Luxe Life - Spa


Ever wanted to create a spa-like feel in your very own home? Here you will get the scoop on the best home spa products from plush robes to soothing aromatherapy candles and more. Spa-licious!

Skin Care Tips for Men of Color

June 10th, 2013

While all men should take good care of their skin to keep it healthy and looking smooth, African-American men have particular skincare needs and shaving issues that can be easily addressed with an appropriate skincare regimen. Because of the growth pattern and natural curl, for example, African-American skin can be more prone to bumps and ingrown hairs. Dry skin and hyper-pigmentation can also cause problems, making it important to keep skin smooth and moisturized. The good news is that all of these problems are easily remedied or avoided with proper skincare habits. Below are some helpful tips to keep African-American skin looking and feeling great:

1. Cleansing is Crucial— The number one tip for any good skincare regimen is to get into a good daily cleansing routine. Sometimes you’re tired at the end of a day and you may want to flop into bed without washing your face, but you must stay vigilant. To keep your pores from clogging and razor bumps from forming, consistent cleansing is an especially important habit to maintain.

2. Moisturizing is Mighty— Many people have dry skin, but with African-American skin, this dryness can cause an uncomfortable tight or itchy feeling and a grayish tone to the dry areas of the skin. Use a daily oil-free moisturizer, and be sure to buy a lotion specifically for sensitive skin if scented skin products bother you. Also: Use a gentle dermatologist-recommended soap to wash your face (instead of harsh deodorant body soap) and take warm showers rather than hot to help keep skin from drying out.

3. Exfoliation is Excellent— Exfoliation of the skin is done by scrubbing with a facial puff or loofah, and can help the skin look brighter by removing dead skin cells on the surface that contribute to a dry, ashy appearance. Gentle exfoliation of the face can also help release ingrown hairs to eliminate shaving bumps, but be sure to be gentle and use a washcloth rather than a scrubbing puff, and don’t rub too hard.

4. Try a Toner— There are many toners on the market that can help remove any dirt or oil missed during the nightly cleansing process if you’re experiencing issues with blackheads or acne breakouts (which can lead to hyper-pigmentation or dark spots). Apply toner to a cotton ball and give your face a refreshing wipe down before bed or upon waking in the morning to brighten your complexion.

5. Be a Super Shaver— To help avoid the razor bumps that can plague the skin of African-American men, take care to shave properly every time. A thick, moisturizing shaving cream is recommended to help soften the skin, and a sharp razor can help limit ingrown hairs by giving a smoother edge to the individual follicles. If possible, try not to shave every day in order to give your face a chance to heal, and always shave in the direction of hair growth. This may not get you the closest shave possible, but it might help cut down on the razor bumps (a.k.a. pseudofolliculitis barbae) that affect around 60% of black men.

6. Don’t Skip the Sunscreen— The extra melanin helps to protect black men from skin cancer, yet darker-skinned individuals are more likely to die from skin cancer than lighter-skinned people because it goes undetected to the point of melanoma. In general, the extra pigmentation of darker skin gives African-Americans a natural SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of around 13, so it is still recommended that sunscreen be worn. Plus, we all know the sun ages us, and nobody wants to do that any faster than they need to, right? A naturally-based sunscreen for sensitive skin worn every day is a great way to spare your skin unnecessary damage from the sun’s rays. Genetics give every one of us different issues and certain needs, and these 6 simple tips can help keep men’s skin healthy and glowing.

With proper care and a great skincare regimen, African-American skin can easily stay smooth, moisturized and looking great. Terrie Reynolds is a professional blogger that provides consumers with news and information on skin care and cosmetics. He writes for Himistry, the best place to get black male skin care producers and men’s styling products.

Beauty Fabulous Find! Y.E.S. to Grapefruit

May 21st, 2013

So you want to have gorgeous skin but you don’t have the money to afford the high end skin care products highlighted in your favorite fashion magazines. Well, no worries. There are tons of affordable alternatives out there that will keep your skin refreshed, hydrated and renewed without breaking your beauty budget. I am a huge fan of the Y.E.S. to skincare collection. They have several collections ranging from Y.E.S. to Carrots, Y.E.S. to Blueberries and Y.E.S. to Cucumbers. Well now, the newest collection to hit stores is the Y.E.S. to Grapefruit collection. Being that I have a slight obsession with all things grapefruit, I knew this collection would be a winner!

From facial cleansers to body butters, this fully comprehensive face and body collection has all that you will need this summer to maintain gorgeous, healthy skin. You can find Y.E.S. to Grapefruit at mass drug stores nationwide or you can order products online at YEStoCarrots.com

 

Cruelty-Free Cosmetics 101

March 11th, 2013

I love animals. I have been an animal lover as far back as I can remember. Growing up in sunny Southern California, my house was always filled with the sounds of laughter and fun and animals. We had dogs and cats who were more than pets, they were considered family members. My mother and father raised my brother and I to be respectful of all animal life and to acknowledge that animals had feelings just like humans do. Growing up, I wanted to be a veterinarian until I found out that there was surgery and scalpels and blood involved. Being that I am quite squeamish, I soon realized that a career in animal medicine wasn’t a wise decision but my love for the animal kingdom never changed.

In the past few years, I have become more aware of the issues of animal testing and animal cruelty. As I have begun to move away from eating meat and am slowly transitioning into a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle, I am beginning to look into all of the areas where I may or may not be impacting the animal kingdom in a negative way. One way I do have a lot of control over is my beauty regimen and the products I choose to use for my daily routine. In order to help further the cause of eliminating animal testing all together, I am no longer purchasing items or brands that test their products on animals.

Fortunately,  there are countless cosmetic and beauty brands that do not test on animals. These companies have made a concerted effort to lessen the already overwhelming amount of cruel testing on innocent animals who live their entire lives within the confines of laboratories.

Here are a few incredible brands that I highly recommend checking out as they are cruelty-free which is truly a beautiful thing!

 

ABBA Hair Care – PureAbba.com

AHAVA Skin Care and Bath & Body – Ahava.com

Aveda – Skincare, Hair Care, Fragrance  and Makeup, Aveda.com

Bath and Body Works, BathandBodyWorks.com

MD Formulations – MDFormulations.com

Obsesseive Compulsive Cosmetics – OCCMakeup.com
Smashbox Cosmetics – Smashbox.com


Sleeping Beauty: 8 Beauty Tricks To Roadtest While You Snooze

February 25th, 2013

Don’t you think beauty should be effortless? So effortless that you could become more gorgeous in your sleep? Turns out you can.

Not only does getting some shut-eye make you appear prettier (it’s called ‘beauty sleep’ for a reason), but it affords an opportunity to begin your beauty routine earlier; meaning less time spent primping and preening in the morning, and yes, longer lie-ins. Here are some fantastic overnight tricks that mean you can wake up feeling and looking more attractive.

Soft Hands And Feet

Are your brittle hands and feet a constant source of shame? Go biblical by soaking your hands and feet in a bowl of water – add some Epsom salts, if you have any. It should only take five minutes, and then you can whip out your exfoliating gloves to start removing dead skin cells.

Next, apply heavy duty moisturizer to both your hands and feet, place cotton gloves and socks on top, and then peel off in the morning. We promise, your extremities will never have felt so soft!

Shiny Locks

Would you love to wake up every morning with glossy, touchable hair? Use a sleep-in hair mask to nourish and condition while you’re dreaming of silky strands. All you have to do is rinse out the product and blow-dry in the morning. You’ll wonder why you never did this before!

Satin Sheets

There’s something exceptionally decadent about satin bed linen, but this skin-stroking material actually ups your beauty echelon. Not only does it stop damaging friction attacking your hair at night, but it’ll prevent the nasty build-up of oils on your face that lead to breakouts and blemishes.

Volume For Fine Hair

Fine-haired girls, we feel your pain. Every day it seems like we have the same boring hair and any attempts to change-up our style fall limp by lunchtime. Prevent this from happening by adding volumizing mousse to your tresses before bed and sleeping in hot rollers. Soft foam additions prevent an uncomfortable night, and you only need to curl some important sections.

Note: position curlers so they’re not digging into your scalp – what’s the point in glorious, thick hair if you look like you haven’t slept a wink.

In the A.M., shakeout any large curls with your fingers and coat with hairspray. Flip your head and spritz under your roots too, for lasting volume.

Mermaid Hair

Look at any runway this season and you’ll see that romantic mermaid hair is having a moment. However, that doesn’t mean that you should rush out and buy a set of crimping irons (more heat for your poor tresses). Instead, sleep on it.

Before you turn off the lights, apply a little cream or gel to just-wet hair and braid in little plaits – the smaller they are, the more intense the crimp (you probably want a happy medium). In the morning, all you have to do is loosen the braids and you’re good to go.

 

I’ve teamed up with up-and-coming beauty blogger Zoe Williams to bring you this post on CounterCultureBeauty.com today! Zoe is a self-confessed beauty addict and spends more of her bucks on skincare than she’d like to admit. Everyone’s got to have a vice, right?

For all your hair care and skincare supplies for your own ‘Sleeping Beauty’ regime, visit http://www.salonsdirect.com.

 

Winter Wonderful Skin 101

December 13th, 2012

Every winter season, I find myself in dire need of skin treatments and products that combat the dry, scaly, flaky skin that seems to flare up during this time of year. As the temperatures drop and the humidity declines, we tend to find ourselves facing some of the driest conditions of the year. Let’s not forget that we’re also subjecting ourselves to indoor heat which instantly removes what little moisture is left in our skin. Wearing multiple layers of cotton, wool and other natural fibers can exacerbate the irritated, inflamed conditions that tend to arise throughout the winter months. In order to maintain beautifully smooth soft skin, it’s important to use the right products and to remember a few key tips. Follow these tips below and you won’t have to suffer unsuitably dry skin this winter.

  • Keep your shower or bath water in the lukewarm range. Even though you will be tempted to take hot showers and bath on those cold winter nights or brisk winter mornings, hot water is a major deterrent to smooth, healthy skin. Not only does it strip the skin of it’s natural oils but it also can lead to irritation which in turn leads to scratching and itching your tender skin. Lukewarm water gives you the satisfaction of warmth and comfort without sacrificing your skin’s moisture levels.
  • Step up your exfoliation when showering or batheing. Unlike the spring and summer where you might exfoliate once or twice a week, you will want to remove the dead skin at least 3 to 4 times a week. Because you are increasing your exfoliation, you will want to use a product that is gentle enough to use daily but still effective enough to remove the dirt and dead skin with ease. Try Sephora Collection Smoothing Body Scrub in Vanilla ($10, Sephora.com). The delectable sweet scent will sweeten your skin while the paraben free formula will certainly soften it.
  • Another important tip occurs after you’ve finished your shower or bath. Rather than towel yourself dry, leave your skin damp. Let the water soak into your skin and lightly towel it off. Next you will want to apply a body oil. Opt for Fresh Sugar Body Oil, ($45, Fresh.com). Let the body oil soak into your skin. You will find that gently adding a deep layer of moisture to your damp skin will vastly improve the overall texture, appearance and quality of your skin throughout the cold winter season.
  • In order to maintain smooth, scale-free feet, you will need to consistently remove the dead skin build-up especially on the heels and balls of the feet. One of my go-to foot care products is the Dimancel # 10 The Classic Big Buffer ($49, BlissWorld.com). At first glance, the price may seem a bit steep but it’s really quite cheap when you think about the fact that this foot rasper is made with small diamond chips which means it will never go dull and never has to be sharpened. I use this foot rasper all year round to keep my feet beautifully soft. Once you remove the rough edges, you will need to slather your heels with an emollient foot salve or cream. Check out Soap & Glory’s Heel Genius Foot Mask Amazing Foot Cream ($15, SoapandGlory.com/US). Not only does this foot cream smooth out the hard heels but it also can be used as a cuticle cream for hands and feet. Love products that pull double duty.

With all of these easy tips, you will be on your way to smooth skin no matter how cold it gets outside. Have a happy holiday season and stay soft!