Who Writes This Stuff?

My name is Christine, I'm a Pediatric Critical Care doctor in the Midwest. I'm married to a great guy, and we have two adorable little girls that I don't mention much on the site. They keep me on my toes!

I'm a product junkie and always have been. In high school I had every flavor of Lip Smacker, I tried about 20 types of Noxema, I couldn't just have the "original" Noxema. I have to try everything that is new in Makeup, Skin Care, etc. I can't help it, this is just the way I am!

Due to my day job, I really don't have much time in the mornings (I could have more time if I got up earlier, but I'm not a morning person, so there you go). While I was in my medical training, I was especially rushed on my way out of the door! I could get from dry-ish hair to out the door, dressed with makeup and coffee in hand, in about 15 minutes (hence, 15 Minute Beauty). I'm not quite that fast anymore, but if really pressed I can do it! If given the time, I am high maintenance enough that it would easily take me 2 hours to get ready to go to the grocery store. Really.

15 Minute Beauty started as a way for me to stop offering comments on every one else's beauty blog everyday and keep track of stuff I have loved. I like to look at the science behind a product to see why something will (or won't) work, and to educate others. Hearing about pores opening and closing is like nails on a chalkboard for me, the pores can't do that!

Hopefully I've pointed my readers in the direction of some great products, steered them clear of some horrible ones and given them some info on the science behind beauty!

More Info:


I was born in 1977, (gasp!) which means I've started being concerned about anti-aging but it is not all consuming. I've been a good girl with my sunscreen and most people think I'm much younger than I really am. Because I currently have very few wrinkles. I'm trying to keep it that way.

My skin is combination with an oily t-zone and I am prone to some minor breakouts and blackhead issues. I do have eczema, it is mostly on my legs and flares during the winter. I was diagnosed with mild Rosacea in 2012, I can keep it under control with topical Clindamycin but am a little sensitive because of it. I tend to avoid harsher skin care and retinoids because of this.


My hair growing up was blond-ish (meaning, light brown with blonde in the summer), and has gotten darker as I've grown older. I had been highlighting it so much that I was definitely blonde and then way too blonde and recently I've gone back to a more natural brown/auburn. My hair is slightly wavy but I dry it straight each day. I have some dryness issues due to all of the processing I've done. I'm also growing out a long bob, I feel much more like myself with long hair.

Skin Tone:
My skin tone is very fair and a bit cool toned. I'm not quite the amazing porcelain complexion of Nicole Kidman, just a few shades over that. Which makes it very hard to find foundation and concealer.

At reader request, I'll start listing the foundations I've been matched to:
Cover Girl NatureLuxe #305 Alabaster
Cover Girl AquaSmooth Compact Foundation #710 Classic Ivory
Cover Girl TRUblend Liquid Makeup #410 Classic Ivory
MAC Studio Fix Powder plus Foundation N3
Make Up For Ever HD Foundation #120
Make Up For Ever HD Concealer #325

Media Features
It feels a bit strange, but I really have been featured sometimes in the media. Little old me!

Social Media Marketing All-in-One For Dummies: Check on page 75, I'm featured for being straight forward about my disclosure policy.

Forbes.com: "Bloggers Who Get Cash Or Freebies Must Disclose It" by Helen Coster and Laurie Burkitt

Fabulous: All About 50+ Top Beauty Bloggers of 2010, by Nicki Zevola

TapInfluence: Expert Interview Series

NY Magazine On-line

The Beauty of Life

Fitness Magazine- Fitness Magazine's Favorite Beauty & Fashion Blogs
Elle Spain

Babble.com: Top 25 Beauty Blogs for Moms

Shape Magazine
Nominated for Best Beauty Blog at Shape Magazine
The Hottest Hairstyle Ideas from Our Favorite Beauty Bloggers
Bloggers Reveal: The Beauty Product that Changed My Life

Best of the Web Blog Lists:
Beautiful with Brains
Shop 5
Guide to Beauty Schools- Top 36 Beauty Blogs
Blog Rank- Top 50 Beauty Blogs
Find a Beauty School
Skincare-News: Top 100 Beauty Blogs
All Women's Talk: 10 Best Beauty Blogs for Women
Customized Girl: Top 100 Fashion Blogs
Beauty High 50 Best Beauty Blogs
Circle of Moms Top 25 Fashion and Beauty Moms


  1. Love the site and love the honesty. It is inspirational.

  2. Great blog! I love that you are a doctor and love to write about something other than health. I am a pharmacy student but also have a makeup addiction, haha :)

  3. Hi Christine, I love your blog! I have been reading it from time to time for a couple of months now. I found your blog when I was looking for more information on Creme de la mer and Kiehl. Love those products and I bought those after confirming my interest by reading your blog :)

    I am currently on ceramic braces, and they stained easily. Living in south east Asia, where all the food mostly use colorful herbs such as turmeric really makes it hard to maintain the clarity of my ligatures.

    I noticed you rarely discuss about toothpaste. I wonder if you can share some of your experience in whitening toothpaste or some sort.
    That is if you happen to have used a good one. If your recommendation is available around here, I'll try it on for a couple of weeks and I am more than happy to share the results with you.

    Thank you.

  4. Hi Tralala- I don't cover dental products at all on purpose. As I'm a physician, I think readers would expect a certain level of info about these products, and I'm simply not a dentist, nor have I been trained about dental health (the teeth received a whopping 1/2 day of coverage in my medical school training) I don't really have any products to recommend as I don't use whitening products. Perhaps there are some friends that could give you a recommendation? I'm sorry I can't be more helpful!

  5. Christine,
    I just discovered your blog and enjoy your no nonsense, straight forward approach. Thank you for sharing your helpful new blogger tips. I started blogging about a year ago about my mission work (I am an OB/GYN and surgeon) to increase awareness about the lack of access to healthcare for women and children. I also introduced my skincare line which funds my mission work. I will be back for more of your helpful tips.
    Thank you

  6. You post on here that you cannot use hydroxy acids while pregnant. I have read conflicting information: that alpha hydroxy acids are okay to use, but beta hydroxy acids are not. Also, you wrote put that benzoyl peroxide is not okay to use, but my OB told me that it was okay. Thoughts? Slightly concerned because i have been using topical alpha hydroxy acid on and off during my pregnancy - 29 weeks today

  7. Anon-
    In the post on ingredients to avoid while pregnant I've made a lot of generalizations about ingredient categories. For example, the group "hydroxy acids" is really about 20 different things, all of which have different evidence saying they are or are not safe in pregnancy. In general, the little bit of evidence out there for both any hydroxy acid (except Lactic Acid) and for Benzoyl Peroxide is from animal data and is somewhat conflicting. I try to keep my site readable for those in the general public, which is why I didn't launch into a full literature review in the post. :D

    As far as I know ACOG doesn't have a list of topical ingredients that they tell members to tell their patients to avoid while pregnant. So, depending on how conservative your OB is regarding their recommendations for this (not super conservative if they are saying that Benzoyl Peroxide is safe), that will sway their recommendations.

    My OB when I was pregnant was conservative, as am I in my recommendations (I'm looking at the evidence from a pediatrician's perspective, not that of an OB.) Benzoyl Peroxide was actually written in caps, bold letters on the list of things to avoid during pregnancy and the education nurse made a point of pointing it out along with the hydroxy acids on my hand out, telling me I wasn't allowed to use any of the over the counter acne meds. Because I would want to use them. But they strongly recommended against it.

    So really this is all about how you look at the literature. Those that are really conservative will say that something has to be proven safe (me and my OB), others will say that something that has been in widespread use and not found to cause harm in humans is probably fine (I'm guessing that this is your OB). And honestly, it isn't a "right" or "wrong" answer regarding those ingredients right now, it's just a style of interpreting the scientific literature. What would really be wrong would be ignoring the evidence about retinoids during pregnancy and saying that's ok. This is definitely not the same thing. Your body produces Lactic Acid on its own anyways, it's not like you can completely avoid that.

    Having said all of that, since the evidence isn't strong about not using Benzoyl Peroxide or Alpha Hydroxy Acids, I wouldn't stress about it now if I was you. Those have been used by plenty of pregnant women around the world without them having issues or worrying too much about it. The evidence that is available is mostly in animals, and even then who really knows how much of this stuff can be absorbed into your body and actually become systemic? The correct answer is a lot less than they used in those studies. Which again, done in animals. Not the same as humans.

    I think just decide which approach to ingredient avoidance you prefer, that of your OB (who is probably a bit more practical than me), or me and my OB and our very conservative approach. :D Whichever you feel jives better for you, go with that. And don't worry about what has happened until now. Instead worry about things like nursery colors and deciding about cloth vs. disposable diapers. I recommend going to read the Lazy Mom's Guide to Cloth Diapering. I spent my 3rd trimester obsessing over the diaper situation!

  8. Just found this blog. SO GREAT! I think your idea of reviewing products with your unbiased opinion is fantastic.

    I stumbled upon this in a google search for Rosacea and Creme de La Mer. I have tried those tiny samples but I don't think I have enough to really see a difference. Also, I have somewhat oily skin (not dry at all) and it's very sensitive. All of that to say I was hunting for reviews from people like me and somehow found this adorable blog. Love it!! =)

    I love to try new products (my bathroom could literally pass as a Sephora) and love reviewing them for friends. Your blog is exactly what I would do myself if I ever wrote down all of my findings/thoughts.

    Just thought i'd tell you it's a great blog and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about you and your product reviews.


  9. Thanks J! I always love to hear when people enjoy the crazy blog I create in my free time. :D

  10. I found this blog a few days ago and love it!
    I got my friends to read and try a few ideas with me, and all your advice has been spectacular. It is a fresh, inspirational way of taking the beauty blog (which, hello, hasn't everyone done that), and turning it into something people want to read. I am a fellow beauty addict, and have to do quick makeup, like you, to get to class on time, and still look good. Thanks for writing!

  11. Thanks so much for your kind words CeCe! Let me know if there are any topics you'd like to have covered that would be particularly helpful for you!

  12. Hi Christine! I'm Syen, a long time reader of your blog from Malaysia, even though I rarely comment. So glad to finally now see the beautiful person behind the blog. It feels like I'm finally meeting you! =) Keep up the great work!

  13. Hi Christine,
    Thanks for making such a great site! I found it through your comparison between La Mer and Nivea and love that you not only try it but also review the ingredients and what you know about how they might work. I also love that you are almost exactly my age, skin-type etc etc :)
    Could you please review a few more New Zealand made products such as Trilogy Rosehip Oil (I use just a few drops and only apply after washing my face to very slightly moist skin - doesn't make me break out and does seem to do what they say it does) and Living Nature foundations? I'm the opposite of you in that I am scared to put anything on my skin (so many things go wrong if I do) so these are among the very few things I ever use regularly (along with a Dr Hauschka eye-liner & mascara that doesn't irritate my eyes). I'd really love to know what you think and how they compare.

  14. Hi Ru!
    Thanks for your kind words about my blog! I'll add them to my list of things to check out. Hopefully sometime! :D

  15. Nicole Kidman has nothing on you. You are incredibly beautiful with your little Mona Lisa smile!

  16. Hi Christine- I am a 56 year old female, who has always had dry skin. My biggest problem is under eye dryness with wrinkles where makeup tends to lay and darkness. I have tried so many things. What would you suggest?
    ps..you know my daughter Melissa.
    Thank you,

  17. Have you ever tried the Rodan+Fields Skin Care Regimen's? IF you have what do you think of them. I understand that the Dr's who created the skin care line created Proactiv.

  18. Linda,
    I'm sending some things to you via Melissa! :D

    Anon- I haven't tried it out, but I've heard really good things about the line.

  19. Christine - thank you!

  20. I will let you know how I like the eye products, thanks so much!

  21. I am a huge fan of Rodan and Fields products. How can I get you to try them out and review them? :)

  22. I'm working with the company now, though we've started with the classic ProActiv products. Hopefully soon!

  23. I found this site from searching for reviews for darphin products. And I cannot be more happy~ Thank you!

    A PICU RN from Sickkids.

  24. Hi, Ive just stumbled across your blog in my mad googling of ingredients that are safe during pregnancy. In regard to retinyl palmitate, I find it funny that you are so against it being in a topical product in any quantity. I am fairly cautious myself but logically my thoughts are that Vitamin A is in most of the mainstream prenatals recommended by doctors i.e. Materna. Of course there is a limit to how much should be taken so perhaps this is why you dont want people to use it in a topical form as well? Personally I would never use Materna as I am interested in quality natural products so I have a whole food multivitamin that has the Beta Carotene. That way I dont have to worry about the synthetic vitamin A. I have struggled with breakouts since I was 14 and now I am mid 30's - the childbearing years so finding products I can still use to keep my skin clear is very important. I use the PCA clearskin product which does contain a small amount of retinyl palmitate (one of the last ingredients) and I am not worried about it. I believe my mineral makeup has it as well but I am sure that I am not absorbing nearly close to what would be considered too high especially since I am not consuming any synthetic vitamin A in supplement form.
    I think this is a great forum to discuss these things as it is very daunting all of the misinformation on the internet. Really everyone has their own thoughts and even in health there doesn't appear to be one truth. However one thing for sure is that stress and worry is not helpful and pregnant women will already have that anyways so no point in stressing over topical beauty products?? I will probably still worry though!

  25. just found you. You are right on the money!

  26. just got to know you, congrats for so many awards..keep up the good work

  27. I literally just discovered your blog and feel like I want to be your friend already, lol. I can relate to wanting to know the science behind things 1st and to the minor eczema and itchy scalp that's not dandruff ;/,haha. Glad I discovered you, antiaging consumes a good bit of my time as well.

  28. i'm also a picu doc in the midwest -- just wanted to say that i love your blog, check it all the time, and have been following you for at least a few years -- it's awesome!! (and very applicable to my lifestyle, which is extremely helpful to me) i can't wait to try your manicure tips -- i always love to get manicures but hate to see them destroyed in the process of the gel soap and hand washing -- so i forgo them. maybe this will be the trick for me! keep up the great work :)

  29. Thanks everyone!!

    And Anon, another PICU doc??? There are so few of us! Send me an email sometime or maybe we'll meet up at SCCM!

  30. You've inspired me so much & I love your blog ^-^ I was totally clueless to make-up until I found a picture from your blog when I was googling something. Eventually, I found your blog & subscribed! :)

  31. Christine, you are just awesome! I love your blogs. I'm a boy. I know the viewers of your blog may be the girls mostly but I became conscious for my skin since I got acne on my face. I still have them although in less quantity. I feel your blog will be very helpful for me. Love your Blog. Thanks!

  32. Christine count me as one of your new followers. Just discovered your blog a few months ago. I. LOVE coming here for my product fix. Amazed at all the recognition you've received in so many publications. HOW do you find time to put out such excellent and well researched blogs?

    Love the graphics so much. Your eye makeup is lovely in this pic.

  33. @manoj- Thank you! I love hearing that people find my site helpful. And there's definitely a lot here that can be helpful for guys too!

    @Brigid- I have no idea how I find the time! I'm a bit obsessed. And I love this picture of me (It was Nov 2011, I'm sitting on my office floor...), I think I'm mostly wearing a TON of eye liner! LOL

  34. I used to have that porcelain-- nay, alabaster-- skintone, and it was nigh impossible to find good foundation and powder. Thankfully that has gotten somewhat easier. You look fantastic. How's that Midwestern climate lately? I used to live in Indy, so I'm pretty sure I know where you're coming from.

    If ever you're near Buffalo, NY, do let me know-- we can have a girly beauty chat.

    Peace, Mari

  35. Nice to read that I am not the only beauty junkie working in the medical field (I just started my recidency in Ob/gyn.) There were quite a few similarities ;)

  36. I love your blog and check it out everyday whenever you post a tweet! I see that you are my age (also born in 77 eeeeks!). How did you feel starting out when you were a newborn blogger? My blog is only a month old but it's a little discouraging when I see so many young ladies in their early 20s with these amazing blogs...I even stumbled upon a great blog the other day from a 15 year old!

    I do love blogging and I will continue but I just wanted to see what your thoughts were on the age thing.


  37. Hi there!
    When I started my blog waaaaay back in 2007, there were no where near as many bloggers as there are now. It's completely insane to me how many there are now. I think the important thing is to keep at it on your own, ignore other people and develop your own voice/niche.

    I think there are blogs out there for everyone! I personally don't relate to blogs at all from the really young ones. We have nothing in common, I hate ReadIng WordS tHat are strangely spelled/ capitalized (though that's obviously a generalization), and I don't really have the same taste as them. Most of the bloggers that I read are over 25. I think just ignore them, read what you relate to, but keep plugging away! Most bloggers don't make it longer than 6 months. If you make it to that point, go back to read your first few posts and you'll be amazed at how much your voice has changed.

  38. Hi Christine,
    My name is Vik Sachar, I too am an MD, I am a double board certified high risk Ob/Gyn (Maternal Fetal Medicine). Congratulations on your great blog!
    To address alot of the concerns you brought up, I created the world's first Cosmetic/Makeup line dedicated toward safe, non-toxic cosmetics for pregnancy. My site is at www.VSacharMD.com , I would love to hear your review. I didn't want to be just a product site, so I have also included a site called the Pregnancy Channel, where I have videos,and blog posts on important pregnancy topics. Looking forward to hearing from you soon,
    V.Sachar, MD

  39. hi like your blog
    I agree its hard to get ready with little time in the morning especially when you have kids lol


  40. Love your blog!!! I have had a love for beauty products (call it an obsession) for as long as I can remember. After reading this post I created a blog! Lots of great info, thanks:)

  41. Is it safe to use dry shampoos on 8 year old girls. Sometimes my daughter sweats so much at night her hair will be greasy the next day and sometimes smell like sweat. Are those sprays safe for that age? (She takes her baths the night before)

  42. My only concern for using dry shampoo on your daughter would be if she has asthma or another pulmonary issue, the mist wouldn't be great. Otherwise it is worth a shot! I do think it would be hard to switch to am showers/tubs at this age before school, but that might be what you need to do.

  43. Your safe pregnancy skin care product list was extremely helpful! I did recently learn that Mario Badescu had ALLEGEDLY put some steroids in some of their products. I don't know if this was proven or not, but heard about a possible law suit for some of their clearing products. Do you happen to know or have you heard if any of the steroid claims were in the buffering lotion or drying cream?? I know this is all hear say, but figured I wouldn't want to be using any products that had steroids in them while pregnant. Do you know anything about this?? Thanks so much!

  44. I hadn't heard about this at all, which is kind of surprising! It looks like it was discovered in Korea, I can't confirm it being found in the US versions of the creams. Note that most companies have different versions of products for the US, Europe and Asia. It might be the same, it might not. I don't know. But it really was in the Korean versions. When it was discovered they apparently reformulated everywhere, so that makes me believe it WAS here. I wouldn't recommend long term steroid use on your skin whether you're pregnant or not, you can have skin atrophy and get acne just from the steroid exposure. I'm so disappointed to hear about this!

  45. Hi! I really enjoy your blog and read it pretty much every day! I can relate to a lot of what you write about as I am a bit of a beauty product addict myself :) The biggest question I have for you (I have many others haha!) where do you keep it all? How do you store your goodies? Thanks :)

  46. Hi Jenni! I have quite a bit of storage in my house, though much to my husband's dismay, I am a bit of a packrat and tend to leave things out. I showed where I put things in this post:
    And I didn't clean up much beforehand (I was more interested in "keeping it real"), but there's no way I could keep everything that I get sent. A LOT gets given away to friends and family!

  47. I just discovered this blog and to say I am hooked is an understatement!!! I am a total beauty/makeup addict so forgive me chores, but I will be on this blog all day. Thank you Christine. Such a breath of fresh air!

  48. Hi Christine. Loved (LOVED!) your pregnancy skin care info - both what to avoid and the Pregnancy Friendly Skin Care list. Common brands and products that aren't over-the-top expensive, and not hard to track down. Unsure of what was safe, I had completely stopped using any skin care products other than soap and my skin was dying...dying! So this was super helpful. Any ideas on pregnancy safe shampoos and conditioners?

  49. LOL Zainy, I'm forever putting off all of my chores too. Much to the dismay of my husband. :D

    @Anon You don't need to worry about haircare. It doesn't make enough contact with your skin to rub off in amounts that could then be absorbed enough to worry about. Thank goodness, it's bad enough trying to come up with new skincare products to use!

  50. Hi Christine
    Could really do with an experts advice! I've been using Liz Earle Skincare including the Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, Instant Boost Skin Tonic and Skin Repair Moisturiser. Are these products safe to use throughout pregnancy (inc. the 1st trimester). Having looked through the list of ingredients (as recommended by yourself) I noticed that the moisturisers in this skincare range include Beta Carotene which I believe is a form a vitamin A. Really worried as I've read loads recently about the importance of avoiding Vitamin A in skin products whilst pregnant. Your expert advice would be greatly appreciated. Also, whilst were on this subject, are moisturisers containing sebo-absorbing capsules safe such as Eau Thermale Avene Hydrance Optimale UV Light SPF 20 Protective Hydrating Cream? Thanks in advance :)

  51. Strangely enough (probably due to the water solubility, it's a bit different), Beta Carotene is considered completely safe in pregnancy, for ingestion/supplementation (aka- vitamins) and topically. It's the only Vitamin A that's like that. I looked at all 3 Liz Earle products (actually, there are 4 moisturizers with that name, I check all of them), through the US site here: http://us.lizearle.com/ and what's listed is fine.

    I also check the Avene ingredients listed here: http://www.avene.co.uk/Dehydrated-Skin and those capsules should be fine. In order to work they would need to sit on the skin's surface and absorb excess oil, so they aren't absorbed. I don't see anything in the list of ingredients that is on the no-no avoid list.

  52. Question about acne! I'm 17, I've had severe acne all throughout middle school as well as now. I've been using benzoyl peroxide topical at night, and clindamycin during the day (both externally) for about a year. Before that, I used topical salicylic acid for 2 years. I wash my face in the morning and at night. Just recently I started taking minocycline orally once a day, for a little more than two months (currently on the second round). My acne has reduced, but it is still significantly there. Why is this, and what should I do next?

  53. It's hard to know why some people just have much harder to treat acne, but chances are a lot of it is hormonally related (that's why it sucks being a teenager, I had the same issue, it got much better in my early 20's). I'd keep working with your doctor, there's a step-wise approach to adding on medications and usually we wait a few months in between steps to wait for a response before moving on to the next step. You probably will need to have something else added on, but there are a LOT of different meds we use, up to and including Accutane. I have more info in my Acne 101 post here:

  54. Hi Christine! I stumbled upon your blog as I was perusing reviews on eyeshadow palettes. Your clear explanations about the science behind antioxidants and acne were both informative yet really accessible; the inclusion of relevant studies was also appreciated. I know this isn't an academic setting, but I commend how you break down scientific concepts into concise posts, especially since I'm currently working on a research paper.

    Basically, you've inspired me, since I'd like to become a doctor...and I like makeup.

  55. Yeah! Thanks! I try really hard to keep my explanation accessible. I think its really very related to how I talk to the families in my PICU, I try to really make sure the parents understand what is going on and why. It takes a lot of practice actually to be able to break down these concepts into easier to understand tidbits without losing a lot of the complexity.

  56. Hi Christine! I found your blog after what feels like HOURS of researching safe anti aging products to use while breastfeeding. For some reason I thought I'd be able to find relevant information easily, but I'm glad I found your blog. Your posts are descriptive yet concise! I am a 32 year old neuro nurse and grad student, with an 18 month old who still breastfeeds. I've never used serum or anti aging products before but after looking in the mirror a few days ago, I decided I needed to start. I have acne scars and a few wrinkles. I think I have combination skin (not oily but not dry). Better late than never ��. I've been reading that serums underneath sunblock and moisturizer twice a day is quite effective. Do you use and recommend any specific day and night serums safe for breastfeeding? I appreciate your blog and will read more of your posts on my laptop.

  57. Hi there! The active ingredients don't necessarily need to be in the form of a serum, they can also be in your moisturizer or night cream, though serums are usually very well absorbed and often have higher amounts of the active ingredients. I don't have a specific one that I recommend for nursing moms, you only need to avoid hydroquinone as an active ingredient. :)


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