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April 17 2014

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1371 posts tagged "Skincare"

Can You Sleep Your Way to Better Skin?

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Countless studies have confirmed what many of us inherently know: Sleep does a body good. While we snooze, the body repairs damaged DNA and resets its internal clock, which is critical for keeping many aspects of your system in peak condition, including your skin tone. In fact, research indicates that without adequate slumber, you’re more likely to wind up with fine lines, uneven pigmentation, and diminished elasticity (and, obviously, dark circles). If that’s not inspiration to hit the hay, consider the latest wave of overnight skincare masks, which promise to mitigate many of the above concerns—with the added benefit of boosting moisture levels and brightening the complexion. I mean, what could be easier than sleeping your way to radiant skin, right? To find out if these nighttime wonders truly deliver results in the a.m., we consulted cosmetic chemist Ni’Kita Wilson for her expert opinion.

The pick: Amorepacific Moisture Bound Sleeping Recovery Masque
Formulated with tons of potent botanicals, including amino-acid-rich bamboo sap and antioxidant red ginseng, this masque increases cell turnover to brighten the face and mimics skin’s own internal hydration for dewy moisture that lasts.
The expert’s take: “Bamboo sap draws moisture in the top layers of the skin, which makes your skin soft and supple. Bamboo also has gentle exfoliating properties, which can help make the skin feel smoother in the morning.”

The pick: Nude Skincare Advanced Renewal Overnight Repair Mask
A polypeptide complex in this nightly mask aims to firm the skin, while a litany of natural “actives,” such as honey and omega-6 and -9, work to rejuvenate tired, worn-out complexions.
The expert’s take: “Omegas do create a nourish barrier on the skin, promoting hydration, and honey also promotes moisture.”

The pick: Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque
Spiked with desert plant extract (like the “drought-resistant” fountain plant) and glacial proteins, this creamy salve replenishes dwindling moisture reserves for long-lasting hydration when used once a week.
The expert’s take: “It’s the glycerin and urea that really drive the initial hydrating feel of this mask.”

The pick: Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask
Meant to be the last step in your skincare regimen, this rich mask is geared toward fending off the oxidative stress accumulated during the day—mainly by supplying essential lipids to help calm and soothe irritation, along with a cocktail of ingredients that optimize your moisture balance.
The expert’s take: “This product is loaded with ingredients that draw water to the skin (sodium hyaluronate, sorbitol, trehalose) and those that form barriers on the skin (shea butter, mango butter), essentially locking moisture into the skin.”

The pick: La Mer The Lifting and Firming Mask
While technically not called an overnight fix, the pros behind it note that during the night, when skin is in recovery mode, is the “ideal time to use reparative skincare.” Concocted with its famed miracle broth along with restorative brown algae, marine peptides, and active marine plant stem cells, this “serum-strong” cream supports collagen production and increases skin’s natural density for a more youthful look.
The expert’s take: “Algae is a broad category! But it’s possible that, in addition to ingredients that are in the base of the formula to promote hydration, the algae can immediately soften the skin for an instant benefit.”

The bottom line: Well, it’s a bit of a wake-up call. While these no-rinse formulas can soften, smooth, and plump the skin, the overnight benefit is primarily a result of hydration. “Also keep in mind that these products are meant to be left on the skin for at least six hours and used multiple times a week—every night, in some cases,” says Wilson. So to really see results, you can sleep, not slack off, on application.

Eat Your Way to Glowy Skin

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As the saying goes, “You are what you eat,” and it looks like no one has taken the idiom more to heart than Dr. Olivier Courtin-Clarins (member of the eponymous French beauty clan), whose spa at Parisian hotel Le Royal Monceau is one of our favorites. However, if one is looking to mimic (or rather, maximize) the gorgeous effects of a spa day, look no further than the hotel’s restaurant Le Bar Long, where the doctor is very much “in.”

Courtin-Clarins, teaming up with executive chef Laurent André, has created a beauty-boosting salad called “My Blend,” which features fresh, seasonal ingredients packed with vitamins and antioxidants. This latest creation—a colorful mélange of spinach leaves, Brittany shrimp, endive, beets, red and white potatoes, pumpkin, and grated black truffle—is as much a feast for the eyes as it is in, well, the more literal sense. Best of all, this gourmand salad is rich in beta-carotene; fiber; protein; amino and omega-3 acids; and vitamins C, D, and B12—a cure-all for a lingering cold and those winter blues.

Salade My Blend, 39€, available at Le Bar Long, Le Royal Monceau, 37 Avenue Hoche, Paris, France

This New Natural Beauty Line Is Everything

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There are certain beauty products that I am, to put it plainly, a total sucker for every single time I can get my hands on them: single-serve treatment masks. Red—particularly orangey-red—lipstick. Facial spritzes of every ilk. And anything that smells remotely like coconut (I buy it by the tub at Whole Foods). So the fact that my first introduction to Dr Jackson’s—the line of resolutely natural skincare products created by British pharmacognosist Dr. Simon Jackson and available now at Net-a-Porter—came via a little something called Coconut Melt was, needless to say, a very good thing. The jar of 100 percent organic coconut oil stays solid at room temperature, but, as the name implies, melts at your fingertips. Slathered on dry complexions before bed, as a lip balm, or as a cuticle or hair treatment, it is wondrous. The same is true for the other products in Jackson’s carefully curated line, all which abide by the same overarching philosophies: always natural and ethical, never tested on animals, avoiding the use of endangered plant species, and supporting a carbon offset program and indigenous populations. For the latter, Jackson himself travels the world over to source star natural ingredients like baobab, marula, and kigelia. It is for kigelia, a tree whose extracts and fruit have been discovered to treat a host of skin issues from eczema to acne to sun spots, that Jackson travels to a small community in the Zambezi region of Africa’s Rift Valley to find. Here, Jackson shares images from his latest expedition there in January.

tobacco-field

“An example of one of the villages that only farms tobacco, an alien species—a monoculture that cannot be eaten but provides an income to the rural community—something we are trying to stop. [Our goal] is to provide indigenous plants that are sustainable and do not need costly herbicides and pesticides, and have a less detrimental impact on the landscape.”

plant-species

“Just a few of the specimens of indigenous plants gathered on our Botanical Safari 2014.”

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Dr. Jackson on the wettest day ever, during the rainy season, planting indigenous kigelia seedlings.

field

“One of the many curing barns for crops like tobacco—note the tree stumps. All the indigenous trees are cut down for miles around to provide wood for curing the crops.”

flashlight

“Some of the volunteers from this year’s tree planting program. We gave out solar-powered flashlights as gifts for help with the tree planting.”

stella-portrait

“This is Stella. She is one of the rural community farmers who is planting indigenous trees in her small holding—and such a character!”

stella-field

“Stella explains what she is doing on her small lot of land. She has over 3,000 tomato plants that she grows and sells in the local market. She makes enough tomatoes to sell for $1, so that’s $3,000 in one crop; she has already put three of her sons through college.”

trees

“The finished planted trees. One day we will be able to harvest the fruit to put in our skin creams.”

Éminence’s Head Is in the Clouds

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CLOUDBERRY (kloud-ber-ee)/ (n.)/ 1./ Scientific name rubus chameaermorus, and sometimes referred to as a knotberry or salmonberry, the herb that produces a golden-colored fruit grows wild in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere, including Europe’s Nordic countries and northern parts of the United States and Canada. / 2./ Often found in mountainous areas, the plant is able to withstand extreme cold but suffers in very dry conditions. / 3./ Rich in vitamin C (four times more than an orange offers), they are an ancient natural remedy for protecting against scurvy and for treating urinary tract infections. / 4./ Their immune-boosting properties make cloudberries efficient wound healers, and they have also been found to help anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and cardiovascular and kidney issues. / 5./ When ripe, the berries have a sweet flavor and are used in many traditional jams and other delicacies, as in Finland where leipajuusto sees them served warm with local cheese, cream, and sugar, or in lakkalikoori, a strong and sugary liqueur. / 6./ Packed with antioxidants, omegas, carotene, and vitamins, cloudberries are hugely beneficial for the skin, helping to nourish, strengthen, and combat the signs of aging; e.g., “Slather your cloudberries on buttered toast for a sweet fix or on your complexion for a radiance boost.”

Try it: Éminence Arctic Berry Peel & Peptide Illuminating System, $130, eminenceorganics.com

Shu Uemura Makes Beauty Magic With Mika Ninagawa

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shu-uemura-cleansing-oils

For Shu Uemura’s latest collaboration, it aligned (for the third time) with a woman who knows how to draw a crowd: photographer and film director Mika Ninagawa, whose solo show, Mika Ninagawa: Earthly Flowers, Heavenly Colors, garnered the highest turnout ever recorded for a photo exhibition in Japanese history. (She also team up with designer Ivana Omazic when Omazic was at the helm at Céline for the house’s Fall 2007 collection.) Beloved by the fashion elite and the masses, Ninagawa created a collection of whimsical makeup, lashes, and skincare products that are almost guaranteed to fly off virtual shelves (with Shu Uemura no longer being sold in freestanding stores stateside). “To me, makeup is a way to open the door to an unknown world, a world filled with excitement,” said the artist. With this idea in mind, Ninagawa crafted four vibrant and visual wonderlands to decorate the packaging: Curiosity (a brightly colored carnival), Forbidden Fruits (featuring “evil” butterflies and “seductive” strawberries wearing false eyelashes), Melting Sweet Dream (populated with lollipops and flowers), and Singing Forest (lips floating among foliage). Within the range you’ll find the company’s cult-favorite cleansing oils; UV Under Base Mousse (a foam-based primer); spiral duo eyeshadows (inspired by those Melting Sweet Dream candies); a pressed powder that boasts brightening lavender pigments; false lashes adorned with stars; and nail stickers stamped with her playful prints. “We gave her a blank canvas,” said international artistic director Kakuyasu Uchiide—and Ninagawa certainly splashed it with plenty of creativity and color.

Available in April on shuuemura-usa.com

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