Dry Skin vs. Dehydrated Skin

It is very common to get confused with the difference between your skin being dry and your skin being dehydrated.

dryskinonfaceDry skin lacks moisture and moisture in terms of skin refers to oil retention in the skin.  If you can scratch your name in your arm, then your skin is lacking moisture and needs a lotion or cream on the body.  Dry skin tends to be lighter in color and has visibility of cracked lines on the skin.

dehydratedksinDehydrated skin lacks water.  Without enough intake of water in the body, then the cells aren’t able to function to their full potential and it will create a lack-luster look on the skin.  An easy test to see if your skin has enough water is to press on it with your finger.  If the skin where your finger just touched created a small indentation on the skin, then your skin is hydrated.  If your skin does not receive any indentation, then your skin is dehydrated and you need to drink more water.

Both dry skin and dehydrated skin are easily fixed if you’re consuming plenty of water daily and applying a moisturizing cream on top of the skin to keep in its natural oils.

Apivita Does It Again- 3 Wonderful Products for the Skin

apivita_splash_logoAPIVITA is one of my favorite top 10 skincare lines.  I have yet to be disappointed by one of their products.  Originated by two Greek pharmacists, Nikos and Niki Koutsiana, in 1979, “APIVITA has developed and established over 300 natural, effective and holistic products for the face, body and hair, formulated with beekeeping products of high nutritional value, extracts of Greek herbs and pure essential oils, as well as many green innovations and patents.” (Direct content from APIVITA’s website)

honey-beesAPIVITA’s name was derived from the Latin word’s of Apis (bee) and Vita (life) which means, “life of the bee”.  The Koutsiana’s actually started the developing stages of APIVITA in 1972, inspired by the Honey bee society.  Honey bees are extremely important to economic growth in our society.  They are vital pollinators and work hard at making sure to keep fruits, nuts and vegetables in our diets.  (Read more on the importance of Honey Bee’s attribution to our economy here)  APIVITA is one of the leading “Green Cosmetolgy” skincare companies in the world.  They have their own beekeeping farms in Greece and practice ethical standards in making sure that they only take, “40% of the beehive’s production, leaving 60% of the honey on the honeycombs.”  They also protect their beehives by only intervening “with the use of essential oils and natural extracts.” (APIVITA’s Beekeeping Standards)

bee-propolis-250x250Honey is not the only derivative Honey bee’s produce, they also create Propolis.  Propolis is the resin made by the sap collected from the Honey bees combined with the their own discharge and beeswax.  This mixture of the sap and the Honey bee’s dishcharge, spawn a sticky -colored (color varies on the tree coloring where the sap is collected) product, called Propolis,  that is used as a coating to build hives.

Propolis is antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and a rich antioxidant for the skin.  APIVITA’s products are carefully developed with their own cultured Propolis.  Specifically created with Hippocrates philosophy of a “healthy mind in a healthy body”, APIVITA has based their formulations with the Greek philosopher’s ideals about the “NEED for HARMONY between the INDIVIDUAL, SOCIAL and NATURAL ENVIRONMENT” (The Hippocratic Ideal).

Three of their products that I will be reviewing today are all made with their home-grown Propolis.  They are:   Natural Serum-Radiance, Aqua Vita-24 Hour Moisturizing Cream Gel For Oily/Combintation Skin and Aqua Vita-24 Hour Moisturizing & Revitalizing Eye Cream.

apivita-natural-serum-radiance-enNatural Serum- Radiance with bilberry & vitamin C.

 This serum has 96% Natural Ingredients in it, which is an extremely high percentage for a skincare product that is both effective and of good quality.  Bilberry is a a berry that grows on low shrubs, relative to other shrub-growing berries, it is similar in color and shape to a blueberry.  The bilberry is fortified with vitamins B, C, and E which are restorative, healing and nourishing agents for the skin.  Reservatrol, discovered to contain one of the best known anti-aging properties for the skin, is also found in bilberries.

This serum when I first saw it, threw me off guard.  It looks like the froth of a heavy cream and for a serum, I’m used to seeing more transparency but then I rubbed it in the palms of my hands and it was so smooth and delightfully scented with a uplifting citrus scent, that I quickly got over my prejudice of what I believed a serum should look like.  When I applied it on my skin, it was effortless, the serum melted into the pores, creating a nice vibrant appeal.  APIVITA named it as “RADIANCE” but it is not the typical radiance that I would envision with that term.  The radiance is subtle, underlying, and lifts the skin tone to a healthy appearance.  There is no “glow” with this serum, there is “life” with this serum, providing great nutrition for the skin.

The only downside to this product is its packaging.  The tiny, jade-coloring glass jar is absolutely beautiful.  I love the container with the droplet lid, I just don’t love that the droplet is impractical.  I had to continuously dip the droplet in the serum, only to receive a smidgen of it on my hand.  It became somewhat of a nuisance after awhile.  I just ended up turning the jar upside down and allowing the serum to fall into the palm of my hand, which seemed to work better.

APIVITA’s Natural Serum Radiance receives 4.o Stars only because of the packaging.


aquavitaeyecreamApivitaAqua Vita-24 Hour Moisturizing & Revitalizing Eye Cream with chaste tree & ruscus.  This eye cream has 95% of natural ingredients in it, yet again, another high percentage of nature for your skin.  Chaste tree is indigenous to the Mediterranean and is great for hormonal balance.  When used topically on the skin, the Chaste tree’s extracts help to   moisturize, soothe and firm areas where it is applied.

Fun Fact:  The Chaste tree’s stems and leaves used to be eaten as an anaphrodisiac to help suppress “lustful yearnings”.  Also known as “Monk’s Pepper”, it was used as an anti-libido medicine for Monks to aid their attempts to remain chaste (Uses and benefits of the Chaste Tree).

Ruscus is one of my favorite ingredients for microcirculation.  It helps to treat blood circulation within the body, as well as swelling and water retention, which is great for puffy eyes.  This product feels similar to the Natural Serum Radiance, just a little thicker.  I can smell the earthy scent of the Chaste tree when I waft it under my nose, otherwise, the scent is very mild.  When I apply it to my eyes, I feel the Ruscus in cool effect, literally.  Ruscus naturally has cooling properties which help with its microcirculation.  Not only is this eye cream great to treat puffy eyes, it is also good for tired eyes that need a little rejuvenation.

APIVITA’s Aqua Vita 24 Hour Moisturizing & Revitalizing Eye Cream receives 5.o Stars.




Aqua Vita 24 Hour Moistruzing Cream-Gel for Oily/Combination Skin with Chaste Tree and Propolis.  This product smells like a cross between the citrus scents of the serum and the earthy aroma of the eye cream.  Very well crafted, I would recommend this product to anyone who has excessive oily skin, even mild oily skin that someone wants to keep regulated.  The gel part of the moisturizing cream shines in this product.  I apply oil to my skin daily and sometime’s I look like a sweaty, greasy catastophe but not with this moisturizer I don’t.  It doesn’t create a mattifying look on my skin like other products do for oily skin and that is what I truly like about this product.  I want to keep the glow on my skin and look healthy and vibrant and this product delivers that.

APIVITA’s Aqua Vita 24 Hour Moisturizing Cream-Gel for Oily/Combination Skin receives 5+ Stars.



Use all three of APIVITA’s products together for best results.  After cleansing the skin, apply the Natural Serum Radiance on the skin first, then the Aqua Vita Eye Cream followed by the Aqua Vita Moisturizing Cream-Gel.

Lulur Body Ritual for the Bride-to-Be

The application of the Tumeric on the body.  The dried Tumeric is mixed with Whole Milk.

The application of the Tumeric on the body. The dried Tumeric is mixed with Whole Milk.

A treatment I performed years back at one of the elite spas in the world, where I first worked, was called the Lulur.  It was a bride-to-be ritual in Bali done by the brides mother and/or grandmother 40 days prior to the wedding day. A Balinese massage was performed and then an application of tumeric was applied on the skin followed by the application of plain yogurt. The tumeric was used to lighten the skin tone (because the Balinese believed the lighter the skin the more attractive to the man) and the yogurt was used to soften the skin, make it supple to touch. Proceeding the tumeric and yogurt application, the woman would then soak in a tub full of rose petals and Whole Milk. The rose petals would scent the woman’s skin a subtle floral scent and the milk would continue to keep the skin soft and supple.

Bathing in a bath full of rose petals and added Whole Milk.

Bathing in a bath full of rose petals and added Whole Milk.

Everyday for 40 days, the bride-to-be received this ritual treatment.  Not only did her skin feel super soft but her skin also looked lighter.  This ritual prepared her for her husband-to-be on their wedding night so he could take her and hopefully impregnate her that evening.  The 40 days helped the female prepare to be fertile on her wedding night.

A traditional Bride attire in Bali.

A traditional Bride attire in Bali.



This was a very popular treatment at the spa and I would explain the ritual before I would perform the service.  Only one time did I receive a guest from Bali who actually had this ritual done prior to her marriage and I asked her how it was. She told me that it worked great because she got pregnant her wedding night and then she told me that there is a ritual that was performed on her for 40 days after she had given birth to get her body back to normal.  I will save that ritual for another post.

Are Your Products Polluting Our Water?

Yesterday, I read this tweet by @MarktheSpaman:

It was a very informative tweet he obtained from @CosmeticsDesign.  @CosmeticsDesign’s bio reads:  “CosmeticsDesign.com  USA is a daily news service that provides news stories and data of value to decision-makers in Cosmetic Formulation & Packaging in the USA.  I recommend if you have a twitter, to follow both @MarktheSpaman and @CosmeticsDesign to receive insightful information about the skincare and beauty industry.

The article I read from Cosmetics Design’s website was an enlightening story about the damaging effects some skincare products can have on our aquatic systems.  The products in particular that they were discussing were products that contained plastic microbeads.

Picture from article "Skincare in the Ocean" by Bill Hickman.

Picture from article “Skincare in the Ocean” by Bill Hickman.

Microbeads are huge in the skincare industry.  I am a big fan of microbeads because they can really sluff off dead skin cells and create an even-toned look on the skin because of the mechanical manipulation they deliver on the skin. I would have to say the quality of products that I have been fortunate to use during my years as a licensed Aesthetician, I have come across skincare product’s that have plastic microbeads in them.

What is the difference between a plastic bead and a natural bead.  The plastic bead is synthetic and does not break-down naturally within earth’s waters, lakes, rivers, oceans, streams, creeks, seas and on various kinds of lands.  The plastic bead not being able to break down and disperse into earth’s natural elements is causing pollution to our land and most importantly, our water.

Paraphrasing what was in Cosmetics Design’s article:  Research has been done on these plastic microbeads and the effects it is causing to our aquatic system.  When we use these products with plastic microbeads, remember, non-biodegradable plastic beads, and rinse it off of our skin, these tiny microbeads filter into our aquatic system, our drinking water, sewer, any other kinds of water systems that the environmentalists are trying to preserve for our prolonged use, and is slowly destroying the aquatic system because these microbeads become tightly packed together and block its irrigation.

Image taken from "3 Companies Commit to Removing Plastic Beds from their Body Products", written by Margaret Badore.

Image taken from “3 Companies Commit to Removing Plastic Beds from their Body Products”, written by Margaret Badore.

In order to keep providing safe drinking water and to keep the aquatic system functioning, something has to be done to keep the filtering system’s free from blockage and furthering damaging our environment.  Well, something is being done, according to www.CosmeticsDesign.com, “Representatives Fred Upton (R-Mich) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) introduced federal legislation to ban plastic microbeads from personal care, taking a similar stand to legislations that have already been passed at a state level.  If passed, the federal bill would ban the sale or distribution of cosmetic products containing plastic microbeads throughout the U.S., effective, January 1st, 2018.”

I am one of the biggest skincare product supporters, but there are a few things I will not support a product for, they are:  harming a consumer, unethically derived, and bad for the environment.  These plastic microbeads fit into one of my three categories, so these products that are formulated with these microbeads got to go.

Read the full article here:  New Research Points to a Total Ban on Microbeads as the Only Way Forward

Article written by, Simon Pitman.  Another great article to read is:  Skincare in the Ocean by Bill Hickman and 3 Companies Commit to Removing Plastic Beads from their Body Products written by Margaret Badore.

Cooler Weather, Harsher Skin

autumnleavesIt is wonderful to feel the shifting off summer into fall, the brisk, cool temperature stepping in to provide Autumn the changing colors of the leaves.  Along with this change comes drier skin.  I almost forgot how harsh the cooler temperatures are on the skin, causing the cracking of the skin on the hands, the lips to become more chapped, the inner part of your nose being so dry it can cause a nosebleed, just the more noticeable and annoying trademarks of cooler weather.

autumnbreezeI do live in Vegas, a desert, where it is constantly dry but even when I lived in Montana and Utah, it was even worse on my skin because of the higher elevation from the mountains.  Cooler weather means less moisture.  It is important to apply lotions and creams to protect the skin from becoming damaged by the air and it is even more important to stay hydrated.  Keeping your body full on water and lubed with ultra-moisturizing products, your skin will be able to endure the harsh elements of the cooler weather.

Brown Sugar Coconut Cinnamon Scrub

brownsugarcinnamoncoconutscrubI walked into JoAnn Crafts last week and was pleasantly greeted with their fall-scented cinnamon pine cones. Such an awakening aroma that automatically sends my senses into reminiscent moments of shared times with family and friends around the autumn and winter holidays.  Ahhhhh…cinnamon, that fiery scent, alive and refreshing, what better scent could be used to warm the skin and invigorate the body then cinnamon. 

Make this easy recipe at home with just three ingredients:  Cinnamon Spice, Raw Brown Sugar and Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. 

Combine in a small bowl:

1 Tablespoon Cinnamon spice – Cinnamon is great for circulation and naturally is antibacterial.

1 cup Raw Brown Sugar – Crush down the raw brown sugar if the granules too big. The sugar particles when rubbed on the skin manually, will help to exfoliate off dead skin cells.  The chemical makeup off sugar naturally creates an exfoliation within the skin. Think of Raw Brown Sugar as a two for one ezfoliator.

1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Coconut Oil- The EXTRA VIRGIN part of the Coconut Oil makes sure that you are getting the richest parts of the oil with are great for moisturizing your skin.

How to use:

Use on dry skin standing in your shower or on a large bath towel. Rub the Brown Sugar Coconut Cinnamon Scrub in upward, circular motions on your body (NOT ON YOUR FACE-the cinnamon is too strong for the delicate face area)

*A little bit goes a long ways. A three-fingered pinch of the scrub with your thumb, index finger and middle finger is the right amount of scrub you need per area on your body.



Jessica Alba’s Honest Company Sued-I’m On Her Side

jessica-alba-the-honest-company-2On September, 3, 2015, Jonathon D. Rubin, filed a 29 page, Class Action Lawsuit against Alba’s Honest Company for $5 million.  Rubin claims in the lawsuit that “The Honest Company, Inc. (“Defendant” or “Honest”) deceptively and misleadingly labeled and marketed its products, including the following “five” Honest products:  Honest Hand Soap, Honest Dish Soap, Honest Diapers, Honest Multi-Surface Cleanser and Honest Sunscreen (collectively the “Products”) as both natural and effective, when in fact Honest Hand Soap, Honest Dish Soap, Honest Diapers and Honest Mulitsurface Cleaner contain unnatural ingredients and Honest Sunscreen is ineffective”.


The Today Website post’s about Jessica Alba’s lawsuit stating that other consumers have shared on social media, via twitter, pictures of their skin being sunburned by an ineffective Honest’s sunscreen.  The two photos below are from the Today’s website from the link above.

Brandon Atherton @bdatherton

Brandon Atherton @bdatherton

Brandon Atherton, from Colorado, tweeted on June 1, 2015, “@Honest this is my very real result from Honest 30 SPF sunscreen.  Only spent 1 hour outside.  Burnt.  #nothappy”

Lindsay Marshall @LindsyMarshall

Lindsay Marshall @LindsyMarshall

Lindsay Marshall @LindsyMarshall from Michigan, tweeted on July 25th, 2015, “Don’t buy @Honest sunscreen unless u want to look like this.  Second time I’ve tried this stuff and got fried.”

Some of the other pictures I have seen of upset customers unsatisfied with Honest’s sunscreen tend to have the same skin type as both Brandon and Lindsay.  All of them have a skin type I, which is extremely sensitive to sun rays and it is very easy for them to acquire a sunburn compared to other people with higher levels of skin types.

In no way do I find Honest to blame for an ineffective sunscreen.  I believe consumers need to be more educated and aware of what certain chemical and physical properties can do on the skin.

Reading through the ingredient list of Honest’s, Honest Sunscreen Lotion, I found that they did everything right when it came to creating their product.  They chose a Non-Nano Zinc Oxide for their sunscreen protection.  This is THE ONLY PHYSICAL SUNSCREEN that is both THE BEST for a physical sunscreen.  Because of this chosen ingredient, in no way is it going to be able to rub into the skin and leave the skin without a white film.  THIS IS A NON-NANO Zinc Oxide, the best physical property to protect the skin and because it is not altered to a nano-sized molecule, because it is left in its NATURAL form, it can leave a white residue.

honestfunscreenThe other ingredients listed are from a compounded oil collection consisting of:  Coconut Oil, Vegetable Oil, Sunflower Oil, Olive Oil,  Apricot Oil,  and Jojoba Oil.  Every single oil they listed contains the very important vitamin of vitamin E.  Vitamin E is a healer to the skin along with adding great moisture to the skin. Coconut Oil, on its own, has sunscreen properties within its own, natural chemical makeup.

To me, the Honest company created the most “Natural” form of a sunscreen for their consumers.  As I was reading the comments listed under the Honest Sunscreen Lotion,  within the wording of the comments even gave proof to the uneducated consumers on their ideas of sunscreen.  Meghann W. wrote, “I  have been using your amazing sunblock on my two daughters (ages 3 and 1), myself, and my husband all summer and we love it…”  Meghann W., used the term sunblock.

The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) changed the terminology of skincare for the consumers.  Since June of 2011, companies were no longer able to use the term “sunblock” in fear of consumers believing that the word “block” would give the idea that their skin would be blocked from sun rays.  They changed the word to “sunscreen” because this way consumers would understand that sun rays could still filter through a “screen”.  That is why a you will not be able to see a product with the word “Sunblock” anymore.  That is why skincare companies use the term sunscreen because they know that sun rays are very powerful and in no way can their product “Block” any sun rays from hitting their consumer’s skin.

It is very unfortunate for Jessica Alba and her company, Honest, to be going through this lawsuit filed by Jonathon D. Rubin.  They have done their part in providing an ethically sound product that has been “Certified Organic” which is not an easy process.  I hope the courts favor in Alba’s favor and let this be an eye-opener to consumers.  The way in which a product is applied, the activity performed, the amount of time spent in the sun, the skin type, the metabolism of each individuals body causing it to sweat pushing the product off of the skin, the elevation in which they live, their exists too many variables for a defective consumer, not a defective product.

The Skincare Chase for Beauty

Everyone has that ideal skin they adorn.  It might be their best friend’s, their sibling’s, their parent’s, their boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s skin but very rarely it is ever their own.  I have come across skin that I envied in my profession and wish that mine could be like theirs.  I never look in the mirror and am awed by own skin.

Whatever your skincare concern may be, know that you are not alone.  We are fascinated by other’s skin and how they look the way they do.  It is human nature to be curious, to desire and want to reflect what we imagine beautiful skin to be.  What may be a concern to you may not be a concern for the one you admire but it is a shared thought and longing in someone else’s mind.

It is okay to look at someone and infatuate over what you see as someone whose skin was exactly how you wish yours could be.  That longing is what pushes you to chase after the newest skincare fad and try outlandish treatments to gain your satisfaction of beauty.  You may even change your appearance entirely by structurally mimicking your fantasy of beauty becoming a forgery of disillusioned acceptance.

The skincare chase for beauty is a carpet of wanderers.  Many may tread, yearning for a pathway that could bring their desires fulfillment only finding a transparent existence that leads to the perching of a wallowing ghost.  This chase never had a happy ending because you were wanting a figurative change that bordered along the powers of reality and aritficial.

When it comes to skincare, you cannot chase beauty.  Your beauty was always there, within you.  Of course, you could enhance your beauty and bring out features that compliment the resident inside your skin but chasing after a mirage of forgery will leave you departing from what kept you unique.


St. Ives Apricot Scrub

As a young pre-teen, with hormonal breakouts every now and then, I didn’t really know how to take care of my skin. I would watch my mom clean her skin morning and night and sometimes she would walk around the house with a mask on her face, wearing a bath robe and hair covered up in a perfectly wrapped head towel. My eldest sister, Alecia, who I wanted to emulate, would clean her skin and use a face scrub. Both my mom and my sister had beautiful skin but my mom’s skin regime was too much out of my budget so I decided I would follow in Alecia’s footsteps and try out her face scrub.

I remember watching Alecia as she would look intensely in the mirror, scrubbing her face with St. Ives Apricot Scrub.  She meant business. Every part of her skin was scrubbed over and over, making sure to not leave any area  unscrubbed.  After she was done scrubbing, she’d lean over the sink and rinse off the scrub with continuous repitions of water falling into the palms of her hands then being splashed onto her face. Her skin looked smooth and super clean.

The first time I used the scrub, I envisioned how Alecia used it and went to work. The scrub had a different kind of texture, it was pasty, with hard, big-sized brown pieces in it. There really wasn’t a scent, at least one that was memorable. The scrub was cool on my fingers as I scooped it out of the plastic jar and applied it to my skin.

Scrubbing my skin hurt. I didn’t know what I was doing.  The big, brown pieces felt rough on my virgin skin.  How did Alecia do this so easily, I thought.  I kept scrubbing and scrubbing like a clueless beginner, until I thought I had done it exactly how Alecia did. As I was rinsing the scrub off my skin, my face felt so smooth but tender.  I immediately looked in the mirror after all the scrub was off and was nervous when I saw that my skin was red.  There I stood, confused. Why was my skin red?   Alecia’s skin didn’t look like this after she scrubbed her face.

I didn’t touch that scrub again for a year. I didn’t like seeing my skin a bright red and I didn’t like feeling like I was scratching my skin to pieces when I used the scrub.

This story is all too common for beginner’s using scrubs. No one ever truly knows how to use a scrub when they first try a scrub. No one ever truly is prepared for the sensation their skin will feel when using a scrub.

I always find it silly when Aesthetician’s turn-up their nose to St. Ives Apricot Scrub. Saying it’s horrible for the skin and a bad face scrub. I don’t think it’s a bad scrub and it’s not horrible for the skin. I think that for a beginner, needing a face scrub that can really exfoliate the skin, this scrub is affordable and a good one to start off with.  It is how this product is applied that makes the difference. By using slow, gentle, circular motions, this face scrub will be good for the skin.

St. Ives Apricot Scrub receives 3.5 Stars.


Perfect Pumpkin Peeling Enzyme Masque

junejacobspumpkinpeelFall is near and the air is beginning to shift to a cool, crisp, refreshing temperature.  What greater way to enter fall then with the purifying of your pores from the summer’s hot sun rays with the June Jacobs Perfect Pumpkin Peeling Enzyme Masque.  This mask is great to sluff off dead skin cells, revitalizing the skin with enzymatic proteins of the pumpkin.

The scent alone is like walking through a decadent pumpkin patch filled with the aromas of a spicy array of fall’s harvest.  It’s dark, amber coloring, laced with the sheen perfection of active ingredients, invites the sense of nature onto your skin, providing an organic layer of detoxification.

My eyes lighten up every time I see this mask because I know of the effective treatment my skin is going to receive when it is applied.  The ingredients are very active, it is an enzyme mask, so there may be a warm, tingling sensation when it is applied.

Using a fan brush, or your fingertips, apply the mask onto cleansed skin.  Leave on the skin for 3-10 minutes.  Allow enough time for the enzymes to fully work on the skin.  Remove mask with a cool, damp towel when done.