Non-Comedogenic Oils: Here’s a list!

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I will let you know that I can be an extremely opinionated bitch when it comes to skin care, makeup, and what I think. But it doesn’t hurt to do a little bit of research here and there to back a lot of my nonsense up. I have been researching different oils; their comedogenicity, in particular. Comedogenicity basically refers to a product / ingredient’s ability to produce comedones aka cause you to break out.

I have researched a variety of sources online, and some of the results have been rather contradictory. It is important to take into account that just because something is typically comedogenic, doesn’t necessarily mean it will break YOU out.

I wanted to organize the different oils and present them in as simple a way possible to show how likely or unlikely it is that they will break you out. And the sources I used for this include soapnuts.com, momandpopsoapshop.com, and acne.org.

  •   Sweet Almond Oil
  • Apricot Kernel Oil
  • Castor Oil
  • Evening Primrose Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Emu Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil

  • Cottonseed Oil
  • Mink Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Soybean Oil
  • Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil

  • Coconut Oil
  • Wheat Germ Oil

I was most surprised when I read (from several sources) that coconut oil falls higher on the scale of non-comedogenic to comedogenic. I haven’t used it on my face in quite some time, but I wonder if it was ever a culprit in causing me to break out. I still use it as my only body moisturizer, and rarely ever break out anywhere except my face, so I’d still recommend it as the best moisturizer for the body.

Did you know?

Based on what I’ve read, jojoba oil is considered to be virtually non-comedogenic, and is touted by many experts and professionals as the best oil for anyone who is acne-prone. I don’t find it is hydrating enough for my dry skin (especially since beginning the Acne.Org regimen with benzoyl peroxide), though I have been using a mix of sweet almond, jojoba, and castor oil, and I find this works better to keep my skin hydrated.

Finding out what works for you is largely a trial-and-error process, but it pays off in the long run. Stick to the oils that have a low-clogging probability, and do your best to incorporate one new oil at a time so you can see if you notice the effects (positive or negative) each oil has on your skin.

Get ready for an intensive review.. of Acne.Org’s regimen!

I’ve ordered the bigger size of Acne.Org‘s skin care products, in order to specifically follow The Regimen, plus their AHA (alpha hydroxy acid). I had gone through most of my life acne-free (minus a zit here and there). And then last summer – BAM! Whether the boyfriend and I were doing too much makin’ out (he can grow some mean facial hair), or I started using a product that aggravated my skin, something happened to make my skin break out.  It hasn’t cleared up in any major sense since, though I have started benzoyl peroxide treatment, which has shown some promise so far. I’ll be doing a full review of their cleanser, moisturizer, benzyol peroxide, and AHA! I am so excited to receive these products – the review is going to be super fantabulous.

TIME FOR SOME ZIT ZAPPIN’!

For the love of pores, keep it simple!

**WARNING**

This post will be highly opinionated, and is primarily based on my own experiences (and whatever semblance of logic I have left). If you take personal offense to what I have to say, I’d suggest never using the internet ever again.

I know just how easy it is to get enticed by the allure of trying a new skin care product. Even when I think of how silly it sounds, I still can’t shake the idea that there is one product out there that will be my holy grail product, and I will never have to worry about zits, dryness, or redness again. Sure, there are fabulous products out there, but they are often on the exact opposite end of the shelf you had been gawking at for the past 2 hours and 45 minutes.

It won’t be long before skin care brands sell cleansers that promise to make our boobs bigger, butts tighter, and our brains grow these cyborg sidekicks that read minds. The point is, cleansers do NOT need to be these powerhouse products they are turning into. The purpose of a facial cleanser is to gently, non-abrasively remove oil and dirt from our skin’s surface. We do not need all of the extra frills that many cleansers claim to have, whether it be a cleanser that claims to provide a deeper clean, keep your skin clean even after you’ve washed, or cleansers that contain some degree of salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.

It is not that you never want to use products that contain ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or other skin-enhancing ingredients, but you aren’t going to see much of a benefit from these products in a cleanser. The product is only on your face for about 30 seconds, or less, and then it is washed off. So, smartypantses, why add extra ingredients to something, when it is totally unnecessary!?

Save the zit-zapping ingredients, and whatever other remedy-specific ingredients your skin requires, for the treatment products you apply after you cleanse. For example, toners, acne gels, moisturizers, serums, or even masks, and peels. These products sit on / absorb into the skin over an extended period, after you’ve cleansed, so you they have time for the ingredients to actually treat your skin woes.

Stick to cleansers that describe themselves as fragrance-free, gentle, a cleansing milk / cream instead of a gel, hypoallergenic, non-irritating, or for acne-prone skin. Many of the cleansers I’d suggest are not cruelty-free (Cetaphil, Spectro Jel), but there are cruelty-free options too (the Acne.org cleanser, for example). I’d suggest checking out Acne.org’s review section: it is a fabulous community!

Chemical Exfoliation: Not as Radioactive as it Sounds

Stay tuned for an update on a new favourite in my skin care collection: Andalou Naturals’ Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask!

This is the side of exfoliation that gets me extremely psyched! It definitely is not as intense as it sounds, and can actually be quite gentler than the mechanical methods of exfoliation I mentioned in my previous post.

Chemical exfoliation refers to the use of certain chemicals to facilitate a sloughing off of dead skin cells, and these chemicals also promote the regeneration of new skin cells. When you see words like brightening, or regenerating, it is often referring to the chemical exfoliation process. This is the ideal method of exfoliation if your skin is dry, sensitive, acneic, or if you’d like to get rid of red/brown spots from acne!

NO SCRUBBING REQUIRED!

The most common chemicals used to provide chemical exfoliation are AHAs, and BHAS (alpha & beta hydroxy acids). To find these ingredients in products, you want to look for ingredients called glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or lactic acid. Acne.org offers a10% AHA 6 oz tube (or 16 oz) for a pretty decent price (not to mention their version of AHA is fragrance and dye-free, and specifically formulated for those with acne-prone skin).

AHAs work by encouraging the skin to regenerate itself, and using them will result in a thinner outer layer of skin, that reflects light better and ensures dead cells aren’t sitting on the surface, dulling your complexion.

There are unique benefits to using either of the AHAs mentioned, but they all work on the skin in similar ways. Salicylic acid, a BHA, works very well at exfoliating our pores. It is used in 2% doses for spot blemish treatments, but used in other concentrations in products to promote exfoliating of the skin.

From what I have read (and I did research for this article – I will specify my sources below), lactic acid is the most effective of the AHAs, as well as being less irritating. It must be said, though, that what works well for one person may not work at all for another.

A warning for those interested in using AHAs – they can make your skin sun-sensitive, so it is either best to invest in a good sunscreen / makeup with SPF, or to only wear your AHA products at night.

Retinol (or Vitamin A), is also a commonly used product in products that claim to be anti-aging, exfoliating, or brightening. It can be harsh if used too often, but definitely effective in a mask or treatment that you use 3 times a week!

Be sure to pick up a papaya, pineapple, or pumpkin fruit enzyme mask, if you’d like to try a gentler form of chemical exfoliation! Alba makes a really great one (IT IS CLEAR AND GREEN, HA!), that I really enjoyed.

You need not grab that facial scrub to get the super smooth and soft skin you so-eagerly desire!

Sources

The Dermal Institute: http://www.dermalinstitute.com/us/library/20_article_Methods_of_Exfoliation.html

Discovery Health: How to Exfoliate Skin: http://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/cleansing/tips/how-to-exfoliate-skin.htm/

Exfoliation (Cosmetology): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exfoliation_%28cosmetology%29

Acne.Org’s take on AHA: http://www.danielkern.com/product-p/aha-6.htm

The Classy Anarchist Tells All: About Exfoliating Your Skin!

Ever have one of those days, where you look in the mirror and see a dull, and lifeless face looking back at you? Your skin seems like it has no glow, and those damned zits have healed, but they leave red or brown-ish marks that take months to fade? I don’t think we need makeup to give our skin a natural glow. By exfoliating regularly, we can shed those dulling dead skin cells from our face, revealing the fresher healthy skin beneath. Exfoliating helps to even your skin tone, give oil and dirt the boot, as well as prevent acne!

Before you whine about how your skin is too sensitive for facial scrubs, I will tell you there are types of exfoliation more appropriate for dry, sensitive type.

There are two major types of exfoliation methods. Mechanical, and chemical. I am going to discuss mechanical exfoliation in this blog entry, and will continue with chemical exfoliation in the following entry.

Most of us consider mechanical exfoliation to be the primary way we exfoliate. This would be through the use of facial scrubs, cloths, or any other tool you use to physically wash your skin for the purpose of exfoliating. Many facial or body scrubs contain ground walnut shell, oatmeal, sugar, or some sort of microbead that works to physically remove the dead skin cells, oil, and dirt, when you wash your skin with them.

The most harsh of these include loofahs (for the love of god, never on the face), walnut shell scrubs, and sugar scrubs. They can be effective, but someone who does not have excessively oily skin ought not use any of these methods more than once a week (if at all, arguably). If you have breakouts, these methods run the risk of irritating already pissed off pores, and will result in excessive redness and make your breakouts worse!

I used to use St Ives’ Apricot Scrub (the one with 2% salicylic acid), and while this did work relatively well for some time, I think it actually increased my skin’s sensitivity, and irritation, gradually over the years.

If you absolutely *have* to exfoliate using a mechanical method, I would suggest using a product that contains those microbeads (usually advertised on the product), as opposed to crushed fruit pits, shells, or even sugar. Oatmeal is also a gentler method. Check out the scrub section on Vitacost, as they list all ingredients. I did notice that Devita offers a Gentle Aloe Facial Scrub with jojoba easters (beads!), and this would be a good choice for anyone looking to mechanically exfoliate.

Check back for what I have to say about chemical exfoliation (my favourite method)!

My favourite moisturizers during breakouts!

Okay, so already I spilled my guts about coconut oil, and how much I love it. Don’t be surprised when I bring it up again, like in this post. BUT – I’ve got more for you; I swear.

I went through a shitty, and horribly zitty breakout in July, that seems to finally be tapering down. Typically, I’ll get a zit or two. But this time it was intense, and I felt like a creepy old troll. I found Acne.org, and have since incorporated advice from that site with my own knowledge of what works for me.

There have been three goodies I’ve used in this new routine, and they are affordable, cruelty-free (well fml if that organic virgin coconut oil ain’t cruelty-free), and work better than any expensive high maintenance brand ever has.


The deets: morning, and night, about 5 minutes after cleansing (with a boring, plain, fragrance-free cleanser), I mix about 4-5 drops of the roman chamomile in jojoba oil, with enough coconut oil to slather on my face (play with the amounts until you find what is right for you – enough so your skin feels comfortably moisturized, not tight, and soothed). If I feel the need, I will also will slather on some of the Earth Science Almond Aloe Fragrance Free Moisturizer. This facial moisturizer contains helpful ingredients like hyaluronic acid, jojoba seed oil, panax ginseng root, and licorice root extract! It is gentle enough for sensitive skin, and helped a lot to moisturize and heal all those stinkin’ zits.

GREEN MONSTER!

I have also put an end to all my insanely intense ingredient-packed face masks – except for my DIY clay masks. I have added roman chamomile in jojoba oil (about 3-5 drops), to my green clay paste (which is just green clay + water). The simpler, the better.

My skin feels so much better, and is well on its way to being clear again!

Are your gums sore? It could be your dental floss!

I attempted to fight the morning urge to get out of bed and blog, but why fight such a good thing? After about 45 minutes of trying to go back to sleep, I hauled myself out of bed around 6:45am, and here I am some time later (after being awake until about 3am last night), ready to write to you about something I really needed to mention.

First, let me say this: I love me some healthy gums. This isn’t a rant about how unhealthy it is to floss. Gotta get those chicken wing bits out from between our teeth somehow, eh!?

Store brand drugstore floss (left); sketchy dollar store floss (right)

The reason for this post began several weeks ago; it goes back to a purchase I never ever should have made: at the Dollar Store. I love dollar stores! I go there to buy my boxes, travel containers, organizers, cups, stickers, shipping supplies, nail files; the list is endless. Several weeks ago, I decided to buy the dental floss. I was there; it was cheap. Who could lose!? Bad idea.

I am not quite sure why it hadn’t dawned on me earlier, that I should include floss in the “don’t go there” category of dollar store goodies. The product seemed legit enough to me.

And this is where my aching gums began. About 3 days after using this dollar store floss, my gums began to ache. They didn’t bleed, but they ached. My entire mouth began to ache, in fact. It became painful to brush, and my entire gums would ache for about 10 minutes post-floss.

Thankfully, the solution was easy. I had been using some of my boyfriend’s flosser sticks that he buys, and noticed the ache became less and less each time I flossed. So I splurged and picked up the store brand of floss at the drug store. It has been about a week and a half not using the sketch dollar store floss, and my gums are loving life again!

So the question is: what on earth was in that damned floss to cause so much pain in my gums? I have yet to find any information online as to what the culprit is! Any ideas, folks!? What on earth do they coat that shit with!?

I am always for cutting costs, but spend that extra $2 and go for the drug store floss! Even better, let’s hear thoughts on natural/organic/health-conscious floss from brands such as Desert Essence, Tom’s of Maine, Spry, and others. Side note: Spry’s toothpaste is fabulous, by the way. Expect an article about that gem in the near future.

Arbonne’s RE9 Collection

I wrote about Arbonne’s FC5 collection awhile back, as well as my experience hosting a party for myself and my mother. I had a sweet Arbonne representative named Denise (whose information I will post below, in case any of you are interested in placing Arbonne orders, and you have questions) come by, and pamper my mother and I on a lovely spring afternoon.

Let me please say, that while I do not think the entire FC5 collection was good for my skin type / preferences, there were a few items I did really enjoy. On top of that, their cruelty-free message and uncompromising ingredient standard far surpasses that of many cosmetic companies, and I have to commend them for that.

With that said, I bring you my thoughts and experience with their RE9 Collection! Here are the goodies I sampled:

  • Smoothing Facial Cleanser
  • Restorative Day Creme with SPF 20
  • Corrective Eye Creme
  • Regenerating Toner
  • Night Repair Creme
  • Intensive Renewal Serum

The entire line has a delightfully light and calming seabuckthorn-ish organge-creamsicle scent. I preferred this scent to the intense fruity pizzazz from the FC5 line. One of my favourite scents is lavender; I’m a grandmother at heart.

My favourite product from this collection has to be the Intensive Renewal Serum. This was a delightfully creamy serum that didn’t dry out my skin, and gave my skin such a soft texture. I am 29 (as of today – Happy Birthday to me!), so I’ve been told that I need to start looking at a line of skin care catering to anti-aging, but I find that most of these lines lack the intense hydration and attention to sensitive skin that my skin needs! I’m not quite sure if it was a coincidence or not, but I also broke out (and I don’t break out often), while testing out this line. I think lack of hydration was a major culprit.

I also enjoyed the Night Repair Creme, which did hydrate, but it was the least level of hydration that I’d prefer (I actually needed to use that during the day, because the Day Creme was not at all moisturizing enough).

The least favourite in this collection was the Smoothing Facial Cleanser. It wasn’t hydrating enough, and didn’t impress me (especially for the price!).

If your skin isn’t as extremely in need of hydration like mine, and you are interested in investing in an anti-aging line, I would definitely suggest RE9. This line is quite expensive, but if you’ve got the money to invest – go for it!

If you have any questions about Arbonne, their products, or want help placing an order, send the wonderful Arbonne representative Denise Wreford an email, at denisewreford@gmail.com. Her Sponsor ID is 115484888!

Got zits?

I sure did!

Recently, I went through a pretty bad (for me) breakout! And I have a special routine for these situations that is relaxing, gentle, quick, and effective!

Here’s what you need!

the essential oils I used this time

  • a big-ish sized plastic salad bowl (that can hold very hot water)
  • a kettle (or something to boil water with)
  • your favourite essential oils (tea tree oil, patchouli, lavender, etc..)
  • a clay-based face mask (I mixed Derma E’s Hydrating Mask with St Ives’ Mineral Clay Firming Mask)
  • a medium-sized towel
  • your favourite spot treatment (I used Derma E’s Very Clear Spot Blemish Treatment)
  • about 25 minutes

What you do:

Make sure your face is washed! Use whatever cleanser you enjoy, as long as it cleans well (I’d sure as hell hope it does!).

First, you take the bowl I was talking about, and fill it up with almost boiled water from the kettle!

Then, put a 1-2 drops of your favourite essential oils. Tea Tree Oil is very strong, but great for breakouts, so I use 3 drops at most of it. Add about 4 drops of lavender, and this time I put in 3 drops of seabuckthorn seed oil.

STIR a little bit.

Place the bowl on a desk or table, and pull up a chair. Grab that towel, and put it over your head, as you move your head over (and a little in) the bowl to soak up the steamy essential-oily goodness.

Relax over the bowl for about 10 minutes. You’ll be sweaty. You’ll be dripping. But boy, does it feel good. Once the 10 minutes are up, you can dump the water, and rinse your face with warm water, and dab with a towel. Then you want to pick out your favourite face mask, as you can see me wearing here, and slather on a layer of that.

this gets rid of blemishes, without drying your skin!

Give the mask about 10-15 minutes. Rinse of with warm water and a soft wash cloth.

Dab your face dry, and moisturize your face as per usual with your favourite moisturizer (to moisturize this time I used Yes To Carrots’ Repairing Night Cream (which is amazing).

Now grab your spot blemish treatment!

Apply that as directed (usually a teensy bit directly on the blemishes). For an added touch, spray your face with some rose or lavender water. Curl up into bed! Sweet dreams!

And that’s it. This isn’t guaranteed to get rid of your blemishes in one night, but it speeds up the process tremendously. If you catch the blemish early enough, it very well could put an end to it overnight.

Hope you enjoyed this! ❤

My Arbonne Experience – Part One

I am always surprised when I learn of a beauty company that is right up my alley, but has been beyond my radar for so long! I heard about Arbonne from a friend of mine, who had told me his sister was a representative for the company. I bring up my blog quite often, because it’s such a big part of my life, and a great way to network with great people.

I arranged for a product party to be hosted at my house, and the lovely respresentative Denise came with an also lovely assortment of Arbonne goodies! She arrived to show my mother and I several of their lines, including the RE9 line, the FC5 line, ABC Arbonne Baby Care, the Seasource Detox Spa line of products, their makeup, and more! The product party experience was a wonderful (and complimentary) way to learn about Arbonne’s ethics and the company; a company that follows Swiss standards of skin care and beauty – a much higher standard than we see here in North America. My mother and I were pampered with face masks, foot soaks, and hand massages. Such a delightful afternoon! Especially in the middle of my final exams.

Fun fact about Arbonne’s products: they are 100% VEGAN-CERTIFIED!

To read more about the company, and it’s ethics, check out this link.

While there are endless products to test and try, I was provided with two of their major skin care lines to sample and review.

Here I will be talking about their FC5 Line, namely the Hydrating Cleanser + Freshener, Nurturing Day Lotion with SPF 20, and the Moisturizing Night Creme.

What surprised me the most about these three products (and really, all the Arbonne products I tried), was how little of each product I needed each time for sufficient use.

Hydrating Cleanser + Freshener

  • contains fresh strawberry cell extracts, and a Moisture Fresh Complex
  • so gentle, and creamy; it smells exactly like fresh strawberries – a smell that had me smiling every time!
  • Check out the complete ingredient list
    – impressive!
  • Washes off easily; left my skin moist and happy

Nurturing Day Lotion with SPF 20

  • with fresh kiwi cell extracts and Moisture Fresh Complex
  • HALF a dime-size was enough for my entire face – yes, folks!
  • after applying it, my face felt hydrated, bright, and nourished – but these benefits didn’t last as long as I’d hoped.
  • Delicious ingredients!

Moisturizing Night Creme

  • with fresh mango cell extracts and Moisture Fresh Complex
  • a heavier, more hydrating cream than the day lotion (as expected for a night cream); I found my skin preferred this cream more.
  • Here‘s what’s in this night cream!

The samples I used (which took 3.5 weeks to go through, ps!), were 6ml size sample packs.

So what do I think overall?

  • Fabulous ingredients (paraben-free, loaded with essential oils, and nutritious extracts)!
  • These are great products for someone with normal / minimally dry skin, that is not unusually sensitive (like mine can be). I did not find the FC5 products to be hydrating enough for myself, but this could be due to my regular routine being very essential oil heavy; and my skin has some extremely weird “sensitivities” that I’ve learned to treat with my own unique assortment of products. I’m still looking forward to incorporating other Arbonne products into my regular regimen, despite this! 🙂
  • For those with skin aside from dry skin: there is also an FC5 line for oily/combination skin!
  • You will take forever to go through even one of these products – such little is needed each time; this is great for the environment, and our precious wallets.
  • These goodies run from $31 to $51 CAN. If your skin is more balanced, and less dry, I’d definitely consider making these products part of your regular skin care regimen.

If you’d like to get your hands on some FC5, learn more about Arbonne, and maybe even host a party yourself, check out their site, and to place an order, contact the wonderful Denise Wreford. Her Arbonne Sponsor ID is 115484888, and you can reach her via email at denisewreford@gmail.com.

Keep your eyes peeled, my lovelies – I will be dishing out my experience & details on the RE9 line, plus what Arbonne goodies are on my birthday list!