My Chemical Romance- Serums, Acids, and the Frontier of Antiaging

About a year ago, I decided to get a little more serious about skincare.  And by that I mean I detected a couple thin creases on my forehead, glared at myself in the mirror, and calmly, resolutely stated, “Negotiation’s over. Sentence is death.”

Okay, not really.  I mean, I haven’t exactly unleashed the wrath of Valhalla on my face since then, but I have done the following within this past year: purchased (and finished!) my first vitamin C serum, purchased my first chemical exfoliant, purchased my first night moisturizer specifically for its antiaging and brightening properties, and purchased my first retinol serum.

Now, you may think this all sounds like ten levels of Joan Crawford insanity but trust me- it’s not.  You should see the skincare routines people have out there.  I’ve seen bathroom shelves that look like a Pfizer lab, with upwards of ten products used both morning and night.  And I know comparing our own shortcomings to those of others is no way to properly gauge where we stand morally, but believe me when I say that this foray of mine into antiaging is really no big deal.  My main motivation for all this is the hope for beautiful skin when I’m 60+, so I’m playing a long game here.  I’m not toiling over today’s skin problems as much as looking to prevent the next decade’s.

So what exactly have I done and what exactly have I used?  And how do I use it?  Peek away, and learn a thing or two about acids while you’re at it:

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Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment – Remember this time last year when I wrote a post on dipping my toes in the antiaging pool and I mentioned receiving ExfoliKate as a gift?  And how I was scared to use it?  Well let me tell ya, I tried it, and that stuff is a game changer.  I’ve never seen such instant results from a single product.  The full size costs $175 for a reason (and I’ll probably continue purchasing the mini for $24 and just use it sparingly).

This is a physical exfoliant in that it has tiny granules that physically rub off dirt and dead skin cells from your face, but it is also a chemical exfoliant.  ExfoliKate contains lactic acid and fruit enzymes (pumpkin, in this case).  These are acids – also known as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) – that naturally, chemically exfoliate your face, revealing a brighter, smoother complexion with improved dark spots and skin tone.  One site described such acid exfoliants as capable of “removing the glue that holds dead skin cells together.”  Most exfoliants either are just physical (think St. Ives scrub) or just chemical/acid (think peel pads).  ExfoliKate is both physical and chemical in its exfoliating properties, and it’s incredible.  My face glows after using this stuff.

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster – This is the first vitamin C serum that I’ve purchased.  It’s known for its great reviews and a yummy citrus scent.  Truth Serum is marketed as being able to brighten, help restore elasticity and firmness, and improve skin’s texture against hyperpigmentation and sun damage.

However, I have to admit that I didn’t really see noticeable results.  The serum hydrated my skin well, but I didn’t notice much of a reduction in small scars or dark spots on my face.  This may be partly my fault, however.  Vitamin C in skincare is sensitive to light and basically loses its effectiveness upon exposure, and I left my bottle of it in the car on a sunny day last summer.  There are a lot of biochemical factors that go into making an effective vitamin C serum, from the pH balance to environmental exposure to the serum’s ability to actually “deliver” the vitamin C into the skin.  Science, people!  It’s important to do your research and take proper care of your skincare products.  I have another vitamin C serum I’m using now so we’ll see how that goes.  It definitely hasn’t seen the light of day, you can be sure of that.

Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial – Wow.  Wowowowowowowow.  This, by far, was my favorite skincare purchase of last year.  This night cream has a variety of rose extracts and oils in it so it may not be for everyone (some are sensitive to rose), but this cream has been like a big whoosh for my skin.  I love seeing my complexion in the morning after having worn it to bed; my skin always looks fantastic!  Everything from dullness, dryness, dark spots, and even fine lines seems to improve after wearing this overnight.  Of course, I believe the effects of most skincare routines are rather temporary so you have to keep using it, but this is one product I’ll probably continue to repurchase.

I’m not sure about the vitamin C in it though because as I mentioned earlier vitamin C has to remain fully shut away from air and, ideally, light.  This cream is in a jar so it’s constantly being exposed to air.  I’ve learned to be skeptical of vitamin C creams in jars because they just can’t be that effective with so much air exposure.  But aside from that, everything else in this cream has been doing wonders for me.

Glossier The Supers – I was gifted these three serums last September by Glossier and they have been lovely additions to my routine.  How timely!  You can read my early, full review of them here.

I have loved Super Bounce (and have since repurchased!) for its healthy dose of hyaluronic acid.  Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance that is excellent at retaining moisture within the skin, giving it that youthful plumpness that we naturally lose with age.  Super Bounce is great before makeup because it smooths and hydrates the skin so well.  I’ve also loved Super Glow as a stable vitamin C serum (using it now after having finished Truth Serum), and Super Pure has been great for any breakouts coupled with a blemish lotion like Mario Badescu’s.  And yes, I still get breakouts and have learned that most of us will continue to throughout adulthood.  The idea that you somehow graduate from them once you turn 21 is absolute crap.

I should also add that I consumed hyaluronic acid in supplements for about a month and had noticeably excellent skin for about 1-2 months thereafter.  No really, I got compliments in the dead of winter!  I took Olly’s Vibrant Skin Plump Berry Gummies with hyaluronic acid, collagen, and sea buckthorn.  My face was plump as a baby’s!

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Pixi Glow Peel Pads – These, sold at Target and much hyped all over social media, are little cotton pads soaked in glycolic acid and rose water.  They’re another example of a chemical exfoliant (or acid peel- the terms can be used interchangeably here), and they’ve been a good, quick solution for tackling dark spots, dullness, pore size, fine lines, and acne.  They are actually great for acne.  I had a breakout last week in a couple spots on my face and used these along with my Super Pure serum; I was zit free about 48 hours later.

Using an acid peel isn’t as intimidating as it sounds.  What I do is wipe my face and jawline with one or two pads and then wait three minutes; I then neutralize the peel with tepid water (as the instructions will tell you) and then continue with a regular facewash.  Your face will tingle a bit from the acid, and that’s normal.  And no, nothing physically peels off your face that you can see.  No Raiders of the Lost Ark reenactments here.

I love that these have been a nice one-step solution for tackling blemishes.  I don’t struggle with acne as much as I struggle with dryness and dullness, but there are millions out there who’ve battled acne as their complexion enemy-number-one.  If you’re looking for a whole systematic routine to combat acne that’s been plaguing you for a while, Reviews.com published an extensive, excellent research study on the best and most effective acne kits with their favorite four out of forty-two contenders.  I wasn’t too surprised at their choice for number one; I’ve yet to try anything from this brand but have heard nothing but rave reviews.

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum – This retinol serum is the newest addition to my lineup, and I’m still trying to figure out the best way to include it in my routine.  Retinol is really just a science-y term for vitamin A, and while it can come in different forms (retinyl palmitate, etc), pure retinol is a powerhouse for minimizing wrinkles and fine lines, reducing the size of pores, and rebuilding firmness that has been lost.  Like vitamin C, retinol is also sensitive to air and light, so be skeptical of any clear packaging or jars that you have to open up.  Now, many with sensitive skin will find that they may peel a bit when using a retinol and that’s normal.  There are retinols of varying strengths out there so it’s important to gauge what’s right for your skin and start slowly and modestly.

Things get really tricky, however, when you try and determine where exactly to fit a retinol into your routine.  Can you pair it with a vitamin C serum?  Is it safe to use an AHA exfoliant with a retinol, too?  You always think of mixing chemicals and making things go boom, and your face isn’t the ideal place for that.  You want to use things the right way!  However, I’ve found that wading into the deep waters of advanced skincare is not unlike mathematics and the interpretation of the law- the theories are endless.  I washed my face in the evening and applied this retinol serum on top of my vitamin C serum for a few nights.  I noticed no results, and actually developed red blemishes in the exact spots where I’d applied the retinol.  One authority I consulted advised not using the two together, though paulaschoice.com states that you can for extra benefits.  I’m going to try alternating my vitamin C serum and retinol now and see how that works and if the blemishes continue.  Most sources I consulted did say that you need to be patient and consistent with retinol.  I’ll also add that most quality retinols are expensive- $100+.  Mine cost eighteen bucks.  Only time will tell if these fine lines on my forehead demand a greater investment.

Now that we’re days away from the beginning of spring, at least I can say that I powered through winter with good skincare.  I didn’t feel nearly as dry this winter as I did the last!  Well, that may have something to do with the weirdly and freakishly warm winter we’ve had here and of course that may ultimately have to do with global warming and the possibility that the world is dying.  But for now, I’ll keep my anxiety at bay and just focus on that little wrinkle.  xo, MR

 

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The Supers Are Here!

It’s no secret that I’m an avid reader of famed beauty blog Into The Gloss.  I’ve been reading and commenting since its early days, and it still is probably one of the first four websites I hit up each day when I want to do a little leisurely browsing just to get the creative juices flowing.  It’s also no secret that out of Into The Gloss has come Glossier, a skincare and makeup brand inspired by what real girls (and guys, quite frankly) need in real life.  Glossier’s marketing is genius, their branding is fresh, and their products are BOMB.  You may have read my review for their brow product, Boy Brow, that I posted some time last year.  I’ll be going on my third tube of that stuff in maybe a month or so.

So when I was contacted by an editor at Into The Gloss asking if I would be interested in receiving Glossier’s newest product a week before it launches to try it out and spread the word, I very, very, very quickly said “GIMME”.

Just kidding. I said a very professional why-thank-you-I’d-be-glad-to-help kind of thing.  With probably too many exclamation points.

But it was in the response I received after that, that I knew I’d hit truly the jackpot- the new launch consisted of not one, not two, but three new serums.  And as a tribute to the original supermodels from the 1990’s days of yore, these new serums have been dubbed The Supers.  Because let’s face it- Kendall, Gigi, and Bella would be nowhere without the original Cindy, Naomi, and Linda.

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If you’ve never used a serum before, you may find that they’re a great way to level up your skincare routine as they can deliver very concentrated ingredients to target specific concerns.  Prior to receiving the Supers, I’d been using a vitamin C serum to treat dark spots and improve my skin’s texture.  However, it leaves sort of a film on my face that doesn’t make applying sunscreen or makeup very easy.  I can always tell when I’m not a huge fan of a product when I forget to use it everyday, or even every week.  I’ve had this serum for a while and I’m only halfway through- I can’t blend makeup very evenly on top of it and I can’t put moisturizer on top of it without it rubbing off.  Absorbency is key.

Now on to the Supers.  My first observation was one of relief- trying to meet the needs of every skin type in one kind of serum is incredibly hard, and I am so glad that Glossier really went for it and created three serums and not just one.  I mean, does everyone use the same kind of moisturizer?  Do even you use the same exact moisturizer every single day of the year, day and night?  Of course not.  So why would creating one type of serum make sense?  Everyone’s skin is different, and even our own skin’s needs change from season to season.  In the winter out here my skin becomes extremely dry and dull, whereas in the summer I’m exposed to the sun much more and my eating habits aren’t as great thanks to nights out and restaurant food, which typically means greater acne risk.  So, a combination of three different serums to meet a variety of needs is a dream to me.

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Here’s what each serum is meant for, according to the press release I received from Glossier and from left to right as pictured above:

Super Glow – Vitamin C brightens and Magnesium energizes for days when you didn’t get enough sleep or your skin looks sallow.  It evens skin tone and creates a light-reflective complexion.  The water-like texture immediately absorbs into skin without a trace.

Super Pure – Niacinamide soothes redness and Zinc helps calm blemishes.  Junk food and stress are other skin-disrupting triggers that Super Pure helps counteract.  The light, water-gel formula quickly absorbs into skin.  It helps let go of irritation and flushes out impurities, including excess sebum that builds up inside pores.

Super Bounce – Hyaluronic Acid plumps skin up with moisture and Vitamin B5 brings elasticity back to tight skin for supple softness- the “bounce” you want.  Good for skin that’s depleted from blasting A/C or high high heat.  The smooth, milky texture soaks into skin without any stickiness or residue for instantly softer skin.

Here’s my very, very, very shorthand interpretation of each of these: Super Glow is for anti-aging and dullness, Super Pure is for acne and skin congestions, and Super Bounce is for dryness and roughness.  All three can be used to both prevent and tackle a variety of issues, or perhaps just one can be used daily to treat something specific.  It’s really up to you and what your skin needs.  Here’s what I did …

I chose to use Super Glow each night after removing my makeup, washing my face, and before applying my night cream.  Its consistency is just like water so I admit it’s not very “fun” to apply- no yummy texture.  Also, I’d place the dropper right on my skin and apply the serum directly, quickly patting it in.  Otherwise, if I placed it on my fingers first, it would absorb right into them and would never reach my face.  In the morning, my skin looked refreshed with a light glow.  A notable dark spot on my right cheek seemed to improve along its edges throughout the week, too (and I hadn’t used my previous Vitamin C serum consistently enough to track such changes).  Out of the past six nights, I’ve used Super Glow four nights.

In the morning, I chose to cleanse my face and then apply Super Pure right after applying toner.  Super Pure has that nice whoosh texture- it absorbs very fast and leaves skin ever so slightly mattified, from my perspective.  I liked using this in the mornings because I am always guilty of eating a bit of salty food late at night, and this week was no exception.  I’d hoped to counteract the havoc my popcorn consumption my wreak on my skin by using this, and it did seem to work.  I had no major blemishes throughout the week to track for effectiveness, but my pores were less visible after application and the little bumps I get on my cheeks (the telltale sign of my salty snacks) settled down after about two applications.    Out of the past six mornings, I used Super Pure on three of them.

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I chose to save Super Bounce for the weekend because I had a feeling it would be my very favorite of the Supers, and boy am I glad I did.  It’s definitely my favorite with the quickest payoff in terms of making your skin feel “yummy”, as I so love to say.  This is the most viscous of the three serums, and “bounce” is a completely appropriate term for describing its texture and affects on your skin.  I love using my favorite skincare products right before applying makeup, so I cleansed and then prepped my skin on Saturday and Sunday with Super Bounce.  Whew- my skin looked faboosh!  Glossier definitely delivered on the promise of improved elasticity with this one.  And in the winter out here, I know this stuff will not leave my side- soooo hydrating.  I’ll probably go through a whole bottle just getting through December and January alone.

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I’m going to continue to use all three of the Supers in tandem to see their long-term affects, but I’ll keep saving Super Bounce for weekend makeup prep because I know it’ll really be a lifesaver once the air gets drier.  My main focus will be on dark spots and anti-aging with Super Glow, and fighting little breakouts and pore clogging with Super Pure.  For long term results, I’m most excited to see what Super Glow will do with my dark spots.  For immediate results, I’m loving Super Bounce for its instant softness.

So there you go!  And if you’ve often thought about trying a serum but have been scared away by the expensive price tags, here’s some encouragement- each of the Supers only costs $28, and all three as a set costs just $65.  To put that into perspective, Caudalie’s least expensive serum costs $50.  Ole Henriksen’s least expensive serum costs $50.  The price tag for the Supers, I’ll admit, had me pleasantly surprised.

Let me know if you decide to pick one up, or perhaps try the whole set!  And I want to hear what they do for your skin over time.  The Supers go up for grabs on glossier.com Monday morning, probably at 6AM Eastern time.  So like, in four hours or so.  You’d better get some sleep.  xo, MR

I’m Getting Old. Not Really.

I’ve been thinking about aging a bit more than usual lately.  Some of its been vanity related, but some of its been a matter of just settling in with the realities of life.

I had my first moles removed two weeks ago.  One was unplanned, but the other was a mole that I knew I wanted to get rid of.  I’d had it on my back since I was a baby, and it was just starting to look funny.  It was raised, and not particularly pretty, but I guess it had never really bothered me that much.  My dad would take a look at it every so often because he tends to have an eye for these things, and for the most part I wasn’t concerned up until about three years ago.

I first started becoming anxious about this particular mole while I was at Disneyland with a friend when a woman tapped me on the shoulder and loudly asked, “Excuse me!  Have you ever had that checked out?”, right smack in the middle of Main Street, citing the mole on my back. I looked around and saw passers-by sort of staring at me, waiting to see how I’d react.  I felt so embarrassed.  Suddenly this thing on my back that I’d never really given a second thought was literally drawing the attention of strangers at Disneyland.

I told the woman that I had had it looked at (by my dad, and at a yearly check-up).  She proceeded to say, “Okay.  Well, my husband had skin cancer.”  I don’t really remember what else she said, if anything as I was feeling flustered and a bit put off by her flat, abrasive tone.  It didn’t exactly jive with Dole whips and Mr. Toad.  For one thing, she didn’t mention if her husband managed to beat the cancer (hence the past tense “had skin cancer”) or if he was no longer around because of the cancer (hence the past tense “had skin cancer”).  And I didn’t dare ask.  All I know is that there was no husband with her when she approached me; she was only accompanied by two teen daughters that looked equally as embarrassed as I was.  I got the sense that this was a pretty regular part of life with Mom.

But regardless, the incident stuck in my head (as most things do).  You had to admit, as it is with so many folks, that she was only trying to help.  However, a couple weeks ago, I had just enough of a fire lit under my butt to bring me to make an executive decision.  I came across a shared page on Facebook asking for donations and prayers for a young mother who’d been suddenly diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma in her lungs, on her spine, and somewhere else that I can’t remember.  It may have been her brain.  She’d been experiencing back pain for the past two years, and while they’d been attributing it to athletic training it only seemed to be getting worse.  It became unbearable a couple months ago, and it wasn’t until a trip to the ER that the cancer was discovered.  She’s been given a 15% chance of survival.  That was in January, and I can’t remember which friend shared the page so I have no idea what’s happened since.

I made an appointment with a dermatologist one week later and had the mole on my back, along with a bonus one on my thigh that looked too dark for doc’s comfort, promptly removed.

It’s funny how little things like this begin to creep up on you as you start to round out your twenties.  Moles, wrinkles, dry patches – things you don’t think about when you’re twenty-two, or even twenty-five really.  Over time we become more vigilant for health reasons, as in the case with my moles, but we also start to think about getting … older.  I know some of my friends are laughing at me right now, but I guess what I’m trying to say is that the late twenties are when such things seem to universally begin crossing peoples’ minds.  It’s true what they say, that things will catch up to you.  Some of its preventable, but some of it’s just reality.

Some of that reality hit perhaps four months ago, as I was looking in my magnified mirror scoping out pimples when I began to notice the lines that had cropped up across my forehead.  Huh, when’d those get there?  Huh, I wonder if they’ll get worse?  Huh, I wonder if they make anything to help stuff like this?  Oh wait, I forgot, there are literally billion dollar industries to help with these suckers.  And just like that, I’m researching things like peels, retinols, retinoids, vitamin C serums, glycolic acid, and all kinds of other fun things that level-up your skincare world beyond “zit cream”.  I’ve come a long way, Clearasil.

I’m certain that aging can be done quite well, and without any kind of invasive procedure if you really try.  I’ve seen it.  I’m gunning for the method of the right food, enough water, enough sleep, and a couple helpful topical treatments over advanced procedures.  A couple products I’m interested in for my particular dilemmas:

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Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum – I actually bought this for my mom a year or so ago as a present, and it yielded the surprising result of erasing a prominent dark spot clean off her face.  Dark spots are something that I know I’m going to have to deal with; they run in both sides of my family.  I love and trust Caudalie as a brand so much, and since I’ve literally seen this stuff work on someone else I’d happily try it out on my own dark spots and discoloration.  I have a new spot coming in on my right cheek as we speak, so it might be time to save up.

EDIT – It’s actually the night detox serum that I purchased for my mom.  I look forward to purchasing it over the day serum, as I have a plan for the day serum below and they both feature relatively the same properties.

Caudalie Glycolic Peel – I have yet to try a peel, and since I’m a wimp, I’m going to stick with the brand I love.  However, Caudalie’s peel happens to have awesome reviews.  Fading dark spots, instant brightening, improved texture, lack of irritation, diminishing pores – all of these benefits are mentioned in twenty-eight out of thirty-five reviews on Sephora.com.  Trust me, I counted.  I currently have Kate Somerville’s ExfoliKate that I received as a gift from a friend, but I’m afraid to try it!  I’m so afraid of redness and irritation, even though that may not be a problem.  I’m currently on an antibiotic for my stitch wound after having my mole removed- the wound wasn’t healing properly.  I’m nervous to that some kind of peel will trigger a reaction with the antibiotic.  I may just be paranoid, but the thought of a rash or bad reaction on my face is one of my worst nightmares.

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster –  Vitamin C is a powerhouse when it comes to age-defense.  Obviously it’s great to intake your vitamin C through citrus fruits, leafy greens, bell peppers, and berries, but a topical can’t hurt either.  I’ve sampled this one and I probably didn’t use enough of it to yield truly significant changes, but I liked the texture and immediate results.  I like that this serum has a combination of five different kinds of vitamin C extract, with one of those being rose hip, the unsung hero of extracts.  Rose hip contains 50% more vitamin C than oranges, and has been known for its scar-healing and elasticity-building qualities among a bajillion other benefits.  If you’re not into serums and prefer a more nature-based anti-aging regimen, rose hip tea is supposed to be the way to go.

A yearly trip to the dermatologist – Though an hour away (ask my insurance provider why that’s the case), my visits to the dermatologist out here have been completely worth it.  I’d only had my moles checked once by a primary care doctor that specialized in dermatology back in California, but he wanted to biopsy the mole first before removing it.  I just wanted it gone.  The dermatologist out here felt the same as me; what’s the point in keeping track of a somewhat abnormal mole when you know you’re eventually going to have it removed?  Dr. Kolton checked out every other mole on my body, too.  He said that the most common place for melanoma in women is on their legs, and you can’t forget to check under your feet and in other places that you never look at.  And know that the moles that need to be removed don’t always look “weird”; the “bonus” one that Dr. Kolton took off was very small and I’d never paid attention to it but he noted how dark it was, like it was almost black.  Dermatologists aren’t just there for collagen fillers or Acutane prescriptions.  They can be real life-savers, and they’re worth visiting.

I’d rather start attacking these issues now so I’m not having to put out a bunch of little fires as I get older.  I believe the earlier you become naturally conscious of what happens with aging and the earlier you start taking care of little things here and there, the less it scares you in the long run and the less it feels like some looming doomsday on the horizon.  And honestly, the idea of tackling my forehead creases and finding something that works is like a fun game for me.  Both sides of my family carry a pretty strong youth gene, but I don’t want to bank on that alone.  I don’t have feelings of paranoia surrounding my aging so much as feelings of strategy and determination.  It’s the difference between playing a game of Wheel of Fortune and playing a game of Jeopardy.  One you can study and research and plan for with a strong sense of purpose; the other you just hope and pray you hit the jackpot and don’t lose a turn.  And I, being the lifelong learner that I am and the niece of a Jeopardy champion (little known fact!), would rather play Jeopardy.  xo, MR

Six(ish) Foods To Consume For Better Hair And Skin

Sometimes, when I’m wandering through the grocery store, I find myself thinking, ‘How ’bout I buy some expensive dark craft chocolate because apparently its chock-full of antioxidants’, or ‘Why not eat the whole tub of hummus because chickpeas are kind of like nuts and so hair growth of course’.  And then there are the times when I get to the supplement aisle and I end up throwing yet another bottle of biotin into my grocery cart because I decide I want my hair to grow by a foot.  By tomorrow.

You see, sometimes we aren’t always the most educated on what food can do for us in terms of what we call “beauty”.  If what we (righteously) consume is meant to strengthen and energize us on the inside, you’ve gotta figure there may be some benefits coming through on the outside, too.  However, we tend to rely more on drugstore moisturizers and four dollar shampoos loaded with detergent to provide us with lustrous hair and skin than the simple thing that our bodies really, truly need … good food!

And so, I bring to you a very simple, short list of food and beverage items that you can add to your weekly grocery list that will do your hair and skin nothing but favors (not to mention what these items all do for your immune system, nervous system, circulatory system, and beyond).

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Fennel or dandelion tea  These two herbal teas are particularly wonderful at decreasing bloat and inflammation. Do you find that your eyes are puffier than your croissant in the morning?  Try to cut out late-night salt intake (the culprit) and substitute it with a calming cup of herbal tea before bed.  Chilled caffeinated tea bags are also wonderful at quickly reducing puffiness by constricting the blood vessels around the eyes, if you find that you’ve eaten one too many Cheetos before hitting the sack.

Wild salmon  Three words: omega fatty acids.  Not only do such nutrients sustain proper nerve function and provide great defense against heart disease, but omega fatties are responsible for radiant skin and decreasing inflammation.  Salmon is a goldmine for omega fatties, and a simple way to up your everyday intake is to switch from cooking with butter to olive oil.

Berries  I literally eat berries every single day.  A coworker recently told me I probably keep the industry afloat single-handedly.  Besides being a great source of fiber, berries are loaded with vitamin C.  Vitamin C is an antioxidant that is essential for collagen production, which stimulates the growth of healthy, vibrant hair (as opposed to dull hair the breaks easily).  Vitamin C also assists the antiaging process through its ability to reduce free radical damage in the skin.  Any kind of citrus is also an excellent source of vitamin C.

Spinach and kale  As trendy as it is these days to be walking around with a cup full of blended spinach and kale leaves from Whole Foods, I have to say that the regular addition of such an item into one’s regular diet isn’t something to be discouraged.  Both leafy greens are powerhouses of vitamin K, an incredibly effective nutrient for combating dark undereye circles.  Vitamin K is responsible for strengthening blood vessel walls and is essential for healthy blood circulation.  It comes in both pill and cream form, but the extra dietary benefits of consuming it through leafy greens can’t be beat.

Lean meats and poultry  These are a quick and powerful source of iron, the mineral responsible for carrying oxygen into your bloodstream and throughout your entire body to places like your hair follicles to help stimulate healthy growth.  Vitamin C and zinc are two nutrients that aid in the body’s absorption of iron, so I recommend balancing your intake of each.  Additionally, lean meats and poultry provide amino acid-packed protein for hair and skin, which serves to replace and turnover dead cells.

Water  Oh, you think I’m an idiot for putting this here?  Well you’d be surprised to find that I am the champ that has managed to consume about one cup of water a day.  One cup.  Yeah, you know those eight cups that we’re supposed to guzzle down in twenty four hours?  I haven’t exactly been good at it.  So, I figured placing the beauty benefits here may motivate me to increase my intake.

Water makes the skin glisten and stay supple thanks to its moisturizing properties.  Water, whether in showers or in consumption, can calm nerves, reduce stress and anxiety, and tighten pores as a cold compress or rinse.  Going from hot water to a cold rinse is great for opening pores to release and then cleanse the skin of toxins and grime from the day.  As for the hair, cold water is incredible for constricting the hair cuticle and leaving it shiny and less frizzy.  Water also makes for a great styling product as you can “set” your hair while it’s wet and then reform the hydrogen bond in the hair to change its shape (hence waking up with kinky waves when you go to bed with your hair in wet braids).  Hair growth is also very connected to our hydration, and hair may even cease to grow if we’re not properly hydrated.  The moisture that water provides also helps to combat dandruff, dermatitis, and other dry skin conditions.

And so, just in time for summer and all those barbecues, let us not forget to grill the salmon, throw some spinach on our burgers, snack on in-season berries, and drink tons and tons and tons of water.  Cheers!  xo, MR