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THE COSMETIC REPORT
December 24, 2001

This week's report comes to you from our Panelist Lisa, who is somehow finding time while planning her wedding to try all kinds of new products. Talk about a Super Diva! Next week I'll be back with reviews of several of the products I purchased from my online shopping reviews.

Take it away, Lisa!

Greetings cosmetic junkies! It is hard to believe that 2002 is upon us! I have no idea where 2001 has flown off to, but I'm certainly excited about all the wonderful things to come in the next year (I'm officially knee deep in wedding plans ­ fun, but really busy!). In between my copious trips to the florist, caterer, etc., I've had the chance to try some interesting new products. Just read on for the low-down!

Nutrifusion Skincare from Reflect.com
I'll admit, after my experience with their amazing shampoo and conditioner, I had very high hopes for the Nutrifusion skincare line from Reflect.com. I happily clicked my way through their seemingly endless lists of questions, and chose the attributes/descriptions for the Nutrifusion line I felt would be most important for my sensitive, combination skin; it should fight occasional breakouts, sooth redness/blotchiness, and cleanse thoroughly, but not over-dry. About 10 days later, my skincare items arrived (in all their beautiful packaging!) and I couldn't wait to try them.

Unfortunately, there was a problem from the get-go. During my selection process, and after many internal debates, I decided that I'd like to try the bamboo tea scent, as opposed to the bland, unscented items I almost always choose automatically because of my grumpy skin. Alas, I found that I regretted the choice immediately. While I thought sure that these items would have a very soft, delicate scent because of their facial application, I found I could not have been more wrong. The bamboo tea scent was so strong, it almost immediately threw my sinuses into a full-out allergic reaction. While my skin didn't react adversely to the fragrance, my nose did. If you are prone to fragrance sensitivity, be sure to go the unscented route.

I did request unscented replacement items, and was told that they would be sent right out. When I received the replacements, however, about 2 weeks later, I found that only 1 of the 3 items sent was actually unscented, not to mention that all of the personalized product names I had chosen weren't applied to the replacements. Honestly, not wanting to go through the hassle of requesting replacements for my, well, replacements, I chose to just let it go. However, I would be remiss if I didn't say that the experience wasn't one of my better moments with Reflect.com.

Nutrifusion Foaming Cleanser
This is a simple, gentle foaming cleanser that does a nice job of removing makeup, dirt, and excess sebum. While this is a very thorough cleanser, it didn't dry my skin out. This is a nice, basic cleanser that is comparable to Origin's Mint Wash or Biore Fresh Foaming Cleanser. Personally, I thought the $19 price tag was a little steep for something so simple, but if you want to try a customized facial wash, this might be a good fit for you. I personally think, however, that if you want to fight blotchiness and redness, the Calm and Correct line from Joey NY addresses those problems much more effectively.

Nutrifusion Balancing Toner
This toner is meant as a final cleansing/moisturizing/balancing step before you apply the moisturizer. The formula is a "dual-phase" liquid that must be shaken to mix the ingredients before application. Once applied, it leaves a bit of residue that will soak in, and supposedly make your skin feel soft and moisturized.

Again, this item is okay, but my taste in toners differs a little from this type of formula. I prefer a gentle toner that leaves skin perfectly clean, because sometimes, the residue doesn't seem to soak in completely, and it feels as if I have a layer of oil on my face. While this item didn't make my skin break out, I am just not real crazy about how it felt on my complexion. I much prefer Ole Henriksen's Pick Me Up toner, or Neutrogena's Pore Refining toner, but really, it is all about personal preference. If you have dry skin, though, you might find it to be a perfect fit for you.

Nutrifusion Day Lotion
Out of all the products, this lightweight lotion was my favorite of the lot. However, I really must ask why in the world that every "day" type lotion does not automatically contain sunscreen. I mean, really, if I can save a step in the morning, I'm certainly going to do it with a moisturizer/SPF 15 combo. I believe that this item is now offered with sunscreen, but when I ordered my products, it was not.

That aside, this is a really lovely, lightweight lotion that made my skin look smooth, helped with enlarged pores and oily patches, yet also moisturized my dry bits completely. I chose the "chiffon" weight moisturizer, and I think it is the perfect choice for someone with combination skin that simply cannot make up its mind. If you want to try a really nice, customized moisturizer, this is definitely a good choice.

You can order a wealth of customized products, including the Nutrifusion Skincare Line, from Reflect.com.

Avon Pure O2 Oxygenating Youth Complex with SPF 15
With the wealth of new "oxygen" skincare products on the market, I was curious to see if these items were worth all the "buzz" being generated. Considering that most of these items are pretty expensive, I turned to my old standby, Avon, for an affordable choice that was kind to my somewhat strained bridal budget. Again, Avon has managed to impress the heck outta me with their cutting edge, nicely-priced skincare items. I'll tell ya, almost every smart women I know has at least a couple of Avon items in her beauty arsenal. Among my personal favorites are the Lighten Up Plus Eye Treatment (if you have puffiness or circles, run, don't walk, to get a tube of this amazing cream) and the Glazewear Nail Polish (lasts forever, amazing color selection, and it costs a fraction of what designer brands do)!

This Oxygenating Complex is one of the newest items in the Anew line of skincare products. It is an ingenious foam moisturizer that can be applied on its own (best for oilier skin types), or over your favorite moisturizer for additional benefits. From my experience, this product seems to have numerous benefits; I found that my skin really did produce a nice, rosy glow after using Avon's O2 for just under a week. I also love how it provides a super-smooth surface for makeup application, very similar to La Prairie's Extract of Skin Caviar, but for FAR less money. I was delighted that my makeup lasted longer, and creased much less, when applied over the O2 formula. It also did not clog my pores, or cause any sort of negative reaction. Heck, it even adds a layer of full spectrum SPF 15 protection, if you should need one. As usual, Avon gets an enthusiastic "thumbs up" from this panelist. If you are looking for a unique item to give you a well-rested glow (without any actual rest, heh heh), Avon's O2 Oxygenating Youth Complex is a wonderful new find.

You can order Avon items from avon.com, but personally, I find that the personalized service of a real, live Avon Representative is an added perk. If you are in the greater Columbus, OH area, Stephanie Marxen will do an excellent job of helping you find what you need, without any pressure. Check her out at http://www.youravon.com/smarxen.

Lastly, I'd like to turn our attention from skin and makeup to hair care. In the past few months, I have spent a small mint getting my tresses colored, highlighted, and trimmed to perfection while I grow it out for my wedding. I must say, though, that the price has been worth it, because my hair looks bloody fabulous, if I do say so myself (and I do, darn it :). Since the salon I attend here in Columbus is an Aveda Concept salon, I have a perfect excuse to try a myriad of new products from one of my very favorite personal care lines. Aveda products are comparable in price to other salon brands, but I feel that their quality is just as good, or better, than almost anything else I've tried.

Aveda Personal Blends Shampoo and Conditioner Anyone with hair that is colored red knows that it is infamously hard to maintain. It tends to fade more quickly than any other shade, which can leave you just looking brassy, instead of "bombshell." Thankfully, Aveda Personal Blends shampoo and conditioner will provide just the SOS (save our strands!) that is needed to keep copper locks (or any other color) in perfect shape and shade.

Personal Blends shampoo and conditioner is mixed by your stylist just for you. Color pigment is added to both the shampoo and conditioner, and will help keep your color fresh and bright in between touch-ups. It is especially wonderful when you are approaching the 4-5 week mark, and your roots are beginning to become a bit more pronounced. You also get to choose a fragrance you like from a wide variety of choices, (personally, I adore the "fire nature" scent, which is spicy, sweet, and soothing, all at the same time) or you can leave the items unscented, if you prefer.

The shampoo cleanses gently without drying, and produces lots of lather, which I prefer. The conditioner is nice for light conditioning and de-tangling, but if you need some added "oomph" for dry hair, just mix a bit of Aveda's Cherry/Almond Bark Deep Conditioner with it to produce a richer conditioner.

Aveda Rosemary Mint Conditioner
While this formula is a bit richer than the Personal Blends variety, I would still characterize it as light to medium. I tend to use it when my hair feels more "normal" as opposed to "dry." What I did notice the most after using it is the incredible shine it gives my hair; my highlights really glow after a healthy dollop of Rosemary Mint Conditioner! The scent is also wonderfully refreshing and invigorating ­ a perfect choice if you wash your hair in the morning and need a great scent to get you motivated. I also use it as a refresher between shampooing (now that my hair is longer, I only wash it every other day or so) because it really makes your scalp feel fresh and tingly. If you like fresh, herbal scented products, and have normal, oily, or fine, limp hair, this is a great product for you.

Aveda Hang Straight Blowdrying Lotion
My hair isn't quite curly, but it has waves that wind in all directions, and thus can get pretty crazy. Usually, I just use a diffuser, and let it go wavy, but sometimes, I like to blow dry it smooth and straight for a more finished look.

Hang Straight is the best de-frizzer and straightener I've tried thus far. A nickel-sized dollop is perfect for my chin-length hair. It isn't greasy at all, yet it coats your hair, and straightens beautifully, while it gives a wonderful shine and bounce. It also has a fresh, clean smell that isn't overpowering. I love Hang straight so much, I'm planning on trying its sister product for curly hair in the near future to see if it will enhance my waves when I "choose to diffuse." I'll keep you posted on what I find out.

You can purchase Aveda products in their concept salons, as well as Aveda Lifestyle Stores in malls nationwide.

And with that, I'll bring this bevy of reviews to an end. My sincerest wishes to all of you for a joyous holiday season, and a prosperous and happy 2002!

- report by Lisa of the Cosmetic Connection Product Panel


 

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