Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...and those of us holding the mascara wand.

After two decades of covering the beauty industry, I've come to learn what makes it so alluring. Finding the perfect shade of makeup to match your skin tone, adding a swipe of eyeliner to give your tired eyes a lift, discovering an innovative new product line, or indulging in a totally luxurious spa treatment. My experiences have been documented in magazines, newspapers and websites worldwide. I've tested newly formulated products in the lab, explored hair removal options, shopped for lipstick, added shine to my hair and succumbed to massage marathons--all in the name of beauty. I've written press releases, hosted makeover events and co-authored a Do-It-Yourself Beauty book (Alloy). On this blog, I write about products and services that I come across every day as well as those that have been provided by publicists or the companies that make them. Either way, I write what I think. I hope to share some of my insights--and bring you the latest, greatest beauty news right here. Join me in the quest to find all things pretty.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

expert advice: moisturizing tips from Rhea Grous, La Suite Skin Care

Rhea Grous is a certified esthetician and well-rounded beauty expert. Sure, she has degrees from the prestigious Catherine Hinds Institute in Boston and trained at The Decleor Institute in Paris, but her real skill is evident in the personal experience she offers her customers. Formerly the number one requested and booked esthetician at Manhattan’s Bliss Spa, she now works her magic at the La Suite Skin Care studio in Greenwich, CT. Here, she shares her expertise with us and helps us combat dry, winter skin...

Prettyisprettydoes: Does everyone need moisturizer?
Rhea Grous: Yes! You need moisturizer to hydrate the skin. Lack of hydration can lead to sensitivity, outbreaks, and other skin issues. Any condition from oily to dry skin can be magnified when lacking water, moisture or hydration.

PIPD: What's the most important factor to consider when buying a moisturizer? Are there any key ingredients they should definitely have for them to be effective?
RG: It's important to read the ingredients and avoid color, fragrance and too many preservatives because they increase the chance of irritation and allergic reaction. Moisturizers these days are PRIMARILY focused on anti aging; we each have to choose what's right for our skin. Humectants, which increase water levels in the skin, are a huge benefit for moisturizers. Vitamins fight environmental damage which can be caused by free radicals. Peptides signal your skin to make more collagen, and might act like Botox. AHAs and BHAs offer antiaging and exfoliating properties and help retexturize skin. It's a good idea to look for these in your night moisturizer. Retinols are antiaging, accelerate exfoliation, improve appearance of fine lines and helps reduce sun damage. These are also great in a
night moisturizer that can work while you're sleeping.

PIPD: Does your moisturizing routine need to change based on the season (ie: hot weather vs. cold weather)?
RG: Absolutely, weather changes our skin's needs. In general, warm weather gives the skin more of everything and skin tends to prefer a lighter version of its usual moisturizer. Additionally, this is NOT the season to forget sunscreen -- it should be a must!! Many moisturizers include sunscreen these days (sunscreen in a moisturizer is automatically a day cream). VS night cream which usually has a retinol or alpha hydroxy. In winter, the harsh elements tend to rob the skin of water. Look for a moisturizer to spike the humectants and increase water levels.

PIPD: Any product recommendations?
RG: La Mer products, which are oil-based, are an incredible way to moisturize dry skin. The moisturizer is the best in the business. La Mer also has an incredible oil-absorbing moisturizer for those that are super oily. Both are expensive but worth it. Skinceuticals' Face Cream is water-based, hydrating and has antioxidants to protect and shield the skin of free radicals that promote aging. SkinMedica products range from inexpensive (under $50) to expensive ($112). They are water-based and, therefore, compatible with most people's skin. They have antioxidants and epidermal growth factors which are great for healing and promoting new cells (available from a doctor or the internet). G.M. Collins products are in the same range as above. There are creams with peptides as well as antiaging options. Peptides are very popular these days as they aid in minimizing wrinkles. This is a great option for those who don't want to Botox, and a great choice for those who use Botox since it helps to extend the lifespan of the treatment. One of my favorite lines is a drugstore brand called La Roche Posay. Redermic (about $44) has all the bells and whistles, but no peptides. A water-based cream containing vitamins, humectants (like sodium hyaluronate and glycerin) and a silicone ingredient that makes the product soooo silky and helps fill in wrinkles. It reads beautifully on the skin at a low price point and is easily accessible. Plus, it comes in normal to combination skin as well as normal to dry. The company's Effaclar moisturizer is great for oily skin and runs about $25. It's a great way to mattify the skin in the morning while still treating it.

For more info on Rhea and La Suite Skin Care, go to


  1. Using skin products that has scent or fragrance is not a good idea especially for those with sensitive and oily skins. You should look for ingredients like Peptides and rich in vitamins.

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