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Celebrity beauty secrets- a guide to which are really red carpet worthy

Is a Solution for:
Dry Skin, Sagging Skin
April 25, 2012 Reviewed by Marta 19 Comments

Gwyneth’s fave face oil, Kate Middleton’s face mask… What’s your reaction when you read about a celebrity’s “can’t live without” beauty secret? Cynical avoidance or a tremor of excitement as you reach for your credit card. Well both reactions are appropriate. But the thing is, how do you know when a beauty product is really red carpet worthy? Here’s my guide to fighting your way through celebrity frenzy.

The British Royals and bee venom. The British media have been buzzing frantically in the last few days. Camilla and Kate are supposedly devotees of a bee venom face mask called Heaven and a new “Gold” (read much more expensive version) version is coming out in May. So should you make bee venom part of your bee-auty regimen? Actually yes, bee venom has 19 active components including peptides and is a great anti-inflammatory. A few months ago, here at Truth In Aging we tracked down the source of the bee venom active used by Heaven and the Royals to a bee-keeping family business in New Zealand. See my video comparing them. The Royal Nectar bee venom mask and moisturizer are exclusively available in the TIA shop and the mask is one of my very favorite products that gives me a fabulously healthy glow as well as firming.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s facial oil. Rodin’s Olio Russo looks as if it was designed for Gwyneth. It is slim, minimalist chic and golden. It looks so much like bottled sunshine that even my inner cynic was silenced. At $140, it is a little on the pricey side for 11 botanical oils. Antioxidant apricot and fatty acid-rich argan, rosehip and evening primrose bring real benefits. It is supposed to be used on damp skin and I use it over a spritz of Sevani’s tonique, which with its transporting smell of rose petals makes the entire experience almost decadent. Although I like Rodin, I do find it a little oily - as in it doesn't absorb all that well and I have to be sure to only use a tiny amount. For a less expensive but much more powerful antioxidant oil, I use Your Best Face Private Reserve or Kahina’s argan oil serum.

Nicole and Elle’s sunscreen secret. Invisible Zinc’s name alone captures the Holy Grail notion of a mineral sunscreen that doesn’t give you a chalky mask that a celebrity wouldn’t be seen dead in.  The problem with Invisible Zinc is that also invisible is anything that might do the skin good, the exception being fumitory, a botanical that is used to treat irritated skin. Interestingly, it is a source of fumaric acid, which is created naturally by the skin when it is exposed to sunlight and is used by cells to produce energy. There are a few things that I’d prefer to avoid such as Peg-20 methyl glucose sesquistearate that shouldn’t be used on broken skin, and the controversial diazolidinyl urea. Despite the endorsement of Aussie beauties Nicole Kidman and Elle Macpherson, I’ll be sticking with my almost invisible Snowberry and antioxidant rich Suntegrity.

Martha Stewarts favorite serum: Yesterday, we were asked to rush over a bottle of Bioeffect to Martha Stewart’s studios, which happen to be nearby Truth In Aging’s. It turns out that Martha is a big fan of Bioeffect, a serum that is made in Iceland and uses epidermal growth factor from barley stem cells. Although not all the Truth In Aging testers have seen results, I’m with Martha on this one – I’m on my second bottle. Bioeffect will be featured in the June issue of her magazine.

Vanessa Williams plants a tree. Lavanila (which Vanessa is reportedly a fan of) and the Nature Conservancy plant a tree for every purchase of the line’s chemical-free deodorant. In any case I really like Lavanila’s The Healthy Deodorant enough to buy it. If you’ve been searching for a safe underarm dabber, look no further. Every single ingredient is plant derived. Even things like the emulsifier comes from artichoke. For shavers, there is soothing and anti-inflammatory aloe and there’s even antioxidant goji berry.

Julia Roberts channels her inner surfer. Pacifica is all about natural ingredients and a “healthy surfer” vibe, and it’s a line that supposedly has a fan in the Pretty Woman. On the plus side, the products, such as Indian Coconut Nectar boy butter is decently priced and major on sunflower oil and shea butter. As Pacifica’s founder is a perfumer, it is perhaps to be expected that fragrance features more prominently than anti-aging ingredients. For the same, price I would personally pick Juice Beauty’s similarly priced body lotion with organic botanicals and peptides, or there's RMS Beauty's pure Coconut Cream.

Jessica Simpson fronts BeautyMint. After answering a ton of questions about my skin type and beauty routine, the Jessica fronted BeautyMint product finder recommended four products. Apparently discounted drastically to $39.99 from $125, I had to read the small print to discover that I’d be signing up for a monthly reorder charge of $44.94. The moisturizer starts off promisingly with macadamia, nutritional nut that is a good source of omega 7, a fatty acid, and thermophillus ferment, a marine bacteria that reacts to heat. Sadly, BeautyMint’s moisturizer then descends into a mire of chemicals that obscure some peptides, including Matrixyl and Syn-ake. Talking of celebrities, Ben Kingsley, is a fan of a syn-ake  potion called Defy Time. Those peptides take center stage in a better product by Cellbone, called Hyper-Peptides and Your Best Face Refresh.

Salma Hayek’s Nuance Facial Serum also has macadamia, along with good number of other decent botanicals, including mimosa, cactus pear and licorice. Plus there’s an interesting peptide that activates cell regeneration. I tried it for three weeks but gave up when the promised skin lightening (due to kojic acid) didn’t happen and it didn’t even provide any basic skin conditioning. The Nuance Corrective Spot Treatment may, however, be a better bet.

Kim Kardashians promise of PerfectSkin. The Kardashian sister’s products are not outstanding but certainly pass muster with a handful of botanicals with good pedigrees. Actually, I’d say they have gone out of their way to make flagship product, Repair and Protect, look very appealing  with just a few silicones and other fillers. The rest, especially and mask and the toner, are rather overpowered by harsh preservatives. The secret sauce is a plant enzyme called OGG-1 and there's Arabidopsis thaliana, which is in the altogether far superior, ReLuma eye cream.

Kelly Osbourne's shape changer. When Kelly's Osbourne's cute little body emerged from the pudge, I was - like everyone else - stunned by how great she looked and that when the weight came off, it stayed off. When I read that her secret was The Bar Method, I immediately gave it a try. This exercise program is transformative. Even though I am old enough to be her mother (now there's an unsettling thought), I too completely changed my body shape with The Bar Method. I love it (especially the new Super Sculpting) and I love the toned, poised and youthful body it has given me. Thanks Kelly for the best celebrity endorsement that I have ever been seduced by.  Check it out in the TIA shop.

  • May 6, 2012

    by Natalie Doyle

    Sorry that should say Invisible ZINC.

  • May 6, 2012

    by Natalie Doyle

    I used to wear Invisible Ink all the time but I found it wasn't good for my dry skin, made my skin a little drier. Stopped using it and now just using a normal sunscreen in my makeup

  • April 28, 2012

    by Marta

    Hi Susan, 1,2-propanediol is propylene glycol. There's also 1.3- which is trimethylene glycol. Lavinalla uses zeamea propandiol, which is a glycol made from corn (rather than petroleum) and generally regarded as safe.

  • April 28, 2012

    by Susan S.

    Hi Marta,
    Regarding the Lavanila deoderant, the very second ingredient is Propanediol. I was under the impression that that's just another name for Propylene Glycol, which is a rather controversial ingedient. Do you know anything about this? Are they the same thing? Any input on this would be great.

  • April 27, 2012

    by Marta

    Hi Suz, there are indeed a ton of bee venom masks that seem to have jumped on the Royal bandwagon. I am happy that we found the company that provides the active to European companies and the key thing is that I use this mask and love it. As far as the two that you have found, Abeeco's looks the most similar. If the ingredients list from Naturebee on the website is the complete list then I'd say its lacking in the additional things (avocado, Easyliance and apricot) that make RN good.

  • April 27, 2012

    by jess

    Dawn -- I second Marta's LED suggestion.

    I've been using my new Sirius Aurora daily for about a week: the blue panel on my acne-prone cheeks, and the red on my forehead and nose. In addition to the cumulative effects Marta mentioned, I find that immediately following a treatment the fine lines on my forehead are smoother and more taut. You can enhance this brightening, smoothing effect if you combine the light with a moisturizing serum (I use a combination of hyaluronic acid, B5, and sodium PCA). The red light has also reduced the appearance of tiny broken capillaries around my nose (which makes me wonder why I messed around with horse chestnut for so long, but that's another story!). If you can swing it and have 1-2 weeks before your big event, daily LED treatments could give you the glow you're looking for... plus, you can keep reaping the benefits thereafter!

  • April 27, 2012

    by Suz

    Still on the Fence here about ordering.. There are so many of these Masks out there I am discovering...I

    've seen Bee Venom Mask by abeeco AND another one from NATUREBEE. Any reviews or planning on reviewing?

  • April 27, 2012

    by Ashley

    I would live to try the Royal Nectar face
    mask! it sounds interesting!

  • April 26, 2012

    by Trinh

    I would love to try out the Royal Nectar Face Mask - thanks!

  • April 26, 2012

    by Lynda

    I'd love to try the Royal Nectar bee venom mask - sounds intriguing!

  • April 26, 2012

    by Marta

    Hi Dawn, I would highly recommend LED light. It gives the skin an instant plumpness and firmness and the effects are cumulative over time. Once a day for a week or so before your event could really help. And I would hit the bee venom mask as well (it has garnered husband compliments for me).

  • April 26, 2012

    by Dawn

    I have a question for all you experts! I have a big event coming up and I was wondering if you could recommend a "splurge" product that would really give my skin a boost for the night? I'm in my 40's with fine lines, dullness, loss of firmness, etc! I've seen lots of Masks and "treatments" that promise this, but can you recommend one that will really give me a glow for one evening? Not looking for a miracle, just a little help ;~) THANKS!

  • April 26, 2012

    by Dana G.

    I have tried several products in the past. The last was one containing snake venom. Although the product worked for short periodsof time during the day, it would leave the areas I had applied it to irritated, with dry spots or red and inflamed. Now in my 50's, it would be wonderful to find an natural alternative product that works! I would love to try the bee venom.

  • April 26, 2012

    by MaryEllen

    I can't say that I think any of these women look particularly great, with the exception of Salma Hayek, Elle MacPherson, and Kellie Osbourne, so I'm not tempted to try anything they "swear by." (I'm also skeptical of anything endorsed by a celebrity.) Great reviews of interesting products, though!

  • April 26, 2012

    by Wonda Pearson

    It's so cool that you managed to find the Royal Nectar, and even cooler that you have an exclusive on it!! Way to go! I would love to try this mask.

  • April 25, 2012

    by Agelessjen

    After having a not-so-positive experience testing the Heaven bee venom product, I would love to try the Royal Nectar Bee Venom Mask as a comparison. I'm still sold on the benefits of both bee venom AND Manuka honey. I still have my tester jar of the Heaven product & would be open to doing a side by side comparison, if interested.

  • April 25, 2012

    by laura

    After viewing Marta's comparison video
    I would most definitely like to try the NZ Royal Nectar as it could be befeficial for mature skin.

  • April 25, 2012

    by phyllis

    I would love to try the bee venom mask! Sounds like it is just what I was looking for.

  • April 25, 2012

    by Bev

    Marta, I'd like to try and review the Royal Nectar mask. I've done several reviews for TIA in the past! Thanks.

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