The Best Retinol You’ll Ever Use and It’s Under $6

The Ordinary’s Retinol Serum is the perfect pick me up for aging skin.

Retinol, or Vitamin A is a popular skincare ingredient in wrinkle creams and serums. It works by stimulating cell turnover, increasing circulation and  boosting collagen production. The super vitamin can cure uneven skintone, plump skin and reduce fine lines. It also works on large pores and acne. In short, its a super product you can use daily to turn back the clock.

Once only available through a dermatologist, Retinol is available over the counter in a variety of strengths and prices. But just because a product is expensive, doesn’t mean it delivers. One of the best retinol treatments on the market is sold in a non-descript bottle for just $5.80.

The Ordinary’s Retinol in squalane is a nighttime treatment that leaves your skin moisturized, plump and younger after a few treatments. With regular use, my pores are smaller, lines less noticeable, skin tone is more even and my skin is plumper. I really regret it when I go to bed without putting this stuff on. The only negative for me is that it comes in a glass bottle with an eyedropper, because I am prone to spilling. Fortunately, I can afford to pick another one up. Unfortunately, it’s out of stock a lot.

The Ordinary retinol serum is available in strengths ranging from .01 to .05 percent. Start on the lower end until your skin gets used to it. Too much too fast and you’ll get red, flaking skin. It comes in a base of Squalane, a high moisture oil found naturally in the human body. You can find it ULTA Beauty, Sephora and Deciem.com for just $5.80

M-A-C Celebrating National Lipstick Day a little different this year

Stores are closed but you can still get a free lipstick.

For years MAC cosmetics has been the place to be on National Lipstick Day. All you had to do was show up (before they ran out) and get a free lipstick. But with MAC stores still closed, you won’t have that option. They are going to make it up to you by offering lipstick themed deals and giveaways all through the month of August.

Unfortunately, because it would be cost-prohibitive to mail everyone a free lipstick, you’ll have to buy something. Now through Jul.29, 2020, spend $30 or more and you’ll get your choice of Amplified Lipstick in Dubonnet, Matte Lipstick in Marrakesh or Lady Danger. No offer code necessary.

Sephora and ULTA Beauty usually have sales for National Lipstick Day along with many other brands. So set up a reminder for the 29th and check all of your favorite beauty sites for deals.

Wellness Supplements Find Their Way To the Beauty Aisle

Beauty brands add mood, sleep supplements to their roster of skincare and makeup

As the makeup and beauty segment becomes more competitive, beauty brands have been looking for ways to stand out from the crowd. One way has been to add supplements to their skincare lines. Everyone from Perricone to Pacifica has come out with a variety of powders, gummies and drops designed to boost collagen, strengthen hair or improve your mood.

Some products like Serovital, have been in stores for years but mood and sleep enhancers seem to be the newest kids on the block. I tried the above product by Pacifica, Dreamy Life Beauty Drops. It contains an ingredient called 5TP which (according to WebMD)  is supposed to boost your serotonin levels. However, this product only contains about half of the suggested daily value and I don’t think I ever consistently took enough to notice a difference.

One thing you will notice about all of these products is that the label usually contains the phrase: “These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” The FDA prohibits manufacturers from making any claim they can’t back up and will take action against any that do. You can read more about their regulation at the FDA website.

So are these supplements worth it? It depends on your expectations. Some work and some may have more of a placebo effect. If you want to try one of the more expensive products, look for a trial size so you don’t spend big bucks on something you may not like or buy a less expensive version from a drug or big box store.

Madison Reed Offering Specials at New Salon in Bethesda

Madison Reed Bethesda, courtesy Facebook

The online hair color company now has salons in 12 cities.

If you need a touch up for holidays, you might want to try the new Madison Reed salon. The online hair color company has opened a new color bar in Bethesda Row. The salon offers a variety of hair services including root touch-ups, hair gloss, highlights and blowouts.

The salon is designed to be both affordable and quick. Clients can book appointments online for the same day at a price lower than the average client. You can even save money by blow-drying your own hair at the salon’s self serve bar.

For a limited time, the Bethesda location is offering some deals on their signature services including roots and color glosses. A permanent color touch up for roots is $45 (normally $60) and a roots and color gloss service is only $65 ($90). The Madison Reed Color Bar is located at 7254 Woodmont Avenue, Space 49, in Bethesda Row.

Sunday Riley was caught up in a fake review scandal and it’s disappointing

Multivitamins by Sunday Riley

The company is accused of placing fake reviews on Sephora.com.

Between November 2015 and August 2017, Sunday Riley had its employees create fake identities using VPNs to write fake positive reviews on Sephora.com. The company has not been fined, but has admitted to the fake reviews under a consent order by the FTC.

The disappointing part about this case is that Sunday Riley’s products are actually good. In emails from the CEO to employees, the goal of the campaign was to keep average review at 4.8. She mentions two products, one is at 4.2 and the other at 4.9. So these products were doing fine and she pushed fake reviews to make them just a little better, damaging her reputation and the reputation of her products.

A few days before this story came out, I was writing a post of the above product, Multivitamins. The trial duo includes Luna Retinol Sleeping Oil and C.E.O. Rapid Flash Brightening Serum for just $28. I don’t what life was like before vitamin C serum! No, I do. I had dull, uneven skin that lacked any of the plumpness it used to have.

The serum is applied first and then you layer it with a few drops of the sleeping oil. In the morning you have bright, glowing skin that is plump as a baby’s cheek. This serum runs out quick, but the sleeping oil lasts forever. When I run out, I use Pixi by Petra’s Vitamin C Serum instead. To learn about Vitamin C Serums, read my article at Our Community Now. I also love Sunday Riley’s Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment.

The moral of the story is to make reviews part of the purchasing process, but look to other sources for advice. Ask your friends and family first. I don’t know how many times I have asked about a product and got a firsthand review, good or bad. When you’re shopping at beauty retailers, get a sample! If they don’t offer one, ask what the return/satisfaction policy is. Pssst. Sephora and Nordstrom will take anything back!