Farmgirl Beauty Secret #137: Use a clay-based cleanser to wash face in the morning to draw out embedded impurities.

If you're looking to declare war on your clogged pores, let this be your battle plan. Take advantage of the relaxed state your pores are in when you first awake and sneak in a deep cleanse with a clay-based cleanser! You may have noticed that your pores tend to appear larger after sleep or a nap. Your pores are relaxed at this time so you can have access to the yucky buildup and impurities in the pores if you take the right steps. Instead of using your regular foaming cleanser in the morning, wash face with a clay-based cleanser to draw out the bad guys. Read on to learn how I use clay-based cleansers to decongest my pores in the morning.

I’ve been implementing this method for the last month and found 2 clay-based cleansers I like. The first is the Bioelements All Things Pure Cleanser that was provided by Bioelements. This cleanser can be used on all skin types and it will be especially appreciated by people with dry and dehydrated skin who also suffers from large/congested pores. The secret is in the milky texture: they combined clay with skin-nourishing emollients so it doesn’t have the typical chalky feel many clay products have. Believe it or not, the jojoba oil in this product will actually aid the betonite clay in drawing out the impurities. This also has a very pleasing fragrance-free type of scent that reminds me of oatmeal and almond milk. The mild coconut-derived cleansing ingredient leaves skin very clean and supple.

How I use Bioelements All Things Pure Cleanser: Right when I wake up, I massage this cleanser onto a dry face (still shiny and oily from a night’s rest). I proceed to brush my teeth so this cleanser is left undisturbed for about 2-3 minutes. Finally, I rinse my skin with lukewarm water and finish with a splash of cool water. I immediately follow with my appropriate Garden of Wisdom serum.

Another winner I found is the Auromere Rejuvenating Mud Bath & Mask provided by Auromere. This is a powder form clay mask that contains more than just clay. If you look at the ingredients, you’ll find lots of botanical extracts that are used in Ayurvedic skincare, which is part of the highly regarded Indian traditional medicine practice. I use this head-to-toe: it doubles as a shampoo in a pinch and I also apply this mud all over my body when I take a bath (it can get messy so rinse thoroughly!). I use this when my skin is misbehaving and breaking out. It leaves my skin baby soft and calm.
How I use Auromere Rejuvenating Mud Bath & Mask: After brushing my teeth, I splash some warm water on my face. I mix a small-spoon full of the powder mask with some tap water to form a very wet paste (spoon is included). I apply the paste onto face, massaging ever so slightly. It’s important that the paste doesn’t get too dry on the skin, I rewet the paste simply by applying a bit more water. After light massaging, rinse paste of with lukewarm water and finish with a splash of cool water. I immediately follow with my appropriate Garden of Wisdom serum.

If you want to try the clay cleansing method with something you already own, try mixing equal parts of clay mask and cleansing oil or cleanser milk. It is best if the cleanser contains natural oils and NO silicones, which lots of cleansing milks and cleansing oils have.


My Garden of Wisdom Treatment Serums Collection

As a beauty blogger I get opportunities to try many great skincare brands. With that said, there’s one skincare line I buy and stock up on regularly. Yes, I am that addicted to Garden of Wisdom. For those who aren’t familiar with GoW, simply do a keyword search “gow” on Makeupalley’s Skincare Board to see the how well-loved this brand is by skincare junkies. Simply put, there’s not a single brand out there that can match GoW’s efficacy and potency when it comes to the serums they make. It thrills me to no ends to see the formulation jam-packed with treatment ingredients. Unlike glossed over skincare lines you see sitting pretty on store shelves, the people at GoW aren’t preoccupied with cutting costs and skimping on raw materials so they can afford their next ad campaign. As a result, they use the highest percentage of the most advanced active ingredients with practically no fillers so their products WORK. Their simple formulation leaves no residue on the skin and it never irritates my hopelessly sensitive complexion. Check out my Garden of Wisdom favorites:

Concord Grape Anti-Ox Serum: I use this every morning to provide an antioxidant shield of protection over my skin. If you are obsessed with wearing sunscreen everyday, it’s time you amp up your sun protection with an antioxidant serum as it literally gives an additional layer of protection against UV rays and environmental detriments.

Matrix Majik Anti-aging Serum: When you think of anti-wrinkle products, thick and rich creams that leave heavy residue come to mind. This is not the case with Matrix Majik, it absorbs like water so even people with the oiliest complexion can reap the anti-aging benefits of this products. Where else are you going to find Matrixyl 3000 listed as the second ingredient on the list?

Skin Communicator Serum: All of their serums come in these trial sizes so you can give each a whirl without breaking the bank. This serum feels great on the skin and contains an anti-aging power player called Syntacks, which is used in many top-of-the-line anti-aging treatments. I’ve used up the entire trial size since taking this picture and I think I need more of this.

PhytoStemCell Serum: This is my #1 fave. I’m always at a loss for words when it comes to describing this product because I don’t think I can do it justice. I’ve done through numerous bottles of this because nothing else gets my skin this incredibly soft, smooth, clear and radiant. Like the Communicator Serum, this contains an anti-aging ingredient that is sought-after. Skincare companies are using apple stem cells at a miniscule quantity and slapping on price tags $100 over the GoW version. One personal disappointment about this product is that GoW no longer makes this in a spray form. I love how I used to spray this on my skin without having to touch my face. Now it pumps out like the other serums. GoW, please bring back the spray version of this product!
Summer Serum: Another great antioxidant serum. This would be especially great for areas with really humid summers because it has very little humectants in it. But honestly, all of my GoW serum soaks wonderfully into my super oily skin. I’ve also finished this one since taking this picture.
BLT-RC Serum: This is one of their most potent antioxidant serums. If you are battling sun damage, this is the one for you. Like the others, it also absorbs readily into my skin but this one leaves my skin extra moisturized. This is great on days when I want to skip my emu oil moisturizer because it provides enough moisture on its own.By the way, these are very much the entire ingredient list. What you see is what you get.


Farmgirl July Favorites: Burberry, Aveda, YSL, Hourglass, Revlon, porcelain tea set fit for a princess + a “swap meet dress” fit for a tea party.

It’s time to get shamelessly materialistic as I give a run-down of my July favorites. Of course, I have to start with my favorite dress of the moment. I call this my "swap meet dress" because that's precisely where I got it. Earlier last month, my sister, our lovely friend Susan and I spent an awesome day running around a local swap meet. It was quite an adventure- the 3 of us picked through rusted/cracked/dusty treasures, snacked on free peanuts and haggled our way into great deals. We left with knowledge on how to grow better organic plants and how Cuerritos con Limón taste like. It was a blast. I found my swap meet dress at one of the clothing tents. Susan found a romper that she loved from there too, so we were able to join forces/purchasing power and get the dress and romper for $13 a piece.

My dress looks like a perfectly ladylike dotted dress until you look closer to find unicorns, mushrooms, kitties and sweater-wearing bunnies scattered amongst the polka dots. Yes, you read correctly. See below:

I believe Susan and I will be coordinating a "swap meet dress day". I'm looking forward to that occasion!

With the summer heat going full force, everyone is scrambling to find their perfect summer scent as they shove their cold weather perfumes to the back of the vanity. It’s during times like these when I’m so grateful for my Burberry Classic EDP, my year-round signature scent. Burberry Classic is equally intoxicating during summer and in the dead of winter. There are apricots and apples flirting with an interesting combination of vanilla/sandalwood/greens/musk as base. Now, I hate most woodsy notes and I'm downright fearful of strong vanilla scents. Fruit notes are fun but typically one-dimensional. Musks are at best boring and at worst offensive. Burberry miraculously captured the most amazing and foreign blend of these notes. The formulation is awesome as well. It is sheer enough to drench myself in this and not drown in fumes, making it perfect for nights out .Yet one spray is enough to linger until the end of the day (suitable for work). The scent really melts into your skin; it is as if you smell so delicious all on your own.

I’ve been buying this perfume for over 10 years and the one downfall of Burberry Classic is that sometimes you run the risk of buying a rancid bottle. This happened to me before when I bought from a discount perfume company. I thought I was saving money but instead I spent $40 on a bottle of expired fragrance. I’ve also had this problem at Sephora and department stores. They keep their EDTs and EDPs baking under a heated white light. You can actually feel a slight warmth radiating from the new, unopened boxes of fragrances! When I sprayed the tester, I could tell it was rancid by the extra metallic note that is not in the original.

Thankfully, I was able to try out FragranceNet.com. They gave me an opportunity to try some products that they carry and my Burberry Classic EDP came in perfect condition. One whiff through my expert nose told me that I got a fresh bottle of my beloved perfume. And the cherry on top: they sell my fragrance at a deep discount. I now have a place where I can replenish my Burberry Classic at a discount without having to worry about rancid perfumes.

Aside from carrying every designer fragrance, FragranceNet.com also carries lots of Guerlain and Yves Saint Laurent beauty collectibles at huge discounts. Remember the temporary insanity I suffered when I purchased YSL Rouge Volupte in Lingerie Pink? Had I known about the following item, I may not have succumbed to the spell that is YSL Rouge Volupte.

It’s called YSL Lip Twins, a lipstick and lipgloss duo that YSL launched years ago. It’s become quite the vintage beauty piece as the gold lipstick case SCREAMS gaudy perfection. It comes with a mirror and a usable lip brush hidden underneath the YSL logo. They don’t make them like this anymore, eh?I got this in Fuschia Orange #9 because it is contains the perfect summer shades. You twist the lipstick case to reveal the lipstick and gloss.

Another lip product I’ve been reaching for nonstop is the Revlon Bitten Lip Stain in Berry Juicy. Not the lip marker that just came out- This was a limited edition item that surfaced a few years back. It’s a liquid lip stain contained in a roller-ball bottle. Just a tiny dab in the center of my lips gives me the perfect see-through flush on my lips. I top it with a gloss like the YSL Lip Twins Orange and it looks like I have nectar on my lips. I was able to snatch this up at my local Ulta last year but I believe you can still find these online.

Another item Fragrancenet.com sent was the Aveda Rosemary Mint Shampoo. I fell in love with this shampoo while staying at a charming, beach-front hotel in Santa Barbara, CA. Instead of providing ambiguous soaps and shampoos that smell like bathroom cleaners, this hotel fits all of their rooms with Aveda toiletries. I’ve since stayed at this hotel numerous times after simply because of the toiletries. And since then, I’ve thought of Aveda Rosemary Mint Shampoo as the quintessential summer shampoo. Nothing comes close to getting that squeaky clean and tingling feeling. I’ve seen many attempted dupes of this scent but no one does it quite like Aveda.

I’ve been so loyal to my 100% Pure Cocoa-pigmented Bronzer that I hit pan on it! I never used to use bronzer before this, the fact that I’ve hit pan on this speaks volumes. The color I have is Brown Sugar and I think I'll try Honey next. It's rumored to be the perfect bronzer for pale skin. Click here to read my original review of this.

I was given an amazing eye shadow duo from Hourglass Cosmetics called Visionaire. I seriously have been reaching for this everyday last month. I have the color Prism, which consists of a blue-toned grey satin (the first and only blue-toned grey I’ve ever been able to wear) and a gorgeous deep black with teal sparkles. The texture of the shadow is just perfect- butter-soft and smooth. The wear is also very impressive.

The most exciting purchase last month would have to be the Sorelle Porcelain tea set Boyfriend and I bought on HSN. Now before you point your finger at the screen and laugh, I too once thought that Home Shopping Network was for grandmas who have a closet full of crystal bowls, glass pineapples and other knick-knacks qualified for White Elephant gift exchanges (nothing wrong with that at all; I'd like to be a grandma like them someday!). Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon this gorgeous 17-piece porcelain tea set. It is completely handmade and hand-painted. All the gold decoration you see is actual 24-karat gold! We bought this as a birthday gift for our friend Tabatha, she and her hubby always host the most wonderful gatherings in their home. This porcelain tea set could not have been more perfect.

It is pointless for me to link; the set became completely SOLD OUT a few hours after our purchase. We got 1 of the last 6 sets available- boy, did that tickle me so! I dare say that watching the sets deplete in quantity was even more exciting than hounding Ebay. I now know how those grandmas get addicted to HSN. I was much too excited when I was buying this that it didn’t occur to me that I NEED one too! I’m now sorry I didn’t buy one for myself (oh, how my heart ached a bit when I saw how beautiful the set was in person!). According to the HSN lady, this brand, Sorelle, won’t be coming out with another porcelain tea set for the rest of the year! *cries* Someone please tell me if there’s a way to manually block the HSN website from my computer for the time being- my wallet and I will thank you!

And with that I'll leave you with one of the HSN videos featuring the aforementioned tea set. I was slightly addicted to watching these when I first got the set. In this episode, a fellow HSN shopper phones in to rave about the Sorelle porcelain tea sets she owns: