Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Regardless of the season, climatological changes and extremes can wreck havoc on the skin, especially the face.  Summer is especially assaultive with its piercing hot and drying temperatures, its oppressively high humidity levels also causes excessive sweating and damaging exposure to sun’s UVA and UVB rays.  Seasonal extremes contribute to an imbalance in the skin, which is why it’s important to have a skincare regimen that is suited to the season.  Following is a recap of the criteria I use for at-home product evaluations, followed by my reviews. 

~ My Evaluation Criteria ~

1.     I am not an esthetician.  My results are personal and aren’t representative of what others may experience.  I try to test a product for three to four weeks to gauge its efficacy.
2.     I expect a product to maintain the quality, texture and overall condition of my skin prior to the test, while diminishing fine lines, wrinkles, dry patches or uneven tone during the course of the test period.  I’m more interested in consistency in a product’s performance, as opposed to an “after glow” that dissipates over a short period of time.
3.     I also try to consider a product’s ingredients, how well it’s emulsified (no separation etc.), product stability in consistency, its aroma, rate of absorption, texture, ease of application, glide, product feel, whether the product is tacky or greasy to the touch and remains that way once it’s applied, the appearance of skin after initial application (with and without a 10x mirror), any signs of irritation or contraindications caused by using the test product and a different product, how well the overall condition of my skin remains throughout the day.

~ Facial Luxe ~

AMOREPACIFIC ~ With five thousand years of proven health benefits from Asian Botanicals such as Green Tea, Bamboo and Ginseng, these historical elements were fused with advanced skincare technology to create AMOREPACIFIC, an exquisite line of skincare products.  AMOREPACIFIC is the only cosmetics company to grow and harvest its own Green Tea, which is rich in EGCG, a potent polyphenol, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.  AMOREPACIFIC is also the first cosmetics company to stabilize EGCG and use it effectively in skincare formulations without any degradation in potency and efficacy.  Beneficial properties of EGCG are regularly studied for health benefits, and include disease prevention in cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic health, obesity and diabetes; as an antioxidant, it also fights free-radicals, which is beneficial to overall health, but improves slowing down the aging process.  Green Tea is rich in EGCG, a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory; Bamboo Sap is more hydrating than water and is rich in minerals and amino acids which revitalize the skin; and, Red Ginseng stimulates hyaluronic acid production which controls skin aging by increasing moisture retention, and also firms and strengthens the skin's barrier; Red Ginseng is also high in saponins, another antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Time Response Skin Renewal Cream ~ The Renewal Cream has a rich and dense texture that is feels luxurious and silky.  When applied after the Renewal Serum, because it is so concentrated, a very small amount is sufficient to thoroughly apply to the face, neck and décolleté areas.  My skin definitely looked healthier and more radiant and had a healthy glow; my skin tone was more even in appearance and fine lines and wrinkles were also noticeably diminished.  Key natural ingredients include sunflower seed oil, shea butter, jojoba esters, olive oil, green tea extract, green tea leaf extract, green tea seed oil, palm oil, witch hazel, oat kernel extract, honeysuckle flower extract, ginkgo biloba leaf extract, coconut oil, ginger root extract, soybean seed extract, arnica flower extract, grape leaf extract, magnolia bark extract, bamboo, cotton extract and cocoa seed extract.
Treatment Enzyme Peel ~ The Enzyme Peel is a dehydrated concentration of papain, allantoin and green tea leaf extract.  I used the equivalent size of a quarter in the palm of my hand and then reconstituted it with water to make a semi-liquid paste.  I then massaged the mixture all over my face, concentrating on problem areas, then let the mixture set a short time before rinsing it off.  This was an incredibly gentle and effective peel/exfoliator.  Rinsed off, a cleaner, clearer and brighter skin was revealed.  Recommended use is prior to moisturizing regimen. 
Moisture Bound Skin Energy Hydration Delivery System ~ The Hydration Delivery System is oil-free and delivers effective hydration that remains throughout the day with each spritz; it’s also a great refresher when you need a pick-me-up; chill during the summer months for an added spritz of cool and calming moisture.  Key ingredients include bamboo sap, proprietary Aqua Sponge Complex, water lily extract and ginger root extract.  Recommended use is following cleansing and toning, but before serum and moisturizer; the layering of hydration-based products increases efficacy of individual products.
Moisture Bound Refreshing Masque ~ The Refreshing Masque is a simple two-step at-home system that infuses hydration through treatment.  The two-step system includes an individual ampoule of concentrated nourishing botanical and root extracts that’s applied to a thoroughly cleansed face.  After application of the individual ampoules, an individual pre-formed and treated facemask is then applied to the face and left on for thirty minutes.  After removal of the form, the face shouldn’t be rinsed; any residue can be massaged into the skin, including hands and arms, which is what I did; there is an eight-hour time release of the combined Refreshing Masque ingredients.  Skin’s texture is visibly improved and firmer and hydrated.  Key natural ingredients include bamboo sap, purifying hyacinth and proprietary Revitalizing 5-Hydra Complex.
For more information on the entire product line, go to http://us.amorepacific.com/

MitoQ Anti-Aging Moisturizing Serum ~ An advanced cosmeceutical that combines the latest technology and science of Coenzyme 10, or CoQ, which is present in cells and which is a natural antioxidant, along with the science of Mitochondria, which are also present in cells, and which function like “power plants” controlling cellular energy, growth, regeneration and cellular cycle.  Combining these two components improves the efficiency and delivery, energy and growth of the enzyme within the cell, which further improves the anti-aging properties of the cell’s performance.  The Moisturizing Serum had a slightly dense texture, but went on smoothly; it was non-irritating and didn’t have a tacky or greasy residue; it was quickly absorbed and over time, diminished the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; skin retained good hydration throughout the day; skin’s texture appeared firmer.  Tests resulted with MitoQ being one thousand times more efficient in delivering CoQ topically than other topical antioxidant products.  For more information on this product, go to http://www.mitoq.com/

NuFACE Nourisher Superfruit Stem Cell Serum and Trinity Wrinkle Remover ~ The latest in skincare technology is based on incorporating plant stem cells into formulations that protect the skin’s cellular structure from damage and to also stimulate cell renewal.  The Superfruit Stem Cell Serum does just that by providing protection to the delicate tissue from harmful UV rays, reducing any inflammation and encouraging cell renewal, which are also anti-aging.  The consistency was lighter than other serums I’ve used, but was easy to apply without leaving any greasy or tacky; it was also quickly absorbed to my face, neck and décolleté.  Over time, fine lines and wrinkles were diminished and my skin looked more luminous and healthy.  The product is a great first course in one’s skincare regimen after a thorough cleansing and toning.  My skin never felt dry even when I used only the Stem Cell Serum.  Key ingredients promoting anti-aging properties include apple stem cell, grape stem cell, alpine rose stem cell, algae extract, mugwort and pichia/resveratrol extract.  In order to use the Wrinkle Remover, you need to have the NuFACE Trinity, since it isn’t compatible with the NuFACE Classic device.  The Wrinkle Remover provides phototherapy for the face using a series of LED lights that delivers Red and Infrared lights that are pulsed to the treatment area; over time, regular use is accumulative in effectively diminishing fine lines and wrinkles.  The lights increase collagen and elastin production; collagen and elastin are beneficial for tissue firmness and structure, two important anti-aging components.  The pulsed lights do not emit any heat.  During the time I tested the product, I noticed a softening of fine lines and wrinkles on my forehead, which was the only area I tested.  The Trinity Unit also delivers noticeable lifting results on areas that I treated regularly, especially along the jaw line.  NuFACE is clearly revolutionizing at-home skincare with FDA-cleared products that deliver professional-quality and visible results.  For more information on the entire product line, go to http://mynuface.com/

Orogold 24K Vitamin C Booster Facial Serum ~ Gold has been prized for its beautifying properties for thousands of year.  This precious metal is believed by many to have beneficial healing properties such as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-aging.  It is also believed to increase circulation, tighten and firm skin, eliminate toxins, slow down collagen and elastin breakdown and speeds up tissue repair.  Used topically, it also imparts a subtle glow to the skin without making it look garish.  I really enjoyed testing the Booster Facial Serum.  Its texture was rich and silky and felt wonderful applied to my skin.  I noticed the subtle glow to my skin immediately and over a short period of time, fine lines and wrinkles were noticeably diminished; my skin’s texture was firmer.  The product was gentle and non-irritating and didn’t leave any tacky or greasy residue.  Very little product was needed to cover the face, neck and http://www.jazzinchicago.org/educates/journal/interviews/conversation-chicagos-own-bob-centano-and-bob-ojeda; I often went without any moisturizer over this product, since my skin felt beautifully hydrated throughout the day.  Key ingredients include pure 24K gold, Vitamins E and C, wheat germ oil and glycerin.  For more information on the entire product line, go to http://www.orogoldcosmetics.com/

Vine Vera Resveratrol Firming Eye Complex ~ I’ve been a huge fan of vinotherapy since it was first introduced in the early 1990s by Caudalie.  Over the years, there have been numerous studies affirming the benefits of Resveratrol, a potent antioxidant derived from grapes and red wine; red wine has also been shown to be heart-healthy by increasing good cholesterol (HDL) and helping to prevent arterial damage.  I found the Resveratrol Firming Eye Complex to be very gentle and one of the better such products I’ve tried over the years.  It maintained suppleness while providing hydration to the delicate under eye tissue.  In particular, towards my tear ducts; I’ve always had a problem with tiny dry patches in those areas.  Using the Eye Complex totally eliminated that issue for me, and yes, I was able to apply the product that close to my eyes without any irritation.  The product was gentle and quickly absorbed, without leaving any tacky or greasy residue.  Key ingredients include resveratrol, Vitamins A and E, lavender oil, aloe leaf extract, tealeaf extract, caffeine and shea butter.  For more information on the entire product line, go to http://www.vinevera.com/

~ Just Because ~

It’s July, and summer is in full swing, along with intensified heat and humidity.  July is also NATIONAL ICE CREAM MONTH, and what better way to put the chill on the season than by celebrating it with a brand of delicious ice cream that’s healthy, high in protein, low fat, gluten-free, vegetarian friendly and made from all-natural ingredients, including cage-free eggs, no corn syrup or any type of artificial sweeteners and no synthetic growth hormones, like rBST?  Enter HALO TOP CREAMERY ALL NATURAL LIGHT ICE CREAM!  Each scrumptious, natural and healthy flavor delivers 7g of protein, 4g of net carbs and only 80 calories in a suggested one-half cup serving size. Natural flavors include Chocolate, Vanilla Bean, Strawberry and Lemon Cake.  I loved adding the Chocolate and sometimes the Vanilla Bean to fresh-brewed coffee for my own take on a mocha café; or, try adding fresh cut berries to the Strawberry for a satisfying dessert, or add Lemon Cake to lemonade for your own version of a lemon frappé.  Who says indulgent desserts can’t be delicious, sweet, satisfying and healthy?  For more information on the entire product line, go to http://www.halotop.com/

Enjoy the rest of your summer, and remember to be sun safe and stay hydrated.  That’s it for this edition.  Until the next one, remember to take care of yourself and those you love.

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 the 1990s, she authored an extensive "Glossary of Spa Terminologies" and holds two copyright registrations.  Consumer and trade publications have also interviewed her as an expert.  She also conducted an extensive nationally broadcasted interview tour on aspects of creating an at-home spa, interior design, stress and time management.  Her work has been published extensively in print and online in both consumer and trade publications.  In addition to writing, reviewing and being interviewed as an expert, she is also a management consultant and motivational speaker.  She currently 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 served as a Group Manager for the popular LinkedIn group, The Spa Buzz.  You can email her at terrysspabeautywellness@gmail.com. 


(Introductory image of Ann Sheridan at dressing table from www.moviestarmakeover.com.  Additional 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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