Friday, November 30, 2007

Beauty Digest: Are You Afraid of Aging? Do You Prefer to Believe that Aging is “Optional”?

There were several interesting articles addressing the issues of aging in November and December beauty magazines. Amelia McDonell-Parry wrote an article titled “Age-Orexia” (Marie Claire, UK Nov.2007) which focused on the recent trend for young people between 18 and 34 to resort to invasive cosmetic procedures including fillers, Botox, liposuction etc. in order to prevent signs of aging or to enhance their looks. Alison Admond, Harper’s Bazar creative/fashion director, expresses her views on Botox and states her desire to “try never to resort to the face-freezing charms of Botox” in an article “Saying No to Botox” (Harper’s Bazar, Nov. 2007). Marie-Luise Wenzlawski writes about the new trends in Botox industry “Botox for Breakfast” or so-to-say “Botox to Go” (Myself, Germ. Dec 2007). Nora Ephron expresses her feelings about aging and dealing with observing those signs of aging in the article “Throat Never Lies” (Cosmopolitan, Germ. Nov.07).

The thought that I see going through all of these aging related articles is the growing fear of aging among women, and unhealthy perception of the process of aging due to the contemporary beauty standards. Aging is viewed as a disease that can and should be treated and “prevented”. Young people who are only in their early 20s are afraid of aging, get obsessed with retaining their youth as long as possible and try to prevent any signs of aging before they happen. They turn to the popular cosmetic procedures such as Botox injections or fillers. This trend is growing not only in the USA but in the UK as well. Amelia McDonell-Parry quotes data from American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPs): “more than half a million Americans aged 19 to 34 had non-surgical cosmetic procedures in 2006. Younger patients accounted for 317.000 doses of injectable facial fillers…An additional 8.000 Botox treatments were administered to people under 18”. As for the UK according to approximate estimations, Britons spend 225m GBP (appr.465m USD) a year on cosmetic surgery and other anti-aging procedures and a quarter of those treatments is for people aged between 19 and 34. (Marie Claire, UK Nov.2007)

Is this an unhealthy trend or just a natural development due to the progress in the modern world? Why is this happening? What are the reasons for this trend and the obsession with Botox?

Alison Admond from Harper’s Bazar thinks women resort to Botox and get addicted to it because of “their level of self-esteem”. She writes that she knows gorgeous
women “who think so little of themselves that they become obsessed with looking younger. Their self-image becomes distorted from the reality… The inevitable comparisons follow, and self-criticism takes over, unless you are strong.” Alison speaks about her daughter being one of the main reasons why she doesn’t want to have Botox injections. She wants her daughter to have a template of natural ageing like Alsion had in her beautifully and elegantly aging mother. She writes about the “incredible and unrealistic pressure to look perfect” by the society. However the author does not think that media, beauty magazines in particular, featuring young women with perfect youthful skin is the source for those unhealthy comparisons and distorted self-image. “It’s important to remember that we photograph these girls because they’re beautiful, because they make the clothes look the very best they will ever will – not to force the comparisons of age.” Yes, of course this is very logical, for example, nobody wanted young teenage girls to start obsessing with model looks. However many did fall into extreme dieting and finally developed anorexia. The thing is because you think “these girls” are beautiful and because you fill the pages with their images, we receive the visual message of what is the beauty standard and form our perception of it. It is very natural for people to desire to possess the values that are perceived by the society as important, favorable and successful. It is also very natural to form one’s perceptions on certain aspects of life based on the society’s perceptions on these aspects, otherwise there would have been anarchism and chaos in the world.

I agree it is really helpful to have strong self-esteem and clear independent vision so that you can separate yourself from the world looking at you from the glossy glamour pages. But it is just not possible for everyone to shut out those visual messages and form independent perception and values. Also this statement that one can be “strong” and not start to do associations and comparisons seems to me contradictory and conflicting. So, on the one hand, we should follow the fashion featured on the pages of magazines and accept it as the current standard for beautiful looks, but at the same time we should ignore and shut out the images of young girls who are actually modeling those trends.

Of course obsession with looking forever young is not only due to the images in glamour magazines. Sources for this obsession involve role-models from Hollywood who are openly having surgeries and who start to resort to cosmetic procedures at younger age now. Another aspect supporting the trend is how socially acceptable cosmetic procedures are and the way that invasive procedures are pitched to women by experts like something completely normal, easy treatment that will give you the looks of your dream. I am not advocating the other extreme to feature wrinkled aged people only, but wouldn’t it be healthier to have a balanced visualization of a human face and more images featuring women older than 25 with some signs of aging.

Women are afraid of aging because of society’s negative views on it. Nora Ephron describes her aging related negative emotions in the article “Throat Never Lies”. She writes that at certain point of her life she started to avoid looking in the mirror, and now tries to do it as seldom as possible. (Cosmopolitan, Germ. Nov.07.) It is obviously quite hard and it seems at times painful for her to deal with the signs of aging that she has developed and is developing. Is the same going to happen to me? Because I do have fears of looking one day into the mirror and seeing those feared signs of aging. I do hate the unfavorable light in the bathroom and I do think I look best in dimmed evening light. How can I develop healthy perception of aging when everyone around me says aging is bad and you have to fight it. And again I don’t want to go to extremes and I do not have anything against anti-aging cosmetics and beauty treatments such as peelings, massages, acupuncture etc. I don’t think we need to just stop taking care of our skin and do our best to delay those premature sign of aging. However I don’t want to obsess about it and focus on retaining something that I will inevitably loose.

Right now it seems like the trend of looking forever young and Botox obsession will continue to gain momentum. Trying to imagine what will happen, I think that eventually Botox will become like a normal anti-disease injection that most of us will get around our 20s. Then the much feared frozen Botox face will not only become accepted by society but actually will be the must-have look.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Beauty Buzz: Precious Kisses – Guerlain Launches Kiss Kiss Lipstick for 62’000$

Cosmeticsdesign reports that Guerlain, a world-known French cosmetics house, has ecently released a luxury lipstick for the impressing price of 62’000$. It is now available is selected stores in the US.

Why such high price? While the ingredients of the lipstick do not seem to be particularly unusual: light reflectors, softening complex of vitamin A, alpha bisabol and waxes. It is the "wrapping" that sets the price so high. Guerlain lipstick comes in a casing "made from 110g of 18 carat yellow gold, with 119 diamonds decorating its surface."

According to New York Post if you decide to invest into your lipstick you'll receive a consultation with Guerlain's artistic director Olivier Echaudemaison and a lipstick shade will be custom-created specially for you. In addition you will receive its very own lip brush and “protective black suede pouch - in a black lacquered case.”
NY Post compares the price of the luxury lipstick and reports that it is equal to “the price of 310,000 Wendy's chicken nuggets, a 2007 Cadillac Escalade and all 86rooms of the Hotel Victor in South Beach”

According to the designer Herve Van Der Straeten quoted by Cosmeticsdesign: "Lipstick is simple, yet mysterious…. This element of surprise creates curiosity and longing…” His fellow designer Echaudemaison, describes the lipstick as created for those who 'indulge in lavishness and appreciate exquisite design'.

Technorati Profile

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Beauty News: Following seizure of Age Intervention Eyelash by FDA Athena Cosmetics Withdraws RevitaLash from the Market

RevitaLash is a product which according to the manufacturer will help your own natural eyelashes to “look Longer, Thicker, Fuller, and Beautiful!”. However according to a press release published on the company’s official website it discontinued the product till a re-launch mid-December. The reason is that “as part of our continuing process of providing the highest quality product possible” the company has developed a new formulation for Revitalash. However according to some other reports Athena may have withdrawn Revitalash in response to the FDA's seizure of a similar product last week.

According to official FDA site U.S. Marshals have seized 12,682 applicator tubes of Age Intervention Eyelash. Age Intervention Eyelash, sold and distributed by Jan Marini Skin Research, Inc., of San Jose, was promoted as a product stimulating eye lash growth (termed by Jan Marini as “Eyelash Growth Factor”). Age Intervention Eyelash contains bimatoprost, an analog of prostaglandin – hormone-like chemical, used in a prescription drug Lumigan® to treat glaucoma. FDA labeling laws regulate any product marketed as “growth inducing”. Age Intervention Eyelash was not approved by FDA.

According to FDA, use of Age Intervention Eyelash can have such adverse side-effects as “macular edema (swelling of the retina) and uveitis (inflammation in the eye), which may lead to decreased vision.” In addition those who are using a prescription drug with bimatoprost and the Age Intervention Eyelash are under an increased risk of optic nerve damage “because the extra dose of bimatoprost may decrease the prescription drug's effectiveness”. Which can result in blindness.
FDA urges “consumers, dermatologists, and estheticians who may still have Age Intervention Eyelash discontinue using it” and to “discard any remaining product”. FDA also recommends that if you used Age Intervention Eyelash and experience any symptoms that you suspect are related to the product to consult your health care provider.

Jan Marini Skin Research has stopped manufacturing and shipping Age Intervention Eyelash containing bimatoprost last year. The company came out with a new version of the product with a slightly different name Age Intervention Eyelash Conditioner which however according to Jan Marini (as quoted by Elle US Aug 07) is “not really different from the original formula. That contained a prostaglandin analog, and this one also contains a prostaglandin analog. But a different one.”

As far as RevitaLash is concerned, Athena admits that it does contain bimatoprost in a concentration which “is very small and substantially lower than in Lumigan… Athena Cosmetics is confident that RevitaLash® is safe.”

It is not clear from Athena’s website if RevitaLash is FDA-Approved. If not, we can assume this may be one of the reasons behind discontinuation of the product.

PS: Not long after the incident, Athena Cosmetic launched a new version of RevitaLash. New RevitaLashis currently available for purchase on-line.

Athena Cosmetics
Elle USA August 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

Beauty Shopping: Happy Hour, Eleven O’clock-Champagne and Bath with Snowman

The closer to Christmas - the more intensive competition for customers among retailers. They come up with more creative ideas to lure you to their store for shopping. Swiss beauty boutique Marrionnaud is not an exclusion. It announced a happy (morning) hour this week of November when you can get 10% discount before 11a.m. Included into the Happy Hour is an Apero - a glass of champagne to sparkle up your day! The type of Swiss kind of luxury!

Naturally, I could not resist and I had a walk to Marionnaud at Bahnhofstrasse (Zurich) to benefit from the offer. I was surprised to find a very lively crowd at quite an early hour, as it seemed to me, for shopping. Swiss women of all ages were busily shopping for beauty products. Extra staff was doing their best to attend to everyone. Champagne was also in favor at an early morning hour. I could not but wonder how many of the shoppers will actually go to work after that or if all of them are as lucky as me to have flexible working hours.

A couple inquiries and a glass of Champagne later, I was at a cashier desk ready to pay. The sales girl who helped me with my beauty choices looked at her watch “It is still before 11” – she said “So you will get a 10% discount”. (Hmmm, I guess it does not count when you get to the store but it counts when you actually pay!) As I was leaving I heard a clock bell ring eleven – that was close…

Here I was again walking along Zurich Bahnhofstrasse into the November fresh morning.

I thought it was such a nice shopping morning… The day started with a glass of Champaign and it should end with something sweet and bubbly as well… So I dropped by a nearby Lush store that offers fresh handmade cosmetics for bath and body. It smells absolutely yummy in there and the choice of bath products is amazing: bath bombs, bubble bars, shower jellies... I wanted something pampering, moisturizing and fizzzzzy. The ingredients of Butterball bath bomb looked tempting: Cocoa Butter, Ylang Ylang, Vanilla – “for buttery soft skin”. Just what you need to pamper your skin and emotions on a cold November evening. Besides Lush came up with a Christmas version of the Butterball – a Butter-Snowman! A bath with a Snowman – that’s exactly what I need to make this day perfect! ;-))

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Beauty Talk: Skin Care in Winter

Winter is here and my skin is reacting to the cold temperatures and wind outside combined with the drying air inside. So should one change skin care products and routine for winter? Not necessarily. If you do not feel any symptoms of increased sensitivity or dehydration, you can keep to your usual skin care choices. However, if your skin feels tight and/or burning, it is red and irritated, or you can see some dry lines forming, it is high time you reviewed your skin care for the winter season. It will especially apply to those in late 20s and above. Starting from mid-20s our skin starts to loose its ability to retain moisture as well as before and it is more prone to dehydration.

Here are several tips on how to take care of your skin in winter:

1. Rethink your cleansing approach

Exclude too intensive cleansing product for winter. Do not do daily peeling. Too aggressive cleansing and peeling strips your skin of protective lipid barrier and contributes to its stress.

2. Exclude alcohol containing products

If you use a toner, make sure it does not contain alcohol.
Alcohol is too stripping and dehydrates your skin.

3. Choose a thicker moisturizer

Look for emollient ingredients in your winter moisturizer such as shea butter, jojoba oil, sqalene. Emollients are wonderful for this time of year as they not only act as humectants and moisturize your skin but also form a protective thin layer on its surface to prevent it from dehydration.

4. Pay special attention to your hands and lips

Hands and lips need special care during winter as they are very sensitive to colds and winds. For lips choose a moisturizer or a balm with shea butter or cocoa butter and apply it every time before going outside and at night before going to bed. Protect your hands with gloves when outside, apply hand cream at least twice daily (rich in lipids or with emollients), and treat your hands to a mask once or twice a week. But if you want your hands skin care to be perfect, moisturize every time after your wash them.

5. Do not forget about protection against UV and free radicals

It is just an illusion that the sun is less bright and that is why less harmful in winter. As long as there is sun light there is sun damage. That is why do not stop using products providing UV protection! It is especially important if skiing is your passion. Sunlight's reflecting power off the snow is higher than off the sand on a beach in summer.

6. Increase humidity level indoors

You can increase humidity level at home or at your office using a special humidifier. Or you can balance it out with some house plants that are known to improve humidity in their environment.

Tip from beauty experts at "In Style", German Issue, December 2007: If your favourite winter fun is skiing or hiking in the mountains, select your skin care products wisely. Your moisturizer shouldn't be based on water. Water based moisturizer will "freeze" on your skin in the cold temperature and wind. Instead of water based, it is recomended to choose a frost-proof product based on wax... As an example they mention Kiehl's All Sport "Non-Freeze" Face Protector with SPF 30 (appr.23 euro) In Style also recommends in order to lock in moisture and protect your skin from cold mountain winds, to use a moisturizer that has such ingredients as silicon and shea butter such as Climate Control from Dermalogica (appr 46 euro).

More tips about Winter Skin Care with information about skin care ingredients for winter, recommendations on winter-time express facial etc.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Beauty Review: Sisley ALL DAY ALL YEAR Essential day care


Product Tag Line:

An anti-aging shield that provides the skin with a global protection and therefore protects its youth

Product Profile in short:
(as described on Sisley Website)

  • UV protection: 90% of UVA and UVB rays are stopped
  • Anti Free radical / Anti-Stress Shield: protection of collagen and elastin fibers, protection from all types of environment related stress
  • Protection of cell cohesion: helps the skin to regain the reflexes of more youthful skin
  • Can be used for all skin types
  • It is formulated so that you do not have to change your skin care depending on the season: “offers optimum innocuity, therefore allowing the product to be used all year long - all year”

    According to Sisley Website, 60 women tested the product and applied it each morning for 4 weeks*

    What Sisley Promises:

  • Gives immediate look and feel of hydrated, softer, more supple and full of energy skin
  • Skin regains its smooth (95% of women*) and radiant appearance (85%*)
  • After approx. 28 days (the time required for natural cell renewal), the skin looks visibly younger (81% of women*) as the cells arrive intact at the skin's surface.
  • Provides anti-wrinkle effect : reduction of lines up to 34 %

    What’s Inside:

    Apple skin extract - antioxidant, protects collagen and elastin fibers
    White Willow extract - stimulates the production of natural anti-stress proteins
    Sesame and rice extracts - improve the intercellular connection

    Close-up: How active are the active ingredients?

    Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate – widely used sunscreen
    Squalane – natural organic compound used in cosmetics as a natural moisturizer (mostly comes from shark liver oil)
    Isopropil Palmitate - a thickening agent and emollient
    Cetearyl Alcohol – used as emulsion stabilizer, emollient, thickening agent and carrying agent for other ingredients
    Corylus Americana seed oil –hazel seed oil
    Butyrospermum Parkii - shea butter
    Sesamum Indicum - sesame extract
    Pyrus Malus - apple fruit extract
    Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane -ingredient used in sunscreen to absorb the full spectrum of UVA
    and 15th place goes to Salix Alba Leaf Extract– Willow leaf extract
    Toward the end of the list we find Salvia Officinalis - Sage oil, Oryza Sativa - Rice bran extract, finishing up with a couple Parabens - commonly used preservatives which according to FDA/CRI are safe

    My Experience:

    Texture: creamy and thick to the touch - I thought it will break out my mixed skin but it did not!)
    Absorption: miraculasly gets absorbed in a matter of seconds.
    Fragrance/smell: non-perfumed, very nice, subtle and naturally herbal. I can smell very light wooden notes.
    I was trying a deluxe sample of All Day All Year Essential Care that I got as a part of Sisley promotion “Aktion”. I have to say that as any owner of mixed (oily T-zone) skin type I DO NOT believe in skin care products marked “all skin types”. Naturally, I was a bit skeptical at the beginning.

    However, I have to admit I am really impressed. I have been using All Day All Year for 15 days up till now. This product does deliver what it promises. In a matter of a couple days I could see the results. My skin started to look fresher and more radiant. Now it looks healthier and smoother than before I started trying out All Day All Year. Even when I don’t get enough sleep my skin looks fresh and has a healthy colour.

    All Day All Year definitely has a WOW Effect. By that I mean that you can see the results either immediately or in a couple days and with no side-effects like feeling of tight skin, irritation, pimples etc.

    Price Time: about 300$ for 50 ml (I won’t be buying that any time soon! Thank God for the deluxe sample!)

    Reviews on other Sisley's Skin Care Products:
    Sisley Buff and Wash Gel
    Sisleya Radiance Anti-Aging Concentrate

    You can get more information about Sisley product range and All Day All Year Essential day care, in particular, as well as shop for Sisley's Beauty Products at Sisley Cosmetics

  • Saturday, November 17, 2007

    Beauty Brand: Sisley

    Sisley is a French family business that develops and manufactures luxury beauty products based on plant extracts. Sisley’s products (skin care, perfumes and makeup) are based on a concept of phytocosmetology which consists in using qualities and benefits of natural plant extracts in beauty products.

    Sisley was created in 1976 by Count Hubert d'Ornano and since then has developed into a well-known luxury brand present in 80 countries around the world. Count Hubert's wife Isabelle d'Ornano joined him in his work to develop unique luxury beauty products based on the high quality extracts of natural plants and flowers. She also was his inspiration for the perfume Eau du Soir.

    Sisley puts a lot of time and effort into the scientific research and development of every product before launching it. Some Sisley’s beauty products take decades of research and perfection before they make it to the beauty market. In an interview to Hubert d'Ornano said that "We launch when we have something special to launch. We don't launch for the sake of launching."

    In the upcoming weeks I am planning to make reviews on several products by Sisley. Among the products I will review are ALL DAY ALL YEAR Essential day care, Buff and Wash Facial Gel with botanical extracts, Gentle Eye and Lip Make-up Remover, Radiant Glow Express Mask with red clay and some other skin care products.

    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    Beauty Buzz: Sisleya Radiance Anti-Aging Concentrate

    Sisley launched a new high-end anti-aging product: Sisleya Radiance Anti-Aging Concentrate.
    So what is the promise?
    • Smooth, luminous skin
    • A fresh complexion characteristic of youthful skin
    • Even-looking skin, diminished appearance of brown spots

    The product is intended for women after 30. Sisley promises the results “in just 4 weeks”.

    Looking Closer at the Ingredients
    Some of the ingredients Sisley used to deliver the promised effects are
  • Cactus Pear Extract and Vitamin A Palmitate to achieve smoothness and luminosity
  • Nasturtium Flower, White Mulberry and Scutellaria Extracts to balance production of ‘black’ melanin
  • Alkekengi Calyx Extract to fight against the effects of free radicals on melanin production
  • Lavender, Geranium and Rosewood to insure radiant youthful-looking complexion

    I looked into some of these ingredients and their properties. Here is what I found out.
    Cactus Pear Extract is not very commonly used in skin care products. According to some sources it has definite medical benefits due to its ability to reduce inflammation, fight free radicals, and balance out “bad” cholesterol level etc. Nasturtium Flower (Majus) seems to be more widely used in cosmetics. It originally came to Europe from South America. It has antioxidant properties, rich in Lutein, contains Zinc and antiseptic substances. Lutein is well known to have amazing antioxidant and sun protecting properties. It also promotes skin’s hydration and elasticity when taken orally. However, studies in the recent years have shown that it has similar benefits when applied topically as well. Lutein is found in a human eye and is vital to our vision. Lavender is often used in skin care to soothe the skin and encourage the new cells growth. Geranium and Rosewood seem to have similar properties of soothing and at the same time refreshing the skin as well as improving its elasticity.

    How active are the active ingredients?
    So we all know that the higher the ingredient is on the product ingredient list the higher its concentration in the product. So here is a quick look at Sisley’s

    Sisley Radiance Anti-Aging Concentrate 13 first ingredients:
    Isodecyl Neopentanoate - an ester and emollient (used to soften, condition the skin)
    Butylene glycol - a humectant (moisturizer, attracts water to epidermis)
    Majus Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract - an extract from Nasturtium Flower/Leaves/Stem
    2 silicone ingredients later Cyclopentasiloxane (silicone fluid) Dimethicone (silicone oil) used in cosmetics for lubricating and moisturizing properties we come again to a couple extracts and an emollient:
    Hydrolized Opuntia Ficus Indica Flower Extract- the Cactus Pear Extract described above
    Tribehenin PEG-20 Esters - a fatty acid found in seed fats used as emollient and lubricant
    Citrus Medica Limonium Fruit Extract – used for its exfoliating and skin lightening (bleaching) properties
    Squalane – found in shark liver oil and in plants. Used in cosmetics for moisturizing and protective properties
    Physalis Alkekengi Calyx Extrtact has antimicrobal, antibacterial properties, enhances immunity, soothes skin
    Marrubium Vulgare Extract - reduces inflamation, has healing properties
    So now we have a better picture. The initial ingredients and their properties look impressing to me

    Price Time: Get Ready!
    It is about 400$ for 30 ml (ouch!)

    My Experience:
    Even though this product is targeted at women after 30 and I am a couple years short I could not resist trying out a sample I received from a Sisley sales rep. Let me tell you, now I know what it means “to have a healthy glow and luminous skin”. My skin reacted immediately. In just a couple days I looked as if I have just had a beauty salon facial. Perhaps the skin after 30 won’t react as rapidly but I think it should definitely benefit from this product and you should see the promised results in 4 weeks.

  • Read More Reviews on Sisley's Skin Care Products:
    Sisley Buff and Wash Gel
    All Day All Year Essential Day Care

    You can get more information about Sisley product range and Sisleya Radiance Anti-Aging Concentrate, in particular, as well as shop for Sisley's Beauty Products at Sisley Cosmetics

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007

    Beauty News: Kanye West’s Mother Dies After a Cosmetic Surgery procedure

    Is this the price for beauty?

    According to Yahoo news “West's mother died as a result of complications after surgery at a Los Angeles hospital on Saturday (November 10).”

    The surgery on Donda West was performed by DR. JAN ADAMS, a well known plastic surgeon in LA California. Dr. Adams was featured on Oprah, Entertainment Tonight, was a host of Discovery Health Channel’s popular show, “Plastic Surgery: Before and After.” and has his own beauty line “Color Skin Care ”.

    It appears that Dr.Jan Adams had a history of malpractice complaints. And despite the media reports of just two malpractice cases, according to the Medical Board of California documents there are actually three malpractice complaints against Dr. Adams, one of which is pending. In September 2001 a complaint of malpractice was filed and later settled for a fine of $217,337. Just a few months later another complaint was filed dated AUGUST, 2001 and later settled for $250,000. One complaint still pending is dated APRIL 10, 2007.

    It also appears that despite his fame as a plastic surgeon Dr. Jan Adams is not Board Certified with the American Board of Plastic Surgery according to TMZ.

    This is very sad news and perhaps a wake up call for those who see plastic surgery as a routine and safe procedure.

    Saturday, November 10, 2007

    Beauty Shopping: Parfumeries in Switzerland and Temptation from Estee Lauder

    Swiss Parfumeries are like beauty boutiques and beauty clubs in one. These stores offer an excellent selection of cosmetics, perfume and makeup. You get very nice service with a personal touch. And you can "join" a parfumerie chain to get a bit of a special treatment. You get a customer card which you use to accumulate points for your purchases.When you have a certain amount of those you receive discounts. This
    card-points-discount trick sort of seals your relationship and you get figuratively and literally “attached” to a certain parfumerie chain.
    Why shop anywhere else if you can add a couple more points to your account and get that discount soon!

    Your parfumerie chain will also keep tempting you very regularly by sending you magazines that they usually issue quarterly, invitations to benefit from special
    offers, updates on new beauty products etc. If you are a beauty addict, you just cannot resist and the next moment you know it you are there shopping again!

    The two main parfumerie chains in Switzerland are Marionnaud and Douglas. I joined one of them and Osswald Parfumerie in Bahnhofstrasse that seems to be the rare no-chain type but the-one-of-its-kind type. Parfumeries also offer their own cosmetic lines with exclusive products. And to be able to compete they do their best to differentiate themselves by offering certain brands exclusively.

    Some of these Parfumerie beauty stores are quite international. For example Marionnaud is represented in 9 European countries and Douglas that boasts to be “Europe’s largest and most prestigious cosmetics and fragrance retailer” can be found in the USA as well.

    The current temptation I am sure I won’t be able to resist is a makeup set from Estee Lauder. I love the products, the colors and I do have XX Swiss Franks discount waiting to be used! (their trick obviously works on me)

    Thursday, November 8, 2007

    Beauty Talk: Golden Rules for Beautiful and Healthy Looking Skin.

    Good skin care habits form (or should form) no later than in our late teens or early 20s. That’s when we should learn the importance of taking care of our skin and of protecting it (and not limit our skin care routine to just fighting the break outs). It really helps to have a role-model or somebody who could explain about the importance of skin care and help to make the right choices.
    My Mother did not start using a moisturizer till her early thirties and my Granny I think has never ever used it. My Mum has never realized the necessity of using a moisturizer because her mother never used it. Currently she takes inspiration from me but still cannot get used to having a regular skin care routine.

    I was lucky enough to start on a routine early in my life. I had no guidance so my first moisturizer unfortunately was selected wrong for my skin type and for my age. Slowly I made my way through skin care information to understanding the importance of skin type, right moisturizer, proper UV and free radical protection etc.

    Now I have 7 golden rules that I follow for beautiful healthy looking skin:

    1. Follow a regular (2 times a day) skin care ritual: cleanse, moisturize, protect, restore/treat

    2. Choose the right skin care products for your skin type, skin condition and age

    3. Prevention is better than cure: prevent wrinkles, sun spots, acne etc. for example, if you notice lines appearing change skin care product or include more intensive treatment

    4. Follow diet useful for your skin

    5. Avoid skin damaging factors such as smoking or habitual repeated mimics that can be avoided (like constantly wrinkling your forehead or frowning)

    6. Use additional targeted at-home treatment 2-3 times a week

    7. Pay attention to your skin when it sends you signals like redness, flaking, sudden break outs, look for reasons for such misbehavior and react to your skin’s needs

    So this is my magic number 7 for beautiful skin and delaying the signs of aging. But I am always looking for things to improve.

    Monday, November 5, 2007

    Beauty Digest: Sugar in Competition with UV Light for Number One Cause of Aging

    Bitter news for Sweet Tooth!

    Sugar is in spot light as a leading cause of aging. The first time I got a premonition that some negative energy was gathering around sweet things in life when reading a German issue of Elle for November 2007. The statement that sugar “gets converted into Glucose in the blood that attacks collagen fibers” caught my attention. I just could picture my collagen fibers under attack and felt very curious about what exactly is the physiological process referred to in the article. However, I did not start to look into it till when a couple days later I saw a headline on the cover of a Harper’s Bazar November British issue reading: “WHY SUGAR IS YOUR SKIN’S WORST ENEMY”. Then, I knew I was in for a piece of bitter-sweet news.

    It appears that when we eat sugar-containing products as well a simple carbohydrates, sugar turns into glucose in our blood and binds with protein or lipid molecules. This binding process is called glycation. As we know, collagen and elastin are the proteins in our skin vitally important for having wrinkle-free, elastic, young looking complexion. As a result of glycation skin becomes stiff and loses its elasticity which leads to the formation of wrinkles. In addition to this as Dr.Maes, Vice-President of global research and development for Estée Lauder, explains “Glycation impairs the body’s ability to produce and utilise antioxidants.” ( see article by Notebook Magazine)As a result we become more vulnerable to the damage from free-radicals.

    Many other well-known skin experts and dermatologists have expressed their concerns about sugars in our diets and the glycation as a process extremely damaging to our skin including Dr.Perricone, expert on facial rejuvenation and author of “The Wrinkle Cure”, and Dr.Brandt, New York Dermatologist and Author of “Age-Less”. (You can see their opinions quoted at the end of the post)

    Let’s Not Go to Extremes
    Glycation does not mean that we should exclude all sugar containing products and all the carbohydrates from our diet. In fact, our body does need sugar for normal function. Besides, our body is very smart and has a way to control the level of sugar by means of insulin. Where the danger lies is in a rapid peaking of blood sugar level when we eat simple sugars (like sweets, chocolates) or simple carbohydrates (like potatoes, bread) that quickly get converted to glucose in our blood. Because of the rapid increase of blood sugar level, our body does not have enough time to react to the and balance it. That is when the damage happens.

    What shall we do about our diet?

    Experts recommend:
    1. Do not indulge into simple sugars and carbohydrates like cakes, chocolates, potatoes, pasta, bread etc.

    2. Watch out for hidden sugars

    Dr.Maes stresses that “It’s the hidden sugars” that we should watch out for in our diets as “These add up, giving us an excess of sugar, and that’s where the damage starts.” Those hiding sugars are especially dangerous and hard to control as we don’t even realize that we are consuming them. They can be found in very unexpected products: low fat foods, cereals, yoghurt, processed meats etc. (British Issue of Harper’s Bazar, November 2007)

    3. Learn to read the label
    First of all, it is helpful to know various names the sugars are hiding behind. The ending –ose (as in fructose, glucose) is a good hint.
    In addition here is a list from Harper’s Bazar:
    glucose, glucose syrup, corn syrup, dextrose, maltose, invert sugar, treacle, golden syrup.

    It is also recommended to become “GI-Aware” – the less GI the better. GI stands for Glucaemic Index and shows how quickly certain foods get converted into sugar in the blood. GI's of 50-55 or below are considered low, and 70 or above are considered high.

    4. If you are a sugar junkie
    You must be quite upset by now. Coming to your rescue: Dr.Perricone recommends a way to get out of the loop of rising and falling sugar blood level and rising and falling along with it moods. You need to get your sugar blood level under control and just for a couple days “stay away from bad carbohydrates and eat more protein”. As soon as your blood sugar stabilizes you will feel free from those cravings and will be able to control sugars in your diet. Interview to Health and Beauty

    How to fight the damage?

    1. Remember about anti-oxidant protection such as vitamin supplements

    2. Counteract the damage by using topical antioxidants
    There is a big selection of antioxidant serums and moisturizers on the market nowadays so you won’t have a problem finding one. In addition, Dr.Brandt came up with “Lineless Anti-Glycation Serum” in response to the sugar danger – “a powerful serum targeting collagen and elastin to prevent and minimize the effects of glycation”. (More about this product at Dr.Brandt Skin Care
    In some press reviews it has been mistakenly ascribed the power to completely “prevent glycation”. Which is impossible taking into consideration that glycation is a chemical reaction in our body that cannot be controlled topically.

    What Experts Say:
    Quotes on Glycation

    What Dr.Perricone, an expert on facial rejuvenation and best-selling author of The Wrinkle Cure and The Perricone Prescription, says about sugar in his Interview to Health and Beauty
    “I believe that inflammation is at the basis of aging in all organ systems, including the skin. One of the reasons inflammation occurs is from a rapid rise in blood sugar, which causes biochemical changes in the cell that result in accelerated aging”…. “Of the internal causes of inflammation, one of the big ones is diet. In addition to biochemical changes, sugar causes damage to the skin in another way: When blood sugar goes up rapidly, sugar can attach itself to collagen in a process called "glycation," making the skin stiff and inflexible. Losing this elastic resilience of young skin will give you deep wrinkles and make you look old.”

    What Dr.Maes, vice president of global research and development for Estée Lauder is quoted to say about sugar in an article by Notebook Magazine

    "We’ve all heard the saying ‘You are what you eat’. Now we believe ‘You age as you eat’"

    "Glycation impairs the body’s ability to produce and utilise antioxidants”… “The effect on the skin is the deterioration of collagen and elastin, which ages the complexion."

    And talking to Harper’s Bazar (British Issue for November 2007) Dr.Maes says:
    "We now know that between 40 and 50% of skin ageing is cause by glycation - the damage directly resulted from eating sugar. It’s one of the worst skin agers; more than sun, more than the environment."

    Additional resources on Glycation:

    Glycation explained by Wikipedia

    Glucaemic Index explained by Wikipedia
    Harper’s Bazar, British Issue November 2007, Article "Sweet and Sour"

    Saturday, November 3, 2007

    Beauty Shopping: Shopping for Beauty Products in Zurich

    It is often referred to as Zurich’s “Rodeo Drive” or I would call it Zurich’s “5th Avenue”. It stretches from the Railway itself almost till the beautiful Zurich Lake and offers shopping possibilities for everyone from designer fans to beauty addicts to budget shoppers.
    The major shopping street in Zurich, well known around the world, is the Bahnhofstrasse (sounds a bit less romantic when translated into English as Train Station Street).

    Have you noticed how more attractive and almost hypnotic become shopping windows when they are decorated for Christmas… and it is late evening with the street lights on… you just cannot resist and walk by…. I know it is a mistake to shop in Bahnhofstrasse on Friday evening or on Saturday due to the crowds of shoppers but these are usually the times when I get around to doing it (and obviously everyone else). So doing some shopping yesterday evening I though I should make a couple posts about shopping for beauty products in Zurich.

    Boutique Parfumerie: a small to mid-size beauty boutique that offers a selection of brands as well as service with a nice personal touch. You can subscribe to their periodical magazines, become a member of their discount system and benefit from their special offers.

    Import Parfumerie: resembles the boutique parfumerie described above. However instead of the additional services offered by the latter, Import Parfumerie offers good prices and claims some of them to be 35% less than everywhere!

    Jelmoli and Globus: Are the “Neiman Markuses” of Switzerland. They offer brands and designer clothes as well as a whole floor (and sometimes more than one) dedicated to beauty products: skin care, make up, perfumes etc. Mostly you will find well-known brands and designer beauty products there. The prices can be a bit higher but not significantly.

    Manor: Is a step down from the previously mentioned stores but is very similar to them.
    Coop and Migros: These two stores are the supermarket type. Here you would mostly shop for your basic beauty products like a shaving gel and locally manufactured products. Though at the central stores you do find a selection of brands like L’Oreal, Elizabeth Arden or Clarins

    Reformhaus: That’s where you go to do your organic shopping. Here organic and natural beauty products are offered alongside a selection of organic foods. That’s where you will find Dr.Hauschka line.

    Apotheke:(engl. = Drugstore) Mostly offers a selection of cosmeceuticals such as alongside some brands like L’Oreal and Clarins.

    Drogerie: Is the store dedicated to herbs and herbal remedies. What only you won’t find here: basic skin care and hair products, natural cosmetics, brands… they are anot very selective :-)

    I hope I didn’t leave anything out and mentioned all the major beauty shopping
    destinations in Zurich

    I will continue my posts on Beauty shopping in Zurich and will give more details in my future posts.

    Bahnhofstrasse even has its own site in English.

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