Sunday, October 28, 2012

serums: bringing in the big guns

While it's important to use a moisturizer that targets your skincare concerns, what will truly make a difference is a serum.  Serums are high intensity problem solvers that go above and beyond what a mere moisturizer can do.  You may think of serums as just anti-aging devices but there is an endless variety of serums to target any number of issues:  hydrating, protecting, firming, anti-wrinkle, dark spot correcting, soothing, even acne fighting.  Just don't be shocked by the sticker price.  Serums are generally on the expensive side, simply because they have such an extreme level of active ingredients.  That said, a little goes a long way - just a drop will do you.  There are so many fantabulous serums out there, but here are just a few of the more popular ones that may meet your needs:

ANTI-WRINKLE:  Algenist Concentrated Reconstructing Serum gives the best results the fastest.  I have clients coming into the store that buy it in bulk.  The secret to its success is the bio-molecular formula of alguronic acid:  AKA sea algae.  Sea algae is known for its wonderful anti-aging properties and Algenist has put a spin on it so that you get powerful results from this humble ingredient.

EXFOLIATING:  Perricone MD Blue Plasma is the way to go for youthful resurfacing.  It is a brand new product hot off the laboratories of skincare guru Dr. Perricone.  Perricone is vehemently anti-scrub and feels that the best way to exfoliate is with gentle acids.  This serum is a  daily exfoliator that speeds up skin cell turnover to leave you looking younger and more radiant.  It is also a fabulous solution for enlarged pores.  Blue Plasma contains purifying ingredients and patented hydrating ingredients that makes it optimal for virtually any skin type.

ANTI-OXIDANT PROTECTION:  Skinceuticals wrote the book on anti-oxidant serum.  They have the most potent formulas I have have come across - absolutely perfect for protecting and repairing sun damage.  All their anti-oxidants contain the strongest, most beneficial form of vitamin C to fight free-radicals, and firm and smooth already compromised skin.  These serums are definitely on the expensive end of the spectrum but they also provide the most dramatic results.

BRIGHTENING/DARK SPOT ELIMINATING:  Dr. Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution  really does the trick.  And it is strong!  Anything and everything, from natural to clinical, that combats dark spots, is in this serum.  But Dr. Gross truly knows his stuff and all is formulated for minimal irritation.  One of the most effective skincare lines out there, you can never go wrong with anything from Dr. Gross.
ECONOMY:  Bare Minerals Active Cell Renewal Night Serum is half the cost of the serums mentioned above, yet it does a little bit of everything that they do.  There is smoothing, exfoliating, plumping, and hydrating. Think of it as a combined effort at a budget-friendly price.  What makes it unique however is the Active Soil Complex.  This mineral and electrolyte rich ingredient is a super moisturizer that boosts the skin's own capacity for hydration. Not everyone realizes how great Bare Minerals skincare is and that, in my book, is a grave oversight.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

shower time

I am not a morning person and it takes an awful lot to get me going first thing.  Coffee helps some but a gorgeous shower ritual also gives me motivation and something to look forward to.  I am all about the products - lovely smells and luscious textures and formulas.  I have so many faves, but for the sake of brevity I will offer you up the top of the top.  Here is a fantastic ritual to try:

First I set the atmosphere by lighting a fragrant candle.  LAFCO makes a candle specifically for the bathroom.  From their House and Home collection the Bathroom Marine candle is a fresh scent of ocean air.  The substantial white glass jar is also a pleasing touch to keep your bathroom looking crisp and clean.

Of course I start off the shower with a luxurious cleanser, and Molton Brown makes some of the best.  It's fun because it's British but the formula and fragrance are what really make it.  Thick and smooth, the gel comes in the most unusual scents - but nothing overpowering, just the right amount of smell to lift your spirits.  Try their very popular Heavenly Gingerlilly, Relaxing Yuan Zhi, Paradise Pink Pepperpod, or Warming Eucalyptus.

Next comes the shave - something I think all of us hate to have to do, but I've got just the trick to make it more pleasurable, and more effective.  Apply whatever shave cream or shower gel you like to a badger bristle shaving brush.  Yes, that old-fashioned shaving tool usually associated with men.  But here's the rub, it will give you a super foamy and smooth shave for anywhere from your bikini line to your legs.  It has the added benefit of lightly exfoliating and lifting the hair stubble up to get a closer shave.  I highly recommend it!

After your shower, while your skin is still damp, is the best time to apply a dry body oil.  This is an important step to keep your skin young and supple, not to mention hydrated.  Apply it everywhere!   There was a study done that women who regularly hydrated their breasts had less wrinkling and sagging than those who did not.  And for the ultimate in anti-aging body care try Bija Body Serum.  This all natural oil is chock-a-block with hydrating honey and anti-oxidants.  It smells fantastic and has a wonderfully absorbing formula - go the extra mile!

The final step is body lotion, or for me I prefer a luxe body butter.  Nothing but a rich body butter will do to soothe my freshly shaved legs, and Sephora's Super Supreme Body Butter is the best I have come across.  This fun tub contains a cream that is extremely hydrating without being sticky or greasy.  The smell is pretty and the giant container will last you forever.  It is so good I have been using it consistently for years and years.
Hmmmm....this is making me want to go take a shower now!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

time to switch your products for Winter

It seems kind of crazy for me to be blogging about how to step up your hydration for winter when it's been in the 90's all week here in California.  But it is after all October, and the rest of the country is probably turning on their heaters and drying out their skin.

If you haven't thought of adjusting your skincare regimen for the seasons consider this:  you change your clothes according to seasons and weather, so it is just as important to modify your products to meet your skin's changing needs.  You wouldn't wear shorts and a T shirt in November and neither should you be using that gel cleanser and light weight moisturizer at that time of year.  The air is drier, the weather harsher, and the heating systems can really do a number on your skin, so consider switching to some (or all!) of these products.

First off, I would recommend switching your cleanser to a cream or oil.  My all-time fave hydrating cleanser is NUDE Perfect Cleansing Oil For Face And Eyes.  It is all natural with a hefty dose of probiotics for healthier skin, and will remove makeup like nobody's business.  Don't worry about feeling greasy or not clean enough, I promise you a thorough clean from this baby. The oil attracts dirt and oil, grabs onto it and lifts it all away.  That's chemistry for you!

Step two is a hydrating serum or oil.  Fresh has a brand new one out that is taking the world by storm.  I adore Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil because it absorbs like a dream - no greasiness what so ever. Still, if you are leery about using an oil you can just apply it at night.  Or use it instead of your moisturizer.  But I know there are a lot of you out there that will be so dry this Winter that you will be grateful to be putting this on underneath your regular moisturizer.  I say take advantage of this anti-oxidant formula with restorative omega 3 oils.

Finish your regimen off with an extra hydrating moisturizer.  iS Clinical Moisturizing Complex is a fantastic moisturizer that is super hydrating yet paradoxically light weight.  Loaded with hyaluronic acid and soluble collagen, it is a professional brand recommended by estheticians, so you know you will be doing something good for your skin.

It is also very likely that besides all this regular nourishing you will need to give your skin an extra boost of hydration with a weekly hydrating mask.  Origins Drink Up mask does a fantastic job at a reasonable price.  Use this all natural mask up to twice a week and don't forget to do a little exfoliation first so that the ingredients can really penetrate.

Et Voila, dewy, glowy skin even in the dead of winter.  Because don't forget, dehydrated skin will visually add years of aging to your face.