Monday, July 28, 2014



SUNSCREEN---Duh. As the  number of skin cancer occurrences dwarf the next bunch of C.s combined, using sunscreen as an athlete outdoors is a must. And we can tell by the skin quality (or lack there of) who amongst our female competitors, Age-Group wise- uses sunscreen/sunblock- and who doesn't. It is that obvious.

IMO physical blocks that are applied and hang out on the surface (not absorbed into the skin) made of - Titanium Dioxide and/or - Zinc Oxide  are the best…and the only thing we use on our face….and most of the time-on the neck down skin too. The longest lasting, physical block sunblocks are tough to wash off- we find it survives multi-hour races-so that is the point.

Plus, when we sweat up a storm, physical non-micronized sunblocks don't sting our eyes…for real vs. chemical sunscreen claims of being non-irritating. Not so for us and we have tried about 4 big name sunscreens made of chemical ingredients that penetrate the skin ---that not only annoy our eyes but at times, leave a funky taste in our mouth...given how much we perspire during endurance efforts in the heat.

We slather on-the tinted kind of non-micronized physical sunblock ( photo stable TIZO, COTZ® Pure)---so it often doubles as our foundation…applied after we apply serum (see below our latest fav). Silky feeling on our skin- neither make us breakout.

ALSO non-micronized physical blocks not only prevent UVA and UVBs from penetrating the skin and there's not the ? issue-of the risks /questions about the safety of nano particles penetrating/heating up beneath the skin's surface.

Spray sunscreens ---even when we cup our hands and spray into---and heavily apply on so our skin is super glistening…still the fumes are dispersed and our lungs feel it.

At least Coppertone®'s Sport AccuSpray™

-a twist/lock cap with an "improved delivery system"patented, fyi, addresses that issue. Available in SPFs 15, 30, 50, and 70 broad spectrum blocking rated versions- (widely available-around $9.99) ---this doesn't fog up a room…but still, if spray sunscreens are your thing-and it is helpful when asking a complete stranger pre-race to apply to your upper back...def. recommend using hands free applying spray sunscreens-  outdoors.

A big question not understood is how some chemical sunscreens we have tried-just do not work after like a half hour---yet all seem to be composed of similar ingredients…in similar percentages too.

ALERT: Congress HR 4250: The Sunscreen Innovation Act---supposed to bring the USA's FDA-up to European standards! We remember the days we loaded up on La Roche-Posay at Galerie Lafayette- before its sunscreens' key ingredient-Mexoryl-was approved here. What is taking so long.


We go to enough trade shows to know that there are under the radar private companies devoted to the amazing science of conjuring up effective quality ingredients and unique formulas- for name brand skin/haircare/nail polish companies, big and small. And private labels too.

New trends in this part of the cosmetic/beauty world= sourcing ingredients sustainably, new effective goodies- derived from 'natural' ingredients- including paraben substitutes…plus implementing community fair trade policies-as in paying workers-often women like in the shea butter producing co-ops in Ghana- living wages  (something Anita Roddick - the no animal testing ever-The Body Shop visionary---implemented first, as far as we know.).

Effective components of any beauty formula-run the gamut, price-wise-with higher $ products-typically packed with more costly goods-higher up on the ingredient list…

PLUS- packaging that preserves contents-and made of recyclable components are important factors---with airless delivery systems dispensing costly formulas-maintaining the stability of often unstable ingredients (like anti-oxidants)--- without contaminating the contents…and making sure consumers can easily access- till the last drop.

We have also gotten beyond annoyed at pump nozzles that stopped working…clogging, or leaving half the product left inside---

AND- how it is possible- for pricey eye creams, for example--- -supposedly packed with effective ingredients-to get sold in wide mouth jars, even tiny ones-accessed by unscrewing lids and thereby exposing the creamy formulas to air.

At a late May 2014 media event - during the AAFPRS conference-we were given samples of a new to us skin care line PCA® Skin. (Stands for Physician's Choice of Arizona)

Priced at the premium level-PCA® SKIN has many different products-what we use now are a combo of the Total Strength Serum-that contains peptides, an extract of purifier milk thistle, vitamin E and proven epidermal growth factors (reminding us of ReGenica facial lotionsSkinCeutical's, and SkinMedica's TNS)-and the ExLinea Peptide Serum-that hydrates with hyaluronic acid and diminishes appearance of wrinkles with Argireline®.

Both have a very slight citrus-y scent-barely, (we prefer no added scents but this is okay and non-annoying)…and one pump each-applied all over our face and neck- sinks in fast.

Sunblock and makeup easily go afterwards…too.

At night we use a prescribed Retinoid product---  used since high school also…and we barely have any wrinkles. (FYI-hats and sunglasses are musts too).

PCA® Skin's website contains plenty of before and after pictures categorized by skin condition…of patients that employ a bunch of the company's products over several months time. IMO=Impressive.

Another newish skincare line that bares the input of a physician, D. Brian Zelickson-MD COMPLETE™--has two major categories of products-Anti-Aging and Skin Clearing.

Priced above mass merchant but well below top tiered skincare lines (range per product-that are large enough to last bunch of months- around $15-$40)-we are impressed by what we read about Dr. Zelickson---based out of Minneapolis-which is also where retailer Target-that carries the line- is too:

Testing out the Skin Clearing Healthy Skin Accelerator-that mattifies-
and moisturizes facial skin-we think it's a good anti-aging light formula choice for the hot summer time- and normal-oily skins.

BONUS POINTS: With up there on the ingredient list wrinkle fighters/collagen enhancing-cell turnover encouraging Vitamins A. B. C and E, Pure Retinol, Niacinamide, ceramides and extracts from black raspberry, cranberry and pomegranates. The Skin Clearing Healthy Skin Accelerator has a scent but is non-irritating…and absorbs easily.

Every other day, 2x a day use for the first two weeks-then 2x everyday for week 3 on-assures no peeling irritation as facial skin adopts.

PS: Use on upper back to clear the skin there- where the combo of sweat and run-off hair conditioner can give back-acne. And everyday products go on smoothly-and are easy to use underneath makeup-hence a choice skincare by makeup artists-such as Caravan Stylist Studio.

We can see why-the MD COMPLETE brand in general has gotten lots of media attention-the ingredients are top notch ---the packaging smart-and simple. The wow factor is inside the container.

NAILS: With a tip to apply Nailtique's Formula 2---we have fingernails now-but still no patience/time for mani/pedis.

Which is why we love-mildly obsessed with= KISS ImPress  nail products…as does our fingernail biting niece.

Price-wise-costs the same as a salon visit ($5.97-$6.99 typical range), lasts a week or so (same as a regular ole' one) without any risk of infection and toxic fumes.

Every season, the KISS® ImPress by Broadway Nails folks come out with colorful and creative Instagram -worthy press-on manicures (NEON-acid trippy shades for this summer, Stars and Stripes-4th of July) as well as more demure options including a classic French mani…and smartly,  different manicure/pedicure-shorter nail lengths are now available. As in texters rejoice…easier with shorter lengths!

Each kit-comes with super holding- 24 adhesive backed tabs that easily peel off-and get pressed on. Just like the name implies.

Hint: remove all moisturizers on nail
beds before pressing the KISS® nails on. And the pedi versions come with the option of glue applications- for a really long hold, if desired. We found the adhesive really adhesive so be sure to line up on the nail beds correctly- before pressing on. It sticks on right away after pressing on.

New to us-and a bonus, as we have flat nail beds…the gelFANTASY ready to wear gel Toenails and Manicures. The KISS gelFANTASY are super shiny (though the regular kind are too)…and come in as many artful options…seem to hold amazing well. Really-we swim a lot and the imPress survive pool and open water sessions…!

Currently-we are wearing the Almost Famous (medium length)---a glittery option we could never remotely do on our own-with flecks of pretty sea blue-and gold on the tips- rest a pale pink shiny color. Took us less than 5-6 minutes to apply-no drying time needed (we are super slow)…and look great.

Always compliment getting, KISS® ImPress and gel FANTASY are VERY widely available. Overseas too.