Wednesday, October 24, 2012

My Secret Weapons for Acne Prone & Oily skin

Make skincare a priority and investment and invest in it.  If you invest in skincare, you won't have to dabble in cosmetic procedures or CANCER down the line.  My personal goal is to maintain acne free skin, reduce, control oily zones and reduce hyperpigmentation so I can go without foundation!  With these products, my skin is on its way to being just that.  I have laid out prescription, over the counter, and organic options.  

1) Clarisonic Mia Cleansing brush has been a life saver for my skin.  Not only does it deep clean, which your fingers or washcloth cannot do, but it sweeps out all the grime that settles throughout the day!  Products will penetrate skin more effectively, allows pores to contract (sweeps out pore stretching oil/dead skin cell buildup), and refines and smoothes the texture of your skin.  Everyone should own one.  PERIOD.

2) Minocycline: sometime antibiotics are needed, in my case they are.  I have suffered from acne and oily skin for over 13 years...multiple variety of cysts, whiteheads, pustules on my face, neck, chest AND back.  It's intense and I have recently went back on antibiotics.  They WORK and should be combined with a religious skincare regime.  Mine is quite extensive, but I get results!  See your derm to discuss oral or topical acne medications.

3) Cleanser: Neostrata Antibacterial Cleanser.  Kills bacteria causing bacteria, softens skin without stripping the skin.  A fragrance free cleanser that gets the job done without any irritation.

4) Organic Cleanser: Andalou Naturals Citrus Kombucha Cleansing Gel.  Gentle clarifies acne prone and oily skin by neutralizing germs and p.acnes bacteria.  I discovered this cleanser at Grocery Outlet, loved it so much I bought out the store!  A great organic option and it smells amazing! Lemons!

5) Over the counter Acne Treatment: Murad Acne Exfoliating Treatment Gel:  Immediately knocks out acne, decreases oily skin, refines and clarifies skin,'s a miracle in a bottle.  I use for the day time, but can be used morning and night.

6) Prescription Acne Cream: Retin-A.  I use this 0.05% nightly.  This cream exfoliates skin so clogging is decreased.  Use a pea size amount to start or ask your derm how much you should use.  Personally I use a pea size on each section of my face, cheeks, forehead, and chin.  I don't advise using this much if you are new to Retin-A.  I had to work my way up to using this much and get great results!  Smoothes, refines skin and is a great anti-aging cream too!

7) Toner: Murad Hydrating Toner.  Why a hydrating toner for oily skin?  Dehydrating acne products and to balance the skins pH.  This toner balances and restores my skins pH, and calms my skin.  If you skin feels tight, "dry", uncomfortable after cleansing this toner is a must.  Use morning and night after cleansing.

8)  Oil Free Moisturizer:  Murad Acne Skin Perfecting Lotion is the only moisurizer without spf that I trust.  Everything else is just obsolete.  Contains retinol (you would never know), oil free, light and will NOT clog pores.  

9)  SPF 30: Olay Complete Daily Defense sensitive skin Moisturizer spf 30 protects skin without clogging pores and breaking the bank.  Spf will prevent skins aging, breakdown of collagen and elastin in skin, prevent sun spots, sun damage, and skin cancer.  On the rare occasion, drugstore skincare will impress me.

10) Mask: Andalou Naturals Creamy Clay Mask & Equate Cleansing Mask (sulfur acne treatment).  The creamy clay mask contains acne bacteria neutralizing Blue Geranium, deeply purifies, soothes inflammation (acne is a inflammatory disorder), detoxifies pores, all without stripping the skin.  I sometimes sleep with this mask on my chest or back for deep cleansing or to clear a breakout FAST!  Available at Grocery Outlet & online.  Equate Cleansing Mask contains sulfur, absorbs excess oil without stripping the skin, reduces inflammation and redness, shrinks pustules overnight and even great for cysts!  Available at walmart. 2-3x week.

11) Ultra Sonic Skin Scrubber: A new addition to my skincare regime.  This tool utilizes ultrasound waves to loosen debri, exfoliate, soften, smooth skin, extract comedones, penetrate products, lift skin and rejvenate the skin.  A true miracle worker, I highly recommend this 2-3 times a week if you have oily, acne prone skin.  Can cost as low was $35!  My skin is softer than a babes bum.

12)  Exfoliant: Retin-A & Murad Acne Treatment Gel.  I also rotate Andalou Naturals Lemon Sugar Facial Scrub and Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant.  Both very gentle on skin, Lemon Sugar Scrub has anti-bacterial manuka honey, clarifying lemon and gentle skin friendly physical exfoliant.  Dermalogica is a rice enzyme that digests dead skin cells, offering smoother, softer, brighter skin.  The Clarisonic lightely exfoliates, but I wouldn't rely on it for your 2-3x a week exfo.  

And thats what I use to control my problematic acne prone and very oily skin!  I hope this information was helpful and allows you to see that with a consistent skincare regime, you too, can have acne free skin!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Zap Cysts & Pimples Overnight with this Cheap and Effective Trick!

After trying a variety of expensive spot treatments and then abandoning this trick (I have no idea why I would) the aspirin mask has been my savior for dramatically decreasing cysts and inflamed pimples overnight.  Most times it heals them overnight!  This mask is not a end all cure for acne, there is no cure for acne.  It reduces acne severity, controls and reduces acne.  Think of it as a 1-2x week or overnight treatment for your skin.  I use this as a overnight spot treatment as well as a weekly mask.  Do not use this treatment if you are allergic to aspirin, salicylic acid/willow bark.  Always do a patch test prior on inside of wrist to test skin.

Aspirin contains beta hydroxy acid, exfoliates dead skin cells, dramatically reduces inflammation and reduces redness.  Uncoated aspirin from walgreens, CVS, even the Dollar Store will work.  Crush the aspirin with a spoon or dissolve 2-5 tablets in a few drops of water to make a paste.  Apply with a q-tip, fingers or brush and leave on 5-20 minutes or overnight.  First time users should start with a lower time to prevent irritation.  Do not sleep with a full mask on your face, just spot treat.  It will dry and powder off the skin, which is normal.  Expect to have that powder in bed and on your pillowcase, but wake up to a dramatic decrease in cysts and inflamed pimples.

*Do not mix with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, ect.   These ingredients are too acidic for topical application and not stabalized  for skin application.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Articles for Acne Prone & Oily Skin

A important part of skin care is education, so educate yourself. =)
Feel free to contact me with questions at

Olay Complete Defense Daily UV Moisturizer SPF 30 Sensitive Skin

The answer to my SPF prayers, Olay delivers with a light, non greasy SPF with no white cast, doesn't cause breakouts or irritate eyes and is under $15!  I've tried an array of brands and stunned this is my favorite. My oily skin does not feel greasy, heavy or like a oil slick.  I can apply this SPF on my eyelids and under eyes with absolutely no burning or tears!  Apply SPF 30 daily to face, neck, chest, ears and all exposed areas.  Recommended for everyone including extremely sensitive skin, acne prone and oily skin

"Gives your skin complete care, providing everything it needs most to stay beautiful, plus extra protection against sun damage in a light, non-greasy formula."-Olay

Key Features:
  • Contains both Physical UV blockers (Zinc oxide) & Chemical UV blockers (Octo, Octi, Octin).
  • Light, non greasy cream formula.
  • Does not clog pores or cause breakouts.
  • NO white cast and absorbs well into hydrated skin.
  • Replenishes moisture and contains Vitamin E, Green Tea, Aloe.
  • 100% PABA free.
Active Ingredients: Octinoxate (7.5%), Zinc Oxide (6%), Octisalate (2.5%), Octocrylene (2.5%).

Available @ all drugstores

Update 1/20/13: I experienced dehydrated skin, minimal moisture, some irritation and clogged pores- the hunt for my perfect spf continues.  I have since tried The Spf 15 version and my dark marks have returned.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Murad Exfoliating Acne Treatment Gel

"Clears clogged pores of bacteria to control acne and restore clarity."-Murad

A favorite of mine, this acne gel is perfect for those with very oily skin and/or acne.  It exfoliates dead skin cells, kills acne bacteria, speeds up healing of pustules, reduces surface oil and is fast acting.  I did experience a little dehydration as my skin adjusted to this gel and the Hydrating Toner and Essential C Toner had my skin balanced in seconds.  Contains Hydrogen Peroxide delivery system with Salicylic acid, Glycolic acid, Retinol, anti-inflammatories licorice extract, chamomile and aloe vera.  These ingredient pack a powerful punch against acne is amazing on congested skin, blackheads, stubborn acne and extremely oily skin.  My skin looked better overnight, smoother, refined, pustules decreased in size or disappeared, has faded acne scarring and significantly toned down my oily skin.  I use this acne gel every night on my face, neck, chest, and and upper arms to control acne and love the clear results!

*Only for extremely oily skin types.  Not suitable for dry, normal, rosascea, psoriasis. Combination skin types try Murad Gentle Acne Treatment Gel.

3.4 fl oz.
Available at Murad, Massage Envy, Sephora

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation

Foundation can be tricky.  You have to find the right shade to blend seamlessly into your own skin tone, the right finish and for my skin in particularly one that doesn't look ashy, pink, red and make my hyperpigmentation look more pronounced.  I first tried the BB Natural Finish Foundation and thought I'd found my staple foundation. oxidized turning my yellow golden skin orange, absorbed too much oil AND moisture from my skin.  The idea of this foundation was nice, but in reality it just didn't work for me.  I switched to BB Skin Foundation and have finally found my perfect match.  A foundation that looks like second skin and I LOVE it.  I prefer my foundation to look as natural as possible, even like I'm not wearing any.  The Golden shade does not oxidize and add's even more glow to my skin.  I love to glow, from my L'oreal Dark Spot Corrector serum, Murad Radiance Peel and Essential C Toner lol.

Back to this fabulous foundation:
  • Looks like skin, not makeup
  • Weightless feel and look
  • Evens skin tone, minimizes pores, conceals imperfections
  • Light liquid like consistency
  • Broad spectrum SF 15
  • Hydrating on skin & for all skin types!
I dot on the back of my hand and apply with Sonia Kashuk flat top brush for a airbrushed look.  I experienced absolutely NO breakouts,  irritation, white cast, and oxidizing.

A Lady J Favorite!!
1 fl oz.
Available at Bobbi Brown, Nordstrom

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Restore Vital Moisture with Murad Toners

I have often overlooked this step in my skin regime because I never found the right toner.  Why do we need a toner anyway?  Moisture.  Your skin will hold in more moisture, allowing it to look younger longer.  Toner will also pull products (treatments, serums, creams) deeper into the skin and removes hard water residue.  A hydrating toner or one full of antioxidants can hydrate, revive, replenish, brighten and soothe skin.  Throw out the 100% witch hazel, its too harsh and drying on skin (and contains too high percentage of alcohol.)  Witch hazel should only be used in tiny amounts mixed with hydrators and antioxidants.  When the skin is dry and dehydrated it will wrinkle faster, so hydrate hydrate hydrate.  Prevention is your best option, so start early if you can.  Mature skin will need toner, anti aging serum, weekly exfoliating, bi weekly facials and a rich moisturizer to keep revive skin.  If you start early, all you will need is maintenance.

Toner also allows serums and treatments to lock into skin.  Remember moisture attracts moisture.  Applying products to thirty skin will not allow for proper benefits to take affect.  The skin will still be thirsty-so quench it. =)
I alternate between the two toners below and am thrilled with both products.  My skin looks and feels healthier, smoother, supple and happy (with no breakouts!)  Before these toners my skin appeared and felt dehydrated (even with my oily skin), tight, uncomfortable and sometimes itchy.  For those with oily and acne prone skin like myself-toner is essential so make your skin happy!

Murad Hydrating Toner:  Great for ultra hydration, dehydrated skin, restores suppleness, neutralizes surface impurities, soothing & calms irritation with chamomile and cucumber.  I use daily and am thrilled with how my skin looks and feels! $24 Lady J Favorite

Murad Essential C Toner:  Contains Vitamin C, brightens skin, strengthens skin, hydrates (binds water to skin).  A amazing refresher throughout hot summer days! Not suitable for acne prone skin.  $26

6 fl oz.
Murad Available @ Murad, Sephora, Massage Envy

L'oreal Youth Code Dark Spot Corrector Serum is a Dud

I would have easily overlooked this product as a over the counter fail but after reading many great reviews and personally using it for 2 month- I've been put in my place.  This serum is amazing.  Kudos to L'oreal for delivering a serum the provides great hydration, instant luminous skin and constant fading of hyperpigmentation (with NO hydroquinone!)  The consistency is silky and light and glides onto skin without clogging pores, making it a fantastic primer.  The serum does have a pearl appearance which gives skin the "luminous" look, but it has long term affects on the skin with constant fading (my Retin-A working).  My skin looks luminous and has drastically lightened my resistant dark area: hyperpigmentation on my smile lines and surrounding my mouth.  These lines have been a constant problem for me and are now GONE!  I am beyond thrilled with these results!  

"Works from within to skin's surface to help correct and fade dark spots, reversing the formation of pigment, resulting in a dramatically more even skin tone. Now, vibrant with a youthful look, skin instantly appears luminous as if lit from within."-L'oreal

Don't forget when you treat hyperpigmentation it is key to protect your skin with SPF 30 for lightening to take affect and prevent it from re-occurring after.  For better results use in combination with a Clarisonic, exfoliant and SPF 30. I use the Clarisonic Mia 2x a day, Differin or Retin-A in the evening, Murad Intensive Radiance C Peel weekly or Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, Origins Modern Friction.  

*Update 1/20/13: Unfortunately,this serum irritated the heck out of my skin, bumps under the skin, redness, a rash.  This serum also seems to sit on the skin, the Vitamin C is not active enough to do any good (my Retin-A was doing all the work).  Don't let the pearlescent appearance fool you and save your money.

Available at Ulta, CVS, Walmart, Target
1 0z.

*All brighteners/lighteners are tested by me at different times and not combined through initial testing period.

Instant Glow with Murad Intensive-C Radiance Peel

I have fallen in love with this peel!  My family and coworkers immediately noticed a difference in my skin after 1 use.  My skin is literally  glowing, visibly more even toned, and smoother.  I have experienced less breakouts and my trouble spots hyperpigmentation, acne scarring and sun damage have drastically lightened (without hydroquinone).  Vitamin C & Indian Fig promotes collagen production, fights free radical damage, enhances skin clarity and luminosity.  Glycolic Acid (exfoliates dull dead skin cells and smoothes skin texture), Myrtle Extract (supports collagen production and elasticity.)  Lets just say my skin looks like Jada Pinkett Smiths since using this peel.  Her skin is to die for...bright, even and GLOWING.

"This active treatment instantly brightens smoothes and hydrates skin, reversing environmental aging after just one use. An easy to use, at home treatment that enhances luminosity to reveal a more radiant complexion."

The peel is more of a mask and a cream consistency.  I massage the peel in instead of smoothing it on and have received better results this way.  I also bring it down to my neck and decollate.  Perfect for first time peel users, it is easy to use and can be used 2x a week.  There is no "peeling" of the skin.  I will be using this product till I  die, its that fantastic!  Murad products work

Recommended for all forms of hyperpigmentation: acne scars, melasma, sun damage and sun/age spots and anyone who wants instant glowing skin!
A Lady J Favorite!

1.7 fl oz.
Available at Murad, Sephora

*All brighteners/lighteners are tested by me at different times and not combined through initial testing period.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Beauty of The Week: Elizabeth Olsen

I am all about healthy beautiful skin and Elizabeth has it.  

Lady J Approved Exfoliants

'What is exfoliation?  How often should I exfoliate?  I'm using the St. Ives Scrub.'  I hear these questions and statements often at work and online.  Exoliation is a must in every skin care regime.  It removes dead, dull skin cells on the surface of the skin revealing new, fresh, brighter skin cells underneath!  It also reduces the occurrence of clogged pores by sweeping out the accumulation of dead skin cells, debri, and oil.

Here are my top picks for exfoliating dead skin cells.  Sensitive skin exfoliate 1-2x a week.  Normal/Dry/Combo/Mature skin exfoliate 2x a week.  Oily and acne prone skin exfoliate 3x a week.  I let all my clients know that gritty/abrasive scrubs do more damage to their skin then good.  For example, St.Ives Scrub or it's generic sister.  I do not suggest using this product or anything similar-the 'grit', apricot shells cause micro tears in the skin and irritates skin.  Beware of any scrub with crushed shells or scratchy particles.  Here are safe, gentle, effective exfoliants.  AHA's and BHA's can reach down into the follicle, exfoliating deeper then just the surface. Typically a scrub cannot do this, which is the reason I don't favor scrubs.  Scrubs can also dehydrate skin.  DO NOT USE A EXFOLIANT OR SCRUB AS A CLEANSER.  It's not meant for cleansing the skin, even if it says for 'daily' use.  Scrubs and exfoliants are also not meant for removing makeup.

1) Clarisonic Mia: The amazing cleansing brush uses sonic technology to deep clean pores as well as exfoliate!  Buy it sooner then later, you won't regret it! $119 @ Ulta & Sephora

2) Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant: Super gentle but effective enzyme exfoliant dissolves dead skin cells for a brighter and even skin tone.  Activated by water, a little goes a long way. Contains papain enzyme, rice bran, rice extract, salicylic acid, licorice extract & bearberry (for brighter skin).  Excellent for ultra sensitive skin!  Tip: Use in warm shower when skin is moist and pores are more open.  Leave on skin for a couple minutes to dissolve dead skin cells.  $50 @ Ulta or

3) Murad Vitalic Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask: Natural fruit enzymes & AHA's dissolve dead skin cells for brighter, clear and smooth skin.  1 pack can be used 2x.  A Murad favorite-see the reviews!  $22.50 @ Ulta, Sephora & Massage Envy.

4)  Origins Modern Friction:  Microdermabrasion without the crystals or expensive bill!  Avoid eyes and make sure your eyes are sealed shut when using this scrub.  A little goes a long way, just a dime size is enough for your face.  May not be suitable for sensitive skin & active acne (add a pea size amount to cleanser for sensitive skin or first time users).  $37.50 @ Origins

5) Murad Intensive C Peel: Instant radiance for sun damaged skin and hyper pigmentation.  Evens the skin tone and exfoliates!  Contains stable Vitamin C, Glycolic acid, myrtle extract and Indian Fig.  My family and clients noticed a immediate glow and even skin tone when I use this miracle peel! $49.50

6) Murad Pomegranate T-Zone Pore Refining Gel-: For normal, combo, dry, acne prone skin.  Clears pores, balances dry/oily areas, dissolves dull/dead skin cells, treats/prevents breakouts.  Apply to skin after cleansing and toning and do not rinse.  This gel remains on the skin. Contains Glycolic acid, Retinol, Salicylic acid & Pomegranate extract.  $40

7) Murad Exfoliating Acne Treatment Gel: Wipes out breakouts and acne bacteria!  Exfoliates and penetrates skin effectively.  Contains 1% Salicylic, hydrogen peroxide, retinol, glycolic.  Only for very oily skin.  Gel remains on skin, do not rinse off.  I use this on my face, neck, chest and back!  $54

*Exfoliants listed are safe for all skin types & conditions unless otherwise noted.

Use the Mia with your exfoliant for amazing results!

Look for:
-Fragrance free
-AHA's & BHA's (acne prone skin)
-Creamy or gel consistency rather then gritty
-Powder formulations activated with water
-Read reviews!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Grades of Acne & Appropriate Treatment

Grade 1:  Minimal blackheads, whiteheads and papules (red pimples). Treat w/ Salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil, sulfur, and triclosan.  Try Murad Gentle Acne Treatment Gel and Murad Pure Skin Clarifying Supplement.  L-Lysine supplement also improves skin healing and is great for collagen.  I suggest everyone with acne try this, use consistently.  I take 2-3 pills 2x a day.

Grade 2:  Consists of more then 10+ blackheads, whiteheads, inflammation, papules, pustules ( inflamed papule with white or yellow center containing pus), redness, milia (pearl like mass of sebum and dead skin cells under the skin more common in dry skin).  Same treatment as Grade 2.  If VERY oily try Murad Acne Exfoliating Treatment Gel.  Spot treat papules & pustules overnight with Acne Spot Treatment.  Birth Control can also be beneficial for acne grade 2-4.

Grade 3:  More red and inflamed then Grade 2.  Consists of 15-20 blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, papules, pustules, milia and found on face, neck, chest, back, arms and shoulders.  The most common grade of acne and  has a higher risk of scarring and deep pitting.  Look for treatment from a dermatologist, Retin-A  can do wonders.  Can be treated with Murad Acne Exfoliating Treatment Gel, if you have dry skin do not use this gel.

Grade 4:  Severe acne case.  Cystic acne (a closed sac of fluid./infection under the skin.  Tender, painful and cannot be extracted.)  Extreme redness, pustules, papules, whiteheads (may even be yellow or green implying infection), blackheads, and milia.  Oral & topical treatment is necessary from a dermatologist.  Treatment can range from topicals: Retin-A cream, Differin gel, Tazorac, Azelaic Acid and/ or Clindamycin.  Antibiotics: Sulfa (reduces oil production for very oily skin).  Accutane (oral acne antibiotic only given for most extreme cases. Warning! There are many side effects including depression, health problems, sever dryness, birth defects).  There are plenty more options for severe acne cases and should be discussed with your doctor or dermatologist.

  • Acne prone skin that feels/looks leathery and thick is under exfoliated.  A vitamin A derivative like Retin-A or Renova is available through a dermatologist and is a topical peeling agent that flushes out follicles.  Acne prone skin in general benefits from topical exfoliants.
  • Acne can be affected by genetics, hormones (male hormones-androgens, puberty, menstrual cycle, birth control), stress, diet (fast food, greasy/fried foods, sugar, excessive salt, processed food, dairy (try cutting dairy and add soy to your diet), cosmetics & products (make sure you use oil free products, avoid synthetics fillers like silicones, dimethicone, silica.)  Double check the ingredient list-many companies label their products, non-comedogenic (non pore clogging) or oil free misleading buyers.
  • Even if your skin is extremely oily, it needs to be hydrated.  Use a oil free moisturizer like Murad Acne Perfecting Lotion.  It is formulated for oily and acne prone skin, controls breakouts and oil.  For those using prescription acne medications, you may need more moisture.  Some like CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion and even Murad Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture (even with the avocado, sunflower, olive fruit oil and shea butter) this moisturizer is a favorite among Retin-A  and Accutane users and doesn't cause breakouts.
  • Accutune should ONLY be the LAST resort.  If your doctor or derm. is handing out Accutane prescriptions like skittles-RUN FAST.  The health risks are not worth it and they are being lazy about treating your skin correctly.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tips for Healthy Skin

This post is for all skin types & conditions.

  • Maintain a consistent AM/PM skincare regime.  Changing products results in flare ups, irritation and little to no beneficial results.  A simple regime may consist of  A) Cleanser B) Treatment ( serum, Vitamin C, acne treatment, retinol, glycol, ect)  C) Moisturize (AM and PM) +SPF (AM).  There are plenty of moisturizers with spf 15+, but I recommend spf 30 everyday regardless if its cloudy or you are indoors.  
  • Choose a cleanser for your skin type/condition.  Unless you are oily within a hour of cleansing, you won't need a foam cleanser (already foam when you pump the bottle).  It will be too drying for your skin, stripping it of vital moisture.  Excess oil and natural moisture barrier are too different things.
  • Always cleanse 1-2 minutes with TEPID (lukewarm) water, never hot.  It strips skin, dries and irritates.
  • Apply skincare products in order 1) Cleanse & Tone 3) Treat/Repair 4) Hydrate/Protect (SPF for day time) 5) Primer & Foundation
  • Most drugstore skin products are too harsh on skin (contain excess alcohol, chemicals, irritating ingredients, no anti-inflammatory's, or hydrators.)  Neutragena is the worst thing you can use.  I trust CeraVe products though.
  • Toner's purpose is to remove cleanser residue, debris and bring skin back to its pH.  Do not use 100% alcohol or witch hazel to tone-it's too stripping on skin.
  • Use a gentle exfoliant, not a gritty St. Ives type scrub.  It creates micro tears, damages and irritates skin.  Use a Beta hydroxy acid: salicylic acid (for acne or oily skin) or alpha hydroxy acid: glycolic, lactic citric, mandalic acids.  Enzyme exfoliants are gentle and effective. The Clarisonic also exfoliates!
  • Exfoliate 2x week and 3x week for oily/acne skin.  Normal/Combo skin: Murad T-Zone Pore Refining Gel  (amazing on blackheads).  Murad Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask can be used on all skin types. Oily/Acne prone: Murad Acne Exfoliating Treatment Gel. Adult acne: Murad Acne & Wrinkle Reducer. Aging Skin: Murad Age Reform at home peel, Complete Reform and Intensive Wrinkle Reducer. As you can see I love Murad.  I also work with these products on a daily basis with amazing results =)
  • Make sure to cleanse skin in the evening.  Remove makeup-don't sleep in it.  Makeup wipes are not sufficient cleaning, so use your wipes to remove makeup, then wash your face.
  • EVERYONE needs to moisturize, especially oily & acne prone skin.  Without moisture your skin will try to overcompensate for needed moisture and produce even MORE oil.  Skin may not heal as fast either.  Try a oil-free moisturizer.  I love Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion (the ONLY moisturizer that doesn't break me out & has done wonders for my oily/acne prone skin.)
  • Steer clear of products with bright colors i.e. Neutragena (not the box, but the actual product).  They have overly irritating ingredients..dyes, synthetic fragrance that can wreak havoc on your skin.
  • Higher percentage of skin treatments does not equal better results.  Starting with a higher % can irritate your skin, putting your skin in shock.  Adjust slowly to products.  Take baby steps to avoid irritation.  
  • Don't try and dry your oily skin out or over scrub/over cleanse acne prone skin.  Your skin will produce more oily and your skin will become irritated.  I know this from personal experience (I am acne prone AND oily) & as a Professional Skincare Therapist
  • Don't over use cleanser, it can dehydrate skin.
  • Thoroughly rinse cleanser off skin, including hairline and sides of the face.  Rinse up to 4x if  necessary to remove all impurities and cleanser residue.
  • Apply serums, lotions, creams to still moist/damp skin.  Products will absorb better and lock in vital moisture. 
  • When using lightening/brightening products, apply product to entire face, neck and chest.  Do no spot treat, you will have light and dark spots if you do.  
  • Invest in a Clarisonic Mia!  It deep cleans skin with sonic micro massage brush, exfoliates, allows products to work faster & more effectively, refines pores.  Think your skin can't get any better?  Buy the Clarisonic Mia $119-it's worth it, believe me.
  • Avoid dimethicone or "cones" especially in primers-they don't allow your skin to breathe.  There are dimethicone & cone free primers out there!
  • Steer clear of skincare products by cosmetic company's (Mac for example).  Most have skin conditioning ingredients  to make skin look soft and smooth but with no real benefits.  Also they have the tendency to clog pores with synthetic ingredients, dimethicone, silicones, 'cones'.
  • Pick a great everyday SPF unlike greasy traditional SPF.  Murad has fantastic spf's: Acne/Oily-Murad Anti-Aging Moisturizing SPF 20. Aging skin: Perfecting Day Cream SPF 30. Sun Damage: Essential C Day Moisture SPF 30.  
  • A balanced diet can truly change your skin.  Eliminate fast food, fried food, processed food.  Juicing does wonders for the skin as well as fresh fruits and fish (omega fats great for anti aging).  Acne prone folks: follow the above statement and try and eliminate dairy, it has been shown to clear skin up.  I worked at a frozen yogurt ship for 3 years-after I left my skin cleared up (sugar too.)
  • Give your skin a nice boost with supplements.  A multi-vitamin and Green tea for everyone. Aging skin: Fish Oil,antioxidants: Pomegranate extract.  Acne prone skin: Zinc, B vitamins, yellow dock, burdock, antioxidants..Murad Pure Skin Clarifying Supplement hits all the marks.  L-lysine promotes healthy skin, heals skin (acne) and promotes collagen production.    

How to Choose a Cleanser for your Skin Type/Condition

Stay away form drugstore cleansers (with the exception of Cerave), my experience with them they are way to drying, strip the skin of vital moisture, contain irritating dyes, fragrance, too much alcohol- (too much of all the above) -especially Neutragena.  Neutragena is the devil.  Article coming soon..

1) Normal: A balanced complexion, not to oily or dry, but just right!  Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, Murad Renewing Cream Cleanser, CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, CeraVe Foaming Cleanser or Murad Refreshing Cleanser.

2) Dry: Lack of oil, tight, dry, flaky skin all over face, maybe sensitive (not to be confused with dehydrated-lack of water from skin treatments, not enough moisture, or general hydration).  Try a cream cleanser.  Murad Renewing Cleansing Cream, CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser.

3) Combination: Oily in some areas (t-zone forehead, nose, chin) Dry in others (predominately cheek area).  Try Murad Energizing Pomegranate Cleanser or Renewing Cream Cleanser.

4) Oily: Larger pores, oily all over face, feels greasy, looks shiny.  Try a gel cleanser.  Neostrata Anti-bacterial Facial Cleanser, Murad Clarifying Cleanser or Murad Time Release Acne Cleanser (for adult skin oily & acne prone),  Andalou Naturals Citrus Kombucha Gel or CeraVe Foaming Cleanser.

Skin Conditions

1) Acne prone: Typically oily but some are dry.   Dry acne prone skin is harder to treat.  Look for salicylic acid, triclosan, sulfur, vitamin A (retinol), hydrogen peroxide (not the bottle to clean cuts), Tea tree oil (no it doesn't clog pores.  Antibacterial), BPO (benozyl peroxide.  Neostrata Anti-bacterial Facial Cleanser, Murad Clarifying Cleanser, Murad Time Release Cleaner (for adult acne), CeraVe Foaming Cleanser (only for very oily skin), CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser for (normal, combo, dry skin), Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser (3x week rotate cleanser with regular cleanser, for most skin types except extreme sensitive cases.)

2) Sensitive (considered a skin type & skin condition) : Easily irritated skin, blushes easily, may have rosacea or psoriasis.  Murad Soothing Gel Cleanser or CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser.

3) Sensitized: Skin has become sensitive from treatments (retinols, glycol, ect) or overly harsh products with fragrance, dyes, irritating ingredients.  NOT normally sensitive.  Try same as Sensitive.  

4) Rosacea: Chronic skin condition you turn red, may swell, skin sores that look like acne, blushes easily, spider like blood vessels.  Same products as Sensitive/Sensitized.

5) Dehydrated (Lacking water) :Tight, over processed, parched skin.  Feels like your skin needs a drink of water & is not normally dry.  Avoid gel cleansers until skin is balanced again.   Try Murad Renewing Cleanser, which protects skins natural moisture barrier.  Instant relief. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser is also a good option.

6) Aging Skin: Loss of elasticity & firmness, hyper pigmentation (dark spots, age spots, sun spots, melasma).  Murad Renewing Cream Cleanser or Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser.  

Friday, May 4, 2012

Skinceuticals Sheer SPF 50

"A groundbreaking first-to-market mattifying fluid with transparent finish, this paraben-free, all-physical filter sunscreen provides increased protection in an ultra-sheer texture for all skin types, even very sensitive. Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50 offers the photoprotection of trusted broad-spectrum, physical filters, zinc oxide (Z-COTE) and titanium dioxide, and is enhanced by artemia salina, a plankton extract, to increase the skin’s defenses and resistance to UV and heat stress.  The unique ‘shake then apply’ action assures even distribution of active ingredients in this silky sheer fluid that dries quickly and leaves no residue."-Skinceuticals 

I wanted to love this, but the white cast is ridiculous and makes my foundation look HORRIBLE.  Great UVA/UVB sun protection with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.  It took some time to get used to it and find a way to get rid of the white cast- I've given up on this SPF.  I mixed moisturizer and this spf in the palm of my hand to warm it up and it spreads easily onto skin.  The fact that it is liquid makes it lightweight, easier to absorb and less likely to clog pores.  I had a few clogged pores on my neck and jaw. Suitable for FAIR, sensitive, oily, acne prone skin.  I do NOT suggest for brown skin (the white cast is terrible.)

  • Provides non-chemical UVA/UVB protection (contains zinc oxide & titanium dioxide)
  • Matte Finish.
  • Non-comedogenic and Paraben free
  • Liquid formulation
  • Leaves a very noticeable white cast on brown skin (try mixed with moisturizer.)
  • Contains dimethicone (can prevent skin from breathing and breakouts.)
Update 5/11/12:  This SPF must be mixed with a moisturizer to diminish white cast.  I tried mixing  equal parts spf & moisturizer, but it still leaves a unnatural white cast on my bronze skin.

50 ml
Bottom line: A good SPF for fair skin tones.

*Daily (that means rain or shine, indoors & outdoors) use of SPF 30+ will prevent sun damage:age spots, hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles and the general visual signs of aging.  SPF should be reapplied  every 2-3 hours and MUST be reapplied at the beach or during water activities.  NO SPF IS WATER RESISTANT OR WATERPROOF.

*Update: 1/22/13
I experienced irritation, a white/blue cast and clogged pores.

Becca Stick Foundation

"The ultimate skin savior, creating the illusion of flawless skin by evening out skin tone and lightly concealing blemishes. A unique balance between maximum sun protection (SPF 30+) and long lasting wear."-Becca

I tested the Stick foundation in "Maple" meant for dark tanned skin tones.  For color reference, skin tones matches best with Bobbi Brown natural foundation in "Golden".  Becca's "Maple" is more on the beige side, then yellow.  I found choosing shades to be very difficult online and the guide provided on the website to be even more confusing.  I suggest finding a salon that carries the line and testing shades before purchasing.  I experienced the coverage to be sheer to medium, very matte, powdery and not enough coverage for my hyper pigmentation.  The stick foundation can also be used as a concealer and has a light baby powder scent. My sensitive skin was unfortunately irritated by this scent.   

  • Contains broad spectrum SPF 30
  • Contains vitamins A,E,D to increase collagen renewal and helps skin retain moisture
Bottom line: Perfect for extremely oily skin or those living in humid weather, who need minimal coverage.
0.3 oz
Available at Becca

*Product provided by Becca Cosmetics.  This review is my honest opinion.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Glow with Dr. Brandt Overnight Resurfacing Serum

I received a sample of Dr. Brandt Overnight Resurfacing Serum when I ordered my Clarisonic.  Here is some information on the product.

"This concentrated serum is formulated with a time released 2% Retinol Complex that provides both immediate and long term release to promote radiance from within. It stimulates new cell turnover to improve skin texture and tone. The appearance of lines, wrinkles, and enlarged pores is softened, revealing new, healthy skin with a youthful glow.  This serum contains Oliveactive to counteract inflammation, reducing redness and irritation while protecting against oxidative stress."-Dr. Brandt

This is truly a wonder serum.  And Dr. Brandt certainly makes us pay for it at $85.  This is my first time trying his products and won't be the last, with results like these..I'll be back for more.  The serum instantly softened my skin and it felt like silky hydration.  My skin calmed down before my eyes, my skin started to glow and I woke up to soft, smooth, more even toned, glowing skin, and refined pores.  It sounds like special effects lol.  This serum also effectively improved & exfoliated my forehead congestion overnight. Thank you Dr. Brandt!  Free of  Parabens, Sulfates, Synthetic Fragrances Synthetic Dyes, Petrochemicals, Phthalates, GMOs and Triclosan.  P.S. I wish I could afford to use this all over my body!

Bottom line: The perfect resurfacing product for anyone, even if you have sensitive skin.

1.7 oz
Available at Sephora
A Lady J Favorite!

The BEST Investment I made for my Skin: Clarisonic!

To get things started, I honestly I am a bit mad at myself for not purchasing the Clarisonic Mia sooner.  It improved my skin overnight and already with 2 weeks use, it's had to believe I suffer from chronic acne.  I previously attacked my congested cheeks with Differin and Retin-A.  My forehead congestion has been a major issue and after using the Clarisonic Mia, my skin is on its journey to my "flawless" ideal. I do know my skin will never be flawless, but I would like to regulate it enough that it doesn't become congested and lighten my hyper pigmentation for a more uniform skin tone.

I first purchased the Olay cleansing system, at the time I thought it was amazing.  This was obviously before I purchased the Clarisonic Mia.  I used Olay's brush for 1 year.

Get to the review already!

Need to Know:

  • Deep cleanses skin with gentle sonic micro-massage action.
  • Cleans 6x better then your hands or washcloth, which allows skincare products to absorb and work BETTER!
  • Gently clears pores without chemicals or harsh abrasion. 
  • Reduces appearance of pores, fine lines, wrinkles & improves skin tone.
  • 1 speed.
  • Waterproof!
This cleansing tool delivers on all its claims and then some.  I am very excited to tell you this lol, this is my new BEST FRIEND!  My skin is now unbelievably soft, smooth, clear, exfoliated, refined, de-congested, more even toned and my products are working more effectively!!  When I feel my face after using this, I can't believe it's MY skin.  My pores are almost invisible and extractions pop right out!  I also use on my neck, chest and back and is great for ingrown hairs!

I ordered my Clarisonic Mia in Mandarin from Sephora for $119.  It came with a sensitive skin brush head, trial size Clarisonic Refreshing Gel Cleanser, charger and instruction.  I also purchased the Deep Cleansing Brush head $25, which is very similar to the Sensitive brush head (a little disappointing).  I thought the bristles would be much more different, with that title.  Either way, they both get the job done and clean my pores.  Each brush head should last 3 months and then be replaced with a new one.  I cleanse my skin for about 4 minutes, so I probably will be replacing it sooner.

While cleansing, I apply flush to my skin and move the brush in a circular motion to cleanse skin.  The on/off button has a timer for 1 minute and shuts off after 1 minute.  I usually use it for 3-4 minutes.  When not using the Clarisonic, I keep it on it's charger.

Bottom Line: If you are going to invest in any product cheap or expensive, make this a priority to add to your skin regime.  It will turn your skin concerns around!  I can't stress this enough!

Available at Sephora, Ulta & Clarisonic.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Liz Earle will leave your Skin Baby Soft!

Liz Earle skincare is a popular UK brand, that takes pride is providing quality natural active ingredients.  With a number of award winning products, there is a something for everyone.

Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser 
Talk about instant soft skin! This award winning cleanser is not your normal cleanser. 

"We only make one cleanser because this formulation is the ultimate in concentrated yet gentle cleansing power and works on every age and skin type.
Our plant based cleanser has a two-phase action, phase one is the cleansing. Free from mineral oil, it has a rich and creamy texture and swiftly removes all traces of face and eye make up, even stubborn mascara.  Phase two is the polishing. Polish off the cream using the pure muslin cloth to gently dislodge dead skin cells and help reveal clean, soft and radiant skin.  Naturally active ingredients include eucalyptus and cocoa butter for smoother, clearer skin."-Liz Earle

I applied the thick cream cleanser to dry skin as instructed, then ran the muslin cloth under warm water and started buffing my skin in a circular motion.  Rinse well with warm water.  My skin felt amazing.  My skin felt balanced and not stripped.  The next day I woke up with a couple zits on my jawline, which was unfortunate.  My skin is oily, sensitive and acne prone.  I would not say this is suitable for all skin types, but for normal, non acne prone, dry, sensitive skin.  The cocoa butter in this cleanser could be a disaster for severely acne prone skin.

Bottom Line: Great cleanser for non acne prone skin!
6.7 oz.

Instant Boost Skin Tonic
A extremely hydrating toner!  Perfect for colder months when skin is dry or stripped from a harsh cleanser.  A great option for a first toner, without harsh ingredients.

"This heavenly floral-scented, non-drying toner refreshes, soothes and brightens your skin. Gentle and alcohol-free, it also adds a fine layer of moisture.  Pour onto a cotton wool pad and sweep over face and neck after using Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. Alternatively spritz over face and body to revitalise at any time.  Naturally active ingredients include organic aloe vera to revitalise and soften and calendula, chamomile, cucumber and natural source vitamin E to soothe and refresh the skin."-Liz Earle

Bottom Line: A calming toner packed with the finest ingredients!  Leaves skin calm, refreshed and hydrated.
6.7 fl oz

Deep Cleansing Mask 
I was drawn to this mask, because it contains manuka honey. This honey is known to be anti-microbrial, anti-inflammatory, and improves acne prone skin by killing and preventing bacteria buildup.  Manuka is highly deep cleansing ingredient and contains enzymes that help regenerate healthy new skin.

The consistency of this green mask is more liquid then clay and smells very earthy.  I applied a layer and let it dry before I applied 2 more layers.  My pores looked refined and felt fresh & soft.  Website states it's not suitable for sensitive skin, but it did not bother my sensitive skin.  I also used as a over night spot treatment and loved it!

"This highly concentrated clay and manuka honey mask helps draw out impurities and excess oil to leave skin balanced and calm.  Smooth over face and neck as an all over face treatment, or to target specific problem areas.  Naturally active ingredients include green clay to draw out impurities, soothing manuka honey and propolis and rose-scented geranium to help tone and balance."-Liz Earle

Bottom line:  A great weekly mask for deep cleansing any skin type or spot treat overnight.
2.5 fl oz.
Liz Earle available at

All products provided by Liz Earle.
Cleanser & Tonic available in different sizes!

This review is my honest opinion.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Holy Grail of Acne Products by Paula's Choice!

First of all, I have to say this product made my pores look smaller over night!  I honestly could not believe it.  The product is Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant.  I refer back to Paula Begouns Beautypedia, creator of Paula's Choice for product recommendations and product effectiveness quite often.  Name a product and she has a review and breakdown on her site.  I respect her opinion and her books, The Original The Beauty Bible & Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me are two of my favorites! 

Back to the product, it is a silky liquid 2% BHA (salicylic acid) exfoliant that:
  • Unclogs pores & diminishes pore size.
  • Gentle, fast acting and effective on stubborn acne and blackheads!
  • Evens skin tone, creating clear & radiant skin.
  • Penetrates skin better then a gel or cream, because it's liquid!
  • Smoothes and firms skin, making you look younger.
  • Anti-inflammatory ingredients calms redness, rosacea and  builds collagen.
  • Suitable for normal, oily and combination.
  • Absolutely no fragrance, dyes, colorants and NO animal testing.
  • Is quite moisturizing on my oily skin & works well with CeraVe moisturizer!
I suffer from extremely congested skin, meaning it needs proper exfoliating and PLENTY of it to to release the build, debris, oil, bacteria in my pores.  This exfoliant has done just that.  I have been using it 2x a day for just 9 days and it has transformed my skin.  My skin was very clear in LA, but in the Bay Area, my skin took a turn for the worse.  It also allowed my skin to calm down and has made it brighter!  This is excellent for blackheads, congested skin, including on jaw, neck, chest and back.

My skin really needed this product, I'm glad it worked for me!  Beta Hydroxy Acid exfoliates inside the pore as well as out of the pore.  I have also found that liquid exfoliants penetrate skin much better then a gel or cream.  I pour the solution into my hand and use my fingertips to apply to my skin.  Cotton balls or squares only absorbed the solution and didn't allow enough product onto my skin.  Note: Those allergic to aspirin (acetylsalicylate) should not use products containing salicylic acid (Beta Hydroxy Acid or BHA).  Be sure to wear SPF 30+ daily with Zinc oxide or Titanium Dioxide to protect your newly exfoliated skin!

Bottom Line: I will be purchasing this amazing acne product over and over till I die-it's that good!  My skin thanks Paula's Choice!

Available online at Paula's Choice
$18.95  On Sale NOW $15.16
 4 oz.
A Lady J Favorite

 *Product provided by Paula's Choice.  This is a honest review.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Too Funny!

I had to post this video of the Think Like a Man cast!  The hilarious and beautiful Regina Hall had me cracking up!! Enjoy!=)  Think Like a Man hits theaters April 20, 2012 go see it-no bootlegs folks!  


Monday, March 26, 2012

Gorgeous Skin! Jennifer Lawrence

I just returned from watching The Hunger Games and I could not help but notice how amazing Jennifer Lawrence's skin is!  I have seen her in X-Men: First Class and Like Crazy, but did not watch these movies in theaters.  Her skin on the big screen was just amazing.  It was a great movie (and the perfect role for her by the way), I definitely look forward to the next film!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Megan Fox's Personal Skincare Bootcamp

Megan Fox's Personal Skincare Bootcamp

1) Drink plenty of water, water and more water to hydrate skin, body and flush out toxins.
2) Eat a healthy diet, including juicing for healthy and glowing skin.
3) Exercise daily or weekly, it eases stress, nourishes skin cells and increases blood flow.
4) Wear SPF 30+ EVERY DAY to protect against harmful & damaging UVA/UVB rays!  Make sure you use Zinc Oxide or Titanium dioxide for better protection.

Fox's Secret Weapons! 
1) Fox uses Bliss Pore-fector Gadget $53 to deep clean her skin.
2) She is a huge fan of Eminence Organics Biodynamic Skin Care line.

3) Weekly at home facials with Aesthetician Mindi Walters!

Top Rated Mascara's for Lush Lashes!