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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 Stewart’s 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 Kardashian’s 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.