Today I’m stepping up my game a bit in order to chase that luxurious feeling. While I’m well aware that premium or niche skincare is indulgent and very expensive, it is what I do best and so I shall remain investigating brands on your behalf, to let you all discover that having an interest in high-end beauty is not superficial or simply about pots and bottles. It is about health, consciousness, technology and holistic wellbeing.
Some years before staring TLF (I know right? There was a beauty life before the site!) my husband and I took a trip to Paris. I didn’t do much shopping except for roaming the streets for French skincare classics. On my list I had the ice cubes for face by Anne Semonin Paris and yes, they were expensive but I had to see what the fuss was all about. As it was pre-TLF, there are no photos from back then (I haven’t always photographed all beauty that comes into our home) but I remember being utterly impressed by the brand. Then, when Cult Beauty started to ship to the Middle East I could easily get hold of some of the brand’s bestsellers. Happy days!
Now I’m ecstatic to report that Anne Semonin treatments and products are finally available here in Dubai. Both ultra chic boutique hotel La Ville (basically next door from where I residence) and my wonderful Waldorf Astoria The Palm now caters for all Anne Semonin fans! I think its time to tell you all about the brand and at the same time introduce you to those eye cubes, now the eyes edition.
First, a short brand introduction and why it suites everything that TLF believes in:
Anne Semonin started her career by working with several Dermatologists before training as a facialist and back in 1985 decide to start her eponymous label and clinic. Still to this day, the clinic sits in the same premises in Paris with high profile clients being almost part of the family. This is the first thing that makes me like the brand so much: despite being sold to Madame Aline Marcadet in 2003, it is still a fully privately owned and independent skincare “institute”. All products are created in small batches to ensure the highest quality and the brand never loose the close connection to its trainers, therapists and ultimately, us clients. This complete independence is unique in today’s beauty industry (you all know I applaud Natura Bissē for advocating the same integrity).
To continue – with over 30 years in the business, Anne Semonin still uses the Energetic Drainage Technique for all facials. Anne herself invented this with the notion that skincare should have a holistic approach and that our face (same as with hands and feet) holds pressure points that regulates and stimulate the entire body. What goes on in our face directly correlate with what’s going on internally. Hormones, stress level, tension, hydration level, diet, muscle pain and so on will always be visible on our facial skin. The facial massage technique addresses this and was pioneering when the company first launched it. It very much resonates with my personal believes.
As a third “bullet point”, Anne Semonin do not believe in skin types. In fact, they firmly state that all skin can be dehydrated and that all skin is for sure sensitive (as it is designed to be sensitive against certain threats!). I had never really thought of it that way before, but it makes so much sense to me now. The company thinks that there are as many skin types and conditions as there are people living, and that skin changes from day to day to reflect how we as human beings changes daily due to several reasons. Therefore, the Anne Semonin range is “made-to-measure” skincare; a large range of products who can be mixed, blended and layered to custom-make a personal routine. I definitely feel encouraged to pay a little more to get products that are not mass-produced and made to fit all and everyone in one go. Maybe clever marketing, but I’m buying it!
All products have ingredients carefully sourced locally in France and the company never test on animals and refrain from, as much as possible, use strong chemicals of preservatives. It feels artisanal and luxurious all the way. If you can’t enjoy a full treatment, then to own only one product will still be something exquisite.
Recently, I was happy to have the chance to try out the best-selling Eyes Express Radiance Ice Cubes (6*4ml) for review consideration. I jumped at the opportunity as these are the baby sisters of the brand’s iconic ice cubes for the full face. What’s so cool about them is that they so easily embodies everything that you can expect to get from Anne Seminon.
What the heck? You say. Ice cubes!? Isn’t it enough with all other lotions and potions?
Well, no. Not really! You see, Cryotherapy (ice cold treatment) is nothing new. We know that when skin gets frozen, our superficial blood vessels constrict at the same time as muscles contract (to save energy) and blood circulation speeds up. We get “rosy cheeks” while being outside in cold freezing weather, resulting in a healthy glow.
We also know that, even though there are no topical treatments that will completely get rid of dark under-eye circles (they are genetical and superficial blood vessels below thin skin will always make the area appear darker), constricted vessels are not as prominent, hence – the area will look a little less dark and refrain from giving you an expression of fatigue.
Using ice cubes to calm down a swollen face after a flight, too much salt or alcohol is very effective for an instant result. Sure, you can splash your face in ice water, but then you’ll not get the benefits of all active ingredients housed in these power cubes.
The strength when it comes to Anne Semonin (and no doubt why I’m fascinated by their formulations) is that they use the “synergy of essential oils and trace elements” to boost penetration and results. Not stopping there (they could be amazing purely for their botanical active ingredients) they always also use technology advanced ingredients; neurocosmetics together with biotechnology as our nervous system is closely connected to our skin. One of the key ingredients in the Eyes Express Radiance Ice Cubes is in fact Wild Indigo. With support in neurocosmetics, it reaches the most superficial layers of the epidermis which is in close relationship with our nervous system. According to the brand, Neurocosmetic products are “supposed to modulate the nervous system functioning at the epidermal level, […] a new approach of skincare products which manage to decrease stress in the skin”.
By the use of Tephroline, an extract of Tephrosia Purpurea (Wild Indigo) the cubes will stimulate the release of beta-endorphin, tricking the skin into feeling well-being and therefore restoring the normal skin functions. Voila!
As the global website for Anne Semonin is so incredibly advanced and generous with information, I don’t see any reason to invent the wheel twice. I’m simply going to copy-paste their brilliant ingredient information for the Eyes Express Radiance Ice Cubes because they hold so many unique and fantastic compounds:
- Marine Spring Water: rich in trace elements and mineral salts, hydrating, revitalising and remineralising.
- Hesperidin (bioflavonoid – polyphenol ): stimulates the micro circulation, reduces dark circles.
- Hyaluronic Acid: hydrating, plumps up fine lines, wrinkles.
- Tephrosia Purpurea (Wild Indigo): stimulates the release of ß endorphins, relaxes skin distress.
- Gingko Biloba: stimulates the micro-circulation, reduces dark circles.
- Gourd Extract: soothes, calms stressed eyes.
Paraben-free and suitable for use during pregnancy, where some might feel that the face is even more swollen and puffy!
I want to go back and talk a little more about the Marine Spring Water while I’m at it. I’m not a fan of splashing regular tap water onto my face. The pH-level is conflicting with skin’s level and water may be toxic and cause irritations. I was so impressed to see that the brand has sourced its “own” Marine Spring Water, drawn in Brittany from a natural reservoir found more than 22m in depth. With a unique blend it differs from regular sea water. The Marine Spring Water contains higher levels of Manganese and Silicium which makes it capable to lower the trans-epidermal water loss! My deeply dehydrated eye-area is jumping with joy.
Claimed to “stimulate the production of endogenous skin lipids and to improve the circulation of water in the skin by increasing the number of hemidesmosomes”, it minimizes the water loss.
The ice cubes (6 pieces) sits on a tray and comes with a complimentary gauze. You pop them in the freezer and just take one out, release it from its packaging and wrap it in the gauze before gently starting to press onto clean and dry skin! Take your time, even though it’s freezing cold (I personally use them all over the face as I find the FACE cubes to be too large and simply just a waste of a very expensive product) I instantly feel refreshed with skin that shows more lustre and contour. Any puffiness is soon gone and all the rich botanical ingredients together with the hyaluronic acid make my eyes look awake and the skin smooth for makeup application. Yes, it is a perfect treat for “the day after” but even more so before a special occasion when you want to look your best! Even though skincare experts Caroline Hirons and Lisa Eldridge swear by the house of Anne Semonin, I still respect and like Lisa’s tips to freeze down ice cubes of strong green tea as a much more affordable way to achieve cryotherapy for your face and eyes. You will not gain all of the luxurious ingredients but I think it is important to always have options! Use your freezer.
The Eye Express Radiance Ice Cubes came up as winners on 2017’s Beauty Shortlist Awards and I can only agree: they are well worth the money. They’re completely godsend for someone with a troublesome eye area like myself.
I simply can’t put it any other way. These are not must-haves. These are super luxurious extraordinary premium niche skincare for all of us who see the real and true benefits of a little ice cube.♥