Face It, Summer’s Over: Put Your Best Face Forward into Autumn

by Mark Thompson

EDGE Style & Travel Editor

Tuesday September 7, 2010

Face it, summer's over. Your share has expired and fears of Hurricane Earl sent you racing back to the city. No more salty-air days; so long, sun-kissed skin. Boo hoo.

So now what? Now it's time to put your best face forward and stride into autumn with your skin as radiant as it was all summer.

For years, autumn has been associated with the start of the season: culture, theatre, art, school, fashion - so why not give a fresh start to your beauty regimen?

Here's how to make it happen. Here's how to give good face even as the leaves begin to flutter from the trees. American consumers spent nearly $5 billion on men's grooming products in 2009 - so what are you waiting for? If you can't afford a facial at the latest neighborhood spa, buy yourself an at-home kit. Indulge in some new masques and emollient - and make a night of it with your best foursome. The New Recession Date: Masque and Movie Friday Nights.

Here's our take on some fresh products for your face that should have you glowing from boardroom to classroom - and every catwalk throughout the city.

LING Skincare : Weekly At-Home Facial & Daily Regimen Kit for Normal to Dry Skin

Trust, this woman knows. Ling Chan has been dispensing beauty wisdom since 1976 - to Hollywood A-listers and urban socialites. With more than thirty years in the skin care business, Ling Skincare recently launched the newly re-branded LING Complete Skin Care collection - and the results are not only visually arresting, but also completely reviving.

LING Skin Care is based on hydration, and if you are unable to indulge yourself at LING Spa on the Upper West Side of New York City, then opt for the LING Skin Care Weekly At-Home Facial & Daily Regimen Kit. Complete with seven products from Ling Chan's eponymous line, this kit contains four At-Home Facials and a complete daily regimen for up to four weeks. (Either that - or call four of your closest and make a Friday night of it. We did - and the results were such that three out of four got lucky later that night. Enough said.)

One of the joys of this Weekly At-Home Facial Kit are the travel-sized products, perfect for packing on a transatlantic journey when the need for post-flight reparation is strongest. Start with the Purifying Facial Cleanser, which removes debris (mandatory after a six-hour flight in an aluminum tube at 38,000 feet) with a combination of calming rose water and a coconut-derived cleanser. Then follow with Replenishing Hydrator, which promotes moisture retention - for as Ling Chan emphasizes, it is dehydration that is the death knell for good skin.

Our favorite of the seven products included in the At-Home Facial Kit is the Moisture Plenish, which also happens to be the best-selling staple in the LING line. Packed with glycogen and allantoin, Moisture Plenish recalls for us the adage about the world's best facial coming from our own loins; perhaps it's the unmistakable fragrance, but it works wonders on both our face and our libido.

Complete with two types of masks (herbal clay and ginseng therapy), as well as elastin collagen cream and a papaya resurface peel, Ling Skin Care At-Home Facial Kit also comes with a complete soft-cover Ling Skin Care guide, which is as edifying as the products are effective.

One final tip: perfect holiday gift.

PRICE: $85.00
LINK: http://lingskincare.com

Aubrey Organics : Sea Buckthorn & Cucumber with Ester-C® Moisturizing Mask

Some time during the Summer of Love, way back in 1967, Aubrey Hampton combined a few ingredients in his bathtub to combat New York City's harsh winters, probably never dreaming that forty years on, Aubrey Organics would be sold in more than 4,500 retailers around the world. The first personal care company to be certified organic, Aubrey Organics uses only natural and organic ingredients from fair trade sources.

Not every store stocks every one of the more than 200 Aubrey Organics products, and some of the more popular products quickly disappear from the shelves, thanks to a corps of devoted fans. Such is the case with Aubrey Organics Sea Buckthorn & Cucumber Moisturizing Mask, a product that generates glowing testimonials from its users - and we're here to join the crowd.

First of all, sea buckthorn is a berry-producing shrub whose berries are the richest herbal source of antioxidant vitamins A and E. Get that! As used in this moisturizing mask, sea buckthorn smoothes and protects the skin from the formation of free radicals after the exfoliation produced by the oatmeal, walnut, and organic almond meal. If you're prone to blackheads and/or breakouts, this mask rectifies those conditions by clearing away dead skin cells and oil deposits.

Packed with nutrients such as anti-inflammatory Canadian willowherb and Aubrey's patented Ester-C® (which invigorates the skin, while promoting the synthesis of collagen), this vegan mask is both refreshing and hydrating, thanks to an abundance of cucumber extract. Trust, this mask leaves you smiling at your reflection - with your fingers just itching to caress that baby-soft skin.

PRICE: $9.50 / 4 oz.
LINK: http://www.aubrey-organics.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=762

myfaceworks : I Need to Replenish Facial Mask

Let's face it: who doesn't love a good facial mask - and especially after a red-eye flight to Europe? You stumble from the plane into a car and, ultimately, into your hotel, whereupon the vision in the mirror is a fright. That's where myfaceworks comes to the rescue. Sheet facial masks are cut in the shape of a face (think Jason in Halloween or Hannibal Lecter...), and then soaked in concentrated ingredients and nutrients.

myfaceworks does the sheet facial masks in non-woven, silk, and bio-cellulose - and all of them are laden with enough serum to plaster the mask to your face, whereupon the netted structure accelerates the absorption of nutrients such as sodium hyaluronate (which smoothes out wrinkles), glycerine (which helps retain the skin's moisture), imperata cyclindrica extract (which optimizes collagen production), and peptides designed to minimize lines and wrinkles.

One of the joys of wearing these masks is seeing your face porcelain smooth again - as you remember it when you were twelve or ten. It's difficult to pull yourself away from the mirror as the myfaceworks sheet facial mask works its magic, the serum soaking into your skin with your face looking as smooth as silk. The longer you stare, the more inclined you are to think about having work done -"My face could look like this again..." - and yet myfaceworks masks nearly negate that need.

Each mask in the myfaceworks line addresses a specific need, with catchy titles such as: I Need to Replenish, I Need Damage Control, I Need to Be Firm, I Need the Works, and our favorite, I Need a Quickie.

Leave one of these masks on your face after a stressful flight (children, delays, traffic, turbulence) and you'll find yourself returned to a restful state. These masks are lightweight and travel-friendly, perfect for the manbag/handbag (you might even consider using one on a transatlantic flight...) and provide intense hydration for more radiant and youthful skin.

(And a box of six masks makes a lovely host/ess or holiday gift...)

PRICE: $55.00 / box of six masks
LINK: http://www.myfaceworks.com/6.php

Alba Botanica : Sea Plus Renewal Cream

Since 1979 Alba Botanica has been making products that reflect its philosophy of conscious living, employing a mantra from Mohandas K. Gandhi, who wrote "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."

Alba Botanica makes products with 100% vegetarian ingredients and no animal testing, while also adhering to a commitment to reduce its ecological footprint, all of which makes it easier to enjoy the luxury of their Sea Plus Renewal Cream. Packed with avocado oil, which nourishes, smoothes, and softens skin, as well as kukui oil, which is loaded with essential fatty acids that moisturize, repair, and protect, Sea Plus Renewal Cream is an intensive moisturizer for all skin types, and especially for dry, mature skin. Read: old, and yes, that might be you, but this intensive moisturizer infuses the skin with vitamin C, the latest miracle for our faces. In case you have yet to hear, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that defends against free radicals while boosting collagen and elastin production.

If your face is feeling stressed from the sun, your job, your boyfriend, your family, the city, the kids, the phobias, the nightmares, Sea Plus Renewal Cream is loaded with mineral-rich Marine Complex, which is a blend of five algae extracts known for their reparative properties.

One final tip: place Sea Plus Renewal Cream in the fridge for a cooling nighttime application. You'll dream of the calming sea - and awake looking like a mermaid.

PRICE: $14.95 / 2 fl oz (60 ml)
LINK: http://www.albabotanica.com/?id=55&pcid=27&pid=328

Vichy Laboratories : Aqualia Antiox ’New Skin’ Antioxidant Fresh Serum

Remember chemistry class? Mixing solutions to form compounds, using beakers and pipettes? Admit it - you had fun. Now you can relive the thrill of mixing your own emollient with Aqualia Antiox 'New Skin' Antioxidant Fresh Serum. This innovative serum (Don't you love serums? The way they gloss your face and invariably feel so scientifically advanced?) is comprised of two of the most powerful antioxidants currently available: pure citrus polyphenol and pure vitamin C at 10% dose. Here's what you do: you mix in the powder sachet of pure vitamin C with the polyphenol serum, shake and refrigerate. (Refrigeration is necessary because there are no preservatives or parabens in this concentrated elixir.)

Use the pipette to dribble a small amount of the vitamin C-enriched serum on your face - twice a day, if you want - and within twenty-one days, it's conceivable that you'll look twenty-one again. Of course that depends upon what age you're currently rocking, but never mind about that, the point is, Aqualia Antiox 'New Skin' gives your face a renewed glow while erasing fine lines. That's the power of vitamin C : it boosts collagen and elastin production - and this serum delivers straight to the pores like an injection to the forehead.

Who knew that going to the fridge would be so beneficial to your facial health?

PRICE: $45.00 / 30 ml.
LINK: http://www.vichyusa.com

Relastin Ultra Emollient / Zinc Firming Complex™

Facial factoid: elastin fibers, those bundles of protein found in connective facial tissue, can stretch to nearly twice their length - and then snap back to their original size. When you're twenty years old, that is.

If you're no longer twenty, the elastin in your face can render your face more like a played-out waistband: wrinkled and saggy. Because you know why? Your body stopped producing elastin at puberty.

Solution? It's time to take charge. What you need when you're less a chicken than a hawk is Relastin Ultra Emollient with patent-pending Zinc Firming Complex. This vitamin-rich, super-hydrating, anti-aging cream boosts the production of elastin while restoring elasticity to those delicate areas all over the face.

With a blissful cocktail of Vitamin A and C, as well as collagen-stimulating peptides that reduce the appearance of wrinkles, Relastin Ultra Emollient is a rich moisturizer that protects the face during cooler weather. Think of this potent potion as a luxurious complement to that Hermes scarf around your neck.

Even in the jar, Relastin feels luxuriously indulgent. It's one of those toiletries that you want to leave out: on the vanity, the bureau, merely for being so attractive. Use it regularly (under your eyes, too!) - and in as little as two weeks, don't be surprised if someone asks if you'd had work done. Smile smugly like a Fifties minx and murmur, "Relastin."

PRICE: $99.00 / 50 g / 1.7 oz.
LINK: www.relastin.com

Now go forward with your best face and radiate the bounty of autumn like a cornucopia.

A long-term New Yorker and a member of New York Travel Writers Association, Mark Thompson has also lived in San Francisco, Boston, Provincetown, D.C., Miami Beach and the south of France. The author of the novels WOLFCHILD and MY HAWAIIAN PENTHOUSE, he has a PhD in American Studies and is the recipient of fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo, and Blue Mountain Center. His work has appeared in numerous publications.