Blog Archives

Over-The-Counter Power: Avène Rétrinal + 0.1 Cream

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Recommended by dermatologists, Avène Rétrinal + 0.1 Cream is currently one of the most innovative skincare products on the market.

Available in three different strengths including 0.1% retrinal (French for retinol) which is currently the highest amount of retrinal available in an over-the-counter product. The lowest strength is 0.025%, which is where someone who has never used a retrinal product should begin. Classified as dermo-cosmetics, Avène Rétrinal Skin Care products are considered to be cutting edge skincare with a medical approach to skincare.

Avène Rétrinal + 0.1 Cream is quite effective for a couple of reasons. The product is a form of Vitamin A which through clinical studies has been proven to improve elasticity, radiance and skin texture – as well as reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. You will get the normal side effects with any retrinal/retinol product – skin sensitivity, peeling, dry skin. But it is all well-worth the end result. Clear, glowing, firm skin.

The easy to apply product should be applied to the face and neck after cleansing. As with all anti-aging products it is imperative that broad-spectrum sunscreen be used at all times when exposed to the sun.

I have used many retinol/retrinal products, over-the-counter and prescription – this is by far the best over-the-counter product I have used.

Festival Beauty Essentials

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Festival First Aid Kit:

When running water isn’t available, cleansing wipes are something of a lifesaver during festival season. Use on both face and body when needed. Neutrogena Oil-Free Cleansing Wipes will fight bacteria and decongest the skin.

Cool-off with Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater. Spray anywhere at anytime to hydrate the skin, tone the skin, set makeup or for a quick refresh.

After prolonged sun exposure, skin needs more nourishment than ever. That is why I love Aveeno Protect + Hydrate. It feels like a body lotion but has high SPF.

Protecting your skin from the sun is more important than ever at festivals since shade is often hard to find – so is protecting your lips. Shiseido Sun Protection Lip Treatment has SPF 36, feels great on the lips and looks super glossy.

Look instantly glowing while protecting and treating the skin with Boscia BB Cream Bronze. This one-step wonder creates a lustrous, flawless finish as it hydrates, firms, and soothes the skin. It contains broad-spectrum SPF 27 PA++ and helps diminish the appearance of pores, fine lines, and uneven skin tone while providing long-wearing, natural coverage that conceals imperfections. Boscia’s BB Cream Bronze creates a sun-kissed complexion with just a hint of shimmer.

Continuing the rant on sun protection – ColoreScience Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen Brush is my go-to powder. Cream sunscreen is impossible to reapply all-day – especially when wearing makeup. Use the built-in brush to apply as needed with no caking, residue and/or irritation.

Pack products that are finger-friendly – like cream blush/lip pots and eyeshadows. Festivals are a great time to experiment with color. Stila Convertable Color in Sweet Pea is the perfect pop of color for both cheeks and lips. It creates a dewy complexion and pouty lips. Find cream eyeshadows that are long-lasting and won’t crease. I love Jouer Creme Eyeshadow in Chiffon. It creates the most amazing shine on the eye that almost looks wet and stays-put all day. This is also a great product to have handy because it moonlights as a highlighter.

Though I loathe waterproof mascara – it is a must in situations like these. YSL Singulier Nuit Blanche is a great mascara and not too impossible to take-off. It will not run or smudge and the brush is amazing.

No festival beauty guide would be complete without a highly-effective and much-loved Dry Shampoo. Serge Normant Meta Revive Dry Shampoo not only does a great job to rid your hair of oils – but is an amazing styling product. It will give your hair extra volume without feeling sticky or stiff. Speaking of sticky – don’t be the smelly kid in the group and pack your Secret Clinical Strength Deodorant.

Have fun – Be safe – Stay hydrated!

Holy Grail: Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm

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Heat things up with Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm. This rich dark balm dissolves anything standing in it’s way. Enriched with vitamins and nutrients, this is the first cleanser I have used that feels more like a treatment than everyday essential.

Omorovicza, pronounced (omoro-veet-za) is a luxury skincare line derived from the healing waters of Hungary. The Thermal Cleansing Balm revitalizes skin with the use of Hungarian Moor Mud. This mud has been around for 2,000 years and used in Hungary’s thermal baths. Five years ago, Margaret and Stephen de Heinrich de Omorovicza began using this ancient healing resource in their skin care system. Rich in minerals and nutrients like calcium and magnesium carbonates, the balm draws out impurities from the pores and decongests the skin. Skin is left squeaky clean – sans ‘squeak,’ radiant and ultra-moisturzied.

To use, scoop a small dime-sized amount with the provided spatula (a little goes a long way). Warm the dark-colored balm up in your hands until the color fades a bit and start working in circular motions on your cheeks. The Thermal Cleansing Balm feels slightly warming on the skin and smells of orange blossom. The solid balm breaks down to an oil texture which creates a wonderful lubricant for a facial massage. Work the balm around your face and neck and gently on the eye area. If using the product at night time, simply wipe off with muslin cloth or washcloth – leaving the oils and minerals behind as a treatment for the skin. For additional pampering – use a heated muslin cloth or washcloth. When using for daytime, wash-off with water, as makeup will not stand a chance against the moisturizing oils.

I added Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm to my Holy Grail list because like I said before, this product feels more like a treatment for the skin rather than a vehicle to cleanse the skin. This award-winning balm is gentle but effective and leaves the skin positively glowing and silky-smooth.

Awarded ‘Best Anti-Aging Cleanser’ by Harper’s Bazaar.

Awarded ‘Gentle Purifier’ by Glamour Magazine; “a glossy, rich balm that cleanses without stripping skin.”

How To: Fresh Face

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A fresh face is always in style. Let your inner beauty shine by enhancing your already-beautiful features – not covering them up. Channel that glow-y radiance and opt for an au naturale, fresh face.

NEEDED:

◊ Your Makeup Bag

HOW TO:

PERFECT THE SKIN:

Wash face with your favorite gentle exfoliator. This will help the makeup to blend easily. FavoriteDermalogica Daily Microfoliant.

MOISTURIZE & EVEN OUT SKIN TONE:

Keep skin hydrated with a sheer moisturizer. Try one with light reflecting properties – for a healthy radiance. Favorite: Dr. Jart+ Renewalist Melting Cream

To even out skin tone, grab your favorite – Tinted Moisturizer, Foundation, BB Cream or Mineral Powder – and apply. Choosing the product that provides your favorite finish on the skin – matte, dewy, satin or natural – your choice. Favorite: Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint

Use a damp sponge to create a flawless finish. Favorite: Beauty Blender

CONCEAL FLAWS & HIGHLIGHT:

For visible breakouts and dark spots use a pigment-rich concealer. Dab, blend and build coverage in thin layers. Never use too much concealer, it will just accentuate problem areas. FavoriteMiracle Skin Transformer Treat & Conceal 

Concealing under-circles will instantly light-up the entire face. If you have very dark undereye circles, first apply a salmon-toned color corrector. Favorite: Giorgio Armani Master Corrector

With a luminizing pen dot product under the eye and blend downwards. A luminizing pen brings light and radiance to the skin. It immediately erases any signs of fatigue, and brightens the complexion. This product can then be used as a highlighter on the cheekbones, brow bones and cupids bow. FavoriteYSL Touche Éclat

BRONZE & BLUSH:

Warm-up the skin with a light dusting of your favorite bronzer. Place only where the sun would naturally hit the skin. Temples, cheekbones, a little on the nose and under the jawline for contour. Favorite: Edward Bess Ultra Luminous Bronzer

Choose your favorite cream blush. Cream blushes in warm peaches and pinks gives skin a natural, subtle flush. Place on the apples of the cheeks and blend. Favorite: Illamasqua Cream Blusher in Petal Pink

POWDER:

If your skin gets shiny, follow with an oil-absorbing powder. Use only in the T-Zone area. This step can be skipped for those with dry or normal skin. Favorite: Laura Mercier Universal Setting Powder

If you find that you’ve over-powdered, take a tiny bit of light moisturizer, rub it between your palms, and then lightly press your palms onto your cheeks. This will bring back a bit of life to the skin.

BROWS:

Defined arches frame the face, pulling your features into focus. Make sure the brows are groomed and tweezed. Brush and fill them in sparingly with a brow pencil. Favorite: Anastasia Brow Wiz

EYES:

Apply a cream eyeshadow one shade lighter than lid color to the eyelid. Set with a matching eyeshadow and apply this eyeshadow to the inner corner of the eyes. This color can be matte or shimmer – your choice. Favorites: MAC Soft Ochre Paint Pot & MAC Eyeshadow in Vanilla

Then apply a soft warm brown eyeshadow to the crease area to contour the eye. Using the same soft brown eyeshadow, apply along the lower lashes – blending to ensure no hard edges. This can also be done with your bronzer. Favorite: Urban Decay Single Eyeshadow in Naked

TIGHTLINE:

For extra definition, tightline the eyes with your favorite eyeliner, gel liner, or liquid liner. How-To Tightline Post: HERE.

To make eyes look brighter and wide-awake, apply a nude colored eyeliner to the bottom inner rim.  Favorite: Tarte emphasEYES Inner Rim Brightener

LASHES:

Defined lashes are essential, even for a no-makeup look, you can forfeit shadow and liner, but never mascara. Curl eye lashes and apply two coats of mascara to the top lashes. For an extra boost, use a flat eyeliner brush to grab a bit of mascara from the wand and apply to just the roots of the bottom lashes. Favorite: Fairy Drops Scandal Queen

LIPS:

To get a pretty “your lips but better” look – choose a lipstick, stain, balm or liner that matches your lips perfectly. Press the color into your lips with your fingertip rather than applying it directly from the bullet. Concentrate it in the center and blend out. Favorite: Fresh Sugar Passion Tinted Lip Treatment

Quick Fix: GLAMGLOW

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With a legion of loyal followers and touted as “a facial in a jar,” I was curious to see what all the fuss was about. Designed for behind-the-scenes use in Hollywood’s entertainment, music, fashion & award show industries, GLAMGLOW Mud Mask was created to achieve immediate camera-ready, glowing skin.

GLAMGLOW’s patent pending continuous time-release technology TEAOXI® delivers ‘Super-Squalene’ and ‘EGCG Super-Antioxidants’ directly into the mud, supplying the skin with nutrients and free-radical protection. It also contains volcanic pumice rock, French sea clay and pieces of green tea that miraculously make skin look healthy in just 10 minutes. It activates moisturizing collagen synthesis, a gentle resurfacing exfoliation, and helps to leave skin smoother, brighter, and softer. The French sea clay absorbs impurities without removing natural oils, shrinks pores and tightens the skin creating a more youthful appearance.

When applying the mask, you will feel a gentle tingling effect, which I found to be very refreshing. This magical mud is a dark charcoal grey hue and has tiny grain-like scrubbers that gently exfoliate during application. The mask will harden on the face and turn to a lighter shade of grey. As soon as you remove the mask, the effects are visible.  GLAMGLOW leaves the skin feeling fresh, clean and tight, but not dry. Skin appears healthy and glowing.

Declared a Neiman Marcus Beauty Award Winner for 2012, GLAMGLOW is a wonderful quick-fix for a big night out or when skin is just feeling dull or lifeless.

Moisture Surge: Clark’s Botanicals Deep Moisture Mask

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Fall is here. Along with the crisp mornings and turning leaves, you may have also noticed your skin feeling a little chapped and dry. When the season changes, so does your skin. This is a great opportunity to take advantage of the colder weather and ease your skin into the winter months gracefully.

Now is the time to seal in the hydration. Clarks’s Botanicals Deep Moisture Mask is designed to hydrate, nourish and comfort dry, aging, environmentally damaged and dehydrated complexions. Natural ingredients work together to deeply moisturize and replenish the complexion, allowing it to regain radiance and suppleness over time. With regular use, fine lines and wrinkles will be diminished and a youthful glow will take their place.

The mask hydrates and soothes skin quickly, and can be used year-round to nourish the skin and restore the natural glow. The high concentrations of algae extract, coupled with comfrey root, Jasmine Absolute, and Japanese Green Tea, make this mask a potent anti-oxidant treatment. It is thick and rich and instantly quenches the skin. It can be used as a weekly treatment or as a daily moisturizer. If used daily, only the smallest amount is needed. Skin will be noticeably plumper and hydrated.

Make a few tweaks in your seasonal skin care to ensure healthy, glowing skin all-year-round.

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ABOUT CLARK’S BOTANICALS

Some skincare lines come and go. This year’s miracle ingredient is often next year’s outdated science.Then there are those exceptional lines that not only deliver results, but are truly compelling because they are based on real human experience and a brand narrative not created by a corporate marketing team, but by a personal history.

Clark’s Botanicals was born out of tragedy when company founder Francesco Clark, who then worked at Harper’s Bazaar, suffered a crippling spinal cord injury in a swimming pool diving accident on June 1, 2002.

With his central nervous system impaired, Francesco lost the ability not only to walk, but even to sweat. This led to clogged pores and chronic breakouts. When neither over-the-counter nor prescriptive remedies worked, he turned to his father, Dr. Harold Clark, a physician trained in both traditional Western medicine and homeopathy.

Together they developed botanically-based formulas that effectively rebalanced Francesco’s skin, clearing it up entirely. Through word-of-mouth, other people discovered and fell in love with these products, and in 2005, Francesco began selling Clark’s Botanicals on his website: http://www.clarksbotanicals.com

Even as the collection grows into a full-fledged skincare system, rebalancing skin remains its overarching objective. That’s why all Clark’s Botanicals products today feature Jasmine Absolute, a precious essential oil that naturally rebalances skin. Derived from nocturnally-blooming flowers, this extract is also antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and immuno-stimulating. It works to calm and heal a broad spectrum of skin types, from young to mature, oily to dry, and normal to sensitive.

With a passionate consumer following, Clark’s Botanicals is pleased to announce its latest move into select, prestige retail distribution with updated packaging and a launch family of thirteen paraben-free treatment products.

“Clark’s Botanicals is an organic part of me and my recovery,” says Francesco. “Everything about this line has a purpose and reason for being, from the ingredients to the packaging. It’s an expression of who I am in its purest form.”

Francesco Clark serves as a National Ambassador for the Christopher Reeve Foundation, which is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy.

A percentage of profits from the sale of Clark’s Botanicals go to The Christopher Reeve Foundation.

 

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

Perfect Pink: NARS Gaiety

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NARS Gaiety is my current perfect pink blush. It creates the perfect youthfulness and will instantly brighten your day… and complexion.

Described as a “bright candy pink,” the cool-toned pink has a strong blue-base. The buildable color allows for a sheer wash of color on the cheeks or layer for a bold pink flush. The color is matte with tiny specks of silver sparkle, that when applied offers a soft subtle sheen – perfect for the apples of the cheeks.

NARS blushes are long-lasting and true to color. I love Gaiety in the summer, when tanned/bronzed skin needs a flush of color. The contrast of the warm tan and cool pink reflects youthfulness and fun.

Four Favorites: Face Oil

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There is often a misconception about the use of oil on the face. I believe that the term “oil-free” has brainwashed us to reject these magnificent moisturizers. Face oils can be more effective at hydrating the skin than a cream or gel-based moisturizer. Oil is able to sink to the surface of the skin and penetrate two of the five layers of the epidermal, producing quicker results. They nourish the skin, adding powerful vitamins and antioxidants, and help balance the skin’s natural oil production.

The best face oils are all-natural products made from pure oils and other plant-based ingredients. If a product combines oil with synthetic fillers, it looses it’s effectiveness. Here are my four favorites:

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.

Creator, Linda Rodin spent over a year mixing oils in her bathroom (in a coffee cup) to make the elixir to satisfy all her beauty needs. She does not promise miracles–she is neither a chemist nor a scientist. She is interested in simple, natural products that work.  In her own words, “the product makes skin look more alive”. 

Decléor Aromessence Neroli Essential Serum: Full Blog Post Review HERE.

SUTI Nourish Organic Face Oil for Night: A potent blend of 15 plant and flower extracts that strengthen the skin and promotes the regrowth of skin cells while you sleep. Formulated with Avocado, Sesame, Patchouli and Bergamot to heal, replenish and plump-up dehydrated skin; Macadamia and Geranium to balance the production of sebum (the skin’s natural oil production) for healthy moisture retention; Argan Oil to calm irritated, inflamed and blemished skin and Apricot Kernel to help promote dermal elasticity. This combination is intensively “nourish”-ing, luxurious, and smells of fragrant jasmine. Skin looks glowing, bright and plump in the morning, like you’ve just had a wonderful night’s sleep.

SUTI is created by two sister-in-laws Suzannah and Tina (the “Su” and “Ti”). SUTI is a small, impeccably crafted line from the UK that uses only sustainably sourced, organically grown ingredients, hand-blended into the finest and gentlest of facial oils, balms and tonics.

Alpha-H Age Delay Facial Oil: A preventative and corrective solution formulated with nine of nature’s finest oils: Apricot Oil for it’s protection and softening properties; Rose Hip Oil to repair and strengthen: Wheat Germ to nourish; Calendula to regenerate; Carrot Oil to improve skin texture and miximize moisture levels; Frankincense for it’s firming and toning benefits; German Chamomile to soothe; Lavender to heal; Patchouli to aid in repairing cells and balance the skin. This facial oil is a synergistic mix that works to slow the aging process by protecting the skin against free radical damage, repair cell damage and sun damage. Deeply hydrates and firms the skin for instant, noticeable results. Your skin will drink this oil up and immediately feel soothed and nourished.

Australia’s leading professional salon treatment brand, Alpha-H pioneered the use of fruit acids in skin care nearly 20 years ago. Their cult cosmeceutical formulas are endorsed by a global following of clinicians, make-up artists and beauty writers and are relied upon by thousands of therapists worldwide for their fast and visible results on signs of ageing, sun damage, sensitivity and acne.

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.

GLOW-T AWARDS: Xen-Tan Absolute Gold

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BEST OF THE BEST: Xen-Tan Absolute Gold 

Xen-Tan Absolute Gold is my Summer 2012 winner for best self-tanning product. In just one application this self-tanner produces a rich, deep, olive-based tan that lasts.

The luxurious formula contains a color guard made of 24K gold leaf. Usually, I am not a fan of color guards. I believe them to be unnecessary and the reason behind messy application. However, the gold sheen in this product is very flattering and subtle. It dries nicely and does not rub-off on clothing or bed linens.

Enriched with Shea Butter, Absolute Gold is incredibly moisturizing – which is why, I believe, it lasts so long. The rich lotion feels very pampering on the skin and does not stick to stubborn dry patches. It absorbs into the skin very quickly, which cuts out drying time, but forces application to be speedy. The formula contains Xen-Tan’s innovative “Scent Secure” – a ground-breaking technology that blocks out self-tan (DHA) odor. And has a sweet vanilla scent, that reminds me of yummy marzipan.

For an easy, single-application, luxurious-feeling, natural-looking dark tan – you need to try Xen-Tan Absolute Gold.

Read my post on: Application Tips & Tricks


GLOW-T AWARDS: Jergens Natural Glow Express

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BEST DRUGSTORE SELF-TANNERJergens Natural Glow Express

Jergens Natural Glow Express is a gradual self-tanning lotion that delivers hydration, dark color and leaves skin glowing. Even better… it is available at the drugstore.

Formulated with antioxidants, this thick lotion has the same consistency of a body butter. It is available in two shades: Fair to Medium and Medium to Tan. The Fair to Medium is much too light and develops a yellow-based tan. In just one to two applications, the Medium to Tan creates a natural-looking, dark tan. It leaves a nice sheen on the skin and reflects a healthy-glow.

This lotion has a slight “self-tanner” smell but nothing too evasive. It can be mixed with your favorite moisturizer to mask the scent and extend the life of the small 4 oz tube.  I have used this product for years and always bring a bottle when I travel. It is quick and easy and I never worry about streaks or stains.This gradual tanner will extend and preserve the life of your tan all summer long.

Read my post: Application Tips & Tricks

Drink More Water!

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Drinking water is essential to health, beauty and longevity. The simple act of drinking water is extremely important in helping our bodies stay functioning at their optimum capacity.

The average body is made up of 55 to 65 percent water. The brain consists of almost 70 percent water. Water is essential for hydrating your organs, digestion, circulation, maintenance of body temperature, lubricating your joints and carrying oxygen and nutrients throughout your bloodstream. Just to name a few…

Water assists in the flushing or removal of harmful toxins from the body. Toxins come from a variety of sources and must be flushed out of the body to avoid hurtful build-up. Drinking plenty of water helps to cleanse the body systems of these toxins. Overall, your body will look and feel better.

Skin is an organ, and just like any other part of the body your skin is made up of cells. And skin cells, like any other cell in the body, are made up of water. Without water, the organs will certainly not function properly or at their best. Think of a plant that you may have forgotten to water once, the way it wilted and shriveled. By staying properly hydrated you allow your body enough extra moisture to produce healthy skin cells. Your skin will thank you for the extra moisture by looking and feeling healthier, firmer and brighter.

When you’re low on fluids, the brain triggers the body’s thirst mechanism. Do not wait until you are thirsty to drink water. For those who struggle with drinking plain water there are alternative options. Herbal, black and green teas can make the experience more pleasurable, plus you boost your antioxidant intakes. There are a wide variety of water flavorings, just make sure you get a low-sugar option. You can also add a spritz of lemon, lime, or other fruit to your water for some extra flavor.

My #1 tip for how to drink more water is the Camelbak Groove. Filters as you sip, so you can hydrate on-the-go. I swear by this thing and I am not even sure why. 32oz of water disappears in seconds.

Summer Favorites: Blush

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In the summer, bright and vibrant shades of cheek color is a surefire way to look younger and healthy. Use these products to emphasize a tan, create a youthful flush or mimic a lit-from-within complexion.

Start by choosing the right shade for your skintone. To find your go-to blush shade, pinch your cheeks and then pick a color that mimics your natural flush. This trick will ensure that you’re choosing the most flattering color for your skin tone. If you have fair skin, try a cool pink. Medium skin looks great in vibrant apricot/peachy hues, and darker skin tones look radiant in fuchsia.

Cream blush is a great way to instantly look fresh and dewy. Although it’s staying powder is not the best, especially in higher temperatures, cream blush is a nice alternative for dry skin. To ensure staying power on oily skin, first prime the skin and then set with a powder blush or translucent powder. To apply cream blush, smile and lightly focus the blush onto the apples of your cheeks. Then blend softly back and up toward the hairline. If you apply too liberally, tone down heavy application by blotting the excess color with a clean makeup sponge. Or, use a sheer, luminizing powder to diffuse excess color. The blush then looks like it came from within the skin versus sitting on top of it.

FAVORITES:

Dior Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Awakening Blush: I am a sucker for these gimmicky products. However, this one is fantastic. The formula magically adjusts to your skin’s natural chemistry to create a universal shade. It produces an angelic pink glow that makes you look “lit-from-within.”

It Cosmetics Vitality Cheek Flush Powder Blush Stain in Peony: The most long-wearing powder blush I have tried. The waterproof formula mimics the lasting power and glow of a cheek stain with the easy application of a powder. Packed with anti-oxidants and anti aging properties, this blush gives new definition to a “healthy glow.”

Youngblood Crushed Mineral Blush in Rouge: These blushes are incredibly pigmented and easy to work with. They blend beautifully and last all-day. They feel lightweight on the skin and never settle into lines. A small amount goes a very long way, apply with a light hand for a sheer wash of color or add more for vibrant glowing skin.

Kevyn Aucoin The Pure Powder Glow in Myracle: Full Review HERE.

NARS Cream Blush in Cactus Flower: On trend for summer, this bright coral blush is beautiful on both the lips and cheeks. The velvety texture is extremely easy to blend and apply. Subtle gold shimmers hide in the coral to help create perfectly flushed, luminous skin.

BECCA Beach Tint in Guava: This is the perfect color for summertime. It resembles the act of playing in the sun a little too long. The water-resistant formula can be used on both the cheeks and lips. Produces the most natural-looking flush and smells like summer.

Urban Decay Afterglow Glide-On Cheek Tint in Quickie: A lightweight cream blush that does not pull or disrupt a base. It can be used on top of foundation, powder… anything. The formula is sheer but buildable. The staying power is not the best, but I am obsessed with this color. Quickie is a sheer bubble gum, electric, cotton candy pink. The minute it is applied, it creates instant youthfulness.

Sun-Kissed Favorites: Bronzing Powders

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Bronzing Powders. The most purchased item in my collection. Used to create the illusion of sun-kissed skin without lying in the sun. Not only are they easy to apply, but they conceal, even-out skintone and create a more toned/sculpted appearance.

Bronzing powders should be placed strategically on the areas that would be naturally “kissed” by the sun: the forehead, bridge of nose, tops of cheeks, and chin. Take what’s left on the brush and blend onto the neck and décolleté so there is no line of demarcation. Bronzer should be transluscent. The brush that you use will make a big difference in your application: denser, shorter hairs will pick up more pigment than looser, longer hairs. (Favorite: Bobby Brown Bronzer Brush).

Over-applying or picking the wrong shade will result in looking like Snookie. Everyone can wear bronzer, fair or dark skin, it’s just about knowing which shade works best for you. When picking out a bronzer, go about two shades deeper than your natural coloring, or choose a shade that is close to the color your skin naturally turns in the sun. Stay away from products that are frosted or have orange undertones, they will look artificial.

Matte and semi-matte bronzers ONLY! Matte bronzers look more natural than glitter or frosted products. Especially for contouring purposes, matte products are a must. (How-To Contour: Here) A small about of sheen/glow is okay, however, apply with a light hand. If you want the shimmer or highlight, add separately with a highlighting product.

FAVORITES:

Disclosure: I am constantly changing bronzers, daily. I have yet to find the “holy grail”, but will continue to search high and low. The favorites I have chosen are the products I reach for the most and believe to be universally flattering.

Laura Geller Bronze-n-Brighten: This is a great product for correction purposes. The multi-colored, baked layers provide redness relief and an even skintone. The “bronzing” layers add a lasting glow to the skin.

Bobby Brown Bronzing Powder: The universal bronzer. Available in seven shades for a wide range of complexions, this bronzer will suit anyone. The long-lasting formula is extremely smooth and silky and applies seamlessly.

Guerlain ‘Terracotta-Four Seasons’ Bronzer: Guerlain is considered to be the “ultimate bronzing authority”. With many great products to choose from, the Terracotta-Four Seasons can be used all year long. The idea is to blend the four colors together in different variations to reach your desired color for every season.

Bare Escentuals bareMinerals Faux Tan & Warmth All-Over Face Color: Both of these powders are my most reached for bronzers. Quick and easy, these bronzing powders bring “life” to the skin. Use separately to create healthy-looking skin in seconds. Mix them together for a radiant “sun-goddess” look.

Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel Moisturizing Bronzing Powder: When my skin is looking a bit dull or flat, this is the bronzer I use. It produces a nice glow on the skin and the color is very subtle. This is the most natural looking bronzing powder I have used.

Honorable Mentions:

NARS Laguna: I have a love/hate relationship with this bronzer. Sometimes it looks amazing and other times it just looks dirty.

Too Faced Caribbean in a Compact in Sun Bunny: Great color, too much shimmer. This is a great product to use on chest/legs and décolleté.

QUESTION?

What are your favorite bronzing powders?

Glow & Go: Scott Barnes Body Bling

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Achieve glowing skin instantly with this shimmering body lotion that lasts all day. The bronzer to the stars, Scott Barnes Body Bling, is a no-commitment illuminator, that washes off with soap and water. Glow & Go.

Scott Barnes is a celebrated makeup artist credited for creating gorgeous looks for his numerous celebrity clients. His most popular look coined “the glow” was created on Jennifer Lopez. This monochromatic look features bronze glowing skin and pale lips. His signature look became known as “lit from within” and launched the world famous shimmering bronzer, Body Bling.

Use Body Bling on your shoulders, arms, legs, décolletage for a flawless look from head to toe. It’s great for masking self-tanning streaks or mistakes, covering flaws and instantly toning and slimming arms and legs. It is easy to apply and feels moisturizing on the skin.

Scott Barnes Body Bling is a must-have for summer. This lotion looks amazing on-top of already tanned (fake or real) skin. It is not dark enough to replace your other self-tanning products, but will look incredible in conjunction with. With specks of gold shimmer that reflect light beautifully, everyone can create Scott Barnes signature “lit from within” look.

Tried & Tested: Dior Hydra Life BB Crème

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The BB Cream craze has officially arrived stateside. Prestige brands are now formulating their own versions of these “magical creams.”

To read more on the meaning and creation of the BB Cream, read my previous post, here.

I admit, I jumped on the BB Cream bandwagon a couple years ago. I starting with traditional Asian brands and have worked my way up to my current favorite, Dior.

The difference between traditional BB Creams and the BB Creams now available at your local counters, is color and consistency. The majority of the traditional brands offer a selection of only one or two shades, developed primarily for Asian skin tones. These shades are often very light and have greyish-undertones. Traditional BB Creams are thick in consistency and provide medium to full coverage as well as excellent sun protection, anti-aging benefits and skin-regenerating properties. The majority of the “new” BB Creams are no different than a tinted moisturizer with higher SPF. The coverage of these products can be very sheer, but most offer a better selection of shades.

Dior Hydra Life BB Crème has a thicker, full-coverage texture that is more in line with traditional BB Creams. Formulated with the Hydra Life skincare line, this cream is packed with moisturizing and age-defying benefits. The smooth velevety-texture has complexion-enhancing properties that produce a dewy, radiant glow. With SPF 30 PA+++ protection, this is a great product to reach for in the warmer months. The one caveat is, similar to traditional BB Creams, Dior Hydra Life BB Crème is available in one only shade. It is important to test this product before purchasing.

The BB Cream craze is confirmable, who wouldn’t want a single-step cream that will balance skin, correct the complexion and protect a youthful appearance?

Summer in a Bottle: Bobbi Brown beach

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Nothing gets me more excited for summer than Bobbi Brown’s beach Fragrance. Layered with notes of jasmine, sea spray and mandarin, it is truly summer in a bottle.

An intoxicating combination of suntan lotion, salty sea and sand, the scent is comforting and nostalgic. The full line of Bobbi Brown’s beach Fragrance include: Body Lotion, Body Oil, Body Scrub, Shower Gel and Fragrance. The products are designed to keep skin glowing and hydrated all summer long. When layered, these products will also keep the fragrance locked-in for hours.

Use these products on a particularly gloomy day when you need a little pick-me-up. The refreshing scent will instantly recall memories of warm sunny days and a calm sea breeze.

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