I Switched to Paula’s Choice Skincare for 3 Weeks. Here’s What Happened.

paulas choice skincare

Like you, I believe that it’s better to invest in great skincare, than to spend a ton of money on cosmetics to cover things up. Over the years though, I’ve learned that you don’t necessarily have to spend a ton of money to have great skin. A few great basics, paired with some active treatment products will do the job, so I turned my skin over to Paula’s Choice for a few weeks and journaled about the changes that took place — here’s what happened!

I’ve known Paula Begoun to be a heralded industry expert for ages, but recently I realized she was the brains behind so many great products some of my friends are raving about. Paula is a cosmetics ingredient expert to the nth degree, and she’s a strong advocate for consumers burned by products in the past (often marketed with outrageous promises of extreme, seemingly overnight results). I’m sure you’ve seen her book, Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me. She takes this stuff very seriously, meticulously breaking down products by the efficacy of their ingredients like no one else I’ve ever known. It’s serious business to Paula, so I had to try her products to see what would best treat one of my biggest skincare concerns.

Paulas choice earth sourced perfectly natural hydralight shine free daily mineral complex

A few days before my product test drive began, I had a brief telephone consultation with one of Paula’s skin experts to help find out which products would be best for me. (I highly recommend doing this! There’s no additional fee, and you can even ask product questions on via live chat on the Paula’s Choice website.) Since I wanted to see quick results for this trial, I narrowed it down to just one specific targeted skincare concern. I told her that my pores easily become congested, and I’d like to whip those blackheads into shape — STAT! I also told her that my skin doesn’t love Vitamin C, and tends to become irritated by it. Taking this into consideration, she came back to me with a regimen that was 100% ready to fight that battle!

Let’s start off with the daily basics…

Earth Sourced Perfectly Natural Cleansing Gel — I used this both am/pm for gentle cleansing. It’s a gel cleanser, that lathers nicely without stripping my skin. Since I went pretty gentle on the cleanser, I was able to really amp up the active ingredients my treatment products without experiencing irritation. (You’ll see those in the second part below!)  [Read more…]

When in SoCal — Customized Facials at Beauty Collection

Beauty Collection Facials

A good facial is hard to find, and finding one in Los Angeles that’s not exorbitantly priced, is like finding a diamond in the rough. Tucked inside Beauty Collection in West Hollywood however, I found a great facial, and more!

I met with Carol Behrens, their skincare therapist on a sunny afternoon, and we discussed what my skincare woes are. I’m currently fitting in the “all of the above” category; I want a facial that focuses on preventative aging, adds hydration, decongests pores, and brightens my skin. It’s kind of a tall order to fit in a single session, but with Carol’s magic hands—I was sure we could make it happen.  [Read more…]

Perricone MD — No Makeup Skincare — No Lipstick Lipstick & No Blush Blush Review, Photos, Swatches

perricone MD No Blush No Lipstick

Perricone MD No Makeup Makeup

Sometimes I don’t want to wear makeup at all, but at the same time I want to look polished and not like I rolled out of bed. I’ve figured out a few tricks by now, but these new products from Perricone MD make it so easy. Their No Makeup Skincare line at Sephora is already a big hit, and I recently tried two of the products out to see if they live up to the hype. Let’s go!

Perricone MD No Lipstick Lipstick

No Lipstick Lipstick

First up is No Lipstick Lipstick. It really isn’t a lipstick (hence No Lipstick)—but it’s actually an anti-aging lip treatment that lends a glossy, smooth finish in a shade that’s like your lips—but better. I find it to be very nourishing and hydrating, and it almost feels like a lip butter. Perricone MD is known for their luxe skincare products, so it’s only natural that they’d include some of those innovative ingredients in their color cosmetic offerings.

It’s a solid-to-serum product, and contains hyaluronic acid and tocotrienols to add suppleness. It also contains a non-chemical mineral-based SPF 15 to protect against UVA and UVB rays, so you know I’m happy about that. (Sunscreen for LIFE!)   [Read more…]

Exclusive Q&A with Neutrogena’s Gabrielle Union on Her Beauty Routine & UV Protection

gabrielle union neutrogena

This morning, I was FLOORED when I read this on cnn.com:

Until today, the surgeon general has never said, ‘UV radiation is bad for you; protect your skin’, acting Surgeon General Dr. Boris Lushniak said.

I have to wonder how many lives would have been saved if UV protection were taken as seriously during other decades, as it’s taken today. [Read more…]

What’s New: la prairie Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Collection


For the past 10 days, I’ve been trying out the latest skincare offerings from la prairie, the Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Collection. Its ingredients are totally unlike anything else I’ve tried. The Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal lineup features unique properties, derived the most resilient plants in Swiss Alps. As you can imagine, winters there are very harsh, basically killing vegetation. But there among the freeze, two timeless little plants, and one type of algae brave the elements.

The exclusive Ice Crystal Complex…

  • Swiss Snow Algae — hibernates through winter, emerging as the snow begins to melt
  • Soldanella Alpina — creates its own energy to surface through the ice, revealing a beautiful bloom
  • Purple Saxifrage — cocoons itself with ice crystals to protect its delicate buds against the environmental conditions

Through their extensive research, la prairie has taken the DNA elements from these lone survivors, and integrated them into their newest skincare products to help revitalize environmentally stressed skin, which also delivers a boost in the anti-aging department. If the complex can help skin in brutal environments, I can only imagine what it could do when faced with assault from the free radicals in my everyday life.

I created a skincare cocktail out of the two products, Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Cream, and the Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Dry Oil. While I probably could have gotten away with using just one of the products (both were very hydrating and luxe), I eventually ended up adding a drop of the Dry Oil into a dab of the cream in the palm of my hand, then applied it directly on my skin for incredible, moisture-packed results. 10 days so far hasn’t been enough for me to truly see any anti-aging benefits, but I can say that I love the luxurious texture, which instantly perked up my parched skin all day and all night.

Using this regimen really feels like such a lavish treat—I’ve always felt that la prairie products are presented in of the most extravagant ways. With gorgeous packaging, distinct fragrances, and richness to the touch, all the way to their premium ingredients. The Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Collection is a fusion of luxury and science, so I think I’ll keep indulging my way through my samples, enjoying them while I can!

From la prairie…

Miles high in the Swiss Alps, in a world of sheer ice crystals, beauty transcends time. Here, two seemingly fragile plants and one tiny algae survive and thrive in the harshest setting on earth, developing strategies to outwit the environment. It’s only fitting then that la prairie, with a heritage deeply rooted in Switzerland, harnessed these extreme-survivalist secrets into the Cellular Swiss Ice Crystal Collection. The discovery combines some of the most sophisticated survivalist secrets.

la prairie logo

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by laboratories la prairie via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of laboratories la prairie.

Holiday Gifting: Affordable Luxury

holiday gifting affordable luxury

Spending a lot of money and the holidays kind of go together like chocolate and peanut butter—it may sound deliciously indulgent, but it’s not necessarily good for you (or your wallet, in this case). Check out these luxe (yet still pretty affordable) gifting ideas that seem like they could cost more than they really do.

ponds iluminage skin rejuvenatingpillowcase with copper oxide

Iluminage Skin Rejuvenating Pillowcase

Sleep on a well-known essential mineral that’s known to play an important role in skin cell regeneration, every night! This breakthrough innovation releases copper ions to the skin’s surface when in contact with the copper oxide fibers woven into the Iluminage Skin Rejuvenating Pillowcase. Clinically proven (in an independent double-blind placebo controlled study) to help reduce fine lines in as little as four weeks, enjoy getting your beauty sleep on this luxuriously smooth, eco-friendly copper fiber thread that’s soft and silky to the touch. It sort of feels like sleeping on silk, which is great at saving a hairstyle for a second day of wear, and reducing hair breakage! This intelligent textile that took over 10 years of research to develop is worth a look. bergdorfgoodman.com, neimanmarcus.com—$60 [Read more…]

5 Easy Steps for Healthy Winter Skin


Many people think that just because summer is long gone, they can slack off in the sunscreen department. This is simply not true! Often, the winter rays are even worse for skin, especially once they reflect off of the snow and onto your face. But how do you keep yourself protected since it’s not exactly necessary to apply thick, waterproof sunscreens this season?

nivea cold weather must-haves

Not only can UV rays be stronger in the winter, but your skin can be at its driest and most sensitive. Here are a few tips that will not only make your skin more comfortable this season, but will also keep it protected.

  • Regularly exfoliate — Gentle, regular exfoliation is great for removing the itchiest of dry skin. It will also help your skincare products work more effectively. Your moisturizers can do their best work!
  • Take shorter, less hot showers — I’ll be the first one to admit I love a steaming, hot shower when it’s cold, but it also strips the skin of essential moisture, leaving your skin even dryer than it already was. Turn down the temperature, and take a shorter shower or bath.
  • Multi-task with your daytime moisturizers — For daytime, try switching up your routine with Eucerin’s Daily Protection line of moisturizers for face and body. These gentle, effective formulas offer both daily broad-spectrum UV protection and deep hydration, with a lightweight feel. Great for even those with sensitive skin, I recommend Eucerin’s  Moisturizing Face Lotion with SPF 30, and Daily Protection Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 15 for the body.
  • Avoid dry, chapped lips — Just like you’re multi-tasking with your skincare products, do the same for your lips. Try NIVEA’s “A Kiss of” line of lipcare products. They offer UV protection and comforting moisture to even the driest of lips. My favorites—A Kiss of Cherry with SPF 10, and A Kiss of Strawberry with SPF 10. They also offer a slight tint to the lips, bonus!
  • Switch to more mild soaps — Detergents and soaps can strip your skin of essential oils. Change your laundry detergent and body washes to sensitive skin formulas!

What are some of your winter skincare tips?

This post is in partnership with NIVEA. All opinions are those of the author, and do not reflect those of the brand.

Meet Meaningful Beauty, Cindy Crawford

cindy crawfordIt’s not everyday that you get to chat with your favorite supermodel—and recently, that’s just what I did! For decades, Cindy Crawford has been killing it on runways and magazine covers, but for the past few years; she’s been rocking the skincare world with her revolutionary anti-aging line, Meaningful Beauty.

In collaboration with renowned anti-aging specialist, Dr. Jean-Louis Sebagh, they’ve been able to harness the power of a proprietary melon complex, incorporating it into a comprehensive collection of affordable skincare treatments to address the concerns of women (and men), everywhere!

Here, we chat about the secrets behind Meaningful Beauty, get the scoop on Cindy’s favorite beauty product indulgences, and how she’s just like us!

meaninful beauty products

Amber: Obviously, you’ve had a long career in the beauty world, and you’ve always been in the spotlight. Somehow, you’ve managed to age so gracefully and are as beautiful today as you were over 20 years ago! When was the first time you realized that you had to make skincare a main priority? Was it something that came naturally to you many years ago, or was it something you had an expert express the importance of it to you one day?  

Cindy: I grew up using baby oil when I would lay out in my backyard with a reflecting blanket, so skincare was definitely something I had to learn over the years. On one of my first jobs for Bazaar, we were shooting in Mexico and I got a little too much sun the first day. The next day, the makeup artist reprimanded me because it made her job harder. I think that was the beginning of me being proactive about my skin. About 10 year later, that same makeup artist told me about Dr. Sebagh. He’s been my skincare guru ever since and has helped me manage my skin as I get older.  [Read more…]

I’m Making Meaningful Changes, with Meaningful Beauty!

meaningful beauty 1

So far, 2013 has been a year of changes for me. I’ve made it my personal mission to better myself in a lot of areas, and I’m amazed by how many things I’m able to address by just taking better care of myself physically and emotionally. Obviously, it was a natural fit for me when I was asked to take part in a 21-day Meaningful Beauty challenge. The goal? Eliminate one bad skincare habit, and gain a few positive lifestyle habits for a happier, healthy me. Sounds easy enough, right?

meaningful beauty 2

A few of the Meaningful Beauty products I’m already fond of!

They say it takes 21 days to break a bad habit, and I have a few habits I should have done something about breaking a long time ago! One of them—not being as diligent with sunscreen as I should be. While I’ve always been religious about applying it to my face—I can’t say the same for my neck, decollete, and backs of my hands. With L.A. traffic being absolutely horrible, and it taking more than twice the amount of time it should really take to get anywhere, I’ve exposed my skin to UVAs and UVBs through my car windows in those areas by leaving them unprotected. So for now, I’m working on breaking that bad skincare habit by applying Meaningful Beauty’s Skin Brightening Decollete & Neck Treatment with SPF 15 every morning, no matter what. If it’s good enough for Cindy Crawford, it’s good enough for me! Have you seen her lately? She looks as incredible today as she did 20 years ago. [Read more…]