Cyber Monday Beauty Buys

Monday, November 26, 2018


So many good deals today, friends!

At Macy's, they have some REALLY good bargains today. My favorite long-wearing nail color, CND Vinylux is just $5 and there are incredible deals on Paul Mitchell, Kenra, and more. Makeup-wise, I spotted a Smashbox eye gift set with a full sized mascara for $11. I also picked up a Clinique box of 5 full sized lipsticks all in colors I love for $25 (each lipstick normally sells for $19.50)!

Seed Body Care has 20% off with code HOLIDAYSEED, plus special pricing on the Exotic Bath Blossoms.

Honeybee Gardens has 35% off PLUS free shipping today! Use code CYMON18.

Cyber  Monday Deals from my affiliate partners below:

Cargo Cosmetics - Click my link and save 30% sitewide!

W3LL PEOPLE has 25% off plus free shipping,

philosophy has 40% off sitewide and $12 shower gels.

Clarins has up to 25% off sitewide today.

100% Pure has lots of $10 bargains!

Small Business Saturday is here!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Today is Small Business Saturday and I wanted to share some of my favorite businesses with you today.


  • Based in Princeton, NJ and sold online, Seed Body Care has been in business since 2009 and offers high quality facial, bath & body care products with stellar ingredients like Argan Oil, Sea Kelp, Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, Shea Butter, and more. All products are cruelty free, vegan, gluten free, and paraben free. Seed was named a Brand Champion by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Through 11/26 with code HOLIDAYSEED, you will save 20%. 

  • Original Moxie is my FAVORITE hair care brand. Based in Michigan, this woman owned business features superior natural ingredients and their entire line is just exquisite. They have a special this weekend, too! Use code BF2018 at checkout to get some amazing deals.

  • Honeybee Gardens is a Pennsylvania-based company with really beautifully crafted makeup. I love the presses powder and palettes, especially. They also have a Winter Buzz Box that I highly recommend. Free shipping through 11/25 at Honeybee with code TUR18

  • Leaders of the #cleanbeautyrevolutionAu Naturale Cosmetics is a Wisconsin-based biz with luxury green makeup products. PETA certified cruelty free and all-natural, Au Naturale is high end ecobeauty at its best. They have a 70% off sale section right now.  Note: I am an affiliate and do earn a commission if you shop at Au Naturale.

  • The BEST subscription box? Without a doubt, it is Boxwalla! Thoughtfully created, luxe products.

  • Aunt Nancy's Handmade Soap has been my favorite for more than a decade. Nan is based in Tucson and her soaps are palm oil free.

  • Tanvi Asher is someone I am proud to call my friend. She is the force behind Shop PeppermintRoc the Mint, and the brand new Salty Boutique on Park Avenue. She is a gem who is a gift to the Rochester community.


  • Ink & Pine Design is a local artist who makes the most fabulous ornaments and prints. Many focus on Rochester landmarks, too.

  • PS Enjoy Your Life, owned by an artist right here in Irondequoit, features calendars, coasters, art blocks, wine stoppers & more. I have her calendar on my wall, ornaments on my tree, coasters on my coffee table & wine stopper in my Shiraz.

  • Little Brick House makes handmade bags. I have a zippered pouch and a custom leather & fabric clutch with exquisite workmanship.

Seed Soft Balm Review

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Okay, my friends. You all know how much I love Seed Face & Body Care. I have mentioned them dozens of times ever since I first tried their products not long after their 2009 launch. I love everything about the company - the products quality and ingredients, the story behind the brand, and then integrity of the company founders.

I cannot believe I haven't yet mentioned their newest release yet  -- Seed Soft Balm -- and after I just massaged it into my dry cuticles, I felt compelled to write up a review.

What is it?

I have long been a lover of skincare balms. 

The dictionary defines a balm as an "ointment or preparation used to heal or soothe skin." Many brands refer to balms and salves and vice versa. The terms are synonymous.

Balms offer intensive moisture for the driest of skin types. They tend to be waxy and offer protective benefits. Over the years, I have been sent many balms to review in every price range and I can honestly say that this Seed Soft Balm is second to none. The ingredients are superior to other balms on the market and, unlike most balms, this is vegan.

This balm comes in two options: a white metal tin or in an eco-friendly paperboard tube. What I love about this product is that it has so many uses!

1. I use Seed Soft Balm as a cuticle treatment. I apply a bit around each cuticle and massage into the nails.
2. Dry ends? I apply Seed Soft Balm to the ends of my hair. As a bonus, they help tame flyaways!
3. My 13 year old has kind of bushy eyebrows. I apply a tiny bit to keep the brows tame.
4. I use Soft Balm on my own brows to set them.
5. I massage into my heels and they are super soft!
6. I apply Seed Soft Balm into my knees and elbows, too.
7. I apply over Seed Lip Oil at night as a rich lip balm.
8. I apply to crow's feet to help soften fine lines around the eyes.
9. I apply as a neck and decolletage moisturizer.
10. Do you have a nearly empty lipstick tube? I mix a bit of leftover lipstick with the balm to make a tinted lip moisturizer.

Those are just 10 ways I use Seed Soft Balm. I know there are more. In fact, Seed shares that many men use Seed Soft Balm on their beards. That is great for No Shave November, don't you think?

I have the Fragrance Free product, which is lovely because it has the natural aroma of cocoa butter, which is a muted chocolate scent to my nose. Seed NEVER uses artificial fragrances, but they offer essential oil alternatives for those seeking a scent. You can choose from Fragrance Free, Peppermint or Lavender. 


The 2 ounce tin is $19.95 right now (regularly $24.95) and the tube is .3 ounce tube is $9.95 (regularly $12.95). A little goes a long way and these last quite a long time. While this balm is more expensive than Badger, for example, I find that the quality of Seed Soft Balm is superior. 

If you are comparing the types of high quality ingredients used in Seed, comparable products that I have tried for review before would be Shiffa Healing Balm ($106 for 1 ounce), One Love Organics Skin Savior ($49 for 1.8 ounces) and Tammy Fender Intensive Repair Balm ($65 for 1.7 ounces).

Ingredients In-Depth

  • Shea Butter is rich is skin pampering oleic and stearic acids, deeply hydrates, helps heal cracked skin and leaves skin supple and velvety soft. It also is believed to possess anti-aging benefits and skin strengthening characteristics.
  • Cocoa Butter contains healthy fats that form a protective barrier on the skin. It locks in moisture, holding hydration onto the skin. It can also give skin a firmer, smoother appearance.
  • Apricot Kernel Oil is rich in Vitamin K and Omega 6 fatty acids to deeply nourish the skin. It is non-greasy, fast absorbing, and skin clarifying.
  • Grape Seed Oil is a potent antioxidant, shielding skin from UV damage and defending against free radicals. Known as an anti-aging ingredient, grape seed may also soften fine lines and promote a more youthful glow.
  • Avocado Oil contains an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids to deliver superior hydration to the skin. It moisturizes deeply without feeling greasy and leaves skin feeling velvety soft and pampered. It also contains antioxidant Vitamin E to help protect skin from environmental elements.
  • Abyssinian Seed Oil is rich in both Linoleic and Linolenic Acids, which are anti-inflammatory, skin conditioning, and cell regenerative. While it is highly moisturizing, it is fast absorbing and never sticky on the skin. Rough skin? Abyssinian oil’s unique molecular structure allows it to sink right in, immediately softening dry areas.
  • Olive Oil has a high antioxidant content to protect the skin from environmental contaminants and UV rays. It is naturally antibacterial and provides essential moisture to the skin.
  • Horehound extract is a bitter herb derived from a perennial bush. This member of the mint family has been used for centuries to treat various health ailments. It also boasts remarkable skin care benefits thanks to the presence of tannins and flavonoids. It is known to calm even the most sensitive types of skin, easing redness, inflammation, and irritation. Its antiseptic properties are also believed to help with wound healing. Many with eczema report that it helps to alleviate skin itching and dry patches. 
  • Rice Bran Oil is an ultra gentle skin oil that can help fade age spots and lighten other issues related to hyperpigmentation. It also penetrates deeply to hydrate the skin without greasiness and has a reputation for its positive impact on nourishing skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Rice bran is a natural source of squalane to firm and tighten sagging skin, too.
  • Tocopherol -- or Vitamin E is perhaps the original antioxidant used in skin care. Highly protective, Vitamin E helps combat pollution, is a wonderful moisturizer, and provides anti-aging benefits.
  •  Carnauba Wax is also on the ingredients list. This is a vegan-friendly alternative to beeswax.

Review: Innisfree Wine Jelly Sleeping Pack

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Have you tried a sleeping pack before? If you're skincare obsessed, chances are you have tried one. If not, read on -- because this product is going to be a must-have in your arsenal.

Two years ago, I was introduced to sleeping packs when I was writing a magazine article about the Korean skincare routine. Ever since then, I have been hooked on them. After trying several, I have found my holy grail sleeping mask: Innisfree Wine Jelly Sleeping Pack.

Just what are sleeping packs?

A sleeping pack is used as the very last step of a night-time skincare routine.  Since nighttime is best for cell regeneration, it is an ideal time for your sleeping mask to work its magic. Let me clear something up, a sleeping mask isn't a mask per se, as it doesn't harden or get peeled off. It is almost like a gel-like cream. They provide deep hydration to your skin while you sleep, sinking right in and working wonders to revitalize your complexion.

Sleeping masks are used as little as once a week or nightly if desired. I use a nickel size amount for my entire face and neck -- in a thin layer over my serum and moisturizer. Some nights, it goes right over my serum. It depends on my skin at the time.

Innisfree Wine Jelly Sleeping Pack smells like a glass of cabernet. This particular one is full of protective antioxidants, polyphenols, and contains the anti-inflammatory and exfoliating benefits of mandarin peel extract.

Noteworthy ingredients

Squalane - Naturally derived from olives, squalane is hydrating and replenishing and it provides weightless moisture.

Wine extract - Rich is tannins and potent resveratrol, wine extract helps restore collagen and elastin production, while protecting the skin against free radicals.

Camellia - Hydrates and offers antioxidant protection

Satsuma mandarin (citrus unshiu peel) - brightens the skin and helps improve skin texture and tone.

Prickly pear (opuntia coccinellifera fruit) - is abundant in antioxidant Vitamin E. It also helps boost collagen products and renews skin as it moisturizes.

Orchid extract - Bursting with zinc, magnesium, and calcium, orchid extract helps protect the skin, offers anti-aging benefits, and leaves skin feeling comforted and soothed.

Ingredients: Water, butylene glycol, squalene, cyclohexasiloxane, dimethicone, PEG-240/HDI copolymer Bis-decyltetradeceth-20 ether, cyclohexasiloxane, wine extract, camellia japonica leaf extract, citrus unshiu peel extract, opuntia coccinellifera fruit extract, orchid extract, cetearyl alcohol, C12-16 alcohols, dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone cross polymer, polysorbate 60, cetearyl glucodise, hydrogenated lecithin, palmitic acid, glyceryl caprylate, xanthan gum, disodium EDTA, benzophenone-5, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin, fragrance

Ready to try Innisfree Wine Jelly Sleeping Pack?

Click here to grab yours. Note: I am part of the Amazon Influencer program, so I get a commission when my readers purchase the products that I use and recommend.

Just age gracefully? I think not.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Many of Hollywood’s most gorgeous leading ladies are over the age of 40. These big screen starlets take good care of their skin and it shows. There’s no reason you can’t have a radiant complexion at any age. Follow our ten expert tips for skin care after 40 and you, too, can have glowing skin worthy of a walk down the red carpet.

I am 43. My skin today is in MUCH better condition than it was 5 or even 10 years ago. It's all about SUNSCREEN, proper ingredients, and following a consistent skincare routine. SUNSCREEN is your best line of defense against aging. I am not including it here in this post, as I have written on the importance of wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen both here on the blog and in numerous print publications. BESIDES sunscreen, what can be done to help promote youthful skin? Read on.

1. Seek out products containing retinoids.

Forget all of the overhyped skin care products and remember this one word: retinoid.  Retinoids are an active form of Vitamin A and they have proven to be an effective anti-aging class of ingredients. Retinoids have a long history of research behind them and they are something that nearly everyone can use. Not only are retinoids proven to reduce the signs of aging such as deep lines and wrinkles, but they are also a highly recommended acne treatment. I recommend using them only at night, as they can increase your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight.

2. Stop smoking.

If you have not broken the nicotine habit yet, make smoking cessation a top priority. Not only will you become healthier, but your skin will look better. Women who smoke develop lines around the mouth and eyes and are more prone to skin congestion which results in blackheads. Skin is generally more sallow and these signs of aging due to smoking really tend to become more obvious after 40.

3. Say goodbye to the turkey neck.

Don’t forget the neck area. While most of you are conscientious about applying skin care products to your face, the neck is often ignored. Even if the skin on your face is radiant and smooth, a wrinkled neck ages you, so add neck care to your to-do list. The skin on your neck is actually quite delicate, so be sure to use a rich firming cream to this area each night.  Look for ingredients such as ceramides to provide wrinkle-fighting benefits to the neck.

An effective choice is Clarins Extra Firming Neck Cream. Full disclosure - I am a Clarins affiliate and am a Coach on their website, assisting customers with skincare questions, so if you purchase this cream using my link, I will earn a small commission. That said, I do not recommend ANYTHING on this blog that I do not like and I have been a Clarins fan since 1997, as working for this line was my first full-time job after college. Why do I love this one? Well, the unique blend of banana fruit extract, seaweed, oat, sunflower, and more make it both preventive and corrective. It smells absolutely divine, feels absolutely luxurious, and is effective. ($90)

4. Peel pads are your new best friend.

One of the best ways to revitalize and brighten the skin is through exfoliation. There are many at-home peel pads with glycolic acid that you simply swipe over your face every few days. When you do this, the acid will help encourage cell turnover to shed dead cells and reveal a youthful glow. Check the labels and look for words like glycolic, salicylic or mandelic acid when choosing a peel system.

Chic & Green recommends: Pixi Glow Peel Pads are among my favorites, for sure!

5. Stay hydrated.

While drinking water and applying moisturizer will not prevent wrinkles, well hydrated skin looks plumper and more youthful. Products with ingredients such as olive squalane, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid will deliver moisture to the skin without leaving it greasy. These are key to keeping skin supple.

Try the budget-friendly, yet effective CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizer. CeraVe is the best drugstore brand out there and the ingredients are really effective. There are multiple ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and a nourishing fatty alcohol called Phytospingosine.

6. Brighten and lighten.

Dullness and brown spots and uneven skin tone are not uncommon after 40, so stop them dead in their tracks with natural brightening ingredients.  Skin care products containing enzymes, vitamins and exfoliants are protective and are ideal for targeting dark spots and adding radiance to the skin.  Simply brightening your complexion can erase years from your face.

I love: I have been singing the praises of Exuviance Vespera Bionic Serum since I was an educator for the brand a few years back. This luxe serum improves skin texture and clarity through its exquisite blend of alpha hydroxy acids to lift away dullness, antioxidants to protect against UV damage, mandelic acid, and multiple skin-pampering vitamins.

7. Take Mom’s advice and eat your veggies.

Vegetables are stellar foods for the skin. Green leafy vegetables fight inflammation and provide Vitamin C and Vitamin A, while carrots have beta carotene to protect skin and repair its delicate tissue. Purple and red veggies are great sources of antioxidant protection and fight free radical damage.

8. Change up your makeup.

Changing formulas of your foundation and blush are two easy ways to have healthier, more youthful looking skin. Switching to a foundation with “brightening” or “firming” in the name can make your skin look younger. Powder formulas tend to look chalky, as do mattes, so processed with caution. I will be doing a post soon on matte makeup and how it really HAS come a long way compared to the matte makeup of 20 years ago, but if you have mature skin, you still need to be careful. Light-diffusing foundations will help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation spots and add a more evenly toned look to the skin.

A good one to try: The Ordinary Serum Foundation from Deciem. This is so affordable (just $6.70) and has some really lovely ingredients. It is paraben free, oil free, cruelty free, vegan, nut free, alcohol free, and soy free.

When it comes to blush, replace your usual chalky powder with a creamy blush. It will glide over the skin, giving just a pinch of color without settling into lines the way traditional powders do.

Try: Au Naturale The Anywhere Creme Multistick is a gem. This multitasker contains healthy ingredients such as Meadowfoam Seed, Castor Seed, Jojoba, Lavender, and more. It is really beautiful and the colors are nicely pigmented. ($35)

9. Consider cutting out alcohol.

I know, I know. What about wine o'clock or nights out at the local brewery? I hear you. I embarked on an alcohol-free challenge earlier this year and had nothing alcoholic from January 28th through the 4th of July to see if I noticed all of the results that science shows us in terms of skin and alcohol. It is true (not that I doubted the research; I just wanted to see it first hand). I started drinking again (in moderation - craft beer of a couple bottles per weekend) and my complexion became sallow. It has made me cut back again even more.

Alcohol dehydrates your body and your skin. It can speed cellular aging and make your complexion sallow. Try cutting back or cutting it out altogether. Your skin will thank you!

10. Make collagen building peptides a priority.

Peptides are molecules that are linked together. Why should this matter? These links of molecules contain at least two amino acids and research indicates that they may help to rebuild collagen. This is essential for reducing the visible signs of aging, as peptides can make your skin look more youthful and plump. Find peptides in anti-aging serums and moisturizers. I also recommend adding collagen peptides to your supplement arsenal. I take Neocell Collagen Peptides daily by adding a scoop to my morning smoothie.

You also can get peptides in your skincare products.

My top picks? For a budget-friendly, yet effective option, I recommend The Ordinary Buffet. This serum features both Argireline and Matrixyl and it WILL have an impact on lines, deeper wrinkles, age spots, sagging, and more.

For the eyes, I cannot say enough about the fanfreakingtastic Biossance Squalane + Peptide Eye Gel, which is 100% amazeballs. Trust me on this one.

Glowing and gorgeous at 40 & beyond

Age is nothing more than a number. You can have beautiful skin at any age. Making some simple skin care changes can make a real difference when it comes to improving the appearance of your skin after 40.

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links to products. All products have been tried and tested and I endorse them fully. However, I want to let you know that I am a member of some affiliate programs and do earn a commission on some of the products I recommend.

Ingredients 101: Niacinamide

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The 5 Best Niacinamide Skincare Products

1. Seed Body Care Advanced Botanicals Daily Facial Moisturizer - a lovely facial lotion with a pump dispenser, this features sunflower seed, sea kelp bioferment, Niacinamide & more. This is a lightweight formulation with a convenient pump dispenser. Plus, it is double the size of most facial creams, coming it at a generous 4 ounces! You won't find a better everyday natural moisturizer than this one. $29.95

2. The Ordinary 10% Niacinamide + Zinc 1% - a lightweight anti-acne serum that works well under moisturizer. I am really impressed by the up and coming brand of skincare. No wonder it has achieved near cult status. The prices are insanely low, without sacrificing quality. I personally use this on the occasional hormonal breakouts I experience on my forehead. 5.90

3. Linne Botanicals Renew Face Serum is  a really beautiful serum enriched with rooibos, kakadu plum, hibiscus, Niacinamide, tomato, hyaluronic acid, and more. Linne Botanicals is a modern luxury brand with a pretty hefty price tag. If you splurge on your products, check them out, though. The products are finely crafted and feel amazing on the skin. $92

4. Pamper your skin overnight with the Paula's Choice Radiance Renewal Mask. I love how lightweight this formula is compared to heavier overnight sleeping masks inspired by Korean beauty trends. This mask contains an abundance of Niacinamide, Arbutin, Olive Oil, Bearberry, and more. You will adore its silky texture and the luminosity it gives your skin overnight. $36

5. Is your skin oily and in need of a bit of TLC? I recommend the Sunday Riley Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask, which contains 10% sulfur to help cut down on sebum. There is a 4% concentration of Niacinamide to help ease inflammation and redness, as well as Zinc PCA to help absorb oil and provide skin with a mattified appearance. $55

Disclosure: This post contains 3 affiliate links. I am a member of the Amazon Affiliates and Detox Market affiliate programs and earn a small commission when you make a purchase.

Make Your Own Pumpkin Face Mask

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The skin benefits of pumpkin are abundant. Today, we're making a fabulous powdered face mask. Powder is used here for two reasons: 1. So you can have a long-lasting mask "base" to use without needing a preservative and 2. So you can add whatever ingredients to the mask you'd like, whether it be Greek yogurt, rosewater, aloe juice, etc.

Why Pumpkin?
  • Pumpkin contains an abundance of anti-aging Vitamin A and antioxidant Vitamin C to promote collagen production. As we age, collagen in the skin breaks down, resulting in a loss of firmness and elasticity. Applying products with pumpkin may improve the look of lines and wrinkles and help ward off skin aging.
  • Pumpkin also contains carotenoids, helpful in the anti-aging process. Alpha-carotene, which is abundant in pumpkin, is believed to slow biological aging. Anecdotal evidence suggests the same may be true for its impact on the skin.
  • Pumpkin is also rich in natural fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids, which help to gently exfoliate the skin. The enzymes boost cell turnover and work to shed dead skin cells, revealing a more radiant, glowing complexion. 
  • Beta-carotene in pumpkin helps maintain the look of healthy skin. In fact, it is essential for overall skin health. If you are one of the many people out there who suffers from Melasma, the beta-carotene in pumpkin may help treat the areas of hyperpigmentation by gradually and gently lightening them.

When I had my skin care business (which was featured by Martha Stewart  in one of her magazines back 10 years ago, I made a dry mask called the Pink Pumpkin Mask that was really lovely for dry, mature, and delicate skin types. 

Today we're going to make that same recipe. Here it is, beauties!

Pumpkin accounts for over half of this mask. Added to this are Pink Kaolin Clay, Buttermilk Powder, Honey Powder and pure Lavender Essential Oil.

This is an all-natural dry mask. It will help your skin achieve a glow and youthful radiance, naturally.

What do the ingredients in this mask do?

  • Pumpkin soothes, hydrates and protects the skin with its abundance of vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, potassium, alpha-carotene, zinc, beta carotene, and lutein.
  • Honey is known for its anti-bacterial properties. It can help to treat and prevent acne, while still having the ability to moisturize the skin.
  • Buttermilk is high in emollients and natural fats from the milk. It helps to cleanse and soothe at the same time.
  • Pink Kaolin Clay is the gentlest of clays. It will not dehydrate the skin, nor will it draw out oils and strip the skin. It acts as a very gentle exfoliant and helps to boost skin circulation without the redness associated with other kaolin varieties.
  • Lavender is always a favorite of mine for its ability to be so calming and soothing to sensitive and irritated skin, while being effective at clearing up acne. I purchase all of my essential oils these days at Plant Therapy. The quality is stellar. I am often asked about the popular direct sales oil companies such as Young Living. I cannot in good conscience recommend these oils.

To Make:

For the proportions, use 50-60% pumpkin powder. The other powders/clays can be split equally to make up the remaining 40-50%. Then add in 10 drops of essential oil. Store in a jar or even a Ziploc bag.


You will only need a very small amount of the powder, which you may dilute with water, buttermilk, cream, milk, rosewater, or aloe vera juice.

Apply to the skin which has been already been cleansed and rinsed with tepid water.

Leave on your skin for about 10 minutes.

Rinse off thoroughly with warm water. Follow with your favorite toner and moisturizer. I do this at night and I use my CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, homemade mask, Botanicals All Bright Cleansing Toner, The Ordinary Matrixyl, and follow with Seed Extra Moisturizing Face Cream.

5 Amazing Skincare Benefits of Pumpkin

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Pumpkin is the quintessential fall fruit. Yes, it is actually a fruit! When we think of pumpkin, though, we associate it with carving jack o’ lanterns or baking pies. Did you know that this fall favorite is actually highly beneficial when used topically?

Compared to many other food-based ingredients used in skincare, pumpkin has a rather small molecular structure. This means that when it is applied topically to the skin, it is better able to penetrate deeply, making it more effective. Over the years, more and more companies have realized the benefits pumpkin holds and have been adding it to their formulations.

5 reasons why you should be using pumpkin right now in your skincare routine

1. It’s for everyone.

Pumpkin is ideal for all skin types. Not many ingredients in skincare can be used by nearly everyone. In fact, it’s quite rare that an ingredient is ideal for both dry, sensitive skin and excessively oily skin. The same applies to those with conditions such as acne and rosacea.

Try this versatile cleanser: Osmia Organics Luz Enzyme Facial Soap is creamy and lightly foaming and ideal for all skin types. It contains antioxidant-rich pumpkin, skin balancing tomato, camellia, and more to deliver a gentle, yet deep daily cleansing.

2. Strengthen weakened collagen with pumpkin.

Pumpkin contains an abundance of anti-aging Vitamin A and antioxidant Vitamin C to promote collagen production. As we age, collagen in the skin breaks down, resulting in a loss of firmness and elasticity. Applying products with pumpkin may improve the look of lines and wrinkles and help ward off skin aging.

Pumpkin also contains carotenoids, helpful in the anti-aging process. Alpha-carotene, which is abundant in pumpkin, is believed to slow biological aging. Anecdotal evidence suggests the same may be true for its impact on the skin.

Product Pick: Kypris Beauty Moonlight Catalyst is rich in pumpkin enzymes, sea algae, rosehip, seabuckthorn, anti-aging peptides,  and other naturally-based ingredients to improve your complexion. Those with dull, dry or aging skin will love the boost in radiance this spectacular serum provides. )

3. Diminish age spots and brighten lackluster skin.

Pumpkin is also rich in natural fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids, which help to gently exfoliate the skin. The enzymes boost cell turnover and work to shed dead skin cells, revealing a more radiant, glowing complexion.

Beta-carotene in pumpkin helps maintain the look of healthy skin. In fact, it is essential for overall skin health. If you are one of the many people out there who suffers from Melasma, the beta-carotene in pumpkin may help treat the areas of hyperpigmentation by gradually and gently lightening them. Try an enzyme exfoliant with pumpkin to improve skin clarity.

I recommend: the Naturopathica Pumpkin Purifying Enzyme Peel removes dead skin cells and helps repair the brown spots associated with sun damage. Lactic acid soothes and improve texture. Pumpkin is the #1 ingredient! This is true organic spa quality and is a superstar on the market today in natural beauty.

4. Inflammation may have met its match.

Pumpkin also contains an ingredient we don’t hear much about called torulitine. Torulitine, a combination of Vitamins E & T, is a potent anti-inflammatory ingredient. It has been shown to ease the redness and itching associated with skin conditions such as rosacea and dermatitis.

One to try: Yon-Ka Pamplemousse PS Vitalizing Cream is a rich, yet light lightweight facial cream ideal for those with dehydrated skin. In addition to pumpkin to ease redness and irritation, it contains antioxidants to fend off free radical damage, as well as multiple skin soothers. Skin is left with a radiant, non-oily finish.

5. Fight bacteria and banish breakouts.

Acne-prone skin may see a major improvement with consistent use of a pumpkin-based product. This is because the carotenoids found in pumpkin increase cell turnover, while high levels of the mineral zinc provide anti-bacterial properties. The essential fatty acids and Vitamin E found in pumpkin also help to regulate sebum production. Look for a pumpkin-packed mask to treat acne on the face and body.

A good choice: FarmHouse Fresh Goods Splendid Dirt Nutrient Rich Mud Mask targets acne with oil absorbing clays, probiotic-rich yogurt, nourishing pumpkin and a host of skin-loving ingredients.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an affiliate partner, should you follow my link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission for the referral.

Is hydroquinone safe?

Monday, October 1, 2018

Is hydroquinone harmful?

"I read on a blog that hydroquinone will kill you! It's toxic!" 

When it comes to selecting products for your skin, knowledge is power. What is so wonderful about the Internet is that we can simply head to a search engine to look up an ingredient with which we’re unfamiliar and gain more knowledge. This can be a disadvantage, though, as safe ingredients can be vilified online as “toxic” or even “dangerous” when science says otherwise. 

What is hydroquinone?

For those with scars, dark spots, and hyperpigmentation, this ingredient doesn’t just offer hope, it offers visible results. Hydroquinone (HQ), when applied topically, can help to inhibit the production of melanin. It has been proven to dramatically reduce brown spots. This is not a new ingredient with inconclusive research behind it. In fact, it has been used safely for more than five decades. When used properly, it is completely safe. Unfortunately, misinformation has spread fear among consumers who worry about the safety of hydroquinone.

Experts in skincare offer a different view, though. Montclair, NJ dermatologist Dr. Jeanine Downie recommends using 2% hydroquinone saying that “It works by blocking the hormones that cause the discoloration, and it breaks apart the pigment.” Dr. Downie mentioned something very noteworthy in her recommendation of HQ: the concentration of hydroquinone. This is mentioned in the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association’s position paper on hydroquinone. In this paper, experts state that the maximum allowable OTC concentration of 2% is considered safe.

This paper also addressed concerns over whether this ingredient is linked to cancer, which is a worrisome statement found on many websites. The concerns, according to the ASDSA, have been surrounding oral ingestion of hydroquinone. The report goes on to say that when applied topically, there “have been no reported incidences of cancer from topical application of hydroquinone on humans.” Science simply does not support any speculation of topical hydroquinone at the recommended concentrations being harmful.

A 2010 article on post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology by Erica C. Davis, MD and Valerie D. Callender, MD touches upon the safety of HQ. The doctors mention the concern over oral use of the lightening agent, but are clear that “there have been no reports of skin cancers or internal malignancies associated with topical HQ use.”

Should you be worried about hydroquinone in skincare products?

In a word, no. While there may be some blog posts out there with a bit of fear mongering, science says otherwiseIn fact, if you are one of the millions of people concerned about dark spots, scars or hyperpigmentation, an expertly formulated skincare product like my favorites below. Hydroquinone works quickly unlike other ingredients that can take months of regular use in order to see results. Plus, unlike laser treatments and deep chemical peels, products made with HQ are just as effective, but much less expensive.

Karley's recommendations for products containing hydroquinone

Alpha Skin Care Dual Action Skin Lightener -- Alpha Skin Care is an affordable skincare brand that I recommend wholeheartedly. Formerly known as Alpha Hydrox, the products in this line feature the proper concentration of active ingredients to be effective. While the packaging and textures may not be as swanky as other brands, you can purchase with confidence. I have used their retinol and AHA products and they are ones I consistently recommend. I also personally use this exact product. It has 10% glycolic acid, too, which boosts skin radiance and helps to diminish the look of fine lines.

Paula's Choice Resist Triple Action Dark Spot Eraser is best for oily skin, as it also contains 2% BHA (Salicylic Acid). BHA is oil soluble, meaning that the ingredients can get into your pores and help pull out the bacteria and debris that lead to acne. I recommend this hydroquinone product for oily and acne prone skin types.

Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum is my top pick for those with dull complexions in need of skin brightening, as well as those with dry skin and skin that has fine lines and wrinkles. In addition to featuring an effective concentration of hydroquinone, this one contains  wrinkle fighting peptides and glycolic acid to help brighten, slough away dead skin cells, and minimize the look of fine lines.

*This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase based on clicking these links, I earn a commission. As always, the products I have recommended the past 11 years on this blog, are ones I believe in.

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