Cut The Crap!: The Complexion Concierge Busts Open Some Beauty Balderdash

The gloves are off! …then filled with lotion and back on.


The Complexion Concierge is back in the Salted henhouse for another awesome dose of beauty reality. Whether you’re in the market for a new post-summer-sun-damage-repair serum or just a general age-defying-and-moisture-enhancing-pre-fall face creme, you’ve come to the right counsel! Anna Lise takes on the hard facts about ingredients, fancy marketing and mortgage-rivaling price points of some of the major brands luring you in at the counter. Listen up, ladies! 

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La Mer ($160 for 1 fl oz and up to $2000 for 16.5 fl oz)

‏One of my favorite products to laugh about, Crème De La Mer was developed by an aerospace physicist, Max Huber. Because aerospace physicians are thinking about wrinkles in their spare time. First and foremost, this product is sold in a jar, so any of the antioxidant benefits are lost as soon as you open it (and made worse the more you open it, so that huge jar for $2000 bucks?! Not worth diddly squat when you’re finishing it up 16 fluid ounces later!). The most interesting ingredient in the cream is seaweed, and by “interesting” I mean, not something found in every single cream out there. It is not hard to come by (meaning, it should not be expensive). The rest of the cream is largely wax, petroleum (Vaseline), and various plant oils and thickeners. The eucalyptus in the product as well could potentially be damaging and irritating to skin long-term.

‏If you love a glamorous thick cream, instead try:
EltaMD AM Therapy Facial Moisturizer, $30 for 1.7 fl oz
(side note: I would not consider this a daytime moisturizer as it doesn’t have an SPF,
so please take that into account when adding it to your routine!)

‏:: Find an EltaMD Retailed here ::

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111Skin Celestial Black Diamond Cream ($1095 for 1.7 fl oz)

‏Diamonds are supposedly a girls best friend, but you can get a studio in Astoria for the price of this one productThe company claims that this cream “combines technologically advanced ingredients with ground-breaking medical research to target aging (sic)”. However, they also apparently don’t know how to spell “alcohol” which is incorrectly spelled on their website (though kudos to them for having their full ingredient deck on the website, something many companies fail to do).

It makes me a little depressed to rip this product a new one, because this is actually quite a nice looking ingredient deck! A minimal amount of Benzoyl Alcohol (or alCHohol as the company spells it) is present but the rest of the deck is an impressive array of well known, well researched ingredients all proven to help with brightness and evenness of skin tone (even some anti bacterials and anti microbials too, to keep breakouts at bay), protect against aging and more. However, none of these ingredients are “technologically advanced” and can be found all over the place,… including the drugstore aisles.Well, except for the black diamond particles.

Mother-loving diamonds, people! No wonder this cream costs more than is currently in my savings account (it’s been a slow summer!). Diamonds can’t do anything miraculous for your skin. Sorry. It may feel special, but there is absolutely no clinically proven research to support this claim, and this ludicrous price tag!

‏If you’re looking for skin brightening, that won’t clog pores, try:
Mary Kay Timewise Even Complexion Essence, $31 for 1 fl oz

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Sisley Skinleÿa Anti-Aging Lift Foundation, $195‏

‏Sigh. Nearly $200 for a foundation that claims to give a “satiny finish for a sheer and even complexion”. While a gel-cream texture is kind of unique in the foundation world, it isn’t the texture that matters to the function of the skin, it’s the actual ingredients. Don’t get me wrong, texture is important, you don’t want to wear something all day that feels bad on the skin, but it’s more a user-function quality as opposed to a results. Sisley claims special ingredients “reinforce anti-aging all day long”, but to be honest, none of them are remarkable or even that effective. Your number one defense against aging is a sunscreen, and your number two are antioxidants. A foundation with sunscreen that’s got an extra dose of antioxidants is not hard to find. Plus, the Skinleÿa Ingredient Deck has lots of silicones and thickeners (which makes me think it isn’t quite as lightweight as they claim!)

‏However, it does have an umlaut in the title. And just like Häagan-Dazs, doesn’t it make it more delicious?

If you would like a beautiful finish foundation with some antioxidant and anti-aging benefit try:
Revlon Nearly Naked Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 20, $10
Chanel Mat Lumiere Long Lasting Luminous Matte Fluid Makeup SPF 15, $54

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3Lab Super Eye Treatment ($425 for 20 mL, or roughly 0.67 ounces)

‏3Lab claims that youthful eyes are “instantly achievable” with their “smart” technology that increases collagen and elastin, and it also has apple stem cells in it. First things first: I get nervous about putting anything with fragrance on the skin, let alone the delicate eye area, which can cause irritation and in the long term break down collagen and elastin, so there’s no development possible when your product’s fragrance is counteracting that! What’s more, the skin doesn’t really need a separate eye cream, though some women like to have one because they use it more regularly when they see it in the line-up in their medicine cabinet.

‏But what about the “science” of stem cells? Stem Cells are also currently ingredient de jour to jack up price point. There’s so much buzz about the potential of stem cells, and they sound fancy, right? So they must be expensive. The truth is, if stem cells could immediately tighten and smooth wrinkles, then why isn’t every single line adopting stem cell technology? Why don’t we all look 19 and flawless? Why haven’t we cured cancer? Also, side note: wouldn’t it be weird of Apple Stem Cells actually COULD develop into new cells in the skin? And if they could, they wouldn’t become skin cells—they’d become apples. Shoddy science.

If you’re looking for a dedicated eye cream that moisturizes, brightens cosmetically and protects against future signs of aging check out:
Clinique Superdefense Age Defense Eye Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 20, $39.50 (0.50 fl oz)

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Shiseido Future Solution Lx Eye & Lip Contour Regenerating Cream ($130)

‏While Shiseido has made a beautiful moisturizer, it is no where near being “futuristic” by any means! It can moisturize, and I guess it’s some how time saving to have an eye and lip product, but again, your eye doesn’t need and eye cream, and neither do your lips. This product also has the #1 offender of skin: fragrance, as well as being packaged in a jar, so what little anti-oxidants are wasted upon opening and use, instead of benefiting the skin.

If you are looking for a super-emollient cream to use for the lips, try (and feel free to try around the eyes):
La Roche-Posay Ceralip Lip Repair Cream, $18


Anna Lise Jensen is a professional actress and the founder of The Complexion Concierge, the world’s first and only personalized skincare consulting business. It is her goal to help every client feel comfortable in her own skin, and to defeat the myths of the beauty industry, one ludicrous claim at a time! She is a domestic goddess in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn and loves Brooklyn Nets basketball, collaborating with Creative Geniuses, cats, and long distance running (which she originally took up to increase the nights per week she can eat cheeseburgers and drink craft beers). Anna Lise tries every day to spread light into dark places. Even into your pores.



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