Clearing Skin Wash




Made for adult acne, Clearing Skin Wash is a gel based cleanser that is a texturally similar to Special Cleansing Gel but with heightened benefits of Dermal Clay Cleanser. The MediBac Clearing line is specifically designed to deal with the challenges of adult acne and Clearing Skin Wash is a key element to clear skin!


This is exclusively for adult acne sufferers. Personally I found this to be a little over drying for my skin in the long run but my grade of acne is a 2, a worst, so anyone who is a solid 2 or above will really love this product. I started the MediBac line by purchasing the skin kit which contained a travel size version of Clearing Skin Wash, for 2 months I used this exclusively and credit it with clearing a good 50% of my acne alone. I started to feel an over-tightness in my skin around month 3 with this product but then began alternating with a cream cleanser and that has balanced my skin.

Salicylic acid helps stimulate cell renewal and clear impacted pores to prevent and shorten the lifespan of acne. Echinacea purpurea extract, Lemon peel extract, and Matricaria flower extract are anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory which helps bring down redness and shrink any breakouts instantly.

If you feel that acne is something that is troubling you I’d highly recommend getting the skin kit. Always confirm with a skin therapist in your area that these products will be right for you. Not everyone will need to use these products at the same frequency, so if you really only get acne around ‘that time of the month’ this would be a great kit to use that week only.
If you’re unfamiliar with the 4 grades of acne you can find more information here:


After Precleanse removal, with wet hands and a damp face, take a pea-sized amount and emulsify between your hands and apply to face. When emulsifying the product there really is no wrong way to do it, whether you reach the super foamy level in your hands first or on your face- it will work!

I also highly recommend using cool water over hot water. Hot water will stimulate inflammation and encourage red areas to stay red. Using tepid water will help boost the soothing botanicals that make Clearing Skin Wash such a great product. Again, the Sponge Cloth will be a huge help to fighting friction based irritation and go a long way to soothing acne away!

This is also a great product to use as a make-up brush cleanser or as a Sponge Cloth cleanser. It might sound funny to use skin care products to cleanse these items but if you really think about the fillers, fragrances, and other irritating ingredients that are in laundry detergent and brush cleaners that you would never dream of putting on your face it makes sense not to use them on these products either! At my Dermalogica classes in Boston this is the cleansing product that is used to clean every brush and bowl that we use in our hands-on practicals.


Visit to order or find a skin therapist near you for a free skin analysis!


Sponge Cloth



The Sponge Cloth is an amazing tool- its much more than a face towel! Made from alcohol molecules (yes, alcohol fabric!) this tool will aid your removal of any dermalogica product without giving bacteria a place to grow. Because it is not made from any natural fibers, bacteria can not find a place to hide or grow- keeping your skin care routine free from contamination by bacteria riddled face towels.


The Sponge Cloth is for all skin types! Its gentle enough to use on acne and sensitive skin and strong enough to grab onto any product for a thorough removal!


Fresh out of the packaging this hot little number will need to be rinsed thoroughly. You’ll notice its amazingly soft texture right away! Once you’re done using it for the day I suggest to rinse it with some anti-bacterial soap or one of the foaming cleansers if you use one- skin clearing wash works best.
Make sure to designate a special place to hang this where it won’t be disturbed until you need it again. When the Sponge Cloth dries it also hardens (which also helps fight off bacteria). This great tool can also go through your washing machine! Just be sure not to add it to a load with fabric softener or bleach!
This cloth is also biodegradable, so it will need to be replaced from time to time. Dermalogica is all about making things earth friendly so this will begin to tear and degrade after prolonged use. Its suggested to get a new one every 6 months but I’ve had mine for 5 months now and its showing no signs of wear!


Visit to order or find a skin therapist near you!

Dermal Clay Cleanser




Made to fight excess oil production, this cleanser is great for anyone with mild acne! Clay and calming botanicals clear out oil and calm breakouts all while getting your skin as clean as can be!


This is defiantly only for oily skin types. The clay and other active ingredients all battle over oil production and refine pores.

Bentonite and Kaolin clay absorb oil from the skin while physically clearing congestion. Sage and cucumber calm the skin and are backed up by menthol that gives your skin a cool feeling- all of which are key to not irritating acne breakouts, decreasing inflammation, and ultimately clearing acne away sooner. Sambucus, ivy, and lemon also work as natural astringents that also help gently refine your skin’s texture. This is a great cleanser that will remove excess oil and help lock in water based moisture into your skin when using a good regimen!

I recommend this for someone who suffers from grade 1-2 acne. If you’re unfamiliar with the 4 grades of acne you can find more information here:


After Precleanse removal, with wet hands and a damp face, take a large almond-sized amount and massage into the skin with upward strokes. This can also be left on for 5 minutes before rinsing as a ‘mini masque’. Remove with warm water and the Sponge Cloth, sponges, or a facial towel. If you are an acne sufferer I highly recommend investing in a Sponge Cloth or professional grade facial towels, the softness of these fabrics will not aggravate breakouts like a rough hand towel will and keep inflammation down, allowing it to heal (and disappear!) sooner.


Visit to order or find a skin therapist near you for a free skin analysis!

Dermalogica: An Overview of Segmented Lines



Today I am going to introduce you to the segmented lines of Dermalogica! Each of these segments had a specific goal that they were developed for. They are about more than skin health, they are about creating major changes in your skin.
I truly believe that anyone can use anything from Dermalogica but not everyone should be using every product from the segmented lines so make sure your skin is ready for these products before purchasing by getting a skin analysis.

AGE Smart fights premature ageing for any age, 19-90 there will be a product here for you! AGE stands for Advanced Glycation End-products which create a chemical reaction in the skin that leads to degraded collagen, inflammation (which later turns into pigmentation), and inhibits cell turn over. I love everything Dermalogica makes but this line has a special place in my heart because of multivitamin thermafoliant. *sigh* I’ll get into that jem later!

UltraCalming is for seriously sensitive/sensitized skin! Again this is a line that has something for everyone but is really made for those who are having a hard time finding products that don’t freak their skin out. I don’t care who you are or what is wrong with your skin- if you use this line for 6 months your skin will be able to transition to even the strongest of Dermalogica products. Barrier repair is the ‘duct tape’ of Dermalogica’s products and just one of the awesome products from the UltraCalm line!

MediBac Clearing is a gift from the heavens for acne! As someone who has acne prone, oily skin I’ve never seen my skin become so blemish free- and stay that way! My favorite ‘hero product’ from here is the clearing mattifier- made as a skin treatment but doubles as a make up primer! Severe acne sufferers this line is for you! If getting rid of your acne is at the top of your priority list I highly recommend getting the skin kit immediately. The $42 investment should last you at least 3 months, after that I suggest getting face mapped again to make adjustments in your product purchases- personally I found the cleanser to be a little too drying for me after the 3 months.

ChromaWhite TRx might be the last line on my list but its the first true skin brightening product. Unlike skin lightening products that bleach your skin, ChromaWhite only removes unnatural pigmentation from your skin- so say good bye to acne scars and sun spots and hello to your natural skin tone! I’ve only been using tri-active cleanse as my cleanser for 2 months now and it has made a huge difference! I don’t think I’ll ever be brave enough to face the world bare faced but if any product would get me there it would be this line! Its packed with calming ingredients that sooth the skin while gently exfoliating pigmented skin cells away.

Keep an eye out for the tags AGE Smart, UltraCalming, MediBac Clearing, and ChromaWhite TRx if any of these lines interest you so you can be sure to catch every review of their products!

On top of these segmented lines there is also the ‘skin health’ or ‘grey’ line. If you are new to Dermalogica I highly recommend beginning here. The skin kits come in 4 varieties: oily, normal/oily, normal/dry, and dry. Using these kits as a starting point will allow you to get your skin detoxed and stabilized. For most people they grey line makes up their primary skin care components and only need a few choice items from the segmented lines. Once the skin kit supply runs out you will be able to invest in larger sized products confidently.
A lot of people can get scared away by the price tag of these products but use-per-use you will not get a better bang for your buck from any other company. In comparison, Proactive starts off at $40 a month but after the trial period goes up to around $60, Dermalogica skin kits are in the $40 range but will last you a minimum of 3 months if you are correctly using the product. I haven’t bought moisturizer in 4 months and I’m only now needing another. The moisturizer I have only hold 1.7 oz of product! Invest in your skin’s health and be beautiful from the inside out!

Dermalogica: A Product by Product Series Review



Over the next few weeks I will review every single product by Dermalogica!

These last few months have been busy for me- I opened a salon for my job, hired an esthetician for our new store, and have been going to Dermalogica classes. I am only a few classes away from completing Dermalogica’s Expert Program! Becoming a Dermalogica Expert means that I have spent dozens of training hours with their educators learning everything there is to know about their products and who they would work best for. Now I’m going to share that knowledge with you!

Dermalogica is a company that I whole heartedly believe in. Their products work for everyone- and I mean everyone! The only time I’ve ever heard of people not liking the results it was from one of 2 reasons: they weren’t using it correctly or they were given the wrong items to use!

They believe in being good to our planet and the people on it. Dermalogica uses as many recycled materials in their packaging as they can and everything is biodegradable. They are also a humanitarian company and have their own charity to help women in developing countries. All of their products are made in the USA. Their products work because of their extensive research and meticulous vetting that each product goes through. They recently pulled a product from the market because they found a small number of adverse reactions were happening. This might sound like a duh to most people but when this happens with other companies their reaction is not the same- they ignore it and blame the consumer’s improper use. Dermalogica investigates it and removes the product from the market until they have an answer.


Using a product incorrectly can mean quite a few things-  using too much or too little, too often or not often enough, using it in conjunction with the wrong products or using it in a way that it is not intended for. If you’re going to make the investment in professional quality skin care treatments do it with both feet! Changing in half measures will only get you so far and will negatively impact your results. As fantastic as Dermalogica products are, if you’re only using their cleanser and a drug store moisturizer you won’t have much luck changing your skin.

Not everyone is well educated on Dermalogica products, so don’t assume the person helping you at Ultra has been trained! Ask about their education- are they an esthetician, how many Dermalogica classes have they been to, which ones, where do they fall on Dermalogica’s certification scale? At a minimum they should be Certified and have a pin/certificate to back it up. Even then, asking for a Specialist or Expert would be your best approach.

Here is a link to finding a Dermalogica Certified Skin Therapist in your area:

Please keep in mind that this will serve as a guide to help narrow your search for products but it will not replace having a trained professional getting their hands and eyes on your skin. Every skin therapist will prescribe a different routine based on their personal and professional experiences with products, no answer is wrong as long as there is an educated and experienced mind behind it!

Where you should buy beauty products

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There are many ways to get professional grade beauty products. The most common are from a local convenience store, online, and from a beauty professional. One of the most troubling problems with products in the beauty industry is divergence.
Divergence is when products made for use or sale by licensed professionals only find their way onto eBay or in the beauty isle at your local Walmart. A budget conscious shopper might feel that they are getting a better deal on their products by shopping online or in Walmart but often the items sold in these venues are either expired, illegally sold, or both.

Professional products found in grocery stores are often sold by a sales rep for that company with bad faith, meaning that they have knowledge that the products will not be sold in accordance with the company’s guildlines. Once these products are in the purchaser’s hands they are usually stored in a warehouse, sometimes for years, until the product’s bar codes cycle out of use. New bar code stickers are created and then the products are sold to any willing buyer.

This kind of practice leads to clients unwittingly using expired products.

Most people assuming that if they are getting their products from Target or Walmart that it is also cheaper than what they would pay at a salon. Most often than not, you will actually pay $2-$3 more for the expired product!

Buying items online through eBay and Amazon is also on the rise. This again follows a similar story line with a sales rep- but sometimes its the sales rep themselves profiting from the online sales. I’ve actually done searches on eBay and Amazon for a product line that I use and turned the seller’s information to their legal departments. During my search I found a lot of products that I wasn’t familiar with, I asked one of the company’s educators about them and she told me some of those had been discontinued 3-4 years earlier. All of those products were labeled as new and/or never opened.

When ever you are considering a purchase, consider where you are. Is the shampoo/conditioner giant bottle bundle really worth the asking price? If getting a ‘deal’ on a product means more to you than the quality of what’s in the bottle is it really worth it to buy professional brands at all?
It can be hard to buy professional products with a small budget but wouldn’t it be better to talk to your stylist about your budget and get their help finding a solution than to buy something expired? If it was me, I’d drop my commission just to make sure you were getting a better quality product. I probably wouldn’t do it for a client that only seemed to want to nickel and dime me but I’d have no hesitation to do it for someone who was genuinely struggling with a budget factor. Then once they see how great a fresh batch of product is I’m sure they’d realize the little bit of money this product costs saves them more in the long run on hair cuts, color treatments, ect.

Are you paying enough for your services?

The economy has been bad for a few years now, everyone is looking to save a buck any way they can and often this means fewer visits to your beauty professionals. In response to this some beauty professionals have dropped prices or created bundling specials, others have stopped raising their prices, while others have held steady and are waiting the recession out.

What determines the price for your service:

For every kind of service there is a standard cost. This cost is determined by the cost of the supplies, labor/time, and the experience/education of the service provider.

The cost of the supplies can make a huge difference in price for some services. Extensions come to my mind first- the better quality the hair the more expensive the service, specially if the procedure of installing the hair requires expensive specialty tools.

Labor/time can make a big difference in the cost of a service, and labor/time costs can vary from stylist to stylist. Some stylists set their prices based on how long it takes them to complete the service. For example a perm might not have expensive supply costs, but if it is not a service the stylist does on a regular basis it will take them much longer to complete- so they will charge more. Even if a service is fast to complete but labor intensive for the beauty professional the price can be affected- pedicures often cost more than a manicure because the body position of the nail professional is crouched down and more taxing on the body than a manicure.

Most commonly a factor in the cost of hair services, experience/education can be a huge cost factor. A study was recently done by a morning news show that compared hair cuts at varied costs- one was a low end cut at around $15, another around $40, then one at $80 and a fourth at nearly $200. When strangers were asked which cut looked more expensive or better the $40 look won. This is not to say that big price tags are not worth the investment. Like I said there are a lot of factors that create prices for services, many salons impose pricing standards and dictate when, and how much a stylist can raise their prices. Sometimes the criteria for raising prices is how long the stylist has been with the company, how many classes/training courses they have attended, or how many clients they have. I feel this $40 cut won the popular vote because of the finishing this stylist put into their cut.

This stylists passion for their work out shined the other cuts, it is passion that greatly determines the outcome of any service. Everyone has a budget but take a stylists passion into account. Talk to the stylists before getting a service and find the one who you feel best understands what you’re looking for or the one you feel asks the right questions. These ‘right’ questions will be different for every one but they should all be a variation of ‘what do you want from your hair?’. Whether its about how much time youll spend on styling, your lifestyle, it should be more than just the basics of how long or short you want it.


The industry ‘standard’ is between 15-20% of the cost of the service but is all too often skipped or under done. Even if you are not 100% satisfied with the results there is a reason a stylist stops the service. It could be any number of reasons but always make sure you talk with them to find out why they finished their service the way they did.

For example, I read a lot about women being unsatisfied with a coloring service. Most often I hear of them having dyed black hair but now want it blonde and are unsatisfied with the reddish brown hair they leave with. As a cosmetologist 3 things come to my mind that justify this move by their stylists 1) Their hair would have become fried if the stylist tried to bleach the hair up that much and 2) Predicting how long it will take for hair to lift is a tricky thing to estimate- everyone’s hair is different and the stylist did not have enough time scheduled to complete the service to the clients desires 3) the labor of the service is more than they can handle in one sitting-it takes about 3 hours to bleach my hair up and while I might feel a little stiff at the end of it I know my stylist is exhausted by the end of the service from constantly moving.

There is a huge difference between a professional who is plain lazy and another who is taking the well being of your hair into consideration- this should be your basis for tipping!

How To Use Your Tools



All too often I see some ladies admire a picture for the styling and think a hair cut is what will make their hair look like the model’s. That might be a part of getting the style you desire but most often how you use your tools is much more important.


The type of curl or wave pattern is determined by the angle that the hair is wrapped around the iron, how you hold your iron, and how it cools.

By taking a flat section of your hair and flatly wrapping it around your curling iron you will get a softer look when it is brushed out, its great for an old Hollywood look or beach waves. Another option is to twist the hair as your wrap it around the iron, this makes the sections stay more divided and more like a curled rather than wavy texture.

The angle you hold your iron is also very important for the final results. For an old Hollywood wave I use my iron in a vertical fashion, with a slight tilt (almost parallel to the outer half of my eyebrow) in the front sections. When I want more of a Marilyn Monroe type of curl I hold the iron horizontally.

Finally, the cooling position of the hair is the most under used and highly important step of the whole service. If you’re hair is notorious for loosing its curl completely or not holding the shape you want for more than an hour this is the step that will change your life. For old Hollywood waves I don’t pin my hair, but I will hold a curl for about 30 seconds after removing the iron. The Marilyn look needs to be pinned to the roots until it goes ice cold. If you have extremely difficult hair this will take some practice before it looks perfect. You not only have to train your hands to do what they need to do but your hair needs to learn how to hold the shape as well. Ask a naturally curly friend of yours who straightens their hair daily- they’ll tell you that their hair isn’t as curly or as hard to keep straightened as it used to be. It’s because their hair and their hands have learned to do what they practiced doing!


Sectioning is important for all kinds of styling but I really feel that with straightening it can make or break a styling. The angle of the sections and their size are the most important things to keep in mind.

When I had my hair in a forward bob, longer in the front and short in the back, I found diagonal sections with the hair directed towards my face worked best.

As far as sizing goes, it should be proportionate to the size of the iron. If you use a mini iron your sections will be much shorter than if you use a larger iron, however the thickness of each section should never be more than one inch! Taking sections larger than an inch are not evenly distributing heat to your hair, and if your hair is curly you’ll spend more time going over your hair again and again to get every bit of it straight than if you just take smaller sections to begin with. By taking less hair in each section you’re going to get more control of how each section looks.

Some styles can be done multiple ways so try things out and find what works best for you.


For more styling guidance please also read my other post What Tools You Should Be Using.

Lengths like Rapunzel


While many celebrities and hairstylists are claiming that cutting it all off is the summer trend I can bet that most of us dreamed of having long, lush hair at least once in our lives. Why does it seem to take an eternity for our locks to reach those lengths? Well here I will explain the basics of hair growth rate and what you can do to make the most of it.


Hair grows at a set length, it will vary for each person, but on average only about 1/2 an inch a month. At 6 inches a year it will be a slow process to reach those mermaid lengths, but they are attainable! The chart below is my favorite illustration of hair’s growth rate from bald to waist length.


Hair also has 3 stages of growth: anagen, catagen, and telogen. In the anagen phase the root of the hair is actively being fed by proteins in your blood and is actively growing. These hairs will hurt when they are pulled out accidentally. The catagen phase is when the root begins to detach from the blood supply, the hair will no longer be receiving protein and the root will begin to shrink- these hairs are the ones that you find most often in your hair brush. Eventually the hair will fall out completely. The telogen phase is the resting period between a hair falling out and when a new hair begins to grow. The image below illustrates the 3 stages.



There are a few things to keep in mind when growing out your locks, some might sound counter productive, but they are your best chance at reaching the length you are looking for.

Trim Regularly: Cut your hair to grow it. Like I said- some things will sound counter productive but I promise they’re not! Keeping your hair split end free will allow it to grow longer than if you never trimmed your hair. Hair is dead by definition- if it was alive we would feel pain when it gets trimmed. That being said, split ends are like mummified bodies- dried out, empty, and easily broken. To keep that ‘mummified’ texture from spreading up to the rest of your hair shaft the hair must be cut. Skipping trims can lead to hair breaking off or causing more hair to be cut off later! The trick with trims is to get them done as soon as they are needed. For most people that will mean a salon visit every 6-8 weeks.

Style Smartly: Using styling tools are beneficial now, but the damage they could be doing can cause your hair to require more frequent trims and more time to reach your desired length. Make sure you are using your tools correctly and at the right settings! No-heat styling should be your new best friend. Read my post about what tools to use, and how to use them here.

Moisturize me: Keep your hair moisture rich- this means conditioning treatments. Spending major bucks at a salon for this is not required but not discredited either. I definitely recommend having your hair analyzed by a professional from time to time. Hair types vary, just like skin types, some people are prone to dry hair and others are not. If you are prone to dry hair then conditioning treatments are something you should be considering at least once a week. If you are lucky enough to be one of those annoyingly perfect hair types of people (cough) then conditioning treatments should still be something you do from time to time but not nearly as frequently as dry hair types.


Anything that you can get over the counter that claims to increase your hair’s rate of growth is lying. Nothing applied topically (shampoos or serums) or taken orally (pills and vitamins) will have any affect on your rate of growth. If there was truly a miracle product it would make major headlines and infomercials would be unnecessary.

That being said, they can’t hurt either. Hair needs protein and blood flow to grow. If a shampoo or scalp serum has an ingredient that increases blood flow, then it can encourage hair to grow. A pill or vitamin might not provide the exact protein that your body needs to produce hair, but it can encourage the absorption of these proteins. The important thing to keep in mind when considering these ‘miracle’ products is to remember that growing hair takes more patience than most of us would like, and this product will not get your hair to the length you want over night.


Growing long locks is a slow process but maintaining healthy hair will get you there. You have already educated yourself about how hair grows so now you can make better decisions about how to style, trim, and condition your hair. True ‘miracle’ products might not exist, but now you are better equipped to weed out the gimmicks and find products that really can encourage your hair to grow at the fastest rate possible.

Whatever length you’re at right now, don’t lose hope! Just think about how great you will feel once you reach your dream length and push on!

Thank You

I didn’t realize how quickly I have been gaining a following! I know I’ve been blogging a few months but I was talking about it to a friend the other day and underestimated my number of subscribed followers! I am very glad to be wrong and appreciate that my thoughts matter to you!

I want to make this the best blog I can write so please submit questions to me! Anything that has to do with hair, make up, skin care, and animal related questions are my main focus but I am willing to take on anything. I started writing this blog because I believe that sharing knowledge improves lives and can improve our world. Even though sharing something like how to apply lip liner is a small thing, if it is shared with an audience of women from a nation that traditionally frowns upon make up then that means things are changing there!

Big changes always start small and I believe in inspiring small changes everyday.

I get inspiration from everywhere and I want to include more of you in that process, so please start a dialogue with me about what you want to know and what inspires you!

Find me on Instagram @dinacristina to discover the extent of  what a crazy cat lady I am!