Book Review: How To Get Dressed: A Costume Designer’s Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing

how to get dressed

Title: How to Get Dressed: A Costume Designer’s Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing
Author: Alison Freer
Pages: 256
Price: paperback, $13,53; kindle, $12,36

Costume designer Alison Freer’s styling kit is a magical bag of tricks, built to solve every single wardrobe malfunction on earth. TV and film productions wait for nothing, so her solutions have to work fast. In How to Get Dressed, Alison distills her secrets into a fun, comprehensive style guide focused on rethinking your wardrobe like a fashion expert and making what’s in your closet work for you. She provides real-world advice about everything style-related, including:
• Making every garment you own fit better
• Mastering closet organization
• The undergarments you actually need
• The scoop on tailors and which alterations are worth it
• Shopping thrift and vintage like a rockstar
Instead of repeating boring style “rules,” Alison breaks the rules and gets real about everything from bras to how to deal with inevitable fashion disasters. Including helpful information such as how to skip ironing and the dry cleaners, remove every stain under the sun, and help clueless men get their sartorial acts together, How to Get Dressed has hundreds of insider tips from Alison’s arsenal of tools and expertise.

Costume designer Alison Freer has had to deal with every possible wardrobe malfunction, from bad fit to stubborn stains. Over the years, she has learned how to solve them all in pinch, and send her actors on set looking fabulous. Now, she’s sharing all her secrets in her new book How to Get Dressed: A Costume Designer’s Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing.

Forget all the rules you have ever learned about fashion. There’s only one secret to looking effortlessly stylish and put together: proper fit. Freer firmly believes that every piece of clothing you buy can’t be worn as is, but must be altered to fit your shape to a T. And no, that won’t break the bank.

Some alternations are costly, but others, like shortening your skirt or taking up a shoulder seam, are quite inexpensive and can easily and quickly transform your look from sloppy to chic. But how do you know if a dress or jacket is worth altering?

Freer explains what you should look for in every piece of clothing before you go shopping, so you’ll know straight away how much a tailor or seamstress will charge you for any modification and whether is better to leave the dress on the shelf after all. No point in taking it home if it is gonna lie forgotten in your closet because it doesn’t flatter you or feels uncomfortable on.

Talking about uncomfortable, how do you deal with ill-fitting shoes and the pain they cause? Is not buying them the only solution? Nope. A piece of moleskin where the shoe badly fits will do the trick (and it can also help repair an underwire bra!). Moleskin, together with safety pins and topstick, can solve pretty much any wardrobe malfunction you’ll ever experience.

That’s not all. Freer shares a lot of useful tips on how to organize your wardrobe so that you’ll always and quickly find what you’re looking for, how to do laundry properly (it’s a lot harder than it seems!), how to take good care of your footwear, and how to remove every stain you could possibly ever get on your clothes. There’s even a section for men, so you can help those in your life look their best too.

I could go on and on. How To Get Dressed is chockfull of practical tips to help you look your best in every situation. It’s not about trends or silly fashion rules (who said that redheads can’t wear red?), but about the secrets of an art, dressing, that have been long forgotten by most, but that will always make its followers look effortlessly polished and stylish, setting them apart from everyone else.

If you can only buy one fashion book, definitely make it this one. It’s informative and useful, but funny and entertaining too, and covers pretty much everything you ever need to know about clothes and accessories. My only problem is the lack of photos. There are a few pretty illustrations, but pictures would have, I believe, provided an easier visual reference. Even so, I’m sure I’ll consult this book very, very often in the future.

Available at: Amazon

Informative and entertaining, How To Get Dressed: A Costume Designer’s Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing is packed with useful tips to make you look your best in every situation and solve any possible wardrobe problem you could ever experience.

Rating: 4.5/5

Disclosure: this item was sent by PR for consideration. In addition, the review contains an affiliate link. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

Product Review: Avene Skin Recovery Cream

avene skin recovery cream 01

Name: Skin recovery Cream
Brand: Avene
Size: 40ml
Price: $34.00

From Avene’s website:
Calming cream specifically designed for naturally sensitive skin (fair, thin, prone to redness), or skin which has become sensitized due to climatic conditions, excessive cleansing, drying cosmetics or dermatological treatments. It quickly calms irritation, helps restore the hydrolipidic film and provides long-lasting protection. Its formula has been specially developed with a minimum of ingredients, all selected for their gentleness.

What I liked:
– lightweight texture, sinks in quickly
– moisturizes skin, leaving it soft and smooth
– creates a protective barrier that prevents water from evaporating and external agents from penetrating skin
– gentle, doesn’t irritate skin

What I didn’t like:
– very basic formula
– not moisturizing enough for very dry skin

Dry, intolerant skin can be a nightmare. It gets all red, starts to flake, and becomes prone to all kinds of irritations. Sometimes, it seems everything you put on it will cause havoc. *sighs*

Avene wants to come to the rescue. Its Skin Recovery Cream claims to be able to quickly calm irritations, help restore the hydrolipidic film and provide long-lasting protection. How does it accomplish all this?

Mineral oil. Are you put off? Many are. Mineral oil is derived from oil, which is enough for some people to refuse to use it. They are scared it will cause cancer or other health problems. But it doesn’t. Cosmetic grade mineral oil, the only kind allowed to be used in cosmetics, must undergo a rigorous purifying process to rid it of all toxins and impurities. So, it is safe.

But is it effective? Yep. One of the most moisturing ingredients available today, mineral oil works by creating a protective barrier on the skin. Skin already has its own protective barrier. When it is intact, skin is soft, supple, and hydrated.

But when it is broken (harsh weather, sun damage, drying cleansers, and overexfoliation are just some of the things that can damage it), it allows water to evaporate and bacteria to penetrate inside the body. It’s this that leads to dryness and causes irritations.

That’s when mineral oil comes in. The barrier it creates prevents water loss, restoring the hydrolipidic film of the skin, and offers protection from external agents that are now unable to get in. Now that the skin’s barrier function is restored, irritations calm down.

avene skin recovery cream 02

So, yes, Avene Skin Recovery does what it claims, which is a good thing. But I am a bit disappointed its mechanism of action is so simple. Mineral oil is indeed a good choice for a cream designed for dry and sensitive skin, but I would have loved to see some anti-inflammatory agents, and maybe antioxidants and SPF, included too.

Instead the formula is pretty basic. In addition to mineral oil, it contains glycerin, which helps replenish moisture in the skin by attracting some from the environment. The other ingredients are slip agents (they allow the product to glide on smoothly), emulsifiers (prevent the oily and watery parts of a formula from separating) and preservatives.

Even the Thermal Spring Water Avene is so famous for is pretty unremarkable. All the studies that rave about its alleged benefits for the skin were conducted by the brand. But at least, the cream doesn’t contain fragrance, alcohol, or other irritating ingredients that sometimes sneak their way even into products especially formulated for sensitive skin.

Enough about the ingredients. Let’s talk about the texture now. That’s lightweight, spreads easily on the skin, and absorbs quickly. But this also means it’s not moisturizing enough for very dry skin. I’d also say it performs better in the summer rather than winter. But again, that depends on how much the weather dries out your skin.

So, is it worth purchasing? That depends. Personally, I don’t like to spend money on moisturizers with very basic, albeit effective, formulas. I want something that both moisturizes and helps fight premature aging. This one only moisturizes. But if you are ok with that, and have very sensitive, irritations-prone, skin that reacts to anything, then a basic formula with few ingredients like this may be worth considering.

Avene Thermal Spring Water, Mineral Oil, Cyclomethicone, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Squalane, Benzoic Acid, Carbomer, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Triethanolamine

Available at: Amazon, Derma Store, and Escentual

Avene Skin recovery Cream has a lightweight texture and very basic formula that moisturizes skin (as long as it is not very dry), leaving it soft and smooth. Gentle, it doesn’t irritate skin.

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.

Product Review: Estee Lauder Pure Color Gloss in Blazing Coral

estee lauder pure color gloss blazing coral 01

Name: Pure Color Gloss in Blazing Coral
Brand: Estee Lauder
Size: 2 fl oz
Price: $24.00

From Estee Lauder’s website:
Lip Gloss with the power to light up your face. True Vision™ technology transforms ordinary color and makes it extraordinary.
High performance wear. Feels light and luscious, never sticky.

What I liked:
– multicoloured shimmer makes your lips sparkle beautifully
– hydrating, non-sticky texture
– delicious sweet scent
– pretty packaging

What I didn’t like:
– if you don’t like very sheer glosses, this is not for you
– average staying power

Usually, I’m not a big fan of sheer lipglosses. Why spend money on something that barely shows up on your lips? But there’s something about Estee Lauder Pure Color Glosses that I just can’t resist. Maybe it’s their delicious fig scent. Maybe it’s their hydrating, non-sticky texture. Or maybe, it’s their multicoloured shimmer.

estee lauder pure color gloss blazing coral 03

Whatever it is, they get me every single time. Well, almost every single time. I have just found one shade I am not so keen on: Blazing Coral. Blazing Coral has all the things that I like about these glosses. It feels comfortable on the lips. It smells amazing.

It is infused with sparkly gold and fuchsia shimmers that beautifully capture the light and illuminate your lips. But that’s all that you can see. Unlike the other shades, this warm, peachy coral shade barely shows up on the lips. :(

estee lauder pure color gloss blazing coral 02

That’s disappointing, but also a matter of personal preference. Some women do like their glosses uber sheer and super sparkly. If that’s you, you’ll enjoy Blazing Coral. Especially in the summer. It complements a tan very well.

Just be ready to reapply it during the day. Blazing Coral only lasts a couple of hours on my lips. Less if I drink or eat. But at least, its neutral flavour doesn’t tempt me to eat the gloss itself! When a gloss tastes delicious, it doesn’t stay that long on my lips! lol

Available at: Amazon and Nordstrom

Infused with multi-coloured shimmer, Estee Lauder Pure Color Gloss in Blazing Coral has a very sheer colour payoff, a comfortable texture, and average staying power.

Rating: 3/5

Disclosure: this item was sent by PR for consideration.In addition, the review contains an affiliate link. For more information, please see my disclaimer.

Is Philosophy Renewed Hope In A Jar Better Than The Original?

philosophy renewed hope in a jar

Hope sells more creams that science. No one knows this better than Philosophy. Its iconic Hope In A Jar range targets the optimist in us, but there’s little in it that can do skin much good. It just leaves you (and your skin) hoping for more.

But could Renewed Hope In A Jar, the new addition to the family, provide that something more the original formula lacks? Let’s take a look at the ingredients:

What Philosophy Says

philosophy skin labs’ original breakthrough moisturizer is changing the face of skin care again. the revolutionary lightweight, whipped formula of hope in a jar is renewed and infused with a new innovation: clinically proven skin renewal technology. this groundbreaking formulation features a triple blend of alpha hydroxy acids, 3 forms of hyaluronate plus an asian fruit extract, delivering an even longer-lasting glow and continuous hydration benefits.

Ingredient Analysis

glycolic acid benefits

Glycolic Acid

One of my main problems with the original Hope In A Jar is its choice of exfoliating ingredient. Although the brand says it contains lactic acid, the formula includes only its derivative lauryl lactate, which, sadly, doesn’t share the same exfoliating properties. Lauryl lactate only enhances the spreadability of the cream onto your skin, but won’t remove any dead cells from its surface.

Thankfully, Philosophy has made a much better choice for the new Renewed Hope In A Jar: glycolic acid. My favourite exfoliating ingredient, glycolic acid works by dissolving the “glue” that holds skin cells together, allowing them to slough off.

But that’s not all. Glycolic acid has also been shown in studies to boost collagen production, improve photoaged skin, treat hyperpigmentation, and hydrate skin! Pretty impressive, isn’t it? The only problem is that it can increase photosensitivity (make skin more prone to sun damage). But that’s easy to fix. Just use the cream at night, or, follow it up with sunscreen during the day.



Renewed Hope In A Jar contains a lot more silicones than the original formula. I don’t mind that at all. In fact, I’m quite fond of silicones. They enhance the spreadability of the cream, allowing it to glide on more easily; give skin that silky soft feeling that makes you want to touch your face all the time; temporarily fill in fine lines and wrinkles, so that they look smaller; and create a protective barrier that slows down water loss.

The latter is seen as a problem by many people. There is this misconceptions that this barrier can suffocate skin, but that’s not true. Silicones have a particular molecule structure made of larger molecules with wider spaces between each molecule. That makes the barrier they create both protective and breathable.

The real “problem” with silicones is that they only make skin look younger, but can’t boost collagen production, fight free radicals, or anything else that’s needed to truly fight premature ageing. They only provide a quick, short-term fix. For long-term results, you need goodies such as glycolic acid (check) and antioxidants (check?).



Unfortunately, both the original and Renewed Hope In A Jar contain only a handful of antioxidants, and in low amounts too. Gone from the new version is Retinyl Palmitate, one of the weakest forms of Vitamin A. It was replaced by yeast extract. Both versions also contain Tocopheryl Acetate, a form of Vitamin E that can both fight free radicals and moisturize skin.

Few antioxidants are better than no antioxidants at all. But, to make this a true state-of-the-art moisturizer, Philosophy should consider adding a few more, and package them properly too. That means no jars. Antioxidants lose a bit of their effectiveness every time they are exposed to light and air, which happens whenever you open the lid.

Final considerations on the formula

Glycolic acid is the true star of this moisturizer. The rest of the formula is pretty basic: humectants, like glycerin, to hydrate skin; emollients, like Cetearyl Alchol (a non-irritating type of alcohol) to make skin soft and smooth; silicones to temporarily fill in wrinkles; and a little bunch of antioxidants to help fight premature aging. Its lightweight, creamy texture makes it suitable for all skin types bar very dry.

Full Ingredient List

Aqua/Water/Eau, Cyclopentasiloxane, Stearic Acid, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Glycolic Acid, Dimethicone, Polyacrylamide, Cetearyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hydroxide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Ceteareth-20, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Polysilicone-11, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Laureth-7, Citric Acid, Chlorphenesin, Mandelic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Ethlhexyl Palmitate, Propanediol, Parfum/Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, Adenosine, Evodia Rutaecarpa Fruit Extract, Limonene, Faex/Yeast Extract/Extrait De Levure, Magnesium Stearate, Opuntia Coccinellifera Flower Extract, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Caprylyl Glycol, BHT, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Silanetriol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sorbic Acid, Hexylene Glycol, Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163)


Philosophy Renewed Hope In A Jar is packaged in a 2 oz jar. Available at Sephora and Ulta, it costs 47.00.

The Bottom Line

Although Renewed Hope In A Jar is much better than the original formula, it still contains too few antioxidants. The jar packaging compromises their efficacy and needs to be revamped too.

Have you tried the new Renewed Hope In A Jar?

Nurse Jamie Skincare: Breakthrough Skin Solutions?

nurse jamie skincare

Best known for her beauty segments on Extra TV, and TLC’s Style by Jury, Jamie Sherrill, aka “Nurse Jamie”, has been taking care of celebrities’ skin for decades. The owner of the Beauty Park Medical Spa in Los Angeles and Abu Dhabi, Jamie routinely treats her clients with the latest medical devices and cutting-edge products.

But her exclusive clientele travels far and wide, and doesn’t always have the time to visit one of her spas. So, they started asking her for something they could take on the road with them to maintain the results of their favourite treatments.

Jamie listened, and created Nurse Jamie Healthy Skin Solutions, a luxury skincare range, recently launched in Harrods, that features the latest breakthrough ingredients in skincare. But is it really worth its high price tag? To find out, let’s take a closer look at some of her best-selling products:

nurse jamie one step age delay cleanser

One Step Age Delay Cleanser ($62.00)

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a cleanser could delay the signs of ageing? Unfortunately, that’s still wishful thinking. Although this cleanser contains powerful antioxidants Vitamins A (retinyl palmitate) and E (Tocopheryl Acetate), and Palmitoyl Olygopeptide, a peptide said to stimulate collagen production, these ingredients work best when left on the skin, nor rinsed off after a couple of minutes.

Although it can’t help you fight premature ageing, this cleanser is very effective at gently cleansing skin without irritating it. Paraffinum Liquidum (mineral oil) dissolves all traces of makeup and other impurities, while Glycerin hydrates skin. This combination leaves your skin clean and soft.


A gentle and effective, but very expensive, cleanser particularly suitable for dry and sensitive skin. But it can’t help fight premature ageing.


Water (Aqua), Caprylic Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Propylene Glycol, Paraffinum Liquidum, Stearic Acid, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Silica, Cetyl Alcohol, Triethanolamine, Dimethicone, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Eucalyptus Radiata (Eucalyptus) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Carbomer, Retinyl Palmitate, Allantoin, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum)

nurse jamie calming relief soothing moisturizer

Calming Relief Soothing Moisturizer ($68.00)

Especially formulated for blemish-prone and polysensitive skin types, this moisturizer promises to calm irritations while nourishing skin. How? It contains chamomile and calendula extracts, both of which have anti-inflammatory properties.

Borago officinalis seed oil is more controversial. It has been used to treat atopic dermatitis with variable results, “with the effect reported to be significant in five studies, insignificant in five studies, and mixed in two studies”. But, “the majority of studies showed at least a small degree of efficacy”. In any case, all these ingredients are present in only tiny amounts.

The bulk of the formula is made up of humectants (like Glycerin), that draw water from the environment into the skin, thus hydrating it, and emollients (such as Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cardiospermum Halicacabum Flower/Leaf/Vine Extract, Sunflower Seed Oil Unsaponifiables) that make skin soft and smooth. Together, these ingredients moisturize skin, preventing it from becoming dry.


An expensive moisturizer with some anti-inflammatory properties.


Water (Aqua), Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Cardiospermum Halicacabum Flower/Leaf/Vine Extract, Echium Plantagineum Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Cetereth-20, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Chlorophyllin-Copper Complex, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Carbomer, Sorbitan Stearate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Propylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Octyldodecanol, Zinc Oxide, Potassium Sorbate, Methylisothiazolinone, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate

nurse jamie egf stem cell complex

EGFStem Cell Complex ($125.00)

EGFStem Cell Complex features the hottest new ingredients in skincare – Epidermal Growth Factor, Plant Stem Cells and Peptides – but are they the most effective too? Not really.

Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38 (Matrixyl Synthe’6) is said to boost the production of collagen and hylauronic acid, both necessary to keep skin elastic, firm, and younger-looking, but the only studies that prove its effectiveness were conducted by the manufacturer. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, only that we need confirmation from independent studies before raving about, and splurging on, it.

Plant stem cells, instead, don’t work. They may have some antioxidant activity, but there is no way apple or grape stem cells can turn into human cells and regenerate skin. Epidermal growth factors are even worse. They increase the division of cells within the skin, which helps wounds heal faster and possibly even speed up the growth and regeneration process of new skin cells.

But this over-proliferation of cells could have frightening consequences, and could even cause cancer. We don’t know yet if it is that dangerous when topically applied on the skin in tiny amounts (probably not), but why risk it when most of the research on its benefits was conducted by the manufacturer? Independent research so far has only proven its wound-healing properties, and most of us don’t need that.

The rest of the formula is made up of emollients that make skin soft and smooth, silicones that temporarily fill in fine lines and wrinkles, and antioxidants that help keep premature ageing at bay. But these ingredients can be found in most moisturizers. No need to spend so much on one with controversial ingredients to enjoy their benefits.


I’m not a fan. It contains too many ingredients that haven’t been proven by independent research to work yet, and some that could even be dangerous.


Water (Aqua), Ethyl Macadamiate, Octyldodecanol,Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Oleth-10 Phosphate, Cetyl Esters, Tribehenin PEG-20 Esters, Malus Domestica Fruit Cell Culture Extract, Dimethicone, Hydroxypropyl Cyclodextrin, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-38, Tribehenin, Glyceryl Stearate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Sodium Polyacrylate, Hydrogenated Polydecene, Trideceth-10, Phospholipids, rH-Oligopeptide-1, Isomalt, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Cell Extract, Algae Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Panthenol, Sodium PCA, Sodium Hyaluronate, Xantham Gum, Glycerin, Lecithin, Allantoin, Dimethyl Lauramine Oleate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Dimethicone PEG-8 Meadowfoamate, Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Propylene Glycol, Triethanolamine, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance (Parfum)

nurse jamie egf platinum 3 restorative facial elixir

EGF Platinum 3Restorative Facial Elixir ($198.00)

Tell your friends you’re using a facial elixir with platinum, and they’ll probably die of envy. But should they? Not really. Although there is some evidence that nano-sized platinum can have a protective effect against UV-induced inflammation, it is still a heavy metal and could cause trouble if it accumulates in the body.

That’s unlikely to happen, though. Why? Because platinum costs about $1,500 an ounce, so I doubt there is much of it in this elixir. Most of the formula is actually made up of moisturizing oils that replenish moisture and leave skin soft and smooth. Also included is Acetyl Tetrapeptide-17, which, according to the manufacturer, can make skin less sensitive to inflammation.


An overpriced, moisturizing elixir best suited for dry skin.


Caryodendron Orinocense Nut Oil, Rosa Rubiginosa Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Colloidal Platinum, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil, Aleurites Moluccana Seed Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Acetyl Tetrapeptide-17, Red 17 (CI 26100)

The Bottom Line

Although I appreciate Nurse Jamie’s use of new and innovative ingredients, most of them have been barely studied. That means that we still don’t know how well they work and what side effects they have. Until we know more, proceed with caution.

Have you ever tried anything from Nurse Jamie?

Product Review: Vichy LiftActiv Retinol HA Day SPF 18

vichy liftactiv retinol ha

Name: LiftActiv Retinol HA
Brand: Vichy
Size: 1.35 fl oz
Price: $47.50

From Vichy’s website:
Anti-aging moisturizer with SPF 18. Formulated with advanced Retinol + Hyaluronic Acid to deliver an immediate filling and resurfacing action.

What I liked:
– hydrates skin and makes it look plumper
– makes wrinkles appear smaller
– contains retinol, which helps fight premature ageing
– contains SPF
– although the texture is on the thick side, it spreads easily and absorbs quickly

What I didn’t like:
– not moisturizing enough for very dry skin
– not suitable for oily skin
– retinol can cause irritations in people with sensitive skin

Vichy LiftActiv Retinol HA boats of being able to fight the appearance of all 3 types of wrinkles: permanent, reversible and genetically-programmed. It’s the first time that I hear someone classify wrinkles this way, so let’s see what Vichy means.

Apparently, permanent wrinkles refer to the deep, etched lines that just won’t go away, no matter what you put on your face. Reversible are those lines caused by dryness or irritations. Finally, I suppose programmed refers to the wrinkles, caused by genetic or cumulative unprotected sun exposure, we are all bound to get as we get older.

Can Vichy LiftActiv Retinol HA fight them all? Yes and no. This cream can make wrinkles look smaller, and contains ingredients that can reduce or prevent lines, but it won’t completely get rid of all signs of ageing, no matter by what they are caused. No topical cream can do that.

But how does it make wrinkles look smaller? Silicones and humectants. Vichy LiftActiv contains a generous dose of dimethicone, a silicone that temporarily fill in lines and wrinkles, reducing their appearance (and no, it doesn’t suffocate skin!). Dimethicone also gives slip to the cream, so that, despite its thick texture, it glides smoothly on the skin, and makes your face silky soft to the touch.

Humectants are ingredients that draw water from the environment into the skin, thus replenishing its moisture levels. The main humectant in this cream is glycerin, but a small amount of sodium hyaluronate, a derivative of hyaluronic acid, is also included.

Sodium hylauronate is a lot more effective than glycerin because it can hold 1000 times its weight in water, and it works well both in high and low humidity conditions. As a result, skin is well-hydrated and looks plumper. So, if your wrinkles are caused by dryness, this should help a little.

If your wrinkles are caused by sun damage, or you just want to prevent new lines from forming, then retinol is your ally. Considered by dermatologist as the golden standard in wrinkle-busting, it can increase cellular turnover, boost collagen production, and firm skin. Retinol can help reduce wrinkles, not just their appearance, but it works really slowly, especially at a low concentration.

And there really isn’t much of it here. That’s surprising because, when I first used Vichy LiftActiv Retinol HA, it caused a very mild burning sensation in my skin. That usually happens when you first use retinol (your skin needs time to adjust to it), but I’ve been using it for years, and never experienced anything like that.

It disappeared when my skin got used to the retinol, but if you have sensitive skin, stay away from this. Instead, you should opt for a product where retinol is time-released (meaning it is delivered a little at a time over a period of several hours rather than all at once), like Murad Time Release Retinol Concentrate For Deep Wrinkles. That’s still very effective, but gentler.

The cream also contains Octisalate and Octocrylene, which protect against UVB rays, and Avobenzone, which neutralizes the damaging effects of UVA rays. Although it is impossible to reach the SPF level stated on the packaging (you’d have to apply too much), a little protection is always better than nothing and can help prevent some of the damage, including wrinkles, caused by UV rays.

Who should use this cream? Only those with normal, combination, or slightly dry skin who don’t have too many, or too deep, wrinkles yet. For older skin, a cream with a higher concentration of retinol paired with a bunch of antioxidants, like Paula’s Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer with Retinol, would be more effective. Those with oily skin, instead, won’t love its thick but fast-absorbing texture, while those with very dry skin won’t find it moisturizing enough for their needs.

Active: Avobenzone 3%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 7%. Other: Water, Glycerin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethicone, Poly C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Glycerides, Sucrose Stearate, Silica, Beeswax, Stearic Acid, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Methylparaben, Sodium Polyacrylate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Retinol, Phenoxyethanol Adenosine, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Caprylyl Glycol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Fragrance

Available at: Amazon and Skin Store

Vichy LiftActiv Retinol HA Day SPF 18 hydrates skin, temporarily fills in fine lines and wrinkles, and can help fight premature ageing. But it’s not suitable for very dry, oily, or sensitive skin.

Rating: 3.5/5

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