product spotlight: exfolikate by kate somerville

exfolikate

I’ve been using ExfoliKate Gentle by Kate Somerville for a couple years now. This version of ExfoliKate was created specifically for those with a more sensitive skin type. You can find the original version (AKA Hollywood’s 2 Minute Facial) here. About ExfoliKate Gentle, don’t underestimate the potency of this product, it really does get the job done! Kate uses natural fruit enzymes from pineapple, papaya and pumpkin that eat away at the surface’s dead skin cells. Lactic acid and the perfect amount of vitamin A gently dissolve the dead skin, dirt and oil that is clogging your pores while vitamin E and aloe vera work to calm and soothe the skin. After using ExfoliKate Gentle a couple times per week, for a couple weeks, you will notice a much brighter and smoother skin tone. If you have sensitive skin and have a hard time finding a really effective exfoliant, you have to try this one! Click images above to shop.

*The main difference between the original ExfoliKate and ExfoliKate Gentle is that ExfoliKate is contains cinnamon oil and salicylic acid which creates a more stimulating effect that may be more suitable for oily, hyperpigmented or mature skin.

Aly ❤

at-home skincare guide for all skin types

I absolutely love educating people on their skin and needs, although sometimes it really surprises me when many clients and friends have no idea what they should be doing and using at home to take care of their skin. I’ve been avoiding this post for a minute now just because there’s so much information that I couldn’t imagine breaking it down into something short (which is usually more desirable to read, sorry). However, it’s more important to me that you really get something out of this one, so ergo, a long post…

First off, the 2 most important (no matter your skin type) things you should be doing every single day is 1. drinking a substantial amount of water and 2. wearing sunscreen. I tell all of my clients, “You could be using the best products, getting the best treatments regularly, but if you’re not drinking a lot of water and wearing sunscreen every day, you’re wasting your money.” In other words, if you’re not doing this everyday, everything else is pretty much pointless. If you have questions about sunscreen, I highly recommend you read this post I wrote last month, which will probably answer most of them.
A little bit of science for you….
Our skin is the largest organ in our body, which makes up almost 15% of our body weight. You have to understand that your skin is an organ just like your heart, lungs and liver before you can take the next step in understanding your skin and it’s needs. Our body is made up of an average of 60% water and requires it to survive. Although you could possibly go weeks without food, it would be close to impossible to go a week without water without perishing. Every organ in our body needs a solid amount of water in order to function properly or else it won’t. The reason we have to drink sooo much water in order for our skin to benefit, is because our skin is the outermost organ in our body therefore it’s the last place water is received. If our skin doesn’t obtain water, it will not function properly….it will not do what you think it should do or want it to do. It won’t excrete wastes, heal and repair properly, protect you from infectious organisms, generate good cell-turnover (exfoliate itself) and so much more. Your skin protects all your other organs, regulates temperate, acts as a receptor for touch, pain, pressure, heat and cold. If you aren’t drinking at least 100oz. a day, most likely your skin is dehydrated. I wrote all about combating dehydration in this post.
Phew. I summed that up as well as possible. If you can’t tell, I’m a huge advocate of wearing sunscreen and drinking lots of water. Now, for at home, I recommend keeping it simple. Here’s the steps you should take depending on your skin type….
Morning…
Oily/Combo: Use a water-based cleanser followed by some type of water-based serum with antioxidants or hydrating properties. If you are prone to breaking out, look for products with small doses of salicylic or lactic acid. When you apply the serum, wait about 30 seconds for it to dry, then apply a thin layer of an oil-free moisturizer with an SPF of 30-50.
Dry/Mature/Sensitive: Use an oil-based cleanser followed by some type of serum with antioxidants or hydrating properties. If your skin is really dry, look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid and vitamin E. If you’re sensitive, an oil-based serum with calming ingredients like lavender or calendula would be great for you. Apply serum, let dry for 30 seconds and proceed with a moisturizer with an SPF of 30-50.
Throughout the day…
Apply a hydrating mist/toner to obtain more water in your skin. I like this one. You also want to re-apply sunscreen around 2/3pm. Obviously we don’t want to apply another moisturizer mid-day, so this Makeup Setting Spray by Coola has an SPF of 30, which is perfect. Other skincare companies are catching on to this, so be on the lookout for other great options.
 http://www.sephora.com/makeup-setting-spray-spf30-P396623?skuId=1701671&om_mmc=ppc-GG_378477159_27499841079_pla-178157868999_1701671_97594791879_9030952_c&country_switch=us&lang=en&gclid=CMz4nvCg3tICFQp3fgodNnACLA
Evening…
Oily/Combo: Use a water-based cleanser followed by a treatment serum, such as one with Vitamin A (retin-A) in it. If you’re wearing makeup, don’t forget to double-cleanse! Feel free to some type of GENTLE scrub, nothing too abrasive or else you’ll create tiny, microscopic tears in your skin (that you may not see, but I can see under my mag-lamp!). This will help break down more dirt and oil that is building up in your pores and could lead to a break out. If you are acne prone, look for a serum containing ingredients that kill bacteria, such as tea tree oil. Aways top off with an oil-free moisturizer.
Dry/Mature/Sensitive: Use a moisturizing cleanser followed by a treatment serum packed with hyaluronic acid or my personal favorite, glycolic acid. If your skin is mature, you should use a serum containing retinol, 2 or 3 times per week. Retinol helps speed up cell-turnover which reduces the appearance of any fine lines. Apply a thick moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated thru the night.
Twice per week…
In the evening, exfoliate and mask after you cleanse
Oily/Combo: After cleansing, exfoliate with a scrub that contains a higher-than-usual content of exfoliating enzymes and acids such as willow bark (salicylic), lactic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Once you’re done with this step, time to mask! Use a clay mask on areas where you have large pores, whereas this is usually caused by congestion, and a clay mask essentially “pulls” dirt and oil from the skin. I wrote a post all about clay masks and how to use them here. After you remove the mask, apply serums and moisturizers as you would any other evening.
Dry/Mature/Sensitive: After cleansing, exfoliate with hydrating, dead-skin-cell-dissolving ingredients such as glycolic and lactic acid, and fruit enzymes. Before I became a Skin Health Expert at Kate Somerville, I’d been using her ExfoliKate for years so I’m not being biased when I say I love it! For sensitive skin like myself, go for the Gentle version. If you like a little more stimulation, try the Intensive version, you’ll love. After this step, apply a cream or gel mask with hydrating and anti-aging properties. Remove, apply serum moisturizer as you would any other evening.
Regularly…
Get a facial!
Oily/Combo: Once every 4-6 weeks. If you’re acne prone, you may have to be strict about going every 4 weeks to rid of the congestion that causing your skin to inflame. If you do this, eventually you’ll get your skin to where you want it, and then you can just maintain from there. It seems unfair that those with oily skin do have to invest more in regular visits, but on the bright side, remember that oily skin ages the slowest! 🙂
Dry/Mature/Sensitive: If you do a great job following your at-home regimen, you can get away with going every 6-8 weeks.
Be sure to ask your esthetician lots of questions to make the most of your time and money.
Well there you have it– at home skincare in a nutshell. Feel free to ask questions about products/treatments I recommend….or anything else, I’d love to answer.
XOXO,
Aly

all-time top 5 facial mists estheticians love

It’s almost summertime and I couldn’t be happier! Less clothes, no makeup and more sun.  It’s obvious the days will be hotter and where I live, even dryer. Keep in mind that the sun is the main culprit for absorbing the water from our skin therefore it’s imperative that we always have a *hydrating* mist or toner on hand, not just at home. Here is a list of my favorite alcohol-free mists that instantly deliver hydration and nourishment to your skin:

5. Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist $32

This one is a beautiful blend of rose extract which acts as a humectant (holds water), aloe for calming and healing, and witch hazel which helps balance your skin. Best for normal and combination skin types.

4. Colloidal Silver Mist $34

Combining just two essential ingredients, colloidal silver (natural disinfectant) and lavender floral water (calming and hydrating), this mist is a must have for those with breakout-prone skin. Keep it in your gym bag and don’t forget to rinse and spritz as soon as you get done working out. This antibacterial toner will change your life!

3. Coconut Mint Cooling Mineral Mist $22

This blend of sea salt minerals, coconut water, aloe leaf juice and peppermint oil is about as refreshing as it gets. I keep a bottle of this in my refrigerator at all times. Ideal for all skin types.

2. Nourish Hydrating Firming Mist $48

Lavender and orange essential oils soothe your skin while a rare blue-green algae that’s rich in amino acids, vitamins B, C and E help improve skins elasticity and firmness. Hydrating, anti-aging and smells A M A Z I N G. I love this mist! Perfect for all skin types, especially dry and mature.

1.  Sea Vitamin Boost $38

Organic red algae hydrates on a deep level protecting your skin from harsh conditions like wind and dry heat. Pomegranate is a superfood that provides nutrients to the skin as well as fights off free radicals that cause us to age. Also packed with another antioxidant-rich ingredient, resveratrol (derived from grape seeds), you can’t go wrong without this bottle of goodness! Works great for normal, dry and mature skin types.

**Hydration is key when it comes to anti-aging. You should always have some type of hydrating mist in your purse and on your nightstand…and if you’re a skincare junky like moi, in your refrigerator as well. The ones I’ve shared with you are safe to use as much as you’d like, anytime throughout the day, under and over makeup. 🙂

Questions? Ask away!

Cheers,
Aly

5 beauty products i swear by

5productsjan
*Click links below to shop! 🙂

1. Kate Somerville Clinic-to-Go Peel Pads $56

These peel pads are so good! They’re made up mostly of lactic acid which really helps dissolve whatever is inside the pores, leaving your skin feeling super clean and pores are tighter. I use these twice per week, at night, after I cleanse. It tingles at first, yesss. I leave it on for about 10 minutes (the tingling stops because it does self-neutralize) and then just rinse with warm water.

2. Lip Smacker Lip Balm $2

I’m so happy this stuff has always been around! No matter the trends with lip balm, gloss and everything else, Lip Smacker had it figured out from the beginning and has never changed. I really appreciate that. I also appreciate the Bubble Gum, Cotton Candy and Watermelon flavors. So silky and hydrating with a little bit of a pink tint. Love.

3. RMS Living Luminizer $38

I own a huge portion of the RMS Beauty line, but the Living Luminizer is the one I seriously haven’t gone a day without using in….like 2 years. It’s a very natural, “pretty” highlighter that’s super easy to apply. Literally just swipe with your finger and apply to cheek bones like sponge painting. I even started applying it to my cupids bow to draw more light to my lips. This is a beautiful formula and looks great on everyone.

4. Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant $13

Especially the Geranium! Geranium, anything and everything, please. This is the first natural deodorant that really does last all day. Trust me, I’ve tried so many. I still try not to think about how much money I’ve wasted on trying out new deodorants. Not cool.

5. Paul Mitchell Color Protect Locking Spray $14

UVA protection for your hair! Sunflower extract provides sun protection so your hair doesn’t dry out and color doesn’t fade. This spray also has castor oil in it, which is the best natural ingredient for strengthening and growing your hair. Jason says I’m over the top when it comes to sunscreen. I’m cool with that.

XOXO
~Aly

the best anti-aging supplements everyone should be taking

Fish Oil
Fish oil is the best supplement for your heart and overall health, but it also provides intense hydration to your skin and reduces inflammation. Skin diseases such as acne and psoriasis are both triggered by inflammation, in which taking a daily anti-inflammatory supplement will literally change your life. If I had to choose one supplement to take for the rest of my life this would be it. If you’re vegan, try flax seed oil, chia seed oil or even walnut oil. These are my favorite fish oil capsules. They also come in liquid form (they’re naturally flavored and taste just fine, pinky prom.), which is how I prefer it, but if you’re a beginner, stick with the capsules!
 
♡ Zinc
 Zinc is arguably as strong as antibiotics when it comes to killing bacteria. It’s also a great healing and anti-inflammatory supplement. If you suffer from acne, I highly recommend incorporating zinc into your diet. Try these supplements by Dr. Murad.
 
♡ Vitamins ACE ♡
 Vitamin A helps balance sebum production (great for oily skin types), while vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects us from free radicals and sun damage. Vitamin E is another anti-inflammatory that pairs well with Vitamin C for they both are a good source of UVA protection. I recommend eating a high-veggie diet that includes leafy greens like spinach and kale, along with others rich in beta-carotene like carrots and sweet potatoes. Vegetables are packed with micronutrients that are essential to healthy, supple skin. 
xoxo, 
Aly