Category Archives: Tried & Tested
I am always on the look-out for new and innovative products. I have a strong obsession (borderline neurosis) with international skincare. From French pharmacies to Asian markets, there is always a treasure to be found.
Dedicated to his lifelong goal of satisfying patients, Dr. Jart combined his medical background with a team of 21 skilled dermatologists to develop his eponymous skincare brand. Based in Korean, the line that consists of targeted cosmeceuticals that not only make the skin look good but also deliver long-term benefits. Free of controversial sulfates, petrochemicals, artificial dyes and fragrances, the Dr. Jart+ brand is continuously reinventing skincare.
I recently tried and tested Dr. Jart+ Renewalist Melting Cream. As the name suggests, this innovative moisturizer melts deep into the skin, renewing it’s natural luster. Formulated with moringa oil, argan oil and jojoba oil, this moisturizer delivers soothing hydration. It contains antioxidants to improve elasticity and platol white-c complex to brighten the skin. A clever addition to this product is the use of sebum-controlling powder. This will help control excess oils in the skin without clogging pores and qualifies this product to work as both a moisturizer and a primer.
The unique texture of this product is what makes it one-of-a-kind. It presents itself as a solid, balm-like consistency. A tiny spatula is provided to scoop-out the needed amount and as the product comes in contact with body heat – it melts seamlessly into the skin. The product absorbs quickly, penetrating deep into the skin’s layers with no greasiness or heavy residuals. It leaves the skin fresh, silky and radiant.
The Dr. Jart+ brand is available in the US at your local Sephora.
Josie Maran’s Argan Hot Oil Self-Heating Hair Treatment is food for the hair. This innovative hair treatment comes with an advanced self-heating mechanism that allows the miniature argan ampules to warm up under the hot water of your shower or by simply rubbing between the palms of your hands. The oil heats to the ideal temperature to penetrate hair strands and help seal in moisture.
Self-heats? Yes… exactly what I said.
Unlike the days of the VO5 Hot Oil Treatments where a scalding cup of water was needed to heat the tube of oil, these self-heat. Simply run one of the ampules under the hot water in your shower or rub vigorously between the palms of your hands, and the oil heats to the perfect temperature.
This expert treatment repairs and restores hair in just one minute. Its gentle formula is infused with Maran’s signature argan oil, which contains a large amount of vitamin E to reverse damage caused by heat and over-styling, leaving hair smoother, shinier, and healthier. It also contains bergamot, jojoba and soybean oil to restore dull, lackluster hair.
Suitable for all hair types and color-treated hair, this is an intense, nourishing treatment. In the shower, I leave the oil in my hair for longer that one minute and sometimes add one ampule to my hair before a day at the beach. It really does a great job of protecting my hair from the sun and saltwater. After the treatment, my hair is noticeably smoother and holds an incredible shine. The individual ampules are great for travel and are resealable, so those with shorter or thinner hair can get 2 or more uses.
On a quick trip to Nordstrom-Fashion Island, I came across a lovely associate at the Laura Mercier counter, Christina. She was a wealth of knowledge, introducing me to new and old Laura Mercier items. She is also a makeup artist, introducing me to new and old tricks she uses on clients and brides. Here is one she shared with me.
Laura Mercier Eye Basics is a cream-based primer that camouflages eye imperfections and enhances the durability of eye makeup. Eye Basics are available in seven skin tone shades and one unique pale blue shade called Eye Bright.
Eye Bright is a universal shade that can be used on it’s own or mixed with other Eye Basics to instantly brighten the eye area. The creme evaporates to a dry finish, and leaves behind long-lasting, semi-matte color. Water-resistant and crease-proof, it corrects imperfections and discoloration on the lid.
Formulated with soothing botanicals, vitamins and antioxidants, Eye Bright offers anti-inflammatory and healing benefits, great for those with puffy lids and tired eyes.
Blend Eye Bright on the eyelid from lash line to crease. As the product smoothes over redness, veining and other imperfections, you will notice the whites of the eyes are instantly brighter and more awake. Add shadow over top or just enjoy the brightening effect on its own.
Questions about Laura Mercier?Contact: Christina D. Torres Business Manager Cosmetics, Laura Mercier T: 949/610-1420 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
The newest BB Cream to hit our counters is Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35. Exclusive to Nordstroms, the formula combines moisturizer, skincare, foundation and SPF into one.
Features & Benefits: Water-attracting molecules boost hydration. Light-reflecting pearls brighten dull skin. Botanical extracts and caffeine reduce discoloration and redness. Pore-reducing peptides minimize fine lines. Broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and antioxidants fend off future damage.
Bobbi Brown’s BB Cream SPF 35 is available in five shades: Extra Light, Fair, Light, Medium and Medium to Dark. I was certainly intrigued by this, due to the fact that Bobbi Brown Cosmetics are primarily yellow-based shades. Many BB Cream (especially asian brands) are based on cooler-tones, such as pinks and greys.
As I sampled the different shades, I was persuaded by a sweet Bobbi Brown representative to try the darkest shade, Medium to Dark. This shade looks quite dark, almost bronzer-like. But, I took her advice and purchased.
APPLICATION: Smooth and easy to apply. Goes on quite dry, but feels nice and extremely light on the skin. (Unless you have very oily skin, a moisturizer is needed in addition to this BB Cream.)
FINISH: Skin appears matte with a subtle sheen. Very healthy-looking. However, like most BB Creams, after a couple hours the oils will come-out and skin will look too glowing. A finishing powder is recommended.
COLOR: Initial application, the color appeared too dark. Let dry and after a couple minutes, the color adapts to the skin and the color is perfect. It might be a smidgen too dark – but I am loving the subtle-tan look for summer.
VERDICT: Like many of the US BB Creams, this is much like a tinted moisturizer. But, I love the finish it leaves on the skin and the feeling is remarkably lightweight. For a high-SPF product, this cream wears like you have nothing on. The shade choices are great and warm-up the complexion beautifully. Leaves skin looking fresh and healthy. A great option for the summer months – SPF, lightweight, easy.
(When testing these BB Creams, before deciding on a shade, I suggest waiting at least 5 minutes for the color to oxidize and adapt to your skin tone.)
For other BB Cream reviews:
This holiday season, MAC Cosmetics teamed up with ice skater Johnny Weir in creating it’s Glitter & Ice collection. Sparkles and frost are the constant in this collection, with shades that resemble a winter wonderland.
The Paint Pot in Morning Frost immediately caught my eye. The shimmering champagne taupe color is a beautiful hue that will accentuate any eye color. In different lights it manifests gold, bronze, taupe and pink shades.
MAC Paint Pots, in my opinion, are the best eye primers. They can be worn on their own or as a base for eyeshadow. They do not crease and provide eye-makeup with long-wear durability.
One of the first mineral foundations ever created is Susan Posnick’s COLORFLO. After she was diagnosed with skin cancer, Susan Posnick (celebrity makeup artist) developed a mineral foundation with natural sun protection. She wanted a foundation that had coverage but felt invisible on the skin.
COLORFLO Mineral Foundation is made with all natural ingredients. It lets skin breath and won’t clog pores or irritate skin. It feels weightless on the skin and creates flawless radiant skin.
This sheer coverage foundation is buildable. By layering the product, one can create a medium coverage foundation or use directly as a concealer. COLORFLO provides powerful and natural sun protection and is extremely gentle on the skin.
Packaging is easy and simplified with a built-in application brush. The self-dispensing brush is perfect for on-the-go touchups and fits nicely in any bag.
Currently loving, Benefit’s new mascara, They’re Real!
Although the formula is nice, wet and smudge-proof, the reverence goes to the brush. This amazing rubber brush coats each lash beautifully, however, the tip of the brush is where the real magic happens.
Similiar to Givenchy Phenomen’eyes mascara, the round sphere of bristles at the top of the brush adds precision and definition. Every lash, even the tiniest hairs are coated, lengthened and plumped.
The formula and rubberized brush is similar to Cover Girl’s Lash Blast mascara, but the technology of Benefit’s brush is in a league of it’s own.
TIP: When the mascara bottle has dried-up, separate the brush and clean it. Dip it into your favorite formula or drugstore mascara.
Too Faced Primed & Poreless is a makeup primer formulated to erase pores and imperfections, soften fine lines and help create a flawless face.
This primer aroused my curiosity with one ingredient, a powerful dose of retinol. Always a fan of multi-tasking, finally a primer formulated to prime the skin while restoring moisture, elasticity with anti-wrinkle fighting ingredients.
The primer slides onto the skin seamlessly, easy to blend and sets quickly. The nude tone becomes invisible once applied, so can be used on any skintone. Pores were airbrushed away and my combination skin felt less oily. Makeup lasted all day, no touch-ups needed.
The retinol in the product is quickly noticeable with a slight “itchy” feeling. Nothing to be discouraged about, but very sensitive skin might be fore-warned.
Too Faced Primed & Poreless is a great primer for oily and combination skintypes. Just remember to apply your sunscreen as retinol can make skin sensitive to the sun.
Laura Geller Balance & Bronze is a dual compact providing foundation and bronzer in one.
The foundation is a baked formula with multiple veins of color-correcting properties. This powder provides a sheer veil of coverage that leaves skin balanced and glowing. Mineral oil and paraben-free, this foundation contains anti-aging and anti-oxidant protection.
The bronzer is also a baked formula with multiple veins of colors that provide a radiant, sun-kissed glow.
This is a great product for travel or to throw in your purse. The two items work nicely together but can also be used on their own. The Balance & Bronze is also a great item to try, if you are curious about the Laura Geller line, 2-in-1.
Le Métier de Beauté (which translates to “the craft of beauty”) features stunning cosmetics and innovative products.
Become your very own alchemist with this line’s Magic Lustre Creme. This luxurious cream glaze is enriched in vitamin E and transforms any powder pigment into sheer stains and glosses for the cheeks, lips or eyes. Loose powder pigments can be difficult to work with, by adding a bit of Magic, the pigments metamorphoses into cream-based products. This makes application simple as well as enhancing color and texture.
Mix with multiple colors to find your perfect recipe or use on it’s own to create a dewy complexion.
Micellar Cleansing Water is used to remove impurities, tone and hydrate the skin without the need of water. These delicate waters immediately eliminate makeup, dirt and oil from the skin with one sweep.
Based on a micelle principle, these technologically advanced products release softening agents to hydrate and calm the skin while effectively removing all traces of make-up on face, eyes and lips. Gentle enough for sensitive skin, (some brands provide a separate sensitive-skin formula) these refreshing waters cleanse and tone the skin without irritation.
The difference between Micellar Cleansing Water and simple makeup removers…
According to Bernard Pochic, Bioderma’s National Trainer, “Micellar Cleansers dissolve the bond between cosmetic pigments and your skin so you can wipe it off.” Doesn’t sound all that different, simple makeup removers primarily smear the cosmetic pigments allowing an easy removal when you wash your face. The Micellar Cleansers is a one-step process that eliminates the need for a second cleanse.
Simply apply product to cotton pad and wipe gently where needed. These products will dissolve even the most stubborn or waterproof product.
Primarily made by French skincare brands, Micellar Cleansers are now popping up everywhere. Here are a few of my favorites, all but one (Bioderma) can be found online, in drugstores or beauty supply.
Vichy – Purete Thermale Cleansing Micellar Lotion, Avene – Micellar Lotion Cleanser and Make-up Remover, Embryolisse – Micellar Lotion , La Roche-Posay – Physiological Micellar Solution, Bioderma – Sensibio H20 Micellar Solution
Dermalogica Multivitamin Recovery Masque is a great remedy for dull, tired or irritated skin. The concentrated formula of vitamins, antioxidants and botanical extracts leave the skin glowing and healthy.
The formula consists of Vitamins A, C, E, F and Pro-Vitamin B5 which help repair and restore. Beta Glucan, a biological defense modifier, soothes irritated skin and enhances moisture barrier properties. Nutrient-rich Algae Extract moisurizes and softens skin and Licorice, Comfrey and Burdock soothe skin and decrease sensitivity.
When you rinse this masque off the face, you are instantly left with a fresh glow and healthy-looking skin. The face feels soft and smooth, free from irritation and redness.
This is the perfect treatment to use after a late night or when the skin needs a good pick-me-up. It brings the skin back to life and replenishes all the missing vitamins and nutrients.
To achieve a sun-kissed glow on the face, I opt for bronzing powders/creams or purchase darker foundations/tinted moisturizers. I cringe at the thought of applying faux-tanning products to the face. In past experience I have found they sink into pores, cause breakouts and never provide natural-looking results. That is until now, after discovering Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads, I am a frequenter of faux-face tanning.
Dr. Denis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads are pre-soaked towelettes that provide anti-aging benefits as well as a glowing complexion. These pads exfoliate the skin, tighten pores, eliminate blackheads and help fade existing sun damage. One small pad reveals natural radiant skin that provides a long-lasting tan and fades gracefully. This product is great all-year round, it effectively evens-out skintone which reduces the need for heavy foundations and concelers.
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush is a nutrient-rich, fade-free, long-wearing cheek product.
The main ingredient, Amazonian clay, minimizes oil on the skin to keep the product in place. Its nutrient-rich formula, infused with Vitamins A, C and E fights free-radicals and protects from premature aging.
The Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush comes in an assortment of eight shades. From baby pink to strawberry red, the colors are strong and pigmented. Some of the colors have a sparkly finish, while others take-on a more more matte finish. I have found that the matte finishes tend to be a bit chalky on the skin and prefer a more shimmery hue.
This blush is accurate in it’s 12-hour, long-wear promise. The color remained true throughout the day and survived in 75 degree heat.
Urban Decay All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray is a must-have product for people who need their makeup to last.
In an exclusive partnership with SKINDINÄVIA, the originator of the makeup setting spray, All Nighter promises to keep makeup fresh for 16 hours. Originally used on movie sets in Hollywood, so makeup artists would have fewer touchups through long days of filming, setting sprays prevent makeup from melting, creasing, sliding or caking.
But does it work?
A night of dancing with the girls proved this product’s legitimacy. At the end of my makeup routine, I had sprayed the super fine-mist on my face, about three sprays. The product felt nice on the skin and there was an immediate cooling/setting sensation. Fast-forward to end-of-night, after dancing for about 2-3 hours, makeup was still intact and I was left with a “healthy glow.”
All Nighter Long Lasting Makeup Setting Spray is allergy tested, dermatologist tested, vegan, cruelty free, and free of oil, parabens and fragrance.
If you are planning on getting married, going to prom or out-on-the-town – pull an All Nighter.