August 25, 2004
Welcome to the Cosmetic Report newsletter. It's our goal to bring you unbiased information about cosmetic products and trends so you can make educated buying decisions. If you've been searching for straightforward beauty information and advice, you've found it here. The Cosmetic Connection Panel of reviewers are consumers just like you who face the same issues and challenges, and look to the beauty industry to help solve them.
Denise is a 28-year old paralegal from Phoenix, Arizona. She has long strawberry-blonde hair and blue-green eyes, and a super fair complexion with combination skin. Her skin does not tend to break out very often. Denise is still looking for the "perfect" cleansing regimen, and having fun looking!
Garden Botanika Balancing Gel Cleanser ($16)
This was my first experience with Garden Botanika products, and I must say, my opinions on the line waivered back and forth throughout my trial period. The first time I tried GB's Balancing Gel Cleanser, I absolutely loved it. It has a wonderful citrusy smell, and the gel foams up like nobody's business. I've always been a fan of foaming cleansers - I just feel like my face gets cleaner somehow if it is covered in bubbles. This cleanser, though, was a bit too foaming, even for me. I learned very quickly that a little bit goes a LONG way, which is great. However, after a few days of regular use, my skin started to feel very tight and irritated. After experiencing some minor bouts of cosmetic acne, it was clear to me that my skin was NOT happy with this cleansing regimen. Still, I stuck with it. After a few weeks, my face began to normalize again. One of the primary ingredients in the gel cleanser is citrus oil, which may have been the irritating factor. This cleanser is prescribed for normal or combination skin, both of which would likely respond well to the acidic properties of citrus oil. As with all Garden Botanika products, the cleanser is packed full of lots of great botanical ingredients, such as aloe, licorice, grape seed, and mulberry, as well as skin soothing ginseng and green tea. This cleanser would probably be perfectly suited for someone with more oily or combination skin. It just was a bit too much for my sensitive/combination skin.
Garden Botanika Balancing Facial Tonic ($17)
The balancing toner was actually my favorite product in this 3-step cleansing regimen. It has the same great, citrus and green tea scent as the cleanser, but seemed to be much more gentle. Thankfully, it usually minimized the sting and tightness that was left over from the foaming cleanser. This toner has some unique ingredients in it, as well, including apple-derived phytostimuline and walnut extract. It also contains Pentapeptide-3, which is a synthetic protein that has been shown to encourage natural collagen production. My skin was left soft and smooth, and ready for moisturizer. I'd recommend this innovative and effective toner for all skin types.
Garden Botanika Balancing Moisture Lotion ($19)
After the first two steps, my face was ready for a good moisturizer. Sadly, I was disappointed by the Garden Botanika Balancing Moisture Lotion. It is a very light, oil free moisturizer, designed to minimize oily zones in combination skin, which is a good thing. As effective as it was in that area, it was seriously lacking in moisturizing the "thirsty” areas of my skin. I expected better results, since this moisturizer contains Vitamin E, Panthenol, and Glucosamine, all of which are usually very effective at delivering moisture into the skin. I found that the GB balancing moisture lotion worked well under my makeup during the day, but my skin needed more at night. As long as I used another moisturizing cream at nighttime, then my skin behaved fairly well. The Garden Botanika Balancing Moisture lotion is better suited for someone with more normal to oily skin, which doesn't really "fit" with the rest of the regimen.
All in all, the Garden Botanika Balancing 3-step cleansing regimen did not work very well for my slightly sensitive/combination skin. But don't let that discourage you. Garden Botanika makes excellent products, and this might be just the regimen for you! You can check out the whole line of Garden Botanika products at gardenbotanika.com.
Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment ($55)
Ojon's products are centered around a palm nut oil from deep in the Central American rain forest. This palm nut oil is harvested solely by the Miskuito Indians, who are said to have been using the Ojon palm nut oil as a hair treatment for thousands of years. Ojon is also the name of the tree bearing the nut that yields the treatment's core ingredient.
The story behind this potent hair treatment is part of what makes it so very cool. Denis Simioni is the president of Ojon corporation. He learned about the Ojon extract five years ago, when his wife, Silvana (who is now the Ojon model) received a jar of dark-brown paste from her grandmother, who hails from a remote village in Honduras. Mrs. Simioni "threw it in a drawer and forgot about it," until one day she ran out of conditioner and decided to try the mysterious concoction from her grandmother. She was amazed by the wonderful results, and her husband immediately set about learning all he could about this mysterious Honduran palm oil extract. Five years later (January 2004), Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment was launched, initially in only 15 Nordstrom department stores. It is now available at salons and department stores nationwide, as well as from ojonhaircare.com.
Given that very interesting history, I was eager to try the Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment for myself. The instructions say to apply Ojon to dry hair. Using the comb/scoop that is included with the treatment, I scooped a big dollop of the brown paste into my hand and, as instructed, warmed it between my hands to activate the oils. It liquefied right away, and I had to scramble a bit to put it into my hair before it dripped everywhere. Learning from this mistake, my next dollop was much smaller, and therefore more manageable. Once my hair was coated completely, I pinned it in a bun on the top of my head and waited 20 minutes for the treatment to absorb. It would have been even more effective to wrap my hair in plastic wrap or a shower cap, but I didn't have one readily available. One of the first things that I noticed about the Ojon treatment was its potent, very "earthy" scent. Initially it was somewhat overwhelming, but then it grew on me. Now I love it; it is very a very calming scent. Surprisingly, the treatment rinsed out of my hair very easily, and then I followed up with a gentle shampoo to remove any excess oils from my hair. Right off the bat, I was amazed that my hair was totally tangle-free and soooo easy to comb out. Throughout the day, I kept feeling my hair - I couldn't believe how soft it was! And my split ends, upon which I have a bad habit of performing impromptu trims during the day, were either gone altogether or simply smoothed down to the point that I couldn't find any. In any case, each time I use Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment I am more and more impressed by the results. My abused hair is happy, healthy, and tame once again. I highly recommend this treatment for any hair type. In April 2004, Ojon also came out with Ultra Hydrating Shampoo and Ultra Hydrating Conditioner. Based on my experience with the restorative treatment, I can't wait to try the shampoo and conditioner!
Estee Lauder Body Performance Exfoliating Body Polish ($25)
This is the first product that I tried from Estee Lauder's new Body Performance line. This line of products promises to slim, firm and smooth the body. The exfoliating body polish is the first step in the process, designed to leave skin smooth, soft and polished, and to enhance the benefits of the body performance treatments. The first time I used it, I have to admit, I did not like the scent at all - it smelled too "mediciney" to me. But gradually it grew on me. Now I think that it smells more like a fresh ocean breeze, which is much more pleasant in the shower! As far as body scrubs go, I find this one to be fair to marginal. The grains (actually there are skin-refining beads and moisturizing beads) in this body polish are so small that it just doesn't seem to be effective on my body - it would be much better suited as a gentle facial scrub. As is the case with most Estee Lauder products, the quality of the ingredients is exceptional; I simply wasn't convinced that this product is effective for its designed purpose.
Estee Lauder Body Performance Anti-Cellulite Visible Contouring Serum ($50)
In sharp contrast to the exfoliating body polish, I was very impressed with the Anti-Cellulite Visible Contouring Serum. The cool blue gel-cream smoothes on easily and absorbs quickly, leaving my skin feeling cool and a bit tingly. It's packed full of ingredients like caffeine-rich Guarana seeds and Chinese black tea, both of which are proven to reduce the visible signs of cellulite. I've been using the serum on my derriere and thighs daily for about a month now, and I have definitely noticed an improvement in my skin tone and texture. Fortunately, I have not yet had a big problem with noticeable cellulite, and that may be partially thanks to regular use of products like this one. However, I did notice that my skin felt more taut and certainly much smoother. Estee Lauder claims that clinical studies show a significant slimming effect of up to one inch in four weeks time with regular use of the Anti-Cellulite Visible Contouring Serum. Now I wish that I had measured my thighs with a tape measure prior to using it! Whether or not I actually experienced a "slimming" effect from this serum, I can't say for sure, but I have enjoyed using it, and I think that it's worth every penny. I will definitely invest in another bottle.
Check out Estee Lauder's Body Performance products at your local department store, or at esteelauder.com.
Celazome Eyelyph Serum ($40)
Celazome Clinical Skin Care is a product line put out by Dermazone Solutions. As a result of 12 years of research and development, Dermazone has patented an ingredient-delivery system that they call Lyphazome. Many major cosmetic lines have added liposomes, which are commonly known to aid in the disbursement of skin-care nutrients and ingredients. Dermazone's patented Lyphazome delivery system is a method of "encapsulating" the active ingredients so that they do not all disburse immediately upon application. The product is applied to the outer layer of skin, and as it seeps deeper into the layers, the ingredients are time-released, so that the active ingredients penetrate deeper into the skin where they're more effective. Sounds like a bunch of cosmetic-technohype, huh? Well, I'm here to tell you that for a variety of very real-life reasons, Celazome Eyelyph Serum is my favorite eye cream! It's so hydrating, without being greasy at all. At 31, I fortunately do not have too many deep lines around my eye area, but there are definitely some fine ones that Eyelyph eased right away. But even more amazing was the fact that this eye cream really made a BIG difference in the dark circles under my eyes. I've been searching for those results for a long time, let me tell you. Celazome is packed full of antioxidants, as well as soothing and de-puffing green tea extract and chamomile oil. The only minor improvement that I'd make to this product is the packaging. It comes in a cute little pump-top bottle, which unfortunately is all plastic. The pump is really flimsy, and always either dispenses too much cream in one pump, or is clogged up completely. Also, the writing and logo on the front of the bottle rubbed off after the first week of use. So, the Celazome packaging leaves a bit to be desired, but heck, I'd use this eye cream out of a Ziploc bag if I had to! You can pick up some Celazome Eyelyph Serum on their website dermazone.com. I've also read that Dermazone products are recommended and/or sold by many dermatologists.
We hope you enjoyed this issue of The Cosmetic Report!