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MADISON REED: THE UBER OF HOME HAIR COLOR

Posted by 04.15.14

Hair coloring has come a long way since the ancient Gauls and Saxons dyed their hair with natural pigments derived from plants and minerals. And appropriate hair color has long been a sign of status—the ancient Greeks and Egyptians used natural hair dyes regularly to show rank and to look younger. Since few resort to crushing plants and roots in their kitchen anymore, unless you’re a true naturalist, at home hair kits are the best options.

Ninety million people in the U.S. color their hair, so it’s no surprise that the “at-home color kit” concept has grown in leaps and bounds. Madison Reed, brainchild of start-up expert Amy Errett, boasts colorist Sally Hershberger as an adviser, and is very much the UBER of hair color kits. Not only does the box you purchase come with salon quality hair color (Hershberger has personally tested the formulas and vouched for their depth, shine, and grade), but it comes with several surprising perks and virtual services too.

One of the hardest challenges of coloring your hair at home is finding the right shade, so the brand actually sends out a colorist to your door (in San Francisco and Manhattan, so far) to help you select the right shade. You can also get assistance from an online color advisor, mobile app, live web chat, digital photo consultation, or a consultation with a real person on the phone. As far as we know, no other at-home hair color kit gives you all these options.

Madison Reed at home hair color

Photo Credit: MadisonReed.com

The kit itself contains items that would even make the cast of Mad Men reject their hair salons: simple, illustrated instructions on the flap jackets of the box; a radiant Cream Color; Conditioning Color Activator with “less-mess” application tip; two pairs of fitted gloves, one for applying color and another to rinse; Barrier Cream to keep skin around your hairline clean; a hair cap to wear while waiting for color to set; a cleaning wipe to remove stray color; and a specially formulated Color Enhancing Shampoo and Conditioner (this is what we couldn’t believe!). All of this for $29.99 (many luxury shampoos alone cost this amount).

The online quiz is visual and fun: choose from a variety of hair types and length and they’ll figure out what works for you.

While we’re not turning our noses up on the other hair color kits on the market, this is definitely one that raises the bar in more than one way. Once you go Madison Reed, you’re pretty much hooked–just like Uber.


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ROYAL FLUSH: ROSACEA REMEDIES

Posted by 04.14.14

April has been designated Rosacea Awareness Month for good reason. The common but poorly understood skin condition affects more than 16 million Americans, yet most of them don’t know it. That doesn’t keep them from suffering from the condition, especially the emotional pain of a chronically red and/or sometimes broken out face.

In a recent survey of 1,675 rosacea patients conducted by the National Rosacea Society, 90% said that the condition’s effect on their appearance has lowered their self-confidence and self-esteem. Eighty-eight percent reported suffering embarrassment, not to mention a whole range of other negative feelings, including, frustration, anxiety, helplessness, depression, anger, and isolation. In fact, 52 percent of the respondents reported that they had avoided face-to-face contact because of the disorder.

Although the cause of rosacea is unknown, a vast array of lifestyle and environmental factors can trigger flare-ups, including sun exposure, hot or cold weather, wind, alcohol, and spicy foods.

“There are different versions of rosacea so each treatment is tailored to that patient’s needs,” said New York City dermatologist Lori Brightman. “But for all rosacea sufferers, you want to avoid triggers such as sun, alcohol ,extreme hot or cold weather, stress, spicy foods, fragrance or menthol, and hot beverages.”

In addition to trigger control, medical treatments range from topical creams and ointments to in-office light or laser treatments, depending on the severity of the condition. The different types of rosacea encompass subtype 1 (moderate to severe redness on the face), subtype 2 (pumps or pimples on the face), subtype 3 (thickening of the skin), and subtype 4 (watery or irritated eyes).

“Obviously, the redness is from ‘leaky, abnormal’ blood vessels so the best treatment would be to get rid of those faulty vessels,” said New York dermatologist Cheryl Karcher. She recommends treatment with Intense Pulsed Light or a KTP or Cutera Exel laser. “We also use Botox to decrease flushing by relaxing the muscles that dilate the vessels in both the face and chest,” she added.

For topical, temporary control of redness, many doctors recommend prescription Mirvaso Gel from Galderma. “The new topical Mirvaso Gel is amazing for redness. Use it in the morning and it will keep redness away for twelve hours,” said New York City dermatologist Lisa Airan.

Oral and or topical antibiotics can be prescribed for the anti-inflammatory benefits—not their anti-bacterial action. In addition, topical sulfur based, azeleic acid, or antifungal-based medicines can help control the redness and pustules. “For some with severe cases of flushing/burning, oral cardiovascular medicine can help reduce the blood vessels from dilating,” Dr. Brightman said.

Many physician-dispensed skin care or cosmeceutical lines feature products specifically formulated to target rosacea. “Rosaliac AR Intense by La Roche-Posay is a light serum that is great for patients with oily-normal skin and wears well under makeup,” said Maryland dermatologist Valerie Callender, who is also president of the Women’s Dermatologic Society. For dry/sensitive skin, she recommends CalmPlex by SkinMedica, an emollient cream that can be used at night.

The ZO Medical® rosacea protocol involves products to control oiliness and breakouts. Cebatrol™ Oil Control Pads feature 2% salicylic acid and anti-inflammatory agents; Glycogent™ is an exfoliation accelerator that is engineered to reduce inflammation.

PCA Skin Anti-Redness Serum contains aldavine, capparenols, and bisabolol to reduce inflammation, redness, and hypersensitivity. It also works wonder for relieving sunburn. Clinical results show a 50 percent reduction in redness over an eight-week period.

Exuviance by NeoStrata has just launched a new serum as well. Exuviance AntiRedness Calming Serum contains Canadian willow herb, tripeptide, and brown and red algae extracts to help calm redness-prone skin. Follow with Exuviance Ultra Restorative Crème, which relies on gentle polyhdroxy acids to soothe dry and easily irritated skin.

Even cleansing rosacea-prone skin must be handled carefully. CLn Facial Cleanser is formulated with glycerin and skin conditioners to wipe away dirt while soothing and helping skin retain moisture.

For covering up, mineral makeup, such as the Jane Ireland brand, treats red and inflamed skin gently. Omaha dermatologist Joel Schlessinger also recommends, Phytomer CC Crème Skin Perfecting Cream, a blend of skin care and makeup that offers coverage and broad-spectrum sun protection.

It can’t be cured, but rosacea can be controlled. If you are dealing with mild redness, try over-the-counter treatments that contain green tea, licorice/licorice root extract, chamomile, feverfew, and mushroom extract for relief. And remember to always wear sunscreen to minimize future UV exposure.


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ANTI-AGING EXFOLIATiON WITH RADICAL SKINCARE

Posted by 04.12.14

I love coming across a brand that works really hard to deliver the most potent anti-aging ingredients while also keeping it effective for those with sensitive skin. Radical Skincare does just that. Founded in 2011 by Rachel and Liz Edlich, who have worked for over 20 years in the beauty industry creating skin care lines for celebrities and companies, Radical came about when these sisters started playing with formulas to tackle their own skin care woes and saw unbeatable results.

All of the seven core products (ranging from $49 to $190) are infused with the highest level of active ingredients and antioxidants such as green tea, acai, pomegranate, red wine extract, and coffeeberry.  Radical Skincare Age-Defying Exfoliating Pads ($75 for 60 pads) are brimming with AHA (alpha hydroxyl acid) and BHA (beta hydroxyl acid) fruit acids to de-gunk pores, brighten skin, and create healthy new skin cells. Each pre-soaked pad contains the brand’s signature Trylacel technology, which works to maintain anti-oxidant potency and deliver maximum results. Other ingredients include willowbark and salicylic acid to clean pores and reduce oil production, chamomile to soothe sensitive skin, malus domestica to protect from UV damage, and oslifit to immediately firm skin and smooth fine lines and wrinkles.  The company says that in two weeks there will be a 50 percent reduction of coarse crow’s feet.

I’ve been using these exfoliating pads after cleansing every for two weeks and notice that my skin is clearer, more even tone and my pores look less clogged, especially around my nose. My crow’s feet look smoother, too, and I don’t need to apply as much makeup.  Each pad has enough solution for the face and neck and you can even use them on other areas such as the décolletage or hands to brighten and shed dull skin.

Incorporate these age-defying exfoliating pads into your spring beauty routine and your skin too will look more radiant and smooth.


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