Category Archives: skincare

Hullo Guv’na!

Hello Idealists! My name is Dana (or as Dionne and many others like to call me “Dana Dane”) and I’m a product/shoe/bag junkie. (Now you say “hello Dana…”) There, felt good to get that off my chest. In an effort to make something constructive come from my impulse Sephora shopping sprees (that’s right, I don’t have impulse buys, I impulse SPREE!), I will graciously contribute to the I.D.E.A.L blog as a beauty consultant of sorts. I’d like to start off with skin. I am beyond OBSESSED with skin. You can have the hottest bag, the nicest shoes, the flyest outfit, but if your skin looks like a bad section of I-10 (Louisiana girl here), to me, you just wasted money. Having nice skin says you care about your body, since what you put in is what you get out. Here are some time-tested (and wallet-friendly) tips on how to achieve that flawless, poreless, “maybe she’s born with it” look:

1. If nothing else, invest in a good three step system you can use daily. I personally love Clinique’s Three Step System. ( On the website, you can taste a quick “skin quiz” to figure out what your problems are (e.g: dry skin, lack of radiance, anti-aging, etc.), and Clinique will tell you which combination of their cleanser, toner, and moisturizers will help you achieve the look you want. Also, for the luxe ladies, Dermalogica ( has a similar customization, as well as a cool “speed  mapping” feature that gives you even more customization for items like exfoliators and masques. Dermalogica is what they typically use in day spas.

2. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. And no I don’t mean feel off two layers of skin with a chemical peel. Several brands such as Murad ( have exfoliators that are gentle enough to be used 2-3 times a week. I use Clinique’s Gentle 7 Day scrub exfoliator nearly every day to keep blackheads away and make my skin glow. L’Occitane, ( the famed French beauty brand, has a shea butter face scrub for ladies with dry skin who think exfoliating might make the issue worse. At $34, its a little pricier, but its totally worth it!
3.  Never to early to invest in eye cream! Remember the old Pond’s Cold Cream ads? Me neither. Today’s eye creams are less heavy, and more nutrient rich. I’m a big believer in preventative maintenance, and since the skin around the eyes is thinner than the rest of the body, its the first place to show signs of aging. A drugstore fav is Yes! to Cucumbers Soothing Eye Gel. The Yes! to brand is noted for its inexpensive price (most items are under $20), organic ingredients, and wide availability (I buy mine at Wal-Mart). This eye gel is good for hiding the effects of late night study sessions (or partying) with its soothing cucumber and eucalyptus.
4. You are what you eat! (and drink!) All the above tips are meaningless if you don’t watch what you eat and drink. Water is the single most important thing a body needs, and when you’re not getting enough, the skin will tattletale on you! Also, you ever notice how fruit and vegetable extracts have become big in beauty in the last couple of years? From cucumbers to acai berries to carrots, product developers and marketers know that when a person sees “honey” or “vanilla” or “blueberry” on the label, its gonna be a big seller. So why not skip the middle man and eat the blueberries? A good recipe for clearer brighter skin is a smoothie. Blueberries are considered a “wonder fruit” because of its antioxidants, and Hub UK, a British foodie site ( has a wonderful list of smoothies and their beautifying qualities. Here’s a recipe for a blueberry smoothie

1/2 bag of frozen blueberries2 tablespoons blueberry preserves7 or 8 ice cubes1 1/2 cups of soymilk1 banana                                                                 

Simply toss all ingredients into a blender, turn to the highest setting, and let ‘er rip until you have a smooth, drinkable mixture.

5. Mama was right: you need to take your vitamins. Have you ever looked at the ingredient list on your favorite cleanser and wondered “what the hell am I putting on my face?” Well, God Bless America, and God Bless Google, because upon doing some research, I learned that most of these poly-hydro-carbonides are just fancy schmancy scientific names for amino acids. Now, I was a Poli Sci major, so I can’t/won’t get all into what amino acids are, but I CAN say that lutein, keratin, and biotin are three amino acids that are essential for healthy skin (and hair, and nails…but more on that later.) All it takes is a quick trip to Vitamin Shoppe or GNC (which sells these in convenient little packs at, and voila!, now you’ve given yourself a booster shot of essential amino acids!