makeup brush washing 101

keeping clean makeup brushes is a big deal if you have acne-prone skin, even if you are using acne-safe makeup. old makeup and your skin’s oils build up, potentially causing new breakouts to form.

there are makeup brush cleaning sprays on the market that are (in my opinion) totally not necessary and can actually add to the gunk that accumulates on your skin. brush cleaning sprays are like dry shampoo for your hair – imagine using dry shampoo for a straight month! gross.

actually washing your brushes with our charcoal face wash is akin to shampooing your hair in the shower with water – a much more thorough and preferred method of personal hygiene. we suggest you wash your brushes at least every 1 or 2 weeks and of course, only use skinSALVATION approved acne-safe mineral makeup.

in this video, we also show you how to wash your brushes with our charcoal wash, but also how to clean them with rubbing alcohol for everyday use, in between your weekly washings.

enjoy!

 

 

acne safe wedding – week two “makeup: planning ahead and day of”

makeup, planning ahead and day of (including advice from a makeup artist that can do your makeup acne safe in the bay area!)

best decision i made makeup-wise was to do a trial run well before the actual wedding day. i highly highly recommend doing this! my adorable and talented makeup artist, isabel macias, suggested we do the trial run and i agreed, without realizing how valuable it would be. i showed isabel the photos from pinterest i had found and liked – i thought the photos i shared were natural, yet defined enough to look good photographed. she did a great job mimicking those looks, but i learned the look i thought i was going for required wayyyy more makeup than i expected. from far away it looked great but up close it was too much for my taste.

so, this realization made it so that the day of i was able to articulate what i did like and what i thought we could do differently for the ceremony. we ended up using non-acne safe makeup because i wussed out – i didn’t want to be needy or bridezilla-ish with the makeup artist. i brought all my acne safe makeup and thought i had given myself enough pep talks to voice what i wanted… but the day of, i didn’t have it in me to be nit-picky and didn’t feel like micromanaging the artist was the right thing to do. plus, i saved myself stress the day of and just went with the flow.

my makeup was perfect, i couldn’t have been happier – but it did break me out afterwards. so i had a few months of pesky breakouts from the cloggy products we used. though, i have no regrets! but i wish i had the advice of bay area makeup artist rachel rockwood, who has been a skinSALVATION client since 2015.

not only does rachel personally understand the stress that goes along with having acne, but she also works for youngblood, a makeup company that makes most of the acne safe makeup we carry at skinSALVATION. (please note that some but not all of their makeup offerings are acne-safe!).

rachel has four basic tips for the day of the wedding:

  1. exfoliate beforehand (like with regular peels!) so that makeup application is even and doesn’t look cakey
  2. moisturize face, including eyebrows, to avoid flakiness when combing and grooming
  3. avoid sunscreen that’s over spf 15 because it can bounce light back in photos and make you look ghostly
  4. use a primer so makeup stays put through the kissing, hugging + tears

ok so now feast your eyes on rachel’s professional product recommendations and application advice below!

helpful hint: apply products in the order laid out below!

side note: only acne safe products that we would recommend to clients are clickable links.

primer – youngblood mineral primer or kasnoff tinted primer if you don’t want to wear foundation but want to even skin tone a bit

concealer under eyes – choose a color a half a shade lighter than your foundation and blend from the inner corner of the eye down the side of nose and out towards towards the cheekbone in a V like pattern. this will also add a highlight to the cheek bones. too much product will settle into creases so go sparingly and pat it quickly.  many sS’ers like using illuminare liquid foundation in the concealing formula for this!

concealer for breakouts – rachel loves the illuminare concealing formula we carry at skinSALVATION. set with youngblood loose foundation using a small eyeshadow brush.

foundation – youngblood loose foundation or illuminare’s moisturizing liquid mineral foundation for a more dewy look (or on drier skin).

eyes – pick eye colors that are complementary to your eye color. (for example green eyes pop in warm browns and rosy reds. blue eyes sparkle next to rose golds as well as cooler greys. brown eyes look great in purples and golds). tarte brand shadows and alima pure’s loose shadows are talc free. consider using individual lashes instead of the lash strips. you want them to blend in with your natural lashes! finish with mascara. (or get lash extensions!)

blush – apply a little more blush on than you think you need. blush tends to fade fast, but remember to blend evenly!! alima makes a wide array of acne safe blushes and a few bronzers (just choose the loose powders, as their pressed formulas are cloggy).

highlight – only the cheekbones, bridge of nose and cupids bow. you don’t want to look sweaty because you put highlighter everywhere! rachel likes the youngblood lunar dust in moonbeam. some of us at skinSALVATION (including me!) have been using fat and the moon highlighter and love it. alima also makes a few loose powder highlighters that are safe.

lips – pick a hydrating lip color. rachel doesn’t recommend long wearing lip color because they are so drying and they look dry on. she prefers the old fashion way of (1) sponging a base foundation on the lip line, (2) powdering, (3) lining the lips fully and (4) applying your color.

finish – youngblood rice setting powder or youngblood minerals in the mist. this step is a must to lock in the makeup and finish your look. their loose powder is nice for a natural look, but the pressed is easier to keep in your purse for touch-ups.

refresh – youngblood minerals in the mist or rosewater spray. when makeup moves throughout the day/night, spray again and buff with a powder brush to refresh the makeup.

according to rachel, bottom line is that healthy skin is essential for a good makeup application. 

her best beauty tip that won’t cost money: smile and laugh!! 

here is a link to rachel’s bridal portfolio:

http://www.rachelrockwood.com/portfolio/#/bridal/

stay tuned for next week’s acne safe wedding blog “easy ways to keep stress low: flowers, table settings, wedding favors, cake, vows”


all wedding photography done by heidi zumbrum

kim’s bug bite (and heat rash) hack

i love camping and the outdoors, nature and grassy wooded areas. being bug bite prone though, is a surefire way for me to become a debbie downer. as a kid spending a summer in the philippines, i remember once that my legs were so eaten up and raw that my aunt took me to a dermatologist to check out my poor limbs; they gave me a cortisone cream, which didn’t do a damn thing. most conventional bug bite creams on the market are cortisone based which still don’t do a thing for me (and are toxic to boot). my skin is so sensitive to these bites that they usually quickly turn into huge bumps that make me look deformed (no joke), and are sooooo itchy that they distract me from enjoying myself in said nature, putting me in a cranky mood. 🙁

over the years, with extensive research and travel, i think i’ve figured out my magic combination of bug bite prevention and relief! and they are, for the most part, non-toxic. different bugs exist in different places, so these may not be as effective in one locale than another, depending on your own skin and where in the world you are. but if you have to use DEET, use it. it’s better to be safe and not get malaria than to try and be all hippy with your natural remedies, imo.

BEFORE YOU GET BIT – PREVENT
so you know an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure bla bla bla. in this case, it’s totally true. i am not above putting on a hat with a bug net on it, and in most cases find that diligently applying and reapplying my anti-mosquito potions are enough for me.

KNOW THE BUGGERS’ TIME + PLACE
mosquitoes are notorious for being the most active at dawn, dusk, and around still water + swampy areas. they also like to get our ankles and feet while sitting at dining tables. being mindful of these times and locales have been helpful for me to know when i should stay on guard, inside or perhaps take the seat at the end of the table vs in the corner against a wall.

FOR THE LOWER BODY – PICARIDIN LOTION
i like the sawyer picaridin insect repellent lotion to put on my legs and find that once i put this on before going out for the day, i don’t need to reapply, so long as i don’t get wet. it’s important to speak on lotion vs spray because applying lotion with your hands ensures a more thorough application, thus making it stay on the skin better, last longer, and won’t easily sweat or rub off like a water-based spray (the same can be said about any other spray product, SPF included). picaridin is an ingredient that is synthesized in a lab (as most skincare ingredients are) that is modeled after an extract from the chrysanthemum flower, and also has been shown to be just as effective as DEET, without the toxicity or fragrance (check out the EWG’s stance on it here).

FOR THE UPPER BODY AND FACE – GREENERWAYS ORGANIC BUG SPRAY
i am not a fan of chemicals in general (toxicity, smell, general grossness and support of those industries), and will use chemicals only when i have to (like using the picaridin lotion above). i much prefer using natural products as much as possible and in the realm of bug spray, will stick to using a natural one on my upper body, to avoid inhaling or ingesting said toxins. if you eat with your fingers, are doing any smooching or are handling babies/kids, it’s best to be exposed to a natural bug spray than a toxic and bitter tasting one.

for years i have loved using the greenerways organic bug spray, the only one on the market i’ve found to be water-based AND organic. most natural ones on the market are in a base of cloggy ass soybean oil and are just oily, sticky and gross. plus, it’s a small family out of pennsylvania that makes this stuff, so all the more i am happy to support another small biz. i’ll decant this into a smaller spray bottle to take with me for reapplications, since natural products work best with repeated usage over time.

the way i apply this is to spray it onto my hands, and then rub it onto the areas affected. remember, actually massaging product into your skin is going to yield a much more effective and long lasting application.. as well as prevent the product from 1. being wasted, and 2. being sprayed onto surfaces other than your skin, including rivers, lakes and oceans. (i have seen people put on spray sunscreen while standing in freshwater lakes and it is disgusting how much ends up in the water.)

note: i find that their 4oz bottle is difficult to handle, so decanting the liquid into their smaller 1oz (or a different shaped spray bottle, muji and rainbow grocery has great ones) is necessary for me.

AFTER YOU GET BIT – TREAT

DON’T SCRATCH OR PICK AT IT (sound familiar?)
the key is to preventing more itching, scarring and swelling is to RESIST SCRATCHING. the less you scratch, the less annoying it will be, the less scarring will occur (from scratching the skin open, leaving you with scabs) and the faster it will heal, i promise! the same can be said for acne 🙂 here are some things you can do instead:

SLAP IT
some hard, heavy slaps on the bumps as they appear may be enough to numb the nerve endings that make it start itching.. this is a quick fix until you can get access to the following:

ICE!
just as you would to relieve inflammation for acne, icing is one of the best remedies to employ. it numbs the nerve endings and instantly relieves the itching – with relief lasting (for me, usually) at least a couple of hours afterward. also, if you are getting bug bites you’re probably in a hot place, so getting ice cubes – or just something cold at least – should (theoretically) be easy. i have no shame in digging an ice cube out of my water glass at a restaurant and icing the bumps on my legs, arms, etc for relief. i’ll just wrap it with a napkin to soak up the dripping water as best i can.

MUSCLE RUB
anything that’s got camphor or menthol or peppermint is going to have that cooling sensation that’s great for numbing down itching. when i was in thailand, every convenience store i went to had some kind of a tiger-balm thing, be it a salve in a jar or an oil in a roller stick. i am a big fan of the oil roller sticks because it makes for a mess-free application, and is multi-purpose. i used them to relieve headaches, shoulder pains, sore feet and legs from standing around for hours (like i did when mom and i were in bangkok for the late rama 9’s cremation ceremonies). know that it can take a few minutes for the itching to go away after applying these oils, so have patience to allow them to work their way into the skin, calming those itch nerves. this is why i like to ice first to quickly numb, then apply these oils to prolong the itch relief.

when i get heat rash, this also helps immensely with managing the itching associated with it, speeding up healing. for my own skin, i find washing the affected skin with an anti-bacterial soap, keeping the skin as dry as possible (no applying oils or lotions, even aloe gel!) and relieving the itching with a muscle oil rub stuck is the speediest way to recovery.

in the US, you can find saje’s peppermint halo. i LOVE this stuff and use it everyday. i roll it onto my head, temples, neck and shoulders to help keep me calm in a busy day of work, in traffic or when i’m bored. it has that minty effect to help calm down any itchiness from bites!

TRUTHPASTE
i went camping at the south yuba river a year or two ago and totally forgot all my bug bite stuff. and of course, our campsite was buzzing with skeeters and were having at it on my face. so i went on a hunt to a “natural” store in town and thought to look for a bug bite salve. one lady behind the counter suggested i mix up some clay and essential oils to apply, but the other lady remembered an all-natural toothpaste they had which was basically the same thing, just fancier (plus already mixed up and ready to use). i was skeptical but desperate so i bought the stuff and lo and behold it worked.  so well in fact, that it’s actually changed my life.

preventing bug bites can be tough, but so long as you have the right tools to manage the itching, it’s not that bad at all. a little of this paste goes a long way, leaves no residue or stain, and is soooo effective. for me, just a dab of this pretty instantly calms down itching. i forget about the bite, and get on with enjoying my nature experience. it’s really been amazing how much quality of life enhancement and sense of relief this little product has given me. it comes in a glass 2oz jar, so i scoop some out into a smaller plastic jar to keep in my day bag and reapply as needed. one jar has literally lasted me years, and i freak out if i can’t find or forget it on my travels.

24 HOUR RULE (?)
so maybe i’m making this up, but it seems for me that most bites – so long as i don’t go crazy waking up those itch nerves by scratching them as soon as i get them – itch only once in a 12- or 24-hour cycle. i get bit, i employ any or all of the above post-bite tactics, and then i’m not bothered by them for another 12 or 24 hours. then after a few days, the itching subsides completely and the bites heal up and away. observing and knowing this has somehow calmed my nerves whenever i get into an itching frenzy.

THE AFTERMATH – PIGMENTATION
so hopefully you didn’t scratch the hell out of your skin, creating a wound and thus scarring. but if you did, you can still employ the tricks above and if you must, gently rub-and-not-quite-but-kinda-scratch around the bite/wound to relieve any itching as it heals. if there is pigmentation left behind, it will likely go away on its own, or you can use any of your active sS skin products (like your mandelic toner, skin brightener or vitamin a serum) to speed up the brightening of the spots left behind once the scab heals and falls off.

i hope these tips help you out and make natural outdoor time less miserable. these discoveries were a serious game changer for me and i hope it helps others too!

acne safe wedding – week one “straight up skincare routine and timeline for treatments”

straight up skincare routine and timeline for treatments –

first off, do not switch everything up before a big event. you should try to avoid throwing new variables into the mix! my pre-wedding routine with products and treatments worked so well because it had been tweaked for two years beforehand to find the best combination of active acne-clearing and healing products for my skin. so, that being said, don’t wait until the last minute to see an esthetician or try a new product, even if you have great skin! it’s best to try things out with enough time before the big event so that if something does go haywire, you have time to heal and switch back to the routine that works. at minimum, if you plan to use a product for exfoliation before the big day, please make sure to test-drive it about a month before to make sure you don’t have a bad reaction.

my own personal normal-to-dry-ish, clear-skin-maintenance-mode skincare routine for 6 months leading up to the wedding (please note that your skin is different, so your own personal routine may be different – hit up one of our estheticians to help you find yours!):

am:

charcoal wash

mandelic + d2o blend toner

max + jane eye serum

salicylic acid 2%

odara oil as moisturizer

tizo 3 sunscreen

makeup (acne safe, no time to mess around)

rosewater spray to set makeup

pm:

odara oil on dry skin as makeup remover

charcoal wash

remove with makeup removing sponge

mandelic + d2o blend toner

max + jane eye serum

vitamin a10+ serum

either: benzoyl peroxide and hydrating gel   OR  odara oil as moisturizer

having been a skinSALVATION client for several years, my skin was already relatively clear, so my appointments were spread out.

for best results, we recommend that clients who are experiencing active acne get treatments every 2-3 weeks until they are clear then 1 treatment a month to maintain clarity, with the last treatment being no less than 2 weeks prior to the big day.

here was the treatment schedule that personally worked for me, leading up to the wedding. :

  • every 3 weeks for 6 months: signature face treatment
  • 1.5 months before: signature face treatment
  • 3-4 weeks before: peel only treatment

if you don’t have acne or you’re already super clear (lucky you), then just get regular peels to keep your skin looking fresh. i’d say the last peel i did 3-4 weeks before the big day was key, because my skin was in that sweet spot after a peel where it looked smooth and radiant (and finished with the flaky dry skin that these peels are supposed to induce). alternatively, you can also opt for our acne-safe spa facial to help introduce some relaxation and moisture much needed with all the wedding planning jitters – again, at least 2 weeks prior to your big day.

it was making a decision to plan all this out beforehand that helped me to time it all out perfectly with my esthetician!

stay tuned for next week’s acne safe wedding blog – makeup, planning ahead and day of (including advice from a makeup artist that can do your makeup acne safe)!

all wedding photography by heidi zumbrum

acne safe wedding – introduction

if i’m being fully honest, i will admit that while planning my wedding i became strangely obsessed with people telling me i was a laid-back bride. i’ll also admit there were times i felt stressed while planning my wedding (like when the photobooth company ghosted on us), but overall i am pretty proud with how i handled all the planning. this is partly due to meditation but mainly due to making a whole lot of little decisions with just this thought as the guiding factor: what is the low-stress option?

before we dive in, i want to fill you in on my skin “situation” so you know i’m legit and trust my advice. i’ve been a skinSALVATION client since 2014. my skin cleared up within a few months of strictly following the acne safe lifestyle. i got a little cocky after maintaining 95-98% clarity for 2 years. during this cocky period where i felt invincible, i stayed diligent with the acne safe products but ate pizza (dairy and potential soybean oil in dough = not acne safe), chinese (soy up the wazoo = definitely not acne safe), and an occasional slice of cheddar cheese off the block (precise + literal definition of not acne safe).

whew! that felt good to get all that off my chest. so, that aside, about 6 months before my wedding i got really serious about getting my skin to a state where i wouldn’t have to slather on concealer to get a smooth finish. so, i did everything skinSALVATION recommends: the acne safe diet, products, signature face treatments, peels, stress management, sleep, the whole shebang.

and…the day of my wedding i didn’t have to wear a full face of makeup!

now i’m going to be straightforward. adding the requirement “acne safe” to my wedding day definitely made things more complicated. while working reception at skinSALVATION i have had the pleasure of chatting with some of our clients who are getting married this year and realized i had some solid advice for planning a low stress, acne safe wedding. so, i have decided to be a good samaritan and share what i’ve learned. i’ve organized what i am going to share with you into sections so that it’s easier to navigate. we are going to separate them into 3 blog posts and will post one a week:

  • week one: straight up skincare routine and timeline for treatments
  • week two: makeup, planning ahead and day of (including advice from a makeup artist that’s also a skinSALVATION client and can do your makeup acne safe!)
  • week three: easy ways to keep stress low: flowers, table settings, food, cake, vows, and wedding favors

so, stay tuned for next week’s post on straight up skincare routine and timeline for treatments!