What is a HydraFacial and Why You Need It

What is a HydraFacial and Why You Need It
What is a HydraFacial and Why You Need It

For over a year I have been getting a monthly HydraFacial, and it’s the best investment I’ve ever made in my skin.  It’s better than any treatment, product or drawer full of gizmos –  and I love my gizmos. It’s a none invasive treatment proven to help improve:

Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Dark Spots
Clogged and Enlarged Pores
Evens Skin Tone and Reduces Redness
Reduce Acne

Have any of that?

I deal with all of it. Especially issues with my pores and breakouts.

But over the last year, I’ve seen a difference across the board, most notably, my pores are practically invisible, and my acne is significantly reduced. So much so that I can go weeks without any breakout.  Don’t let the term “facial” fool you. Unlike most facials that feel gimmicky (I’m looking at you chocolate facial – why waste your money?), this is a medical spa treatment, that is quick and has zero downtime.

What is a HydraFacial?

To get a true HydraFacial, you need to go to a salon that has their patented proprietary machine which works with a wand that helps cleanse, extract and then plump your skin full of goodness.

The secret is the magic “wand” attached to the machine that helps first to cleans and exfoliate your skin.  Next, the technician will turn on the suction mode and pulls all the “guck” out of your pores – seriously; you’ll see all the stuff come out. It’s like when you swiffer your floors and can’t believe what’s been sitting on them. It’s incredible. Finally, the same wand plumps your skin up with antioxidant-rich serums.  Somehow, the machine uses water to keep your skin hydrated, hence “HydraFacial” so even super sensitive skin like mine is barely red when I leave and back to normal in 20 minutes. This quick video gives a good overview of what it’s like.

Amazing Results

You’ll see a noticeable difference immediately. Your pores will appear, smaller and your skin will be brighter. Over time, you’ll notice less and less acne, reduced inflammation, smoother skin, especially on your forehead and around your eyes, and lighter dark spots.

I go every four weeks religiously. Each session takes about 30 – 45 minutes.  Prices will vary depending on your salon and if you choose to add additional serums (I don’t). I pay about $180 per session before tip. Because I’m 38, I’m focusing a lot more my skin rather than makeup, and so far it’s paying off.  I don’t wear much if any makeup on most days, and when I do, I can play up how healthy my skin is rather than covering up with a lot of product.

To learn more about the HydraFacial and find an approved spa close to you, follow this link. And to see some of my favorite effective products and gizmos check out our Beauty Closet.

This is not a sponsored post. 

Protect, Moisturize, and Prime Your Face with This Sunscreen

Protect, Moisturize, and Prime Your Face with This Sunscreen

I’m always on the hunt for new good-for-you skincare and last month, I found a new product that I am going to add to my permanent line-up. I already found the organic sunless tanner of my dreams, but I needed something to protect me from the sun. After a middle-of-the-night research session (I don’t sleep), I found and ordered Suntegrity Skincare Face Sunscreen and Primer. And I LOVE it.

Suntegrity Skincare Face Sunscreen and Primer

Suntegrity Skincare Face Sunscreen and Primer


I mean, just read the description from Suntegrity’s website:

Suntegrity moisturizing face sunscreen is a rich, non-greasy, “UV chemical-free” sunscreen that offers Broad Spectrum Protection against damaging UVA & UVB rays. Infused with youth promoting antioxidants, this 3 in 1 Suntegrity Skincare product functions as a face moisturizer, sunscreen and make-up primer all in one. Hyaluronic acid, astaxanthin, red algae and Certified Organic: aloe vera, jojoba, sunflower, pomegranate, cucumber, and green tea help provide additional sun protection, moisture and hydration. Non-nano sized zinc-oxide not only protects the skin from the damaging UVA and UVB rays, but it also soothes and calms the skin. Zinc-oxide is known for its anti-inflammatory properties that often help skin conditions like rosacea, acne, and melasma.

Doesn’t that sound perfect?! I found with other facial sunscreens that I have used in the past that they either smelled like sunblock or caused breakouts. I can say with confidence that Suntegrity’s moisturizing face sunscreen does not smell at all, because one of my pregnancy symptoms is an overly keen sense of smell.

After I cleanse my face, I apply my serum, a super-thin layer of moisturizer, and then this sunscreen. I have dry skin, so I need the double moisture, but for folks with normal or oily skin might be able to skip the moisturizer before this sunscreen. I have found that it’s better to wait a few minutes before applying makeup on top of the sunscreen. It needs a moment to set. A little goes a long way, so this one bottle will last you the entire summer.

You’ve heard the lecture before, but I am going to say it again. Stay out of the sun as much as possible and wear sunblock. Every single day. This means in all four seasons, no matter if it’s raining or snowing, no matter if you “don’t plan on going outside,” and even when you’re on an airplane. The only time I am not wearing it is when I am in bed, blinds closed and curtains drawn. I know this makes me sound like a vampire, but I did not listen when I was younger and I hang my head in shame when I hear my dermatologist point out the damage I have done to my skin. Nevermore. End lecture.


The Korean Face Mask I Swear By

The Korean Face Mask I Swear By - The Well Dressed Life
The Korean Face Mask I Swear By - The Well Dressed Life

In the world of beauty, Korean Face Masks are all the rage. You may have seen them on other blogs, in magazines or on your Facebook or Instagram scroll. They are everywhere. So what’s the deal? Are they worth it and should you incorporate them into your beauty routine? It depends on what you need.

Korean face masks are sheet masks. They are packaged individually and are for one use only. The sheets are soaked in powerful, good-for-you serums and then cut to fit the contours of your face. When you apply, place it over clean, dry skin, press gently into place and let sit for 20 – 30 minutes. The idea is that the sheet helps the serum absorb into your skin for maximum benefit.

I’ve tried dozens of different brands over the last year, and nothing blew me away. Some made my skin feel nice for a few minutes; others seemed like gimmicks. Nothing was worth writing about until I tried Exilir Cosmetic’s Golden Face Mask.

The Korean Face Mask I Swear By - The Well Dressed Life

Golden Face Mask: $12.99

No mask, serum, or topical cream of any kind is going to erase wrinkles. It doesn’t work like that. Some creams may lessen the look of fine lines and wrinkles, but they will not eliminate them. And that’s okay; your skin needs more than wrinkle management. What your skin needs the most is moisture. And that’s what an effective sheet mask will deliver.

I spent some time researching high quality yet affordable masks.  After reading the amazing reviews this receives on Amazon I had to give it a try and I have to say, it’s pretty great.

Like I said, you’re not getting long term wrinkle reduction.  However, this does hydrate and plump your skin so you look fresh and well rested – which is all I’m really going for these days. Most surprising what how effective it was in the evening my skin tone.  I’m insanely pale skinned and prone to redness, especially on my cheeks and nose. With one use it was noticeably calmer.

I’m incorporating this into my routine two ways.  First, I throw one of these in my bag when I travel.  I flew to Denver first thing Monday morning to give a speech Monday night.  Between the long flight and change in altitude, my skin was dehydrated.  I put this on, and 20 minutes later my skin looked and felt a whole lot better.  I’ve made a habit of using it one night whenever I’m on the road.  It makes living out of a hotel for a few days feel a bit more indulgent.

I also use it before a night out.  Whether it’s a party with friends or a simple date night, I’ll put this on before I do my makeup and I’m always amazed how little coverage I need.  It’s a nice way to allow your skin to glow through and skip all the heavy make up.  Be sure once you remove the mask to press the remaining serum into your face, neck and even hands.  Wait for it to dry before you add any other products or makeup.

You Have to Try This Organic Sunless Tanning Lotion

NKD SKN Organic Sunless Tanner
NKD SKN Organic Sunless Tanner - The Well Dressed Life

As you can tell from the theme of the blog posts, we are READY for warmer weather. Since it seems like we are finally headed in the direction of sundresses and open-toed shoes, I thought that I would look into what to do about my lighter-than-pale skin.

I no longer tan like I did in my twenties (cringe), so every year I use sunless tanning products to make me look a little more alive than a vampire. This year, however, I decided that I wanted to find an organic sunless tanning lotion. Megan has mentioned before that she is trying to “clean-up” her beauty routine, and I have jumped on the bandwagon.

I obsessively scoured organic beauty blogs, online reviews, and even talked to some organic beauty aficionados over Facebook and the recommendation that came up over and over was NKD SKN.

I decided to give it a shot since the price was really reasonable. I figured, what’s the worst that can happen (other than orange, blotchy skin that makes me resemble a calico cat)?!

Luckily, all of the strangers on the internet were right! This stuff really does work! It’s a daily gradual tan, meaning that you can use it in the morning after your shower as you would a regular lotion. Over time, the color will build up. Since I mentioned how pale I am, I noticed a difference after the very first day.

Try this Organic Sunless Tanning Lotion

NKD SKN Organic Sunless Tanner

Organic Sunless Tanning Lotion, $15

When applying, follow the regular rules of self-tanning. Exfoliate in the shower prior to use. Don’t use over-moisturizing soap in the shower.

Be careful when you apply to knees, elbows, and ankles, and make sure you wash your hands afterwards. It’s better to take the extra minute to take care of these steps so you don’t end up with blotches should the color develop quickly on you. Better safe than sorry!

The lotion dries quickly and you can put your clothes on right after without any worry of transfer. Did I mention that it’s odorless? It is!

As I mentioned, this lotion is free of all of that bad-for-you stuff that we are trying to avoid. Keeping track of what ingredients I should be avoiding is tedious, so I rely on two different apps to help me, Think Dirty and EWG.

Between these two apps, I can find information about most of the products I am already using or about products I want to use. Neither database is fully comprehensive, so I have to look in both places sometimes. NKD SKN is rated a 0 on Think Dirty, which is the best rating there is. That’s amazing!

Let me know if you snag yourself a bottle and try it out. I’m loving it, so I hope you do too!

Why You Need a Jade Roller

Why I Love My Jade Roller

Creating an impactful beauty routine takes time and is ever evolving. What we needed in our 20s (drugstore cleanser and maybe some lip balm) is radically different from what we require in our 30s, 40s, 50s and above. It’s becomes more complicated than slathering on some expensive creams.

Today, there are fantastic tools to incorporate into your daily routine to keep your skin in tip-top shape.

A Clarisonic will give your skin an incredible cleaning; a micro roller helps serums absorb and boosts collagen, and face toning devices help maintain your jawline and give your skin a subtle lift. I use all of the above and recently added the beauty blogger product du jour: the jade roller.

Why I Love My Jade Roller

Jade Roller, $25.00, Vintner’s Daughter Serum, $185.00

During one of my insomnia induced Instagram rabbit holes, I ordered it on a whim, with no real expectations. Advocates claim that a natural jade roller will improve elasticity and promote lymphatic drainage which is a fancy way of saying it reduces swelling and increases blood circulation. At 2 am this, all sounded great.

I figured at worst; this gizmo would live in my fridge for the mornings I need to roll something cold under my eyes.

It turns out; this inexpensive tool is an effective way to calm angry skin, reduce inflammation and puffiness and helps your skin absorb serums. Here’s how it works:

For daily use, wash your skin with your favorite cleanser. Your next step will be whatever you do after you cleanse and before you add serum. I use a glycolic acid pad that helps with my acne. THEN I press my favorite serum (Vintner’s Daughter above) into my skin and pull out my jade roller.

Using little pressure, begin to roll the jade up and away from the center of your face. With the larger side of the jade, start on one side with your jawline and roll three or four times, move up to your cheek bone, then move to the other side of your face. Take the roller and move from your eyebrows to your hairline.

Next, use the smaller piece of jade and go up your chin, and gently around your eyes. All in all, it takes about 2 minutes.

The coolness of the jade reduces redness, and the up and out motion helps your skin drink in all the goodness in your serum.

I started using this as part of my nighttime routine. After just a few days of use, I woke up with little to no redness on my cheeks (I have very mild rosacea that makes me crazy). Not only does it do what it promises, but it also helps reduce puffiness under your eyes.

Last week I was traveling for work. My skin freaks out on planes and in hotels when you get no fresh air. I woke up in Houston on my way to a meeting looking like I was drinking and crying all night (I don’t remember doing either). I had packed my roller and quickly used it around my eyes for a few minutes. The difference was incredible. The swelling went entirely away.

The good news is you don’t have to spend a fortune on a jade roller.  You can, if you want, but why?  Don’t fork over $50, or $100.  I found mine on Amazon for $25, and it’s well made and works perfectly.

How I Use Light Therapy to Treat Acne

How I Use Light Therapy to Treat Acne
How I Use Light Therapy to Treat Acne - The Well Dressed Life

I’ve dealt with adult acne since I turned 30, almost immediately after my youngest was born. My skin, in general, is highly sensitive. It scars easily and becomes red and inflamed with any mild irritation. By the time I was 35 I was fighting with painful cyst-like blemishes on my cheeks and beyond frustrated. I couldn’t understand why, at this point in life, my skin was acting like I was a teenager.

Over the years I’ve found a cocktail of products that keep my skin in good shape, I can go weeks and months with close to perfect skin. But hormonal changes, an increase in exercise (and the sweaty face that follows) and heightened stress tend to cause a break out to come from out of nowhere. These breakouts tend to be angry; predominantly on my cheeks and chin. Sometimes they hurt, but more often then not they are just hard to cover up and linger for what seems like forever.

I’m 38 folks. THIRTY EIGHT.  Give me some wrinkles to deal with, that I can handle.

How I Use Light Therapy to Treat AcneMask, $30  |  Spot Treatment, $19

How I Use Light Therapy to Treat Acne

Two things have helped.

My brother is getting married in September, and since I find myself the oldest bridesmaid by 8 – 15 years, I decided to get a monthly HydraFacial to get my skin in tip-top shape. It’s a game-changing process that essentially vacuums out your pores and then pumps your skin with all sorts of goodness to leave it glowing and hydrated.

After my last treatment, my esthetician commented about the redness on my cheeks and chin. Typically, it would go away in 30 minutes after each facial. But instead of sending me on my way, she took out a small metal device that almost looked like a meat tenderizer. She placed it over each irritated area for a few seconds, moving it from spot to spot for about ten minutes. It was cool to the touch, but a red light glowed from underneath.

When she finished up, she said, “your skin responded really well to some light therapy.”

And boy, was she right, my skin was calm and clear.

What was this miracle she called “light therapy,” and how do I get it every day?

She explained that light therapy is an innovative use of red and blue lights to help fight inflammation (red light) and bacteria (blue light). The red light will also help stimulate collagen and is found in many anti-aging treatments. When used together, you get less irritation, blemish free skin.

Of course, I left the office on a mission to find an affordable way to incorporate it into my daily routine. Within five minutes of Googling, I discovered Neutrogena Light Therapy Acne Mask and Spot Treatment Stick and ordered it immediately. I started using both a week ago, and my skin is noticeably clearer.

The Mask

Use the mask once a day, after you wash your face, before you put on any product. Your skin should be dry during use. It takes ten minutes. The first time I put it on I tried to read emails on my phone but felt a little dizzy. I had also had two glasses of wine, so … that could have had something to go with it. By the second session, I felt fine but you don’t want to walk around with it on, so give yourself a few minutes to just sit and chill.

The time of day doesn’t matter. I’m making it a point to do the mask following a workout, after I wash my face since I break out more after sweating. The kit comes with a mask and an “activator” which has 30 treatments. After you use up your first activator, keep the mask and buy a new activator. Super simple.


Spot Treatment Stick

The Spot Treatment Stick is genius. It has the same technology as the mask but is designed to target individual blemishes. You can use it three times a day and only takes two minutes. Both the mask and the stick turn off automatically. When I first ordered both devices, I had a huge, painful blemish on my cheek. The kind that looks worse when you try to cover it up. Within two days of using both the mask and the stick, it was gone, without having to use an abrasive drying lotion.

Final Thoughts

There are many at home light therapy devices.  Neutrogena is the most affordable and based on my results highly effective.  I would consider my acne mild to moderate, depending on the breakout.  While I wouldn’t solely rely on this as my only form of care, it is a fantastic daily treatment to incorporate into your existing current skincare routine.

Giveaway: Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum

Vinter's Daughter Botanical Serum Giveaway from The Well Dressed Life
Vinter's Daughter Botanical Serum Giveaway from The Well Dressed Life

It’s Giveaway Time!

Once a month, for all of 2018, we are giving away one of my favorite products. It could be a bag, a book, a beauty product, an accessory – pretty much anything I use and love. We kicked off last month with the Lo & Sons OG bag. As long-time readers know, I have been a fan of these durable travel bags for years. Today, we are giving away Vintner’s Daughter Botanical Face Serum; my stranded-on-a-desert-island must have face oil that transformed my skin. With a cult-like following and crazy price tag, it’s a pretty fantastic prize.

Vinter's Daughter Botanical Serum Giveaway from The Well Dressed Life


The Serum

I discovered Vintner’s Daughter about a year and a half ago. Knowing it was time to upgrade my skincare routine I went off to look for a serum that would help revitalize my aging skin that is prone to breakouts and redness. Over the years I’ve been incorporating more natural beauty products into my skin care regiment. Knowing how much better I feel with a clean and organic diet, I figured mimicking that in my beauty products couldn’t hurt. Some products fell flat, showed little to no results and were not worth the price tag.

Vintner’s Daughter boasts a magical combination of botanicals and essential oils. In the spirit of “research,” after reading dozens of too-good-to-be-true reviews online, I skeptically ordered one 30ml bottle for $185.

Pause for reaction.

Admittedly, I spend an obscene amount of money on skincare. I justify the price by thinking that I’ll age gracefully and my older self will be grateful for the healthy, well cared for skin. I hope. We’ll see.

But $185 for a bottle of serum seemed crazy even for me. I was Christmas morning excited when it arrived in the mail and placed it in my medicine cabinet like it was the Grail in Indian Jones and the Last Crusade. Don’t drop it, don’t spill it, don’t let anyone touch it.

How to Apply 

It’s important to follow the application process. I started using it at night after I wash my face with either Eve Lom (if I’m wearing make up) or Tata Harper (for little to no make up), and use a gentle toner. Then, you take six drops of the oil and rub it between your hands. Gently place both hands on your face a push and press the oil into your skin. You don’t want to douse your skin with oil; a little goes a long way. Continue to push and press the oil all over your face, neck and decollete. Let it sit for about 30 seconds.

Then I follow up with eye cream, neck cream and night cream. It’s not as involved as it sounds. My night time routine takes less than 5 minutes.

The Results

I was floored with how much better my skin looked when I woke up the next morning. It had a noticeable glow, and the redness that lives on my checks was gone entirely. Over the next few weeks, my skin was transformed.

The hormonal acne on my cheeks – gone.
The acne scarring on my cheeks – gone.
The redness on my t-zone – gone.
The general dullness that comes with over 35-year-old skin – gone.

Is it expensive? Yes.
Worth it? Also yes.

My skin has a youthful glow that looks rested (haha!) and healthy.
I was sold, and have been using the serum religiously ever since. Now I get panicky when the bottle gets low.

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A winner will be announce on Friday, March 2nd.

This is not a sponsored post.  You prize is paid for by The Well Dressed Life. 

Only 1 winner will be announced.  Prize is non transferable and will be mailed directly to the winner.  US Residence only.  Must be 18 years old to enter.