Just recently, I was gloating over the change of season and how we get to enjoy lower humidity.  I was fantasizing about how good the slightly drier air would be for keeping frizz away. But I hadn’t considered the consequences of lower humidity to the skin.

Things have taken a turn for the worst in just few short weeks. Suddenly, I’m dealing with flaky skin in the mornings, dry hands and feet and an overall uncomfortable feeling of drier skin.  Me no likey.

The first course of action was to get a hold of those tiny glass spray bottles and refill them with thee amazing Missha Essense.  Seconds later, my skin was rehydrated again.  It was at this point that I decided that I will always have a hydrating mist within arms reach until spring rolls around again.

I’m gonna turn into one of those moisture obsessed people who constantly remists their skin, drinks water and reapplies balm throughout the day.  Each morning, during spring and summer, I step outside and see the grass covered in morning dew.  Fall and winter is a different story.  There’s no dew, there’s less rain, leaves wither, grass turns brown. Everything dies.  Our skin is exposed to the same dry air that kills the grass.  This is the worst thing that could ever happen.

Unless we do something about it, we allow ourselves to succumb to visible signs of external dehydration. I dunno about you, but that’s not part of my plan.  Instead, I’ll be concocting (and buying) a series of hydrating mists that I’ll be applying liberally for the next several months.

Last year, I discovered and fell in love with Evian Facial spray.  It’s convenient, easy to use and has great packaging.  Evian is exceptionally great for summer when you need plain water to help cool down.  But, the dry winter air is gonna call for something a bit more.  I don’t just want to wet the skin, I’d like to feed it as well.  That’s why I’m on the lookout for a couple of other options with skin loving benefits that go beyond moisture.

A lot of commercial facial sprays have rose water as an ingredient.  Kim Kardashian shared an instagram beauty secret in which she displayed her favorite facial mist.  The key ingredients are water, glycerin, rosewater and aloe vera juice.  Lots of us may already have these ingredients in our product stash.  If not, a quick trip to Amazon can easily take care that.   Green Tea is another great addition to facial mists because of the antioxidant content.

There’s yet another ingredient in some higher priced facial sprays that caught my attention.  I’ll tell you more about it in a follow up post, but first, I want to try it out and share my thoughts.  Stay tuned.

Recently, I talked about what I learned after seeing my skin under a UV camera.  I thought it would be a good idea to follow up the conversation with my favorite sunscreen product at the moment.

I have dozens of product samples scattered around.  Rarely do I use a sample that I immediately want to purchase after the first use.  The last time this happened was when I first tried NARS’ Lip Pencil.  Before receiving this product sample, I put out an intention that I wanted to find a skin blurring product.  Something that gave my skin a smoother appearance as if I used photo manipulation software in real life.  Then, on a visit to Sephora, I was given an option to pick out samples based on my past spending amounts.

One of the options was a a couple of sample size Murad Ageless Skin Renewing set.  When I got home, I looked at the contents of the package and immediately reached for the Invisiblur Perfecting Shield.  Is this the skin blurring product that I’ve been waiting for?  The icing on the cake was that also boasts of SPF 30!  That alone made me love the product but then I find out that it also contains “mushroom peptides that diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles by aiding in the regulation of collagen and elastin.”  According to a Murad sponsored study, 71% of users saw fewer lines and wrinkles while 94% saw improved smoothness and texture.

Add me on to the list of the 94%.  Because as soon as I applied this product to my skin, I was smitten.

 First off, I’ve been on the lookout for the right sunscreen for a while.  Ideally, I wanted something that invisibly blended with my skin.  No more trying to blend in white(ish) creams into my brown skin.  This formula is perfectly clear and disappears into my skin.  It leaves absolutely no trace.

 Secondly, this is a dry formula that has a mattifying effect.  For those of us with oily skin, Invisiblur is a dream come true.

Third, and most importantly.  Murad’s Invisiblur does actually blur.  Immediately after application, my acne scars a slightly less visible.  It’s not a drastic transformation but, hey, none of my other sunscreens actively made my skin look better.

But the deal breaker for me was how great my skin looked once I applied my foundation.  The Invisblur took my foundation to the next level.  My skin with Invisblur + Foundation > Skin with just foundation.  Everything just looks so smooth and magnificent. This products is everything I could want in a sunscreen and much, much more.

Then I remembered that I had an unopened tube of Benefit’s Porefessional and decided to do a quick comparison.  Porefessional is a product loved by all beauty gurus for it’s ability to reduce the appearance of visible pores.  One of the main differences between the two is that Porefessional is lightly tinted.  Although the shade was no where near my skin tone, it blended well nonetheless.  Porefessional is a slightly heavier formula, but both gave my skin a smoother look (especially post foundation).  Invisiblur was better absorbed into my skin. When I touched my face, I couldn’t really feel it. I could faintly feel Porefessional on my face when I touched it.  Both are great products, especially if you have slightly troubled skin.   But I can’t get over the fact that I finally found a sunscreen that makes my skin look instantly better.

Suddenly, wearing sunscreen daily has changed from a necessary evil to an absolute joy!

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A couple of weekends ago, I popped into Sephora to check out their black|Up cosmetics display.  As I was preparing to leave, a nice lady came up to me and asked if I wanted to see my skin under the UV camera.  Representatives from Philosophy were offering a  free opportunity to have your skin observed at the deepest levels.  The goal was to identify trouble areas and potential issues hidden deep beneath the surface.

As I waited, I observed the women ahead of me who had visible signs of redness and sun damage, according to the skin machine.  I’ll be honest with you, I was a little afraid. Sunscreen didn’t come into my life until I was in my thirties and I know for a fact that some of my acne scars reached below the surface.  Who knows what else was going on down there.

Finally my turn came and the machine generated a black and white image of my face.  Luckily, it wasn’t that bad.  But there were certainly some issues to that need to be addressed.  Here’s what I learned from the experience.

1. Dehydration shows up beneath the surface.  The first thing that caught the eye of the Philosphy representative was a patch of flaky skin on my left cheek.  Before she had a chance to finish her sentence, I reassured her that the peeling skin was a result of the application of retin-A. To this, she responded “retin-A is like a 401(k) plan for your skin…..stay consistent with it!”  To the naked eye, the peeling wasn’t visible, thanks to an intensely hydrating sheet mask session the day prior.  But it was good to know that retin-A was working hard on my behalf.  But what if the dryness and peeling was due to dehydration, I’m a little embarrassed to admit it, but I’ve slacked on my water intake to the point where my skin was actually peeling.  That’s when I know I’ve messed up.

2.  Lesson #2.  Be Detailed Oriented
The only real signs of sub-surface sun damage on my face was at my hair line and around my eyebrows.  At first I was really confused until she reasoned that it was probably because I missed those areas when I apply sunscreen.  She’s right.  I rarely invest much time in the application of SPF.  Typically, I just focus on the major areas (cheeks and forehead) and move on.  But I saw the error of my ways with my own two eyes and, since then, I’ve been more detailed, not just with sunscreen, but with other facial beauty products I apply.  Now, I take my time to cover every square inch.

3.  Lesson #3.  Be Proactive
The representative didn’t mention anything but I saw what looked like a pimple on the image.  My skin was relatively clear so I didn’t quite understand.  Later that day, I examined my skin closely and there it was, hiding deep beneath the surface waiting for the right time to emerge.  Thanks to the dermal imager, was able to take quick action and stop that thing dead in its tracks.  Whenever I notice signs of inflammation below the skin surface, my first course of action is to reach for ample amounts of lemon water to alkalize the body. For some reason, this always works like a charm.  If I need something a little stronger, I turn to GlamGlow’s Super Clearing Mud just to make sure that thing never rears its ugly head.

Overall, my skin wasn’t too bad and, thankfully there weren’t any major areas of concern except for the tiny areas of sun damage (thanks to sunscreen + melanin).  The lesson for today is to make sure that your skin care regimen takes into account the long term issues that may arise, not just what’s visible.  Plan ahead. Your future self will thank you for it.

It’s Monday once again. I hope you have a highly successful week planned. Today’s conversation is one that I’ve been reflecting on for the past couple of weeks.  There’s something I’d like to manifest that is probably the “biggest” outcome I’ve ever desired.  But, although it might not seem like it, I have a tendency to drag out the manifesting process to much longer than it has to be.

In order to shorten the timeline of this “big” intention, I’m identifying all of the rules of manifestation and quickly put them into action.  Harnessing a success formula that’s worked well in the past is the fastest way to create the future.  As you read this entry, I want you to also reflect on what worked for you.  This way you can identify a systematic approach to manifesting. All of us have manifested in the past.  So let’s approach this like we are preparing a meal.  Grab the ingredients, carry out the steps, plate the meal, and enjoy.

From my reflection, I clarified the difference between desiring an outcome and engaging in the manifesting process.  There’s a real difference.  Simply saying that you want something doesn’t mean that you are actively participating in the manifestation process.  Or, at the very least, you are participating at the lowest level.  It’s like the difference between sitting in the nosebleed seats at a Beyonce concert versus being in the front row.  Sure, you’re at the concert, but are you getting the full experience?

To truly manifest (and to do so quickly) we need to move past stage 1 (desiring) and venture into the creation process.  Desiring is when your thought process is like “wouldn’t it be nice….”  Creation is when you say to yourself “I need this to be my reality.”  Sometimes, we stay in the desiring phase way too long. I did this with my dream car.  I thought of it as a dream car, and my actions reflected my thinking.  Meaning, I talked about it like it was a fantasy and treated it like something that was outside of my reach.  And….that is why it took so many years to happen.  Then, one day, after I ogling at someone driving my dream car,  I snapped out of it and said to myself “when are you gonna stop being the person that stares at the Audis and become one of those people who drives one?

That was the turning point for me.  Those people stared at on the highways wanted an Audi just as bad as I did, but they were actually driving one.  From that moment I realized the separation between myself and them.  They engaged in the creation process, while I remained in a perpetual state of desire.  Immediately, I decided to start manifesting and the rest was history.

Now, I have a much bigger intention in mind.  I’ll be honest with you and say that I’m currently operating in the realm of desire.  Why?  Because I view it a such a big goal.  Whenever we see the goal as slightly out of reach, we tend to gravitate back to the comfort zone.  Desiring is much easier than manifesting.  When I’m desiring, all I gotta do is look at pictures and daydream. No other action is required of me. But, if I’m not careful, I might find myself still wishing for this outcome 5-10 years from now.

I don’t have that much time to waste.  The game plan is to incorporate past strategies to make this thing happen in the shortest time possible.  Here’s what I got so far:

1.  Stop Operating in my head.   Fantasies reside in our minds. We should think about it and visualize, but if that’s where it ends, then we are still in the “desire zone.”  I’ve got to take real actions to kick start the manifesting process.  A real action is one that can be validated by another person.   No one can validate whether I pictured myself living the life I want.  Oh, words aren’t validation either.  You can say you’re gonna do something and take zero action to do it. So don’t let flimsy words  fool you.

2.  Prepare for it.  If you truly expect something to happen, would the first thing you do is get prepared for it?  Unless you build the ark, you have no belief in what is to come.  A friend of mine has been discussing her intentions with me about leaving her workplace for months.  There was lots of conversation, but then….she started preparing.   Here lease was up for renewal instead of renewing as usual, decluttered heavily and packed her items as if she were ready for whatever awaited her.  Within one week, she randomly received a call that could bring about the manifestation of so many intentions.  When I got the call with the good news, I wasn’t surprised. Why, because her actions were in line with someone who was getting ready for something big.  I even told her, “you are seriously creating the environment for manifestation to take place.” Days later….the phone call.

3.  Get your mind right.  In the past, whenever I wanted to manifest something I felt was out of reach, I worked on my mindset and believability.  Basically, what I tried to do was takeaway the anxiety associated with the new outcome by immersing myself in the environment.  For example, I watched a video posted on Youtube on how a woman manifested the home of her dreams.  What she decided to do was visit luxury homes and apartments in her city and do walk thrus.  I’m sure the first couple of times she entered those homes, she was probably freaking out a little inside.  Why? Because it’s a new environment.  I believe that “freak out” creates a separation between you and what you want.  What I like to do is remove that anxiety by immersing myself in the new environment.

Years ago, I felt that “freak out” whenever I walked into a luxury store.  To me, this signified my feeling of disconnect with abundance and wealth.  So I proactively made sure I got over that real quick.  Once that feeling was gone, I was able to elevate my abundance mindset.  If there’s something you’re trying to manifest, check to see if your feelings are connected with the outcome you wish to experience or if they are feelings of anxiety or separation.

Once you raise your level of belief, start preparing and move the manifestation process out of your head, then you are no longer in the land of desire.  You are fully engaged in the manifestation process.  From there, things will shift for your in ways that you wouldn’t have imagined.

Drier weather awaits us.  In the next few months we’ll be reaching for thicker creams and butters to soothe our parched, flaky skin.  A couple of years ago, I swore off body butters after noticing the amount of build up from slathering on heavy lotions day after day.  It seemed like the more I applied, the drier my skin became over time.

Last year, I made the executive decision to switch to oils, instead of lotion, after Capriclear came into my life.  Spray coconut oil was everything I could ever want.  Then I was given a great tip by a stewardess with flawless skin to check out baby oil gel.  Both work great. But this year, I’m thinking about taking things to the next level.

What if I could use a lotion that did more than just moisturize?  What if our lotion could actually exfoliate, keeping skin soft and glowing all winter long. Exfoliated skin better retains moisture, so instead of coating old skin cells with thick lotions, maybe we switch to exfoliating formulas that keep our skin moist, soft and even-toned.

“I swear by these products for my skin care. A little expensive but the results are mind blowing.” [email protected]

Glytone Retexturize Body Lotion:
One of the favorite options because of its high glycolic acid acid content (17.5%).  This lotion even addresses keratosis pilaris (bumpy, chicken skin).   For those of us who have dark spots on our legs, chest, back or any otherwhere else on the body, Glytone may be exactly what you are looking for.  Oh, I should also mention that they have a glycolic acid (GA) containing heel and elbow cream to soften and smooth rough, dry elbows heels.  The heel and elbow cream contains a greater percentage of GA to fight tough calluses and extra dry skin.  This heel and elbow cream is a winter must have!

Perfect Image Exfoliating Body Lotion (Glycolic Acid 10%, Salicylic Acid 2%)
What I appreciate about Perfect Image is all the supporting ingredients that go above and beyond the standard glycolic acid.  Perfect Image seems to be a lighter formula than Glytone (which is a thicker lotion).  Not only does it contain glycolic acid, but Perfect Image also brings salicylic acid into the mix along with green tea, chamomile, cucumber, and papaya extract (just to name a few).  If you want a lotion that exfoliates and combats body acne, this is it!

The reviews on Amazon are pretty stellar. One satisfied customer mentioned that she noticed mild peeling after on legs (“allowing fresher, softer skin to be more visible”) .   A couple commenters boasted about their husbands even noticed a difference in their new baby soft skin.

Honestly, I want both!  I like the idea of using a thicker formula on my heels at night to keep them baby soft until sandal season comes back around.  And I desire a lighter cream to use on my chest.  Years ago, I used to get random breakouts on my chest. Upping my water intake has helped keep them at bay but, when I look closely, I still see remnants of discoloration that I need gone.  And my legs.  I exfoliate my thighs in the shower with my beloved Shea Butter Scrub, but I rarely spend time exfoliating the lower part of my leg.    I’d love to have a lotion to take care of that for me.

I decree that everyone should have an exfoliating body lotion as part of their beauty routine.  It’s like the simplest thing you can do. And we apply lotion every day anyway. Never again should we settle for lotions that only coat the skin. Why not use one that is working overtime to feed your flawlessness.   It’s a no brainer.