Category Archives: Health

Currently Obsessed with the Oil Cleansing Method!!!

I currently have an obsession with the oil cleansing method.

Oil Cleansing Method

The lovely Sonia (psst!  Go check out her Etsy store!) introduced me to the oil cleansing method last summer, and I’ve done it on and off – usually when I do my spa facial nights (as I mentioned briefly in this post).  Then I started to use the oil cleansing method as my regular evening make-up remover and cleanser last week, and my skin has been LOVING it!

I’m by no means an expert in skincare, so please do your own research and consult your dermatologist or aesthetician before trying any new skincare routine.  But I have suffered from acne prone skin for the last 17 years, and I wanted to share how I use the oil cleansing method (OCM).

I found these sources had useful information when I was learning about the OCM.  My understanding is that the OCM breaks the cycle of stripping our skin of its essential oils be using drying soaps, which causes our skin to go into overdrive, in order to compensate for the dryness.  OCM uses an “astringent” oil (castor oil) to cleanse the impurities/break down the oils that are on my face, and a moisturizing oil (i.e., olive oil, jojoba oil, grapeseed, etc) to moisturize and balance the dryness from the castor oil.   Check out Crunchy Betty’s post for which carrier oil is more suited for certain skin types.

Making your Cleansing Milk

The ratio of castor oil to your “moisturizing” oil will depend on your skin type.  The more oily the skin type, the more castor oil you need, and the more dry your skin is, the more moisturizing oil it will need.  My skin is very oily, and so I used a mixture with 2/3 castor oil and 1/3 olive oil.  I also added a few drops of lavender essential oil for its soothing properties, and pleasant smell.

I suggest you make a small test batch and play around with the ratios until you find one which suits you.  If you plan to use the cleansing milk often, I’d make a little bottle, otherwise, I suggest mixing it fresh for each use.

Applying the Cleansing Milk

I like to apply the cleansing milk by massaging it gently into the my dry face and neck, wait about 10 minutes for the oil to “absorb”, and then gently massage the oil over my face and neck, again.  At this point, I usually start feeling black heads popping out from my pores ;).  I massage the cleansing milk over my eyes last, to remove my eye make-up.  Then, I run a small hand towel under hot water (as hot as your face can comfortably tolerate), wring it dry, place it over my face to steam, then wipe away the oil .  I repeat running the towel under the hot water, then steaming my face for about 3 times, or until I don’t feel greasy anymore.

Moisturizing

My face always feels so soft and supple after the OCM.  Some people prefer to wash away the cleaning milk with cleanser, but I prefer steaming so that I still get the moisturizing affects from the oil – it’s up the you.  I follow up with my usual night time moisturizing routine – serum, face oil, then moisturizer.   (Note: the face oil part is an addition to my usual regime, which I started about a week ago.  Review to come.)  So far, I’m really liking it, as I wake up and my skin is super soft and supple.  My skin is acne prone, and I have not had any breakouts so far, from using oil to cleanse and moisturize.

Readers, have you tried the OCM?  What are your thoughts?

Side note: In a recent chat with a co-worker who also used the OCM method, she told me she was using an Shiseido Cleansing Milk which was really expensive.  The sales associate who sold it to her told her it was the same cleansing method that Marilyn Monroe used – which of course, my co-worker jumped on.  From the lovely Annabelle at Shopping Detox, I’ve read a few things on the frugality of Marilyn Monroe, so I’m guessing the SA took a bit of liberty and tried to link her product back to Marilyn, but I doubt that Marilyn used the Shiseido product.  One quick look at the ingredient list shows that mineral oil is one of the first ingredients!  I’m not expert in skincare or face oils, but mineral oil clogs pores (but it’s cheap!).  I’m not sure how good of an oil you need, since you’re washing off the cleanser, but I would think that for the $$$ you pay, you’d get a better oil.  So, if you are going to buy a pre-made cleansing milk, please read the ingredient list!

Cheers,

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My Facial Evening…

(image via)

I’ve been pretty quiet lately but my off-line life has been pretty interesting.  I just moved into my new apartment this weekend, and I really like it (aside from no air conditioning…).   I haven’t had much time to unwind or the quiet time, so this evening , I thought that I’d have some kimchi raman noodles with veggies and a facial.

One of my favourite ways to unwind is give myself an at-home facial.  I’ve picked up some tips from my previous facials, and I try to mimic at home what works best. I’ve been using a lot of products from Pure and Simple for the last year and I love them.   This might not work for everyone, but I’ve had really great results.

Cleanse with Oil Cleansing Method

I use a mixture of 25% jojoba oil with 75% castor oil (~$20) and massage the oil onto my dry face with clean, dry hands.   I leave the oil on my face for about 10 – 15 minutes and then, I add a little more oil mixture to my fingers and massage further.  The oil mixture not only removes all my make-up, but it also helps remove my blackheads.  I can feel little blackheads pop out (with no squeezing!).  Then, I run a towel under hot water and place it on my face (kind of like a steamer) and wipe away the oil mixture.

Physical Exfoliant

Sometimes, I use a physical exfoliant and others, I use a chemical exfoliant.  I really like the LeNeige strawberry yogurt exfoliant mask, but that has been discontinued and replaced with something not so great.  Now, I use the Pure + Simple Sensitive Skin Exfoliant and Face Mask ($21.95).

I dab my cheeks and my forehead, wet my fingers and then work the exfoliant all over my face and neck.  I really like this physical exfoliant, as I find the particles are not too harsh on my skin, but exfoliate well.

Chemical Exfoliant

When I have a bit more time, I usually prefer the chemical exfoliant over the physical one – but it’s a lot messier.  My face always looks so radiant after this lactic acid mask made of equal parts sour cream and honey.  You can also use yogurt, but I find it too runny for my liking.  I like to use a blank paper mask to keep the stuff on my face – I’m not sure where to find them in Canada, but I bought a bunch when I was in Hong Kong.

Clay Mask

I really like the Pure + Simple Purifying French Clay Mask ($19.95) to help with keeping my skin clear and help control the oil on my face.  (I have very oily skin).  I spread the clay mask around my eye area and all ove rmy face.  Since the clay mask is more drying, I like to balance it out by layering with a…

Cucumber Mask

I like to use the Pure + Simple Calming Cucumber Mask ($22.95) over the clay mask and in the more delicate area around my eye.   I also like to use this mask on its own when my skin is feeling dry (but that doesn’t happen very often).  One jar usually lasts me at least 6 months.

Nightly Regime

After I wash off my mask, I follow with my nightly regime.

I apply my Pure + Simple Algea Serum all over my face and neck, then I apply Differin Gel all over my face and neck, and then follow with the Black Mud Lotion.

Right before bed, I apply Vaseline  to my lashes and eyelids, and a thin layer across my lips.  I know you’re probably thinking – Petroleum Jelly?!  But, I find my skin is always plump the next morning, with no break outs.

Do you like facials?  What are you favourite products or mixtures to use at home?

Cheers,

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Book Review: Pure + Simple – A Holistic Guide to Natural Beauty by Kristen Ma

As I mentioned in previous posts, I have recently read the above mentioned book. I needed to educate myself more on skin care and I spotted this book at my local Pure and Simple Spa. Another skin care book I have reviewed is The Skin Type Solution by Dr. Leslie Baumann.

As you may know, I am not new to skincare regiments and lingo. I’ve been suffering from acne since grade 7, and have gone through my fair share (and then some), of dermatologists, estheticians, beauty products and prescription medicines. But I am always open to learn more about anything, and due to my vanity, I am especially interested in learning about skin care.

I wanted to read Kristen’s book, but I did not want to plunk down the $30 to buy the book. A quick search on my local library system showed there were a number of copies available. 🙂

Onto my review.

Chapter 1: What is Natural Skincare?

Ma talks about what is natural skincare and stresses the importance of reading labels to truly determine the natural content amount. She also talks about various reasons to go natural with our skin care, including: absorption of chemicals, social responsibility and being more aware of our bodies.

Chapter 2: Skin Basics

Ma introduces us to the functions of the skin, as well as the skin’s structure. She talks about skin classification vs skin conditions.

Skin classifications are what is typically used to describe the skin, such as the following:

  • Dry skin
  • Normal skin
  • Oily skin
  • Combination skin

Skin conditions describe the condition of the skin and can vary with environment and other factors. They are as follows:

  • Dehydrated skin
  • Sensitive skin
  • Unbalanced skin
  • Problem skin

Chapter 3: Ayurveda

Ma believes that Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine are very important to achieving beautiful skin as these are more holistic treatments and focus on preventative manners.

Ma goes into a bit of history regarding Ayurveda and introduces the Three Doshas: Kapha, Pitta and Vata. There is also a Ayurveda questionnaire at the back to determine your individual dosha.

Chapter 4: Our Bodies Tell us So Much

Here, Ma introduces two face maps: Ayurveda and the parts of the face, and the Chinese Face Map.

The Ayurveda face map is broken into 3 parts. The forehead is the Vatta region. The cheeks and nose is the Pitta region. And lastly, the lower cheeks, jaws, lips and chin are the Kapha region. Blemishes or inflammation in each of these face regions indicate an imbalance related to a separate cause or region of the body.

The Chinese face map is more comprehensive and shows different areas of the face relating to specific organs. For instance, under-eye circles indicate weak kidneys and frown lines between the eye brows indicate an overworked liver and spleen.

Chapters 5 – 12: Various topics on how to protect and care for your skin

These chapters include the following topics and are pretty self explanatory:

Chapter 5: Ingredients to avoid. (Mainly petrolatum/ paraffinium liquidum and sodium laurel sulfates.)

Chapter 6: The importance of calming down.

Chapter 7: Glow

Chapter 8: Protect yourself (Use sunscreen, preferably a physical sunblock as opposed to a chemical sun screen.)

Chapter 9: Be Gentle (Do not use abrasive or harsh chemicals on your skin.)

Chapter 10: Decongest (Basically, a combination of natural chemical exfoiliants and physical extractions via facials)

Chapter 11: Beauty 911

Chapter 12: Skincare 101

Conclusion

I thought that Ma’s book was an easy and quick read. Ma touches a lot of good points about how our perspective of beauty has changed and her thoughts of natural vs “man made” beauty. She gives some background to approaching beauty in a more holistic manner, which I am huge fan of.

I think the book reads more as a magazine article than a reference book, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was reading marketing material. I learned some new things, but overall, I wasn’t overly impressed and didn’t find it as informing as I had hoped.

I hope you don’t take this review the wrong way, as it is strictly a review on the book itself – I am a huge fan of Pure and Simple spa and their products (as you will find out from my holy grail items). But this book…

I found Ma’s discussion of Ayurveda wishy-washy and I didn’t get much out of it. For me, there was a lack of information and connection between the general introduction and the explanation. Even though I found Chapter 5 – 12 had some helpful information, but I felt a lot of the information overlapped, and could have been presented more cohesively.

If you are looking for a quick and light read on natural skin care, this might be the book for you, but if you are looking for more information intensive read on skin care, I’d recommend Baumann’s book over this one.

Side note: I am a (pretty) loyal client at Pure + Simple (P&S) spas, and with the amount of P&S toiletries in my vanity, you’d think there was a mini P&S spa in my apartment. I am a huge fan of P&S products. But I wasn’t overly impressed with the book and didn’t find it as informing as I had hoped.

Have you read Kristen Ma’s Pure + Simple? What are your thoughts on the book or on natural skin care products and holistic skin treatments?

Cheers,

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Book Review: The Skin Type Solution by Dr. Leslie Baumann

As I mentioned in previous posts, I have recently read the above mentioned book.  I needed to educate myself more on skin care and a friend introduced me to Dr. Baumann’s book.

As you may know, I am not new to skincare regiments and lingo.  I’ve been suffering from acne since grade 7, and have gone through my fair share (and then some), of dermatologists, beauty products and even prescription medicines.  But I am always open to learn more about anything, and due to my vanity, I am especially interested in learning about skin care.

Chapter 1: The Skin Type Revolution

Dr. Baumann is a dermatologist, researcher, and associate professor of dermatology.  She explains why one product that “worked wonders” on your friend, sister, co-worker, etc., may not work for you.  It’s because we all may have different skin types, and what works for one skin type may not work for another.

She gives some background on her credentials and explains that people usually fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • They don’t know their skin type
  • They use the wrong products for their skin type
  • They use the wrong procedures for their skin type
  • They spend much more than they should on products because they don’t know what will or will not work for them.

Chapter 2: Skin Type Categories

In order to determine our skin type, Dr. Baumann presents the 4 categories that Skin Type Solution uses to evaluate one’s skin type, and gives a description of each one.

They are the following:

  • Oily vs dry
  • Sensitive vs resistant
  • Pigmented vs non-pigmented
  • Tight vs wrinkled

Chapter 3: Discover your Skin Type

Take the questionnaire to determine your skin type.

You answer a series of questions, one category at a time based on a point system.  At the end of each section you tally up your scores and kazaam, you’ve got your skin type.

Chapter 4 – 19: Skin care for each of the 16 combinations of skin types

I am oily, sensitive, slightly-pigmented and tight (OSPT) type of skin (corresponds to Chapter 5 & 7).  I am on the cusp of pigmented and non-pigmented, so I will include both here.

In each skin type chapter, she has a brief section describing your skin type and what she would expect you to experience.

About your Skin Type

For my skin type, she recommends dealing with one problem at a time – oil.    This is because by dealing with the oil, would hopefully lead to less acne and therefore, less pigmentation from acne.   Pigmentation can be caused from acne, hormones, and sun exposure.

The bad news is that acne does not end from adolescence and continues (if not treated) into our 20s and 30s.  The good news is that as OSPT approach their 50s and 60s (with good protection of skin), the oil production will slow down and this type usually age better than other types.  “Minimal wrinkles, decreased oiliness and reduced tendency to form dark spots, you enjoy skin that resists aging better than many other types.” (Baumann 82)

Inflammation

Baumann also talk about inflammation in the skin since acne is a form of inflammation.  I learned that heat sources outside of the body can also increase inflammation inside the body – such as prolonged sun exposure, sun burns, hot climates, waxing, saunas, steam rooms, steaming one’s face (i.e., facials), waxing, spicy and hot foods or chemicals peels that are too harsh.  These procedures or environments should be avoided.

Baumann shares different stories of her clients and techniques she used to help them deal with their problem.  Usually, it’s avoiding of the above procedures which lead to inflammation.

Everyday Care for your Skin Type

For my skin type, Baumann recommends:

  • preventing and treating pimples
  • preventing and treating dark spots
  • managing redness

Baumann includes a “daily skin care” routine for both a.m. and p.m. for “Stage 1: Non Prescription Regimen” for:

  • treating acne and dark spots
  • for skin redness and dark spots without acne
  • for skin redness and dark sports with acne

Baumann also includes a “daily skin care” routine for both a.m. and p.m. for “Stage 2: Prescription Regimen” to treat acne.

She includes various lists of products for each recommended cleansers, toners, acne controlling products, spot treatment products, skin-lightening gels, moisturizers, and eye creams.  She also provides recommended producs for sunscreen, foundations and facial powders.  Obviously, one may only use a few items from the list, depending on what you are treating.

Baumann also breaks down her recommended products based on approximate price categories ($, $$, $$$), and she also provides her choice and why.

Baumann also includes a list of skin ingredients to use for the following purposes:

  • to decrease skin inflammation (i.e., aloe vera, chamomile, cucumber, tea tree oil, zinc, rose water)
  • to lessen acne (i.e., benzoyl peroxide, retinol, tea tree oil,salicylic acid)
  • to prevent pigmentation (niacinamide)
  • to reduce pigmentation (i.e., cucumber extract, salicylic acid)

Baumann also includes a list of skin ingredients to avoid for the following reasons:

  • if acne prone (i.e., cocoa butter, jojoba oil, peppermint oil)
  • if you have skin allergies (i.e., benzoyl peroxide, parabens, fragrances)
  • lactic acid (if OSNT)

Further help for Oily Skin

Baumann goes further and discusses:

  • using retinoids
  • Intense Pulsed Light & Vascular Lasers
  • Botox
  • life style recommendations

What I found really interesting was eating a diet with a lot of glycemic foods can lead to acne.  “High glycemic foods, such as sweets, soda, certain fruits, refined grain products and cold cereals, cause a rapid rise in blood glucose levels.  Blood glucose stimulates the release of insulin and excess insulin production can contribute to acne.” (Baumann 170)  It also lists fermented foods – such as cheese, cured meats or sausages as no-nos.  Le sigh.

Baumann recommends a diet to decrease inflammation should include eggs, fish, cool salads and zinc rich foods (i.e., oysters).

Conclusion

I thought that Baumanns book was very thorough and easy to understand.  She breaks down skin care into something that manageable by the individual so they can be more informed when making decisions in a market that is bombarded with promises of lotions and potions that will solve our skin care problems.

I was pleasantly surprised that a lot of her products are everyday products from my local drugstore and a lot of them are very affordable.  It seems that my dermatologist uses a similar philosophy as her, and as prescribed a very similar routine.

I won’t go into detail of the products that I use in this post.  But I will share it in a separate post.  I hope this review was helpful for the ladies and gents out there.

Have you read Leslie Baumann’s The Skin Type Solution?  Did her recommendations work for you?  If so, please share you tips and your skin type in the comments.

Cheers,

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My Skin Battle: Dermatologist vs Estheticians

(Photo source)

This summer has wreaked havoc on my skin.  Hands down the worst summer for my skin in the last few years. 😦  I’ve been having bouts of breakouts with some calm in between, only to have another bout of break out.  And I don’t mean just a zit, I either get huge cystic acne or clusters of pimples (like 6 – 10 at a time).

It’s really putting a damper on my self esteem, and I feel pretty self conscious when I go out.  Although I’ve been using make-up and it’s not as noticeable, I notice it, and that’s enough for me.

It all started in April when my skin would get super oily during the day, and then it would feel super dry after I washed it.  It was a pretty unpleasant cycle, and my dermatologist just kept prescribing more drying lotions.   Then I read Fabulously Broke’s review on Pure and Simple spa and decided to give it a try.

I was really impressed with Pure and Simple’s philosophy and their approach and decided to splurge on a 5-package of facials ($695 + tax & various products $$$ later…), and my acne was also still in bouts.

It would get worse after my facial, and then better.  Even BF noticed!  But as soon as I stopped getting facials, it would act up again.  (When I say stop, I mean if I didn’t got for 2 months or so).  Or if I ate certain foods, my acne would just get out of control and the natural products that I was using couldn’t control it.  In fact, my acne seemed to get progressively worse, a bit better, and then worse. Now it’s in its “worse” stage. 😦

I’ve also tried the Oil Cleansing Method, as so many of your have sworn by in my last skin post.  Reader Sonia was so kind as to send me a mixture of her oil cleansing potion!  It was working great the 2 weeks or so, and then my bout of acne came (likely due to consumption of way too much cheese!), and I felt like it was doing more harm than good, and have gone off of it.  I would like to try it again, after my skin calms down.

During this time, I wanted to further educate myself on my skin since I was getting conflicting recommendations from my esthetician and my dermatologist. I’ve summarized the information I’ve gotten from each below.

Esthetician: Use natural products and instead of trying to dry out your skin – plump it up with lots of moisturizer products.  Natural products work best as it is more easily absorbed into the skin.  Come for facials often to regularly clean out your pores.

Dermatologist: Use the glycolic acid toner in the mornings to keep sloughing off dead skin cells and kill bacteria on the surface of your skin.  Use moisturizer only in dry areas – do not moisterize everywhere.  Use a retinoid and Vit A cream at night to control oil and treat active acne.

Further Readings

I’ve also read the “Skin Type Solution” by Leslie Baumman, M.D. (dermatologist), and Beauty Pure and Simple by Kristen Ma (co-founder of Pure and Simple holistic spas).  I will be doing a review on each of the books, so I don’t want to go into too much detail here.  They are both great reads, and I highly recommend them to anyone, but especially those of us who deal with acne and other skin problems.

There are a lot of similarity and overlap in the approach that both ladies take.  For instance, I have oily and sensitive skin.  In both books, I need to address the bacteria on my skin surface, and slough off dead skin cells so that they do not eventually clog more pores.  The difference is in the products and the types of treatments each recommend.

Dermatologist

My dermatologist has prescribed a regime similar to that recommended by Dr. Baumman’s book, including the following. 

Glycolic acid (all over face and neck): check;
Retinoid (all over face neck): check;
Spot treatment: check;
Sunscreen and gentle cleanser: check and check.

Moisturize only in dry areas: check.  Chemical peels over abrasive exfoiliation.  No steaming of face. No fancy treatments required.  (Sidenote: Baumman does not shy away from recommending more intense treatments where she thinks it’s needed, such as botox and intense light treatments).

Estheticians

My esthetician approaches treating acne (and other skin problems) in a holistic manner.  Instead of using drying solutions, she recommends more moisturizing which she says will bring back the balance of oil in our skin. She argues that when there is balance in my skin, it will stop producing so much oil and blackheads.   She also recommends monthly facials to purge or clean my pores.

There is a part of me that wants to use more natural products – maybe it’s the hippie or romantic in me – being one with nature and whatnot.  Wanting to use products from our earth instead of chemically manufactured.

But then, I know it’s not all working because I keep getting breakouts, and it’s really getting to me.  And I always feel a little it’s a bit of a conflict of interest that an esthetician encourage their clients to do monthly (or more frequent) facials.  They are expensive – mine are ~$120 (+ tax + tip) each.  Of course, you’d want them to come back more often, right?

Finding my Medium

Maybe there can be a happy medium for me – things are never just black and white, right?

I’ve also read that dermotologsits should be consulted for more severe cases of acne or skin conditions and an esthetician can be consulted for more moderate cases since they do not have the same training or background as dermotologist.

Conclusion

I’m going back to using what my dermatologist prescribed to clear out my skin.

I find that when my skin is good, it’s really good, but when it starts to break out – the bacteria on my skin just grows exponentially and then everything is out of control.

However, I will also be moisturizing my skin with more natural products (I do find they are absorbed more easily into my skin).  And when my skin gets better, maybe I will go to using the glycolic acid and retinoid every other night instead of every night.

Le sigh.  Wish me luck!

Any tips, readers?  Do you prefer a dermatologist or esthetician?  Natural or chemical products?

Cheers,

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My Home-made Toiletries

These are some of the concoctions that I have tried and worked for me.   They are usually things that I  already have around the house, or they are pretty cheap to purchase.

Castor oil for blackheads ($5)

I first read this on J$ blog, and thought to myself, this guy must be nuts! 😛

Turns out it worked out great for me.

I just apply the castor oil with a Q-tip to the areas on my face with blackheads.  Wait about 10 minutes, and then I lightly rub the areas.  I can feel the blackheads between my fingers!  Then, I wash my face with my cleanser and I’m done.

I can’t believe I wasted all those years (and money) on Biore strips and squeezing them.

Sour cream and honey mask ($2)

I was told by my esthetician that lactic acid was very good for my face.  Unfortunately, I did not want to spend $50+tax on the lactic acid at the spa.

So, I turned to my friend Mr. Google, and found that sour cream has a very high lactic acid content and mixed with honey is a great mask.  I have done this about 4 times so far.

I prefer to use sour cream over yogurt since it’s a little thicker and doesn’t slide off as easily.  I’m sure either is fine. It smells funny and it can be a bit messy, but my skin looks great afterwards.

I do this about twice a week. LOVE. IT.

Vaseline as lip balm and eye cream ($4)

I know that some of you will balk at me for using Vaseline on my eyes.  It’s a great eye make-up remover and I put on a bit afterwards for moisturizing.  I haven’t gotten any clogged pores or anything, and my skin is pretty oily.

I always go back to Vaseline despite all the different lip balms and glosses out there.

Baking soda to remove oil build up ($1)

The oil in my hair can build up after a few washes and days without shampooing.  The easiest way for me to remove the build up is to mix about a teaspoon of baking soda with a bit of water, and massage that into my hair after I shampoo (before rinsing).  I let that sit in my hair for a few minutes and then rinse out.

The build up is removed every time and my hair is soft and fluffy.   I do this about once every other week.

Baby oil and baby shampoo make-up remover ($9?)

I was tired of paying through the nose for make-up remover and couldn’t find one that I really liked.  Many of the make-up removers I’ve tried were super oily (Neutrogena eye make-up remover) and I wanted something that was more gentle.  I don’t wear a lot of make-up, but have since learned that I need to remove it all every night with a “proper” make-up remover and not just use my cleanser.

So I did some research and found some home-made recipes.  I use 1 squirt of baby oil, 2 squirts of baby shampoo and fill a 100mL container with water.  Shake, and voila!  If you use more make-up, try adjusting the quantities to find something that suits you.

A bottle of 100mL usually lasts me a month or 2.  So the bottle of baby oil and shampoo should last a very long time!

Normal shampoo to wash brushes ($2)

I used to buy normal shampoo on sale and I didn’t want to throw them out even though I didn’t use them to wash my hair anymore.  Now, I use it to wash my boar bristled brush and make-up brushes. Easy peasy 🙂 I have no idea what they have in those over priced “brush shampoo”.

So those are my cheap hacks that I use at home.  Feel free to take what I say with a grain of salt.  My skin is very oily and I have struggled with it for most of my life.  I am finally trying to embrace it and work with it, instead of against it.

What are some of your home-made concoctions?

Cheers,

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Review: Body Blitz Spa

Body Blitz is a women-only spa which incorporates water treatments prior to the massage itself.  It’s located in downtown Toronto.  Please refer to this link here for their water circuit, this link for their health benefits, and this link for their FAQ’s.

According to their website, the therapeutic waters maintains the age-old tradition of communal bathing, where women come together.

I’ve been to about 5 spa’s in the past 3 years, and I haven’t really thought to do a review, but this one was different.  Body blitz was a sanctuary and a really great experience.  Without a doubt, I will be returning.  Here are my thoughts.

Disclosure:  I was not endorsed or compensated by Body Blitz for this review.  I decided to do this review to share with my readers my experience, which I paid for.  These are my personal opinions.

The Environment

The spa environment was really relaxing, and felt like a getaway in the middle of the city.  The set-up of the spa has a common locker/change area, vanity room, washrooms, (many) shower stalls, the pool circuit area (more on that later), sauna, steam room and the massage area.  The facilities are kept clean and tidy with their team of friendly staff.

After your experience in the waters, and your massage, there is a vanity area equipped with blow dryers and body lotions for your use.  I thought this was thoughtful and very homey.

The Experience

Each locker has 2 towels, a robe, slippers, and a laminated sheet detailing the water circuit treatmeant.  There are plenty of showers, as there are several times within the water circuit that calls for a shower. (More on the water circuit below.)  After the circuit, one waits for their name to be called for the massage itself.  I had a 30 minute therapeutic massage.

The Water Circuit

The water circuit takes approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete and consists of the following:

  • Dead sea salt water pool soak (5-10min)
  • Steam room (5 – 10min)
  • Shower
  • Cold water plunge (1 min)
  • Sauna (5 – 10min)
  • Shower
  • Cold water plunge (1 min)
  • Hot green tea soak (5 – 10min)
  • Shower
  • Cold water plunge (1 min)
  • Massage

My first time taking the cold water plunge was awful, but it got easier with each plunge.  I suggest you go quickly, as opposed to tip-toeing your way in.  The sea salt pool and the green tea soak was amazing, and really really relaxing.  I’m not sure if it was due to the contrast to the cold water plunge, though.

Recommendations

I suggest the ladies who want to check this out to go early.  You really want to relax and spend time exploring the water circuit.

I also suggest you follow the circuit all the way through the first time, and adjust accordingly after your first run through.

Bring your own slippers.  They do provide them, but they aren’t the most comfortable (and I got my toes snagged a couple times).

Be prepared for nudity.

My Conclusion

I am definitely going back with a girl friend, and would recommend this to anyone with a big of wiggle room in their budget or have massages as part of their health benefits.  It was also nice to experience everything myself, first, but it would also be nice to have some girl chats.

I felt really relaxed after the water circuit and massage, and even my skin looked like it was glowing (it could have been the lighting).

A half hour therapeutic massage costs $90 before taxes, so it’s fairly pricey, and my insurance does not cover all of it.  However, if you factor in the time in the water circuits, then I think it’s worth it.  I definitely recommend going early and soaking it all it (literally).

Body Blitz also sells products which I hadn’t tried.  If any of my readers have tried them, please share your thoughts and recommendations.

I hope this was helpful for my Toronto readers.

Cheers,

All photographs are from the Body Blitz website.

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