I recently found this article online that matched my distaste for Quaternary ammonium compounds, otherwise known as "quats". Though ubiquitous in homes, healthcare and salons, they do not have a good profile for safe use--linked with hormone disruption and fertility issues and of course not earth friendly! We know that healthcare and salon settings require powerful disinfectants but why use them at home? Wondering if your household cleaner contains "quats"? The article outlines all the names to look for on your label as well as making a case for getting them out of not only our homes but also our schools where children are entrusted in our care. (I don't even want to get started on my heartbreak for our children right now.) It persists on surfaces so the exposure is not limited to just the person doing the cleaning.
Of course my skin business complies with the State Board of Cosmetology’s rules. I am happy to have found a new, safer EPA-registered, hospital-grade disinfectant in time for reopening my business. It is called Rejuvenate and is made with Activated Hydrogen Peroxide. It is Green Seal and GreenGuard certified. This is what I will be disinfecting my work stations and all frequently touched surfaces with in the building. Some smart beauty business person/people saw the drop in sales of what they were formerly selling and pivoted--fast!
Consumer labels are confusing. For example don’t assume all Chlorox products contain bleach. Many contain quats so if you are cleaning up after C-diff they will not be effective. It has to be bleach, with the active ingredient sodium hypochlorite. Also I learned that the splashless Chorox bleach is not a disinfectant. It has to say disinfecting on the label. If you go this route, mix at the ratio of 4 teaspoons per quart of water. The contact or wet time needs to be one minute and the solution needs to be replaced after 24 hours. See CDC guidelines for details. Always read labels. The wet or contact time is also the “kill” time which is true for quats as well. Bleach is problematic too. If, after considering the risks, you are going to use these products, know that just spraying and wiping will not do the job.
I already felt we were becoming a "too clean" society and I wonder if after this initial Covid-19 season, we will see a revenge of "super bugs", resistant to everything we currently have. Do your part and get them out of your home if you can.
It seems more and more of my clients and friends are developing sensitivities to eye color cosmetics, usually mascara and/or eyeliner. Have I found a mascara that is safe for all to use? No. Mascara has several problematic ingredients: shellac (maybe listed as polymer on label) in one study on contact dermatitis was found to be the key sensitizing ingredient. Another probable correlation exists with nickel allergy and mascara (and curlers). Nickel won't show up on the ingredient list because it results as an impurity in a raw material used to produce another ingredient. We know the thinner skin on our eyelids allows chemicals to go into the skin at a faster rate making contact dermatitis common around the eyes. This same article states that sweat allows chemicals to penetrate even easier. All mascaras have some kind of pigment, even the "natural" ones. That is how they darken your lashes so if you are sensitive to those you'll have a harder time. Then there is the possibility of reacting to the preservatives. Preservatives are crucial in a formulation like mascara, and even with them you need to pitch yours every three months.
1.) The more you use a product the higher the chance you will develop a sensitivity to it. This makes sense because you don't hear this as much with younger people. Do you really need to wear mascara every day? Definitely don't exercise/steam or sauna with it. Be sure to remove all of it every night. Don't be stubborn and rely on the old "I've always used this and it's always worked for me." Things change and YOU change.
2.) You won't find a mascara to move to just by shopping cleaner brands or reading labels. You'll have an easier time if you are a cosmetic chemist but most of us it will be trial and error--or trial and learn as my Dad says. Especially considering raw materials (the ingredients in the ingredients) can be big unknowns. I have an earlier post about the FDA's role in cosmetics. Use your best sleuthing skills. If you also react to your eyeliner or other product, see if you can find a common ingredient. Some brands have started carrying sample or travel sizes, so take advantage.
3.) Keep me posted on your trials. We can learn from each other and maybe (just maybe because we are all different) shortcut someone's tedious process. Meanwhile, if you can't go natural, curl those lashes to open up your eyes. If you have no nickel allergy use a metal crimper or try one of the heated models, like this one from blinc.
I love the simplicity of summer. Hair loosely fashioned on top of my head. A cute dress. No socks.
Meals are easier; fruit and vegetables abound, my husband’s running the grill and if we have a late dinner it doesn’t feel like bedtime.
I like my beauty routines to be simple as well.
These are my favorite family skincare and first aid staples.
All, except the hair towel, I retail.
Hydrosols are the water by-product from steam distilling essential oils, but they aren't just water, they are better because they contain the chemical constitutes of the plant with all of its active phytonutrients. By misting with a hydrosol after I've removed your mask I am rehydrating your skin. Following with a facial oil or moisturizer, while still damp, I am recreating the top layer of the skin, the acid mantle, which is made of of lipids (oil) and water. The acid mantle is critical to healthy skin. It is why I named my private line Mantle Skincare. I expect I'll see more dehydrated skin once it cools off outside and the heat goes on inside. Hydrosols are also in many of my facial mists I retail for home care. Take one home to add to your regime. It may be the ticket for balanced skin, boosting the results from your moisturizer and possibly allowing you to use a lighter one.
If you or your child has a lighted magnifying mirror BEWARE. It is exponentially easier to go too far with eyebrows and skin. You are viewing yourself at an unnatural range. Trained artists know that you must take breaks from intense focus and step back from your art and view it from a more distant perspective.
This is key to remember. I know strong mirrors can be helpful and necessary to see hairs but SOME PEOPLE should not have these tools.
If you or someone you love starts overdoing with eyebrows or habitually picking at skin, it is time to consider letting that accessory go and scheduling an appointment with me.
What do I recommend for at home? I like my small round suction cup magnifying mirror attached to my bathroom mirror. It isn’t high magnification; I can not sit and use it, thereby shortening my time in front of it. I even have it in a bathroom that I don’t use to apply makeup. I may do a quick check in it after I am done getting ready, to brush off a hair from a makeup brush or clean up a mascara smudge, but then I get on with my day. You guessed it, I have learned the hard way that I am better off without a high magnification mirror.
Worrying about age and its impact on our appearance does not allow us to be present or mindful but rather compares how we look today with how we looked in our youth (the past) or how we fear we will look in the future. I absolutely believe better care of the skin can improve its appearance but I avoid the term anti-aging for this reason. Who wants to be against our very destiny?
Find your skin condition on the Dr. Alkaitis site and follow their recommendations, which like mine, allow for flexibility and experimentation. Listen to your skin and tweak. Sometimes you may do one thing in the morning and another at night or you may alternate days. Remember these products are adaptogenic. The intermingling of ingredients adapt to your skin’s unique needs.
Yes, it is recommended to use the oil at night on oily, combination and blemished skin to balance oil production. It is lightweight and will not clog pores. It is a luxury to use this oil while giving yourself a facial massage. (Something I especially recommend for non-fragile mature skin).
Their site has great suggestions for mixing and alternating products. It is not a hard fast rule that you must tone after cleansing. The toner is recommended for large pores and for soothing sunburn specifically. If your skin is inflamed or red (not from sunburn) skip toning and apply the Gel pre-moisturizer instead.
Have dry skin and have the Gel in your travel kit?
Use it as a first aid product on anything you tend to grab an antibacterial product for. It has the word Soothing in the name! If you were mixing the Oil and Toner and the Toner has run out, mix the Gel and Oil together as a beautiful serum layer during the day. Serums are applied after cleansing and before moisturizing.
Cleansing should not be rushed so keep the water off and only turn it on to wet fingers periodically and at the end to rinse.
This cleanser is different! It might replace other home exfoliating products as it is excellent at removing impurities and invigorating skin. I occasionally rub some between my fingers and spread undiluted on dry skin. (Do not do this if you are sensitive or are inflamed with rosacea or acne. Use wet fingertips instead.) Begin wetting fingers and slowly emulsifying the soap so it stays fluid on the skin. Keep moving it about. When it won’t glide, wet fingertips again and move it about again. Don’t rush and keep away from eyes. Now, after a minute or two of the above pattern, rinse thoroughly, ending with a cool splash and pat dry. Your face will be tingly with a rush of blood.
Note: Mineral sunscreens and/or makeup can be removed first with an Oil Cleanser or Jojoba Oil and wiped off if the Dr. Alkaitis Cleanser doesn’t remove adequately. Never use the Dr. Alkaitis Cleanser to remove eye makeup.
The Beauty Sort-Out
The Beauty Sort-Out is 90-minute service that is a makeup application and discussion using your cosmetics and brushes from home with products from my kit, some of which I retail. Brand names that I sell include Lavera, Mineral Hygienics, Glominerals and Blinc. Be introduced to makeup, brushes and techniques that complement what you already have while gaining clarity about what is working and what is not. We all know it doesn't matter where the item was purchased or how much you paid, for that matter. The criteria; does it agree with your skin and serve a purpose toward the greater good of your look?
I will also cover best practices for preparing the skin with oils, serums and moisturizers and sunscreens, including the order of layering multiple products.
This playful interaction will expand your range and address challenges brought on by various skin conditions, including aging, acne and rosacea. I believe that your skin and beauty rituals need adjusting from time to time, just as it is necessary to change your nutrition and ways of moving and exercising the body. Many women are stuck doing what they have always done and can benefit from some tweaking.
Enjoy what department and makeup specialty stores do not offer; a clean and beautiful private room, skin care advice from a mature esthetician, and the eye of an artist who holds a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts).
Proper technique for washing and caring for makeup brushes is demonstrated on one or more of your brushes, as time permits.
Pack your bag and get creative with me!
It is all natural, right? I get this question from clients and friends frequently. They know me and my history of really delving into ingredient lists; of skin products/cosmetics and food.
A couple of points to keep in mind:
Natural is a word that is difficult to define. It is not regulated by the FDA* so it holds little meaning on labels on cosmetics and food. Of course some companies hold very high standards of purity and wholeness and for them it absolutely has meaning. The job for us is to decipher who those companies are.
You can read more about high standards to which I hold my Mantle Skincare products in an earlier (6/28/2013) blog post.
It is a rare bird that cooks every thing from scratch with organic whole foods, and relies solely upon the cosmetic chemistry of her own kitchen for skin care. Even fewer allow their faces to be adorned only with color achieved by pinching their cheeks and eating berries. Most of us allow concessions for some conveniences and shortcuts when it comes to the food we eat and the products we use.
*The FDA’s site states: The FDA has not developed a definition for use of the term natural or its derivatives. However, the agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances. Furthermore the FDA has very little to do with cosmetic regulations. FD&C (Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic) Act does not authorize FDA to approve cosmetic ingredients except for color additives. FDA oversees compliance but doesn’t require approval before marketed. (The FDA regulates sunscreen, because of its classification as an over-the-counter drug.)
So “natural” has little meaning and you can’t count on the Feds to monitor the millions of ingredients that go into products for the skin. They aren’t equipped to do it. They not only are likely to make a mess of it if they tried, but also would make it very difficult for the smaller companies to make products, especially from plants because their chemistry is complex.
Notice I don’t describe things as toxic, dirty or full-of-chemicals.
I am a chemistry teacher’s daughter. Water is a chemical. Chemical is not a dirty word.
Plants are full of biologically active chemicals.
Amy Linville is an artist and esthetician that believes simple, sustainable and non-rushed daily skincare and beauty rituals are the foundation for finding comfort in your skin and looks, no matter your age.