A few months back, I entered a phase of having stress breakouts.  This was something more than just the very specifically timed hormonal breakouts I’ve been used to.  Although Annmarie Gianni’s oil really works for those hormonal breakouts, it can be drying if used too often on the more sensitive parts of my face, plus I’m not in love with the scent.  I decided to try some new products.

There’s no better way to feel beautiful and confident than to have clear, glowing skin.  A healthy lifestyle is the best way to get there, but ya know I need a little extra help sometimes.  These two products are the perfect solution for me.

Blissoma Smooth A+ Perfecting Serum: I love this brand!  Everything I’ve used feels immediately soothing and wonderful on the skin.  This serum lets me add a layer of blemish protection without piling on too many oils.  I generally put this on between my face oil and sunscreen during the day, or between oil and a balm at night.  Usually I can just use it once a day, but if things are particularly harrowing I may use it twice.  It sinks right in and has a matte finish, yet is not drying at all.  It both prevents and treats blemishes, and I find myself with fewer blackheads and diminished pores.  The scent is very light – mainly I detect rose and frankincense.  This stuff is pretty perfect. ($25.99/1 oz)

Osmia Organics Spot Treatment: I didn’t even know I wanted a spot treatment until I tried this on a whim, while ordering some luscious Osmia body oils.  The Spot Treatment is an overnight wonder, without the drying or the overly strong scent some spot treatments have.  I mostly smell rosemary and citrus.  I’ve had success with this whether applied to bare skin, between layers of other products, or on top of everything. ($20/.16 oz)

It feels satisfying to have found blemish treatments so good I can stop looking for something else!  Have you tried these?

There’s been some funny stuff going on in the comments lately.

All of a sudden, there seemed to be a lot of conflict, and not the healthy agree-to-disagree kind of conflict, but the kind of throw-’bows nastiness that is rampant on most sites—but which we’ve been lucky not to have to deal with here. The recent crappy comments are really in the minority, though, so I don’t really want to go on and on about it, but I do want to say this:

It’s come to our attention, from simple back-end analytics, that one person has been posting as at least seven different women (not that we know it’s a woman–just that all seven names are women’s names), and all of those people—sorry, that one person—appears to be responsible for the lion’s share of contention, aggression, nastiness in the comments. If not all of it, actually.

So that just sucks. We can’t really do anything about it, but we would kindly ask that if you come to the site regularly and you comment, that you not create seven aliases and then use those seven fake-yous to gang up on people. HONOR SYSTEM, people.

Thanks, and happy Monday.

Concealer in the refrigerator? You bet. Why not layer some Ilia lipsticks, too? (And other tips from the makeup cookie jar of one of our reader babes, Melanie.)
Name: Melanie

Age: 38

Where I live: Winnipeg, Canada

My relationship with makeup: It’s a long one. When I was little, I used to wake up early just to watch my mother put on hers for work. It was a magical and spellbinding ritual, and I learnt so much from her. After I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 29,makeup became even more important to me; it was my ally in disguising missing lashes or detracting from a wan complexion. I also began to re-examine what I was using on my skin (well, for everything, really). It’s an ever-evolving process and not yet perfect, but I am trying. Geography presents a challenge, too: I have to order much on-line and it’s hard to get a sense of a product from virtual (i.e. not-always-accurate) swatches. I am also a recovering Chanel addict.

Here’s what’s in my makeup cookiejar (I do not carry makeup with me – it is too precious an investment, plus, as a mom of two under four years of age, touch-ups while out are rare and far between):

Suntegrity 5-in-1: For me, Fair is perfect. I get light coverage, even skin tone and sunscreen in one. My skin feels and looks better after I have used it.

Juice Beauty Refining Finishing Powder: I just discovered this in Ivory and adore it. I used to always use loose powder and am elated to have found one without talc.

Suki Correct Coverage Concealer: Buttercream covers my dark circles perfectly and illuminates the area, while also doubling as a eyeshadow primer. It works really well when refrigerated.

Jane Iredale Silver Lining Eyeshadow and Chanel Illusion d’ombre: Eyes are the last area to get a full clean-up, but I avoid certain ingredients, such as parabens, BHT, and talc-based powders.

Chanel Stylo Waterproof (Marine): It is a nice blue and I like it.
Chanel Le Volume (Bleu): I have a predilection for blue mascara. Maybe it’s because I was too young to enjoy the trend in the 80s, but it really works with my eye colour. I have yet to find a clean one that performs to my satisfaction or comes in something more exciting than black, brown or grey.

Ilia Neon Angel and Pink Kashmir: These two are my favourites. I have several lipsticks from Ilia. I also quite like Desert Angel, especially atop Pink Kashmir.

Jane Iredale lip liner (Berry): Layered over the above creates a beautiful, deep lip. Gorgeous.

Nvey Eco 955: This shade makes me smile.
We want to know what’s in your makeup bag. Send a write-up and photo to us at nomoredirtylooks@gmail.com

Hair is the theme for reader questions this week (and it gives us an excuse to feature Jared Leto’s locks—so pretty, right?). Sarah wrote in with a question about finding the right shampoo to treat her sensitive scalp (thanks Accutane!) and we’re certain some of you can point her in the right direction. Here’s what she has to say:

“Hi there! I need some NMDL community advice. I finished the book in November and was SO excited to begin switching out my products for clean ones. After a six-month stint of Accutane (eek, I know!) almost 2 years ago, I was left with an extremely dry, flaky and irritated scalp. I was sure dirty shampoos were not helping my problem, and clean ones would finally give me some relief. Oh girl. I had the same problem even with clean shampoos (Yarok, Acure, Avalon). It seems that coconut-derived shampoos irritate it even more! Still on the hunt for a clean, coconut-free shampoo. Has anyone else experienced this? If anyone has suggestions, they’d be much appreciated! It’s definitely no fun to have a flaky scalp. Also, I have very fine, oil-prone curly hair, so skipping washes/not washing does not work well. Thank you so much!”

We agree, it’s definitely no fun to have a flaky scalp. Help a girl out? Let Sarah know your thoughts in the comments.

Have a question for the community? Send it to us at nomoredirtylooks@gmail.com

The Hormone Cure, by Dr. Sara Gottfried*, is all about optimizing your hormonal state at any age.  This book covers information about hormones I’ve never seen revealed anywhere else, especially not in a way that’s accessible to everyone, and in such a comprehensive manner.

I won’t even attempt a summary, I’ll just say that if you have hormones, you must read this.  There’s cortisol and progesterone and estrogen and androgens and thyroid hormone, and <deep breath> various common combinations of imbalances.  You’ll be taken on a journey of self-assessment, and given possible solutions ranging from lifestyle and dietary changes to medical interventions.  I feel like I need to read it a couple more times to really absorb it.  I wish this book was around when I was the ripe old age of 37 and first realized that feeling like a forgetful teenager** with irritable bowel syndrome and night sweats meant I was perimenopausal.  Then I may not have had to experiment on myself so much.

I did plenty of reading when I realized what was happening.  I almost immediately gave up on medical help when I told my gynecologist that I thought I was in perimenopause and she dismissed me as being “too young.”  I told her my symptoms and she was like, “Oh, maybe you are.”  That was all she had to offer.  I don’t really blame her.  I don’t think even most medical professionals are equipped to deal with this craziness, but in any case I was left to my own devices.  Getting off gluten (my sensitivity to which was not caused by, but exacerbated by, my hormonal state) and becoming vegan really helped me.  I tried various supplements in different combinations and dosages.  For some time I found great success with black cohosh.  But those changing hormones just kept on changing, and every time I found balance it only lasted a little while.  Now I’m 45, off the black cohosh (after years of helping it started to give me fuzzy brain), and religiously back to something that really changes my life in a wonderful way – bioidentical progesterone cream.  My major symptoms now are those of estrogen dominance, where progesterone is practically nonexistent and I have out-of-body experiences where I observe myself in such a state of anger, I quite literally want to kill someone.  Maybe that person did something awful, like caused harm to someone I love.  Or maybe it’s someone I love, who spoke to me in a tone I didn’t appreciate.  No matter.  Death to all.  Progesterone takes me back to my normal, healthy level of bitchiness.  Reading this book validated my choice to go back to the cream.  I needed that, as I’m not one to mess with hormones carelessly.  Next thing to work on is a mild androgen excess (hello, mustache).

Well, those are just my two-cats-away-from-being-a-crazy-old-lady problems.  Women of any age with a hormonal imbalance will benefit from the information in this book.  Dr. Sara tells her own story, and provides the stories of other women, and tells you what you can try.  She uses language that is understandable to the science novice, but promotes evidence-based solutions.  She does sell products that go along with all this, though I’ve never used them and probably won’t.

Have you read this book?  Do you have another great source of information on hormone balance?

*and with a foreword by my all-time-fave writer about women’s bodies, Dr. Christiane Northrup

**with erratic and very painful periods, sullen resentful attitude, and acne

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