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The Neutralizer: Smashbox Camera Ready CC Cream

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cc cream

BB Cream: also known as Blemish Balm, Blemish Base, Beauty Balm – an all-in-one cosmetic product to replace serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation, and sunblock. Can be worn alone as a tinted moisturizer, over serum and moisturizer as a regular foundation, and under powder, depending on the desired amount of coverage.

CC Cream: also known as Complexion Correcting Cream, Color Correcting Cream, Color Control Cream – Boasts all of the benefits of BB cream with a few added bonuses. An all-in-one cosmetic product to replace serum, moisturizer, primer, foundation, and sunblock. Will also include skincare ingredients to treat and cover uneven skin tone and dark spots.

Ultimately, a CC cream is a primer on steroids. Thinner, and lighter than a BB cream, CC creams are used to brighten, neutralize, reduce dark spots and take out redness. Most of the original CC Creams do not come in a tint or concealer form. They are pigmented white, pink or beige to neutralize skin tone. A CC cream sits more comfortably in the skincare category, than the make-up category – a BB cream straddles the two.

Smashbox‘s Camera Ready CC Cream was created to diminish dark spots, sun spots and post-acne marks while providing flawless facial coverage. Equipped with the same formula as the ever popular Camera Ready BB Cream, the CC Cream is infused with dark spot correcting ingredients.

Camera Ready CC Cream does a great job evening out skintone. The coverage is light to medium and blends beautifully on the skin. I have not used the product long enough to see any lightening effects, but the formula feels nice on the skin – more like skincare than makeup. After trying several ways to wear this product, I feel it works best as a primer with a light dusting of mineral powder/powder on top. Mattifies the skin and lasts all day. Available in five shades, Smashbox’s Camera Ready CC Cream can be worn alone or worn under foundation.

The One To Beat: Omorovicza Complexion Perfector BB SPF 20

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BB Creams are flooding the market. With CC Creams on their way – how do you choose which one is best for you?

Beauty/Blemish Balm Creams were originally developed as a post-procedure cream used to treat, hydrate, prime, protect, and camouflage the skin. Great for all skin types including those with sensitive skin, these versatile “five-in-one” formulas are designed to do it all: treat with high levels of active skin care ingredients; moisturize and smooth dehydrated skin; prime and perfect skin’s surface; camouflage and color correct the skintone; and protect skin from the sun with SPF. They can be used as a last step for their skincare benefits or used on their own as an instant beautifier.

Omorovicza Complexion Perfector BB SPF 20 is currently the one to beat. What sets it apart is, unlike other BB creams, Omorovicza does not contain any silicone, an ingredient that, unfortunately, coats the skin, trapping dirt and bacteria beneath it. It acts as a 5-in-1 Complexion Perfector: foundation, moisturizer, sunscreen, concealer and anti-aging cream. It disguises blemishes, counteracts redness, masks broken capillaries, diminishes the appearance of dark circles, hydrates and protects from UVA/UVB rays.

Formulated with:

  • Hyaluronic Acid Microspheres penetrate the epidermis and release hyaluronic acid gradually over time for enduring plumping and resurfacing of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • A potent form of Vitamin C, boosts the production of collagen and elastin, reduces free radical damage and boosts cell turnover.
  • White Lupin energizes and revitalizes.
  • Ruby Crystal minimizes the appearance of fine lines and imperfections.
  • Mineral CosmetologyTM, a patented mineral delivery system, leaves skin firmer, more supple and younger-looking.

Available in one color, Omorovicza Complexion Perfector BB SPF 20 is in the light/fair family but very workable. The color adapts to the skintone, providing a ‘lit from within’ soft focus. The lightweight creamy texture glides seamlessly over the skin and provides medium coverage without masking your natural radiance. Skin is left looking perfected and healthy all day long.

Learn more about Omorovicza HERE.

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Summer Travel: Beauty Essentials

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Whether it’s a weekend road trip or a long-haul to an exotic locale, there is nothing like a summer vacation. Look your best while traveling with these beauty essentials:

Oxylent Oxygenating Multivitamin Drink: The effervescent multivitamin drink is formulated with the highest quality of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, and electrolytes. Perfect for travel, the convenient packets are easily transported, so you can drink it anytime, anywhere – just add water. It is great for keeping the immune system in peak condition; a low calorie choice before or after working out; a true friend to the outdoor enthusiast; an easy-to-use daily multivitamin; or a wonderful late afternoon pick-me-up at work. Oxylent not only offers a unique effervescent delivery system, but unlike most, all of the formulas are both sugar and calorie free. Oxylent’s formulas do not contain any gluten, caffeine, lactose, artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors.

Kerstin Florian Rehydrating Neroli Water: This uplifting aromatherapy water instantly refreshes and hydrates the skin. Made from the bitter orange blossom, this facial spray soothes and hydrates the skin. The moment your face feels tight, one spritz will instantly hydrate and refresh the skin. Use as a toner after cleansing the face or as a body spray after showering. Or keep cool in the refrigerator and spray on hot, humid days. Perfect for après beach.

Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum: This light yet powerful serum is both a moisturizer and a broad-spectrum SPF 30. It fights the signs of premature aging – think fine lines and sunspots – and prevents future photo-damage from UV rays. Built for year-round use, this serum is amazingly lightweight and comfortable. Supergoop’s unique Hydrovotin 24 complex works with the skin’s own moisture mechanisms to increase hydration levels, while vitamins E and B5 heal past damage. It absorbs both UVA rays that lead to premature aging and UVB rays that cause sunburn. The top-of-the-line “PA +++” rating means the formula meets the highest standards for sun protection.  Also paraben and fragrance-free—just what the doctor ordered for sensitive skin.

Rodin Olio Lusso Luxury Face Oil: Formulated with an aromatic blend of 11 essential oils, this opulent oil relies on flowers and botanicals for their calming and illuminating properties. A staple of many top pros and makeup artists, this oil can be used to take makeup off, to moisturize and as a massage oil (expensive massage oil?). Add a couple drops to foundation to create a dewy finish or pat on the cheekbones and undereyes for a beautiful, fresh glow. Just a few drops will make your skin look radiant. Use as an alternate or supplement to your moisturizer and apply whenever your face needs a pick-me-up.

Dior Hydra Life BB Cream: READ FULL REVIEW: HERE

Bobbi Brown Bronzer/Blush Duo: Inspired by the look of “skin bathed in afternoon light,” this dynamic duo creates healthy-looking skin. On one side, Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder in Bahama Brown packs a blend of sheer powder and micro pearls (for a seamlessly glowing finish all over the face). The other side boasts Bobbi Brown Shimmer Blush in Pink Peony, the perfect way to add a pop of color to the apples of cheeks. Great for travel, this duo eliminates bulk and the need for too many face products. Tip: Sweep bronzer over eyelids for instant contour.

MAC Bare Study Paint Pot: This multi-purpose paint pot is perfect for travel. Bare Study is a metallic nude/champagne cream eye shadow that can be used as a primer, eye shadow and/or highlighter. Sweep onto the eyelid before applying a powder shade to ensure longevity. For highlighting, pat product on the cheekbones, brow bone, cupid bow and décolletage for subtle illumination. The soft, light-reflecting pearl finish will brighten any area.

Kiehl’s Lip Balm SPF 15 in Hue 30G: Lip balm with SPF is a must while traveling. Lips are often neglected and can suffer the same effects of the sun just as much as any other part of the body. Kiehl’s Lip Balm SPF 15 offers protection, relief and color. Lip products like gloss, stains or lipsticks can attract the sun with their shiny finish. This formula combines a sheer wash of color with UVA and UVB protection. Hue 30G is a beautiful light golden color with peach undertones.

Blinc Mascara: I have a love/hate relationship with waterproof mascara. While most formulas do last all day, they are a pain to remove. Blinc Mascara is a “tubing” mascara. It uses a copolymer-based formula to create little tubes around each one of your lashes preventing flaking, running or smudging. The formula is waterproof, sweat-proof and won’t irritate even the most sensitive of eyes so you can wear it all day without worrying about touch-ups. At the end of the day, use a damp washcloth to gently dislodge the tubes. They’ll slide off with just a little pressure.

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray: READ FULL REVIEW: HERE

Adara Organic Virgin Coconut Oil for Body & Face: Organic and biologically pure, Adara Virgin Coconut Oil is a gorgeous multi-tasking body and hair oil. Great for travel, coconut oil solidifies when temperatures are below 76 degrees – this makes it wonderful to pack and not worry about leaking. Adara Virgin Coconut Oil is available in five scented oils and travel-size, Oriental Jasmine, Soothing Lavender, Heavenly Peach, Innocent Rose, and Refreshing Green Tea. (Favorite: Jasmine) READ MORE ABOUT THE BENEFITS & USES OF COCONUT OIL: HERE

Flo Refillable Perfume Atomizer: Packing a big glass perfume bottle can be inconvenient and cumbersome. Tote your favorite fragrance wherever you go with the Refillable Perfume Atomizer by FLO. This ingenious gadget allows you to carry your perfume in an easy-to-use, compact atomizer. The modern design enables fast and efficient refilling without a funnel – preventing any danger of spilling a single drop of your expensive perfume. Suitable for all types of perfumes, this atomizer holds up to 77 sprays. Perfect for a purse, clutch, beach bag or travel bag, never leave home without your favorite fragrance again.

Kate Spade Cosmetic Bag – Garance Dore Davie

Skin Rehab: Exuviance Daily Antioxidant Peel CA (10)

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Get glowing, healthy-looking skin instantly with one swipe of Exuviance Daily Antioxidant Peel CA (10). This one-step, daily peel gently exfoliates the skin delivering a powerful dose of protective antioxidants to help prevent visible signs of aging.

The Daily Antioxidant Peel CA (10) is formulated with 10% Citric Acid (antioxidant found in citrus fruits) to exfoliate dead skin cells, neutralize free radicals, and help prep skin for moisturizer and serum absorption. With no rinsing or recovery time required, the result is impossibly smooth skin with improved texture and tone.

Exuviance Daily Antioxidant Peel CA (10) is an amazing rehab for the skin. Gentle enough for everyday use, this peel provides the instant gratification of glowing skin after every use.

The product comes with a  jar containing 36 pads (+1 test pad), and a bottle of solution. When ready to start the regime, pour the solution over the pads and let it soak in. Then begin to use one pad over the face (can also be used on hands, neck and chest) each morning, or as tolerated. Skincare and makeup can be applied immediately after. There is no rinsing, waiting period, stinging, drying or flaking.

In a clinical study, 100% of participants reported healthier looking skin, smoother texture and a more even tone after just one use.

“The skin is constantly shedding and renewing itself. Failure of old cells to slough off leads to a dull, more aged appearance to the skin. This peel is an innovative way to incorporate gentle exfoliation and antioxidant protection into your daily routine with one easy swipe. It’s formulated by the dermatologists who created the original glycolic peel, and utilizes 10% Citric Acid to scavenge damaging free radicals brought on by environmental exposure and help prevent future signs of aging. I recommend using it between office visits to help refine skin texture, smooth fine lines, even skin discoloration, and help diminish the appearance of acne scars and environmental damage.” -Dr. Julie K. Karen, a board certified dermatologist who currently practices at the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of NY.

What are AHAs – Alpha-Hydroxyacids?

AHAs are a group of naturally ocurring acids, many of which are found in fruits (hence “fruit-acids”). AHAs are used to help improve a variety of skin disorders including xerosis (dry skin), acne, ichthyosis, seborrheic keratoses and psoriasis. They also improve pigmentary disorders and symptoms of photo-aging; such as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, skin laxity and dullness.

AHAs penetrate the dead surface cells of the skin, loosening the molecular bonds that attach them to the underlying tissues. The loose cells slough off, exposing newer skin.

The following are the 5 major types of alpha-hydroxy acids found in skincare products and their sources:

  • glycolic acid – sugar cane
  • lactic acid – milk
  • malic acid – apples and pears
  • citric acid – oranges and lemons
  • tartaric acid – grapes

About Citric Acid:

Citric acid is a substance that is found naturally in citrus fruits. It is a powerful antioxidant that can improve the health of skin cells. It stimulates collagen production, fights and protects from free radicals, has skin lightening properties, reduces fine lines and wrinkles and improves the appearance of scars.

Tried & Tested: Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35

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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.)

COVERAGE: Sheer.

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:

Dior Hydra Life BB Cream

Boscia BB Cream

Summer Must-Have: Murad Perfecting Serum

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Dry-skinned girls, listen up! Banish stubborn dry patches, smooth fine lines and wrinkles and prime face for flawless makeup application with Murad Perfecting Serum.

This serum is the ultimate dry-skin relief. It is designed to be worn over a moisturizer to lock in hydration and revive natural moisture levels. The gel-consistency glides over the skin swimmingly and leaves skin silky-smooth. Enriched with Squalane, an ingredient derived from olives, the Perfecting Serum intensely hydrates and wraps the skin in ultra rich moisture.  Avocado and Evening Primrose Oils seal-in the hydration and Ceramides prevent flaking and itchiness while maximizing suppleness.

This serum can be used alone or under makeup to create the perfect canvas for makeup application. It can also be used all-over the face or just where needed. It erases those stubborn dry patches that foundation loves to cling-to and creates a flawless, long-wearing finish. A summer must-have.

Silicone Synopsis: Makeup Primers

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Face primers are a great way to smooth, prep and perfect the skin before applying foundation. If you have acne scars, fine lines or large pores, a makeup primer can spackle those spaces for an even coverage. However, some people can be allergic or sensitive to the main ingredient found in most makeup primers, silicone.

Silicone is a chemically derived product that sits on top of the skin to protect and keep moisture in. Any product used with that “slippery/silky” feel to it, more than likely contains some kind of silicone. To identify silicone in a product, look for Dimethicone or Methicone in the ingredient list. The general rule of thumb is that anything ending in “cone” is likely to be silicone. Opinions however, are divided as to whether silicone is indeed good or bad for the skin.

Unless you have a sensitivity to silicone and your skin reacts with break-outs or irritation, it seems quite harmless. Silicone is used in almost every product we use on the body from haircare to skincare. To immediately confirm sensitivity to silicone, notice if you breakout on your back from the hair conditioners used. Silicone is abundant in these products and can be the culprit for reoccurring back acne.

Currently, I have two favorite face primers, one silicone-based, one silicone-free. The main activities I look for in a primer are: skincare properties (I do not believe in adding another step to my daily routine – unless it is good for the skin), ability to smooth the skin and longevity.

Hourglass – Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15: This is a wonderful silicone-based primer. It applies effortlessly, smooths the skin, increases the longevity of my face makeup and gives the skin a subtly glow. It contains anti-aging benefits and restores moisture to dehydrated skin. I use this primer for “special occasions” – mostly when I am wearing a full face of makeup. I have found that mixing a small amount of this primer with your foundation produces a flawless, airbrushed-look.

Fresh – Rose Freshface Primer: This is the first silicone-free primer I have tried and now can’t live without. I use this primer on a daily basis and sometimes as my primary moisturizer. Packed with rosewater and cucumber extracts, this lightweight lotion immedietly soothes redness and evens out my skintone. It contains vitamins and botanicals that are beneficial to the skin and smells like a bouquet of roses.

I do notice a difference between the two products, in terms of skin smoothing. Silicone is currently the best ingredient for reducing the appearance of fine lines and pores. This is why the majority of  makeup primers on the market contain them. However, there are many silicone-free products on the market and I assume many more will emerge in the future.

Road to Flawless Skin: Kevin Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer

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Kevin Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer

Kevin Aucoin’s Sensual Skin Enhancer is a one-stop product for creating flawless skin. The road of achieving perfect skin is a long-one and may need a considerable number of different items… concealer, powder, base. The Sensual Skin Enhancer erases the need for all of these items and paves the way to perfect skin.

This Skin Enhancer can be used as a concealer; spot and undereye, foundation, tinted moisturizer and highlighter. (To use as a highlighter, simply choose a color one shade lighter than your actual skin tone).

The formula is extremely pigmented, and the texture consists of a heavy cream. However, when applied onto the skin, it feels lightweight, non-greasy and blends beautifully.

I apply this product by adding a bit to my favorite moisturizer (a little goes a long way). This concoction creates the perfect tinted moisturizer, in which it lets me decide how much coverage my skin needs. Sometimes I need to add more, sometimes less. Skin changes day-to-day, breakouts and such, The Sensual Skin Enhancer puts you in the drivers seat on the road to flawless skin.

Energy-Boosting Moisturizer: Origins VitaZing SPF 15

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Origins VitaZing SPF 15

Origins VitaZing SPF 15 is a tint-release lotion that adapts to all skintones. With it’s vitamin-rich Mangosteen energy-complex, a natural anti-oxidant, this moisturizer provides a bright, vibrant, even complexion.

VitaZing empties from the tube a white color with tiny spheres filled with pigment. The texture and feel of this product is similar to that of  a tinted moisturizer.

As massaged into the skin, these particles magically adapt to the skin and provide a soft, glowing coverage. The skin is instantly illuminated and feels fresh and healthy.

These products are great in the summertime.  It’s multi-tasking abilities, hydrate, energize, protect and cover, simplify any makeup routine.

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