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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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.

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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

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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!

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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!

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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!

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.

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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!

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Photo credits: James Ellis, Nadia Pandolfo

 

 

 

 

 

Ask a Bunny: Tiffany Toth

It really hit me tonight working on this blog post, that my playmate friends happen to be some of the most stunning and desirable women in the world.  Playmates really represent a rare combination of being breathtaking beautiful and having an amazing personality. Trust me, it takes some guts and confidence for any woman to talk about their imperfections. Standing applause to all my past and future ‘Ask a Bunny’ guests for being so humble and open to share their beauty revelations. Love you all!

This week I am very excited to feature Tiffany Toth, Miss September 2011. Not only is Tiffany a very busy working model, but she also has a lot of experience working behind the camera as a make up artist. If anyone, Tiffany really knows what’s up when it comes to always looking gorgeous! I could not think of a more perfect person to ask for 3 essential beauty tips.

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TIFFANY’S BEAUTY TIP #1 – DO NOT EAT DAIRY

“I have always had issues with my skin. Every time I did a photo shoot I would cringe at what the makeup artist was putting on my face, because I knew my skin would hate me the next day. I tried every skin product you could think of, but it wasn’t until I gave up dairy that I noticed a huge change. It’s been about two years since I gave up dairy and the change is incredible. I can almost put anything on my skin now and not break out.”

 

TIFFANY’S BEAUTY TIP #2 – CASTOR OIL

“I use castor oil every night around my eyes and eyelashes.  I’ve used a lot of products in the past that promise to make lashes grow, but they would always burn my eyes because of all the chemicals. I love castor oil because it’s all natural, feels great on the eyes, conditions the eyelashes, and makes them grow longer.”

Castor Oli retails for an average price of $4. What a steal!

 

TIFFANY’S BEAUTY TIP #3 – ALOE VERA

“No, not the green stuff in a bottle from the drug store. I highly suggest growing your own aloe vera plant.  They are super easy to grow, and there are so many benefits of having one. I love to use it as a moisturizer, but it’s also great on the wounds, bites, and burns. It’s healing benefits are endless.”

Aloe Vera plant can be grown on the ground or containers all year round.

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Many thanks to Tiffany for sharing her beauty secrets! And if you don’t already, be sure to follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Photo credits: James Banasiak and Thuy Tran.

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Irina Voronina – Red Carpet Ready

Last night I came out to support Playmate Dancers at a ‘Children of the Night’ fundraiser, put together by Benchwarmer cards. Earlier today I posted a few red carpet pictures from the appearance and got a few questions about my look, so I decided to answer them in this blog post and start a new category, ‘Get the Look’.Last night I came out to support Playmate Dancers at a ‘Children of the Night’ fundraiser, put together by Benchwarmer cards. Earlier today  I posted a few red carpet pictures from the appearance and got a few questions about my look. So I decided to answer them in this blog post and start a new category ‘Get the Look’.

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Here are 2 items that made my look:

#1 THE DRESS

I was wearing a CUT25 by Yigal Azrouel Tribal Jacquard Dress. Original price: $429. I clearly did not pay $400 for it and, to be honest, I am through with spending money on red carpet dresses, which will only be worn once. A few months ago I discovered an app, called Poshmark, where you can sell clothes that you don’t wear anymore, as well as buy brand new and used clothes from the other women. My CUT25 dress cost me $35 including shipping. It was worn once before by the previous owner and was still in mint condition. It worked out perfectly for the occasion, and you know what’s next? I am going to ‘re-Posh’ it! And if I am lucky I might even get more money for it.

Original price $429 (too much) – Sale price $171 (still too much) – Posh price $35 (perfect).

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Here is a link to my Poshmark closet: https://poshmark.com/closet/iv2000  Let’s go shopping!

 

#2 THE HAIR

Every one who knows me doesn’t get surprised to see me with long beautiful hair at photo shoots and short hair in real life. My hair has never been my best feature. Luckily, I can easily change that by using clip-in hair extensions. They are super easy to use, and it takes me less than 10 minutes to snap them on.

I just picked up a new gorgeous set of clip-in extensions by Cashmere Hair. I went with the darker shade this time to create more dimension. ‘Ash Blonde’ shade worked out great and photographed beautifully.

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I highly recommend Cashmere Hair to anyone who’s looking for an amazing set of clip-ins. These hair extensions are very different from the ones you get in a regular beauty supply store. There is probably twice as much hair on each piece, which means instant length and volume. The hair clips don’t slide down, yet feel very secure on the head without unnecessary teasing. They still look great after a wash and hardly tangle. You can get them online at http://cashmerehairextensions.com/.

These are all the secrets I am sharing for today. Stay tuned for more posts!

Ask a Bunny: Alison Waite

Say hello to Alison Waite, our Bunny guest of the week. Since becoming Miss May 2006 Aly’s claim to fame is a career as a television host. You have seen her on NBC’s Extra! as a field correspondent, a host of E! News Now on E! and MTV’s show “Frenemies”.

I’m always amazed of how Aly manages to look so amazing on TV. Remember, there is no photoshopping in live television. While you can get away with so much as a model, you really have to be picture perfect as a television host. Camera lenses don’t lie and what you see is what you get!

 

Alison Waite Playboy Playmate                   Alison Waite Playboy Playmate

We asked Aly to share some of her beauty secrets, that help her to always be camera ready:

ALY’S BEAUTY TIP #1 – JOJOBA OIL

“Jojoba oil from Trader Joe’s is my go-to eye make-up remover. Whether I’m wanting to remove a little mascara or a lot of heavy eye-make up and lash glue from a shoot this oil always delivers. And thankfully without any irritation. I used to buy eye make-up remover pads but it always left my eyes feeling dry and caused unsightly redness. Now I just keep the jojoba oil in the shower & put a very small amount on my fingertips. I then gently massage the oil onto my closed eyelids (you don’t want to actually get it in your eyes of course). And voila, after a few circular motions mixed with water from the shower head the eye make-up and glue disappears. I keep a wash cloth handy to wipe off the remnants if I  was wearing a ton of make-up from a shoot or a face wipe will work as well (I am just careful to not use the wipe near my eyes since it causes irritation in my case). Afterwards I follow with my normal apricot scrub face wash routine just to make sure all the access oil & make-up residue is gone. I have never been so pleased with a product & love that it is all-natural & inexpensive!”

ALY’S BEAUTY TIP #2 – Million Dollar Tan Mermaid Mousse Extreme

“I used to tan for hours everyday and frequented tanning beds in my younger days. Now I regret all that sun exposure and wear tons of SPF. Of course I loved the appearance of my super bronzed bod, but I’d rather not sacrifice my skin health nor do I want to appear older & wrinkly. While spray tans at the tanning salon were a good alternative, I never felt I achieved that golden glow that a real tan would provide. I always looked orange or streaky, it smelled bad & was always rubbing off. Luckily my dear friend in college (Go SDSU) was so sick of the bad sunless tanning products that were on the market, that she developed her own line.  I’m not just saying this because she is my friend.  Her Million Dollar Tan products are amazing! And they are organic, packed with moisturizers so they won’t dry out your skin. They don’t smell and best of all, the tan looks totally natural! I’m hooked! Especially before a shoot I’m always applying Million Dollar Tan the night before. I would recommend Mermaid Mousse Extreme to anyone that is wary of at-home applications.  If I can do this,  trust me, you can too! I love the deep dark  faux tan I get that lasts for about a week or so. http://www.milliondollartan.com/Mousses

3. ALY’S BEAUTY TIP #3 – SLEEP

“I’m a big fan of it! And everyone knows how vital it is to get your sleep if you want to look and  perform your best. For me, I love 8 hours (or more if I can get it) of uninterrupted sleep. It’s not always easy to fall asleep so I try to create the most zen atmosphere possible to ward off restless nights. I spray a lavender oil mist from Whole Foods in my sheets before bed. I also play music on my iPod that is relaxing, I especially like spa sounds on Spotify. I try not to watch TV or be on my phone, computer/Twitter/Instagram 30 min before I’m going to bed, but it’s easier said than done sometimes.  I can tell such a huge difference in my appearance after I’ve had a full restful night’s sleep. And if not, that’s what cucumbers and a good eye cream (La Mer eye balm) are for.”

Ali's Beauty Secret #1 - Jojoba Oil from Trader JoesAli's Beauty Secret #2 - Million Dollar Mermaid Mousse     Ali's Beauty Secret #3 - Sleep

I wanted to thank Alison  for taking time for our blog and I can’t wait to try Million Dollar Mermaid Mouss myself! Check out Aly’s hosting reel below to see how flawless she looks on camera, and be sure to follow her on Twitter and Instagram .

Photo credits: Sarah Orbanic and Nick Suarez

Alison Waite Playboy Playmate

 

 

 

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.

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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!

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