So, my last several posts have been advice posts for my buddies out there. The next few will be as well, but I thought I’d throw down another one to break up the monotony* a bit. A friend linked me to THIS article, saying,
“Ok, so I feel like this is kind of bullshit. Because it IS possible to have skin that looks like it does in the “after photoshop” picture with some time and effort. But then again, it is possible for many women to have super model bodies if they spend all of their time on that pursuit too…what do you think?”
Basically, yeah, it’s totally possible. Aside from the eyebrows being filled in in the photo on the right, my skin pretty much looks like that without makeup. But, I recognize my privilege in working in the beauty industry and getting some (but def not all) amazing products for free. Also, my skincare routine takes time (mostly for my twice-weekly peels/masks, the rest takes maybe a total of 10 minutes a day, if that) and dedication that a lot of people straight-up aren’t willing to put forth. A few months of good lifestyle, anti-imflammatory skincare, clarisonic, nightly retinol and daytime SPF50, nearly anyone’s skin can look like the photo on the right. It’s a shame, really, because having nice skin frees you from having to be insecure about makeup in the first place.
Even though it’s tangential and a bit off-topic, this exchange got me thinking about putting my money where my mouth is. Yes, there’s already a makeup-free photo of me on this blog, but the lighting is bad. I’m going to take a better photo with a better camera and post it soon. Seems only fair, if I’m to be doling out advice. Also, if I’m to tell people what products to use, I should probably divulge what I’m using right now, non? Keep in mind that I’m still working through the mountain of free products given to me by my old employer. I will indicate gratis products with an asterisk, *, and let you know which ones I would intend to purchase with my own money, or if I plan to unsubscribe from their figurative newsletter. On with the show!
* I’m also going to break up the monotony by not posting product photos or linking to products. If you need further info on a product, you can Google it, child. Mama’s fingers are tired.
First Aid Beauty Facial Cleanser*, $18. This is a good cleanser. It removes makeup exceptionally well, eliminating my need to buy makeup remover, which I just love. And, while it’s not *too* drying, I miss the suppleness and velvety-face feeling that the Fresh Soy Face Wash* ($39) provided me. I will be buying the Soy when this runs out. Don’t forget, guys, that I have a Clarisonic (Note the lack of asterisk. I bought that ish with my own money) and use it nightly.
Perricone Firming Facial Toner, $39. I love this toner. It makes my pores smaller, and my skin gets so firm that I can’t even, ahem, “manually evacuate” my pores anymore. Which is good, because picking at your skin is BAD, MMKAY? The only drawback is that it does burn a bit (hey glycolic, heeeey) and may not be suitable for really sensitive skin. Also, it’s a tad drying. Not sure if I’ll repurchase this, or spring for the Perricone Serum Prep ($145). Serum Prep has all the goodness of this toner, plus phospholipids to prevent dryness and oodles of anti-aging peptides. Basically if these two toners were characters on Girls, my toner would be Shoshanna, who is hardworking and cute and perfect in her own way. While Serum Prep is Jessa, the chic, fabulous-but-difficult European cousin.
Philosophy Miracle Worker Retinol Pads*, $79 (60-day supply). UGH, how I love you, retinol! The basic idea is this: retinoids are among the FEW, vanishingly FEW, ingredients which are PROVEN anti-aging. It is scientifically assured that a person who uses a retinoid will look better for longer than a person who does not. If you have purchased a ticket to ride the anti-aging express, your journey is not complete without some form of retinol. This stuff makes my skintone soooo even, and it makes the wrinkles go away and stay away. I look years younger since I’ve been using these. Bonus: no irritation and dryness like Ive gotten from other retinols. Yay! Two thumbs way up. Fine family fun. The feel-good product of the year. Will purchase again.
Hada Labo Anti-Aging Hydrator, $18. I love this stuff. Love, love, love. It’s cheap and keeps my skin hydrated like WHOA. I went out of town to visit family last week, involving TWO cross-country flights and TWO 6-hour car rides. I did not pack this serum, and my skin was flaky and busted by the time I got home. It was so flaky, I looked like Rock Biter from the Neverending Story. For reals. It took a few days of intense babying and twice-daily applications of this serum to get me back to my usual Baller Status, skin-wise.
Bonus Serum, because I’m a product-hoarding junkie and a privileged asshole:
Fun Fact: there are no funny pirate photos on the internet. Except this photo. This photo is amazing.
Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Youth Activating Oil*, $45. When I need a little extra hydration, I add two teeny, tiny droplets of this to the Hada Labo before applying. It is sooo nice. It’s basically pure rosehip oil, which hydrates and brightens the skin, as rosehip oil is a natural source of vitamins C and A. For young people with zero-to-first-signs of aging, vitamin C should be your best friend! It’s not terribly harsh, it’s one of the few ingredients proven to stave off wrinkles and photo-aging, AND it will keep you from getting scurvy! Live to pirate another day! This is one of the cheaper oils and/or sources of C out there, so its a worthy purchase.
Day Cream, Sunscreen Edition:
Fresh Soy Moisturizing Cream SPF 20*, $35. This stuff? Eh, it’s OK. I’m literally only using it because it was free and it has SPF. Truth? It kinda breaks me out, because the SPF is a chemical sunscreen, which my skin hates. But whatever. I’ll probably replace it with some other sunscreen moisturizer.
Day Cream Two, no sunscreen:
Do you guys remember her? That singer Vitamin C? They tried so hard to make her happen that they even made a Barbie, but then she kind of didn’t happen and ohmygodi’mOLDshutup.
Korres Wild Rose Face Cream*, $35. This is my second free jar of this, just FYI. But it’s just lovely, and I was going to replace the jar the very week I was given another one for free. Anyway, my last happy customer, from the Corgi post, has just reported back that she loves this cream (and the Soy wash) and can’t stop touching her face. FYI, the rose in this cream is a natural source of vitamin C. You can never have too much C. Almost never. Plus, the price is good! Oh, just a note as to why I have two day creams: sometimes, in Portland, the sun doesn’t come out. Therefore, I’ll use this instead of the soy.
Creme de La Mer*, $$$$$ prices vary, but it ain’t cheap. Real talk? I was skeptical of La Mer. I knew it had mineral oil (which is bad for some people, but my skin loves mineral oil), which is universally understood to be a not-good ingredient (but, meh, whatever). Not only that, but La Mer is one of those Frenchy brands that is all high-fallutin’ and doesn’t make their ingredients list highly accessible, as they use what is known in the industry as a “proprietary blend”, which is a secret, protected recipe not unlike the Colonel’s 11 herbs and spices. Normally, my pesky code of ethics forces me to give a crap about stuff like that. But, you guys, OMG, I DO NOT CARE. OUR LOVE IS PURE AND REAL, AND YOU CAN’T KEEP US APART! This is the only stuff I will ever use on my poor, poor, painfully dry skin at night. Why? It creates that occlusive barrier I talked about in my Alaska post. Normally, in the winter, I wake up in the mornings with dry skin and these creepy horizontal dehydration lines on my cheeks (Hello! I drink too much caffeine!), except when I use this. I should never, never skip it. Ever.
I skipped last night (I am not exempt from laziness, you know), for example, and this morning my skin was so dry it almost hurt to smile. So as I type this, I have a hydrating mask on (Kate Somerville Quench Mask*, $40. Don’t like smell, may not repurchase) so that my makeup doesn’t look like German chocolate cake frosting on my face later.
OK, let’s talk price. Right now, I’m using sample jars a friend of mine gave me. Here is a photo of the size (all the way to the left):
An eeency little jar of that size last me between 2 and 3 weeks of nightly use. You only need the smallest amount. Like, the size of a lentil. It’s super-thick, so you have to warm it up before applying, unless you just love having big, bulging, cystic zits. Then, you know, by all means, use a dime-sized glob and apply directly to your face.
Bottom line: This stuff is amazing. The sticker-shock upfront is a bit much, but the value? A jar of this will last forever and ever and it will SAVE your skin from the ravages of winter, even if you’re not as dry as I am. If you’re curious, go to a La Mer counter near you and get a sample. One tiny jar the size of a Barbie shoe made a believer out of me, it’ll make a believer out of you! I am saving up to buy a jar, obvs.
Liz LEMON at a STRIP club! The internet it a magical thing, folks. Look at those classy, demure, elegant nails, y’all!
Ole Henriksen Lemon Strip Flash Peel*, $40. I do not use scrubs to exfoliate my skin. I use this. 20% glycolic acid. BUT, keep in mind that this is very strong, and I spent the better part of 18 months working my way up to be able to use such strong peels. I’ve got a post in the pipe of how to stair-step your way up, so stay tuned. I will be buying this, over the “better” peels out there, because the price is right, and a jar lasts forever.
Algenist SPF 50*, $45. A girl has got to protect her skin. Especially when said girl uses glycolic and retinol on the regular. This stuff protects fine, but it’s a tad drying. Also, I don’t like that it’s got a chemical sunscreen, which, for some strange reason, does not break me out in this formulation. Weird. Still, will not repurchase. I’m opting, instead for an all-mineral sunscreen that will hopefully be less drying. Contenders include: Perricone Photo Plasma (the front-runner), Clarins SPF 40, Josie Maran Argan Protect SPF 40 (currently being reformulated and re-packaged, so it’s not available right now, but I will be sampling once it is released).
Look! They made a horror movie about my eyes! They’ll make horror movies about anything. Wake me when they make one about blackheads. Oh wait, they already did!
Ole Henriksen Visual Truth Eye Cream*, $45. I use my eye creams mainly for hydration and to banish my dark circles. Eh, this one is just OK. The La Mer concentrate eye cream is WAY better, but pricey. Also, Kate Somerville Cytocell is the jam, but it’s $75, so I dunno what to do. I may buy a La Mer gift set, because I need the cream in my life anyway.
Bonus Eye Cream, because DECADENCE, that’s why!
Ole Henriksen Ultimate Lift Eye Gel*, $38. This stuff is my secret weapon. I use it as an eye mask/barrier (occlusive) cream for the eyes. I was getting the teeniest little fine lines under my eyes, but I cracked open a jar of this and erased them all like Marty McFly erased his totally superfluous-yet-annoying siblings by altering the past in Back to the Future. The trick is to use a biggish glob, smear it on like a patch OVER your other eye cream. Again: Baller Status. The jar is huge. And it works. Will repurchase.
Who’s the Transformer now, bitch?
Hada Labo Serum + Dr. Lipp Nipple Balm, $18 and $14, respectively. Recently, I read THIS interview with Megan Fox where she says she uses CeraVe (bitch, please) and can’t live without aquaphor for her surgically-enhanced lips. UGH, gross. It’s one thing to have a little of it in my La Mer, but to chow down on mineral oil (the main ingredient in Aquaphor) all day long? No thank you. What’s really hydrating about Aquaphor is the lanolin alcohols, so why not skip the nasty petrol byproducts and just use pure lanolin (a wool-industry byproduct, but still)? My lip secret is a glob of Hada Labo serum sealed with a dab of semi-occlusive Dr. Lipp nipple balm. No scalpel necessary!
I’m not even going to get into the masks I use occasionally, because this post is long enough as it is. Ta!