Foreo Luna Mini

foreo luna mini

     I began researching this product as soon as I discovered its existence last fall. By the time November came around I was convinced I wanted it and began dropping hints to my husband for a Christmas gift.  Of course I was very surprised that I actually received it because it can be hard for a man justifying spending so much on a skincare tool, especially after all of the money I wasted on the Clarisonic.

     I was elated when I opened it but a little nervous that it would turn out to be another waste. Fortunately, he got it on sale on Black Friday and that helped to alleviate some of my apprehension.  So I have been using it consistently for 4 months. I love so many aspects of it, I need to just list them out for you:

1)  There are no upkeep fees, like purchasing replacement brush heads with the Clarasonic. It is 1 and done!

2)  I charged it Christmas Day from a laptop with a USB cable and haven’t charged it since even though I use it twice a day!

3) It is waterproof so I keep it and use it in the shower.

4) It is silicone, so it is super easy to clean.

5) It works!  My skin has significantly improved since using it.  And it is very comfortable to use.

6) Last but not least, it is simply a stunning device. From the colors to the simple packaging, it is just a well thought out product.

     So there you have it! Let me know if you are interested in trying it, or already have one and what your experience has been. I would love to hear from you!

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Skin Care Oils

    Russell-Organics-Kukui-Nut-Oil-893900001617

     So far I have been oil cleansing on and off for about 2 years now. I have tried other methods in between but nothing seems to work as well for me long term. Sometimes I still mix it up by skipping it a couple days and a scrub, or mask instead. The most important part of oil cleansing is probably choosing the right oil for you. I already did a post about the benefits of oil cleansing but this post should help you to choose an oil should you decide to join the pack.

     The first step is to consider your skin type. If you are acneic like I am, you will want to choose one that is non-comedogenic. People do this by looking up oils with a low comedogenic rating.  I however have found that some of these assigned ratings are just not accurate.  Instead, becoming a  little  bio-chemically savvy is probably your best way to go.  Yes it takes a little effort, but in the end you will have more knowledge to make better decisions for your skincare needs.  Please refer to my post on fatty acids if you need a bit of a bio-chem refresher.  By looking at the breakdown of different oils, you will be able to take many different factors, and find an oil that meets all of your requirements.

     For example, if you look up the fatty acid profile of a specific oil, you can see what fatty acids and their percentages make up the oil. You will want to look for ones that have shorter chains, and unsaturated fats.  The longer chain oils can get stuck in the pores, and the saturated varieties are rigid and can also get stuck. Coconut oil is made up of primarily these types of fatty acids in the form of Palmitic and Stearic Acids.  That is why I would never recommend coconut oil to someone with acne problems.  Regardless, I wouldn’t recommend anyone without acne problems to even chance it with oils high in these acids.

     Another way to look at it even further is to look at the balance between Oleic and Linoleic fatty acids. If you have acneic skin, it tends to be lacking in Linoleic acids and excessive in Oleic acids. You can help balance this out by choosing oils that have higher levels of Linoleic than Oleic fatty acids. If you do not have acne problems, you can use a balanced oil, meaning the ratio of oleic to linoleic is relatively equal.

     Another factor to consider is the pH of the oil. Choosing an oil with a pH that is relatively close to what is ideal for your skin will help to not disturb the acid mantle balance.  Most people know that the ideal for skin is a pH of 5.5.  However, research has demonstrated that its natural state is actually below 5, around 4.7 to be exact.  Researchers have found that this is actually a healthier level for the skin, and it helps to preserve beneficial bacteria on the skin. Choosing an oil with a pH near to 4.7 will be another way to narrow down your oil options.

     Another way to investigate an oil is to look at it’s phytochemical properties.  Does it have exceptionally high levels of Vitamin E or A?  These components can be pore clogging and irritating to those with sensitive or acneic skin. Is your skin neither of those too and is instead aging? Perhaps an oil high in these components would be a good option for your to nourish your skin and promote rapid cell turnover.

     There are a few other factors that can go into choosing your oil. First, you want it to be preferably organic, cold-pressed, non-deodorized, and packaged in a glass amber bottle to preserve the integrity of the oil. An oil that meets these requirements will not have to have preservatives added to it, unless it is a delicate oil and has a short shelf life naturally.  Choosing an oil with a longer shelf life is preferable as then it will need a preservative and should be kept in the refrigerator.

     So what is the holy grail of skincare oils?   For me it is Kukui Nut Oil. I have tried it from both Beauty Oils and Russel Organics. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a few things to get an oil you really want. For example, Beauty Oils has cold-pressed, 100% pure Kukui Nut oil, non-deodorized, but it is not organic and is in a plastic amber bottle. Russel Organics sells what is presumably organic pure 100% pure Kukui Nut oil in a glass amber bottle for 2x’s the price.

     So, let me know what skincare oils work for you. One that I have wanted to try for a body oil is Jojoba. Supposedly it’s unique fatty acids mimic sebum and are easily absorbed and non-pore clogging. Perhaps as I try new oils, I will write another post reviewing different oils. Until then, please let me know about what oils you use, or are interested in.  A great resource to use when researching oils is Mountain Rose Herbs, as they provide the pH, and fatty acid profiles for many oils.

Fragrance Ingredient

ingredient-fragrance

    One thing I tend to avoid when I make beauty purchases is the ingredient: parfume/perfume, or fragrance. Why? Because it can mean practically anything.  It is kind of a catch all term for anything that masks an odor or emits a fragrance. This means that it can be something as innocuous as a blend of essential oil constituents to a blend of chemicals. EWG gives it a score of 8, due to it being potentially a combination of toxic chemicals, and lists it as a respiratory irritant.  As I can attest it can also cause contact dermatitis as well.

     So, when a natural company says “fragrance” should you presume it to mean essential oil components or some chemicals developed in a laboratory to tickle your olfactory senses?  Well you can always ask, but then you are “trusting” whatever the company tells you, and that can be a mixed bag, because the proof is in the pudding.  Let me explain.

     There were some products  I really wanted to try and the only ingredient I genuinely had an issue with was that they included fragrance.  So I decided to contact each company and ask them the nature of their ingredient. This led to me buying a shampoo and conditioner from Deep Steep, after they told me it was a proprietary blend of essential oils.  Before I even got it out of the package I developed a headache after nearly being knocked over by the very un-natural smell. So I returned it.

     Another item that I had issue with is the NUDE Cleansing Oil. They also told me it was from a blend of proprietary essential oils. When I opened the bottle, there was an odor and it didn’t smell “natural”, but it also wasn’t unpleasant, overpowering, or headache inducing so I decided to keep it.

     Within 6 days of use, I developed an itchy dry skin rash all over my face up to my hair line and jaw. I discontinued use right away and back to the store it went. It took my skin a week to recover. I know it was the fragrance because the ingredient list was very short (unlike the one from Deep Steep), and it was the only one I could imagine giving me a problem.

nude

     So, for everyone I have had a problem with, there have been products that I have used that say fragrance, and the company has assured me that it is natural and I have had no problems with.  I think that the best option in this situation is to do your due diligence and contact the company, but also to look at the company at a whole.  Do they seem to be transparent? Are they trying to appear natural because it is trendy or are they really committed to providing their customers with non-toxic products?

The Nutrition Source by Harvard

Healthy Eating Plate

     You are probably aware of the USDA’s MyPlate. Many dietitians recommend the resource, however many nutritionists take issue with it for good reason. To address many of the key problems with MyPlate, Harvard School of Public Health offers the Nutrition Source. It is an invaluable resource that offers research based nutrition info in an easy to understand  way.   Their Healthy Eating Plate shows that protein should consist of about 25% of your meal, as should whole grains.

      The vegetable portion appears to be about 35%. The fruit portion consists of what looks like to be about 15%.  Take note that NO DAIRY is included and it is replaced by water and healthy oils. For each item included on the chart a brief explanation is included to provide an example of healthy options.  A little figure of a running individual is included to remind the reader that a healthy diet should really consist of a healthy lifestyle which requires exercise.

myplate

     You can compare this to the very simple ChooseMyPlate image.  The portions are a bit more confusing to determine. There are no suggestions for healthy examples of food choices. No water or exercise is included, however dairy is.  Harvard’s Nutrition Source contains many static pages such as : What Should I Eat? It also contains a page called Nutrition in the News, which is frequently updated with freshly released nutrition studies/news articles, etc.  In contrast, ChooseMyPlate has a TON of resources available, which can make it less user-friendly and difficult to navigate. Even with their endless resources considered, Harvard’s Nutrition Source provides a better quality of information.

Andalou Naturals Chia & Omega Radiant Skin Polish

     I have had this product for a couple of months and am definitely in love!  I was hesitant to buy a skin polish (scrub) because I figured I could just make one on my own! Of course I never did and when I saw this for half the price at TGMAXX I knew I just had to snag it. It was my first time using a product like this and I am very much happy that I finally caved.

     I have sensitive skin and this product is very gentle. The granules are very fine and yet they do a wonderful job at exfoliating.  It contains Chia Seeds and Walnut Powder which are the “active” ingredients. The other ingredients are very non-comedogenic and you do not have to fear about using this on acneic skin.  I use it a couple of times a week for the past couple of months and still have most of the tube left since only need a very small amount.

     I use it in the shower and it easily rinses off. Your skin immediately feels softer     and absorbs whatever products you put on it after more effectively. Whenever I am starting to break out I use it and notice a difference in the clarity and texture of my skin the next day. I have also noticed that my hands are soft after using in on my face . I assume it would be a great exfoliator for hands and even your feet.I would definitely recommend this product for anyone with acneic, thick, oily skin.