Beauty

Back Again with a Beach Body (Well Almost…)

Yes, it's true - this blog has been awfully quiet for the past many months. Life simply got in the way for a second there - but now I'm back. And today with a recommendation of the highest kind.

When summer and hot, humid weather hits the skin on my body tends to become a little more oily and will clog up and create bumps and impurities. Not cool when next thing you're going to the beach or a pool party. Well, here's the remedy:

One Body Refiner by Intelligent Nutrients. Photo: MH

Many body scrubs are way too harsh on your skin, and many tend to scrub too hard making the product abrasive and potentially damaging to your skin. Intelligent Nutrients has completely remedied this with a body refiner that uses fruit bio-actives and plant cellulose beads (no micro-plastic!) to gently lift dull skin from the surface and even condition the skin. It is recommended to use a moisturizer after, but because it is packed with nutrients, I have skipped that step once in a while.

The body refiner is from the recently launched One Body Collection which uses only the best and most respectful ingredients. Check out the rest of the collection here.

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Funny Because It’s True

If you haven't come across this gem of a trailer for the movie Zoolander 2 yet, you have to stop reading right now and watch it! Apart from being a stellar piece of comedic perfection, it also falls into the 'funny because it's true' category.

Because even though this is an excellent parody, its comedy actually hits pretty close to home. We've all seen or read advertising for beauty and cosmetic products or treatments that do exactly what Kristen Wiig's Zoolander character Alexanya Atoz does in this ad for her 'Youth Milk': Over-promising and the basis of faux science and outrageous claims.

Sure, the cosmetic industry spends millions searching for ingredients that are beneficial to the skin, but no creme will make you look like a baby again.

Luckily, the majority of trends in the field of skincare point in a different direction where honesty about ingredients and effects are more down to earth. That also means that the traditional beauty advertising mold is slowly being broken down to pave the way for a more realistic message that doesn't claim that youth lies at the bottom of the creme jar. And that doesn't insist on the fact that 'when you look young, feel happy' as Alexanya Atoz states trying to force a smile from behind her many cosmetic procedures. 

Even though there is still a long way to go in terms of breaking that cosmetic mold, it is reassuring that even beauty giants like Lancôme and Estée Lauder insist on using less photo editing in their advertising in order to do away with false or unrealistic perceptions of the effect of beauty products.

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Getting Hands-On!

Ok, my last post was pretty long, so I'll try to make this one short and sweet. Which shouldn't be difficult as this product sells it self. Literally. Because every three seconds one of these is sold somewhere in the world. The reason? It's a really, really good hand cream! Perhaps one of the best - in the world that is.

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Want proof? Well, if a product alone can make someone like me who notoriously neglects hand care start using a hand cream on a regular basis because of it's scent (it's a whiff of pure Provence!), effectiveness (20% Shea butter!), and ability NOT to leave greasy film on everything you touch, it really does do the job. 

As an added bonus, French beauty giant L'Occitane offers many wonderful products for him and her as well as a portfolio of beautiful fragrances - you cannot walk into their store without trying their Citrus Verbena (unisex) or the classic L'Occitan (for men). 

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Miu Miu’s First

Miuccia Prada has had a lot of experience with designer fragrances - really big hits even like Infusion d'Iris and Prada Pour Homme. But she's never let the Prada sister brand Miu Miu launch it's own fragrance - until now. The peppier, more provocative little sister to the elegant but still edgy older sister Prada is launching its first fragrance with a name befitting of the brand's first fragrance, Miu Miu.

The fun and provocative spirit of Miu Miu is already evident in the flacon, which got a little design help from Prada. The attractive, turquoise bottle carries a pattern from Miu Miu's popular matelassé leather bags, while the top is a bright, red plastic dish. It's darling, modern, and edgy all at the same time.

Photo: PR

Photo: PR

Perfumer Danielle Roche Andrier has created a fragrance that is both pretty and provocative. Pretty because it opens up with floral notes of lily of the valley, jasmine, and rose and provocative because it has a wilder green and woody side, which almost overpowers the florals before settling in nicely to a quiet floral with a peppery and woody base.

It is probably not for every female fragrance consumer, because it needs time before it settles on the skin, and because it just doesn't fit the mold of most female fragrances right now. It makes a statement on its own without trying to force sexiness on others by sending waves of sweet florals out to everyone who surrounds you. It's a little off, but in the cool way, and that's exactly what makes Miu Miu so alluring.

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Three Easy Ways To Give Your Skin a Boost

We all need a little nudge or push once in a while - and that goes twice for our skin that often shows the first signs of being tired, stressed or under the weather. Of course, splashing ice-cold water in your face always helps, but luckily there are other - and less brutal - ways to give your skin a boost. Here are three of them:

Photo: MH

Photo: MH

Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask - The name almost says it all. It goes on as light gel and expands into a prickling foam on your skin, which feels really great and, yes, reviving. As a quick-fix it really does give your skin a shot of freshness that you can see afterwards.

Kiehl's Daily Reviving Concentrate - You're probably familiar with the wonderful Night Repair from Kiehl's (if not, check it out!), and this new concentrate is the daytime equivalent of it. It's less oily than the night concentrate, and it will disappear completely from the skin's surface and leave it looking bright and fresh. And it works really well as beard oil too, so this is rapidly becoming a personal favorite of mine.

The Body Shop Nutriganics Drops of Youth - I've used this product for years now and I'm still surprised at how well it works. It functions as a pre-serum, which will pre-condition the skin for other products. I know, it sounds a little gimmicky and like just another layer to a never-ending skin care regimen, but it really does work. The principle is like comparing the skin to a sponge: when it's dry a product will stay on the surface, but when it's moisturized a product will penetrate deeper. And because it contains aloe vera and glycerin, it works great as an after shave treatment too!

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When It Gets Cold Here’s The Scent of Summer

My vacation this year was spent on the Virgin Islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix. Both incredibly beautiful tropical paradises! You easily adjust to the island lifestyle with its slower pace and tastes and smells of seawater, rum punch, seafood, and fresh air.

In fact, I often dream myself back to the gorgeous Megan's Beach on St. Thomas or the amazing Buck Island coral reef of St. Croix. And to my surprise there is a unisex fragrance that pretty accurately captures the essence of my vacation - and it's even called Virgin Island Water from the master perfume house of Creed! The scent explores the tropical splendor of the Caribbean with ample citrus notes from lime and mandarin and an underlying base of coconut.

Photo: PR

Photo: PR

 

You may think, that I'm making this up entirely but truth is that after I got back, a co-worker wore this fragrance and my immediate thought was that it smelled like the tropics I just returned from. So when he told my that it was called Virgin Island Water, I knew it was meant to be.

As with all Creed fragrances it is a pricey affair, but keep in mind that Creed fragrances have a very concentration of perfume ingredients which puts it way above cologne, eau de toilette and even perfume - so you get a lot of scent for your money. And that also means that it should be used sparingly as to not overpower your surroundings.

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And then I came under fire

Recently I came under fire. I was asked to 'blog-sit' for a very good friend and wrote a blog post about Jane Fonda and her fashion cover and spread in the June/July issue of W Magazine. My point was that the fashion spread was a great example of a positive movement in our society that I dubbed anti-ageism. And I received backlash for it!

Comments to the blog post stated that this photo spread in W Magazine states the opposite, because Jane Fonda is in a photo-shopped fashion series where she poses and dresses as a much younger woman - so in a sense the ideal is still youth and not age. And then there was the push-back saying that of course she looks great, because she's had cosmetic surgeries to make her look younger, so considering that on its own made Jane Fonda anything but an exponent for an anti-ageism current in our society.

I knew this subject was going to be provocative, and I did anticipate that some would misunderstand the post as me celebrating plastic surgery and that 'as long as you look young everything is fine'. But that was far from point with introducing a subject like anti-ageism.

Photo: W Magazine/Steven Meisel

Photo: W Magazine/Steven Meisel

So just to reiterate: Jane Fonda is in a fashion photo shoot, which by definition is an idealization of the subject (model or clothing). It's a perfect world where everything is corrected (trust me, EVERYTHING is corrected).

What I  (still!) find interesting with this fashion series is that Jane Fonda could have been made to look like a 20-year-old, but she's doesn't - she looks like an idealized version of her age. If you were on the cover of W Magazine wouldn't you like the help of makeup, hair, wardrobe, good lighting, and post production aka Photoshop to look you absolute very best (be honest now!)?

My overall point was that a photo shoot like this - along many more examples of female actresses in their mid-seventies getting parts in films and TV shows - is creating a positive impact in our culture by putting a renewed focus on this group of women that is otherwise easily overlooked and discounted in our society.

Yes, we have a long way to go because our culture is still heavily youth-obsessed, but in the grander scheme of things I do think that this cover is a step on the way to a world where age plays a much smaller role.

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This Is Solid

I love fragrance, no question about it. And I love to change it up, so I use something different for day and for night, but also for changing seasons. When it comes to summer and sunshine it actually makes a lot of sense to be mindful of what you spritz on the skin. Not just because lighter fragrances fare better with fun and sun, but also because the alcohol and scent notes in colognes can actually cause damage to the skin. The alcohol can cause a pretty bad sunburn and more long-term skin damage include hyper-pigmentation (dark spots) and thickening of the skin (leather skin).

So what do you do when you're out and about in the sun and won't forske your fragrance? You either go for an alcohol-free variant of your favorite scent, but so-called summer splashes are becoming less and less frequent on the market. OR you go for a solid perfume, which is exactly what the name says - a solid perfume.

Diptyque

I've opted for Diptyque's Philosykos, because it's an all-time favorite scent of mine. It contains no alcohol and it's easy to rub the soft balm on to all those places, you would normally wear your fragrance. I was expecting a larger container, but even so the solid perfume certainly does the job and glides on the skin without a trace (except for that of scent).

The scent stays on the skin for quite some time, but will dissipate quicker than a normal perfume - but because it's so small, it's easy to bring with you anywhere so you can discreetly dab a little more behind your ears...

Do you have any other good alternatives for alcohol-free summer fragrances?

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On My shelf

Granted, I have been neglecting this blog a little lately - but certainly not intentionally! So, now that I'm back, it's the perfect time to share what's on my bathroom shelf - and more importantly on my skin - right now.

Onmyshelf

 

The warm weather is here, and in these parts that also means lots of sun and high humidity, which for me means a more unbalanced skin. That translates in to moist and often a little oily skin for me.

Kiehl's Rare Earth Pore Minimizing Lotion is an oil-free moisturizer, which contains clay micro pigments that take care of excess oil on the skin - it really works extremely well and keeps me matte all day. Now that the sun is out, but I don't want to overexpose my skin to harmful rays, I've discovered a near-prefect gem by Clarins - the Radiance Plus Golden Glow Booster, which is a fluid bronzer that can be added to any moisturizer for a little extra glow. A couple of drops is really enough and will safely give you a touch of the sun. For extra care I currently go for Ole henriksen's Truth is in the Eyes Concentrate, which provides the sensitive under-eye area with a little boost. It's. So. Good. I also have a dozen or so Eos Lip Balms strategically placed wherever I go, because, hey, there's no excuse for parched lips just because sun is out, right? Oh, and my summer fragrance will (again) mainly be Escentric Molecules Molecule 01, because it still rocks and suits even hot summer days and breezy summer nights.

Stay tuned for some new trends, another summer favorite fragrance that doesn't even come in bottle, and perhaps the best hair product ever!

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Serum Superstar

I'm a huge fan of facial serums, because a serum will deliver targeted care and ingredients to your skin without extra 'fillers' that make up a moisturizer or face cream. Needless to say, you do need to use a moisturizer with your serum, as it will rarely be enough for the skin, but leave it to the serum to actually improve the condition of your skin.

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I have long dedicated my skin to Kiehl's Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate, because it visibly does something to your skin to make it look and feel better. And over time I'm convinced that it has improved the texture, look and feel of my skin. But now there's a new Kiehl's serum superstar in town*. The Precision Lifting & Pore Tightening Concentrate from the Dermatologist Solutions series addresses the issue of enlarged pores, which is not only a result of dirt and oils, but also a clear sign of aging: Skin looses elasticity over time and starts to sag causing pores to become bigger and skin to appear uneven and less smooth.

Micro-Filtered Yeast Extract and Geranium Essential Oil in this serum will improve the look of facial skin’s overall “bounce-back” quality and like the aforementioned serum, this one also visibly does something to your skin so that pores appear smaller. As an added bonus this serum works on all skin types. It doesn't have quite the same unique skin feel as the Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate and the Geranium scent is certainly there, but this is a wonderful serum, which will definitely gain a spot in my skin care regimen. A new serum superstar is born!

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* A product was provided by Kiehl's for testing for the purpose of  writing this review. Any views expressed in this blog post does not reflect those of Kiehl's.