SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

August 24, 2017

I love the idea of a multi-step skincare routine. Cleanse, tone, moisturize. But that's just three steps...and I think we all know by now (via the Korean skincare and beauty regiments that have become so widespread) that there are a lot more steps to be had. Multiple steps call for multiple products. Pardon me, but this sounds expensive and involved and I have some questions: What do I need and what do I not need? What’s the layering process? Do I have to get rid of all the stuff I already use? And, last (but maybe most important) are these products going to make a difference?

Based on the small amount of research and reading I've done on the multi-step skincare phenomenon, I've concluded what I think is the most important nugget of information: a facial essence is key. What's an essence you ask? Well for one, it's not a toner. It's a liquid formula designed to restore moisture into your skin, and can help the products you layer on top be more effective. People that incorporate this one step into their routine say they notice an almost immediate difference in brightness and hydration. Incredible, right? Not so fast. Not all facial essences are created equal...and if you want those incredible results, you need an incredible product. SK-II's Facial Treatment Essence was one of the first essences to be created (nearly 40 years ago) and contains a key ingredient that is so powerful, it's often referred to as "miracle water."

I had heard about the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence and it's magic powers. My friend Grace has called using it "Benjamin Button-ing" (because it makes your skin look like it's aging backwards instead of forwards. Given all the hype and praise you'd think that I would have been adding the Facial Treatment Essence to my regiment years ago. Better late than never - I embarked on a skin transformation journey. If SK-II can really change my skin with just one bottle, why wouldn't I try it?!

 

Here’s the thing…I’m turning 30 in October. And while I’m not all gloom and doom about the number or the age, there is something about the milestone that feels big. And it’s made me evaluate a few things. For one thing, I can 100% say with a straight face that my skin is not what it used to be. To anyone in their early-mid twenties, I’d just like to tell you: your skin will probably never look better than it does right now. It almost feels like someone has been punking me for the past four years because dark circles I never had under my eyes have made themselves right at home, layers of moisturizer don’t ever feel like enough to quench constant dryness, that youthful “glow” is a distant memory unless I get strategic with highlighters, and you never realized the tightness your skin once had until it’s all but gone. Boo. Nature can be a tough lady. That being said, I’ve spent the past several months trying to get my skin looking and feeling as pretty and healthy as possible…saying “hi!” to 30 in less than two months seems like it will be easier if I’m feeling like my very best self. My skincare diligence has gone from focused to downright obsessive but hey, I’ve been feeling pretty darn good about my skin as a result.

I wasn’t banking on SK-II Facial Treatment Essence making me feel above and beyond. I thought, “Why not give it a go?” but not, “THIS IS GONNA BE THE HOLY GRAIL.” Basically, I’m always open to taking things from good to great in the skin department – especially if it’s as easy as adding one extra step and/or product – but my expectations were low that one bottle of SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, used daily, morning and evening would totally rock my world. But I wanted to take a journey and the promise of Cate Blanchett-like skin (she’s been using the essence for 15 years!) before 30 was too good not to jump in with both feet. If you’re potentially one bottle away from greatness, why not give it a go?

Spoiler alert: it’s that good.

Before I go into my results I want to talk about what exactly makes the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence so special. That key ingredient I mentioned earlier is called Pitera™, an ingredient derived from a unique yeast strain from a natural sake fermentation process. SK-II discovered this powerful ingredient after scientists visited a Japanese sake brewery and observed the wrinkled faces of aged sake brewers in contrast to their soft youthful hands. Realizing there was something special happening in the sake fermentation that was causing this anti-aging effect, the scientist began the process of pinpointing what this “miracle” water was. After years of exhaustive testing they were able to isolate the single yeast strain that was the secret key to flawless skin. Called Pitera™, the clear liquid is full of vitamins, amino acids, minerals and organic acids that allow the skin’s natural surface to rejuvenate at its prime and balances the moisture barrier for overall hydration and youthful-looking skin.

Though SK-II has many products, the Facial Treatment Essence has the most concentrated amount of the miracle ingredient – it’s more than 90% pure Pitera™. In addition to Pitera™, essences are more easily absorbed than creams and give your face an extra boost of moisture for a more beautiful, glowing complexion. Beauty pro favorites like SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, help stimulate the natural renewal process of the skin’s outer layer to expedite your way to glowing skin.

One product, one additional step, twice a day = transformed skin.

When I started using the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence I wasn’t peering into my mirror each morning and night looking for changes. I was just doing my normal double cleanse, followed by toner, then sprinkling about five splashes of the Facial Treatment Essence onto my palm, spreading the liquid across both hands and fingertips, and gently pressing all over my face and down my neck. Followed by moisturizer and eye cream. My three step routine got bumped to four but I hardly noticed the extra step.

After a week of using it I started telling Sally that my skin looked even more clear than before. I figured it was because I tried a new exfoliator. A week after that I was going without makeup and not feeling like Charlize Theron in Monster. I chalked it up to the added humidity Dallas has been blamed with (strangely, my skin seems to adore the extra moisture and heat). Each day my skin seemed to be looking better and each day I was thinking, “Oh! It must be XYZ.” It finally dawned on me that it was the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence literally working transformative magic.

You’d think that I would have had this “duh” realization immediately but the Facial Treatment Essence is so easy to use and so light and non-irritating that I just used it diligently without thinking…but it works. Texture: check. My pores are minuscule and adorable. Firmness: check. I feel like I have the happy skin of a teenager. Wrinkles: check. The lines on either side on my mouth are basically gone. Skin tone: check. OMG this has been the biggest difference – my redness (which I struggle with almost as much as I do acne) is so much better it’s insane. Radiance: check. I’ve never believed that skin can really “glow” but that’s exactly what I’m experiencing. Seriously noticeable results that totally snuck up on me. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced with another skin care product.

But what I love most about the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is that I can use it along with the skin products I already have. I can swap around my cleansers, toners, and moisturizers/lotions/balms – as I frequently like to do and have been while integrating SK-II Facial Treatment Essence – and by keeping the essence as a consistent step, my skin maintains a balance like I’ve never had before.

Now I totally get why Cate Blanchett looks like such a goddess…good genes and SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. Totally worth the hype, worth the investment, and worth the extra step! I’m here, declaring myself authentic proof that with SK-II you’re just #OneBottleAwayFrom younger looking skin. Hey big 3-0, I’m ready for ya!

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Supergoop! Sun Protection

July 27, 2017

Sally and I started our love affair with Supergoop! years ago. I want to say that we've been using it for as long as this blog has been active (which is nearly seven years). It all started with the Everyday Sunscreen - the first SPF we had tried that didn't feel like sunscreen but protected like no other for both face and body. Don't be confused by the name - there's nothing "goopy" about this stuff. We easily got our family hooked on Supergoop! and what began as an answer to our beach and exposed summer skin prayers turned into daily use. As the brand evolved, so did our knowledge of sun damage and the desire to protect our skin as much as possible with the best products possible. Being that Supergoop! is the first and only skincare brand completely dedicated to UV protection, we've continued to fall back on their formulas...experimenting with different SPF formulas for face and body but never being let down in the coverage protection.

What makes Supergoop! super special - besides the fact it's made with healthy ingredients and free of the controversial ones (the main reason we discovered it all those years ago) - is their broad-spectrum technology that protects against all types of skin-damaging rays with feel-good formulas. Sunscreen, sun protection, SPF - no matter what you call it, the truth is that it's necessary every single day. For me that calls for varying degrees of coverage and relying on a range of Supergoop! products. Given that Sally and I are at the beach this week  with family I thought it would be the perfect time to dish out some sun protection lingo and a few tips while also sharing my current Supergoop! faves. I'll walk through the three options I love for daily face use (all perfect for incorporating into a beauty routine) and what I've been using at the beach for tip-to-toe coverage.

 

​Knowledge is power no matter what you’re buying but it’s incredibly important when it comes to sun protection!

UVA and UVB and IRA:

  • The sun’s rays that are damaging to the skin are known as Ultra Violent (UV) rays.
  • UVA rays are known as “aging rays.” They penetrate deep into the dermis, the skin’s thickest layer, and play a greater role in premature skin aging changes including wrinkle formation (photo aging). These rays have no varying degree of intensity – they’re always there and can penetrate clouds and glass.
  • UVB rays are known as “burning rays.” They burn the superficial layers of your skin and are the ones responsible for producing sunburn. They also play the greatest role in causing skin cancers.
  • Historically, There are approximately 500 times more UVA rays in sunlight than UVB rays. Therefore, in addition to protecting your skin from the effects of UVB rays, it is also very important to protect from the damaging effects of the more numerous UVA rays.
  • IRA, or Infrared-A (IRA) Radiation comes from anything that emits heat…the sun, heat lamps, hair dryers, nail lamps, etc. Like UVA rays, IRA is the other aspect of sun exposure that contributes to skin aging. IRA penetrates the skin even better than UVA rays with about 50% of IRA reaching the dermis – that deeper layer of the skin where wrinkles form. The biggest difference between UV rays and IRA is that IRA does not directly break chemical bonds like UV does, but it does deliver enough energy deep into the skin to contribute to skin aging over time.
  • Traditional chemical sunscreen products have been more successful at blocking UVB rays than UVA rays. Broad-spectrum sunscreens are designed to protect against both UVB, and UVA rays. Supergoop! infuses all their products with antioxidants to protect against free radical damage caused by IRA rays.

Chemical vs. Physical/Mineral Sunscreen:

  • Chemical sunscreens contain organic (carbon-based) compounds such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone. These ingredients create a chemical reaction and work by changing UV rays into heat, then releasing that heat from the skin.
  • Physical/Mineral sunscreens contain active mineral ingredients, such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide and work by sitting on the skin to deflect and scatter damaging UV rays away from the skin. Think of them as a mirror, physically reflecting away rays from the body.
  • There are pros and cons to both (in terms of look and feel during and after application, waterproof factor, etc.) but both types will protect your skin against UVA and UVB rays, as long as you are applying them correctly and re-applying as needed in direct sunlight.

SPF:

  • SPF stands for sun protection factor. Most all sunscreens are classified by an SPF number which refers to their ability to deflect UVB rays.
  • The SPF rating is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to burn sunscreen-protected skin vs. unprotected skin. For example, SPF 15 means that 1/15th of the burning radiation will reach the skin.
  • Sunscreens with higher SPF don’t last or remain effective on the skin any longer than lower SPF – they just provide a lower level of protection – and must be continually reapplied, usually every two hours.

PA+++:

  • SPF indicates the level of protection from UVB rays, PA indicates the level of protection from UVA rays. PA means Protection Grade of UVA rays and is a Japanese measurement ranking system used to measure the sun protection factor (SPF) of a sunscreen and based on the Persistent Pigment Darkening (PPD) reaction reading at 2-4 hours of sun exposure. The simple explanation is that the more plus sign the more protection from UVA rays. PA+++ is designed for normal skin with exposure to very strong UV radiation and has the highest level of protection against pigment darkening

Application tips:

  • A little usually goes a long way…but don’t skimp on coverage. Just like when you’re putting on lotion after a shower, you know if you’ve missed a spot or are running low on getting every inch covered. When it comes to SPF, you don’t want to wimp out. It’s not like sunless tanner where too much = a crazy-colored mistake. Just make sure your exposed skin is totally treated – especially if you’re doing beach time or other fun-sun activities – even if that mean getting totally nude and covering tip to toe then getting dressed (which is what I do before putting on a bikini).
  • Put on the sunscreen at least 15 minutes before you know you’ll be exposed to sun. Give the good UV protection time to adapt to your skin and prepare for those harsh rays. Do it when you’re dry (re: ideally inside), and ask a friend (or complete stranger) to get the spots you can’t reach on your back, then give it time to dry before you get all sweaty/sandy/wet.
  • Be mindful of the activities you’re doing and keep a timer on when your next SPF re-application needs to be. Swimming or sweating? Re-apply every 80 minutes to be safe. Just lounging on the beach, enjoying a hike, or strolling your city? You’ll need to apply another layer at least every 2 hours, if not before. It sounds like a hassle but trust me (and any other person who has suffered a sunburn before) and just do it. Set a timer on your phone and cary some sort of Supergoop! (the best formulas for quick absorption and non-greasy, no-stick residue) to make sure you have what your skin needs to fight the harsh sun.

Have you made it with me this far? I hope so…understanding the above lingo might seem like a boring exercise but it’s made me SO aware of what the sun is physically capable of and given me serious knowledge power when it comes to knowing what my skin needs to stay protected in the best, most healthy ways possible. As promised, below are the “beauty” and “beach” Supergoop! products keeping my fair skin happy and free of burns!

.Beauty Protection.

City Sunscreen Serum, SPF 30+ PA+++: If you’re looking for an SPF formula that can be the last step in your daily skincare routine, let this be it. Designed to deliver incredible broad-spectrum UV protection (so you’re covered on both the the anti aging and the sun burning factors) as well as moisture it’s ideal for everyday, year-round use and perfect for wearing alone or layering under makeup. I love how thin and and silky the formula is…it feels no different than any other hydrating morning moisturizer I’ve used but I love knowing that it’s packed with sun protection and skin protecting antioxidants from Vitamins E and B5. *Apply liberally 15 minutes before sun exposure. Use a water resistant sunscreen if swimming or sweating. Reapply at least every 2 hours if and when in direct sunlight.

Invincible Setting Powder, SPF 45: Setting powder is my savior in the spring and summer months. When the humidity is at an all time high and the temperatures are raging, my skin just needs a dusting of powder to control shine and keep my face makeup (foundation, under-eye stuff, and concealer) from melting off. When I started using the Invincible Setting Powder, I knew I had found my holy grail. I like to use an invisible setting powder after my face makeup but before my bronzer and blush (because they’re more of a dusting than full coverage) and I love how the Supergoop! does everything I need while being 100% mineral based (Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide). It’s sweat resistant – a total must in the summer and in life – completely translucent, and provides environmental protection in addition to UV protection. The matte finish helps soothe the appearance of pores which is just the icing on the cake. And the very best part is that unlike other setting powers where you have to dip a brush into loose powder, this design allows you to twist the brush up out of the base, tap/tap/tap the brush against your wrist to load the brush bristles with powder, then apply and go…no mess or wasted powder – just easy, complete and flawless coverage. And the brush head can be removed for washing and the mineral powder can be bought separately to refill the brush and base. *

Defense Refresh Setting Mist, SPF 50: There’s kind of no better feeling than doing your makeup perfectly then locking everything up with a few generous mists of setting spray. It just makes you feel like you can conquer the day and keep your face in place. But did you know that that by noon, any previously applied UV protection you’ve slathered on earlier in the morning is likely no longer? Kind of…unsettling considering how much sun hits you through office and car windows, during street side strolling, and all the activities during the day. This setting mist is wonderful because you can use it in the morning to set all that makeup goodness you slaved over and then keep it with you to do your re-applications of UV defense during the day. Aside from checking your sun protection box (with SPF 50, no less!) the mist also has a great matte finish (ideal for summer) because of optical diffusing silica silicate which controls oil and scatters light to reduce shine. Antioxidant rich rosemary – which helps improve complexion – is just the icing on the cake. *Shake. Then shake, shake again to make sure all that UV protection is evenly distributed. Close your eyes and spray 4-5 mists working in a circle around the entire face. To lock make-up in place, apply Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50 as a finishing to your make-up regimen, then re-apply consistently throughout the day.

.Beach Protection.

Super Power Sunscreen Mousse, SPF 50: I’ve never experienced sunscreen like this…the mousse is literally lighter than air and absorbs so quickly. A little goes a long way and there’s o greasy, sticky, or slick residue or white cast (because it’s a chemical formula). I can totally see moms and kids loving this because it’s so fun to use…my little bother let me have a little fun when I was re-applying a layer on his back and everyone and my family loved the way it felt compared to traditional sunscreen lotion. In addition to being water resistant for up to 80 minutes, ingredients like blue sea kale provides antioxidant protection, while a blend of shea butter, olive and avocado oils keep skin nourished and moisturized. And, it’s broad-spectrum which means you get coverage from both those UVA and UVB rays. *Apply 15 minutes before sun and reapply at least every 2 hours when in direct sun.

100% Mineral Sunscreen Mist, SPF 30: If you like a spray sunscreen you’ll love this stuff…with a continuous 360 degree spray that’s non-aerosol (it has a bag dispense design on the inside) it’s beyond easy to mist all over then rub in for a sheer, dry finish. If you’re looking for a physical/mineral broad-spectrum sunscreen I really love this one because the mist makes for quick, full-coverage application that doesn’t leave a white cast thanks to the lightweight zinc oxide formula. Along with the great protection, Marigold, Safflower, and Sunflower antioxidants defend against infrared and UV-induced free radical damage while Aloe Vera soothes the skin. *Shake well to activate – if the mist looks clear, keep shaking till it sprays white. Apply 15 minutes before sun and reapply after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating or immediately after towel drying and at least every 2 hours when exposed to sunlight.

.More Daily Protection Supergoop! Favorites.

Everyday Sunscreen, SPF 50: The O.G. Supergoop! Product that my family and I still love, love, love. It’s not fancy – just a lotion-type formula – but the moisturizing non-greasy formula is what got Sally and I hooked originally and we still always carry some of it with us on every beach trip. When friends/people tell me that they hate sunscreen I immediately start singing about Supergoop! and mostly in praise of this original formula. It absorbs like a lotion, lets your skin breathe, has no stinging affect, and has no white veil (even on darker skin tones).

Shine On Lip Screen, SPF 50: Traditional lipsticks and lip glosses magnify UV rays. Truth, scary truth. This genius stuff can be worn on top of your favorite lip color as a clear coat that has a powerful UV shield. I love wearing the shine on its own – because it’s just so glossy, hydrating and wonderful – but it’s the perfect water-resistant and non-sticky gloss to top over your daily lip hue. Best part, the inclusion of grape seed extract – which is rich in resveratrol – delivers antioxidant defense against UV rays preventing premature signs of age.

Forever Young Hand Cream with Sea Buckthorn, SPF 40: Sally and I are both completely freaked about how quickly and severely hands can show age…mostly due to sun damage. What’s the point of taking great care when it comes to the premature aging of your face if your hands look like they belong to a much older person?! To combat our fears while also hydrating our hands, we use this Forever Young Hand Cream. Feels like a moisturizing lotion while doing the work of of a broad-spectrum

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Using Living Proof’s In-Shower Styler

June 13, 2017

If I look a little tired in these photos it's because I am. Having a sweet baby to feed around the clock has definitely changed my sleeping habits and left me, well, looking less than well rested. But I can't complain...I love my new routine as a mom even if it means that my personal maintenance has taken a backseat. Taking on the 1-week In-Shower Styler Challenge with the first-of-its-kind product by Living Proof could not have come at a more ideal time. Since having our sweet bunny nearly a month ago I can count the number of times I've blow dried my hair on one hand (using only a few fingers). As a new mom, air-drying my hair has been less of a choice and more of a necessity. Upon learning about Living Proof's PhD In-Shower Styler - which I talked all about in this post - I thought, "this could totally change my life/hair" and happily took on the challenge to put away my drier and hot tools in lieu of using the product exclusively for a week. I'm really excited to report back with my thoughts! Just excuse the tired eyes...

 

So just to re-cap a little from this post last week, the PhD In-Shower Styler is a revolutionary product Living Proof created to help air-dried hair look more beautiful. For years I have been trying to air dry my hair more than I blow dry it… not only because my hair stylist has advised me to but because I know it’s a better way to keep my long highlighted hair healthy and happy. But for me (and I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way) air-drying has just never felt like an equal alternative to blow-drying. The results have always been night and day – the difference between body, texture and smoothness (from using a blow dryer and curling wand) versus limp inconsistent waves, flat roots and frizz (the results I used to get with air-drying). I want to love the way my hair looks air-dried but it’s just never been possible.

Enter Living Proof’s PhD In-Shower Styler. This product could not have entered my life at a more perfect time. As much as I appreciate the science behind Living Proof and have seen their other products work magic, I have to say that I was slightly skeptical about the In-Shower Styler actually changing the look of my air-dried locks. The promise of enhanced texture, better body, and smoothness just sounded too good to be true. But after trying it once I was convinced. And after using it for a whole week I’m completely hooked.

Here’s how I use it:

  • I use Living Proof’s Perfect hair Day (PhD) Shampoo and Conditioner like I normally do
  • While my hair is still wet I apply the In-Shower Styler (about a quarter size amount) and coat my hair from the roots to ends
  • Then I lightly rinse the product but running my fingers from roots to ends a couple times under the shower head for a couple seconds. The trick is to make sure that the product doesn’t totally rinse out! I make sure that I can always feel some of the product on my strands
  • When I get out of the shower I gently towel dry my hair using an AQUIS hair towel and wrap it up for a little bit (to get the excess water out and so I can sip on some coffee)
  • Because my hair gets SUPER tangled (especially at the nape of my neck) I have to comb it while it’s still wet
  • Even though my hair has some natural wave I wouldn’t consider it curly…so I’m not big on “scrunching.” I just sort of fluff it at the roots and run my fingers through it after it’s been combed and say a prayer that things turn out okay
  • Then I leave it alone to air dry and completely forget about it
  • The final step is catching myself in the mirror while changing diapers or getting a moment alone in the bathroom and thinking “Well what a surprise – things are actually looking pretty good!” (note: this is only a reaction to my hair and not the dark circles under my eyes)
  • Sometimes I skip a day on washing my hair while showering and use Living Proof’s PhD Dry Shampoo to give my roots some extra volume

If the difference between blow-drying my hair verses air-drying has been night and day, the difference in air-drying without the In-Shower Styler versus with is like…incomparable. Before using the product, in addition to not having an ounce of body, I felt like my hair would almost look a little greasy when air-dried. I definitely never felt like I looked my best with my natural, air-dried hair. But – and this is not an exaggeration – my love for my natural wave has totally changed and I actually feel just as confident with my air-dried hair as I do when it’s been blow dried and curled. I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised by the In-Shower Styler results given that Living Proof products always keep their promises and deliver on making every day a “good hair” day!

The best part – besides the fact that it’s silicone-free, sulfate-free and safely formulated for color and chemically treated hair like all Living Proof products – is that even though the In-Shower Styler is ideal for straight to slightly wavy hair it still works if you have naturally straight hair. Molly has very straight hair and rarely air-dries because she can’t stand how flat her hair will look without some blow dry action – but she has also tried using In-Shower Styler and loves it. Her trick is to let her strands air try till they’re almost totally dry, then part her hair down the middle and clip each side into loosely wrapped buns. Once completely dry she has the ideal amount of soft waves and good root volume – without having to use any hot tools! I should also mention that the In-Shower Styler comes with a handy little pamphlet with other styling tricks and different styles to help you get your best (air-dried) hair.

Whether you’re a mom who barely has time to wash your hair let alone style it (like me), someone who always air-dries but wants to improve the look of your natural hair, or you’re wanting to convert to air-drying but are scared of giving up the volume, body, smoothness and shine that comes from hot tools – I highly suggest giving the In-Shower Styler a try. You don’t need to do a 1-week challenge like I did…just one use will be enough for you to see a noticeable difference!

Do you typically air-dry or blow-dry your hair? What kinds of air-dried styles would you want to try?

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Introducing Living Proof’s In-Shower Styler

June 6, 2017

At first glance, Molly and I definitely look a lot alike. We share the same height, similar smiles, etc. But the biggest distinguisher between the two of us is our hair. Not only do we have very different natural colors (she's a strawberry blonde and I'm a light blonde) but our hair textures are completely different. It's rare that we ever overlap on using the same products since we have to do different things to achieve our individual "good hair." But after hearing Molly rave about Living Proof and their Perfect hair Day (PhD) Shampoo and Conditioner for so long (and seeing our mom who has hair very different from Molly also love the formulas), I gave them a try and loved them. The fact that they're sulfate-free and silicone-free AND result in hair that's healthy and looks/feels cleaner longer was such a win for me...knowing that it's safe for my highlighted hair was the icing on the cake.

Given my great experience the first time I used Living Proof and their PhD products I was really intrigued when they launched their newest product: PhD In-Shower Styler. This first-of-its-kind product that goes on in the shower to help your hair air dry more beautifully sounded too good to be true...how does the stuff stay on enough to make a difference as it dries? What makes it change the air drying look? Living Proof answered all my questions (got to love such a transparent company!) and I'm sharing what I've learned. Not just because the product is actually incredible, but because I'm kicking off a week of only using the In-Shower Styler to see how it affects my hair struggles and changes my routine!

 

So here is what you need to know about Living Proof: they are not a traditional beauty company in that they’ve based their brand on re-thinking conventional hair wisdom and inventing products because they weren’t satisfied with the formula options (or lack their of) available. The Living Proof approach is to solve problems with science. It sounds like such a “duh” philosophy but for the beauty industry – which has been driven by limitations of conventional products confined by preconceived notions of what can and can’t be done – Living Proof has proved to be trailblazers with their groundbreaking products.

The In-Shower Styler is just as groundbreaking as the other Living Proof products but even more special because it’s a product concept that hasn’t really existed before now. We all know the benefits of air drying our hair…by not using a blow dryer we minimize the damage done to strands. Blow drying causes an effect called “flash drying” which removes the surface moisture and removes water that is bound to the hair (called water of hydration). The result is that hair cuticles become dry, rigid and brittle. My hair stylist is always encouraging me to do more air drying to maintain my hair health and keep the strands from breaking and splitting. But here’s the thing with air-drying…it just never looks as good as a blow out. Right? Living Proof created the In-Shower Styler to combat the usual air-drying woes of lack of body, texture, frizz and more.

The instructions for using the formula are super simple:

  • Shampoo and condition your hair in the shower as you normally do
  • While your hair is still wet (and obviously while you’re still in the shower) apply the In-Shower Styler (about a quarter size amount) to coat your hair from roots to end
  • Lightly rinse (but not too much – you should still be able to feel some product on your hair)
  • Towel dry your hair once out of the shower
  • Scrunch
  • Air dry

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? “But how does it work? How is my hair going to look any different than when I normally air dry it?” Science!

  • Natural texture is enhanced with cationic resins that bind to the hair (even after rinsing) and flex when dried.
  • Natural body is created by PBAE (Living Proof’s patented Thickening Molecule), which are thickening dots left behind on the hair.
  • Naturally wavy hair is enhanced even more because of magnetic texturizes that enhance your natural waves by building separation between your hair fibers.
  • Hair stays smooth due to a hydrophobic resin that controls fly-aways and enhances shine.

Because I believe in Living Proof and am so genuinely intrigued by the science behind the PhD In-Shower Styler, I’m taking a 1-week In-Shower Styler Challenge to forgo my hair dryer and hot tools in favor of embracing my natural air-dried locks. My hair is naturally wavy and even though I air dry it more than I blow dry it (because I try to obey my hair stylist), I generally never like how it looks and typically end up putting it in a bun or braid because it just doesn’t look “good.” Unlike when I blow dry, my air-dried hair usually looks limp with inconsistent waves and absolutely no body at my roots (my biggest battle when it comes to my hair). I’m really excited to put the In-Shower Styler to the test and see what it does for my air-dried look!

So stay tuned…in a week or so, you’ll be getting the full scoop!

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Beauty Dish

April 6, 2017

Now that I am in week 36 of my pregnancy, I have a long-established routine with my skin that I have been consistently practicing and loving. Adapting a new routine with new products geared towards my changing skin and body wasn't all that hard...I have always been pretty regimented with my skincare routine and never skip a full face washing (and toning and moisturizing), no matter how tired I may be. Everything I use on my skin is safe to use while pregnant and have been working really well to treat/prevent various skin situations that typically arise during pregnancy. So excited to share what have become my tried and true pregnancy skincare savors and essentials!

Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil ($64): Stretchmarks often come hand in hand with pregnancy and many people swear that they are hereditary and therefore nothing can actually prevent them. I have yet to develop any through the years, and figured that it wouldn’t hurt to use treatments to potentially prevent them if I could. And, at 36 weeks, my belly is a full fledged basketball and has been stretched to the max. With regular (daily) use of Clarins Tonic Body Treatment Oil, I have yet to see a single stretch mark so I am now a firm believer in the stuff. My friend Hannah was the one who recommended the oil to me after loving it during both of her pregnancies. I have continued to replenish it throughout mine and now consider it a must have! (also find it here, here, and here)

Eminence Organics Bright Skin Licorice Root Booster-Serum ($41): I’ve never had any sort of pigmentation/melasma issues with my facial skin until I was about 30 weeks pregnant when it just decided to appear one morning. Nothing drastic, but definitely some pigmentation that I noticed – otherwise referred to as the “mask of pregnancy”. I can’t say that my situation resembles a mask, but regardless, I wanted to be sure that I was using products to target what was going on. I discovered Eminence’s Licorice Serum through House of Preservation as being a pregnancy-safe way to even out one’s skin tone. The reviews on Amazon are amazing and many of them were written by pregnant women which immediately sold me. So far I’ve been using the product for a month now, both morning and night, after cleansing and toning and can say that I’ve truly seen a difference. My hope is that the pigmentation will go away after pregnancy/breastfeeding and once my hormones are back to normal!

UMA Brightening Face Oil ($150) and Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum ($185): Both morning and night, I finish my skincare routine with an oil or serum. I rotate between three different oils/serums to make them last me as long as possible. In addition to the True Botanicals routine I wrote about here (which I am still absolutely loving), I rotate between that and UMA’s Brightening Face Oil and Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum. All three of these are such high quality oils/serums that I know I am giving my skin the absolute best. I honestly could not apply makeup/tinted moisturizer to my skin without having put one of these on beforehand. It makes everything glide on that much smoother and gives my skin a certain glow. But I also love those days where I don’t wear any makeup and my skin gets to soak up alll of the goodness all day long. At night, I make sure to do this last step a little while before my head hits the pillow so that the products can really sink in and work their magic.

True Botanicals Nourishing Lotion ($42): I’ve always had extremely sensitive skin, but those sensitivities have multiplied with being pregnant! My generally dry skin has become dryer and I have to be very mindful of what I am using on my body skin. I swear that using a non-toxic moisturizer like True Botanicals Nourishing Lotion has been a game changer and my strange sensitivities like itchiness while wearing workout pants have disappeared. I basically apply it everywhere that I don’t use the Clarins Oil and my skin remains moisturized throughout the day, which hardly ever happens to me. I’ve also loved using the True Botanicals Body Balm on my belly once a day – in addition to the Clarins Oil – the smell is beyond.

Majestic Pure Coconut Milk Body Scrub ($14.50): I realized over halfway through being pregnant that regular exfoliation can also help with stretch mark prevention. At one point I read that doing this is just as important as it is to moisturize. It also helps all of the moisturizing you’re doing really absorb into the skin. I came across this Coconut Milk Scrub on Amazon and am completely obsessed. It doesn’t hurt that I love all things coconut, but it also does an unreal job of exfoliating and leaving my skin beyond soft after each use. The fact that it is 100% natural makes me confident in using it almost daily, too!

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