The Birdy Blog

Unraveling the mysteries of skin care and life in general

DIY beauty

Quick skin care tips: Solutions for 5 daily skin dilemmas

Have you ever been in a situation that you don’t have time for your full skin care and beauty regimen? Speaking from experience, I am a busy person that sometimes requires super quick and easy solutions. Sound familiar? Don’t sweat it. I’ve got some quick shortcut solutions for 5 daily skin care dilemmas. Quick face fixes:

  • Need a quick facial? Apply Hydrating Lotion Jelly or a gentle cleansing masque to your face right before getting in the shower. Let it work as you take care of your other business and then rinse. You’ll look refreshed and glow just like you came back from a facial.
  • Need to get out the door fast? Apply Detoxifying Toner with a cotton ball, then Anti-aging serum. Finito.
  • Fix puffy eyes with your cold, used tea bag. Refrigerate tea bag for a few minutes if it’s not cold enough. Apply for 30-60 seconds under each eye. (Caffeinated tea will give the best results.)
  • Tired and wanna go to bed? Remove makeup without touching the faucet. Apply 3-in-1 Cream Cleanser to dry face, massage in circles for 1-2 minutes concentrating on areas with the most makeup. Remove with a wet or dry soft cloth. Remember to keep your eyes closed and be especially gentle around the eye area. If needed apply toner and finish off with a face serum. (Make sure not to get any cleanser in your eye and that the area is wiped clean before opening.)
  • No time for makeup? Mix a face serum with your favorite foundation for a light, natural looking coverage.

Birdy’s got your back. We’re all about easy solutions for your busy life. That’s why we love our multiple uses!]]>

Skin Care Rule #1- Take Off Your Makeup or Forget About Results

Yes, I’m looking at you. There are many steps to a good skin care regimen. I’m sure you’ve read a ton of blog posts and articles that state moisturizing is the most important step OR choosing the right anti-aging products is “King” for your skin care. But, the fact is, none of these “Most important” skin care routines or products will do you any good if you don’t wash your face properly every night. Especially if you don’t remove your makeup. When you cleanse you accomplish a variety of good deeds:

  • Remove dirt, grime, sweat and icky environmental gook– leaving on your makeup or just an unwashed face enables the free radicals built up on your skin to breakdown your collagen faster. This results in premature aging.
  • Unclogging your pores– dead skin cells, sebum and dirt will build up and over time creating a bottleneck effect in your pore. As the debris increases so does the acne bacteria.
  • Allowing your skin to breath as oxygen repairs a multitude of sinsRemoving your makeup or washing your face at night helps to recover from oxidative stress (imbalance of free radical production and the body’s ability to fight the affects). More premature aging.
  • Allows your skin to absorb the good ingredients you use your hard earned cash to buy

Now that I have your attention.. Wash your face at night, every night whether you wear makeup or not.

  • Your skin repairs itself the most while you sleep and you want to take advantage of skin cell renewal and collagen production powers of the night.
  • You don’t want that crap on your pillowcase– The dirt and makeup buildup on your pillow creates an uphill battle.
  • A combination of all the wrongs of an unwashed face leads you to a dull complexion and breakouts.

The Face Washing Challenge I challenge you to wash your face every night for 2 weeks and I guarantee you will see your complexion start to glow. If you can take it to 4 weeks you will really see some dramatic results as it takes the skin cells around 1-2 months to regenerate from the lower levels of skin compartments. This cell renewal process takes longer as we age. I know this is easier said than done. Good skin, like a healthy body, takes time and planning but it doesn’t need to be a drag. An extra 5 minute routine before you go to bed could make all the difference to your skin care results.]]>

Natural vs. Synthetic Scents- Some Facts for Heath and Skin Care

Do you know the difference between natural and synthetic scents? Is one better for you then the other? The debate between natural and synthetic scents is never going to be over and way too big for this one little blog post, but I can help you decide which one you prefer to use. Natural and synthetic scents are like comparing apples to an apple-scented car deodorizer. While apples are good for your body, the synthetic scent has no therapeutic value. Let’s discuss…. Some definitions: “Natural” means it came from nature, made of natural chemicals and we call these “Essential oils.” “Synthetic” means it’s composed of synthetic man-made chemicals. Essential oil facts:

  • “The chemistry of essential oils is very complex: each one may consist of hundreds of different and unique chemical compounds.” [1] They are highly concentrated substances. Some of the naturally occurring chemicals in essential oils are so minute that man cannot copy them.
  • Essential oils contain therapeutic value.
  • Essential oils are very powerful, natural ingredients but just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Think poisoned berries. They’re natural but they’ll kill ya.
  • That said if a skin care company is using essential oils properly the therapeutic use of essential oils on the skin can be profound.
  • Essential oils can have adverse affects on a small percentage of people, manifesting as headaches, dizziness, nausea and migraine headaches.

Synthetic Fragrance facts:

  • Synthetic fragrances are, contrary to popular belief, regulated by the FDA.
  • Synthetic fragrances have zero therapeutic value.
  • No matter how many aroma chemicals or preservatives are included in a recipe, they only need to be listed as “Fragrance” on the label. These fragrance chemicals do not need to be revealed on the label due to proprietary laws that allow companies to keep their formulas hidden from competitors.
  • Synthetic fragrances can cause dizziness, headaches, nausea and migraines.
  • If you are not privy to the chemicals you are applying to your skin, then you can’t know if they’re dangerous or make an educated decision as to their safety.

How to educate yourself
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has demonized synthetic fragrances along with a number of other skin care ingredients for years, claiming dubious sources, hype, assumptions and misinformation. Their findings are not based on science.

When researching ingredients I never use EWG but turn to websites like Personal Care Truth which rely on science based information. Their mission is to educate rather than scare and they don’t generally hold to the credo that natural = good and synthetic = bad, unless scientific findings warrant it.

About allergens and endocrine disruptors in natural and synthetic scents:
Both natural and synthetic scents contain allergens and hormone disruptors but I can’t find any articles from reputable sources (the kind based on science, not hype) that discuss the relative safety of natural vs. synthetic with regard to allergies and endocrine disruptors. The general takeaway form my research is that reactions from synthetic fragrance chemicals seem to be more severe then with natural ingredients but I encourage everyone to do their own research.

What is in your product?
The easiest way to see what’s in your product is looking at the ingredients label.

  • Essential oils will usually be listed as “Essential Oils” or a list of each type of oil separately like “Orange essential oil, rosemary essential oil.” The list of individually marked essential oils is the best resource for identifying which ingredient may be causing a bad reaction. Birdy Botanicals is working to have all labels list essential oils individually instead of using “essential oil blend.”
  • A synthetic fragrance is usually listed as perfume, Parfum or “fragrance.” Whether is had 10 synthetic chemicals or 100, a fragrance recipe is not required to give you more information then this.

So which do you choose?
Birdy Botanicals prefers using natural essential oils because:
Synthetic fragrance oils are, in general, stronger and longer lasting than their natural essential oil counterparts. I don’t often see this as a good thing.
Synthetic scents can desensitize our sense of smell so we tend to use more and more until we are overwhelming the people and environments we come in contact with.
Natural scents neutralize odors rather then mask them. So while they may not stick around long they fix the problem rather then cover it up.
Natural scents are a more intimate experience for those that are close to us or come in close contact with us. It’s a more sensual, personal experience.
After using essential oils for years, when I come in contact with synthetic fragrances I feel my throat, nose and head react instantly in a negative way. Not only do I not feel good but the smell I am reacting to can become repulsive.

Regarding sensitivity:

Sensitive skin is an enormous umbrella under which all reactive skin issues live. There are no black and white rules about what an individual will react to.

There is no such thing as a truly hypo-allergenic ingredient. Someone out there will react to it.

Some of you with sensitive skin may be able to handle some synthetic fragrance and essential oils. It all depends on what specifically you react to.

But, if you do have sensitive skin, the wiser choice is to go with essential oils unless you’ve shown prior issues with them. This may take some trial and error.

Always use a patch test before ever using a new skin care ingredient. If you react cease using immediately.

If you are still reacting try using unscented products. (Beware, a lot of unscented products out there are really scented. For example I bought an unscented Mitchum deodorant and was blown over by it’s “unscent.” Blech!)

Birdy luuurves essential oils but understands they too have limitations. Essential oils can be so healing and solve a huge number of skin care issues but we realize they are not for everyone.

1- Essential Science Publishing- (2009) “Essential Oils Desk Reference”- Fourth Edition. Pg.1]]>

Pumping Lots of Cash into Skin Care Products Without Results?You May Not Be Using Enough

Have you ever spent lots of money on leave on products and wondered why they’re not working? Many of the expensive face serums and eye creams we spend major dollars on are what the industry calls, “Dose Dependant.” Meaning, a specific dose of the product is required to be used in order to gain the benefits for which the product was created to provide. Unfortunately the rule with most skin care products: You have to use it to get the results. There’s always the chance that the product is bogus. How many times have we been played by fake before and after photos that promised magical results? Unfortunately this is rampant in the skin care industry. But, what if the product does work but you’re trying to use less in order to stretch the life of the product before you have to re-buy it? You’ll never know if it works because you’re not using enough of it. How do you know if you’re using enough? There’s such a thing called “The Goldilocks Principal.” It refers to a dosage that must be within certain margins. Not too much, not too little, but just right. Rule of thumb to reach the “goldilocks effect”:

  • If there is a recommended dosage, don’t ignore it or you’ll be wasting your money.
  • If there’s no dosage size recommended, start with one pump or a pea size amount. The product should flow over your skin easily and absorb within 10-20 seconds and with a few gentle, massaging strokes. If you need more go with another pea size or adjust the amount depending on how much coverage you got from the first dose. And don’t forget your other aging hot spots like your neck, decolletage and back of your hands.
  • If you don’t see any results in 30- 40 days, I would deduct the product isn’t working for you.
  • The best solution is to buy product that you can afford to re-purchase when you’re product is finished. If money is that much of an issue (usually is) then take a chance on expensive positions only when you get a money back guarantee.

Buying good quality product can be crucial to your skin care efforts and results, but if you’re not going to use enough of it to make a difference, then leave your money in your wallet and step away from the beauty counter. ]]>

Think Face Toner's a Skin Care Mystery? 7 Reasons Why You Should Use It

What is it? What’s it for? How do I use it? People want to know, is it a necessary part of the Skin Care Routine? For certain skin types it’s a must. Let’s deMISTify face toner (pun intended) to see if you can benefit from it in your skin care regimen. First, what is Face Toner?

  • They are liquid topicals generally made with gentle ingredients like aloe, distillates, extracts, essential oils and exfoliates.

Who needs it?

  • Toner is great for acenic, oily, combination, normal and mature skin types
  • Dry skin should opt for a gentle hydrating mist
  • Sensitive skin should always use a patch test first

What’s it for? 7 uses for face toner

  1. Shrinks your pores
  2. Removes any excess oil and cleanser residue
  3. Restores your face to proper ph
  4. A gentle toner can be a hydrator
  5. If you’re on the go and need a quick fix, use a gentle toner instead of your regular cleansing routine. Toner, serum, sunscreen, GO!
  6. Evens out your skin tone
  7. And my favorite….Improves penetration of other skin applications. Moist skin absorbs active topicals better than a dry ones, thus improving the performance of your other skin care products.

When do I use it?

Toner vs astringents. What’s the dif?

  • Toners should not be mistaken for astringents.
  • Astringents generally have harsher ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and oil stripping alcohols.
  • Even if you have a lot of oil production, astringents have super harsh ingredients that strip the natural oils from your face necessary for skin balance and force your pores to overproduce oil.


Stress is Making you Look Older- It's a Skin Care Nightmare

I know this will not make your day. But… Stress is really, really bad for your skin. It’s right up there with smoking, bad habits and poor nutrition. Effects of stress in the skin:

  • 2nd leading cause of premature aging.
  • #1 rosacea trigger.
  • Suppresses the immune response.
  • Reduces surface antimicrobial peptides (Web definition “Antimicrobial peptides are part of the innate immune response and are found among all classes of life”.

Not convinced?

  • Stress lengthens wound healing time up to 30%.
  • Stress effects every element of your skin, from pores to dermal proteins to the DNA locked inside every cell.
  • Stress alters your genetic code and shortens the productive lifespan of skin cells.
  • Stress makes every skin condition worse.

That massage you keep putting off is looking better all the time isn’t it? But, sometimes stress is not something we bring on ourselves. For example you have an illness or loved one who is ill. In these instances all we can do is manage our stress the best we can. Manage your stress by creating routines and doing them everyday:

DO NOT feel guilty about taking care of yourself. Even the simplest action of taking care of yourself can reduce your blood pressure and ease your stress. Do some of these tasks throughout your day and check in with yourself consistently about your stress level:

  • Get a massage or facial.
  • Take a hot bath.
  • Take a walk.
  • Do some deep breathing. Technique: Breath in through your nose expanding your lower abdomen and lungs for a count of 6, out through your mouth pulling in your lower abdomen squeezing air from lungs for a longer count of 7-8.
  • Do some stretching.
  • Meditate. Technique: In a quiet environment, lay or sit, relax your muscles and mind without sleeping. If your mind is still reeling take each thought and visually wrap it in a pink bubble and watch it float away. Do this until your mind is clear.
  • Get some excercise.
  • Do some yoga.
  • Get a mani/pedi.
  • Get a good hug.
  • Take a nap.
  • Do something that will make you laugh: A TV show, a movie or a visit with a hilarious friend.
  • Have some sex- ya baby!

It’s time to take charge of yourself, identify where your stress comes from and do something about it. It will improve your overall health, most importantly, and the big bonus is your skin and hair will thank you for it in return. Credit- Effects of stress on skin: Rebecca James Gadberry- Class materials “Skin Care Ingredients for Cosmetic Professionals” UCLA Extension. ]]>

Soft, Kissable Lips with DIY Lip Scrub- Gimme Some Sugar

I like kissing. Who doesn’t. Being married for over 15 years doesn’t mean I give up my kissing privileges (as long as it’s the husband). You’d think since I make lip balm for a living that my lip problems would nonexistent and I wouldn’t have to work at it. Wrong. Year round I have problems with dry lips because of allergies and weather. Allergies force me to breathe through my mouth at night and dry out my lips. It’s a chronic issue. My Lip Butter is perfect for moisturizing my lips as well as softening the dry skin cells that build up on a daily basis but I often need something more abrasive to remove the dead skin cells altogether. I use a DIY Lip Scrub, as needed, to remove the buildup that plants itself on my lips daily. You can make it with as few as 2 ingredients from your cupboard. No need to buy expensive potions. Snap. Ingredients:

  • Brown or white sugar
  • Honey or olive oil or both (up to your preference and what you have on hand.)

Make only what you need for the moment or make extra to keep in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Empty lip balm containers or small jars work perfectly. DIY Lip Scrub:

  • The ratio is about 1 tablespoon of sugar to 1 tsp of honey or oil, but I don’t measure.
  • Too much honey and it gets goopy.
  • Too much olive oil and it’s too runny.

Scrub, scrub, scrub, nom, nom, nom. Beware, It’s yummy! Once you’ve applied it, gently scrub your lips with your finger in a circular motion on the top and bottom. Either let it sit for a few minutes while you rub your lips together, wait until it melts altogether or wipe it off with cloth. You can’t really go wrong here. Now apply some super moisturizing lip balm. Voila. Where’s that husband of mine…. ]]>

Exfoliation 101- There's a Right Way and a Wrong Way

Scrub, scrub, scrub! Ack! Wait! Stop! We exfoliate to remove dead skin cells and allow the new skin cells to grow and form. This makes us look more youthful. But this is a process that you can definitely over do. Know what you’re doing before you go too far! Ways to exfoliate

Types of products used to exfoliate Exfoliate products can come in cleansers, masques, scrubs, serums and moisturizers. How to exfoliate

  • Exfoliate 2-3 times a week in place of or in addition to cleansing.
  • Use one of the exfoliating methods above.

Exfoliating DON’TS! Avoid using more than 1 product at a time with exfoliates. Beware if more than one of your products contains ingredients like Retinol, RetinA, AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids). There are all sorts of AHA’s like glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, citric acid and tartaric acids to name a few. Don’t mix products with exfoliates unless recommended by your esthetician. Over exfoliation creates irritation, red patches, flakiness, inflammation, irritated acne or wounds. Stop if you start to show any of these signs. When we purposefully take away dead skin cells we are exposing bright shiny new ones. This is great but in this process we are purposefully causing inflammation and damaging the skin barrier. It is important to calm and rebuild the skin barrier before we step in and damage it again. That’s why we don’t want to over do it. And, GASP, over doing it can actually make us age faster. What to do after exfoliating Calm and rebuild your skin barrier with humectants and anti-inflammatories. Some examples of ingredients to look for. Humectants are any ingredient that increases and restores oil and water to the skin.

  • Glycerin
  • Hyalauronic Acid
  • Panthenol
  • Vitamin E
  • Hydrolyzed Wheat proteins
  • Honey

Anti-inflammatories are ingredients that reduce redness and inflammation:

  • White and Green Tea
  • Aloe Vera
  • Lavender
  • Ginger
  • Licorice
  • Chamomile
  • Jojoba oil
  • Pomegranate
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C (Ester type, avoid high percentages of ascorbic acid)

Some product suggestions for barrier repair: Anti-aging Face Serum– Includes aloe vera, glycerin, panthenol, lavender, vitamin C and vitamin E. Anti-aging Eye Cream– Includes aloe vera, glycerin, niacinamide (vitamin B3), pomegranate, jojoba, chamomile, hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and vitamin E. Hydrating Lotion Jelly– Includes aloe vera, cranberry, glycerin and cucumber 3-in-1 Antioxidant Lotion– Includes jojoba, pomegranate, white tea, ginger, licorice, vitamin C and vitamin E. Renewal Face Lotion– Includes jojoba, pomegranate, white tea, ginger, licorice, vitamin C and vitamin E. Blue Clay Face Masque– This is a non-drying masque that has a large dose of honey powder. Mix the masque powder with water to activate honey or go an extra step and include a vitamin E capsule or two. Vitamin E capsules usually contain glycerin. ]]>

Basic Anti-aging Skin Care- It Ain't Just About the Wrinkles

When we think about aging skin we automatically think wrinkles. Wrinkles and fine lines are not the cause, but the effect of aging skin. They are a byproduct of the aging process. So, when discussing anti-aging what exactly are we trying to accomplish or fix. Where do those damn wrinkles come from? Key Anti-aging principals: #1 Control the environmental effect of aging skin

  • Sunscreen protects you from the suns damaging rays that creates age spots, damage to your collagen and free-radicals. Sunscreen does not prevent skin cancer. It prevents possible damage to your skin cells that in turn can cause skin cancer.
  • The environment: Air pollution and sun damage causes free radicals.
  • Antioxidants are the super heroes that fight the damaging free-radicals. Daily application of antioxidants are key to keep your skin cells healthy and vibrant.

#2 Control inflammation effect on aging skin

#3 Control sagging This is much more difficult to prevent. With age our skin and face muscles sag. In order to prevent this you can do a couple things:

  • DMAE- an ingredient that acts like a bandaid reducing fine lines and sagging for the day but with repeated use you are keeping things firm and in place. The less you let those lines and sags set in, the less they will appear.
  • Botox: If you go this route I firmly suggest you check out the work of your skin care professional from several sources before jumping in.
  • Facial massage and excercises: It’s tough to tell if this one works. You have to commit to it like any routine and you need an extended period of time before you can see if it’s working. At least 30-60 days. Resist any movements that creates wrinkles as you work your muscles. No pursing of the lips, think exercises that expand rather then contract.

#4 Exfoliate

  • You must remove dead skin cells in order to allow new ones to grow.
  • This step needs to be done safely or you can damage your skin barrier allowing the environmental pollution to penetrate as well as swelling and irritation to form. These factors can destroy dermal tissue and collagen and will age you faster.
  • Exfoliate 2-3 times a week and always wear sun protection for up to a week after.

If you are better educated on what causes those pesky wrinkles you are better prepared to fight their appearance. Proper, gentle and effective skin care products are just part of the arsenal needed to keep your skin young and dewy. ]]>

7 Things You Can do With 3-in-1 Lotion- It's a Skin Care Workhorse

My 3-in-1 Antioxidant Lotion was my flagship product for a reason. In skin care, if you can’t make a decent lotion then you should “Get the heck outta Dodge.” Right? The moisturizer I wanted to create:

  • A simple anti-aging moisturizer for the face.
  • To be light and moisturizing, NOT greasy or heavy.
  • To absorb quickly into my skin- To do it’s job and then let me get back to work.
  • Something simple, effective and organic without sacrificing texture, scent or user experience.

And I wanted to include a couple serious anti-aging ingredients that your basic lotion doesn’t include. This is where our 3-in-1 Antioxidant Lotion makes the competition pale by comparison. Ingredient highlights:

  • Jojoba, sunflower oil, shea butter and avocado oil penetrate and moisturize without being greasy.
  • Vitamin C ester– A powerful and stable oil-based antioxidant that allows your skin to absorb more than it’s water based counterparts. Vitamin C ester fights free radicals from sun and environmental exposure. It readies your skin to absorbs key nutrients from other ingredients. And, it promotes collagen production that evens your skin tone leaving it smooth and glowing.
  • White tea– The most effective antioxidant in the green tea family with the highest level of polyphenols. Polyphenols protect your skin from ultraviolet radiation and also enhances cell growth.
  • Pomegranate and ginger– Classified as “super” ingredients with major anti-inflammatory and antioxidants properties.

I soon discovered my moisturizer was as effective with my hands and body as it was with my face. Voila! My 3-in-1 product was born. But why stop at 3 uses? It’s works for face, body and hands so let’s take this puppy for a ride and see what else it can do. It’s a workhorse. 7 things you can do with 3-in-1 lotion:

  • Face moisturizer– non greasy and absorbant.
  • Hands moisturizer– moisturizes but absorbs quickly so you can have your hands back to work in a jiffy.
  • Body lotion– Gives you anti-aging benefits from head to toe
  • Gentle shave cream for men and women– even for sensitive skin and areas.
  • Foot cream– Absorbs quickly but penetrates deeply.
  • Controls frizz in hair- start with a pea size amount and massage through your hair. Add more if desired.
  • Remove makeup– Massage on a generous amount for 1-2 minutes on a dry face like a cold cream and wipe off with soft washcloth.

The current trend in skin care is multi-functional products. Birdy’s been doing this for 6 years now and everyone’s finally catching on. Why buy three (or more) products when you can by one? Let me rephrase that. You don’t want to buy more then 1 product but the skin care companies do. That’s why Birdy’s got your back. And now it’s a nice, soft, well moisturized back. 3-in-1 Antioxidant Lotion comes in 4 scents:


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