February Favorites (2013)

I’m going to continue with the monthly ‘favorites’ list. I think it forces me to really sort through my makeup and skin care and gauge performance (and $$ worth) in a practical way. So here are my favorites for the month of February:

Sunday Riley JUNO:

I know, I know! I initially hated this oil (I’m still not a fan of the smell), but it has gone so far to heal my broken skin, that I can’t rave about it enough. I’ve used my original bottle up, gone through a couple of samples, and am now due to purchase a fresh bottle. I mix it with my regular skin moisturizer for daytime, and wear it alone at night. It’s been wonderful for this skin. I am in love with it now.

Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation:

This has become such a staple. What I love most about this foundation is that it imitates ‘skin’ so it looks incredibly natural. I apply it with my fingers, set it with a light dusting of Secret Brightening Powder and I’m good to go. Easy Peasy.

MAC Lovecloud Blush:

I’ve been using this blush every day for nearly a month. It’s incredibly flattering, and brightens my complexion without making me look too ‘done.’ It’s a perfect pinky coral on my skin, and it lasts all day, until I take it off.

Chanel Or Rose Eye Pencil (top):

This is another staple. Like Lovecloud, it brightens my entire eye, and opens it up. Unless you look closely, it doesn’t even look like I’m wearing it on my waterline. Now that I’ve been wearing my glasses more often than not, this is the perfect eye opener for me. I use it just about every day, no matter what kind of makeup I’m doing for the day.

By Terry Or de Rose Lip Baume

I keep one of these in my purse, and one in my kit. The wand applicator is the best thing By Terry did for this shimmering balm. I can put it on without looking, and it just kind of lights my lip area. The rose gold flecks add just enough color to give my lips some definition, and it feels absolutely wonderful on. Love it.

Those are my top picks for February 2013! Ciao for Now!

Treatment Oils: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Some time ago I started adding ‘treatment oils’ to my nighttime regimen. I’m much too oily to wear them during the day (my makeup would just slide off), but add them as my ‘final step’ in nighttime moisturizing. Here are the oils that made the most difference (good and bad) for me:

Ren Rose Moisture Defense Serum
Price: $80

This oil is geared toward dry skin types, but I tried it anyway. It smells DIVINE. A little bit goes a very long way. It’s much more of a hydrating oil, than a corrective one. I found no real improvement in any skin complaints (cystic acne, discoloration), but my skin was plumper and very ‘fresh’ looking the next day. The smell puts you right to sleep. It’s true aromatherapy.

Grade: B

Fresh Elixir Ancien
Price: $250

This is by far one of the most expensive treatment oils that I’ve ever used. It blew me away when I first used it, and it destroyed a massive cystic pimple that had taken up residence on my temple. It has no scent, and absorbs very well. I have mixed with all manner of serums and moisturizers and found that it boosted performance of everything. The down side is, my skin became used to it after about a month. It totally stopped working for me. So I took a break from it (for about 2 weeks). When I went back to it, the oil began to perform as it first had. It also lasts a REALLY long time. A 1.7 ounce bottle lasted me a year.

Grade: A-

Decleor Neroli Essential Serum
Price: $60

I bought this one on a whim: I love the smell of neroli (orange blossom derivative), and thought it would be wonderful as an aromatherapy addition to my nighttime ritual. Boy, was I wrong! The morning after the first night I used it, I had a spray of angry red bumps across my forehead. I thought it might be a fluke, so I continued use. I just got more angry red bumps. After a week, I returned it. It smells wonderful, but the combination of carrier and essential oils was a no go for me. It broke me completely out. I had to purge my skin with tea tree and aloe, and go back to the Elixir Ancien to set me right again.

Grade: F

M. Steves RHSO Boost
Price: $48

This oil is proof that more expensive is not always better. From the first time I used it, it blew me away. It is fragrance free, and more of a dry oil. It absorbs quickly and plays well with other serums and creams. Forget all the boosting of hydration and what not, this stuff fights acne like nobody’s business. Cleared my skin up in 48 HOURS. Not kidding. So far, it’s the best treatment oil I’ve ever used. I’m still waiting to be convinced otherwise.

Grade: A+

Sunday Riley JUNO Lipid Serum
Price: $125

I’m having a  bit of a love/hate affair at the moment. I find this oil funky and REALLY oily. Overnight, it seems to make my skin produce so much oil that I can FEEL it when I wake up. That’s not good. And that lovely smell (farts) does not fade. I’m not sure I want my husband kissing me goodnight with that smell on my face. Just saying. So far, I’ve not seen any major improvement in my skin. In fact, a couple of cystic pimples have shown up in the 72 hours that I’ve been using it. I’m not fully convinced that it’s JUNO’s fault, so I’m going to give it a little more time. The ingredient list is beyond impressive, and I’m hoping that there’s a little detox action going on, and that’s why my skin is cutting up at the moment. The jury is still out, but if I had to grade it right now…

Grade: B

Those are the treatment oils that made the biggest impressions (good and bad) on me. Ciao for now!

Trippin’ on Sunday at Barneys

It all began with the quest for the perfect yoga mat. I was trying to get my hands on the Ultimate Yoga Mat from Nike (which is actually a Pilates mat, but whatever)… and no one seems to carry it but the store in Beverly Hills, and the store in Santa Monica.

 Beverly Hills is closer, so I went there. In and out in 15 minutes… easy peasy.

BUT… Barneys is RIGHT NEXT DOOR to Niketown… and really, how can I NOT pay Barneys a visit?

Besides, I wanted to see the Claudio Riaz brushes up close, and determine if they were really worth the asking price.

They’re NOT, by the way. Not even close. I’d honestly say that the best thing about the brushes is the case that they come in. The ferrules of several tester brushes were loose. NOT a good look. The ferrule should NEVER be loose, especially not on a tester brush! I think that tells you everything that you need to know. Plus, I’m not a fan of the chrome ferrule/wooden brush handle combination. For that much money, I need them to look a lot more sleek. They could take a page from the books of Hakuhodo and Tom Ford. Just saying.

Okay… but I’m burying the lead. The minute I walk through the door, I spot THIS ONE:

Love Edwin! He’s at Barneys in official capacity so I can’t steal him away like I normally do. He does take a little time for me though, to show me the brand Sunday Riley

Here’s the thing, Edwin has never really steered me wrong. He knows that I make my own skin care, so it’s REALLY hard to impress me with other brands. I don’t care about things that perform as they should. I care about things that EXCEED ALL EXPECTATIONS.

So he pops this combination on the back of my hand:

 And he leaves it there, and starts talking to me about something else. And I’m kind of like “Hello… you know you just put soap and serum on the back of my hand right? Now what?” And he shushes me and keeps going with a little more of the Good Genes on the side of my arm, and this…

… on another part of my arm. And now 5 minutes have passed and this friggin’ cleanser is still on my hand. WTH? EDWIN!

And he shushes me again… then talks to me about the eye cream. I’m not listening. Why is there still soap on the back of my hand?

He finally gets sick of me fussing, wets a cloth with warm water… and wipes the soap off.

OH.MY.FREAKING.GAWD.

My hand is not just smooth, it’s FLAWLESS. It’s really bright (in a good ‘luminous’ way), the pores are NON-EXISTENT. He’s looking at me like:

Sheesh. Stuff’s excellent. Turns out, you can use that combination like a mask (which is what he did)… and it works like a CHARM.

Now, here’s what I found. The secret is in the ‘Good Genes’ product. Mix that with anything, and magic happens. I’ve experimented with it, with several other cleansers, and got the same result. So, Good Genes came home with me… because I love a good serum. LOVE. This one is noteworthy. Seriously.

I also got Juno. Now… I’m on the fence because this oil smells like… well, it smells like gas. NOT the kind the comes out of the ground. The kind that comes from a lactose intolerant person having six glasses of milk and sharing the love on a crowded bus. Sheesh. And the smell does NOT fade. I used it overnight, and my face still smelled faintly of farts in the morning. All I’m saying is, it better be a miracle worker because that smell is not cute… AT ALL. And it’s oily as hell. It’s being marketed as a dry oil… it’s NOT. Not even close. And really oily oil on an oily skinned girl is soooo not cute… so the jury is still out.

I’m falling all over myself about the serum. The Juno is in the testing phase… along with another oil that we’re running through from a local company that is REALLY impressive (more on that later), and a lot cheaper.

So… no to Claudio Riaz… and YES to Miss Sunday Riley… at least with the Good Genes. She did good on that one.

In other news, I missed last night’s yoga class because of Barneys and Edwin and the President (no, really. He was in town and they closed off half of friggin’ Los Angeles to move the motorcade around)… so I still haven’t tried my new mat. Oh, and my credit card has decided NOT to file for divorce at this time, since I passed on Claudio Riaz. But it is still seriously considering a legal separation.