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Hello, 

welcome to SKINCARMA!

These are the musings of a skincare junkie + writer + brand guru with 25+ years of product wisdom put into action to demystify skin care. 


You can change your skin’s destiny.™

BRANDS I 🖤 AND BELIEVE IN : e.l.f. facial skincare
Snails are cute, but I don't want their slime on my skin.

Snails are cute, but I don't want their slime on my skin.

Look, I'm all about really great skin care. Period. I don't care about hyped up marketing spin, sexy colorful packaging, or the newest trendy ingredient extracted from rare South Korean snails. And you shouldn't either. What's important is that your skin is being fed, that it gets the nourishment it needs to stay healthy and youthful. In fact, healthy skin is youthful skin. Every day, your skin loses moisture, water, lipids, collagen, vitamins, elastin, amino acids — and the list goes on. And if it's going to remain healthy, and function at the level it needs to stay youthful and perform it's defensive function, you've got to revitalize and replenish all of that — and more. I'm always a little creeped out, for some reason, by the phrase, "skin is the body's biggest organ." I think it's because a yakky marketing director I worked with used to say it. But it's true; as annoying as she was, she was right! As such, it's also the most exposed organ. Like wearing your heart on your sleeve, the organ called "skin" is exposed to harm. So, protecting skin, replenishing skin, nourishing skin, doing whatever it takes, giving it whatever it needs, is the only answer. 

And none of that needs to cost a lot.

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Skin care is like food. Whether you eat a $45 filet mignon or a $4 chicken breast, you're giving your body the protein and nutrients — the fuel it needs to recharge, perform and function at an optimal level. (If you're a vegetarian, my apologies for this particular analogy.)

Brands like Deciem's The Ordinary and e.l.f. have proven time and again that pro-skin health, well-formulated products can be made inexpensively and be made accessible to everyone. I know e.l.f. is a pop culture sensation for its inexpensive makeup. Makeup doesn’t have to be expensive either. Doesn’t like one German company make all the kohl pencils in the world — whether it’s labeled Charlotte Tilbury, Chanel or NYX?! Don't quote me, I read it somewhere a long time ago and never forgot it.

I read somewhere that all the kohl pencils in the world are made by the same company!

I read somewhere that all the kohl pencils in the world are made by the same company!

Back to the little engine that could: e.l.f. Most people don’t think of e.l.f. for its skin care, though. But, as someone who meticulously analyzes product ingredient labels, I can assure you, the formulators at e.l.f. nail it with skin care as well as they do with their makeup — the products are first-rate and devoid of nearly all common skin irritants, save for a tiny amount of fragrance listed last on many of the ingredient lists, and thus highly unlikely to cause irritation.

e.l.f.'s Hydrating Water Essence is $10 and a near-perfect formula.

e.l.f.'s Hydrating Water Essence is $10 and a near-perfect formula.

One of my fave face treatments from e.l.f. is the Hydrating Water Essence. It's been my "skin ish" lately as the toning step in my AM and PM regimens. It's 100% vegan and cruelty-free, and part of e.l.f.’s new range of hydrating formulas — all well-made and packed with good-for-skin, replenishing ingredients in the form of moisturizing non-fragrant plant oils, humectants, vitamins, antioxidants and hydrators. Aside from the minuscule amount of fragrance, the ten-dollar Hydration Water Essence is a perfect formula.


The ingredient list of e.l.f.'s Hydrating Water Essence is loaded with good stuff for skin:

Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Trehalose, Niacinamide, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Extract, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Extract, Cyclodextrin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium PCA, Urea, Polyquatemium-51, Triacetin, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Water, Coceth-7, PPG-1-PEG-9 Lauryl Glycol Ether, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Disodium EDTA, Xanthum Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance (Parfum)


e.l.f.'s Hydrating Bubble Mask feels great, leaves skin fresh and costs $14.

e.l.f.'s Hydrating Bubble Mask feels great, leaves skin fresh and costs $14.

Another real skin treat for me has been the Moisturizing Sleeping Mask. You snooze, you lose! And when you apply a really good sleep mask right before bed, you never lose. Skin always wins. The e.l.f. Moisturizing Sleeping Mask is a simple, well-formulated sleep mask with a super light texture that perfectly comforts skin in warmer weather. I know I don’t want anything too heavy on my skin right now because it’s not going to be absorbed — even throughout the night. All of that goop on my face is just not necessary. Why overdo it?! Your skin doesn’t need it in the hot summer when the humid air isn't sucking moisture out of your skin like a dry sponge.

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And that’s why I love this treatment. It’s infused with soothing aloe, vitamin E, jojoba oil and skin-comforting fatty acids derived from olives. There’s nothing irritating or harmful in the formula like wicked fragrant plant oils (I wouldn’t expect that from e.l.f.!) — the last thing you want in an occlusive formula that sits on your skin overnight, and a common mistake made by way too many brands. You know that fragrant burst you get from lavender oil, orange oil, bergamot oil and rose oil? Those aromatic molecules disrupt skin integrity. Go ahead, smell them till your heart's content. But don't put them on your skin! 

By now, you probably know that I'm The Mask King™. Sleeping masks, detox masks, antioxidant masks, hydrating masks, cleansing masks, sheet masks...masks, masks, masks! To me, they're the icing on the skincare cake. That extra, decadent little treat you just can't resist, don't want to skip — and shouldn't. The  e.l.f. Whipped Plumping Mask reminds me of nearly everyone's fave sugary treat growing up. Yes, I'm talking about Cool Whip!

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The Whipped Plumping Mask is a fluffy, cushiony, rich hydrating mask loaded with botanical extracts and hydrators that are just plain good for you (unlike the aforementioned Cool Whip.). As with all of e.l.f.’s skin care, it seems too good be true. This mask is ten dollars. You could be forgiven for expecting it to be a jar of nothing-good-for-skin. Well, it is good for skin — great for skin, in fact! It’s actually a really nice blend of cucumber extract, sugar maple extract, aloe vera, and fatty acids. At a high level, ingredient #4 is caprylic/capric triglyceride, a super skin-replenishing emollient derived from coconut oil. It's one of the best emollients you can put on your skin. Things that are good for you don’t have to be expensive. And, in fact, they rarely are. Love is free, isn't it? And what I love is how smooth this mask feels going on and love even more how super soft and nourished my skin feels for hours after. It’s as enjoyable as big heaping bowl of Cool Whip™ — with none of the guilt.

Seriously, give e.l.f.'s skin care a look. They're well-made formulas that are great for your  skin. And in most cases, my two trips to Joe & The Juice yesterday cost me as much. 

Psst...All e.l.f. skincare products are free from parabens, sulfates, and phthalates, too. 

🖤 SKINCARMA 

📺Check out my IGTV channel on my Skincarma IG  page for video reviews of many of my fave e.l.f. products — and more!

I wrote this blog at Joe & The Juice and it cost me more than an e.l.f. mask. Just sayin.

I wrote this blog at Joe & The Juice and it cost me more than an e.l.f. mask. Just sayin.

PRODUCTS I 🖤 AND BELIEVE IN : Dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner 👃🏼

PRODUCTS I 🖤 AND BELIEVE IN : Dr. Brandt Pores No More Vacuum Cleaner 👃🏼

PRODUCTS I 🖤 AND BELIEVE IN : Deciem's NIOD Flavanone Mud

PRODUCTS I 🖤 AND BELIEVE IN : Deciem's NIOD Flavanone Mud