Author Archive

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Playing Favorites: True Nature Botanicals’ Luxurious Non-Toxic Skincare Line

tnbYou ladies know I get spoiled on a daily basis having the best job in the world…  And, as much as I’m not jaded about all the freebies I receive, it takes a lot for a skincare line to completely take over my vanity (with a few complementary exceptions, which I will get to in future posts). When I was writing my story  Naturals 2.0 for the San Francisco Chronicle, I was introduced to Hillary Peterson, CEO and Founder of True Nature Botanicals (TNB) and I was completely blown away by her story and the brand. Peterson is a  cancer survivor who was determined to create luxurious results-driven non-toxic skincare. I can affirm — mission accomplished.

Keep in mind that when I met Peterson, I had already visited at least 3 or 4 other ‘next generation natural’ brands (by next generation I mean high-performance lines backed by and formulated with green chemistry) which were adorning my vanity. But, when I started playing with the beautiful TNB products, I simply fell in love and I found that the brown glass TNB bottles quickly occupied almost every step in my skincare routine.

The TNB product line literally makes me giddy for my nighttime skincare ritual. Now, these products are luxurious to use because they smell and feel AMAZING, but the true beauty of the line lies in its performance. My skin has never been smoother, plumper and more even (read: less temper tantrums).

You ladies know how bitchy and temperamental my skin is — imagine me using a retinol — now imagine me hiding in my house, waiting for my skin to return to a “not scaring the kids” mode. Despite all the scientific studies backing up retinol’s performance as a powerful anti-aging ingredient, I’ve never been able to find a retinol that didn’t put my skin in a tizzy, until… you guessed it… I discovered Pacific Night Serum with Retinol for Sensitive Skin ($150). This gentle night serum gives you just the right dose of retinol to “active, not irritate.”

Another standout is the TNB Pacific Topical Vitamin C Treatment, which makes me feel like an alchemist every other night (when I’m not doing retinol) as I open the capsule of powdered vitamin c and sprinkle it in the super-nourishing Pacific Face Serum ($140). 

I apply the retinol and the vitamin c-spiked serum as my last step in my skincare regimen. So, lets back up a bit and I’ll tell you the rest:

1) 2-3 times a week I start with the Pacific Exfoliating Cleanser (yeah that’s right, gentle enough even for my overly sensitive skin) which combines a patented mushroom extract with a gentle exfoliator.

2) Then I spray the unbelievably heavenly-smelling Pacific Mist ($48) way too generously (I’m terrified I’m going to run out soon!) to hydrate and breathe in the neroli-scented (naturally of course) deliciousness. Of course I can’t help myself from misting myself every time I walk by my vanity.

3) Then I pat and press into my face the Pacific Face Oil ($110), a combination of active oils and Marine Essential Fatty Acids.

4) If it’s daytime, I finish with sunscreen (obviously) and nighttime I either use the retinol serum or Face Serum + Vitamin C capsule combo.

 

So, I know the line is a little pricey, but I can assure you that there is good reason (and that I’m not getting paid to write this). There is zero filler here — you are getting nothing but active naturals and non-toxic ingredients in the most luxurious products imaginable. And guess what? TNB is giving my readers a 15% discount for the next week!

So go ahead and spoil your skin and get 15% off your entire True Nature Botanicals order for a limited time by entering promo code BINGE at checkout.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Getting Clean (Slowly)…

Okay let’s not jump to any ugly conclusions…   Yeah, I know I’ve been gone for a few months, and if you’re a long time reader, you know how much I love my wine… But by no means do I have a problem (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I live 27 minutes from wine country; I’m just supporting local businesses).

My problem isn’t my wine consumption — it’s my dirty beauty products. I just finished an in-depth piece for the San Francisco Chronicle which previewed online today (read it here) and will be on the cover of the Style section Sunday. I’ve been working on this piece for several months and I’ll be frank, what I learned scared the living shit out of me.

I know what you’re thinking right now… Okay, so Janna moved from New York three years ago and now she’s morphed into a hippy-dippy crunchy Californian. Let’s not get crazy. Sure, I bought a pair of Birkenstocks (they’re so comfy!) and I’ve been known to sign a petition or two, but that’s not what this is about. I was mortified to learn that my government is doing nothing about the toxins in my beauty products. That’s right. Nada. Let’s put it this way… the FDA has banned 9 ingredients in the past 75 years and Europe has banned over a 1000!

So what damage can such a small amount of toxins do to you? Unfortunately a lot. New studies have shown that even a small amount of exposure can lead to cancer, reproductive issues, and many more scary ailments. I know it’s tough to actually believe that such a small amount of something could lead to cancer 20 years from now, but the science doesn’t lie.

Scare tactics aside… In my research for this story, I was introduced to several beautiful non-toxic brands like True Nature Botanicals, Marie Veronique, and Vintner’s Daughter. Before I started using the products, I assumed these natural brands would smell nice and feel good on my skin but I wasn’t expecting miracles for my red, blotchy bitchy tantrum-throwing skin. I couldn’t have been more wrong. We’re talking actives like natural retinol and topical vitamin c blended with Mother Nature’s most potent blend of soothers and anti-agers. Bonus: they also smell amazing and feel great on my skin.

MY SKIN HAS NEVER LOOKED SO GLORIOUS!!! SERIOUSLY!

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And not only does my skin look amazing but these products have really made me fall in love with beauty all over again. I feel like I’m in my friend Meredith’s bathroom in sixth grade, applying her Clinique loose powder for the first time. I literally look forward to my nighttime skincare ritual.

Now, while my skincare is 100% non-toxic my makeup and haircare are slowly getting there…  Keep in mind that even if you replace just a few of your dirty products you’re reducing your exposure dramatically, so go ahead and take it slow.

While you wait with bated breath for my first product review (wait until after the July 4th holiday), start paying attention to your ingredients. No clue where to start? Download the Think Dirty app, scan your beauty products, and get informed. Want a quick cheat sheet? Try the free downloadable pocket guides from my new favorite beauty subscription box service Spa Heroes (and while you’re at it sign up — the founder curates AMAZING products and you end up saving money).

Go enjoy the weekend and don’t forget to apply sunscreen (make sure it’s a mineral sunscreen!)…

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Buh-Bye Dark Circles: 2 Products You Need for Instantly Brighter Eyes

Oh, dark circles… Over the years, you’ve never failed to miss an opportunity to broadcast my shitty sleep or hangover by making me look like I got caught in a bar fight. I’ve had enough of you and your purplish-blue bullshit and it’s time to say… “buh-bye.”

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STEP 1: tarte Maracuja C-Brighter™ Eye Treatment  ($38) 

Yeah, that’s right. My favorite brightening eye cream is under $40. And, I can assure you this little cream will run circles around its insanely expensive competition. This is one of the only eye creams I’ve ever tested that gave me instant brightening results. Packed full of antioxidants and hydrators, this little eye cream will be your new best friend.

The key to concealing dark circles is to use a pink or peach-based concealer directly on the dark areas. With 16 color options, Bobbi Brown definitely has the best line of these correcting concealers. Use either your ring finger or a concealer brush to lightly tap the corrector on the offending areas. Lightly blend with a  beauty blender.

Because I’m also plagued with puffy eyes, I follow up with  the Nudestix pencil in the shadow of my under-eye bag. If you feel like you need powder to set the under eye area (I tend to skip this step though I know many makeup artists swear by it) opt for an soft-focus, light-reflecting finishing powder like Laura Mercier Invisible Pressed Setting Powder.

That’s it! You’re done!

So, let’s give one more “buh-bye” to the dark circles for good measure…

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Um, You Need This: Nudestix Concealer Pencil

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I’ll be the first to admit I was dubious when I first saw the NUDESTIX Concealer Pencil. How could a pencil possibly be gentle enough for the delicate under eye area? What if it tugs at the skin? What if it’s drying? What if it doesn’t blend??

But come on, what kind of beauty writer would I be if I didn’t take some chances for the sake of research? I bought two of them. That’s my level of dedication.

Each pencil comes in a cute little mirrored tin with a sharpener that fits on the end of the pencil so you don’t lose it. I bought Light 3  for concealing under-eye darkness and puffiness and Medium 4 to cover up blemishes and redness around my nose and chin.

Starting with the Light 3 pencil, I created a dotted line right along the shadow of my eye bag and used my ring finger to lightly blend. The concealer is creamier than you would expect from a pencil so there’s zero drag. I also love that the formula manages to be matte (no powder required) without being drying (miracle!).

I hate to be dramatic but the results were, well, dramatic. I looked at myself in the car mirror (always the true test) and my bags looked deflated. I feel like the precision of the pencil tip combined with the hydrating, long-wear formula makes the Nudestix Concealer Pencil so effective under the eyes.

Next, I used the Medium 4 to draw lines around my nostrils and made little dashes on my chin. Again, the concealer blended seamlessly with the tip of my finger. Wondering how the pencil performed on pimples? Two words:  pure genius. The fine tip and matte finish make it ideal for hiding little imperfections.

The pencils are slim enough to fit into the smallest of evening bags so obviously they are my lipstick’s new constant companions. I’ll be honest… I’m in love.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Banished to the Beauty Graveyard: Foreo Luna Silicone Cleansing Brush

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“Disappointment” cannot even begin to describe how I feel about my new Foreo Luna Silicone Cleansing Brush.

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Yeah, that’s right. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about this ridiculously overpriced ($199) vibrator being advertised as “a silicone facial brush for sensitive skin that channels both T-sonic pulsations for deep and gentle cleansing, and lower-frequency pulsations to reduce the signs of aging.”

There is no deep cleansing. There is no gentle cleansing. There is no cleansing.

Using the Foreo Luna basically feel like you’re trying to cleanse your face with the wrong end of your Clarisonic cleansing brush. 

So, why did I plunk down $200 in the first place? Because I’m a helpless beauty addict. Sometimes I just can’t resist believing all the hype I read in the magazines and blogs. In this case, I desperately wanted to believe the hype since I constantly over-anguish about bacteria growing on my Clarisonic cleansing brush (these are the things that keep me up at night). As a silicone cleansing device, the Foreo Luna is “nonporous to resist bacteria buildup, making it up to 35x more hygienic than standard sonic-cleansing brushes.”

How could I resist?

Obviously I didn’t, and I was instantly disappointed when I opened the box. The cleansing device is a really awkward design — it doesn’t fit easily in your hand and the tip isn’t narrow enough to effectively get to small areas like the corners of your nose or between your eyes.

Once the Foreo was fully charged, I followed the instructions and applied cleanser to my face, ran the device under water, and then begun the “cleansing” process. I would love to describe the “cleansing” experience more eloquently but, in short, it sucked.

It felt like the hard ridges were catching and tugging on my skin. I wet the tip a couple more times and it didn’t help. Then, after rinsing my face I went to the true test — I swiped a rose water-soaked cotton pad across my face and, you guessed it, the cotton pad showed traces of makeup.

Total. Epic. Failure. 

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And with that, I cast the Foreo Luna into the beauty graveyard… Where all useless beauty products go to die.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

How to Get the Best Looks From Last Night’s Golden Globes

Let me start by saying I was beyond elated that Boyhood and Transparent took home top honors at the Golden Globes last night. Bravo! Bravo! Of course my elation started way before the first gilded award was handed out. Aside from the usual invasion of the boring nude lip, the red carpet screamed Hollywood — just the way I like it! There were sultry smoky eyes, statement red lips, and old Hollywood waves, oh my!

I would be remiss if I didn’t share how to get the best looks of the night:

Amal Clooney’s Makeup

Courtesy Charlotte Tilbury

Photo courtesy Charlotte Tilbury

Mrs. Clooney’s makeup was almost as inspiring as her impressive resume. UK Celebrity Makeup Artist Charlotte Tilbury created the look:  “I went into today knowing what she likes, so I created a retro beauty look inspired by the silver screen sirens that fits her classic style.” Mission accomplished. She looks absolutely stunning.

Get the Look:

  1. Charlotte applied  Charlotte Tilbury ‘Charlotte’s Magic Cream’ Treat & Transform Moisturizer to the entire face followed by Charlotte Tilbury ‘Wonderglow’ Instant Soft-Focus Beauty Flash to create a flawless soft focus and an instant “spotlight” effect, which acted as the perfect base to the Charlotte Tilbury ‘Light Wonder’ Youth-Boosting Perfect Skin Foundation in 7 Medium.
  1. Charlotte applied Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte Tilbury ‘The Retoucher’ Conceal & Treat Stick in 2 Fair and 3 Medium underneath the eye. Rid the face of any unwanted oils with a dusting of Charlotte Tilbury ‘Air Brush Flawless Finish’ Skin Perfecting Micro-Powder Skin Perfecting Micro-Powder in 2 Medium down the middle of the face only to keep Amal’s skin dewy and fresh.
  1. Next, Charlotte used Charlotte Tilbury ‘Brow Lift’ Three-Way Shape, Lift & Shade Eyebrow Pencil to perfect brows and shape the face.
  1. To bring out the golden highlights in Amal’s eyes, Charlotte applied the pop shade from Charlotte Tilbury ‘Luxury Palette – The Dolce Vita’ Color-Coded Eyeshadow Paletteacross the lids. Charlotte Tilbury ‘Rock ‘n’ Kohl’ Iconic Liquid Eye Pencil was applied around the eye. To soften the liner, Charlotte Tilbury ‘The Classic’ Eye Powder Pencil was applied over the top. Charlotte applied three coats of Charlotte Tilbury ‘Full Fat Lashes’ 5 Star Mascara to the top lashes and only one coat to bottom lashes to create an open-eyed look.
  1. Charlotte used  Charlotte Tilbury ‘Filmstar Bronze & Glow’ Face Sculpt & Highlight to highlight and sculpt the cheek, nose, jawline and temples.
  2. To create the perfect cheek, Charlotte used Charlotte Tilbury ‘Cheek to Chic’ Swish & Pop Blush across the cheekbones.
  3. Finish with the perfect velvety red lip by using Charlotte Tilbury ‘Lip Cheat’ Re-Size & Re-Shape Lip Liner Savage Rose along with Charlotte Tilbury ‘K.I.S.S.I.N.G’ Lipstick Night Crimson .

Read the rest of this entry »

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Mad About Marsala: How to Wear Pantone’s Color of the Year!

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Finally! Pantone chose a color that’s actually practical for makeup! Sure, 2014’s Radiant Orchid was a pretty purple but not everyone can rock purple eye shadow. (Especially those of us who are over 40 and should finally surrender vibrant-colored eye makeup to our younger friends; Yes, I’m talking to myself) Never fear lovelies of all ages… This year, Pantone chose Marsala – an earthy reddish brown that looks, dare I say, amazing on almost everyone!

Sephora was kind enough to send me their exclusive Sephora + Pantone Universe Marsala collection, and after testing all the products I quickly discovered Marsala had found a permanent home in the Beauty Binge lineup. My two favorites from the collection:

SEPHORA+PANTONE UNIVERSE Pure Marsala Matte Lip Creme Marsala ($18): I’ve been fighting the big nude lip trend since it began a couple years ago. It just never made sense to me to wear a color that makes your lips disappear from your face.  (Obviously this sentiment does not apply when wearing dramatic eye makeup) Think of this lipstick as the next generation of nude — minimalist, yet still draws attention to your lips. It’s darker than a traditional nude and the slight reddish brown warms my complexion. Its creamy, semi-matte formula feels like a lip treatment and lasts like a long-wear lipstick.

SEPHORA+PANTONE UNIVERSE Marsala Metalshine Liquid Liner Marsala ($18) – I was a little dubious when I first tested this metallic reddish bronzy liquid liner on the back of my hand. I thought it might be too metallic and bold for my age, but when I swiped the wand across my lash line I noticed right away that my eye looked bluer and brighter. I gave one to my young, brown-eyed friend Emily and her eyes looked richer and brighter too. Everybody wins.

The collection also includes Bold Marsala Mascara & Brow Highlighter ($20), Cooling Marsala Multi Stick Marsala ($25), Facets of Marsala Multi-Finish Eye Palette ($39), and Marsala Layering Lip Collection ($28). 

Available at Sephora stores and Sephora. com.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Rita Hazan Weekly Remedy — Like You Just Stepped Out of a Salon (Seriously…)

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No, Rita Hazan is not paying me to write this nor does her publicist have naked pictures of me from my college days. (Maybe from my twenties… Kidding!!) You know I’m a lifelong beauty addict, which means I’ve heard (and fallen for) every promise of magical elixirs that turn dull, frizzy hair into shiny, bouncy, kitten-soft tresses. But, I call ‘em like I see ‘em – Rita Hazan Weekly Remedy literally transformed my hair after one use.

I received the Rita Hazan Weekly Remedy from her lovely publicist (who to reiterate does not have naked pictures of me) and I made it a priority to test it on my coughed-up hairball hair. Seriously, the dry heat blaring from the vents combined with the very rainy season here in the Bay Area made my hair into a dry, brittle, frizzy mess. I even seemed to be getting tangles that resembled dreadlocks underneath. I stand by my coughed-up hairball description.

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The treatment is a fast, two-step conditioning process. I mention “fast” because I’ve owned so many hair masks that I never end up using because the process was too much of a time suck. I remember one hair mask said I was supposed to shrink wrap my head and hold a hairdryer on it for 10 minutes. You would think I would have discovered that tidbit before I plunked down $30. I was young and stupid once too.

After I applied and rinsed both treatments, I honestly felt the difference in the texture of my hair right away. I applied my regular styling products and let my hair air-dry for about an hour, and then diffused it. I flipped my head up to reveal, you guessed it, hair that looked like I just stepped out of a salon. Just imagine me flipping my head up in slow motion, curls bouncing everywhere.

From Rita Hazan:

A revolutionary formula that instantly transforms strands into lustrous, healthy, shiny hair with vibrant color. The innovative and lightweight treatment fixes the hair from the inside out immediately for instant gratification. Four oils deeply condition & hydrate while rice proteins strengthen and fortify.

Treat It ( Step 1 ) treats and opens the hair cuticle for optimal penetration of conditioners, proteins, and UV protectors. 

 Seal It ( Step  2 ) -seals and locks in reparative nutrients and conditioners for deep and lasting hydration, while color is preserved with a protective shield.

Rita Hazan Weekly Treatment retails for $42 and is available at Ulta, Ulta.com, and RitaHazan.com.

 

 

 

 

 

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Tale of Two Primers…

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It was the most inflamed of times, it was the shiniest of times, it was the age of visible redness, it was the age of large pores, it was the epoch of angry skin, it was the epoch of visible shine, it was the season of dryness, it was the season of t-zone troubles….

Ok, you get it.

What I’m trying to say (aside from my poor attempt to Dickens up my post) is my skin is going through two very ugly phases right now:

1. Tons of redness and irritation that tends to flame up from stress (good luck avoiding that), a glass of wine (I have a better chance avoiding the stress), and coffee (I would rather pull my eyelashes out one by one than give up coffee)

2. My pores are huge and I seem to get shiny in my t-zone regardless of the weather or situation

Luckily, I found two primers that are helping me through these woeful times. Yes, it sucks that I have to apply two separate primers but it’s better than the unsightly alternative. First, banishing the redness…

I tried CLINIQUE Redness Solutions Daily Protective Base SPF 15 without expecting much. I’d heard it all before — soothing, redness-reducing, blah blah blah. I’ve tried almost every green-tinted skin product out there, all of them made big promises to correct my angry red skin.  So, I wasn’t expecting much when I slathered the creamy, green dill-scented primer all over my face.  It felt cool and comforting upon application. Then I looked in the mirror and noticed my skin looked borderline normal! Sure, there was still some visible pink but it wasn’t the usual “I just walked through a chemical fire” face.


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Clinique’s Description:

Protects skin from the UVA/UVB exposure that can aggravate skins with Rosacea or reactive redness. Does it without chemical sunscreens. Comforting, oil-free makeup primer with a sheer green tint visually corrects redness, evens skin tone.

Overall, my skin looked healthy and dewy. This definitely isn’t the type of primer to give you that flawless airbrushed finish. My pores were still large and in charge and obviously the dewy finish wasn’t doing my shine any favors.

Enter primer #2…

Tarte Timeless Smoothing Primer is a blurring primer to help fill in fine lines and enlarged pores, and put the kibosh on shine. If you have oily skin, this primer is your new best friend. It literally melts into the skin giving you an airbrushed, “blurred” finish.

blurTarte’s Description:

A melt-in smoothing primer with innovative blurring and filling technology for a youthful appearance perfectly primed for makeup application. 

Product Performance: Turn back the hands of time with tarte’s new timeless smoothing and filling primer formulated to fade out your biggest beauty boundaries such as large pores, fine lines and wrinkles. The antioxidant-rich formula infused with vitamins C & E and green bean extract gently melts into the skin delivering a surge of moisture, peptides and other naturally-derived elixirs for a firmer, smoother appearance. You’ll love the lightweight texture and fresh powder scent as it provides the perfect blank canvas to enhance the look and wear time of makeup. It can also be worn alone as part of your skincare regimen, blurring out skin imperfections and signs of aging for a flawless, soft-focus finish. 

Powered By: vitamin E: natural preservative that also acts as an anti-inflammatory emollient and antioxidant

vitamin C: antioxidant that fights free radical damage and premature signs of aging while brightening skin

green bean extract: known for anti-wrinkle and pore minimizing properties

mineral pigments: soothe and soften skin

A word to the wise… If you have combination skin like me you only want to put this mattifying primer on your trouble spots or your skin will end up looking flat.  And as Dickens may have said himself, had a been a beauty blogger…

“It is a far, far better primer that I wear, than I have ever worn; it is a far, far better skin that I have, than I have ever known.”

 

 

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Like Dragging a Kitten Across Your Face: Clarisonic Cashmere Cleanse Brush Head

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Okay, maybe my headline should have read “Like a kitten willingly rubbing up against your face…” Poor kitty. All I know is that before I discovered the Clarisonic Luxe Facial Brush Head – Cashmere Cleanse  my ultra-sensitive, tantrum-throwing skin would limit me to using my Clarisonic (with the standard sensitive brush head)  1-2 times a week max.

Not only does this ultra-soft and gentle brush head allow me to use my Clarisonic every day, but it feels like heaven and leaves my skin clean and tantrum-free. It honestly feels like a thousand fairies fluttering their wings on your face.

From Clarisonic:

The Clarisonic Cashmere Cleanse Facial Brush Head features a dynamic dual-layer design that gently massages facial skin — generating fluid forces to cleanse 6x better than hands alone while simultaneously increasing skin’s natural hydration levels. Compatible with all Clarisonic facial cleansing devices.

The Clarisonic Luxe High Performance Brush Head Collection

A symphony of performance and comfort, the Clarisonic Luxe High Performance Brush Head Collection features innovative tapered, ultra-long filaments to deliver uncompromising cleansing efficacy with enhanced hydration results. Perfect for even the most mature and dry complexion, these brush heads gently glide over skin, leaving it feeling clean and supple.

So, go out and buy this brush head so you don’t have to use Fluffy to gently exfoliate away those blackheads.

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