Oils that Improve Hair Health

April 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the most effective natural oils on the market. It works as a heat protectant by sealing the cuticle. It also penetrates the cortex of the hair shaft, moisturizing inner layers of each strand, making hair stronger and more resilient against heat styling.

Jojoba oil

Jojoba oil is widely used in hair products because its chemical makeup is almost identical to the oil human skin produces. It helps develop and stimulate new hair cell growth because it improves scalp capillary circulation which stimulates the follicle.

If applied to an excessively oily scalp, it tricks skin into producing less of its natural oils, also known as sebum which clogs pores. So it balances oils and is non comedogenic, which benefits those with acne caused by excessively oily hair.

Plum oil

Plum oil has recently gained popularity in high end anti-aging cosmetic products for its cell renewal benefits.

This high quality ingredient is ideal for aging hair and skin as it helps rehydrate and renew the scalp’s skin cells, creating a perfect environment for hair growth. Other benefits of plum oil include its very light weight consistency. It’s actually so light that it quickly absorbs into the hair follicle and doesn’t leave a greasy residue on the hair shaft or the scalp.

Argan oil

Benefits of argan oil are vast and it’s used in a multitude of anti-aging cosmetics for its cell regeneration properties. Argan oil benefits skin ailments such as eczema, wrinkles and dry scalp. Its high fatty acid and vitamin E compounds soften hair and improve elasticity. So, it not only prevents breakage and hair loss but also helps hair grow longer.

In addition to reviving hair health, argan oil is a natural heat protectant. It creates a thin film over the hair, shielding it from thermal damage caused by blow drying, flat irons and curling irons.

Avocado oil

Last is avocado oil which has long been used to treat damaged hair because of its high vitamin A, D, E, B6, lecithin and potassium content.

It contains folic acids, beta-carotene and more than 20 percent essential unsaturated fatty acids. Furthermore, when it’s applied to damp hair, it creates a thin coat to the follicle, acting as a protective layer against pollution and heat.

Have you used any of these in your hair?

Professional Makeup Tips

May 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

Rebecca Restrepo

I was among a small group of women today to be pampered by CoverGirl at Hollywood’s Sunset Tower Hotel. We mingled in their amazing 2,000 square foot, two level Tower Suite that overlooks the sunny Hollywood Hills. I met Jennifer Rodriguez, the organizer of Miss California Latina and reconnected with a handful of my favorite LA bloggers.

Celebrity makeup artist Rebecca Restrepo, pictured here, was in attendance and she had a few words of advice for applying foundation.

“To get that perfect smooth foundation finish, prepare your face for application by applying a small amount of water to the face after moisturizing. It creates a softer look,” says the pro.

What about covering imperfections?

“When applying concealer, use a darker peach color than your skin tone.” It will blend better and completely conceal the imperfection.

I also had the chance to get a color lesson from Julie Cortinez, a makeup artist here in SoCal. She used a blend of CoverGirl lipstick to add color to my cheeks! She blended a color to match my coral colored shirt with a wedge sponge on the back side of her palm and dabbed it on my cheeks, like you would a foundation.

Cortinez used another blend of coral lipstick as eye shadow, too. I loved the end result and was impressed by the resourcefulness of the makeup artist.

“Really when you think about it, cream blush and eye shadow go on the skin the same way,” she said. The color was subtle and blended into my tone like natural tint. It looked soft.

These makeup professionals and new pointers made me re-evaluate my makeup toolbox and the color possibilities. Go to Orgullosa.com for more of these super useful tips.

Frownies Eye Gels Review

January 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

I had the pleasure of coordinating the launch of BE Beverly Hills’ Eco Luxury Hair Care line at the SLS Hotel. The event was a hit. Catering was spot on, decor was perfect and it was packed. Gift bags were stuffed with their argan oil serum and some extras. One of the extras was a set of Frownies Eye Gels.

I’ve really been jonsing to try these. They’re meant to “postpone the signs of aging, fine lines, discolored skin, and puffiness around the eyes.” So this was a treat.

Weeks later, what was not a treat was a rough night filled with stress, tears and decision making which caused me to wake up with puffy eyes. I thought; HEY perfect opportunity to try these Frownies. I applied the gels under my eyes for about 30 minutes and they did minimize the puffiness – slightly.

They’re meant to be applied repeatedly, so I recommend using them on a daily basis. They’re packed with all natural ingredients like vitamins C, E, B3, cactus collagen and aloe vera – perfect for under eye or forehead treatments. I suggest placing them on your eyelids for 30 minutes at least once a week. This treatment will not only help your eyes look and feel rejuvenated, but it will also allow you to slow down and relax a little. Think about it, how often do you treat yourself to at least 30 minutes of R & R each week? These gels are reusable if you only apply for 30 minutes and they come in a zip lock bag that is easy to store in the fridge.

All in all they’re worth the $25 they retail for, just don’t expect immediate results. Each pack contains three sets of gels which are all reusable, so they could last you at least six treatment sessions or 180 minutes worth of eye TLC.

10 Tips for Healthy Hair

September 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

Tip 1: Did you know that brushing stimulates the hair follicle? Brush your hair for 3-5 minutes, preferably with a paddle bush if you have medium to long hair.

This increases blood circulation in your scalp, improving the condition of the roots – ultimately improving the condition of each strand. If you use a boar brush, it will distribute the oils from your scalp evenly throughout the length of your tresses.

Channel your inner Marcia Brady and get to it.

Tip 2: Don’t wash your hair every day. Ew, right? No, washing every day strips your scalp of its natural oils that it needs to replenish the roots and retain moisture in your hair follicles.

Use a dry shampoo and conditioner or a scented hair serum like Josie Maran’s Organic Argan Oil to enrich your tresses with a fresh scent without stripping it of its natural oils.

Tip 3: Rollers are a great alternative to using curling irons. They make great waves from root to tip and eliminate heat damage.

Tip 4: Sectioning your hair into small pieces for curling makes a huge difference in the overall look and duration of your style. You’ll need less heat to curl, preventing damage.

Tip 5: Brushing your hair from the tips to the root helps prevent breakage. Gather your hair in your fist and gently brush the ends. Then gently work your brush strokes upward toward the root.

Tip 6: When curling, alternating the direction of curls toward your face then away from your face is a great way to keep curls from sticking together. This will make your hair look more voluminous and healthier.

Tip 7: When curling your hair, don’t untwist your curling iron but release the clamp slowly until the hair falls out. This prevents breakage.

Tip 8: Teasing isn’t bad for your hair if you do it right! Lift a section up and comb down. Do not comb back and forth – that is what causes breakage.

Tip 9: If you use the same shampoo and conditioner for an extended time, it will form a build up on your scalp and hair strands. Alternate every two weeks to keep it clean and clear of build up.

Tip 10: High heat settings on your blow dryer can dry-out your scalp and produce dandruff, use the medium heat setting instead.

Killer Facial Scrubs

August 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

While I’m a major fan of St. Ives Apricot Facial Scrub, I venture outside of my comfort zone every now and again to try other exfoliators.I noticed that my skin wasn’t benefiting from a great soapy lather. I really loved using Shiseido’s Cleansing Foam because it’s a moisturizing and rich lather, but retails for 40 dollars and it doesn’t exfoliate.

Why not find a soapy exfoliator? During my last visit at Ulta, Philosophy’s Microdelivery Peel Exfoliating Wash was recommended. It contains many more small, round, gentle scrubbing beads and foams nicely. The tiny and plentiful beads scrub more intensively too.

Don’t be alarmed by the word “peel” in its name. The wash is gentle enough to use on a daily basis. It won’t dry out your skin and you will reap the rewards of a mini facial peel.

Facial peels have so many benefits! They scrub away dead skin, reduce the appearance of dark spots, and eliminate clogged pores – reducing the signs of aging.

This wash ultimately leaves less dirt behind. I know this because I always wipe down my face with an astringent and a cotton ball after cleansing. Cleansing with the Philosophy’s Exfoliating Wash leaves A LOT less dirt behind, hardly a trace in fact.

I highly recommend trying this face wash. Philosophy’s Microdelivery Peel Exfoliating Wash retails for 25 bucks.

Another scrub I think it’s absolutely killer, is a really easy at home lemon mixture.

You might know Kandee Johnson, the Glaminar extraordinaire. In one of her videos she instructs viewers through an at home facial scrub. It’s really very simple. All you need is a lemon, brown or white sugar and a round cotton pad.

Squeeze lemon juice onto the round cotton pad, then sprinkle sugar onto it and scrub your entire face. Wash off immediately afterwards and vioala, skin is rid of dead skin, bacteria that causes acne, and it’s much softer.

It’s a way more intensive scrub than the ones I’ve already mentioned, but you can do it daily if your skin doesn’t get irritated. Watch her video here for a more thorough break down of the process.

Got to love it!

Lip Plumpers: The Delicious and the Disappointments

August 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

If you love the sting from great lip plumpers, you’ll love these product recommendations. I’ve tested tons of plumping gloss and lipstick and want to share a few stand outs.

theBalm Plump Your Pucker Tinted Gloss

I liked this line immediately, simply because they name their glosses Coco My Coconut, Squeeze My Lemon and Ruby My Grapefruit. I opted for their nude color called Coco My Coconut and totally LOVE it. It smells like vanilla and notably plumps le pucker.

Its active ingredients are folic acid, menthol, and vitamin C which attract more blood flow to your lips. It also includes Maxi lip; a collagen stimulator that visually increases lip size after prolonged use. Great, right?!

It retails for about 15 bucks and can be found at Sephora.

New York Color Lippin Large Lip Plumper

This plumper is actually the cheapest, retailing at around 4 bucks and it works the best! I went through an entire tube, loving every single application.

Its ingredients include Vitamin E, mint flavor for fresh breath, and active ingredients Ginger and Cinnamon. You can feel it tingling. Personally, I like to feel the tingle to know that it’s working.

It’s available at Ulta, CVS and Target.

Elizabeth Arden Plump Perfect Lipstick

This long lasting lip color is a perfect combination of matte color and plumper in one.

It’s loaded with Vitamins A, C, E and collagen stimulator – Maxi-Lip. It reduces the appearance of vertical lines on lips while it plumps. I love it. It lasts longer than most plumpers because it’s a lipstick and it stings pretty intensely, I like that. This plumper is the most moisturizing and least greasy too.

It retails for about 22 bucks and can be found at any Elizabeth Arden retailer.

Ulta’s Ultimate Pout Lip Plumper

First of all, it smells like chemicals – not fruity or citrusy. I immediately didn’t like it, but tried anyway. It actually worked great the first time I applied it but it takes a few minutes to take effect. It warmed my lips and gently tingled; however, each application after that was a complete DUD. I didn’t feel a tingle and it didn’t appear to plump. This plumper rate is a firm zero on my scale.

It retails for 12 bucks and totally isn’t worth it.

For the perfect pout, I recommend a lip stain like CoverGirl’s Outlast paired with Lippin Large plumper. Muah!

Must Have Multipurpose Beauty Products

July 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

Witch Hazel

Witch Hazel is a shrub that has been used throughout the ages for medicinal purposes. It’s available over the counter in many different forms such as creams, lotions, moistened pads, and astringents. Here are some remedies you might find useful.

Puffy eyes: Witch Hazel is an anti-inflammatory used in a ton of different over the counter topical treatments. In fact, it is used in hemorrhoid cream, this is precisely why hemorrhoid cream is said to take away under eye bags.

Skin irritation: It can also be used to treat minor insect bites, cuts, poison ivy, varicose veins and burns.

Facial Toner: I like Witch Hazel astringent by Skin Renewal. It’s 98% natural Witch Hazel and non-toxic. It wipes away dirt and oil that cleanser leaves behind.

It’s anti-inflammatory agent keeps skin taut as well. This non-toxic toner retails for only four bucks at Sally’s Beauty Supply.

Egyptian Magic

Egyptian Magic is an all purpose skin cream made with olive oil, beeswax, honey, pollen, royal jelly, and propolis extract. Here are a variety of ways to use it:

Hair balm and texturizer: It is an amazing hair balm when used on dry hair before curling.

First separate tiny sections, rub a small amount of the balm with fingertips and apply to the section before wrapping in a curling iron.

The beeswax, pollen and royal jelly combo burns off, while the olive oil and honey penetrates into the hair follicle. The balm also acts as a texturizer, keeping curls intact.

Wrinkle treatment: After cleansing, rub a tiny amount of the balm into oil. Apply gently by tapping it onto wrinkles. It goes on greasy, but absorbs quickly. You will wake to matte skin.

Scar removal: The makers of Egyptian Magic claim the balm removes scars in nine weeks. Although it might not take the estimated nine weeks, your scars will fade with repeated use.

Foot balm: For an intensive heel conditioning treatment before going to bed, rub a generous portion of the balm onto heels then put socks on and go to bed. The balm will penetrate your dry feet while you sleep and your heels will become softer after repeat treatments.

Antibiotic Ointment: Honey contains a natural anti-biotic stronger than most over the counter topical treatments. Applying a small amount of the balm to minor cuts or burns will help heal and condition your skin.

A very small amount is needed for the above applications, so the 4 oz jar is worth every penny of the 28 dollars it retails for.

Body Oil Rub by The Salt Project

Body Oil Rub by The Salt Project is an absolute go to product for soft skin. It’s made by a one-woman boutique owner in the Bay Area who makes a line of bath products.

The Body Oil Rub is made of Mediterranean Olive Oil, infused with a range of highly fragrant, long lasting scents which can be directly applied to the skin as a lotion or used as a bath infuser.

Tanning oil: Oilve oil is packed with antioxidants, Vitamin E, and Provitamin A. It naturally protects against UVA rays and sunburns while moisturizing skin, making it subtle for tanning. Because it’s all natural and non-toxic, I recommend using this instead of cream based tanners. It won’t dry as quickly and it’ll prevent burns.

Mosquito repellent: Olive oil is a natural mosquito repellent.

Bath infuser: Add a few drops of the oil rub to your warm bath water. It’ll release its scent and penetrate your skin – leaving your skin softer and fragrant. Four stars for an at home spa treatment tool.

Hair serum: If you have dry hair, rub a very small quantity to dry hair before styling for extra texture and hold.

Lotion: Rub the oil directly on your skin after showering. It will absorb slower than a lotion but the fragrance will last all day and soothe shaving irritation.

Ulta’s 3-in-1 Shower Smoothies

Ulta is a one stop skin care, cosmetics, fragrance and hair care retailer that carries both department store and drugstore brands. It offers free gifts with most purchases and offers their own product line.

Their 3-in-1 Shower Smoothies are a shampoo, body wash and bubble bath combo product.

It’s made in 12 scents that are so fragrant, you’ll be tempted to taste – not really, but they really do smell scrumptious.

They’re available in a 24 oz. bottles and retail for 15 bucks.

You’ll love them, I promise!

Anastasia Eye Shadow Palette

June 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Anastasia Eye Shadow

Since my heavy eyeliner years, I haven’t worn liquid liner and I’m really careful about the colors I use.

If it’s day, it can’t be too dark. If it’s night, it can’t be too light, but lining the top lid is a must to accentuate your eyes. Not doing so is a total injustice and a lost opportunity to really make your eyes pop.

So, to find a happy medium, I’ve started to use eye shadow as eyeliner. It’s softer, blends easier and is way more forgiving than liquid.

The only downside to using eye shadow as eyeliner is that many powders fade throughout the day or night, just a few hours after application, so I’ve been experimenting with a few different brands. I saw a new line made by Anastasia, the eye brow authority out of Beverly Hills and decided to try.

Each palette contains five colors, a double-sided professional eye shadow brush, and a mirrored compact which is large enough for makeup checks.

I’m using palette No. 3 which has a nice little combo of day and night shades. The night-time shimmery black truly lasts all night. It doesn’t fade and when blended with the navy blue shadow in the palette, it makes for a really solid shimmery navy eyeliner.

Aside from the shadow being long-lasting, it’s paraben free and “has Brown Algae, Diamond Core Powder, and powerful antioxidants that lift, hydrate and revitalize.” So it doesn’t chip, but marries with the skin like skincare while washing off with the ease of a powder. I love it.

Do try this new technology in eye shadow.


Egyptian Magic’s Nine Week No Scar Claim – Put to the Test

February 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

Egyptian Magic All-Purpose Skin Cream ads claim to diminish scars and wrinkles in nine weeks. Sounds appealing right? I’ve been using it on and off for three months now with mixed feelings.First, I truly love that this product looks like it’s off of the shelves of a 99 cent store. It’s packaged in a white plastic jar and decorated with spiritual sayings and symbols. Sweet, right? What is sweet is that it’s made of all natural ingredients,”olive oil, bees wax, honey bee pollen, royal jelly, bee propolis and love;” retailing for 30 bucks.
The facial cream

The first time I applied it, I was turned off. It’s a salve which turns to oil when rubbed together with your fingertips. Doesn’t the sound of oil on your face sound gross? That’s what I thought. I rubbed the salve in my fingertips anyway and applied all over my face, under my eyes and rubbed a little extra between my brows and went to bed. As greasy as it felt when I first applied it, my face was completely matte in the morning. It absorbs nicely, though it might be too heavy for some skin types. I have sensitive skin and use fairly light lotions, like Shiseido’s Lifting Lotion II on a regular basis. So the olive oil and wax combo while absorbent was a little heavy. So, I use it only occasionally as a night cream and apply it religiously to an old scar on my arm. I now like the way the olive oil base feels on my skin. It’s got a nice natural scent. I’ll update if the scar disappears.

Loving it as a hair cream

As a hair cream, it’s amazing. I curl my hair with a ceramic iron at least twice a week, with Biosilk as a heat protector.

For the past few months, however, I’ve used Egyptian Magic as a heat protector – applying small amounts to the ends of each hair section before curling. I LOVE how shiny it makes my hair look. It adds texture to my fine hair; shine and holds curls together. It even looks bouncier.

As I mentioned before, it’s made of all natural ingredients. Its olive oil absorbs into the hair shaft while the honey pollen leaves a matte finish, without leaving it looking greasy.

All in one

I’ve been using my little 4 oz. jar of magic for three months and have only scraped out half an inch of product. I’d say add it to your collection of beauty must haves.

It is a great moisturizer – occasionally. It can be used as a lip balm and it’s a killer hair product. Lastly, it’s made of all natural ingredients. It’s worth the buy.

“Peace and Blessing Unto You.”

Ulta: The Ultimate Stop for Cosmetics

January 22, 2009 § Leave a comment

Two months ago, I shopped for the first time at Ulta Beauty. Ulta Beauty is a department store that sells only beauty products. They don’t just sell high end beauty products like Peter Thomas Roth and Boscia, which I personally love. Ulta Beauty also showcases all the drugstore brands like Neutrogena, Jergen’s and St. Ives. In short, it’s a little bit like heaven.

Ulta is located all around the country, and I recently visited their South San Francisco location at the newly renovated Tandoran Shopping District. The beauty store is about the size of a department store and stocks nothing but cosmetics and salon goods.

Ulta also has their own in house certified professional salon, another plus in my book. I haven’t used its services but after checking the menu, their prices look decent and worth a try. I’ve secretly wanted to get a perm. Yes I know “gasp, a 1980’s-looking perm.” Ulta’s stylists charge only 80 bucks for medium length hair, so I’m seriously contemplating making my 1980’s fantasy hair become a reality.

My favorite feature is their one-stop drugstore/salon shop advantage, so I signed up for the Ulta Club Card. It’s free and after each 50 bucks is spent, members can redeem free gifts. So far, I’ve received free mascara and a cool luggage tote bag. Think about all of the q-tips, shampoo and conditioner that you purchase at drugstores that never come with gifts.

Their employees are all “cosmetology trained or actual estheticians” according to their website. I like to get free advice, so I’ve been chopping up their time for new tips.

Their Yelp reviews don’t do the store justice. The ratings are low on customer service. “How can you complain when the store offers such great free gifts,” I thought to myself.

Comments such as, “the sales girls are total snobs” and “the cashier gave me attitude,” shouts horrible customer service. They have been nothing but helpful to me, but I can see how some might think their sales facade is less than bubbly.

Some would compare Ulta to Sephora, but the most distinguishable difference between the two stores is their offerings. Ulta’s website has a plethora of online discounts and part of Ulta’s philosophy is to “offer value through constant money saving promotions, free shipping and samples with each purchase.”

Another plus is the product line selection. Sephora houses so many great brands, but I don’t like to gamble with skincare products and they carry several new product lines that I’ve never heard of that are almost always over priced in over the top packaging. Ulta Beauty carries familiar salon shampoos and conditioners, drugstore brands and tried and true fragrance lines.

Ulta Beauty’s superstores have been around for less than a decade but have transformed the cosmetic and salon buying experience. Their innovations in reinventing cosmetics retail have even garnered them with the “Hot Retailer Award” from the International Council of Shopping Centers and their CEO the “Achiever Award” by Cosmetics Executive Women!

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