Product Review: Jergens Wet Skin Body Moisturizer

Does this describe you?

Hate the effort of putting on lotion but loathe dry skin?

Easily get cold when getting out of the shower so you rush to the finish line sans adding back needed moisture?

Use lotion but just never feel like you have enough moisture afterwards?

Although embarrassed by your snaky scaly self, you somehow do nothing about it?

Hate the feel or smell of lotion?

Think lotion is just for women?

Introducing your new best friend and my favorite product I’ve stumbled upon in 2018 – Jergens Wet Skin Body Moisturizer

What it is

Jergens Wet Skin Body Moisturizer is a silky, non-sticky feeling lotion (boom! #5) jam packed with additional emollient moisturizers and oils (bang! #3) that you use IN the shower (ca-chow! #2) that allows you to quickly slather it on (bye Felicia! #1 and #4) and makes your skin soft like a well-oiled cabana girl (or boy) plus smell like a tropical coconut paradise that is both appropriate for men and women (I got 99 problems but #5 or #6 ain’t one).  The technology in this is slightly different than the other in-shower lotions I’ve tried which instruct you to use during your shower and wash off, like an extra-moisturizing body wash.

This in-shower moisturizer is used after you turn your shower off and while you’re still wet.  Then, you just simply pat dry.  It works by entering your pores while they are open from the steam, and the oils trapping moisture into the skin.

Not having to stand in my bathroom freezing your coconuts off while slathering lotion on? Now THIS I can get on board with.

Packaging

The packaging comes in a soft blue plastic bottle, similar to what you’d experience with any body wash.  The bottle tapers to a wider bottom which also has the flip-top lid.  This provides a sturdy base to keep it from tipping over and eliminates any need for shaking to get the product out.  It looks appropriate for a man or woman’s shower.  The blue although pale, does not come across as overly masculine and there’s no flowery imagery which shouts girl-power.  It’s edges are rounded and although no frills packaging, it was well-thought out and is nice for the category. It’s a utility product which easily blends in with all your shower basics.

Application

When I squeezed the lotion out, it was a consistency you’d expect.  It’s a lotion, but much more oil-based.  It’s thinner, but not runny.  The creamy color also has some transparency to it. I put about a silver dollar-sized dollop in my left hand, and then scooped a little here and there to place on my arms, legs, stomach, chest, and back area so that it was evenly spread.  Next, I got to work rubbing it in everywhere.  My hands slid around like I was putting oil on, but there was no sticky/oily/tacky feel.  It was almost as if it dissipated into water.

I lathered myself up for about 30 seconds, making sure to pay special attention to my knees, elbows and decollete area which tend to get dry.  It too so little time that I hadn’t begun to freeze in the shower yet and ta-dah!  I was finished.

I purchased the coconut which caused some apprehension on my end.  I do not like overly sweet or sugary smells.  This was great.  It smelled like coconut oil without the sugar and reminded me of being at the beach getting a tan (without the fake Banana Boat waft).  It also wasn’t overpowering that it would interfere with other stronger scents.

The first time I tried it, I wiped myself down after the shower.  I then tried it again with patting, and this seemed to work better, allowing the moisturizer to remain a bit longer and penetrate deeper.

Overall

If you can’t tell by my review, I absolutely love this product.  I find myself touching my shoulders and my decollete which have been blasted by the sun over the years and they are soft as a baby’s behind.  It’s not going to solve all the dry skin problems (please don’t use this on your face), but if you’re like me who’s shower water is may be heated by nuclear reactors and ANYTHING better will be an improvement, this is a great option.  If you’re already using great products, this will also help kick it up a notch.

For 10 oz. at $5.59 on Amazon or availability in just about any drugstore which always carry sales, you can’t beat the price and convenience on this product. Ulta typically has buy one get one half off sales, so I plan to stock up.

I highly recommend that men and women alike give this one a try! I’m rating this one as a Certified ReadHead Best!

Overall: 5/5 

*Certified ReadHead Best 

Price: $$$$$

Packaging: 5/5

Have an in-shower moisturizer or lotion you love? Drop us a line in the comments.

 

Tips for layering products

These days there are so many products out there.  Add in getting older or troubled skin and you end up having a bed time routine that rivals painting the Sistine Chapel.

I believe that effective multi-taskers which give you everything you need in one or two steps is like a unicorn that will never be found.  Buy really good products that target what you’re solving for, and layer ’em up.

What actually seems like a straightforward idea is the cause for much confusion.  How do you know what to put on first? Readhead to the rescue!

Getting Started

There are two really great ways that can help you remember how, and which products, layer well and in which order.  One, determining what the individual products are supposed to do and two, the consistency or viscosity of those products.  Read on for more.

Step 1: Determine what the individual products are supposed to do

You’ve got targeted serums high in actives?  Those should go closest to your skin so they can get in there and do their job.  As you layer, the ones closest to your skin are generally more concentrated.  You’ll want your acids, retinoids and peptide powerhouses to be slathered on before your heavier products.

Concentrated serums —> moisturizers —> protectants

Make sure to check out ingredients that play well together and during certain times of the day, and those that don’t.  For instance, vitamin C helps with photoaging and is best used during the day.  Retinoids can make skin photosensitive and may have negative effects if used during the day, especially without a proven form of SPF.  Others, like glycolic acids and salicylic acid work beautifully together to remove and declog layers of the skin but can be irritating to those with a compromised skin barrier or sensitive skin.

It can seem like your local beauty associate is selling you up the creek by suggesting different products for a day and night routine, but if you’ve got the resources (read time and money) you should tailor those routines as much as possible for the most efficacy.  Be aware of products that are high in ‘ones (i.e. silicones) that have a silky or waxy slip as they create a barrier that may be harder for other actives products to break through.  Use those towards the end.

Step 2: Feel the viscosity to know what goes first to last

This trick rings tried and true for me if I get a new product and I’m not quite sure where it fits in the continuum.  The more watery (and usually clear) your product is, the closer to the front of the line it should go.  As products get more occlusive (meaning thicker and sealing down) less and less of the goodies will be able to penetrate it.  For example, my Skinceuticals C E Ferulic is straight like water.  That goes on first.  My retinoid is a slightly thicker watery gel consistency.  The SkinMedica TNS product I use is slightly thicker and my moisturizer the thickest.  Easy!

How long do you wait between steps?

Ideally, you’d want to give each layer 5-10 minutes of dry-time if you can spare.  With busy schedules I say as long as you give time between the different viscosities, you’re OK to speed up using a few products together.

What about oils?

This one is up for debate and tricks even the savviest of skincare connoisseurs, however if you think about the science of oil, it makes sense that oils should be the LAST piece to the puzzle (except for SPF).  If you think of the old term “oil and water” you know that they don’t really mix.  Moisturizers, although made of oils, are meant to hydrate the skin and generally contain water-friendly ingredients, including hyaluronic acid which helps to draw water into the skin.

If you put oil on first, then a moisturizer, your oil is working to keep anything water-friendly out.  By using oil afterwards, it seals the moisturizer in by repelling it until it’s absorbed, and then the oil continues to hydrate. And there you have it, Readhead readers.  Moisturizer first, oil last.

How many steps do you have in your routine? Drop us a line in the comments.

New year, new items: What’s in my beauty bag

Happy new year to all the ReadHead readers!  I can’t believe it’s been almost a year to the day that I’ve written my first post.  A big thank you to all who have supported my passion project.  If you’ve learned something new or tried something you liked, I’d love to hear it through the comments!

As a skincare fanatic, I try a lot of different items.  My goal is to give it to you straight, and to show you that more money doesn’t always mean better – but sometimes it does.

I took a look at the things that continue to be my staples over time, whether it be my other items didn’t continue to work for me anymore, or I found something to replace it.

If the new year means new you, here my go-to items to give you some inspo for your own makeup and skincare routine.  Happy reading!

Skincare items I can’t live without (everyday routine):

Cerave SA Renewing Face Wash – has ceramides, niacinamide and hydrators, plus removes all my makeup and has a kick of BHA to keep my pores clean and has a friendly drugstore price.

L’Oreal Hydrafresh Toner – while there may be options with better ingredients (i.e. sans denatured alcohol) this one boasts 99% alcohol free, is hydrating and you can’t beat the drugstore price & availability. It helps to remove any traces of dirt and makeup, is refreshing and has added BHA to help with clog-prone skin.

Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum – is perfect for someone with skin like me – clog and milia prone (ultra rich eye creams are a no-go), anti-aging and reducing puffiness.  Luckily dark circles aren’t a problem for me (yet) but the ferulic acid will help.  This is a gel serum so it won’t be ultra hydrating if that is important to you. Pro tip: If puffiness is something you struggle with, put this in the fridge to get some extra benefit!

Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Treatment – much like the above, it has fantastic ingredients that help to brighten, protect and refine skin, and is gentle yet effective.  I have other retinol products that pack a bigger punch (Peter Thomas Roth 3% for example), but I can use this consistently and layer with other acids with no irritation, and notice brighter, clearer skin.

Skinceuticals CE Ferulic Serum – I did a ReadHead 2 Head on this vs. Drunk Elephant’s C-Firma (which continues to be my most reviewed post on ReadHead).  I recommend reading it if you’re new to vitamin C.  The vitamin C and additional layer of ferulic acid helps to give an extra layer of sun protection (key for someone with fair skin and correcting sun damage) while destroying free radicals and helping the skin function at its healthiest.

SkinMedica’s TNS Essential Serum – this is my ultra splurge item which utilizes growth hormones and antioxidants to trick older skin into think it’s a younger version of itself. This helps to regenerate new, healthy and less wrinkled skin.  It’s not surgery (nor should you expect the same result), but it’s one of the best topical cosmeceuticals on the market with clinical trials to boot.

Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Serum – a nice AHA acid that I alternate at night with my retinoids to keep my dead skin and clogged pores at bay. If I start getting little pimples, this removes the top layer of skin and away they go.

Neutrogena’s 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment – this is my ride or die BHA serum that I use when I’m needing an extra dose of pore cleaning and Neutrogena discontinued it.  I have absolutely no earthly idea why as this has a cult following that may have some feeling one would need to pry whatever’s left on the market from their cold, dead hands.  I think it’s because it worked so well people didn’t need their products anymore! Anytime I can find this, I snatch it up and use it like it’s as precious as 24 carat gold.

Belif’s the True Cream Moisturizing Bomb – this has become my HG moisturizer.  Calming, hydrating, basic and effective.  It leaves my skin feeling awesomely dewey and minus the clogged pores of overly heavy/silicone feeling.

Dr. Jart Premium BB 45++ – the last step in my skincare routine, this is similar to foundation but has amazing ingredients, helps to cover redness and has an awesome amount of SPF in  it.  Talk about a multi-tasker!

Obagi Professional-C Sunscreen – I use sometimes under my Dr. Jart, or on days when I’m going makeup free.  It has vitamin E and the most stable form of vitamin C, l-ascorbic acid.  I like this formulation, but I received it for free from a promotion.  I like that it leaves me matte, but I wouldn’t say it’s an HG.  Great ingredients, and a good finish for oily-skinned folks who don’t want to layer makeup on as I find that it does pill up.

Rimmel’s Lash Accelerator – great lash conditioner which helps lashes grow by keeping them healthy.  I put this on at night (and not under mascara like it says you can do). It won’t compare to a Latisse or other lash growth items on the market, but it will help keep hairs conditioned and strong – plus you can’t beat the drugstore price!

Nature’s Bounty Hair Skin & Nails + Alive Whole Food Energizer  + Vital Proteins Collagen Peptide Powder – these supplements/powders help to give me the added amino acids, proteins, and goodies I need like B vitamins, biotin, collagen, hyaluronic acid and elastin to boost my beauty routine from the inside and give me a little pep in my step.  The combination of these help my hair grow strong and my nails like a weed.

Just for fun (rev up that routine!):

There’s the steps that I take as an avid skincare connoisseur with skin that changes like the weather.  If you notice there’s a lot of de-clogging, brightening and exfoliating happening here.

If you’re new to the game don’t get overwhelmed – any steps beyond what you’re doing will bring improvements and take these slow.  You don’t need top of the line either, you just need to know helpful ingredients.  But, if you’re in the prime anti-aging years, it may be worth it to give your beauty counter a boost. And, if dry-like-the-Sahara skin is your concern (different than dehydrated) you may need to incorporate some extra moisture here.

I hope you got excited to try something new!  Have a favorite routine? Drop us a line in a comments.

 

 

 

 

 

Five tips you should start today if you want to look younger

Google “tips to look younger” and you’ll see a million different tips and tricks. 75% of them will follow the same mantra – drink water, use SPF, get sleep, don’t smoke, don’t sunbathe…the list goes on and on.  Those are absolutely things that you should be doing that will certainly aid in at least preserving what you have.  I’ll take it a step further to talk about some other ideas you might not have thought of.

  1. Take 3 minutes to look at the sky (or ceiling) per day.

A weird little suggestion, eh?  No, it’s nothing philosophical although taking a break throughout the day can have it’s benefits.  Too often we are sitting staring down at things – our computer, phones and tablets. There is actually a thing called “smartphone face” or “tech-neck.” Doctors and experts (which I am not!) are saying that due to our constant frowning, looking down and faces stern with concentration, we are giving ourselves wrinkles and a sagging lower face faster than ever before.

Try it for yourself.  Put your finger under your chin and look at your phone.  You’re smashing your face and chin by constantly looking down.  You’re also causing your neck muscles and ligaments to shorten, which can pull your lower cheeks and neck down and loosen elasticity at an accelerated rate.  Scary?  Absolutely.  The fix? Make sure you take a break and stretch your neck muscles throughout the day.  Taking a break will also pull you away from constantly squinting of frowning at your computer.

2. Invest in a good razor….for your face

The secret, unspoken “s” word.  Shaving your face. I may have just ruined the mental image for men everywhere who believe that women are born like a hairless cat in all the places we choose to be.  Not the case. Call it dermaplaning or whatever fancy name you want so as to not let on that you are, infact, shaving your face, but it can do wonders for your skin.

A professional dermatologist or esthetician will take a little scalpel-like razor to your whole face to remove dead skin cells.  In the process, it also removes peach fuzz and leaves a bright, glowing and smooth canvas.  I say to save your money and talk to a guy friend who won’t spill your secret (or just check out reviews) and invest in a run-of-the-mill razor.  By regularly shaving your face, you remove the top layer of dead skin and encourage skin cell turnover while removing any peach fuzz that can impede on a great foundation finish.

As we age, hormones change which can create more of those whiskers than we care to admit, and our skin gets drier while shedding itself less.  This type of exfoliation will help give you a smooth, bright complexion and will help your skincare products get deeper into the dermis. Make sure to use a base so that you aren’t tugging or causing irritation to your skin, and follow up with a good BHA to get into the pore to keep from ingrown hairs or infections.

3. Ditch the eyeliner under your eyes

As we age, we develop fine lines around our eyes and a general lacking of elasticity in our skin.  The skin around the eye is one of the most delicate of the body, and generally is the first area to see the signs of aging.  This also means that eyelids can start to become hooded when once we had big, round, youthful eyes. Knowing this, we can use optical illusions to help stave off the look of aging as much as we can.  Lining your eyes underneath draws the visual down, and especially if you’re also lining at the top, closes in your eyes emphasizing sagging, circles or puffiness.

The goal is to make the eyes feel lifted and wide.  If you like to line your eyes, stick to the top with a sultry smudge at the outter corners to give some dimension or a cute flick of a winged cat eye. If you absolutely can’t forego it, try a light eye shadow that gives you some lining capability but is soft and reflects light.  Be careful to choose a neutral color with light relecting properties but steer clear of metallics or glitter which can have the opposite effect. Applying these products to the top-only also applies to mascara.  Unless you’re going for a specific dramatic look, adding mascara to your bottom lashes creates the opportunity for black smudges throughout the day which make you look tired and can settle into fine lines.  Using a white pencil to tight line your eyes can also help brighten the whites of your eyes and make them look more open, awake and youthful.

4. Invest in a good hair stylist

I love people watching at the airport because I see some of the most stylish women roll through.  Two things I notice about a really well put-together woman of any age is a trendy yet age-appropriate hair style and clothes that reflect a classic style with a flavor of trendiness – meaning that it’s not trying too hard .

There are so many amazing choices these days with color and products and my favorite…the tools. It’s worth spending the $10-20 more for a hair cut or color for someone who really knows what they’re doing and for your type of hair.  If someone doesn’t break out a pair of thinning shears on me, I wonder how they graduated hair school.  I’m still paying for an ill-fated cut from 8 months ago. You just cannot cut my hair properly without them. Someone who can give you texture and a playfulness that fits your personality, while looking refined just has that extra set of confident polish to them.

Don’t underestimate a good stylist.  They are not all created equal, NOR do they cut all types of hair with the same expertise.  If you like someone’s hair that is like yours, snatch ’em up.

5. Lotion & lip balm are like American Express.  Don’t leave home without it

This one is where I should listen to my own advice.  I cannot stress how important lotion is and yet I despise the whole process so much it’s laughable. As we grow older our weight tends to fluctuate.  Our skin stops shedding and rejuvenating itself. All of our past sins are starting to show themselves.  This is when fine lines around the lips reveal their evil ways all of a sudden when your lipstick bleeds for the first time, or you ate too much turkey on Thanksgiving and your love handle starts to itch.  It’s because…it’s dry skin…stretching.  Which can cause stretch marks and skin that’s just flat out tired of bouncing back.  You can read about my rubber band analogy here.

This is where the ounce of prevention quote comes into play.  Ladies and gents in your late teens and 20s?  Fall in love with moisturizing your whole body.  Hands, feet, lips, you name it.  A good workout routine, some leafy greens and fruits, and a healthy obsession with your favorite moisturizer and you’ll maintain beautiful skin well past your peers.

Find something that was interesting or have a tip of your own? Drop us a line in the comments.

Why I don’t wear makeup to work everyday. And it’s not what you think

Makeup and skincare is a beautiful thing.  It’s something that I love (clearly, since I’m devoting my precious little free time to proclaiming to anyone who will listen to me how awesome it is).  As much as I love makeup, I also shy away from it.  Why you ask?  It’s pretty simple.

Yes, not wearing makeup saves money and time, but it’s not really about that for me.  It’s more of a philosophy.  When you grow up with skin that turns on you at any second, you make conscious choices – almost negotiations – before you layer up on the next product. A sort of quid pro quo, Clarice – ok that was a little creepy but if my skin had a voice it would be something that would instill a bit of fear of the unknown.  I just know if I wear that amazing full-coverage foundation that makes me look airbrushed that I’ll pay the next week with breakouts.  Constantly curling and adding 5 coats of mascara will eventually cause my lashes to be brittle and break.  So, because my level of effort to keep my skin calm caused me to make some choices, I developed a new relationship with makeup that is purely serving a need want of self expression.

Doing so became my own beautiful thing.  If I don’t feel like enhancing myself that day, I don’t.  I don’t know if my work friends appreciate my down to earth vibe when I show up with no makeup on (is she sick?) but it does something for me physically – by letting my skin calm down – and emotionally.  It forces me to be comfortable in my own skin and almost always creates this subtle approachable vibe.  I run the same meetings, and talk to the same people. I may have a rager on my forehead, and speaking of, let’s talk about that cowlick that looks like it’s thinning…but I am still there just like I always am to get *ish done.

Why am I posting about this?  Because tis the season where people get down in that dark cold place of the holidays.  Where you start folding in, instead of branching out.  And it’s true that you are just beautiful the way you are.  This amazing thing happens to me when I haven’t worn mascara in a while.  I decide to curl my lashes and do my thing and BOOM I feel like Adriana Lima. I cover up my redness with a great primer and foundation and wow…I look flawless – cha- ching! I fill my eyebrows in and it’s me against the world.  But I don’t need it to feel like me. It’s the same face I was staring at but I got used to the done-up drag that becomes routine. I got rid of half my gadgets and extras. I realized that people don’t really care.  And if they do, well, they probably aren’t my cup o’ probiotic & protein infused tea.

So I challenge you this wintry season to focus on the things that helps your skin heal and thrive.  Try a few days or weeks without the full face of makeup and see how you feel.  Go up and talk to a stranger at the bar when you just would NEVER if your hair and lip liner wasn’t tip top.  You’ll be surprised how liberated you’ll feel (so many guys loathe lipstick anyway) and when you decide you want to do you and pamper yourself up to the hilt you’ll just know you look so. dang. fine.

Don’t believe me on the benefits? Check out what this writer at Cosmo had to say.

What do you think? Could you do a makeup-free challenge? Drop us a line in the comments.

 

 

 

 

Product Review: SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum

Here at ReadHead, we’re just a tad bit (a lot) nerdy about science in skincare.  I will start this post off with saying three things right off the bat before you read on: 1) this is clinically proven to work 2) you will never get over the sticker shock 3) there are some funky ingredients.  Ok now that that is settled, read on!

SkinMedica is a physician-only skincare line – meaning you have to get it from a place that is licensed like a dermatologist, medical spa or plastic surgeon’s office.  Their products contain top-of-the-line ingredients, and a price tag to boot.  Their #1 flagship ingredient is TNS, which I’ll talk about more in a second.  This line, and TNS Essential Serum in particular, is well known, top-rated and a part of the daily skincare routine by just about any certified dermatologist/plastic surgeon/medispa professional out there.

The science behind SkinMedica’s TNS

Major contributors to both intrinsic (meaning the actual aging process we all go through as part of our biology) and extrinsic (meaning things like diet, improper care and damage that humans expose themselves to) aging are splotchiness and freckling, wrinkles and loss of collagen.  You can read my post about drinking collagen to learn more about the role and effects of losing collagen here in my blog.

SkinMedica has done research that founded and brought to the commercial pharmaceutical landscape the importance of stem cell and human growth factors into topical skincare.  TNS includes a patented and to some, shocking and confusing ingredient called Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media.   This ingredient, which is sourced from discarded neonatal tissue (i.e. foreskins…and here’s usually where the confusion/shock/intrigue/distain sets in) is housed in chambered solutions that allow it to function and generate as our natural bodies would.  This growth factor and other cytokins mimic the skin’s natural production of elastin and collagen synthesis to promote younger-looking skin over time.

As also stated in my post about collagen, there is speculation on how much penetration these molecules have due to their large size.  There is agreement that it can penetrate pores and hair follicles, but that they function at their best after skin has been compromised i.e. microneedling, a strong peel, or laser, to get deeper and get more of the benefits of the technology.

Unlike many skincare products out there, this one has been proven in multiple clinical studies, and as mentioned, is THE choice for doctors and specialists to have access to just about anything in the world to choose from.

If you want to learn more about growth factors and clinical studies, you can find sourced information from the NIH here.

Ingredients

This SkinMedica product dispenses in a dual chamber, so that you get two different “sets” of product that you mix together.

I’ve already mentioned the Human Conditioned Fibroblast Media which is the differentiator in this product, but it also has an impressive array of vitamins and extracts.

Here’s the info from SkinMedica’s website:

Chamber 1:

TNS Recover Complex – Human Fibroblast conditioned media. A physiologically balanced, naturally secreted and stabilized growth factor blend that helps improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, skin tone and texture.

Chamber 2:

APS Corrective Complex made up of peptides and antioxidants like green tea, vitamin E, alpha-arbutin and hyaluronic acid.

Full list of ingredients: Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media, Water/Aqua/Eau, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Unsaponifiables, Alpha-Arbutin, Isoceteth-20, Arachidyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Ethoxydiglycol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Dimethicone, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Ergothioneine, Hydrolyzed Sericin, Phospholipids, Ubiquinone, Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Leaf Extract, Saccharomyces Ferment Lysate Filtrate, Aminobutyric Acid, Phytosterols, Tocopherol, Tocotrienols, Squalene, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax (Oryza Sativa Cera), Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Behenyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Cetearyl Alcohol, Steareth-10, Steareth-20, Butylene Glycol, Maltodextrin, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Xanthan Gum, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Disodium EDTA, Caprylyl Glycol, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Parfum/Fragrance, Hydroxycitronellal, Linalool, Coumarin, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Geraniol, Isoeugenol

Packaging & Application

The packaging that this bottle comes in is top notch.  It’s a presentation, as it should be with a $280 MSRP price tag. It has SkinMedica’s signature taupey-gray color with the silver chromatic lettering.  While the box it comes in is substantial, I wouldn’t call it or the bottle the product comes in as beautiful.  SkinMedica wouldn’t compete with a Lancôme or other products that spend a lot on marketing and packaging.  It’s straight-forward and appropriate, but you know you aren’t paying for a beauty bottle on your counter.  I care more about the science than the look of packaging, so that doesn’t bother me.  But, if you like to be delighted with your packages, this one may leave you wanting more.

The chambers are also a bit annoying.  Over time, the two products can misfire so that you get more of one product vs. another.  I end up having to store it upside down, or forcefully tap it on it’s top to get the chambers to work properly.

I dispense a shockingly strange color of white and bright orange onto the back of my hand, dollop them around a bit to mix them up, ad put it on my skin.  I’m a terrible baker, but I envision when you use a spatula device to layer in whipped egg whites – scoop and flip gently. The look, nor the smell will take you anywhere close to organic or botanical.  It’s a kick you in the ass real-deal “if you don’t like it oh well” type of thing.  It smelled to me like whatever chemicals they use in a Port-o-Potty.  I can’t even make that sound any more refreshing.  I’d turn my head and “whiff.”  Not my favorite. At all.

But dammit if it doesn’t work, and then you have to suck it up on the painful price tag, it’s faulty mechanics and it’s awful smell because your face glows, your skin is tighter and your wrinkles less.  And such is life.

Final Assessment

This is a supreme luxury treatment and is right for the right type of consumer.  This is prime for someone in your 30s or 40s (who can afford it) before you start to see the full signs of aging.  This is a bit overkill for anyone younger.  I’d suggest a drugstore or Sephora-like buy of the beautycare basics an exfoliant, moisturizer, retinoid and sunscreen for that age range.

There are other products that will do great things for your skin.  But, they won’t do great things like this.  Growth factors are the future of pharmaceuticals, but they also have their risks.  It’s new and groundbreaking, but it is also not tested over time.  I also maintain that no topical product is a replacement for surgery or injections, so you have to be realistic about what it can do for you.

For now I’m going to hold my breath and wait until my local spa has it on sale.  For $281 MSRP for one oz, that is a bit of like breathing in smelling salts (or Port-o-Potty chemicals) and feeling like you need to go o confession each time you press “buy.” But I’ll give it a ReadHead best and save my pennies to purchase this little dose of the fountain of youth.

Consumer warning: this is a product that is certified to be sold at licensed skincare professionals only.  You buy at your own risk from Amazon and other sellers.  In my opinion the savings is not worth the risk.

Overall: 5/5

*Certified ReadHead Best

Packaging: 3/5

Price: $$$$$

Have you used SkinMedica TNS? Drop us a line in the comments.

What Drinking Collagen For 30 Days Changed For Me (Part 2)

I wrote in a previous post about the benefits of collagen and that I was going to put it to the test in a 30 and 90-day recap.  I purchased Vital Protein’s Collagen Protein Peptides because it seemed quick, somewhat affordable, and had the backings of pro athletic teams and Jennifer Anniston – and who doesn’t want to look like her.

I made my teal blue and white plastic tub my BFF at work for the last 30ish days.  It became a bit of a talking point while making my coffee or typing away.  “What cha doing there?” says a co-worker.  “Drinking your lunch again?” says my boss (she’s awesome and acknowledges my beauty quirks without raising too much of an eyebrow).  “Oh ya know, just injecting my triple espresso Americano with protein collagen powder from cows.  It’s totally normal.”

For a little over 30 days consistently I mixed my one scoop of extremely fine milled powder into my kick-me-in-the-ass coffee.  It left a little bit of a sticky, sandy feel that seemed to find my fingers and lingered in the back of my throat that took a few days to get used to.  I don’t even notice it now.  That’s how I went about my every morning except one time when I got fancy and tried it in a cold ultra smoothie (that I was in fact drinking as my lunch).  It turned into a gelatinous blob of what I can only think of wet Plaster of Paris mixed with mucus would consist of.  One unsuspecting gulp of that concoction that barely made it through my straw literally caused my gag reflex to fire. I grossed everyone out around me by fishing it out of my smoothie with the straw and flicking it into garbage can. Plink. Plink. ::shudders::

I give Vital Proteins credit.  I went this route because I loathe every other protein shake that I’ve tried.  They are either gritty, have some sort of fake taste to it, or require a degree in blender college + an investment that would surely dip into my Sephora stash for the fruit just to make it bearable.  Isn’t that just more calories??? Pass.

Other than the sandy stickiness, there was no detectable taste.  It was easy to mix right at my desk.  I thought the portion size was a bit ridiculous when I saw my $40 jug was only 14 servings but I ended up only doing one scoop once a day vs. two multiple times a day and still have plenty left.

The Verdict

I’m only about 30 days in, and I don’t believe in overnight miracles.  The protein powder is said to help with hair, skin, joints and nails.  I take supplements already that address these, so I honestly didn’t see a difference that I could attribute to this powder.  I started walking more and felt like I had rocks in my joints, so although I will chalk that up to age and overdoing it, it certainly didn’t make me feel like a gazelle.

I also didn’t turn into Benjamin Button overnight, so I’m left wondering what this supposed miracle in a bottle is really supposed to do for me.  However, I will say that I no longer had my pangs of needing protein STAT! which was the reason I started the process in the first place.  The fact that I see this difference leads me to believe there’s something there, and since that was a huge annoyance for me (plus it was clearly something my body was telling me I needed to give it) I’ll keep with it.

For those who don’t have such an extensive skincare routine as I do, or maybe don’t take other supplements that address hair, skin and nails (I will attest that the ones I take do work) then you might see a difference.  I’m only 30 days in, and am looking forward to seeing if there is any accelerated change when I check in at the 90 day mark.

So far would I suggest it? If you’re into supplements and you’re a health optimizer, then sure.  It certainly isn’t hurting anything.  If you’re like me and have had trouble finding ways to incorporate protein, I’d also say it’s a nice alternative.  The jury is still out though, on if this really lives up to the hype of being a beauty benefit.  Vital Proteins has full stars from over 120 reviewers, so unless there’s something shady there, they are making believers.  I have yet to be sold.

Check back in for the 90 day review!

 

 

Acne or Rosacea Sufferer? Meet Azelaic Acid

A long time acne and mild rosacea sufferer, I considered myself to be pretty in the know about all things pimple-plastering.  Whether it be due to new beauty contenders like Deciem’s The Ordinary or because old becomes new and people always need something groundbreaking to talk about, my eyes and ears caught wind of a new acid I had never heard of.  Fights acne…acts as an antiseptic…decreases effects of rosacea…and it was like the record scratched and all things came to a halt in my life.  What the what?  I (and now you) MUST KNOW MORE.

What is it?

Azelaic acid is a naturally-occurring acid that comes from yeast, barley and wheat.  Typically found in a white powder, this powerful acid is a triple threat to skin issues due to bacteria-fighting benefits reminiscent of benzoyl peroxide and anti-inflammatory properties similar salicylic acid.  Fellow rosacea suffers often get bumps and redness, so the mix of these two could be quite impressive while also cutting down irritation with a multi-functional product.  It is also said to possess skin lightening properties which could be an alternative to (albeit not as effective) as hydroquinone which is quite the controversial lightening ingredient depending on who you talk to and has been banned in many countries due to its adverse effects. <— check your lightening products for this ingredient if this is important to you.

Unlike alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic and lactic that help to slough off the top layers of the skin by breaking up the “glue” that holds dead skin cells together so that new skin can emerge, azelaic acid does exfoliate, but think of it as a gunk buster that gets into the follicles and pores to clear out and kill the things that cause moderate to severe acne – Finacea is one of it’s more well-known prescription-strength topicals.

As a natural redhead, I have been working for what seems to be a lifetime to gain as much of a clean slate as I can, but my skin just likes to remind me that I am not worthy.  I freckle if I even think of the word sun, my pimples hang around FOREVER and cause PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) after they’ve left for months, and my cheeks have a pink flush to them that is thank goodness mild, but still exacerbated by just about anything.  Many of you ReadHead readers with sensitive or fair skin may be experiencing the same.  Look for products that contain azelaic acid and watch it work wonders.   It may just be the missing piece to your acne-free, glowing complexion.

The Ordinary’s Azelaic 10% Suspension is currently in route to my door and cost me $8 + shipping.  I’ll be tearing into that packaging like a kid on Christmas.

Have you used azelaic acid before?  Drop us a line in the comments.

 

Product Review: CeraVe SA Renewing Cleanser

Of all the beauty products in my arsenal, the one I am happy to pluck from the drugstore shelves and will never be convinced of a need to do otherwise is a facial cleanser.  There are literally thousands out there shouting from the rooftops about this ingredient and that, but the reality is that all you need is to get a good formulation appropriate to your skin type (dry, dehydrated, oily, congested) that can tackle the appropriate amount of dirt and makeup removal from your face while not stripping your skin and causing irritation.  A face wash stays in contact with your skin for less than one minute, so all those fancy ingredients don’t have the time or strength to do much of anything miraculous. Save your money on those pricey cleansers!

CeraVe’s SA Renewing Cleanser has been my go-to and permanent staple to my beauty routine for about two years.  I found out about it as a loyal CeraVe fan (their products contain excellent ingredients and technology for the money and convenience) and because I needed something a bit more heavy duty on makeup removal than their hydrating version.  My skin is also sensitive, so I needed something gentle enough not totally strip my skin and to keep it balanced.

What is it?

This one is going to be targeted to those who are combination/oily and are clog-prone. It is also a good option for a transition cleanser for those who get more oily in the summer time, or when you need a heavier-duty formula to combat that super SPF.

It does not contain dyes or fragrance (yay for sensitive skin), foams up which is an indicator that it’s going to break through oil and grease, and includes salicylic acid which lightly exfoliates and penetrates pores to clean them out and also gives it it’s namesake.  The description on Ulta’s website does a nice job of summing it up:

CeraVe’s SA Renewing Cleanser exfoliates and detoxifies to remove dirt and oil while softening and smoothing skin. Unlike some exfoliating cleansers, CeraVe’s SA Renewing Cleanser does not contain harsh beads or grains and is gentle on skin. It better prepares skin for essential hydration by helping to slough off dead skin cells while cleansing. And, like all CeraVe products, it hydrates and helps restore skin’s protective barrier.

Benefits:

  • Developed with dermatologists
  • Detoxifies and exfoliates to remove dirt and oil
  • Salicylic acid softens and smooths skin
  • Three essential ceramides help repair the skin barrier
  • Enriched with antioxidant vitamin D
  • Gentle and non-drying
  • Non-comedogenic and non-irritating
  • Fragrance free

Ingredients:

What I like about CeraVe products is that they include an impressive array of ingredients that benefit the skin barrier – glycerin, niacinamide, ceramides and hyaluronic acid.  Together these help to nourish and protect the top layer of your skin that keeps moisture in and bad things out. I guarantee you won’t find a better-priced option with all the goodies in there like this one.

Purified Water, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Niacinamide, Gluconolactone, Sodium Methylcocoyl Taurate, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, Salicylic Acid, Ceramide 6-11, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 1, Hyaluronic Acid, Cholesterol Sodium Benzoate, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Cholecalciferol, Phytosphingosine, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide

Application:

I found that one whole squirt was too much, so I do about a half.  It comes out in a clear watery-gel like consistency with no smell and no gritty particles. I rub it in the palms of my hands with some water and it begins to suds up into a rich soapy lather.  I then rub it around in circles on my face making sure to spend extra time in my trouble areas – on and around my nose, forehead, and chin.  I do rub this on my eye makeup and luckily don’t have to tug much for it to be effective.  I do double-cleanse because I’m so clog-prone and get oily throughout the day, but those of you who don’t have those problems or don’t wear heavy makeup should be OK with one pass.

I wash my face and it feels clean but not squeaky clean.  Just a pleasant clean with a good foundation for my serums and moisturizers.  There’s not leftover residue, however this stuff does get pretty sudsy so if you do too much you can feel like you have to keep rinsing to get it all off.

Packaging:

This is a nice frosted clear plastic pump bottle.  It closes easily for travel, and I’ve never had a problem with it leaking.  It always pumps out what I expect it to, and stands up sturdily in the shower.  No frills, but nice for the category.

Overall:

Overall I love this cleanser because it does what it’s meant to do, at an affordable price, and conveniently available at almost any drugstore.  It has better ingredients than what you’ll find in most, and it’s a reliable formulation that helps keep my pores clean while being appropriate for my aging (cry face) skin. Whether or not the ceramides, SA and HAs actually can get deep down to do what they’re meant to do, I really don’t care.  Even if it’s a little bit, it helps.  And if it doesn’t, the product still works appropriately and I’m not counting the dollar signs after each wash watching the formula go down the drain.

It’s sensitive enough for me to use after peels, and I use it on my face, neck, chest and upper shoulder/back area with no issues.  All places I can break out (blegh).

If you’re in the market for a new cleanser because you find yourself seeing a lot of leftovers when you tone, or were oily and need something that will help with acne that doesn’t feel like a tingling nightmare on your face, this is one I highly recommend.  I’m going to take off .5 stars though, because I do have to double cleanse.

Overall: 4.5/5

Packaging: 5/5

Price: $$$$$

Have a CeraVe product you love? Drop us a line in the comments.

Product Review: belif’s The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb

As ReadHead readers and friends will know, I am pretty upfront about the struggles of my skin both as an early teen and continues in adulthood.  While I’ve thankfully never struggled with the extremes of the worst, I’ve experienced, and continue to experience, the bits of bad things that add up to being detractors of beautiful skin.

One of the hardest products for me to find is a suitable moisturizer.  I am guessing there are a lot of you out there like me, the Goldie Locks of moisturizers – too oily, not enough moisture, ingredients break me out, causes skin irritation, not enough skin-beneficial ingredients….on and on.  I definitely don’t turn my nose up to drugstore finds which have some excellent products with good technology for the money (I’ll review a few of those) but I’m also willing to drop some coin on the thing that will work for me because most just do not.

The Introduction:

I ran into the JC Penny Sephora since it was closer to where I was running errands to pick up what I was currently using that I used up the last drop.  They don’t offer all the same products as a true Sephora store and didn’t have the Drunk Elephant La La Retro I was currently using, so I went on the hunt to see if there was a new relationship to be made.  La La Retro is pretty good, but we were transitioning from winter to spring which changes my skin, and it wasn’t HG (holy grail) status for performance or price.

I was also doing some research for a client looking at packaging and in a sea of overdone sameness this one caught my eye as a Korean brand and therefore worthy of a closer look.  It has about ten lines of ingredients ranging from every botanical and antioxidant you could think of on the box, so I pulled out my phone to look up reviews on my trusted sites and into my bin it went.

THIS, the True Cream Moisturizing Bomb from belif, IS my holy grail.  For a skincare expert to say HG status, well, that’s a league all in its own and its also a Certified ReadHead best.  Read on!

What it is:

Belif is a Korean skincare brand that touts itself as the most truthful skincare company that focuses on superior botanical ingredients, safety, honesty and efficacy originating from Europe hundreds of years ago.  They are definitely on the natural and botanical side and approach skincare as a natural benefit vs. the scientific cutting-edge new innovation to hit the interwebs.

I’m typically the science-buyer focused around results and clinical studies, so this one is a bit off the radar for me. Truthfully their brand positioning pangs me in a way that my day-job background just won’t let me let go, but their product is so good that I’ll give them a pass. ::Belif – call me!::  This one definitely got consideration due to reviews and ingredients.

There are two belif products that have entered cult status – the Aqua Bomb and the True Cream Moisturizing Bomb.  The Aqua Bomb is a lighter formulation geared towards those with oily skin and may be a better option for some in the summer and in humid climates.  The True Cream is for those who are on the dryer side.  I use a lot of anti-acne and aging ingredients which can dry my skin, so while I’m oily/combo by nature, I went for the option that would help keep my skin barrier in tact and hydrated.

Ingredients:

Remember me mentioning the ten lines of ingredients on the package?  They are impressive.  There’s no fillers in there.  Where I will say that it’s not always the case that more is better, if your skin likes natural products it will love this.  It does have traces of alcohol and ‘cones in it as well as a slight fragrance that occurs naturally, which could be problematic if you’re very sensitive to these ingredients.

In happy excess are hydrators like glycerin and traces of oils (traces being the optimal word here to someone who gets clogged pores), and botanicals/extracts. Noticeably absent is SPF and targeted anti-aging ingredients like retinoids or AHA/BHA acids.  This means you’ll need to apply them separately.

Derivatives of vitamin C like L-ascorbic acid that you’re typically used to seeing will not be listed.  You’ll have to do more digging into the benefits of botanicals to really understand what they’re bringing to the table and quite honestly is one of the frustrations I have with natural products over the more straightforward scientific approach.

belif – and other natural brands that fall into this camp – should better educate their consumer about why they are choosing what they are and the benefits of those ingredients.

From Sephora’s website:

-Comfrey Leaf: Detoxifies skin, leaving it smooth, soft, and clear.

Water, Glycerin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Dipropylene Glycol, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, 1,2-Hexanediol, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Triethylhexanoin, Stearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, PEG-40 Stearate, Saccharomyces/Viscum Album (Mistletoe) Ferment Extract, Lactobacillus/Soybean Ferment Extract, Saccharomyces/Imperata Cylindrica Root Ferment Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteayl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sorbitan Stearate, Stearic Acid, PEG-100 Stearate, Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Poncirus Trifoliata Fruit Extract, Panthenol, *Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, *Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, *Nepeta Cataria Extract, *Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Leaf Extract, *Baptisia Tinctoria Root Extract, *Stellaria Media (Chickweed) Extract, **Alchemilla Vulgaris Leaf Extract, **Viola Tricolor Extract, **Rosa Damascena Flower Extract, **Spiraea Ulmaria Flower Extract, **Althaea Officinalis Root Extract, Symphytum Officinale Leaf Extract, Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, Achillea Millefolium Flower Extract, Euphrasia Officinalis Extract, Thuja Occidentalis Leaf Extract, Menyanthes Trifoliata Leaf Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Chelidonium Majus Extract, Urea, Hydroxyethylpiperazine Ethane Sulfonic Acid, Glycosyl Trehalose, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Trisodium EDTA, Tromethamine, ***Fragrance, Citronnellol, Limonene. *Napiers Original Formula. **Napiers Moisture Formula. ***Fragrances of Natural Origin.

Packaging:

The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb comes in an understated box with a texturized cardboard feel, light blues, black and white.  It’s appropriate for it’s earthy vibe and it’s price tag.  The jar itself is a sturdy and white plastic jar with a black plastic top.  It feels sleek, does the job, but I always prefer a pump for sanitary and product stability reasons.

Application & Consistency:

I opened the jar to find an opaque white cream that was heading more towards a typical moisturizer with a bit of a gel-like consistency and some slip, rather than anything super heavy or whipped.  It had a very slight clean, citrus smell to it which didn’t scream chemical, and wasn’t overpoweringly flowery or earthy as some botanicals can be.  These are both deal-breakers for those with very sensitive skin (or noses).

I use a Q-tip to apply my moisturizers from a jar to save any contamination from my fingers.  I scooped some up, dabbed it across my face, and here’s where the magic comes in – smoothed it on.

This spread on like a dream.  Thin yet substantial, moisturizing but not oily, calming but not tingling.  It sank right in to my skin and left a matte yet hydrated look in impressively appropriate timing – meaning not instantly which means watery and alcohol-filled, and not forever and risking too heavy or emollient.  I didn’t glow like a disco ball, but when I touched my skin you felt that moisture was there.  Wow!  Did I just stumble upon the 8th Wonder of the World? This porridge was JUST. RIGHT.

As we all know with skin care and skin like ours that is finicky and reactive, the true test is the days afterwards.  This stuff continued to power through and provide me unparalleled moisture and if anything, helped to clear up some of my pimples likely caused by the stress of products on my skin.  I’ve been around the block and don’t overhype products for that reason, but my skin has never – even after peels and scrubs – felt so soft.

I’ve noticed my skin elasticity on my neck getting a little firmer because it’s being more properly hydrated and bouncy (and not breaking out praise the Lord) and my decollete, which is prone to wrinkling due to being blasted by the sun over the years mixed with how I sleep and that I have to wear substantial over the shoulder boulder holders to function everyday, is soft and hydrated more than it ever has been.

I actually look forward to and enjoy putting this on each time.  I haven’t said that about a moisturizer in well…maybe ever.

Overall:

I went into this purchase with no expectation given it was a brand I had never heard of, and was in a category which has let me down in the past.  This is absolutely, hands down the best moisturizer that I have ever purchased.  And, the fact that it has out-performed and cut my cost in half to replace my other go-to, puts a smile on my face and some dough in my pocket.

For you to love this you’ll need to really understand it’s purpose because it’s going to do only that – hydrate and calm your skin so that it functions in an optimal way.  It’s not a super anti-ager, nor is it a multi-tasker to get you out the door in one step.  This is designed for the no-frills simple-yet-effective type of person who is ingredient-conscious, or those like me that already have targeted products to take care of the heavy lifting.

For $38 for 1.68 oz, it’s not outrageously priced, either, and is approachable for the average skin-conscious consumer.  I’ve had it for about two months and use it twice a day.  I see it lasting for another month or so.  As I mentioned I’m using the heavier/more moisturizing option and that seems to be OK for me in the summer, albeit right at the line on the most humid days.

Anytime a product does what it says, is affordable, improves my skin complexion and function AND doesn’t break me out in pimples or a rash, it’s miracle-status.

This is one I highly suggest you run out and try (or get a sample of) yourself.  I’m looking forward to using this for years to come.

Overall: 5/5

*Certified ReadHead Best

Packaging: 4/5

Price: $$$$$

 

Have you tried the belif brand?  Drop us a line in the comments.