Sunday Skincare 101

For the last several years, I’ve spent my workdays educating people on skincare basics, talking about products and ingredients, different methods of application, searching for ways to help them achieve each unique skin mission.

I can say one thing for sure, everyone likes things their own way, and the ‘typical’ regime can vary from 1 holy grail item to a 15-step skincare routine.

As with everything in life, each individual will gravitate towards their own way of doing things.

Whichever route you opt, while caring for your body’s largest organ, make sure that you’re covering these basic needs.


Find a gentle, water-soluble cleanser removes debris, oil, and makeup. Splashing your face with water will not be enough, you need to remove the dirt and bacteria that has accumulated from the air outside or your pillowcase at night.

I recommend washing your face once at night, and again in the morning. Tailor your cleanser to your desired results. Does your skin feel dry & parched? Then you’ll want to find a soft, hydrating cleanser. Looking to control shine or oil? Aim for a purifying cleanser.

‘Cleansing’ also means different things for different people. A full-face application of makeup is going to require more specialized attention than a bare face. My daily routine involves playing around with lots of makeup, so in my skincare routine, the first step is to remove it!

Double Cleanse is my go-to, daily. First, an OIL CLEANSER to remove all traces of makeup, gently and effectively. Oils have recently trended in the beauty world, and there are many great makeup-removing oils to try. They can be beneficial for more reasons than one, helping to hydrate skin and nourish eyelashes. This also eliminates the need for a cotton pad and targeted eye makeup remover. (Although, I will still reach for this one every so often, if I’m wearing a particularly dark shade of lipstick or large amounts of eyeliner/mascara.)

Next, wash with your basic cleanser, chosen depending on your skin type. This cleanser will be able to do it’s job even more effectively, since you’ve already cleared away any makeup and dirt with the oil.


Toners with skin-repairing ingredients soften and replenish the skin’s surface immediately after cleansing. They also help reduce redness and dry patches, clarify the skin, etc. There are many variations of toners, skin-type specific.

Pay attention to the ingredients! Most toners contain alcohol, make sure to steer clear of those ones. Look for a gentle, alcohol-free toner. A great basic is Thayer’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel.  $7


But, be gentle about it. Always gentle.

Exfoliants remove built-up dead skin cells, and aid in the turnover of new skin. Physical exfoliation is fairly self-explanatory, manually exfoliating the skin with a device like the Clarisonic, or using a cleanser with grains/beads.

Chemical exfoliation is a lot less intimidating than it sounds to a skincare rookie, and yields some pretty awesome results. Imagine your skin as many cells, held together by a “glue.” Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) works by loosening up this glue and letting the cells fall away easier. This helps to reveal brighter, healthier, and plumper skin beneath. It is most commonly found in three forms: Glycolic, lactic, and mandelic.

BHA is short for Beta Hydroxy Acid. BHAs are a bit more complex than AHAs. They work by penetrating and detoxifying pores. This is what makes them preferred for oily and acne-prone skin. A commonly-used BHA is salicylic acid.


Depending on what you are trying to perfect about your skin, choose a treatment in the form of SERUM, OIL, CONCENTRATE, etc. to enact change. This is where skincare becomes so complex and beautiful. There are endless blends of skin-improving ingredients, new products and lines emerging every day.

You can layer several treatments together, just be mindful of ingredients and don’t mix anything that may cause an unwanted reaction.

I’ve mentioned checking out the ingredients several times now, and that’s because it’s essential to get the most from every step in your routine. Educate yourself on what works for you. Try out different things, and take a little time to research common ingredients. Always take a look at the label and be aware of what you are applying to your skin.

Some different types of treatment:

For skin brightening & dark-spot fading, I love Murad’s Essential C line of brightening products. Especially the Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum.

Anti-aging and anti-wrinkle. Start with these BEFORE you start to see the lines. Prevention is so much easier than repairing damage. Pay special attention to the eye area, where you first start to notice age.

Hyaluronic Acid is a key skincare ingredient, as it helps to repair the skin’s moisture barrier and bind moisture to the skin. Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream is a favorite of mine. Look for this on your moisturizer’s label. $18


Don’t skip this step. Even if you have oily skin–you MUST use a moisturizer! The number one misconception that I hear working in the industry, is people thinking that moisturizer is only necessary when their skin feels dry. Nope! Always! You need  to apply moisturizer every morning and every night, after cleansing/toning/applying treatment.

Choose a moisturizer with SPF. Sunscreen is a MUST. If you are completely in love with a moisturizer that lacks SPF, no worries, just add a sheer SPF liquid into your cream/lotion/gel/oil. Shiseido has a so many great options of SPF coverage.

This should always be your last product applied, to lock all of the precious ingredients that you chose so carefully in previous steps.


I have a selection of masks and peels to supplement my routine, every few days it’s something new. So much fun to be had here.

Caudalie has a great Instant Detox Mask with bentonite clay, to tighten pores and detoxify the skin. $39

Raw Honey is excellent as a mask for hydration, or you can opt for a less-sticky packaged option.

Lately I have been loving these one-time-use sheet masks from Sephora. $6 each

Your skincare is so important! Explore your options and try new products. My collection is constantly expanding, I love trying out new things and creating cocktails of multiple products.

Drink as much water as possible, and wear your SPF!

Don’t sweat the small stuff, stress is your skin’s worst enemy. Radiate!

Photo via Harper’s Bazaar.

Some of My Favorites

Working in the beauty industry for the past 4 years has afforded me the opportunity to play around with the creme de la creme of products. From skincare serums and masks to lighting palettes and longwear lip colors, I’ve tested them all and very much enjoyed the luxury of surrounding myself  with these lovelies.

Here are a few of my favorite things..

Hourglass Mineral Veil Foundation Primer

I love this stuff. Super sheer, with excellent color-corrective properties. Great for calming redness. It perfects my skin and creates a smooth canvas for applying foundation. $18-72

Korres Mandarin Lip Butter Stick in Rose

I’m completely obsessed with this. Use it everyday, keep it in my pocket obsessed.

An instantly hydrating and softening lip treatment and tint in one. I love the color and the way that it it feels on my lips. $16.50

Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream

Brand new moisturizing cream from an amazing natural skincare line.

2 forms of hyaluronic acid hydrate & plump your skin, while papaya enzymes smooth and exfoliate. Alpha-arbutin and exotic floral extracts help to brighten hyperpigmentation spots and illuminate the complexion. $65

Too Faced Lip Injection Plumping Gloss

Constantly attempting to increase the volume of my lips, I’ve tested my fair share of plumping glosses. I love the ones that tingle. This one is a definite win. $22

All of these products are available at Sephora.

 Photo by Tricia Cathcart 

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Recharge and Relax, Naturally

Wednesday! I hope it’s a happy one for you all.

This past weekend, I spent an entire day exploring Disneyland Park in Anaheim. It truly is the magical place that they say it is.

I went with a dear friend, and neither of us had ever been there before. (Although, seeing as we had both grown up in the Midwest, we did experience Disneyworld in Orlando, back in the 90’s.) Sunday, at the original Disneyland, we had such a blast discovering every single ride in the park–from morning until after the nightly (!!!) firework show. It’s A Small World! Roller coasters! Yes.

Today brings us to the top of our own weekly roller coaster, the mid-point peak, where we each have the power to choose the trajectory of the remaining days in this seven-day cycle that determines so much of our existence.

Will you raise your arms above your head and savor the ride, or will you close your eyes and wait for it to end?

My arms have been up and waving like a crazy woman this whole week, and I’m doing what I can to keep the positive motion rolling. Like I mentioned in earlier posts, my focus lately is on being mindful and moving through the world with intention, empathy, and a sense of humor. It all begins with self-love, so my advice is to take some time to pamper yourself and prepare for the remainder of the week ahead.

Here’s some mid-week stepping stones to help you to relax & recharge… you deserve it.

Honey Facemasks

Raw Honey is the answer to everything. Prized for its healing properties in ancient civilizations, it makes an incredible mask for your skin all by itself. This is something that you can do several times a week to improve the tone and softness of your skin.

Totally edible and chemical-free skin nourishment, Raw Honey is great on it’s own, but you can also mix and match other food-based ingredients to create a more tailored mask. Add 1 tsp. Avocado and 1 tsp. Plain Whole Milk Yogurt with 1 tsp. of Raw Honey to boost the hydration in this mask. The fats in the avocado and whole milk yogurt are deeply moisturizing to the skin, while the lactic acid in the yogurt smooths your skin, refines pores, and stimulates collagen production. Try adding lemon for fading scars and dark spots, or aloe to calm sensitive skin.

Essential Oils All Around

Aromatherapy uses plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit. I have a number of essential oils rolling around in my purse at any given time, as inspired by my a lovely friend of mine who is also always ready to share the gift of their scents when needed.

Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Peppermint… I’ve got you covered.

An oil-diffuser is an effortless way to distribute the essential oils into the air, but you can also just as easily drop a few oils into the bathtub or a sink filled with (hot) water in the bathroom while you’re facemasking… Or, boil some water and put a few drops of essential oil into a glass bowl along with it for a quick, room-filling refresher scent.

Essential oils can be distributed in many different ways.

Lately, I have also been into creating misting sprays with a mixture of oils in water to spritz in the air/on door handles to sanitize/ on my skin/ etc. The use varies, depending on which oils I choose to include.

There is so much that can be said of the varying essential oils and their respective properties, I can’t begin to get into that here. But if you’re interested, this site has a nice list. I personally love the smell of Lavender, which has calming and sleep inducing properties, and is beneficial for treatment of issues with the nervous system, insomnia, pain relief, skin/hair care, blood circulation, & immune system health, among others.

Unrefined, Virgin Coconut Oil. 

I am pretty sure that everyone has received the memo on Coconut Oil already, so we don’t need to get into much detail here. Long story short, you need it in your life, you can use it for just about everything. Makeup removal, moisturizer for your skin, cooking… Coconut oil also works for oil-pulling, an ancient Ayurvedic dental technique, basically swishing a tablespoon of oil in your mouth on an empty stomach for around 20 minutes. This results in whiter teeth and helps to draw toxins from the body for overall health improvement.

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.

Apple Cider Vinegar is another holy grail item for so many reasons. This can be used anywhere from cleaning and cooking to being part of your beauty regimen. It’s IMPORTANT that you choose organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) to ensure that it’s toxin-free. Bragg ACV is the best, where you can see the tiny cobweb-like substances that they call ‘the mother…’ Yassss Gaga.

ACV has super antibacterial properties, so it can be used as a facial toner/cleanser, promoting skin clarity, as it helps to balance your skin’s PH levels. Just make sure to dilute it with water. When consumed, ACV is great for detoxifying the body, weight-loss, cholesterol-control, it works as an energy-booster, a digestive-aid…I could go on and on. Drink a shot of it in a glass of water daily as your own healing elixir, proven since 400B.C.


Simple additions to your daily or weekly routine can affect such positive changes in your mood and overall existence.

I believe that it’s a daily must to take some strictly-focused ME time. Set goals, both long and short-term, meditate, pamper yourself, focus on the future…

Cheers to making moves and positively affecting our spheres of influence through the remainder of this week!





Ello Emerges as the Anti-Facebook

Facebook is the worst. Ello is emerging as exactly the opposite.

The live site describes Ello as a ‘simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network created by a small group of artists and designers.’

‘You are not a product’ its manifesto declares. It denounces social networks that track and record ‘every post you share, every friend you make and every link you follow” then sell the data to advertisers.’

‘We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment,’ it proclaims. ‘Not a tool to deceive, coerce and manipulate — but a place to connect, create and celebrate life.’

Ello, where real names are not required, is getting a boost after Facebook booted drag queens because of the ‘deception’ of not using legal names on the site.

Super-minimalistic and easy to navigate… I am liking it so far. Although, it’s really nothing like Facebook, so I don’t see the general masses jumping to convert anytime soon. That’s probably a good thing.

Friend me on Ello: @mixx_cia

Stylish ‘Ringly’ Syncs With iPhone

Wearable technology is gaining popularity, especially with the fashionable new options that are popping up on the web.

Ringly is a line of 18k gold rings with precious and semi-precious stones. Designed by an actual jewelry designer, you would never know that the rings also sync with your phone and apps, vibrating to inform you about important messages, calendar events, and pre-approved notifications so you can keep your phone out of your hands yet still on call.

In a recent Elle article, Founder Christina Mercando explains the idea and the convenience behind Ringly,  “I was just always missing calls and texts because my phone was in my purse, and my family was getting frustrated with me [to the point that] it became a running joke. And I was looking at my hands, and I thought, ‘You know, I wear some big rings. I wonder if I can make a technology that would fit into the things I wear every day that would help solve this problem and be useful?’ And so that’s where the idea came from. It was always about wanting to make beautiful things. It was never, ‘How can we make technology beautiful?’ I wanted to make beautiful things and put technology into them. And I think that’s very different from the way a lot of technology companies work, because they start with the technology first and then design around it. We’re using a very different approach by starting with the style and design.”

Ringly application screenshot, courtesy of
Ringly application screenshot, courtesy of

The current features of Ringly allows the user to get notifications after connecting it to any application on your phone. It will also let you know if it’s too far away from your phone, to say that you’ve left it behind. Or, if you tap your ring, it can vibrate your phone, so you can find your phone in your purse. (!!!)

As a new gadget and concept, Ringly will continue developing the software as time goes on. Mercando stated that the company has recently hired a neuroscientist to do some research and development into expanding the features of the ring.

Mercando says of wearable tech, “It’s still in its infancy right now. We’re seeing a lot of really cool products come out, but in order to hit a mass-production level, I think that they need to start looking better, and they need to start being a little bit more youthful. And for us, we think people are going to be buying electronics in the same way that we buy clothing today: You go into a store, and you buy the one that fits your style that day; even in terms of functionality, you buy the functionality that fits your lifestyle. We really see those things expanding. There are a lot of fashion brands today, and we think there are going to be a lot of wearable tech brands.”

Founder Christina Mercando, photo courtesy of Ringly
Founder Christina Mercando, photo courtesy of Ringly

For now, Ringly is available through pre-order on, however they foresee a collaboration with boutiques both large and small.

“For us,” says Mercando, “it’s more about where you buy jewelry and where our marketers go. It would be more of the Bloomingdales and Nordstrom types, and less of the Best Buys of the world.”

You can get your hands on Ringly for only $145, and they are currently running a 25% off sale for pre-orders on the site.

Totally. Awesome.

Get Lippy- Bold Hues A Standout Trend

Unexpected lip colors are everything right now. It’s a simple way to add edge and interest to your look.

We’ve compiled a list of several glosses and lipsticks that have excellent pigmentation and staying power.

The Lime Crime Opaque Lipstick Collection
The Lime Crime Opaque Lipstick Collection

The Velvetines matte-gloss collection by Lime Crime is incredible, with a groundbreaking formula that goes on liquid and dries completely matte. They are transfer and touch-proof, to ensure that the color will stay put only on your lips, a very important aspect to consider when you’re about to paint them a deep or bright color. Also long wearing, the Velvetines not only stay where you put them, but they also last throughout the duration of your night.

BLACK VELVET is our personal favorite. $20,

blackvelvet-lipswatch blackvelvet-packaging

Lime Crime also has a brilliant line of opaque lipsticks, in a huge array of colors that you won’t find in any other cosmetics line.

D’LILAC is our pick for the Spring Season. The perfect shade of lavender.


lipstick-packaging_7Melt Cosmetics is another great brand for unique colors. The formula is long-wearing and non-transferable, both extremely important qualities to look for in a standout lip color.

We especially love the hues BLOW, DGAF and BANG! BANG!

Ultra matte and bold lipstick by Melt Cosmetics,  in BLOW
Ultra matte and bold lipstick by Melt Cosmetics, in BLOW
The MELT lipcolor palette
The MELT lipcolor palette, available on