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Do you dare to go bare? No, not down there, silly! I’m talking about up top…your face. How often do you go bare there?…

If you answered “not often”, you’re not alone. But what’s stopping you? For many it’s uneven skin tone and complexion-marring dark spots. This certainly was the case for me years ago when I struggled through my hyperpigmentation phase. Ohh, that was a rough patch . . . post acne blemishes dotted my entire face and there was absolutely, positively no way I’d go out in public with bare skin. As a result of my battle with hyperpigmentation, I started the Hyperpigmentation Series on ThisThatBeauty – the focus of the series is to help others and highlight new and innovative products designed to target hyperpigmentation. So when I learned of Lancôme DreamTone (I received a complimentary sample from Lancôme), I knew I had to give it a try.

Lancome-DreamTone

DreamTone is a customized skin tone correcting serum for those of us who wish to visibly correct dark spots and color imperfections for a more even skin tone. Lancome conducted global self-assessments of women of multiple ethnicities in an 8-week study and 72% of the women found DreamTone to be so powerful that they dared to bare their skin. Before testing the product, a few things immediately appealed to me. Firstly, I appreciate that DreamTone product trials included women of multiple ethnicities. As a woman of color, this gives me a bit of an indication as to whether or not a product will work for my complexion and the kind of dark spots darker skin tones tend to experience. Secondly, Lancôme DreamTone is the first product of its type that’s formulated specifically for certain skin tones…there are three serums, one for fair skin, one for medium skin and one for dark skin. This is truly a unique feature.

My appropriate serum is #3, for dark skin. And like the other serums for fair and medium skin tones, #3 is formulated to brighten dull skin, but it is also formulated to correct blemish marks in darker skin tones. In  clinical trials, 74% of women said they saw glowing skin immediately, 70% noticed a more even skin tone within seven days, 69% saw the appearance of dark spots reduced in four weeks and 78% saw color imperfections reduced by the end of the eight week trial. Though I am just starting my trial of Lancôme DreamTone, the clinical trial data is really impressive and makes me feel encouraged (check out these before/ after photos). In as little as four weeks, dramatic improvement is possible. And let’s be honest, four weeks is juuust about the time when your patience starts to wear thin if you’re not seeing improvement from a new skin care product.

To think, in a few short weeks you can actually go bare and feel confident in your skin. And as someone who’s been there (and thoroughly documented the struggle via my blog), believe me when I say – there’s nothing more freeing than feeling fresh-faced and confident. I’m proud to sport my bare skin!

Dream Tone selfie
I’m totally bare…except for my obligatory winged liner ; )

 #bareselfie #dreamtone

Lancôme DreamTone retails for $98 for a 1.3 fl oz. bottle and is available for purchase at Lancôme.com and department stores nationwide.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lancôme and Style Coalition.

Every now & then I like to republish this article for my many followers who deal with hyperpigmentation & inquire about my skin care routine. The blog post is a couple of years old — but my core principles are timeless….

Grab a cup of tea, a big bowl of (ThisThatBeauty’s fav) popcorn, glass of vino, yummy cocktail, or what ever it is you reach for when you settle in for a good read. This article promises to be the longest post in ThisThatBeauty history.

I am often approached regarding my exact skin care routine. I must confess. This is an extremely difficult question to answer for a number of reasons:

1) Everyone’s skin is different and the results I achieve may or may not be similar for your sweet little face.

2) My skin care routine changes from season to season…and when I say “season to season” I am not referring to weather. I am referring to my different “skin seasons”. For example, there’s the “acne season”, where my primary focus is managing my annoying adult acne. There’s the “dry season” where I incorporate products that help remedy excessive dryness. Currently my skin is in “hyperpigmentation season” so my routine is very heavily and aggressively focused on remedying the dastardly dark spots that have taken up residence on my otherwise pristine (I kid) mug.

3) I regularly (and cheerfully) review/test/and flip flop from product to product….and allow me to clarify what I mean by “flip flop”. I only flip flop from product to product after I’ve used for the recommended time frame (usually 4-8 weeks). If there’s no adverse reaction, I generally stick with a product until its used up. I then write a review and decide to re-purchase or move on to the next one. However, I should note that even though I regularly review and switch products, there are certain skin care principles that are constant (more on that later).

4) My overall skin care routine is somewhat extensive. Just ask @KatAragon. We recently roomed together in LA and she lovingly poked fun at my diligent day and evening skin care rituals…but she also all but licked my face and marveled at how smooth and even my complexion is. (I kid about the licking, but I could tell she wanted to-LOL).

So for reasons 1 through 4, it is hard for me to give an exact run down of what my skin care routine is….No two faces are the same, my skin issues and products change often, and my overall routine is quite intense…I’ve actually seen eyes glaze over when I’ve tried to explain it all.

The main focus of this article is my current “skin season”HYPERPIGMENTATION, which is in bold and spelled out in caps to signify that I am yelling the word at the top of my lungs. Hyperpigmentation is no joke! It makes me feel angry, sad, insecure…and basically unpretty. So for this article I will share with you, the intimate details of my struggle with hyperpigmentation and the products I am currently using. Once I am through this particular “skin season” some of the products will likely change.

Before getting into the actual products, I have to take a small step back and talk a bit more about my overall skin care routine. As I’ve already said, my routines are “skin season” specific and change often. HOWEVER HOWEVER, there are CORE PRINCIPLES that are constant….cleanse, tone, eye cream, treat issues, anti oxidant serum, sunscreen, special treatment masks, regular facials and regular dermatologist visits.

PROPER CLEANSING

I generally tend to favor gentle cleansers. I am usually on some sort of topical medication for acne management (currently using Evoclin foam) so I steer clear of harsh cleaners that will possibly conflict. However, the cleanser must clean deep enough to control my excessive sebum and oil production. A few of my fav cleansers include:

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser – It is super gentle and does no harm.

KISS MY FACE Exfoliating Face Wash – Don’t let the word “exfoliating” scare you. The formula is gel-like with no bits or particles. The cleanser gently uses the power of natural fruit acids to exfoliate the skin. Lemon Grass Oil is incorporated as an anti-inflammatory and astringent. Antioxidant Green Tea repairs damaged skin.

Lancome Creme Radiance – This clarifying cream to foam cleanser contains antioxidant White Lotus and soothing Rose de France to penetrate deeply without drying out the skin. I always feel brighter after using.

GRN Blue Chamomile Cleanser – Certified Organic Extracts of Chamomile, Rosemary and Green Tea. This gentle cleanser provides deep cleansing without harsh chemicals. It does not dry or irritate my skin.

So you see, I mainly use cleansers that are gentle and free of harsh irritants. My cleansers do rotate from time to time, but GENTLE is key for any cleanser I use. In addition, my Clarisonic Skin Care Brush is a staple. This brush is working miracles in my skin….*cue the parting of the sea and the conversion of water into wine*

This brush saves lives! I bought my first Clarisonic a few years back when Lady O (not Michelle, Oprah) touted the brush as one of her fav things. The brush flew off the shelves like Free Pancake Day at IHOP, but I was lucky enough track one down (and was later rather unlucky because I left it at a hotel and was forced to buy a replacement). For some odd reason I abandoned using the brush…bad move. During a skin care convo with my sister from another mister – Adri, she encouraged me to get back on my Clarisonic grind. I charged up the super sonic brush and have not looked back. My skin is, at this very moment, the best it has been in a long time. Regardless of the different cleaners I rotate, my Clarisonic skin care brush is a staple.

TONER

The next step of my skincare routine involves the use of a “gentle” toner. There’s that word again, “gentle”. My current favs are all awesome with a capital “A” because they are non-drying, contain no alcohol, and help to restore my skin’s balance after cleansing:

Chella Refining Tonic – Contains zinc and pomegranate. Is gentle and refreshing. The yummy pom scent is a bonus!

Renee Rouleau – Moisture Infusion Toner, Revitalizing Ginseng Toner, and Balancing Skin Tonic are my favs.KISS MY FACE Balancing Act Facial Toner – (Description from KISS MY FACE) Tone and nourish skin with organic ingredients. Revitalize tired skin with this blend of certified organic grapefruit, orange, ginger and lemon balm essential oils and extracts. Seaweed extract provides trace minerals while antioxidants Ester C® and Vitamin E help fight the signs of aging.

Again, the trend is “gentle” yet effective!

The last few steps in my general routine include acne medication, serum, eye cream, SPF, special treatment masks, regular check-ins with my derm, and somewhat regular facials.

And now, getting back to the main focus of this article, the next few products in my routine are formulated specifically to address my current “hyperpigmentation season”.

Are you surprised that I stated there will be a “few products” required to address hyperpigmentation? Well don’t be. Often times we expect one miracle product to solve our issues. I wish! The reality is that good skin takes a concerted and continued effort.

While this post is intended to share with you the products I am using to win my personal battle against hyperpigmentation, I also want to express my opinion that a lot of folks out there are slackin’ on their skincare pimpin’ and expect one miracle product to improve your skin. Girlfriends, I am here to tell you that if you are not properly addressing your skin from all angles, don’t expect the two or three hyperpigmentation remedies I’m about to recommend to work for you.

For example –

  • If you’re sleeping in your makeup….your skin is filthy and not properly repairing itself so don’t expect these products to work for you.
  • If you are not using sunscreen daily (preferably SPF30)…. don’t expect these products to dramatically diminish your hyperpigmentation.
  • If you do not properly exfoliate…do not expect these product to magically transform your roughness.

Am I making myself clear:) Good skin care is a multi-pronged approached. Whipping your skin into shape is serious business, kids. I highly suggest that you evaluate all aspects of your regime and not just place a band-aid. I am taking the time to highlight my core principles of skin care because I want you to understand that it takes a certain level of sustained commitment to achieve your desired results.

So having said ALLLLLLLL that (Whew, momma’s tired), I now want to share with you the products that I am currently using to address my hyperpigmentation. But remember, overall good skin care habits in conjunction with these products is the route that ThisThatBeauty wholeheartedly recommends.

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I did not always have post acne hyperpigmentation. When I was in my early twenties and first started breaking out (Hello Adult Acne), my pimples usually healed without leaving a trace of its existence. This is no longer the case. I went through a terrible breakout phase last summer. The pimples were often cystic and extremely painful. After months of a couple pimples here and a couple pimples there, my face transformed from relatively blemish free to a face full of dark spots.

I went from skin like this (no makeup in pic):

To occasional breakouts like these (NSFW):

Which eventually led to lots of dark spots like these (DOUBLE NSFW):

I even ended up in my derm’s chair for cortisone shots:

With the help of great concealers by Cinema Secrets, Make Up For Ever, CoverFX, and BECCA, I was able to conceal the dark spots with minimal effort. But that was a band-aid, not the solution. The products I am recommending in this post are tried and true skincare solutions!

First and foremost, not to beat a dead horse because I already mentioned my Clarisonic in this post but ….hats off to my Clarisonic skin care brush. Its sonic technology gently and effectively cleanses my skin, clears pores, and really helps to improve my tone and texture. Everything about my skin improved once I started back using my Clarisonic skin care brush. Without proper cleansing, environmental stressors like pollutantion, oil and bacteria accumulate on the skin, clogging pores which causes blackheads, blemishes and dullness. Clarisonic’s gentle cleansing and massage help to prep my skin to better absorb my skin care products. In a study Clarisonic reported that after cleansing with their brush, skin showed a 61% improvement in the absorption of Vitamin C. They claim that skin becomes clean, clear and smooth—allowing skin to experience the full benefits of serums and moisturizers. I co-sign. The proof is in my gorgeous glowing skin….and did I mention I bought two Clarisonic brushes? Yea, its that serious!

For daytime I use Kiehl’s Highly Effective Skin Tone Corrector (KHESTC). This has been a staple in my anti-hyperpigmentation arsenal. I’ve been using for over four weeks and already see significant improvement.

KHESTC is formulated with a blend of antioxidants and acids that help to lessen the appearance of dark spots, sun spots, and uneven skin tone. KHESTC does not contain Hydroquinone. Instead it is made of a unique blend of Glycolic Acid, Emblica Fruit extract, and HEPES which KHESTC claims is as effective as 2% Hydroquinone and a safer, gentler combination of ingredients to achieve almost similar results.

Emblica Fruit extract contains a large amount of Vitamin C which serves to protect the skin from sun damage, promote collagen production, reduce inflammation, and help repair damaged skin. It is a natural antioxidant, which means it eliminates free radical damage to the skin. Emblica extract also works as a skin lightener. HEPES is an organic chemical buffer and acts as a hydrating agent to the skin. HEPES helps to eliminate roughness. It is as powerful as Glycolic Acid.

Glycolici Acid, a long time friend of mine, is essential because it works to dissolve the outer skin layer, breakdown hyperpigmentation, and reveal fresher looking skin. Glycolic Acid also helps to even out skin tone and improve texture/scarring.

I like that KHESTC is a corrector and antioxidant in one. That’s very important because it cuts down on the need for a separate antioxidant serum. The product comes in a gel like formula which is quickly absorbed into the skin. My one complaint about the product is the packaging. The metal tube oozes product long after you squeeze and dispense. This leads to the wasting of product. Here’s how I worked around this annoyance…I squeeze less than I need and allow the tub to ooze out additional product. Does this make sense? [UPDATE: KHESTC has been discontinued but try Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution instead]

After applying KHESTC, I follow up with a healthy slathering of Clinique Even Better Skin Tone Correcting Moisturizer SPF20. I am eternally grateful to my beauty blogger bud who was kind enough to give me her press sample of Clinique Even Better Skin Tone Correcting Moisturizer SPF20. I had heard buzz from several friends in the industry that the moisturizer is effective in correcting hyperpigmentation. I used the product every morning for about 6-8 weeks and noticed that my dark spots were beginning to fade. Over time they became less and less obvious. After going through one full sized container, I rushed out and purchased another. I continue to use it today.

In the evenings, for the last 2-3 weeks, after cleansing, toning, eye cream, and Evoclin, I have been applying Murad Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Gel. Once again, I have my sister from another mister, Adri, to thank for turning me on to this product. I was complaining that I need another product in my anti-hyperpigmentation arsenal and she suggested stepping up my game with Murad Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Gel. NOTE: Your Hyperpigmentation might not require a treatment for day and a treatment for night….but you saw my pictures. I did not have time to play games. I should disclose that Murad contains 2% Hydroquinone. Momma’s not hear to judge, but merely inform. My dark spots, in my opinion, require a product like Keihl’s that’s safe for daytime use…AND a product like Murad’s that’s highly effective for evening use. Once my spots fade a bit more, I will transition off of the Murad because I don’t want to use a product with hydroquinone for an extended period of time. You definitely need to think long and hard about the severity of your hyperpigmentation and then choose a product accordingly. Consult your dermatologist…which is actually a very important step that I won’t spend too much time on today. But see your derm…I do, regularly. Over the counter products can be expected to do but so much. I usually get regular facials and Silk Peels (but I haven’t made time for either since starting this new regime…bad girl!).

After applying Murad, in lieu of a night cream I rotate between one of two Vitamin C serums. In the evenings I alternate between Mario Badescu Vitamim C Serum and MD Skincare Hydra Pure Vitamin C Serum. Both contain potent doses of Vitamin C and have proved effective in diminishing my dark spots. Sometimes I skip the serum and go straight for Creme de La Mer.

On a weekly basis I use enzyme masks like Chella’s Enzyme Exfoliating Crema Mask. I also alternate between at home peels like Erno Laszlo C Peel or MD Skincare Alpha Beta Peels.

I am incredibly pleased with the improvement I am seeing in my skin. If my skin remains on its current course, I hope to slay the hyperpigmentation beast and be blemish free by summer.

Here’s what I look like today…WITH NO MAKEUP!!! You will notice that my hyperpigmentation is SIGNIFICANTLY improved. Perfect? No! But definitely much improved. I feel I’m well on my way….

Hyperpigmentation is no joke! In my day to day as a makeup artist and beauty writer, I often come across women who struggle to remedy their hyperpigmentation. Often times in our insecure moments of weakness we purchase some random snake oil in hopes that we’ll wake up looking like new money. This is almost never the case, love bunnies. You must commit to improving the overall health of your skin. And that has everything to do with how you care for your skin from sun up to sun down and from “skin season” to “skin season”. Make the investment!

This is an extremely personal post for me. I went back and forth in my head debating whether or not to leak my “un-pretty” photos. In the end I decided to share my photos/experience and pour hours into writing this post because I want to help other women in the hyperpigmentation struggle. I want to arm you with the information and resources to improve your skin. Be empowered! I also want you all to know that you’re not alone…ThisThatBeauty’s been there too!

Please share this post with your girlfriends, aunties, roommates, etc. I hope this extremely long article is in some way helpful!

Please share your thoughts! Have I helped…or run-on for way too long? Leave a comment:)

Today we continue the Hyperpigmetation Series with Avon. On April 1 Avon launched its potent new Anew Clinical Luminosity Pro Brightening Serum (UK exclusive). The revolutionary pigmentation correction product claims to improve overall clarity, fade dark spots and even out the complexion. Avon Anew Clinical Luminosity Pro Brightening Serum is formulated with with injectable-grade L-aspartic acid, a skin brightening complex. With continued regular use, Avon Anew Clinical Luminosity Pro Brightening Serum is said to to reduce the appearance of discoloration and promote radiant luminous skin.

Avon Anew Clinical Luminosity Pro Brightening Serum boasts two powerful components:

  1. The brightening gel, which is said to help remove dull skin cells
  2. The anti-discoloration helix, which assists in brightening skin tone and reduces the appearance of dark spots

In a four week clinical trial, 100% of participants noted improved skin clarity. 91% saw an improvement in skin tone. Avon Anew Clinical Luminosity Pro Brightening Serum sounds like a powerful tool for your Hyperpigmentation arsenal! Willing to give it a try?

Today we continue the Hyperpigmentation Series with a product that is Certified Vegan and Paraben free.

I love my little off the beaten path beauty discoveries! While recently in LA I was introduced to a newly launched line of organic skin care products, jeune d’age organics. While the line contains certified organic ingredients, it is not 100% organic. Most of the ingredients are organic, but the brand feels that ignoring the properties of non organic products like Hyaluronan and DMAE (which are natural but not organic) would be to deny introducing the best possible ingredients to their products and customers. I’m all for organic, but efficacy is king…it is refreshing to discovery a product line that balances the two!

Twice a week for the past six weeks I have been using jeune d’age organics Pumpkin Masque. The 5% glycolic mask is now a staple in my “mask/ special treatment” arsenal. As most of you know, I have acne prone skin and lately have been treating my Hyperpigmentation…so having said that, I understand the benefit of a treatment product that gently and effectively exfoliates to expose smooth and silky new skin.

Pumpkin is somewhat of a magical ingredient because it contains over 100 beneficial nutrients. It is exceptionally high in beta carotene (a precursor to Vitamin A) and an excellent free radical fighter. In addition, pumpkin is richly packed with vitamins, protein, and essential fatty acids. The enzymes in pumpkin mimic the benefit of alpha-hydroxy acids, thus increasing the rate of cell renewal. Individuals with sensitivity to AHAs may find success with pumpkin, as it is a natural alternative. Over time the jeune d’age organics 5% Glycolic Pumpkin Masque clarifies and brightens complexion. It smoothes skin texture and evens out blotchy skin tone due to hyperpigmentation. The 5% Glycolic Pumpkin Masque helps promote skin cell regeneration and improve fine lines/wrinkles. The deep penetrating mask is rich with Beta Carotene, Vitamins B, C, E, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, copper, and exfoliating enzymes…everything you need for healthy glowing skin!

After experiencing great success with jeune d’age organics 5% Glycolic Pumpkin Masque, I am itching to try their Premier Cleanser (93% Organic), Hydrating Firming Anti-Aging Serum, and Marin Toner (98% Organic).

In an age of “proprietary” ingredients that sometimes leave the average consumer clueless, jeune d’age organics is all about transparency. The brand provides a complete ingredient list for every product in the collection. This empowers the consumer!

If you are an ingredient hound, below you will find jeune d’age organics’ complete ingredient run-down/ ingredient efficacy explanation for the 5% Glycolic Pumpkin Masque:

Cucurbita pepo (Pumpkin), Vaccinium myrtillus (Bilberry) Fruit extract, Saccharum officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer saccharinum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus aurantium dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus medica limonum (Lemon) Extract, Aqua (Water), Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Glycolic Acid, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Phenoxyethanol, Limnanthes alba (Meadowfoam Oil), Xanthan Gum (Polysaccharide gum), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Cinnamomum cassia (Cinnamon) Bark, Zingiber officinale (Ginger) Root Powder, Pimenta officinalis (Allspice) Powder, Myristica fragrans (Nutmeg) Powder, Rosmarinus officnalis (Rosemary Oleoresin), Azadirachta indica (Neem) Oil

  • Organic Bilberry Extract, Sugar Cane Extract and Sugar Maple Extract all help to reveal new skin cells and stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. The peeling action uncovers a fresh, luminous layer of skin.
  • Orange Fruit Extract and Lemon Extract are known for toning, cleansing and purifying properties as an astringent and good for oily skin. Alpha Hydroxy Acids gently remove dead skin and provide an added antioxidant. In our formula we use the gentle and natural form of AHA’s that occur in natural fruit extracts. All of these ingredients work as a synergetic blend to create an effective and wonderful serum.
  • Kosher Vegetable Glycerin is used for the hygroscopic (water retention) capabilities and for viscosity boosting.
  • Glycolic acid improves the appearance and texture of the skin. It may reduce wrinkles, acne scarring, hyper-pigmentation and improve many other skin conditions, including actinic keratosis, hyperkeratosis, and seborrheic keratosis. Glycolic acid reacts with the upper layer of the epidermis, weakening the binding properties of the lipids that hold the dead skin cells together. This removes dead skin cells and exposes the live skin cells. Please use an SPF product after use.
  • Tetrasodium EDTA is derived from sodium salts. EDTA is used as a chelating agent. EDTA not only is added to create a stable product, but it also pulls heavy metals from your skin when you apply the cosmetic. EDTA is widely used for chelation therapy, which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a treatment for lead and heavy metal poisoning.
  • Vitamin E. As an antioxidant vitamin E is vital in protecting skin cells from ultra violet light, pollution, chemicals, and other elements that produce cell damaging free radicals. The benefits of vitamin E for healthy skin care also include its ability to regulate vitamin A in the body, which itself is important for healthy skin. It helps skin look younger by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Also, free radicals are believed to play an important role in skin aging and therefore the antioxidant activity is quite valuable for this skin problem.
  • Phenoxyethanol is a cosmetic preservative that is considered one of the less irritating ones to use in formulations. It does not release formaldehyde. Phenoxyethanol is an organic chemical compound, a glycol ether, derived from sage essential oil. Phenoxyethanol also works as a topical antiseptic; it provides broad spectrum anti-microbial activity against bacteria, yeasts and molds.
  • Meadowfoam is an herbaceous winter annual plant native to the Pacific Northwest. It is recognized for its outstanding oxidative stability. It is unique in that it contains over 98% fatty acids. Meadowfoam Seed Oil is said to moisturize the skin better than most oils, and it helps prevent moisture loss. Containing one of the most stable lipids known, Meadowfoam Seed Oil lends stability to other oils that are combined with it.
  • Xanthan Gum is produced by a process involving fermentation of glucose or sucrose by a bacteria found in plants. In cosmetics xanthan gum is used to prepare water gels. Is also used in oil-in-water emulsions to help stabilize the oil droplets against coalescence. It has some skin hydrating properties. One of the most remarkable properties of xanthan gum is its capability of producing a large increase in the viscosity of a liquid by adding a very small quantity of gum, on the order of one percent.
  • Vitamin C Ester is a form of skin-compatible Vitamin C. It is a powerful antioxidant that protects the skin from damage by free radicals, reducing lines, wrinkles and discoloration and results in an improvement in skin tone and texture. Is its also known to lighten melasma on the skin and protect it from harmful UVB rays.
  • Cinnamon is included for its tonic and antiseptic properties as well as the great scent! It increases blood flow to the skin.
  • Ginger, in addition to the tonic and antiseptic properties, is an anti-inflammatory.
  • Allspice contains eugenol. Eugenol when applied to the skin acts as a vasodilator, opening the vessels. Allspice also contains tannins, which give it mild anesthetic properties.
  • Studies indicate that Nutmeg has been shown to lighten the skin based on the ability to inhibit tyrosinase activity. Tyrosinase is an enzyme present in tissue and plants that catalyzes the production of melanin and other pigments from tyrosine by oxidation.
  • Rosemary extract is great for wound healing because of antiseptic, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. In addition to the tonic and astringent qualities it also increases blood circulation.
  • Neem Oil relieves dry skin. It soothes itchiness, redness and irritation. It improves general skin health and immunity, combating bacterial infections.

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We continue the Hyperpigmentation Series with luxury Swiss skin care company La Prairie. The latest collection, The White Caviar Illuminating Système consists of three innovative skin care products designed to firm and brighten the complexion by zoning in on age spots, skin discoloration and areas of pigmentation. Of The White Caviar Illuminating Système, La Prairie states that each product adds “lightening, brightening and lifting effects” to the skin.

During the Hyperpigmentation Series I have focused on various ingredients that skin care lines use to target pigmentation issues. The White Caviar Illuminating Système incorporates golden caviar sourced from environmentally regulated farms. The golden caviar is then boosted with a clarifying whitening complex of larch tree extract, detoxifying Swiss garden cress sprout and Vitamin C.

The brightening and firming system includes:

  • White Caviar Illuminating Cream: A light moisturizer that contains brightening ingredients to control age spots and discoloration. The pearlescent powders in the cream helps to give skin a luminous glow and promises to even out skin tone
  • White Caviar Illuminating Serum This potent anti-pigmentation serum works to prevent age spots and discoloration as well as provide skin with hydration, anti-oxidant protection and anti-aging benefits
  • White Caviar Illuminating Eye Serum This eye serum promises to banish under-eye dark circles

La Prairie White Caviar Illuminating Système is available at www.laprairie.com.

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Today I continue the Hyperpigmentation Series with DERMAdoctor Immaculate Correction. The product name alone deserves a round of applause. Immaculate Correction is intended to treat Hyperpigmentation due to scarring, melasma, or photo damage. For those who prefer a hydroquinone free option, Immaculate Correction is a product worth your attention. The skin lightener eliminates unwanted pigmentation by targeting several points in the formation of the dark area. Immaculate Correction incorporates six key ingredients to target/treat blotchiness and uneven skin tone:

  1. Mitracarpus Scaber Extract – Similar to hydroquinone and similarly effective without the undesirable side effects
  2. Dithiaoctanediol – To prevent the formation of over production of melanin
  3. Gluconic Acid – To inhibit and regulate tyrosinase activity, preventing further abnormal pigment formation. Also aids enhanced cellular turnover
  4. Azelaic Acid – Works to lighten skin
  5. Suitilains – To help speed exfoliation and cell turnover
  6. Glucosamine and Urea – To firm and soften skin

Immaculate Correction is a stand alone product that is able to be worked into your current skin care regime. Most products in the “pigmentation issues” category require continued use to see results. Immaculate Correction recommends steady usage for 6 to 12 months (twice a day). And as with all skin lighteners, daily SPF is strongly encouraged.

Still in search of a product to help treat your pigmentation issues?…Perhaps DERMAdoctor Immaculate Correction is for you!

Today I continue my series on Hyperpigmentation and products formulated to treat said condition. M Lab has recently launched two new anti-aging and brightening solutions designed to address skin concerns related to discoloration like pesky brown spots and pigmentation issues.

The new collection from M Lab consists of an Anti-aging Brightening Cleanser and an  Anti-aging Brightening Serum.

With 62% clinically active ingredients, the daily cleanser is designed to brighten and even out skin tone. The active ingredients include enzymatic exfoliants and gentle cleansing micro-beads that exfoliate patchy dull skin and promote a more radiant complexion. Special  emollients and hydrators aid in restoring the natural moisture levels of skin.

The Anti-aging Brightening Serum is formulated with 69% clinically active ingredients. The serum aids in the reduction of pigmentation issues like brown spots, freckles and hyperpigmentation. The serum also features three potent anti-aging peptides designed to help diminish fine lines, wrinkles and increase tone and firmness.

The two step M Lab regime is easy peasy…cleanser and serum! If considering this product line, I highly recommend partnering the pair with an SPF 15+ for daytime use…and possibly layering the serum with a night cream for evening. Good luck!

M Lab Anti-Aging Brightening Cleanser and Anti-Aging Brightening Serum are available at www.mlabonline.com.

Ever since recently chronicling my personal struggle with Hyperpigmentation, I have launched a one woman crusade to educate ThisThatBeauty readers on the many effective product lines currently on the market, designed to address a multitude of pigmentation issues. Today we continue the Hyperpigmentation Series with Bobbi Brown Brightening Skincare Collection.

In understanding that every one’s skin is different, it is important to showcase a the range of products and ingredients available to aid you in your quest to manage your personal pigmentation woes. New to market from Bobbi Brown is the Brightening Skincare collection. Of the collection Bobbi Brown says this:

“I believe beauty starts with healthy, glowing skin. Traveling through Asia, I’ve discovered that many brightening skin-care lines do not address women’s immediate need to cover dark spots. I used my make-up artist’s perspective to create this simple five-step regimen. It includes skincare to give you brighter, smoother and clearer skin over time – and treatment make-up to give you a beautiful, even complexion instantly.”

When battling pigmentation issues (yes, it feels like a battle) it is important to treat the condition, prevent future issues, and camouflage discoloration as skin repairs. Bobbi Brown’s new collection works to address pigmentation issues with both effective skincare and makeup. Each brightening product is formulated with ingredients to brighten, soothe, and hydrate skin:

– Vitamin C complex help to to control melanin production and help fade dark spots
– Licorice, gentian root extracts, and Caffeine to prevent future discoloration
– Glucosamine to exfoliate and even out dull skin
– Sodium hyaluronate (a star ingredient in MY book!!!) to keep skin hydrated

Bobbi Brown Brightening Skincare is formulated with light-reflective optics and pigments, which project a luminous and even-toned complexion.

The product line is segmented into five steps: prepare, brighten, moisturize, protect and treat, cover and perfect.

The collection includes:

www.bobbibrown.com

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In my opinion, Crème de la Mer (also referred to as “La Mer”) is the most widely debated beauty lotion/potion known to wo-man. Many swear by the powers of its miracle broth and gladly pay $100+ an ounce (and that’s the *starting* price). Others question the efficacy of La Mer and argue that the car-payment-like price tag is plain ol’ cruel. I, for one, am a big time fan of La Mer Moisturizing Cream. It’s a highly effective night cream!

La Mer’s newest launch, The Regenerating Serum, contains a potent concentration of Crème de la Mer’s proprietary miracle broth – the original fermented elixir developed by Dr. Max Huber. The miracle broth is known for its ability to help skin look renewed.

One thing’s for certain — a serum (a highly concentrated dose of active ingredients) is a vital component of a solid skin care regiment. Serums help to treat/repair various skin conditions like hyperpigmentation, loss of elasticity, environmental damage, dryness, fine lines, etc. Crème de la Mer The Regenerating Serun contains a new regenerating ferment derived from marine plant stem cells, designed to help progress the renewal of the skin’s tone/texture and protect it from free radical damage.

Other key ingredients in Crème de la Mer The Regenerating Serum include:

  • Marine Peptide Ferment – An anti-age marine algae and peptide complex to reduce lines for a firmer appearance
  • Colloidal Gold – To deliver anti-irritant benefits to the skin
  • Lime Tea – Anti-oxidant protection

The serum is said to have taken four years to formulate and was created with the combined efforts of physicists, marine botanists and biologists from around the globe and contains 50 patents (granted and pending) worldwide. Do the ingredients and technology in Crème de la Mer The Regenerating Serum compel you to give it a try? Leave a comment!

Crème de la Mer The Regenerating Serum is available at www.cremedelamer.com, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman.

If you follow my daily beauty ramblings on the blog, Twitter and Instagram, you know that I’ve covered several new CC Creams to hit the market. After the explosion of BB Creams, CC Creams seemed to quickly follow – and all came with the ‘promise’ to work a complexion-perfecting miracle. And while I have evaluated several new CC Creams on ‘immediate results’, I’ve yet to find one that I wanted to go the distance with and truly test the skincare benefits claim – until now.

Cover FX CC CREAM TIME RELEASE TINTED TREATMENT

COVER FX CC CREAM TIME RELEASE TINTED TREATMENT SPF 30 is the first CC Cream that I am evaluating on the basis of instant complexion correction as well as cumulative skincare benefits. In preparing to begin my four-week trial, I read up on the formulation behind COVER FX CC CREAM TIME RELEASE TINTED TREATMENT SPF 30 and was really impressed with the science behind the product. Lots of cosmetics claim to improve skin quality with continued use, but the truth is, a lot of these bells and whistles are just that – bells and whistles….buzz words and claims that lead the consumer to believe she’s getting more bang for her buck. Over time, I’ve come to NOT rely on cosmetic products to deliver skin care benefits because, quite frankly, its rare that cosmetics deliver the skincare benefits that make a difference.

But, in going over the formulation and ingredients, COVER FX CC CREAM TIME RELEASE TINTED TREATMENT SPF 30 seems promising…so I took the plunge.

Based on clinical trials in an 8-week study, participants (via self-assessments) reported:

 92.9% of women noticed the appearance of fine lines reduced

82.1% of women saw an improvement in skin radiance

85.7% of women noticed an improvement their skin’s smoothness

64.3% of women saw an improvement in skin translucency

75% of women saw an improvement in overall skin appearance

COVER FX CC CREAM TIME RELEASE TINTED TREATMENT SPF 30
My shades.

Well color me encouraged . . .

We already know that COVER FX offers a wide range of shades and undertones to match a large segment of the population. The new CC CREAM comes in nine shades, with 8.5% pigment load to allow for buildable coverage. But COVER FX’s ability to match the masses isn’t really new news. So let’s talk formulation – the real story behind the story!

COVER FX CC CREAM TIME RELEASE TINTED TREATMENT SPF 30 incorporates Sea Fennel, a Retinoid like ingredient that delivers anti-aging results without the irritation or sun sensitivity commonly associated with Retinoids. Sea Fennel is a gentler way to relax the appearance of fines and wrinkles, particularly for sensitive skin types.

COVER FX CC CREAM TIME RELEASE TINTED TREATMENT SPF 30

The time-relase formula treats skin over an 8-hour period. A wrinkle reducing blend of Portulaca and Ginseng Extracts, Resveratrol (Red Grape Extract), and a polypeptide complex (Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5) all release and continuously treat skin over the course of 8 hours, thus ensuring long term treatment results. So you see, COVER FX CC CREAM TIME RELEASE TINTED TREATMENT SPF 30 works overtime!

If you follow my Hyperpigmentation Series, you know that skin discoloration has been a major focus of my blog for years. If you’re currently dealing with blotchy skin, unevern tone, old acne marks, you’ll be pleased to know that COVER FX CC CREAM TIME RELEASE TINTED TREATMENT SPF 30 is infused with Licorice Root Extract to naturally aid in the reduction of hyperpigmentation as well as prevent future discoloration from popping up.

Packed with Vitamin B and Vitamin CCOVER FX CC CREAM TIME RELEASE TINTED TREATMENT SPF 30 is antioxidant rich and provides a powerful shield against environmental stressors. And the icing on the cake is a built-in primer (hello, one-step flawless skin!) and Broad Spectrum SPF 30…nothing combats the pre-mature aging like solid sun protection.

COVER FX CC CREAM TIME RELEASE TINTED TREATMENT SPF 30

COVER FX CC CREAM TIME RELEASE TINTED TREATMENT SPF 30 could not have come into my life at a better time. When I started my four-week trial, I was nearing the end of my pregnancy…and already starting to think about how I would need to streamline my skincare routine with baby demanding so much of my time. I’ve never been an all-in-one cosmetic/skincare product type of girl…I love doing all of the steps – I swear! But with baby on the way, it was the perfect time to give an all-in-one product a try.

For my complexion, I use a mix of N Med Deep (inner face) and N Deep (outer face). My skin immediately looks fresh and bright. Instantly, minor flaws are diffused and no longer obvious. I like to build a little extra coverage on the outer areas of my face where I have a little discoloration from a recent breakout. I really like that I’m able to build the coverage of COVER FX CC CREAM TIME RELEASE TINTED TREATMENT SPF 30 and add a little more where I need it. Most tinted treatment products are not buildable…they’re generally very sheer so if you’re experiencing a rough skin moment, good luck. COVER FX CC CREAM TIME RELEASE TINTED TREATMENT SPF 30 is ideal for girls who want to modify coverage to suit your daily skin care needs.

While pregnant (and even now while breastfeeding) I became a stickler for ingredients, so COVER FX’s Paraben-free, Fragrance-free, Gluten-free, Mineral Oil-free and Talc-free formulation is a major plus.

Let’s jump into the the results of the skincare features and benefits. Here’s a picture of my skin after using COVER FX CC CREAM TIME RELEASE TINTED TREATMENT SPF 30 for four weeks.

COVER FX CC CREAM TIME RELEASE TINTED TREATMENT SPF 30

Over the four-week trial period I very closely monitored two areas: 1) hyperpigmentation on my cheeks and 2) smoothness on forehead.

With once daily application, I can absolutely say that my hyperpigmentation was reduced. There was a tiny brown spot on my cheek from a recent pimple…the spot seems to have faded quite a bit. It’s not 100% gone but it is significantly reduced.

My forehead is also showing major signs of improvement. I have this one little pit/ crease that’s the result of an old acne scar. I’ve been monitoring it for at least a year. With very close inspection I can see that the scar has filled out a bit and is not nearly as pronounced…and this is just after four weeks of using COVER FX CC CREAM TIME RELEASE TINTED TREATMENT SPF 30. I’m totally encouraged to continue for four more weeks and measure my results at the eight week mark.

BOTTOM LINE:

Now that I am a busy mom (as if being a busy beauty girl wasn’t enough) I totally get it…not everyone has the luxury of time to get her act together in the morning…Hey, I’ll be the first to tell you — I didn’t wash my face with cleanser for about a week after my baby was born (who has time for cleanser?!). So I absolutely understand the usefulness of do-it-all products. . . .but here’s the caveat — they really must DO IT ALL. And COVER FX CC CREAM TIME RELEASE TINTED TREATMENT SPF 30 does. The skincare features and benefits are not just fancy unsubstantiated claims and marketing tactics. The formulation is actually quite good and COVER FX CC CREAM TIME RELEASE TINTED TREATMENT SPF 30 does what it says. I can’t imagine that my new life as Mom + Beauty Maven will be slowing down anytime soon — so I’m sticking with my new found one-step wonder!

I’m a huge COVER FX fan!

Want to read more of my COVER FX product reviews?…Click below:

I am incredibly passionate about skincare. Just take a peek at the innards of my medicine cabinet…. obsess much?

Around age 21, which marked the ceremonious start of my battle against adult acne, I embraced skincare lotions and potions with open arms. I have always taken great pride in the care/management of my skin. After all, skin is the body’s largest organ. While many facets of skincare float my boat and light my fire, two groups of products in particular have made the biggest impact on the quality of my skin.

1) Sunscreen

2) Peels

You all now that sunscreen is an absolute MUST for me. I have written countless blog posts on the importance of a daily stand-alone SPF product. In my opinion, sunscreen protects against a multitude of skin issues like pre-mature creasing, hyperpigmentation, age spots, and uneven tone

The second most important area of skincare, in my opinion, is chemical exfoliation….i.e. chemical peels, alpha hydroxy acid, glycolic peels, etc.

Earlier this year I wrote about my battle with hyperpigmentation and graphically detailed my process for ridding my skin of dark (nearly black) post acne spots. In the post I discussed the importance of at-home chemical exfoliation. Today I will elaborate on this most important step as well as highlight several products that I have used over the course of the year and ABSOLUTELY LOVE.

I have been d-d-dying to write this post for months and share with you the at-home peels in my life that truly ROCK.com!

If you’re not currently including at-home peels in your skincare regime, sister — you are totally missing out! Peels are incredibly effective at improving texture, increasing luminosity, reducing pore size, correcting uneven tone, and restoring skin’s overall brilliance. Even though I embrace a very complete and through skincare regime overall, I strongly feel that the process of chemical exfoliation is what has made the BIGGEST difference in my skin. Without sounding like a narcissist, because believe me I am not, my skin’s texture is incredibly smooth and brilliant…even when I’m battling a breakout. The pimple is there, don’t get me wrong…but the surrounding skin maintains a certain level of smoothness. And quite honestly, the surrounding “smooth” skin is what keeps me from slitting my wrists when I’m dealing with the routine dastardly cystic zits!

Over the last year I have had the pleasure of trying many at-home peels and I am delighted to share with you my faves! Each product mentioned below is ThisThatBeauty tested. I have used each for at least 4-6 weeks and honestly love them all. I whole-heartedly stand by my recommendations. My rationale behind listing several products is this: I wanted to recommend a variety of products based on various skin types, budget, ease of use, and regional availability (I recently had a Canadian follower email me regarding products that I recommend that are not available in her neck of the woods).

So without further ado, here are my current favorite, most effective at-home chemical peels. I hope that you will find a product that suits your skin type and budget.

For those of you (like me) who deal with the occasional acne bout, I very highly recommend Cane + Austin Acne Treatment Pads with 5% Glycolic Acid and 2% Salicylic Acid. This one-step acne/glycolic acid treatment is derived from pure cane sugar, which acts as an exfoliator to gently resurface skin while salicylic acid treats acne. What I love most about this product (and its sister product, Cane + Austin Retexturizing Treatment Pads with 10% Glycolic Acid) is that the treatment is delivered in a single step. With many glycolic treatments, you are required to rinse or use a neutralizer. With Cane + Austin, you simply apply day and night and follow with a moisturizer. Super simple! A 30-day supply is $60.

ThisThatBeauty Tip: When I used this product for 30 days, I used the acne treatment pads during the day and the glycolic ones for night. Admittedly, I tend to overdue it…and I have a very high tolerance for glycolic products. You might choose to start slow with evenings only.

Talk about an unsung hero…I wish this product received more buzz. I first learned of Actifirm Z Peel a couple of NYFW’s ago and it sat in my beauty closet for months before I decided to give it a whirl. If you’ve got three minutes and ActifirmZPeel, you’re well on your way to brighter and smoother skin. Z Peel is marketed as a “smart” peel that targets specific areas and exfoliates only where you need it. If you’re sensitive to glycolicpeels, you might find this product of interest because it is said to mimic nature’s own exfoliation processes and does not cause excessive redness, scaling or irritation. Instead of glycolic, Actifirm Z Peel uses exfoliating enzyme from Japanese mushroom along with 14 additional botanicals. The formula also includes a soothing cocktail of extracted oils from lavender, coriander and Roman chamomile flowers.

ActifirmZ-Peel is sold in two at-home concentrations – 10% for those with sensitive skin and 15% for folks like me who always want MORE MORE MORE. In fact, I totally wish I lived near a licensed professional who does the professional strength Actifirm Z Peels peels (30-60%). I would absolutely do the occasional in-office peel! $66.30

Naturopathica Glycolic Refining Peel – I cannot say enough wonderful things about this product. In just four minutes a night, this potent exfoliating treatment lives up to its claim. It promotes more youthful and radiant looking skin by increasing cellular renewal. The potent alpha hydroxy treatment is balanced with the inclusion of soothing aloe verato cool and calm the skin. This refining peel contains a concentrated blend of five botanical extracts (bilberry, sugar cane, sugar maple, orange, lemon) that contain naturally occurring AHA’s like citric, glycolic, malic and tartaric acids. This one definitely tingles, ladies. The recommend dosage is four minutes per evening. If you’re new to AHA treatments, I highly recommend starting slow with about 1-2 minutes. $68.

For my “go green” girls, try this: jeune d’age organics 5% Glycolic Pumpkin Peel. I have written about this product before, as part of my Hyperpigmentation Series, but could not resist including it in my “fave peels” roundup (in case ya missed it before). jeune d’age organics 5% Glycolic Pumpkin Peel is an excellent product for individuals who prefer organic skincare. Click here for my previous review. Since my review back in May, the brand has launched new packaging! $23.95 *Discontinued*

Get the glow you desire with Votre Vu Nouveau Glow. Through a gentle blend of bergamot, healing bilberry, and AHA loaded citrus fruits like lemon, grapefruit and orange, the formula resurfaces skin without irritation. What separates this at-home peel from the other recommendations in this rundown is the use of highly emollient ingredients like Vitamin E, papaya extract and sunflower seed oil….making this peel deeply moisturizing and incredibly soothing. While the product is labeled as safe for all skin types, I imagine that more mature skin types will appreciate the hydrating benefits. $45

Continuing with the trend toward sugar cane derived exfoliants, Bambola Glycolic Sugar Cane Exfoliant is effective at accelerating the removal of dead skin, increasing collagen production, and reducing the appearance of slight facial creasing, sun spots, and hyperpigmentation. This serum also incorporates a balance of smoothing and soothing ingredients…Apple Acid is used to smooth and firm while cucumber nourishes and clarifies. $48

The name says it all. LIERAC Comfort Peel is a 2-in-1 daily moisturizer and face peel treatment. This ultra gentle formula contains time-released glycolic and salicylic acid which leaves skin deeply exfoliated and perfectly hydrated. The slow release of 1% salicylic and 4% glycolic acid optimizes effectiveness, while living up to the product’s claim of “comfort”. No tingling or burning sensations here! $52

Philosophy The Microdelivery Peel is a sure-fire oldie but goodie, and is widely available online and in-store via Sephora. The two-piece kit contains a 2 oz container of Lactic/Salicylic Activating Gel and a small 2 oz tube of Vitamin C/ Peptide Resurfacing Crystals. I love products that have a “participation” element and Philosophy The Microdelivery Peel satisfies. After applying the Resurfacing crystals to dry skin, the activator gel is applied over the crystals. From there a warming sensation takes over and a foam appears…this tells me that the product is going to work to break down the yucky disgusting layer of dead surface skin…and fresh, rejuvenated skin in en route! $65

I hope you’ve enjoyed my run down of my favorite “peels” of the moment. I tried to cover a range of products at different price points that work well for a variety of skin types – acne prone, oily, mature, dry.

Please comment and share your thoughts. Do you see a product that appeals to you? Have you tried any of my recommendations? Was this post over-kill with 8 recommendations? Do you feel there was something for everyone?

Cat got your tongue??? Share!!!

xoxoFelicia

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More than two years ago, I went through the worst acne bout of my entire adult life. While I am affectionately known to be a bit of a Drama Queen, I exaggerate not when I say my skin was totally out of control. This was an incredibly frustrating phase of my life. By the time I figured out how to get the acne under control, I was left with dark, frightful, pigment marring spots all over my face. While clever skin mimicking concealers and foundations helped keep my dirty little secret, my nightly face wash revealed the horror beneath the guise.

In an effort to help others, I wrote an epic post on the topic of Hyper pigmentation…and later started a blog series titled, what else: Hyper pigmentation Series. In the series, I highlight the many products on the market designed to treat hyper pigmentation.

If you go back and read my inaugural hyper pigmentation post, you will note that Murad Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Gel was an integral part of my hyper pigmentation recovery routine. That stuff WORKS. PERIOD! Within 3-4 weeks of continued use, my spots diminished…A few more weeks later and, what spots? That stuff WORKS. PERIOD!

GIRRRRRRLS..and boys (like my beloved twitter Beauty Boy @calebjf) —

Hold the phone! Dr Murad has improved on perfection.

“Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum” fast tracks results in as little as one week. The next generation of Murad’s award-winning Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Gel is more advanced because it targets, treats and prevents future pigmentation. I have always said that Murad is the gold standard when it comes to spot lightening. The enhanced formulation is appropriate for all ethnicites and appropriate for a wide range of spots including: age spots, sun spots, freckles, post acne spots, and other unwanted pigmentation.

Key features (via Murad):

  • Clinically proven to restore clarity and even skin tone by reducing the appearance of sun spots and age spots 33% in 1 week
  • Hydroquinone fades dark spots, age spots and freckles, evening skin tone to reveal a clearer, brighter complexion
  • Hexapeptide-2, an advanced skin lightening peptide, complements the results of Hydroquinone, helping block future damage by prohibiting pigment formation
  • Glycolic Acid exfoliates to remove dead skin cells, helping the active ingredient penetrate quickly for faster results
  • 88% of study participants saw a more even skin tone in 2 weeks

If clear, vibrant skin is on your wish list for the new year, mark your calendar for next month’s launch at Sephora, Ulta…and leading spa/salon locations beginning 2012.

It is $60…and worth E-VE-RY penny!

I am starting a new column on ThisThatBeauty, lets call her “Fridays with Felicia“.

Do you know why I started ThisThatBeauty nearly two years ago? Well the stock response has always been that I had this intense urge to purge the style/beauty ramblings and insights taking up residence in my head. This response, while still holds true, is only half of the story. In addition to the need to purge the beauty babble that lives within, I started ThisThatBeauty to share and connect on a personal level. Sharing my passion for style/beauty has always been an integral part of writing for TTB. It was core to the TTB brand when MommaTTB and I were the only ones reading…and it remains core to TTB today as the site gets over 8,000 daily pageviews.

In keeping with the core philosophy that established the TTB brand, I am introducing “Fridays with Felicia“, a regularly occurring column that features rave worthy highlights from the previous week. Its sort of like a re-cap of my week..including note-worthy beauty discoveries, style observations, events, etc.

A mention in “Fridays with Felicia” is indeed an honor…it means the brands and products that make the cut are truly worth your attention. Certainly the rest of ThisThatBeauty will remain chock full of beauty goodness, but “Fridays with Felicia” will give you a week by week peek into my world. Its my little way of toting you around with me and filling you in on the latest and greatest of the prior week.

So without further back-story, I give you the inaugural post for “Fridays with Felicia” (The inaugural post of “Fridays with Felicia” will recap the last few weeks of ThisThatBeauty happenings and favs…upcoming posts for “Fridays with Felicia” will be current and include only the prior week)

FRIDAYS WITH FELICIA

After much research, hemming, and hawing, I finally took the plunge and switched to Phytospecific Phytorelaxer – an egg and soy based formula that does not contain lye. I highly recommend the complete relaxer system for individuals with textured hair in search of a more polished look without going uber straight. Phytospecific Phytorelaxer incorporates a unique blend of ingredients designed to gently relax hair’s texture: Egg extract is used to relax and release the tension in hair’s texture. Shitake Mushroom Salt is incorporated to boost the efficacy of the egg extract. Soybean extract is used to restructure the hair shaft. Lastly wheat proteins strengthen and repair the condition of the hair.

Since converting to Phytospecific Phytorelaxer I have been a happy camper. I was initially concerned about converting from one relaxer system to another…but my worries were all in vain! If you’re considering the switch, perhaps a visit to Phyto Universe will help address your concerns. Ask for Ron…he’s the Phytospecific Phytorelaxer specialist on staff. He is extremely knowledgeable and really knows hair!

If you haven’t tried DailyMakeover‘s kick a$$ makeover application, you’re really missing out on something great. I recently attended a DailyMakeover sponsored event at DEX New York and was made over…the end result was casual-chic, fresh, modern, and embodied Spring. <===This is my makeup makeover!

What I love most about DailyMakeover’s app is that it is easy breezy to navigate. I am thoroughly impressed with the ga-zillion options to choose from to design a new look. I went from short bangs, to choppy, to blunt….it was such fun to experiment with various degrees of “bangs”. I highly recommend DailyMakeover’s online makeover application for anyone considering a new hair do. Its also great for experimenting with trendy new shades of makeup before committing to the actual purchase. Not sure orange cheeks or dark lips are for you, give DailyMakeover a whirl first!

Click here for the complete deets on my makeover…and check out the makeovers for beauty blogging bellas Eileen (MissWhoEverYouAre), Dina (Eye4Style), and Kristin (FashionStyleBeauty).

Speaking of makeovers/ makeup…I recently published an article for LVCMag.com. If you’re wondering how to make a dark lip wearable, check out my piece. I feature Three Custom Color Specialist’s latest launch, Noir — a “a seductive almost-black shade with hints of burgundy and plum”. Here’s my LVCMag.com article.

Confession time: I’m not sure if its the impact of the recession or pure laziness but I have pretty much done away with salon manicures. If it’s not a “press perk” at an event, forget about it. For some strange reason I actually prefer to spend my time at home tending to my own nails vs. dealing with the hassle of going to a nail salon, fighting for parking (I live in Jersey), waiting to get a mani, waiting for the polish to dry, and messing up my polish while fiddling around with my iPhone. I now prefer the comfort of home over the aforementioned salon experience…which is why I’m all giddy to fill you in on the latest from Sally Hansen (who, by the way, was a real person….yep, Sally Hansen [God rest her soul] began her nail empire over 50 years ago with a single product — Hard As Nails).

I recently attended a press event for the launch of Sally Hansen’s latest innovations. Savvy Frugalistas, perk up! This bud’s for you!

Color Chrome Quick Pens offer the look of MINX without the $50+ price tag. These nifty little pens come in 8 different shades. So you’ve got your classic gold and silver, but you also have your choice of trend inspired shades like Green Chrome and Fuchsia Chrome. The fast dry formula and convenient pen-like applicator delivers a perfect mani in a flash! Get acquainted!

High Definition is not just for your foundation. At Sally Hansen, high def nails are all the rage! HD High Definition Nail Color is for the customer who craves color. The line is available in eight bold shades.

Another stroke of genius from the Sally Hansen camp is this — Complete Salon Manicure! Multitaskers, prepare for impact! This little gift from the lacquer Gods combines five steps in one: Base Coat, Strengthener, Growth Treatment, Color, Top Coat. Complete Salon Manicure totally takes your at home mani/pedi game to a whole new level!

Suddenly I’m feeling blue..no its not seasonal depression, its blue/black highlights. This bold move was inspired by Jeannie Mai of How Do I Look . After watching a recent episode I became obsessed with Jeannie’s rich black and purple locks.

While Jeannie’s highlights appear to be the result of lightening then added color, my highlights are clip in extensions. So I can alternate between purple, blue, and rich auburn as much as I like with out the commitment or maintenance of hair color.

Wella is getting in on the bold hair color trend. Colorist and beauty expert, Eva Scrivo has the recipe for the perfect match of natural color and dip-dyed tones. Eva created the bold tone palette for the Cynthia Rowley Fall ’10 runway, using Koleston Perfect Special Mix colors. They were such a hit, she has now started selling colored clip-in extensions customized at her salon.

Crazy hair color is not necessarily new. Ashley Olsen sported icy blue streaks in her blond hair last November. In Yohji Yamamoto’s autumn/winter 2010/11 show models rocked blue sprayed crowns and plaited turquoise streaks into long black locks. Katy Perry recently wore a vivid peacock blue glossy wig to the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards. Is this trend for you?

Are you in need of a miracle worker? philosophy, the personal care brand best known for cult favorites like hope in a jar and purity, recently launched miracle worker miraculous anti-aging retinoid pads — a cutting edge retinoid based product that multi-tasks to dramatically diminish the appearance of wrinkles and skin discoloration. in clinical trials conducted by philosopy, after one week of using miracle worker miraculous anti-aging retinoid pads, participants saw improved smoothness and clarity. After four weeks, participants saw visible improvement of discoloration and dullness. Those of you following my ongoing Hyperpigmentation Series might want to further investigate miracle worker miraculous anti-aging retinoid pads. The powerful combination of high-performance retinoid and antioxidant Vitamin C help increase cell turnover and promote even skin-tone. While attending a press event for miracle worker miraculous anti-aging retinoid pads I learned that philosophy will launch a companion product in June — a super charged anti-aging concentrate. Deets soon!

While recently attending the Essence Magazine/Johnson’s Beauty Luncheon, I met the lovely Tia Dantzler (Johnson’s Beauty Consultant and Celebrity Makeup Artist). Aren’t we cuteness?

Kristin Booker of FashionStyleBeauty was in the house, too.

The event included a Beauty lounge with mini manicures, massages and yummy passed beverages. At 12:30 there was a panel discussion and a scrumptious lunch:
Aly Walansky and Lianne Farbes (smile Lianne:)) also attended the luncheon:
During the luncheon, Mikki Taylor (Essence Beauty and Cover Director) moderated a panel discussion with:
Tia Dantzler, Johnson’s Beauty Consultant, Celebrity Makeup Artist
Sam Fine, Celebrity Makeup Artist & Author
Rosemarie Ingleton, M.D., P.C. Dermatologist (MY DERMATOLOGIST!!!)
Lisa Wu Hartwell, Real Housewives of Atlanta
A good time was had by all!

**********

Need more beauty in your life? The current Bergdorf Goodman beauty book promises to stimulate uncontrollable drooling. You’ve been warned!

Until next Friday….

xo, Felicia

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As soon as I shed my winter coat my aim is to simplify my makeup routine where I can do a compete look in 10 minutes or less. Spring has been a little slow to come this year but I think it’s finally here to stay.  With that being said it’s definitely time to share my Spring Makeup Essentials.

Here are my Spring Makeup Essentials that make my 10 minute face possible, and the order in which I apply them:

Becca Backlight Targeted Color Corrector

My Spring Makeup Essentials - Becca Backlight Targeted Color Corrector - Peach

I love the consistency of this corrector.  I would definitely consider it a must-have for anyone who has dry under eye area. It’s creamy, emollient, sinks into the skin and plays nice with eye cream. It is available in violet, green, papaya and peach shades to correct sallowness, redness, and hyperpigmentation respectively.  I use the peach shade around my eye area and my mouth as well as wherever a pesky dark mark is found.  (Sephora, $30)

Becca Ultimate Coverage Concealing Crème

My Spring Makeup Essentials - Becca Ultimate Coverage Concealing Creme - Treacle

After applying the corrector and pressing it in with my finger,  I follow with Ultimate Coverage Concealing Crème over all the areas I color corrected. This seems like a lot but it takes less than a minute. The creamy concealer gives my under eye and brow bone an instant lift. I use the shade Treacle — it’s available in 12 shades. (Sephora, $32)

Clinique Chubby in the Nude Foundation Stick

Clinique Chubby in the Nude Foundation Stick

Silky smooth and easy to apply, these foundation sticks simply glide on the skin. I like to blend with my  Becca The One Perfecting Brush  (Felicia reviewed it here)  or my It Cosmetics Flat Top Kabuki Brush. I use two shades, Ample Amber and Curviest Clove.  These are the two darkest shades in the collection. Ample Amber goes on the inside of my face and I use Curviest Clove on the outside. (Sephora, $24.)

Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector 

Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector

Though this is a primer, my favorite way to use it as a setting product after I have put on my foundation.  I warm a small amount between my fingers and gently press it into my t-zone. This is a trick I picked up from celebrity makeup artist, Cynde Watson. It keeps shine at bay and sets my foundation giving it a natural yet polished look. (Sephora, $36)

ISH Contour Palette

My Spring Makeup Essentials - ISH Cosmetics Contour Palette - Medium Dark

This four product palette features a blush, highlighter, contour and bronzer. I sweep the darkest shade into my hair line and the hollows of my cheek. Then I dab a little blush on the apples of my cheek and blend outwards. Next I apply the highlighter on the top of my cheek bone and voila, perfection! In a pinch, the fourth shade can be used as a foundation, which is perfect if I want to give my face a little life after the gym before my run to Target or for a coffee. ISH Contour Palette is available in two shades: light/medium and medium/dark.  I’m shade medium/dark, #obvi.  (ishbeauty.com, $32)

Salma Hayek Shadow Palette in Neutral Expression

My Spring Makeup Essentials - Salma Hayek Shadow Palette in Neutral Expression

I’m still ‘Stanning” hard for my Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette but lately I have been cheating a little with the Salma Hayek Shadow Palette in Neutral Expression.  The neutral colors are exactly what’s needed to pull off  an effortless  look. What’s even better is that I can use the dark brown shade to fill in my brows.  (CVS, $13.99)

Hard Candy Bold & Gorgeous Dare to Flick Felt Tip Liner

Hard Candy Bold & Gorgeous Dare to Flick Felt Tip Liner

For me, no quick and easy look will be complete without a cat-eye, be it dramatic or subtle.  Hard Candy Bold & Gorgeous Dare to Flick Felt Tip Liner in Blackest Black makes it easy as pie to get the exact line I desire. The line can last all day (unless I rub my eyes too hard).  (Walmart, $5)

Votre Vu Le Joli Crayon

Votre Vu Liner

Life is boring without color so I apply a little color to my bottom lash line. The only liners I’ve used to line my bottom lash in the last 6+ months is Votre Vu Le Joli Crayon. My eyes have gotten super sensitive to liners and I can use these without irritation.   Shades Azure and Violectra are in heavy rotation —  in a word,  they give my eyes LIFE!

PUR 4-in-1 Full Volumizing Mascara with Keratin

PUR 4-in-1 Full Volumizing Mascara with Keratin

My current mascara crush is new to me and it’s actually a mini that I received as part of the The Freedom Collection from PUR (a Limited-Edition essentials collection inspired by the film The Divergent Series: Allegiant) The 4-in-1 Full Volumizing Mascara with Keratin ($24) grabs every last lash and adds volume and length.   When paired with a lash primer like this one from Urban Decay, I get demure falsies length.

It Cosmetics Blurred Lines Smooth-Fill Lipstick

It Cosmetics Blurred Lines Smooth-Fill Lipstick - LOVE

I realized recently that I almost always put on my lipstick either in my car, in my Uber or on the train, so, most of my lip products are in my handbags.  The lipstick that has been bouncing from bag to bag lately is  It Cosmetics Blurred Line Lipstick in the shade Love (fitting, no?) It’s a bit of a sheer, mauve, pink color on me and it’s perfect because not only does it look great, but it hydrates my lips and helps to minimize the appearance of lip lines. (Ulta,  $24)

Does this seem like a lot for a 10 minute face? Maybe — but for me it definitely works!

Share your spring makeup essentials below.

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