L'Astuce Beauté Feed

Getting back to the things I love...

Pregnancy did amazing things for my skin. It changed drastically and seemed to not age. I completely stopped using all skin care products because they didn't work. Sadly after 9 months of not being used I had to throw out my beloved skin care products. They had expired. Miraculously, my skin maintained itself between pregnancies. I picked up a basic 1-2-3 skin care regime from Clinique and that was it. Now Alixe is almost two years old and I've noticed I've got a new face now. I see a few spots on my face that were once cute little freckles that have now turned to more suspiciously (slightly) dark spots. I also noticed more wrinkles around the eyes though those don't bother me much I have noticed that I am getting pimples again! Ack.

So, I'm back to using products again. I was honestly hesitant at first. It felt liberating to stop using all the product. Don't get me wrong, I love taking care of my skin but it was just that. The fact that I stopped using the skin care products, I actually stopped taking care of my skin. More often then I'd like to admit I went ot bed without washing my face. Granted I don't wear makeup, I still have Paris city on my face that wasn't washed off until the next morning. So here I am easing myself back into it because the market has changed so much in the last 4 years that I don't know what is the new technology these days.

Surfing around the net I found a few French bloggers talking about Jolie Box. Every month you are sent generous samples of new and up coming products in skin care and body care. The concept interested me immediately and I signed up for my year of Jolie boxes. One box a month for twelve months.

I got my first one today:

My October @jolibox has arrived! What's inside? :)

Already the packaging is amazingly pretty. I love all things pretty so this made a huge impression on me. Everything was delicately wrapped up inside. Upon opening the box I found that this months products were all from Kiehl's. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this brand It's crazy expensive in France but when I go home I always pick up a few comfort products like their lip balm that I love and their body lotion. And guess what goodies I received this month?

Kiehl's products in this month's @joliebox. One if my favorite skincare brands. Love their lip balm for obvious reasons and I'm excited to try the Midnight Recovery Concentrate.

Two of my favorite Kiehl's products! Also one that I am very interested in trying out, Midnight Recovery Concentrate. Included in the Jolie Box is a very large sampling of Kiehl's Amino Acid Shampoo and Ultra Face cream. Two products that I have never tried before.

I'll check back in with my thoughts on these goodies. Looking forward to next month's Jolie Box. †

L'Astuce Beauté: MEN

Yes, men deserve beauty tips, too! They deserve to be as beautiful as us women so I wanted to share with you my hubby's mini regiment. Shhhh... 

My man likes to keep things simple. He doesn't have the patience to keep up a disciplined regiment like I do so, I have set him up with a simple regiment with the help of Clarins, Clinique & Nickel for Men

Wash: Active Face Wash. Got to keep it light and quick, this wash lathers up fast and smells very manly (very important to most men).

Moisturize: Moisture Balm .  Again, keep it simple this is a two in one product, moisturizing and shave soother. Since most guys shave everyday (J does!) they need to pay attention to over irritation and stripping of the natural moisture balance of their skin. 

Exfoliate: A separate exfoliator may be too much for your guy.  I know at first it was tough for J to get used to the idea and he actually didn't appreciate gentle exfoliators. He wanted to feel it working.  His favorite is Clinique's Men's Supply Face Scrub. It's a menthol infused frenzy for your face and just so you know they have the exact same product for women just packaged in the classic Clinique green tube. 

Packaging is everything when it comes to most men. In J's case, the more manly it was the more he was willing to buy it. And that brings us to Nickel for men...

It was time for J to start using an eye cream.  I started him out slowly on the products, product overdose can turn one off completely... so one day while we were at Sephora, J declares that he'd like to buy an eye cream!  Imagine my excitement of hearing my man utter those words. Hee hee! So, head over to the men's section and I let him wander. I keep my watchful eye on him just in case he has any questions.  He approached Clarins, as he knows this brand but then looks to me and says he would like to try something new and asks me to suggest. I pointed to Shiseido Men but he was rather not interested in their very minimal white packaging and immediately headed over to Nickel for men.  <-- click this link! He really loved their packaging and I have to admit it's absolutely genius.  And really enjoy their products. On a whim, a girlfriend of my suggested their eye contour lift creme, so I tried it(though it was for men) and really loved it.  And that's the product that J went home with. He only needs a basic cream for the eyes, no major anti-aging cream just yet... no need to bring out the big guns yet. :)

So, if you're trying to get your guys started on something, lead them by example it worked for this guy.  J is now trying to compete with me and get equal shelf space in the bathroom.  Have I created a monster?

Vanilla Randomness

My favorite activity probably after washing my face would probably be sleeping.  I bought an American ELLE this past weekend (note to readers: Flare is a magazine junkie) and in it I saw an ad for Vanilla flavored Tylonol PM.  I'm reaching out to my state side readers here... what is that all about? Vanilla flavored? Don't you just down a couple pills with a glass of water and you don't really get a chance to taste the pills. Also, they were advertising them as beauty sleep aid. Hmmm... 

L'Astuce Beauté*: Zit, Zap, Gone!


Everyone gets them, yes yes... even me. :) Over the years, I have tried many tricks to zap my zits, so now I'd like the share some of my best remedies.

Of course, we all know that one should not pop a zit. As difficult it is to avoid, it's only doing more harm then good.  As you may think that you are helping it along, you are more than likely prolonging the agony by pushing deeper the nastiness that is a zit.  So, my first advice is to leave it alone! Or see a professional about it.

If you sense that it's ready to go, here are a few sure fire ways to help it moving right along:

1) Green Tea Soak - green tea has natural antioxidants that do your body good on the inside, so why not the outside, too?  Soak a green tea bag in a large bowl of hot water (as if you are making a yourself a tea). Let water cool to lukewarm temperature. Like for a baby, dip your elbow to test the water's temperature.  Depending on your needs, splash your cleansed face with the green tea a few times and rinse with either your Evian atomizer or warm tap water.  Pat dry. Moisturize as needed.  Green tea has a natural oil absorbing effect.  Your skin will feel dry if you do this too often. So, remember that this is only a to be used a cure or from time to time.  And don't forget to moisturize, I suggest Clinique's Moisture Surge ( a staple Flare product).

Variation of the Green Tea soak: Seep a tea bag and let cool until comfortably warm. Pat around trouble areas on your face (avoid eye area). I do this around most my T-zone as I am combination skin and on problem pimples when they do arise.  I've noticed that my skin dries out if i do this for very long, so don't leave the tea bag on skin for too long. Literally pat the area you'd like to treat. Follow up with moisturizer.

2) Mask - I used to be a big fan of the facial mask but as I have entered my late 20's I have noticed that my skin has changed. It's less oily than it was in my teen years and more dry where I used to be comfortable after washing my face.  BUT I am still getting pimples in these areas, so go figure? So, instead of applying a mask all over my face I do mini masks where needed.  My problem areas? Nose: Black heads. Chin: Black heads + pimples. Scalp line: pimples. My mask du jour is Biotherm's BioPur.  It's clay texture helps to soak up excess oil and bring the nastiness of your zit to the surface for fast healing.

3) Treatment Gel - Any treatment gel that has Salicylic acid in is probably a step in the right direction. The Sal acid (Ahhhh, feel like a counter girl again) helps to dry out those nasty whiteheads and blackheads and speed up the healing process.  Your skin will feel dry so this treatment gel should only be used once or twice a day. And if you're like me, you'll carry a tube of your favorite acne treatment gel in your handbag. You never know when you're going to need it! And I can beat down on those pimples while I'm working and no one knows any better. My Coup de Coeur treatment gel: Kiehl's Blue Herbal Spot Treatment.  It has 1.5% of Sal acid that will wipe those pimples right out. Don't believe me, ask her! Anymore than that and you're in for some serious dryness.  Clinique's Acne Solution Night Treatment Gel has 2% sal acid in it and I have to be careful not too parch my face too much. But I save this for when I am having a serious issue with my skin.

Voila!  My favorite and most sucessful treatments.  Give 'em a try and let me know how it goes.

*Beauty Tips

Beauty tips from Flare... mais en francais!

An Anglo blogging in French? Sure it's been done... just not by me.  Frenchies blogging in English, he does it and so many others...  So, the thought had never crossed my mind to blog in French, I mean speaking correctly in French is one thing; writing in French is something completely different! 

But now she's gone and done it...  (and brought me along for the ride!)

So, I present to you:  From Rooster to Donkey - Les anglophones tentent le francais, tetus comme des mules.

De Coq à l'ane or from rooster to donkey means one minute we're talking about Tori Amos, the next minute we're talking about how to wash your face. 

Come and enjoy the babble (en francais!) of five Anglo chicks living it up in the hexagon*!

*A term used by the French referring to  La France :)

In a previous life...

The recent photos of my beauty products was a recent fluck up by Flickr.  I had been testing out the blogging directly from my mobile, had just washed my face and was in my bathroom; so I decided to snap a few pics to see if it worked.  Well, at that moment it did not work. Two weeks later, there they were and influx of emails about my obsession from my blogosphere friends got my reminiscing about the past. 

In my previous life, I worked in cosmetics.  To be specific I worked for Clinique which is a owned by Estee Lauder.  I had various jobs during my nearly 5 year stint with Clinique. Jobs ranging from being a counter girl, to managing my own counter, being a business manager, becoming an educational leader and lastly working in event promotion.

But this love affair with skin care products started nearly 17 years ago when my Ga Ga raced me into Macy's to visit the clinique counter after the sight of my first blemish.    I grace my grandmother with all the honor that it was she who created this beauty product maniac I am today. 

So, in honor of my obsession (that many of you out there share!) I will start Les Astuces Beauté de Flare

Today, we start out with face washing.

Skin obsessed  I wash my face twice a day. Morning & night. I use the same products on average for 3 months and then switch to give my skin a break.  This is something I do. Not recommended for all, I will explain more about this later. The best tool I have found for washing your face is your hands. Clean hands, of course.  Your hands are not too abrasive and don't house bacteria like your sponges and washcloths often do.  Unless you're prepared to use a new washcloth/sponge  everyday, I suggest using your hands.

Find yourself a makeup remover, as most of you probably wear make up, taking off make up and washing your facial skin are two completely different things.  Most face washes are too gentle to take off your daily makeup. They are gentle because they are made to clean your skin only.

I use Clinique's Take the day off. I only wear eye makeup: Concealer, eyeshadow, mascara and occasionally eye liner. Minimalism at it's best!

Once the makeup is removed I use Shu Uemura's High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil as my skin cleanser. This is a dual makeup remover & cleanser but I have my old habits of taking make up off first and then cleaning skin that I just can't break.  I spritz my face with my Evian atomizer (inexpensive in France) and slather on a pump's worth of cleansing oil. I massage into my face for less than a minute and rinse with lukewarm water.  I am careful not to wet my face too much so that the oil doesn't become too milky.  After rinsing thoroughly, I spritz my face with Shu Uemura's Deep Seawater in Sage to calm my cheeks as they are fairly sensitive and become red easily (hence, no need for blush). Sage has natural calming elements. I tissue off the excess off my eye lids and let the rest soak in for about 2 minutes.

After wards, I apply my eye cream.  For the moment, I am using StriVectin-D. I like to experiment with products (after some research) and I thought I'd give this one a try. I have noticed a difference in lightness around my eyes but I have few lines around my eyes to see a big difference.  I like the texture of this eye cream because I am very dry around my eyes probably due to years of wearing contact lenses and the saline solution. And finally, I follow up with Sisley's Emulsion Ecologique. During the day, I use the emulsion ecologique alone and at night I add Clinique's Total Turnaround

For the moment, these are my staple products. In my previous pictures, I have other products shown and those are used on trouble days. I have products for the random blemishes that occur or products for recovery after a night of partying or hanging out at a friend's smokey apartment.  If I've been outside all day and my skin is parched, there are masques that I use to calm my skin and quench its thirst. And the list goes on... I hope to touch on other things in later installments of Les Astuces Beauté de Flare.

So....What's your face regiment?

I'm curious to know... probably one of my favorite subjects to discuss.... so who will start?  Men are welcome too... sometime, I'll tell you how J got interested in skin care. :)