Lipstick Love: CARGO Lip Color in Napa

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Sharing a picture of my new favorite bolder fall lippy!
CARGO Essential Lip Color in NAPA.
Click to go to the website.

Soooo.... I recently accepted a position with CARGO Cosmetics to travel to stores in the Rochester and Syracuse areas training beauty advisors, planning events, boosting sales & doing makeovers. I never intended to go back to work outside of the home. I have been so lucky to be able to work from home all these years. I have a thriving Jamberry Nails business and team of 115 women. I enjoy writing, however with the exception of my freelance work for (seed) Body Care, I don't feel a passion for it anymore.

Nick is settled at his new school, Ben is a happy-go-lucky 4th grader, and I -- well, I can get a little lonely, even hermit-like when the fall and winter hits. I was thinking about my work before kids came along. I loved working in the skincare and cosmetics industry. It was fun and creative and something I truly have enjoyed doing, writing about, reading about & thinking about forever.

The CARGO display at Kohl's in Victor, NY

Out of curiosity one day a few weeks back, I stumbled upon a job listing for 15 hours a week freelancing for CARGO. I was intrigued, as I was a fan of their former Plant Love line and I clearly remember buying my first CARGO lipstick in 1998 at Eaton's in Toronto. The shade was Copenhagen, which has been discontinued.

Anyway, I decided to write to the person who was hiring to see if it would even have the flexibility I was looking for -- no nights, pick my own hours, etc. It did. I interviewed over the phone and was hired last Monday.

I started Thursday and truly enjoy it and feel at home with my makeup brushes swirling across strangers' faces once again.

You'll be seeing more posts about CARGO from me with tutorials and images soon!


Above on me -- minimalist makeup with NAPA on the lips. Wearing CARGO Picture Perfect CC Cream in Medium (Light is actually a bit too pale on me), Picture Perfect HD Translucent Powder, Onebase Concealer/Foundation in 02, 3 Triple Action Mascara in Black on top lashes, Also - Brow Kit in Light

Skin lost its glow? Try yoga.

Are you looking to regain that lost healthy glow your skin once had? Yoga may be the ideal exercise to promote glowing skin.

Yoga? Seriously? Until I began practicing Vinyasa flow yoga, I used to think of yoga as a relaxing, meditative practice. I was wrong. Yoga is so much more than sitting calmly and saying "Om."
Vinyasa flow yoga is a fast-paced form of yoga that many believe  is ideal for ridding the body of toxins.
One of the more popular yoga poses, downward dog, is believed to help with lymphatic drainage. This helps to rid our bodies of toxins. Vinyasa yoga is typically done in a heated studio of 85-90 degrees, making you sweat throughout the entire session. Sweating helps your body eliminate accumulated toxins and waste, which may improve skin health.
Your skin is your body's largest organ, so it would make sense that if you have an accumulation of unhealthy toxins inside your body, it will be evident by looking at your skin. This is something we touched upon before when I talked about the effects of sugar on the skin.

Yoga gets your blood flowing.

If circulation is sluggish, your skin will be dull -- even ashy. Many yoga poses help improve blood circulation.For example, the Warrior pose is ideal for regulating blood circulation. Anything that increases blood flow will help skin look radiant.

Improved digestion is another perk.

Research continues to show a link between your gut and skin health. If your digestive system is not getting rid of toxins effectively, it may show in your skin with conditions such as eczema, acne and Rosacea. The poses you use while practicing yoga help aid digestion, improving the condition of your skin.

Certain poses may make you look younger.

Have you seen oxygen facials on the menu at your favorite spa? Many aesthethicians perform oxygen facials on clients as an anti-aging skincare treatment. Asanas -- yoga postures -- help to increase oxygenation, so you may notice a reduction in the visible signs of aging. Not only will yoga help improve strength and flexibility, but it may make you look younger.
Are you a yoga practitioner? Aside from the health and wellness benefits, have you noticed any changes in your skin?

Sugar: It's not so sweet for the skin

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Cookies, soda, candy, pasta -- just some of the edibles filled with sugar. They are delicious, yet addicting. We know that sugar can have a negative impact on the waistline, but did you know that it may be making us look older, too? Today, we will examine the relationship between sugar and your skin.


Sugar and the skin -- my personal story

I am going to share something personal with you first. My own skin is the perfect example of sugar's impact on the skin. In the past 15 months, I have shed just over 50 pounds.
I already ate pretty well. I didn't drink beverages with sugar, nor did I eat processed foods. Plus, I exercised several times per week. I have a sluggish metabolism, though, and I found it exceptionally difficult to drop the pounds after having two children 21 months apart. At my heaviest, I was over 200 pounds on my 5'8" frame. 
Fifteen months ago, I broke up with grains and sugar. Wheat, corn, rice -- they all were giving me digestive woes, despite testing negative for Celiac Disease. My doctor did say that I am gluten sensitive, so I decided to cut grains  from my diet.
To lose weight, I already was adamant about getting rid of sugar. Eliminating the grains was not so hard. Reading labels and avoiding sugar was another story. Sugar is in everything from pastas and breads to cereals and "diet" foods. My "healthy" granola and yogurt were  both sugar-laden. The first 2 weeks were rough. After that, though, I began to feel different -- no more afternoon hunger or headaches. In addition to dropping 3 sizes and feeling energetic, the skin care specialist in me could not help but notice the difference in my skin.

I do not think I realized the difference until people started remarking how much younger my skin looked. My skin has become so much brighter.  I can wear a tinted moisturizer over sunscreen instead of traditional foundation. The tone is more even. Of course, I can attribute much of that to having a consistent skin care routine, but the only thing truly different has been my diet. As time has gone on, my skin continues to look even better. The most noticeable difference can be seen around my eyes.
I am going to step outside of my comfort zone and show you the difference, using my own photos. The picture on the left was taken in March 2009. The photo on the right was taken today -- Sept. 11, 2014. I have gotten 5 years and 6 months older since the photo on the left was taken. I have not had any in-office treatments, nor has any retouching be done on the photograph. My skin has improved and the lines around my eyes have diminished greatly.
The cause of this change?  Greatly reducing sugar from my diet. 

Sugar damages skin cells.

Let's look at the science. Excess sugar is linked to both inflammation and glycation. Both processes have a negative impact on the skin.
  • Inflammation is believed to be one of the leading causing of aging. Experts believe that surges in blood sugar raise the level of cytokines, which are inflammatory messengers. The more sugar in the blood, the more likely you are to experience inflammation.
  • Glycation makes you look older.  According to Dr. Nicholas Perricone, "When blood sugar goes up rapidly, sugar can attach itself to collagen in a process called "glycation," making the skin stiff and inflexible. Losing this elastic resilience of young skin will give you deep wrinkles and make you look old."
Finally, more than speculation -- there is a science supporting the claim that sugar can make your skin look older.

Ingredients to fight the effects of sugar on the skin

There are ingredients that may help repair the signs of glycation and prevent further skin cell damage. Choosing anti-aging products with these ingredients may be just what your skin has been craving --  not those sugary treats.
  • Fight inflammation with Alpha Lipoic Acid. Many dietary supplements contain Alpa Lipoic Acid, which is known for its ability to combat inflammation. Andrew Weil, MD, renowned naturopathic doctor, author and founder of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine has long been a proponent of the use of Alpha Lipoic Acid to fight inflammation. Try Reviva Labs DMAE & Alpha Lipoic Vitamin C Ester Firming Eye Serum.
  • Powerhouse antioxidants such as Green Tea have been proven to significantly halt the glycation process as they promote collagen synthesis. Choosing skincare products formulated with Green Tea can help fight glycation and minimize the signs of skin aging  caused by sugar consumption.I recommend John Masters Organics Green Tea & Rose Hydrating Face Serum.

So what do you think? Are you ready to say goodbye to sugar? Have you eliminated sugar from your diet before? I'd love to hear your story.

Today's Makeup

FYI: What am I wearing in the "after" photo from today? I have Cargo HD Picture Perfect CC Cream in Medium, Prescriptives Magic Liquid Powder , Au Naturale Creme Concealer, Sally Hansen Natural Beauty Inspired by Carmindy Lipstick in Plum Shimmer (discontinued), Au Naturale Lip Gloss in Orchid, Cargo Beachblush in Miami Beach, Silk Naturals Medium Ash Brow Cream and Tarte Lights Camera Lashes.

Should you go gluten-free with your beauty products?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

It is estimated that 3 million Americans have celiac disease. Another 18 million Americans are sensitive to gluten. More and more personal care products are cropping up with the label "gluten-free." Is this out of necessity or is it another marketing gimmick? Let's take a look.

Is 'gluten-free' just another fad?

I know that for many, “gluten free” is just a trend. Many try going sugar-free, paleo or gluten-free because everyone else seems do be doing it.  For so many people, though, avoiding gluten can greatly improve their quality of life. I know that eliminating gluten was one of the best things that has happened to me. While I do not have celiac, when I eat gluten, I feel horrible -- headaches, bloating, etc.

If you are sensitive to or allergic to gluten, you should definitely consider avoiding beauty and skin care products formulated with gluten.
If you are allergic to gluten, exposure to even the smallest gluten molecules can trigger a reaction.
The greatest cause for concern is with lip products. If you apply lip balm, lipstick or lip gloss with gluten, the offending ingredient can be ingested. Of course, one doesn't eat lip products intentionally, but small amounts can be ingested throughout the day. Does this also carry over to skin care ingredients? This is a hot button subject in the medical community.

What do medical experts say about gluten-free personal care products?

The medical field has differing opinions on whether you should avoid gluten in your personal care products.
"Gluten-containing skin care products and cosmetics aren't a problem unless you accidentally swallow them," says gastroenterologist Dr. Michael Picco of the Mayo Clinic. 
Board certified dermatologist Dr. Leslie Baumann has a different opinion:
"Many doctors say that gluten in skincare should not be a concern unless it is swallowed, but many patients report otherwise... Fortunately, many skincare and cosmetic companies are jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon, so you can easily swap out your current products for gluten-free alternatives. As the awareness about gluten grows, companies that offer gluten-free products are proud to label their offerings as such. To mirror all other skincare decisions, start reading your labels and choose accordingly."  

There are many brands offering gluten-free personal care products. I'm going to share some of my favorites.

Body skin care and lip health products from (seed) Body Care are all free of gluten. Red Apple Lipstick is gluten-free, as is Lavera.

How menopause impacts the skin

Monday, September 8, 2014

"The change." That's how my grandmother used to refer to menopause. You've heard about menopause for so many years and now that it's here, your skin seems to be going haywire. Most people associate the teenage years as the time in your life when you encounter the most difficult skin issues. 

Menopause/Skin Care Routine

In reality, you are just as likely to experience major skin changes while going through menopause. In fact, these issues may be even more dramatic now, as an aging component is added. Menopause brings many side effects besides hot flashes and weight gain. All of the hormonal shifts can have a major impact on your skin.

Hormonal changes may trigger acne.

Pimples. Many women are able to escape adulthood with nothing more than the occasional pimple. The hormonal changes associated with menopause create the perfect storm for acne to form. 
Testosterone levels  are on the upswing, while estrogen levels decline. When testosterone levels increase, it also results in the sebaceous glands producing even more oil. Breakouts are more likely to appear at the chin, jawline, chest and back. These symptoms often begin at the onset on menopause. Having a solid routine and using gentle acne skin care products is key to treating hormonal acne. Check out Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions.

An increase in testosterone can result in more facial hair.

It happens to all of us at one time or another -- an errant hair we catch in the magnifying mirror. Most of us just take out our tweezers and the hair is gone. When you are going through menopause, however, darker and coarser hairs tend to crop up on the chin and other areas of the face. This is not just a nuisance. It can truly impact a woman's self esteem. I recommend an at home IPL system like Silk'n Flash & Go.

The sun has a more visible impact now.

It is very important to apply a broad spectrum sunscreen at any age. I recommend Jane Iredale Powder Me SPF 30.
As the production of melanin slows down with menopause, though, you are more likely to notice blotchiness, uneven tone and brown spots.  You can lighten these patches of discoloration with products containing lemon or kojic acid. I recommend Reviva Labs Brown Spot Lightening Night Cream.

Your skin might look like it is sagging or loose.

It seems to happen quickly. One day, your skin is tight and firm and the next it looks like it is starting to sag.  At menopause, production of collagen dramatically slows down. When this happens, in many ways, your skin loses its support system. 
The connective tissue isn't as strong and facial sagging may occur. Wrinkles begin to form with this loss of elasticity. Boost moisture and reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles with anti-aging skin care containing hyaluronic acid and peptides. My pick? Exuviance Collagen Triple Boost Serum. A little goes a long way and it contains peptides, hyaluronic acid and beneficial essential oils.

All of a sudden, your skin has lost its glow.

Cell turnover also slows down during menopause. This causes dead skin cells to remain on the skin longer than before, so they collect on the skin, leaving it dull with dry patches and flakes. Now more than ever, exfoliation is a must. 

Products with fruit acids can help renew the skin, shedding flaky skin cells that are causing the dull appearance. Over time, skin will become more refreshed and your complexion will have a more radiant glow. I like Juice Beauty Organic Green Apple Peel Nightly Brightening Pads.
The good thing about all of these skin changes is that they can be addressed. Talk with your doctor to see what is best for you! Have you been through menopause? Did you experience a major shift in your skin?  Share in the comments. I'd love to hear more.
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