December Beauty Buzz

Taupe nails, advances in lipo and a new antioxidant to get excited about.

Photographer: John Lawton

The next big skincare ingredient? Astaxanthin. The powerful antioxidant, derived from a microalgae, has been used for everything from aiding muscle recovery to treating autoimmune diseases, so it was only a matter of time before it hit the beauty industry. Claimed to be up to 1,000 times more effective at fighting free radicals than vitamin E, it’s now in a vitamin supplement called Astavita Skin Defense Complex, a pill designed to improve skin from the inside out ( And 3 Lab included it in its new Perfect “Glow” Complex serum: The company found that aside from Astaxanthin’s antioxidant properties, it also enhances skin elasticity and helps reduce melanin deposits, which can lead to age spots. $95; at Barneys New York.

Photographer: John Lawton

When New York fashion stylist Linda Rodin began blending 11 essential oils in her kitchen, her dreams didn’t extend beyond finding an effective moisturizer for her dry skin. Two years later Rodin Olio Lusso has become an underground favorite of beauty junkies, selling at such chic boutiques as John Derian in New York. In December she follows up with a body oil for skin from the neck down. Potions three and four are already in the works, but other than describing them as “something for the home and something else for the body,” Rodin remains mum. $80;

Photographer: John Lawton

Because cellulite never hibernates, the FitFlop, the alleged fat-fighting cult-hit thong, has been winterized for nonbikini climates. There are two styles, but we love the Ugg-like Billow, whose shearling lining keeps ankles and feet warm so upper legs and glutes can work out even on snow days. $125;

Photographer: John Lawton

The word “taupe” has a dowdy feel to it, right up there with “mauve,” and taupe-painted nails bring gaudy grand­mothers to mind. But we recently discovered a few taupes done in a way that feels fresh and hip. Nonie Creme, creative director of nail polish company Butter London (, whipped up Sheer Mink, a gorgeous pale milk-chocolate shade, for the Vena Cava spring 2009 show. “I took the orange out, but I also found that adding a few drops of green gave it a bit of patina,” she says. Creme plans on debuting Sheer Mink next year. Until then Priti Organic’s St. Catherine’s Lace ( and Lippmann Collection’s Fashion ( are excellent orangeless taupes to try.

Photographer: John Lawton

The art of liposuction has undergone many technological advancements in an effort to make the removal of fat easier and less painful. The latest comes from Palomar Medical Technologies and is called SlimLipo. A fiber-optic laser is inserted into the targeted area, where, at 924 nanometers, the fat is melted and removed through a flexible plastic cannula (which is less invasive than the standard metal tube). The laser then goes in again at a higher wavelength (975 nanometers) to tighten the skin around the area. “With other wavelengths, the fat comes out clumpy, but at 924 it’s total liquid,” says New York plastic surgeon Kenneth Rothaus, who’s been using SlimLipo since June (it won FDA clearance in April) and has conducted a yet-unpublished study on the machine for the company. “If it can cut procedure time down and show significant skin contraction, that would be very attractive,” says New York plastic surgeon Haideh Hirmand. “It sounds like very promising technology, but no studies have been published on it yet, so I’m waiting to see that first.”