Winter Skin Strategies

I have had the privilege of spending the past few days at the Sundance Mountain Resort, in UT, for my favorite annual conference – Brigadoon. The days have involved skiing, incredibly stimulating conversations, new ideas, old friends, as well as snow and freezing temperatures. And my skin has been suffering!

If you are still in the midst of winter weather, here are some tips to keep your skin hydrated, comfortable, and glowing.

  1. Hydrate from the inside out. You can never drink too much water… it will help your skin and your body. (And here in Sundance, it also helps with altitude sickness!).
  2. Switch out your usual cleanser for a cream or oil-based cleanser. And use lukewarm water even when the temperatures are frigid.
  3. Layer moisturizers and oils. I recently bought the Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum and it has saved my skin. I apply it after my Pigment lightening serum, and under my Kantic+ intensely nourishing cream.
  4. Exfoliate. The most nourishing products won’t be able to penetrate and moisturize your skin if you have a layer of dead skin cells on top of your epidermis. But don’t overdo it – find a gentle scrub (like our Gentle refining scrub), and keep it to once a week.
  5. Give your skin the benefit of a hydrating treatment. I have been using our Kantic Brightening moisture mask twice weekly for the past couple of weeks, and it has saved my skin!
  6. Don’t forget your SPF. In particular in the mountains, and when enjoying winter sports, daily UV protection is a must. On top of my various creams and serums (see step #3), I layer our Daily defense SPF 23.

Enjoy the rest of the winter weather, even while dreaming of Spring!

15 Beauty Rules

I was invited by Progressions Salon and Spa last week to participate in a Wellness and Stress Management event. In thinking about the theme, I was reminded of the core of our brand’s DNA, and of the reason why my parents decided to create a product brand so many years ago: because looking good, means feeling good, means doing good. Indeed, looking good is a way to relieve stress, and increase wellness.

The question, of course, is what can we do to look good, to look better? Here are 15 rules, strategies, rather, that I learned from my parents – and that I follow religiously.   

  1. Prevention is everything. Don’t wait to see wrinkles or have bad skin to use great products, get regular facials, and go to your dermatologist at least once per year. Think of your skin care the way you think of your dental care – you don’t wait to have rotting teeth to brush your teeth daily; you don’t wait to have cavities to go visit a dentist twice annually for your checkup. The same behavior applies to skin.
  2. No smoking. Ever.
  3. No sun. Ever. If you must sun, remember: no “unprotected sun.” And no tanning beds either.
  4. Never go to bed without washing your face. I recently learned from a very credible source (a German R&D specialist) that every day you sleep with your makeup on you age your skin 7 days…
  5. Exfoliate once per week. Every week. This not only helps your skin look its best, it also will help all of your skin care products work better. Using expensive serums and masks on skin that is never exfoliated is like taking a shower with your rain coat on. It’s a shower… but it’s not exactly have its full desired effect…
  6. Use a product with broad-spectrum SPF protection every morning. January 1 through December 31. Yes, that includes the winter months.
  7. Use an antioxidant product every day, ideally twice a day. This will help your skin age as gracefully as possible.
  8. If you’re old enough to drink, you’re old enough for a good eye cream. The skin around the eyes is the first to show signs of aging, so prevention is even more important.
  9. Sleep on your back. You can train yourself to do this. Even if it’s not all night, every night, it will truly make a difference. My dermatologist father can always tell on which side a woman (or man!) sleeps because the wrinkles are deeper on that side of the face.
  10. Use products on your neck and décolleté. Your face does not end at your jawline, but rather just above your chest.
  11. The hands are a woman’s second face. Treat them like you treat your face, with anti-aging products and sun protection.
  12. Use more skin care and less makeup as you grow older. Makeup ages you. Except mascara and lipstick.
  13. Make an extra effort to look good on the days you feel bad, sick, tired, sad, upset, or are in a bad mood. Nothing brightens those hard days as regular compliments throughout the day about your lovely outfit, great hair, or fabulous necklace. It works every time!
  14. Look at yourself in the mirror. Really look. That way you will never wake up thinking “how did this line just appear, it was not there yesterday….” Wrinkles take time to form. If you see them forming, you’ll be less shocked or upset when you realize they are fully formed.
  15. Every year you grow older, spend 1 more minute in your bathroom.

Grooming for our fathers

When people ask me why Alchimie Forever offers products for men only, I often answer “because my mother [the force behind our new product development] loves men and wanted to make them feel special.” In honor of Father’s day, and all the men in our lives, I thought it might be timely to write about men’s grooming, and our Alchimie Forever men’s products.

Despite what one might think, men spend  a lot of time in the bathroom. As my Mom says, “they just close the door before they start looking at themselves in the mirror.” I can confirm both that my husband spends a lot of time grooming and that he always closes the door. While I don’t exactly know what happens behind closed doors, I know how good he looks when he gets out. Here are my favorite tips and products for men.

  1. Soft feet. There is nothing less sexy to me than bad feet. Whether they are in bed next to me feeling rough against my skin or belong to a stranger in flip-flops I pass on the street. On that note, I think there is one less sexy thing – feet in Crocs. But that is a topic for another discussion…
  2. Manicured hands. Assuming the man’s feet are in closed shoes, my eyes immediately go to the hands. Do they look powerful? Do they look strong yet soft? How would it feel to hold his hand? Are the nails too long? Are the nails bitten? What tales do any calluses tell? Of course, my Alchimie Forever 532nm antioxidant relief for the hands and feet is the best product to ensure both soft feet and soft hands.
  3. No shaving bumps or post-shaving irritation. A red, angry neck and ingrown hairs do not make for a good first impression. The Grooming Lounge’s Beard Master shave oil can help. As can choosing a better razor, and never shaving against the grain. Finish with the Alchimie Forever Antioxidant skin repair gel and your skin will thank you.
  4. Hair. Whether you have a little or a lot, embrace what you have and run with it. I love a shaved head. Michael Jordan and Bruce Willis made that sexy and manly many years ago. If you are blessed with a head of hair a la Pierce Brosnan, make sure the back of your neck always looks clean. I love salt and pepper hair… which my husband has. So refined and elegant. Much better than a bad color job. And I love the way his Aveda Men Pur-Formance shampoo and hair conditioner smell.
  5. Also, hairs (notice the “s”). Whether you have a lot or a little was decided by Mother Nature. What you do with it is entirely up to you. Invest in trimmers. For ear hair. For nose hair. For chest hair. Invest in waxing services (don’t ask your wife to trim the hair on your back; value a bit of mystery in a relationship).

Happy Father’s day to all the most handsome Dads out there!

Sun, sunscreens, sunburns…

The sun is (or at least should be!) shining, it’s that time of year. And May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. All in all, it is time to review sun, UV, sunburns and sunscreens. Here are some tips to help you separate fact from fiction when it comes to this burning topic (no pun intended…).

Myth: I don’t need to wear sunscreen on a cloudy day.

Truth: Up to 85% of UV can penetrate light cloud cover

Myth: I have a tan, so I won’t burn.

Truth: Having a tan is only the equivalent of about SPF 4, and does not mean you won’t burn.

Myth: I am young, I don’t need to worry about skin cancer.

Truth:  Melanoma (skin cancer) is the number one cancer seen in ages 25-29

Myth: I need more vitamin D so I shouldn’t wear sunscreen.

Truth: You only need about 10 minutes of sun exposure per day to get enough vitamin D for your wellbeing. (And remember, even with sunscreen on you will get sun exposure).

Myth: Getting just one sunburn won’t really harm my skin.

Truth: A single sunburn in childhood will increase the risk of melanoma. And it can take up to 5 years for the skin to fully recover from a single sunburn!

Myth: Tanning beds are sage.

Truth: UVs matter inside and out; indoor tanning may increase the chance of getting melanoma up to 75%

Myth: Sunscreen will block all UV

Truth: “Sunscreen is not enough” as said Dr. Karen Burke. Remember to layer your antioxidants under your sunscreen, so you have a second line of defense (try our Diode 1 + 2 serums for your face, and our Alexandrite gel for neck and bust for your body).

Other interesting facts about the sun and sunscreens…

UVA versus UVB:

  • UVA damage DNA and lead to skin cancer (damages not initially visible to the naked eye)
  • UVB lead to redness and ultimately wrinkles (the visible sunburn effects)

Chemical versus physical sunscreens:

  • Chemical sunscreens absorb the UV rays. These are typically lighter sunscreens.
  • Physical sunscreens (really known as sunblocks) reflect UV rays. Ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are used in physical sunscreens. The usual “thick, white, sticky” feel of sunscreens comes mostly from physical sunscreens.

Water-resistant versus waterproof sunscreens:

  • Water-resistant sunscreens maintain their SPF levels after 40 minutes of water exposure
  • Waterproof sunscreens maintain their SPF levels after 80 minutes of water exposure

The sun’s reflective powers are great:

  • 17% on sand
  • 80% on snow

If you want to learn more about the sunscreens I like, watch this week’s segment on Let’s Talk Live. And remember, no sun is safe sun. And you earn the skin you’re in!

Summer beauty tips

Last night, in our Georgetown showroom, we hosted lovely group of people from the Harvard Club of DC – all alumni of my alma mater who live in the DC region. The goal: networking, enjoying delicious wine and treats, and to discuss summer beauty tips.
Summer… = sun, heat, humidity, “smaller” clothes…
So here goes:

Ada's travel beauty tips

If you know anything about me, you know that I travel a lot. I love to travel, I travel for work, and for business. Some of you have been asking me about my travel beauty tips. So here goes.

Typically, the day before I get on a plane, I will apply our Kantic Mask. It helps to nourish my skin (airplane air is so dehydrating), and gives me a nice glow – i.e. makes me look like I travel less than I do.