Pretty things! Part 2.

Here’s the second installment of my “Pretty things!” list — see Part 1 here.

I figured most people weren’t up for reading 30-some odd pages of material between their “real work,” so I split it up. The first installment was the “colorful makeup stuff” and this round is the “good for your skin” stuff.

I’ll get right to it:

Creme de la Mer – Moisturizing Cream

la mer cream

I did think long and hard before starting down the road of $150 face cream. If I fell in love with this stuff, how do I justify replenishing at that price tag?

Turns out, I don’t need to worry too much — a tiny, tiny, tiny bit covers the entire face, and lasts for hours and hours and hours. It really is a magically healing balm for the face.

The backstory:

“Half a century ago, aerospace physicist Dr. Max Huber suffered burns in a laboratory accident. Neither medicine nor science offered teh benefits Huber desperately sought, so he began a personal quest to transform the look of his skin. After twelve years and 6,000 experiments, her perfected the precious, nutrient-rich Miracle Broth, the hear of La Mer’s profound powers of transformation.” 

Go here to read that same paragraph with pretty ocean waves crashing in the background.

There are very specific instructions for how you’re supposed to apply this (but I’ve learned that it’s actually a great way to apply ANY moisturizer — go here to have a fancy-pants French lady confirm) — the technique. From the mouth of Virginie Courtin-Clarins:

“For every cream, not for this one only, the best way to apply is to put it in your palm and warm it up, because it goes deeper in your skin when it’s warm, when it’s the same temperature as your skin. So you warm it up, and then you have to pressure-rub it in. When you rub without pressing, you’re pulling your skin, so I try to always press creams into my skin.”

Such are the instructions for applying La Mer. Warm a tiny pea-sized amount between your fingertips. When it’s body-temperature, PRESS it onto your skin (rather than rubbing). Just press, and press, and press a bit more. Really massage your face. It feels lovely, it works the creme into your skin a bit better, and (perk for me), you’re left with less of a ruddy “I just smashed lotion on my face” pinkness and more of a refreshed “I just got a massage” glow.

So, the skinny on this creme:

It’s very thick. It’s very creamy. A tiny little bit will leave your face very, very moisturized. When you apply it, your face feels soothed, calmed, like it’s being healed. There’s a gentle, sort of soapy scent (that, I’ll be honest, I don’t altogether love). Comes with a nice, hygienic wand so we’re not dipping our “been all over the place” fingers into the pot and spreading Life Germs around. Also means you don’t lose any to that “under the fingernail” zone that’s so difficult to reclaim. Scoop up one little plastic spoon worth, warm it up with your fingers, pat it on, and enjoy a full day of lovely, calm, moisturized skin.

It’s great for sensitive, dry complexions. I wouldn’t recommend if you tend to be oily, as it’s just Very Thick. Perhaps “greasy” if your complexion is already plenty oily. But for the dry, flaky folks: this stuff is straight-up magic.

I do tend to use this as a night cream (as it takes awhile to really absorb into your skin….and I’m impatient in the morning), but it’s good as an under-eye treatment for those “needs an extra zap of fixing” areas of your face, any time of day

La Mer – The Tonic 

la mer tonic

Why stop with one product, why not assemble a whole line-up?

The Tonic (aka: Toner) is a VERY gentle way to prep your skin for The Cream. It smells nice and fresh, it’s a refreshing way to finish up the cleansing routine (however your routine may go) and wipe away those last traces of “stuff” without completely drying out your face.

ALSO a lovely way to wake up in the morning — a bit of cool, chilly, yummy-smelling toner as soon as you hit the bathroom in the morning is a great way to — pleasantly — shock yourself awake.

I’ll be honest — I’m a toner novice (always figured them to be alcohol-riddled agents of over-drying chemical evil), but this one feels pleasant, and calming, and altogether gentle. I’d go for round 2.

La Mer – The Cleansing Foam

la mer cleanser

When I sprung for a Clarisonic a few months ago (as part of my “get your skin looking radiant, the Makeuplessness Shall Follow” mandate), I was feeling all sorts of indulgent and decided I wanted to say — for the first time — that I was a patron of a Skin Care Line. I wanted to combine the products the way their labels say they ought to be combined. SO — I went on a La Mer tear, of sorts.

The cleansing foam is a pretty, sea-foam shade of green that foams to a clean, frothy white when you lather it onto your face. It smells nice.

But: honestly, it doesn’t seem to work any more “Of the Sea” magic than the average drug store-priced cleanser. In fact, I have a Kate Somerville “gentle” cleanser that seems, actually, quite a bit more gentle that my face seems to appreciate a bit more.

No lies: it feels “fancy” to cart around an overnight bag full of La Mer stuff, and I think I was a sucker for the cache of the label as much as I’ve turned out to be a fan of the cleanser…..

I use it occasionally. I reach for my Kate products more often (and my Cetaphil cleanser does the job every bit as well, honestly). It’s no better than my Lancome or Vichy, just more expensive.

I can recommend The Cream. I can’t really recommend The Cleansing Foam.

Koh Gen Do – Oriental Plants Emollient Cream

koh gen do

This stuff is WOW.

Originally snagged this as a Glossybox sample, and I couldn’t be more impressed. It’s fragrance free (which I LOVE). It’s gentle, it’s light and fluffy, it absorbs beautifully, it leaves no shine or sheen behind (so it’s great under makeup OR on its own), it seems to keep working for most of the day. I apply in the evening, and don’t need any additional moisturizer the next morning — a dime-sized amount works for the entire face. It’s priced similarly (but a bit less) than La Mer, but is terrific as a less-rich daytime alternative.

Love it.

Acqua di Parma – Iris Nobile Bath Gel

acqua di parma

When I began “The Yoga Journey,” I ended up taking A Lot More Showers. And showers with a purpose. I’m sweating buckets, I actually have something to wash OFF of my body. So, I wanted to wash the sweat off with something that would put a lovely scent back on my skin.

Tell ya what: I had no idea that I body wash (“shower cream” whatever) could actually make my skin feel softer, smoother, more “satiny.”

Maybe it’s because my default shower product was whatever Softsoap or St Ives stuff was available in the largest tub for the cheapest price….but this stuff (of the Iris-scented variety) is amazing. I’ll use my big fluffy “pouf” thing to lather it up, scrub off the salty stuff, and rinse clean — once I’m outta the shower and toweled off, I actively notice how SOFT my skin feels. No body lotion or anything.

I’m curious about the flagship “Colonia” scent (intended more for men, actually, but I tend to like the spicer, “manly” scents better than the floral “girly” ones) — Acqua di Parma makes an entire line of cologne and shaving products for the gentlemen (but I want to snag myself a tub of the shaving cream), along with deodorant and bath products.

This stuff (under the “girlie-scented heading”) is incredible. One little blob lathers up my entire person, and I smell lovely and feel soft as a fluffy bunny afterward. Pretty incredible.

Shiseido – Roll-on Deodorant

shiseido deoderant

I wish I’d never discovered that an entire world of “luxury deodorant” products exist. Because now I want them all. Rather than having “Degree” in the bathroom cabinet, I could have stuff made by fragrance companies? Really???? So I don’t have to smell like powder or “orange blossoms,” I can smell like an actual perfume?

Sign me up.

This was my first foray into “other than Dove or Degree” and I’m fairly enamored. This is a (surprisingly, unfortunately small) roll-on that smells nice and feminine, and does it’s job well — I’d recommend it, silly as it sounds to vouch for an anti-perspirant.

Oh — and if you’re curious, take a look at the options you never knew existed here and here  and here and here. 

Wasn’t that fun?????

Elizabeth Arden – Eight Hour Cream

elizabeth arden

You e-stalk enough makeup artists and you begin to notice recurring themes. There are products that wind up in every kit. I kept hearing about the never-ending uses of Eight Hour cream (to create cream shadows out of liner pencils, to hold brows in place, to moisturize lips, to add texture to bare eyelashes….this stuff is everywhere). So I picked some up.

Yes, it’s mostly petroleum jelly with some sort of camphor-like scent. BUT — it’s become my favorite lip treatment. Rub a TINY amount onto lips and they’re soothed (and just *slightly* shiny) for hours. Like all night if I apply it at bedtime.

I’ve used it on my brows, I’ve used it on little spots and scabs to moisturize them before putting concealer on, I’ve used it on the dry backs of my knuckles, I’ve used it on my eyelashes (just to make them look a little….”dewy?” after curling ‘em). It’s great stuff.

So little is required for ANY body part, this 1.7oz tube will last for a LONG time. It’s less cream than sienna-colored gel (think Vaseline, with a bit of tint), actually, but that’s neither here nor there — it does last for a long, long time.

Elizabeth Arden – Eight Hour Nourishing Lip Balm

eight hour lips

If you like Eight Hour Cream for your lips, this option is similar, but with sunscreen.

Elizabeth Arden – Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant Stick

eight hour lips 2

This is, honestly, no different than the lip balm — but it comes in a handy lipstick format as well. It’s a “choose your own adventure” of Eight Hour Lip Moisturizing, I guess.

I own all three, I like all three, I keep one in the purse, on in the car, one at the office — at least I’m never far from some odd-smelling, but hard-working “lip stuff,” all of which meet my ‘no glossy stickiness!” request.

Evologie – Intensive Blemish Serum


Blemishes happen.

They do.

Whether it’s the occasional hormonal breakout, a product reaction, or more chronic acne, we all get spots from time to time.

I’ve long-feared the easier-to-find Salicylic acid (and it’s zit-zapping counterpart Benzoyl Peroxide). As a still-sometimes-dry-skinned person, any amount of “drying agent” leaves my skin inevitably flaky and peeling. Which is, honestly, harder to conceal than the original spot.

Got a sample of this Evologie blemish serum (also in a glossy box), was amazed with how quickly this “disappeared” a breakout, and ordered the full-sized product (check Amazon rather than the Evologie website proper — I found better deals).

There’s a bit of Salicylic Acid in there, but the primary active ingredient is Azeleic Acid, another common acne treatment that stops the proliferation of bacteria that causes breakouts. It’s more gentle than most of the topical treatments I’ve tried (and had sworn off of). There’s some tea tree oil in there that gives it a surprisingly nice smell (or, “clean” smell, basically). AND: it’s transparent enough to wear during the day and apply makeup on top of.

I will still occasionally spot-treat with a sulfur-based suspension product (like Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion or Kate Somerville’s Eradikate), but those are Calamine-pink and not great for daytime use….this Evologie serum seems to work just as quickly, but it’s colorless — so, daytime-friendly.

I’d recommend this to ANYONE looking for a new zit-zapping alternative. In addition to plenty of WATER, and avoiding crummy, processed foods. Which I’m only learning to do myself, so — I hear ya.