My Favorite Products Right Now!

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Farmacy Skin Dew

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Ciro-Cell Extraordinary Face Oil

for Anti-Aging

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RMS Beauty Master Mixer

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Goody Clean Radiance Paddle Brush

with Copper Bristles

Favorite Products of the Month!

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Christophe Robin Purifying Scrub

with Sea Salt (for your scalp)

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Lancome Miracle Cushion Liquid

Compact Foundation

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NIA 24 Eye Repair Complex

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Kiehl’s Algae Mask

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E.L.F Studio 3-in-1 Macara Primer

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photo via nailovelogy

Nail Foils

Dragon’s Blood in Skin Care – Not Derived from Fantastical Creatures! But Does Amazing Things to Your Skin!

Dragon’s blood is a bright red resin that is obtained from different species of a number of distinct plant genera: Croton, Dracaena, Daemonorops, Calamus rotang and Pterocarpus. The red resin has been in continuous use since ancient times as varnish, medicine, incense, and dye.

Dragon’s blood(Daemomorops draco) crushed incense and ground apothecary’s or pigment grade. Photo: Andy DingleyDragon’s blood resin is also produced from the rattan palms of the genus Daemonorops of the Indonesian islands and known there as jerang or djerang. It is gathered by breaking off the layer of red resin encasing the unripe fruit of the rattan. The collected resin is then rolled into solid balls before being sold.

The dragon’s blood known to the ancient Romans was mostly collected from D. cinnabari, and is mentioned in the 1st century Periplus (30: 10. 17) as one of the products of Socotra. Socotra had been an important trading centre since at least the time of the Ptolemies. Dragon’s blood was used as a dye, painting pigment, and medicine (respiratory and gastrointestinal problems) in the Mediterranean basin, and was held by early Greeks, Romans, and Arabs to have medicinal properties. Dioscorides and other early Greek writers described its medicinal uses.

Locals of Moomy city on Socotra island use the Dracaena resin as a sort of cure-all, using it for such things as general wound healing, a coagulant (though this is ill-advised with commercial products, as the Daemonorops species acts as an anti-coagulant and it is usually unknown what species the dragon’s blood came from), curing diarrhea, lowering fevers, dysentery diseases, taken internally for ulcers in the mouth, throat, intestines and stomach, as well as an antiviral for respiratory viruses, stomach viruses and for skin disorders such as eczema.

When applied topically, the sap dries quickly to form a barrier, much like a second skin. This protective shield helps regenerate the skin and prevents further damage with its anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and antioxidant qualities. Defending the skin against oxidative free radicals, it may ward off genetic alteration within the DNA of the skin cells. It also has exceptional anti-inflammatory properties that have shown to stimulate human skin fibroblasts, which ultimately helps to heal the skin when marred by acne or injury. It is ideal for sensitive or stressed skin to plump out fine lines and protect from the elements whilst hydrating the deepest layers of the skin and reduce redness.

Dragon’s blood contains phytochemicals including proanthocyanidins (antioxidants), diterpenes, phytosterols, and simple phenols. Alkaloids apsine and a lignan named dimethylcedrusine. which actually repair collagen, the lattice-like main protein that makes up much of our tissues. Additionally, Dragon’s blood contains taspine, a known tissue-healing agent it has been documented to have anti-inflammatory and wound-healing actions, and when combined with the proanthocyanidins, also shows anti-viral activities.

Though each component plays a beneficial role, it is the combination of elements within dragon’s blood that makes it so special. In a Belgian lab test on rats, dimethylcedrusine, pycnogenol, and tapsine all were shown to effectively heal skin lesions. But the crude resin of dragon’s blood was shown to speed healing four times faster (or 10-20 times faster than using nothing at all). Unlike its isolated chemicals, dragon’s blood was able to stimulate the contraction of wounds, help in the formation of a scab at the wound site, regenerate skin more rapidly, and assist in the formation of new collagen.

In 2007, researchers in China identified eight new flavonoids and 14 known compounds in dragon’s blood extract. After pitting the dragon’s blood compounds in test tubes against ulcer-causing H. pylori bacertia and thromin (a blood-clotting agent), the scientists discovered that many of the compounds were successful at combatting these bacteria. Once additional experiments lab experiments verify these findings, dragon’s blood may eventually be prescribed to treat gastrointestinal disorders. Today, practitioners are reporting that preparations made with dragon’s blood have shown to be beneficial for stomach ulcers, ulverative colitis, and Crohn’s disease when taken internally. In the Amazon it is used in primary first aid.

Photo: Maša Sinreih in Valentina Vivodhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21073937

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20349349

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/004938488390021X

My Must Haves For August!

Eborian Pâte Au Ginseng

Black Concentrated Mask

Drunk Elephant Shaba Complex Eye Serum

Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer

Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Colour Balm

(staying power of a stain)

Make Up Forever (400) Calligraphy Brush

 

(134) Large Fan Powder Brush

Sibu Beauty Sea Buckthorn Cellular Support

Hair One Cleansing Conditioners

(Great if you follow the directions exactly and

you don’t use a lot of styling products)

Much Cheaper than Wen & Sally’s has buy one get one sales!

Rice Bran Oil topically on your skin

Skin Care Ingredient: Menthol – Do We Really Need That Icy Tingle?

Menthol Crystals

What is it?

It is an organic compound made synthetically or obtained from corn mint, peppermint,  other mints, eucalyptus and pennyroyal; it is a compound made from herbal volatile oils (technically an alcohol). It is a waxy, crystalline substance, clear or white in color, which is solid at room temperature and melts slightly above.

Menthol’s ability to chemically trigger the cold-sensitive TRPM8 receptors in the skin is responsible for the well-known cooling sensation it provokes when inhaled, eaten, or applied to the skin. In this sense, it is similar to capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the spiciness of hot chilis (which stimulates heat sensors, also without causing an actual change in temperature).

Menthol’s analgesic properties are mediated through a selective activation of κ-opioid receptors. Menthol also blocks voltage-sensitive sodium channels, reducing neural activity that may stimulate muscles. A study showed that topical absorption of ibuprofen is not increased by menthol, but does note the complementary effect of the menthol as a pain reliever itself.

Some Uses:
  • In nonprescription products for short-term relief of minor sore throat and minor mouth or throat irritation.
    • Examples: lip balms and cough medicines.
  • As an antipruritic to reduce itching.
  • As a topical analgesic, it is used to relieve minor aches and pains, such as muscle cramps, sprains, headaches and similar conditions, alone or combined with chemicals such as camphor, eucalyptus oil or capsaicin. In Europe, it tends to appear as a gel or a cream, while in the U.S., patches and body sleeves are very frequently used.
    • Examples: Tiger Balm, or IcyHot patches or knee/elbow sleeves.
  • In decongestants for chest and sinuses (cream, patch or nose inhaler).
    • Examples: Vicks VapoRub, Mentholatum, vapoRem.
  • In certain medications used to treat sunburns, as it provides a cooling sensation (then often associated with aloe).
  • In aftershave products to relieve razor burn.
  • As a smoking tobacco additive in some cigarette brands, for flavor, and to reduce throat and sinus irritation sometimes caused by smoking. Menthol also increases nicotine receptor density, increasing the addictive potential of tobacco products.
  • Commonly used in oral hygiene products and bad-breath remedies, such as mouthwash, toothpaste, mouth and tongue-spray, and more generally as a food flavor agent; e.g., in chewing gum, candy.
  • In a soda to be mixed with water it is used to obtain a very low alcohol drink or pure (brand Ricqlès which contains 80% alcohol in France); the alcohol is also used to alleviate nausea, in particular motion sickness, by pouring a few drops on a lump of sugar.
  • As a pesticide against tracheal mites of honey bees.
  • In perfumery, menthol is used to prepare menthyl esters to emphasize floral notes (especially rose).
  • In first aid products such as “mineral ice” to produce a cooling effect as a substitute for real ice in the absence of water or electricity (pouch, body patch/sleeve or cream).
  • In various patches ranging from fever-reducing patches applied to children’s foreheads to “foot patches” to relieve numerous ailments (the latter being much more frequent and elaborate in Asia, especially Japan: some varieties use “functional protrusions”, or small bumps to massage ones feet as well as soothing them and cooling them down).
  • In some beauty products such as hair conditioners, based on natural ingredients (e.g., St. Ives).
  • As an antispasmodic and smooth muscle relaxant in upper gastrointestinal endoscopy.

The Good:

When it comes to skincare, menthol can reduce redness and increase circulation to invigorate dull, tired complexions. Acts as an anti-irritant and leaves your skin feeling tingly and cool. Menthol can also be an analgesic (pain killer), local anesthetic, or decongestant. It can aid digestion, treat sunburn, and even fight bad breath.
It carries a score of 1 on the EWG website
 

The Bad:

If you have sensitive skin, be careful not to overdo it on the menthol. It is an alcohol and can, in some cases, cause mild irritation or skin dehydration. It is an allergen to some as well. If your skin is really sensitive, look for L-Menthyl Lactate, a combination of menthol and lactic acid, which is less irritating but comes with the same cooling, calming effect.

Great Article on Menthol by Future Derm

Natural & Organic What Do These Words Really Mean?

Natural is a word that has been thrown around so much I almost feel it is a throw away word.  Its most common usage is to distinguish phenomena that exist only because of humankind from phenomena that doesn’t, presumes that humans are somehow separate from nature, and our works are un- or non-natural when compared to, say,  honeybees.

When speaking of food, skin care, or cosmetics, “natural” takes on an even more complicated meaning. Why? Every country has a different definition of the word, the US for example, the FDA has given up on a meaningful definition of natural food (largely in favor of “organic”, another ambiguous term. Many plants are the result of thousands of years of selection by humans, from a plant that wouldn’t exist without human intervention.

Many words are grouped in with the word organic; chemical-free, and natural.

The usage in many cases is technically incorrect [though of course all] food is all organic, because it contains carbon, etc. The concern is the way they are used to dismiss and minimize real differences in food, skin care, and cosmetics and product production.

A product can be synthetic and manufactured or produced, but be safe; and sometimes be the better choice. Added preservatives prevent bacterial growth in food, skin care, and cosmetics which is not a bad thing. Things can be natural and “organic”, but still be quite dangerous.

With food, skin care, and cosmetics it is very, very important to go by the expiration date when they contain no preservatives.  There are many organic/natural products that are great and contain natural or organic preservatives, they do exist, just be conscious label reader!

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Excerpts taken from I09

Hibiscus, the Natural Botox Plant!

Okay so don’t expect to get the same look from Hibiscus as Botox (that’s just not realistic), but it does have great firming abilities!

 

Hibiscus has long been a flavoring ingredient, fragrance, and ornamental plant. The flowers are used to make a popular drink in Egypt called “karkade,” while other parts of the plant are used to make jams, spices, soups, and sauces. The flowers also have powerful, exciting benefits to the skin, including the ability to firm and lift, giving hibiscus the nickname, the “Botox plant.”

Hibiscus is a genus of flowering plants in the mallow family, with several hundred species native to warm, tropical regions. Also called “rosemallow,” hibiscus can be grown indoors or out. Flowers are large and trumpet shaped, with five or more petals. Colors include white, pink, red, orange, purple, or yellow. The extract is most often taken from the red flowers, also known as “roselle.”

 

 

Many cultures enjoy hibiscus tea, made from the flowers and served both hot and cold. In addition to Egypt, West Africa, Mexico, India, and Brazil enjoy the tangy flavor of hibiscus tea, which is also a favorite in Caribbean islands.

Hibiscus also has antioxidants similar to those found in bilberry, cranberry, and red wine, more research is needed however.  Already the extract has shown some potential in reducing bad cholesterol.

Hibiscus has a reputation in skin care because it is a natural source of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs).  AHAs are known to help exfoliate skin, speed up cell turnover, and help control acne breakouts, all of which can encourage fresher and smoother skin. They also increase moisture and improve flexibility and elasticity—the reason why hibiscus called the Botox plant. It also contains antioxidants, which are called “anthocyanocides.” 

These not only protect the skin from free radical damage, but have astringent properties. They have an anti-inflammatory effect as well, which soothes irritated skin. The plant has a high mucilage content, which makes it a great skin moisturizer.

Favorite Products of the Month: Men’s Edition!

Shu Uemura Clay Definer Rough Molding Pomade

 

Tom Ford Oud Collection

 

Odin New York Formula 11 Semma

 

 

Magic Shave Bump Rescue Exfoliating Cleanser

 

Crabtree and Evelyn

West Indian Lime Shave Soap

 

Truefitt & Hill 1805 Shaving Cream

 

The Art of shaving After-Shave Balm Unscented

 

Parker Safety Razor 100% Best Badger Bristle

Shaving Brush — White & Chrome Handle

w/Free Stand

 

Proraso Pre-Shave Cream

 

 

Secura Hot & Cool Facial Steamer

Micro-fine Mist Sauna

w/ Essence Oil and Herbal Therapy

 

Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Transformer Age

Correcting Moisture Gel for Men

 

Fresh Umbrian Clay Mattifying Serum

 

Kyoku Daily Facial Cleanser

 

 

Cane & Austin Protect SPF 55 Ultra Sheer

 

Tend Skin

 

Molton Brown Re-Charge Black Pepper Body Wash

 

 

Skin Care What’s Order?

Apply your skin care in order of thickness of the product,

with the thinner formulas first.

This usually means oil goes after toner & serum but before moisturizer;

followed by sunscreen always during the day!

How Much Do I Need of…..? Portions for Make Up & Skin Care!

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