REVIEW: Clarins Shaping Facial Lift Total V Contouring Serum

I’ve been dabbling in various serums in the mornings as a part of my day time routine. I’ve found that if I leave the heavy duty stuff for my nighttime routine, I like to use something pretty light during the day time. However, lately, I’ve really been into adding serums into my routine instead of relying on day creams/moisturizers. Now, what I do use is I tone, use a serum, then apply a moisturizing sunscreen before applying my makeup. I’ve found that I still feel moisturized and hydrated, but my skin doesn’t feel heavy because I’m not layering on both a serum and a corresponding cream. Currently, my serum of choice has bee the Clarins Shaping Facial Lift Total V Contouring Serum, and I’ve been super happy with it and its effects.



Clarins claims that this is a “luxurious serum for the look of perfectly defined, V-shaped facial contours.” Additionally, they’ve been marketing this specifically for Asian women and it’s indicated in the product’s packaging, marketing, and insert. The serum is designed to use “three powerful plant extracts [contained within]—guarana, zerumbet ginger, and kaki—that refine facial contours, define cheekbones, and visibly lift jawline. It delivers complete facial contouring performance for women of all skin types and tones.” Specifically, the serum is used to help the face look less puffy — therefor, looking more defined.

Because the Asian culture — like the Korean culture — is pretty much obsessed with the “small -face” and the “V-shape,” which is supposed to give you the look of a small point chin, chiseled cheek bones, and appropriate contours — the serum is designed to deliver those results without the drastic results of facial surgery. Now, obviously, this serum cannot replace drastic surgical results, but I’ve found that the ingredients work well together on the skin to help it look refined.


As for the slimming features, I can’t say that I see much different. But, when I do apply the product, I before sure to apply it first and then press it in along my cheekbones. I apply it firmly under my chin and press it in around my nose area as well. Psychologically, I feel that ‘pressing away’ fat and skin to reveal the contours of my face, lol. I like to apply extra around my eye area to help it appear less puffy as well. I like how it feels on my skin. It’s lightweight; and, the gel-ish texture absorbs and nicely. It seems to be fine under makeup so I’ve been wearing it around during the daytime. I recommend the serum but I think it’s important to have some realistic expectations regarding the performance of this product. I’ve noticed that if sometimes I reach for a different serum in the mornings, I feel like my skin takes longer to de-puff in the morning. I don’t have any proof of this (lol), but it’s just a feeling I get (which may or may not be true).


Corresponding with this serum, there’s also the Shaping Facial Lift Wrap and the Defining Eye Lift. The Shaping Facial Lift Wrap, which is next on my list, is a “soothing cream-mousse mask to relieve redness and puffiness due to fluid retention caused by fatigue, an unbalanced diet, heat, or stress.” It’s received great reviews so far, and the sample I’ve been trying has been great as well. I think I’ll be purchasing that next. The Defining Eye Lift is a new product that contains a “powerful formula to relieve puffiness, brighten dark circles, and visibly lift heavy-looking eyelids.” Additionally, like the serum, it’s supposed to “relieve puffiness, tighten slackened skin, and promote brighter, wider-looking eyes. Clarins’ triple action formula contains pure plant actives that brighten dark circles and eyelids for eyes that appear youthfully radiant.”

I like Clarins and I’m really liking this particular range within the brand. I think it’s pretty great in terms of realistic results and I think it’s worth checking out if some of these issues are a concern for you.

Retails for $80.00 USD.

Clarins Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base in 01 Rose

I’ve been mixing iridescent primers with my base makeup for a long time now. It adds a subtle tint of glow to any base makeup and really helps the skin look dewy and glowy. I stopped mixing for awhile due to the cold and dreary weather, but now that the sun is out and I’m in the mood for light, glowy makeup, I’ve been back into mixing a glowy primer with my base makeup. Recently, I purchased the Clarins Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base in 01 Rose and I’m really pleased with how it works with my makeup and alone.



Clarins Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base in 01 Rose is one of two shades. I feel that the pink shade is always more brightening, and it also highlights while feeling/looking more natural on my slightly pink skin. Clarins writes that this highlighter or “radiance boosting complexion base” is designed to “boost your natural radiance with Instant Light radiance-boosting complexion base.” In addition, the “moisturizing formula illuminates and corrects your skin tone while hydrating, soothing and brightening your skin. It’s available in two different formulas to suit your needs, whether you need to cover redness or just want to brighten your gorgeous skin.”

Shades include:
– Rose: brightens all complexions.
– Champagne: corrects redness.

Active ingredients:
Aqua/Water/Eau, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Alcohol, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Peg/Ppg-18/18 Dimethicone, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Bisabolol, Sodium Chloride, Silica, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Glycerin



What I like to do with this is to wear over foundation, rather than mixing it in like I used to with other highlighting primers. I don’t necessarily wear this all over my face; what I like to do is after foundation application, I apply a few dots of this along my cheek bones, down my nose bridge, and right at the center of my forehead. Then, I blend it out with a small brush. I goes onto the skin beautifully and blends out without looking too harsh, too pink, or too highlighter-y. It disappears into the skin just right so that you don’t really detect it. Your skin has a subtle halo-like glow that blends in naturally with your skin.

When I am in the mood to mix this in with foundation, I just pump a little bit next to my foundation blob and mix it together. Then, I apply the mixture onto my skin and blend with my usual foundation buffing brush or the Beauty Blender. I feel that it does dilute the foundation a bit so it’s nice for when I want much lighter, but glowier coverage. The Rose shade is great at brightening the complexion and I feel that it really does add something extra to how my skin looks. It doesn’t really correct skin tone or act as a primer/base that helps my makeup last any longer. However, for the brightening and glowy effects, I’m happy with the product and I recommend it.

Made in France.
Retails for $37.00 USD.
Item contains 1.0 oz.

Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase

I’ve been on the hunt for a good hydrating serum that’s great for the mornings. Recently, I purchased the Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase and I’m very happy with its performance. It’s made its way into my morning skin care routine, for sure. Previously, I used the Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S. Thirst Quenching Serum and finished it, before moving onto the Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum. Since the transition, I decided that the Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Defense Serum was best for night time because it was starting to feel too heavy for my skin during the morning.

The Clarins HydraQuench Intensive Serum Bi-Phase is a great in-between, and it settles nicely into the skin without interfering with sunscreen and makeup application. In fact, it’s worked so well for me, I use it alone without moisturizer because it’s so multi-functional.


As “an intensive hydrating serum to bring youthful vitality to extra dry, devitalized skin,” this serum initially feels like a light oil for the skin. You shake it to mix the product and half a pump is enough for the face and neck areas. This “non-oily serum hydrates, softens, and protects” the skin, and it “restores comfort and a youthful radiance while smoothing the appearance of wrinkles,” fine lines, dry spots, and irritated areas of the skin. The “enriched with katafray bark extract and Inca peanut extract…leaves skin youthful-looking and delicately scented.”

This serum absorbs quickly and sinks in immediately — and, it feels like your skin is just drinking it up. My skin felt smooth and soothed upon contact; and, because the product works so well to hydrate my skin without looking or feeling oily, I swear this has re-balanced my skin. By “re-balanced,” I mean that my dry cheeks feel comfortable while my oily t-zone is kept in check!


A little bit goes a long ways, so I think if I stick with this product for the mornings, it can last a long time. I can immediately move onto my sunscreen, base makeup, and then the rest of my makeup application after applying this serum. It does not make my skin feel oily, greasy, or sticky; and, it hasn’t had any adverse effects on my sensitive skin either. Not only has it re-balanced my skin, but it has also replaced my moisturizer and kept my skin perfectly hydrated without going over the top.

It is pricey but well worth it. I recommend it for those with all skin types, because it feels good on the skin and I believe it is good for maintaining the skin as well. I’ve noticed that with hydrated skin, my makeup applies smoothly and my skin looks and feels smoother even without makeup. Even if you don’t have dry skin, there’s a good chance that your skin is de-hydrated. Restoring your skin with this serum would be a great way to condition your skin and keep it healthy.

Retails for $59.00 USD.
Made in France.

Enhancing Your Complexion

I’m one of those people who spend way too much time getting my complexion in tip top shape, rather than deciding which colorful eyeshadow or lipstick I’m going to be sporting that day. In fact, I probably own way more products for the face than anything else. It also doesn’t help that one of my favorite items to research, play with, and purchase are base products. For me, taking your bare complexion to the next level is important — and, that means, I want my skin to look healthy, glowy, and well-put -together for sure. Rather than covering each little spot, I like to focus on the overall result — such as, a smooth and poreless surface or some glow from an awesome highlighter.


I do this many ways, but these are the key items I’ve been reaching for. First, lasting powder is important. But more than that, evening our your canvas and prepping it nicely for the base makeup will save some time. That extra step is having a good primer, like the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15 or the Benefit Stay Flawless 15-hour Primer.

Second, having a product like the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm handy to really wake up your skin and having it feel and look great. This will truly take your skin from being average to looking like you’ve been on a spa vacation for a week. It’s an investment, but will come to the rescue when you least expect it. And, thirdly, your under eye and eye area can’t be neglected when your enhancing your complexion. I’ve been dedicated to the Diorsnow UV Shield BB Eye Creme SPF 20 PA++ because it’s an all in one: eye cream and some tint for coverage.

And, finally, you need a reliable base product that’s not going to let you down — whether it’s raining or humid outside, or you’ve burst into tears in the middle of your day. My base of choice right now is the Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Foundation Powder in Ivory. It’s a godsend and lifesaver, and currently, my most favorite powder foundation of all.


If you’re thinking — AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FO DAT — there’s a good way to skip steps and jump ahead with a longtime favorite liquid foundation: NARS Sheer Glow in “Mont Blanc” and the Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour SPF 15 in N10 that will do everyone else’s jobs. Think about this product as a giant makeup eraser — it goes and blurs everything — imperfections, discolorations, pores, lines, wrinkles, and uneven surfaces. Seriously.

Whatever your preferences are, I hope you found my ways to enhance the complexion helpful!

Clarins Beauty Flash Balm

For awhile I planned on purchasing the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, but I never got around to it because I was so confused by the product. Even other reviews and videos didn’t help. Recently, while at Sephora, I decided to try it out on my hand for fun to see what the big deal was. This product is marketed as “a balm that instantly moisturizes, brightens, and tightens facial contours so skin looks rested and relaxed.” And, you know what? It sure does.


This was created to function as “the ultimate pick-me-up for tired, stressed skin,” and this “radiance-making product helps eliminate signs of fatigue in a flash.” It operates in two different ways depending on what your skin needs — a great 10-minute “energy” mask; or a makeup primer because its “non-oily formula prepares skin for perfect makeup application and hours of luminous wear.” I’ve tried it both ways and like it both. This product really is the difference between optimal skin condition long term and the temporary effects of regular primer.

Application is unique — in fact, you can’t rub this in like a moisturizer because it will ball-up and look flakey. Add some onto an area of your face and gently pat the product in until it disappears.



As a mask/skin treatment, this is amazing. At night, after my skin cleansing ritual, I apply a thick layer all over my face and leave it on for 10-15 minutes. Then, I wipe off the product (do NOT rinse) and proceed onto my nighttime skin care routine. In the morning, I wash my face with Cetaphil and my skin is so soft and smooth. Any irritation or looks of stress from the day before is gone. The results linger as well. The condition of your skin is actually better and feels better too.

As a primer, this helps your makeup glide on and look luminous. While it is non-oily, it does make my skin shiny after a few hours, so blotting and powdering is necessary with this product. However, after my makeup is removed, my skin feels like it did when I used this as a mask. Long term, this helps your skin look and feel great — unlike traditional primer — where the results are temporary. The Beauty Flash Balm is formulated with olive extract, which is an ingredient that helps to smooth the skin’s surface, diffusing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Also, “Bisabolol soothes, softens, and helps restore skin’s youthful glow.”


The Beauty Flash Balm is light and cooling on the skin. Much like a drink for my skin, it absorbs and soaks in quickly and feels good. Even with no makeup on, my skin looks healthy and supple — kind of like just coming home from a pampering facial. It’s expensive and doesn’t last long, especially if you’re also using this as a mask and that’s the down side. I wish it came with more for the price. Boo. However, because it functions as a “radiance booster,” I will continue to purchase it because it takes your skin from looking normal to looking like you belong on the cover of a magazine. No lie. :)

Made in France.
Retails for $45.00 USD.
1.7 oz.

REVIEW: Clarins UV Plus Multi-Protection SPF 40 [sunscreen]

After my previous post and the messages it brought, I’ve decided to promptly post a quickie review for the Clarins UV Plus Multi-Protection SPF 40 sunscreen. Many were curious since my description of this sunscreen was quite heavenly; and I apologize for not going into detail about the product (and also for the lack of descriptive pictures). I completely understand all the commotion – since it is rather difficult to find a sunscreen we like. Every one knows that wearing sunscreen is the best way to prevent aging and sun damage; but let’s face it – no one really likes the smell or texture of sunscreen. And, it’s probably why people don’t wear it. Truth? Yes.

So, what’s the box say?
“Triple protection against UVA-UVB rays, free radicals and pollution from an ultra lightweight texture that leaves skin looking smooth, soft, and matte. 100% mineral sunscreen. Oil-free. Formulated with an age-fighting antioxidants obtained from cantaloupe melon extract. Allergy and ophthalmologist tested, non-comedogenic.”

And, the insert?
“UV PLUS HP contains a 100% mineral screen to help protect against the signs of photo-aging and the appearance of sun-induced age spots. UV PLUS HP is formulated for even the most sensitive skin and Clarins ‘anti-pollution complex’ helps protect skin from the harmful effects of pollution.”

Let’s decipher all this ‘high-tech’ talk:
Clarins ‘anti-pollution complex’ is described as an ingredient that comes from cantaloupe melon extract. “This plant ingredient is both a powerful antioxidant and anti-aging enzyme that is protected by an innovative micro-encapsulating process, ensuring optimal effectiveness when applied.”

The importance of understanding UVA-UVB rays are key factors in finding the right protection level for your needs. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, “both UVA and UVB [rays]…penetrate the atmosphere and play an important role in conditions such as premature skin aging, eye damage (including cataracts), and skin cancers. They also suppress the immune system.” Also, “by damaging the skin’s cellular DNA, excessive UV radiation produces genetic mutations that can lead to skin cancer.”

To break it down, “UVA, which penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB, has long been known to play a major part in skin aging and wrinkling (photoaging),” and “UVB, the chief cause of skin reddening and sunburn, tends to damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers. It plays a key role in the development of skin cancer” (The Skin Cancer Foundation). So the bottom line is to look for sunscreens labeled “broad spectrum” because it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

My thoughts:
This sunscreen is lightweight and runny, yet creamy and blends easily into the skin. It doesn’t take much effort to dab it on and then rub it in. It dries almost instantly so you can move onto your next step in your morning routine without having to fan your face. It creates a smooth surface on your skin, so it doubles as a primer for those who want to wear makeup over this. Makeup application is smooth and oil control is pretty decent; however, if you do suffer from oily skin, be prepared to blot with blotting paper or powder your nose halfway through the day, as your probably normally would. If you have dry skin, you’ll probably enjoy the dewiness the product will provide on its own.

The best thing about this sunscreen is that it doesn’t leave that dreaded white cast on your face. The product retails for $38 at your local Clarins counter or at Sephora. It’s quite pricey for a 1.7 oz. bottle but it’s practical and useful for every day purposes. Since you would wear this during the day only, a single bottle can last about 8 months if you use it regularly; or, up to a year for those (like me) who like to alternate and rotate products. My only warning is to reserve denser and more thicker sunscreens (like Neutrogena) that claim to be “waterproof” for the beach or going to the pool. Clarins UV Plus Multi-Protection SPF 40 sunscreen isn’t meant to be “water resistant,” “waterproof,” or “sweat proof,” so the product will most likely become less effective once you dive into any body of water.

Final verdict:
For the price, this product isn’t completely necessary and I’m aware that something from the drugstore is just as useful and effective. Note that I’m directing the recommendation of the Clarins sunscreen for every day use and under makeup because it’s non-sticky and you forget you’re wearing it. It’s a small additional step to add into your morning routine, but in the long run, you won’t be spending thousands to reverse damage done to your skin in your 50’s. I’m a big believer in “preventative measures,” so to me, it’s an investment that’s worth it. Also, I think that many people who normally detest using/wearing sunscreen will find this product to be user-friendly, unlike the sticky goop that sunscreen normally tends to be.

One final thing to keep in mind is that this particular prodcut – much like all “high end” sunscreens – are not approved by the FDA. Products sold at the drugstore (like Neutrogena) are regulated by the FDA in packaging, label, content, and the ingredients. If this is a concern to you, purchase and use Clarins at your own risk.

*Pictures taken using CANON POWERSHOT SD1300 IS DIGITAL ELPH (12.1 Megapixels)
*Click on images to enlarge.