Creme De La Mer: Is It Worth it?

creme de la mer

After an experiment exploded in his face, NASA scientist Max Huber decided to create a cream to help heal his wounds. Creme De La Mer was born. In 1996, Estee Lauder bought it, and since then it has become a staple in many a celebrity’s beauty arsenal. J.Lo is said to love this stuff so much to stockpile huge amounts of it. And who could blame her? Surely, a cream developed by a NASA scientist must contain something pretty unique and incredibly effective, right? Well, not exactly…

What Creme De La Mer says

The original miracle, borne from Dr. Huber’s quest to heal his own skin’s scarred appearance. This ultrarich cream transforms skin on contact and soothes sensitivities. It helps heal even the driest complexions and dramatically renews skin’s appearance. Skin in any state will benefit from this nourishing treatment, but it is especially suited to very dry complexions. To this day, each opal jar is filled by hand to maintain its delicate balance.

Ingredient Analysis

algae extract

Seaweed (Algae) Extract

Seaweed extract is a very generic term. More than 20,000 species of algae exist and, even though only a bunch of those are commonly found in cosmetics, it’s hard to say which one Creme De La Mer uses. Most of them have emollient and antioxidant properties, but they aren’t the miraculous ingredients the brand claims them to be.

But the secret is, apparently, in the fermentation process. Nicki Zevola of Futurederm explains that “(ultrasound waves) are directed into the cream to ferment the algae, accelerating the rate by which algae produces lactic acid.” A Alpha Hydroxy Acid, Lactic Acid can dissolve the glue that holds skin cells together, allowing them to slough off. Once exfoliated, skin is smoother and brighter. There is no need to go through all this trouble to produce lactic acid though. It can be bought from many manufacturers.

glycerin molecular structure

Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Petrolatum, Glycerin

Mineral Oil and Petrolatum have gained a bad reputation because they are derived from oil. But before they can be used in skincare products, they must undergo a strict and rigorous purifying process that eliminates all their toxic components. What’s left is not only safe for us, but very moisturizing too.

Both ingredients work by creating a protective barrier on the skin that slows down water loss. Plus, they also have wound-healing properties. Glycerin, instead, is a humectant that draws water from the environment into the skin, increasing its hydration. This blend of ingredients makes this a very moisturizing formula, especially suitable for dry skin.

Copper_gluconate

Antioxidants

Creme De La Mer is infused with antioxidants, such as Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Seed Powder, Copper Gluconate (it can increase the levels of superoxide dismutase, a powerful antioxidant), and Tocopheryl Succinate, a very effective form of Vitamin E. Unfortunately whatever benefits these antioxidants may provide are nullified by the jar packaging. That’s because antioxidants lose a bit of their effectiveness when exposed to light and air, which happens every time you open the lid.

Final considerations on the formula

Creme De La Mer is a basic moisturizer with a very high price tag. It moisturizes skin, which will make it softer and look smoother and plumper. It also contains small amounts of copper and magnesium which could help heal wounds too, but while Dr Huber may have found them helpful, not many hurt their skin that bad or even just frequently to need a cream with such healing properties. I also don’t like the preservatives used. Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone are too of the most irritating and can cause allergic reactions.

Full Ingredient List

Seaweed (Algae) Extract, Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Petrolatum, Glycerin, Isohexadecane, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Extract, Microcrystalline Wax, Lanolin Alcohol, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Leaf Oil, Magnesium Sulfate, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Seed Powder, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Meal, Sodium Gluconate, Potassium Gluconate, Copper Gluconate, Calcium Gluconate, Magnesium Gluconate, Zinc Gluconate, Paraffin, Tocopheryl Succinate, Niacin, Beta-Carotene, Decyl Oleate, Aluminum Distearate, Octyldodecanol, Citric Acid, Cyanocobalamin, Magnesium Stearate, Panthenol, Limonene, Geraniol, Linalool, Hydroxycitronellal, Citronellol, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Alcohol Denat., Fragrance

Avaibility

Creme De La Mer is available at Nordstrom and Harrods. A 30ml jar costs a whooping $160!

The bottom line

Creme De La Mer is an effective, but very basic, moisturizer that’s particularly suitable for dry skin. If you like the formula and can afford it, go for it. But don’t expect miracles. There’s nothing revolutionary or unique here that justifies its high price tag. On the contrary, its active ingredients are commonly used in many, and much cheaper, skincare products.

Have you ever tried Creme De La Mer? If so, what do you think of it?

14 Ways To Love Yourself Right Now

way to love yourself right now

Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all. And the hardest work there is. Sometimes, the road can seem too long and the task too daunting. Where do you begin? Here are 14 tips to get your started:

1. Make a list of your strengths

We all tend to sell ourselves shorts, concentrating on our weakness and failures rather than our strengths and our successes. But we all have positive qualities and gifts that makes us unique and can make the world a better place. Grab a piece of paper and write them all down. You can also ask your friends what they love about you. We focus too much on the nasty comments we receive, so it’d be a great confidence booster to discover what great things others really think of us.

2. Reach out to other people. Even strangers.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your friends about how you’re really feeling. Everyone can feel sad, confused, and lost at times. Dealing with those feelings alone will only make things worse and may even make you fall into depression. Your friends will be more than happy to offer you support. Also, don’t be afraid to show support to your friends, your family, or anyone else in your life. Listen to people, care about them, engage with them. Even with strangers. We’re told early to be scared of people we don’t know, but strangers can be friends you haven’t met yet. You’ll never know until you reach out to them.

3. Go on media fasts

The media is everywhere. And it is constantly telling us that we’re not good enough and scaring us with all the horrific things that are going on in the world, making us think it’s a much more dangerous place that it really is and that we don’t have what it takes to succeed, or even just survive, in it. Escaping these messages completely is impossible, but you can reduce the amount of media you consume by going on media fasts. Choose a day a week to stay away from television, magazines, social media, and even the internet. Instead, live in the real world, go out, talk to real people, or even spend some time alone, getting to know yourself. You’ll discover the world isn’t such a bad place after all, and that lots of the things the media has taught us to worry about aren’t really that important. And if you really can’t stay away from media altogether, chose to watch programmes or read articles that make you feel better, not worse, about yourself.

4. Get out of your comfort zone

It’s called comfort zone for a reason. It’s cozy and comfortable in there. But fear of the unknown, or simply of what people may say if you do something different, will prevent you from growing and becoming the person that you are truly meant to be and doing what you really want to do. So get out of your comfort zone and do something new. It can be something as simple as dying your hair a unusual colour or wearing a red lipstick. Or you can enrol into a new course. Learn a new skill. Take a short trip on your own. Find something you’d like to do, and then just do it.

5. Surround yourself with positive people

The world is full of pessimists who always see the glass half empty, find fault with anything, and are just never happy. While you shouldn’t eliminate them from your life completely, hang around with them less. Instead, surround yourself with positive people who believe it is possible to make your dreams come true, appreciate the little joys in life, and find something to be grateful for in every situation, no matter how bleak it seems. It’ll remind you how good people really are.

6. Take some time for yourself

Work. Study. Children. Friends. Household chores. We have so many obligations these days that we often feel worn out. Taking some time just to yourself can seem selfish when you have so many things to do, but you won’t be able to help others and work your best when you’re exhausted. So grab a book and read. Meditate. Have a relaxing bath. Find the time every day to do whatever makes you feel centered and at peace, ready to face whatever challenges life throws at you.

7. Volunteer

Choose a cause that is close to your heart and help out. You can donate your time, your skills, your money, and even your influence. People will appreciate and be grateful for your help, and you will be feel much better for contributing to make the world a better place.

8. Stop judging people

It’s easy to judge people, especially when they do something you don’t agree with, or they’re constantly shoving their perfect lives down your throat on social media. But the truth is, you don’t know what really goes on in their lives, how hard they worked to get where they are, or what challenges they are currently facing. Judging other people tells more about your character than it does about them. And it teaches you to judge yourself just as harshly. You’ll never be happy if you’re constantly comparing yourself to others, find fault with them, and are jealous and envious of them.

9. Forgive yourself

We all have things we regret. We all wish we had done some things differently. We all make mistakes. Don’t let them define you. Forgive yourself. Leave them in the past. Move on.

10. Find a mantra

Find a mantra and repeat it several times a day, or whenever you start feeling bad about yourself. I use “even though [insert whatever it's wrong here], I completely love and accept myself”. I also like “I am thankful for what I have, even if it’s not perfect.” So powerful!

11. Dress up

Too often we chose how to dress based on the people we want to impress. We may wear something sexy to impress a date, or buy a certain brand of sneakers to be accepted by a peer group. But you’ll never be happy by pretending to be something you are not. And soon, your friends or date will realise that you were just pretending anyway. Instead, be yourself. Dress up for yourself. Wear what you like. What makes you feel confident and beautiful. Please yourself, not others.

12. Stay away from your scales

There was a time, when I was younger, when I’d weight myself every week. I’d rejoice when I’d lost some weight, and feel crappy when I gained some. Then, one day I just stopped. It’s so liberating not to focus on how much you weight all the time. Now I can’t even remember when I weighted myself last. Instead, I just go by how my clothes fit and how good I feel. As long as I’m healthy and happy, the number on the scales doesn’t really matter. So, don’t look at it.

13. Listen to uplifting music

Music is a powerful motivator that can instantly change your mood. Whenever I feel down, or start doubting myself, I listen to a playlist of uplifting songs I built over the years. It features inspirational tracks such as Beautiful by Christina Aguilera, Hall of Fame by The Script ft Will.I.Am, and Defying Gravity from the musical Wicked. You don’t have to listen to these, though. You can find inspirational songs in every genre of music. And when you do, sing along. Dance along. Even play along, if you have a guitar or drums (or make your own with some chopsticks and boxes). You’ll feel better straight away.

14. Wear a tiara

Seriously. Get a tiara and wear it at breakfast. Or in the bath tub. Or whenever you feel like it. It’ll instantly make you feel glamorous and amazing.

What are your favourite self-love tips?

Product Review: Douglas Beauty System Seathalasso Body Cream

douglas seathalasso body cream 01

Name: Beauty System Seathalasso Body Cream
Brand: Douglas
Size: 200ml
Price:

From Douglas’ website:
Rich body cream which intensively nourishes your skin and prevents the formation of cellulite.

What I liked:
– pale turquoise colour
– lovely sea scent
– lightweight texture, sinks quickly into the skin
– leaves skin soft, smooth, and hydrated for hours

What I didn’t like:
– can’t prevent cellulite
– not moisturizing enough for dry skin

I love samples. I really do. Who doesn’t like to be able to try a product for free? But there’s one thing that really frustrates me about them: the lack of an ingredient list. The 30ml trial tube of Douglas Beauty System Seathalasso Body Cream (the full size contains 200ml of product, packaged in a cute jar), doesn’t mention the ingredients anywhere. And neither does google. I searched the web far and wide, but I couldn’t find what the hell is in this formula. Argh!

How am I supposed to review a cream if I don’t know what’s in it? Google would only tell me that, according to the press release, the secret ingredient is algae extract, which the brand claims can prevent the formation of cellulite. I highly doubt that. Algae have emollient (they make skin soft and smooth to the touch) and antioxidant properties, but I’ve never heard of them being effective at preventing, or treating, cellulite.

And if they did, we all would have heard about it. If anyone had found something that could really prevent the formation of cellulite, he or she would be one of the most famous and richest people in the world. What woman wouldn’t buy it? I’d be the first in line! What anti-cellulite creams can do (and that’s usually due to retinol rather than algae extract) is smooth out skin, thus reducing its unesthetic appearance.

douglas seathalasso body cream 02

Since using this cream, I’ve seen only a very subtle improvement in the appearance of my cellulite, but whether that’s due to the product or the fact that I’ve recently started exercising daily, or a mixture of both is impossible to say without seeing the ingredient list. If you happen to have it, please send it to me, so I can update this review. My educated guess, though, is that exercise has a lot more to do with it than the cream.

But that doesn’t mean that Douglas Beauty System Seathalasso Body Cream doesn’t do anything. Its lightweight texture sinks quickly into the skin, leaving it soft, smooth and hydrated for hours. In winter, this stuff wouldn’t be moisturizing enough for my dry skin, but for now it does the job quite well.

But my favourite things about this cream are the colour and the fragrance. In keeping with the algae theme, the cream is a lovely pale turquoise in colour and is infused with a breezy and fresh scent that reminds me of the sea. It’s so pleasant that it makes me forget it won’t help with my cellulite!

Available at: Douglas

Summary
Douglas Beauty System Seathalasso Body Cream has a lightweight texture that leaves skin soft, smooth and hydrated for hours. However, it is not moisturizing enough for dry skin and can’t prevent the formation of cellulite.

Rating: 3.5/5

Disclosure: the review contains an affiliate link. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

More Palettes For Fall 2014

palettes fall 2014

I love palettes. I feel I get better value for money when I buy a palette with lots of different shades rather than a single eyeshadow or blush. Just as long as I like and use all the shades, of course. They also make it easier to figure out what colours go well together. This fall, there are plenty to choose from. I have already showed you four eyeshadow palettes that caught my eye, but there are more than have made it on my wishlist:

GIVENCHY LES MINI PRISMES ($39.00)
This is the most beautiful palette I’ve seen this year. It’s a mini compact drawer box that features must-have shades for eyes, face, and cheeks, plus applicators. The first drawer houses the Purple Show 71 Eyeshadow Quad. The second the Beige Mousseline 84 powder. The third the Vintage Pink 22 Powder Blush. Finally, you’ll find brushes for an easier application in the bottom drawer. It’s available at Sephora.

SMASHBOX ON THE ROCKS PHOTO OP EYE SHADOW PALETTE ($36.00)
Add a touch of luxe to your eyes! This gorgeous palette features 12 neutral and jewel-inspired shades of Smashbox’s Photo Op Eye Shadows: Vanilla, Opus, Obsidian, Blacktop, Mist, Coronation, Confectionette, Bourbon, Midnight Emerald, Chianti, Sapphires and Nutmeg. I also love the packaging. It reminds me of an old CD case. The palette’s available exclusively at Ulta.

JASON WU FOR LANCOME SIX-PAN EYESHADOW PALETTE ($51.00)
This beautiful palette features six eyeshadows in rich autumn colours, such as luscious browns, a lavish green, and a mysterious dark blue. They have metallic and matte finishes to give your eyes a sophisticated, but slightly shiny, look. It’s available at Nordstrom.

URBAN DECAY SHADOW BOX ($34.00)
This versatile palette contains 12 colourful, rich, and neutral shades that are perfect for fall: Sin Champagne (Shimmer), Indo Emerald (Shimmer), Bordello Pale mauve with gold micro-glitter (Sparkle), Tornado Vibrant deep purple (Shimmer), Smog Deep coppery bronze (Shimmer), Blackout Blackest black (Matte), Flash Bright iridescent purple (Shimmer), Mushroom Warm pale grey (Shimmer), Lost Medium metallic brown (Shimmer), Freelove Golden vibrant peach (Shimmer), Moonshadow Bright navy blue (Shimmer), and Baked Cowboy Golden bronze (Shimmer). It’s another Ulta exclusive.

Which one is your favourite?

AHAs VS BHA: Which One Is Right For You?

ahas vs bha exfoliants

I have already talked about my love for chemical exfoliants. They produce more precise results and are gentler on the skin than scrubs. The types used in cosmetics are Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs). While they can both dissolve the “glue” that holds dead skin cells together, allowing them to slough off, they also have different properties that make them more suitable for different skin types. So, which one should you choose?

AHAs work best for normal, dry, and sun damaged skin types

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) are acids derived from sugar, milk, nuts, and fruits. The more common types used in cosmetics are Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Mandelic Acid, and Citric Acid. They exfoliate skin, reduce hyperpigmentation, stimulate collagen production, decrease small wrinkles, and act as humectants to hydrate skin. As a result, skin looks smoother, brighter, younger, and even-toned. Because of their anti-aging and hydrating properties, they are more suitable for dry and sun damaged skin.

The best AHAs for exfoliation are Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid. That’s because their molecules are quite small and so can easily penetrate skin. But if you want to use them for anti-aging purposes, opt for Glycolic. Unlike lactic acid, it can increases the thickness and firmness of the skin too. Keep in mind that high concentrations of AHAs can irritate skin. That’s because they work by removing the top layer of dead skin cells, which protect the raw skin underneath. While removing some of them will be beneficial for the skin, going overboard will result in red, flaky, and painful skin.

So, exfoliate only two or three times a week, and stay from those 20% or higher glycolic peels. Don’t believe those who say they can be safely performed at home. If not administered by a professional, they can do more harm than good. AHAs also increase sun sensitivity so never use them during the day without applying sunscreen afterwards.

Best picks: Olay Regenerist Night Resurfacing Elixir, Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment with 5% Alpha Hydroxy Acid, and Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 10% Moisturizer

BHA works best for oily, acne-prone, and sensitive skin types

The only type of Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) used in skincare products is Salicylic Acid, which is derived from the willow tree bark. Salicylic acid too dissolves the substance that hold cells together, and can reduce hyperpigmentation, surface roughness, and fine lines.

What’s the difference with AHAs then? Well, while AHAs are soluble in water, Salicylic Acid is soluble in oil. This means it is able to penetrate inside the pores, which are filled with sebum and dead cells, and unclog them. That’s why it is a better option for people with oily or acne-prone skin. It is also a great alternative for those with sensitive skin. Because it has anti-inflammatory properties and is effective at lower concentrations (1% or 2% already provide great results) than AHAs, it is less likely to irritate it.

This doesn’t mean that it won’t irritate your skin if you overdo it, though, so use it carefully. And always with sunscreen. Salicylic Acid too can increase skin’s sensitivity to the sun.

Best picks: Proactive Solution Clarifying Night Cream, Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion, and Philosophy Clear Days Ahead Oil-free Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment & Moisturizer

Do you use chemical exfoliants? Do you prefer AHAs or BHA?

Product Review: Layla SOS Colour & Shine

layla sos colour shine 02

Name: SOS Colour & Shine
Brand: Layla
Size: 10ml
Price: €10,74

From Layla’s website:
Enamel saves enamel. SOS Colour & Shine is able to dissolve the surface of your ruined enamel and to micro remove the scratches that return it opaque. Moreover it creates a resistant and ultra shining layer. The brilliance will last unchanged for 6 or 7 days. SOS Colour & Shine will add 2 days of duration to your manicure.

What I liked:
– nice texture, not too thin but not too thick either
– dries quickly
– makes your nail polishes last longer
– makes nail polishes shine for longer

What I didn’t like:
– I’m not sure it’s a con but, if you like changing nail polishes frequently, you’ll soon tire of how long they last with this

“SOS! SOS! I’m losing shine, and, if you keep being so hard on your nails, I’ll soon start chipping too, woman! Someone, help!,” nail polish cries after a couple of days of wear. Layla SOS Colour & Shine, always willing to help nail polishes in need, heard this cry and came to the rescue. It swiped all over the colour, restoring its shine and making it last longer.

Layla says SOS Colour & Shine can be used in two ways. You can apply it two days after your manicure, when your nail is starting to get dull, to extend its duration. Or you can apply it during manicure to make it extra shiny and ultra-resistant from the very start. That’s what I do.

In the swatch below, I applied SOS Colour & Shine after Layla Ceramic Effect #23, a pretty reddish wine. The shine lasted four days. I kid you not. That’s when one of my fingers started to chip too. The chip was on the tip of my nail, so I took my scissors, cut out the tiny naked part, and my manicure was as good as new. No further chipping occurred until day 7.

layla sos colour shine 01

And then it got pretty bad quickly. But I was glad of that. I hate it when nail polishes chip after 2 days, but a week wearing the same shade is too long for someone as fickle as me. It’s true that the Ceramic Effect line is pretty longlasting on its own thogh. On average, they last about 4 days without a top coat. If you use SOS Colour & Shine with a nail polish that usually chips after few days, it will improve its staying power by two or three days. Still, very impressive, isn’t it?

And of course you can use it anytime you want the nail polish you’re wearing to look as though you had just applied it. Its consistency is neither runny nor too thick and, ten minutes later, it has already dried. That’s great news for those who, like me, can’t keep their hands still for longer than that. With this, you won’t ruin your manicure before you’d had a chance to wear it.

Available at: Layla Shop

Summary
Layla SOS Colour & Shine makes nail polishes last and shine for two or three days longer than they would on their own. And it dries quickly too!

Rating: 4.5/5

Disclosure: this item was sent by PR for consideration. For more information, please see my disclaimer.