hello!  today’s blog is going to explain my take on the age-old question:

what’s the difference between products i buy at a spa, department store, drugstore, online, etc?

it’s all about the ingredients.

there are over 10,500 ingredients used in personal care products. they can basically be divided into two types: functional ingredients and performance ingredients.

FUNCTIONAL INGREDIENTS make up the majority of any product. they are the carrier for the performance ingredients. they give the product texture and determine whether they are creamy, foamy, gel, etc.

PERFORMANCE INGREDIENTS (or active ingredients) are the “medicine” of the product. they are responsible for the corrective aspect, what the product claims to do for the skin.

what determines the quality and efficacy of a product is the ratio of performance ingredients to functional ingredients, the quality of the ingredients used, the combination of the ingredients used, and the research behind the ingredients.

for each ingredient, there are dozens of different grades of quality, and the composition of each ingredient makes a tremendous difference.

mass-produced products that can be found at the drugstore have an incredibly high percentage of functional ingredients (fillers including water and alcohols) and an extremely low percentage of performance ingredients. this is due to a number of reasons. first of all, too much active ingredient would make the product too potent for mass, over-the-counter use without the supervision or advice of a skin care therapist or dermatologist, and could cause reactions and/or be misused. secondly, a high concentration of active ingredients increases the cost of the product. but the biggest difference between over the counter and professional, “cosmeceutical”, or medical-grade skincare is the level of penetration into the skin.

another difference is the delivery system of the active ingredients. over-the-counter products sit on the surface of the skin and cannot go deep enough to make any kind of impact on the skin. professional grade products have the ability to penetrate the epidermis and work all the way in the dermis.

professional grade products are safe, tested, effective, of the highest quality, provide advanced training and technical support to the spas and technicians who use them, and have SCIENCE to back their formulas and claims.

price is often a concern and causes people to hesitate purchasing professional products. but professional products are very potent and concentrated, which make them last longer. a typical repurchase of over-the-counter products is two to one over professional products. so you aren’t saving as much as it seems, but even so, an initial investment is going to get you a product with better results that lasts longer!

unfortunately, some spas, multilevel marketing salespeople, and estheticians take advantage of their clients’ trust and recommend products because they are expensive, rather than recommending the products that are best for the clients’ skin. but that is rare, and certainly not something you will experience with me. overall, estheticians know ingredients and products inside and out, and we will have analyzed your skin and discussed with you your current skincare routine, products you are currently using, allergies, medications, and concerns you would like to address, and will recommend the *best* product for your skin.

bottom line: professional skin care products provide the most effective active ingredients for improving the skin and treating skin conditions.
as always, please feel free to contact me with questions or comments about anything skin!


hi! happy new year!

well, i don’t know about you, but when january comes around, i find myself determined to clear clutter from the previous year and start anew. this process includes personal resolutions, professional goals, and – much to my husband’s discontent – lots and lots of house cleaning. one of my most dreaded tasks is throwing away beauty products because, let’s face it, i’m a product junkie. also, because good products can be rather expensive and nobody likes to throw away money. but it is necessary, and today i’m going to explain why that is. i’m going to discuss when personal care products turn from helpful to harmful.

in my last post, i discussed parabens, which are preservatives. the purpose of parabens and other preservatives in personal care products is to prevent the growth of molds, yeasts, and bacteria. but preservatives don’t last forever! when they lose their effectiveness, beauty products can become less potent – or worse, they can actually cause reactions, irritations, and infections.

so how do you know when to throw away a product?


unfortunately, the FDA does not regulate or require expiration dates on over-the-counter personal care products. the good news is, the european union (EU) does, so any product that is sold in europe as well as the united states or canada will have an expiration date. it will be represented as a picture of an open container with a number and the letter “m” inside. this denotes how many months the product may be used after opening, before it will expire.

it will look something like this:https://i1.wp.com/askkellyberry.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/cosmetic-expiration-symbol.gif

of course, many of us don’t remember exactly when we purchased a product, so knowing it expires in 12 months isn’t necessarily enough. a great trick is to write the date of purchase in permanent marker on your products. that way, you will know exactly when the expiration date is.

now, even EU expiration dates are not a hard-and-fast rule. they are more of a guideline. certain products are more likely to spoil or lose effectiveness more quickly than others. so, expiration date or not, here are some tips to help you determine which products to treasure and which products to toss:

*has the product changed color?  TOSS IT.

*has the texture changed? TOSS IT.

*have the ingredients separated? TOSS IT.

*has the smell changed? TOSS IT, especially if it has a chemical odor.

*has the product’s container changed shape? TOSS IT.

**do you have absolutely no idea when a product was purchased or when it will expire? look at the container. it probably has a code on the side or the bottom. try typing that code into this database, which uses those codes to determine when products from many different companies were  manufactured: http://checkcosmetic.net/**

and here are some general expiration guidelines for beauty products:

  • moisturizers, serums: 6-12 months
  • liquid foundation, nail polish: 12 months
  • powder, blush, bronzer, powder eye shadow: 18-24 months
  • concealer, cream blush, cream eye shadow, pencil eyeliner: 12-18 months
  • liquid eyeliner, mascara: 3 months
  • lipstick, lip liner: 24 months
  • lip gloss: 18 months

while we’re on the subject, makeup brushes can get pretty icky and can become breeding ground for bacteria. get a brush cleaner (alcohol is fine for synthetic brushes) to spray after each use, and then once a month gently wash them with baby shampoo. lay them out to dry on a tissue, preferably with the bristles slightly hanging off the edge of a surface so the brushes can keep their shape. or keep them in a clean glass, bristle-side up. this will make them last much longer! but once they start to look raggedy and bristles start to fall out, it’s time to think about some new brushes.

and finally, here are some tips that will help you keep your products fresher, longer!

*store products in a cabinet or drawer, NOT a bathroom, car, near a window, or anywhere with moisture or climate changes

*if the product is in a jar, don’t stick your fingers in it. instead, use a cotton swab or other disposable applicator.

*be sure to tighten the cap after each use

*do not ever add water to a product to keep it moist or to make it last longer. bacteria love water!

*do not “pump” mascara or lip gloss. that only traps air inside, accelerating the expiration process (and drying it out!)

*throw away lip products after you’ve been sick or had a cold sore, and eye products after having any type of eye infection

*do not purchase products with a broken seal or any other sign of tampering, or from a less-than-reputable source

*never share your products without using a disposable applicator! gross!

you should be spoiled; your beauty products shouldn’t be.


and wait, while you’re at it…do a good deed!

while you are cleaning out your beauty stash, you may find some products that are perfectly fine, but that you just aren’t using. many domestic violence shelters will accept new or gently used personal care products for use at the shelter. if you have a product that is NOT EXPIRED that you don’t think you are going to use, or that for some reason you don’t love…donate it!

as always, thank you for reading! please let me know if you have any comments, questions about this topic or anything skin, or blog topic ideas, or if you would like product suggestions. i love to hear from my readers and clients!




everyone has been talking about them lately, and there is controversy over whether or not parabens in personal care products are…well…controversial.

i’m here today to lay out the facts and let you make your own decisions on the matter.

what’s a paraben? parabens are cheap and effective preservatives for personal-care products such as shampoos, conditioners, toothpastes, moisturizers, sunscreens, soaps, shaving creams, personal lubricants, pharmaceutical drugs and over 13,000 different cosmetic products. they have been used since the 1920s to prevent the growth of bacteria, fungus and mold in these products. parabens are easy to identify by name: methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, benzylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, and can be found in a product’s ingredient list, usually found in combination with one another, and usually the last ingredients on the list.

what’s the problem? since the late 1990s, concerns about parabens have come up.  some of these concerns include: allergic reactions, disrupting the body’s hormones, and contributing to breast cancer. and everybody’s talking about it!

what’s the research? dr. philippa darbre at the University of Reading in the UK carried out tests on samples of 20 different human breast tumors. their findings, published in the journal of applied toxicology in 2004, were that there were traces of parabens in every sample. “this is the first study to show their accumulation in human tissues,” dr. darbre reported. “it demonstrates that if people are exposed to these chemicals, then the chemicals will accumulate in their bodies.”

dr. darbre’s study was a bit flawed, though…

*the study was very small, with samples being taken from only 20 women.

*there was nothing mentioned about samples being taken from healthy breast tissue as well, to see if parabens were present. that means there was no conclusive evidence that the parabens caused the tumors.

*the source of the parabens found was not mentioned. they could have come from personal care products, or household products, or elsewhere. parabens are naturally found in blueberries, prunes and cinnamon. additionally, two common parabens – methylparaben and propylparaben – are also used to preserve spices, green and black tea, wine, beer, fruit juices and jams. but skincare became the scapegoat.

some food for thought on the issue:

*fact* the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), an organization which reviews cosmetic ingredient safety and publishes its results in peer-reviewed literature, reviewed the safety of methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben in 1984, 2003 and again in 2005, and concluded each time that they were safe for use in cosmetic products at levels up to 25%. good news: parabens in skincare and cosmetics are used at levels ranging from 0.01 to 0.3%. (www.cir-safety.org)

*fact* the FDA has determined that parabens are safe for use in cosmetic products, stating that there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens. they are continuing to evaluate new data, and if they ever determine that a health hazard exists, they will advise the public. (www.fda.gov)

*fact* the American Cancer Society states on their website that “the bottom line is that larger studies are needed to find out what effect, if any, parabens might have on breast cancer risk.” (www.cancer.org)

*fact* according to The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, “the chemicals in any one consumer product alone are unlikely to cause harm.” (www.safecosmetics.org)

*fact* according to the American Academy of Dermatology, “the best preservatives for sensitive skin are those containing parabens.” (www.aad.org). if you are having allergic reactions to products, a dermatologist can do a patch test to see if parabens are causing it. you should know though, that every product has some  kind of preservative, otherwise it would need refrigeration. there are more “natural” preservatives being used now. but who knows, in time, we may find out that these newer preservatives have serious side effects.

*fact* paraben-free or not, quality skin care uses pharmaceutical grade formulas that are thoroughly tested by chemists, dermatologists, estheticians, allergists, and opthamologists to ensure quality and safety.

the bottom line and my advice:

*don’t get freaked out and go throwing away everything in your house. if you are concerned about parabens, do your own research and decide what the best options are for you.

*it’s okay to start small. if you want to stop using products with parabens, your first step could be to switch to a paraben-free body lotion – since it’s going on your whole body, more of it gets absorbed. your next step could be to start using paraben-free facial products and cosmetics. then you can look for paraben-free shampoos and soaps, that get rinsed away and don’t have much time to absorb into the skin. paraben-free personal care products are easy to find. more often than not, they proudly boast that they don’t use parabens right on the front of the label.

*the Precautionary Principle states that if there is the potential for harm, it’s best to err on the side of caution. this public health principle promotes preventative action, rather than waiting for scientific proof. there are many skincare lines that are listening to their consumers and using this principle. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precautionary_principle)
*if you really want to play it safe, use oil-based organic products that don’t contain water (water calls for a preservative). they often come in dark containers, usually with a pump so that light and air can’t degrade them as easily.

as for me, i am not convinced. i use products with parabens and i use products without parabens. i use 100% organic products and i use products with added fragrances and chemicals. i wear mineral makeup and i wear not-at-all-mineral makeup.  in the spa where i work, we have products that cover the whole spectrum, and i recommend products based on my clients’ needs, goals, concerns, and lifestyles. i continue to do research and am constantly learning about new developments in every aspect of the industry, and if i am ever convinced that parabens are dangerous, trust me, i will shout it from the rooftops! but until then, i say take it easy. just do what makes you feel comfortable.

as always, i love to answer YOUR skincare questions, and i am very open to comments, questions, suggestions, blog topic ideas, information sharing, and networking!

do you constantly have redness in your cheeks, puffiness under your eyes, or breakouts around your mouth? do you feel like your skin problems might go away, but always comes back no matter what skincare products you try?

you might be able to treat and prevent the recurring issue from the inside out!

one of the skin’s functions is to communicate inner imbalances before they become major health issues or causes of disease. today i am going to teach you a technique used for thousands of years in traditional chinese medicine and ayurveda called face mapping. with face mapping, it is believed that toxin buildup or weakness in certain organs or glands in the body can cause breakouts, redness, ruddiness, rashes, darkness, or wrinkles on certain corresponding parts of the face.

here are two examples of a face map. they differ slightly, but you’ll notice that the areas of concern are all very close to each other. face mapping is not an exact science, and not intended to diagnose or cure any illness, but it is a good tool to determine why you may have certain skin issues, and try to heal them from the inside out by altering your lifestyle a bit.



the way i was taught is somewhat of a combination of these two face maps. i believe in basically all of picture #1 but with the chin and jawline representing reproductive organs and the colon.

here is a basic breakdown of what internal organs the different “zones” of your face represent:

forehead – gallbladder and liver: spots and lines on the forehead point to congestion from too much oily food or dairy. if the area is darkened and congested, it could mean your liver is stressed due to too many rich foods, or too much alcohol consumption.

warped perspective 25 Hope your Thanksgiving was AWESOME (30 Photos)

“third eye”/in between eyebrows – stomach and liver: white spots, a grainy feeling under the skin and blotchy areas may point to a yeast imbalance, or too much dairy or sugar in the diet.

brow line/temples – kidneys: are you stressed, working too hard, worrying too much, not sleeping well, drinking too much caffeine? that may be the cause for breakouts or redness in this area.

under eye area – stomach, kidneys and liver: the main concerns in this area are fine lines, puffiness and dark circles. a quick fix is an eye cream with caffeine, vitamin A and/or vitamin C, but for a long-term fix, try replacing processed foods with whole foods, and look into a detoxifying tea that contains licorice root.

bridge of nose/upper cheeks – heart: this area is a common stomping ground for rosacea. although doctors still have not yet pinpointed an exact cause for rosacea, there are some excellent treatments for it and some viable theories. one of those theories is that rosacea is caused by poor blood circulation. try to lower your cholesterol and consume a lot of omega 3 and 6 from nuts, avocados, fish and flax seed.

mid cheeks – lungs and stomach: this is another common area for rosacea flare-ups, but also a common area for hyperpigmentation and breakouts. look into possible food allergies like dairy and gluten, and keep the body more alkaline by avoiding foods that make the body acidic (meat, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, sugar). try cutting these foods out for a straight week and see if your skin improves.

lower cheeks – nasolabial folds – stomach and liver: lines, redness and breakouts in this area can usually be attributed to food sensitivity or toxic build-up. increase your exercise, water and fiber intake.

around or on the mouth – stomach: look into any possible food allergies or sensitivities. also, increase your exercise, water and fiber intake.

jawline – ovaries or colon: breakouts in this area are almost always hormonal. you may notice breakouts in times of stress or around certain times of your monthly cycle. but if there seems to be no pattern or if you are getting breakouts on your jawline all the time, it may be that you are not eliminating foods properly.

i use chinese face mapping during my skin analysis to help me further understand a client’s skin issues and lifestyle. it is amazing the things my clients and i have discovered and changed about their skin using this technique!

as always, i welcome questions, comments, and suggestions, and am happy to make product recommendations!

happy december!



hello and happy november!

we’ve all seen the commercial with the beautiful, happy woman who proudly declares her age because she looks ten years younger than she is. the voice-over lady then tells the audience about the revolutionary new formula of some face cream – containing a breakthrough ingredient titled with an arbitrary collaboration of letters and numbers – that will instantly and magically transform anyone’s skin to look exactly like the model’s!!

that sounds ridiculous, right? well of course it does when you read it like that. but we all know the incredible impact that advertising can have on us. most of us have, against our better judgment, purchased a piece of exercise equipment, unnecessarily powerful blender, or blanket with sleeves because of a late-night infomercial that sucked us in and made us lose all logic and intellect, if only momentarily. well the beauty industry is no exception, and we are bombarded with images of unrealistic pore-less perfection on television, in magazines, and at every other counter, store, and kiosk in the mall on a regular basis.

as overwhelming as the information overload may seem, today’s consumers need to arm themselves with the knowledge to rise above and not be easily duped by bright colors, flashing lights and unfounded promises. today i am going to share with you some very common marketing tactics used in the skincare industry and teach you what you should look for, and what you should stay away from.

1. botox/microdermabrasion/juvederm/chemical peel/etc. in a jar: any topical skincare product claiming to deliver the same results as a professional treatment only available from an esthetician, dermatologist, or plastic surgeon is exaggerating their claim at best. these products may exfoliate well or temporarily plump the skin, but professional treatments are not sold over-the-counter.  but this is not so that we professionals can take as much money from you as possible, as some marketing campaigns imply. it is because these treatments require special licensure, schooling and training, and could cause serious injury in the hands of the public. further, there is absolutely no research showing that any skincare product can even remotely work like botox, dermal fillers, or laser resurfacing, and there has never been a single skincare product that alone was so effective that it put a plastic surgeon or dermatologist out of business.

2. cruelty-free/no animal testing: this appears to mean that the company prides itself on protecting the welfare of poor defenseless animals, and it might. but just know that if a product bears this claim, it only means that this particular product has not been tested on animals. the individual ingredients used to make the finished product may have been tested on animals, and other products from the same company may have been tested on animals. and most likely, all common ingredients have been tested on animals at some point in the past. if you really want to be sure that your products are truly cruelty-free, here is a reliable source to refer to, compiled and updated regularly by the crazies over at PETA: http://www.peta.org/living/beauty-and-personal-care/companies/default.aspx

3. “greenwashing”/natural/organic: “greenwashing” is misleading consumers with deliberately vague or  false claims about the environmental benefits of a product or company. the term “natural” has not been defined by the FDA . (sidenote: natural does not equal better, and synthetic does not equal dangerous. there are plenty of natural ingredients that are terrible for our skin, and plenty of synthetic ingredients that are wonderful for our skin.) many companies will define “natural” as skin care products “derived from natural ingredients”. this phrasing conveniently sidesteps the fact that the ingredients themselves might have gone through significant synthetic processes and be shells of their original selves. “certified organic” is defined for food, not cosmetics and skin care. products with at least one organic ingredient used in large quantities can still be labeled “organic,” regardless of the other ingredients used in them.


4. “angel dusting”: angel dusting is the intentionally misleading marketing strategy where a company will use a tiny amount of an active or desired ingredient in a product – an amount that will have little to no measurable effect – just so that they can advertise the product as having the ingredient. this is often done with buzzwords such as “amino acids”, “collagen”, and “peptides”. the companies do this to keep costs down, and keep consumers chomping at the bit. and it works!

5. made with essential oils/made with natural ingredients: these products may contain heavy proportions of synthetic fragrance oils and only contain a trace quantity of the advertised ingredient.

6. fragrance-free: this simply means that the product does not have a particular scent, like “evening raindrop”. but often times, fragrances are added to products that claim to be “fragrance free” in order to cover up unpleasant odors of soaps or chemicals in the product. if you are sensitive to fragrance, what you actually want to look for in this fun game of semantics is “no fragrance added”.

7. hypoallergenic: many people with sensitive skin or allergies rely on this term to mean that they will not have a reaction to a product. well…that is not necessarily the case. there are no federal standards or definitions that govern the use of the term hypoallergenic. basically, the term means whatever a particular company wants it to mean. you’re better off knowing what ingredients cause a reaction for you and steering clear of products that contain them.

8. non-comedogenic: this old standard, i’m sorry to say, is just as unregulated and unreliable as the rest of them. the average consumer sees non-comedogenic and thinks “oh good, this won’t clog my pores!” (“comedones” = blackheads/whiteheads). products claiming to be “non-comedogenic” usually are oil-free, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t contribute to breakouts. in fact, many of these products contain dimethicone (silicone), which is known to aggravate acne.

9. dermatologist tested/doctor recommended: this one has a few different elements to it.  “dermatologist tested” is a classic lie by omission. companies can legally boast that a product has been “dermatologically tested” if one dermatologist tested the product one time…but it doesn’t mean the dermatologist likes or recommends the product!! nevermind the fact that if you use a product one time it is virtually impossible to be able to tell if it is effective. “doctor recommended” is also a fairly meaningless term. say we’re talking about a facial mask. what doctor tested it? a plastic surgeon? a proctologist? a PhD? a veterinarian? these are all doctors, but just because a doctor may have tested it, does not mean that theirs is an opinion you want to listen to when it comes to skincare. guess what, “dermatologist recommended” is not completely trustworthy either. many dermatologists and plastic surgeons have ties to skincare companies, and by recommending them and selling them, they make a profit. so their recommendation may not be completely unbiased. and, i hate to be the bearer of bad news, but “clinically proven” is rubbish as well. why’s that? well, when i hear that something is clinically proven, i instinctively picture a panel of experts in white lab coats with clipboards, speaking in medical terminology my meager non-doctor brain doesn’t understand. but what does “clinically proven” actually mean? nobody knows. it is not a regulated term. was it a double-blind study? who were the participants? was a placebo used? how long were the trials?  was it an independent study?  the truth of the matter is, the “clinical studies” were probably performed by lab researchers whose paycheck comes directly from the skincare company, and they can limit the study in ways to deliver whatever results they desire.

10: “for use on normal/oily/dry/mature/sensitive skin”: if only it were so easy. different skin types and conditions need different ingredients and combinations of ingredients at different times. you are doing yourself a disservice by going to the store and spending your hard-earned money on products that are marketed toward the skin type you think you have. most clients, with the best of intentions, are wrong about what type of skin they have and what they need. and many times these products are aimed toward immediate results, but ultimately do more harm than good, resulting in worse skin problems later. i wish all skincare products simply said “consult your esthetician”.

i know it sounds overwhelming and frustrating, but please don’t be discouraged. i am here to help.


  • everybody’s skin is different. just because it works for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you.
  • there are some amazing product lines out there, and some not-so-amazing ones. it is perfectly acceptable to pick and choose your favorite products and mix and match from different lines.
  • more expensive or more highly advertised does not equal a better product.

as always, i welcome your questions, comments, and blog topic requests and i am always happy to give product recommendations!



what are you going to be for halloween this year? a witch? a zombie? lady gaga? if your costume requires more – or a different kind of – makeup than you normally would wear, then this post is for you! today we will talk about how to choose the right face makeup for your costume, how to appropriately remove it, and how to prevent your skin from making you look like a goblin after halloween is over!

comics makeup

traditional halloween makeup is often made of different ingredients than regular cosmetics. it is likely to be based on a grease-paint foundation, which provides full coverage, but is an open invitation for clogged pores. latex and alcohol-based makeups can irritate skin as well.  try your best to select oil-free or water-based formulas when possible. if you have sensitive skin, liquid or flat pancake makeup formulas are best. if you need to use adhesive, spirit gum is best but can be irritating on sensitive or young skin. contact me for a “do it yourself” halloween makeup recipe if any of these are concerns for you.

color additives have to be approved by FDA for use in cosmetics, including ones in face paints and other cosmetics that may be used around halloween time like neon and glow-in-the-dark paints. but know that there are only a few dyes that are certified for facial use and even then, there are limitations.

there are eight fluorescent colors approved for cosmetics, and none of them are allowed for use near the eyes. they are D&C Orange No. 5, 10, and 11, D&C Red No. 21, 22, 27, and 28, and D&C Yellow No. 7.

with all halloween makeup, here are some tips:

  • follow directions carefully.
  • some face paint or other makeup may say on the label that it is not for use near the eyes. this is true even if the label has a picture of people wearing it near their eyes. further, even products meant for use near the eyes can sometimes be irritating.
  • if your face paint has a very bad smell, this could be a sign that it’s contaminated. return it or throw it away.
  • don’t put anything on your face that is not intended for it.

okay, now that you’ve decided on what makeup to use, be sure to do a patch skin test – apply a little bit of the makeup to the inside of your arm and wait for a few hours. if you have any kind of itching or redness, return or throw away the makeup and put some hydrocortisone cream on the area. obviously now you don’t want to use it on your face. the irritation should calm down in about an hour. if it persists or gets worse, you may want to call a dermatologist.

it is important to prep your skin before caking on the makeup. cleanse and tone like you normally would. now is an optimal time to use an antioxidant serum as well. then moisturize. you should also consider using a makeup primer – or in a pinch, a thin layer of vaseline will do. this will provide a barrier between the makeup and your skin.

during your halloween adventures, be sure to drink plenty of water!!! this is good for your body as well as your face!

as soon as you get home, REMOVE ALL OF YOUR MAKEUP. you will no doubt be tired, in a sugar coma, and possibly inebriated. but you will regret not removing your makeup when you wake up the next day red, puffy, and broken out!

latex makeup should just peel right off and then you would cleanse your face like normal. DO NOT use oily makeup removers with latex makeup. special adhesives should come with special adhesive remover. be slow and gentle in removing any artificial warts, scabs, etc. that were stuck to your face with adhesive. for excess latex or adhesive, or for any other type of makeup, begin with a wet, warm soft towel. press it on your face for about 60 seconds, then begin cleansing. use a very gentle facial cleanser, as you may need to wash and rinse several times before you get it all off. be thorough – yet gentle – in removing your makeup. use a gentle exfoliant to remove any excess debris. use an antioxidant serum if you have one. then eye cream, lip balm, and a very emollient night facial cream.

follow my advice, and all the screaming and horror will be left to halloween night, where it belongs!

here’s my workout routine for this week:

monday: back/arms/abs

tuesday: and thursday: cardio/abs

wednesday: chest/triceps/abs

friday: legs/shoulders/abs

saturday: face?

that’s right! the first places that people notice signs of aging are on the face, neck, and hands. of course by now you are coming in monthly for a facial, you have a good solid skincare routine, you are living a healthy lifestyle, drinking plenty of water, and using SPF 365 days a year. and of course, there are lotions, potions, and esthetic treatments to help prevent and reverse the signs of aging. but there is something else you can add to your daily routine that you may not have thought of or heard of before: facial exercise! also known as facial toning, facial fitness, facial rejuvenation, facial tightening…i’m sure there are more names too.

there are fifty-seven muscles in the face and neck and these muscles, unlike the other ones in your body, are directly attached to the skin that is right on top of them. they are also connected to other facial muscles, and to the bones supporting these muscles as well. this is why the skin starts to sag when facial muscles begin to lose their tone; through aging, gravity, and faulty lifestyle habits such as eating nutritionally depleted food, lack of proper rest, and the consumption of addictive and toxic substances such as alcohol and nicotine.

there are definitely claims out there that facial exercise is not effective – or worse, that it causes wrinkles. most of the people making these claims are plastic surgeons and dermatologists who make a living off of performing very expensive laser procedures, injectables, and surgeries to achieve the results that facial exercises can bring. yes, these procedures can definitely provide the desired outcome, and i’m not saying don’t try them if you want to. but, still, facial exercise can actually be used to supplement the results. further, unless your skin is dehydrated, un-oxygenated, and malnourished, facial exercises will not cause it to wrinkle.

what facial exercises do is get designated muscles in the face to work in order to target facial areas – such as the cheeks, lips, brows, jaws, and chin – to tone, firm, and lift. the principles behind every facial toning exercise are the same as those in building muscles in the arms, chest, back, abs and legs except facial exercises provide faster visible results because the muscles are attached directly to the skin!

facial exercises have the added benefit that they increase blood circulation to the face, permitting more oxygen and more nutrients to reach the cells of the skin while whisking away the old damaged cells. this actually results in a clearer, healthier skin with even color and a better ability to be moisturized.

before you start following your facial exercise program take two pictures of yourself: a close-up shot and a profile. this is helpful because simply looking in the mirror everyday may prevent you from noticing the changes taking place. take two new photos after two weeks and compare them with your “before” photos. you will be impressed with the changes you’re going to see! continue taking photos every 4-6 weeks and you will have proof that these facial exercises do work!

here are some beginning facial exercises you can try for various parts of the face and neck. begin once a day, every day for the first two weeks. you can then determine if you would like to add more exercises or add massage, change your routine, do them less often or more often depending on your achieved results and your desired results.

*when i say “pull” and “push” the skin, please know that harder is not better. you just need a firm yet gentle pressure for this to work*

forehead:  place your fingers just above your brow. then pull the skin down with your fingers while at the same time, trying to raise your eyebrows. repeat this ten times.

eyelids:  put the thumbs at the corners of the eyes and then shut your eyes tightly. then with your thumbs, pull at the skin towards the forehead. repeat this ten times.

cheeks:  form an ‘O’ with your lips and try to push them forward as fast as you can. then release the ‘O’ and smile as widely as you can. repeat ten times.

lips:  push your lips outward in a pout as far as you can, then smile. repeat ten times.

chin:  tilt your chin up and massage the flesh under it with your thumb with strokes directed towards your neck. keep your tongue pressed up against the top of your mouth.

neck:  arch your neck backward and place your hand on your neck just under the chin. then let your hand slide downward and push at your collarbone.

you should start to see results after 2 weeks. after a month, other people will probably start to notice. after a few months, you will probably look a few years younger!

be sure to cleanse, tone, and moisturize your skin right before every exercise session. applying essential oil blends that help brighten skin tone and fight wrinkles will be highly beneficial as well. essential oils can also promote relaxation and concentration (see previous blog post about aromatherapy for tips).

you may feel like you look silly while doing these exercises, but you won’t feel silly in about a month when people start telling you how great you look and want to know your secrets!

as always, feel free to leave comments and questions below! i will be looking for before and after pictures!