6 Effective Beauty Products

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Since I’ve moved back home, I’ve finally found the time to really focus on myself, and narrow down what works effectively in my daily routine, and what doesn’t. Although this includes a very broad spectrum of forms, today I’m going to review a few beauty products that I’ve found beneficial over the pass few months, and explain why they have now become a part of my everyday routine.

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EOS Lip Balm

EOS lip balm comes in a smooth sphere for easy application that precisely glides on the lips. It has broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection. In addition, it contains vitamin E, shea butter, and jojoba oil, which keeps your lips incredibly smooth. A few other reasons I love this balm is that its 100% natural flavour, it applies completely clear, its petrolatum and paraben free, gluten free, phthalate free, and its not tested on animals.

Personally, I have never been a frequent lip balm user. However, I noticed my lips getting much more dry when I moved back to Canada, after living in sunny south Florida for years. EOS lip balm has been a go-to for me. I love how it immediately moisturizes your lips, and the flavours smell pretty but aren’t overwhelming. My favourite flavours are sweet mint, coconut milk, vanilla mint, and honeysuckle.

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Yes to Grapefruit Spray Pore Minimizing Facial Toner

Another product I’ve recently found success with is this Yes to Grapefruit Toning Mist. It’s a natural toning spray (in eco-friendly packaging), that revs up radiance and reduces the look of pores. It achieves this through ingredients such as grapefruit, kakadu plum, and infusions of vitamin C. It also delivers hydration and works wonders at setting make-up. It’s smells delicious, and is 96% natural, paraben, SLS, and silicone free, and cruelty free. You simply spray the mist onto your skin anytime you need a little extra hydration and radiance. Another plus is that it’s super affordable!

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Dior Youth-Sorbet Moisturizer and Serum Sorbet

Although these aren’t recent discoveries, these two products have been life changers. I’ve mentioned the Youth-Sorbet moisturizer in a previous post but to reiterate, it’s an extremely light-weight moisturizer that envelopes the skin in softness while deeply reinvigorating and plumping the look of facial features. It does an amazing job at making your skin look awakened, softened, and healthy looking. It’s literally the only moisturizer I will use, and have been using it for the past five years.

The Hydra Life Pro-Youth Sorbet Essence is a serum the revitalizes the skin for a healthy looking finish. All you need is one drop, and it deeply reinvigorates the skin by supporting the natural circulation of water- leaving the complexion refreshed, healthy looking, and full of life. Although these items are slightly more expensive, I can’t recommend them enough. They truly do wonders for your skin.

In a self-evaluation of 64 women, aged 26-40, with twice daily application for 21 days:

  • 100% said skin is more moisturized
  • 100% said the complexion is more luminous
  • 73% said signs of fatigue are diminished

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Eucalyptus Spearmint Body Wash & Foam Bath

I’m a huge fan of bubble baths. Pouring a nice hot bath, lighting a candle, and reading a book is how I de-stress after a busy day of activities. And this foam bath is the perfect accessory for that. It is infused with soothing skin conditioners, while an aromatherapy blend of eucalyptus essential oil clears the mind, and spearmint essential oil uplifts. Again, this is not a recent discovery, I’ve been using this foam bath for a few years and I will definitely continue to do so.

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Avocado & Oatmeal Clay Mask

I’ve never been one to apply a mask on a regular basis, however, I recently came across this avocado and oatmeal clay mask and I have truly noticed the benefits. Its rich clay dives deep to purge dirt and oils from pores. Its nutrient-rich with vitamin E, avocado and oatmeal moisturize for lasting skin softness. After use, the skin looks and feels squeaky clean and is soft to touch. Perfect for normal to combination skin. I typically use this once or twice a week, and have noticed my skin is much more radiant after using it. It’s also very affordable.

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Beauty Smoothie Shimmer Crackling Body Mousse

I came across this product by complete fluke. I was shopping at Ulta one day and picked this up right as I was checking out. Now I’m completely obsessed. This shimmer body mousse provides a cool, crackling feel when applied, leaving the skin soft and lightly moisturized with a shimmering glow. Although it doesn’t provide a huge amount of moisture, it’s very light and refreshing on the skin.

Current Beauty Cravings

  
I’ve always loved make-up, but I typically always wore the same exact products over and over. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with various different items and I’ve found a few new favs! 

1. Anastasia Contour Kit (Light to Medium)– it comes in a palette with six different shades. A couple of the shades are a little dark for my skin tone, but I love the rest. The ‘banana’ shade is my favourite. Sometimes I use it to set my foundation, and other times I just quickly throw it on, without anything else, to create an even skin tone. (Available at Sephora)

2. Bobbi Brown Blush (Desert Rose)- this has become my “go-to” blush! It’s suttle, but adds the perfect glow to the cheeks. I’m absolutely obsessed. 

3. Laura Geller Love Me Dew Lip Crayon– I bought these in a pack of three from Nordstroms. I love them because they make any look pop, and they stay on all day! I’ll definitely be investing in these again. 

Stocking Stuffers Under $100

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1. C.Wonder- Gold Monogram Wine Stopper

2. Dior- J’adore Eau de Parfum

3. Gold Cursive Monogram Mug

4. Let It Snow Perforated Votive

5. Bath & Body Works 3-wick Winter Candle 

6. NARS Virtual Domination Cheek Palette

7. J.Crew Industrial Bolt Bracelet

8. Essie 2014 Holiday Kit  

9. Japanese Cherry Blossom Gift Set 

Clutch Essentials

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Mints – When chatting at the bar or an awkwardly small table, personal-space-violations are inevitable, and fresh breath just becomes common courtesy.

Small brush – You never know when that gusty wind is going to strike. Always be prepared.

Safety pins – These little metal pins can save you from a multitude of fashion disasters, like losing a button or a broken zipper.

Cash – I’m not someone who always carries cash, but there are still places that don’t take debit cards, so having a few small bills on hand for tips and the occasional tin cup, is always a good idea…especially in big cities.

Drivers license and credit/debit cards – Both of these are probably a no brainer, but they’re also the most fundamental items in your clutch. Before you leave the house, double check that you haven’t lost these critical plastics.

Mini perfume – Mini perfume bottles are my favorite thing to keep in my clutch, handbag and makeup bag. They always come in handy and keep you from smelling like your immediate surroundings.

Change – Quarters aren’t only good for laundry day. It’s important to keep a few on hand for paying those pesky parking meters!

Pain reliever – If you’re prone to headaches like me, a pain reliever that’s in reach is a requirement for survival.

Lipstick and gloss – Eating and drinking is your lipstick’s biggest enemy, so it’s crucial to keep some color in your clutch for reapplications throughout the night.

Powder – I’ve noticed that the more fun I have during a night out, the quicker my makeup fades. A compact pressed powder should always be a beauty essential to keep your skin looking fresh instead of faded.

Pack of tissues – Tissues are great to use for blotting off surface oil from your skin and correcting make up smudges.

Backup phone charger – This little pink rectangle could save your life if you happen to get stranded without a phone in where-did-all-my-friends-go, USA. And what’s equally as terrifying is not having access to your camera and social media accounts. (Pocket Juice power bank)

Stain removing pen – To prevent yourself from having to flaunt a food or wine stain on your dress all evening, an instant stain remover, like a Tide Pen, has the power to save your garment and your dignity.

7 Braided Hairstyles for Fall

Let’s face it: There aren’t too many of us (myself included) who have time to get a blow out every single day. And while in a perfect world we would have gorgeous beachy waves in a pinch, sometimes we need a quick fix to make our hair look good. Enter: braids. Creating a braided hairstyle is the perfect solution when you want to look put together but you don’t have time for perfecting your mane. It’s my go-to when I’m trying to make my hair last between blowouts, and it works every time. Which is why I was recently inspired to research a few new ways to plait my tresses…

Each of the hairstyles below will be a perfect compliment to your fall wardrobe.

1. Braided bun

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2. French braided bun

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3. Knotted side braid

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4. Bohemian side braid

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5. Knotted milkmaid braid

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6. Full braided crown

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7. Half braided crown

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All Things Pink

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According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women (except for skin cancers) and about 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. These women are our grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and friends. To support them and show them our love I thought it would be a good idea to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness month with a roundup of stylish products that support the cause. Happy shopping!

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1. Stella & dot strength bracelet. $39. This adorable bracelet was inspired by the strength of the elephant. !00% of net proceeds benefit the Noreen Fraser Foundation, a non-profit organization raising money for women’s cancer awareness and creating awareness of the importance of early detection.

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2. eos 2014 Breast Cancer Awareness 3-Pack. $7.99. This special collection includes Strawberry Sorbet and Pomegranate Raspberry Smooth lip balm, plus a Berry Blossom hand lotion. A portion of proceeds will benefit Breast Cancer Research.

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3. Rebecca Taylor Double Layer Tank. $225. I love this tank’s bright color and layered detail, plus fifty percent of all proceeds will go directly to the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation.

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4. Tory Burch York Buckle Tote. $295. Tory Burch has a ton of Breast Cancer Awareness products right now—from wallets to phone cases to totes (like this gorgeous multi-tasking bag). This bag is a great size for work, school, travel, or just everyday schlepping. A fraction of the proceeds will go to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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5. Clinique Great Skin, Great Cause Breast Cancer Awareness Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. $38. Clinique will donate $10 from each purchase of their classic moisturizer to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. And the cute little key chains add a fun touch of pink to the packaging, don’t you think?

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6. Bigley Shoes & Clothing- SKECHERS Womens Go Walk 2 Flash Awareness Walking Shoes. $60. Support Breast Cancer Awareness with these lightweight SKECHERS sneakers. Available for purchase at Bigley Shoes & Clothing.

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7. Jo Malone Red Roses Cologne. $120. Jo Malone truly makes some of the best scents. This fragrance is a blend of seven of the world’s most exquisite roses, with crushed violet leaves and a hint of lemon. The sale of the Red Roses Cologne supports and raises awareness for The Estee Lauder Companies’ Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign.

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8. Joe’s Jeans Breast Cancer Awareness Scarf. $78. Joe’s Jeans is helping to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month by donating 100% of net proceeds from the sale of this super soft scarf to FORCE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.

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9. La Mer The Hand Treatment – Breast Cancer Awareness. $45. For every purchase of the silky, smoothing hand treatment, La Mer will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

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10. Cosabella Italia Soft Bra. $73.50. Twenty percent of the sales of this gorgeous lace bra will be donated to Bra Ha Ha, a fund-raising event that promotes breast-health awareness.

 

 

Your Guide to Vitamins

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If you eat a perfectly healthy and balanced diet 24/7, you are probably getting all the nutrients you need from your food…and I envy you. But if you’re like me, taking the right supplements will give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs on those days when an afternoon ice cream cone sounds better than a bowl of fruit.

Today I’ve rounded up some of the best vitamins that young women may consider taking. These are simply suggestions, and you might only need to add one or two to your diet depending on what foods you already eat. Food is your best source of nutrition, but when you have those off days, this list will help boost your body’s nutritional intake.

1. A GOOD WOMEN’S MULTI. If you’re going to choose one vitamin from this list, it should be a multi-vitamin that is made for women. Make sure it has folate or folic acid, which is very important for women ages 18 to 40, who someday want to have a family. A good multi-vitamin will give you a daily dose of all the things you should be eating in your diet…and more!

2. BIOTIN. Biotin is one of my personal favorite vitamins because it has worked miracles on my hair, skin, and nails. I take 500 micrograms a day, and ever since I started I have noticed that my hair is longer and shinier, my skin is clearer, and my nails are stronger. Many multi-vitamins have biotin in them already, so be sure you’re reading your labels.

3. IRON. Iron is a great supplement to take for women who are menstruating because your body loses iron every month. You only need about 10-20 milligrams, but it works wonders by delivering oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. If you eat a lot of red meat (say, a serving every day) you might be getting enough iron to skip this supplement. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are also great sources of iron.

4. ZINC. Zinc is an important mineral that boosts our immune system and helps fight off disease. And it is an especially important vitamin for vegetarians or pregnant women. If you’re a veggie lover, you probably eat a lo of legumes, which prevent zinc from properly absorbing in your body. If you’re expecting, you should also up your zinc intake because your little one will be using up most of the amount that’s in your body. Make sure you’re getting between 8 milligrams and 11 milligrams of zinc daily.

5. FISH OIL. This omega-3 right supplement is fabulous for healthy hair, skin, and nails, and will support your heart and blood systems. The long list of fish oil benefits also includes helping with depression, preventing painful periods, and lowering cholesterol. Take about 1-2 grams per day.

6. VITAMIN D. The main job of vitamin D is to regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in your bones and keep your cells happy and healthy. The great thing about this vitamin is that our bodies actually manufacture it naturally…that is, when we’re exposed to sunlight. If you live somewhere with constant cloudy weather or long winters, you might not be getting enough vitamin D. Taking 3000 IUs should help to get you back on track.

7. RESVERATROL. Resveratrol is the powerful antioxidant that is found in grapes and red wine. Therefore, just like red wine, it has amazing anti-aging properties and is long believed to help fight cancer and heat disease. Take one capsule per day and soak up those antioxidants.

8. GREEN VIBRANCE & SUPERFOODS. One of my personal favorite vitamins that I take each day is called Green Vibrance by Vibrant Health. Each capsule is filled with organic greends, freee-dried grass juices, and concentrated super foods. I love it because when I’m having a day where I’m constantly on the go (a.k.a living off of coffee and snacks I can easily bring in my car), this supplement has a lot of the nutrients and vitamins I would get if I had the time to sit down and eat a big leafy green salad. It certainly does not replace real fruit and veggies, which should be a staple in your daily diet. But it’s packed with a lot of good stuff. You can also buy it in powder form to add to your smoothies.

9. CALCIUM-MAGNESIUM. Calcium is one of the most important supplements young women can take to strengthen muscles, bones, and teeth. And, studies show that when it’s taken as a combined calcium-magnesium supplement, it allows both vitamins to absorb better into your system. Just remember to take this supplement separate from your other vitamins and on a empty stomach- otherwise it can interfere with the absorption of your other nutrients. The recommended dosage is 1000 milligrams of calcium and 400-600 milligrams of magnesium.

10. PROBIOTIC. Taking a great probiotic supplement is an amazing way to maintain intestinal functions and keep your gut and stomach healthy. Probiotics are live organisms that are considered “good” bacteria, or bacteria that strengthen the immune system and help us to digest food. My favorite probiotic is Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics Original Formula. Just like calcium-magnesium, make sure to take this supplement on an empty stomach as well.

As with all things in life, take these suggestions in moderation. Just as there are side effects for eating too much of anything, there are side effects of taking too many vitamins. Do what feels right for your body and contact a nutritionist or a trusted doctor to help you come up with a routine that works for you.

 

 

Facemapping: What are your breakouts telling you?

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Recently, I’ve become fascinated with the Eastern tradition of face mapping. Face mapping, which combines modern dermatology with ancient Chinese medicine, is the idea that there’s a correlation between your internal organs and different zones of your face.

Face mapping makes a lot of sense when you consider the fact you’re skin is an organ too (the largest one in your body, in fact). When I was traveling in Egypt, I noticed my skin breaking out on my cheeks due to the poor air quality and high level of pollution. My aesthetician can also tell when I’ve just been sick or am about to get sick based on the area right above my brows. I don’t know about you, but I find it all very fascinating! Besides just being an interesting topic, educating yourself about face mapping can actually help to clear up your skin. Once you’ve identified what’s causing your acne, it’s easier to prevent it. While some causes are unavoidable (monthly hormone swings, for instance), diet and lifestyle changes can definitely help to clear up your skin.

1. FOREHEAD. Breakouts across the forehead are often triggered by stress or sleep deprivation. Make sure to get 7 to 9 hours of beauty rest a night to keep your forehead clear.

2. ABOVE THE BROW. The area above the brow is affected by your immune system. Breakouts here tend to happen right before, after, or during a cold or flu. If you notice a breakout in this zone, slow down for a couple days, drink plenty of water and eat immune boosting foods.

3. BETWEEN BROWS. Breakouts between the brows can be caused by overindulgence of unhealthy foods or a food allergy. Cutting back on sugar, dairy, rich foods, and alcohol can help clear up skin in this zone.

4. CHEEKS. Your cheeks are linked to your respiratory system. Smoking or breathing polluted air can cause breakouts here.

5. SIDE OF CHIN. The sides of your chin are affected by hormones. Breakouts here occur around the time of your period and happen on one side or another depending which ovary is ovulating that month.

DIY: Natural Hair Highlights

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Many people, like myself, become addicted to one specific hair stylists because they 1. love their work, and 2. fear that if they go to someone else they won’t like the result. I’ve been going to the same hair stylist for the past seven years now, and absolutely refuse to change. However, I live in South Florida and my hair stylist lives in Toronto, Canada…therefore, I only get my hair done 2 or 3 times a year. However, I do still like to keep my natural blonde looking bright, which is why I’ve experimented with several all-natural color enhancers over the years. Whether your hair is naturally blonde or colored at a salon, these common kitchen ingredients can boost your color and keep your mane looking shiny. And when used in moderation, they are also typically less damaging to your strands than salon treatments.

Here’s how to get sun-streaked tresses without spending hundreds of dollars in a salon…

 LEMON JUICE

This natural beauty remedy has been around forever, which is a testament that it actually works! According to Livestrong, when the citric acid in lemon juice heats up in the sun, it opens hair cuticles and lifts out the pigment. Just squeeze some lemon juice into a spray bottle, dilute with water (3 times the amount of lemon juice), and then spritz into your hair before you head outside. (P.S. If you’ve ever used lemon juice to keep your apple from browning, you’ve already witnessed its amazing bleaching properties!)

 CHAMOMILE TEA

Chamomile is another natural hair lightener, said to be more gradual than lemon juice and therefore better for brunettes. Just brew a batch of chamomile tea, let it cool, and then rinse your hair with the tea following your shampoo and conditioner in the shower.

 HONEY

I’ve never tried this one myself, but if anything I’m sure that honey would be deeply conditioning. As Livestrong explains, honey contains enzyme peroxide, which is an effective lightener when mixed with distilled water to activate it. Plus, you hair will smell yummy and feel soft post-honey treatment.

 BEER

Yes, beer. Beer is another method I’ve never tried, but I have several friends who have experimented with beer hair rinses at one time or another, and raved about its lightening properties. Use a light beer of course, and keep in mind that you might not want to try this method right before you go to a party or get-together. You don’t want to show up smelling of booze and have everyone thinking you’ve been doing some heavy day drinking! Bonus: The B vitamins and proteins in beer will repair damaged strands too.

If you’re not a natural blonde, none of these methods are a true replacement for salon highlights of course. But if you’re just looking to add a little extra brightness to your already blonde or light-brown mane, these all-natural methods are pretty impressive considering the ease, availability, and low cost. Also keep in mind that you may not see dramatic results immediately. I recommend repeating these DIY beauty treatments frequently to gradually lighten your locks over time.

20 Surprising Things That Are Damaging Your Skin

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1. TOO MUCH CHLORINE

Your post-pool routine is vital when it comes to your skin. Chlorine can stick to your skin, even after you bath, and react with topical medications, cleansers, and even lotions. In order to successfully remove chlorine, always use an extra sudsy soap after you go for a swim.

 2. SLEEPING WITH YOUR MAKE-UP ON

NEVER, I repeat, NEVER fall asleep with your make-up on. This is a recipe for bacterial infections and clogged pores, which can lead to acne. In addition, the residue that remains on your pillow can even make you sick. An easy way to remember this- keep makeup removing wipes next to your bed so you’ll be reminded nightly to remove damaging makeup.

 3. DRINKING COFFEE

Caffeine is a major felon when it comes to dry skin and increasing wrinkles. Stimulate your skin by drinking lots of water. Add fruits slices like orange or lemon to enhance the flavor.

 4. POPPING PIMPLES

Picking at the skin on your face will only dirt and bacteria deeper into your pores, causing more breakouts.

 5. SKIPPING MEALS

Skipping meals can cause skin to age fast and dry out more quickly. Always try to include vitamins C (oranges), B3 (peanuts), E (avocados), and A (sweet potatoes) in your meals to increase your skin’s health.

 6. LONG, HOT SHOWERS

Although a steamy, hot shower is great every once in a while, it actually strips away the outermost layer of the epidermis, which leads to scaly and dry skin. When your skin starts to turn red and itch in the shower, you know its time to step out.

 7. NOT DRINKING ENOUGH WATER

Hydrating yourself daily will not only help to fight off aging, but also give your skin a healthy glow. If your skipping the water, you’ll be stick with rough and ‘shrunken’ skin.

 8. TALKING ON THE PHONE

Long chats on your phone can lead to breakouts and rashes along your jawline and cheek. Make sure to keep antibacterial wipes with you to keep your phone (and skin) clean.

9. WEARING DIRTY SUNGLASSES

When it comes to your regular spectacles or sunglasses, don’t forget to wipe them clean. Bacteria that builds up on your glasses can get into the pores around the bridge of your nose, causing breakouts and irritation.

 10. YO-YO DIET

Consistent yo-yo dieting can negatively impact your skin: Frequent weight gain and loss can cause the fibers in your skin to loosen over time, creating stretch marks and sag.

11. NOT ENOUGH SLEEP

Getting the recommended eight hours of sleep a night will not only keep you looking refreshed, but it will also replenish and rehydrate skin. Lacking on sleep can cause dull skin and clogged pores.

 12. EATING TOO MUCH SODIUM

Excess sodium in your diet can suck the moisture out of skin, leaving it dry and dull. To avoid this, cut back on salty treats and invest in a hydrating facial moisturizer.

 13. CHEMICALS IN THE WATER

Surprisingly your shower head can be another culprit for dry skin. With all the purifying agents used to filter public water, chemical build up on skin over time is very common. Invest in a shower head filter to fight off dry skin caused by chlorine and other elements.

 14. DIRTY PILLOWCASES

At night your skin gets a chance to rest and shed its dead cells. Those dead cells can build up over time on your pillowcase, leaving behind bacteria and toxins. In order to keep skin healthy, make sure you change your pillowcase at least once every two weeks.

 15. EXFOLIATING TOO OFTEN

Over-exfoliating your skin can strip it of its necessary oils it needs to maintain your natural glow. Exfoliate you skin just once a week to keep it healthy.

 16. STRESS

Consider stress the heavyweight knockout when it comes to your skin. Not only can it cause blemishes, dullness, and rashes, but stress lines from facial movements will also ingrain in your skin over time. To avoid stress, take time to do something you enjoy like yoga, reading, or cooking.

 17. SUGAR OVERLOAD

When you intake too much sugar, it hurts the collagen nestled in your skin, leaving you with sag. Overcome your sweet tooth with organic fruits like pineapple or mango.

 18. NOT ENOUGH EXERCISE

Exercise helps increase blood flow and gives your face a healthy glow. Additionally, it cleans the body of toxins, which are expelled during perspiration, and cleanses dead skin cells allowing new ones to grow. Without regular exercise you may see an increase in age spots.

 19. TOO MUCH AC

Instead of cranking up the cool air, turn your air conditioner down to give your skin extra moisture. If your cooling unit is always on full speed, you’re stripping the air of humidity and moisture your skin needs.

 20. THE PLASTIC ON YOUR DRY-CLEANED CLOTHES

To avoid skin irritation, take the plastic off your dry cleaning as soon as you get home, allowing the clothes to breath. The longer the plastic stays on your threads, the more skin-harming chemicals that are absorbed.