Another issue of Composure Magazine, another slew of beauty products that have wow’d me. Some are old favorites, some I’ve already practically emptied, some are utter revelations. All are amazing finds that will keep me as much a consumer as I am an editor.
In this skin care edition, I review my favorite products tested from the latest issue that have literally changed the surface of my skin. Stay tuned for the rest of my beauty finds, from genius, dunce-proof hair products that obscure the fact that I am a total ignoramus when it comes to doing my hair, to the amazingly easy brow powder that makes me look like a K-pop star. You’re going to wonder how you ever survived without these products.
J.One Jelly Pack: I’ve mentioned this genius morning treatment a number of times before, but let me give you my definitive low-down here. This is a product I will buy again and again and again. First, because there just aren’t that many morning masks out there other than La Mer’s Intense Revitalizing Mask, and the Jelly Pack is a treatment you apply in the morning after your moisturizer.
Second, because this Jelly Pack lives up to its nickname — the “corset mask.” When you first pump it out, it looks like a jelly, but it’s very stiff. Apply it at an upward angle, starting from the chin, going against gravity’s pull, moving up and out along the sides of your nose. As you swipe it on, it starts to liquefy a bit, but the whole point of this Jelly Pack is that it retains its firm texture so that it can tighten and lift the skin. My face feels instantly smoothed and firmed, the morning’s puffiness draining away. I like to think of it as Spanx for my face, really important when you find your skin giving in to gravity’s pull as you age. The Jelly Pack also acts as a primer — you can feel a bit of “catch” when you apply moisturizer after — and I rely on it to make my foundation not only go on incredibly smoothly but last all day.
Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age Advanced Serum: This serum saved my skin last winter. I had always felt a tightness around my eyes and temples right around noon. I tried misting my face, piling on the moisturizer, all to no avail. Of course, plying your face with moisturizer does nothing for your skin, according to dermatologist Shirley Chi, if the underlying epidermis is dehydrated. “Moisturizer does not put moisture into the skin,” she says. “It sits on top of skin and prevents moisture from leaking from the skin. It’s a humectant that holds water within the skin.” What that means, of course, is that you need to hydrate the skin before you apply moisturizer.
The Hylamide Advanced Serum consists of a whopping 44.32% active ingredients, as well as five different kinds of the ingredient-of-the-moment, hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in the skin and acts as a water magnet — in fact, one gram of hyaluronic acid is able to hold up to six liters of water. So it helps keep skin hydrated, strengthens skin’s barrier, and it’s even an antioxidant. Once I started using this serum, all tightness vanished, and now I’m officially addicted. And at $38, it’s totally affordable.
Jouvé Instant Tightening and Restoring Serum: I got a sample of this firming, tightening serum at a press event, and it blew me away. There are plenty of skin care products that show you before and after photos, claiming the obliteration of wrinkles within three months. But with this serum, you can actually watch the fine lines on your face smooth out like magic. Just dab on nasolabial lines, under eyes, on the forehead, anywhere there are fine lines. It’s pretty crazy to see the line disappear before your eyes. A groundbreaking octapeptide and minerals relax facial muscles, but this serum also features aloe, turmeric and radish root ferment, a natural microorganism derived from the fermentation process of kimchi, and surprisingly, is free of preservatives, synthetic fragrances and dyes and other bad ingredients.
Ecco Bella Mist-On Toner and Vitamin Spray: I was never one of those people who worried too much about keeping my skin care green or avoiding chemicals at all costs. I figure moderation is the best policy, so I try to avoid skin care that has alcohol, parabens and synthetic fragrance, but it’s pretty hard. (Especially with fragrance — it seems everyone uses synthetic fragrance, and probably for good reason; have you ever smelled a product without fragrance? Some are barely tolerable.) But once I started getting laser treatments, I had to turn to eco-friendly skin care for at least a week to avoid irritating my healing skin. Ecco Bella’s Vitamin Spray is one I not only used then but one I will continue using. It’s water-free, which prevents dilution of the actives (aloe vera is the base), 70% organic, and brings the skin back to its acidic state with apple cider vinegar, vitamins E and C, the UV-protectant lutein, and antioxidants CoQ-10, lycopene and astaxanthin.
Paula’s Choice Resist Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30: A lot of derms prefer zinc oxide for sunscreens — it’s a physical block (as opposed to chemical, like avobenzone) so it sits on top of skin to protect from UVA and UVB rays. Of course, the problem with zinc oxide is that it tends to give a white cast to skin. But Paula’s Choice sunscreen not only goes on like silk, it mattifies as well, which is perfect for my combination skin. Antioxidants like resveratrol and vitamin C boost the UV protective factor.
La Mer The Perfecting Treatment: The latest from cult favorite La Mer is a skin treatment that primes, blurs and refines texture. The gel-cream goes on rich and silky, and you can apply it before or after your moisturizer, as a day mask or overnight mask. Of course, it’s got the Miracle Broth, as well as rose algae to nourish skin. I like to use this as a day mask — after my serums but before my moisturizer and sunscreen. I’ll apply it and wait about 20 minutes as I get some coffee and check emails. On days when I need de-puffing and tightening, I’ll use the J.One Jelly Pack; on days when I need some serious hydration, I’ll turn to La Mer’s Perfecting Treatment.
Ren Keep Young and Beautiful Instant Firming Beauty Shot: Another firming treatment (see a pattern here?) I love. It starts out like a gel, but then dries to a tightened, firmed finish, so I focus on my jawline, nasolabials and under-eye bags. It’s got a short list of ingredients, including hyalurons (similar to hyaluronic acid) to encourage elastin synthesis and phycocolloids from microalga plump and hydrate. I’ve actually been pretty impressed with this skin care line, and will be testing out their oily skin treatments for the next issue.
Shiseido Bio-Performance LiftDynamic Serum: I’ve always like Shiseido — their products are solid and their research impressive. This serum uses patent-pending ingredients to boost cell renewal, fight free radicals and more effectively hydrate, all of which help address the “sub-derm pockets” beneath the skin’s surface that result from aging and lead to laxity and wrinkles. (Can you tell I’m obsessed with sagging skin? Another woe to add to my long list of skin woes.)