Skincare: Smoke and Mirrors?

Do you like my mysterious and quizzical title?

The idea for this post came when Bry and I were waiting for a delayed plane out of PDX and I wandered around a Keihl’s store. I skirted around the outside, close enough to sample a little hand cream but keeping far enough away to avoid getting badgered by sales folk. Then I overheard a conversation between the sales gal and woman with (if I’m honest) not-so-good skin. Hyper pigmentation, dark spots, lines, wrinkles, and pores big enough to store loose change.

She stared open-mouthed in frustration as the sales girl talked about this product and that. A corrective and firming regiment of balms, tonics and creams seemed to be just the ticket! Bryan wandered over at that point and I asked him what he thought of the promises of all these products. He looked at me blankly and replied, “C’mon Nat. We’re all slowly dying.”

A bit morbid, sure. But I am beginning to think he was dead on (pun intended). We’re all trying to reverse a process that is inevitable for all humans. A slow breakdown of our youth and beauty sounds just horrific, so we look anywhere for help. We look to the $350 cream in a fancy pot and laquered box. We look to medi-spas, botox, fillers and even surgery. We will do anything.

So I wander up and down the aisles and aisles of skincare, reading words like “age-defying”, “wrinkle-reducing” and my favorite, “luminescent”. I think, I want to defy my age! I want a reduction in my wrinkles and OBVS I want to be luminescent. Of COURSE I do.

But I think the day Bryan uttered those words to me it finally clicked.  Sadly, NO amount of money is going to give me the skin of an 18-year old. Nor will I ever “glow from within” unless I’m just really sweaty. And the recent photos of Ms. Renee Zellweger prove that going the surgical route is just SO wrong. So what CAN I do?


  • I can drink water (even though I MUCH prefer Diet Coke).
  • I can exersize, eat things that are good for me and try to get in m’8hours.
  • I can douse myself in SPF, wear floppy hats and always find a spot in the shade.
  • I can keep my skin in great shape using simple methds of washing, exfoliating and making sure my skin is hydrated.
  • I can do fun things with my makeup like like eyelash extensions, a bold red lip and fierce brows (on fleek!).

I guess what I am saying is, although I’d like to belive that dropping thousands of dollars on laser treatments and creams laden with chemicals could make a difference in restoring youth – it’s mostly a bit of smoke and mirrors. Clever marketing, beautiful packagaing and perfectly trained sales people that rattle off 75 reasons why YOU NEED this product. It’s a bit of a circus, or a carnival that can be confusing and a bit scary to those who can’t see through the fog.

But don’t fret because believe it or not, it is pretty easy to take excellent care of your skin with products that keep it simple. If you’re interested in my opinion of products and lines that fit the bill and are worth the money, stay tuned.



Rodan + Fields Self-Tanner and Skincare Review

**For more pictures and an updated review on this product, click here!**

My lovely co-worker and friend, Megan was kind enough to allow me to try a few products from the Rodan + Fields skincare line to try. She has been selling their products for about a year and lemme just tell you, her skin is gorgeous.


Rodan + Fields Essentials Foaming Sunless Tan 4.2oz $24


As a huge fan of any cancer-free tan, I was thrilled to try this one in particular because it is made by actual dermatologists. Which means I knew it wouldn’t be poisonous, cause break-outs or be super orangey.

And I was right.

Step One: I started out by taking a shower and exfoliating my skin with the Tree Hut Body Scrub in Brazilian Nut which smells DIVINE. As any avid tan-in-a-can girl will tell you, exfoliation before tan application is key.

Step Two: I used 2.5 pumps per leg and noticed right away that the product was not tinted. Some brands use what’s called “color-guard” to make it easier to see any areas you have missed. The color-guard tint also means that usually it’s best to apply with a tanning mitt.


Since this foam is clear, I just used my bare hands and went to town. The smell was really nice and kind of citrusy, WAY better than most self-tanning products. The label advised “finishing one area completely before moving on to the next” and when I began to work the product into my skin, I knew why. The foam absorbs SUPER quickly into the skin, which means you gotta work quickly. No dilly-dallying. No time to stop and clip your toenails. But I kinda loved it. I loved that it was absorbing so nicely and evenly into my skin, instead of sitting grossly on top, making me feel “wet”. Literally, 5 minutes later, I was all done!


Freshly applied – nevermind my gross, veiny foot


Forearm – before

Step Three: After a thorough hand washing, I walked around our bathroom watching YouTube makeup tutorials and eating handfuls of Fruit Looks naked while the product completely dried. Now THERE’S A SITE! Within minutes, my skin felt completely dry (not like, dry-dry though) and I could get dressed.

*Here are shots from the next morning.



Overall, I really liked the tanning foam. The developed color is not super dark, but I think that’s what I like about it. While I would not use it for that instant, deep dark tan –  I love it as an everyday, subtle “glowy” tanned look.

 The next products I reviewed came packaged so cutely and conveniently. Here we have the Microdermabrasion Paste, the Night-Renewing Serum and the Lip-Renewing Serum.


Step One: I started out with a (relatively) clean face (makeup wipes only).


Just. Don’t be jealous.


Then I squeezed out the entire packet of paste onto the tips of my fingers and began massaging it into my skin for 30-60 seconds as instructed.


The paste had a wonderful, almost warming effect on my skin and felt amaaaazing as I worked it around. Call me cray, but I could literally feel my skin moving and tightening below the surface of the product. SOMETHING was happening and I luuurved it.


Step Two: A minute later, I rinsed the product off and patted my skin dry. Then I went in with the face serum and literally – just, oh m’lord. The Hallelujah chorus went off in my head. Or maybe my face? Hallelujah! Said my pores. Hallelujah! Exclaimed my fine fines. It was like my skin was finally given a big ol’ drink of water. Actually, not a drink. It was given a Big Gulp.


Guys, this serum is JUST the best. The best, Jerry, the best. My skin was like a friggen’ baby’s bottom.

Step Three: Then I smeared the lip-renewing serum all over my mouth. And I mean everywhere. I went WAY outside the lines and into the corners. It felt like the most luxurious lip gloss ever, like a rich oil. Even after Bryan and I watched an episode of Dexter AND I drank water – the product was still there, sinking into my lips.


So, yeah. I have never experienced such an enlightening night of skincare before in m’life. Perhaps it is because I haven’t tried products that really work. Which is kindof a depressing thought. No, these products are not cheap. But, I am a firm believer that with skincare – you absolutely get what you pay for.


I am so impressed with everything I tried from the Rodan + Fields line and will keep you all in the loop if I try out anything else. If you are interested in purchasing any products from the line, just click any of the links!

‘Til next time – stay lovely!

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My Morning/Nighttime Skincare Routine

Never did I think that I would write a blog post with this title. But now that I have turned the big 3-0, taking better care of the epidermal layer has become somewhat more important.

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Nice closed-mouth smile there, Nat.

Before I begin, a history…

High School

I washed my face with whatever soap my Mom bought that was on sale at the grocery store. I remember using Clean and Clear (and under control) when I had breakouts, which I STILL have faint scars from on my temples and sides of my chin. But no SPF. NO moisturizer. NO nothin’.


I liked this because it “burned”

I also tanned on the daily, reasoning that the UV rays were “drying” out any skin problems. I would actually stick my chin up as high as it could go in order to get my face closer to the top of the tanning bed. You guys, I shudder. I shudder at the thought of this.


In college, taking care of my skin meant, you guessed it – more tanning. Maybe the occasional purchase of a bottle of a gimicky face wash at Wal-Mart. Or those Dove Daily Facial Pillows, I thought those were THE BOMB, ya’ll.


Post College

After college, my routine of reactive face care continued. Taking off my makeup before bed? Please. I was lucky to brush the crud off my teeth, after too many Jäger shots and  a 2 am Jack in the Box run.

Last Few Years

A few years ago, my priorities changed. Read: going out 4 times a week no longer sounded like fun and spending a night in with Bryan and a tub of froyo was way more appealing. It was at this point, I regularly began to actually remove my makeup before bed. More often than not, a makeup removing wipe was the weapon of choice but at least it did the trick. I started buying whatever moisturizer was on sale at the drugstore and was like, “You’re doing it Peter!”.

Then about 1 year ago, I got like, really interested in my face. Haha, that sounds so vain. But come on, 29 candles on the birthday cake and NEVER getting carded will do that to a girl. I started trying different products and trying to determine exactly what my skin needed and what my “skin concerns” were. GOD I sound like an infomercial right now.

So anyways, here’s my current line-up. Alot of it comes from my recent haul at Ulta.


Step 1: Rinse

That’s right – I don’t wash my face in the morning. My skin is dry/normal and I find that washing it twice a day is not necessary. Instead, in the morning I splash warm and cool water on my face to kind of wake me up.

Step 2: Toner and Moisturizer

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I spray my face with the Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater and let that set in. I follow up with the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer with SPF 30 and make sure I take it down my neck and under my chin as well. This stuff has retinol so you know it’s serious. If I want something with a little tint, I will use the Origins Vitazing (great for the summer time).

Step 3: Eye Creme

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Then, I apply my Tarte Maracuja C-Brighter Eye Creme in a C shape around my eye, patting it in with my ring finger. If I want something even more brightening, I will use the Origins Ginzeng Eye Creme. It isn’t as rich as the Tarte, but it gives off a beautiful pearly-pink shimmer.

Step 4: Lip Scrub


I have been using the Bubblegum Lip Scrub from Lush and I am in love. This is my first time trying any kind of lip scrub and good God – I have been missing out! It makes lipstick glide on (with no gross flakiness) and last longer. Plus, this one from Lush is basically castor sugar so I just lick off the excess. Teehee.

Step 5: Self Tanner (Occasional)

When I do use a self tanner, lately it has been the Tarte Maracuja Self Tanner. It has an olive base, as opposed to orange, which I like. I just found this one by Too Faced at T.J Maxx for $8 so I’ll also be using this.

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Step 1: Cleanser


I use the Purity facewash from Philosophy like so many do. It is a great, gentle face wash and I am now addicted to the subtle scent. What I love about this face wash is that it removes makeup AND cleanses the skin. I feel like I am saving a step.

Step 2: Toner and Serum


Again, it’s the Mario Badescu toner. I am dying to try Bioderma – like literally dying. Must plan another trip to Pari! Then, I put on the Origins Plantscription Anti-Aging Serum.

Step 3: Moisturizer and Eye creme

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I then use the Boots No.7 Lift and Luminate Night Cream and make sure that I get it everywhere. Then it’s the Tarte Eye Creme again.

Step 4: Lip Balm & Hand Lotion

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I keep the Nivea Caramel Cream Kiss Lip Butter on my nightstand as well as the Jacqua Buttercream Frosting Body Butter (I have loved these products forever).


And that’s it! What skin care products are you loving?