Let’s talk about skin safety (because yes it matters in winter too)

Beauty, Lifestyle

I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to visit my sister this Thanksgiving. I’m lucky that I got the chance while she is living in the Caribbean. Yes, I escaped the cold of the Midwest for a whole week, and don’t worry, I have plenty of cute vacation photos to show you. If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably seen enough already, but thank you for persisting.

 

While I was visiting my sister, I had a lot more exposure to the sun than I did back at home in the Midwest. In fact it was more sun than what I had been getting in months, and while I was very happy about it, I really had to be careful with my skin. My husband and I doused ourselves in drugstore sunscreen daily, using brands that I had grown up using and trusted. I don’t know if it was my skin’s inability to adapt to the quick increase in SPF, some failure on my part to apply correctly, or something different altogether, but this sunscreen wasn’t cutting it, and I was frustrated.

My sister pointed me toward the pharmacy, where her friend had found European brands. Years of obsessively protecting my skin had taught me that European brands contain ingredients that haven’t been approved in the US but are great at protecting us from UV rays. I was elated at this news from my sister and I ended up basically running down to the pharmacy to get my hands on those better ingredients.

Sure enough, the brand I purchased, Vichy (you can also get it in the US, but it won’t have those good ingredients), worked perfectly, absorbing quickly into my skin, smelling pleasantly, and most importantly, keeping my safe from the sun. After my new sunscreen purchase, the rest of our trip went smoothly, and honestly, I was excited to get to spend time with my sister.

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But why does this matter now? Because you should wear sunscreen year round, and not enough people realize this (yes, people who live in the Midwest with me, you need sunscreen year round). I am now a passionate believer in the importance of sunscreen, but I didn’t always feel this way.

If I’m being honest (and I am!), I hated sunscreen growing up. I disliked the smell, I disliked the oily feel, and I disliked the inconvenience of constantly needing to reapply. Obviously this is a toxic combination for this blonde-haired, freckled lady (especially since I basically spent my entire childhood outdoors playing softball).

Eventually, as I got older, I mostly got over my dislike of the smell and the oiliness. I think at some point my vanity (goodbye unnecessary wrinkles) outweighed my dislike of those things, and I sucked it up and started wearing sunscreen regularly. I’ll tell my mom it’s because I matured, but really it’s because I didn’t want to badly sun damage my body because I care too much about how I look. But who’s to say? Maybe that is it’s own kind of maturity.

Around the same time that I got over my repulsion toward sunscreen, I found out that really I should be wearing it every day. Young adult Anna couldn’t understand how to regularly wear sunscreen and reapply it with her makeup, and even though I probably only wore makeup about once a week, I used that as my excuse as to why I couldn’t wear it all the time. Then, I started buying the foundation that had SPF in it and I acted like that was sufficient, even though I knew that SPF needed reapplied regularly and I had read many articles explaining that the SPF found in makeup usually doesn’t cover what you need anyway.

Sometime during my college years, I finally held myself accountable and thought about why I was refusing to wear sunscreen like I knew I should be, and I realized it was because my skin usually reacted terribly with the normal drugstore brands that I used every summer on the softball diamonds. I knew there was no way that was what all the beauty experts were using on their faces, and I knew my reasoning for not wearing sunscreen was logical, but there was also a logical solution. At this point, I began my research. It didn’t take long for me to discover that sunscreens existed that didn’t smell terrible or leave your skin oily and gross feeling. In fact, there were sunscreens that were formulated just for your face and even meant to be reapplied over your makeup.

Let me tell you, this was a game changer for me. I used a gift card to a beauty store and I purchased my first for-face sunscreen. It was pricey, but I soon found out it was worth it. I now own multiple bottles of beauty expert approved sunscreen and I love them and I wear them year round just like all those beauty articles I read so long ago told me too.

Don’t worry, though, I still have work to do. I’m still working on my reapplying game, and if that’s something you’ve mastered, please tell me your secrets!

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My Favorite Face Mask (From Hawaii)

Beauty

Wow, can time fly! It feels like just a little bit ago I was returning from my honeymoon, and then I looked up and a month of the school year flew by.

Thinking about my honeymoon made me remember this great face mask that I picked up in Hawaii. I waited to try it until I was back home and my sister was visiting. It made for great sister bonding.

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When Eric and I were in Hawaii we did so many cool things that absolutely reminded us of how great God’s creation is, and it was so worth it; however, I also made Eric take me to a local makeup boutique which was also totally worth it.

The boutique introduced me to some Hawaiian brands. This is when I discovered Leahlani Skincare. At the boutique I picked up Leahlani’s Meli Glow Illuminating Mask.

I absolutely loved it. My sister liked the smell and color, but didn’t love that it was sticky (it has honey in it). Ultimately, we both loved how it made our skin feel and look  afterwards.

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I wish I had a picture with her too, but she was very excited and impatient about the whole face mask process!

Leahlani claims that the mask “works at the molecular level to increase blood circulation and oxygenation.” I’m not a scientist, but I can tell you that my skin looked and felt heavenly. The site also says that this mask is good for all skin types but especially for dry or combination skin (that’s me!). I also love that it’s full of vitamins, enzymes, oils, and clays.

My only complaint: it drips off your face while you wait. Maybe I put it on too think, but I do think it is probably due to the mask’s consistency. Was this a deal breaker for me? No, not at all. I’d just be careful with what clothes I was wearing, furniture I was sitting on, etc. Next time I’m going to try applying a thinner layer.

Overall, at $48 I think the product is well worth the cost. Plus, I can’t lie: this product will always remind me of my honeymoon; therefore, it’ll always have sentimental value.

Bronzing Sunscreen (And A Story)

Beauty

So this weekend, Eric and I took my youngest sister to a water park. Lot’s of fun ensued. We had a blast. And like all good people, who are deeply concerned with skincare, we reapplied sunscreen regularly. Like a lot. Especially to my little sister. There was no way that I was taking her back to my parents with a sunburn.

Luckily, this was no big deal because we had a bunch of sunscreen leftover from our honeymoon in Hawaii (I’m very pale so I stocked up). But all good things come to end. And so mid-way through one of our sunscreen applications, I finished off one of our spray sunscreens on my sister.

As I opened a new bottle and started spraying Eric, I noticed how the finish of the sunscreen looked so different than that of the other stuff. My sister and Eric are both much tanner than I am. I said something along the lines of, “Ooh, Eric, look how smoothly this goes on you. It sprays so evenly!”

Eric looked down in shock and shouted, “What’s in this stuff?”

That’s when I finally looked closer. The smooth finish was because the spray looked tinted, not it’s normal glossy finish. I told Eric to rub the sunscreen in, and after he did, he looked at his hand.

“Eew it’s sparkly,” he said, “and tinted, like makeup.”

I looked down at the bottle of sunscreen in my hand. And at that moment I came face-to-face with a truth that recently kept coming more apparent: I need to read product’s labels more thoroughly. That, or I guess you could argue, that product’s needed to keep their labels more simplistic. Either or really.

What I bought was Pacifica Coconut Probiotic SPF 30 Water Resistant 80 Minute Sunscreen. What I didn’t realize I bought was Sunscreen BRONZER.

I had accidentally covered Eric in bronzer, sunscreen bronzer, but bronzer nonetheless. And for a few seconds he was convinced I did it on purpose.

“Is this makeup?” he asked in disbelief.

“No,” I said, “it’s sunscreen.”

“But it’s bronzer,” he said. “Isn’t there makeup bronzer?”

“Yes, but it’s different,” I said.

I finally convinced him that I didn’t purposely cover him in bronze toned sparkles by reminding him how pale I was and badly bronzer sunscreen would look on my skin.

In the end, the show had to go on, and we had a bunch more rides to go on so I finished applying the bronze sunscreen to Eric and then applied it to myself.

Eric walked around the park sparkling and I walked around with orange legs.

But the most important thing is this: We all had fun, and the sunscreen worked and no one got burned!

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A Moisturizer And Serum Combo That’s Good, But Not For Me

Beauty

So, as I told you all in my last post, I’ve been putting my skin through boot camp, and let me tell you, it’s been working. While it’s great that my skin is seeing results, it’s also great that I’m getting to see what products work best with my skin.

For the longest time, I didn’t pay attention to what kind of skin I had. I would consider it normal because I didn’t know what else it could be. Now that I’ve gotten older, it’s become clearer what kind of skin I have. It’s definitely dry to normal (and I definitely get an oily t-zone from time to time). And, of course, I have sensitive skin.

Recently, I’ve been testing out the Caudalie birthday sample from Sephora. The birthday sample comes with Caudalie’s Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet and Caudalie’s Vinoperfect Radiance Serum. I love testing out new skincare products so I was excited to get this sample. And what makes this birthday set extra sweet? The fact that Eric got it for his birthday since he has a Sephora account for when he gets me gifts.

Let’s break down the products: The full size Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet costs $39. The product claims that it is good for all skin types, including sensitive skin. It claims to be a solution for drying, dullness and uneven texture, and fine lines and wrinkles. The texture is that of a cream, but as you apply it to your face, it quickly turns to a gel. Sephora’s site also notes, “Caudalie’s organic grape water and patented grape-seed polyphenols, this cream not only provides hydration, but it also protects the skin from free-radicals, which causes wrinkles. This formula is rich in Vinolevure® to strengthen skin to become less sensitive and more resilient over time.”

Unsurprisingly, the Vinoperfect Radiance Serum costs quite a bit more than the Sorbet, coming in at $79 (those darn serums!). This product, of course, also says that it’s for all skin types. It’s an oil-free serum that helps to even out skin tone and encourage radiance. This product comes out of the package with a droplet cap. The actual product is a milky color and consistency (but thinner, more watered down). Want to know more? Well, Sephora’s site says, “This cult product is highly concentrated with naturally powerful viniferine, an ingredient from the grape vine sap that is clinically proven to be 62 times more effective than vitamin C. The lightweight formula allows for immediate penetration and works well under makeup for flawless-looking skin.” And that last part really does seem to be the emphasis of this product. It can be used any time, in the morning or at night, and under any product like foundation or sunscreen.

My Experience: Well first, I loved the feeling of the products on my skin. They went on so smoothly. I’ll be honest, as far as serums go, this one is not my favorite. I definitely like it; I just have other serums that I like more, and I won’t be purchasing something for $79 if I don’t love it. I think my skin craves the feel of more oily serums. But, guys, oh my goodness the Sorbet was soothing. I loved it. Except, I didn’t love the results.

When I stopped using my regular moisturizer and switched to this serum and sorbet instead, in a couple days my skin was visibly dry. It really wouldn’t bother me that much except for the fact that I’m getting married in a week and my skin needs to be flawless. So last week sometime, I put this product on hold. I’ll finish it off sometime after my honeymoon.

So what’s my overall take on this product? I think it’s great, and it’s not a surprise to me that so many people love it. However, it really didn’t work with my skin. It says it is for all skin types, but it’s not for mine. I would recommend this product to someone with combination or oily skin because it doesn’t seem moisturizing enough for dry to normal skin.

One last thing: I took the Sorbet to be a moisturizer, but once I looked up the products, the serum is actually supposed to go with a different moisturizer. So perhaps, if I had used the recommended moisturizer with the serum, the effects would have ended more in my favor. However, I simply used the products provided in the birthday gift sample.

 

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