Wednesday, February 29, 2012

QuickTips: Oils

I know I am an oil fanatic, but I realize not all of you have used oils on a regular basis.  Here are just a few things to keep in mind:

  • try to use oils with the least number of ingredients...the purer the better, especially with sensitive skin
  • try them on your body first...the face can get a little tricky
  • oils absorb better when applied to damp skin...fresh out of the bath or shower is great
  • experiment with amounts...less is usually plenty, and you can always add more
  • make sure you know what you are using...some oil-based products are area-specific, like for the hair, and some are multi-purpose and great for everyone and everything
  • try it on a weekend or other down time when you don't have big plans...sometimes you need a little practice before stepping out wearing oils
  • if you look or feel like a greaseball, just pat yourself off with a towel and use less the next time
  • oils can be fabulous, but not everyone is a fan, and that's alright

I like grapeseed oil for normal skin, avacado oil for dry skin, argan oil for everything and olive oil for cooking!  Here's to you, viscous one!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I Heart Argan!

Argan oil is hot!   Look at any eye-level product on the market shelves to know it is true!  It is in hair treatments, shampoos,' is even infusing in-salon smoothing treatments!  It is in skincare and makeup!  Everywhere!  Love it or loathe it, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil is here to stay!

One of my absolute fave argan oil products is by Josie Maran, a model-turned-green-beauty-entrepreneur.  I purchased my first products from her line almost a year ago, at Sephora in NYC.  I had been hearing about her goodies for a while and could not wait to try them for myself.

I bought a 15ml bottle of the Organic Argan Oil Moisturizer.  It was the cutest little brown bottle with a tiny dropper for easy and efficient use.  It is also free of any perfumes, dyes, preservatives or anything else that could irritate sensitive skin.  I think it cost about $14.  I also got the Argan Pro Blend Concealer, a double-shade concealer which packs a whopping amount of super-silky and blendable product.  That was about $28, but a great value since a very little goes a long way! 

OK, so for the oil, I usually put three drops on my face as soon as I get out of the shower.  It adds an instant glow and soaks in fast.  That seems to be enough moisture during the warm months, but I have found I need another layer of moisturizer after a few minutes during the harshest winter times.  If nothing else, the extra layer locks in the oil's healing properties.  Now other than using it as a facial moisturizer, I have used this as a blow-dry serum, cuticle balm and hand moisturizer.  It is also purported to be a great body moisturizer...

...which I finally used it for yesterday as part of my Oil Series experiment.  I quickly rubbed it all over my body, including my super-dry faux-eczema patch on my hip, and my invisible-to-husband-but-scary-there-to-me stretchmarks on my belly (thanks, kids!)  You ready for the results from a first-time use?  (No pics, I promise...)

Oh my goodness, I don't have a dry patch on my body!  I kid you not, the patch on my hip no longer exists!!  As for the stretch marks, well, really, is there any way to get rid of those?  (No, really, know of anything?!)  I used about 45-60 drops, or roughly half of my new, tiny bottle that I just opened.  I will definitely be using it tomorrow after my shower again, even though I will need a new bottle of this liquid miracle ASAP!  My legs have also stopped feeling tight and itchy!  I'm going to try this on my son's eczema spots next!

As I said earlier about the concealer, the product is very soft and blendable.  I used to apply and blend with my ring finger or a sponge, but now I'm obsessed with using the awesome Deluxe Crease Brush from Real Techniques.  No matter how you use it, the concealer has a beautiful finish and just works so well.  I love it.

So far we are olive oil, zero, argan oil, one!  Keep playing and let me know if you have any experience with argan or any other oils!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Get in Line'r!

How old were you when you started experimenting with eyeliner?  I was probably in the sixth grade...I definitely have the seventh grade photos to prove the learning curve was quite looooong!  That would have been a tiny, hard-tipped pencil from the generic, all-inclusive, fold-out tray makeup kit I'd gotten as a birthday present.  Along with a six-pack of Play Doh.  Twelve was a weird age for me, what can I say?!!? 

So I started  with lipstick and eyeshadow much earlier, but the rest of my eye/liner repertoire came closer to junior high.  AND I have been experimenting ever since!  Even now, in my EARLY thirties, I have added new products to my lineup...most recently the extremely-popular gel eyeliner.  I have been obsessed with trying this and finally picked some super-black-gel-liner-in-the-little-glass-pot at Wegman's last week.

Maybelline EYE STUDIO gel liner with brush

Like all types of eyeliners, this definitely takes some practice.  I started with the small brush that came with the pot (not a bad value for the $8 price point!)  Ever faithful to the retro-inspired cat eye, I tried recreating my flicked-end first...only to create a blob of black.  Yikes.  So I tried starting in the center of my lid and making small strokes along the lashes to build my line.  Hmmm....Not so smooth. 

So, I enlisted the help of my "line up" of brushes to experiment with...
Real Techniques, Avon, Your Name Professional and Maybelline liner brushes.
So far my favorites are the first two in the picture above, the "accent brush", which I use to smush the color into my lash line and the "pixel-point eyeliner brush" with which I can draw a fairly smooth line.   These are both from Real Techniques

The two most important things I have figured out are to scrape off excess product and not hesitating once I put the brush down on my lid.  I do love how intensely pigmented this gel is!  This particular brand is supposed to last 24 hours, but I have found it slides a bit after awhile if you don't have a nice base of shadow on your lid.  Also, I still use my felt-tip liquid or my smokey pencil (more on those some other time!) when I'm in a hurry.  I definitely want to keep experimenting with gel liner, perhaps adding a few other brands to compare results. 

Here's to creating more fabulous gel-icious looks!! 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Not "olive-ing" up to expectations, until.....

Here is what happened when I tried an olive oil scalp and hair moisturizing treatment on Sunday...
(No pictures were taken as no person should be seen in such a state!)

The only ingredient needed!

First I gathered my supplies.  Olive oil, of course, but also a microwave-safe bowl for warming the oil, a clean tint brush and a plastic processing cap (available at any beauty supply store like Sally's.)  I warmed about 1/4 cup of oil in the microwave to take the chill off and get it to slip through the hair easier.  The application was straightforward; part a section of hair, brush oil onto the scalp.  Repeat until scalp is covered!  I slathered and mushed the rest of my hair with the oil, combed it through to the ends, topped myself off with a lovely plastic cap and let it cook for about two hours.

Now a word of advice on removal.  When you rinse your hair, it won't feel like anything is coming out.  Just make sure it is really soaking wet then apply a large amount of CONDITIONER, not shampoo!!  Though it sounds counter intuitive, the conditioner will help break up the oil on your hair, making it much easier to remove.  After working the conditioner in and rinsing well, lather up with your favorite shampoo, rinse and recondition like normal. 

I let my hair air-dry to get a true read on the results.  My hair seemed a little more moisturized, but not with the same level of results I get from actual hair moisturizing treatment products.  My scalp felt nice and normal, not dry (thanks!) and not greasy (super thanks!)  I did feel a little lank-to-stringy, but not enough that I felt I needed another shampoo.  I went about the rest of my afternoon without another thought of my hair.

The positive results actually showed the next morning while getting ready for work.  I did not wash or dry, but just curled my hair with my regular iron.  I spritzed some dry shampoo at the roots and worked through like normal and just left it alone.  My hair looked and felt amazing!  It was so shiny without looking greasy, and my color and highlights sparkled!  I think using the hot curling iron sealed in the oil and smoothed the cutilce.  Even today my hair is silky and shiny, and I shampooed and styled yesterday like usual.  Hmmm.  I may be onto something here!

I had good results from using olive oil as a scalp and hair moisturizing treatment.  However, I felt a little soggy while it sat on my head, and it was difficult to be taken seriously while having a tiny spat with my husband!  It took up the bulk of my afternoon, and I am not sure the results would have been so good had I not ironed in the oil the next day.  I am not sure I will be doing this any time soon, but I do see the benefits of the method.

Have you guys tried this or something similar?  Thoughts? 

On with the beauty adventures!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Olive you, more...

Who's been playing with their kitchen condiments lately?  Yes, I have.  As you probably remember, I am on the hunt for oil-as-beauty perfection.  Starting with the olive variety.
While my hands do seem slightly more moisturized, I have to say this hasn't necessarily become the go-to hand lube I was hoping for!!  Figuring out how much to use, as lame as that sounds, has been surprisingly difficult.  First, too much, and my hands are so greasy I have wipe them on a towel (or my kids, whichever is easier to grab!) It really doesn't seem to absorb quickly enough to be able to do anything after slathering it on.  Too little and my scrapey, dry skin flecks are just slightly glazed, not hydrated and softened.  I dumped a good portion on my dining room floor while pouring-without-looking earlier today.  On a positive note, it did seem to polish the ol' wood floor nicely!  Also, I'm not willing to slug this bottle into my bag for the day, either.  Hmmmmm.

However I am a bit more hopeful for my hair experimentations with olive oil.  This morning I put just a few drops into my towel-dried hair as a blow dry serum.  It didn't seem drastically different, but my ends weren't frizzy, so that's something!  My bangs are a little chunky against my forehead now that evening has arrived.  May not be the best use for the golden nectar!

Sunday will be the big day for my scalp/hair moisture treatment.  Plastic cap, tint brush, olive oil.  We'll see what happens!

Great Greasiness!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Olive you! Olive you, too!

One of my favorite clients moved for a new job about two years ago.  I still remember her color formula (Paul Mitchell the Color 3NA/20 vol.), her soft and smooth caramel-colored skin, and the Italian beauty secret she used to keep it that way...yup, olive oil.  I guess she was technically old enough to be my mother, but she didn't seem it or look it (once we covered her grey!)

I finally asked her once what she did/used on her skin.  She seemed surprised that I thought her skin was so nice!  She told me whenever she cooked she just rubbed a little olive oil into her hands, on her lips, her face, and that was her completely nonchalant answer!!!  Sometimes she added some to the bath water, but it was a pain to clean up.  She told me of a spa treatment she had had that was a bath in a vat of olive oil! 

I used to use a little warm olive oil on my daughter's scalp when she had cradle cap.  Months of store-bought treatments (even a stinky organic lotion for the condition) did nothing for it.  Two baby-scalp massages with the golden oil, and nary a scale remained!  I have long recommended it for clients with dry scalp (if other treatments didn't seem to help and it wasn't a dermatologist/medical issue.)  A coworker recommends it for alopecia spots (Note: We are not doctors! Cosmetologists! Use common sense and see a medical professional if you have weird scalp or skin things!).  I have hairdresser hands, an alopecia spot, dry patches on my body, oy! What a mess!

Close up of "eww"hand!

So I'll start with using olive oil on my hands.  I also want to do a scalp/hair moisturizing treatment with it.  I will brush my hair thoroughly, part small sections, apply oil with a clean tint brush, pull oil through ends, top with plastic cap and let it soak for awhile.  Sounds delish!

Here's to silky, not greasy, hair and skin!
Ciao, bella!