Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Top 6 Skin Care Ingredients To Avoid

Octyl Stearate
This chemical is used in moisturizers, sunscreens, tanning oils, and eye creams, among others. It is both an irritant and comedogenic, meaning it clogs pores. Although proper moisturization is a must for healthy skin, avoid products containing octyl stearate. If you have ever noticed pimples in the delicate skin around your eye, consider switching your eye cream. Finally, while the dangers of tanning have been stressed due to the potential for skin cancer, harsh ingredients in tanning products is another reason to learn to love your pale skin. Products containing octyle stearate include Elizabeth Arden Flawless Finish Foundation, Almay Kinetin Eye Treatment, and Cellex-C Sun Care.

Algae Extract
While this ingredient sounds "natural," that doesn't mean your skin will be receptive to its irritatant and comedogenic properties. Algae Extract, also listed as seaweed extract or gelidiela acerosa extract, can be found in many products such as Clairol Hydrience Haircolor, Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Eye Cream, Origins A Perfect World Eye Cream, and Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion, among many others. Two other algae-derived products, algin (or sodium alginate) and carrageenan, are also used to stabilize or emulsify skin and hair products such as facial cleansers, moisturizers, and exfoliants, shampoos and conditioners, and shaving cream. Fortunately, algin is easy to avoid; carrageenan is more prevalent.

This coconut-derived surfactant, dispersant, and emulsifier (meaning it evenly suspends one liquid throughout another, rather than allowing it to settle) is an extremely common ingredient in all kinds of skincare products that can be difficult to avoid. Some Aveeno bath products and body scrubs contain Laureth-4, and it can also be found in Gillette shaving gels and even some acne treatments. It is worth your while to search out products free of this comedogenic and irritating alcohol.

Sodium Chloride
Otherwise known as salt - yes, the kind used to flavor food - sodium chloride is a pore-clogging chemical found in products too numerous to mention. Just because you can safely eat it doesn't mean you should put it on your skin! Aveeno- Ultra-Calming Foaming Cleanser is a good bet if you want to avoid sodium chloride and most other harsh ingredients, such as those listed in this article.

Isopropyl Myristate
Primarily comedogenic, isopropyl myrstate may also be somewhat irritating to sensitive skin. It is derived from both plant and animal fatty acids and helps the skin absorb the skincare product. Isopropyl myristate is a common ingredient found in body lotions, like Neutrogena Light Sesame Formula, tanning lotions by Banana Boat, and foundations by Estee Lauder and Cover Girl.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
This chemical is a detergent used in many hair and skin products. It helps the product to lather. Until recently, sodium lauryl sulfate was nearly impossible to avoid, but because of industry safety concerns and a little bad press, it is much less difficult to find alternative products. If you must use a product with sodium lauryl sulfate, make sure you rinse your skin and hair thoroughly. Never leave a product with this ingredient on your skin. Also avoid sodium laureth sulfate.

There are numerous other ingredients to avoid, if possible. Acne-causing ingredients include: hexadecyl alcohol, oleth-3, and wheat germ oil. Irritants include: acetone, isopropyl alcohol, and colloidal sulfur. Mineral oil (petrolatum) may dry out skin in the long run, as will propylene glycol.

Monday, September 9, 2013

HOW to Get Longer, Thicker Eyelashes

How to Grow Fuller Lashes & What to Do to Thicken Existing Lashes

A pair of thick, long eyelashes beautifully makes your eyes pop, and when you have them, you can get away with wearing only minimal makeup. So outlined is the most effective ways to lengthen and thicken your lashes—tips to help you better grow them, tips on which products and techniques are most effective, and tips on what NOT to do.    

Nutrition for Long Lashes

Beauty problems can often be traced back to, or improved by, the nutrients you consume. Beautiful eyelashes are no different.  

A registered dietitian  explained that: “B vitamins, and especially biotin, can help eyelashes and the hair on your head grow.” Additionally, a “biotin deficiency can actually cause eyelashes to fall out.”  

Many also believe that biotin can help strengthen brittle nails and improve acne. Yes please.  

The best way to consume nutrients is by eating them, rather than taking supplements (which is convenient since eating is so much more fun), so boost your biotin intake with foods like nutritional yeast, liver, cauliflower, salmon, bananas, carrots, egg yolks, sardines, legumes, and mushrooms—all rich in biotin.    

How to Pick the Right Mascara

There are critical things you should consider when choosing mascara, and important tips to follow to properly apply it.  
  • Hypoallergenic: If you have sensitive eyes or find mascara irritates your eyes when you wear contacts, you may want to opt for hypoallergenic mascara. It will say on the packaging whether it’s hypoallergenic. Almay is known for making a drugstore alternative for those with sensitive eyes.     
  • Waterproof:  Pass on waterproof mascara for day-to-day use and save it for beach days instead. The ingredients that bind the mascara to your lashes are too harsh to use daily, not to mention all the elbow grease it takes to remove the mascara can wreck havoc on your lashes.    
  • Double-layer:  Because it’s impossible to pack too many ingredients into a tiny tube of mascara without sacrificing their effects, it’s best to use two with separate purposes. Pick your favorite lengthening mascara and layer it on, then follow-up with a coat of your go-to volumizing mascara.    
  • Lower Lashes:  To avoid those pesky under eye smudges when you try to apply mascara to your bottom lashes, use a smaller wand designed to paint those little lashes. You can find mascara for bottom lashes (Clinique makes one), which comes with a teeny wand, or you can simply purchase small wands from the drugstore or a beauty store and use those with your current mascaras.      
  • Lash Serums & Primers: Lash serums are designed to boost your lashes with vitamins and protective ingredients. Primers, on the other hand, when applied as the first layer on your lashes, can enhance the effects of your mascara coated on top.  
  • Tube Mascara: Tube mascara adheres to each lash in a tube-like manner—it does not simply refer to mascara that comes in a tube. Because of its properties, tube mascara results in lengthened, thickened lashes with less of those pesky little flakes. It also tends to have more staying power.       
Eyelash Extensions
In the last year, eyelash extensions have become all the rage. Rather than applying false lashes yourself (which you’re generally only wearing for a day), you can go to a salon to get individual lashes glued in place between your natural lashes. You can even custom pick the length of your lashes if you’re worried about looking too drag queen fab at the office.  

The process can take a couple of hours, but can provide you with a few weeks of beautiful, eye-batting lashes (salons recommend you come in for touch ups every two to three weeks—those take about 30 minutes).  

To maintain the life of your extensions, try to sleep on your back (this is a great way to prevent wrinkles anyway). carefully remove your eye makeup with removers that are not oil free, and brush out extensions daily to prevent tangling. Some swear that if you properly care for your lashes, they can last from one to two months.  

Note, though, that as the lashes shed, they may cause a slight increase in shedding of your own lashes. If lash extensions are making your eyelashes thinner, certainly discontinue getting them.    

Combat Eyelash Loss
Your eyelashes shed naturally, but if they’re falling out in clumps, you might want to evaluate the problem. Using expired mascara, overusing waterproof mascara, not removing your eye makeup religiously, or having a vitamin deficiency can all contribute to eyelash loss, among other things.  

So replace your mascara—you should be doing this at least every three months anyway, make sure you gently remove your eye makeup every night before hitting the sack, and incorporate more biotin-rich foods into your diet. You can also try applying an eyelash serum/conditioner after you’ve removed your makeup at night—this can help strengthen and moisturize your lashes.  

If your eyelashes are still shedding too rapidly, make an appointment with your doctor to rule out possible eye infections, thyroid or autoimmune diseases that could be leading to hair loss.