The most innovative beauty products of the year 2010 offer brand-new ways to get smoother skin, fuller hair, and a better complexion.
|Living Proof Full |
There's a whole new approach to adding oomph to your hair. Most volumizing products try to hold hair off the scalp with a gluelike ingredient...that falls apart in wind or when you so much as touch it with a brush. This mousse instead contains a flexible polymer (the company worked with MIT researchers to create it) that adds volume through the length of the hair and stays effective—through mussing and fussing—until the next time you shampoo. "The polymer is superflexible, so it gives volume without feeling sticky," says Jim Hammer, a cosmetic chemist.
|Advanced Home Actives |
Brazilian Peel Professional
Strength Facial Treatment
Starting at $78, Sephora.com
Glycolic acid peels fight wrinkles and leave skin glowing. But the struggle has always been to find an at-home version that's superstrong—but not so intense that you could risk burning your face off. This peel has a neutralizer—inspired by stomach antacids—that can switch off the acid in its 30 percent glycolic peel (this is high enough that, typically, only professionals use it) within ten minutes of it hitting your skin. In other words, there's basically no way it can irritate. (The key is a double-barreled dispenser that keeps the glycolic solution away from the neutralizer until you hit the plunger.) "The strength of the peel brings a high percentage of glycolic acid to the home market safely," says Amy B. Lewis, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. "That means a better and faster improvement in skin texture and tone than can be achieved using at-home peels that aren't this strong."
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|Garnier Fructis Style |
Sleek & Shine
Blow Dry Perfector
Salon hair-straightening treatments have their fans—but the services involve long appointments with repeated applications of noxious straightening chemicals and a price tag that could make your hair curl. This kit gives a similar straightening effect, but at home—and the results last for up to seven shampoos. The first product in the kit goes on damp, clean hair and breaks down the physical bonds within the strands. After 20 minutes and a rinse, the second product, a leave-in smoothing balm, goes on. It contains rice oil that's activated by the heat of a blow-dryer, allowing it to soak into hair to set a new, smooth structure in place. Flatironing is an optional next step, but recommended.
|Aveeno Ageless Vitality |
Elasticity Recharging System
Starting at $27, Yahoo! Shopping
These product lines have technology that helps skin cells stay young. Skin cells communicate using various processes, including one called bioelectricity, in which small electrical pulses tell the cells when to repair themselves, store energy, and make internal changes necessary to stay healthy. The currents can slow down as we age, and this can make it harder for skin to recover from sun damage and environmental stress. The scientists behind these products found that copper-plated zinc helps boost the skin's bioelectricity.
They developed a serum with the ingredient and a moisturizing "conductor" that activates the process—and found that this combination stimulated collagen and elastin production, helped reduce inflammation, and may fight hyperpigmentation. In clinical studies of the products containing the new technology, which include Aveeno Ageless Vitality Elasticity Recharging System for Day, Neutrogena Clinical Facial Lifting Wrinkle Treatment Night, and RoC Brilliance Eye Beautifier, subjects' wrinkles were reduced after four weeks. Ranella Hirsch, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine, says, "Harnessing a natural communication system in the skin is a powerful new way to fight wrinkles."
|Lancôme Ôscillation PowerFoundation|
Starting at $48, Yahoo! Shopping
Some people love mineral foundation (it's natural; it's long-lasting) and some don't (it's heavy, cakey, messy). This version has a battery-powered sponge applicator that solves the problems by producing a smooth, uniform finish. You just dip the sponge into the mineral powder and press the handle's "on" button, and the tip vibrates 7,000 times per minute—massaging the powder into skin evenly. "This oscillating applicator breaks down the fine particles in the makeup, eliminating the need to blend," says Ni'Kita Wilson, a cosmetic chemist. "It also massages them into skin and fills fine lines."
|Pantene Pro-V Fine Hair Solutions |
Flat to Volume Shampoo and
Medium-Thick Hair Solutions
Frizzy to Smooth Shampoo
Pantene Pro-V Fine Hair Solutions Flat to Volume Shampoo and Medium-Thick Hair Solutions Frizzy to Smooth Shampoo
Starting at $4.70, Yahoo! Shopping
Pantene did a ginormous study on hair types, and found that fine hair tends to be fragile, flexible, straight—and needs stronger cleansers than other hair types. So they introduced an ingredient that hadn't been used in hair care before, HPM Cellulose, that boosts the Flat to Volume Shampoo's cleaning power without stripping hair. As for medium-thick hair, it absorbs 40 percent more moisture, which makes it more inclined to frizz and break. Another new ingredient, Triquat-76, was invented by the company and is the key ingredient in Frizzy to Smooth Shampoo: It holds wet and dry conditioners on the strands in a netlike structure, which smooths the cuticle and protects hair against humidity. Cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson examined Pantene's data and believes that the new molecules are exciting: "For fine hair, HPM Cellulose shows a 20 percent increase in soil removal compared to Pantene's old formulas. And the conditioning agent in the medium-thick formula, Triquat-76, works extremely well on that specific structure."
|Eau Thermale Avène Tolérance Extrême |
Cleansing Lotion and Tolérance
Starting at $32, makemeheal.com
One unexpected thing that can irritate sensitive skin? Preservatives—and they're in tons of products because without them, products quickly turn rancid and stop working. These two Avène Tolérance moisturizers have a cap that keeps their preservative-, color-, and fragrance-free sterile formulas fresh until the tubes are empty. The cap (called D.E.F.I.) feeds the goo through a thin membrane, which reseals once you stop squeezing. Leslie Baumann, a dermatologist in Miami Beach, says, "This packaging—combined with products that lack preservatives, especially parabens—makes them ideal for sensitive skin."
|Microskin Simulated Second Skin|
$750 to $3,500, microskincenter.com
For women who have large birthmarks, vitiligo, or severe rosacea, a good concealer is truly life-changing—and hard to find. Thick foundations look heavy, feel like paint, and rub off easily. That's why Microskin is revolutionary: It dries into a flexible film and doesn't budge for several days—even if you swim, sweat, or apply (and then remove) other makeup. To first apply it, a trained technician goes over the skin with a small scanner and mixes a shade to mimic it. The product is then sprayed or sponged on, and once it hits the skin, the alcohol in it evaporates and microscopic pigments float to the surface, producing a film of coverage that lasts two or three days on the face and up to a week on other parts of the body. The process (which includes the equipment needed to apply the color at home and a six-month supply) costs $750 to $3,500, depending on the size of the affected area. "For people with a port-wine stain or vitiligo, Microskin is a huge breakthrough," says Hirsch.
|Clarisonic Opal Sonic |
$245, Yahoo! Shopping
Sure, you can apply eye cream with your finger...but this deposits the product only on the surface of your skin. The Clarisonic machine uses sonic waves to massage the product in more deeply. The rechargeable device has a silicone tip that vibrates at a rate of 125 movements per second and coaxes an anti-aging serum (with humectants, including hyaluronic acid; marine-derived collagen; and more) into the skin's cracks and lines. "This device is the first to use sonic vibrations to apply a skin-care product, it's the size of an iPod, and it takes 30 seconds to use," says Lewis. "You look less lined for several hours after application."
|Remington Style Therapy |
Frizz Therapy Flatiron
Starting at $40, Yahoo! Shopping
Wash, dry, spray, section, hot-iron, hot-iron, hot-iron. Rings a bell to any woman who straightens her hair. But this device combines the most crucial steps into one. It works like a regular flatiron: You run it over sections from the roots to the ends. But the plates have a porous ceramic coating that produces a silicone-based conditioner. During tests, one session with the iron diminished frizz 65 percent more effectively than a traditional ceramic iron and kept hair straight for up to 15 hours. "Heat damage is inevitable when using flatirons, especially with the new hotter machines," says Wilson. "For the first time, women now have a flatiron that actually leaks heat-protective ingredients onto the hair at the exact point of contact, coating every strand the plates come into contact with during the straightening process. This protects hair and controls frizz."
|L'Oréal Professionnel |
Starting at $10, Yahoo! Shopping
Coloring your hair has always involved a bit of suffering. The chemicals can sting the scalp and stink up the hair, and the color starts fading with the first shampoo. INOA professional hair dye replaces traditional ammonia with an odorless ingredient that only opens the cuticle a smidge (instead of lifting the whole thing like a flap). And to ensure that the color goes into the hair shaft, it is combined with oil right before application. The result is gentler to both the hair and the scalp, and the color is completely odorless and more resistant to fading. "What makes this hair color revolutionary is that it is not water-based—a significant departure from traditional coloring systems," says Hammer. "The oil-based system provides excellent color penetration into the hair, which should reduce fading, and the process is far more mild, odorless, and nondamaging."
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