Tag Archives: stages of beauty

Jessamyn’s Six Tips for Jealousy Inducing Skin

Like I mentioned in my Stages of Beauty Product Review, I am frequently complimented because of my (allegedly) smooth skin. In my eyes, my skin is not very smooth. But nevertheless, everyone seems to think I was born with really great skin.

Unfortunately for me, I was not- I come from a long line of women (and men) who have suffered at the hands of the environment, time, and other external influences with the result being that their skin does not look like a baby’s backside.

Because of traumatizing experiences during my adolescence, I have developed an irrational paranoia about my skin. Though this  paranoia manifests in some rather unorthodox and (probably) unnecessary habits, there are a few habits which I think are absolutely necessary for an individual to have and maintain clear and smooth skin.

Some of these steps may seem obvious, and some of them will remind you of reading teen magazines in middle school, but trust me: when combined, these six tips are absolutely fool proof.

water glass1. Water is Your Friend: I’m not saying other beverages are illegal or satanic. Ok, maybe I will say that from time to time (I’m liberal and I’m loud- so sue me). But no matter what other liquids you enjoy, you can’t expect to have fresh and vibrant skin without drinking a lot of water. That whole 8-8oz glass equation? Yeah, that’s real life. You need to do it- it will also help control rampant midday hunger pains. I’m sure you’re probably wondering how you can manage to fit that much liquid into your diet. It’s simple- invest in a 32 oz water bottle, fill it up at the start of the day, and aim to drink the whole thing by lunch. Then, after/during lunch, re-fill your bottle and sip the contents through the rest of the day. See? Boom goes the dynamite- you’ve just ingested 64 oz of nature’s kool-aid. But whatever you do, DON’T buy disposable water bottles. They are, in the words of The Office’s ever-wise Gabe Lewis, the “scurge of the earth”. It really is worth it to buy a reusable bottle- they are very affordable nowadays, and they are super handy. Inexplicably, I’ve managed to acquire a mini-collection of nalgene bottles. But if you don’t have time to gradually accumulate products, check out this nalgene model.

smoking and drinking2. Put Down That Cancer Stick and Cork Up Your Wine- Ok, I’m not an idiot and I was born in America’s tobacco capital: I am well aware of the prevalence of smoking among young adults, ESPECIALLY those living in the Old North State. Because no matter what your parents or DARE coach said, smoking does have a certain ‘cool’ cache. Especially when you’re young and hanging out in seedy yet bad ass locales. Same goes for alcoholic goodies- if they didn’t look cool and weren’t fun, most adults wouldn’t imbibe so frequently. But here’s the thing- if you overindulge in both of these common vices, you can kiss clear skin good-bye. Because as much as you don’t want to admit it, smoking and drinking will shoot your skin straight to hell (not to mention the rest of your body). I’m not here to be the hypocritical morality police- god knows I’ve got enough vices and bad behavior to make a school girl blush. But I have seen too many beautiful girls smoking like chimneys to not make an internet plea. Even if you don’t care about your vocal cords (or your liver…or your gums…or every other precious internal organ), think about your cheekbones. And your teeth. And your bone structure. And your eyelids. Think about how all of those lovely features are going to be riddled with stains, blots, lines, and other disfigurements. And it won’t have anything to do with age. You’ll be a 35 year-old with the face of a 45-50 year-old. And there’s no skin care regiment to fix that sort of damage. So do yourself a favor, and lay off the unnecessary (and premature) damage.

fruits and veggies3. Eat Your Fruits and Veggies- Popeye had the right idea. So did whoever said ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’. Increased intake of fruits and vegetables (especially a wide array of colors and types) has a profoundly positive impact on skin.  By integrating a wide variety and LARGE quantity of fruits and vegetables into your diet, you will see noticeable results within a week or two. Honestly, when I think my skin looks especially bright and ‘glowy’. It’s usually because I’m stuffed full of a veritable cornucopia of vegetation. However, this is another area where people can’t seem to figure out how to reinvigorate their diets. There are dozens of ways to do it, but here are three of my favorite ways:

  1. When you leave home in the morning, toss three different fruits in your bag. That way, when you get the midday munchies, you have a healthy and skin brightening snack on hand. I eat a lot of oranges, apples, and bananas, mostly because they are wicked portable. But don’t be afraid to slice fruit on the go, or pair your fruit with a tablespoon of your favorite nut butter (I’m partial to almond butter).
  2. Green Monsters are the way of the future. The vitamin intake you can get from one green smoothie will blow your mind, and you can fit a day’s worth of fruits/veggies into one beverage. Plus, they taste freaking delicious and are really versatile. You can throw together  a green monster with whatever fruits and veggies you have on hand. I’ve actually already written about this topic- check out my tribute to Jack Lalanne’s Power Juicer and the magic of the green monster.
  3. Make a point to add extra vegetables into your evening meal. Start small: spinach topped with special seasonings. Try adding an array of chopped bell peppers to your pasta, or just try out a new-to-you vegetable. Better yet, find a fun recipe for your least favorite childhood vegetables- braised Brussels sprouts, perhaps? Cauliflower topped with earth balance and old bay seasoning? Make your childhood nightmare into your new favorite side dish.

yes to carrots eye makeup remover4.  Remove Makeup Before Bed- I know, it sucks. You’ve been out having the time of your life, you watch the sun rise with your best buds, you stumble home at 7am and you’re ready to fall face first into Egyptian cotton and down feathers. However, before you can go into a vampire coma, you have to….REMOVE YOUR MAKEUP AND WASH YOUR FACE?! SAY WHAT?! But, um…yeah. You do. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my female family members, leftover makeup+your skin+bed friction does not equal happy fun times. It equals mascara tears, perma-lipsticked lips, and (the worst part) facial bumps that make your face look like the exterior of  a black truffle. And let me tell you something about truffles- fun to eat, NOT FUN TO LOOK LIKE. Do yourself a favor, take 15 minutes before bed, and give your face a good wipe down. I use two different makeup removers: Boots Sensitive Eye Makeup Remover and Yes to Carrots Eye and Face Makeup Remover. I like them both for different reasons, and I use them interchangeably. It’s really important to use a remover that’s not harsh on your skin (say no to toner– as a makeup remover, that is), and make sure to wash your face afterward. Both of these products can be found really easily- you can buy them both at Target and Boots only costs about $5-6.

neutrogena sunblock5. Wear Sunblock- For the love of god almighty,put on some freaking sunscreen. I don’t care if you’re ebony, ivory, or somewhere in the middle. Wear it. Even when it’s not sunny. Because here’s a fact of the universe- just because you can’t see the sun doesn’t mean it’s not beating the crap out of your skin. The sun is obviously really awesome- who doesn’t love vitamin D? I certainly do. But unless you want a side of skin cancer with your breakfast, you’d better lather up before you head out. Even in the winter. This is not just for girls– year-round sunblock application needs to be a genderfree rule. However, if you plan on wearing makeup (or don’t like blotting sunblock grease from your forehead), buy a dry-touch sunscreen. I really like Neutrogena’s sheer dry-touch product– but I’m cheap and it’s expensive. Therefore, I buy the Walgreens knock off– in my opinion, it’s just as good as the real thing. And it’s both oil-free and water resistant- very important traits.

vaseline brand lotion6. Use Separate Face and Body Lotions- Surprisingly, skin on your face is not like skin on your feet. Or your butt. Or your back. Due to evolution, it does different things, is exposed to different elements, and needs to be taken care of differently. Because my skin is so dry, I refuse to use body lotions that are not SUPER thick and creamy. I have a test- if I pump some lotion into my hand, overturn my hand, and the cream slides to the ground, I know not to use that product. I only use body creams that are thick enough to literally defy gravity. However, my face doesn’t need quite such a thick formula. I prefer to use a much lighter face cream, and I can definitely tell the difference. Don’t just buy one lotion and think you’re perfectly ok- invest in your lotion options, and I guarantee you’ll see a difference.

You’re probably wondering why I didn’t talk specifically about face wash. After spending the last decade trying out different products with mixed results (some good, a few bad, and some REALLY F****** ugly), I’ve decided that the best face washes vary from person to person. For example, I usually swear against scented products on my face- but I use Neutrogena’s Pink Grapefruit Face Wash on the daily and I think it gives me the best results I’ve ever had.

neutrogena face wash

My only real advice is to do research on your skin type, and try out different products. If you can afford to do so, talk to an esthetician and get their advice. But if you rely on the internet and your own wit, trial and error is the best response.

ALSO, how’s this for exciting: Stages of Beauty wants to make sure their products are accessible to all ladies (regardless of financial means). Therefore, to help out, their offering all Jessamyn Not Jasmine readers a 20% discount on all online Stages of Beauty purchases made from until 12/31/2011. Just enter my name (JESSAMYN) in the promo code box during check-out. Smile

Basically, the key top having skin that makes everyone jealous is to take care of yourself. Treat your body like a temple, inside and out. And all of these tips (especially the dietary habits) will result in a stronger and healthier total physical package.

What are your skin-care rituals?

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Skincare for Dummies: Jessamyn’s Stages of Beauty Product Review

Before I can review this product, I need to explain something to you.

I am very sensitive about my skin. During my adolescence, I faced quite a bit of humiliation because of its natural dryness. In fact, becoming ‘ashy’ is something most people of color are constantly trying to prevent. Even now, as I approach my mid-twenties, I refuse to leave my apartment without the proper application of skin product. As one might expect, this can be fairly time-consuming. My post-shower prep probably takes me about 15-30 minutes longer than the average person because of my skin regiment. As a result, I am frequently complimented because of the ‘softness’ and ‘cleanness’ of my skin. As much as I’d like to say I rolled out of the cabbage patch with perfect skin, I fear I must admit that my ‘great’ skin is really just the product of horrible childhood memories and paranoia.

That being said, I’m constantly on the look out for products which will help my skin maintain its youthful appearance. To be honest, I don’t mind being mistaken for an 18 year-old- however, I know the day will come when my skin is less forgiving, and I need to be prepared. I’m not really worried about the signs of aging, but I don’t want to look back at my mid-twenties and think ‘Why didn’t I take care myself?

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Stages of Beauty took note of this quandary and came up with a  truly remarkable concept- create skin care products which speak to the needs of a specific age group. Basically, when I’m in my 30s, 40s, and 50s+, my skin will be different. It will be more mature and it will require more mature products. However, in my 20s, I need a really light cream which can help repair my skin from daily trauma (makeup, wind, sun streaking, etc.)

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I am always on the lookout for great new products, so you can imagine how stoked I was when the nice folks over at Stages of Beauty asked me to review their Radiance Treatment Cream, crafted specifically for 20 somethings. I’ve been using the cream for about three weeks- our skin is really affected (positively and negatively) by the weather, and the shift from a  blustery Carolina winter to a subtle and warm spring was the perfect opportunity to see what these products could really do for me and my twenty-something readers.

(NOTE: I am not endorsed by Stages of Beauty. If I review a product, I’m giving my real opinion- for better or worse.)

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PACKAGING– Stages of Beauty is really focused on minimizing their carbon footprint, and this can be noted by the small amount of packaging used in the shipping process. You can’t really tell from this photo, but the box is pretty small and they use paper packing materials as opposed to evil plastic bubbles. I really appreciate this attention to detail, as there are companies (*cough*AMAZON *cough*) that use a ridiculous amount of extraneous packaging in the name of ‘protecting the product’– more like ‘destroying trees unnecessarily’. In addition, the tube which protects the glass bottle inside is really handy when traveling- when I was on my beach adventure last week, I had no trouble bringing the cream with me and it stayed snug as a bug in the tube. This is really important because, when travelling, I usually have to put my beauty and skin care products in additional plastic bags or wrap them in cloth so they don’t break and/or make my clothes smell a Neutrogena display.

SIZE– I admit it: I’m a cheapskate. I blame my frugality on my tight budget- either way, when I make purchases I am frequently forced to choose quantity over quality. For the 20 something sans trust fund, Stages of Beauty is a bit out of my regular purchasing options- the 30 mL bottle costs $52.99. To be fair, if you purchase beauty products at a department store, you will pay similar prices for department store brands (Lancome, Estee Lauder, Clinique, etc). That being said, I’m not so cheap that I can’t understand the benefit of choosing quality over quantity and choosing the best products even if they are expensive/come in a small quantity. However, the steep price could be enough to stop even the most skin-concerned young woman from purchasing this product.

TEXTURE/ODOR– I am still swooning over the texture of this cream. It is SO FREAKING SMOOTH. Seriously, it feels like rubbing fresh goat’s milk into my pores. That might sound awkward but trust me- it’s a great compliment. I usually stick to a really thick cream for my allover body care. However, when you’re wearing makeup or heading out for a busy day, you don’t want to have a thick cream clogging up your face. The texture of this cream is absolutely perfect for everyday wear, and it doesn’t leave a glossy/wet finish like other products I’ve used. It’s perfectly matte, and dries quickly- this is really important if you are going to be wearing any other products, ESPECIALLY makeup. Who likes to blot their skin dry of excess moisture before applying foundation? NOT this girl. In addition, odor is REALLY important to me. I have kind of sensitive skin (if you obsessively read Seventeen magazine as a teen, you know that my skin is technically known as ‘combination’ skin). This means that extra fragrances in skin care products make my toffee colored skin look like bumpy, cherry flavored toffee. And I like my toffee PLAIN, not fruit flavored. Therefore, it’s absolutely imperative that all my skin products be sans odor (except for my favorite face wash- I’ll discuss that later). The Radiance cream is 100% fragrance free and it’s not tested on animals. So my skin won’t turn into cherry flavored toffee, AND monkeys are not deformed as a result of the product manufacturing. Where I come from we call that a win.

FINAL VERDICT? Last week, when I was at my parents’ house, my father commented on the smoothness of my skin. I don’t think you understand the brevity of his statement- he NEVER comments on my skin. That comment, plus the fact that my skin feels smoother than usual and my usual bumpy nose appears to be a thing of the past are all signs that this product is the cat’s meow. I can’t overemphasize how much the price deters me, and will probably deter anyone with a budget. But the quality is very high, and it’s definitely worth the price. I would love to see how this product works on women in other age brackets, and women with different skin conditions. However, for my sensitive skin, Stages of Beauty Radiance treatment cream is the nectar of the gods.

Want to know more? Check out the Stages of Beauty website and tell them Jessamyn sent you. Winking smile

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Races 2011, Music For Blogging, and Giveaway Magic

One of the benefits of spending (literally) an entire day in bed is that I’ve been able to spend my time (well, the time I didn’t spend staring at the interior of my toilet) playing catch up. One of the things I’ve been meaning to do is officially plan out some of the races I want to walk, walk/run, and run this year.

After careful consideration and cross checks with multiple calendars, I’ve officially decided upon a couple of different races I’ll be doing this year. I’m going to do more but, like most people with responsibilities, it’s difficult to make plans too far in advance. For example, any races I do during the summer months (June, July, August) will be dependent upon my summer work plans and those are still TBD. Anyway, I’ve listed my ‘definite’ races on the My Races tab- check it out and track my progress!

Also, while my exercise music is important, the music I listen to while blogging is almost as important. It helps keep me focused, and colors the tone of my posts. Just like exercise music, the type of music one listens to while blogging/tumbling/tweeting/etc. is highly indicative of the individual and I’m fascinated by what musical choices say about us as people.

I almost didn’t want to list my favorite blogging music because I thought it would be really repetitive (Sia, Sia, and more Sia), but I can’t get past my own narcissism.

Albums Worth Blogging To and About:

Adele– Live From Soho

Cat Power– The Covers Record

Erykah Badu– Baduizm

Esthero– Breath From Another

Fiona Apple– Tidal

Fiona Apple– When The Pawn…

Jill Scott- Experience: Jill Scott 826+

Portishead– Roseland NYC Live

Regina Spektor– Songs

Sia– Lady Croissant

Sia– Some People Have Real Problems

What music do you listen to while blogging?

As far as giveaways go, it seems the internet is littered with opportunities to win cool new products. Here are two I’m especially stoked about:

The hysterical Elizabeth of On Tap For Today is giving away a full line of skin-care products created by an up and coming Massachusetts based company called Stages of Beauty. The concept of this company is really smart and extremely relevant- basically, as we age, the needs of our skin change. What a 21 year-old woman needs from a skin care product is not the same as a 55 year-old woman. With that in mind, Stages of Beauty has lines of skin-care products which answer the needs of women depending upon their age bracket. Seems genius, right? Well, check out Elizabeth’s post about their products for her review and for more information on how to enter the giveaway. A winner will be selected on February 18th, so hop to it.

Also, Krit over at Healthy Krit is giving away a GIANT Sampler Box of Vitatops. I’m almost hesitant to post about this giveaway because I want to win and I don’t want other people clogging up the entry box Winking smile . However, this is just too good not to share.There are multiple ways to win, and they are listed here on her blog. The giveaway ends at midnight on Sunday, February 20th. The winner will be announced on Monday, February 21st.

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Filed under blogging, couch to 5k challenge, exercise, Giveaway, goals, music, races, running, walking