Kocostar’s hydrogel patches seal in hydration that lasts for hours and deliver a mini self-care moment for you, too.
Keeping your lips moisturized in winter can sometimes feel like a never-ending battle. Lip balm is great but you often have to keep applying it — over and over again. And if you forget your tube somewhere — ahhhh — that tight, cracked skin instantly comes back.
Isn’t there an easier solution, you might wonder? Enter Kocostar Lip Masks. Similar to how you apply a hydrating mask on your face, these nifty hydrogel patches stick to your lips to deliver a heavy dose of hydration. Each fun, fruit-inspired one is enriched with botanicals, including caster seed oil, blueberry extract, aloe leaf juice powder and peppermint extract. To use, simply pop on your (clean) lips and let sit for about 10 minutes. Since the mask forms an occlusive barrier over your skin, the ingredients penetrate deeper than any balm. After you remove, make sure to rub in the remaining gel for extra nourishment. The result: super moisturized, dewy and plump lips for hours.
The only slightly awkward part is that while the mask is on you can’t talk or move your lips. Also, it helps to lean back or lay down to keep the mask in place. But take this as a self-care moment: meditate, listen to a podcast, tune inward for 10 minutes. If this means never having to worry about chapped lips again, consider this time well spent.
Whether you routinely find yourself standing in front of a shelf of self-care products unable to decide what to buy because you have no idea what the labels are trying to tell you, or you just buy everything and hope you can decode it all in the safety of your bathroom, this one’s for you.
Knowing exactly what your beauty product’s label is trying to tell you (or not tell, in some cases) is extremely important, especially if you’re trying to use green products or have an allergy. But many companies use intentionally confusing language or insider jargon to distract from what’s really going on inside the bottle. Luckily, if you know what to look for and what the terms mean, it’s pretty simple to figure out. Here are some commonly used terms and what you need to know about them.
Simply put, active ingredients are the ones that can biologically affect skin. They’re almost always found at the top of an ingredient list and likely have a percentage next to them. They’re also regulated by the FDA to ensure that they are, in fact, active, and as such, are considered “cosmetics that are also drugs.” The most common active ingredients you find in skincare are acids (glycolic, alpha hydroxy, etc.), retinol and vitamin C. Often, the active ingredient is the reason you buy the product.
Thanks to a lack of regulation on self-care products in the United States, ‘fragrance’ is simply a catchall term for any ingredient (or combination of ingredients) that adds a scent to a product. Manufacturers often hide harmful, hormone-disrupting chemicals under the term without having to list them out on an ingredient deck. These anonymous chemical blends can also cause skin irritation and sensitivity, so use with caution.
In literal terms, hypoallergenic means “less allergenic” or less likely to cause allergic reaction. As far as self-care goes, this is an important delineation if you have sensitive or reactive skin. That said, it’s an extremely broad term and one that isn’t always a guarantee. Allergic reactions are complex. Irritations are complex. Your body is complex. Think about how many different allergens exist in the world; some people are even allergic to water! So just because an ingredient doesn’t cause a reaction in 99 people doesn’t mean the same will happen on your skin, so proceed with caution even if a label denotes something as hypoallergenic. There are no allergy-proof products!
Since “comedo/comedones” is the official term for blackheads, you’re likely to see this phrase on facial skin products, as non-comedogenic is meant to connote that the product won’t clog your pores. Look for it on anything that’s meant to treat acne-prone or oily skin. However, while non-comedogenic products are formulated with ingredients that typically won’t clog pores, that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed not to break out as there aren’t any guidelines in place denoting non-comedogenic from comedogenic ingredients.
You’re most likely to see this on a jar of coconut oil, but it means the same thing across self-care products. When something is raw, it has not been heated or chemically treated, meaning that what you’re applying to your body is as close to the natural ingredient in its wild, pure state as possible.
Think of a refined ingredient as the opposite of a raw one: it has been heated or chemically treated, which means that what you’re applying to your body is not 100% pure ingredient.
Again, a lack of regulation makes it incredibly easy to slap the term ‘natural’ on a label without anything to back it up. Many products that claim to be natural are likely just jumping on a marketing trend. They may have a handful of straight-from-nature ingredients in their formulations, but they’re likely buried under a slew of other not-so-good-for-you ingredients. Before assuming something that says it’s natural actually is, take a close look at the list of ingredients: if the plant and herb names you recognize are at the very bottom of the list and they’re preceded by a bunch of stuff you can’t pronounce, assume it’s not as natural as it claims to be.
Three cheers for regulation! To be “organic,” a product needs to pass a test of sorts put forth by the USDA: it has to contain at least 95% organic ingredients that have been grown and processed under a strict code of guidelines, and be free of additives.
Another marketing phrase, but not necessarily a harmful one. When something claims to be “non-toxic,” it simply means that the product doesn’t use or contain ingredients that have been linked to a toxic response, like hormone disruption, in humans. This means the product is likely free of additives like phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde and petroleum, all of which have been linked to toxic response.
They may look a whole lot like what you’d add to your daily cup of coffee or morning cereal… but, in fact, milky cleansers are secret weapons for anyone with skin that’s sensitive, reactive, dry, or even acne-prone.
Foams. Gels. Bars. Balms. Oils. We’ve covered ‘em all when it comes to the types of cleansers there are out there. But one we haven’t really talked about yet? Milky cleansers.
To answer the obvious up top: no, they do not contain milk. Rather, the name comes from the texture and appearance. Milky cleansers (sometimes known as cream cleansers or cleansing milk), look a whole lot like what you’d add to your daily cup of coffee or morning cereal, but are, in fact, secret weapons for anyone with skin that’s sensitive, reactive, dry, or even acne-prone.
What makes a cleanser “milky”?
Unlike many of the cleansers you’ve probably already used, milky cleansers don’t foam. At all. Because of this, they may take some getting used to, especially if you’re the kind of person who believes that unless there are bubbles, it’s not working (I promise it is!).
Instead of relying on a foaming agent to do the cleansing work, milk cleansers are made up of emollient-rich ingredients like oils (jojoba and squalene are two popular types) and vitamin E that break down dirt, makeup and grime much like an oil cleanser. The emollient ingredients in a milky cleanser latch onto oil and dirt (like dissolves like) and removes them without stripping your skin.
Why should I care?
Well, if you like your skin, you should care about milky cleansers. Since these formulas let their ingredients do the work (as opposed to the suds of some other cleansers), they are literally nicer to your skin. The ingredients mimic your dermis’ natural state, thereby respecting your skin by keeping it calm and balanced with ingredients it recognizes, not irritating it with harsh foaming agents. The same oils and emulsifiers that cleanse also soothe redness and inflammation, and lock in moisture.
Should I be using a milky cleanser?
Milky cleansers are unique in that they are great for a wide range of skin types. Since they lock in moisture, dry and mature skin can benefit from milky cleansers. But so can skin that’s oily or acne-prone or sensitive.
Most skincare products that claim to help oily or acneic skin are packed with drying ingredients like salicylic acid. But when skin gets too dry, the sebaceous glands go into overdrive and produce more oil than is necessary. In order to keep things balanced and hydrated, consider adding a milky cleanser to your skincare routine if you’re also using products for acne and oil. Simply drying out your skin won’t fix things; you have to bring skin back to a normalized, balanced state, and milky cleansers keep skin’s pH more balanced than something that foams.
How do I use a milky cleanser?
Just like a regular cleanser, except there won’t be a bunch of bubbles to wash away when you’re done.
If you’re using a milky cleanser in the morning or on makeup-free skin, proceed as usual. On dry skin, massage a few pumps of milky cleanser into your face. Wet your fingertips and continue to massage. After about 60 seconds, rinse your face.
If you’re wearing makeup or feeling particularly oily, consider cleansing twice. The first pass will remove the surface layer of makeup and dirt, so you’ll likely need to go back again for a second pass to actually cleanse the skin and let skin benefit from the cleanser’s ingredients.
Can one clean, genius product revolutionize your entire routine?
When I ask Genevieve Tan about the kind of feedback she’s getting for her wonder product, an understated tube of Organic Healing Balm, she replies simply, “this stuff is magic.” And as the do-it-all salve celebrates its first birthday this month, loyal fans of her London-based brand The Gentle Label might be onto something.
Like a stepped-up version of the Paw Paw ointments makeup artists and models swear by backstage every NYFW, the Organic Healing Balm brings another power player into the mix. Derived from papaya, natural enzymes resurface lips without the need for chemical exfoliants, while Tan’s addition of nourishing calendula heals dry, chapped skin. “Conventional balms create the illusion of moisture, while their harsh ingredients can cause skin to become irritated, dry out, and age much more quickly than it should,” she shares of her instinct to nix petrochemicals from the recipe.
Its main purpose? Multi, of course. “It can be used anywhere from hair to heels,” Tan explains of her goal to make a unisex, streamlined product with the potential to be the only moisturizer you need to pack. “It soothes and heals cuts, burns, and bites, and it even provides relief after a fresh wax or new tattoo,” she notes of the lip-balm-meets-primer-meets-hand-cream-meets-makeup-remover-meets-wonder-salve. Below, a few of Tan’s bonus tips for maximizing the modern minimalist’s newest essential:
1. Apply a thin layer to lips and leave on while doing the rest of your make-up. Blot off just prior to applying lipstick for a smoother canvas and stronger, longer-lasting colour.
2. Dab onto a cotton swab to clean up eyeliner mistakes or smudged mascara without having to remove all of your eye makeup at once.
3. Turn powder pigments into a natural, dewy blush or tinted lip gloss by blending with a bit of balm.
For when you just don’t have the time (or willpower) to shower…
We’re told not to wash our hair every day. That doing so will dry it out and lead to unhealthy, parched hair. That too-clean hair is a bad thing. That it’ll mess with our natural texture and strip necessary, natural oils from our strangs and scalps. All of which I am happy to avoid, but not if it means walking around looking like I just dunked my head in a vat of oil.
I know, I know…it’s a bit vain. But listen — when my hair and scalp starts to feel greasy, the rest of my body does, too. Even if I just stepped out of the shower or washed my face, I can’t help but imagine everything looks like my unwashed hair — dirty and oily. If you feel the same way, rest assured that you’ve got some options other than throwing your hair into a ponytail and calling it a day. What’s more? You can even prevent greasy hair with a few sneaky tricks.
So when you just don’t have the time (or willpower) to shower…
This stuff is the best if used wisely and should have a place in your medicine cabinet even if you’re not afflicted with greasy hair. (It works great as a quick volumizer and adds killer texture to hair.) How does it work? The starch or powder in the dry shampoo soaks up excess oil and grease, making your hair look cleaner. While it’s not a one-to-one substitute for real shampoo, it’s basically in-between-days magic.
When your roots are feeling slick, grab that dry shampoo , shake it up (so you don’t release too much product), and spray onto roots from about eight inches away. Be sure to work in layers, lifting your hair from the crown to your neck so you hit your whole scalp and don’t just dust if over the top. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, then brush it through with a boar bristle brush to evenly distribute the oil. You can also work the dry shampoo into your roots for more volume by pushing it around with your fingertips.
You know those nifty little sheets you swipe across your face to remove oil and shine without smudging makeup? They work for your hair too. If you’re already carrying them around for skin purposes, grab a couple to blot oil from your scalp in the same way. Press the sheets into your scalp between chunks of hair, blotting at the roots. It’ll feel a little weird to blot your hair, but these babies work wonders on visibly greasy roots.
If you can’t beat it, join it. Embrace those oily roots by styling your hair so it looks intentional. Pull it back into a sleek low bun or ponytail. Pile it up into a high bun to hide the oil at the front of your head. Or mist with salt spray, braid and blast with hot air from a blow dryer for ropey, beachy, textured waves.
Not into simply masking greasy hair? Here are a few things you can do to prevent it…
Reconsider your shampoo.
It might sound counterintuitive, but stop washing your hair so much. When you shampoo, you strip the scalp of natural oils that it then needs to replace. Often, this means that your scalp goes into overdrive (much like your face when it’s dry), and the result is greasy hair. If you’re washing every day, try going down to every other day. If you’re already doing that, try every three or four days.
In terms of the actual shampoo, look for a sulfate-free formula. Sulfates are the detergents found in conventional shampoos and soaps that cause foaming, something that can dry out and strip natural oils from the scalp. A lightweight, sulfate-free shampoo will cleanse and restore the hair and scalp without being too drying.
Use conditioner sparingly.
Conditioner is an important part of your haircare routine, but only if used correctly. Instead of glopping it on from root to end, only apply a pea-sized amount to the bottom half of your hair. So, mid-shaft to the ends. This will prevent the product from weighing down hair and causing oily roots.
+ Shop all FP Beauty + Wellness haircare products here!
Olivia Clementine’s organic botanical oils are more than fresh fragrances…
Can scent reprogram the body? According to Olivia Clementine, who launched her organic, biodynamic botanical-scented oils after training as an herbalist, it may be the speediest balancing act. “The quickest impact is through our pathways of smell — we have an instant response,” she explains. “This can help our nervous system relax, our mind focus, our hearts and bodies find reprieve.”
Splitting time between Hudson Valley and the Berkshires, Clementine manages to keep production as green as possible, formulating products with ecologically grown and wild-gathered ingredients. “We are made from the earth, it has what we need,” she shares of her attitude toward plant-based remedies and the importance of staying connected with nature. Below, her helpful scent guide for real life:
“So many of us have stagnation in our systems,” notes Clementine, who recommends Lymph Love’s blend of chaparral, sage, and poke root, a potent weed traditionally used to keep the immune system flowing, for everything from swollen glands to cysts.
“Who doesn’t need Heart Love?” Clementine asks as we discuss the oil infused with herbs that “support the heart in tenderness, hurt, openness and boundaries” like rose geranium, ylang ylang, and motherwort. “Roll it on whenever you’re feeling the need for a little extra care.”
As much an oil as it is a balm, this is her go-to for cuts, scrapes, and bruises “both physical and emotional.” With healing herbs like arnica, yarrow, and ashwagandha, this blend “allows us to take care of ourselves and each other.”
“Once it’s out, that’s it,” she shares of the limited-edition fragrance she blends annually from secret ingredients gathered through the seasons. This year’s scent is both “foresty” and “extremely grounding and soul-nourishing.”
And…she’s got tips on how to remove turmeric stains from your fingers — how awesome is this??! Learn more from Minna at our Soho wellness pop-up on 2/18!
Your zodiac sign:
I’m a Libra, through and through! Super passionate, drawn to balance and harmony, and loves accentuating the beautiful things in life.
You talk on your site about the creation of Live24k as a solution to your own bout with inflammation. Can you tell us why you turned to turmeric?
The start of the Live 24k’s Golden Fuel was inspired by my own journey with managing my autoimmune disease — Hashimoto’s. In late 2014 before I was properly diagnosed, I quickly gained 10 pounds and lost it, had cystic acne all over my face, my digestion was a disaster, it hurt to put my own body’s weight on my feet to stand, and my rings no longer fit on my new sausage fingers. I was so exhausted I’d fall asleep on the floor and the effort of getting up for a glass of water felt like climbing Mount Everest. This confusing mess all happened within two weeks!
After my first doctor dismissed me with a Rx note for thyroid medication and a shrug, I was determined to seek out answers. I also discovered I had leaky gut issues, which can occur from severe inflammation and autoimmune issues. I had read the praises of turmeric as an anti-inflammatory hero, so I decided to go all in.
I created a golden milk blend (that later became Golden Fuel!) with collagen for my leaky gut and joint pain. I drank a concentrated golden milk cortado every morning for 3 weeks and my symptoms went from a 10+ to a 3 — even I, being a nutrition coach, was astonished at the results.
Do you have any tips for removing turmeric stains from fingers? ;)
Goodness knows, I’ve become a turmeric stain removal master. You can’t help it after you’ve stained everything in a 500 sq-foot apartment yellow after months of recipe development — I even stained my white pillowcase yellow once because I didn’t realize turmeric had gotten in my hair!
We have an entire page on our site dedicated to turmeric stain removal help, but the key things are: get to it immediately as turmeric is photo-sensitive (so put blenders, containers, and other stained items under the sunlight and it’ll fade), and dish soap is amazing for clothing. For skin, add a little sugar or salt to dish soap, and scrub, scrub, scrub!
What is the vital importance of imbibing black pepper with turmeric?
Even though curcumin (the important compound in turmeric) has proven to have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and even cancer-inhibiting properties, its prominence in western medicinal practices has yet to be due to poor bioavailability — it metabolizes too quickly in your liver and intestinal wall for your body to actually benefit from it.
But when curcumin is paired with piperine, the superhero compound in black pepper, the bioavailability of turmeric increases by 2000% by slowing down the metabolization, giving your body a chance to absorb the benefits. Turmeric’s nutrients are also fat soluble, so it should be paired with a fat source as well — which is why we include coconut milk powder for its MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides)!
What’s your favorite color?
I have always loved earthy green tones, but now I’m just obsessed with Live 24k’s signature powder blue. My friends think it’s hilarious that my formerly black wardrobe suddenly has a ton of vibrant golden and powder blue hues!
Favorite go-to beauty/wellness tip?
Spend your energy on figuring out what works for you, instead of wasting time chasing other people’s routines — one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to health and beauty. For example, my sister is the closest person to me, genetically speaking,, yet our physicality and health regimens could not be more different.
I’ll be co-teaching this class with my good friend and fellow blogger, Jules of Om & The City, and during this class in February, we’ll be focusing on the intention of listening to your gut and core. It’ll be a little mix of yoga and functional movement, complete with iced Golden Fuel lattes!
For the class, we’ll be focusing on engaging and utilizing your core and hips throughout all movements, including gut-cleansing twists and rotational strength movements. Together, we’ll be guiding our participants to bring their minds and breath to the integral center of their bodies to be our strongest, most centered selves.
Can you share something that anyone unable to attend your workshop can incorporate into her daily routine?
When I coach my training clients or teach classes, I always like to emphasize quality movement > quantity. As we trainers frequently say, we aren’t interested in how many times you can perform something poorly. It’s so much more beneficial for us to concentrate on executing with the best form possible, rather than trying to get in a million reps. So the next time you’re in a class or at the gym, focus your efforts on that!
I used to send informational articles on fitness and habit change to my training clients but I always had to add in commentary of pointing out certain things that weren’t fact-based, that I disagreed with, or that I wanted to add to. I especially didn’t like the type of content out there that was meant to motivate people towards a healthy lifestyle, yet used shaming tactics instead of empowerment. So when I was sidelined with hip surgery recovery in 2014, I decided to finally create that hub of inspiration and information that I was searching for! As my mindset also has evolved since then, the blog has evolved into a much more 360º approach to healthy living than just fitness and nutrition.
“Minnaly” is a play off of my full name (Minna Lee) and sounded like an adverb to me — a way to describe something. So I named the blog Living Minnaly as a way to represent the way I strive to live my life — living authentically and vulnerably, embracing the inevitable obstacles in life, and constantly chasing growth.
Best and worst pieces of advice you were ever given:
Worst piece of advice would be anytime I was told to “play it cool.” Playing games or faking lack of interest, whether it be about a situation or a person, doesn’t serve anyone — you just end up losing out on an opportunity to connect.
What does a perfect world look like to you?
I don’t know about utopia, but I do hope for a world in which people are more willing to own their fears and to be vulnerable with one another. I think a lot of the current climate comes from the ability to connect more than ever; yet, we are more isolated than ever. We need to get up closer to those from whom we feel so different — as my favorite Brené Brown says, “people are hard to hate up close.”
Skin Gym founder Karina Sulzer shares the easy steps to mastering ancient rejuvenation techniques…
“Women are working out at the gym every day, but still forgetting to work out the most important feature — their face!” enthuses Karina Sulzer, the brains behind Skin Gym, her LA-based beauty tool brand that’s become an authority on those dainty crystal rollers that you’ve surely seen, but likely furrowed your brow in confusion on how to properly utilize.
THE NEEDLE-FREE INTENTION
“I want to change the way women take care of their skin,” says Sulzer of her creations like Black Obsidian Beauty Wands and Citrine Healing Stones, all designed with crystals ethically sourced from Brazil. “I wanted a more natural beauty tool to use with my skincare products and couldn’t find the solution, so I created my own,” she shares of her motive for delivering a chemical-free, cruelty-free option for a generation that wants to “age gracefully, and without needles.”
THE TIME-HONORED WORKOUT
The #skingymworkout has quickly gained a following, counting loyal fans like model Ireland Basinger Baldwin amongst the brand’s facial fitness converts. Touting benefits like increased blood circulation, boosted lymphatic drainage (read: reduced puffiness), and better skin elasticity, the ancient method of facial toning and beautification is experiencing a modern revival.
THE GYM MASTERCLASS
In an effort to remove any mystery behind the brand’s Blue Soladite Roller, Beauty Wands, and Healing Stone Pouches, Sulzer breaks down the how? why? and which? for each option.
Blue Soladite Face Roller:
Just released at the end of last year, “The Bluey” has already become one of the brand’s top sellers for its complexion-balancing properties. “Blue Sodalite is excellent for hydrating skin cells and overall health of the skin,” Sulzer explains of the stone that “calms inflammation as well as promotes healing.”
Step 2: Starting at your chin, work from the center outward and upward onto your cheeks. Then make sweeping rolls from the center of your chin toward your collarbones, working outwards to the sides of your neck.
Step 3: From the center of your neck, roll outward and upward, working up to every section of your face.
PRO TIP: “We HIGHLY recommend putting your roller or wand in the fridge and freezer to keep it super cold — this is the ultimate trick for maximum de-puffing in the morning!”
Introduced to the collection this month, the crystal wands can be utilized like a miniature stone foam roller for your face and body. “Since ancient times, crystal wands have been used for healing by healers all over the world — there is not really a right or wrong way to use your wand,” notes Sulzer of the pretty stones.
EACH WAND’S BENEFITS:
Rose Quartz Crystal Beauty Wand:
“Rose Quartz purifies and opens the heart at all levels, while delivering inner healing and clear complexity. The powerful love vibrations penetrate your heart down to a cellular level, rejuvenating and reprogramming your skin cells. This ‘emotional healer’ can be used to reduce and release impurities and stress in the skin. Its best for detoxing, lifting, and softening fine lines and wrinkles, alongside draining toxins and negativity.”
Black Obsidian Crystal Beauty Wand:
“Black Obsidian has the most potent energies; with elements of fire, water, and earth. It has traits to awaken the inner warrior in you. With consistent use it brings imbalances to the surface so that they can be released. This healing effect penetrates the skin and rejuvenates on all levels. Negative energies are magnified so that they can be set free, benefiting your muscle tissues over time.”
Clear Quartz Crystal Beauty Wand:
“Clear Quartz is known as the Master Healer, because it is the most powerful healing stone and is great to pair with other crystals in order to amplify their energy. Clear quartz has a very high silica content, which is an important mineral for our skin health.”
Citrine Crystal Beauty Wand:
“Citrine is a gemstone of light, happiness and abundance. It is known as the most powerful gemstone for manifestation. It inspires one to achieve their goals, and brings energy and joy to the surface.”
HOW TO USE:
“Massaging the face with the wand can revitalize by increasing blood circulation, and improved circulation from regular massages can make skin look brighter and more awake,” Selzer shares.
Step 1: Pair it with a facial oil, serum or moisturizer to increase effectiveness and product absorption.
Step 2: Roll the wand very gently in an upwards motion over the face, then press gently against your skin working from your neck towards the forehead.
Healing Stones Pouches
Energetically charged through shamanic ceremony to empower their intention, Sulzer touts these little gems as her secret weapon. “I DO NOT LEAVE MY HOUSE without my healing pouch,” she assures, noting that the possibilities are endless for how best to use them.
EACH CRYSTAL’S BENEFITS:
“The ultimate beauty crystal, known as the Crystal of Venus, goddess of love and beauty. Infuse your face with all the rose quartz minerals.”
“Powerful and protective crystal that soothes away day-to- day stresses. Calms inflammation and great for acne-prone skin.”
“Optimistic. Can be used to assist with seasonal depression and to bring opportunity and creative energy.”
“Protects against negative energy and promotes positivity.”
“Provides relief and support for female issues.”
HOW TO USE:
Step 1: Place the stones on your skin to ease tension away and get rid of negative energy.
Step 2: Carry the pouch in your purse, place the stones on your nightstand, or even under your pillow to attract love and provide positive energy.
It’s time to put an end to detoxifying with toxic skin care…
“Breakout-fighting” products have historically been a gamble. Even those that appear to work are often laden with chemicals that can feed an angry cycle of generating dried out, damaged complexions that keep customers coming back for another round of toxic skin care. What’s the point of clear skin if the end result is unhealthy?
“It’s critical to stay in the know of scientific studies to avoid any ingredients that are the subject of controversy — ‘when in doubt, formulate out.’”
“My goal has always been to create a clean, healthy line that delivers visible benefits,” says Indie Lee of her eponymous label that’s spent the last decade doing exactly that. Lee was inspired to create the cruelty-free label after managing to beat the odds on a cancerous brain tumor, one quite possibly caused by the toxic skin care that was a mainstay in her former routine. “I started researching and the more I learned, the more I knew that I had to make a change in the industry — after waking up from very risky brain surgery, I started creating clean products in my kitchen.” Fast forward through 9 years of collaboration with top chemists, and the Leaping Bunny-certified brand has managed to woo fans like comedic bombshell January Jones and fashion-meets-beauty guru Eva Chen with its gentle remedies along the way.
Now touting a trio of skin clarifying cocktails that are turning the industry’s acne product reputation on its head, Indie Lee’s Blemish Lotion, Blemish Stick, and Clarifying Mask are salicylic acid-packed natural wonders. “I believe that we can benefit from ancient wisdom and the healing powers of plants, particularly when their efficacy is amplified by science,” shares Lee of their powerful green ingredients. “It’s critical to stay in the know of scientific studies to avoid any ingredients that are the subject of controversy — ‘when in doubt, formulate out.’”
Having struggled with acne in her 30s, Lee was a fan of the clarifying results of drying lotions, but realized that most popular options were formed with a much-debated ingredient: Talc. “I wanted to create a lotion that was just as effective without this ingredient,” she explains. “My Blemish Lotion contains colloidal sulfur and salicylic acid to draw out impurities, reduce excess oil and clarify the skin, while Zinc oxide works in tandem to soothe and calm.” According to Lee, finding the right skin care regime to support a healthy lifestyle is an absolute must.
“When it comes to breakouts, the Blemish Stick and the Blemish Lotion are a tag team duo,” says Lee of her popular imperfection-shrinking pairing. “The Lotion is great at night when you don’t mind pink spots on your face,” she explains of the rose-tinted mineral clay that pulls debris from pores to “work its magic.” During the day, the Blemish Stick’s clear formula can be applied under or over makeup for more a covert coverage option. “Discretion is everything,” she admits. “I know first-hand how breaking out can impact your self-esteem. I wanted a product that could be used during the day without bringing further attention to the blemish.” With its lipgloss-like application and transparency, the Blemish Stick’s glycolic acid and witch hazel blend works to reduce the appearance of redness and inflammation on skin’s surface.
A Clarifying Conditioner for Your Face
“I think with our hectic stress-filled lives today—not to mention polluted atmosphere, eating on the go, and holding cell phones to our faces—it can become increasingly challenging to keep your skin clear and healthy,” says Lee of the struggle. Rather than leeching every last drop of oil from your complexion in an effort to detoxify, Indie Lee’s Clearing Mask decongests pores with a blend of acids, then nourishes its moisture barrier with plant extracts that condition and protect skin. “I’ve always been a fan of clay masks and how fantastic they are at drawing out impurities,” says Lee of her instinct to add a more effective version to the line. “Ours is formulated with glycolic and salicylic acids, plus colloidal sulfur (known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits) to deep cleanse and gently exfoliate.” After addressing the breakout, hyaluronic acid, chamomile and seaweed extracts calm and hydrate the complexion. And isn’t that the point? Here’s to leaving struggling skin in even better condition than you found it.
If your only knowledge of collagen comes in the form of needles, doctors’ offices and reality TV, it’s time to get wise. Sure, you could pay someone to inject the stuff into your face but there’s a more natural — and dare I say, better — way to get your collagen fill.
What is collagen?
Ahh collagen, the most abundant protein in the body! So abundant in fact, that it makes up nearly 30% of the total protein in your body and 70% of the protein in your skin. It’s the thing that gives your skin its elasticity (collagen is what’s responsible for the structural network for your dermis, the second layer of skin), your hair its strength, your bones their density, you joints their flexibility and your connective tissues the ability to hold everything in place (so, you know, you’re not just a blob of bones squishing across the floor).
It’s found naturally and exclusively in animal tissue (yup, we’re animals), which is cool when we’re young but as we age, our bodies naturally produce less and less of the stuff (about 1% less each year). That means that skin gets less firm and supple, and skin cell renewal slows way down. Stress, gut health, sun exposure, pollutants and diet can also impact the body’s ability to make collagen, so constant SPF and a gut-friendly diet go a long way.
Why you may want to start using collagen…
Ok, so, natural collagen production slows as we get older. That can mean creases and wrinkles start arriving more regularly, pores get bigger as skin becomes less elastic, and things just generally start heading south. It also means that our skin is less able to heal itself quickly and that our bodies naturally have less protein.
How to harness the power of collagen…
A downside of collagen? It can’t be absorbed through the skin — its molecular structure is too big — so topical collagen will sit on the skin and act as a moisturizer. This isn’t a bad thing, but you can get moisture from a lot of other ingredients, so you may want to consider oral hydrolyzed collagen instead, a form of collagen that has smaller, more absorbable molecules.
As you know, what happens on the skin starts from the inside, out, so ingesting collagen benefits your hair, nails and connective tissues as well as your skin. It provides the whole body with the building blocks it needs to create and repair connective tissues, almost like a collagen-kickstart.
When it comes to products, there’s a variety of stuff out there. For our purposes, I’d suggest starting your collagen journey with a powder: they’re easily mixed into smoothies, coffees or juice, the flavor is undetectable, and the molecules are easily broken down and absorbed. Some are made from purified animal extracts, others from fish and marine sources, and still others from yeast extracts. The route you go is a personal preference.
If you prefer a daily cup of bone broth, the benefits are similar. But a scoop of powdered collagen with your breakfast is a whole lot less labor-intensive as far as I’m concerned.
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.