C.E.O.

I've been a huge fan of Sunday Riley since I first tried her products and with my recent obsession with Vitamin C (I've tried like 6 different Vitamin C serums in the past year) I HAD to get my hands on the C.E.O. range.  I've been using it for over 2 months and have loved the results.

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C.E.O. C + E antiOxidant Protect + Repair Moisturizer $65- It's call C.E.O. because it contains Vitamin C 5% (in the very stable, oil soluble form of THD Ascorbate) to brighten dark spots, prevent skin aging, boost collagen, and give anti-oxidant protection.  Exopolysaccharides - Comes from French Polynesian, these protect the skin from micropollution particles. Lastly is has Lime Pearl Extract for its AHA exfoliating benefits and Bisabolol derived from Chamomile to calm and smooth skin.  I love a cream with some texture to it, I started using this when it wasn't quite hot out and it made the perfect day cream, hydrating but not too heavy, as it got to humid and hot summer days I switched to using it at night and something lighter during the day.  Great all skin type cream, but oily skin may prefer it in the winter or evenings.

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It's rare that I have a serum last longer than the face cream I start at the same time, but I'm still using C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum $85 and the cream is empty (I do tend to over use products and bring them all the way down to my chest).  The Serum contains the same Vitamin C at the C.E.O. Cream, only they use it at 15% for even more brightening action.  A Phytosterol Complex from soybeans helps reduce redness and skin sensitivity, making this a great Vitamin C for sensitive skin.  Saccharide Isomerate Extract helps with pore size, skin texture, and reinforces skins moisture barrier.  It also contains Glycolic Acid to mildly exfoliate and boost cellular turnover.  I found it interesting the Glycolic Acid also keeps the Ph of the formula balanced to stabilize the high percent of Vitamin C.  One pump goes a long way, which I loved because I normally kill a serum in 2 months or less.

After using these 2 products my skin definitely looks brighter, my pores have been non-existant, I've been in the sun quite a bit (with SPF) so I haven't seen my dark spots fade a lot, but I've been really happy with the results I have seen.  If you're looking for a glow, to even out your skin tone, and prevent future damage, definitely give the C.E.O. line a try. Available exclusively at Sephora and Sephora.com

Tales of Tanning

The sun is the leading causes of skin aging, it leaves dark spots, encourages wrinkles, and causes cancer.  Enough to make you want to avoid it at all cost, right? Yeah, maybe not.  My desire for a rich-even tan during the summer outweighs all that.  Here's how I've achieved a super dark tan over my past few weeks of travel, but in the safest (kinda) way possible.

 Trunk Bay in St John

Trunk Bay in St John

Leading up to my vacation I boosted my omega intake.  Omegas are shown to boost your skins natural defenses against the sun.  This in combination with sunscreen can help prevent burning.

 The Day 1 lineup

The Day 1 lineup

With only a few shirtless hikes on Runyon under my belt, I headed to St Thomas on a family vacation without a base tan.  Generally I like a little colour to prep my skin for the intense island sun, but I just didn't have the time for it.  So during my first day in the sun I did the Sun Bum SPF 50 Clear Zinx Oxide on my face and a L'Oreal Quick Dry SPF 30 on my body.  I got hardly any colour, but I didn't burn, so that was a plus.

Day 2 I kept the Sun Bum SPF 50 on my face but switched to Kate Somerville Body Glow SPF 20 for body, I had received it a few months prior and was excited to try it.  I was even more excited when I realized it had gold shimmer in it, cause nothing says "vacation" like gold shimmer.  Now the second day of sun was slightly more booze fueled than the first and I may not have been reapplying my sunscreen correctly.  *You should always reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or after a lot of time in the water*.  Since it's usually only my shoulders that burn, there's where I was reapplying.  This vacation was an exception to that, I burned my stomach around where my sternum is, so random, but it got super red.  I brought along with Kate Somerville Tan Maximizer, I applied this liberally every evening to calm down the redness.  It has that distinct sunscreen smell, which I'm not a very big fan off, but whatever, I needed the hydration.

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Day 3 Since I was still feeling a bit burnt, I kept using the Kate Somerville SPF 20 on body and switched to my favorite Jurlique Sun Specialist SPF 40 for my face, it just smells so damn good and feels rich and hydrating.  I wear it on the daily even though its designed for beach use, its just so good.

Day 4, I needed a break from the sun and pretty much slept all day, had a quick workout, and bathed in after sun lotion.

Day 5 Still feeling a bit worried about my not yet peeling burn, I bought some Sun Bun SPF 50 for my body so I wouldn't get anymore burnt.  My tanning had haulted, but I wasn't peeing yet.  I stopped by a shop in St John and got Solar Recovery - Save Your Skin that has a concoction of natural oils to stop burns.  The label even said something to the effect of "We don't know how it works, it just does" sounds good to me!  My skin looked better over night, it is such a nice light hydrating spray and smells amazing. I'm still spraying it on myself when I get out of the shower every morning.

 The Ultimate Tanning Lotion

The Ultimate Tanning Lotion

Day 6 I wasn't about to leave this island without a dark tan, time to call in the big guns! I busted out my absolute favorite Lancaster SPF 6 Tan Deepener, and proceeded to bake in the sun, seriously nothing is better!  Without fail it got a beautiful tan and my burn didn't get any worse, woo-hoo!!

I continued using the Solar Recovery Spray to prevent my tan from fading, but I knew my tan would start fading if I didn't find something heavier for hydration so I grabbed the Coola ER+ Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion and instantly fell in love.  Almost 100% natural ingredients, an emollient formula designed to prolong your tan and reduce inflammation.  It's been my body moisturizer since.

 A little poolside stretch  

A little poolside stretch  

The following week I was working in Vegas, my sister was kind enough to get me a cabana at the Caesars Venus Pool for my bday.  I laid out for about 4 hours using the Lancaster SPF 6.  I would have stayed out longer, but when you're getting free drinks and they're the size of a big gulp, nap time comes a bit sooner than normal.

And the week after that I went in Hawaii for work, I took full advantage of the little sunny free time I had (about 4 hours total in 2 visits) and again used the Lancaster SPF 6.  This stuff is legit a tanning miracle, every time I use it I get amazing colour without burning.  Only problem with it is the sheer tint is a bit staining on white clothes.  Being that I was sporting my white AussieBum booty shorts, it can be a bit of a problem.

In case you couldn't figure it out, here's my formula for tanning.  Start off with a high SPF to get your skin use to the sun and gradually lower your protection to get darker once you've built up a tolerance.  Always use hydrating and anti-inflammatory after sun products, this will calm down your skin, prevent peeling, and help maintain your tan for a longer period of time.  It's been 2 weeks since I've been in the sun and the tan on my body hasn't faded at all.  My face does get a little lighter due to all the exfoliants and retinoids I use, but a few drops of the Clarins Radiance Plus Glow Booster helps fix that problem.  This is my routine all summer long, then come winter it's time to break out the chemical peels and heavy retinals to get rid of all that sun damage I just caused...

New Product Review

Been a bit crazy with the new job, but I’ve added some great new products to my skincare routine that I’m sure you’re just dying to hear about.

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Dior Capture Total Le Sérum $165-$225 4/5 Stars– Now I haven’t used Dior skincare since I used the No Age range 3,000 years ago (it smelled like nana and I loved it), and I was a little hesitate to use Dior skincare as they are known for using a lot of fragrance.  The active ingredient is Longozo of Madagascar Extract, the Dior Researchers have boosted the Longoza extract enhancing its properties, making is capable of synchronizing cells, including stem cells, in every layer of the skin. Dior reports say that when used twice a day for a month, 92% of users noticed fine lines and wrinkles smoothed, 88% noticed facial features were firmer, and 92% said their skin reflected light better.  Now I don’t know how a serum can turn my face into a light reflective prism, but I’m into it.  I’ve been using Le Sérum for 2 months now and while I thought I would hate it, I really really like it.  It absorbs easily after my essence and doesn’t have a strong fragrance.  My skin is noticeably smoother and is definitely glowing, so maybe it does turn skin into a prism…

Odacité Green Tea-Lemongrass Serum Concentrate $39 – I just started using this guy 2 weeks ago and I LOVE the smell!  I had previously used the Wild Carrot-Vital Glow which I really liked, so I’m just as excited about this one.  This serum only has 2 ingredients, Camellia seed oil (Green Tea) and Lemongrass oil.  Green Tea is a powerful anti-oxidant great for protection and adding radiance, Lemongrass has tightening properties and also helps refine sluggish, lackluster skin.  I mix 3 drops in with my moisturizer in the morning, now if you don’t like the smell of Lemongrass, you won’t like this, I however love the smell of Lemongrass.  I did lightly notice the smell throughout the day, which was invigorating.  I’ve definitely seen it perking up my skin as I’ve been crazy tired lately.

Kate Somerville CytoCell Dark Circle Eye Cream $75 3.5/5 Stars – This eye cream has a huge cult following and I had been hearing about it for so long I just hand to get some.  Its an all in one anti-aging eye cream with a focus on fighting dark circles.  It contains 2 peptides to refresh, hydrate, and smooth, plus Vitamin C and Light Diffusing Pearls to brighten the eye area.  I find it funny that on the Kate Somerville website they list 4 user studies, none of them mentioning dark circles (I mean, it’s a Dark Circle eye cream…) then I look to the Sephora website and see they do have a user result but its only 60% of users that said is dramatically reduced the appearance of dark circles under the eyes.  Dark Circles are one of the hardest concerns to treat, probably why there is such a low number.  I’ve been using this for just over a month, and I have noticed my eyes looking brighter, it definitely hydrates instantly and with the smallest amount.  I give it a 3.5 because I've noticed more of a difference in hydration and firmness than dark circles, and that's really what I wanted out of it.  I do really like it though.

Boscia Sake Balm $46 3/5 Stars– The texture on this one is just the coolest.  It’s this weird gel that bounces back into place like a memory foam mattress (If you ever used the Mizon Returning Starfish Cream, its similar to that).  This lightweight balm contains Sake, which is loaded with antioxidants to help with loss of water, radiance, hyper-pigmentation, and pretty much every other skin concern.  Glycolic Acid helps with texture, fine lines, and hyper-pigmentation.  Vitamin C to help brighten and protect the skin, as well as boosting collagen.  Lastly a botanical blend of Jojoba Leaf and Willowherb to fight free radicals and help with inflammation.  I’m on week 3 of using this every morning, I like that its so light weight, making it great for layer with other products, but I can’t help but feel it’s a bit too light weight for dry LA weather.  The texture definitely makes it ideal for combo to oily skin, but I feel drier skin types probably won’t love it.  To see results from the actives in this, it usually takes a little time, so I plan on finishing the jar to see if it can fade some of my sun damage.

Skin Medica Retinol 1.0 $93 – Retinol is one of the only ingredients proven to fight fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and improve texture, so everyone needs one.  I recently finished a tube of my favorite A313 and decided to give the SkinMedica a try.  Going from using an Rx strength retinol to OTC strength, I’ve definitely noticed less irritation, but I’m still getting similar smoothing results.  Skin Medica makes their retinol in 3 strengths, .25, .5, and 1.0, so if you’re not use to using a retinol product, definitely start on the lower end; Start by using it every 3 nights working your way up to every night.  The nights I haven’t used this I see why I definitely need to keep using a retinol, its smoothes out the texture of the skin and helps sloth off the dead skin so my cleanser can remove it all in the AM.  If you’re in the market, I definitely recommend the SkinMedica Retinol range.

 4 Week Before & After

4 Week Before & After

Elizabeth Arden-Prevage-Clinical Lash + Brow Serum $100 – So I may not be the best at taking before and afters (getting the same lighting is so hard!) but you can see by the photo of week 1 vs week 4 that there’s definitely an improvement in length of the lashes and thickness of the brows.  Being that I tweezed the fuck out of my brows as a young gay, they just don’t grow anymore, that arch is permanent.  I won’t say that I noticed a lot of new hairs in my brows, but they look MUCH thicker than they did before.  My brows normally disappear in photos with a flash, but now I can actually see them!  My lashes also are much fuller.  I’ll definitely continue to use it, I’m happy with the results.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydra-Firm Sleeping Cream $38 – I’m slowly becoming more and more obsessed with First Aid Beauty.  The brand is really clean, meaning no harsh chemicals, no parabens, colourants and the such.  I was always under the impression that the products were designed for the most sensitive of skin (which they are) and that they wouldn’t be active enough for someone wanting more.  This has definitely proved that theory wrong.  I’m so obsessed with this Sleeping Cream, and its only $38, seriously??  It has peptides to boost collagen, ingredients to firm and improve elasticity, as well as Hyaluronic Acid, Colloidal Oatmeal, plant butters, and waxes for tons of hydration.  The texture is creamy, but not heavy, and the hydrating and calming ingredients make it ideal for anyone using retinols, chemical peels, or with sensitive skin.  Give is a try, and experience some of the other products in their range (I’m loving the Vitamin Hydrating Mist right now as well!)

I Heard It Through The Grapevine

Some of my favorite skincare products come from the French brand Caudalie, so when I heard they were joining forces with Harvard to bring new advancements from their already potent resveratrol, I said "put it all over my body".   The line contains their signature Vine Resveratrol and combines it with Micro Hyaluronic Acid to boost firmness, elasticity, and help your skin to boost its own Hyaluronic Acid levels.  I started using the entire line October 1st and continued through November 1st, here's what I thought.

 Let's see how many products I can hold in one hand

Let's see how many products I can hold in one hand

The Firming Serum is the key formula in the 4 product line up.  It's also the product I finished first.  Consumer studies on the serum boast denser skin in 7 days, firmer And lifted skin in 28 days, and smoothed wrinkles in 56 days.  Well, after using it twice a day, I only made it to day 28 before I ran out of product.  I'm typically not heavy handed with my skincare, but the serum is thicker than most and I spread all my skincare down my neck, I found I needed quiet a bit of it.  The dropper style dispenser also leads you to believe you can use a full droppers worth.  Last complaint is that the dropper isn't long enough to get out all the product, so I was q-tipping the rest out to get to 28 days.  Despite it only lasting 28 days, I love the results from this serum, my skin was so plump and hydrated and definitely looked firmer.  Great for all skin types who need a boost in hydration and some help with fine lines.  I would recommend it for late 20s and up.  4/5 Stars $82.

I typically hate having sunscreen in my moisturizer because so many irritate my skin.  The Face Lifting Moisturizer SPF 20 was a nice exception to this.  I do wear 30+ SPF so I would still prefer not to have it added in, but on my days running out the door this is a great option.  Its lightweight fluid texture provided a great deal of hydration without being greasy.  I switched to a different moisturizer after November 1st, but now I'm thinking to switch back, I miss how soft it made my skin! 3.8/5 Stars $66

My favorite time for skincare in evening, mostly because I can layer on as many products as I want.  The Resveratrol Lift Night Infusion was a nice addition.  It has a lightweight whipped creamy texture, almost mouse like.  In Caudalie's studies they found 93% of users noticed smoother wrinkles and 90% noticed their skin was more relaxed in 28 days.  Well this is one of the products I kept using after 11/1.  I've been loving how my skin looks in the morning, so refreshed like I actually slept 8 hours (I usually get 4-6).  As its been getting really dry in LA I've found myself needing to add some more oil or alternating with heavier creams, but I keep going back to it.  It's spreads really far, feels like it will last me a long time. I would recommend this to anyone 30+ with Combo-Dry skin in need of a solid great night cream 4.2/5 Stars $76.

Lastly we have the Eye Balm.  Now I'm a bit of an eye cream snob, I've used nearly every one on the market, so I'm quiet particular.  Caudalie reports that 80% of users noticed less puffiness in 28 days.  I don't get puffy, so I can't really talk to that.  It's very lightweight, I felt that it did help my skin stay hydrated, however I like my eye creams a lot thicker.  I felt like I needed an eye cream on top, so I used an Amore Pacific one on top.  I keep grabbing it every morning and night, so I must not hate it, but I wouldn't say it's one of my favorites.  Would be a great starter eye cream for someone, or apparently anyone with puffiness.  3/5 Stars $62

All in all the Resveratrol Lift line has been enjoyable to use, the textures have been different from the rest of their products, and I've enjoyed that.  I still prefer the Premier Cru Face Cream and Eye Cream but this is definitely a nice more affordable option.

UPDATE

Just finished using the Resveratrol Lift Face Lifting Soft Cream after 3 months of use.  It was what I loved about the SPF Moisturizer, and without the sunscreen that I didn't.  This kept my skin hydrated when it was dry, but wasn't so heavy that I ever felt greasy.  My skin glowed every morning I wore it, and stayed super soft and plump.  It even helped when my red was peeling from too much retinol/peels.  I would 100% use this again, the texture was amazing, and I knew my skin was going to always look smooth.  5/5 Stars 😉 $76