Melissa Juried Kriebel
Coming from someone who suffered a bad sunburn in her early 20s after failing to use adequate sunscreen while on a whimsical trip to the beach before I started college, I know the unpleasant aftereffects of damaged skin all too well.
My indiscretion on the beach that hot, sunny day in late August 2008 led to visible skin damage on my cheeks. My once smooth, unblemished complexion turned dull-looking and rough to the touch. It was then that I committed to a mission to reverse and repair this damage and restore my skin to its once youthful complexion. While I was far too young to have damaged skin, I used my age to my advantage as I knew being young could help products like repair serums work optimally. (I was still producing collagen after all.) For years beginning in my mid-20s, Estée Lauder
’s Advanced Night Repair serum followed by twice-daily application of the now-unavailable Hydrationist Maximum Moisture Cream were my go-tos. When Hydrationist was discontinued, I replaced it with the brand’s DayWear Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant 24H-Moisture with SPF 15.
Now that I’m older and on the pulse of all the latest innovations in skin, hair and cosmetics, I marvel at experimenting with all kinds of products on the market and enjoy shaking up my routine. This past fall, Factory PR invited me to a showroom in New York City to check out the latest and greatest in skincare, fine fragrance and hair care brands
on the market from Henry Rose to Hairstory. While being briefed on each line from an informative PR rep, I landed on anti-aging skincare brand Dr. Naomi
. This Australian-based beauty brand founded by Dr. Naomi McCullum, a cosmetic physician recognizable by her signature doctor-meets-fashionista black-framed glasses who is an inaugural fellow at the Australian College of Cosmetic Surgery who opened her own boutique cosmetic clinic in Paddington in 2002. The brand made its US debut late last fall with a six-month popup at Showfields. It was a seamless transition, according to Dr. Naomi, as many of her followers for a skincare blog
she was running were Americans who followed her onto social media when her namesake skincare line was born in recent years.
With continued use, Dr. Naomi’s products help brighten, minimize pore and smooth skin for a more youthful complexion.
Currently, Dr. Naomi has amassed more than 300,000 followers on Instagram and for good reason. While she is known as the meme queen (all of her products are christened sharp-witted names that speak to today’s internet culture from Swipe Bright to Catfish) these fun, cheeky product monikers and girlish pink and blue sleek packaging were enough to pique my interest and give me more than just a light-hearted chuckle— I found their efficacy astounding. I’ll never forget the first time I tried Plump Fiction. Named after the 1997 parody of the 1994 blockbuster starring Uma Thurman and John Travolta, the moisturizer and skin texture corrector firms and hydrates and provided immediate, transformative results. BHAs target skin resilience and elasticity and hydrate parched skin. What’s more, Plump Fiction
has a flip-open top which reveals a small, circular opening in which the product squirts out when pressed down to dispense a minute amount to prevent wastefulness. After dabbing on Plump Fiction and applying the product across the apples of my cheeks by drumming my fingertips over my face and gently pressing it in, I noticed immediate firmness and a smoother texture. Because my skin type requires a very specific serum and moisturizer to correct my texture and smooth out any roughness, I was pleasantly surprised Plump Fiction achieved a desired result. I was, however, not surprised when Dr. Naomi explained via a Zoom call last month that Australia is home to some of the most sun-damaged people in the world and that her products cater to those looking to reverse skin damage from overexposure to UV light.
“We’ve got so much skin cancer
and skin defects from environment [stressors] like redness and pigmentation,” she said. “We’re just really damaged.”
That is why Dr. Naomi’s namesake skincare line is “great at treating damage and great at preventing damage.” Seeing how nice Plump Fiction made my skin, (my surprised reaction in the mirror was enough to arouse onlookers with curiosity), I followed up with the brand’s lip-plumping gloss called ApocaLips
. Per the name, the only thing coming to an end is deflated, thin lips. Shaped like an injectable, the product is a pain-free way of getting a plump pout without the pinch of a collagen
injection. Pushing the lip treatment from the bottom with my thumb (its contents of which include a cocktail of plumping peptides, lip hydrators and liposomes) the product spurts out from the tip of the applicator mimicking an actual injectable. The product gets smoothed onto the lips and a cool, slightly numbing sensation is felt throughout the pout. After I let the product set in, my lips matched my cheeks— both appeared smooth and plump for a flawless finish.
Dr. Naomi’s first cosmetics job was at a laser clinic more than two decades ago. Botox injections were standard practice in addition to treatments that addressed eliminating pigmentation in the form of sunspots, as well as brightening treatments. Her first formulation to address brightening involved a cocktail of tretinoin, hydroquinone and steroids. In Dr. Naomi’s other anti-aging product, Swipe Bright, formulated for normal to very dry skin, is touted a “super oil” that brightens and evens skin tone with Vitamin C and proprietary Youth 22 Lipid Complex which includes 13 skin brighteners and Peptide Drone Technology. The product is dispensed via a dropper that gets squeezed at the top – again controlling the amount of product and preventing wasteful dripping. The product was a drink of water to my parched skin, which left it feeling baby-soft smooth, healthy-looking and hydrated.
Producing similar results and safe for use on consumers with rosacea seeking a smoother complexion is Smooth Criminal. Working like a retinol minus the redness, the smoothing serum refines skin and minimizes pores with a natural enzyme cocktail and quick lift complex. To don my consumer hat, I won’t buy a product unless the scent is agreeable with my senses. Dr. Naomi’s anti-aging products emit a pleasant, sophisticated scent. Swipe Bright
smells as calming and medicinal as eucalyptus, while a whiff of Plump Fiction reminds me of a day at the Jersey Shore. (One in which I don’t burn, of course!)
Since I was on a roll with creating a solid foundation for makeup application with the Plump Fiction moisturizer and lip-plumping ApocaLips, I followed up with a little Catfish
. Living up to its name, this blurring eye cream brightens the delicate undereye area with unique ingredients such as kangaroo paw flower extract and hyaluronic filling spheres to brighten and conceal undereye darkness while eliminating puffiness and fine lines, say from skipping much-needed beauty rest. The result is a refreshed, brightened and alert set of peepers that awaken and beautify, eliminating any signs of a fatigued face. (It does the trick!)
Speaking of beauty rest, the AHA Overnight Facial
cheekily called One Night Stand is a product the brand insists consumers won’t regret in the morning, but will become a regular routine (at least in its recommended use twice a week.) Because the skin repairs itself at night while the body is asleep, the product is formulated to work hard so the user awakes with their best skin. Dispensed as a glistening, pearly white consistency, One Night Stand contains 15% glycolic acid combined with 1% Bakuchiol to resurface, tighten and brighten. The result is awaking to a supple, smooth and radiant complexion.
As a journalist, I happen to be highly self-aware, (I am a writer after all and highly observant!) but for the first-time user seeking to reap these transformative anti-aging benefits that Dr. Naomi has to offer and are clueless as to where to start, they can take Dr. Naomi’s one-minute skin quiz on her website at drnaomi.com
to answer simple questions from their level of facial dryness to their skin care goals, whether it’d be decongesting pores and eliminating zits or reducing redness and improving skin texture and more. The site will then populate a suggested three-step daily skincare regimen that will include a cleanser, serum and moisturizer so consumers can begin their own journey towards achieving your new complexion 2.0.