May 042016

LM Flawless Skin Moisturizer 2

Laura Mercier Infusion de Rose Moisturizing Cream ($68) is a remarkably effective, lightweight moisturizing cream that I recommend for those with combination to dry skin.  I’ve used many moisturizers, from the French pharmacy lines, various high end brands including Chanel Sublimage. In my view, Laura Mercier’s delivers quality that far exceeds its price. This particular version, infused with a rose scent, delivers glowing, fresh-looking skin, while feeling very pleasant (and not at all heavy).

LM Flawless Finish 6

The moisturizer is remarkable for being both effective and lightweight. This is especially effective at allowing my skin to recover from stress. The scent is sophisticated and calming. I just adore it. It’s one of those Sunday-afternoon facial products that makes you feel very pampered, or one that I apply at night that allows my skin to look refreshed in the morning. It’s been delivering excellent results.

LM Flawless Finish 4

Laura Mercier Infusion de Rose Nourishing Creme is available at Laura Mercier online, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Bloomingdales.

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Ingredient list

Aqua/Water/Eau, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Butylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Myristyl Myristate, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Peg-100 Stearate, Dimethicone, Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Hexyldecanol, Isohexadecane, Panthenol, Rosa Canina (Rose Hip Oil) Seed Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Ceteareth-20, Myristyl Laurate, Xanthan Gum, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Chlorphenesin, Potassium Hydroxide, Bht, Hordeum Distichon (Barley) Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Solanum Lycopersicum (Tomato) Fruit/Leaf/Stem Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract, Disodium Edta, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Citric Acid, Fructose, Sodium Hydroxide, Urea, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Protein, Aspalathus Linearis Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Allantoin, Maltose, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Lactate, Sodium Pca, Trehalose, Amino Esters-1, Melia Azadirachta Flower Extract, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Aloe Barbadensis Flower Extract, Coccinia Indica Fruit Extract, Lawsonia Inermis (Henna) Extract, Solanum Melongena (Eggplant) Fruit Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Ocimum Sanctum Leaf Extract, Glucose, Pearl Powder, Sorbic Acid, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root Extract, Beta-Carotene, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract, Tocopherol, (Rose) Fragrance/Parfum, Citronellol, Geraniol.

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Dec 072015

Clarins Mission Perfection - 2

I’ve been using Clarins Mission Perfection Serum ($72) since September. This is asserted to be a ‘groundbreaking’ serum that is intended to even skin tone (both reddened, dark spots, and dullness) without changing your natural skin tone. If you’ve read this blog, you know that I’m in a vigilant fight against discoloration. Mine comes under control, but sometimes goes off again during the summer no matter how strong my sunscreen is, or how often I apply. I was intrigued by Clarins Mission Perfection because it does not rely on hydroquinone as its active ingredient. As you may know, hydroquinone is a controversial ingredient. Most of the non-hydroquinone products that I’ve tried in the past don’t really seem to cut it. I’m not comfortable getting laser, because of the potential side effects. Claris provided some pretty impressive data when this was first released in Europe, and so I bought this when it was released in the states.

Clarins Mission Perfection - 5

According to the line: “Acerola extract monitors melanin production. Hexylresorcinol helps reduce the appearance of dark spots. Gingko Biloba extract helps restore radiance.  Gentle Fruit Acids eliminate dull, dark cellular debris—improving skin radiance. Pigment perfectors illuminate and even out the complexion.”

Clarins Mission Perfection is sold in a plastic pump bottle that holds one ounce. My first impressions were very positive. This lightweight cream feels weightless, disappears quickly, and has no annoying scent. I’ve read lots of reviews that says that it works beautifully for reddened skin, but that’s not my issue–rather, I have areas that go to darker shades (whether this is a side-effect of some medication that I no longer take I cannot say but I suspect this is the case). The peachy color of the product does seem to have some visual color-correcting properties, but that isn’t why one would spend $70 on this product. I want skincare, not camouflage.

The first week seemed to deliver impressive results, at least until I exfoliated. Anticipating that my skin would look brighter after a week of Clarins Mission Perfection and using my Dr. Gross Peel Pads, I was surprised to see dark areas return after I removed that top layer.   I persisted with my Clarins, under the belief that my discoloration goes lower in my skin that the very top layer. On the upside, I knew that I could continue to use Mission Perfection without fear that it is harming my skin because it is not hydroquinone-based.

I’m very glad that I did. After persisting for the past two months, my skin is about 98% both before and after exfoliation. Particularly over the past month, I’ve used sheerer and sheerer foundations. It’s pretty astounding. It’s certainly wonderful to see how young my skin looks when the tone is even. Really, I feel like I’m free of a problem that I’ve had a very long time. I’m going to use my Sephora money to get a refill of this. It’s that good for this very narrow purpose. I have to admit that I do get self-conscious about uneven skin, and finding a gentle, effective solution has been huge.

Clarins Mission Perfection - 4

Clarins Mission Perfection is available from Clarins, Nordstrom, Sephora, Bloomingdales, Macys, Nieman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue.   

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Oct 252015

EA Superstart - 1 (5)b_edited-1c

Lately I’ve been rising earlier and earlier in the morning. When I am up before the sun, I’ve needed to get my day jump-started with my Elizabeth Arden SUPERSTART Skin Renewal Booster.

SUPERSTART could not make it easier to feel good about rising early. This booster is lightweight and helps improve the condition your skin’s surface layer. It boosts my skin’s ability to repair, renew and enhance hydration and moisturization. This refreshing booster makes me feel like I’m doing something good for my skin before I put on my heels. Even better, this is called a “booster” for good reasons, because SUPERSTART is targeted to help the effectiveness of the other skincare products that I use. How lovely is that?

I apply SUPERSTART first. Then I add my moisturizer and serum, sunblock and finally foundation.

In the evening after cleansing, I use SUPERSTART again first. Then I add my other evening products to wake up to another day of better skin. The product comes in a travel-friendly container with a little lock to prevent spills. After using Elizabeth Arden’s SUPERSTART over the past week,my skin’s surface layer looks healthy, youthful, more radiant, leaving a more even-toned look. Some fine lines are softened, and my skin has a nice dose of vibrancy. It certainly makes waking up so early so much nicer. At that hour of the day, I need my SUPERSTART!

EA Superstart - 1 (1)b

EA Superstart - 1 (8)b

EA Superstart - 1 (3)b


Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Elizabeth Arden through their partnership with POPSUGAR. While I was compensated by POPSUGAR to write a post about SUPERSTART Skin Renewal Booster, all opinions are my own.


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Review: Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

 Skin care  Comments Off on Review: Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum
Aug 182015

Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos 10

Following my positive past experience with Drunk Elephant, I decided to buy the Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Frames Glycolic Serum ($90/ 1.0 oz.) This is a gentle AHA liquid gel that is applied and worn overnight to allow you to wake up with brightened, slightly exfoliated skin. The Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Frames Glycolic Serum is available at Sephora, Dermstore and B-Glowing.

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Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos 3
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Aug 132015

belif bergamont herbal extract tonerBelif is a skincare brand sold in the U.S. through Sephora. Based on natural ingredients, the brand bases its formulas on ancient traditions combined with modern knowledge. A few months ago, I began to wonder whether my toner was too harsh. Still, I wanted something strong enough to wisp away any last remaining mascara and makeup after using my oil cleanser and Clarisonic. Here is a bit about the company’s philosophy (click to enlarge):

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 4.20.56 PM

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Jul 232015

Citipharma 9Today I found myself just near City Pharma at 26 Rue Four, 75006, Paris. Beauty lovers may recall that this is the destination recommended by the lovely Lisa Eldridge in her video describing her favorite French skincare. The last time that I ventured near City Pharma, it had just been filled with two (!) busloads of French shoppers. European shops are not famed for their generous aisles, and the crowd made it impossible to browse. However, today the streets nearby looked relatively quiet, and so I braved through the doorway to see what I could find. Please come with me so you can see it too.

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Jul 152015

buly 27After reading this recent review of Buly 1803 in The New York Times, I decided to stop by their shop at 6 rue Bonaparte, Paris, on my way to the Musee D’Orsay. It’s very easy to find, the tiny shop is just around the corner from Dries Von Noten’s shop. The shop is small, friendly, and offers a wonderfully unique and extremely worthwhile experience.

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Jul 072015

Are we all ready to learn new things about base products? Between some of the water-based BB’s, serums, and other new formulations, MAC has introduced its MAC Lightful C 2-in-1 Serum and Tint ($60). This is a niche-product that is targeted to help with radiance and eliminating dark spots and pigmentation. For purposes of this review, I ask that you place your knowledge of foundations to the side for a bit. At the end, I’ll compare this to foundation, and why the word “tint” is used in the product name instead. MAC 2-in-1 Serum and Tint is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and other MAC sources.

Mac Tinted Serum 5

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Jul 042015

Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Sunscreen

Drunk Elephant is an emerging skin care line started by Tiffany Masterson, who worked in the beauty industry but found few products that both worked well and minimized the amount of toxins, fragrances, and harmful ingredients.

“One of my motivations in developing Drunk Elephant was to minimize my children’s exposure to toxic chemicals, hormone-mimicking fragrances and natural allergic sensitizers that we as consumers do not understand well enough. I was also attracted to the concept of having healthy skin that ages naturally and gracefully.”

Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Sunscreen 2


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May 232015

pocket dermThe shift from in-store retail to online allows companies to specialize in ways that I’ve never thought possible. Recently, I successfully obtained prescription glasses online from Warby Parker (yes, they offer standard, true progressive, and prescription sunglasses now). I liked the at-home try-on service, and quality of the frames and optics are quite good. They’ll also re-do if there’s a problem. I’ve also ordered “custom created for my very own specific ears” earphones from Normal. Basically, Normal uses 3-d printing technology to make earbuds that do not fall out and don’t “leak” sound, because they are made for your very specific nooks and crannies.

pocket derm 1

I decided to take the another online-leap to try Pocketderm, (edit–they’ve now changed the name to Curology) which offers dermatologist-prescribed skin treatments online for acne and for anti-aging. Although I do see a dermatologist locally and in-person, many do not. Whether because such visits are not paid by insurance, and can be quite expensive out-of-pocket, I suspect that many order prescription treatments from sources outside the U.S. I’ve never been sure whether to trust such sources, because they are outside the jurisdiction of the F.D.A. I was curious to see how an online-retail U.S. source of retin-A variants might work. Let the experiment begin!

pocket derm 6The site’s focus is very narrow–anti-aging and acne. That’s it. Full stop. It does not perform the services that a dermatologist typically would, like checking your skin for any other conditions or concerns. Here’s the process:

  • The site asks you for your state, and matches you with a dermatologist licensed to practice there. From there, the site asks you a series of questions.
  • Because I don’t have acne, but I do have a daughter Liz’s age, I chose the anti-aging side of things. The site asks about specific anti-aging concerns, including fine lines, texture, discoloration, and the like. It also asked about previous experience with retin-A type products (both over-the-counter and prescription), to learn more about your specific skin.
  • In addition, the site asks you to submit several pictures of yourself without makeup (arghhh! scary concept for me!) so that the doctor can see the state of your actual skin.

I answered the questions, got over myself and uploaded some iPhone pictures, and checked boxes indicating that I needed help with all three concerns–fine lines, discoloration, and texture. I received a mix of three main ingredients–Tretinoin, vitamin C and niacinamade. Inactive ingredients are listed on the website (water, glycerin, aloe vera leaf juice, PEG-100 myristate, sweet almond seed oil, methyl paraben, propyl paraben, tocopheryl acetate).

pocket derm 3

I also received a lovely little set of freebie samples for sun protection (any retin A products, including Tretinoin, makes skin more sun-sensitive and so should be used only at night. Although you should always wear sunscreen, you really, really need to when using a retin-A product).

pocket derm 4

I’ve been using this for the past week. Although I can tell that the Tretinoin is making my skin more sensitive and pink in the mornings, it hasn’t been overly harsh. The texture has improved, as you might expect. From here, I’ve received a follow-through email or two to check in for any questions or problems.

one month supply

The company didn’t know that I am a blogger. Nonetheless, I received my first month one-month supply free (pictured above) via an email offer, after I registered at the site. I’m told that using this link will give you the first month free as well (crossing fingers that it works, although the site won’t let you get far into the process without inputting credit card information). After that, Pocket Derm charges $49.95 for a three month supply (presumably, a larger container than my one-month supply). You can have the active ingredients adjusted by emailing your assigned dermatologist. The website states that the subscription can be cancelled any time (I haven’t tried to cancel yet, because I actually like the service).

instructions 2

Overall, I thought this was a successful experiment. I was glad to be working with a U.S. dermatologist, and to know that the supply source was reliable and FDA-regulated. So, I liked the trust factor of the operation. Of course, I still kept my appointment with my dermatologist next week, because Pocket Derm is such a niche product offering. Note that this is a consumer review and not a professional recommendation. Decisions about medical care are intensely personal, and I am not qualified to assess the effectiveness of these products, the qualifications of the dermatologists, or how they may affect you and your skin.

The Pocket Derm-Warby Parker model does open up possibilities, I think, for the beauty industry. I’m crossing my fingers that custom-created foundations, mascaras with growth-enhacing ingredients, and precisely-tailored under-eye care is on some mad genius website-creators desk for our future.

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