Category Archives: review

Kickboxing isn’t Just for Supermodels

A few months ago I was pouring over new workout routines to keep me from being bored out of my skull at the gym.  I happened upon a saucy little video of Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima indulging in her favorite exercise, kickboxing.   This gal is tough, and I was immediately obsessed with trying out the exercise she does to stay so gorgeous and toned.  I discovered that a load of other celebrities also use kickboxing to get their booties ready for the camera in a matter of weeks.  If it is good enough for Gwen Stefani and Angelina Jolie, it’s good enough for me.  An all or nothing girl, without ever taking a class in my life,  I walked in to Knuckle Up in Atlanta and signed up for a full year of unlimited kickboxing classes. I promptly outfitted myself with black wraps and pink gloves (even though I have been made fun of TWICE for wearing pink).  Pink boxing gloves make me happy, but hey I wear stilettos and pencil skirts to work everyday of my life….the spa goers and patients never blink an eye, unless I wear slacks, then they tell me they hope I get to feeling better soon.

My first class struck the chord of fear that lies deep in my belly.  I found a punching bag at the back of the room and pretended the 15 other people in the room were actually non existent.  This worked well until the instructor shouted at us orders to do 50 jumping jacks, 25 lunges each leg, 50 squats, then finishing us off with 20 burpees.  It was then that I looked around the room to see if any of the other folks had bulging eyes and full body tremors like I did.  They were all soldiering on, so I couldn’t very well be the only face down chum in the room gasping for air and calling it quits.  After that little  “warm-up”  we were ready to launch into the combinations.  Jab, Jab, right cross, left hook, right round kick, right round kick.  We repeatedly tore down our sand filled opponent, and I felt victorious making it through my first kickboxing class.  This is the only class that I have ever taken that qualifies doing 100 situps followed by holding plank for 1 full minute as a “rest period”.  They say that the average person plows through about 600-800 calories per class, and I fully believe it.  My livestrong app says that I burn about 600.  I have been going three times a week since the first of April, and I’m feeling pretty toned already.  I can’t wait to see what happens to my body after a few months of this.  Beware, high intensity exercise like this releases loads of endorphins, the best drug known to man, and it is highly addictive!

Perfect Foundation for Sensitive, Acne Prone, and Post Procedure Skin!

I was astounded when I found a website that promotes slathering on liquid foundation post laser skin peel (fractional ablative resurfacing).  I would never dream of putting makeup on freshly lasered skin, but the concept was very appealing.  I imagined the swarms of beautiful girls leaving my treatment room with gorgeous glowing skin instead of flaming red and goopy with Aquaphore.  I promptly called the company and began trials with my post peel clients.  They were completely astounded by how the foundation cooled their skin down and covered every trace that they had just gone under the laser!  The foundation is called Oxygenetix and is an aloe vera based liquid foundation that covers like a breathable second skin. Sensitive skin loves this light weight calming product and it is perfectly safe and even healing after procedures such as resurfacing, microdermabrasion, and FotoFacials.  Most of my clients become addicted to this foundation and continue to use it after they have healed from their procedures.  It gives the prettiest soft glow you can get from a bottle, and despite being used as a camouflage makeup, is very light weight and virtually flawless.

Immediately post Pixel skin resurfacing.

Don’t let the fear of down time and having to hide after your laser treatment keep you from aging sexy!  Get your gorgeous paws on Oxygenetix before going under the beam.

We carry this at Chastain Wellness Studio in Atlanta, Ga.  404-252-6662

Are You Using the Best Cleanser For Your Skin?

First a quick A & P lesson: What does your skin do for you?  A cool .05 inches thick, it protects your body from alien invaders, expels toxins and locks in water so that you don’t shrivel up like a prune.  The layer that we are most obsessed with in the beauty world is the saucy little horny layer known as the stratum corneum.  It is called the horny layer because the cells are cornified  and rough in order to serve it’s protective purpose.  This is the layer that is continuously being sloughed off.  The cells are held together with sticky fatty glue making your most glamorous layer of skin waterproof.  Overlying the stratum corneum is the acid mantle. This is a very thin layer of fatty  (oil), sweat, and proteins with an acidic ph of 4- 6.5.

How Cleansers Work:  Your cleanser must be formulated with the pH of the acid mantle in mind….A pH higher than 7 is alkaline and very drying to skin, while a pH of 5-7 will be more moisturizing.  If your cleanser leaves your skin feeling tight and dry after washing your face- it is stripping the acid mantle, and you need a new cleanser. Check your labels- look for ingredients that are known to effectively and safely clean the skin>> isohexadecane, DEA, and sodium lauryl sulfate. Never use soap to wash your face (most soaps have a pH of  9 or higher!)  Cleansers are not all created equally and must be formulated for your skin type.

Choosing Your Cleanser: 

Oily and acne prone skin- clearly has more fats, bacteria, and grime to clear away.  Your face wash should contain salicylic acid and/or alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic acid or glycolic acid. Recommendations: AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel by Renée Rouleau, Facial Wash Oily/Problem by PCAdD Budget Beauty OptionAlba Pineapple Skin Enzyme Facial Cleanser.

Dry and sensitive skin- needs a cleanser with properties that moisturize.  Look for creamy formulas containing emollients and/or lactic acid.  Recommendations: Skinceuticals Gentle Cleanser, Boscia Soothing Cleansing Cream, Obagi’s Rosaclear Sensitive Skin Cleanser.  dD Budget Beauty OptionCetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser.

Combination Skin– A glycolic acid cleanser should work great for you.  Recommendations-Vivite Facial Cleanser, Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 3% Facial Wash . dD Budget Beauty Option: Smart Essentials Pore Purifying Facial Wash by Aveeno

What is in a Smashing Skin Care Routine?

Skin care.  Sounds easy enough.  Slather on lotions, creams, serums and sunscreens in hopes of slowing down the heavy hand of age, and hope for the best.  Hope for the best? Hope is not exactly who I want in the ring as I fight off father time.  I want heavy hitters and appropriate ingredients that will help me maintain my dewy fresh skin and make my foes a little jealous!  Enter the routine:

Cleanse-  Your cleanser needs to be chosen based on your skin quality: Are you Oily, Dry, Sensitive, or combination.  Dry skin tends to do well with creamy cleansers.  Oily and problem skin does well with low PH washes and lactic acid.  Sensitive skin does best with very mild cleansers with calming ingredients.

Exfoliate- Only the finest of exfoliants should come in contact with your precious face.  Steer clear of coarse grainy exfoliators such as St. Ives.  These particles nick the skin and cause irritation and redness. Choose exfoliants that are gentle and only use them up to 3 times weekly.  Also build in retinoids at night and/ or glycolic acid as daily chemical exfoliators (to be used after toning).  The best approach is to allow your dermatologist, nurse, or esthetician assist you in choosing exfoliation appropriate to your skin type and quality.

Tone- this step restores the PH balance of the skin and  prepares your skin for the absorption of other ingredients.

Treat- Remember “clear before creamy!” The order of application is very important! Serums, gels, creamy serums, lotions, then creams for best penetration!

Moisturize- acts as a barrier.  petroleum is not the most popular kid in class, but this heavy-duty moisturizer is a must for dry skin.  Water based formulas that are non-comedegenic are best for oily skin.  Sensitive skin formulas should contain chamomile, bisabolol, or green tea and clay.

Protect- look for a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 and Zinc or Titanium based, and don’t skimp!  Sunscreen is the single most important product in your arsenal.  Every single day, you must put on sunscreen no matter if you plan to be outside or not. My clients hide from me if they have a tan or sun burn because I threaten bodily harm:)

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My Skin:  Oily, sensitive, acne prone.

My Routine:  I am a skin care junkie, but no matter what I rotate in or out of my routine this is what I end up going back to.

Day: Obagi- Rosaclear Gentle Cleanser, Obagi- Toner, PCA Rejuvenation Serum, Obai C-serum 10% (only around my eyes) followed by IS Youth Eye Serum, Obagi Rosaclear Calming Hydrator, PCA Perfecting Proctection SPF 30.

Night: Obagi- Rosaclear Gentle Cleanser, Obagi- Toner, tretinoin 0.25%, Obagi Rosaclear Calming Hydrator

Weekly: PCA gentle exfoliant 3 times weekly

Monthly: Facial with extractions

Yearly: VI Peel 2-3 times a year

Day 2 of my 3rd VI Peel of the year. ~

Taurus Beauty Horoscope

Happy Birthday Taurus! 

Take heart precious bull, while this month will put you face to face with your need to make some difficult changes in your life, you are strong willed and it will be the start of something beautiful that will last for many years.  Use this month’s restlessness to your advantage- even though you may be afraid take the leap!  It may be a stormy month but your sexiness is at an all time high.   Now is the time to make a drastic change in your appearance so if you’ve been wondering whether to go platinum blonde or raven black with your hair, do it!  Your air of confidence will only intensify if you take charge of those little wrinkles that are starting to appear around your eyes from all of the weariness this past year.  Your beauty homework- Resurface your face with a Pixel Perfect laser treatment.

Nu-Derm Sun Shield SPF 50 Voted #1 by SELF Magazine Readers | Obagi

“Best Sunscreen for Face, SPF 50+: Obagi Nu-Derm Sun Shield SPF 50″- Self Magazine 

Self Magazine Voted our Best Selling Obagi Sunscreen #1 because of it’s great texture!  Just in time for beach season.  This is certainly something to toss in your bag for prevention of gross sun damage….just think- no wrinkles, no sunspots!  Top of the line sun protection is one of  the Derma Darling secrets to aging sexy.  Get addicted to this elegant little tube of wonders.

This firming wonder “felt exactly like a really nice moisturizer, not a thick sunscreen. And it’s SPF 50! What more could I want?” a pleased tester asks.”

Sugarcoated Darling!

How sweet it is to slow down and wallow in all things girly.  I booked an appointment for my classic 1920’s style manicure at the adorable little boutique nail salon, Sugarcoat.   Free valet, a bottle of vino, and a meticulous manicure  do great things for the soul, and I would venture to say there is no better place in Atlanta to make that happen.   This sassy little gem in the heart of a city that boasts a nail salon on every corner is a breath of fresh air with it’s pink decor, chandeliers, and cult products.  Not only do the gorgeous girls with perfect eyebrows give the most sanitary manicure I have ever had, they send you home with a little pink pouch with your own file and buffer so that they are never shared!  It is day 4 of fanatical handwashing  since my mani and there is not a chip in sight!

The woes of Tretinoin

So, you are on Tretinoin and your face is a mess.  Redness and peeling around the mouth, fine lines around the eyes, a new breakout, and cracking make up are par for the course during the first 12 weeks.  What’s a social butterfly to do?  Follow these tips to get through the “transformation” phase-

1.  If your skin is the least bit wet when you slather on your “tret”, it will increase absorption and be far more irritating.  Wash your face, dry well, and then wait a good 10 minutes to apply.

2.  Make sure to measure your tret and use Obagi’s blender with it.  If you use more than recommended, you will be wretched with cracked skin.

3.  You maybe excited to see results, but for your sanity do not apply more frequently than every 72 hours for the first 2 weeks.  Increase frequency every 2 weeks until you can tolerate every night.  Some people, like yours truly, will not ever be able to tolerate this heavy weight anti ager every night.  Don’t rush it!

4.  Take advantage of Obagi’s Tolereen or an over the counter hydrocortizone cream if you become very irritated.  Don’t use it for more than a day or two because frequent use of hydorcortizone will thin your skin and actually increase the potential for irritation.

Dealing with the mid-day wily cracking makeup shenanigans

~ Gently massage your face in the shower to remove some of the dead skin (very gently!- I normally never recommend manual exfoliation with tret, but you are going to do it any ways, so you might as well know how to do it safely:) 

~ Dry your skin and apply your AM obagi system or whatever skin care line you are using ending with a great sunscreen.

~  Apply your make-up.  I recommend a nice mineral make-up like Glo-minerals or Jane Iredell for their amazing ability to conceal redness.  Use a light hand to avoid the dry cakey look. 

~  You may notice some peeling or cracking around the mouth/nose in about 4-5 hours.  Go to the powder room and apply the Obagi moisturizing cream Action and touch up your mineral makeup. 

I hope these tips help with the aggravation of starting tretinoin.  The results and benefits make it so worth it.  Everyone over the age of 25 should have this in their prevention routine.

Disclaimer:  These are tips that I have discovered to work for me and my clients over the past couple of years.  Please consult your doctor or nurse.  There are different methods and beliefs regarding the protocol and efficacy of using tretinoin with other skin care lines.