It’s New York Fashion Week and the downtown designer Tory Burch has kicked things off with a pre-launch of her new beauty line. Of course, I had to take a look and while I was at it went behind the runway to see what Tory Burch and other fashion designers are doing in cosmetics.

Tory Burch

Tory Burch first came out with a perfume and it is my personal theory that her skincare line is an excuse to use up excess inventory. They are all about the scent. The Tory Burch Body Lotion ($50) description on the designer’s website only (and I mean only) talks about the fragrance, which we are told “captures classic elements in unexpected ways”. I can’t tell you much more about it because no mention is made of any ingredients. As if to prove my “what to do with excess perfume” theory, we are told that Tory Burch Lip & Cheek Tint ($38) is “subtly scented with notes from Tory Burch fragrance”. As is the Tory Burch Lip Color ($32).

Somehow perfumed lipstick seems to be going too far, I shall stick with my unscented jane iredale Just Kissed Lip and Cheek Stain in Forever Pink and RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek. And talking of smells, I’m loving the herby/earthy smell of my Mirai Purifying Body Serum ($29), packed with antioxidants 


Givenchy has a gimmicky anti-aging serum called Vax'in For Youth ($92) and this is how Givenchy describes it: “this vaccine-like serum is formulated with a unique complex capable of generating micro-stimuli, which encourage the skin's cells to produce their own age-defying protein HSP70”. You can read more about the theory of HSP70 in our post on Vax’in For Youth, but the question is how does Givenchy’s potion get our bodies to produce this age-defying protein? With ginseng and taurine, which you will be delighted to discover is a major component of bile. There isn’t much information on what it might do in a cosmetic, but there is some research linking it to skin hydration. It takes some squinting at the ingredients list to find anything else of interest – oats, soy and algin.

Not surprisingly, I couldn’t find an alternative to Givenchy Vax’in For Youth with taurine. But if you want ginseng try Eslor Active Night Cream ($95 in the shop), which sports an anti-ager that does have some compelling research to back it up, the peptide combo Matrixyl 3000, and comes “highly recommended by our tester. And keeping it in the Givenchy lookalike camp, it also has soy. Prana Spaceuticals Renewal Eye Crème ($48 in the shop) also has a peptide, ginseng, soy, wheat protein and much more.

Marc Jacobs

Marc Jacobs recently launched his beauty line with a supposedly anti-aging foundation that is almost funny, except that it’s depressing. Marc Jacobs Beauty Genius Gel Super-Charged Foundation ($48) is hailed as “breakthrough gel foundation that’s antiaging." There isn’t one single anti-aging ingredient in Marc Jacobs’ foundation. Not one. On the other hand there’s enough silicone for a breast implant.

For an anti-aging foundation, I’d rather go with Amarte's Natural Finish BB cream ($49 in the shop), which is so anti-aging that our tester, Nina, was told she had the flawless skin of a 12 year old! Or Juice Beauty Perfecting Foundation with no less than eight antioxidant-rich fruit oils.

Heidi Klum

Supermodel Heidi Klum once had an anti-aging skincare line called In An Instant, a complete 30-day skin system that purportedly produces instant results (hence the name). Unfortunately, it was far from an instant success and has been discontinued. In the meantime, Heidi Klum has become the face of Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy. I took a look at the Clear Total Care Shampoo and found that is has enough irritating chemicals to put in an aerosol and call it a self-defense spray.

Far less lethal and eminently more worthy of Heidi Klum’s golden tresses is Josh Rosebrook’s Shampoo ($30), which clears away the grime of the day with gentle cleansing agents, such as African black soap and a ton of health imparting botanical extracts.


WhileChanel is known for its classic, iconic clothes, it gets pretty cutting edge in the skincare department. A case in point is Channel Le Blanc Targeted Brightening Spot Corrector ($98). In Chanel’s own words, this is a “revolutionary high-tech brightening ingredient [called] the TXC molecule.” TXC is tranexamic acid and it fades dark spots in a very interesting way that reduces inflammatory cells.

Tranexamic acid is not unique to Chanel (which is just as well as the rest of Le Blanc is nothing to write home about). It is in E’shee’s Intensive Brightening Serum ($119 in the TIA shop), which also has ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which is said to work synergistically with tranexamic acid.

Then there’s Chanel Sublimage Essential Regenerating Cream (.21 oz/$390), which promises to give a new lease of life to “life factors” – whatever they are. Given the ingredients, the price tag isn’t expensive, it’s scandalous. There are all the silicones and synthetics that you would expect in a mediocre department store cream. To be fair, there is one interesting addition, neoruscogenin, which comes from butcher’s broom and may stimulate blood circulation in the capillaries and treat under eye puffiness. But that’s really it. If you are in the market for a high end cream that is worth the money because almost every ingredient is a high performing active, then diss Chanel for Your Best Face Control ($160 in the shop)