Category Archives: Skin

Beauty - "The Lovely" - Skin

4 Skin Savers in my Anti-Aging Kit

February 19, 2012

By Melissa

I’m an extremely loyal person, but not when it comes to beauty products. Much like a 20-something male, my attention begins to wander after a short time spent with my conquests. Sure, I appreciate quality. As my products near the end, though, I have the urge to wander and discover newer–maybe better–products. Hmm…is there such a thing as Beauty Addicts Anonymous?

La Roche Posay Effaclar Pore Refining Anti-Wrinkle Serum, $40

Since my 34th birthday is approaching like a speeding bullet, I’ve been on a mission to overhaul my skincare arsenal. Recently I became obsessed with La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Pore Refining Anti-Wrinkle Serum. It refines the skin and gives it a blemish-free, smooth texture. Despite its strong scent of alcohol, the easily absorbed serum is not at all drying.

Rodin olio lusso crema, $80

I’m also in love with Rodin’s Olio Lusso for the face and Crema for parched hands. Rodin’s Crema is by far the most emollient hand cream I’ve ever experienced–yet it absorbs better than any cream currently on the market. When I asked my friend if it was worth the $80 price tag, she winced but admitted that my hands looked like they did when I was a teenager. Hmm…

Bliss The Youth As We Know It, $74

Bliss couldn’t have better timing when contacting me to try their new The Youth As We Know It face cream. Los Angeles does not reach particularly cold temperatures during the winter months, but the air can become quite dry. Bliss’s anti-oxident rich night cream delivers sufficient moisture for the skin to remain supple, without the weight of traditional night creams. One of the perks to this cream–aside from its delightful, peachy scent–is that it absorbs beautifully and does not feel heavy or greasy.

Embryolisse, $28

My final beauty discovery belongs to Embryolisse. If there’s one thing I learned working on photo shoots for Harper’s Bazaar, it was to ask makeup artists, models, and actresses to divulge the names of their favorite products. They often mentioned Embryolisse, but I never tried the French brand because I thought…well, um…that it contained embryos. Over the years, I’ve learned how incredible this plant-based product is. The Lait-Creme Concentrate (24-Hour Miracle Cream) is a thin, emollient, yet highly absorbent lotion that delivers extreme moisture to the skin. It’s the perfect remedy for winter worn skin…or 34th birthdays.

What’s your favorite anti-aging product?

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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Product Review - Skin

Beauty Product of the Week: Specific Beauty Skin Brightening Serum

January 23, 2012

I feel like I’m constantly discovering amazing products that I need some sort of new ongoing series to feature them. Hence, Beauty Product of the Week (Let’s call it BPW for short going forward, k? :)).

Specific Beauty Skin Brightening Serum

I’ve been freelancing at Allure, and just as you’d imagine, it’s quite the beauty product heaven. During a recent beauty sale, I picked up a few products from Specific Beauty. If you remember, I had a giveaway with them a few months ago. That was actually the first time I was introduced the brand myself, which is formulated to serve the needs particular to people of medium-to-dark skin tones (particularly, to even out your complexion).

I started using their Skin Brightening Serum and Professional Moisture Complex sparingly every AM and PM. I’m always really critical of serums and skin brighteners in general because the ones I’ve used in the past either feel sticky and gross or they dry out my skin. Surprisingly though, these were neither. The serum was more creamy and combining it with the moisturizer kept my skin from drying out.

Serum and Professional Moisture Complex

Even better, I felt like I noticed the difference within a few days. Any dark spots I had were lightening up a lot faster than I thought it would. I checked out the ingredients and it contains licorice, which is a known skin lightener because of its glabridin (which inhibits pigmentation). The moisture complex also contains grape seed oil, an antioxidant powerhouse and skin softener. Both are also under $50 each (the serum is $30 and the moisturizer is $20), which considering the fact that it can be compared to brands that are LOT more expensive, is a pretty good deal.


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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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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Body - Skin

Summer skin tips from dermatologist Dr. Ellen Gendler

August 8, 2011

Summer is in full-swing, so I thought it would be nice to talk with Venus dermatologist, Dr. Ellen Gendler, and get her professional advice about how to keep your skin glowing through the (sometimes berating) heat:

Summer skin care tips from Dr. Ellen Gendler

: How many times a week do you recommend exfoliating during the summer?
Dr. Ellen Gendler: Shaving is a great, non-abrasive way of exfoliating, especially in the summer. If you’re looking for a little extra, I’d recommend no more than once a week and with a soft washcloth, not a loofah. Daily exfoliating is too harsh for skin!

: My biggest issue with shaving is itchy skin. What are the best ways to minimize that?
Dr. Gendler: There could be many causes to skin itchiness after shaving. Some people get itchy hives when anything is rubbed onto their skin, or if skin is really dry, it can lead to more cuts during shaving, which can itch. Try moisturizing immediately after towel drying, or try an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream.

Another thing to note is that getting the best shave often starts with the products you’re using and how you’re using them on the parts you’re shaving. Many women believe men’s razors give them a better shave but this isn’t true. You’ll get the same close shave with a woman’s razor, except you’ll be able to reach curvy areas that tend to get missed with a razor that doesn’t pivot. My recommendation as a dermatologist goes back to the skin and protecting it, so I like Venus ProSkin MoistureRich, which has built-in shave gel bars that create a layer of protection for skin, as well as a pivoting head to help navigate tricky areas.

Venus ProSkin MoistureRich razor

: What are 3 things every girl should have in their skincare regimen for summer?
Dr. Gendler: A good cleanser to take off whatever you put on to avoid clogged pores. A light toner, to use especially if you wear lots of makeup. And finally, sunscreen to be applied daily. Use a broad-spectrum kind that covers both UVA and UVB rays!

: How should you deal with ingrown hairs?
Dr. Gendler: Ingrown hairs need to be extracted by a professional to avoid ending up with cysts and scars. Waxing causes ingrown hairs more than other methods of hair removal; to help reduce them, stop waxing until they can be treated.

BATF: What are some of your tips for treating blemishes?
Dr. Gendler: Use Anything with a benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid in an over-the-counter product can be effective for blemishes – it helps them dry up faster.

What are your best tips to summer-proof your skin?


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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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Beauty - "The Lovely" - Skin - Sun Protection

Cosmopolitan’s Practice Safe Sun Awards (plus 5 sunscreens to try this summer)

July 3, 2011

Cosmo's team with the honorees showing off their Cosmo/MRF bracelets

Cosmopolitan hosted their annual Practice Safe Sun Awards last week with honorees Laura Linney, Giada de Laurentiis, Sean Avery, Dr. Jennifer Stein, Cara Biggane. The five award-recipients demonstrated an active role in spreading skin cancer awareness. They also awarded their very first Cosmopolitan/Melanoma Research Foundation’s Practice Safe Sun Research Grant to Cynthia Cooper, PhD, of Washington State University. Over a lunch of grilled-watermelon salad and salmon, we heard everyone speak about why the cause was so close to their hearts.

Me with fellow blogger, Jill Seiman of

Cosmo EIC, Kate White

Cosmo Publishing Director, Donna Kalajian Lagani

Giada de Laurentiis talks about losing her brother Dino to skin cancer at the age of 29

NY Rangers Sean Avery. His short and sweet speech: Asking for someone to help apply sunscreen is a good way to pick up girls

I imagine most of you will be outdoors grilling or poolside for the long weekend, so the Awards ceremony (hosted at the Hearst Tower) was a good reminder to layer up on sunscreen. Especially considering the facts:

* 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.
* Melanoma is the fastest growing cancer in America
* Melanoma is the #2 killer of women in their 20s and the #1 cancer.
* Tanning beds increase your risk of skin cancer by 75%.
* If caught in the earliest stages, melanoma is entirely treatable with a survival rate of nearly 100%. If untreated and allowed to spread, there is no known treatment or cure.

I thought I’d share some of my favorite sunscreens to grab if you haven’t gotten yours already!

Neutrogena Wet Skin Sunblock/Sunscreen Spray (you can apply it on damp skin so it's great for you swimmers...or sweat-ers)

MD SolarSciences Quick Dry body spray -- love its easy application

Neutrogena Age Shield Face Sunblock with SPF 70 -- light and non-greasy

MD SolarSciences SPF 30 Mineral Screen Tinted Gel -- this goes with me everywhere

Sunbow Dora and Spongebob sunscreens for kids -- love these!

While we’re talking sun protection, I’m obsessing over these new sunscreens for kids from Sunbow, who partnered up with Nickelodeon to feature Diego, Dora the Explorer, and SpongeBob SquarePants! A couple weeks ago, I was invited to have breakfast at Imperial No. 9 at The Mondrian Hotel to learn more about Sunbow, and I was absolutely smitten.

Sunbow products at Imperial No. 9

Diego blue sunscreen from Sunbow

They go on in color (yellow, pink, or blue) but rubs in clear, which is fun way for kids to get them into a habit of applying sunscreen early on.

Sunbow's sunscreens go on in color, but dries clear

Sunbow products are made with SPF 30, contains antioxidant protection, is water-resistant, hypoallergenic, and contains sun-protecting zinc oxide which is safe for kids. Plus, it has a fun bubble gum scent…I can only imagine how much kids would love them if I’m this fascinated by it!

Also, if you donate $10 to Melanoma Research Foundation, you’ll get this bracelet, courtesy of Cosmo and MRF:

Cosmo and MRF Practice Safe Sun bracelet

Keep reminding others to “practice safe sun” this summer!


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