Beauty RX: The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution


In my constant search for the best beauty products for my skin, I have recently started trying some products from the brand The Ordinary. When I started researching the brand, I learned their mission is to "raise pricing and communication integrity in skincare." They want to bring high quality, science backed ingredients to customers. Because of their commitment to transparency they don't hike up the prices of their products. 

The brand focuses on ingredient driven products. Each product is named after the ingredients and not the results, so the names can be a little intimidating. But after reading a little about each product, which the company's site has, you can find what products you  should use based on your skin's needs. All of the products are under $20 and most of them are under $10!

Once of the most hyped products is the AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution. This solution is a mask/peel and is meant to be washed off and not a serum. The mask's blood red color is equal parts intimidating and instagrammable. When applied, it looks like the expensive vampire facials so many celebrities rave about. The peel combines multiple ingredients to help exfoliate your skin. The AHA's & BHA's are two types of acids that will exfoliate off dead skin cells, oils and other things that are clogging your pores. 

The acids are at a very high concentration so it is very important to use the peel as directed. Wash your face and then completely dry it. Apply a full dropper of the mask to your face and let it sit. Immediately wash your hands so you don't irritate them. While the peel is on my face I felt a small tingly sensation. It doesn't hurt and stops after a few minutes. I actually liked the sensation because it made me think the mask is working. Don't use it more than twice a week and don't leave it on for more than 10 minutes. If you have sensitive skin, I highly recommend doing a spot treatment the first time you use it. Also the first time you use it on your full face, I would start with just a few minutes and eventually build up to 10 minutes. This can help avoid too much irritation. Once the time is up, completely rinse it off with lukewarm water. Because it is so strong, you don't want to use any retinoids, other acids or strong products on your skin after. I apply a thick layer of moisturizer (this is my current fav) on my face and that is it!


RESULTS

Immediately after using the peel my skin was softer and smoother. I had a lit from within glow that lasted a few days.  I can see how, overtime, this peel can help with textural issues and discoloration. This product seems so much more high end than the $10 price tag!

Since the peel is getting rid of the dead skin on my face, I know my other skincare products are penetrating and working better too. My nose, mouth and chin area are always trouble spots for me when it comes to break outs. This area has become even more congested now that mask wearing has become a thing. This product has helped immensely to cleanse and decongest the area and prevent "maskne". After using for over a month I have found a routine that works for me. I use it twice a week, once on my entire face and then once on just my chin, around my mouth and my nose area. If my skin is particularly irritated or red, I will only use it once a week or every other week. 

I've had a few of my friends try this product as well. They all reported softer and smoother skin too! One of them really didn't like the tingly feeling while the mask is on but she didn't have any irritation to her skin afterwards. 

Kara Krittenbrink
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Fall Wishlist: Shoes


Today is the last day of Summer and I'm more than ready to say goodbye to it. We have had a taste of Fall over the last few weeks with a bit of cooler temps. This inspired me to transition my closet from Summer to Fall last week. I got out my sweaters, boots and other Fall and Winter items that I don't have room for in my closet year round. I also packed away my sandals, sundresses and swimsuits. Anything else in my closet I believe can be worn year round with the right layers and transitional pieces.

Like every other season, I always have a few items on my wishlist. When online browsing all the new items that have come out, the first I noticed is combat boots. The style isn't anything knew but I think they will be a big trend this Fall and Winter. Everyone is currently dressing way more casual so it makes sense that combat boots would become a big trend. 

Personally I"m loving the embellished combat points. The feminine details create a contrast with the tough look of the boots. I especially love the pearl and plaid embellishments. The juxtaposition of the soft and hard features also allows the boots to go with more outfits. 

A popular way to wear combat boots is with feminine dresses. I definitely see myself styling them this way. I also think they will look great with my leather leggings and distressed denim. 

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Another shoe that I'm falling hard for is the open back mule. These are not new and also not necessarily just a Fall/Winter shoe but I'm dying to get a pair this season. I see them as the perfect every day shoe for the transitional weather we are about to have. Even when it is colder the mule will be a dressier option than the tennis shoes I've been living in but still easier to wear than heels. 

For work, the mules will go perfect with my dark denim and favorites sweaters. For less dressy moments, these shoes will add some style to my favorite leggings and oversized shirts or sweaters. Even a henley and distressed denim could use a pair of mules!

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Kara Krittenbrink
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My Anxiety Story: Part 1 It's Not All OOTDs


I’ve mentioned a few times here that I suffer from anxiety. Back in May, during Mental Health Awareness Month, I shared a little more about my struggle on Instagram. Every since that post I’ve wanted to share more, so I'm getting personal today! My hopes in this is to not only get a little deeper but to also connect to more people.

Today, I want to share the beginning of my anxiety and how it started to shape my life. In the future I want to share more on my journey with it and eventually get into how I cope with it and the steps I’ve taken in my life. Everyone’s anxiety is very different. I don’t expect anyone else to have the same exact same struggles that I have but maybe you can see a connection in parts of my story.

Although I didn’t always know what it was, I’ve had anxiety for as long as I can remember. As I was growing up I would stress at new changes. I loved school but I would worry failing, not having friends or not keeping up with my homework. I could find a hundred things to worry about and it would keep me on edge. My feelings went beyond the typical stress one feels and when I was a teenager started becoming much more intense. On my bad days, the typical social stresses we all have at that age could cause me to have a complete meltdown.

Many times my anxiety wasn’t triggered by something that was happening in my life but by something that could happen. My mind is constantly creating a ton of different scenarios of how things could turn out and what could happen. I would worry and fixate on the "what if’s" in life. Once I had these ideas, I couldn’t get rid of them. I had racing thoughts, feelings of dread and a lot of fear. I would even worry about how much I was worrying! This is when my anxiety changed from situational to more of a constant in my life. Many days I would have this “keyed up” feeling all day.

Like many, my anxiety shows itself in physical ways too. It typically starts with a heaviness in my chest that can move throughout my body. When it is really bad, my heart can race and I can feel short of breath. In High School I had my first panic attack which I can only describe as a mini heart attack with a feeling of a complete loss of control. Obviously a panic attack can be very scary, especially if you don’t know what it is. When I had my first one, my mom was with me and I was lucky that she knew what was happening and could calm me down. Then the worry of having another one added to my anxiety, which creates a vicious cycle. 

Obviously the changes that come with going to college can cause stress and a little anxiety for anybody. While exciting, all the “new” in the life of a college freshman can be a bit overwhelming. I loved my new life and being at OU was so much fun but of course it added many challenges for me. Making new friends, trying to feel comfortable, managing school and trying to have a social life pretty much consumed me. Add to that the unhealthy eating and lack of sleep that is a signature of college life and I had primed myself for more anxiety and panic attacks.

What some people don’t quite understand about anxiety is how people live with it. While I had a high level of anxiety, I could still go about my day, study, have fun and kind of hide the struggles I was having. Not that this is healthy, but I learned to separate the different “boxes” of my life and shut off what I wasn’t focused on in the moment. I would put difficult emotions or what I was dealing with in these boxes and not deal with them. This doesn’t mean the anxiety wasn’t there, it was more that I was ignoring and not working thru it. And in the long run this increased my anxiety. 

Because I was hiding most of my feelings and worries from myself, I was also keeping them from my family and friends. I am lucky to have incredible people in my life but I am naturally someone that doesn't easily share things. So never did I even think that I should be sharing about my anxiety with anyone. I didn't see how sharing could help me, so why would I burden those I loved with this? People in my life could probably see that I was stressed but I think I did a pretty good job at hiding the level at which I was struggling. Having some anxiety herself, my mom could recognize that I did too. She was the only one that I felt even slightly comfortable in being open with my struggle. Her and I always had a close relationship and talked daily so I would give her some details about my anxiety level. But most of the time this only happened when she asked about it several times or when it was so high I was about to burst. 

I really thought my level of anxiety and the constant heavy feeling I had was normal. And honestly it had basically become my new normal. When you have this same consistent feeling most days, it is hard to remember a time without it. Because I didn't really think I could help this feeling, I wasn't doing any work to make it better. I also thought that since I was doing well in school and making friends at college that I must be ok. And since I wasn't sharing with really anyone, no one could tell me that I shouldn't have to live with this intense level of anxiety. One of the biggest symptoms I struggle with is difficulty sleeping. I could lay in bed for hours and not fall asleep, even though I was exhausted. Then on nights when I could fall asleep, I would wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to fall back asleep. 

Only in hindsight did I realize I was boxing up my feelings. It was a subconscious way my mind taught me to cope so that I could live my life. I still had plenty of joy and fun in my life so I didn't see the problem in what I was doing. Not until I started therapy in my mid 20’s would I learn how to break this habit and that dealing with my anxiety, and all the emotions that come with it, was the only way that I could actually alleviate it.

Like I stated before, this is the just the beginning of my struggle. For me, anxiety will be a lifelong struggle and I am thankful that I have the opportunity and platform to share with you. Later this month, I’ll be sharing the next part of my story and how 2 major life events affected it.   

Kara Krittenbrink
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