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Beauty Featured Skin

Curly Hair & Silicones…What’s Really Bad (and Good!)

Curly hair does require special care. While there are lots of great resources online for important daily maintenance and styling tips — using a silk pillowcase, air drying or using a microfiber towel or T-shirt, etc. — we thought we’d add some information from a dermatological and formulation angle and address one ingredient in particular that has been flagged as “bad” for curly hair: silicones.

Is Silicone “Bad” For Curly Hair?

Several curly hair bloggers recommend no silicones in hair products. The bad rating seems to be based on the idea that silicones are not water soluble and therefore build up in curly hair. This is stated to be a concern for curly hair in particular because, as it is not washed daily, the silicones become saturated and weigh down the hair’s natural curls. When this happens, one then needs a “clarifying” shampoo to fully wash away the silicone buildup, and clarifying shampoos are too drying for curly hair.

This assumes two things: 1) something false about silicones (which we tackle further below), and 2) something true about many clarifying shampoos (they can indeed be too drying for curly hair…but there is more to this as well).

Diving Into Silicones

1) Allergenicity: Silicones are not allergens. This is notable because silicones are everywhere. The risk of allergenicity increases significantly when an ingredient is very common. Nickel, for example, is the top contact allergen and part of the reason why is its ubiquity (it’s found in almost every metal). Despite silicones being widely used in many products, the reports of contact allergies to them are extremely rare, and they are not in published allergen lists (these lists are based on patch tests done on almost 30,000 individuals). Silicone’s hypoallergenciity is important for sensitive skins and scalps, and can help reduce stress on the hair shaft, which is fundamental to curly hair care.

2) Anti-Inflammatory: In addition to not being allergens, silicones are normally well tolerated. Peer-reviewed published medical literature shows that dimethicone-based anti-acne regimens significantly had less erythema and dryness and could be used as a counter-irritant in formulations known to cause erythema and irritation; dimethicone added to sunscreens resulted in less irritation in patients with rosacea who tend to experience more irritation to common topical preparations; and silicones do not show comedogenic or irritant properties. Silicones, therefore, also have several benefits for the skin and scalp, including helping to lessen inflammation.

3) Environmental Concerns: In the case of nanoparticles, the concern is the potential buildup of silicones within the body. Nanoparticles (and this is a concern not just for silicone but for any ingredient in nanoparticle form) are very small molecules and there is a debate about their ability to penetrate beyond the skin to potentially cause harm inside the body. While there is still no definitive study or conclusion, we at VMV Hypoallergenics have chosen not use nanoparticles in any of our formulations. We have made this decision partly because of this concern but also because of another basic rule of hypoallergenicity: the smaller the particle size, the more an ingredient penetrates the skin, and the higher the risk of an allergic reaction. The particle size of silicones (certainly the ones we use) are large at 60 microns. The particle size that is inhaled and gets into the lungs and vessels is <10 microns.

4) Silicones and curly hair: It is highly unlikely that silicones cause buildup. Silicones tend to evaporate quickly (almost as quickly as alcohol), making buildup unlikely. They seem beneficial for curly hair as they provide additional slide, making detangling less risky (preventing the risk of breakage). Possibly more damaging to curly hair are strong detergents and other harsh ingredients, allergens, and irritants that tend to dry out hair, e.g. fragrance, dyes, amido-amine sulfates (e.g. cocamide-dea, cocamidopropyl, etc.) parabens, and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. These do tend to be present in clarifying shampoos…but not all. If you have curly hair and happen to need a clarifying shampoo because of another reason (like styling product buildup), there are options like Superwash that are allergen- and irritant-free, and that are non-drying.

In summary, because silicones evaporate almost as quickly as alcohol, it is unlikely that they’d build up in curly hair, even with infrequent shampooing…which also makes the need for a clarifying shampoo unlikely.

Dryness

Preventing dryness is fundamental to curly hair care. Dry hair is generally a result of physical injury to the hair shaft. Some common culprits include harsh shampoos such as some anti-dandruff shampoos; frequent hair color stripping and/or dyeing; or regular hair curling, heating or straightening treatments. Very gentle care is required to reduce the stress on stretched hair shafts (the same applies to broken cuticles).

A regularly prescribed technique by our founding dermatopathologist who cares for more extreme cases is:

  • Apply plain petroleum jelly or The Big, Brave Boo-Boo Balm before shampooing to provide a barrier that protects breaks in the hair shaft.
  • Shampoo hair with a very gentle shampoo such as Essence Clark Wash which is free of ingredients — such as dyes, fragrance, and preservatives — that can potentially break down hair.
  • Use a rich but non-irritating conditioner and virgin coconut oil for repair.

For an at-home deep hydration treatment, try this:

  • Shampoo and condition your hair. As much as possible, do not dry.
  • While your hair is wet, comb Know-It-Oil or Oil’s Well virgin coconut oil through your hair and cling wrap it.
  • Rinse after 30-60 minutes.
  • Let air dry.

Read more about how hypoallergenic helps dry hair and dry scalp. And try this for a great (hypoallergenic) hair pomade!


Laura is our “dew”-good CEO at VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of VMV’s founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister CC and husband Juan Pablo (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about health, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness, and spreading goodness (like a great cream!)

Categories
Beauty Featured

Scared To Try Something New? Start With…Lipstick!

I’ve been wanting to be better at trying new things. But being “better” is a really vague statement so I thought I needed something specific that I could do regularly, that pushed me a little each day. I wanted to start with something small and simple…but not too small. If I wanted to be pushed, I needed something with impact. Lipstick, surprisingly, fit the bill perfectly. Trying new lipstick shades is not a huge wardrobe investment, dramatic full-face makeover, drastic new haircut, or a month-long course in something…but trying colors I would normally never use was definitely a push out of my comfort zone! I’m a creature of habit so I end up using the same few colors over and over again. I committed to trying a new lip shade every day for a month. And, a big step for me, to document each one with selfies. The results were subtle…but kind of extraordinary.

First, I discovered that I liked several shades I never thought I could wear. And believe it or not, that’s like adding a whole new closet to your wardrobe. The same outfit with a different lip color looked new — it felt new, too. Second, I got more comfortable with myself. Selfies can be daunting if you’re not used to them. Every day, photographing myself in a new lip color, felt like…play! Third, some shades really did a (good) number on my mood. Bronzerella, I discovered, makes me feel powerful…like I can face anything. I learned that, like the right dress and shoes, I can pick shades based on what mood I’m in or need to be in. I regularly got a confidence boost. Which is a really nice plus!

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Lip color-wise, prior to doing this, my favorite colors were from our Lip Glosses: Tango, Cherry Fizz and Cabaret. They’re all basically variations of a cherry red/pink lip. After my new-lip-a-day trial, the ones I was most surprised by were:

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1) Velvet Matte Lipstick in Bikini Machine

I would have NEVER picked this shade. Honestly, I thought would blend in too much with my coloring, make my lips too pale, and make me look a bit, well, corpse-like. I was so pleasantly wrong, and instead it became my perfect almost-lilac lilac. I get that this might sound weird, but the end result was a totally different daytime look for me. I felt refreshed. Almost like a mini makeover.

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2) Lip Glitter Gloss in Speakeasy

I never usually wear deep colors like this, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this dark, almost-burgundy red. I even liked how it looked with no makeup on — sort of an extreme contrast to a natural look. And a super quick trip to look put-together when I don’t have time for more makeup.

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3) Velvet Matte Lipstick in Flamingo

Another surprise, as I don’t normally gravitate towards matte lipsticks. But I really liked this pale (but bright!) pink — completely different (for me) in a matte as it has a lady-like finish.

Step out of your own comfort zone and try new lip shades for yourself: it’s a simple process with surprising results that can open up your options, change the way you see things, and even make you feel braver to take on bigger challenges!

Check out my new-lip-color-a-day journey on Instagram…and I’d love to hear (to try myself!)what lip color did you think you could never use that ended up surprising you?

– CC

Categories
Beauty Healthy Living Skin Tip of the Week

Top 40 Skin, Makeup, Health & Happiness Tips!

Pause, please. 

40 years of published and awarded research on skin, hypoallergenicity, and clinically-effective care has led us more and more to this fact: what affects the skin is far more than what is applied on it.

Science is showing just how interdependent — how linked — all aspects of our health are. The care of skin cannot be separated from what we eat, how often we exercise, underlying health conditions, and how well we sleep and manage stress.

It’s time to pause, review, and share some of the most proven ways to care for all aspects of health — skin, body, and mind.

Categories
Beauty Featured

Bold, Matte Lips: Instant Energy

Bold matte lips in everything from juicy oranges to deep berries light up outfits…and your mood!

Watch how Velvet Matte Lipstick in punchy hues like Copa, Flamingo and (shown on Marie, above) Babe lift your energy faster than a double espresso.

Your lips get a health boost, too with ingredients like green tea and virgin coconut oil!

Categories
Beauty

Bright Eyes! Check Out This Playful, Modern Look!

By Jess Arnaudin

This icy ultramodern look is playful while still being professional. Barely-there nude or clear lipstick balances out the aquamarine blue lids. And the great thing about this set is that the eyeshadow comes in a duo (and you can re-create this same look using the gold powder for equally beautiful results!)

To get this Ultramodern Playful Look…

Products you’ll need:

 

All validated hypoallergenic, of course…because we did say playful, not hurtful!

How To “Dew” It in 4 Steps:

Step 1. Prep Skin
Start with a light moisturizer such as Hydra Balance Smart Moisturizer or a few drops of Know-It-Oil virgin coconut oil. Before the hydration has fully absorbed, use your clean fingertips to pat on Skin The Bluff Concealer in your unique shade (p.s. if you’re unsure, contact the NYC store; they are amazing at giving color match recommendations.) Use sparingly on areas such as under your eyes and to counteract any redness around your nose and chin.

Step 2. Playful Eyeshadows
Now it’s time for some fun! Add two drops of water to your Skintelligent Beauty Angled Eyeliner Brush then dip the brush into the blue shade in the Two True Hues Eyeshadow Duo in Life’s a Beach eye shadow compact. Tap off any excess then press the pigment into your lashline starting at the middle of lid (above your pupil and iris). Continue to use short strokes with the angled brush to sweep color up and out to the edge of eye (think the cat-eye, but more subtle).

Step 3. Defined Eyebrows
Wipe your angled brush clean, because we’re using it again. This time, with the brush pick up color from the (H)eyebrow Eye + Brow Liner in the shade that best matches your natural brows. Use short hair-like strokes to fill in any sparse areas of your brow and add length to the ends. Brows should look more defined, but never too “drawn on” or stark.

Step 4. Finishing Touch
Using a Skintelligent Beauty Brow and Lash Groomer brush a small amount of Boo-Boo Balm into lashes. Brush upward and then smooth outward. You can play with the brush or comb side of the tool for slightly different results. Lastly, swipe the same Boo-Boo Balm product on your lips to soften and hydrate. Top off in Sheer Lip Tint in Honey-Honey and you’re golden!

 


jarnaudin-ig-1may2016

 

Jess is an organic beauty coach and licensed esthetician, makeup artist, yoga teacher and beauty foodie! Follow her on instagram for her beautiful photography and expert tips for health, skin and soul!

Categories
Beauty

Brushes 101

By Jess Arnaudin

Using cosmetic brushes in your daily beauty routine is simple! VMV makeup ambassador Jess Arnaudin breaks down the basics…

For most women, owning an arsenal of beauty tools is both overwhelming and unnecessary. Say goodbye to cosmetic confusion with these five sublimely soft, skin-safe brushes.

Categories
Beauty

The Cat Eye: With This Hypoallergenic How-To, You Can WING IT Safely!

By Jessica Arnaudin

An understated, wispy cat eye is universally flattering and goes a long way towards brightening tired eyes. Worn with no bottom liner, the top lid takes center stage giving the face a fresh, well-slept appearance. 8AM meeting? Bring it on!

How To “Dew” It:

You’ll Need:

STEP 1: Prime Lids

First, prep your lid with a touch of allergen-free Skin-The-Bluff Concealer in the shade that best matches your skin tone. This will prime the area, ensuring a greater deposit of pigment and longer lasting wear time.

STEP 2: Line

Wet the bristles of your Skintelligent Beauty Eye Definer Brush with water and dip into the darkest shade of (H)eyebrow Brow + Eyeliner in “Brown”. This creates a wonderfully pigmented paste that works like a liquid liner.

Gently rest the brush at the base of your lashes near the outer corner of the eye and begin to stipple the color into the lash line. Focus on narrowing the line as you work inward toward the nose. Concentrate on staying close to the natural line of your lashes. This enhances your eye shape while staying soft.

Now that you’ve got your liner in place, again rest the brush at the outer corner of eye (the tapered tip of the brush should point inward toward your nose) and softly drag the line outward following the curvature of your lid. Symmetry is key and takes some practice!

You can continue to add thickness to the line depending on your desired look. Explore different methods from feathery light and wispy, to dramatically exaggerated (and every line in between)!

STEP 3: Lashes

Apply Ooh-La-Lash! Volumizing Mascara  one coat for a subtle, kittenish upturn, multiple coats for serious sex appeal (bring out your inner Sofia Loren).

That’s it: wings that don’t sting!

LIP TIP:

Go bold or go home! This eye is a big statement but it is angular, clean, and works beautifully against a power red like Velvet Matte Lipstick in “Va-Va-Voom,” “Light My Fire,” or “Castigada.” Or, mix it up as we did here: classic Subtle Shine Lipstick in “Big Red” topped with Lip Gloss in “Tango” (skincidentally, check out Into The Gloss’ lovely review of this shade 🙂

“SKINSIDER” TIP: 

For even more ‘wow’ use excess mascara from the tip of your Ooh-La Lash! Mascara wand and apply with an angled brush. You can use this to intensify the line you’ve just created!

Trouble choosing a shade online? Drop by VMV Soho or call us at (212) 217 2762 for makeup samples, a customized regimen, or help

 


jarnaudin-ig-1may2016

Jess is an organic beauty coach and licensed esthetician, makeup artist, yoga teacher and beauty foodie! Follow her on instagram for her beautiful photography and expert tips for health, skin and soul!

Categories
Beauty

Turn Drab Into FAB With These Four Gorgeous Looks!

The cold and dark can make it hard to get back into the rhythm of a new year…or to get out of bed! What can help? Makeup tricks that are super quick but deliver maximum impact. They help you get out of the door quicker but not look like you rushed it. Powerful makeup can be a great mood-booster, too, so you don’t just look more vibrant but actually feel like you’re ready to conquer the day. We asked master of simple makeup and busy mom Yciar Castillo for tips. Check out her winter beauty toolbox for us slow starters below.

by Yciar Castillo

Winter is the perfect season to use the year’s different makeup trends as inspiration to change up your look for the parties of the season, battling cold-weather blues, and starting the year of with confidence! Here are four easy looks to achieve (each one selfie-friendly, too!):

1. Classic Red Lips Against Dewy Skin

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First, even out skin tone with Skintangible “Faint”ation Skin-Refining Non-Makeup SPF30. This will give you light coverage with a fresh, dewy finish. Lightly fill-in brows — try (H)Eyebrow Brow Eye + Brow Liner in “Blonde” to make them look full but natural. Sweep on two coats of Ooh-La-Lash! Volumizing Mascara to emphasize lashes. Lastly, use a vivid Velvet Matte Lipstick to paint those luscious lips red-red (I used “Light My Fire” here.)

 

2. Barely-There Lips & Winter Cheeks

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Once done with your base (see above), dab some crème blush or lipstick on your cheeks and spread, making them look naturally flushed and dewy. Then coat puckers with a skin-toned Lip Gloss such as “Slip” just to give them some definition and shine. *For cheeks, we tried Yciar’s tip with both slip and Subtle Shine Lipstick in “Fifi,” above. For an even subtler lip but maxed-out care, try The Big, Brave Boo-Boo Balm (alone or on top of your lipstick!) – Ed.

 

3. Sunset-Hued Eyeshadow

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Copper shadow is all the rage this season. Make those peepers more interesting by sweeping Eyeshadow in “Dallas” on your lids and blend seamlessly. The idea is to give your eyes a bit of color while still looking natural…that the sunny color makes eyes look more awake and is such a mood lifter doesn’t hurt either.

4. Holy Smokes

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This is when you don’t fight the chill…you own it. A strong smoky eye is ideal for a fierce night out. And the heavy glamor factor psychs you up when the cold makes you want to party down with your sofa, Netflix, and a big bag of popcorn. This season, the focus is on the lower lash. Tightline those eyes (line the wet, inner areas of the line), making sure you deposit a lot of product on the bottom. With a pencil brush, use a black eyeshadow such Two True Hues Eyeshadow Duo in “Rockstar” to heavily smudge the lower lashline. Finish off with generous coats of Ooh-La-Lash! mascara.


Yciar2

Yciar is a makeup artist and jewelry designer who’s all about family, adventure, and keeping it simple — her philosophy is “makeup does not have to be complicated.”  Follow her on instagram to be inspired!

Categories
Beauty Healthy Living Skin Skinthusiasm

Skincare To Swipe Right On

You’re so good about eating well (your friends say you should start charging for tips), exercising daily (people call out your name when you walk into the gym), sleeping more, controlling stress, and being happier (your new nickname is sensei). For your skin, you’ve done your research (you’re on a first-name basis with beauty bloggers), you’ve become a formidable “skintellectual” and have your alpha hydroxies and antioxidants down (your dermatologist asked for your opinion about a new sunscreen). And you’ve finally, carefully chosen a skincare partner. This is the moment of truth: you’ve hit the end of what you can control. Your skin is now largely in the hands of the products you’ve selected to deliver on their promises and (please!) not cause damage you’ll have to correct later. Your power over your skincare product ends as soon as you put it on. Will it do what it says it does? Is it as safe as it says it is?

Skincare As Dating

We use the word “partner” for a reason. When dating, you work on you, scope out the options, identify a possibility, do some background checking, gauge his or her friends and then…you wait and see. Sometimes that trust is well placed and leads to a rewarding relationship. Other times, you’re let down. You might get hurt. You need time to recover. You’re left with scars.

Luckily, skincare needn’t entail as big a leap of faith as love. There are well-established standards of proof that are far more reliable than, “but he seemed so nice!”

Beauty is “Proof,” Proof Beauty

Slightly tweaked, Keats’ famous lines are an ode to that gold standard of scientific validity: the randomized, double-blind, evidence-based clinical study — which we at VMV Hypoallergenics have always done. Our investigative studies are scientifically robust and impressively so. One published study is eyebrow-raising; we have over 75. In the hyperbolic world of cosmetics, true beauty lies in evidence. Putting your faith in the double-blind study is far better than flying blind.

Research Terms To Swipe Right On

“Clinically tested” can mean lots of things. Some tests are more subjective, mainly consisting of people sharing their thoughts about a product (“99 out of 100 women say they saw an 80% reduction in wrinkles”). There is nothing wrong with this type of test, but it does rely primarily on the test subjects’ own opinions of what they see in the mirror, how they feel, and even how much they like the brand and the type of product they were given. Other tests use qualitative data like before-and-after photos. While helpful, these photographs are generally considered to be less conclusive than quantitative data such as objective measurements of certain biological aspects of the skin using specialized equipment. Rare in cosmetics, double-blind (meaning the subjects never know what they’re using). “Evidence-based” means randomized, double-blind trials with quantitative data — which is standard in prescription pharmaceuticals, and at VMV.

A Well-Rounded Partner

“Evidence-based” is in our safety as much as our efficacy. A study on our VH-Rating System, the only hypoallergenic “grading” system of its kind, was published in one of the leading journals on contact dermatitis and is proven to be effective at increasing customer safety, showing less than 0.1% reported reactions in 30 years. A new patch test study with multiple VMV products on hundreds of subjects showed zero irritant and allergic reactions, even in conditions allowing for greater contact of products on the skin and expected to produce reactions earlier and faster than normal. Another study on the non-comedogenicity of virgin coconut oil was presented at the American Contact Dermatitis Society (ACDS) meeting.

Our research includes investigative and case studies, too, and not just for cosmetics. Our research covers issues as diverse as nutrition and acne, psoriasis, pemphigus vulgaris, and mycosis fungoides (a type of cancer of the immune system). Such research is not cosmetic, but adds to our understanding of the skin, diseases, treatments, and treatment mechanisms. This knowledge contributes directly to how we develop all our products — from cosmeceuticals to basic care and even makeup.

One published study is a major achievement, unusual for cosmetics. We have over 75. We might be a skin health and beauty brand, but proof is our business.

proof

100% Skin Love

These medical measures are objective, well-proven, consistent and replicable. They reduce the risk of disappointment and adverse effects significantly.

It’s a pretty awesome thing, actually: unlike some dates, skincare that looks this good — this scientifically, objectively robust — “on paper” can be relied on. It will keep its promises. It will deliver. It’ll help you feel good, too. It’ll boost your confidence. It’ll never judge you, just help you. It’ll never ask you for anything in return. It’ll love you for life. It’ll love your friends and family. It’ll protect you. It’ll be loyal, and it’ll get more rewarding the longer you stay with it.

The skin is the body’s largest organ. It can show signs of internal problems before even a blood test, MRI or x-ray. Our skin is fundamental to how we live in the world. It controls our temperature, it expands and contracts as we need it to, it protects us. It is vital to how we sense fear and love. So much of intimacy and sexual attraction is about skin and touch. Skin-to-skin contact is important not just for sensuality but for us as humans  — studies have shown that babies suffer developmentally and physically by not being held enough; doctors advocate skin-on-skin contact between mothers and newborns for improved bonding, physical and emotional development and healing (even improved survival rates from body warmth). And our skin’s health is how we present ourselves to the world. Clear, healthy, vibrant skin is a great ingredient to that happy stew of goodness that helps you feel good about yourself.

Your relationship with your skin is not something to be taken lightly. At the very least, skincare should be expected to keep the promise built right into its name: care.

More Resources:

For more on testing at VMV, see About VMV: Our TestingAbout VMV: Clinical Studies, Published Articles, References or search skintelligencenter.com.

To shop our clinically-proven safe and effective products, visit vmvhypoallergenics.com. For help putting together regimen to help you achieve your skin goals, or for recommendations customized to your patch test results, ask us at (212) 217 2762.

Categories
Beauty Skin Uncategorized

Lip Service: 8 Ways To Pamper Your Pout

Did you know lip care is skin care?

Like the rest of your skin, your lips have a stratum corneum (the skin’s outermost layer) — but this protective layer is thinner on lips than on any other skin on your body. Combine that with a lack of oil glands (lips rely on saliva for moisture), absence of melanin (your skin’s natural pigment and protection against UV rays), and you’ve got one sensitive organ.

Your skincare just isn’t complete without lip care. Here are 8 ways to pamper your pout: