I’ve seen a world of a difference in my skin over the past couple of years and I have one gal to thank (Gaby Antonucci at Mosaic Salon–my non-secret, secret to the best my skin has ever looked!). I also think moving back to California in general (a healthier lifestyle and clean air) may have had a lot to do with it too… but giving Gaby all the credit she deserves! Every time I see her I just say–”make me look like Gaby!”–because she’s seriously glowing. Inside and out, I might add. She’s that girlfriend that I quiz on everything beauty, from products I should be using to what to eat for glowy skin… the list goes on. Plus over the past year she has helped me grow out / shape and achieve my dream of Olsen-girl brows. If you live in Sacramento I can’t recommend her enough–for facials, waxing, spray tans (she does the most natural spray tans I’ve ever had) brows, the works. So here’s what I’ve learned and a few new products I’m loving this month.
3-Step Cleansing (I’ve talked about this before but this was game-changing for me once I started a better nightly cleansing routine):
Proper cleansing is vital to ensure that your skin is a clean canvas ready to absorb all of the rejuvenating ingredients in your skin care products. The first cleanse should be done with a cleansing oil which is great for all skin types. Applied to dry skin, an oil cleanser removes makeup and any other oil-based product debris like sunscreen and pollution particles (love this one, and this one). The second cleanse should be done with a cleanser suitable for your skin type that can either be a cream or a gel base. The third and final cleanse should be done with an alcohol-free toner. This step removes drying chlorines and minerals found in tap water and rebalances the PH of your skin.
Best anti-aging ingredients to look for in your products:
As we age, our skin loses its capacity to retain moisture and becomes drier. In order for our skin to function properly it needs to be saturated in hydration. This amazing serum has the ability to hold 1,000 times its weight in water which literally showers your skin in luminous moisture that is essential for all skin types.
Not only do we need to take in antioxidants through our diet by eating fruits and vegetables, but we also need to apply it topically to the skin. Antioxidants protect the skin from extremely harmful free radicals that cause fine lines and wrinkles. Another great benefit is that they maximize our protection from the sun when used in conjunction with sunscreen. Try looking for a stable form of Vitamin C that contains L-ascorbic acid or BV-OSC (for skin that is sensitive to Vitamin C).
Retinol (one product I can’t wait to use again after I finish breastfeeding)
This fabulous vitamin A derivative unclogs pores, boosts collagen to reduce fine lines, and speeds up cell turnover to even out discoloration and smooth the skin. Retinol is an over the counter form of a more powerful retinoid–Tretinoin. This gentler, yet effective, form is a great alternative to prescription strength Retin–A which can sometimes irritate the skin.
Incorporating neuropeptides dramatically improves the appearance of skin’s tone and texture, while decreasing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It combats the appearance of crepey skin by re-energizing, hydrating, and increasing firmness. Neuropeptides contain multiple peptides delivered in a special base that allows the molecules to penetrate deeper into the skin, where they can activate receptor sites and achieve maximum benefits.
Plant Stem Cells
Plant stem cells can replenish themselves through self-renewal and have an almost limitless ability to divide. For example, Edelweiss extract is a centuries-old medicine that prevents the development of oxides that contribute to the aging process. It is derived from the Edelweiss flower, which grows at high altitudes in the Swiss Alps. Due to the harsh climate of this environment, the flower must produce substances to protect it from harmful elements, such as UV rays. Harvesting their potent power is a difficult process which is what plays a major role in the price of stem cell creams and serums, but in many researchers’ findings, it is well worth it.
One product I (Gaby) could not live without:
Dermaquest Hydrafirm Serum. This is literally my secret weapon in combating aging skin. It is a triple threat that contains hyaluronic acid, neuropeptides, and exotic plant stem cells all in one bottle.
Warm lemon water
Drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning is literally one of the easiest ways to achieve better skin. One cup of fresh lemon juice provides 187 percent of your daily recommended serving of vitamin C. Lemon juice also offers up a healthy serving of potassium, magnesium and copper. This simple drink helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes, and it helps to combat free radical damage. Vitamin C, and its alkaline nature, kills some types of bacteria known to cause acne, and it is vital for healthy glowing skin. You should be using purified water that is lukewarm. You want to avoid ice cold water because it takes alot more energy for your body to process. Always use fresh organic lemons. Squeeze a whole lemon in an 8oz glass of water, and drink it first thing in the morning before eating.
The blueberry is an antioxidant powerhouse. That deep blue color is related to high amounts of phytonutrients which aid in the process of neutralizing free radical damage in our cells. Over time, the collagen in our skin begins to deteriorate. Blueberries help to keep this from happening, with a high capacity for free-radical neutralization. They also have a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals to help restore hormone balance, which counteracts acne.
Two new product discoveries I’m loving this month from African Botanics (I can’t get enough of everything this plant based luxury skincare line comes out with–pricey but so worth it!)–their new Infinite Resurfacing Mask and Resurrection Cell Recovery Serum. I’ve been using the Resurfacing Mask once a week and in just 15 minutes it gives my skin the deeper exfoliation kick it needs. It’s masks like these that are great to use in-between my regular monthly facial appointments with Gaby. You need to really slough away the cells so the good stuff can penetrate through. This mask in conjunction with their Resurrection Cell Recovery Serum and Neroli Infused Marula Oil, both of which I use religiously and nightly, has helped refresh my skin from winter and give it a nice glow for spring.
Photography | Stephanie Russo