Ask VMV Skin

World Traveler Skincare: Top 9 Travel Skincare Tips

Ever gotten off a plane thinking, I wonder if my epidermis is in baggage claim? Or put mentholated vaginal wash on a rash after desperately trying (and failing) to navigate a pharmacy in a foreign country? What about an epic breakout the night before a big meeting or your best friend’s beach wedding? Skincare can’t be suspended just because you’re not at home. We asked the most peripatetic people we knew…how do you keep skin happy when traveling? Holly Byerly, Senior Esthetician and Brand Educator for VMV Hypoallegenics put together these 9 top skincare and beauty tips to help keep your skin in ship shape throughout your journey.


1. Passport. Phone. Regimen.


Pack your essentials. “It’s important to maintain your routine. Travel with the products that work well for you instead of making do with hotel amenities or nothing at all. Even a week away from your regular skin care can make you regret it.” This means keeping up your daily sunscreen, too!

Holly packs SuperSkin Care Hydra Balance Smart Cleanser, Hydra Balance Cleansing Scrub and Hydra Balance Smart Moisturizer, plus Know-It-Oil, The Big, Brave Boo-Boo Balm and Armada Face Cover 30 sunscreen.

2. Pre-Flight: Go Lightly.


Head to your flight with a clean and freshly hydrated face, free of foundation and powder.

If you feel too naked, opt for a few dabs of Skin-The-Buff Concealer, a Sheer Lip Tint and Ooh-La-Lash! Mascara.

3. Dress Code: Flexible-Smart-Comfortable.


Dress so you can relax but not be disheveled. Being put together upon arrival helps you look peppier than you might actually feel. Light, wrinkle-free fabrics can help you sleep better and prevent lines in skin, which can get particularly deep as our extremities swell mid flight. Leggings are a great option — besides being super comfortable and easy to dress up or down, they prevent the edges of your pants from coming into contact with bathroom floors. Keep a sweater handy for temperature fluctuations. A dressier jacket in your hand carried luggage instantly makes you look more structured (and gives you more pockets!).

4. The Only 8 Makeup Items You’ll Ever Need For Travel


I like to travel with as little as possible. With these mega-multitaskers, I can do just that!

#1 & 2: Skin-The-Bluff Concealers in No More Blues (the yellow is fundamental to camouflage tired undereyes!) and N1 (my shade).

#2: Antioxidant Powder Foundation. I like the flexibility: one product for light, medium or heavy coverage.

#3: (H)Eyebrow Eye + Brow Liner. Again, one product for brows and liner…even shadowing!

#4: Skin Bloom Blush in Bellini. I use this always-flattering-all-year shade not only as my cheek color, but also as an eyeshadow. It really wakes up tired skin and eyes!

#5: Two True Hues Eyeshadow Duo. This earthy duo works well with (H)Eyebrow & Bellini for, you guessed, it, multiple options (see a trend here?)

#6 & 7: Sheer Lip Tint in Bubblegum and Velvet Matte Lipstick in Light My Fire (because who can travel with just one lipstick??). I mix a bit of Boo-Boo Balm with Light My Fire for a less intense color in the daytime, and use it by itself for a more dramatic nighttime look.

#8: Ooh-La-Lash! Volumizing Mascara. This buildable, smear-proof formula is the traveler’s dream.

5. Soar! Not, SORE…


Especially on flights longer than 6 hours, make sure your carry-on has a couple of basic hydration boosters. Mid-way through, take a moment to cleanse and rehydrate your skin. I suggest mini sizes of your SuperSkin Care Cleanser, Know-It-Oil, and Boo-Boo Balm for an in-flight skin quench.

6. Healthy Hydration


Travel with an empty water bottle and refill frequently to make sure you drink plenty of water during your flight. This is especially true for kids who need even more hydration than we do.

Avoid sugary juices or sodas, coffee and alcohol — stick to water or soda water to keep your body and skin as hydrated as possible. This is important for the flight as well as post-flight recovery.

7. Bye-Bye, Boo-Boo’s!


Nicks, cracking skin, dry insides of nostrils…if you have to pack ONE thing, it’s The Big, Brave Boo-Boo Balm.

KID TIP: Make kids “captains” of specific tasks (“you’re the water captain” or “you’re the Boo-Boo Balm captain”). This builds their self esteem, makes them feel like part of the adventure (instead of like extra luggage), keeps them focused and can be surprisingly helpful!

8. Post-Flight Skincare:


When you have a moment to yourself, cleanse your skin and apply an easy-to-mix hydrating mask:

Pour equal parts Know-It-Oil and the SuperSkin Care Moisturizer for your skin type into a glass or bowl. Apply onto skin. Leave on for 20 minutes or overnight for a more intense skin treatment.

9. Jump start recovery:


You’d be amazed at what 60 minutes can “dew.”

One facial or spa treatment can mean instant refreshment and recovery. Traveling to San Francisco? Call (415) 255 9510 to book a facial or spa treatment with Holly at Hayes Valley Medical & Esthetics. Or call (212) 217 2762 to get your “dew” at our VMV Skin-Specialist Boutique in Soho if the big apple’s on your itinerary!


While we may not be able to control the weather, the lines or baggage handling, we can take command of our own smooth sailing!

Featured Skin

A Fresh Start With Spring In Japan!

Sakura, or the cherry blossom, is Japan’s national flower. Celebrated by Japanese people of all ages, sakura are found in everything from textile patterns to a curious dessert flavor. Sakura blooms in March or April, and is even part of the daily weather forecast as the reporter announces where the “Cherry Blossom Front” has started. The Japanese business and school year starts in the spring, so Sakura also represents “graduation, “commencement,” “blessing,” and “joyous.” 


This joyous abundance signals that it’s time for a fresh start, a spring cleaning of the things that do not, as Marie Kondo would call it, “spark joy.” Take your skin care routine. Your skin, like the rest of our bodies, evolves over time. Take the cue from the blossoms — perhaps it’s time to transition back to the essentials. Re-evaluate what your skin needs (maybe even ask your doctor for a patch test if you’ve had a nagging skin issue for years), what your skin goals are, and redesign your targeted skincare regimen. 

Start with a Skin “Detox” to help your skin get back to its most non-irritated state. Then, choose from among our most popular regimens, or ask us to help customize a regimen for you! Give us a call at (212) 217 2762 or drop us a private message on Facebook, Ask VMV, or if you’re in Japan, shop at

Featured Skin

VMV Hypoallergenics: The Superman of Skincare


By Emma Werner

The Fashion HotBox in New York City | Jul 11, 2016


I recently had an amazing spa experience with VMV Hypoallergenics, a skincare company that prides themselves on being the “safest, most proven effective care on the planet,” and it certainly holds up to that mantra. They specialize in sensitive skin and have even developed the first and ONLY hypoallergenic “grading” system–they are the only brand to actually validate and rate its hypoallergenicity. In fact, VMV’s claims of safety and efficacy are backed by over 75 published clinical studies (they NEVER test on animals!), and their products are free of most or all of the 76 top allergens that are present as ingredients in cosmetics. VMV tracks everything that goes into or near a product, and the product itself is patch tested for skin safety. Check out the rest of this post to learn about my personal experience with VMV’s spa (spoiler alert: heavenly) and the products I use.

My Spa Experience

VMV Hypoallergenics - Best Facial in NYC

The location itself is absolutely ethereal. The aesthetic is light, charming and intimate. The sales associates are attentive, welcoming and knowledgable–their willingness to share their knowledge and assess your unique needs is truly unparalleled. VMV (and their associates) are so amazing at not only helping to identify skin conditions and/or skin type, but also finding the perfect product(s) that work for YOU. After my facial, I left with several products that I wouldn’t have thought of trying before my esthetician explained my skin type and what I needed for it (hint: I would never have looked for these products myself because I honestly was clueless about my skin and its needs!).

After arriving at the store, I filled out some quick paperwork (including noting any skin conditions I had), and was quickly whisked into the back room by a lovely esthetician. I was told to remove my top, cover myself with a terrycloth towel, and relax on the table. From the first moment the aesthetician shut the door behind her to begin the facial, I felt like a QUEEN. I was constantly pampered for the entire experience–and I would really choose to call it an EXPERIENCE, because it wasn’t just a facial…it was truly a luxurious hour of complete and total pampering on all ends of the spectrum. I was so relaxed that my body wanted to fall asleep, but my mind wanted to stay awake to continue enjoy the amazing feelings of complete and utter QUEEN-NESS (I know that’s not a word, but it’s the only adjective I can think of to describe how amazing this spa experience was)! I have been to many different spas in my life, and never have I had such an amazing time– VMV truly is on another LEVEL when it comes to pampering.

SO, on to the actual facial I received, which is called the Classic Superskin Facial. This facial is actually designed to be kind a maintenance upkeep “cleaning” for your skin–it is recommended that you get these every few months to give your skin the crucial cleaning and deeper upkeep that it needs to keep it glowing and healthy! My esthetician gave me an initial consultation to see if there were any impurities or irritations she needed to address, and to assess my skin type in order to pick the best products to use on on it during my facial.

I think what makes this facial (and VMV Hypoallergenics itself) so amazing, is that there is a very safe and clinical approach to everything they do. The facial is expertly created and regularly reviewed by the VMV Skin Research Center + Clinic, ensuring clinical safety and effectiveness! The facial has in-depth analysis, consultation and customization components, including a relaxing face, neck and hand massage, pore-opening steaming, light comedone extractions, and one of their special, invigorating, anti-inflammatory masks — freshly mixed on site just for you!

My Recommended Products

VMV - Best Anti-Aging Crea

My esthetician ultimately left me with a “skinvestment” plan customized to my skin’s needs after our session–she let me know what products she used on my skin and why, what my skin’s unique needs are, asked me what my own concerns were, and then recommended several products for me to use at home. She recommended the Hydra Balance Gentle Cream Cleanser, Know-It-Oil, ID Gel, and the Red Better Spot Corrector.

The Hydra Balance Gently Cream Cleanser ($22) is perfect for me because I have combination oily/dry skin–it whisks away excess oil, helping to control acne, while simultaneously moisturizing drier areas. I tend to be oily in my T-zone and get acne around those areas, but then drier on other parts of my face and neck, so this has been a really great product for me!

The Know-It-Oil ($17) is clinically-validated, 100% USDA-certified organic virgin coconut oil. It’s an amazing moisturizer because it includes fatty acids that are native to the skin, and it helps repair damage from environmental factors, reducing inflammation and irritation (which I needed, especially in my cheeks). Good news, girls (and boys)–this can be used on ALL skin types!

The ID Gel ($30) is a unique , skin-safe, coconut-derived antibacterial that can provide treatment for all forms of acne on the face, chest, back, arms, thighs, etc.. It also disinfects skin and works as a mattifier to control shine an keep skin feeling cool and fresh! It basically acts as a sanitizer without drying out the skin (the worst).

VMV - Best Anti-Aging Crea


The Red Better Spot Corrector ($25) is one of my FAVORITES. The gel itself is uniquely non-irritating, not drying (even soothing and hydrating!) for ultra-sensisitve skin. This thing zaps away zits and any redness on the face like magic–literal MAGIC. Once you try this you will never go back to using any other brand’s spot corrector; it’s just that good.

The gel’s ingredients include coconut-derived monolaurin, which targets microbes and is an effective anti-inflammatory. Antiflammatory antioxidants and silicones also help prevent scarring. I tend to get redness easily, and when I get acne, it’s RED. I like to put this on at night and when I wake up in the morning, the redness is next to gone. If you choose to buy anything from this post, I would recommend this as a life-long MUST-HAVE.

The Re-Everything Cream ($95) is something I actually asked my esthetician about because I was looking for a new anti-aging ‘potion’. I have kind of bounced, trying out different retinol night creams, and the one I was currently using was actually irritating my skin quite a lot (it turned out the redness in my cheeks was from using it), and so my esthetician recommend the Re-Everything Cream (pricey, I know, but TOTALLY worth it). This stuff is, again, MAGIC. It’s so gentle on my skin and I definitely noticed my skin looking more healthy, glowing and line-free just days after starting to use it. Also, only a little bit is needed so this bottle will last me at least 6 months.

How it works: This is a clinically-proven cellular renewal and regeneration anti-aging therapy forces new and younger cells to the surface. Kinetin growth factor promotes cell rejuvenation, causing skin cells to act younger and is proven to stimulate fibroblasts to produce more elastin + collagen. Ultimately, it minimizes the appearance / severity of fine lines, wrinklesand other signs of (photo) aging, helping to rejuvenate, retexturize and refirm skin.


So, there yah go: VMV is essentially an all-in-one-stop-shop to heavenly spa-ville AND school of skincare, with knowledgable employees that guide you along the often confusing and complicated path of aging and troubled skin to a fresher, healthier relationship with your face and body! Worried that this is all too complicated and unsure about how to use the products once you get them? Not to fear! Each product comes with detailed instructions, and the labels themselves even include a super detailed description of ingredients and uses for the product. How thoughtful, am I right? VMV is kinda like my superman of skincare. I can’t wait to book my next appointment with them…

If you’re interested in booking your own super amazing spa experience with VMV, you can call them at (212) 217-2762, book online, or visit them at their NYC boutique location (227 Mott Street NY, NY)!

[Spa services and products c/o of VMV Hypoallergenics, but honest review of such is provided in this article (I promise!)]


P.S. Use code “VMVFHB20” for 20% off all VMV products and services!

Visit  Fashion HotBox for more on fashion, blogging and anything about The Big Apple!

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This article originally appeared on Fashion HotBox, Emma Werner’s blog on fashion and lifestyle.

Reposted with permission.


Armada – People Español

Our indoor-outdoor sun and light screen helps prevent (and even clear) melasma! Thank you, People Español, for including Armada in your safe beauty routine suggestions during pregnancy! “UNA RUTINA DE BELLEZA SANA DURANTE EL EMBARAZO


#skinthusiasm #sunscreen #melasma#pregnancy #skincareforpregnancy#safeskincare #skintusiasmo

Allergen, Not An Allergen Featured Skin

What Sensitive Skin Should Avoid: Can You Spot The Allergen In This Picture?

Got sensitive skin? What in this picture should you be wary of? If you guessed the chemicals on the piece of paper on the left, you’d be wrong.

Everything in the photo above is a common allergen:

  1. The chemicals on the paper on the left (more on these below);
  2. The organic sprigs of lavender (top right);
  3. Mint (bottom right);
  4. Tree trunk (propolis — from beeswax — which can be present in the resin and the bark); and
  5. The grass (because of common insecticide ingredients or, even if completely wild, because of the pollens that fall on it from surrounding plants and flowers).

Bonus point: if you also said the adhesive tape on the edges of the paper on the left, you’re a rockstar skintellectual!

Natural is good for you, right?

Yes! Natural and organic things are SOOOO good for you on so many levels. Eating antioxidants in fresh fruit and vegetables is far better than taking nutritional supplements. Less processed foods means less added chemicals and allergens, many of which your body cannot process normally.

But natural does not mean hypoallergenic.

Many natural substances (like those above) are allergenic.

Should those with sensitive skin avoid natural or organic ingredients?

Not necessarily. Just because something is an allergen (an ingredient known to cause allergies) does not automatically mean you cannot use it…even if you have sensitive skin.  Instead of random trial and error (which can be expensive and painful), ask your doctor about a patch test. This painless test can tell you exactly which allergens you need to avoid. Armed with accurate information, you can enjoy the goodness of natural foods and ingredients that you know you’re not allergic to.

Want to know what the thing on the left is? Those are Finn Chambers, which are aluminum pans on a paper that is then stuck on your back in a patch test. Similar to a prick test for food allergies, patch tests help identify which allergens (natural or not) you in particular are sensitive to. Thinking about getting one? Check out CC’s own patch test experience now.

To learn more about the difference between natural and hypoallergenic, check out Is Natural Hypoallergenic? The Answer May Surprise You (But Shouldn’t) or browse through

Featured Healthy Living Skin

Is Natural Hypoallergenic? The Answer May Surprise You (But Shouldn’t)

Is Natural Hypoallergenic?

The short answer: no.

And that really shouldn’t be surprising — think of how many allergy medication commercials you see when it’s pollen season.

But does this mean natural is bad? Absolutely not! Eating natural, less processed foods is a must for your health. Using skin care with more natural, less processed ingredients is also a good idea (chemicals used in processing can be even more allergenic than the ingredient itself). But in both cases, natural does not mean hypoallergenic.


Hypoallergenic means less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Many natural substances, no matter how organic, are top allergens (substances known to cause allergic reactions). If you are allergic to peanuts, dander or pollen, you would avoid eating, touching or inhaling them, no matter how natural or organic they are. If you have sensitive skin, using products with natural ingredients could be making things worse if those natural ingredients are common allergens — tea tree oil, citruses, fragrances, ylang-ylang, lavender, mint are all common allergens.


That said, it helps to know what you, in particular, are sensitive to. Just because something is an allergen doesn’t mean it’s one of your allergens. For example, nuts, lemons and shrimp are allergens but if you aren’t allergic to them, you shouldn’t avoid them (in fact, they’re very healthy foods). Vitamin E and tea tree oil are top allergens but great ingredients. If they’re not your allergens, you might still be able to enjoy their benefits.


To find out your allergens, avoid trial and error, which is highly unreliable. Get a patch test instead — not a prick test or blood test (the correlation between food/bronchial allergies and skin allergies is not cut and dry.)


If your patch test shows you are sensitive to certain ingredients, natural or not, avoid them. If you haven’t yet had a patch test but have sensitive skin, you’re better off choosing hypoallergenic over “natural” to prevent irritations and even acne and chronic dryness.


IMPORTANT: Food allergies and skin allergies operate differently. Lymphocytes are cells related to allergies. There are two types: T cells are associated with delayed response reactions, a good example of which is contact dermatitis. Your body needs to learn to react to the stimulus which can take a while. This is why you can use an ingredient for years without a problem and then “suddenly” become allergic to it. The other lymphocyte type are B cells. They are immediate responders producing immediate allergies such as food reactions, hay fever, asthma, etc.

Need Help?

VMV Hypoallergenics® formulations contain none, or as close to none, of all of the 109 most common allergens (based on over 25,000 patch test results). Our VH-Rating System (the first and still the only sensitive skin “grading system”) shows you at first glance how many allergens are not in a formulation…or, if there is an allergen present, which one (if it’s not one of your allergens, you can use the product with confidence). Plus, we can customize recommendations for you based on your patch test results! Call us at (212) 217 2762 or submit a request on Facebook or

Family Blog Featured Healthy Living Skin

How About A Hypoallergenic Play Tent?

If you’ve got a child with eczema, allergies, or another sensitive skin condition, you know how difficult finding hypoallergenic play options can be. My daughter has very simple allergies to red dye and fragrance, and I’ve had to deal with an atlas of urticaria (swelling and redness) covering her little body head to toe after hugging a purple dinosaur all night; an angry red ring on her neck and arms from an orange blanket, escorted by a fever from the inflammation — plus her misery at possibly missing a beach trip because we weren’t sure if it was a viral infection — and other itchy inconveniences from accidentally touching anything with certain colors or scents, including just the little red patches on an adorable stuffed Yorkie’s plaid jacket. Even with her simple sensitivities, we’ve had to learn how to be careful about the toys she can play with, and the blankets and pillows that she can cuddle or lay on.

Enter this great find: Domestic Objects, beautiful brainchild of (rather beautiful herself) Sarah Jagger, a friend of mine. I saw a few of her teepees online and thought, goodness they’re gorgeous. The type of “toy” I wouldn’t mind leaving un-packed-away permanently. Then, I saw this white tent and thought…hey, my 8-year-old could play in that for hours…could even sleep in it…and not get a rash. One quick call to Sarah and I confirmed: the tent is 100% cotton canvas, no dyes, and anything that could be scratchy, like seams or velcro on the tie-backs, are elegantly hidden, safely tucked away from normal contact with sensitive skin. It even comes with pillows and a mat of the same material!

BINGO. A play option I could recommend to other parents of kids with sensitive skins. What I didn’t expect was how much fun this thing would be! I learned that first hand when photographing Sarah for VMV Hypoallergenics (stay tuned for those photos! 😉 ) On the same day, we were doing a shoot for upcoming VMV kids’ products (more spoiler alerts…I need a gag order) and Sarah graciously agreed to loan us one of her Teepee Play Tents. I knew that it would be perfect for the set…


…but I didn’t expect how popular the teepee would be with all the kids! We had more trouble getting them out of it than getting them to pose. This was true even of my 5-year-old son who’s currently in that the-ickier-the-face-the-cooler-the-photo stage. And that photo right at the top? That’s him completely immersed in Horton Hears A Who…it was like, despite the chaos of the production around him, that tent, and that book, were his world.


Like bees to honey, the second that tent arrived, we couldn’t keep the kids out of it. That’s my son playing adventure doctor on safari with his Big, Brave Boo-Boo Balm (apparently, now also for injured baby jaguars).


This is my friend’s adorable little girl quietly playing fairy…


…and this is my daughter, the one who now has more play options than ever 🙂

If you’re looking for plush toys and other fun things to go with your Domestic Objects play tent, these are some general best practices:

  1. Opt for uncolored items: natural canvas or white. If you’d like some color, stick to very pale hues and ideally, mineral or vegetable dyes. The biggest risks would be known top allergens dyes like reds (including purples), indigo, and anything really bright.
  2. Pure cotton is your best bet. Synthetic fabrics don’t take color well, so manufacturers sometimes add chemicals called “mordants” (related to metals, many of which, like nickel, are top allergens) to help the dyes bind better.
  3. Avoid elastics, spandex, rubber, or make sure these things are covered up by natural canvas or white cotton cloth.
  4. You don’t want anything scratchy like rough cloth or velcro that comes into contact with skin.
  5. Nothing fragranced (like potpourri sachets hidden in a pocket).
  6. You might want things that can be laundered. Bacterial colonization is common in eczema and can worsen itching in atopic dermatitis or even just dry skin. Cleaning them with a hypoallergenic laundry wash like Fawn & Launder every so often — that also has a skin-safe antimicrobial (coconut-derived monolaurin) — could help prevent additional bacterial exposure without using harsher antimicrobials.

I’ve been so obsessed with Domestic Objects since the shoot that I kind of want a tent for me. This striped canvas one in particular. But with pockets for a cocktail shaker and simple bar set. For moms and kids, hypoallergenic play options abound!

If you’ve got other hypoallergenic home or play items you’ve found, I’m a big believer in #goodnessbegetsgoodness. Share them with me below or on Instagram, and I’ll be happy to keep our finds coming, too! 🙂


Laura is the CEO of VMV Hypoallergenics and eldest daughter of our founding dermatologist-dermatopathologist. She has two children, Madison and Gavin, and works at VMV with her sister and husband (Madison and Gavin frequently volunteer their “usage testing” services). In addition to saving the world’s skin, Laura is passionate about learning, literature, art, health, science, inclusion, cultural theory, human rights, happiness and goodness.