Archive for the 'moisturizer' Category

Sensai Cellular Performance Hydrachange Cream Review & Swatches

April 5, 2010
Thank you so much to all of you who’ve reached out to let me know that my daily posts have been missed – I love hearing from you amidst all the craziness of work, it really brightens my day.  So given all the stress I’ve been under (and the massive sleep-deprivation I’ve been experiencing) you’d think that my skin would be going haywire, but thanks to the soothing, hydrating gentleness that is Sensai’s new Hydrachange Cream, my skin hasn’t been betraying the chaos that happens to be my life.  Check out the full review after the jump!

The Science: Hydrachange Cream is an uber-gentle gel cream that imparts a refreshing moist sensation upon application.  Sensai’s unique Hyaluronic Acid Supporting Network evenly distributes Hydrachange Complex, (made up of a marine monosaccharide to improve firmness and smoothness, beta-carotene to promote hyaluronic acid synthesis and a hyaluronate to boost collagen) with water and emollient oils to clam the skin while sealing in moisture for constant hydration. 
The Good: My simultaneously super oily and super dry (and always super-irritated) skin loves loves LOVES Hydrachange Cream.  Over the nearly three months that I’ve been using this cream (never have I stuck with a single moisturizer this long) my pores have noticeably decreased in sizes, my skin is balanced and happy, and I’ve experienced nary a dry flake during the cold winter months.  This gel cream has a wonderfully light, almost watery texture that makes moisturizing such a pleasure in the morning (I hate struggling with a super thick cream) and is infused with the fresh, feminine, comforting fragrance of plum blossoms blended with notes of sandalwood, rose and jasmine (which are also supposed to boost hyaluronic acid synthesis in the dermis).  Have I also mentioned that I haven’t experienced a single major breakout since I started using this cream?  It’s heaven I tell you, pure heaven!
The Bad: I do have to say that there was one small hitch in the ABS/Hydrachange Cream love story – stickiness.  If there’s one thing I hate, it’s a sticky skincare product, and Hydrachange doesn’t dry to a completely matte finish, but rather remains slightly sticky to the touch throughout the day.  I do, however, think that this is why this particular product moisturizes so well and is so incredibly hydrating, so I really shouldn’t complain.  PLUS happily I’ve found that perfect skincare combination that makes for happy skin and a nice, smooth feel – I layer Hydrachange over my ever-trusty Estee Lauder Idealist (I’ve been using this stuff for years) and it settles into a nice and smooth, non-tacky finish that foundation just glides right over.
As promised, here are the ingredients!
The Verdict: While my wallet cringes (just a little) at the $160 for 1.4 oz. price, to be honest I’d pay pretty much any price for beautiful, happy skin, and so when sample jar (generously provided to me by the wonderful Sensai PR people) goes empty, I’ll be dragging myself over to the Kanebo counter at Bergdorf to restock. 
Availability:  Sensai’s Hydrachange Series is available at Bergdorf Goodman, and (online only).  Do check out the line, it’s one of my favorite brands ever!
This review contains a press sample sent to ABS by the brand’s PR representative for blog consideration. If you have any questions regarding the foregoing, please feel free to contact me at

Guinot Crème Red Logic – My Miracle Product?

August 27, 2009

So a few weeks ago I arrived home to find a mysterious little envelope awaiting me on my kitchen counter. In it I found a little clear sample pot cradling a dab of what looked to be mint green putty. Ever curious, I dug through the remnants of the now torn envelope and found a slip of paper which disclosed that the mysterious green substance (which my mother swore was some type of dangerous substance LOL) Guinot’s new Crème Red Logic, meant to reduce the appearance of redness ad irritation on the skin.

I’m always highly skeptical when it comes to brands that I’ve never heard of. Nevertheless I gave this a shot as I’m always looking for that miracle product that will cure the redness on my skin, and honestly I’m in awe. I used waaaay too much of the cream that first night and basically looked like a shiny ball of wax, but awoke the next morning to find a noticeable reduction in redness. For the next few nights I used this exclusively on my cheeks (I’ve been told I have minor rosacea) and even the SO noticed a difference – my redness was reduced to the point that I no longer had to pile on the foundation. I stopped using Crème Red Logic once my sample ran out and the redness slowly began to return, but for those few days I was seriously in heaven.

Two of the primary reasons people experience facial redness are (1) a thin and delicate epidermis, and (2) sensitized blood capillaries. When I get flushed/flustered/warm, my face turns an unpleasant shade of tomato red and gets very very hot, so anything that helps even a little is much appreciated. Crème Red Logic contains aloe vera to moisturize, calendula to soothe and comfort, a Guinot complex called Veinoderm to promote microcirculation and Arnica Extract to reduce redness.

The green tint of the cream does contribute a little to the redness reduction factor, but honestly to me this product is simply the stuff of my dreams as I noticed a dramatic reduction in redness even after I’ve washed the cream off, and although it’s a little thick/oily for my liking, I couldn’t care less given the results I was able to achieve with it.

Guinot’s Crème Red Logic launched this month in spas/salons nationwide (you can check out to find a location near you), and at $40 a tube I definitely plan to pick one up for myself!

Sustainable Youth Immune Performance Cream & Serum Review

June 16, 2009

The Claim: Sustainable Youth products are clinically proven to help improve skin elasticity and firmness up to 72 percent in only 8 weeks of use. Consumer case studies show visible signs of improvement in only 2 weeks of use and consumers report benefits in as little as 1 week of use. Sustainable Youth products containthe immune-stimulating, patent-pending blend Alasta™ that soothes and hydrates as it helps restore skin’s elasticity and firmness for the appearance of thicker, plumper skin.

The Reality: I actually gave this serum and cream to my mother for her to test out as her skin has been in need of a bit of a pick-me-up lately, and I have to say that she’s very very pleased! I didn’t tell her much about the product as I didn’t want to bias her, I just handed over these two bottles and told her to use them regularly. The results?

After just a week or so of regular use, she came to me of her own accord and told me that strangely enough, her skin feels thicker, firmer, and more resilient since she started using Sustainable Youth products. She’s been using the serum and cream in conjunction with my new favorite gadget, the Baby Quasar, and according to her, her small lines and wrinkles have decreased in depth and have been fading.

Now my mother is the type of woman who takes amazingly good care of her skin and looks more than ten years younger than she actually is, plus she’s incredibly picky about her skincare products and tends to love the super pricey items, so for her to say that she loves these products says quite a bit about their efficacy. I’m definitely impressed! Check out Sustainable Youth’s line of products for yourself HERE.

AmorePacific Moisture Bound Introductory Collection for Normal/Dry Skin Review

May 12, 2009
I’ve been meaning to post and respond to comments, but honestly I’ve gotten so wrapped up in the Twilight saga that I just haven’t had the time LOL! I purchased the boxed set two days ago and I’m in the final book, Breaking Down, at the moment. I should be done by tonight and then no more distractions! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this review that I’ve been working on for what seems like forever.

AmorePacific Moisture Bound Introductory Collection Vitalizing Essentials for Normal to Dry Skin ($118 value for $50)

What it is: A travel-friendly skincare quartet. AmorePacific Moisture Bound Introductory Collection Vitalizing Essentials for Normal to Dry Skin is a limited-edition ensemble of handy skincare must-haves. These luxurious products are all you need to make your dry skin healthy, resilient, and age-resistant. Keep your complexion youthful and glowing—at home and on-the-go!

This set contains:
– 1.0 oz Moisture Bound Vitalizing Creme
– 1.0 oz Treatment Toner
– 0.25 oz Treatment Enzyme Peel
– 1.0 oz Treatment Cleansing Oil

If you look closely at the photo in this post, you’ll spot items from AmorePacific’s Moisture Bound Introductory Set scattered amongst the myriad of other makeup and skincare goodies I packed for my Korea trip. One reason I decided to pack these was of course because everything was just so perfectly travel-friendly, but more importantly these products when used together make up a great skincare regimen that I knew would soothe my travel-ravaged complexion.

AmorePacific Moisture Bound Vitalizing Crème
harnesses the power of bamboo sap, a blend of Asian botanicals, and red ginseng to nourish and intensively hydrate the skin, restoring its protective barrier and promoting strong resiliency and optimal moisture balance so skin is prepared to withstand environmental aggressors. The appearance of fine lines is minimized and skin becomes comfortable, age-resistant, soft, supple, and luminescent.

I had every intention of loving this rather pricey creme which runs $150 for a mere 1.7 oz, but alas it just wasn’t for me. AmorePacific may have taken the whole “protective barrier” bit a little too literally, as the Moisture Bound Vitalizing Creme never quite seemed to absorb into my skin; rather, it just sat on the surface feeling rather sticky and a ltitle uncomfortable. I will say that for what’s supposed to be a heavy-duty hydrator it’s surprisingly light and almost gel-like in consistency which I quite enjoyed, but rapid absorption is key for me.

AmorePacific Treatment Enzyme Peel is a water-activated non-abrasive exfoliating formula that delivers radiant, smooth, youthful results for all skin types. This product was one of my primary reasons for ordering this set, as I’d read such rave reviews of it on MUA, but for some reason I had absolutely no idea that the product would essentially be a powder face wash much like the one I reviewed HERE. While I’m a big fan of Kanebo Sensai’s Silk Peeling Powder, I just may have a new favorite. This isn’t at all abrasive feeling, unlike conventional exfoliators, but you’ll notice an immediate smoothness and luminosity to your complexion, even after just one use. I definitely need the full-size!

AmorePacific Treatment Toner Alcohol-Free Freshener
is a soothing complex that utilizes red ginseng extract in lieu of distilled water for revitalizing benefits, completing the cleansing process, balancing pH, reducing redness and irritation, and priming skin to receive treatment. I’m not too big a fan of moisturizing toners in general as they tend to clog my pores and give me hives for some reason, but this one’s soothing without being irritating. Great for those of you with dry, sensitive skin.

And my other reason for wanting to try this set, the Treatment Cleansing Oil Face & Eyes. I love oil cleansers because they gently and effectively dissolves makeup and impurities, leaving skin soft, hydrated. This formula is much lighter than my much-adored SK-II cleansing oil, making it great for warmer weather, but it’s just as good at removing my makeup and leaving my skin thoroughly clean yet balanced.

While there wasn’t item in this set that I really disliked, if you had to choose just one to try I’d say go for the Treatment Enzyme Peel, I think you’ll love it!

REN Hydra-Calm Global Protection Day Cream Review

March 30, 2009
REN Hydra-Calm Global Protection Day Cream ($55)

REN’s Hydra-Calm Global Protection Day Cream is a soothing, smoothing, super-emollient day cream packed with essential fatty acids that strengthen your precious skin while replenishing its moisture levels. Formulated with powerful anti-inflammatories, it soothes, calms, and protects reactive skin like mine upon application. It also contains REN’s global protection complex to guard skin from oxidation and free radical damage.

Omega 3 and 7 help repair and strenghten skin while reducing irritation and inflammation. Bisabolol and Calendula soothe and calm sensitive skin, while REN’s Global Protection Complex with its synergistic blend of powerful anti-oxidants and free radical scavengers helps purify the skin and protect it against chronic inflammation and premature ageing.

REN products just make my skin sing with happiness-rarely do I love pretty much each and every product that I try from a single line, but REN is truly wonderful, and the Hydra-Calm Global Day Cream is no exception. It’s great for sensitive, environmentally reactive skin (i.e. those of you who live in the city and have to deal with massive amounts of pollution) or delicate and fair complexions prone to sensitivity or redness (me!).

I love having a cream that comes in pump form so that I don’t have to deal with the messiness of sticing my fingers in a jar (am I the only one who has issues with getting products under her nails?). REN’s Hydra-Calm strikes that happy medium between a hydrating moisturizer and a just-thick-enough cream, and also makes an ideal mixing medium for REN’s serumes which are oil-based (and amazing). The cream is great for winter when my skin needs that extra bit of moisture for both day and night, smells great, and doesn’t break me out, clog my pores, or cause irritation. Plus I think that this in conjunction with REN’s Rose Synergy Serum has helped to significantly calm my redness.

I’m going to switch to something lighter during the summer, but next winter I’ll definitely be repurchasing!


  • My current favorite winter product is REN’s Rose Synergy O12 Restoring Facial Serum–see my review HERE.
  • My other favorite oil serum is REN’s Omega 3 Overnight Lipid Renewal Serum–review HERE.
  • My first two REN products were their Glycolactic Skin Renewal Peel Mask and their Multi-Mineral Detoxifying Facial Mask, both of which I happen to adore. Both amazing for keeping you pores clean and clear!

Lierac Paris Hydra Chrono Extreme Balm for Dehydrated Skin Review and Swatches

December 3, 2008
Lierac Paris Hydra Chrono Anti-Aging Hydration Extreme Balm for Dehydrated Skin ($50 for 1.35 oz)

Hot pink packaging for a pink cream? Enough said! Couple that with a gorgeously light and fresh floral fragrance (I love sniffing this stuff!) and a silky consistency and you’ve got a moisturizer that’s seriously pleasing to the senses.

All sealed up!

Lierac’s Hydra Chrono is a lusciously balm enriched with protective glyercin and aqua pump technology that works like a hydraulic pump to help restore and reactive the skin’s natural hydration process. The aqua pump technology is based on a combination of red marine micro-algae, an anti-aging and hydrating ingredient, and a natural amino acid (TMG) that helps the skin to trap and redistribute moisture. Hydro Chrono also contains cotanical oils of approicot and safflower, rich in essential fatty acids, and many many other skin-plumping ingredients.

My first pink face cream.

LOVE: Thanks to the glycerin in the formula, Lierac’s Hydra Chrono applies like a dream. It has a really great jelly-like consistency with great slip that literally glides over the surface of the skin. The balm dries within a minute or two to a light non-sticky finish, but a word of caution–apply too much of this stuff and your face will feel sticky all day! SO has so terrible dry red patches on his face that are stubborn and resistant to most products, but after a day or two of rubbing this stuff on his face they’d drastically improved, plus the cream didn’t break him out!

The glycerin forms a protective barrier between environmental factors and your skin that you can feel as you’re washing your face at night, and my face feels hydrated and comfortable all day. This balm is going quickly and while I wouldn’t use this during the summer months, I just may repurchase for use next winter!

NOT SO MUCH: While the packaging states that this is for dehydrated, very very dry skin, I really don’t think that this product would provide adequate moisture for skin that dry since while it’s called a balm, the consistency is more like a gel and feels relatively light once fully blended. I have combination skin that’s simultaneously really oily and ridiculously dry (I don’t even know how that’s possibe), and although this is perfect for my winter skin (red, irritated, flakey, tight, and dry), I don’t think it would work out so great for those with truly truly dry skin.

Drugstore Discoveries: Merlot Grape Seed Moisturizer SPF 15 Review

October 2, 2008
Merlot Grape Seed Moisturizer SPF 15 ($14 for 4 ounces)

After reading the buzz on this Merlot Grape Seed Moisturizer on various forums and beauty blogs around the web I had to try it for myself, and let me tell you it was $14 well spent! Well I actually paid $15 and change for it, but I don’t feel too terrible about it since mine came with a mini moisturizer attached to the top.

Why do I love this product so much? First and foremost it reminds a great deal of my beloved La Mer The Moisturizing Gel Creme ($230 for 2 ounces) which will great is really hard on the wallet. And of course there are a million other reasons!


If you have combination to oily skin and dislike greasy feeling products, then the Merlot Grape Seed Moisturizer is definitely the product for you. This fun purple moisturizer has a whisper light and fluffy gel consistency that absorbs immediately into your skin, providing you with a slight cooling sensation while lightly moisturizing. And of course with the added bonus of SPF 15 and the wonderful anti-aging properties of grapes seed, this product is definitely a winner in my book.

See how huge it is?

My only complaint about this product is the scent. Their website claims that this product is fragrance free, but either I’m crazy or this product definitely has a distinct and not so pleasant (to me) scent. I do like that it smells a bit grapefruity, but the fruitiness is rather heavily tinged with a chemically melting plastic smell that really gets to me!

Ingredients (you know you wanted to see them!)

One caveat though is that this problem isn’t the ideal moisturizer for those of you with dryer complexions. While this has treated me very well during the warmer summer months, I know that once the weather turns icy and cold the Merlot moisturizer won’t even come close to being moisturizing enough for me!

However since using this my skin has been calm, break-out free, and overall just healthy and happy looking. Definitely stop by your local Walgreens or visit Merlot Skin Care’s website here and check this out for yourself! At such a great price, what have you got to lose?


Related Posts:
For some more budget beauty, check out one of my favorite at-home remedies, the aspirin mask, here.

See my thoughts on La Mer’s latest release, The Hydrating Infusion, here.

For a sweet-smelling moisturizer, check out L’Occitane’s Almond Apple Velvet Concentrate here.

L’Occitane Almond Apple Velvet Concentrate: Review

September 4, 2008
L’Occitane Apple Almond Velvet Concentrate ($40)

Digital Angel requested that I review from L’Occitane skincare items, and of course I was only too happy to oblige–sorry it took me so long though! And for those of you who have review/tutorial requests pending, I promise I haven’t forgotten and that they’ll be up soon as well!


Before I start touting all of the lovely things that I like about L’Occitane’s Apple Almond Velvet Concentrate, one gripe. I HATE the jar!! Hate hate hate! I generally don’t have too big an issue with moisturizers and creams that come in jar form (although of course I prefer a nice sanitary pump) because at least they come with a cleanable spatula for scooping, plus the jars themselves are regularly shaped, but this jar happens to be narrower at the mouth than it is at the bottom, making for aggravation for Jen every time I decide to use it! Plus it didn’t even come with a little spoon! =X Okay mini rant over! =)


The Almond Apple Velvet Concetrate claims to reduce pore size, improve skin texture, tighten pores, and enhance skin elasticity–all within a four week timeframe. I’ll conceded that it does help to improve the appearance of the skin and improve skin texture somewhat, but I haven’t seen much in the way of pore-size reduction. But honestly that was a little too much to expect, since we all know it’s virtually impossible to shrink your pores!

I’d initially purchased this cream expecting it to leave the sort of siliconey/matte feeling on my skin that products like Estee Lauder Idealist did, because it had the word “velvet” in the name. Instead it leaves a pleasantly smooth, soft, hydrated feeling to my complexion that I don’t find sticky or bothersome–great both for summer and winter. It smells pretty heavily of vanilla/almond to me (I’ll admit I don’t love the fragrance), and has a medium consistency, between that of a regular moisturizer and a thicker cream. Sort of like slightly thickened up Elmer’s glue!

I tend to have sensitive/easily irritated skin and this hasn’t caused any flare-ups or breakouts. I will say that as a moisturizer it’s pretty rich, but as a cream it’s not rich enough. Meaning on those crazy winter days when my skin is parched and dying for heavy duty moisture, this probably won’t cut it, but it’s great for every other occasion.

Honestly I don’t use this that much thanks to the annoying jar that it comes in, and perhaps if I did use this more consistently my skin would now have smaller tighter pores, a smoother texture, and greater elasticity! =P

Related Posts:
Read about two great (and inexpensive) exfoliating products here and here-how much cheaper can you get than a bottle of Aspirin?

Need something to soothe that parched and irritated face of yours? Read about Shu Uemura’s Depsea Waters here.

And read about my favorite cleanser of all time (plus my favorite foundation) here. It’s one of the few products that I’ve ever repurchased!