Facial Care

The great thing about all natural skin care is that it's not just about using natural beauty products—it's also about nourishing your skin from the inside. Project Wellness serves as a natural skin care blog that can help you decipher which products to use and how to feed your skin internally. We'll continue to fill the blog with natural skin care tips, from cleansing rituals to hydration to the latest and greatest product ingredients. In one easy spot, you'll find information about natural skin care that draws from clinical research and the expertise of our estheticians, including information about natural sun protection and natural makeup looks that are perfect for every woman.

  • Ayurvedic Beauty: Let Your Dosha Guide You

    Face of a young womanAyurveda is an ancient natural healing system that teaches us how to maintain optimal health by balancing our mind, body, spirit and environment. To help achieve this balance we need to understand the three doshas, or fundamental energies, that are found in all of us. One dosha is usually prominent in each of us, and keeping that dosha in balance lets us look and feel our best—while dosha imbalance leads to troublesome skin conditions. Here’s more about how our doshas work.

    Determine your dosha

    To help figure out which of the three is your strongest dosha, take this simple Dosha Quiz. You’ll find out if your mind-body type is mostly Vata (air), Pitta (fire) or Kapha (earth). Your dosha determines what energy rules your body, inside and out.

    In terms of your skin, these characteristics are typical for each dosha.

    Vata: Ruled by air. Skin: dry, thin, bruises easily, prone to premature aging

    Pitta: Ruled by fire. Skin: sensitive, reactive, prone to redness and inflammation

    Kapha: Ruled by Earth and water. Skin: oily, plump, soft, large pores, prone to pimples and blackheads

     

    Dosha do’s

    For your skin to look its best, Ayurvedic practitioners recommend caring for it in a way that balances the energy of your dosha. We asked Kathryn Fairbanks, esthetician and Ayurvedic expert in our Berkeley store, about the best ways to enhance natural beauty and prevent dosha imbalance.

    First off, Kathryn says, it’s important to understand that while our skin type is usually a reflection of our primary dosha, sometimes another dosha comes into play—so ask a practitioner to help guide you toward products that can help maintain balance between the two.

    Vata

    These lively, restless souls need to keep skin nourished and moisturized, and take steps to treat premature wrinkles and lines. Cleansing skin without drying it out is key; Kathryn recommends Juice Beauty’s Stem Cellular Cleansing Oil for the job. Fruit stem cells brighten skin tone and resveratrol-rich grape seed oil balances skin’s natural moisture, and nutrient-dense and collagen-building products help strengthen Vata’s thin skin. Derma E’s Deep Wrinkle Reverse Moisturizer with Peptides Plus uses two powerful peptides to build collagen along with antioxidant green tea and vitamin C to keep further damage in check.

    Pitta

    Keeping cool is the goal for Pittas to avoid redness, inflammation or rashes. To treat reactive skin, Kathryn recommends oil-based vitamin C serums like Sanitas’ Vita C Serum. With a whopping 25 percent lipophilic (i.e. oil attracting) vitamin C concentration, this powerful antioxidant penetrates the skin to repair damage without irritation. Cooling mists and plant hydrosols used throughout the day will ease redness and calm Pitta skin, too. Try Jurlique’s Calendula Redness Rescue Calming Mist with soothing calendula and chamomile, or evanhealy’s Lavender Facial Tonic Hydrosol for sensitive skin.

    Kapha

    Detoxing is the key to healthy Kapha skin, flushing toxins that tend to accumulate in this dosha’s thick, oily skin. Evanhealy’s Lemongrass Facial Polish with Moroccan clay and natural astringent lemongrass is perfect for decongesting skin and deep cleaning pores, says Kathryn. Keep oiliness and blemishes in check with Astara’s Blue Flame Purifying Treatment that clarifies the skin with bacteria-fighting totara tree essence and tea tree oil. Evanhealy’s Lemon Thyme Facial Tonic Hydrosol is another good choice to spritz on after cleansing and throughout the day to balance and tone skin.

  • Celebrity-Approved Beauty

    Celebrities depend on a bevy of skin care solutions and prettifying products to ensure they get the glow required to keep them camera ready—products that can be found right here at Pharmaca. Whether you’re looking to get Gwyneth’s glow, Natalie’s natural radiance or Cameron’s easygoing surfer girl look, these natural beauty skin care brands are not only good for you, but also good enough for the red carpet.

    512px-Barack_and_Michelle_Obama_at_the_Home_States_Ball NEXT UP: THE SKIN CARE LINE MICHELLE OBAMA LOVES

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Ahava

    Obama

    Ahava receives plenty of press, and for good reason. Ahava’s rejuvenating Dead Sea mineral actives help Natalie Portman get her glow. Portman is a fan of Ahava’s Dead Sea Mud Exfoliator, and their powerful mineral products are also enjoyed by First Lady Michelle Obama and actress Kristin Davis.

    Dr. Hauschka

    Supergoop co-owner Maria Sharapova

    This natural skin care company creates chemical-free, botanically based products with garden-fresh, ultra-pure ingredients, so it’s no surprise that this pure line has quite the celebrity following. Vermont-bred Olympic snowboarder Hannah Teter told Glamour magazine her post-snowboarding ritual is to “load on Dr. Hauschka Arnica Energizing Body Oil all over my body and face.” And model Kate Upton enjoys the brand’s gently exfoliating Cleansing Cream, telling InStyle “My skin feels so soft after I use it.”

    Supergoop

    Supergoop co-owner Maria SharapovaThis natural sun care line is co-owned by tennis star Maria Sharapova, and is another favorite of Gwyneth Paltrow's goop.com beauty editors. Their Daily Correct CC Cream does double duty as a primer and foundation, while smoothing fine lines, hydrating skin and providing SPF 35 sun protection.

    jane iredale

    Anna Kendrick

    Recently, the New York Times ran an interview with Anna Kendrick, in which the actress stated “I’m not big on lip color, but I like to have a little bit of something. I just ordered a jane iredale’s Just Kissed Lip and Cheek Stain. It doesn’t just give you that bee-stung thing for two seconds; it lasts for hours.” Original supermodel Cindy Crawford also told elle.com that she chooses jane iredale’s mineral powder for both herself and her teenage daughter. “I feel like you can’t mess it up. It doesn’t streak; it’s not like a liquid foundation that you can put on too thick, or you can forget a spot. I feel like that’s really easy for her to use.” Jessica Alba credits jane iredale’s 24-Karat Gold Dust for her helping with her red-carpet glamour, using a tiny bit to give shine to her hair, clavicles and décolletage.

    Juice Beauty

    Cameron Diaz

    In her health and wellness tome, The Body Book, Cameron Diaz lists Juice Beauty as one of her favorite skin care lines, touting its commitment to pure, organic ingredients. Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Peel popularity helped the brand to gain quick momentum, garnering celebrity mentions and rave reviews. Juice Beauty has since enjoyed partnerships with celebrities such as actress, vegan and The Kind Life blogger Alicia Silverstone, and its Organic Lip Moisturizer is mentioned as a clean beauty must-have on Gwyneth’s Paltrow’s blog, goop.com. Did we mention that Gwyneth was just named Juice Beauty's creative director? Talk about celeb cache.

    Clarisonic

    Lauren Conrad

    This ingenious beauty tool has enjoyed a swift rise to fame, with promises to remove 60 percent more dirt and oil with its gentle scrubbing brush head. Celebrities have been quick to jump on the Clarisonic bandwagon, including fashion and lifestyle guru Lauren Conrad and country music star Faith Hill—who claimed the Mia as one of her must-have beauty items in InStyle Magazine.

    Dr. Bronner’s

     

    DrB LiqSoap_lavcroppedDr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps are universally appealing to natural skin care devotees. The company’s long-standing commitment to Fair Trade, organic ingredients has not gone unnoticed by stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Lea Michele. Paltrow—who aims to keep readers of her lifestyle blog, goop.com, informed of handmade, healthy products—has listed Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Liquid Soap as a favorite, while Glee’s Michele keeps Eucalyptus Liquid Soap in her shower.

    The Honest Company

     

    HC Healing BalmcroppedJessica Alba defied naysayers when she launched The Honest Company back in 2012 with a mission to provide safe, healthy products for families. The Honest Company has since grown to be a trusted name in natural products, and includes a line of award-winning body lotions and balms—the Organic Healing Balm has been spotted spilling out of several celebrity handbags, while their Honest Wipes are among actress Lena Headey’s on-the-go must haves.

    Deborah Lippmann

    Deborah Lippmann

    With too many celebrity clients to count, manicurist Deborah Lippman founded her own line of 5-free nail color in 1999. Now her natural polishes and lacquers are seen on the runway, magazine covers and the red carpet, adorning the hands of A-list celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon, Lady Gaga, Gisele Bundchen, Alison Williams and Shailene Woodley. We even spotted it on Mindy Kaling's Instagram page the other day!

  • Biodynamic Beauty Basics

    Happy motherWe check skin care labels for parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes and fragrances. But how often do we check the quality of the active ingredients themselves? If you choose products with biodynamically farmed botanicals you can rest assured they’re organic, grown in harmony with nature and of the highest potency.

    Why biodynamic ingredients are better

    The essence of biodynamic farming is based on the premise that healthy soil, sustainable planting and a connection with nature’s cycles will yield the best crops. Austrian philosopher and scientist Rudolph Steiner developed this notion in the 1920s when he conceptualized the farm as part of a greater whole. Today, biodynamic farmers around the world believe that farms should be seen as holistic, self-sustaining ecosystems, following these principles:

    -Healthy, fertile soil is the foundation. Prepared with fermented herbs and minerals, the soil is kept vital with rotating crops and plant diversity.
    -Planting and harvesting is done in sync with the subtle rhythms of the sun, moon and planets. Seedlings planted during the part of the lunar cycle when tides are high receive more moisture to the roots and absorb more nutrients from the soil. And then when the moon is in a descending cycle, farmers revitalize and re-compost the soil.
    -Great consideration is given to sustaining local natural resources.
    -Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) plants and seeds are prohibited.
    -Certification of farms is rigorous; Demeter International ensures biodynamic standards are followed with farm visits and mandatory yearly renewals.Organic practices rule. There are no chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Crop rotation and plant diversity keep disease at bay, and provide home to diverse bird and insect populations that naturally promote pest control.

    Biodynamic beauty

    Using these methods to produce powerful active botanical ingredients is the mission of several premier skin care lines found at Pharmaca. Weleda, for example, was founded by Rudolph Steiner, the very father of biodynamics, and the company now grows more than 300 healing plants and flowers on their farms throughout Europe. In their biodynamic Medicinal Plant Garden, Weleda farmers cultivate calendula flowers and carefully harvest them by hand. Known for its comforting, soothing and antibacterial properties, calendula is the perfect botanical to use on sensitive baby skin. Parents love the gentle moisture from Weleda’s Calendula Baby Oil and the irritation-free, no-tear ingredients in their Baby Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash.

    Eminence is a favorite of spa directors and holistic skin care practitioners, and their Bearberry Eye Repair Cream is a potent treatment. Hand-blended biodynamic ingredients include bearberry extract—a powerful antioxidant that prevents and repairs fine lines around the eyes—and collagen-boosting hops extract.

    Last but not least, Jurlique’s sources its pure, biodynamic flowers and herbs—including customer favorites rose and lavender—from its certified biodynamic Adelaide Hills herb farm in South Australia. Try their incredible smelling Rosewater Balancing Mist, combining skin-calming natural essential rose oil with super hydrating marshmallow root. For superior hydration, their Lavender Hand Cream is a rich moisturizer with natural lavender oil that promotes relaxation and calmness, perfect for stress-free travel.

  • Get Inspired by our Practitioners’ Healthy Resolutions!

    Get the year started on a healthy note with these smart goals for the new year.

    HF VitamineralGreen 300g Go green
    "Starting the day off with powdered greens is a great habit to get in to. It’s very simple and can help with digestion, detoxing, everything! Try adding Healthforce Nutritionals’ Vitamineral Green to your first glass of water.”-Anne, Herbalist, La Jolla

    SHOP GREEN FOODS >

    Pastilles Try a new way to destress
    “A lot of people are interested in aromatherapy right now, especially Aloha Bay’s Chakra Candles, as well as Pharmaca’s Becalm Lavender, a soothing blend of lavender, orange and geranium. And Rescue Remedy Pastilles are good for everyone in need of a safe way to stay calm, even kids.”-Sarah, ND, West Seattle

    SHOP STRESS & ANXIETY >

     

     BioS_006_BOX CAPS_080210.indd Nourish your skin from the inside
    “I can’t live without Natural Factors’ Biosil. It can bring your hair back to life, it helps with fine lines and wrinkles…when you take it regularly in combination with omega-7s, it’s like a mini facelift!”-Tammara, Esthetician, Greenwood Village

    SHOP HAIR, SKIN & NAILS HEALTH >

    M_CranberryEnzymeMask Use a facial mask once a week
    “I read an article by a skin care guru that said that consistent at-home care of your skin can do so much to help skin look good and put off the need for professional interventions. So I’m going to start with Sanitas’ Cranberry Enzyme Mask!”-Mary Catherine, Lifestyles Buyer

    SHOP FACIAL CARE >

     RawCleanse Clean up your diet
    “Start the new year by detoxing from the inside out! Learn which foods might be contributing to inflammation, low energy, foggy thinking, extra pounds. Talk to our practitioners about healthier food choices and cleansing supplements. And follow that up with yoga, hiking and getting outdoors more!”-Shizandra, Herbalist, Nutritionist, Sonoma

    SHOP CLEANSE & COLON HEALTH >

  • Facial Oils to the Rescue

    WashingFaceHorizIf you thought topical oils were a no-no in your skin care regimen, think again. Turns out natural oils can actually help maintain our skin’s all-important moisture balance, and keep us from drying out or feeling too oily.

    “Our skin’s transdermal layer is comprised of oil and water,” says Laeh Benyamin, esthetician at our south Boulder store. “After cleansing your face, it’s good to get that balance back on the skin.” Why? Ignoring it can exacerbate skin that’s prone to acne, since too little moisture can make breakouts worse and impede the healing process. “Even people with oily skin can benefit from using an oil on their face, because it helps rebalance the oil ratio,” she says. And for normal or dry skin, oils can help boost water absorption and improve overall hydration and elasticity.

    Here’s how to use them. After cleansing, Laeh recommends leaving skin damp, or spritzing face with a toner or hydrosol—any sort of water-based substance that will bond with the oil. Next, warm the oil in your palms and pat onto skin. “Less is more! A dime size is appropriate for face, neck and décolleté,” says Laeh. Here are some of her favorites.

    “Jojoba is good for oily skin, since it’s light and most like the consistency of our natural sebum,” Laeh says. Find it in Jurlique’s Skin Balancing Face Oil, which also features shea butter and avocado oil for extra nourishment.

    “A heavier oil is better for a drier skin type—evening primrose oil is really nice for that,” she says. Suki’s Nourishing Facial Oil features evening primrose and other good-smelling botanicals like lavender, calendula and apricot kernel oil. Laeh also recommends Acure’s Organic Argan Oil for a super-hydrating experience (bonus: It’s good for nourishing hair, too!).

    For more middle-of-the-road skin types, Laeh recommends oils like almond, grapeseed or rosehip—like Aura Cacia’s Organic Rosehip Oil. “Rosehip naturally contains vitamins A and C, which means it’s very anti-inflammatory, and good for normal or even reddish skin,” she says. Laeh also likes evanhealy’s Pomegranate Repair Serum, featuring sea buckthorn, which hydrates while firming and diminishing age spots.

    No matter which you choose, start by using the oil in the evening, to judge how your skin will react. In extremely dry situations, go ahead and use it in the morning, too. Once your skin’s oil is back in balance, even acneic skin will begin to heal, and your skin will be softer and more radiant.

    Speak with a Pharmaca esthetician about how natural oils can help get your skin back in balance.

  • Buyer Spotlight: What’s in Our Beauty Buyer’s Makeup Bag?

    TianasPicksEver wonder what the person who gets to make all the decisions about our beauty products buys for herself? We asked our Beauty Buyer, Tiana Ukleja, to break down the skin care and cosmetic faves she always has with her.

    Rume Cosmetic Bag
    “This bag is great and is a must every time I travel! It has three separate pockets—one holds all of my makeup, one for my jewelry and hair ties, and one for my toothbrush.”

    Clarisonic Mia 2
    “This tool is ah-mazing! I use it every morning and it exfoliates so well. It opens up my pores and allows my skin to soak up all my treatments. My face has never felt cleaner.”

    Sanitas Moisture Mist
    “I love this product because it’s great as a toner, hydration mist or for setting makeup. A great three in one! Living in Colorado, my skin needs an afternoon refresher so I usually have one at my desk, one in my bathroom and one in my purse.

    Skin Owl Geranium Beauty Drops
    “I travel a lot, so when I’m in a humid climate, I use it as a moisturizer for my face or on my body when I step out of the shower. It offers amazing hydration and smells yummy! At home in Colorado, it’s a great serum to layer under a moisturizer.”

    jane iredale Eye Gloss in Champagne
    “This color is fab-u-lous! I love a bit a shimmer on my skin, and this color stands up on its own as a single shade. I also use it as a primer for when I am ready to take my eye makeup to the next level.”

    W3LL PEOPLE Bio Extreme Mascara
    “This mascara wand is one of the best—it stays firm so there is very little to no clumping, and it does the job in just a few swipes. I also like that I don’t get raccoon eyes when I wash my face, since it comes off so easily.”

    John Masters Citrus Neroli Detangler
    “I have thick, thick, curly hair that tangles every time I sleep. This product makes my hair feel so hydrated and smooth. I use it as a leave-in conditioner.”

  • Healthy Winter Skin Strategies

    Happy woman outside in winterAh, winter. Season of hot cocoa, warm scarves...and dry skin! But it's not just the skin on our face that can suffer during the season of indoor heat—our feet, hands and lips can also experience extra dryness. Here are a few tips for smoothing, hydrating, sloughing and softening every little part of you.

    First, let's start with the basic rules for staying hydrated during the winter: Drink plenty of water, run the humidifier often and up your intake of omega fatty acids through diet or supplementation. "I recommend fish oil year round, but particularly in the winter because of its healing properties," says Tammara Denninger, esthetician at our new Greenwood Village store. "And I make sure my fish oil has omega-7 in it, which is especially good at feeding and protecting skin."

    So how do we tackle individual dry skin problem areas?

    Face

    "People think during winter you don't need sunscreen," says Tammara, "but it's important year round." She recommends Sanitas' Solar Block SPF 30, filled with sun-blocking minerals and hyaluronic acid, which helps bind moisture to the skin. She adds that Solar Block is great for all skin types, from extra dry to skin that's prone to breakouts. And, of course, don't forget about a daily moisturizer that's good for your specific skin type.

    Hands

    In the height of cold and flu season, it's good to wash your hands frequently. But using hot water—which we have a tendency to do when worried about germs—can strip natural moisture from our hands. Tammara recommends keeping water temperatures to warm, and applying a hydrating cream right afterwards. "I like keeping evanhealy's Whipped Shea Butter with Olive Leaf on hand for extra moisture—hands, lips, heels, everything!" says Tammara. "It's really hydrating, healing and protecting during the winter."

    Lips

    "I've been really hooked on Pacifica's Color Quench Lip Tint," says Tammara. "It provides a really natural color, but its base ingredient is coconut oil, so it's also really hydrating." And don't forget to apply sun protection to lips as well (try Supergoop's SPF 30+ Lip Balms), since winter sun can do serious damage to the delicate skin.

    Feet

    Make sure you're exfoliating regularly with a foot file, then slather on a cream infused with shea butter, since that's especially good for the cracked and dry skin you sometimes find on heels and toes--find it in Nubian Heritage's Raw Shea Butter Body Butter.

    Get help nourishing your winter skin from a Pharmaca practitioner.

  • Make Every Day a Spa Day!

    SpaLadyFor most parts of the country, November is when cold sets in, humidity substantially drops, we turn on heaters in our homes and cars, and our skin reflects the drying effects with redness, irritation, flakiness—even acne.

    But we can pre-empt the effects of these combined stressors with some of our practitioners’ favorite products, customized for different skin types. Pamper yourself with luxurious lotions, skin-saving serums and detoxifying masks—all wrapped up in a perfect package of natural, good-for-you ingredients. Bonus: These recommendations make great gifts! Check them out at a Spa Day Event near you.

    Dry/sensitive skin

    If your skin is sensitive or prone to dryness, slough away dulling surface cells before drenching it in soothing products that can calm irritations. “I recommend exfoliating several times a week to remove flaky skin for a dewy glow,” says Laeh Benjamin, esthetician at Pharmaca’s Table Mesa location.

    Start with Derma E's Microdermabrasion Scrub to gently scrub away dead skin. Follow with Jurlique’s Calendula line; calendula, which has long been used for its soothing, anti-inflammatory properties, effectively addresses a variety of irritated skin problems and is a great solution for dry winter skin. Pair Jurlique’s Calendula Rescue Relief Restorative Treatment Serum with their Redness Rescue Relief Daily Moisturizer to absorb the full benefits of calendula’s healing properties. Benjamin also recommends a burst of hydration throughout the day. “There are some great hydration sprays out there—we like Sanitas’ Moisture Mist, which contains hyaluronic acid to help pull in and hold moisture to the skin.”

    Normal/combination skin

    Even normal skin can go unpredictably haywire in the harsh winter elements.Dry patches and less oil production in the T-zone can stress skin, leaving it uneven and unhappy. Use of retinoids and glycolic acid can also increase dryness in winter, so it may be beneficial to back off of these ingredients in favor of a milder, gentler regimen.

    A two-part routine may also be beneficial. “Using two different cleansers or moisturizers—one in the T-zone and another for outer cheeks—can balance out areas of the face where there may be heavier or lighter natural oil production in the skin,” explains Benjamin. Juice Beauty’s Daily Essentials line can be just the thing, featuring organic skin care products formulated for everyday use. Smooth on Juice Beauty’s Organic Treatment Oil, packed with antioxidant-rich organic cranberry seed, grape seed and carrot seed oils blended with essential fatty acids and botanicals that provide deep hydration. Follow up with Juice Beauty’s Nutrient Moisturizer, a rich and restorative plant-derived daily moisturizer.

    Oily skin

    Dry, cold air and changing seasons can sometimes kick your skin’s oil production into overdrive. Manage and maintain oily complexions with a few powerful products, starting with Astara’s Purifying Gel Cleanser. Follow it up with their Blue Flame Purification Mask, which isfortified with detoxifying, antibacterial and healing botanical agents, as well as soothing and hydrating bioactive components—making it ideal for blemished, acne-prone and oily skin, and for those exposed to environmental pollutants.

    Another one to try: Dr. Hauschka’s Blemish and Clarifying line, specially formulated for oily skin types, including a Clarifying Toner to help refine the appearance of large pores, neutralizing oil with all-natural plant extracts of anthyllis, calendula, nasturtium, echinacea, witch hazel and daisy. And Primavera’s Oil-Control Balancing Lotion includes rice silk powder to help improve absorption of natural ingredients like organic sage and grape essential oils, and leaves a soft, matte finish. “Balance is key,” says Benjamin. “Finding lighter-weight products, as well as a great cleansing routine, will help skin look its best.”

    For aging/mature skin

    Fine lines can deepen and become permanent without proper hydration.Restore moisture while brightening skin with Jurlique’s Purely Bright Facial Treatment Mask, an innovative mask that delivers their patented vitamin C-rich VitaBrightKX formula directly to the skin’s surface for even tone and skin brightening.

    Next, turn your attention to infusing skin cells with a boost of hydration.Peptides are important for plumping and smoothing, functioning as moisture-binding agents and assisting skin cells in repair and regeneration. MyChelle’s Peptide + Anti-Wrinkle Serum delivers a potent blend of peptides, argan plant stem cells, lipids and botanical extracts to boost collagen formation and reduce the signs of visible aging.

    Of course, it takes teamwork to get best results, and no hydrating team is complete without hyaluronic acid. As skin ages, it loses essential hyaluronic acid, a major supplier of moisture to the skin. Derma E’s Hydrating Day Creme with Hyaluronic Acid restores this much-needed element, and serves up a gorgeous glow to deprived winter skin. Benjamin agrees: “For aging skin, both peptides and hyaluronic acid are wonderful to keep moisture in the skin.” As skin’s surface cells experience renewal, Benjamin also recommends weekly exfoliation and using a hydration spray throughout the day to keep skin looking fresh.

    Just for men

    Take a gentlemen’s spa day—every day—with products tailored to your skin’s specific needs. Every Man Jack’s Signature Mint Face Scrub uses coconut-derived ingredients to cleanse, while jojoba beads exfoliate dry and dead skin, and marine extracts and vitamin E soothe and moisturize. Then, reach for Weleda's Men’s Moisture Cream, featuring jojoba oil to hydrate and marshmallow root to calm skin irritations. “Men love this product,” said Benjamin “It’s deeply moisturizing but lightweight—not too heavy.”

    For little ones

    Kids and babies can get in on spa day with formulas created specifically for delicateskin. Make bath time fuss-free with Babo Botanicals’ Oatmilk Bubble Bath, a rich, lathering bath that hydrates as it cleans. Follow the fun and lock in skin softness and hydration with Burt’s Bees' Baby Bee Nourishing Lotion. Post bath, Little Twig’s Conditioning Detangler makes for tear-free and easy brushing.

    At-Home Manis and Pedis

    Our hands take a lot of abuse, especially in the winter when dry knuckles and ragged cuticles prevail. Return your hands to their happy place by removing old polish with SpaRitual’s Extra Strength Conditioning Lacquer Remover, a non-drying, sugar-derived solvent that keeps nails from splitting and cracking.Neaten and tidy with Deborah Lippmann’s Cuticle Care Cuticle Remover, and SpaRitual's TrueBond Manicure System Mini Kit provides salon results with primer, basecoat and topcoat to preventing chipping and cracking. Finally, smooth on Pre de Provence’s 20% Shea Butter Hand Cream forlong-lasting, deep hydration to keep skin soft and provide a moisture barrier between you and the cold.

    Ask a Pharmaca practitioner for more ideas for at-home spa pampering.

  • Why Sugar and Glycation May Be Keeping You From Youthful Skin

    WomanonBedWe’ve heard rumblings about the dangers of refined sugar for awhile now. It’s linked to increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. It’s addictive, has no nutritional value and might make us fat. Need one more reason to avoid the stuff? Glycation: The process by which sugar can cause wrinkles and sagging skin.

    Simply put, glycation is the process that happens in our bodies when sugar hooks up with proteins. Normally, sugar is converted to fuel for our bodies. But when we eat too many sugar-laden foods, excess sugar molecules find proteins and fats to latch onto, creating abnormalities called Advanced Glycation End products (AGE). These AGEs cause collagen and elastin proteins in our skin to lose flexibility and weaken. The result? Sagging, dull and wrinkly skin.

    We can slow down glycation and help repair the damage with diet changes and targeted skin care products. Here’s how to fight glycation from both the inside and the outside.

    Slow glycation with a healthy diet.

    • Eat less (or no) refined sugar.
    • Say no to high-fructose corn syrup (it speeds up glycation to 10 times the rate of simple glucose!).
    • Stick with good carbohydrates like brown rice and whole wheat products. They produce less glucose and they’re absorbed more slowly so your body isn’t bombarded with excess sugar.
    • Avoid highly processed food that’s full of refined sugars.
    • Get lots of fiber, especially from raw vegetables—it helps absorb AGEs.
    • Choose low-fat dairy products and eat more fish like salmon, tuna and sardines. (Studies show high fat red meats and cheeses produce more AGEs.)
    • Try carnosine supplements (like Jarrow Formulas' L-Carnosine), a potent anti-aging, antioxidant amino acid that helps protect against AGE buildup.

    Use glycation-targeted skin care products.
    After age 35 glycation really speeds up, making it a good time to switch to anti-aging products that hydrate, firm and detoxify.

    Ask a Pharmaca practitioner about other anti-aging skin care products that might help in your skin's fight against glycation.

  • Cleanse-Tone-Treat: Your Step-By-Step Skin Care Guide

    WashingFaceWe invest time and money into stocking our beauty cabinets with skin care products that have the potential to make our skin look and feel better. But do you know which order to apply them in for the best results? Should serums be under or over moisturizer? And where does sunscreen come in? Esthetician Jeanette Hickox in Novato walks us through the five easy steps of healthy, beautiful skin.

    Step 1: Cleanse

    Prepping your skin for treatment is the first step, says Jeanette. She recommends a thorough cleansing with either a Clarisonic device or a “double cleanse.” This means washing your face twice, first gently massaging cleanser into your skin to open pores, then washing it again to be sure the loosened debris and oil are removed.

    Step 2: Exfoliate

    It’s important to exfoliate on a regular basis to remove dead cells on the surface of the skin; this allows treatment products to penetrate better and makeup to go on smoother. Try DeVita’s Gentle Aloe Facial Scrub; it exfoliates with pure, round jojoba beads that are kind to skin. Note: If you use a Clarisonic you’ll need to exfoliate less often, since the device already supports everyday exfoliation.

    Step 3: Tone

    Often overlooked, this step is all about balancing the skin. A toner can restore skin’s natural pH, which cleansers sometimes disrupt, Jeanette tells us. Toners can treat skin, too. For oily skin, try a toner that balances the skin without stripping moisture. The Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner from Paula’s Choice helps calm skin and reduces redness, while evanhealy’s Lavender Facial Tonic Hydrosol is a good choice for sensitive skin, protecting it with natural plant antioxidants.

    Step 4: Treat

    Serums are an intensive treatment made to quickly penetrate the skin. Apply them directly to clean, toned skin, says Jeanette. Depending on its ingredients, these concentrated solutions deliver nutrients that can plump, firm, repair, brighten, treat blemishes and more. Some serums, such as Shea Terra Organics’ Argan and Green Coffee Around Eye Beauty Serum, target eye-specific problems like puffiness and dark circles.

    Step 5: Moisturize

    Moisturizers keep skin hydrated and seal in the treatment products you’ve applied. But they are not made to penetrate the skin like serums are. Instead, moisturizers stay on the surface of the skin, creating a barrier that locks in moisture.

    Daily moisturizers are lighter than night-time moisturizers, and many have SPF protection, combining two steps into one. MyChelle’s Daily Defense Cream SPF 17 hydrates with olive and wheat germ oils, and protects skin from sun damage with a clear zinc oxide. At night, Jeanette says, try a richer moisturizer that includes antioxidants or peptides that can repair skin while you sleep. Andalou Naturals’ Super Goji Peptide Perfecting Cream has both!

    (Important) Bonus Step: Protect

    If your daily moisturizer doesn’t have an SPF of 15 or higher, you’ll need to apply a sunscreen next (and liquid makeup or foundation after that). Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your neck and ears…and lips! Try Alba Botanica’s Very Emollient Lip Care Sunscreen SPF 25 for lip hydration and protection.

    A good rule of thumb: When applying skin care products on clean skin, layer them by weight, lightest to heaviest!

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