Crème de la Monk

I worked for Lancôme when I was 18 years old and discovered the original Absolue Night Cream (which has been reformulated many times since), which was super dense, intoxicatingly fragrant, and made my face look like magic the in morning. Despite my combo/oily/large pore prone skin, I have an obsession with really thick face creams. Something about the rich texture that makes my skin look and feel so plump, unfortunately if I use them too many days in a row I break out. Fortunately I travel a ton and airplanes are dry as hell. For the past year I've been living off some La Mer samples I happened upon as my in flight cream. Even though I know it has mineral oil and whatever else questionable ingredients, I love it. As I was packing for NYC and saw my empty La Mer sample, I remembered I had the Fresh Crème Ancienne hanging out in my fridge! I haven't used this cream in years, but like the original La Mer it has a rich texture that feels like you could cut it with a knife and spread it on some toast. As I'm coming to the end of my 5 hour flight (which took off at 6:45am) I'm feeling exhausted, restless, sleep deprived, and my skin feels so hydrated, like the nasty recycled airplane air hasn't had any effect on it at all.

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Crème Ancienne has one of those cosmetic stories that though it may be all hype and just a story, it has me sold. Based on the formula for the original face cream, Crème Ancienne is hand made by monks in a monastery. Like seriously? A monk makes this cream, I wanna know what kind of monastery this is and how do I sign up to hang out there for a week and slather this stuff on my face all day. I mean do these monks look super young? Whatever, they probably don't even use it. It contains hydrating ingredients Meadowfoam Seed Oil rich in fatty acids to nourish skin, Vitamin E for free radical protection, Chamomile Wax to decrease dry patches and soften skin, and Rosewater to soothe.

Fresh also makes some amazing claims for dry skin: Moisturizing for 28 hour, anti-oxidative benefits for 24 hours, Immediate smoothing of wrinkles, and 97% of users felt it moisturized and prevented dry skin while 90% noticed a nourishing effect.

While the ingredients aren't super advanced or really geared towards firming, lifting, or brightening, Crème Ancienne makes for one hell of a night cream or travel cream due to the protective barrier is creates on the skin. If you have dry skin or are on a plane frequently, I highly recommend you try Crème Ancienne. The cream starts at $145 for 1oz, but you use so little that this cream will last you for awhile.

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I C, I C

The night of my micro-needling treatment, I starting the PerriconeMD Thio:Plex Intensive 2 Step Brightening System. This 2 Step treatment is designed to brighten skin, reduce hyper pigmentation, and lift and tighten the skin using potent active ingredients. Step 1 uses the "Thio Antioxidant" (Glutathione) a detoxifying and repairing agent.Step 2 uses high levels of a fat soluble Vitamin C, which does ya know, everything, brighten, lighten, and tighten.

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Usage of this isn't exactly clear in the instructions, it says at night to do Step 1, wait till it's absorbed, then apply Step 2, wait 20 minutes, rinse off, then reapply to targeted areas.  After speaking with reps from the brand I was told to do this 10 nights on, 10 nights off.  The website says to use it for an 8 week period.  My review is based on the 10 nights I used it.

Perricone's consumer studies reported nearly 100% of users saying their skin was brighter, smoother, tighter, more youthful, and that it improved the dullness of their skin.  Here's what I saw...

Holy shit yes!  After a few nights of use my skin was GLOWING.  I passed on the '20 minutes and rinse" and just left it on, following with my night cream and tretinoin.  Mind you, I did just do micro-needling, an AHA peel, and was using tretinoin every night, yet my face didn't peel like it normally does.  My down time was reduced and my skin was back to its glowing ways and then some.  In just the 10 nights I noticed my concern areas (dark spots around my eyes) looking brighter, less dark. Pores were tight, skin was smooth and bright.  When I stopped my 10 nights my skin did start to look a little less bright, so I plan on starting back up and using it every night for the 8 recommended weeks to see what kind of results I get.  If you are sensitive to smell, be warned, Step 1 does smell like absolute sadness (think a fish market on a hot day), and while it does linger, the results more than make up for the smell.

If you're looking for an intensive brightening boost to your routine, consider trying Thio:Plex $145, you won't be disappointed!

8 Bad Skin Habits

In my 15 years in the Cosmetics industry I've seen it all, the bad habits people have that don't know any better and the bad habits that they keep on doing even though they know they're bad.  Most the bad habits are ones I've personally had and over the years and regretted, but seen results from quitting.  Here are a few things that you should and shouldn't be doing

1.     I Don’t Wash My Face At Night
Oh you thought sleeping with a full face of makeup on was good for your skin?  So did Paris Hilton in her book Confessions of an Heiress, but I highly doubt she still is 11 years later.  I can't tell you how many girls sit in my chair, I'm removing their 17 layers of built up mascara and lash glue and all their lashes are falling out.  "Why do my lashes keep falling out"...  Um...  Well princess, the tar from your waterproof mascara and the lash glue you keep re-applying are clogging the hair follicles, making the hairs weak, and they're falling out.  Remove it every night.  Oh and those layers of foundation and colour you're wearing all day?  Pollution from the environment sits on top of their and when you sleep with it on, it all absorbs into your skin, leaving the skin red, blemish prone, and blotchy looking.  Even if you're not wearing makeup, remember that everywhere you've been during the day, a little bit of that is left on your face.  For those oh so lazy, buy some wipes (Ole Henrikson Makeup Removing Wipes are great and remove waterproof makeup) leave them by your bed and wipe away your sins before bed.

2.     I Don’t Use Eye Cream

So you wear eye makeup, tug and pull at the eyes applying and removing it eh?  Well that’s aging your eyes.  The skin around the eyes is super thin, which means it will age faster than the rest of your skin with no fat or collagen under it to make it look plump. I started using eye cream at 15, because I’m pretty neurotic about these things, but I recommend anyone over the age of 18 use an eye cream for preventative measures, day and night to help keep the skin hydrated and soft.   Try Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Eye Cream is a good starter

3.     I Go Tanning

 Oh how I took advantage of my unlimited tanning membership at 23

Oh how I took advantage of my unlimited tanning membership at 23

We all know better than to go to tanning beds, but I know, they feel like happiness and dreams, I had a tanning membership off and on from ages 16-26 and I’m fully paying for it now.  In our younger years we don’t think about the consequences, but so maybe of out parents can attest to the fact that sun damage doesn’t rear its ugly face until much further down the road.  You may love that deep brown skin now, but the deep brown sunspots will be an evil reminder in 20 years.  Now I love the beach, and will not stop going out in the sun all summer, there are “safe” ways to tan, use sunscreen and reapply every 2 hours.  The quicker you burn without sunscreen, the high the sunscreen you should be wearing.  I have medium olive skin, and don’t really burn, so I start my summer off with SPF30 on my face and SPF15 on my body, as the summer goes on I move to SPF15 Face and SPF6 body (Lancaster Sun Tan Deepener SPF6 is my JAM).  Am I still getting some sun damage?  Of course, but Istvan likes his colour and will burn off the sun damage with lasers and retinoids all winter.

4.     I Don’t Wear Sunscreen

Did you know you get more sun damage in your daily activities than laying out by the pool all day?  When you’re in the sun for an extended period of time your skin puts up its natural defenses giving you some natural protection (especially if you have a good amount of Omegas in your diet), but intermittent sun exposure causes the skin to only take in the bad.  I recommend wearing an SPF30 daily.  Now I am definitely a culprit of this bad habit, at 12 years old I would wash, tone, and moisturize w/ SPF15 every day, as an adult I NEVER wore sunscreen.  Only until about 2 years ago did I start using a sunscreen regularly, and its made the biggest difference in my skin.  I hate the texture of most suncreens, they either burn or make my skin itch like fire ants are crawling all over.  Experiment, see which works better for you skin either mineral or chemical or a combo of both.  Mineral sunscreens reflect light (Titanium and Zinc) and last longer, but sometimes the small particles can irritate the skin.  Chemical sunscreens (Those crazy names you can’t pronounce) absorb light so it doesn’t hit your skin, and lose potency after 2 hours.  My skin reacts best with a combo heavy on the chemical side, I love the Tony Moly My Sunny Watery Sun Gel SPF30, it feels like water that goes on and disappears.

5.     I Don’t Moisturize

I can’t tell you how many people I have told me “Oh I have oily skin, I don’t need to moisturize” um yeah you do.  Remember me talking about all the pollutants in the air?  They all sit on your skin throughout the day causing free radical damage, aging, acne, redness, and irritation, basically jacking up your skin.  If you balance out your oily skin by adding a little water based moisture (Dr Jart+ Water-Sure Gel is great) it won’t produce so much oil and your skin will feel balanced.  I’ve also heard a lot of people saying nothing has worked for them and they’re using coconut oil as their moisturizer, all the people who have said this to me have the worst black heads I’ve ever seen, like black black black blackheads, its gross.  If you’re going to use coconut oil, don’t skimp; buy that $30 bottle from Whole Foods.

6.     I Eat Like Crap

When I was 19 I moved out on my own, and like every child on their own I ate exactly how I wanted, McDonalds, Pizza Rolls w/ Ranch, and Haagen-Dazs.  Now I did know to get a bottled water with my McDonalds order, I quit soda at 15 and the small amount of acne I had immediately went away.  The saying “You are what you eat” does have a lot of merit.  A diet rich in Omegas (salmon), Good Fats (olive oil, avocado), lots of water, and Anti-Oxidants (think of eating an entire rainbow of colourful fruits and vegetables) helps keep your body happy and your skin glowing from within.  I completely understand that this isn’t so easy to do every day, especially if you travel a lot and have a busy schedule.  I make sure to get all my missed nutrients in pill form, having a mother who’s a Naturopathic Doctor has definitely helped with this!  I take vitamins, omegas, an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorption Capacity aka anti-oxidants), minerals, herbal supplements, and probiotics every day to keep my health up and my skin refreshed.  If you’re interested in a supplement regime I’m more than happy to help you out, shoot me an email at ihrichak1@gmail.com or visit my Natures Sunshine page to scout out the supplement brand I’ve been taking for almost 20 years.

7.     I Don’t Exfoliate

You can have the most expensive face cream in the world, but if you have a bunch of dead skin piling up, the moisturizer won’t make it past the first layer of your skin.  It’s important to sloth off those dead layer 2-3 times a week, this stimulates the skin and reveals a brighter more radiant complexion, and also allows for your products to work so much better!  I’m personally a fan of enzymatic and chemical exfoliates vs. a physical/granular exfoliatant.  The Amore Pacific Enzyme Peel is my favorite exfoliator, the $60 bottle will last at least a year, I had a bottle for 2 years once, I swear it replenishes itself.

8.     I Don’t Get Facial

Sometimes all the steps you’re doing at home just don’t cut it and you need to boost up your routine.  A visit to the estheticians office can help you get your skincare routine back on track!  I love to go get a facial massage, chemical peel, and micro current facials.  These are great supplements to your routine, if you can afford them, go once a month, if its something you can’t do all the time, save up and go twice a year, your skin will thank you. 

If you’re in SoCal go visit my girlfriend Jessica at Definitions Salon and Spa 951-371-3410 she’s taught me so much about skincare and tools I can’t even begin to explain

If you’re in the DC Area, my girlfriend Laura at Green Revolution Skin Studio 301-656-2000 will hook your skin up with the best natural and organic products out there

9.     I Overdraw My Lip Liner

So this doesn’t have to do with skincare, it’s just a faux pas that annoys the shit out of me.  When you overdraw your lip liner the only person you’re fooling is yourself, save some time (and embarrassment) and go get some filler.