Tag Archives: skin care

June Bracelet / Photo from Wired Magazine

The June Bracelet. Wearable Skincare Technology, A La Française.

January 24, 2014

Of course the French would invent a bracelet that measures your exposure to the sun so that you can get guidance on how to prevent premature skin aging.

Although it has not yet been released, the June bracelet by Netatmo made its remarkable debut on the first day of CES 2014 in Las Vegas.

June Bracelet


[Image Source: Netatmo]

This bracelet comes with an app for your smartphone or tablet in order to give you personalized sun protection advice based on your skin type and habits.

During the first use, the app takes you through a series of questions in order to determine your skin type.

Then, based on the UV sensors in the bracelet and current meteorological information, the app tells you if you need to protect yourself and with what level of SPF cream. It will even send reminders to wear a hat or sunglasses before leaving the house that day.

As mad as they are about skincare, French women don’t really like to wear sunscreen. So maybe this gadget will finally get them into that habit.

In terms of design, I thought that the rather imposing jewel looks a little gaudy, non?

But after seeing a photo of a real person wearing it IRL, I changed my mind.

June Bracelet / Photo from Wired Magazine
[Photo Source: Ariel Zambelich/WIRED]

I would definitely wear this.

Yo, Netatmo! If you’re still looking for test subjects, I’m your hollaback girl.

Progress On My New Year’s Beauty Resolutions + Tips For Improving Posture

June 3, 2013

At the beginning of this year, I picked out 3 New Year’s Resolutions to focus on.

Now that we’ve reached the mid-point of the year (gosh, how time flies!)… I thought it would be appropriate to come back to this subject and report on the progress I’ve made with each of them.

1) Reduce Sugar Intake

As far as reducing sugar intake goes, I’ve been really good about indulging in sweet treats only on rare occasions. Even then, I don’t tend to overindulge.

If you want to understand how sugar negatively impacts your skin, read my post on How Sugar & Inflammation Can Be A Recipe For Bad Skin.

When it comes to sugar, I do have one weak spot… I can’t NOT eat bread and croissant for breakfast!

Croissant For Breakfast

Yes, bread counts as sugar. But in my mind, I’ve excused this habit of eating high-carb french breakfasts only because I’m not going to be living in France forever.

And I know that when I leave, I will always sigh and think back about those flaky, buttery croissants with wistful longing…

2) Take Better Care Of My Hair

Haircare has actually been my strongest point.

My hair is longer, softer and shinier now than it was at the beginning of this year.

Better hair 2013

And this has been made possible because I follow my own 5 Basic Hair Care Tips and use the help of some incredible haircare products. Like this one and these three.

3) Improve My Posture

I’m so glad I chose only 3 New Year’s Resolutions! I knew that they were going to take a lot of time and focused dedication.

This has been especially the case with my resolution to improve my posture.

Although there’s a wealth of skincare and haircare information out there, when it comes to posture, I feel like I’ve pretty much been left on my own to figure things out.

While it’s good to encourage others to improve their posture, I think people should do it constructively.

I had this grandma from the Philippines who would visit us and freak out about how awful my posture was. It just always made me feel terrible about myself. To the point that I now secretly suspect I have some form of scoliosis.

I say if you’re going to make people feel terrible about their posture, at least dish out some real advice on what people can do to begin improving their posture!

Improving Posture

Here’s what I’ve worked out (so far)…

How To Improve Your Posture

– This is just a hunch, but I think the shape of your feet has a lot to do with the way that you stand. For example, if your feet have a good arch, it is easier to distribute your weight evenly and stay balanced. But if you’re flat footed like me, you have to work a little harder to balance your weight evenly across your heels and the balls of your feet.

– Don’t lock your knees. They should stay soft and slightly bent.

– There are six points to be mindful of along the length of your body, and they should be in line with each other. 

This picture shows five of them. 

Good posture points

– I say there are six points because you should also think about the point on the crown of your head.

– As my dance teacher once put it: imagine a string going through the length of your spine and out through the center of the crown of your head. Then imagine that this string is being pulled gently up.

– This means that you’re not tilting your chin up or forward. You are simply lengthening your spine through that imaginary string being pulled up along your spine and through the center of your crown.

Your spine has natural curves built in. Having curves in your spine does not mean you have scoliosis! Don’t try to iron your spine flat.

– It’s very important to wear shoes that support good posture. High heels are not posture-friendly.

– We sit a lot and stare down at our computers. So take lots of breaks to stand up and stretch.

– Someday very soon, I am going to build myself an ergonomic workspace. This means, my computer screen will be at eye level, my keyboard will be at elbow level, and I’ll be standing instead of sitting!

Aaah! I can’t wait!

What about you, how is the progress of your New Year’s Resolutions coming along?

Caudalie Beauty Elixir & Premières Vendanges Moisturizing Cream

A Look At Caudalie + A Review of their Beauty Elixir & Moisturizing Cream

January 30, 2013

Since I am so fortunate to be living in France, I think it would be a shame—-nay, a crime! if I, as a beauty blogger, didn’t bother to try out at least some of the popular French beauty brands out there and review them for you.

Caudalie is among the most popular French beauty brands. Just like Avène, you can find this brand in every pharmacy and parapharmacy in France. You might remember me griping about how, in the pharmacies here, it’s so much easier to find vitamins for stronger hair and nails than it is to find a bottle of aspirin!

French pharmacies are well-known for their impressive collection of skincare and beauty products. And visitors from all over the world come in order to buy some of the popular beauty brands that they carry, like Caudalie.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir & Moisturizing Cream Review

So what makes Caudalie so special?

If you like to drink wine, then you may be in the regular habit of reminding yourself how wine is good for you because it is rich in anti-oxidants.

Caudalie’s origins is based in Bordeaux, a region famous for its vineyards and wine. The wife and husband team who founded Caudalie took the grape and used it for its powerful cosmetic properties.

Caudalie revolves around the active ingredients derived from grapes, which contain potent anti-oxidants and other beauty benefits.

There are many scientific studies that show the myriad beauty benefits that can be extracted from the humble grape plant. The grape seed contains polyphenols which help protect the skin against free radicals, which may come from our environment and our lifestyle habits and can accelerate the aging process of our skin. The grape vine contains reserveratrol, which helps to stimulate collagen production and preserve the skin’s firmness.  And the grapevine sap contains viniferine, a molecule that reduces and fights against the formation of dark spots.

Caudalie makes use of every part of the grape (the seed, the vine, the sap, the water, the oil and even the wine yeast used to make wine) to create products that not only help preserve the skin’s youthfulness but also respect the environment.

Although this brand is not certified organic, a lot of their ingredients are plant-based and are supposedly sourced from organic fair-trade plants. Their products also boast of being free of parabens, phenoxyethanol, phtalates, mineral oils, gmo’s, artificial coloring, etc. And they are against animal-based ingredients and animal testing.

So brand marketing gibberish aside…. when it comes to using their products and assessing their effectiveness, the question is… are they actually any good?

Well, I’ve been using two products by Caudalie: The Beauty Elixir & The Premières Vendanges Moisturizing Cream.

Let’s have a look…

Caudalie Beauty Elixir Close-up

Caudalie Beauty Elixir Spray

Caudalie Beauty Elixir

The purpose of the Beauty Elixir is to smooth lines, tighten pores and give skin a glowing complexion. It is a product that many bloggers from around the world have raved about. So I got the small version of it just to see what all this hype is about.

How to use it: As you can see from the photos above, the elixir is water that you spray on your face. There are these tiny globules that float and hang out at the top so you have to shake the bottle first before you use it. I find that three full sprays six-inches away from the face usually suffices for me.

Ingredients: Water, alcohol (plant derived), flower orange, perfume (fragrance), rosemary leaf oil, potassium alum, peppermint oil, styrax tonkinensis resin extract, commiphora myrrha resin extract, balm mint leaf oil, rosa damascena flower oil, grape fruit extract, tocopherol, citral, limonene, linalool, citronellol, geraniol, farnesol, benzyl benzoate, eugenol.

The first ingredient in the ingredient list is water. And the second ingredient listed is alcohol. Usually the first couple of ingredients are the ones which constitute the highest percentage of the product. So this already had me going “Hmmm… why would people rave so much about a product whose first two ingredients are water and alcohol?”  Yes it’s a plant-derived alcohol, but any type of alcohol can be too drying for the skin.

What I like about it: After I spray the elixir, I get a tingly sensation which gives me the impression that my skin is refreshed. I do see a difference in the radiance of my complexion. I get a bit of a glow after I spray the elixir on my skin.

What I don’t like about it: The smell is weird–I mean it’s neither bad nor good. But the elixir’s scent is just not its strong point. Although my skin feels refreshed, afterwards it starts to feel uncomfortably dry. And that’s probably from all the drying astringent ingredients.

Fortunately, my skin does not react negatively to the elixir. But I have read instances where people’s skin had a bad reaction to the elixir. And that’s probably because there are a lot of essential oils here that can cause irritations and allergies. So if your skin is sensitive and reacts badly to fragrances and essential oils, be careful with this one.

Many people say the elixir is great for “priming” their skin before putting on makeup, and although I’ve tried it for this purpose, I don’t see much of a difference between when I do and when I don’t use this before putting on makeup.

How much: Around 8€ for the 30 ml bottle and 24€ for the 100 ml bottle.

Would I buy it again: Maybe. But’s it’s not high on my re-purchase list. It’s good that they had a small version of this so you could try it out first before you committed to the 24 euro size bottle.

Caudalie Premières Vendanges Moisturizing Cream

Caudalie Moisturizing Cream Close-up

Caudalie Premières Vendanges Moisturizing Cream 

The Premières Vendanges Moisturizing Cream is a hydrating cream formulated with grape polyphenol anti-oxidants to protect the skin against free radicals. It’s suited for all skin types, but mainly recommended for youthful skin, which I suppose is what the term “Premières Vendanges” (winespeak for “harvest of the first crop of grapes”) refers to.

How to use it: You apply a quarter-coin sized amount on your face and another quarter-coin sized amount on your neck. This cream can be used both day and night.

Ingredients: Water, Glycerin* , Stearyl Heptanoate*, Ethylhexyl Cocoate*, Ethylhexyl Palmitate*, Polysorbate 40*, Sorbitan Palmitate*, Vitis Vinifera Grapeseed Oil*, Tripalmitin*, Tristearin*, Polymethylmethacrylate, Ceteareth-20*, Oleyl Alcohol*, Carbomer, Tocopheryl Acetate*, Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Stearyl Olive Esters*, Perfume (fragrance), Caprylyl Glycol, Palmityol Grapeseed Extract*, Potassium Sorbate, SodiumHydroxide, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylatecrosspolymer, Benzyl Benzoate, Citronellol, Coumarin, Geranoil, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool.

* Asterisk indicates ingredient is derived from plant sources

I actually spent a good hour and a half looking up each and every one of these ingredients!! I wanted to know what they are, what cosmetic purpose they serve and any potential toxicity they may pose.

So basically, the first couple of ingredients are emollients with hydrating properties, and then you have antioxidants and then later on the fragrances which are derived from essential oils. Most of the ingredients are low in toxicity but the fragrances from the essential oils can be irritants and cause unwanted reactions (a usual risk with essential oils).

If you want my notes on these ingredients, let me know and I can send them to you. It was just waaay tooo looong to post on here.

What I like about it: This is a cream that is really good at what it’s supposed to do!! It’s truly hydrating and it has a high concentration of anti-oxidants. I like the subtlety of the scent and I like the way the cream feels on my skin. It’s very soothing. After I use it, my skin feels really smooth and has this undeniable glow. The moisture lasts all day. And it doesn’t leave my skin feeling greasy. I can see how this would be good even for people with oily and pimple-prone skin. And of course, I’m pretty happy with the price in relation to how well the product works and how much of it you get.

What I don’t like about it: I’m actually pretty satisfied with this product. Of course I could be a little happier if I got more in terms of quantity but that seems to always be the case with cosmetic products that I like. Also, it’s not rich enough for cold, dry winter days. So if you have dry skin, or dry/combination skin then this might not be your ideal winter moisturizer.

How much: Around 15 € for a 40 ml tube.

Would I buy it again: Yes! In fact, this is the second time around that I’ve purchased this product. It’s an excellent moisturizer with a list of good, reliable ingredients.

In conclusion…

Personally, Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir was a great example of a much-hyped product that really didn’t do much for me. It does feel nice on my skin and I do get a nice glow from it. But the dry, uncomfortable feeling that I get afterwards is just not worth it. For people who like toners and whose skin takes well to astringents toners, I can see how this products would work for them.

The Premières Vendanges Moisturizing Cream provided the saving grace. It is a product that I am really happy with. And one that I would recommend to people to try if they’re looking for a good moisturizer.

As for the brand Caudalie itself, one of the main critiques out there against them is that their products are too expensive and do not contain enough of the active ingredients which they boast of. However, their serums have received many positive reviews. And if I were to ever encounter one of their serums during a BIG sale, I would be very happy to try them!

Phew. So that wraps up my review of Caudalie and two of their products!

Now over to you…

Have you tried any Caudalie products? And if so, what were your impressions?