Friday, March 11, 2011

Mineral Makeup

My readers’ questions are pouring in, and this next one is definitely blog worthy. In fact, it was going to be my next product review

She asked,
“For years I have been super sensitive to any type of foundation. I have tried liquid foundations and even some mineral make ups. But I seem to always develop breakouts with a week or so after wearing it. Do you have any recommendations for what I could use?”

I’m sure most of you are saying, “try that Bare Minerals stuff.  It’s so good, you can sleep in it!” That’s what they tell you, isn’t it? My reader tried that. It broke her out.  The most likely culprit?  The bismuth oxychloride (BOC). This is an ingredient found in most mineral makeups which helps give it a pearlescent finish. This is one of the reasons why minerals are so popular. They seem to just blur imperfections, while making your skin appear flawless. 

However, although natural, BOC does have some side effects. writes, 
“Inhaling BOC powder, perhaps while applying dry cosmetics, produces an irritant effect on your nose, throat and lungs, making you sneeze and cough, according to the CDC. The crystalline, particulate nature of the powder rather than a direct toxicity causes this irritation. BOC in your eyes will cause redness, watering and burning... side effects are common. The finely abrasive nature of the crystalline powder is slightly irritating. The heavy metal component of the powder causes it to fall off your skin fairly rapidly, so frequent reapplications become frequent irritations. This is known to cause a side effect of aggravating acne in some individuals, and can cause a flare up of rosacea for others.”

With that said, my answer to my reader’s question is, yes, minerals all the way! But, I am not a huge fan of Bare Minerals. I’m not here to bash anyone or anything. That’s not me, but I am honest, and I think Bare Minerals is crap. However, there are some people who love it. I felt like I had to apply so much to get the coverage I wanted, and then it just looked like I had lots of makeup on. Also, it broke me out like crazy and made my skin itchy and irritated. “Swirl, tap, buff” THIS, Bare Minerals. Oh, I’m sorry. Was that too much?

My ultimate favorite mineral makeup is GloMinerals. The loose powder is amazing! Yes, it has bismuth oxychloride, but lots of other things too, such as green tea, titanium dioxide, and iron oxides. These have great anti inflammatory properties and protects from sun damage. It never irritates my skin. I love the ease of application. There is no “swirl, tap, buff, whatever” method that needs to be done. You just dunk in your brush (I LOVE their Ultra brush),  tap off the excess, and apply in small circular motions! After using a mist of hydration, my not-so-perfect skin looks like peaches and cream! I get so many compliments on my skin. GloMinerals has totally boosted my confidence. 

GloMinerals also makes a makeup line, called Mineral Fusion!! Yay! It’s amazing too! 

I have the Mineral Fusion pressed base, and I use it as both a concealer and foundation. If I have a big whopper of a zit, then I’ll go over it with my Bobbi Brown Face Touch-up Stick. I’ll use the Ultra brush to cover my face and neck, then go over my spots with the concealer brush. It’s perfect!! I couldn’t be happier with a foundation. Plus, it gives me a healthy dose of SPF, and does not contain bismuth oxychloride!

One last tip to loving your new mineral foundation is that they love hydration, so it’s important to moisturize before applying your makeup. Brush your teeth or dry your hair while the moisture sinks in. Then you are free to put on your minerals. Afterwards, you want to spritz it with hydration as well. Trust me, it makes a huge difference. Minerals are so natural that upon application, you may feel as though you look pale. It’s not that the color is wrong for you, it’s just that the minerals have not set into your skin. GloMinerals and Mineral Fusion make a wonderful hydration mist with hyaluronic acid in it to help moisturize and plump, but here’s my secret: I make my own with water, tea tree and lavender essential oils. It’s so good and keeps my skin clear!! 

Oh, ok, one more tip. Put on your creamy stuff, like concealer, blush, bronzer, and highlighter, AFTER the minerals. I know it sounds funny to do because we are so used to putting powders on last, but once the minerals hit anything sticky or wet, it can oxidize and darken on the skin. Then, you risk looking uneven and blotchy.

If, still, these mineral makeups are giving you problems, look into tinted moisturizers. I have a few I love. Just ask, and I’ll let you know!

And, in case you are an ingredient snob like me, here are the facts:

Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder
Mica, Lauroyl Lysine, Zinc Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Zinc Oxide (CI 77947), Boron Nitride, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Hydrolyzed Mango Juice Extract, Hydrolyzed Garcinia Mangostana (Mangosteen) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Leaf Extract, Alaria Esculenta (Sea Kelp) Extract, Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibus Red Tea) Leaf Extract, Glycrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Seed Extract, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Tocopherol Acetate (Vitamin E), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Sambucus Nigra Fruit (Elderberry), Phenoxyethanol. MAY CONTAIN (+/-): Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 12.6%, Zinc Oxide 21%. Inactive Ingredients: Bismuth Oxychloride, Mica, Iron Oxides, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide

(p.s. I think the reason why the BOC in BareEscentuals is irritating is because there are so few “other” ingredients to offset it)

gloPressed base 
INGREDIENTS: Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Zinc Stearate, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Phytonadione, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Zinc Oxide (CI 77947), Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163), Mica (CI77019). May Contain [+/-]: Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Carmine (CI 75470).  
gloLoose base 
INGREDIENTS: Phytonadione, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Tocopherol Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ethylparaben, Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Zinc Oxide (CI 77947), Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163). May Contain [+/-]: Iron Oxides (CI 77489, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499).

Have a BEAUTIFUL day!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why Do I Breakout After Waxing?

I had a reader question yesterday. "Why do I breakout from waxing? How can I prevent it?" This is such a common occurence, that I had to share it will you all.   

The breakout is your body’s healing response to the follicle being traumatized. A salicylic acid spot treatment can help take down the breakout bumps by cleaning the follicle and reducing inflammation. If you have a love/hate relationship with salicylic acid, like me, then here are a few other options:

One of my clients swears by A+D ointment applied directly after the wax. 1% cortisone cream will aid in the ant inflammatory response, as well as aloe. I also find that putting a mud mask (one that dries) helps stop the breakouts from coming out to an ugly head. 

There is one oil that most people don't know about that trumps all others- Neem oil. It is a natural antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal oil that is unbelievably effective for more than just post-waxing!

One last thing. If you get waxed by someone who also gives facials, ask if she has a high frequency machine. I find that running the wand over the waxed area helps fight bacteria and soothe the skin. 

If all else fails and the breakouts still creep up, an over the counter depilatory or threading might be a better option for you. Good luck! And have a BEAUTIFUL day!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Product Review-Nelson's Pure and Clear Acne Treatment Gel

Zit? What zit? For anyone who has the occasional pimple, or even constant ones, this is awesome! As I mentioned on my welcome page, I have struggled with acne for a long time. It's gotten a little better as I've matured, but it's still there, especially when I'm not on birth control pills. After years of using salicylic acid treatments, benzoyl peroxide gels, and a smorgasbord of other products, I have finally found the one spot treatment that really works! Nelson's Pure and Clear Acne Treatment Gel is an oxymoron for sure. It's gentle and powerful. With arnica, calendula, tea tree oil, and sulfur, come morning, pesky pimples are taken down a few notches.

I believe that the arnica and sulfur are the key to this formulation. Arnica is mainly used to heal bruising and other inflammation, so it just makes sense to use it for pimples! I tend to scar very easily from "healing" blemishes, but the red spots I get now are gone in the matter of joke! And, since it's a keratolytic agent, meaning it encourages the shedding of dead skin, the sulfur truly helps heal pre-existing blemishes, as well as the scarring that happens afterwards. It's a win-win!

This homeopathic acne gel is clear and dries fast, so it can be used both day and night. The smell is kind of strong at first application, but it dissipates quickly. It smells a bit earthy. The price point is amazing, too. It’s around $7! You can’t beat it!

All in all, this product definitely makes my skin happy and ready to face the world!

Is there a product you are wondering about? Just ask... I will find out for you.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Welcome to At First Blush...An honest to goodness beauty blog. If you have already read the About Me page, then you will know why the word "honesty" is in my tagline. I believe in helping people to feel and look their best, so why give a dishonest answer just to appease a person who is going to walk around wearing the wrong shade of lipstick thinking it looks good? I'm not like that.

Here's the lowdown on me:
I have been a practicing and licensed Esthetician and Makeup Artist for 8 years now. I love it. It's completely what I was meant to do in life. I am sure of it.

Here's how I got there:
Teen acne got the best of me at age 14. It never left. I was big time into sports and competition, so you can only imagine the inner competition I had with other girls my age with spotless skin. Like my friend who used Noxema everyday, and didn't get one pimple. I believe she still does. Makeup was my lifesaver. That may sound superficial to some, but when you have acne (I'm not talking just the occasional zit, here), it can turn your world upside down. I remember my mom bringing me to the Clinique counter the summer before high school to get a "make over," and I was hooked ever since. My skin looked flawless for once. That made me happy. I was able to go confidently through life. Night time was the worst. Removing my makeup and staring in the mirror at the big red bumps made me angry, sad, and lonely. Nobody could understand how debilitating it was to feel the need for cover up 24 hours a day. My friends were amazing. Anytime I complained, they would always say, "Dawn, it's not so bad. It looks worse to you than it does to everyone else." Really? Nobody wants to kiss a puss faced monster. That' s what I felt like-a monster. I even loved my skin after my basketball games because the flush I got seemed to just blend everything together in one rosy glow. At age 17, I went on Accutane. It's a high dose form of vitamin A, with severe side effects. I didn't care. I wanted clear skin. It cleared up a bit, then I went off to college. It stayed pretty consistently clear with the help of birth control.

I graduated college with a BA in English, and went on to work at an IT company as an office administrator. I hated it. The only score was getting a free gym membership and playing basketball with the guys on my lunch break. I daydreamed of many careers as I filed papers. I thought about working with children, so I did. I quit that job and started as a Pre-K teacher. That lasted almost 2 years. The day my Papa passed away, I made the decision to be what I truly wanted to be. I sat my parents down and told them I wanted to use the money Papa gave me towards my education as an Esthetician. I thought they would get angry with me for "wasting" money at college, but they never once mentioned it. Mom and Dad always told me I could do anything I put my mind to, and so I did. I never looked back. I fell in love with the school's white scrubs, my organized "theory" binder, the colorful world of the makeup room, and the smell of the wax wafting through the air. I was an A+ student. My teacher's loved my curious nature, and my tendency to ask a lot of questions. I rarely opted to "receive" during practical, because I wanted my hands to learn what to do. My mind was a sponge, soaking up every last detail of performing facials, waxing, and, my personal favorite, makeup artistry. After 6 months, I was a licensed Esthetician, and landed my first job, where I gathered quite devoted and loyal clients.

Why this blog?
I am a mom of a toddler. I don't work as much as I used to, and this is a great way for me to use my brain, and stay up to date with everything I love to talk about. Plus, it gives me an excuse to read up on my favorite beauty magazines and books. I would love for you, my readers to trust me, and feel free to ask any questions that you may have. I have compassion and dedication to helping women look and feel fabulous. I know what it's like not to feel 100% on the outside as you do on the inside, even 75%. I will write about everything from skincare for any age or skin type, new and upcoming ingredients, makeup tips and trends, and product reviews. Thank you in advance for your loyalty to my blog and for forwarding it on to your friends! Maybe one day I will be thanking you live from the Today show. Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

Pycnogenol-An Antioxidant Must Have!

Have you heard of Pycnogenol (pic-noj-en-all)? I doubt it. This powerful antioxidant is nestled on the shelf between the Alpha Lipoic Acid and Resveratrol. It's a natural plant extract from the bark of maritime pine tree, and the perfect choice for you ladies who are noticing skin aging with dilated capillaries. It also binds to collagen and elastin, making it stronger, and more willing to keep your skin from sagging. This serious Anti-O can be used inside and out. I would always recommend speaking with your physician before taking any kind of vitamin or mineral supplement. But, you can find Pycnogenol at most health food stores and online.
Natrol Pycnogenol, 50mg, Capsules

There also is a whole line from Derma E that is chalk full of this innovative ingredient: a cleanser, toner, moisturizer (both a gel and cream), and eye cream. By using this both on the inside and out, you are really feeding your body the antioxidant it needs for complete nourishment. Remember, your skin is the largest organ of your body, so it's always the last to receive anything you put into it. Don't forget to feed it from the outside too!
derma e Pycnogenol Moisturizing Cremederma e Pycnogenol Facial Cleanser

Questions? Feel free to ask me anything you would like to know here. Have a BEAUTIFUL day!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ode to Bubblegum Lip Smackers

It was Christmas morning. I was in the sixth grade, and anxiously waiting to tear open my stocking. "Santa" always put wonderful goodies in there. That's the year it happened. I fell in love. Out of the stocking came a jumbo-sized Lip Smacker the color of a ballet slipper. It smelt like somebody had just blown too much air through a gum bubble. It was aptly named, "Pink Bubblegum." I carried that lip balm around with me everywhere. I think this is when my addiction started. The sweet smelling and colorless lip satin was my token. I felt like a grown up. Little did I know that grown ups rarely carried insanely over sized Lip Smackers in their pockets. (Tangent: However, the Dr. Pepper one is a different story for another blog. Perhaps product review?) And, I digress. Since that day when Santa brought me that tube, and every other Christmas when I would receive a candy cane filled with Lip Smackers (remember those?), my lips have been moist and plump ever since. It's a little bit of a problem-an addiction, really. I cannot tolerate having dry lips for a minute. I clam up, start fidgeting, and search my pockets for lip happiness. In fact, I could start my own addiction group. I would call it LG/BAA (Lip Gloss/Balm Addiction Anonymous). Thank you, Santa, for giving my lips the best gift they could ask for. And, for giving my parents a child who was happy with an $.89 tube of lip balm.