Monday, May 19th, 2008

EXUVIANCE is a brand I was recently able to check out, and one of my favorite products amongst the three I tried was their CoverBlend, which is a “concealing treatment makeup” that has SPF20 and is designed to really hide any skin imperfections from tone to ine lines. It is a smudge-resistant cream that lasts throughout the day. It is also water-resistant and non-creasing, which makes it great for even oilier skin types.

I can definitely appreciate a waterproof foundation in the summer months, just on the fact that I’m outdoors, and even if I’m not, I’m likely to sweat between the car and my destination anyway. Something that won’t break down immediately is so appreciated! I don’t know if I’d necessarily sport it to the beach and expect to walk out of the ocean with flawless foundation despite it being water-resistant, though. I interpret water-resistant to simply mean that you can splash your face without any noticeable damage, which is all I really need!

It comes in fourteen shades, and I always point out the availability based on range because it allows for more people to find an appropriate shade that matches them. And I bet you think this is pricey (I don’t know about you, but “Exuviance” as a name conjurs up connotations of luxury!), but it isn’t–get CoverBlend for only $22.50!

I also tried their Evening Restorative Complex ($30.50), as well as the Vespera Bionic Serum ($55.00). I really felt like the serum woke up my face, which is probably the result of all of the anti-oxidants found within this serum. Like most serums, it is pricier because it has more “good” ingredients. Serums are more intense than regular creams, they’re usually in a higher conentrate of the active or helpful ingredients.

Their Evening Restorative Complex was gentle enough for me to use on my skin without any problems, and it has a light scent of apple-citrus that is tolerable. It’s harder for me to judge the effectiveness of this product as I don’t have too many noticeable fine lines or wrinkles. I like that they label this as “Evening”, though, because nothing is better than when a brand takes the guess work out of skincare!

Learn more about or purchase Exuviance products at http://exuviance.com/.

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Suki Complexion Brightening Cream ($45.50) is an intensive face cream that brightens, moisturizes, and reduces puffiness. It contains time-released vitamin C as its primary antioxidant that works to stimulate collagen production, increase skin elasticity, and suppress sun damage. It contains pure rose wax to help hydrate along with shea butter, and it also reduces puffiness. This brightening cream is meant to brighten complexion, including dark circles and sun spots. The cream has a light herbal scent that’s pleasing (not one of those organic products that smells like a compost heap!), so you feel like you’re using something fresh and clean on your face.

It comes in a pump-bottle, which I love, because it means no opening the bottle to let light in nor fingers dipping into the product. However, it does come in a glass container, and while the label covers most of it, it does allow for some light to come in. (Light can often destroy certain ingredients and render your product less effective!).  Edit:  I spoke with the brand, and they actually considered packaging and whether or not to use glass or plastic–they determined that glass would not deteriorate their product for 24 months.  So color me informed!  While this on the pricier side, the good news is that you only need one or two pumps, which is less than a dime-size, to cover your entire face, so you can get a lot of usage out of a single bottle.

I noticed my skin reacted well to this product as my complexion looked brighter, a little more of a natural glow, and I didn’t find it burned my sensitive skin (at the time I was testing, my skin was going nutso and most of my staple creams were causing me to bite my lip and scream OW OW OW!) Plus, the product does sink in and absorb pretty quickly, which is always a plus in my book–anything to save time!

Learn more at www.sukipure.com.

Monday, May 5th, 2008

Avon Anew Ultimate Contouring Eye System ($30.00)

You know what I like, I like an anti-aging product that takes the guesswork out of your skincare routine. There is nothing like a product that commits itself to either AM, PM, or both. Of course, skincare gurus can identify when products should be used, but let’s face it–skincare is a vast world that is confusing and ever-changing for the rest of us (which includes me).

This is a nifty system is actually two products stacked on top of each other. The top piece is the Concentrated Elixir that is kind of like a serum (in its marketing for intensity as well as texture), and it is to be used at night on under eye area, over the Intensive Repair Cream. When you unscrew the Concentrated Elixir, it reveals the Intensive Repair Cream, which is to be used both AM and PM.

I couldn’t speak much to the results, as I am still blessed with youthful skin, so I don’t have much to go off of. I did notice that my eyes felt a little uplifted/lighter. I do think that this product will be better for those in the 30s than those in the late 40s and 50s, because it is likely to have better results on newly created fine lines and superficial lines than defined wrinkles.

Find it at www.avon.com.

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Darphin Fibrogene Line Response Nourishing Serum ($165.00) is designed with Omega 3, 6, and 9 to help minimize the appearance of your first signs of aging, lines, and wrinkles while moisturizing dry skin throughout the day. As part of the Fibrogene Line Response Nourishing line, which also includes a cream and balm (both $150 each), the serum is easily the most potent of the three options.

The Fibrogene line is targeted towards those with incredbily dry skin to help aleviate dry, tightened skin. It is also supposed to give skin a “healthy serving of lipids” and combat against initial signs of aging. I definitely consider this a luxury skincare product, and while it is still remarkably less than some other high-end brands and their serums, it is still up there on the scale.

The serum is best used during the morning and to help with tired or stressed out dry skin. According to Darphin, key ingredients include shea butter, coriander oil, wheat sphingolipids, olive extract, vitamin F, jojoba oil, siegesbeckia extract, oligopeptide, and rosemary oil. Sphingolipids are currently believed to help protect the skin at a cellular level against environmental factors.

But results are important, right? I have not quite experienced any true signs of aging, I don’t think, but you can bet I will be hoarding this product in preparation for when I do. I enjoyed it as a lightweight morning moisturizer, but I did fin that the scent/fragrance was a bit intense for a facial product, and to be honest, it reminded me of an elegant, luxurious older woman. It comes in a pump-style bottle, which means you do not expose the product to as much light as a screw-top jar. You only need three quick pumps to cover both face and neck, which helps extend the amount of usages you will get out of the product–always a plus.

Visit www.darphin.com for more information about this and other Darphin products.

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

There are a plethora of products, ranging from miracle creams to spot treatments and gels to topical prescriptions, that are bought and sold under the premise of reducing the signs of aging. But did you know that there are many habits and things you can do today that will prevent some of those wrinkles (or at least reduce their severity) tomorrow? Here are ten things you should do with products you probably already have, or fine-tuning habits and daily rituals already in your day.

Antioxidants are essential to good health, which also includes helping skin maintain its youthful glow. You’ll notice many anti-aging products market themselves as having antioxidants within them, but you can bolster your regimen by ensuring you consume a few foods that are known to be excellent sources of antioxidants.

  • Beta-carotene (e.g. carrots) may neutralize free radicals which effect your skin on a cellular level. Anthocyanidins (e.g. berries) increase your cellular defense system. Flavanones (e.g. citrus) and flavonols (e.g. apples, onions) may increase cellular defense as well as neutralize free radicals. Sulforaphane (e.g. broccoli, cauliflower) may increase your cellular defense system.
  • Vitamin A (found in dairy, fish, and liver) and Vitamin C (e.g. citrus fruits) both help to protect cells from free radicals. Vitamin E (e.g. nuts, oils, seeds) can also protect cells from free radicals. Selenium (e.g. meats, tuna) may be preventive in damage to your cells from free radicals. Source

Be conscious of how you touch your face. When you’re washing your face, are you scrubbing vigorously? Harsh, hard, or vigorous movements and touches can stretch and pull at the skin in an adverse way. For instance, you should pat your face dry, rather than rubbing a cloth up and down.

Use brushes rather than your fingers to apply makeup. Brushes apply makeup with a light, easy touch, which means less stress and tugging for your skin. When you use your finger, there is more pressure exerted on the skin, even if it feels minute to you.

Cleanse your face regularly and ensure you remove ALL makeup. It is important to wash your face on a daily basis (twice if you can – e.g. AM and PM), even if you don’t wear makeup, because throughout the day your face does get dirty in some aspect. If you go outside, dust and dirt particles may have settled into your face. Make sure when you cleanse your face, you do a thorough job of removing your makeup, too. Residual makeup can rest in pores and on the skin’s surface, clogging it or preventing daily renewal. It’s good to have a package of makeup removing wipes in the house, just because if you ever get lazy or dead-tired, you can opt for using one of those instead of your regular cleansing regimen (not a substitute, but I recognize that we all have days when we just cannot seem to bring ourselves to do things!).

Wear sunscreen everyday. The best policy is to invest in a light sunscreen (e.g. SPF15) for everyday usage, and just get used to having that as a step in your everyday routine–like brushing teeth or showering. It is also a good idea to have a stronger sunscreen (e.g. SPF30+) to use for days when you know you will have increased exposure to sun. You also want to ensure your sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB, because both can cause problems later in life! Even cloudy days, driving, etc. can cause you to be exposed to harsh rays, so sunscreen everyday!

Exfoliate once a week. Exfoliation helps to remove dead skin cells, which helps bring younger cells to the skin’s surface. As we get older, the cell renewal process slows down, giving skin an uneven or rough appearance. It is important that you don’t overdo exfoliation, and the frequency may depend on the product you choose. Also, don’t forget about body scrubs, because aging doesn’t just show up on your face!

Moisturize and protect your hands. There is the old addage that you can tell a woman’s age by the state of her hands. The skin on our hands is subjected to a lot of activity, from work and utility, but also substantial washes, so it does go through the ringer, so-to-speak. It’s good to remember to moisturize and treat your hands well when they’re not busy working. Try a heavy hand cream and encasing your hands in a pair of light gloves while you sleep to give them a boost of moisture. Sunscreen for your hands is also a great idea, because we know the sun does a lot of damage!

Drink lots of water. It’s an oldie, but it still remains true. Make sure you get your daily intake of water! If you have trouble, try filling up a large jug or thermos of water and keep it by you at all times — you’re more likely to drink it if it’s staring you in the face!

Reduce or remove bad habits from your life, like excessive drinking, smoking, and tanning. Both drinking and smoking can ravage the skin over the time, and reducing both or quitting will serve you well both bodily and skin-wise. Tanning, whether it is in a booth or from the sun, is not at all advisable, especially if you don’t use sunscreen to do it. There are so many self-tanners and sprays these days that you can get your glow without harming your skin in the process.

Make sure you are using your skincare products properly. Some products can multi-task, but some can’t. Don’t use a body scrub on your face because the abrasives in it are too strong for the more delicate skin on your face. Just like a cream for your body may not be good to use on your face. When in doubt, use as intended, because if you aren’t sure, the results may be bad news.

Share your easy and inexpensive anti-aging tips with us!

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Ultimate Youth Creme ($250.00) is a product I recently received to test. I want to put it plain that I did not purchase this product, so there is no confusion. I am by no means on an unlimited cosmetic budget, so for me to test a cream of this standard is a real treat, but I always desperately hope not to love it, and secretly desire it to fall flat on its face. Why? Because a face cream for $250.00 is not friendly to my budget. I preface this review with so much attention to the price because I now face a huge dilemma: there is something about this cream that has performed a small miracle on my face in the past three weeks of continuous use.

What it’s supposed to do: Resveratrate is the trademarked ingredient dubbed “The Youth Molecule” by Estee Lauder. It “is a more potent, stable, and time released form of Resveratrol.” This product is meant to extend the skin’s youthfulness so that time “stands still.” According to Estee Lauder, the skin will increase in its clarity, tone, and fine dry lines will be plumped by the moisturizer. There is science clearly involved, and they talk about “longevity genes” that regulate the lifespan of skin’s epidermal cells.

What it actually does: Based on testing it for three weeks as both a day and night moisturizer (and let me be honest, there were a few times I misplaced it, so I substituted, but generally speaking, I used this pretty religiously). After one week, I noticed something very impossible happening–my acne was vanishing. Now, this is not an acne-preventing product, it is an anti-aging product geared towards women in their late 20s and older. My diet hadn’t undergone any real change, water intake didn’t increase, and I hadn’t added any other products to my daily facial regimen.

I have never suffered from severe acne, but I get enough that it can be annoying, and there is always one that’s far too noticeable for my liking. Since using the Youth Creme, almost all of my noticeable acne has disappeared. I am not 100% clear-faced, but in my eyes, this is about as close as I could ever get. My skin looks much improved because of the blemishes being gone, but it is also more even and healthy looking. Every time I see my Mom, no matter what, she mentions how pale and sickly I look–but she didn’t say that when I saw her last week (first time since using the Youth Creme). She asked if I did something different with my makeup, because I looked healthier. Application is easy, as you don’t need much to cover the entire face, and it feels lightweight, but it still moisturizers quite well (despite wintry patches of skin). I also love that it dries quickly! There is no strong, overpowering scent, either – it kind of reminds me of a very subtle organic, maybe a touch of oatmeal scent that you can only distinguish if you put your nose in the jar. So to me, it’s nearly fragrance-free once it’s on my face.

So as I said, I face a serious dilemma: how am I going to be able to afford this in the future? I would like to note that the jar still seems mostly full, despite using it twice a day for three weeks. It gives me hope that I can stretch the jar over four to six months.

Do I recommend this product? I do and I don’t. I recommend it because it worked well for me, and the acne-miracle it worked for me would make it worth the price (how much money do I spend each month on products that only work minimally?) as the product jar should last me multiple months. I don’t, because I fear for your poor wallet if you fall in love with it as I have! You know that whole saying, “You can’t miss what you never had?” Exactly. So basically, I do recommend this product, but know that you may find yourself addicted!

Available now at www.esteelauder.com and Estee Lauder locations.

Have you encountered a similar dilemma before? What product led to your downfall? Did you become a loyal re-purchaser or have you been hunting for a less expensive alternative?