Free shipping on all domestic orders over $39

Five Best beauty products that are worth the splurge

Is a Solution for:
Dry or Brittle Hair, Limp Hair, Dull Hair
February 11, 2009 Reviewed by Marta 20 Comments
My shopping habits have changed so dramatically that can honestly say I have checked into spending rehab. The time I spend away from my credit card is less painful than I would have thought. Sure, I have withdrawal symptoms, but I am also beginning to welcome the zen-like calm of a life that doesn't scream OMG, I have to have that (think shoes, bags, latest miracle cream) right now and I mean now. Having said all that, it struck me the other day that there are some of my anti-aging products that are worth every cent and will be replenished the minute I have scraped very precious drop from them. Recession Be Damned.

Take a look at some of my can't live withouts and drop a few hints to your loved one as Valentine's Day approaches.

Tracie Martyn's Amla Purifying Cleanser ($65). This is hands down the best cleanser I have ever found. As I am always saying, it is more of a treatment than a cleanser. So much so, that last Tuesday I gave my three-quarters full bottle to my friend Alexander, a rosacea sufferer undergoing a particularly bad bout after flying from Germany to Phoenix to New York (air con and lack of real oxygen are guaranteed to bring a flush to the rosacea's sufferer's cheeks). The next day I reordered it for myself without hesitation. Amla is a gentle exfoliator (using pineapple and papaya enzymes, as well as malic and lactic acids) and a cleanser in one. The salicylic acid helps control oil. Sometimes, I just leave it on while I have my shower before rinsing off so that I can absorb the vitamin C, turmeric (keeps my rosacea at bay) and, of course amla. This is also known as the Indian gooseberry. It has loads of vitamin C and gallic acid, which is a potent polyphenol (a type of antioxidant). Plus there is nothing not to like.

Kronos Phyx Overnight Repair Mask ($105). When I first saw the price tag for this, I thought it was a joke. Then I saw that it came with some back up: Kronos claimes to be clinically proven to work in an independent trial. After four weeks hair strength and elasticity was improved by a whopping 96% and volume by a more modest, but nevertheless welcome, 26%. I can say that I too have noticed results. My hair looks great (just the right amount of volume, plus shine)  the next day after shampooing the mask out. There's about five million ingredients and some that I don't like. But the thing works! Plus a little goes a very long way.

Your Best Face Correct ($150 in the TIA shop). I know I am a broken record about this eye cream and I won't repeat all the things I've said before. Well, just that it has spin trap, a molecule that lasoos free radicals and puts them out to graze. Plus all my friends noticed that I was using a new eye cream and have since emailed me for the name. I'm on my third bottle.

Reluma Skin Illuminating Anti-Aging Serum ($135 in the TIA shop). I'm on my third bottle of this as well (actually, the second - I bought the third for a friend). It works and I have had no adverse reactions. The actives are growth factors. As we age, the critical proteins for healthy skin start to decline. These proteins and growth factors can be isolated as PDGF, VEGF, FGF, IGF3 and TGF-B. Of these, TGF-B is thought to be the most important because its signals are recognized by the majority of cells. Actually, they all have a job to do, but it is the combination of them that makes ReLuma work. That's according to ReLuma. But, all I can say is work, it does.

Malie Organic Body Polish ($40). I first bought this after Jimmy raved about the Malie spa (of course he had to go to Hawaii to try it out). I have had to make do with one of the products made with organic plants grown in the spa's gardens. After my third tub, I decided I had to break the habit. It has to be ordered from, takes a few weeks to show up and then seems to disappear in the shower remarkably quickly. I was starting to begrudge the $40. So I've been trying out alternatives (some of which I will review in detail, some of which are OK, and all of which are more convenient and at least half the price), but none live up to the brilliant glossy smoothness that Malie gives me. It has won me back.

Ingredients in Amla Cleanser

Aqua (purified water), amla extract, sorbitol, coconut and soy amino acids, castor and soy hydrolized protein, decyl glucoside and lauryl lactylate, lactic acid, salicylic acid, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), malic acid, allantoin (comfrey), papaya enzymes, pineapple enzymes, silicon dioxide, honeysuckle extract, turmeric extract, spinach extract, blend of spearmint, lime and other natural essential oils.

Ingredients in Kronos Phyx

Water (Aqua), Behentrimonium Chloride, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Polyquaternium-37, Phenylpropyldimethylsiloxysilicate, Dimethiconol, Hydrolyzed Lupine Protein, Glycerin, Astrocaryum Murumuru Seed Butter, Orbignya Speciosa Kernel Oil, Oryzanol, Tocopherols, Tocotrienols, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Betaine, South Sea Pearl Powder Extract, Brazilian Coral Powder Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Hexapeptide-11, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Acetyl Hexapeptide-3, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Cudrania Tricuspidata (Mulberry) Bark Extract, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Lycium Chinensis (Chinese Matrimony Vine) Fruit Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Prunus Mume (Ume) Fruit Extract, Pyrus Communis (Pear) Fruit Extract, Rubus Coreanus (Wild Strawberry) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Uuron Cha Ekisu) Leaf Extract, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Fullerenes, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Phytosphingosine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Urea, PPG-1 Trideceth-6, Propylene Glycol Dibenzoate, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Butylene Glycol, Laureth-23, Laureth-4, Citric Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Steareth-2, Steareth-21, Stearic Acid, Carbomer, PEG-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Fragrance (Parfum), BHT, Disodium EDTA, Triethanolamine, Isohexadecane, Hexylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Limonene, Linalool.

Ingredients in YBF Correct
Reverse osmosis water, licorice root extract, snap-8 (acetyl glutamyl hexapeptide-3), pepha-timp (polypeptide), cucumber extract, simugel (C16H34), syn-ake (tripeptide), haloxyl (hydroxysuccinimide, chrysin, palmitoyl oligopeptide (and) palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3), nutmeg butter, matrixyl 3000 (palmitoyl oligopeptide, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3), dimethyl isosorbide, alpha arbutin, cyclomethicone (and) dimethicone copolyol, ethyhexyl palmitate, spin trap (phenyl butyl nitrone), glycerine, l-proline, provitamin B5, raspberry seed extract, alpha lipoic acid, sepilift DPHP (palmitoyl-1, palmitoyloxy-4 proline), triglyceride, paraben du, sodium hyaluronate, caffeine, cetearyl isononanoate, ceteareth-20, cetearyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, cetyl palmitate, ceteareth-12, vitamin e, BHT, olive leaf extract, vitamin a, violet leaf extract, oakmoss absolute.

Ingredients in ReLuma Skin Illuminating Anti-Aging Serum

Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media, deionized water, gycerin, sodium PCA, allantoin, panthenol, cellulose gum, DMDM hydantoin, iodopropynyl butylcarbamate.

Ingredients in Malie

Hawaiian sea salt, organic virgin coconut oil, organic cocoa butter, mango butter, organic vanilla bean, organic vitamin E, vanilla essential oil, Kaua”i clay, organic grapefruit seed extract, organic citric acid, organic tapioca, organic tumeric.
  • January 25, 2010

    by Virginia Dial

    Just had to write a note: ReLuma is available and is launching now with Derm's and Plastic is truly a great product, as is the ReLuma Lash and the now Invitra Hair products.
    I am actually the Account Executive in Orange County California. If you need and want this product contact our office, which has moved, at our address is
    5251 California Avenue
    Ste. 130
    Irvine, CA 92617
    or call me directly @ 949-433-8373

  • March 4, 2009

    by Shelly

    After searching around on the internet, I found their website: I also contacted the company and they said that ReLuma is still on the market and should be contacted if any ReLuma bottles (or samples) are desired. I look forward to trying this product based on all the positive reviews.

  • March 4, 2009

    by marta

    ReLuma seems to be well and truely gone. The hunt is on for alternatives

  • March 3, 2009

    by Lin

    Is ReLuma back on the market yet? I could not find it on an internet search.

  • March 1, 2009

    by marta

    I agree - I just depress it half way and try to get a smaller amount. A half pump seems to be fine for me - although I do often rub my finger along my upper lip for good measure.

  • March 1, 2009

    by sarah

    Marta, when you use YBF's Correct, are you using a full pump each time? I just started using it a few days ago, and I find a full pump to be way more than I need. Even an approximate half a pump is more then I need for my eyes, and I find myself dabbing it elsewhere on my face because I don't want to waste it.

  • February 15, 2009

    by Gail

    Hi Marta,

    Just discovered your site yesterday. . . great information!

    You sold me on ReLuma. . .then noticed you said you could no longer find their consumer website. I searched, discovered the domain name expired on Feb. 10, but it had some notation on it that didn't allow it be deleted. That seemed hopeful, so I also had a go at emailing them.

    Heard back this afternoon (a Sunday, yet!) - a nice note saying the site would be done on Monday, and that it would be back up as soon as they make some fundamental changes. So, unless the change means dropping the ReLuma line, it looks hopeful!

    Crossing my fingers!

    A new fan,


  • February 14, 2009

    by marta

    The reason why Glo Therapeutics isn't on my favorites list is that I haven't tried it. In the post I said that I only had a sachet sample - not enough to do anything with. At TIA, we don't recommend anything that we haven't tried out over a sufficient amount of time (usually a minimum of three weeks). However, we have just hold of some Glo, so watch this space.

    I would say that the Image Skincare product is more for skin tone, although it might have some firming effects.

  • February 14, 2009

    by Michelle

    Hi Marta,

    Thanks for posting another list! =D it's very helpful, yet can also be confusing to me since it brings up questions regarding other products you've posted. I know that YBF is a TIA favorite, but I don't recall reading that it contains anything to extend the hayflick limit.
    However, one of your posts about Glo Therapeutics GloSuper Serum ($150) says it has a spin trap like YBF, but also contains carnosine to help with the hayflick limit. They both run for the same price, so I was curious as to why YBF is your favorite and not the GloSuper Serum. Does it not work as well as YBF although it contains both a spin trap and carnosine? I have the same question about
    Circadia’s Myo-Cyte Rx Serum ($150), also just as pricey. This one doesn't seem to have a spin trap, but the review mentioned that it helps with elasticity, which is something I am also looking for. Do you know if Image Skincare’s Ageless Total Anti-Aging Serum ($40) would do the same thing?
    Also, would Derma Radiant Ageless Eyes ($39) still be your choice for a YBF substitute if our budget doesn't afford YBF Correct?

    Okay, or maybe there are so many choices that I am crazy and am confusing the eye creams and face serums and comparing them like apples to oranges? =X

  • February 12, 2009

    by marta

    I have a horrible feeling that Reluma is no longer available. I can't find it anywhere and Invitrx, the company that makes it no longer have a consumer website. You can try contacting them directly. (I emailed them a few weeks ago and had no response).

    Contact Information
    Invitrx, Inc.
    23322 Madero, Ste. J
    Mission Viejo, CA 92691-2731
    877-INVITRX (468-4879)

    I am going to have to find a replacement! Watch this space.

  • February 12, 2009

    by JoanG

    Hi: I want to purchase ReLuma, but it isn't available on Amazon. I looked for it on other websites with no luck. Do you know where it can be purchased (online or in the NYC area).

  • February 12, 2009

    by Matina


    I've learned so much in the short time that I've been reding your newsletter/site. I don't have a regimen set it stone yet. But I agree that if something works it is worth the price. I am saving for ReLuma right now! I've tried the cellbone products after reading your site and am pleased with them but still want to try ReLuma!

  • February 11, 2009

    by Niall

    Marta -

    I think, until very recently, men's product lines were very inferior to what is offered to women. This makes sense, since women make up the vast majority of the market for skincare and, let's fact it, are far more discriminating about what they buy.

    Moreover, there's this weird assumption in men's skincare products that men need all these highly irritating ingredients as a matter of course, stuff that rarely appears in women's products - like eucalyptus extract and tea tree oil. My skin is very sensitive, and that stuff is poison for me. I think these ingredients are used because of the myth that men's skin is oilier than women's, which is certainly not true of me. My skin is hardly oily at all.

    I think all the products I use are pretty unisex (the cleansing bar, the glossing cream). And I'm not hung up on whether something is "men's" or "women's".

  • February 11, 2009

    by marta

    What interests me about your list is that you don't seem to go for products that are specifically marketed at men. Is that because you've never found any you like, or do you think that gender-based potions are not needed?

  • February 11, 2009

    by marta

    What interests me about your list is that you don't seem to go for products that are specifically marketed at men. Is that because you've never found any you look, or do you think that gender-based potions are not needed?

  • February 11, 2009

    by JulieK

    Thanks for your list, Marta. I always love your favorites. Gives me much to consider.

    I can't quite grasp spending $65 on cleanser. I've discovered Burt's Bees orange essense cleanser- love it- and use it in tandem with Skinn's sulfate free rapid exfloiating cleanser a.m. for under $30. Skinn has the acids and C, I think, you've referred to, but would be great if one day you could take a look.

    My fantasy is to afford YBF Correct (well, their entire line) for my *nearing 60 genetically Polish dark circled* eyes. As I tried (and reviewed) a sample of this product firsthand, I can heartily agree.

    As for hair: I've tried Kronos Phyxx. While I like it well enough, I can't justify the cost of purchasing it as a maintenance product. And my hair is my vanity! Give me Swartzkopf products any day. Their leave-in conditioners are lovely, do the job and don't weigh down the hair. The Australians do know their hair business.

    I'm still stumbling around attempting to find what I simply can't live without (and my budget can withstand). Syn-Tacks must be included in this menagerie! I think I've locked it down to one potion that is working amazingly well.

    Everything I know today regards my facial regime, I owe thanks to you! ~jk

  • February 11, 2009

    by Jenny Gaglione

    Great post and a terrific Web site!

    At this time of year, my lips are a wreck, so I can't live without Janson Beckett's Beautifull Lip Lip Plumper. My lips have always been very lined (starting in my 20s!) but this product makes them so smooth and feeling very full--- no Botox needed!

  • February 11, 2009

    by Niall

    My five top beauty products, in no particular order:

    Nars Cleansing Bar - For me, the perfect facial cleanser. Effective, but not at all drying or irritating. And one bar lasts, like, forever.

    Darphin Predermine Mask. Best mask ever, hands down. It firms, soothes, brightens and purifies. Also, its consistency is perfect - it stays where you put it, not runny or cakey.

    Erno Laszlo TransPhuse Night Serum - Nothing revolutionary, but it really does a good job of soothing and lifting over night. Not at all irritating, and not too thick. Heck, I use this as my after shave balm.

    Frederick Fekkai Glossing Cream - The best hair cream ever. Strong enough to keep my cowlicks in place, yet so light my hair never feels weighed down. And there's never any buildup.

    Kanebo ARC Recovery Cream - Not too cheap (but these days, not that expensive either). Perfectly hydrates my skin and gives me a nice glow. I use it at night over the Erno Laszlo serum.

    There you have it. The secret to my manly, middle-aged beauty.

  • February 11, 2009

    by Kathy

    Forgot to mention, the $50 you pay for the Sampler Pack enrolls you in a "they send the stuff quarterly" until you say stop. But you can stop it anytime after you get your kit.

    I'm personally not a fan of those types of deals, but I went with it to get the Kronos half price. :-)

  • February 11, 2009

    by Kathy

    Hi Marta
    Thanks for your "5 Best" review. Just to let you and all the other readers know, if you click on the link below, it takes you to where you can order a sampler pack for $50. The pack includes a Full Size Kronos Phyx Hair mask as well as a bunch of other products. I ordered one and am enjoying the Kronos. Plus I liked the fact that I only paid $50. Here's the link:

Join the discussion! Leave a comment below.

My Comment

Add a comment...

-or- Cancel Comment
* Required Fields
truth in aging's five best

Truth In Aging's Five Best

The very best to choose from for your skin concerns.

Read More

truth in aging videos

Truth In Aging Videos

Helpful how-tos and reviews from Marta and friends.

Watch Now

meet our contributors

Meet Our Contributors

The TIA community consists of our trusted reviewers.

Meet Them

be inspired

Be Inspired

Inspiring thoughts and women who are aging gracefully.

Read More