Jun 152014
 

swiss helenere

The Swiss skincare line Helenere is now available to those in the U.S. (register your email to shop the site). Although the line has just launched an international site, the company has a long history of research, development, and licensing of prove ingredients to achieve its mission of offering “highly concentrated, high performance skin care formulas that meet the specific needs of each skin type.”  The high quality line is made in Switzerland, and many of the ingredients are inspired by the Lake Geneva region which is its home.

Helenere Skincare10

The Maitrise du Temps Serum ($51 for a single bottle/$244 for 5-bottle set) is a lightweight serum that is designed for anti-aging. According to the line this is an extra-rich formula “renders its elasticity to the epidermis, and restores firmness and brightness to the skin while re-balancing its hydrolipidic film and diminishing wrinkles.” I found that this was a gently scented, well-formulated serum that (with 2-3 weeks use), left my skin glowing, supple and very pretty. It doesn’t feel oily; rather, this sinks into my skin within a few minutes after application (no breakouts, either).

Helenere Skincare19

There is nothing harsh about this serum–it feels spa-treatment lovely, and my skin looks alive in the morning. Do you know when your skin just doesn’t look supple, or that it doesn’t really have the sheen that you wish it would? That’s what this serum restores. My skin looks more oxygenated, the texture improved, and so it looks younger. I can see why this has been Helenere’s hero product for 25 years.

Helenere Skincare15a

The bottle is a nice 10 ml, which is probably going to give me about four weeks use or more. The small size is airline baggie-friendly. There’s a dropper at the top–it’s very easy to put a drop or three into the palm of your hand. I won’t be getting to a spa anytime soon (and certainly not one on Lake Geneva), but this serum makes my skin look as if I had.

Helenere Skincare12

I also tried the Helenere Ceramide Eyezone ($122/ 30 ml.) This eye treatment is said to diminish wrinkles and dark circles, minimize swelling on the lids, and preserve suppleness and firmness around the eye.

Helenere Skincare01

The generous size of this lightweight treatment invites use around the entire eye–lid, under eye area, all the way up to the brow. The texture feels like a gel, which I prefer because the product sinks in more quickly and does not clog my pores.

Helenere Skincare05The Helenere Eyezone delivered on its promise to keep puffiness away from my eye area, and to keep the area supple and smooth. I suspect that such products must be used for several weeks before the cellular changes become apparent–as it was, I’m very happy with the product and have adopted into my regimen. I love the light feeling, and the overall short-term improvement that it provides, and I’m excited to see whether the long-term benefits manifest.

Helenere Skincare08Overall, Helenere’s international launch is promising. These products seem worthy of the luxury label, if these items are any indication. Please note that the line offers a 20% discount for first purchases with the promotional code PREMIERE (no minimum quantity, no minimum value).

Here are some links to explore the line further:

These products were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

 

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Jun 132014
 

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare14aPerricone MD has a full line of No Makeup Skincare: A Revolutionary Approach to Color that provides “good for you” benefits together with foolproof and versatile application.  Although I was aware of some of these products, I was impressed to see an entire lineup that, because of its liquid format, can be mixed and blended to create naturally beautiful looks. Here is the entire line (click to enlarge):

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare01The fundamental thread that goes through the entire line of products is anti-aging skincare, to repair, restore, and to ensure that the overall look is youthful. In addition to antioxidants, DMAE, and neuropeptides, the line is formulated with high pigment that sits lightly on the skin, which can be built up, sculpted, modified, mixed and blended to achieve a look that is healthy, natural, and with a youthful look.

As an overview, I loved several of these products. However, I loved, loved, loved the products together as a set.  First, I was shocked at how quickly I could do a face with this set. It’s no brushes required. The products are essentially fool-proof once I got comfortable with the format. They blend beautifully together, and their textures are ideal for layering. They are designed for very intuitive application. Although it is easy to layer them up to increase coverage, it seems impossible to over-do them. There is a real synergy in the design and formulation for use as a set. As an overview, the line includes:

  • No Foundation Foundation Serum
  • No Foundation Foundation (2 shades)
  • No Bronzer Bronzer
  • No Blush Blush
  • No Concealer Concealer
  • No Mascara Mascara
  • No Lipstick Lipstick

Perricone Foundation Serum1There were a few products that were true standouts. For me, the Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum ($55) was amazing. It has a similar texture to the Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Foundation, lightweight, layerable and very long-lasting (surprisingly so, this foundation didn’t move even on the longest days).This is available at Sephora and Perricone MD’s website.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare03b

It has the most gorgeous, suede-matte texture. My pores disappeared. My face looked firmer and perfected. This still looked this good more than ten hours after application.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare04

I applied an extra layer or two to problem areas. The color is a touch on the darker side for my MAC NC15/Chanel Ivoire skin tone. In order to use the product, I put a good layer on my skin so that I could soak in the product’s anti-aging neuropeptides (to create suppleness and firmness), Vitamin C (to discolorations) and Alpha Lipoic Acid (to minimize wrinkles and pores).  Then I mixed this serum foundation with Perricone MD’s No Foundation Foundation in shade #1 (the lightest shade) to create a shade that matches the rest of me. The serum can be mixed with the Perricone MD No Bronzer Bronzer to deepen its color. Like the Armani, the Perricone MD uses a dropper as the applicator.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare17

The product is rated at SPF 30 (according to Perricone MD’s website, the No Foundation Foundation Serum includes a “non-chemical, mineral-based SPF 30 with Zinc oxide to protect from UVA and UVB rays” Here is the ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Perricone Foundation Serum2  I’m including swatches of all shades here, including Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum:

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare19 As you can see, the serum color is a near-match for the No Foundation Foundation in #2. I did a quick finger-blend of the swatches, above, without being very precise or careful. On the skin, a proper blending job delivers smooth and lovely results.

Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare21Overall, I loved the look and feel of Perricone MD’s No Foundation Foundation Serum. In addition to the lovely texture and buildable coverage, the product’s skincare benefits was conferring some benefits throughout the day. Additional products from this line are available here and here.

Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation Serum is available at Sephora and Perricone MD’s website.

The Perricone MD products were sent from the  company to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post includes affiliate links (for more information see About Cafe Makeup)

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May 292014
 

 

Zelens Sunscreen1aThe geniuses at Zelens have just released a new skincare-savvy sunscreen, the Zelens Daily Defence Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF30 ($65/1.70 oz). Now that Memorial Day is officially behind us, I hope that you are taking your sun protection very seriously. This offering from Zelens combines a number of lovely qualities that makes it easy–actually, make that quite pleasant–to add sun protection to your morning routine.

Zelens Sunscreen2This sunscreen was developed by Dr. Marko Lens (you can read his interview with A Model Recommends here), who included antioxidants in the formula to reduce free radical formation, helps prevent sun damage, reinforce the skin’s natural barrier and combat the signs of premature skin aging. Zelens Daily Defence also includes hyaluronic acid for moisture and is oil free.

Zelens Sunscreen5

The feel is a touch moisturizing without any greasy feel–like velvet. It wears well under makeup, giving me a very smooth, non-drying surface that did not seem to interfere with my foundation’s longevity. There is a scent (slightly sunscreen-ish) that fades after about an hour. The product is supposed to be used as the last step in your skincare, either alone or just before applying foundation.

Zelens Sunscreen7Unlike some of my stronger sunscreens, the Zelens Daily Defence sinks right into my skin. In the above picture, a few more swirls and the left blended portion would be invisible. According to the line, the formula uses:

…organic UV filters are encapsulated in silica-based capsules, which are invisible in formulation and on the skin. . . . Encapsulated filters have a low chemical load since the encapsulation process prevents direct skin contact (encapsulated organic filters remain on top of the skin surface) resulting in a reduced dermal up-take and low allergy potential.

Imudilin®
A pseudodipetide with cytokine-like activity. Stimulates the signal transduction pathway in the cells, improves the immune cells’ response and restores the immune defence.

Vitamin E
Zelens uses an ester of Vitamin E and acetic acid (tocopheryl acetate). It demonstrates strong antioxidant activity.

Vitamin C
Zelens uses a precursor of Vitamin C, tetra-isopalmitoyl ascorbic acid. This stable form of Vitamin C acts as a powerful antioxidant. Effectively suppresses UVB-induced skin pigmentation and helps lighten pigment spots and brightens the complexion. Stimulates collagen production.

Botanical Antioxidant Complex
A proprietary botanical complex containing active molecules from 6 different plants: Shiso (Perilla frutescens), Green tea (Camellia sinensis), Centella (Centella asiatica), Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), Pine (Pinus Strobus) and Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia). The following active molecules were extracted from the plants:
• Rosmarinic acid (from Shiso)
• Polyphenol Epigallocatechin gallate, EGCG (from Green tea)
• Cichoric acid (from Echinacea)
• Pycogenol (from Pine)
• Glycoside – Asiaticoside (from Centella)
• Flavonoids (from Ginkgo)
Botanical antioxidant complex demonstrates strong antioxidant activity to help reduce formation of hazardous free radicals and prevent oxidative damage.

Overall, I found Zelens Daily Defence to be a lovely skin screen. I’ve noticed that some sunscreens can make my skin dry, especially if used in dry mountain air and the formula is heavy on physical sunscreen ingredients. Zelens is a godsend for sunscreen in dry temperatures–I used this for a few days in the Lake Tahoe area this weekend, and loved it. I can’t wait to take it to the mountains of Colorado in a few weeks. It makes my skin feel moisturized, and look rested after the day. No breakouts. I’m excited to keep using the product to see whether there are any long-term results.

Available for order on Zelens website, and pre-order on Space.NK.  Here is the ingredient list from the Space.NK website:

AQUA (WATER), ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCINNAMATE, ETHYLHEXYL SALICYLATE, CYCLOHEXASILOXANE, GLYCERIN, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, BUTYLOCTYL SALICYLATE, BUTYL METHOXYDIBENZOYLMETHANE, OCTOCRYLENE, ISONONYL ISONONANOATE, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, GLYCERYL STEARATE, PEG-100 STEARATE, DIMETHICONE, MICROCOCCUS LYSATE, PERILLA FRUTESCENS LEAF EXTRACT, SODIUM HYLAURONATE, GLUTAMYLAMIDOETHYL IMIDAZOLE, ASCORBYL TETRAISOPALMITATE, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, CENTELLA ASIATICA EXTRACT, ECHINACEA ANGUSTIFOLIA LEAF EXTRACT, GINKGO BILOBA LEAF EXTRACT, PINUS STROBUS BARK EXTRACT, LECITHIN, SILICA, HYDROGENATED PALM GLYCERIDES, CYCLOPENTASILOXANE, PVP, POTASSIUM CETYL PHOSPHATE, SORBITOL, CETEARETH-20, ACRYLATES/C10-30 ALKYL ACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER, SODIUM POLYACRYLATE, PARFUM (FRAGRANCE), LINALOOL, SORBIC ACID, CHLORPHENESIN, PHENOXYETHANOL, BHT, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, DISODIUM EDTA

This was sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review.

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Apr 082014
 

Clarins Opal Primers01

Clarins has recently introduced two shades of the Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base in 01 Rose and 02 Champagne ($37 each). Who doesn’t like champagne and roses? Given my ever-present interest in the perfect completion, I thought that I would take these out for a spin. (note: These are available at Macy’s and Nordstrom)

Clarins Opal Primers07

According to Clarins, these Complexion Bases are each “a moisturizing base that illuminates and corrects your skin tone, while hydrating and soothing with moisture-rich Katafray Bark extract.” The company explains: “Two shades cast a veil of corrective light on the skin: Rose brightens all complexions, Champagne corrects redness. In just seconds, the complexion becomes luminous and radiant.” I used these as moisturizing primers with a touch of sheer color correction.

Clarins Opal Primers12

My thoughts on the “PRO’s” of these products:

  • Although not advertised as such, both helped provide a smooth base for foundation and really extended the wear time for foundation.
  • On my light, warm skin tone (MAC NC15/Chanel Ivoire), I preferred 01 Rose on a completely subjective basis. The rose color seemed to add the slightest hint of luminosity (it was not as dramatic as Burberry Fresh Glow). More significantly, Rose neutralized the warm tones in my skin.
  • Clarins’ claim that these are moisturizing held true for me. My skin looked refreshed and healthy after removal. Neither of these had any drying effect.
  • Even more delightfully, neither seemed to make my skin any oilier or “glowier.” Perhaps the hydration was not overdone, but my skin looked very good without making my forehead or t-zone area break through with shine.

Now for the “CON”:

  • Unfortunately, there is some ingredient in these that disagreed with my skin.  This may not happen to you, but after using these continuously for 2-3 days, I noticed that some of my pores were clogging. Now that I’ve discontinued use, this effect has stopped. Although I can’t be certain that it was this product, I’m a bit wary and thought it best to pass this along, so that you can sample before you buy.

Ingredient list (click to enlarge):

Clarins Opal Primers05

Here are a few heavy swatches of the shades (you’ll want to use these more sheerly):

Clarins Opal Primers14

Another:

Clarins primer opal

Overall, if my skin had agreed with these, I would have loved them (especially the Rose!). These gave me an excellent base for long-term foundation wear, nice skin-care benefits, and lovely texture. Clarins Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base are available at Macy’s and Nordstrom.

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Sep 192013
 

Can we discuss exfoliation? Sometimes my skin needs a little ooomph –a little reminder that underneath it all, there’s still a fresh, dewy bit that is dying to get out and greet the world.  Although I don’t think I’m quite ready for the dermatologist’s version that forces me into seclusion for a few days afterwards, I am ready to explore the over the counter versions. I’ve enjoyed the daily exfoliators, like Perricone MD Blue Plasma (reviewed here),  Bare Escentuals Intensive Glow Pads Brightening Treatment (reviewed here). I’ve also used Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Peel in the non-extra strength version (reviewed here).

Dr Gross Alpha Beta Peel1 copy

I really liked Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Extra Strength Formula (5 treatments/$15 and other sizes available). I got this in a little “try it” version of five applications. This is a two-part system that consists of two pre-moistened pads in little foil packets. The system is quite easy to use.

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