Saturday, August 13, 2011

Gertie's Week in review {8.13.11}

Hi everyone! I'm back from Cleveland and trying to readjust to my crazy life. Here's a picture of me on-set, filming a segment for It's Sew Easy, season 2. Thank god for makeup artists. My skin has been going crazy lately! I have an oh-so-lovely patch of blemishes on my right cheek that seems to be here to stay. Stress is terrible on a girl's complexion. The makeup lady suggested I drink lots of water, exfoliate once a week, and see a dermatologist for cortizone shots. I'll do the first two and see if it helps before I do anything involving expensive appointments and needles. Any skincare tips, ladies? Do any of you use Bare Minerals foundation? I hear that's better for problem skin than liquid foundation.

Anyway. I did one segment on making a simple retro pattern modification and one on making machine buttonholes. The second was completely unexpected; the producer just asked if I could stay and do one more. Sure, why not?

I had a meeting with the creative team on my book project on Tuesday, and they are an awesome group of ladies. We're prepping for the photoshoot which will take place later this month. Eight days of shooting! First we'll do all the technique stills, which I have about a week to prep. Um, anyone want an internship with a sewing author??? (Seriously, anyone? I could really use some help this week prepping the sewing shots. I'll be working out of Chelsea. I will buy you chocolate and wine!)

The latter part of the shoot will be the fashion shots. And then this madness will be partially over. 

Posting will continue to be light for the next few weeks (insert sad face), but I have some great guests posts planned for you!

Okay, it's back to the sewing room I go. How are you all doing, readers?


  1. I have maturing dry skin, but I could exfoliate everyday, and I really like Lush's Ocean Salt Cleanser, because it tastes nice if you get it in your mouth while using it, and your skin feels super soft afterwards.

    My 12 yr old uses Elf's Zit Zapper which is cheap ($1) and only dries up the blemish..

  2. Just wanted to say I am a brand new reader and am really enjoying going through all of the back posts here. I just bought your Craftsy class for the retro bombshell dress. I have watched almost all of the videos and want to say that you did an awesome job! You are an excellent teacher, I will be buying any future classes! I am going to be making it for my 15 year old daughter who loves vintage fashion. I am hoping she will wear it to Homecoming : )

  3. Bare Minerals foundation is definitely the ticket. I wish Bare Minerals products were less expensive, but I think they are worth the investment! Good luck with your skin, I had a similar outbreak on my chin in my late twenties, very odd and definitely related to stress! Yes - lots of water! I'd try the minerals too, my friends and I are bare minerals addicts.

  4. Everyday Minerals makeup + Tazorac + Klaron = fabuloso. The taz and Klaron are prescription, but so worth it.

  5. i wish i was closer Gertie, i would be there in a second to intern for you...AND i work for chocolate and wine!!

  6. I was converted to Bare Minerals last summer and will never look back! It's expensive but lasts forever and you don't need much. It did wonders for my friend's acne.

    I don't get breakouts very often (knock on wood!) but when I do, I use Vichy NormaDerm Active Anti-Imperfection Concentrate, which clears it up in no time.

    Good luck with it all - don't work too hard!

  7. Welcome back! Bare and any other mineral products I have tried clog me up terribly. I guess rocks were just not meant for my face.

    Highly, highly recommend glycolic acid daily! Keeps this 61 year old ahead of the reaper, skinwise.

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  9. Hey Gertie :) concerning skin, there are a few things which I use very effectively. I am 16 and am currently stuck with mildly acne-prone skin, but am also a working model and have to keep up a flawless complexion. My acne isn't all that bad, but my cheeks are tough to keep totally clear of blemishes. I went to a dermatologist maybe 6 months ago, which seemed extreme for mild acne. I was given three prescriptions, one for an oral antibiotic called Solodyn, one called Lavoclen which is a 4% benzoyl peroxide face wash (keep away from hair - it will bleach!) and a topical gel to apply every night called Atrolin, which keeps pores clear and tiny. They all work amazingly and my skin feels great!
    Concerning bareminerals, I have heard from multiple makeup artists that the natural ingredients include minerals which reflect light and can make for shiny, bad photos. I don't know if those reflective ingredients are in liquid foundations, but they definitely are in the powder products. I love their products and think they're great for everyday use, but I have been advised to steer clear of them for photoshoots.
    I wish you the best of luck with the book preparation!
    ~~ Mara

  10. Hey Gertie! Sorry your stressed, but your efforts seems to be paying off! :)

    I've been through the headache of adult acne, such a pain! I do love bare minerals make up, but also love IS Clinicals advanced healing serum ( ). My dermatologist recommended it to me; it's pricy but it works better than any prescription medicine I've tried and makes your skin feel wonderful! For an exfoliant I use Differin (great wrinkle reducer also, but you need a prescription). My dermatologist also recommended Aveno's clear complexion cleanser, which is very affordable. All things considered, I would definitely visit a dermatologist before jumping into anything too intense.

    Best of luck to you, looks like things are working out great!

  11. Hi Gertie, sorry about your skin flare up. I had the worst acne problem for about 3-4 months right after I turned 30, which the helpful doctors just chaulked up to "hormonal changes." Cheers for that, doc.
    I personally like Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean tea tree oil soap for cleansing (I'm an oily girl), plus Paula's Choice 2% BHA liquid. I would avoid all oral antibiotics if you have any digestive issues or tend towards, ahem, yeast infections as they can really wreck your system. I've heard good things about Retin-A for skin (helps with wrinkles too) but that can take a while to become effect (skin tends to get worse before it gets better).
    Also, this product you can find on Amazon called "Bye Bye Blemish" is good for drying them up overnight. Good luck, superstar!

  12. I know this sounds weird, but my skin got better when I stopped using acne medication. I started using aveeno foam cleanser as well as their moisturizer with spf and my skin has been so awesome! I have heard the acne cleansers can be really harsh on your skin and that eventually your skin will get used to them, and it won't matter if you use them anyway!
    I have used bare minerals, too. I used to use liquid but stopped because my pores would get clogged and my skin was horrible. i went years without trying anything, but my friend recommended bare minerals so i tried it. i highly recommend it! i used the foundation and mineral veil. the veil was amazing. it smoothed all the powder out and really made it look like i was wearing nothing. not to mention it felt like i wasn't wearing makeup at all. you should try it!

  13. Hi Gertie! Sorry to hear about your blemishes--I suffer the same fate, though a few changes have really helped. One simple change I made was to sleep with a towel on my pillow and to change it every night or so. It keeps you from rubbing your face in the oils on your pillow case (I suppose you could change your pillow case every day, but I don't have that many pillow cases).

    The other change isn't as easy, but I have eliminated dairy from diet (for other reasons), and it has also helped my skin (there is quite a bit of research that suggests that the hormones in dairy affect our skin).

    Finally, I have a friend who swears by taking a teaspoon of flax seed oil everyday. It apparently clears up blemishes quite quickly, so you might want to try that!

    Good luck with all of your projects! It all sounds so exciting!!

  14. I do love Bare Minerals! Pricey but worth. Their mascara is also AMAZING.

    I contacted a friend in NYC to see if she might be able to help you prep. If I was closer I would volunteer in a heartbeat! I'm sure you'll find someone though. Good luck!

  15. Sometimes a dermatologist is the best idea, a cosmetically oriented one.

    Prescription retinoid products such as Tazorac (mentioned by someone else) and Retin-A can help with exfoliation.

    Makeup should be designated "noncomedogenic" and worn only when necessary. I don't know if powder would be better. Seems to me it could clog pores, although temporarily it would improve the appearance of oily skin.

    Keeping the skin clean helps, as does avoiding any foods that might aggravate the acne (some people have sensitivities, but there's no longer a set list of food to avoid). But remember that most acne is caused by sub-surface activity.

  16. Bunny:

    I heard Bobbi Brown, a famous makeup artist and makeup entrepreneur, say that powders are not good for women with wrinkles. They highlight the creases.

  17. Count me in the Yes! Team for Bare Minerals. They have both matte and classic formulas for foundation; I've worn both for stage and photo work as well as daily wear, and they work well for anything that doesn't require full-out pancake makeup. Matte has more coverage; classic is more sheer. That plus a regimen of gentle exfoliation, drinking water instead of most other drinks, and an occasional clay or argan oil masque can work wonders.

  18. Sorry to hear of the skin problems, and you can see from the comments that you are not alone. Most American women seem to have adult acne to some extent and have to juggle it with wrinkles and all the other pressures related to health and appearance. I know it can be very frustrating. After decades of acne I finally gave up on ALL cosmetics, but that was before the advent of mineral products. Hope you can find a combination that works for you.

    I do believe a short internship with Gertie would be a dream job for any of us. You should expect thousands of volunteers. If I wasn't 2000 miles away and completely broke I would be at your side in an instant. Another of the thousands of reasons that I wish I was in NY.

    I'm looking forward to seeing the next segments of It's Sew Easy, and I'm so glad you posted the last one for us. I only have one PBS channel on my current system, and they have not picked up the show. I can't believe there are 600+ channels on this stupid satellite package and I can't find the shows I want to see!

  19. Hi Gertie,

    Your horsehair hemmed skirt segment was great, you look like quite a pro! Can't wait to see more of the same. :-)

    You're out of Chelsea where? Chelsea, MA? If so, I'm 30 minutes south of Boston and will definitely work for chocolate and wine, lol. Sounds like it would be a real learning experience.

  20. Hey Gertie,
    I may be able to help you with your book. I am available days, and it would be awesome to "intern". Also no prob getting to Chelsea

  21. Ah, just realized it's Chelsea, NY.

    Wellllll, you're only 4 hours away. Hmmmm....

  22. Hi Gertie! Thought I'd share my skin care stuff with you. I work on film sets all week and it can wreak havoc on my face and though I've heard BareMinerals works well it's pricey. So hopefully these work for you and you don't have to get expensive. Face wash: Burt's Bees Natural Acne Solutions daily, amazing stuff! To get your face nice and clean and refreshed Queen Helene's Original Mint Julep Masque (once a week). It smells great too! And last tip I've been using lately that my face seems to love combine your foundation with a touch of aloe vera. Might sound weird but it moisturizes and helps the foundation not get too heavy but still has great coverage. Hope these help! :) Oh any questions or anything you can find me here:
    Good luck! :)

  23. Hi Gertie..just found your blog. I am just getting back into sewing so this is great. I like the Bare Minerals also, but being unemployed/underemployed (forever it seems), I have had to check into Ulta's Mineral makeup. I love the mineral eye shadows by The Body Shop & Ulta. The Oil Cleansing Method is terrific. My combination is the castor oil/sunflower oil. I can get the last in bulk so it's inexpensive. I use this daily and also make my own exfoliant with sugar, grapeseed oil and a couple of drops of lavender essential oil to exfoliate face and body. The sugar is a gentle and with no sharp edges.

  24. In my 20s through 40s I had flawless skin and used Lancome skin care for dry skin and liquid foundation without any problems.

    Suddenly in my 50s I developed Rosacea, which causes an unsightly redness and often extreme burning and itching sensation to the skin along with mild acne.

    The dermatologist states that though some of the symptoms of Rosacea can be temporarily alleviated, the underlying cause is unknown and thus incurable.

    If I want to "mask" the redness, a gentle mineral makeup by Jane Iredale was recommended

    I recently moved to a different county, thus needed doctors closer to where I lived, so I have seen two dermatologists from two different practices in the past eight years. Both recommend the Iredale products - neither recommended Bare Minerals, and the younger, female dermatologist whose practice caters more to "cosmetic" problems (botox, laser treatments, etc.), advised against Bare Minerals because of the skin irritants it contains.

    Many Bare Minerals products contain at least two known skin irritating ingredients: bismuth oxychloride and titanium dioxide.

    Chemically speaking, titanium dioxide, which is found in a lot of makeup products, as well paint and other products, is the ingredient that causes the reflection when photographed another commenter mentioned.

    When titanium dioxide is used in sunscreens to deflect UV rays, it must be coated with another product because it creates radicals in the photocatalytic reaction process, and these radicals are carcinogenic, known to cause cancer in lab rats and humans and damage skin.

    Bismuth oxychloride is just plain irritating, causing redness, itching, and rashes for most people, and it especially aggravates acne.

    As someone else recommended, Aveeno fragrance-free skin cleansers are very mild, gentle, non-irritating, and calming for skin and do help with mild acne by gently cleaning pores. I would be very, very careful with scrubs and peels, though, as you might end up trading one problem for another, even worse, problem. Most Aveeno products have been dermatologist recommended since the late 1940s, especially the colloidial oatmeal non-soap cleanser.

    A good makeup salesperson and any dermatologist will tell you that starting with a clean plate - clear skin - is better than trying to cover-up problems, but in the real world, this isn't always possible. The trick is finding a product that doesn't make things worse or start different problems.

    I would do a bit of research on the ingredients in the cosmetics you are considering before investing or putting them on your skin. Good luck, too! Rest assured, your readers won't mind a few zits ;-)

  25. I am 62 and have battled acne all my life. The most important thing is: DO NOT USE SOAP. It contains tallow, which creates blackheads, which lead to zits. I use a damp washcloth every morning and Olay (or another) facial wipes at nite to remove makeup, etc. I have a clindamycin gel to spot on active zits, and I use Retin-A--not for the wrinkles but to prevent acne. This regimen works very well for me altho I do still break out--due to stress! You're right, Gretchen--it's hell on the complexion. Don't have a cure for that yet, but I'm working on it.

    Gail D.

  26. What a busy week you've had! It never feels very exciting at the time, but try to enjoy it as best you can; you know you are doing what most of us would give out eye teeth to do within the home sewing world!
    Sometimes our skin just does flare up at the most odd times in our lives. Drink plenty of water and make sure you remove your make up REALLY well at the end of the day; skin loves to be clean and moisturised. Bare minerals is a fab brand as long as you don't go too heavy handed with it and have the right little brushes.
    I wish you all the luck with your projects and hope we can get a copy of the book here in the UK when it's published xx

  27. go for the basics in fixing a skin problem. clean your cell phone and make sure to keep your hands off of your face. hope it helps. thanks for all your great work.

  28. I've tried every face wash, scrub, mask and zit stick over the years eventually I realised that putting alcohol, bleach and other chemicals on my face wasn't going to help!

    Now I take burdock root, blue flag and sarsaparilla tablets everyday (even if my skin is clear), and use lush's tea tree water toner a couple of times a day. the tablet help with what's causing the spots on the inside and the tea tree water gets rid of any dirt or grease that will cause spots on the outside and doesn't dry up your skin.

    gentle exfoliation is great too because it increases your circulation (sugar mixed with oil works really well)

    Oh how I wish I could hop on a plane and come and help you with your book!

    I can't wait to get it!


  29. I have never used Bare Minerals, but I am a big fan of pure mineral cosmetics.

    They don't have to be expensive either!

    I buy mine from a woman locally who has her own line. She only sells online and we're talking cheap drugstore makeup prices for 100% minerals, no fillers (unlike many "mineral" cosmetics). It works on my terribly dry skin, my friends' oily break-out prone skin and it goes on beautifully...

  30. Hi Gertie,
    WOW! What a group of very knowledgeable women "but of course".

    I had a Day Spa for many years and specialized in problem skin. You have a lot of great advice here. The Glyco acids are great, the tea tree wash wonderful and peel, peel, peel to keep the bacteria coming out and not getting stopped up under dry skin on the surface of your face.
    In Oakland Ca is a skin care company who has awesome product to support problem skin using essential oils, hydrofelic oils and herbs. You can reach them at (800) 765-7597 ask for Lori or Lisa they owned the company and are wonderful You will love them and they would be thrilled to help you. You can tell her Lisa Marie had you call.
    On to sewing! I just discovered you this morning and what a wonderful find. I am excited to be a student and really appreciate the inspiration to get my machine out and do what I love again.

    Many thanks and best wishes,


  31. Hey, I dont know if you get LUSH in the USA, but I started using their skincare when my skin became bad. If you are getting spots and your skin is super greasy use their 'coalface' soap. If your skin is spotty and not so oily, use the 'fresh pharmacy' soap. Use these daily in conjunction with 'angels on bare skin' which is a scrub.

    I use these daily and my skin is fine. I notice it does get spottier if I stop using these products. I hope you find something that works for you as there is nothing so upsetting as bad skin that wont clear.

    Also, facial washes containing fruit acids are also great for problem skin.

  32. Gretie
    Do you have any suggestions on who has a 40ish blouse pattern out there now? Like the one you made from the sewing book? I need one for an wearable art outfit that I'm doing.
    Thanks Connie

  33. Hi Gertie! I just wanted to comment on your inquiry of a few posts ago about what to post while you are so busy...guest posts are fine with me, and I also wanted to suggest short posts about your favorite sewing-related books (I get good tips from you!) and tools.

    Hang in there and I second the daily exfoliation, the "resurfacing gels" everyone is mentioning and a weekly mask (I alternate between mud and papaya enzyme). But what has turned my skin around is to get a facial 3 times a year--eliminated the need for a dermatologist for me.

  34. Gertie, in the morning, I use olay face wash, the 'exfoliating' one, every other day, with a knitted washcloth. Oh how I love that washcloth. After that, witch hazel for a quick wipedown of any remaining dirt and residue. A light moisturizer in summer with spf, then my makeup, if I wear it. At night, I alternate between ponds cold cream (cucumber one) and biore's warming anti-blackhead cream cleanser and another knitted washcloth, (serious love here. I make them, quick and easy) followed by olay's night cream. Also, if you have pillowcases enough, change it daily! it seriously made a difference.

    As for bare minerals, I didn't really care for it, a bit too drying for me.

    All of this has netted me with lovely, soft skin, at the age I am...which is no longer young, but not yet old. I am regularly mistaken for being ten years younger than I really am. Also, watch out for too much sun isn't a good thing!

  35. After experimenting with so many products and finding my skin in worse shape than when I started every time I use drugstore brands, I now always invest in the best stuff (which is concentrated and lasts a long time, too): for every day skin priming, I use Peter Thomas Roth's line of stuff (I'm in my mid-30s, dealing with adult onset acne, etc, too), esp. the botanical buffing beads (daily exfoliant that also breaks down sebum, thereby preventing breakouts). The acne treatment from this line is brilliant too. For cosmetics, I ALWAYS use Bobbi Brown cosmetics. She knows how to make more "mature" skin look it's best, without being overdone, etc. Just sayin'!

  36. You're such a busy bee--what's your secret, lady, to staying sane in all this?! ;)

    I haven't read through all the comments, so I may just be repeating, but I found that mineral foundation does wonders to clean my skin. In fact, I think the ongoing battle with blemishes on my right cheek is because I've stubbornly been wearing liquid foundation this summer (which I know I shouldn't--liquid foundation for me is only for cold weather!). I have tried a lot of the mid-level mineral powder foundations over the years. My favorite brand in Mary Kay, then Sephora's brand, then Bare Minerals. I think for the price, it's about the same as the other two (plus you get more with the others). Be sure to invest in a good application brush, and wash it every week. That usually helps clear up the break outs a lot. I also will keep a liquid concealer on hand, but a trick I learned from one of my girl friends is to use a concealer brush to apply a concentrated dab of mineral powder foundation over a blemish. Won't stand up to HD resolution, but for every day (and casual photos) it works like a charm. I have worn mineral foundation for almost everything (including my wedding and modeling gigs); plus I find it's a bit easier to apply!

    Okay--off my foundation soap box! Wish I lived closer because I'd totally come and be your intern for as long as you needed (wine is a good trade, imho!). hehe! Wishing you lots and lots of luck and all the best as you get through the next few weeks with the book!

  37. For me, and I stress, on my skin, which is combination and prone to large pores and breakouts, Bare Minerals has literally changed my life! My skin has never looked better. Using the brushes and learning the correct way of applying the make-up is essential, but it doesn't clog up my pores and cause further outbreaks. I think that you should try a few things and see how it goes. I got a small starter kit to begin with, but I will never try anything else!

  38. Well you look great, so at least the skin irritations aren't obvious, but I know how that goes. I never had acne til my late twenties, but from then on, I got used to living with chronic cystic acne. I practically had the dermatologist on speed dial for cortisone shots. Yep, expensive, but worth it for special occasions. I found that Aveda tinted moisturizer was best for me. Microdermabrasion, also not cheap, helped. And I have used a Rx cream called Azelex for years. It really helps prevent breakouts. The irony is that people tell me I have pretty skin. But the acne has taken up the bulk of my beauty efforts, that's for sure.

  39. Hi, Gertie,
    You look GREAT in that photo!

    I know what you mean about the toll stress takes on one's skin (not visible at all in your photos!)-- and the mental toll of having breakouts just leads to more stress, thus to more blemishes, and so on and so on and so on...

    I have a very stressful job ( I teach high school English to very wealthy, privileged girls-- the pressure is enormous) and it has led to some rather nasty skin problems. I developed rosacea (it was news to me-- I thought rosacea was about redness, but I have the version that is all about zits-- lucky me!) and, over the past few years, have had to learn how to manage it.

    I found that nearly no one knows much about how to cope with the problem, but I kept looking and searching and talking to everyone I could find with any expertise and here is what I learned about keeping the blemishes under control (can apply to rosacea or to any other blemishes, really).

    1. Learn your triggers: stress is one for you, it seems. Me, too-- it is probably the worst of my triggers. Heat and cold are common triggers for a lot of people. Also triggers for me? Cheese (sob!), chocolate (SOB!), red wine (wail!), champagne or bubbly alcoholic drinks (Wail AND sob!). Cutting these out/down has helped hugely. Stress, I have a harder time with-- how do you get rid of stress? Also, I still indulge in the occasional bit of chocolate and the extremely occasional glass of red wine. Life still has to be enjoyed, after all, and sometimes white wine just doesn't fit the bill!

    2. Avoid any products with tea tree oil or glycerin-- these exacerbate the problem.

    3. Find a skincare product designed especially for your problem. I use Cures-- it's a line formulated to heal rosacea breakouts (ie, zits) and it is the only thing I have found that works. It is not cheap, but spending the money on it beats wanting to hide under the covers and never leave the house, which is pretty much how I was feeling ALL THE TIME. (I am in my 40s, not a teenager, but my terrible skin made me more self-conscious than a 13 year-old at a school dance!)

    Good luck-- it is so exciting that your book project is nearing the time when we can buy it! Hang in there!

  40. Just wanted to jump in with a comment about Bare Minerals. I've been using the foundation and many of the other products for a couple of years, and I have to say I absolutely love it. My skin tends to combination/oily t-zone and the foundation - and Mineral Veil - work wonders. And I never ever feel caked in make up.

    Another product I would recommend if you can get it in the US is Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish hot cloth cleanser. Cleans skin beautifully and deeply, the cloth exfoliates as you cleanse and it is gentle on your skin.

  41. Hi, Gertie--

    You've gotten a lot of good tips here; I just wanted to add one thought I hadn't yet seen: if you have even *slightly* enlarged pores (and oftentimes those of us with complexion challenges end up with them) Bare Minerals and the like will only highlight them. Make them visible from across the room, in fact. :(

  42. Hi Gertie! For your skin problem, Proactiv system is the only product that has worked on my acne, I had TERRIBLE acne plus rosacea up to like 5 months ago when I started to use proactiv, the active ingredient is Benzoil Peroxide, which probably you could find it in other products less expensive.
    Good luck,

  43. I do use Bare Minerals and I love it.

    After blemish free teen years, I had a terrible skin issue last year because of some new b/c pills. Here's what I learned:

    1) Clinique has the best line of skin care for blemish problems. Get their acne care kit for $30 and you get a cleanser, a toner, and a lotion. If you wash your face with it, then use the toner till the cotton comes clean and put on the lotion you'll feel tons better in a day or two.

    2) The clinique acne-care foundation is awesome. I used it even with clear skin. It controls redness so it makes you look great, it goes on super thin so you don't feel all gunky, and it helps control breakouts. Honestly, I'd use this till your face is better, then switch to the mineral makeup (which rocks - and they have a matte line that would look great with your retro look!)

    (btw - no, I don't work for clinique...)

    3) Don't touch your face at all and don't use an exfolliant on your body if you have any breakouts on your chest, back, etc. The bacteria that causes the acne spreads like crazy and it's so tempting to try to "fix" a blemish, but it works against you, I swear it.

    4) I've heard, though not tried, that raspberry oil works wonders on acne if you want a natural alternative.

    I hope that helps! I got off my offending medication and then after doing this stuff to fix my skin eventually it got back to normal. If I have any weird flareups, I just get that toner again, and I'm golden!

  44. Bareminerals is great; when I had acne I used Rareminerals Blemish Therapy. They've changed the packaging and taken it off the Rareminerals line, but it seems to be the same thing. You can get it at,default,pd.html?start=1&cgid=BE for $18, and it's also at Sephora. This powder is FANTASTIC -- just make sure you gob it on with the included brush. Apply lots on Saturday night and it'll be gone on Sunday morning. (I always conviniently got pimples on Saturday). Their foundation looks really good if you use Mineral Veil finishing powder. They have matte foundation, too, but I haven't tried it.

  45. I am actually a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant. The TimeWise Miracle Set and Mineral Powder foundation did wonders for my problem skin.

  46. Good luck with the book shoot! I am really looking forward to the final product. I am loving the Sew Retro Class. Thanks for all of your hard work. It has been a blessing to me.

    As for adult acne caused from stress, I thought I would have to live with it my whole life. I was looking forward to that glowing perfect skin you are suppose to have when having a baby. Nope! At 33, the acne got much worst. For some reason, that must have shock something in my system though. After my baby was born, I haven't had anymore acne. Now, it is reptile dry skin that plagues me. Oh well! We will always have to deal with something.

  47. I would love to help you with your book and TV appearances. I fear I am to far away. That would be much more fun than working at my job.

  48. Normally I avoid infomercial products as though they were a plague, but in desperation I ordered Proactive a good ten years ago. Both my boys use it as well. It has worked phenomenally well for all of us--never dries out the skin either. A little bit of the products goes a long way, too.

    I finally broke down and tried Bare Minerals. Unfortunately, it clogged my pores.

  49. I've had a problem with my skin being oily and prone to break outs since puberty hit. The best face wash I've found is Exuviance's Moisturizing anti-bacterial wash. It is somewhat pricey but lasts a long time AND works where nothing else has. Now its just that 'once a month' break-out, if you know what I mean. I like Bare-Minerals. Also, sleep is your friend. Beauty sleep is important!

  50. I posted a long comment on my phone and it disappeared. The gist of what I said was this:
    my skin used to break out a lot until I started doing less to it and using BHA (salicylic acid) daily. I like the gel by I like her books too, they are very informative. Her other website is good to look up products to see if they work or not. I'm not affiliated with these, I just like a few of their products. is another good site to read product reviews.

  51. Wow, nothing like bad skin to get people talking! I love mineral make up too but I found some brands cause me to break out and others don't. Best to shop around! Also keep your brushes clean, I have a few sets so I can change them once a week and wash them when I get more time. It is too reflective for photoshoots but the make up artist will have their own special foundations anyway. Finally, I'd be very cautious about the cortisone injections! I had one for a shoulder injury a few years ago and the doctors told me you should only have 2-3 of them in your lifetime! Best to ask lots of questions first :)

    Good luck, and I look forward to seeing your posts again!

  52. Gosh, such knowledgeable answers. But I thought I would throw in my age-old solution. Dab on toothpaste on the blemish at night. It may take two nights to get rid of the blemish but it will seems to get rid of the bacteria and the blemish.

    As to the stress; I worked in 911 for over 30 years and to calm a caller it sometimes helped to have them breathe deeply through the nose and then blow it out slowly through the mouth. Three breaths and it truly makes a big difference. We tend to not breathe properly when stressed and this gets oxygen where it is needed. Try it throughout your day, especially in this up coming week.

  53. Hi Gertie, I would love to help you. I have experience on a set and lots of sewing experience - though I'm currently having a little hiatus with two small children. And I am calm. Looking forward to seeing your book in any case!

  54. may i just say, as a gal who uses a LOT of makeup products voluntarily and involuntarily, bare minerals wrecks my sensitive face like an MMA fighter.

    but, when it comes to sensitive skin, everyone is completely different, so it may rock for you-- if it doesn't, try olek henrikson's line. you can get a nitfy 5 piece travel kit for the price of one jar of might cream at sephora, and it lasts for months!

  55. oh. and, internship? if your week is not already completely booked, i can offer a day (and i'll bring the wine :)

  56. Benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid products work. You don't have to buy the Pro-Activ brand either. A doctor would probably put you on an anti-biotic or retinoic acid before she resorted to steroid shots. As a fertile female, Accutane is too dangerous for you although it is a miracle drug.

  57. i know your problem... i'm 22 now, but still have the skin of a teenager. i also have the patch of spots on one side of my face, very weird. the usual stuff didn't work at all, my skin is very sensitive and i often got allergic reactions, or it got worse... i've started using lush stuff and that works very well for now, the problems aren't completely gone but i can clearly see a difference, especially when i haven't been using anything for a while.
    for my sensititve combination skin i prefer to use this:

    in the morning, i use a mild scrub called angels on bare skin. it's very soft so you can use it every day, and contains lavender to calm down irritated skin. after washing this off i remove all leftovers with breath of fresh air toner, and apply a moisturizer called vanishing cream (which sinks right in, it's awesome)
    at night i remove all my make up with ultrabland, it's very soft and everything just wipes off. i only use it for eyeliner and lipstick though, since i rarely use foundation, but i heard it works really well with that as well. then another toner called eau roma water and, dependingg on how my skin is, my regular moisturizer or a face serum called saving face.
    they also sell this stuff called grease lightning that works as an effective spot-treatment, and it does calm them down overnight.

  58. Welcome home!!! I tried Bare Minerals foundation once, but I didn't like it because it settled in my wrinkles after a couple of hours. That won't be a problem for you! I have heard it's good for problem skin, too. I'd urge you go to to the derm and see what s/he has to say. They may not need needles. I used to get acne, then found out it was rosacea. I'm on a prescription cream now and it hasn't flared up for years.

    As for the stress, come up to Boston and spend a sewing weekend with me! That will de-stress you.

  59. Doing great here! Vacation this week, so I won't be online as much as usual either.

    Can't wait! Really need to get away and recharge!

    Good luck with the balancing act that is your life right now!

  60. Heh, I started reading all the posts thinking "Ah, maybe someone will recommend something good" and then realized there were 60 posts and I need to make a doll shirt before a child's birthday party today and don't have time. Later.

    When I was 14 my mom told me that I'd grow out of my acne when I was 18. I'm 30. Now it's not that bad, but still (she lied!)(she'd roll her eyes at that). I use Bare Minerals with a Clinque coverup stick and the main trouble with BM is that when you're already red and splotchy it doesn't cover long term that well.

    Proactive in the morning, Neutrogina at night in the shower. It goes reasonably well. Not bad enough to warrant a prescription.

    Now when I'm stressed I get cold sores. Sweeeeeeet. (If you do get those, get your doctor or dentist to write you a prescription for prophylactic Valtrex, it works better and faster than the creams.)

  61. I've used Proactive for years, and I may as well be their spokesperson for how much I've talked it up over the years. It's not for everyone. I have oily skin, but others that have used it find it drying. I do not. I've also used Bare Minerals for a number of years and love it. In my experience, acne is one of the ways your body has of getting crap out of itself. I've also been on a low oxalate diet for a number of years, and it really did the trick for me. One more thing, you would think that drying out a big zapper was the way to go (in the dark years I used to use rubbing alcohol-bad idea), but really, the more moisture it has, the faster it will heal. Take care of yourself, and get your body back in balance. Get a massage!

  62. I've been using Bare Minerals for over 5 years now and I can attest that my skin has improved dramatically. I've been prone to hormonal and stress-related breakouts and since using the minerals, I rarely break out.

    I also use an exfoliating AHA cream (Alpha Hydrox 12% Souffle), and a retinol (Alpha Hydrox Retinol ResQ). Since I'm 57 now, I find that these really keep my skin nice and smooth which makes the minerals go on nicer.

  63. RE mineral foundations - just a warning: they are hypoallergenic, but that doesn't mean you can't be allergic. I tried one of them and my skin broke out into a spotty rash after one application, it took days to calm down and hasn't been the same since (this is 2 years ago).

    About two months ago I started using rosewater as a toner after cleansing and it's brilliant. I've got fewer blemishes and my combination skin has become less oily and less dry. I'd definitely recommend it!

  64. I exfoliate with an old fashionee washcloth and wear a light moisturizer with sunscreen. That's it. I don't even wash my face with any sort of face wash or moisturizer, and I certainly don't wear foundation. (Though I understand that's necessary when you're On Camera). Maybe I'm crazy blessed with good skin, but it's gotten much much better since I stopped washing it.

  65. I tend to try to take s somewhat scientific approach to skincare, since sales people mostly want to sell their products (even if they are doctors hawking their own lines of products), and there are a LOT of things passed around as "definitely true" by people who "know" that have absolutely no scientific basis (eating chocolate leading to acne is a big one). In this respect I've found the information on the Paula's Choice site, in her books and Beuatypedia to be outstanding. I can only use a couple of her products now due to medical reasons (I do still use a few of them), but all I've used over the years are good products with a fair price, and the info she gives out is about the most scientifically sound I've found in the cosmetics/fitness field. Ultimately you have to figure out what works for your skin because humans don't all have the same body chemistry and different things work for different folks. Good luck!

  66. I suspect the air surrounding you is probably very "conditioned" - i.e. dry. Between dry skin and makeup and hot lights and reapplied powder - your poor skin is suffering. If everything seems fly away or shocky with static, your air is too dry. Drinking more water can help, but also getting water into the environment can help also. In your home/work space, add a cool air humidifier - the inexpensive ones for babies works well. You don't need to add anything menthol - just run the vaporizer. Protect the surrounding space for damp, but let it run. Finally, don't burn yourself, but remember to get some daylight on your skin too. My blood pressure medicine and sunlight don't get along, but I try to spend at least 20 minutes outside in the early morning or evening.

  67. Hi Gertie, I've had mild acne for most of my adult life. The only thing that worked for me was retin-a micro and benzaclin gel. I do use the bare minerals exclusively. That said, I've heard great things about the Tanda spot treatment - light device that zaps cystic zits for around $50. Best advice: DO NOT WAIT to get treatment - scarring lasts way longer and its much harder to get rid of than the acne itself. Good luck and I hope you find a solution!


    the link is too my favoriteeeee makeup of foundations. It's a mineral based and easier on your skin but so much cheaper and just as good. ELF overall is a good brand-- especially for the price.

  69. I have used Bare Minerals and thought the product was OK, but my favorite is Everday Minerals , which costs less, and comes in a far greater range of colors and finishes. They offer sample kits with several samples in a range of colors to help you determine the colors you want. I use Cetafil products on my sensitive skin, recommended by my dermatologist. My dermatologist also told me to apply olive oil to my face before washing in the evening (he suggested Cetafil or Dove) because of the natural chemicals. I also use olive oil (extra light virgin olive oil) as a body lotion after a shower. I used some of the Cetafil cream moisturizer and Every Day Minerals to mix up my own creamy foundation. I apply a thin layer of cream first then the "foundation". Works great and has SPF value. No affiliation to the products, but after years and years of trying many different products, I am very happy.

  70. You already got swamped with skin care tips, but here is mine. Benzoyl peroxide 10%, use a mild cleanser and then a toner i like loreal, it's cheap! Then use the benzoyl peroxide. For hard to shrink pimples, apply a warm cloth for a couple minutes and then put a dab of hydrocortizone cream on it, it works similar to the cortizone shots, but no needles, and super cheap!

  71. Gertie, find yourself an esthetician in a dermatology or plastic surgeon's office. She should be able to help your acne problem - which can be very different than treating a teenage acne problem. I am an esthetician in a plastics office - and you should be able to get your skin under control with the right products and possibly in office treatments. I wouldn't jump to doing cortisone shots because this can leave indentations in your skin.
    Minerals are great for the skin. The purer the mineral blend the better. Bare Escentials is not a bad choice, but not completely pure.
    Please feel free to email me with any questions!
    P.S. Cannot wait for your book to come out!!!

  72. I had dreadful acne in my teens and used all sorts of stuff from the doctor. I guess it has settled now - though still have oily skin plus wrinkles at the same time (56) - grrrr.
    Suddenly became allergic to benzoyl peroxide in my twenties so had to forget that.
    I find that treating my skin really gently has been the best thing. I love Origins products, especially Dr Andrew Weil cleanser/toner. I used to have skin on my neck that regularly flared up but it has been great with Origins. The Andrew Weil creams are a bit pricy and I often go for the cheaper Origins face cream.

  73. I agree bare minerals is the best prodct aroud for problem skin. Also, you may be over cleansing because you may have sensitive skin and exfoliating twice a week is actually aggraviting you sin. Try Clarins skin products. i have tried so many different lines over the years, this is the skin care line i keep comnig back to. Their mask once a week, toner, and moisturizer keep my skin free and clear. I do not work in the skin care industry, just spent a lot of cash over the years trying to figure out something that will work. love your work and blog.

  74. Oh! I feel your pain. When I started traveling for work it really was a disaster for my complexion at first.

    Now I make sure to drink plenty of water in flight (flying is very dehydrating) and I try to start each day with a glass of water, since sleep is dehydrating, too. Speaking of which, making sure you get 7 hours of sleep a night is probably the most improtant thing you can do to combat stress.

    As one or two other people suggested, I've also opted to use a milder cleansing regimen - I use Cetaphil or Purpose, which are non-soap based. This seems to have helped my complexion in general and dealing with the flare ups too.

  75. Hey Gretchen, I hear you on the stress acne. Mine is solved by my derm, but my BF had crazy acne issues that couldn't be solved by medications and she now swears by detox facials so you might give that a try. She bloged about it here I don't think we have a fresh med spa in NYC, but perhaps you can find something similar.
    Good luck!

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  77. My DD (then age 18) had a major break out when she went away to college last fall. Probably due to stress.
    I did taker her to a dermatologist but cortisone shots were not mentioned. She went on two prescription ointments (one AM, one PM), an oral antibiotic, and the pill (to control raging hormones, I guess). And she did switch to Bare Minerals make up.
    I would recommend you see a dermatologist. They can do more than just cortisone shots. Don't try to wait it out like my DD did. She now has some acne scars. Good luck.

  78. I use Bare Minerals and love it. I used to use L'Occitaine lavender vineger for acne flair ups but they have stopped making it so I recently made my own lavender vineger and it takes away red and drys up the pimples--amazing and all natural, how to make it can be found online.

  79. Hey Gertie. I have issues with stressed skin too. I stick to this regimen:

    - Hydrate with water....alot
    - I Only wash with cool or cold water
    - I Use Cetafil foaming wash (dermatologist recommended
    - I Use only BareMinerals makeup (it has never caused a breakout for me)
    - I "ice" my face with an icecube every night after washing my face to shock my pores closed.

    Sounds strange, I know but it works. My stress breakouts have really reduced in frequency.

  80. Hi Gertie,

    Tons of info here, but here's my 2 cents:
    YES YES to Bare Minerals. I love it and have for about 5 years. (I'm 46.) Two tips for that: 1) always moisturize before applying. It goes on much better and stays smooth. 2) wash your brushes FREQUENTLY. They are full of bacteria, which you don't want to put on with your makeup! I use mild, clear shampoo.
    I love the Neutrogena line. I use the cleanser, toner, make up remover, and moisturizer with sunscreen and my skin has never looked better. I have rosacea and have tried all kinds of stuff, but this works best for me, even better than the expensive stuff from the dermo.
    Good luck with all your projects - love your blog.

  81. Cetaphil cleanser with Clarisonic brush, followed by Cetaphil moisturizer.

  82. Hi Gertie, I love your blog posts. I also admire your style and creativity. I am sorry your breaking out. I have been using bare Escentuals for the past 4 years. I think its awesome! I personally love the sheen it gives my skin. If you prefer a more natural matte finish, you can try Alima Mineral Make up. You can check out their website. They offer great samples and has a great customer service. I have sensitive skin and those two mineral make up brands did not irritate my sensitive skin. Goodluck on your future endeavors and more power to you!


    Start from the inside first! Olive Leaf Extract is amazing and has cleaned up my skin like you wouldn't believe as well as many other health benefits. (I have also had great success combatting coldsores with this!). I have many other friends who are loyal to a teaspoon a day. I'm not sure of the best place to find it in the US. When I am sick I go with 2 big teaspoons 3 times a day.

    If you are going organic with your makeup then organic cleansers & moisturisers etc such as Weleda and Miessence are also great. But it can be a journey changing to organic and often things will get a little worse until your skin finishes detoxing.

    Good Luck!!

  84. I love reading your blog, even though I don't sew clothes. But I never had anything to add, until now! I use a glycolic acid peel at home (you can get in on amazon) whenever my skin starts to be troublesome, and I find that when I use that once a month or so, and then just water and cetaphil to wash with regularly it keeps my skin in line. Also kiehls avocado eye cream is the BEST THING EVER.


Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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