Beauty

By Erin Williams

Do you ever watch those shows where they take an old beat-up car, hide them from the owner for a week, work like mad, and then unveil a magnificent piece of machinery to be reckoned with at the end? “Pimp My Ride” on MTV and Hot Rod Hall of Famer Chip Foose’s “Overhaulin” on TLC (mention Chip Foose to your boyfriend and you are entitled to a fancy dinner in my book) made me think: wouldn’t it be great if you could send your face to some place where they’d buff it into shape and you’d come out all shiny and new? Whether it be dull skin, wrinkles, rosacea, or blemishes, almost everyone has something they would like to “upgrade.” Consequentially, there’s a huge market for it, and the department stores are overflowing with products. However, there’s someone who has decided to stay away from this scrimmage. This line can be your guardian angel to a successful home makeover, but it’s one you won’t find in the stores. Snoop around a beauty editor’s medicine cabinet and you will probably see it there!

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Renee Rouleau has been courted by numerous department stores and other wholesale marketers to distribute her revolutionary line of skincare to the masses, but she prefers to stay, in her words, “short, fat, and happy” with her booming Dallas, TX salon and website (www.reneerouleau.com). Why is she not in that cute boutique around the corner or a Federated store near you? Her line has almost sixty products and wholesalers generally “only want the top sellers – half of our line. Twenty top sellers is meaningless because not everyone is going to fit into that and it compromises the line.”

Excuse me Renee? Did you just turn down an amazing amount of money? “Working that way is a financial gain for us but not an emotional reward.” A rare voice in retail if I ever heard one.

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Renee is an aesthetician who divides skin into nine categories to fit everyone – more than your run of the mill dry, normal, and oily. Targeted towards sensitive skin, sundamaged skin, rosacea, and acne, this is the place you can find products that won’t dry or break you out. Renee’s Daily Protection SPF 30 is the line’s #1 selling product. A light moisturizer and sunscreen in one, it contains Zinc and Z-Cote to block UVA and UVB rays. Vitamin C (one of Renee’s favorite ingredients) acts as an antioxidant and Japanese Green Tea soothes red skin. This is honestly my favorite sunscreen in the world because it’s light, non-greasy, and non-comedogenic, which means it doesn’t clog my pores. If you’re scared of heavy sunscreens that don’t sink in to your skin you should try this one.

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So you’ve got your sunscreen, now what? For each of Renee’s nine skin types there is generally a Morning Routine, Evening Routine, and Home Mini Facial. AM tends to include a light cleanser, toner (always alcohol free), her Vitamin C & E Complex (which smoothes and firms skin while fading pigmentation) and an SPF. PM has a more heavy-duty cleanser to help remove makeup and debris from the day, a toner, a treatment item (glycolic or hydrating serum), moisturizer, and eye cream. The Mini Facials are generally an exfoliant, to be used three times a week, and a mask for once a week application. Renee’s tip is to use the weekly mask in conjunction with the serum, applying the mask right after you have put on the serum. This helps “push” the serum into your skin. As you can tell, this is not a line for people who hate regimes, BUT, and this is my opinion, the regimes are super luxurious — like driving a Bentley.

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The steps in each skin-type come out of daily encounters with clients at the salon. “We get a lot of feedback and you can see with your own eyes what’s working. After a new client’s first month we ask what their favorites were and why.” If the aestheticians see a need that they don’t feel they’re meeting, which is quite rare, a six-month long development and testing process begins.

Renee has a few products that are hot off the line and would be perfect for perking up your skin for that slumpy through-winter-to-spring period. Blue Azulene Cream has been developed to calm and nourish red and irritated skin. I’ve been using it on my clients (30s – 70s), before applying makeup. It has been doing a great job of calming the skin and giving moisture. I also like the Blue Azulene Gel Mask appropriate when you have that unhealthy taut feeling. It does the trick in 15 minutes.

Another new addition to the lineup is the White Tea Soothing Complex. Unlike serums with a million active ingredients, which often overwhelm our skin (think watching Moulin Rouge for the first time), here there are only two ingredients – two potent ones. Antioxidant White Tea goes to war against free radicals while Sea Whip, a yummy friend from the ocean, soothes your skin back to life. Simple but effective.

To help in sloughing off dead skin, Renee has three strengths of Glycolic Serums – 10%, 17%, and 20%. The serums dissolve the dead skin (which, by the way, keeps your foundation and concealor from sitting evenly) and act like a cheerleader for new skin. With glycolics, you would want to go take a break every other week. They’re strong and so you do not want your skin to adjust to them, rendering them ineffective. I would start low on this one and go up as you see fit. But it’s safe for acne and sun-damaged skin and really makes a difference.

The bottom line is what you do at home is crucial to the success of your face. Renee says she’d rather have someone get the products to use at home over coming in for a facial if they have to choose: “Facials are a boost to what you can’t get at home, but what you’re doing at home is most important.”

This is the, literally, the only line whose moisturizer I can use and not break out – it’s crazy! It has made me feel like a dazzling new car – overhaul complete! I highly recommend going to Renee’s website at www.reneerouleau.com. Check out her Advice Section and see which skin type fits you best.

Originally published March 2005
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