Below is a post from Well+GoodNYC, a web site devoted to beauty, health, wellness in its many forms that we absolutely love. Founded by journalists Melisse Gelula and Alexia Brue, W+G has become a go-to for us, and we hope it will be for you, too. You’ll see them around these parts every week, and we’re thrilled to have them!
Cetaphil probably has the best PR of any facial soap. Beauty magazines gush over it as a no-frills $8 must-have. Dermatologists love to recommend it as a mild and non-irritating facial cleanser for two reasons: it doesn’t contain fragrance and, more tellingly, because MDs have a big Pharma love affair with the manufacturer, Galderma, the offspring of Nestlé and L’Oréal, which also makes acne drugs like Differin.
And yet there’s nothing healthy about this face-washing prescription.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser contains just eight ingredients: water, cetyl alcohol, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, stearyl alcohol, methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben.
All but the water are chemically manufactured (let’s hope), and propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, and the three parabens have a seat on the dirty dozen, a list of cosmetic ingredients to avoid as potentially toxic.
Read the rest of the post here.
There’s no two ways about it. If you get pimples, you’ve probably at some point felt ugly, shy, embarrassed, dirty, or like you want to put a paper bag over your head and cry. So you read acne advice from “experts” and it makes you want to scream because it’s always the same, none of it works, the products are expensive, and they’re loaded with toxic chemicals. But this list isn’t about how to banish breakouts. (You can read that one here.) Instead, it’s about acne psychology, which is way, way worse than pimples—trust. Here are my 10 tips for getting over a bad skin day. I can’t wait to read yours, in the comments.
Know that the good ones don’t notice. And if they notice, they don’t care. If you’ve ever had a very nice boyfriend or girlfriend, you know this one is true: Literally no one cares about your pimples except you…and really mean people. One time, I was writing a profile of a famous musician who looks in person, and without makeup, like an airbrushed photograph. We were driving around in her car and she saw a friend of hers on the street so she pulled over and rolled down the window. Her friend, smiling, said, “Hi! Welcome back. It’s so nice to see you!” or something to that effect. So what did the famous lady say? Did she say “Thanks, hon, it’s great to see you too! Wanna get a slice of pizza and catch up?”? No. The famous person said “Your face is a mess! What have you been doing?!” Her friend’s face fell. And so did mine. You maybe think I’m making this up because no one would ever speak to another person like that, right? Especially not a rich and famous and genetically blessed person, right? Right! Except I didn’t make it up. Moral of the story: That person is really mean and the reason it sounds implausible is that most people are not like this. Most people, and you’ll just have to take my word for it, do not notice your pimples, and if they do notice them, they don’t care.
Wear red lipstick. You know when someone says “Look over there!” and then steals one of your fries? This is like that, but on your face. By drawing attention to your mouth with a bright color, you are drawing attention away from whatever it is you wish wasn’t there. Also, red lipstick is a mood booster and it makes you feel bold—which is a great way to counter the “I want to cancel my dinner plans and hide” feeling.
Do your hair. This morning I woke up with an unfortunately placed spot and even though it’s raining—I usually skip doing my ‘do on rainy days—I made sure to get my hair extra smooth. The logic? When you’re broken out, it’s hard to feel pulled together even though, remember: you still probably LOOK pulled together because no one can tell by looking at you that inside you feel like a teenager. But when your hair is done nicely, you all of a sudden don’t care about the constellation on your chin. This is a time-tested coping strategy. Work it.
Smile at strangers. A friend once said that when her skin is spotty, she finds herself staring at her feet in public because doing so makes her feel invisible. It’s such a sad sentiment and I’ve totally been there: The psychological toll of breakouts is literally 95% of it, and it’s awful. To counter this feeling, try doing the opposite and then some: Hold your head up and smile. Seriously. Don’t be the crazy person on the train about it, but a gentle smile is disarming, pretty, and it makes you feel better, too.
Don’t wear a scarf. I used to do this a lot: Pashmina doublewrapped around my neck, even in the summer. Except here’s the thing: Scarfs may make you feel protected because you’re essentially swaddling yourself, but they do not hide what is on your face. And in fact, by wrapping the area around your face, you are more likely drawing attention to it as opposed to away from it. Also, maybe it’s dirty and giving you pimples.
Point it out to a friend. Don’t do this with the mean chick I told you about, but pointing out your zits actually erases the terror that the pimple-afflicted feel which is: DO THEY SEE IT? ARE THEY STARING AT IT? Again, no, they’re not. But by pointing it out, you’re taking out the paranoid guesswork, and probably your friend will say something nice like “Aww, I hadn’t noticed,” or “I’ve been trying this green tea clay and I feel like it might work—do you want some?” or simply “You look so pretty, don’t be silly.”
Cover the damn thing. People say pimples heal faster when you leave them alone and don’t wear makeup, and people say that covering zits only makes them look worse, and that all may very well be true, but if a little makeup, even terribly applied (but with a clean brush), will make you feel better mentally, then do it. Just be sure you aren’t compounding the problem with something irritating.
Pronounce vulnerable with a W. OK this one is weird but hear me out: Breakouts make us feel vulnerable. To counter this, try this thing that my yoga teacher Matt said once in class: When you’re vulnerable—awful feeling, am I right? But such a rich one, too!—your feelings are the most serious, enormous, important things in the whole wide world. Take away their power by pronouncing that word, out loud, with a W. Seriously. Next time you look in the mirror and feel bashful, say it. I promise it works.
Visualize it shrinking. Another weird one. I can’t promise this will make your swelling subside, but it sure feels good: Before bed or in the bathroom at work, close your eyes and literally imagine the zit disappearing. You’ll feel like you’re doing something healing for yourself, and that’s a good feeling to have, zits or not.
Touch your face. Just kidding, but hold on: how-to-get-rid-of-breakout stories are always telling you not to touch your face and not to pick and not to do this, that and the third. Here’s the truth: If you have a zit on your face, you’re going to do anything you think will work to make it go away. For some of you that means picking, and it sometimes means touching. Yes, it might make it worse, and yes you might scar, but it also might make you feel better, because it seems somehow more proactive than doing nothing. So go ahead and touch your face (just be sure to put some kind of natural antibacterial on it before bed, please).
Now it’s your turn. Do you have bad skin days? Have you tried any of these things? What are your tips?
It’s Friday—holler! Time for a deal, and if our comments section is any indication, many of you have been waiting for this one. But first, since we’re still kind of introducing everyone, a little bit more about this beloved brand Tata Harper…
Tata Harper emerged on the natural beauty scene shortly after the book came out, and well, we pretty much fell in love. We’ve covered them here, here, here and here! The brand provides everything we long for in a real natural product: beautiful and environmentally thoughtful packaging, high-quality handpicked ingredients, attention to detail, and also RESULTS. This is science-backed clean luxury at its best—a true upgrade from synthetics, as they promise—and as such, some of the products are a little bit pricier, which is why offering you guys a deal is so exciting!
So here it is: Starting today (and lasting until midnight next Thursday) you will receive a deluxe sample of Tata’s new Reparative Moisturizer (pictured above in its full—not sample—size) and a travel sized Hydrating Floral Essence with any purchase—no minimum! And by the way this gift is valued at a whopping 50 bucks. Boom!
All you have do is enter the promo code NMDL at checkout and you’re good to go. And! And! Tata ships internationally (but of course the rates vary depending on where you are).
For the record: We both use the floral essence (it smells incredible and is packed with skin-plumping actives like hyaluronic acid) and are dying to try this new moisturizer.
Okay, happy shopping then! And have a great weekend.
Lately we’ve been on a bit of a makeup kick. A couple of weeks ago I got a little emo about my relationship with makeup, and your comments were deeply moving and thoughtful, then I told you about our favorite new blush (slash lipstick). Next, we challenged you to give us your best, glammest clean-cosmetics face, and then Alexandra asked you to share your makeup horror stories with our friend Melissa Dahl.
Now, we’d like to tackle the most basic basics—the stuff we use to hide our zits, even out our complexions, and fake a good night’s sleep. In a word: foundation.
We’re going to do this in five parts, and the first one might raise some eyebrows (or crossbows!). Be gentle with us, and hear us out, because numero uno in the series is….
“Huh? Laura Mercier? But her line isn’t natural or organic—is it?” Heck no, but her loose minerals contain the same ingredients as almost any other mineral powder on the market, and hers is our current favorite. In fact, it’s the only reason we ever go to Sephora anymore! (No offense, Sephora—it’s just that your stores confuse people about what’s truly natural and what isn’t. Also, the perfumes make us kind of heachachy.) Like many other minerals lines, this one does contain bismuth oxychloride, so if you react badly to it, then this one probably isn’t for you. What we like about LM minerals are the colors and how finely ground they are—it just makes for a nice light touch, but with the same strong coverage minerals provide. As always, you must be very careful not huff the stuff. (One solution? Mix it with your moisturizer or face oil.)
What’s your favorite loose minerals line?
Come back Tuesday for the next!
Image of a pretty girl putting on powder (CC) from Flickr
There are many topics that Alexandra and I can gab about till the cows come home (especially with each other) but two things seem to come up again and again in our conversations with other people are:
First, how before we cleaned up our cosmetics, we stockpiled half-empty bottles of stuff we didn’t like (because it didn’t work) and were always looking for the next best thing. We even have photographic evidence of all the crap we threw away as we were writing the book, and it’s a little embarrassing to think about (sorry, planet).
How when we switched to clean cosmetics, our faces thanked us.
Which is not to say we don’t still battle breakouts and other pesky beauty concerns on the regular, because we do. But overall, we both feel that our skin is less temperamental than it used to be. Like, by a lot.
And as I’ve said in the past, for me, I believe that’s because I’m fairly consistent with my products—especially the ones I use on my face. Barring exceptionally fun nights, I never sleep with makeup on, I use the same cleanser for months on end, and have used the same two moisturizers for a year and a half now. I’ll mix it up a little with treatment serums and masks to keep things interesting, but my day-in, day-out is consistent and simple, and I buy the same handful of products over and over again.
So to take this really bad metaphor all the way: I’d say I went from being a bit of a product trollop to being a little more like wifey material. And god am I happy I did.
So let’s have it: When you find a product you like, do you use it to the last drop then buy it again? Do you have several on the go that you switch between? Or are you more of the love ’em and leave ’em type?