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Elysiann’s Beauty Vault

Movember Means Moustaches for Men’s Health

Posted on: November 1st, 2013 by Elysiann Bishop

movemberHave you heard about Movember? We can’t think of a more fun way to bring awareness to men’s health issues including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health. The movement was founded in November, 2003, when 30 “Mo Bros” in Melbourne, Australia grew moustaches to start a community conversation about men’s health and raise money for related causes. Since its inception, Movember has grown to become an international phenomenon – in 2012, $21 million was raised to help fund men’s health causes in the U.S. alone.

Interested in being a part of the phenomenon? Visit to get started. Men can grow a ‘stache during November and raise money by asking for pledges. Not only can you raise funds for a worthy cause, but when coworkers, family, and friends inquire about your new look, you’ll have a perfect conversation starter to talk about men’s health issues. In this way, Movember truly lives up to its motto, “Changing the Face of Men’s Health.”

mo sista

Not to be forgotten are the “Mo Sistas”, women who actively encourage and support the men in their lives through open communication about men’s health issues. Women play a critical role in the Movember movement — visit to learn more about how women can be involved.

“Mo Bros” will be paying a bit more attention to facial appearance this month as they groom their moustaches. In turn, they’ll find themselves in the spotlight – scrutinized by those around them as they sport a new look. That said, we think that Movember is the perfect time to assess skin health and skincare needs. The Actifirm Discovery Kit is a great place to start for those who want to begin an effective skincare regimen and look great, but don’t know where to begin. The set contains a 30-day supply of four of our most popular products.

DiscoveryKitActifirm Antioxidant Cleanser, a foaming, gel-based cleanser, is fortified with natural antioxidants and rinses clean – perfect for cleansing skin (and a moustache, if applicable!). After cleansing comes Actifirm 10% Z-Peel, our signature enzyme exfoliant. Z-Peel incorporates Japanese Mucor Miehei extract to gently lift away dead skin cells, revealing radiant skin beneath. Next, Actifirm Renovation Serum nourishes and reduces the appearance of fine lines with select botanicals as it draws moisture to the skin with hyaluronic acid. Last, Actimoist Booster provides targeted moisture. This “smart” formula hydrates where needed, leaving smooth skin behind.

We hope you’ll get involved in Movember, and that you’ll take this opportunity to think about men’s health – whether it’s your wellbeing or that of the men in your life. Health encompasses every part of your body, and in our book that includes the body’s largest organ, your skin. Consider Actifirm your partner for taking care of your skin’s health and appearance.

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Halloween Sugar Rush

Posted on: October 16th, 2013 by Elysiann Bishop

Tricks, not Treats, for Your Skin

October marks the start of a season of sugar excess that extends through the New Year, from Halloween treats to Thanksgiving pies to Christmas sweets. While we’re all aware of what this phenomenon can do to our waistlines, science is only recently revealing the effects excess sugar can have on our skin.

Halloween Tricks

The theory of a sugar and skin aging connection has been popularized by Dr. Nicholas Perricone,
M.D., author of The Wrinkle Cure and The Perricone Prescription. The premise is that sugar causes inflammation in all body systems, and this inflammation is a major contributor to aging – including aging of the skin. In addition, when blood sugar spikes rapidly, a process called glycation occurs, where sugar can attach itself to collagen, making the skin inflexible. This loss of elasticity may cause premature aging of the skin.

Maybe this news is enough to keep you from raiding the Halloween candy bowl. But don’t forget that many American holiday foods are comprised of simple carbohydrates, which the body quickly converts to sugar. Mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, and grandma’s famous stuffing – it’s all sugar as far as your body is concerned. Some experts have gone so far as to say that a diet high in refined sugar and simple carbohydrates can negate even the most diligent skincare regimen. What to do?

Pick up a Veggie Stick!

First, do continue your quality skincare regimen – Actifirm natural skincare products are a perfect choice for anyone focused on health and wellness. Next, take a step back and assess your sugar consumption. A piece of candy from your kids’ stash on Halloween night or a sliver of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving aren’t the problem. It’s the day in, day out habits that should be assessed – syrupy coffee drinks every morning, mid-afternoon sugar fixes to abate fatigue, and nighttime grazing are just a few. Try to slowly replace these blood sugar spiking habits with more healthful distractions – drink a glass of water, take a walk, eat some raw veggie sticks, or read a health and wellness article until the craving subsides.

Next, take a look at your intake of simple carbohydrates, and reduce wherever possible. These changes may be as simple as altering your grocery shopping habits. For instance, white flour based pastas and breads can easily be replaced with 100% whole grain varieties that are broken down more slowly by the body.

Remember, the goal is an overall lifestyle of wellness, maintained for many years. So enjoy Halloween (and the rest of the holidays) with family and friends, and keep in mind that excess sugary treats may show up not only on your hips, but also in your skin’s health and beauty.

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Dark Chocolate and Skincare

Posted on: September 27th, 2013 by Elysiann Bishop

Dark Chocolate and Skincare

Skin’s New Best Friend?

Forget what your mother told you about chocolate causing breakouts. According to the latest scientific research, indulging in dark chocolate may be your ticket to beautiful skin! A high quality dark chocolate – low in sugar and with at least 70% cacao – is rich in skin-boosting vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

For maximum skin benefits, choose a chocolate that lists cacao as the first ingredient. And easy does it – you only need a few ounces a week for therapeutic purposes. Here are just a few ways that dark chocolate may help improve your skin:

Protection from Harmful UV Rays

Chocolate contains the antioxidant power of flavonols – and research has shown that consuming these compounds can protect your skin from the sun. In fact, one study showed 25% less skin redness following UV exposure in subjects who consumed a flavonol-rich cacao drink regularly.

 Easing of Fine Lines and Wrinkles

In addition to delivering antioxidant benefits to the skin, there’s another simple way that chocolate can help treat fine lines and wrinkles. The simple act of enjoying chocolate has been shown in itself to reduce stress and ease tension – and we all know how wonderful a little R&R can be for our appearance! Cacao may also help reduce stress hormones in the body, which means less collagen breakdown in the skin and fewer fine lines.Stack it up to Skincare

Treats Dry Skin

Vitamins A, C, D and E are just a few of the key nutrients found in cacao – and deficiency in any of these may manifest itself through dry skin. Whether consumed as a treat or applied topically to the skin in a cocoa and olive oil paste, cacao may help relieve dry skin symptoms.

Overall Skin Health

One study showed that subjects who consumed cacao for 12 weeks displayed skin that was 16% denser, 11% thicker, 13% more moist, 30% less rough, and 42% less scaly than before. So treat yourself to a premium bar of dark chocolate today – your skin (and taste buds) will thank you!

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Discover Yoga for Glowing Skin

Posted on: August 26th, 2013 by Elysiann Bishop

DFW Free Day of Yoga is September 2

Here at Actifirm, we’re excited about the upcoming DFW Free Day of Yoga. Mark your calendar for Monday, September 2, 2013 – that’s Labor Day – when Yoga studios across the Metroplex will offer a variety of free sessions to novices and expert practitioners alike. In addition, kickoff festivals are scheduled in Dallas and Fort Worth over the weekend. Check out for details about this amazing community event.

Yoga When it comes to the practice of Yoga, the benefits to mind and body are plentiful – improved flexibility and body tone, weight loss, and stress relief come to mind. But did you know that Yoga is also known for enhancing the health of skin? That’s just one of many reasons why we think Yoga deserves a place in any healthy lifestyle – or skincare routine, for that matter!

Yoga benefits skin through the same means it improves the body’s overall wellness. The deep breathing involved in Yoga practice improves blood circulation throughout the body, including to the skin – your body’s largest organ. Breathing exercises are known to help reduce stress, which often manifests itself in the skin. Perspiration, especially during Bikram Yoga (also called “hot Yoga”) releases toxins from the pores and imparts a healthy glow. And many Yogis believe that inverted postures can help with sagging, fine lines, and general aging of the skin by further increasing circulation to the face.

A few skincare tips for aspiring Yogis from the experts at Actifirm: Before Yoga, cleanse skin thoroughly with a face wash like Actifirm Antioxidant Cleanser. Make sure you drink lots of water prior to and throughout your workout. After exercise, cleanse again with your favorite Actifirm cleanser. If skin seems irritated from excessive perspiration and heat, try a treatment like Actifirm Active Skin Soother. This gel formula soothes with Aloe Vera and calms with mushroom extract – for added refreshment, try Active Skin Soother chilled.

We hope you’ll get out and enjoy the health and wellness benefits of Yoga at the upcoming DFW Free Day of Yoga – and discover glowing skin along the way!

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Z-Peel: Exfoliate for More Youthful Skin

Posted on: June 10th, 2013 by Elysiann Bishop

It’s a fact: As skin ages, its natural exfoliation process slows. During a month-long cycle, skin sheds its outermost layer, revealing new, more glowing, and youthful skin beneath. The slowing of this natural exfoliation of the skin can lead to dull, dry, and aged looking skin. Fine lines and wrinkles become more visible as exfoliation becomes less efficient, and skin pigmentation issues become more prominent.

Luckily, there is a way to ease the effects of time. Skin care experts agree that one of the most beneficial treatments to improve the appearance of aging skin is thorough and regular exfoliation. Effective exfoliation can be administered by skincare professionals including estheticians and dermatologists, but regular maintenance begins at home.

Actifirm Z-FacialMany forms of exfoliation are available, including physical, chemical, and enzyme. As the name implies, physical exfoliants remove dead skin cells through contact with a physical exfoliant such as microbeads, as in the  Actifirm Z-Facial (this mask uses physical and enzyme exfoliators). Microbeads can be preferable to other exfoliants because microbeads are perfectly smooth and will not abrade the skin. Chemical exfoliators are another option, but these can be irritating and even require “down time” due to inflammation, peeling, and scabbing. Because aging skin is often highly sensitive skin, a gentle enzyme exfoliator may be the best solution.

Actifirm Z-Peel uses the power of enzymes derived from the Japanese Mucor Miehei mushroom to gently yet effectively exfoliate. Z-Peel works by lifting only dead skin cells, without harming living tissue, and mimics skin’s natural exfoliation process. Z-Peel is available in two concentrations – 10% Z-Peel for Delicate Skin and 15% Z-Peel. Choose the one that is best for your skin type. Actifirm 15% Z-Peel

Z-Peel is gentle enough to use every day, and takes just a few minutes to apply. Simply apply to damp, cleansed facial skin with fingertips and leave on for 3 to 7 minutes. Because Z-Peel is self-neutralizing with an automatic “shut off”, it is impossible to harm skin by leaving it on for too long. Rinse, pat skin dry, and apply moisturizer With regular use, skin will appear more smooth and polished, fine lines will be diminished, hyperpigmentation is eased, and a youthful glow returns.

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An Engaging Online Encounter

Posted on: June 7th, 2013 by Elysiann Bishop

Actifirm Contest Winner Offers Beautiful Story

We recently ran an engagement story contest on Facebook. We had so much fun reading your romantic tales! After much deliberation, our winner is Debbie Adler, who will receive $175 in complimentary Actifirm skincare products, including our ZPeel. Congratulations, Debbie – we know that Actifirm will help you glow on your upcoming big day!

We hope you’ll find Debbie’s engagement story as touching as we did:

On August 16, 2012, two online dating sites merged. I was a member on one of these sites, and a man from a distant city a user of the other. We suddenly discovered each other’s profiles and started chatting. Overcome with excitement, we exchanged phone numbers and email addresses. It’s lucky we did, because the next day the profiles disappeared.

Email communication ensued, and a week and a half later, Ken drove an hour and a half to meet me at a Denny’s Restaurant. It was truly love at first sight. The waitress asked how long we had been married. We looked at their watches and exclaimed, “We just met five minutes ago!”

We are not in our youth – both widowed and in our sixties. We go to the symphony, programs at the local college, art fairs, and fundraisers, or just sit on the couch watching movies. He showers me with flowers, cards, and chocolates; opens my car door; and carries my bags upstairs to my home – always putting me front and center. We are both back in school – I am a retired special education teacher now going for a second masters in marriage and family counseling, and Ken enrolled to keep up with me. I’ve never known such peace, joy, silliness, excitement, and fun in my life!

Ken asked me to marry him numerous times. I finally said, “YES!” We plan to marry in six months, when he moves from his city to mine. This is a thrill of a lifetime!

Thanks to Debbie (and Ken) for sharing a wonderful story! We hope Debbie enjoys her prize — $175 in natural Actifirm skincare products. Look for more Actifirm contest opportunities on social media.

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Why Cleaning Your Makeup Tools and Brushes is Important

Posted on: June 3rd, 2013 by Elysiann Bishop

We use makeup products to enhance our natural beauty, but things can get ugly really quickly if we don’t take the proper steps to care for our beauty-enhancing tools.

Cleaning your makeup tools will ensure their softness and strength. As quality brushes can be a bit pricey, it will be an investment to properly maintain them. It is important to routinely clean our makeup tools, not only to care for our skin, but for the longevity of the tools themselves.

Image Courtesy of kandance |

Image Courtesy of kandance |

Brushes can be a breeding ground for bacteria coming from our own skin and dust from the air to accumulate. This dirt can then be transferred back to into our skin and lead to clogged pores and subsequent breakouts.

What’s more, the bacteria on those brushes get transferred onto the makeup that we use them with, so it affects the cleanliness and longevity of our makeup products too.

Clean your brushes once a week, twice a week at the most. Overall, doing this every week will make for a quicker cleaning process time as there won’t be too much of an accumulation of colors, oils and dirt on the brushes.

Routine brush care also adds to the impact of your makeup look. If you use the same brush for different colors without cleaning it in between uses (and after multiple uses), the intended shade will not show up on your skin as true to its color because of the combination of colors. It will impact the blending and contouring of your intended makeup look.

Image Courtesy of Bram & Vera |

Image Courtesy of Bram & Vera |

It does not take a lot of effort or material to clean your beauty tools either. Brands that carry makeup brush cleaners include MAC, Shu Uemura and Sonia Kashuk. A few sprays of any of these products directly onto the bristles of your brushes will do the trick.

In addition, an inexpensive alternative to cleaning your makeup tools can be found at home as well – any shampoo works equally well. In particular, if you have baby shampoo available, this can serve as a delicate wash for your makeup tools.

To clean your brushes, start off by running the bristles under warm water to loosen the dirt. Add a dab of the shampoo onto the bristles itself and gently massage the bristles into the palm of your hand using circular or back-and-forth motions.

If the bristles are really dirty, continue this process until your bristles run clear of the accumulated makeup. Rinse and remove excess water with a clean cloth. Let your brushes dry flat as drying them vertically damages the attachment point of the bristles to the wand and you will lose bristles that way.

While you are at it, it would be a good idea to clean the handles of your brushes as well using any appropriate disinfectant, such as rubbing alcohol.

Clean your brushes at night, let them dry overnight and they will be ready to use by the morning.

A healthy body and proper hygiene are essentials to both inner and outer beauty. Your skin will thank you for its proper care and showcase such natural beauty when you routinely clean and care for your makeup tools.


Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer from the Los Angeles area whose writes for Miami spa,Bellezza and has learned many beauty tips on how to treat a number of skin issues naturally. She also makes it a point to take very good care of her skin; this includes cleaning her makeup tools regularly.

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Fatty Alcohols: Friend or Foe?

Posted on: May 31st, 2013 by Elysiann Bishop

Your unique skin may hold the answer

Alcohols in cosmetics and skincare products have long been a source of debate in the professional skincare community. Are they good or bad? Even consumers have their opinions, and many avoid alcohol in skincare and cosmetic products to avoid drying of the skin. This is a valid concern – alcohols such as ethanol, denatured alcohol, ethyl alcohol, methanol, benzyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, and sd alcohol can be drying and irritating to some skin types. On the other hand, those with oily or acne prone skin may actually look for alcohol as an ingredient in skincare, thinking that the drying properties will be beneficial.

Less often discussed is another category of alcohols known as fatty alcohols, including cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, and cetearyl alcohol – in fact, many consumers may not be aware of the difference. Derived from coconut oil, these are often celebrated by skincare companies for being gentle conditioning agents that keep skin soft and smooth. They may be added to formulas to stabilize or thicken, or for their emollient properties. Because these alcohols are plant-based, they often appear in natural or organic skincare formulas. And they are, in fact, capable of achieving the promises outlined above.

Questions about fatty alcohols arise because in addition to their benefits, they may be irritating to sensitive skin and possibly comedogenic – that is, they may clog the pores, causing breakouts. This may at least partially explain why some skincare users with sensitive skin may have reactions to seemingly gentle skincare products. These alcohols can be hard to avoid, so this isn’t a recommendation to entirely swear them off, but rather a piece of information to tuck away should you have a reaction to a seemingly innocuous skincare product.

Think of your skin like your fingerprint, uniquely yours. Finding the right products for your skin should be a constantly evolving process – enjoy the journey!

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Wellness WINEdown

Posted on: May 15th, 2013 by Elysiann Bishop


Kick-off summer with this fun poolside event in celebration of Hotel Palomar Dallas‘ new wellness offerings, benefiting Attitudes and Attire. Enjoy beauty & wellness themed activities, fun giveaways from Actifirm, Exhale, Central 214 & more!

  • Sustainable wine, lite bites by Central 214′s Chef Graham Dodds & refreshing low-cal cocktails by head bartender Amber West, featuring Lillet & Hendrick’s Gin
  • Hand demonstrations with Actifirm’s natural skincare products
  • Extreme yoga demos from Exhale Mind Body Spa, plus free Core Fusion Class for participants
  • Luxe raffle prizes like a wellness package stay at Hotel Palomar, a Villy Customs bike, Kimpton yoga mats, and more
  • Summer and resort wear fashions from Uptown Consignment

Please bring a minimum $20 donation or gently used handbag for Attitudes & Attire

Complimentary Valet Parking

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The International Congress of Esthetics and Spa

Posted on: May 2nd, 2013 by Elysiann Bishop

Z-Peel, Actifirm Promotions in Spotlight

The International Congress of Esthetics and Spa is just around the corner – May 5th and May 6th at the Arlington Convention Center (Dallas-Fort Worth). Here at Actifirm, we are excited for this upcoming skincare and wellness extravaganza – and we’re thrilled to be a part of this amazing event.

showspecialsactifirm2            At The International Congress of Esthetics and Spa, spa and skincare professionals have the opportunity to check out countless product lines including, of course, the all-natural Actifirm line of skincare aids. Actifirm will be offering wonderful promotions at special prices for attendees – and we’ll also be giving live Z-Peel demonstrations to show the wonderful exfoliation and revival abilities of this natural mushroom enzyme exfoliator.

In addition to the opportunity to learn more about spa and skincare lines, skincare professionals will have the chance to participate in National Aesthetic Spa Network (NASN) round tables, Aesthetics International Association (AIA) education classes, and a variety of other educational and breakout sessions.

There’s nothing more rewarding for a skincare professional – or skincare enthusiast – than exploring this passion and expanding on a foundation of expertise. For more information about the International Congress of Esthetics and Spa, visit Come visit us at booth 909. We hope to see you there!

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