Holiday Gift Guide – $25 and under

It seems like, once again, the holidays have just snuck up on us out of nowhere!  If you’re like me, you haven’t done any shopping yet – but don’t panic!  With a targeted plan of who you need to buy for and what you want to spend, you can get this done with time to spare!  This is the first in a series of gift guides and I hope I can inspire you with some ideas for the special people in your life!  This guide has gifts that are $25 or less and can be great for grab bags, co-workers, or stocking stuffers!  Read on to see what I’ve rounded up for you!

jewelry pyramid organizer Stackers Jewelry Pyramids (Small $9.99 / Large $14.99)  This is a great stocking stuffer or teacher gift  available at the Container Store.  I like that it is different than the typical dish-looking jewelry holders out there.  I feel like this is more decorative to keep on a nightstand or dresser and hold your jewelry.

 

jewelry roll organizer

Jewelry Roll $15– You can combine this gift with the one above for the jewelry-lover in your life so they can have somewhere to store jewelry at home and when traveling.  These come in a variety of colors and textures at Target but I am LOVING this leopard print!

 

 

corkcicleCorkcicle $24.95 – I first saw this idea on Shark Tank  and was blown away.  I’m not sure if this is the same company, but these travel, spill-proof wine glasses make it great to have wine on the go (think tailgating, kids soccer games) without using a plastic cup.  Plus no need to worry about spills and staining your clothes.  Rather have coffee?  It’s good for that too!

 

Angry mama microwave cleaner$9.99  I love The Container Store’s quirky and unique gifts – another great stocking stuffer for the clean-freak in your life!

 

 

 

 

kelvin multi tool

Kelvin.17 Multi-tool$19.99  Everyone has a guy in their life who loves gadgets or likes to tinker with things.  This multi-tool is for that guy in your life – 17 tools in one.  I don’t even like tools and think this is pretty cool!

 

 

 

Stila Big Shots Stay All Day Liquid Liner and HUGE Mascara Duo $25 – I can’t have a gift guide without some awesome beauty sets for the makeup lover in your life!  Ulta has great gift sets at all price points, but this is a great value!   I personally use and love the liquid liner (it is my all-time favorite) and the full size mascara makes this an awesome set to achieve a festive holiday eye!

 

 

 

too faced under the kissletoeToo Faced Under the Kissletoe $25 – This gift set has four of the brand’s popular liquefied lipsticks in a great variety of wearable shades.  Who wouldn’t love trying out some new colors on their lips for the holiday!?  And the packaging is so cute your wrapping is done!

 

 

 

 

Mini-emergency kits $17.95 – I gave these out one year and they were a hit!  You can keep this in your car or purse and you will be prepared for literally anything! And it comes in an adorable mini-case. You won’t believe what they fit in there:  earring backs, clear nail polish, safety pins, bandages (just to name a few)!

thought a day notebook

 

A great thought a day notebook $14.99 This is a  great inspirational gift recommended by Oprah for our friends and family that love daily inspiration or need some encouragement.

 

 

 

Tagalong charger caseMYTAGALONGS charger case $16 – This is great gift for a teen, college student or really any techie lover, or someone who travels frequently.  Keeping all those charging cords for phones, laptops, etc. can be tricky!

Happy shopping everyone!

 

Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  If you purchase any of those products, I receive a small commission.  This is at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate your support of this blog if you do decide to try some of the products!

Tartelette Toasted Palette Review

Tartelette toasted palette
Ta Da! My new favorite palette of life!!

There have been so many new palette releases lately that can make it confusing to select one that best suits you, but I bought the Tartelette Toasted palette and feel like I have hit the jackpot on palettes!  This is not the first product I have purchased and loved from Tarte.  If you are not familiar with the brand, Tarte is a cosmetics company that is cruelty-free and vegan friendly.  Their products are formulated without harmful ingredients such as parabens, mineral oil, phthalates and sodium laurel sulfate.  This is an added bonus in my book!

Similar to many other palettes that have been released lately, this one provides 12 warm-toned shades, with a blend of shimmers and mattes.  I personally love warmer shades as they tend to best complement my hazel eyes.  However, I think these colors would really enhance blue, green or brown eyes as well.  This is the first palette I’ve ever owned where I can say that I have used and loved every single shade!  I start out with the best of intentions every time I buy a palette, but always end up having a shade or two that I really don’t like or that isn’t wearable for me on a day-to-day basis.  Also, I love that I can achieve a complete eye look using just this palette.  I hate when I have to jump from palette to palette to hunt for different colors to complete an eye look.  I don’t have the time or the patience for that!

The packaging of this palette is amazing!  It is a great size for travel, has a generous sized mirror and is very sturdy.  The front looks like a warm, cozy fire with gold letters, and when you open it up, there is a faint yummy fragrance that makes it even more delicious!

Look at these scrumptious shades!

As for the quality of the shadows, Tarte does not disappoint.  They use their Amazonian clay formula which is long-lasting and the shadows blend nicely.  Some of the shades are a little powdery but I have not experienced any issues with fallout on my face as I apply them.  I’ve had this palette over a month now and have used it almost every day that I’ve worn makeup.    There is no black shade with could be a con for some, but I use the color “Fireside” as an eye liner and it has worked great for me. Also, there is a rich chocolate brown shade called “Crackle” that might look a bit intimidating as it has gold flecks of sparkle in it, but I find that it is still a very wearable color on the eye.  The sparkles don’t translate like the other shimmer shadows so it can be daytime appropriate.

The palette retails for $46, which is in range for a lot of the newer palettes out there, but for me, it is worth the splurge because the shades are wearable, versatile and flattering.  Yes, you can achieve more dramatic looks as well as daytime looks, but for me, daily looks are what I most use in my lifestyle and this palette has been such a treat to use!  Let me know if you’ve tried this and what you think.

Fenty Beauty Lip Gloss Review and Drugstore Dupe

Rihanna Fenty Beauty
Fenty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer.

Recently Rihanna debuted her own cosmetics line called Fenty Beauty, complete with foundations in all shade ranges, highlighters you can see from outer space and some lip products.  She even has a holiday collection out now that you can check out if you like some edgier makeup. I’ve been checking out reviews for her products and they are very up and down.  It makes me wonder if people really don’t like them but are afraid to be brutally honest because they are a Rihanna fan?  Not sure.  But I did go ahead and purchase this universal lip gloss (Fenty Glow Gloss Bomb – Universal Lip Luminizer, $18) that had a great neutral color and seemed, unlike a lot of the other products, to have consistently positive reviews.

First off, let’s talk about the packaging.  I absolutely LOVE it!  I prefer a shorter, fatter size versus a long skinny gloss.  For me, it fits better into a lot of different size purses so it’s great for travel or just daily on-the-go!  The color is great – it’s a warm neutral that can be worn alone, with some lip liner, or as a topper for a lipstick.  Let me tell you, this gloss is SHINY!  I love it, because I have thin lips, so shiny glosses and lipsticks help them to look plumper.  The gloss is not glittery, but does have some flecks in it.  This has a smell to it – to me it smells just like the pink Starburst candies.  It is not unpleasant but I’d prefer no smell or more of a vanilla scent.  It does not linger so it’s not a deal breaker for me.

The Dupe

Fenty beauty and Loreal infallible pro gloss
These are pretty close, right? One on the right is Fenty. One on the left is Loreal Infallible Pro Gloss in the shade Dulce de Leche.

So I found a really good dupe for this gloss, really by accident.  Loreal has their Infallible Pro Gloss and the shade 825 or Dulce De Leche is almost identical to the Fenty Gloss.  This drugstore gloss is pricey for drugstore at $11.79.  The small differences I’ve observed are that the Loreal is a tad bit more sparkly and the formula is slightly stickier than the Fenty.  Size-wise, the Loreal tube has .21 fl. oz. and the Fenty is .30 fl. oz. so you are paying more, but you are also getting a bit more product.

Fenty Gloss Bomb and Loreal Infallible Pro Gloss in Dulche de LecheSo, which do I like better?  I think I prefer the Fenty gloss but both are really nice.  I just like the formula and packaging of the Fenty a little more.  Hopefully this review will help you if you are in the market for a new gloss.  I am not disappointed with my Fenty Beauty purchase.  Have you tried any Fenty Beauty products yet?  If so, I’d love to know your honest thoughts!

 

How To Train Yourself to Sleep on your Back

If you are wondering why you would want to train yourself to sleep on your back, let me tell you my main motivation- it prevents wrinkles!  If you have lash extensions, it extends their life.  It also helps with drainage in your sinuses!  Do I have your attention yet?  Well, let me share how I did this because for all my life, I have been a side sleeper and I couldn’t imagine a restful night without sleeping that way!

For a long time I was in denial that I needed to address my side sleeping habits.  I used a satin pillowcase, which I’ve read is more gentle on the skin for side sleepers.  It helped a little, but I really burrow my face into the pillow when I side sleep, so I would wake up with marks in my cheek and under-eye area and started to notice that they didn’t go away as quickly as in years’ past.  Still, I would try to sleep on my back only to finally give up when I couldn’t relax and fall asleep in that position.  I’d watch one of my favorite YouTubers, Angie from Hot and Flashy, and she mentioned that she had trained herself to sleep on her back and I remember thinking, “How can you even do that?”  I thought, you either slept on your back or you didn’t.

sleep on backIf you read my blog post about injectables, then you know that I recently got a filler in my cheekbone area to address my concerns about under-eye wrinkles and loss of volume in my face.  Making that investment really made me get serious about sleeping on my back because I don’t want to undo the efforts I have made to improve the appearance of my skin.

So how did I do it?  I arranged pillows all around me that first night – under my knees to make me more comfortable, and on my sides.  It did take me awhile to fall asleep but I was successful!  I knew it took about 2 weeks to either break a habit or instill a new habit so my goal was to continue this process every night until it sleeping on my back became easier for me.  Some nights were easier than others, but my determination to do this kept me trying until two weeks had gone by and I was still sticking to it!

I did learn a trick that allowed me to turn my body to the side, but keep my face from smushing into the pillow.  I hug another pillow and prop the top under my face so it stays somewhat elevated.  I don’t totally turn my face to the side, just move it about 45 degrees.  So far it’s working or me and now it’s been about 6 weeks of consistently sleeping on my back.

I guess it’s one of those things like taking a vitamin and eating your vegetables – you know it’s good for you and the right thing to do, but until you commit to doing it, you won’t have success.  I had tried and failed several times before, but once I realized the benefits were too numerous to ignore and saw what it was doing to my face’s appearance, I got serious and finally was able to enjoy success!

How do you like to sleep?

 

10 Benefits of Facial Massage – Your Cheap Anti-aging solution!

You can massage your face and enjoy all these benefits for free!

Do you massage your face?  Believe it or not, that is the least expensive anti-aging regimen you can do for yourself.  You don’t need to go for a facial to enjoy the benefits of a facial massage.  When I was in school for my esthetician license, we all learned massage techniques and practiced on each other and I saw a definite improvement in my skin.  When I get professional facials today, I am always disappointed that only 5 or 10 minutes of your hour is used for facial massage.  We used to do it for longer in skincare school and I think the power of massage is greatly underestimated!

So what are those benefits?

By massaging your face you are stimulating blood circulation which can give you a healthy glow.  You are also exercising muscles to prevent your skin from sagging and improve your overall muscle tone. The process of massaging your facial muscles actually will relax them (which in turn will prevent wrinkles)!  And, it just plain feels good!  There are absolutely stress reducing benefits of facial massage and who needs less stress in their lives?  If you are looking to maximize the benefits of skincare products in your regimen, facial massage helps to increase their absorption and effectiveness.  Massage helps slough off dead skin cells, cleanses skin of impurities and softens sebum (which helps in acne prevention).  Do you suffer from sinus congestion or puffiness?  Guess what – facial massage can help reduce those symptoms also!

So are you ready to start incorporating this into your regimen?  I am going to describe some quick massage moves you can do on your own face to keep it looking and feeling its best!

You can enjoy the benefits of facial massage free.

How do I massage my face correctly?

You want to hit some key areas on the face that will really benefit from massage – the forehead, around the eyes, the cheeks and the jawline. Note that when massaging, you should use your middle or ring fingers, not your index finger.

Forehead – Using upward strokes, and making small circles on the forehead is a great massage move.  As a rule of thumb, you always want to stroke in an upward direction, not down, as we want to go in the direction we want our skin to stay, which is not sagging!

Eyes– You can do light taps around the entire eye area, and also small circles in the undereye area.  You can also do two swift stroking motions, one above the eyebrow area and another under the eye.

Side of face – You can massage this area with upward strokes using your entire flat hand.  Perform this motion on each cheek and then also on forehead.  You can also perform a light tapping of fingers around cheeks (technical term is tapotement, if you want to get fancy!).

Jawline – To access this area you can use pinching around lower edges of face (technical term is petrissage).  Also, use light upward strokes from base of neck up to jawline using middle fingers of hands.

If you have very sensitive skin, inflamed acne or sunburn you should not massage your face until those symptoms subside.

If you are worried about how to make time to fit this in, you can do it while washing your face, which you are going to be doing at least twice a day anyway.  You can also incorporate some of the massage when rinsing off an exfoliating mask if you are using this in your routine.  Trust me, the benefits of taking a few extra minutes to fit this into your routine will definitely be worth the effort.  Let me know if you have any questions and happy massaging!

Injectables – What you need to know

injectables
Have you thought about injectables to improve your appearance?

I’ve been hearing a lot about injectables for anti-aging, but I really didn’t know a lot about it, so I decided to research and see if these procedures were something I might want to explore.  As diligent as I am with my skincare, I think once you hit a certain age, depending on your genetics, there may be things that you aren’t 100% happy with that can be addressed with injectables.  And what do I mean by injectables?  Neurotoxins (like Botox) and fillers.

Neurotoxins like Botox, or Dysport, are injected directly into the muscle below the skin to relax that muscle.  As we age we start to see wrinkles where our muscles are being used the most.  For a lot of us, that is the wrinkles in our forehead which we get from repeatedly making certain facial expresssions.  By relaxing those muscles, the wrinkle smooths out.  This is only temporary, though.  This procedure typically lasts 3-4 months and varies by individual.  So, if this is something you want to do, be prepared to go back to maintain that look.  Prices vary depending on where you go (I would recommend an experienced dermatologist or plastic surgeon) but I was quoted $525 by my dermatologist.

Fillers work differently than Botox – they are injected right below the skin and “fill” areas that we want to plump up, like under the eyes, in your laugh lines, lips or your cheekbones.  As with Botox, this is not a permanent result, but fillers last up to 2 years which would require less frequent maintenance.

My experience with Injectables

I have not been happy with how my under-eye area has been looking lately as well as the overall loss of volume in my face.  When my son told me that I looked so “crinkly,”  I decided it was time to go for a consultation with my dermatologist to understand what procedures would be able to address my concerns.  After discussing this with her, I decided on the filler in my cheek area.  This filler is made by Juvederm, and is called Voluma.  It is FDA approved, hyaluronic acid (which your body already makes naturally).   As I mentioned, it lasts up to 2 years (again the exact time varies by person and how quickly it is metabolized in the body).  The cost for this by my dermatologist was $900 for one syringe.  My derm told me usually two syringes are done for the procedure but as she (and I) believe in a very subtle result we decided to do just one (half a syringe per cheek).  Also, what I liked about the filler is that you see immediate results, unlike Botox, which takes a few days before actual results are seen.

My face was iced to numb it and then the dermatologist made her injections in the side of my face (below the temple where the cheekbone starts) and in the center of my under-eye area (along the cheekbone).  This was done on each side, with her stopping to show me her progress in the mirror.  It did not hurt at all; I simply felt pressure when she injected me.

I loved it in the office;  I actually met a friend for lunch right after the appointment and she did not notice anything!  However, later in the day I noticed that my cheeks were red and swollen at the edges of my face; the left side more than the right.  To be fair, my dermatologist did warn me that the left side would be a bit bruised and lumpy looking, but that it would smooth out.  To me, it looked like a golf ball sticking out.  At that point I  started to panic and wonder did I do the right thing?  Everything I’ve read says that it takes some time to spread out in the face and soften.  I started to see a bruise on the left side but was really not that sore. Luckily, my hair did camouflage most of the bruising.  I do really feel that my under-eye area looks more rested and fresher.  Also I like that the result is subtle – it’s good if no one notices anything.  I know that it’s there, and that’s what really matters!

before and after of injectable Voluma
The left picture shows the swelling on the left side of my face post procedure. The right photo shows the left side of my face as it looks today. The filler does soften over time.

If you are nervous about my description about the swelling, you can take a look at my before and after picture. One week post-procedure the swelling was down, and the look was starting to soften but I still had a faint bruise.  One month later, the bruising is completely gone, everything has settled and smoothed out and looks very natural-looking and more like me.  When I touch the areas where I was injected, I can’t feel anything under the skin.

Overall, I am happy with the results and have no regrets getting this procedure.  Based on what I’ve heard from others who have had this procedure, the results are liked even more around the 6 month mark; so I will check back in with you all at that time and give you my feedback of what I think at that milestone.  I believe that injectables can be a nice addition to a balanced skincare regimen depending on your concerns.  Any injectable procedure does NOT replace taking care of your skin with the correct products.

Have you had filler or Botox?  I would love to know your experiences.

Best Highlighter for Over 40 Skin

Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand
My holy grail highlighter!

I am so excited that I found my holy grail highlighter!!!  If you are over 40 like me, then you might like a highlighter like this that doesn’t make you look like you are going to a club, but gives a subtle healthy glow to your face.  Easy to apply and wearable every day is another prerequisite I have when looking for a highlighter.  Also, a product that does not accentuate texture or wrinkles is a big PLUS.  Well, I’ve found the product that does all of this!  Let me introduce you to Charlotte Tilbury’s Beauty Light Wand.  I purchased this product about a month ago and have been using it nonstop ever since!

It retails for $38 and comes in a tube with a sponge applicator.  This makes it so easy to apply and its packaging allows for easy travel too.  Just swipe on in the areas you want to highlight and either blend with your fingers or a beauty sponge.  There is only one shade and I would describe it as a beautiful pearly champagne which is a great universal shade.  A little goes a very long way and what I think is so unique about this is the way it looks.  It isn’t glittery or chunky but gives the skin an almost wet look, like a natural glow (not greasy).  And it’s noticeable but not “in your face” glowing.  Since this is a cream product, you should apply to your face before setting with powder for the best result.

There is a contour wand by Charlotte Tilbury that was released with the highlight, but I don’t really like it as much.  I like the ease of application and blendability, but I don’t think it really shows up on my face at all and it doesn’t have the same WOW factor that the highlight has.

So, if you are in the market for a new highlighter, I’d definitely recommend checking it out.  I am really enjoying this product and plan to buy more as it’s really hard to find highlighters that are suitable for more mature skin.

Best Drugstore Eye Shadow Palettes

drugstore eye shadow palettesI know everyone likes a bargain and I am here to tell you, in the world of makeup, there are fantastic quality products right in the drugstore!  I’ve rounded up my favorite eye shadow palettes from the drugstore to share with you.  These palettes will give their high-end competitors a real run for the money!

e.l.f. Mad for Matte 2

I talked about this palette in my round up of the best e.l.f.  products here.  This palette has 10 matte shadows all in beautiful warm colors.  If you prefer cooler tones they also have the palette available in other shades.  This one is my absolute favorites – I reach for it all the time and travel with it also!  It has enough of a range of colors to complete an entire look with just this palette (I personally don’t love jumping around to a bunch of different palettes for one eye shadow look).  The colors blend well and are very pigmented.  And all this can be yours for $10!

Kokie Classic Romance Palette

This is the newest addition to my collection.  I reviewed some Kokie products when they first debuted at Walmart here.  This palette is also available in a variety of shade ranges but I selected cooler tones – this has a combination of  matte, shimmer and satin shades.  Similar to the e.l.f. palette, you can create one full shadow look with just this palette.  I do like having some shimmers to take you from day to night and the palette is small enough to make it easy to throw it in your purse.  This retails for $9.97.

Covergirl trunaked – Roses and Goldens

These Covergirl palettes have been around awhile and I still reach for them constantly!  The quality of the shadows is unmatched for a drugstore brand.  They feel so soft and buttery just like you would experience in a much more expensive palette.  Each palette comes with 8 shadows in a variety of shimmers and mattes.  The Roses palette has all purple shades and the Goldens has your creams and brown shades.  The packaging is nothing special with these, but the quality of the products inside is truly special.    If you don’t have these then head to your nearest drugstore and grab them today!  You won’t be disappointed!

ColourPop “Yes, Please” palette

OK, so I might be cheating a little because ColourPop is not available in drugstores (although they are going to be available at Sephora in the near future!), but the price range is equivalent to drugstore and the quality is equivalent to a luxury palette!  The shade selection in this palette is very unique.  It has warm colors (again, that is my personal preference with hazel eyes) that range from light peach to plummy browns and some golden shade in between.  This palette also offers shimmers along with matte shades and many different looks can be created with these 12 shades.  At $16, this is the most expensive of the palettes, but you are getting 12 high quality shadows at a fraction of the price of most higher end palettes.  This is a great up-and-coming brand to keep your eye on!

What eye palettes are you loving from the drugstore – I’d love to know!

A Natural Deodorant that Works

For the past several years  I have been on a search for a natural deodorant.  Unfortunately my experiences with many different brands have not been positive.  Just to clarify, natural deodorants do not contain antiperspirants, so basically you can still sweat (although, if working correctly, the deodorant should still reduce odor).  Aluminum (which is also a neurotoxin) is an ingredient that is used to prevent you from sweating, but this has been linked to many negative health effects (Cancer, Alzheimer’s).   I don’t sweat easily, but with some brands that I tried, I felt very wet and sticky and sometimes I just plain STUNK.  Not pleasant.  I’d switch back to regular deodorant for a while and then read something else about the cancer-causing ingredients in regular deodorant and start looking for a new product to try.  Here I’m going to run down what I’ve tried and what product is finally working for me!

natural deodorant
All these deodorant products were misses for me.

Tom’s of Maine

Tom’s is a pretty well-respected brand of more natural products and my mom had told me they worked for her.  So I went out and got two of them to try – one was unscented and the other was calendula scent.  The products boast having no aluminum, no animal testing, no artificial colors, flavors, fragrance or preservatives, and having natural 24-hour odor protection.  Well, these were just gross.  The calendula scent smelled like body odor in my opinion.  The product glided on nicely but I always felt wet and sticky even when I wasn’t perspiring.  And if I did sweat, I smelled, so the 24-hour odor protection was a crock of sh*& in my experience.

Crystal

My husband suggested Crystal.  This product also boasts of no aluminum, and also is hypoallergenic, fragrance and paraben free.  It comes in a spray, a roll on or a stick.  I did use this one for a while, but overall did not enjoy it.  I still felt sticky and wet a lot so it wasn’t very comfortable for me to wear.  However, with this one I did not smell, which was an improvement over my experience with Tom’s.

Lavanila

I heard about a brand called Lavanila that is sold on Sephora.  It did have good reviews, so I picked one up, even though it was pretty pricey ($14) for a deodorant!  I picked the pure vanilla scent (they have several to choose from) and this brand also prides itself on being all natural, aluminum free, and no parabens.  I couldn’t get past the smell of this.  I love vanilla in general, but this deodorant stank on me!  I kept smelling it on myself and didn’t like it.  Now I was reaching a maximum frustration level.  This was a higher end product and I expected a higher end result, but that was not the case.  Maybe my expectations were too high for a natural deodorant product.

                                                                                                                                                                    

natural deodorant
These products are a home run for me!

Schmidt’s

Recently I heard about a brand called Schmidt’s that’s available on Amazon.  I picked up the Lavender + Sage scent.  This brand also promises no aluminum, no propylene glycol and no artificial fragrance.  It is certified vegan, cruelty- free and gluten-free.  Can I just say that FINALLY my search is OVER!  This product works for me!  It does not leave me feeling wet or sticky and I smell good!  It’s the closest feeling to real deodorant that I’ve experienced in a natural product!  The only thing that I had to get used to is to warm the product a bit with my finger before swiping in the underarm area.  It is a little harder in texture than the other products I’ve tried.  But this has been the answer to my prayers!

Pacifica

Another product that deserves an honorable mention are the Pacifica deodorant wipes.  These are great to freshen up after the gym or on the go.  Because they are individual wipes, they aren’t practical for everyday use but before I found Schmidt’s this was the only natural product that I enjoyed using.

I know that choosing a personal care product like deodorant is an individual experience, and that some of the products that did not work for me might work great for you.  I just know that, overall, finding a natural product in this category has been a long and frustrating process for me personally,  and if you are also struggling, then maybe one of these products can mark the end of your search.  If you’ve found a great product that I haven’t mentioned here, I’d love to hear about it!

Please note that some of the links in this article are affiliate links.  If you purchase the product, I receive a small commission.  This is at no additional cost to you.  I appreciate your support of this blog.

5 Ways to Make Retinol Work For You

woman applying retinol
Less is more when applying Retin A – only a pea size is needed!

I’ve been using retinol and Retin A on and off for years.  I would start to use it, then experience extreme dryness and flaking and quit using it.  Then I’d continue to read about how retinol is such a key ingredient for anti-aging (heck I’ve even written about it myself here), and I’d try again…. you get the point.  I’ve finally figured out how to use this ingredient consistently with little to no side effects and I want to share with you how I did it.

#1 – Start SLOW

Just like with dieting, sometimes we are so psyched to try something that we dive straight in – BAD IDEA.  You are almost certain to set yourself up for failure.  With incorporating any new routine into our lives, we need to make gradual changes or it will seem so overwhelming that one day we’ll say “Screw it,” and give up.   I don’t know about you, but in the anti-aging game I REFUSE to give up!  Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. You are looking to incorporate a skin care treatment for the long haul, so you need to ease in.

If you’ve never used retinol before, I’d recommend buying an over-the-counter product to start with, as they are not as strong as a prescription.  In addition, do not start out by using it every day!  Start with a couple of days a week (not consecutive) to see how your skin is handling it, and then slowly work up from there.  I personally like some retinol products that are in a facial oil form as it helps to maintain the skin’s moisture and keep flaking at bay.  Sunday Riley’s Luna oil is one I’ve really enjoyed using.  Also, Colleen Rothschild just came out with a new Retinol Supreme Night Oil  (the site is also having a sale so it’s currently 25% off with code FAM25)! On a budget?  Head to the drugstore and try the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle repair with Retinol.

Tretinoin cream is another name for Retin-A. It comes in varying strengths.

If you get a trentinoin prescription from your doctor, I’d start out with .025% strength first before building up to the higher strengths.  You don’t need the highest strength to see the best results.  Be gentle with your skin!

 

#2 – Apply correctly

A pea size amount is all that is needed to spread evenly over your face.  Yes, a pea!  Again, remember- marathon, not sprint.  More is definitely NOT better.  Also, make sure your skin is BONE dry before applying.  The product is not as effective on damp skin.  So, after you wash your face, go do something else for about 20-30 minutes before you apply this.  The drier your skin is, the less chance of irritation.  I wish I had known this years ago but trust me, this makes a huge difference!

#3 – Continue to Moisturize

I don’t know why when I started using retinol years ago, I didn’t think to add a moisturizer on top.  Hello, your skin can get dry and flake off as a side effect of the product!  I think that I was afraid to add anything that could compromise the efficacy of the product.  But I’m here to tell you that you CAN and SHOULD add a moisturizer to your face after applying retinol.  However, I would wait another 20 -30 minutes prior to doing that so the product has time to settle into the skin.  You’re probably thinking this is sounding WAY too complicated and that you just want to slap on all your products one after the other and go to bed.  Trust me, I get that, I do.  I’ve found a way to incorporate this into my evening routine to make it work.  For instance, I’ll wash my face after cleaning up after dinner.  Then I go and help my son with his nighttime routine.  After I tuck him in, I spread the trentinoin on.  Then I go watch a little TV and head back to the bathroom to add the moisturizer.  Done!  Trust me, the extra effort that this takes has more than made up for it for me personally with no side effects.  Once you’ve established a routine that works into your schedule and have been doing it for awhile, then you will enjoy the results on your skin!

#4 – Be EXTRA anal about sunscreen

If you are not good about putting sunscreen on your face every day, rain or shine, winter or summer, then I would NOT begin any retinol routine until you get good about it.  This stuff is no joke; remember, it is stimulating your skin cells to turn over rapidly to smooth your skin texture and reduce lines and wrinkles.  In that process, your skin is not only prone to the side effects we’ve talked about, but it is more sensitive to the sun.  If you use this and are exposed to the sun without protection, not only are you undoing any benefit the retinol will provide, but you are setting yourself up to have a bad skin reaction.  Please, please proceed with caution!

#5 – Be careful about other exfoliators you are using

Take a look at all the products you are currently using before starting your retinol.  If you have cleansers or toners with glycolic acid, I would stop using them in the evening before applying your retinol.  You want to use very gentle products with the retinol to avoid irritation.  You can continue to use exfoliating treatments, but avoid using them on the same day that you plan to use your retinol.

Hopefully you picked up a tip or two or five, that you didn’t know before.  Retinol is a powerful skincare ingredient, but that shouldn’t discourage us from using it.  With the right care, you CAN make this work for you and enjoy the results!  Good luck!  If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.

 

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