Must Have Facial Masks for Your Skincare Routine

By: Dr. Stephanie A. Garcia

Facial masks have many benefits no matter what skin type or concerns you have. I frequently use various types of facial masks sometimes in the morning, but most often in the evening to improve the appearance of my skin. Today, I’ll be sharing my current, ride or die favorites that are in my skincare stash.

Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask, $68

This is a beautiful mask not just in its benefits but in its application as well. The Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask has been a staple in my skincare routine for the last three years. This is a great mask to use in the morning, if you have time. It provides many anti-aging properties such as giving a brightening effect, reducing the appearance of dark spots and uneven skin tone, and diminishing the look of fine lines and wrinkles. My skin always looks so radiant and hydrated after using this facial mask. I use a small paddle brush to apply and leave on for 20 minutes. I typically use this mask once a week. 

Origins Clear Improvement Charcoal Mask, $26

This mask has been in my stash for many years, at least ten if memory serves me correctly. I use this beauty once a week, always at night time. This mask works to draw out impurities along with dirt and gunk that gets trapped in pores. I apply this using a paddle brush and primarily focus it on my cheeks and t-zone where I have larger, visible pores. I am a normal-to-oily skin type, and this little mask is a must have that helps keep my skin clear and balanced. 

Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask, $49

One of my favorite things to use is an overnight sleeping mask. The one I really love at the moment is the Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Sleeping Mask. Anything with retinol is going to be of great benefit to everyone! Retinol is an amazing ingredient that helps to prevent fine lines, wrinkles, and also works to exfoliate the skin. I tend to just use retinol at night and go with Vitamin-C in the morning. I apply this mask after using all my nighttime skincare products. It is a thick cream, but that’s what you want because it needs to last the duration of the night. This can be used every night, but I limit it to twice a week. 

Farmacy Honey Potion, $38 

The Farmacy Honey Potion mask is a unique formula that warms as you work into a lather. After it warms and turns white, leave it on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse off to reveal glowing, healthy looking skin. This unique mask targets fine lines, dryness, and loss of firmness. I have been so happy with this little beauty, as I have been with all my other Farmacy skincare products. This has a clean, very short ingredient list as well. 

Good Molecules Caffeine Energizing Hydrogel Eye Patches, $18

Don’t forget about your eyes, they need lots of love too! I enjoy using the Good Molecules Caffeine Energizing Hydrogel Eye Patches whenever I wake up with tired eyes. If you battle with dark circles, puffiness, or just didn’t get a good night’s sleep, you’ll want these little gems in your stash! I keep mine in my Cooluli Mini Refrigerator and boy do they feel good when I apply them! Leave these eye patches on for 10 minutes to reveal hydrated, wide-awake eyes. 

e.l.f. Skin Care

By: Dr. Stephanie “Steff” Garcia

Affordable skin care doesn’t have to mean inadequate. This week on my Instagram I’m spotlighting several different skin care brands and products that are all affordable and all effective. For this week’s blog, I wanted to take a closer look at e.l.f. skin care products. Specifically, I wanted to observe and compare their two new lines of skin care, the Cannabis Sativa Collection (Skin Hit) and the Full Spectrum CBD Collection. 

The Cannabis Sativa Collection

Towards the end of 2019, e.l.f. released a new line of skin care products that was formulated with hemp-derived cannabis sativa seed oil. I did a demo and review of this line for my YouTube channel which I will include in this blog. This plant-based line includes a facial moisturizer, Happy Hydration Cream ($12); facial oil, All the Feels Facial Oil ($12); makeup primer, Puff Puff Primer ($8); and lip balm, Calm Balm ($5). You can also purchase a travel size kit (The Skin Hit Kit) with all these items included for $15. 

This collection uses the oil from hemp seeds and does not contain any THC or CBD. This means that only part of the cannabis sativa plant is used. Hemp seed oil provides many benefits to the skin that include reducing the appearance of fine lines; anti-aging; and soothing hydration. Hemp seed oil can also be ingested. As per your doctor’s recommendations, individuals are able to ingest 1-2 teaspoons of hemp seed oil per day. Hemp seed oil is also great for its anti-inflammatory properties. 

The Full Spectrum CBD Collection

e.l.f. Cosmetics released a new skin care line in the spring of 2020. The Full Spectrum CBD Collection features a facial moisturizer, the 50 mg CBD Moisturizer ($15); a facial oil, the 100 mg CBD Facial Oil ($18); an eye cream, the 50 mg CBD Eye Cream ($15); a body moisturizer, the 50 mg CBD Body Cream ($18); and a lip oil, the 5 mg CBD Lip Oil ($13). 

The Full Spectrum collection is formulated using CBD, which is made from the leaves, flowers, and stems of the cannabis sativa (hemp) plant. This collection does contain a small amount of  THC (tetrahydrocannabinol – the ingredient that is psychoactive). It is important to note that to be “legal” products must contain less than .3% of THC. The Full Spectrum line also contains fragrance in three of its five products (none are present in the Cannabis Sativa Collection). CBD, like hemp seed oil, is ingestible. CBD works well as an anti-inflammatory agent, pain reliever, and can also aid in the reduction of depression and anxiety with the guidance of your physician. 

So Which Line is Better?

After using these products for the last few weeks (some longer), I’ve been able to form a solid opinion. For reference, I am 38 years old and have normal-to-oily skin. Let’s break this down by similar products first, then move on to differing products.

Facial Moisturizer- I am going to give the win to the Happy Hydration Cream (Cannabis Sativa Line). The ingredients in this moisturizer are simple, yet effective; there is no fragrance, and it was hydrating without causing excess oil. I do prefer the packaging of the CBD Facial Moisturizer however, but I thought the Happy Hydration Cream was a better product all around.

Facial Oil – Another “hit” for the Cannabis Sativa Collection, the All the Feels Facial Oil gets the win from me. This facial oil contains jojoba seed oil, hemp seed oil, squalane, and rose-hip seed oil to effortlessly hydrate the skin without leaving a greasy feel. I also like to apply some of this to my cuticles and joints (elbows and knees). 

Lip Product – The Full Spectrum 5mg CBD Lip Oil is a hands down winner in this category. This lip oil provides an insane amount of hydration and tastes pretty good too. It is formulated with peppermint, hemp seed oil, and sunflower seed oil. I enjoy using this at all times of the day, but typically reserve it to nighttime use.

Best Differing Product – The Full Spectrum 50 mg CBD Eye Cream is definitely one of my favorite e.l.f. skin care products. This is an excellent formula that works well with other products in my stash. I’ve used this eye cream under makeup and it doesn’t not compromise the makeup at all. It is created using hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and hemp seed oil.

Overall Winner – I have to give the overall win to the e.l.f. Cannabis Sativa Collection. Not only is this line more affordable, it does not contain any fragrance like the CBD line does. It has simple, yet effective ingredients that work well for all skin types. While it does contain fewer products, I found the products in this line to be reliable and well crafted.

I do think that e.l.f. did a great job in creating two different, yet similar lines of skin care products for its consumers. I like to see drugstore beauty brands integrating skin care items into their product mix. I recommend checking out these products on the e.l.f. website or at your local retailer. 

Learn more about all these products on the e.l.f. website.

https://www.elfcosmetics.com/

*This blog post will be updated later in the week with a YouTube video on this topic.

Skincare Products You Need in Your 30s

By: Dr. Stephanie “Steff” Garcia

Skin care is important at any age. Skincare products are used for a multitude of reasons including: anti-aging, acne, treatment, improvement, and more. It is important to note that with any NEW skincare regimen it is best to contact your dermatologist and or esthetician for proper guidelines and implementation. I am a 38 year old woman with normal-to-oily skin, large pores, and old acne scars. As I slowly inch out of my 30s, I started to think about the skincare products that have truly impacted my skin these past few years. Now keep in mind I am limiting this list to 5 products, but there are MANY more that are GREAT for 30 something skin. 

SPF

No matter what your age, sun protection is an absolute necessity! Did you know that in addition to lowering your risk of skin cancer, SPF can help stop premature aging, and help maintain an even, healthy-looking complexion? My personal recommendation is to apply a sunscreen that is separate from your daily moisturizer and makeup. I apply my SPF right after my daytime moisturizer, even if that product contains its own SPF. While using products such as moisturizers and foundations that contain SPF are beneficial, they do not offer the same amount of protection that a stand alone SPF would. Also, you should be applying at least a ½ teaspoon of SPF to your face. This amount should be enough to completely cover your face. Wear a hat and seek shade whenever possible too. Reapply SPF throughout the day, especially if you are sweating or swimming. Consider purchasing a makeup setting spray that contains SPF as well. That will be easier to apply during the day for those of you with a full face of makeup on. 

Retinoid

One of the best anti-aging skincare ingredients you can get is retinoid. There are several different terms for retinoid (we will go more in depth in a later blog); retinol, retain-A, and Vitamin A. To be clear, retain-A is a prescription based formula that must be referred by your physician. However, don’t feel you need to run to your doctor’s office to get an effective product. There are many retinoid forms available at your local drugstore and or department store. So what are the benefits of using a retinoid? First and foremost, this ingredient has been the most studied, proven, and recommended for anti-aging. A retinoid exfoliates the skin giving way to a more youthful, even-toned complexion. In our 30s, we begin to see changes in our skin. You may notice fine lines that weren’t there a couple years ago or discoloration and freakling of the skin. These are all signs that we are getting older and need to take a more proactive approach to our skincare routines. While retinoids can be used both day and night, I personally tend to use retinol only at night right after my toner and or essence. Keep in mind that using a retinoid can contribute to sun sensitivity; therefore, SPF is always a must. A retinoid will be able to prevent and improve some signs of aging, but truth be told nothing will ever stop the aging process. 

Vitamin C

I began to implement Vitamin C into my morning skincare routine about a year ago. I’ve seen some pretty awesome results with it too. Using a Vitamin C will help improve the clarity and brightness of your complexion. It is an antioxidant, meaning that it will help to prevent aging due to sun exposure (it does NOT replace SPF though). The most effective form of Vitamin C is L-ascorbic acid. While Vitamin-C can be used both day and night, my preference is daytime. I use this right after my essence and or toner. Properly packaged and effective Vitamin-C serums will come in air tight, dark or non-clear packaging. You may also find some forms of Vitamin-C in a powder consistency that can be just as effective. One thing I want to point out is that Vitamin-C can go bad quickly, hence the air-tight, dark packaging benefits. I like to store mine in my mini skincare refrigerator. This not only makes it feel cooling and soothing upon application, it aids in preservation as well.

Eye Cream

In my 20s I used an eye cream pretty regularly; however in my early 30s I stopped, and do I EVER regret that! Say what you will about eye creams being “extra” or “unnecessary” I beg to differ because of experience. I’ve seen an improved appearance of my under eye area since making eye cream a priority again over the last three years. The skin under our eyes is the most delicate area of the face. This skin is the thinnest, thereby rendering it prone to accelerated aging. Applying an eye cream twice daily can help combat the signs of aging and or prevent it from occurring sooner. Thicker eye creams can be reserved for nighttime thereby not interfering with makeup application. The goal of the eye cream is to hydrate the under eye area. This will also help to improve the look of under eye makeup too. While you may gravitate towards using an eye cream that contains SPF, proceed with caution. SPF can cause eye irritation if you have sensitive eyes. I typically stay clear of eye creams that contain SPF and opt for always wearing my sunglasses. 

Eyelash/Eyebrow Conditioner/Serum 

Now you may not hear many people mention this as a skincare necessity, but I definitely don’t go a day without these two miracle workers! As I reached the mid 30s mark, I noticed my eyelashes weren’t as voluminous as they once were; even the length had started to change. It was then I decided to begin a lash conditioner regime. Now, for almost two years, I’ve used an eyelash conditioner every night along my upper lash line. The key to lash conditioners is consistency. Do not purchase an eyelash conditioner if you do not plan on making it a non-negotiable in your nighttime skincare routine. It took about 60 days for me to notice a difference in my lashes. After 90 days, my lashes were definitely longer and fuller. I was so pleased with my experience that I decided to focus on my eyebrows too. I have long suffered from sparse brows. Each day as I do my makeup I think to myself, how are my brows going to look today? Eyebrows are what frame your face; they enhance symmetry and beauty. When you have a good brow, everything else falls into place. Since starting this eyebrow growth journey, I’ve seen an improvement in the fullness of my brows, particularly the right one. While my brows may never be as full as I would like them to, I do appreciate my results. It took a good 4-6 months of consistent use to see a difference in my eyebrows. I do tweeze stray hairs as needed. Now that I have a fuller brow, I am able to use eyebrow products that once didn’t always work for me. I’m happy with my results in both the eyelash conditioner and eyebrow serum.