Cosmetic Connection readers have spoken! Here are the the results of our 1999 Reader's Survey.
The number one choice is listed in bold, with the four runners-up following.
Toner: Clinique Clarifying Lotion #2
Moisturizer: Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer
Eye Cream/Gel: Clinique All About Eyes
Acne Treatment: Sage Miracle Zit
Sage Advice Skin Care
This review is going to be a long one, so get a cup of tea or what ever is your "poison" and take a few minutes.
First, let me give you a little background about myself. I had "perfect" skin, albeit a little oily, until about the age of 26 when I suddenly developed "adult acne." I have been searching for products since that time that would clear my skin. As I've gotten older (I'm now 34 and don't mind telling you this, if you keep it a secret ;-)), I've added to my skin care product search the requirement that the products I use should not only clear my skin, but help my aging skin as well. I was a confirmed Proactiv Solution user, however, Proactiv doesn't do much to help fine lines and wrinkles. This was my only problem with the line. So, after reading Heather's review of Sage skin care and joining the Cosmetic Connection panel, and getting many requests from you, the readers, I decided to try Sage to see what it had to offer.
I've used Sage for about three months now, through part of the summer and the beginning of fall, and I'd like to share with you my Sage experience. I must say that this is one line that I was happy that I used for an extended period of time. I did experience some irritation for the first few weeks and I am really glad that I stuck with the line through the entire 3 month period; had I written before, I may have given erroneous information.
Before I start, though, here are a few extra details about the regimen I used, the web site, the product packaging and the customer service.
The best regimen for me during the day during the summer months turned out to be: Gelloid moisturizer, extra strength corrective grains, regular strength cleanser, SPF 25, 20% Smoothing Gel and a reformulated Hydrating Emulsion with extra moisture. Now that it is fall I've had to readjust to using the Gelloid moisturizer instead of the reformulated Hydrating Emulsion as well as the 20% Smoothing Cream instead of the gel. The best regimen for evening turned out to be extra strength corrective grains, regular strength cleanser, icing, 20% Smoothing Gel or Smoothing Cream and extra strength Miracle Zit. I know many people have a concern about icing, so let me address this now. I've been using the icing technique and it is not new to me, since I began modeling at about the age of 16. I have always found that it reduces inflammation, so I wasn't worried about doing it in conjunction with these products. I have not seen any side effects from icing over the years, however, I do recommend wetting the ice and the face before performing the procedure as it does help to reduce the "drag" on the skin.
The website contains a great deal of good, common sense information about skin care, so even if you don't buy the line, I would recommend at least a perusal of the site to review the information. Also, the product use instructions are listed there, not only in print but via voice (wave file) as well. I found the list of comedogenic ingredients to be an interesting addition to the lists given to me by my dermatologist. Many of the same ingredients are listed, however, the Sage list does include some that my dermatologist's list does not and my dermatologist's list does contain some that the Sage list does not. (These are the lists I use when I examine products for review. If both the derm doctor and Barbara agree on an ingredient being comedogenic, I list it as such in my review, if only the Sage list mentions it, I just list it as an ingredient in the products and leave it to the readers to decide.)
The product packaging is VERY minimal. These are basic, everyday, white bottles and jars with computer generated (I think) labels. Not very pretty on the vanity, if this is an interest for you. You are definitely paying for product here, people. The labels do peel and rub off, especially when wet (and they are going to get wet), so download the instruction sheets and put them somewhere safe. You may need them. Unfortunately, Ms. Strickland does not put ingredient information on the product labels, so you will have to request that information from her.
The customer service is excellent - actually, superb. Any questions I had were answered via email within the hour and when I was having problems with the Miracle Zit (more on that later), I got a personal phone call to clear up the matter. My only problem in this arena was when I submitted my profile before trying the products I received no answer. I resubmitted my profile and still received no answer. I went ahead and bought the "Acne Try Me Pack" at $39.95 and within 24 hours I had an answer. It turned out that I had actually bought the wrong one for my skin type, which is what I was trying to avoid doing in the first place, and had to buy the "Oily Skin Try Me Pack" at $49.95 as well. Oh well, at least I got to try a lot of the products and there is about six to eight weeks of product to get the skin through the adjustment period. Now to the review.
Corrective Grains and Extra Strength Corrective Grains (4oz for $17.50)
Facial Shampoo and Extra Strength Facial Shampoo (4oz for $17.50)
Biological Clay Mask (4oz for $40)
SPF 25 Sunscreen (4oz for $21)
6%, 12% and 20% Smoothing Creams and 20% Smoothing Gel (2oz for $60)
Gelloid Moisturizer (4oz for $40)
Old Lady Cream (2oz for $40)
10% Miracle Zit and Extra Strength %10 Miracle Zit with Sulfur (4 oz for $23)
I actually saw improvement in my skin in a 24-hour period. Because I was so impressed, I bought two others that Ms. Strickland offers.
Ooey-Gooey Exfoliating Mask at 15% (4oz for $60)
At Home Peel (2oz for $70)
Well, there you have it, my Sage experience. Overall, I think this is a fantastic skin care line that, although it is a little pricey, it definitely delivers what it promises. One final testimonial: one day, while using this product line, I was running late for class and was (gasp) "sans" makeup in the city. A man walked up to me and asked me if I had ever modeled before. Not wanting to get into a long discussion with a stranger, I said "No." He handed me his card and said, "Well, if you are ever interested, give me a call." It turns out that he was a VP for a very reputable Modeling/Talent firm in New York. I'm not interested in modeling anymore, since my life has moved on to other things, but thanks to Sage, it's nice to know that maybe I could have modeled again and my skin wouldn't have played up on me. My "hats off" to Ms. Strickland, her company and her products - I'm a convert. Does this mean I won't be trying other skin care lines? Absolutely not! You'll be hearing from me again as I'll be back with more reviews :).
You can find Sage Skin Care at WWW.SAGESKINCARE.COM
Sage Advice Skin Care
When I'm not locked up in my bathroom testing cleansers and trying different brands of eye shadow, I am regularly online surfing around for interesting beauty sites. During a recent jaunt, I discovered Sage Skin Care by Barbara Strickland. Barbara is a published author and has 17 years experience as a Para-Medical Esthetician. Her Sage Skin Care site features products she has created to treat acne, fine lines, wrinkles, and skin discolorations. Barbara also shares some great information in articles about preventing acne, avoiding common skin care product ingredients that can aggravate acne, and using sunscreen religiously.
Here are a couple of Barbara's tips that I now swear by:
Wash your face with slightly warm to cool water. Hot or very warm might feel good but that heat makes the skin swell and your pimples get irritated. Now that we're getting into summer, try using cool water and see how refreshing it feels.
In Barbara's words, "Be an acne detective." Learn about product ingredients and which ones to avoid. This advice alone has made a marked improvement in my skin far beyond what any one cream or mask could do. I never realized just how many ingredients I was using regularly were making my problem skin worse.
When you first visit Sage Skin Care and browse the selection of products, you may wonder why everything seems a little expensive. This is not another skin care line charging high prices for fancy packaging and expensive advertising; what you are paying for is truly product quality and unbelievable service. For every customer and every product ordered, Barbara will work with you to get the best results for your skin, whether that means exchanging products, reformulating ingredients, or customizing a program that suits your needs. I only wish every shopping experience could be so warm, personal, and thorough.
Corrective Grains ($17.50 for 4 ounces)
Facial Shampoo ($17.50 for 4 ounces)
SPF 25 Sunblock ($21 for 4 ounces)
Gelloid Moisturizer and Masque ($40 for 4 ounces)
Glycolic Acid 12% Smoothing Cream ($60 for 2 ounces)
Old Lady Cream ($40 for 2 ounces)
Miracle Zit ($35 for 8 ounces)
XX Miracle Zit ($40 for 8 ounces)
One of the best ways to try Sage products is in a Try Me Pack. For around $50, you get 2 ounce sizes of the products most appropriate for your skin, complete with Barbara's great service and advice. If you want to try the products and see how your skin does, this is a great way to do it.
The Sage Skin Care Phenomenon
PRODUCTS SHOWN: ABOVE Back row-- (all 8oz) Extra Gentle Facial Shampoo, Extra Gentle Corrective Grains, Regular Strength Facial Shampoo, Extra Strength Facial Shampoo
It's also why I feature custom formulation for each client, and not just with products, but information and usage also. I want them to maximize their results!
Custom blending? How does that work?
BS: Yes, and it's the exciting part of what I do. Depending on what a client needs, I add fresh ingredients to my product's base. Say for instance, a client likes my Regular Strength Facial Shampoo, but needs more moisture. I might add Panthetonic Acid, Allantonin, Hydrolyzed Sunflower or Safflower Oil. My lab contains pints, quarts, and gallons
SHOWN ABOVE: 4oz extra Gentle Facial Shampoo, 8oz Extra Gentle Corrective Grains, 8oz Extra Strength Corrective Grains