Friday, April 12, 2013


lux - u - ry  (luhg-zhuh-ree)  noun  [from Latin, luxus and its derivative luxuria, excess, indulgence “Luxury” signifies far more than the mere enjoyment of expensive things --it implies an excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures…”

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Fashion icon Coco Chanel often mused about the meaning of luxury…some of her musings dictated that “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury”… and that “Luxury is a necessity where necessity ends.”  For me, however, luxury is something that elevates my senses with extraordinary feelings that totally depart from the norm.  Luxury also transports me to a different space and momentarily, I’m removed from my day-to-day routine.  That departure refocuses my energies and thought process, and I’m able to reclaim myself by the sensory-driven diversion.

For skincare, body care and related products, luxury is also how the product feels to the touch, and includes its aroma; how it transforms my skin’s texture after using it; how it improves the overall level of hydration and maintains that level throughout the day; and, how it enhances how I feel after using it.  All of these attributes are sensory-driven and part of that experience.  My recent article, “SPA AT HOME”, also highlighted the sensory-driven aspect as a viable component to an experience. 

Following are some of those products I had the pleasure of trying, which qualify as luxurious based on my definition.  During the course of using them, however, what was lacking were the hands of a highly skilled and experienced massage therapist, esthetician or cosmetologist as part of a spa treatment utilizing these various products as part of the treatment; but, I digress.  Enjoy my takes on these products, and don’t forget to take some time for yourself, whether that’s at home or at a spa.


Darphin Paris ~ Vitalskin Anti-Fatigue Dynamizing Serum and Vitalskin Replumping Energic Emulsion*
I loved each product’s texture and how it felt to the touch…rich, silky and luxurious.  Application was smooth and without any drag; products absorbed quickly and left a firmer and more hydrated texture.  Skin looked healthier, toned and more vibrant; my hydration levels were maintained throughout the day.  The texture of myskin was also evened out and no dry patches were felt; the hydration properties seemed to have sensors to know where to be distributed and adjusted to compensate for an uneven skintone.  The aromas were fresh and uplifting.  Some of the key ingredients included Mitostime algae extract, Vitamins C and E, Noni fruit extract and walnut extract, which are rich in Omega fatty acids; Noni is also prized in Southeast Asia because of its beneficial properties for skin health.  I loved the high performance of both products, especially when used together for maximum synergy, which also intensified the product’s efficacy.

Sothys Paris ~ Hydra-Nourishing Body Lotion and Lemon and Petitgrain Nourishing Body Elixir*
Both of these products were an exceptional treat post-shower.  My skin quickly absorbed the Lotion, without leaving any tacky residue and dissipating dryness; texture of the skin was firm and refined.  After an application of the Lotion, I’d spray the Elixir after a thorough application of the Lotion to intensify the hydration effects.  While both products had a lovely aroma, the Elixir’s was phenomenal.  Key ingredients for the Lotion included corn germ oil, sweet almond protein, algae extract, shea butter and Vitamin E.  Key ingredients for the Elixir included sunflower seed oil, soybean oil and Vitamin E.  When products were used together, maximum synergy was achieved and product efficacy was attained.


Phyto Paris ~ Volumizing Shampoo Fine Hair, Express Conditioner and Volumizing Spray
I wasn’t blessed with a head of thick luscious hair, but after using both the Shampoo and Conditioner, my hair felt richer and fuller; the consistency of product was rich and dense, without weighing the hair down.  Not onlywas their more volume after using these products, but my hair also had a remarkable strength and vibrancy to it, including a healthy luster.  My hair definitely was healthier and revitalized, something not appreciated until after using high quality products like these, compared to what I had previously been using.  Key ingredients in the Shampoo included Chitin extract from crustacean shells, red algae extract, yarrow, Guarana and tormentil root.  Key ingredients in the Conditioner included Gleditsia extract from the Honeylocust plant, red algae extract and elderflower extract. The Spray held the style, without weighing down the hair or leaving a tacky residue.  Key ingredients for the Spray included beetroot alcohol, nasturtium extract and wheat protein extract.  All products had a subtle, yet lovely aroma and were enjoyable to use.

Caron Paris ~ La Poudre Peau Fine and Bellodgia Eau De Parfum
This iconic luxury brand has been revered and coveted by women worldwide since its inception in 1903.  It launched its initial luxury powder in that year to pair with its first fragrance (Tabac Blond).  It wouldn’t be until 1935 that Caron Paris began to subtly add the luxurious scent of distilled Bulgarian Rose to its exquisite powders.  La Poudre Peau Fine is an extravagant way to finish the face with delicate loose powder; the Poudre also includes the signature Caron Puff; its silken touch glides across the skin, leaving a hint of transparent finish; throughout the day, I didn’t have to bother with any touch-up; there wasn’t any shine in the “T” zone, which is often problematic when wearing makeup.  Key ingredients included Vitamins A and E, powdered silk, distilled Bulgarian Rose, camellia oil, antioxidants and kaolin.  I chose the Transparent “color”, which provided a natural and light coverage. This luxurious and delicate powder is ideal for all skin types, including those with skin sensitivities.  The Poudre comes in a beautiful signature gold metallic case with the Caron classic dot pattern on its lid.  Topping off this finishing touch was a spritz of one my treasured fragrances, Bellodgia.  Caron introduced this luxury fragrance in 1927.  I first fell in love with this gorgeous fragrance in the late sixties when I started college; a small sample bottle (yes, a bottle!) was tucked in a welcome box distributed at registration; I felt so elegant and grown-up every time I wore it, or just breathed in its intoxicating aroma upon opening the bottle.  The extraordinary top notes include carnation and rose; middle notes, jasmine, violet and muguet; and, base notes, musk, clove, vanilla and sandalwood.  The dry-down is subtle and gradual, although the top and middle notes delicately remain.  One spritz easily transported me back to my youth by surrounding me with the exquisite aromatic mélange of floral blossoms.

29 Cosmetics ~ Grape Seed Age-Protecting Preserves First Crush Lip Scrub, Preserves Wine Blot Lip Treatment SPF20 and Preserves Hint of Honey Lip Treatment
Founded by Lydia Mondavi (yes, that Mondavi, vino royalty!), all of the products in this luxurious line are formulated with anti-aging ingredients that treat and nurture the skin.  These three products complement each other and to maximize their efficacy.  Step one is using the First Crush Lip Scrub to delicately and effectively exfoliate and remove dead cells from the lips; imparts an incredibly smoothed and hydrated surface with its multi-hydrating oil complex.  Key ingredients included apricot seed powder, sweet almond oil, grape seed oil, jojoba oil, coconut oil, Vitamin E and shea butter.  Step two is using the Wine Blot Lip Treatment SPF 20 after thoroughly exfoliating.  What’s great about the Wine Blot Lip Treatment is that it’s also a sunscreen and can stand alone as a lip balm.  It also drenches the delicate tissue with exceptional hydration.  Key ingredients include castor seed oil and grape seed oil.  Step three is using the Hint of Honey Lip Treatment and pairs beautifully on top of the Wine Blot Lip Treatment and also drenches the delicate tissue with exceptional hydration.  While it can easily be worn alone for a delicate hint of shimmery color, Hint of Honey Lip Treatment maximizes the hydration properties of the Wine Blot Lip Treatment when applied over it.  Key ingredients included castor seed oil and grape seed oil.

While definitions of what constitutes luxury might differ from mine, including the experience and product preferences, what matters most is how one feels about their particular experience and the results they may gain from using their preferred products to improve both their skin and their state of being.

I encourage you to visit each product’s website and become familiar with the product lines, and if you’re active on Facebook and/or Twitter, don’t forget to also “like” or “follow” these lines.  Product availability may be limited to specialty retail boutiques, select salons and spas, or online. 

Lastly, try to set some time aside each day, or at least each week, to focus to reclaim the "you" that may have become lost in the frenzy of your crazy-busy life.  Doing so isn’t hedonistic, but an investment in yourself and optimal restoration and renewal.  No one deserves this special time more than you. 

That’s it for this edition.  Until the next one, remember to take care of yourself and those you love.

(N.B. * denotes my initial experience with these exceptional products at the 2012 International Spa Association Conference (ISPA).  ISPA is the world’s pre-eminent and largest global organization for spa professionals.  Attendees at the Conference had opportunities to experience various full-service spa treatments in the Relaxation Room, where exhibitors featured top tier products in representative spa treatments.  Licensed spa professionals administered all treatments.)

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


(Introductory photo credit and header from, The Museum at FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology); all other photo credits as represented from the specific brand.)

N.B.  Google’s blog platform is incompatible with my Mac OS X and Firefox browser latest software versions, which is why some web links appear in different colors and why when attempting to have embedded images their sizing is consistent and/or can’t be sized. 

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