1. Vitamin A for Effort
As the popularity of actives and of-the-moment ingredients shows no sign of slowing, retinol, which is a form of vitamin A and belongs to the family of compounds called retinoids, is one of the few buzzy ingredients that dermatologists, editors and consumers seem to favour.
According to Shiffa founder Dr. Lamees Hamdan: “Retinol helps boost collagen production, speed cell turnover and unclog pores. This results in reducing fine lines and wrinkles, evening out discoloration and brightening skin tone, reducing acne and making pores appear smaller.”
Regional Dermalogica educator Lisa Williams agrees, adding that: “The most powerful effects of retinoids are on collagen, the structural foundation of our skin. Retinoids have a dual effect here: they not only help to decrease the amount of collagen breakdown from sun exposure by preventing the rise of MMP enzymes called collagenase, they also help to stimulate the production of new collagen and GAGs synthesis. There are different types of retinoids with varying degrees of effectiveness.”
Maria Hatzistefanis, who founded Rodial, reccomends her brand's Retinol Booster Drop as a way to incorporate retinol into an existing skincare regime: “You add a few drops of the Booster Drops to your day/night cream or even mask for an injection of retinol. Alternatively you can apply the product directly to your skin.”
Williams adds: “Prescription-strength retinoids are most effective in treating skin aging, but they can cause a reaction in the skin. As retinol receptors decline with age it is important to introduce product gradually. This will enable receptors to build and so reduce potential sensitivity. Too much retinol too quickly risks a dermatitis response.”
Hatzistefanis advises that some patience is required: “When you first start using retinol you will find that your skin will get dry and in some cases break out. You have to push through this phase so that your skin can get used to retinol, and the positive results can start to show. Retinol is used in varying percentages within skincare, and not all products will benefit from high levels of retinol.”
Williams: “Retinoic acid is the only biologically-active form of a retinoid. This means that all other forms must be converted to retinoic acid for any physiological impact to occur. Retinol is the strongest form available without a prescription. While still highly-effective, retinol is about 20% weaker than retinoic acid and is slowly converted into Retinoic acid by skin enzymes. This also means there is less skin irritation than retinoic acid.”
Dr. Hamdam: “I developed my own new generation retinoid oil that gives you all the benefits of retinol without the irritation, and very important, one you can use under your eyes, where you tend to wrinkle first. I created a novel retinoid product using new Granactive technology that does not need to be converted by the skin. It is already active and has a direct effect on the skin. Shiffa Rose Maroc Elixir contains 4% granactive retinoid, as granactive retinoids are one of the most bio available non-prescription forms of vitamin A derivatives in the market.”
Protips for Retinoid Use
If your clients are using retinoid based products prescribed by the dermatologist or recommended by yourself, it is worth sharing these important tips with them. Taking sensible precautions will ensure your clients will get the best out of their products and maintain your skin health, all while achieving fantastic results.
Always use retinoids at night: Unfortunately these vitamin A derivative ingredients are not photo-stable. This means they break down in the presence of UV. Not only can this reduce the benefit they will have on the skin, but can increase the free radical load, making skin more sensitive and reactive.
Introduce retinoids gradually: Use the dilutions recommended and build skin tolerance. As we age retinoid receptors decline in the skin. By applying gradually, you can build up the receptors. You will feel less ‘bite’ or sensitivity as usage progresses. Applying too much retinoid too quickly risks a dermatitis response that will leave skin very irritated. Use an accompanying buffer cream or a moisturiser, to provide a dilution medium.
Moisturise well: It is not uncommon for skin to experience tightness, dryness or become flaky. The increased rate of skin renewal and desquamation means conditions will improve over several weeks; however the stratum corneum will thin. The implications of this are increased dehydration and sensitivity. Using a slightly heavier weight moisturiser will compensate for this water loss and ease uncomfortable skin. Every application should be followed a with moisturiser (even when still using a buffer cream).
Avoid the eyes: Most retinoid formulas are too strong for use on the delicate eye tissue. If you use an eye cream, always apply this first and then your retinoid. This prevents residue from a retinoid unwittingly being deposited in the eye area and causing irritation. If you wish to use retinoids around the eye, then look for a product specially formulated for eyes. They are usually 0.1% retinol or less.
Always use SPF daily: While there is a degree of debate on the specific mechanisms of increased photosensitivity with retinoid use, the skin will definitely be more vulnerable to UV exposure. Don’t worry about the debate, be safe and apply a minimum SPF30 daily, and preferably an SPF50. Stop using the retinoid product at least two weeks before venturing on a sunshine holiday or the skin will burn faster and be at greater risk of hyperpigmentation issues.
Pregnant clients: A safe retinol alternative for pregnant and breastfeeding mums are products with niacidimide, which helps fade uneven skin tone and pigmentation, thickens the skin’s natural barrier, erases fine lines, and makes pores appear smaller. Try a facial oil rich in organic base oils, such as argan, prickly pear and camelia seed oil (the geisha’s secret).
2. Ash Blonde Ambition
Ash blonde is a blend of cool, grey tones and blonde hues. Because this shade of blonde is at the cooler side of the spectrum, it also goes really well with cool skin tones and bright eye colours but the tone can also be tweaked to flatter warm complexions.
We spoke to hairstylist Harriet Slade (@harrietsladehair) who agreed that the colour is popular saying: “ash blonde is probably the most requested shade amongst my clientele and if done correctly it can be very flattering for most skin tones.”
In spite of its popularity, the shade can be a difficult one to achieve. The Beauty Oasis Spa Founder Sara Al Murad attributed this to a couple of factors: “Ash blonde can be difficult to achieve if the hair has been treated with black henna which is popular in this region. Also, hair that has undergone treatments such as keratin, rebonding or a perm, requires extra caution to avoid further damage to the hair. We always recommend a thorough consultation to all our clients ahead of their treatment to conclude whether the client’s hair will be able to handle the process of hair lightening, since in this region majority of the people have darker hair.”
Slade adds: “The challenge of achieving ash blonde tones particularly in this region is that a large portion of clients have naturally dark hair. It is possible if the condition allows but the key is to have patience and maintain aftercare. As long as the quality of the hair is taken care of then it’s possible to continue lightening. Multiple lightening sessions are usually necessary.”
According to regional Pravana educator Eldar Amraliev, advancements in product formulations are making desired results easier to achieve: “People used to be afraid to use bleach but salon professionals are working with a new generation of products like Pure Light Power Lightener by Pravana with Micro Encapsulated formula which lifts the hair colour without any damage.”
As is the case with most blonde shades, this colour is fairly high maintenance. Ash blonde requires a dedicated home regimen as well as salon visits every four to six weeks in order to refresh the colour with a toner, since darker hair that has been lightened tends to turn an orange shade after some time. Amraliev suggests using a product to prolong the longevity of the hair colour and neutralise the brassy look of blonde hair such as the Pravana Perfect blonde Line. Slade emphatically recommends: “Olaplex, Olaplex, Olaplex! It’s a life (hair) saver! They have recently launched a shampoo and conditioner to work alongside their no.3 hair perfector. Next would be a silver tone shampoo otherwise known as purple shampoo. The purple tones will help neutralise yellow tones keeping your blonde fresh!”
Al Murad also reccomends Olaplax saying: “Adding Olaplex Bond Multiplier to the hair lightener, will protect the hair from extreme damage. I would also recommend the L’Oréal Serie Expert Silver Shampoo, to keep the ash tone more vibrant as well as the L’Oréal Serie Expert Absolut Repair hair mask to restore moisture.”
3. Back for Lashes
Mascara and other lash enhancing products have been somewhat overlooked in recent years with an industry and consumer focus on lip products. The overall global mascara market has grown conservatively at 3.13% since 2013 but, according to Wise Guy Reports, this growth will accelerate to reach $5.83 billion by 2021. Recent launches from Glossier (Lash Slick), Nars (Nars Climax ) and Pat MaGrath Labs (FetishEyes) will surely contribute to this upswing.
The latter, created by renowned makeup artist Pat McGrath creates impactful doll lashes, and is the formula she relied on for recent runway shows including Prada's Spring 2019 collection and Versace's Pre-Fall 2019. “Designed to entice the beauty obsessed, this haute hardcore mascara was developed for makeup artists by makeup artists and was relentlessly tested both backstage and on set,” said McGrath in a release announcing the product's launch.
Earlier this year, Sisley Paris debuted its new mascara at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on double nominee Emma Stone. Makeup artist Rachel Goodwin, who applied the newly-released SoVolume Mascara, said to Allure magazine: “I really went for it with the lashes, to make it a focal point.” Goodein is a fan of the clump-resistant formula and had no qualms about giving Stone's lashes a healthy coating of it. “It's a treatment,” she added, referring to its peptides, protein, vitamins, and hydrating qualities. “Aside from it being a mascara, it ramps it up and makes it a beautiful, more tactile experience.”
We spoke exclusively to Head of Sisley Research and Development Laboratories Jose Ginestar about the new launch. Speaking about the products USPs, he said: “To give extreme volume, Sisley Laboratories combined a high volumising formula with a specific nylon fibre brush that depose a large amount of product on the eyelashes while ensuring their good separation.”
Ginestar went on to describe specific ingredients used to create the volumising formula saying that it was a combination of sheathing waxes, a volumising polymer and acombination of two volumising microbeads. And, Goodwin is right. So Volume Mascara does more than just add volume. Ginestar explained: “Day after day, it acts for longer, denser and more beautiful lashes thanks to a selection of active ingredients like our Vitamin Peptide, Pro-vitamin B5 and Cherry blossom extract.”