Monday, May 30, 2011

If You Haven't Tried Kiehls Yet, You Must!

I think I'm in love. Okay, that might be a bit dramatic, but I've found a great new product line I just have to tell you about! It's a skincare line called Kiehls, and I actually found them on this website! They often advertise here (where it says "Hyaluronic Acid Skin Cream")--I clicked on that and found their newest product, a Double Strength Deep Wrinkle Filler that not only helps wrinkles, but also has these little fillers that plump up to 30x their size. The results? 94% of women saw crow's feet diminished. Score! I just ordered it, so I'll give you the scoop once it arrives.

Brad Pitt even uses Kiehls!
Courtesy: Eonline
                One of their other products, the Line Reducing Eye Brightening Concentrate, totally rocks. I ordered it about two weeks ago, and I've already noticed an improvement in my dark circles, and when I put it on, it's like my wrinkles disappear. It has 10.5% pure vitamin C, which is one of the best for anti-aging. It also has Haloxyl, which Kiehls says brightens the eye area, helping to reduce those dark circles every woman over 30 dreads.

One of the bonuses with Kiehls, is that when you place an order you get 3 free samples so you can try out other products. They also have free shipping for orders over $50. (Look, even Brad Pitt uses this line!)

Good luck and keep looking beautiful!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Favorite Hairsprays

When I worked as a morning reporter, my hair had to withstand some pretty harsh weather conditions--100% humidity and hurricanes in Southwest Florida, wind and wildfires in Colorado and tornadoes and rain in Indiana. Phew.

Because of that, I learned which hairsprays work well and which ones can't hold up for 5 hours of live TV.

By far the strongest hairspray I ever used is Aussie's Instant Freeze Aerosol Hairspray. This stuff is like glue. (You'll have to wash your hair everyday if you use this.) I'm guessing most of you don't need that kind of hold, so I have two other recommendations. First is Sebastian's Shaper aerosol hairspray. This stuff holds really well and has a pretty good scent too. I definitely use this on days when Chicago's humidity is at top levels.

I also discovered another hairspray this weekend. I bought a trial size of Chi's Enviro 54 Firm Hold Hair Spray. (I use other Chi products and love them, but had never tried the hairspray until recently.) This stuff held my locks through an outdoor wedding in Hilton Head, SC and continued holding my curls through the night. The bonus? Chi products smell amazing!

Good luck and keep looking beautiful!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How Should You Apply Skincare Products?

As my medicine cabinet is looking more and more like a CVS or Walgreens store shelf, I'm running into this dilemma...which order should I be applying these products?

You've probably wondered the same thing, so I did a little research on the topic. I found most experts agree you want to apply the thinnest-consistency creams first and then follow with the thicker ones--that's because lightweight products can't penetrate the heavier ones. Dr. Jessica Wu, a nationally recognized dermatologist, jokes that putting products on in the wrong order is like wearing underwear over your pants. Well said.

Experts say this is the application order you should follow after cleansing your face. (For my sensitive skin, I don't cleanse again in the morning, I just use a mild toner.)

  1. Medicated or prescription strength creams. Many women (myself included) use topical acne medications, so apply those first.
  2. Serums or antioxidants. Anything that is packed with power, like retinoids, should be applied second (or first if you aren't using an acne cream.) Now keep in mind retinol can increase your sensitivity to the sun, so it's best applied at night.
  3. Eye creams. Sometimes I apply this after my face cream, it just depends on which one I'm using and its consistency. If they are thinner or contain retinol, I always apply those before face creams.
  4. Face creams. Women don't always need these in addition to a serum, especially in the summer, so use your best judgement on how dry or oily your skin is.
  5. Finally, apply sunscreen. Try to find an SPF 50 for maximum benefit, and if you're acne prone, use an oil-free product like a lightweight gel.
Courtesy: Sephora
Then I apply a make-up primer. (Smashbox's Photo Finish primer rocks!) Primers are great because they help fill in lines and even out skin tone. Sephora has primers for every skin care need, so check it out.

Good luck and keep looking beautiful!

Monday, May 16, 2011

At Home Peels-Great!

My girlfriend Amber, who has a great beauty blog, Hello Gorgeous, got me onto Philosophy products for the face. She highly recommends the at-home Microdelivery Peel, so I took her advice and bought it. What I discovered is she's absolutely right, it's awesome!

It's a 2-part kit with a vitamin C resurfacing crystal cream you rub onto your face, and then a lactic/salicylic acid activation gel you rub over the crystal cream. I also have the exfoliating wash that I start with. I first clean my face with the wash and then use the kit. You can feel it heat up and really work.

This treatment is great, it leaves my skin feeling smooth and clean, and I love knowing I just got rid of dead skin. I do this treatment 1-2 times a week. (Always gauge how your face feels. If it's a little sensitive or dry, lay off the treatments for a bit.)

Right now Philosophy is offering 15% all their skin care products. Just enter promo code "glowing skin" now through May 20th. (Shipping is free on orders over $50.)

Good luck and keep looking beautiful!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

FotoFacial Follow-Up: New Laser Better Than Ever

2 treatments. Courtesy Laura Brougher, R.N.
After I posted my blog about FotoFacial laser treatments, the doctor who treated me, Dr. Bonnie Vulich at Refine Medical Spa in Chicago, called me and said, "Jeannie, great news! We have a new FotoFacial laser that's better than ever before." So you know I had to try it...

2 treatments. Courtesy Brian V. Heil, M.D.
This new laser is called a Sciton and is more powerful than previous lasers, often just requiring 1-2 treatments versus 3-5 needed with previous ones. As I mentioned before, FotoFacial is great for getting rid of redness, rosacea, age spots, broken capillaries, acne scars, melasma and fine lines. Because it's a laser that uses intense light, it gets down to deeper parts of the skin, improving the overall texture. It helps stimulate collagen, and makes you look more youthful. Look at some of these results!

Once you get a FotoFacial done, you'll notice darker spots on your face (and chest if you have that area done too.) This is because the areas where you have the most sun damage will first get darker, and then eventually fall off, leaving behind beautiful skin. So don't do this procedure before a big event, and expect about two weeks until the darker spots are gone. (Although I'm able to cover mine with make-up.)

FotoFacial is pricey, around $375 for the face, but Refine Medical Spa is offering clients 40%off! Click here to find out how you can cash in.

Good luck and keep looking beautiful!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Don't Forget the Protection

Wow, what a beautiful day in Chicago! It hit 90 degrees in some areas, breaking a new record. After one of the gloomiest and rainiest April's in years, I greeted today with open arms.

With summer temperatures increasing and the sun shining longer, don't forget to wear sunscreen! And no, the sunscreen in your foundation is not enough. (Trust me, I've asked.) The fastest way to look older than you are is not wearing sunscreen, so just do it!

If you're like me, one of the things holding you back is the greasiness or bad smell associated with a lot of sunscreens. Luckily, they've come a long way baby. I just bought Neutrogena's Age Shield Face + Repair in 55 SPF. It's not only a sunscreen, it also helps with anti-aging. Winning! Plus it's lightweight and doesn't have a scent.

There are a lot of great sunscreens out there, just make sure they have the words "Oil-Free." Otherwise you might end up with some unwanted zits. Also, make sure you rub some on the top of your hands. A dermatologist gave me that tip to avoid age spots as we get older.

Good luck and keep looking beautiful!

Monday, May 9, 2011

My New Gig!

Along with this new blog, I'm also writing for The Examiner, a news website that draws about 8 million readers a month. I'm now the "Chicago Beauty Products Examiner". Fitting, right?

Check out my latest article on Scott-Vincent Borba, the developer of the Borba skin-care line and a celeb aesthetician who's treated stars like Mila Kunis, Nancy O'Dell and Twilight's Ashley Greene. He's coming to Chicago this weekend, and I'll get to meet him and ask questions!

Read the article here. If you have any questions for Borba, let me know.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Not All Spas Are Created Equal

I thought any facial was a good facial. That is until today.

I bought a Groupon for a skin-tightening mask at Verto Salon on Division Street and the Kennedy Expressway. When I got there and laid down on the table, I noticed the esthetician didn't wash her hands. Gross. She started putting products on my face really quickly and roughly. (This drives me nuts when 20-somethings do this, because they don't seem to know how delicate the under eye area is in our 30's and beyond.) While my mask was setting, she gave me a quick hand and neck massage, but it hurt! I thought she was going to break my wrists-sheesh. Then she peeled off the mask, put on a couple of gooey products, and announced that we were finished. Wow, 25 minutes for what's normally a $99 treatment? I would have balked had I not wanted to just get out of there. When I looked in the mirror, my face was so greasy I had to wipe it off on the sheet so no one wondered why it looked like I a 400-pound man sweating at Disney World.

I left a $3 tip...that's the smallest one I've ever left at a salon.

Lesson learned: always read reviews before you check out a new salon.

Good luck and keep looking beautiful!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

FotoFacial-A Great Laser Treatment

A couple of years ago, I was told I looked older than my age because of the sun damage on my face. Yes, it was a shockingly rude comment, but one of those that changed my life. I immediately stopped tanning, started wearing sunscreen and began taking care of my face with treatments and products.

One of the biggest issues I dealt with was brown pigmentation, mainly on my cheeks and forehead. I also was developing very deep crow's feet, so I decided to visit a medical spa. I chose Refine Medical Spa in Chicago. Dr. Vulich was great and recommended a few treatments, one of which was FotoFacial RF. (When I look back at old pics, I'm shocked by how bad my wrinkles were! Also, excuse the headphones, I was at Graceland.)

Before: Sept 2009
After: July 2010

FotoFacial is a laser treatment that helps with brown spots, broken capillaries, acne, wrinkles and just general ruddiness in the face. I did a series of three treatments. A gooey numbing gel is spread on your face, and then the doctor runs the laser over your skin. The laser flashes, almost like it's taking a picture. It really doesn't hurt at all and only takes about 30 minutes each session. 5 treatments may be needed, but you can determine that in a consultation. The treatments aren't cheap either--usually $200-$300 a piece. (I did this last year before my wedding--I figured I could justify spending that.)

After each session, I noticed improvements in my skin, and now the brown spots are gone and my lines are much smaller than they once were. Here's a good description of FotoFacial from a medical spa in Texas. It's perfect for so many of us with sun-damaged skin.

Good luck and keep looking beautiful!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The awesomeness of RoC

One of my favorite over-the-counter beauty brands is RoC, a full skin care line developed in France. The company uses Retinol in their products (they were actually the first) which is a must for anti-aging. Retinol is a purified form of vitamin A which helps stimulate skin renewal, therefore reducing the appearance of wrinkles. When we're younger, not only do we not have to pay bills/rent/mortgage, we also have skin that is smooth and wrinkle-free. That's because our cells are constantly renewing themselves, but just like our driving, that slows down as we age. Luckily retinol helps.

I currently use three RoC products including the skin renewing serum, the retinol correxion eye cream and a new fun product, the daily resurfacing disks.

The skin renewing serum is great for dimishing wrinkles, helping even out skin tone and loss of firmness (think jawline and neck.) I use this about 3 times a week at night, after I've washed my face and before I use my moisturizer. It's oil-free and lightweight, so you won't break out.

The retinol correxion eye cream evens out crow's feet and helps with dark circles and puffiness. I've just been using this at night, but I'm going to start using it in the morning too. If you're new to retinol (I've been using it for about a year), start off slowly because it might irritate your skin. At first my skin turned red and was a little sensitive, but now I don't have any problems.

My latest buy are the daily resurfacing disks and I love them! They are little disks full of soap, so you wet them and lather your face. There's a textured side for exfoliation which I use on my chin and nose, and a smooth side which I use for more delicate areas like under the eyes. The product smells great and helps diminish fine lines while washing your face.

You can find RoC products at CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and Ulta. (Pictures courtesy

Good luck ladies and keep looking beautiful!