Lancôme takes an extra-indulgent approach to gifts this year with an exclusive presentation of its year-old fragrance La Vie Est Belle. Teaming up with legendary Swiss music-box maker Reuge and crystal purveyor Baccarat, the brand has released a limited-edition collectible called La Vie Est Belle L'édition Féérique ($35,000): A bottle of La Vie Est Belle housed in a handmade music box with a mini Baccarat chandelier of nearly 200 crystals hanging above it. Just 15 of them were made.
The music box plays “Beautiful Days,” a song by the Belgian band Venus that was featured in the fragrance’s original campaign starring Julia Roberts. Its 144 notes—deciphered by Reuge using a process that involves a special keyboard of blades that vary in length according to each tone—ring out by pressing a button as the vase turns and the bottle catches the light.
Interpreting the spirit of the scent (lush with iris, patchouli and sweet culinary notes) was no small task, and creating one of these showstoppers is an absolute labor of love: Each takes 120 days of work by hand to produce. neimanmarcus.com.
Courtesy of KCM Publishing
When Manhattan plastic surgeon Gerald Imber published the first version of his book The Youth Corridor: Your Guide to Timeless Beauty in 1997, his approach turned heads and, no doubt, improved skin. Now, he has introduced a video-enhanced e-book version of his manifesto—focused on prevention, maintenance and correction—complete with new material and 14 video clips that essentially bring the doctor to you.
“The format was a result of my desire to make the book more personal and relevant, like a consultation,” says Imber. “In fact, it addresses subjects as I do, face to face.”
An informative, interesting read no matter your relationship with anti-aging strategies, the book is like a self-help manual for one’s face, proving surgery alone isn’t always the answer to looking younger. Imber delves into diet (enjoy antioxidant-rich foods), exercise (consider swapping running, which can cause facial skin to lose elasticity over time, for lower-impact workouts) and the foundations of a solid skincare routine (from cleanser and moisturizer to vitamin C serums [we wrote about his Boost 2.0 serum last year] and alpha-hydroxy acids).
The advice is bound to make you re-think some of your habits and, if knowledge is indeed power, walk away armed with the tools to help maintain natural beauty for as long as possible. “The point is for the reader to understand what they can do for themselves,” he says, “and what we can do for them.” Available for iPad and iPhone at itunes.apple.com; kcmpublishing.com.
Courtesy of Julien Farel
Whatever the reports of climate change across the globe, high humidity remains a major force to reckon with when it comes to having smooth hair. Numerous treatments, from Brazilian blowouts to Japanese straightening, have dominated the market with some scary consequences. “If not done correctly, Japanese straightening can break hair that’s damaged,” says Rudy Peña, a hair-treatment specialist at the Julien Farel Salon in Manhattan. “The formula is so strong, it strips out all the vitamins and protein that strengthen and protect hair.” And Brazilian treatments have faced controversy over their use of formaldehyde.
Hair that is color-treated, over-processed and damaged from frequent blowouts loses body and luster, becoming uncontrollably frizzy when humidity hits its high point. The solution, according to Peña, is the Zero Frizz Quickie, a new treatment developed exclusively at the salon using Julien Farel’s own line of JF Zero Frizz products. Depending on hair’s length and thickness, the entire process can take no more than 45 minutes. (The treatment is currently available at the salon’s New York locations and will be offered at the Miami and Cabo San Lucas outposts later this year.)
I was heading to Miami Beach for the weekend and decided to give it a true road test. Peña began with a shampoo to make sure my hair was extra clean. He then towel-dried it and massaged the treatment—a mix of JF Zero Frizz Restore and keratin protein—into my scalp at the sink. He blow-dried my hair thoroughly and flat-ironed it to seal the product into each strand’s cortex. We returned to the sink for another application of a deep mask and finished with a final blowout and style.
My hair is naturally curly and wavy, and I don’t really like it stick straight, so I was concerned that some body would be lost, but that wasn’t the case. The treatment made blow-drying easier, and though I still needed to use a smoothing product, I definitely noticed a change in my hair’s texture. The best part? My blowout survived four days in 100 percent humidity and didn’t fall flat or frizz.
The Zero Frizz Quickie lasted almost three months, making the $200 investment a real bargain. (Peña said it would last about two months, but I found using the JF Zero Frizz shampoo and conditioner helped extend the results.) As a final test, I returned to Miami six months after having the treatment and found the frizz had returned and a blowout was useless; my hair fell flat and was unmanageable. I had to retreat to my old system of swimming in the ocean and keeping the saltwater in my hair for as long as possible—not the most aromatic styling process. 605 Madison Ave.; 212-888-8988; 400 Fifth Ave., 4th fl.; 212-613-8720; julienfarel.com.
© Courtesy of MAKE UP FOR EVER
Cosmetics brand Make Up For Ever is giving a whole new meaning to the idea of beauty consultations with the launch of its mobile Make Up School. The tour kicked off in Los Angeles last week, is in San Francisco this weekend (February 9 and 10) and will make stops in six more cities—including Miami (March 2 and 3) and New York (March 9 and 10)—before culminating in Toronto on April 13 and 14.
Women in each port are invited to bring in their makeup bags for a 30-minute appointment with a professional makeup artist, who will teach them how to properly use the products that they already own, regardless of brand. “If you’re unsure about how to use something, most likely it will just become one among a collection of products in a cosmetic graveyard,” says managing educator Jessie Powers. “We want to show women how to use what they have.” Now that is an education we can get behind. For appointments, visit makeupbagremix.com.
© James T. Murray.
Here’s one less thing to worry about when packing for your next trip: a miniature, vintage-inspired trunk case containing all the makeup items you need for day and night. Clé de Peau Beauté’s makeup creative director, Lucia Pieroni, curated this complete face palette with brand-new colors that work anytime and anywhere. “In the end, you just need to look healthy, with a little bit of a glow,” says Pieroni. With that philosophy in mind, she included four shadows of gold, peach, rust and champagne that work with any skin tone. “A little bit of soft, neutral shading makes your eyes look big,” she says, “and a velvety texture with a little bit of shimmer gives you sparkle.” A cool-pink blush and rose lip color make the selection even more versatile. “I use lipsticks as blush, and blush on eyelids as shadow.” A rich brown eyeliner and eyebrow powder eliminate the need for pencils, and a jet-black mascara lengthens lashes. The best part: For a mini collection, everything is a usable size. $180; neimanmarcus.com.
Spider veins, those unsightly blue starbursts that appear mostly on the legs, affect 50 percent of women and 20 percent of men. Dr. Luis Navarro, founder and medical director of New York’s Vein Treatment Center, is known for his advancements in pain-free procedures with fast results.
Q: What are the latest techniques for vein-free legs?
A: Cryo Sclerotherapy, in which freezing air of negative 22 degrees Fahrenheit is blasted on the skin while a chemical solution is injected to constrict the veins and make them disappear; the use of foam and milder solutions to avoid blood clots; and polarized light to see more veins deeper in the tissue.
Q: How big a difference is Cryo in terms of pain?
A: It’s a whole other level. Sclerotherapy requires 50 to 100 shots; sometimes you barely feel them, but after 100 pinpricks, anxiety can set in. Using the Cryo device to cool the area, especially sensitive parts like around the ankle and on the back of the knee, helps eliminate any uncomfortable feelings.
Q: Are there other benefits?
A: The ice-cold air keeps the veins constricted for a certain amount of time, which minimizes black-and-blue marks and eliminates the need to wear support hose for days afterward.
Sessions start at $500; veintreatmentcenter.com.
© James T. Murray.
When Manhattan plastic surgeon Gerald Imber introduced his Youth Corridor line of antiaging products three years ago, we were impressed with the potency of the formula and its strong concentration of vitamin C, vitamin E and melatonin—an antioxidant blend that proved to lighten our dark spots faster than any other we had tried. So with the release of the new Boost 2.0 serum, we wondered, Why mess with perfection? “The more vitamin C you can get into your skin, the better,” says Dr. Imber. “This formulation has 50 percent more active vitamin C, or ascorbic acid.” And though we found the smell stronger as well—“Honey, it ain’t perfume”—it does go away after 15 seconds. “You know you’re dealing with something serious when you open the bottle,” Dr. Imber says. $145; youthcorridor.com.
© James T. Murray.
Back in 2007, Tom Ford led the way for men’s scents in the ultra-prestige-fragrance market with the introduction of Tom Ford for Men. Those who never wore cologne or were mostly familiar with the likes of Brut and Old Spice suddenly paid attention, and the idea of spending a little extra for some masculine essence gained traction. Fast-forward to 2012 and the house of Ermenegildo Zegna, which has just launched an exclusive collection of five scents called Essenze by Ermenegildo Zegna, inspired by its couture line. Just as the house owns mills for its suits, it has planted and harvested a field of bergamot in Calabria, Italy, to create these very individual eaux de cologne. $195 each; zegna.com.
Indonesian Oud: Crafted from rare oud wood, this scent is long-lasting. It was designed with an eye toward men in the Middle East, especially those who must wash when they pray five times a day.
Florentine Iris: A mix of three iris varieties paired with bergamot, jasmine, violet and musk, this fragrance attracts the modern Frenchman.
Javanese Patchouli: This is not the patchouli of incense and the hippie movement, but rather a scent that will appeal to men worldwide for its unique blend with Italian bergamot, pink pepper, tonka bean and cedarwood.
Sicilian Mandarin: Mandarin oil formulated with bergamot, spearmint, petitgrain and moss creates a scent as complex and alluring as the Latin man who may wear it.
Italian Bergamot: The lead scent in the collection, it represents the epitome of a refined Italian nobleman. The peel of the fruit is cold-pressed, like olives, to release citrus oils. Neroli, rosemary and vetiver finish it off.
Photo courtesy of Fontainebleau Miami Beach
Two masseuses, half the time. That’s the benefit of the Two on One service from the custom men’s menu of Lapis Spa at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. With no compromises made to the zen-like stone interiors and glowing waterfalls, the men’s treatments are quick and efficient, yet still relaxing. The 50-minute Refuel facial ($135), for example, includes a blue algae mask, which nourishes and regenerates the skin, while an aesthetician massages the scalp and feet. We received a seaweed and salt scrub ($70) to detoxify and remineralize the skin, had a Vichy multi-jet shower and underwent a Two on One back, leg and foot massage ($160) in less than an hour. 4441 Collins Ave.; 305-674-4772; fontainebleau.com.
Photo courtesy of Molton Brown
Launched earlier this year, the British brand’s ten-piece collection was created from potent plants and minerals that target specific problem areas to improve skin’s health and slow down the aging process. Here, a sampling.
Benefits: An antioxidant mineral featured in the cleansing gel, this rids the skin of free radicals. $50.
Benefits: The line’s lip booster uses papaya extract to gently exfoliate and smoothen lips. $50.
Benefits: A sugar-pea-based complex is used in the neck and décolletage cream to even skin tone. $85.
Pink Toronja Grapefruit
Benefits: The refining toner is infused with this exfoliating fruit acid to rid dead cells and polish skin. $40.
Benefits: Found in the hand cream, daisy extract helps minimize uneven skin tone. $50; all at moltonbrown.com.