Review: Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay Mask

 

aztec mask

I’m back, it’s a new year and I have a new favorite face mask.  And this product couldn’t have come at a better time.  I won’t bore you with the gory details but I’ve been sick for roughly the last month (but am finally almost better, yay!) and when my body isn’t feeling well, my skin likes to go absolutely insane.  Not fun.

But there are perks to spending hours in bed feeling like garbage. The universe smiled upon me and I fell down the Amazon beauty reviews rabbit hole and discovered the immensely popular Aztec Indian Healing Clay.  With 4.5/5 stars and over 7,000 reviews I knew this stuff had to be good, but now I’m convinced this one pound tub of dirt has actual magical properties.

So what’s so great about this stuff?  Here are the basics, per Amazon:

  • World’s most powerful facial
  • Deep pore cleaning
  • 100% natural calcium bentonite clay
  • Does not contain: additives, fragrances, animal products

 

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                 Photo credit: inhautepursuit.com

They forgot to mention that it’s cheap!  A one pound tub will set you back $9, and when you only need one tablespoon per mask, it’s going to last you a loooong time.

Now let’s get down to business.  Here’s how to make the mask:

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        Photo credit: labmuffin.com

You’ll need the clay, a non-metal bowl and spoon and apple cider vinegar.  All of the Amazon faithful suggested Bragg’s Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar so that’s what I’ve got.  It smells a bit like rotting apples but hey, it works.

A couple tips before you mix your mask:

  1. Put your hair up or out of your face because, duh.
  2. Eat or drink something if you want because once this baby is on your face, you can’t eat/talk/drink/smile for a good 20-30 minutes. That’s how intensely this mask dries and pulls the junk out of your face.

Once that’s out of the way it’s time to get started. Mix clay with equal part of raw apple cider vinegar (I use 1 tablespoon of each) in a non-metal bowl. Stir the mixture into a smooth paste.  Apply all over the face.  You should look something like this:

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    Photo credit: uk.pintrest.com

Now the fun part begins.  As this mask dries, you will feel your face pulsate like crazy.  This is good.  Don’t be scared.

The mask will become very tight while it dries and hardens.  If you have oily skin like me, keep the mask on for 30 minutes.  Normal and more sensitive skin can get away with 10-20 minutes.

Pro Tip: While your mask dries, take advantage of your green face and channel your inner Jim Carrey.  I suggest dancing around to this song:

Once enough time has gone by and your mask is dry, soak a washcloth in warm water and lay it over your face for a minute or two to begin loosening everything up.  You don’t want to try to start washing it off right away or the chips of mud will clog your drain and no one wants that.

Apply a nice, heavy moisturizer post-facial.  I usually do my masks at night in the bathtub with a glass of wine I drink through a straw and follow up with the Olay Classic Night Cream.
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Photo credit: amazon.com

You’ll notice that your face is very red after the mask is off but this is normal and will go away in 30-ish minutes.  You’ll probably also notice that your face is beyond smooth and soft, and that’s just one of the benefits.  The others include:

  • Smaller pores and cleaned-out blackheads
  • Reduction in excess oil production
  • Elimination of acne. Honestly, I have not had a spot since using this mask 2-3x per week for the past month and a half.  And that, my friends, is a goddamn miracle.
  • Softening of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Skin tone is more even, rough patches are smoothed
  • Glowing skin like the light of a thousand suns

In short, this tub of clay is the real deal.  It’s definitely worth the money and I’m excited to try other uses for it – hair masks, foot soaks, you name it.  If you’re a fan of face masks or just want to give your skin a detox to start 2016 off right, I very highly recommend picking up some Aztec Healing Clay.

Review: Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation

Like many makeup junkies, I am on a never-ending quest to find the perfect liquid foundation.  The definition of “perfect” is different for everyone so here’s mine:

  • Medium coverage without looking/feeling overly made up or cakey
  • Helps control my oily skin and keep shine to a minimum
  • Won’t break me out or clog pores
  • Relatively inexpensive (although I’ve been known to temporarily lose my mind and a lot of money if a foundation really works miracles)

fit me

Photo Credit: maybelline.com

Last week I picked up the Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation and after using it daily, I have to say, I think my quest is over.  This just may be the perfect foundation – and it’s less than $10 (!!).  Here’s why I’m in love:

  • A little goes a long way. I apply a small amount to my brush (quarter sized amount) and the end result is a lightweight, flawless finish that never feels heavy on my skin.
  • Great coverage. Maybelline isn’t joking when they say that this foundation adjusts to match your skin and evens out tone and color. I use shade 120 in Classic Ivory – it cancels out my red tones and never morphs into that weird orange color as the day goes on like other foundations can do.
  • No need for primer. I’ve learned the hard way that while primer does go a long way in giving me a flawless canvas to apply my foundation, it also can break me out like crazy. Thankfully, Fit Me looks great without a primer and applies smoothly, even over rough patches/blemishes.
  • Oil control. I pray to God and Beyoncé each night that my face will eventually stop producing insane amounts of oil, but so far, no luck.  The matte finish does an impressively good job of keeping shine under control throughout the day.  Although the formula is liquid, Fit Me sets more like a powder foundation. Unless you have Exxon-levels of oil like me, you can definitely get away with wearing Fit Me sans powder.
  • Price. It’s only $6! This isn’t one of those foundations that you ration out every drop because it costs you more than a month’s worth of groceries. This is a foundation you pick up at CVS while you’re bored and feel zero guilt, and that’s the best feeling of all.

Skin Care 101: My Routine and Favorite Products

I have a confession.  Up until a couple years ago, I had no skin care routine whatsoever. Zero. Maybe I’d splash some water on my face in the morning and use whatever soap in the shower to do a mediocre job of washing off my makeup in the evening, but that was it.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that my skin was dull with an uneven tone, fine lines were starting to form and, due to my naturally oily skin (thanks, Mom!), I had my share of acne.  Thankfully, I’ve learned a lot since then and now I actually get compliments on my skin, which still throws me off from time to time.  Take my advice and don’t wait 28 years to start caring for your face!

me
This is my face. And maybe a filter.

There are three basic steps to skin care: Cleansing, Exfoliating and Moisturizing.  Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Here is my current skin care routine and favorite products:

  1. Makeup Removal 

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I’m an evening shower person so we’ll start the routine with makeup removal. Removing all of your makeup before cleansing is a crucial step on the road to great skin. Before getting in the shower, I take off my makeup with a Neutrogena makeup remover wipe. The CVS brand of these wipes is great, too (and cheaper).  If I have some heavy-duty eye makeup on, I’ll soak a cotton ball with Neutrogena eye makeup remover and gently rub everything off.

  1. Cleansing and Exfoliating 

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I keep a rotation of several cleansers in the shower but usually mix together my all-time favorites of Cetaphil and the Garnier Blackhead Eliminating Scrub for Oily Skin.  Cetaphil is super mild and helps remove any remaining bits of makeup the wipe might have missed while the Garnier scrub removes dead skin and is gentle enough to use every day.  Plus, the charcoal in the scrub helps control acne and oily skin because, science.

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Once or twice a week I’ll mix together a pump of Cetaphil with a small amount of my secret weapon: Skin Obsession Microdermabrasion Crystals.  These crystals are incredibly finely milled and a minute or two of rubbing this mixture all over your face will leave your skin baby soft and radiant.   Exfoliating is KEY in keeping skin soft, generating new skin cells and evening out skin tone. A smooth, even canvas gives you a fantastic base for applying makeup.  Exfoliating is also a necessity for keeping “mature” a.k.a over 30 skin, like mine, all glowy and youthful.

  1. Toning & Anti-Aging

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Toner seems to be one of those things that people are on the fence about when it comes to skin care.  Do I think it’s a huge factor? No. Do I think it helps in my fight against oily skin? Yep. Once my skin is all cleansed, exfoliated and I’m out of the shower, I’ll soak a cotton ball in toner and wipe it all over my face.  Done.

Next it’s time for anti-aging. I’ve been using the Avene Retrinal 0.1 Cream ever since my dermatologist recommended it two years ago when I asked her what would help slow time from marching across my face.  The price is a little steep but you only need to use a pea-sized amount each night, so a tube will last months.  I apply this all over my face and neck. It has never made me break out, it doesn’t give that lovely sting that other retinol products can have and I think it’s done wonders for evening out my skin tone and plumping everything up a bit.  I highly recommend it.

While letting the Retrinal sink in and do its thing, I’ll apply a dot of Epiduo to any pimple that might be starting to show up and this stops it in its tracks.  I’m fairly certain that Epiduo is prescription only so ask your dermatologist for a sample.  It’s strong, effective stuff and can be very drying, so use a tiny dot only on the spot itself or you’ll risk the skin around it becoming dry and flaky.

  1. Moisturizing 

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Anti-aging and acne prevention products can dry out the skin, so it’s time to put that moisture back in.  I like to use a combination of the classic Olay Night Cream with a few drops of Tarte Maracuja Oil mixed in. Yes, I have oily skin and yes, I put an oil on my face and I genuinely believe it’s one of the most important steps in my routine.  Maracuja oil has many benefits and is loaded with Vitamin C to give you a brighter, firmer complexion.  This oil is not cheap but when you only use 2-3 drops a day, it’s going to last.  I can’t say enough good things about it (although it smells a bit like french fry grease, but…who doesn’t love fries?).  For daytime moisture, I use the Olay Complete Moisturizer with SPF 15 after cleansing and before applying makeup.

Last, but certainly not least, I pat Olay Eye Lifting Serum underneath and around my eyes.

And that’s it!  This might sound like a ton of products and a lot of steps, but once I got into the habit, I got it down to a science and it only takes me 5-7 minutes, tops.

  1. Optional Step: Face Masks 

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I don’t lead a particularly taxing life, but I still live by the “Treat Yo Self” motto.  Part of that treating is face masks.  I loooove them.  And you should, too, because they’re inexpensive, helpful for a range of skin issues and you’ll feel like a queen (or king, no judgement) waiting to be fed grapes while you lay around with your mask on.

Once or twice a week I’ll use one of the following masks, depending on what my skin’s doing or needing.  Bonus: All Freeman masks are inexpensive and sold at every drugstore:

  • Freeman Oatmeal & Avocado Clay Mask gets all the gunk out of your pores, leaving your skin extra clean and smooth. I like to use this mask at the end of the weekend since I’ve typically been wearing a lot of makeup and acting a fool for the past few days, so I need that deep clean.
  • Freeman Peel-Off Cucumber Mask is an old school, peel-off cucumber mask. Truthfully I just love this one for the Patrick Bateman-esque style of peeling the mask off once it’s all dry, but it does have actual skin smoothing and impurity-removing benefits.
  • Freeman Charcoal & Black Sugar Polishing Mask is a must for my fellow oily skin people because it contains our friend charcoal. This isn’t a mask exactly, but more a yummy-smelling paste.  Spread it all over your face, let it sit for a couple minutes, rub it all around your face for a minute or two, wash it off and voila! Glowing, smooth skin is yours.

My number one skin care tip? Be consistent. A solid routine and great products won’t help much if you’re only using them sporadically.  Carve out a couple minutes in your day to take care of your skin and I promise, your face will thank you for it.

5 Sweat-Proof Summer Makeup Tips

Now that we’ve almost reached August, it’s fitting that the weather is face-meltingly hot and humid.  There are few things more frustrating than putting your face on and having it all run off like a (very colorful) waterfall within two minutes of stepping out the door.

Luckily for you, I have some sweat-proof summer makeup tips:

  1. Makeup setting spray

I’m one of those people who is #blessed to have incredibly oily skin year round, and the day I discovered the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray , my life changed for the better.  This spray is a bit pricey but it lasts a long time and really helps lock your makeup in place.  A couple sprays before you start applying your makeup, a couple sprays when your makeup is finished and boom. Done. Your makeup is staying put.

  1. BB Cream

When it’s hot as hell, the last thing you want to do is slather a layer of liquid foundation on your mug.  Enter the BB cream.  A good BB cream is lightweight, gives you decent coverage and usually contains the all-important SPF needed in the summer.  My favorite is the Rimmel Matte BB Cream.  Anything with “matte” in the title will help keep shine at bay.

  1. Bronzer

You probably have a bit of a tan already, so why not go all out and use bronzer on All The Things?  I’m not a fan of heavy eye makeup when I know I’m going to be out in the heat, so I’ll sweep some bronzer through the crease of my eye to give a little color and shimmer without much product, then throw some on my cheeks and along my hairline.  A great (and cheap!) drugstore bronzer is the Physician’s Formula Bronze Booster.

  1. Balm stain

Lips can be tricky in the summer.  Gloss is so sticky, lipstick can melt (or smear all over your face while you’re inhaling a hot dog) and a stain is far too drying.  Thankfully the good people at Revlon created the Balm Stain.  This may be my all-time favorite drugstore product.  You get the color payoff and longevity of a stain with the moisture of a balm, plus this line comes in a huge range of colors.  Can’t ask for much more than that.

  1. Waterproof mascara

This one is pretty self-explanatory.  Sweating and regular mascara don’t mix well. Or maybe you’re like me and want your lashes to look fabulous even when you’re swimming.  Either way, you need a waterproof mascara in the summer.  My current favorite is the CoverGirl Super Sizer.  The skinny brush is great for really lengthening and separating each lash (and it’s great for the lower lashes, too).

There you have it!  I hope these tips help, and if all else fails, just camp out in the air conditioning until October.