The Beauty Spotlight Team has Stranded Perilously Pale on a Desert Island!

The Beauty Spotlight Team’s latest assignment is to be stranded on a desert island with only TWELVE beauty products to get us by until help arrives. How cruel is that?! Well I guess it’s pretty awesome because who the heck gets to hand pick what items to take with them prior to getting abandoned on a desert island. That’s actually sounding like a pretty fabulous vacation to me at the moment. The rules are that we are not including sunscreen and lip balm in our lists as those are simply obvious must haves for absolutely everyone so we are assuming our desert island came with a secret stash of those essentials. Hmm now did this desert island come equipped with frosty tropical beverages and snacks as well or should I have been selecting edible beauty products?

At first I thought that twelve items sounded generous and that this assignment would be easy. But when you consider looking after your skin, as well as looking your best, and throw in the necessity of tools on top of that, and selecting a mere twelve products quickly becomes an impossible task. After a great deal of thought this is what I have determined are my Desert Island Must Haves. Now this is presuming I have people to impress on said desert island. I am of course assuming that this desert island is home to beauty conscious civilized people or maybe just really stuck up monkeys. If I were to be there alone, truly shipwrecked, than my must haves would consist of only skincare. Anyways enough of the logistics and on to the fun stuff!

My products of choice in no particular order:

shu uemura Ultime8 Cleansing Oil - When I reviewed this cleansing oil back in August I was totally smitten. My feelings have not changed. I could not imagine being without this decadent skincare product. Check out my original review here.

Clarins Blue Orchid Treatment Oil for Dehydrated Skin  - I haven’t reviewed this yet, as I only began testing a couple weeks ago, but so far I am calling this my miracle skincare product and have Instagramed my excitement over this extraordinary treatment. I think I have FINALLY found the product I’ve been looking for to rescue my dehydrated skin.

shu uemura Eyelash Curler  - I have several of the shu uemura eyelash curlers in my stash as well as in my professional kit. I have straight lashes that stick straight down so this eyelash curler is a must for me to make me look awake and fresh. Check out my original review of the gold version here.

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara I posted about this favourite mascara of mine in the Makeup Wars Favourite Mascara feature. This baby would definitely be my mascara of choice for my desert island adventure.

Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Makeup ($62) LOVE LOVE LOVE this foundation. I have yet to review it as I only received it a little over a week ago but this is serious holy grail status for me. What makes it even more perfect for a desert island makeup bag is that I don’t need primer or setting powder with it. How amazing is that?

Urban Decay Naked Palette When it comes time to picking eyeshadows for my desert island must haves of course I had to select a palette with as many great and versatile shades as possible. I have never reviewed my Naked palette, simply because there are so many reviews out there already, but when given the task of narrowing my choices down to 12 selections this was the first palette than came to mind. You can never go wrong with the UD Naked Palette!

Le Metier de Beaute Blush Kit Kaleidoscope - Four beautiful blush and highlight shades in one palette? Of course the Le Metier de Beaute Blush Kaleidoscope made my list. It has been a go to and a favourite since I reviewed it in May. Check out the review and swatches here. It is such an exceptional piece from Le Metier de Beaute.

Hakuhodo J110 Blush Brush I picked this exquisitely soft blush brush as part of my Hakuhodo haul at IMATS this year. Heaven!

Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Vernis À Lèvres Glossy Stain -  I have mentioned many times my adoration for this innovative formula. It is really a crying shame I only own two shades #7 Corail Aquatique and #15 Rose Vinyl.

Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer - I like the Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer because it does a good job concealing imperfections and it also will function as an under eye concealer without looking to heavy or cakey.

MAC 217 Blending Brush - Good ‘ol faithful MAC 217. I would really love to have the MAC 239 brush on here as well but on a desert island I can manage with this one eyeshadow brush. I think my Hakuhodo J5523 is taking over as my favourite blending brush though. It is very similar to the MAC 217 but WAY softer. At only $18 US the Hakuhodo is even far cheaper!

Somme Institute Transport Pads - I reviewed the Somme Institute skincare system back in August. It was one of the most impressive skincare regimes I have tried. The real standout of the line is the Transport Pads. These keep my skin clear of blemishes, clogged pores, dry flakies and irritation, and help fade pigmentation and even out my skintone. I was without these for several months this fall and witnessed old issues rear their ugly heads again. I don’t think I will make the mistake of running out of these again!

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Somme Institute Skincare 5-Step Regime System Review

I am very excited to share the results of my Somme Institute 5-step Skincare regime with  you. 


First off to give you an idea of how much I loved these products I will let you know that I finished the bottles. I used up every last drop. This speaks volumes as normally, with a backlog of skincare items to review, I usually only test out a product for a period of about 3-4 weeks. Long enough to determine whether I am seeing benefits from the products or not. Typically, regardless of whether I am happy with the products and their results or not, I move on to the next product as soon as I can eager to find my miracle product. Now while I won’t deem the Somme Institute products my “miracle” products just yet I was extremely happy with them. 

Let me introduce you to the primary active in their products MDT5®:

What IS Molecular Dispersion Technology 5® (MDT5®)?
Proprietary breakthrough MDT5® allows 5 highly engineered essential vitamins (A, B3, B5, C and E) to penetrate the inner skin layers in their active forms at high concentrations. These free-radical fighting vitamins are bound in a scientific matrix of polypeptides that target specific skin cell receptors permitting Somme Institute to benefit the skin by:

  • Diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Eliminating blemishes and helping prevent their occurrence
  • Repairing skin’s past UV and environmental damage that appears as premature aging
  • Visibly lightening discoloration

Improving skin’s tone, texture and clarity
The Somme Institute 5-step regimen and targeted treatment products, travel regimes and luxurious and efficacious spa treatment protocols all credit patented MDT5® as the primary active.

I tested out the full 5 step regime and used it exclusively (with the addition of an eye cream) for several months. The 5 steps/products are:
  • Step 1: Nourishing Cleanser: A non-foaming cleanser containing patented MDT5®. Deep cleans skin without irritation or over-drying and dissolves dirt and oils without clogging pores. $40
  • Step 2: Transport: Soft cotton pads infused with MDT5® and AHA exfoliate dead cells on the skin’s surface, unclogging blocked pores while delivering highly-engineered vitamins thus improving resiliency, hydration and encouraging cell renewal. $58
  • Step 3: Serum: advanced technology that combines a potent, stabilized form of Vitamin C along with a high concentration of MDT5® to strengthen skin elasticity and smooth the appearance of fine lines. $82
  • Step 4: A-Bomb: a lightweight cream containing MDT5® and high levels of Vitamins A & E help soften fine lines and wrinkles while targeting problem areas. $70
  • Step 5: Double Defense (SPF 30+): lightweight, water-resistant lotion with SPF 30+ and Parsol 1789 to help protect your skin from premature aging while locking in vital moisture. $48

I wanted to show you pics of the products to give you an idea of consistency, colour, etc. but I ended up using them right up before I ever got around to taking photos!

Somme Institute suggests using the full 5 step program to ensure maintaining the healthy pH balance of your skin. If the full lineup is not within your budget I would suggest skipping the Nourishing Cleanser and Double Defense. I am a proponent of gentle cream cleansers but I am happy using Cetaphil or CereVe cream cleansers in place of the Somme version now that I have run out. The Double Defense daily moisturizer with SPF 30+ is a lovely moisturizer and I had great success using it for the months of testing but it is a touch on the greasy side which I know can be a turnoff to a lot of people. I continued to use it though and found it still performed really well under makeup. 

The three core products in the line are exceptional and I do recommend trying all three. I have already re-ordered the Transport pads as I have determined I can not live without them. I don’t experience much in the way of breakouts but I do frequently have small pimples on my chin and nose area. Usually there is always something there of some sort and I periodically experience larger eruptions on my chin. I had zero, yes ZERO, breakouts while using the Somme Institute products. I am thinking the Transport pads are most likely primarily responsible for that but I can’t be sure. I also have red, somewhat dry patches of skin on my chin and around my nose and into my one smile line. I believe this is some sort of eczema as it is always contained to the same areas. After using the Somme products this cleared up. Now that I have run out of the products and have moved on to other skincare for several weeks these patches have re-appeared much to my dismay. I am hoping once I receive the new Transport pads I can banish them once again! I also experience a reduction in clogged pores. I was hoping I would see an elimination of the clogged pores and a reduction in pore size but I believe with continued use I would have continued to see improvement in this area.

The serum is a clear, somewhat sticky, fast drying serum. I was very unsure about even testing out the serum as it contained alcohol quite high up on the list of ingredients and I have always been careful to avoid alcohol in my skincare as I suffer from dry and dehydrated skin. I contacted my rep at Somme and she was kind enough to really look into my concerns about alcohol in the serum and my inquiries as to why it was included. She obtained the following information for me which I will pass on to you in case any of you experience the same concerns as I had:

Our lead researcher and founder, Simon Erani, just gave me some more information to pass along to you:

The alcohol we are using is infused with our patented MDT5 technology and vitamins which neutralize any of the drying or harsh properties that it could potentially have on the skin. In fact, many of the before and after images that you see on our website show a complete reversal of the dry and “leathery” sun-damaged skin. From those photos, you can see that the skin has a much softer texture, is dewy with a visible new clarity, as opposed to regular alcohol that is used in many other skin care products on the market.

I suppose you could read that statement and be tempted to say “oh baloney” but I will confirm that I used the serum twice daily for months and the condition of my skin continually improved. I experience dno increase in dryness of my skin but rather an increase in suppleness. 

The A-Bomb cream was one of my favourite products.  I was continually amazed at how far just a little bit of this product seemed to go. It just spread on so well. My little jar just seemed to go on and on. I was in love with the light citrusy scent and it did a wonderful job of hydrating and protecting my skin. I am regretting not ordering a replacement for this as well when I placed my Hautelook order for the Transport Pads. Really I wish I had reordered all 3 core products but I was trying to be frugal knowing I had more products awaiting testing for review.

Here is a before (left) and after (right) photo for you but I don’t feel it does the products any justice. Sorry! After using the full regime my skin was clearer, more radiant, less crepey, discolourations faded a bit. The only reason I won’t deem this holy grail yet is that I feel I still need something to address the more aggressive signs of aging like my deeper lines. I think using this system in conjunction with an additional anti-aging product may be the solution. I’m just still waiting to find something that actually makes a difference with my deeper lines!

OK I think I have been long winded enough for one review! I am sorry this has been so long but in all honesty I still feel there is so much I am leaving out! For more detailed information on the products I encourage you to visit http://www.sommeinstitute.com.
Somme Institute products are available through their website to US residents. It is also available at Nordstrom, Skinstore.com, Beautybar.com,  Beauty.com, and Ariva.com.
Products sent for my consideration. All reviews are always my own honest and unbiased opinions.