The Face Shop-Super Perfect Sun Cream SPF 50+

I’m always in search of sunscreen for the face-I’m not into BB CC creams much because you have to put on a good amount of sunscreen to get the benefit, and BB CC creams offer more than I want when it comes to coverage.

I enjoy going to The Face Shop-a Korean cosmetic and skincare store that opened in Hawaii a few years ago in McCully Shopping Center (really bad parking) and now Ward Warehouse (good parking).

The young girls are very helpful and use many of the products.  They give free samples with every purchase. (When I run out of my Clarin’s toner, I am buying their Green Tea toner-really nice!).

The most popular sunscreen is the whitening version of the same Natural Sun, Super Perfect Sun Cream, SPF 50+.

It’s somewhere in between a liquid like Clarin’s UV 40, and thick cream like Banana Boat or Dr. Melanie Tantisira’s physical, chemical free sun block.

It does feel moisturizing, and goes on easily over make up.  My friend asked me what the active ingredient was and I didn’t know. I did know the packaging is in a blend of english and korean. (Turns out it is sunflower sprout extract–coincidentally, Clarin’s uses the same in it’s neck cream).

As you may have figured out in the post about La Roche-Posay, I don’t read the package info often.

It’s like setting up a car stereo in high school- just mess around with a bunch of wires until you get music coming out of the speakers.

I do get a little irritation if I put the product on my eyelids-but nothing like the last product.  I really like the creaminess and non-greasy formula.  I use the Super Goop Vitamin C spray on product for my body, and it spells like oranges, but is sticky and definitely greasy. I think it gave me a bit of a rash too.

Anyway for $15 bucks or so-I like this product. Comparable in price to Cerave’ and Cetaphil, but natural based.

I like that.



Clarins’ Double Serum

I got this in exchange for Clarins’ neck cream I was using – it turns out I am allergic to the formula so….I took it back to Nords.

I like that you don’t have to squeeze out the double serum separately like you used to in other products, but it seems like one side is clogged, or metes out a very small amount. The darker liquid doesn’t always appear to be mixed in.

Clarins’ Double Serum is supposed to be a super product that does everything-brighten, tone, hydrate, fight further aging etc. It feels oil-based, but lighter than Josie Maran, or Kitoko Oil, but I need to put a moisturizer over this product to feel hydrated.

It’s only been two weeks of using the product, so the other claims are not reportable yet – but we’ll see how it goes.  I shake the bottle to see if the darker liquid is just “stuck” but it doesn’t help.  Nord’s is constructing in their parking lot, so it’s going to be a hard holidays trying to get in the shopping center at Ala Moana.  At least in LA (where I visit) there is a shopping mall and another Nords or otherwise a few miles apart.


It’s a pricey product, with no immediate results.  I can’t see buying three bottles to see it it works.



Luxury BB or Fancy Tinted Moisturizer with Treatment?

I’ve been trying out different BB creams – just getting samples here and there-you know Estee Lauder, Clinique, Dr. Jart, Boscia, Sulwahsoo etc.  I’m wondering when Bobbi Brown and Laura Mercier will jump on the bandwagon?  Long after mineral powder firmly placed Bare Escentuals as the category killer, Bobbi Brown brought out hers.  I tried but didn’t buy.  I bought Laura Mercier’s- but the product rep failed to tell me that the color gets pretty dark -so I gave it to my friend who tans.


Now I’m wondering when Laura M and Bobbi B will offer up a BB cream?  I mean, I really like the idea of a one size fits all products but the tint is usually off for Asian complexions, or I worry about spf protection and put on my beloved Clarins  spf40 on anyway.

Recently I was killing a few minutes in Macy’s and wandered by Lancome‘ (the Neiman’s Lancome counter is getting smaller and smaller-probably because the woman there is one of those counter snobs.

Off topic.

The floater at Macy’s came out and told me she didn’t know too much since she was just helping whoever at whatever counter.  That’s cool-it was refreshing to talk to someone who admitted they didn’t know much as opposed to the people who go right ahead and sell you something you don’t need in the wrong color.

Can I get a witness?

I sampled Lancome’s RÉNERGIE ÉCLAT MULTI-LIFT – I paste in the name here because why don’t they just call it Energizing Multi-Lift Color?  Kate Winslet is the spokesperson–watching her over the years from chubby heroine in Titanic to the woman she has become has been interesting.  About 2 years ago, she had a moment of astounding beauty, but I’m sorry she just looks hard-Lancome’ needs to rethink her.

So, Lancome does not call it a BB product, but has all the claims of being lifting, illuminating and “skincare”.  I have to admit it feels unbelievable on the skin, and the light tint actually looks perfect on me!  The formula over my regular regimen(Kiehl’s Rosa Artica, Philosophy’s Booster C and Clarins spf 40) wore great all day-with no need to rehydrate with a little dab of Laura Mercier’s Secret Finish.

Pretty fab for $75.

Pretty expensive for foundation-but I guess their pricing theory is they are not calling it a BB cream, they call it a “treatment”, and of course it has a French name so it’s priced it accordingly.

But, I’ve used Renergie’ and it’s a great moisturizer but I don’t really see any other treatment effects-but it is pretty nice. Even if I gave up my regimen, I would still have to put spf under.

Great product. Try it, you might like it.


A Place in the Sun

Hah! On my first date with the blue-eyed man aka man-in-my-life, he was telling me how much he enjoyed golf, kayaking and the water in general. I told him right then and there that I am a sunphobe.

Things were great up to that point, but just reading his face, I could tell he was a bit disappointed. To his credit he had a nice recovery and countered, but if it were later in the day when the sun isn’t so strong, that would be ok?

Life is a negotiation.

Sun exposure in and of it itself is a non-negotiable in Hawaii-most days we have a lot of sun. But people know to stay out of the sun during the hottest points of the day and wear plenty of sunscreen.

But when you are planning a day in the sun – like golfing when you haven’t golfed regularly and probably in for hours, well….

I’m starting off this morning by moisturizing mask of a thick layer of my ReVive’ cream.  I have jazz class later this morning and will drink at least a liter of Deep Sea Water (from the depths of the Big Island, underneath the sea I think.  Real deep sea water is more expensive because they have to desalinize it etc).

My plan is after my shower, Kiehl’s Power Line Concentrate vitamin C, followed by Rosa Artica to seal in that first layer.  Under my eyes I will try out Laura Mercier‘s Eye Serum.  After that has a moment to sink in I will follow with my Clarins spf40. Let that dry a bit and put on a physical block, Neutregena55.   Over that, Laura Mercier Radiance Primer, and then Laura Merceir Tinted Moisturizer – both spf20.

I asked the makeup artist from Laura Mercier, Mark the other day at the Nordstrom’s event, why the color products did not have higher spf and he said because it would effect the formula. Makes sense. They did recommend a chemical and a physical block, and that you can’t really put more spf over foundation if you want to be flawless.

For face color, I will do brows, and line with Laura Mercier tight liner in Bleu Marine, her creme shadow, and maybe a smudge of Caviar shadow in smoke – all products that have staying power.  For lips, I will line a little, put on some initial lip gel color in Courtesan(by Laura) and carry around my Baby Lips, spf25 lip balm.  I also keep a little pot of moisturizer in my pocket which I shamelessly apply in public.

Multiple layers yes–and that vitamin C layer is its own block in the form of anti-oxidants.

Onto the bod.

My plan is to moisturize with my Johnson&Johnson 24 hour (my last bottle). On top of that I have Kiehl’s spf30 which I will put on my neck, arms and legs.  For my chest I will also apply another layer of Neutregena55.  I’ve noticed the times that I am out in the sun a little bit the neck area gets pink on me.

For my hair, believe it or not that’s a consideration as well.  I use the Kitoko Oil in my hair which has anti-oxidants which provide UV protection-probably not a lot but something is better than nothing.  Since I use a gloss on my hair, my color doesn’t really fade-it washes out after 6 weeks or so, but my grow out is faster so I am on a 4 week schedule at this point.

So that’s pre-sun. What about apres soleil?

I think we are going out to dinner so this may follow later. But I plan to do a Korean cloth mask with hyularonic acid.  HA is a naturally occurring chemical in your body which is basically a moisturizer.  They also use it in products like Restylane which is injected into your crevices to plump up lines.

Follow that with a mask of Orlane, and a generous slather of Rosa Artica and Vitamin C. I think that will help repair any exposure damage.

For my body, I have my new favorite moisturizers-CeraVe’ body cream and Aveena Baby 24 Hour Body Cream for Sensitive Skin.

I know-it’s a lot but I take skin and sun exposure seriously.

Anyway, this is what I do—


Skincare at TJ Maxx, Ross et al-To Buy or Not to Buy?

I think everybody likes to save a few dollars when they can-but my question is, when you see product in aftermarket stores like TJ Maxx, Ross or even Nordstroms Rack…

How do you know if the product is “good”?

A favorite product line of mine is Elemis-absolutely fabulous UK line that I found when on a cruise.  On the cruise ships, they use so much chlorine in the shower water, that after a couple of my days, my skin was like an alligator!

I had brought L’Occitane Shea Butter Cream and believe it or not, after walking around the Roman ruins in Turkey, it just wasn’t happening. That plus the chlorine water-and my skin was drrrrrrryyyyyyyy.

I had a mani-pedi at the onboard spa and lamented the condition of my skin.  The nail person told me all of the staff used Elemis’ Milk Bath–technically this product is something you can put in the bathtub as a moisturizing soak, or it can be used as a lotion.

Most excellent results. Milk Bath has lactic acid (from the milk proteins) which have a gentle exfoliating property while moisturizing.  Got my skin back into shape.

Another great product for travel in a dry climate is Bobbi Brown’s Extra Skin Balm.  It’s like putting chapstick on your face – but in 98 degree, hot,sunny weather, I truly believe that is what saved my skin from becoming prune-like. I wear it on the plane for long flights as well-I won’t go so far as to wear one of those Friday the 13th cloth moisturizing masks onboard, but I will wear the Skin Balm.  Be forewarned, you’ll look dewey times 10-but at least your skin is protected.  I guess you can take a cloth and dab off the excess when you deplane.

I digress as usual.

So, the Milk Bath product was in a promotional pack at Nordstroms Rack with the cool little leopard purse/bag-but I hesitated.

Are the active ingredients in products sold in these stores-still effective?  Granted you’re getting a nice discount off retail-but are you also getting a discount off effectiveness?

Or are you paying a premium at retail for the guarantee of fresh product?

Something to think about-



Got Protection? Tinted Sunscreen

I’m always on the prowl for anything new in the way of sunscreen.  Living in Hawaii it’s a necessity with pretty much sunny weather 365 days a year.

A few weeks ago I was tooling around Nordstroms and picked up a sample of the Clarin’s spf 40 Tinted Moisturizer that is offered in light, medium and dark shades.

Love the texture- the tinted version uses the same as the original formula, which is a opaque white but dries clear with no chalky look.

There’s a few reservations I have for the product. As usual for most products that have the one size fits all approach of light, medium, dark-they don’t take into consideration all the different shades of complexion.  Which is ok, but if that’s all you’re wearing in terms of foundation-one size does not fit all.

The other thing I was thinking this morning as I did my morning routine, was if I use only the tinted moisturizer, would I be covering all areas on my face?  I put my foundation on with a very light hand, just a little pea of product which I rub with my fingertips and pat on.

A far cry from the recommended dime size dollop of sunscreen-and that’s really for those creamy thick formulas that you wear to the beach.

I use the regular formula Clarins spf40 as my daily face sunscreen and I draw out about an inch of product and using the same fingertip rub motion I pat that on, but all over.

So, if I was only using the tinted moisturizer I wouldn’t necessarily get it on my entire face.

So it makes sense to use both regular sunscreen, followed by the tinted version. But isn’t that double?

Yeah, but more is better when it comes to sunscreen.

And then there’s foundations and BB creams with spf.

In my opinion, same thing.  You really need to use regular sunscreen under, and put the color product on over.

I’ve done both for years, foundation and sunscreen- even if the foundation has spf15-but why is it so low?  Is it because higher spfs mess with the foundation formula?

Must be something like that, because I have tried all my sunscreens-Clarins, Trish McAvoy, Laura Mercier’s Primer w spf, Neutragena and my outdoor screen, Ocean Potion and none of them work well with the Laura Mercier’s new moisturizing foundation.

I put sunscreen on, let it dry, and everything I have tried so far, the new foundation “pills” and I end up smearing it off. Ick. Not my favorite thing since I disliked doing anything that pulls or tugs my skin.

I can only thing using a makeup sponge or brush would make the problem worse and more streaky weird.

In a few days, I’m going to Nordstorms event with the Laura Mercier national artist applying the makeup-so I will definitely ask, What’s up?

But as for sunscreen, apply, and repeat.


OOOOH! Pause to Refresh-Face Masks!

Happy Halloween in May!  I would scare you if I had posted a photo of me wearing the Korean face mask I just tried.  Here it is–looks like Jason from Friday the 13th, right?

The Face Shoppe has  great selection of these face masks that are very soft cloths that have been presoaked with different treatments for moisturizing, collagen building, soothing etc.  They also have gel masks which are similar but instead of cloth, the mask is infused into a jelly sort of material.

These are great for mornings after you had a bit of a late night, or before a big night out.

I highly recommend doing this in PRIVATE!  At the H-club, I have seen people walking around the locker room wearing these masks, and believe me they are scary when you come walking around the corner and you see one of these!!!

Yeah, this might be too scary for your significant person unless you are able to convince him or her to also join in.  I bet it would be a barrel of laughs in that context.


Other masks I love.

Orlane makes a beautiful moisturizing renewal mask–I use this one on mornings I need a little help and my skin feels like a desert.  A few years ago I went through a phase when it didn’t matter what I put on my skin, it would be dry.

Orlane Super Hydrating Masque

Orlane’s Bio-Mimic Hydrating Masque is not nearly as scary as the cloth masks, but is highly effective in super-hydrating you in 10-15 minutes.  This one kind of soaks in, so this is something you could wear around the new guy or gal and they’d never know you were secretly rejuvenating yourself!

Course, take advantage when Nieman’s or Nordstroms offers those free facials using their premium products!  Despira is the resident facialist at both stores in Honolulu – she is from Greece and has a cool accent that is strangely as soothing as her facials.

I’m not usually a big facial person, cuz I don’t like people doing something to my face what I wouldn’t do!

A veer off the path.

I went to a woman who had advertised an oxygen facial on Hawaii Hot Deals-she worked out of her home which is ok, a lot of small businesses do in Hawaii.  Went over, and she had a facial table set up near the window – me, sunscreen queen is wondering, oh great, UV exposure.

So I lay down and she holds up a mirror to my face, and says, this is your face lying down. I’m like, really, scare me?!


I close my eyes and relax.  The first part in most facials after cleansing whatever you have on, is steaming to open the pores.

I heard bubbling, not unusual, but I swear she was moving a little pot of water with one of those coffee water warmers!! I was too scared to open my eyes, because I know my reaction would be to jerk away!!!!!!!

I swear the oxygen machine she used was pretty low power–I had gotten a demo on my hand from a friend and there was light years difference in the ‘push’ power of the oxygen. I figured I would just deal with it instead of jumping off the table.

Finally get done with no sunscreen, because the antioxidant oils  A,C,E were applied though I am skeptical. I applied sunscreen in the bathroom.

When I come out, she gives me a cup of water which she says is ‘energized’.  WIth what? I ask. She pulls open her kitchen drawer and pulls out another ‘As Seen On Tv’ type gadgets and throws it back in the drawer.

I’m like, ewgh. Thanks, not thanks, GAG!

Ok, back to masks.

Another awesome mask for exfoliation is Dermologica’s Gentle Cream Exfoliant.  I do not believe in scrubbing my face with microbeads, apricot kernels, anything abrasive-! Dermologica’s product appeals to me because it exfoliates with hydroxy-acid – I know the acid part sounds scary, but it’s not.  Great results.  I had a possibility of a zit a couple of days ago and I applied this product, and it disappeared!

Another awesome product is Clarin’s Flash Balm.  Truly a game changing facesaver after a dehydrating night.  I read recently that some make up artists use it as primer-have to try that sometime.

I think those blue masks we used to use in 7th grade probably have a bunch of chemicals in them, and besides when you pull them off your face they are pulling your skin. Clarins has a product that you put on, and then kind of roll off in eraser like crumbs.  Your face feels amazing after, but again, why yank on your face like that?

Preserve, preserve,preserve.


Make Me Moist! New Foundation and Sunscreen Options!

My blue-eyed friend informed me he did not use sunscreen on a daily basis. What?! We live in Hawaii with the sun shining on us everyday, having a position close to the equator  – it is pretty brutal.

So, since he’s a guy, I had him try out my Clarins SFP40-my fave-it goes under makeup really well, very light, not greasy, and doesn’t feel like it has fine grains of something that some blocks have. For guys, it has a very light but pleasant fragrance.

Tooling around Nordstroms, where as usual, no one is at the counter at Clarins, Kiehls, Bobbi etc. Doesn’t matter.  I know what I want.

But I do see something new on the counter – Clarins has made their super wonderful spf40 sunscreen in tints!  They offer light, medium and dark in the same silky liquid formula. Since no one was around, I helped myself to a sample.  I’m wondering at the same time, if this is why Nordstroms leaves out their sample pots – for whatever reason, the salespeople are rarely at their stations.  I can’t ding my friend there because it was her day off.

I see the Revive’ product rep, Crystal, and ask her to help me buy the regular formula Clarins.  She highly recommended the Cleau De Peau spf50 sunscreen and gave me a sample.  I asked, you recommend this over Revive? She said yes because the Revive’ packaging is being changed because customers can’t use the entire product without taking out the pump.  Nearly half the product is wasted.  Be on the lookout for new packaging. At $95 a bottle-I’m sure we all want to use it to the last drop!

A few days prior, I was browsing to check out new stuff–at Laura Mercier I saw they had new foundation in both oil free and moisture formulas.  Moisture Supreme (pronounced suh-prem) is another dream product!  I used it over my regular regimen of Kiehl’s Power Line, Rosa Artica and Clarins spf40, and wore it for an entire day without feeling dry.  Awesome!

I had tried Laura Mercier’s tinted radiance moisturizer and decided I didn’t like to be that shimmery.  When the Revive’ guys came, I saw that the Revive’ girls were all wearing it-I could tell by the shimmery effect it has.  It reminds me of those horrible mother of pearl products brought out maybe 10 years ago that gave you a radiant look, but really if you look at it in the sun it looks weird and fakey. Sorry Laura.

I’m sitting writing this with the Clarins tinted spf40 on and it feels and looks great.  I’ll post again at how it wears during the day.  What’s more, because it’s tinted with just enough pigment you can tell if you’re getting your face covered with the sunscreen protection.

On men sunscreen.  I also checked out Facial Fuel by Kiehls – it is liquid, but it has a chalky texture and a not unpleasant, but somewhat chemical scent.  The Clinique men’s line, carried in NM but not Nordstrom, is pretty nice.  Packaged in sort of a gunmetal color, “M” line offers everything the same as the “women’s” line.  Plus they had some interesting sunscreens that were on the men’s counter.  Smelled pretty good.  I would use them.

That said, Clinique Super Defense spf25 is really great.  The other products don’t have treatment, but Super Defense is also anti-aging and moisturizing.

So, that and that said, if you’re sitting inside with a lot of windows and sunlight, make sure you use your sunscreen! Even on overcast days!


Chemistry-All Flavors Are Not Alike

As I think about what I am going to wear,I’m thinking about how many conversations I’ve had this week about product and how well they work, and how many times I said, it really depends on the chemistry in your body as to how well it works.

That’s why there are a million different products for everyone to try and stick with, or try and move on.  He he.

That goes for my personal life at this moment as well. That’s another blog.

I love to try new products, some work and some don’t.  Basically when a cosmetic salesperson tells me the product will take 2-3 bottles to show a result, I “hear” that it is not that effective.

What products? That would be Clinique Even Better(sorry auntie) and Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective lately, and products I’ve forgotten the name of from Clarins, Shiseido, Roc, L’Occitane, et al.

What works for me is the Kiehl’s Power Line Concentrate-it has lessened my brown spots, helping to erase those years I laid out in the Hawaiian and San Diegan sun.

Other factors are your overall nutrition (potato chips are my favorite but I drink a lot of water, eat oranges or apples, and not a lot of meat).  Probably in the chemical soup of your own eco system this has an affect overall on how things work for you.

Or don’t.

But the net-net, ask the salesperson–“How long before I see a result?” And listen and WATCH their reaction.



Nothing ignites a little sparkle in my eye and a  skip in my step than a GWP, or gift with purchase.  I just love getting a little something extra when I buy something-something for nothing these days is great!


Lately, it seems like our Honolulu stores, Neiman Marcus and Nordstroms time their beauty events very close together.

For example, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom had their events only weeks apart.  Once NM announced the presale for their event, Nordstrom came out and brought out an amazing bag of treats! For a purchase of $125,  I’ll try to remember the highlights, Laura Mercier Baked Eye Color, travel size foundation brush, full size Clarins Body Firm, Coach perfume, somebody’s mascara and I forgot the rest.  I was in the store buying my bf his Clinique Super Defense in quantity, plus some Clarin’s spf 40, so made the $125 easily.

I think I ended up getting the NM bag of treats as well.

Recently, I waited around for two weeks to buy Lancome primer so I could get the gift–cute little pink bag, lip gloss, mascara primer, Visionaire, Genefique and moisturizer – I picked Renergie.  That was at Macy’s.

I really depend on the counter reps to let me know the events are coming up because so far,  all three stores, for the most part, don’t send me the info. Or it comes after the fact.  Though the really on the ball ones get my phone or email and let me know way in advance – yay!!

This past Christmas holiday I was able to SuperSize some gifts with the great GWPs at Nordstroms.  They by far, online, had the very best product offers and incentives to buy.  I  got Kiehl’s and L’Occitane’ gifts and their accompanying GWPs.  Plus they threw in a men’s top bag of treats which I gave to my Dad.