Beauty

By Erin Williams

I grew up in Houston, TX, and I spent my childhood, amongst other things, eating Blue Bell ice cream, hand made tortillas at Ninfa’s, my favorite Mexican restaurant, and getting my picture taken in the fields of blue bonnets that grew at Easter. Texans are known for their HUGE state pride but did you also know that it is home to some pretty great beauty lines?

Minnesota-born Renee Rouleau saw Texas on the big screen and liked it so much that after visiting she decided to go and set up shop in Dallas. She’s worked with Cheryl Ladd, Britney Spears, and Jessica Simpson, but prefers helping normal people like you and me! If you’re in Dallas you can go and experience everything firsthand at her salon: 19009 Preston Road, Suite 206, 972-248-6131. If not, you can get the quality products at your own house.

Founder of the National Skincare Awareness Month (it’s September – now you’re aware), Renee doesn’t test on animals and uses the best quality ingredients possible, i.e., cold-pressed herbal plant extracts and essential oils, no synthetic dyes, and no mineral oil or petroleum just to name a few.

There were some products that worked themselves into heavy rotation in my bathroom. The Daily Protection SPF 30 is really effective. It’s formulated with transparent zinc oxide and protects against UVA/UVB rays. Vitamin C provides age-fighting antioxidant goodness, while Japanese Green Tea soothes sensitive red-faced girlies like me. And who knew that “78% of all sun damage that occurs in a lifetime is from incidental exposure…driving, getting mail, etc.” (Renee Rouleau).

Another product I always have a hard time finding in the winter is a serious moisturizer that doesn’t break me out. Enter Hawaiian Nourishing Cream. Ideal for sensitive skin, this cream soothes, moisturizes, and contains cell-regenerative properties. Specifically Polypeptides, Red Marine Algae from Hawaii for us laymen, which improves skins moisture, firmness, and elasticity. Also included are Rose Hip Extract, bursting with the antioxidant Vitamin C, and Sodium Hyaluronate, which gives the skin a smooth and velvety feel. All of this bio-fermentation technology results in an incredible night cream that I, shhhh!, use during the day.

Do you have any products that just smell good enough to eat? Pumpkin Smoothing Peel smells just like pumpkin pie, is easier on the hips, and great for your face. Pumpkin Pulp Extract, Bromelain Enzymes, and Papain Enzymes dissolve dry cells while corn meal gently exfoliates. You rinse it off and poof! Thanksgiving dessert hankering cured and skin is smooth and soft.

Renee’s website, http://www.reneerouleau.com, itself is full of many other wonderful products, really useful information, and has some great debunking of skincare myths.

If you’re not familiar with Mineral Makeup then you need to be reading our site more often! Seriously though, mineral makeup is the new frontier, and you are going to get to sit shotgun. Franche, http://www.franche.com, is a line based out of my hometown, Houston, and was developed by Francie Willis who has her roots, like a good Texan girl should, in teaching at charm school. She expanded into spas and a skincare center and later branched into cosmetics as she saw the need.

Franche products are free of alcohol, dye, talc, oil, fragrance, and preservatives. Made up of Micro Titanium Dioxide, Zinc, Microsome Vitamins A & E, Bismuth, and Iron Oxide for pigments, all of the makeup has a natural SPF of 20 and is water-resistant. The great thing about Franche is that its good for any age – it won’t exacerbate younger/pregnant hormonal skin, and it won’t break down the elasticity in older skin.

Obviously the strongest argument is for the foundation, available in creme or powder. The line goes from Casper white – which is me so don’t get defensive fair girls – to deep chocolate. The great thing is that if you’re having a problem area you need to target, you could pack this foundation on all day long and it wouldn’t irritate your skin. Also keep in mind that the powders aren’t drying because they don’t contain talc.

Two of my other favorites are their Gems and the Luscious Lip Treatments. Franche’s Gems are loose pigments that can be used wet or dry on the eyes depending on the look you want. The colors are vivid, long lasting, and available in 14 shades. The Luscious Lip Treatment is beautiful alone or over lipstick and is great for all ages. They nourish lips and contain “liquid crystals” derived from plants that offer antibacterial properties that purify, condition, and fortify the lips. And hey, they smell really good too.

In short, Franche is a vast line of cosmetics that’s actually good for your skin. Mary Anne and Larissa at Henri Bendel’s can help you with anything you need here in NYC.

If you’ve been with us a while then you know that I’m a candle junkie. Straight from the home of the Alamo, San Antonio, comes a new line from Soular Therapy, http://www.soulartherapy.com, called Flare. Soy-based with cotton wicks, they are supposed to burn cleaner than wax, and therefore be more healthy for your little lungs. Of the 12 delectable scents, my favorites are Stargazer, which smells like the lily; Persimmon, which has sweet and sour notes of persimmon and rind of clementine; and Chocolate Bark, which just makes you want to eat it really because it smells of rich Belgian chocolate and dark cocoa. So light up with a good conscience!

From Irving, a city outside of Dallas, comes a bath and body line whose products are made with whole fresh fruits and veggies. Fresh Body Market, http://www.freshbodymarket.com, is a perfect line for vegans and each small batch is hand-poured. The environmentally friendly packaging follows the lines of food containers to emphasize the freshness of the product. You feel a lovely personal attachment when you read the date your product was created on (and when it will expire) and who it was that did the creating. The line may look a little kitschy due to the packaging, but these products are no joke! I fell in love with EVERYTHING. Some of my favorites:

The Foaming Milk Bath with organic coconut milk smells amazing (think Laura Mercier’s creme brulee at half the price) and comes in a cute baby milk jug. It’s moisturizing and gives a lovely amount of bubbles.

For dry skinned lasses who are afraid to exfoliate, Strawberry or Banana Slush is a sloughing bath soap that feels like thick lotion but has little bits of the fruit, seeds, and loofah to tone and firm. Follow with their body spread – available in Ginger & Lime or Orange & Melon – which is honestly the most moisturizing thing I have ever put on my body. The “body butter” is made with shea butter, almond and jojoba oils, aloe vera, Vitamin E and let me put it to you this way – I felt moisturized the next day, which never happens to me.

But if you know me, you know the true way to my heart – and that is with a facial mask, and Mud Masquerade is wonderful!! It’s a clay base with mineral oxides and fresh lemon and lime juices. As spring comes this will be a staple in my shower because it really works at lifting impurities and softening skin.

There are all kinds of fun items in Fresh Body Market—the only hard thing is choosing what to take home!

So hopefully you’ve learned that though we love our rodeos, there is life outside of boots and belt buckles down in Texas. There’s actually some pretty amazing companies with some special products. What you should really do is go down and see it in person. And try a face wash and some lip liner while you’re there – you’ve seen the pageants – you’ll be in good company!

Originally published March 2004
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