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"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing...kissing a lot. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls."
Audrey Hepburn

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Few of my Favorite: 'Clarins' Things

As of November 1st, I am managing the Clarins counter at my local Dillard's department store. I think a lot of people were under the impression that I was 'assigned' to this counter after having 'paid my dues' at the Edge Shop area of the store (the Edge shop is like a mini Sephora, carrying a number of familiar brands). But no, I actually chose Clarins, having been researching and coming to love the products over the course of the summer and early fall.

For those of you who don't know about this brand (I was surprised by how many people I consulted did not), Clarins was established in 1954 by Jacques Courtin-Clarins, an avid skincare enthusiast and cosmetician who wanted more natural products to be available to the public. The brand focused on using plant extracts in place of manufactured ingredients and still does today. By 1962, he was making huge advances in the skincare industry, developing the first 'sculpting cream' for the body.
In 1974, Clarins began a worldwide distribution campaign and ten years later, the company appeared on the Paris Stock Exchange and became a major contender in the field. 1991 saw the company developing color cosmetics as well, with the focus still being on purity and natural skin health. Since then, the hugely popular Double Serum, mens' skincare line, and anti-aging foundations have helped launch the company into barefaced competition with other luxury beauty brands.

I was first drawn to Clarins by a lipstick: Clarins Red. I loved the feel of it, the shade, and the beautiful gold tube. Since then, I've come to love the skincare more than any I've tried. Below I've listed my ten favorite Clarins products, by far the hardest list I've made. There is seriously SO MUCH this brand has to offer, to the extent that the wonderful red lipstick that initially drew me did not even make the list.

After reviewing the list, feel free to check the embedded video featuring some of my favorite Clarins products and my newly developed 'No-Makeup Makeup-Look' that I created for my non-makeup-wearing skincare customers. So far, the look has a 100 percent success rate among ladies who previously had no interest in wearing makeup at all!



Topping the list is the fabulous 'Skin Illusion' foundation, my current 'all-time' favorite foundation to use. I first gave it a try when an oily skinned girl prone to blemishes asked me for a good makeup base. Usually, I would use an oil-free mattifying foundation, but something about her skin texture scared me away from that idea, since I feared it would look 'cakey' instead of clear. I tried the Skin Illusion and started a new love affair. Instead of covering up her blemishes and texture issues, it seemed to just blur and diffuse them, lending a softened and still youthful look to her skin. The finish is satiny smooth and only slightly luminous, so it's not too dewy for the oily skins. The fragrance, derived from plant extracts and not perfumes, is the best of any foundation I've tried, almost a cucumber-melonish quality. I have begun using it exclusively for work and although I still incorporate some of my old favorites for other occasions, I almost hate to abandon it for any reason. It's just that good.

Price: 39.00 retail


An all inclusive anti-aging serum, Double Serum combines 20 plant extracts to create one concentrated treatment method for all skin types. It smells delightful, absorbs quickly, and has notable results. After a few weeks of use, the majority of women polled agreed that they like it better than their previous serum, a study that I didn't really care about until I noticed how much I liked it myself.

Price: 85.00-115.00


This product was truly innovative, in my opinion, and a completely new concept for me. It is marketed as a one-step cleanser for normal or dry skin that uses peach essential water to make skin feel soft and supple without rinsing. It also removes light makeup and impurities with one swipe. I'm a cold cream or cleansing oil lover when it comes removing my makeup at the end of the day, but I decided to try this first thing in the morning, since I read recently that it isn't necessary to lather and rinse your skin in the morning, especially for maturing or dry types. I'm so glad I did. I feel like my skin is every bit as clean as when I was using a foaming cleanser in the morning, but it feels significantly softer and my moisturizer and makeup apply more evenly. I just can't praise it enough.

Price: 35.00


I'll admit I was a little confused by this product at first. Is it a mask... a primer... a moisturizer? What I did know was that it was the single best seller in my counter history and ladies absolutely loved it. So I studied up on it and it turns out, it's sort of all three. As a mask, it tightens, hydrates, and brightens skin in minutes. As a moisturizing primer, it minimizes the appearance of pores, providing a smooth and supple base on which to apply foundation. I love the Instant Smooth Makeup Primer as well, but being a dry skinned girl, I am far more attracted to this one.

Price: 46.00


Featuring the same clean cucumber sent and satiny finish as the Skin Illusion foundation, this one is created for the mature crowd and works beautifully when it comes to evening out redness, improving texture, and increasing the elasticity of aging skin. My mother has rosacea and this foundation improved the appearance of her skin in merely one use, not only by evening the tone, but giving it a good healthy glow that was very noticeable.

Price: 45.00


Clarins is known for their treatment oils for body and face, but this one has the most impressive track record. Rebalancing oil of geranium and rosemary help to calm the overproduction of sebum in oily skinned people, minimizing the appearance of pores and conserving the 'healthy oils' that the skin naturally produces. Blemish prone users may see a noticeable improvement in skin's smoothness and have reported that blemishes decreased significantly, not only the existing variety but also the reoccurring.

Price: 52.00


Available in three formulas, the Clarins Cleansing Milks are world famous for their simplicity and effectiveness. They cleanse without drying, utilizing natural plant extracts to treat and pamper all skin types. My favorite is the green one, for normal to dry skin, since it uses sweet almond, marshmallow, and linden to soften and maintain moisture balance in a delicate but effective way.

Price: 34.00


While I personally don't have the need for sunless tanners, and that's one of the things Clarins does best, I had to be a third party observer on the effectiveness of this. What I noticed is that, just as the Instant Smooth primer fills in pores and lines to create a flawless foundation base, the Instant Smooth Tanner does the same for a tan. No orange cast, just a lovely sunny glow and super smooth skin. Very impressed.

Price: 36.00


Clarins has a TON of brilliant moisturizers, so this was a very hard choice. The Vital Light is marketed and geared towards mature skinned ladies who want replenishing radiance, but I've discovered a large number of 30-somethings purchasing and loving it too. It has a refreshing feel on the skin and truly seems to brighten and hydrate the skin overnight so that it looks its best in the morning. Therefore, it got top moisturizer spot on this review, after much deliberation, and it will be the one I turn to when I finish my Multi-Active Night Cream...also a great product.

Price: 93.00


Geared towards those who want straight-forward moisture without anti-aging benefits (much like the Moisture Surge line in Clinique), the Hydra Quench Cream Gel makes a great supplemental moisturizer for dehydrated skin and an excellent foundation primer for dry skin. It hydrates a little longer than my beloved Moisture Surge, so I felt I had to include it here in this countdown although I'll admit that the strange smell is somewhat off-putting to me. It's almost a 'Fruit Loops' smell and from my research, it seems that many users have issues with the fragrance. That said, Clarins responds that there are absolutely no 'perfumes' in this product and that the fragrance is due to a subtle change in the extracts with which it is formulated. Either way, in spite of the smell, I think it's still a bang-up product and the rest of the products in the line are impressive as well. For instance the Hydra-Quench Cream-Mask really did hydrate my skin all night, whereas the Moisture Surge Mask was literally GONE within an hour.

Price: 49.50

So that's that.

Below is my 'No Makeup' tutorial and as always, feel free to ask me anything you like about these products in the comments. I look forward to interacting with other fans of this brand!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Fitness Mountain

Today I did this workout, or at least I tried. There are moves I simply couldn't finish, but I suppose that's what the 'fitness mountain' is all about. From what I understand, you never really are supposed to be able to scale it.

Every December, I sort of take stock of my fitness and how I've managed when it comes to reaching my goals. I rarely have been very successful. I think it's because I don't have a lot of motivation in the cooler months and so when the weather starts to change, so does my workout regularity. I hope to be more consistent now since I've sort of found a 'magic hour' for me. After I drop the boys at school, and before anyone else is really up and active, I force myself to do my workout, even if I have limited time. On the days I have to be at work at 10am, I do a super quick ten to fifteen minute routine. For the days I don't have to be at Dillard's until one, or the days I'm off, I power through a 45 minute blaster. This helps keep me from plateauing, I feel, but it also keeps me working out regularly, which is even more important in my book.

I've also been mostly sticking to workouts I enjoy doing, ones I don't dread. Barre and Pilates are my favorites and I think they're what I need to get me where I want to be physically. But I do try to incorporate a high impact cardio in there every so often to exercise my heart more thoroughly.

Working away from home has been awful for my diet...I tend to eat a lot of junk on the nights I get home later because, who knows why, I feel simply FAMISHED when I work late. Even if I eat dinner, I want 'second dinner' when I get home.
I'm thinking that investing in some low-calorie snacks for those late night cravings will help a lot. I've made a pretty valid success of upping my water intake as well and I'm losing weight, regardless of the late night junk food, because of my increased activity. Who knew that running a makeup counter would be an 'active' profession? I sure didn't.

So that's an update on my fitness routine and progress. I still haven't reached Barbarella status, but I always have that as a goal...heck even when I'm in my eighties, I'll likely wanna be Barbarella