Detox Your Beauty For the New Year

Whenever I clean up after Christmas, it usually spills over into a mini-house-cleanout.  The change to a new year provides the perfect opportunity to look through your cabinets, drawers, cosmetic bags, and shower (*gulp*) to do a little detox on your beauty!

  • Get rid of expired products

You've likely gotten some new goodies for Christmas, so even out the influx of stuff by getting rid of some things, too.  Almost-gone tubs of conditioner or lotion, or makeup products that you've kept because they're not quite done yet but you might want to use them later (but you haven't touched them in a year) - TIME TO TOSS!  Other culprits include old mascara (3 month shelf life), ancient eyeshadow, goopy nail polish, or items that have developed an odor like lipgloss or liquid foundation.  Anything that doesn't fit into the toss category but still doesn't need to be cluttering up your drawers, donate to friends who might enjoy trying those products.

  • Clean & organize what you have

Put loose bobby pins into a cute mini glass jar, clean out your hairbrush (because really, when was the last time you did that?), get a new toothbrush, and put like with like (all lip things together, all brushes together, etc). Any powder compacts or palettes that you have (blush, eyeshadow) - spritz with 70% Isopropyl alcohol to kill any bacteria that might be lingering around, and let dry. It'll put a little pep in your step to enjoy where you get ready, knowing that everything is clean and organized!

  • Winterize your routine

It's helpful to have a different skincare, makeup, and hair routine for the cold winter months!  The cold air outside and dry heat inside zaps our skin and hair of moisture, and our skin looks lighter!  I vary 1-2 shades in foundation from winter to summer, so I have a separate lighter foundation for winter.  Consider getting matched to your current skin tone for your winter shade. Avoid using a powder, since skin doesn't get as shiny in the winter, and the powder will pick up any dry flakes on your skin.  Use a nourishing, moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and air dry whenever possible to maintain moisture.  Use a rich body cream all over, including the tops of your feet and backs of your hands, and apply as soon as you towel off after a shower, and every day between showers.  My favorite body lotion for winter is Aveeno Positively Nourishing Calming.  Consider using a facial oil (my favorite is No. 3 Balancing Oil from Beautycounter - serious life changer) and a moisturizer for day (like Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion) and night (Beautycounter Rejuvenating Night Cream is my favorite right now.)  

  • Purchase items free of toxic chemicals, parabens, & sulfates

If you're purchasing any new items, please consider doing a little research about the toxic chemicals that are present in many of our beauty and body care products in the US!  In the EU, over 1400 ingredients are banned from cosmetics and skincare - in the US, only 11 are banned.  The last time our Congress passed a law to ban certain ingredients from cosmetics was 1938.  Not even joking.  I am super passionate about raising awareness of this very REAL issue as a professional in this industry, so you can make informed decisions for yourselves and your families!  Consider reading these two easy-to-follow posts from HuffPost: here and here, for more info!  I have decided to partner with Beauty Counter in particular, a line that has a list of over 1500 ingredients they refuse putting in their cosmetics, hair care, and skin care - and they are fighting to have Congress update their regulations on cosmetics and personal care products for our safety. Plus, their products work beautifully!! If you want any recommendations of Beauty Counter products that would be great for you, email me at or leave a comment below!

  • Go with less!

One of my favorite things to do in the winter is to up my skincare game, and do less everywhere else.  Airdry your hair, and avoid using heated tools.  You may also consider using a serum, such as Repair & Nourish Split End Serum.  Go as many days as you can without wearing any makeup (or at least no foundation) to let your skin breathe and rest - and just to reset on remembering what really makes you beautiful.  Let your nails get some time to breath (on your fingers and toes) without any polish on them for at least a week, focusing on filing, buffing, and oiling instead.  Try French Girl Organics cuticle oil for a luxurious treat for your nails!  

Image via Pint Sized Beauty

Here's to a happy, healthy, beautiful new year (and perpetually organized cabinets : )



ASK SAM - best Cleansing routine after working out?

Between all of the consult emails going on with all of my clients, I get asked a lot of questions! 

This one is from an upcoming bride who just added a daily workout every morning before work, and wanted to know the best routine for her skincare while prepping for wedding time.  Read my suggestions below!

Hi Sam!
I have recently started weightlifting at the gym 5 days a week before work (yay sweat...) Do you have any recommendations on how to beautify my skin and keep it clean even with all the sweating and cold weather? 
After workouts, I use the Garnier SkinActive Clean+ Purifying Oil-Free Cleansing Wipes, followed by Philosophy Purity Made Simple Face Wash and Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Facial Wash, and finished with either Philosophy Hope in a Jar or Olay Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream.
With going from the gym and work, I'm probably just going to start swiping on mascara as far as makeup goes. But let me know any suggestions! I don't usually get any breakouts, but I do usually have redness in my cheeks.

here are my thoughts:

Do a little less

Since you're working out in the morning, I would recommend doing a little less in terms of skin cleansing post-workout.  It seems a little counterintuitive with more sweating, but our faces are still fairly clean in the morning if you washed your face the night before.  I would suggest just going straight to working out without doing anything to your skin.  Then, after working out, I would only do your Philosophy Purity Made Simple Face Wash followed by a serum (see below!) and then  whichever moisturizer you use.  

Add a Serum

I would also suggest adding a serum into your routine, which would be applied after washing, before moisturizer.  Since you're already using Olay Regenerist for a moisturizer, I would recommend their serum, which is a really reasonable price point and works well!

Go Bare

The more foundation-free days we can give our skin, the better, so you could incorporate 2-3 days of that in a week to let your skin breathe!

Leave Deep Cleaning for nighttime 

It is more important to wash thoroughly in the evenings, after a day of makeup, residue, and sweat.  Generally, I would bypass the facial wipes and use a warm washcloth instead to help wipe off makeup at the end of the day only.  I would only use the Exfoliating facial wash 2-3 times a week, only at night, in place of the Purity Made Simple wash (instead of one after the other.)  

If you ever work out after work, only then would I use the facial wipes to wipe off makeup from the work day, then work out, then do the Purity Made Simple wash, serum, and moisturize.

Drink LOTS of water!

I know that seems like it won't make a difference, but I assure you, it will!! Do as much as you can to avoid dehydrating (coffee, sodas, alcohol) and doing extra hydrating with water!

Hope these tips help!  Everyone's skin is different, so if you notice irritation, redness, or increased breakouts, talk to your esthetician or dermatologist for the best pre-wedding skin plan for your needs.  Try not to make too many changes to your skincare routine once you are within 6 months of your wedding date!

With blush & bobby pins,


5 Tips for When You're Stressed Out

Simple, small, and doable - these 5 steps won't take too much time, and will have huge benefits for the heart, body, and mind when stress hits!

Take a break

A real one, before the point of no return.  You know the drill - you get into a rhythm and then fancy yourself wonder-woman with magical abilities to get it all done before the end of the day, even though you're super stressed and tense.  Then you end up curled up in a ball, staring blankly at the crossed-off to do's, frantically grasping for the "off" switch in your brain.  If you're going to get it done, get it done well.  Give your mind, eyes, and body a break, and go outside for ten minutes.  Open up the windows and sit in the sun.  Read a fun magazine.  Whatever you do, change your scenery.  When you come back, you will have a clearer mind to prioritize the remainder of your tasks with even more efficiency.

Phone a friend

Someone completely unrelated to your source of stress.  Chat over the phone (yes, actual phone call, not texting! Friendly familiar voices are awesome to hear!) or meet up for a quick coffee.  Vent a little if you need it - but don't camp out there.  Ask them how they are doing, and listen. Thinking about someone else is the quickest way I get out of a stress slump.


and make it fancy for optimal in-sight,  in-mind gulps.  I love using big ol' mason jars, a whole lot of ice, a straw, and will often infuse lemon, cucumber, or mint.  Dehydration is a sneaky culprit for many-a meltdown, so treat yourself with some kindness and keep the waters coming!  Find the recipe for the above infused water here, via Wholefully!

Eat a snack

one healthy and one fun - that's my recipe!  I might cut up an apple into slices, with a little PB to dip it in, and then have a few squares of dark chocolate to indulge in.    Put it on a pretty plate with a little napkin.  Make it fun to look at and eat.  This will provide a little, kind pick-me-up for a stressful day.

Reward yourself with something that feeds your soul

Love to hike?  Plan a day hike for a weekend coming up.  Love fresh blooms?  Go get some for yourself! Give yourself something to look forward to that will remind you that your current situation is temporary, life is beautiful, and you are loved!

Do you have any go-to's for when you're overwhelmed or stressed?  I'd love to hear, comment below with your faves!

With blush & bobby pins,