To Cerave or Not to Cerave?

I need to start out this post by thanking all of you who responded to my Facebook posting asking for your thoughts on what you would want me to blog about and what beauty questions you would like me to answer. I got a tremendous response, which has motivated me to really do my research and get going on answering all of your beauty questions. There were so many questions that I have blog topics to last me a while, so please be patient. I promise to answer your question as soon as possible. The question, or questions, I have decided to answer first relate to whether or not we should be paying attention to the ingredients in our skin care and if the dermatologist recommended products, like CeraVe, are really what they claim to be.

 I have a confession to make, I have used CeraVe in the very recent past. In fact, it wasn't until I did the research for this blog, that I stopped using CeraVe. I have chosen to use CeraVe as the cleanser I will be further examining in this blog post because I believe it, like Cetaphil, is highly recommended by dermatologists everywhere. I am not claiming that CeraVe is an evil company, I think it is probably one of the better drug store skin care lines and people genuinely they believe they are using something great on their skin when using this product. Unfortunately, that isn't saying much. The truth is, even the skin care lines that cost twice and three times the amount of CeraVe can also contain these harmful ingredients. I myself have even told my clients, "if you are on a budget, spend your money on serums and creams that stay on your skin. Don't waste your money on cleansers that you rinse off." After further research, however, I don't want a lot of these ingredients anywhere near my skin, even if I rinse them off after a short time.

As many of you know, I am a pretty anxiety-ridden person so doing the research for this blog made me really question not only the ingredients I am putting into my body via skin care, but also the food I eat, the cleaning products I use, etc. If you really look into things, you could easily talk yourself in to never leaving your house for fear of being exposed to toxins. Unfortunately, toxins are everywhere. They are in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the products we use. I am going to try to stay as neutral as possible when presenting this information to you, because I am still not sure how I feel about the research I have found. The ingredients that I am concerned about are claimed to be safe in small amounts by the FDA, but do we really trust the FDA? That is what you are going to have to decide for yourself.

 During my research, I found an article on the Annmarie Skin Care website about the top 10 ingredients you don't want in your skin care. Annmarie is a woman, like me, who took a look at the products she was using and wasn't satisfied with the ingredients she was using on her skin or putting into her body. So she and her partner Kevin joined forces to create a chemical-free skin care line. I looked into all of the ingredients she listed and realized almost all cleansers on the market and in your local drugstores have these harmful ingredients, including CeraVe. I also found, that there are a lot of other harmful ingredients not included on this list that are in CeraVe and a whole slew of other cleansers and skin care products. In other words, the next time you purchase a facial cleanser or other skin care product watch out for these harmful ingredients:


1. Phenoxyethanol- used as a preservative in skin care products to prolong shelf life. It has been linked to acute allergic reactions and eczema to nervous system damage, especially in infants.

2. Aluminum- often used as an absorbent or thickening agent in cosmetic products. It is toxic to the human nervous system, a developmental neurotoxin, and harmful to the human respiratory system. Aluminum has also been linked to the cause of Alzheimer's Disease.

3. Formaldehyde- used as a preservative in skin care products. It is a human carcinogen linked to cancer.

4. Tetrasodium EDTA (found in CeraVe)- this ingredients is used as a preservative and penetration enhancer in skin care products. It is a known human carcinogen. The scariest part is, it has penetration enhancing abilities which break down the skin's protective barrier and make it easier for other harmful ingredients in your skin care to sink deeper into your tissue and even your bloodstream.

5. PEG's, Dioxins (found in CeraVe)-  PEG, or Polyethylene Glycol, is used as an emollient or emulsifying ingredient in skin care products. There are several forms of PEG's (i.e. PEG-150, PEG-6 etc.). PEG's also have penetration enhancing abilities are toxic chemicals linked to reproductive, developmental, immune system, and hormonal problems. They are also linked to breast and uterine cancer.

6. Toluene- I had a hard time finding why Toluene would be used in skin care products. I found that it is mostly used in nail polishes. All I know is that it is an ingredient in gasoline and adhesive glues, so I know I definitely don't want it in my skin care products.

7. Triethanolamine- a PH adjuster found in skin care products. It is connected to skin and eye irritation, damage to the human respiratory system, immune system and inciting cancer.

8. Para Aminobezoic Acid- From my understanding, many people believe this is a form of Vitamin B. In my research I found that it is actually an amino acid found in Folic Acid. Large doses can be linked to liver damage.

9. Sodium Polyacrylate/Plastics (found in CeraVe)- this is used as a thickening agent in cosmetics. The main concern is that there is a chance it could be contaminated during processing.

10. Deet- A harmful pesticide usually found in bug sprays.

According to my research, CeraVe contains at least 3 of these 10 toxic chemcials that you do not want to have in your skin care products. And the reason I say "at least" is because a lot of these chemicals have mutltiple names or abbreviations, so there is a huge chance I am missing something. In addition, I found that CeraVe contains:

  • Propylene Glycol- an ingredient used to absorb moisture in certain medicines and cosmetics. It is related to skin, liver, and kidney damage
  • Hydroxsultane- a synthetic detergent that causes skin sensitivities, allergic reactions, and eczema.

I was flabbergasted, to say the least, that CeraVe contains an ingredient, hydroxsultane, that causes skin sensitivities and eczema because I hear from every client or coworker that their dermatologist recommended CeraVe for their sensitive skin or eczema. Doesn't quite make sense does it?

After realizing CeraVe, and many other drug store cleansers were not for me, I set off to find a cleanser that was chemical free. I thought for sure that so many of the high-end "botanical" lines I have used would be free of these harmful ingredients. Unfortunately, I was wrong. Even a $30 cleanser I have used in the past contains some of these ingredients. I wish I could tell you all that I found the perfect product line for you that contains absolutely no chemicals AND has excellent anti-aging results. Unfortunately, I am still on the hunt. However, I have found an excellent website and few really great lines to recommend. Next time you are considering a skin care line, log onto and type in the name of the line you are considering. This website will pull up all of the ingredients used in the product line and rate the ingredients on a scale from 1-10. The higher the number, the more toxic the ingredient. The website will even explain what health problems the chemical has been linked to. You can even search "chemical free skin care products" on Skin Deep's website and find one in your price range. My dear friend, Lauren Purnell, is way ahead of the game and has started her own chemical-free skin care line. You can talk to her about her products or place orders by messaging her on Facebook or Instagram. Also, my beautiful Esthetician mother, carries a line called Luzern. After looking it up myself and on Skin Deep's website, I found next to no harmful chemicals in Luzern's products.

In conclusion, you have to decide what is important to you. I understand that we are all on a budget, but we should care about what we put on our skin as much as we care about what we put in our bodies. I laugh when people claim they can't spend money on skin care, but drop $5 everyday at Starbucks for a latte or come strolling in with the latest designer hand bag. Something is wrong with this picture. In other words, its all about our priorities. Like I said earlier, the FDA claims that all of the harmful ingredients I mentioned are considered safe in skin care products because there is a small amount of them in the products. This is true for harmful ingredients in all of the food we eat and products we use. You could drive yourself crazy trying to live a chemical free lifestyle. What is worse, is that chemical-free products are hard to find and sometimes very expensive. I pray that one day, it will be the highly toxic products that are hard to find. I thank you again for forcing me to do this research for myself. I hope I have answered your questions about skin care lines like CeraVe. I hope I also gave you some helpful information about what you do not want in your cleansers and skin care products. I will have to do a post in the future about the ingredients that you do want to have in these products.

One more thing, a few of you have asked me what my thoughts are on Rodan+Fields. I can't honestly tell you about the results it gives because I haven't tried it myself. The before and after photos I have seen are impressive, but then some of them look like they could be better due to makeup or lighting. I do know that Rodan+Fields products are not very highly rated on the Skin Deep website, and I myself have researched the ingredients in the products. There are quite a few harmful chemicals. I hate to bash any one line, because so many are guilty of the same thing. I also hate to bash a line that has given many of my friends and acquaintances a new lease on life, new friends, and supplemental income. However, I feel the responsibility to report the facts.

I hope all of this information will help you make a better decision on the products you plan to use on your skin. After seeing the response I got from my Facebook post, a friend recommended that I hold seminars and or classes about skin care and make up. This is something I am considering very seriously. They could be hosted in your home for a fun "girls night," or at an event venue. I plan to do more research and planning into this idea and keep you posted. Until then, take care of your beautiful skin.



Foundation, Foundation, Foundation.....

At every stage in life, it seems we are searching for the right foundation for our skin as it changes with age, season, health changes, etc. There are so many types of foundation out there, it makes it hard for the average consumer to even know where to start. Advertisements trick us with words like "mineral," "oil free," and "airbrush," but the truth is, those may not be the best option for your skin type. In my career and in my personal life, I have used every type of foundation out there. When I was younger, I needed a lot of coverage due to hormonal acne and wanted a matte finish because, God forbid I ever have a little bit of shine! As I get older and my skin has changed to normal-to-dry with occasional breakout, I now prefer a more "dewy" look and use a more moisturizing formula. Whatever your skin type, there is a foundation out there for you. In this post, I will share with you the different types of foundation out there and which skin type they are best for.

Oil Free- Oil free foundation is a good thing, but I think most women are tricked into thinking oil is bad at a young age. I can always tell the women in their 50's that struggled with acne as a teen, because they are very concerned that the foundation I use on them is "oil free." The truth is however, as we age, oil-free is not always the best option. If you are between the ages of 14-25 and are struggling from acne due to over-active oil glands, then by all means, use an oil free foundation. Also, make sure it is non-comedogenic, which means it will not clog your pores. However, if you are above the age 25 and have normal to dry skin, you do not need to be as concerned about whether your foundation is oil free. You may prefer a matte finish, which most oil-free foundations can provide, but if you are concerned about your foundation sinking into lines/wrinkles and pores, choosing a lighter-weight liquid foundation may be a better option for you. An oil free foundation that I recommend for those also looking to reduce breakout from oily skin is Neutrogena's Skin Clearing Oil-Free Makeup. Its inexpensive, can be picked up at your local CVS or Walgreens, and contains salycilic acid to treat your breakout as you cover it up. This foundation will provide you with more of a matte finish.

Matte Finish-Lately, the matte look is back. Women are ditching their "J-lo glow" and reaching for a more "airbrushed" look. This look always reminds me of "Old Hollywood Glam" and I love it! Unfortunately, it is not the best look for my skin type. I do suffer from breakout, but my skin is dry (a very frustrating combination). The matte foundation look can really make any fine lines or dryness more apparent and can make you look older. When we work to age people for movie parts, we use matte foundation and matte powder to help them look older. Get my point? This does not mean, the matte finish is out for you. If you have been given the awesome skin genes and your skin is not yet showing signs of aging, or your skin tends to be more normal to oily, this is a great option for you! Also, if you are having professional photos taken for any reason, a matte finish is great for photography. Having a matte-finish in your inventory is never a bad option. The one that I prefer and I am sure you have heard about is Make-up Forever's Ultra HD Liquid Foundation.

Moisturizing Foundation/Tinted Moisturizer- If you are over the age of 25, have signs of aging and dry skin these are the foundations for you! A normal moisturizing foundation will give you more coverage for redness due to dryness, broken capillaries, or scaring. The tinted moisturizer is great for those who need less coverage, but would like to even out their skin tone. I love to keep a tinted moisturizer handy for when I am running errands, going to the beach, or doing any activity that I want to even out my skin tone without looking like I am wearing makeup. It is so lightweight and freeing. A couple of years ago, companies came out with "CC Creams," these are basically tinted moisturizers. They provide your skin with light-weight coverage that keep it looking youthful and glowy. If you feel like any of these foundations leave you too shiny, you can always keep a compact pressed powder on hand to powder your t-zone. Avoid using powder around the eyes, mouth, or any area where you may have fine lines. My favorite moisturizing foundation and tinted moisturizer is from Laura Mercier, who by the way also has the BEST concealers. I love her Moisture Supreme foundation and Tinted Moisturizer. Both can be found at any Laura Mercier counter or your local Sephora.

My favorite pressed powder to throw in my handbag for "shiny nose syndrome" is Mirabella's Pure Press Mineral Powder. Mirabella can only be found in salons, a hint that it is probably a good product.

Mineral Powder/Liquid Foundation: The idea of mineral foundation is great. There is nothing better than knowing your makeup is made up of vitamins and minerals to help your skin. Not to mention, a lot of mineral foundations are anti-inflammatory, so they help with redness and inflamed breakout. With the emergence of brands like "Bare Minerals" women are reaching for products that they believe are truly helping their skin. A lot of mineral brands even try to advertise that wearing mineral makeup is like not wearing make up at all and that you can even sleep in it. This is NOT the case. In fact, mineral makeup can be very heavy and if you struggle at all with enlarged pores or fine lines, mineral makeup can make these imperfections more noticeable. I don't care what cosmetics companies tell you, you ALWAYS need to wash your makeup off at the end of the night. Also, a lot of mineral brands advertise that they are 100% mineral, but this is not always true. Make sure you do your research if you are truly looking for a 100% mineral product. Hint.....Bare Minerals is not 100% mineral. Do your research. My favorite brand of mineral makeup is Jane Iredale. These products are not sold in malls or drug stores, but can be found at salons and physician offices. The best part is, Jane makes both a powder and liquid mineral foundation. For those with normal-to-oily skin, the powder would be best for you. For those with normal-to-dry or aging skin, the liquid foundation is best. Mineral foundation goes a long way, so use sparingly. It can tend to look very heavy with too much product.

Cream-to-Powder Foundation- This is a type of foundation that you don't see very often. It is the perfect combination for those looking for a foundation that goes on smoothly like liquid, but gives you more of a matte finish once applied. I like to use cream-to-powder foundation on days where I feel I need a little more coverage, but want it to look like I am not wearing a ton of makeup. My favorite cream-to-powder foundation is by Mirabella, one of the few companies that still carries a cream-to-powder foundation option. It is called Mirabella Skin Tint Cream-to-Powder foundation and can be found in salons only. You can search which salon carries it near you. Hint....we carry it at Tanya's Image and Wellness Salon. ;)

My two favorite foundations currently are Lorac's Sheer Porefection and Urban Decay's Naked Skin Weighless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup. I was using the Urban Decay foundation for a while, but found that it was starting to look a little too heavy. This doesn't mean it is the wrong foundation for you. It gives the best coverage and is great for combination skin. I moved on to Lorac's Sheer Porfection because it gives me a lighter coverage, but still evens out my skin tone very nicely. Best of all, it doesn't hide my freckles. Because, I happen to like my freckles thank you very much! You can now find Lorac at Kohls, of all places, and Ulta. Urban Decay can be found at Sephora.

Finally, I am often asked which is the best way to apply your foundation. Should you use a sponge? My fingers? A brush? I honestly feel like this is up to you. I have done it each way and come up with similar results. I like to think that using your fingers is great because you use less product and your body temperature helps the foundation blend into your skin. When applying foundation to others, I use a brush and sponge combo for sanitary reasons. I just invested in a foundation brush for personal use, and really like the way it "buffs" the product into my skin. I picked up Sephora's Classic Multi-Tasker Brush, which is actually designed like a Kabuki Brush to apply loose or pressed mineral powders, but I love using it for liquid foundation.

I hope you enjoyed this post and it answered some questions you may have about foundation. Feel free to email me at for with more questions or schedule a Make-Up Lesson with me at Tanya's Image and Wellness Salon in Hyde Park, so that I can help you find the right foundation for you. 


The Life and Death of John Gotti


This has been a crazy week to say the least. It started out as any other week, but Tuesday morning I was running on the treadmill and received a call that they needed me ASAP on the set of The Life and Death of John Gotti, film that is currently filming in Cincinnati. The film is Directed by Kevin Connolly (best known for his role in Entourage) pictured below: 


It stars, John Travolta as John Gotti, Kelly Preston as Victoria Gotti, plus a whole slew of extremely talented and well-known actor from all over the country. I am completely honored and privileged to work on this project and am so excited to now be able to say I have worked on a film set! 

As most of you know, I recently had a baby.  Finding the balance between Mom and career has been my biggest challenge. However, this film experience has made me realize that I really need to step up my game and get my name out there. For myself and my family. I recently reached out via Facebook to ask all of you, especially brides, what you are want to see when looking for a Makeup Artist. The overwhelming response in addition to a Facebook page, was a website. Duh, Lauren. However, despite being a "Mil-lineal" (ew, I hate that title), I am completely clueless about websites and most technology in general. My 12-year-old niece frequently has to show me how to use most apps and social media sights. I started a blog years ago when I started my business in Columbus and really enjoyed the writing aspect of it. It is a perfect outlet to share my experiences and highlights of my career. So, six years later I am giving it another go. This blog will provide you with a place to view my work, learn about what I do, and learn about the latest and greatest beauty products and techniques I have discovered. 

By law, I have to wait to share any photos from the Gotti film, so for now I will leave you with this photo I snapped in the trailer after working on an actor from True Detective, yes I was dying. 

If you would like to reach me about my pricing for Editorial Shoots, Headshots, or Bridal Packages please email me at For photos of my work follow me on Instagram: laurenmonroecosmetics or find me on Facebook. If you would like to schedule an appointment with me for skin care, waxing, nail or other makeup services, please call Tanya's Image and Wellness Salon at 513.533.9400 or visit our website

Ciao for now!