Monday, August 15, 2011


…..Darphin, Guinot, Natura Bissé, Rodin, Shiffa Dubai, Sothys…..

I’m blessed with wonderful DNA. When others find out my real age, they’re amazed at how great my skin looks, compared to that age. While I try to avoid the no-nos of behavior that contribute to accelerating the aging process, I also try to achieve a daily life that includes proper and balanced nutrition, reduced stress, a healthy lifestyle, no smoking, plenty of h2o, getting sufficient rest and physical activity, avoiding the sun, and maintaining a proper skincare regimen.

Admittedly, I fall off the wagon from time to time, but also strive not to make the digression a routine. Still, I’m aging extremely gracefully, and taking a few steps to ensure this continues, which includes using products that aren’t harsh or loaded with chemicals and synthetic fillers, and developing a regimen suited for my needs and sticking to it regularly.

Following are some stellar performing products I want to share with you. Keep in mind that the results were based on my experience and not necessarily indicative of how they’ll work on you. I have a very basic approach to skincare product preferences, including

· product gentleness to my skin, without causing any irritations or reactions, immediately or delayed;

· noticeable improvement in appearance of texture, diminished pore size, fine lines and wrinkles, and for at least a three to four week period based on consistent daily product use;

· hydration levels maintained throughout the day, and for at least a three to four week period based on consistent daily product use;

· a pleasant natural product aroma without any noticeable aromas of chemicals or synthetics;

· a silken luxurious texture of the product that never separates, is well emulsified;

· a texture that is luxurious and silky, and not tacky or greasy;

· a product that is quickly absorbed without leaving any residue;

· a product that isn’t hyped in delivering results, but in fact delivers results because it is an excellent product;

· besides these product preferences for creams and lotions, they’re also applicable for cleansers, toners, masks, serums and exfoliators;

· a printed expiration date on product container or packaging;

· easy to read and understand proper usage instructions; and,

· easy to read list of ingredients.

The products were very gentle to my sometimes-finicky skin and didn’t cause any irritation. The formulations were primarily plant-based with other natural ingredients that were the catalysts for delivering performance dynamics. Some products had neutral aromas, while others were aromatherapeutic. While aroma isn’t indicative of a product’s efficacy, a pleasant aroma never hurts the use of the product. Products included a serum, restorative oils, and creams.

For each product, I followed the instructions to maximize its efficacy, while making certain I didn’t overdose on the amount of product used on my face, a sure fire way to waste product and run out of it more quickly than needed. Most products are available online or at spas that offer treatments using the products and also sell them in their retail boutique. If you have a Facebook account, be sure to search out these companies and “like” them to get all of the latest posted to your wall. The product websites often provide descriptive “how-to” instructional videos or application renderings; YouTube is another resource for step-by-step directions for some of the lines. When in doubt, however, don’t hesitate to contact the product customer service representative for input or clarity on any concerns you might have, or consult your licensed esthetician. Estheticians are extremely knowledgeable on product use and sustained efficacies.

I hope you enjoy my reviews and will consider these products for your own unique and specific skincare issues and regimen. Each product’s formulation has individual functions that protect, renew, regenerate, strengthen, diminish, and hydrate the skin.

Darphin ~ Prédermine Firming Wrinkle Repair Serum (and) Jasmine Aromatic Care

Over the years, I’ve used various Darphin products, but never had an opportunity to experience a Darphin facial. At last year’s ISPA Conference, I finally had the pleasure of experiencing one of their anti-aging facials. I was very impressed with the fact that all of their facials utilize the protocols established in 1958 by the company’s founder, Pierre Darphin. The products and techniques used throughout the treatment exceeded my expectations. I was very impressed with how the products performed on my skin and how much better the overall condition appeared. Prédermine is used in the morning, followed by a moisturizer. Jasmine Aromatic Care is used at nighttime, followed by a moisturizer. (Prédermine $175.00, 1 oz) (Jasmine Aromatic Care $110.00, .5 oz)

Key ingredients ~ Prédermine key ingredients include dill extract, water clover, iris extract (meyanthes trifoliata), red algae (hypnea) and brown algae (padina pavonica). Jasmine Aromatic Care key ingredients include organic Jasmine essential wax, organic rosewood and orange essential oils, organic raspberry pip and muscat oils, and organic avocado extracts.

Results ~ Both products performed exceptionally well, exceeding my levels of expectation. Although each product recommends an application of moisturizer after each use, I didn’t always follow that recommendation and found that the respective treatment products performed wonderfully without an added moisturizer; I opted for this on very hot and humid days; the Prédermine veiled my skin with sufficient hydration throughout the day; the Jasmine Aromatic Care because of its formulation was sufficiently dense and provided a veil of hydration for my nighttime regimen. However, when I did add a moisturizer, the results were intensified and my skin’s hydration level superior.

Aromatherapeutic properties ~ The predominant aroma of Prédermine was a beautiful subtle green floral (dill extract, water clover and iris extract). The predominant aroma of Jasmine Aromatic Care was jasmine.

Guinot ~ Hydra Tendre Soft Wash-Off Cleansing Cream (and) Age Nutritive Dry Skin Dry Skin

I enjoyed using these products and found them to be rich and luxurious in texture. Because of the density of the formulation, very little product was required. Both products would be ideal for the colder months when indoor humidity levels are low and outside temperatures can be “raw”. (Age Nutritive $142.00, 1.6 oz) (Hydra Tendre $38.00, 5.4 oz)

Key ingredients ~ Hydra Tendre key ingredients included extracts of coconut and macadamia oil. Age Nutritive key ingredients included their proprietary Cellular Life Complex (fifty-six different active ingredients) and Omega 3 and 6 (Nutrinergie).

Results ~ Both products were rich and dense. The Cleanser was easy to remove. The cream worked best on its own day or night, but without combining it with other serums or oils; slight irritation resulted due to the rich density of the cream. While the Cleanser left my skin soft, the Moisturizer left my skin wonderfully hydrated; fine lines and wrinkles were diminished, and the overall texture improved.

Aromatherapeutic properties ~ Neutral aroma, both products, with no discernable or singular predominant aroma in either one.

Natura Bissé ~ Diamond Extreme

I fell in love with this dense and luxurious cream for its aroma, its texture and how it made my skin look and feel. Not only did it perform extremely well with hydration levels, this was another product that noticeably brightened and improved the overall qualities of my skin, including firmness, softening of fine lines and wrinkles, diminishing pore size and evening out the skin tone. ($335.00, 1.7 oz)

Key ingredients ~ Extracts of sweet pea, edelweiss and artemia salina, amaranth oil, wild mango and shea butter.

Results ~ Exceptional hydration, noticeable skin brightening, evenness of tone, diminished fine lines, wrinkles and pore size; improved texture and firming. Worked exceptionally well day or night, on its own, and with other serums and oils.

Aromatherapeutic properties ~ Subtle fresh floral blend of the sweet pea and edelweiss; at times, the aroma reminded me of lavender, but no lavender was in the product or listed on the package ingredients.

RODIN ~ olio lusso Face Oil

I was impressed with how well this oil hydrated and left my skin feeling supple; I only used this product at nighttime due to its consistency, and used it sparingly. The formulation is dense with a number of aromatic essential oils. Because of the consistency, I feel the product is ideally suited for colder, drier months. ($140.00, 1 oz)

Key ingredients ~ Jasmine, evening primrose, argan, orange, sweet almond, apricot kernel, jojoba, sunflower seed, rosehip, and calendula.

Results ~ Improved hydration levels, while diminishing fine lines and wrinkles. I used this as a standalone product for my nighttime regime, and didn’t mix it with other creams, serums or oils; it would’ve been too rich and probably wouldn’t have absorbed well.

Aromatherapeutic properties ~ The aroma of jasmine was predominant and over-powered any other aroma that might have been present in this formulation.

Shiffa Dubai ~ Tamanu Moisturising Cream

When I opened the jar, inhaled the extravagant aroma and touched the luxurious cream, I knew I had found something truly extraordinary. Once on my face, this cream exceeded all of my expectations. I was thrilled with all of its properties, but especially how well it hydrated and improved my skin’s overall appearance and texture. My skin looked refreshed and renewed. ($115.00, 1.67 oz)

Key ingredients ~ Pure tamanu oil, rosehip, frankincense, rosemary, jasmine, avocado oil, jojoba, and calendula.

Results ~ Exceptional hydration, softened fine lines and wrinkles, brightened skin; skin felt firmer and overall texture noticeably improved. Worked exceptionally well on its own, day or night, and with other serums and oils.

Aromatherapeutic properties ~ Scrumptious and intense melding of all ingredients, with a slight predominance of frankincense. I loved the overall aroma of this product.

Sothys ~ Secrets de Sothys Global Anti-Age De-stressing Care (and) Secrets de Sothys Eye Contour Serum

At last year’s ISPA Conference, I experienced a Sothys massage and facial in the Relaxation Area. This was my first-ever experience with any of the Sothys products. The facial component utilized these two products. While both treatment components were enjoyable, I especially enjoyed the facial and how the products seemed to boost its appearance. (Anti-Age De-stressing Care $133.00, 1.69 oz) (Eye Contour Serum $62.00, .5 oz)

Key ingredients ~ Global Anti-Age De-Stressing Care key ingredients included extracts of apple, bitter orange and iris, avocado oil and shea butter. Eye Contour Serum key ingredients included extracts of prickly pear, iris and bitter orange, and plum oil.

Results ~ The moisturizer hydrated exceptionally well, whether I used it alone, or in combination with serums or oils from other product lines. Both products diminished fine lines and wrinkles and refined overall texture. The eye serum softened

Aromatherapeutic properties ~ The face cream had a pleasantly subtle aroma, while the eye serum didn’t have any, which is as it should be.

While I enjoyed reviewing and using all of these products for a number of weeks, and found them to perform well, my particular favorites included the Darphin, Natura Bissé and Shiffa Dubai. Over the years, I’ve tried many products and navigate between brands every few months. I also adjust my skincare regimen between the seasons to conform to the climatological variances. I mix products from different lines, although I try to use all products from one line. Sometimes mixing things up results in skin irritations, so I stop my own brand of “mixology”. It’s nice to have an esthetician to regularly consult with and from time to time get a professional facial, versus the at-home version, which is never quite the same. I also tend not to prefer cosmeceuticals, because some of the ingredients tend to irritate my skin, which can be finnicky. Over time, I’ve learned to adjust to the “tantrums” my skin can throw. In those times, I pare back considerably anything that is a potential irritant, such as exfoliating, or deep cleansing masks. For me, gentle is best and less is more.

I hope you’ll look into all of these wonderful products, check out their websites, or seek them out at your favorite salon or spa, and book a facial to experience them firsthand before considering buying any of them. Whenever possible, try to get samples to try at home to make sure you’re pleased with the results. Remember, too, that it takes nearly four weeks for cells to turnover and regenerate, so don’t expect “miracles” right way when you’re trying a different product out for the first time. And, don’t fall for the “hype”, especially with the so-called “anti-aging” products. Products can help stave off some of the normal effects of aging, and can slightly improve some of the effects that have already taken effect; however, no products can topically reverse signs of aging without some potent formulations in combination with medical science (injectables, plastic surgery, etc.).

About ISPA ~ The International Spa Association is the world’s largest professional organization committed to exemplary standards and professional growth of the spa industry. It was the industry’s first professional organization, and in my estimation, remains the industry’s best. Each year, their annual conference draws thousands of attendees and exhibitors worldwide. Last year’s event was in Washington, DC (Gaylord National); this year’s event will be in Las Vegas (Mandalay Bay). For more information on this year’s upcoming event, go to

By Terry Herman

Terry Herman is a recognized expert in the industry, and regularly covers issues that include business, management, operations, customer care, treatments, products, and trends. In addition to writing and reviewing, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker. She also serves on EXPERIENCE | PREMCHIT Journeys In Retreat To Wellness Advisory Board, which is comprised of ten international experts in various fields of wellness and spa. She also serves as a Group Manager for the popular LinkedIn group, The Spa Buzz. You can email her at


(Photo credits as represented from the specific brand.)

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