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Elysiann’s Beauty Vault

Women’s Equality Day 8/26/14: 94th anniversary of 19th amendment

Posted on: August 22nd, 2014 by Elysiann Bishop

Womens EqualityWhen the 19th Amendment was certified on August 26, 1920, it granted women the right to vote. It was a triumph that was a long time coming. Most historians cite the first women’s rights conference at Seneca Falls in 1848 as the official start of the fight for women’s suffrage – where visionaries including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott set the tone.

In the 72 years between Seneca Falls and certification of the 19th amendment the battle continued – demonstrations were held, marches executed, speeches given, editorials written, and pamphlets distributed. In fact, the first picket lines ever at The White House were comprised of women’s suffrage sympathizers.

On the 50th anniversary of the 19th Amendment Certification, August 26, 1970, The National Organization for Women (NOW) organized a nationwide Women’s Strike for Equality. On this day, women came out in droves to support equal opportunity in employment, education, and child care. It was the largest gender equality protest in US history – in New York City alone, 50,000 women marched down Fifth Avenue. One year later in 1971, US Representative Bella Azbug of New York successfully introduced a bill designating August 26 as Women’s Equality Day.

It’s easy to take for granted the tireless efforts of generations who came before us, and hard to face the frontiers that have yet to be conquered. A worthy point to remember is the sheer amount of time, patience, and determination it has taken over the decades to gain rights for women. That dedication is necessary for any lasting change – be it a change in your own personal health and wellness, or change on a more global level.

As we honor and celebrate achievements in equality for women, consider how these activists have helped shape your life today – and take inspiration from their perseverance to bring about good.

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Healthier Lifestyle, Better Skin: 5 Ways to Improve Skin

Posted on: August 15th, 2014 by Elysiann Bishop

Healthier LifestyleIf you’re reading this, you might be a skincare enthusiast – the type who respects her skin and tends to it with a thorough regimen of cleansing, exfoliation, hydrating treatments, and more. You never leave the house without sunscreen. But have you ever stopped to think about your lifestyle and how it may impact your skin? Take a look at 5 tips for skin that are outside the scope of your everyday skincare regimen:

1.    Reduce sugar intake: Even if you think you’re watching your sugar intake, you might be getting more than you bargained for – products like salad dressings and breads can be laced with the stuff. If you’re one for hitting the vending machine to combat that afternoon slump or snacking at night, you’re definitely overdoing it. Sugary foods and drinks contribute to the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin – leading to dullness and wrinkles over time. That’s something to remember the next time sugar cravings strike!

2.    Consume less alcohol and caffeine: Alcohol and caffeine dehydrate the body and skin, making skin appear dull and lifeless. In addition, alcohol can inflame skin and make it blotchy. Try to limit drinks to one or two at any occasion, and drink plenty of water in between to keep hydrated. Stick to one cup of Joe in the morning if you can – your skin will thank you.

3.    Get enough sleep: Less than 7 hours of sleep each night can make skin duller and fine lines more obvious. Watching TV when you can’t sleep is a bad idea too – it can inhibit melatonin production, which can throw of circadian rhythms and cause skin cells to stop turning over efficiently. Skip the screens, and try a bath or book when sleep eludes you.

4.    Change your pillowcase: You pillowcase can harbor oils, dead skin cells, and bacteria. That said, it’s ideal to change it out for a clean one twice a week. While you’re at it, swap your pillowcases for silk or satin – rougher cotton pillowcases can actually cause wrinkles over time.

5.    Quit smoking: As if there weren’t enough health reasons to stop smoking, add skin vitality to the list. Smoking breaks down the elastic fibers and collagen in skin, leading to yellow, wrinkled skin. It’s time to quit – for your vanity and much more.

Heed our advice in these five areas and you’ll improve the look of your skin without spending an extra minute on skincare in front of the mirror. A healthy lifestyle will reward you with smooth, glowing, hydrated skin.

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Date Night Glow: 4 Special Occasion Foods that Actually Benefit Skin

Posted on: August 8th, 2014 by Elysiann Bishop

Date Night GlowNext time you have a date night planned, consider this: Some of the very foods and beverages that we associate with a romantic dinner for two can pack a punch when it comes to healthy, glowing skin. Try some of these delicacies for your next special evening, and enjoy a culinary treat as well as one for your skin:

1.    Red wine: Because of its alcohol content, too much red wine can be dehydrating, making skin appear older. In moderation, however, red wine offers skin protective benefits due to its high concentration of resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant. Try a glass a day for skincare benefits.

2.    Oysters: Zinc and Omega-3 fatty acids are the big reasons that oysters are such a boost for your skincare. Omega-3s can help reduce dryness and inflammation, while zinc can help reduce acne as well as boost skin’s natural exfoliation.

3.    Alaskan king crab: Once again, high zinc content makes crab a winner for skin. Because zinc helps regulate skin’s production of oil and sebum, it can help with breakouts. It also helps support healthy cell growth and turnover.

4.    Dark chocolate: Cocoa is rich in flavonols, which offer a variety of benefits to the body and skin. A study from the Journal of Nutrition showed that women who consumed cocoa-derived flavonols daily had better skin texture and stronger resistance to UV rays. Eating one ounce of quality dark chocolate daily is thought to be enough to reap benefits.

These little indulgences just might give your skin that elusive glow you’ve been seeking, and remember, what’s good for your skin is generally great for your overall health.


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Want better skin, naturally? 4 benefits of going makeup free

Posted on: August 1st, 2014 by actifirm-sales

benefit of going makeup free

Looking for an easy way to boost your skincare? Follow the lead of many celebs and go makeup free – as seen recently on TODAY’s No Makeup Monday and in Vanity Fair.

Even if you can’t imagine going without cosmetics during the work week, consider giving skin a vacation on weekends – two days is the minimum time some experts say can reap benefits. Here are four benefits that allowing skin to breathe can offer:

  1. Clearer, healthier skin: Giving skin exposure to fresh oxygen and freeing pores of clogging products may be one of the best things you can do to improve your skin. Wearing makeup can actually cause the very blemishes you are trying to conceal – and so a vicious cycle begins. Wearing makeup less often may clear your skin to a point that you don’t need as complicated of a cosmetics regimen.
  2. Boost self-confidence: Going makeup free truly gives you a chance to become comfortable in your own skin. You may find that others don’t even notice that you’ve skipped makeup – making it seem a whole lot less important. While wearing makeup as a mask to face the world is psychologically unhealthy, we’re all for it as a form of fun self-expression. Just know the difference between the two.
  3. Save time: Imagine what you might do with the time you spend applying makeup every morning and removing it each evening, not to mention time shopping for the stuff.
  4. Save money: Simply skipping makeup a couple of days per week can make a difference in how much product you go through – just a weekend hiatus could lower usage by nearly 30%.

When on your makeup break, be sure to give skin a cleansing and nourishing boost with a clay-based mask. We love Actifirm Renovation Mushroom Mask for its abilities to cleanse, unclog pores, exfoliate, smooth, and brighten. You’ll also want to continue regular cleansing (try Actifirm Antioxidant Cleanser) and keep skin hydrated with a light moisturizer (Actifirm Actimoist Booster). If you must wear some kind of makeup on your skin vacation, keep it simple – lip balm and mascara with concealer sparingly applied. Last, always wear sunscreen when outdoors. There’s never a vacation from sunscreen!

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Treating Summer Sunburn: Hydrating Skincare to Minimize Discomfort and Damage

Posted on: July 25th, 2014 by Elysiann Bishop

Sunburn TreatmentsDid you know that a single blistering sunburn may double your risk of melanoma later in life? That, in addition to the aging it causes, should be reason enough to avoid sunburn. Prevention is the best medicine – stay out of the sun between 10 and 4, wear protective clothing, eyewear, and a hat, and make a broad spectrum sunblock with SPF 15 or higher part of your skincare.

That said, sunburn can still occasionally strike, despite our best efforts. We drew from the Skin Cancer Foundation and the American Academy of Dermatology to bring you these tips for making the best of a bad situation:

Cool skin with water: Apply a cool washcloth to the skin several times a day, or take cool showers or baths. These measures will help cool and hydrate the skin and relieve pain.

Moisturize: Especially after showering, apply a moisturizer to lock in hydration – one containing Aloe Vera is ideal. Actifirm Hot Stop After Sun Quencher, rich in Aloe Vera and other botanicals, is great for stressed summer skin. For a real soother, refrigerate before applying. Avoid products with benzocaine and lidocaine, and consider an over-the-counter hydrocortizone cream if skin is especially painful.

Treat Inflammation: Ibuprofen is not only a pain reliever, but is also anti-inflammatory, so it can ease swelling, redness, and discomfort.

Hydrate: A summer sunburn draws water out of the skin rapidly. Drink lots of fluids – more than usual – in the form of water and juice to hydrate your skin and body.

Don’t touch: Leave blisters alone, and if blisters cover more than 20% of the body or if fever and chills are present, consult a medical professional.

Protect: Stay out of the sun completely until the burn is completely healed. Learn your lesson and be vigilant in the future with protective gear and broad-spectrum sunblock.

Our first recommendation is always to prevent summer sunburn by making sunscreen and protective clothing a part of your skincare regimen. Protecting skin from the sun’s harmful rays is one of the most important steps you can take in preserving skin’s beauty.

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Skincare through Exercise: 5 Skincare Benefits of Being Active

Posted on: July 18th, 2014 by actifirm-sales

5 Skincare Benefits of Being Active

As summer heats up and fashions bare more skin, many of us step up our exercise routines in an attempt to shed unwanted pounds. But did you know that working up a sweat also offers benefits to your skin? Take a look at the top 5 perks of exercise for your skin:

1.     Eliminate toxins and clear pores: As the body’s largest organ, it’s also the biggest pathway for purging the bad stuff from your body. Sweating can help eliminate toxins and clean pores – leaving behind clear, glowing skin.

 2.     Increase oxygen and blood flow to skin: When you exercise and raise your heart rate, you increase rate of blood flow throughout the body, and that includes to the skin. With blood comes more oxygen and all those nutrients that can benefit your complexion.

 3.     Tone Muscles: Strength training doesn’t directly improve skin health, but it can make skin appear more firm and taut by filling out what’s underneath. Toned muscles can also help reduce the appearance of cellulite.

 4.     Relieve stress: If you’re a believer in the mind-body connection like we are, you’ll appreciate that reducing overall stress levels through exercise will be revealed in healthier, better looking skin.

 5.     Improve structure of skin: According to studies at McMaster University in Ontario, exercise may actually affect skin’s structure. After age 40, the stratum corneum, which is the outermost layer of the epidermis, tends to thicken and become drier and flakier. At the same time, the underlying dermis begins to thin, losing elasticity and becoming saggy. The research study showed that people who exercise have skin layers typical of someone decades younger – and that aging trends could even be reversed by starting exercise.

Now that you’re inspired to work out, keep in mind a few tips for summer exercise. Above all, stay hydrated. Summer temperatures can quickly dehydrate the body. When exercising outdoors, avoid peak sun and heat hours by going out in the morning or evening. If you do exercise in the sun’s rays, be sure to apply a broad spectrum sunblock, or you’ll risk negating those healthy skin benefits. Be sure to shower after exercise to cleanse away toxins – Actifirm Antioxidant Cleanser is a great choice to throw in your gym bag for facial cleansing. Last, preserve skin’s hydration with a light moisturizer – Actifirm Renovation Serum is wonderful for drawing moisture to the skin without causing breakouts.

Next time, we’ll talk about a subject that’s best avoided – treating overexposure to the sun.

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The Summer Table: Healthy, Hydrating Skincare through Nutrition

Posted on: July 11th, 2014 by Elysiann Bishop

Two Great Summer Recipes

At Actifirm, we love summertime – and part of that is the light, fresh, flavorful foods that come with the season. Last post, we talked about foods that hydrate and nourish summer skin – while your skincare regimen is critical to keeping skin hydrated in the summer months, diet plays a role as well. Here, we share two nutrition-packed summer recipes that are light, delicious, and great for your skin and body. Served together, you have a healthy summer dinner that’s also a boost to your skincare routine.

Salmon with Cilantro Pesto

This healthy entrée is packed with hydrating skin benefits, is easy to prepare, and offers delicious flavors during summer’s wild salmon season.

1½ pound wild salmon filet (Omega 3 fatty acids)

2 medium cloves garlic (Antioxidants)

¼ cup walnuts (Omega 3s, B Vitamins, Vitamin E)

1 cup fresh cilantro, packed (Antioxidant flavonoids and phytonutrients)

2 tablespoons olive oil (Vitamins A and E, phytonutrients, antioxidants)

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For Pesto: drop 2 cloves garlic into feed tube of food processor and mince. Add walnuts, cilantro, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and process into a paste. Alternately, use a blender to combine pesto ingredients.

Spread pesto over top of salmon filet. Grill pesto side up over medium heat on a well-oiled grate for 15 to 20 minutes, or until barely opaque (cook time will vary depending on grill). Do not flip salmon during grilling. Serves four.


Marinated Tomatoes

As in-season superfoods, tomatoes and basil take center stage in this salad, offering skincare and overall health benefits. This delicious salad is ideal for entertaining because it is best prepared in advance.

2 pints grape tomatoes (Vitamin C, Lycopene, and more)

½ cup olive oil ((Vitamins A and E, phytonutrients, antioxidants)

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

¾ teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

1 clove garlic, crushed (Antioxidants)

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (flavonoid antioxidants)

2 tablespoons green onions, chopped (phytochemicals)

Greens of choice (we like arugula, but any lettuce will do)

Wash and cut grape tomatoes in half. Combine remaining ingredients for dressing and pour over tomatoes. Marinate 4 hours or longer. Serve over fresh, in-season greens. Serves 4 to 6.

It’s easy to eat for healthy, hydrated skin when nutritionally superior food tastes this good! This summer, stick to simple, seasonal foods and an easy summer skincare routine that includes hydrating Actifirm Renovation Serum. A clear formula with antioxidants and no oil, it draws moisture to the skin with hyaluronic acid. Next post, we’ll look at how exercise can benefit the skin, as well as tips for exercising in the summer months.

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Skincare from the Inside Out: 4 Foods That Hydrate and Nourish Summer Skin

Posted on: July 3rd, 2014 by Elysiann Bishop

Skincare from the Inside OutJust when you thought the dry skin woes of winter were behind you, here comes summer. Sunny days and warm breezes may feel nice, but they can sap moisture from your body – leaving skin dry and parched.

Never underestimate the ability of a healthy diet to improve your skin. The best skincare regimen in the world can be improved with optimal nutrition. By choosing foods that hydrate and nourish from the inside out, you’ll enjoy healthy, beautiful skin year-round. Take a look at these 4 foods that pack a hydrating, healthy punch for summer skin:

  1. Fruits and Veggies: Not only is fresh produce packed with antioxidants and nutrients that improve skin health, but many have a water content topping 90%. You can’t go wrong when you eat what’s local, organic, and calling your name at the farmer’s market. Our faves for a summer skin boost include any berries and melons, and fresh, crispy salads – spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers and celery are especially beneficial to skin. In addition, avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fats, which help preserve skin’s moisture.
  2. Wild Salmon: Alaskan wild salmon is fresh and in season during summer, so enjoy it while it’s available. Salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, an essential part of skin’s natural moisture barrier. Other skin-healthy fish choices include trout, herring, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies.
  3. Nuts: These gems are another great source of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as skin-friendly vitamins and antioxidants. Best of all, they’re a great portable summer snack – a can of almonds is so easy to take along to the pool or beach. Also try nutrition-packed walnuts or pistachios.
  4. Olive Oil: This condiment is full of healthy fats that hydrate skin as part of a balanced diet – and in a pinch, olive oil can be applied topically to moisturize skin. Drizzle a little over fresh summer veggies for double the skin benefits.

Now, for what not to eat: both alcohol and caffeine act as diuretics, so keep consumption in check if your skin is particularly dry. Pure water is always the best way to hydrate the skin and body – the more the better in hot summer months.

In addition, it goes without saying that choosing your skincare wisely can go a long way in maintaining a dewy glow all season. We especially recommend Actifirm Renovation Serum – full of natural antioxidants, it hydrates without oil and attracts and binds moisture to skin with hyaluronic acid.

By making smart choices when it comes to diet and skincare, you can enjoy healthy, vibrant skin not only this summer, but in seasons to come. Next post, we’ll share some mouthwatering summer recipes that incorporate some of these healthy foods for your skin and body.

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Sunscreen 101: Know Your Sunscreen, Be Skin Smart

Posted on: June 27th, 2014 by Elysiann Bishop

Sunscreen101If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in skincare – which means you’re applying sunscreen daily. But does your sunscreen do all it can to protect your skin from skin cancer? Sunscreen packaging can include a dizzying array of terminology. Here, we decode some of the key vocabulary surrounding sunscreen.

SPF: SPF stands for “sun protection factor” and measures how long a sunscreen may prevent your skin from burning. If your skin typically begins to burn after 10 minutes in the sun but you apply SPF 15, you can theoretically spend 150 minutes in the sun before burning. This is just a rule of thumb, and reapplication of product and protective clothing are recommended. SPF is only part of the equation, as it only measures protection from burning and cancer causing UVB rays, not UVA rays.

Broad Spectrum:  For premature aging prevention and more comprehensive skin cancer protection, look for broad spectrum blocks. These blocks have been shown to block both UVA and UVB rays. Look for “broad spectrum” on your sunscreen’s label for comprehensive protection

Chemical vs Physical Blocks: Take a look at the active ingredients on your sunscreen bottle. Names like avobenzone, octyl methoxycinnamate, octyl salicylate, and oxybenzone point to a chemical block. These absorb UV radiation to protect the skin, and generally go on skin clear. If your product includes zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, this indicates a physical block. These products physically block and reflect the sun’s rays, and can give skin a white cast.

Water Resistance: No sunscreen is completely waterproof, but many are water resistant for a period of time (usually 40 to 80 minutes). Read your sunscreen’s label carefully and follow reapplication instructions.

Always choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15, and remember that protective clothing is the best defense. While some feel that physical blocks may be a better choice than chemical blocks, the best sunscreen for you is one that you will use consistently and according to package instructions. Spray or lotion, white or clear, choose what you like using most – your skin will thank you with lifelong good health!

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Glamp it Up on Vacation: Add a Twist to Travel with Glamping

Posted on: June 20th, 2014 by Elysiann Bishop

Add a Twist to Travel with GlampingYou’ve heard of camping, and you’re all about glamour. Why not explore glamping, short for glamorous camping? It’s a growing trend in travel, and there’s good reason for its appeal – glamping is far from roughing it, and definitely not your father’s camping trip. Glamping can offer simple luxury in often pristine natural settings, with direct access to the great outdoors.

From upscale yurts and teepees, to treehouses and safari tents decked out like the Four Seasons, there’s a glamping travel experience for everyone. It’s a great way to bridge the gap in travel preferences between spouses or family members. Websites like and offer portals to explore worldwide vacation options at a variety of price points.

We couldn’t help but notice a common thread between glamping and the Actifirm skin health philosophy. Glamping is all about simple luxury and rejuvenating experiences, and Actifirm skincare products are rooted in a similar philosophy – natural indulgence designed to renew and refresh. What better skincare regimen to take on a glamping vacation than one from Actifirm? The Actifirm Natural Basics Kit offers a 30-day supply of some of our most beloved skincare products – Antioxidant Cleanser, 15% Z-Peel, Renovation Serum, and Actimoist Booster moisturizer. This compact set offers everything you need for gentle, thorough skincare on vacation

Whether your summer travel plans call for a glamping adventure or more traditional indulgence, remember that you should never take a vacation from proper skincare. A few simple steps daily will keep your skin looking and feeling as refreshed as your spirit.

By now, we hope you’re in the routine of using a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect skin from the sun’s rays. But what do all of those acronyms and long words on the packaging mean? We’ll decode sunscreen for you in the next post.

photos courtesy of

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