Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Night to Shine!

Penny’s back!
Whether you call it New Year’s Eve or Old Year’s Night (as we say back home in
 the islands) you want to look fabulous for the occasion. So how will you step up your game this holiday season? Penny believes a woman can never have too much glam in her life. LOL! Hopefully some of these tried and true tips can help amplify your look as you ring in the New Year. After all, you should be unforgettable. ;-)

There are some beauty trends that we call ‘classic’ for a reason. They ‘always’ work no matter the time period. For example, a holiday party is the time for smokey eyes, or red lips. Or how about a little glitter and sparkle on the face or body. Nowadays, wearing hair in an updo or chignon is not the only way to go glam; waves, ponytails, and loose relaxed curls are hot too! So now that you have your dress, shoes, accessories, and that cute little clutch…let’s get to the finishing touches. (read full story...)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Eyes Have It!

Season's Greetings!

This is the time of year when we all get a little glam and want to look and feel our best. It is also a time of fun and festive make-up experimentation. This is when we can get away with shimmery shades, and glittery glosses. A time to try that new blush to make our cheeks pop! And there is nothing like a classic 'cat eye' liner with a fabulous faux fringe (Penny's wish). Well here are some basic tips to keep in mind if you're a novice and plan to try your new eyeshadow look for the company holiday party:
  1. size & shape of your eyes
  2. where colors should go on the eyes  
  3. don't skip the eyeliner
  4. be sure brows are groomed and filled in if necessary
  5. complimentary lip color to bring the look together

Know that eyeshadows come in various textures and formulas...shimmer, glitter, sparkle, metallics, satin, and well as cream, powder, pigments and mineral...etc. Some are harder to work with than others. Be careful with glitter and some shimmer eyeshadows; they often cause 'fall out' which is when the make up spills below the eye. This has to be removed carefully so as to not disturb concealer or foundation. This is common when working with black eyeshadow and other dark pigments to achieve a smokey eye. A tissue can be placed under eye area, to catch pigment dust and remove residual shadow from brushes. Q-tip swabs are also a quick and easy way to pick up excess powder. Some people do their eyes first, clean up, and then put on their foundation and concealer. You can search the Internet for several ways around eyeshadow fall out. Penny just makes a mess and cleans up after herself...not always the best solution. LOL!  

For small to medium (sized) eyes you should start with no more than one (1) or two (2) eyeshadow colors; light/med shade, and a darker shade. Keep in mind that the darker the shadow the smaller the eyes will look. One medium shade (shimmer for the holidays) over the whole lid works too. The key is to start with a light application and 'build' the color by adding a little more each time. Don't put on a heavy dose of color at first or it will be harder to blend and tone down.

For larger eyes or people with lots of lid space, your opportunities are endless. You can use 2-3-4 colors on your all depends on the look you want. If you want some ideas go to and search for the colors you're curious about (i.e. green eyeshadow; bronze eyeshadow), or for the look you want (i.e. smokey eyes; red lips, etc). There are so many instructional videos you are sure to find one that will work for you. Or leave Penny a Comment on this article and she will be happy to help. ;-) 

When choosing colors you don't have to match your clothing exactly, but instead compliment them. This is especially true if you're wearing jewel tone or bright colored clothing. For example, if you're wearing a purple dress, you can wear silver, bronze, or gold shadow; a chocolate or charcoal smokey eye mixed with a plum color works as well.  Have fun with it whatever you do (but be sure you don't look like you're about to perform in the Broadway version of the Lion King). LOL!  (read full story...)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Blending Beautifully


Penny-the-Product-Princess here with a new product review. If you're really into make-up like I am you probably have a beautyblender (Sephora, $19.95-$39.95).  The beautyblender is an ergonomically designed make-up sponge applicator developed for use with liquid foundations and tinted moisturizers(some reviewers also say they use it for cream foundations). It also comes with its own cleanser.

What's so great about the beautyblender?
  • The blender is a non-latex, hypoallergenic sponge that is washable and re-usable.
  • The blender is eco-friendly.
  • The blender can last 4-6 months if kept clean and free of bacteria.
How do you use the beautyblender?
  • The beautyblender kit comes with a sponge, cleanser, and a disc that shows you how to use it.
  • You soak the sponge in water before each use; the sponge will expand.  You must squeeze out the excess water before you use it.
  • Dip the sponge into the foundation on the back of your hand; then use a blotting technique to get the best results; this means that you dab the base of the sponge against your face until you get the desired coverage
  • There are lots of videos online that show you how to use the blender as well (; search 'beautyblender').
(read full story...)

The Mascara it again. again.
We all know Penny has a problem when it comes to mascara...I can never try too many! LOL! You also know that one of my favorites is L'Oreal Voluminous mascara (original formula). So I was delighted to catch a glimpse of a magazine ad for L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes mascara (Drugstore, Target, etc...$8-$9). I bought it, tried it, and like it!

The collagen-infused formula has a nice smooth consistency, but is not watery. Most of all Penny likes the brush...the bristles are more like a comb than a brush and it picks up all of my fine, short lashes. When I say like a comb I mean the shape is like a brush but the teeth are plastic like a comb. It reminds me of another Penny favorite, Buxom Lash mascara (Sephora, $18).   The brush also separates my lashes nicely.

Although the L'Oreal mascaras provide volume, I still like M.A.C.'s new Haute & Naughty Mascara for volume and drama the best (wherever M.A.C. is sold, $18)! There is a noticable difference in length and volume.  And of love their ingenious applicator that you can use two ways. One wand provides light application, and the other heavier, more dramatic application. I often use the light application for my bottom lashes, and the thicker, heavier application for my top lashes. It is my new favorite nighttime mascara.

Be blessed. Be beautiful.

Facial Fears

From the Desk of Penny:
Penny here…with a lesson learned about getting a facial when you shouldn’t. A couple of weeks ago I went to the spa for what should have been a relaxing afternoon. That morning when I washed my face I realized my skin was a bit irritated…I had small bumps on my forehead and a few on my cheeks…almost like a rash. My face is often irritated lately so I wasn’t too concerned…besides my Groupon to the spa was about to expire. So I was off to enjoy the very same facial that I had back in February (see blog entry 02/21/10).

As soon as the first product touched my face I noticed something different than the first time…my skin was stinging. No. Not tingling as the aesthetician said some of the products might…but stinging as in burning a little. This is where Penny decided to take one for the team and proceed with the facial. LOL! What is it I always say: “Trial and error ladies…its trial and error.” LOL! I have never been so uncomfortable during a spa treatment that I have had to stop the procedure. So I didn't. But more importantly I realized that I put my complete trust in the people and the process when I go to the spa. After several applications of creams/gels, extractions of whiteheads/blackheads, and an ultrasound exfoliation machine, I am relaxed but my skin and lips were still stinging. The mask was the best part of the process and the last part. It was cool and soothing and was left on for longer than usual. I left the spa a happy customer despite the slight discomfort and chocked it up to my face being slightly irritated before I got there. I didn’t look closely at my face before I left but I expected some redness from the extractions. (read full story...)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Moisturizing Madness

Here we are again about to enter the winer season (most of anyway). The cold dry air tends to bring the dry, tight, itchy skin. So moisturizer is Penny's BFF these days. LOL! Sure I could use a better humidifier at home and probably even in the office; and I should drink more water...but its easier to slap on the face cream in the morning and at night. LOL!

Penny has had many a conversation with women about moisturizers and there is one myth I wish everyone could understand the truth about.

"Women with oily or acne-prone skin should not use moisturizer."

"Oily skin requires a good moisturizer to look soft, supple, and radiant."

EVERYONE should use moisturizer daily (unless instructed otherwise by a dermatologist). Choosing the right moisturizer is key. While choosing moisturizer, you should consider skin type, age, skin sensitivity, and whether the skin is prone to acne. While an oil-based moisturizer is recommended for dry skin, women with oily skin should try an oil-free moisturizer. Water-based moisturizers labeled "noncomedogenic", which means it will not clog the pores, is a good moisturizer for an oily skin. Moisturizer helps to maintain the natural skin moisture by slowing the evaporation of water content from the skin. This helps the skin to stay hydrated and to feel soft and smooth. Plus, it also acts as a protective barrier on the skin surface. (read full story...)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Does Make-up Expire?

Hi all:
Yes...make-up has a shelf expires. Same with skin care and even hair care products. Using expired products can definitely have an adverse effect on your skin. So please follow package instructions or these guidelines you've probably read about many times. Since its been written about several times and on several websites I just thought it would be easiest to 'share' the info. (Click on link below, or cut and paste the URL to read the full article).  This is a good article because it tells you 'why' you need to toss these products and not just when.

Here are the basics to remember:
  • Toss mascara every 2-3months.
  • Toss eyeliner about every 3 months.
  • Toss eyeshadow about every 3 months.
  • Toss lipstick/lipglosses about every 12 months.
  • Foundation should be tossed every 6-12 months.
  • Concealer should be tossed every 1-2 years.
  • Replace face powder at least every 2 years.
  • Powder blush should be replaced every 1-2 years; cream blush, every year.
  • Throw out nail polish after it becomes dried out or doesn't mix well when you shake it.
  • Brushes and applicators should be washed with brush cleaner (or baby shampoo) every 2 wks; good tools can last for years if cared for properly. Inexpensive sponges should be replaced after 2 uses. Powders and creams often come with their own applicators, but you should still buy replacements for them.
Hope this is helpful.

Be blessed. Be beautiful.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pretty Pout

Guess who?

Penny's back with a lip tip for all you devious divas out there. Penny's mentioned many times that dry skin and eczema are her major beauty-related nemeses. The weather during the fall and winter months wreak havoc on my skin as well my lips. The dry heat at home, the cold dry air outside, and the plethora of new lipsticks and lipglosses to try each season; all contribute to my dry, sometimes chapped and irritated lips. For years I've used Burt's Bees Natural Beeswax Lip Balm (regular; not medicated, pomegranate or honey infused) with some success. But lately I've noticed some dryness and I've experience chapped lips. So either I've gotten used to the ingredients (i.e. coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, peppermint oil, lanolin, rosemary oil, soybean oil, and canola oil) and its less effective, or I just need a little extra help these days.  (read full story...)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pretty Paws


Many of you know Penny has a penchant for nail polish. Even with my 40+ bottles I sometimes still can't decide how to pretty my paws. *sigh*  But as with all things beauty, Penny's philosophy is that a woman can never have too many choices. So I couldn't resist sharing this great deal with you. 

On Monday, November 1st, Rescue Beauty Lounge (RBL) will be hosting a VIP 5-hour sale, from 11am-4pm, EST! Why is this exciting? Because for five hours their beautiful nail polishes will be marked down by 50%! That is $9 for what is normally an $18 bottle of gorgeous color!  [NOTE: Some restrictions apply. Shipping and Handling charges also apply].  (read full story...)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sleek and Sexy

Penny here!

Many of you know that I have been on a mission to find the best anti-frizz product for my naturally curly hair. It has been a little easier to fight the frizz when I wear my hair curly, but more of a challenge when I go for a straight, sleek style. The method of choice at the moment is blow drying followed by a flat iron. When I want body and a chance to curl my ends a little, I opt for the wet set followed by a flat iron to the roots and half way down each section. If I blow dry, my hair tends to stay straighter and not hold a curl, even if I use a curling iron. So every once in a while I spend hours and hours with the wet set process. *sigh*

Quite a few of Penny's Posse members gave up the 'creamy crack' (chemical relaxer) and have chosen to work with their 'natural' hair texture. Some are completely chemical free...and some are like Penny...hooked on the dye bottle. LOL! But many of us have the same challenges when dealing with hair that is not chemically straightened. When the weather is humid or we perspire, it is hard to keep our hair from getting 'poofy' (yes, that is a professional term). No one likes wearing a 'hair helmet' know...where your once straight hair now has roots that lift it off your head like a helmet. Yeah...not a sexy look. LOL! (read full story...)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Are your dogs barking?

Hello my High-Heeled Harlots! (Ha ha ha!)

Penny had a moment the other day when she tried to tip out with the dolled up divas. It's no secret that I like my sexy high heels as much as the next woman...sadly I just can't wear them often. My feet get swollen and my shoes become uncomfortable. Finding comfortable shoes that are sexy, is difficult. Finding comfortable shoes that are sexy in my pretty much impossible. Nonetheless, there comes a time when you take one for the vanity team. *sigh* 

I attempted to wear my modest 3" Nine West, platform, peep toe, sling backs to a soiree (not the 4" heels I considered wearing). Once I arrived I immediately realized that valet parking is essential to any night on the town. After walking for what seemed like 'The Green Mile" from the parking lot to the party, it didn't take long for Penny to find the lounge with the pretty sofas and the art on the walls. LOL!  Don't get me wrong...I was still holding it down for all the pleasingly plump Pennys out there, and keeping a smile on my face. LOL!  (read full story...)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mascara Madness

Hello Beauties!
So Maybelline got Penny's attention with the "Volum' Express the Falsies" lash ads. Yep. You all already know Penny is a mascara maven. I can't help myself. I gotta TRY 'em. So many little time (or is little money?). LOL!

Well Penny was disappointed to say the least in Maybelline's latest rave. Nothing 'false lash' about Falsies....sorry. This formula made my my eyelashes stick together and gave me 'spider lashes.' Not a sexy look.  I may have gotten some length but there was no real volume. Maybelline's claim:

  • Patented Spoon brush and Kera-fiber formula instantly build 8x more volume without clumping.

  • Unique flexible wand helps to lift and separate lashes to provide the look of 300% more lashes.
Penny was not impressed.  The curved brush is okay but I was not impressed with the end result. Penny's claim: Don't believe  the hype. :-)

Another Maybelline mishap is their Collossal Volum' Express mascara (yellow tube). In Penny's opinion, this is supposed to be Maybelline's answer to L'Oreal's Extra-Volume Collagen. One of Penny's Posse members shared her experience and said that the Collossal formula did little to add volume to her already long lashes; even though it didn't clump. She felt as if she had to contiuously add coats to get volume. But you can do that with any mascara...can't you? Maybelline boasts that this mascara should give "dramatic volume with no clumps." Not! (read full story...)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Stain Pain

So being a Twilight Series fan(atic), Penny has an affinity for all things vamp & wolf these days. LOL! It only seemed right that I try Revlon's new Just Bitten Lip Stains ($8.99, drugstore). Of course I gravitated to the colors called Twlight, Lust, and Forbidden. ;-) I didn't care for the way the color Lust looked on me; sort of a rust color, so I exchanged it for Forbidden a brownish, less orangey color.  Twilight showed as a true red on me...looked nice, but Penny has to get used to it. I haven't worn red on my lips in many years, but red is an "in" color for this fall's make-up trends.

Overall Penny has found lip stains to be a pain. The first issue I have with the lip stains I've tried is that they are very drying. After only a couple of days my lips were dry and peeling from the Maybelline stain I first tried; Maybelline's Color Sensational Lip Stain ($6.49, Target) in Blushing, a nice pink/plum color. The Revlon lip stains felt better but would be drying too if it weren't for the lip balm attached to the other end. The balm is moisturizing and gives some shine, but not like a gloss. The problem I have with the balm  tip is that it breaks off easily. It does not retract into the tube so it is exposed and can get soft/melt even with the cap on. The marker applicator gives good control, but the stain dries so quickly you can't make any mistakes.  It takes practice to apply lip stains evenly. (read full story...)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hair Happenings

Hello My Curly Cuties!

Penny here with a new hair product trial. For quite some time I had been reading about a line of products for natural hair called HAIR RULES. I read good things but wanted to wait until my Mixed Chicks products were done, before trying it myself. To my surprise the ULTA beauty store near my house just recently began selling Hair Rules and my stylist said her clients loved it. Penny's curiousity was peaked,and since this summer has turned out to be extremely hot and humid, Penny and her naturally curly hair have not been acting like BFFs. The constant humidity has made it impossible to wear a blown out (straight) style without it turning into a hair helmet within an hour of exposure to the outdoor elements. *sigh*  So Penny has decided to find a way to get along with her crazy curls. ...(read full story...)

Saturday, July 3, 2010


Hello Beloveds!
Penny's back. I hope you missed me. LOL! So sorry for the delay in posts...but sometimes we have to pause for a cause.

So what does Penny have to share with you today? Skincare trials. Yes...some old products, some new. Penny was recently diagnosed with melasma and had to make significant changes to her skincare regimen. Over the past year or so I noticed dark patches on my face which I thought may have been sun damage from years of being a self-proclaimed sun goddess. But none of the over-the-counter fade creams/gels worked. Melasma is a skin condition that causes hyper pigmentation usually on the face, and it is exacerbated by the sun. Here is the medical definition.

Melasma -- Pigmentation of the face, most commonly on the malar area (the upper cheek), bridge of nose, forehead, and upper lip, that occurs in half of women during pregnancy. Melasma darkens from sun or any UV exposure. Sunscreens are essential. They should be broad spectrum.

Sometimes called the 'mask of pregnancy,' melasma can also be caused by birth control pills; and women who are neither pregnant or on birth control can sometimes have melasma. In order to get rid of the frustrating dark patches on my forehead, outer corners of my eyes and upper cheeks, my dermatologist prescribed Tri-Luma. This prescription strength (4%) hydroquinone cream contains tretinoin, and fluocinolone acetonide. It did a pretty good job of fading my discoloration. I have been on the treatment for almost two months but will stop treatment by the end of August before going back to the dermatologist in September. Because the medicine is fairly strong, it is not prescribed for more than 2-3 months at a time. It is recommended that you stop treatment for about 6-8 weeks before using it again. It is an expensive medication that is often not covered by medical sale price at the dermatologist office was $113. Ouch! It was not covered by insurance and would have been anywhere from $120-$160 if I took the prescription to the pharmacy. But the .30g tube will last more than a year for sure; it is a spot treatment. (read full story...)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Nail It!

How many of you have Penny's penchant for nail polish? Well, I couldn't be more excited when I heard about Zoya's Nail Polish Exchange program in support of Earth Day. This special progam began on April 22nd and ends on June 30th. I know...I know...Penny's a little late with the news but that's because it took some time to go through their 300 colors and pick out the ones I wanted to buy at half price!  LOL! Remember that Zoya is a toluene, camphor, and formaldehyde free polish that is also vegan friendly. Here is how the program works.
For a limited time, kicking off on Earth Day (April 22, 2010 - 12 PM EST), Zoya Nail Polish will exchange your old, out-of-style, unwanted nail color and replenish your nail polish supply with fresh Zoya fashion colors. Simply send in six or more bottles of old polish - any brand other than Zoya, Qtica or Nocti, new or used - and we'll send you the new Zoya colors of your choice in a bottle-for-bottle exchange.

The new Zoya Polish is not free but 'half price' for $3.50 each you get as many polishes as you send them. You have to register online and make your selection/purchase. But they don't charge your credit card or send you the new polish until they receive your old polishes to be recycled. So Penny dug up 12 bottles of old polish and went shopping! (I still have at least 40 bottles of polish in my 'active' drawer. Ssshh! Please don't call the polish police on me. LOL!) (read full story...)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Could You Please Pass the Jelly?

Penny apologizes once again for letting 'life' get in the way of her blog action. I miss you guys!

A few weeks ago a friend brought to Penny's attention that Carol's Daughter had a new product that sounded fun...Body Jelly. Now who wouldn't want to try something called 'jelly' for the body?  LOL! Penny was on it! With skin like a desert oasis Penny had nothing to lose. This natural, unscented alternative to petroleum jelly promises to moisturize the skin, remove make-up, protect against minor scrapes, soothes sunburns, and is gentle enough to prevent diaper rash on babies.

Body Jelly contains natural ingredients like sweet almond oil, soy oil and jojoba oil. Benefits as described on the company's website include:
  • Sweet Almond Oil, a natural nut oil high in fatty acids, alleviates dry, irritated or itchy skin and preserves moisture
  • Soy Oil, a protein-rich emollient, replenishes and improves skin’s natural texture and glow
  • Jojoba Oil, an excellent moisturizing agent, leaves a rich, non-oily feel while preventing water loss and enhancing suppleness (read full story...)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bye Bye Dry

Hello Beautifuls!
Penny has found her way back to the drawing board. I know...I know...shame on me for not blogging more regularly...I sincerely apologize but 'life' got in my damn way. LOL!
After this rough winter many of us experienced, its now time to prep your skin for the seasonal changes that will occur. For Penny that means getting rid of this dry winter skin, complete with eczema patches, and blemish marks. In addition to exfoliating (w/ brown sugar body scrubs) and and occassional spa treatment, I've been trying to find rich body creams to help maintain my skins moisture all day.
Do you suffer from severe dry skin? Eczema? Psoriasis? Well, Penny recently tested two good body creams you might want to try. Vanicream Moisturizing Skin Cream and CeraVe Moisturizing Cream have both been recommended for severe dry skin by various dermatology sites. I tried them both and liked them both for different reasons. Here is my list of pros and cons: (read full story...)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Keratin Kare

***Just an F.Y.I. for those in the Maryland/DC/VA area.***

Many of you beauties are quite familiar with the rave about Keratin Hair Treatments, but Penny is a novice and has never had one herself. This is the treatment that claims to straighten and smooth your hair, as well as elminate frizz for several MONTHS at a time, without the constant use of blow dryers, flat irons, and other hot tools. The treatment must be done by a professional initially; then they will instruct you on how to care for your hair so that it lasts as long as it should. You do have to take particular care of your hair, and at home products are usually sold at the salons that offer the treatments (and online of course; you all know how Penny loves her online research). LOL!  The Brazilian Keratin treatment I've heard many "warnings" about, and most have stayed away from this form of the treatment. However, the Coppola Keratin Complex (Smoothing Therapy) treatment is supposed to work very well without the use of formaldehyde and the harsh chemicals found in a regular chemical relaxer.

Apparently these treatments can come at a high price and vary from state to state, and salon to salon. The purpose for this post is to let Penny's Posse members know that ULTA Salons are once again offering a special to first-time customers starting at $185-$195 depending on the location. Call the ULTA salon nearest you if you're interested; go to for locations. Just a few weeks ago these same salons were charging $225-$250 for this treatment; so I say if you're interested, now is the time. Not sure how long this offer will last, or how much the maintenance care products cost. I have had friends get quotes for $300 and $400 and paid that much for these treatments that last the same amount of time and work as well as the Coppola treatment.

Just sharing....

Be blessed. Be beautiful.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Put Your Best FACE Forward

Penny's Positively Radiant!
That is because last Friday evening I had one of the best facials I've ever had! (And you know Penny has had her fair share of spa treatments. LOL!) Germaine Williams, founder of The Red Bloom Wellness Spa in Bethesda, MD is amazing! ( This was a wonderful experience in relaxation, meditation and education. After a brief consultation and examination of my skin, Germaine provided me with a thorough, soothing, rejuvenating and hydrating facial with a few minor extractions. The upper body massage (complete with hot stones) was the icing on the cake! Fabulous! (Penny has always wanted to try a hot stone massage...what a fantastic sensation; will have to ask if they do the hot stone body massage...hmmmm).

I started this blog the night of my facial but was too relaxed and sleepy to finish (that's a big deal for this insomniac). LOL! I also realized that I learned so much in my one visit that I needed some time to pull it all together. One of the things I love most about The Red Bloom is that they use treatments with approximately 90% certified organic ingredients, and they have a commitment to natural skincare. Some of the brands currently sold include Hylunia-Sensitive Skin Specialists; Osmosis-Pur Medical Skincare, 80 Acres, and Diana B. They are a new business so they will be introducing new products and maybe services in the coming months as well. Just call and ask if you're interested in a particular product or procedure (301-907-9001).

Many of the products might be considered to be a little pricey, but Penny is used to paying for 'quality' products; and some of these lines can only be purchased in a spa or doctor's office. Pssst! Penny also did her usual research on some of the products I bought and the prices at spa were the same as online, so that was nice to know. Penny believes that no matter how fabulous your spa facial may be, if you can't afford to keep up a healthy regimen with the products that are best suited for you, your visits could be a waste of time and you will be starting over each time, trying to achieve the same goal. This doesn't mean that you have to shop every time you go to the spa; but at least jot down the products that provided good results and maybe look for budget-friendly alternatives. Or simply budget to make a purchase at your next spa visit and buy one product at a time. [Note: If you purchase any products at The Red Bloom, ask about their recycle program].

Now to the specifics of my facial. (read full story...)

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)

Hello folks!
Penny is not going to let almost two feet of snow make her glum. This self-proclaimed sun goddess is in need of warmth in a bad way, but will have to settle for a cup of tea and my blog. LOL! I will simply plan to spend most of the night researching facial moisturizers online. Not sure why it is so difficult for someone like Penny with combination, dry, sensitive skin to find a moisturizer for day with SPF and one for night with hydrating qualities. I have received great suggestions, but cannot try several of them due to the citrus oils they contain (I'm allergic).

Speaking of oils...Penny would like to share with you a homeopathic method of facial cleansing and massage that I have been successfully practicing for the past couple months. The Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) was introduced to me over a year ago, but I had not tried it right away. Then more recently a couple of my colleagues reminded me of it and encouraged me to try it. Once I saw how well it worked on them, and being reminded daily of my dry, patchy, and irritated skin, it was an easy option to choose. I was also searching for a sulfate-free, paraben-free cleanser to use daily. Not to mention, it is fun going into my "kitchen" to whip up a batch of my favorite cleansing oil. Please keep in mind  that the OCM is not only for people with dry skin like Penny' can also be used on oily or acne-prone skin, and may be the answer to achieve better balance for all skin types.  Some may think that oil alone will cause blemishes, but oil dissolves oil. Blemishes (acne, whiteheads, blackheads, etc) are a result of several different factors including hormones, bacteria, dead skin cells and the combination of these factors. Your skin naturally produces oil to help lubricate, heal, protect, and moisturize it. However, many of our traditional cleansers tend to strip skin of our natural oils, causing irritation and an unhealthy appearance. (Read full story...)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Are You Protected?

Hi folks...Penny's still alive...(don't know about kicking, but alive). 
Today I want to talk about something that's sort of a fairly new concept in hair products...thermal protection. Ever since flat irons went ceramic and ionic to diminish damage to the hair, I have been researching the growing number of styling products that can aid in preventing heat damage as well. Today some makers of flat irons, straightening irons, blow dryers, and curling irons, are also selling thermal protection sprays to work with those heat appliances (i.e. CHI, FHI and Sedu).

Heat damage can lead to split-ends, lack of body and noticeable signs of distress on the hair.  When you use a thermal protector before styling you can significantly protect your hair from over-heating, while adding shine and in many cases, locking in moisture. Heat styling often causes breakage, so be sure to protect your hair before using any heat appliance. Thermal protectors coat the follicle shaft with polymers (usually silicone) to provide topical thermal protection. Silicones are thermally stable and spread easily on hair, producing a protective film that helps prevent water loss. This is key to avoiding cuticle cracks and breaks and improves the appearance and feel of hair. Some products even offer added UV protection to save hair from sun damage.

In Penny's experience CHI 44 Iron Guard Thermal Protection (Target, $12.99) actually feels like its coating my hair. It adds shine but doesn't weigh my hair down and I love the light fresh scent too. I was hestitant at first because the spray is water-based and any moisture on my hair makes it curl up and would be counter productive to the straight style I'm trying to accomplish. But the spray works well and I don't feel like I'm cooking my hair with my hot tools. I also use CHI Straight Guard Smoothing Styling Cream (Target, $12.99)  for blow drying my hair. This product also helps to eliminate frizz, smooth my hair, and create shine. (Read full story...)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Lip Service

Penny here...

Is it just me or is this horrible cold weather, and dry indoor heat wreaking havoc on your puckers too? (For mi familia in the warmer climates, the sun and other environmental factors can cause dry lips for you too; so this is for all). Penny is on the hunt the best lip balm or lip moisturizer out there. Like lipstick and other cosmetics, there are lots of options out there. Penny is most curious about the evolution of smooth (EOS) lip sphere.  It is 95% organic, 100% natural, contains she butter & vitamin e, and is petrolatum & paraben free. It also comes in summer fruit, honeysuckle honeydew, and sweet mint; and is available in a regular stick/tube as well. (The sphere may not be as cosmetic-bag-friendly as a regular tube of lip balm). It just looks and sounds cool. LOL! Check their website to find at a store near you. Penny is going to try Rite Aid.
(Read full story...)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cellulite - A Universal Pain in the A**

Alright Beauties...
Penny is about to talk about something many of us never want to discuss...Cellulite. It's a universal pain in the petunia because it affects so many of us regardless of our weight, shape and overall health. Cellulite commonly appears on the hips, buttocks and legs, in 90% of post-pubescent women, but is not caused by being overweight, as many believe. (Being overweight may exacerbate the problem however). Cellulite appears in the subcutaneous level of skin tissue. Fat cells are arranged in chambers surrounded by bands of connective tissue called septae. The result shows areas of the skin being held down while other sections bulge outward, resulting in the lumpy, 'cottage-cheese' or 'orange peel' appearance. The causes of cellulite are poorly understood, and may involve changes in metabolism and physiology such as gender specific dimorphic skin architecture, alteration of connective tissue structure, vascular changes and inflammatory processes.

The question many of us have is "how do we get rid of cellulite without surgery and special treatments  (i.e., Liposuction, Mesotherapy, Endermologie, etc)?" My research indicates that 'realistically there is no cure for cellulite.' Some say diet and exercise is the key, while others promote the use of topical products, laser treatments, and spa therapies. There are so many factors to consider when looking at the cause of cellulite...genetics, excess estrogen, smoking, poor blood circulation, poor lymphatic flow, stress, etc. Penny is confused by it all because I know active, healthy people that are fit but have cellulite, and I also know that my own cellulite got progressively worse the more weight I gained these past few years. I also have tried only a few anti-cellulite treatments* and found no improvement (*Nivea Good Bye Cellulite Cream/Patches, massage).

Cellulite has been around for centuries but we are no closer to finding a cause or a cure. One highly recommended book I came across is: The Cellulite Solution: A Doctor's Program for Losing Lumps, Bumps, Dimples and Stretch Marks, by Howard Murad, M.D. This program outlines simple nutritional and lifestyle modifications, combined with topical treatments (by Murad), which work together to provide the body with all the tools needed to repair uneven, lumpy skin.

It is a controversial topic to say the least. Some believe that no lotion or cream will help cure cellulite because ointments can't alter the connective tissue (septae). However, there are more and more beauty products on the market 'claiming' to reduce the appearance of cellulite each year. Penny advises you to "read between the lines" carefully...cellulite products often claim to diminish the appearance of cellulite...what they don't say is how temporary that result might be. So if you find a product that works for you cosmetically, be prepared to invest in it often for the 'maintenance' of the problem. Topical and spa treatments are also often expensive. (Read full story...)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Make-up for Sensitive Skin

Hello Good People! Penny's baaacck!!!
Many of you know that Penny has issues (no, not the mental ones...LOL!); skin sensitivity issues. So choosing make-up and skin care is not always easy.  While visiting friends last evening, and enjoying great conversation, Penny was asked what type of make-up would be recommended for someone with very sensitive skin. Initially I recommended Bobbi Brown at first because I focused on a 'natural look' for someone who I understood didn't wear a lot of make-up, and whom I thought was a natural beauty. But the question was focused more on the type of make-up that wouldn't irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction.

Before trying any make-up, Penny always advises that you first establish a good skin care regimen. A daily cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing regimen preps your skin for any make-up, no matter the skin type. I try to combat my eczema and dry skin with products specifically for those challenges. (Read full story...)


Wishing you a Healthy, Happy, Prosperous and Blessed New Year!

Don't do 'resolutions?' How about a few ideas of things we could all find some benefit from in 2010:
  1. Be honest with yourself and others always
  2. Be patient
  3. Say "I love you" more often; show appreciation more often
  4. Be open to hearing the truth
  5. Speak the truth
  6. Pay more attention to your health
  7. Help yourself and stop waiting for others to make things happen
  8. Give more hugs
  9. Spend more time doing the things that make you happy
  10. Get a hobby
  11. Be more productive
  12. Take responsibility for your words and actions
Be blessed. Be beautiful.