My Beauty Bunny (TM) is a an award winning, Los Angeles based top beauty blog about cruelty free beauty products for guys and gals who can’t get enough hair, skin, makeup and other beauty products not tested on animals. Cruelty-free beauty, hair care and skin care product reviews tested and written by animal-loving beauty junkies!
Here’s How I’m Getting Rid of Acne Scars with Banish!
This post is sponsored by Banish Skincare. All opinions are 100% mine – you know I keep it real with you guys. Scroll to the bottom to see my before and after pics.
If you’re like me, and perpetually dealing with breakouts that come and go, but leave scars that seem like they never want to heal, you’re going to want to hear about my newest discovery! I have had cystic acne my entire adult life, and although I have found ways to significantly reduce the acne (see my previous posts for more on that), it seems like the acne scars are even harder to get rid of. I’ve even seen photos of myself from years ago, and noticed one or two of the same scars hanging around. It just seems like my skin doesn’t heal quickly.
I’ve tried professional microneedling, and it makes a difference, but you have to do several sessions to see results, and it’s so expensive. It’s not something I can fit into my budget right now. Microneedling works by making tiny micro-tears in your skin. That signals your body to start making repairs, which then heals the acne scars. The added benefit is that when you put a serum on your skin after microneedling, it can go deeper and work more effectively. You can do microneedling at home, but it can be dangerous if you use needles that are too long, or if you don’t use the needles properly.
When I stumbled across cruelty free beauty brand, Banish Skincare, and specifically the Banisher 2.0, I was intrigued! Please check out the founder, Daisy’s story and check out her YouTube channel to see her before and afters, and to get a vibe for the brand. There are also a ton of before/afters on the website that really got me excited about the brand.
The Banisher 2.0 is a new and improved version of the home microneedling tools you may have seen before. The old school versions are rollers with fine needles that you roll in several directions across your face. The problem with these outdated tools is that when you roll, the needles are going into your skin at angles, instead of directly in and out. If you are prone to scarring, that puts you at risk for tram track scars (from rolling too aggressively). The Banisher 2.0 doesn’t have this risk, because you use it like a stamper – the needles go directly into your skin at a 90 degree angle. It seems so much better when you think about it!
You may have seen pictures of people getting professional microneedling done with blood all over their faces. That is not going to happen with the Banisher 2.0. The Banisher uses 0.5 mm needles which are safe to use at home and may cause a bit of redness, but you shouldn’t bleed. If you are bleeding, you are most likely being too aggressive with the tool!
The Banisher 2.0 is the second iteration of Banish Skincare’s microneedling tool. The stamper is larger, and covers more area, and the titanium needles are coated in antibacterial 24K gold to promote collagen growth. The needles are very fine, and the irritation is minimal, so you can use them once per week. I found that there was some redness, but not much and it was gone by the next morning. One of the coolest features of this tool is actually the cap. It was designed for you to fill it up with alcohol before using, so you can be sure that you’re not spreading bacteria around on your face!
In addition to acne scars, the Banisher 2.0 also treats fine lines and hyperpigmentation. You only need to use it once per week. Here’s how I used it:
Step 1 – Add alcohol to the cap (up to the line) and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Remove the cap and let it sit for 2-3 minutes.
Step 2 – Press the Banisher GENTLY into your skin vertically (90 degree angle from the ground) – a simple press and remove – in and out – 4 to 5 times, rotating 90 degrees each time to make sure the needles hit different parts of the skin each time. Don’t use the Banisher directly on active acne cysts – only use on old scars, lines, brown spots, etc.
Step 3 – Add Banish Oil (or a serum without any irritating, exfoliating ingredients or SPF). VERY IMPORTANT – do not use sunscreen, makeup or anything that could potentially sink into the skin and create discoloration (think of how a tattoo works…). Don’t use anything irritating – no harsh stuff. If you can tolerate Vitamin C, I recommend only using the Banish products with this kit for best results. I did my Banisher treatments at night before bed, so I didn’t have to worry about makeup or SPF until the next day. (But DO use SPF the next day as your skin will be recovering and you need to protect it.)
Step 4 – Clean the Banisher again with fresh rubbing alcohol (I use a little spray bottle for this but you can also add it directly to the cap). Discard the alcohol and twist cap closed to protect the needles and keep them clean.
The Banisher 2.0 is a great tool, but it is pricy ($69). You will need to replace it after about 10 uses. That being said, it’s still MUCH cheaper than professional microneedling (which can cost $200 – 700 per session depending on where you live) and there’s no downtime (other than a tiny bit of redness which goes away in hours).
My super sensitive skin doesn’t love Vitamin C (I’ve found I CAN use it as a spot treatment although not immediately after microneedling), but it’s a highly effective antioxidant that can really make a difference for your scars. So, if you are not sensitive to it, I highly recommend you try the Banish skincare products along with the Banisher. The starter kit is a great deal. Here’s what comes in the Banish starter kit:
Banish Oil ( Vitamin C serum) – The signature product that creator, Daisy, made in her kitchen that started the whole #BanishObsession! Made with the most potent form of Vitamin C: L-ascorbic acid. This type of Vitamin C is proven to improve radiance and texture.
Vitamin C Beauty Elixir – Spray whenever, wherever for a boost of vitamin C to add moisture back to your skin and awaken dull and tired looking skin.
Banisher 2.0 – Features gold plated titanium bristles which gives an additional collagen boost, a built in protective cap and cleaning container, and design that improves the pressure of the bristles.
Pumpkin Enzyme Masque – (my favorite!) Made out of real pumpkin and with the smell of pumpkin pie! Packed with AHAs and BHAs that are natural exfoliator, it sloughs off dead skin cells that revitalizes and improves the texture of your skin to reveal younger and healthier skin.
Activated Charcoal Clay Masque – Activated charcoal acts like a magnet to absorb oils and impurities. This powerful mask has the ability to absorb impurities up to 100 to 200 times its weight. Use this twice a week to deep clean pores, reduce appearance of enlarged pores, and control blemishes and oil production.
Vitamin C Creme – A skin repairing creme concentrated with 20% Vitamin C. Light hydrating creme that won’t leave a heavy or greasy feel.
Here are my before and afters (after 7 weekly treatments over a period of just over a month and a half). So overall, I’m really impressed with the Banish line. I am starting to see my scars lighten, and fine lines are fading. It does take time, and you have to be consistent, but it works! Click here for a special deal and use code mybeautybunny for $5 off all orders $50 or more!
All photos by Joe Kohen
A Gift That Lasts Longer Than Roses – Physicians Formula Rosé Bouquet
Physicians Formula has a brand new limited edition, rose-scented skincare gift set called Rosé Bouquet. If you’re like me and you love the scent of roses, you’re going to want to check this out! As usual, Physicians Formula is putting out high quality sets at very reasonable prices ($19.95). Let’s take a look at what you get.
The Rosé Bouquet set comes with a full sized Rosé All Day & Night Brightening & Tightening Eye Cream, a Rosé All Day Oil-Free Serum (mini size), and a Rosé All Night Ultra-Rich Restorative Cream (mini size). The products are (not surprisingly) rose scented, which I love! That scent isn’t for everyone though, so if you’re giving it as a Mother’s Day or birthday gift, make sure your recipient is down with roses!
The key ingredients in all three products are: kakadu plum (besides being fun to say out loud, also has more skin-brightening Vitamin C than any other fruit), rose water (calming to the skin), rosehip oil (nourishing and healing), goji berry (full of antioxidants) and tightening agents. The products are hypoallergenic, paraben-free, gluten-free, dermatologist tested and OF COURSE cruelty free (not tested on animals)!
The Rosé All Day & Night Brightening & Tightening Eye Cream (quite a mouthful!) is great for hydrating and tightening the undereye area. I love that it hydrates without being overly thick (it’s sort of a light, milky gel). Thick creams can be too heavy for some people (including me) which can cause clogged pores and millia near the eyes, which can be hard to treat. Between the light pink tint and the tightening and line-filling ingredients, I feel like my eyes look more refreshed when I use this eye cream. With regular use, it helps to prevent the breakdown of collagen and elastin, for more youthful skin.
The Rosé All Day Oil-Free Serum is perfect to wear during the day. It has what they call a “pearluminous formula”. I would call it a rose gold, almost holographic, highlighting effect. It gives you an instant dewy glow! When you rub it in, the effect is noticeable but still subtle. Under makeup, the effect will be diminished, but you may still see a hint of a glow. Don’t worry – you won’t look like a shiny disco ball! The formula is full of antioxidants, rose water, kakadu plum, goji berry, apple fruit, and radish root ferment.
The Rosé All Night Ultra-Rich Restorative Cream is a thicker, whipped formula – perfect for nighttime. It gives your skin extra moisture so it can repair while you’re getting that deep restorative sleep. Like the eye cream, the night cream contains sea mayweed, a plant in the aster family that is known as a natural alternative to wrinkle fillers.
This Rosé Bouquet Kit gift set is perfect for Mothers Day (if you haven’t picked something up yet!), and it also makes a great day to night travel set if you’re planning on going anywhere this year. You can find the set (or large sizes of each item) at drugstores or physiciansformula.com.
P.S. – Physicians Formula is having a HUGE 50% off flash sale this weekend (but this gift set is excluded from the promotion). Use code FLASH50 to save 50%!
Photo credit: Pechanga Resort Casino
Los Angeles Weekend Trip Idea: Pechanga Resort Casino
One of the best things about living in Los Angeles, is that there are so many places my husband and I can drive to when we’re SICK of Los Angeles! It’s nice to be able to take a quick weekend vacation to somewhere completely different. Recently we were invited to Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula (about 2 hours or so outside of LA) for a relaxing spa weekend, and it was heavenly! We had been to the casino and one of the restaurants there before, but never stayed overnight or experienced the spa or the pools (yes plural!).
Photo Credit: Pechanga Resort Casino
We went down to Pechanga on a Friday afternoon (note to Los Angelenos – leave in the morning – don’t wait until Friday afternoon to go ANYWHERE – traffic will always be worse than you think). We were greeted by our Deluxe King Room (with upgraded patio feature): a spacious king size bed, large bathroom, and a large, semi-private patio. The first thing I always do in a hotel (other than taking photos of it before I mess it up with all my junk) is lie on the bed, arms spread out above my head and go AHHHHHHH! A sigh of relief, and so much potential for a fun weekend!
Photo Credit: Pechanga Resort Casino
After checking in, we went down to the Lobby Bar & Grill, a bistro-style, farm to table restaurant. We were blown away by how amazing the food was. The chef was also very accommodating to our diets and food restrictions, which can often be an issue when traveling. Insider tip: you can also ask for the “wellness menu” to stay healthy during your mini-vacation.
The next morning, we went to Journey’s End near the golf course for some breakfast before heading out to the spa. If you stay at Pechanga, definitely make sure to venture outside of the main building to eat here. Otherwise you’ll miss the amazing views of the golf course and hills of Temecula Valley!
Next stop was Spa Pechanga (next door to Journeys End). I wasn’t expecting it to be so huge – it’s 25,000 square feet of pure bliss! There’s a fitness center, outdoor hot tub, private pool with cabanas, an upstairs relaxing area (with snacks, tea and spa water), and a deck with views of the valley. The men’s and women’s locker rooms also have a dry sauna, wet sauna and large indoor hot tub. There are luxe amenities like towels, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer and hair products, as well as hair dryers and everything else you’d need to get ready for “the real world” after your spa day.
My first spa experience involved making my own essential oil perfume blend in the lobby area. There is an iPad with guided questions to help you create your own blend for perfume (rollerball) or body cream. I’m pretty essential oil savvy, so I skipped ahead and asked for a blend of bergamot, sweet orange and lemon. Citrus blends always make me happy, and this one was no exception. They mixed the essential oils into a rollerball with a carrier oil, and even added in some crystals of my choosing. A very nice keepsake!
After that, my husband, Gregg, and I hung out by the private spa pool for a bit. We hung out in a cabana and soaked up some sun (with SPF of course – you know me!). We tried the outdoor hot tub and Gregg got in the pool. We ordered lunch at the front desk, and ate our salads and iced teas out on the relaxation deck overlooking the hills.
After that it was time for my first spa treatment of the day! The Great Oak Purification is one of Spa Pechanga’s signature body treatments. It lasts 110 minutes, and it’s truly heavenly. After inhaling some essential oils, I was dry brushed and exfoliated – top to bottom (they let you keep the brush and I’ve been using it ever since!). After the exfoliation, I was painted with a warm sage and lavender-infused clay body mask. Then I was wrapped up like a burrito to keep the heat in while my scalp was massaged with chia seeds and jojoba oil. (Pro tip – let them know if you’re claustrophobic and you can skip the wrap or keep your arms out – whatever makes you more comfortable – they will do it!) After the wrap and (AMAZING) scalp massage, I was given some time to clean my hair and rinse off the body mud. I got back into the comfy, heated bed, and then I had a full body massage with Himalayan salt stones. The oil was infused with native white sage, and the overall vibe of the treatment was renewal and detoxification. I also got an arnica oil add-on to ensure extra muscle relaxation. It was just pure heaven you guys. I felt SO relaxed and pampered. At the end I was given some rosehip tea, and it wasn’t long before my next treatment!
The next spa treatment was a facial. I am ALWAYS up for a facial! My aesthetician was very careful to make sure she didn’t use any products that I was allergic to. She gave me the full facial experience – including exfoliation, mask, massage and extractions. Oh and the hot towels – is there anything better than a hot towel on your face? I mean, maybe your wedding, your kid’s graduation, buying your first house, getting a new puppy – nah – hot towels are still the best! Afterward, my skin was glowing!
I didn’t have much time to relax though, because we had dinner plans in an hour at Umi Sushi & Oyster Bar. I got dressed, collected my husband, and we headed down to the Japanese restaurant right outside the casino. I can tell you that I was not prepared for how amazing the food was. It was NEXT LEVEL – fresh and delicious. We got to meet the chef, Kiyokuni Ikeda, who came out to greet us several times to make sure we were happy. He has been making sushi since he was ten years old, so you know he’s good! They were also super accommodating with our weird diet issues, and even made me sushi without rice (which I didn’t even miss)! Seriously – this place is worth visiting if you’re in the area – even if you don’t have time to go to the casino or the spa – just come for the sushi!
After dinner, we played a few slot machines, and then headed to a concert. 80s and 90s kids – you will never believe who we saw – TLC! Yep that’s right – TBoz and Chilli still got it! They put on a great show, and of course played all the hits. They said they could never replace Lisa LeftEye Lopes, and we all know that is the truth.
The next day, we stashed our luggage with the hotel concierge and went straight to the pool to hang out in our private cabana. There is nothing like having your own cabana to feel like a baller. The cabanas come with a TV, fridge with waters, lounge furniture, a safe for your wallet/valuables and a ceiling fan. You get your own server to bring you food and drinks, or you can go to the outdoor grill or bar. The cabana rental also came with a sampling of COOLA sunscreen products, which was a nice surprise. We were not planning on staying too long, so we just sunbathed and didn’t actually get IN the pool(s) (or the water slide!!), but I definitely want to go back to do that. The pools were part of an expansion they added on about a year ago and they are GORGEOUS and HUGE. There’s even a swim-up area of the bar. If I was still a drinker, I’d be all over that.
Overall, we had a blast. The spa was amazing, and is perfect for a solo traveler or couple. You can chill or you can party, depending on your mood. A trip to Pechanga would be really fun for a girls’ trip, bachelor/bachelorette weekend, or a multi-couple vacay. It’s kind of like Vegas, but less crowded and crazy. If you’re visiting California, or an LA local who wants a weekend trip that is fun, but slightly more low-key than Vegas, I highly recommend it. I already want to go back!
When you find a skincare brand that is natural, vegan, cruelty free, wallet-friendly, and actually WORKS, you want to tell everyone about it! I’m excited to say I have found such a brand! Fleur & Bee sent me a few Leaping Bunny certified, cruelty free skincare products to test drive, and I have been very pleasantly surprised by how much change I’ve seen in my skin.
When beauty brands say “great for all skin types”, I rarely find that to be true. I have combination, acneic skin and usually the products are too heavy and make me break out, or else they’ll be way too light for people with dry skin. I tried three Fleur & Bee products, and I feel pretty confident saying these will actually work for all skin types (there’s always an exception of course, but these will work for most of you). They are moisturizing, but the moisture comes from non-pore clogging oils like safflower and sunflower.
I’m also really impressed with the range of ingredients. There are ingredients that will help acne-prone skin types but NOT dry out skin (like niacinimide, geranium, and aloe). And even though the ingredient decks are super clean, there are some sweet anti-aging active ingredients that are far superior to what some of the “natural” and “green beauty” brands usually include (like peptides and CoQ10).
Let’s talk about Nectar of the C – Fleur & Bee’s Vitamin C Serum first. Those of you who follow me might be surprised to hear me raving about a Vitamin C product, because my skin is normally very allergic to Vitamin C. Well, despite the fact that I usually avoid it, I have always known what an amazing ingredient Vitamin C is. It’s well known to be one of the best anti-aging ingredients – good for lightening acne scars and sun spots, promoting cellular renewal, and acting as an antioxidant to prevent premature skin sagging and wrinkles. It may sound obvious, but I’m thrilled that I finally figured out a hack so I can use this ingredient! Instead of putting it all over my face (which causes an allergic reaction when there’s high Vit C content), I put it only on my acne scars, melasma spots and on areas that are developing lines. I was amazed to see that my skin tolerated it like a champ, and I can actually see the spots start to fade! I don’t know why it took me so long to figure it out, but I’m a happy camper!
Nectar of the C is not just a run of the mill Vitamin C serum, and in fact, I think it’s the combination of ingredients that has given me such amazing results in spot reduction. The Vitamin C is blended with Vitamin E and ferulic acid. These three antioxidant ingredients have a compounding effect to make them better together (awww – BFFs!). The formula also contains aloe vera, veggie glycerin, jojoba seed oil, pink grapefruit peel oil and clary sage flower oil. It’s a hydrating, yet non-pore-clogging blend, and it’s not super thick or oily.
Now let’s talk about the Fleur & Bee eye cream. First of all, it’s called Eyes Eyes Baby – every 80s and 90s kid has to love the Vanilla Ice reference! The formula is definitely a cream, and not a serum or gel (my preference), but it’s also a fairly light cream, which my easily clogged pores prefer. It’s got the same hydrating ingredients as the other products, plus anti-aging peptides and CAFFEINE which is my number one favorite puffiness-fighting ingredient! Caffeine instantly tightens the skin, and I really think it needs to be in any good eye cream.
And last but not least, the Creme de le Cream facial moisturizer is a nice, medium-weight face cream. It’s got all the good stuff: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, green tea, pomegranate, acai, aloe vera, veggie glycerin, gotu kola, honeysuckle, geranium, CoQ10, peptides, and more. The oils are safflower and sunflower, which shouldn’t clog pores or aggravate acne for most people. This cream is very hydrating, but not thick or greasy at all.
Like the other products, the cream is cruelty free, vegan, paraben-free, gluten-free, and has NO artificial fragrances. I HATE when skincare products have artificial fragrances. The only reason they are there is because people like to sniff creams before they buy (which is NOT a useful indicator of a good face cream) or they are trying to cover up a natural scent that is not so good. If something is listed as “fragrance” on a label, it could be harmful to your body, it could cause an allergic reaction, or at the very least it could dry out your skin. I avoid them when possible!
This post is sponsored by Physicians Formula. All opinions are my own. You know I keep it real!
Okay guys, if you haven’t heard about this one already, you’re going to want to kiss me! Physicians Formula comes out with box sets all the time, but this new, limited edition, Baby Butter Box is one of the best values I’ve seen in a while! It comes with all of the cult favorites – the Butter Bronzer, Butter Blush, Butter Highlighter, Butter Paradise perfume AND a new coral shade of the Butter Lip Cream (all for $14.88)!
The Baby Butter set includes:
Mini Butter Bronzer in “Bronzer”
Mini Butter Blush in “Natural Glow”
Mini Butter Highlighter in “Pearl”
Mini Butter Eyeshadow Duo in “Barefoot in Brazil” and “Sun Down”
Exclusive Butter Lip Cream in NEW shade “Beijos” (full- size)
If you’ve tried the butter collection of products before, you know how they got their name – they are BUTTERY! They are so soft, they are almost cream-like in texture, but they go on easily with a brush. They are scented, and most people love the tropical scent (the scent craze is how the Butter Paradise perfume came to be!), but if you are very sensitive or prone to migraines, you may want to sniff someone else’s before you buy. My husband and I LOVE the perfume, so I sometimes back it in my travel bag when we go on vacation.
There’s basically everything you need here for a SUPER easy, glowy spring or summer makeup look! The palettes come out of the box (they come in their own packaging and aren’t attached), so you can easily pack them in your purse or travel bag.
The Butter products are all packed with ingredients to nourish and hydrate your skin, including murumuru butter, cupuacu butter, and tacuma butter from the Amazon. The products are cruelty free (of course!), gluten-free and paraben-free.
It’s only $14.88 and you can get it online or in-store at Walmart. It’s currently out of stock at Walmart.com, and could be hard to find in stores, so I HIGHLY recommend you purchase one quickly on the Physicians Formula site! Whenever new Physicians Formula sets launch, I know they go FAST!
Those of you who follow my blog, know that I have been chasing acne treatments my whole adult life. Sometimes I find things that work well for acne, but they dry my skin out too much. Or, I find products that help for a little while, but then the cystic acne comes right back. Today I’m happy to say, I’ve cleared my acne by 95% (I only get one or two random ones before my period and they are not nearly as big or angry). No BS – I’m going to share the acne treatments that REALLY WORK with you today.
I’ve had cystic, hormonal acne (as well as the usual blackheads and clogged pores) since puberty. When I was 16 years old, my doctor put me on a prescription acne medication Spironolactone. It didn’t get rid of my acne, but it got rid of about 75%. It seemed like a really benign, no-side-effects kind of drug (other than feeling dehydrated and needing lots of water and electrolytes often) BUT every time I tried to go off, the acne came back with a vengeance. So I stayed on it for TWENTY-TWO YEARS. As far as I know, there’s no safety data for staying on it that long, and it’s not supposed to be used as a life-long drug. But the doctors I saw along the way said it was fine as long as I wasn’t having issues with electrolytes. No one ever suggested checking my hormones. Fast forward to last year, when I asked Candace Burch to help me check my hormones (cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, etc.). I found out I have very low testosterone, adrenal fatigue, and I’m estrogen-dominant (low progesterone). I have a host of health complaints that I won’t get into here (you can read about it in this article I wrote more than a year ago), and I believe taking Spironolactone for so long caused or at least contributed to these problems. I’m finally off! It took about 6 months of weaning off (it causes crazy side effects with blood pressure so I had to go slow), and then about 4 months for my acne to calm down.
I don’t have any great before and after photos for you because my acne is always cyclical and tied in to my periods. When my acne is really bad, I just want to hide – I never think – hey I should take a picture of this! But those of you who watch my Instagram stories have seen it! I have a lot of scarring (and melasma) that I’m still still working on, and some under-the-surface-waiting-to-wreak-havoc bumps that you can’t see. What I can tell you is that I’ve been seeing fewer and fewer period pimples and overall less inflammation. I was previously popping zits and using those Cox-RX pimple patches to draw out the gunk (those are a GOD-SEND by the way) almost every day, and more recently, I haven’t needed to use one in about a month. I’m starting to feel better now that I’m off the Spironolactone, and I’ll re-test my hormones soon. So let’s get to the stuff that WORKS!
Acne Treatment 1 – Diet
I know most of you are groaning right now, because no one wants to change their diet. It’s disruptive, a pain in the butt, and requires a lot of mental fortitude and planning. I get it. But if you REALLY want to see a change in your skin, you have to stop eating things that cause inflammation. These things may vary from person to person. I have certain sensitivities and food triggers that you won’t have. But, there are a couple of acne-triggering food categories that most experts agree on: dairy and sugar. I was on a paleo diet for most of last year (except right after my wedding when I ate whatever the hell I wanted for a bit!).
Currently I’m on a dairy-free, low-carb, low-sugar, keto diet, and I’ve seen amazing results in my skin. I also avoid things that trigger inflammation for me, like tomatoes, alcohol, egg whites, etc. Those are my personal triggers, and not likely relevant to you. If you think you have food sensitivities, I highly recommend doing an elimination diet to discover them.
Since I’m on a keto diet, I don’t eat gluten right now either, and that’s another one that many people who suffer from acne seem to have issues with. Some acne experts also recommend staying away from iodine and seaweed (and I have even blogged about this), but after more testing, I haven’t seen that to be true for myself. I believe iodine and fluoride have a competing relationship in your body, and when you start taking iodine, there is a purging period where it pushes out the fluoride and causes acne. I have read that this is temporary and adding selenium to your diet can help. Read more about this here. Plus, avoiding iodine can really hurt your thyroid, so do your research and be careful.
So bottom line – cut out sugar and dairy (and perhaps gluten) for 30 days and see if there are any changes. Keep in mind that some acne takes 30-90 days to erupt, so if you can stay sugar and dairy-free even longer that would be best. And do an elimination diet if you think there are more dietary triggers for you. A good nutritionist can walk you through it step by step, or you can look for resources online.
Acne Treatment 2 – Platinum Skincare (Retinol, B Vitamins and AHAs)
I’ve tried several products from Leaping Bunny certified cruelty free skincare brand, Platinum Skincare, (after stalking…er researching the brand on Instagram – check out their before and afters!). The founder, Jennifer Tilney, is a wealth of information. She knows her stuff, and has a lot of educational YouTube videos you can check out. I feel like she deserves her own category, because although I’ve tried three of her products and loved them, I think there are more I want to try! Here’s what I have tried so far:
Platinum Skincare AB Cleanser – this deep-cleaning cleanser has AHAs (glycolic acid) and BHAs (salicylic), plus antibacterial tea tree and eucalyptus oils. Great for normal to oily, acneic skin types.
Platinum Skincare B-Complex Vitamin B Cream – This is my new holy grail moisturizer. No joke. It has not only been great at clearing and preventing acne, it is also the right level of moisture for my skin. The formula is great for all skin types, and contains niacnimide (B3 has acne busting properties), panthenol (B5 has skin moisturizing and healing properties), squalane (a great moisturizer made from olives), Pentavitin (R) (a deep moisturizer that doesn’t clog pores), and hyaluronic acid (for hydration). This stuff makes my skin look happy and moisturized, keeps acne away AND doesn’t clog my pores! I literally just bought a new bottle because I don’t want to run out!
Platinum Skincare Retinol – I’m just starting to really experiment with retinol and I know my skin is crazy sensitive and easily dried out, so I started with Platinum Skincare’s Retinol Ten (0.10 percent). It was so gentle, that I actually needed more power, so I went up to the Retinol Twenty (0.20 percent). Retinol not only helps with acne, it is also one of the most powerful anti-aging ingredients out there (just ask my grandma!). I was shocked to see that Retinol Twenty did NOT dry out my skin at all, and I’m starting to see better texture, fewer fine lines, and fewer acne spots. Platinum Skincare prides themselves on having powerful, effective products, so you can really go up in strength (up to 0.50), but I recommend starting at a lower level and working your way up. If you contact Jennifer, she can help you decide where to start. They also sell lots of powerful peels and other acne and acne scar treatments that I haven’t tried yet.
Acne Treatment 3 – Glycolic Acid/AHAs
Glycolic acid is my holy grail ingredient for congested, acne-prone skin. It is an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) that dissolves the “glue” that bonds the top layer of skin together. If you have extremely sensitive skin, you may prefer lactic acid, which is a slightly gentler AHA. I like both, and I can literally see a difference overnight when I use the right AHA products. These products not only help with acne, they also help to lighten acne scars and improve skin texture. I’m not crazy about salicylic acid (a BHA), but some of you may love it. Read more about AHAs vs BHAs here. Important to note – you may not want to use AHAs and retinol at the same time if you have sensitive skin. My skin is pretty darn sensitive and I’m okay with separating them out – so I may use a glycolic cleanser and then a retinol. Or I might use glycolic in the morning and retinol at night. I pay very close attention to my skin and if it feels sensitive, I back off. And very important – always use sunscreen with retinol, AHAs and BHAs!
Here are the glycolic and AHA products I recommend:
Paula’s Choice 8% AHA Lotion Exfoliant – Anther holy grail for me! I LOVE this product! I can VISIBLY see a difference overnight when I use it. My skin is brighter and more clear, and it doesn’t irritate my skin when I use it in moderation – I use it about 3-4 times a week. It’s great for acne and for anti-aging (wrinkles, spots, etc.). You can buy the 1 oz small size to test it out or the larger size on Amazon or the Paula’s Choice site.
Platinum Skincare AB Cleanser – See above – a really nice, deep cleaning cleanser with glycolic and salicylic acids.
Pixi Beauty Overnight Glow Serum – This is a really great drugstore option, and one I recommend to just about everyone who asks me what to buy at Target for acne and anti-aging concerns. It has a high amount of glycolic (10%) along with other skin-soothing ingredients.
Pixi Beauty Peel & Polish – This is a wonderful scrub that I like to leave on in the shower. It has lactic acid, sugar cane and papaya enzymes to exfoliate, plus it smells SO GOOD!
Acne Treatment 4 – Benzoyl Peroxide
My skin tends to get dry with benzoyl peroxide, so I use it 1-3 times a week all over, and as a spot treatment for blemishes. I’ve tried a lot of benzoyls and my favorite will always be from Jan Marini. She has a 5% and a 10% depending on your level of sensitivity. I have used them both and find that 5% is better for me. I see less irritation with Jan Marini’s formula. It’s a bit pricy, BUT the bottle is HUGE and will last forever.
Acne Treatment 5 – Monthly Facials
Another thing that has vastly helped my skin is monthly facials. I go to Verabella Spa in Beverly Hills. I have seen many of their fabulous aestheticians, including the owner, Vera. They are all fabulous and they use only natural, cruelty free products. I am a huge fan of their Aloe Tea Tree gel as a cooling, healing and bacteria-killing skin treatment. You can schedule an appointment or buy products online.
Acne Treatment 6 – Supplements
Note: I’m not a doctor or healthcare professional, so please do your own research and consult your professionals! This is not medical advice – this is just what I believe.
There are many supplements that can help your overall health and skin, but let’s focus on two things. One – avoid taking mega doses of biotin (found in most hair, skin, nails supplements) – that can trigger acne. And if you have hormonal acne, you may want to try taking DIM (extracted from cruciferous vegetables) and calcium d glucarate. These supplements help to detox the circulating hormones via your liver more efficiently, which can help with PMS, moodiness and of course, acne. I have seen incredible results with this one from Emerita. I am crazy sensitive, so I only take about 3/4 of a capsule daily (most of you will take the dose recommended on the bottle). I also take breaks now and then (as I do with any supplement) so my body doesn’t get too used to it. I’ve been told that even though DIM comes from cruciferous veggies that are also goitrogens (which can be rough on your thyroid), it won’t affect thyroid function. I don’t know if that’s true or not, so I think taking breaks is a good idea (just in case).
It’s My Beauty Bunny’s TEN YEAR anniversary this month – can you believe that? I certainly can’t! My Beauty Bunny has been bringing you cruelty free realness since 2009! For MBB’s big 10, I’m giving YOU the birthday gifts! I’ve got a set of cruelty free, super-luxe, anti-aging skincare from Airelle to give away to one lucky reader ($496 value)!
Airelle Skincare is a woman-owned company (started by Aesthetic Dermatology PA, Kasey D’Amato). It is very high end and has an anti-aging focus. The line is made with non-toxic, natural ingredients but based on current medically recognized research, and is sold in dermatologist and plastic surgeon offices (as well as QVC, Amazon, Beauty Bridge and Truth in Aging).
You might be wearing sunscreen religiously, but does your current skincare protect against Infrared radiation? Only Airelle skincare products contain Berrimatrix® – a powerful natural antioxidant that is clinically proven to protect against Infrared Radiation (IR). Airelle products not only help reverse existing sun damage and wrinkles, they also PREVENT collagen breakdown after sun exposure which can slow the signs of aging skin.
This giveaway includes all five of Airelle’s high-end, cruelty free skincare products:
Exfoliating Cleanser ($64)
Age Defying Eye + Lip Treatment ($68)
Intense Hydrating Repair Complex ($116)
Hydrating Manuka Mask ($90)
Age Defying Facial Serum ($158)
TOTAL – $496 value!
To enter the giveaway, wait for the Rafflecopter widget to load below. You don’t have to do all of these tasks to enter – just do as many as you like – each one gives you extra entries. You must be 18 or older and live in the US to win. By entering, you agree to be bound by the official rules. Ends 5/3/19 at 12 am PST. Good luck!
Thank you iHerb for sponsoring this post on My Beauty Bunny about cruelty free DIY recipes for acne and acne scars!
Cruelty Free DIY Acne and Acne Scar Essential Oil Recipes
Why would you want DIY recipes for acne and acne scars? Isn’t store-bought better? I used to think that way. As someone who has battled acne for most of my life, I can tell you that sometimes simple really is better. A lot of those acne creams you see online and in stores are full of ingredients that will actually clog your pores even more. They have very convincing packaging, testimonials, and they promise to get rid of your pimples in a flash, but a lot of them are still putting pore-clogging and irritating ingredients in their formulas. That’s not to say there aren’t amazing acne products out there, but why not give simple ingredients a try, and see how your skin reacts?
I have been experimenting with essential oils, aloe vera, witch hazel and hemp oil for acne. I am using primarily Aura Cacia products from iHerb.com. I talk about iHerb all the time because they are really one of my all-time favorite retailers. They have a huge selection (over 30,000 products), their prices rival the big online retailers (I won’t name names, but you know who I’m talking about), they ship to a bajillion and one countries (okay 150 – but that’s close to a bajillion and one right?), their customer service is LEGIT top notch, and they have a cool rewards system (so when you guys use my rewards links, I get store credit to buy more products to review on My Beauty Bunny!).
So, I did some shopping at iHerb, and I have been using these Aura Cacia essential oils for acne. I’m not a crafty type of girl, but I’m finding that it’s actually fun to concoct these little blends myself. It’s so easy – seriously, if I can do it – anyone can do it! I did some online research, and some experimentation to create a few recipes that I think you will love.
Hemp Oil for Acne and Acne Scars?
I have been very scared of oils for some time now, but my combination skin NEEDS oil and it tends to get very dry if I test out any serious acne medications (benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, retinol, glycolic acid, etc.). I did some research and looked at the comedogenic score (how likely it is to clog pores) for each oil. I found this guide to be very helpful.
The thing is, each oil has a comedogenic rating, BUT you still have to test it on your own skin. Coconut oil is supposed to be the WORST for cystic acne (even though it has antibacterial properties), but some people tolerate it just fine. So you really have to just try things and see how your skin reacts. Give it at least a few weeks though – if you try something and break out the next day, there’s a good chance that zit was already waiting to come out and has nothing to do with your new skincare regimen!
I decided to go with Aura Cacia hemp seed oil because it has a comedogenic rating of ZERO, and it’s supposed to be very healing, and can actually balance oil production. It’s high in linoleic acid and lower in linolenic acid, which is supposed to be a good combo for acne and combination/oily skin.
Best Essential Oils for Acne and Acne Scars
In addition to the hemp oil, I have been using Aura Cacia essential oils that help with several things: inflammation, oil production, bacteria, and scarring. I created a pretty fancy cocktail with all of these amazing essential oils, but you can also choose a few, or even just one at a time. Let me tell you about each one, so you can pick the ones that are right for you.
Tea Tree Oil for Acne – This is the one EVERYONE and their mother already knows about, so I don’t think I need to say a whole lot. It is a tried and true essential oil that is antimicrobial, antifungal and antiseptic. It can be harsh so I don’t advise applying it directly to your skin if you’re sensitive. Make sure to use a carrier oil or dilute in some way.
Frankincense Oil for Acne Scars – This essential oil is known for healing skin, and particularly acne scars and dark spots. It has astringent qualities as well which can help shrink pores. Use a carrier oil and don’t apply directly to your skin or you could over-dry it out. Note: if you have REALLY deep pock marks or ice pick scars, please know that essential oils won’t help. You’ll need to see a dermatologist about lasers or other treatments.
Lavender Oil for Acne and Acne Scars – Lavender oil not only makes your DIY acne recipes smell amazing, it actually can help heal and calm your skin, and it has antibacterial properties!
Patchouli Oil for Acne – This earthy scent may not be for everyone, but I personally love it! Even if you don’t love it, remember we’re only using a small amount, and we’re not creating perfume here – we’re creating acne-busting skincare products! Patchouli is known to have cell-rejuvenating properties, as well as oil-balancing, inflammation-reducing and anti-fungal actions.
Clary Sage Oil for Acne – Clary Sage is known for relieving inflammation, helping your skin to heal, balancing oil production and preventing the spread of bacteria.
Geranium Oil for Acne and Acne Scars – Like tea tree oil, geranium oil is antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic. It can also balance sebum production, heal scars and lighten spots.
Now let’s get to the recipes! If you find that the scent is too strong with any of these, you can reduce the number of essential oil drops. I didn’t have any issue with these blends, and my skin is quite sensitive. BUT, if you have any irritation, stop using them. Try one essential oil (a couple of drops diluted in hemp oil, aloe vera or witch hazel) at a time until you discover which ones are irritating your skin.
Cruelty free DIY essential oil recipes for acne and acne scars
DIY Skincare Recipe 1: Hemp Oil Blend for Acne and Acne Scars
Mix all ingredients in a dark or amber-colored 1 oz dropper bottle (you may need a funnel for the hemp oil). To apply, add a 3-4 drops to your fingertips and dab onto the face in a patting and rolling motion. Shake well before each use. Keep in a cool, dark place, or even better, keep in the fridge so it will last even longer.
DIY Skincare Recipe 2: Witch Hazel and Essential Oil Toner for Oily Skin and Acne
Mix all ingredients in a dark or amber-colored 2 oz spray bottle (you may need a funnel for the witch hazel). To keep the mixture bacteria-free, remember not to add water. To apply, spritz directly onto your face or onto a cotton ball. Use morning and night or as needed throughout the day. Shake well before each use. Keep in a cool, dark place, or even better, keep in the fridge so it will last even longer.
DIY Skincare Recipe 3: Aloe Vera and Essential Oil Face Mist for All Skin Types
Aloe vera is a wonderful, skin-healing ingredient, and a liquid version without any junky additives makes it a perfect essential oil carrier for all skin types. Blend these together (use a funnel for the aloe vera) into a 2 oz dark or amber colored spray bottle, and shake well before spritzing directly onto your face (or onto fingertips and then apply to your face).
Want to try these DIY acne recipes for yourself? Head on over to iHerb and tell em Jen sent ya! Just kidding, but use my link to get a discount (for new and existing customers)!
Photo editing is a valuable skill whether you’re an influencer or an Instagram addict! Programs like Photoshop and LightRoom are great for professional bloggers and photographers, but not everyone has the time to pull out their laptop and overcome the learning curve that comes with sophisticated programs like those. That is where photo editing apps come into play. When I’m in a hurry or have to edit on the fly, I will often use iPhone apps to edit my photos. All of the editing apps mentioned below are readily available for both Android and iOS systems.
VSCO for Photo Editing
VSCO, or VSCO Cam, is a photo editing application as well as a social media network. Its interface allows users to edit photos and share them to VSCO’s network of fellow photography enthusiasts. Since its launch in 2012, it has claimed a spot on the hearts of recreational and professional editors for its wide range of filters and adjustment settings for fully customizable exposure, contrast, saturation, and more.
How to Use
Open VSCO and click on the third icon at the
bottom. From there, you can choose to either import your existing photos by tapping
the blue plus button or take a photo by tapping the black camera icon.
Once that is done, select the photo you have
imported or taken and tap the icon showing two horizontal lines with circles
inside of them. This will take you to the editing interface, where you can add
filters, make adjustments, and save presets.
Once the edit has been completed, tap the “save” button to save it your phone or the “publish” button to share it with VSCO’s community.
Facetune for Selfies
Facetune is a powerful but dangerous weapon! I’ve seen so many people go WAY too far with this editing app. My personal opinion is that if you look like a cartoon character and have no contours or pores, you’ve gone overboard. I like to use it to smooth out my skin a bit, whiten my eyes and teeth, get rid of blemishes and blur out a few wrinkles under my eyes. Facetune can also be used to add makeup/highlights, eye colors, and emphasis to the cheeks and jawline with a few taps, but I’d say that those are more advanced features, and I haven’t really explored them.
How to Use
Upon opening Facetune, you’ll notice that there are stock photos to practice on. Choose one and click “Select Photo” to get started. If you would like to skip that instead, click the camera icon at the top of the interface to load your own photos and begin experimenting with the features at the bottom of the app. There are plenty of tutorials that go into extensive detail on how to create specific effects that you can follow.
You can enhance your selfies easily with the Retouch/Auto feature. I usually move the Smooth slider to less than half so my skin still looks real. I turn the Glow slider all the way off. And I may tweak others depending on the image. I feel I should mention that I do this mainly for selfies, and I never change the colors of makeup products and things like that. If I’m doing a before/after type of image (like this one), I don’t retouch at all because I want to show you the true results.
Adobe Photoshop Express
Adobe Photoshop Express is Photoshop’s mobile sibling. It allows you to not only have the advanced capabilities of Photoshop available in your pocket but also allows you to use these capabilities for FREE. Some features you may love are cropping, text overlay, a plethora of brushes to experiment with, and the ability to edit photos in raw formats.
How to Use
Start by launching the app and selecting a photo. The first screen will show photos available on the phone. Once you have chosen your photo, experiment with the icons at the bottom of the app. These allow you to add filters or “looks”, crop and resize, make adjustments, and use many other features. When the photo has been edited, simply click the
share button at the top right and export it by selecting “Save to
As cell phones have become more advanced, so have the capabilities of their accompanying apps. The key to creating beautiful photos is to figure out which apps work for YOU, and then using them often, so you can do it in your sleep!
Why I Switched to Grey Turkish Towels and Where to Find a Great Deal!
Maybe it’s because I’m a Taurus, but I need to have nice, CLEAN towels, blankets, pillowcases and other soft things in my life. When they start to get stained, frayed and torn up (as they inevitably seem to do since my washing machine eats fabrics and my cats claw up everything within reach), I always want to replace them immediately, but often can’t afford to do that. I recently had a “towel brainstorm” and some of you will hear it and be like “DUH Jen!” But I want to walk you through my thought process anyway.
Okay so a year or so ago, I bought some really nice white, ribbed Turkish towels. They are huge, very thick, and looked gorgeous for about a month or so – and then they started to show SO MANY STAINS. Stains would come mostly from me (I’ll be honest). The stains came from makeup, self-tanner, and hair dye. The reason I bought WHITE towels in the first place, was that I thought I could bleach them to remove stains. I mean, hotels do it, right?
Well, I tried it and it did NOT work. I guess you have to use a ton of bleach for that to work. I tried soaking them all day with a cup or two of bleach and a washing machine full of water, and they got a little brighter, but the stains didn’t budge. Okay look – I’m not Martha Stewart, so maybe I did it wrong, but I also realized that bleach isn’t healthy, and it’s not something I want to be soaking my towels in all the time. I am very sensitive to well…everything…and when I clean with bleach, I get a migraine and feel sick within about 60 seconds. So why would I want to add bleach to towels that are going to be rubbed on my wet skin? Probably not smart.
So, basically I had all these really nice, white towels, but they were covered with stains, and I never wanted people to come over to my house and see these gross looking towels hanging in my bathroom. I decided that I needed to switch over to a darker color that wouldn’t show stains as much. But I’m VERY picky about towels, so here were my requirements for any new towels:
They had to be very absorbent (Have you ever bought those really fluffy towels that seem to repel water? No thank you to that.)
They had to be lint-free (I wear contacts and lint makes putting them in impossible)
The bath sheets needed to be large (I’m not drying off with a washcloth sized towel!)
They have to be soft (No one wants scratchy towels!)
They needed to be reasonably priced (I have a lot of financial priorities right now and towels ain’t one of ’em!)
And that’s it. A tall order, but like I said, I’m picky about stuff like this. So I spotted these Home and Plan Turkish Towels on Amazon. They are selling a pack of 8 towels (including 2 30″x60″ bath sheets) for $49.95. The reviews are pretty good, and it seemed like a great deal. When my order arrived, I’ll be honest with you – I was disappointed because they seemed so much thinner than my current towels. I contacted the brand, and they told me to give the towels a wash and try them out to see if my mind could be changed. I did, and guess what? I’m totally a fanatic for these towels now!
Once I washed the Home and Plan towels, they did puff up a bit, but they were still thinner than my previous towels. BUT, here’s the thing – they are CRAZY-ABSORBENT. Like really. The extra thickness was not at all necessary, and even better, I could fit a lot more of these in one load in the washing machine. Quick Dry also means saving energy & time (less time in the dryer on the lowest heat setting = less energy use). Plus, I can stack up a lot more of them on my towel stand in the bathroom. We live in the city, and our house is fairly small, so space-saving measures are necessary.
Not only that, but they lived up to all of my requirements: they are very absorbent, lint free, the bath sheets are quite large, very soft (and they get softer with each wash), and the price is right! They come in 14 colors (including white) but I had to get over my white towel fantasy and try grey towels. My husband, Gregg, was so happy, because he always tries to slip black and grey towels in the cart when we’re shopping. He’s always been a fan of darker colors, but I take my title as Lord of the Bathroom very seriously, so I almost always override him. But now that I’ve experienced the wonders of grey towels, I’m completely on board.
A couple more reasons why I’m in love with this particular Turkish towel set… The 8 piece set comes with two wash cloths, two hand towels and two sizes of bath towels – two extra large bath sheets and two smaller ones that are perfect for wrapping my hair when I get out of the shower. They are also produced in a factory that is pesticide and harmful chemical-free! All materials used in manufacturing are Oeko-Tex and ISO 9001 Certified.
The 8 piece set from Home and Plan on Amazon is already a pretty great deal considering the high quality of their towels, but they are offering a limited number of 15% off coupon codes for My Beauty Bunny readers! To snag a code, click here. But HURRY because they are going fast (one per person please)! If you have Amazon Prime, order now and you’ll have a whole new bathroom in a few days!