Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Avon Anew Clinical Advanced Dermabrasion System ($28.00)

For a long time, Avon was not in my beauty realm, but I have to admit that in the past few years, they’ve really expanded and spiced up their line. You hear about Avon reps, and you just don’t associate it with a product you’d have in your beauty closet [when you become a bit of a beauty snob, like myself]. This product has earned a spot in my shower caddy, which has very limited space (seriously, I have things stacked on top of each other!), because it is not only effective, it’s techy and makes so much sense.

It is truly a system, because there are two sizes of crystals (microfine is the smallest, and the other size is a little larger, grittier). There are four levels of exfoliation, with the first level being purely microfine particles. You stay on each level for two weeks (so eight weeks to complete the system), and then you stay off of it for about two weeks. The amount you use is less than a quarter (they say “quarter size” but I found you can use less than that quite easily!), so you should have no problem getting plenty of use out of the tube.

You only use this 2-3 times per week (every other day, basically), as well, and I use it in the shower because I like to multi-task and save some time in the mornings. Your skin will feel ridiculously smooth and soft after you use it, and I have to tell you that that is one superb feeling. Because it has four different levels of abrasion, it gives you time to cycle through and really renew your skin. It also means that I don’t have to worry about two or three products with different types or strengths in exfoliation!

Learn more at www.avon.com.

Friday, March 28th, 2008

ThermaClear Acne Treatment Device ($149.00) is meant to help significantly reduce the time it takes for a pimple to develop and clear. It is essentially the technology rival to Zeno, which is also geared towards clearing pimples that are spotted by the user. It is recommended for mild to moderate inflammatory acne, but it is not claiming to help counteract blackheads or cystic acne (though user experience shows me that it does help, but it is not as effective as on other types of acne). ThermaClear works by using a pulse of heat directly on the pimple’s surface, which helps to neutralize the underlying bacteria that causes pimples.

ThermaClear claims to “clear pimples up to four times faster than those not treated with ThermaClear.” I would agree that it does a good job minimizing the effects of pimples you just know will take at least a week to go away, if not more. Unlike the Zeno, ThermaClear takes less time to use; it takes ten seconds to turn on, and then you apply it to the pimple. The pulse of heat takes about two seconds (but let the device sit there for about 5 seconds), and it is ready to go again within ten seconds. It is advised that treatment may be done up to three times in a 24-hour period and no more than once in an hour period. One of the things I disliked about Zeno was that after 3 usages, the safety mechanism kicked in and made you wait two minutse before it would reset; ThermaClear you can treat as many as you want in a sitting. ThermaClear also works on regular AA batteries making it convenient and you don’t have to worry about an internal battery that could bust sometime down the road.

There is one caveat to ThermaClear, and it is simply that it can hurt. The pulse of heat is very much like a zap that lasts two seconds, and it can be more painful on certain pimples than others (depending on their size, type, and location). I can handle the pain, and so was my boyfriend, but it isn’t pain-free. The Zeno uses two-minutes of constant heat which is not at all jarring or painful, which may make it a better option for those more sensitive to pain. ThermaClear does have a high and low setting, though the low setting is much less effective than the high one, from my usage.

Remember why I only liked the Zeno? It was because of continuous cost beyond purchase price. ThermaClear suggests and recommends that you replace its tip twice a year ($19.95 each), but here’s the thing — it doesn’t force you to. ThermaClear won’t quit on you after X amount of uses. I just don’t have to worry and attempt to maximize my uses out of the device. I don’t have to question whether it’s worth it or not to use a treatment on a pimple. The cost of a Zeno tip replacement is about $35, and I know, for me, I’m looking at a minimum of three replacement tips a year, if not more.

In an effectiveness comparison Zeno and ThermaClear, they are about equal. Both of them work and work well. ThermaClear is faster, and less expensive in the long run, which is why I love ThermaClear.

You should be able to find ThermaClear at many local drugstores and retailers, which means there is often a generous return policy that will allow you to try the device our and see whether it works for you–and I so urge you to give it a shot!  Banish that pimple that wants to ruin your big date night out!

Get yours at Sephora.com or Beauty.com.

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Biore Pore Unclogging Scrub ($6.99) is an anti-acne facial scrub that utilizes salicylic acid while exfoliating with microbeads to help slough away dead skin cells. This product is alcohol-free (alcohol is a huge no-no in skin products!), which is always a big plus when considering an exfoliant and regular skin product. It does have menthol in it, which gives the product its tingling sensation when used. I find I keep this in my shower caddy and reach for it occasionally. It does tickle my nose a bit, because of the menthol, but I know I’m a bit overly sensitive when it comes to that kind of thing. The microbeads are incredibly gentle, and I feel like this is a good abrasiveness level for an everyday or every other day scrub.

Get yours at drugstore.com or your local drugstore!

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.

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Olivella Moisturizer Oil ($21.95)

This product is categorized as a deep moisturizing treatment for both face and body, and thus, it is targeted for those with very dry skin. It is made from 100% virgin olive oil while it has a light floral scent. It is said to be rich in antioxidants and vitamins. You only need a drop or two to apply to face or body. It is best to do it shortly after a shower, because damp skin better absorbs the product without leaving much in the way of an oily residue. I do find that it takes anywhere from ten to fifteen minutes to totally absorb, which means this is not ideal for those who only have ten or fifteen minutes to get ready in the morning.

I like this product when I think about it as more of a treatment for incredibly dry skin that is best used shortly before bed, so you don’t have to worry about being oily at work or what have you. It can be purchased (and you can learn about Olivella products) at www.olivellasoap.com.

Would you use this product? Have you?

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Biore Mandarin Blossom Nose Strips ($6.99 for 8) is a twist on their traditional deep cleansing nose strips, because they are now lightly scented with a citrusy scent of mandarin blossom (this is a limited edition offering). These strips bond with dirt and help remove build-up after wearing the strip for ten to fifteen minutes. It is recommended that these strips are used once a week to help remove weekly build-up from deep within the skin (which means those eight strips will last you two months, not bad for the price!). It is really important that you follow directions (cleanse thoroughly, dampen the nose, and wait!) to maximize the results. Just a helpful FYI based on experience, HA! I find these work well enough to merit the weekly usage, and they are perfect for my weekly pamper-me-day. The scent of mandarin blossom is really light and reminds me a bit of taking a jaunt the spa – not at all a heady or overwhelming scent at all.

Get yours at drugstore.com or at your local drugstore.