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How to Keep Your Skin Moisturized

How to Keep Your Skin Moisturized

Whatever skin graces your face and body, a great moisturizer is your best defense against the ravages of winter weather.

In the words of literally everyone in Westeros (editor’s note: Game of Thrones reference), “winter is coming.” And with winter comes colder temperatures, sharper winds, drier air and faker heat, all of which combine to form the perfect storm for dry skin. Maybe you have dry skin that’s only getting drier or oily skin that isn’t quite sure what to do with itself in the winter or combination skin that could use a little TLC…whatever skin graces your face and body, a great moisturizer is your best defense against the ravages of winter weather. Below are some uber-effective favorites for face and body — you can thank me in the spring.

For super-dry skin:

Look for a thick, creamy formula to coat your face in morning and night. If you’re super dry, it’ll be hard to over-moisturize if you’re using natural ingredients that also work as mild exfoliants to remove dead skin cells so the hydrating ingredients can penetrate further into the skin. You should also consider layering your moisturizer with oil at night for serious while-you-sleep benefits. Just follow the right order of layering!

Our pick: The Gentle Label Organic Healing Balm

For oily skin:

Opt for something lightweight without a ton of ingredients. As you likely already know, oily skin is most often caused by an imbalance or lack of moisture, so even though it may feel unnecessary, moisturizing oily skin is just as important as moisturizing dry skin. If you don’t, you risk even slicker skin as oil glands go into hyperdrive. Bonus points if the moisturizer includes ingredients like hyaluronic acid that can absorb up to 1,000 times its weight in water, all but ensuring your face stays hydrated all season long.

Our pick: Youth To The People Moisture Cream

For sensitive skin:

You’ll also want to stick with something lightweight and full of gentle ingredients like shea butter and antioxidants. To play it really safe, consider a formula that doesn’t contain oils — they may aggravate your skin further — and instead relies on aloe for moisturizing properties.

Our pick: Juice Beauty Antioxidant Moisturizer 

For heavy-duty hand moisture:

Don’t be afraid to slather on the thickest, goopiest stuff you can get your dry little hands on. Seriously, one of my favorite things to do during the winter is load my hands up with a skin salve, massage it in, then cover my slimy hands in a clean pair of socks (or gloves made specifically for this purpose if you have the foresight to buy them) and go to sleep. I wake up with socks for hands and baby-soft, highly-moisturized paws. (You can do the same for your feet, too.) If that’s not something you’d be into, a plain ol’ salve applied liberally and often will do the trick.

Our pick: Lanolips Golden Dry Allover Skin Salve 

For the rest of your body:

When it’s cold and dry out, nothing beats standby coconut oil for full-body conditioning. For the best results, use it right after a shower or bath when your skin is best able to soak it up and don’t be afraid to really get into all the nooks and crannies. (You’re an English muffin, baby!) Feel free to use whatever is left on your hands as a nice little treatment for the ends of your hair.

Our pick: Kopari Beauty Organic Coconut Melt

Makeup to Shake Up Your Routine

Makeup to Shake Up Your Routine

November is right around the corner — it’s high time you reexamined your makeup bag.

Fall is a time for cozy sweaters, baked goods that contain apples, getting some fresh air (but not too much — it’s cold!), and switching things up a bit. You’ve made it through the dog days of summer, which likely means you did some overhauling of your makeup routine back in June to account for the temperature, humidity and general summer-ness of, well, summer.

But November is right around the corner and with the trees shedding their leaves in the name of seasonal changes and eventual renewal, it’s high time you reexamined your makeup bag. The stuff you wore daily during warmer, wetter months likely isn’t going to play nice with drier, colder air and the effects it has on your skin.

If you’re ready to make some cosmetics swaps — and try something fun and new in the process — read on!

If you like a rosy cheek without the help of freezing, fast wind…

…let blush help. Since you’re no longer spending time in the sun, you want to be careful that your blush looks as natural as possible given the weather, aka soft pinks over oranges and bronzes. This also means you’ll want to favor a formula that starts subtle and lets you build so as not to overdo it and run the risk of looking like you were just caught in a snowstorm for hours. Lily Lolo’s Blush Duo offers two versions of a pretty, soft pink shade that lets you layer both a matte and radiant version for your ideal cheek.

If you’re into bright, matte lipstick…

…consider a lip stain instead. A standard lipstick is great when you want to pack a punch of color, but many formulas can be drying if you wear them frequently. Since your lips are already more thirsty than usual, swap that lipstick for a hydrating balm layered with a lip stain like Unpa’s 24/7 Lip Stain for a moisturizing, just-bitten pout that will match the gorgeous leaf piles everywhere.

If you need coverage and hydration…

…add a BB cream to your kit. During warmer months, it made sense to let your skin breathe and not cover it up with a layer of makeup. But now that it’s colder out and your skin loses moisture more easily, a BB cream — like the one from Lily Lolo — as a base offers an added layer of hydration and insurance that you won’t be a cracked, flakey mess by day’s end. It’s also a beautiful, subtle way to add some glow back to your skin if you’re feeling particularly flat.

If your dry skin is looking a little flat…

…a warm, semi-metallic highlighter will bring back your summer glow. A little bit smudged into the corners of your eyes, the bridge of your nose and the tops of your cheeks will offer a natural brightness to matte, dry skin by warming it up just enough. If you’re worried about overdoing it, opt for one with an ultra-targeted applicator like RMS’ Multeyetasker to make sure you’re only putting it exactly where you want it.

If you love a bold eye but the cold wind is wreaking havoc on your peepers…

…step away from the eyeliner and eyeshadow. When the wind picks up and cold temperatures lead to watery eyes, the more makeup you have in that general area, the more noticeable it will be when it starts to run. So focus on only one eye product — might I suggest mascara? — to cut down on smudging and running. The beauty of mascara is that once it dries, the wind can’t mess with it and if you choose the right formula, one that’s suitable for sensitive eyes and won’t rub off easily like the Lily Lolo version, it won’t leave you looking like a tired raccoon, either.

If you want a product that pulls triple duty…

…salve is your friend, particularly the classic Rosebud version from Smith’s. Not only is this the ideal lip balm for all seasons, it’s also a crazy-good moisturizer in a pinch for those days you realize the skin around your nostrils is flaking as a result of too many tissues or your hand cream just isn’t cutting in. And as far as makeup goes, what’s better than dabbing the excess from your hands onto your cheekbones and eyelids as a beautiful, sheer highlighter? Nothing, that’s what.

How To Sheet Mask

How To Sheet Mask

You’ve seen ‘em all over Instagram and you may have even considered buying one on a whim, but have you ever actually used a sheet mask?

I’ll be the first to admit that when sheet masks hit the skincare scene, I was intimidated. You see, I knew how — and why — to use the skincare masks that came in jars, the ones I had to dig my fingers into, then slather all over my skin, then clean up the inevitable mess it left behind in my sink, then pick it out of my hair after washing it off…totally worth it! And the idea of a single-use mask that came pre-packaged and was easy to apply and remove just didn’t compute.

But then I was on a flight with a very chic woman who also had gorgeous skin and as I watched her pull out a sheet mask out of her carry on and apply it as the seatbelt sign clicked off, I decided to stop living in the dark. And let me tell you, I should not have waited so long. Here’s what you need to know about the glory of the sheet mask.

What is a sheet mask?

Glad you asked! It’s quite literally a mask in sheet form, with the sheet being made of fiber, cellulose, cotton or coconut pulp. Said sheet is then soaked in a mix of skin-friendly serums and essences (the combo depends on the function of the individual mask) inside the packaging so that it’s fully saturated and ready for your face. It also features fun — or scary — cutouts for your eyes, nostrils and mouth, so you can, you know, breathe while wearing it. 

Why should I use a sheet mask?

If you find standard masks-in-jars too messy, a sheet mask is a good option. But aside from the cleanup factor, sheet masks also do a wonderful job of actually making sure those aforementioned serums and essences get into your skin. A lot of skincare products evaporate when you apply them — it takes time for them to really penetrate — but a sheet masks acts as a barrier that locks ingredients in, prevents evaporation, and ensures they have ample time to make their way deep into your skin to do their jobs.

When and how should I use a sheet mask?

While every sheet mask contains a different cocktail of ingredients for different results, they mainly work to hydrate, soothe and plump up skin. So if you’re feeling dry or oily — that’s right, oily skin is often oily because it’s dehydrated — consider a sheet mask to moisturize your skin.

Otherwise, feel free to rock that mask day, night, mid-afternoon…whenever. There’s no downtime after using a sheet mask and, as that chic lady on a plane demonstrated, they can be used virtually anywhere. Just make sure you’re starting with a clean face so your skin is better prepped to absorb all the goodness contained in the sheet mask.

When you’re ready, simply rip open the packaging, gently remove the mask (sometimes you need to unfold it) and drape it over your face, making sure to line up the cutouts with your anatomy. Then sit back and relax for 15-20 minutes, but no longer. If you keep it on too long, the sheet will dry out and start pulling moisture out of your skin to rehydrate itself — the opposite of what you’re trying to accomplish. When the time is up, just toss the mask and get on with your day. If you have excess serum or essence on your skin, gently rub it in for added benefits. (Some people like to save the excess serum/essence that’s left in the foil package to apply post-mask, but that’s your call.)

What Lapcos mask is right for me?

For irritated skin…look for a mask that contains soothing ingredients to reduce inflammation. Lapcos’ Aloe sheet mask contains a gorgeous mixture of aloe and cucumber extract to calm and de-stress skin.

For dehydrated skin…your sheet mask should be packed with ingredients like those found in the Aqua mask: seaweed and algae extracts to moisturize and hydrated dry skin.

For congested skin…reach for the Honey sheet mask. True to its name, Honey contains a nourishing blend of honey extracts that work to detox and clarify.

For dull skin…look for sheet mask that will gently exfoliate to remove dead skin while brightening your complexion. Lapcos’ Milk and Pearl masks both fit the bill here. 

For aging skin…stock up on collagen and other plumping ingredients to provide nutrition to and smooth skin. The Collagen sheet mask builds serious elasticity and will make your face look like a baby’s butt. 

+ All of our sheet masks here.

Feeling Blue & Beautiful

Feeling Blue & Beautiful

Why not start organizing your beauty products with the most soothing color of them all: blue.

If you’re anything like me, the thought of organizing the visible shelves in your home by color sends a perverse little chill up your spin. Call me crazy, but taking an hour to arrange by bookshelf in the vein of Roy G. Biv was one of the best decor decisions I ever made. (I realize this is not groundbreaking — thanks, Pinterest. But it adds a much-welcome pop of organized color to my den and I’m a fan.)

Already sorted your books based on jacket color? Maybe even arranged your closet in the same fashion? Well my friends, the final frontier may just be your medicine cabinet. Sure, it may not be visible to the naked eye — unless you have guests who are snooping — but it does add a fun, soothing element to your skincare routine. And, if you’re familiar enough with each product and its label, may just help you find what you’re looking for even faster. (My shelves are CROW-DED.)

In that spirit, why not start with the most soothing color of them all: blue. Color of water, sky, antioxidant-rich blueberries, it’s no wonder so many gorgeous, good-for-you self-care products are clad in the hue. From your hair to your toes, outfit your whole bathroom shelf in blue with these products. 

For those days you just don’t have the energy (or time) to wash your hair, or to extend the length of your last shampoo, dry shampoo is a godsend. The only problem is that they are not all created equally in both efficacy and scent. Luckily, R+Co has solved the issue with their dry shampoo mist, a cleansing powder that not only sucks up excess oil, but does so while also cleaning your hair and scalp of buildup. Oh, and it smells like a garden after a rainstorm. 

Speaking of rainstorms, this hair masque from Voir will do for your strands what a storm cloud can do for a cactus. A combination of natural butters, oils and botanicals seriously hydrate both scalp and strands, and the vital nutrients in the blend stay with hair for days (even with regular shampooing), meaning hair will be soft, silk and not thirsty at all.

You know drinking enough water equals hydrated, supple skin, but just in case you came up short on your liquid intake, keep a stick of this COOLA Liplux close by to plump up your kisser when necessary. Soothing and nourishing, this little guy also works to protect lips from the sun’s harmful rays.

With a name like Water Cream, is it any mystery what this gorgeous cream from Sunday Riley does? A water-based moisturizer, this jar houses an intensely hydrating elixir that smooths, brightens and exfoliates, leaving your face looking and feeling like prettiest smooth river rock there ever was. (That’s a good thing, btw.)

Eating too much sugar can make your skin do some funky things, but rubbing sugar all over your skin…well, that’s a different story. The Blue Raspberry Exfoliating Sugar Cubes from Harper + Ari may look cute and innocent but believe me, they pack a serious sloughing punch when it comes to getting rid of dead skin cells and smoothing everything out.

Fighting Acne Naturally

Fighting Acne Naturally

Let me introduce you to Sunday Riley, the little skincare line that now has a serious cult following and tons of people shouting its praises from rooftops and Instagram comments alike.

Ahh acne, something nearly everyone on this planet — save for the truly #blessed — has dealt with at least once in their lives. [Likely more than once if you’re a human who 1) has hormones, 2) eats food, 3) lives in this world.] Which also means nearly every one of those acne-dealers has also spent hours in front of a mirror, examining their spots, picking when they know they’re not supposed to, squeezing when they know they’re definitely not supposed to, and slathering on any skincare product they can get their pimple-popping hands on in an attempt to magically erase whatever has sprouted on their faces.

Alas, there is not such thing as a miracle product that will erase your breakouts. There are, however, several things you can do for your skin to limit, tame, and maybe even prevent breakouts…the all-natural way.

You see, dealing with acne goes deeper than just what you see on the surface. It’s about what you put into your body, how you treat your body, and what you put on your body over time, which is why sticking with a solid, good-for-you skincare routine is paramount.

If you’re ready to seriously hunker down and get your skin right as far as breakouts are concerned, pick your products wisely. And while I usually advocate cherry picking things that work for your individual skin from however many lines you want, there is an argument to be made for a line that focuses on making sure all of its products are not only stellar, but also work together for the best outcome.

(Side note: If you don’t feel like you need to “fight” your skin’s natural state, you do you. Embracing what your body is doing on its own is a special thing and something you shouldn’t feel embarrassed to do because of society’s “standards.” You are beautiful, always.)  

So let me introduce you to Sunday Riley, the little skincare line that could, that now has a serious cult following and tons of people shouting its praises from rooftops and Instagram comments alike.

What makes this line of products so incredible and unique is threefold: it’s all-natural, every single product is designed to play nice with every other so you can mix and match to find your perfect combination, and it won’t crush your will to live with its price tag. By using fewer high-quality ingredients to craft expert formulas, Sunday Riley is a powerfully simple line of clean, effective and harmonious acne-fighting and skin-soothing products.

The first step to treating your skin at the end of the day is removing everything that’s sitting on top of it. so everything you’re about to apply can sink in deeply. The Blue Moon Cleansing Balm is a must-have for all double-cleansing fans: it fully removes makeup and grime while also moisturizing and soothing skin thanks to blue tansy, chamomile and cocoa butter. You’ll want to follow this up with an equally gentle cleanser of your choice to make sure your skin is truly clean and gunk-free.

After thoroughly cleansing, you’ll want to treat yourself to a weekly mask and this baby is the queen of acne-fighting treatments. Packed with 10% sulfur, 4% niacinamide and other antibacterial, anti-inflammatory ingredients, the Saturn Mask works on all hormonal acne, congested pores, inflamed skin…you name it.

(Note: Do not use this mask every day — it will dry the crap out of your skin and likely lead to more acne as your skin’s pH and sebum get thrown out off whack. Use this weekly at first and see how you react. If you can’t stay away, consider using it as an overnight spot treatment on pimples that have come to a head — the white part has come to the top — as the final step to your nighttime skincare routine.)

Regular exfoliation is important for clearing away dead skin cells that can clog pores and lead to inflammation, but a physical scrub is not the best way to do it when you’re dealing with angry, open blemishes. Instead, lean into the marvelous world of lactic acid to chemically do it for you, and safely. The aptly named Good Genes treatment is a multitasking wunderkind that will leave you with brighter, clearer, smoother, clarified skin overnight.

When dealing with finicky skin, less is often more, which is why I’m advising you to call it a night after gently pressing this gorgeous face oil into your skin. Yup, that it’s: just a few super-effective products are all you need for now as you figure out what your skin likes and what it doesn’t. Luckily, Juno oil not only does a stellar job at locking everything into your skin, it’s also super hydrating and, thanks to its abundance of vitamins, cold-pressed seed oils and antioxidants, it will leave your skin clear and luminous.

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