20 May 2015

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Some New Skincare from Dermastore

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A few weeks ago I wrote about the launch of Dermastore, an online skincare boutique founded by the Webster family (read the post here). If you read that post you will no doubt be aware of how fantastic I think the concept is, and I really hope that you have all visited the site and, at the very least, completed a Facial Skincare Assessment.

I recently ordered a Neostrata moisturiser from Dermastore, and then Dr Webster’s wife, the lovely Sandy, sent me a few bits from Exuviance to try (Sandy has worked alongside Dr. Webster for the past 22 years and has been responsible for sourcing and selecting products for his practice).  I wanted to give you some feedback on my online shopping experience, as well as a quick review of the products and how they’ve been working for me so far.

I’ll start with the Exuviance products. Exuviance was created by the founding doctors of NeoStrata, and the range is geared towards younger people who are motivated to start an anti-ageing regimen (yup, that’s me).

Triple Microdermabrasion Face Polish

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Sandy recommended this product for me as it contains a blend of exfoliators: professional grade crystals, glycolic acid and papaya enzyme –  all exfoliators in their own right but just different kinds i.e. physical (crystals), chemical (fruit acid glycolic) and enzyme (papaya). These three potent exfoliators are combined to enhance and increase cellular turnover, giving the skin a healthy glow (rather like after a light superficial peel would do) if used a couple of times a week. Sandy says she has never seen all three exfoliators in one product before – this makes for a very exciting product indeed!

With the promise of baby soft, smooth skin, I raced home and promptly got to work. I gently massaged a thin layer all over my face (there is no need for any scrubbing or rubbing to cause irritation – the formulation does all the work as the fruit acids loosen the bonds on dry, dead skin) and waited for two minutes. The beauty of this product is that because you only need to leave it on for a minute or two,  it can be slotted into even the most basic routine with ease.

I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but I have never seen results like this. Ever. All my dry patches were completely obliterated and my skin looked smooth, soft and radiant.  For the first time ever, I felt like I was truly glowing. I have very generously allowed both my mother and Jules try this and they have been equally as impressed – it really does work exceptionally well.

It is designed to be used two to three times a week, but because my skin is sensitive I am still only using it once a week for the time being.

Antioxidant Perfect 10 Serum

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Antioxidants offer extra protection against environmental aggressors such as UV radiation and pollution and they help to prevent the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin, thereby keeping it healthy (if you want to learn more on what antioxidants are and why they are crucial, have a read of Jules’ post on Anti-Ageing Skincare). This serum from Exuviance is rather potent, and  can be used under your daily moisturiser if your skin is on the dry side or it can be used alone if you have oily or combination skin. Don’t forget: it’s essential to use an SPF daily, especially if you are using antioxidants.

So far, so good. I have been using this most mornings and I find that my skin is looking fresh and healthy. It will take another couple of weeks until I see the full benefit of this product, and I am looking forward to further improvements in the texture and tone of my visage!

Age Reverse Hydrafirm

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This product is a night cream and is part of AGE Reverse which falls into the most potent anti-ageing products in the Exuviance range. It is very hydrating and luxurious and contains a complex of patented ingredients which help to boost collagen and hyaluronic acid, which intensely hydrate the skin. As it is a rich cream, it is best suited to dry skins like mine – and I have to say, it’s just the ticket. Like a tall drink of water for your face. The texture is incredible – like a cream-gel hybrid – and it sinks into the skin leaving it looking plumped-up and glowy.

Because it contains potent ingredients, I have been easing myself into it, so I don’t use it every night (note: it can be used both morning and night). I usually alternate with the Avène Tolérance Extrême – something completely neutral and comforting. I find this balance to be working so well for me.

So now for the product I bought:

NeoStrata Daytime Protection Cream SPF 23

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I chose this day cream because  it:

  • reduces visible signs of ageing; and
  • calms irritated skin; and
  • reduces redness; and
  • contains antioxidants; and
  • contains an SPF.

I feel like I’me covering all my bases with this one! Although it’s techincally suited to normal and combination skins, I find that it works brilliantly on my dry skin – it contains just the right amount of hydration for me in the mornings so that my skin feels moisturised but not greasy.

I was incredibly impressed with the service I have received from Dermastore – the order arrived promptly, all beautifully packaged. Sandy also includes a little ‘how to use’ sheet in the order – so your products are listed and there are instructions on how and when to use them, which I thought was a really nice touch. You also receive three samples with each order, which is a great way of trying out new products.

Now, my beauties, go forth and shop –> www.dermastore.co.za.

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12 May 2015

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Retail Box Redken Giveaway

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The lovely ladies at Retail Box recently got in touch with us to arrange a giveaway for All Dolled Up readers. We were told we could select a few products from the website and they would then speak to the chosen brand (we chose Redken) to see which of those products they would be willing to donate to the giveaway. Jules and spent ages trawling the site, compiling an epic list of products (on the assumption that Redken would only agree to a few) and sent it off to Retail Box. You can only imagine our delight when Redken not only agreed to donate every product we’d chosen, but they were also kind enough to send Jules and I a hamper of all the products so we could try them for ourselves!

Want to see what’s up for grabs? Here we go:

Body Full Shampoo & Body Full Light Conditioner

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A fantastic combination – the shampoo is volumising without being drying, and the conditioner has just enough moisture to add a nice shine without weighing the hair down. Both Jules and I have fine hair and we have both been blown away by how great our hair looks and feels when we use these. Both products also smell absolutely delicious.

Body Full Instant Bodifier & Body Full Volume Amplifier

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Both of these styling products add serious oomph to the hair. I like to massage the Instant Bodifier foam into the roots and then spray the Volume Amplifier throughout the lengths and ends. I then tip my head upside down and blast the hair until it’s 80% dry, and then use a round bristle brush to finish off the blow dry and create that smooth, bouncy finish.

Hair Cleansing Cream

Hair Cleaning Cream

This is the best clarifying shampoo I have ever used. It contains fruit acids which gently lift away product build-up and grease without leaving your hair feeling like you’ve completely stripped all of the moisture out of it. You know when you’ve used a clarifying shampoo and your hair is literally squeaky clean afterwards (my worst)? Thankfully this shampoo doesn’t do that – your hair feels fresh and bouncy and clean, but still healthy and hydrated.

Pillow Proof Blow Dry Two Day Extender Dry Shampoo & Pillow Proof Blow Dry Express Primer

Pillow Proof

I featured this dry shampoo in our most recent Monthly Favourites video – I am obsessed with it. It leaves your locks looking fresh, clean and volumised without the annoying crunchy/tacky roots, and it’s completely transparent, so it’s suitable for all hair colours.

The Blow Dry Express Primer is a heat protectant which is designed to speed up blow drying time. I can’t say that it really speeds up blow drying time for me (it’s always approx 20 minutes), but Jules said that it definitely did for her. It smells a little bit strange, but the luckily the smell doesn’t linger so you won’t be able to smell it on your hair once it’s dry.

Pretty incredible prize, don’t you think? To enter, all you have to do is upload a picture of yourself having a bad hair day on Twitter and Instagram, tag All Dolled Up and Retail Box, and tell us which product you most want to try and why. Don’t forget to include the hashtag: #ADURedkenGiveaway

Example:

Twitter and Instagram

Taking one for the team. You didn’t think I’d let you go through this alone, did you?!

The competition will run from today, Tuesday 12 May 2015, until 12pm on Tuesday 26 May 2015. Jules and I will announce the winner on Wednesday 27 May 2015. One entry per person, open to South African residents only.

Good luck beauties!

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28 April 2015

4 Comments

Introducing Dermastore – The Skin Doctor’s Boutique

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Dr Ian Webster has been mine and my family’s dermatologist for nearly 20 years. He is meticulous, patient and kind, and has helped us tackle and resolve our skin issues in a calm, confident manner – an approach which much needed in the midst of the anguish and torment caused by acne and other aggressive skin conditions. He was also the first dermatologist to bring laser skin therapy to Southern Africa and underwent post-graduate training in laser surgery at Harvard Medical School. So essentially, yes, he’s the best. I see him annually to have my moles mapped and to have a general catch-up on how my skin is doing and what new products I might need to think about incorporating into my regime.

I saw Dr. Webster two weeks ago and he informed me that he has, together with his two sons, launched Dermastore, an online store which sells top cosmoceutical brands like Neostrata and SkinCeuticals! Although these products are available at Skin Renewal and at the offices of selected dermatologists and spas, they have not been available to purchase online until now. This is a hugely exciting development for the South African market – particularly for those men and women who are a) pressed for time and don’t necessarily have time during their busy working days to buy the products they want/need, and b) live it outlying areas where these kinds of products are not readily available.

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If you’ve never used cosmoceutical brands before and don’t really know where to start, never fear: Dr. Webster has developed an online Facial Skin Assessment in order to determine which products are best suited to your skin type. There are 6 questions to answer, and once you have completed them, a list of products will be recommended for you. I know that some people might have reservations about an online assessment when products containing active ingredients are being recommended, but I can confirm that the results are spot on. I know this because when I saw Dr. Webster last week, his skin therapist, Sarah Stringer, did an analysis on me and recommended a few products for me to try. I then went home and completed the online assessment, and the exact same set of products were recommended for me. Genius!

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If you click the Tailored Regimen drop-down button, you will be offered some alternative regimen options from the individual brands, which is great if you don’t like the idea of mixing and matching and would prefer for all of your products to come from the same brand.

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Even if you are already using a cosmoceutical brand,  I think it is an interesting exercise to complete the assessment – you might be surprised and find a product recommended for you that you hadn’t considered before. And if you can’t be fussed with the assessment, then you can also search by product type, by skin type, by medical concern or by range – there is no way that you won’t be able to find what you are looking for.

Dr. Webster has uploaded the clinical studies in respect of the some of the products, so if you’re a complete nerd like I am, you can learn more about the science behind the products and what makes them so effective. He has also uploaded some interesting articles which I would encourage you to read.

Dermastore are currently running a Neostrata Skin Active Autumn Special where you get 5 full size NeoStrata products for R 2,225.00 (valued at R 3, 950.00). You will need to complete Dr. Webster’s Facial Skin Assessment before you can take advantage of this offer as these products are best suited to more mature skins.

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Together with NeoStrata and SkinCeuticals, Dermastore also stocks all kinds of other fantastic brands, such as Bioderma, Eucerin, Exuviance (created by the founding doctors of NeoStrata), Heliocare, IDSIN, Lumixyl, Neoretin, Obagi and SkinMedica. Delivery is free to anywhere in South Africa if you spend over R950.00 (easily done) and you get free samples with every order. Dermastore has appointed Aramex as their courier company (same courier company used by Yuppiechef), so you know you’re going to get the absolute best service.

Dr. Webster’s offices are located at 29 Bright Street, Somerset West, and he can be contacted on +27 (0)21 852 5858.

*Notwithstanding my history with Dr. Webster and his family, my views are unbiased and I have not been compensated in any way for this post.

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23 April 2015

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Anti-Ageing Skincare: The Basics

As technology evolves and treatments become more sophisticated, the anti-ageing* landscape gets more and more complicated to understand. Even beauty buffs like Camilla and I who live, eat and breathe the industry have trouble understanding it all so we went to see an old friend of ours for an explanation. Dr Shahra Sattar is a super-qualified and extremely skilled MD who has turned her focus to aesthetic medicine and is a font of knowledge on the subject.

Anti-ageing skincare basics | All Dolled Up

She recommends a four-prong approach to anti-ageing skincare, namely; injectables (e.g. fillers, Botox), in salon treatments (e.g. peels, skin needling, laser), internal health (e.g. diet, probiotics, supplements), and home care. In the coming months we’ll cover all of these aspects but let’s start with the basics; what you can do at home:

Carmen Dell'Orefice

Carmen Dell’Orefice (Age 83)

Growth Factors

What is it? Growth factors are natural proteins secreted by our cells that play an important role in maintaining healthy skin structure and function. As we age, our bodies produce lower levels of natural growth factors resulting in more breakdown of collagen and a loss of elasticity.

How does it work? Introducing GFs back into the skin helps to promote skin tissue repair and regeneration, as well as stimulate the formation of collagen to make skin soft and supple.

Example product: SkinMedica TNS Recovery Complex

Julianne Moore

Julianne Moore (Age 54)

Retinol

What is it? A derivative of Vitamin A, retinol is the #1 dermatologist-recommended cosmetic anti-ageing ingredient because of it’s ability to improve the appearance of wrinkles and enlarged pores. Retinol breaks down in the presence of sunlight or air so it’s usually packaged in opaque bottles with controlled delivery systems to ensure the effectives of the active ingredients (and also why you should only use them at night). For most people, tolerance also needs to be built up so it’s best to use it only once every couple of days when you start.

How does it work? Retinol (and the more powerful prescription version, retinoids) work by prompting surface skin cells to turn over rapidly, making way for new cell growth underneath. Retinol works on a molecular level because with age and sun damage, certain cell functions deteriorate. The regular use of a retinoid helps to normalise these functions, improve skin texture, reduce dark spots and blackheads blackheads and minimize pores. They also have a dual effect on collagen production by decreasing the amount of collagen breakdown from sun exposure and stimulating the creation of new collagen.

Example products: Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment, Ren Bio Retinoid Anti-Wrinkle Concentrate Oil

Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep (Age 65)

Antioxidants

What is it? Antioxidants are nutrients (vitamins and minerals) and enzymes (proteins inside your body) that can help to prevent and repair damage to your body’s tissue. Antioxidants do this by slowing or preventing the effect of free radicals, which start oxidation that can lead to cell dysfunction. Antioxidants can be applied topically (e.g. in a serum) and incorporated into your diet by regularly eating foods like dark green veggies, nuts, blueberries, salmon, avo, sweet potatoes and green tea.

How does it work? Antioxidants can help to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun by speeding up the skin’s natural repair systems and directly inhibiting further damage. Vitamins A, C and E and the mineral selenium are thought to be particularly helpful in skin care. In addition to helping fortify cells against free radicals, vitamins A and C also encourage cell and tissue growth, helping the body to repair itself.

Example products: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, Paula’s Choice RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum, Exuviance Antioxidant Perfect 10 Serum

Lauren Hutton

Lauren Hutton (Age 71)

Sun Protection

What is it? Sunscreen combines organic and inorganic chemicals to filter the light from the sun so that less of it reaches the deeper layers of your skin. Sunblock, on the other hand, reflects or scatters the light away so that it doesn’t reach the skin at all.

How does it work? These products protect the skin from the absorption of UVA (penetrates deeply into the skin and can lead to cancer and premature skin ageing) and UVB rays (involved in tanning and burning of your skin). It is critical to use a broad spectrum SPF that filters both types of light so that you are protected from both the discomfort of burning your skin and more importantly, inflicting long-term damage and even causing skin cancer.

Example products: Avène SPF50+ Fragrance-Free Emulsion, Bioderma Photoderm MAX Crème SPF50+, Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster SPF50

Iris Apfel (Age 93)

Iris Apfel (Age 93)

Speciality Problems

What is it? We all suffer from different problem areas that need to be specifically addressed, like pigmentation, acne, age spots and rosacea. The final portion of your home care regimen should be to target these issues with specialist products. Visit the Skin Renewal website or visit one of their branches to find information on your particular skin concerns.

Please note: If you’re planning to start an at-home anti-ageing routine, it’s always a good idea to consult a doctor or dermatologist first. Dr Sattar is a member of the team at Skin Renewal, a specialist aesthetic centre with branches all over the country. Found out more here.

*I don’t like this phrase because I think it promotes ageing as a negative concept when in fact it is perfectly natural and a privilege denied to many [but that’s a blog post for another day!]. I don’t know how else to phrase it though so I’m using the popularly-accepted terminology.

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20 April 2015

2 Comments

Birthday Beauty Swag

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You might think that beauty bloggers don’t want beauty products for their birthdays, but you would be mistaken. I, for one, certainly do, and I am always delighted when I unwrap a gift and see something beauty-related inside. This past birthday was particularly fruitful in that regard, so I thought I would share some of my spoils with you.

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16 April 2015

4 Comments

Introducing Eau Thermale Avène

French pharmacy fans will already be familiar with the brand Avène, a drugstore skincare range designed specifically for sensitive and intolerant skin. We were so excited to get the call telling us they were finally launching in SA and we went along to the launch to find out more.

Avène South Africa

As the name would suggest, Eau Thermale Avène is a dermo-cosmetic brand built around the skin-soothing properties of the water that flows out of the Sainte-Odile d’Avène spring in France. The water is scientifically proven* (and constantly tested) to be remarkably anti-irritating and is contained in every product in the range, 41 of which are now available in SA. Avène is an extremely high quality brand with a strong focus on efficacy and certainly everything we’ve tried so far as been brilliant. Here’s the low-down:

Avène Thermal Spring Water Spray

Thermal Spring Water Spray

Bottled at the source (in fact all the products are manufactured at the source), this cooling facial spritz is not only lovely to use but helps to soothe redness, sunburn, inflammation and skin irritation. I use it every morning straight after I cleanse, before I apply my serum, and it definitely helped to get a recent dehydration flare-up under control. If you’re not sure what the point is of just spraying “water” on your face, read this.

Avène Tolérance Extrême Cream

Tolérance Extrême Cream

The Tolerance range is designed for dry, hypersensitive skin, with zero parabens, preservatives or fragrance. The texture is relatively light but still rich (too rich for my combo skin but Camilla loves it) so it keeps the skin supple and hydrated all day long. There is a complementary Cleansing Lotion in the Tolérance range, which is also created with no potentially irritating additives.

Avène SPF 50+ Fragrance Free Emulsion

SPF 50+ Fragrance Free Emulsion

Hallelujah! A high SPF face cream that doesn’t feel or look greasy! You wouldn’t BELIEVE how hard it is to find a good sunscreen for combination/oily skin that you can actually wear under makeup. This lightweight formula dries down completely and leaves no residue or white streaks behind, plus it contains a powerful antioxidant. It’s also fragrance-, silicone- and paraben-free, and water-resistant, so perfect for daily use or a long afternoon on the beach.

Avène Soothing Hydrating Mask

Soothing Hydrating Mask

If you’ve always wanted to try the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask, then give this a whirl instead. This moisture mask is particularly indicated for sunburns, flushes, tight, irritated, dehydrated, dull or sensitive skin but I use it whenever my skin is feeling a little bit parched. You can smooth it on like a moisturiser or slather on a thick layer overnight for an intensive treatment – either way, it will leave your skin feeling seriously soft and plumped-up. It does contain mineral oil though so if that’s not your thing, steer clear (although it personally doesn’t bother me).

Avène Cold Cream Hand Cream

Cold Cream for Hands

Going into winter, my hands seem to start cracking almost overnight. And even though I put hand cream on multiple times a day and overnight, I can never seem to lose that “wrinkly” feeling on my palms. The Avène Cold Cream Hand Cream does the trick though! It’ss formulated to restore the hydrolipidic film (i.e. skin’s natural barrier) in super dry skin, and leaves hands feeling instantly more comfortable. It’s very nourishing and non-greasy so my fingers don’t go sliding all over the keyboard after I use it.

Camilla has also tried the Micellar Lotion and loves it – check it out in this post.

Eau Thermale Avène is available exclusively in selected Clicks stores nationwide.

You can visit their (really good) local website and follow them on Facebook.

*I was slightly skeptical about the scientific element (I mean, it’s just water!) but having learned more about the research and seen the results of Avène’s hydrotherapy treatment on children with extreme eczema, I am now a believer. Essentially, the unique mineral composition of the water is what makes it so soothing – you can read more about the Hydrotherapy Center here if you’re interested.

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