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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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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Kiehl’s Tumeric and Cranberry Seed Masque

Kiehl-Turmeric-Cranberry-Seed-Energizing-Radiance-MasqueI’ve used my fair share of products that claim brightening and radiance-boosting properties. Although I’d love to say that in testing all of these creams, gels, and serums, I’ve found the secret to a glowing, dazzling complexion, alas most of these products left my skin the same pale, blotchy hue I started out with. All of this trying and failing started to leave me feeling drab and disappointed—anything but radiant. I had even become resolve to the fact pale and pasty might just be my skin destiny. But when Kiehl’s Turmeric and Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque ($32, hit the shelves, I saw a glimmer of hope. With words like “energizing” and “radiance” right in the name, I felt a surge of optimism for my sad, tired skin.

I was already getting won over from the second I unscrewed the top: It was an old-school, creamy face mask! Upon first application, this turmeric blend was thick and rich and smeared smoothly over my face.

After applying the mask, I made sure to spread out the cranberry seeds evenly—they were a little awkward at first and tended to clump up. Ten minutes later, the mask stiffened and it dried to a yellow-orange hue. After washing the mask off with warm water, the mixture softened and absorbed into my skin, as the tiny cranberry seeds very gently exfoliated.

Although I personally loved the texture and ritual of the entire mask process, it was the formula that really impressed me. It actually made my ruddy pale skin lively and dare I say it, radiant. Not only was my skin smooth and supple after rinsing (a trait that’s rare with the old-school hardening masks I love so much), but it was noticeably brighter and luminous. Thanks to anti-inflammatory turmeric extract paired with cranberry extract and cranberry seeds, which are rich in resveratrol (a top antioxidant and anti-aging ingredient), this mask actually made my skin glow in 10 minutes. I felt so hydrated after washing, I didn’t need to pack on the moisturizer that night, thus allowing me to wake up with non-oily, still nourished skin the next day. Plus, for the first time in my adult life, my skin tone was even, if only for a day. Cue tears of joy now.

Have I found the secret to a glowing, dazzling complexion? I’ll probably always be on the hunt for that. But at least I’m one step closer.


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Mad Men in the Desert: L’Horizon Hotel

If there are two things I like in the same sentence it would be “mid-century modern” and “Palm Springs”. Palm Springs is known for it’s mid-century modern architecture and L’Horizon Hotel is a perfect example of it.

With iconic, mid-century modern architecture and a rich Hollywood history, L’Horizon offers a luxury boutique hotel experience just minutes from downtown Palm Springs. Designed in 1952 by renowned architect William F. Cody, L’Horizon was a favorite celebrity destination spot in the 50s and 60s, and attracted guests from Hollywood’s golden era including Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable as well as several U.S. Presidents.

Architect Steve Hermann purchased the property and completed a multimillion-dollar re-design. The exclusive hotel became Palm Springs’ only luxury boutique hotel.  It opened its doors in June 2015 to much fanfare. L’Horizon boasts twenty-five private bungalows, many with private patios and outdoor showers that overlook the infinity pool and beautifully landscaped 3 acres.

“I designed it as a 25-bedroom house,” Hermann says of his scheme. “No two rooms are the same, and we used residential-grade furnishings, mixing collectible vintage and new modern pieces, then selecting items that are bespoke or from small-batch manufacturers. You end up with a really unique, really artisanal product.”

The rooms—several with fireplaces and all with richly grained, custom-milled tongue-and-groove pine ceilings, lye-treated wood floors, and sweeping walls of glass shielded by motorized curtains—have the flair of a mid-century gentleman’s club. Classic vintage chairs (a Percival Lafer, say, or a George Mulhauser) sit against new pieces by Phase Design, hand-sewn hide-on-hair rugs, lighting by the likes of Brendan Ravenhill, and original artwork.

As for the hotel’s cosseting comforts, Hermann has outfitted every room with Frette robes, towels, slippers, and 600-thread-count bedding, Le Labo bath products, and Dean & DeLuca minibar goodies. There are even complimentary foot and back massages at the pool.

The property is  also home to an innovative restaurant helmed by Michelin Stared Chef, Giacomo Pettinari, who honed his craft at the legendary El Bulli, and went on to helm Valentino in Los Angeles. The restaurant and bar offers an eclectic menu of progressive Southern European and California creations, as well as a predominantly West Coast wine list. Whenever possible, the team is committed to using organic, bio-dynamic and farmer’s produce while sourcing all within a 150 mile radius.

It’s hard to imagine Marilyn and Betty ever would have had it so good.

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