For me, when I find a go-to skincare product I will cherish it forever (see Biologique Recherche) One such product is Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II. You can call it ANR for short. ANR has been an Estée Lauder bestseller for years: with 25+ patents (and more pending), they’ve spent a great deal of time fine-tuning and researching the formula to make sure it does what it says. And trust me, it does.

While boosting cell turnover, ANR also evens out skin tone. Dark patches and sun spots are toned down and skin appears even all over. Plus, when you smooth the serum on (after cleansing, before moisturizer), you’ll feel hydrated and notice an instant glow.

A few drops are really all you need with each application, which means one bottle can last you months and months. If you’re not ready to take the leap, head to an Estée Lauder counter and ask for a sample. I can guarantee you’ll see results pretty quickly.

After a mere week of use, I felt that my skin was more supple and had a brightness that was lacking beforehand. The best way of explaining the results, because I have nothing very quantitative to measure, is to say that I look as though I’ve had a full 8+ hours of sleep and had just come back from a months long vacation. Now who doesn’t like that?

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Biologique Recherche: My Secret Weapon

biologique rechercheAfter reading in multiple magazines that many beauty editors’ secret weapon was a little known product called Biologique Recherche I knew I had to try it. The thing is, it’s nearly impossible to find in the states. You can’t walk into a local Sephora or department store and buy it, you have to venture online. I found my fix at Rescue Spa, based in Philadelphia.

After about 2 weeks of nightly use I noticed clearer, softer and more even-toned skin. My hormonal acne was gone (hallelujah!) and my skin looked brighter. What is this magic potion you may ask? Well it’s a toner, exfoliator and lotion all in one bottle, sort of…

Technically, it’s not a lotion but more like a toner, even though that’s an incredibly old school term that makes me think of Sea Breeze.  P50 is a liquid that exfoliates and balances all skin types. These products are designed to strengthen the epidermal shield, exfoliate the skin, regulate excessive sebum secretion, hydrate the skin and maintain the skin’s pH.
The Lotion P50 range consists of 6 different versions. There’s the Lotion P50, which is the full strength version, The P50V, a medium strength version and P50W, a mild version for mature, drier skin types. All 3 strengths are available in both the original formula and the newer, phenol-free formula. I use the P50 1970 version with phenol. It smells like listerine and the first few times you use it your face goes a bit numb which I like. However, you get used to it and you’ll love the results.

This article does an excellent job at breaking down the product and various formulas. Personally, I’m always inclined to recommend the  P50 1970, but since my skin was already used to both glycolic and lactic acid, I might have already had more of a tolerance to this type of product.

I know you’ll be happy with whatever formula you choose. Seriously, this stuff is holy grail, take with me everywhere material.
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Liquid Gold

There are plenty of anti-aging products claiming to even skin tone and reduce the appearance of fine lines. Dr. Dennis Gross’s Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution has what it takes to actually deliver on those claims, making it an excellent option if you’re in the market for a multi-tasking serum._10921260

Starting things off on the right foot is the packaging. Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution comes in a brown-tinted bottle with a dropper dispenser, which helps protect its beneficial ingredients from light and air exposure. As for what’s inside, it’s a very good, water-based serum that contains an intriguing blend of lightening and anti-aging ingredients.

I’m uncertain as to why Dr. Gross calls the product a “solution” as it is serum-like in consistency.  The clear liquid absorbs rapidly, with no traces of stickiness or greasiness or fragrance.  The serum is easily gentle enough for use by all skin types, even those who have never used a retinol before. In fact, this is an excellent starter retinol product as well as a maintenance product.  The combination of retinol and ferulic is brilliant (also found in his Active Vitamin D  Serum-Oil but in a very different formulation and in much smaller concentrations). Moreover, products with ferulic acid aren’t easy to come by. Add to that an abundance of skin beneficial ingredients and you have a potent multi-active product that, over time, gently delivers on its promise of smooth skin and reduced hyperpigmentation.

The chief antioxidant in this fragrance-free serum is ferulic acid, and it’s excellent for helping to boost skin’s ability to defend itself from environmental damage.

This also contains retinol, which helps skin create better, healthier skin cells (which aids in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles). In addition, Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution contains a number of ingredients, such as licorice root extract, bearberry leaf extract, arbutin, and mulberry leaf extract, which have research showing they can reduce the appearance of dark spots. This serum is best for all skin types concerned with an uneven skin tone.

Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution also contains a mix of AHA ingredients plus the BHA salicylic acid, but the formula’s pH is above 4, which means these ingredients won’t function as exfoliants, not to mention the combined amounts of them likely remain below what research has shown to be effective. Nevertheless, this does contain a very good series of antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients with the ability to improve signs of aging as well as helping to fade discolorations.

I would recommend this in a heartbeat. The only downside is the price; it’s $88 for a 1 ounce bottle. However it is MUCH cheaper than a trip to your dermatologist!

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Glossier

The slick marketing of Glossier pulled me in. I’m not a stranger to the brand. I’ve purchased a few items from the skincare line about a year ago. Nothing impressed me as much as the Balm Dot Com did(hello smooth cuticles, elbows and lips)! So I decided to give their makeup a try.

I purchased the Stretch Concealer and Generation G lipstick in “Crush”.

Glossier claims they’re going for a “soft, popsicle-stain flush” with Generation G and it’s meant to have the pigmentation and comfort of a tinted balm with the look of a stain.

It’s true that the Generation G lipsticks have a flushed, stain-like look on the lips. Tinted balms don’t generally hydrate my lips, but good ones are practically imperceptible and non-drying. Generation G lipsticks are weightless when your lips are parted, every-so-slightly sticky when you press them together, and a tad bit drying.
glossier generation g
These lipsticks have a very pretty effect on the lips without being as cumbersome as most traditional liquid stains. It might sound weird, but they kind of “veil” the lips. The sheer stain effect means that, while these have totally average wear, they fade evenly. This finish means that all four shades look pretty good on most skintones…and because the folks at Glossier are no dummies when it comes to marketing, they’ve proven it on their product page.

The Stretch Concealer is the real star here. Light, buildable and flexible, it’s everything I look for in a concealer. Now, if you’re looking for something to hide scars, acne and melasma I suggest the NARS concealer.stretch concealer glossier

Glossier’s concealer is best to hide uneven skintone and dark circles. Application is simple: use your fingers to press and blend the concealer into the skin. It’s definitely pretty sheer at first, but that’s the point of buildable concealers. I found it incredibly soft and easy to blend, too, though not so easy as to slide all over my face like most liquid concealers.  It looks and feels natural, it brightens up my complexion and leaves me with a dewy finish. Nothing cakey or drying which is very important when it comes to concealer.

If you’re going to buy one thing from the Glossier makeup line, definitely make it be the concealer. You cannot go wrong and the price point is great.

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