C & G's Facial Routine

Monday, March 31, 2014

Ah, bliss. Bliss is when you find the perfect skincare routine after years of seeking out the best products--when they work together synergistically to give you great results!

Over the years, I have tried a bazillion products and I have finally nailed down MY perfect routine. So what does this involve? Let's take a look!


1. Remove my makeup

Using grapeseed or sunflower oil, I remove my eye makeup and mascara.  These work best for me to oil cleanse my face. I can no longer use coconut oil on my face, as it was making me--for the first time in eons---break out. I apply an amount about the half the size of a dime and remove all of my makeup. Then I rinse with warm water and apply my actual cleanser.

2. Apply a gentle cleanser

I use the ZENMED Facial Cleansing Gel to wash my face and remove any environmetnal debris. I rinse off with warm water and gently pat dry. This cleansing gel is soothing because of the aloe vera and it is free of sulfates, parabens or artificial fragrance. It's truly the best cleanser I have used in several years.

3. Exfoliate/tone

I don't use a traditional toner anymore. After cleansing, I use a cotton pad to apply ZENMED AHA/BHA Complex. I am not kidding you when I say that this blows all other AHA or BHA products out of the water. NOTHING compares. My complexion absolutely glows with this. It is so clear, texture has improved, and it is brighter. It is fabulous. If you only were to get one ZENMED product, I would get this one. It removes dead skin cells and just leaves skin glowing and bright! I LOVE it and could not be without it.

4. Apply an anti-aging serum

Next, I apply a serum. Right now, I am using Suki Radical Results Youth Serum. It is ultra lightweight and contains resveratrol, hyaluronic acid, and Coenzyme Q10. It makes my skin feel plump and moist and I love how it doesn't leave a stick residue at all. It really is lovely and feels luxurious. It has a light aroma from the rose, lavender, and calendula, but is is so soothing and it makes you feel like you were at the spa. It is just lovely.

5. Treat the eye area

I've been using The Body Shop Nutriganics Smoothing Eye Cream. Since I stopped buying products from 100% Pure, I ended up with this one on a whim and was pleasantly surprised. Is it the holy grail of eye creams? No, I do not think so, but it does help with the beginning signs of eye aging and with brightening, targeting puffiness, and helping to fade dark circles. I'll have to report back on it after another couple months.

6. Seal it all in with a moisturizer

My go-to moisturizer is my AVT Cream from ZENMED. This is the best moisturizer I have used in years. More than simply a face cream, this is packed with beneficial ingredients such as peptides (Matrixyl), Hyalurronic Acid for helping my skin retain moisture, and it also contains Argan and Borage oils. This really is fabulous and helps to seal in my other treatment products!

Radha Vanga on fruits for healthy skin

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hi C & G friends, we have a guest blogger today and I'd love for you to check out her post. Thanks.

You don't need to splurge on expensive beauty products to make your skin glowing and beautiful. The secret to glowing skin lies in our kitchen. A healthy serving of fruits can significantly improve the overall appearance of the skin by treating dryness, dullness and pigmentation. Fruits are cost-effective and have no side effects. Here are ten fruits, which can help you to get a healthy and radiant skin tone.

1. Bananas:

Banana is a staple fruit in India. It is abundantly available throughout the year. It is a good source of iron and magnesium, which stimulates blood circulation in the skin cells. The high levels of Vitamin A in banana work as an anti-ageing agent, preventing wrinkles and fine lines. The potassium in banana moisturizes and hydrates the skin, making it look more supple and youthful. Mash a ripe banana and apply it on the skin like a face pack for that subtle glow.

2. Lemons:

Lemons are a great addition to your beauty regime. It is a rich source of Vitamin C, which aids in the production of collagen. Collagen is a protein that provides elasticity to the skin. Lemon acts as natural bleach, treating uneven skin tone and pigmentation. It also deep cleans the skin by clearing grime from the clogged pores. Mix lemon with honey and massage your skin with it. Start your day with a glass of warm water mixed with lemon juice.

3. Apples:

The antioxidants in apples prevent cell and tissue damage. The malic acid in apples renews the skin cells, promoting healthy and firm skin. It also contains an abundant amount of elastin that keeps the skin youthful. Apples keep the digestive tract clean by promoting bowel movements, preventing the onset of acne. Apply a paste of mashed apple, honey, rose water and oatmeal to exfoliate the skin.

4. Oranges:

Orange is rich in Vitamin C, a nutrient that helps to improve the skin texture. Rub the inside of the peel on your skin to lighten it. You can also dry and powder the peels to use it as a natural scrub. Regular scrubbing will help to clear the skin blemishes.

5. Papaya:

The skin and health benefits of papaya have been touted since time immemorial. It is rich in papain, an antioxidant that clears the dead skin cells, removing the skin impurities. Applying the pulp of papaya on the skin can do wonders to it. Rinse it off after 15 minutes and follow up with a moisturizer to witness a healthy glow in your skin. It also helps to treat the dark circles and rashes on the skin.

6. Mango:

The king of fruits doesn’t just taste great, but can be very beneficial for the skin as well. Mango is rich in Vitamin A and antioxidants that regenerate the cells and restore the elasticity of the skin. The beta carotene present in this fruit rejuvenates and revives the skin. Mangoes also reduce dark spots, acne and blemishes, imparting a healthy glow to the skin.

7. Avocados:

Avocados are one of the best natural ingredients for dry skin. Biotin in avocado promotes cell regeneration and growth, resulting in glowing skin. It also contains omega 3 fatty acids, which provides lubrication, alleviating dry skin. Apply mashed avocados on the skin to cure dryness and flakiness.

8. Peaches:

Peaches are one of the best fruits to get an instant face-lift. It tightens the facial muscles, preventing sagging skin. Massage with the inner part of the peel to cleanse and tone the skin. Peaches contain a powerful antioxidant called ellagic acid that prevents collagen destruction. It also guards the skin from UV damage.

9. Pineapples:

Pineapple is an excellent fruit to rejuvenate dull and dry skin. It contains bromelain, a natural enzyme that gently exfoliates the skin. Take a slice of pineapple and rub it on the skin and body. The antioxidants also help to neutralize free radical damage.

10. Kiwi:

Kiwi is one of the best sources of Vitamin C. Hundred grams of kiwi provide 100 mg of Vitamin C. It heals damaged skin by speeding up the cell regeneration. The ascorbic acid present in kiwi keeps the skin looking young and fresh. Kiwi is loaded with dietary fiber, which acts as a laxative, promoting smooth bowel movements. This, in turn, gives you glowing and lustrous skin.

The above-mentioned fruits will not just improve the appearance of your skin, but will also enhance your overall health. Hope you found this article useful. Do leave us your feedback below.

About Radha

Radha Vanga, a new blogger from India. She is a nutrition lover & Ayurveda practitioner. She started her blog www.healthbeckon.com to share what she has learned with other health conscious people. Follow her @healthbeckon or emai her – vineetha@healthbeckon.com.

We have a winner!!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

CONGRATULATIONS to NICKIE MASON!!! Nickie is the winner of the Rejuvaderm MD Giveaway from Trophy Skin Care!

Stay tuned for our next giveaway coming soon!

Makeup I'm Loving Now

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Slight Beauty Shift

As a natural makeup junkie, I've had a bit of a hard time lately with sharing some makeup recommendations that are as pure & natural as can be. Why?

The super duper mineral products I've recommended and enjoyed for years have been causing problems--irritation, redness, sore eyes, etc.

Through a VERY long process of elimination since summer, I have determined one of the culprits: MICA.

This, in some ways, makes me feel like I am in an awkward situation, as I can no longer recommend many products and types of products I've enjoyed for years, simply because I myself have not been able to use them without irritation over these past several months.

It's been hard! I do know that mica in high concentrations (as in mineral makeup) is the cause of my problems, so finding alternatives WITHOUT it as a key ingredient has been challenging. Not so much challenging, but it is difficult because many products without large amounts of mica have ingredients I have not been terribly thrilled with in the past. I can still use products with mica, but if it's in the top couple ingredients, I cannot.

SO, I have had to compromise a bit, I suppose. However, when I avoid it, my skin (and eyes and nose!) is very thankful.

That has meant saying goodbye to some staples. I have had to make some concessions.

These changes have led me to rediscover some past favorite brands or products, and I also have tried some new products. It's been a bit of an adventure!

Some favorites of mine:

Many years ago when I worked for Estee Lauder, I had a favorite liquid foundation called Enlighten. It was lightweight, natural looking, and blended seamlessly. After they discontinued it, I never found that "perfect" liquid foundation.

Sally Hansen had one I liked in the Natural Beauty by Carmindy line. Sadly, that also bit the dust.

Enter Prescriptives! A few years back, the brand disappeared from department stores. It is now available online, though, and I have rediscovered old favorites and also have found a foundation that is even better than my old beloved Enlighten.

This paraben-free formula is called Flawless Skin Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 15. I absolutely adore this formula, how it looks, and how it feels.

I wear Champagne and apply it with my BeautyBlender Pro makeup sponge from Sephora, and a little goes a long way. The color is perfect, as is the texture.

Because of my allergies, I also had to break up with my concealer from Vapour. I have found one I am in love with, also from Prescriptives. This one is Camouflage Cream in Light (Warm). It blends without caking, doesn't migrate closer to my eyes by the end of a long day, and does not accentuate any fine lines.

Another favorite of mine can be found at Target for less than 10 bucks, yet rivals any high end lippie. It's the Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe Lip Color in Sheer Fuchsia. I am happy to report that this is both fragrance and paraben-free. It's the perfect pop of bright meets subtle for spring (should it ever arrive).

I can't wait to share my other new favorites with you soon! It is such a relief to know what to avoid know when shopping. Even for a savvy shopper like me, it can be hard when your skin rebels and you need to start searching for new products!

My New Favorite Necklace!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I have told you about Color by Amber before. This is a fabulous line of artisan-crafted jewelry made of 100% eco resin. 

I wear jewelry each day-- earrings, a necklace, and bracelets layered on my left arm. I was so excited to wear my new necklace from Color By Amber--which just so happens to be my favorite necklace: the Circle Cascade Necklace in Sapphire ($44.95). I love the rich blue hue! It makes a bold statement and will jazz up anything that you find to be too plain or simple. I just love it! I think I may have to buy the red one too!

I have admired Color by Amber's commitment to sustainability and the empowerment of women since I was introduced to the company last year.

In fact, much of their collection uses materials purchased from women in Nepal, Senegal, and more--women from all over the world. This creates business opportunities for women, providing them with jobs, health care, educational opportunities, and more.

Click here for a great video about these women called Full Circle.

I have some other beautiful new pieces from Color by Amber to show you, too-- arm candy! I will share pictures of those in the next couple days. I really love what this company has to offer -- fun, colorful, eco-friendly jewelry at competitive prices.

To connect online with Color by Amber:


*I received my jewelry for possible review at no cost. This in no way has influenced the outcome of my review.

Spring Hair Trend: Color Chalk: Yay or Nay?

Friday, March 7, 2014

I have a friend (Elizabeth) who can rock any hair color. She's had fuchsia, hints of purple, I think even blue, in her pixie. She is one of those people who can easily pull the look off.

Accent colors are going mainstream this spring, as just about every colorist I have spoken with puts it on their "trend" list for spring 2014.

Caitlyn Young of Salon Capri created some fantastic looks in the salon, showcasing hues such as "First Date Violet"and "Garden Party Green".  The salon uses L'Oreal Professional Hair Chalk, which applies quickly, won't stain, and washes out in just 2 shampoos. It's a great way to try a fun look without having to bleach your hair and apply a bold color over it.

So I have to ask, yes or no? Would you try it?

Thoughts from a dentist on oil pulling

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Oil pulling is a very popular subject lately.  In fact, just the other night my friend Kyra sent me a message with a link to a blog post about the benefits of using coconut oil for pulling. Kyra was intrigued. And I had a renewed interest in this practice.

Photo source

You see, I first stumbled upon the concept of oil pulling when I had a toothache back in 2011. It was awful. I was in such unbearable pain, yet I was afraid to go to the dentist. I drag myself to the dentist for my regular cleanings, but I would rather be in labor & delivery than in the dentist's chair.

I hate the noises and the smells....that feeling I will gag. And I think I'd rather have another epidural than a shot of novocaine. Sounds a bit ridiculous, but it's how I feel.

When I had that toothache, I knew in my brain that I would need to visit the dentist, but I sometimes try to convince myself I can take care of the problem myself--you know, with the brilliant logic that if I can write about skincare & beauty, that surely I must be qualified to perform dental care. The things I will tell myself to avoid that dentist chair! Let's just say that I learned my lesson.

I came across a website full of testimonials on oil pulling. Dozens of people shared how they cured their toothache pain by oil pulling. I would have tried anything at that point, as it as Memorial Day weekend and the dentist wasn't even around.

I tried oil pulling with melted coconut oil for the weekend. My mouth felt REALLY clean, but the pain was intense, so I just couldn't keep trying that method given how I felt.

Eventually my pain had morphed into a swollen gum and cheek. That Tuesday when the dentist re-opened, I practically begged his receptionist to let me come in then and there.

It turns out, I had a very old filling that had come out and a crack in the tooth. It turned into an infection, so I needed antibiotics, a root canal, and a crown. Boy that was an expense!

I continued a bit more with oil pulling, but frankly didn't experience other results in those several days, so it got shifted to my "try again another time" list.

Since then, more and more mainstream websites have discussed the multiple benefits of oil pulling, which involves swishing for 20 minutes with unrefined coconut oil.

As I have continued to embrace coconut oil, I have become more interested in all of the ways I might be able to use it.  In the past year, I have lost just over 40 pounds. I ditched the wheat, refined sugars, and I added coconut oil to my diet.

I had already used it on my skin for years, as well as on the ends of my hair. Last year, I started eating about a teaspoon of it plain. I also add it to smoothies.

It really helps to melt that belly fat and it has, I believe, positively impacted my health. I always had really good cholesterol, but it went down even more -- raising the "good" and lowering the "bad" cholesterol. If I cut out the coconut oil, I sometimes plateau with my weight loss. If I add a bit more, I am always back on track.

I am interested in trying this for teeth whitening. I do not use the drugstore kits because of the ingredients and because the last time I did, I had painful sensitivity to the whitening strips. I am a tea drinker, coffee drinker, and a wine drinker, so my teeth are never a bright white.

I think I just might try it for whitening and share my results, now that I have been reading more. Hearing a dentist show her support for oil pulling also helps.

Dr. Jessica Emery, DMD is a dentist in Chicago and owner of Sugar Fix Dental Loft .  She recently shared her comments on oil pulling and dental care:

"There is nothing more splendid and virtuous then unrefined coconut oil. It is a hot topic now coming back from the ancient days of tradition. 'Oil pulling' is a technique used to clean your teeth and mouth. You place a spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth and swish with it for up to 20 minutes. When finished make sure you spit into a trash can and not the sink as it can clog the pipes.
People swear by it, that it can fill cavities, relieve toothaches, whiten teeth, freshen breath, absorb harmful bacteria and even say it cures the common cold. From a dentist's perspective, tooth decay is caused by bacteria and studies suggest that coconut oil treated with enzymes (which is like the process that occurs when you have oil in your mouth), the enzymes in your saliva break down. It seems to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria. So a good thing. Patients that have oil pulled have said that they 'love how their mouth feels after swishing and that it lasts all day". 

They also say that tooth pain is not gone but better. Makes sense to me as we use Vitamin E oil to sooth the gums and clove oil to sooth tooth aches. They work. I have not tried oil pulling personally but think I may jump on the bandwagon to see for myself. No solid proof that it works but it certainly makes people feel better. Your cheeks may get tired but I say 'swish away'."

Have you tried oil pulling?  What are your thoughts? Did you experience any benefits?

Skincare Moment of Zen

A moment of zen.... ZENMED, that is.


A few weeks ago, I told you that I would be searching for some new skincare staples. When my cleanser started running low, I decided I would reorder one I used to use a couple years back.

I was about to hit the "Finish" button on an order for cleanser, when ZENMED came into my life. And am I glad it did! 

While I try many new products for my blog, I like to keep my basic skincare regimen the same. Otherwise, I find that it can rebel. And sometimes, I try something new and experience a disaster. Today, for example, I had a bad allergic to an eye serum I was sampling for this blog. It resulted in my right eyes swelling shut, runny eyes, itching, and soreness.

That is why I try to be consistent with my cleanser, treatment and moisturizers. I like to have that predictability and know that those staples are kind to my skin.

I am so happy to tell you that I have found replacements for my cleanser, exfoliant and moisturizer. You know I love products that are as natural as possible. You also know I believe proper preservation is essential in terms of product safety. Plus, as I approach 40 (next year), I know that anti-aging ingredients ARE a necessary part of that routine. I also have added in a bit of home microdermabrasion, as I mentioned in another post this week.  My ZENMED products, though, are phenomenal and will be a part of my skincare regimen for the long haul.

More About ZENMED

First of all, I have to say this--I have tried hundreds of brands over the past few years thanks to this blog. Products I have tried range from drugstore brands such as Yes to Blueberries and Burt's Bees to high end skincare such as Tata Harper and La Mer. I have so many product options, but for me to use them beyond a sample period, they really have to impress me.

I am extremely excited to read up more on ZENMED. I like to know about the products I use, as well as the companies behind them.

I can tell that ZENMED is proud of their formulations.  They truly stand behind them with what they call their 60 Day People Pleaser Guarantee. If you don't like the results, you can send your products back before that 60 day period is up.

  • ZENMED products are developed by doctors.
  • Free of artificial fragrances, dyes, parabens, lanolin, petrochemicals & SLS/SLES
  • Competitively priced


Facial Cleansing Gel -- I honestly was not sure I'd like this. I am a milky/lotion cleanser fan and usually do not like gels at all. I am so glad I gave it a chance! Gels cleansers always dry me out, but not this one. It very gently removes my makeup and the aloe vera is very soothing. There are so many gentle botanicals in this, from chamomile and lavender to rose and lavender. The aroma from these, though, is very minimal. Packed with vitamins, this cleanser leaves my skin looking and feeling clean, without it feeling tight or dry. It also brightens the skin!

AHA/BHA Complex -- This is step two in the three step routine. This isn't your typical toner. This is an exfoliant and this so important. I cannot even begin to estimate how many times I have stressed the importance of proper exfoliation on this blog. This is an effective exfoliant containing both alpha and beta hydroxy acids. 

Having both makes it work much better than other exfoliants, as we know BHA is oil soluble so it can get down into those pores and "de-gunk" the bacteria that leads to blackheads. It is also effective at preventing and treating acne. On the other side of the coin, you have AHAs which help whisk away those dead skin cells.

The result? Flakes start to disappear, pores become unclogged, and your tone and texture will improve. I see a major difference.

What I love about this is that even though it works effectively, it doesn't sting or burn or leave my skin feeling sore, as I have experienced in the past with AHAs. For the record, the pH is 3.5, which my 10 year old, Nick, tells me is the same pH as orange juice.

AVT Cream -- This is a lovely formulation. Not just a standard moisturizer, this contains potent anti-aging ingredients. In terms of vitamins, this contains high grade Vitamin C, Vitamin A, D3, and Vitamin E.  The cream features Argan Oil, Borage Oil, Hyaluronic Acid and one off the most effective peptides on the market-- Matrixyl.

The Chic & Green Bottom Line

ZENMED products perform as advertised--and you will see and feel a difference quickly.

I like that ZENMED cares about safety and that they use many natural ingredients in their products. Yet, they are formulated based on research and SCIENCE. This is important. That is what makes products truly effective. These products have been developed by actual doctors who know what they are doing.
I mentioned it earlier and will again. ZENMED products are Vegan and they are approved by both Leaping Bunny and PETA, Additionally, the company omits boxes and uses 100% recyclable packaging.


To learn more about their philosophy, click here.
Visit the ZENMED blog here.

Follow ZENMED on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

*Disclosure: I am a contributor to the ZENMED blog.

Rejuvaderm MD Review + Giveaway!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Have you heard of the Rejuvaderm MD?

Well, I have used mine several times now and am amazed at the quality, not to mention the efficacy! I am going to tell you what the product is and share my experience -- and I am going to offer one lucky reader the chance to win one of their own, thanks to the folks at Trophy Skin!

You know I have ALWAYS taken good care of my skin. Once I started working in the industry back as a college student, I have taken great care to use high-quality products on my skin. I have a solid skin care regimen -- more on that tomorrow on this blog -- and I know that as I age, I need to be even more mindful of what I do to keep my skin in its best possible shape.

Sometimes products alone are not enough, and that is where spa treatments for the face come in. I am NOT one who actually enjoys getting facials. I don't find them relaxing, nor do I want to spend the time or money on something that I can do at home on my own time schedule. The Rejuvaderm MD, I have found, is the answer to those who need more than just products on their skin.s it?

So what is it? The Rejuvaderm MD is an at-home diamond tip microdermabrasion system. It is USER-FRIENDLY (do not let this device intimidate you) and exfoliates, infuses, and extracts. It is hand held and a bit bigger than an electric toothbrush, or a bit bigger than the old Epilady.

There are different tips and attachments to put on, depending on what you're attempting to do (exfoliation vs extraction, for example).

- Use on your neck, chest, hands, feet, and stretch marks
- Reduces enlarged pores or pores that are clogged, including blackheads
- Keeps aging skin looking young and fresh
- Eliminate hyperpigmentation
- Exfoliate your skin, resulting in a refreshed appearance
- Lessen the appearance of stretch marks

I use this for all three functions. I use it a couple times a week to refresh and renew my skin. I already use an AHA/BHA exfoliant, but I use this as well. The first time I used this, the pesky little dead skin cells fell right off.  Even with my sensitive skin, it did not hurt or feel uncomfortable at all.

I also have used this on the little pores on top of my nose to help get deep down.

One of my favorite functions of the device is that you can take you favorite treatment skin care products and use the device to infuse them deeper into the skin.

Right after I use it, my skin is a bit red--but it does the EXACT same thing when I have a facial. My face is actually redder after my Vinyasa yoga sessions at Breathe in the 85-90 degree studio than it is when I use my Rejuvaderm MD. It only lasts a couple minutes, then it's back to normal.

I can see and feel a difference in my tone and texture. Facials and microdermabrasion at the spa or dermatologist are expensive. They require maintenance, which equals more money.

The Rejuvaderm MD sells for $199. That is a minimal investment when you consider the cost of having someone else do this with the same technology.

In fact, at a well known salon & spa in the suburbs of Rochester, one microdermabrasion session is $125 and a series of 6 is $650. Then you need to tip your esthetician and are told you must buy the skin care products sold at the salon.

I love my Rejuvaderm MD from Trophy Skin and really believe it is a worthwhile investment. I refuse to endorse products that are overpriced or fail to live up to their claims. This product works. And given the cost of spa microdermabrasion, this is the more economical choice with the same caliber of results.

Chic & Green is so happy to announce that the lovely folks at Trophy Skin want to give away a Rejuvaderm MD to one lucky reader!

Enter to win below!

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