Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

While many parts of the body are covered once the winter wind starts blowing, don’t forget to keep all your parts deliciously soft all year round!  Especially if you’re in the warmer parts, winter doesn’t always mean pants every day!  Here are four fabulous solutions to soothe that scaly skin.

Lancome Nutrix Royal Body ($34.00) is an incredibly luxe, entirely rich kind of body cream.  It is truly meant to help heal the driest of skin.  According to the description, it is equipped with Royal Lipideum, which helps to “supplement skin’s own natural lipids for intense hydration.”  Whatever that really means, I buy it.  I’m a believer, because this stuff really turned my dragonscales into gorgeous lady legs.  I have always suffered from drier legs with only sometimes-dry arms (used to be worse, but rarely get an issue in the past few years).  I find applying this in the morning provides me with a good amount of moisturization throughout the rest of the day.  For extra pampering, I’ll apply a light coat before bed and donning my stretchy yoga pants (don’t confuse this with the notion I exercise, they’re just comfy!) so I can awake with ridiculously supple skin.  Don’t let the price trick you–you get a huge TUB!  Honestly, it is more like a jug than a little jar you might expect when you buy a face cream.  For reference, most face creams come in 1 oz jars, and for $34.00, you get 7 oz.  Nearly half a pound!

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Moisturizing Body Treatment ($25.00) is part of the miraculous eight-hour family (hands and lips complete the trio).  I adored what it could do for my hands, because I have to have a hand cream that sinks in quickly if I’m going to use it regularly.  The Body Treatment acts the same way; it absorbs into skin within minutes leaving behind no greasy or slippery feeling behind.  You just feel soft and re-hydrated, which is exatly what I want to feel.  The same pleasing scent of lemony-herb accompanies this lotion, but it is a very subtle scent that will probably go unnoticed.  Personally, thats a good thing, because I’d rather have the ability to spritz a perfume on without it being clogged by my body cream.  This is one skincare line that has won numerous Allure beauty awards, and I have to agree with the choice!

LUSH Running to the Embassy ($10.95) is exactly what it is described to be:  “a clean, minty-cool scrub for the feet.”  I found I got the best results when I applied this to rough, cracked skin around the elbows, feet, and knees and working it in for a few minutes.  After this, I would rinse them off in luke-warm water.  Results?  Oh, yes, indeed–incredibly soft skin that was practically smiling.  What I love about the body butters by LUSH is that they melt when they come into contact with the body as the heat melts it into your skin.  They work easily into the skin with your hands, and it is easy to rinse off the excess.  Running to the Embassy is meant as an exfoliating body butter to help slough off the dead skin and rough patches often found on feet.  You can easily use this on any part of the skin that cracks or is especially dry.

LUSH King of Skin ($11.95) is another body butter available by LUSH that is another hit in my house.  A subtle sent of sandalwood accompanies this moisturizing solution.  Body butters are great to use right after the shower, and what I like about King of Skin is that it sinks in so well that you don’t even need to rinse off afterwards like some of the other body butters.  I prefer this at night time, or on weekends, when I have time to give myself a bit of pampering.  When I’m in a rush, I find I turn to a lotion or cream (but to be honest, I tend to forget to use anything), like Dream Cream.

Missed part one? Well, what are you waiting for–go read it!

Monday, January 21st, 2008

While many parts of the body are covered once the winter wind starts blowing, don’t forget to keep all your parts deliciously soft all year round! Especially if you’re in the warmer parts, winter doesn’t always mean pants every day! Here are four fabulous solutions to soothe that scaly skin.

vedaMAMA body creams ($50.00) in Relax and Scrumptious are both ultra hydrating, luxe creams targeted to soothe and moisturize the body. Relax is a more typical body cream with a chocolate mint scent that restores the skin’s balance. Cocoa butter is one of the main ingredients that helps to hydrate the skin, while peppermint helps to alleviate muscle soreness (hence the name “Relax”). Scrumptious is a restorative body cream with shea butter to work actively against super dry skin. Both creams contain organic coconut oil, Vitamin E, and Rosemary as some of their key ingredients. Each cream comes in a cute little white tub with pink detailing, but I feel like the amount you get is small relative to the price. I personally enjoyed both creams, but they aren’t far superior to other less expensive varieties.

LUSH Dream Cream ($20.95) is one of the first products I had ever tried by LUSH, and it is utterly fabulous. I really love that it goes on easily, isn’t too thick of a cream, and it dries quickly. I find that it does a good job hydrating my skin throughout the year. I like that it is a year-round product, because I can maximize my usage out of it. The amount of product you get relative to the amount you need to moisturize the body makes this a cost-effective choice. It is lightly scented with a woody/natural scent. If you’re familiar with LUSH products, you’ll instantly recognize it as one fo the scents of LUSH. A part of me loves to dabble into these kinds of products, because I just know that they feel healthier and seem better for my skin because of their organic content.

bliss lemon+sage body butter ($35.00) comes in a large, bright blue tube. The scent is actually incredibly pleasing; a light sweet lemony scent with an undertone of vanilla. It’s a very luxe, thick cream, despite it’s tube packaging–so don’t let it confuse you as if it were a regular body lotion. It contains both vitamin A and E, which are good antioxidants for your skin. I found a little goes quite a ways, needing no more than a one inch “line” of cream for each leg (and mine always get a touch scaly come winter!). Regular use of this completely eliminated any dryness, but if I stopped using it for more than two days, it would begin to return. Although initially it seemed pricey and offended my delicate price sensibilities (okay, not really, these days I’m not usually shocked), knowing that it will last me six months or more makes it much easier to swallow and seem more in line with what I’d expect. I can run through a tube of B&BW lotion in a month or two with regular usage because I find I need at least two inches of product, so it comes out to be roughly the same when the two are compared!

von Natur Grapefruit Whipped Butter ($42.00) is a thick cream (borderlines a solid, really, you kind of “scoop” out product because it’s so thick) with a very nice scent of grapefruit. They advertise that “according to a study by Chicago’s Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, the scent of grapefruit on a woman’s skin can make her appear up to six years younger.” I can’t buy that personally, but maybe other people’s noses would say it about me (then again, I’m not particularly old, so I’m not the best test subject!). Despite its thickness, the cream absorbs fairly quickly, which is always a plus, because nobody wants to sit around waiting for their skin to dry! Lots of essential oils can be found in here (far too many to list), but you’ll find shea butter as a key ingredient, as well as organic jojoba oil. You get a fair amount for your money, better than vedaMAMA, and you don’t need to use much to soothe your aching, dry skin. ]

Stay tuned for part two of our body series featuring Lancome’s Nutrix Royal for Body, Lush’s King of Skin and Running to the Embassy body butters, and Elizabeth Arden’s 8-Hour Cream for Body!

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Don’t forget the hands! Because we are always using our hands for something, they tend to be exposed and never kept away from the harsh elements of the day, including the weather and dry air.  Some of us (cough, me) are compulsive hand-washers, which can lead to overwrought skin.  This is a guide to several different remedies for dry, cracked hands (but some of the products can be used on other body parts like elbows, knees, and heels).  So fear no more, your bear paws will be turned into silky soft baby hands with these quick fixes!

Elizabeth Arden 8-Hour Cream for Hands ($17.00) is an amazing hand cream that is beyond perfect to toss in your purse throughout the winter season.  You need to apply only a sparing amount to soften hands instantly, because this product not only stretches out, but it sinks into the skin quickly, within minutes.  No sticky or greasy residue is left behind once it dries, either!  You’ll wonder how your hands survived before this!

LUSH Lemony Flutter ($12.50) has a longer absorption rate than Lush’s Helping Hands (see below), but it is also much richer and thicker in the texture and feel of the cream.  It’s almost a semi-solid in the tub, rather than the viscosity of a cream.  It has a delightful lemony citrus scent, which might be a tad overpowering, but overall, I liked the scent, especially when applied to the skin.  If you take a whiff from the tub directly, the lemon might read too synthetic, but on the skin, very subtle and light.  I love this as a cuticle treatment, too, because it’s quite a heavy “cream” that just gets into those dry spots.  Anyone with crackled elbows or knees would love this, too!

Sweet Grass Farms Super Duty Hand Care ($6.95) is a salve, meaning it comes in a solid-form.  It comes in a handy tin with a layer of paper surrounding it; you’ll want to make sure you keep the paper, so you can easily lift out the salve out.  I found I had better applying results when running both my hands around the salve than trying to use my fingertips to get some and then applying it.  To me, the drying time on this is just too long for everyday for day time usage.  It is incredibly moisturizing, so the results could be justified, but this is more of a moisture-and-glove treatment.  There are plenty of people who do this any way, and I think this is a great product to use with gloves.  This is also really good for those who have incredibly cracked and dried out hands–think those who work with their hands; mechanics, painters, etc.

LUSH Helping Hands ($15.95) sinks into skin within 5-10 minutes of applying a liberal amount.  Apply more sparingly for even faster drying time.  It left my skin moisturized and super soft to the touch.  The scent is quite organic/natural, nothing really off-putting, but it’s not something I’d put my nose to and take big whiffs of for fun.  I find the tub is a bit too big to carry around everyday, but it’s great to keep by the sofa or on your night stand for quick moisturizing.

Monday, January 14th, 2008

Harsh winter winds can create the worst of chapped, cracked, dried-out lips, and when that happens, it’s a rough time, figuratively and literally speaking. Lips should be smooth and soft to the touch, especially for those who want to wear lipstick. Rougher surfaces make it difficult to both apply lip color as well as have it look nice. Some suffer from chapped lips throughout the year, but take heed, there are some solutions.

LUSH Lip Service ($7.95) comes in a cute, thin tin with a solid lip balm inside.  It’s colorless and leaves a matte finish behind, rather than any glossiness or sheen.  LUSH offers eco-friendly beauty addicts to nab a lip balm that has several organic ingredients by a company who loves to be green.  This lip balm has cocoa butter, beeswax, and shea butter–all major helpers in giving you soft, supple lips.  In addition, there are a number of essential oils used to increase moisturization.  I found this to be a great no-muss, no-fuss lip balm that fits in your pocket (and even better to carry there because the body heat melts it just a touch so it is super easy to apply) or purse.  My only problem is my apartment gets quite cold at night, and I find I really have to use the heat of my finger to soften the top layer to get enough to apply on my lips.  LUSH also offers several flavored lip balms, Honey Trap being one of my favorites from the past

Treat’s Cacao Lip Scrub ($16.00) might seem like a small tub, but trust me, a little goes a long way, and this jar should last you quite awhile.  Lip scrubs are designed to exfoliate and remove dry and dead skin cells from the lips.  It is sugar-based as the particles have some roughness to them, but it is still a gentle exfoliant.  This product uses all natural ingredients, so you can actually lick it off (I wouldn’t say I’d love to eat this stuff, but I did test out the flavor, and it wasn’t half-bad), or at least, not fear you’re ingesting something terrible if you accidentally do (or have the habit of doing so!).  The main ingredients are shea butter, sugar, and cacao.  Cacao is an antioxidant with a lot of Vitamin C, which we learned is a vital nutrient for skin health.  I find I only need to use this once a week or less, and I find this less abrasive and harsh than using a toothbrush or washcloth as others have recommended as cheap and easy ways to exfoliate the lips.

Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick ($17.00) comes in a lipstick tube, making it easy to carry in both your purse or your pocket (I go the pocket route often).  It has SPF15 in it, and while more of us are paying attention to sun protection, I am sure we often forget that perhaps our lips need some SPF, too!  It never hurts, right?  Arden’s Eight Hour family of products is a remarkable line of ultra-hydrating and moisturizing products that last for several hours at a time.  I liked the stick formula, because I didn’t have to worry about clean fingers before applying.  It also went on quite easily, albeit a touch slick.  It left only a semi-glossy sheen, and it can be used sparingly or more generously for a desired feel.

Clinique Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss ($13.50) is a super glossy lip balm (though it really feels more like a gloss, I wouldn’t call it a balm as I associate balms as being more solidified) that comes in a variety of colors.  I tried Apricot, as it is a nice pink with only a touch of peach undertones.  When applied, I didn’t notice much more than a pink tint (and only slightly) on my semi-pigmented lips.  While some of the other lip products I tested seemed to sink into my skin, Superbalm felt more like it was a surface protectant.  It took much longer for me to feel like some of it sunk into my lips (which may or may not be relevant, just an observation).  It definitely feels like a gloss on the lips, and it does look glossy, so this is something you wear alone or on top of a lipstick, but not as a primer to lipstick.  There are eight shades currently available in the Superbalm family, and I think I would love Raspberry (deeper hued) for a slightly tinted ultra moisturizing gloss.

Did you miss part one of this series featuring Eminence’s Citrus Lip Balm, Principessa’s Bacio Me Lip Balm, and Von Natur’s Lip Treatment?  Well, don’t!

Friday, January 11th, 2008

Harsh winter winds can create the worst of chapped, cracked, dried-out lips, and when that happens, it’s a rough time, figuratively and literally speaking.  Lips should be smooth and soft to the touch, especially for those who want to wear lipstick.  Rougher surfaces make it difficult to both apply lip color as well as have it look nice.  Some suffer from chapped lips throughout the year, but take heed, there are some solutions.

Eminence Citrus Lip Balm ($24.00) comes in fun packaging, as it’s a dome-shaped lip balm jar.  It’s light and easy to carry around with you in your purse (though too tall to comfortably fit in your pocket).  I must first confess that I’m a touch of a germaphobe, so sticking my finger continuously into the same jar is not something that I go headlong into.  On that note, I make sure that my lip-balm-applying-finger is clean (and my lips are relatively clean, too).  I loved the scent of this, pure lemony citrus, and it went on very smoothly with a touch of a buttery feeling.  However, it was not oily, too slick or thick, for me.  I love Vaseline for a cheap drugstore solution, but it does have a bit of an ooey-gooey, goopy feeling that can be too much for some, and I tend to only use it as a night time solution.  I felt like this kept my lips hydrated for several hours without need to re-apply, which was great.  At $24.00, the price tag may be steep for some readers.  It’s definitely a balm full of essential ingredients, like shea butter and sunflower seed oil (subsequently, Vitamins A, D, and E), along with beeswax and salicylic acid (anti-inflammatory, reduces surface impurities), hawthorn berry (antioxidant, Vitamin B and C), peptides (encourage collaged production), and paprika (adds a bit of plumpness to lips).  So perhaps because it really does seem like the overachiever of lip balms, getting that much infused into your lips justifies the cost.

Principessa Bacio Me Lip Balm ($11.00) is a lip balm packaged in a cute tin.  I found this container to actually be a bit hard to open, and I felt like I really had to work it to open.  It’s definitely not something you should try shortly after moisturizing!  The texture of this product reminded me more of jelly than of a thinner balm, so for those who like thicker, slicker treatments, this one is definitely something to consider.  It contains both shea butter and Vitamin E to help keep lips super soft.  Since it has a jelly-texture, you get some sheen out of the balm, which is nice for days lazing around the house or running out to get the mail.  If you wanted to wear lipstick over this, it might not go so well.  Lipgloss?  Perhaps, but this is a lip balm I would probably use on its own rather than underneath lip colors and glosses.  In fact, if you find yourself always wearing lipstick and gloss, this would work better as a night lip treatment.  This lip balm is small enough to fit in your purse and light enough not to add much weight.  It’s durable (it is a tin, afterall), so you won’t have to worry about it breaking or cracking.  The price point is manageable, a little less than a typical lipgloss.

Von Natur Essential Lip Treatment ($11.00) is an 85% organic lip care solution for those who want slightly plumper lips in a very stimulating fashion, along with the promise of redefining the tissue around the lips to help reduce wrinkles.  Let me say that I could not handle this product myself.  I only used it three times, and one time I removed it immediately.  The product warns that it may tingle or you may feel heat, but it was just too much for me.  I might have sensitive lips, but either way, I just couldn’t take the heat so I got out of the kitchen!  To be sure, I am not a fan of many lip plumpers in general because the tingling sensation is more than I care to deal with (plus, my lips are plump naturally, thankfully, so I’m less inclined to suffer an ounce for something I don’t really need!).  As I have tried DuWop Lip Venom in the past, I would say the sensation is on par with it in terms of intensiveness.  This lip treatment has DMAE (recommended ingredient for healthier skin) and antioxidants, which, as we’ve learned, are all good things to find in any product designed to moisturize and better the skin.

Stay tuned for part two of this series covering LUSH’s Lip Service, Treat’s Cacao Lip Scrub, Clinique’s Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss, and Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Lip Protectant.