ALL ABOUT THAT FACE (The At Home Spa Series…Part 1)

My name is Tamara and I’m a beauty addict.

There I said it. The first step is admission…right?

You see, for me, the love affair with skincare/cosmetics and make up was born more out of necessity than the actual love of playing dress up or desire to look older for a crush. I was a teenager who was plagued with bad skin. Well not really bad skin…more like sensitive skin that just looked really bad.

The teenage years, the 7 to 9 year period in a young person’s life, that parents the world over dread. Raging hormones cause extreme mood swings and wreak havoc on the body—especially the face. For me, when the breakouts started the real lessons in skincare began. Trial by fire—and almost in a literal sense.

Remember the “Noxzema Girl?” Also known as Rebecca Gayheart (I just found out her name the other day), the Noxzema girl had teens around the country (and maybe even the world) believing that slapping on some cold cream every night was the cure all to acne prone skin. Don’t get me wrong…it did work for some. But this chica soon learned she had sensitive skin. And my using the famed product resulted in mild chemical burns on my cheeks (where the breakouts were the worse) and extreme scarring. Hence sensitive skin that just looked really bad.

Over the years, I would experiment with a variety of products– from all natural soaps, glycerin soaps, high end products (my mom was a huge fan of Chanel and Lancôme) , beauty counter staples (like Clinique) and later cocoa and shea butters (which actually over time helped fade the scars). It took a few years, but my skin finally cleared up– just in time for college. By then, I was already a skin care junkie.

Fast forward to present day.

One of the perks I love the most about being a blogger is getting the chance to test some of the newest beauty products to hit the market. From established brands to those just bursting onto the scene, I love trying them all. Lou (my postman), Alex (my FedEx guy), and John (my UPS guy) are the couriers of my addictions. I literally do a happy dance when I hear the doorbell ring. A new product to test!

After Fashion Week my skin needs a chance to recuperate from the 24/7 make-up, lack of sleep, and all the wine and champagne (water? What water?). Add to all the stress of 7 days of nonstop running around the city and partying– the onset of fall and its blustery winds; all of which do a number on one’s visage. For the past month or so I have been all about the face (get it? Thanks Meghan Trainor for the title idea) — testing a number of products. Some were hits and others…not so much. But after a four week trial period I’ve come up with a list of faves that I think my fellow beauty addicts will be adding to their home spa arsenal.

DERMOLOGICA DAILY MICROFOLIANT

Dermologica Daily Microfoliant

Not a new product by any means (it first hit the market in 2001), Dermologica’s Daily Microfoliant is a definite must have as we transition into the fall and winter. A powder exfoliant, this rice-based formula activated with just a little water to gently but effectively lift dead skin cells for smoother, brighter skin. A half to 1 teaspoon’s worth goes along way– releasing active ingredients papain, salicylic acid and rice enzymes. I guess that’s why it’s been one of the brand’s best sellers worldwide since its debut. Safe for daily use, I use it every morning after cleansing my face. Afterwards I follow with a serum and a moisturizer with an SPF.

MONAT REJUVENIQUE OIL INTENSIVE

Rejuvenique Oil Intensive by Monat

Speaking about serums…I’m in love with Monat’s Rejuvenique Oil Intensive. Actually a dual purpose product (seriously who doesn’t love a product that multitasks?), the Rejuvenique Oil can be used on both your hair and skin. For the purposes of this trial I focused on its benefits for use on my skin. Utilizing its key ingredient Abyssinian Oil (derived from the crambe seed), Rejuvenique Oil does what its name suggests—rejuvenates the skin by replenishing and repairing the skin by providing nutrients, Omega-6 fatty acids and antioxidants that help prevent premature aging. With the late nights (as I write this post at 1am…) and lack of sleep due to stress, work and life in general, why look older than you are? This product is super light and absorbs quickly into the skin. I use it twice a day (in the morning after cleansing and before moisturizing and in the evening as a treatment). A little goes a long way. For those of us who are a little wasteful with oils, Monat has conveniently included a dropper which miraculously supplies the perfect amount to cover your face and neck.

CLAYSPRAY MATTIFYING RED CLAY

ClaySpray Mattifying Red Clay Masque

I have declared time and time again that I have the oiliest skin in New York. But after recent weeks, I am about to relinquish this title. Thank you Clayspray! I am singing the praises of the brand’s Mattifying Red Clay because it literally has changed my T-zone from an oil slick mess to a normal forehead, chin, and nose. Though many an aesthetician has told me I should thankful for oily skin (they claim it “keeps you young”), I can’t stand the shine that takes the sexy dewy look (let’s face it you can achieve that with bronzer) to looking like I just slathered Vaseline on my face. Since using the Mattifying Red Clay masque, it’s like I have a whole new face (I’m close to saying “bye Felicia” to my blotting papers). Why does it work? Well, the masque uses enriched mineral clay which helps regulate oil secretion in the skin, helps combats blemishes and purifies by really giving you a deep cleanse. Added benefit…the Mattifying Red Clay has minerals that have anti-aging capabilities including silica to boost collagen, iron to activate circulation and magnesium to heal the skin. It absorbs impurities while helping regulate the oil in your skin. Used in conjunction with ClaySpray’s H2O Spray (mineral rich mountain spring water), twice a week I use the masque on my t-zone. I let it dry and then rinse off followed the remainder of my facial routine.

ILLUMASK ANTI-AGING MASK

illuMask Anti-Aging Phototherapy Mask

Don’t we all wish we had the latest and greatest beauty products and technologies at our disposals like our favorite celebs? Please…many have an aesthetician on call (or better yet on staff) for their skin care emergencies. Since many of us aren’t that fortunate and daily trips to the spa aren’t in our budgets, we have to opt for the next best thing. Introducing illuMask. Now this is a product that brings the daily spa treatment right into your home. IlluMask uses phototherapy (the process of using “good” light to treat the skin) which has been used by dermatologists, spas and skin clinics forever. With illuMask you can get a top quality high end treatment in the comfort of your own home using a similar technology. I admit, it does look a little space-agey. It uses red light to even the skin and reduce roughness and infrared light to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The other thing—invoking the spa experience) you are forced to be still for 15 minutes (the length of the preset treatment). For a month (each mask is set to give you 30 treatments—yes they advise for optimal results to use this everyday) I carved out 15 minutes where I would put on some relaxing music (thank you Songza for your Yoga activity setting) and let the mask do its thing. Because there is no way for you to see (no eye holes) there’s no checking your email or texting to be done. But it is worth it. It works. Mr. Socialite (like most men…doesn’t really notice much) made a comment about my skin looking really nice. So illuMask is Mr. Socialite approved.

SILK’N REVIT MICRODERM

Silk’n ReVit Microderm

After attending a holiday preview event a little while ago, I was introduced to the brand Silk’n. A boutique brand, the company is known for providing professional aesthetic devices for home use. In a contest at the event, I won a ReVit Microderm Kit. It is everything! ReVit is all about creating beautiful skin—ReVitalizing it by removing dead skin cells using a very soft vacuum like process with a gentle “diamond peeling” tip. Sounds fancy right? Let me get down to the nitty gritty… ReVit literally slough off the dead skin cells helping to improve skin tone, texture and elasticity as well as reduce the appearance of age spots, fine lines and acne scarring (yay!). And the best part…it only takes 5 minutes. The other thing I love about it is that you can see the results after each use. What do I mean by that? Well you can literally see the skin flakes (gross but sooo cool—skincare geek) after each treatment. Recommended for use twice a week or as needed, the kit comes with three detachable diamond peeling treatment heads—Precision (for small and hard to reach areas), Fine (for a more gentle treatment) and Coarse for a more powerful exfoliation. Perfect for the face, neck and hands (the places that can show the most damage), the ReVit is definitely another must have for your at home spa. Be careful while letting others in your household try it. They’ll get addicted and you will find out that they are using it twice a week too (yes I’m calling you out Mr. Socialite!).

Alright…now I feel like a pusher (you know, that person who introduces you to the drug—thank you  former First Lady Nancy Reagan and the whole SAY NO TO DRUGS campaign of my youth for instilling that in my head)—talking about how amazing you will look and feel after using these products. You know you want to try ‘em. You know you’ll like ‘em. It’ll be worth it…believe me. You know you can trust me. LOL. Besides it’s the holiday season and between Thanksgiving and the one million parties that will take place between then and New Year’s you skin will need it. Just click on the links in each post…you want regret it!

* To learn more about each featured item, click on each product title to visit the brand’s site.

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THE CURVY SOCIALITE’S PICKS FOR FATHER’S DAY 2014

 

 

You forgot it was Father’s Day this weekend…didn’t you?  Let me give you a second to let the panic set in. Are you done? Ok…good. Take a deep breath and fear not. I have a few solutions for you gift dilemma for dear old Dad.

If you’re lucky, you have a father like I do. He sends wish lists (usually after Christmas the year before) of what he would like for the coming year and all the festivities (birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Father’s Day, etc) that it brings. If you aren’t as fortunate as I am or need some ideas aside from the annual tie (have you noticed he has never worn any of the ones you’ve given him in the last decade?) or the power tool (seriously do you want him tinkering around with a table saw?) here are a few ideas that might help you in your hunt for the perfect present.

According to Forbes, like women, there are essential pieces that every man should have in his wardrobe. No I am not suggesting you buy your father a whole new closet but maybe you can work on adding a few key items to it.

A HANDSOME WATCH

It doesn’t matter what line of business your dad is in (or no longer in if he is retired) he needs to tell time. A man doesn’t really have too many options for accessorizing. Aside from a wedding ring (if he’s hitched), the only “jewelry” many men wear is a watch. Though I find a fancy watch appealing, I think a good everyday watch for Daddy dearest is a great gift idea. Each time he puts it on, he’ll remember his favorite child gave him a snazzy timepiece. One of my favorite go to brands for a well made watch for daily wear is INVICTA.

Based in Switzerland (no one does a watch better than the Swiss) and founded in 1837, INVICTA is known for exceptional quality at an affordable price—perfect for a watch you want Dad to use regularly not just for special occasions. Here are my picks for Father’s Day:

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These can be found at your nearest INVICTA retailer (check the site for stockists), online or at the fabulous men’s boutique, St. James & Company in New Jersey.

THE PERFECT SHOE

We’ve all heard the phrase, “the shoes make the man.”  According to AskMen.com, the statement is definitely true and the quality of a man’s shoes reveals how much he respects himself. Match.com (yes the dating site) and author, Donna Sozio  (Never Trust A Man in Alligator Loafers: What His Shoes Really Say About His True Love Potential), went as far to say “The shoes a man wears and the way that he treats them are fail-safe indicators of not only his romantic personality, but also how he’ll treat his woman.” Now at the end of the day we want our dads to look good (for his wife/partner, a blind date or just for us when we take him out). But shoes have to fit your father’s personality. Here are some of my top choices from two of my favorite online retailers:

VIONIC is a footwear brand that marries science/medicine and fashion. I already know what you’re thinking….and no their not your grandpa’s orthopedic shoe. It’s no secret that many men (and women) suffer with foot, joint and back pain from wearing the wrong shoes, worn out shoes or just sacrificing comfort for the sake of fashion (yes men do that too). Vionic puts an end to this with a great men’s collection. With the summer season upon us, I am loving Vionic’s Regatta Deck Shoe (offered in suede and leather) and their Conner Casual Slip On. Both of these casual yet comfortable styles feature Vionic’s breakthrough Orthaheel technology developed by experts in biomechanics and foot health ensure relief from issues including plantar fasciitis, knee, back and foot pain.

 

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PLANET SHOES is quickly becoming one of my favorite sites for shoe shopping. The whole mission of the company is to “help customers make healthy choices for themselves the environment and the community.” Basically they sell great shoes that look good, feel good and do good for the environment. Planet shoes features brands from across the globe including the Spanish based shoe company, Pikolinos and American company, Red Wing. They have so many great shoes for men.  My favorites for Father’s Day choices include:

 

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THE MAN BAG

Everyone has a favorite bag—yes even men. Anytime I hope on the Metro North I see some very worn “favorites” seated next two well-suited gentleman as well as those in casual fare. They may not think they need a new one (hello, the handle of their brief case is holding on by mere threads), but they sure would appreciate a bag for Father’s Day. Here are my picks from my go-to men’s boutique, St. James & Company…

 

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GROOMING

No matter what a man says to you, he cares about how his skin looks. Please, they don’t want razor bumps, acne or wrinkles any more than a woman does. But he’s not about any 4 step cleansing processes either.  Enter MENAJI.

Founded by beauty expert and professional make-up artist, Michele Probst (alongside a team of dermatologists and chemists), Menaji is a line of men’s skincare and grooming products that are all about enhancing his skin. I am a big fan of their Gentleman’s Kit. It gives the father in your life all the core products needed to cleanse, replenish, rejuvenate and maintain their skin. Dad may look at you funny when you give it to him (Mr. Socialite did when I asked him to sample them) but all you have to tell him is that some of the most well-known men in the world (Johnny Depp, Kevin Bacon,  Kevin Costner, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw….hell, even President Obama and Regis Philbin) use it.  You can order this set via the Menaji website for $125.

 

The Gentleman’s Kit (Aftershave Hydrator, Face & Body Scrub, Eraser, Lip Agent)

 

These are just a few ideas for Daddy.

With that said, Happy Father’s Day from the Curvy Socialite

BEAUTY REVIEW: Artistry Intensive Skincare Anti-Wrinkle Firming Serum

Ever heard of Artistry Skincare? Chances are you may not have but you have definitely seen the brand’s effects. Confused? Let me clarify for you.

Artistry Skincare, an Amway brand (one of the first direct sales companies in the United States), has been around since the 1960s. Boasting a cosmetics line that includes over 400 products, Artistry is ranked one of the top cosmetics brands in the world along side, industry legends Clinique, Estee Lauder, Lancome and Chanel.  In 2010, the beauty brand became the official cosmetic and makeup line of Miss America.

I had the luxury of sampling their product line recently after attending their product launch and meet-and-greet event with the new Miss America, Laura Kaeppeler. A fan for years, I was super excited to get a chance to sample the newest collection.

A firm believer that it is never to early to start an anti-aging regime (seriously who really wants to use botox and fillers?), I was eager to sample the brand’s new Anti-Wrinkle Firming Serum. I was a little hesitant when I saw that it contained Retinol (known to be effective, but to have some unpleasant side effects including redness, dryness and flakiness). But science team at Artistry took care of that. Teaming with the University of Michigan, Artistry has used a breakthrough technology (utilizing botanicals) to produce their anti-wrinkle firming serum. Not once did my skin have a negative reaction to the Retinol.

I’m always skeptical of a product (no matter how much I love the brand) that boasts results in as little as four weeks. Artistry definitely lives up to the hype. Though I didn’t have wrinkles per se, I did notice some wear and tear starting to appear due to the craziness of life (late nights working, events, and a recent bout of insomnia). Two weeks after starting to use the anti-wrinkle serum, I started getting compliments on how “bright” and healthy my skin was looking (mind you, I still don’t sleep). After four weeks, strangers were telling me that i looked like I just came from a spa visit (A-OK in my book).

Not “cheap” by any means, at $138 a pop, the anti-wrinkle serum is an intensive treatment that is definitely worth it’s price.

Interested in trying it for yourself, visit the Artistry website here.