Real Girl Lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘antioxidants

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.

THE DETES

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)

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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.

THE DETES:

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

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.

THE DETES

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

Add quality and integrity to your skin care regimen.

Pangea Organics’ priorities and Real Girl’s priorities seem to be riding a common wavelength. There’s so much good stuff to share about this well-formulated, independent product line that I almost don’t know where to begin. Almost. Because you know where Real Girl always turns her attention first: to the ingredient list.

Pangea’s products avoid all use of petroleum, sulfates, detergents, synthetic preservatives, and artificial colors and fragrances. But more exciting than what they lack is what they bring to the beautifully packaged table. The products I’ve seen are swimming in antioxidants and skin-quenching moisturizers, and the formulations enhance the efficacy of each ingredient. Pangea calls it “nourishing” your skin, making sure the active botanics in its products don’t just make for an impressive list of goods. There lies the first way to Real Girl’s heart. Instead of just name dropping a potent and expensive cell communicating ingredient like white tea or argan oil, Pangea is dedicated to making that ingredient work for you as deeply as possible. Love.

In the facial-care arena, Real Girl’s top pick so far would be the Italian Red Mandarin With Rose cream for dry to mature skin. I’ve previously rhapsodized about the antioxidant benefits of Vitamin C and rose oil, two of this cream’s active ingredients, and in addition you’ll find argan seed oil, another free-radical fighting agent found in the argan tree, native to Morocco. Its vitamin A and E and essential fatty acids act as potent antioxidants, and I’m impressed by how high the ingredient figures in the list, meaning Pangea invested in a significant concentration. The Italian Red Mandarin moisturizer delivers its vitamin C via pure ascorbic acid, an ingredient that struggles with stability issues, but Pangea has compensated brilliantly for this with an opaque, UVB resistant bottle that minimizes the ingredient’s interaction with the sun. When Real Girl finds a brand that thoughtfully matches its packaging to the needs of its ingredients, well, let’s just say it’s like finding the perfect date–he can be pretty, but Real Girl needs some substance too.

The Red Mandarin cream targets drier skin, packing some vital moisturizers and water-binding agents. Avocado oil penetrates deep into thirsty skin, additionally helping to combat sun damage, and pumpkin seed oil promotes the skin’s natural moisture while also adding further antioxidant powers to the mix. Indeed, your skin will feel supple and plumped by grease-free essential oils. I am eager to try the Nigerian Ginger, Sweet Lavender & Thyme for oily-to-combination skin next, since it would be a closer match to my own natural skin quality. What’s more, the price of these items, $36 for 2 ounces, truly impresses Real Girl. I’ve seen organic products with fewer beneficial ingredients cost twice as much for the same quantity or less in cheaper packaging. Well done, Pangea.

A bit more expensive, but also worthwhile, is the Turkish Rose & White Tea eye cream. White tea is a skin-care All-Star, boosting the skin’s immune system and fighting the effects of the sun, and the super-hydrating, emollient cream will make skin look plumper and fine lines less visible. A little goes a long way, so use sparingly, and always tap the product on with your fourth finger, which is your most gentle one and least likely to pull where your skin is most delicate.

Rather than move on to Pangea’s cleanser and body care, I’ll save that for another day and instead urge you to visit their website. Real Girl has rarely seen a skin care company so interested in addressing the concerns of its consumer community. Every question that flashed into Real Girl’s head–and many that didn’t–was answered by the thorough FAQ. When I saw “alcohol” high on its facial cleanser ingredients, for example, a little alarm went off in my Real head. Drying, stripping alcohol? But no, Pangea’s organic lavender alcohol is indeed non-drying (I’ve tried the cleanser) and if it helps ingredients penetrate the skin, definitely beneficial. And when I wondered why no Pangea products contained sunscreen, they answered by explaining that they are currently in research and development to formulate a mineral sunscreen (Real Girl’s favorite kind, as you’ve read) that reaches their high standards of quality. I would like to be first in line to test that product, please.

So there’s what you get for you–fine, organic, completely non-synthetic ingredients, beautiful, functional, and environmentally-responsible packaging, and anti-aging and moisturizing ingredients galore at a reasonable price.

Now here’s what you give.

Real Girl loves a product line that gives to the communities it cares about. Not just for PR sake, but to truly better the areas of the world where it wants to make a difference (ugh, Herbal Essences made such a fuss about donating to the rain forests. And they did, with the fine print specifying only for a wee number of initial bottles sold). Pangea currently donates 5% of its profits to Women for Women International, which provides “women survivors of war, civil strife and other conflicts with the tools and resources to move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency.” Plans for the future include the Pangea Institute, to research and educate about sustainable, socially and environmentally responsible business and living practices.

Real Girl’s interest is piqued–intellectually, covetously, and morally. Pangea Organics, we are not done yet.

THE DETES

Responsible, organic, high-quality ingredients

Synthetic-free

Environmentally-friendly, product-enhancing packaging

Moisturizer and antioxidant-packed to fight dryness and free radicals

Ethical, concerned company

These organic ingredients pack quite a skin care punch.

“Be natural.”

In theory, it’s a lovely little concept. Organic skin care! The garden instead of the lab, chemical-free instead of artificially manufactured, green and fresh and untampered with and–well–why not fight the natural aging process with weapons given to us by the Earth itself? In practice, however, many scientifically engineered skin care ingredients are actually less irritating than natural ones. And they’re easier to use effectively in products because they’ve been manipulated to produce maximum results. And “chemicals” doesn’t have to be a bad word. Vitamins are chemicals, plant derivatives, compounds in the marine world, etc, and these have been some of skin care’s most innovative discoveries in the past couple decades.

Real Girl loves the idea of organic skin care–I’m just a bit more strict with my standards than some. Natural isn’t enough. Let’s see what your formulation is like. Let’s see if you’ll actually work.

Suki Face has impressed Real Girl. Not only with its ingredients, which are of fine quality and backed by scientific research, but with the texture, face feel, and moisturizing effect of its Intensive Nourishing Cream. From what I’ve seen so far, I’d have to put Suki among the more worthy brands in the fast-burgeoning field of organic beauty care.

Suki’s Intensive Nourishing Cream is packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Rose oil has been proven to have antioxidant properties, and it’s here in abundance, as are well-established antioxidants green tea and grapeseed, although in smaller concentrations. The antioxidant star of this cream, though, is Vitamin C, a beautiful skin care ingredient for boosting collagen growth and fighting free radicals. Unfortunately, Vitamin C breaks down rather easily, and an opaque jar would have been a more prudent choice than Suki’s glass bottle, but I appreciate their use of magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, a more stable and less irritating derivative of Vitamin C.

Also of note on the ingredients list is active yeast collagen extract, which has been shown to have restorative qualities and has great potential to promote repairative reactions and result in more radiant skin.

One quibble I have with Suki’s Nourishing Cream is its claim to be suitable for skin affected by rosacea. Rosacea sufferers are best off avoiding products with fragrance–even natural ones–because of the potential for irritation, and also many react poorly to aloe, which is high on this cream’s ingredient list. For extremely sensitive skin, I would recommend looking for something fragrance and aloe-free. However, I love the scent. I’ve enjoyed the heady aroma of lavender every time I’ve used the product, and it’s been a nice little pick me up during application.

The lotion itself feels light and yet completely moisturizing. My break-out prone skin has remained spot-free after use, and the silky finish manages to be dewy without oil or excessive shine. Overall it’s an elegant-feeling treatment that leaves your face indeed nourished by several potent ingredients to fight the effects of aging and the environment. Real Girl gives her stamp of approval.

THE DETES

Synthetic-free, cruelty-free, organic ingredients

Antioxidants Vitamin C, rose oil, green tea, grapeseed, and others

Yeast extract to boost skin repair

Lavender scented



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