Category Archives: Anti-Aging

Anti-Aging - Beauty - "The Lovely" - Face - Product Review

Garnier’s new BB cream. Also. What is BB Cream?

January 24, 2012

How many of you have heard of BB cream? A show of hands? Well, the story goes that BB creams (which stands for “Beauty Balm” in this case, though some say it also stands for “Blemish Blam”) were originally used in Germany by derms to help laser surgery patients protect and sooth highly sensitive skin while providing light coverage. Fast forward, and it’s all the buzz among Korean celebs, who found it as an all-in-one product and their most coveted beauty secret. Not for long though — when the cat was out the bag, it spread like fire to women across Korea. Today, its popularity has spread across Asia, Europe, and Australia. Yes, sadly, we’re kinda the last to know.

Garnier's new Skin Renew BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector

But the good news is, Garnier has brought their own BB cream to the masses here with their new BB Cream Miracle Skin Perfector.

The cream promises to even out skin tone, brighten complexion, renew radiance, deliver 24 hour hydration, and protection with its SPF 15. It’s also packed with Vitamin C — a powerful antioxidant and it comes in two shades (light/medium, and medium/dark) to provide a light coverage. It’s similar to a tinted moisturizer but it has more skin-perfecting and brightening benefits. I was sent one in medium/dark to review and have been using it as a quick pick-me-up before I apply my makeup and was impressed that it really added a fresh sheen to my skin without looking cakey (and it smells so good!). But don’t expect it to be as heavy duty as a concealer or foundation — it will minimize the appearance of dark spots but not totally cover them. That’s why it’s a good idea to layer on with a little color if you need it. Hence, it comes in only two shades and not multiple…it’s only meant for light coverage in that sense since it’s more for the skin’s benefit than anything.

The cream will be available at mass market retailers for $13 starting February 2012.

Have any of you used BB creams before? Which ones do you use and what do you think?


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Acne - Anti-Aging - Beauty - "The Lovely" - Spas and Salons

A facial at Cecilia Wong: A holistic skin care spa

December 7, 2011

Cecilia Wong products

You might be surprised to find that as much as I write about about beauty, I’m horrible about getting myself to the spa. When I first moved to NY, I was regular about monthly facials…that is, until my lady moved away and I never made time to find someone to replace her. Enter Cecilia Wong, an NYC-based skin care expert whose focus is holistic and natural treatments. And if there’s anyone who believes about the strong connection between food and beauty, it’s her.

I was invited to get a facial at her spa in Union Square, and after 12 hours on a plane from Argentina back to New York, it couldn’t have been a more perfect time. I was set on trying out her Omega and Vitamin C treatment, a hydrating lymphatic facial designed to brighten and soften skin. When I got there though, I first had a quick consultation with Cecilia and we discussed some of my other issues, including dreaded breakouts.

Inside her spa

She asked me about my skincare routine and I told her about my love for argan oil (she had no issue with that); but otherwise my biggest problem is that I’m not very consistent with a regimen and can find myself dealing with random breakouts. Cecilia (who by the way, also happens to have pretty large base of South Asian clients and is quite familiar with our skin concerns) suggested we try the Awakening Peel instead — an exfoliating treatment that uses organic fruit peel and LED Light Therapy (a mix of red for anti aging and blue for congest skin), and Black Currant-infused serums. Hey, she’s the expert, so I listened.

While she was doing my facial, she told me she herself had severe acne issues from the age of 15, which, sidenote was pretty shocking because I dare you to even find a blemish on her face. Her mother recommended she change her diet, focusing more on fruits and vegetables, and she began experimenting with DIY-face scrubs and masks made of papaya and blueberries. Slowly but surely, her skin started getting better.

From then, she was inspired to experiment with different ingredients for skin care. “Your skin instantly absorbs anything you put on it, so you want to limit the chemicals and irritants as much as possible, and replace it with natural and antioxidant rich ingredients,” she explained while I was getting my facial. She’s a big believer in also starting from the inside-out to alleviate skin issues — drinking plenty of water and non-processed foods. Til this day she says she juices daily! She believes it helps her skin majorly. In fact, her whole product line is inspired by her love for juicing. She designed her products to benefit the skin the same way juicing does the body (goodness in, toxins out).

Cecilia Wong Black Currant Serum

After some light extractions and a few minutes under the LED lights, my skin was seriously glowing and felt so soft. She wanted to make sure I kept up the maintenance and asked me if I was exfoliating at home, to which I fessed up and said “not really.” She told me wash my face only with water in the morning and to do some light exfoliating at night. She sent me off with a sample of her Exfoliating Milk Cleanser. I’ve been following the regimen religiously, and now, after as little as a week, I feel such a difference in my skin. For once, it’s behaving…scars have lightened and I’ve experienced no breakouts since. The mixture of exfoliating and the cold weather has left my skin a little dry, but I’ve re-implemented some argan oil to smooth out those issues.

I love the holistic approach Cecilia uses: natural-based skincare coupled with updated technology (LED lights, micocurrent facials, ultrasonic therapy). Trust I’ll be back to the spa for more of Cecilia’s magic.

I highly recommend trying one of her treatments if you’re in NYC. To make an appointment, you can call (917) 596-5206. If you don’t live here though and can’t get to Cecilia yourself (sadness), I asked the skincare guru for her best DIY acne treatments. Luckily, she obliged! Check these out (and believe me, she knows her stuff!):



1/2 teaspoon raw honey
handful crushed blueberries
handful crushed red raspberries
1 scoop papaya
a few drops fresh lemon juice
*Mix ingredients together and apply to skin for 5 minutes, before rinsing with lukewarm water.


1/4 cup raw organic cane sugar or fine brown sugar
1 cup grapeseed oil or sunflower seed oil
1/4 cup grated lemon peel (or the juice of half of a fresh lemon)
1-2 gel capsules of Vitamin E
2-3 drops of an essential oil of your choice (lavender or rosemary for calming, peppermint for invigorating, cinnamon for circulation, eucalyptus to kill bacteria/acne)
*Mix ingredients together, apply to skin and rub lightly in a circular motion. Rinse with water.

Are you big on facials? What are your biggest skin concerns?

Salon Info:
Cecilia Wong

215 Park Avenue South
Between 17th & 18th St
Suite 1304 (13th floor)
New York, NY 10003
(917) 596-5206


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Acne - Anti-Aging - BATF Giveaways - Beauty - "The Lovely"

Olay Professional Pro-X Clear giveaway!

September 30, 2011

Weren’t we supposed to leave acne back in highschool with our three-sizes-too-big JNCO jeans (what? Oh…that was just me?). You may be in your 20s, 30s, or beyond and for many of us, breaking out or the occasional zit still manages to pop up. The worst part is, a lot of products are not formulated to treat our type of skin — that is, one that is also deal with anti-aging. That’s why I was BEYOND excited to learn about the new Olay Professional Pro-X Clear Acne Protocol line recently.

Olay Pro-X Clear Acne Protocol line

Olay didn’t just tell us about the adult acne line any old way either — a handful of beauty writers were invited to Exhale Spa on the UES to take part in a Hot Ki Power Vinyasa class with instructor (and creator) Isauro Fernandez. Ki Power Vinyasa is a combination of vinyasa and martial arts. All I know is it was no walk in the park.

My Olay yoga mat :)

I'm focused man!

Hot Ki Power yoga at Exhale Spa

After an intense hour-long workout (extra intense for me — I was fasting that day and couldn’t drink any water either!) on our Olay-branded yoga mats, NYC dermatologist Dr. Diane Berson talked to us about the connection between working out and taking care of your skin.

“After a workout, [Olay Professional Pro-X Clear] is the perfect fit,” she said. “A lot of the traditional acne products that used to be available over-the-counter were targeted to adolescent skin…[which] tends to be very oily and very clogged. It’s important while you’re using products that decrease acne, to also use products that contain barrier repair products.”

Olay Professional Pro-X Clear Acne Protocol, $40

She assured us that it’s a “myth” that you grow out of acne.

“Adult women can deal with acne breakouts at the same time they’re dealing with anti-aging concerns.” That’s why she’s a fan of the new line from Olay, a three-step system which contains salicylic acid and niacinamide to treat breakouts and redness. Results, she says, can be seen in as little as four weeks.

Sounds like something you can use? Well then, you’re going to LOVE today’s giveaway!! I’m partnering up with Olay this week to give one lucky BATF reader:

– The ENTIRE Pro-X Clear line
– 2 yoga mats
– 2 water bottles
– 2 Lululemon yoga bags.

Seriously, how amazing? All you have to do to enter is one of the following, however doing both increases your chances at winning:
1) Leave a comment below
2) Tweet “Win the entire Olay Pro-X Clear line, yoga mats, & more @BeautyNDFeast #OlayBATFgiveaway”

You have to have a US shipping address to be eligible. Winner will be announced on Friday, 10/7. Good luck!


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Anti-Aging - Beauty - "The Lovely" - Skin

Physicians Formula new skincare line!

August 25, 2011

The more I use Physicians Formula‘s products, the more in love I fall. They’re multi-tasking quality products that keep price point in mind. This past year has found me fawning over their Shimmer Strips bronzer-blush-shadow palette (it’s amazing for sculpting and adding a little depth — their makeup artist Joanna Schlip says she can’t live without it!), their talc-free Mineral Wear pink correcting primer, and Eye Booster 2-in-1 boosting eyeliner + serum. Now, for the first time, the 74-year-old company is diving right into cosmecetical skincare which I’m predicting will be a game-changer in the “affordable skincare” category. Keeping their mantra to non-irritating, derm-tested products close, they’re come out with three mini-collections that address specific concerns: Aging, Moisture Balance, and Sensitivity & Redness.

*A panel of women saw a 52% increase in skin hydration in 2 weeks
*100% showed increased skin hydration instantly
*81% saw more radiant skin in two weeks
*88% saw younger-looking, firmer, more balanced skin instantly

Physicians Formula Moisture Balancing line


Hydrating & Balancing Cleanser – a foaming cleanser that removes oil and pore-clogging impurities
Hydrating & Balancing Moisturizer with SPF 15 – an oil-free moisturizer that replenishes skin hydration and eliminates flakiness and tightness instantly. Lightweight, non-greasy formula helps repair skin’s natural moisture barrier for more balanced skin long-term.
Hydrating Eye Cream: Nutrient rich eye cream provides instant moisture, in a lightweight gel-cream formula. Diminishes the appearance of dark circles, fine lines, and puffiness.
Ultra-Hydrating Day & Night Cream – Replenishes skin’s moisture balance and provides an extra boost of moisture day or night. Soothes even the driest skin to improve tone and texture leaving skin soft, smooth and hydrating.

Just a note, I have been using the Day & Night Cream, and I wake up with my skin feeling like silk. I couldn’t stop feeling my face the next day! I’ve never been a huge fan of foaming washes, just because my skin needs a little more give (like gel or cream based cleansers), but the cream here is probably my favorite of the bunch.

*100% felt their skin was soothed and more comfortable instantly
*100% saw healthier skin instantly
*92% felt less irritation instantly
*92% saw a reduction in inflammation, dryness and flakiness in 2 weeks

Physicians Formula Redness Relief line


Redness Relief Cleanser – Ultra-gentle, lightweight cream cleanser melts away impurities without stripped skin of its essential moisture. Provides immediate relief to red and irritated skin, leaving it clean and comforted.
Instant Skin Calming Spray – Lightweight mist provides instant soothing relief to dehydrated skin while reducing irritation on contact.
Redness Relief Moisturizer – Extra-gentle, oil-free lightweight moisturizer instantly helps relieve redness and irritation, while providing all-day hydration. Restorative moisturizer soothes dry, itchy and flakey skin, while helping to strengthen and recondition it.
Redness Correcting Moisturizer – Extra-gentle, oil-free lightweight moisturizer instantly relieve redness and irritation, while providing all day hydration. Correcting green tint delivers a sheer wash of color to instantly neutralize redness.

*100% felt skin looked firmer, smoother and more radiant instantly and long-term
*89% saw less fine lines instantly
*89% saw an improvement in their skin texture after 2 weeks
*71% saw less deep wrinkles in 4 weeks

Physicians Formula Anti-Aging line


Wrinkle Corrector & Firming Cleanser – Rich cream cleanser effectively removes makeup and impurities while smoothing, firming and protecting skin’s moisture barrier. Leaves complexion clean, smooth and moisturized
Wrinkle Correcting & Firming Moisturizer – (with Alpha Hydroxy Acid, Hydrolyzed Pea Peptide Blend, and Lifting Fruit Acid Blend) Potent moisturizer instantly enhances skin’s firmness, hydration and radiance. SPF 15 protects against UVA/UVB rays. Improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for an overall smoothing effect.
Firming & Lifting Booster – Skin firming serum improves the appearance of fine lines and medium to deep wrinkles.
Dark Spot Corrector & Skin Brightener -(with Phytonutrient and Soy Isoflavone Complex to reduce the appearance of dark spots without affecting the surrounding skin) Potent serum targets signs of uneven skin tone and helps address evident sun damage, dark spots, and dark patches and skin stresses. Antioxidant formula can inhibit the appearance of uneven pigment formation, keeping skin looking brighter and more uniform in tone.
Deep Wrinkle Corrector Day & Night Cream – (with Laminaria Algae Complex) Ultra-rich cream enhances skin’s cycle of repair, encouraging healthy cell renewal to reveal younger looking skin. Helps improve moisture barrier, strengthen skin and protect collagen.
Intensive Wrinkle Corrector Eye Cream – Potent cream targets the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in the eye area. Moisturizing formula boosts elasticity and firmness to improve the appearance of crow’s feet and puffiness. Illuminating properties improve the appearance of dark circles.

How much would you think products that claim this many benefits would retail for? I was shocked to find each product only costs $10-$19, and are available at Wal-Mart nationwide. Would you try any of them? Do they address your skin concerns, or is there something missing? Fingers-crossed they come out with a acne-spot treatment!


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Acne - Anti-Aging - Beauty - "The Lovely" - Product Review - Skin - Spas and Salons

Dr. Ronald Moy at the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village

August 6, 2011

I'm hungry

New York may be the fashion capital of the US, but when it comes to beauty, Los Angeles reigns supreme. Those of you who don’t believe me should watch an episode of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. These ladies have been nipped, tucked, tucked again, lasered, lifted, Botoxed, and Juvedermed–all in the name of beauty.

Poolside at the Four Seasons Westlake Village

The great thing about being a native Angeleno is knowing where the movie stars, trophy wives, and reality queens go to get these procedures done–especially when they want to keep it on the down low. Though Bev Hills may be “Mecca” to L.A. beauty junkies, the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village is the secret hideaway to where the elite flock when they must recuperate from plastic surgery.

It was only a matter of time until dermatologists from the 90210 took notice, which would explain my invitation to the Four Seasons Hotel’s most recent celebration. Dr. Ronald Moy–a board certified dermatologist, President of the American Academy of Dermatology, professor at UCLA, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (I’m guessing he was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in high school)–has just launched is signature treatment and product line DNA EGF Renewal at the luxury hotel and spa.

Dr. Ronald Moy's DNA EGF Renewal Travel Kit

The event also showcased other brands like NuFace, Glo Minerals, and Yamaguchi hair product. Thanks to a complimentary blowout from Yamaguchi’s salon in the hotel, I got to test the goods and they were extremely gentle on my hair. I suspect this is due to the absence of alcohol in their products. They use sake in their hairspray to replace alcohol because it produces a very gentle, pliable hold. That’s great news to me because I try to avoid looking like a 1980s cheerleader whenever possible.

Skincare consultations at Dr. Moy's poolside cabana.

I’m going to skip over the remainder of event deets and get straight to what you should know about: the goodie bag.

Dr. Moy’s skincare line, DNA EGF Renewal, promises to repair aging and sun-damaged skin using enzymes (these increase cell turnover through nonabrasive exfoliation) and plant-based “Epidermal Growth Factors” that encourage cell restoration. Never one to appreciate empty promises, I kind of wish the line would not push the whole “I look ten years younger” approach–but they do. That type of marketing automatically makes me assume a product is all hype, but I figured that I’d try to be more open-minded. Moy is probably more of an expert than I, anyway, since he has published hundreds of articles on dermatologic surgeries and treatments.

Dr. Moy fielding questions from editors and bloggers

I’m happy I got a sampling of his product line. Maybe I’m not exactly the target consumer age group (I can’t say my skin looks ten years younger per se), but it looks noticeably clearer, smoother, and brighter. These are reason enough to plunk down the Benjamins, because I LOVE products that show me major results. Since some of the products come with a hefty price tag, I suggest trying the Travel Companion Kit ($65) to sample a variety of DNA EFG Renewal products.

Here is my rundown of his products…

Renewal Foaming Cleanser: This is HANDS DOWN my favorite product in the line. I tend to get tons of clogged pores around my chin and T-zone and this took them out with sheer force. I spread the potent but gentle foam around my face, left it on for 3-5 minutes as I would a mask, then rinsed. I will not hesitate to spend $28 because it did the job!

DNA Defense SPF 30+: This is another great product. When shopping for a daytime moisturizer that has an SPF, there are usually two barriers to success–oiliness and a high enough SPF. Anything below SPF 30 is useless at protecting your skin from the harmful rays that age your skin. Unfortunately, many moisturizers with sunscreen leave skin with an oily residue. Thanks to micro-fine beads of zinc oxide, I was able to wear this product without feeling dirty or greasy at the middle or end of the day. Success! The price ($45) also leaves you feeling not-so-dirty.

Growth Factor Serum: I didn’t see much of a difference with this one, but I think that is because I’ve only been using it for a few days. It’s supposed to help with pore size and since my pores are like giant craters, that might take longer than normal. The price is steep at $145.

DNA Night Renewal: I actually liked this product more than the Growth Factor Serum that all of the aestheticians raved about at the event. I saw more results on my skin the next day from the DNA Night Renewal. I like products that make my skin glow upon waking up in the morning and that is exactly what this one does. My skin looks healthy every morning. It’s expensive, though, at $130 a pop.

Those of you who wish to be pampered directly can make an appointment with the spa at the Four Seasons for one of his signature treatments or dermatology services.

To-die-for desserts at Ronald Moy's product launch at the Four Seasons

P.S. The desserts were nothing short of amazing at the Four Seasons. Mad props to the caterer who suggested I try the chocolate covered cheesecake bites. So GOOD!

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Acne - Anti-Aging - BATF Giveaways - Beauty - "The Lovely" - Face

Giveaway! Skin brightening products from Specific Beauty

April 19, 2011

Specific Beauty skincare

Specific Beauty is a very interesting brand. They specialize in addressing the issues of skin tones that range from medium (tan/olive) to dark skin tones. Their products are part of a total skin regimen that aims to brighten and even out skin complexions specifically for that skin color range.

Personally, I paid attention to them when I was reading an article about how and why skin pigmentation happens, written by Dr. Leslie Baumann, a leading dermatologist.

I’m going to get geeky for a second: what I learned was pigment and spots on your skin happen when skin cells called melanocytes become overactive. There are two ways to prevent this: one is to prevent melanin pigments from taking root in the skin cells (by using products with topical soy, like Aveeno, for example); the other way was to block an enzyme (called tyrosinase, which leads to the formation of melanin). “Ingredients that hydroquinone, kojic acid, arbutin and licorice do this.” She then recommends Specific Beauty Skin Brightening Serum to treat this (it contains licorice and niacinamide, plus antioxidants to even out your skin complexion).

The derm behind the line is Dr. Heather Woolery-Lloyd, who spent over 10 years researching tan to dark skin complexions. Good news is, BATF is partnering up with Specific Beauty so you can win the Brightening serum, and whole bag of products from the line! Included in this week’s giveaway are:

*Exfoliating Cleansing Cloths: dual-sided to carefully exfoliate the skin, while providing a deep clean to remove impurities, all without the need to rinse with water.

*Daily Hydrating Lotion SPF 30: daily moisturizer that provides broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays with SPF 30.

*Night Treatment Complex: lightweight skin brightening formula that helps improve skin texture while you sleep.

*Skin Brightening Serum: a special multi-benefit complex of licorice, antioxidants, retinol and niacinimide – to provide the skin with the ultimate brightening benefits.

For this giveaway, you can enter via Facebook or Twitter. Either

1) Tweet the following “Get a @SpecificBeauty Skin Care Regimen to pamper your spring skin! RT + Follow @SpecificBeauty & @BeautyNDFeast #SpecificBeauty

2) “Like” Specific Beauty on Facebook and leave a comment saying “Beauty and the Feast” sent you on their wall!

Winner will be chosen and announced on April 27th! Good luck!


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