Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Korres Thyme Honey Cream ($32.50 for 1.35 oz.) is a daily moisturizer designed for normal and dry skin.

Korres is known as a brand that doesn’t use a lot of those “bad” ingredients like parabens, suflates, petro-chemcials, and synthetic dyes. My personal stance is I’m not overly concerned by them, as research hasn’t proven otherwise (at least not to me) — one of my favorite beauty blogs, The Beauty Brains, did a write-up on parabens. So for me, a “natural” product just has to be a good product for me, but I’m not looking for anything explicitly natural. (It’s totally fine if you are, though! To each their own! :) )

This is a medium thick cream that comes in a jar, but it actually feels lightweight and absorbs very quickly. I went through my entire jar in about four or five weeks. It definitely felt a little faster than normal (normally I’ve spent the requisite four to six weeks testing it out, and then I move on and there’s still plenty left). To be clear, though, I was using this both AM and PM and typically I do have a separate AM and PM moisturizer. I’d expect if you just use this as a PM moisturizer, you’d get about two to three months of use out of one jar.

This doesn’t have any SPF, which does make it usable at night (without feeling like you’re wasting the SPF factor!), but consequently, you do need to wear something else that does have SPF. I found it moisturized my normal-to-dry skin very well, and I never felt dry or had any dry patches creep on me.

I will caution some on the scent, which is kind of like an earthy honey scent. It didn’t read synthetic honey to me, but it’s noticeable when you first apply it. I personally didn’t notice the scent linger on after it absorbed, but if you’re not a honey person, I’d recommend you choose one of Korres’ other moisturizers. I liked the scent, though I didn’t love it, but it wasn’t an issue for my nose!

Even though Korres does recommend this for normal skin, I think it’s more suited for those with drier skin, because it is quite hydrating and rich enough to soothe drier skin, it may be too heavy on normal skin. I wouldn’t recommend this one for oily skinned folks, either. If you have normal skin but sometimes need an extra boost in hydration, I’d suggest checking out Korres Thyme Honey Mask instead, as an as-needed intensive treatment.

I’m not a big fan of open-jar packaging. I’m just not keen on using fingers to scoop out product (let’s face it, most of us are not vigilant enough about using a separate, sterile spatula every time we go to moisturize), so I’d rather an airless pump in some form myself. The packaging feels nice (I think it’s glass) and has some heft to it, and the way Korres’ labels their products is cute and functional.

Overall, after using this for over a month (’til I ran out), I liked it, but I’m still on the hunt for something else. I don’t typically use up whole jars of anything, so it is a testament to how much I did enjoy using the product while it lasted. It moisturized and kept my skin moisturized throughout the day without causing breakouts or clogged pores. That’s pretty much what the product is supposed to do, and it definitely did that! I’m trying out Korres’ Wild Rose moisturizer now, will let you know how that works out…

  • Product: 26/30
  • Value: 7/10
  • Ease of Use: 4/5
  • Packaging: 4/5

Recommendation: For those with dry skin, Korres’ Thyme Honey Moisturizer will keep your skin hydrated and soothed!

Availability: Sephora

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Parched Skin? Clinique’s Maximum Hydrator to the Rescue!

Clinique Maximum Hydrator ($27.00) is a moisturizer designed as part of their men’s skincare line. Gender aside, this is a fantastic moisturizer, and it’s actually one I’ve repurchased–for myself, not the boyfriend! This is an excellent moisturizer for those with normal to dry skin, because it is incredibly hydrating, and if you have oily skin, it may be too much for you. It is a gel-based formula, though, so it doesn’t feel heavy.

Maximum Hydrator is a multi-purpose product that is supposed to be used both in the morning and the evening. For men, it is touted as a post-shave product to help soften and plump up the skin. Here are the ingredients Clinique wants us to know about:

  • Aloe Leaf Water helps restore optimal moisture levels within skin while soothing dehydrated skin.
  • Moisture-binding polysaccarides (sugars) Trehalose and Sorbitol work along with Sodium Hyaluronate to help skin retain moisture and maintain important natural performances.
  • Palmitoyl Oligopeptide signals skin to stimulate the natural development of collagen.
  • Glycerin, a powerful humectant, helps attract and secure moisture to skin’s surface for immediate comfort.
  • Green Tea Extract and Sea Whip help soothe and protect delicate skin from potential damage from daily irritants.
  • Vitamin E helps fight damage caused by free radicals while Cucumber Extract soothes and de-puffs eye area skin.
  • Caffeine works as an anti-irritant to help soothe and calm easily distressed skin.
  • A blend of 3 different weights of Dimethicone provides improved slip, cushion, and a comfortable end-feel to the product while helping skin retain surface hydration.
  • PhytofixTM , a specially formulated blend of Sunflower Seed Cake, Barley, and Cucumber Fruit Extract, supplies skin with a powerful capacity for barrier repair for improved long-term hydration.

Whether you’re a woman or a man or a woman shopping for your hubby, this is a slam-dunk moisturizing choice. It helped soothe my painfully dry skin from my trip to New York back in February. It was gentle enough not to aggravate my existing breakouts nor cause additional ones. It was hydrating, fragrance-free, and absorbed quickly. You get a good amount for your money, and each jar lasts me about two months if I use it just once a day (I usually use mine at night, though sometimes I use it in the morning, too).

The only downside to this product is that it doesn’t come with any SPF, which is something I think would be a nice addition, because most men in my life aren’t going to be vigilant enough to use a separate moisturizer and SPF–they are too lazy and need an all-in-one kind of product.  The packaging isn’t phenomenal, and I do prefer creams/moisturizers in airless pump containers, but the packaging is simple and no-fuss, so it’s functional.

  • Product: 9/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Ease of Use: 9/10
  • Packaging: 8/10

Recommendation: Dry skin? Sensitive skin? Definitely give this a shot–try asking for a sample next time you’re near a Clinique counter. This is one of my favorite moisturizers, and it is one that I’ve gone back to when other moisturizers aren’t working for me. This is a definite must-have for me during the winter, too, when my skin gets quite parched.

Availability: Nordstrom, Clinique, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora.com

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Cetaphil UVA/UVB Defense Facial Moisturizer SPF 50 ($13.99 for 1.7 oz.) is a drugstore option for a great summer moisturizer. I find it to be fairly lightweight (maybe light to medium), but once it dries, there’s no heaviness or super greasy residue. What I like about Cetaphil products is that they’re consistently good; they’re extremely reliable. I know I’m getting a no fuss formula that does exactly what it says – moisturizes and protects my face from the sun.

I would say that since the SPF is so high, there is a bit of a white cast when it is first applied. It does seem to fade after about ten or fifteen minutes, and I no longer notice it. I find myself always turning to Cetaphil when nothing else seems to work (or everything else seems to send my face into conniptions!). I’ll definitely be making my boyfriend wear this, too, when he goes outdoors and plays tennis!

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Mario Badescu Herbal Hydrating Serum ($30.00) is my go-to for ultra hydrating spot treatment. Sometimes when I use acne treatment products, my skin dries out in certain spots, so to counteract the drying factor of many acne treatments, I always have this at the ready. I use it in conjunction with my usual moisturizer for an extra boost of hydration. I really feel like it “locks” in the moisture. According to Mario Badescu, the Hydrating Serum is good for all skin types, and it can be used as a lightweight hydrator for oily skin as well. A little goes a long way, so for me, the price tag is well worth it!

Sunday, April 5th, 2009

Get Sunkissed Without the Risk: Try Clinique

Clinique Sun SPF 30 Face Cream 9$17.50 for 1.7 oz.) is a newly launched product by Clinique as part of their suncare line. It uses “SolarSmart” technology, which is meant to stabilize high-level protection against aging and burning effects from both UVA and UVB rays. There are solar-activated antioxidants to help prevent visible damage to the skin.

Okay, so sounds like there are some fancy schmancy ingredients in this product, right? I can’t really tell you about preventing aging or skin damage (how am I going to know? it’s usually on such a micro-level, you can’t see any visible damage for years!), but I do want to tell you about how it feels, applies, and works as a facial sunscreen, because that’s really why I wanted to try it! It’s a fairly thick cream, but you actually don’t use very much when you go to apply it. I do find that on normal to dry skin, you may want to use your normal moisturizer in conjunction, rather than instead of. With oilier skin, you may find that just this is perfect.

With SPF 30, this face cream is a good choice for everyday wear. You get good coverage for both UVA and UVB. It’s a blend of avobenzone (broad spectrum UVA), ethylhexylsalicylate and homosalate (UVB abosrbers), oxybenzone (broad spectrum UVA & UVB), and octrocrylene (UVB and short UVA). It is always a good idea to look for a sunscreen with ingredients that protect you from both the UVA and the UVB spectrums. (Check out our Sunscreen 101 post, so you know which ingredients do what!)

The packaging is sleek and fun–the yellow is perfect for summer–and the tube technology means less exposure to light and dirty fingers. The product itself feels lightweight when applied, and it doesn’t have any greasy or oily feel either (very important!). It takes makeup well, and it doesn’t leave a whitish cast when it’s dry. It didn’t cause me to breakout, and I seemed pretty sweat-resistant, too. I like the price tag, because I feel a tube should last me at least a month of daily wear, perhaps even a little longer.

Anyone else try out Clinique’s new Suncare line?

Monday, November 10th, 2008

pur~lisse is a product line created by Jennifer Yen utilizing science and Chinese beauty secrets to create products good for you. You’ll find most products have either Blue Lotus Flower or White Tea (antioxidant) in them.

pur~moist ($65.00) is a moisturizer that feels like a hybrid of gel and cream. It absorbs quickly, and it keeps skin hydrated throughout the day. What I particularly liked about this moisturizer was it helped calm any redness I had in my face (which, admittedly is not a major concern nor obvious). I couldn’t detect any noticeable scent to it–seemed non-fragrance to me. This particular moisturizer doesn’t contain SPF, so you’ll need to use something else to cover you on sun protection (though they have pur-protect, which does include SPF). The only downside to this product is the price; you should easily get two to three months worth of usage out of the tube, though. Also, since it is in a tube rather than a jar, you can worry less about getting bacteria in it and oxygen exposure. Always a good thing!

pur~delicate ($38.00) is a cleanser designed for all skin types, and it is a non-foaming milky cleanser. It uses soy milk (along with soy proteins) as one of its key ingredients. You’ll also find extracts of oatmeal and white tea in it. Because it doesn’t really lather or foam up, it doesn’t strip your skin of its natural oils, so it shouldn’t dry you out. It does a great job of removing dirt and makeup and leaving your skin feeling clean (but not that squeaky clean feeling of tightness). As far as packaging goes, it uses an airless pump, so you can control how much product you need (one pump should do ya!) and keep it sanitary and out of oxygen’s reach. There’s no real fragrance to it, which further lends credence to its claim of being non-irritating for all skin types.