UPDATE: Favourite lip balms for sensitive lips!

This entry is somewhat of an update to my other posts about lip balms, glosses, stains, and all that delicious stuff. Click here, and here to check them out!

Since that post, I’ve tried several lip balms, and the majority of them have not resulted in the gross post-surgery lips, as I tend to call them. Read on to find out what I’ve used, love, and other products I want to try!

While their products are catered moreso to guys, Jack Black makes a fabulous line of skin care products, and they also make lip balms. These give your lips somewhat of a glossy sheen, and the different varieties are very tasty combinations! I have tried two of their lip balms. Vanilla Lavender, and Grapefruit Ginger. Both of these were great, but I preferred the Vanilla Lavender. A great plus about these balms: most of them are gluten-free and fragrance-free! Other intriguing flavours include Lemon & Chamomile, and Black Tea & Blackberry. All their balms have SPF 25, and my lips absolutely adored them. They sell for $7.50 a piece on Jack Black’s website, or you can purchase a kit, such as their cleverly-named Balm Squad, for $25 (which includes FOUR of these goodies). Their website also displays the ingredients for each of the different lip balms.

I will definitely consider purchasing these again! Love, love, love!

For those who follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me pimping out Desert Essence’s lip balms. I first discovered their Tea Tree Oil Therapeutic Lip Balm, and was so excited to find a more affordable lip balm that agreed with my lips. They say this is good for cold sores and cracked lips. I can’t comment on the cold sores ( tea tree oil is antibacterial and healing, so that makes sense), but it definitely kept my lips moisturized and in a happy, healthy state. The second lip balm from Desert Essence that I’ve tried and loved (even more than the tea tree oil), was the Lip Rescue Moisturizing with Jojoba Oil. The smell is so refreshingly subtle, and it kept my lips so nice and moisturized. My boyfriend didn’t enjoy the tea tree oil lip balm, because it had a weird taste whenever he kissed me. And the jojoba lip balm was much more mild. It really comes down to personal preference with these products! I find tea tree oil very intense, so I like to switch it up between these two.

Vitacost had a sale on Desert Essence products, so last night I picked up FIVE of Desert Essence’s Lip Rescue Ultra Hydrating with Shea Butter lip balms, which I have not tried yet! Two for myself, and THREE for my boyfriend. They were a whopping $1.18 a piece – which totally blew my mind.

Desert Essence is a brand that has never let me down. I also see they sell lip tints (Vanilla Chai, anyone!?), if you’re looking for something with colour (I much prefer a nude lip on me) for $5.99 each! I can’t comment on whether they would work well on sensitive lips, but I’d say it’s worth a try!

There you have it – these are the winning lip products that I consider to be my favourites. There are others, however, that I feel deserve some level of honourable mention:

Crazy Rumors Lip Balms and Tints

I did a review on the products from this awesome company. You can check that out here. These products are vegan, cruelty-free, and their assortment of flavours are to die for! Their collections include inspirations of Soda Pop, Fall, Tea, and – HOLY SHIT – a new holiday Gingerbread lip balm! At $3.49 a piece, they are quite wallet-friendly. Their collections expanded to include lip tints they call HibisKiss, which I have never tried, but would love to hear what people have to say about them.

Green Beaver’s Winter Lip Balm

I’ve yet to try this, but I have heard people rave about how well it keeps lips moisturized and healthy in the most intense conditions. It is gluten-free, and the ingredients include goodies like rosemary leaf oil, castor seed oil, and shea butter.

Pangea Organics’ Pyrenees Lavender with Cardamom Lip Balm

While it is relatively expensive (at $14 CAD per tube), the tube is significantly larger than most lip balm sizes (I’d say it is about double). The lavender in this balm soothes the lips like none other, and it is this lip balm that got my lips healed and back to fabulous after my first horrible reaction in early 2011.

I hope this has helped all of you out there with sensitive lips. You definitely don’t have to be limited to using your mother’s vaseline – there are plenty of options!

MUAH!

Face Mask Talk: My first YouTube vlog!

July has been a busy month! Let’s hope you all enjoy this video; I am certain more are on their way! Recording this was a blast!

First, check out this pic from a “ladies night” spent with my boyfriend (the sexy Greek dude to the left of me) and a near and dear friend of ours. Nothing like a good spa night!

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! ❤

The Classy Anarchist’s Top Ten List for Clear, Healthy Skin

Here I am! Post-shower, sans-makeup.

Here is my top ten list of things that have worked for me to help improve the quality and clarity in my skin! Friends are always asking me how to improve their skin; while I love helping each one of them individually, I thought a top ten list could help all of my friends and readers at the same time. My philosophy on beauty has always been that you need to work on the inside, and this will reflect on the outside. Who wants to pile on the makeup, when our skin underneath is in such poor shape?  These are just tips from my own experience (no expert here!), and are in no particular order.

1. Wash your face every night before sleep

This removes makeup, bacteria, and excess oil that builds up throughout your day.

2. Learn your skin type

You’ll save money buying products that don’t work for you, and learn what products do work for you, which helps prevent breakouts and flare ups. Often, skin analysis services are available free of charge at spas, and from other skin care experts.

3. Touch your face ONLY when you have clean hands!

If your hands are carrying bacteria, you will transfer it to your face.

4. When you dry your face, gently pat it dry (do not rub) with a CLEAN towel or cloth.

Change your towels and cloths weekly to make sure they aren’t harboring any unwanted bacteria.

5. Take a multivitamin, and an omega fatty acid oil supplement like krill, salmon, or sardine oil every day.

They don’t have to cost that much, and the pay off of adding these supplements to your diet is worth it! Even if you eat a well-rounded diet, a multivitamin can help make sure you get all the nutrients you need. Omega-fatty acids are shown to be great for healthy nails, hair, and skin. In the winter time I double up on the omegas, since my skin can be extremely dry and dehydrated. I tend to keep my eyes open for sales at GNC and natural health food stores. Avoid vitamins and supplements at the drug store; their absorption rate is pretty pitiful.

6. Include one exfoliation treatment and a mask into your weekly routine.

Get rid of those dead skin cells by exfoliating, and treat yourself to a deep cleansing clay mask. Another great type of mask is a papaya enzyme mask, which helps to brighten your complexion, and helps to dissolve dead skin cells. It also smells pretty damned amazing! The masks I use regularly are the Alba Deep Sea Facial Mask, and the Alba Papaya Enzyme Mask. It is extremely easy to make your own face masks – try organic honey, avocado, and blueberries!

7. Do not use body lotions or creams on your face.

Using lotions or creams that are designed for use on your body, and not specifically designed for the face can cause unnecessary breakouts, because of the higher oil content; the skin on the face is also a lot more sensitive than the rest of our body’s, and can tend to be of a different type. For example, my face is on the dehydrated side in the winter, and in the summer it is more balanced, so I don’t need to use as much essential oils when moisturizing. The skin on the rest of my body requires a very basic moisturizing routine that remains the same throughout the entire year, and breakouts on my body are even more rare than on my face. When choosing a moisturizer for your face, make sure it specifies it is a facial moisturizer.

8. Avoid products with certain alcohols that will excessively dry the skin (resulting in you trying to use even more of the product, and your skin drying up even more).

Not all alcohols are horrible for the skin. Alcohols that do nothing but dry out the skin and exacerbate skin problems include: SD Alcohol(also known as Alcohol Denat., or Denatured Alcohol), Isopropyl Alcohol, or Ethyl Alcohol. Alcohols that are fatty alcohols and are not harmful include Stearyl Alcohol, and Cetyl Alcohols. The majority of popular brands of toners (especially) in drug stores — brands like L’Oreal, Garnier, Neutrogena, Clean & Clear —  often contain the harmful types of alcohols to provide the consumer with a “tingling” sensation. This often makes us feel like the product is working, but if you’ve got any problems with dryness, inflammation, redness, or acne, this will most likely make it worse(as it did with me). Some of my friends are able to put pretty much any skin care product on their face, but if they were to switch to a more organic and holistic skin care routine, their skin would probably even more phenomenal.

The bottom line is – these products that contain SD Alcohol and other harmful alcohols strip the skin of its natural oils, and this results in eventual over-production of oils in oilier skin, or under-production in extremely dry skin. The goal of holistic skin care products is to nurture the skin’s natural balance, and to avoid extremely changes in the skin’s natural state. My skin’s dryness has reduced drastically since I began using alcohol-free toners, and toners that contain essential oils. At this point all I use as a “toner” is rose water and lavender water. They help refresh my skin, and they smell amazing too.

If you’d like to check out some toners that I recommend, try Avalon Organics’ Hydrating Toner, or Earth Science’s Aloe Vera Complexion Toner & Freshener. I have used both of these, and find them quite effective for balancing dry skin, and helping with blemishes.

9. Steam your face at least once every 2 weeks, with a towel over your head, hot water and essential oils (depending on your skin type) in a large bowl.

Not only does steaming your face help sweat out dirt and excess oil, it can also be extremely relaxing for the mind. Certain essential oils (like lavender and patchouli, for example) are proven to calm the skin and help with breakouts, but at the same time they are shown to be effective in reducing stress and calming the mind. It takes about ten minutes, and after steaming your pores are open – this is the perfect time for a face mask. If you are dealing with acne problems, steaming with tea tree oil (which has antibacterial properties) is very effective. Oils can be purchased for reasonable prices at health food stores, and since you only use 2-3 drops at most when steaming, they last for quite a long time!

10. For those who wear makeup, make sure you give your makeup brushes a clean (with either unscented soap, or makeup brush shampoo) once every two weeks.

If you don’t clean your brushes, bacteria will build up, and cause breakouts. Especially if you apply makeup to multiple people with the same brushes, you want to try and make sure you aren’t transferring bacteria from one person’s face to another! I use Sephora’s Purifying Brush Shampoo, which is available in a travel size. You only need to use a small amount, and it makes a big difference in how long your brushes last, and the minimizing of breakouts.

There you have it! Everything I recommend to ensure your skin looks and feels its best. The only additional tip I can suggest is to eat a healthy and balanced diet.

Dry-skin-winter-blues got you down?

The winter is the most harsh time of year for my skin. As someone who has very dry skin, the cold temperatures and all that come with it bring to my face a chapped, flaky curse that is determined to return with every winter season. I have teenage memories of myself desperately attempting to moisturize extra dry spots with by whatever means necessary — strange potions I found in my mother’s makeup cabinet, water, hand cream. I guess determination was also a gene I had gotten from my mother, because there was no way I was going to settle for a life of horribly dry and patchy skin!

At present, I am 27, and I can say that I’ve figured it out. My skin no longer has that dull, flaky, I-could-be-her-mother look. I have made peace with my dry skin and the products that help it look its best, and now I would like to share that with you.

I’m an avid shopper at Sephora, but for skin care I tend to check out my local health food store (usually The Natural Food Pantry, though I am sure you can find similar products at other health food stores), as their prices tend to be cheaper, but also only stock products that are primarily vegetarian and cruelty-free. I have had the best success with skin care products that range from $10-$30 at health food stores, and anything beyond that price for a cleanser, toner, or even moisturizer is more than you need to spend, in my humble dry-skinned opinion.

I have experimented with several different natural brands, and my favourites are Alba Botanica, and Avalon Organics. Interestingly, they are the same company, but these two brands offer products that are unique to their specific brand. I regularly use products from Alba Botanica and Avalon Organics.

Let’s get product specific here. What do I like from the Alba Botanica brand of products? I have only tried their Hawaiian line, which offers a delightful bunch of tropically scented goodies including a Pineapple Enzyme Facial Cleanser, Hibiscus Facial Toner, Pineapple Enzyme Facial Scrub, Pineapple Enzyme Facial Mask, Aloe and Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer, and others which I have yet to try. In the summer my skin is perfectly content with using the cleanser and even the moisturizer during the day. For winter, I must add some extra, more moisture-intensive products into my regime.

These winter-friendly products reign from the Avalon Organics Lavender line. This line is aimed at those with dry and sensitive skin, so I jumped at the opportunity to try them.

First I tried the Lavender Hydrating Toner. This product was $11.99 at The Natural Food Pantry. I loved this product because it has a soothing “herbally” lavender scent, and it is surprisingly moisturizing for a toner. I noticed my skin felt so smooth after using it.

My most recent purchases from the Lavender line include the Lavender Ultimate Moisture Cream, and the Lavender Facial Cleansing Milk.

Let’s start with the Lavender Facial Cleansing Milk. Avalon Organics’ entire Lavender line promotes Renewal and Vitality, and this product claims it is “optimal cleansing for sensitive skin”. The product description says it is “soap-free, gentle cleansing with moisturizing plant emollients. Calming Licorice Root, Organic Lavender and Arnica protect skin, as Organic Flax and Borage Oils replenish moisture, leaving skin hydrated”. This product is recommended for usage for normal to dry skin types.

To use, I apply 1-2 pumps directly to my face and neck. This product is thicker than a typical gel or liquid cleanser. It comes out almost like a lotion and feels so gentle and creamy on the skin. I massage it into my skin with my hands for about one minutes, and then I wash it off with water, or a gentle cloth. This cleanser comes off easily, so a cloth isn’t required, just warm water. It claims it is perfect for makeup removal, but I prefer to use coconut oil for my mascara, and before cleansing I use makeup removal wipes (currently using the Josie Maran Bear Naked Wipes). This helps makeup come off quicker when I follow up with the cleanser, as I don’t feel it removes makeup as well as it claims. After rinsing, my skin is extremely soft, and I love that it is not stripped of moisture or feeling tight and dry. This cleanser was $12.39.

It is also important to tone during the winter to return your skin to its regular PH, and to ready it for a moisturizer. I am currently using the Earth Science Aloe Vera Complexion Toner and Freshener for dry and sensitive skin, which is a lovely addition to anyone’s skin care regime if you want a toner that refreshes without drying and over-tightening your skin. Simply pour a bit onto a cotton pad and massage over your face. This cost me $12.99 at the Natural Food Pantry. I will probably be switching back to the Avalon Organics Hydrating Toner, since I found it to be more moisturizing and soothing for the redness around my nose.

The pride and joy of my dry skin regimen is the Avalon Organics Ultimate Moisture Cream that I mentioned earlier. This cream really lives up to its name! It says it is a “daily or nightly moisturizer made with soothing and calming botanicals”. It is great as a night cream for all skin types, but can be used daily for dry skin. I have been using this day and night, and my skin is no longer flaky, especially in the typical areas around my nose. Even with makeup application over the cream, my skin remains adequately moisturized. Along with all other products in their Lavender line, this product has a light, natural lavender scent. It is extremely relaxing, so if you enjoy lavender I would highly recommend these products for you. Moisturizers often run rather expensive, as I recall the moment a saleswoman at Sephora was trying to convince my mother (who is rather frugal) to spend $75 dollars on a small Philosophy moisturizer that I am sure would be great, I would never spend that much when there are products like the Ultimate Moisture Cream out there. This cost me $18.29 at the Natural Food Pantry, and on Avalon Organics’ website I believe it runs at $20.99. When it comes to a good quality moisturizer, you shouldn’t have to use a ton of product for it to work, so a 2 ounce tub can last 3-6 months, depending on if it is a night cream or for night and day.

These products currently sum up the majority of my winter skin care regime, and I find myself extremely satisfied with them. I hope you take the time to try them and check out this line; they were tremendously helpful for my dry, sensitive, and flaky skin. Feel free to comment and suggest other products that have helped you, and also did not cost a fortune. Thank you for reading!