Brush on Blog

Brush on Block. Available for $32

Brush on Block. Available for $32

While it may be the very beginning of spring here in the Northeast (though it feels like the dead of winter!), that doesn't mean that the sun is finished doing its job.  See, even in the colder weather, when you're not traipsing around in shorts, tank tops, flip flops, bathing suits, etc. the sun is still working hard to make an enemy of your skin, if you don't take the steps to protect it.  The sun has many tremendous benefits, but under it's bright and cheerful exterior, lurks a dark, angry, hot ball of fire that wants nothing more than to fry your skin and cause you health problems.  If you're not careful, you may not only suffer the pain and irritation of sunburn, but you may suffer worse health issues, such as skin cancer.

As a skin care specialist, it is my job to educate others about protecting their skin.  The number one thing you can do to protect your skin, on a daily basis, is to use sun protection.  There are many different types of sunblock out there, many of which contain harmful ingredients.  In fact, the only active ingredients in Brush on Block are:  Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide (more on these ingredients ahead).  Inactive Ingredients:  Alumina, Boron Nitride, Chamomile Flower Extract, Green Tea Extract, Honeysuckle Flower Extract, Iron Oxides, Jojoba Oil, Mica, Rice Lipids, Rice Starch, Safflower Oil, Silica, Stearic Acid, Triethoxycaprylylsilane.  Before we go through the steps of using your Brush on Block (after the next 2 paragraphs) let's have a quick skin anatomy overview and short lesson on Ultraviolet (UV) rays and what SPF means in regards to those UV rays.  Feel free to skip ahead if you already have a comfortable background in skin anatomy.

All layers of the skin

All layers of the skin

The sun wreaks havoc on unprotected skin, and can cause damage such as skin cancer, premature wrinkles, sunburn, and so on. To fully understand this, I think it's important to have a quick anatomical review. So, let's talk skin. The skin has 3 main layers. The outermost layer of skin is called the epidermis, which is made up of 5 layers.  Starting from the outermost layer they are, stratum corneum (superficial layer of skin made up of about 15-30 layers of epithelial cells, which are dead skin cells), stratum lucidum (thin, somewhat translucent layer that only exists in the thick skin of the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and palm side of the fingers), stratum granulosum (3-5 layers of cells which generate large amounts of the proteins keratin and keratohyalin, which make up the bulk of the keratinocyte mass in this layer and give it a grainy appearance), stratum spinosum (composed of 8-10 layers of keratinocytes which begin the synthesis of keratin and release a water-repelling glycolipid that helps prevent water loss from the body), and finally, stratum basale (single layer of cells primarily made of basal cells, which are stem cells of the epidermis.  The cells in this layer bond to the dermis via intertwining collagen fibers).  The dermis, which is beneath the epidermis houses blood vessels, hair follicles, sweat glands, and other structures is made up of 2 layers: Papillary (composed of loose areolar connective tissue and fine and loosely arranged collagen fibers) and Reticular (composed of dense irregular connective tissue featuring densely packed collagen fibers). The dermis contains tough connective tissue, hair follicles, and sweat glands. The deepest layer of the skin is subcutaneous tissue, which is also called the hypodermis and is made of fat and connective tissue.  Its main job is to connect the skin to the underlying fascia of muscles (see photo above) and bones.

UVB Rays and UVA Rays vs. sunscreen

UVB Rays and UVA Rays vs. sunscreen

Now that you have a basic understanding of skin, let's talk a little bit about UV (Ultraviolet) rays.  UVB rays, when no skin barrier exists, penetrate just through the epidermis, causing sunburn and can contribute to certain types of skin cancer. UVA rays, on the other hand, can penetrate through all layers of the skin, causing premature skin aging and like UVB rays, can contribute to certain skin cancers.  It is important to note however, that even though UVA rays can reach deeper into the skin layers (because they have a longer wavelength), they are not as strong as UVB rays. Sunblock or sunscreen that has broad spectrum protection will protect against both UVB and UVA rays. The two active ingredients in Brush on Block that I mentioned earlier are Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. Titanium Dioxide is approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for use as a sunscreen, and they list it as one of the most effective active ingredients in sunscreens and sunblocks.  Titanium Dioxide is derived from Titanium which is a highly reflective mineral.  Due to its reflective properties, it works to reflect the UV rays.  It is also nonirritating, non-allergenic, and non-comedogenic.  Zinc Oxide provides protection by absorbing primarily UVA light rather than reflecting or scattering it like Titanium Dioxide does.  It is non-comedoogenic, and is a mild antimicrobial. In addition to knowing your sunscreen ingredients, it's also important to know what SPF (Sun Protection Factor) your sunscreen has. Brush on Block has an SPF of 30.  What does SPF actually mean?  SPF measures the length of time it will take for UVB rays to burn skin while using a sunscreen as compared to how long skin takes to burn without the sunscreen.  So, for example, SPF of 15 takes 15 times longer to burn skin than no SPF at all.  SPF 30 protects the skin against 97 of UVB rays.

All of that being said, let's to dive into the inter-workings of the Brush on Block.  I've broken it down into steps for you to follow, plus pictures for those of you who, like me, need to see things in order to learn.

To Open your Brush on Block:

Step 1: Hold Brush on Block in Hand.

Step 1: Hold Brush on Block in Hand.

Step 2: Remove Brush on Block Cap to expose Brush Protector.

Step 2: Remove Brush on Block Cap to expose Brush Protector.

Step 3: Lower Brush Protector.

Step 3: Lower Brush Protector.

Step 4: Lower Brush Protector all the way.

Step 4: Lower Brush Protector all the way.

To Release Powder into your Brush on Block:

Step 5: Notice the Open/Close on the bottom portion of the Brush on Block.

Step 5: Notice the Open/Close on the bottom portion of the Brush on Block.

Step 6: Turn bottom portion of Brush on Block to the left in the direction of "Open" in order to release the product into the brush.

Step 6: Turn bottom portion of Brush on Block to the left in the direction of "Open" in order to release the product into the brush.

Step 7: Tap Brush on Block on wrist to release product into brush. Once you see the powder release, you are ready to use the brush.

Step 7: Tap Brush on Block on wrist to release product into brush. Once you see the powder release, you are ready to use the brush.

Step 8: Notice top of brush with powder released into bristles.

Step 8: Notice top of brush with powder released into bristles.

To left is a video of what Step 7 should look like.  You should notice your Brush on Block expel powder out of the top of the brush.  The first time you use your Brush on Block, you may need to tap it multiple times on your wrist to begin the flow of the powder through the shaft and into the brush bristles.  Once you've "primed" your Brush on Block, you should only need to tap it against your wrist one time, to release the powder.  You should always tap it at least once, each time you use it, to make sure that the powder can flow freely. 

To Apply your Brush on Block:

How to apply Brush on Block.  Quite simply really!  Once you follow all of the above instructions, simply apply to your face as you would apply any powder foundation.  It goes on translucent so it works on any skin tone.  And be sure to smile once your finished applying!

To Replace your Brush on Block Refill:

In the video above, you'll notice me twisting the top portion off of the bottom portion.  This will loosen the bottom so that you can replace it with a refill.

Unscrew the bottom portion of your Brush on Block to remove the refill.

Unscrew the bottom portion of your Brush on Block to remove the refill.

Top view of refill without cap on. You can see the powder inside the reservoir.

Top view of refill without cap on. You can see the powder inside the reservoir.

Brush on Block refill available for $17. Click picture for details.

Brush on Block refill available for $17. Click picture for details.

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Brush on Block has been the best sunblock purchase I've ever made.  I ordered a sample directly from Brush on Block and tried it out and I have been obsessed with it ever since.  If you're tired of greasy sunblocks, or if you're just tired of questionable ingredients in your sunblock, look no further!  The best part, in my opinion, is the refill. The fact that you don't have to go a purchase a whole new Brush on Block, whenever you run out, is a huge selling point to me.  It takes quite some time to run out of your Brush on Block, so don't fret!  You won't be throwing money out on this.  The purchase price is a great investment, and will last you much longer than you expect.

Stay tuned for my next post all about quickly getting rid of blemishes!

References:

1) https://consults.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/10/what-to-look-for-in-a-sunscreen/?_r=0
2) https://opentextbc.ca/anatomyandphysiology/chapter/5-1-layers-of-the-skin/
3) http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/uva-and-uvb
4) http://tattooanatomy.yolasite.com/skin-anatomy.php
) http://cdn.spectator.co.uk/content/uploads/2015/05/Skin-layers.jpg

Welcome Back!

As you may or may not know, about 6 months ago, I had a traumatic fall and injured my shoulder.  This injury required surgery and during my recovery, I developed adhesive capsulitis, better known as frozen shoulder.  Because of this injury and the complications that have arisen, I have been unable to do my job.  I haven't been able do massage work, facials, waxing, sewing, and until recently, I couldn't even type on the computer!  It's been the most frustrating experience of my whole life. As I'm (hopefully) nearing the end of my recovery and working my way back into the world of business, I thought it might be fun to give you a sneak peek into my sewing studio and learn a little bit about my what I do, and where I do it, since I've just gotten back in there and started sewing again.  So please, read on, and learn a little bit about what inspires me and how I got to where I am now with my textile art.  Happy reading!

A small snapshot of my sewing studio, minus my craft shelves, drafting table, and many bins of fabric. More on those ahead!

A small snapshot of my sewing studio, minus my craft shelves, drafting table, and many bins of fabric. More on those ahead!

My 4 Beautiful Sewing Machines:

The original Cara B. sewing machine.

The original Cara B. sewing machine.

Here it is, my original sewing machine. The one I learned to sew on. This machine was manufactured in 2010, and found it's home, with me in my sewing studio.  There's an interesting story here, so bare with me.  My friends wanted to do something nice for me for my 30th birthday which was in May of 2010. They all chipped in and got me a gift card to JoAnn Fabrics.  I had never expressed any interest in sewing, as I had always gravitated towards clay as my primary art medium, however, my mother had been telling me my entire life that if I could just gather up some patience (of which I have very little) and take the time to learn how to sew, she knew that I would love it just as much as she has since she was a child. So, though it took until I was 30 years old, I finally listened to her and I bought myself a sewing machine with my gift card from my 3 sweet friends, Jaime, Jordyn, and Rachel.  I taught myself how to sew by watching the DVD that came with the machine, and upon my mother's advice, I took a sewing class at the local fabric store. From that moment on, I became totally enamored by the machine and started sewing all the time.  And so, after learning how to sew on this machine, I started getting frustrated when my stitches weren't working properly (remember how I mentioned that patience issue that I have?).  I found myself yelling at the machine, occasionally smacking it and all around, acting like a fool.  Dave would hear me from the other room and he'd make me take a time out until I had cooled off. Eventually, my mom suggested that we trade machines, since she's a seasoned sew-er (is that a word?).  I agreed to the trade, and the machine below became my new sewing machine.  What I didn't know until after we traded, was that I was putting the needle into the shank incorrectly, causing my stitches to be uneven and ragged.  A few weeks ago, my mom gave me back my original machine, because she now has a much newer, better quality machine, and no longer needed mine.  Her machine is still my primary machine though, because even though it was made in the 1970's, it is a BEAST!

Circa 1973-1978, my mom's machine. AKA: The Beast

Circa 1973-1978, my mom's machine. AKA: The Beast

Oh, the 1970's, what a groovy time to be alive!  I cannot claim that decade as mine, as I was not born until 1980.  However, this super cool vintage machine was born in the 1970's sometime between 1973 and 1978. This machine here is my right hand man.  It is amazing and I am obsessed with it.  When my mom first traded with me, I was afraid that an older machine wouldn't be as easy to work with as a newer machine.  Oh, was I wrong.  So wrong!  This machine was so easy to work with, and as you can see my mom used a sharpie to draw arrows around the levers for threading the upper thread properly into the machine.  Without these sharpie arrows, I guarantee, without a shadow of a doubt, that I would destroy the threading of the machine and make a huge mess out of every sewing project. Thankfully, my mom thought ahead, and while I'm sure those arrows were not originally intended for me (they were probably put on the machine well before I was even born!), I still believe she knew somewhere in the back of her mind, that someday, she'd be giving me this machine and that I would desperately need instructions because I am too stubborn to just look in the instruction manual.  So, thanks Mom!  I worked with this machine for quite some time, and I never really thought I'd have more than one machine.  I mean, I didn't really have a need.  I just had a desire in my heart to someday own a Singer treadle machine, which I am still waiting on.  I love antiques, and I particularly love mechanical antiques, such as Singer sewing machines.  So, when I go to an antique shop, I usually find myself looking for 1 of 3 things.  An antique Singer treadle machine, an antique typewriter (already have one of those, but I like looking at others), and the most rare, an antique cash register (while I haven't found an antique cash register, the hubs and I did find a 1930's adding machine, which we adore).  So, when my husband and I saw the machine below, you'll understand why it took us 4 months to purchase it.

The Green Machine, made December 10, 1962 in Canada.

The Green Machine, made December 10, 1962 in Canada.

This beautiful gem (lovingly known as the Green Machine) was discovered by Dave and me on a trip to Berlin, Maryland in 2013. Berlin is an adorable town in Maryland that was featured in the movie, "Runaway Bride" with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in 1999. It has become a summer tradition for the hubby and me to take a trip down to the Delaware beaches every Spring for our anniversary, and Berlin has become a part of that annual excursion. Berlin is chock full of really unique (and HUGE) antique shops. On our 1st anniversary trip in May of 2013, we happened upon one of the coolest antique shops I've ever been in and saw this machine. My jaw dropped and I didn't know what to do with myself! It was priced at $125, and we agreed to not buy it because we felt it was just a bit too pricey. A few months later over Labor Day weekend, we went back to Berlin and lo and behold, there it was, on sale for $25.  We were both shocked and thought that maybe we were misreading the price. So, we brought it up to the front desk to ask the owner if it was the correct price, or if our eyes were deceiving us.  He also had a look of confusion about that dramatic of a price cut.  But alas, it was not an incorrect price, and sure enough that machine was destined to be ours. Of course we bought it, with no questions and have never looked back.  We brought it home, and Dave played with it a bit and fixed it up so that it was in working order.  Now, it's his favorite of the machines and he even uses it to sew when I need assistance with a project or if I have too many orders to complete by myself (usually around the holidays).  This machine is an industrial sewing machine and can cut through super thick upholstery fabrics.  I really thought that this was going to be my last machine, until we found the stunner below.  

My favorite person working on his favorite machine.

My favorite person working on his favorite machine.

There he is again!

There he is again!

Close up with the Green machine.

Close up with the Green machine.

DOB: March 23, 1927.

DOB: March 23, 1927.

This is my gorgeous 1927 (more specifically, March 23, 1927) Singer Sewing Machine with knee lever rather than foot pedal. It is in 100% working condition, (thought we did need to replace the belts) even though it's a little beat up looking. Dave found this pretty girl at an antique shop in Doylestown, PA. As we were wandering around the store he came across this machine, thinking it was a tool box.  How could he possibly have thought that this beautiful machine was a tool box?  See photo below.  Notice the Singer emblem on the front of the cover?  It was facing the opposite direction, so he thought it was an old tool box.  A minute later he opened the box, and the picture to the right is what he saw.  All I can tell you is that I heard his voice from about 15 or so feet away from me yelling, "Honey!  Honey, come here!  You have to see this!"  I came over and with his eyes all wide and excited, he took the cover off and we both got goosebumps.  He didn't even ask if I wanted it, he just took it right to the front of the store to pay.  It was $40!

This is exactly how it looked when we saw it in the antique shop, except the Singer emblem was facing the other direction. 

This is exactly how it looked when we saw it in the antique shop, except the Singer emblem was facing the other direction. 

We brought it home, plugged it in, and it ran like it was brand new, but it wasn't, it was born 90 years ago! It is 5 years younger than my grandmother!  The biggest surprise with this machine, is that it has a knee lever rather than a foot pedal.  You can see the knee lever, coming out of the front of the base of the machine on the front right side. And in case you're wondering, yes that is a poster of the inside of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican in Rome, Italy.  It currently decorates the space directly behind the sewing table above.  Long story short, I purchased that poster in Italy when I was 15 years old, during a family trip to Italy.  And it is now studio decoration.

Textile Mania!

As we delve a little further into my sewing studio, you'll come across my drafting table, and my many many pieces of fabric.  I organize my fabrics in a few different ways.  Smaller pieces (for the most part) get filed in filing bins, larger pieces get folded and stacked on shelves on one of my sewing tables, stored in large paper Trader Joe's bags, or in one of the compartments along the top of my drafting table.

Drafting Table with something like 25 or 30 wallet projects just waiting to be sewn!

Drafting Table with something like 25 or 30 wallet projects just waiting to be sewn!

Filing Bin #1

Filing Bin #1

Filing Bin #2

Filing Bin #2

Filing Bin #3

Filing Bin #3

Filing Bin #4

Filing Bin #4

Stacked Fabrics (mostly sourced from Estate Sales)

Stacked Fabrics (mostly sourced from Estate Sales)

Stacked Fabrics

Stacked Fabrics

As you can see, I have a large amount of fabric in my collection.  My fabrics vary from antique and vintage to modern.  I have various types of fabrics, including upholstery, throw pillow pillowcases, table runners, vintage cloth napkins and scarves, cottons, batik fabrics, curtains, and so on.  I source my fabrics from antique shops, thrift shops, IKEA (in their AS-IS section), JoAnn Fabrics, estate sales, and of course, bags and bags of fabric samples from friends who don't need them anymore.  I keep collecting fabrics because somehow, I always find ways to match fabrics together for my wallets, usually unexpectedly and sometimes years after purchasing them.  The love I have for all of these fabrics is hard to explain.  In some ways, I feel like each and every piece of fabric has some sort of story, whether it's the antique fabrics or the newer fabrics, the pattern, texture, design, etc. makes each one unique, therefore when I make a wallet out of these various pieces of fabric, it tells a more complex story, and in essence, begins to have a life of its own.  But how did this crazy textile obsession begin?  Well, I'll tell you.  In July of 2010, after dating my now husband, Dave, for a few months, we drove out to New Hope, PA which is a beautiful town along the Delaware River, across from Lambertville, NJ, which is a very similar small down.  We drove to New Hope for their Friday night fireworks, which at the time were a staple in the summer months.  While wandering around the town, we happened upon an antique shop and my textile obsession began.  In the back of this store were bins that were chock full of antique and vintage upholstery fabric samples.  On that first trip, I must have left there with about 10 or so upholstery samples. Subsequent visits would yield anywhere from 2 or 3 pieces all the way up to 30 pieces.  They make up the majority of my textile collection now, 7 years after we first discovered this amazing store!  Sadly, last weekend we made an impromptu visit to our favorite store only to discover that they had closed about 6 months ago.  My heart was broken, and I am still in the process of trying to track down the owners and find out if they still have their fabrics or where I might be able to find them!

Photography Corner.

The photos below are a small, literal snap shot of where and how I take photos for my Etsy shop and my facebook page. You have to get creative when you're not a photography expert, and sometimes you have to use stack-able storage containers from your craft shelves to stabilize your camera!  I also have the best director of photography in the world, in my hubby/business partner.  His experience as a production assistant has given him some excellent knowledge about how to position things, and how to get the best light, and so on.  If it wasn't for him and his ideas, my photos would be total garbage.  I'm not kidding!  He is the photographer in this marriage, not me.  Photography is not an area where I excel, at all.

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For more on my textile projects, check out the photos on my facebook page:  www.facebook.com/CaraBDesignStudio or to view my wallets currently for sale, check out my Etsy shop:  www.carabdesignstudio.etsy.com

Stay tuned for my next post when I talk about the importance of sun protection, by way of Brush on Block!

When Strawberry Met Spearmint

Me with the Strawberry Spearmint Mask on

Me with the Strawberry Spearmint Mask on

Dealing with incessantly oily skin is a drag.  Your skin may show up shiny in photos, it may feel heavy or it may even feel like an oil slick!  One of the most frustrating side effects of excessively oily skin, is acne.  Acne issues aren’t limited to oily skin, as there are many different types of acne, some of which are completely unrelated to excessive oil production, but that is a discussion for another day off.

While you may have oily skin year round, many people experience oily skin only in the hot summer months during which you may be more active, sweating more, and creating an increase in pore activity.  If this is what you deal with, the Strawberry Spearmint Mask is for you.  It is a wonderfully soothing mask that will pull out the impurities in your pores and create clearer, less oily skin.  There are 5 active ingredients in this mask, all of which are extremely important and play a role in clearing out the overproduction of oil, and in this particular instance, all of them are the MVP’s of this mask. Strawberry Fruit Extract, Spearmint Extract, Kaolin Clay, Mushroom Extract, & Yogurt Extract are the active ingredients that I’ll focus on below.

The main ingredient in the mask is Strawberry Fruit Extract.  Strawberry Fruit Extract is astringent and tonic and helps tone, combat wrinkles, lighten freckles, and soothe sunburn.  We all know about strawberries because let’s face it, some of the best desserts include strawberries.  I’m talking the likes of Strawberry Shortcake, Macerated Strawberries, Strawberry Cheesecake, Strawberry Ice Cream (or sorbet!)… but this is not a post about dessert!  This is about skin care, so let’s return to the original discussion.  

Fresh Srawberries

Fresh Srawberries

Strawberries offer skin some amazing benefits, so let’s jump right in.  Strawberries contain Ellagic Acid which is an antioxidant that prevents collagen breakdown.  Collagen breakdown is a major cause of wrinkle formation, so helping to prevent this breakdown will help keep your skin plump and wrinkle-free.  The Ellagic acid also works to protect the skin from UV rays which can damage the skin.  Ellagic acid reduces dark spots on skin, so this mask is helpful at lightening freckles and other discolored spots on the skin. Strawberries also contain alpha-hydroxy acid, which is an important substance that helps eliminate dead skin cells and cleanses the skin in the process.  The acidic nature of Strawberries helps remove excess sebum on the skin, which is a major cause of oily skin.

Spearmint Leaves

Spearmint Leaves

Spearmint is my favorite flavor of gum.  It’s sweet, minty, and delightful!  But again, this is not a post about food or gum. So let’s get back on track.  As mentioned in the name of this mask, Spearmint is one of the main ingredients.  Spearmint extract acts as an antibacterial and antioxidant ingredient in this mask.  It relieves itching and helps with acne, dermatitis, and congested skin.  One major component to Spearmint is Vitamin A, which has various skin benefits, including the following:

  • Decreases sebum production, creating less oily skin and helping to treat acne.
  • Normalizing blood flow which in turn helps to reduce rosacea symptoms.
  • Exfoliates the skin.
  • Repairs cellular structure of the epidermis, which optimizes UV protection.
  • Increases the rate of wound healing
  • Reduces sun spots or other types of uneven pigmentation by decreasing clusters of melanin granules.
Various types of mushrooms

Various types of mushrooms

While mushrooms are usually reserved for eating (yum!) they also play an important role in skin health, and mushroom extract makes an appearance in the Strawberry Spearmint Mask.  Mushroom extract improves skin tone and firmness, tightens pores to minimize the visible appearance of skin suffering from excess sebum secretion, and does not cause excessive dryness.  Mushrooms contain a polysaccharide that is very beneficial for hydrating and plumping the skin.  They also contain high levels of Vitamin D which has healing properties when applied to acne lesions, therefore, helping to treat acne.  Kojic acid (naturally occurring  in mushrooms) is a natural skin lightener, which inhibits melanin production on the surface of the skin and lightens the new skin cells that form after the dead ones are exfoliated.

Kaolin Clay Powder

Kaolin Clay Powder

Another very important ingredient in the Strawberry Spearmint mask is Kaolin Clay. Now, you may be wondering what exactly Kaolin clay is, so here’s the story.  Kaolin Clay is a naturally occurring clay mostly found in soils developed from the chemical weathering of rocks in hot, moist climates.  When used in cosmetics it absorbs sebum and prevents pores from getting clogged.  It is used to draw out impurities and toxins and thereby clears the skin of excess oil, pollution, and debris.  Kaolin clay has a high silica content which helps to remove dead skin, allowing for quicker cell regeneration.  

Plain Yogurt

Plain Yogurt

One of the major components of the Strawberry Spearmint Mask that gives it its creamy and smooth consistency is yogurt extract.  Yogurt moisturizes, smoothes, and stimulates cellular regeneration.  Yogurt naturally contains lactic acid, which, when used on the skin, works as an exfoliant and removes dead skin cells.  Lactic acid is also very beneficial in helping to rid the skin of acne, helps with dark circles under the eyes, and helps to even out uneven pigmentation of the skin.  Also present in yogurt are probiotics, which fight skin infections, and high levels of zinc that help with acne.

Is the heat this summer causing your skin to overproduce oil?  Call or email me today to schedule your Strawberry Spearmint Mask facial and combat that oil!

Email me:  carabdrescherlmt@gmail.com
Call me:  215-601-0840

References:

  1. https://bellatory.com/skin/Top-5-Benefits-of-Strawberry-for-Skin
  2. http://www.stylecraze.com
  3. Skin Script Product Manual  – Strawberry Spearmint Mask
  4. http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/spices-and-herbs/226/2
  5. http://www.theskincareclinic.com.au/science/vitamin-a/
  6. http://durablehealth.net/kaolin-clay/kaolin-clay-benefits-side-effects-properties/

Chocolate - Not Just for Eating Anymore!

Chocolate Indulgence Facial

Chocolate Indulgence Facial

If you’re looking for hydration, softening, and anti-aging for your skin, then look no further! The Dark Chocolate Mint Mask is your saving grace.  This mask has amazing benefits and will leave your skin so unbelievably soft, you may even begin to think your skin is made of butter.  I promise you, it is not!  The Dark Chocolate Mint mask has 6 active ingredients, though the most important, Chocolate, is what I will be talking most about in this post.

While the Dark Chocolate Mint Mask is used in any customized facial (depending on the client’s needs), it is the primary product used in the Chocolate Indulgence Facial.  The rest of the facial is customized to each client’s individual needs.  Cleanser, Enzyme, Serum(s) are all chosen based on each client’s needs. The Dark Chocolate Mint Mask is not used on pregnant or lactating clients or clients with rosacea.  This mask is avoided on these clients because the mask itself can cause flushing which can last for a few hours.  The flushing can aggravate rosacea, and for pregnant clients, it is essential to use products that are extremely gentle as skin changes are consistent throughout pregnancy, causing skin to be very unpredictable.  For sensitive skin without rosacea, this mask can be mixed with a hydrating mask such as the Vanilla Bean Hydrating Mask, or the Goji Berry Yogurt Mask. Both of these masks are extremely hydrating and gentle and will help tone down the flushing caused by the Dark Chocolate Mint Mask.

Me wearing the Dark Chocolate Mint Mask

Me wearing the Dark Chocolate Mint Mask

The Chocolate Indulgence Facial begins as all of my facials do, with skin analysis, double cleanse, exfoliation, and massage.  The chocolate indulgence comes in when it’s time to close up the pores and round out the facial with the mask.  The mask itself smells deliciously chocolately, and while you may find yourself wanting to lick your face, I urge you not too!  It will be much more beneficial to let your skin reap the benefits rather than your digestive system.  The Dark Chocolate Mint mask has 6 active ingredients, though the most important, it’s namesake – Dark Chocolate- is the focus.

Theobroma Cacao, otherwise known as the cocoa tree, or cacao tree, is a small evergreen tree native to Central and South America.  This plant is where chocolate comes from, through a lengthy process.  Cocoa naturally contains a hefty amount of vitamins and minerals including, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Riboflavin, Thiamine, Calcium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Iron, Omega 6 Fatty Acids, Copper, and Magnesium.  Some of the great skin benefits of cocoa include but are not limited to:

  • Protecting the body against many diseases due to its high levels of antioxidants which block harmful free radicals in the body.  
  • High levels of Vitamin C and Magnesium help to protect the skin.  
  • Omega 6 Fatty Acids help with healing wounds and scars quickly.
  • Cocoa helps to increase and protect blood flow to the skin which keeps the skin healthy and glowing.
  • Provides hydration to the skin which helps improve the skin’s complexion, due to it being an excellent emollient, lubricant, and humectant.
  • Cocoa can help reduce stress hormones, which will help keep collagen from breaking down, keeping the skin plump and wrinkle-free.


There are a variety of other excellent skin and health benefits of cocoa, but the ones listed above, are the most well known.

The Dark Chocolate Mint Mask has 6 active ingredients (including Cocoa Fruit Powder) that all come together to create an amazing mask that will do amazing things for your skin.

Active Ingredients in Skin Script Dark Chocolate Mint Mask:

Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa Bean)

Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa Bean)

  1. Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Fruit Powder is a very rich compound, with excellent emollient properties and is used with great effect on very dry, dehydrated and flaky skin.
  2. Glycerin acts as an emollient and lubricant.  It also can be a humectant and draw moisture from the air to the skin.
  3. Squalene which is derived from olives, is moisturizing and enhances the skin’s natural barrier function.
  4. Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) is an anti-aging antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals.
  5. Passionflower Extract contains flavonoids that are primarily responsible for properties that are skin calming.
  6. Honeysuckle Flower Extract is a natural preservative.


To schedule your Chocolate Indulgence Facial, contact me at: carabdrescherlmt@gmail.com.

References:
 

  1. http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/amazing-benefits-of-cacao-for-skin-hair-and-health/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theobroma_cacao
  3. Skin Script Product Manual – Dark Chocolate Mint Mask
  4. http://www.youbeauty.com/nutrition/dark-chocolate-benefits/

The Elusive Marble Berry

Marble Berry Nourishing Facial

Marble Berry Nourishing Facial

I wanted to kick off my Esthetician’s Day Off series with what has become my favorite mask of the Skin Script line.  The Marble Berry Nourishing Mask.  Wait a minute, you’ve never heard of the Marble Berry? Not to worry, you’re not alone! Before I discovered this Mask, I had never heard of the Marble Berry either.  But I promise you, it is a very real fruit, and it is very unique.

The first of this summer’s seasonal specialty facials at Cara B. Design & Wellness is the Marble Berry Nourishing Facial.  Obviously, from the title of the facial you can see that the Marble Berry Mask is the star of the show. However, this facial is customize-able (as they all are), by changing the enzyme used in the facial.

Close up of a single Marble Berry

Close up of a single Marble Berry

The Marble Berry, scientifically known as pollia condensata, is a blue, iridescent berry that grows exclusively in Africa. The most magical aspect of this elusive fruit, is its color, which is the most intense color of any known biological substance. Yes, you read that correctly.  This berry is quite unique.  Possessing this intense color isn’t its only fascinating quality.  While the Marble Berry is not edible, it does possess various health benefits for the skin.  This fruit also contains polyphenol which provides antioxidant activity that is very effective at low use levels.

What’s interesting about the Marble Berry, is that its beautiful, intense color isn’t due to pigment, however it’s due to something called structural color.  What is structural color?   It its simplest terms, it is the production of color by microscopically structured surfaces fine enough to interfere with visible light, sometimes in combination with pigments.

 

This mask can be used on all skin types, including sensitive, rosacea, and pregnant women.  While it can be used on all skin types, it does have the following benefits:  anti-aging, softening, anti-inflammatory, improves barrier function, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The main ingredient in this mask is the Marble Berry, however, it has a few other very important and effective ingredients.

With this mask on, I look like Violet Beauregard from Willy Wonka! "You're turning Violet, Violet!"

With this mask on, I look like Violet Beauregard from Willy Wonka! "You're turning Violet, Violet!"

1.  Thiotaine®, made using Ergothioneine (L) which is a natural antioxidant and amino acid that can aid the skin’s natural ability to prevent damage caused by UV radiation.  It does this partially by recycling vitamin C, and also ensures efficient energy production.  Inhibits tyrosinase.

2.  Squalene, derived from olives, moisturizing, enhances skin’s natural barrier function, protective, and boosts skin’s ability to retain moisture.

3.  Cyanidin-3-Glucoside is a purified extract from the heart of Black Rice Bran.  This particular extract is high in antioxidant content, and also acts similar to an anti-inflammatory, which helps to keep skin soothed and clear.

4.  Phenyl t-Butylnitrone, a Spin Trap.  It is a highly active oxygen and nitrogen complex.  It is considered an “intelligent” antioxidant because instead of destroying free radicals, it traps them, transforms them into useful oxygen, and then transports them back into the respiratory cycle.  This activity keeps the skin continually spinning the effects of aging away from your skin; helping to maintain hydration so that skin appears healthy, clear and more fortified.


During the Marble Berry Nourishing facial, skin is cleansed, exfoliated, treated, and toned. To close out the facial, the Marble Berry Mask is applied to the skin for about 10 minutes. This particular mask is tremendously nourishing and leaves skin feeling as soft as butter!
Schedule your Marble Berry Nourishing facial today by emailing carabdrescherlmt@gmail.com or calling 215-601-0840.

References:

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollia_condensata
  2. Skin Script Product Manual – Marble Berry Mask
  3. http://www.seedsofeaden.com/ornamental-plants-k7/the-marble-berry-pollia-condensata-b87.html
  4. http://earthsky.org/earth/brightest-biological-substance-reveals-its-secret

Skin Script

A few months back, I was lucky enough to see my dream come to fruition when the Pennsylvania State Board of Cosmetology approved my application for an Esthetician Salon License.  My shop was finally born after years of hard work!  After intensive research and sampling various products, I finally settled on what has become my favorite skin care line that I have ever worked with.  Skin Script.  It is amazing!  The products are top notch, and the owner and staff are extraordinarily knowledgeable with the best customer service I have ever experienced.  In 13 years of experience, I've worked directly with the following professional skin care lines:  Dermalogica, Bioelements, Avance, & Guinot.  While these lines are each very good and unique in their own way, none of them provided me with that "wow" factor that a good, professional skin care line should provide.  Skin Script is different.  It's an all natural, fruit based line that is not only high quality, but is affordable.  Finding a good quality, affordable skin care line is a tricky feat.  But Skin Script has accomplished it, with flying colors!

My favorite thing about this line is the aroma that every single product releases.  Because it's all fruit based, my studio often smells like a tropical island.  Seriously.  I've had clients tell me that during their facials they've felt transported to places like Jamaica, Mexico, Hawaii, and more.  I've heard comparisons to Pina Coladas, Margaritas, Mojitos, Mai Tais, and so on.  There are no added fragrances to the products, just the natural scent of the fruit.  Not only do these products smell amazing, but they provide excellent results for skin concerns such as: Aging, acne, clogged pores, fines line, age spots, melasma, hyperpigmentation and rosacea.  Yes, this product line is safe for rosacea and sensitive skin! Bear in mind however, not every product will be safe for sensitive skin or rosacea.  

Over the next few weeks and months, I'll be posting a Skin Script product every week and giving you an in depth description of its uses, ingredients, and benefits.  Feel free to post questions, and I'll do my best to get back to you ASAP!  Join me on this super fun skin care journey and learn more about your skin and how you can help it!  I'm so excited to share my love of these products, and I hope you learn something new and exciting.

Welcome to Spring!

The seasons are a changin' folks!  Though the official start of spring is still a few weeks away, the spring weather is forcing its way in.  Finally!  The season of renewal is upon us, and with this change in seasons, so comes some changes in the service menu here at Cara B. Design & Wellness.  Back in October, I added facials to my service menu using a fabulous professional skin care line, called Skin Script.  As I've gotten to know the Skin Script product line better, I've been excited by the opportunity to create seasonal facials based on their limited edition seasonal products.  For example, they came out with a Cherry Enzyme and a Chocolate Mint Mask for the winter months, and just recently released their new Grape Enzyme for the spring months.  Various other products are available year round, such as the lemon zest enzyme, the raspberry peach enzyme, the strawberry spearmint mask and the goji berry yogurt mask, just to name a few.  


While every Cara B. facial is customized to your specific skin care needs, the following specialty facials are only available for a limited time. Each of the specialty facials listed below are specially designed for particular skin types.  If you don't like the sound of one of the facials below, or if you like one aspect of it, but not everything, never fear, I can change out the enzyme or mask to something that you'd prefer!  

heck out the blog in the coming months when I delve deeper into the benefits of the ingredients in the products from this fantastic skin care line!  

Spring brings new flowers with the anticipation of juicy fruit to follow. Fruit not only provides our body with nourishment, but also brightens our skin. Blending cherries with a yogurt mask, such as the Goji Berry Yogurt Mask will create a blossoming facial sure to brighten and hydrate the skin. Exfoliate and brighten the skin with the antioxidant and brightening benefits of the Cherry Enzyme. Contains 5% lactic acid, 5% mandelic acid, and 1% arbutin and 1% kojic. Perfect for normal and combination skin. It promotes deep hydration that protects from environmental damage while relieving the surface signs of aging. Arbutin and kojic provide extreme lightening capabilities. Goji Berry Yogurt Mask will nourish the skin with goji berry and yogurt resulting in a beautiful, healthy glow.

Spring brings new flowers with the anticipation of juicy fruit to follow. Fruit not only provides our body with nourishment, but also brightens our skin. Blending cherries with a yogurt mask, such as the Goji Berry Yogurt Mask will create a blossoming facial sure to brighten and hydrate the skin. Exfoliate and brighten the skin with the antioxidant and brightening benefits of the Cherry Enzyme. Contains 5% lactic acid, 5% mandelic acid, and 1% arbutin and 1% kojic. Perfect for normal and combination skin. It promotes deep hydration that protects from environmental damage while relieving the surface signs of aging. Arbutin and kojic provide extreme lightening capabilities. Goji Berry Yogurt Mask will nourish the skin with goji berry and yogurt resulting in a beautiful, healthy glow.

The Vineyard Grape Facial is perfect for normal and sensitive skin and is comprised of a Grape Enzyme, and the Goji Berry Yogurt Mask. The grape enzyme contains grapes and papain for very gentle exfoliation. It promotes exfoliation and protection from environmental damage while relieving the surface signs of aging.  The Goji Berry Yogurt Mask contains Goji Berry which helps in rebuilding the skin by stimulating biosynthesis, fibroblast proliferation and by inhibiting MMP’s.  Anti-aging results can be seen by the reduction of lines and wrinkles in addition to an improvement in the skin’s elasticity.  Yogurt moisturizes, smoothes and stimulates cellular regeneration.

The Vineyard Grape Facial is perfect for normal and sensitive skin and is comprised of a Grape Enzyme, and the Goji Berry Yogurt Mask. The grape enzyme contains grapes and papain for very gentle exfoliation. It promotes exfoliation and protection from environmental damage while relieving the surface signs of aging.  The Goji Berry Yogurt Mask contains Goji Berry which helps in rebuilding the skin by stimulating biosynthesis, fibroblast proliferation and by inhibiting MMP’s.  Anti-aging results can be seen by the reduction of lines and wrinkles in addition to an improvement in the skin’s elasticity.  Yogurt moisturizes, smoothes and stimulates cellular regeneration.

Lemons provide great brightening capabilities to our skin. When we add lemon to our drinking water, it helps to detoxify our body. Lemons are tart, and in small doses, bring great anti-aging benefits to our whole body. Blending lemons with a yogurt mask, such as the Goji Berry Yogurt Mask, will create a creamy, brightening and hydrating facial. Contains 6% lactic acid, 3% glycolic acid, 8% arbutin and 2% kojic. Perfect for normal and combination skin. It promotes deep hydration that protects from environmental damage while relieving the surface signs of aging. Arbutin and kojic provide extreme lightening capabilities. Goji Berry Yogurt Mask will nourish the skin resulting in a beautiful, healthy glow.

Lemons provide great brightening capabilities to our skin. When we add lemon to our drinking water, it helps to detoxify our body. Lemons are tart, and in small doses, bring great anti-aging benefits to our whole body. Blending lemons with a yogurt mask, such as the Goji Berry Yogurt Mask, will create a creamy, brightening and hydrating facial. Contains 6% lactic acid, 3% glycolic acid, 8% arbutin and 2% kojic. Perfect for normal and combination skin. It promotes deep hydration that protects from environmental damage while relieving the surface signs of aging. Arbutin and kojic provide extreme lightening capabilities. Goji Berry Yogurt Mask will nourish the skin resulting in a beautiful, healthy glow.

To schedule your facial (currently only at my Conshohocken studio), please contact me directly at:  carabdrescherlmt@gmail.com.

Happy Spring!  :)

Welcome!

Welcome to Esthetician’s Day Off!  As a busy Esthetician, Massage Therapist, Educator, Makeup Artist, and Textile Artist, I don’t get a lot of days off.  However, on those rare days off I enjoy playing with my products and giving myself the treatments and services that I offer to others.  Not only is it a fun way for me to pamper myself on my very needed days off, but it’s also one of the best ways for me to test out my products and services for their safety & efficacy.

I own 2 small businesses, Cara B. Design & Wellness and Cara B. Design Studio.  With Cara B. Design & Wellness, I work as a Licensed Esthetician & Makeup Artist, Licensed & Board Certified Massage Therapist, and Nationally Certified Massage Therapy Continuing Education Provider.  Under Cara B. Design Studio, I design and create unique wallets, handbags, diaper bags, and various other accessories with vintage and antique upholstery fabrics.  These 2 businesses keep me extremely busy and tremendously motivated.

Check in with me each week (sometimes every other when I’m super busy) as I test out my various facials, body treatments, retail products, and more!  While most posts will focus on skin care, you may find a post here and there about massage therapy, muscle wellness, arts, and so on.

Join me on my day off!