Hot Topic: Face Oils

Product Review: Marula – The Leakey Collection

I was a bit hesitant about testing a facial oil. After all, I have somewhat sensitive skin and am averse to putting anything oily on my complexion for fear of breakouts. But, the modern oils getting all the attention are pure botanical oils, an entirely different breed from mineral based ones which can sit on the skin and clog pores. These more recent oils are super hydrating, immediately absorbed and chock full of antioxidants to protect against aging free-radicals and environmental stressors.

Marula – The Leakey Collection comes from hand-picked, cold-pressed Marula nuts. It instantly melts into your skin, leaving it soft, supple and non-greasy. In fact, it’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory so it’s even a great treatment for those with acne. Made from 99% pure Marula Oil from East Africa and a 1% essential oil blend, it’s produced using sustainable harvesting practices and is fair trade, providing rural women with a source of income so they can feed, cloth and educate their families.

I love it as a moisturizer for my face, hands and body but you can also add it to your cleanser, masks, lotions and creams for an extra boost in hydration and anti-aging properties or to your foundation for a more radiant finish.

Marula – The Leakey Collection, $78, available at

About Face: How to Look your Best at any Age

If you’re one of the lucky ones you get the opportunity to grow old. And if you’re one of the wise ones you choose to grow old gracefully. I find that growing old gracefully has everything to do with attitude and very little to do with looks. It’s about embracing life and living it to the fullest no matter where you are number-wise. Growing older is one thing, looking it is another thing altogether!

A little effort goes a long way in the beauty department. To look your best:

  • Eat healthy. Fill up on antioxidant and nutrient rich fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
  • Stay active. Experts recommend a few hours of aerobic exercise and 2-3 days of strength training weekly.
  • Treat topically. Anti-aging topical treatments like Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids (AHA & BHA) can lessen fine lines, Vitamin A derivatives (tretinoin and retinol) will help build collagen and thicken the skin, Vitamin C will improve skin tone and texture and Vitamin E moisturizes and heals.
  • Protect daily with sunscreen. Look at the ingredient list and choose a product containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to make sure you’re getting broad spectrum protection from both the UVA and UVB rays.

There’s also much that can be done in a doctor’s office. To educate yourself on the latest anti-aging options available I highly recommend The Face of the Future, Look Natural, Not Plastic: A Less-Invasive Approach to Enhance Your Beauty And Reverse Facial Aging, by Andrew A. Jacono, MD, FACS, an interesting and informative read on the latest facial rejuvenating procedures, from non-invasive to surgical treatments. This book demystifies topical treatments, peels, injectables, lasers, energy-based tightening treatments, face-lifts and numerous other procedures. You’ll also find how to get the most from your skin care regimen, advice on choosing a doctor, what does and doesn’t work, before and after photos  and so much more.

For more info. on Dr. Jacono, click here.

Best Tressed!

Mitch Stone, Celebrity Hairstylist and Creative Director of Mitch Stone Essentials earned his stellar reputation one job at a time. His bio includes fashion shoots for Herb Ritts and Arthur Elgort, runway shows for Armani, Adrienne Vittadini and Patricia Fields, campaigns for Redken, Pantene and Victoria’s Secret and editorial work for Vogue, InStyle and Rolling Stone. He tends to the tresses of many a celeb including Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney. Let’s just say, he’s busy! So busy in fact, that I had to reach him in Bali where he was working, to have my questions answered.

Q: Why does hair lose its luster as we age? Is there anything we can do to change this?

As we get older, the body stops producing Melanin which is what gives hair its color.  It’s also what gives hair its shine.  As the Melanin dissipates, the hair starts to  grey – leaving it more course, brittle and dull.  

Another cause for loss of luster is the elements – wind, sun…and of course the old culprits, blow dyers and curling irons.  One of the  best ways to prevent lackluster hair is to use high quality hair care products and to limit your use of heat appliances.

Q: What do you recommend to get super shiny hair?
  • The key to keeping super shiny hair is to have it trimmed every 6-8 weeks and get a deep conditioning treatment at the same time.  
  • Also, what you do for your internal health can help. Be sure to take vitamins and minerals that promote hair health.
  • When styling, one of the best ways to achieve super shiny hair is to start with clean, conditioned, wet hair.  Using a boars hair and nylon mixed brush, pull and stretch the hair in one  inch sections while blowdrying.  Be sure to blow dry down in the direction the hair grows, as this will help to close the cuticle and create a reflective quality to the hair that will shine.   And of course, finish the look with Lustre Drops to seal the cuticle shut and add extra shine.

Mitch Stone Essentials Lustre Drops will give you super-shiny, smooth, humidity resistant hair but the fact that it’s infused with restorative key nutrients to actually improve hair health is what makes it stand out.  Brilliant!

Eat, Play, Love Everything at ABC Home!

I’ll find any excuse to head to ABC Home in NYC. It’s the best place for browsing, shopping and eating and it’s also my go-to place to recharge and get inspired! There are 6 floors to lose yourself in and hunt down that perfect piece or meander to your heart’s content.

Exquisite antiques and modern furniture live side by side. Looking for throw pillows? No matter what your taste, you’ll find them. They have the most gorgeous jewels by numerous designers, two favorites being Gabrielle Sanchez and Pyrrha. Need a children’s gift? Their tot department is overflowing with extra-special items that you won’t find elsewhere. Into celeb sightings? In the past I’ve seen Uma Thurman (with her head on Ethan Hawke’s lap!), Goldie Hawn, Betsy Johnson and  many others.

When it’s time for a bite, the on premise restaurants are phenomenal…my favorite being ABC Kitchen. It’s Jean-Georges  so you know the food is unsurpassed. The changing menu is organic and as local as possible, with the dishes beautifully presented. When dining there, I feel like I’m on one of those food shows except that everything is unique and delicious every time!

My kids (especially my daughter) love the experience almost as much as I do. When they were small I would bring them to ABC and tell them to keep their eyes open and observe, we were in a special place where things morph and change at a moment’s notice. I’d say there were hidden rooms and secret passageways–their imaginations always ran wild! I should probably feel a little guilty, but I don’t. They had a blast and I got my ABC fix. In my book that’s a win/win!!!

ABC Carpet & Home, 19th & Broadway, NYC

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The Perfect Product!

Product Review: Dermalogica Skinperfect Primer SPF30

When reviewing beauty products, every now and then you come upon one that is exceptional…Dermalogica Skinperfect Primer SPF30 is one of those perfect products!

It combines primer to instantly smooth skin texture, sunscreen to prevent environmental damage, anti-aging ingredients to build collagen and protect from free radicals and natural mineral pigments for a more even-toned and luminous complexion.

I had plans to go out last night (a beauty event in the heart of Times Square followed by Thai food with a friend) and decided to test it. Using my fingertips I applied it over my usual moisturizer and instantly noticed a difference. First of all, it is so velvety smooth to the touch, it just glides on and best of all, it made my complexion luminous, flawless, better than ever–more even-toned with a radiance that wasn’t quite there seconds before. It can be worn alone over moisturizer or also underneath makeup, so I spot applied a little foundation and under eye concealer for a slightly more finished look.

All night long I got more second glances than usual. Maybe it was the extra confidence I was carrying but I don’t think so…and I’m not taking any chances. Skinperfect  Primer is now part of my beauty arsenal.

Dermalogica Skinperfect Primer SPF30, $48 at

Happy Earth Day…Lather Up!

Today is Earth Day, a day to think about the environment and the issues that threaten it. Unfortunately, one of the greatest threats is woman! The beauty products we use on a daily basis can have a huge, negative impact on the earth. But, you don’t have to sacrifice beauty for the sake of the environment. One way to lower your carbon footprint is to use eco-friendly products and packaging…and LATHER stands out as a shining example!

I first discovered this brand a few years ago while staying at a swanky Vegas hotel. The wonderful-ness of the lemongrass soap and body wash made me linger in the shower that much longer (I know…not so good for the environment). LATHER is a beauty company with skin care (face and body), hair care and aromatherapy. Besides formulas made with natural ingredients, pure essential oils and no synthetic fragrances or colors, nearly all the products are paraben and sulfate-free and their sample packs, shopping bags, and gift cards are all made from 100% post-consumer recycled materials. Customers can even return empty LATHER containers to receive 10% off their next purchase. Not bad!

I recently received a box chock full of LATHER products to review…I’m in heaven!!! Though I’m taking my sweet time working my way through it, here is one notable mention in case you’re looking for that perfect body cream:

LATHER Coconut Creme Body Whip, $22 at I applied it all over my body and my skin was instantly silky smooth without the least bit of greasiness. Truly!  And that scent…fresh coconut/vanilla. Perfection!

If shopping for beauty products doesn’t feel enough like “earth-day” to you, you can also get your hair cut or blown out at a participating Aveda salon today (see my previous post here). Still not enough? Plant a tree, pick up trash in your town today and everyday, always turn off the lights when you leave a room and recycle/repurpose whenever possible. Happy Earth Day!!! xoxoNancy

You are more beautiful than you think.

I’m crazy about Dove’s new social media experiment. It shows–quite blatantly in fact–that you are more beautiful than you think.

This experiment proves that we are  much too critical of ourselves. Gil Zamora (a gifted forensic artist) is on one side of a curtain, while a woman is on the other. They cannot see each other. He asks her point blank questions to describe herself in detail as he sketches. Then he asks a stranger who had just interacted with that woman to describe her in detail (without the woman being present) and he does another sketch. Time and time again, the self-descriptions focus on perceived flaws while the stranger descriptions are far more complimentary. What’s interesting is that the sketches based on the stranger descriptions are more flattering and more true to what the women actually look like. Clearly, we can learn a thing or two from this! Love yourself, flatter yourself, see your true self.

To see Dove’s video, click here.


Wardrobe Essential!

Nude shoes have passed from hot trend to wardrobe staple. The reason being that nothing is more flattering! Whether they’re flats, heels, wedges or sandals, they give the illusion of longer, leaner legs. And, color-wise they work with any outfit.

To reap the leg-lengthening benefits, choose a tone very close to your natural skin tone, from off-white (for the fairest among us) to cocoa shades (for those with darker skin).

Here, some great, new options:

  1. Baka Cut Slingbacks, $168 at
  2. Joie Pinyon Bootie, $175 at
  3. Sam Edelman “Gigi”, $65 at
  4. Steven by Steve Madden Wedge Sandals, $139 at

Most Wanted!

These extras add a bit of luxe to any occasion:

  1.  It’s a splurge for sure, but this timeless, one-of -a-kind hair comb will accessorize more than your little black dress. I’d pair it with heels, my go-to cargos and a tee. $300 at
  2. Can you believe these are paper serving platters? They’re almost too pretty to use! $5.95 for set of 4 at
  3. Embrace florals with a printed linen scarf in this year’s hottest hue. It’s as on-trend as it is practical. $55 at

Thoughts on Boston

Once again we’re faced with the hateful actions of extremists who seek to strike fear in our nation and our people. The carnage near the finish line at the Boston Marathon yesterday is only the latest example on a list where even one entry would be too long. With at least 3 people confirmed dead and more than 170 injured, we still don’t know who is responsible. It has evoked strong emotions–among them fear, anger and helplessness. I am scared, but I am not hopeless. If 9/11, random acts of violence and the loss of loved ones have taught me anything, it’s that all we have is right now.

The saying “don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today” feels particularly poignant right now. Today, be kind to yourself and others. Today, take a step toward fulfilling your dreams. Today, tell a friend how much they mean to you. Today, show the people you love how much you love them. Tomorrow might be too late. Do it today. xoxoNancy