Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Got acne? Your moisturizer may be to blame

Ok you guys, I know I promised that I would rotate all the clothes in my wardrobe, and share daily outfit posts here. But you know what they say about the best laid plans... Life has just gotten crazy. And I'm seriously in the middle of a quarterlife crisis. I mean, I just started seeing a new dermatologist, and he told me to stop moisturizing. I mean, what? This simply defies everything that every Cosmo girl in America has been taught about modern skincare! Cleanse, tone, moisturize. Every day. All the time. That's the routine; never waiver! Right? So, is my new doc a loony, or does he have a valid point? I decided to find out.

Ah, you feel so good. How could you be bad? If loving you is wrong, I don't wanna be right!

First off, I Googled (I mean, who wouldn't. Duh.). Many, many dermatology and medical websites claim that moisturizing is an essential part of a skincare routine. Ha! Just like I thought. "Experts" (at least, I hope they're experts) claim that moisturizing is needed to treat acne, because most topical acne meds are drying, and overly-dry skin can lead to more breakouts. But my derm swears that too much oil leads to breakouts (makes sense, actually), and that if we all would just leave our skin alone, it will produce enough oil to keep it hydrated. When I protested that my skin is super-dry and needs moisturizer, he said it's not my skin that's dry, but the products I'm using are drying it out. Using moisturizer is "a cultural thing." No way. He said that when you apply moisturizer, it's like rubbing in excess oil. But all of my products are oil-free! Not good enough, he said; even supposedly "oil-free" products can clog pores. Well, what about makeup? "We encourage people to use makeup," he said. "Makeup covers a multitude of sins."

But isn't makeup comedogenic? Apparently not. My doc says that since makeup sits on the surface of your skin, it doesn't penetrate enough to do any real damage; unlike moisturizer, which gets absorbed right away and seeps into your pores. Gross. So my derm gave me a sample of Cetaphil cleanser, told me to use that, and only that, and promised that I would notice a difference. "Stop moisturizing, and you will stop having acne breakouts." Just like that, eh? Well, heck. I'm 25 and have tried just about every acne treatment out there (I'm one of those who never broke out as a teen, but the minute I turned 20... spot city in my T-zone!) with mixed results. Sometimes I'll find what I deem a "miracle product," only to have my skin rebel within a few weeks of treatment. My skin, in addition to being breakout-prone, is crazy sensitive, and seems to ultimately reject whatever products I feed it. I have tried multiple brands. I have tried changing my diet. I have tried drinking tons of water. But the one thing I haven't tried? Not moisturizing. Even though the idea completely freaks me out, I've simply got to try it. What if my doc is right? I mean, he's the one with a dermatology degree, not me. Cosmo and Glamour are great and all, but my favorite magazines can't be my sole authority on skincare.

Step away from the moisturizer!

I'm worried that my face is going to look and feel like the Sahara, but other than that, I've got nothing to lose! So. Can I reduce my own dependency on oil? Check back to find out...

What about you? Are you completely dependent on your moisturizer? If so, what brand do you swear by? Every girl has a skincare story, and I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cleaning Out my Closet: The Becky Challenge

This was me this past weekend:

My bedroom was in horrid need of an update, and my closet was in quite a state. I'm not as bad as Becky Bloomwood, but close! Dutifully, I dug through my belongings, creating piles of clothes to either save/donate/sell on e-bay. It was a lot of work! But I'm trying to be more of a minimalist (ha), and have heard stylists say that it's better to have a small wardrobe full of pieces you love than a massive one full of stuff you never wear. It's overwhelming! Besides, I'd rather save up for one chic piece I love and know I'll wear forever than go crazy at budget stores, and wind up with too many trendy pieces that will just fall apart next season. If this is your guilty pleasure, too, no judgment; as an entry-level employee, I understand how tempting it is to stick with the cheap stuff, simply because it's affordable. And don't get me wrong, I can't resist popping into Urban Outfitters and H&M from time to time! But I'm trying to browse more, buy less, and overall become a more cautious, responsible consumer.

And, oh, the eco-guilt! As a writer who usually covers environmental topics, I have to wonder wear my clothes and accessories come from, exactly what they're made of, who made them, and whether or not the maker(s) earn a decent living. The sad truth is, they probably don't. It's my personal goal to frequent mass market retailers less and less, and support independent eco-fashion designers and fair trade companies as much as possible! Will you help keep me accountable?

Inspired by Becky's challenge in the latest Shopaholic novel, I want to wear every item in my wardrobe at least once before I buy anything new*. Sounds crazy, right? I admit, I have a lot of clothing. Who knows, if I take this challenge literally, I might not have to do any shopping for over a year! (Which, sickeningly enough, makes me kind of sad! I'll have to get over that!)

After completing this challenge, I want to take the money I've saved and invest in an eco-fashion item, whether it's a pair of ultra-chic Olsen Haus shoes, a compassionate coat by Vaute Couture or a gorgeous piece by Stewart + Brown. And, yes, I'll be sure to bank my money, too! In general, I need to cut back all my spending... in this economy, I'm sure we all do. Right?

In keeping with my new pledge, I will attempt to document my progress by creating an inventory of every clothing item owned and keeping track of when it's worn. Naturally, I'll be documenting the entire challenge here. This will mean regular outfit posts, which I will try to adhere to on a daily basis! It will be fun to come up with new outfits using old favorites. Time to reduce, reuse, remix and restyle!

So check back to see if I can survive the Becky Challenge! Want to participate? Drop me an line!

Happy styling!

*I'm not counting thrift/vintage! That would hardly be fair. Besides, shopping for used goods is green! :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Things to Love: October

It's fall! Let's give a cheer! I simply will not stop gushing that my favorite season is here. So if you grow weary of it... sorry! I am proud to be a fall baby (though I am not looking forward to my next birthday! Ugh! This is officially the year that I start lying about my age...).

So. I'll keep this brief, so I can dash off to StyleFixx's Girls Night Out! Tomorrow I'll probably have a few pictures to share. Today... I'm sharing a few things I'm loving this month:
The best book. I freaked when I realized this was out! I hope the Shopaholic series never ever ends. Ever!Look who else has a fashionista book coming out! Lauren Conrad's style tome (appropriately titled Lauren Conrad Style) actually looks like fun. I'm sure her ghostwriter LC has lots of trendy tips to share!

These awesome Aldo boots. Sorry the picture is so big, but these boots are epic! And they're vegan-friendly, made of canvas and rubber! No leather! I'll bet you couldn't even tell. ^_^ Perfect for thrashing through autumn leaves, don't you think?

Wish I could make this dress picture bigger, for it, too, is epic. I've drooled over this bird print corduroy shirt dress every time I've gone to Anthropologie. It's so sweet, I long to spirit it away! Emily's adorable H&M version is another viable option, and a much more affordable one!

Annnd... Finally...

Ok, so this isn't news. The PSL has been back since September. But who cares? I'm still celebrating.

Happy fall, everyone! Now go have some fun.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fashion Week Blowout!

Greetings, loves! The StyleFixx giveaway is over, so congrats to the winner! She will receive an email notification with more details. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Today, on this shockingly-chilly fall morning (I knew it was coming, but boy! It went from humid to freezing in a flash! But, then, that's New England for you... predictably unpredictable), I'd like to wrap up Spring '11 fashion week coverage by posting a final list of favorites. As always, I'd love to know your thoughts, so leave 'em in the comments! What was your favorite runway look this season?

After combing through dozens of shows, I've selected my all-time favorite looks. Not surprisingly, most of these come courtesy of Anna Sui. Her aesthetic simply screams "boho-rock," and she imbued her spring collection with the spirit of the Wild Wild West. The result? Charmingly-funky cocktail wear that works just as well on city streets as it would in an old saloon. Yee-haw!

Keeping with the seventies ladylike trend, some elegant retro looks were exhibited at Luca Luca. Want to add punch to your nine to five wardrobe? Try a hit of orange. The shade was all over the runways, leading fashion experts to call it the hue for spring '11.

The seventies "ladies who lunch" at Luca Luca serve as a lovely segue from the sixties prairie-hippies at Anna Sui to our next designer, who gave us posh, yet punchy, Americans in Paris. We come to one of the prettiest, flounciest, most wearable collections ever sent down any runway: Donna Karan's DKNY. So much elegance. So much color. So many... ruffles. And bows. And Hermès-esque scarves. Oui, oui. I'm in love!

Of course, I couldn't spotlight all of the amazing, talented designers that showed this season... I just don't have that kind of time. :'( But I will be posting more runway coverage, from an eco-eye, over at Jute & Jackfruit's blog... so be sure to check it out soon! Oh, and that reminds me... Last week, I wrote a guest post for La vie... J'aime, which is an awesome, artsy fashion blog written by a fellow Boston blogger. I was so excited to pen a guest entry, so if you get a chance, check out my travel essay on one of my favorite local haunts, here.

Hope you're enjoying your Octobrrrrr! :)