The Best Tinted Moisturizer/BB Cream You’ve (Probably) Never Heard Of

I’ll bet you think you already know everything there is to know about BB Creams, CC creams and the whole alphabet of tinted moisturizers. You’ve probably heard that Beauty or Blemish Balms, like many of today’s makeup and skincare trends, originated in South Korea. BBs were designed as all-purpose balms to offer several benefits in a single product thereby eliminating the need for several skincare steps (something for which Korean beauty regimens are renown). Generally speaking, authentic BB Creams provide broad spectrum (both UVA and UVB) sun protection along with other skin beneficial goodies like antioxidants, hydrators, brightening agents, etc. as well some novel additives of dubious benefit (snail secretion anyone?).

True BB creams are an ideal match for busy moms in need of a single product that provides multiple benefits – coverage, sun protection and some healthful skin treats. But unless you have a friend or relative who travels to Korea and can hook you up with a continuous supply of authentic Korean BBs minus the expensive and time-consuming shipping, you’ve probably been using the ones readily available locally.

Lost in Translation
The problem with BB and CC creams widely available in the USA and Europe is most are little more than glorified tinted moisturizers. The added benefits are just an afterthought, amounting to no more than a smattering, way down on the ingredient list after such nasties as fragrance, volatile plant oils and even alcohol. Incredibly, several of the most expensive BB products out there do NOT provide broad spectrum protection against both UVA (the main factor in wrinkle development and aging of skin (yes, I’m looking at you, Lancome) and UVB rays. Blows my mind when there’s so much research proving how damaging UVA rays are for all types of skin tones (Source! Even among products offering broad spectrum protection, many have SPF ratings no higher than 30. However, in order to reach that level of sun protection, you’d have to apply a full tablespoon of product, and I don’t know anyone using that much, certainly not when some brands have the nerve to charge more than $50 for their products (yep, still you, Lancome)! But I’m happy to report there is a product out there that is every bit as good as true Korean BB creams, and I’ll bet you’ve never heard of it.

Revision Intellishade SPF45 ($45) is a truly great tinted moisturizer and (despite the name) Intellishade qualifies as an honest-to-goodness beauty balm with a many benefits.
Here’s why I love it: First, it has an SPF of 45 with broad-spectrum sunscreen. This means that you’re totally protected from both UVA (the main factor in wrinkle development and aging of skin. Again reference and UVB rays. The higher SPF means that even if you don’t use a full tablespoon and even if you don’t use a daytime moisturizer with sunscreen underneath this product (I get it, you’re too busy to be bothered with multiple sunscreen steps in the morning), you’re still getting a good amount of protection. Intellishade also contains 3 different types of peptides specially formulated to target multiple layers of skin cells (reference: Beautypedia Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary); a stabilized form of Vitamin C for antioxidant protection and to brighten skin as well as Green Tea Leaf extract and Vitamin E (tocopheryl) for even more antioxidant support; along with several other ingredients (listed below) which have been proven to provide hydration, decrease irritation and inflammatory response of the skin and combat wrinkles and aging. It’s also available in two formulations – regular (for normal to very dry skin types) and matte (for oily skin). The sole shade is very neutral will work for most light to tan skin tones. Very dark skin shades may find it a tad light, but I’ve never tested that theory. According to Revision, the product magically blends with all skin shades and tones (hence the name).

I can testify to how gentle this product is on even the most sensitive skin. It’s so gentle, in fact, that I actually used it immediately following a fractional laser treatment. Now if you’ve ever had that particular treatment you know that 1.) it hurts (like a lot) and 2.) you should never expose your freshly lasered skin to sunlight. Usually you wouldn’t want to apply anything to your face immediately after this treatment either, but I’d made the mistake of scheduling my treatment at noon in the middle of summer in Florida (by the way, do NOT make this mistake), so I needed some SPF before walking out of the doctor’s office. I slapped on some Intellishade and (to my surprise) suffered no consequences in the days that followed – no bumps or irritations developed despite having applied it directly on raw, exposed skin. It’s that soothing, and it’s that gentle!

Ingredient Highlights:
• Zinc Oxide & Titanium Dioxide. Physical sunscreens providing broad-spectrum (UVA+UVB) protection.
• Blend of 3 peptides – reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
• Vitamin C (THD Ascorbate). Brightens and provides antioxidant benefits.
• Jojoba Oil, Castor Oil, Beeswax & Aloe Leaf Extract – offer skin-soothing hydration & anti-inflammatory benefits.
• White Birch Extract, Yeast Extract, Plankton Extract and CoQ10 – help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
• Octinoxate & Octisalate. Provide UVB protection.
• Vitamin E & Green Tea Leaf Extract – provide additional antioxidant protection.
• Lecithin – reduces the appearance of pore size.

So Why Haven’t You Heard of This Amazing Product?
Well first of all, you can’t just walk into CVS or Walgreens and find Revision’s products. You won’t find them at ULTA or Sephora either, not even in department stores. Revision products are available exclusively through dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons offices. And not all these docs sell Revision. Believe me. I’ve checked. To locate a doctor’s office near you that sells Revision, you’ll need to use the “Where to Buy” locator feature on the Revision website found here. (FYI – Docs that sell Revision almost always have free sample sizes they’re happy to give if you want to try before you buy. And most offices are happy to ship it to you if you order by phone.)

Another reason you may not have heard of this product is related to their market focus. Because Revision sells exclusively through physicians and med-spas, their products are not featured in Allure or Cosmo. I’ve never heard of a Kardashian using Intellishade (they totally should, given the amount of $ they spend on cosmetic procedures, but I digress). You may see an occasional ad in More or New Beauty Magazines (check out this review from New Beauty’s blog). But if you’re like me, you probably haven’t been reading too many magazines lately. You’re probably too busy chasing your kids around to sit around, leisurely leafing through periodicals.

But trust me. This product is well worth the time it takes to locate it and purchase it. We are talking about your face here. And this is going to save you time and money in the long run. Remember it combines several steps into one and will get you pretty faster and out the door quicker. And just think about the money you’ll save not needing laser treatments for sunspots. With all that SPF, you’ll need fewer Botox treatments (if you’re so inclined). I hope I’ve convinced you to try it. Samples are available for purchase via eBay in both original and matte formulations if you’re curious but not yet ready to commit to a full-size product.

However, if you’re still not convinced and/or you just prefer a product you can pick up at your local Sephora, I present you with a second best option, a reasonable facsimile if you will.

Revision Original Intellishade and Dr. Jart's Premium Beauty Balm in Light/Medium

Revision Original Intellishade and Dr. Jart’s Premium Beauty Balm in Light/Medium

          The (Reasonable) Facsimile (and why it’s a 2nd best option):

Dr. Jart’s Premium Beauty Balm SPF45 ($39) is available in 2 shades – Light/Medium and Medium/Deep. The former is more ivory/pink (warm) while the latter is more yellow, olive in tone. I would add that the Medium/Deep option is often sold out on Sephora’s website. So if that’s your color range, either grab it when it’s available or be prepared for a wait. Here’s a swatch of Intellishade (left) and Dr. Jart’s in Light/Medium (right).

As you can see the Intellishade is more of a neutral tone while Dr. Jart's is more pinky/ivory in tone.

As you can see the Intellishade is more of a neutral tone while Dr. Jart’s is more pinky/ivory in tone.

It features broad-spectrum sun protection provided by mineral sunscreens titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (same as Intellishade). Dr. Jart also toutes the inclusion of 2 key ingredients Arbutin (proven to lighten or brighten skin because it is a derivative of hydroquinone; reference) and Adenosine (a yeast-derived ingredient with proven anti-inflammatory properties; reference). However, if you are sensitive to hydroquinone, you may be sensitive to Arbutin as well, so keep that in mind. And the Adenosine is way down the ingredient list, just above (of all things to include in an anti-aging product) alcohol so it’s doubtful the adenosine will have a tremendous impact. Speaking of alcohol, the amount here is relatively low, but it’s worth noting. The primary antioxidant sources (Tocopheryl Acetate and Soybean Oil) are also in relatively low amounts (soybean oil is listed after Adenosine). The peptide complex (also highly touted in the marketing of this product) are even further down the list (all after the alcohol), meaning the amounts are very small and not comparable to the amounts in the Revision product. I’ve provided the full ingredient list below for reference. Finally, the singular formulation available will probably not work for all skin types. Oily skins types will likely not be satisfied with the emollient, almost shiny finish of this product.

Dr. Jart’s Premium Beauty Balm SPF45 Ingredients (per Sephora online):
Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Phenyl Trimethicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Dipropylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Arbutin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Magnesium Sulfate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Calcium Stearate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Polysorbate 80, Propylene Glycol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Talc, Tocopheryl Acetate, Adenosine, Alcohol, Lecithin, rh-Oligopeptide-1, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, PVP, Platinum Powder, Steareth-20, Chrysin, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide.

Check out one of these great products to save time and improve your face value!

Check out one of these great products to save time and improve your face value!

Verse of the Day:
Wisdom is worth much more than precious jewels or anything else you desire.
~Proverbs 8:11 (Common English Version)
Read more here.

Resource of the Day:
Beautypedia Cosmetics Ingredients Dictionary

The Marvelous Magnificence of MUTU

My Results in Only 12 Weeks with MUTU

I’m a control freak. I admit it. Big changes and major life events tend to make me anxious. I generally try to cope by doing lots of research, making plans and taking steps to feel prepared, safe, like I have a sense of control over what’s happening. So when I got pregnant, I spent a lot of time researching various health issues that may affect pregnant women. Early in my first trimester, I stumbled upon a condition called Diastasis Recti (DR) and was fascinated. It was like I finally had an answer for why so many women in my family had what they affectionately referred to as “mummy tummys” despite being relatively thin after childbirth. My own mother always carried a bubble of bloat just below her waist despite dropping to only 97 pounds after I was born. She always said it was because she never did any ab exercises. I assumed she was correct and swore it would never happen to me.

I became obsessed with avoiding DR. When I read that doing crunches later into pregnancy could cause my abdominal muscles to separate and create the very condition I desperately wanted to avoid, I stopped crunching cold turkey. I insisted on getting out of bed sideways each and every time (even in the middle of the night). I fanatically avoided any movement that would strain my abdominals. I used supportive belly bands while exercising. I counted calories throughout my pregnancy so as not to gain too much weight (because I’d read that contributed to post-pregnancy belly bulge). I drank at least a gallon of pure, filtered water every day and gave up anything that might lead to bloat like dairy or diet sodas. I took tons of supplements. By my third trimester, I had a daily workout routine of at least 300 squats (guaranteed to make labor a breeze according to multiple websites) and walking at least 5 miles. I scoured the internet for “the best” postpartum compression girdle and had that bad boy delivered and packed in my hospital bag weeks before my due date. Yep, I had it all under control…that is until I went into labor.

When the Labor & Delivery began monitoring our daughter, they estimated her size as between 8.5 and 10 pounds. I knew at that point that I was not going to have the easy breezy labor I’d planned for (I’m a small person with narrow hips not designed to push out a large baby). I’ll spare you the details of my labor. In summary I was in labor for about 20 hours after my water broke. I pushed for about 2 hours. And though I dilated fully, my daughter just never “arrived.” Her head was stuck, and I needed an emergency C-Section. There were several moments during that 20 hours where I remember saying to the doctor, “just go get her (e.g. do the C Section now)” because I was concerned about my daughter’s safety and all my planning and vanity ceased to matter. When they wheeled me in for the surgery, I remember thinking, “I’m so glad we are doing this!” Ironically, when the doctor cut me open he also pulled my abdominal muscles apart just like you’d pull open a pair of curtains. He did exactly what I’d tried to avoid all those months, and I ended up with a great big split in my abdominals. And I’m happy he did it because I have a beautiful, healthy baby girl. Of course, I was left with not only bulging abdominals but a big surgical incision so I wasn’t even able to use the expensive compression girdles I’d purchased. Isn’t it funny how we think we are planning our steps, but God determines the ways we truly will go (Proverbs 16:9)?

Anyway, after about 2 months of recovery from major surgery and the even bigger life adjustment of having a newborn, I got the go-ahead from my doc to begin some physical activity. So I began searching for a program to rehab from DR and a C Section, and I found several articles recommending the MUTU system. After more research, I decided MUTU would be the best program for me, and Hubs generously offered to purchase for me as a Christmas gift. I started the program at 3 months postpartum and have posted my BEFORE and AFTER pics below. The results are really incredible. I am sharing my story because DR affects more that 65% of all mamas, and it is incredibly frustrating and may include some very problematic other symptoms. But recovery is possible even if your children are 5, 10 even 15 years old. Also, I think it’s important for us all to remember that as humans we can only control so much in life but there is comfort and peace in knowing the God who is in control of everything and in trusting that He has a good and perfect plan for each one of us (Jeremiah 29:11).

I hope my story and pictures provide you with encouragement. I have also included the direct link to the MUTU online store below a couple more of my before & after pictures so you can directly access this awesome resource, my fellow Pretty Mommies. I pray for peace, health and joy for each of you all!

Thought for the Day:
Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil. 
~James 4:13-16 (NLT)
Read more here.

Resource of the Day:

WHOLE30 Day #27 – I’m So Thirsty!

WHOLE30 Day #27 – Here in North Carolina where we live, Spring is almost over and Summer is on its way. It’s getting warmer and warmer as April draws to a close. This is particularly noteworthy because Hubs and I are in the homestretch of our first WHOLE30 adventure. You’ll notice that I’m referring to it now as our “first” adventure with WHOLE30. It’s easy to envision oneself repeating this admittedly difficult process when there are only a few days left.

One aspect of the program that isn’t often addressed – or at least that I didn’t find a lot of info about – is beverages. At its core, WHOLE30 is a higher protein diet. Generally speaking, higher protein diets result in increased fluid loss. That’s a good thing in the beginning because many of us (especially women) walk around retaining excess fluid. In my case, especially in the early postpartum days, I retained a whole lot of excess fluid, and I was uncomfortable. But I was breastfeeding and figured it would all balance out eventually. To a certain extent, my body did balance out after a few months and with breastfeeding. But once I stopped breastfeeding, I noticed I was still holding a lot of extra fluid. I had headaches. My hands and feet were still swollen, and I couldn’t wear my wedding rings. That resolved pretty quickly for me after starting WHOLE30 (like within the first 2 weeks). But, man am I thirsty! Like all the time. Thirsty! And after a while, plain water got to be … boring. Keeping the house stocked with Perrier proved too expensive for our budget, so I went seeking alternatives.

Hubs drinks green tea, and I’ve always planned to start drinking it “someday.” It’s healthy; loaded with potent antioxidants; proven to help with weight loss, and on and on. I never enjoyed the taste and was skeptical that I’d like it without sweetener, until I decided to add fresh ginger. We also experimented with the addition of different flavored teas. My favorite recipe is listed below and includes a mix of plain green tea and herbal peach flavored teas. I like this mix best for both flavor and caffeine content. Green tea contains caffeine (though comparatively less than coffee); whereas herbal tea does not contain caffeine. Excess caffeine not only makes you jittery, it’s also a potent diuretic (it’s the main ingredient in OTC “water pills” by the way) which you don’t need during WHOLE30.

Play with the amount of ginger to find the exact right amount for you. If you don’t like ginger, alternatives include muddled fruit (like peaches, mango, etc.) or fresh herbs like mint. I hope you enjoy this tea as much as we do!

Refreshing Iced Tea for the Warm Days Ahead

Refreshing Iced Tea for the Warm Days Ahead

• 1 generous knob fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
• 2 sachets plain organic green tea
• 2 sachets fruit flavored herbal tea (I’m partial to peach)
• 2 Liter pure, filtered water

1. Place peeled and chopped ginger in your pitcher along with tea sachets.
NOTE: Hubs has a fancy schmancy tea infuser which allows us to put sachets into cylindrical tube which I think is designed to hold loose leaf tea if you’re inclined to prefer that form. We put the sachets in the tube but still put the ginger directly into the pitcher for maximum pungency. You don’t need this type of set-up but it’s nice and makes for easier cleanup.
2. Heat distilled water to boiling in teapot.
3. Carefully add boiling water to prepared pitcher.
4. Allow to steep for at least 2 hours.
5. Serve over ice & garnish with fresh mint if desired. Enjoy!
Makes 4 generous glasses

Verse of the Day:
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
~Psalm 63:1 (English Standard Version)
Read more here.

Resource of the Day:
Still need more incentive to drink green tea? Check out this list of 10 evidence-based reasons green tea is beneficial to your health!

WHOLE30 Day #24 – Cleaning Up

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 1.02.23 PM
Much of our family’s focus this weekend has been on cleaning our home in preparation for visitors this coming week. With a baby in the house, we tend to clean more reactively than proactively. “Oh there’s a mess over here. Let me pick that up before the baby gets into it…The baby spilled her bottle over there. I need to mop that up before get into it and turn it into an even bigger mess.” We vacuum before our daughter does tummy time but not on a regular schedule (sad but true). I dust when we’re expecting company not because that’s just what I do every Tuesday.

So as I cleaned, I began thinking about WHOLE30 and how it’s been kind of a metaphor for spring cleaning, a reset if you will. I discussed it with Hubs. We talked about our individual experiences; how our initial WHOLE30 journeys are coming to an end; what we’ve learned; etc. We also talked about how we want to move forward, the aspects of WHOLE30 we definitely want to maintain, pitfalls we want to avoid during the transition from such a strict eating plan (binging on pizza anyone?) and such. More on this topic in the days ahead…

Shortly after this conversation I checked my email. I had received my daily e-devotional from Dr. David Jeremiah’s Turning Points. In case you’re unfamiliar with Turning Points – it’s a wonderful program that sends you 6 emails a week (1 per weekday and 1 for the weekend). Each email contains a short devotional with a foundational scripture, a brief discussion often based on the life story of some historical individual and an additional suggested Bible reading for follow-up. During my days in the full-time, traditional work force, Turning Points emails were invaluable for helping me establish a daily devotional routine. These days, with an erratic full-time mommy schedule, Turning Points serves to ground me and remind me every day of the peace and love God provides. I’ve pasted a portion of this weekend’s devotion below because it speaks so clearly to this issue of spring cleaning, and how we should remain continually in a process of resetting and reassessing our progress toward our goals.

…Why should we live without having our affairs in order? Why shouldn’t “getting our affairs in order” be a continual process of assessing and resetting instead of an end-of-life challenge? We know the reasons: procrastination, busyness, resistance to change, unwillingness to make hard choices, fear of the future, and more. And yet we eventually get to that place: We clean out the garage and basement, we go on a diet, we start exercising, we begin investing resources in healthy relationships, we start spending daily time with God, we fine-tune our financial matters . . . we do those things that we know will allow important priorities to rise to the top and less important ones to fall by the wayside. Is it time for you to get your spiritual and practical affairs in order? Make it a continual process as you press toward the goal of knowing Christ Jesus.

Verse of the Day:
But one thing I do . . . I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
~Philippians 3:13b-14 (NKJV)
Read more here.

Resource of the Day:
Click here to register & begin receiving Turning Points e-devotionals automatically delivered to your inbox!

Eyes on the Prize – Eyeliner Dollars and Sense

Fact: High quality, user-friendly eyeliner is a must-have for busy mamas or any woman who wants to fix-it-and-forget her eye makeup. Modern eyeliners come in a wide range of formulas including long-wearing gel, felt-tip pen and various types of pencils. Many are waterproof and easy to use with options for sensitive skin, beginners and experienced makeup pros alike.

Myth: Only expensive eyeliners (i.e. the ones that cost $20+ each) offer top performance.

Mommy Did You Know: … that cosmetics giant, L’Oreal owns multiple department store brands like Lancome, Yves Saint Laurent, and Urban Decay as well as several drug-store lines including L’Oreal (obv), NYX and Maybelline?

What does that mean to you? That means if you already love UD’s cult fav liner 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil but don’t love paying $20 per for a liner, you should try Maybelline’s Eye Studio Lasting Drama Waterproof Gel Pencil for only $8. The two products are the same in terms of size and are virtually identical in performance. The only difference is color selection. UD offers almost 40 color options; whereas, Maybelline’s version comes in just 6 classic colors including your basic black, grey, brown and a divine sapphire blue that recently earned a coveted spot on Allure Magazine’s “Best of Beauty List.”

The Eyes Have It - Eyeliner by Maybelline

The Eyes Have It –
Eyeliner by Maybelline

Do you already love Lancome’s Artliner Precision Point Eyeliner for $30.50? Consider switching to L’Oreal’s Lineur Intense Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner. At only $8.99, the drugstore version boasts a savings of more than 70%, and the only difference is in the packaging. You’ll notice that the higher end products have fancier outsides but very similar formulations. That’s because the same cosmetic chemists created both the expensive and the inexpensive products.
Why pay more for packaging?

So Pretty Mommy, next time you’re shopping for eyeliner, try this switch for a potential savings of 60-70%. Pretty cool trick, right?

Stay tuned to Daily Beauty Wisdom for similar swaps that will save you money without sacrificing performance!

Wisdom for the Day:
I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. ~Psalm 101:2-3 (English Standard Version)
Read more here.

Resource of the Day:
Also check out Beautypedia for unbiased, in-depth reviews of hundreds skincare and makeup products.

Turban Tied

Turban Tied

Fact: Using a microfiber cloth to towel dry wet hair decreases blow-dry time; thereby decreasing potential damage to hair and saving you time and money in the process.

Myth: In order to experience these benefits you must purchase one of the popular microfiber towel brands currently being marketed on infomercials and in beauty store chains like ULTA and Sephora.

Mommy Did You Know: … that the same fabric that comprises the microfiber Turbie Twist® and DevaTowel® also makes up all those burpie cloths and old t-shirts you’ve got lying around? And if you’ve considered spending $18 on the Aquis® Waffle Weave Hair Towel, you could just as easily purchase a thermal (i.e. waffle-weave) t-shirt from Wal-Mart for only $7! You’ll get equal performance and save a whopping 61%!!!

So grab a waffle weave t-shirt or an old burpie cloth before your next shampoo and shave a few minutes off your next blow out, Pretty Mommy.

Hi I'm Karen.

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