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How Fitness’ Assistant Web Editor Finally Beat Acne

Written on June 19, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of those girls lucky enough to breeze through their teenage years without breakouts. Once puberty hit, blackheads and pimples did too—with a vengeance. While Accutane helped for a few years in college, once the real stressors hit, my face broke out as if I had traveled back in time to visit my 16-year-old-self.

Fast-forward five years and my skin was in the same, sad shape. There were months when I saw barely-there blemishes, and others when I felt like craters took up mad real-estate on my face (attractive visual, I know). Tired of being a 20-something who had the skin of a pubescent teen, I enlisted the help of our beauty director, Heather Muir. She’s an encyclopedia of beauty knowledge, and after a quick chat about my skin-care regimen, I went home with new products to try and a facial appointment at the spa-to-the-stars Mario Badescu.

It’s been a few months since I started a new routine, and I’m happy to report nothing but glowing reviews! My skin will always need TLC, but it’s worth the work: I no longer need makeup to leave my apartment. Here’s what’s worked for me:

Morning:
I rinse with Clinique Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam ($20, clinique.com) for a refreshing wakeup call. In the hot summer months, BB cream is my go-to coverup; I like Garnier BB Cream Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector ($13, drugstores). If extra coverage is necessary, Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup ($27, clinique.com) does the trick. To treat flare-ups and dim redness, I’m obsessed with Almay Clear Complexion Concealer + Treatment Gel ($10, drugstores).

Pre-workout:
It’s critical that the makeup comes off before a killer sweat session. When I’m at SoulCycle, I use Clean and Clear Morning Burst Facial Cleanser ($4, drugstores).

Post-workout:
I grab Neutrogena Oil-Free Cleansing Wipes ($8, drugstores) from my gym bag. I’m obsessed with the pink grapefruit scent!

Evening:
If I’m taking a shower at night, I love having Mario Badescu’s Enzyme Cleansing Gel ($12, mariobadescu.com). The thick consistency makes me feel like I’m really getting out the gunk. If I’m not showering, I take the lazy-girl route and simply swipe with a wipe. Lucky for me, that’s totally OK: derms say that’s all I need. A quick dab of Mario Badescu Drying Lotion ($17, mariobadescu.com) after and I’m ready for a good dose of beauty sleep.

Weekly:
If I’m having a breakout, I immediately slap on Origins Out of Trouble 10-Minute Mask ($23, origins.com). If it’s general upkeep, I like Origins Clear Improvement ($23, origins.com) to open up my pores. Every Sunday, I use the Clarisonic Mia Sonic Skin Cleansing Brush ($119, clarisonic.com), to take my skin straight to exfoliating heaven.

Monthly:
Facials! Justifying them to my no-frills boyfriend was a stretch at first, but having a professional do the painful-but-necessary extractions then smooth with specialized treatments has been the pore perfector I needed. But if the budget is too tight one month, my esthetician from Mario Badescu gave me these quick tips and product suggestions for an at-home spa session.

  • Cleanse. Wash face and neck using a cleanser to clear skin and rid oil from the surface of the skin.
  • Steam. Boil a pot of water. Remove from heat and pour into a wide bowl. Lean over the bowl so face is about 10 inches from the water. Hold for 3-5 minutes to relax pores and soften skin.
  • Exfoliate. Apply a gentle face scrub to damp skin. Use fingertips to massage face in circular motions for 30 seconds. Rinse with warm water.
  • Mask. Choose a mask that is appropriate for your skin type. Leave on for 15-20 minutes.
  • Moisturize. Lightly apply eye cream, face and lip moisturizer.

Do you have any tried and true solutions that have changed your skin? Do tell!

 

—Samantha Shelton, assistant web editor

Great Skin, No Sweat

Written on June 19, 2012 at 10:33 am , by

A few quick tricks can keep your skin glowing and blemish-free-- during and after sweat sessions.

As a Pilates instructor, tennis player and founder of the skincare line Stages of Beauty, Jasmina Aganovic has a few tricks up her sleeve for keeping skin in top shape, both in the gym and out.

  • Stay toned. Pack toner-soaked cotton balls in your gym bag and swipe over your face for a quick purifying cleanse.
  • Take cover. You may be indoors, but UV rays can reflect off of metal and glass surfaces in the gym, causing skin damage. Apply broad-spectrum SPF 30 or above both before and after workouts.
  • Hands off. Don’t touch your face with your sweaty hands during your session—body heat opens your pores, making skin apt to absorb bacteria and clogging dirt and oil. Wipe down any mats before touching them or bring a towel to lie down before you begin.
  • Double up. Apply an exfoliator or mask all over your face before you step in the shower, then rub in and rinse before getting out: The treatment ingredients will work while you wash, and the steam enhances penetration.

Wellness Retreat at the Pacific Waters Spa at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort

Written on May 3, 2012 at 3:09 pm , by

Last weekend, I jetted across the country to California (tough job, I know!) to check out the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and its Pacific Waters Spa, taking part in the resort’s Wellness Retreat. The daylong hybrid healthy-lifestyle and pampering program includes:

  • A 60-minute wellness consultation, where they tailor the day to your needs and give you a private fitness assessment
  • A 30-minute fitness activity
  • Spa cuisine lunch (The fruit and vegetable-heavy, locally-sourced menu offerings are both good-for-you and delicious— we swear.)
  • Two (!) 60-minute spa services (We recommend the super-indulgent Pacific Waters Rhythmic Massage and leaving time to soak in the jacuzzi, lounge in the cozy relaxation room, and sweat it out in the spacious sauna.)

The spa offers treatments using products from locally-sourced, handmade and USDA organic-certified Kimberly Parry Organics. Our favorites were the Body Oil in Ocean blended exclusively for the spa (a unique mix of lime, lavender, basil and fir essential oils) used during the massage, and the intoxicating lemongrass and ylang ylang-scented Soft Hand and Foot Balm infused with a healing combination of shea butter, olive, coconut and jojoba oils that we took home and can’t stop applying.

Tell us: Have you gone on a spa wellness retreat or are you planning one? If so, where to and what did you think of it?

Warm Up With Self-Heating Products

Written on February 6, 2012 at 1:40 pm , by

Cozy up to one of these self-warming beauty products on a chilly winter’s night— they contain ingredients like zeolite and magnesium sulfate, which release heat upon contact with water. The warmth not only soothes sore muscles and elements-exposed skin, but also enhances the penetration of active ingredients. Hot stuff to try:

Kérastase’s New Tailored-to-You Salon Treatments

Written on October 5, 2011 at 2:04 pm , by

At a recent event for Kérastase Paris, we previewed their new Fusio-Dose In-Salon Treatments at Butterfly Studio Salon in New York City (click the first link to find a salon near you). The stylist starts the high-tech treatment by taking a 600 times magnified digital photo of your hair— scary, I know!— and uses the image to take a close look at your hair’s health, identifying problem areas (when hair is healthy, strands will appear uniform in shade and diameter). Then, the stylist uses the information from the photo to mix a bespoke Fusio-Dose treatment, using a large dose of one concentrate to address your primary need and a smaller dose of another to address your secondary need: either Concentré Pixelist for colored hairConcentré Oléo-Fusion for dry hair, Concentré Vita-Ciment for damaged hair, or Concentré Substantif for thinning hair. Below are the digital photos taken of my hair at the salon; pre-treatment (left) about half of my strands are dry (the dull brown areas), and post-treatment with the Concentré Oléo-Fusion for dry hair, they are almost uniformly hydrated and shiny.



 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell us: Have you ever tried an in-salon hair treatment? If so, what was it and what did you think of the results?

Thrifty Thursday: Scalp Savior

Written on December 2, 2010 at 8:50 am , by

Scalp dryness can flare up in winter or from washing your hair frequently after workouts, says Skyy Hadley, owner and founder of As “U” Wish Spa in Hoboken, New Jersey. Prevent flakes and itchiness from over-washing with this simple hydrating treatment: Part hair into four sections with a comb, then use your fingers to rub a dime-sized amount of pure olive oil into each area of your scalp. Leave on for as long as you can and wash out with your regular shampoo. Bonus: This treatment’s practically free! 

Tried-It Tuesday: Promising Products

Written on November 30, 2010 at 6:35 am , by

Although I’ve only been an intern at FITNESS for two months, my bedroom has become a hoarder’s paradise. I have dedicated my weekends to bringing home and testing out the newest (and most promising) beauty products, eager to find which are worth the extra primping time. I’ve narrowed down my top five favorites, all of which live up their labels!

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  • Crest 3D Whitestrips: I know I’ve said before that I’m not a big fan of at-home whitening systems, but I can definitely make an exception for these. As promised, my teeth were noticeably whiter after just three days, and I experienced no pain or sensitivity.
  • RapidLash: I’ve been using this product for a little over two weeks now, and already see an improvement in the length and thickness of my lashes! Since you only have to apply the serum once nightly, it’s the perfect easy and effective addition to your nightly beauty routine.
  • Macadamia Natural Oil Deep Repair Masque: My hair has never looked and felt as great as it did after using this weekly treatment. It smooths out dry ends and adds shine without weighing the hair down, leaving you with healthy, to-die-for hair.
  • Laura Geller Eye Spackle: This lightweight eyeshadow primer glides onto your lids, and keeps shadow intact for the entire day. Zero reapplication required!
  • Zeno Hot Spot: Although small, this mini blemish clearing device packs a lot of power! Use at the first sign of a pimple, and see results within an hour. This is one beauty tool I’ll keep around forever.

What are your favorite new beauty finds?

-Nina Ramadan, beauty intern

Hands On

Written on November 17, 2010 at 7:21 am , by

It’s no secret that the cold months leave our hands feeling dry and brittle. Brutal wind and bitter temperatures cause them to crack and flake, a look that will never be in style. Hand model Christina Amber has represented top national brands like Sally Hansen, Jergens, Nivea, Neutrogena and Maybelline; and has stood in for celebrities including Jennifer Love Hewitt, Kelly Ripa, Natalie Portman and Mia Hamm. Here, her secrets for keeping hands looking fresh and youthful during the winter months:

  • Always keep a moisturizer with you to reapply throughout the day. Try Dermelect Timeless Anti-Aging Daily Hand Treatment. The 4 ounce container makes it super compact and easy to tote on-the-go.
  • Think gloves! Gloves protect your hands from the cold winter weather, and are just as important indoors. To protect your skin from damaging chemicals, wear a pair while doing housework!
  • Avoid washing your hands with hot water, which opens pores and dries out the skin: Wash with lukewarm water instead.
  • Limit use of harsh antibacterial soaps, which can also leave skin dry and brittle. Instead, look for formulas with hydrating and nourishing ingredients.

How do you keep your hands in top shape?

-Nina Ramadan, beauty intern

Tried-It Tuesday: Bring Locks Back to Life

Written on September 14, 2010 at 4:00 pm , by

Styling, weather conditions and color can all destroy hair’s health, stripping it of its natural shine and bounce. This past weekend I decided to take control of my lackluster locks, and restore life into them by trying some reparative treatments. I have thick, long hair, so I started with Pantene Pro-V Restore Beautiful Lengths Replenishing Mask. As directed, I combed the mask into my damp hair after shampooing, and left it on for five minutes before rinsing. I styled as usual and could not believe the improvement in the condition of my hair! My dry ends were finally smooth and shine was immediately restored.

I have naturally curly hair, but years of blow drying and flat ironing have transformed my curls into dull waves. Ouidad products are designed to feed and strengthen curls with essential nutrients, and  the 12 Minute Deep-Treatment proved to do just that. I applied a palm-full of the product into my clean, damp hair and covered with a shower cap. I then applied heat to it with a blow dryer and left on for 12 minutes before rinsing. Once combed, my curls were restored. My hair was bouncy and voluminous, and my sad waves are now frizz-free spirals!

When looking for a fast way to improve your appearance, sometimes it’s best to just start from the top. What products have you used to improve your hair’s health? Would you try these treatments?

-Nina Ramadan, beauty intern