By Andrea Toochin
Just before Thanksgiving and again before Christmas, I, like the many other slaves to fashion, made the loop around the city to the various sample sales. Like any other highly anticipated event, the hype surrounding the happening ruined the fun. My ticket to the CFDA sale and what I thought was the gateway to discount designer bags and sleek frocks turned out to be a dud. Could it be that the infamous world of discount designer goods is a myth, and that in fact, the in-crowd, who have sufficient funds and ample connections to obtain these goods at retail prices, are the only ones who will ever be granted license to the stocked racks of chiffon gowns and hand-stitched tailored pants? Is there a grand fashion conspiracy to keep the higher-ups sleek and the wannabes wanting? We may never know, but one thing we can all afford is radiant skin.
One of America’s most prominent dermatologists, Dr. Dennis Gross, recently released winter-friendly products to combat dry skin. Among them is the Intense Hydra Mask, a two-step system comprised of a layer of hyaluronic acid gel, and a creamy, self-heating mask. But, just because this is hydrating doesn’t mean it’ll make your skin feel softer. This is a system that works below the epidermis to plump and smooth skin over time, but also evens skin tone via green tea, white tea, white clay, and vitamins A, C, and E. Be forewarned, this isn’t like other masks – it’s messy and gooey and requires attention and towels. This is best reserved for girly nights in with movies and wine, not as a quick fix before makeup applications.
$58 available at Sephora and www.mdskincare.com
Now that upscale spas like Restore Spa started carrying the True Cosmetics line, it’s just a matter of time before the brand develops a cult following. One of the first consumer-oriented cosmetics companies to employ Idebenone, True has that non-crunchy indie vibe. It’s the kind of product you’d imagine in the apartment of a classy downtown girl who splurges on Missoni, Custo Barcelona, and Mulberry bags. In preparation of spring, True launched a limited-edition eye product promotion. Each customer who purchases the Anti-Fatigue Eye Contour Gel made with caffeine, and the shea butter and white tea infused Essential Moisture Eye Contour Cream, will receive a free shadow brush and Protective Shadow Primer, which contains vitamins E and K, and Idebenone. Until now, I relied on Benefit Lemon Aid to mask the veins on the eyelid that show through transparent skin. Now I use this concealer-like primer that creates an even skin tone and keeps eye shadow in place all day, while acting as an anti-aging tool.
Both the Anti-Fatigue Eye Contour Gel and the Moisture Eye Contour Cream cost $50 each, available at Restore Spa 212.877.5500 www.truecosmetics.com
This French cosmetics company is one of few who not only describe the function of each major ingredient, but also list the results of the clinical studies and the sample size on their Web site. This product is a creamy moisturizer with SPF 8 that’s perfect for combination skin. Fast absorbing, but not oil-free, it contains apple extract to stimulate collagen and elastin production; rice bran and sesame extract to restore structure at the cellular level; and willow leaf extract to combat the effects of stress. They tested the product on 60 women, who applied the cream to their face and neck every morning for one month. More than 45 reported smoother, more radiant skin and more than 20 noted a reduction in lines.
1.7 oz $330 available at Saks Fifth Avenue
Phytomer Contour Radiance Smoothing & Reviving Eye Mask
The latest from this French company, self-branded the ‘pioneer in marine cosmetics’ is an eye mask and a night cream in one. Though the cream contains seawater, shea butter, sea salt, and seaweed extract, it’s two chemical compounds that are responsible for reducing puffiness and lightening dark circles. Rhodofiltrat of Palmeria palmata lessens dark circles by increasing cellular circulation and draining toxins, while the buckwheat grain extract in Liporéductine S. prevents the growth of fat, which leads to puffiness. The cream can be used as a nightly eye cream or as a mask, which should be left on for five to 10 minutes. Month-long studies of about 15 to 20 women resulted in at least 60 percent success rate.
1 oz. $39 http://www.sephora.com.