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report by Elaine of the Cosmetic Connection Product Panel
Since 1976, Paris-based Decleor has specialized in an extensive line of face and body care, as well as limited cosmetics offerings, with an emphasis on aromatherapy (treatments with fragrant essential oils) and phytotherapy (healing troubled skin with plant extracts).
Because I have oily/acne-prone skin, the Decleor products I use are mostly those formulated for my skin type. But Decleor also offers firming products to help reduce the appearance of cellulite all over the body, special products formulated for men, some just for the legs, and many for bathtime.
Luckily, I have been able to get samples of almost everything I've used before shelling out the bucks to buy. If you're not sure if this skincare line is right for you, I recommend you try to get samples first, as many of the products are expensive for the small amount you get. Personally, I think they're worth the cost, but until you know if it works for you, I'd err on the side of caution. Put aside your fears, take a deep breath, approach the sales associate and ask away!
Here's the products I use or have used and what I thought about them:
Phytopeel (Face Peel Mask)
This is definitely one of the weirdest face masks I've ever tried. It was used once on me at the spa, and I got a sample of it to take home, but I think you've got to have a lot of patience to use it regularly. It contains extracts of elder, mallow and burdock, as well as lavender, marjoram, thyme and lemon oils, all of which help remove dead cells to give the skin a smoother texture. That's all well and good, but here's the trick: To take off those dead skin cells 1-3X a week, you smooth this mask on in a semi-thick layer, wait for it to dry and remove it by rubbing your face as little shreds of it fall on the floor. Or on the sink. Or wherever you happen to be standing. Weird! It's like when glue dries on your fingers and you have to rub it off to remove it. Same idea. I suppose it works well enough to take off skin cells, but after only one try I lost patience with the mess and was glad I hadn't bought it.
Autobronzant Lumiere (Self-Tanning Cream SPF 4)
After having such good luck with so many Decleor products, I gave their self-tanner a shot. I've tried high-end ones, low-end ones and everything in between, but nothing gave me a true tan color or blended inconspicuously ... until this one. The Decleor self-tanner really produces a great reddish-brown color, thanks to the henna extract in it. And it didn't give me the obvious "lines of demarcation" like many other self-tanners do -- it blends so well that it just kind of fades into non-tanned areas of the face/body. No buildup around the hairline or eyebrows either. For those who like a self-tanner with SPF, this has SPF 4 and UVA/UVB filters. But be warned: It will come off on white or light-colored clothing/bedsheets if you don't wait long enough for it to dry or if you sweat profusely. I got a little discoloration on my feet while wearing strappy shoes and some color rubbed off on my pale-blue sweater tank top after a wild night of dancing in a steamy, crowded club.
Purete Exfoliant (Exfoliating Face Gel)
This extremely gentle facial exfoliant is one of the products in Decleor's new skin-whitening line, which is only available at a few salons and stores and in Nordstrom. The purete exfoliant has the tiniest, finest grains I've ever felt in a facial scrub, and they're suspended in a brown gel-creme base that's rich in sweet almond oil (but didn't make me break out). Some people may find this exfoliant ineffective, but that's probably because so many of us are used to harsh scrubs when we should be using gentle exfoliants like this. It's applied to a dry face and rubbed in gently in circular motions, then water is gradually added until it forms a milky emulsion and finally is rinsed off, leaving the face exfoliated but not tight, dry or irritated. I love this and use it often, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a gentle scrub.
Soin Regulateur (Regulating Gel)
This light, cool, frighteningly reddish-orange gel really helps regulate the skin's oil production. Have no fear, the gel is colorless when applied! Its ingredients include zinc sulfate, vitamin A and lemongrass. I found that it worked best when used together with the Crème Regulatrice (see below); the two products together do the best job of controlling oil that I've ever seen, and after using up my samples, I bought both full-size products.
This cream, when used together with the Soin Regulateur, does a great job of controlling oil production all day long. It isn't drying at all, but I don't think it would be the best moisturizer for people with drier skins. Its ingredients also include zinc sulfate and vitamin A, as well as a maize derivative to soothe sensitive skin and extract of iris germanica, which has astringent properties.
Decleor products are available at a number of large department stores (including Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue) and at many spas worldwide. You can reach Decleor's U.S. headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut by phone at 1-800-722-2219 or by fax at (203) 967-2680. Decleor SA, the company's Paris headquarters, may be reached by phone at 1-42-12-73-73 or by fax at 1-42-12-02-41.