Real Girl Lifestyle

Archive for the ‘Skin care’ Category

Just over a year ago, La Mer launched an exciting new addition to its serums line, The Regenerating Serum, and now its latest innovative product debuts from the Max Huber labs, The Radiant Serum. I can’t wait to try this new product, a lightweight gel formula that boosts skin’s ability to reflect light while imparting exclusive ingredients that interact with cells to firm, plump, and illuminate complexion.

I’ve already become a devotee of the Regenerating Serum, whose ingredients are at the cutting edge of cell communication. In addition to a vital dose of La Mer’s patented Miracle Broth, the Regenerating Ferment relies on potent marine plant stem cells to renew and restore skin structure and integrity. Skin is encouraged to produce crucial collagen and elastin, without which skin loses strength and elasticity. An impressive and extensive list of antioxidants further repairs and prevents free radical damage, reinvigorating delicate facial skin.

The Regenerating Serum is more emollient than many serums I’ve used – a more moisturizing texture than primarily silicone-based formulas – and so it’s appropriate for dry or combination complexions. Given that the texture is so much more lightweight than many moisturizers, however, I consider it oily skin-friendly as well.

Results improve with continued use, and I relish knowing that this serum’s cooling, smoothing, refreshing feel belies the extreme potency of its rare and meticulously constructed ingredients. I can’t wait to see what the talented technicians at Max Huber labs bring us next!


Clinique says roll away puffy eyes. Real Girl says yes, please!

Every gal has her “thing,” and Real Girl’s is the under-eye area. My nemesis. My puffy, dark-circled, ever-concealed, genetically-induced foe. When a product purports to do away with puffiness and dark circles, my radar pings at high volume: “Must try! Must try!” Which brings us to the latest addition to Clinique’s All About Eyes line, the new All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage. Oh, Clinique. Roll away my troubles!

Like all of Clinique’s products, including the formerly reviewed Even Better Skin Tone Corrector, you can trust that the active ingredients have been chosen based on scientific testing indicating some extent of results. Here, the most potent ingredients are caffeine–widely used to combat puffiness, and in this product higher on the ingredients list than I’ve seen in almost all others–and a cocktail of established antioxidants, including grape seed and pomegranate extract. But also, like with any skin care product, you can’t expect miracles or the kind of correction provided by surgery.

So keeping my expectations moderate, I gripped the smooth, cool plastic applicator and started to glide. Mmmm. Gliding. The metal-ball tip feels delightfully cool, and it rolls smoothly over the delicate under-eye area, dispensing product without tugging that paper-thin skin. Unlike Clinique’s original All About Eyes gel-cream, the serum is not particularly hydrating. But that’s not a problem–this product is meant to be applied first, under all other moisturizers and sunscreens. Its job isn’t to hydrate, it’s to tighten. And tighten it does. Within minutes, the under-eye area retains its dose of cool refreshment and also, for lack of a better way to describe it, feels less puffy. Not uncomfortably, the caffeine feels like it’s taken that loose bagginess of puffery and reined it in a bit. Your skin feels better–you know antioxidants are protecting it from environmental stress, and I do think the serum’s active ingredients have worked well enough to substantiate most of the product’s claims.

I have not noticed a significant change in tint–my dark circles still look pretty darn dark. But using this product in the morning is just plain pleasant. Storing the elegant-looking tube in the refrigerator does enhance the chill of the metal tip, but I think the product then rolls on less effortlessly, and perhaps the applicator dispenses less. Even without refrigeration, though, that massaging little tip continues to feel deliciously cool against your fluid-filled puffiness.

Roll away, Real Girl says. My darling little Clinique All About Eyes Serum, you will never be able to depuff enough! But for now, I’m keeping you near and dear to my puffy heart.


Cool metal tip and massaging action manually depuff

Caffeine is listed high on ingredients list and has shown to fight puffiness

Very good antioxidants

Refrigeration optional–cooler tip but applies less product

To be applied first, under moisturizer and sunscreen. (However if you use a topical exfoliant gel or serum, then apply that first)

Soft. Pillowy. Kissable.Real Girl’s lips have never felt more kissable, which means I must share–only with an elite few, of course. That few being you, who get to know the secret to all this pillowy softness: Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment. As for the elite few who get to experience these pouty, succulent lips first-hand? Consider that list too exclusive to share. 🙂

Fresh has lofty ambitions for its Lip Treatment, a bestseller in the cult “Sugar” line. In addition to moisturizing and repair, the Treatment purports to plump and protect. Black currant oil is indeed a plumping agent, but the effects are minimal, and the balm’s natural glisten will do more to enhance your lips’ appearance, leaving them healthy, dewy, and subtly luminous. But the real reason to invest here is the texture. Fresh’s Sugar Lip Treatment feels just lovely–lightweight, slippery, and silky. Unlike with a waxier Chapstick-type balm, the Lip Treatment won’t simply seal in the lip’s natural moisture–it bestows its own saturating dose of oil extracts that leaves lips utterly supple and cared for. And the signature Fresh Sugar scent–lemon tinged, sweet meringue meets verbena–remains pleasant without being overpowering.

Unfortunately I’m not over the moon for the sunscreen ingredients. Octinoxate and oxybenzone are chemical sunscreens that absorb mostly UVB rays. I would recommend layering a zinc oxide or titanium dioxide mineral-based sunscreen underneath the silky balm for wider-sprectrum protection. But Fresh’s elegant formulation hits spot on with its anitoxidants. Vitamins C, E, and A and grapeseed polyphenols are well-established, reliable ingredients to repair and prevent free radical damage.

For a hint of color, Fresh also offers tinted Lip Treatments, in Rose Tinted and the new, headier Plum Tinted, which Real Girl covets. I prefer to apply my Lip Treatment over my favorite stain to leave my tinted lips softer and more delicate, with a hint of ladylike shine.

I have been pampering my lips overnight with Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment several evenings in a row now, and I have never woken up with softer lips. But the true test will come this winter. Can the Lip Treatment prevent wind-blown chapping? Will Real Girl’s lips remain kissably supple even during the most biting winter months? We must reconvene then and see if this delightful find keeps my pucker tender and touchable.

Real Girl believes it will.


A lightweight, nourishing lip balm

Leaves lips delicately supple and soft

Antioxidants Vitamin A, C, E and grapeseed oil combat free radicals

Some amount of SPF sun protection

The sun’s harsh rays affect your body, not just your face.

When The Blogfather gave Real Girl Ren’s Wild Yam Omega 7 Firming Body Repair Cream to test, I confess I wasn’t sure what to do with it. The product targets “mature” skin, and although RG isn’t (often) childish, in skin care terms thankfully my body is still supple, soft, and smooth. Or, at least it was. Before I went and did something stupid.

Antioxidants, collagen boosters, cell repairing ingredients, all that good stuff we’ve discussed–Real Girl always thought only her face deserved the investment in these targeted, often expensive ingredients. And then summer came. One bright, sunny day, Real Girl put on her chemical facial sunscreen (SPF 45) under her mineral facial sunscreen (SPF 30), and then she trotted off for a couple hours to bask on the vast, open green lawn of Central Park’s Sheep’s Meadow. To be extra safe, her face was shaded by a ball cap. Those destructive UV rays would not be wrinkling my not-quite-yet mature Real face! My body, however…

That’s the whole deal–I’m “real.” Not perfect, not mistake free. I know I should wear sunscreen on my body, of course I do! But it was only going to be a couple hours, and my skin is naturally pretty color-resistant, rarely tanning or burning. This time, I got somewhat pink and somewhat brown. Not much, mind you, but enough to see the sun had done some damage. My Real skin was still soft, just…a bit drier now. I could see where maybe some elasticity had been lost. Despite the new sexy, tawny hue, my skin was thirsty for moisture and repair.

Enter Ren’s Wild Yam Omega 7 Firming Body Repair Cream. So that’s why Real Girl’s not yet mature skin needed this rich, repairative, nourishing body lotion. And boy did my skin drink it in. The West African wild yam extract will indeed be most beneficial to women who are post-menopausal, for whom Ren made this moisturizer. Phytosteroids, or plant hormones, have shown some similar properties to estrogen in keeping skin more youthful. Soybean extract is a lovely skin care ingredient for anyone, acting as a potent antioxidant to fight free radical damage. Genistein (in soy) stimulates collagen production and increases firmness, elasticity, and suppleness. The Omega 7, derived from Sea Buckthorn Berry Oil, contains palmitoleic acid, “a highly effective antioxidant providing strong anti-aging support due to its ability control free radicals.” The Ren brand has a superb reputation for using fine, organic, only safe ingredients. With all these collagen-promoting, free radical-fighting, elasticity-restoring ingredients, I knew my sun-dappled skin was in excellent hands.

Texture-wise, this lotion bathes skin in moisture, leaving it smooth and more elastic to the touch. Real Girl would recommend this level of moisture and repair for 1) any post-menopausal woman, 2) sun-kissed or sun-damaged skin, 3) dry, chapped winter skin. Ren has tapped into the phyto trend, using regenerating plant ingredients to combat aging, and given consumers a luxurious, hydrating, and synthetic free solution for when your body’s skin needs some extra love and attention.

Hint: We’re not talking Che Guevara.

Real Girl’s readers should understand why I swoon over antioxidants so often, and why they’re so crucial to keep your body healthy and your skin more youthful. If we lived in a different world–one without pollution, cigarette smoke, UV rays, we probably wouldn’t have to worry all that much about supplementing our diets and skin care products with extra antioxidants. The body naturally fights oxidation all the time. It’s just that our environment heaps on more of it than our body can handle–and that’s when the free radical damage can get out of control. Free radicals create more free radicals. And if the chain reaction isn’t stopped or prevented, then over time, your body suffers for it–not only with wrinkles, but also with potential for diseases, including cancer.

Oxidation messes lots of things up: it causes rust, it makes fruit spoil, and it begins vicious chain reactions in our bodies that lead to weakened cells. Boo, hiss to oxidation.

Your cells are made up of molecules, and the number of electrons shared by those molecules determines whether chemical reactions will occur. Atoms want to bond with other atoms to fill up their electron shells. Shell filled? Boom, molecule stable. Until oxidation occurs. The process of oxidation causes otherwise stable molecules to lose an electron, making them profoundly unstable. Now they’re called free radicals. Free radicals want nothing more than an electron, and they’ll attack a neighboring molecule to get it. Now that molecule becomes a free radical. A chain of damage has begun, and as the cell’s molecules attack each other looking for electrons, the cell becomes weakened. It can die, or it can mutate, growing abnormally and reproducing abnormally.

But you can fight back. You can mend your damaged cells and prevent future molecular damage–and you do this with antioxidants.

Do you hear the angels singing? And playing their harps? I think the lyrics have something to do with Vitamin C and E, the two antioxidant superstars. And you thought angels only cared about topping Christmas trees. Antioxidants are able to give away an electron and still remain stable. So when a free radical meets an antioxidant, the chain reaction of damage can end–the free radical finds what it needs without damaging another molecule. Your cell remains safe and healthy. Vitamin C (water-soluble) hangs out in the cell fluid, capturing a free radical and neutralizing it before it can start its damage. Vitamin E (fat-soluble) works in the membranes to stop a chain already in motion. Both are crucial nutrients to have in your diet, and although the research isn’t 100% conclusive, there have been many studies that suggest these antioxidants can be beneficial when applied topically to skin. Another potent class of antioxidants are flavonoids, which are plentiful in all tea, but especially green and white.

You can find plenty of Real Girl posts that recommend products with topical antioxidants. Expect in the future to read up on where you can get your dietary doses. Real Girl wants to help you out on all fronts. The more free radical chain reactions we can stop in your body, the better. Not only for beauty’s sake, but for health’s. Reversing and preventing this damage will make your body younger, outside and in.

(If you’re interested in reading more about how oxidation, free radicals, and antioxidants work, find more information here and here.)

Shed excess layers and reveal a more radiant you.

Real Girl is not known for her patience. When I test a product, I want to see results yesterday. But I’m logical enough to realize that sometimes good things come to she who waits–and that often, quick results mean irritating or harmful concentrations of ingredients. Clinique wants to care for your skin. I’ve long been a fan of its skin care line, which is packed with research-driven, carefully formulated ingredients. The Even Better Skin Tone Corrector is no different; you just have to wait a few weeks before you can see the difference. Patience. It’s like standing on a subway platform waiting an age for the train to come. When it finally does, you reach your destination.

Even Better seeks to diminish skin discoloration due to age spots, sun damage, and even acne scarring, leaving your skin healthier-looking and more radiant. It’s important to note first what ingredient Clinique doesn’t include, and that’s hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is one of the most effective ingredients in reversing skin discoloration and decreasing melanin, however there has been some research that claims it’s carcinogenic. The ingredient is banned in Europe, and the FDA has shown concern and proposed a ban on over the counter use. The research isn’t conclusive, and we can’t say what concentration of hydroquinone would be harmful, but still…do you really want to risk it? Real Girl’s not sure she could rest easy using a skin care ingredient that might cause cancer. Apparently, Clinique agrees.

But without the most capable melanin-fighting ingredient, Clinique has had to rely on something slower-acting and not as potent. Even Better is not a miracle cream, and you shouldn’t expect it to be. After using the product day and night for 4-6 weeks, results will be most noticeable for light age spots or mild sun discoloration, and you’ll probably only notice an improvement in acne scarring if the spots are relatively recent. But you will likely still see your skin become more radiant, and an extensive cocktail of antioxidants will protect it for the future.

Even Better packs a one-two punch of exfoliation and antioxidant protection. Ascorbyl glucoside (Vitamin C) and salicylic acid mildly exfoliate, and over time dead and discolored layers of skin are gently sloughed away to reveal a healthier, more vibrant complexion. Yeast extract, barley extract, birch bark extract, mulberry root extract, and turmeric extract provide antioxidant protection against future sun damage, and cucumber extract works toward preventing future discoloration. These ingredients will indeed help to even tone and promote healthy chemical reactions, but if you’re expecting to see the effects of dermabrasion or laser treatments, you’ll be disappointed.

The silicone-based lotion goes on light and grease-free, so it’s appropriate for normal-to-oily skin. Those with drier skin will likely need to follow with an additional moisturizer. Of course for day-time Real Girl heartily recommends finishing off with a good sunscreen. Perhaps even Clinique’s own City Block.

Real Girl is a hearty proponent of exfoliation, and I’ve been using a topical exfoliant (as opposed to something with granules) for years. Getting rid of those dead skin cells allows beautiful ingredients to penetrate your skin more easily, your pores to breathe, and your skin to look more youthful. I have a feeling we’ve only scratched exfoliation’s surface. Gently, of course.


Topical exfoliants slowly slough off dead and discolored skin cells

Antioxidants protect against future damage

Contains no hydroquinone

Results are moderate but should lead to a more radiant complexion

Schooling Real Girl on how to do moisture.

Because of Pangea Organics, “oil” is no longer a dirty word for Real Girl. This is pretty huge. Others have tried to convince RG in the past, but oil has been oil has been oil. Until now.

I’m kind of in love with Pangea’s cleanser and body gel. As in, I’m not sure my skin has ever felt better.

Having already discussed Pangea’s impressive attention to ingredients and social responsibility, now it’s time to get a bit more Real. Man, this stuff feels good. Right now, I am stroking my cheek, feeling the supple effects of essential fatty acids and “saponified oils” in Pangea’s Egyptian Calendula & Blood Orange Cleanser. Here’s a tough myth to beat in facial cleansing: Your skin is not supposed to “feel” clean. It’s a tempting illusion, and one Real Girl often fails to dispel–who wouldn’t want to have some tangible reaction to a cleanser? “Ooh, my skin feels so oil-free,” or “Ooh, the day has been sloughed off,” or “Ooh, it’s so minty fresh.” But no, facial cleansing is an area where you want to be gentle–and just as importantly, where you want to retain your skin’s natural moisture. Pangea’s facial cleanser initially looked like something scary for my combination and occasionally spot-prone skin. I pumped the rather creamy and slippery tonic into my hand thinking, “I’m about to put oils…on my face.” But the results were surprising. Unlike with detergents–especially the too harsh sodium lauryl sulfate and for some even the gentler sodium laureth sulfate–your face will not feel stripped. Instead, there’s a sense of overall skin health and natural moisture. But your face is undeniably clean. No shine, no grease, and no remnant whatsoever of oils. Real Girl has a feeling that this clean but nourished patina is exactly what your skin is supposed to feel like after cleansing. It’s a revelation.

I am no less in love with the shower gel I sampled, Pangea’s Italian White Sage With Geranium & Yarrow Body Wash. Again, its appearance is deceiving. Usually a cleansing milk or creamy body wash implies moisturization, but Pangea’s gel is most assuredly a gel–and it’s easy to mentally associate “gel” with “drying.” However, this body wash won’t possibly leave your skin feeling dry. It’s…lovely. Just a lovely means to a cleanly end. Inhale the refreshing sage mixed with the inoffensive sweetness of what I assume must be the geranium and yarrow. Then, just a small amount of product gently lathers into a silky, quenching, cleansing balm. Your skin will definitely not feel stripped, and I do recommend this as a perfect shower gel for normal to dry skin. Ladies, Real Girl gave the product the “leg shaving” test, and oh, it’s nice. After use, I noticed Pangea even recommends its body wash as a “luxurious shaving product.” Luxurious indeed.

Finally, Real Girl turns to Pangea’s hand and body lotion, specifically the Chilean Red Clover With Geranium & Grapefruit. Pangea’s lotion is for thirsty skin. You’ll be getting a significant dose of moisture, and so for Real Girl, this would be her perfect winter lotion. But even in the early weeks of summer, I’ve found great use for it–we are in the midst of barefoot and sandal weather, after all. Three nights of applying the Chilean Red Clover lotion to my feet before bed, and there’s not a dry crack in sight. What’s more, my elbows are entirely smooth. After shaving, my legs and knees feel silky and cared for.

When you use Pangea’s products, you understand why they return time and again to the word “nourishing.” Here’s a company that cares not just about the environment and global welfare, but also about how your skin looks and feels. Real Girl thinks this line wants to do right by you, whether via its choice of ingredients, its reasonable price compared to comparable products, or its desire to leave you refreshed, supple, silky, smooth, and safe.

Pangea, I think this is the beginning of a beautifully Real friendship.


Moisturizing cleanser without greasy after effects

No stripping, drying detergents

High quality organic ingredients

Body lotion to combat any dryness

October 2019
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