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By Andrea Bennett | February 17, 2017 | Style & Beauty
I think every dermatologist in Las Vegas will agree that our high desert climate is punishing in any season. I don’t even need the services of a meteorologist: My highly reactive skin tells me all I need to know. For instance, is it especially dry? Suddenly my face is the Mojave Desert. A little hot and sweaty? Bring on the mystery rashes and eczema!
Listen, I’m never going to be one of those infuriating people who claim to wash with Dove and zip out the door. I need an arsenal of calming, moisturizing—and above all, totally natural, sulfate- and paraben-free stuff to keep the climate and my sensitive genes at bay.
Recently, I ran out of three products. I’m no skincare loyalist, so scraping the bottom of a jar is a totally new thing for me—and it means that the product is working! Here, my empties—and yes, I’m refilling. (I am not being paid by any of these companies, and I spent from 3 to 12 months testing each product.)
Confidence in a Cream, IT Cosmetics ($48). itcosmetics.com
Who can resist the lure of a smooth-faced QVC salesperson telling us late at night about proprietary anti-aging regenerative ingredients while luxuriously smoothing a cream on her own lineless face? No one. But then founder Jamie Kern Lima came to Las Vegas: Totally relatable, she has turned her own skin issues into a soothing line of cosmetics that gives you plenty of coverage—without clogging pores or worse, caking and cracking. I like IT’s full-coverage CC cream (especially if you buff it like crazy with IT’s amazing lush brushes), but the item I can’t live without is the company’s first foray into straight-up skincare, Confidence in a Cream.
The claim: A proprietary “Anti-Aging Armour Regenerative Concentrate combines collagen and hyaluronic acid to plump fine lines and wrinkles, while niacin, peptides, a super ceramide complex and other high-performance ingredients are activated upon contact to immerse your skin in moisture…”
How I use it: You can use this cream at night and in the morning. I was a little skeptical at first, since the cream feels a little like lip balm (read: Will I break out today??). But I used a dime sized amount and warmed it in my hands, and it liquefied immediately. It has a pleasant, light herbal smell, and makes your makeup go on smoothly. Even better, it felt like it calmed down any potential skin temper tantrums. (I found out later that the colloidal oatmeal it contains will calm down rosacea symptoms.) Caveat: There’s no sunscreen in it, so wear a nice broad-spectrum over.
l’Elixir des Glaciers Votre Visage, Valmont ($570). boutiquevalmont.com
Full disclosure: This beautiful gold jar of 1.7 ounces of cream costs $570 and was given to me as a gift in a gorgeous custom Lalique box. It took me some time to decide to dip into this treasure, since I wasn’t sure I could justify putting that much money on my face. And skeptic that I am, I was 100 percent sure that no cream is $570 good. I was wrong.
If you don’t know Valmont, here’s the story: A century-old Swiss health clinic above Lake Geneva known as a sanctuary for politicians and other luminaries later became the first clinic of its kind entirely dedicated to researching active molecules for skin regeneration (think post-surgical results).
The claim: Valmont’s super high-end L’Elixir des Glaciers line is formulated to give you visible lifting and moisturizing using natural (Swiss-sourced) ingredients like Echinacea for moisture, Rosa Moschata seed oil (an emollient) and Malva extract (an inflammatory), and more.
How I use it: There is something sort of luxurious and comforting about opening your wildly expensive cream, dipping the spatula in (so you don't contaminate it) and smoothing it on. But as much as I enjoyed the fancy ritual, the stuff actually works. It’s best for days you feel your skin has really taken a beating—like between days you used strong retinols, or if the weather was especially cold and dry. When I wake up, I just splash with cold water and don’t wash it off.
Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask, Fresh ($92). Sephora, Miracle Mile Shops, 3663 S. Las Vegas Blvd., 702-737-0550
Depending on their consistency, sleep masks (which you may already use if you’re on a 25-step K-beauty regimen) are best used for nights you’re slumbering alone. I’ve avoided them for the same reason I avoid seductive edibles in the bedroom: It’s all fun and games until you wake up in a pool of maple syrup. But unlike other sleep masks I’ve tried, the Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask by Fresh is less mask than it is rich night cream that magically doesn’t make you stick to the pillow if you end up on your side (it happens).
The claim: The idea is that the mask works with your skin’s own natural nighttime recovery process so you get a lifted look by morning, and that it has a “corset-like” effect on the skin—making you look a little more contoured and defined in the morning. Peptides help firm and hyaluronic acid attracts and retains moisture, and Belle de Nuit extract (known as nature’s nocturnal flower) helps to soothe and rebalance your skin.
How I use it: Fresh’s black tea sleep mask smells amazing—floral and herbal—and I love to slather it on when I feel like my face needs something to calm it down. It’s another product I just rinse off with water in the morning. I haven’t noticed a “corset-like” effect, but I will tell you that a couple of weeks ago after a huge, salt-laden sushi dinner, which would usually leave my face swollen like a toad in the morning, I drank some water and slathered on my “corset,” and I swear I wasn’t puffy when I woke up.
How do you keep pace with a party-packed Vegas lifestyle without burning out? Vegas Editor-in-Chief Andrea Bennett seeks out the healthy indulgences, insider finds, and desert beauty tricks that help you balance Vegas’s unique climate, nightlife culture, and fabulous temptations. (Hint: It’s not all yoga and kombucha here.)
Got some local favorites you'd like us to know about? Write to email@example.com, tweet us @vegasmagazine and @andreabennett1 and Instagram @AndreaBennettInk #TheVegasEdit, and see previous stories here.