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Skincare

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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CC Cream Estee Lauder Skin care

My Thoughts: Estee Lauder Enlighten Skincare

January 8, 2015

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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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

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup)

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Skin care

Helenere Skin Care: Ceremide Eyezone and Maitrise Du Temps Serum Review

June 15, 2014

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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Foundation Perricone MD

Introducing Perricone MD No Makeup Skincare: No Foundation Foundation Serum

June 13, 2014

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.

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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.

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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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