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.












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.


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.


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.

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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.


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.


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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.

Goddess Garden Organic Sunscreen


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.

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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.

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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.



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.

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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.


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.

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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!


Photo credits: James Ellis, Nadia Pandolfo






All About Puffy Eyes: Part 2 – Main Causes

If you read my previous post you already know that I’ve been struggling with this problem for a very long time. As a result I had to make adjustments in my lifestyle and nutrition habits to keep the problem under control. I am convinced that when it comes to health and beauty, it’s not enough to treat the symptoms, you really have to find the cause of the problem.


Here are main causes of puffy eyes:


#1 LACK OF SLEEP – Be sure to get enough zzz’s ! At least 8 hours a night.

#2 CRYING – Crying is not your friend, ladies! It causes major temporary puffiness due to fluid retention and eye irritation.

#3 COMPUTERS, SMART PHONES, TABLETS – If you are a social media freak like me, chances are your eyes never get any rest, which can result in dark circles and puffiness. Some people have to stare at the computer screen all day long due to the nature of their job. Whether you’re on your smart phone tweeting or at your desk job, I encourage everyone to take 5 minute breaks every hour, when you can close your eyes and give them a little rest.  Try not to use your iPad or Smart Phone right before bed. Reading hard copy books and magazines may be old-fashioned, but is actually a lot easier on the eyes.

#4 ALLERGIES AND SINUS INFECTION – Puffiness and irritation of the eyes often comes from your sinuses. Get that allergy under control instead of treating the symptoms.

#5 DIET – You are what you eat, indeed. In many cases excessive sodium consumption leads to water retention, which lands directly on your eye lids and results in puffiness. A lot of folks are under impression that they don’t use any salt in their food, and they forget all about processed foods. Processed foods contain high levels of sodium and chemicals including gluten. Over time, consumption of  too many processed foods can leave the body sluggish and unable to eliminate waste efficiently, which would contribute to inflammation and water retention. By the way, artificial sweetners have been implicated to cause fluid retention as well. If you regularly have puffy eyes, try cutting back on diet soda drinks, don’t reach for a packet Splenda, and see if it helps.

#6 GENES – In my case the puffiness is hereditary, so instead of bitching at the genes, change your diet and find the remedy that works for you. As a last resort see if there are any plastic surgery solutions out there.

#7 DEHYDRATION – I touched upon dehydration in my previous post. In case you missed it, here it is again: be sure to drink enough water, because when your body is dehydrated  it tries to hold on to fluids, which results in puffiness.

#8 LIFESTYLE ISSUES: SMOKING & DRINKING – I don’t think I need to explain harmful effect of booze and cigs on skin in general. Alcohol dehydrates the body, which causes fluid retention and puffiness after a night out. If you are consuming alcohol, be sure to drink equal amount of water to help your body hydrate. Water can prevent a hangover and puffy eyes in the morning.  Smokers may not notice formation of dark circles under their eyes right away, but with time bags under the eyes will appear along with other irreversible effects of skin aging.

#7 SERIOUS DISEASES – Puffiness may also be a sign of kidney disease, liver dysfunction or thyroid problems. Be sure to see your doctor and run the necessary tests if you are prone to major puffiness.

#8 IRON DEFICIENCY – Iron deficiency (anemia) is another cause of fluid retention, especially in women. Be sure to check your iron levels by doing a simple blood test.


I hope this information will help those who are trying to battle the puffiness. In my next post I will talk about remedies and dietary tips. Stay tuned!





All About Puffy Eyes: Part 1 – Common Mistakes

Every once in a while everyone wakes up with puffy eyes in the morning. With me, it’s the other way around.  Every once in a while I would wake up with eyes that weren’t puffy. Doctors tested me for all kinds of potential causes, and we finally came to the conclusion that it’s a hereditary problem which runs in my family. My Mom’s puffiness developed into large bags under her eyes as she got older, my brother has them too.

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Over years of modeling I tried every possible remedy  so I could show up to a photo shoot not looking like I had a late night out. I stopped partying, cut out alcohol, was getting 10 hours of sleep every night, and still it would not make a token of difference. The worst puffiness would occur right before my cycle, when women’s body retains the most water. This problem caused  a lot of stress and frustration, and  I was eager to try every trick in the book. Eventually with time I discovered some remedies, that helped keep my puffiness in check. But until then I often became a victim of common mistakes and misconceptions.


It is a very common misconception, unless you have chronic  kidney problems. Dehydration can actually be one of the main causes of puffiness and swelling of the eye area. When your body is dehydrated, it will try to retain water, and that results  in puffiness. The first cure for puffy eyes  is drinking plenty of water. Water with a slice of lemon in the morning is great! Lemon contains electrolytes beneficial to hydration and has an alkalizing effect on the body .


While ice in general will help to take the puffiness down in the morning, you should NEVER PUT THE ICE CUBES  DIRECTLY ON YOUR SKIN, even if in a plastic bag. I learned that a hard way by giving myself freezer burn on the lower eye lids. You can use an ice pack, but only over a wash cloth. Ice water can be a great safe alternative: you can soak cotton balls or a wash cloth in ice water, and literally “chill” for 10 minutes with your eyes closed.


Once I showed up to the set with  an extensive puffiness. The make up artist I was working with wasn’t very happy about it, and she suggested I try using witch hazel on my eye lids the next day. Well, I should have known better, my skin is very sensitive, and naturally, I ended up with some redness and irritation.

On another occasion I tried Preparation H… In theory it could work, however it did not do a damn thing for me, except for the cooling  effect, as the cream just came out of the fridge. I also learned later, that one of the ingredients of Preparation H, a yeast derivative that is supposed to reduce puffiness, is no longer found in the version that’s available in the U.S. (The cream was reformulated in 1994.)  And here is the worst part: it got into my eye, which was extremely irritating!  All I can say,  puffiness became the least of my concerns on that morning. Now I have a new rule: I NEVER USE SUBSTANCES ON MY EYES THAT DON’T BELONG IN THE EYE AREA!


A few years ago I was very frustrated with  puffiness and swelling, and a the last resort, I picked up a pack of water pills and started taking them a night before a big photo shoot. While I was feeling ok at first, on the morning of my big job I woke up having unusual symptoms. My heart was beating irregularly, I was feeling weak, dizzy and nauseous. What a night mare! Despite beeing sick,  I had to gather myself together and report to the set. The bottom line: water pills did not make the bags under my eyes go away, but gave me so many side effects, that I could barely make it through the day.

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As you can see, I truly made every disastrous mistake out there. I hope that my readers won’t fall into the traps of common beauty myths and misconceptions.  In my next post I will talk about the immediate remedies and some long term solutions for puffy eyes.

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My Face Cleansing Regimen

In this post I wanted to talk a little bit more about my Rule #1 – face cleansing.  Our face is tend to collect a lot of dust and bacteria throughout the day, so even if you don’t use make up it is very important to wash your face thoroughly mornings and nights to remove all the impurities before they end up in your pores.

There are so many great facial cleansers on the market, but my most favorite product is Toleraine purifying foaming cream by Le-Roche Posay.  It was recommended by my dermatologist.  Toleraine is hypoallergenic, fragrance free, great for sensitive skin and leaves your skin squeaky clean! I used some other gentle cleansers before, but most of them don’t give you the squeaky clean feeling. You only need a pea size of the product to create reach leather. Toleraine Foaming cleanser retails for about $20-$23, you can find it in Target, CVS and Ulta.


I like to use cellulose cleansing sponges with my foaming cleanser. They are soft enough to not upset sensitive skin, yet rough enough to give a little exfoliation and help cleanse the face thoroughly.  You can get them in Wal-Mart, Sephora or any beauty supply store. Sponges retail anywhere from $3 to $6 (a pack of 2 or 3), one sponge usually lasts me a couple of weeks. You can actually use them much longer if periodically sterilized.

I understand, that not everyone can spend $23 on a facial wash, Neutrogena cleansers are a great alternative within $7-$10 range, the downside is that most of them are nor fragrance free. Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser is a great “on a budget” alternative.

After washing and drying my face I follow-up with alcohol free toner. I use Obagi toner, which is a bit pricy, Neutrogena has a great one as well!

I would love to know what your favorite products are, please comment and share your experience with me!

3 Ground Rules for Beautiful Skin


Here are 3 very simple rules to keep your skin young and healthy. I follow these rules religiously and I am confident that if you do too, you will soon notice a big difference!


No lady should ever ever go to sleep with make up on. I don’t care how tired you are, you have to do it. Wiping it of with a wet wipe is not good enough! You have to wash it clean with water. You skin needs to rest and breathe free of make up & oils.


No fancy moisturizer will make a difference if you don’t hydrate from the inside. Get in the habit of drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day. My water intake is about 12-14 glasses a day. And when I say water,  I mean water, not an ice tea or a Diet Coke. We live very fast paced lives nowadays, it is so easy to forget to drink enough throughout a day, unless you carry a jug of water with you. I never leave the house without a bottle of water, I have one on stand by in my car, I start every meal with a glass of water. Hydrate your body and you will see the difference in your skin as well!


Hide your faces from the sun, ladies! Everyone knows that sun is a #1 cause of premature aging. But not everyone follows through with putting sun screen on their face every single day, not just when they go to the beach. I wear SPF 30 or higher even on a cloudy day. Sun activity is rising every year as the ozone layer gets thinner and thinner, so it’s up to us to protect ourselves, even if you think your skin is not prone to sun damage. Sun damage accumulates in your skin and often results in pigmentation and premature aging years later. There are so many great sun screen products suitable for every budget and t is very easy to find one that works for you.

In my future blog posts I will talk more about my skin cleansing regiment and my favorite sun screen products. Stay tuned!