GOING CRUELTY-FREE~A Gradual Transition

Like many people, I transitioned to a cruelty-free beauty lifestyle when China opened its market to American and European cosmetic companies but required animal testing for those products in order to be sold in mainland China. This is NOT OK with me and it’s bunny rabbitNOT OK for tens of thousands of people. Fortunately, there is access to vast information right at your fingertips to help you determine your preferred definition of cruelty-free, as well as to help you find cruelty-free products that meet your needs. I also went the route of cruelty-free household chemicals at the same time, which was just as simple.

 
Once you decide to go ‘cruelty-free’, you might be tempted to toss all your now non-cruelty free items into the recycle bin and embark on a major spree. No need, however. To toss out items you have already paid for isn’t hurting anyone but you by wasting your hard-earned money. Regardless of your budget, wasting money is always a bad idea. dollar bunny
It’s far easier to do your research at home with regard to substitute brands for items you know you will repurchase and then start a list that you keep handy. When you find yourself in need of a product, you will already be armed with information to make new, cruelty-free purchases as the need actually arises.

 
Another way to ensure you are shopping cruelty-free is to research and download a couple of cruelty-free shopping apps on your phone or tablet and then you will be able to look up products you stumble upon when you are out and about. Once I decided to go cruelty-free, it took me about six months to convert the majority of my products to safe bunniescruelty-free brands and I still have a few items from non-cruelty free lines in my vanity drawer. Those Estee Lauder and Dior eye and highlighter pallets which last forever are still in my makeup stash and will remain so until they spoil or are used in full. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I spent a lot of money on those products, I still enjoy them, and I won’t disrespect my wallet—or the animals that now find themselves in research facilities—by tossing them in the trash.

 
If you are truly adamant to rid yourself of non-cruelty-free products in one swift motion, consider sanitizing and donating your products to family, friends or a women’s charity where they will find a new life. purchase on sale or full price

 
The transition to cruelty-free products will go much more smoothly than you think. There are numerous brands in all price ranges to fit everyone’s budget or level of prestige. A little homework and a bit of shopping now—and later—will help you begin—and live–your new beautiful, cruelty-free life.

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CALM HEALING FOR ANGRY, MIDDLE AGED SKIN~Murad

While I’m blessed with smooth, relatively uniform skin, illness always causes it to act up in an almost violent manner. When anything in my body is out of sync, it shows on my face. It’s not uncommon for me to wake up with an angry spot or two after a bout of illness and those pesky eruptions will sometimes take weeks to heal. I can’t help but feel the same annoying frustration that I felt as a teenager upon waking up to find an unsightly mark on the night of the school dance. While adulthood brings maturity, it doesn’t make me feel any better about a breakout.

This winter I went through a bout of illness that extended over a couple of months. Thankfully it isn’t terribly serious and I’m on the mend, but my skin went into a major state of rebellion. For weeks I battled several unsightly spots—those hard, swollen, sore and red irritations—that did not want to cooperatively go into submission. After a few weeks of seeing no results from my routine skincare, and knowing that it might be awhile yet before I was feeling completely myself, I decided I needed to switch things up a bit and invest in skincare for mature, acne prone skin while my entire body healed.

Many acne products contain benzoyl peroxide, an agent that is proven effective at healing minor breakouts but which is often far too irritating for dryer or older skin. And such is the case for me. I already use a salicylic acid cleanser on a once daily basis and I’ve been pleased with this one from Murad, which I have been using the last few murad cleanse.jpgmonths. So, I headed to their counter at Ulta to see what else they might offer for soothing and calming my facial eruptions. I was more than pleased to find an entire line of acne skin care products including a couple specifically geared to the mature age group.

First picked up another tube of the Murad Acne Control Clarifying Cleanser with 1.5% salicylic acid and I began using it twice a day. I was hoping to happen upon a tube of the Acne Control Anti-Aging (I hate that term) Cleanser but again, my store was out of stock. I’ll give it a try when I can finally get my hands on it.

acne solution.jpgFrom there I went for the Murad Acne Clearing Solution, which is a mild .5% salicylic acid and tea tree oil treatment that is applied twice daily after cleansing. The lightweight gel absorbs immediately into the skin, leaving a soft feel. The purpose of this treatment is to aid in clearing up any clogged pores and help prevent future break outs.

Finally, I chose the Murad Rapid Relief Acne Spot Treatment, a 2% salicylic acid treatment with Pine and Thyme extracts, intended to send advanced healing to those angry spots for speedy healing, while reducing swelling and redness. The gel-like treatment is much less drying for older skin and has given me far quicker results compared to other treatments I have tried.

I am still experiencing a bit of roughness in the couple areas where my breakouts rapid spot.jpgoccurred, but my skin is finally getting back to normal after a couple weeks of use. Once my complexion has returned to it’s normal state, I can stop using all but the cleanser once a day and resume my normal routine until the next interruption that requires treatment. Anyone who suffers breakouts on a regular basis will likely have success maintaining a healthy, clear complexion with ongoing use while avoiding dryness and flakiness than can otherwise dull and distract from your beautiful face. I would definitely check out the Murad skincare products for acne prone skin if this is an issue for you.

Murad is cruelty-free, of course, and I love their little uplifting sayings inside the packages that remind me to be beautiful no matter what life throws my way.

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LUXURY SOAPS FOR ALL~

Mr. LucyLoves and I both enjoy bar soaps although it seems they are much less popular these days than their liquid counterparts. But luxury, cruelty-free soaps are richly fragranced and available in a variety of skin-type options, and they last for ages. There are scents to please every taste of either gender as well as unscented varieties. I like to pick up bar soaps at specialty home and gift stores when I travel about and they make wonderful gifts for everyone. Santa regularly brings a bar or two of my favorites every year and I look forward to that little stocking treat.

 
A few of our favorites that we routinely purchase come from L’epi de Provence. Made infrench soap.jpg France and loaded with Shea Butter, these oil base soaps are soothing for my very dry skin and the fragrances are divine. Lemon Verbena is my favorite and I also lavish in the matching body and hand creams on a daily basis. The Lavender scent is my much-loved evening bath treat and blends nicely with the lavender sleep oil I use on my bed sheets. These treats are carried at a local family owned home store in my community and I have seen them at gift stores and boutiques around the nation.

 
mens bar.jpgSandalwood is one of Mr. LucyLove’s favorite fragrances so I look for it in shaving and balm products when I’m roaming about. He happened upon this bar of Sandalwood and Patchouli by Wavertree & London while on my birthday outing a couple of weeks ago. The rich, masculine scent isn’t only appealing to the males of our species—I enjoy it, too!

 
Definitely on the male side of things is this UPW Cuban Tobacco & Honey bar that serves as both a shaving soap and bathing aid. The fragrance emitted from this little olive oil mens round.jpgbased gem reminds me of my grandpa smoking after dinner while enjoying a sip of bourbon when I was a child and it’s a memory I can’t get enough of.

 
Most of these cruelty-free bars are in the $8 to $12 range. While they await use, I store them in a little open basket in the master bath so their aromas waft through the air even when we aren’t in our baths or showers. You can’t go wrong with these staples for you, your family or friends. They are luxury treats that meet the needs of any budget.

 
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CHARITY ON A BUDGET~Helping Others in Need

I want for nothing. I have been blessed with a profitable career which I was able to give up when I needed to take care of myself. My husband has a career that supplies us with all our essential needs and then some. I have nothing to complain about.

 
Unfortunately, not everyone can say that. And in rural America, it can be particularly difficult for people in need. Our communities lack the resources for the hungry and the homeless that many find in larger, more metropolitan areas. We lack both shelters and soup kitchens. We have nothing much beyond the social service welfare programs that the state and federal governments provide and then you must meet the eligibility dollar-bill-1237473.jpgcriteria. Often, the working poor don’t meet those criteria and they still don’t have enough to make ends meet. Living in a small community, I know elderly who don’t have enough retirement income to cover both necessary food and prescription medication. There are single parents earning near minimum wage, paying rent on run down apartments, struggling to maintain a battered automobile and lacking in nutritious food for their families. The homeless have established communities in sheltered areas of a wooded park in my community within walking distance to town where they can access public restrooms and purchase what goods they are able. All of these people and more are dependent on the kindness of others in order to survive. I’m sure it’s this way in your community as well. It is up to those of us who have, to provide every little bit we can. And how can we best give?

 
drawing-5-1411626.jpgOne need not be well to do to make a difference for others. No amount is too small to help just one person in need. You might think helping one person won’t change the world but it will certainly change the world for them. Even if you are struggling yourself, you can do something to contribute. It’s easy if you add charitable contributions into your budget and commit to paying them just as any other expense. Here are some actions I take that make contributing an easy habit to maintain:

 
1. Determine a charitable budget and withdraw it in cash each payday. Be it $10.00 or $100.00 per month, it all helps.

 

2. Locate charitable collection sites in your community where you can make donations and frequent those establishments, if only to drop off a few dollars from time to time. By having your donation available in cash, you can easily give when a spur of the moment opportunity arises.

 

3. Consider altering your charities to spread your donations further around. Perhaps you donate your entire budget to only one charity every month, but in choosing a different charity each month, you personally touch more people. And don’t forget the animals. Pet charities are always in need.dog-1153564.jpg

 

4. Inquire with your local grocery store as to any food bank programs they participate in. My local grocers collect for specific charities throughout the year, such as United Way and the Red Cross but they also accept donations of canned or boxed food for the local food pantry and you easily buy one or two items when you do your personal shopping and leave them in a cart by the door.

 

5. Consider making your charitable donations at the cash register. Many businesses collect for worthy, well-known charitable causes making donations easy. McDonald’s run it’s very important Ronald McDonald House and several retailers collect for St. Jude’s and the Red Cross.

 

girl-silhouette-1153730.jpg6. Look into payroll deduction as a means to make charitable contributions such as to an annual United Way campaign.

 

Of course, our money is not the only thing we have to give that will help others but it usually is the easiest way for most of us to contribute. If you have time to spare, that is just as valuable if not more so. Consider giving just one hour a week to a charity in your community and see what a difference your time makes. Some of the local charities that likely need you include:

 
1. Your local library or community college, which often needs volunteers for literacy programs.

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2. Food banks always seem to need people willing to cover a few hours now and again to stock shelves, pack boxes and hand out supplies. “Meals on Wheels” programs look for drivers and food prep workers, both of whom provide a much-valued service to the elderly and disabled.

 

3. Local parks often host ‘spring clean-up’ days or weekly maintenance shifts that require assistance from the public so you can enjoy the park while helping others enjoy it as well.

 

All of these charities and more will be grateful for any time that you can give but more importantly, those who benefit from your time will reap rewards you probably can’t imagine.stark-tree-1247860.jpg

 
Giving to others is a gift to both the recipients and the donors. Knowing you have done something to make life better for others in your community will give you a feeling of contribution and elation. While your contributions may almost always be anonymous, know that recipients are grateful beyond words. You may make the difference between a family having a bowl of soup or an entrée with healthy sides tonight. That homeless man you pass in the park who walks with the stray dog may keep his companion for a while longer thanks to the heartworm medication he received from the local animal clinic. No matter how much you give, or where it goes, it is lending a hand to a good cause and improving the life of someone in your community. And that is a gift we may all benefit from.cats-in-love-1147252

 

Live a beautiful life.

Images courtesy freeimages.com

SIMPLE SKINCARE VALENTINE TREATS FOR HIM~

Mr. LucyLoves enjoys simple skincare, meaning the less fuss, the better. He does indulge a bit in his shaving ritual and owns a few very nice razors and brushes and favors sandalwood scented shaving soaps. So, coming up with a personal Valentine that he can enjoy is simple enough. Here are a few of his favorites that are sure to please even the most laid back in skincare fellow on your list.

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This Harry’s razor is Mr. LucyLove’s favorite and he has a travel friendly, shower version as well. Available online or from several retailers, this is a “can’t miss” purchase for the finicky shaver in your life.

In order to get a good shave, a good lather is an absolute must. Mr. LucyLoves prefers bar shaving soaps and so I look for sandalwood or tobacco scents in small sized bars that fit nicely into a shaving dish. I’ve purchased two of those for Mr. LucyLoves over the years, including one from Crabtree &

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Evelyn that is refillable and more recently, I purchased this lovely glass dish that round shaving soaps fit nicely in. It also looks pretty on our bathroom vanity. A masculine scented soap and a lovely soap bowl make nice gifts for any man.

In order to apply and build up that lather, a quality shaving brush is required. I have purchased brushes from several well-known vendors but Mr. LucyLoves insists that brand doesn’t matter so much as bristle type. He prefers natural badger, which isn’t expensive as it might sound, and has been using this one for the last year or so.

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Post-shave, a nice gel provides a touch of moisture and protection to the skin. Shave gels and balms are available in an array of aromas to suit every guy, including those who are particular about keeping fragrance to a minimum. Two of Mr. LucyLove’s favorites are these by Harry’s and Jack Black. They work well for his oily skin and aren’t overpowering with scent.

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Of course, every guy needs a good quality deodorant antiperspirant and giving them as gifts is perfectly acceptable, especially when splurging on a

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cruelty-free luxury brand. Mr. LucyLoves has fallen for this one by Jack Black and now won’t use anything else. I buy them in bulk so he’s never without it. Wrap it up with a

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nice bar soap and you have a great gift every man will use.

If your fellow is a little more daring with his skincare, try treating him to a face mask as well. I like these single use masks as a way to try out different varieties for every skin care concern. Those geared specifically to men make getting even the less than enthusiastic guy more likely to give good

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skincare a try. Who knows, you might even get him to consider SPF and moisturizer one day.

Lastly, for the man on his feet all day, a soothing foot balm is fabulous gift. Mr. LucyLoves has tried several and is currently using this J. R. Watkin’s Foot Repair Salve. It’s extremely affordable and comes in a nice,

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easy-open tin. Wrap it up with a nice pair of socks and you have a great gift for any guy.

Treating your man to a little skincare treat is always useful and appreciated. Spending a little extra on something he might not splurge on for himself is a treat that won’t bust your budget like some more impractical gifts might. Everyone from the college grad to dear old dad will indulge in your delights. Whomever you share Valentine’s Day with, do so with love.

Live a beautiful life.

LEARNING LESSONS OF LIFE~The Cleveland Museum of Natural History

I am by no means a history ‘buff’ but I do enjoy reading, learning and immersing myself in various forms of history. Be it books, movies or a visit it a museum, there are alwaysafrica.jpg valuable lessons in the history of absolutely everything. And a trip to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History is a great place to learn about the roots of our planet, our universe and all of life.

 
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History explores everything from the foundations of the planets in the Planetarium, to the dinosaur age, to formation of life from human and plant to aquatic. There are museum sections dedicated to the preservation of wildlife including an outdoor walkway complete with various animals native to the otter.jpgNorthern part of the Unites States and Canada. This ‘mini-zoo’ provides entertainment and education that all ages love to enjoy. The museum even houses a gem and jewelry collection that is sure to put a smile on the face of everyone who adores natures brightest decorations.

 
I had the opportunity to visit and learn about Balto, the beloved dog who inspired the Iditarod Race, one of my favorite events to follow, as well as dozens of other animals tbalto.jpghat have shaped our surroundings. I learned more about native cultures from my own area, including the Erie, as well as those of more distant regions. I loved hearing about the predator and pray relationships of the wildlife of Africa, which I dream of visiting via safari one day. The display of our own animal ancestry is telling and moving into the prehistoric and ice age displays is a massive joy for every visitor. For those who love the sea life, there is a bit of that as well, and also a grand opportunity to learn much that is known of the construction of our universe and space.

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There is absolutely something to suit everyone at the Cleveland Museum of Natural wolf.jpgHistory and there is likely something that will peek your interest at your own local museums. If you have the opportunity to visit any museum of natural history, you will have spent a day doing something enjoyable and educational for yourself and your companions. Most museums also host seminars, classes and field trip opportunities which focus on specific areas of interest for those who want to learn more about any area. And once you’ve made the trip, you are likely to consider a museum membership to save on your many return visits.

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Consider spending a day supporting your own local history museum or visiting those around the world, wherever your travels take you. You won’t be disappointed.

 
Live a beautiful life.

 

PRETTY PAPER PRESENTS~

Perhaps it’s because I love to write, but I love pretty paper products almost as much as I love relishing in my skincare routine. There is something about a beautiful notebook, a pretty card, a decorative diary and putting a svelte pen to the page that makes me smile. Homemade and personalized paper products are especially enticing to me and here are a few lovelies I received as gifts this holiday season, which you could easily make for yourself or others with a passion for pulp.

Afraid you or someone else will forget? Write yourself a note on a sticky pad supported post itby a lovely not pad holder. This pint-sized post it holder was made from a thick piece of cardboard, covered in a piece of old map and attached with a glitter covered clip. The cute mini-pen will ensure you’re always ready to make note of a special occasion or grocery store reminder.

Always trying to keep track of computer passwords, birthdates or mailing addresses? A pocket notebook covered in sturdy decorative paper, divided with stick-on add bookdividers and garnished with a sparkly ink pen will ensure you never locked out of your favorite website or in doubt of where to mail Aunt Mary’s birthday card. Yes, it’s easy to store this information on your phone or laptop but it’s so much more fun to have it at hand in a pretty trinket book on your desk.

For those of you who enjoy journaling as much as I do, there is no need to spend a small fortune on pre-made diaries when you purchase plain notebooks and easily cover them with your favorite designs, invoking pleasurable memories and passions. A notebook that is a joy to look at will even inspire that procrastinating student to reconsider homework time.

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Most of all, you never want to miss an all-important date, be it for your annual medical exam or your niece’s baby shower. While calendar journals seem to be all the rage, designer and customizable models fetching more money than you might spend on a cashmere sweater, you can make your own date reminder book with a bit of imagination, some crafting supplies and a glue stick. My sister made this one for me last year that includes a reusable cover and I’ve already slid my 2018 office supply store replacement calendar

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between the cover pages for tracking the new year.

The next time you’re in need of a gift for your paper loving family member of friend, consider a bit of creativity and savings by making your own lovely and useful desktop staples.

Live a beautiful life.

A SUMMER DAY IN FEBRUARY~The Cleveland Botanical Garden

Winter is particularly cruel here in the Midwest for weeks on end and finding escapes to warm your he

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art and lift your mood can be difficult. Just traveling can be a burden when the roads are often snow and ice covered, not to mention the layers of clothing you have to endure to fend off the bitter winds. Any escape in a warm, relaxing environment is a godsend. And the Cleveland Botanical Garden is just the place.

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Each February, the Cleveland Botanical Garden is host to Orchid Mania, an exhibit of thousands of blooming orchid plants throughout the halls and green houses. The vibrant colors are stunningly vivid amongst the greenery. The sauna-like feel of the

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greenhouse is a welcome reprieve, allowing visitors to check their coats and enjoy hours walking about the bright, colorful displays in a single layer of clothing. What a joy in and of itself!

Accompanying the gardens and greenhouse are art displays, a children’s learning center, gift shop, café and a variety of classes available throughout the year. A spring and summer trip to the gardens also provides vast outdoor enjoyment amongst the many flowers, while the winter allows for a brisk walk through the

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dormant shrubs and trees around University Circle’s park. There is also a bit of wildlife within the gardens, both indoors and out, as birds and turtles live within the greenhouse and butterflies are released indoors each afternoon. Visiting a botanical garden is a gift any time of the year but especially in winter when many of us see so little sunshine and color.

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Orchid Mania is a delight for those of us who enjoy our own orchid collections as well as for the non-green thumb who likes to dream in wonder amidst these amazing stunners. While orchids were once only maintained by the elite with far deeper pockets than my own, modern science has made breeding hardier, easier to maintain plants a reality and rapid multiplication of these blooms has made them ever so affordable for everyone. Today you can purchase of variety of orchids in home and grocery stores. Maintaining orchids requires less maintenance than you might think and the beautiful, long term blooms they provide will brighten any living area.

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I was lucky enough to add two less common varieties to my own orchid collection via the Cleveland Botanical Garden Orchid sale, as a birthday gift from Mr. LucyLoves. While a bit pricier than orchids I would have purchased for myself, the proceeds benefit the ongoing success of the gardens. My sister and I have already planned a return trip to take part in an upcoming silk painting that will allow us to enjoy another day in the warm, gorgeous surroundings of this special event. Another summer-like reprieve to look forward to.

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Anyone who lives within a couple hours drive of a major city is likely to have a botanical garden or public greenhouse at their disposal and a visit is well worth the trip. Especially for

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those who live in darker, colder climates who go months without exposure to regular sunlight or colorful outdoor views, a public botanical garden is a real treat. As pleasant as a day at the spa and as lively as a walk in the park.

If you have the opportunity, check out a botanical garden or greenhouse near you. You likely won’t be disappointed and you may be inspired to perk up your own indoor or outdoor greenery.

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As always, live a beautiful life.

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SKINCARE INGREDIENTS I WON’T LIVE WITHOUT~

Every skin has different needs at different stages in your life. For me, middle age and surgical menopause have brought a variety of skincare needs as I’m sure is the norm for most people. While my life-long combination oily skin is tempering to a more normal complexion, I still suffer the occasional hormonal spot, signs of dehydration when I’ve neglected my hydration, and certainly those creepy little lines that sneak up on all of us. There are a few key ingredients that have been saviors for me and I won’t be without them. This doesn’t mean I am loyal to a particular brand necessarily as I love to try different brands and take advantage of sales. Rather, it’s particular ingredients that help me and here are those I won’t live without:

Salicylic Acid—for the occasional spot that always seems to pot out just in time for a sal acid.jpgspecial event, I swear by salicylic acid for clearing the pores and helping to ward off those pesky irritants that spoil our complexion. I prefer to get a daily dose of salicylic acid in my morning cleansing routine and I also keep a spot treatment in my cabinet for as-needed use. I’m currently using this salicylic acid cleanser from Murad and I’ve not been disappointed. While there are less expensive cruelty-free brands, you get a lot for your money in this large size bottle and a small dab is all you need. I’m only about halfway through this container and I purchased it in mid-November.

Glycolic Acid—I have found glycolic acid to be the perfect, gentle chemical exfoliator for my normal skin. And this Pixi 5% Glycolic Acid Toner is just the ticket to keeping my IMG_20180129_114056.jpgIMG_20180129_114056.jpgcomplexion bright. There are stronger glycolic acids on the market, usually at much higher price points, which may work fine for you. I find using this one twice a day saves not only money but my skin as well.

Vitamin C—I love the feel of my skin after applying a thin coat of vitamin C and I’m sure the brightening exfoliator does wonders for everyone, regardless of skin type. While vitamin C products come in a variety of price points, this proven staple needs to be packaged in a stable, air tight container and stored away fromvit c.jpg the light. I am currently using this Derma E vitamin C skin serum as part of my morning routine, just before applying my sunscreen. The product is housed in a glass bottle with a capped pump to prevent air from getting into the product and I store it in my medicine chest.

Retinol—while I could probably benefit from prescription strength retin-A at some point in the future, I have yet to discuss with my dermatologist taking that plunge. I’ve been satisfied these last few years with the results of over-the-counter retinol and I’m currently using this Murad Retinolretinol.jpg Youth Renewal Serum and the coordinating eye cream. I believe retinol is an absolute must once we reach a certain age for softening and smoothing those fine lines and wrinkles that naturally come with age. Retin-A in a prescription strength is most effective but if you don’t need it, don’t rush to spend the large price tag as most insurance plans don’t cover Retin-A for cosmetic use.

Cold pressed Argan Oil—Oils have been all the rage in skin care for the last few years and like many people, I have tried a gamut of them. Argan Oil is the one my skin loves and I credit the decrease in oiliness and frequency of hormonal break-outs to my commitment to using Argan Oil as my nightly moisturizer. And argan oil doesn’t oil.jpgjust benefit your face and neck. Use it on your hair, nails, cuticles—anyplace you need a touch of moisture. I swear by my Josie Maran 100% Argan Oil Light and I won’t be without it.

I’d like to hear what your favorite skincare ingredients are and any particular brands you swear by.

Live a beautiful life.

 

 

WINTER RECYCLING~

I’ve spent the fall and winter months thus far relishing in the skincare and beauty products I had built up over the previous year or so, and enjoying every minute of it. As a lover of all things concerning healthy and happy skin, I am regularly tempted to indulge in and try products on a regular basis, to the point that I had multiples of many favorite ingredients. As an early-retiree, I realize it’s in my best financial interest to treat my skin to the best in skincare ingredients that are appropriate for me, and to avoid temptation to splurge before I need to. So, I promised myself I would use up everything in my stash before making new purchases and here is the result of my ‘waste not, want not’ foray into my own skincare cabinet.

PRODUCTS I WOULD REPURCHASE ON SALE:
No matter how much wealth you have, saving money is never a bad idea. If I can purchase a good product for a better price than another good product, I’m going to do it. Therefore, while I did enjoy a lot of products I purchased, there are a few that I can live without if it means maintaining a healthier bank account along with my healthy skin.
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel Pads—loved this product as a daily exfoliator in place of my Pixi Glycolic Acid Toner but for the price, Pixi is a far less expensive and just as effective alternative. I’d gladly indulge again though for a twenty percent or more discount.

Unwash Bio-cleansing Conditioner—My curly hair responds well to these soap-free, conditioner style cleansers for periods of time and Unwash Bio-cleanser Conditioner is a great one, maybe the best I have tried. It’s a bit pricey however and therefore on my sale only list.

Strivectin Advance Retinol Serum, Moisturizer and Eye Cream—Retinol is a staple in my

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skincare routine, one of my “Can’t live without it products”. But I am always open to trying new brands and while I absolutely loved the Strivectin line, I have found and am currently using another brand that I enjoy just as much and which saves me a few dollars. So, unless I can repurchase the Strivectin brand at a price comparable to others in the same potency range, I might as well skip it and save a bit.

RapidLash Eyelash Growth Serum—this product did give me some lash growth which is always a blessing for those of us who are finding our lashes thinning in middle age. But as mascara does the job in terms of highlighting my lashes on make-up days, this is a pricey product I can skip. Reduce the price by half and I’d be on board with regular daily use. Until then, I’m skipping this product.

PRODUCTS I WOULD REPURCHASE WHETHER OR NOT THEY ARE ON SALE:
I found several products I would gladly repurchase whether or not they were on sale when I’m in need of replacements. To me, that says a lot about a product—it’s a good quality item for the asking price.

Pacifica Hairvana Leave On Conditioning Treatment—My curls love lightweight moisture on a non-stop basis and this one does the trick in terms of maintaining softness while keeping fly-aways at bay. This is twenty bucks well spent and I’m on my second tube.

Klorane Mango Shampoo—I loved this shampoo for both the gentle cleansing and the wonderful fragrance. It just made my hair and me very happy and we like to be happy.

Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels—I have fallen in love with these eye masks. They are my absolute favorite and I will continue to repurchase them on sale or not. The cooling gel masks give my undereye area just enough moisture while reducing any swelling that may have developed from dehydration, sinus irritation or just overall fatigue. If I don’t use any other eye mask but these I’m still a happy gal. I’ve been through several boxes already and I’ll buy more.

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Andelou Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask—I know ladies and gents who are absolutely in love with the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme mask which retails for nearly three times this Andelou version, which is just as enjoyable and effective. This has become one of, if not the all-time favorite mask in my at-home spa routine. You won’t go wrong with this one, especially at $20.

Bath & Body Works (White Barn) Candles and Hand Soaps—you can’t go wrong with the B&BW brands for home or personal fragrance for yourself or as gifts. The candles are richly scented and clean burning and the lovely jars are always recyclable for other purposes. The hand soaps will surely put a smile on your face as the fragrance lingers long after you have washed and dried. That being said, these products are a bit on the pricey side for what they are so I do take advantage of the routine B&BW sales with every purchase (sign up at the register or online). But if I needed a gift and didn’t have a coupon, I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase any these products at full price.

PRODUCTS I WILL NOT REPURCHASE:

Don’t get me wrong, just because I won’t repurchase a product does not mean the product isn’t a good one. Quite the contrary, it might be a great one but just not within my beauty budget.

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil—Like all Sunday Riley fans, I loved the Luna Night Oil and I used it for better than a year. I awoke every morning with silky smooth skin and was not disappointed. However, I am at the point of needing a stronger version of retinol in my regular routine and so I’ve moved on to higher percentage retinol products,

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which are also less expensive. If you are new to retinol or don’t need or want a higher concentration, by all means, give Sunday Riley Luna Oil a try.

Strivectin TL Advanced Tightening Neck Cream—this is another product that I loved trying and would certainly not turn down if a supply magically appeared in my nightstand on a regular basis. But the $95 price tag is just a bit more than I can swallow so I’m sticking with the standard of applying the same products to my neck and chest that I apply to my face. For now. Cut the price by half and I’ll become a loyal follower.

Whatever you are using in your skincare routine, use it faithfully, enjoy the process of going through your daily routines, and always, always recycle.

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Live a beautiful life.