Know Your Ingredients: Saccharomyces Magnesium Ferment

saccharomyces magnesium ferment

What it is:
Saccharomyces magnesium ferment is a yeast extract fermented in the presence of magnesium ions.

What it does:
Saccharomyces magnesium ferment may have antioxidant properties.

Side effects
Saccharomyces magnesium ferment is generally considered to be safe.

(Source: paulaschoice.com)
Like this post? Tell your friends!
Share on FacebookGoogle+Tweet about this on Twitter

Book Review: 365 Style By Nicky Hilton

365 style nicky hilton

Title: 365 Style
Author: Nicky Hilton
Pages: 304
Price: $15.36

Synopsis:
From red carpets and runways to front row at Fashion Week, designer and muse Nicky Hilton has earned her reputation as a style icon. Exposed to the top tier of the fashion industry from childhood, in this style guide Hilton reveals tips and tricks of the trade she has learned along the way.
Never having employed a stylist, Hilton has created her own personal style. In this guide she helps you discover yours. Despite her opulent upbringing, Nicky maintains a less-is-more mindset and instructs you how to look like a million—without spending a million.
Her formula for creating your signature style is as easy as 3-6-5. Consider the 3 main aspects of your lifestyle, choose 6 staple items of clothing, and identify 5 essential accessories. This simple plan will allow you to make savvy wardrobe selections that keep you on-trend and out of hoarder status, for good.
Nicky shares her best-kept style secrets:
*The $30 wardrobe item you can’t live without
*The one closet accessory that keeps you organized at all times
*Five must-have wardrobe items
*DIY upgrades: from bygone to brilliant
*How to pack like a jet-setter
Full of personal stories, style successes, fashion mishaps and more, 365 Style is the ultimate guide to fashion from the style expert turned best friend you never knew you had!

Are you planning to revamp your wardrobe but don’t have a lot of money to spend on clothes, shoes, and accessories? Nicky Hilton can help. Despite her millions, Nicky has a less-is-more attitude to fashion, and has created a system that allows any woman to find and maintain her signature style without spending a fortune.

Her system is called 365. Basically, you first need to identify the 3 main aspects of your life. For instance, work, free time, and night outs. Then, for each occasion, come up with 6 staple items of clothing and 5 accessories to complement them. Repeat for every season. This way, you can create a wardrobe that will suit your lifestyle rather than purchase lots of beautiful clothes you’ll never have a chance to wear.

Following this system makes shopping very easy too. Rather than being overwhelmed at the wide array of clothes in the shops and get distracted by every pretty thing you see, you’ll already know which pieces best suit your lifestyle and will be able to concentrate on what you really need and know you’ll wear again and again.

But there’s a lot more in this book. Nicky shares her tips for travelling in style, how to look for bargains at small markets and sample sales, how to organize your wardrobe and lots more. She also stresses the importance of having your clothes altered by a seamstress for a perfect fit. It’s not as expensive as you think and will make your clothes look like they were created just for you.

Although none of her tips is new or groundbreaking (you can easily find them in magazines and blogs), it’s handy to have them all in one place. This is especially true for teenagers or women who are just starting to get into fashion, and need to learn the basics in a clear, concise, and entertaining way.

Nicky comes across as down-to-earth and friendly, and reading her book feels like talking to a friend, albeit one who’s travelled the world and met some of the most famous people on the planet. She drops a few names and shares lots of family anecdotes, which add a personal touch to the book.

And so do the photos. 365 style is beautifully illustrated, both with family pictures and beautiful outfits. I highly recommend it to any woman who wants to find and embrace her own style rather than just follow the latest trends.

Available at: Amazon

Summary
In 365 Style, Nicky Hilton teaches you a simple system that will allow you to create a wardrobe that suits your lifestyle, tastes, and figure without breaking the bank. Although her advice isn’t groundbreaking, it’s friendly and easy to follow.

Rating: 3.5/5

Disclosure: this item was sent by PR for consideration.In addition, the review contains an affiliate link. For more information, please see my disclaimer.
Like this post? Tell your friends!
Share on FacebookGoogle+Tweet about this on Twitter

Allure Best Moisturizers 2014: Are They Really Worth It?

allure best moisturizers 2014

Do you remember when magazines were our only source of beauty information? How, at the end of every year, we would eagerly peruse the Elle or Allure award lists to find out what products were worth investing in? And how often we ended up disappointed when they didn’t perform as well as they claimed?

Magazine awards haven’t changed much since then. Their lists are still full of lots of duds and average performers. But now, thanks to the internet and blogs, we’re much better informed and can check out whether a product really deserves an award before splurging our hard-earned money on it.

Last month, Allure unveiled its 2014 Best of Beauty winners, and, as always, a lot of their picks are questionable. The moisturizers are particularly disappointing. Here’s why:

caudalie premier cru la creme riche

Caudalie Premier Cru La Creme Riche ($158.00)

Caudalie is a big believer in the anti-aging power of grapes. This cream contains several extracts derived from grape seeds, which are rich in antioxidants such as proanthocyanidins, polyphenols, flavonoids, and anthocyanins. The most potent is resveratrol, which can prevent UVB-induced damage. The cream also contains other antioxidants, such as Tocopherol (a form of Vitamin E), and peptides, but their concentrations are too small to work well. Also antioxidants degrade quickly when exposed to light and air, which happens every time you open the jar. The rest of the formula is made of emollients and humectants that keep skin hydrated and soft.

Verdict

An average moisturizer with some good anti-aging properties derived from grapes. Too bad it’s packaged in a jar.

Ingredients

Water, Glycerin*, Glyceryl Stearate Se*, Coco-Caprylate*, Pentaerythrityl Distearate*, Cetearyl Glucoside*, Cetearyl Alcohol*, Octyldodecyl Myristate*, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil*, Ethylhexyl Palmitate*, Jojoba Esters*, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Hydrolyzed Yeast Protein*, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate*, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract*, Polyglycerin-3*, Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer*, Palmitoyl Grape Seed Extract*, Hydrogenated Apricot Kernel Oil*, Diheptyl Succinate*, Propyl Grapevine Shoot Extract Olivate*, Tribehenin*, Parfum (Fragrance), Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Benzyl Alcohol, Tocopherol*, Palmitoyl Grapevine Shoot Extract*, Pentylene Glycol, Citric Acid*, Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide), Xanthan Gum, Acacia Decurrens Flower Wax*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax*, Carbomer, Ceramide 2, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Sodium Carboxymethyl Beta-Glucan, Sodium Phytate*, Polysorbate 20, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Citrate, Ci 77491 (Iron Oxides), Ci 77492 (Iron Oxides), Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Geraniol, Linalool, Citronellol, Coumarin. *Plant origin.

elizabeth-arden-flawless-future-moisture-cream

Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Moisture Cream Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30 ($50.00)

This moisturizer contains ceramides, a group of lipids that makes up about 50% of the skin’s natural protective barrier, which helps prevent water loss; humectants like Glycerin that help draw water from the environment into the skin; emollients, like Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, that keep skin soft; and silicones, like Dimethicone, that temporarily fill in fine lines and wrinkles, making them look smaller. It also features Vitamin E, but its antioxidant properties won’t last long. Every time you open the jar, it loses a bit of its effectiveness. The real anti-aging properties of the cream are due to the SPF. It contains Octinoxate, Octisalate, and Oxybenzone, which protects skin against UVB rays, and Avobenzone, which is effective against UVA rays. But that doesn’t mean you can skip sunscreen. Rather, you should use the cream in conjunction with it.

Verdict

A basic moisturizer with SPF.

Ingredients

Active Ingredients: Octinoxate, 7.14%, Octisalate, 4.75%, Oxybenzone, 4.00%, Avobenzone, 3.0%; Inactive Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Adenosine, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Bisabolol, Caprylyl Glycol, Caramel, Carbomer, Ceramide 1, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6 LI, Cholesterol, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fucose, Glucose, Glucuronic Acid, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydrolyzed Yeast Protein, Jojoba Esters, Kefiran, Panthenol, Parfum/Fragrance, Phytosphingosine, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Tocopherol, Xanthan Gum, BHT, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Salicylate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citronellol, Geraniol, Hexyl Cinnamal, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Limonene, Linalool, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Red 40 (Ci 16035).

roc-multi-correxion-5-in-1-restoring-night-cream

RoC Multi Correxion 5 In 1 Restoring Night Cream ($28.99)

The winner of the Allure Breakthrough Award in 2013, it has made it into the best skincare products list this year too. What makes it so special? Hexinol, a molecule with anti-inflammatory properties that can decrease the signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles, photodamage, and uneven pigmentation. Too bad the only studies showing it works were conducting by the company. Ascorbyl Glucoside, a form of Vitamin C, can help reduce those signs of premature aging as well, but it won’t do much in this cream. Why? There is just too little of it, and the jar packaging won’t keep it stable and effective for long anyway. The rest of the formula is pretty basic. It contains humectants, like Glycerin, to draw water into the skin, emollients, like Shea Biutter, to make skin soft and smooth, and silicones, like Dimethicone, to fill in fine lines and wrinkles, making them look smaller temporarily.

Verdict

A boring formula that can moisturize skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, but only temporarily. It won’t help prevent more from forming either.

Ingredients

Water, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Propylene Glycol, Steareth-2, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Hexylresorcinol, Steareth-21, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Behenyl Alcohol, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Sclerotium Gum, Mica, Methylparaben, Titanium Dioxide, Xylitylglucoside, Anhydroxylitol, Ethylparaben, Fragrance, Propylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Xylitol, Sodium Hydroxide.

shiseido ibuki refining moisturizer

Shiseido Ibuki Refining Moisturizer ($45.00)

The only award Shiseido Ibuki Refining Moisturizer deserves to win is Most Boring Formula. Where are the antioxidants? The retinoids? The Alpha Hydroxy Acids? The skin-lighting agents? The sunscreen actives? All it contains is a bunch of humectants, emollients, and silicones that will keep skin hydrated, smooth and soft. All things a moisturizer is surely supposed to do, but at this price point I expected a lot more.

Verdict

A very basic moisturizer. It moisturizes skin, leaving it soft and smooth, but don’t expect anything more.

Ingredients

Water Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Dipropylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Triethylhexanoin, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Trehalose, PEG-5 Glyceryl Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Stearic Acid, Isostearic Acid, Behenic Acid, Alcohol, Carbomer, Aminopropyl Dimethicone, Betaine, Fragrance, Silica, Potassium Hydroxide, Glycyl Glycine, Sodium Metabisulfite, Disodium EDTA, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Benzyl Benzoate, Linalool, Paeonia Albiflora Root Extract, Witch Hazel Leaf Extract, Lamium Album Flower Extract, Citrus Junos Seed Extract, Tocopherol, Zingiber Aromaticus Extract, Benzoic Acid.

The Bottom line

Don’t trust magazine awards. Instead, always research the ingredients to find out whether a product can really deliver what it promises. It will save disappointments (and money).

Do you buy beauty products that win magazine awards? And have you tried these moisturizers?

Like this post? Tell your friends!
Share on FacebookGoogle+Tweet about this on Twitter

Product Review: Head & Shoulders Classic Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

head & shoulders classic anti dandruff shampoo sample

Name: Head & Shoulders
Brand: Classic Anti-dandruff Shampoo
Size: 500ml
Price: £4.99

From Head & Shoulders’ website:
7 Benefits: fights dry scalp, calms itchy scalp*, relieves irritation*, reduces redness*, great scent, controls flaky scalp* and leaves hair looking great (*associated with dandruff)

What I liked:
– cleanses hair well, removing all traces of oil, dirt, and buildup
– fights dandruff effectively
– nice texture and scent

What I didn’t like:
– can dry out hair, especially when used too often

I hate flying. I’m not scared of being on a plane. It’s airport security checks that annoy me. Just packing for them is a huge pain. All these strict regulations are supposed to make us safer, but they also make us feel like criminals, and travelling very stressful. And do they even work?

While I was preparing for a recent trip to London, I carefully selected a bunch of beauty essentials I could bring with me on the plane. I decanted my favourite skincare products in small jars and bottles. I put them all in a small plastic zip bag and showed it at security. At the last minute, I realized that my purse was too big to be allowed on the plane together with my small trolley, so I quickly stuffed it inside it.

It was only once I arrived at my friend’s place in London that I discovered an old forgotten sample of Head & Shoulders Classic Anti-Dandruff Shampoo was inside my purse. I hadn’t declared it. The purse, inside the trolley, had gone through the x-ray machine. No one, not even the machine, noticed the shampoo inside it. No alarms rang.

Boy, was I annoyed! Not that I would have liked to be held at security and questioned for an honest mistake. But, if it is so easy to slip liquids through airport security, why all the strict regulations? What’s the point of stressing people so much?

Now, of course, I’m not suggesting you ignore the rules. But my experience does shows how pointless all these paranoid regulations are when anyone can easily break them with security not even noticing! Just come up with a better plan to keep us safe and allow women to bring on planes all the beauty products they want, already!

head & shoulders classic anti dandruff shampoo

Rant over. Let’s talk about the shampoo now. I don’t have dandruff, which is why I hadn’t used this before. The trip seemed the perfect time to do so. But it wasn’t. The London weather made my hair dirtier and dryer than usual, and this shampoo only made it worse (I mean dryer, not dirtier).

Ina fact, Head & Shoulders Classic Anti-dandruff Shampoo cleanses hair extremely well. It contains Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidropopyl Betaine, and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, a pretty potent combination, able to remove all traces of oil, dirt, and product buildup. But Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is harsh and can dry out hair. Not even the addition of Dimethicone, a silicone with hair conditioning properties, was able to counteract its drying effect, probably because there is so little of it in the formula.

Just because this combination of surfactants was too strong for me, it doesn’t mean no one can use it. It may benefit those with very oily hair or who use a lot of styling products and so have a lot of buildup to remove. But, unless you have dandruff, I would recommend that, even then, you use it only every 10 days or so, and always follow it up with a good conditioner.

But does it get rid of dandruff? Head & Shoulders Classic Anti-dandruff Shampoo contains Zinc Pyrithione, an antibacterial and anti-fungal compound. Zinc Pyrithione can stop the growth of malassezia, the fungus that causes dandruff by increasing copper uptake and activating proteins that inhibit its proliferation.

The shampoo is white in colour, has just the right consistency (not runny but not too thick either) and lathers well. Easy to rinse out, it smells fresh and clean. The formula sold in Europe is slightly different from that sold in the USA, so there may be some differences in the texture and scent between them I’m not aware of. But both use the same main active ingredients, so they perform the same: they get rid of dandruff and cleanse hair well, but can also dry it.

Available at: Boots and Drugstore.com

Summary
Head & Shoulders Classic Anti-dandruff Shampoo effectively fights dandruff and cleanses hair, removing all traces of excess oil, dirt, and buildup. But the strong mix of surfactants can dry out hair.

Rating: 3/5

Disclosure: the review contains an affiliate link. For more information, please see my disclaimer.
Like this post? Tell your friends!
Share on FacebookGoogle+Tweet about this on Twitter

5 Skincare Sets For Holiday 2014

skincare sets holiday 2014 01

The holiday season is the perfect time to stock up on new skincare products. With every brand releasing gift sets featuring their best-sellers, you can try new things without breaking the bank. Here are my favourites:

DR DENNIS GROSS FERULIC PLUS RETINOL DISCOVERY KIT ($65.00)
The set contains Ferulic Acid + Retinol Brightening Solution (0.5 oz.), Ferulic + Retinol Triple Correction Eye Serum (0.25 oz.), and Ferulic + Retinol Fibroblast Anti-Aging Moisturizer (0.5 oz.). Apart from ferulic acid and retinol, a potent anti-aging combination, all products also contain a good mix of other antioxidants to prevent premature aging. My only gripe is that the moisturizer is packaged in a jar, which won’t keep the antioxidants stable and effective for long, but still the set is worth getting just for the other two products. Available at Dermstore.

MEDICELL LABS BRIGHTENING SET ($49.95)
This set features Brightening AHA Facial Pads (60 count), Brightening Foaming Face Wash (6 fl. oz.), and Instant Brightening Peel (2 fl. oz.). They all contains AHAs, such as Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid, that exfoliate skin, leaving it smoother, brighter, and more even-toned, and a mix of antioxidants that help prevent the signs of aging. Available at Dermstore.

SEPHORA FAVORITES DARE TO OIL ($32.00)
Do you dare to oil? If so, check out this wonderful set by Sephora. It features some of the best-selling oils available in the shop: Ole Henriksen Pure Truth™ Youth Activating Oil (0.5 oz), Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil Light (0.5 oz), Algenist Advanced Anti-Aging Repair Oil (0.23 oz), and Tarte™ Maracuja Oil (0.23 oz). These versatile oils boost moisture, radiance, and even cleanse skin, and can be used on skin, hair, hands, and cuticles. Available at Sephora.

OLAY PROFESSIONAL PRO-X INTENSIVE WRINKLE PROTOCOL ($44.99)
This kit features Age Repair Lotion with SPF 30, Deep Wrinkle Treatment, and Wrinkle Smoothing Cream. They are all infused with antioxidants, niacinamide, and peptides that help skin look younger for longer. The lotion also features SPF, making it a great choice for daytime, while the Deep Wrinkle Treatment a form of Vitamin A that can reduce the signs of aging. Available at Ulta.

PAULA’S CHOICE RESIST SUPER KIT FOR WRINKLES + BREAKOUTS ($136.85)
Do you have to deal with both wrinkles and breakouts? Then, this is the perfect kit for you. It features Resist Perfectly Balanced Foaming Cleanser, Resist Weightless Advanced Repairing Toner, Resist Daily Pore-Refining Treatment 2% BHA, Resist Ultra-Light Daily Antioxidant Serum, Resist Youth-Extending Daily Fluid SPF 50, and Resist Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator. Infused with antioxidants, niacinamide, peptides, and salicylic acid, they keep both wrinkels and breakouts at bay. Available at Paula’s Choice.

Which of these sets would you like to try?

Like this post? Tell your friends!
Share on FacebookGoogle+Tweet about this on Twitter

Can Acetyl Tetrapeptide-5 (Eyeseryl) Really Reduce Puffy Eyes?

acetyl tetrapeptide 5 puffy eyes

A lot of ingredients in our skincare arsenal can hydrate skin, fight wrinkles, and reduce dark spots, but, when it comes to undereye puffiness and bags, very little works. Acetyl tetrapeptide-5 (Eyeseryl) is said to do both. No wonder then, that this peptide is finding its way into more and more eye creams lately. But does it really work?

How does Acetyl Tetrapeptide-5 work?

According to Lipotec, the company that makes Acetyl tetrapeptide-5, this peptide “can fight puffy eyebags by working on several mechanisms, like improving the vascular system and strengthening the skin under the eyes preventing fluid accumulation.”

Eyeseryl strengthens skin by inhibiting glycation. Glycation is a process that causes collagen and elastin, the substances that keep your skin firm and youthful, to lose their elasticity. The result? Older-looking skin. Eyeseryl has the ability to bind itself to one of the proteins involved in glycation, so it won’t be able to attach itself to the other substances necessary for glycation. In other words, it interrupts the process, keeping skin stronger and more elastic.

Acetyl tetrapeptide-5 also fights another cause of puffy eyes: water accumulation. This can be due to several factors, but the main ones are poor lymphatic circulation and high capillary permeability. This peptide can decrease the permeability of blood vessels in the eye area. This in turn, reduces the amount of fluid that accumulates there. The results? Reduced undereye puffines.

ACETYL_TETRAPEPTIDE_5

Is Acetyl Tetrapetide-5 really effective?

A 2006 study has shown that Acetyl tetrapeptide-5 can decrease puffy eyes. A group of 20 women was asked to use a cream containing 0.01% Eyeseryl for 60 days. After only 15, 70% of them saw an improvement. As promising as this sounds, this study was conducted by the manufacturer.

I was unable to find any independent studies, which is not surprising considering that peptides are still a new phenomenon in the skincare world. But they’re getting more popular by the day, so, hopefully, more studies on them will be performed soon.

In the meantime, should you use it? According to dermatologist Leslie Baumann, using peptides is useless because their molecules are too big to penetrate skin. It has been suggested, though, that peptide may work even when they remain on the surface of the skin, by signalling to skin receptors present there how a cell should behave.

Until the controversy around peptides is settled, and we know more about their mechanism of action, I wouldn’t recommend you buy a cream because of them. But, if you find a well-formulated product that also contains peptides, go for it. If it turns out peptides work, great. If not, no harm done.

Products with Acetyl Tetrapetide-5

Acetyl Tetrapetide-5 can be found in Your Best Face Correct Eye Cream ($150.00), Lumavera Anti-Aging Eye Cream ($80.00), and Elizabeth Arden Prevage Anti-Aging Eye Serum ($100.00). They all contain hydrating agents and antioxidants, as well as a good dose of peptides.

The Bottom Line

Acetyl Tetrapetide-5 shows promise. Studies done by the manufacturer show it helps decrease undereye puffiness and bags, but, until independent studies confirm these benefits, it would be best to purchase products with this ingredient only when they also contain proven anti-aging fighters, like antioxidants.

Have you ever tried Eyeseryl?

Like this post? Tell your friends!
Share on FacebookGoogle+Tweet about this on Twitter