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Posted by 11.27.14

Every dermatologist I’ve ever met swears by retinol (right after sunscreen) as the must-have anti-ager in any beauty regimen, regardless of age, skin type or complexion. Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, has been proven to reduce lines and wrinkles, unclog pores, boost collagen, and speed cell turnover to even out discolorations and smooth skin. It also helps eliminate bacteria to diminish and prevent acne, promote elasticity, and protect skin cells. With repeated use, your skin will look smoother, plumper, younger!

When you’re using any retinoid (prescription or over-the-counter) you need to know that possible side effects are dryness, redness, and flaking. To gain its many benefits without heading into irritation territory, start out slowly to build up a tolerance to the product — begin by using it once or twice a week. After two or more weeks make that every third night, and when your skin is accustomed to that, you can use it every other night, followed by every night.

You’ll also benefit from these other tips:

  • Begin with a lower percentage retinol cream and work your way up to stronger creams as your skin gets used to it.
  • Because it can cause redness and the product can degrade in sunlight, only apply in the evening, before bedtime.
  • After applying, give your product a few minutes to absorb and then top it with moisturizer.
  • Retinol is very sensitive to light and air. Keep your cream in a cool, dark place.
  • When using retinol use sun protection of at least SPF 30 every day to help you get and maintain good results.
  • Retinol products should not be used by pregnant women, or women who intend to become pregnant in the near future.

You don’t need a prescription level product (like Retin-A) to reap the benefits of this anti-ager. Over-the-counter products will give you great results too and can be far less irritating.




SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 Refining Night Cream ($57) is clinically proven to stimulate the skin’s collagen production and can thicken aged, thinned skin. It’s also formulated with bisabolol, a soothing anti-irritant to calm the skin and prevent irritation.

Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment ($55) combines a high percentage retinol with potent antioxidants and anti-irritants, so use only a pea size amount every third day or less to start. Its light, silky texture absorbs quickly and goes to work immediately to refine pore size, reduce deep wrinkles, fine lines, and brown spots.

ZO Medical Brightenex 1.0% Retinol ($115) rapidly brightens skin with micro-encapsulated retinol, plant antioxidants, and enzymes. You can expect it to work fast, greatly diminishing age spots and preventing the formation of new ones.

Shiseido Benefiance Pure Retinol Intensive Revitalizing Face Mask (4 masks for $63) allows you a rich infusion of retinol, chlorella, and hydroxyproline to restore your complexion. You’ll experience a noticeable  improvement in wrinkles, radiance, and hydration after just one use.

Murad Time Release Retinol Concentrate for Deep Wrinkles ($65) has a precision tip so you can apply it directly to deep creases. Besides retinol, it’s formulated with hyaluronic acid and ceramide-3  to soften and smooth on contact.



RoC RETINOL Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum ($22.99) glides on easily and absorbs quickly. You’ll notice renewed radiance in 4 weeks, a reduction in crow’s feet and hyperpigmentation in 8 weeks, and visibly reduced deep wrinkles in 12 weeks.


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Posted by 11.25.14

When shopping for holiday gifts in the beauty aisle, our mind is often far removed from thinking of real-world problems like education and educating kids to have life-changing skills.

The Body Shop has eased our lives this holiday season by doing all the thinking and partnering for social good: each year a new non-profit is the lovely recipient of the company’s largesse. Last year the giving benefited Nepalese schools, and this year the non-profit War Child, which restores each child’s right to learn (especially in war-affected areas and areas of conflict), will be at the receiving end of certain marked gifts.

Rob Williams, the CEO at War Child UK says: “In areas of conflict, getting a child back into school keeps them safe. Building their confidence, knowledge and skills opens the doors of opportunity. That’s why we have teamed up with The Body Shop this Christmas. Buy a gift, help a child. It’s so simple, but so brilliant.”

For every specially-marked gift that people buy this season, The Body Shop will donate 8 cents to fund a class for a child. Here are some of our favorite gifts from the brand this season (a War Child partnership is marked by an *). The Gift Finder on the web-site (which allows you to shop by recipient) is particularly handy:




Coconut Ultimate Luxuries Set ($60)

A touch of the tropics goes a long way during a particularly cold winter. From a shower cream to a body scrub, this package brown-boxes the Caribbean in one convenient swoop. The Samoan-sourced coconut is fragrant without being cloying.



The Schoolbook of Peace ($15)

This charming gift comes in a box that resembles a book. Inside are a glazed apple body butter, shower gel, lip balm, and a heart soap. The purchase of this book will help a child in a war-torn area go to class; need a better reason than that?



Maca Root Modern Gent’s Shaving Kit ($40)

This gift also helps a child in a war-torn area go child to class, and contains a Maca Root Shaving Cream, Razor Relief and a handsome shaving brush. The Maca root — which belongs to the radish family and dark colored roots have loads of iodine — is said to be beneficial to hormonal balance as well.





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Posted by 11.24.14

Back in college, for a period of a few months I wore colored contact lenses to enhance my already green eyes and make them look a brighter green. If you peered closely into my eyes you could actually see the crosshatch design sitting on the lens, and it took me a bit of time to realize they sucked the life and natural beauty right out of my eyes. After that experience I swore I’d only wear clear contact lenses forevermore, but after sitting in on a recent beauty launch I might have to amend that decision.

I recently attended Johnson & Johnson’s U.S. launch of their 1-DAY ACUVUE DEFINE contact lenses (approximately $75 for a 30 day supply). These groundbreaking lenses go beyond vision correction and take a giant step into the world of beauty by enhancing your own natural eye. This daily disposable lens is nothing like the lenses I wore back in college — instead, it’s similar to 1-DAY ACUVUE MOIST contact lenses (an extra comfortable, high UV protection lens that uses Lacreon Technology which allows the lens to retain moisture so your eyes feel fresh all day long) but with the added beauty aspect that enhances what mother nature gave you, without changing your eye color. What it does do is add contrast, definition, and depth so your eyes look more sparkly and radiant. Following the findings of a recent study that showed that people are more attracted to women and men with limbal rings (a dark ring around the iris of the eye), Johnson & Johnson created this lens to do just that. Besides limbal rings it also adds flecks, another eye trait viewed as very attractive.

At the event, I tried on a pair and found them very, very comfortable. When I got home that evening, I decided to do a ”blind” test (pun definitely intended) with each member of my family. I kept the DEFINE lens in my right eye and switched out the left with my regular clear lens. I instructed my husband, daughter, and son to each look at me (without the others present) and tell me which eye looked better. They wanted me to tell them what I did because they couldn’t see much of a difference but when pressed, all three chose the right eye as their favorite. They couldn’t tell specifically what was different but they each found it to look brighter, whiter, and more lively looking.

Optometrist Dr. Meredith Jansen says “When you look at someone, 80% of your focus is on their eyes. Since a more defined eye is considered attractive, healthy and youthful, there’s no reason not to enhance yours.” Available in prescription and non-correction lenses, DEFINE comes in Natural Sparkle (ideal for light eyes), Natural Shimmer (best for those with medium tones), and Natural Shine (perfect for dark eyes) . The limbal ring amps up contrast for more depth and visual interest while the flecks add additional radiance and intensify what mother nature gave you. It’s you only better — like Photoshop come to life!


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