Makeup for Birthmarks

Here’s a quick post since I get asked this question more than any other:
How do I cover my birthmark?

First please note, I am not a professional makeup artist, and I am not a doctor. I only have and am familiar with one kind of birthmark: cafe au lait. It’s on my face and neck, so I use Revlon ColorStay on it. ColorStay is about 75% full coverage. It does a darn good job for a drugstore foundation, and if I applied 2 coats probably would be 85%). ColorStay is cheap, awesome and I’m happy with it. I have used it for 5 or 6 years.

Here’s some other foundation recommendations to try, but know this. THERE IS NO PERFECT FULL COVERAGE FOUNDATION. I have tried all these listed. Some cover better than others, but they alllllll crease. I don’t care if you use a primer and a setting spray. They’ll help a little, but please realize, you’re putting a thick lotion-y substance on your oil-producing porous skin. Creases are going to happen. Touch-ups will be necessary. No foundation is 100% full coverage. Moreso 90% at best. It took me years to finally accept this truth. That’s why I stick with the cheap $13 ColorStay. To me, it’s not worth purchasing a $40 foundation that, yeah, will cover a little better, but creases AND will block pores because of its thickness, resulting in acne. Food for thought.

*Revlon Colorstay (budget)
*Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Full coverage foundation
Coverblend
Dermablend
IT Cosmetics
*Laura Mercier Secret Camoflauge
Dior NudeSkin
*Asterik denotes that these foundations have been reviewed in depth on my blog. So be sure to click their links to read my reviews on them, and also visit this blog post for mini reviews on the above foundations: Foundations I’ve tried and some I haven’t.

I haven’t tried these, but people with cystic acne have had luck with them. If you’ve tried them, comment below:
Make Up Forever’s HD Invisible Cover Foundation
Make Up Forever Mat Velvet + Mattifying Foundation
Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup
Estee Lauder Double Wear Maximum Cover Camouflage for Face and Body

If you have a big budget or a small birthmark, give concealers a try. Just keep in mind they can sometimes be even thicker than full-coverage foundations, thus they will be very prone to creasing and may cause breakouts too.

Use a primer and for sure a setting spray or powder. I highly recommend:
NYX HydraTouch Primer
NYX Dewy Finish Settings Spray or Everyday Minerals Finishing Powder.

For those with a purple colored birthmark such as a port-wine stain:
Since your mark is purple in color, and yellow is the complimentary color of purple, perhaps try an under-eye corrective primer or concealer before applying foundation. Under-eye correctors are typically yellow in tone since under-eye issues tend to be purple. That’s my best guess. Let me know in the comments if you try this and how it went!

EVERYONE:  Stop into a Sephora and ask their makeup pros to try foundation on you. They’re familiar with what’s available, and what works. That’s how I’ve tried the above foundations. The makeup artists love the challenge.

If you want the short and easy answer, here it is based on my personal experience. Try Revlon ColorStay. If that doesn’t work, try Tarte or Laura Mercier Secret Camoflauge next. Lastly, comment below with your suggestions and reviews (good or bad) with full-coverage foundations. Let’s all help each other out :)

My Favorite Face Products of 2017

Once again, it’s been a long time since I’ve last posted, and my beauty regime has changed fairly dramatically. Right to it…here we go.

Let me begin by saying DIET IS THE MOST POWERFUL WAY TO CHANGE YOUR SKIN HEALTH. More specifically, healthy fats. This has by far given me the most visible positive results in comparison to any product I’ve used on my face this year. I use far less makeup now because of my diet revival.

Diet Backstory: I’ve always been into health and fitness. I’m an ingredient label-checker. From 2014-2016, because I was weightlifting heartily 5-6 days a week, the majority of my diet was carbs, next protein (eating more or less my body weight in grams, so anywhere from 90-115g), and low-fat….because fat makes you fat…right? WRONG. Carbs–even ‘good’ carbs like fruit and sweet potatoes and all that jazz–store fat. I got myself to a point where my hormones were an still are messed up, I have insomnia, adrenal fatigue…I couldn’t even do a low intensity weightlifting session without getting dizzy, lightheaded and being sensitive to light. I became afraid of working out. And in the past year, I’ve lost all my gains and my motivation to workout. I’m slowly starting out again so I don’t disturb my cortisol levels. Healing is going to take more than 6 months. I knew my diet wasn’t great, but wasn’t sure how to fix it. With the help of a holistic place, I started the ketogenic diet 8 weeks ago. I’m pulling the strings a little now and moving to a high fat, low-carb diet now because while I do love eating bacon everyday, bunless hamburgers, steak and loading my veggies with butter, I gotta have bananas, apples, carrots, quinoa and sweet potatoes, and ice cream every so often. Keto is restrictive for it to work, and I don’t think it’s a diet for everyone, but that’s another topic for another blog. My point is, I use to eat low fat. I’d maybe have red meat 1x per week for the sake of my iron levels, rarely used butter, you get the point. I was fairly ripped, but how was my hair and skin health you ask? It looked like a hamster was sitting in my tub drain every time I showered (mind you, my hair is curly and I don’t brush it, so I do lose more in the shower), but my hair was pretty thin. My skin, kinda dry. Acne not terrible, but I knew diet could decrease it. Since upping my fats (we’re talking like 200g per day!) and dramatically lessening my carbs (started out at 30g net carbs/day), my hair began to feel healthier…more oily in a good way. Not a gross, dirty, can’t style it way. I lose way less hair now. 1/3 of what I was losing before. And my skin…I don’t feel like I need moisturizer. I don’t get that tight feeling. (But I still lightly use moisturizer.)

PRODUCTS

I’m going to make this next part simple. Because seriously people, skin health BEGINS INSIDE. De-inflame yourself. Our society sees food as rewards. It’s not. It’s fuel. Stop buying $40 face creams for your face meanwhile eating McDonalds, breads, and sugary foods. Or just give me your money instead because you are, for the most part, wasting it. ;)

My favorite fats for healthy, hydrated hair and skin:
Avocados, avocado oil, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, Kerrygold butter, steak, nitrite/nitrate free bacon fat, almonds, macadamia nuts, pecans.

My favorite face wash is:
BURT’S BEES RENEWAL REFINING CLEANSER.
My most favorite product of 2017. It’s soap-free and has tiny exfoliating beads that I feel have helped my acne. It does leave a little bit of a coating on your skin, so if you like a squeaky clean feeling, you may not like this product.
I also like OLAY GENTLE CLEAN FOAMING CLEANSER. I’ve been using this product for 5+ years. It’s reliable, gentle, great at removing makeup, and cheaper than Burt’s. I use it on days I wear little to no makeup and don’t feel the need to exfoliate, though before I started using Burt’s, this was all I used and it worked absolutely fine.

My favorite toner:
WITCH HAZEL or DILUTED TEA TREE OIL.
Anything else is a gimmick and a waste. Look at the ingredients of many toners and you’ll see witch hazel.

My favorite AM moisturizer with sunscreen is:
BURT’S BEES RENEWAL FIRMING DAY LOTION W/ SPF 30.
This is a thick moisturizer, but I will continue to use it because the ingredients are beneficial (apple + watermelon, and no phalates, parabens, petroleum, or SLS), and the active ingredients in the sunscreen are right on the mark of what you want in a sunscreen (Titanium dioxide + Zinc Oxide). I HATE the way it’s packaged though. The container is glass, and because the product is thick, once it gets down to 1/3 left, it’s near impossible to get product out. They need to fix this. A squeeze tube design would be wayyy better.
CERAVE FACIAL MOISTURIZING LOTION AM W/ SPF 30.
I’ve used this product for several years. It’s great! It’s far less thick than Burt’s renewal  day lotion. If I’m being nit-picky, the reason I prefer Burt’s over this is that this contains Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate. I try to stay away from anything with the word aluminum in it. It also has parabens, and 4 sunscreen ingredients. I like to try to stick to titanium dioxide + zinc oxide. Still, if you are on a budget, this is a fantastic product. It contains niacinamide and ceramides. Coupon available on the CeraVe website!

My favorite sunscreen is:
CERAVE SUNSCREEN FACE LOTION SPF 50. 
There’s a $2 off coupon on CeraVe’s website. I use either the Burt’s renewal day lotion above OR this. Never both together. This is slightly less thick than Burt’s renewal lotion. Usually I use this when I know I’m going to be outside for a long time. I do love CeraVe and their ceramides, niacinamides and great prices. This product uses the key sunscreen players: Titanium dioxide + Zinc Oxide. Hip hip hooray!

My favorite PM moisturizers:
BURT’S BEES RENEWAL FIRMING NIGHT CREAM
CERAVE FACIAL MOISTURIZING LOTION
I rotate every couple days between these two for a 2 reasons. 1) Burt’s night cream is pricey, and 2) Burt’s is thick and I don’t need a thick lotion every night. But man, does a little go a long way. I’ve had it for a month now and can tell it’s going to last me a while. Both products have great and different ingredients.

My favorite makeup is:
These days, I would summarize my makeup style as low-cost, ingredient conscious (for the most part; I don’t look into eye makeup ingredients), and a basic/minimalistic/clean face. I HATE when ladies load and contour their faces with makeup. To me it’s unrealistic and too much work, for what?

I’m still using Everyday Minerals Jojoba base for everyday wear with Revlon ColorStay on my birthmark. Been using these two products for 5-6 years now. For nicer events, I use Urban Decay Naked on my face (and ColorStay on my birthmark). Once I use up what I have, I plan to get away from Naked because it creates smile line and under the eye and eyelid creases even with a primer. My favorite primer is NYX Hydra Touch Primer (good ingredients), and I set with NYX Dewy Finish Spray. The spray really sets that full-coverage ColorStay makeup well, especially with it being on a creasy area: my neck. If you prefer a setting powder as opposed to spray, I recommend Everyday Minerals Finishing powder. For eyes, I like Smashbox Always Sharp black eyeliner with it’s built-in sharpener. I have pretty much zero issues with it smearing, and it goes on easy. For mascara, Loreal Volumnious Original. I rarely use mascara, and this is a fantastic, reliable and cheap mascara. My blush for years now is Everyday Minerals. I don’t even buy it…I just use the samples or get freebies when I purchase their other products.
**I finally gave Bare Minerals a try this year, and while the coverage was silky and nice, it creased so bad it became embarrassing…Kinda like when you have spinach in your teeth and your friend doesn’t tell you. I’d come home from work, look in the mirror and be horrified by the obvious makeup creases. Plus it’s more expensive than Everyday Minerals…so a win-win for me and Everyday Minerals.

Makeup Review: Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless…Foundation

Urban Decay Naked Makeup

Urban Decay Naked Makeup

As many of you who have visited before (or even read a few posts prior to this one) know, I am a die-hard fan of Revlon ColorStay foundation (I use the one for oily/combo skin) to cover my cafe au lair birthmark. I combine 2 different shades to get my near-perfect shade. Having 2 shades is great because my cafe au lait birthmark tans in the summer and lightens in the winter, so the ratios of the 2 shades I use changes throughout the year. However, I’m to the point where time is money, and I want a shade that’s perfect straight from the bottle, no mess and no messing around. One that, maybe isn’t perfect full-coverage, but is good enough coverage to mostly cover my mark and stay put throughout the day. Enter, Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup.

The great thing about this foundation is it is LIGHT! Out of the pump, it seems a bit watery, but it absorbs well and evens skin tone nicely, creating a silky, demo-matte finish. Not greasy at all! I actually feel like it’s mildly improved my skin tone and smoothness since I started using it. (It must be the “powerful anti-wrinkle peptides, protective and brightening Litchiderm, antioxidant Green Tea and Sodium Hyaluronate,” according to Sephora’s online description of it. I love that it’s free of parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, phthalates, GMOs and Triclosan. But I must ask…what foundation actually contains sulfates, phthalates, GMOs and Triclosan?? I’ve never seen one that does, so THAT part seems a little gimmicky to me. No biggie though. The price is a biggie at a whopping $39….I think I’ll save this foundation for date nights and special occasions! Despite that, I feel like the tall 1oz bottle will last me a long time. One pump about does it for my face and nearly a second pump for my birthmark (which is pretty large in size).

Other than the price, my only con about this makeup is that it seems to settle in my smile lines. I have this problem semi-frequently (usually with heavy, full-coverage foundations), but for a makeup that claims to be weightless and really is lightweight, I’m just surprised I’m having this problem! Setting powder seems to do nothing at the least and if anything, make the creasing in wrinkle-prone areas worse. Maybe I should be applying it with a brush instead of my fingers, but I feel like brushes take longer and waste product in the case of liquid foundations. Also, like most foundations, if you wipe your face, some of the foundation is going to come off a little, especially if you don’t use a setting powder or spray. Because this foundation is light, it doesn’t rub off as bad as other foundations.

Overall, I would recommend Urban Decay Naked. The coverage is buildable up to a point. It’s not as fully covering as Revlon ColorStay, but it’s ingredients are much healthier if you like the more natural route. The foundation, along with it’s healthy ingredients, will give your skin a wonderful, even, clean look. If you’re looking for something full coverage, this is not for you–I speak from long-time experience in the realm of full coverage makeups. But if you’re like me, and you want a foundation that can be used on the face, as well as getting good enough coverage on a birthmark, and you want color shade options so you can find your perfect shade, then this foundation is a good option. Give it a try, you can always return it after a few uses if you’re not satisfied.

Leave your mark

Today’s post is dedicated to inner strength and determination. I want to know from my readers:

How has your birthmark changed you? Would you be the same person if you didn’t have it?

Personally, I know I would probably be different if I didn’t have a birthmark. Rationally speaking, I can think of ways I’d be worse off and better off. For example, sometimes my birthmark adds to my confidence (it’s given me inner strength), and sometimes it shatters it (usually around cute guys, of course). I’ve never felt that it adds to my physical beauty, but mysteriously, nonetheless, sometimes I proudly elongate my neck and wear my hair up to show it off. Other times I’m annoyed by it and want it to disappear. For instance, I cannot wear white shirts with any kind of collar because my full-coverage makeup never fails to stain the collar. My birthmark makes me feel unique and also makes me wonder why The Lord chose to brand me with such a mark. I do love American Paint horses…maybe He wanted me to resemble them a tad lol. My birthmark weeds out the shallow guys and friends. It humbles me. It gives me inner strength and inner beauty that will hopefully outlast any physical beauty. It’s not easy, but everyday I’m learning to accept my birthmark and not feel ugly because of it.

Vitamins to Fade Birthmarks?

I came across this juicy tidbit while Googling ‘Vitamin E oil to lighten scars’:

“Vitamin E oil also fades away birthmarks when used continuously over a long period of time…”
Courtesy – http://vitamineoiluses.com/

It’s a very generic statement. How do they define continuously? Is that 1x daily? What kind of birthmarks–cafe au lait, port wine? And what’s considered to be “a long period of time”?

I’m curious if anyone’s birthmark has faded due to regular use of vitamin E oil. Comment below. If you’ve had success in this. When I get the free time I will look into this more. I’m also researching for a future post how to prevent tanning. I feel like it falls into the same topic. My birthmark got so dark this summer, yet the rest of my skin is so light (I was actually tempted to go tanning! Shame, shame!). Ugh.

10/25/13 Update:

I’ve learned of two more possible skin lighteners: Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) and Vitamin C.

They are often found in mid-level to expensive facial moisturizers, particularly Vitamin C which is often in the form of ‘ascorbic acid’ in the ingredients. These two vitamins brighten and smooth skin, fade scars, and even skin tone, so I wonder if there’s hope of them lightening hyper-pigmentation. Vitamin C serums are expensive–we’re talking anywhere from $25 to +$100 for an ounce or two! I plan to make my own serum by mixing Vitamin C Crystals with vegetable glycerin and aloe vera juice, so I will let you all know the outcome of that! Here’s the link for the DIY Vitamin C serum recipe. It also provides links on where to buy these ingredients (Whole Foods, Earth Fare, and Traders Joes should have them in stock).

How to Cover a Nevas of Ota [Video Tutorial]

A reader named Gabriela recently commented:

Can you please share my YouTube video of how I cover my birthmark on my makeup? [I’m] trying to get it as out there as possible for anyone else wanting to cover their marks or just wanting to know if DermaBlend really works before they buy it. I really want to help the girls or guys who have this. It’s called nevus of ota. It’s a birthmark that is on your face…some people like me have it cover 50% of their face. It’s different from a portwine stain because it can only be removed by laser, and even then it may come back and be darker. It’s almost very hard to cover up with make up.

Gabriela, thank you for sharing! I am more than happy to post your YouTube link. It will help any nevas of Ota readers!

Gabriela uses:
Primer: An oil free acne face cream
Foundation: Golden Beige DermaBlend creme
Setting powder: Beige DermaBlend setting powder
Setting spray: Urban Decay setting spray

Tattoo Coverage & Temporary Tattoo Options

For years and years I’ve wanted a tattoo, but I don’t want the commitment that comes with it. Tonight I started googling and learned that there are several options available to those who want temporarily realistic tattoos. The options include markers, inks, spray tattoos, special paper you print on (see Michaels Arts & Crafts stores for several of these options)!

Long story short, I stumbled upon a very interesting company called Temptu. They sell professional-grade makeup supplies including airbrush makeup and systems, and also temporary tattoo ink, and tattoo covering makeup. I can assume their clients include makeup artists for weddings, runway, movies and TV, and for special effects makeup. Since they are high-end everything is of course expensive. However, their Tattoo Coverage Kit is $55 for ten .25oz pieces and a finishing powder…doable if you’re in a bind to cover your tats. I’m not sure if you need to purchase the airbrush system to use it though. :/

For those wanting to create temporary tattoos, as I mentioned they sell a Body Art Kit so you can draw your own tats with a dedicated eyeliner brush or a very small paintbrush. They also sell Body Art Essentials  and Professional Tattoo Transfers (though I’m not crazy about the design options available. There’s only a couple good ones).

Here’s a Youtube video of how to paint your own tattoo with Temptu.

Here’s a Youtube video of how to apply one of Temptu’s Pro Tattoo Transfers.

If you’ve used any Temptu Products be sure to comment below and share your experiences and thoughts on them! I’m curious if anyone can attest to their coverage abilities on birthmarks.