Thursday, December 6th, 2007

Estee Lauder DayWear Plus ($38.00)

More than moisture. More than protection. DayWear Plus actively shields skin from the multiple assaults of the environment to help prevent lines before they appear — so your skin looks younger longer. The secret? An active response anti-oxidant system with a powerful blend of new and natural ingredients. A skin-friendly UVA/UVB screen you can wear AM and PM. An advanced dual moisture system to keep skin feeling moist and healthy. Lightweight, oil-free creme. Dermatologist-, Ophthalmologist-tested. Apply AM and PM after cleansing, and after applying your Repair Serum.

What makes it worth it: Oh my goodness, I fell in love with this rich moisturizer as soon as I put on my first application of it in the morning! It is a luxuriously thick cream that dries quickly and leaves skin feeling incredibly smooth and hydrated. The scent reminds me of cucumbers and cool days, I can’t quite put my finger on it. It’s a subtle scent, so it’s perfect for a facial moisturizer. I just honestly felt like I was pampering my skin with this product, and I will definitely be adding this to my list of staples. A little goes a long way, which as I always say, is most excellent. Oh, what else? It contains SPF15, which is an essential item you need for your daily regimen.

Why you might pass on it: None! Buy it today. I adore this, and I can’t think of a single reason not to at least check it out and try out the texture for yourself. The price is the only thing that could sway you, but I imagine one container will last me at least a month of use, so I’ll fork over the money for this lovely addition.

Find this product at Estee Lauder locations, www.esteelauder.com, and www.nordstrom.com.

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

John Masters Organics Linden Blossom Face Creme Cleanser ($19.00)

Non-foaming, this is the gentlest cleanser available for the face. The softening properties of rose and linden blossom essential oils mixed with a light facial creme gently clean away dirt and make-up.

What makes it worth it: All John Masters Organics products must be 75-100% organic with no petroleum or non-carbon based products. They use as much organic ingredients as they can manage in their products, which means this is a line and product that is perfect for those wanting to protect the environment and still get their dosage of beauty. They also do not test on animals, use environmentally-friendly harvested ingredients, and no artificial colors/filters/fragrances can be used in their products. This is to be used as an extremely mild face wash for sensitive skin, and it is also great for removing makeup.  For those who need extra moisturizing, it can be left on the face for an additional five minutes. This is so gentle that it is safe for babies! I like this product for its environmental stance, and I do like that it’s incredibly easy on the skin.

Why you might pass on it: I personally found the scent of this to be a bit too organic/natural for me. I could use a stronger note of citrus or something to subdue the scent of the natural ingredients. If you’re not into organic beauty, you might find the price point a bit too high for your liking.

Find this product at John Masters Organics boutiques and www.johnmasters.com.

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

Clinique Risne Off Makeup Remover Review

Pacifica Candles’ Soy Candles ($13.95), Pillar Candles ($15.95), Soaps ($6.95), Perfumes ($19.95), Body Butters ($15.95)

Each Pacifica candle is made by hand, using century-old techniques to ensure the highest quality. We combine our exclusive Pacifica Wax Blends, in your choice of food-grade paraffin or vegetable-based soy, with the highest quality lead-free cotton wicks, essences, and essential oils in order to create the perfect candle. Our fragrance oils and candles are made in small batches, allowing us to test our products regularly to guarantee perfection. We believe that if a candle isn’t burning well, quality ingredients are being wasted. Regardless of the wax, whether it is soy or paraffin, there must be a perfect balance between the wick size and the fragrance to create a safe, healthy, and smokeless candle.

What makes it worth it: This is not an organic line per se, but it definitely has the right feel and attitude about the environment, natural ingredients, and being a responsible member of its community. Pacifica uses soy and food-grade paraffin in its candles, while they make sure to use natural essential oils rather than artificial fragrances. They have excellent employment policies, are working towards becoming a carbon-neutral company, and take inspiration from culture around the globe.

  • Soy Candles: I tried Tibetan Mountain Temple (a spicy, woody scent of Patchouli, ginger, and orange) and Bourbon Island Vanilla (another spicy scent with lots of vanilla). I enjoyed both scents, but my boyfriend adored the latter. I felt like Tibetan Mountain Temple reminded me a lot of the holidays and the cinnamon-y goodness you find in so many holiday baked goods.
  • Pillar Candles: I tried Roman Frankincense (a blend of Frankincense, Myrrh, a touch of mandarin, and I’d swear some lime) and Vietnamese Ylang Ylang French (a lovely blend of ylang ylang, lavendar, and a touch of vanilla). I’m totally reminded of Sprite or 7UP with Roman Frankincense, but I like the scent – pleasing, very masculine. The Vietnamese Ylang Ylang French pillar candle is a much subtler scent, entirely feminine and just lovely.
  • Natural Soaps: I tried Spanish Amber (deeply woody, amber scent) and Wild English Clary Sage (a great clean scent with clary sage notes). Spanish Amber definitely takes me back to a few moments of my childhood; it’s a strong scent, distinctly masculine. Wild English Clary Sage is also a bit masculine in its scent, but it’s such a clean scent that I know it’s a must-have for any family or couple who shares soap.
  • Perfumes: I tried Waikiki Pikake (a blend of jasmine and sandalwood) and Tuscan Blood Orange (sweet orange and mandarin scent with a touch of strawberry). I found both of these scents to be pleasing, and they come in these petite containers. They make great stocking stuffers!
  • Body Butters: I tried Sandalwood (rich Indian sandalwood that’s very woody with top notes of sweet orange) and French Lilac (a delightful spring scent of fresh lilacs and magnolias). Sandalwood is a very rich, heady scent, which reminds me of seduction. I felt like French Lilac makes a great spring scent, because it’s light and airy and utterly floral.

Why you might pass on it: You can’t. They have a wide variety of products, scents, and the prices are perfect for this holiday season. Everything feels a bit luxe and rich, and I really can’t wait to wrap these up and hand them out to my family and friends this year.

Find Pacifica products at www.pacificacandles.com and www.nordstrom.com.

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

DR. BRANDT’S DISCOVERY KIT ($85.00)

This convenient instant gratification kit contains everything you need to replenish and retexturize your skin, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and maintain skin’s natural firmness.  Includes:
- mini microdermabrasion instantly polishes away dead skin cells leaving skin smooth and radiant – 0.5 oz
- mini r3p- anti-aging formulation of three intense polypeptides, and potent antioxidants to refinish, replenish and retexturize your skin 0.5 oz
- mini laser tight- tighten and tone, leaving skin firm and improving elasticity. 0.5 oz
- deluxe size crease release targeted formula to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles 0.25 oz

What makes it worth it: First, I love skincare kits that give you an opportunity to try before you buy [in full-size], because then you save a bit of money and get a chance to test out products you might not have on its own. I followed the instructions that come with the kit, which means you start with Crease Release. I have to say, even though I don’t suffer too many fine lines yet (thank god, but I know they’re coming, boo!), I did notice that my eyes looked a bit brighter, and my smile lines (sigh) were less apparent. Next to use was Laser Tight, which comes in a pump-bottle (yay!) and is meant to tighten and tone. I think this was one of my favorites out of the kit, because my skin just felt so much healthier and great after using this for a few days. I liked that it was an unscented moisturizer, because sometimes it’s refreshing to have little to no fragrance in a facial product. R3p is an anti-aging ultra thick cream – I wouldn’t quite call it a luxe cream, because it’s a bit different from that in that it has a thick texture, but it is not really heavy cream.  It takes a few minutes to absorb, and you really do need to let everything dry before you continue with the steps. Since I know I tend to dry out when I use anti-aging products (just so long as I never go through Retin-A results again, I’ll be OK!), I only used this once a day (PM) and enjoyed the results. For my microdermabrasion treatment, I went with the once-a-week-regimen, because I have fairly normal skin that only reacts oddly around the mouth area. This scrub doesn’t require much product to get total coverage of the face, and it doesn’t feel too rough or harsh against the skin. In fact, I definitely think this would be a good idea for sensitive skinned readers who would like to try a facial scrub. Overall, my skin thanked me for its healthy glow and incredibly soft texture. Even my boyfriend mentioned I had been looking more awake and refreshed!

Why you might pass on it: The price tag is steep, at least to plunk down all at once, but it really is an incredible value. The products should last you a good while before you need to replace them, and of course, you get to test-drive four products in one kit. Although, if you do love these as much as I did, your wallet may cringe at the thought of buying everything full-sized, so best ask friends and family to stuff your holiday bin with Discovery Kits!

Available at www.drbrandtskincare.com.

Find out how to use this great kit with step-by-step instructions straight from the Doctor… Continue reading →

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

Clinique Take off the Day Makeup Remover Review

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Milk ($24.00)

Gentle, milky makeup dissolver removes even long-wearing facial makeup and sunscreens, then tissues off or rinses away with water. Residue-free formula leaves all skin types soft, comfortable. Massage over dry face with fingertips, avoiding eye area; rinse or tissue off. Residue-free formula leaves all skin types soft, comfortable. For all skin types; ideal for drier skins.

What makes it worth it: It feels ultra gentle on skin, which makes it a viable option for those with sensitive skin prone to irritation with harsher cleansers and makeup removers. Clinique’s line of skincare is absolutely a great bet for those with sensitive skin as well as those who just want to start treating their skin better It offers a full line of fully tested and effective products at a lower price point than most high-end beauty lines. You get a fairly large bottle for the price you pay, and it would definitely last you over a month, if not over two. It broke down some of my makeup, but I felt like it didn’t really get all of it. (How do I test this? I use the cleanser or makeup remover, and then I take a makeup removing wipe to see what was left behind!)

Why you might pass on it: I don’t feel that this product breaks down my makeup as well as it could; I guess I would prefer something with a richer lather with a thicker, creamy texture.u The texture of the Cleansing Milk is really that of milk. It has a lot of liquidity and it runs thinly across your face. It feels a bit messy because of how thin the product is. To be honest, I’d much rather go with their Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm or one of their Foaming Creams instead.

Find this product at Clinique counters, boutiques, as well as www.clinique.com and www.nordstrom.com.

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

Clinique Superdefense Review

Clinique Superdefense Triple Action Moisturizer with SPF 25 ($39.50)

This is a patent-pending moisturizer that bridges the evolution gap between your skin’s natural defenses and the demands of today’s environment. Helps neutralize the toxic effect of UVA/UVB rays. Helps rebuild skin’s natural defense systems. Scavenges free radicals. Available in Combination Oily to Oily, Dry, and Very Dry formulations.

What makes it worth it: This is a more luxurious, rich facial moisturizer, compared to their Dramatically Different Lotion. I love a rich formula, especially when it sinks into my skin and leaves me feeling velvety soft in little time. Who wants a layer of cream on their face all day, right? I have to admit, the packaging and the technological spiel kind of get my engine revvin’. It comes in a lovely little pot, and even though you always see these containers and go, “That’s all I get?” you have realize that what you do get will last you at least a month, if not more. You can use the product sparingly, because you can stretch out a dab or two quite well. Beyonce moisturizing, Superdefense is meant to address elasticity and firmness problems. I also love that it contains SPF 25–nothing says anti-aging like sunscreen!

Why you might pass on it: You absolutely cannot put this moisturizer on your eyelids! Yes, the instructions indicate this, but unfortunately I had forgotten during an application and merely put it all over my face, and this was not a good mistake to make. So while I get a product that gives me sun protection as well as great moisturizing effects, I cannot use this on my eyes, which means I have to find something that I can. Sure, your eyelids may not need moisture, but what about some SPF? Also, with a product like this, sensitive skin may find it too much to handle, since it’s obviously not conducive to the sensitive skin on eyelids, I’d recommend doing a patch test, first (which the directions may tell you–read those, too!).

Find this product at Clinique counters, boutiques, as well as www.clinique.com and www.nordstrom.com.