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THE COSMETIC REPORT
March 25, 2002

From time to time I like to highlight one of our Panelists and the research and reviews she's been working on. This week I'm pleased to share Maria's reviews of clé de peau BEAUTÉ skin care, Eyebrowz eye brow makeup, and V'TAE.

Maria is a 30 year old freelance editor and writer, and "total cosmetics nut" with several years experience working for a major department store line as well as a cosmetic researcher. Maria is part Austrian/German, African American, and Native American, with wavy, dark brown hair with reddish-golden highlights, dark brown eyes, and a medium to olive skin tone (the foundation and powder shades she uses are normally toward the lighter end of the spectrum). Her skin is very oily and prone to breakouts, but she keeps it pretty clear with regular use of a BHA product and 5% benzoyl peroxide. Maria's favorite beauty products include Huggies Baby Wipes to remove makeup (strange, but very effective!), Clinique Clarifying Lotion #2 and Exfoliating Scrub, SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel, Revlon ColorStay Compact Makeup, Lorac Oil-Free Foundation, Jane Loose Powder, Lancome Concealer and Oil-Free Blush, Bobbi Brown lipsticks, Wet 'n Wild lip glosses, Ombrelle Sunscreens, and Paula's Choice 1% BHA Lotion. Have a question for Maria? Email her here.

Take it away, Maria!

clé de peau BEAUTÉ
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review this luxury line of skin care products by Shiseido. There are several products in this line; I tested four of the products from the "Refreshing/Fraîche" line, which is aimed at oily skin, and two products from the "Tender/Tendre" line, which is aimed at normal skin. (The "Enriched/Soyeuse" products are for dry skin.) When it comes to skin care, I know that higher prices don't necessarily mean superior formulations, but I really liked most of these products. The four "Refreshing" products I used noticeably reduced the oil on my face and made my skin feel soft and smooth. These products are scented, but the fragrance is very light and pleasant. Even though I enjoyed the samples I received, I probably won't be purchasing any of the products because of the high prices; I don't have the individual prices since I tried samples, but to give you an idea, the clé de peau concealer is $60! If your beauty budget is considerably larger than mine is, you'll definitely want to check out this line at CleDePeau.com.

Refreshing Cleansing Foam
A pea-size drop of this cleanser is all it takes to produce tons of creamy lather. Foaming cleansers can be drying but this one removes oil, dirt, and makeup without leaving my skin feeling tight or dry. Also, it contains tiny granules for exfoliation, which made my skin feel very smooth. This is by far one of the better foaming cleansers I've ever used.

Refreshing Balancing Lotion
Although alcohol is the second ingredient in this product, it did not burn, sting, or dry out my skin. It removes oil and leaves my skin feeling fresh.

Refreshing Nourishing Emulsion
This non-greasy gel-type moisturizer is extremely lightweight and leaves a matte finish on my skin. Even though this is intended for use at night, I found that it helped my foundation stay on and reduced the midday shine. I didn't notice any reduction in my fine lines like the brochure promised, but my skin does feel soft and smooth and less oily. Alcohol is the third ingredient in this product, so it could be drying for some skin types.

Refreshing Protective Emulsion
This is a lightweight non-greasy lotion intended for use during the day. This is a confusing product because it does not claim to be a sunscreen and does not have an SPF rating, yet it lists octyl methoxycinnamate, a sunscreen ingredient that provides protection from UVB rays, as its third ingredient (not an active ingredient). Now that I think about it, it's probably good that this product is not being sold as a sunscreen since it does not contain any of the UVA protecting ingredients. However, as a moisturizer, this is great for oilier skin types because it's so light and leaves a smooth, matte finish. [Side note: While testing this product, I also wore Clinique's Super City Block to be sure I was adequately protecting my skin from the sun.]

Gentle Nourishing Emulsion
Definitely more moisturizing than the Refreshing Nourishing Emulsion, this nighttime lotion is more appropriate for normal skin types. Even though it is heavier than the Refreshing version, it is not greasy and does not leave a tacky feeling on the skin. (I used this lotion under my eyes and on my neck.) It contains alcohol, so it could be irritating for drier, more sensitive skin types. It also contains glycerin, hydrogenated palm oil, and petrolatum.

Gentle Protective Emulsion
This feels similar to the above product; it is not greasy or sticky feeling. Like the Refreshing Protective Emulsion, it also contains octyl methoxycinnamate as its third ingredient (not an active ingredient), but it does not have an SPF rating. If you want to try this daytime lotion, I would definitely wear an effective sunscreen - or a foundation with an effective sunscreen - on top of it.

clé de peau BEAUTÉ is available at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York (212-940-2962; ask for Jeanette) and other fine stores.

Eyebrowz
My eyebrows are a mess. I usually over pluck in some areas and under pluck in other areas and I always look very strange while waiting for them to grow back in. The eyebrow pencils I usually use look fine from afar but up close they look drawn on and fake. Given my traumatic eyebrow experiences, I was delighted to find eyebrowz.com, an entire Web site devoted to makeup, tools, accessories, and stencils for eyebrows.

I tested three of the brow powders, several stencils, and the White Outliner Stick. The Web site also sells several other products such as tweezers, brushes, brow razors, brow gel and mousse. Nancy Parker, the creator of the Web site, also co-wrote a book on the subject called Beautiful Brows which sells for $7.99. This little book does contain some good tips on plucking, waxing, and choosing the correct eyebrow shape for your face. If you decide to purchase any of the stencil kits, I would definitely recommend getting the book as well.

Eyebrow Powder ($4.95)
I received 3000, a light brown shade; 3002, a dark brown shade; and 3003, a taupe shade. 3002 was the shade that most closely matched my eyebrow color. All three shades are natural looking colors, but they can look heavy after application. However, this problem is acknowledged and they suggest that you blend the powder with a cotton swab. Up close my brows still look "drawn on," even after blending the powder, but I do think that the powder looks better than the pencils I've been using.

White Outliner Stick ($2.45)
You are supposed to use this pencil to diagram the eyebrow shape you want and to highlight the hairs you need to pluck (the book says to "think of it as Wite-Out for your brows"). At first I thought this product would solve my problem with overplucking - I could mark the hairs that needed to come out and pluck them. Unfortunately, it was not that simple. I ended up highlighting and plucking too many hairs as usual. Needless to say, I did not find this product helpful, but it could serve useful for those who are not overzealous in the plucking department.

Eyebrow Stencils (sold in collections that range from $14.95 to $22.95)
I have to admit this is an interesting concept. You can choose the eyebrow shape you want and then powder it on. My favorite stencil was Gw1, which is a natural looking fuller shape. El1, Jt4, and Ha1 are all too dramatic and angled for my face; Ro1, Pa4, and Ct1 are all too thin; Ht3 was much too short. Even though I only found one shape that I liked, the other stencils could definitely work with the right face shapes.

Stencil Touch Hold ($1.95)
This is a sturdy wire headband that you wear across your forehead to hold the stencils in place. It works well and keeps your hands free while you are stenciling in your brows.

Nylon Powder Brush ($0.95 for two brushes)
These tiny brushes are fine, but they would work better if they were a little stiffer.

V'TAE
Bed of Roses Lingerie Wash ($20 for 16 ounces)
This is a beautifully scented liquid soap for hand-washing your lingerie. The scent is neither overpowering nor too sweet-it is lightly floral-scented and leaves your unmentionables smelling very pretty and completely feminine.

Green Grass & Sunshine Body Lotion ($18 for 8 ounces)
When I first saw this product I thought, "Who would want to smell like grass?" After testing the product, I realized this is a pleasant sweet-smelling body lotion. It is very moisturizing and doesn't leave a greasy film on my skin. It contains several moisturizing ingredients along with many essential oils.

Orange Blossom Linen Mist ($18 for 8 ounces)
I sprayed this product on my sheets, pillowcases, comforter, and towels. It has a fresh orange scent that doesn't linger more than a day or so. Like the other scents, this one is light and pleasant and not at all overpowering. You can find these products and much more at vtae.com.

I hope you enjoyed this issue of The Cosmetic Report!

Until next time,


 

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