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What's working for me now - Fall 2013

marta wohrle
September 10, 2013 Reviewed by Marta 10 Comments

My current beauty regimen includes some incredible new finds, truly groundbreaking – or at least skin-changing. I almost shake my head with wonder at the performance of Medik8’s Red Alert, Amarte’s Eyeconic has changed my thinking about retinol (and eye serums), and I have a two new firming treatments: an at home microcurrent device and a surprising serum from Peter Thomas Roth. But before I get carried away with new beauty successes, allow me to walk you through my beauty routine in an orderly manner.

Cleansers and toners

The litmus test is whether I buy a second bottle and with Josh Rosebrook’s new Moisturizing Cleanser ($27), I had no hesitation. This black African soap (which is plaintain) cleanser is perfect for my slightly oily and sensitive skin. The botanical ingredients are steller and such a little goes such a long way that I kept my 2oz bottle going for four months. The consistency (slightly creamy) works extremely well with my Ultra Clear Facial Cleansing System ($86).

I can’t resist a little innovation and am utterly charmed by Me & the Girls Bar Beleza Multi-Use Beauty Bar ($40), a novel soap, balm, moisturizer that comes in a twist-up tube. The mercifully simple organic formula is going to be perfect for when chillier days set in.

Still on the theme of simplicity, I am taken by a brand that is new to me S.W. Basics. This company’s products are all formulated with five ingredients or less. Bear witness the S.W. Basics Toner ($24) with (1) water, (2) apple cider vinegar, (3) witch hazel.    

Serums and targeted serums

I usually kick-off with Medik8 Red Alert ($60 in the shop). This is the best thing I have ever found for redness, rosacea and broken veins that make my cheeks much rosier than I would like. After using most of the bottle of Red Alert (targeting the aforementioned apple of my cheeks), the skin is clearer than it has ever been. The active ingredient is teprenone, so it also improves the thickness of the skin at the same time.

I was shocked to see that it is exactly a year ago since I first reviewed E’shee KI Therapy Serum - Elixir of Life ($189 in the shop). At the time I said that it was “having astonishing results on my skin”. It still is – I have just started my fourth bottle. It gives mu skin a subtle glow and suppleness, as well keeping lines at bay. I tried to stop using it for nearly a month a while back when I was testing lot of other stuff – I caved and went back to it and my skin is thanking me.

I am also still loving BRAD Multi-Peptide ($95) and am on to the second bottle. I use it in the evenings (E’shee K1 mornings) or sometimes alternate days. I don’t know why, but they seem to complement each other and I like the refreshed but matte look that BRAD gives my skin.

Peter Thomas Roth has won me over with Neuroliquid™ Volufill™ Youth Serum ($120). It is mostly amino acids (19 of them in all) and is supposed to restore fullness and diminish wrinkles – claims that I have substantiated. I have been experimenting with it on my jawline, marionette lines and forehead and am impressed. I was hoping it would complement use of my Ultra Renew Plus ($159), which I tend to focus on the same areas, but the consistency is too runny. Still, I think that this will be a keeper and a full review will be coming up soon.

When I first came across Medik8 Firewall back in 2009 can you believe, I gushed “it works. It really works. It really, really works”. It still does and Medik8 Firewall ($145 in the shop) is doing a very good job on forehead lines and neck with its potent combo of Matrixyl 3000 and copper peptides in a unique dual chamber container.

For dark spots (which I must admit I am not consistently diligent about tackling as  I should be), I have gone back to E’shee Serum Intensive Brightening ($119). As with most things E’shee, it works (if you stick with it) and it uses an innovative skin lightening active, tranexamic acid.

Eye Serums

Another surprising hit has been Amarte Eyeconic Eye Cream. Center stage is epidermal growth factor, which is nano-encapsulated for better penetration. It is a great eye cream for smoothing wrinkles and reducing crepeyness, without being at all drying. Because Amarte Eyeconic has retinol, I use it only at night and limit it about three times a week.

Daily standbys are AQ Skin Solutions Eye Serum ($99, in the shop) – this has its own version of epidermal growth factors, human conditioned media. With depuffing and dark under eye circle actives, it remains (after a year since I first got to know it) a go to. I also continue to like Tilth Beauty Resurrect Eye Cream (0.5oz/$62) majors on four versions of perfluorodecalin, an ingredient that dissolves and delivers oxygen to the skin and there is also firming/anti-sagging ingredient, ChroNoline.


As I have already mentioned, Ultra Clear and Ultra Renew Plus are entrenched in my regime.  But two new tools are also making themselves useful and permanent. The PMD Personal Microderm System ($179) is a once-a-week tool that is easy to use safely and without incident (a big plus for me since I am a bit wimpy when it comes to microdermabrasion).  My other new tool is Myotone ($279), this is a microcurrent device and the results are impressive (especially for immediate gratification), I am alternating it with the LED/ultrasound of the Ultra Renew Plus

Moisturizer, sunscreen and masks

My slightly oily skin doesn’t always need a moisturizer with my serum, but when I feel the need I am very partial to Snowberry Starbright Moisturiser ($51) is light, but rich in natural antioxidants and perfectly suited to my combination, slightly oily skin.

For sunscreen, I’ve been mostly loyal to Prana Natural Defense SPF 25 Moisturizer ($39 in the shop) is my new cosmetically acceptable sunscreen (no chalky residue) for day-to-day – light and pleasant to use, with tons of botanical extracts. CV Skinlabs Restorative Skin Balm ($26) is a skin 911 (as our reviewer Tina put it) that comes in handy for patches of eczema, itchy rashes and bug bites.

Once in a while, Arcona Mandarin Brightening Peel ($78) gives my skin a wakeup call when it looks tired and dull and my new favorite mask is Michael Todd True Organics Charcoal Detoxifying Facial Mask ($34), which nourishes and cleanses.

  • November 29, 2013

    by Marta

    Hi Richard
    I think the best way to try to answer is with some titanium dioxide info. This is from
    "Wavelengths are classified as UVA, UVB, or UVC, with UVA the longest of the three at 320-400 nanometers (nm, or billionths of a meter). UVA is further divided into two wave ranges, UVA I, which measures 340-400 nanometers (nm, or billionths of a meter), and UVA II which extends from 320-340 nanometers."
    According to the same website, titanium dioxide covers UBV and UVAll

  • November 29, 2013

    by Richard

    Hi Marta, I'm curious about the Prana Natural Defence SPF 25. The ingredients list contains titanium dioxide which doesn't cover long UVA rays and the product doesn't state it is broad spectrum either (including on Prana's own website). Is it truly a broad-spectrum SPF 25 or just mostly UVB and some UVA?


  • October 2, 2013

    by Svetlana

    Thanks for the clarification Marta - I'll check out the YBF serum. BTW, I tried the Prana sunscreen over the weekend and found it lovely to wear - once I got over the smell! Hard to define but definitely very sweet. But I think it will be a keeper - SK

  • October 1, 2013

    by Marta

    Svetlana, the BRAD Multi-peptide is mostly amino acids. They are in a base of aloe and witch hazel, which are antioxidants. KI also has some antioxidants. However, these aren't the main purpose of these serums (they will removed from that shop category) and I would look at ones with more antioxidants such as Your Best Face Antioxidant Concentrate:

  • September 30, 2013

    by Svetlana

    Thanks for getting back to me Marta. I have one other question in that I'm considering trying an LED device and read your post on antioxidants. I note that both the Brad multi-peptide and E'shee KI appear under the antioxidants and vitamin serums category in the shop but am not sure whether either of these serums are suitable for use with LED? I'm trying to keep my focus on quality over quantity when it comes to skin care so it would great if I didn't need to buy an additional serum for using with LED! But if I do, would you recommend any of the other Brad or E'shee serums? I particularly want to steer away from oils and would prefer to use something I can layer with my current serums as opposed to something I need to wash off first. Thanks again - SK

  • September 29, 2013

    by Marta

    Svetlana, there's no reason for my morning and evening routine in this case - it just seems to work well for me. I think you can experiment and find what works for you and the sunscreen.

  • September 29, 2013

    by Svetlana

    Hi Marta - just a question re the E'Shee and Brad multi-peptide serums. Is there a particular reason for using one at night and the other morning? I love and use them both but was thinking of trialling them the other way around as the weather becomes more humid here in Sydney. I'm also about to try the Prana sunscreen and thought it may layer better over the Brad than the E'shee? Thanks, SK

  • September 14, 2013

    by Marta

    Glad that you are enjoying Medik8, Diane. Yes, I would alternate one at night and the other in the morning - I certainly wouldn't layer them.

    Hi Beverly, thanks for the tip about Rebecca's Makes Sense (nice name). I'll be contacting them for testers

  • September 14, 2013

    by Beverly

    I love the Brad Multi Peptide. I just finished my first bottle, and will be re-ordering. Over the summer I had to cut my hours to part I had to adjust my routine quite a bit. I do love a good serum, so I didn't mind that expense. For everything else I did cut back a bit. I'm sooo glad to see that S.W. Basics was on your radar. I love their make up remover and toner. Pricing is right up my alley too. Another great find for me was at my local health food store here in Florida. Its a cream called Eleventh hour by Rebecca's makes sense. Under 35 dollars for 4 ounces. She does have a website you can google. My skin just loves it.
    I do need a good mask though, the Michael Todd Charcoal mask might be my next purchase.
    Thank you Marta, I always look forward to your updates on whats working for you.

  • September 14, 2013

    by Diane

    Hi Marta
    I'm interested in trying the Medik8 Firewall and the Peter Thomas Roth Youth Serum and I just wondered when you use these products. Do you alternate them or use one morning and the other at night. I am currently using Medik8 Growth Factor in my daily routine and I think it's amazing.

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