Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Parabens- what are they, and why should we avoid them?

Maybe you've heard the "P" word lately, maybe you haven't. Parabens seem to be coming into the spotlight of the cosmetics world more and more lately, so I wanted to bring everyone up to speed who might not know what all the buzz is about.

Parabens are a type of chemical used in cosmetics, haircare, and skincare products... and you can even find them in food additives or dental hygiene products. These chemicals act as a preservative to keep your products lasting longer than they normally would.

Sounds great, right? The problem with parabens is that studies are showing these chemicals can act like estrogen, and the chemical has even been found in cancer tumors. Granted, there are no direct links between parabens and cancer, but it might be something worth avoiding "just in case".

Luckily, there are some absolutely fabulous makeup brands out there that make sure they products they product do not contain parabens! Some of my favorite are Tarte, Smashbox, Urban Decay, Bare Minerals, and Sephora Brand cosmetics just to name a few. Even some of the drug store brands are hopping on the anti-paraben bandwagon now; Revlon is one that comes to mind that I recently discovered!

So how do you know if your makeup has parabens or not? Check the ingredients! Many stores are making it easier by advertising "paraben-free" products. Sephora makes it even easier by listing the ingredients on each items product page, and include a section called "What It Is Formulated Without" to show any chemicals that were intentionally excluded from the product. However, checking the ingredients list yourself is always the best bet.

So how do you read all those long words in ingredients to look for parabens? Do a quick scan of the list, anything "-paraben" is a common culprit. Examples include methylparaben, propylparaben, or butylparaben.

So now that you know, I'm not telling you to tear open your makeup bag and toss everything with a paraben in it. BUT, slowly replacing your makeup with more paraben-free cosmetics might be beneficial in the long run.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

10 Beauty Tips!

Hopefully at least one of these beauty tips can help make your beauty life a little easier!

  1. Changing Your Mascara
    Mascara should never be used for more than 3 months- after that mark, it's time to toss. Ever wonder why this is around the same time it starts to get clumpy and change in consistency? That's because your mascara eventually becomes a breeding ground for bacteria... and you don't want that stuff near your eyes when it does! An eye infection is never worth getting an extra month out of your mascara. BUT, it can be really hard to remember when you last opened your favorite tube, and we all aren't organized enough to label them. The easiest solution I've found? Open a new tube with every season change! First day of Summer, Spring, Winter, or Fall- toss and open!

  2. Tape Those Eyes!?
    I mean literally, put tape on your eyes. Mastering the perfect eyeshadow line or winged eyeliner can be really tough, but this little trick can give you the perfect look every time. Place a small piece of tape on the outside of your eye, lining the edge from the corner of your eyelash line to the outer corner of your eyebrow. You can adjust the angle of the tape for more dramatic looks. A great plus- easy cleanup for any eyeshadow fall out that might land on your cheeks!
  3. Always Wash!
    This seems like a really easy one... don't go to bed without washing your face. Yes, it really stinks at 2:00am when all you can think about is your head meeting your pillow, but your skin will thank you for it. If nothing else, take 10 seconds to use a makeup remove wipe to remove anything on top of your skin. Nighttime is when your skin rejuvenates and heals, so make those hours count!

  4. Clean Pillow Cases
    We all change our sheets regularly, but changing your pillow cases even more often can be a huge benefit for your skin, and only takes about 10 seconds of your time. Oils from your hair, dead skin, dust- all these can be found on your pillow. Change at least weekly, but twice a week is even better.
  5. 2nd Life for Dry Mascara
    Sometimes our mascara can dry up on us early, before that 3 month mark. If you still have the timer going on your current tube, but its starting to turn dry and flakey, have no fear! Add a few drops of contact solution to the tube and twirl your brush around inside. You'll be able to get another week of use, sometimes more!
  6. One Every Two Rule
    I hear this all the time... "I tried that new foundation, new moisturizer, and new serum I heard about, but my skin went crazy!" Don't introduce too many new things to your face at once. My rule is you can bring in ONE new product every TWO weeks. After two weeks, usually my skin has had time to adjust or react to the newcomer. I can notice any negative reactions and discontinue use right away if that's the case. Take it slow!

  7. WATER!
    Another simple one... more water = happy skin! If you don't believe me, test it out for 3 days. Drink water like crazy, and see how great your skin looks and feels that week. You'll be a believer! A great rule of thumb is half your body weight, in ounces. So if you weigh 120lb, consume at LEAST 60 oz. of water.
  8. Samples Everywhere!
    We all love getting free samples from the beauty counter, but let's face it- they can get overwhelming sometimes. Before I know it, I'll have a pile of them on my vanity and I don't even know where to start! The best use for those moisturizers, hand creams, lip glosses, etc? Stash them away in your desk, in your car, in your purse... anywhere on the go! You never know when they'll get you out of a pinch!
  9. Too Hot!
    We all know water is hydrating, but if your water is too hot, it might not be doing you any good at all. When your wash your face or take a shower in hot water, you're stripping away the GOOD oils on your skin. These oils help keep you hydrated and healthy. Ever step out from a hot shower and notice your skin is red, and might even itch? A sure sign of dry skin!
  10. DON'T Pump It!
    Its getting near that 3 month mark, and your mascara just isn't clinging to the brush as thick as it once was. Pumping is NOT the solution! Pumping the brush wand into the tube pushes air down, which will actually dry out your mascara even faster! If you need more product, stick the wand back in the tube and gently swirl, you'll have better results and a longer lasting tube!

Thursday, February 13, 2014


Smashbox Cosmtics has really been pushing this whole "Shape Matters" concept with eyeshadow, and I have to say- I LIKE. I hear it all the time... "I want my eye makeup to look like hers" or "Why doesn't it look the same on me?" Its all about eye shape. Watch this great video where you can figure out exactly what shaped eyes you have, and then Smashbox has some great makeup tips geared towards your specific shape!