Celebrity endorsements are nice and all, but like any savvy consumer, I take those commercials with a grain of salt. But the actual beauty products that celebrities are using…well that’s quite another story — and the one that I actually want to hear! A month ago or so I was introduced to a line of skincare by Mila Moursi, who is a legend in Hollywood, but who I hadn’t heard of before because, you know, I don’t run in those circles. She counts many of my Tinseltown crushes including Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, and Jessica Biel devotees, and the proof of how well her products work is all over the Internet. Luckily for plebs like myself, Mila is expanding beyond her A-List clientele with a new partnership with Barney’s New York. Now her line of incredible skincare is available online at Barneys.com as well as in select stores. (more…)
As the seasons change, so does my skin, going from parched winter skin to a bit more oily the warmer it becomes. Transitions are particularly tricky as pores awaken and need a little extra TLC. Babor’s Cleansing Gel and Tonic 2-in-1 is both a time-saver and a skin-saver! I first came across Babor in a luxurious European spa years ago and I appreciate that their line is evolving to meet skincare needs while maintaining top quality and integrity in formulations. As experts in the professional cosmetics industry (they’ve earned the title after over 50 years in the business!), they understand treating the mind and body with luxury and innovation.
If you are prone to the occasional blemish like I am, you’ll love the cleansing properties that combat impurities to keep the bad stuff out (it’s naturally antibacterial!) to result in visibly clean and soft skin. The active ingredients, pansy extract and salicylic acid, are gentle enough to be used once or twice daily, working especially well if you have makeup to remove. I quickly realized after my first use that the thinner consistency makes sense due to the toner being integrated. I squirt a palmful out and then work it into a nice lather with a touch of water, then apply using fingertips in a circular motion. I guarantee you’ll feel refreshed within seconds, and it seems to do a number on minimizing my pores as well. It’s perfect for my “fickle” skin, which I call my combination skin when it can’t make up its mind whether to be dry, normal, or a touch oily. I noticed right away that my skin looked more radiant and felt smoother, and was primed perfectly for moisturizer. Hello spring, hello new skin!
I’ll admit it — I’m a bit late to the game when it comes to SK-II’s newest hero product, the LXP Ultimate Revival Essence. I may have been admiring the gorgeous, rose gold bottle (which, perfectly dresses up my vanity) since I got a sample back in January — but trying it — that didn’t happen until just a week ago. But…I have a perfectly good
excuse reason for that: I simply didn’t have any cotton pads that I deemed worthy to apply such a premium product. The LXP Ultimate Revival Essence is the even more luxe sister to the brand’s iconic Facial Treatment Essence (which btw, also comes in a gorgeous limited edition bottle designed by Rochas). Like the classic treatment fluid, the Ultimate Revival Essence is also loaded with Pitera, a nutrient rich broth derived from the fermentation process of yeast, but contains an 8 times more concentrated version of the miracle ingredient. The new formulation also contains a trio of moisturizers, a peptide protein that encourages collagen production, and Centella Essence, a healing ingredient that helps repair the skin and promote a healthier barrier function. The essence is so potent, in fact, that the brand is confident you’ll see results such as brightening and clarity in as little as three days. Speaking from personal experience, after having just used it for a week, I definitely feel that my skin is looking more radient and more importantly, didn’t break out in my usual cycle of hormonal acne during the time of the month.
Now about that cotton pad situation. SK-II actually recommends not using anything other than your fingers to apply, but for the same reason I hate splashing water over my face and prefer to use a washcloth, I couldn’t heed that advice. If you don’t mind, however, definitely just splash a little in your hands and tap directly into face (bonus: more youthful looking hands and you won’t waste even a drop of the product). But if you’re like me and need a cotton pad, check out this one, which is specially made for toner and a worthy fit of this luxurious essence.
One of my earliest memories is sitting on my mother’s bed, poring over her jewelry box and trying on her pearls while watching her in the mirror. She was applying a cream which she told me contained real pearls! I could hardly believe it, and she laughingly explained that one day I would understand the need for quality skin care. Now that I have a daughter of my own, I want to give her the best of the best, especially when newborn skin is so soft and sensitive. I was delighted to discover Perfect Pearl’s complete line for baby skin created by Ying Zhou, a mother of two who wanted to incorporate the centuries-old secrets into caring for newborn skin. Asian history shows that the health benefits of the pearl have been proven through generations and pearl powder is considered a precious gift worthy of royalty. Healing, vitality, and beauty are the virtues attributed to pearls, and the soothing properties are noticeable immediately. The formulations used in the line are of amazing quality- sea pearls are carefully sourced and safety is first and foremost. All products are hypoallergenic, fragrance free, colorant and paraben free and doctor recommended. (more…)
It was one snowy December evening about five years ago that I first discovered Dr. Hauschka’s skincare line in the window of a beautiful vintage pharmacy in the middle of Hamburg. As I listened to the perfectly manicured aesthetician extol the virtues of Dr. Hauschka’s meticulously formulated creams in her German accent, I knew I had stumbled onto something special. My skin was chapped and windburned when I walked in, and almost instantaneously after applying Rose Day Cream I felt soothed and rejuvenated. When I returned into the cold howling night winds, moisture was sealed in tight and my skin felt impervious to the elements!
Now many winters later, I’ve rediscovered the cream and reuniting with it feels just as good. Only a small amount is needed because the product is so rich and the one-ounce tube will last for the entire season. Extracts of rose petal, rose hip, marshmallow, St. John’s wort and avocado help soothe chapped and irritated skin. Despite the name, I actually prefer to apply the cream after a warm shower in the evening and leave it on overnight to sink in and nourish. The product isn’t called Rose Cream for nothing — each tube requires thirty of the flowers to formulate! The special ingredient is called Rosa Damascena and is collected from the velvety coating on fresh rose petals (think about how luxurious it feels to run your fingers over a rose petal) to form a light and breathable barrier that protects your skin. Dr. Hauschka brings quality face care to a whole new level, which explains its overwhelming popularity in Europe that is catching on quickly stateside!
Just credit my Asian genes, but every time I see new products that claim to fade dark spots, even skin tone, or brighten complexion, I just must get my hands on them. Many say that us Asians are lucky because we are less likely to wrinkle as we age (up to a certain point, of course) thanks to genetics that give us larger oil glands that keep our skin more supple (I guess that’s a nice way to put it). On the flip side, we do have to worry (a lot) about developing age spots and skin tone discoloration. Actually scratch out the “age” in “age spots.” I’ve been battling discoloration on my legs since I scratched too hard at mosquito bites one summer when I was 12. The sad truth is, I (and my fellow Asian sisters and brothers) are more susceptible to hyperpigmentation and melasma — which brings me back to my original point: I love trying out a good product that promises to even skin tone, fade dark spots, and most importantly, prevent them from forming in the first place. (more…)
Well here’s a little secret: you know that elusive “pregnancy glow” everyone talks about? I got mine from a bottle… partially at least. Let me explain: my facial skin condition is already frustratingly fickle (definitely the opposite of “glow”), and when I became preggers last year with hormonal changes to boot, my facial cleanser kicked me to the curb and left me desperately seeking something to adapt to my skin’s new needs.
Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple cleanser came on my radar, and after just trying it a couple times, I was sold. Just a pea size amount of the milky dew left my skin feeling clean (without any residue like overly “moisturizing” cleansers tend to leave) but not bone dry. It does its job controlling my T-zone while nourishing my cheeks, and I didn’t feel any buildup. Natural oil extracts help condition skin so it’s healthy and primed for moisturizing. Within a few days, my blemishes cleared up and my skin finally gave way to a bit of that elusive “pregnancy glow!” The scent is light and clean since it’s fragrance-free, without the heavy floral or fruity stuff. (more…)
Once in blue moon, a product comes up which is the proverbial holy grail — an answer to a plethora of beauty issues (think Windex from “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”). Aden+Anais’ Soothing Ointment is just that, ready to tackle your super-dry skin patches, chapped lips, and even insect bites! But before we go any further, consider yourself warned: this ointment is not for the faint of heart. It’s thick, tacky, and so pleasingly salubrious! The ointment is 50% fresh fermented paw paw fruit, which is nature’s answer to our skin dilemmas. Never heard of paw paw fuit? Well, I hadn’t either so I dug around a bit to find out what the big deal was. Turns out, it’s a type of papaya which has been getting a lot of attention lately because it’s high in antioxidants and has a whole list of health benefits. Australians have long hailed the fruit for its ability to protect and relieve skin ailments. Ellen Gendler, M.D., a leading New York City dermatologist who specializes in cosmetic contact dermatitis, helped develop this ointment, so this formulation is the best of the best. (more…)
Dreaming of spring yet with all this mopey cold and wet winter weather? Now that the winter sales frenzy has passed, training for spring wardrobes commences! No, I’m not talking about hitting the gym or juice-cleansing, but rather getting those feet pampered and refreshed and ready for sandals. Elemis’ Treat Your Feet foot cream is the best I’ve ever encountered, hands down. So many creams claim to be rich and potent enough (trust me, I’ve been around the block looking for a good one), but to get my crackly heels in buttery soft condition, it takes something almost nuclear. This emulsion of shea butter and jojoba oil is intensely moisturizing and just melts into your skin and it passes my usual tests of screening out the bad stuff: it’s free from parabens, SLS, SLES, DEA, mineral oils, artificial colors and silicones.
The texture of this foot butter is luxurious, without any heaviness or greasiness, and it smells fabulous: think aromatic patchouli, eucalyptus, and lemon oils. Just generously apply a layer before bed, slip on some warm comfy socks, and in the morning, say hello to your new soft soles! Here’s a little secret — I put a coating on my hands before bed as well, and am treated to rejuvenated skin in the morning. With Elemis, you really can have a “spa at home,” every night. Light a candle, put on some music, and massage away (better yet, have someone do it for you!).
One of the best things about having a newborn? Cuddling, of course, and touching that brand new beyond-soft baby skin. I took all that for granted until I started noticing some flaking and rough spots, then a reddish rash starting on our lil girl. Our pediatrician mentioned that it could be a mild form of eczema (which I attributed to her daddy right away!). Then came the not-so-fun task of finding just the right cream to soothe her skin. I literally went through dozens of creams, oils, body washes, and lotions until I found the perfect trifecta: slightly cooler baths avoiding too much soap in eczema prone areas, good ol’ fashioned cocoa butter morning and night, and Exederm’s Hydrating Body Lotion for a good coating midday, or anytime at all. The lightweight but concentrated consistency of the lotion ensures a good amount will cling to skin while it moisturizes and soothes and a little bit goes goes a long way. Within a few days, I noticed problem spots getting better and that smooth baby skin peeking through again! (more…)