Chatting with “From the Lab” about the future of beauty

LorraineDahlingerjpgClick on top title to open and scroll  From the Lab is a monthly beauty box subscription club that calls itself “the future of beauty. It sends its members a selection of two or three skin care items or cosmetics from upscale beauty labs before they are released to the public. In our exclusive interview, co-founder of From the Lab, Lorraine Dahlinger, tells DolceDolce how “From the Lab” puts together their beauty boxes of hot new products every month and what makes them so special.

I really wanted to hear what she had to say as “From the Lab” is one of the few subscription beauty boxes I really like. I am not one for subscription beauty boxes as the deluxe samples they offer are often available to anyone who can get themselves to a decent mall –especially one that has a Sephora store or a few posh department stores. What I love about From the Lab is that they send large samples that contain a full 30-day supply. And so far, I have also really liked all of the products they have sent.

Here is what Lorraine Dahlinger had to say:                                                                                                                                                                 Lorraine DahlingerFromthelab

DD: From the Lab talks about being part of the “informed shopping trend”. Can you explain the trend and how it relates to the beauty industry?

LD: Informed shopping is a form of knowledgeable buying that requires actual research on the part of the consumer. Instead of blindly buying an item based on packaging or price, consumers take the time to find out details about the product and the company that makes it (of course the details will vary depending on the product/industry). In the beauty industry, it means checking out the ingredients in the cosmetics. Because certain cosmetic ingredients have been deemed harmful to the body, such as parabens and phthalates, women are really starting to realize how important it is to ensure that their beauty products are free of toxins. In order to proactively support this trend, we decided to include a separate pamphlet with all of our products that details the ingredients.

DD: What makes From the Lab different from other subscription beauty box clubs?

LD: From the Lab brings next-generation beauty products to consumers on a regular basis. We offer a monthly subscription plan that delivers the future of beauty right to the consumer’s doorstep every month. We partnered with the best independent cosmetic labs in the world – the same labs where high-end, brand-name cosmetic companies get their ingredients – to procure their most groundbreaking products. By eliminating the marketing, frivolous materials, and lengthy, drawn-out distribution process we give our subscribers up to two full-sized luxury beauty products up to 18 months before they will even be available in the U.S. market – and for 80 percent off the retail price. We also include a separate pamphlet with each product that details all of the ingredients used because we believe women not only have the right to know, but should be well-informed, of exactly what is in their cosmetics.

DD: Why do you call yourselves the “future of beauty?”

LD: It’s simple: we get you today what we know major brands will get you in the future – the future being as far as 18 months from now. We know that most of the formulas and ground-breaking ingredients our beauty products contain will be used in the beauty products of major retail brands months after our subscribers receive them. So although our customers receive them in the present, these high-end products are essentially the future in cosmetics.

DD: How are the products created? 

LD: The product formulas are created in elite cosmetic laboratories, the same innovative cosmetic labs the major beauty brands rely on. We attend closed-door meetings to see which formulas are producing the best results and are thought to be the next big thing in the cosmetic industry. We procure access to these formulas and put them through a female focus group. We then select and supply our subscribers with the formulas that women tell us they cannot live without. 

DD: How do you capture trends in the beauty industry?
LD: We don’t capture trends, we create them. Our partnerships with these independent cosmetic labs give us exclusive first access to their revolutionary new products. Our expert knowledge and research, as well as our relationships with industry insiders, allow us to select products that best represent future trends in high-end, luxury beauty. All our premium ingredients are known for their efficacy and ingenuity.

Memberships in From the Lab begin at $19.95 a month and members can re-purchase their favourite items from limited stock


Tips from Karina Smirnoff

karinajpg.jpgClick on top title to open and scroll   We enjoy “chatting” with Karina Smirnoff, the vivacious brunette star of Dancing with Stars.  Born in Ukraine of a Russian mother and a Greek father, Karina takes a down-to-earth natural approach to beauty that combines natural beauty treatments with a few well-chosen high-tech beauty products. She has the same approach to fitness.

Karina told DolceDolce that when she is not working on the Dancing with the Stars, “I like to go to the gym for a couple of hours. I do a little cardio and some light weights. I also do a lot of forward lunges because that is the most important thing for dancing.” And while, Dancing with the Stars is famous for slimming down its guest stars, Karina still tries to eat well. “I just focus on trying to eat healthy.” Karina says, “I don’t like to eat anything heavy like beef or pork. I love sushi. Fish is the best”.

Karina’s beauty tips:                                                                                                                                                               Karina Smirnoff

Never go to bed with makeup on. The skin needs to rest too. I use Apothederm cleanser with a Clarisonic brush to remove all impurities and makeup.
For eye makeup, try using diluted olive oil. It is gentle and moisturizing.
If you have access to hot sauna, try doing a natural scrub of salt mixed with sugar followed by a honey mask for your skin.

To keep hair healthy, strong, and shiny, I do an egg yolk and vodka hair mask once a week.

To help fight sun damage I always use Apothederm brightening serum overnight with a gentle sunblock during the day.


Targeted beauty treatments

ApothedermfirmjpgClick on top title to open and scroll  Coincidentally, I recently tried a sample of Karina Smirnoff’s favourite Apothederm skin care line. Apothederm’s products use “Smart Peptides” developed by their parent company, Helix BioMedix.  According to Apothederm, this “new generation of patented, bioactive peptides mimic an amino acid sequence of the skin’s own natural protect and restore functions”.According to the Apothederm, their “SmartPeptides can target very specific skin problems such as fine lines, wrinkles, skin tone, texture, dark spots, and thinning.”

I tried Apothederm Firming Serum. I like the feel of the product as it is easily-absorbed and not greasy. It is also not drying like some serums. I like the combination of ingredients. I have sensitive skin that does not react well to retinol, but I get great results from a combination of glycolic, anti-oxidants, and high powered peptides like the ones in Apothederm. The skin care experts I speak with all consider peptides very effective. This is very good line especially if you are looking for a retinol alternative.

Apothederm makes a full line of anti-aging skin care that is well priced at $165 for a kit.



Ribbon sandals

SSekoribbonjpg.jpgClick on top title to open and scroll  Sseko Design’s ribbon and leather tied sandals are perfect with this season’s tribal prints, maxi dresses, and bright colours. Women love this type of comfortable, simple, sexy sandal.

And when I found that the sandals are made by women in Uganda as part of a program that helps them obtain a fair wage and education I was even happier to help promote them.

Sseko has an interesting story. The company makes beautiful accessories while helping women in Africa gain economic independence.

The Ribbon sandal can be worn tied in different ways and with a selection of different coloured ribbons.Ssekoribbon2Sandal




Get a Turmeric glow

Click on top title to open and scroll   You may know Turmeric as the bright yellow spice used in Indian food, but it is also a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. It is also an ancient beauty secret for beautiful skin. Turmeric is used in holistic medicine to support important blood and liver functions as well as being a powerful antioxidant.

Organic India’s Turmeric Formula, according to the company, “ is made with the purest, 100 percent organic Turmeric, a natural spice that contains curcuminoids, which are phytonutrients with powerful antioxidant properties that fight the damaging effects of free radicals in the body.” The supplement is also fortified with curcuminoid extract and organic ginger. If you decide to use a supplement it is very important to select one that uses pure ingredients of the highest quality. I like the formulation of Organic India Turmeric Formula that includes ginger and black pepper to increase bio availability.

According to Ayurveda medicine principles, taking Turmeric with Tulsi Tea helps make it more effective.

See their website for more information about herbs and Ayurvedic medicine

It costs $20 per bottle.



Beauty bargain from Wet-Nap

WenapClick on top title to open and scroll  We love a beauty bargain and the Wet-Nap Hand, Face & Body Cleansing Wipes moisturize with natural aloe extracts at $1.97 for a packet of 110 wipes is a fabulous find.  The unscented wipes are gentle and can be use from head to toe. They will even remove makeup.




Watermelon, cucumber and feta salad with lime

WatermelonfetasaladClick on top title to open  There is nothing more refreshing than a cool summer salad. Watermelon is usually served for dessert, but it becomes savory and fresh in this salad. Make it in minutes and serve it with chicken, fish, or beef – anything you can toss onto a grill. It is particularly delicious with spicy grilled prawns. I like it for lunch too, and then I simply add more feta.

Serves 4-6 


4 cups of cubed watermelon

3 cups of peeled and cubed cucumber

(If you wish use small pickling cucumbers or English cucumbers, seeding is unnecessary. It is also optional to peel English cucumbers, if you scrub the peel well.)

½ to ¾ cup of diced sweet onion

1 half thinly-sliced bulb of fennel

Juice from 2 limes squeezed over the vegetables


Salt to taste and add just a dash of cayenne if you wish or add optional fruit vinegar dressing. 

Place the well-chilled salad on a platter or in individual serving dishes. 

Sprinkle with 1 cup of crumbled feta. Use a nice creamy type. 

Optional: Top with fresh mint or lemon thyme.


Optional dressing for those who prefer a more “dressed salad”:


Fruit vinegar dressing

½ cup light fruit vinegar such as raspberry or orange-Muscat

1 tbsp. honey

1tsp dry mustard

Mix well

Add ½ cup good olive oil and blend well pour lightly over salad before serving




Dr. Oz is not the problem

DSCF0136Click on top title to open U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill’s intense grilling of “America’s Doctor” Memehet Oz may have sweated a few pounds off the already trim TV star and cardiologist. The Senator was after Dr. Oz for the claims he has made about weight loss supplements such as green coffee extract.

MCCaskill and Oz both have a point of view. McCaskill doesn’t like or understand Oz’s over-the-top claims for supplements that she insists he must know do not work. Oz says he personally believes in the supplements he talks about on the show as “short-term crutches”. He claims he has even has his family try them. But Oz concedes there are no long-term miracle weight-loss solutions without diet and exercise. McCaskill asked him why “when you have this amazing megaphone and amazing ability to communicate, why would you cheapen your show?”

“I actually do personally believe in the items I talk about on the show,” Oz answered. “I passionately study them. I recognize they don’t have the scientific muster to present as fact but nevertheless I would give my audience the advice I give my family all the time, and I have given my family these products.”

Dr. Oz assured Senator McCaskill he wants to be part of the solution. McCaskill repeated that she believed that Dr. Oz sincerely believed cared about America’s health.

I am glad to see such intellect applied to a potential scam but I wish the senator would turn her considerable abilities to a harder target. such as banking and consumer frauds. I would like her to use her impressive, prosecutorial rigor to investigate long waits for warranty repairs on appliances and the horrible way consumers are deceived and mistreated today. Consumer protections have become a joke in the USA.


There is no question that many of Dr. Oz claims for natural products are a bit over the top but having watched the show and interviewed him I have no doubt his heart and his science are in the right place. Dr. Oz always recommends diet, exercise, sleep, and stress reduction as the four essential elements of a healthy life and healthy weight loss.  If you listen to him –carefully and consistently – many of his other techniques and supplements are what we call in yoga “distractions,”  ways to help maintain focus when holding a posture  becomes challenging or in Dr. Oz’s case tools to help people who find changing unhealthy habits difficult.


Do these supplements work? It is hard to say, as so much the problem of why people gain and cannot lose weight is emotional and complex. I think that is one of the many reasons Dr. Oz is so successful. He is genuinely warm and addresses his viewers on an emotional level. Does green coffee bean extract work? It didn’t for me, but I have friends who swear by Hoodia and other weight loss supplements. I practice yoga and am devoted to acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine all practices western medicine was skeptical of just a few decades ago. Now my doctors are all for it. I actually meet many MDs in yoga class.


Senator McCaskill is on the right track investigating consumer fraud but she needs to spread her net wider. Dr. Oz is not the problem; he is just a sexy target. The problem today is corporate America’s disregard for the consumer and no effective policing.


Make time for the things you enjoy and the people you love because, my darlings, that is truly where the sweet life lies.


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Gracey Hitchcock

Editor, DolceDolce

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