By Andrea Toochin
Sampar Prodigal Pen
Summer is a time of active sebaceous glands and sweating galore. I sweat so much that natural deodorants are out of question and I even considered Botox shots in the underarms. But, for those that sweat allover, a more fearful happening is the summer breakout. Since I’m always on high alert for great new acne items, I had to try this one. Not only is Sampar’s latest item chic and discreet, it’s an alternative to the chemical-based drying mainstays. The Prodigal pen is an adorable pink vial with a pewter roller-ball applicator tip that dispenses clear liquid comprised of eight essential oils, including cinnamon, a most powerful essence that functions as a natural antiseptic.
Avance Azulen Day Crème
How often do you find a rich day cream that’s not greasy, has no smell, and isn’t chock full of alcohol and chemicals. Avance Azulen Day Crème contains seaweed extract, moisturizing humectants, chamomile oil, and Eqyptian Blue Chamomile (azulen flower), all soothing ingredients that create a smooth texture and provide a great base for makeup.
EmerginC Hydra-Repair Intensive Infusion Capsules
Over the last year, I’ve become a slave to healing creams. I fall prey to any biotec promoting their scientists’ latest creations. However, I took a break from my regimen to try the vitamin A,E, and F infused-EmerginC capsules. For one, I’m a fan of any solution that’s packaged in capsules because it ensures the efficacy of the product by stabilizing the main ingredients. Though they look like a normal size capsule these are actually quite large – there’s enough in one to coat your face, neck, and upper chest. I must admit the oily consistency worried me; I even had a nightmare that I’d wake up with small cysts all over my face. Ladies, it’s a sad day when a girl has nightmares about acne rather than dreams about vacations and compliant beautiful men! Thankfully, the results were quite the opposite. When I awoke after five alarms, the face in the mirror had smooth, clear skin with uniform texture and color. These will surely come in handy when winter nears.
By Andrea Toochin
For hetero NYC gals, finding a job, a decent man, and a reasonably price critter-free apartment are all equally daunting tasks. We are probably more loyal to our hairdressers and estheticians than we are to anyone in our contact list. Now we have to face the intimidating task of choosing which skin care products to use. I’d venture to say that we probably have the same attention span for products that we do for prospective boyfriends – a few months at best. But, there are always items that will shock and impress us, like that guy who can express his emotions and stick around long enough to hear yours. Like luring suitors Grade A goods are hard to find but when they present themselves we place them in The Goody Bag. This month we bring you stable retinol, fragrance-free moisturizer, and a product that’ll spawn eyelashes to boot.
Whenever I mention my beat of choice, people always ask about products for sensitive skin. Whether sun, stress, or excessive use of product is to blame, one thing is for sure – it’s nearly impossible to find a moisturizer without chemicals and added fragrances.
The California-based organic cosmetics company Nature Girl produces a variety of irresistible products from the Eco Chic salt scrub to the Groovy Locks shampoo. However, the Super Sensitive Skin Face Lotion is a rare product. Though it’s made with purified water, safflower oil, algae, olive extract and shea butter the absence of fragrance is what lures us because chemical sunscreen and added fragrances are often to blame for outbreaks and reactions. However, there’s a bonus too – all Nature Girl products are made with ingredients from small organic farms and if you’re the kind of gal whose bedroom looks like an Anthropologie ad, Nature Girl bottles will blend right in.
For years, we’ve seen companies like Elizabeth Arden sell tiny capsules of product but to be honest did we really understand the purpose? If you read enough about products, you know that efficacy is not based solely on ingredients but the quality of ingredients and the ability to permeate the skin’s surface. The latest struggle is packaging; how do you deliver a product that will stay fresh and maintain its power once exposed to the elements? Drs. Rodan & Fields will soon launch two additions to their Anti-Age system – Night Treatment with Skin Recovery Complex cream and Night Treatment Capsules With Retinol-Peptide Blend serum. Each capsule contains a single dosage; the packaging ensures the efficacy of retinol, an unstable agent, because it’s not exposed to air until meant for use.
Of all the cosmetic flaws I’ve noticed, thin eyelashes were the last on my mind. But, perhaps I never worried about eyebrow and eyelash hair because I assumed there was nothing we could do about it. That is all about to change.
Derma Diva and skin care extraordinaire Jan Marini has already sold more than 25,000 units of her Age Intervention Eyelash, a product that helps encourage eyelash growth. Unlike other products that condition the lashes, this one conditions the lash line to stimulate growth. The price tag is shocking thanks to the costly proprietary formula, but one tube lasts six months because you need only apply it to the lash line at night. Results have been so amazing that some claim to have up to three rows of hair on the lash line but, you must continue using the product to maintain results. Of all the units sold, only 25 people have reported a reaction or allergy.
Nature Girl Sensitive Skin Face Cream 5 oz $38 www.nature-girl.com
Jan Marini Age Intervention Eyelash $160 800-347-2223 www.janmarini.com
Rodan & Field Night Treatment 60 Capsules $75 (two-month supply), Night Treatment Cream $90 www.amazon.com/beauty
By Andrea Toochin
April is here and you know what that means – summer is just months away and soon they’ll be pulling the cashmere sweaters out of our hands and tossing us a sun dress. Before that can happen we need some serious motivation to hit the gym, resist the sweets, and get our skin in shape. I’ve substituted pudding for ice cream, goji berries (the wonder food!) for nuts and raisins, herbal tea for that afternoon coffee, and I’m considering boxing or Capoeira because running in space is just too boring. But, the real replacements are the ones that involve cleaning my medicine cabinet, which is reaching maximum capacity at present. Here are a few items that made the cut.
The latest independent skin care line to hit the market is the brainchild of plastic surgeon Dr. Matthew Galumbeck of Spa Phoenix in Virginia. Dr. Galumbeck believes that treating inflammation at the cellular level can heal the skin and improve the appearance without harsh peels.
Skin Amnesty comes in three varieties: dry, normal/combination, and oily/acne prone. Dr. Galumbeck and his research team developed the patent pending main ingredient, Bioactive Modulators, which respond to inflammation caused by pollution and sun damage.
The products contain a variety of herbs and natural ingredients such as arnica, ivy, calendula, and linden flower but the acne prone products also contain salicylic acid and horsetail, an extract with an inherent form of sulfur. The toners all have an aloe and witch hazel base, and each is formulated with different herbs. The hydrating eye cream contains forms of vitamin E, C, and K, which diminishes dark circles. But, it’s the serum and the exfoliating face mask that are most likely to be best sellers.
The kaolin (clay) based scrub is just strong enough to physically exfoliate while the hydrating and stimulating ingredients improve skin tone. The Restore Protect Serum contains the signature blend, but it’s the packaging of the 15 percent solution of vitamin C that makes it a winner – through a small gap in the label you can see a cylinder within the bottle where the vitamin C is stored separately, which keeps it stable and effective.
Developed in France and made in Syria, Tadé makers were inspired by the Hammam, the Arab version of Russian Turkish baths. This olive oil- and red clay-based paste is an invigorating bath product best used on a washcloth. Though it doesn’t look pretty, it smells delicious and lathers well. After years of using fruity gels and salt scrubs, this product is a nice alternative. Plus, it lathers so well this huge tub will easily last for months.
There are tons of cleansers out there, but if you’re past the days of acne washes and unsatisfied by the many mundane choices comprised of unpronounceable chemicals, it’s time for Replenix. This creamy cleanser takes on the scent of orange extract, but it also has vitamins A and E, and more notably, green tea, white tea, and CoQ10. It’s a rare cleanser that allows you about 10 minutes after washing before your skin begins to crave moisturizer. This does just that and it effortlessly removes makeup.
Skin Amnesty products are priced between $25-$80, available at www.skinamnesty.com
Tade Turkish Black Bath Soap is just $20 for 16.9 oz, available at www.luckyscent.com
The 6.7 oz bottle of Replenix Fortified Cleanser is $20, available at www.skinstore.com
By Andrea Toochin
My revelation of late is that March is the blah month. School vacation is over, there are no holiday weekends, and spring is still months away. While the sweatshirt-clad tourists stream in and out of our city, we face the dull days, knowing wishful dilemmas, like which self-tanner to use, are still weeks away. So, what are we to do when the day drags on and happy hour slips away? The answer is, stay home, order take out, and enjoy the wonders of virtual retail therapy.
Not since Tahitian Noni have I found such a wonderful scrub that despite the countless jars of product in my shower requires rationing. Though Not Soap, Radio’s latest launch, I’m Not Here, I’m Really offers a few different varieties, including a tropical scented line and the lavender and apricot variety, my favorite is Walking the Red Carpet, the line that contains cranberry and red currant jasmine.
The consistency of the product is one that’s hard to come by; this isn’t another raw sugar or sea salt scrub infused with oils, though I’m a fan of those too. This smooth, scrumptious concoction can only be likened to lumpy fruit pulp. A quick search on the Web revealed that the mystery main ingredient, Butyrospermum Parkii, is in fact shea butter, which is produced from the nuts of the African Karite tree. This natural element is responsible for the consistency, but it’s also rich in fatty acids. The cranberry seeds help wash away dead skin cells while the safflower oil and the shea butter extract moisturize skin, leaving a subtle shine behind.
Back in November, while working a temporary gig at a major glossy, I heard one of the beauty editors talking about a new product that contained both a teeth whitener and a lip-gloss. Now, months later, this product has materialized and it’s everything I expected.
Dr. Pia Lieb, a local cosmetic dentist, just released SexySmile™ in five colors, including a transparent gloss, a coral shade, and a berry red. We don’t need a study to tell us this one will be a must-have, but I’ll divulge the details for skeptics. The lip-gloss contains shea butter, apricot oil and vitamins A and E, and the teeth whitener contains hydrogen peroxide and peppermint oil, among other ingredients. Dr. Lieb recommends using the product after drinking red wine or coffee. If you’re addicted to caffeine like I am, just remember you can only use this six times a day!
To be honest, I wasn’t too impressed when I first saw the images of the Sedona Valley Spa products. But, a quick read through their materials sparked my curiosity, mainly because of the uncommon ingredients used in a few of their items , such as cactus extract and yucca.
Though the line is comprised of eight products including scrubs, a mud product, a mist, and a foot cream, my favorite is the body moisturizer. The Yucca & Agave Body Moisturizer has a refreshing herbal and floral scent, and is rich and creamy. It’s so unusual and addictive, that among the five body creams that compete for space on my dresser, this one most often trumps the others.
Not Soap, Radio’s I’m Not Here, I’m Really collection ranges in price from $18-20, available at www.notsoapradio.com, Neiman Marcus, and Henri Bendel.
Sedona Valley Spa products range from $10-18, available at www.perfumania.com
By Andrea Toochin
We are well into the New Year and already the crises that often define the times are still dominating the news. While writing this, I have a mix of issues pushing for space in my crowded mind – wondering about the regular homeless people I encounter each day on the walk to work, questioning the fate of the brave, young reporter in Iraq, and hoping this New Year will bring peace somewhere, or at least tolerance. As my Bluewick candle burns down to the bottom of the wick and Leela James bellows her soulful tunes in the background, I smile reminding myself of the sweet life I live. Each month, I am afforded the luxury of sitting in my spacious heated apartment, surrounded by piles of magazines and newspapers, a nosy cat, and a slew of products, reporting the best new items we Beauty News staffers have encountered. So, without further ado, I present the latest potions that have taken my mind off reality.
Our friends at Body Bistro have been busy lately, developing new products for the folks out there that appreciate Vegan certified, nature inspired items. Based on Ayurveda, which translates to ‘the science of longevity’, Carina Chatlani’s products are influenced by the values that govern both hemispheres. As such, her products use the scientific developments that reveal anti-aging treatments, and the herbs and philosophies that promote harmony, to introduce delicious new face and body products that cater to the holistic lifestyle.
The Tapioca & Soy Milk Bath Infusion is a powder that transforms ordinary tap water into soothing, detoxifying bath water. Soybean protein is used for its elasticity-boosting properties, while coconut and safflower seed oil aid tissue repair. Gotu kola extract is used to smooth skin while kukui seed oil moisturizes it. Turmeric, long used in the Himalayan region, plays the role of fighting free radicals.
A faint nutty note sits in the background while the subtle coconut aroma mixes with the sweet tapioca smell I know well, from splurging on one too many coconut flavored bubble tea concoctions.
At first glance, Hydroxatone seems like the kind of skin care line you’d learn about while watching QVC at 4 a.m. during a bout of insomnia. But, a quick read of their materials convinced me to think twice.
Dr. Michael Florillo, a local plastic surgeon, is at the helm of Hydroxatone, a skin care system that includes a cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and an eye cream. Though I’m usually opposed to multi-step methods, Hydroxatone won me over for two reasons: there are no added fragrances, and there’s no separate moisturizer for day and night.
Additives such as fragrances can be culpable for the reactions some have to skin care products. Since almost everyone around me claims to have ‘sensitive skin’, I’m always on the lookout for products that have equal parts scientifically constructed elements and natural essences. Their signature complex includes Hyaluronic Acid, a filler; Haloxyl, a complex that combats under eye circles; Matrixyl 3000, an anti-wrinkle complex; and Argireline, a peptide compound that parallels Botox via its ability to relax facial muscles. The natural ingredients include chamomile, lavender oil, palm oil, aloe, grape seed, pine bar, and pomegranate extracts. The Rejuvenating Treatment, meant for use as a day and night moisturizer, also contains kukui nut oil, shea and cocoa butters, bearberry and licorice extracts, and Echinacea and yeast extracts.
But, the real winner is the Instant Face Lift. The jar comes with a bunch of rolled up patches soaked in the signature solution, that can be used anywhere on the face. I chose not the eyes or the forehead, but the nasolabial lines. The patches are just long enough to stretch from the jowls to the bottom of the nose, where broken capillaries plague me. Just around the 20-minute marker, the patches began to curl up, but after a mere 10, I felt my skin plumping around the area. These give new meaning to the phrase quick fix.
Fruits & Passion, a Canadian skin care company, is ushering in the spring a bit early. Who are we to argue, what with the dreadful, dreary dark days and the frequent rain bringing us down? Their latest collection, Solstis, celebrates the power of the sun with the cheery scent of melon, fennel, and vanilla. The sky blue boxes are designed to evoke memories of summer days in lush fields with tall grass and sprouting canary yellow wildflowers.
The collection of eight products ranges from fancy staples like deodorant and lip balm, to fun extras like the travel size eau de toilette and the glittering cream, best reserved for the face and body, to add a sparkle to bare shoulders and freshly washed cheeks. All of the products contain three different types of vitamin E to moisturize and combat free radicals.
Though the uplifting scent was enough to lure me, there are a few unusual ingredients worth mentioning. The body cream employs blackberry leaves to help tone skin. The deodorant utilizes hamamelis water, an astringent that tightens the pores and prevents excessive perspiration, and lichen extract, a property with an innate acid that kills odor-causing bacteria.
By now, anyone interested in beauty should be able to recite the names of three major dermatologists. Patricia Wexler is most likely one of the most renowned doctors in NYC. The strength of her new skin care line lies not just in the concentrated solutions of the main ingredients, but in the variety of products offered. Her expansive collection of products caters to every flaw from wrinkles and drooping skin to acne. When the weather transitions or you skin gets confused after a tropical vacation, try her spot acne products. The Exfoliating Glyco Peel System is a stellar system with 10 percent glycolic acid, but the foaming wash is delicate enough to use daily, with just one percent salicylic acid.
Tapioca & Soy Milk Bath Infusion 10.5 oz tub $35 available at Ritz Carlton hotels and www.bodybistro.com
The four-step system costs $200 for a two-month supply, but the full size trial kit is free. Hydroxatone Instant Face Lift Pads are $49.95 for a 2 oz jar. Hydroxatone offers a 30-day money back guarantee, even if you’ve used half or all of the products, but their system is an auto-ship program. www.hydroxatone.com
Solstis products range in price from $8 for .5 oz lip balm to $25 for 8 oz Body Cream and $40 for the 3.3 oz eau de toilette, all available at www.fruits-passion.com
Patricia Wexler products available at www.bathandbodyworks.com
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 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 www.sephora.com
By Andrea Toochin
NYC women justify purchases by their activities – we need four pairs of strappy sandal for nights out, five pairs of boots to slug through winter weather in style, and countless beauty products that will take us from work to the gym to dinner, home and back again. The looming winter months only intensify shopping cravings amid thoughts of pressured holidays and stressful travel experiences. This month, we are thankful for multi-tasking products that save space and provide entertainment when stranded in stuffy terminals.
The latest addition to the Greek homeopathic pharmacy line is the Wild Rose Imperfection-Targeting Oil pen. A touch thicker than a ballpoint pen, the topical comprised mainly of Rose Canina is applied via a sponge tip and meant for use at night. The components of rose extract function as antioxidants that ease inflammation. Don’t expect a floral scent, in fact, it smells more like industrial cleaners than it does flowers. That may be a good thing – as one of four company principles, Korres promises ‘naturally derived, top quality active ingredients’ free of mineral oil, silicon, and extra solvents. Essentially, they aspire to a line that uses the least amount of lab-made ingredients, to avoid creating side effects that’ll require treatment later.
Idebenol rides on the success of SriVectin-SD and the consumer marketplace’s acceptance of bland but effective products that are devised from scientific research not market studies.
Scientists say the product can reverse the aging process by speeding up the Skin Renewal Rate; the term that measures how often new skin cells replace old ones. The research implies that the concentrated cream kills free radicals (harmful molecules from the environment) and helps strengthen the system that protects the skin.
The moisturizing and smoothing properties of a product do not immediately garner my approval; in this case, it’s the scientific process whereby skin clarity, firmness, and water retention are improved. The most impressive statistic in their research report states that the cell renewal rate of a 70-year-old woman increased, from every 30 days to every 18.6 days; 16.6 are the average rate for a woman under 30. Translation: within weeks of using this cream twice a day, a middle-aged woman will experience nearly the same cell regeneration RATE as her twenty-something daughter.
For the minimalists who can’t be bothered with a hand cream, a body lotion, and all the steps in between, there’s KP Duty from DermaDoctor. It was formulated to treat Keratosis Pilaris, a disorder caused by skin cells that clog hair follicles, or in layman’s terms, those red bumps often found around the triceps. Often exaggerated by winter weather, or dry skin, KP is commonly treated with urea, a moisturizing agent, or alpha-hydroxy acids. KP Duty utilizes both glycolic acid and urea to clear the follicles and provide moisture, but also contains green tea extract to ease inflammation.
Korres Rose Pen $23 Sephora
DERMAdoctor KP Duty 4 oz $36 or double pack for $67 www.dermadoctor.com.
Idebenol 3.4 oz $109 Macy’s or www.sovage.com/idebenol/.
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 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, 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 www.caudalie-usa.com.
By Andrea Toochin
The end of summer doesn’t have to be depressing. For most of us, nothing changes but the amount of sunlight and our wardrobe. While the fall brings us a couture rendering of goth, we can delight in a more consistent fashion that is natural beauty.
Fashion editors may exalt the genius of Marc Jacobs, whose dark wool collection stood apart on a runway filled with Stepord-esque frocks and ‘ethnic’ accessories, but the editor in all of us knows clear, glowing skin never goes extinct. The irony of the array of products found below is that many are a study in contrast. None of these products are inexpensive but almost all are comprised mainly of natural, free elements such as cotton seed oil, flower extracts, aloe, green tea extract, and a few elements growing in popularity, including sunflower oil, carrot oil, and rose oil. But what we learn studying the science of cosmetics, is that it’s not the ingredients alone, but the finished product that transforms a lab full of oils and solutions into a recipe for aging gracefully. Assuming none of us is a beauty chemist, it’s safe to say these are trustworthy products good enough for prized space in your bathrooms and make up bags.
Immuderm is neither the first nor the last product on the market whose wrinkle-fighting powers were discovered by accident. The product of years of work on the part of Norwegian scientists at Biotec Pharmacon, it was originally intended for wound healing purposes for surgery patients or accident victims. The main ingredient, Norwegian Beta Glucan, tempers redness, dryness, swelling, and wrinkles. As a soluble substance, this patented formula works by causing cell regeneration; in the same way a wound heals, wrinkles are reduced because the product helps skin shed old skin cells and promotes the growth of new ones from a cellular level, thereby filling in skin folds. $90 is a bargain for 60 oz, available at www.immunocorp.com.
The days of collagen-only plumping are long gone. Women no longer need to brace the force of a needle to get full lips. One of the latest lip plumping balms, LipTreat from Dermazone, utilizes a Lyphazome formulation to repair cracked lips, while protecting skin from stressful elements. Aloe, jojoba oil, and shea butter make up for the unnecessary inclusion of lanolin. Their Hydracell cream rattles a laundry list of impressive natural agents, including algae extract, almond oil, rose oil, carrot oil, and avocado oil. But what we really need to help us cope with unpredictable weather patterns and hormonal changes is the Celazome Target acne product. Though it won’t eliminate acne overnight, the tea tree-sulfur combination is one that trumps Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid any day.
Celazome Lip Treat .33 oz $38, Celazome Hydracell 1.7 oz $52, Celazome O-Plex Target .5 oz $24, available at www.dermazone.com.
The By Terry line has long been touted for its excellent anti-aging products. One of their best sellers is the Lifting Cursor Serum. The name presents its goal: to lift and smooth, among other things. It smoothes skin by plumping the top layers of skin through hydration. Mamaku Vital Essence reenergizes cells; tumbleweed and sweet pea proteins help shape the contours of the skin and tighten it via their innate amino acids; carbossalina cools and lifts skin simultaneously; and Isocell Life, a complex high in fatty acids and vitamin F, plumps the skin by forcing the upper layers of skin to retain water. This is no cheap, quick fix – a 1oz bottle of Lifting Cursor Serum will cost you $175 at Barneys.
Malie Kaua’i brings the tropical treatments of Hawaii to the mainland with their new store and the launch of their bath and body line. How many soaps and scrubs can one girl use? Well, apparently about three at time. Now that I’m addicted to body scrubs, I have higher standards. I was tempted to try the Coffee Macadamia Body Polish because it purported invigoration for the mind and the behind. Yes, it’s another jar of mashed nuts and coffee beans claiming to flush your toxins out and reduce dimpling. It’s no laser treatment, but it is a subtle smelling rub that smoothes skin and is required just once a week. To accompany the scrub, consider the Mango Butter Bun, a bundt-shaped soap and moisturizer in one. It doesn’t lather enough to rinse away the soot on a New Yorker’s foot, but it does coat the skin and seal in moisture, with a waxy, oil-free residue.
Malie Kaua’I products are priced $12-45, available at www.beauty.com and www.maliekauai.com
Eastern-inspired skin care lines are ubiquitous, but the allure comes more naturally when the founder is a Hong Kong native who was inspired during travels throughout the Far East and Southeast Asia. San Jose based-Daisy Tang started Aspara Aromatics in 2003 after experimenting with solutions for her sensitive dry skin. Her line of 30 bath and body products includes aromatic soaps made from rice bran oil, olive oil, and brightening pearl; scented lotions (silks) infused with primrose and coconut oils; body scrubs containing sugar, salt, coconut and rice bran; and bath soaks, available in packages of baubles, or jars of real flowers, so feminine, you’d mistake them for potpourri. She even has products made with yuzu, a citrus fruit from the tropics slowly gaining popularity in the States. Just don’t buy this expecting your man or crunchie friend to use it – the scents are potent and anyone who doesn’t wear make up probably won’t take to them. Aspara Aromatics products, available at www.aspara-aromatics.com, range in price from $8 soaps to $22 bath baubles.
My love affair with Benefit continues with their new Bluff collection. I’ve had pale, white skin my entire life; I burn like the Brits while my mother bronzes beautifully. The problem with pale skin, other than being susceptible to sunburns, is that inflammation is all the more visible. The Bluff line consists of a cream stick concealer, loose powder and a stubby brush. The yellow products neutralize blushing when foundation is useless. It won’t eliminate the redness, but a generous application will make flushed cheeks or blemishes less noticeable, and the stick dulls broken capillaries around the nose. You’re Bluffing $20, Bluff Dust $22, and Bluff Puff $20. www.benefitcosmetics.com and Sephora
The before-and-after pictures supplied by Flexitol are almost too revolting to look at, which is why I mailed the fungus solution to my father the day after I wrote this. I had to break company policy because if the pictures are honest, this is a miracle worker for people with troubled soles. Flexitol makes a line of foot products that we might not want visitors to see, but we definitely all need after a summer donning strappy sandals, high wedges, and soot-magnate flip-flops. The anti-fungal liquid contains a 25% solution of Undeclyenic Acid, a chemical that stops the growth of fungus, and can be used to treat toenail fungus or athletes foot; the product also contains eucalyptus oil, alcohol, and Melaleuca Oil, an extract derived from the Australian plant otherwise known as the Tea Tree. The company also makes a cream to heal dry, peeling feet, which contains aloe, menthol, mineral oil, glycerin, and a 1 percent solution of the anti-fungal chemical, Tolnaftate. Finally, there’s the heel balm, for rough, cracked heels; like the cream it contains uera, a moisturizing and exfoliating element often found in Eczema creams. Between the overwhelming menthol in the cream and the heel balm, which feels like a mix of lotion and Vaseline, these are best used at night, after a shower, before bed. Though there are no known side effects, people using the liquid should check with a doctor first if they have any unordinary circumstances, such as diabetes or if they are nursing. Products are available at Walgreens and www.drugstore.com for $8-10.
One Response to “The Goody Bag”
By Andrea Toochin
As always, there’s no shortage of new products entering the competitive billion-dollar industry we call cosmetics. Some are seasonal and some are splurge-worthy staples to add to your home spa collection. As my own personal closet reaches maximum capacity every few months, it becomes apparent to me that I know a product’s value the first day I receive it – the ones that are worthy of space in my medicine cabinet will also find space on the virtual pages of the Beauty News NYC Skin Care section. Here are the July finalists…
A little bit on Internet research reveals Australia is breeding ground for new botanical-based skin care lines. Perhaps it started with its native Melaleuca plant, the source of Tea Tree oil, or perhaps it’s the island mentality. No matter, Tanline is the latest line to come north from Down Under. The line includes six products ranging from the plant-infused spray tan to the almond and hazelnut-infused body balm, said to make your tan last longer. The scrub is a light liquid potion that gently exfoliates, but it’s the body gel, that despite aloe and chamomile ingredients, smells of caramel and honey, and is enough to stave off my cravings for sugar, even after three weeks on the low-carb diet.
Secrets de Sothys
Body products were never items I reserved money for. Lotion is lotion, I said, the real dollars should be reserved for eye creams, concealers and fragrances. That is until I tried Secrets de Sothys Smoothing Body Balm. It’s always exciting when I come across a company that has reached worldwide success and is still independent. Not only is this Paris-based company still in the family, they have shown me opulence can be bottled.
When summer comes, I slather on thick layers of lotions, balms and creams, to smooth skin and moisturize dry edges, in the hopes these potions will mask my lax approach to exercise and exfoliation. This product is the perfect combination of lotion and cream, has firming agents like shitake complex and prickly pear, and imparts a faint perfume scent that is feminine and luxurious.
Creative Spa Raw Earth
I’m always in search of effective foot scrubs and creams. The Raw Earth collection contains four, foot products that sooth, smooth and moisturize your feet. My favorite is the Footbuff, a warming sugar scrub that actually heats on contact, and moisturizes with a variety of natural oils and vitamins.
Klorane Another product for sensitive eyes, these make up removal wipes multitask by moisturizing as they cleanse with cornflower extract. They are just moist enough to remove make up, and perfect for travel as there’s no liquid to fear leakage.
Stridex Cooling Foaming Wash
Instead of using Salicylic acid or Benzoyl Peroxide, like other acne products, this wash uses the antibacterial agent, Triclosan, to cleanse skin. A few chemicals create the conversion from liquid to foam when activated by pumping. Other ingredients like menthol, aloe vera gel, calendula and chamomile extracts; peppermint and spearmint oils; witch hazel, and meadowfoam oil extract, a moisturizing botanical, contribute to a refreshing, gentle cleansing experience.
Tanline products are available at www.tanline.us.com, $19-35
Sothys products are available at L’Institut Sothys New York 6.7oz $80
Creative Spa Raw Earth products are available at Spa Maximus
Klorane wipes are available at C.O. Bigelow and Apthorp Pharmacy, 1 package $6.99
Stridex is available at CVS and Duane Reade
By Andrea Toochin
As we yearn for walks in the park and patio dining, mother nature teases us with inconsistent weather. As one of countless workaholics in NYC, I look for any opportunity to primp and plan, a welcomed diversion from my reality, where my laptop and the coffee pot are my best friends. As you prepare for three months of weekend excursions or if you’re lucky, overpriced camp-style accommodations in the must see-and-be-seen Hamptons scene, we offer a few more tidbits on the latest items. And so, a few more products worthy of your hard earned dollars and precious time, to prepare you for the rat race…
Clinique CX Stretch Mark Cream
Sleek white and silver packaging exudes the upscale nature of Clinique’s CX line. We all love a nourishing face cream, but in the summer, our bodies require more attention than our faces. Clinique brings us one of the first designer, over-the-counter (OTC) stretch mark creams. In the past, products relied on shea and cocoa butter, but this one enlists peptides to strengthen skin, fruit extracts to maintain elastin, and caffeine, yeast, and sucrose to sooth and repair skin.
Based in South Africa, Environ’s new line was created to diminish signs of photo aging like hyperpigmentation and uneven texture. Their new line includes a soothing eye gel with peptides, a vitamin enriched serum, and a two-part masque that embodies the lab-chic persona exhibited through their royal blue and silver packaging. The masque comes in a small box, with four powder packets and four vials of solution, the catalyst. Once mixed, you can leave the emulsion on your face for an hour or even overnight. It may not be instant gratification, but the price tag and the expiration date ensure continued use, because the product will expire.
I’m not one to trust any skin care line advertised online or in an infomercial. I heard about this company from my cousin, but was only excited by the fact that at 36, after two kids, she’d finally decided to add an anti-aging element to her skin care routine. Nevertheless, when a pr executive did her homework and read my bio, I decided to try it. Be forewarned – this is no line for PETA supporters, vegetarians or those who favor the Bible over Darwin. Somewhere between collagen and Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C) on the list of ingredients, I noticed amniotic fluid, placental protein and calfskin extract.
Their claim to fame is the Fast Action Wrinkle Reducer, a serum whose efficacy is based on its ability to permeate the skin’s surface, thereby penetrating the dermis to the same degree Botox and Restylane injections do. The sample size isn’t revealed, but subjects in their double-blind clinical test witnessed a 64 percent reduction in wrinkle size over three months. They even go so far as to purport comparable results to Srivectin and Chanel’s Lift Serum Extreme Anti-Firming Complex, with stats produced by a California biotech, Batts Laboratories.
As for the Anti-Aging Eye Complex, a smoky thin liquid eye solution, I’m open to any product that promises to lighten under eye circles with something other than the ever-popular vitamin K. This works by increasing the flow of oxygen and reducing inflammation, thereby restoring normal coloring. The line also includes a lip plumping solution and a cellulite reduction lotion. They offer a free two-week supply, after which you must cancel to stop getting bimonthly shipments. Please note – this is a product with a sliding price scale – feel free to negotiate. Once my cousin decided to cancel her shipments, she was coerced to keep them, getting the products for nearly half what she’d paid prior.
Clinique CX Stretch Mark Cream $95 Saks Fifth Avenue or www.clinique.com.
Environ™ C-Quence Gel 1, $110, C-Quence Eye Gel, $84, C-Quence Masque Critique, $114 www.environ.co.za or call 877-337-6227
Hydroderm Fast Action Wrinkle Reducer $79.95, Anti-Aging Eye Complex $39.95 www.hdermskin.com or 1-800-381-8071
By Andrea Toochin
Fall and spring fashion lines only scratch the surface when it comes to seasonal trends. The cosmetics industry, with its exploding specialty skin care component, nearly guarantees a handful of new lines each season. Industry executives feel the pressure to release something new or at least an innovative take on old mainstays. Estee Lauder’s post-Aerin transformation is pressure enough to keep the momentum going, and if she can woo Tom Ford, there’s no stopping her. But the marketplace has a variety of corporate spin-offs and indie lines; while we’ve yet to find one company with an entirely irresistible line, each company usually boasts one best-seller.
The well-respected Olay body line garnered much attention with their highly advertised Quench line. New products include the salicylic acid-based cleansers, which are infused with sage and green tea; updated disposable foaming pads, referred to as ‘discs,’ contain witch hazel, Beta-Hydroxy and aloe; the surprisingly effective 7 Signs Serum; the Daily Illuminating Lotion; and the Quench body lotions. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the serum actually delivers nearly have of the promises instantaneously – it soothes skin and makes pores appear smaller, creating the perfect matte finish. The Complete Multi-Radiance Daily Illuminating UV Lotion does exactly what the run-on title promises, with a broad spectrum SPF 15; Muscovite Mica is responsible for the light reflecting properties while Mandarin extract induces a rosy flush. The Quench Radiance Reviver Body Lotion leaves a slight shimmer and like tanning lotion, the barely noticeable touch of color builds with each application.
For some reason, Ariane Spa’s new skin care line is sold at T.J. Maxx. However, most of the four products contain the same staple ingredients high end solutions do, like Retinyl Palmitate, aloe and amino acids. The line includes a rich night cream, a cooling gel eye treatment, and a day cream with SPF 20, but the ingenious product is the hand crème. A perfect treatment for middle-aged ladies – not only does it have SPF 20, but it contains a bleaching agent to lighten spots.
Sue Devitt makes her skin care debut with The Microquatic Treatment, a luxury line that mixes marine and flower extracts with amino acids and ceramides. All of the products are excellent oil-free moisturizers that come in ultra-fem baby blue jars. The eye cream contains ceramides and peptides to stimulate collagen production, natural extracts to sooth skin, and citrus fruit extract, an alternative to vitamin K, used to reduce dark circles by strengthening capillary walls.
The Tiger’s Eye (TTE) skin care line is not the stuff you’d like to adorn your bathroom walls – but it’s clear the money that wasn’t spent on marketing and packaging went to R&D – and the products work. The products are suitable for all skin types – the aloe vera base is responsible for the gentle nature. The product line rums the gamut from my favorite, the Purifying Seaweed Cleanser, to the Wild Yam Cream and the Alpha hydroxy Peel, a leave-on lotion that comes in 10% or 15% concentration.
Olay line ranges from $6.99 to $18.99, CVS and Duane Reade.
Ariane Spa $10, T.J. Maxx
The Microaquatic Treatment line is sold exclusively at Barneys. Products range from $40 to $125.
The Tiger’s Eye line ranges from $4 to $50; the skincare set retails for $94, www.tigerseyeskincare.com
By Andrea Toochin
As spring approaches, countless skin care and clothing lines launch, fueling the ever-expanding lifestyle industry. As in many fields, the new products represent each end of the spectrum, from natural lines to lab-formulated products. A select few items from a handful of lines practice what they preach.
Artemis Woman Topaz Foot Butter
At first glance, I was doubtful of a product line based on rocks and gems like Topaz, but the subtle scent and unique consistency leaves a soothing, matte finish. A light minty smell and the thick pasty consistency make this a great summer alternative to the greasy foot creams with overwhelming menthol and peppermint tones.
$25 for 1oz jar at www.artemiswoman.com
Golden Door Imbue Milky Cleanser
As time shows, it’s increasingly difficult to find a cleanser that doesn’t dry skin out, over moisturize, or have an overpowering antiseptic scent. With a minty clay smell, this simple cleanser washes away dirt and most makeup leaving skin fresh. It’s ideal for normal skin as it’s doesn’t add moisture or control oil production. $10.50 for 2oz at www.goldendoorskincare.com
Tahitian Noni TePoema Skin Lightening Emulsion
In addition to popular ingredients like peptides, soy, grapeseed, and bamboo, another industry trend is the development of specialty items, including lightening products. Tahitian Noni’s natural philosophy aims to reduces lines by relieving micro-swelling with natural agents. Their main ingredient, noni, is a tropical fruit that’s been utilized for it’s healing properties for centuries. Meant for use after moisturizing, the lightening product leaves a slightly greasy afterglow and a faint nutty smell.
$40 for .8oz at www.tni.com
By Andrea Toochin
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.