Many of you want to learn about products that are natural, organic and/or vegan. I am happy to bring two great product lines to your attention that are vegan based. The quality for both lines are exceptional.

1_zoom.thumbnailMatt and Nat I have been a fan of Matt and Nat for years. I am so impressed by their latest line showcasing vegan leather. The price point is ridiculously fabulous - making it affordable for consumers to get into quality and stylish handbags and wallets.

duchessmardentitle.thumbnailDuchess Marden I had the pleasure of meeting Marla Steuer, Founder and Proprietor of Duchess Marden, a few weeks ago. Not only is she a delight, her products are, as well. Her philosophy is built around creating an "experience" that engages your olfactory and limbic systems to enliven emotions, memory and behavior. Marla uses pure, natural plant-based elements without the use of petrochemicals, parabens or chemical preservatives. Look for my review of Duchess Marden next month!
It never fails, the mornings I have somewhere to be my eyes decide to pack their bags and come along for the ride. I have a special eye mask ice pack (if it's really bad), and yes I have tried tea bags, as well. But really, we want something a bit more simple, right? Having tested many a product, I have come to rely two fabulous eye creams that really stick to their claim.

I stumbled upon DermaRadiant Ageless Eyes a few years ago after much frustration. It's so good, I am a perpetual member (see review). My husband even requests it! It contains hesperidins methyl chalcone which decreases fluid by strengthening the capillary micro vessel barrier, dipeptide VW which mobilizes fluid in the tissues and drains it by activating the lymphatic pump, and peptide palmitoyl-GQPR which reduces local inflammation and restores cutaneous firmness and elasticity. You can feel it working.

Another fabulous one to try is Theraderm Peptide Repair Eye Crème. I use this as my everyday eye cream and have turned many onto this incredible product (see review). It stimulates collagen production and helps to reduce the appearance of three things we all dislike; wrinkles, dark circles and puffiness. The patented soluble keratin peptides from natural sources increase collagen production leading to restored thickness of skin thinned by aging.

Now I can at least say I am armed and dangerous when it comes to dealing with under eye bags. Try and get me now!
We already know that Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) is one of the most widely used skin care ingredients. We also understand its effectiveness against wrinkles and fine lines. Vitamin C is essential for the synthesis of collagen, a key structural protein of the skin. And it helps reduce skin damage caused by free radicals. If properly delivered into skin cells, there is a good chance to reduce wrinkles and improve skin texture. So, how do we decipher which products are the best to deliver this powerful antioxidant?

I have been testing skin care products since my early 20s. I can tell you that, while Vitamin C does possess scientifically validated merits for wrinkle reduction and skin rejuvenation, not all products on the market are created equal. I rely heavily on research, as well as results. So it's no surprise that I am a big fan of Dr. Beckman and his Theraderm products. Not only are his products backed by substantial research, but they truly deliver. Dr. Beckman's Theraderm OPC serum contains the natural ingredient from the French Maritime Pine Bark, Oligomeric ProanthoCyanidans. These complex, large molecules have many more active chemical receptor sites that are active free radical trappers. He explains,
OPC is the most potent free radical scavenger known. It is, in fact, 20 times more effective as a free radical scavenger than Vitamin C. This is true whether the comparison is from either one taken orally or applied topically.
An interesting research study done in Finland compared living skin cell cultures exposed to UV rays. Unprotected skin cell cultures subjected to UV rays did not survive. Skin cell cultures that were coated with a layer of OPC (only 1/2 the concentration of Theraderm RS-OPC) on the surface and then exposed to the same UV dosage resulted in not one skin cell killed. More remarkable, is the fact that there was no evidence of any DNA damage for four succeeding daughter cell populations.

When applied topically to the skin, the water-based Theraderm OPC serum easily penetrates to the dermal layer of skin and functions as a free radical scavenger to protect skin tissue from harmful injury from UVA or UVB rays. It assists and enhances Vitamin C during collagen synthesis. In addition, are three other active ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, Aloe Vera and Alpha Lipoic Acid. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant (attracts water to itself) that, in this case, attracts 1000 times its own weight. Lipoic Acid causes the redness of rosacea to subside with daily use. It also has been shown to reduce redness from post laser skin in just a few days.

While I have experienced incredible results with Theraderm OPC, I want to be clear that there are other fantastic products on the market rich in antioxidants, such as Vitamin C. My other recommendations include SkinMedica - three excellent products are TNS Recovery Complex, Vitamin C Complex and Dermal Repair Cream; iS Clinical's C-15 Serum and EnPointe's Eclairci C Serum. The key is finding an antioxidant that immediately penetrates the skin and cannot be diluted by other products. For more information, please feel free to contact me.
I wanted to pass along some phenomenal promotional discounts to you from [my] style files. There will be a few more specials coming up this month, as well, that I will be sure to share. Enjoy!

There are a lot of DIYers (do it yourself-ers) among us and for certain things, I say fantastic! Like microdermabrasion, waxing, manis/pedis, etc. However, when it comes to the health of your skin, please do not play "chemist." I may not know everything about skin care (though in my previous life you'd swear I was a dermatologist), but I certainly understand the risk involved in mixing chemicals and ingredients without said degree.

Websites such as Essential Day Spa, Garden of Wisdom and Skin Actives are popping up - offering an amazing array of botanical actives, as well as chemical powerhouses (lipoic acid, niacinamide, superoxide dismutase). It's incredibly inexpensive to order vials of these botanicals and chemicals over the internet ... enough to justify a shopping spree. I admit, it's tempting. So what stops me? The facts. #1 - It takes a true professional to master the balance of ingredients in order to make a superior product. #2 - Product testing alone can take years. #3 - And what about FDA approval? There is good reason why formulations are performed in a lab, at the hands of experts.

Experimenting with chemicals is dangerous - bottom line. We are talking about the skin on your face. Skin, in which, you can willingly burn if you are not careful. Is it really worth the risk? It's daunting to know that the skin novice will try to replicate a product, say SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, by ordering all the suggested vials. What the novice doesn't know are the interactions between the ingredients. Following a "kit" isn't going to give you the CE Ferulic serum. In fact, if you make a mistake the product is worthless, or worse, harmful. See, antioxidants are unstable compounds. Unless you are a chemist, you won't know how to intermingle ingredients so that they will last for more than 30 minutes. Both vitamins C and E can auto-oxidize in the wrong formula - meaning, they are no longer antioxidants. They can even cause oxygen decay rather than prevent it.

I realize that skin care products can be expensive. And technology used in skin care, such as nanotechnology, can up the ante. However, you have to live in your skin for a lifetime. Spend those years wisely.