The Beauty Gift Guide 2015
Michael Lorin Reed M.D. Gold Serum
A recent find close to home was this MLR Gold Serum moisturizing face oil by Dr. Reed of E 61st St. If you too have been looking for a mineral oil, dimethicone and dye free facial oil than this is a lovely one to try. The ingredients list is what made me order as this is actually based on Neroli oil which, not surprisingly, makes this smell divine. Plush feeling, it also has sandalwood, juniper and sage essential oils in it which are ultra healing to blemish prone, flaky skin. My skin has been absolutely loving this tapped into it at night in place of a heavy cream. Find it over here.
Insta Natural Vitamin C Cleanser
This has bumped DDF's Blemish foaming cleanser out of the top spot for favorite off all time and that's not small feat. This is absolutely amazing and has made some of the most significance in the texture and evenness of my skin. While experts almost always recommend splurging on creams and serums because they supposedly make the most difference, my best skin improvers to date have all been cleansers. What does make it a bit more like a treatment is to slather it on and leave it to sit 1 or 2 minutes before rinsing it off. Aloe vera gel based, something about the 10% vitamin C and licorice makes this addictively effective.
Chin Up Firming & Contouring Mask
You're probably wondering what that pink thing is. Now we're getting into the K-beauty discoveries. This kit by Chin Up combines a fruit extract infused sheet mask with a soft neoprene strap harness that cradles your chin. I have to say this is pretty cool and definitely works. In my case the biggest difference I saw was how moisturized the thin skin right under my chin was (where it likes to start wattling). Another unexpected benefit, even if you use the chin strap alone, is how this prevents creases on the side of your face from sleeping. Grande dames of the beauty world have long said sleeping on your back prevents wrinkles but tell that to a lifelong side sleeper. After a while it starts to take a long time for those creases to fill back out in the mourning. With this everything is kept pulled up, tight and smooth no matter how firm your pillow. Find out more and order over here.
Lanocreme Bee Venom Face Mask
While this is an Australian line, various types of venomous skincare products have been big in Asia for ages. After seeing so many profess their love for these creams they've been on my must try list for a while now. This one by Lanocreme use to be sold at Sephora but has since been replaced by another brand and here's possibly why. Following their directions to smooth on a generous layer while thinking to myself how nice and floral this thick cream smelled my face started to grow warm. The way those freaky self heating masks and cleansers do. Then it hit me all at once, that well known feeling of being stung. Stung 50 million times all over my face not by bees but hornets! If you've never had the pleasure of being stung picture the throbbing paint after smashing ones finger or toe with a hammer. I kept checking in the mirror expecting a beat red face covered in hives but that was the really weird part. My face looked completely normal. After a few minutes I had to wash it off.
How come no one in YouTubeland never mentioned this? What I discovered is many of the newer bee venom launches to hit US shores had the amount of venom dialed way down. Making some claim they no longer work. As for the Lanocreme, it made me almost cry when I saw how freaking amazing my skin looked. Plumped and glowing. Along with the venom (which they say does not kill bees to obtain) it also has Royal Jelly, Propolis and UMF 15+ Manuka honey in it. I'll just have to find some way of diluting this for future use. Consider yourself warned and definitely do not use them is you're or someone you know is allergic to stings. It can still be found over here.
If there was ever a cult French product on everyone's wish list it is Embryolisse. Which is why it was surprising with so little fanfare Embryolisse came to the US with not only their iconic lait-crème concentré but a bevy of other skincare products too. One that I've really enjoyed over their lait-crème concentré is this Embryolisse cream enriched with vitamin E and orange. Unlike lait-crème concentré it is is not Petroleum based but instead beeswax. It's for dry, dehydrated skin and works wonders for the thin skin of my neck and also sometimes my hands. Plus, as with most French skincare, it smells divine with a classic citrus spritz.
Tatcha Aburatorigami Japanese Beauty Papers
These little blotting papers have been featured before and are still a lovely gift to give. Said to be used by Geisha in the 1800's for its skin benefits, gold leaf or Aburatorigami is flecked on each sheet. Since these sheets are twice the size of most blotting papers you're actually getting more than 30 uses. Definitely decadently unique and ultra pampering which makes it prime gift material.
Kit c/o ChinUpMask
Image: mam for Gave That