Saturday, July 30, 2016

Current Skincare Backups

It's not news I'm a huge skincare lover. I believe it's much better to invest in good skincare in order to feel more confident under your own skin, and believe me, you'll be less inclined to splurge on high coverage foundations because you'll find yourself needing less makeup to cover up. Not that there's anything wrong with them, for instance I'm still a huge a huge fan of the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer which is the most full-coverage foundation I own.




If I have backups of something it means I truly love the product. Today I'll be showing you my current backups and give you a brief explanation of why I love them so much.


Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Medi-Spa Peel 

Dr. Dennis Gross' is one of my favorite lines. Skincare is very subjective; aside from things that may work for some may not work for others, sometimes it can take months for a product to show results. Not with Dr. Dennis Gross. His products are, in my opinion, one of the quickest to show results. I cannot live without the Medi-Spa Peels. They're part of my Sunday ritual. Richly soaked in 15 acids, these peels exfoliate the skin revealing firming, plumper, luminous and a more even even-toned. The Peptide Milk that comes with it is delicious and packed with excellent ingredients. 



Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum Complexion Correcting 


Serums have become more popular in the skincare world and I've always been a fan of them.  You'll find them to be pricier than moisturizers, but most serums have a higher number of ingredients that will penetrate the skin at a deeper level. This one by Caudalie is one I've been using for years. It has a milky texture, smells divine, feels lightweight, it's oil free and at the same time fights hyperpigmentation. 


Caudalie Makeup-Removing Cleansing Oil 


Yes, this does a great job at removing makeup, but I prefer to use it as a "skin" cleanser usually in the morning or as a first cleanse at night to breakdown makeup or SPF. It's low in ingredients, has a thick texture that smells like almonds and feels extremely soft on the skin. It doesn't emulsify much, but I feel like it does a great job at cleansing. Most importantly, it's one I often reach for when my skin is congested. With consistent use, it makes my skin clearer. You can shop it here


Sarah Chapman Skinesis Ultimate Cleanse 


This was a splurge while I was at NYC. My friend Rita named this one of her favorite cleansers and I genuinely trust her recommendations, so it's something I needed. I love this because it's a balm but it comes in a pump form, so the ingredients are preserved. One pump of the Ultimate Cleanse is sufficient for my face and neck. Yes, it's pricey, but the ingredients are absolutely delicious. This is like aromatherapy for the skin. I never use this to break down makeup because it is far too luxurious. If you want to give yourself a long facial massage, this is something you should consider investing in. Some of the ingredients include sweet almond oil, beeswax, jojoba, camphor oil, eucalyptus leaf oil, chamomile, neroli, jasmine and rose. It is LUSH. 





Omorovicza Cleansing Foam 


Also a pricey one and I usually don't gravitate towards foam cleansers, but this one is sulphate free, feels creamy, doesn't dry out my skin and a tiny bit goes a very long way. My last tube lasted a year. If you're considering getting this, I advise you to wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday because their website offers 30% off. I absolutely love the smell and love including it in my cleansing ritual. 



Arcona Cranberry Toner 


This replaced my beloved Caudalie Moisturizing Toner. The Arcona Cranberry Toner is more than just a toner. The cranberry extract helps protect and clarify the skin, contains vitamins, phyto-nutrients and essential fatty acids. It also contains Vitamin E as an antioxidant, as well as omegas 3,6,9 and rice milk. Even after double cleansing, this toner is able to pull more dirt. My skin is left so soft and ready for my next skincare steps. If you get it, remember to shake it before using it. PS: it has a sweet, delicious cranberry scent, so if you don't like the smell of cranberry or sweet scents, you might not like this. 



Dr. Dennis Gross Clinical Concentrate Radiance Booster




Skin doesn't have to feel heavy to achieve radiance. I am obsessed with this booster by Dr. Dennis Gross. You can use it alone before your serum, mix it with your serum or moisturizer or even makeup. The ingredient list is superb and I always notice and immediate difference after applying this. My skin looks uber healthy and naturally glowy. This is for men and women who notice their skin is looking lackluster or dull. Absolutely worth it.  



Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Extra Strength Formula 


I really cannot live without these. If I stop using them, I notice it in my skin - not in a good way. It's not that I break out like crazy, but these peels keep blemishes at bay. It's very important to exfoliate your skin to get rid of dead cells that are laying on the surface of the skin. Think about it - if you have tons of dead skin cells sitting on your skin, they won't allow the rest of your skincare to penetrate properly. My skin has been more even toned, radiant and these peels have literally helped my self-esteem because I feel more comfortable in my own skin. 



Caudalie Beauty Elixir 


I know this contains alcohol, but I have used this product for so many years and I've never had a negative experience with it. If you have really dry skin, I wouldn't recommend it. But it's super refreshing, minty and perfect for these hot months. I also like spraying it when I'm feeling tired, when I'm breaking out (because it seems to help fight my blemishes) or prior to a mask. You can shop it here, and earn MyCaudalie points! 




Dr. Dennis Gross Firming Peptide Milk 


This milk used to only be available if you purchased the Medi-Spa Peels, but luckily Dr. Gross made it available on its own, phew! This milk's texture is exactly like the name suggests - milky. I love using it after using my regular Alpha Beta Peels. The ingredients are amazing - tripeptide-21, collagen amino acids, ceramides, arnica, retinol, coconut water and juice - and the list goes on. This is beautiful to use on its own. It leaves skin feeling so soft and taken care of. You can shop it here



Thanks for reading! I hope you found some good recommendations. Are there any backups you currently have? I'd love to know!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Visual Representation on Living with Depression and Anxiety




I don't know hardly anything about cameras, but I've always been a visual person and have enjoyed taking pictures of things, people, and pictures for other people. 

I have battled with depression since I was 14. I'm turning 27 in July. I have lost many people because of it and had many failed attempts at ending my life. Is it something I am proud to speak about? No. Am I ashamed of some of the things I've done and said? Yes. Do I think I or you (if you have depression or anxiety) should be ashamed of your condition? No. Society makes us feel like it is "inappropriate" or even "weak" to speak about emotions, and the truth is, many people feel trapped or as if they are living two separate lives because speaking of your condition is simply not an alternative. 

I don't know exactly how to deal with myself, but I do know that if I speak about it, I might encourage others to speak about it. I know that if I try to show visual representations of what I feel on a daily basis, it might help those around me who do not understand what I'm going through.

The truth is, many people think mental illness is a lie. Many people think depression is a choice or a way to manipulate others or an excuse to shut down. It is NOT. 

Please feel free to share this post with your friends and loved ones, or anyone who you know is going through their own battle. This issue deserves more attention and awareness. It is real and it is a frightening condition. 



Break the stigma: there is such thing as psychosomatization.
Some people pull their hair, others pick to bleed. Your anxiety is translated into your body one way or another. 




Pills: A friendly reminder to stay "sane."
The first thing when I think when I wake up is "I need to take my anti-depressant", and I usually carry Xanax in my purse for any out-of-the-blue panic attack. To be honest, I still feel like shit and still to this day I wish there were a pill that could simply numb the pain. 




Sleeping more to not "be" in the real world.
This is a concept a lot of people around me have a hard time understanding. When I'm awake, I am able to think and I have a sense of awareness. When I'm asleep, I can (sometimes) rest from my own negative thoughts. Sadly though, I've been having a lot of nightmares, so I feel stress and pain even in my own dreams. 

To be completely honest, sometimes I feel like just sleeping all day. Wake up, and go back to sleep. 



Release is good.
Let it out. Cry. I usually like to cry by myself because I do not want to transmit my "negativity" or my "sadness" to others. I know I must deal with this alone. 



It is, however, draining. Very draining. 



Religion can help.
I am Catholic, so I do pray every night and every morning and every time I feel anxious or sad. I like to carry "objects" with me because they make me feel protected. 



You tend to feel broken and dull. Dry. 



Sometimes I panic during the day and feel like where I'm entering is somewhere I don't belong. 



I think I've always envied birds for their ability to fly and migrate. 
I wish I could fly and escape. 


You feel like life is being sucked out of you.
Just like when you're standing on shore and your feet get soaked but then the current takes the salty water and sand back to the ocean.




There are always external factors to depression.
I'm a proud Venezuelan. Venezuela is suffering. The media doesn't even show what is really going on, but trust me, it's sinking, and that sinks a part of me, too. 

As I was walking on the beach, I saw this cute little girl with the Venezuelan flag around her. Her parents let her pose for my project. Thank you, if you ever get to read this. 



You feel like a rubber band about to snap. 
That is when it usually gets scary for me. I can usually feel it coming.

(Thanks to the cool guy who posed for me and making this picture happen)




Depression comes in waves.
You may feel fantastic, capable and strong, and them boom. We fall. We do not choose to get relapses, they just come in waves. 




Dual Nature is a real thing. 

Think Fight Club or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I am my own worst enemy. You have no idea when Mr. Hyde is going to make an appearance. 






The thought of having kids can be scary.
This might be hard for some to understand, but basically I do not want to pass along this illness. 



No one can save you, and we are aware of that.
Of course we know that unless we don't have the willpower to get better, we won't. This is a personal battle, and I am very well aware that there are many changes I need to make to my life and still many battles to go through. Without the dark, we cannot recognize the light.



Truth be told, sometimes I feel exactly like this. 



But I have hope. I have hope I will get up again the same way I've gotten up since I was 14.



I do wish people understood that sometimes we want to be alone. It is unpleasant for others to see our "dark side." 



I am a 26-year old female still in the process of blooming. 



And from the bottom of my heart, I am choosing to fight my demons to hopefully bloom into the best version of myself. 




Sunday, March 6, 2016

Dr. Gross Skincare Review



When it comes to skincare, I like to wait between one to two months to truly get to see what a product can actually do.

I've been trying the products depicted on the image above for two months. What do I think? Is it worth the money?

Just because sometimes I am kindly sent products by the company (like this package) does not mean I will give them an A-grade simply because I got them for free. But if you've following me for a while, you already know I am not into social media/marketing bullshit. My reviews are honest.

So lets get started!

Alpha Beta Peel Ultra Gentle Daily Peel



If you've always wanted to try peels but have been intimidated by the name or you fear your skin is too sensitive for them, I genuinely think you would have no problem with these. They're extremely gentle but the ingredients are effective enough to exfoliate while maintaining the skin hydrated. 

Step 1 contains lactic acid (exfoliate), mandelic acid (anti-redness, inflammation), willow bark extract (exfoliate and clears pores) and colloidal oatmeal (anti-inflammatory). 

Step 2 neutralizes the skin while delivering anti-aging ingredients that will keep the skin hydrated, balanced and luminous. This step felt uber nourishing on my skin. The pad felt like a part of a sheet mask soaked in a thick, hydrating essence that felt lightweight after sinking in. 

Shop them here



Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel 


If you've used acids before and your skin generally looks "good" but you would still like to fight hyperpigmentation, enlarged pores, occassional acne or wrinkles, this would be great for you. 


As opposed to the Gentle version, the Universal Peels contain 5 acids: lactic, malic, glycolic, cytric and salycilic. All of them work together to deliver anti-aging properties that help support cell-turnover, exfoliate, cleanse clogged pores and exfoliate to reveal a more even-toned skin. 

Shop them here




Alpha Beta Peel Extra Strength Peel

                                                                                    


These are my absolute favorite of the three and I have been using them for two years. I also thank them for allowing me to go makeup-free. My skin is resilient enough to handle all 7 acids (lactic, malic, mandelic, glycolic, cytric, salycilic acids and willowbark extract) in this peel. Whenever my skin is dull or my hormones are going crazy resulting in unexpected breakouts and I have an important even the next day, I opt for these. 

No joke, this helps my skin drastically overnight.

If your skin is resilient, acne-prone, uneven, dull, congested and you want instant radiance and quick results, get these. I love them to death.

Tip: I massage step 1 all over my skin as you should, but I pay extra attention to congested areas to make sure the acids really soak in and do their job. 

Shop them here


The Weekly Treatment: Alpha Beta Medi-Spa Peel

I look forward to Sunday's because that's when I pop these. If you love acids and want to try something truly effective that gives a glow, exfoliates, tones, lifts, shrinks pores and calms the skin, these are it. 

15 acids work together to smooth and treat: lactic acid, malic acid, mandelic acid, glycolic acid, cytric acid, salicylic acid, willow bark extract, azelaic acid, amino acid, lactobionic acid, ellagic acid, galic acid, linoleic acid, tartaric acid, pyruvic acid and phytic acid. 

Make sure to massage the entire pad onto the skin until it's completely dry. From my own personal experience, this may take between 5-7 minutes. Be patient (it's worth it, trust me) so that the skin fully takes in all the acids. 

Step 2 is different in this system, because it's a milk, but not any milk. This is lush. Truly lush. It controls the acids' activity while delivering anti-aging ingredients (peptides), anxitoxidants and deep hydration (ceramides). 

I can't explain the pleasure I feel when I use these. I feel like I'm pampering myself and it truly feels like a "spa" experience. There's something cooling about step 1 that makes my skin feel refreshed. After I massage step 2, my skin is soft to the touch, firm, hydrated, soothed and glowing.

Glow after Alpha Beta Universal Peel + Peptide Milk!

I am so HAPPY to report that step 2 is now being sold on its own. Not sure if you need it? If you use acids on a regular basis and would like to use something afterwards to sooth and calm the skin while delivering an anti-aging punch, I think you'd love it. 

Shop Alpha Beta Medi-Spa Peel here.

Shop Firming Peptide Milk here



Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream

I hadn't been wowed by an eye cream in a long time. The first time I tried this eye cream, I felt a tingle (I'd give it a 5 tingle on a scale from 1-10), but most eye creams I had been using in the past were simply hydrating ones. Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream is more of a treatment, which is why I like using it at night. The texture is thick and creamy but has great slip, so there's no tugging. I also noticed a tightening effect after about two minutes. As I continued to use the eye cream, my eye area got more used to the retinol lessening the tingle effect from a 5 to a 2. It's very bearable and no big deal. 

The fact that I'm getting proven cell-communicating ingredients and antioxidants make this eye cream a stellar in my collection. I've also noticed my eye contours look more firm, brighter and have less lines. 

Shop it here



Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum


Something I love about Dr. Gross is that he meticulously picks ingredients that will work, instead of adding cheap fillers (many high-end brands do this) leaving the best ingredients at the end of the list. This serum really blew me over. It has a great trifecta of retinol, ferulic acid and niacinamide.

This lightweight a lotion has a slight citric scent (but not overpowering) and skin is left soft, not sticky. If you have uneven texture, acne, sun damage, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles or dullness, I think you'll enjoy this. 

I've noticed my hyperpigmentation spots from old acne fade. This does not happen overnight. You have to be patient and make sure you're using it on a constant basis so you can see the effects. 

Shop it here


Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Peel


This is brilliant and I love the fact that these come individually packaged (great for travel)! The way they work is by exfoliating the surface of the skin while delivering antioxidants and retinol to speed up the process of bringing fresh cells to the surface. This will result in a more even-toned skin tone, less texture and a healthier skin appearance. I love that Dr. Gross added Ferulic acid to counteract any dryness from the retinol. 

I personally like to use this in conjunction with the Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum to accelerate the results. 

Shop them here



Clinical Concentrate Radiance Booster


This is probably one of my favorite products by Dr. Dennis Gross. The ingredients in this bottle are mind-blowing, and the fact that this is such a multi-purpose product makes it a must in your collection. 

You can apply it on its own and press it onto your skin or mix it with your serum/moisturizer/mask or even makeup. Yes, even your makeup. 

This is packed with antioxidants to protect the skin from external agressors, cell-communicating ingredients to speed cell renewal and acids to exfoliate the skin providing a youthful glow to the skin. Everytime I use this I always get compliments. If you dislike the feeling of makeup but love a dewy glow, this is something you MUST get. 

Shop it here


Here's a picture I posted on Instagram after using the products. I did not add a filter. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Why I Picked Up the New Fresh Seaberry Skin Nutrition Cleansing Oil

It is no surprise that I love cleansing oils. Not only do they break up makeup very easily, but some actually have very nourishing ingredients for the skin. That leads me to a very important (but subjective) fact: I mostly use cleansing oils as "skin" cleansers instead of just using them to remove my makeup. But why? First of all, it motivates me and reminds me to massage my face instead of wasting the product. Facial massages have an array of benefits and if you've never tried to do them yourself, I highly encourage you to. I love this video by Lisa Eldridge and this other video I found on the Into the Gloss YouTube channel. Secondly, by taking my time to massage the cleansing oil onto my skin, I'll be allowing the ingredients to fully sink in and actually do something to my skin. What's the point of spending so much money on a cleanser if you're just going to slather it on for less than 10 seconds and then let it go down the drain? A third reason why I love cleansing oils so much is because they do a really good job at removing any SPF residue or oils/dirt from the skin while maintaining the moisture levels on your skin instead of stripping it. 

Whenever I shop for a skincare product, I do my research ahead. I'm one of those who stalks the internet for new launches simply because I genuinely adore beauty products. As soon as I saw that there was a cleansing oil by Fresh in the Seaberry family (I've been a HUGE fan of their Seaberry Oil for many years), I jumped and instantly went to the ingredient list on Sephora.com. That's when I fell in love. That's when I knew I had to pick this up on a whim. 



Yes, I have to admit the name is great marketing because it definitely influenced my decision in purchasing it, however I am never fooled by names and I always read and research the ingredients. And that is what I would like to break down for you. My first impressions on this cleanser and why I think it's worth the $42. 

Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Caprylic/Capric/Succinic Triglyceride, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Hippophae Rhamnoides Oil, Nigella Sativa Seed Oil, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Bixa Orellana Seed Extract, Haberlea Rhodopensis Leaf Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Fragrance, Water, BHT, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Limonene, Linalool, Citral.

Above is the ingredient list from Sephora.com

The fact that the first ingredient is grape seed oil was a huge bonus for me. Grape seed oil is a great  moisturizing and anti-inflammatory antioxidant. It is also rich in Vitamin E and Omega-6. Camellia seed oil is another great antioxidant which contains Omegas 3, 6 and 9 and essential vitamins like A, B, D and E. Hippophae rhamnoides oil is also known as "seabuckthorn oil" has healing and anti-flammatory properties, omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9, vitamins A and E, and it also helps the skin against UV radiation and free-radical damage. Bixa orellana is an antioxidant. Nigella sativa is also known as "black seed oil" and contains Vitamins A, B, C, potassium, mangensium, calcium and zinc, all which contribute to skin's recovery and repair while also helping remove impurities. Cranberry seed oil is a fabulous anti-oxidant that contains omegas 3 and 6 fatty acids which support skin's hydration. It also has tocotrienols and tocopherols which are a form of Vitamin E. Haberlea rhodopensis leaf extract soothes and repairs the skin. 

So as you can see, this is no ordinary cleansing oil. Because of such excellent ingredients, I have decided to solely use this cleansing oil as a second cleanse or when I want to give myself a long facial massage. It would be a WASTE to leave this on your face just for a few seconds. 

I used it today and really enjoyed its texture. It's an oily-oil that has great slip for massage and left my skin feeling ultra-soft, moisturized and balanced as opposed to other cleansing oils that make my skin feel tight afterwards, like the Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil (which might be best for combination-oily skin). And for the record, my skin was patchy and sore today from retinol treatments. I did not feel any discomfort while cleansing my skin nor after rinsing it off, and because of this, I highly recommend this cleanser for those with dry or very dry skin. 

I do want to point out that this has fragrance to it and I am terrible at describing scents, so I'm not even going to try to do that. It does smell very similar to the Fresh Seaberry Oil. If you're picky about scents, I would suggest you either go to your local Sephora or Nordstrom to smell it in person. Personally, the smell doesn't bother me, but everyone is different.

I am excited to own this cleanser and I look forward to telling you more about it in a few weeks! 

Shop it on the Fresh website.

PS: FRESH! If you're reading, please make a travel size of this as it would be perfect to throw in a gym bag!