Aug 26, 2010

Keep The Spirit of Summer Alive With Faux Glows and Beachy Blues

Summer may be winding down but you don't need the warm weather to look post-vaycay bronzed and beautiful. In my mind (and technically speaking), September still falls under summer and I like to take full advantage of that. Don't be afraid to rock warm weather-inspired shades all month long and keep a faux glow going on as long as you need to.

Here is a summer-inspired, multi-hued look I've been sporting lately as I desperately cling to the ephemeral  notion of beach days and flip flops. I've been testing out several new products in the beauty laboratory and come to the conclusion that they're awesome and great makeup for any season.

Disclaimer: Please excuse the fact that I look like a total loser in these photos. All in the name of beauty right!? I guess I'm comfortable looking like a massive tool with my super serious "makeup model" face on. Err… Whatevs! Just go with it.

Here are the products I used to create my multi-color summer face:

Sephora created the Beauty In A Box Summer Goddess Palette ($36, Sephora) to help you master stunning summer makeup. The palette comes with a gorgeous bronzer, turquoise eye pencil, two eyeshadows (in Swimming Pool Blue and Coppery Summer), black mascara, a powder brush, and a slanted eyeshadow brush. Plus there are easy-to-follow instructions with great visuals to help you achieve the summer skin you're after. I definitely had a  J.Lo moment after using it. I give the bronzers two thumbs up and love how the blue and copper shadows brings out the brown in my eyes. I brushed the copper shadow all over my lid and smudged up into my brow bone, applied the blue shadow like a liner on my lower lash liner and added the turquoise eye pencil in the corners of both lids. I then swept the bronzer all of my face in a very non-sparingly manner. I love me some bronzer.

To add extra drama to my eyes and because sometimes I just want to keep playing with colors,  I added one of my favorite new shadow duos: L'Oréal Paris Studio Secrets Professional Metallic Shadow Duos in shade Ignited ($8, drugstores). The plummy purple and luxe gold shadows complimented the blue and copper shades I had on surprisingly well. L'Oreal's latest metallic shadows come in really beautiful shades and don't crease at all.  I love the collection and highly recommend throwing a few in your shopping basket the next time you're at the drugstore.

To add volume to my lashes and make my eyes pop I swiped on a coat of SENSAI 38ºC Eyelash Base ($38, Bergdorf Goodman) and Mascara ($25, Bergdorf Goodman) in black. By adding the base primer, my lashes were coated with a formula that makes mascara look even longer and thicker on. It's sort of genius. I also like the size of SENSAI's mascara wand as it makes it easy to get the hard to reach-barely there lashes in the inner corner of your eye.The humidity and tear resistant formula doesn't budge but washes off easily with water at 38°C or higher. Love it.

Finally, I added SENSAI's Deep Moisture Shine Rouge in #104 KURENAI TSUTSUJI ($40, to draw some attention to my pout. SENSAI's latest lip line is super soft and creamy on my lips and I loved the neutral-pink shade. I tend to usually go for more dusty-rose pinks but really liked how the lighter hue worked with the myriad of colors on my eyes.

For me, my colorfully eclectic eyes, super bronzed skin and pouty pink lips evoke the bright, cheerful feelings of summer. I love experimenting and mixing together different eye colors and I absolutely adore any and all shades of blue. Blue is one of the most versatile shades and blends easily with many other colors. If you don't have at least one shade of blue, make sure you put that on the top of your beauty to-do list.

I'm also a big fan of mixing department store makeup with drugstore brands. There are so many great products out there in both categories. To recreate a similar look pick up some of these great finds in shades that work for you! Don't forget summer isn't over yet! Keep wearing bright summer shades as long as you possibly can! 

Aug 24, 2010

COVERGIRL's Latest & (I think) Greatest

COVERGIRL's shiny new cosmetics (used on Maggie Gyllenhaal at the "Nanny McPhee Returns" premiere) got me sufficiently intrigued so I had to test them out myself. They've had a slew of praise-worthy products come out in the last few months including their Simply Ageless Foundation (a CEW Beauty Awards Winner) and Smoky ShadowBlast double-sided Eyeshadow stick (also a CEW Beauty Winner), so I was already impressed with their offerings.
I'm always looking for beauty basics such as primers, lip colors and eye enhancers and I certainly found them in their latest collection. I tested out their COVERGIRL & Olay Simply Ageless Serum-Primer and loved how lightweight it felt on my skin. I  was also impressed by how non-clogged my pored felt after use. I'm always looking for a great lip stain (so much less up-keep than a gloss or stick) and always looking for a great eyeliner pencil and I'm pretty sure COVERGIRL knocked it out of the park (I've been living in Boston for way too long) with these products. I am OBSESSED with their LiquiLineBlast pencils. They go on super smooth (almost gel-like) but don't end up ringing around your eyes at the end of the day. The smudger on the other end of the pencil gives an incredibly firm and precise point and the shades are incredibly versatile. The pigments are rich and extremely blendable. The consistency reminds me of a liquid liner but the pencil makes applications easy. Only complain I've heard from online reviews has been about finding a sharpener that works effectively once the pencil goes blunt. I'm also loving their Outlast Lipstains. I had tried a few in the past and could never really find the right shade. Ironically, I found it when I tried the same shade Ms. Gyllenhaal was sporting: 450 Saucy Plum. Talk about versatile! The cherry-plum stain is rich but not overpowering and brings out a great natural-looking flush with the contrast in color to my skin tone. I love this shade!

So the next time you're looking for a quality drugstore buy check out COVERGIRL's latest treasures!


Get the look: Maggie Gyllenhaal at the "Nanny McPhee Returns" Premiere

Maggie Gyllenhaal looked retro sweet at the premiere of her new movie "Nanny McPhee Returns" starring Emma Thompson. COVERGIRL makeup artist created her 1920's-1930's inspired look. Stern says she wanted to combine a smoky eye with an added electric element and a deeply stained lip.
 Here's what Stern did to create Gyllenhaal's standout red carpet look:
SKIN: "I started by prepping the skin with Lavender [Hydrating] Mist by Jurlique and moisturized with SK11 Facial Lift Emulsion. Next, I primed her skin with COVERGIRL & Olay Simply Ageless Serum-Primer and sparingly used Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation", Stern says. She then blushed the cheek with Chantecaille Aqua Blush in "Daring" with a powder blush overtop. Finally, to set the look, Sterns says, "I used La Mer Treatment Powder Foundation just in the t-zone".

EYES: Stern gave the actress an updated smokey eye using purple shades which brought out the star's gorgeous baby blue eyes. To create the sultry stare Stern says she "smoked the eye out with Shu Uemura IR Purple 795 Pressed Eyeshadow".  The celebrity makeup guru then lined the top lash line with Shiseido Automatic Fine Eyeliner in brown and smudged out the bottom lash line with COVERGIRL LiquiLineBlast Eye liner in "Violet Voltage". To add even more drama she swiped two coats of COVERGIRL LashBlast Fusion Mascara in Brown onto her lashes with a little black mascara on the ends.

LIP: Stern gave her already defined lips a deep pout using the new shade of COVERGIRL Outlast Lipstain in Saucy Plum


Aug 23, 2010

Create Arch Envy With Talika Eyebrow Extender

Regular brow grooming should be part of every woman's beauty routine.  Unfortunately, not everyone has a full set of brows to trim and tame. Whether you naturally have sparse brows or an unfortunate, obsessive tweezing fit left you with some seriously anorexic arches, you know filling in what's missing is of utmost importance.

Eyebrows frame your eyes (your most important feature) and define your whole face. As many of you girls know, they can make a huge difference to your overall appearance. If you have thin  brows or light hair, adding color and depth to your arches will lead to a fantastic transformation. Full, perfectly shaped arches ooze polish and sophistication and frankly, make you look A LOT better. Have you ever seen a celeb on the red carpet completely done up with every inch of her face brushed,  bronzed, and colored in to perfection with the exception of her brows? Nope and you never will. A darkened and defined set of arches looks glam and gorgeous.

Most people use pencils or shadows to shade in the area but I recently discovered an even better method: Talika Eyebrow Extender ($35, -in brown, dark brown and black). The extender is made up of  a transparent gel filled with hair-like pigmented  fibers that instantly cling to the hairs you do have. The gel plumps up, shapes, darkens and tames your brows in one swipe. This is a great tool for those repeat offenders who have plucked so much the hairs won't grow back. The extender makes your brows look naturally thick and you can double up on the amount you want to use, depending on your preference.  

The Eyebrow Extender even has a celebrity following. The City star, Whitney Port uses Talika on her light blond-brown brows. Her makeup artist, Lisa Garner loves the product and says " I love to use Talika's Eyebrow Extender when doing Whitney Port's eyebrows.  Not only do the fibers build a natural looking brow, the gel really keeps them in they looked beautifully groomed all night long."
To apply rotate the bottom part of the extender until the product reaches 1 to 2 mm over the tip. After a few clicks, the pen-like tube makes the gel easy to transfer onto the brow-comb tip so you can simultaneously shape your brows and ensure that the fibers are distributed evenly.
Comb your brows into the shape you want and then apply the extender on cleansed brows and voila Brooke Shields here you come!


Aug 20, 2010

Get Your Glow On Without The Sun

Happy Friday friends!

Hope everyone has some fun weekend plans! If those plans involve lounging by a pool or frolicking on a beach, I jealous. If you're plans don't involve reapplying sunscreen every 30-40 minutes but you still want to look like you spent the weekend in your bathing suit fear not. I have some fantastic sun-less tanning solutions for you!  

Perfect Prep Body Slimmer By Mally Beauty ($35, people don't like using a sunless tanning lotion because of all the preparation time needed or they prefer something instant and temporary. Celebrity makeup, artist Mally Roncal (who has worked with Beyonce) created a bronzing solution that makes you look slimmer from every angle. The pressed-powder formula combines moisturizers, beeswax and lanoline with just the right amount of shimmer to give your skin a gorgeous, vibrant glow. The compact comes with a uniquely designed "The Bone Finder" applicator which features a flat shape that makes it easy to follow the contour of the bones and muscles for a sculpted application. Most people love how slim their tan body looks and this mimics that exact effect without having to roast in the sun. The Slimmer is available in a light shade for fair skin tones and dark shade for tan complexions. I used the dark shade and thought it was a great body bronzer.

Lierac-Autobronzant Hydration Corps ($30, or's Self Tanning Lotion gives you a streak-free tan without the typical tanning smell. The active ingredients in the lotion include cinnamon (known for its tonic and antiseptic properties and commonly used for its soothing effect) and pure vanilla (concentrated forms of vanilla have deep-tanning qualities which result in more intense and rapid tanning). The self-tanner evens and prolongs a natural tan, while also providing anti-aging benefits.


Clarins Delicious Self Tanning Cream ($42, This silky, lightly scented self tanner for the body was a  CEW Beauty Awards Winner. The caramel-colored lotion glides on smoothly and provides a mistake-proof application. The golden-glow formula has Pure Cocoa which makes it smell delicious and feel amazing on the skin.


St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse ($30, this top of the line self-tanning solution on your body and face. The tanning products use Aromaguard™ fragrance technology which eliminated the typical self tan aroma by at least 70% and the mousse makes application quick and simple. The tanner dries in an instant and the color is long-lasting. Remember to exfoliate your body beforehand to optimize the effects of the tanner.

Guerlain Terracotta Spray SPF 10 ($59, If you use airbrush spray foundations (like I do) you already know how much you love this type of format for the face. Terracotta Spray uses the technology of a professional airbrush makeup application and goes on in an ultra-light mist. The spray diffuses evenly onto the skin and ensures a uniform application that covers ever inch of the face. It's a fantastic bronzer and has SPF 10. Guerlain has long been the leader in producing high quality bronzers and sun-centric products and this is no different.

L'Oréal Paris Sublime Bronze Properfect Airbrush Self-Tanning Mist ($9.99, mentioned, I'm a big fan of airbrush products. They spray on effectively and truly give the most even, flawless finish. This self tanning mist for the body flash-dries so there's no need to rub it in. You can easily spray your hard to reach places like you back or the back of your legs with this bottle and your natural-looking tan will begin to develop in less than an hour. 

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer people! You're definitely going to want to keep these sunless tanners around after Labor Day to ensure you're golden sun-induced glow doesn't fade away along with the warm weather!

Aug 19, 2010

Excess Baggage? Eye Opening Eye Cream Reviews

I recently discussed why we get puffy dark under-eye circles and some ways to treat them but I also want to review some of the eye creams I've been using lately. Eye creams work differently on different people. Everyone has a different skin type and need and there are plenty out there that will truly help address your issues. It's just a matter of finding the right one for you. Here are some of the latest eye creams I've tried out and liked:

Sampar Eye Rule ($78 at The cream comes in a massaging ball applicator. Click it to the right and the solution neatly comes out in a circular formation on the ball. The cream is packed with adenosine and peptides, which hydrates, refreshes, and smoothes the skin. It definitely feels refreshing on and I look forward to using it after a long day out and about. It seems to calm down the aggravated delicate skin and there's no doubt the cream has softened the area.

Sensai Recovery Concentrate For Eyes ($180 at This luxe serum is thick, creamy, and extremely moisturizing. It helps boost cellular enery metabolism and minimizes the appearance of wrinkles and dark circles. My skin definitely looks radiant after using it and it's very gentle on the skin. I kinda wanted to lather it all over my face.

Shiseido White Lucent Brightening Eye Treatment ($52 at & This award-winning cream addresses both melanin formation and poor local microcirculation. Two major causes of dark circles. The treatment brings a brightness to the eye area and diminishes the appearance of melanin pigments. I've been using this for a few weeks and while I haven't seen any radical changes yet, I still really like how it feels on the skin. It's also made the skin under my eyes feel incredibly soft. Not sure about the dark circles yet but am still holding out hope!

B.Kamins Bio Maple Eye Cream ($60 at I love this skincare line. The cream is meant for dry skin (like mine) and its glossy finish soothes the skin and relaxes the eye area. It's formulated with Episphere-Blue™ technology, which is made of heat-activated, time-released tiny blue capsules of anti-oxidant vitamin E to help moisturize and repair the skin.

I'll be adding to this list as I continue to try eye creams, so keep looking out for my reviews. I will not stop till I find the perfect eye cream!!

Excess Baggage? Under Eye Causes & Solutions Revealed!

For many women (including myself), dark, puffy under-eye circles is their number one beauty concern. You can get plenty of sleep, keep alcoholic drinks to a minimum and still have circles and bags. This beauty ailment can be the result of a few different factors: allergies, lack of  sleep, nasal congestion, sun exposure, fluid retention, pigmentation irregularities, and/or heredity and age. Unfortunately, dark circles can make you look older and tired and really take away from your face's natural radiance.

Main Causes:

Renowned dermatologist Dr. Susan Evans explains that, " Dark under-eye circles begin in the capillaries. Your capillaries are so small that red blood cells sometimes have to line up, single file, to get through. Frequently, red blood cells get lost and wander and leak into the surrounding skin." According to, this is normal and your body has a mechanism to mop us these rogue cells. Enzymes break down the red blood cells , including their hemoglobin (which gives blood its color). Unfortunately when the hemoglobin is broken down, the remaining components have a dark black-blue color. Your dark under-eye circles are caused by leaky capillaries. This is the same reason we get bruises. Blood can leak out into the surrounding skin and the excess hemoglobin (which appears dark purplish) remains. According to an article in, dark circles can also be caused by excess pigment produced from the melanocytes, or pigment cells.

Puffiness on the other hand, may be attributed to changes as you age. Your body holds the natural "fat pads" of your skin in with supporting ligaments. As we age these ligaments stretch and the "fat pads" become more visible. There is also a loss of elasticity to the surrounding skin which may cause the puffiness around the skin.

These main causes aside, some circles can be attributed to more serious medical conditions. Dr. Evans says, " Medical causes  for unexplained Hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) for all patients should be excluded first.  Your initial differential diagnosis may include kidney or liver disease, diabetes and Peripheral vascular disease". She goes on to say, " PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) arises from an acquired excess of pigment related to an inflammatory process, such as infection, an allergic reaction, or a reaction to medication, trauma. In particular, PIH often occurs as a consequence of inflammatory skin disorders, including acne, drug-induced eruptions and eczema". Once you've ruled out these issues you can look for a solution that suits your skin care needs.


A good eye cream is essential but there are a few other treatment options you can use to depuff the eyes and reduce the appearance of dark circles.
Cool Compress/Green Tea Bags-For puffiness Dr. Evans recommends applying a cool compress with green tea bags to the lower eyelids. You can also use chilled teaspoons or frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel to reduce puffy skin. 

Elevate Your Head- According to try to "elevate your head with two or more pillows to prevent puffiness that develops when fluid pools in your lower eyelids." 

Saline Wash or Spray-The website also recommends using a saline wash or spray. They advise you to "rinse your sinuses with a saltwater  solution (mix 1/4 teaspoon sea salt with 2 cups warm water) or over-the-counter saline spray to relieve nasal congestion".  I personally  have never done this therefore, can't personally endorse this tip. 

Potato recommends putting your food to work. By cutting a potato (which has a skin-lightening enzyme called catecholase) into two thin slices you can temporarily fade the rings. Leave them on for 10 minutes (twice a week) to allow the juice to seep into your skin.  

Take an Antihistamine- recommends consulting your doctor if your circles appear during allergy season. Ophthalmologist, Dr. Robert Mirsky says, "Airborne allergens cause blood to pool in the vessels under your skin. Plus, rubbing your eyes can bruise those same vessels, causing a dark appearance under the eyes."  Your doctor might recommend an antihistamine or allergy-relief eye drops. Do not try anything without consulting a medical professional.

The other solutions remain the most popular: using eye creams recommends doubling up on eye creams. They cited a study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology which showed that Vitamin K (the gold standard for lightening the color of the under-eye area) is even more effective when combined with a topical vitamin A derivative (such as retinol). Since retinol is always used on its own, use two creams-one with retinol and one with Vitamin K. Vitamin K can reduce the coagulation of blood in the area and reduce the appearance of dark circles. They recommend MD Skincare Lift & Lighten and MD Formulations Vit-A-Plus Anti-Aging Eye Complex.

Retinol isn't for everyone (it makes your skin very sun-sensitive and can be overly drying), which is why Dr. Evans urges people to speak to a medical professional to consult with them what products you're using in combination. It's important to speak to someone who knows your skin type and color and who is familiar with these products because incorrect use of these agents can lead to hyperpigmentation.
If you can tolerate retinol (remember a little goes a LONG way) you should use it. Retinol stimulates cell turnover and collagen production which will help strengthen the skin and reduce complexion imperfections. recommends Olay Professional Pro-X Eye Restoration Complex.

For other eye cream recommendations check out's 16 Top-Rated Eye Creams

I myself am still searching for the perfect eye cream. I've definitely found a few front runners but I have yet to find a product I swear by. In the mean time, I'm going to focus on getting plenty of rest so my skin doesn't look hollow and thin and focus on the creams I'm testing out to see how the affect my skin and what I like. Different eye creams work for different skin types and needs. There are many out there that will work effectively on your skin. I'll do my best to help connect you with those winners!  Stay tuned!

Aug 17, 2010

Get Clean With A Molton Brown Gift With Purchase

Hey Lords and Ladies!

Brit brand, Molton Brown has some of the most luxurious bath and body products around. I love having their fragrant white mulberry liquid hand wash in the bathroom for when I have guests over (I feel like a super sophisticated Susie Homemaker) or lathering on their heavenly gingerlily body cream to start off my day. Luckily, right now I can restock on my fav products and score some divine MB loot in the process. From now till September 1st (which is frighteningly not that far off) you can snag a free bottle of their best-selling bath & shower scents, (a $28 value) and free shipping every time you spend a total of $65 at Choose from the wafting scents of either blissful templetree, ultrasmooth coco de mer (my personal fav), inspiring wild-indigo or enlivening toko-yuzu. I know what you're wondering: am I talking about body wash fragrances or a delicious four course tasting menu with exotic ingredients. Right!? Errr... or not.

Use the following codes at check out to get your free bottle and enjoy the bliss and luxury of one of my favorite skincare brands!

· Blissful templetree moisture bath & shower – enter: TEMPLE at checkout

· Ultrasmooth coco de mer bath & shower – enter: DEMER at checkout

· Inspiring wild indigo bath & shower – enter: INDIGO at checkout

· Enlivening toko-yuzu bath & shower – enter: TOKO at checkout

Aug 16, 2010

MAC Wants To Know Which Venomous Disney Villain You Are

I couldn't be more excited about MAC's latest collection collaboration: a line that celebrates all the villainous Disney characters we love to hate. Yes, they were evil and menacing, but some of them rocked some rather enviable makeup choices. Am I the only one who thought the Evil Queen in Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs had the most gorgeous ruby (poisonous) red apple pout? Perhaps.

The appropriately named Venomous Villains line comes out September 30th just in time for a fresh new fall makeover. The products feature Cruella De Vil from "101 Dalmatians", The Evil Queen from "Snow White", Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty" and Doctor Facilier from "The Princess and the Frog" in the forms of nail polishes, lip sticks, blushes and eye shadows. How fantastically evil!
The shades all look totally wearable though. The blood-red lipstick "Toxic Tale" is reminiscent of Snow White's ominous apple and looks bright and fresh, while a gun-metal eggplant-green nail lacquer inspired by Maleficent called "Mean & Green" would colorfully accent a more subdued and neutral fall fashion color palette perfectly. I also love the look of "Oh so fair", a baby pink beauty powder in the Evil Queen's collection and "Innocence Beware", a taupe lipstick ode to the particularly evil species known as Cruella de Vil.
The shades look edgy and purrfect for transitioning from punchy-melon super bright summer shades to more sophisticated fall contouring on the cheek bones and lids. Tans, grays and army greens are going to be seen everywhere this fall and this is the collection to wear with that palette. Since I think we all have a little Disney villain in us, this collection will be fun for everyone. Which Disney villain do you most relate to? None of them!? Or even better-all of them! Love it! Can't wait to try these puppies out!

Aug 15, 2010

Caudalie: Grape Appeal

It's been well documented that a glass or two of wine on a daily basis is beneficial to your health and heart, but who knew the grapes used to make this wine would also have amazing benefits for your skin as well. Caudalie Skin Care products use grape seed polyphenols (the most powerful antioxidants in the vegetable world) to protect against free radicals that age the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

I recently discovered the brand after staying with a friend who had a sizable collection of their lotions, potions, and serums. She also has a rather flawless complexion, so of course I was intrigued.

The skin care line was started by a French couple who worked on a French vineyard for a summer and encountered and then collaborated with a prominent scientist who introduced them to the powerful benefits of the grape seed. The polyphenols in grape seeds are known as Resveratrol, "a molecule found in grapevine stalks responsible for its life span and longevity. Some of these vines last for a century and their researchers discovered the polypehnol also aids in cell renewal and restores skin firmness.

They later patented their latest grape innovation, Viniferine-a polyphenol from the sap of a grapevine that diminishes dark spots and clarifies the complexion. This latest polyphenol discovery even protects against discoloration and leaves your complexion even and radiant.

I've been using their Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Cream, Toning Lotion, and 1st Wrinkle Serum. I'm eager to try the rest of the line. The cream, serum and lotion feel amazingly light and fresh on my skin. The distinct smell has an earthy, grapey note to it. Ha, just kidding. It kinda smells like grapes but more just has a floral aroma that smells as good as it feels on the skin.

Check out the fantastic brand and tell me what you think!

Aug 12, 2010

Don't Let "Bacne" Keep You From The Beach

Summer may be winding down but there are definitely a few more beach/pool days on the calendar and getting your beach bod together is as important now as it was on Memorial Day. The key to looking great (besides keeping the body as tight and toned as possible or in my case sucking in for dear life) is having great, clear skin. Unfortunately for many people (especially dudes) back acne is a major problemo.

Causes of Bacne

According to Dr. Susan Evans, chief of dermatology at Skincare Physicians of Beverly Hills, "facial and back acne develops in a similar manner and expresses itself in similar lesions".  Dr. Evans (a health and beauty expert on shows such as Oprah, Dr. Oz, and The Today Show) does say that the "sebaceous glands (glands that secrete oils) on the back are larger and produce more oil than those on the face. These larger glands can produce more severe lesions such as nodules and cysts more frequently. The skin on the back is also much thicker than that on the face". That means that if you're already prone to acne on your face, you could find yourself with some less-than desirable large and in charge cystic-acne like zits on your back. Who feels confident with those around?

Dr. Evans, says back acne or "bacne" can also be caused by irritation of the skin and aggravated by anything that rubs against it such as tight fitting clothes, bra straps or back packs. Unfortunately, this type of acne, also known as "acne mechanica", will get worse with moisture. So, if you're sweaty (especially in the humid weather) and mix that in with repeated rubbing against an irritant, your condition will likely worsen. Frustrating right?

Treatment Options

-Your first step is to make sure your clothes aren't the culprit and you aren't specifically allergic or aggravated by particular fabrics. Make sure to cleanse your skin with an antibacterial wash that will remove surface bacteria. Try Dial Clean & Refresh Antibacterial Body Wash in Mountain Fresh ($5.99, Walgreens). 
-Then, invest in a good back scrubber ($6.99, drugstores) and loofah ($2.99 drugstores). Not only should you be using an antibacterial wash and acne products that contain Salicylic Acid and Alpha Hydroxy acids, you should be scrubbing and exfoliating the surface area daily to slough away dead skin and prevent your pores from clogging which causes breakouts.  

-Next find a body wash and/or exfoliating scrub that targets acne issues.

I'm a fan of Neutrogena's Body Clear line that includes their Pink Grapefruit Body Wash, regular Body Wash and Body Scrub ($6.99, drugstores).  The scrub and washes contain the maximum strength dermatologist recommended amount of Salicylic Acid (a proven acne-fighting ingredient) and none of them will dry out your skin.

Other Favorites:

Yu-Be Foaming Skin Polish ($18.00, This super gentle yet super effective scrub uses rice bran and walnut shell powder to slough away dead skin on your face and body. I swear by this stuff and it's transformed my skin.

AHAVA Pure Spa Dead Sea Liquid Salt ($22.00, The formula, a 2008 CEW Beauty Insider Finalist, contains an intense concentration of Dead Sea minerals that regenerate the skin and detoxify its tissues (like a regular scrub would). For many people, sea salt (like ocean water) is a great remedy for clearing up acne. This will mimic those effects. Be careful to not use this on your face and keep it away from your eyes and open cuts. The high concentration of sea salt will make open wounds burn. 
Fresh Umbrian Clay Treatment Bar  ($38.00. Sephora)-A  purifying treatment bar for the face or body. Sephora reviewers LOVE this versatile tool, which can be used as a deep cleanser, an instantly detoxifying mask, or a spot treatment to heal blemishes and irritation. The high mineral content soothes irritations and reduces breakouts.
Anthony Logistics For Men Glycerin Cleansing Bar  ($8.50, Sephora)- A gentle, vegetable-based cleansing soap for the body and the face that's suited for acne-prone and sensitive skin. It contains orange extract, a natural alpha-hydroxy acid and smoothes the skin thanks to its natural antiseptic qualities.

-Once out of the shower use a toner that will get rid of any other oils, impurities and dirt left behind. Try La Roche Posay Effaclar Toner Astringent Lotion ($20.90, CVS & The effective toner might be too harsh on the face (if you have especially sensitive skin) but the thick skin on your back will benefit from its pore de-clogging treatment ingredients.

-Finally, if you need immediate treatment for an already erupted mound, find a spot solution that contains benzoyl peroxide. I'm a fan of B. Kamins Medicated Acne Gel 10% Benzoyl Peroxide ($28.00, It effectively treats moderate to severe acne and won't dry out the skin. Plus you only need a tiny amount per blemish, so the tube lasts a long time.

So, if you want a blemish-free back this summer take these treatment tips to heart.

*A home remedy I've heard works but haven't tried is putting vinegar in a spray bottle and spritzing it all over your back. Not sure how it works or how effective it is but could be a good home-remedy option! If you don't mind the potent smell!

Aug 11, 2010

Harajuku Girls Spice Up My Makeup Bag

Besides my wallet, keys, and iPhone, my makeup bag is the number one thing you'll always find in my purse. In fact, I'm such a nut, I can barely ever use a small evening-out clutch because I love having my clunky makeup bag toting around with me wherever I am. Sick makeup obsession? Weird dependency on cosmetics? Maybe, but I love it!

I've decided it's high time I get a trendier bag to reflect the primping and pampering obsessed girl that I am. Who better to emulate than total style and beauty icon Gwen Stefani! I recently came across her Harajuku Lovers Makeup Girls Bags and am swooning! The adorable makeup bags feature the equally adorable Harajuku Girls armed with their beauty arsenal. There are a few different versions available: Organizer ($38.00), Clutch ($24-28.00-which I got my hands on), Pencil Case ($18-20.00), and Wallet ($28.00). They're super fun and reflective of  the girly giddiness I feel around my fav. products. So long, free plastic 'gift with purchase' makeup bags and hello to a more appropriate partnership!

These bags put me in a great mood while lugging around my beauty loot and for that I'm grateful! Check out the collection available for a limited time at Sephora.

Disclosure: We received  samples of Harajuku Lovers Makeup Bags