Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Hydroquinone was used in skin care to temporarily lighten pigmentations such as freckles, pregnancy mask and age spots by inhibiting the process that leads to discoloration. In the United States, the FDA estimated there were at least 65 companies selling more than 200 products containing hydroquinone in an array of over-the-counter products (up to 2% strength) and prescriptions (up to 4%). The most common preparation was a 3% topical solution generally applied twice a day on non irritated skin (eye and mouth areas must be avoided).

Hydroquinone has been shrouded in controversy since 2001 when it was banned in Europe following clinical tests showing it was the cause of leukemia in mice when used in large doses for a long period of time. Japan, Australia followed suit with the United States and Canada placing serious restrictions on the use of hydroquinone in cosmetics. There are now many other options to lightening pigmentation that are effective without the side effects or aggression of this compound. Some may take a little longer to show results, but there is no question they are much safer. Stay tuned . . .

Friday, March 25, 2011


The European Union (EU) in Europe and the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the United States are the two agencies responsible for examining and ensuring the safety of products that reach the consumer. The FDA is set up to protect consumers from products, drugs, medical devices, cosmetics and dietary supplements that are deemed unsafe or ineffective. The European Union, "establishes safety, health and environmental protocols" for its citizens. A CE mark on a European product indicates that a product is certified and has met the EU's safety standards.

Europe has always been the leader in the beauty industry. That said, they have stricter laws and regulations on the safety of product ingredients (and procedures) that pose a potential risk of toxicity, and as a result, have banished more beauty products than the U.S.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Fair Trade Certified is a designation that helps consumers recognize products from farms that provide fair labor, fair wages, fair prices, and fair business practices. Many ingredients in cosmetics are now described as being 'sourced' from Fair Trade practices.

Any other benefits of Fair Trade? Plenty. Forced child labor is absolutely prohibited. Farms with organic certification are paid a premium for their products. Farmers are additionally rewarded for protecting the health of the farm workers by offering healthcare, financial incentives, women's leadership initiatives, and scholarship programs. They are also heavily encouraged to invest in their community by conforming to correct environmental standards, water conservation, and environmental education that supports healthier ecosystems.

This is a four-way-win program. The farmers win by being able to receive fair market prices with the ability to compete in the global marketplace; the workers win by being able to work in a safe environment, receive fair wages and develop a future; the consumers win by having access to better products; and, the world wins by more farms utilizing environmentally sustainable practices and doing their best to protect our planet from becoming a dead zone as a result of chemicals and toxins that translate to poison and waste. To quote one very controversial celebrity . . . Winning!

Monday, March 21, 2011


A professional skin analysis conducted by an esthetician accurately confirms an individual's skin type by taking a thorough look at the characteristics of the skin. Not only is the skin examined, but a wide range of background questions are asked relating to health, ethnic background, age, diet, habits, life style, stress levels, medication history, skin care habits, and the ingestion of any food supplements or vitamins.

Most estheticians will incorporate valuable tools during the assessment, such as magnifying lamps and/or woods lamps, that enable underlying conditions of the skin to be seen.These conditions will include the hydration levels and types of dehydration, the evenness or unevenness of the micro-circulation, circulatory irregularities, the texture, oxygenation, tonus, pigmentation levels, anomalies, blemishes, comedones, degradation levels, and thickness or thinness of the skin. Obviously, the results offer a much clearer picture of the needs of the skin.

An esthetician is able to analyze the information and recommend a results-oriented skin care program designed specifically for your skin type. Is it worth it? You bet! A professional skin analysis is one investment that will pay enormous dividends all the way down the road. Highly recommended.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Time to get back to the basics. A good skin care routine begins with a proper skin analysis. Here are some of the tell-tale signs of three skin types. Which one are you?
• the texture of your skin is even
• there is an even coloration to your skin
• the pores are visible but not overly enlarged
• the skin looks slightly moist
• T-zone is a little oilier than the rest of the face

• your pores are invisible
• your skin lacks suppleness
• your skin feels tight
• your skin reacts quickly to abuse like weather, harsh products, or lack of attention (likes TLC)
• if you have come through that special passage to post menopause you may see your pores, but the skin may be dry as post menopausal skin does not produce as much sebum as it used to
• dry skin is usually thinner skin
• the texture is usually quite fine unless the skin is dehydrated as well
• dry skin can be beautiful if cared for, but ages quickly if neglected

• your pores are enlarged
• your skin has a sheen to it (even with out a cream) and feels oily, or is dull and feels waxy
• it is prone to comedones (blackheads) or blemishes
• the texture is usually uneven due to enlarged pores and thickening Stratum Corneum

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Learning to read cosmetic labels makes you a savvy consumer. Right? It places the power of educated decision making in your hands enabling you to choose what is best for you, your skin, and your health. True, but unless you are a chemist, or scientist, understanding an ingredient list is quite another matter. The names of ingredients are, for the most part, incomprehensible. Reality Check! Consumers are not expected to interpret the information correctly, in fact, it is highly doubtful that much time is really spent reading the fine print. What does sell cosmetic products is good old fashioned advertising as opposed to a labored dissection of the contents. A skin care cream is sold on a promise, . . . a promise for a specific result. It is the triple 'P' principle in marketing cosmetics. People Purchase Promises. Anti-aging products are manufactured around the needs of their mid-life consumers and the most reputable skin care companies will deliver the best product they have in their arsenal against aging.

For the record, here is an abridged version on how to read an ingredient list. Each product will have an army of ingredients incorporated into the product to fulfill its divine purpose. The cosmetic label will host the ingredients listed in a descending order of concentration. The first five ingredients are the most important and will offer a fairly good preview of the overall product. Vitamin extracts, essential oils, and AHAs may appear in the middle of the list because they are efficient in smaller concentrations. Fragrances and preservatives should be on the tail end of things - below 1%. Once you see a fragrance listed, which is usually at the 1% concentration level, anything after is generally in the preservative family. What is interesting is that a "trade secret" does not have to be listed, and that secret will be the coup-de-gras of the cream. Hmmm . . .

So, do yourself a favor and put away your cosmetic dictionaries and leave that to the professionals. Our best advice is to ask your esthetician to explain the product and its ingredients to you and make sure the product you choose is the correct choice for your skin type and your specific needs. Keep checking back with us and we will do our best to help you become an informed consumer, . . . without all the fuss.

Monday, March 14, 2011


Allure Magazine 20th Anniversary Sweepstakes
Enter by April 30th
Grand Prize: One winner will receive a trip for two to New York, including airfare and two nights at the Trump SoHo New York; a full-day spa package at The Spa at Trump and dinner for two; salon services and products from Privé; a selection of Dior makeup, skin care, and fragrances chosen by Sponsor; $1,000 Macy's gift card; a selection of Kate Somerville skin care.
Approximate Retail Value $10,651.00

Friday, March 11, 2011


According to a recent report, the massage industry is worth in excess of $16 to $20 billion . . . and it continues to grow despite the downturn in the economy. In fact, more than 250,000 massage therapists provide more than 140 billion massages annually in the United States. The key to success is highlighted by the fact that 85% of those surveyed agree that massage therapy is conducive to a person's overall health and wellness. Not surprisingly, spas are where consumers are heading to get their massages, and with this type of interest, employment for massage therapists is on the rise and increasing faster than most occupations.

An interesting study published in 2010 followed a number of healthy adults who received one of two types of touch treatments. After the treatments, blood tests confirmed that those who received a Swedish Massage utilizing 'moderate pressure' exhibited signs of a decrease in stress hormones, an increase in white blood cells, and a positive boost to the immune system. The participants who received a 'light touch' treatment exhibited higher levels of oxytocin, a 'love' hormone associated with the ability to maintain a bond with others and create healthy interpersonal relationships. It is clear that massage helps the healing process while reducing stress and bringing about feelings of being a more centered and calm individual.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

In Honour of International Woman's Day 2011

Women have strengths that amaze men.
They bear hardships and they carry burdens,
but they hold happiness, love and joy.
They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy and laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in.
They stand up to injustice.
They don't take 'no' for an answer when they believe there is a better solution.
They go without so their family can have.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel and cheer when their friends get awards.
They are happy when they hear about a birth or a wedding.
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member, yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left.
They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you to show how much they care about you.
The heart of a woman is what makes the world keep turning.
They bring joy, hope and love.
They have the compassion and ideas.
They give moral support to their family and friends.
Women have vital things to say and everything to give.
They are the true meaning of BEAUTY.

Monday, March 7, 2011


GM Collin's Phyto Stem Cell + Serum is an advanced anti-aging serum formulated to harness harmful free radicals, brighten the skin, and produce a soft, smooth texture to the complexion.

The product utilizes an alliance of 3 powerful innovative sciences designed to quickly diminish and delay visible signs of aging. The Malus Domestica Fruit Cell Culture Extract (swiss apple extract) increases the longevity of the skin cells; Orsirtine™ promotes cell survival, increases skin repair and protection; and Renovage® (Teprenone) opposes telomere shortening, allows the cells to destress, and offers a DNA repair effect. The formula also boasts a powerhouse of anti-aging peptides (Argireline, Matrixyl 3000, Hexapeptide 9), algae extract, and Kombuchka (black tea fermentation) for anti-glycation activity while helping to soothe and enhance the skin's natural radiance and color.

According to the reviews, the 5 years in Research and Development was time well spent.

Friday, March 4, 2011


What could be lovelier than a vacation in the Turks and Caicos and a stay at the Parrot Cay COMO Shambhala Retreat? Why . . . winning it, of course.
GRAND PRIZE: One winner will receive a three night trip for two including airfare, three nights stay in a garden room, champagne upon arrival, a Guinot signature Hydradermie Facial for two, a guided snorkeling lesson, private yoga class and healthy meals during your stay. Approximate Retail Value $5,500.00
Enter by March 31st @

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sweet Tooth . . . Aging Face

Did you know that sugar accelerates the skin's aging process? Say what? Yup, sugar's bad-boy reputation stands steady. Not only does it pack on the pounds and cause tooth decay, sugar is also being blamed for aging skin. Scientists have confirmed that a rise in blood sugar causes inflammation at the cellular level resulting in prematurely aging skin. This is a result of a natural process where sugar in the bloodstream sticks to proteins to form new damaging molecules called, advanced glycation end products, aka AGEs, (how appropriate). The more these proteins multiply, the more damage done. Their primary target is the destruction of the other good-guy proteins, collagen and elastin, the proteins responsible for youthful skin. Once collagen is damaged it becomes dry and brittle and much more vulnerable to sun damage. After the age of 35, the more sugar introduced to the bloodsteam, the more AGEs are created. Simply put . . . more sugar, more wrinkles.

Can this aging process be turned around? Fortunately, it is never too late. The body has an amazing ability to repair itself if given the proper tools. New collagen can be built up by minimizing sugar intake, supplementing the diet with at least 1 mg of Vitamins B1 And B6 and a chewable Vitamin C per day (powerful AGE inhibitors), wearing sunscreen every day, eating more fibre and anti-oxdiant rich foods (fruits, nuts, vegetables, green tea), and drinking lots of water.

Long story short, . . . watch your sugar intake because all it will do is make you feel moody, act hyper and add age to your appearance. The truth of it is . . . sugar is definitely a sticky business.