From hair care to makeup, our expert chooses the Editor’s beauty product picks “Best In Class” you should consider.
Representing and writing for the 50+ demographic isn’t only a joy, it’s a responsibility. Think about it: Two decades ago we embarked on harsh chemical peels and jagged, granular buffing treatments that may have left us, well, stuck at home for days. Fast-forward to right now: Exposed or indoor UV-vulnerable skin requires more “bio-exfoliation.” The use of less abrasive micro-derm products doesn’t mean less effective; in fact, some of my favorite pro-gorgeous, quiet riots are daily bio-exfoliator serums and creams that do a little each day and night, consistently with little to no negative signs of their hero components staving off the years. Yet, our assertive (yet gentle) pro-gorgeous skincare regimens still require a stellar UV protector that doesn’t clog pores and hopefully has an “active” that lifts, brightens or provides a light foundational coverage. BB or CC lotions and creams often have all the serums, lifting moisturizers, light tint coverage, liquid powders and SPF—all-in-one. YEP. Ask or read the instructions, as some of these all-in-ones get applied at different stages of your routine (not always last, anymore).
I’ve been in a research-intensive mood as of late (could be the warmer weather), I spent several eight-hour writing days in Moisture Bound Sleeping Recovery Mask (Amore Pacific) and a few eight-hour writing nights in Skin Caviar Luxe Sleep Masque (La Prairie). But seriously, holding back the years no longer has to be a Fall-to-Winter ritual. And I’ve hand-picked and tested some serious skincare and beauty products that range from affordable to wish list worthy, but are tremendous nonetheless. Shall we?
Amore Pacific skincare not only feels indulgent, it really is curing and penetrable—they even have their own millions of acres of eco-friendly green tea forests. A few of my favorites? Green Tea Seed Treatment Oil, Time Response Skin Renewal Mist (amazing) and Moisture Bound Refreshing Hydra Gel—a rich, anti-aging semi-matte crème-gel for humid or warmer seasons. Time Response Intensive Skin Renewal Ampoules restores optimal youth to skin as a month-long, 4-vial cure. Moisture Bound Sleeping Recovery Masque penetrates deep for hydrated, dewy suppleness. Time Response Intensive Hand Crème is matte, yet has a special agent that lets you wash your hands without losing all the applied moisture. You read that correctly. And Moisture Bound Lip Treatment is made from Bamboo Sap (the strongest and quickest regenerative plant in the world), providing a yummy, lush all-day lip therapy and lipstick primer.
A true trailblazer in the healthy skincare arena is Tata Harper. I’ve wanted to use, cover and immerse myself, umm, my skin, in this über-green, highly potent beauty brand. As their own manufacturers, Tata Harper’s concentrated formulas are “100% natural, non-toxic ingredients 100% of the time”. Pretty simple. Very powerful. A little goes a longer way. I picked and sampled a few hero standouts: Not entirely inexpensive at $365, Elixir Vitae is considered the ultimate nano-weight un-wrinkler, topically delivering the visual effect of an injectable. Concentrated Brightening Serum effectively illuminates, brightens and corrects the appearance of skin tone for a balanced, radiant complexion (including future hyperpigmentation) while counteracting the visual effects of daily collagen degradation. Wow. Replenishing Nutrient Complex is a lightweight facial oil serum comprised of micronutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals for your daily dose of environmental protection. Rejuvenating Serum is just that, as a complete anti-aging collagen treatment. Coming out of beauty hibernation? Rebuilding Moisturizer (matte finish) delivers while Boosted Contouring Serum acts as a daily anti-gravity treatment facelift resulting in a tighter, smoother face. And Be Fierce Sheer Lip Treatment is the perfect lip cure alone or before lipstick or gloss.
Suki Skincare is another stellar natural brand to look for—also being a forerunner in the synthetic-free cosmeceutical product world—appropriate for even the most sensitive skin types. “Tested safe for pregnant women, nursing moms and babies.” Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser is terrific, but also doubles as Suki’s 2 Step Ultra-Soft Lip Kit along with Formula Lip Care. Resurfacing Enzyme Peel uses proprietary fruit enzymes and white willow extracts while Renewal Bio-Resurfacing Facial Peel is a gentle giant for every day. Moisture-Rich Brightening Mask is another way to cure dullness and spots while hydrating and Radical Results Youth Serum is perfect for a daily or when rebounding from a treatment cycle. It’s a truly great line.
Being very conscious of what goes in and on my body, I’m no purist and am just as susceptible to a fistful of M&M’s or Double Stuf Oreo’s. Enter MEG 21. I found this concise skincare line rich, effective and relevant—meaning, very few brands focus on “glycation” which is foods that break down as sugar in our bodies and in our skin from within causing deeper inflammation and oxidative stress on our faces. This includes hidden sugars such as corn syrup solids in pasta sauces, etc. With Gooseberry Extract, Supplamine (patented), Comfrey Root Extract and more, I found Cell Therapy Antioxidant Boost to be at the core of their beautifying process (love). MEG 21’s Smooth Radiance Face Treatment and Advanced Formula for neck, chest and upper arms are real problem solvers. Their Age-Defying Hand Treatment is another item I can’t live without during the cold, crackly-cuticle months!
Some people put on expensive undergarments or wear a rare fragrance on days they have to elevate their self-confidence. Truth? “high and tight” is a La Prairie day if I ever saw one. Their newest, most scientifically advanced anti-wrinkle booster serum launches now—Anti-Aging Rapid Response Booster (1.7 oz.) promises visible results in two weeks using one of the most advanced delivery systems I’ve ever seen. I layer it with a cult favorite I could not live without, Skin Caviar Liquid Lift. As the season heats up, the perfect companion is La Prairie’s lightweight powerhouse Anti-Aging Emulsion SPF 30. Kick off the day (or night) lifted and unlined!
I was cautious about introducing another caviar line as most have minimal percentages. Caviar of Switzerland, on the other hand, uses certified caviar extract comprised of non-fertilized sturgeon eggs farmed in France. Similar to human skin, caviar has a cell format proven to provide unparalleled nourishment and mineralization to the skin. The helper ingredients of this brand are topshelf; Resveratrol, active enzymes, collagen synthesis-stimulating peptides and hyaluronic acid, to name a few. Cellular Repair Serum, 24h Regeneration Cream and Intensive Eye Cream are sure to enforce a pro-gorgeous regimen.
One of my favorite brands, especially when brightening, is Repêchage. A new edition to their Biolight line is Frost Bright Eye Contour Gel. I L-O-V-E their Brightening Daytime Protection Cream because it’s easy. Watermelon extracts and mineral protection from damaging rays make it an apply-and-run out the door product! And the following items greatly turn back the clock in record time: RAPIDEX® Marine Exfoliator with Phyto-Marine Actives uses giant, revolutionary, disposable swabs, while One-Minute Exfoliating Mask uses oil controlling seaweed, astringent lemongrass and fresh cooling cucumber for treat and go results. Using their own seaweed manufacture plants, this made in the USA dynamo provides all-star results and value. Repêchage.
Sulfate-free hair products (my first preference) have been a hot button beauty world topic for some time. Then we find out that many brands use stronger chemicals to remove sulfates from their products and labels. Confusing, right? Aside from that, my test is whether I can get my hands through my hair after shampooing. So when I saw a respected, luxury brand such as Schwarzkopf Professional Hair Care co-develop a decadent hair care line (with ex-supermodel Claudia Schiffer) exclusively for Walmart, I thought no way! After trying it, I thought right on! ULTÎME. I shampooed and conditioned with it, loved it and kept it. Each product has a specific use that works effectively. The intense Omega Supreme Repair Hair Treatment is spa worthy, while the Sublime Hair Beautifier 11-in-1 and Daily Oil Elixir leave-ins make hair silky, shiny and bouncy. Attention Walmart shoppers! You’ve got a real winner on your hands.
It was hard to improve on perfection, but Kevyn Aucoin cosmetics just raised the bar with perfected formulations, royalty packaging and dozens of DIY scenarios for your every mood—online. Example: Using Celestial Liquid Lighting with The Sensual Skin Enhancer and applied with their legendary The Foundation Brush produces radiantly flawless skin. Of course, if you want to forever perfect your makeup application skills, Making Faces, The Art Of Makeup or Face Forward
Londontown calling! My first experience with this nail lacquer brand wasn’t polish, but their kur Nail Treatment System. Basically, from October to May I literally apply kur’s Nourishing Cuticle Oil at least eight times a day—seriously. Call it my cross to bear—painful, dry, brittle cuticles (with regular manicures). The brush-on treatment absorbs immediately and allows me to proceed with my work. Chemicals in nail products seem to make people take action more than any other beauty product. kur‘s Nail Hardener and Protective Top Coat are proudly, “5-Free”: Formaldehyde-free, Toluene-free, DBP-free, Formaldehyde resin free and Camphor-free; also, kur‘s Restorative Nail Cream is paraben-free and the Strengthening Lacquer Remover is acetone-free. All products are vegan, gluten-free and cruelty-free. And the colored lacquers? Flirty and gorgeous. I use one of their fifty shades of blue on my pinkies and baby toes for fun. They’re a hoot.
Time for a little color; I’m very impressed by the richness of the Charlotte Tillbury line of cosmetics. The compacts, lipsticks, pencils and palettes are dubbed luxury for a reason. The colors are robust and saturated looking as only a starlet would consider donning. Visit The Glamour Muse, The Rebel or Some Like It Hot pieces and you’ll understand.
I know you’re as glad as I to be moving into our next season of bright, outdoor mobility and I hope you’ll make the effort to use some of these “Editor’s Picks” pro-gorgeous product suggestions. Remember, outdoor fun and sun doesn’t have to inhibit the smoothing, brightening or lifting part of our faces. Being pro-gorgeous is always in season.