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The best beauty products from around the globe

Monthly Archives : January 2016

European Pharmacy Finds

beauty products while traveling

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Scatter my ashes at a French pharmacy. I know I’m not alone in this sentiment. Team Travel Beauty has gushed about overseas pharmacy staples like Biafine (the dream cream)…we purchased Labello Lip Balm by the CASE before it became readily available stateside…and everyone who’s anyone has a bottle of Bioderma Crealine on her/his #shelfie.

But in all the articles and odes to the beauty stars of European pharmacies, the entire REST of the pharmacy have been all but forgotten…until now. Though I can easily melt my credit card before I even make it past the beauty section of most farmacias, to do so would mean missing out on some true health and wellness treasures. So if you think you’ll be able to practice moderate spending restraint next time you’re in a farmacia, go explore the wonderful world of personal care and wellness products they have. Seems overwhelming? Here are some of my favorite items.

From France: Osma Styptic Pencil

I love my five blade razor. As I’ve shared before, it has allowed me to skip a day (or two) of shaving. Usually, I am able to deftly wield this razor without sustaining injury, but when I’m rushing (always), the dreaded cut can sometimes happen. And if you know, then you know: A multi-blade razor cut ain’t nothin’ to mess with. That’s why I always have one of these on hand. This styptic pencil has astringent properties to curb any bleeding from nicks or cuts. I also use it it to reduce irritation from shaving…and even bad insect bites. This styptic pen is also tres chic: It comes in a travel-friendly crystal tube. Oh la la!

From Germany: Melisana Klosterfrau Melissengeist

Full disclosure: I initially only picked up this “health tonic” because the packaging was so beautiful and intriguing. A stunning cornflower blue box with a simple white drawing…of three nuns. Well, OK! Then, when I saw the Santa Maria Novella-esque bottle inside, I didn’t really care WHAT it didI had to have it. Imagine my delight when the shop girl explained (everything was written in German) that Klosterfrau was started by a nun almost 200 years ago as a line of natural (I’d say organic, but in 1826 that’s all there was!) health remedies. This health tonic, a mixture of mallow, artichoke, hops, arnica, valerian root, mountain pine, plantain and MUCH more, can be mixed with water and drank or applied topically. What does it do? Well, EVERYTHING. It was designed to improve overall well-being: reduce stress, tension, nervousness, restlessness and anxiety and promote healthy sleep. It also eases discomfort  caused by seasonal changes improves the function of the digestive tract, especially indigestion, bloating and flatulence. It’s also a mild way to improve cold/flu symptoms. Applied externally, it supports circulation and is great for sore muscles and muscle tension. This blue box is an absolute must-have for winter cold season.

From India: Monkey Brand Tooth Powder

If “but first, coffee” is your daily battle cry, you need this monkey in your mouth. This organic, ayurvedic tooth powder & whitener, from India’s 100 year old Monkey Brand, is composed of essential oils and herbs mixed in finely-ground wood charcoal. This charcoal is not only a breath purifier, but also an organic bleacha gentle and natural stain-remover. The natural herbs and oils in the powder also promote healthy gums (so important!). Now, one caveat: This stuff is blacker than a stick of Stila Kajal Eye Liner, so know that when you look in the mirror while the powder is on your teeth, it’ll look like, well, you’re brushing your teeth with charcoal. But once you rinse it out, it’s gleam*gleam*gleam.

From Italy: Borotalco Powder

Borotalco has been an Italian home staple for decades. As the proud product of a strict Italian grandma, I can tell you firsthand that Italians do not mess around when it comes to cleanliness. This talc looks beautiful in the bathroom, is genius for sprinkling on linens (great for guest room beds & towels) and sops up sweat like no other. The scent is very unisex and does not overpower. If you buy it in the humonga 500 ml size, it comes in a beautiful tin bottle. Be advised, though: I love this product because the super-fine talc is so easy to put on my body…but that also means my bathroom looks like it’s been hit by a blizzard if I don’t apply it carefully.

From Sweden: Dermatone Coffee Flavored Lip Balm

I love lip balm. I really love lip balm with SPF (sunburnt lips are the WORST, amirite?!). But a lip balm with SPF that’s COFFEE FLAVORED and enriched with ACTUAL CAFFEINE?!?! I’d marry it if I could. An early morning freezing first run ski essential.

From The UK: Bath House Spanish Fig & Nutmeg Deodorant

Powder Fresh. Shower Fresh. Spring Fresh…we get it, deodorant companies. You want us to know you’ll keep our pits “fresh”. What if I told you you could smell fresh while not also smelling like a newborn baby? Enter the sophisticated pit products from UK’s Bath House. These roll-on deodorants are 98% natural and paraben and aluminium free. Technically a “men’s” product, Bath House deodorants are 100% unisexy. If Spanish Fig & Nutmeg is not your thing, other delicious options include Bergamot Amber.

Tried any of these? What are your wellness favorites from overseas? Let us know in the comments!

By: Claire McCormack, Twitter & Instagram

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Anti-Aging Treatment Recommendations from M.B. York

MB York Anti-Aging Treatment Recommendation Rx Skin Clinic

Having been an aesthetician and spa owner, I am well-versed in various anti-aging treatments like microdermabrasion, photo facials, etc. I have achieved great results for both myself and my clients with these treatments, but they can only take you so far. As a makeup artist, I always teach my clients tricks for smoother-looking skin: The right moisturizers, exfoliators, primers and foundations. Still, some clients remain unhappy about the signs of aging, such as sagging jowls and neck, age spots, wrinkles, enlarged pores and uneven coloration…all of which need more help than superficial concealing makeup can provide.

I have had the unique opportunity to observe a wide array of anti-aging treatment modalities offered by the many medi-spas that carry my M.B. YORK products. Even with my extensive knowledge, I am often confused by all this technology, and secretly wish someone could offer a simple explanation of what devices and treatments could achieve profound anti-aging results. As much time as I have spent in these environments, I remain frustrated, still not clear about exactly what to do to receive the results my clients and I am looking for.

One of my makeup clients has flawless skin. When I asked her secret, she told me about Robert Mazurek, owner of Rx Skin Clinic, so I decided to check it out. When I went to his office, he examined my skin with a Wood’s lamp, which reveals the extent of sun damage. He provided a full consultation, explaining how my main concerns with aging (reversing sagging, sun damage, and wrinkles) all need to be treated in different ways. He advised photofacials for my sun damage, skin tightening laser for the sagging, and Pixel laser for smoothing wrinkles and enlarged pores. He noticed the spots on my hands and offered to include two photo facial hand treatments to be added at no charge if I were to purchase the package of 6 face & neck treatments sessions. As a makeup artist, I’ve long been self-concious of my sun damaged hands, since they are always front and center, often closeup on camera to capture my makeup technique.

While I was nervous about how much this would cost, I was also excited as I looked over his compelling before and after photos. He informed me that he has performed over 30,000 laser treatments, and the way he expertly explained everything made me trust him immediately.

My first treatment consisted of a photofacial and skin tightening laser treatment for face & neck. I was worried about the pain as he didn’t numb my skin first— but it wasn’t bad. It felt like the snap of a rubber band on the skin. For sensitive clients, topical numbing cream is available. The treatments took about 20 minutes and there was zero downtime! My skin looked a little red— which was gone in an hour—yet vibrant and stimulated. I couldn’t wait for my second treatment.

A month later I went in for my second skin tightening treatment, followed by my first Pixel laser treatment. The latter required some topical numbing cream to be applied afterward to soothe the sunburn-like sensation. I felt some heat, but no pain at all. Once again, the two treatments were completed in about 20 minutes. My face looked more red than the first treatment, so I was given some topical healing ointment to apply every 4 hours for the next day. I couldn’t wear makeup for 24 hours, since all of the pores were temporarily exposed from the penetration of the laser. Though I felt self conscious, no one could tell a thing unless I pointed out how my skin was redder than usual. My skin also felt like sandpaper as it developed microscopic rough dots where the laser made “Pixel” perforations. You really couldn’t see them, though—I only felt them if I touched my face. After a week, all this “rough” skin fell away and underneath was brand new baby skin. My moisturizers worked better, delivering deeper hydration than before, and my fine lines were disappearing! I also had my first hand photofacial, the results of which Robert said are the equivalent of 2 face photo facials. Any freckles or sunspots became temporarily darker, but not scabby or different in texture. He explained that it would take longer than the face (almost three weeks rather than one) for the spots to completely fall away. I am about two thirds of the way there and my hands are looking at least 10 years younger!

Robert explained that this series of treatments can potentially take 20 years off your skin, and I am already seeing huge progress! I’m excited to see improvements with each session, and of course the final results after finishing the series. And it doesn’t stop there: The improvements continue for five months after the final session as new collagen continues to regenerate and grow. It is like real life photoshopping!

Robert and I are excited to collaborate on a special offer that combines his laser and light-based treatments with my expert makeup applications. All laser packages purchased at Rx Skin Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ will now include a complimentary makeup consultation with me ($150 value). You will look younger, yet incredibly natural. No pulled skin from a face lift—just a younger, fresher, more polished you.

I have asked Robert to offer special pricing to my clients, so if you mention M.B. YORK he is temporarily extending his holiday special exclusively to my clients. I will also include my complimentary makeup application tutorial.

2016 is your year to do something incredible for your skin. Call now and schedule your complimentary skin evaluation with Robert at Rx Skin Clinic: 480-483-8902

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SB Skin’s Tips To Survive Mercury Retrograde

tips for this mercury retrograde from SB skin

This cluster of upsetting deaths right at the beginning of the year had me—and many other people I know—wondering what the HECK was going on?! Is it something we said?? Well, if you follow astrology, you’ll know that on January 5th, Mercury entered a Retrograde period. Those of you that DO NOT follow astrology may balk at the whole idea of “Mercury Retrograde”, thinking it woo-woo and silly. But as this is based on actual planetary movement, you may want to suspend judgement and consider the idea. As Mercury is the planet that rules all types of communications from listening to leases, Mercury Retrograde periods are notorious for throwing big ole wrenches into every area of our lives. Luckily, our skin-whispering sister, Shamara Bondaroff of SB Skin, has some sage advice for getting through this period relatively unscathed.

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You might have noticed…things are all f**ked up. A possible culprit? Mercury is in Retrograde till January 25th. Mercury Retrograde is the one time in the planetary cycle that affects us all fairly uniformly—no one is safe—even if we feel it at different times. I felt it right away on January 5th, when I spilled a protein shake on my computer. My poor Macbook got an unwanted vegan chocolate peanut butter bath.

Whether you’re creating physical messes like me, discord within your relationships or turmoil at work, know that you are not alone. Here are some SB Skin Tips to surviving this period:

  1. Cut people some slack. Give others the benefit of the doubt & try not to take anything too personally.
  2. Don’t make a deal. Save agreements/contracts for after the 25th—seriously. This is a time of major miscommunication, so better to avoid putting yourself in a potentially toxic (potentially long term) situation.
  3. Surround yourself with love. Get together with old friends and family as often as possible.
  4. Be open to new things. Make the most of what’s happening by allowing Mercury to nudge you in unusual directions that you might not have considered otherwise.
  5. Slow down. Take care of yourself! Indulge in a long hot bath, massage or manicure…or all of the above. Of course, this is a perfect time to book a face and body appointment with me ;-).

I hope my advice helps make this crazy time a little easier for you. Expect some more tips from me soon!

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India Travel Diaries

places to visit in India

We published this travelogue by Fred Pirkey several months ago. We are heartbroken to say our dear friend Fred passed away last week, leaving a void in our hearts. Fred was an inspiration and true friend. He helped build the tremendously innovative New York City salon, Salon Ishi. He was also an incredibly talented interior and lighting designer. His passion for all things beautiful was rivaled only by his love for life and everyone that was part of his. India held a special place in Fred’s heart, so in tribute, we wanted to share again Fred’s India with you.

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My latest trip to India was to show a dear friend the India I love. The palaces and forts of Rajasthan are Romantic India. Once kingdoms, these forts are now surrounded by towns that time seems to have forgotten. They are changing, but there is an ancient feel; the stone construction is built to last. The local stone in some cities has a unique color that gives the cities their names: Jaipur, The Pink City, Udaipur, The White City, Jaisalmer, The Golden City. Jodhpur is The Blue City, but it gets it’s name from the indigo blue that is added to the paint of the Brahman, the homes belonging to the priest class. From the fort looking down on the city it appears to be endless shades of blue.

9 Cities In 21 Days

I arrived in New Delhi and went to the travel agent I always use. He arranged for car, driver, trains, planes, hotels and planned the best route to see 9 cities in 21 days. The first 15 days were with a car & driver. It’s important to interview drivers – they make the trip. Ours was great; he did much more than drive us. He knew the cities very well and brought us to important sights. A tip: there is a commission system in India, so any store someone takes you to gives him/her a commission on what you buy. It’s hard to work out great prices because of this. When you really want to shop, go out on your own.

Jaipur: The Pink City

Jaipur was our first stop – The Pink City. The old section is painted in a terra cotta color with details drawn on the walls in a lavender color.  Jaipur is known for jewels and handicrafts. It has several large forts, a lake palace and a city palace. You can get to the Amber Fort, the largest of the forts, either by car or elephant. It’s a grand palace with gardens and water elements. The meeting places are tiled with mirror in very intricate patterns.

Jodhpur: The Blue City

Jodhpur is The Blue City. The stone there is brown and is carved into a lacework that covers the windows. This was done to allow the women to see what is going on without being seen. It sits on top of a big hill and from there you can look down on the city that is painted shades of indigo blue. Jodhpur is known for shoes and antiques. There are antiques, but most of what you see are reproductions or reworked wooden pieces into what the current market would be interested, like TV cabinets. The festival of color, Holi, kept us in our hotel; people throw colored powders on each other.

Jaisalmer: The Golden City

Jaisalmer is The Gold City. Gold stone glistening in the sun, the city fort sits on top of a big hill. It’s far out in the desert and you pass many camel farms along the way. It was a trade route, so there are lavish havelis (merchants homes) with intricate carvings on every surface. About 5000 people still live within the fort. It gets extremely hot, so go at cooler times of the year.

places to visit in IndiaUdaipur: The White City

Udaipur, my favorite city in Rajasthan, is The White City. It has a large, wonderful city palace, forts in the hills for hunting and is known for it’s lake palace. There are several lakes, so it doesn’t have the same desert feeling. The current king here is very active and has made hotels within the palaces. You arrive via barge, and can easily walk this city. It has great shopping, especially gold.

Pushkar: The Holy City

Pushkar is a holy city. There is a tank and a small pond where priests dole out blessings. It’s completely vegetarian. It’s sort of a hippy town with lots of Israeli tourists who go there to party. There isn’t a fort or palace and the shopping is limited. I’ve been there 3 times and have never really related to it. It does have some nice hotels with gardens, though, so it can be a break.

The Taj Mahal

Agra – the city of the Taj Mahal. The city itself is a mess but the Taj Mahal and Red Fort are like nowhere else. The Taj is a mausoleum for the King’s favorite wife. It’s covered in white marble with details inlaid with precious and semiprecious stones. It’s been taken over by the World Heritage so the gardens are well maintained. We missed our train to the next city so we spent the next day visiting less well known places in Agra. The best is The Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah better known to locals as The Baby Taj. It was built prior to the construction of the Taj Mahal and was the precusor for the inlay work found at the world famous monument. Wow! What a gem! Missing the train turned out to be one of our best days in India. When we arrived in Agra it was raining and we weren’t feeling our best. I’d met a taxi guy while trying to find a hotel for the night. He came early the next morning to take me to purchase train tickets and offered to take us around. We’d passed Fatehpur Sikri without enough time to see it so here was our opportunity to go.

Fatehpur Sikri

Fatehpur Sikri was built and later abandoned due to lack of water. It is spectacular! The king had 3 wives: a Hindu, Christian and Muslim. Each had her own pavilion and kitchen to prepare the different food styles. There are so many interesting architectural elements here. It’s built of red sand stone.

Midnight Sleeper Train to Khjuraho

We made our midnight sleeper train to Khajuraho. I’d never traveled by sleeper train before and the experience is what I imagine prison might be like. Small compartments with fold down beds, 3 on each side and 2 beds along the walkway. The beds are so close together that you can’t sit up. You slide in headfirst and arrange your belongings so you can keep an eye on them. The conductor throws you a pillow and sheets and everyone goes to sleep.

Khajuraho

Khajuraho isn’t a usual destination. It’s a very small city that is famous for its 1000 year old Hindu temples. Like many other temple or cave cities the temples were carved by priests. Daily life, the gods and kama sutra are the subject of the carvings that completely cover the structures, inside and out. There is no other reason to go here, but it’s worth seeing.  The temples are spread out around the city but the best is a large group right in the city.

places to visit in IndiaVaranasi

We took another night train and arrived in the holiest city, Varanasi. The kings built palaces along the Ganges River so that if they died there they would go straight to heaven. At sunrise you can take a boat out on the river. As the city wakes, you see everything possible along the steps that line the river: people bathing, washing clothes, pilgrims praying, the burning of the dead – all next to each other. It’s very clean compared to 20 years ago. Cows are holy and some of the most beautiful cows are well cared for here. An essential oil producer had gorgeous cows living in the rooms of the first floor of his home right in the oldest part of the city. The alley ways are very narrow so you have to navigate around the cows. There is also a large Muslim community here that is famous for their silk weaving.

New Delhi

Back to New Delhi. As India is being globalized Delhi is impacted the most. It was not built for the amount of cars that there are now. People are leaving the countryside to work in the foreign communication businesses. Entire modern cities outside Delhi have been built to accommodate this industry. It’s taking its toll on India…the country is losing its culture. The young are all dressed in western style clothing. The color that made India famous is disappearing. The crafts that were done for generations have stopped being made as the young look for work in the cities. Delhi has all the western brands in Connaught Place, a circular series of buildings that remind you of the Raj era, when the British were in power. India is still my favorite place to go, even though it’s changing so fast that parts are barely recognizable. For anyone interested in seeing India, I’d say go there fast. There is still some of the ancient India remaining, but another generation or two and it will be gone.

By: Fred Pirkey

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Laser Tattoo Removal With Astanza Trinity Technology

safe easy laser tattoo removal

Sometimes, it’s hard to tell what the future will bring. No matter how much thought and consideration you put into choosing the perfect tattoo, it’s possible that down the road, that tattoo can become something you’re more interested in covering up than showing off. If you’ve been feeling some tattoo remorse, come out of hiding. Reveal the new you with laser tattoo removal.

Astanza Trinity Technology

I am pleased to offer safe, effective and comfortable laser tattoo removal, using the Astanza Trinity® technology. The new system is a combination of Nd:YAG Q-switch laser and Ruby laser technology, allowing it to work on all skin types to effectively–and permanently–remove all ink colors, including stubborn blues and greens! We are one of the few places in New York City that can treat all ink colors.

Rather than simply burning out the ink like some other alternatives, the Astanza Trinity Laser System breaks up the tattoo ink into tiny, sand-like particles, that are naturally flushed out of the body.

By featuring two standalone lasers, the Trinity System provides unrivaled power and reliability, leading the laser industry as the ultimate three-wavelength laser technology solution. Even dark, stubborn blue and green inks, as well as previously-treated tattoos, can be removed.

Removing Tattoos in Fewer Sessions

My office also uses the Zimmer Cryo 6 chiller to direct chilled air at the treatment area before, during, and after treatments to numb deep into the skin where the tattoo ink is located. Since the Cryo 6 System makes the laser tattoo removal procedure more comfortable, I’m able to treat tattoo ink more aggressively than other clinics – ensuring that I can remove your tattoo in fewer sessions.

Is It Safe?

Yes! The FDA-cleared Astanza Trinity Laser System is the most advanced laser treatment available for safe and effective tattoo removal, resulting in fewer treatments, faster recovery time, and great results.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

While other lasers can require 15-20 treatments to remove a tattoo, the Astanza Trinity Laser System can in many cases produce even better results, with as little as half – or even one-third the number of sessions. The number of treatments needed will vary from person to person and our treatment providers will personalize a treatment plan during your complimentary consultation.

Skin-baring spring and summer will be here before you know it. Contact me now to set up your complimentary consultation today.

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