Welcome to the T List, a newsletter from the editors of T Magazine. This week, to coincide with the publication of our Beauty & Luxury issue, T staffers and contributors highlight the products and trends they’re most excited about this spring. Sign up here to find us in your inbox every Wednesday. And you can always reach us at [email protected].
Vitamin C Serums for Radiant-Looking Skin
Skin-care experts have long suggested making vitamin C serum an integral part of our daily beauty routines. As the New York-based dermatologist Michelle Henry explains, “Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects the skin from environmental aggressors, which create free radicals that then destroy collagen.” Among the most advanced offerings on the market are Sonya Dakar’s Ultima C Serum ($88), a hydrating and brightening formula that contains two kinds of vitamin C, along with a touch of hyaluronic acid, which helps give skin a plump look. It also includes extracts of superfoods like goji berry, green tea and kakadu plum, a fruit native to Australia that has the highest recorded amount of vitamin C found in nature. Wander Beauty’s creamy Sight C-er Vitamin C Concentrate ($42) also contains kakadu plum extract, blended with an oil-soluble form of vitamin C thought to be more gentle on sensitive skin; squalane, to lock in moisture; and hyaluronic acid. As it is exposed to oxygen over time, vitamin C can lose its efficacy. With this in mind, Angela Ubias and Cary Lin of Common Heir packaged their jellylike Vitamin C Serum ($88), which is infused with soothing licorice root and conditioning rice bran extract, in single-use biodegradable capsules that dissolve in hot water. Kakadu plum makes yet another appearance, alongside pineapple, papaya and mango extracts, in Naturium’s Vitamin C Complex Serum ($20), a wallet-friendly option with 22 percent L-ascorbic acid, the purest form of the nutrient. While it’s best to use these serums in the morning, to better shield your skin against aggressors that it may encounter throughout the day, they don’t protect against UV rays, says Henry, who recommends pairing them with an SPF. To that end, I personally love EltaMD’s UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 ($37).
Though Danielle Chang and William Li grew up oceans apart — in Taiwan and New York City’s Chinatown, respectively — the friends and co-hosts of PBS’s “Lucky Chow” series, which celebrates Asian cuisine, share a heritage of herbal remedies passed down through traditional Chinese medicine. Their latest project, the Hao Life, which launches this week, simplifies the time-consuming process of preparing one’s own tinctures, which can involve boiling herbs for hours, by concentrating ingredients into daily superblend tablets. Made in collaboration with the Chinese medicine practitioner David Melladew and certified by the Natural Products Association, the supplements — as in traditional Chinese medicine — are each meant to target one of five organs (the liver, heart, spleen, lungs or kidneys) with the intention of boosting chi energy and maintaining harmony between the body, mind and spirit. Balancing Act (for women) and Got Game (for men) aid the kidneys — believed to be the center of sexual health — by smoothing out hormonal fluctuations at any age. Breathing Room, designed to support the lungs and immune system, is a version of the astragalus root brew Li’s mother used to boil during cold and flu season. Mind Unwind, meanwhile — a mix of reishi, coral lily bulb and jujube seeds — nourishes the heart, where the body’s spirit is thought to reside, easing stress and anxiety. Come Clean, for detoxifying the liver, and Gut Feelings, which promotes digestion through the spleen, can be taken regularly to maintain overall well-being, or after a gluttonous meal. Beyond offering supplements, the partners also want to share their wider philosophy of wellness. “Hao” is the Chinese word for “good,” and for Chang, living a long and fulfilling life means “maintaining balance and harmony through all of its many stages.” From $88, thehaolife.com.
Blushes That Promise Luminosity
With warm weather and immunizations upon us, we can expect to begin safely putting our best faces forward in the months ahead. For me, the goal is a radiant yet natural look, and my go-to product is blush. This season, the best rouges are blendable, buildable and, above all, luminous. For a subtle glow, try Hermès’s Rose Hermès Silky Blush Powder ($77), which delivers a lovely, long-lasting, semi-matte pink to any complexion and comes in eight shades (my favorite is Rose Plume). For a bolder pop of color, there’s Sisley’s Le Phyto-Blush in Rosy Fuchsia ($80), which melts into one’s cheeks to create a velvety look that starts out sheer but can be layered to achieve a deeper, more dramatic tone. LYS Beauty’s Higher Standard Satin Matte Cream Blush ($16), meanwhile, is free of parabens, talc and fragrance, and is available in six richly pigmented shades, such as Inspire, a baked coral terra-cotta. Then there’s the all-in-one Aura Multi Stick from Vapour ($36), which can be applied to your cheeks, lips and eyes and is perfect if you’re on the go. It contains sunflower oil, frankincense, myrrh and lotus, which work together to hydrate and calm the skin. Another easy-to-apply option, Saie’s hydrating, water-based Dew Blush ($22) comes with its own doe foot applicator for dabbing onto the cheekbones, and contains mulberry, elderberry and evening primrose extracts to address discoloration and dryness. Dreamy, a light berry hue, and one of the four available shades, painlessly recreates the effect of pinching one’s cheeks for an instant flush.
A New Documentary and Fragrance From Dior
François Demachy, the perfumer behind Christian Dior’s fragrances since 2006, is now the subject of a documentary. “Nose,” directed by Arthur de Kersauson and Clément Beauvais and available on Amazon Prime, follows Demachy over the course of two years, pulling back the curtain on the process of sourcing ingredients and producing perfumes. The film travels from coastal Ireland, where beachcombers hunt for ambergris, to a patchouli farm in Sulawesi, Indonesia, revealing the global nature of perfumery. But its primary aim, according to Demachy, is to show the many individuals behind each scent, “from the people who plant the flowers to the ones who harvest them; from those who transform them into absolutes to the ones who mix them (like myself). This human dimension is one of the most important aspects of the industry to me,” he says. Between filming, Demachy worked on several other projects, including the new perfume Eden-Roc, inspired by the famously luxurious hotel in Antibes, France, for which it’s named, and made in collaboration with the property’s general manager, Philippe Perd; its operations manager, Laurent Van Hoegaerden; and Jérôme Pulis, the international communications director for Parfums Christian Dior. “I tried to interpret the feeling you have when you are there,” Demachy says. A note of jasmine is meant to conjure the hotel’s garden, while the hints of salty sea air are a homage to the surrounding ocean and the warm blend of coconut and mastic evokes the image of sunbathers resting on the terrace. Dior La Collection Privée Eden-Roc, $250, dior.com.
Lately, I’ve started to assess not just whether I need a haircut to face the world again (that’s a yes) but also whether my hair itself needs a proper detox. Simply washing with shampoo and conditioner doesn’t seem to be enough. “A hair detox essentially removes buildup — the accumulation of cosmetic ingredients on the hair shaft — from conventional shampoos, conditioners and styling products,” say Greg and Joanne Starkman, the founders of the organic hair-care line Innersense, whose new Detox Hair Mask ($30), made with charcoal, kaolin clay and white vinegar, can help restore lackluster-looking locks. In a similar vein, Briogeo’s Scalp Revival mask ($32), also made with charcoal — and with tea tree, peppermint and spearmint oils to cool the skin — is recommended for use in between your shampoo and conditioner. For more dehydrated hair, R+Co offers a Peacholine + Kombucha Detox Rinse ($32) that helps draw out bad minerals and restore shine. To get to the root of the problem, Philip B’s Peppermint Avocado Scalp Scrub ($75), made with sea salt crystals and soothing arnica extract and witch hazel, works well to clear your head of the sebum that accumulates over time. “Sebum is a great natural conditioner,” says the Hollywood hair specialist, “but it’s also heavy and waxy and can build up on your scalp, blocking hair follicles, interfering with optimal hair growth and causing inflammation.” The cult-favorite Swedish brand Sachajuan offers a similar scrub, though its version is infused with the line’s custom blend of algae extracts, which increases elasticity and hydration. For those whose scalps are itchy, irritated or sunburned, there’s MonPure’s Hydrate and Soothe Scalp Serum (about $135). And if you need a little boost after such a thorough wash, Christophe Robin’s Regenerating Serum ($51), with its ever-popular prickly pear oil — which is rich in antioxidants and amino acids — helps combat frizz and heat damage, adding luster and shine.
From T’s Instagram