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Visit to Dermalogica Academy

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Dermalogica Academy in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood is best described as the lovechild that would result if your favorite spa mated with an Apple store. The minimal glass and chrome decor is an echo of Dermalogica’s line of skincare products– cleanly packaged and free from any fluff, it’s just straightforward and full of the finest ingredients. I had long been curious to try Dermalogica’s brand of products, and when a friend recently came into town for a visit I figured it was the perfect occasion to book facials at the Academy and see what their products were all about.

Dermalogica Academy trains Professional Skin Therapists, covering coursework that sounds straight out of a Pre-Med program. Topics include Bacteriology, Chemistry, and Superfluous Hair (okay, maybe the MD’s don’t take that one).  Our visit to Dermalogica Academy included a 60-minute customized skin treatment carried out by one of the Skin Therapists in training (and closely supervised by their instructors), which featured an individualized routine of cleansing, exfoliation, masks, toners, and extractions. Every procedure begins with a face mapping skin analysis covering all 14 zones of the face (yeah, I had no idea the face was so complicated either), noting whether each zone contains breakouts, dehydration, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, sensitivity, and a host of other skincare concerns.

After the face mapping the fun really began. First any makeup was removed and our face, ears, and neck (all 14 zones, remember?) were cleansed and lightly exfoliated. Since my friend and I have different skin types we were treated to entirely customized treatments from this point forward. She received a hydrating and firming mask that was vaguely reminiscent of the facial prosthetics from Mrs. Doubtfire. (Kudos to her for not suffocating!) I was treated to an extensive round of pore extraction followed by a mask of colloidal oatmeal plus a round of small electric pulses (read: shocks)  intended to kill bacteria and diminish breakouts. As you can tell, this isn’t your typical tranquil day at the spa– a trip to Dermalogica Academy definitely puts the “medi” in medi-spa, feeling more like a visit (albeit a relaxing one) to a high-end dermatologists office.

Overall we left our treatments feeling refreshed, with a good sense of what our skin needed to be its healthiest and look its best. (My list includes more moisture, less fragrance, and a break from my beloved Clarisonic every now and then.) Finally we stopped by the Skin Bar to discuss some Dermalogica products that would be suited to our needs. I went home with the UltraCalming Cleanser and Daily Microfoliant, and samples of the Clean Start Emergency Spot Fix, Precleanse oil, Pure Light SPF 30 day cream, and Pure Night night cream. I’m still working through the samples and forming my opinions, so look for reviews soon to come. So far I can say that I am absolutely loving the UltraCalming cleanser and just may purchase a full size once my travel sized bottle runs out.

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I loved my experience at Dermalogica Academy and have been incorporating many of the tips and techniques recommended by my Skin Therapist into my daily routine. I’m excited to visit again and keep testing out their products as well. Have you tried anything from the Dermalogica line? Leave a comment if you have any recommendations that I should try next. And if you’re ever in New York City and your skin needs a little pick me up, head over to Dermalogica Academy- stat!

-LMC ♥

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New (to me) from Laura Geller Beauty

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Laura Geller Beauty, famous for their baked and marbled color cometics, is a brand I’ve wanted to try for a while. When I saw some of their Bake Sale collection pop up on Haute Look last month I figured it was the perfect opportunity to try a variety of LG products for just $20. I don’t think this particular kit is still available, but it looks like almost all of the products can still be purchased individually on the Laura Geller website (just in case something catches your eye). Since these only came in yesterday (Haute Look shipping = ughhh) I haven’t had much time to play with everything and form a real opinion, but I wanted to share with I picked up and some first impressions.

Spackle Tinted Makeup Primer in Ethereal – This primer is oil-free and contains crushed pearl, licorice root, and nourishing botanicals to help give your complexion a bright, opulent glow. I haven’t given it a try yet, but I’m loving the pinky tone and generous size!

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Balance n Brighten SPF 15 Baked Color Correcting Foundation in Porcelain – This marbled powder combines a fair cream shade with hints of champagne and rose which results in a beautiful match for my fair complexion. I used it today to set my foundation and concealer and it gave a flawless full-coverage finish. LG says this can be used on its own as a powder foundation as well, so I’ll give that a go too and report back.

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Blush n Brighten Baked Cheek Color in Sateen Subtle Berry – Don’t let the name fool you, there’s nothing subtle about this blush. It’s intensly pigmented and gives off a great deal of shimmer. The shade and sparkle aren’t exactly my style, but it’s definitely a good quality blush and I would be interested in trying some of the other shades from this line.

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Left: Blush n Brighten Baked Cheek Color in Sateen Subtle Berry Middle: Balance n Brighten SPF 15 Baked Color Correcting Foundation in Porcelain Right: Spackle Tinted Makeup Primer in Ethereal

Left: Blush n Brighten Baked Cheek Color in Sateen Subtle Berry
Middle: Balance n Brighten SPF 15 Baked Color Correcting Foundation in Porcelain
Right: Spackle Tinted Makeup Primer in Ethereal

Baked Eye Pie Shadow Trio in Blueberry Muffin – This is definitely the product I was least excited about, as I’m not really a fan of baked shadows, or shadows in these type of trios, or putting anything blue on my eyes. Swatching these didn’t give me much hope either, but I’ll give them a shot!

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Baked Eye Pie Shadow Trio in Blueberry Muffin swatched dry.

Baked Eye Pie Shadow Trio in Blueberry Muffin swatched dry.

Baked Eye Pie Shadow Trio in Blueberry Muffin swatched wet.

Baked Eye Pie Shadow Trio in Blueberry Muffin swatched wet.

Double-Ended Shadow and Liner Brush – The shadow end of this brush is just average, but the liner side looks thin and sturdy which will be great for filling in my brows.

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Italian Marble Lipstick in Mixed Berry – I’ve only given this lipstick a quick test run, but I can already tell it’s not going to be a favorite. The bright berry shade is nice, but it’s packed so full of glitter it almost feels gritty on the lips- no thank you!

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Overall this kit was a great value for the price and an excellent way to test out some of Laura Geller Beauty’s most famous products. I’m excited to keep giving them a try and report back on what end up being the real standouts.  Until next time, have a lovely weekend!

-LMC ♥

LMC HEARTS: Best of 2013

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Happy New Year! Here’s hoping that you wrapped up 2013 with a fantastic holiday season and are excited for what 2014 will bring. Before we get too far into the new year  I’d like to share a recap of the beauty items I’ve discovered or continued to love over the past year…

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Revlon Photoready Color Correcting Primer –  I picked up this primer based on a recommendation over at Musings of a Muse and I’ve been in love with it since day one. It does a pretty good job at canceling out redness in my skin, and does an excellent job at blurring enlarged pores. I haven’t tried many high end primers, but at the drugstore this is definitely my favorite.

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Dr. Jart Premium Beauty Balm – If you’ve been left unsatisfied by drugstore BB creams, definitely give a higher end Asian version a shot. I am continually impressed by the coverage and staying power of Dr. Jart’s Premium Beauty Balm, and will definitely purchase a full size tube once this deluxe sample runs out. (Although a little goes such a long way, that won’t be for a while!)

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Beauty Blender – I was hesitant to splurge on the Beauty Blender, as paying almost $20 for a sponge seemed outrageous to me. However, I’ve yet to find a method of applying foundation and concealer that leaves my face looking as flawless as this little pink sponge. The trick is to soak it in water before use so it doesn’t soak up any excess foundation and imparts some hydration into your skin at the same time. (Sorry for the lack of photo, but I figured no one wanted to see my dirty, soon to be replaced Beauty Blender!) 

Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Concealer – I fell in love with this heavy duty concealer when it was first released, but then forgot about it for some unknown reason. I’m so happy to have rediscovered it in 2013, as it pairs perfectly with the Beauty Blender to give full flawless coverage to any trouble areas.

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Maybelline Color Tattoos – Available at most US drugstores, and coming in at a price between $6 to $8, the Maybelline Color Tattoos are a versatile product that should make an appearance in anyone’s makeup collection. Their uses are truly endless– they can be layered under shadow for a long-wearing base, concentrated at the upper or lower lash line as a liner, or packed on the lid and blended out as the perfect one color smokey eye. Click here to see the colors currently in my collection.

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Lorac Pro Palette – The Lorac Pro Palette has shown up on almost every Best of 2013 post or video I’ve seen so far. Its combination of shimmery and matte shades in both neutral and jewel tones just can’t be beat. I’ve already hit pan on Cream, and am nearly there on Mauve as well– the two colors that make up my go to “no makeup” eye makeup look. If you’re looking to invest in a palette, Lorac Pro gets my highest recommendation for value and quality.

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Sigma Brow Highlighting Pencil – This product is great for giving your arches a little extra oomph using the matte pink side, or giving your inner corner or waterline some sparkle with the gold shimmery side. Rich, creamy, and pigmented, this pencil goes on smoothly and stays put all day.

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Tarte Lights Camera Lashes Mascara – If you’re looking for a dry mascara with a natural brush that gives your lashes beautiful volume and length, you’ve got to try Tarte’s Lights Camera Lashes. I was practically scraping the last bits out of my first tube and was thrilled to pick up a mini replacement in Sephora’s Black Friday sale. I prefer wispy lashes over thick spidery eyes, and if that’s your game check out LCL.

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Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains – The original drugstore chubby lip crayon, you really can’t beat the Revlon Balm Stains. They’ve come out with Lacquer and Matte versions recently (see the shades I picked up here), but I have to say the original Balm Stains are still #1 in my heart for their smooth application and impressive staining power.

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Wet ‘n Wild Megalast Nail Polish – The Megalast formula is amazing, so creamy and opaque after just one coat, and lasts for days even on my chip-prone nails. I also love the extra wide brush which makes using this polish a breeze. Huge thanks to LeighAnnSays on YouTube for introducing me to these awesome polishes!

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Josie Maran Argan Infinity Cream – This multi-tasking creamy oil has been a lifesaver for me during the cold and dry winter months. I apply it to flaky areas of my face and under my eyes before bed and wake up with beautifully hydrated skin. Bonus- this is another deluxe size sample that has lasted absolutely forever, so I imagine the full size would keep you going for years!

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Glam Glow Youthmud Tinglexfoliant Treatment – Yes, it’s true, I’ve fallen into the Glam Glow hype. I didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon for a $70 face mask, but it’s just so damn good. It’s a great exfoliator and contains some sort of unicorn magic that draws any oil and impurities right out of your pores– you’ll be able to see it happening as the mask dries. (Gross, but cool!) I’d recommend springing for the mini jar if you’re on the fence, but in my opinion the full size is totally worth it.

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I hope you enjoyed this recap of my most loved products from 2013. If there’s something you’ve been obsessed with this past year please leave a comment and let me know! Here’s to an exciting, eventful, and beautiful 2014!

-LMC ♥