Beauty over Forty

Keeping up appearances when age is just a number



Brand New from Shiseido: Synchro Skin Glow, Luminizing Fluid Foundation

Unusual for me, again I benefit from a product launch hitting the shelves in Europe. I am a huge fan of Shiseido Synchro Skin Foundation, it is long-wearing and due to some super special technology I can not explain, combined with it being oil free it does not travel during the day, meaning it does not gather in fine lines and wrinkles. As it is matte, and I love glow; I was very excited to hear that Shiseido would be launching a luminous version. called: Synchro Skin Glow, Luminizing Fluid Foundation. It arrived about two weeks ago and here is my resume of testing it.

DSC00366First impressions: The foundation comes in the same packaging as the normal synchro skin, except that the glass bottle is transparent rather than frosted. This means that straight away you can gauge the shade and see that the fluid has got a glow to it. The foundation has SPF 20.

User Experience: The foundation is not quite as liquid as synchro skin, though it is still quite fluid. This makes it a little easier to apply. It does apply easily, blends out really well with an immediate glowy finish that looks as the name says luminous, not oily. Coverage is medium and it can be built to full cover.

Despite the luminizing finish it does not accentuate texture of wrinkles. But it does not hide them as well as it’s matte sister product. Set with a light dusting of powder, during the day it faded gradually, it did not have full day staying power and on areas of the face most touched it was gone by late afternoon. But by early evening the face was generally still well covered, but by 10pm there were only traces left. It did not travel into fine lines or wrinkles. Slight word of warning – it does appear to have microglitter in it, but this is only visible when standing in direct sunlight. I like it, but not everyone will.

It can last all day with a setting spray such as Urban Decay All Nighter.

Would I buy it again? Yes, it’s sister product has better staying power, but the luminous finish of Synchro Skin Glow is just beautiful! I see both products as complementing themselves, the normal Synchro Skin for more traditional type of make up days and the Skin Glow for the more natural glowing look.


Brand New: Move over Tarte Tape Shape – Nars Soft Matte is taking over!

Not too long ago I was singing the praises for Tarte’s Tape Shape, the best concealer I had ever encountered, particularly for fine lines and wrinkles! You can read of my enthusiasm here.

As you may be aware, when you have fine lines and wrinkles and use concealer on the undereye, the biggest problem is seeping into fine lines. This is not creasing, creasing is when the product folds over on itself, often through separation or its propensity to want to stick together. Creasing can be battled by setting with powder, creep into fine lines can also be battled with setting with powder, but will only minimize the issue and not eradicate it, plus powder generally accentuates the visibility of fine lines. The cause of these problems is the lipid levels in the product, over time they cause the product to wander and settle into fine lines. Against this backdrop; the advent of Tarte Tape Shape was a godsend, rather than wandering, creeping, creasing , or requiring setting, the most likely problem would actually be cracking around fine lines as the day wore on. But this is minimal and it is an amazing product. Which is why I am so surprised that it should lose its crown as best concealer in the world so quickly!

Cue the arrival of Nars Soft Matte. The full name of the product is: Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer Anti-Cernes Correcteur Velours Mat. I obtained the product via the Sephora France one day 25% off sale (woo hoo!). Beauty Lovers in Germany can get it via Lookfantastic, elsewhere in the world it is a little more straightforward to get, here it is at Sephora in the US.

I got the shade Light 2,5 “Créme Brulée” which to my luck is pretty much a perfect shade match!. I am looking to use this for natural looking coverage rather than highlighting and it is perhaps a half shade lighter than my skin. Having no physical direct access to the products I am pretty impressed with my shade finding abilities, go me!

The main ingredient in this concealer is silicone (if your skin is sensitive to silicone, this might not be for you). This makes it very very different to all other concealers I have ever tried. The pigmentation is incredibly intense. If you put your finger in the pot and lightly pick up, the product picks up smoothly and applies on the skin almost like a stamp, no extra product like you would have if you picked up a cream concealer. This is totally different to anything I have ever seen. As such the pigment is even and is easily patted out using the finger with no unnecessary excess and definitely no creasing. The same applies to brush application, making this the most easiest to work with. On the skin it has high cover, blending imperceptibly into the skin, looking like there is nothing there. Don’t believe me? Check out these pictures:

The wear down is even during the day. I experienced, no creasing, no seeping into fine lines, no cracking, nothing negative whatsoever. It stayed in place all day and fading gracefully into the evening.

All in all; an absolutely fabulous product and the better alternative to Shape Tape.

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Eye care – improved dupe of “my” recipe is a new Product @ Sephora

Remember when I wrote this?

Fixing my Under Eyes with Squalane and super cheap Eye Cream

and this?

Squalane – hip new skincare

When I wrote both those posts I had no idea that there was a company actually working on an eye cream that advertises squalane as a main active ingredient, so I was very surprised to find this under the new arrivals at Sephora. I take this as confirmation of my skincare instincts (also driven by experience see here).

In the product description on the Sephora website Biossance claims the following:

“Research results:

biossanceIn a use test panel of 32 volunteers age 27 to 66 using the product twice a day for 21 days:
– 98% of women said that skin on the upper eye lid appears firmer
– 98% of women said that skin under the eye is smoother
– 97% of women said that the puffiness under their eye is visibly reduced
– 97% of women said that eye area appears more awake
– 97% of women said that signs of fatigue around the eye area are visibly reduced
– 97% of women said that eye area appears more rejuvenated
– 97% of women said that eye area appears younger looking
– 96% of women said that dark circles under the eye area are visibly reduced”

I can well believe these statements, reading on further, it seems to have really good other active ingredients. If you want the benefits of squalane along with main other effective ingredients, anti oxidant vitamin c and caffeine against puffiness this may be the product for you. Retailing at 54 USD for half an ounce, it is a little pricey. But it does also contain other good ingredients as well.

A cheaper, but nice effective version might be “my” cheap hyaluronic acid eye cream with the squalane and adding The Ordinary’s Caffeine Solution.

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Brand New: Giorgio Armani’s Power Fabric – First Impressions

As a friend of the flawless finish, I will always try any foundation that comes on the market claiming not to sink into fine lines, and Giorgio Armani’s Power Fabric is a brand new product, boasting long-wear, high coverage with an SPF of 25. It is supposed to be ultra-light with a velvet matte finish.

power-fabricI got the foundation from a high-end department store in Berlin, it retailed at 50 Euros for 30 ml (1 Oz). Unpacking, first impressions: the cardboard box that the bottle comes in is a little flimsy and ripped in transporting it from the store, just from moving in my handbag. The bottle itself is beautiful, the pump is sturdy and well made. It has a very luxurious but minimalist look to it.

I was matched to shade 2, which is too light, I probably would have been better off with a shade down. I had been used to a somewhat sun-bronzed look from my bb cream, so was a little startled by the ghostly white look, the shade ran a little yellow and I am now certain that a shade down would have done better.

Skin preparation: I made sure my skin was very well moisturized (given that this has a matte finish) and used Becca Backlight Priming Filter as my primer.

dsc00212User experience: I used 1 pump and immediately noticed that this was very heavy cover, giving a slightly cakey look. It looked pretty good given the shade was wrong. I beat the shade issues, but using bronzer and Laura Mercier Candlelight Finishing powder.

It wore down a little unflattering and grabbed onto any areas that might be a little dry accentuating them. After a full day’s wear it was showing texture I did not possess and greatly accentuated dry areas. True to its promise, it did not slip into any fine lines. It did not provide coverage for the full day though and was worn down by around 4pm. 

broken up, catching onto dry patches and showing texture I don’t own (end of day)

All in all, it was a little disappointing. If I ignore the shade match issue (which is not the product), the wear was not as long as expected and the grabbing onto dry areas was very unfortunate. If I were to come up with 5 classes of foundation, with my Shiseido Synchro Skin being the best in Class 5, I would place this in class 3 for dry skin. I will be trying it again though with Ilamasqua Hydrating Primer and with Guerlain L’Or to see if we can get it to work better.

Users with Oily to Normal skin without dry patches should not experience the issues I did and will most likely enjoy it, particularly appreciating it not creeping into any lines.

Would I repurchase? Probably not, My Shiseido Synchro Skin is already way better, but I will continue to try and make it work.

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Fixing my Under Eyes with Squalane and super cheap Eye Cream

I test a lot of “anti-aging” products, including some that are super innovative and also widely hyped. Sometimes my skin does not react well to them. Cue this picture of a very very unhappy me, taken on the 8th January having tested an innovative under eye lifting serum which achieved the exact opposite!

8th January

My under eyes ballooned and developed crepey skin at the same time. Truly horrendous to have aged 20 years in the course of 10 minutes! The puffiness and crepiness would not go away. After two days I had to do something.  I ignored all my expensive eye creams as the skin under my eyes was incredibly sensitive and everything burned. Instead I turned to squalane which cost me 13 Euros and a cheap drugstore under eye cream for around 8 Euros. Soon the healing skin started peeling and by the 14th January my under eye area was completely restored and looked better than before the whole incident.

14th January

sebamed-2All during this period I applied a thin layer of squalane at night and then covered it with “sebamed” Eye Cream, for the day I would use the eye cream alone. I am so pleased with the results that I will continue using this combination. As you may have inferred from my blog I have no issues at all in paying a lot of money for skincare, and I never expected this product combination to have such good results. I only bought the eye cream because I was desperate, at the drugstore and it was for sensitive eyes. Sebamed contains a Hyaluronic Acid complex, Peptides and Q10. It is dermatologically and optician tested and also suitable for contact lense wearers. It retails in Germany for 7,90 Euros in the drugstore (it is a German brand), unfortunately it retails at 30,99 USD in the US for the same volume (0,5 Oz, 15ml) Would I pay 31 USD for it if I had to? Probably yes, it hands down beats all my Kiehls, Shiseido, Rexaline and other high end eye creams.

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Using electricity and ions against wrinkles

I tested Wrinkle MD which uses electricity that is ionic pulses to push hyaluronic acid & peptides into the skin. The manufacturers boast that 95%of women in clinical tests experienced:”• Significant reduction in wrinkle appearance in 2—4 weeks depending upon severity of wrinkles • Immediately refreshed, deeply hydrated skin • Immediate skin smoothing.” I belong to the 95%.

I first saw the product tested by Angie of Hot & Flashy. Here is her review.

I ordered my set from Amazon and quickly set about testing it. The set comes with 5 sets of under eye pads which can not be re-used, the activator (electric) pod that fuels it and comes with a two year warranty (you don’t need to change the battery) and a hyaluronic acid serum called Youth Serum HA (1 Oz, 30ml). It cost me 197,30 Euros. The contents of this set are sufficient for 1 month, where you start the first week using two sets of pads and then progress with one treatment per week.

User experience: You attach the pod to the pads which are quite sticky and place them under your eyes, tuck the wires behind your ears and go about your business. For 30 minutes the pods sends ionic pulses to push the hyaluronic acid deep into the skin. During this a little green light flashes. When the light stops flashing the treatment is over and you remove the pads. Removing the pads is pretty straightforward, no sticky tugging at the skin.During the treatment you might feel a very slight tingling, but it is so slight I reckon most people will not feel anything at all.

Does it work? Yes! Check out my before and after pics, even though they are not 100% in focus you can see the difference with fine lines existing on the before photo and having totally disappeared on the second, plus the under eye area is plumped.

To keep using you would need to buy new patches, they come in a set of 8 which is enough for 2 months and currently cost 170.95  Euros.

Is it worth it? Well it works, but its expensive, more than botox, but botox can go wrong. So in my eyes, for the state of my skin preferable and I will keep using it.

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6 week Test of “Better than Botox” Strivectin SD Advanced

7 weeks ago I was skulking around my local TK Maxx and there wasn’t really any gems to be found. The only thing in the beauty section that caught my eye was Strivectin SD Advanced Intensive Concentrate for Wrinkles & Stretch Marks. I had over a number of weeks noticed Strivectin products popping up every now and again in the display. The packaging looked very clinical, but never really called out to me. I pulled out my phone and googled the recommended retail price for comparison. Turns out it’s 82 Euros, the tube in front of we was offered at 22 Euro’s so off in my basket it wandered.

I read the package instructions and started using it twice a day, dumping my entire previous skincare regime to stick by the instructions. I am a person whose skin so far has never been broken out by a product.I was really surprised when the following morning a had three new zits on my face, the cystic version and I saw blackheads and blocked pores amassing. The first time I had seen a blackhead on my skin in over 10 years. I thought maybe it was just a fluke and maybe that time of the month (which it wasn’t) and endeavored to keep using it. The next two days the state of my skin continued, a few more cystic spots and many many blocked pores. Then and only then did I start getting suspicious. I googled it and also turned to my reader in WordPress. What I found was quite astonishing.

anti-wrinkle_sd_advanced_intensive_concentrate_for_wrinkles_4-5oz_1It turned out that on product launch in 2003 the company really had claimed that it was better than botox, something they were able to claim as as a cosmetic, they were not subject to clinical trials.The internet is awash with negative reviews, obviously if you raise expectations that high and are then perceived not to deliver, there will be disappointed consumers. Many reviews also stated that the product had broken them out. The product has been reformulated multiple times, but these reviews continue regardless.This is where I have my beef with Strivectin, the active Vitamin B3 derivative should not be the issue here. Having searched through the ingredients, apart from shea butter I can’t really find anything that would be responsible for such extreme pore blockage. I do find a really good list of ingredients, the only perhaps unnecessary one being dimethicone and perfume.

I did find one review where someone was very pleased with the product and had been using it for five years. That review struck a chord with me. I kind of see 5 years with that one product as a lost opportunity to try something better.

The breakouts were not the only thing that bothered me. Despite all the moisturizing agents in the cream, my skin felt super dry during use, to the level of painful, yet a had a “greasy” layer over it, which will be the ingredients meant to enhance the skin barrier. I noticed no change to my fine lines or wrinkles. In a nutshell this product is not for me. 6 weeks of a painful face are enough and I doubt that acne scars will do anything to make my complexion look younger. However….

strivectin-eyesToday I found their Eye Concentrate for Wrinkles at TK Maxx selling for 24.99 Euros, it usually retails for 83,45 Euros, so in the basket that landed.

Well I have already tested that today and the skin under my eyes was not altogether happy. But hey, I have never ever broken out there. Let’s see!

Me = sucker? Yep

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