Tag Archives: skincare

earring hole blackheads

LOBE BLACKHEADSIf you have pierced ears with no earrings in the holes go to a mirror right now.  Put your thumb on the under side and stretch the lobe so the pierced hole turns inside out.  Did a blackhead plug pop out?  Are you horrified?  I know.  Now turn your lobe the other way and get the back side blackhead plug.  Then go to the other ear and take care of business.  You’re welcome you filthy bitch.  EARBLACKHEAD

Skin Obsession Acne Stop

DUANE READEKnow what I want when it comes to skin care?  Lasting, meaningful, noticeable results.  Whether it’s age, tolerance, climate, or hormones, my skin just doesn’t respond to most mass-market products anymore.  I need more power.  SKIN OBSESSION ACNE STOPSkin Obsession Acne Stop only has three ingredients: 10% Salicylic acid and 5% Lactic acid in an Ethyl Alcohol base.  Apparently, that’s all we need because this treatment makes things happen.  This supertonic uncovers your freshest skin, fades spots (FOR REAL), melts stubborn black heads, attacks acne, and softens lines.  With much power comes much responsibility, so recognize this toner-style product doesn’t play.  It acts as a mini-peel.  Expect temporary burning, superficial flaking and redness.  It is blindingly strong.  Like if you get it in your eyes, you’ll probably go blind.  Be careful Little Doves.HANDS AND FEETAs an unexpected bonus, Skin Obsession Acne Stop gets at those stubborn rough spots on my feet and my weird elbow patches.  I also paint a layer on the back of my hands because I don’t want to be wearing gloves like Madonna in my 50’s.  The hands and the neck don’t lie!MADONNA GLOVES

Arbonne RE9 Advanced


ARBONNE RANGEI promised you a comprehensive review of Arbonne’s RE9 range, and by now I’ve used the products consistently enough to fairly assess the situation.  Let us start at the beginning of the recommended regime with the Smoothing Facial CleanserARBONNE SMOOTHING FACIAL CLEANSERThe Smoothing Facial Cleanser is a creamy one-pump face wash that suds when agitated with water.  I’ve been using it with my Clarisonic and it works well enough for removing makeup.  It isn’t overly drying, but it does burn my eyes.  For a company that purports to be “natural,” there’s a lot of multi-syllabic mystery chemicals in the formula.  Final Letter Grade: C.  Profoundly mediocre with an unpleasant burning after sensation.  FACIAL CLEANSER INGREDIENTSARBONNE REGENERATING TONERThe Regenerating Toner is one of the most surprising and underrated products of the bunch.  The high-end spray bottle dispenses a gentle and refreshing citrus-infused mist.  Even though most people think toners are useless additions to an already bogged-down regime, they can be valuable opportunities for depositing another layer of active ingredients on the skin.  Final Letter Grade: B+.  A delightful 30 second trip to the orange groves. ARBONNE INTENSIVE RENEWAL SERUMWho doesn’t love a serum?  Serum is like pizza – it’s hard to fuck up.  Intensive Renewal Serum is light and penetrates quickly.  It doesn’t have the heavy silicone feel of many other serums.  My only complaint is that when used alone I need several pumps.  To extend its reach, I mix it with a moisturizer.  Final Letter Grade: A-ARBONNE EXTRA MOISTURE RESTORATIVE DAY CREMEBy far my least favorite product of the pack is the Extra Moisture Restorative Day Creme.  If this stuff gets in my eyes, they erupt in redness and a waterfall of tears.  Final Letter Grade: F. Harsh Sauce.ARBONNE NIGHT REPAIRI’d characterize Arbonne’s Night Repair as a decent mid-level night cream with a number of beneficial ingredients including peptides and Vitamin A.  It is decently rich and healing even for those with dry skin.  Final Letter Grade: B.   ARBONNE NIGHT REPAIR INGREDIENTS ARBONNE CORRECTIVE EYEOne of the few products that doesn’t set my eyes afire is the Corrective Eye Creme, and thank goodness for that.  This is an above average eye cream that provides temporary visible results overnight.  It softens, smooths, and pampers the tender, sensitive under-eye area.  I enjoy that it isn’t as heavy as many eye cream formulas.  Final Letter Grade: A-.  ARBONNE REArbonne offers some highs and lows with the RE9 Advanced collection, but my feelings can be summarized as follows.  First, I find their “green” and “pure” claims rather dubious.  For a “natural” product line, I have an unnatural sensitivity to the products.  Second, not one single product stands out as cult-worthy.  Which leads us to number three, none of these products are fantastic enough to put up with the relentless hounding of the Arbonnettes.  Ultimately, there isn’t a product in this spread that can be obtained elsewhere in a cheaper and more natural form.  Ordering from Arbonne with all their schemes just isn’t worth the trouble.  MERCEDES ARBONNE


peel pro/cons

Ten days post-peel, I’m ready to discuss the final verdict on the paint-on glycolic acid procedure.  Shall we review the pros and cons?

Peel Pros

non-invasive ♥ little down time ♥ relatively inexpensive ♥ quick ♥ produces measurable results ♥ addresses sun damage ♥ immediate gratification ♥ addictive

Peel Cons

unpredictable — must avoid the sun — triggers breakouts and fever blisters — requires professional application — causes flaking skin — thoughtful timing needed

I look forward to my next peel and plan to book one in the next few days well in advance of Coachella.  Next time I will ask for more intensity on the cheeks, forehead, and jawline and less intensity around the eyes, mouth and on the nose.  I will also request my neck and the tops of my hands get a little glycolic love too.  One appointment produced noticeable benefits.  A second is bound to improve upon the first.  I have a hunch that three is the magic number, and it’s only after the third appointment that optimal results are achieved.  From there on out, it’s all maintenance.


Murad Clarifying Cleanser

Murad’s really been pushing their “clinically proven” Clarifying Cleanser by giving away generous samples to the prestige beauty sites to disperse to qualifying buyers.  I’m such a sample slut, I made sure to qualify.  I’m almost through the tube, having used it on and off over the last few months.  Murad claims 92% of users experience a reduction in breakouts in the first three days.  I must be one the 8% leftover.  Peruse the ingredients and then we’ll chat some more…

Active Ingredient: Salicylic Acid 1.5%
Inactive Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate, Methyl Gluceth-20, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Butylene Glycol, Cimicifuga Racemosa Root Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Silver Citrate, Menthol, PEG-150 Distearate, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch Octenylsuccinate, Glyceryl Stearate, Cocamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Polysorbate 80, Citric Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Chlorphenesin, Methylisothiazolinone, Limonene, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Leaf Oil, Cymbopogon Nardus (Citronella) Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Fragrance (Parfum).

As you can see, the formula relies on Salicylic Acid which ain’t revolutionary, but Murad claims to have improved the delivery by encapsulating the ingredient for slow release.  Even if this is true, I’m doubtful a cleanser leaves enough of the spheres behind to make a meaningful difference.  When it comes to face wash, I’m a firm believer that most of the beneficial stuff ends up swirling down the drain.  The sudsy clear gel provides a menthol-medical experience – think luxury Sea Breeze.  Some will find it drying as I do.  When used with a Clarisonic, a few drizzles on the bristles creates a foamy face washing experience, but the suds can be quite irritating to the eyes.  Personally, I prefer a gentler, simpler wash with fewer harsh ingredients.

Estee Lauder Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator: the verdict

After a hot and cold month with Estee Lauder Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator, it’s now time for the final verdict.  The serum possesses a few above average qualities.  First, as skeptical as I was, I do perceive a subtle improvement in hyper-pigmentation.  Spots don’t vanish, but they do fade and lighten.  Not a fan of makeup?  Listen up; you might enjoy this as a daily product to brighten the face without cosmetics.  Idealist does provide a subtle glow.

As mentioned previously, this product doesn’t play well with others.  It tends to seize up when layered.  Also, the serum doesn’t deliver major results and doesn’t perform in a truly active fashion.  For the purists who insist upon a letter grade, I’m feeling generous, so I’ll give it a B-.  It won’t be a repeat purchase.

Clarisonic Mia: week three report

Three weeks into the Clarisonic experiment, I can really see the difference in my skin.  The Mia is truly justifying the investment.  My troublesome skin is beginning to clear when nothing else seemed to help.  I credit this device.Regarding my skeeves, Annie recommended spritzing alcohol on the brush head to freshen it.  For more major cleanings, the brush head should be removed and left to dry.  Don’t forget to spend some time along the neck and hairline; these often neglected areas need attention.  You can even give the ears a once around. 


I’m starting to see what all the fuss is about.

Local Beauty: LaBoe Salon

As some of you know, I’ve been stuck on the buckle of the Bible belt for much of the summer on account of some personal tragedy.  It hasn’t been easy or fun, but one special lady certainly brought a little sunshine to some very cloudy days. The very talented Joyce Bunch owns a reputable salon in Morristown, Tennessee called LaBoe.  Picture Dolly Parton from Steel Magnolias and you are almost there.  Kind-hearted with a gentle touch, Joyce breaks out some cutting edge treatments in this little town.  For example, have you ever had a cold saline jet peel?  Very enjoyable. Now most of you might count your lucky stars that Morristown, Tennessee isn’t on the travel itinerary for this year.  However, you too can enjoy a little LaBoe goodness.  She produces a top-notch and reasonably priced beauty line.  Check out www.laboesalon.com for an excellent array of potent products.  Free from fragrance and artificial color, Joyce keeps it real and focuses on results-oriented skincare.  I’d put her glycolic face cream up against any prestige brand.  The LaBoe skincare line comes in generously sized containers that make you feel like you are getting two for one.  

If you live in east Tennessee and you aren’t at the Cracker Barrel right now (don’t get mad, I heart okra too) you must visit Joyce Bunch for a little derma-TLC.  For those geographically far-flung, get on these products.  Your friends will be dying to know your skincare secret. 


Sunscreen: hi * low

I get a lot of sunscreen inquiries, but haven’t loved any one product enough to drop a full-on endorsement on my faithful DC readers.  Either the SPF isn’t high enough, the finish is too greasy, or the product rubs off and burns my eyes.  For example, I really wanted to like this Alba Organics SPF 30, but in addition to causing eye irritation, it migrates and you end up tasting it.  This creates a grossly unpleasant and uncomfortable experience, especially during any kind of physical activity.In response to dissatisfaction with all the obvious big players (Neutrogena, Coppertone, Aveeno), the pendulum swung way to the other end of the spectrum, and I invested in this Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 30.  The plastic end houses peachy colored powder that dispenses through the brush.  First off, when the product arrived it was difficult to tell if any actual powder trickled down through the bristles.  I pulled off the end and dumped half the product on the floor.  At around $30 bucks (on clearance now as low as $12), $15 was wasted by this careless accident – super annoying for sure!  Can’t really blame PTR, but the mistake soured my overall impression.  The powder formulation skirts the typical perils of cream or oil sunscreen as mentioned above.  It doesn’t run into the eyes or mouth.  Instant mineral isn’t greasy, and it doubles as a loose powder by providing a matte finish.  The main drawback is it is difficult to tell if you’ve achieved adequate coverage.  Furthermore, like most other sunscreens, it sweats off.  I don’t hate this product, but it is most useful as a scalp sunscreen.  It doubles as a dry shampoo and crown protector.  Sun-roof and convertible babies, this one is for you.  Of all the sunscreens tested (far more than discussed here), Ocean Potion Face SPF45 Clear Zinc Oxide is my favorite.  Unlike many carcinogenic sunscreen ingredients readily absorbed into the blood stream and linked to hormone disruption, zinc oxide is an inorganic compound which provides complete UVB/UVA protection, has anti-inflammatory properties, and is considered a safe sunscreen ingredient.  It is also about the only sunblock approved by the FDA for children under 6 months of age.  This particular light weight cream absorbs easily and does NOT leave that weird white film many of us associate with standard zinc oxide sunscreens.  The best part?  This stuff is very reasonably priced.  Find this one ounce jar widely available for less than $2, and with a little research, bargain hunters can track it down for only $.67!