Makeup

La Crème by Cle de Peau

It goes without saying that nothing is more effective for your skin than what your dermatologist recommends for it.  With that said, it’s been my experience that one can have a very good skincare regimen using a combination of both prescribed products/methods and over-the-counter (OTC) items.  Allow me to present La Crème by Cle de Peau.

For those unfamiliar with the brand, Cle de Peau is Shiseido’s higher end line of skincare and cosmetics.  The Japanese brand and this particular product has a cult following and for good reason–the results are almost immediate.  The reason for this is because the primary active ingredient in La Crème is retinol ACE (in layman’s terms, it’s a lower dose of retinol plus vitamins and boosters to increase the speed of cell turnover).  Although prescription strength retinol is great for many people, for some (such as myself), it can be a bit strong and cause inflammation (and as another side effect, some hyperpigmentation).  This is why for some, OTC-strength is the way to go for including retinol in one’s skincare routine.

In terms of OTC anti-aging creams, Cle de Peau’s La Crème is the gold standard.  I have yet to experience a cream that performs as well as this one.  (Many of you know that I’m also a huge fan of La Mer’s Creme and I still am–but strictly as a moisturizing cream and something that I use to mix with my foundation when wearing makeup, not as a wrinkle cream.)  After a few hours of applying Le Crème, my skin is noticeably softer, clearer, and brighter.  I have been using this product for three months and it has become a permanent part of my skincare routine.  For those who are skeptical and aren’t willing to take the plunge for the full-size jar, Cle de Peau’s website sells the (limited edition) travel size.  You can also ask someone from the line’s counter at your local Nordstrom, Saks, or Neiman’s to give you a week’s sample.

Now, on to the good stuff (recommendations from my personal experience).  If you have normal to dry skin, use the product as directed–at night only (slather it on, go to sleep, and wake up to soft and bright skin).  If you have oily to combination skin, use it at nighttime and, maybe–assuming you are able to go without makeup and shield yourself from the sun, also use a small to moderate amount during the daytime for 2-3 days during the week.  Do not use it on the area around your eyes (even though it’s OTC, a lower dose of retinol can still irritate sensitive areas).  It also helps to properly prep your skin before application–I wash my face with a mild cleanser and use a NON-EXFOLIATING/NON-MEDICATED toner before applying La Crème (for those who don’t use toners, you can skip the second step).  This is important because you don’t want anything to undermine and/or interfere with the efficacy of the active ingredients in the cream.  You want the product to work by itself (preferably, without any allergic reactions and/or interference).

All women over the age of 30 need to allocate a portion of their budgets to skincare/maintenance.  It’s not a frivolous matter–it’s a necessity as one gets older.  Many department store products get a bad rap for being expensive but as someone who is a product fiend, I can confirm that there are some items that are worth their sticker prices and that a little bit of product can go a long way (depending on how much you use, a jar of La Crème can last you between 6 months to 1 year).  And, as I like to tell my husband, “It’s less expensive than plastic surgery.”

(FYI, I was not paid and/or compensated in any way for this review.)

Chanel Le Blanc Exfoliating Pre-Lotion

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You know the feeling of anticipation and excitement when you’re going on a first date with someone you’ve had a crush on for a while?  I get this feeling every time I try a much-raved about skincare product.  In the US, Chanel is known for its clothes, bags, and makeup.  But, in Asia, the company holds its own in the skincare arena.

If you’re over the age of 35, you know that exfoliation is a key part of maintaining a healthy complexion.  Most of us exfoliate in the shower or at the sink, moisturize, and call it a day.  Enter the Le Blanc Pre-Lotion Exfoliation Douce.  This continues the exfoliation process all day or all night (direction says to apply once per day) and is life-changing.  It has officially been added to my holy grail beauty lineup.  Unfortunately, it’s currently only sold in Asia so for those who live elsewhere, lobby your Chanel counters and get it stocked there!  (It would also be nice for me to be able to buy it in the States once we move back!)

Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritty.  Consistency is very watery but gel-like (I know that sounds like an oxymoron but bear with me)–think of an extremely fine/thin and runny gel-liquid.  Because it’s a “pre-lotion”, you’re supposed to apply this right before your toner–it’s the toner for your toner.  But since my skin is very sensitive and temperamental, I use it as a toner-alternative at night.  I use two liberal applications–first one with a wiping motion and the second one with a patting motion.  The first night impressed me.  Keep in mind that my skin is awful–I have lines, freckles, AND acne (what kind of sick joke is this, right?).  And although the product didn’t lighten my freckles and sun spots after the first night (nor did I expect it to), it did significantly soften my skin and give me a nice glow.  Not earth-shattering but I’ll take it.  After the second night, my face felt like a baby’s butt AND it glowed.  Getting one product to soften my bumpy skin is no easy task and this pre-lotion performs.  FYI, I also use the Le Blanc Healthy Light Creator Serum (not at the same time but during the day when I’m at home; I use the serum with a regular toner, which changes depending on my mood as there are several in my medicine cabinet).  So, there you have it–in a nutshell, I’m very happy with this product and every day my skin gets better from using it!

Sulwhasoo Snowise Brightening Spot Treatment

Those familiar with the Sulwhasoo line know that its products are chock full of Chinese herbs with ginseng being the star ingredient.  The line is primarily aimed at those with dry and/or mature skin but a few of its products appeared to have my name on them.  Lets start with the Brightening Spot Treatment.

While it works wonderfully with acne scars, it does very little for freckles (which was my main motivation was buying this).  The product also doubles as a lightweight moisturizer and smells like ginseng and herbs (as with many Sulwhasoo products).  

Tony Moly Tea Tree Cleansing Water

Many of us are familiar with the benefits and convenience of using micellar water, especially for those who live in areas with hard tap water.  Now, a version with tea tree oil!  Although I still like to use a traditional foaming cleanser to wash my face in the morning and at night, I use this as a mid-day refresher (I only wear makeup on special occasions now so a few quick sweeps of this no-wash cleanser with a cotton pad does the trick).  The result is soft, clean, and refreshed skin that smells faintly of tea tree oil.  

Dr. G SOS Sunscreen

On bad acne days when I’m going out, I opt to wear Dr. G’s A-Clear Sensi-AC Sunscreen.  This the only lightweight sunscreen with salicylic acid that I have been able to find on the market.  It feels heavier than the Innisfree Blueberry Sun Cream but it treats acne while protecting your face from the sun.  Also, fragrance free and no white cast.

Innisfree Blueberry Sun Cream

Hands down, this is the most lightweight sunscreen I have ever used.  Apply liberally before going out–the result is soft, fragrance-free, protected skin with no white cast.  Feels like water going on and washes off easily with a normal cleanser.  Some sunscreens double as makeup primers–this is not one of them.  This is perfect for no makeup days (which is about every day for me) and if you do wear makeup over this, give it ample time to dry beforehand.  

Innisfree (as well as Nature Republic) is South Korea’s version of Origins.  The company prides itself as being a proponent of skincare and makeup made with natural plant-based ingredients.  

SK-II Cotton Pads

You can’t buy these (as they come with your purchase of the large-sized SK-II Treatment Essence at the brand’s counters in Seoul) but these are the best facial cotton pads on the market.  Soft, lightweight, and anti-pilling–I never thought I’d rave about cotton pads.  In addition, unlike using cotton balls, there is very little waste of product.  And, rather than using them with quick swipes (as you would with cotton balls), you “pad across” your face using the pads, which can help prep your skin for the next product (i.e, serum, moisturizer, etc.).  Don’t use SK-II products?  Get a friend who does and offer to pay for the pads–they’re worth it!