Filed In: Beauty

Saving Face

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Hormones. Woof. Anyone else’s face revert to teenage status post baby?

After Jackson was born, my face has been um, how do I say this – very temperamental. Aside from the never disappearing dark circles under my eyes that I have now just come to accept, my chin is always breaking out and I’ve developed random dry spots all over my face. And my eyelids get oily. Whuuuuuuut?

I wish I could say I’ve had a super strict skincare routine, considering I’m well into my late twenties – but unfortunately I’m a serial drugstore hopper. Over the past few months, I’ve been asking colleagues (who I now consider my team of skincare experts), and friends on what their routines look like. Additionally, I have become much more aware of the chemicals and ingredients in products – something that sparked my concern after our battle through chemo with Jackson. In this post I mentioned a friend of mine who introduced Beauty Counter’s baby products to me, and after seeing the amazing results on Jackson, I decided to try out their skincare products. That, along with a few recommended additions, I’ve come up with a pretty solid AM/PM routine that has almost instantly changed my skin – in the best way possible!

AM

When I wake up, I wash my face with the Beauty Counter Nourishing Cleanser – super silky smooth that sometimes I like to leave on in the shower. I follow up with a spritz of the Rodial Hyaluronic Tonic Spray (heavenly), and dab on this Murad Eye cream, which is my favorite to date. I’ll let those soak in, and then lather on the Beauty Counter Rejuvenating Day Cream with a drop of Clarins Glow Booster (heavy eye roll on that name). I’m pretty particular about day moisturizers and this is the first one that hasn’t left my face feeling oily or greasy – even with the added ‘glow’. Also, I’m obsessed with the Clarins drops, despite the name, especially in the winter time when I’m corpse-like.

PM

At night, my routine depends on how much time I have // how lazy I’m feeling (not going to lie, I fell asleep on the couch last night in ALL my makeup. Ew).

I start by lathering on the Beauty Counter Charcoal Soap, and then it’s the fun part – the Foreo. Y’all…this thing has transformed my face!! It’s 10X better than the Clarisonic brush with it’s silicone nubbins (? I can’t call them bristles) that really gets that deep clean. It’s a nightly face massage. The soap is detoxifying (but not drying, that’s key), and together with the Foreo, my face gets squeaky clean. I then follow up again with the hyaluronic mist and Beauty Counter Rejuvenating Eye Cream. After that comes the Balancing Oil. A few drops of this is like a sleep mask, and makes my face feel so refreshed in the morning. It’s not super slimy, and I feel like it dries pretty quickly. If I’m really feeling the struggle, I’ll add the Ren ‘Wake up Wonderful’ serum to my routine post mist, pre oil. Last but not least? The neuLash serum on my eyelashes. I’m allergic to eyelash extensions – le sigh – and this product is the BEST thing on the market for enhancing those natural lashes. Trust me, I’ve tried everything.

So that’s it! I realize this sounds like a Beauty Counter sponsored post, but it’s not. I am not a BC rep, I just really love their products! That’s all folks!

Simplifying My Routine

Alison Hair Help

I’ll admit it – I’m high maintenance.

High maintenance as in my personal upkeep can sometimes get a little excessive. Nails, eyelashes, hair, tan, facials, workouts – the list can be an animal in itself, and seemed to get out of control the moment I found out I was pregnant.

“I’ll never have time to do this!” was my mentality, as if having a baby would suck so much energy out of me, that spending 30 minutes to get my nails done would be out of the question. I also thought there would a ting of guilt associated with spending money on myself rather than my child.

Well guess what, I was wrong. And dramatic.

The truth is – I still have time to do all the maintaining I want. I understand my overall wellness is important, if anything for the sake of feeling like myself and being a good mom. The difference is now it doesn’t take priority – spending 30 minutes playing with Jack sounds much more fulfilling than a visit to the nail salon. When I took a break from all the appointments and routine, I learned how much time and resources I devoted to maintaining. Pairing down was a welcomed thought.

With this simplified shift, I’ve found new ways to stretch each appointment and dollar. Don’t get me wrong – I still love a good facial and will forever highlight my hair – but this realistic approach to personal grooming keeps me from feeling like I’m on a never ending hamster wheel. Here are a few tips I’ve picked up to keep my routine easy and streamlined. They’re basic, but effective:

Nails: I love manicures – I use to visit the nail salon almost every 2-3 weeks to get a fresh coat and clean up my nails. This is the easiest to pair down – try spacing manicures to every 8-10 weeks. You can do it! Reapply a clear top coat to your fresh manicure every other day to prolong the color.

In between those weeks once the initial color wears off, I’ll clean my nails using a nail buff, cuticle oil, and the secret weapon: Dior Nail Glow. Y’all, this stuff is worth.it. The polish adds a super subtle pink tint to your nails (which always makes me feel like I’ve just stepped out of the nail salon). This carries me over to that next appointment – and spacing nail salon time definitely makes you appreciate those few minutes in silence.

Hair: I will always be a slave to my hair color. Are any blondes low maintenance? This past visit, I asked my hair stylist to balayage my color – a painted technique that results in a sun-kissed, natural looking hair color. This method is more forgiving on roots, and allows you to go longer between salon visits.

I have also tried training my hair to survive more than 2 days in between washes without looking like someone dumped vegetable oil on my head. Call it gross, but less shampoos means color stays fresh longer. I use Oribe products to maximize each wash and style – their beach wave spray is the bomb.com and keeps my waves intact days after styling.

Facials: Easiest way to prolong the time between facials? At home masks.

If you know me, you know I have a serious devotion to face masks. It’s like chugging a gallon of water for your face. A good exfoliation + mask session will help keep skin clear between facials. Here are my favorites:

Tan: Who has time to walk around in baggy black clothes waiting for a spray tan to dry? No-one I tell you, no-one. VersaSpa is great for a quick fix, but will always leave you with some kind of damage control. Airbrush tans are the most effective, but notably the biggest pain and time investment. Also, the line between orange and brown is a very fine one.

At the end of the day, my favorite tanning aids are the Tan Towels and In-Shower gel/gradual lotion. All three are super subtle, and provide build-able color that’s way less scary than those aerosol spray bottles. Here are a few of my favorites:

Eyelashes: RIP lash extensions. If you’ve never tried extensions – I seriously suggest a test drive. They’re light, made you look wide awake, and knock significant time your morning routine. Sadly, I developed some kind of allergy to the glue after 2 years of being a lash enthusiast. Le sigh. My rebuttal? NuLash. After a few months, my lashes were 2X longer and thicker – I’m also not complaining about crossing off those 3 week lash refill appointments – although great, they take up serious time.

That’s all folks! Happy primping!

Photo by Stephanie Drenka

The Self Tanner Debate

Ah, self tanners. Do we have a long history or what. 

I’ve always been a huge advocate of the faux sun – mainly in the dark months and occasionally those few summer days when temps climb above 120 trillion degrees, like right now.  My love affair with the fake stuff goes way back to TanMe in High School, and then on to the Palm Beach Versa Spa days (clear medium, please). In college, airbrushing was introduced, and I have Aruba Tan to thank for making me look like an Oopma Loompa in every sorority formal picture. My engagement was even tainted with the smell of spray tan, for crying out loud! Some kids never learn. 

These days, I’ve moved to more conventional methods that both save time and literally save face. These fixes don’t require sitting on a towel while you drive home covered knee deep in a sticky substance that reeks to the high heavens. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the occasional airbrush splurge (at more tasteful establishments, no less), but for the everyday color I prefer to stick to easy stuff. 

And oh how many brands I’ve tried. My #1 go-to brand is St. Tropez, although Tan Towels never let me down and are priced far more reasonably. Here are the tried and true self tanners that I can personally vouch will not cover you in zebra stripes. Also, for tips on applying these bad boys, keep scrollin’ 

Tips for Applying Self Tanners: 

1. Always shower/exfoliate first. And shave. I feel like this is a pretty obvious one, but you want to make sure you’re scrubbed squeaky clean prior to applying any kind of tanner. 

2. Towel off and apply a small amount of moisturizer to your knees, elbows and heels (basically, any place that can allow tanner to seep into dry skin). 

3. Apply self tanner in small increments, focusing on one body part at a time. For example, I usually start at my ankles and work my way up to my shoulders. Make sure to work in a circular motion to avoid any kind of streaking. 

4. For hands and feet, go sparingly. Cover the tops of your feet and hands, but avoid your knuckles.

5. Wash your hands as best you can! I typically make sure my palms are thoroughly scrubbed. Tan-less hands are better than orange hands, my friends.