Skin

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!

Kat Burki & Biologique Recherche

In my continued quest for a holy grail skincare regimen and turning my bathroom into a spa, I’ve finally tried Biologique Recherché and Kat Burki.  Biologique Recherché is probably the cultiest of cult favorites and Kat Burki is one of the new kids on the block (although an American brand and made in the USA, it’s quite popular in the UK).  So without further ado:

(1)  Biologique Recherché Lait VIP O2–This is an exfoliating milk cleanser that contains lactic acid and niacinamide as two of its star ingredients (full list of ingredients may be found on all sites that sell BR).  I like this cleanser.  Gentle feel yet powerful exfoliation and can be used daily.  However, there are so many other cleansers on the market that does the same thing.  This is my favorite item from the line (which isn’t saying much).

(2)  Biologique Recherché Masque Vivant–This is a clarifying and brightening mask that purifies with yeast and also contains niacinamide.  Smells like Vegamite and beef bullion.  After using SK-II (which also uses yeast as a star ingredient), I haven’t been crazy about the whole yeast concept.  I’m 36, a mother of two, and have Asian skin that is combination (oily T-zone and normal to dry cheeks).  Apparently, the only response my skin has to yeast (in skincare lines) is itchiness and redness (all temporary, thank goodness).

(3)  Biologique Recherché P50 Lotion (No Phenol Version)–This is an exfoliating toner that has received much hype (just Google this product and you’ll find tons of reviews).  There are several versions of this toner (original, normal without phenol, sensitive skin, and mature skin).  I chose to use the version without phenol because of my two little ones as there’s been some controversy on the safety of its use.  This is BR’s star product and I have to say that I’m disappointed.  Perhaps it’s my skin type (and its reaction to the ingredients) and although it did provide excellent exfoliation, my face is itchy and red after every use (I’d hate to imagine what the phenol formula is like).

(4)  Biologique Recherché Crème Dermopurifante–This is a balancing and brightening moisturizer that has yeast and niacinamide as two of its star ingredients (starting to see a pattern here?).  It’s supposed to be mattifying and purge/clarify your skin of excess sebum as well as balance the pH of your skin.  So far, I have found that it does none of the above for my skin.  However, I’m willing to give it a chance by using it as a day treatment during downtime (as a mask for when my little boy is napping).

(5)  Kat Burki Vitamin C Nourishing Cleansing Balm–This is a cleansing balm that features Vitamin C and several cold pressed fruit oils as its star ingredients.  Even though I have combination skin (and I think this is more suitable for dry skin), I love it.  I love it so much that it has earned a permanent place in my skincare routine.  Results were immediate (skin was brighter and softer).  Yes, it’s essentially an expensive oil cleanser (great for removing makeup and sunscreen).  But it has the added benefit of brightening your skin (with 15% Vitamin C) and making it super soft.  To get a bang for your buck, I recommend using this as both an oil cleanser and a mask (your skin will thank you)–I massage it onto my face to remove any sunscreen or makeup, keep it on my face for about 20 minutes before rinsing it off, and then use a foam cleanser to remove any oily residue.  If you wear (a lot of) makeup daily (as I did when I was single), this may not be an economical product as you’d have to tissue off the first application and then reapply for the mask part of the regimen.  But since I only wear makeup on special occasions now, this balm is all I need to remove dirt, grime, and sunscreen from my face (having two kids under the age of 2 will do this to you).  And a little goes a long way.  Bottom line:  This product converted me into a Kat Burki lover.

(6)  Kat Burki Vitamin C Intensive Face Cream–This is a brightening moisturizer that uses 15 % Vitamin C and various cold pressed fruit oils as its star ingredients.  Some say that it’s too light to be used as a night cream but I say it’s perfect (again, I have combination skin with an oily T-zone).  It does not contain SPF and can be used day and/or night.  A fantastic moisturizer and may have just replaced my precious Crème de La Mer (gasp!).

My only complaint about the two Kat Burki products is the packaging–the consistency of both is such that they can and should be used with pumps (it would also be more sanitary and, thus, prolong shelf life).  Yes, the glass jars are pretty to look at but glass bottles with pumps would be more practical and user friendly.

As for stores, there are several that sell BR and Kat Burki but none offer free returns (except Nordstrom).  Plus, returns are only accepted for unopened items (except Nordstrom).  How would one know if a product irritates his/her skin without trying it first?  Not being able to return the BR products annoys me (since the line is only sold at spas and boutiques).  Glad it’s a moot point with the Kat Burki products (since they work fantastically on my skin).  For those who would like to try a line or product but also want the protection of being able to return items inappropriate for your skin, I recommend shopping at Nordstrom (as the store offers free returns, no questions asked).  Yes, I am an affiliate seller of Nordstrom but don’t shop there just because of that; shop there because you’re protected with your purchases no matter what (as long as you save your receipts).  To get the most value for your purchase (of any skincare/cosmetic line), buy the products you’d like to try from Nordstrom.  Then (after knowing what works for you), buy the products from their respective companies’ stores/websites (which tend to have more special offers/promotions/samples of the brand).

Saving Face

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Being on the east and west coasts has taught me few a things about my skin and skincare and makeup needs (which do change every now and then).  Since we’ve established that this is the first year I’ve started using serums and have changed my skincare line a bit, I figured I would investigate my current makeup regimen and explore some changes to that, as well.

When I’m in the east with the humidity, my skin is very sensitive and acne-prone.  Most liquid foundations worked well for me until grad school.  Then, my skin decided it had had enough of the liquid masks.  So, I tried mineral makeup and thought it was the best thing since sliced bread.

Now that I’ve been hanging out in the west, my skin is quite dry and, although I still get those pesky blackheads, acne (for the most part) has kept its distance.  The problem with my wearing mineral makeup out here is that, because my skin is so dry, it looks like a thick layer of powder covering my face.  I also feel it more for some reason (if that makes any sense).  So, here are a couple discoveries I’ve made that work wonders for dry skin and/or people with combination skin that tends to get drier in the winter and/or certain geographic regions:  Christian Dior’s AirFlash Foundation and Yves Saint Laurent’s Top Secrets BB Cream.

Although CD’s AirFlash foundation is a bit messy to put on (you are literally spray-painting your face), the effect is amazing.  The finish is soft and airbrushed (powder finish) and you feel absolutely nothing.  I have never had a foundation that felt this light.  Incredible.

YSL’s Top Secrets BB cream is, of course, creamier (as BB creams are meant to be versus other types of foundations).  If you want a dewy look, this is it.  This BB cream erases blemishes and oxidizes to your skin tone (there are only three color choices for this foundation and oxidation takes about 10 minutes).

Neither has given me any side effects (i.e., breakouts, etc.).  And, as a bonus, I’ve also been able to set both foundations with my mineral powder foundation.  But that’s only if I have a long day ahead and don’t plan on refreshing the base.  And that, my friends, is how I am “saving face” this winter  :).