Skin Care

By Andrea Toochin

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We editors are blessed with a plethora of products that stream through our doors, thanks to devoted press agents and company executives sure their items are the best around. But when it comes down to it, all the press and perks do nothing if the product isn’t worthy of use; on the other hand, some goods make their way into our hands and their efficacy brings recognition. Starting with our launch, we bring you a new monthly skin care column, a compilation of the best new products and noteworthy, underrepresented items.

It’s not hard to find a decent cleanser but to find one that satisfies all your needs – that’s a feat. Many stick with Cetaphil year after year, resisting the temptation to try its new high-tech competitors. With a slew of products in hand, I tried many respectable cleansers, including DDF Brightening Cleanser and Mario Badescu Orange Cleansing Soap. While they removed dirt and impurities, the aftermath is a dry, stripped feeling that requires immediate moisture. But from the bottom of a meager goody bag, I plucked Dr. Steven Pearlman’s Green Tea Cleanser, and there I found a diamond in the rough. In a plain white, frill-free bottle, I was lured by vitamins A, C, and E, Green Tea and White Tea, and Coenzyme Q10, but it was the ability to cleanse, moisturize, and remove makeup all in one fell swoop that had me at hello. 212.223.8300

Using moisturizer is like drinking water – it’s a must that should not have to be reinforced. There are countless creams and lotions on the market with a reputable history, from Neutrogena to Clinique, but what sets them apart is the presence of SPF and anti-aging ingredients. Many resort to AHAs or antioxidants while others boast a high Retinol content. Mario Badescu’s Hyaluronic Moisturizer is a light daily lotion with SPF 15. Imagine the consistency of Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, but with Hyaluronic Acid, a natural carbohydrate said to smooth and fill lines. $22 for 2 ozs. www.mariobadescu.com

Post-zit redness, blotchy stress-induced patches, and even brown age spots – we all have hyper-pigmented areas. Melanin is largely to blame, because it’s the production thereof that causes discoloration. That’s where Hydroquinone comes in; this chemical blocks the release of the agent that stirs melanin production. DDF, one of the first dermatologist-created skin care lines, re-launches this month with new packaging and some valuable new products. In addition to their sun protection line that features UVA, UVB, and 11 antioxidants, they also introduce Fade Gel Corrector Swabs. Each clear rectangular box contains 12 swabs with the highest FDA approved amount of hydroquinone, 2%. The genius is their consideration for sensitive skin; their holistic version provides an alternative to hydroquinone, substituting Albatin in the melanin-blocking role, and adding Mulberry and Licorice extracts, Kojic Acid, and Azelaic.

Instant gratification is at the root of many successful cultural phenomena from delivery service to the Internet. Skin care is no different. We want results and we want them now. I often remind myself nothing will work overnight let alone in a matter of minutes, but if there’s one product that provides instant gratification, it’s Mario Badescu’s Temporary Lifting Mask. A strange laundry list of ingredients includes calamine, rose petal extract, and wheat starch in addition to the jelly base. The novelty is that the product actually does what it claims; you can literally see your cheeks lifting as the product tightens on your face. At $20 an ounce it’s a small price to pay for an item that keeps its promise.

March brings bathing suit syndrome, the onslaught of depression induced by the reminder that in a matter of months we’ll shed our clothes and a body lacking pruning or sufficient exercise will be revealed for all to see. It’s when we resume our regular mani-pedis, and home spa treatments. At the very least, we know total body exfoliation and moisturizing will ‘reduce the appearance’ of blemishes, blotches, or god forbid, cellulite-induced dimples. Along with our thigh and glut exercises, we couple frequent scrubs and thick lotions to mask our second butt. The arrival of Pure Fuji’s new line, Passionflower, makes the process easier. The Coconut Sugar Rub with passionflower infusion is a course body scrub with a light oil base, a bit too harsh for daily use or sensitive skin, due to large grains. The lotion is excellent for everyday use, but the body butter is the most luxurious. Thick and creamy, it’s far from balmy and it radiates the signature light, feminine floral scent even sensitive noses will appreciate. The $39 travel kit includes shampoo, conditioner, and four body products; it’s a great way to sample the line and the adorable pouch is perfect for summer weekends in The Hamptons. $4 to $31, available at Barney’s and www.purefiji.com.

Originally published March 2005

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