THE LIGHTNING CO

FACE MASKING 101: 5 TYPES OF FACE MASKS AND WHEN TO USE THEM

Kristi KochComment

One *could* say I’m a masking queen.

Odds are if you were to come over to my place literally any night of the week, you’ll find me masking with a glass of red wine in hand.

Face masks get plennnnty of time in the spotlight. Yes, they are trendy and hyped — but, more importantly, they’ve been around forever and have so many benefits for your skin. Masks are an excellent target treatment. In an oversaturated market with skin care advice flooding the interwebs, I thought a quick guide to the most common types of masks, their purpose, and how often to use them would be helpful. Think so too? Well, then…read on! And by all means, press pause and apply a mask first.

COMMON MASK TYPES

Clay Masks

Clay masks are great for clogged skin. Clay helps draw out impurities like excess oil, sebum, and toxins in your skin. I like to use a clay mask when my skin is feeling clogged and congested. Heads up, clay masks *can* cause your skin to purge, which makes sense as it’s doing its job by removing those impurities in your skin. Because of this, I like to use a clay mask 2-4 days before an event or when I’m really wanting my skin to be clear. Clay masks can also potentially dry you out. I say potentially because oftentimes we leave clay masks on too long. Don’t tell me you haven’t left a clay mask on for an entire episode…subconsciously letting the clay got all crackly and dried up on your skin. This is a no no. Tip: when using a clay mask, don’t leave it on for too long. I keep mine on just until it has dried and then remove it. This avoids your skin getting irritated or dried out.

Here are a few of my favorite Clay Masks: Beauty Counter Balancing Facial Mask, L'Oreal Paris Exfoliate & Refine Pores Pure Clay Mask, Leegeeham Grow Matcha Clay Pack, Origins Original Skin Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay

Hydrating Masks

Hydration is arguably the most important factor in your skincare. How many of us drink enough water? Yep, not enough of us. Same with our skin. We need the hydration, bbs. Yes, even if you’re oily. Hydration will help balance your skin’s moisture levels. I use a hydrating mask at least once a week. Hydrating masks are easily done overnight, too! When you sleep your skin actually naturally heals itself, so using hydrating products while you’re sleeping will only help increase the health of your skin. Now that’s some multi-tasking!

Here are some of my favorite Hydrating Masks: COSRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask, Alchimie Forever Kantic Brightening Moisture Mask, Image Vital C Hydrating Enzyme Mask

Brightening Masks

When you’re feeling blah, oftentimes your skin can look dull as well. Beyond the mental, physical, and emotional factors that can cause dullness in the skin, environmental factors are in the mix as well. Enzymes in masks are a great way to brighten up lackluster skin. Enzymes are natural, more gentle exfoliants that help brighten the skin. I use an enzyme mask 1-2x a week as needed. This is a great mask type reach for when you’re low on sleep, high on stress, or just generally need a little brightening up!

Here are some of my favorite Brightening Masks: Alchimie Forever Kantic Brightening Moisture Mask, Image Vital C Hydrating Enzyme Mask,

Retexturizing Masks

Oftentimes in the winter or in changes of seasons, my skin texture will be rough. This is when I whip out a retexturizing mask. Retexturizing masks help soften and smooth the skin’s texture. If you’re working on evening skin tone and texture, try this mask type. I use a retexturizing mask 1x a week as needed.

Here are some of my favorite retexturizing masks: Origins Original Skin Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay

Sheet Masks

I always keep sheet masks on hand. Always! There are different types of sheet masks — firming, hydrating, brightening…the list goes on. Generally, sheet masks serve as a way to pack in hydration. I’ve dedicated a whole post to my favorite sheet masks. Applying a sheet masks after a hot shower post yoga is my go-to. I use sheet mask 1-2x a week. Bonus points if you apply Hyaluronic Acid before your sheet mask! And by bonus points, I mean more juicy plumpness for our skin.

TO SUM IT UP

I mask 4x a week. Seem excessive? Note this: I always reach for the hydrating masks, either cream or sheet. Normally, this is 3x a week. Then, I’ll treat as needed with either Clay, Brightening, or Retexturizing masks for my 4th mask of the week. My philosophy is to be mindful in skincare, to look at and feel your skin to see what it needs.

Happy Masking!

FACE MASKING 101: 5 TYPES OF FACE MASKS AND WHEN TO USE THEM
FACE MASKING 101: 5 TYPES OF FACE MASKS AND WHEN TO USE THEM
FACE MASKING 101: 5 TYPES OF FACE MASKS AND WHEN TO USE THEM



IN WHAT ORDER DO I PUT SKINCARE PRODUCTS ON?

Kristi KochComment
WHAT ORDER DO I PUT PRODUCTS ON?

One of the most frequently asked questions is “in what order to put my skincare products on?”. Essences, Serums, Toners, Retinols, AHAs, BHAs, Oils, Moisturizers…ahh. I totally understand how this can be overwhelming. Plus, skincare products cost money and require time, so it makes sense that we want to make sure we’re getting the most benefit out of our routine.

While I was working at a Medical Spa in college, the training that we were taught (and we repeated over and over again) was “Cleanse, Treat, Hydrate”. Pretty simple? I added a few more steps to really cover our basis. Here are two different ways to think about the order of your skincare application.

2. THINNEST TO THICKEST

This is the easiest way, in my opinion, to remember the order of how to apply your products. Of course, you’ll want to cleanse first to have a “clean slate”, to make sure you’re not topping your skin with serums that won’t sink in due to dirty pores. After cleansing, apply the more “watery” products first. Follow that with slightly thicker-than-water serums, and then onto oils, then thicker creams and moisturizers. This logic has to do with the molecular level of the product. Essentially, if the product has a small molecular level the product is going to absorb into your skin’s pores more easily. If the molecular level is larger, it won’t absorb as easily. A thicker cream has a large molecular level, which means that if you apply that first and then top with a thinner product, that thinner product won’t be able to penetrate easily into the skin since the thicker product is blocking it.

2. 5 STEP: CLEASE > PREP > TREAT > HYDRATE > PROTECT

Here’s my personal approach to skincare product order. I like this approach because it helps reinforce the purpose of the skincare product you’re using. I’ll use this 5 step process to walk you through my routine.

Cleanse:

When I cleanse my face in the morning I’ll generally just cleanse once with a gel or milk cleanser. At night I’ll start by double cleansing, using a balm or oil cleanser first to remove my makeup. My second cleanse is normally a gel or milk cleanser to get the rest of the dirt from my face without stripping the natural oils.

Prep:

Next, I use a chemical exfoliator that is more watery in texture, such as The Ordinary Glycolic Toning Solution. If you use a toner, this is where your toner would go. Toners help balance the pH levels in your skin and chemical exfoliators help slough off any dead skin cells. When using a toner or “watery” chemical exfoliator, you’re helping prep the skin for the products to come, allowing them to absorb more easily into your skin. I’ll then follow up with an essence. An essence is generally pretty watery in texture and helps hydrate the skin. You’ll want to gently pat into your skin, and then follow up with the next steps while your skin is still damp. This will help the products that follow to absorb better. Think of it like a sponge. If a sponge is already somewhat wet and you get more water on it, it will hold more and more water. This is what we want our skin to do.

Treat:

This is one of my favorite steps. Now that my skin is cleansed & prepped, I can treat it. Generally, this is where serums come in and where you can really treat the “issues” you’re looking to correct. Serums are normally thicker than a watery texture but not as a thick as a moisturizer or cream. It’s more of a silky texture. If it’s acne that you’re looking to treat, maybe this is where you’ll use a Retinol or a Lactic Acid. If it’s dryness, this is where you can use a hydrating serum such as Hyaluronic Acid. For me personally, this is where I’ll use a Lactic Acid at night all over my face to promote clearer more even skin. In the morning, I’ll use a vitamin C serum to help brighten my skin and protect my skin barrier from free radicals. At night I’ll also use a Salicylic Acid as a spot treatment on any breakouts that are forming. I love to apply my Eye Cream here, that way it can get in there and treat that sensitive eye area before thicker creams are applied and potentially block the pores in that area.

Hydrate:

So you’ve now cleansed, prepped, and treated the skin, and now you’re going to hydrate. This step is super important because it’s going to help all the products you just applied to work more effectively. Oil helps push hydration down into the skin. A moisturizer will help keep that moisture in. At night I love to use a facial oil. I gently press the oil into my skin with my hands. I’ll then top with moisturizer. You can read more about why I use oil before moisturizer here. In the morning I’ll either just do an oil or just a moisturizer, depending on how my skin is feeling.

Protect:

This is a step that many of us forget, but it’s just as important as the previous steps. This is where you’ll apply sunscreen. At night I skip this step since I won’t be out in the sun. However, SPF is always a part of my morning skincare routine. I’ll let my oil or moisturizer sink into my skin for a bit and then I’ll top with an SPF. You should always wear an SPF (even on cloudy days) to protect your skin from sun damage. If you’re using products with vitamin C, Retinol, AHAs, BHAs, or any “active”, you want to make sure that you’re using SPF. Those ingredients exfoliate your skin, removing dead skin from the surface of your face. This means that fresh skin is exposed and you’re much more sensitive to sun damage.

So those are my 5 Steps! When I’m using a new product I’ll just think of its purpose and its consistency and I’ll add it into one of these 5 steps. If you’re feeling confused about what order your products should go on, you can think through your skincare products and see which of the 5 steps they fit in.

A FEW MORE TIPS:

  • From steps Treat-Hydrate, I normally wait a few minutes or so until the products have absorbed into my skin, that way you give your products a chance to sink to the skin and you’ll avoid pilling.

  • Look at the ingredients in your products. If a product has silicones in it, products won’t penetrate past this ingredient. Your products will just sit on top of the silicone and really won’t do you much good. So be on the lookout for that!

  • Special Treatments: When I use a mask that isn’t a sheet mask, I’ll generally use it after I prep the skin. Then I’ll follow with the next steps. If it’s a sheet mask, I’ll put that on after I treat in place of Hydrate. Then I’ll top with a moisturizer if I feel like I need it. If I’m doing Gua Sha, I’ll do that after I put on an oil, then I’ll top with moisturizer and SPF if necessary. If I’m doing High Frequency, I’ll do this after I cleanse and put on a little essence. Then I’ll follow with Treat, Hydrate, and Protect (if applicable.) I also love to facial steam after I cleanse before a clay mask or retexturizing mask.

IN WHAT ORDER DO I PUT SKINCARE PRODUCTS ON?
IN WHAT ORDER DO I PUT SKINCARE PRODUCTS ON?
WHAT ORDER DO I PUT PRODUCTS ON?



IN WHAT ORDER DO I PUT SKINCARE PRODUCTS ON?

DO I REALLY NEED AN EYE CREAM?

Kristi KochComment
DO I REALLY NEED AN EYE CREAM?.jpg

I used to be very skeptical of eye creams. They *can* be expensive yet they come in such a tiny little pot. There. Are. So. Many. While I was working at a Med Spa years ago, I specifically remember one of the estheticians gasping at the fact that I was 20 and didn’t use an eye cream. She said that anyone 18 and older should be using one. *Nervously giggles*

But WHY? I’m not one for succumbing to societal pressures. However, you can now catch me applying my eye cream religiously both morning and night. So let me break down some facts about eye cream.

WHY DO I NEED AN EYE CREAM?

Well, this isn’t the most exciting news you’ll hear today, but our skin around our eyes is the first area to show aging. This area actually ages 5-10 years faster than the skin on your face. This is due to only having a few oil glands in the skin around your eyes, in addition to the squinting and brow-furrowing that happens to us every minute of every day. Because the skin around the eye is so delicate the fibers around the eye area tend to break down faster due to constant eye movement, sun exposure, and facial tension. If you’re someone that regularly wears eye makeup, there’s also likely been years of tugging around that delicate area while removing eye makeup. Eeek. As we age there is also fluid that forms under the eyes that causes puffiness. Sooooo…

WHY NOT JUST USE FACE CREAM?

Great question. I thought this as well until I started developing milia around my eyes. Milia are small, white, cyst-like bumps that form due to flakes of skin getting trapped under the skin. They are not “pop-able” (you shouldn’t be popping anything anyway, ahem) and generally either disappear on their own or need to be removed by a dermatologist. Milia can form due to thick creams clogging that area and trapping skin under the surface of the skin. Eye creams are specifically formulated to treat that paper-thin area around the eye. Some (I dare say most) oils and thick creams are just too rich for the delicate eye area.

WHEN SHOULD I START USING ONE?

Ironically, that esthetician via the Med Spa I worked at wasn’t wrong. “Prevention is key”. I’d start using an eye cream at 20 or so. We (especially women) start to lose collagen (a major protein in our body, especially in connective tissues) in our skin around age 25. 20 is a great age to start preventing some “signs of aging”. If you’re 30 something and haven’t used an eye cream, don’t freak out. Just start today and love that skin around your eyes. We are not a filter, pal.

WHAT EYE CREAM DO I USE?

Well, first ask yourself what you’re wishing to target. There are many different issues that can occur in terms of the skin health around our eyes. Let me name the big ones.

Dehydration: Oftentimes this will be the first “issue” that we’ll start targeting. Under-eye areas can look dry under makeup. This is likely due to lower levels of oils glands, which result in dry skin. Combat dryness with a super hydrating eye cream. Look for an eye cream with hyaluronic acid, which holds 1000x it’s weight in water. Vitamin E is also very effective in nourishing the skin.

Puffiness: Oh, the puff. Tissues and muscles weaken as we age, which means that fluid and fat can build up in our eyelids and under our eye. This happens naturally, not to mention the puffiness that comes due to lack of sleep, crying, hangovers, etc. My favorite hacks for this are putting eye cream in the fridge. You can also put a Gua Sha tool or Crystal Roller in the fridge. The coolness combined with the facial massage will help reduce the puffiness. I love to use an eye cream with caffeine to combat “the puff”. Caffeine constricts blood vessels and reduces swelling. I also love to use an eye gel mask when I’m experiencing puffiness.

Wrinkles & Lines: I don’t love using the term “anti-aging”. I’m fine with bumps, lines, and texture. It’s a part of being human. However, I am all for skin health and feeling your best - whatever that may mean to you. Like I mentioned above, as we age our collagen levels drop. Using eye creams with Peptides (which help increase collagen production) and Retinol (which helps with cell turnover) will help improve your eye skin health. I also love using my Gua Sha tool to help increase blood circulation and lift in the skin.

Dark Circles: Dark circles are mainly due to genetic factors. Dark circles can happen due to lack of circulation, blood vessels showing through the skin (a bluish color), and overproduction of melanin (brownish color). I love to use a brightening eye cream for dark circles, such as a product with Vitamin C. Retinol can also help with dark eye circles as it helps stimulate new blood vessels, helping improve the skin’s color. Facial massage helps to increase blood circulation, so I love incorporating Gua Sha around my eyes gently as a way to improve the circulation in that specific area.

Multiple Issues: If you’re looking to combat several of these issues, this is what I look for in an eye cream: I look for a Vitamin C, which is an antioxidant. Antioxidants prevent collagen damage. Vitamin C also helps brighten the skin. Secondly, I would look for Hyaluronic Acid which holds 1000x it’s weight in water, really helping lock in moisture. I also would use a Gua Sha tool or Crystal Roller (cooled in the fridge!) to help increase circulation and lift. Lastly, have a few eye gel masks on hand to help reduce puffiness.

HOW, WHERE, AND WHEN DO I APPLY IT?

I love to use a cooling, brightening eye cream in the morning and an eye cream with retinol at night. Retinol is a powerful product, and putting it on at night will really do some work while you sleep. You don’t need to use two different eye creams but you certainly can if you’re looking to target different issues.

The best way to apply is with your ring finger or pinky finger, some of our “weaker” fingers. Gently tap onto the skin. I put my eye cream under my eye, in the corner, over my eyelid, and on my brow bone. A little bit goes a long way. And most importantly, apply sunscreen in the mornings after your skincare routine to make sure you’re protecting that area.

MY FAVORITE EYE CREAMS:

For Dehydration: Honest Beauty Younger Eye Cream, Honest Hazel Eye Gels (tip: wear them overnight), Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Cream

For Puffiness: Honest Beauty Depuffed Eye Gel, Patchology FlashPatch Rejuvenating Eye Gels

For Wrinkles & Lines: Honest Beauty Younger Eye Cream, Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Cream

For Dark Circles: Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Eye Cream, Whamisa by Glow Studio Chai Tea Eye Cream

DO I REALLY NEED AN EYE CREAM?.jpg
DO I REALLY NEED AN EYE CREAM?.jpg
DO I REALLY NEED AN EYE CREAM?.jpg
DO I REALLY NEED AN EYE CREAM?.jpg
DO I REALLY NEED AN EYE CREAM?.jpg


10 WAYS TO REDUCE BREAKOUTS WITHOUT SPENDING A PENNY.

Kristi Koch2 Comments

Acne is a big topic and a medical condition for some. There are so many medications, products, ingredients, methods, etc. to help with acne and to promote “clear” skin. However, not all of us have the budget to try out all the newest formulations of revolutionary skincare products. Do I believe in products and what they can do for your skin? Absolutely. You should see my medicine cabinet…and bathroom counter… and bathroom cabinets…but I digress. Products are great but when thinking through my “journey” with acne I’ve found there are so many things you can do to help reduce breakouts for basically free.

1. Stop Touching Your Face

I remember my friend literally slapping my hand away (gently, lol) every time I would rest my hand on my face. Honestly, bless her. Without her help, I would have never been able to break the habit of constantly touching my face. Why is this important? We carry thousands of unseen bacteria on our hands. Ask any dermatologist, facialist, or beauty editor…and they are going to tell you to stop touching your face. Will this cure every blemish? Probably not. But it can reduce more blemishes from surfacing.

2. Wash Your Pillowcase

Hair oils, dirt, dust, and the list goes on and on and on and on. I’ll keep it brief so I don’t gross you out too much. I wash my pillowcases & sheets weekly. And if you’re anything like me, you’re a classic side sleeper…so our cheek is always resting on a pillow. Wild story, my facialist even knew which side I sleep on as soon as she saw my skin up close. Keep your sheets clean to help keep breakouts at bay.

3. Use Headphones / Speaker Phone

This one actually grosses me out more than anything. Think about how many places you set your phone down. It’s constantly in your hands, or on your desk, on a table, etc. And don’t lie to me and say you don’t take your phone into the bathroom. Germs! Bacteria! Then you press it against your cheek. Your makeup, sweat, and oils hang out and get all friendly. I rarely ever actually have my phone against my check. It sounds a bit extra, but your skin will thank me later.

4. Grab An Ice Cube

While you’re grabbing some ice for your cocktail or coffee…grab an extra cube for your face. I’ve been icing my face for years now. Up until about a year ago, I had always suffered from cystic, hormonal acne. Icing my face was incredibly helpful for me when I would get a really painful, inflamed blemish. You know the kind. When I ice my face, I make sure my skin is cleansed, then I take a cloth and wrap half of the ice cube with it. I move the ice cube around on my skin in the area of the blemish. It’s important to keep the ice moving, pressing the ice on the breakout directly and holding it there can cause something similar to a “burn” on your skin. Just keep the ice moving. This will help reduce the inflammation, swelling, and redness; allowing any spots to heal more quickly. Added bonus, icing your face also helps increase blood circulation, giving your skin a beautiful glow.

5. Watch The Towel

We all have that bathroom sink towel that is always there. I learned this trick from Glow Recipe. Now I rarely use a towel to dry my face after cleansing. I just pat the water into my skin. Your hand towel hanging by your bathroom sink can be dirty. You don’t want to press that grime back into your cleansed skin. Think about it. The towel is commonly hanging in the general vicinity of the toilet - ew. There’s a lot of bacteria that can spread via your hand towel. Make sure it’s clean - or just skip the towel and pat the water into your skin. This helps with water hydration in your skin, your serums to absorb better, and to skip potentially nasty bacteria. Win Win Win.

6. Cleanse Before You Sweat / After You Sweat

I’m a stickler on this. I keep a travel size Milky Jelly cleanser in my bag so I’m always able to cleanse my skin before a yoga class or a workout. I used to work out with a full face of makeup on, especially in the days where my acne was really flaring up. I know it can feel intimidating to go work out with no makeup on, but it’s so much better for the health of your skin to cleanse your face before a sweat session. When you sweat your skin is in full detox mode. If your skin is trying to get toxins out but they are being trapped by makeup then you’re more likely to get clogged pores and breakouts. I like to cleanse my skin well and then top with a nice oil or light moisturizer for an even glow. Whether you’re planning on showering after your workout or not, you should also cleanse your face again in order to remove any toxins that were expelled via your sweat session. ;)

7. Steam Your Face

Recently, I was gifted an actual facial steamer but if you don’t have one just boil some water. I’ve done this off and on since I was 14. I would boil some water, place my face over the bowl, and drape a towel over my head. This is an easy way to do a DIY facial steam, and didn’t cost me a dime. But now with the facial steamer I was given, it’s even more fun. Facial steaming has so many benefits; it loosens dirt and debris in the skin, eliminates toxins in your skin, helps with skin absorption ability and hydration. Note: if you’re prone to redness or rosacea issues PLEASE do your research before steaming. Steaming has been known to aggravate sensitive skin from these particular issues. Bonus Tip: if you’re doing a DIY steam by boiling water you can add a few drops of lavender oil to make it nearly spa-like.

8. Clean Your Makeup Brushes

Picture this you have a breakout and then you put on concealer or foundation with a makeup brush. Then that bacteria from your breakout travels along with your makeup as you’re blending. *EYES WIDEN*. Wash your damn makeup brushes weekly. :) Look, I get it. I forget to do this from time to time too, but it will really help make sure you’re keeping your skin clean and away from harmful acne-causing bacteria.

9. Shower At Night

Wherever you live, pollution is an issues. I live in the city, which is even more polluted. Don’t bring those assholes into bed with you. Showering at night is the best way to climb into your little haven of a bed at night. You can *literally* rest easy knowing none of those free radicals are going to throw a late-night party on your skin while you’re sleeping. Zzzzzs.

10. Don’t Go To Bed With Your Makeup

They always say “don’t get to bed angry”, but going to sleep with your makeup on will definitely make your skin angry. I used to do this alllll the time back in the day. If I had to pick one thing to do for my skin, it would be to make sure my makeup is removed before sleeping. All that makeup is just sitting on your face along with dirt, oil and bacteria clogging your pores while you’re sleeping. Your pillowcase is dirty with the makeup and bacteria from the day waiting for your face to hit it tomorrow night. *GASP*. Just wash your face, okay? If you don’t regularly wash your face before bed at night, do the best you can. Once it becomes a habit, your skin will thank you for it.

REDUCING BREAKOUTS WITHOUT SPENDING A PENNY.jpg
10 WAYS TO REDUCE BREAKOUTS WITHOUT SPENDING A PENNY..jpg




MY TOP SHEET MASKS: FOR GLOWY, PLUMP, HYDRATED SKIN

Kristi KochComment

I’m all about plump, healthy skin. Forget perfect skin. Just give me all the hydration and glow.

I’ve become quite the connoisseur of sheet masks in the past couple of years. Since moving to LA, I’ve noticed that the pollution that comes with city living can really affect my skin. When my skin is feeling dull, or tight (and not in a good way), I love to throw on a sheet mask for a hydrating, chill moment.

Let me paint a picture here. You’re in your apartment, tea (or wine) nearby, ready to apply a sheet mask, and camp out with Netflix. Please hold and read below first for a couple of essential tips.

A Couple Pre-Mask Tips:

  1. I ALWAYS cleanse thoroughly & exfoliate before a sheet mask. Why? I cleanse to get rid of makeup, dirt, bacteria, and so on. I exfoliate with a chemical exfoliator (normally glycolic acid or lactic acid) to remove the dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, this way the nutrients from the sheet mask’s serum will sink into my skin and not be blocked by any pesky dead skin cells. If you’re sensitive to chemical exfoliators, try a fruit enzyme exfoliator or a granular physical exfoliator (aka a scrub). Just pretend that your face is like a blown up balloon that you don’t want to pop - that’s how gentle you should be if you’re using a scrub. This helps prevent damage to your skin.

  2. I open up the packaging of the sheet mask to scoop out the excess serum to apply on my face and neck. THEN I apply the mask on my face. If there is still excess serum, I’ll scoop more out and apply on top of the mask. This way you don’t waste any product and you’re packing in the hydration.

MY TOP SHEET MASKS: FOR GLOWY, PLUMP, HYDRATED SKIN.jpg
MY TOP SHEET MASKS: FOR GLOWY, PLUMP, HYDRATED SKIN.jpg

Ok, now let’s get to my list of noteworthy masks.

#1 - Make P:rem Double Effect Layering Me Firming Mask.

I’m stockpiling this mask. I love it so much. I always take it with me when I travel. This mask truly turns my skin around. As the name explains, this mask has two layers. The first layer is thin and comfortable. The second layer is SO SOFT, it feels like a pillow on your face. It is thick but flexible. Besides the softness of this mask, it also wins me over with its ear hooks. Yep, it hooks over your ears and holds the mask against your neck and chin. This helps with the lifting effect and, of course, reducing the annoying slip-off-my-face thing that always happens with sheet masks. This mask is a Korean Beauty face mask, packed with many hydrating essences (a serum-like product, but a little thinner in texture). I love a sheet mask that you can wear for a while, this one stays saturated for 20-30 minutes+. Plenty of time for a couple chapters of your favorite book…or even a whole episode of Sex and the City. :)

#2 - Farmacy Hydrating Coconut Gel Sheet Mask

I surprisingly just discovered this sheet mask during my, nearly weekly, Sunday perusal in the Sephora skincare aisles. This brand is considered “clean by Sephora”. I use Farmacy’s cleansing balm in my nightly skincare routine and have been wanting to try out more of their products. This mask has coconut water, which is amazing for hydration. I mean think about it, you drink a little too much wine and you grab a coconut water the next morning. Why? Because you dehydrated yourself, pal. Your skin drinks up coconut water just like your one-too-many-glasses-of-wine self does. This mask also contains our MVP, Hyaluronic Acid. Add in some key antioxidants (antioxidants help defend your cells from damage caused by potentially harmful molecules known as free radicals), and this face mask has locked in its place in my rotation.

#3 - Dr. Jart Ceramidin Facial Mask

This buddy has been in my rotation for a year or so. Similar to the Make P:rem mask listed above, the texture of the mask’s cloth is comfortable, thick, and soft. The serum in the mask is so smooth and luxurious. This mask is perfect for when your skin is feeling particularly dry and lackluster. This mask supports our skin’s ceramides. Cera what? Ceramides - they are our skin’s natural protection barrier. Ceramides are comprised of lipids (essentially organic fatty acids in your skin) and these lipids help form that barrier that protects your skin. The Dr. Jart team says it like this “Think of your skin as a brick wall: when it is first built, it is strong and sturdy. Over time, it needs fortification to remain strong. As we age, we lose ceramides, leading to a decrease in elasticity and moisture”. This mask also contains aloe vera leaf juice, which is very soothing and calming. The mask is very saturated with serum, allowing me to easily enjoy for 20 minutes +, perfect for a mini spa moment at home.

#4 - Peach Slices Hydrate Sheet Mask

We’re back again with a Korean Beauty sheet mask. Korean Beauty has hydration figured out. As the little sister of Peach & Lily, a leading Korean Beauty brand, Peach Slices’ masks held legitimacy for me when I spied them in the Target beauty aisle. This mask is my go-to mask when I need a quick, affordable fix of hydration. At $2.49, I throw in several of these whenever I’m running errands at Target. With all sorts of flower, fruit, and herb extracts, this mask is pack with antioxidants and helps boost hydration in your skin.

#5 - Trader Joes Rich Hydrating Sheet Mask

You read that right, pals. Trader-freaking-Joes. A friend told me she tried this mask and was pleasantly surprised. So a few months ago while I was grabbing quinoa, I stopped at their beauty aisle and picked it up. YOU GUYS. This mask has Vitamin C, Rose Hip Oil, Honey, Turmeric, Green Tea, a bit of Hyaluronic Acid, and MORE amazing ingredients. We see you Trader Joes, we see you. This mask is under $3 and a winner for me. I keep a few of these on hand and throw them on when I need a relaxing moment or some glow. The only thing I don’t like about this mask is that the cloth feels a bit stiff and smells kind of unpleasant to me... but because of those great ingredients, the price, and the glowy results I get - I’m in.

See below for all the links! Enjoy. <3

MY TOP SHEET MASKS: FOR GLOWY, PLUMP, HYDRATED SKIN.jpg
MY TOP SHEET MASKS: FOR GLOWY, PLUMP, HYDRATED SKIN.jpg

WHY NIGHTTIME SKINCARE IS KEY

Kristi Koch2 Comments

My nightly routine is like therapy for me.  It is a moment for me that I hold very sacred.  Washing my face and treating my skin feels like washing away the day and energizing myself for the next one. 

After working all day, coming home, making dinner, hitting the gym and pouring myself a glass of red wine (or bourbon if it was a tough day); treating my skin is truly so revitalizing to me.   There are so many moments that are for others.  This moment is for me.  

Okay - beyond the emotional and mental therapeutic benefits of my nightly routine, we also have the scientific reasons why certain skin care products and their ingredients are so important at night time (or whenever you sleep).

All day your skin is fighting to protect itself from all sorts of things - pollution, sun, bacteria, stress, etc.  When we get ready to sleep our sleep hormone, melatonin, rises and helps the skin’s ability to repair itself.  Melatonin is one of the reasons why our skin is able to repair itself from any damage done to it throughout the day.  We also have another hormone responsible for helping our skin recover.  Our human growth hormone (HGH) spearheads our skin’s repair by accelerating cell turnover (basically where new skin cells are produced and travel from the lower level of the skin to the top and then shed the dead cells on the surface).  

Now, because of these hormones kicking in, our body temperature increases slightly.  As a result, our body loses moisture.  However, this means that the absorption of product will be slightly better because the body wants that moisture back.  SEE why skincare at night is so key?!  Science! Now on to my routine.. 

STEP ONE: 

Oil cleanse. This is kind of a buzz wordy thing in skincare right now.  I’ve been testing it out for a few reasons.  1.  It helps hydrate the skin.  My skin has been weirdly dehydrated lately because of rainy weird winter weather in LA.  2. It helps remove your makeup thoroughly.  I use Farmacy Green Clean Cleansing Balm.  I scoop a bit out and massage it all around my face & neck, normally 60 seconds or more.  Give cleansing time.  If you don’t thoroughly cleanse and then top *slightly dirty* skin with oils, serums and creams…clogged pores are gonna happen. You know we don’t want that.  :)

STEP TWO: 

We are cleansing again, baby.  I’m the biggest believer in a double cleanse.  For reasons like what I said above, let’s make sure all that makeup and/or dirt and bacteria are gone.  I typically use Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser, currently I’m trying out Bliss Make-Up Melt (which is apparently a dupe for Milky Jelly).  I massage this onto my face and neck as well, concentrating on areas that can hold dirt - like creases, folds, and the hairline.  

STEP THREE: 

I apply two pumps of Beauty Counter Overnight Resurfacing Peel to my face and neck.  This product has over 15 naturally derived acids, including lactic, glycolic, and malic acid.  It’s a leave on AHA/BHA peel, which I love.  It’s gentle because it contains fatty acids and hyaluronic acid.  This is my major player at night in terms of treatment.  The acids help remove dead skin cells on the surface while diving deep in my pores to help exfoliate at a deeper level.  Remember, our skin is already doing this naturally via our restorative sleep hormones, but products like these will help boost what your body is already doing.  

STEP FOUR:  

I drop a few drops of hyaluronic acid (my fave is from The Ordinary but I like the Leegeehaam Grow Hyal B5 Ampoule as well) onto my face and neck.  My AHA/BHA leave on peel already has HA, but I want a little more to help with moisture absorption and general plumpness. :)

STEP FIVE: 

While the HA is soaking in, I apply a dab of OleHenriksen Banana Bright Eye Creme all around my eye - underneath, on the corners and sides, and all over the eyelid.  I’ve been trying out this eye cream for a few weeks now and am really enjoying it.  It also has vitamin C, which really helps with brightening the eye area.  

STEP SIX: 

Next I pat a few drops of either The Ordinary 100% Squalane Oil or Aria Starr Rosehip Oil.  Now, I know there are debates about wether you should use an oil or moisturizer first.  I like to use an oil first and then a moisturizer because the molecular level of oil is smaller, thus sinking into your skin and leaving the moisturizer to lock in that hydration.  I’ve been using rosehip oil lately to help give my skin extra hydration but also to lighten some of my red/dark spots from acne.  

*step Six and a Half would be when I use my Gua Sha tool FYI* 

STEP SEVEN: 

I scoop out a of dollop of Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream and apply it all over my neck and face. This stuff is magical.  They say it’s like adding a scoop of protein powder to your smoothie in the morning.  You’re adding protein to your skin to help replenish your skin and keep it strong.  Cool, I’m into that.

I top it all off with Laneige Sleeping Lip Mask on my lips, Weleda Skin Food on my hands and feet, and my favorite comb through my hair.  

*Lights out*

MY NIGHTLY SKINCARE ROUTINE .jpg
MY NIGHTLY SKINCARE ROUTINE .jpg
20190210_toplay_2270_ModelMayhem.jpg

HIGH FREQUENCY

Kristi KochComment
High-Frequency.jpg

I literally had someone on Instagram ask me if I was using a vibrator on my face. Nope, but lol.

I first discovered high-frequency when I was working at a med spa in college. I’ve always suffered from hormonal acne. One of the Estheticians recommended trying out high-frequency. She used the zapping tool on me and WOW. I was hooked. My painful and long-lasting hormonal breakouts were short-lived when met with high-frequency.

Recently, I was gifted a portable high-frequency machine (!!!!). There’s definitely been an uptick in the trend of skincare and various sex-toy-looking skincare tools lately, and it can be confusing to know what tools really work, how they work, and how to use them.

OK…let’s break it down. As most magical skin treatments do, high-frequency started back in the 1800s. Initially, it’s purpose was to treat strep throat and other infections. Interesting, right? Fast forward and it is now used to treat a wide range of things, such as acne, enlarged pores, puffy eyes, dark under eye circles, fine lines and wrinkles, cellulite, and dun dun dun….thinning hair!

The high-frequency has several different heads (the part that latches into the base), used for different parts of the skin or body. These “electrodes” are made out of tempered glass filled with gas. Sounds a bit scary right? Let me go on.

The tempered glass produces either Argon gas (a violet light) or Neon gas (a red/orange light). A small electrical current occurs when the electrode touches the skin. This causes a buzzing or zapping noise, and an orange or purple glow depending on what type of gas the electrode is filled with. Generally, you would use an Argon gas electrode for acne and a Neon gas electrode for aging. However, studies show that both Neon and Argon gas are effective in treating many different types of skin and various issues. For example, my high-frequency machine uses a Neon gas and I have seen an improvement to my acne.

Neon is a rare non-toxic atmospheric gas. Similarly, Argon gas occurs naturally in the environment. Both gases are good for your skin. Weird right?

Essentially, once the tool is turned on the gas ignites and light energy is given off. This forms ozone around the glass electrode. HOLD UP ARE WE IN SCIENCE CLASS?

Think of ozone as *really great* oxygen (it has one more atom than oxygen does) - it’s an antioxidant and helps eliminate toxins from your skin. It works as anti-bacterial, which is why it’s so great for acne…it kills the acne-causing bacteria in your pores. How? The high-frequency current naturally warms the tissues in your skin, causing the blood vessels and muscles in your skin to warm up and contract…saying "see ya” to the toxins and bacteria in your skin. As a result, your skin is charged with oxygen (oxygenation), causing cell renewal…and thus, an increase of collagen (a protein in your connective tissues that helps keep your skin healthy) and elastin (an elastic protein in your connective tissues that helps your skin keep its shape).

NOW here’s the thing! The more oxygen that you allow around the electrode, the more effective it is. This is why using gauze is so essential. The farther you lift the electrode away from the skin, the more oxygen surrounds it…resulting in more ozone. Putting gauze over your face or the area in which you’re using high frequency, allows a gap from your skin to the electrode creating more space for the ozone to form and do its thing. Note: this is powerful - so protect your skin tissue by creating a gap no more than 1/4”.

Alright. So now you are thrilled to use this. You’ve already got it added to your Amazon cart. Great, great. But how do I actually use it?

Directions:

Place a finger on the electrode, and keep your finger on the electrode until it touches your skin. This helps not to “spark” your skin. From here, just glide the electrode over your skin in an upwards or circular motion. I start with my chin, then go to my cheeks, then my nose, then my forehead. Once you’re finished, put your finger on the electrode and lift the electrode off your face.

Sometimes I use gauze, and sometimes I don’t. It’s up to you, but gauze is recommended to create more oxygenation as we talked about above. :) I always put on a hydrating serum or oil prior to the gauze (or sans gauze), to help the electrode glide more easily. There are also different shapes of electrodes that come with most high-frequency machines. I use the long, thin electrode with the small ball at the end to zap any breakouts I feel forming. I pulse it on the spot that I have a breakout, or where I feel one forming.

In order to protect your skin’s tissue and not dry you out, use high frequency no more than 5 minutes in one specific area.

Here’s the high-frequency machine I use. There’s also this one that looks great too! I also like to use this gauze.

High-Frequency..jpg
High-Frequency..jpg
High-Frequency..jpg

GUA SHA (THE ONE THING I’D TAKE IF STUCK ON A DESERTED ISLAND)

Kristi KochComment

It’s very likely you’ve seen this all over Instagram. I mean, I can’t really say anything…I use my Gua Sha tool every night and regularly post about it in my Insta Stories. I’ve received so many DMs from you asking wtf this little tool is. Here’s my take!

Gua Sha is a healing facial practice that is used in ancient Chinese medicine, particularly in East Asia. Gua Sha is used all over the body with a flat tool. It is “scraped” across the skin to promote healing and increase blood flow. Gua Sha is mainly used now for lymphatic drainage, increasing circulation and blood flow, decreasing inflammation, releasing facial tension, lifting, and more.

Facial massage fascinates me. The benefits feel endless. It’s interesting to me that we work out our muscles in our body, but rarely think about the muscles in our face. I initially incorporated facial massage into my routine with a Jade Roller. I’ve also used my hands to massage my skin and drain my lymphatic system. I’ve learned a lot about the benefits of Facial Massage from Joanna Czech, one of my favorite estheticians and skin experts.

Of all the ways to incorporate facial massage, the Gua Sha tool is the winner for me. It’s similar to the roller, but with added benefits like lifting and releasing muscle tension. I carry a lot of stress and tension in my jaw and between my brows. I swear there is nothing better than using the Gua Sha tool to relax my facial muscles at the end of a long day. I’ve been using the Gua Sha tool regularly for a few months now, and I’ve seen more of my jaw and cheekbones than ever before…I truly have seen lift in my face. I also noticed that my skin has more glow and is smoother, showing fewer wrinkles.

I use the Gua Sha tool around 5 times a week, generally at night. I do like using it in the morning if I have extra time. It helps reduce the puff in my skin, and the increased circulation and blood flow really give my skin glow throughout the day.

Here’s how I use it:

  1. Start with cleansed skin. I Gua Sha at the end of my skincare routine. Use a serum, oil, or moisturizer - something to give your skin slip, so that the tool doesn’t pull on your skin harshly.

  2. Start at the base of your neck and move the tool upwards towards your jaw/chin. Repeat this as many times as you’d like across the neck, moving upwards. (I started with 3-5 times, to avoid bruising my skin. All skin is different so just see what works for you.) I turn the tool horizontally and use the curved part at an angle so it’s not too blunt against my skin.

  3. Move on to your jaw (my favorite part!). Sweep the tool across your face in an upwards motion towards your cheek bone. Don’t forget both sides of your face. :)

  4. After I’ve worked my way up from my jaw to under my eyes, I switch the tool to the smaller end. I take the tool alongside my nose vertically, and move it out and up towards my temple.

  5. Lastly, I use the tool similarly to how I used it on my neck (holding it horizontally) and move it upwards all along my forehead. Then I use the smaller end and hold it vertically while moving it along my eyebrows.

ahhhh, my face is like jelly. But tight and glowy. :)

Gua Sha tools I like:

Jade Roller & Gua Sha Tool set

Skin Gym Gua Sha Tool

The Gua Sha Tool I Use :]

GUA SHA (THE ONE THING I’D TAKE IF STUCK ON A DESERTED ISLAND)
GUA SHA (THE ONE THING I’D TAKE IF STUCK ON A DESERTED ISLAND)
GUA SHA (THE ONE THING I’D TAKE IF STUCK ON A DESERTED ISLAND)
GUA SHA (THE ONE THING I’D TAKE IF STUCK ON A DESERTED ISLAND)
GUA SHA (THE ONE THING I’D TAKE IF STUCK ON A DESERTED ISLAND)

MY MORNING SKIN ROUTINE

Kristi KochComment

My morning routine is one of my favorite moments of the day. I normally wake up and do a meditation. Then I’ll start my skincare routine. If I sleep in or if I’m in a rush, it throws off my whole day and normally increases my anxiety. I really relish my time in the morning to care for myself by tending to my skin. I normally play some music or have a cup of tea or coffee while I do my routine.

I start by cleansing with Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser. I normally massage the cleanser into my skin for 60 seconds or so. I rinse with lukewarm water. One of my estheticians recently told me that I was cleansing with water that was too hot, and it was bringing out redness in my acne scars. Using lukewarm water has really helped. Cleansing can be a step we skip over quickly since we’re just rinsing the product off…but it’s so important. Taking time to really massage your skin while cleansing will help get the junk out of your pores that you and I really don’t want there.

Next, I use Whamisa by Glow Recipe Green Tea Serum Toner. I drop 2-3 drops in my hands and pat it into my neck and face. It’s true to its name…a serum and toner. It’s really silky. A toner’s purpose is to prep the skin for the products to come. Our skin is naturally acidic and toners help balance the skin’s PH levels. Green tea has many great benefits for the skin, including a calming element. I like a toner that isn’t harsh…and love this product because it’s so calming for the skin all while getting the skin balanced and prepped for the products to come.

Up next is a hero for me. It smells incredible….so luxe and soothing. Blithe Vital Treatment Essence - 5 Energy Roots. A treatment essence has been used in Asia for years, but I had not previously used one or heard of it until this summer. A treatment essence is thicker than a toner but thinner than a serum. Like a toner, it helps to prep the skin for the serums to come, but also helps treat specific issues. For me, this essence is perfect for helping my skin “bounce”. Aka, give me all the plump, hydrated, bright vibes. It’s a little on the pricier side for me, but 2 drops is all I need.

Next, I move onto Vitamin C serum. I’ve used Vitamin C serums for years. I’m a big believer in Vitamin C for your skin. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps brighten the skin, and can also aid in reducing dark spots. I recently found Lumene’s Vitamin C at Target while shopping with a friend. I gave my friend a facial that evening and used this. Holy shit. So good. It smells like a citrus dream and has hyaluronic acid in it. It instantly brightens my skin.

Speaking of Hyaluronic Acid, next I used Leegeehaam’s Grow Hyal B5 Ampoule. Aka Hyaluronic Acid. One molecule of Hyaluronic Acid holds 1000 times its weight in water. I love to use Hyaluronic Acid before I use my moisturizer to really help lock in the moister. Hyaluronic Acid is naturally in our bodies. It’s in our connective tissue and 50% of the Hyaluronic Acid in our bodies is found in our skin. It essentially helps fill up the “cracks” in our skin. Basically, it’s super plumping and hydrating. Our natural production of Hyaluronic Acid decreases as we age. So using this in our skin care routine will really help with overall hydration, helping plump your skin. Fun fact - this is used in injections & fillers. I’m all for juicy, plump skin..and HA is a huge help in that.

I follow with Squalane Oil from The Ordinary. This Squalene oil is non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog your pores. I use just a drop or two and pat into my skin. If my skin is feeling like it needs more hydration, I follow up with a moisturizer. Today I used Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer Rich. Sometimes I’ll just use Weleda’s Skin Food on my cheekbones.

My final steps are Sunscreen and Lip Balm. For SPF, right now I’m using this SPF from The Ordinary. I love that it has antioxidants (which help protect your skin from pollution) in the formulation. My favorite lip product of all time is Laneige’s Lip Sleeping Mask. I actually use it morning and night. :) I like to put a tiny bit on at the end of my skincare routine before I do my makeup. My lips get really dry since living in LA, so this helps keep them plump and hydrated.

MY MORNING SKIN ROUTINE
MY MORNING SKIN ROUTINE
MY MORNING SKIN ROUTINE
MY MORNING SKIN ROUTINE
MY MORNING SKIN ROUTINE
MY MORNING SKIN ROUTINE
MY MORNING SKIN ROUTINE
MY MORNING SKIN ROUTINE