Nude Skincare

I’ve been a fan of NUDE Skincare since they first came on the scene a few years ago, but now they’ve really stepped up their game with a new look and a new collection of 11 probiotic and omega-rich cleansers, treatment oils, and creams. I’ve been able to try out most of the new offerings and what I found was ultra concentrated, safe, effective skincare that delivers as promised.

Highlights for me include:

The beautifully delicate ProGenius Treatment Oil is rich in omegas, vitamins, and plant and flower oils, my skin gobbled up just a few drops which gave the right amount of hydration and left my skin really soft and luminous. Use it solo on combo skin or if you don’t like the weight of heavy creams, or layer it under your moisturizer for extra thirsty skin. I used it recently on a client with ultra dry skin by mixing it into her foundation with amazing results, she said her skin had never looked so pretty. She was so overjoyed in fact (and so sweet) that I gave her my bottle right out of my kit.

For years I’ve used various oils as a pre-cleanse to loosen both eye and face makeup to reduce the amount of scrubbing to my skin, so I’m well versed in what makes one particularly good. Perfect Cleansing Oil replaced my beloved Shu Uemura face oil because it felt lighter, I use much less, and it just works better. There isn’t any sort of oily residue left behind and it doesn’t burn my eyes either. I work one pump into my skin before mixing in my cleanser (which is optional since it’s made to be used solo), it makes a huge difference especially with dissolving stubborn mascara.

Which leads me to their cleanser. There are two cleansing options within the line, one is the oil and the other is Purify Cleansing Wash. It’s a fantastic, great-for-all cleanser with a unique feel- neither a gel nor a cream- but soft and pillowy without any foam or fuss. It cleans without stripping and leaves skin feeling balanced and great. I’m not in love with the scent, but it isn’t a deal breaker for me either.

And now for the big show; every line is only as good as their moisturizer and Cellular Renewal is great. Omegas, probiotics, vitamins and all their best stuff provide what feels like pure nutrition on the skin. The smallest amount goes a long way and since it’s without SPF, it works for day and night. I often let my (very picky) husband try moisturizers out because he doesn’t like things that are heavily scented, too heavy, greasy, or fussy. Luckily this is none of those so he’ll actually use it nightly and has even said it’s something he’d buy again which is a little insane actually since he isn’t a ‘products sort of guy.’ Great science and results aside, it makes skin just feel better and not slathered in anything.

Check out NUDE skincare at Sephora.

MyChelle: NASA Technology, Q&A, and Great Skincare the Natural Way

MyChelle has something other companies wish they had- NASA-grade technology to prove their skincare actually works. VISIA is the imager that gives an in-depth 3D look at your skin’s true condition so their team of professionals can provide some direction as to what products might work best with your skin. Want proof that their line actually work? Come back to a local Whole Foods where they’ll bring the machine by to see exactly how their products have helped your skin by using the imager once again for a side by side look that’s irrefutable. It’s a bold move and one that would only be done by a company so sure of their line’s effectiveness to prove that their natural-based line can stack up against all the rest.

I had a chance to ask Kristine Carey their VP of Marketing a few questions recently about the line and here’s what she had to say.

Me: Can natural products and treatments really be more effective than their mainstream counterparts?

MyChelle: You can see the visual before and afters from using our products that prove positive results that occur both on the surface of the skin and at the cellular level. Our VISIA Complexion Analysis program is our proving ground that MyChelle is effective. We offer a free VISIA Complexion Analysis consultation at Whole Foods Markets in various locations shown HERE.

Me: How does the Apple Brightening Serum stack up to a more mainstream treatment like Hydroquinone for fading dark spots?

MyChelle: The Apple Brightening Serum is Mother Nature’s solution to sun damage. This unique serum is loaded with nutrient dense ingredients including:

• Apple Fruit Cell Culture (PhytoCellTec™), a revolutionary ingredient in skin care that stops chronological aging. This is the first topical product to protect human skin stem cells and delay the natural aging process by maintaining the activity of skin cells.
• Apple Fruit Extract (Applephenon™) is shown to contain ten times the level of polyphenol found in ripe apples which maintains youthful skin. It’s also rich in malic acid to refine and rejuvenate.
• Nonapeptide-1 (Melanostatine®5) is a biomimetic peptide (mimics body’s natural response) shown to reduce hyperpigmentation by preventing activation of tyrosinase and blocking melanin synthesis.

The Apple Brightening Serum is like a two for one deal because not only are you diminishing hyperpigmentation but you are also minimizing fine lines and wrinkles.

Hydroquinone on the other hand, is considered the mainstream topical ingredient for inhibiting melanin production and reducing surface spots on the skin. This is not a natural ingredient and it is considered safe by many, but it’s not to MyChelle standards. The Food and Drug Association in September 2006 recommended that products containing hydroquinone be sold only with a prescription due to their opinion that it posed certain health risks (more about that HERE.) MyChelle chooses not to take the risk when there are natural options that are just as effective.

Me: How does the Clear Skin line compare to products like ProActiv?

MyChelle: A daily regimen of cleansing, toning and nourishing is the key to effectively balancing acne-prone skin. An over production of sebum (oil) and lack of proper exfoliation boost the overgrowth of blemish-causing bacteria and oil.

Most blemish treatments on the market today create an unhealthy cycle for the skin that includes episodes of severe dryness followed by periods of extreme oiliness. Harsh chemical ingredients are shutting down the sebaceous glands which ultimately dry out the skin. Once you stop using these products your sebaceous glands rev back up and leave the skin extremely oily congested.

The Clear Skin Teen Anthology is an effective, naturally pure, blemish treatment plan specifically formulated for youthful skin with active ingredients that include 6% Sulphur to draw out bacteria and oil, Zinc Sulfate to heal and protect, and Totarol an anti-viral antioxidant that effectively reduces acne disturbances.

The Clear Skin spot treatment is the perfect product. It will not only help minimize the breakout but it also helps to heal redness and inflammation. This line is easy to use and insures healthy, beautiful skin.

Me: What’s your most popular product?

MyChelle: Our Perfect C Serum with Buddleja Plant Stem Cells because it’s highly effective and provides visible results. It has an advanced formula to protect the skin’s health while combating the signs of aging. A potent 17% dose of clinically proven L-Ascorbic Acid helps to strengthen collagen and improve skin texture. Buddleja Plant Stem Cells protect against photo-damage and oxidative stress through antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity. L-Ergothioneine boosts cellular energy and helps interrupt the stress that destroys elastin.

Me: I love a good self tanner since I’m SPF obsessed. Tell me about your Del Sol Sunless Tanner.

MyChelle: Del Sol sunless tanner builds a beautiful glow within hours of applying. It’s made with:

• Dihydroxyacetone (Sugar) – A simple carbohydrate that is derived from beets and sugar cane for a sunless tanning action to give the skin a sun kissed glow.
• Erythrulose (Sugar) – A high performance self tanning agent derived from plant keto-sugar that encourages an even, long lasting tanning effect and protects against UV damage while keeping the skin hydrated.

It has a delicate aroma of citrus and smells nothing like the typical sunless tanner smell. It’s so easy to apply and feels light on the skin. You can reapply daily to build deeper color or use as need to maintain a summer glow all year long.

Click HERE to find MyChelle at a store near you.

Best Anti-Aging Creams from Dr. Oz

Anyone catch Dr. Jeannette Graf on Dr. Oz last week? She recommended 3 things that she feels make the biggest difference to the look of your skin. She said that using a daily SPF should be a given, but to bump up its effectiveness, also wear an antioxidant – she liked THIS one from Glytone. Of course she also loved retinol (what doc doesn’t?) because it’s the most effective anti-aging ingredient around. She liked Avéne’s TriAcneal, a gentle formula to help the skin’s overall texture. Finally, she chose a chemical exfoliator called AHA 7 Fruit Amidroxy Exfoliator from Skin PhD , to speed skin cell turnover so new, bright skin can get to the surface and replace the old. Just make sure you’re also using some sort of scrub so you can slough off the old skin – a good thing to do a few times a week no matter what your routine.

Check out the segment HERE at DrOz.com.

What are BB Creams?

Have you heard about the BB Cream craze? BB Creams (short for blemish balm or beauty balm or beauty base) were first developed for women whose skin was left bruised, raw, and red from lasers and other surgical treatments. These creams were made by doctors to soothe, heal, and protect delicate skin with the added bonus of breakthrough invisible coverage to hide the irritations without having to use any traditional concealers or foundations.  Essentially they’re unique, lightweight coverage creams with sunscreen and other skin benefits built right in. BB Creams are a true marriage of skincare and color – and are often found in the skincare section and not with makeup. They’re traditionally offered as a one-size-fits-all in terms of color using a universal shade that blends into your skin tone perfecting and seamlessly covering redness instead of masking a it the way a foundation does – it reminds me a little of Philosophy’s The Supernatural which gave similar instant results (see my review and photos HERE). You’ll also see some with a PA+, PA++. or PA+++ sunscreen rating (+++ being the best) which tells you how effective the SPF is in guarding against UVA rays – the nasty ones that breakdown collagen and age the skin.

If you like a full coverage foundation you might find that these aren’t enough so use them as a primer to get more skin benefits than what basic silicone formulas provide.They’re really different from anything else out there so go to Sephora where the selection is the best and ask for samples of a few before you commit. I also want to try Lauder’s new BB Cream they’ve incorporated into their Daywear collection which I’ll review separately once I give it a try. For now, here are the 3 I sampled at Sephora and the pros and cons of each.

Clinique Age Defense BB Cream $37:

-Pros-

Oily skin can benefit from its mattifying properties.

SPF 30

A good shade (01) that would work for very fair skin tones – the lightest I found.

-Cons-

It was the heaviest of the 3 and it settled into the skin making pores look more noticeable.

No PA rating.

I couldn’t figure out what the added skincare benefits were (what a BB is all about).

Their site refers to it as a ‘weekend makeup’ along the lines of a quick tinted moisturizer, but it’s called a BB. Not sure if it’s a true BB or just marketing.

Its radiance was a little unflattering (at least on my skin) where it bordered shiny instead of healthy.

Overall:

I liked the thick, creamy texture and easy blendability. It’s probably best for those with good skin who favor a tinted moisturizer or quick powder for their daily routine.

Boscia BB Cream SPF 27 PA ++ $38:

-Pros-

Great skincare benefits (help for fine lines, dryness, and large pores), which is what a BB should offer.

SPF 27 and a PA++ rating

It has a natural formula without parabens, phthalates and other chemicals.

It did give my skin an immediate boost.

Good coverage.

-Cons-

It has these tiny bits of shimmer that, although slight, might not be a fit for oily or mature skin.

Like most BB Creams, the one shade isn’t for very fair or very dark skin tones.

Overall:

This was my favorite and the only true BB of the bunch, it made my skin look better and covered redness well. It’s something I would buy and recommend to those looking for quick and easy coverage.

Too Faced Tinted Beauty Balm Multi-Benefit Skin Care Makeup $32:

-Pros-

Shade range; if you have darker skin you’ll have the best luck finding a color to suit you here.

It gave the most coverage of the 3 I tried, almost as much as some foundations.

You’ll get a pretty glow from its finish.

-Cons-

It does contain some vitamins and minerals, but overall it really is more of a quick makeup than a true BB Cream.

No PA rating and an SPF 20, the lowest of the 3.

Overall:

These are along the lines of what you’ll begin to see more and more of – a foundation with a built in primer and less of a BB Cream but marketed as such. It’s not a bad thing since I really liked the look and coverage, but if you want more of the skin treatment this one will leave you wanting more. Best for those who want great coverage from a tinted moisturizer and don’t care as much for the added skincare bonuses.

A few others to consider:

Sephora now carries Dr Jart’s signature BBs which are favorites in Asia where competition is big. Check out their Premium BB SPF 45 PA+++ $39 for more mature skin and the Water Fuse BB PA++ $32 for normal to oily skin. They’re both great for the skin formulated without synthetics and are exactly what BBs are supposed to be – skincare/makeup hybrids.

Garnier launched the first drugstore BB for just $13 that comes in two shades – Light/Medium and Medium/Deep. I’m can’t find its skincare benefits (or SPF), but it’s getting some good reviews for its light, even coverage. Look for it in the skincare aisle, not next to the makeup.

What to look for in a BB Cream:

- Sunscreen, PA ratings are a bonus.

- Vitamins and minerals.

- Enough coverage so you aren’t using concealer or anything else over it (unless you want to use it as a primer).

- Adequate moisture for your skin.

- Added benefits whether it be for skin lightening, acne, moisture, or whatever- find one that’s helping to target what your skin needs most.

For a full listing of the popular Asian formulas, check out THIS article from 08′ before the US versions hit the stores.

My Face Serum May or May Not Contain Foreskin; Advances in Skincare

Scanning over the ingredients of my super luxe TNS Essential Serum I see that it has Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media at the top of the list. Could this strangely sounding element really be why the serum is know to be so effective (not to mention pricey at $260 a pop)? And is it the skincare equivalent of Soylent Green? Is it really made from humans?

Actually, I think it is.

SkinMedica, the company that makes TNS calls Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media ‘ A physiologically balanced, naturally secreted and stabilized growth factor blend that helps improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and overall skin tone and texture.’ Googling around gives some mixed results; it’s thought by some to be derived from newborn babies’ foreskin (!), but I can’t find a clear explanation about its origin and the company isn’t giving details so the jury is out. Since it’s listed as ‘human’ on the ingredient lineup, I’ll assume it’s something of the sort however it’s derived.

While the use of young stem cells is gaining some serious traction on the scientific front in age reversal research, some companies who can afford to purchase the technology (like SkinMedica) are starting to offer products that are more cutting edge than ever. TNS Essential Serum isn’t new and has developed a bunch of crazed loyalists claiming that it has made their skin look 15 years younger and that they’ve tried to do without it but because of the cost, but they eventually return when they discover nothing else works as well. Its function is to repair and protect by fading discolorations, improving skin tone and texture while also preventing future damage – it’s a do-it-all (better be for the cost right?) replacing other creams and serums and narrowing down the steps to your routine.

I’m only a few weeks into using it during the day, it replaced my C serum and moisturizer and does a good job of hydrating and priming the skin for makeup. It has two separate chambers inside so when you pump it out you get a serum from one side of the bottle and a light lotion from the other that you mix together and apply. I hear the scent has recently changed which is good because it stinks. Really stinks (like foreskin?). But the scent fades and you don’t smell it any longer after it’s blended in.

It’s too early to tell if it’s making a difference, but it’s worth a shot. Because I’m pregnant I’m off Botox and my skin has been lackluster to say the least so I’m hoping for a miracle in a jar. I’ll keep you posted with an update in a few months to see if it works as well as they say.

Best Skin Lighteners for Fading Discolorations

I’m slowly starting to figure out that the all-natural stuff just doesn’t make my skin look as good as it does when I throw something more advanced its way. I’d love nothing more than to use straight nuts and berries on my face, but unfortunately it’s not helping to fade out some old scarring and redness I have going on. Believe me, I’ve tried.

In the cluttered skincare landscape filled with claims and promises, I can say that skin lighteners typically live up to their hype and are worth a try. There are so many ways to fade out age sun spots (sounds nicer), scars, discolorations and add more clarity and tons of radiance, it’s just a matter of finding something that works for your skin (and budget). I’ve put together a list of skin lighteners I’ve tried and ones I hear work great- look into them to see which might be best for the changes you’d like to make in your skin.

Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation $45:

I’ve read so much about this line and heard stories from people who are crazy devoted so I bought Sheer Transformation to see if I can kick out the last of my scarring and redness. It’s especially effective when used over Invigorating Night Gel but I use it over Obagi Exfoderm Forte that also has Glycolic and Lactic acids for cell turnover and brightening so it’s along the same lines. It’s a weightless gel/cream that absorbs quickly and gives your skin a dose of vitamins, fruit acids, and licorice for non-chemical fading and brightening. I love the way it feels so far, can’t wait to see the results.


Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum $60:

Murad’s serum uses known skin lightener Hydroquinone (2.0%) for a quicker approach to fading out those age spots within weeks. Most people in their trials saw a difference in their spots in just two weeks in fact. If you’re looking for something to work quickly and effectively, this is a serum to check out. There’s still some back and forth about the safety of Hydroquinone (typically when it’s used in a much higher concentration), but it’s still regarded by many as the gold standard for skin lightening.


Estée Lauder Idealist $85:

Idealist has been the most effective in fading out the freckles on my chest that I’ve had since forever. It uses a more gentle approach so the results aren’t instant but if you hang with it you’ll definitely see even, more radiant skin in about a month with better and better looking skin over time. $85 is an investment, but so are the laser treatments I was looking into. I’m glad I found something much less invasive for a lot less money.

Iman Time Control Skin Tone Evener $16:

This treatment is the least expensive of the bunch and hydroquinone free. It’s meant for all skin tones, but it’s especially effective for fading spots on darker skin tones which can be harder to lighten.

Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution $50:

Clearly Corrective is a new lightening serum free of silicones, fragrance, and parabens using vitamin c and white birch to get skin glowing. You should see some changes in just a few weeks with full results after 8, and continued use will help keep future spotting away.

Spots and uneven tone are easy problems to fix, so start with a skin evening treatment before thinking about Botox or more invasive things. You might find that your skin looks so great, you don’t need to do anything else.