Tag Archives: caudalie

beauty buzz: current faves

I’ve been so happy with my skincare drill these days, I thought it was high time I shared. Those Mario Badescu goods are amazing – not a hint of my formerly desert-dry skin, and such a great price point. The 3Lab Aqua BB is actual magic, as is the Darphin eye cream. And the MD Solar Science is the only retinol that doesn’t irritate my skin.
Shop them all right here (yes, there’s a quick email signup involved, but then you won’t forget what you were excited to try…plus, you can always click “unsubscribe” right away).

{via Instagram}

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weekend forecast

weekend-forecast, via shopping's my cardio

Where on earth did this week go, friends? Is November scaring the pants off you with its apparent insistence on hurtling toward December at a breakneck pace? Or is that just me? Mental note: must find a way to take a deep breath and have a cocktail before my brain scrambles entirely. Besides drinking myself into a semi-relaxed state, here’s what I’ll be up to this weekend: Read on

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beauty buzz: everything you ever wanted to know about serums

First, let me confess a bias: I love serums. Love them. I think they’re the secret to amazing skin. (Well, that and strategic exfoliation, but that’s another story for another time.) But whenever I start exclaiming to one woman or another about the wonders of a great serum, they look at me blankly. “Serum?”, they say. “What’s the point?”

The point, friends, is this: Serums are a magic potion of super-potent, maximum-strength ingredients that are delivered to your skin in their purest form. No moisturizers, SPFs or tint to muck up the medicine. It goes on when your face is its cleanest state – post-wash at night, post-shower in the morning – so your skin is ready and able to drink up every last drop of goodness your serum has to offer. Though it can be an investment (some are upwards of $200), you only use 3-5 drops at a time, so a bottle lasts a long time.

A great serum might not have overnight-wonder potential. It might work slowly over weeks, or even months. But the net result, without fail, is happier, healthier, prettier, glow-ier skin. If you’re not using one, read on…I’ll convince you. If you are…I’m betting I’ll get you to switch brands.

If you really want to confuse yourself, stop into Sephora sometime and tell them you want a serum. There are literally hundreds of options, and even a serum evangelist like me doesn’t fully understand what they all do. But I’m nothing if not curious. So, I sent out a note to all of my favorite brands – and some brands I knew nothing about – and told them I wanted to test them all. And friends, I’ve been testing more than 40 different serums for the last two months (head over to Instagram @shoppingsmycardio if you want to see my bathroom counter as proof). I tried the good, the bad, and the meh, and was left with the greatest. Let me introduce the SMC Serum Dream Team:

Obviously, you’re not going out and buying all 7 of these. So, how about a handy-dandy serum decoder?

If your skin needs:

  • Moisture: Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst Quenching Serum ($48). I’ve been a longtime devotee of Caudalie’s Radiance Serum for so long, I should own stock. Their magic is based on grapeseeds, and you know how healthy those are. This newest version is designed to give your skin a serious does of moisture, which is perfect for this time of year. My parched skin was much happier almost instantly.
  • Fine line reduction: Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Supplement ($67). You know I love Bobbi for cosmetics, but this serum still wowed me with its instant line reduction power. It gives the effect of candlelight, or a soft-focus lens, blurring out those fine lines until they’re barely visible. And it has more of that grape extract I love, so there’s moisture coming your way as well.
  • Redness reduction: Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Dark Spot Solution ($50). For me, the jury’s still out on whether dark spot reduction is really possible. But redness reduction and a general evening of skin tone definitely is, and this Kiehl’s serum does it…without added brighteners to trick your eye.
  • All of the above: Nude Skincare Cellular Renewal Serum ($82). One of my “wow” tests, Nude’s serum delivered on brightness, moisture, line reduction and skin tone evening. Some of it was smoke-and-mirrors (ie, temporary brighteners and tighteners), since the effect was so immediate, but some mornings, smoke and mirrors are just fine. I’m optimistic that the lasting effects will match up. {Be aware: multi-tasking is great, but the more things a serum can do, the less intense the results will be in any one area. If you have one specific goal, like redness-reducing, you’ll get more bang-for-your-buck by choosing a one-trick serum than a multi-tasker like this.}
  • Prevention/Repair: SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic ($152). One of these days, I want to do an interview with the skin experts at SkinCeuticals. I don’t always understand what everything does (ah, science), but I never, ever doubt that their products mean business. C E Ferulic delivers Vitamins C & E directly to your skin, and essentially works to amp up your skin’s resistance to UV damage (by 8x, they say). It also stimulates collagen production, so your skin will get more supple and toned, and show less fine lines over time. This one’s a slow-actor, but if you’re looking for serious medicine, it’s the one.
  • Healthy glow: Peter Thomas Roth Laser-Free Resurfacer ($75). PTR always delivers great products, but when I pumped this out of the bottle and got a blood-red serum, I was skeptical (and a little weirded out). The red comes from the dragon’s blood complex they use (no, really). Don’t fear, the color dissipates, and you’re left with a fantastically warm, glowy complexion, like you spent a morning out on the plantation sipping sweet tea. {PS: If you’re curious about this one, this set from Nordstrom is an amazing deal – full-size serum, plus their unbelievable gel moisturizer and an exfoliator for the price of the serum. Do it.}
  • Bargain Find: Juice Beauty Antioxidant Serum ($45). Now mind you, that’s $45 for two ounces…most of these brands only give you one. I’ve been a Juice Beauty fan since before I was a blogger – it’s just good, clean stuff that makes your skin happy. This serum feels amazing on your skin, and is so packed with healthy, organic ingredients, you just know it’s doing good things. Try it for a month, and see if your skin isn’t happier. I dare you.

So, tell me…have I made a serum convert out of you? I’m dying to hear! Can I answer any questions?

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get gifting: the glamazon

for the friend who can’t even be lured away from sephora by the promise of a venti pumpkin spice latte, here’s a list of goodies sure to make their holiday extra special.  i absolutely can’t pick a favorite from this run-down…i’ve tried several times.  but i will say that each and every one of these would be perfect for absolutely any skin tone or type, so you’re guaranteed a virtually error-proof holiday.  especially if you manage to track down that la mer illumating powder. or the bobbi brown eye palette. or the kiehls creme de corps, or the jo malone bath oils, or….oh, there i go.  best to get one of each, i think.  you know, just in case.

Creme De Corps 500ml 0006

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famous favorites

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left to right, from top: la mer illuminating powder (impossible to find online, but still in stores), $95; kiehls creme de corps limited edition by jeff koons, $45; duwop venom gloss candy box, $25; origins famous favorites, $59.50; bobbi brown day to night eye palette, $45; caudalie vinotherapie my spa escape, $34; jo malone bath oil collection, $85; ojon shine & protect winter collection, $39.

{FTC disclaimer: some product samples were provided to help me compile this guide, but as usual, there’s no pay-for-play here.}

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friday finds

first up, i’ve been meaning to tell you about this fabulous new moisturizer from caudalie.  my love for the brand is well-documented, so it should come as no surprise that their latest product addition has quickly made it to the top of my must-have list.  when fall hits, my skin instant rebels and invokes a dramatic change in its moisture demands.   their new quenching sorbet-creme is every bit as decadent as it sounds, and is making my traumatized skin extremely happy this season.

i can be relied upon to fall hard for absolutely anything that lynn from satsuma press sends to my inbox, and her newest additions are no exception.  these new birds of a feather cards ($14/4)  are so simple and sweet, they’d be the perfect all-occasion card to have on hand.  they’d also, come to think of it, make an excellent denomination-free holiday card, which i’m always in the market for.  and then there’s her 2011 letterpress calendar ($40) – every year, i lust after one of these, and every year i move too slow and they sell out.  i’m determined to get my order in in time this year!


speaking of beautiful things that landed in my inbox this week, a dear friend let me know about this amazing clustered crystal necklace from emma stine ($99), and i literally gasped when i opened the photo.  i can’t help but envision this dazzler getting heavy-duty use over the holidays, of course, but i’m also picturing it living quite nicely with a men’s tank and a boyfriend blazer, or a slouchy grey tee and a slim cargo pant.  i know statement necklaces are on their way out, but this one seems entirely stylish enough to survive the trend.

emma stine

and last but not least, i can’t leave for the weekend without letting you all know that today marks the first day of gilt‘s third anniversary celebration!  to kick it off, they’re hosting a seriously impressive giveaway of a trip to NYC for you and two friends, including dinner at le cirque, massages, tickets to the met opera, and your own personal stylist, who will pull together an amazing ensemble for you and your buds from the treasure troves at gilt HQ.  so, yeah, well worth entering.  oh, and they’re also offering free shipping monday and tuesday on orders over $50…so that’s exciting too.

have a great weekend, everyone!

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beauty buzz: summer skin saviors

all month, i’ve been trying to trick my brain into thinking it’s summer.  i’ve heard tell the sun is shining everywhere else in the world, though the rain and clouds in portland just. won’t. stop.  thankfully, i have some new goodies to give me the illusion we’re in the midst of a heat wave.

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first up is skyn iceland, whose products are destined to be my summer staples.  all of their products have this tingly cooling sensation when you use them, so they instantly whisk sweat, humidity and the general yuck of even the worst heat wave from your mind.

i’ve fallen hard for their glacial cleansing cloths ($15), which are just vastly superior to anything like it i’ve ever tried (and i’ve tried a few).  they remove positively everything from my face at the end of the day, with no residue, no breakouts, and just the right amount of exfoliation. they’re the only thing i’ve found that actually makes a good stand-in for my favorite cleanser** when i’m just too tired to think about the whole before-bed-face-cleansing ordeal.

but my favorite right now has to be their mineral sunscreen + moisturizer, antidote ($55).  i can’t even explain how much i love this…the cooling thing that it does to your skin is straight out of a noxzema commercial (and lasts for hours), and it leaves just the right amount of moisture on my poor tired face in the morning.  plus, the mineral-based sunscreen means it lasts longer and doesn’t have any of the chemicals that sometimes scare me…but magically, it doesn’t leave that weird white residue that most mineral sunscreens do.  it’s just genius, and if we ever get an actual heat wave here in stumptown, you’re going to have to fight me for the last bottle at sephora.

**i starred that because i was planning to link to my review of caudalie’s instant foaming cleanser ($26), which i love beyond all reason.  but after a quick search, i realized i may have actually not told you about this amazing stuff?  is it possible?  honestly, what can i say about cleanser…but this one is seriously the absolute, hands-down best of the best. it leaves my face utterly bare and utterly happy – no dryness, no oil, just clean.  it’s one of about three products i use that can inspire actual panic if i run out.  get it.

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for the facial fanatic

one of my first rules of beauty gifting is to hand out products that i’ve come to love during the year, or that are perennial favorites of mine.  after all, if i love it, my friends should too…right?

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i’m a long-devoted fan of caudalie, particularly their vinoperfect radiance serum, which i’m pretty sure contains actual magical properties.  i’m constantly raving about it to friends, family, strangers on the street…you get the idea.  so, for the women i know that get as excited as i do about really amazing skin products, the caudalie vinoperfect radiance set is a no-brainer.  the set includes a full-size bottle of the serum plus mini bottles of their day cream with spf, night cream and a great mask, all for $79 at sephora (which is what you’d ordinarily pay for the serum alone, incidentally).

which brings me to a nonsequitor about the beauty gift set:  keep in mind that nearly every holiday set out there involves some serious savings over the products sold separately during the rest of the year. so, while you’re out shopping for your near and dear, remember to check out the sets that include your daily regimen – you’re bound to find a steal or two.  ’tis the season to stock up!

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beauty buzz: caudalie friends & family


i spend, well, a lot of time trying beauty products.  so, i have many “favorite” products – basically anything that makes the cut on my bathroom counter for longer than a week.  but there aren’t very many companies whose products i adore across the board – in fact, i could easily count them on one hand.  but i think it’s time to add a new company to the list.

the science behind caudalie is that all of their products contain nutrients extracted from grape seeds.  the details involve big words like polyphenols, but i figure, since wine is supposed to prevent heart disease, and grapeseed oil is even better for you than olive oil, that’s as far into the chemistry side as i need to delve (plus, i once promised my chem professor that i’d never, ever do anything science-related).  

i’ve spent the bulk of my time with their vinoperfect line, which is designed to make your skin bright, radiant and generally happy.  and it does just that, beautifully.  i have yet to meet a caudalie product that i don’t love – and, in fact, their radiance serum is maybe my favorite serum of all time, which is saying something (i’m a pretty serious serum addict).  and their foaming cleanser is literally the most gentle cleanser i’ve ever tried – it’s like cetaphil, but with better results.

so!  there are a couple of budget-friendly ways to give caudalie a go this week.  first, this fab set at sephora is deeply discounted, and a great way to pick up a sample of everything i love best (except the cleanser):  day cream, night cream, serum and beauty elixir,.  (oh yeah, and use code NATURALBAG to get a mega-sample goodie bag at sephora this week.)  or, if you’d prefer to pick and choose your goodies, the quite wonderful people at caudalie just offered to extend their friends & family discount to you all….but it’s ending today, so shop fast!  just use code VINESALE at checkout, and you’ll score 20% off caudalie’s site plus free shipping!

(oh, and ps…the brand is set to launch a new line called “1st wrinkle” in april – i admit i haven’t spent much time with it yet, but i’m pretty freaking excited about it.)

Sephora.com, Inc.

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