Wearing Sunscreen Is Where It’s at!

While we celebrate rising temps in Chicago, let’s make a commitment to perk up our skincare regimens by shielding our skin against the long-term effects of over exposure to harmful UVA/UVB rays. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and it’s absolutely essential to keep your skin protected and healthy throughout the year by applying sunscreen regularly and performing skin cancer self-examinations. Skin cancer can develop anywhere on the skin, so keeping a close eye on moles that change in color, size or texture is crucial. Take inventory of freckles and age spots, and if anything looks remotely suspicious, make an appointment to see your dermatologist. In the meantime, search for products that contain concentrations of antioxidants and a minimum of SPF 20 if you’re out in natural sunlight more than 30 minutes during the day. No, on second thought, forget the 30 minute rule and make it habit to protect your skin regularly like you brush your teeth or toast your friends during happy hour.

Nicole L. Townsend

Beauty Is Everywhere

One of the greatest joys in life is finding inspiration and beauty everywhere, including social media platforms. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know half the people on my friends list, but I find much enjoyment in the wealth of interesting opinions, jokes, political stances, and the best part — aimless chatter.

With the start of a New Year, we asked our Facebook and Twitter followers to weigh in on some of their “beauty resolutions” for 2012 and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Exfoliating, exercising, consuming more water, getting more sleep and microderms were high on the list of esteem boosters. Our Latisse winner, Shannon O’Donnell, expressed that she’s working to get rid of sun damage on her face – and will make more of a conscious effort to wear more sunscreen. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something exciting about sharing beauty do’s (and don’ts) with like minded individuals who love to feel and look their best. That’s the great thing about beauty; it’s everywhere, including the crazy and sometimes outrageous social media sites.

Tweet us, (@thrivemedspa) or message us on Facebook. It’ll be our little secret…

Nicole L. Townsend

My First Blush

It wasn’t until my 22nd birthday that I’d adopted a new attitude about makeup. Behind me are the days spent agonizing over applying mascara, or finding a blush that wouldn’t scream “Ringling Brothers.” Gone are the days spent flipping through magazines looking for makeup looks to mimic, soothing raw lips from excessive lipstick trials, and the inability to commit to one facial cleanser. I looked myself in the mirror and fully embraced the concept of putting my best face forward, and it had nothing to do with applying the right amount of liquid eyeliner – that is until my body felt an intense blanket of warmth accompanied by small drops of perspiration dotted along my forehead. Maybe I’d spoken too soon. Was I having a dreaded hot flash at the mere age of 22, or was I nervous about the world’s reaction to my newly painted face? I’d heard numerous horror stories about women being scarily unrecognizable without makeup, and I wondered if I’d made the right choice. After all, wearing makeup was supposed to be fun, right? I attempted to set aside my anxieties, but not before the sudden urge to stick my head in a nearby freezer.

With freshly painted rouge lips and exaggerated raccoon eyes, I strutted out of the door and kept repeating to myself that I too could become one with pressed powder and foundation. That’s exactly what happened…eventually. The moral of this story is that there’s a first time for everything, and as much as I pride myself on being a “makeup expert” I was one eye shadow away from being photographed as a definite “Don’t” for makeup trends. Practice makes perfect, and I pledge that finding the right shade of bronzer is not as daunting as it sounds.

Let’s take this time to rejoice in harmony and salute our love and hate relationships with cosmetics! Or you can just tell me about your first time applying makeup…

-Nicole L. Townsend

The Ten Commandments of Makeup and Skincare Part 2

Commandment Number 6: Thou shall remove all makeup before bed at night! Seriously, raccoon eyes in the morning isn’t very appealing, and I guarantee that you’ll have even more problems once your pores become clogged from the leftover debris and oil. Simplify things with a deep cleansing cream like Glytone Mild Cream Wash. Also Noxzema’s new Clean Moisture Makeup Removal Cloths rid eyes of waterproof mascara!
Now you really don’t have an excuse!

Commandment Number 7: Thou shall exfoliate regularly. Whether you are an oily, dry, or combination skin type, exfoliating is a must if you want your skin to look its best. By riding the skins surface of dead skin cells, you’ll reveal a bright and luminous complexion that will have strangers asking you for your best kept skincare secret! There are various ways to exfoliate, but I recommend Eminence Yam and Pumpkin Peel Enzyme Peel that contains Glycolic and Lactic acids that sloughs off dead skin cells. Hello, lover!

Commandment Number 8: Thou shall blend your eye shadow. An ultimate pet-peeve of mine is seeing a glob of eye shadow on a gorgeous palette that lacks symmetry. If you love to wear multiple eye shadows, it is essential that you buy an eye shading brush to mix all of your colors together. For carefree blending, try the M.A.C Blending Brush.

Commandment Number 9: Thou shall not use your lipstick as blush. I have yet to find a lipstick shade that serves as both a great color for my lips and cheeks. If they were created equal, don’t you think one of the two wouldn’t exist? If you’re short on time, try the GloMinerals Floral and Fantasy Collection Compact that’s crammed with lip gloss, blush and eye shadow in one! It can’t get any more convenient than that.

Commandment Number 10: Thou shall not line your lips with extreme dark shades. The dark purple lip liner with bright pink lip gloss is an ultimate cosmetic sin. If you’re having a hard time choosing a lip liner, the rule of thumb is to choose a color that is no darker than two shades of your natural lip color (with the exception of red). If I can distinctly see your lip liner drawn on your lips, then we have a problem. Try lip liners in beige – a shade that compliments most complexions.

Nicole L. Townsend

The Ten Commandments of Makeup and Skincare

We believe that although beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, there still exists, a set of specific commandments to follow in both makeup application and properly caring for your skin. With a million and one cosmetic brands to choose from you should always stick with what works for you, and we commend those who pride themselves in self-expression – not over indulgence. In a 2 part series, we’ll explore regimens that will keep your complexion in tip-top shape. So put your best face forward, and take a look at our list of makeup and skincare commandments. We guarantee your skin will thank you!

Commandment Number 1: Thou shall take the time to find the right color of foundation for your skin. If your face is a completely different shade than your neck, odds are you didn’t choose wisely. Try GloMinerals Protective Liquid Foundation that contains exclusive antioxidant blends of vitamins A, C, E, and green extract. Voila! You’re done.

Commandment Number 2: Thou shall not use too much bronzer. Of course the cast from “Jersey Shore” would disapprove, but c’mon, adding too much bronzer ages you –tacking on additional years. Celebrate your youth with, yes; you’ve guessed it, GloMinerals Bronze in “Sunkiss,” which includes a tone gauge to match your natural coloring.

Commandment Number 3: Thou shall wear a minimum of SPF 15 in your daily moisturizer. The primary factor of maintaining your skins radiance and healthy appearance rely on the daily use of sunscreen. Sorry folks, but ‘baking naked’ at the beach is so circa 1980. Try Neutrogena’s Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer, SPF 30.

Commandment Number 4: Thou shall drink plenty of water to maintain you skins natural glow and overall well-being. Doctors recommend the daily intake of 8 glasses of water per day, and I believe you should push the envelope a bit and make it an even 10. Get jazzy and add lemon or cucumber! Cheers!

Commandment Number 5: Thou shall have fun with your makeup! If you’re worried about not applying your makeup correctly, it’s ok. It takes practice to master the fancy tricks of our favorite makeup artists, and the good news is that we can wash it right off if we make a mistake. So take a deep breath, and have a good time! You’ll be surprised by the inner artist that exists within!

Continue to part 2

– Nicole L. Townsend

BEAUTY SERIES: Essentials for Glowing, Healthy Skin

Let’s face it. You’re only born with one complexion, so you might as well take care of it. There is no documented evidence that proves people are born with naturally flawless skin. But guess what? I’m willing to bet that people with gorgeous skin are happier, more confident and score more dates than their smartphones can handle. Ready to get started? Here’s how:

Change Your Diet

Yes, it’s true. Pizza, french fries and burgers are great comfort foods that we all love. But seriously. Can you really expect to have flawless skin if you regularly scarf down junk food? I’m not saying you need to deprive yourself completely, but start by substituting your favorite foods with leafy green salads, lean fish and chicken and plenty of foods with antioxidants. If you happen to be a vegetarian well, good for you, but don’t assume you’re leading the “pretty people” pack with your chosen lifestyle. Besides, there is no documented research that proves your diet will leave you with flawless skin.


I get it. Chicago winters are brutal, and it wreaks havoc on our skin. Sorry folks, it’s not all Mother Nature’s fault. Show her who’s really in charge by exfoliating your skin twice a week for at least five minutes. Use products that contain Salicylic or Alpha Hydroxy Acids for the best results. These ingredients not only help to prevent breakouts, but they gently polish the skin’s surface and unclog pores to reveal a smooth and radiant complexion.

And remember — if these tips don’t work, you can always blame your parents.

– Nicole L. Townsend