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Cleansing balms rival cleansing oils as my favorite way to remove my makeup and cleanse my skin. Balms work well for all skin types and often provide a softer and more nourishing way to remove all the makeup, dirt and grime from the day without stripping the skin or leaving it dry and uncomfortable. There are two that I use regularly in my skincare routine and find do an amazing job both leaving my skin clean and helping it stay clear. I will highlight the differences and similarities between the two and how I use them in my routine.

Clinque Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm

This was one of the first cleansing balms I ever tried and it was instrumental in turning me on to the entire category. The texture is a chunky balm that spreads easily on the skin and removes makeup effortlessly. It suits almost any skin type, even those with oily skin who may fear a balm cleanser. As someone who has oily skin, I have found that balm cleansers not only help keep my skin clear but leave it less oily than other cleansers.

 

I apply the Clinique TTDO Balm with dry hands to a dry face using upward circular massaging motions to help gently remove makeup and dirt. After massaging it into the skin, I then add water and the balm emulsifies into a milk. A wet washcloth or muslin cloth can be used to remove it, but I find it easy just to rinse it away with my hands and warm water. This balm is great for everyday use and removes every last bit of makeup that I am wearing. A great addition for anyone looking to add a cleansing balm into their routine. Available at Sephora for $28.50.

 Eve Lom Cleanser

Eve Lom Cleanser

Eve Lom’s cult classic Cleanser quickly became a favorite of mine after just one use. It has many of the same features and benefits as the Clinique one in regards to helping remove makeup and keeping my skin clear, but the texture is a bit more granular so it offers exfoliating properties as well. This is more of a twice a week treatment cleanser for me rather than every day because it really helps to remove dead skin and give a strong exfoliation.

I apply the Eve Lom Cleanser the same way as the Clinique balm – with dry hands and a dry face, but I let it sit on the skin for longer in order to allow the enzymes to work to break down debris and slough off dead skin cells. After 3-5 minutes, I soak the muslin cloth (that comes with the cleanser) into very warm water and apply it to my face, hold it there for 15-30 seconds and then remove the cleanser. What’s left is some of the softest and smoothest skin I have ever had.  Available at Sephora for $50.00.

What is your favorite cleansing balm to use?

For more sass and beauty updates follow Maree, @alittlebitetc on TwitterInstagram or Like me on Facebook.

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It’s no surprise I am again writing about the bane of my skincare existence – acne.  But instead of just reviewing a product, I figured I would group my favorite, most effective acne fighting winners together in one post. From cleansers, to moisturizers and everything in between, these are my regular stand-bys for  acne treatment and the unending war on blemishes.

Cleansers

Boscia Makeup Breakup Cleansing OilThe first step in helping me reduce breakouts is an effective cleanser that removes all makeup, dirt and grime from my face. Cleansing oils are my recommended choice because they give the skin a nice and thorough deep clean, without stripping the face of necessary oils. Leaving a small amount of oil on the face is a good thing, and often using an oil based cleanser can help to balance out the skin. Boscia Cleansing oil is an all time favorite.  I often follow up a cleansing oil with a secondary cleanser aimed to help reduce bacteria or address breakouts.  Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser is one I always keep around and use about 2-3 times/wk because it helps to exfoliate the skin and remove any build up from the skin’s surface.

Boscia Makeup-Breakup Cool Cleansing Oil retails for $28.00 and is available at SephoraMario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser retails for $15.00 and is available at Ulta.

Toners

First Aid Beauty Blemish Control PadsA toner is the one step of many skincare routines that gets overlooked or skipped, but it is the one I feel can make the most difference.  Toners are designed to help balance the pH of the skin, prepare it for subsequent treatments and serums and remove any bacteria that may still be on the face. I recently came upon these First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Blemish Patrol Pads and think they are a wonder! Gentle enough to be used daily, I have found they help to reduce any breakouts I may be struggling with, soothe any irritation and prevent any future blemishes from making an unwanted appearance. I was a tad hesitant they would dry out my skin, but I am going strong after 30 days and my skin has never looked better! Now for those particularly evil times when I need to bring out the bigger guns (hormonal breakouts in particular), I substitute in my Mario Badescu Special Cucumber Lotion a few times per week after cleansing and it does wonders to remedy any cystic or incredibly stubborn pimples that may be hanging around.

First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Blemish Patrol Pads retail for $30 and are available at Sephora. Mario Badescu Special Cucumber Lotion retails for $15.00 and is available at Ulta.

Spot Treatments

Murad Acne Spot Fast FixI don’t know where I would be without spot treatments. My acne is not typically all over my entire face, but more regional, attacking the same areas over and over (and over and over). Targeting the specific area is always my first line of attack. This Murad Acne Spot Fast Fix is new to my acne treatment arsenal. The active ingredient is benzoyl peroxide and I like it for some of the stronger, cystic  pimples I get around my jawline. It does burn a tad when I first apply, but it does a great job at reducing the size and depth of the blemish within the first 2-3 days. Clinique’s Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel is another new discovery for me and has been a life saver. This one is formulated with salicylic acid, goes on as a clear gel and wears beautifully under makeup! Though it can be used over the entire face, I find it best used for me as a spot treatment.

Murad Acne Spot Fix retails for $16.00 and is available at Sephora. Clinique Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel retails for $17.00 and is available at Sephora.

Moisturizers/Treatments

murad-acne-clearing-solutionWhile my chin may be the number one spot for hormonal breakouts to set up shop, my forehead can be the place where I get smaller blemishes and often small little bumps. I use the Murad Acne Clearing Solution under my moisturizer  to help address my forehead shenanigans.  Formulated with retinol and salicylic acid, it does a great job at exfoliating the area and helping to clear up the area overall without causing irritation or dryness. Speaking of retinols, the REN Bio Retinoid Anti-Ageing Cream is my ultimate favorite, and while it is designed specifically to treat anti-aging concerns, I find that it is one of my holy grail products for helping me to keep my skin looking clear and blemish free.  The retinol in the cream helps to exfoliate the skin, which can make the skin appear brighter and more even, but for me it has helped to remove any congestion or dead skin build up that often clogs pores and leads to breakouts.

Murad Acne Clearing Solution retails for $39.00 and is available at Sephora. Ren Bio-Retinoid Anti-Ageing Cream retails for $65.00 and is available at Sephora.

Masks

Ren Invisible Pores Detox MaskNext to cleansing, masking is my favorite skincare activity. My pore clearing masks are obviously my most used, and this REN Invisible Pores Detox Mask quickly became a staple in my routine after just one use. I have tried many similar masks that seek to detox the skin, remove debris from the pores and heal acne, but this particular mask did all of those things while still leaving my skin feeling hydrated, soft and supple. I use it all over my entire face, whereas other similar masks I use just on the areas that are prone to breakouts. My Mario Badescu Drying Mask is one I have used for years and works best on the congested area rather than the entire face. It attacks the blemishes with a vengeance, but does leave the area a bit dry after (which I then follow up with the Herbal Hydrating Serum to help balance – it truly works wonders).

REN Invisible Pores Detox Mask retails for $34.00 and is available at Sephora. Mario Badescu Drying Mask retails for $18.00 and is available on Ulta.

What are you favorite acne fighting products?

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For more sass and beauty updates follow Maree @alittlebitetc on TwitterInstagram or Like me on Facebook.

 

 

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Blemishes, ugh.   The bane of my oily-skinned existence.  Just when I finish treating one, another one pops up to take its place.  Delightful.  I am constantly on the hunt for products to help me deal with my breakouts without the harsh side effects such as dryness, flakiness and redness.  Sometimes my face ends up looking worse before it looks better!  Rock – me – hard place.  But throughout my trials and tribulations to help treat my acne, I have found a few products I love, so I was a hesitant to try something new.   Shocking, I know, since I am such a beauty product guinea pig.  No need to thank me, I’m very selfless.  I am happy to report that the results I got after using the new Clinique Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel were well worth the risk of trying a new product.

Clinique Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Review

The active ingredient in this formulation is salicylic acid, it helps to unclog pores and decongest skin.  The texture is a thin liquid-like gel that can be used up to twice per day on targeted areas or all over the face.  Since I only break out in certain areas, I have been spot treating with the gel rather than using on my entire face.  When first applied it, there was a slight tingling sensation which made me worry that it would dry out the area, but it went away within a few minutes.  Some other acne treatments bring the blemish to a head (gross but true), and while this can do that as well, for my specific cystic chin rudeness it cleared up the inflammation, reduced the size of my pimples and made it almost non-existent by the next morning.  *cue the angels singing*

As far as any redness or flakiness, it was minimal at most.  And the best part was it applies so thinly, that I was able to wear it under my makeup to keep treating that rude pimple all throughout the day.  In the past when I have tried wearing making with other acne creams or gels, my makeup would pull or pill around the area.  However, Clinique Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel (when applied very lightly) allowed my makeup to glide over it seamlessly. To add another successful acne treatment to my arsenal feels like I’m winning at everything.  Well, at least winning at clear skin.  If only Clinique made a product for the rest of my life.

Clinique Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel retails for $25.00 and is available at Sephora.comClinique.com and department stores.

For more sass and beauty updates follow Maree @alittlebitetc on TwitterInstagram or Like me on Facebook.

Clinique has become synonymous with easy, gentle and effective skincare and now they have expanded their line to include an entire range of products for men.  They put cleansing, toning and moisturizing on the map and are now lending a hand to all the men out there by launching products designed specifically for them.  And frankly, it’s about time!  There are various lines out there that carry products for men but what I love about Clinique is that they are already known for having a systematic approach to their skincare, and this type of thinking is exactly what men need to help them take better care of their skin.  While my husband wants to use better products for his face, he is often lost as to what products to use and in what order, leaving him discouraged and unwilling to take any initiative at all.  When I introduced him to the Clinique for Men line, he felt it was easy to understand, simple to use and after a few weeks under his belt, he saw great results.

The premise of the entire range is still the Clinique system of (shave)/cleanse, tone and moisturize.  Within each category there are various products that cater to different skin types, and then a few additional products that target specific concerns such as dark spots and aging skin around the eye.

Cleansers

Clinique for men face wash

In this category there are both liquid and soap options, both methods offering non-drying cleansing that builds into a rich lather and rinses off easily.  Both prep the skin for shaving, as well as remove any dirt and debris from the face.  Available in both Regular and Oil Control, both cleansers are $16.50 and available at Clinique.com.

Exfoliate

CLINIQUE FOR MEN Exfoliating TonicSince men often have to deal with shaving regularly, exfoliating is key to making that process easier.  Clinique has introduced two different exfoliating tonics, one for normal skin and one for oily skin.   Daily use after cleansing will help to control excess oil, and remove dead skin which will significantly reduce the occurance of ingrown hairs and blemishes.  Both retail for $13.00 and are available at Clinique.com.

Moisturize

clinique for men moisturizing lotionThe last step in the skincare routine is always the moisturizer – and there are a few different options  for both day and in the evening use.  The Moisturizing Lotion is suitable for normal skin and helps to control oil for a matte, shine-free look, and just happens to be my husband’s favorite.  Women may love a glowing and dewy complexion, however, men typically do not.  The Oil-Control Mattifying Moisturizer is designed for oily skin types,  and provides hydration while still helping to normalize oil production.  For those men who want to address aging concerns, there is the Anti-Age Moisturizer that is a multi-puprose, all day hydrator that helps to fight dullness, lines and wrinkles.  But because I am such an SPF fanatic, the most important product in this category (in my opinion) is the Broad Spectrum SPF 21 Moisturizer.  I feel that most men do not reach for sun protection daily so this is a great way to give them both in one product.   All moisturizers range in price from $25-$36 and are available at Clinique.com.

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For more sass and beauty updates follow Maree @alittlebitetc on TwitterInstagram or Like me on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

New Year, New Nude! (Sorry, I couldn’t help it.) If you kept up with the runways during New York Fashion Week you would have noted that nude nails are back in a major way this winter and spring.  (Ok, they never really left but just go with me here.)  Nail art is going nowhere but it’s nice to have new nude alternatives for the more conservative gal or for those moments when you want to tone it down a bit. Capitalizing on this nail trend, Clinique, the expert in developing beautiful shade ranges to compliment all skin tones, has created a collection that includes 16 Shades of Beige — 8 nail polishes and 8 eye shadows. I’m really only here for the polishes, so, let’s get to it!

Clnique 16 Shades of Beige

The nail polishes in 16 Shades of Beige are dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested and safe for sensitive skin and eyes.

I love a good nude mani and it is the best way to go when you are short on time and need a quick polish change. (If you mess up and don’t have time to clean up, nude is less visible on the flesh.) Remember that nude varies by skin tone and you should simply pick the color that most closely match the color of your skin.

For the look below I started with two coats of Peek a Boo, I See You it’s not my true nude but I like the way it looks against my skin.  My true nude would probably be Pajama Party or Tickle Me.

 

Clinique 16 Shades of Beige  - TTB 1

After applying the two coats of Peek a Boo, I See You, I simply used my  dotting tool  to add dots in various shades of beige.  This manicure required very little dexterity and even less precision. The polishes wore for about 4 days before the first chip appeared.

All Polishes in Clinique’s 16 Shades of Beige Collection

(from lightest to darkest)

Clinique’s 16 Shades of Beige Collection is available at Clinique counters nationwide and online at www.clinique.com. A Different Nail Enamel retails for $12.50 and will be available until February 2014.

Shop Clinique’s 16 Shades of Beige Collection!

The CC cream craze is officially here and after giving a bunch of them a go, I believe it is here to stay. Following the immense popularity of the BB creams, it was only a matter of time before the next letter of the alphabet was needed. BB creams, which is short for blemish or beauty balm, were initially created by dermatologists in Germany to help treat patients that had just undergone facial laser surgery. They are a hybrid makeup, that gives coverage while simultaneously providing skincare benefits to help treat and heal the skin. CC creams are much lighter in texture and are meant to color correct any dark spots, hyper pigmentation and acne scars, as well as brighten the complexion. Both BB and CC creams are suitable for all skin types. But I have to say, after wearing quite a few of these CC creams over the past few weeks, I am happy to report that they are definitely worth the quick lesson you may have to give yourself to understand them. And while perusing the internet for exact BB/CC cream differentiation, I found sephora.com to have some of the best selection of products and explanations/tips of how to use both. Here are 5 CC Creams to Try Right Now:

smashbox cc creamSmashbox CC Cream

I have to start with my standout favorite – Smashbox CC cream. I am a lukewarm fan of the Smashbox BB cream, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the CC cream. I found the shade range to be quite extensive, and my shade (fair) was a perfect match (Felicia aka Miss ThisThatBeauty is “dark”…and equally in love with Smashbox CC cream). The texture is extremely lightweight but does a great job of evening out my skin tone. Formulated with an SPF 30, this CC cream is meant to neutralize and brighten the skin and control oil throughout the day.

Available for $42.00 at Sephora.

Amore Pacific cc creamAmore Pacific Color Cushion Compact

Already a fan of their skincare, I was excited to try Amore Pacific’s version of a CC cream. I was immediately drawn to the creams texture, though I often expect them to be a tad heavy; this was not the case. The feel was light and weightless with buildable coverage if needed. The shade range is slightly limited but if you find a shade that suits you, the benefits of the product are amazing. It has superior antioxidant and sun protection, clocking in at an SPF of 50, and keeps the skin significantly hydrated throughout the day. The puff applicator cools and soothes the skin as it goes on, and evens out any redness or discoloration flawlessly.

Available for $60.00 at Bergdorf Goodman.

supergoop cc creamSupergoop Daily Correct CC Cream

With Supergoop’s phenomenal success in the sunscreen arena, it only seems natural that they take a slight step to the side and venture into the market of CC creams. The Supergoop Daily Correct CC Cream formula combines the benefits of both a primer/foundation with anti-aging benefits to help smooth, even and correct the skin tone. Not only does the formula contain a broad spectrum SPF 35, it is also chock full of ingredients that are good for you and your skin. The team at Supergoop have a strong commitment to formulating their products with healthy ingredients and natural preservative systems, so this is a great choice for those of you who prefer a more natural product.

Available for $32.00 at Nordstrom.

clinique moisture surge cc creamClinique Moisture Surge CC Cream

Never a brand to shy away from skincare/makeup hybrids, Clinique is another option with many great benefits. Besides the fact that they are the sensitive skin holy grail brand, they also make products that are super effective with affordable price points. Double win! Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream is oil free and great for all skin types – lightweight to apply either alone or under foundation, with ingredients to help address dullness, sallowness and redness. They also have one of the most varied color ranges I have come across, with 8 shades to choose from.

Available for $35.00 at Sephora.

pur minerals cc creamPUR minerals CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 40

A CC cream with a touch more coverage, this Pur minerals version is a true multi-tasking product. It can be used as a moisturizer, concealer, skin brightener, primer and SPF foundation – basically it can do anything you may need it to do. Perfect alone or under other makeup, this silicone-free formula will help to correct and protect the skin’s appearance.

Available for $38.00 at Ulta.com

Have you tried any CC creams? Which are your favorites?

For more sass and beauty updates follow Maree on Twitter, Instagram or Like me on Facebook.

 

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Have you ever been green with envy? Ok, don’t answer that because I bet you’re not proud of that fact.  However, getting several shades emerald green, with Pantone’s color of the year, is a thing of beauty that you can happily flaunt.

Eyes

Urban Decay – Siren Liner: Create runway worthy eyes with with this long wear liner that is packaged in a pen-like component. 

Clinique – Mighty Moss Shadow: Clinique delivers a sheer, yet build-able, wash of lightweight, creamy color. Chubby Stick Shadows are available in 12 shades from nude, to pinks, to violet and blues. Add depth and create your unique look by mixing and matching.  $16 

NARS – Mad Mad World ShadowThis shadow combination is the perfect way to add a burst of color to your makeup look. You can apply it sheer or build it up for a more dramatic look. Both eye shadows can be used wet to create a ‘cake’ eyeliner. $34

Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash 4: This mascara curls, volumizes,  lengthens and delivers intense green pigments.  You will be the envy of all your friends.  $23

Nails

Sephora+ Pantone Universe Nail Lacquer: a highly pigment nail polish that delivers a brilliant shade of emerald green. This polished along with the entire Sephora + Pantone Universe collection launches in March.  $10

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in  ElopeA  long-wearing and chip-resistant formula that delivers a high gloss finish. $14

Hair

Sultra Hair Extension in Ocean Teal

Not quite emerald green but these easy to wear clip in hair extension are ideal to add a little funk to your look.  They are made with two grams of premium Indian Remy hair and blends with almost any style. The hair can be curled or straightened to achieve  your desired look. Sephora.com $18

Accesories

 

Modify Watches

There is never a dull moment with Modify watches.  Dozen of faces and straps allow you to mix and match to create your own unique time piece.  Shown here is an all green combination but you can do whatever strikes your fancy.  As shown $40

A.J. Morgan  Sunglasses

A.J. Morgan ‘Front Row’ Sunglasses: Aviators suit almost all face shapes and there is just a certain level of ‘coolness’ that goes along with donning a pair.  These A.J. Morgan ‘Front Row’ Sunglasses are budget friendly and are accented with just enough green to put them right on trend. Nordstrom.com

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:)

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Leave it to Clinique to bring bright cheery makeup for Fall. Clinique does not stray from its comfort zone with fresh, girly glamour. The eyes take center stage in this look, while a dewy complexion plays the background.

Lashes are richly coated. Eyes are lined with intense shades of plum, coffee or chocolate. Further drama is created with neutral contouring. Lips feature juicy berry or nude shades, and cheeks are dusted with a peachy glow.

Meet the collection:

  • High Impact Mascara: Comes in Brightening Black and is proven to make eyes appear three times brighter
  • Quickliner for Eyes Intense: Extra-creamy new formulation glides on and lasts for up to 12 hours. Available in Intense Black, Intense Plum, Intense Chocolate and Intense Coffee
  • Vitamin C Lip Smoothie Antioxidant Lip Colour: Provides moisture and shine in six shades; Guava Good, Pear-Fection, Running Latte, Strawberry Bliss, Pome-Greatness and Blackberry Nirvana
  • Colour Surge Eye Shadow Duos: Available in Beach Plum, Like Mink and Blackberry Frost
  • Quick Eyes Cream Shadow: Long-wearing and cream-based eyeshadows in Sparkling Nude, Truffle, Rock Violet and Starlit Pink
  • Instant Lift for Brows: Dual-ended tool containing a pencil and a highlighter. Comes in Soft Blonde, Soft Brown and Deep Brown
  • Airbrush Concealer: Offers medium coverage for a natural, flawless finish. Comes in Fair, Medium and Neutral Fair

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Fridays with Felicia: An intimate look behind the curtain as I share my favorite style/ beauty discoveries and ThisThatBeauty shenanigans from previous week.

(I visited HSN last week ======> full deets soon)

Let’s kick off “Fridays with Felicia” with you. Yes, YOU!

Hey girl! How you doin? How’s your skin? As you all know, I am absolutely positively obsessed with good skin care habits. I love pretty makeup as much as the next product hoarding Beauty Blogger but a solid skincare regiment is EVERYTHING. Six months ago, my passion and never ending holy grail quest for perfect skin prompted me to pen an epic post on my personal skincare philosophy.

While the article was a little long in the tooth (nearly 3000 words long to be exact) I think it did a lot of good. The post garnered 59 comments – a ThisThatBeauty record. In fact, your responses were so heartfelt and extensive that it lead to the creation of my current ongoing series on Hyperpigmentation which currently has nine articles.

So six months later, I am compelled to check in  with you. Yes YOU!  So many of you commented to say:

  • “Thank you”
  • “I’m going to take better care of my skin”
  • “I’ll try committing to a solid skincare regiment”
  • Etc.

It’s six months later and I am curious to hear where you are with yours! Have you stepped up your skin care game? Has you skin improved? Are you taking care of YOU?

Please do me a favor – If you commented when I originally posted the Hyperpigmentation/ skin care piece, please comment today and fill me in on how you’re doing. When I wrote that article six months ago, your comments really meant EVERYTHING to me. I want to know how you are progressing.  Also, your comments help me tailor content to meet your needs.

And because I practice what I preach….and pride myself on “don’t talk about it, be about it”…I will lead by example and provide an update since writing the post six months ago:

So to recap…here’s what my skin looked like about 8 months ago (no makeup):

Here’s what my skin looked like after about 2 months of following the regiment outlined in my ThisThatBeauty vs Hyperpigmentation post (no makeup):

And here’s what my skin looks like today…6 months after writing that epic post on skincare (no makeup…or maybe I’m pulling a Jessica Simpson — I think there’s a little stray smeared eye liner that I didn’t completely remove…but there is absolutely NO foundation in these pics).

Let me start by saying this….WOW! Those original pics are still so hard to look at. I cannot believe my skin was that bad. On top of that, I was astounded at how much my skin had improved in just 2 months on my regiment. Those products really kicked butt!!!

In looking at my skin today, its hard to believe I ever had any issues at all . As re-read  the regiment I posted back in March, while the principles remain the same, the actual products have changed since then. I currently use different cleansers, toners, serums, and masks. I still use the Evoclin foam to keep my acne at bay. I’ve rotated a few different hyperpigmentation treatment products in and out of my regiment over the last few months. Again, the products may have changed but my skin care principles remain the same…and that, in my opinion, is the most important take-away. Commit to a skin care regiment that is rooted in the fundamentals…and be consistent day to day. If your products work stick with them…naturally, as a beauty writer, I am constantly trying out new stuff. But I definitely recommend that you practice product loyalty…let ME be the guinea pig!

Please leave a comment and update me on how your skin is progressing!

PS: Look out for an equally EPIC hair story that’s in the works…

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This week I was invited to tour the soon to be completed, state of the art, new and improved beauty level at Lord & Taylor – 39th Street.  The space is still a bit raw so I had to wear a brightly colored hard hat that’s certain to protect me from falling debris :)

The event consisted of a guided tour of the finished and unfinished space. Beauty brands like Clinique, Lancome, Estee Lauder, Nars, Mario Badescu, Bobbi Brown, Clarins, and more presented some of the amazing new beauty innovations that we can expect from L&T once the beauty level is completely renovated. I hope I have the opportunity to get more one-on-one time with the brands but here are a few highlights:

Mario Badescu will have a counter at L&T. I am as pleased as punch to see the brand expand their retail outlets and get more exposure. A simple search of this site using the key words “Mario Badescu” will yield countless product reviews. Be on the look out for an upcoming piece from ThisThatBeauty Contributor Christene Carr. She recently visited Mario Badescu for her first facial EVER. If you’re a facial virgin, you will want to hear all about Christene’s experience.

Clinique’s skincare computer marries technology and beauty

Estee Lauder promises to help you find your perfect foundation match in two minutes in six different lights. Wondering what that crimson lip will look like in daylight vs office light vs candlelight?…Estee Lauder can help!

Lancome boasts that their new state of the art “Diagnos” machine will survey your skin’s texture, pore size, hydration level, and firmness and recommend the perfect products for your skin. I would love to give this a try and report back!

Lancome is also pleased to offer 10-day supplies of their foundation, which comes in 117 shades and 6 formulas. I’m no numbers cruncher but I like those figures!

Lastly for Lancome, the beauty counter at Lord & Taylor features a mascara bar that lets you try out various mascara wands. This is incredibly innovative…no more one size fits all disposable wands. Is the mascara performance not all about the BRUSH? Kudos Lancome!

Want more info on L&T’s new beauty department? Check the Twitter timeline for  #LTFACELIFT and see what your fav beauty bloggers are saying.

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In Fashion’s Night Out News, check out this Three Custom Color Specialists and Talbots collaboration…

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Beauty360.com is the online shopping destination for CVS/pharmacy’s prestige beauty retailer and carries coveted cosmetic brands including Vincent Longo, Paula Dorf, Laura Geller, Cargo and many more.  Through August 23rd Beauty 360 is promoting an exclusive online makeup sale.  Save 20% on your favorite prestige makeup brands by entering the special code SIZZLE at checkout!  Click the following link for additional details and to start shopping: http://tinyurl.com/29n9rum

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“Find Your Fall Style” with Style Coach, Kim Johnson Gross of Chic Simple.

Sign up to receive daily style tips on how to revamp your wardrobes for fall. When signing up, members are entered to win $100 gift cards to Target to start fall shopping. Check out the campaign http://challenges.ivillage.com/fall-style

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If you love beauty apps as much as I do, iPhone users listen up! Give yourself a virtual makeover with Pur Minerals IPur Beauty iPhone application!

Pür Minerals now offers a commitment-free way to experiment with new looks..and who doesn’t love a good “try before you buy?”

Trying out a new look on the Pür Minerals app is simple and fun:

  • TAKE: upload or use a model photo to start your makeover.
  • APPLY: Click a product, select a shade and experience a Pür transformation. The customized algorithm will identify the facial co-ordinates for precise application. Don’t like your new look? You have the option of adjusting the facial co-ordinates, undo or start again.
  • SHARE: Once the makeover is complete, the finished look can be shared through Facebook for a polished profile picture or send to a friend via email.
  • BUY: Love your new look? iPür Beauty offers a direct link to Ulta.com to order products online or to find a location near you for an in-store purchase.

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Up and coming designer Eliza Starbuck of Bright Young Things pays tribute to Coco Chanel by offering a week long sale on her versatile take of the little black dress. You will recall that I participated in the Bright Young Things Style Challenge and modeled the dress of a thousand looks.

In honor of Gabrielle “CoCo” Chanel’s Birthday, The Bright Young Things LBD will be on sale for $150 (reg $185) through Wednesday, August 25  online at www.youbrightyoungthings.com.

Of the iconic CoCo Chanel, Eliza Starbuck says this:

“Coco Chanel was the most innovative designer of the 20th Century. She dared to wear and design clothes that challenged the social standards and gender roles of the times. She broke every rule and always looked amazing doing it. She was living proof that it’s not what you wear, but how you wear it that defines style. Fabulous, determined, and outspoken, Coco Chanel made an enormous impact on society and the way people dress. Happy Birthday, Mademoiselle Chanel”

Eliza Starbuck recently experienced an opportunity that most only dream of…and by “most” I mean “me”.

Find your sacred quiet place and savor this — Eliza Starbuck’s exclusive interview with CoCo Chanel. Here is the intro:

To celebrate, I thought I’d give her a ring. She doesn’t get out much these days, and most people seem to think she’s dead, but like Tupac and Elvis, she’s virtually immortal.

Read the complete interview here: http://www.youbrightyoungthings.com/2010/08/18/eliza-starbuck-celebrates-128-years-of-style-with-coco-chanel/

I love you all for reading my lil ol blog week after week!

xo,

Felicia

PS: Happy Birthday two of my bestest friends. We partied hard. Friendship is golden and I thank God for these gals!

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The first time (about 10+ years ago) my dermatologist told me to incorporate sunscreen into my daily skin care regiment, I looked at her like she had two heads. At that time I didn’t understand the importance of sunscreen during non-summer months…and as a beautiful brown woman of color, I definitely did not understand the need to protect my skin against the sun. I mean, hello…I have built-in SPF 15 (I thought). My dermatologist educated me on the benefits of daily sunscreen and sent me home with an MD Forte product that, when applied, made me as white as a ghost. The formula had a severe grey-ish purple tint. Meh! How was I supposed to embrace sunscreen and its anti-aging benefits when it made me look so hideous. Back then SPF formulations were terrible. I wandered aimlessly  from sunscreen to sunscreen trying to find a product that could be worn everyday without making my face look like a pastey purpley greyish mess!

Well that was then and this is now. Sunscreen has come a long way baby. Today, effective SPF products come in many innovative forms (sprays, towelettes, gels, powders, etc) and formulas. I currently faithfully wear sunscreen 365 days a year and have a wrinkle free face as proof. The lovely young woman in my local coffee shop (slash office) thought I was 23…bless her heart!

When it comes to skincare, I’ll step on my soap box in a minute. I LOVE makeup but good skin care is crucial. You all know what my daily regiment is like. However, if you listen to nothing else, listen to this. WEAR SUNSCREEN DAILY. For the record, I pretty much SPF 30 everyday. Sometimes I do the occasional SPF 15.  Clarins SPF 15 Multi Active Day Cream is a wonderful product (*UPDATE* As of 5/31/12 original product mentioned appears to have been discontinued. Found Multi-Active Day Early Wrinkle Corrective Lotion with  SPF 20) Clinique Even Better is a solid choice) but my preference is SPF 30. (Mario Badescu Oil Free SPF 30 is my current SPF 30 of choice).

Dermalogica Solar Defense SPF 30 Booster is one of my personal favs from way back. My dermatologist turned me to this product a few years ago and I often recommend it to friends and clients. Solar Defense Booster can be mixed with your foundation or moisturizer or applied directly to the face for maximum SPF 30 protection. The formula is free of artificial fragrance and color. Over time Vitamins C and E, Green Tea, and Grape soothe, smooth and help protect against free radical damage. Solar Defense Booster shields against both UVA and UVB rays.

If a physical blocker is more your speed, try….oh wait a minute. Do you know the difference between a physical blocker sunscreen and a chemical absorber sunscreen? Well lets pause for a quick lesson.

Topical sunscreens are broken down into two groups, chemical absorbers and physical blockers. Chemical absorbers work by absorbing ultraviolet (UV) radiation and can be further categorized by the type of radiation they absorb, UVA or UVB, or both UVA and UVB. Physical blockers work by reflecting or scattering the UV radiation. A few common chemical absorbers ingredients include:

  • Oxybenzone
  • Octyl methoxycinnamate
  • Oxybenzone

Chemical absorbing sunscreens are often mixed with a combination of ingredients to provide broad spectrum coverage against both UVB and UVA radiation.

Certain individuals are allergic to chemical absorbers and can only wear physical blocker sunscreen. The two most common physical blockers are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Physical sunscreens contain powdered versions of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which reflect light, keeping it from penetrating skin. Physical sunscreens are not known to cause allergic reactions. While the aforementioned ingredients are ideal with respect to broad spectrum UV protection, their poor cosmetic appearance leaves much to be desired. When applied to the skin, physical blockers tend to have a whitening effect.

SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50 offers broad spectrum protection without the unflattering after effect of a physical blocker. The lightweight mattifying fluid spreads evenly and dries quickly to a transparent finish on light to medium complexions. The revolutionary formula contains 5% Zinc Oxide/ 6% Titanium Dioxide and is ideal for individuals who are allergic to chemical sunscreen or individuals with extremely sensitive skin. This product is truly impressive because the words “sheer” and “physical sunscreen” have never truthfully existed in the same sentence…until now! SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50 is my go-to sunscreen for morning runs!

Dr Dennis Gross Powerful Sun Protection SPF 30 Daily Sunscreen Towelettes are perfect for the gal, guy, or mommy on the go. The geniuses in R&D at Dr Dennis Gross deserve a gold star for this little innovation. I keep a few pre-moistened individually packaged towelettes in my purse and whip them out whenever I’m out in the sun for an extended period of time. While the oil-free and Vitamin C enriched formula is perfectly safe for use on the face, I mainly use Daily Sunscreen Towelettes on my arms and legs.  I regularly SPF my face in the mornings but sometimes forget about the rest of my body until I find myself standing in an hour long line at Shake Shack thinking, “oh the damage this sun is doing to my precious body”. During moments like those I rip open a towelette and go to town….wrinkly leathered skin averted!

Another convenient on-the-go sunscreen product is KORRES Sweet Orange Sprayable Sunscreen Emulsion. (*UPDATE* As of 5/31/12 It appears this product has been discontinued and I was unable to find a replacement product from the brand.  For on the go Sunscreen try Philosophy Here Comes The Sun Age-Defense SPF 30 Sunscreen for Body, it offers both UVA and UVB protection.

Packed with Vitamin C and other antioxidants, this oil-free sunscreen is ideal for individuals with photosensitive complexions. KORRES Sweet Orange Sprayable Sunscreen Emulsion provides broad spectrum UVA-UVB-IR sun protection. The sweet orange scent is a pleasant bonus!

Janson Beckett Sun Block Daytime Moisturizer SPF40 is an effective day cream and SPF all-in-one. The greaseless formula contains Shea Butter, Aloe Vera, and Soluble Collagen to plump and moisturize skin. I love that the silky formula absorbs quickly and leaves skin prepped for foundation. The finish feels like nothing yet it provides a high level of UVA/UVB protection.

VMV HYPOALLERGENICS is a brand that is new to me and one that I am very excited to share with ThisThatBeauty readers. The brand offers a broad selection of hypoallergenic products that exclude ingredients that are known irritants. VMV’s hypoallergenic products are all rated on a “VH (Validated Hypoallergenic) – Number” rating system. A product’s VH-Number directly correlates with the number of allergens the product DOES NOT contain, as referenced by the list of allergens compiled by the North American Dermatitis Group and the European Surveillance System on Contact Allergies (ESSCA). Most VMV products have a VH-Number” ratign of 76, which means it contains none of the 76 known cosmetic and non-cosmetic allergens.

VMV’s Armada Face Cover SPF30 offers intensive protection against skin darkening and melasma. This product is quickly becoming my favorite and here’s why! What I find most impressive (and unique) about VMV’s Armada Face Cover SPF30 is that it offers both outdoor and indoor protection…so that means that it protects against UVA, UVB, and PFV. PFV is visible light protection against indoor light sources like halogens, fluorescents, computer screens, and heat from saunas or ovens.

For those of you who are concerned about hyperpigmentation and the sun’s harmful effects, Armada Face Cover can help. The product has protection so opaque that by using it daily, both indoors and outdoors can help to lighten dark spots and other forms of hyperpigmentation. Don’t let the products claim of “opaque protection” scare you. The formula applies sheer and quickly dries to a smooth soft matte finish.

Experience VMV at a 10% savings. Use code: VMVTHISTHATB. The code is valid until Dec 31, 2010, 12AM EST

Are you ready for SPF on a stick? Next up is Clinique SPF35 Targeted Protection Stick.

Clinique’s SPF35 Targeted Protection Stick is the brand’s latest offering from their Suncare With SolarSmart line. This travel-friendly stick option features vitamin and E jojoba to condition the skin and a blend of photostable sunscreens such as avobenzone to protect against UVA rays. Clinique’s SPF35 Targeted Protection Stick also features Clinqiue’s SolarSmart 3:1 technology, where UVB protection is three times proportional to UVA protection.

This month Lancome introduces Génifique Sôleil Face Cream SPF30 and SPF50. The product is said to be the brand’s “first sunshield to protect skin proteins”. The technologically advanced formulation incorporates a broad-spectrum multi-filter system to shield against UVA and UVB ra. The formula is water- and sweat-resistant. The summery floral oriental aroma is a nice touch!

If you have yet to check out the new line of SPF 50 products from Physician’s Formula you are missing out. The newly launched Healthy Wear collection features pressed bronzer, powder foundation, and tinted moisturizer. All deliver maximum SPF 50 broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection while providing sheer and natural-looking color. The anti-aging formula incorporates Licorice Extract and Tomato Derivatives to help brighten skin and diminish the appearance of sun spots. This Frugalista friendly line of sunscreen products is probably most appropriate for women who are fair to tan. Be on the lookout for an upcoming review of Physician’s Formula Bronze Boosting Glow Boosting Pressed Shimmer Bronzer. Christene Carr, a new ThisThatBeauty contributor, is currently road testing the bronzer…more soon! (*UPDATE*  See review here.)

Dior Capture Totale Solaire Global Anti-Aging Multi-Protective Suncare SPF20 is an anti-aging skincare product with UV protection. The satiny cream protects skin by forming a UV shield on the skin’s surface. This luxurious product contains the Dior Cell-Protection Complex, which is formulated with jasmine extracts to stimulate the natural capacity of cells to produce their own anti-oxidant defenses. This is most definitely a splurge product! (*UPDATE* As of 5/31/12 it appears this product has been discontinued. Please click here for Dior SPF products.)


Neutralize free radicals with clinically proven Idebenone. PREVAGE® Day Ultra Protection Anti-Aging Moisturizer SPF 30 PA++ is a lightweight moisturizer with both high level SPF protection and revolutionary antioxidant Idebenone. My derm first told me about Idebenone years ago…it works to neutralize free radicals and improve improve the appearance of dry, sun damaged skin. This luxurious splurge is ideal for individuals who seek brighter, more radiant skin and an all-in-one product to help achieve maximum results!

Last, but certainly not least — don’t forget to protect your lips! Jane Iredale Lip Drink SPF 15 is a colorless SPF 15 lip product that nourishes the lips! Lip Drink does not contain petroleum-derived products so there’s no chance of the treatment drying out your lips. The formula consists of a base of macadamia nut oil combined with edible zinc oxide, green tea extract, Vitamin E and C. It is flavored with a refreshing mixture of lemon and orange oils. Give your usual lip balm a break and try one with SPF protection!

Honestly, there is really no excuse not to use SPF everyday.

Shop TTB Approved SPF Products!

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Can you realistically expect your foundation to clear up your acne? I’ve never been one to promote skin care through cosmetics. For example, I like my sunscreen solo….not in my foundation. If my tinted moisturizer happens to offer an SP15, well that’s just gravy baby. But my “core” SPF protection is a stand alone product. And based on my recent gold star for great skin from Derm TV’s Dr. Neal Schultz, you can trust that I know what the heck I’m talking about.

But I digress. How much can a cosmetic product contribute to the management of your acne? Well the good folks in white lab coats at Clinique are banking on the success of a product set to launch in April. Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Makeup claims to actively conceal and treat blemished complexions as well as prevent future breakouts. The innovative product incorporates a proprietary blend of balancing ingredients that work to minimize sebum and maintain skin’s moisture balance.

When it comes to over the counter ance fighting products, brands generally call upon the pimple popping powers of either salicylic acid or good ol’ benzoyl peroxide (STRIDEX and Degrassi Jr. High memories be gone!). Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Makeup includes four key ingredients:

1) salicylic acid – an exfoliant

2) laminaria sacharrine extract – sea algae that helps to regulate sebum production and balance moisture levels

3) hydroxydecanoic acid – helps to control the spread of blemishes

4) caffeine – to soothe, calm and reduce redness

With eight shades ranging from fair to deep, the formula promises to not only conceal blemishes, but also neutralize visible skin redness and reduce the appearance of large pores.

The fragrance free and oil-free blemish clearing liquid makeup makes rather lofty claims. If it lives up to the hype, it could truly be a God send for acne sufferers everywhere.

Baby its cold outside but the bitter chill that is characteristic of January never stops the makeup obsessed from looking forward to Spring makeup trends. Like clockwork, every season about this time, Spring collections are launched. This season you will see many emerging color stories and trends.

One Spring theme to catch my attention is the look of healthy, sun-kissed make-up. The skin glows with a warm radiance. Expect lots of terracotta bronzers and blushers swept over the face. The makeup is fresh and natural. Eyes are softly touched with color and lips are delicately stained with neutral shades. Feast your eyes on the upcoming collections that embrace the Spring trend of sun-kissed skin.

Clinique

Becca

Bobbi Brown

Chanel

Giorgio Armani

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