No more rough stuff

Loved the movie, but skin care shouldn't leave you as bruised as rollar derbyThe rough treatment some women give their skin never ceases to amaze me. They rub it raw or burn it red. They let estheticians and medical facialists squeeze, poke, and scorch their lovely faces – all in the pursuit of loveliness. Quelle horreur! Now there are conditions, such as serious scarring, that may require serious intervention and resurfacing. But in the normal scheme of things, I have seen better results from tender loving care.

Not everyone agrees. There are doctors who will sell you laser treatments that burn, and prescribe so-called anti-aging potions that burn and itch. Even Retin A and glycolic acid can be used gently. There are two schools of thought, but in my opinion, skin that has been burned red and “regenerated” never looks quite right.
I prefer doctors who prescribe more gentle treatments. I gravitate towards experts who start with a gentle peel and gradually increase the strength, so that your face is never more than a little red and peely. It may take longer to get the fresh, luminous skin you want if you have neglected your complexion, but it’s worth the wait.
Never underestimate how much you can improve the appearance your skin; it is never too late or too early to start. Finding the right beauty makers to give you guidance is essential. You can’t be too fussy. The fit has to be right. Ask friends with gorgeous skin who they use. Make-up artists for prestige lines can often recommend good doctors. Dermatology at its best is as much an art as a science. You want to find a doctor who is an artist; one who really cares about making skin beautiful. Not all of them do.
Be sure to peruse websites carefully before making an appointment. Never be afraid to ask prices ahead of time, most anti-aging and even acne treatment may not be covered by insurance – even in Canada. Don’t be discouraged. There are so many options these days, so a doctor should be able to offer you several choices to perfect your skin, one of them in your budget. Avoid any office that uses the hard sell. You can tell a lot over the phone.
Don’t be offended if a doctor mentions Botox or fillers, unless you are very young. They are effective safe tools for making patients look younger without surgery. Done properly, they look natural and are very safe. You might be surprised how many women – and men – discreetly use them. But, if you are not interested, a good doctor will cheerfully move on to another option. And never be afraid to walk away from anyone you are not comfortable with. Believe me. I have. There are many approaches and doctors; one is right for you.
Not all doctors’ visits will result in costly in office treatments either. One problem that plagues women of all ages is hyperpigmentation or ugly brown spots. They can happen at any age from too much sun or hormones. Women hate them and after you are in your mid-thirties, they can be very aging.
Until recently the only effective over-the-counter treatment for these spots was hydroquinone. And even if you went to dermatologist they just offered you very strong hydroquinone cream. Now, stronger pricy prescription creams are available that combine hydroquinone with other ingredients. They are more efficient at removing the spots, but they also have serious side effects for some women. Some derms offer peels or special laser treatments to remove or reduce the dreaded spots.  
Even though numerous studies have found hydroquinone to be safe, it has been banned in some countries, such as France and South Africa. Its use has raised concerns about an increased risk of cancer and ochronosis, or darkening of the skin.
I have friends who have had their skin darkened with hydroquinone.
That’s why I have been very interested in the new product developed by  Standford University. Lumixyl is a complex of oilopeptides that has been found to significantly inhibit tyrosinase, the rate-limiting enzyme in melanin production. In other words, it stops what produces unwanted brown spots.
I have tired Lumixyl on my own sensitive skin. I am seldom in the sun and never without SPF 50. But occasionally on vacation I will get small patches of hyperpigmentation from strong sun despite my precautions. The Lumixyl Brightening system is fabulous. I think is most exciting new product I have seen in years. The combination of glycolic acids and the Lumixyl peptides makes fast work of any discoloration without disturbing side effects. According to studies done by Lumixyl, it takes eight weeks to see significant improvement for moderate or severe hyperpigmentation. There are great before and after shots with clear medical lighting on their site. I got rid of my little patch in week, but it was very light and I took prompt action.
The Lumixyl Topical Brightening System has four products, including Active-Prep Cleanser, the Topical Brightening Creme, GlycoPeel 20 Rapid Exfoliating Lotion, and Moisture-Lock Sunscreen SPF 30.  
This system is available only from doctors office at his time, but I would recommend it to women dealing with moderate to severe brown spots that have not responded to over-the-counter products such as Olay Definity. The Olay product is excellent and well-priced, but it may not remove stubborn cases of hyperpigmentation.
Darlings, whatever your complaints – acne, oily skin, wrinkles, fine lines, sagging, spots, dry skin – you can improve your skin and have a beautiful glowing complexion. We have the technology and you can do it on any budget. But be gentle and kind. You are precious.



Cold weather SOS

Fabulous even as the mercury drops Image:  Darlings, many people actually enjoy the colder temperatures of winter. But the change of weather can usher in a slew of beauty issues.

If a cold, flu, or allergy has given you a red, chafed nose, do not try to cover it up with regular make-up or concealer. Those products are fabulous, but on irritated skin they will cake, may burn, and will make it all look worse.

Olay Definity Color RecaptureOn delicate, irritated skin try a tinted moisturizer such as Olay Definity Colour Recapture or Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer (do not buy illuminated). Stick the tube in your bag for touchups.
Women with dry skin may want to use tinted moisturizer instead of foundation all winter long. The coverage is excellent and it gives skin a dewy look. And an additional bonus is that both products give the skin a beauty treatment with nourishing ingredients to improve skin’s appearance as you wear them.
Laura Mercier Tinted MoisturizerAnd darlings, if you actually have influenza with a fever and chill, please stay home. You need your rest and no one needs your flu!
Dior Skin Radiance Booster PenIf allergies, illness, or long hours have made you look like a raccoon, you need a super concealer. Try Dior Skinflash Radiance Booster Pen. It is pricey at over $30, but it is the best. You can erase shadows and small flaws instantly– and it stays put. It has no weird pink tones, unlike the other pricey brand-name concealer pens. I am never without this. Our photographer Karin Pacione said it “changed my life”. Dior recommends that you cover fine lines with it, don’t try it. Nothing covers lines. Avoid getting them as long as possible. Then use a good eye cream, foundation, or moisturizer. When it comes to lines and make-up, less is more. All concealers, even those advertised not to, will emphasize lines. Keep all concealers away from any fine lines on your face.
Laura Mercier Secret CamoflageIf you need to conceal a bump or zit, try Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage.
This is the best “zit’ concealer. It is very dry, so it does not “melt” off the zit. It lasts forever. It has a white and skin tone, so you can mix it to cover any spot. I love this product and so do makeup artists.

The foundation report – find a fabulous foundation

Skin like a gardenia petalSummer might seem like a strange time to write about foundation, but it’s really not. Foundation can make your skin look fabulous in summer’s unforgiving light, especially when you learn to pick the perfect shade for your skin and how to apply it. 
Never apply foundation to your entire face. Put it only where you need it; where you have shadows, redness, or other slight blemishes. Never follow the advice of some experts and apply foundation down to your collar. You will only stain your clothes. Some women have more colour on their faces than on their necks and décolleté. If this is your issue you will need to use a slightly yellower foundation to tone down the redness. Some experts use a green or mauve colour corrector under foundation for this problem. But most women find this too much trouble — and too heavy for every day. If you can not figure out the colour, go to department store. Or use a line the labels colours cool and warm. L’Oreal True Match is a drugstore line that does this. The warm tone will usually cover red best, but check the shade on your own skin. The best place to match your foundation is along your jaw bone. Always check the match in daylight. If you can not test the colour directly on your skin – as in a drugstore – walk to window with the tester or package. In a department store, apply the colour to your skin and go outside.
Buying online is tricky, but they offer help online and accept returns. Also never buy make-up any place that does not offer a full return policy with the package and sale slip, after you try it. Too many women think they can not return a product after they try it. That is the point of the policy, to be able to try it!
The new foundations can also make your skin look more luminous and brighter. They also add a layer of protection between your skin and aging rays of the sun, and damaging free radicals from pollution. And unless you are in clean country air, foundation acts as a barrier between your skin and dirty city air. It will not clog your pores as some old fashioned and misguided thinkers would have you believe.
One of my mentors, now in her 80’s, has fabulous skin. She credits it in part to always having worn foundation.
In the past year we have tested many different foundations to find the very best. They have been tried by our DolceDolceteam who ranges in age from 16 to 70-plus. I have personally tried them all.
I have divided them in to three categories: department store luxe, boutique, and drugstore. Don’t assume that the more expensive foundations are the best; all the products we are going to mention here are fabulous in some way. We have decided not to waste space on products we didn’t like. Also do not expect our list to match any "reader’s best or reader’s choice" you may find in other magazines. Those lists are good, but many readers use the first or second foundation they buy. We used exacting criteria for appearance, feel, and value.
Foundation often looks better when worn over primer or moisturizer. However, in the daytime it can be too heavy to add a primer over sun block, and the SPF 15 in foundation is not strong enough for outside wear! (Manufacturers please note, higher SPF please!) All of our foundations look good over sun block alone. A couple of the best foundation primers we have tried are: Laura Mercier Flawless Face Oil-Free Primer and Bioelements Oxygen Cocktail. Both of these products are good value and very hydrating. Oxygen Cocktail is not actually a primer but super-hydrating under make-up and used as one by make-up artists. A little goes a long way.
When it comes to luxurious department store foundations, Chanel Pro Lumiere Professional Finish Make-up is one of the best. The texture is gorgeous as is the finish. The shades are fabulous too. They are not too yellow or pink. This a pricey foundation at $54 US and $68 CND, but a little goes along way. It is essential to apply it with a light hand. I adore this foundation as it covers small flaws, but does not look heavy. It stays in place for hours. Make-up artists love it too. They also love its new incarnation Chanel Lift Lumiere. This foundation has special polymers to lift and tighten” but is basically a dewier version of demi-mat Pro-Lumiere.
Chanel foundation is definitely the crème de la crème of department store foundation. The coverage and the finish are superb. Their cream foundation Teint Innocence is also very soft and provides good coverage.
Other big make-up companies make very good foundations. Our goal was to find the best. We found Chanel has the edge with texture, shades, and overall appearance. There are new and interesting products made by smaller make-up companies sold in smaller exclusive smaller department stores and at beauty boutiques such as Ulta. But as they are not easy for all our reader to find and try, we did not include them in our report.
In the boutique or smaller online category there were two clear winners: Motives by Loren Ridigner Liquid Powder Mineral Foundation and Redpoint Transformative Dual foundation.
Motives by Loren Ridigner Liquid Powder Mineral Foundation is an all-in-one product containing primer, antioxidants, foundation and power, all in one tube. I am crazy about this foundation. It feels weightless and makes my skin look luminous and flawless. It has an SPF of 15, but I wear it over sun block as SPF is inadequate for anything but indoor wear. It is nice not to bother with a primer and still have the make-up go on smooth as glass. Every time I wear this, people tell me I look fabulous. At just under $25 this is good value for money.
Redpoint Transformative Dual Foundation comes with two blendable shades that create the shade you need or can be used to highlight and conceal certain areas of the face. It contains a peptide blend and light diffusing pigments that combine to help fill in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, so skin looks and feels more youthful. The make-up glides on and is light as a feather, but still provides fabulous coverage. At $42, it isn’t cheap, but it may be great choice if you have issues with make-up settling into lines and creases. It’s offered in three dual shade compacts from light to dark that are truly flattering. We can not recommend their Airbrush Blush as it streaks.
If you are on a tight budget, don’t despair, there are truly beautiful foundations at the drugstore. One of my favourite foundations for years has been L’Oreal Paris True Match. I like the entire line. When it was first introduced it was a fabulous liquid make-up in 27 shades. There is still a wide range of shades. An easy-to-use system of warm and cool coding makes it possible for even a novice to get a “true match”. Finally, I could send my Indian and Asian friends to the drugstore, confident they too could find a good make-up! They could even buy the same brand as I did – and I wear porcelain. How fabulous is that?
Now it has been improved with the addition of True Match Super Blendale Compact Make-up. This is an easy-to-apply make-up in 24 shades that uses the same easy-
The entire True Match range of concealer, powder, and bronze glow are great value. They work well for almost any skin tone or age and you can always find your shade. You can usually buy True Match for under $10 US and $12 CND. 
Cover Girl Simply Ageless with Olay Regenerist and SPF 15 is different type of foundation. It is designed to float over fine lines and give good coverage. I wear very sheer foundation and always have, but women who want and need a bit more coverage love this foundation. It has a creamy texture, and it does not cake. The shades are lovely; not too yellow or pink. This is an excellent option for any woman looking for more coverage at an excellent price.
At the opposite end of the spectrum some of us only want a more hint of colour and coverage; for us tinted moisturizer is the way to go.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer comes in both a regular and oil-free formula. I prefer the oil-free. It comes in a range of shades and looks dewy and natural. It provides a hint of coverage. It has an SPF of 20 and is packed with anti-oxidants. Make-up artists, fashion editors, and socialites adore this product for its natural look. It costs $42 US and $57 CND.
Olay Definity Colour Recapture has an SPF of 15 combines Definity’s anti-aging complexion brightening qualities with a touch of colour. The lightweight moisturizer gives faces definite luminosity. This product left skin soft, moist, and lovely. Even ladies who only use higher-priced cosmetics liked this one. 
I have worn both products and like both equally. I am a dedicated foundation wearer, but I like to have tinted moistener on hand. It the only thing I can wear during a bad cold when my skin is ultra sensitive. I also mix it into my foundation during the winter, when my skin can be overly dry. Give this a try; it stands up well to the higher-priced product.
We also tested and tried the now popular mineral make-ups. Minerals are popular with acne sufferers as well as those who have sensitivities, and women who find it settles less into lines. To do this, we enlisted a few die-hard mineral lovers. Their conclusion: the best-selling and best-known brands are not the best-looking or -wearing. And one of our testers had been wearing it for years – and paying a top price for it.
Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics was very popular with our mineral make-up aficionados. The line has luminous colours and stays on really well. They aren’t inexpensive, buy they are fabulous.
E.l.f. or eyes, lips, and face is an inexpensive line of mineral make-up that some of our testers loved. For $15 you can buy enough make-up to do your entire face.
According to our test group, mineral make-up from the Body Shop, Sonia Kushuk for Target, Cover Girl and L’Oreal Paris are all fabulous. You do not have pay a premium for good mineral make-up.
Darlings, foundation make-up is a beautiful thing. It smoothes out all the little flaws and make some thing fabulous – you even more so! Many women use tons of concealer when a little properly-chosen and applied foundation would do the trick. Light reflecting foundations can banish dark circles better than layers of stuff! Others go bare faced when a touch of make-up is magic.
Darlings, no one says you need to paint your face to be loved or successful. Beauty and artistry (that is why they call them make-up artists) is – and should be — a joy! It’s fun to sparkle and shine. I have never believed that fashion, beauty, or any of the good things in life should be aspirational. No darlings, beauty is attainable and we are here to help you get it all! Remember, beauty has never been more economical or attainable! Isn’t that fabulous?


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