5 May

Beauty Spotlight: Alba Botanicals is Cruelty-Free!

Today I want to give a little love to a super awesome beauty product company: Alba.  Not only do they make super high quality products, but everything in their line is vegetarian and completely cruelty-free.  Awesome!

Alba has products specifically formulated for hair, skin, and bathtime.  They even have an extensive lip care collection.  My favorite, though, is their sunscreen.

Remember the post I did a couple of weeks ago about sunscreen?  I should officially add Alba to this list of must-haves!  Every sun care product they make has antioxidants and protects skin from both UVA and UVB rays!  And I know from experience that their stuff is not at all greasy or gross.

I was browsing their website and found another cool product that I’d love to try… sunless tanner!  The list of ingredients sounds luxurious, and I’m thinking of picking this up for my graduation party, so I don’t look pasty in my new party dress!  Check it out yourself here.

Even their packaging is totally appealing… I am officially hooked!

Want a (long and amazing) list of other cruelty free cosmetics companies?  Check out this one at mymakeupmirror.com!

Have you used any of Alba’s products?  What is your favorite?  Got any other cruelty-free cosmetic companies that you adore?  (Any good sunless tanners out there?)  Let me know in the comments!

13 Apr

Your questions, answered: Choosing the right sunscreen

Today I am answering a question from a reader, just like you!  Alexa writes:

The world of sunscreens is overwhelming, so how do you choose the right sunscreen? Some leave your skin way too greasy, while some don’t have a broad enough spectrum or enough antioxidants. Help!

Let me start by saying this: as Spring approaches and we can finally see the sun, sunscreen makes its way to the forefront of our minds.  But sunscreen should be worn every single day, regardless of the weather.  Which is why it is SO important to develop a sunscreen routine today, if you haven’t done so already.

I hope she reapplied! Coppertone.com

One of Alexa’s concerns had to do with antioxidants, which have been proven to help provide further skin protection beyond SPF.  The key antioxidant used in some sunscreens is Vitamin E, which helps the skin create a sun barrier and can be lost when you exercise outdoors.

As Alexa mentioned, some sunscreens can leave you feeling so greasy— yuck!— which is why you should start by using different products for your face and body.  We’re not kids anymore… no need to slather that thick Banana Boat on our faces.

Try these tips instead:

-On normal days when you won’t be at the beach or out in the elements for long periods of time, opt for a tinted moisturizer with SPF.  This option is especially good for folks with normal or dry skin.  You’ll still get the benefit of a tan without the harsh skin damage, plus you’ll be protecting yourself all day long!  Stila’s Sheer Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 30 gets great reviews and comes in a range of colors for every skin tone.  Get it at Sephora.com for $36.

-The Stila Tinted Moisturizer is oil free, but for those of you with oily or combination skin, you might also want to check out bareMinerals foundation with SPF 15, also from Sephora.

-If you are spending lots of time in the sun, this is when those antioxidants will be most important.  Coppertone has a new line of NutraShield sunscreens that are separated into formulas for both your face and body.  I’ve read great reviews about this product— it sinks in quickly, doesn’t leave a greasy residue, and it lasts!  Get both the face and body formulas on Amazon.com.

-Don’t forget your lips!  Make sure you use a chapstick or lipstick with SPF as well!  My favorite is Softlips, which you can pick up at any drugstore (they even have tinted Softlips, if you’re still lookin’ for some color!)

Hope this helps, Alexa!  And I hope the rest of you start factoring SPF into your makeup routine too!

Do you wear sunscreen everyday?  What are your favorite products with SPF?  Got a question that you’d like to see answered on the blog?  Email me at kim@blendingbeautiful.com!

25 Mar

Your questions, answered: Stressing out, Breaking out

Today I am answering a question sent in by a reader, just like you!  Nina writes:

Can you write a blog post about how to make your skin clear as the semester comes to a close… you know, because of stress blemishes (which have currently found their way to my face!)?

photo courtesy of BLW Photography

Stress is one of the biggest acne triggers (especially for those who already suffer from breakouts) and whether you’re in the midst of a super demanding semester or dealing with work-related stress, it can affect women of all ages.  The most important thing is to get at the root of the problem: stress.  Once you de-stress, the acne will disappear on its own.

Here are some tips to help combat your breakouts (and the stress that causes them!):

1. Eat anxiety-reducing foods. I found a great article about food that fights stress, and here are some of my favorites: dark chocolate has chemicals that both relax your body and boost your mood— the darker, the better!  Start your day with good carbs (like oatmeal), which produce hormones that fight anxiety… now you know why you crave chips when you’re stressed out! Sprinkle some blueberries on that oatmeal and enjoy the stress-reducing and skin-clearing antioxidants.

photo courtesy of John Loo

2. Exercise. I know that when you’re busy, exercise can be one of the first things you sacrifice (I do it too), but the endorphins you get from moving around will boost your mood in a super noticeable way.  Even if you only get 20 minutes, you’ll be doing your body a whole lot of good!  Just don’t forget to wash your face afterwards— you don’t want the sweat to cause more blemishes!

photo courtesy of lulumon athletica

3. Sleep. If you’re not giving up exercise when you’re busy, you’re likely giving up sleep.  But after a few nights of less sleep, your stress levels will increase, you’ll be less likely to exercise, and you’ll be more likely to eat junky food that is bad for your skin.  So make sure you schedule in the 8 hours you need!

don’t you wish you slept like this? photo courtesy of peasap

4. Use face wipes. I have heard great things about Blum Naturals Daily Towelettes, which contain both tea tree oil and salicylic acid to fight acne.  These wipes are a great way to clean your skin at the end of the day (so fast and easy!), and best of all, they’re only $6.99 at Drugstore.com!

Nina, I hope these tips help!

Do you suffer from stress-related breakouts?  Do you have any great acne-fighting tips to share?  What about tips to reduce stress?  And as always, feel free to email me with any questions of your own: kim@blendingbeautiful.com.

16 Feb

Is it time to toss it?

A friend gave me an awesome book recently: Bobbi Brown Beauty Evolution.  I highly recommend it for those of you interested in makeup techniques and skin care for all ages.  I was reading it this weekend and came across this list that I just had to share!

I’ve heard over and over again how important it is to discard makeup once it expires.  But I have yet to buy makeup with an expiration date (have you?), which makes it impossible to know when to throw it out!  Behold, a complete list of makeup and when it expires:

Foundation…………….12 to 18 months

Concealer……………….1 year

Powder…………………..2 years

Mascara…………………3 to 6 months

Lipstick………………….12 to 18 months

Lip/Eye Pencil………….1 year

Eye Shadow……………..1 year

Powder Blush……………2 years

Cream Blush…………….6 months to 1 year

Moisturizer………………12 to 18 months

Eye Cream……………….1 year

SPF Lotion………………1 year

How awesome is this?! (Thank you, Bobbi Brown!) Unfortunately, this means that I have some beauty items to get rid of, but I’m glad to finally know how long this stuff lasts.

Do any of these numbers surprise you?  (I thought mascara would last longer than 3-6 months!)  Do you have items that need tossing?  And do you usually finish a product by the time it expires, or do you tend to have extra?

8 Feb

Let's get steamy…

One of my favorite parts of a facial is that awesome steam machine they use to keep your skin dewey and open your pores. Unfortunately— even with a cousin who is an awesome esthetician— I can’t afford to get facials on a regular basis.  So this weekend I discovered a great at-home alternative!  And it’s so easy!

Not only did this make my skin feel super clean, but it smelled amazing.  I didn’t want to leave my steam tent!

Try this at night to help get rid of the dirt that accumulates in your pores all day.  Or use it as a great start to an at-home facial! (It’s also a great at-home cold remedy… I was super sick this weekend, and this helped to clear my sinuses!)

Try it out and let me know how it goes!  What other at-home recipes do you have for your skin?  And what’s your favorite part of a facial?