September 2015 archive

Skin Care: Retinols, AHAs, BHAs, and Sun Exposure

Dr. Barry Resnik

Dr. Barry Resnik

Tons of information, scientifically proven or not, exists on the Internet about the compatibility of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) with over-the-counter (OTC) retinols. So I jumped at the chance to interview Dr Barry Resnik, medical director of the Resnik Skin Institute, about the topic. Retinol is a molecule that gets absorbed into the skin, where it is converted to tretinoin, or retinoic acid, by enzymes called retinal dehydrogenase and retinol dehydrogenase, Resnik told me.

Retinol is a less potent derivative of vitamin A than retinoids, such as retinoic acid (brand names: Renova, Retin-A, Retin-A Micro), that require a prescription. A weaker concentration of active ingredient means that retinol-containing products are generally less irritating that the prescription stuff, and they are sold OTC. “The consensus is retinol is less irritating than retinoic acid, making it a better medicine to mix with other molecules,” said Resnik, who is also the dermatologist to MLB’s Miami Marlins. If a product is less irritating, you can use it in the morning and the evening.

“Every time I tell patients they can use retinol in the morning, I always warn them that everyone has a different reaction to things, everyone has their own story,” Resnik said. If you use retinol in the morning, and your skin gets irritated, then try using it at night.

When I asked Resnik about why people believe you should only use retinol at night, he said he thought it was because people lump retinol in with prescription retinoids. He said he has acne patients who use adapalene (Differin), another prescription retinoid, and he has them use it in the morning. He tells them to wear sunscreen. He also tells patients who are trying to rejuvenate their skin they need to wear sunscreen and use common sense.

“For the most part, the stuff we started off with, Retin-A being the prototype, caused irritation,” Resnik said. It contained a higher percentage of retinoic acid. Derms gave their patients a blanket statement to the effect of, “This will cause irritation, so use it at night.” It is not so much a myth, as a generalization intended to cover the most people, said Resnik.

And should you use AHAs or BHAs with an OTC retinol? According to this post on, no. AHAs and BHAs are just that: acids. Retinal and retinol dehydrogenase function best at a higher, more neutral pH.

But when I asked Resnik about this, he told me in an email, “I don’t think it matters that much, as most products on the market are made to be tolerable by the largest number of people. This makes everything more ‘neutral.’ ” I’d still avoid mixing AHAs or BHAs with retinols, though. I use AHAs with vitamin C in the morning and retinol at night.

You may have also heard that retinol and retinoids make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Well, they do. And they don’t. Think about it this way. You are chemically thinning the dead, outer layer of skin, and at the same time, retinol and retinoic acid promote the production of new collagen, Resnik said. You are thickening the live, inner layer of skin.

All of this renewal comes with a price: your skin is now more sensitive. If you walk out in the sun unprotected, you’ll be more likely to burn. As Resnik eloquently put it, “Why do you want to go through the effort, cost, and sometimes downtime to make your skin look better, only to go out in the sun and beat on it again?”

So retinol does make you sun sensitive, but by a secondary mechanism, not by a primary mechanism. You are not allergic to the sun, which is what Resnik says he hears a lot. Retinol makes your skin look better, and this rejuvenated skin is more sensitive to sun exposure. “Our goal is to make skin look younger and to keep it looking that way in a positive and doable fashion,” said Resnik.

Have you ever used an OTC retinol during the day, or following use of AHAs or BHAs? Tell me about your experience in the comments!

Fabulous Links of the Week

Gorgeous scarves for sale today at the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival

Gorgeous scarves for sale today at the Hoboken Arts and Music Festival

A roundup of the best red lipsticks ever, foundation application tips, a how-to for nominee Taraji P. Henson’s Emmy makeup look, a fresher take on fall makeup, nail guru Deborah Lippmann’s skin and makeup routine, fall’s newest skin care trend, and skin care products to get you glowing in this week’s Fabulous Links.

Anyone can wear red lipstick! Here are a few to try. I like M.A.C.’s Ruby Woo and Chile Red from Trestique. [Into the Gloss]

Don’t let your foundation age you. [Prevention]

Taraji P. Henson’s fierce Emmy makeup did Cookie Lyon proud. And it’s all L’Oreal! [Allure]

Ditch the wine-colored lips and smudgy, smoky eyes this fall. A fresh-faced look is timeless. [goop]

Nail polish queen Deborah Lippmann shares her beauty faves. And who knew she could sing? [Into the Gloss]

Skin Owl just released it’s new facial steam. Perfect for pampering yourself on a crisp fall Sunday! [Well + Good]

Editors at Charlotte’s Book picked their top 5 glow-boosting products. [Charlotte’s Book]

Happy Sunday! xoxo

Product Review: Jouer, Becca, Charlotte Tilbury, and NYX Luminizers


I became obsessed with luminizers this summer after I saw a post on Into the Gloss. Luminizers are great for giving you a glow when you layer them under your makeup. And they don’t give you a heavy, overly “madeup” look, either. You put them on, apply foundation if you want, and you’re out the door. Luminizers keep your summer glow going into fall, and they’ll give your skin a little glow for those holiday parties filling up your dance card. Party season will be here before you know it.

I tried Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint with Broad Spectrum SPF 20 in Pearl, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Moonstone, Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow Primer, and NYX Cosmetics Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator in Sunbeam.* I can honestly say I loved all of them, except the NYX.

Not that the NYX Born to Glow Liquid Illuminator was a bad product. It was fine. I tried this one because i wanted to feature a less expensive option, too. The other products had a sheer, flesh tone tint. This one was more pale pink, almost like a highlighter that you would apply on your cheekbones, on the bridge of your nose, and above your Cupid’s bow. I probably should have gone for the one in Gleam, a golden peach.

Otherwise, the Charlotte Tilbury, Jouer, and Becca luminizers were great. They felt light, even in the brutal humidity of a NYC August, and they gave me a dewy glow that stayed put. And I love that you can play with these. You can mix it with an untinted moisturizer, or apply it before foundation. It depends on what look you are going for or how much coverage you need that day. And the Jouer has SPF 20 in it, which is a bonus.

Other luminizers to try include Burberry’s Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base and Becca’s new Backlight Priming Filter. If you are on a budget, L’Oreal’s True Match Lumi Liquid Glow Illuminator in Golden could work.

Have you tried any luminizing products lately? What ones are your faves? Let me know in the comments!

You can buy Burberry, Jouer, and Charlotte Tilbury online at Nordstrom. Becca is available at Sephora. NYX and L’Oreal are available at Ulta.

*I bought all of the luminizers. Opinions are my own.

Fabulous Links of the Week

White pumpkins at the local market. Because fall.

White pumpkins at the local market. Because fall.

Massage exercises for your face; a vegan hair care line with pretty birds on the bottles; a great pic of almost-40 Kate Winslet (she joins the club October 5); an ancient beauty practice I bet you’ve never heard of; a review of a cult snail slime cream, and backstage beauty tips from NYFW in this week’s Fabulous Links.

I need to start doing these exercises ASAP! I love that you use your own skin care regimen. No need to buy anything! [Refinery 29]

How great are the exotic birds on these bottles from the vegan hair care line by celeb stylist Tara Smith?! [Well + Good]

How gorgeous does Kate Winslet look here? She turns the big 4-0 Oct. 5. It looks good on you, Kate! [Glamour]

Jade rolling your face looks so relaxing! I may have to pop for one of the roller things. [Well + Good]

Apparently Mizon Korean snail slime cream really works! [Charlotte’s Book]

Here’s a roundup of beauty tips from backstage at NYFW, courtesy of an editor at The Cut. [The Cut]

Happy Emmy watching! Go Taraji!! xoxo

p.s. A guy who liked my photo of white pumpkins (seen above) on Instagram was the lead dancer in Amy Schumer’s “Girl You Don’t Need Makeup” video! The video won a Creative Arts Emmy, BTW!

Makeup: NYFW SS16

Shop girls and their clients at Mansur Gavriel SS16

Shop girls and their clients at Mansur Gavriel SS16

Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week just ended. The #NYFW and #SS16 hashtags were all over social media and slideshows were posted all over the Internet. My favorite makeup looks from the runway were retro-inspired, with a nod to the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Badgley Mischka

The MAC color chart for Badgley Mischka SS16

The MAC color chart for Badgley Mischka SS16

For Badgley Mischka, makeup artist Tom Pecheux created what he told WWD was a “young, but very rich look,” inspired by 50s-era socialites in Argentina. Instead of blush, Pecheux applied M.A.C. Cream Colour Base in Crevasse below the cheekbones for a sculpting effect and a cream highlighter on top of the cheekbones for a glow. He swept a pink-and-gold flecked shadow over the lids.

To create a classic red lip, Pecheux mixed Rich and Restless and To Matte With Love. I love a timeless, French It Girl red lip! M.A.C.’s Ruby Woo and Russian Red are cult faves.

Mansur Gavriel

NARS Director of Global Artistry James Boehmer described the Mansur Gavriel show as taking place in the accessories department of a high-end store, done in pastel hues and complete with “shop girls” and “clients.” Gavriel’s SS16 collections featured textiles from Alexander Girard, a late 50s/early 60s-era interior designer and architect. “To reference the 60s without being too literal, we did chunky ‘Twiggy’ lashes and a fresh blushed look on the clients,” Boehmer said in a press release.

Shop girls at Mansur Gavriel SS16

Shop girls at Mansur Gavriel SS16

The shop girls’ makeup is so Mad Men. To create their look, Boehmer used NARS’s new Audacious mascara and Velvet Lip Liner in El Agua and Audacious lipstick in Dominque.

MIchael Costello

The look at Michael Costello SS16

The look at Michael Costello SS16

For his show, Costello wanted a look inspired by 70s decadence, NARS International Lead Makeup Stylist Uzo said in a press release. The makeup was reminiscent of a pool party at Studio 54. “We loved the idea of a mod icy-pink lip paired with shimmery eyes and soft, illuminated skin,” said Uzo. On the cheeks, she used NARS Illuminator and the Multiple in Copa Cabana (Laguna Illuminator and South Beach Multiple for darker skin tones), and Dual-Intensity Blush in Craving and Jubilation.

On the eyes, she used NARS Dual-Intensity Blush in Adoration and Jubilation (Panic for darker skin tones), and Tarvos Dual-Intensity Eye Shadow. Tarvos will be available next spring, but you can use Duo Eye Shadow in Vent Glace for now.

For the bold lip, Uzo used NARS Larger Than Life Eyeliner in Santa Monica Boulevard and sheer lipstick in Roman Holiday.

Diane von Furstenberg

Who doesn’t think of the 70s and the wrap dress when they think of Diane von Furstenberg? The woman is elegance with a dash of cool personified. The look at her show was inspired by a pre-Raphealite painting of the Goddess Fortuna and the first time Diane wore her hair curly for a night at Studio 54, according to WWD. Lead makeup artist Pat McGrath took her cue from a butterfly wing to create a rich, blue-green aquatic eye. A tip: McGrath wet a flat eye shadow brush with water to give the colors more intensity.

Check out the New York Times slideshow of the DVF SS16 presentation and a how-to for the eye makeup from Allure.

What were your favorite looks from the runways?

Product Review: CoverFX Custom Infusion Drops

CoverFX recently threw a great party to celebrate the launch of its Custom Infusion Drops. The drops contain a vitamin and an essential oil that work synergistically to give you the desired result, Derek Selby, International Director of Artistry and Education for CoverFX, told me on the phone after the event.

You add the drops to your moisturizer to customize and “boost” your skin care, so to speak, said Selby. He went on to explain that, “The idea is to add one to three drops of Custom Cover Drops to your favorite moisturizer or skin care product based on the result you are looking for. You now have a new skincare/foundation product customized to your needs.”

The drops come in four formulations: Calming (vitamin E and chamomile); Hydration (vitamin F and neroli); Antiaging (vitamin A and jasmine); and Radiance (vitamin C and lemongrass). “We think certain formulas will do better at certain times of year, and do better for certain skin types,” said Selby.

For example, the Hydration drops, with vitamin F and neroli, will do well post-holiday in January and February. The Radiance drops will do very well for party season in November and December, and with those who have a lot of hyperpigmentation. They are also very good for tired, post-summer skin. The Calming drops will do great with people who have rosacea or very sensitive skin, especially in very cold weather.

You can use the drops as part of your daytime or nighttime skin care routine. However, “We recommend that if you use the Antiaging drops during the day, you use a high-SPF sunscreen, because they contain retinol and retinyl palmitate, which can make your skin photosensitive,” said Selby.

I have been using the Radiance drops during the day and the Antiaging drops at night, mixed into my DermaE DMAE Firming Moisturizer.* My skin looks bright and fresh, even after a long summer. I have added Custom Infusion Drops to my permanent skin care stash.

And yes, Selby said you can apply the drops directly to your skin. I have been gently patting the vitamin C and lemongrass Radiance drops onto my face, focusing on those areas where the sun hits and I have the most hyperpigmentation.

Before I forget, Selby said he had a scar from a biking accident, and the Calming drops really sped up the healing process. Based on Selby’s advice, I have been applying the Calming drops directly to a nasty toaster oven burn on my left forearm, and it has helped the wound to heal.

You can mix the drops together, too. They are safe for very sensitive skin, Selby said. But if someone has never used retinol, Selby recommends they start with just one drop and work their way up to two or three drops per use.

You can mix the Custom Infusion Drops with anything water-, oil-, or silicone-based. Selby did say the drops will dilute, or “sheer out,” coverage provided by a pigmented product, such as a BB or CC cream or a foundation.

CoverFX Custom Infusion Drops are available at Sephora. Has anyone tried them? And I am not familiar with the CoverFX brand. It seems like great stuff. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

*I received the Custom Infusion Drops in a goody bag from the launch party. Opinions are my own.

Product Review: Simple Skincare, Bioderma, and La Roche-Posay Micellar Waters


You may have heard some buzz about micellar waters lately. I did, too, so I tried tried three: Simple Skincare, Bioderma, and La-Roche-Posay.* Basically, micellar water is a cleanser and toner in one. Micelles are fatty molecules that absorb other fatty molecules, such as the oil on your skin, makeup, and anything else that can clog your pores. A few skin care companies make them.

I liked each micellar water I tried. None of them had a strong scent, if they had any scent at all. (You know me and scent.) You basically put a little on a cotton ball, swipe it over your face, and you are good to go. I’d say of the three, the one from Bioderma felt the heaviest on my skin, almost like a detergent.

But they all worked great, and really got rid of the dirt and grime from humid late summer weather in New York City. When I finished wiping my face, the cotton ball was definitely gray and funky. Eew! And Simple just came out with micellar water cleansing wipes, which make cleaning up easier when you are on the go. They’d be perfect for your gym bag.

One blog I love is called, written by Nicki Zevola. You can check out Nicki’s post on micellar waters here. I want to use up the ones I have, but I’ll definitely check out Nicki’s anti-aging pick, Ren Rosa Centifolia 3-in-1 Cleansing Water, at some point.

You can buy Simple Skincare Cleansing Micellar Water at CVS, Bioderma Micellar Water on Beautyllsh, and La-Roche-Posay at Ulta.

Have you tried micellar water? Let me know which brand, and what you thought of it in the comments.

*I bought the micellar water from Simple Skincare, received the one from Bioderma in a goody bag, and was sent the one from La Roche-Posay for review. Opinions are my own.

Fabulous Links of the Week

Ah, fall at last!

Ah, fall at last!

The K-beauty top 10, the government of South Korea is involved in its booming beauty biz, a cool and cheap Korean skin care trick, red lip tips direct from the NYFW runways, and 45-year-old Taraji P Henson shares life lessons in this week’s Fabulous Links.

Remember my Laneige post? Its sleeping mask made the top 10 K-beauty list from The Cut! [The Cut]

How South Korea’s government supports the country’s valuable beauty industry. [The Cut]

The latest Korean skin care trend? Carbonated water. Who knew? [The Coveteur]

How to do a classic red lip, courtesy of a Maybelline makeup artist at NYFW. [The Cut]

Taraji made the cover of the October issue of Glamour. #longlivetheCookieMonster. [Glamour]

Happy Football Season!! xoxo

Cool sign welcoming #fall at @hobokenblowbar! #beautyblogger #beautifulBlogHer15 #Fabulousforeverblog

A photo posted by Charlotte LoBuono (@clobuono) on

Fabulous Links of the Week

Buh Bye Summer 2015!

Buh Bye Summer 2015!

30 Years of Elle‘s MVBPs (Most Valuable Beauty Products), celeb hair stylist Sally Hershberger’s beauty faves, foods that cause inflammation and (foods that help fight it), and new makeup from & Other Stories and Bliss.

These Elle beauty award winners have stood the test of time. How many have you tried? [Elle]

50-something Sally Hershberger has created iconic styles for many celebs. Here’s her beauty routine. [Into the Gloss]

Bet you didn’t know these foods can cause inflammation, which can lead to skin flare-ups. [Well + Good]

Luckily, these foods can help you fight inflammation. [Charlotte’s Book]

Remember my post about the nail polish by & Other Stories? The brand recently launched makeup! [Allure]

I love Bliss shower gels and body scrubs. Check out their new liquid makeup! [Allure]

Happy long weekend! And happy fall! xoxo