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Skin care

Drunk In Love with Drunk Elephant

July 4, 2015

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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Skin care

My Experience with Online Dermatology: Pocket Derm

May 23, 2015

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, 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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MAC Skin care

Quick Review: MAC Prep + Prime Blemish Control Gel

May 7, 2015

MAC Prep and prime - 3aMost salicylic acid products are on the drug store shelves, and are fairly inexpensive, harsh, and can sometimes ball up or move in strange ways when worn under makeup.  With MAC Prep + Prime Blemish Control Gel ($22/ 0.5 oz), MAC tries to elevate this humble (but effective) acne medicine that makes it wearable under foundation and less painful to use. This is available at all MAC sources, including Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and Nordstrom.
MAC Prep and prime round four - 4a

Since the product was released, this item has been a bit of  a skin-saver for me. It’s gentle–its active ingredient is 1% salicylic acid. By comparison, Clean + Clear from the drugstore is 2%, the same amount of product (0.5 ounces for both), and about half the price.

MAC Prep and prime round three - 3 copyThis is clear, somewhat runny, and dries down in less than a minute. It smells like salicylic acid.

MAC Prep and prime round two - 5aMAC’s is not as irritating and seems just as effective. Unless I’ve just exfoliated or used a retinol product the night before, I don’t have the stinging sensation with MAC that drugstore salicylic acid products leave (there’s no “yow!” unless my skin is irritated). I’ve worn MAC’s version over my usual skincare, and under sunscreen and foundation all the live-long day to keep clogged pores and reduce breakouts.  According to the line, “Heals blemishes and helps prevent future breakouts, while soothing and calming the skin to promote further healing. Infused with acne-fighting salicylic acid, this lightweight, oil-free formula is suitable for all skin types and wears perfectly on its own, under makeup or for simple touch-ups.” Additional ingredients:

MAC Prep and prime round four - 1aHere is how MAC’s Blemish Control looks on the back of my hand. Keep in mind, this is a skincare product, not a primer (despite the “Prep + Prime” in the name, this is skincare that is a “Prep,” and not a “Prime”).  So feel free to use a separate primer if you use one. If you are fighting acne, this is definitely worth a look. This is available at all MAC sources, including Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and Nordstrom.

MAC Prep and prime round two - 7a

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Chanel Skin care

Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum Review

March 22, 2015

Chanel Micro Beauty serum04a

Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum ($110) has become a staple lately for my skincare routine. This light serum seems to lift, hydrate, plump and revitalize my skin from the first application, and the effect gets even better over time. Chanel has partnered with a research company, and worked for five years to develop skincare based on micro-fluidics, which re-engineers fluids at the microscopic level. The result gives the product powerful efficacy with an ultra light, elegant, Chanel-worthy feeling. This serum is currently available at Chanel onlineNordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Macys, Bloomingdales and other Chanel sources.

Chanel Micro Beauty serum12a

This serum is extremely easy to use. Just a pump or two before applying sunscreen (one can use other serums underneath). If you would like extra hydration, you can use an additional moisturizer. Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum is a moisturizing serum, and does add hydration, so you will likely need less (or lighter) moisturizers when using this formula.

Chanel Micro Beauty serum21 The product feels invisible and non-existent. It absorbs quickly, leaving only results. It smooths, plumps, and hydrates. I love the effect.

Chanel Micro Beauty serum16aFrom the line:

THE BREAKTHROUGH
CAMELLIA MICRO-DROPLETS:
Patented micro-droplet technology delivers the purest form of Camellia Oil Extract, exclusive* new Camellia Alba OFA, to infuse skin with exceptional hydrating and plumping power.

CAMELLIA ALBA PFA:
This remarkably pure HYDRA BEAUTY ingredient, created by Chanel scientists, stimulates skin’s natural ability to restore and retain moisture for a smooth, radiant appearance.

BLUE GINGER PFA:
To protect the benefits of Camellia Alba PFA, Chanel revealed one of nature’s most powerful anti-oxidants, Blue Ginger PFA. This exceptional ingredient acts as an environmental shield, blocking and neutralizing free radicals to help reinforce the complexion.

Chanel Micro Beauty serum15

I love companies that push research and innovation forward, especially when the results are this good. As with all skincare, results will vary. However, the reviews for this have been very positive, so I thought it was important to report mine.

Chanel Micro Beauty serum08

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MAC Skin care Uncategorized

MAC Lightful C Skincare: Reformulation (now with Vitamin C) Review

February 22, 2015

MAC Lightful C01MAC has reformulated its Lightful line to incorporate Vitamin C into these brightening products. Because Vitamin C has been clinically proven to benefit skin, I couldn’t resist trying out a few products to see how they feel. This is not uber-luxury skincare, or even luxury skincare in my opinion. But I’ve had surprisingly good results with the Marine Bright formula in the past, and who doesn’t love some good bang for their buck in the mid-price category? I decided to try out the new MAC Lightful C Softening Lotion ($35), the Vibrancy Eye cream ($35), the Lightful C Marine-Bright Formula Essence ($44), and the MAC Lightful C Marine Bright Formula Moisture Cream ($44). The full line is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and other MAC sources (except for an SPF 30 tinted cream, which is due to become available this April and, just like Magnum in Zoolander, will blow us all away).

MAC Lightful C02

I’ve used the prior version of the MAC Softening Lotion, and can confirm that this MAC Lightful C Marine-Bright Formula Softening Lotion provides the same toning, softening effect on the skin to leave it feeling soft, woken-up, and baby-fresh.  This is one of those products that you think you’ll never use and then, when your glowing skin looks back at you in the mirror, you realize that it does, in fact, make a daily difference.

MAC Lightful C11

I splash a little bit of this clear, water-like liquid on, using fingers or a cotton pad, to get the effect. This is a softening toner–a separate cleanser is necessary to truly clean the skin.

MAC lightful C softening lotion1

I have to admit I’m a fan of spray toners, and this top is designed to splash or swipe on. Still, I appreciate the no-spill guard.

MAC Lightful C15

Ingredients (click to enlarge):

MAC Lightful C softening lotion ingredients1

For me the magic item in the collection is the Mac Lightful C Marine Bright EssenceI had good luck using the former version to fade darker marks/spots. I’m delighted with the addition of Vitamin C to the line. The non-sticky texture that absorbs quickly is the same.MAC Lightful C09

Nice no-spill, locking, travel-friendly packaging.

MAC Lightful C16

Ingredients (click to enlarge):

MAC Lightful C essence ingredients 21

I took a chance and ordered the MAC Lightful C Marine Bright Formula Moisture Creme.  I’m happy with my current stock of moisturizers, but I find a mid-priced gel moisturizer hard to resist. The problem with having oily skin (and now combination skin) most of my life is that I tended to avoid moisturizers as too heavy and adding “too much glow” toward the end of the day.

MAC Lightful C06After I discovered the lightweight, fast-absorbing properties of gel moisturizers, my skin is much more balanced and doesn’t over-produce oil anymore. If anyone is in the same boat, this MAC is a nice one to try because of the addition of Vitamin C and the lightweight feel. It absorbs, is very lightweight, and doesn’t add “glow” to already oily skin.

MAC Lightful C21This is housed in a lightweight plastic jar. The texture of this product is much lighter and featherweight compared to Estee Lauder’s Enlighten Moisturizer.

MAC Lightful C24

I find that NARS Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer and Chanel Hydra Beauty Gel Creme (Liz’s favorite) give a more noticeable moisturizing effect. By comparison, MAC’s is lighter in texture.  Ingredients for the MAC Lightful C:

MAC Lightful C moisturizer ingredients1

Finally, I ordered the MAC Lightful C Vibrancy Eye. This one-half ounce product has a sorbet texture in a pump-top container. It’s very pleasant to use, sinks in instantly, and gives an immediate moisturizing and de-puffing effect.  I’ve been using on my winter-stressed, wind-burned eye area and it’s vastly improved since last Friday when I began.

MAC Lightful C19Consistent with the other products in the light, the MAC Vibrancy Eye is lightweight, non-oily, and disappears quietly very soon application. Ingredients (click to enlarge):

MAC Lightful C vibrancy eye ingredients1Skincare swatches (except the toner, which is a clear liquid):

MAC Lightful C26My personal favorites in this group are the Vibrancy Eye and the Essence, however hopefully I’ve put in enough information to give you a sense of which might work for you. The full line is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, and other MAC sources.

MAC Lightful C20

In other news, I’m loving my little sample of Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum Intense ($110) and am placing an order for the full-sized as soon as I hit “publish” on this post. It’s giving me a smoothness and glow that’s both immediate and improving with every day that goes by.  Although I’ll do a full review soon, here’s a quick picture of the sample (check out your local Nordstrom, gorgeous! That’s where I found mine) and the ingredient list.

Chanel Micro serum min1Les ingredients:

ingredients1Hope you are having a lovely, ice-free weekend!

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L'Occitane Skin care

L’Occitane Immortelle 28 Day Divine Renewal Program and Giveaway

February 16, 2015

L'Occitane Divine Oil treatment02 copyThis L’Occitane Immortelle 28 Day Divine Renewal Skin Program ($130) is set to release this week on February 19th. I’ve been fortunate to try out the full program over the past month. Here’s my report, and a chance to win a set of your own. As with the other L’Occitane Immortelle Divine products, this set is based on the immortelle flower from the island of Corsica, which is know for its extraordinary longevity. The line distilled its active ingredients into an essential oil that forms the foundation of this skincare set.

L'Occitane Divine Oil treatment05 copyThis elegant gold box holds 28-mini vials of treatments. This is an entire course of treatments–the 28-day cycle is broken into four separate weeks, each with a specific benefit:

Week 1 – Gentle exfoliation to even skin-tone, make it smoother and more luminous

Week 2 – Hydration & Nutrition: The skin seems nourished and moisturized

Week 3 – Balance: to strengthen and ready the skin for the final week

Week 4 – Renewal: For radiance, rebalance, and smoother texture

L'Occitane Divine Oil treatment09 copy

I used one vial per day, working my way through each week’s benefits before moving forward to the next. Formulas are held in easy-to-use, daily, single-use doses. I applied each vial, allowed it to soak in for a few minutes. Each “week” has a slightly different scent, and all smelled heavenly to me. I love the natural beauty of L’Occitane products–they add a touch of luxury and remind me of the beauty of the French countryside.

L'Occitane Divine Oil treatment27 copyBecause these vials are in a lightweight plastic pod, I was able to break off the right number, and place them into my bag for travel to a West Coast conference during the middle of my treatment regime. So convenient!

L'Occitane Divine Oil treatment18 copy

 

Each of the little oil vials is marked with the appropriate week (can you see the little “1’s”?) so even though I was traveling and moving into my new addition, I could keep track of my progress. The first week’s exfoliating regime felt wonderful. The oils really do melt into the skin, and feel very luxurious. However, I could tell that they had an exfoliating effect when I examined my skin first thing in the morning. Also, I was able to continue to use my other skin care products over these little serums, and still got all of the benefits of the L’Occitane regime.

L'Occitane Divine Oil treatment12 copy

The second week’s regime was very rich and moisturizing. It’s perfect if you have drier skin, or would like a little mid-winter boost, these are amazing. They felt especially good after the exfoliation from the week before, like they are rebuilding the skin in all the right ways. I can absolutely see why these are sold as an integrated system.

L'Occitane Divine Oil treatment14 copy

The third week–for balance–feels very calming. It gave me beautiful, smooth, glowing skin every morning.  I’m really enjoying the nightly ritual and lovely scent of this set. It’s easy to use, you just break off the one you want, fold down the top until the top is broken, and squeeze the liquid out. For me, I found enough in each vial to do the face, neck, and hands.

L'Occitane Divine Oil treatment16 copyI loved the scent from the fourth week–it smells velvety-good. This regeneration week is said to use “carrot, cypress and superior-quality organic immortelle essential oils help rebuild the skin.”

L'Occitane Divine Oil treatment30Having gone through the entire cycle of the set, my skin looks firmer, smoother, more even-toned, and more youthful. I really like the result, especially as this time of year I start looking for ways to renew my skin for the coming spring. This elegantly formulated box of solutions was perfect. Ingredients (click to enlarge):

L'Occitane Divine Oil treatment06 copy

All in all, a gorgeous, good-for-you luxury treat, and highly recommended. This is now up for sale on L’Occitane’s website. If you’d like a chance to win your own, please feel free to enter the drawing below. The winner will be sent their own Immortelle 28-Day Divine Renewal Skin Program directly from L’Occitane. To enter, you must leave a blog comment. You can also get extra points for following @cafemakeup on twitter, and also for tweeting about the giveaway (once per day maximum). Bon chance!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

L'Occitane Divine Oil treatment10 copyThanks for reading, gorgeous! This was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains an affiliate link (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Skin care Tom Ford

A few skincare deals….and a rumor…

January 14, 2015

The Body Shop is running this deal through Thursday only: Buy One Get One Bath & Body Products Although some exclusions apply, this does include some popular products including the Hemp Hand Protector, Satsuma Shower Gel, Coconut Body Butter, Shea Body Butter, and Satsuma Soap, among other things.  Yummmm satsuma. I’m obsessed with those oranges right now.satsuma-soap_lOle Henriksen is giving away a free 3 piece deluxe mini set (minis!!!) ($32 value) with orders of $50 or more. Code: WINTERRETREAT

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Nars has a complimentary mini Deep Throat Blush with any order. Use code JANMINI15 at checkout.

Sephora has a FREE Fresh Rose Hydrating Gel Cream Deluxe Sample with any $25 purchase. Use code: FRESHROSE

Okay, now for the rumor part, via the Cut.   Of course, as avid Tom Ford watchers here at Cafe Makeup we’re all abuzz. What would happen to the Gucci and Tom Ford Beauty lines if so?

Screen Shot 2015-01-14 at 7.23.45 PM

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Clarins Lipgloss Lipstick Skin care

My Thoughts: Clarins Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil

January 13, 2015

Clarins lip oil08Clarins Lip Comfort Oil ($23/0.1 oz./limited edition) seems perfectly suited to this time of year. Baby, it’s cold outside. Of course, this French line is a skincare specialist and so I was drawn to try this out when I noticed it at a local counter. It comes in two colors (01 Honey (yellow tint) and 02 Raspberry (pink tint)) and the product is now becoming available at Clarins sources, including Nordstrom, Macys, and Clarins online (by the way, if you register with Clarins.com, they are very generous with their special offers and sample kits).

Clarins lip oil01

According to Clarins, this little lip-saver is formulated to “transforms lips from dry and damaged to plump and luscious while adding just a hint of color. The formula nourishes, soothes and enhances the natural way, with oils of mirabelle plum, jojoba and hazelnut for lips that look comfortable and appear fuller. Its innovative gel-like, non-sticky texture hugs your pout in gorgeous color.” It does do a lovely job moisturizing and re-conditioning lips. It smooths out lip lines beautifully, re-conditions this delicate area, and does make my lips feel so much healthier.

Clarins lip oil04aAt $23, the price runs about the price of a lipgloss and the container includes roughly the same amount of product. The is fairly modest for a skincare item–I foresee using this tube up by March quite easily. The formula is very sticky and extremely long-lasting. I have trouble having any gloss last more than an hour (or two), but the Clarins Lip Comfort Oil gave me a good four hours. Because of the sticky texture, if you walking through a stiff wind, it’s ponytail time. Then again, if you are walking in the wind it’s probably ponytail time anyway.

Clarins lip oil15

The formula starts out very, very shiny and sheer over either bare lips or lipstick. After an hour or so, the formula mellows to give my lips a moisturized, semi-gloss look. Eventually, it absorbs and leaves softer, line-free lips behind. The formula works very well over lipstick, there did not seem to be any significant color shift.

Clarins lip oil02The applicator is a big, spongy paddle. You can dab it on or use it as a gloss, or close your lips over it as you move it from side to side (dab, dab, dab).

I don’t believe that the color difference is terribly distinct between the raspberry and honey colors–the honey is slightly yellow/orange, and the raspberry is slightly pink.  As someone with mauve-toned lips I went with pink. The scent is a very strong sweet candy, which takes a bit of time to fade.

Clarins lip oil14aSome may be considering whether to buy the Clarins Lip Comfort Oil versus the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask.

Bite lip products05 copyHere are my thoughts on the comparisons:

Bite lip products10

  • The packaging of the Clarins Lip Oil is far more purse friendly. The Clarins big square top fastens with a satisfying click, and placing it in any side pocket in a purse will keep the large square top from turning. The little cap on the Bite Beauty has fallen off a few times in my travel kit (although the product hasn’t splooged out, I think it’s only a matter of time).

 

  • Bite Beauty’s formula seems more moisturizing and conditioning to me, and the product comes in different colors (clear, Champagne, and Smashed Agave (the Beauty Look Book has reviewed Champagne and Smashed Agave so that you can see how strong the colors are). Clarins’ colors are very sheer by comparison, and can be easily layered under or over lipstick.

 

As long as we’re talking balms, those who prefer premium formulas in a pot will prefer Tatcha’s Camellia Nouring Lip Balm ($36)…Tatcha camillia lip balm05

 

Or By Terry’s Baume de Rose ($60)…but I don’t want to get too far off course. This post is about Clarins Lip Oil.

By Terry Kevyn Aucoin05

Overall, I believe that Clarins Lip Oil fills a niche in the beauty world–the portability and packaging are lovely. The scent, sticky texture, and small quantity are some of the factors to consider. However, the convenience factor is huge. It’s nice to tuck this little bit of luxury into my down jacket on the way to a long, cold commute to allow my lips to live another day.

Clarins lip oil10
Clarins Lip Oil is available at Nordstrom, Macys, and Clarins online, and is limited edition. Ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Clarins lip oil03
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CC Cream Estee Lauder Skin care

My Thoughts: Estee Lauder Enlighten Skincare

January 8, 2015

Estee Lauders Enlighten8 f
Before the holidays, I became obsessed with trying Estee Lauder’s new Enlighten products. I found very few blogger reviews (except for Pixiwoo‘s rave for the EE Skintone Corrector). Estee Lauder’s Enlighten series includes three items– the Enlighten Dark Spot Correcting Night Serum ($62), the Enlighten Even Effect Skintone Corrector ($40) and the Enlighten Even Skintone Correcting Creme ($55). I’ve been using these three items for about two and one-half weeks. The Estee Lauder Enlighten line is available at all Estee sources, including Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Sephora.

I want to preface my review by noting that, at the same time, I switched to Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Toner ($42) and Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective White Skin Brightening Exfoliator ($29) as part of my daily cleansing routine. Because these are used to address the very same concern, I want to let you know that.

Estee Lauders Enlighten1The Estee Lauder Dark Spot Correcting Night Serum is the cornerstone of the system. Despite the name designating this as  “Night Serum,” Estee Lauder’s website recommends using both day and night. The line says that this takes four weeks to see results (actually, they say “If you could see your skin 4 weeks from now, you’d start tonight.”) Personally, I used this serum only at night topped with the moisturizing Correcting Creme.

ee serum1

It’s lightweight, easily absorbed, and has a gentle scent that fades. The serum is easy to forget once it’s applied–it really does seem to disappear into my skin. The ingredient list is here.

Estee Lauders Enlighten2

The second item is the Estee Lauder Correcting Creme. I didn’t buy this at first, because I thought that it would be very heavy. I did grab it the evening before I started the regime, because I felt that to fully assess the system I had to try it all together. I’ve used this night and day.

Estee Lauders Enlighten4Although the creme wasn’t quite as heavy as I feared, the Correcting Creme is on the very rich side. There is a strong perfumed scent. This feels a little old school.

Estee Lauders Enlighten3Compared to some other moisturizers that I’ve tried, this isn’t one that I’d necessarily re-purchase. Nonetheless, the results that I’m getting from the whole system might persuade me otherwise.

Estee Lauders Enlighten5

Finally, Estee Lauder has created an “EE Creme” (groan! that name!) that works with the other products. This comes in three colors only–I used 01 Light (its also sold in Medium and Dark). As luck would have it, Light seemed to work fine for my warm, fair skin. Unsurprisingly, it runs warm (I’m not sure how this would play on cool skin tones). Essentially, this feels like a tinted moisturizer that builds almost to medium coverage. The finish is very, very glowy (get ready to powder down if you have oily skin). I’ve mostly worn this by itself, the formula has something that optically blurs discolorations. That part works. Whenever I wore it, any areas of skin discolorations were significantly less apparent without a heavy or mask-like overall coverage. It’s nice to be able to see a touch of skin, have sheer coverage, and mimize discolorations at the same time. This EE cream can be worn under foundation if you prefer to add a different finish–I’ve done this several times, and it seems to work well. The optical blurring properties continue to work, even under another product.This product is listed as SPF 30 (and its ingredient list is here).

Estee Lauders Enlighten7

Above is a heavy swatch comparison with Estee Lauder Enlighten in #01 Light, against Chanel Perfection Lumiere in 20 Beige.  As you can see, the Chanel 20 Beige is actually slightly warmer.

The Enlighten EE creme photographs well for casual pictures (Pixioo was right on about that!), but I personally find it too dewy for more formal pictures. Worn alone, my forehead is glowy all day (morning to night) unless I powder it down. Applying the iPhone and white collar shirt test, I don’t seem to be getting huge transfer (it’s not perfect). The longevity of coverage and correction is quite good. This feels slightly on the heavy side; it’s not cake batter time but it isn’t weightless either. The weight is especially noticeable if you layer it up for more coverage. It’s scented (sort of sunscreen-ish), but it fades eventually.

MAC CC products

Unlike MAC’s CC correctors, which are spot-color-correctors , Estee’s EE cream is actually foundation-like and attacks all imperfections in a single product–redness, darkness, blue discoloration. As I said earlier, this aspect of the product does work on me. Of course, you can supplement its effect even more with a color corrector or concealer.

My verdict so far on the system as a whole is a positive. I don’t want to gush over the line or create false hopes–there are downsides to the formulations as I’ve attempted to note. Note that I have added the Kiehl’s products mentioned above (which include Vitamin C) and wore this Chanel sunscreen consistently. Also, tackling discolorations can feel like a “two steps forward, one step back.” It’s a tough problem and there’s a plethora of offerings (Guerlain just began offering a new Pearl line, as one example).

My skin is without a doubt more even toned. Areas of discoloration after using this combination of products for 2 1/2 weeks has faded a good 60-7o%. Using the EE cream, it’s barely noticeable even in harsh bright light. I’m getting “did you do something different?” comments. It’s always nice to find solutions that don’t rely on hydroquinone and exfoliation as their primary actives. Estee Lauder’s Enlighten line actually feels quite gentle and hydrating and does not seem to be exfoliating at all. Indeed, when I add an at-home peel, my skin now looks really good. I should note that I don’t know how the system would work if I’d only used one or two products in the line.

My apologies for not being able to include more images (including the ingredient images) in this review. I discarded the boxes on my trip, unfortunately, and obtained these too quickly to set up a camera among the home renovation chaos that’s happening here before catching  a flight. There are so few in-depth reviews for these products at present, I thought it best to write something for those considering the line.  The Estee Lauder Enlighten line is available at all Estee sources, including Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Sephora.

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Chanel Skin care

Chanel UV Essentiel Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Review

January 5, 2015

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Once upon a time, one of my favorite sunscreens was discontinued. You might remember it–this was the former Chanel UV Essentiel. I remember the beautiful, elegant primer-like finish. It seemed to protect my skin from harsh sun, and seemed to consistently minimize dark spots even though it wasn’t advertised to do so. I remember the last time I ordered a back-up, although maybe it wasn’t necessary because it was a “permanent” product.  By the time that I learned it was discontinued, it was too late to order another.

Chanel old UV essentielLife moves on. Today, Chanel has a new permanent sunscreen, the Chanel UV Essential Broad Spectrum SPF 50 ($55 /1.0 oz.). This is available at all Chanel sources, including Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, and Chanel.com. Chanel offers UV Essential in SPF 20 and SPF 30 as well.

Chanel UV Essential02As with the prior version, you have to shake, shake, shake the new Chanel UV Essential prior to application. The rectangular package is perfect for doing so, and it’s beautifully lightweight, shatterproof and packable.

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This new version feels more lightweight than the former.  It applies with a slight white sheerness, which disappears in a bit. It dries quickly and is so light that it’s easy to forget that I’m wearing it. I experienced no pore-clogging, or other adverse effects. Note that I do have a very thorough days-end routine that involves an oil cleanser and a Clarisonic.

Chanel UV Essential11I’ve just come back from a week in the Caribbean, and am happy to report that I did not pick up any significant color when wearing this daily. Note: I did wear a visor in direct sun because we are getting pretty close to the equator there. Still, the Caribbean.

hondurus

According to the line, “Its UV filters block UVA and UVB rays, free radicals and urban pollution, responsible for hyperpigmentation (dark spots) and photoaging, to ensure external protection of the skin.” Like the former version, Chanel UV Essential SPF 50 is cosmetically elegant and plays very well with all of the foundations that I’ve tried over it.

Chanel UV Essential13As you know, I wear sunscreen rain, snow, clouds, or shine. After wearing this new Chanel for the past three weeks, I’m prepared to declare it a winner for me.  It is similar to its discontinued predecessor, although it feels lighter and sheerer. The packaging shape has changed a bit, but not in any significant way.

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Chanel UV Esstential SPF 50 is available at all Chanel sources, including Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, and Chanel.com.

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Ingredients:

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More ingredients:

Chanel UV Essential07

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