5 Simple Rules to Prevent Breakouts

I am sure you guys remember how a series of recent viral articles compared men’s beards to toilets, in terms of germs.

Whether it’s a true fact or not, it inspired me to write this blog post and share a few useful tips I learned over the course of my modeling career. I am not a germophobic person in any way, but I understand how a few simple habits can make a big difference in the way you look and feel. It’s not easy to stay pimple free and camera ready at all times. These tips work for me and have helped prevent unwanted breakouts.

Our face happens to be the most exposed part of the body. It takes in dust, absorbs air impurities and serves as a landing pad for germs and bacteria. If you don’t believe me just run a cotton pad with some toner on your skin at the end of the day, and you may be surprised with what you see.

BLOG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. KEEP YOU HANDS OUT OF YOUR FACE

We wash our hands many times during the day. Unfortunately we can’t do the same to our face as frequently, especially with make up on. Most of us touch our face a lot without even realizing it, and that’s when the germs from our hands end up there and cause breakouts. You may say: “But I washed my hands after touching my dog”. Yes, but on the way to the bathroom you scratched your nose. Even if you wash your hands a lot, try keeping them away from the face throughout the day.

2. GET YOUR MAN TO WASH HIS FACE

A lot of guys are true “Big Lebowski” dudes, and even if they take a shower every day , it does not mean they wash their face before going to bed or kissing you. In other words all the oils and bacteria your partner accumulated throughout the day can end up on your face! Combined with little scruff that can give you a minor irritation it’s a great recipe for growing zits.  Get your man a nice foaming cleanser and a sponge, and explain to him the importance of cleaning his face before going to bed with you. You can thank me later.

3.  CLEAN YOUR MAKE UP BRUSHES FREQUENTLY

Dermatologist recommend sanitizing your make up brushes after each use, which is a bit excessive in my opinion, who’s got time for that? I try to shampoo my brushes every week or so, and use antibacterial spray in between uses. You can wash your brushes with anything from baby shampoo to Dr Bronners Pure Castille Soap. There are also a lot of antibacterial cleansing sprays on the market. I use one by Mineral Fusion Cosmetics, $12 online.

IMG_6824    41OPY4svrKL._SX425_

4. DISCARD OLD MAKE UP

Most make up can be kept for up to 2 years. The general rule is 6 months for liquids and 2 years for powders and pencils. A dark wet environment of make up tubes is the perfect place for bacteria growth. I throw out my foundations after 6 months. Lip glosses and lipsticks are usually ok for a year. Pencils can go two years or longer since the sharpener removes the old surface. However don’t forget to frequently sanitize your sharpener with rubbing alcohol .

Mascara (as well as liquid eye liners) has the shortest life span of all make up because the risk of transferring bacteria back and forth from your eye into the mascara tube is so great.

When you are about to use new cosmetic product for the first time, I recommend writing the date on it with a black sharpie. That way you will know how long you’ve had the make up, and when it’s time to throw it away.

5. SANITIZE YOUR KEY BOARD, CELL PHONE, STEERING WHEEL

Our computer keyboard, phone and steering wheel are some of the most used items we often forget to clean. I use a clear Key Board Protector on my laptop, that’s very easy to clean. Much better than having to clean the surface of the keyboard.

If you like to talk on the phone and press it against your face you should clean it frequently.

I also like to wipe my steering wheel before I take my car out in the morning. Again, your hands and mine may be super clean, but how about the valet guys? I bet they don’t get to wash their hands after parking every car.

 

FullSizeRender (16)

Don’t forget to sanitize your door knobs in your home and office, change your pillow cases once a week, and keep you pets away from your pillows.

I promise, It’s not that hard to keep up with the things I mentioned above. Apart from staying pimple free some of the points I made will help you to stay healthy and feel great all around!

 

Photos by Jerry Garns, Jay Bartlett and yours truly.

The Golden Secrets Essential Oil by Jesse Golden

I am long overdue to feature The Golden Secrets Oil in my blog. It was created by my closest friend, yoga teacher and holistic practitioner, Jesse Golden. Ever since I’ve known her Jesse never used conventional perfumes yet always smelled like she just walked out of a Spa. For years Jesse’s been making a unique blend of essential oils for personal use, and now her signature creation, The Golden Secrets Oil, is available for sale.    11054792_10152731447203848_1870065394863484100_n

Jesse says the tantric magic of this blend originated from Roman folklore, used as an attraction oil or aphrodisiac to stimulate romance. It’s signature aroma helps to strengthen the mind and body, guide you inward, attain clarity and focus.

My boyfriend and I have been using the oil for a while now, and the scent is different on each of us. The oil will adapt to your own body chemistry to create a secret aroma,  just as unique as you.

Does it really entice the romance? It does for us, but you would have to personally explore that subject.

What really makes it special is not just the scent alone, but the intention and the energy that goes inside of each bottle. It’s a very small production, Jesse bottles the oil herself by hand, and blesses every single one of them with tantric chants.

The oil bottle is 5 ml, and it my look a bit small, but trust me, it will go a long way. It’s pretty strong, so you only need a few drops.

What does it smell like? Well, the exact formula is Jesse’s secret, but I sense citrus, floral and earthy top notes.  It’s not heavy or musty, and  gives you an instant clean feeling,  keeps you refreshed and energized all day long.

A lot of people underestimate the power of essential oils.  You don’t have to be a hard core yogi to reap the benefits of it. A scent can easily influence people’s moods and emotions, and affect work performance.

Personally, scent is a very powerful memory trigger for me. I enjoy creating happy memories that are linked to the use of the oil. And if I’m having a bad day, once I inhale my Golden Secrets Oil it instantly brings back the happy times associated with the smell and puts a smile on my face.

oil

My girl friends and I love the oil, and use it more than in just one way. Here are a few of MY FAVORITE USES OF THE GOLDEN SECRETS OIL:

  •  As an all natural every day unisex perfume – Dab 2-4 drops on the inside of your wrist. Then rub inside of wrists together and delicately rub wrists on the sides of the neck and behind your ears…and just below the navel, if you desire.
  • Use it during meditation and yoga practice to find your focus and balance.
  • Apply during your morning affirmations.
  • As a scent enhancer for your body lotion or massage oil – I love putting a few drops in my Kiels lotion bottle to make it more special.
  • As a room fragrance – Just put a few drops in your aromatherapy oil diffuser .
  • As a car freshener – I use it in aromatherapy car diffuser to stay calm and patient in LA traffic.
  • As a laundry fragrance – Place 2 drops on a cloth and place in the dryer for great smelling clothes.

10636005_10152526196973848_8297280488983600130_n    11025805_10152729119708848_4043762919942538339_n

Visit www.thegoldensecretsoil.com to purchase.

As a gorgeous model, devoted mother, holistic practitioner and a yoga teacher, Jesse is a true inspiration for so many people. She shares her light and a life journey in her blog www.thegoldensecretsoil.org . Be sure to follow her for wellness tips and spiritual advice.

Instagram @JesseGolden and @TheGoldenSecrets

Facebook @TheGoldenSecrets

Twitter @JesseGolden

A Few Thoughts Before Mother’s Day

Ever since I moved away from home 19 years ago, I have a different perspective on holidays. Most holidays don’t have the same meaning any more, because I refuse to go by what the TV commercials and the calendar tell me, I go with my heart. When it comes to Mother’s Day, I choose to treat my Mom as it was Mother’s Day all year round.

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 5.06.17 PMIn the United States every holiday is just another reason to advertise and push the merchandize. “Buy this, buy that,
make you Mom happy this Mother’s Day…”, and so on.
I am not encouraging to ignore the holiday. I am just saying that Mother’s Day brunch reservations in the fanciest place in town may not be what you should focus on. How about taking your Mom to brunch twice a month? How about giving her flowers for no reason, not just on Mother’s Day?

The most valuable gift you can give your Mom is your time. Because you can’t buy time and mail it in an envelope. Time is priceless and you can’t get it back. Time spent with your Mother is a true gesture of appreciation of her, who gave you a gift of a life time.

Expensive gifts on Mother’s Day will not make up for the rest of the year. Let your Mom know how much you love her every day, spend time with her, spoil her. Because you don’t want to have any regrets, and wish you did all of these things when she was still around.

IMG_2508-2I miss my Mom, and she lives half way across the world. I don’t have the luxury of taking her out for lunch, or driving over for a week-end. But I am in touch with her all the time, and I cherish every moment we get to share together. As difficult as my Mom can be sometimes, I treat her with a great amount of patience and respect all year round, not just on Mother’s Day.

May be I just turn into a big sap as I get older, but it’s so very sad for me to see that some people I know don’t give their mothers the attention they deserve. We all use “I am so busy, I don’t have any free time” excuse. Well, I just don’t buy it.  In my opinion if you find time for gym, nail appointments, concerts and such you sure can sacrifice a few hours a week out of your busy schedule to spend with your Mom in person or via Skype.

I understand, it may be very hard sometimes to witness our parents get older, talk about their health problems and give them the moral support they need. We tend to subconsciously avoid things that cause us mental pain, make us feel sad and helpless. We just don’t want to deal with the emotions that are hard to control, and build a wall of excuses as to why it’s not a good time for a phone call right now or a trip to see Mom this week-end.

IMG_0528Do you know what will hurt even more? The endless regrets about the time you did not spend with your parents when they were still around.

You have to learn how to be strong,  to be able to be there for your Mom and Dad in the down times when they need you the most.

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. Think about giving your Mom a gift of your time for as long as she is around.

My Summer Festival Essentials – Part 2

I am so happy my readers found my last week’s post helpful and informative! Here are a few more products that were very handy to have around during three days of Coachella.

FullSizeRender (12)FullSizeRender (9)

 

1.  Essential Oil

I got so many compliments on my scent during the festival! Using a perfume filled with chemicals is soooo 2014!   I find that a drop of an all natural essential oil is a much better fit for your summer outdoor adventures. The oil adapts to your own body chemistry, creating it’s own unique scent on everyone who wears it. It’s unisex, and you only need one drop to feel refreshed, inspired and sexy.

product_largeFullSizeRender (13)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Golden Secrets Oil was created by my dear friend Jesse Golden. Made from the organic ingredients, bottled with love. $33 at www.thegoldensecretsoil.com

 

2. Hand Sanitizer

In a place filled with thousands of people and a shortage of flushable bathrooms, hand sanitizer is a must have! You may want to skip having to stand  in a long  bathroom line just to be able to wash your hands.

While packing for Coachella I was sure to take a trip to Whole Foods to get my favorite EO Sanitizer Spray. EO products  have a great all natural line of hand sanitizers.

IMG_0111

IMG_0110

You can choose between lavender (my favorite), peppermint, or sweet orange scent.

Their 0.33oz spray bottle is a great size for your purse, 2oz bottle is perfect to keep in your car. I love the price too : $1.99 and $4.99 at EOproducts.com

 

3. Tush Wipes

Everyone has a box of wipes in their personal bathroom at home. What about when you are on the go, and the space in your purse is very limited? Individually wrapped Tush Wipes by Pure Touch Skincare  is your answer. Be sure to get the chemical free version: Tush Wipes Naturals, that is hypoalleregenic and paraben free. You can get a box of 24 for $6.70 on Amazon, your tush will thank you!

IMG_0126 (1)

FullSizeRender (15)

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you liked my blog post, be sure to follow and share! Much Love, Irina

My Summer Festival Beauty Essentials – Part 1

Going to Coachella Music and Arts Festival for the first time was the most an unforgettable experience for me. Aside from the amazing music,  I got really inspired to write again, and can not wait to share my experience with my readers.

FullSizeRender (2)

If you are looking to have a great time at a summer festival, you need to be prepared to protect yourself from the blazing sun, dust and germs. Trust me, it won’t be as much fun if you can’t stop coughing, get severely sun burned, or catch a stomach bug. Here are a few items that were great to have in my purse at all times:

1. Respirator Dust Mask and/or Bandana

FullSizeRender (4)  FullSizeRender (3)

No one tells Coachella “newbies” that they’ll have to walk for about a mile from the shuttle stop or parking on a very dusty road. On my first day of the festival I was trying to be all cool, and I honestly regretted it later. Dust mask is a must from walking from/to the shuttle. Bandana or a light scarf will is a more fashionable dust solution. I was wearing a bandana later at night when the wind picked up to prevent the dust and dry grass particles from blowing in my face. One more thing: everything and anything smoked everywhere you go, so bandana comes very handy if you are sensitive to the second hand smoke.

2.  Sunscreen

I have talked about the importance of using mineral sunscreen in my previous posts. When you are on a festival field in the day time you have to re-apply your sun protection every few hours, which is not always easy when you are wearing make up.

I chose a brush-on mineral sunscreen in powder form for my face and neck, which is very easy to re-apply. Peter Thomas Roth makes 2 versions: Oily Problem Skin Instant Mineral SPF 30  (is more translucent) and Anti Aging Instant Mineral SPF 45 (has a bronzing tint to it, perfect for people who are more tan).

Brush on sunscreens blend in great with any make up, can go over your powder or foundation, or can be applied to the bare face. You don’t even need to wash your hands or to look for a mirror to dab the brush all over your face it on every couple of hours. Very convenient and effective for face, neck, and decolletage areas. $24-$27 on Amazon, totally worth every penny!

FullSizeRender (5)  IMG_9937

Sunology Natural Body Sunscreen SPF50 kept me protected from the sun. 2oz tube fit perfectly in my purse without taking up too much space. $14.99 on Amazon, I highly recommend!

For my lip sun shield I was using Supergoop Mint Fusion Lip Balm SPF30  for the first time. I am a big fan now! $8 on Amazon, great stuff!

3. Hydration Mist Spray

No, it will not dissolve your sunscreen or make your make up run. It will give your thirsty skin the refreshment and the “dewey” glow. I love using Jane Iredale D20 Hydration Spray ($27).  You can use any other more affordable brands, or even the rose water. Just make sure it’s organic and fits in your purse!

   IMG_9941   FullSizeRender (7)

As usual, this blog post is getting way too long, so I’ll have to split it in 2 posts and cover more products next week. Stay tuned and be sure to follow!

Goddess Garden Organic Sunscreen

11

It’s been a couple weeks since my last post, and a few readers asked me to recommend some good mineral sunscreen products. Today’s post was going to be dedicated ‘Top 5 Organic Sunscreen Brands’, but I got a bit carried away writing about the very first one. So here it is: Goddess Garden Organics.

GG2  GG1

I learned about the brand last year, when attending the NACDS convention in Las Vegas, the biggest drug store trade show in the US. It’s a common thing on the last day of the show to give away free products and samples. I walked by the Goddess Garden Organics booth, asking for free samples, and the exhibitor was nice enough to give me a whole bunch of full size products to try, and spread the word about the brand. We talked for a while, and I learned for the first time about the importance of choosing mineral sunscreens, as opposed to chemical-based ones. I also found out a few things about the company’s history.

Goddess Garden Organics was founded in 2004 by a Mom and entrepreneur Nora Covington. Nora was looking for safe sunscreen solutions for her children after they showed signs of allergies to most mainstream sunscreen brands. All of Goddess Garden products are certified organic, biodegradable, reef-safe, cruelty free, non-GMO and non-nano. I’ve always been a supporter of small businesses and self-made companies. Kudos to #GirlBoss Nora. I wish you and your company continuous success!

Here are my personal favorites from the Goddess Garden Organics line:

1. Natural Sunscreen Continuous Spray SPF30 – It’s the latest innovation and the only one of its kind on the market. Being a spray-on sunscreen lover myself, I was so excited to finally find a mineral one! I was happy to see that it comes scented or unscented, because the signature scent of a essential oils blend may be a bit too strong for men. I order mine on Amazon for $14.85, and it ships free with Prime membership.

GG3   Whats-in-Sunscreen

2. Natural Daily Lotion Lavender Mint SPF15 – I use this product in the morning after I shower as an everyday body moisturizer. SPF15 gives me a great protection for my daily errands around sunny Los Angeles. Lavender / Mint scent is my favorite. It is also available in Tangerine / Lavender and Grapefruit / Bergamot scents. $18.99 on Amazon.

132219-6

 

3. Natural Sunscreen SPF30 – Great product for the entire family. Go$13.95 on Amazon. Top rated an EWG best sunscreen pick in 2013 for it’s superior effectiveness and non-toxic formula.

x898062001413_2_large.jpg.pagespeed.ic.NF9jCbehgu   goddessGardens

While reading up some more on Goddess Garden products, I came across a few negative reviews. People were not happy about the thickness, that you really need to rub it in, and that it leaves a slight white residue. Welcome to the world of mineral sunscreens! Every mineral sunscreen brand will actually be that way. Natural sunscreen tends to be a bit more white, and a bit more thick. It leaves your skin a bit shiny, but not greasy. It just needs a little rubbing in. In comparison to other sunscreen brands, Goddess Garden Organics goes on a lot more smoothly and barely leaves any white residue.

Goddess Garden also has specific Baby and Kid’s products in their line. Here is a link to their website: http://goddessgarden.com/

I want to wish everyone a great rest of the summer. Be safe under the sun, choose organic sunscreen!

Photo credit: Chaz Photographics http://www.chazphotographics.com/

 

Is Your Suncreen Safe?

The summer is here, and I cannot stress enough the importance of wearing a sunscreen. Your skin is your largest organ and deserves the best products to shield it from the sun’s rays. There are so many SPF products on the market nowadays, and it’s so easy to get lost. In this post I want to share some information about choosing the best SPF products, that can actually protect your skin, instead of causing harm.

1

There’ve been many discussions lately about chemical and mineral sunscreens. There is a big difference in how they work. Chemical-based sunscreen acts as a sponge, absorbing into the skin, where it converts UV rays into a less damaging form of radiation. Mineral sunblock acts as a shield, sitting on top of the skin. It blocks and deflects sun rays, just like a mirror. Natural sunscreens protect skin just as well (or better) than conventional sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens’ active ingredients are Titanium Dioxide & Zink Oxide. Both are non-toxic, ground-up minerals. Here are a some ingredients that are very common in chemical sunscreens: Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octisalate, and Homosalate.

Many of above listed chemicals can trigger allergic reactions, especially in children. Oxybenzone has been shown to be a hormone disruptor, leading to early puberty and premature breast development in girls,  infertility, breast and ovarian cancers in women, and prostate cancer in men.

The latest studies have also shown that instead of protecting you from the harmful UV rays, some chemical-based sunscreens have actually contributed to the risk of skin cancers. How is that even possible? Many sunscreens contain anti-inflammatory chemicals that can prevent skin from looking burned in the absence of painful sunburn. Sunscreen users can falsely assume they were fully shielded from the harmful effects of UVB rays, when in fact they essentially were duped by a chemical trick.

While we are still learning about long-term consequences of the chemicals in sunscreen products, it’s better to be safe than sorry. We have to educate our friends and family to make sure they are using “safe” sunscreen brands. I sure would not want to use anything containing Oxybenzone on my child’s skin.

It is not hard to find a safe sunscreen product. You can look up virtually every brand of sunblock at Skin Deep product data base of Environmental Working Group at www.ewg.org/skindeep   The ones that have 0-2 rating are safe to use. They also provide a list of 748 EWG approved sunscreen products : http://www.ewg.org/2014sunscreen/all-sunscreens/. And in today’s day and age you can get the product of your choice delivered to your door in no time.

photo 2 (8)

If you are on the way to the beach or on a vacation and have to get your sunblock from a drugstore, here are a few tips on how to choose a safe sunscreen:

  • Look for mineral based sunscreens with Titanium Dioxide and Zink Oxide as main ingredients
  • Look for a Broad Spectrum product, that protects from both UVA and UVB rays
  • Make sure it doesn’t contain vitamin A. Vitamin A increases photosensitivity in the skin, breaks down in sunlight, and forms free radicals
  • Choose non-nano products , that don’t have micro particles that absorb by the skin
  • Lotion based sunscreen products work best

If after reading all of the above you are still not convinced and ready to drench your child in Coppertone, here is another piece of information to consider. Many pharmaceutical companies in the US also own and manufacture mainstream sunscreen brands. For instance, Merck owns Coppertone, Sun Pharmaceuticals owns Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic. These companies also sell cancer drugs…  Some people may consider that a co-incidence, so feel free to come to your own conclusions on this matter.

I know that I only touched the tip of the iceberg  in this post, and there are so many more sunscreen facts to talk about. In the next post I will feature my Top 5 favorite Sunscreen Products. Stay tuned!

_V7I2173-1

Photo credits: James Ellis, Nadia Pandolfo