The Bon Vivant of Skincare

Hi all!  Well, things are winding down to normal here at Chateau Bonaparte!  Our latest trip to France is all but a fun memory and I’ve happily traded in my retail position for an administrative assistant position.

And since I’m back in the “9 to 5”, I need to hone in on my time management skills because this blog is really my baby and I need and want to focus on my baby.

Anyway, back in May, the folks at Vivant Skincare sent me a few products to use and review.  I have been using the products regularly both before we left for France, and upon our return.

Vivant Skincare products

Products that I received are from left to right:  Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Wash; 3% Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Toner; Day Treatment Lotion with SPF; Derm-A-Renew; Wink Eye Rejuvenation Cream; Spin Tap Serum

My review is honest and I hope helpful. I also want to point out that within all lines of skincare some products will work better on an individual basis than others. That’s the beauty of mixing and matching.  In addition, I am NOT being paid to write this.

And without further ado, here is my review!I received this line which included the Vivant Skincare Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Wash; 3-in-one Toner; Day Treatment Lotion with SPF 15; Wink Eye Rejuvenation Cream; Derm-A-Renew; and Spin Trap Antioxidant Serum.

Me. Day One ready to start my regimen!

I took this photo of me either May 31st or June 1st.  Don’t judge the eye makeup I didn’t remove or my roots that needed to be done.  This is how my skin looked before starting my regimen.  

After 8 weeks

This was taken this morning after I woke up.  My skin actually looks brighter and you can clearly see these photos have not been retouched in any way. With me, what you see is what you get! In all my 61 years, I only lie to Bonaparte about shopping!

First off— moving forward, the one product that has turned into an absolute Holy Grail for me is the Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Wash.  I love this. Vivant says this is a shaving gel, you can use it on your scalp, and it is a great daily cleanser.  The instructions also state to start using every other day and increasing to once or twice a day.

Mandelic cleanser

This product is absolute greatness. I cannot say enough about what a great cleanser it is!

I’m not wasting this. I don’t use it as a gel to shave my legs because this stuff is gold. I use it to wash my face and use it once a day.  My daily ritual is taking a bath every evening.  I keep this at the tub and after I remove my makeup with my Albolene,  Mandelic Acid 3-in1 Wash is now the only cleanser that I will put to my face!  I also love this because as we age, I do strongly believe that good cleansing is the base of achieving great skin.  Right???

Cleanser Ingredients

Here’s the ingredients.  I am not familiar with many of them but whatever they are, they work well to cleanse the skin!

A drop about the size of a dime is needed to work up a great lather and get your face absolutely spanking clean without feeling taut or dry.  Due to the price point of $40.00, I’m being incredibly stingy with this, but such a small bit goes a very long way. I do believe that this will last me another three- to-four months—so that’s about ten bucks a month. Is it worth the money?  You bet your assets it is!

Next is the 3% Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Toner. OK. Let’s get this straight. I’m not a “toner” girl.  I’ve used toners in the past and they just dry out my skin—it’s like applying alcohol directly to my face.  Two items that I have used as makeshift toners have been Orange Blossom Water as well as Witch Hazel. But I haven’t used them on a regular basis.


3% Mandelic Acid Toner. Only a bit is needed and I swear on my parent’s graves, this does NOT dry your face out!

This Vivant toner—I’ve been using it regularly after cleansing my face in the AM and PM. (Note—in the AM, I wash my face with water only.)  I am pleased to say that this toner does not dry my face out.  It is refreshing and “wakes” up my morning face.

The weird thing is that it does contain alcohol, but it is alcohol denat, a denatured form of the ingredient.  Who knew?  I tried to research alcohol denat but didn’t have much luck.  Anyway, this toner is also a keeper.  It also grabs overnight dirt.  Again, I’m pleased as punch with this.

Toner ingredients

I may not know much about Alcohol Denat, but seeing my friend Witch Hazel makes me realize this is a good toner!

At $52.00 for four ounces, this is pricey. But again, a very small amount is needed.  Vivant’s website states that this is also good for neck and décolleté, but I would just stick to using this on my face because I’m way too frugal!

Vivant Day Treatment Lotion with Sunscreen SPF 15.  I have to say, sadly, this moisturizer didn’t quite work for me. The reason?  The sunscreen bothers my eyes.  I’m in a weird position here. While I need to use sunscreen on a daily basis, 99.9 percent of moisturizers containing sunscreen are a miss for me due to the fact that my sensitive eyes just become way too irritated. I do realize that you are not supposed to put sunscreen near your eyes; however, in the heat when I sweat, there is no way it isn’t going to drip near or in my eyes.  If just a tiny bit gets anywhere near my eyes, I’m rushing to the bathroom to rinse my face off. It’s daunting.

Day Treatment Lotion

Sadly, mine eyes have not seen the glory because they are way too sensitive!  

I will  pass this moisturizer onto my daughter, Oona. Her eyes aren’t sensitive to sunscreen and I think she will love this product.

Quite honestly—I wish that skincare companies would do more research on how to put SPF into products without causing irritation. I don’t think I’m alone in this either. …anyone else out there sensitive to SPF on the face?

Wink Eye Rejuvenation Cream is next.  I like this. A lot!  Despite the claims to soften fine lines, brighten dark circles and reduce puffiness, my lines are still there and I still have to use concealer to get rid of the “blue” between my tear duct and nose.


I give a wink to Wink!  This is also very good!!

But—the good news is—this does reduce puffiness!  Another added fact is that even though this is a cream, it soaks into the skin rather quickly. That means you can apply mascara to your bottom lashes and this cream will not cause the mascara to smudge causing raccoon eyes.  I can’t tell you how many eye creams I’ve used in the past that I had to stop using because my eye makeup would smudge.  No smudging makes me a very happy camper—or shall I say “glamper”!!

After Wink

I tried to get a good shot to show you that Wink does reduce puffiness.  But I am noticing that it does calm down the lines–it’s because of the hydration! I mean the wrinkles are still there for sure..but they are just a bit less–well, deep looking!

AT $72.00 for 0.5 fl. oz, this is not inexpensive. However, you only need but the smallest amount for both eyes.  This small tube will last for a good 6 months. I’m not kidding either—only a touch is needed so a little goes a long, long way!

Wink ingredients

I will say that the claim on the back of the Wink packaging is on the truthful side!

Derm-A-Renew.  I’m in a state of confusion about the packaging of this.  It comes in a little glass bottle with a dropper.  It is way too thick and creamy to be packaged like this.  I think a pump bottle or tube would have been so much more pragmatic.


Sorry for the focus issue. Chippy was in the way!

As you can see from the dropper, a ton of product sticks to the outside of the dropper. I have to swipe it across my face!  As stated on the website, mild irritation will be experienced at first—which is true. But I still experience slight “tingling” after applying.  I’m pretty sure that I’m getting the tingles because I’m using way too much of it.

See how thick this is. It shouldn't be applied with a dropper

See all the product that is ON the dropper? I’m in a total state of confusion over this!!  I know that I’m wasting product and I don’t like waste at all! Packaging needs to be changed!

I think this product would work much, much better if the packaging is changed up because my skin is definitely looking better—and at a price point of $104.00 for a one-ounce bottle, none of the product should be wasted at all.

Lastly, the Spin Trap Antioxidant Serum.  I used to be a huge Lancôme Genefique serum fan.  But over the years, I find that serums in general have gotten better and there is a serum for everyone. It depends on what you like and what works for you. Spin Trap Antioxidant Serum is comparable in price to most other brands of serums and at $78.00 for one ounce—the price point is average.

Spin Tap Serum

Again, this is a good serum, but there is a serum for everyone. Trial and error will help you in your choice!

For me, I have a favorite serum. (But this is about Vivant and it would be rude of me to mention it here.)

This serum, although liquid, is somewhere between a thin and thick one. The feel is nice and smooth and I swear to you, one drop is enough for your face!  In addition, after using this serum, I don’t need a primer if I’m wearing foundation. (Note-It’s summer so I haven’t been wearing foundation much, but when I do, I use this serum as a primer).

How does this measure up to my favorite?  It is my second favorite  serum and there are times when I use both of them together!

So—how do I feel about the Vivant Skincare products that I’ve received and use?

I feel positive. The Mandelic  Acid Wash is definitely a keeper and I will be using this for a long, long time!  The toner—it’s a keeper as well!

Overall, the products are good to great. The exception for me being the Day Treatment Lotion—I cannot use a product that irritates my eyes.  The other exception is the “Derm-A-Renew” because the packaging just doesn’t lend itself well to my use. I feel that I’m wasting too much product.

As we age, we really need to start taking better care of our skin and, although it may seem like a ton of effort, we need to use more products to protect our aging skin.

Will these products turn back the clock and make us look thirty years younger? No. They won’t.  But they will improve upon what Mother Nature has given us and what we abused through too much sun, and other vices.  I do notice that my skin is looking pretty good these days. I also don’t stick to one brand. I’ve been using Vivant and another brand and the mix of both is making me incredibly happy.

Yes. VivantSkincare is on the pricier side. And in all honesty, I can’t afford the entire line at this time. But I can afford to purchase a few of the items in rotation.  The Mandelic Acid 3-in1 Wash is a definite as well as the toner and the serum.

If you are thinking more and more about the way you approach your “mature” skincare these days, take a look at Vivant’s line and perhaps you can find a product that’ll work for your skin!   My  highest recommendations are the Mandelic Acid 3-in-1 Cleanser and the 3% Mandelic Toner.  Next up would be either the Wink eye cream or the serum.  All would last a long, long time and would definitely be worth the price!

Also click for the “Before and After” shots.  The “Rejuvenation” photos show results of mature skin.  The fact that they showed older women makes me happy; kudos for that!  But what would make me even happier is if they used a mature woman on the header for their site!  (Hey—we can’t have everything, but I try!)

FOTD Today 8.7l2916

Here’s a photo of me that I took this morning after making myself look human.  I am wearing NO foundation whatsoever.  (sorry for the crappy lighting but it was morning light filtering through the window).   My skin still has the little lines–but I’m 61 years old. Let’s be real.  I do think my skin looks better….

Vivant skincare cont 001

Wait. Here’s a photo of me in the car on Friday on the way to work.  It’s outside lighting and I think my skin looks very good here too.  Again, I am NOT wearing foundation.

So that’s it my friends!  I hope you enjoyed this review.  I’m off to treat myself to a mani pedi, and lip wax!

Here’s the Temptations. Beauty’s Only Skin Deep. But products help that!!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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24 Responses to The Bon Vivant of Skincare

  1. jackietyson says:

    You look gorgeous!!! I enjoyed reading your review of the products. Have a great day!

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Jackie!! I will always take a compliment graciously. Thank you! You have a great day too–well, have a great rest of the day!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!

    • Terri says:

      I enjoyed the review. Can you post the ingredients for the moisturizer with spf?

      • Catherine says:

        Hi Terri: Active Ingredients: Octinoxate: 7.5%; Octisakate 5.0%; Inactive Ingredients: Water, Propylene, Glycol, Octyldodecanol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Dimethicone, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf JuicePower, Titanium Dioxide, Polysorbate 20, Carbomer, Diazolidyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Saccharomycas/ZincFerment, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Fragrance. Whew! My fingers are tired. LOL!! Hope this helps!! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • Terri says:

        Thanks for posting the ingredients on the moisturizer with spf. IMO there are better choices at the drugstore (and for less $$). Those two sunscreen ingredients do NOT provide UVA protection. The other products look good though.

  2. iolacontessa says:

    How goes the NEW JOB?

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Elizabeth!!! I’m glad that you love the review. Oh..I’m even MORE glad that you like my input on Cindy’s blog too!!!! The new job goes well. I wanna do a post at week’s end on it. I’m very comfortable back in the office groove!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  3. JulietC says:

    Love the post, your skin looks fabulous before and after, although I do think the after ones win – you look nice and glowing in a very good way. I do think buying the right product for your skin is really important, if you buy something your skin likes I would wager you use less as your skin is receptive to it (rather than sitting like a pile of pore clogging gunk on the surface), so if your skin is happy then yes – absolutely spend the money (particularly if you consider how much we can spend on skin care that doesn’t work or reacts or does nothing) and do not feel guilty – we don’t choose our skin but we can make friends with it, I have come to value my fussy skin and sensitive eyes and I am used to the fact that I can wake up one day after regular use of something to find my face has gone a bit odd – a sign to move on and shake things up. Sunday afternoon has me hunkered down on the sofa while it is drizzly and blowy outside – I am blissfully pottering through internet land, with some knitting I should be doing and I have bought some perfume to cheer up the week when it arrives (reve opulent – my latest crush). Have the best week Catherine and everyone else too.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Juliet!! Hey. Sometimes a rainy Sunday can be a good way to just chillax and enjoy doing the nothing or something or just a little bit of stuff!! You’re advice is fantastic–and so true. Look at how much we DO spend on garbage that doesn’t do anything! Trust me, I know too well what it is like to wake up and find my face has gotten a bit odd! And you’re right–we should never feel guilty about spending money that can help us make friends with our skin–I like that! Thank you!!! Hope your perfume comes really soon! Enjoy your week too!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • julietC says:

        Thank you – and you know what they say – a person who is comfortable in their own skin always looks good, so a really good post with lots to think about!

  4. Vivella says:

    I appreciate the review above. However I will not use skin care that contains ‘denatured alcohol’ because it would dry out skin and break down collagen, which is counter productive especially if it is listed in the top few ingredients on the list. The ‘good’ alcohol to have in a product would be cetearyl alcohol which is moisturising and is ‘fatty’. Love all your posts and hope all goes well with the new job!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Vivella. Hmmm…I”m very interested now in denatured alcohol and the cetearyl alcohol. I’m wondering why this toner, with the denatured alcohol doesn’t dry out my skin and make it feel taut. Honestly, I have not had any dryness after using it. I’m going to to more research! Thanks for the heads up!! Oh…the job-so far, is going well!!!! XOXOXOXO!!

  5. hipchick66 says:

    First, congratulations on your new job! Yay! Awesome! Go Cathe! Second, this was such a well written, well thought out review. Brava!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Lori!! Thanks!!!!!!!!!! I’m so happy about that job–even if it IS being on probation for three months. I don’t care. I’m just so happy to be at a desk and have weekends off! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • Terri says:

        I understand. I just got hired as an admin. assistant on a permanent basis. Great not to be temping. Do write about your new position.

  6. mareymercy says:

    I do not like moisturizers with sunscreen due to the whitish tint they leave on the face, especially in photos! I find a makeup primer or foundation with sunscreen and use that instead – tends to work better.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Cynthia. I use zinc oxide–but not the stuff that stays white on my face. But I keep it clear away from my eyes. It’s incredibly how sensitive my eyes are. I didn’t even realize that moisturizers with sunscreen leave a whitish tint. Thanks for the heads up! XOXOXO!!!

    • Terri says:

      I have tried dozens of sunscreens and in my experience, it is very difficult to find “the one”. I would not count on foundation (or makeup) for sun protection. The general rule is 1/4 tsp for face and I cannot apply that much foundation to my face without it looking unnatural. I believe it is titanium dioxide that causes flash in photos.

      • Catherine says:

        Hi Terri. Interesting that you mention the titanium dioxide. That is one of the ingredients in the lotion. I don’t even think I’ll go back to foundation when the weather gets cooler. It just gets too cakey..and that goes for all foundations!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  7. doodletllc says:

    Your Skin looks great – is Vivant only available on line?

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Doodle!’s a link to where you can find the products–if there are no places in your area you can get them online. I will need to order online!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  8. Julia poulos says:

    As they say in the theater; “break a leg” on your new job. 👍

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