Category:  skin


Skin-Saving Ingredient Spotlight: Hyaluronic Acid

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Plumper skin in the face? Yes, please. Plumper skin in the tummy region? Not so much. If only we could dictate where the extra lbs go… But since we can’t, we’re spotlighting one of our favorite skincare ingredient that’ll give you the volume where you actually want it.

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is not an acid at all; It’s actually a gentle hydrator that can be used on all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone because it is an ingredient that is naturally found in the body already. HA is the ingredient found in most dermal fillers because it holds up to 1000 times its weight in water. When used topically, fine lines and wrinkles literally disappear, while pores minimize and skin gently hydrates to its younger, smoother, healthier state. In other words, HA is the natural “dew” before “dewing” it up with highlighters and illuminators.

So, if you’re not using hyaluronic acid in your current skincare routine, it’s time to start. We’re not getting any younger.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum ($300) – Simply one of the best pure hyaluronic serums on the market. It’s infused with long and short-chain hyaluronic molecules that deeply penetrate the skin for instant hydration. You’ll look years younger after one use, but daily use will minimize wrinkles and loss of volume. Suitable for all skin types.

Honest Beauty Everything Primer ($27) – One of Jessica Alba’s favorite products, this primer offers a subtle golden finish for hat ethereal inner-goddess-glow. Hyaluronic acid and peony root smooth and plump for smaller pores, less prominent fine lines, and flawless looking skin. Wear alone or under makeup for longer-lasting product.

Paula’s Choice Resist Hyaluronic Acid Booster ($45) – Add this booster into your favorite moisturizer for instant plumping and volumizing effects. Ideal to use around the mouth and eye area to naturally “fill” fine lines.

Dr. Brandt Needles No More 3-D Filler Mask ($95) – A leave-on mask that aids in visually reshaping and revolumizing face contours. Created with a combination of peptides, Adipofill’in™ Complex, and hyaluronic acid to instantly plump, creating a more youthful complexion from the first use.

Hada Labo Ultimate Anti-Aging Facial Mask ($15 for set of 4)- Our obsession with sheet masks is never ending, and this one just happens to be chock-full of hyaluronic acid to smooth, firm, and plump the complexion. Suitable for all skin types.

Trish McEvoy Beauty Booster Eye Serum ($79) – While Trish McEvoy makes some fabulous makeup (we’re talking to you, High Volume Mascara), their skincare products are HG-amazing too. This particular lightweight hyaluronic acid and peptides-packed booster is one of our favorites for the delicate eye area. Add to your mouth area too for instant hydration and a more plumped appearance.

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6 Steps To Switching Up Your Summer Skincare Routine

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“Your skin is the largest living organ and is the first line of defense against all of the microbes and other hazards in the environment,” explains facialist and founder of eponymous skincare line, Cecilia Wong. “Though it can regenerate, repair, and restore itself, it’s important that we take very good care of it.”

So, how does the sun – and summer months – affect our skin? “During the summer, the sun is the strongest and UV levels can wreak havoc on exposed skin. Prolonged sun exposure can lead to premature aging, causing excessive oil and sweat, fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin discoloration, and loss of collagen, hydration and vitamins.”

But wait. There’s more… pay close attention, especially those suffering from acne. “The sun can also cause clogged pores, leading to whiteheads and small bumps. Heat can cause oil glands to work overtime, hence, the oily T-zone,” says Cecilia. “We also sweat more causing dehydration and loss of minerals and vitamins. In order to maintain a healthy radiant glow, we need to take the necessary steps to replenish and protect our skin daily.”

No need to hide in doors just yet. Here, Cecilia Wong offers up these 6 crucial steps and product recommendations to add into your summer skincare routine. Follow them, and you’ll save face.

1. Add in a Vitamin C product – Vitamin C contains loads of antioxidants that helps repair sun damage, reduce sunburn caused by exposure to ultraviolet B radiation and prevent the consequences of long-term sun exposure that leads to wrinkles, fine lines, uneven skin tone, and loss of collagen. Vitamin C is also great in preventing and reducing acne. I’d recommend using Vitamin C from plants or fruit oil which is less invasive and won’t irritate skin.
TRY: Peter Thomas Roth CC Cream; Cecilia Wong Skincare Vitamin C Cleanser

2. Switch to a lighter moisturizer – This goes for all skin types, even those with dry skin can experience sweat and oil during the summer. The dermis is made up of 70% water and the epidermis, 15%. In order to keep the skin well moisturized but not oily and greasy, it’s important to choose a water based moisturizer that balances the level of water within the skin. Don’t make the mistake of skipping this step altogether as it’s essential for your skin to remain hydrated. One way to discover if your moisturizer is too heavy is to check your skin an hour after applying – is your face filled with grease, especially the T-zone area and does your face feel heavy with the moisturizer sitting on your skin? If the moisturizer is too heavy, this can cause clogged pores leading to breakouts.
TRY: Ilike Sulfuric Whipped Moisturizer; Cecilia Wong Skincare Moisturizer for Oily/Combo Skin

3. Choose a higher SPF – During the summer, the UV index is the strongest. It’s important to wear sunscreen at all times, but especially between 11 A.M. AND 4 P.M. Sunscreen protects your skin from visible aging (sun spots, inflammation, uneven skin tone, rough texture, fine lines, wrinkles, loss of collagen and dehydration). Choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) rating of at least 30. For those with fair skin, malasma or prone to sun spots, opt for SPF 60. To be the most effective, sunscreen needs time to absorb into your skin. Apply 20-30 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours.
TRY: Coola Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30; La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 60 (both are suitable for all skin types)

4. Exfoliate – In the summer, skin cells are shed at a very quick rate daily, so if you don’t get rid of the dead cells sitting on top of your skin, they can cause it to look dull and dry. Exfoliating helps in removing dead and dull skin debris and prevents congestion and clogged pores. It also helps to improve better absorption from toners and moisturizers, helps even out any skin discoloration, draws excess oil out of the pores and leaves skin less shiny. I switch between using the Clarisonic (it really gets the dead skin off without over scrubbing and gives my skin a smoother texture) and enzyme based exfoliators. Enzyme based exfoliators contain minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, so not only do they get rid of dull skin, they are also anti-aging. Enzyme exfoliators are less harsh and drying than ones that contain glycolic or salicylic acid. They are also gentle enough for all skin types.
TRY: The Clarisonic; Ilike Sulphuric Exfoliator; Ilike Botanical AHA Peel

5. Add a Toning Mist into the mix – Extra sweat means that dirt, oils and other environmental chemicals are trapped close to the skin and your pores. It’s important to keep your pores closed and skin cool by using a non-alcohol based facial toner. Facial toners are refreshing and, with the right ingredients, they restore, repair and hydrate the surface of the skin. They can also kill bacteria that can cause acne and other blemishes. When you sweat, you lose minerals and nutrients necessary for healthy skin and a toner can add the necessary vitamins and nutrients. Stay away from alcohol or artificial fragrances.
TRY: Cecilia Wong Skincare Pro-biotic Charged Rejuvenating Toner Mist (for combination and oily skin); Ilike Rosehip Toner (for normal to dry skin)

6. Apply a Mask 2-3 time a week – For those with oily/combo skin or acne prone skin, use a clay or herb based mask. For sensitive and dry skin, use a hydrating mask. During the warmest months, acne and other blemishes (blackheads, whiteheads, small bumps) can occur. Other skin conditions can also flare up (heat rash and rosacea) and skin loses water, vitamins and other nutrients. Applying a mask can help rehydrate, cool and prevent breakouts by purifying and detoxifying the pores. It rejuvenates and repairs the skin from the day’s damage.
TRY: Cecilia Wong Skincare Multi-Purpose Blemish Peel Mask, Ilike Rich Carrot Mask (to hydrate)


The Best Sunscreen For Your Skin Type

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Although the list of summer essentials is fairly extensive (floppy hat…jean shorts…espadrilles…sunglasses…you get the point), sunscreen definitely tops it.  Quite simply, this item is a total non-negotiable.  While we know we need it, finding the right one isn’t always that easy.

Here we breakdown the best options for your specific skin needs, because the last thing you want is for your sunscreen to cause more harm than good!


When our editor Sarah says she lives and dies by a product, you listen.  Eltamd UV Clear ($30) is the only sunscreen she’ll use.  If you’ve previously struggled with sunscreen causing breakouts, this is the product for you.


La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Clear Skin Dry Sunscreen ($20) has a remarkably dry finish, but also works to absorb oil with perlite (naturally occurring volcanic glass) and silica.

If the 2PM oil-slick is an everyday occurrence, rely on Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Spray ($28) for an afternoon pick-me-up.


Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($65) can really work on all skin types.  Better yet, the formula blurs imperfections while simultaneously protecting.  A win-win product.


If your skin is dry regardless of season, try Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 ($32) to protect while also hydrating.

To fight signs of aging (in addition to the sun!), look to Kiehl’s Super Multi-Corrective Cream SPF 30 ($82).  It promotes elasticity and firmness, thanks to jasmonic acid and beech treat extract.


Even gentle formulas can contain irritating chemicals.  If you’ve fallen victim to this while attempting to protect your face, try Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Defense ($38).

While relying on retinols and acids can do wonders for your visage, it can make skin seriously sensitive.  Although far from glamorous, my dermatologist recommended Vanicream Sunscreen ($16) a few years ago and I haven’t looked back since.

Did we miss any of your favorites for your particular skin type?
Let us know in the comments below. 

-Casey Sharbaugh is the blogger behind


Weekly Must-Have: Patchology SmartMud Sheet Mask

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Clay masks belong the in the skincare hall of fame as a non-negotiable part of your regimen.  Unless your visage is majorly dry or sensitive,  everyone can benefit from the deep cleaning and oil-absorbing properties of clay, especially in the summertime heat.  Problem is, these adored masks can be an absolute mess to apply and rinse off, which can result in less frequent use.

It seems as though the skincare Gods heard our prayers and delivered us Patchology SmartMud No Mess Mud Masque Single Facial Sheet ($8).

Before this product, we relied on our favorite sheet masks to hydrate, plump, and brighten our skin.  This is the first we have found that includes hero-ingredient clay.  It comes in two sections for easy application, and quickly but effectively gets to work.

Besides the mess, clay masks can often be overly-drying and aggressive.  That is far from the case with Patchology’s SmartMud.  While it is cooling and deeply cleansing, there is no sense of tightness or redness post-application.  In fact, it’s gentle enough that I tend to leave it on for 20 minutes as opposed to the recommended 10.  What can I say–my pores need it!

If you want to take care of clogged pores without clogging your sink with mask remnants, this mask is for you.


Casey Sharbaugh is the blogger behind


Summer Skincare: The Brighter The Better

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The official start of summer is here, and to celebrate, we’re combing through our absolute favorite products for brighter skin. Because like the sun in summer (which shines bright like a diamond), our complexions deserve equal adulation and brightness. But heat, sun, ocean, and air conditioning tend to leave skin dull, dehydrated, and just…blah. Incorporate a few of these fine products into your skincare routine and you’ll have winning skin all season long:

Purlisse Blue Lotus Brightening Serum ($76) – A powerful nine-plant-extract-packed serum that treats uneven skin tone, dullness, discoloration, and age spots without hydroquinone. Ideal fora ll skin types, including sensitive.

Innisfree Jeju Sparkling Mineral Powder ($7) – A carbonated facial cleanser/ spa treatment that both cleans and brightens.

Luzern Laboratories Hydra-Enzyme Mask ($75) – This mask hydrates, exfoliates, and brightens thanks to pumpkin enzyme speeds, vitamin C, and organic licorice extract to fade discoloration. Skin looks plumper, dewier, and more youthful. Can be used on all skin types.

Kiehl’s Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque ($29) – A mask that brightens and exfoliates, thanks to turmeric (one of our favorite summer skincare ingredients) and cranberry seed. A delicious skin treat suitable for all skin types, even acne-prone.

GlamGlow Flashmud Brightening Treatment ($62) – Another fab face mask that brightens and exfoliates leaving skin glowing like the Goddess of Youth.

Clé de Peau Beauté Intensive Brightening Mask ($30 for 1 // $150 for 6) – Like a spa treatment in the comfort of your own home, this treatment mask aids in a more even skin tone by targeting sun and age spots and dullness. The leftover serum absorbs quickly for an instant, luminous glow.

*As always, but perhaps even more important with summer’s intense sun, follow all of these products with a SPF.

Have a favorite brightening product — or ingredient? Let us know in the comment section below!


#TBT: Acid (Not The LSD Type)

By | skin, tbt | 2 Comments
Children of the ’60s and ’70s hallucination generation spent more than their fair share of time tripping on acid (aka LSD). While we’d never condone taking drugs (well, not in this post at least), beauty addicts everywhere swear by acids in many other forms for common skin ailments from acne to aging.  In other words, modern society has learned to apply acid, not imbibe it. Drug free is the way to be!  Except for our precious visages, of course…

Dr. Julie Russak gave us a quick chemistry lesson about various acids for the skin. Here’s what we learned:

1. Different acids achieve different results. To treat acne, look for salicylic and beta hydroxy acid to decongest pores, as well as glycolic acid to encourage cell turnover. If you’re concerned with aging, try hyaluronic acid to plump and retinoic acid for a fresh glow. Struggling with hyperpigmentation? Ascorbic acid and kojic acid can help lighten and repair sun damage.

2. Aggressive acid peels should be left to the professionals, lest you want to risk serious burns and scarring. TCA (trichloroacetic acid) is extremely strong, so be wary. Everyone remembers Samantha’s unfortunate incident before Carrie’s book party in Sex and the City… enough said.

3. Professional peels should happen approximately every two weeks for a specific condition, and then every two to three months for maintenance. If you’re treating at home, resurfacing serums can be used as often as every evening.

4. If you like playing chemist and mixing your products, be careful. Products with low concentrations are generally okay to mix, but take care not to disrupt the skin barrier with excessive use.

With Dr. Russak’s tips in mind, we rounded up our favorite products with acids as an active ingredient:

As we get older, aging becomes more of a concern. That being said, our acne woes have all but completely disappeared. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum ($90) not only clears pores, but also promotes collagen production. Despite trying a slew of serums on the regular, this one has remained in heavy rotation.

Acid near the eyes can sound scary, but that is far from the case with Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Eye Cream ($68). The creamy formula moisturizes and smoothes with ferulic acid and retinol; no high school chemistry class eyewash required.

Since our oil glands tend to go into overdrive when it’s humid, pores are begging to be cleaned. First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Blemish Patrol Pads ($30) control oil and shine with salicylic acid, but simultaneously soothe with willowbark extract.

Although no one likes to talk about it, flaky scalps are a common ailment. SACHAJUAN Scalp Treatment ($45) treats irritation with rosemary oil, menthol, and salicylic acid. Plus, it’s much chicer than stealing your dad’s Head and Shoulders.

Sometimes skin needs powerful hydration, but who wants to glop on thick cream during the summer? Erno Laszlo Hydra-Therapy Refresh Infusion ($100) deeply hydrates with hyaluronic acid, but with a light and easily absorbable formula.

Acne on the face is annoying enough, but adding your back, chest, and shoulders is just icing on the cake. Neutrogena Body Clear Body Wash ($8) cleans off dirt and sweat while treating those pesky spots with salicylic acid.

Brighter and firmer skin in two minutes is a bold claim. However, M-61 Fast Blast ($50) does that and more thanks to vitamin C and ascorbic acid. And don’t worry about irritation since there’s also plenty of seaweed and aloe to soothe.


-Casey Sharbaugh is the blogger behind


Weekly Must-Have: Tatcha Balanced Pore Perfecting Water Gel

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Combination and oily skin types have (finally) met their (moisturizing) match. Tatcha Balanced Pore Perfecting Water Gel ($68) is the ideal moisturizer to balance combination, oily, and shiny complexions while still providing a healthy, dewy glow. READ: THIS PRODUCT WILL NOT GIVE YOU A MATTE APPEARANCE. And FYI, matte isn’t really trending for summer (see here for proof).

Why we like it: Tatcha’s Balanced Pore Perfecting Water Gel is lightweight and refreshing. The formula almost feels (and smells) like water. But the coolest part about this product is that it contains specks of 23-karat gold to offer instant shimmer. Like a very subtle highlight for the entire face, basking in an ethereal glow, without the shine. Japanese wild rose tightens pores while Japanese dokudami and leopard lilly diminish shine and the appearance of blemishes.

As us combination and oily skin folk know, it’s difficult to find a product that will balance oil and shininess without totally mattifying the skin. Well, this product does it! The complexion looks so healthy and dewy (in all the right places) after application, it truly is like the best Instagram filter.

One word to describe Tatcha’s Balanced Pore Perfecting Water Gel: Obsessed.



Trending: Glossy Summer Skin

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When you think of the word glossy, does uber-slick, shiny, maybe even sticky come to mind? Yeah, us too.

But summer’s glossy skin is actually more of a dew that looks both natural and healthy. Sure, no-makeup-makeup is nothing new, but adding gloss to eyes, lips, even cheeks hasn’t exactly been the summer go-to… until now.

Take, for example, the new non-touring trend that kicks contouring back to fall and instead focuses on the glow (usually manufactured). And then there’s the shiny lips of summer (try an oil instead of a sticky gloss of yesteryear) and the glossy lids – all trends worth exploring this season. And if your skin is naturally oily, you’re in luck! Not much you need to do but perhaps carry blotting papers to soak up t-zone slickness. The rest, well, that’s on-trend.

Milk Makeup Face Gloss ($20) – A colorless, non-sticky, face sheen that brightens and highlights cheeks, lips, eyes, and anything else that requires a hint of highlight.

Lancôme Juicy Shaker ($21) – You may remember Juicy Tubes, Lance’s colt-favorite gloss of the millennium, and Juicy Shakers follow where the tubes left off. Wearable colors with gorgeous shine. Except shakers aren’t sticky (yes!). Instead, they’re infused with oils to soften, soothe, and impart shine. Juicy Tubes 2.0.

Lano Lanolin 101 Ointment Multipurpose Superbalm ($19) – Think of this as the all-natural version of multitasking salve, Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. As we’ve mentioned before, the fastest way to get the glossy lid look is with a dab of high-shine ointment. Well, Lano Lanolin Superbalm gives the gloss without the toxic ingredients. And for even more on-trend eyelid love, start by applying a metallic cream shadow, like RMS BeautyEye Polish in universally flattering Lunar ($28) first, which will just add more drama, gloss, shine, and sparkle to the lids. Then finish with a dab of Superbalm. Bitchin’!

turmeric mask

DIY: Turmeric Face Mask

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Turmeric has long been a spice used to add flavor in Indian dishes. But it’s also a fabulous all-natural anti-acne ingredient that kills bacteria. Yes, the color is a bright yellow that, for some, may be a bit frightening but the benefits are so worth it (and so will that Instagram pic of you with the mask!). Besides being a holy grail ingredient for acne, turmeric can also help soften fine lines and wrinkles for an overall glowing complexion on all skin types.

Here’s a simple and effective DIY Tumeric Face Mask for acne-prone skin types. It’ll take 2 minutes to make!

What You’ll Need:
1 Tbsp of turmeric powder
1 Tsp raw and organic honey
1 Tsp plain, organic yogurt (for oily skin, opt for fat free or skim)

Benefits of the Ingredients:
Turmeric – High in anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants to soothe, heal, and reduce redness caused by acne or skin conditions like eczema and rosacea.
Honey – A natural humectant that binds moisture into the skin; antioxidant and antibacterial-rich to help with sun damage and acne.
Yogurt – Contains enzymes and lactic acid to exfoliate, hydrate, and soothe while evening skin tone.

Mix the turmeric powder with the yogurt, then add in the honey to create a thick paste. If the formula feels to watery, add more honey. Apply the paste to your face, sit back, relax, and remove 15-20 minutes later with a warm washcloth.

Create a new batch for each use (you can do it, it’s easy enough even for us culinary-challenged folk).

For a quick spot treatment, combine a few drops of filtered water with turmeric powder to create a paste. Apply directly to affected areas, like pimples or overly red skin.


The Review: Glossier Haloscope

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To highlight or not to highlight… that’s not even a question anymore. These days, it’s all about the highlighting. In fact, illuminating our face with a shimmering strobe-like product has practically become a part of our skincare routine, not our makeup application.

So, it makes perfect sense that hipster-favorite brand Glossier has decided to add Haloscope ($22) (their term for highlighters) into their “skin first, makeup second” range of beauty products.

Glossier Haloscope comes in two shades: Quartz, a shimmery silverish/white, and Topaz, a shimmery gold. Both hues are universally flattering and give good glow. In fact, the formula effortlessly blends leaving just a hint of shimmer and sheen. The result, that coveted, I-woke-up-looking-so-healthy-and-dewy complexion.

If you have to choose just one hue, fair, light, and medium skin-toned ladies should opt for the pearlized Quartz. Medium-to-olive, olive, and deep complexions should use Topaz, as it imparts a hint of gold that can overwhelm fairer complexions (unless you’re going for that bronzey-tan look). But honestly, they’re both pretty perfect, and we’ve been known to combine the two shades to create a shimmer that practically mimics our own personal skin tone.

No makeup-makeup: kind of exactly what Glossier is all about. Brava, beauties.



About Beauty Banter
Beauty Banter was launched in July of 2006 as a comprehensive beauty blog covering trends, tips and tricks, insider secrets, and weekly must-haves. Beauty Banter has a reputation of being on the cutting edge of emerging trends and product launches so our readers are always the first to know what’s hot and what’s just not.