Bizarre Skin Care + Beauty Hacks that REALLY WORK!
You never truly know what you look like until you see yourself on TV. For me, it was one year ago, on FOX 9’s The Jason Show. I woke up and my eyes were puffy and my eyelids were dropping. I looked tired and because I looked tired, I felt tired, cranky and self-conscious. Then I saw the playback of the segment and all I could think was, “I look awful.” I got messages from people telling me how much they loved the segment and a few told me how great I looked – but I knew I wasn’t looking my personal best and I knew that I had some power over changing that. I’ve spent the last year discovering new beauty practices and after trying lots and lots of things, I found a few that I now swear by! The Jason Show just came to my house to test out some of my favorite skin care tips! See video below!
So yes, I had a meltdown about the way I looked after my first time on that show. Sure, I was 40 and my age was catching up with me. But it woke me up to wanting to wake up looking less puffy and feeling more refreshed. Part of the problem was I wasn’t getting enough sleep – I would stay up too late watching Schitt’s Creek or trolling Instagram. The other part was diet related – too much sugar, refined carbs and dairy. Not loving how I looked on TV was a catalyst for change! I switched up my diet, but then I also became a lot more intentional about how I took care of my skin – most importantly, the issues that were causing puffy eyes.
Puffy eyes and dark circles are my biggest downfall…They stem from a combination of things (some age and hereditary related), but mainly all skin issues and puffiness come from inflammation (caused by poor sleep and food that is high in sugar/salt and carbs) and part of it is environmental (dry heat, lack of moisture and cold/allergy season). Mainly, It’s an inside job. If I eat nachos and stay up until 1am watching Sex and the City reruns, I’m going to look like shit when I wake up. Outer beauty starts with what’s going on inside of you. It also has a lot to do with how we treat our bodies, what we feed them, how we move them, let them sweat, rest and recover. And also, how we talk to ourselves factors into this. I’ve caught myself standing in front of the mirror saying, “You look so tired and ugly today.” That’s not helpful – I don’t do that anymore. This blog post is about some quick tips I have to reduce puffiness, treat minor blemishes and effectively conceal them!
If I’m being honest, I’ve never met an eye cream that magically removed my dark circles or puffiness. While a great concealer stick can minimize the appearance of the issues, it doesn’t solve them. Based on LOTS of research, there are some things we have the power to do when we wake up puffy and one of those involves Lymphatic Drainage Massage. The Lymph System is a complex network of ducts and vessels that act as your body’s filtration system; it’s the way it drains unneeded fluids/toxins. They transfer white blood cells and antibodies to your organs and tissues. Things can slow down this transfer, like stress, fatigue, poor diet, cold weather, etc. When things are slowed down, your organs and tissues don’t get what they need and toxins are slower to drain. Which is why we sometimes feel like crap (or look like it). As far as the face is concerned, when things are slow to drain, congestion begins, which leads to puffiness and sometimes that dull sinus pain/pressure. I generally have sinus issues, which seem to go hand and hand with lymph node facial swelling – so the tips I give for lymphatic drainage also work to relieve sinus pressure.
Whereas the heart pumps blood through our veins, fluid moves through the lymph nodes as a result of muscle contractions, which enables fluid to pass. Often the lymph nodes in the face stagnate because there’s not a lot of muscle contraction going on through the day. That’s part of why there can be swelling present around the eyes-an area where there are lymph nodes and sinuses. I began doing research on lymphatic drainage last year and learned that we can manually stimulate lymph nodes to get things moving so that they can drain – which relieves swelling. I started doing simple and light touch facial massage – there are a million YouTube videos on this and I linked a favorite article below. To encourage the lymphs to start draining you don’t have to press hard – if you press too hard, you might cause more irritation which leads to swelling.
Here’s a link to how you can do it. (It’s much more detailed than I wrote below because it comes from a professional and it tells where to do it on neck and scalp in addition to face):
Doug’s Special Tip for Lymphatic Drainage:
Get Out Your Electric Toothbrush:
I was recently in New York for a photoshoot for the J. Crew Holiday campaign. My eyes were a bit puffy when I woke up-travel and being off my routine can throw off my appearance. I was in a hotel and I saw a shower cap and I had an idea: What if I could cover my electric toothbrush with the shower cap and apply the toothbrush head to my pressure points on my face for the sinuses and let the vibration gently massage my face to stimulate my lymph nodes to get draining. I tried it, and it worked! First, it felt good and relaxing as it relieved tension. After a minute, I had that feeling like I needed to clear my throat. That’s how you know it’s working. It starts moving things for you and sinuses begin to drain down the back of your throat.
DIY Lymphatic Drainage:
Look at the guide below to see where your pressure points are that you want to massage over. I think forehead, along brow bone, under eyes and around jaw are most beneficial. Use in those general areas to get things moving. You can use an electric toothbrush, handheld massager or just your fingers! If you really want to learn this like a pro, read the article I linked because it tells you how to do it along neck and collar bone, etc. To use toothbrush, I put plastic wrap over the brush head and I use it on the lowest setting. You don’t need it on high and you don’t need to press down very hard. Light touch is best!
Begin by gently moving over your brow bones, sweeping slowly from inner brow to outer brow. Do that 5 times on each side to warm up. Then hold the vibrating brush in 3 key places for a few seconds in each place. Inner eyebrow, center eyebrow and corner eyebrow (see black dots above). If you feel around, you can feel the tender spot. That’s the pressure point you want to get….
You can also do temples and forehead. For that area, move upward with light sweeping motions from brow bone to hair line. The lymphs drain downward with gravity. When they are slow, they get inflamed. So the trick is to massage upward slowly and gently to ease things up. You have to break up what’s settling at the bottom, so that you can get everything moving. Be gentle and don’t press hard and make sure to set the toothbrush on low. All of this detoxifies the lymphs, drains the sinuses and it’s also good for the skin!
To finish off, you can do under eyes and along jaw line, sides of neck, back of neck and around the collar bone. Hands might be best for that. Do wherever feels good!
Here’s how you know you’re doing it right: You may feel like you have to clear your throat. Aka spit it out! That means it’s draining…..
Other tips to be your most gorgeous self when you get up:
1. Sweat it out. If you can work out in the morning, it gets your blood flowing, your sinuses start draining, your body gets more oxygen and everything gets stimulated. When I can work out in the morning I look and feel better that day. Even if I can’t work out, I take a few minutes to dance around, jump rope (or mimic jumping rope), do sit ups, jumping jacks, air squats – whatever it is that gets my heart rate up. Even if I do this for only 1 to 3 minutes, it’s helpful. It will lower stress too because it busts high cortisol levels that build up as I get stressed out or overwhelmed.
2. Take a bath if you can and add Epsom salts. This opens up the pores and the Epson salts draw out toxins and impurities. I try to take a bath every day and it has changed my life and the way I look and the way I feel about myself. It helps with sinus pain/pressure/drainage. It helps me breath better and it’s also calming. I try to do a 5 to 10 minute mediation in the bath. I know it’s not for everyone, but it’s one of my most favorite things in the world.
3. Do some visualization or affirmations. This might sound a little over the top or like bullshit, but I visualize being my most beautiful self. I affirm that I am beautiful, that I feel rested, look rested, I’m bright, vibrant and beautiful. I affirm that people see my beauty that radiates from within. I do this almost every day. I have to do it because I used to get so frustrated with the way I looked that I would tell myself how ugly I am in the mirror. No, not when I was a kid. That happened 4 short years ago. If you’ve ever told yourself how ugly you are in the mirror, you know how painful that actually feels. So I practice some self-love by doing affirmations and I also visualize looking and feeling beautiful. Literally, when I tell myself I look and feel beautiful and I visualize all these self care actions working, I like what I see more and more in the mirror. Literally, if you do nothing more, just try this. It’s totally mind over matter.
Tips to Keep My Skin Clear:
Other than my puffy eyes, my next issue is Rosacea, break outs and really sensitive skin. There’s a whole other blog post I wrote regarding my struggles with problem skin linked here with tons of tips and tools that work for healing Rosacea and treating the symptoms. Click here to read it: PROBLEM SKIN SOLUTIONS.
1. Easy face mask with something you may already have in your fridge:
Plain Fat Free Greek Yogurt.
Since I have super sensitive skin that breaks out very easily or gets irritated, I can’t use harsh scrubs to exfoliate and remove dead or uneven skin. I started using Greek Yogurt once a week, directly applying on my face for 10 to 15 minutes. I swear it’s not gross. The lactic acid found in milk is a naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acid which will dissolve dead skin cells, which is essentially exfoliation. It will sooth skin (especially after sun/skiing or really cold days), clean your skin (it’s a natural anti-bacterial) and plump it up (due to moisture content) to reduce the appearance of lines or wrinkles. I’ve done tons of research and tried it and it works for me but I can’t do more than one time a week. I recommend it for people with acne, perioral dermatitis, rosacea, uneven skin or sensitive skin. It helps bring skin’s natural glow out. I suggest googling this because there are tons of natural recipes for things you can add to yogurt for different skin benefits (like honey, etc).
2. LED Light Therapy.
About a year and a half ago I started seeing at home LED Light Therapy devices hit the shelves of drug stores claiming to clear skin or help reduce the signs of aging. They are the at home watered down version of the Light Therapy you can get at your dermatologist’s office for lots of money and it takes a lot of time to go to your appointment and sit through it. So when I see gimmicks like this, I buy into them immediately. I’m a skin care marketer’s dream; I get lured in easily but I do it intentionally to try them. I have so much experience with skin and skin care that if something new is really good, I have to know about it. I’ll also know pretty quickly if it works or if it’s just a fad that will gone by next season.
It started with the ME Clear Anti-Blemish Device that you can charge via USB. It lights up blue, it vibrates and it warms up. The Blue Light is for anti-bacteria healing. I use it on pimples or rosacea bumps and I do think it works. You have to be consistent. It has a big face, so it covers a larger area if you’re UN-lucky enough to have a cluster of pimples! Use it up to 3 times a day as a spot treatment and each treatment is 2 minutes.
Then Neutrogena came out with their LED Light Therapy Mask with Red and Blue light technology (pictured above). The Blue Light is still anti-bacteria but the addition of the red light is for reducing redness and inflammation, which is meant speed up the healing process. The initial investment is around $30 TO $40 for the mask with 30 days of treatments (treatments come via the activator that you plug the mask into. It has 30 ten minute treatments). You buy the replacement wand monthly which is about $16. I think it works really, really well. I use it almost daily and it’s a 10-minute treatment. I do it at night and for whatever reason, I fall asleep in those 10 minutes. I wrote about that on Instagram and Neutrogena actually reached out to me because they wanted to understand more about how it calms me down and helps me fall asleep. It reminds me of being in college in a tanning bed: warm, cozy and relaxing. Except it’s helping my skin, not hurting it. When people are like, “Do you REALLY think it works?” I say, “Do you really think a company like Neutrogena would put out something that doesn’t work, they have a lot to lose. Besides they included it in the Oscars gift bags when it first launched, so it has to work.” But really, it works. I asked my skin care professional, Sarah Kurn, about it and she said at home versions do work, but she recommended using it 3 times in a row (30 minutes) a couple times a week. She said you want to treat with a big burst rather than one mini daily burst. She said to mimic like you do in a doctors office. You come in one or two times a week for 30 minute treatments. The at home masks are not as strong, but if you do a few treatments in a row, the results are better. I do a combo of one offs and sometimes I’ll do 2 or 3 in a row.
Neutrogena also released a spot treatment version – I like this because you can change the battery so you don’t have to buy monthly replacements. It has red and blue light and you hold on pimple for 2 minutes, 3 times a day. It has a smaller head – so I actually bought two if I have multiple blemishes to treat. Yes, I am that obsessive! It’s about $19.99
3. Use Foam Ear Plugs to apply concealer. SERIOUSLY.
I am fanatical about my skin and keeping it clear. I get rosacea and I break out easily – especially if I get too much sun, eat too much dairy or sugary foods. But I also break out from old products or dirty make up sponges or make up contamination. I had a bad break out in May which was an adverse reaction to a cortisone shot in my foot. My face erupted in red painful bumps all around my nose and cheeks/forehead. What it was is Perioral Dermatitis. It’s like Rosacea’s ugly step sister. I need to write a whole other blog post about that skin care journey-because I dedicated a crazy amount of time to self-healing it through elimination diet and a very minimal skin care routine. Here’s a sneak peak at what my skin looked like (with some concealer) — it was very hard to conceal.
My breakout lasted for about 10 weeks but the first 4 weeks my skin was just awful. Part of dealing with it was acceptance and just waiting it out to clear up. In that time I became paranoid about any additional irritation or bacterial contamination. I bought a new concealer stick and I didn’t want it to touch my skin. Think about what happens to a concealer stick when dabbing on pimples over and over. It becomes a wand of bacteria – which leads to more breaking out. I also got a new concealer pallet and didn’t want to dip my finger in it or dirty make up brushes or sponges. I had all these big and little sponges from Sephora for concealer but I had that same fear about cross contamination. Once you’ve used on your face and dip into the concealer and back and forth, your sponge is just a conduit for contamination. Those little sponges are a pain in the ass to wash so I sat around thinking about how I could evenly apply concealer without contaminating it or worrying that my sponge is dirty or covered with bacteria that will make my skin worse. I know this sounds so dramatic, but if you’ve ever had bad rosacea, acne or perioral dermatitis, you’ve probably spent as much time wondering about this stuff as I have. I was in my bathroom and I had a box of foam ear plugs on the counter because my husband snores (sorry, Stuart). I saw them in a new light. I realized they are kind of like those fancy sponge applicators. Except they are smaller and I always find the sponges too big to use on small pimples or in hard to reach areas in the corner of the eye for concealer. So, I tried using an ear plug and I learned that an ear plug is the PERFECT size to dab on concealer on a pimple or under eyes. For the pallet I get enough concealer on a fresh ear plug and dab the excess on the top of my hand (or on a compact mirror). Then I dab on pimples/redness and use the other side of the ear plug to blend. When I need more concealer, I just replenish from the excess on my hand. When I’m done, I throw out the ear plug.
For the concealer stick, I have a small cosmetic mirror and I rub the stick on it to get some product and then dab the ear plug onto the mirror. Then I gently dab on pimples or redness -- It’s perfect, I just redip the ear plug on the mirror when I need more. When I’m done I throw out the ear plug and wipe down the mirror with rubbing alcohol, and it’s ready for next use. The ear plugs are often less than $4 for 30 or more ear plugs – so that’s 30 uses. Some come with a carrying case which you can put in your purse or make up bag to keep them safe. They fit so much easier into tight spaces under the eye where larger sponges fail or make it hard to get in there. I promise you, this is the best tip you’ll get from me!
I know this sounds very specific and perhaps OCD – but you saw the picture above of what my skin looked like for many weeks. It put enough fear in me to find ways to keep my concealers clean and not contaminated. Another thing you can do every week or so is put rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle and spray on your make up pallets and lipsticks and concealer sticks. It kills bacteria but won’t mess with the product. I also put make up pallets (bronzers/highlighters in cream or powder) in the freezer for a couple days. That also kills bacteria. I don’t put gel or liquid bronzers in the freezer, especially if it’s in bottles or tubes. There’s no cross contamination there. It’s mostly pallets and sticks. Google it, it’s a thing.
Also, when I go to a photoshoot, I bring my own make up and brushes and that’s what I allow the artist to use. Some artists have contaminated make up. If you suffer from super sensitive skin, bring your own make up and tools. I promise you it’s worth it. Though, if you’re getting shot for the cover of Vogue, go ahead and let them use their stuff.
These are just a few of my favorite skin care tips for depuffing, staying clear and being concealed. Follow me on Instagram, where I post more beauty tips in my Insta Stories, etc! Please ask any questions in the comments below or e mail me firstname.lastname@example.org. I want to know more about your favorite tips or suggest other topics you’d like me to cover on theworldofdoug.com. Thanks for reading!