exfoliating, I went for the Blue Tansy Mask first.

Prior to using the mask, I had no idea what Blue Tansy was, so I did some digging. Like all Herbivore Botanicals products, the mask is made with natural, food-grade ingredients and is cruelty free. Blue Tansy is a Moroccan chamomile whose terpenes (like that sticky stuff you find on conifer trees) are naturally blue and supposedly smell really sweet. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (the way most chamomile’s do) and because it’s so aromatic, it can help your body regulate hormones and de-stress. And in addition to the Blue Tansy, this is an exfoliating mask that contains both AHA’s and White Willow Bark (a naturally occurring BHA) so it’s great for inflamed or acne-prone skin.

I decided to patch test this only on my left cheek for the first time because that’s where my texture issues are. Despite the vibrant blue color of the mask, it’s basically clear when you apply a thin layer to your face.

Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy Mask Lapis Oil Levitate BeautyI can definitely attest to the aromatic qualities of the blue Tansy ingredient. The mask smells different, but not bad. It’s a very herbal, somewhat sweet scent. The box says you may feel slight tingling sensations, but I didn’t experience any tingling at all.

I chose to leave it on for 10 minutes the first time to make sure I didn’t have any reactions to it, but you can leave it on for up to 20. After time was up, I wiped it off with a wet cotton round as directed. It wiped off very easily and I was left with glowing, baby smooth skin!

So far I really enjoy it as a luxury feel-good product and for the soothing smell and benefits of the Blue Tansy. Plus, I’m a sucker for pretty packaging! But if you’re on a budget and looking for a similar exfoliating mask, try out the Deciem AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution.

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Keep an eye out for a mini-review of the Lapis Oil later this week! And as always, don’t forget to subscribe and follow me on Instagram @Levitate.Beauty for daily skincare updates and reviews.

Adding Vitamin C To Your Routine

Levitate Beauty Sunday Riley ceo

Normally I keep my morning skincare routine pretty simple: splash my face with water, apply moisturizer, and finish up with sunscreen before starting my makeup. But recently I introduced vitamin c into my routine in the form of Sunday Riley C.E.O. (which is arguably their most instagrammed product). My skin has visibly benefited from this addition within a few short weeks! My skin looks more glow-y and my hyperpigmentation has gotten lighter within the short time I’ve used it.

What are the benefits?

If you read my post about Skincare Mistakes, you’ll remember that I recommended vitamin c as a safe alternative to using citrus on your face (which can be quite harmful to your skin).

Vitamin C has so many great benefits including:

  • Reduction of inflammation
  • Promotion of collagen production (making your skin firmer and more youthful looking)
  • Brightening of skin tone and reduced appearance of pigmentation
  • There is also some evidence that it reduces the damage caused by UV light exposure. So it’s a great addition you your routine along with (but not instead of) sunscreen. Just to be incredibly clear here: you absolutely still need sunscreen. Every day. Don’t skip this step!

So What Is Vitamin C Exactly?

Levitate Beauty Sunday Riley ceo derma Doctor Kakadu c

Vitamin C serums can come in different forms: L-ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate and THD ascorbate. L-ascorbic Acid is most common because the most vitamin c research has been done on it (Paula’s Choice states this as the reason they only use L-ascorbic acid).

Sunday Riley, however, uses what they call the “gold standard of vitamin c”: THD Ascorbate. THD Ascorbate is supposed to be more “lipid soluble” meaning it penetrates the skin better than many other forms of vitamin c that are water soluble and can’t penetrate the lipid barrier to reach the dermis. Reaching the dermis is important because this is where collagen is made.

When Do You Use It?

Cosrx Low ph good morning cleanser Biore Uv aqua rich sunscreen levitate Beauty

After patch testing successfully, start introducing it every other day and slowly increase if you want to. Because it helps prevent UV damage I choose to use it every morning, rather than at night. I added it to my morning routine in the following order: Splash with water (or cleanser), Sunday Riley CEO, Moisturizer, sunscreen.

Which Vitamin C Should You Choose?

While I’m currently using Sunday Riley’s CEO, there are so many different brands to choose from. However, when purchasing vitamin c, it’s important to remember that it should come in an opaque or dark tinted bottle, as prolonged exposure to air and light can make it ineffective (unless it comes as a powder, in which case it’s stable enough to see sunlight).

Here are some of my recommendations:

Sunday Riley CEO ($85) –

 sunday riley ceo Vitamin c serum

Drunk Elephant C-Firma ($80) –

C-Firma Day Serum Airless Pump Drunk Elephant

Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster ($49) –

Paula’s choice c15 vitamin c serum booster

Clinique Fresh Pressed Vitamin C Booster Set of 4 ($79) –
Clinique Fresh Pressed Vitamin C Daily Booster, 4 vials

Budget-friendly pick:  The Ordinary 100% L-ascorbic Powder ($5.80) –

The Ordinary Deciem Vitamin C L-ascot if Acid Powder

Do you use Vitamin C in your routine already? What’s your favorite?

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Be sure to follow my skincare journey on Instagram @Levitate.Beauty!

How My Facial Roller Changed My Life

From Skeptic To Believer

I have to admit, I was pretty skeptical of facial rollers for a while. They always seemed like a silly, unnecessary luxury. But now that I have one I can’t imagine not using it!

A few weeks ago I had my first facial and the face massage part felt SO relaxing that I finally gave in and bought my own roller. I’ve only ever seen jade and rose quartz facial rollers before, but I searched specifically for an amethyst roller because, back when I used to read about crystal healing, I read that amethyst (a type of quartz) is really beneficial for acne due to its cleansing and detoxifying effects. It’s also a crystal used often in meditation to clear the mind of negative thoughts, stress, and anxiety. And whether you believe in crystal benefits or not, there’s no denying that amethyst rollers are a gorgeous addition to your shelfie!

In any case, the internet is magic. A quick Amazon search showed that amethyst rollers are in fact a thing! I got mine from Peace Essential on Amazon for $25USD.

Facial Roller Benefits

Before buying it, I decided to take a minute to look up the various benefits of facial rolling and here’s what I found:

  • It boosts blood circulation and reduces swelling making it useful for puffy eyes/face and dark under eye circles.
  • It smooths fine lines and wrinkles.
  • It can help your skincare products penetrate deeper into your skin.

Once it arrived in the mail, my first question was “where in my routine do I use it?” and my second question was “Is there a proper way to use it?”

When To Use Your Facial Roller

From what I can tell you can use it at any point in your routine! Some people use it immediately after cleansing and others at the very end of their routine. My preference is to use it over my sheet mask.

I’m not always the most patient person and after putting on a sheet mask I always find myself wondering what the hell I’m supposed to do while I wait. Enter the facial roller. Now I just slap on a mask and roll away! By doing this, you’re simultaneously giving your face a relaxing massage and helping the sheet mask essence penetrate into your skin. I find this especially helpful when the fit of a mask isn’t great, as I can just roll over to make sure the product is sinking in evenly.

How To Use Your Facial Roller

First things first, let’s talk about where to store your facial roller. It seems that most people store theirs in the fridge to make sure it’s extra cold and soothing. I tried that once and it was too cold for me personally (I mean, it’s still basically winter in New York!) but this is probably a great option for summer. I find that the roller already gets cool enough in my chilly apartment.

Secondly, it turns out there is a proper way to use it. You should use it from the inside of your face out. Start from each of these points (on each side) and follow through toward the direction of your temple:

  1. Jawline
  2. Middle of your lips
  3. Corner of your nose
  4. Under each eye
  5. Over each eye
  6. Over each brow
  7. Over the forehead

Each time, making sure to roll toward your temple. After you’ve massaged each area a few times, you can move onto your neck, starting from the top and moving toward your collarbone each time.

Now that I own a facial roller, there’s no turning back. I use it every night and have seen so many benefits already. But the biggest and most important benefit for me is: it feels amazing! I tend to grind or clench my teeth throughout the day or furrow my brows when I get stressed or if I’m concentrating. It’s such a great feeling to come home from work and massage those muscles Now that I’m addicted, what other skincare tools do I need to add into my routine?

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Be sure to follow my Instagram @Levitate.Beauty for your daily dose of skincare tips and mini reviews!

In-Flight Travel Essentials

I love to travel and I’m currently planning a trip for fall! My boyfriend and I are deciding between Ecuador and Scotland currently (and yes I’m aware that those are two very different places, I just can’t decide which one I want to visit first!).

Unfortunately, Fall is a ways away. But my friend is going on a 10-hour overnight flight and asked me what skincare and makeup things she should bring in her carry-on and it inspired me to take this photo!

Here are my recommendations for a long overnight flight:

 

NIGHT ROUTINE

Makeup Remover

Garnier Micellar Water is my go-to for easy makeup removal. You could also bring face wash (I recommend a travel sized Cerave Hydrating Cleanser), but I’d personally skip the double cleanse just for the night because I prefer to spend as little time as possible in airplane bathrooms.

Moisturizer

You guys know I love Cetaphil moisturizer because it’s gentle and lightweight on my oily skin. But you could also bring a travel-sized hydrating mask like Laneige Sleeping Mask.

Lip Balm

Reapply often! I love the Kiehl’s # 1 Lip Balm and at night I would top with Glossier Balm Dotcom (or with Vaseline).

 

MORNING ROUTINE

Vitamin C

Start your morning off with some brightening action! I’m loving Sunday Riley CEO and, luckily, I have this tiny travel-sized sample of it to bring along on trips. Clinique also sells travel sized versions of their Vitamin C.

SPF

For a flight I’d take along my tiny jar of Dr Jart Cicapair Color Correcting Cream for its multiple benefits. It’s moisturizing, it calms skin, reduces redness, and it has SPF.

Mini Eyeshadow Palette

I’ve been in love with Urban Decay Naked Heat so I had to pick up their Naked Heat Petite to bring along with me on trips.

Mascara

My favorite is Loreal Double Extend because it seriously never smudges!

 

This is by no means a perfect routine, but with TSA liquid restrictions it’s hard to bring everything onto the plane and I’m not a huge fan of transferring my serums to smaller containers. The most important thing is to remove your makeup, moisturize, drink lots of water, moisturize some more, and use an SPF before leaving your flight. What are your in-flight necessities?

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Be sure to follow my Instagram @Levitate.Beauty for skincare routine updates and product first impressions!

Skincare Mistakes Part 2

Skincare Mistakes Part 2

Hope you guys had great weekends and Mondays! In my last post, I talked about a skincare mishap where I accidentally put nail polish remover on my face (fml) and how I handled it.

As promised, in this post I’m going to be talking about some of the biggest mistakes I made before I started researching skincare. I’m also going to be mentioning some products/ingredients you should avoid in your routine.

Most of these skincare mistakes took place when I was in middle school and high school, dealing with intense acne. Whenever I had a particularly bad breakout, I would deal with it by attacking it with harsh products. Since then, I have done much more research on how to take care of my skin and have learned the error of my cringe-worthy ways!

Here they are:

Mistake #1: Using lemon juice on my face.

Why?

Bad. Bad. SO BAD for your skin for so many reasons. Your skin’s natural pH is around 4.5-5 (slightly acidic), and the pH of lemon juice is 2-2.6. So lemon juice is way too acidic for your skin, it’s irritating, and can lead to a condition called Phytophotodermatitis (which makes your skin hypersensitive to UV light and looks like a chemical burn). Lastly, despite claims that “DIY Lemon Juice Treatments” will lighten your hyperpigmentation, over time it actually does the exact opposite – likely due to the photosensitivity it causes.

Story Time

In high school I discovered one of my favorite makeup gurus who I won’t name as I still love her videos. However, 3 weeks before my senior prom, I started breaking out from stress of finals and friend drama and prom worries, so I turned to her YouTube channel and found a skincare video where she advised using a lemon + sugar scrub. yikessss. I did this every other night and ended up going to prom with the worst breakout I’d ever had since finishing accutane when I was 12. I still love her and will take makeup advice from her in a heartbeat, but this was probably some of the worst skincare advice I’ve ever received.

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Vitamin C Serums: Sunday Riley CEO and DERMAdoctor Kakadu C

Alternatives

So, in general, you should avoid putting lemon on your face. However, another effective and natural way to brighten your skin is to introduce a vitamin c serum into your routine. Vitamin C is great for reducing hyperpigmentation, brightening your skin, and reducing the damage caused by UV light exposure. There are plenty of great ones to choose one. Some people also choose to make their own DIY vitamin C serum using L-ascorbic acid, however I don’t normally DIY my skincare so I haven’t done enough research to determine whether I recommend this method.

Mistake #2: Baking soda scrubs

Why

I want to scream every time I see baking soda used as a DIY skincare treatment. Even worse, there are plenty of brands selling products with baking soda still! Going back to pH’s, baking soda has a pH of 9 meaning it’s alkaline (or basic). Products that are too alkaline cause dryness and irritation for your skin. It can also make you more prone to acne since you need a certain amount of acidity to keep the bacteria on your skin in check. And people seem to love this ingredient because it’s “natural” but remember that something being “natural” does not automatically mean it’s better for your skin. So keep your baking soda in your fridge or in your toilet (or your cookies!) and keep it away from your face.

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Alternatives: Some of my favorite AHAs and BHAs include Krave Beauty Kale-Lalu-Yaha, The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid, and Stridex

Alternatives

For brightening and exfoliating benefits, try adding a BHA or AHA into your routine (like salicylic or glycolic acid). Or if you prefer a natural, DIY physical exfoliator, try some gentle colloidal oatmeal – which is even better if you mix it in with some raw honey for a mask!

Mistake #3: Over-washing my face and using harsh cleansers/scrubs.

Why

Yes, it’s possible to wash your face too much! Over-washing can strip your skin of it’s natural oils and damage your skin’s barrier causing moisture loss. This can cause your skin to have that “tight” squeaky clean feeling, develop rashes, acne, and can exacerbate your oiliness problem because when you dry out your skin, you start producing more oil to try to compensate.

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Alternatives: The CosRx Low pH Good Morning Cleanser is one of my new go-to gentle cleansers lately!

Alternatives

Switch to gentle cleanser that doesn’t leave you with a “tight” feeling on  your skin. Only cleanse 1-2 times per day (I don’t use a cleanser in the morning) so that you’re not over washing.

Other products/ingredients to avoid or be weary of:

Harsh physical exfoliators: St. Ives Apricot Scrub is widely hated among skincare enthusiasts for good reason – it’s pretty harsh on your skin. Many people that do see benefits with this product are likely just reacting well to the salicylic acid in the scrub – so instead try products like Cerave’s SA Cleanser or Stridex.

Cinnamon: It’s an irritant and can cause a burning sensation on your skin. There aren’t many benefits to using it. Some people use tumeric as an alternative which is an anti-inflammatory and doesn’t seem to irritate people as often. Eating tumeric or drinking tumeric tea can also be beneficial to those with acne (and those with back pain!).

Toothpaste: Not only is the idea of over-drying your skin bad, but toothpaste contains sulfates which can strip our skin of its natural oils (which help to keep good things in your skin and bad things from coming in).

Coconut Oil: This is one that isn’t a bad ingredient, but you definitely need to patch test and listen to your skin before incorporating it into your routine. I thought this was worth mentioning here because coconut oil has become a major skincare trend despite the fact that it’s known for being highly comedogenic for many people (meaning it is likely to clog pores and cause acne). Not everyone experiences this with coconut oil – and those that don’t break out from it love its benefits. But more often than not, I see that lots of people (including myself) do not react well to it, so always be sure to patch test!

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Before I sign off, I just wanted to point out how many of these skincare no-no’s were caused by me reading that “natural is always better.” While it’s great if you choose to use natural products, it’s important to remember that natural ingredients can still be harmful to your skin. And synthetic ingredients don’t automatically mean it’s bad for you. Often, synthetic skincare ingredients are made to produce the effects of naturally-occurring ingredients that aren’t widely abundant for our use.

No matter what you decide to put on your face, make sure to do your research on whether or not the ingredients are safe to use (natural or not-natural). One of my favorite ways to do this is searching the product on cosdna.com which gives you an idea of which ingredients you should be worried about.

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Thanks for reading and be sure to follow my Instagram @levitate.beauty for routine updates and product photos! 

Skincare Mistakes Part 1

Skincare Mistakes Part 1

A few weeks ago I had the stupidest skincare mishap I’ve ever had in my life. I was throwing a surprise party for my boyfriend’s birthday and I’d reached peak stress levels. I was thinking about all the things that still needed to be done before the party – including needing to shower! I also realized my nail polish was all chipped so I grabbed my nail polish remover and cotton round before heading toward the shower. I poured the acetone on a cotton round and – here’s where I went wrong – I proceeded to swipe acetone all over my face.

I’m honestly, truly embarrassed to publish that sentence on the internet – but it happened. I had so much on my mind that I wasn’t thinking, and since I normally pour my micellar water on a cotton round, I instinctively put it on my face. But, a quick google search of “I accidentally put acetone on my face” will prove to you that I’m not the only idiot that’s made this mistake:

Acetone on face

I didn’t even notice what I’d done until my face started burning and I immediately threw down the cotton round and ran lukewarm water over my face until the burning/tingling sensation went away.

I still had yet to shower and was worried the hot steam would irritate my already-sensitive skin so I put a thin layer of Vaseline on my face. After the shower, I could see that my face had become really blotchy and red and I was furious at the thought of hosting a party with a blotchy rash over my face, so I knew I had to do something to calm it down. But I also didn’t want to use too many products and risk making it worse.

I ran to my fridge and pulled out my Glossier rosewater spray to give myself a soothing mist and I followed it up immediately with Cetaphil moisturizing lotion. Finally, I put a thin layer of Tamanu oil all over my face. Tamanu oil is great for my acne and hyperpigmentation and even better for rashes and burns because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It’s a miracle oil and has very quickly become a holy grail status item for me.

Within 10 minutes of doing this post-acetone-rash mini-routine, the redness had decreased significantly and within 3 hours it was almost completely gone. I also soaked a paper towel in green tea and kept it in the fridge for an hour – about 30 minutes before I left my apartment I let it sit on my face for a little while. My skin was still a bit blotchy for the rest of the day, but by 7pm it was significantly better and by then I felt it was safe to put makeup on.

I’m hoping I never make a mistake like that again, but the situation made me think of all of the skincare mistakes I made as a teenager before I had any real knowledge of skincare. One of these mistakes even led to me having the worst breakout I’ve ever had during senior prom. So in part 2 of this post, I’m going to talk about my past skincare mistakes and ingredients/products to avoid.

Tell me about your biggest skincare mishap/mistake!

PRODUCT REVIEW: Dr. Jart+ Transfoam Clay

PRODUCT REVIEW: Dr. Jart+ Transfoam Clay

A few weeks ago I bought the Dr. Jart+ Transfoam Clay Mask Set! It comes with 3 different masks (Calming, Moisturizing, and Refreshing) which makes it a great set for multi-masking! The cool thing about these masks is when you rinse them off they transform (or “trans-foam,” if you will) into a foamy cleanser that’s supposed to wash away oil and dirt.

The packaging also says it can remove base makeup but I’d say this should NOT replace your makeup remover. I’d stick to using my normal Micellar Water and cleanser first.

I chose not to multi-mask because my skin has just been generally dry all over, so I pulled out the Moisturizing Pink mask and went for it. I let it dry for 3 minutes (as the instructions recommend). When I rinsed, it did foam like a cleanser which was cool!

After rinsing, I wouldn’t describe my skin as feeling hydrated, but the mask was significantly less drying than my normal clay masks which I loved. I’ll definitely continue to use it throughout this winter over my Queen Helene mask which feels too drying right now. I’d say this is a great mask for oily or combo skin.

I have been able to try the other two masks over the past few days and here’s what I thought:

White (Calming)

My skin wasn’t irritated when I used this so I feel like I can’t have a fully accurate review of it yet. But it did feel nice on my skin and when I rinsed my skin felt smooth and it does contain chamomile which is a calming ingredient.

Green (Refreshing)

This one felt very similar to Queen Helene’s Mint Julep Mask. It has somewhat of a cooling/tingly/minty feel to it. My face felt a bit dry after using it so be sure to follow it up with a moisturizer or a sheet mask! I’d recommend it for oily or combo skin.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I wouldn’t let these replace my normal cleanser, but I did like them a lot as masks! They felt much gentler than other clay masks I’ve tried and I liked that they dried within 3 minutes, so it’s not as much of a time commitment. My favorite was the pink hydrating one because it didn’t leave my skin feeling dry – I have a feeling I’ll be using that one the most!

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Try these masks for yourself! Head over to my instagram (@Levitate.Beauty) and enter my giveaway!