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The Key To A Smooth Safe Shave

You’ve finally arrived. You are the consummate professional. You’ve got the power suit, the flawless makeup, the leather clutch, the Prada heels, and the silk stockings and under it all, you’ve got….nicks and cuts all over your legs.

Sure, you’ve got data analytics down to a science, but when it comes to shaving your legs, you’re clueless. If you’re a professional genius, but you still don’t know how to handle a razor, this articles may provide you with the facts you need, but were too embarrassed to ask.

Women shaving her legs by a swimming pool.

How To Shave

Step 1
A great shave should always start with a nice shower of bath. Soaking skin in warm water for a few minutes will make the hairs softer and guarantee a closer shave.

Step 2
While you’re in that bath or shower, make sure to apply a good shave gel. That will help keep your hair hydrated while making sure the razor will glide smoothly over your skin. This will lessen your chance of painful nicks and cuts and will also reduce the likelihood of shaving rash and razor bumps popping up.

Step 3
Now you’re ready for the razor. Always use a gentle touch with long strokes. The direction of the razor will differ with each body part:

  • Legs Shave; from ankles up
  • Underarms Shave; from all angles, as hair here may grow in different directions.
  • Bikini Area Shave; first in the direction of the hair growth, in an inward stroke, and then reverse directions for an extra close shave.
  • After shaving; rinse and air dry razor.

Step 4
Your hair removal process should end by applying your favorite moisturizer. This will keep your skin healthy, smooth, and hydrated.

Women shaving her leg in a bathtub.

Shaving Products

  • 5-Bladed Razor
    A five bladed razor will give you a close shave. Remember, the more blades, the more hairs get cut. Many products on the market feature a protective moisture ribbon that helps to give an easy glide and reduces the risk of nicks and cuts.
  • Built In Lather
    Recently, products have become available with moisture lathering bars. These soap up produce a refreshing scent when you shave, cutting out the need for an extra shave prep.
  • Refillable Razors
    If you don’t mind a little elbow grease, you can save money by using a refillable razor. This means you only have to replace the carts when they get dull and can reuse the handle.
  • Disposable Razors
    If you still prefer to use ’em and toss ’em, disposable razors are always an option. They’re great for travel or stashing in your gym bag for easy use.
  • Removing Facial Hair
    There’s nothing wrong with shaving fail hair, although most women prefer methods that allow for more control, especially around the eyebrows and upper lip. More popular methods are waxing and tweezing.
  • The Tough Spots
    For ladies who are looking for a shave in those tricky, curvy spots, look for a high-quality razor designed to fit those curves. Apply as much shave gel as your skin can soak up and be gentle for a smooth shave.

The Knee of Above
Survey says…totally up to you. Forget the myth about shaving making hair grow back darker and thicker, just do what feels right!

Got some shaving tips to share! Let us hear ’em! We love it when you weigh in!

Protect Your Familys Skin Against Harmful Chemicals

Mother and child

It seems the definition of a good parent has expanded in the last few decades. It used to be if you could satisfy the basic needs of your child, see they remained somewhat groomed, hugged them a few times, and remembered to pick them up from school and pack lunch, you were doing okay. But that was back in the ‘ignorance is bliss’ days, before we became aware the existence of an ozone layer and harmful chemicals that were in danger of obliterating it.

Now, you need to develop a superpower that enables you to deflect harmful ingredients from infiltrating their little bodies at the speed of light. Not likely to happen. You’ll just have to do it the old fashioned way. Here are a few tips on keeping protecting your family’s skin from chemicals.

Stay Out of The Sun
The sad fact is that a lot of sunscreens out there do not protect against UV rays, and a host of them contain chemicals that can damage our skin. While it would seem that the best advice would be to stay out of the sun, that is often easier said than done when it comes to the average child. Sure, you can cover them with heavy clothes and a hat, but the likelihood is that most of it will end up on the floor of the playground. So what can you do to ensure your child stays active and chemical-free?

Couple smiling

Sunscreen 101
There are two forms of sunscreens:

  • Physical sunscreens
    These contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which form a film on top of the skin that reflects UV light.
  • Chemical Sunscreens
    These absorb UV rays before they can damage your skin. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, zinc oxide provides extensive UVA and UVB protection.

However, if you want a chemical sunscreen, be aware, while they protect against UV rays, they also contain chemicals which can be absorbed by the skin and end up circulating in your blood stream.

Check the Label For Chemicals

  • Dioxybenzone and Oxybenzone
    The most problematic chemicals found in sunscreen are dioxybenzone and oxybenzone. These two are among the most potent free radical producers and are also known to be disruptive to normal hormonal function.
  • PABA
    You’ve probably seen PABA listed quite frequently on sunscreen labels. Para-aminobenzoic acid is a dye that absorbs UV-B light. It contains a benzene ring which enables electrons to shuffle between different locations inside the structure, absorbing UV-B energy by converting light into heat. PABA can damage DNA, release free radicals, has estrogenic activity and has been known to cause allergic reactions in some people
  • Octyl Methoxycinnamate
    This is the main chemical use to filter out UV-B light in sunscreens. Its toxicity level, which can increase in sunlight can kill the cell in mice.
  • Benzophenone
    Benzophenone is a sunscreen ingredient that protects the products in the sunscreen from breaking down due to the sun rays. According to naturopath Nicole Bjilsma, it also disrupts hormones, interferes with thyroid function and lowers testosterone.

Baby

Check The Ratings
How does your sunscreen measure up? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) rates sunscreens on safety and protection. You can download their tip sheet on the best and worst chemicals in the cosmetics department, sunscreens included.

What are you doing to make sure your family’s skin stays free of harmful chemicals while avoiding the sun’s rays? Let us know how you do it.

Surprising Foods With Benefits

Can life possibly get better? First, you find out you can practically live on a diet of stuffed grape leaves and Greek yogurt, and then you find out that dark chocolate can fight free radical damage. At this rate, you’re certain that one day you’ll read a report touting the health benefits of donuts. Unfortunately, if you are counting on this article to be the bearer of that news, you may be sadly disappointed. However, although the perks of fried dough have yet to be discovered, there are some other foods that, you may be pleasantly surprised to find out, are both delicious and nutritious. Here are a few foods with benefits.

Hair
cheese

Cheese
Need a good excuse for ordering extra cheese on that pizza? According to Beautyflash.co.uk, cheese is rich in nutrients that can promote the growth of a long healthy mane.

Oysters
Is it the oysters or is it how good your hair looks? Oysters are rich in zinc which helps strengthen the protein structures in hair follicles, encouraging thick, healthy hair.

Poultry
Keep that head of hair lustrous by eating some poultry. Lack of protein causes the body to ration the protein, which may mean less of it goes to your hair, causing potential hair loss. Eating protein-rich poultry can help counter the damage.

Skin
Avocado and Yogurt

Soy Beans
The high protein and mineral content in soy beans make it a great food for reducing blemishes and evening out skin tone.

Avocados
The healthy fats in this wonderful fruit can help keep your skin plump and moisturized while protecting it from sun damage.

Greek Yogurt
Want to reduce those wrinkles? Get some Greek in you. (Greek yogurt, that is). This protein-packed superfood can make skin firmer and more resistant to wrinkles and lines.

Teeth
green tea

Green Tea
It may be green, but it will keep your teeth white. Studies show that green tea reduces plaque, lower the acidity of saliva, and controls bacteria levels. Research suggests that drinking green tea will make you less prone to tooth decay and gum disease.

Cheese
Now there’s a real reason to say “cheese.’ Cheese is a great source of calcium, which is one of the most vital nutrients for supporting healthy teeth. The gooey stuff is also believed to play a role in raising the pH in your mouth, reducing likelihood of tooth decay.

Strawberries
These beauties contain malic acid, a natural cleanser with enamel whitening abilities.

Nails
Chia seeds and borccoli

Mackerel
The omega-3 fatty acids in mackerel is a great way to put an end to dry and brittle nails.

Chia Seeds
Not only are these seeds packed full of protein, calcium, and magnesium, they also support the production of collagen in your body, helping your nails stay strong and fortified.

Broccoli
If growing long nails is on your list of goals, you should start eating your broccoli. With the aid of an amino acid called cysteine and the benefits of protein, this green veggie may be your key to a perfect 10.

If you’ve got a food that you would like to find out surprising health benefits about, well, we can’t really guarantee it; but, if you’ve been pleasantly surprised to find out your favorite food may be satisfying more than your taste buds, we’d love to know! Tell us what you’re loving to eat and all the fringe benefits that you’re getting while doing it.

Everyday Ingredients To Keep Your Skin Fresh Between Facials

Is there any way to keep your skin looking “fresh from a facial” great every day? Here are some ingredients that will help you do just that.

beautiful woman

Antioxidants
Antioxidants are nutrients found in most plants and are best known for their ability to fight “free radicals.” Free radicals harm DNA, and lead to wrinkles, dry, dull skin, and dark circles around the eyes. To keep skin looking fresh, it is important to not only eat foods rich in these chemicals, but also to use them on your skin.

Alpha Lipoic Acid
This is an antioxidant produced by the body and present in every cell you have. It attacks free radicals and it known for its ability to erase wrinkles and fine lines, shrink pores, and give a healthy glow to the skin.

Green Tea Extract
Tea is rich in free radical-fighting nutrients called polyphenols. Early studies have proven the ingredients in tea able to reduce sun damage and protect from skin cancer when applied topically. Green tea extract can be used under sunscreen to double the protection and, polyphenols, when used in lotions and creams, can reduce skin sagginess and wrinkles.

Retinol
Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that boosts collagen production and plumps skin, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. It improves skin tone and reduces dark patches. The stronger counterpoint of retinol is tretinoin, which can improve skin appearance by clearing up acne, slowing aging of skin, and improving unwanted pigmentation.

Portrait of a woman

Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a key ingredient in boosting production of collagen and elastin, which depletes with age. Its antioxidants minimize fine lines, scars, and wrinkles.

Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10)
Naturally occurring in your body, CoQ 10 works to destroy free radical in your cells. However, as you age, the amount your body makes decreases, making skin more vulnerable to free radical damage. Creams, gels, and toners containing the antioxidant can be used to supplement the decrease, with one study showing that it can even help to reduce the appearance of “crow’s feet” around the eyes.

Caffeine
Although the jury is still out on whether caffeine is effective when applied to skin, skin care companies have added it to lotions and creams. This is based on the evidence that caffeine may be useful in preventing skin cancer and the deepening of wrinkles, especially “crow’s feet.”

How do you keep that “fresh from the salon glow” every day? You’re looking particularly radiant.

Skin Care Ingredients Pregnant Women Should Avoid

So you’re pregnant. Your husband and your friends keep telling you you’ve never looked better in your life, but you sure don’t feel it today. Your ankles are swollen, you have a headache, and all you see when you look down is your stomach. You know exactly what you need! A little pampering. Nothing like a nice spa session to make you feel like the goddess you are. But wait! Before you apply that mask, there are a few things you should know about the ingredients in the products you may be about to apply.

Pregnant woman in front of the mirror

Retin-A, Retinol, Retinyl Palmate
The FDA categorizes ingredients according to letters of the alphabet: A, B, C, D, and X. Usually, only A and B categorized products are considered safe for pregnancy. Retin-A, retinol. and retinyl palmate all lie in the C category which means it can present a risk to the fetus. Although vitamin A is an important vitamin for fetal development, Albert Sassoon, MD, an ob-gyn says, “getting too much can cause serious birth defects and liver toxicity.” While Retin-A is usually associated with prescription skin care, women should be aware that vitamin A derivatives are also present in many over the counter formulas as well.

Benzoyl Peroxide
Even though pregnancy may call for the occasional zit zapping, benzoyl peroxide also falls into category C, indicating possible fetal risk.

Woman applying oil to pregnant belly

Essential Oils
Essential oils are not subject to assessment by the FDA and are usually marketed as safe for use in beauty products. However, according to Dr. Sassoon, “Often they have 50 times the concentration used in a cup of tea and can be harmful even in a non-pregnancy state.” The most commonly used oils warranting cause for alarm are rosemary and tea tree oil.

According to Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, MD, and dermatologist, “Tea tree oil is very potent and toxic when ingested. Its adverse effects include dermatitis, drug reactions, a blistering disease called linear IgA and estrogenic effects.” which may be to blame for premature contractions. Rosemary oil, meanwhile, is known to, “raise blood pressure and cause uterine contractions at high doses,” adds the doctor.

Woman buying product

Salicylic Acid
This category C acne fighter may be hard to avoid. But, as Dandy Engelman, MD, and dermatologist says,”When you’re pregnant, you have to seek out the purer products–the ones that feature just one of the acids that are approved. Lactic, mandelic, and glycol acids are all considered safe for pregnant women looking for some exfoliating action.

Hydroquinone
Although this may be tempting to use when pregnancy causes melanoma or dark spots, it falls into the C category.

Tazorac and Accutane
Both these vitamin A-derived product are prescription only and fall into category X: known to cause defects in birth.

What safe products do you use to soothe skin while you’re pregnant? Let us know what the modern pregnant lady is using to keep herself and her baby safe.

Tools That You’ll Need To Go Gluten-Free

When you go gluten-free, cleaning out your fridge and pantry is only the first step. In order to truly rid yourself of the scourge of gluten, you’ll need to replace cookware and kitchen utensils as well. All porous surfaces can be harbingers of tiny amounts of gluten, and that may be enough to make you sick. If you want to truly rid yourself of gluten, here are some new tools you may need.

cutting board

Cutting Boards
It is probably close to impossible that your cutting board is free of scratches, and as is the case with your cookware, scratched surfaces equal gluten hideouts. Make sure to replace all cutting boards and use them only in gluten-free recipes.

Toaster
Since the toaster is probably the appliance in your kitchen most likely to come into contact with bread, it is not surprising that it should top your list as one of the first to go. If you are avoiding gluten, it is crucial to buy yourself a new one of these, and also make sure that you never allow gluten bread to enter your new replacement.

Silicone Spatulas
What do you get when you flip a gluten pancake? A gluten covered spatula. You might want to get colored spatulas to separate yours from those of your gluten eating house-mates, but make sure to label them anyway. It only takes one bad pancake flip to contaminate your entire spatula, so better be safe than sorry.

Woman with wooden spoon

Wooden Spoons
Wood is another porous gluten trapping material, therefore all wooden cookware will need gluten-free replacements. If you live with roommates who are not cooking gluten-free, be sure to label your items to avoid contamination.

Rolling Pin
If you’ve got your Grandma’s rolling pin, you might want to keep it in the closet for sentimental reasons, but you’ll want to get another one to roll out the dough for your gluten-free breads and pizzas.

Baking Sheets and Muffin Tins
The scratches in your non-stick baking sheets and muffin tins will be sure to test positive for traces of gluten. While stainless steel sheets and tins may not pose as serious a threat, make sure to give them a thorough scrubbing, especially in the corners.

non-stick pan

Non-Stick Pans
It’s the scratches in the non-stick pans which trap the gluten, and, if you possess non-stick pans, you probably are aware of the likelihood of their being scratched. Even the smallest scratches are enough to warrant disposal. Stainless steel or aluminum pans without non-stick coating do not present a risk, as long as they are washed well to root out any food residue.

Colander
Unfortunately, a used colander is beyond salvaging from the ravages of gluten, so hopefully your not too attached to yours. The gluten from pasta sticks inside the holes, no matter how diligently you clean. If you’ve got an old colander, replace it.

Let us know how you’re managing post-gluten life. We want to hear your advice on parting with your prized kitchen utensils and appliances.

Signs You’re Allergic To Your Skincare Product

Woman in front of mirror

We all know how difficult it can be to find a skincare product you love. After consigning half your paycheck’s worth of products to the garbage bin, you come upon something that actually works; that anti wrinkle cream that really seems to be making you look younger, that spot treatment that really seems to be getting rid of those spots. And just when you declare yourself an official customer for life, it happens: the itching, the redness, the wheezing, the inflammation – the allergic reaction. Sure, the product did what it said it would, but are you really just trading one problem for another? Here are some signs that you’re allergic to your skincare product and what you can do about it.

Aluminum Compounds
If your armpits are getting red and peeling, it may just be that you’re having an allergic reaction to the aluminum compounds in your antiperspirant, according to Joshua Zeichner, MD, at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

You can try swapping it with a natural deodorant. However, Zeichner says, “They do a fine job of masking odor, but aren’t great at preventing sweating.” If leaky pits are still problem, try a sensitive skin antiperspirant with low levels of aluminum.

Acids
It may not surprise you to note that some of the products designed to get rid of skin cells may be causing more harm than good. Salicylic acid, topical retinoids, and glycol acids all, “can cause skin irritation, dryness, redness, and/or burning if you over-use them, ” says Zeichner.

If you notice a negative reaction to topicals, you may want to consult a dermatologist and follow usage instructions carefully. It may be that you need to start with a lower dosage and gradually build up from there, or decrease usage to every other day or every few days. If you are having an allergic reaction to a glycol peel, you may want to trnon-chemicalal forms of exfoliation, like a gentle scrub or a vitamin C or fruit enzyme peel.

Fragrance
Health researchers at the University of Washington credit the use of synthetic fragrance with the development of skin and respiratory irritation in over 20% of the American population. “And fragrance doesn’t just mean perfume; it’s used in almost every beauty product under the sun, points out Siobhan O’Connor, co author of “No More Dirty Looks.” Fragrances pop up even in products that are labeled “unscented” because companies are known to use fragrance chemicals as masking agents to create neutral “non-scents.”

A word to the wise and fragrance sensitive: avoid products with the word “fragrance”on their label, and look for the term “fragrance-free” instead.

Metallics
Glitter can be a girl’s best friend, but not if she’s allergic to nickel. If you’re allergic to the metal, found in the plating of buttons and snaps and costume jewelry, you may also have an allergic reaction to cobalt, used in personal care products, such as light brown hair dyes and antiperspirants. Aluminum, lead, and chromium are other metals to be wary of.

Do a patch test with any cosmetic or mineral makeup which is likely to contain metallic elements to be sure it will not cause a reaction when you apply it to your face.

Emollients
Perry Romanowski, cosmetic chemist says, “Emollients are ingredients designed to feel good on your skin, but any go them cause breakouts, especially for acne-prone skin. Coconut butter, lanolin, cocoa butter, iso-stearyl isostearate, isopropyl palmitate and myristyl lactate are all emollients to be put on the “use with caution” list.

If you’re breakout-prone, use a noncomedogenic, water-based moisturizer to keep skin hydrated without clogging your pores.

Are you allergic to your skin care product? Let us know how you prevent breakouts and what you use to replace the cosmetics that cause you irritation.

What Makes Argan Oil So Beneficial for Your Skin?

Argan oil is one of the most sought after culinary and cosmetic oils in the world. Here are some of the ingredients that make this oil so desirable and some of the ways you can take advantage of its benefits.

Argan Oil
Argan oil has been used as a healing oil throughout the centuries to treat skin conditions. The oil owes its healing properties to its high content of vitamin E and A and its wealth of antioxidants, such as omega -6 fatty acid and linoleic acid. Applied topically, the tocopherol from the vitamin E can boost cell production, promoting healthy skin and hair. Here are some of the top cosmetic uses for argan oil.

Argan oil

Night Time Moisturizer
After your nightly cleanser, pour a drop of argan oil in your palm to warm. Massage it into face and neck using a circular motion. Next, apply a drop to your face from the bridge of your nose to your temple using a tapping motion. Continue to use this gentle tapping to place a drop beneath your eyes. You will find the oil absorbs quickly without leaving a residue and that the A and E vitamins will help to reduce fine lines.

Skin Toner
To reap the benefits of argan oil in your toner, add two to four drops of the oil to eight ounces of toner or, follow this recipe to make your own chemical- free version:

Pour a cup of boiling water over a green tea bag and allow to steep for seven to ten minutes. Remove the bag and allow the tea to come to room temperature. Add a drop or two of an essential oil of your choice, add two to four drops of the argan oil and seal in a jar. Use twice daily after cleansing and before moisturizing.

face serum

Improving Acne-Prone Skin
Another benefit of argan oil is its ability to reduce sebum levels and fight acne. The high linoleic acid content can reduce inflammation due to acne while healing damaged skin cells. Simply apply a drop into problem areas, or fight whiteheads by making the skin toner (see above) using a few drops of tea tree oil. The tree tea oil will complement the argan oil with its supply of antioxidants, antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Healing Stretch Marks
Argan oil helps restore elasticity to the skin lost to stretching. Warm two to three drops of the oil in your palms and rub on problem areas. The vitamin A and E will prevent stretch marks from forming. If you have already existing stretch marks, massage argan oil and brown sugar to the affected area before bathing. Rinse and reapply the oil to the area before dressing.

Caring for Your Nails
The non-greasy moisturizing agents in this oil make it ideal for treating nails and cuticles. Remove all traces of nail polish from hands and toes and dot a tiny drop into each nail, rubbing into cuticle and nail bed. Allow nails to absorb the oil, then rinse and apply polish as usual. Regular treatment should help your nails grow strong and beautiful, while preventing the formation of painful hangnails.

Have you used argan oil? Are the goats on to something? Their hair is fabulous and their hooves are really strong.

Benefits of Adding Lemon and Lemon Peel To Your Diet

lemon peel

Nowadays, when life hands you lemons, there are a myriad of beneficial things you can do with them, and making lemonade does not even come near the top of the list. Here are just some of the ways adding lemons and lemon peels to your diet can help improve your health.

Benefits of Using the Whole Lemon

More Vitamins
Lemon peels contain 5 to 10 times more vitamin than the lemon juice alone. If you’re discarding the peel, you’re discarding loads of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, folate, calcium, beta-carotene, potassium, and magnesium.

Fights Cancer
If you’re thinking of doing a lemon juice cleanse, it may be more effective if you include the peel. Lemon peels help to eradicate the toxic elements in your body, including the carcinogenic ones. The peel contains salvestrol Q40 and limonene, components which are fierce defenders against the cancerous cells in your body. In addition, the flavonoids in the zest of the lemon can also be effective in stopping cancer cells from multiplying.

Additionally, a study reveals that drinking hot tea with lemon peel can help to prevent the development of colon, breast, and skin cancers.

Woman cutting up lemon

Boosts Bone Health
Because lemon peels contain loads of calcium and vitamin C, including them in your diet can help prevent bone conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and inflammatory polyarthritis.

Lowers Cholesterol
High levels of “bad cholesterol” are often linked to cardiovascular disease. The polyphenol flavonoids in lemon peels will help the lower the LDL, or “bad” cholesterol levels in your body. In addition, Vitamins C and P will clear blood vessels, decreasing or preventing the risk of developing related conditions such as heart disease, diabetic heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Including Lemon Peel In Your Diet
So now that you know how great lemon peel is for you, you’re probably wondering how you can make it a little more palatable. Here are a few ideas for including lemon peel in your recipes.

Lemon Pickle
Widely found in Indian households, including a little lemon pickle in your diet is a great way to get the health benefits of the lemon zest.

lemon cake

Cakes and Pies
Scrape a little lemon peel into cakes and pies to enhance flavor before baking and add some to give the icing on top a tangy flavor.

Candied Lemon Peels
Making candied lemon peels is a fun and easy way to reap the lemon peel benefits. Boil the peel in some water to reduce bitterness. Extract peel and addict to a pot of sugar and hot water. Simmer until peels soften. Sprinkle sugar on top and let them dry for a day or two.

So, when life hands you lemons. eat them whole, or at least, eat the whole thing. Let us know how you’re including lemons and their peels in your diet.

Five Steps To A Great Skincare Routine

There is nothing new about the “less is more” concept. Even before Susie Faux termed the phrase “capsule wardrobe” in the seventies, people have realized the wisdom of quality over quantity and the freedom derived from having less. So why is it that so many people are obsessed with multi-step beauty routines?

Of course, if you have the time and patience, you’re welcome to spend as much of it on skin care as you like, but, if you don’t, there is nothing wrong with keeping it scaled down. Remember, you own your beauty routine, it doesn’t own you. So, if you believe in keeping it short and sweet, here’s are five steps that will help you maximize while you minimize.

Woman cleansing skin

Cleanse
Cleansing skin is the most basic step in a skin routine. It should be done twice daily, once in the morning and once at night, to give skin time to heal and breath without being clogged by makeup and debris.

Cleansing should be done with clean hands. Begin by wetting skin with warm water to open the pores. Apply a cleanser appropriate to your skin type using upward circular motions. Some products will be more effective if you leave them on for a minute or two to allow penetration. Remove with damp cotton pads or by splashing your face with cold water. (Cold water will close up pores.) Pat dry gently with a clean towel.

Tone
Toning restores your skin’s pH balance, which is usually altered during the cleansing process. This step can also make your skin more resistant to bacteria. Some toners will only restore your skin’s pH, others will kill bacteria, still others may contain an extra ingredient to prevent acne. Choose the one that suits your skin, and, if you have sensitive skin, be sure to use a specially formulated toner.

Apply toner to entire face with a cotton pad, taking care to avoid your eyes. Do not rinse off.

Woman moisturizing

Moisturize
Moisturizing is the most important step in the beauty routine, and should not be omitted, even if your skin is oily. There is quite a variety of moisturizing products, such as gels (oily skin), creams (dry/sensitive skin), and serums (normal/oily skin). Some may contain anti wrinkle, and anti acne agents, others may tint, or tan, skin.

Apply moisturizer to the face and neck, after toner has dried, using a circular motion. You may want to follow up with a separate moisturizer targeted toward preventing swelling and aging in the eye area.

Exfoliate
Once or twice weekly, use an exfoliator to remove dead skin cells. Make sure not to use anything too harsh, which can irritate skin and tear skin cells.

Remove makeup and massage the exfoliator gently into your face using an outward circular motion for about thirty seconds. Remember, gently is the key word here! If you’re using an exfoliating wash cloth, soak it in warm water and rub it in small circles on your face. Be sure to target creases by your nose and other areas on which blackheads tend to develop.

Face mask

Face Mask
Peel off masks are the best option for unclogging pores, and are the best for oily or acne prone skin. Those with dry skin will benefit most from moisturizing masks.

Choose a natural, mild mask. Keep applications down to once a week or less; frequent applications will result in over cleansing your face. You can make your own, in the interest of keeping it natural, or use a store bought one, following directions on the package.

What do you think of the five-step skin routine? Is less more, or is more more? Let us know what you think?