The testimony of countless dermatologists and aestheticians have always converged on a simple fact–acid peels are effective! Of course, there are varying strengths and times for application, but the concept behind them is that old dead skin peels off and leaves fresher, smoother skin in its place. Ideally, this also aids in lightening discolorations. I’ve always been a fan of at-home Dr. Gross’ Alpha-Beta Peel, and the brand is now wrapping it up into a kit that also includes two complementary items: a Ferulic + Retinol Eye Serum and Brightening Solution. I made my hubby the test subject for this review and he’s been a great sport try it for 30 days. He has a few genetic dark spots made worse, I’m sure, by growing up in Florida and playing at the beach with no sunscreen (I know, quel horreur). The conclusion? Visible signs of aging such as fine lines and discolorations are reduced with consistent daily use of the peel. I actually started to notice a slight lightening of the sunspots about three weeks into the treatment. It’s definitely the first beauty treatment hubby looks forward to having–he thinks I’m giving him a “facial” every night! (more…)
Whoever said that fashion can’t be innate has never met my baby. As soon as she wakes up and is scooped up from her crib, she insists on being brought to her closet so she can peruse her clothes and accessories, presumably to see if anything new has been left by a fairy overnight. I’ve had my fair share of fun collecting all sorts of cute girly stuff, as I can’t possibly have her fall behind on trends on my account! We wanted to share a few favorites with all fellow budding mini-fashionistas out there!
1) Mirasa. I recently stumbled upon Mirasa Design, which I just adore. “Mirasa” is the Hindi word for “heritage,” which is the theme the line is built around. It is inspired by the colors of the Indian landscape and uses traditional-style ari embroidery in its designs. Not only is the line made for the uber-cute contemporary baby, it’s also eco-friendly. For example, the animal-print t-shirt is hand-printed using azo-free dyes, and is 100% GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified. Each item in the collection has a hand-made element, which makes every piece so special. I’m a sucker for attention to detail, so I was immediately taken with the stitching accents around the sleeves and neckline. As for quality–this durable but soft cotton withstands stretching, washing, scrubbing, you name it! This collection is made to be functional and adorable, and since many pieces are gender neutral, it will last through two, three, four or more kids (not that I’m going there). (more…)
One of life’s simplest but most delightful pleasures for me is to step into a cozy French bakery early in the morning, feeling the warmth of the oven still on, and breathing in the tantalizing fresh aroma of pastries. The next pleasure is, of course, partaking in eating them. Laura Mercier’s La Petite Patisserie Travel Candle Trio has captured three beautiful scents of the patisserie in a perfect candle travel set, and the best part is, it’s calorie-free! Despite wondering if these gorgeous smells would make my stomach growl, I found them satisfying my senses without the craving. The sweet flavors of Fresh Fig, Almond Coconut Milk, and Crème de Pistache are wrapped up in votive candles to release that bakery-fresh smell whether you’re cozying up at home or on the road. When I travel, I find that a candle goes a long way in setting the ambience and bringing warmth and comfort to a hotel room.
Fresh Fig is my favorite of the vibrant trio, and I can almost taste the fresh Celeste Figs and fruit bouquets of Apricot Nectar and Ylang Ylang. The mini candle certainly packs a punch–within minutes of being lit, the room is permeated with the delicious warm scent. The Almond Coconut Milk is the most comforting, a sweet version of milky flavors with a tropical twist. It combines Milk, Coconut, Almond and Vanilla notes with Heliotrope and Musk for a rich experience. Last but not least, Crème de Pistache is an exotic and decadent blend of Almost, Praline and Hazelnut with freshly Whipped Cream for a luscious, rich scent. The candles have a 20-30 hour burn time, which is key for small candles–they go the distance for their petite size. This limited-edition sampler comes with a elegant and portable candle carrier which is perfect for stashing your favorite candle in your toiletry bag. Trust me, it’s the first thing you’ll pull out to create your home away from home!
It’s that time of year again where I am frantically doing cleanses, working out, and scrubbing up, trying to get in decent shape for baring a little more skin as spring becomes bolder. My favorite part of all this (not surprisingly) is the most luxurious and indulgent–full body exfoliation with Elle Beauty Award Winner Elemis Tranquil Touch Body Polish. Working out releases endorphins which put you on a mental and physical high, and also sheds toxins which depend on your routine following to rid your body of them. Drinking plenty of water boosts this process and a great scrub in the shower afterwards sheds dead skin to leave you with the ultimate glow!
The body polish is one of the best scrubs I’ve tried–the texture is finer than most, and the product uses a natural rice exfoliator to sweep away impurities gently and soften the skin. Moisturizing Cupuacu butter smoothes and conditions while combating the effects of harsh soaps we put our skin through on a daily basis. The scent is refreshing and soothing with essential oils of patchouli, mandarin and ginger, and I must say it really smells like a spa. Elemis uses only carefully sourced ingredients, and is free from parabens, SLS, SLES, DEA, mineral oils, artificial colors and silicones. Using circular motions, I apply and rub in the scrub without too much pressure, letting the body polish do the heavy lifting. My skin feels luxuriously soft, glowing and radiant after my steam shower, and I’m so relaxed afterwards. It’s a great incentive for relaxing after the workout!
Earlier this month, I swung by Haven Beauty Lounge, and had a chance to chat with founder Shae Jackson, probably the most dialed-in beauty gal in all of DC. In between treatments, I just had to ask about her top beauty obsessions…and of course now they’re mine too! Check out product recommendations from the gal who has seen and tried them all! Her fave products are oldies..but really really goodies!
Jackson uses Somme Institute’s professional line in salon which should be applied every 4-6 weeks during your standing facial appointment at Haven. For the rest of us, there is a daily regimen for at-home which revolutionized the way I care for my skin. The five steps can seem a bit intimidating at first, but I was able to incorporate it all with ease (sure helps to stay on track when you see results so quickly!) Start with the milky Cleanser to prep skin for exfoliation with Transport pads, which improve texture and infuses MDT5 simultaneously and is so easy to use. Next is my favorite part, the Serum which is like a shot of vitamin C for skin (mine just drinks it up!). Two squirts will cover your whole face and infuse it with the good stuff. Finally, the A-Bomb (don’t you love that name?) contains the vitamins A and D expertly formulated into a lightweight moisturizer. During the day I apply the SPF 30 Daily Moisturizer to protect my skin–both face and body! I’m not the only one to fall for Somme Institute, TDO editor Carolyn has been obsessed with last year! (P.S. How cute is that mobile kit pictured? It’s a great way to check out the line without fully committing from the get-go!)
If you’re looking for deeper exfoliation (getting ready for summer), Dr. Dennis Gross products are also among Shae’s favorites, especially the famed Alpha Beta Face Peel. I was so excited to try this product, because it’s great to be able to do a professional-strength peel on a daily basis! High concentrations of Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids are powerful anti-aging boosters, and deliver a stronger, faster-acting professional-grade peel sans irritation. Although I was dubious of how such a simple 2-step process would do, I was pleasantly surprised–the tingly feeling with step 1 (acid) was quite pronounced! I love feeling like a product is working, and the sensation is palpable for the first two minutes and beyond, when step 2 is incorporated. There’s no excuse not to use these pre-soaked pads to treat your face on a daily basis! These pads are like little miracle workers in terms of reducing pores, brightening complexion, treating dark spots, attacking wrinkles, and improving skin tone. Thanks to Jackson’s recommendations, my skin’s never looked better (except of course, post-facial).
Hurray for summer and all it brings–cookouts, beach days, and swimming pools. Being in the sun is great for the soul, but don’t forget to throw a tube of sunscreen in that chic tote! For people of all ages, sun protection is an absolute must, and especially for the little ones whose skin is brand-new and thinner than adults. We know how confusing the range of sunscreens can be, so we turned to an expert in the field, Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a renowned New York dermatologist, for some sage advice. Baby’s first summer? Read on for for the how-to’s on sun protection:
Eyes will always be the proverbial windows to our souls, but sometimes those window dressings need a little pick-me-up! Dermadoctor’s Photodynamic Eye Therapy does just that with a potent formula to relax fine lines and tighten lids while reducing puffy eyes and lifting sagging lids. Thought you couldn’t see improvements without the scary thought of a scalpel and anesthetic? I am terrified of any type of surgery, and gladly welcome any alternative that will show any visible differences. Before Dermadoctor Photodynamic Eye Therapy, I was dubious of creams and treatments. I started trying the cream on a few desperate mornings where I didn’t get enough sleep (grrr…) or had a bit too much salt for dinner the previous night, resulting in unsightly bags and puffy eyelids. The cream absorbed readily without any greasy residue, and after a few minutes of tingling (not harsh stinging), I finished brushing my teeth and voila! I felt like I was in college again after an all nighter and it only took a splash of cold water to restore my visage (if only I could get my metabolism back too). Now I can revisit those days minus the exams and stress, thanks to Dermadoctor’s Eye Lift. After using the Eye Lift regularly for a month, I can report firmer and healthier skin around my eyes, and a reduction in under-eye swelling. (more…)
I have a little ritual I’ll share with you: every week when I’m home and ready to start the weekend, I do an exfoliation and pamper myself in the shower before switching to my “weekend wear.” It is a way of rewarding myself for getting through the stress of the work week and then leaving it all behind. I’m currently obsessed with celebrity skin specialist Kate Somerville’s Exfolikate Gentle Exfoliating Treatment (gotta love the name), which is a gentle formulation of beads that can be added to your regular cleanser. ‘Gentle’ is also the key word here – I have sensitive skin, so I need something that can still give me that post-scrub glow, while not taking off a whole layer of my skin. Exfolikate’s microbeads work in combination with papya, pumpkin, and pineapple enzymes to oxygenate and lift dead skin delicately without causing redness. Other ingredients such as Vitamin A helps fade discolorations (darn sun spots!) and caffeine helps to improve micro-circulation. I squeeze a small bean size amount of the blue scrubby and mix with one of my cleansers, depending on what my skin needs that day . My skin feels oh-so-soft following a 2-minute scrubbing session while I’m enjoying my steam shower.
I first heard about Kate Somerville when Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson, Demi Moore, and a slew of other Hollywood beauties started swearing by her name. Seeing how flawless their skin looks is testament enough for me! Somerville has mastered the art of the ageless face, and exfoliating is an indispensable step in decongesting, detoxifying, and polishing. I love how smooth and invigorated my skin is immediately after using this product, and even have to resist touching it for the rest of the day!
“People underestimate DC!” exclaims spa founder and master esthetician Shae Jackson, when asked about introducing a fresh new concept in beauty treatments to the nation’s capital. We are sitting next to the zen waterfall in the outdoors of the newly-opened Haven Beauty Lounge. She is the expert that everyone is trying to book, and for good reason! Having traveled around the world researching beauty treatments, Jackson has formulated her own integrated approach to skin care and wellness, combining her vision with years of experience at the Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, Bliss, and Blue Mercury. Now, Jackson has branched out on her own and opened Haven, a members-only beauty lounge, where she has meticulously selected the best and most effective products for her signature custom facials, nail services and waxes. Membership starts at only $30 a month and instead of going through the hassle of setting up a pedicure every few weeks or monthly facial, you can have an ongoing appointment scheduled with credit card on file, so you can literally forget your wallet! (more…)
The blooming of the Cherry Blossoms always makes me catch my breath, no matter how many times I’ve stood among the flutters of pink petals floating around like a cloud. There’s nothing like the sight of graceful branches hanging over still water and the sweet scent of new blossoms to make you tingle with excitement for warm spring weather. I’m not stranger to cherry blossoms living in Washington DC, but I can only imagine the blooms in the Provence region in the south of France, my favorite place in the entire world. L’Occitane’s Spring Cherry Eau de Toilette captures the magic and beauty with the breezy scent of spring and takes you to Luberon, a French town known for its culinary scene and physical beauty. Cherry trees dot the landscape in the spring among olive trees and summer lavender. The eau de toilette mingles the fresh floral scent of a Provençal cherry orchard with woody notes and a base of musk. (more…)