Facial Massage 101

You may be wondering-What is facial massage? Is it necessary? Where does one go to get a facial massage? I’m just a spring chicken, do I really need to be doing this? The answers to which were all answered at the CAP beauty event I attended on the very subject.

Kerry and I are no strangers to facial massage. A few years ago we became enamored by the technique through an ITG article and for a period of time following we strived to incorporate this treatment into our daily skin regimens. The intended result-higher cheekbones, a less tense expression and no more puffy eyes (it is also said to minimize RBF.) There are many styles and techniques used for facial massage. All of which are centered around one main goal: to drain the lyphmatic system of the face, which creates a more even skin tone, a relaxed expression and a natural, healthy glow. 

I have found the ITG video to be simplest in the form of guidance and the most effective. As I watch this at night, UK based facialist Alexandra Soveral’s soothing accent slowly becomes a sort of mini mediation for me while I apply my arsenal of products (see below.)

After seeing an Instagram post, I decided to go to a refresher course at one of my favorite beauty stores in the city: CAP beauty. I attended the opening of the store a year ago and instantly knew I would love it upon learning they buried rose quartz in the foundation and across every threshold of the spa rooms. CAP offers an incredible selection of curated products and informative, fun events all centered around the concept that “beauty is wellness…wellness is beauty.” A notion with which we are whole-heartedly on board.

The event was led by Stephanie Brown, who is CAP’s resident ‘skin whisperer.’ She introduced the lesson saying “there’s really no point in using all these great products if we don’t know how to properly apply them.” Turns out, the combination of potent facial serums and oils with massage is the key to optimal facial wellness. 

She went on to explain that the time we take to nourish and care for our bodies should be extended to the care of our faces. The muscles in the face are used every single day in the many expressions we make and the stress that we retain. However, very rarely do we stretch or massage these muscles, as we do without question to our bodies after a rigorous workout. Facial massage is essential in stimulating and toning our facial muscles, with the added bonus of brightening our complexion and rejuvenating dull skin. As for age-appropriateness for this method, Stephanie says it is equally important for those in their twenties to massage their faces as it is for people in their thirties and above. We too experience stress in our work environments, and especially in the constant squinting and furrowing we do inches away from our computer and phone screens.

Whether you’re into draining your lymph or not,  you believe that facial massage can benefit your skin and overall health, or you just have 5 minutes to kill, I recommend that you treat yourself to a pick me up. You might just do your inner and outer self a real favor, and if anything it is a nice relaxing way to look like a freak in the comfort of your own home.

Below are some of our favorite facial oils/serums we swear by. To borrow a quote from CAP; Your most radiant self starts here….

MV Skincare Pure Jojoba

This oil is gentle enough for even the most sensitive and leaves your skin as soft as a baby’s bottom

Herbivore Botanicals Phoenix Facial Oil

Our newest brand obsession offers our favorite oil in a set, with a rollerball ideal for travel facial massage

One Love Organics Vitamin C Serum

While this is by definition a serum, the consistency is perfect for massage and has been a cult product of ours for years

Kahina Giving Beauty Serum 

Another new addition to our list, Kahina’s pairing of argan and coffee oils instantly perks up my skin

One-Two Punch

If you’ve learned anything about us from our little blog, you know that we’re advocates of wearing sunscreen year-round. But if you’re one of those who doesn’t consider SPF until the temperature starts rising, we have a quick solution for you: make it simple. Pick one for your face, one for your body and move on with your summer.

For your face:

MDSolarSciences MD Creme Mineral Beauty Balm SPF 50 has a light and airy texture thanks to its innovative whipped formula. It’s great worn under makeup or own its own with a matte finish. The best part about this sunscreen is that it includes antioxidants like Vitamin C, green tea and pomegranate extracts.

For your body:

Beautycounter Protect All Over Sunscreen SPF 30 is a non-nano zinc oxide based formula without those white streaks that are usually associated with a non-chemical sunscreen. Add in a subtle citrus scent and hydrating aloe vera and if you’re daring, you could get away with this all year long.

(Images 1, 2)

Duped: All Tied Up

When Tory and I spend time at the outlets together, it’s both stressful and exhilarating. We run around like chickens with our heads cut off hoping for the deal of the century. While there were no $25 Ralph Lauren cashmere flares this year, we did find what we think is the best Aquazzura dupe that we ever did see. We stumbled upon the Sam Edelman Zavier Pump in a flurry of excitement at Saks Off Fifth. An “ankle-wrap pump in buttery soft suede” with a more friendly heel height is always a must on our list. We suggest you take advantage of this weekend’s sale and seek them out. Happy hunting!

(Images 1, 2)

Teddy Up

Now that freezing temperatures are officially here to stay, I’m taking a note from one of my favorite style icons, Carine Roitfeld. Carine’s outerwear game is the best in the business, bar none. One particular style she sported has been peaking my interest as of late: teddy wear. Not to be confused with the polar opposite attire it shares a name with, the sight of a teddy coat alone is so warm and inviting. I was in denial of the cold during the past few weeks of fall but given the forecast I’m ready and willing to engulf myself in oversized coats. Two options for you to peruse: my unrealistic wish list contains the never gonna happen options…but it’s always fun to dream. And on my more attainable wish list are some items that are perfect to bundle myself up in without leaving me penniless.

 (Images via Pinterest)

Duped: The Loafer Edition

tallshortburgundyDespite our commitment to lack of color in our wardrobes, there are certain hues that simply cannot be ignored. For the fall, that color is burgundy. The deep and sultry tone is the perfect complement to the influx of camel already available in our closets. We’re thinking shoes are the best way to jump in feet first: these loafers from Everlane and Target are our tall and short picks this week. If you’re ready to fully commit, Everlane’s first foray into shoes can do you no wrong at $165 (but look like they’re hundreds more). If you just want to dip a toe into the burgundy pool, Target’s penny loafers will run you $28 and last all season.

(Images 1, 2)

How The Sun Sees You

My friends know me all too well-sending an email with the subject “what happens to your face when you wear sunscreen might shock you” was sure to hook me. I promptly watched the video attached and forwarded it along. It is an eye-opening reminder to thoroughly cover up during these last few weeks of summer {as well as all the other days of the year}. We’ve written about our love of sunscreen before but have since discovered new favorites. For face I love both the Neem Rose Sunscreen from Pratima and The Perfect Sunscreen from Consonant, and for body the Beautycounter Protect All Over is great. Just because you don’t see the sun, doesn’t mean it doesn’t see you…

Full House

bed2I’m moving into a new place very soon and, surprise surprise, I’m being a little indecisive about what I want the final product to look like. My main concern is decorating my bedroom, but there still aren’t enough Pinterest home decor boards in the world to help me hone my vision. One thing I do know is how I want my space to feel: calm, serene and balanced. Every time I ask for Tory’s help she just tells me to look into Feng Shui followed by a quick disclaimer: “Though I really don’t know anything about it..” Well what do we when we don’t know about an ancient Chinese art that dates back thousands of years? We educate ourselves.

Feng Shui is all about using energy flow and environmental factors, or “ch’i”, with the understanding that your outer surroundings affect the course of your life whether it’s your relationship, career or health. When translating Feng Shui practices to the home, the goal is to create an environment that is in harmony with your energy. Feng Shui (literally meaning “wind and water”) teaches you how to guide the energy of everything you bring into your home (even inanimate objects) and let it flow freely. I quickly learned that my goal of creating a balanced room is exactly what the principles of Feng Shui intend for your space. Here are the Feng Shui bedroom tips I’m focusing on for my big move:

Clean house, literally – There is no sense in using the principles of Feng Shui when your home (or room) is cluttered. Remove all unwanted and necessary items from the space before moving forward with a design plan.

Head of the bed – The head of the bed should be on wall farthest from the door but not directly across from it. When your feet are pointed directly out the door this is known as the “coffin position” because it’s how the dead are removed from China. I wish I was kidding.

The rest of the bed – Don’t store anything below it. It sends out energy and does not allow the ch’i to flow under and around the bed while you sleep. The bedroom is a private space and needs to be protected.

Toss the television – It’s not ideal to bring a public thing, like a TV, into a bedroom as it disrupts the energy. If you must have one, hide it in a cabinet to keep it from being a focal point.

Balance comes from symmetry – The calm Feng Shui feel comes from a combination of masculine and feminine, the safety and comfort of soft linens and a sturdy headboard, and night stands and lamps that frame and protect the bed.

Odds and ends – Place the shoes in your closet facing out, it channels progress. Black tourmaline discharges negative energy and rose quartz vibrates your heart chakra. Bring fresh flowers in whenever possible. When you get to the end of this tutorial a little skeptical and not sure where to start…go into your room, close your eyes and if you feel good, you’re probably doing something right.

 (Sources 1, 2, 3 – Image via Crush Cul de Sac)

PSA: Jules Smith Americana Choker

Choker

Consider this your public shopping announcement – we thought why share these deals with each other and not let you guys in on the fun? In the first of hopefully many we present to you: this gem of a choker necklace. We’ve had our eyes on them and admired many but we were waiting for the price to be right. This Jules Smith Americana Choker is, in ours eyes, perfect. A simple gold design with a slight curve for a cool twist. Our favorite part: it has an open back so it can be worn with the opening either way (we love dual-purposed items).

(Image via)

Make It Count

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About two months ago I was perusing Instagram and came across an invitation for a conversation being hosted by some consultants of BEAUTYCOUNTER at a store in NYC. I recalled seeing the name as well as gold embossed bottles numbered 1, 2, and 3 popping up around the green beauty blog circuit and visited the website. The three pillars that stuck out to me instantly were that it is chic, safe,  and effective. Check, check, check. I decided to stop by the event and see what it was all about. I immediately was greeted by one of the most welcoming, energetic and friendly people I have ever met: Annie Sullivan. She told me about why she joined the team and after some chatting we found out that we live in the same town! We instantly bonded and have developed a great friendship (she was even kind enough to include Kerry and I on her blog as featured fabulous females!) Not long after Annie graciously hand delivered a sample kit to my door I was hooked. I  have to admit that I am nothing short of obsessed with this brand and this movement.

Fast forward to last Thursday, Annie informed me that the CEO Gregg Renfrew was going to be speaking at an event two blocks from my house. Even though I already knew quite a lot about the brand, I wanted to meet this inspiring woman I had read all about. Gregg Renfrew is one of the most chic and savvy businesswomen I have ever encountered. She was a consultant to Jessica Alba for the starting of The Honest Company (another one of our favorites!) Looking like she breezed in right out of a J. Crew catalog with an all black ensemble and a white blazer draped over her shoulders, she instantly captivated the room. It began with this video:

The Truth Is Inside

Gregg mentioned that she noticed women were concerned with eating healthy and organic and how much they were exercising but there was a missing piece of the puzzle: they were all knowingly putting up to 12 beauty products a day (containing hundreds of chemicals) onto {ergo into} their bodies and not thinking twice about it. Gregg learned that “1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women in the US will be diagnosed with cancer; our children’s generation is the first that is sicker and may die younger than their parents.” The startling facts continued with: the U.S has only banned 11 total ingredients in cosmetics (compared to the more than 1,400 banned in Europe) and the last law passed for cosmetics was in 1938. How do you spell scary? Working directly with celebrity makeup artist Christy Coleman and the EWG (you know why we love this) over the course of four years they developed what has now provided over 250,000 safe products across the U.S. Gregg stressed how they set out to make products that were safe but also something that made women feel sexy and beautiful as opposed to the hemp container products found in Whole Foods. They ultimately chose to sell the brand through consultants because of the belief that the sharing of important information was equally as vital and getting these products out there. It couldn’t be sold in brick and mortar locations because the story behind it was crucial in the exchange of goods. The line is also available via e-commerce as Gregg recognized the obvious necessity of this in our digital age (each product on the site is accompanied by its EWG rating and a surplus of knowledge.) My current favorites include: the Lustro Face Oil 1, Gentle Exfoliator Polishing Cream, The Nourishing Cleansing Balm and the newly released Sunscreen that was just chosen as one of  Goop’s top safe sunscreen picks. I encourage you to read about this incredible company’s mission and if you’re in the Long Island/New York City area contact Annie for information. Being someone whose appreciation for effective and clean products is growing everyday, I now consider Beautycounter a staple in my life and on my vanity.

(Image via Beautycounter)

 

Patriotic Duty

1-American-Beauty_Cover_132443320225.jpg_gallery_maxBy now we think you might understand our mutual penchant for wearing A.B.E.s (all black ensembles) in the colder months. It’s easy, classic, and allows you to repeat clothing without much notice. There’s definitely an art to the A.B.E. and we work all winter to master it. But in the warmer months, while we won’t be wearing as much black, you won’t necessarily find us wearing bright pops of color and wild patterns either. In keeping with the lean closet movement, snatching up those items would mean that our closet lacks the versatility and functionality we need when (hopefully) packing our bags almost every weekend to head out to some refreshing body of water. The solution = the all white ensemble. Not much makes up an all white ensemble and therein lies the beauty of the outfit. Ours most often consists of a crisp pair of white jeans and a light cotton top. No muss, no fuss.

As we come into the hottest part of the summer, the all white ensemble is our style prescription to you this 4th of July. We believe that it’s your duty in the US of A to employ the colors of our beautiful country and why shouldn’t you look fantastic while doing it. If you’re bold and want to take it one step further, throw on a red lip. Go wild! It’s a free country! And if people accuse you of lack of patriotism…do not go quietly into the night. Assure them that white on white is American chic at it’s finest.

(Image via Vogue)

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