Mar 152011

Since I began using Le Metier de Beaute’s Peau Vierge foundation last fall (reviewed here), I became interested in the other Peau Vierge series of products, including the Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer ($95).  Here’s the pitch, according to Le Metier de Beaute (from Neiman Marcus’ website):

–Retinol is delivered through a patented and proprietary delivery technology called Syntoc Actif which encapsulates the Retinol and allows it to safely and effectively penetrate the skin.

—Traditional over-the-counter products have very poor penetration—less than 2% of active ingredients are actually absorbed. In comparison, with Syntoc Actif, 20 times more Retinoic Acid is absorbed into the deeper skin layers, making it the most effective cosmetic Retinoid treatment on the market.

— Paraben, Talc, Fragrance, and Dye-Free.

First up, let me get a few of my thoughts out there:

  • At $95, this is one of the most expensive concealers on the market.  Yes, I know, it’s because it is infused with active skin care ingredients and the performance is superior.  Still, get it during a Bergdorf or Neiman beauty card event if you can, it can knock almost $25 off the original price.
  • This can be used to cover either the under-eye area or spots.  After all, both benefit from Retinol so it makes perfect sense.
  • The tube is small — I believe that there is roughly half the amount of product as the Cle de Peau concealer (which sells for $70 but does not promise skin care improvement).
  • Le Metier de Beaute’s Correcteur Concealer has superior pigmentation to any concealer that I have ever tried.  You do not need much.  A very thin layer does the work.
  • I apply this on my finger first to warm the product, then apply onto the eye.  This seems to spread the product to look quite natural.
  • The cream is very finely milled–it looks like skin, not like concealer.
  • Color choices are limited to two, I use Fraise.
  • There is a slight moisturizing property to it that keeps it from creasing easily.  It includes skin care ingredients that promises to improve your undereye texture in five days.  In my experience, it works.  My undereye area does look better in five days–fine lines are softer, the area seems more moisturized.  You get what you pay for.
  • This raises the question–should you still use your traditional under eye moisturizer?  My quick answer is yes, if you need more moisture then use it under Le Metier’s concealer.   I’ve confirmed with Dustin Lujan/ Le Metier genius, that this is appropriate.

Overall, I’ll re-buy Le Metier’s Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer when it runs out (during a gift card event if at all possible).  If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I’ll spare no expense to get high quality products that deliver.  Looks, it’s my eyes. There are few areas of your body that are more examined, assessed and (hopefully) admired.  I’ll put down serious coin to preserve them as long as possible.

Speaking of concealers with benefits, I picked up a few samples of a new concealer/corrector from Lancome at a local Paris counter recently.  Unlike Le Metier’s Le Peau Vierge which uses a single tube for delivery of both concealer and skin care ingredients, Lancome’s Regengie Yeux (Mulitple Lift) is a two-part product.  One is the eye cream that is applied first.  The other is a very creamy, concentrated concealer for the undereye area.  Unlike Le Metier, I suspect based on the name and packaging that Lancome’s will not work well on spots–the use is really intended for under-eye only.

Peeled back, you can see the skin care moisturizer (bottom) and concealer (top) combination:

The back of the sample card:

I used Lancome’s for three days and enjoyed it.  In passing, I wondered whether there was a significant difference between buying two products–concealer and eye cream–rather than this two-part product.  Still, I found the combination looked very natural on my skin and had good coverage.  Between Le Metier Peau Vierge Correcteur Concealer and Lancome’s Renergie Yeux, well of course I prefered Le Metier’s (except for the price, as I suspect Lancome’s will be lower).  I found the coverage of Let Metier’s superior, and I’ll take a product with retinol over one without any day of the week.

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Mar 032011

Ah, our skin care sins.  You’ve done it, I’ve done it.  Everyone’s abused their skin at some point.  Guess what, I didn’t have grilled salmon on a bed of watercress for dinner. Some days, my priorities involve career, family, fun, friends and more fun.  Life happens. Tomorrow, I’ll wake up and try to do better. In the meantime, Sin-Care is there to help me fix the sins of my past.

Sin-Care (website is here, and worth looking at) is an up-and-coming skincare line that contacted me to try out their skin care range.  I found their approach refreshing. I love the whole forgiveness theme.  Although I routinely turn down offers to review skin care products, I happily agreed to this one.  The good news is that Sin-Care sells from its website internationally.  They are also working toward finding distributors in various countries worldwide.

Sin-Care’s range is divided into different needs, depending on your particular indulgence.  Their philosophy recognizes that the years that you’ve lived is only one factor that dictates your skin’s age.  The other enormous factor is lifestyle. We cannot actually get younger, but we can control and correct for our environmental and lifestyle factors, such as those that are the result of stress, sugar, sun damage, smoking, pollution and so on. It’s focused entirely on lifestyle aging and the environmental factors which cause us to age, targeting the cause as well as the symptom.  After pouring five year’s research into the products, here are the results:


  • Sin #1:  Smoker’s Secret— If you are exposed to a smoky environment, for detoxifying and fighting wrinkles
  • Sin #2: Sun Goddess— For those exposed to incidental sun damage, to help stimulate collagen production
  • Sin #3:  Sugar Hit— For sugar addicts, choco-holics and cocktail lovers.  This is a mix of anti-oxidants, vitamins and anti-stress ingredients
  • Sin #4:  Relaxation Sensation— For those going through stress (work, family or moves, which can wreak havoc on skin)
  • Sin #5:  Sleep Doctor— For insomniacs, students, new mothers and club-goers.  Enhances radiance, fights lines and moisturizes
  • Sin #6:  Skin Coach— For athletes and exercise addicts
  • Sin #7: Line Rewind— Targets fine lines and wrinkles, promotes radiance
  • Sin #8:  Urban Renewal– Protects the skin in city environments, stimulating oxygen production

Here’s another secret–you can layer the products if you have more than one skin sin.  So, you don’t have to choose one over another.  You can combine to make a custom blend designed for your lifestyle aging factors. I love this! Who doesn’t love that?

I chose Sin #4: Relaxation Sensation, based on some stress happening in my non-blogging life these days.  The product is packaged in a pump format, which works well to keep the product sanitary.  I understand that the product is being re-labelled, so the bottle is likely to have a different look soon.  One of the more impressive aspects is the high volume of product you get– 1.7 ounces, which is large for a skin care product.  Most of the high end skin care that I buy is 1 ounce or fewer.  These sell for roughly $70 in U.S. dollars, which is nowhere the breathtaking levels I’ve seen from some of the high end lines (yes, I’m one of those people that shell out for Chanel Sublimage).

The texture of Relaxation Sensation is cosmetically elegant, it’s not quite as thin as a clear liquid serum, but not as heavy as a lightweight moisturizer.  If you’re familiar with the Chanel Ultra Correction serum, the consistency is similar.  It has a light, slightly perfumed and pleasant fragrance.  It’s not strong, and I didn’t notice it after about 10 minutes.

The product absorbs within about one minute after application, and becomes an invisible part of your skin.  No really, I swear to you.  Really. I live in fear of skin care products that leave a greasy or masky feel.  Sin Care’s became part of my skin and I completely forgot that I had it on.  After application, I added my standard sunscreen and foundation.

So, bottom line–did it work? YES! After using the product for about two weeks, I noticed that my skin looked much better.  It looked younger, felt softer, and had a healthier glow. Although my stress level remains high, my skin looks like it does during my more relaxed phases. I’m giving Sin-Care my sincere recommendation–if you have a particular skin care need, you owe it to yourself to give this line a very, very close look.

Ingredient list for Relaxation Sensation:  Purified water, cyclomethicone & dimethicone crosspolymer, butylene glycol (and) litchi chinesis pericarp extract, aqua, ananas sativus juice, rosmarinus officinalis extract, chlorella vulgaris/ lupinus albus protein ferment polycrylamide & C-13-14 isoparaffin & Laureth 7, water (and) glycerin (and) glycogen, octyl stearate, sodium hyaluranate, titanium dioxide, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), PEG (Almond) triglycerirides, phenoxyethanol, chamomile extract, horsetail extract, green tea, ginseng extract, ginko biloba extract, olive leaf extract, liquorice extract, fragrance, diazolindinyl urea (and) iodopropynyl butylcarbamate, citric acid, retinyl palmitate, FD & C red #4.

This product was provided by Sin Care to Cafe Makeup to review.  But, really, I did love it.  Also, they sent me Sun Goddess which I’ll review next.  There’s also a mini-Relaxation Sensation that came in the box, and you can bet that’s going on my next flight with me.



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Feb 282011

Here are few items set to launch from those lovely geniuses at Guerlain, from their Terracotta 2011 collection, due out March 15, 2011. As background, Guerlain annually launches several products to anticipate the bronzed looks of Spring and Summer, and several have been show-stopping excellent.

Guerlain Moisturizing and Long-Lasting Bronzing Powder ($49), available in eight shades.  Between us, Guerlain is one of the few companies that understands the relationship between powder, the skin, and a truly glamorous bronzed look.

This is not marked “limited edition,” and are the same as Guerlain’s standard Terracotta line with new packaging.

Terracotta Skin ($49) is a healthy glow foundation that have a matte and velvety finish.  This has a sheer bronzing color of the Terracotta powder, plus the perfecting action of a foundation.  This is intended to blur imperfections, and provide a matte, velvety finish.  This product includes:

  • Spherical powder mixed within, to reflect light;
  • Volatile oils that evaporate on application, leaving a “second skin” on the face
  • Elastomer gel, for a creamy and comfortable fee.

It looks like Terracotta Skin is this year’s version of the Teint D´Ailleurs Tinted Moisturizer (reviewed here).  The lighter version was probably a bit too dark on my NC15/Chanel Cameo-Ivoire skintone to wear alone particularly in winter, but turned into awesome magic mixed with foundation (the glow and skin care properties, plus a dose of natural color).  I’ve actually used up about half of mine, so I’ll be looking for this one.  By the way, the press release does not mark this as “limited edition,” so I am hopeful that this will become a standard in their line.

Terracotta Jambes de Gazelles ($59) (limited edition) is a spray mist for legs, for temporary color.  According to Guerlain, Jambes de Gazelle has a tan booster to prolong a natural tan, and is enriched with Sweet Orange Extract “for a relaxing and cooling effect.”  It sounds like heaven, actually.

Terracotta Serum ($59) (limited edition).  For those who tan, a few drops of this tan booster into your normal skincare product is said to extend your tan and moisturize your skin.  It’s recommended that you use two drops for face products, and four for body products.

  • Fragrance free
  • Clear honey color, that does not add any tint
  • Formulated to prepare, activate and prolong your natural tan.
  • Includes a soothing ingredient to soften skin

Also, I’m hopeful that Guerlain will release the Terracotta Inca collection, featured here at the British Beauty Blogger, that features intriguing-looking powders and glosses.

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Feb 132011

As one of my readers reminded me, I haven’t done a “Five Things I’ve Loving” post in a long time.  Let’s go!

First, I’ve been mixing my Guerlain Parure Gold foundation (reviewed here) with the Guerlain Terracotta Tinted Moisturizer (reviewed here, limited edition for Summer 2010).  The tinted moisturizer seems to thin the texture and add a glow.  It’s really moisturizing and long lasting.  I’m loving my skin in this combination.  I hope this means that I can still buy foundations “off the shelf,” but fear that I’m turning into a chemist.  Surprisingly, it’s not too dark on me–I’m sure its deepening my color a touch, but not too noticeably.  Do you ever mix foundations?

Second, Dr. Brandt’s Lineless Foaming Cleanser ($40).  I bought this in the Paris Sephora after forgetting to pack a good cleanser.  I was skeptical of paying this much for a cleanser, but it’s awesome.  It’s very gentle to winter-dry skin, and extremely thorough.  I haven’t attempted to remove eye makeup with it (I’m using my numerous Lancome Bi-Facial samples for that), but it’s removing all my sunscreen and everything else. I use it alone in the mornings, and on my Clarisonic at night.

Third, Zoya Remove Plus (sold here).  It’s $10 for the Big Flipper–great packaging concept that you push on top to get the product out.  I refill my Big Flipper with the really big 32 oz. size ($25).  Seriously, this gets it all off faster than almost anything except pure acetone.  It’s extremely gentle to my nails.  I took advantage of a $5 deal to get a Big Flipper for Liz, between the two of us we’ve finished up the 32 ounce size over the past year.  I’m looking for the next Zoya free ship deal to order another.  If you are on the fence, get it.  It’s totally worth it.

Fourth, Chanel Ombres Perlees eyeshadow palette (reviewed here).  I knew this formula was amazing the moment I opened the palette.  Love.

Fifth, Chanel Rouge Allure lipstick in Flamboyante (reviewed here).  I’m getting braver about wearing a bit of color.  This is a good choice for doing that.  It’s so hard to go wrong with a Chanel Rouge Allure.

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Jan 252011

This time of year, some notice that their skin looks a little dull. You can reach for higher coverage foundation and a highlighter, but another option is to exfoliate your skin.  I typically do some type of deep exfoliation at least once a week, in addition to cleansing thoroughly with a Clarisonic almost every day.

Recently, I stumbled across a trial pack of five Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel, that I must have picked up as a gift with purchase along the way. sells a ten-pack for $28, although there are 30-packs and even larger quantities sold in jars if you wish.

I must precede this review with this caveat–your mileage may vary. Honestly, there are few things as personal as skincare, your individual skin type, needs and sensitivities are probably totally different than mine.  Generally, my skin is not very sensitive, it easily breaks out but rarely reacts to some products that others find harsh.

Dr. Dennis Gross’ Alpha Beta’s Daily Face Peel is gentle enough to use every day, although I used them only once every week.  They are two parts–you use the cotton square enclosed in each foil pack as a two-step system.  First, use Step 1 all over until its dry;  second, do the same with the second.  I experienced no stinging or redness, and afterwards my skin felt glowing, exfoliated and very clean.  I did not notice any other significant changes, such as any lightening or fewer lines of any kind.  In other words, these are a very pleasant, gentle and effective way to exfoliate.

And a much better alternative to heavy foundation.

According to the manufacturer:

This quick, easy, gentle microexfoliation formula instantly firms skin and eliminates dullness revealing a luminous look that lasts all day long. It treats enlarged pores and calms redness with soothing botanicals. Patented two-step technology creates radiant results, for all ages and skin types, in two minutes—no recovery time necessary.

Ingredient list:
Step 1 Ingredients: Purified Water (Aqua Purificata), Alcohol Denat., Glycolic Acid, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, Potassium Hydroxide, Salicylic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Soy Isoflavones, Disodium Edta, Copper Pca, Zinc Pca, Sodium Benzoate, Fragrance (Parfum)

Step 2 Ingredients: Purified Water (Aqua Purificata), Octoxynol-9, Sodium Bicarbonate, Ascorbic Acid, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Soy Isoflavones, Peg-12 Dimethicone, Tetrasodium Edta, Copper Pca, Phospholipids, Retinol, Zinc Pca, Phenoxyethanol, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben.

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Jan 032011

Winter can be harsh on one’s lips, and exfoliation and conditioning can make a huge difference.  My thoughtful husband gave me a treasure trove of Lush’s pink products, which included Lush’s Bubblegum ($8.95), a lip scrub that exfoliates, moisturizes and tastes quite nice.

Like virtually all Lush products, Bubblegum is made of an ingenious combination of natural ingredients that are scented, pleasant to use and effective.  Bubblegum includes castor sugar, organic jojoba oil, and some flavor and colorant.  With its bubblegum scent and sugary taste, Bubblegum quickly exfoliates lips and leaves a slight coating of jojoba oil as a conditioning agent to leave lips soft.  I can already tell that this is going to be one of those products that I’ll use up by leaving it in a convenient place to use every day, while enjoying its benefits until the weather clears in the spring.

Lush’s Bubblegum is pleasant to use, and definitely effective for me.  I find that it’s convenient, although if you are the crafty sort you might already have cooked up your own recipe for something similar.  If so, feel free to share in the comments!

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Dec 142010

Since I began beauty blogging, my nails have been under a microscope, or so it feels.  Although before I started taking nail pictures a busy week or two could go by without too much nail maintenance, now that I’m taking more close-up pictures of my nails I’m much more conscious of every detail.  After seeing my cuticles on a 24″ monitor after taking close-up pictures with a pin-sharp lens, I pay attention to my hands as never before.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been trying Go Nails ($24.99)(website here).  Before then, I used hand moisturizers (usually L’Occitane) and AHA cuticle treatment Creative Nail Design’s Cuticle Eraser (around $8):

These worked pretty well, but I still had occasional irritation around my nail bed, uneven cuticles and some of my nails are prone to splitting.  Like almost everyone, I use my hands daily nonstop for nail-assaulting activities like typing, errands and dealing with enormously heavy pots and pans that my husband insisted on buying years ago that now, regrettably, will never wear out.

Go Nails promises better cuticles, improved nail strength, and faster nail growth, based on a combination of ingredients:

  • Lipoplastadine – Strengthening, improves thickness, nourishing and resilient, healing effects
  • Thymulen 4 – Stimulates the synthesis of keratins to improve skin barrier function
  • Biotin – Data proves that it thickens, strengthens and hardens nails
  • Keratin – Strengthening and conditioning proteins
  • Arginine Aminobenzoate – Patented DNA stimulator, promotes damage repair

Go Nails comes in a nice container–it’s a generous pump bottle, 1/2 ounce, and one uses very little. There’s a light, pleasant scent that fades after a few minutes-it’s much less apparent than many L’Occitane hand creams.  I found that about 1/2 pump worked well for all ten fingers.  I kept mine near my workstation to make sure that I used it at least once every day for the last 3 weeks.  I worked it into my cuticle area–according to Go Nails, you can apply it even if you are already wearing nail polish.  So I did.  Immediately after application, I’m able to type without leaving any residue on my keyboard–it disappears very quickly into the skin, leaving a softened feeling without residue.

For the few first days, my cuticle and nail area felt moisturized.  On the third day, I started noticing a dramatic improvement.  The skin healed to match the rest of my skin tone on the rest of my hand.  Now that three weeks has passed, my cuticle area looks perfect-the skin is healthy and my cuticles are minimal in size without any splitting.  My nails are much more pliable and they are holding up very well.  They do seem to be growing a bit faster without any peeling or breaking.  I’m continuing to see improvement, so I’m going to keep going although I’m very impressed with the results that I’ve seen so far.

I was sent a bottle of Go Nails for consideration for review.  Given how much time and care I’ve invested in my nail polish collection, I’ll be buying my next bottle.  Go Nails works, and in the context of skin and nail care, is comparatively inexpensive for the dramatic results that it delivers.  Highly recommended.

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Nourish Your Skin: Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Supplement

 Bobbi Brown, Skin care  Comments Off on Nourish Your Skin: Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Supplement
Nov 172010

Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Supplement ($65 for 1 oz.) is a very pleasant, nutrient rich way to revitalize skin.  According to the product insert, it improves skin after four weeks, including firming, smoothing, evening tone, and adding radiance.  In addition, it acts as a primer to prepare skin for makeup application.

The ingredients include Vitamin A & C, as well as White Birch Extract (to firm and reduce any wrinkles), Grape and Mulberry Extract (to brighten), Rice Bran (to even skin tone), and green tea extract to protect skin against pollution.  It is suggested that you use three drops or so, applied morning and night.

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Nov 172010

This time of year I’ve amped my water intake up to ensure that my skin is hydrated and clear.  I’ve gone through gallons of Brita-filtered water, a water bottle is never far from my side.  Moisture, moisture, moisture is a winter survival skill.

There are some products that I cannot wait to photograph for Café Makeup, so I can start using the item sooner.  Bobbi Brown Lip Balm SPF 15 ($17) is one of those products.

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Oct 142010

Guerlain’s Holiday 2010 Les Ors collection includes the Midnight Star Collect’Or ($73).

Midnight Star Collection D’Or is a clear tube that resembles a magic wand filled with monocapsules of skincare primer serum.  Each individual capsule is intended to provide a fresh, single-use boost to the skin.  To begin using it, you uncap the top of this scepter, which is embossed with the gold bee logo that is the emblematic symbol of this collection.  The tube is made of a crystal-clear plastic–it is not as heavy as glass (or as subject to breakage, thank heavens), but it is quite substantial and elegant.

If you turn the large, flat cap around a few times, it breaks the seal and comes free quite easily.

My tube included ten monodoses of a primer serum that delivers an anti-oxidant complex, extracts of natural substances that raise the level of oxygen in the skin.  It also has an active ingredient, pronoctine, to shield the skin from toxins that include pollution, cigarette smoke or the like.

This serum is suspended in a pearlized based that leaves the skin feeling very smooth, but still extremely natural.  It is important to remember that serums are treatments, not moisturizers.  Although this serum benefits the skin, if you have dry skin you may need to apply the moisturizer in addition to the serum.  Guerlain’s literature recommends applying moisturizer first.

Here is a monodose and close-up of the serum.  You simply twist off the top–which is stamped with a little Midnight Star–to access the liquid inside.

Here’s my experience:

  • This is an extremely high quality serum.  It feels wonderful when applied.
  • The serum reminded me a bit of the Orchidee Imperiale Serum ($400)–there is a very light texture, is cosmetically elegant.
  • This dries down to a beautiful texture.  There is a slight, pleasant scent that fades after 15 minutes or so.  As Guerlain is a perfume specialist, you can trust that the scent is quite beautiful and not at all strong.
  • Each monodose is enough for one application to the face and neck.  If you focus just on the face, you may get nearly two uses out of a single monodose.
  • My skin felt incredibly smooth and pore less, with a bit of a tightening effect.  I could see a tiny bit of pearliness after I applied foundation.
  • The serum is very lightweight.
  • The slight pearl texture was subtle–the pearliness is suspended in a transparent base.  This does not add color to the skin, just a light, soft glaze that softens imperfections.
  • My skin felt like porcelain, although the effect was quite breathable.

There are several uses to this product in my view.  First, if you are having a stressful holiday, this is a nice way treat yourself for holiday events.  Guerlain suggests using this to refresh after a long day, to prepare your skin for holiday parties–and I agree with this.  Nothing feels more luxurious than nourished, prepared skin.  It’s really a treat to use.

Another possibility is as a gift for someone who seems to have everything, but appreciates a little luxury.  The packaging is quite beautiful and unquestionably impressive.  I would feel comfortable giving this as a gift to the most discerning recipient.

Further, this is a wonderful way to try out Guerlain’s skin care range.  You may be reluctant to invest in Guerlain’s highest quality skin care line without trying out the product first–even if a store’s return policy is liberal–it’s sometimes difficult to make the leap.  If you believe that your skin would benefit from some serious skin care, this is one way to get a sense of the quality of Guerlain’s products without making a significant initial investment.

Overall, this is a very luxurious product.  I can think of several women on my gift list that would love it.  After using this for several days, I do love the effect on my skin, and I am curious to try more of Guerlain’s impressive skincare range.

This product was provided to Café Makeup without charge for consideration.

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