Tag Archives: peter thomas roth

beauty buzz: the best sunscreens for your summer fun

It’s that time, friends: brace yourselves for my annual lecture about sunscreen. I know, it’s all very “After-School Special” of me. But truly, more than anything else you can do for yourself, SPF will save you from nearly everything that’s awful about aging. Wrinkles, rosacea, age spots, moles, freckles, you name it. Not to mention skin cancer, which is no laughing matter. And while I firmly, no exceptions, believe it’s a 365-days-a-year necessity, summer is when I get particularly militant about the whole thing. Because hey, we’re not kids any more. And that dewy complexion that used to bounce back from any kind of abuse needs a bit more TLC than it used to.

The problem is that sunscreen isn’t sexy. It doesn’t always smell great, can cause breakouts (or rashes on those of us with sensitive skin), and no one ever applies enough. Some formulas are greasy, some are chalky, and it takes ages of trial and error to find one to love. But friends, I’m here for you. I’ve done the trial-and-error, I’ve suffered the breakouts, and I’m here to deliver a list of my all-time favorites, the best sunscreens for summer. 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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beauty buzz: the perfect summer sunscreen

I know, I know…where are my Friday Finds? I have been a neglectful web shopper this week, friends. Well, that’s not true…but I’ve been buying boring house things like vacuums and new drinking glasses. Riveting fare, no? I did raid the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, as predicted…and for those of you that are non-cardholders, you’ll be getting your shop on this morning as well! Be sure to check out my picks…I bought a few too many of them (that little short-sleeved Halogen sweater is awesome!), and tell me what you bought! I do love a vicarious shopping spree.

All of that to say…instead of Friday Finds, I have one fantastic new beauty find for you. Sunscreen…I just can’t get enough. But you know, it’s not that fun to apply, particularly to RE-apply ad nauseum when you’re outside all weekend, as every single expert tells us we must. Even the best of sunscreens can get a little greasy and unappealing.

So, how’s this for genius? Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 30 (there are others, but this is my personal fave). It’s a brush that contains a built-in mineral sunscreen!

Keep it in your purse, it doesn’t leak, and when you need a touch-up, you get it seamlessly! No oily sheen, no chalky white residue, and no breakouts. With an added bonus of covering up that “glow” you’ve developed on your afternoon hike.

It’s officially made it to permanent-resident status in my makeup bag, supplanting my pretty Chanel compact. Pretty is great and all, but I can’t resist a multi-tasker this awesome. It also happens to travel perfectly…no liquids to declare!

Nab one soon…I had to check three online stores to find you one that wasn’t sold out. And have a fantastic weekend, everyone…see you back here on Monday!


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