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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lavie Organique in STUFF Boston Magazine!

Natural Beauties

by Cheryl Fenton
October 04, 2010

You are what you eat, so they say. But you've that got covered, right? From your daily 64 ounces of water (sipped from a BPA-free bottle, of course) to the organic fruits and veggies you stock as snacks, you're a walking poster child for healthy living.

But what about your largest organ, your skin? Is it really covered - with the right products, that is?

Though skin is an effective barrier in many ways, some substances can penetrate it, and many can irritate it (as sensitive types know all too well). And people are increasingly thinking not just about what they put in their bodies, but what they put on them - leading some to shun skincare products filled with chemicals whose names have five syllables, "fragrances" whose component ingredients are a total mystery, and substances grown with potentially environmentally hazardous pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. "If you're choosing to eat the best natural and organic foods available, then you should also be choosing the best natural and organic skincare products to put on your body," says Noah Solomon of Whole Body, Whole Foods' division devoted to personal-care products. That way, continues Solomon, "You're not putting chemicals, harsh preservatives, artificial colors, or fragrances into your body that it needs to process."

Photo: Michael Diskin
His point of view is catching on. According to Mintel's Global New Products Database, organic and natural products accounted for nearly 10 percent of all beauty and personal-care product launches through 2008 and 2009, compared to 5 percent in 2006.

Right in our own backyard (for you Foursquare folks, that's Brookline) are two fantastic natural skincare lines; both are the creations of Eastern European women with heritages steeped in skincare savvy.

The recently launched LaVie Organique is a line born from time-tested secrets from founder Lavinia Borcau's native Romania, a region long renowned for its spas and treatments. Through her namesake day spa, Lavinia Borcau Skin Care (29 Harvard Street, Brookline, 617.734.5523), Borcau created these formulas using certified-organic and plant-derived ingredients and vitamins - not to mention her own 20 years of skincare expertise and a little of her grandma's know-how about Mother Nature's gifts.

"I chose every ingredient in my formulas, including the natural preservatives and fragrances, not only for safety, but also health benefits," she says. The ingredients read more like a tasty recipe - think apples, chili peppers, and grapefruit - than the unpronounceable stuff of a science experiment.

Cheryl Fenton is a freelance writer in Boston who also blogs at Read more about Natural Beauties at

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Relax Your Wrinkles Away, Part 2: A Return to the Basics

Although stronger support for the anti-aging benefits of Botox alternatives may emerge over time, one question is hard to dismiss. Is blocking the release of the brain chemicals that drive essential bodily functions a smart approach to a cosmetic problem?
Why New and Improved Isn’t Always Better
Luckily, you don’t need to put your long-term health at risk to look a little younger. Or spend hundreds of dollars. In fact, many critics of topical wrinkle-relaxing creams suspect they have no significant effect on facial muscles, and that any “measurable improvements” observed in clinical trials are actually produced by one of the world’s oldest and simplest anti-wrinkle ingredients: water.
Whether or not synthetic peptides actually prevent muscle contractions strikes me as beside the point. What matters is that you can achieve very similar results without them. Any decent moisturizer will help plump up lines and furrows simply by binding water to thirsty skin cells. 
Nature's proven wrinkle relaxer 

Valid Science + Living Proof=The Highest Standard of Skincare
My own research and professional experience have taught me that one of the simplest and best ways to soften and smooth wrinkles is to hydrate and nourish your skin with plant-derived moisturizers and emollients such as aloe vera, vegetable glycerin, and shea butter. A growing number of published scientific studies have verified the superior moisture-binding capacity, absorbability, and healing properties of these and other botanical extracts that traditional cultures have relied on for thousands of years. As I see it, when a natural treatment with that kind of track record gains scientific support, it’s won the kind of endorsement you can trust.
And remember: An ounce of wrinkle prevention is worth a ton of expensive bioengineered neuro-peptides. So use sun protection every day, and don’t smoke. Ultimately, the power to delay the effects of aging is your hands. Stay tuned for more tips about intelligent lifestyle choices that can help keep lines and wrinkles under control.
Image: Paul /

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Relax Your Wrinkles Away, Part 1: The Truth About Topical Botox

In theory at least, argireline, gamma amino butyric acid (GABA), and other so-called “wrinkle relaxers” smooth and soften crow’s-feet and smile lines by inhibiting muscle contractions. Heralded by some members of the beauty industry as a major breakthrough in anti-aging science, these topical Botox alternatives command a hefty price.
But are they worth it? That depends on whom you believe. Manufacturers of these anti-wrinkle products cite clinical studies that show “a reduction in wrinkle depth of up to 60% in one month or  “an increase in firmness by as much as 40%.” But what do these scientific-sounding statistics actually mean?
The Science of Beauty
The truth is, a cosmetic manufacturer’s “hard data” can mean almost anything. Even the definition of the term clinical study is open to question. In the case of wrinkle relaxers, virtually all evidence of their effectiveness comes from studies conducted or paid for by the manufacturers. The only third-party research I could find on argireline, for instance, was a single report published in a cosmetic industry journal—evidence that falls far short of “scientific proof.”
Are Botox  creams more hype than help? 

The Beauty of Common Sense
To reach a balanced judgment on skincare alternatives, I’ve always relied on sources I trust:  scientific evidence, gut instinct, and what I can see with my own eyes. When I applied this approach to wrinkle relaxers, the sketchy scientific research and my woman’s intuition pointed to an obvious question: If topical Botox really works, why are people still lining up for injections and cosmetic surgery? 
Nevertheless, seeing is believing. So I treated my complexion with a top-selling GABA-based brand for a month. From the first application to the last, the mirror told me the truth: Scientists have yet to discover a “facelift in a jar.”
Until that happens, a holistic, health-based skincare routine remains the safest, most effective method of delaying the signs of aging and minimizing the appearance of wrinkles. I’ll explain more about this noninvasive approach in upcoming posts.
Image: br3akthru /

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