With Good Things



I have had super-oily (I’m talking oil slick by 10am), acne-filled skin for years. When I turned 30 this year (shh…don’t tell anyone!), I was still battling the same issues since I was 14. I have tried EVERYTHING from Pro-Activ to Accutane to other prescription pills and creams to get rid of my acne, to no avail. Since going “cold turkey” on all acne medications and treatments about 8 months ago, my skin has improved a bit and has become less oily. Now that I’m using OCM to cleanse, coconut oil to moisturize, argan oil to treat, my skin is amazingly NOT oily anymore, and way less acne-prone. So with all the “progress” I feel I’ve made with my skincare routine, I feel like I now need to overhaul my makeup routine…specifically my foundation.

I’ve been using hard-core non-budge liquid foundations since I started wearing makeup at 15 (Revlon ColorStay has been a staple), and most recently Rimmel Lasting Finish. The ColorStay foundation looks cakey by the end of the day now that I don’t have all this oil keeping it “dewy.” The Lasting Finish foundation is better, but I find that it kind of separates after a few hours, and if I’m not careful, I end up looking splotchy.

I don’t splurge on every single makeup product, especially the ones I go through quickly (foundation, mascara, eyeliner, etc.), which is why I’ve been using drugstore brands of foundation. Unfortunately, the downfall for drugstore makeup is YOU CAN’T TRY IT BEFORE YOU BUY IT! Plus, most drugstores don’t allow returns on cosmetics if it’s been opened. (Which makes it very hard to try new things without going broke!)

This brought me to my favorite store (SEPHORA!! if you didn’t already know) in search of a new foundation formula, because I can try ANYTHING in the store before I buy it, and I can return anything for ANY reason (with receipt) with NO HASSLES! **cue angelic music here** We’ve only just got a Sephora in town (April 8, to be exact), so I’ve only tried one foundation from them so far (Bare Escentuals Matte, which felt sticky on my face after a few hours and migrated into what fine “lines” I have on my face–yucky!!). I felt like today was a good time to try another.

I’ll make today’s Sephora trip short and sweet: the SA recommended I try Lancome Tiente Idole Ultra foundation. At $40 a pop, I was hesitant to try, but because of their sweet return policy, I thought, “what the heck,” and bought it.

About an hour ago, I cleansed my face and applied the new foundation with my BeautyBlender (warning: there’s gonna be an entire post coming up devoted to my BB!). I noticed that it “dried” quickly to a silky finish, and I applied a light dusting of loose powder to set it. So far it feels good (thatswhatshesaid), but I’m wondering if it will become TOO dry and start to feel cakey after several hours. Since it’s almost bedtime, I guess I won’t know the answer to this until Saturday. (I have an event to go to tomorrow directly after work, so trying a new foundation tomorrow is probably not the best thing to do!)

I will post updates after I get to test-drive this properly, but in the meantime…what is your favorite foundation…and why?



Apparently I am on a “slippery slope” of natural oils. It started with the sample of Argan oil that I received from Sephora, moved through the oil cleansing method, and has brought me to extra virgin coconut oil (EVCO).

I read about EVCO online and the “miracle” properties it has to cure everything from dry skin to thyroid issues to killing viruses. While I haven’t had the opportunity to test every one of these claims for myself, I have applied EVCO to my skin and face and can tell you that the (skincare) claims are true. I purchased a jar of EVCO from my local health foods store, and for the first day or so only tried it to moisturize my hands & feet.

I finally built up enough courage to try EVCO on my face, and I am so glad I did! The oil is solid while in the jar (kind of like a paste), but as soon as it touches your skin, it melts to a clear oil that you can massage into your skin. I apply about a pea-size amount my face at night after I cleanse (using the OCM) and massage it for about 30 seconds. My face is still oily-looking when I lay down to sleep, but when I wake up in the morning, it has completely absorbed, and my skin feels smooth like a baby’s bottom!

It also has helped clear up my acne, heal a mosquito bite, and removes waterproof mascara like a dream. I am slowly trying it for other things, and can’t wait to see what other things EVCO can cure!

What do you use EVCO for?



After having such amazing results with Argan oil, I’ve been spending the last couple of weeks researching oils for skin treatments. I’ve stumbled across several articles & blog posts about the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM), a.k.a. “washing” your face with oil. Acne.org describes the OCM this way:

“Oil dissolves oil. One of the most basic principals of chemistry is that “like dissolves like.” The best way to desolve a non-polar solvent like sebum/oil, is by using another non-polar solvent similar in composition: other oils. By using the right oils, you can cleanse your pores of dirt and bacteria naturally, gently and effectively, while replacing the dirty oil with beneficial ones extracted from natural botanicals, vegetables and fruit that heal, protect and nourish your skin. When done properly and consistently, the OCM can clear the skin from issues like oily skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, blackheads, whiteheads and other problems caused by mild to moderate acne–while leaving your skin healthy, balanced and properly moisturized.”

Sound good? Me, too. I had to try (and right away)!

  1. Choose Your Oils
    It seems that the most popular combination of oils used for cleansing is castor oil (CO) and extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). The CO has anti-inflammatory properties while drawing out oil, dirt, and grime, making it the staple of a cleansing oil mixture. The EVOO acts as a caring moisturizer to heal and nourish the skin. You can also choose from grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, apricot oil, or jojoba oil instead of EVOO.
  2. Create Your Blend
    Because Castor Oil can actually be drying to your skin, those with dry skin will want to use less CO in their mixture. You’ll want to experiment with different ratios of CO and EVOO, and maybe even incorporate more than two different oils and/or essential oils for added benefits. Here are a few ratio suggestions to get you started:
  • Oily Skin: 75% CO, 25% EVOO
  • Normal Skin: 50% CO, 50% EVOO
  • Dry Skin: 25% CO, 75% EVOO

I am starting out by mixing just enough for each use to see what works best for me, before I mix up a bottle. Tonight, I tried 1/2 tsp. CO with 1 tsp. EVOO and 2 drops of orange essential oil for a great pick-me-up scent.

  1. Cleanse
    You’ll want to do this primarily at night, and those with oily, acne-prone skin may want to start out only a couple times per week to ensure no breakouts. Ready? Let’s do it!

Take your oil mixture and massage it gently over your face, continuing to massage for up to a couple minutes. Let the oil dissolve the makeup and impurities from your skin. Then, use a wet washcloth (with the hottest water tolerable to your skin) to steam your face before wiping it clean (you may need to rinse and repeat for best results).

Ta-da! My makeup (even my trusty waterproof Covergirl Lashblast masacara) was completely gone, and my skin felt clean, but not dry or tight. I am currently using a couple drops of Argan oil as my nighttime moisturizer that I applied after cleansing. Since this is my first night trying this out, I’ll have to update later to see if I break out or have good/bad results over time.

Update: I’ve been using the OCM for almost a month now, and I am still loving it–and as a bonus, my skin is less oily! I’ve made a couple of tweaks to my routine: I’m using 2 parts CO to 2 parts EVOO, and I have added a couple drops of lavender essential oil and tea tree oil to control and soothe breakouts. I am also using coconut oil an eye makeup remover (I don’t want to put tea tree oil near my eyes), and Argan oil as a moisturizer.

How do you use the Oil Cleansing Method? Please share!



I cannot live without Urban Decay Primer Potion! I’ve used it every single day for years. It is the ONLY thing that keeps my eyeshadow from creasing during the day (even in summer humidity).

I put a dab on my eyelids before I apply foundation, and then again on top of the foundation. Then, I dust my face (including my eyelids) with loose powder to set, and then I apply eyeliner and eyeshadow.

At $20 a pop, UDPP can get a little pricey, but one tube of this seriously lasts me close to a year. I’ve even gone so far as to cut the tube open and scoop out the remaining product into a small, lidded container in order to use every last drop.

What do you use to keep your eyeshadow from straying?

**Update:  I now wear powder mineral foundation, so I only have to apply UDPP once: over foundation, but under eyeliner/eyeshadow, still with flawless results.  Either way, liquid or powder foundation, I feel like some type of powder on your eyelids before you apply UDPP helps avoid creasing.



I was at Sephora recently, and saw a display for various moisturizers.  When I saw Josie Maran’s 100% Organic Argan Oil with claims of being able to “fade scars, heal acneic skin and smooth wrinkles,” I was intrigued. I received a healthy sample from the SA, and couldn’t wait to get home to try it out.  I have oily, acne-prone skin, so I was a little apprehensive about putting pure oil onto my face, but hey, I’ll try (almost) anything once!

That night, after washing my face, I sparingly applied a couple of drops to my face and gently smoothed it over my skin. I will admit, it did feel a tad sticky and oily at first, but it seemed to begin to sink in fairly quickly. I went to bed directly, so I can’t say for sure exactly how long it takes for it to totally sink in and not have that tacky feeling any longer…but I can proudly say that when I woke up in the morning, my face was not oily at all!

Here’s where the “miracle” aspect of argan oil comes into play: the acne that I had the night before was greatly diminished! I’ve been using this nightly for about two weeks now, and I can truly say that this lives up to its hype of fading scars and healing acneic skin!

The other night, I was at an out-of-town meeting and had to share a hotel room with a co-worker. We were washing our faces to get ready for bed, and as I was applying the argan oil to my face, I raved about it to my friend. Her mouth dropped and eyes widened, and I was like, “What’s wrong?” She said, “I’m standing here watching you put that stuff on your face and as you’re rubbing it in, the redness on your face is disappearing!” I told her, “Just wait until you see my face in the morning!” I had a couple of blemishes starting to form on my cheek (the kind that turn into red, angry cystic acne), and I told her, “See this? I’m going to apply a tad more oil onto this blemish, and I bet you $100 it will be gone in the morning.” Sure enough, when I woke up, my face was soft, smooth, and those blemishes were completely gone!

I am definitely recommending Pure Organic Argan Oil to everyone I know!

Update: I’ve been using argan oil as my facial moisturizer for over a year now, and I am loving it. I don’t really have any wrinkles yet, so I can’t speak for its “wrinkle-smoothing” properties but I feel like it has been keeping my skin wrinkle-free. My skin is no longer oily, my acne is healed, and my skin is super soft, smooth, and radiant!



One of my non-negotiable beauty items is an eyelash curler. I have pretty, long lashes but they are stick-straight–so an eyelash curler is a must!

I had been using the Shu Uemura eyelash curler for years, until 2010, when Shu came out with “upgraded” softer silicone curler pads. Sadly, these pads only lasted about a week or two until the metal from the curler started to cut into the pad, rendering them useless. For the price ($19), I expected these pads to last at least 6 months before needing replacement.

I started looking for a cheaper alternative to the Shu eyelash curler. I tried several from drugstore to other high-end brands, before finally settling on the BBeaute Beyond The Curleyelash curler. I got mine for around $11, and was pleased that they also sell refill pads for about $3 for a set of four.

The Bbeaute eyelash curler has been amazing every use! The curve of the curler itself is the perfect shape, and I have had zero pinching or tugging. The pads have lasted several months…in fact, I changed it at 6 months, but felt like I could have gotten even more out of it. This is a great alternative to the more expensive eyelash curlers out there.