Category Archives: Makeup

My Post-TSW Skincare Routine

Please excuse the very long absence from the blog world.  I have been meaning to make a post-TSW skincare routine post for a while, and then just kept putting it off.  In all reality, this blog will probably have posts that are way fewer and farther between, since now (OH HAPPY DAY) I don’t need to keep documenting progress of my skin, because I am healed and back to normal!  But, I am still here reading the blogs of others with TSW, and still here to give support and encouragement or just answer questions on TSW, skin, eczema, or life in general 🙂

So what do I use these days for general moisturizing, cleansing, skincare, etc?

BODY:

COCONUT OIL

If I want to use some type of moisturizer on my legs and body, coconut oil is really the only thing I use these days. I like the idea of using something completely natural and smelling like a tropical island. Some days I forget or just don’t want to be all greasy, and then use no body moisturizer at all… I don’t think coconut oil is a dealbreaker, now my body’s skin seems to retain oils whether I remember to moisturize it or not!

If I have any little bumps or tiny rashy spots on my legs, I use the lovely Calendulis cream from The Eczema Company.

If I have any little bumps or tiny rashy spots on my legs, I use the lovely Calendulis cream from The Eczema Company.

FACE (nighttime):

I wash my face once a day (at night) with Paula's Choice Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser.  I used this cleanser all through my TSW days too.  It is very gentle and mild and leaves my skin feeling refreshed and clean.

I wash my face once a day (at night) with Paula’s Choice Optimal Results Hydrating Cleanser. I used this cleanser all through my TSW days too. It is very gentle and mild and leaves my skin feeling refreshed and clean.

After I wash my face, it is time to exfoliate to get rid of any dull skin.  In general, I use Paula's Choice BHA (beta hydroxy acids) exfoliant.  I have tried both AHA (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHA, but for me personally, I think I prefer the BHA's effects better.    Sometimes I will switch it up and exfoliate by giving my face a gentle scrub with very finely ground oatmeal.  Chemical exfoliants are best NOT used in TSW...they will sting.  Using oatmeal very gently is okay, and is a nice natural idea for healthy skin too!

After I wash my face, it is time to exfoliate to get rid of any dull skin. In general, I use Paula’s Choice BHA (beta hydroxy acids) exfoliant. I have tried both AHA (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHA, but for me personally, I think I prefer the BHA’s effects better. Sometimes I will switch it up and exfoliate by giving my face a gentle scrub with very finely ground oatmeal. Chemical exfoliants are best NOT used in TSW…they will sting. Using oatmeal very gently is okay, and is a nice natural idea for healthy skin too!

After exfoliating for the night, I use an antioxidant serum, again from Paula's Choice.  I used this through TSW as well and it never stung or gave me any bad effects.  I dab this gently under my eyes and then on other areas prone to eventually show aging, like my forehead and smile lines.

After exfoliating for the night, I use an antioxidant serum, again from Paula’s Choice. I used this through TSW as well and it never stung or gave me any bad effects. I dab this gently under my eyes and then on other areas prone to eventually show aging, like my forehead and smile lines.

Lastly for my nighttime routine, I use grapeseed oil as a moisturizer, putting a few drops of it over my face.

Lastly for my nighttime routine, I use grapeseed oil as a moisturizer, putting a few drops of it over my face.

 

FACE (morning):

I don't wash my face again in the morning... I don't feel like I need to, since it's not like it got dirty in the night with me sleeping.  I splash water on my face and sometimes gently go over it with a washcloth.  Then I use the Antioxidant Serum again around my eyes, and a few drops of grapeseed oil.  My moisturizer every day is Vanicream SPF Sport 35 sunscreen.  This is the best sunscreen hands down - I used it through TSW and it was one of the few things that never made my skin burn or sting.  It goes on smoothly and keeps my skin feeling moisturized all day without being greasy or oily... plus I'm protecting myself from the aging effects of the sun!

I don’t wash my face again in the morning… I don’t feel like I need to, since it’s not like it got dirty in the night with me sleeping. I splash water on my face and sometimes gently go over it with a washcloth. Then I use the Antioxidant Serum again around my eyes, and a few drops of grapeseed oil. My moisturizer every day is Vanicream SPF Sport 35 sunscreen. This is the best sunscreen hands down – I used it through TSW and it was one of the few things that never made my skin burn or sting. It goes on smoothly and keeps my skin feeling moisturized all day without being greasy or oily… plus I’m protecting myself from the aging effects of the sun!

Makeup wise, I LOVE LOVE LOVE these Tarte SmolderEyes eyeliners.  They come in a bunch of colors and they literally do stay on all day and are smudgeproof.  I have sweated heavily in them, and yes, they did fade a little, but still remained intact... very impressed.  I usually line my lower lid in a brown or purple, and sometimes line the upper lid too if I'm feeling fancy.

Makeup wise, I LOVE LOVE LOVE these Tarte SmolderEyes eyeliners. They come in a bunch of colors and they literally do stay on all day and are smudgeproof. I have sweated heavily in them, and yes, they did fade a little, but still remained intact… very impressed. I usually line my lower lid in a brown or purple, and sometimes line the upper lid too if I’m feeling fancy.

I wrote a whole post on this stuff because it's that good.  Tarte Amazonian Clay mascara is wonderful and comes off easily with makeup remover or (my preference) grapeseed oil.  It's not technically waterproof, but I've sweated heavily in it without it smearing.  Two coats of this and I look awake and ready to greet the day!

Tarte Amazonian Clay mascara is wonderful and comes off easily with makeup remover or (my preference) grapeseed oil. It’s not technically waterproof, but I’ve sweated heavily in it without it smearing. Two coats of this and I look awake and ready to greet the day!

So clearly, two of my favorite (and skin-friendly!) brands are Paula’s Choice and Tarte, and I know I’ve mentioned both of these brands in other posts on my blog.  I was not compensated in any way for promoting these, I just think they are two wonderful brands that are gentle on skin and free from irritating ingredients like added fragrances, etc.

One thing that I was really worried about with post-TSW skin was that my skin would be healed, but would be exquisitely sensitive to everything, more so than before.  I am very pleased to note that the ‘sensitivity’ of my skin seems to be what it was before I ever used steroids.  I guess I could truly test it with something I reacted badly to, previously, like aloe…. but since I’ve found a routine that works so well for me, I’m sticking to it.  🙂  If you’re out there still trucking through TSW… have hope!  There is light on the other side!  Normal skin awaits!

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Makeup Review: Anastasia Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat

Having an allergy/sensitivity to both Beeswax and Aloe Vera makes it VERY challenging to find mascara, as I’ve recently found.  Almost every single mascara has at least one of these ingredients, if not both.  Having found a great (non waterproof) one from Tarte, I then set out on the virtual world of the internet for my next challenge – finding a mascara that not only had no beeswax or aloe, but was also waterproof.  The Tarte one is pretty water-resistant and has held up perfectly through vigorous exercise where I was only sweating lightly, but for really sweat-crazy activities, I didn’t want to chance it.

This took me literally days of research (not all at one time though).  There are a lot of mascaras without beeswax that I found, often classified under “vegan mascaras” for those that don’t want to use animal products in their makeup.  But they all had aloe.

Googling “mascara without beeswax or aloe” did not help either.  Apparently it must not be too common to be super sensitive to both of these, because this Google search completely ignored the word “WITHOUT” in my search, and brought up many lovely mascaras WITH aloe.

So I had to do this the difficult way.  Pore through many mascaras and read the ingredients.  When I set out to buy a new beauty product, I almost always try the website Beautypedia.com.  This site has reviews of many, many makeup (and skincare) brands and will give thorough product ratings.  I take these ratings with a grain of salt, as something may be rated highly but have ingredients I don’t want (i.e., parabens or fragrance).  However, the Tarte Concealer and Mascara that I currently use were both rated highly and did not disappoint.

I started by filtering through the reviews on Beautypedia and looking at only the waterproof mascaras that were rated highly, and then cross-referencing other sites like Beauty.com to find out all the ingredients.  The whole while, I’m writing down notes for mascaras that look promising, crossing them out as I go when I find they have aloe.  Having no luck there, I decided to then just look at every waterproof mascara on Beauty.com.  I don’t list this laborious process to bore my blog readers, but rather to emphasize that when you have sensitive skin/eczema, you cannot just purchase the latest new makeup item, it all requires careful research, and maybe my research will benefit someone else out there that’s looking for the same thing.

Finally…. I found it!   Anastasia Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat is a clear formula that “instantly waterproofs any mascara”.  No aloe, no beeswax, no parabens, no fragrance, and no need to have separate mascaras on hand – you can use your favorite mascara and just waterproof it on days or occasions when you need to.  I bought mine from Beauty.com using the link above.lash genius waterproof top coat

I tried it two days in a row, and although I didn’t put it through a HUGE sweat-fest, just incline walking, cardio machines, and strength training, I was very pleased.  No flaking or raccoon eye, no “crunchy” feel on my eyelashes and it didn’t really affect the look of my existing mascara either.  My only critique is it sticks the lashes together a little bit so they’re a bit less lush and full.

Current rating: 4 out of 5.  If it stays completely waterproof through an hour of kickboxing (where I emerge completely soaked in sweat), I will up that to 4.5 out of 5!

Tagged , , , , ,

Five Favorite Things, Part 1

First off, I want to thank everyone in the blog-o-sphere for all the traffic, support, and nice comments as of late.  I am still sorting through all the “likes” in my inbox and checking out new blogs from people who have stopped by!

I have a lot of subjects that I want to write posts about as of late, but today’s post is just going to be kind of a random smattering of Five Favorite Things that I am loving as of late.  Things that are small but enhance my life in some way.  I intend on doing more installments of “Five Favorite Things” maybe every month.

In no particular order:

1. BAKING SODA.  baking soda I just recently discovered the tip of adding baking soda to a bath to help stop the itching of eczema.  I can’t believe I didn’t know about this before!  I’m pleased to note that since the whole aloe-rash debacle, my face has stayed reasonably presentable with maybe just a few minor dry or red patches here and there sometimes.  (I believe this is directly linked to what I eat, as I put the same products on my face every day and I don’t think it’s due to a topical contact dermatitis.  For example, I flared up a tiny bit after eating four sour-cream-and-onion chips from a friend at work, too late realizing my apparent sensitivity to things in the onion and garlic and aloe family).  However, my body, namely my legs and torso, has been very rashy and itchy.   Protopic is slowly working which is good, though.  And the Baking Soda has been excellent at helping me to not itch at bath-time!  I just add about 2 tbsp or a small handful to running water (along with some finely ground oatmeal) and it is very helpful.

2. cocoon sweater Cocoon Sweater from Target.  I love these so much that I have one in three different colors – and I might even go get more.  I am always looking for clothing that strikes the balance between being reasonably stylish yet comfy, and this fits the bill.  They are VERY soft.   They are  incredibly versatile – right now I am wearing one at work over a plain brightly colored t-shirt and a multi-strand beaded necklace and I look and feel pulled-together.  Yet, on the weekend, I can wear the same sweater over a graphic tee and with jeans and be more casual.

3. Blistex 5 star Blistex 5-Star Lip Protection.  After finding that I was sensitive to aloe and beeswax, and having had a negative reaction with shea butter as well, it was pretty darn tough to try and find a lip balm with sunscreen that had none of these ingredients.  Oh yeah, and I didn’t want anything that was flavored, either.  AND I didn’t want to shell out a lot of money for a specialty lip balm online.   Regular Chapstick does fit the bill, but it has only SPF 4.  I like to exercise outside (running and biking) frequently so I like to use more SPF for those times.  I was very pleased to find this product at my local drugstore.  It has SPF 30 and just a very faint, pleasing flavor that’s kind of vanilla-y.  It is long lasting and makes my lips feel protected in the cold!

4. Beauty Rush lip gloss In the same vein with another good product for lips – Victoria’s Secret Beauty Rush Lip Gloss.  I went through and purged all old lip glosses from other brands, because most of them have beeswax or potentially irritating ingredients like peppermint or citrus-derived ingredients.  This gloss has none of those, has a pretty mild flavor/smell, is very long lasting, and feels nice – not gloppy or sticky.  I’ve worn it for three days straight so far with no issues of irritation!

5. stash tea Stash Tea!  I like the ritual of drinking something warm, especially in the winter.  Since I pretty much gave up coffee, I have developed a deep love and appreciation for tea.  As I work at my desk right now, I have four different kinds to choose from!  But I have to say that Stash Tea is my new favorite.  I am currently enjoying trying the flavors in my Superfruits Sampler, and their Licorice Spice tea is also incredible.

 

What are some of your random little favorite things as of late that bring a bit of joy to your life?  🙂

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mascara Review – gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara by Tarte

‘Tis time for another mascara review!  After my most recent mascara purchase left me underwhelmed, I decided to try another one from the Tarte line.  Also, in light of my recent findings that I appear to get dermatitis from both aloe and beeswax, it was super good news that this next mascara has neither.  Seriously, it is next to impossible to find a mascara that doesn’t have either of these.

My Review on gifted Amazonian Clay Smart Mascara by Tarte:

(Let me also add the disclaimer here that I am in no way paid by any companies to review products.  I buy this stuff out of my own pocket as it’s pure trial and error for me with finding high quality products.  These are solely my opinions and I post them in the hopes that they will help other people with sensitive skin that want to make good choices for their makeup.)

Cost: I got this at my local ULTA store for $19.  Yeah, it’s more than twice the price of a drugstore mascara, but I have no issue with paying more for a product if it performs well AND won’t irritate my skin.

So first off the packaging again is very cute… It’s like a wood-grain tube (it’s probably made of plastic since it’s so smooth, but it certainly LOOKS like wood) with quite a skinny brush.

When I first saw the skinny brush, I was a little concerned that this would not fare well, since the brush is about the same thickness as the one in Lights, Camera, Splashes.

 

However, I read DOZENS of reviews before buying this, and this appears to be the highest-reviewed mascara that Tarte makes.  People were giving it 5 stars and pleading with Tarte to never stop making it.

After applying it – I understood the hype!

One coat (after eyelash curler) will give you beautifully long and separated lashes.  If I was going to be SUPER critical, I would say maybe it could hold a curl a little better, but maybe that’s just my eyelashes’ problem for being stick straight.

TWO coats, after eyelash curler initially and after the first coat (which is what I prefer), will give you even more beautiful lashes as the second coat ‘bulks’ them up a little more and helps to hold in that curl.

It does not clump in the least and it gives a gorgeous look as the brush grabs and coats every lash.  I also didn’t have the problem of getting mascara smear on my eyelid while applying it.

I wore it all day and it never flaked or smudged.  Then I put it through more of a test the following day – I went for a 90 minute bike ride with my husband.  Given, I didn’t actually sweat, since it was cold out, but there was plenty of wind and sometimes my eyes watering a little if I was biking really fast.  Still perfection when I came home.

I also tried touching my eyelashes and pulling at them a little to see if the mascara would come off… barely any flaking!  It stays on so well!

This stuff is not waterproof, so I want to see how it performs on, say, a really sweaty run or bout of kickboxing, but I still love this and I’m so glad I found it!

AND, it removes very easily (I use an oil to remove makeup, i.e., olive oil or grapeseed oil) and had no problem getting it off.  My lashes actually felt healthier afterward too.

My verdict – 5 stars!  GO OUT AND BUY!  🙂

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Mascara Review – Lights, Camera, Splashes by Tarte

I was almost out of my Almay Get Up and Grow waterproof mascara, and wanted to try a new mascara, one without parabens (the Almay one does have parabens).  Although I’ve had wicked flares come and go around my eyes lately, they are also on other portions of my face and neck, so I didn’t think that my mascara could be causing them (I could be wrong, though).

Having had such good success with Tarte Maracuja Concealer, I purchased what seemed like the most apt choice of mascara for me from the Tarte line – Lights, Camera, Splashes waterproof mascara, since I wanted something waterproof so I don’t get raccoon eye when exercising.  I am HUGE on reading online reviews, and things looked pretty favorable for this.  I have brown hair, but not super dark eyelashes, and they’re quite long, but they’re also very faint and fine, so I really feel I NEED mascara to look reasonably awake and it would be weird for me to leave the house without it on.

Here is a picture of it:  (very cute tube packaging!) and the ingredient list.  Tarte touts this mascara as being free of parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance, mineral oil, sodium lauryl sulfate.

Water/aqua/eau, oryza sativa (rice) bran wax, cyclopentasiloxane, hydrogenated stearyl olive esters, stearic acid, cera carnauba/copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax/cire de carnauba, alcohol, triethanolamine, candelilla cera/euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax/cire de candelilla, acacia senegal gum, panthenol, VP/VA copolymer, phenoxyethanol, polyvinyl alcohol, aminomethyl, propanediol, chlorphenesin, ascorbyl palmitate, iron oxides (CI 77499)

My unbiased unfettered opinion is this:  I am going to need to return this stuff.  😦

I expect a GOOD mascara to thicken, lengthen, and hold a curl (after using the eyelash curler).  This Tarte mascara lengthens, but doesn’t thicken and didn’t seem to hold a curl.  So (after 2 coats), I ended up with long, yet very thin and straight lashes.  I didn’t care for the look as it was too subtle.

Then, yeah, it’s waterproof, so I didn’t expect it to magically slide right off, but it was TOUGH to remove!  With my Almay stuff, I can use olive oil and it comes off neatly.  The stuff barely budged with olive oil.  I had to pull out some Almay makeup remover pads (that I had stopped using, as I thought they were contributing to the irritation on my face) just to get it all off.  When all was said and done, I’m pretty sure that I’m missing a couple eyelashes more than normal.

I guess if you already have pretty thick and buxom eyelashes, this would be good, but it just did not work for me.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Best Concealer for Eczema

I need to sing the praises of what, in my opinion at least, has been a godsend for covering up my eczema/dermatitis/whatever the heck it is that is flaring up on my face and neck.   TARTE MARACUJA CREASELESS CONCEALER.  Worth every penny, and contains no fragrance, parabens, phlates, propylene glycol, butylene glycol, other bad stuff etc.

I have tried a couple other concealers from Almay, Physicians Formula, and Origins in the past, and they either irritated my skin, didn’t cover well, creased, dried out my skin, or looked orangey and fake (which becomes very blatant that you’re trying to cover something up if you’re using this over a large portion of your face, as I often am!)

This concealer, among a few other ingredients, has vitamin E, maracuja oil, and wax, so it is pretty emollient and won’t leave your skin looking dry as the day goes on!  You will want to exfoliate or put on a moisturizer of course, because otherwise it will make flaky dry skin more apparent, but that’s what happens with any concealer.  It’s about the size of a lip gloss tube, so it can fit right into your pocket.  And believe me, I carry it in my pocket daily at work (along with a tiny mirror and tiny tub of Aquaphor) just in case my face needs a touch up during the day.

I find that it works excellently at covering up redness and you can layer it to create more coverage.  You don’t need very much at all, just a few dots!  Just squeeze it out and stipple it onto the area with your fingertips, blending it in so it matches with the rest of your skin.

Here is a picture of my troublesome left eye area in full-on flare before applying any concealer.  (The eye is also puffy and has some noticeable Dennie Morgan lines underneath – another sign of dermatitis/allergies).   Yeah, I blacked out my eyeball to try and stay anonymous, so apologies if the big black eyeball seems creepy.

And HERE is a picture of the same eye, after applying the concealer.  MUCH BETTER!

Now someone might say, “Well, you are applying this makeup under your eye, how can you be sure it isn’t the thing CAUSING your flare?”  Let me tell you that I use the exact same concealer under my RIGHT eye as well.  I don’t flare under the right eye oddly enough, and that eye has way less prominent Dennie Morgan folds, but I do kind of have dark circles under both eyes, and I use the concealer for that.  It has NOT shown me in any way that it’s irritating my skin or causing my flares.

The one caution I would have with this concealer is, don’t use it over pimples.  Because it’s so emollient (I mean, it’s got wax in it), it will not help breakouts, so it’s really not for people with acne.  I still get some acne even though I also have dry skin, and it definitely clogged my pore when I used it on acne.  BUT!  Overall this stuff is a winner!

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,