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.

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!

Jason Wu for Lancôme: Let’s Get Wu’d!

I wanted to start this post by saying that I don’t usually shop at Saks 5th Avenue. My girlfriend and I were passing Saks on the way to lunch last week, as we noticed that they were setting up inside for a special event. We found out that designer Jason Wu was going to make an appearance to launch his make up collection for Lancôme Paris. Being big fan’s of Jason’s designs for Michelle Obama, we decided to stick around for photo ops and champagne.

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I got to snap a picture and got a lovely Lancôme mirror, autographed by Jason. I learned that Wu’s Lancôme collection includes 2 Blush Pallets, 3 Eye Shadow Pallets, 2 Lip Colors, Eye Liner, Mascara, Nail Polish, and a Blush Brush.  Jason was very nice to answer my question about his favorite product in his line, which is ‘Disco’ Eyeshadow Palette. That was enough to get me in a chair to get my makeup done by Lancôme professionals. I really loved the pigments of the eye shadows and ended up buying ‘Midnight Floral’ Palette so I could play with it some more at home.

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I am a bit of a make up junkie, and buy a lot of stuff from both professional and mainstream brands. From my experience, when it comes to eye shadows it’s really hard to find a palette, where very color would be used equally. Even in my favorite Chanel’s ‘Les 4 Ombres’ palettes, there are always 1 or 2 colors that are left behind. After experimenting with “Midnight Floral” Palette, I quickly found out it won’t be the case. What a pleasant surprise! Every shade in the palette serves a different purpose: all over base, lid color, crease, highlighter and liner. I followed the instructions that came with it, and here is my final look:

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I was very impressed, or should I say I was Wu’d?  The eyeshadows felt silky and blended very well, you can easily go from a soft day time look to a dramatic smokey eye. Luminous and smooth, these pigments are really made to brighten up the eye! As I mentioned before, the palette comes with the detailed instructions, which is a great help for non-pro artists like myself.

You can learn more about the ‘Jason Wu for Lancôme’ line at Lancôme Website. Rumor has it, Mr Vu’s next venture is a collection for Helmut Lang. Congrats to Jason, and  we’ll be sure to keep an eye out for more cool stuff with his name on it.  Image

 

 

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.

MISTAKE #1 – DON’T DRINK WATER BECAUSE IT WILL MAKE YOUR EYES PUFFY IN THE MORNING

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 .

MISTAKE #2 – ICE CUBES

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.

MISTAKE #3  HEMORROID CREAMS & ASTRINGENTS

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!

MISTAKE #4  WATER PILLS

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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Ask a Bunny: Marketa Janska

When someone says ‘Natural Beauty’, the first person who comes to my mind is Marketa Janska.  We’ve known each other for more than 10 years now, since she first became Playboy’s Miss July 2003. She is one of the very few people, who can be in front of the camera with no make up on and sexy-messy ‘I just rolled out of bed’ hair. She can really pull off this look! Marketa hardly ever wears make up in her day-to-day life, she only uses all natural and organic products for her skin care and she looks like a million bucks! We asked her to share some of her beauty secrets with our readers.

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MARKETA’S BEAUTY TIP #1:

“Every day I start my morning with a cup of hot water with lemon. It’s a really great habit to have:  keeps your PH levels in balance and is great for the digestive system. Not only Vitamin C in lemon gives a great boost to your immune system, but it also helps with the production of collagen. Take your hot lemon water every morning and wait for 30 minutes before you eat something.”

MARKETA’S BEAUTY TIP #2:

“The secret behind my skin glow is “Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream”. It has a great combination of all natural ingredients: olive oil, beeswax, honey, bee pollen, royal jelly and propolis extract. I use it as a night-time moisturizer for my face, it also works great on your lips, knees and elbows, cuticles, hair, and can even prevent stretch marks!”

MARKETA’S BEAUTY TIP #3

“Another one of my favorite products is “Rose Water & Glycerine Spray” by Heritage. I carry it in my purse and spray it on my face any time my skin needs a little pick-me-up. The combination of pure rose water and vegetable glycerin is very nourishing and really locks in the moisture in your skin.  Can be used as a great finishing spray for your make up or a leave-in conditioner for your hair. And the smell is divine!”

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You can find out more about benefits of the Egyptian Magic Cream at http://www.egyptianmagic.com/ . It comes in 2Oz and 4Oz jar, you can purchase it in Costco, Urban Outfitters and many online retailers at the price of $26-$39, depending on the size.

Rose Water and Glycerine Face Spray can purchased in Whole Foods or from online retailers. It comes in 4 and 8 fl oz and price anywhere between $4 and $12, depending on the size.

On behalf of our readers I wanted to thank Marketa for taking time to share her beauty secrets with us. Be sure to connect with Marketa on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, her official website www.marketjanska.com. Look for Marketa’s music on iTunes, apart from modeling she is a talented recording artist. We wishing Marketa the continuous success in her career!

Photo credit: Sarah Orbanic

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