Say goodbye to under-eye bags

Under-eye creams with caffeine stimulate blood flow and reduce inflammation.

                                             COURTESY OF GIOCONDA CENTRU DE FRUMUSETE/FLICKR

We’ve all had days where we had to stay up late either studying for an exam, or just had too much fun partying. Then, you wake up to those glorious things we call under-eye bags. We’ve all had them, and we all hate them. But, luckily there are several ways you can diminish them to appear you’ve had a good night’s rest.

Under-eye bags are a common problem, and causes can range from a lack of sleep, to genetics, age and even lifestyle. The first and most important thing to do is to sleep well. As we sleep fluid settles underneath our eyes making them look puffy and swollen. Therefore, you must make sure to maintain a regular and healthy sleep cycle.

Cucumbers are antioxidant-rich, which help reduce inflammation and dark circles.


If you happen to get little to no sleep, try using the cold compress method. I’ve used this technique several times, and trust me it makes all the difference. You can use something as simple as cucumber slices, potato slices or chilled spoons. Cucumber and potatoes have antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties that effectively reduce swelling. Although you can use them at room temperature, I like to put them in the refrigerator prior to application to reduce swelling even further. Apply them directly under your eyes and leave on for 15 to 20 minutes until warm.

The caffeine in tea bags stimulates blood flow under the skin effectively reducing puffiness.


To further reduce under-eye bags, you may also use tea bags. I use either green or black tea bags since they contain the most caffeine. Topical caffeine contracts blood vessels under the skin, while effectively reducing inflammation. To use, simply soak two tea bags in warm water for a minute or so, place them in the refrigerator to cool down and then place one bag on each eye for five to 10 minutes.

Another great alternative is to use topical under-eye moisturizers and under-eye masks. Since caffeine is great to reduce swelling, several skincare products have incorporated it into their products. One of my favorites is Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream to Brighten and Depuff. This product is made with coffee beans and ginseng to stimulate and awaken the eye area.  I also love using the Tarte Pack Your Bags 911 Undereye Rescue Patches. These treatment gel under-eye patches use jellified algae and coconut oil to hydrate and sooth the under-eye area.

Whichever method you choose, always remember to make some time to treat yourself.



Why exfoliating your face is important

New skin cells push dead skin cells to the top layer of the skin.


Is your skin dull, dry and flaky? This may be caused by a lack of exfoliating in your skincare routine. The outermost layer of the skin (epidermis) naturally replaces itself every four to six weeks. However, during that time frame, the skin can develop an excess of dead skin cell buildup.

This may occur due to the environment, daily activities or the skin’s natural cell turnover. As we age, everything slows down, and so does the production of new skin cells. Therefore, exfoliating is essential to improve your skin’s texture.

Exfoliating is great for all skin types. It can help unclog pores on acne-prone and oily skin, while preventing acne breakouts. It eliminates dry patches allowing the skin to retain moisture. It also helps skincare products work better, and provides a smooth base for makeup application. Experts recommended exfoliating one to two times a week to avoid over exfoliating and damaging your skin.

Sea salt is a gentle and natural exfoliant that removes dead skin.


Although the best way to exfoliate depends on your skin type, some of my favorites include physical exfoliants, natural exfoliants, and skin devices. Physical exfoliants are made of rough granules that buff away dead skin cells. I recommend products made with a smooth round surface like jojoba beads, instead of plastic microbeads that can cause irritation, broken capillaries and plastic pollution in the ocean and lakes. One of my favorites is Philosophy’s The Microdelivery Exfoliating Facial Wash.

With hundreds of skincare exfoliating products to choose from, there are also several natural, affordable and effective options. Natural exfoliants I’ve used include raw honey, yogurt, oatmeal, lemon, baking soda, sea salt and sugar. All of these DIY options contain the essential alpha hydroxy acids that remove dead skin cells.

If you have sensitive skin like me, I recommend using exfoliating powders. Powders are water activated and tend to be gentler on the skin. My top three are Tatcha’s Rice Enzyme Powder, Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant and MD-7 Cosmeceutical’s Brightening Exfoliant Powder.

The Clarisonic Mia 2 distributes 300 micro massage movements per second.


Another option is the use of skin devices. The one that I love and can’t live without is the Clarisonic Mia 2. It is a gentle two-speed sonic facial cleansing brush that cleanses, exfoliates and removes makeup. Although it may come at a hefty price, it is definitely worth it.

Once you exfoliate you can never go back. Try any of these exfoliating tips and your skin will remain healthy, glowing and fresh.



Amazing DIY face masks straight from your kitchen

cosmetologist applying skincare treatments at cosmetology school
Face masks can unclog pores, remove impurities and hydrate.



As a skincare junkie, I find myself spending hundreds of dollars on products to keep my skin looking great. Face masks are my favorite to target more specific skin concerns. Whether you’re trying to hydrate or fight wrinkles, skincare can prove to be expensive. Luckily, there are several effective DIY options right in your kitchen that are easy on your wallet.

Tomatoes are one of my favorite ingredients for skin care. This magical fruit is packed with nutritional benefits that may surprise you. While the best way to use tomatoes is to ingest them. They also have amazing topical benefits.

Tomatoes are made of approximately 95 percent water.



Simply put, tomatoes have an abundant source of antioxidants such as lycopene, and vitamins A, C and E. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that offers sun protection from UV rays. Vitamin A, also known as retinol, is often used in skincare products to treat acne and fight wrinkles. Vitamin C is also great to protect the skin from environmental aggressors, whereas vitamin E helps combat aging and boost radiance.

My favorite way to use tomatoes is to apply the juice directly to my skin. This can be done by cutting a tomato in half and applying the pulp. After letting the mixtures sit for 20 minutes rinse with warm water. The juice of the tomato can help hydrate, tighten pores, treat sunburns and reduce acne.

Another must-have item is raw honey. This natural ingredient is jam-packed with nutrients and antioxidants. For best results, always use honey that is unfiltered, unpasteurized, and free from additives. This ensures that all its natural enzymes, vitamins and minerals remain.

Honey contains water, vitamins, minerals and enzymes.



Honey has also been widely used in the treatment of acne due its antibacterial properties. It also helps reduce inflammation, and is a great moisturizer since it has humectant properties that lock moisture into your skin.

I like to use honey as a face mask and as an acne spot treatment. For easy application, simply use a makeup brush or your fingers and directly apply the honey to your skin. After approximately 30 minutes, rinse with warm water. After rinsing, your skin should immediately feel fresh, clean, hydrated and radiant.

The next time you reach for that expensive face mask, first try some of these DIY options to save yourself some cash, and treat your skin in a natural way.


Save your skin from the dangers of Halloween makeup

Apply a face primer before any Halloween makeup.


Halloween is almost here, and for many of you it’s your favorite time of the year. With a variety of fun costumes and accessories available, many costumes will require products such as prosthetics and face paint. For this reason, it is important to protect your skin even more during Halloween.

Unlike skincare, Halloween makeup is not made with your skin health in mind. Typically, Halloween makeup is made with lower quality ingredients that are not always FDA approved. Some of these chemicals include lead, phthalates and parabens.  If not careful, these chemicals can be toxic and damaging to your skin. Some may also cause skin problems such as allergic reactions, acne breakouts and severe dryness.

If you must use Halloween makeup, I recommend using  theatre makeup instead. This type of makeup is made specifically for costume use and is more strictly regulated. Therefore,  to prevent these side effects, you must always prep and prime your skin.

Cream moisturizers can prevent Halloween makeup from drying out your skin.


The most important step before applying any makeup is to moisturize. This will ensure the skin does not dry out from potentially harsh ingredients. For better protection, cream moisturizers work best. Because creams tend to be heavier in consistency, they often provide more hydration. A great heavy duty option is Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream which hydrates for 24-hours.

To further protect your skin, you can use a foundation primer after your moisturizer. Primers not only help your makeup last longer, but they also serve as a protective barrier. Additionally, primers are a great way to fill in fine lines, pores, and smooth the skin for easier makeup application. Some of the best primers to use are silicone based. These primers create a thin layer on top of the skin providing additional protection. Personally, Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer has worked for me.

Equally important are the delicate areas surrounding your eyes. Eyelids and lower eyelids typically take on a lot of makeup. Therefore, eyeshadow primers should also be used prior to any makeup application. Products such as these can also help your eyeshadow last longer and prevent creasing. In my experience, the Too Faced Shadow Insurance Primer works great.

Although these tips can protect your skin during Halloween, you can also carry them into your everyday life for overall skin protection. With these tips in mind, you can now have both a fun and safe Halloween.

How to get rid of dry skin for good


Try avoiding harsh soaps and hot water as they can cause dryness and irritation. 



Fall is here, and if you’re anything like me, the colder months take a toll on your dry skin. My face gets flaky, red and irritated, causing unflattering dry patches. As a makeup lover, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to keep my skin hydrated.

People often ask me how I keep my skin healthy. I always tell them it’s how I treat my skin before and after makeup. Moisturizer is dry skin’s best friend and is one of the key components for reaching healthy skin. One of my long time favorites is Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream. Also, not all skin types or skincare products are alike. Therefore, choosing the right product begins with understanding what your skin needs.

Water plumps the skin giving it a radiant, glowing and youthful appearance. 


There are several ways to achieve healthy and supple skin, but the first step should always be proper hydration. The skin is the largest organ of the body and is approximately 60 percent water. One of the oldest tricks of the trade is to drink water regularly. The adequate amount of water will depend on your individual lifestyle, but a common recommendation is 8 ounces per day. For a more personal recommendation, try the Hydration calculator from CamelBak. Simply put, our skin is an organ made of thousands of skin cells that need water to function properly.

Another way to effectively address your skin concern is to treat it with topical moisturizers. It is important to note the skin is made up of two main layers, the epidermis and the dermis. Typically, dry skin occurs when there is a lack of water in the outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis. Although this layer of skin is no thicker than a piece of paper, it is essential for protecting your skin from bacteria and viruses. With this in mind, choose your products wisely. Trust me, your skin will thank you for it.

Moisturizers come in a variety of forms such as creams, lotions, and oils. For the most part, facial moisturizers such as lotions and oils are great for sealing in moisture. Creams can also be effective in protecting the surface layer of the skin, due to the combination of water and oil. Equally important is choosing a cream or lotion that is noncomedogenic. This ensures it will not clog your pores.

Beauty oils can reduce wrinkles, dry skin, calm redness and improve skin texture. 


For severely dry skin, products such as beauty oils are considered a better choice. One I love to use is Farsáli’s Rose Gold Elixir. Some other options include argon, jojoba and rosehip seed oils. These natural oils are a great way to moisturize since they absorb into the skin quicker. Oils also penetrate deeper into the base of the epidermis, leaving your skin moisturized for a longer period.

Ultimately, your skin is the first defense against environmental aggressors. Keeping it protected will make your skin look and feel healthier.