My Favorite Sunscreen – Clarins SPF 40

Hands down, my favorite sunscreen for face is Clarin’s SPF 40.  Smells good, goes on like silk, and SPF 40, what more could you ask for? I first started using Clarins, but strayed a few times when someone else offered something attractive.  Like the Lancome Mexoral product – I am amazed that for a cosmetic company, their sunscreen is terrible under make up.  I do take the step of waiting a few moments before applying primer – so it’s not that.

(I wrote this special brochure for aging skin if you want to check it out: 

Here in Hawaii,  wearing sunscreen of at least spf 30 is required. Everyday, 365. Somedays in Kakaako, I feel the sun practically burning the skin off my face!  (Thus, you’ll often see me with my rainbow striped umbrella walking across the parking lot to Neiman Marcus).

My Mom, who lives on Maui, introduced me to Ocean Potion for Face – SPF 30-it actually works well for my pre serious make up routine. Most mornings before I go to dance class I do treatment, moisturize, sunscreen, brows, eye liner, mascara and lips before heading out.  The Ocean Potion for Faces and Banana Boat for Face products are fine for the top layer that faces the sun.

Other sunscreens I have known:

Clinique – I’ve used their City Block and Super Defense.  I just can’t get past the weird texture – kind of plastic-ky.

Shiseido – I used to love their compact until my skin got too dry to tolerate.  The stick smells nice, but too thick. Tried out their new products but didn’t like them either.

Oil of Olay – believe it or not, there is actually a pre cursor to the pre serious make up sunscreen.  I often take the doggies out for a walk, so when I wake up I put Olay Complete for the early morning sun.  Gives me a little moisture.  For years, when I woke up I would splash a little water on my face, then seal it in with Keihl’s panthenone cream with A,C,E vitamins.

Aveeno- allergic reaction.

Skinceuticals with Titanium – I read somewhere that the titanium exacerbates darkening of the skin, or brown spots if you are allergic.

Oh well, I’m wandering at this point.  Just say sunscreen, 365 days a year, rain or shine. Indoors and outdoors.  All the time.  Period.


Put a lot on!!!!

Wrinkles? Now You See-em, Now You Don’t!


Wrinkles (Photo credit: scoutjacobus)

Just kidding.  But I did want to say something about the difference between wrinkles at rest and wrinkles in motion.  Wrinkles in motion are those nice little crinkles that appear when you are cracking up at a funny joke.  A wrinkle in motion goes away when you stop smiling, or make some expression, because your skin still has great elasticity.  A wrinkle at rest refers to the lines that remain after you stop smiling and stay there if you have no expression on your face and are just looking in the mirror.

I’m not a physician or esthetician, but I read a lot, so this is my opinion from gathering what I’ve read, and my experience doing marketing for a physician for 4 years.

Wrinkles in motion.  I remember looking at a handsome guy I know who is about 10 years older than myself.  Right around when he turned 40, he was chatting and smiling and I noticed when he smiled, crows feet appeared around his eyes.  When I turned 40, I looked for the same phenomenon. I think it probably happened at 45 ish-but I noticed a definite wrinkling around the eyes.  Almost a pulling sensation.

I’ve always “creamed up” my face, but the thing about wrinkles in motion is it heralds the time that you have to get serious about your skin so you can prevent, or at least keep them from becoming wrinkles at rest.

After you have committed to the obvious moisturizing, plenty of sleep,limited alcohol and sugar,  lots of sunscreen and you avoid tugging at your skin, then I suggest a little self training. What that means is, whenever you start to frown and feel yourself furrowing your brows, STOP!  Take a breath, and smooth out your brows by pulling them apart ( not physically, with your mind).  The other thing I do is when I sneeze, I apply some pressure to my frown point so it won’t furrow from the sneezing action.  Silly, but it works.

One of the best preventative steps is to do botox.  In my experience, after you’ve done botox a few times, the muscles start forgetting how to crinkle. Last treatment was going on two years ago for me.  More on botox in another post because it’s a case of you get what you pay for–beware that you may get an over diluted solution of botox injection by some.

Some mornings I wake up and I have furrows in my brow, from bad dreams or after effects of stress-so I drink a lot of water, put on extra moisturizer, gently massage the area with cream, and go to sleep early.  Believe it or not those little wings that your mom or grandma put on prior to sleeping at night work – I think they are called frownies.  They stop you from making expressions in your sleep–just make sure you rinse with a lot of water before peeling it off. Oh yeah, leave them for a night that you will be alone or your significant person won’t make fun of you.

Wrinkles at rest. Once you have wrinkles that stick around when you have no expression, it’s time to bring out the real stuff.  Once again, botox to the rescue to stop more wrinkles forming,  If the wrinkles are pretty deep you might consider a derma filler-I heard they are very painful. If the wrinkles are pretty fine, topical vitamin C, or retin A are good options.  I like vitamin C-I use the Kiehl’s Power Line Concentrate.  It’s more gentle than Skinceuticals CE Ferulic.  Whatever product you use, it takes commitment, usually twice a day, for 6 months to see results.  And wear sunscreen even if you are indoors!

The next steps involve lasers, strong peels and surgical remedies.  Best to consult a professional.

My regimen–At 50, I’m still at the wrinkles at rest stage.  For day, I use Orlane Thermal Lift for Eye, Kiehl’s Power Concentrate, Keihl’s Rosa Artica, and Clarin’s SPF 40 Sunscreen.  I smear on my Rosa Artica under my eyes–I love this cream!  Then during the day I dab around my eyes and nasolabial folds around my mouth when it feels dry or I’ve been walking in and out of the sun.

Glibby, Glop,Gloopy-Eucerin Everyday Protection SPF 15 vs Kiehl’s SPF 30

In my search to extend sun protection from my face to my neck, arms and legs, I tried Kiehl’s SPF 30, Creme de Corps, Lightweight Body Lotion.  Pleasantly scented like coconut milk, I really love the fact I can protect my skin from the Hawaiian sun.  It’s a little pricey at $28 for a small 8.4 fl.oz bottle, so I looked in the drugstore for some options. Settled on Eucerin Everyday Protection Body Lotion with SPF 15, priced at $10.89 for 13.5 fl.oz.   Much lower spf protection, than my beloved Kiehl’s, but I bought it anyway in the name of economy.

Talk about sticky and thick.  I believe the sunscreens made for the beach go on better and smoother.  The Eucerin product has that synthetic feel to the formula, that I don’t care for.  Kind of like spreading on that stuff you caulk your bathroom tile with, oh yeah, that is caulk.

Anyway, as is my habit, I slather on the product generously, and go on with my day. Within a couple of hours, I feel like my skin can’t breathe, like it’s encased in a rubber kitchen glove.

Thumbs down on the product.  Less than superior spf, and terrible consistency.  I’ll stick to Kiehl’s until further notice.

Cocktails Anyone?

One thing about getting older, er, two things about getting older are; white/gray hair and in my case, frizziness.

Gone are the days I used the generic detergent they call shampoo at the Honolulu Club, and at the time, I didn’t bother with conditioner. But I digress….

The first shampoo I used was S-Factor, then on to Bio-something, Bedhead, and Alterna-all salon shampoos. (There’s a website I will post later that lists all the harsh ingredients in these products and basically how toxic they are).  Then, I met Lincoln, a hair product supplier one day, and he gave me a sample of Neuma Shampoo and Conditioner.  Neuma products are organic, smell great and cleanse without harsh detergents.  Add to that, Kitoko Oil–something that smells amazing wonderful great, and makes my hair really shiny. I had tried Moroccan Oil (stinky) and Argan Oil (too thick), but Kitoko oil, a UK product, had me with the fragrance.  You know with long hair, waving it around and smelling my hair is a habit I’ve had since 7th grade.

Neuma Product Line Up

But I’m supposed to talk about cocktails–I went to B.O.S.S., Lincoln’s storefront, to purchase refills of shampoo and conditioner.  He just happened to be there and introduced me to the idea of a “cocktail”.  Five drops of Kitoko oil, couple spritz of Neuma mousse, style extender and 3 squirts of blow dry lotion and woila!

Normally, this is waaaaaayyy too much effort – but this is the only thing I have used on my hair that makes it feel like it did when I was in 7th grade-no frizzes, really shiny and strong feeling strands.

The Neuma products are a high recommend from me if you’ve been coloring, highlighting, flat ironing and otherwise damaging your hair with chemicals.  Nearly everyday I see over-processed hair, and I just think maybe I’ll just say, “Time for a cocktail!”

Kiehl’s vs Tretonin 10%

I’m not sure if it was from the Fraxel treatment, but post Fraxel, my face skin has been darker than my neck even though I wear sunscreen religiously on my face and not on my neck. I notice it more when I see a full body shot of me in the mirror–tan face even without make up, and paler neck, shoulder etc. skin.

I’ve been using the Power Line Concentrate from Kiehl’s (I”m on my third bottle) and have seen an overall lightening of my facial skin. I did a short round of Obaji which also helped.  I mention the Kiehl’s product because, my Korean friends who are skin fanatics starting commenting about the lightening after I used my first bottle of Kiehl’s.

Kiehl's Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution

I am now using the newest Kiehl’s promise to lighten dark spots product, Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution .  Just to test it, I put the Kiehl’s product using about a half dropper on my face and gently massaged in.  On my foot, I have a sun spot and I applied tretonin 10%.

Day 1, Jan 20,2012 Kiehls vs Tretonin 10%

Let’s see what happens-I’ve been using the product for about 10 days.

Brown Spots BeGone!

Fraxel re:fine treatment for Melasma.Baseline ...

Image by USP Hospitales via Flickr

This is an example of in my pursuit of delivering the best in client service, I agreed to have the Fraxel laser used on me.  The Fraxel, was the new “it” thing in removing brown spots – something that many Asian women in Hawaii are interested in getting rid of, including myself.

The first treatment used the standard application of lidocaine to numb the pain.   The treatment lasted about 20 minutes, and felt pretty painful around the thin skin areas on the temples and cheekbones.  I was swollen for about 5 days, mainly from my reaction to the lidocaine.  My face was very red and puffy.

The second treatment, a mixture of lidocaine and another anesthetic was used and I think my pain tolerance was about the same. However after the redness calmed down, I thought the melasma patches were starting to dissipate.

 This was about the time I got the tv story for my client in which I appeared.  Brown Spots Be Gone! KGMB/KHNL 

The third treatment I received anesthetic shots in my face, which were more painful than the treatment!

I didn’t have more treatment after that-I’m just too much of a pain panty.

The original Fraxel laser marketing materials used a really old Asian woman who had good results. I think it removed some of the melasma, but I wouldn’t do such a harsh procedure again.

From what I have read in various publications since my treatment, if  you’re Asian, it is highly recommended to always err to the side of caution in getting a procedure that might cause inflammation, or as some marketing materials allude to the necessity to, “injure the skin to start the rejuvenation process.”

My Friends Have Asked Me To Blog About Skincare and Makeup Products I Like

I realized about 15 years ago that I should take better care of my skin and my appearance. Starting with the basics, I used sunscreen everyday, drank lots of water and got plenty of exercise. Over time, I became very interested in skincare and makeup products-mostly because they are fun to learn about and that many of my friends share the curiosity.  At the same time, many people commented on how I’ve retained youthful skin and few wrinkles at rest. So, nowadays,  I just love products and sharing what I discover about how effective they are for me, and make recommendations when people ask me.  My bf said to include the fact that I don’t get paid by the various companies to write about them.

I pretty much plan to review products as I use them, making an honest attempt to keep my testing of products as pure as possible, or I will mention if I am doing otherwise.

What I hear from my friends is their main concerns are brown, dark, sun spots on their faces, wrinkles, foundation, eye liner that doesn’t run and just about anything else related to aging and maintaining what they’ve got and trying to prevent further damage.

Here and there I will probably post about other stuff-mainly my passion for taking ballet and jazz dance classes, and my doggies.

So here goes!