Murad’s Renewing Cleansing Oil

If you would’ve told me years ago that I’d be pre-cleansing my face nightly with an oil I would have thought you were crazy. Although my skin isn’t oily anymore, I think I’ll always have that mind set that it is- sort of like when you loose weight but still see yourself as heavy. I can’t tell you how many 40-something year old clients I meet with clear (and usually dry) skin who still use Proactiv as a sort of crutch, never evolving their routine with age and skin changes. I’m glad I got brave enough a few years ago to try cleansing oils, they’re the easiest way to reamove makeup while adding some light hydration. Murad’s Renewing Cleansing Oil $32 does this particularly well leaving just a soft slick of moisture behind so your skin doesn’t feel tight or dry after washing. It’s non-comedogenic so it won’t clog pores (most oils don’t, it’s creams that you need to watch out for actually) so all skin types can benefit.

Protecting your skin from harsh stripping is important. Dry skin equals old looking skin, just look at the way women age when they live near water versus a drier climate. Trading out a drying cleanser for a cleansing oil could make a big difference in the overall look and health of your skin.

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Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre 24 Hour Miracle Cream

Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre 24 Hour Miracle Cream is nothing short of a cult favorite among Makeup Artists and celebs alike. If you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out.

Lait-Crème Concentrè

I first saw it in action backstage at Fashion Week at every show – see the squished up tube behind the Rosewater spray (which I also went out and bought shortly after.)

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And here again, next to Eve Pearl, one of my favorite foundations at a different show. Every artist it seemed was carrying it.

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Even Gwyneth Paltrow gave it some Goop love a few years back touting its big time Makeup Artist following. But why is it a staple in most pro’s kits? Because I’ve yet to find a skin type it doesn’t work on. Oily, acne-prone, dry, and even clients with skin so sensitive they bring their own moisturizer because they’re afraid that whatever I’m using might trigger a reaction. But it never has. On the contrary- it calms, softens, and evens out the skin in a subtle but complete way. I’ve been using fewer silicone-based primers these days because this primes the skin so well that I don’t need the added step. At Fashion Week, I also saw it used as a makeup remover for the girls who came in full makeup from other shows. Without sinks and water, the artists were able to get the girl’s faces totally clean using this cream and tissues alone.

A 1oz tube is just $16, but I get the larger 2.6oz since it’s only $28. Yup, it’s a French drugstore line so not only is it free of nasty chemicals (Europe bans most of the ones we still use here), but it’s also cheap!

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.

Professional Skin Care From the L.A. Experts

What would 2 L.A. based plastic surgeons and a facialist know about skin? A lot actually. Keeping celebs camera-ready in the age of HD and paparazzi (where grocery shopping can turn into an impromptu photo shoot) is the cornerstone of their businesses, so formulating their own lines to get the exact results their clients need is a natural next step for their successful clinics. Here are 3 I’ve tried recently that give celebrity-worthy results to us little people.

Of the few things I sampled from the Kate Somerville line, I was most impressed by her Anti Aging and Acne collection, a totally underrepresented category of skin care. It’s for those who are still experiencing slight to moderate breakouts in their 30′s and beyond where drying the hell out of your face to banish acne isn’t the best option for a youthful skin texture. Her Oil Free Moisturizer balances skin hydration levels carefully so as not to exacerbate oiliness or breakouts and also uses Pepha-Tight, an exclusive skin toner and tightener for a firmer looking face.

Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturizer

Also worth checking out is her Anti Bac Clearing Lotion, a 5% prescription strength, time-released Benzoyl Peroxide that’s strong enough to wipe out acne but gentle enough to  protect skin from the typically drying and peeling effects some acne fighters cause.

Kate Somerville Anti Bac Clearing Lotion

Dr. Solieman is a double board certified plastic surgeon who developed Jolie MD Metamorphosis to refine lined, blemish-prone, hyper-pigmented, and oily skin into a clearer, more vibrant version of itself. His two step system uses an arsenal of proven ingredients that helps overall skin clarity like Glycolic, Salicylic, Vitamin A, and Whitonyl to name a few. The two light lotions are layered together nightly for a deep down exfoliation revealing the clearer skin you’ve been hiding all this time.

Dr. Garth Fisher is known for his appearances on ‘Extreme Makeover’ as well as the guy who fixed Bruce Jenner’s earlier too-tight face work. Even Kim Kardashian raves about his line, CellCeuticals and says her whole family has been using it since they’ve met him. Extreme Defense is a best-seller because it’s a good-for-all skin protector that targets daily environmental pollutants known to advance skin aging. He uses Vitamins A, C, E, Green Tea, and Vitamin B5 along with Almond and Avocado oils to soften the skin without a heavy cream. His line is straightforward and so effective that he touts visible results in just 2 weeks.

Erno Laszlo Regular Normalizer Shake-it

Erno Laszlo’s Shake-it is the perfect non-foundation foundation. Shake the bottle to blend the pigment together with a skin perfecting toner that absorbs oil and makes  pores disappear. You can use it as a primer if you want a little more coverage, but I use it alone when I want natural, great looking skin. I was really surprised how seamlessly it disguised redness and how long it lasted especially when the formula seemed so light and watery. It’s just not like anything I’ve used for coverage on the face.

You can use a cotton ball, but I just use my fingers to apply and rub it in. It’s one of those products you have to try to believe how great it looks. Next time you’re passing through a department store that carries Laszlo, have them put it on you so you can wear it around and see for yourself that ‘coverage’ doesn’t mean what you thought it did.

Erno Laszlo Regular Normalizer Shake-it

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Koh Gen Do Oriental Plants Essence and Skin Lotion

Koh Gen Do has the same approach to creating skin care as they do with makeup. Keep it light and give the skin exactly what it needs. Their Oriental Plants line is comprised of 6 products that cater to skin in the middle and not in the extremes- meaning mostly normal skin that can tend to be dry or oily but fairly typical overall.

Pictured above are my favorites from the line, their Essence and Skin Lotion. Essence is a clear, weightless boosting serum to balance, hydrate and firm up the skin using plant based technology and known skin soothers. It makes my sometimes oily skin feel balanced with a comfortable moisture level.

Skin Lotion is a hydrator that locks in moisture and refreshes the skin surprisingly well considering it’s a clear fluid with a consistency slightly thicker than water. I love the idea of moisture in the absence of a heavy cream so the ingredients can absorb and treat the skin without being trapped on the surface wrapped in thick cream. This is usually why high-potency serums are in a liquid form, it’s a cleaner delivery system. It seems counterintuitive, but these light-in-weight serums can actually deliver better and more complete moisture to the skin than their thick and creamy counterparts.

Koh Gen Do is also a line completely against animal testing and has formulated products without petroleum, fragrance, artificial colors, and parabens long before it was fashionable to do so. You’ll also love the heavy glass bottles and beautiful packaging which to me are just a continuation of the product itself and the pride and work they’ve put into it all.

Oriental Plants

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