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!

Valentine’s Day Ipsy Review

Valentine’s Day Ipsy Review

My February Ipsy Glambag arrived just in time for Valentine’s day and I’m in love!

I wasn’t thrilled about last month’s glambag, but I feel like Ipsy always listens to my feedback and this month I like pretty much everything in it! I think the glambags also tend to be better when they’re curated around a specific holiday.

The pouch this month is one of my favorites. A very valentine-appropriate blush pink with lace trimming. I opened it to reveal my 5 products this month!

Marc Anthony Strengthening Grow Long Leave-In Conditioner: I’m a big fan of leave-in conditioners because they always leave my hair feeling significantly softer than most other conditioners.  I haven’t had a chance to try this one yet, but it’s supposed to be very lightweight so it doesn’t leave you with an oily feeling. It’s also meant to hydrate, detangle, and prevent your hair from breaking. My Rating: 4/5 (based on first impressions)

Pacifica Beach Crystals Palette: This eyeshadow palette was made exclusively for Ipsy members and it’s probably my favorite product in this month’s glam bag! The colors are gorgeous and perfect for a purple smokey eye. And, as always with Pacifica, this product is totally vegan and cruelty-free. My Rating: 5/5

Naked Cosmetics Vanilla Creme Lip Scrub: I can’t have enough lip scrubs! My lips get so dry when I wear lipstick, so I try to use a scrub at least once a week. I love the vanilla scent and it doesn’t feel super abrasive (I prefer very gentle scrubs so I don’t irritate my lips). It also contains vitamin E which is a great hydrating ingredient. The only thing I don’t like is that it comes in a mini tub instead of a tube so I need to dip my fingers in it. My Rating: 4/5

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye: I’m oddly not a huge fan of concealers. It’s one of the few makeup steps I continuously skip. But I’ve been so sleep-deprived lately that this sample of Bye Bye Under Eye couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. It’s a very pigmented full-coverage concealer, but doesn’t feel heavy. As far as concealers go, this is a great one, but I don’t see myself using it very often because I don’t think I need a full-coverage concealer. My Rating: 4/5

Luna Baked Highlighter in Luna: I’ve been in the market for a new baked highlighter so I’m glad I’m able to try this out! My current highlighter is a cream which is great to use when I have a lot of time to do my makeup, but a baked highlighter is faster to apply and better for every day use for me. I love the shade I was given and I can’t wait to see if it’s as long-lasting as the description says. My Rating: 5/5

Overall Glam Bag Rating: 4.4/5

What did you get in your glam bag this month?

Product Review: Queen Helene’s Mint Julep Masque

Product Review: Queen Helene’s Mint Julep Masque

It’s been a while since I’ve posted! I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with balancing the blog and Instagram with my day job. But I’m coming back with a plan and I’m stronger than ever 💪🏽 Get ready for more consistent posts from me!

So let’s talk Skincare! If there’s anything you should know about me it’s that I adore drug store products. Up until this past May I was in college and I didn’t have much of a budget for skincare, so for a long time I would only buy from CVS and I found a routine that really worked for me.

Now that I have a full-time job, I’ve had fun playing around and experimenting with different products but I still find myself going back to a lot of my drug store stuff because it works! One of my favorite masks is Queen Helene’s Mint Julep Mask, which I’m actually wearing as I type this. I bought it on Amazon for about $5, but I’ve seen it in places like Family Dollar for as low as $3!

This mask has been a miracle for my oily, acne-prone skin. It’s a clay mask with a bit of sulfur in it, which is beneficial for killing bacteria, drawing out oil, and exfoliating the top layer of your skin, making it ideal for acne-prone skin types. I tried to find out the exact percentage of sulfur content in the mask, but my search only gave me results of other people asking the same question with no answers. In any case, it seems like it’s enough sulfur to help out my skin!

The mask has a minty smell that I find really pleasant – however, some people are sensitive to fragrance so be sure to patch test if you decide to try it out. Most times I use it as a spot treatment mask, but every now and then I’ll apply it all over my face if I’m experiencing extra-oily skin or a big breakout.

The most satisfying part of this mask is that, as it starts to dry, you can see dark-green spots where the mask is “pulling out” oil from your skin. Today, that was mostly on my chin, around my nose, and anywhere I had pimples. After about 10-15 minutes, the mask is completely dry and ready to rinse off with warm water. Less is more when it comes to this mask – it’s really thick and you don’t want to have to wait 30 minutes for the mask to fully dry.

I highly recommend using a moisturizer in your routine after using it, and maybe even following it up with a hydrating sheet mask, because my skin does feel a bit dry when I rinse it off. If you already have very dry skin, maybe stick to using it as a 5-minute spot-treatment rather than all over your face.

I only use this mask about once every other week, because I find it too drying to use more often than that. But everyone’s skin is different, so just pay attention to what works best for you, whether that’s using it more or less often than I do.

Overall, I really love this mask and can’t think of any complaints other than it’s really hard to squeeze the product out of the bottle. But I’ll put up with it, because the benefits are more than worth it!

Comment below and tell me! – what are some of your favorite drug store products to use?

New Purchase: Krave Beauty Kale-Lalu-yAHA

New Purchase: Krave Beauty Kale-Lalu-yAHA

I’ve been (im)patiently waiting for my Kale-Lalu-yAHA to arrive and it’s finally here!

For those that don’t know, Kale-Lalu-yAHA is from Liah Yoo’s new skincare brand, Krave Beauty. It’s a gentle AHA used to target textural irregularities and clogged pores. It contains:

  • 5.25% Glycolic Acid, a gentle exfoliator
  • Kale, spinach, and parsley to provide antioxidants and vitamins for your skin
  • Hydrating ingredients such as aloe, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin b5

What I love most about the brand so far is the major focus on “listening” to what your skin craves. That means the instructions for using this are simple: use as many times a week as you need to!

For now, I’m going to start adding this into my routine twice a week and I’ll possibly increase the frequency over time. I prefer to apply mine with a cotton pad because I like the added physical exfoliation. However, the website states that you can also pat it into your face with your hands (which allows more of the product to absorb into your skin) or you can mix it into your moisturizer (a great option for acid-beginners or those with super sensitive skin).

My first impressions after using it once: it starts off a bit tingly feeling, but overall seems very gentle on my sensitive skin. My skin definitely felt more hydrated after I used it.

I’ll post a full review after I’ve been using it for a few weeks! Have you tried Kale-Lalu-yAHA yet? What are your thoughts?

2018 Skincare Resolutions

2018 Skincare Resolutions

Happy new year everyone! Normally, I start the year by making a list of goals I want to accomplish rather than making traditional “resolutions.” Some of my goals are to write at least once a week, to move up a level in my dance classes, and to go on a trip to South America.

But this year I thought it would be fun to switch it up by making a few skincare resolutions! In a perfect world, I would never commit any “skincare sins” but I’m only human. So here’s my list of resolutions for 2018:

Always remove my makeup before bed.

My favorite product for removing makeup: Garnier Micellar Water

I know, I know. I love skincare so you’d think I would never forget to remove my makeup – but I’m not perfect! I’ve definitely come home late on a Saturday night and passed out without taking off my makeup. And while it’s not the end of the world to forget for just one night, I know I can do better! So I’ve decided to always keep a bottle of Garnier Micellar Water on my nightstand. No more excuses!

Never leave my house without Sunscreen.

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence is the closest I’ve come to finding my HG SPF!

This one has more to do with me not finding a sunscreen that both agrees with my skin and works well under foundation. The closest I’ve come is Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence, but even that breaks me out after more than a week of using it. So I’m determined to make 2018 the year I find my Holy Grail SPF! Next week, I’m going to make a list of all the sunscreens that have broken me out and try to narrow down which ingredients my skin doesn’t like.

Take time to de-stress.

Stress has such a negative effect on my acne. I’ve certainly gotten better at keeping my stress under control (especially since graduating), but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still need to a take a giant chill pill almost daily. My stress is at it’s lowest when I’m crocheting, doing yoga, or dancing – so one of my resolutions is to do more of these things! Hopefully this will leave my skin clearer and my body more healthy!

Always patch test!

My stash of The Ordinary products that I’m dying to use – but I haven’t gotten around to patch testing them yet!

Sigh. I have sensitive, acne-prone skin and I know I should always, 1000% patch test. No matter what. Period. Regardless of how excited I am to use a new product. It’s the best way to prevent irritation, rashes, or breakouts caused by using a product that doesn’t agree with your skin. I was pretty good with this in 2017, but I had that one moment when I was so excited for Glossier’s sunscreen launch that I used it every day with patch testing. I found out the hard way that my skin hates silicone!

Clean my brushes more often.

Makeup brushes accumulate bacteria, dust, and dirt. So when you don’t clean them enough you’re putting that grime all over your face and undoing all the hard work of your Skincare routine! Bonus reason to clean you brushes: it also keeps them softer and allows for better color application.

I typically clean them with baby shampoo and water since it’s gentle on the bristles. But I need to get better at washing them at least every other week. I recently purchased Sephora’s Daily Brush Cleaner spray so that I can also do a more surface-level cleaning every day. Best of all: it contains tea tree oil which not only kills the germs on brushes, but is also great for your skin!

And while we’re here, a quick PSA about BeautyBlenders: wash that thing! After throwing away a few moldy beautyblenders, I’ve gotten much better about cleaning them. I rinse mine with dish soap every morning (preferably Dawn. If it’s gentle enough for baby ducks then it’s gentle enough for my beautyblender!). For an even deeper clean, I’ll throw it in a mug of soapy water and microwave it for 1 minute. It works, I swear! I haven’t had a moldy beautyblender once since I started doing this.

Aaand fin! Those are my 5 top skincare resolutions for 2018. I have a game plan for most of them so hopefully I’ll be able to stick to it. What are your resolutions this year? Are they skincare related or just personal?