Feb 27, 2009

Product Launch: Lancome Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate

Set to launch this spring is Lancome Paris Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate. A high-end serum designed to return the protein levels in skin cells to that of younger skin and thus slow the appearance of aging. Online sources indicate this product was created and tested in collaboration with the hospital centre at Quebec's University of Laval.

This product appears to be designed to compete with Estee Lauder's Advanced Night Repair Protective Recovery Complex, which is packaged in a little brown bottle and also has a dropper applicator.

Lancome, a luxury division of the Loreal group of companies frequently uses alcohol in their products which some would say counteracts any moisturizing benefits of the products. Loreal, Garnier and Biotherm have all launched facial moisturizing products recently that contain alcohol. An ingredients list is currently unavailable so it is difficult to know what all this product contains.

I am eager to try this new product and will update this post with a review once I have tried it.

Available at Lancome counters and from the Lancome website. A ounce dropper bottle costs $78.00.

Ingredients: See Updated Post

Feb 25, 2009

Cassia, What is it?

You may have recently seen ads for Proctor and Gamble's new line of Pantene Pro-V products called Nature Infusion that contain, among some other natural ingredients, Cassia. But what exactly is Cassia?

According to the Pantene website Cassia is: "Native to India, cassia is a wild herb and grows to be about three feet tall. This plant has small, pale yellow flowers and is known for its aromatic bark." They go on to say that they use: "The essence of the cassia seed." And the: "Cassia used in Pantene Nature Fusion is exclusively sourced from India." Furthermore: "Pantene science has found a way to harness the conditioning properties of the cassia plant. The gum powder produced from the cassia seed is where those conditioning properties lie."

Wikipedia explains that there is some confusion about what plants are actually considered Cassia and what aren't. Other online sources seem to indicate that it may be similar to cinnamon.

Regardless, Cassia seems to be one of the new ingredient buzz words this year.

Feb 23, 2009

Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion Moisture Balance Conditioner

Pantene's new Pro-V Nature Fusion Moisture Balance Conditioner is meant to be used with the matching shampoo. This new line from Proctor and Gamble is Pantene's answer to natural hair care in that they contain some natural ingredients.

This conditioner has a very thick, white, creamy texture not unlike most other Pantene products. Despite the initial feeling of heaviness, this conditioner seems to absorb into the hair and rinse fairly cleanly. It left my recently color treated hair easy to wet comb and made it feel smooth and silky once dry.

As with the matching shampoo the scent is particularly strong and lingers which may not be appropriate for those who have fragrance sensitivities.

This conditioner has several forms of silicone in it and silicones can, after a while, build up on the hair. Silicones impart a smoothness to hair that make it easier to comb and style.

Selling for under $5.00 in most mass market retailers this bottle contains 12.6 ounces of product.

Ingredients: Water , Stearyl Alcohol , Palm Oil , Palm Kernel Oil , Coconut Oil , Cyclopentasiloxane , Cetyl Alcohol , Palm Oil , Palm Kernel Oil , Coconut Oil , Behenamidopropyl Dimethylamine , Cassia Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride , Cassia Tora Seed , Cassia Obtusifolia Seed , Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder , Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract , Ginger Root Extract - Zingiber Officinale , Panthenol , Panthenyl Ethyl Ether , Citric Acid , Corn Starch , Sugar Cane , Dimethicone , Glutamic Acid , Benzyl , Fragrance , EDTA , Methylchloroisothiazolinone , Methylisothiazolinone , Yellow 5 , Orange 4.

Feb 20, 2009

Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion Moisture Balance Shampoo

After seeing Commercials featuring the beautiful Padma from Bravo TVs hit show "Top Chef" advertising this new line from Pantene I decided I had to give it a try.

Proctor and Gamble, the makers of the Pantene line of hair care products say: "Moisture Balance shampoo and conditioner system - containing cassia and a blend of ginger, calendula and aloe vera - moisturizes your hair for touchable softness."

The first thing I noticed was that this formula is clear, unlike most other Pantene products. It is a thick, gel like consistency. Because it is a sulfate based cleanser it doesn't take much to produce a very thick, rich lather.

The scent is quite strong, sort of a floral fruit mixture with some earthy undertones, similar to other Pantene products. After several hours the scent is still quite noticeable and may be too much for those sensitive to strong fragrances.

While I normally avoid shampoos with sulfate and silicones this was one of the better products I have tried recently. This does not make my hair squeaky clean but it did feel nice while I lathered and it didn't make my hair feel rough after rinsing. Silicones tend to leave the hair feeling smoother and easier to comb although they can build up after a while.

Available from mass retailers, a 12.6 ounce bottle retails for under $5.00.

Ingredients: Water , Sodium Laureth Sulfate , Cocamidopropyl Betaine , Sodium Chloride , Cocamide MEA , Cassia Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride , Cassia Tora Seed , Cassia Obtusifolia Seed , Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder , Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract , Ginger Root Extract - Zingiber Officinale , Panthenol , Panthenyl Ethyl Ether , Citric Acid , Corn Starch , Sugar Cane , Dimethiconol , Fragrance , Sodium Benzoate , Disodium EDTA , PEG-7M , Methylchloroisothiazolinone , Methylisothiazolinone , Sodium Citrate , Sodium Xylenesulfonate , Yellow 5 , Orange 4.

Feb 18, 2009

Ingredient Spotlight: Alcohol

Several mass market products have recently been launched that contain high levels of alcohol. We're talking about SD Alcohol, or as it is also known, Ether Alcohol, not emollient alcohols such as cetearyl and cetyl alcohol. Most people know that alcohol is drying to the skin. Some sources say that it evaporates and thus doesn't cause any drying while other sources suggest that daily use of products containing alcohol will dry out the skin. So, why then, do so many products meant to moisturize and prevent skin aging contain alcohol in such high concentration? If it isn't drying to skin why do so many products tout being alcohol-free?

I suspect one of the biggest reasons is that it helps keep products feeling greasy after application. However; drying out the skin can cause it to produce more sebum and result in breakouts to acne-prone individuals. Using products that contain alcohol is counter-intuitive, yes, you may be drying up the excess oil but you are encouraging even more oil to be produced.

Some companies use alchol as a penetration enhancer. Because it is a solvent it helps drive ingredients deeper into the the skin. However, according to Paula Begoun, "Alcohol functions as a solvent and a penetration enhancer, which means that yes, it can help retinol get into the skin more efficiently. But its volatile characteristics and biological profile are irritating and drying for skin and alcohol causes free radical damage, so essentially all you’re doing is carrying that irritation and free radical damage deeper into skin." On her website, she indicates in her ingredients dictionary that, "The alcohols to be concerned about in skin-care products are ethanol, denatured alcohol, ethyl alcohol, methanol, benzyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, and sd alcohol, which not only can be extremely drying and irritating to skin, but also can generate free-radical damage (Sources: “Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In,” Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm). In a product where these ingredients are at the top of the ingredient list, they will be problematic for all skin types; when they are at the bottom of an ingredient list, there most likely is not enough present to be a problem for skin.

So, is it better to avoid products that contain alcohol? I avoid using alcohol products because they dry out my skin and end up making it oily. I find that gentle cleansing using a sulfate-free cleanser and keeping my skin moisturized and protected with a silicone-free, mineral oil-free, petrolatum-free, alcohol-free moisturizer with sunscreen is the best bet for my extremely sensitive, acne prone, combo skin.

Feb 16, 2009

Yves Rocher Eryo Eau de Toilette for men

Fragrance is where, in my opinion, Yves Rocher shines and shine they do. An example being Yves Rocher Eryo Eau de Toilette.

According to the Yves Rocher website: "This seductive fragrance is strong, yet gentle, virile yet tender...a delicious blend of heady notes that, like the man who wears it, charms us with a modern mix of passion and sensitivity."

  • Olfactive Family: Fresh Oriental Woody.
  • Head Notes: Bergamot, Mint.
  • Mid Note: Rosemary.
  • Base Notes: Patchouli, Vanilla, Benzoin, Costus.

This is a wonderful fragrance that last all day and night and dries to a very elegant scent. It starts off a bit on the strong side but quickly settles to a more delicate scent. The next morning it continues to linger. A great, masculine fragrance that is both strong and delicate at the same time.

$38.00 for a 1.7 ounce spray bottle and $45.00 for a 3.4 ounce spray bottle. A 0.25 ounce "Try Me Size" is available for $5.00. Yves Rocher products are available online in the US.

Ingredients: Vary by product type.

Feb 13, 2009

Open Forum: Sunscreen

Do you wear sunscreen daily? Mineral or chemical? What brands have you found to work best on your skin type? Where do you purchase it and what does it cost?

Feb 11, 2009

Ingredient Spotlight: Mastic Oil

I recently had the opportunity to try a line of skin care products containing Mastic Oil. According to Wikipedia, Mastic is an evergreen shrub or small tree of the Pistachio family growing up to 4 m tall which is cultivated for its aromatic resin, mainly on the Greek island of Chios.

According to the product literature Mastic has been scientifically proven to have strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. The list goes on about what all Mastic can do for the skin and hair, everything from anti-aging to superior cleansing.

The first thing I noticed upon using the facial moisturizer containing Mastic was the scent, a very strong, herbal scent that didn't dissipate. Hours later the scent remained quite strong. The scent wasn't offensive but also not inviting.

I also felt that the products were quite heavy in texture and sat on the skin more than they absorbed. This, however, was a function of this particular brand of products and not necessarily because the product contained Mastic.

While I like trying new products, especially those considered natural, this didn't work for me. The scent was too overwhelming for my liking. Perhaps another brand would work better for me.

If you don't mind herbal scented products; finding something with Mastic oil may work for you.

Feb 9, 2009

Mastey de Paris HC Formula B5 Leave-In Hair Mender

Mastey de Paris HC Formula B5 Leave-In Hair Mender is a leave-in hair mender that I just recently purchased to try as it has been reformulated, without parabens, like the rest of the Mastey de Paris hair care line.

This is a delightful, leave-in treatment that does not weigh down the hair. It makes it smoother, adds shine and detangles it extremely well. The scent is delicate and refreshing while not being at all overpowering. I find that a few sprays is enough to cover my hair. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, amino acids and protein which help protect the hair and help make it behave better. This product is part of the Mastey de Paris moisture line for normal to dry hair.

I use this for two or three days following having my hair color done in order to help minimize the damage. I don't use it every day simply because I use a small dab of Mastey Frehair as leave-in and so use Mastey de Paris HC Formula B5 Leave-In Hair Mender as a moisture booster after getting my hair colored because it tends to be a bit drier.

This is a great product and works very well with the other Mastey de Paris products I use daily, Mastey de Paris Traite Sulfate-Free Shampoo and Mastey de Paris Frehair Daily Conditioner/Detangler. I am a huge fan of Mastey de Paris and find myself loving their products more and more each time I use them.

An 8 ounce spray bottle retails for $15.00 while a 1 gallon bottle can be purchased for $90.00. Mastey de Paris products are available and select hair salons and spas or online from the Mastey de Paris website.

Ingredients: D. Water, Infusion of PCA & Sodium Lactate & Pathenol B5 & Phosolipids (Natural Moisturizing Factor), Rice Amino Acids & Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG-Propyl Silanetriol, Sunflower seed Extract & Grapeseed Extract & Benzophenone-3 & Ascorbic Acid & Tocopheryl Acetate (Mastey UVABLOC Color Protectants & Antioxidants), Methyl Glueth-20, Polysorbate-20, EDTA, Glycereth-2 Cocoate & Benzoic Acid, Parfum.

Feb 6, 2009

Open Forum: Brand Names

As a consumer, do you tend to navigate more toward high end products or mass market, drug store brands. Why?

Lancome and Loreal are corporate sisters and share may similar products with vastly different pricing. But is Lancome, at a higher price, a better product line?

Estee Lauder owns numerous prestige brands including La Mer, Prescriptives and Clinique, but are they better than Good Skin, American Beauty, Flirt or Grassroots which they manufacture exclusively for Kohl's?

What are your thoughts about brand name and quality?

Feb 4, 2009

Yves Rocher Vegetal Inositol Optimizing Moisturizer

A Day cream designed to address "first lines" in twenty-something skin, Yves Rocher Vegetal Inositol Optimizing Moisturizer is one of the newest moisturizers from Yves Rocher. It replaces their Pro Retinol 100% Vegetal line.

This moisturizer is light, spreads easily and absorbs well. It has a moderate to strong scent. It does not contain sunscreen, therefore; a sunscreen must be applied on top.

Because it contains corn starch, more than likely to reduce shine after application, it may possibly cause some people breakouts. In addition, as with numerous other Yves Rocher products, this moisturizer contains Alcohol which is drying to the skin and basically counteracts the moisturizing properties. It also contains silicones, film formers and numerous preservatives.

Depending on the products PH, this moisturizer may help exfoliate the skin because of the Urea, but is most likely used to increase moisturization.

The star ingredient in the product is green rice extract, Inositol, which is listed quite low on the ingredients listing suggesting it is used in a small amount. Fragrance is listed prior to the Inositol and fragrance normally comprises only a small percentage of a products formula.

While I liked the texture and ease of application of this product, because of the alcohol and lack of sunscreen will not use this product.

This product is available in a 1.35 ounce jar or 1 ounce squeeze tube and retails between $17.00 and $24.00 on the Yves Rocher website. Yves Rocher offers free gifts with purchase as well as many specials on their products.

Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol Denat., Isononyl Isononanoate, Zea Mays (Corn Starch), Urea, Propylene Glycol, Isohexadecane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Ethylheyl Cocoate, Stearyl Alcohol, PEG-100, Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Cylohexasiloxane, Sorbitan Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Fragrance, Inositol, Ammonium Acryloyldmethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Methylparaben, Tocopheryl Acetate, Allantoin, Ethylparaben, Xanthan Gum, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Tetra Sodium EDTA, Lactic Acid.

Feb 2, 2009

Sea Breeze Actives Deep Clean Astringent

After a period where my skin was breaking out frequently I decided to purchase and use Sea Breeze Actives Deep Clean Astringent thinking it would help slow the oil production, clean my skin and enable the breakouts to heal. This, however, was not the answer for me.

Because this product contains ingredients such as Alcohol, Camphor, Clove Oil and Eucalyptus I was actually drying out my skin and causing it to produce even more oil and thus more breakouts and ended up in a cycle where I not only had dry skin but even more breakouts.

Salicylic Acid is related to aspirin and thus has some skin soothing abilities, it may help reduce redness and swelling. However, because of the alcohol and the volatile oils it contains this product caused my skin more problems than it helped.

Alcohol is very drying to the skin and actually damages the natural moisture barrier which is what helps keep the skin soft and supple. Dry skin looks older and lackluster and tends to show more fine lines.

Many companies, such as Clinique, Estee Lauder and Lancome continue to sell astringents/toners that contain alcohol. While this may make the face feel cleaner after application it tends to dry the skin out causing it to produce more sebum and in some people increased acne. There are numerous other products out there that do not contain any alcohol that would be far more suitable. Good Skin, Grassroots and Neutrogena, for example, have alcohol free Astringents/Toners.

While some companies tell us we must use an Astringent/Toner in order to prep our skin for moisturizer, it is my opinion that if you cleanse and rinse your face properly a toner is not at all necessary.

Sea Breeze Actives Deep Clean Astringent is yellow and has a pleasant, clean scent. It burned my skin after use and caused it to become dry after daily use.

Gentle cleansing, moisturizing and using a sunscreen do more for the skin than anything else. Everyone, even those with acne are better off avoiding products with alcohol.

A 10 ounce bottle retails for $4.99 in my area and is available at most drugstores.

Active Ingredients: Salicylic Acid 1%

Ingredients: Alcohol Denat., Benzoic Acid, Camphor, Clove Oil - Eugenia Caryophyllus, Eucalyptus Globulus Oil, Fragrance, Glycerin, Methyl Propanediol, Orange 4, PPG-12-Buteth-16, Sodium Benzoate, Yellow 5, Water.