Skin Care

By Andrea Toochin

To news reporters, beauty and fashion is fluff, but from a broad perspective, television, magazines, movies, shopping, and travel are all one in the same – a diversion from reality. Between natural disasters, warfare, and political distress, not to mention everyday problems, it’s no wonder the lifestyle industry is thriving. My philosophy of late is, if using eye cream five times a day calms the nerves or offers a relief from work problems why not delight in the luxury of beauty therapy? And so, our favorite picks for body products and face treatments.

Just a baby, True Cosmetics is but a year old, and surprise, surprise, this earthy scented-skin care and make up line comes from the heart of all things progessive – the Bay Area in northern California.

Their signature ingredient is Idebenone, a natural antioxidant said to protect skin and treat existing signs of aging. The Essential Pore and Complexion Refiner is a great option for overnight treatment, with its potent combination of Lactic and Salicylic Acids, Retinol and vitamins. It also contains chemicals that ensure its efficacy as a time-released formula.

For daytime treatments, the True Radiance Revealing Complex offers the brightening and whitening effects via the signature element, licorice, and chemical lighteners.

Essential Pore and Complexion Refiner, 30 ml $50; True Radiance Revealing Complex 30 ml $90, available at Restore Spa 110 74th Street 212.877.5500

This independently-owned, pharmacist-run Polish line is distributed at drugstores abroad, and now here. With three major lines, Aretinol Q, Goat’s Milk, and LipoCELL Bloker they’ve everything covered from cellulite to age spots. The mature line is great for 50+ women because often the only way you can tell a woman’s age is by the areas most often touched by sun, but least likely to get treatment: our chest and neck area and our hands. Hence, the first of our favorites, the Neck and Décolleté Smoothing Cream powered by retinol, Q10, and plant extracts. The PhytoAktiv Eye Cream for delicate skin is infused with vitamins C and E, and horse chestnut, and helps improve the elasticity of capillary walls, thereby working to treat dark circles and puffiness. The hand and nail cream from the Goat’s Milk line is a balmy lotion that has a generic smell but absorbs quickly and seals in moisture. Finally, the Body Firming Gel made with Caffeine, L-Carnitine (an amino acid), and algae is a reasonably priced cellulite treatment that’ll keep up your efforts to prevent anxiety when winter vacation and your bikini reveal themselves in mere months.

This site provides one-stop-shopping as they also produce a baby skin care line and feminine hygiene products. It also provides details about their clinical tests, which are all conducted at dermatology institutes in Europe.

Ziaja Body Firming Gel 5.2 oz $30; Neck and Décolleté Smoothing Cream 2.6 oz $20; Goat’s Milk Hand & Nail Cream 2.6 oz $16; and PhytoAktiv Eye Cream .5 oz $18

Are available at http://www.ziajaskincare.com.

Busy women have no time for mediocrity – be it regarding personal relationships or average products. This Oakland-based company produces a variety of body products that contain Arabica coffee grains, olive oil, hemp seed oil, and peppermint extract. The Body Bar is an exfoliating soap that stimulates circulation and moisturizes. It’s perfect if you don’t have to time to wash and use a separate scrub and it almost feels like a foot massage when used on the soles. The Energizing Body Oil is a thick oil to be used after bathing; in addition to the signature ingredients, it contains sweet almond and coconut oil, rosemary, spearmint, and vitamins A and C. Because of it’s rich texture it requires massaging, which helps circulate skin and tone cellulite-prone areas.

Body Bar, $7; Energizing Body Oil, 4.3 oz, $22, http://www.bodycoffee.com.

This line always attracted me due to its non-irritating nature and the country chic packaging. Now that they’ve infused body products with wine, I’m sold. Made and tested in Bordeaux from crushed Cabernet grapes, the products are all natural. The Crushed Cabernet Scrub is a frothy body scrub that exfoliates and lathers, moisturizing with essential oils and honey, but invigorating with the lifting scent of lemongrass.

Recently, they launched a package deal with the Eye Lifting Serum and the Eye Contour Cream, advocating the use of two eye products together. The serum contains their patented anti-aging agent, Grapevine Resveratrol, which improves firmness and elasticity. Buckwheat reduces bags by draining fluids and witch hazel cools and diminishes puffiness. The contour cream plumps skin making lines less pronounced with the help of wheat proteins, ceramides, peptides, and liposomes. Licorice helps diminish dark circles and horse chestnut stimulates circulation.

If this isn’t enough, if you want the true, natural, soothing treatments to help you age gracefully, you’ll have to make the trip to one of their spas in Sonoma, Bordeaux, or in Cuneo, Italy, two short hours from Genoa and Milan.

Crushed Cabernet Scrub 8.8 oz, $45, Eye Lifting Serum .5oz $65, Eye Contour Cream .5 oz, $48, Eye Deux (set of both eye treatments) $99. Caudalie products are available at Sephora and http://www.caudalie-usa.com.

Originally published October 2005
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