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Korean firm launches new skincare range

NovoStrata is a comprehensive new skincare range that protects the skin with a layer of BioCollagen.

NovoStrataNovoStrata is a new rejuvenation skincare system that is said to be clinically proven to rebuild skin cells and leave skin looking younger.

It has taken 15 years research for developers Regenerative Medical System (RMS), a Korean medical bio-engineering company, to develop the collagen-based anti-ageing range.

RMS says its very high grade BioCollagen works on three levels:

* it rejuvenates the elasticity of individual cells and improves fine lines by stimulating skin cells to produce their own collagen and elastin.

* it creates a new skin layer similar to human skin on the epidermis with pure atelocollagen to hydrate skin and stop the loss of hyaluronic acid.

* the Bio-Skin layer protects the skin from external stimuli or stress all day long. 

The result, says the firm, is gorgeously soft, deeply hydrated, more youthful looking skin.

The range is very comprehensive and consists of:

Regeneration Essence - an anti-wrinkle formula that fuses enriched BioCollagen essence and pure collagen.  £40 50ml.

Regeneration Toner - an ultra-hydro BioCollagen toner. £29 130ml.

Regeneration Emulsion - a quick-absorbing balanced moisturising emulsion, which utilises liquid crystal liposomes to leave skin clearer and more vibrant.  £32 130ml.

Regeneration Cream - an intensive BioCollagen firming effect cream that helps wrinkle reduction and restores elasticity while defending against premature ageing.  £35 50ml.

Regeneration Eye Cream - a hydro-conditioning eye cream to provide concentrated hydration and immediate lifting effect around the eye contour area.  £35 15ml.

Regeneration Gel - a BioCollagen regeneration gel that promotes collagen formation and supplies water to the skin while inducing natural regeneration by creating a breathable bio skin layer. £25 50ml.

Regeneration BioCollagen Cleansing Cream.  £22 180ml.

Regeneration BioCollagen Foaming Cleanser.  £22 180ml.

BioCollagen Facial Hydrogel Mask - a cooling mask formulated to help reduce wrinkles, fine lines and enhance the elasticity of the skin.  £45 Set of 5 masks.

BioCollagen Anti-Stretch Mark Cream Mom.  £24.50 150ml.

BioCollagen Moisturising Cream Kids - a high-moisturising cream formulated specifically for babies and children using natural ingredients, including BioCollagen, ceramide and Nano-liposome technology. £24.50 150ml.

Dual Effect Sun Block - a double UV block agent that blocks harmful UV and external environment damage and protects the skin with a new skin layer of BioCollagen.  £20 150ml. 

All available from Reviews to follow.



Fruity February Facial evening

What better way to banish the winter blues than to have a group facial and spa evening?

FruitForever rangeI had the girls over for a spa and facial evening last night, partly just as a get-together and partly to try out a new range of skincare products called Fruit Forever.

We tried out makeup remover, cleanser, two day moisturisers, a night cream, serum and an eye cream. Between the cleansing and moisturising stages, we also made up some fruit masks, using the leftover fruit to make a fruit salad, and also ate a great many chocolates and biscuits. 

The girls came over in dressing gowns and slippers, and I set up the living room as a bit of a spa, with Zen music on the player (quickly drowned out by the cacophony of screeching), white sheets on all the furniture, and scented candles everywhere. There were 12 testers, with ages ranging from 12 to 69, though most of us are in our 40s and 50s.

Fruit Forever

Fruit Forever is a range created by ID-Beauty, a French company that also produces the O2D-Biotic range of skincare, based on yoghurt ferments, and acts as a distributor for many leading brands such as Coty. 

The main premise behind the new range is a process the firm has invented called 'dispersion', whereby the ingredients are amalgamated at high speed in order to eliminate the need for emulsifiers and preservatives. That way, the idea is that the ingredients remain purer and therefore more effective, and also users have fewer adverse reactions - there are no parabens, for instance and all of the products have been dermatologically tested. However, although based on fruit, they are not organic and ID-Beauty hasn't sought Eco-cert certification or its like.

Fruit Forever, in France, is available exclusively in the perfumerie chain Nocibé and prices range from 21 euros for a cleanser to 45 euros for a night cream. The products are packaged in clean, simple, white, low-sheen cardboard, with an image of the relevant superfruit (cranberries, blueberries etc) on the pack (this kind of packaging is what the trade terms 'self selecting' because you can see easily what you're looking for).

Ranged on a shelf, as one tester remarked, they look very pretty, and she thought they would appeal to the teenage market. However, their price point is definitely that of a selective brand - another tester correctly guessed that prices would be about the same as Aderma.

Inside the outer pack, where the test group was expecting glass bottles, they were slightly disappointed to find white, pharmaceutical-looking plastic bottles, with various types of dispenser - pump, self-seal, etc, according to product. These don't carry the image of the fruit, so you have to look at them a little more closely to work out which one you're using - I, for one, would keep these bottles in their outer packaging on my bathroom shelf, as this looks not only looks far prettier, it also means I won't make a mistake when I've got my specs off! 

demaquillantThe first product we tried was the Tonique Démaquillant (Makeup Remover and Toner) (150ml, 21 euros), which can be used on both face and eyes. This contains goji berries, blackberries and cranberries and is a pleasant-smelling liquid (not a white lotion as I was expecting). Everyone liked the smell of this product, and it was certainly effective at removing makeup, including mascara, with no stinging, but it left a residue on the skin that several of us were keen to wash off. Over time, this is said to tighten the pores, so we will have to see what the longer-term test results conclude - I don't personally leave toners on my skin, as I suffer from rosacea. 

cleanserHaving removed our makeup, we then trooped into the kitchen to try out the Gel Perlé Nettoyant Moussant (Foaming and Cleansing Pearlescent Gel) (100ml, 21 euros). This is based on Jaboncillo berry, a natural soap-producing plant, as well as goji, cranberry and raspberry. This product met with universal approval - everyone was delighted with the raspberry smell and it left everyone's skin feeling extremely soft afterwards, with no trace of tightness, though one tester used quite a lot and found it difficult to rinse off. 

Home-made face masks

We then took a break from product testing to try out some masks, using ingredients that are readily to hand in most kitchens. Most of us chose a nourishing mask:

1 egg yolk, 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp honey, thoroughly blended.

Some chose a cooling, purifying mask:

2ins of cucumber, 1 lightly beaten egg white, white clay (actually cat litter, crushed in a mortar), blended until thick enough to apply.

And two chose a tightening mask:

Half a banana, mashed, and 1 firmly whipped egg white.

All the masks were applied for around 15 minutes, then rinsed off with warm water, and all of them left our skin feeling fantastically clean, soft and fresh. 


lotionAt this point, we split out test group according to our skin needs, with different people trying different products. The first group tried the Soin Hydratant Multi Vitaminé (Multivitamin Hydrating Lotion) (50ml, 35 euros), based on strawberries and other red fruits. This was declared to have a nice smell and a light, non-greasy texture. An older tester got a slight reaction from it, though this passed, and another used it on her hands and thought it would be a good hand cream and possibly body cream for those who prefer a heavier facial cream. Our youngest tester, who was 12, thought it was fantastic, and took the bottle home with her. 

antiwrinkledayThe second group tried the Soin Lumière Anti-Rides Jour (Radiance Anti-Wrinkle Day Cream) (50ml, 39 euros), based on citrus, green tea and sugar cane, along with acerola berries and orange pectin. This was pronounced to be 'really lovely' by one tester, who said it made her skin very smooth indeed. It also soaked in nicely and she said she felt she could probably wear makeup on top of it straight away.  

serumThe third group tried the Sérum Lumière Anti-Fatigue (Radiance Anti-Wrinkle Serum) (30ml, 39 euros), which is based on a citrus complex to brighten the skin, and Japanese satsuma to minimise age spots. Our next-to-oldest tester (age 68) didn't care for this product and felt that it dragged her skin, though I found it sank in very nicely and could, in fact, have been used alone as a moisturiser without a night cream.

eyecreamSeveral women also tried the Contour des Yeux (Anti Fatigue Eye Contour) (15ml, 29 euros), based on cocoa butter and grapeseed extract, along with lemon zest. One tester disliked the smell, but said it felt good on the skin; another, who was worried about her eczema, found it was fine; while two others were delighted with it, enjoying the cooling effect as it sank in and the smooth feel of their skin afterwards. 

nightcreamThe final group tried the Soin Anti-Rides Nuit (Radiance Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream) (50ml, 45 euros), containing noni, cranberry enzymes and orange pectin. Again, some testers found the smell of this product slightly offputting and medicinal (one described it as smelling like zinc and caster oil cream), but all the testers liked the non-greasy feel and the way it sank straight into the skin.

One person with very dry, eczema-prone skin found it very soothing, while I myself found it stung a little at first, but that this passed. I would generally expect a little stinging with a nightcream because of the fruit acid content, and in the morning, I definitely noticed that my skin looked much smoother and brighter. 

We finished up our evening with a good spritz of perfume, courtesy of Serge Lutens, with some enamoured of the leather and musk of Boxeuses, everyone hating my favourite 'toast' scent, Jeux de Peau, most eschewing another favourite of mine, the highly floral Bas de Soie, and most plumping for the extremely spa-like L'Eau Serge Lutens. 








A chemical cocktail on our skins

The average UK woman wears 500 different chemicals every day.

There's an interesting article here on chemicals in make-up and toiletries.

It suggests that the average woman wears about 500 chemicals on herself daily and gives some tips on the worst ones, which you should avoid if you can.

Personally, I've tried to eliminate additives - especially parabens - from my purchases by buying organic products (the problem is, people keep giving me freebies...), but it is very hard to eliminate chemicals altogether, even with the best intentions. 

My new sunblock, for instance, is under dermatologist's orders because I am a Type 1 phenotype (blonde, blue eyes, pale skin with freckles) and have already had several dodgy moles removed. It contains three or four different parabens, something which I had actually managed to eliminate from my skincream by switching to coconut oil, and I have been ordered to wear it for the rest of my life, March to October. Parabens are in almost all sunblocks in order to act as a preservative. 

The other thing that is hard to find without masses of chemicals is shampoo (and conditioner).  My shampoo and conditioner alone account for 44 different additives, including three parabens.

Any ideas, anyone? Is there an organic alternative out there? 


Quick skincare tip

Here's a quick and gentle way to apply moisturiser

Are you applying your face cream properly?

Forgive me for asking, but I found out recently that I wasn't - after humph-knows-how-many years of slapping the stuff on. 

I have been one of those women who dots it on their forehead, cheeks, nose and throat and then blends it in - well apparently, if you do it this way, you can chronically underhydrate your skin. If you have dry skin, as I increasingly do, what you should do is apply a biggish blob to the palm of one hand, rub it between your palms and then rub your palms over your face, in an upward massaging motion. 

I've been doing this for about a week now and I must say I can see a difference. I am definitely using more product, even allowing for some excess soaking into the skin on my hands, and my skin is also definitely plumper and less dry, particularly in the morning. The cream also seems to settle in a thinner, more even layer, allowing you to apply more later if need be. 

Worth a try, anyhow, especially for those of us who are finding our skins changing and becoming dryer with age. 


Budget bathtime

The credit crunch doesn't mean you can't enjoy a spa bath - but the ingredients might be ready for a change

Further to a piece I wrote a little while ago on eco-friendly beauty, I thought I'd share a few more budget - and natural - bathtime ideas.

SugarThe first is from my friend K in Cincinnati - sugar. I'd tried bath salts, of course, but had never thought about sugar, but she is right - it makes the most fantastic body scrub, especially if you mix it with some oil. Just pour about a teaspoon of oil into your hand, add about the same amount of sugar, mix it to a paste and bob's your uncle. No mess, no residue, clean drains. I've taken to keeping a vanilla pod in the jar too - scents the sugar wonderfully.

MargarineAnother tip was one I read about many moons ago, back in the 1970s and was advice offered up by Marie Helvin - margarine. Before you gag, think about what margarine actually is - it's just oil hydrogenated into a solid form, which actually makes it a tad easier to use. Just keep a tub of it by the bath, grab a smallish handful and either drop it in the hot water or rub it over yourself like a cream as soon as you get in.

grapesIf you balk at margarine, why not just use oil? Rather than shelling out for expensive bath oil that you add to the water, I now get in the bath and quickly rub plain old grapeseed oil all over myself. (Don't add it to the water or it just forms clumps.) Grapeseed is high in natural collagen, which plumps up your skin, but it's a bit thin, so if you prefer something thicker, either mix in some olive oil or use sweet almond oil instead - particularly good for dry skin. I keep mine in an old massage oil container which is very pretty, and have added a bit of ylang-ylang and rosemary essential oils to it for a more fragrant experience. 

Green clayMy latest bit of fun is a product I found at my local health store. I actually bought it to eat, but it also works well as a detoxifying bath - green clay. Just shake a bit into a bath until the water goes cloudy and you have the most gorgeous, silky-feeling water imaginable. You can also mix it to a paste and use it as a face or body mask.

OatmealI suppose everyone over a certain age already knows about oatmeal for the bath. It was all we had when we were kids. This is best used in a cloth bag or you end up with bits everywhere. Hang the bag under the hot tap while the water's running, and at the end, give it a squeeze - wonderful for dry or sore skin. This oatmeal specially made for the bath is from On a similar theme, powdered milk makes a very nice bath too and generally costs so little that you can use as much or as little as you like. 

honeyCourtesy of Twiggy's book on style over 40 (see reviews section), I tried her idea for a honey and olive oil face mask, and very nice it is too. You have to warm them to mix them together, leave on for 10-15 minutes and simply wash away. 

Voila - a cheap, nice-smelling, totally eco bathtime.

And by the way, I found a great system for a natural deodorant - will post another time. 



A prescription for beauty

In The Beauty Prescription, two doctors take a four-part approach to looking and feeling good

If taking care of yourself is as simple as one two three, why don't more of us do it?

Making a cult out of beauty

If you're looking for the best make-up sponges, eyelash curlers, foundation or face cream, check out this new UK-based beauty site

Cult Beauty, a new beauty website and glossy magazine, is now online.

10 ways to save your skin

We all want to have healthy-looking skin. Here are 10 easy ways to go about it.

Stay out of the sun, exercise, drink water and other easy steps to taking care of your skin.