Natura Bisse Oxygen Cream

Lately my skin has been doing pretty well, and as we’re going into summer my usually temperamental skin has become a little more durable so I’m taking advantage of this time to test out a couple products from the Neiman Marcus Beauty department, disclaimer: these opinions are my own, not my employers and this post is not paid for directly or indirectly by anyone – in fact I am only testing this out from a sample packet that we would give to anyone interested in the products in store.

With that out of the way – Natura Bisse is a Spanish skincare company that offers interesting luxury products. Like many other ‘classical’ high-end brands such as the Swiss La Prairie line, they’ve redefined their product offerings into ‘collections’- Diamond, Cure, Oxygen, Vitamin, etc. Diamond is the ultimate anti-aging collection, Cure is meant to provide corrective treatment, Oxygen as you guessed delivers products that are oxygen rich, while Vitamin is the line that is loaded with Vitamin treatments for face (C+C cream is a favorite).

I decided to try the Oxygen Cream (Neiman Marcus, $85) – which “infuses oxygen into skin to restore vitality, purify, decongest, diminish impurities, add radiance, fade hyperpigmentation”. This cream is ‘suitable for all skin types’. I was drawn to this because my skin usually does well with products the purify and decongest as I do have blemish prone skin. I was also allured by the hyperpigmentation claims and oxygen which I read is good for cell health. 

The cream itself is a moderately thick white cream that applies onto face like a moisturizer. The scent is a cross between a fishy-omega scent and a very fragrant cream scent – very synthetic and not my favorite. The main active ingredient is hydrogen peroxide which isn’t the worst chemical, but it is kind of a anti-septic bleach. I think all the claims of purifying, diminishing impurities, and fading hyperpigmentation are related to the hydrogen peroxide — which honestly, is a bit of a cop out. Hydrogen Peroxide isn’t the best thing to put on your face although it is by no means the worst, and you can buy a bottle of it for a fraction of the price of this cream. 

The fishy-omega scent, as I’m told by a coworker, is the seaweed and algae that is used in this cream. I’ve been using this cream for the past week at bed time and I haven’t really seen any of the benefits they claim. I should probably give it longer except I think the Hydrogen Peroxide is too much for my sensitive skin, as it gave me red blotches across my forehead. My coworker just told me today that I really should not use to regularly, that it is just a periodical moisturizer because of how strong it is. 

I really can’t think of where this product would go in my skincare regimen, it doesn’t provide me enough results to be used periodically and is too harsh for regular use. On top of it the scent is hard to adjust to and the key active ingredient isn’t that special nor beneficial for skin.  

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nomadsoul replied to your postHow has your skincare philosophy evolved?

so has using these cleared you up? I have a very similar history but anytime I’ve tried any of the more natural alternatives, I’ve noticed no results and dissuaded find my way back to BP pretty fast. What is your regimen now?


First, I clicked your profile and your skin looks great!

My skin is pretty clear now, and I truly do believe it is due to the research behind the products I choose to use. When I stray and use skincare I am iffy about such as Sunday Riley, Clinique, Shiseido, Sisley, Kiehls, Lancome – I always break out. My skin within 2 days goes from glowing and clear to clogged and irritated. I also notice that my skin isn’t as balanced with some products I am iffy about and I will start overproducing sebum within an hour – so I definitely don’t think my skin is clear now because I’ve ‘phased out’ of that stage.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind when switching to natural skincare is that natural things unlike a lot of chemical things takes longer. Chemicals such as benzoyl peroxide are made to attack your zits right away so you get immediate results but long term, BP has been shown to increase damage to skin (free radical damage, photo-aging, etc.)  Natural remedies can work fast (try The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Oil w/ Tamanu) and in general I find that what you don’t get in immediate results, you will see over time as your skin actually improves in overall quality. Please don’t be dissauded if you don’t see results right away, pay more attention to how healthy your skin feels and if it is balanced. Once you listen to your skin, it will reward you by being amazing! 

*I will do a post about my regimen soon, but the only reason I haven’t really done this in the past is because I experiment a LOT with products since I work at Neiman Marcus beauty.* 


Rodin Olio Lusso: An Education

Rodin Olio Lusso is the stuff of legend. The now iconic 1 oz bottle of facial oil has graced every magazine, every major blog, and been used by all the industry insiders. Its acclaim is universal, with models, “it girls”, makeup artists singing its praises – as shown by it’s superstar status on ITG , is astonishing – with the exception of La Mer’s moisturizing cream, I haven’t seen this type of support for any singular product. 

Rodin’s Facial Oil isn’t the first facial oil, but at $140, it is one of the first luxury oils meant for the high end consumer market. It is to facial oils, what Britney Spears was to female pop stars in the late 90’s – they existed, but Britney’s success helped to define and open the market for everyone else. 

Rodin’s success has really moved the conversation of facial oils to a more mainstream audience who previously only focused on creams to hydrate their skin. As someone who has suffered from acne, it wasn’t until I read all the literature behind facial oils that Rodin produced that I decided to take the plunge.

The success of the Luxury Face Oil has spawned an entire line- body oil, hair oil, lip product, hand cream, etc. But the superstar remains the original face oil. Enough background – on with the review!

Full ingredient:

Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Arnica Montana Flower Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Flower Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Benzyl benzoate, Linalool  

Rodin’s Luxury Face Oil consists of 11 essential oils that make up a vibrant golden tone contained in a art deco bottle. Upon first opening, the Jasmine floral scent is undeniable. In fact, Jasmine is listed as the first ingredient which is highly unusual for more facial oils that tend to rely more on carrier oils over essential oils. Jasmine is a beautiful oil that smells delicate but I have to admit that the scent is a little overwhelming for me. I’m also not sure how pregnancy-safe this is as Jasmine does have minor contraceptive qualities. In normal oils that use this lightly, I don’t think the amount is substantial enough for concern but as this is the main ingredient in the Face Oil – I would personally advise caution for ladies who are expecting.

The oil is rather light which was a pleasant surprise for me because Sweet Almond Oil is usually too thick for my skin type and Jojoba (although good for acne skin) is also on the thick side. I think the reason this oil composition wasn’t as thick is due to the abundance of Jasmine. 

I found that my skin felt hydrated with just 1-2 drops but to be honest I’m not sure if it did a better job than less expensive high-end oils on the market. I just don’t think it is worth all the hype, it seems to be a decent (though overwhelmingly Jasmine infused) oil but there aren’t any ingredients in there that make it better than lower cost facial oils. 

So where do we go from here? At first I thought I was strange for not also thinking this product hit it out of the park. So I really thought about why my experience would be different and I came upon two realizations. 1. A lot of the people who try this product probably have not even tried other brands of facial oils before, therefore, compared to their old products like La Mer creams, this truly is better. 2. The power of marketing. This product educated me on the strength of marketing a beauty product: get it into the hands of those who matter, get into the right press, and people will follow like sheep. 

Looking at online reviews from influential bloggers, you’ll see the same words used to describe this product: decadent, luxurious, miraculous – all words pushed out initially by Rodin’s own marketing team. It’s am image of a decadent, luxurious product (translation: costly) used to (as the Victoria’s Secret makeup artist says) ‘treat’ oneself. Based on the adjectives, you almost can’t even really think about this product, you just have to give in to the marketing that this is THE product you need, and that if you don’t like this product, you don’t get that this is a ‘miraculous’ wonder. And to be honest, this is the one product that actually took my blinders off and realize the people at ITG probably do have contracts and behind the scenes plans with a few brands behind each post. 

This isn’t to knock what Rodin’s Facial Oil does accomplish. It actually is a nice product, but there are just so many others out there that are more suited for different skin types. 

Rodin Olio Lusso Luxury Facial Oil (http://oliolusso.com/ , $140)

Julisis: Liquid Gold Alchemy for Skin

Ancient alchemists believed the secret to eternal life lay in gold. Throughout history, gold has been used in medicine and elixirs thought to bring health and everlasting youth to all who consumed it. In order to get theirs hands on this precious metal, expeditions were launched that led to the discovery of the Americas by European settlers who looked for the ‘Fountain of Youth’ and the city of ‘El Dorado’ where the King and the streets were covered in gold. 

Julisis is the modern day continuation of this infatuation with gold and the properties it could hold. The founder, Julisis Eulberg took inspiration from the alchemist Paracelsus who wrote “liquid gold cures all illnesses and regenerates and renews the skin.” Eulberg calls Julisis a 100% Pure skincare line that incorporates organically grown herbs and liquid gold. 

Julisis is said to be different from other products on the market that contain gold in that their extraction process ensures the liquid gold is easily absorbed into the skin to act as a cell opener to deliver optimal levels of nutrition to each skin cell.

 

Gold Wash Day is their gold infused cleanser, which is $93 for 5.1 oz is easily their most attainable product in the line. The fluid is very different from anything I’ve ever experienced. The Aloe and Glycerin base makes this a thicker fluid while the oils/lecithin add an oily subtlety to the texture. It is hard to label this as a gel or a cleansing oil, this hybrid is very interesting. The scent is a delicious, fresh mix of neroli and orange. This is very gentle and mild but due to the presence of oils (Almond & Jojoba) makeup and sunscreen were easily removed. Despite great performance and an interesting formulation, I feel that most cleansers that cost less have out performed this including Intelligent Nutrients, Kahina, and Tata Harper- though I only advise more mature or dry skin types use Tata products, although I do think she has lovely products, they are not suitable for my normal-oily skin type.

Gold Neroli Toner Day ($90/5.1oz) is a little underwhelming. Himalayan Salt is one of the few ingredients in this simple concoction and did make my skin feel dry. This product felt very simply formulated as though they were just looking to infuse liquid gold in a spray on and used neroli for added scent, so I would skip over this and instead opt for the Kahina Toning Mist or YULI’s elixirs that suit the gamut of skin types. 

Sun Emulsion SPF 30 ($130, 3.4oz) The actives in this sunscreen are micro-Titanium Dioxide and micro-Zinc Oxide, so for those of you wary about Titanium Dioxide or micro-particles, definitely avoid this product no matter what I say after this sentence ;-). The formula is fairly clean and the botanicals are stellar: Apricot oil, Tree Moss, Calendula, Aloe, there is also vitamin A and E. Wearing it for the few days fashion week has been going on, I noticed my skin seemed really soft and makeup goes on and layers easily. Since I’m mainly outside between shows (I am volunteering and interning for makeup artists backstage), or on my way to class I’m usually good about sun exposure so I can’t attest to the true staying power of this product although Julisis customer service did tell me this is not waterproof. The complaints are: it contains the cheaper and less photostable vitamin A: Retinyl Palmitate, and also contains 2 types of citrus extract which are known to increase photosensitivity which doesn’t make sense for a sun protection product. I get why they did it – to add a lovely scent, but I would rather get a wonderful product than a sunscreen that smells lovely but leaves my skin damaged. 

Gold Elixir Day ($285, 1oz) This is a very interesting product. I’ve noticed a few products on the market work through rhythmic alignment. I can’t figure out what this is, part marketing, part frou-frou science? Until I learn more about this process, I’m not going to go into more detail about the claimed benefits. The Gold Elixir Day is a product to be used only during the day and as part of the harmonizing/rhythm dynamic, you MUST begin using this on a Sunday. I felt crazy just typing that last sentence. But I followed it because for $285, I didn’t want the reason I wasn’t seeing the full benefits of the product to be that I used it on the wrong day. Oh and you HAVE to use it Sunday MORNING, not just anytime the sun is out, but when the sun is in the rising stages. I think doing these extra things does make you feel like you purchased something special, but at this point I think it is a little ridiculous. Ridiculous application requirements aside, the product didn’t really do a lot for my skin – I don’t think it is a bad product but perhaps compared to the great, clean skincare I had been using, it was not as good so I didn’t see the perceived benefits. I can definitely imagine a girl who uses La Mer seeing great results because the formulation for the Gold Elixir isn’t bad, with the exception of alcohol as the 2nd highest ingredient. One good thing about this product is that it does moisturize skin, so this product added with the SPF was enough to keep my face full and supple all day. If you want to really see the power of the Liquid Gold, this product has one of the higher concentrations so it might be a good test to see how your skin adapts. 

Platinum Night Treatment I ($966, 0.2oz) I received a sample of this product, which really excited me as this is worth more than its weight in gold. As the Gold products are meant for day time, the Silver/Platinum products are meant for night time. As the silver products require syncing with the moon, I was elated to receive a Platinum product which had no such specification, as I didn’t want to make my life about syncing up with two bottles of products. The Platinum Night Treatment reminds me a little of the Dr.Hauschka and Intelligent Nutrients products I reviewed a while back. It is a roll on intensive treatment with antioxidants that stimulates cells to work and boost vital functions. Reading the ingredients list, I believe the Liquid Platinum is probably what makes up most of the cost as everything else is either a herbal extract, essential oil, or alcohol/glycerin/water. I wouldn’t buy this product mostly because unless it is really not worth the cost.

In general I found this line to be very interesting – can gold still carve out a niche for itself as a key active in the skincare market? I remember reading about how gold was a key irritant for many people which is also why I really wanted to try this line since every product has a metal in it. I found the line performed well, but the formulations were subpar for the price. The products ranged from interesting and unusual to lackluster and unnecessary. All this aside, if you have the money, are curious to try something different, and do not mind a few quirky instructions – this might be a good line to put on your next shopping list.

Green Beauty Event Shopping List

I don’t know about you, but as a girl with one foot firmly planted in the luxury beauty market, and one foot planted in the clean beauty market – I couldn’t be more excited about some of the luxury brands participating in the 1st annual Green Beauty Event on Fashion’s Night Out! I will of course be working, so those of you in New York – please feel free to stop by Neiman Marcus where we will be hosting many events and giving away lots of prizes! Before my shift though, I’ll be eagerly taking advantage of the promotions offered by each brand, here is a shortlist of what I plan to buy:

Kahina Antioxidant Mask ($62)

I love masks and I love antioxidants, is it any wonder this product earned a spot on this list? I’m at the age now where I need to decongest skin while I can’t have anythign too drying/harsh as I need to start worrying about the first signs of aging so this seems like the perfect product. I also want to keep the jar for future use- I don’t know what I’ll use it for but it looks really neat.

Kajer Weis Lip Tint ($48)

Clean product? Check. Beautiful colors? Check. Slick packaging? Check x 100. This is a product that is not only well formulated but the gorgeous mirrored metallic sliding container is one of the most distinct, eye-catching packaging I’ve seen in a long time. I do hope the pigmentation and wear time are sufficient – I will definitely post a review after I’ve had enough time with this.

YULI Mr.Incredible ($78)

Been a fan of this line and the quiet storm they’ve generated since launching. The Mr.Incredible product is the ultimate luxury shave oil that I plan to get for my boyfriend who up til now only just transitioned from shaving creams to olive oil. I ordered a sample before and the scent is HEAVEN, kind of like my boyfriends current Tom Ford cologne only it is completely natural. I also really like that it also really takes care of skin besides just for shaving so he can use it daily.

Dr. Alkaitis Purifying Facial Cleanser ($65)

I’m always on the hunt for cleansers, and I’ve been meaning to try Dr.Alkaitis for some time now. I thought the cleanser would be the best product since it is described as both gentle and deeply cleansing which is important for me since I find that deep cleansing products often leave my skin ‘tight’ and dry which only causes my skin to overproduce oil soon after. I’m really curious if the organic castile cleansing base will be similar to Dr.Bronners or if the additional ingredients such as Aloe Vera and Skin Repair complex will add in some nourishment.

La Bella Figura Under Eye Repair Serum ($115)

I haven’t met an eye serum yet that has done what I needed it to: moisturize, firm/lift, erase dark eye circles, and enliven. At my age, I don’t have under eye bags or even crows feet  (luckily) but I do feel the undereye area get fatigued more easily now and when I don’t get enough rest, sometimes I look like a panda.

This natural beauty promises to tackle tired eyes, dark circles, and smooth facial lines. I have high hopes for this product since the ingredients list looks well put together with coffee beans, rosehip, tomato, and blue tansy.

YULI Panacea Elixir ($36)

This is my addiction. Plain and simple. The flower hydrosols, the antioxidant rich actives, the fresh earthy scent – this elixir feels like spraying living nature on your face. It is such a rush of energy when you’re tired throughout the day. I also noticed that if I spray just this on my face at night and go to bed, newly forming blemishes die down. I don’t know how it does this, but the decongestant/detox qualities of this product are no joke. My skin just feels better and pores look refined. I’m definitely stocking up on this stuff.

Vapour Organic Beauty Soft Focus Foundation ($48)

I love my current Koh Gen Do foundation, but the truth is – it isn’t a ‘clean’ product although based on the retailer literature I have access to, I did see that it is low in silicones compared to other foundations. I’ve decided to try out Vapour Organic’s Soft Focus foundation because if it can live up to the promise, it sounds amazing. There is light reflective technology to conceal the appearance of lines, pores, and wrinkles, and organic Pumpkin/Papaya complex actually moisturizes skin as you have your foundation on. There are also anti-inflammatory ingredients, skin brightening actives, and no chemicals! If this does work, it will most likely replace my mainstream Koh Gen Do, Armani, and Chanel foundations -so we will see if it can rise to the occasion! 

What products are on your shopping list?

Sunday Riley Good Genes

Good Genes is what I don’t have when it comes to the genetic skin lotto. When I hit puberty, my face was just a constant battle between breakouts and astringents, in college I had cystic acne that lumped onto each other which even made the dermatologist say “I could give you some retin-a and antibiotics, but honey, that’s like treating a fire with a kitchen faucet at this point”.

Even now that my skin is at the place I’ve dreamed it could be (in no small feat due to the product formerly known as Ultimate Perfect Serum, Cell Perfecto PM– read about my experience with it here) – I still don’t think I’ve ever been in the category of people fortunate to be born with skin that just naturally glows and looks flawless.

If I can’t be born with it, then I’ll buy it! And Sunday Riley has the perfect product for such a thing, fittingly named Good Genes. The playful name promises to deliver the look of “good genes” for everyone! If there is anything Sunday Riley does well, it is in marketing her products.

The instructions for the product are very precise, it is a corrective treatment to be used at night (at least I think it should be), about once or twice a week, for a power treatment she recommends using it for five consecutive nights. The reason is because this is a very acid-heavy chemical exfoliator with a primary active being lactic acid. This doesn’t mean the formula isn’t clean, only that it doesn’t exfoliate through physical means which I actually really like, and lactic acid is fairly clean compared to alternatives.

The full promise of the product is that it will ” plump fine lines to reveal brighter, newer skin, and improve circulation to offer a smooth, vibrant complexion. Long term use will help restore damaged skin, reduce hyperpigmentation and scars, reduce the depth and number of lines and wrinkles, even out skintone, and increase epidermal thickness and firmness.”

The lactic acid is probably the active that addresses fine lines, revealing newer skin. Other actives include licorice which brightens complexion, yeast extract, squalene, lemongrass, and arnica.The formula comes out as a white creamy fluid that smells like dried fruit creamsicle (all her products seem to smell like a creamsicle). It is absorbed fairly quickly, though not as fast as Bionic. After one use, I did not experience irritation, but when I did the consecutive week long treatment I noticed my skin was getting red and I actually got a new breakout on my forehead and not looking so great around Day 3/4 – and my skin is fairly sensitive, so those of you with ‘normal’ skin might not find this to be too tough to handle.

The slight issue I have with this product is once again, it isn’t as clean as I hoped it could be, 3 types of silicones, 2 types of parabens, 2 PEGs, and caricinogenic Phenoxyethanol – I just wish they could have really lived up to their promise of 99% natural, botanical based products without injecting so much of this chemical stuff, it is actually a cheaper way of production that they don’t need to take since they’re at such high price points. Due to my silicone sensitivity, I think this might also explain why instead of getting clearer, my skin was freaking out during the 5 day test.

Good Genes retails for $105 for 1 oz in a beautiful glass vial that feels very heavy in a high-quality way. After having used nearly half the bottle (it does last a while) I will say that I think it is my favorite Sunday Riley product (after hits and misses), and it works well as a chemical exfoliator. The smell is good, texture is good, and results are good. There are cheaper options on the market, such as Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Gel at $45 (it has a cleaner formula too – but is much stronger and less refined).

Vapour Organic Beauty Clarity Cleansing Oil

When it comes to beauty products, I would describe myself as being on the adventurous side! I remember using the Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil, it was my first oil cleanser. I was so surprised at how soft it made my skin feel and how great of a job it did in removing my make up. However I always hard a difficult time ‘washing’ the oil off and the fact that they used mineral oils really bothered me. I also tried out the Amorepacific Cleansing Oil which was beautifully packaged, but the fragrance was too strong for my taste.

I feel like with skincare, it’s always a delicate balance. I don’t think a cleansing oil is versatile enough to act as a sole cleanser, and I don’t think traditional cleansers (milks, gels, creams) can really remove makeup as effectively as cleansing oils while imparting the same degree of softness (since they tend to use lots of alcohols). 

Recently, as part of my switch to cleanser products (and also keeping with my personal love of everything niche-luxury)- I decided to try out the Clarity cleansing oil/makeup remover from Vapour Organics. At $28 for 1 oz, the price is actually quite reasonable. 

The formula is very clean- 95% organic/5% wildcraft EO:

Ingredients: Organic/Bio Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil, Organic/Bio Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Organic/Bio Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Organic/Bio Camellia Oleifera (Camellia) Seed Oil, Organic/Bio Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Commiphora Myrrha (Myrrh) Essential Oil, Eriocephalus Punctulatus (Cape Chamomile) Essential Oil, Organic/Bio Borage Officinalis, Organic/Bio Helichrysum Arenarium, Organic/Bio Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail)

The major base oils in here are: Sunflower, Castor Seed, and Jojoba, which are known to be soothing and moisturizing to skin. Castor Seed and Sunflower are a little ‘rich’ for my skin type but as this is just a cleanser and not something I’m leaving on my face, I wasn’t too concerned. You might notice the lack of preservatives in this oil and that is because the container dispenses product via an airless pump to keep airborne bacteria out. 

2 Pumps of this stuff applies removes all traces of makeup when massaged into skin. I’ve used this to remove a face of: Sunday Riley Cashmere SPF 30, Sunday Riley Tinted Primer/Korres Primer, Koh Gen Do Foundation, Edward Bess Concealer, Shiseido Bronzer, Koh Gen Do Powder – not to mention eye products, etc. All layers are off in a minute.

Besides just removing makeup, it also nourishes skin and imparts a soft, dewy finish. The oil itself is thicker than what I am used to, but my skin handled it just fine. I think this is a must-have product for heavy makeup days for these reasons but not a daily cleanser especially if you’re just going out sans makeup. But for the ladies who want a very cleanly formulated product that will remove all their makeup, you will not be disappointed.