Friday, July 4, 2008

About Face

Contrary to popular belief, I hate buying makeup at department stores. It is like walking into a war zone, attacked from all angles by sales professionals armed with weapons of perfumed tear gas and sharpened makeup brushes. Each counter is a land mine, with the possibility of a surprise attack lurking around every corner. For this reason, I prefer not to purchase products from large retailers. Unfortunately, my love of luxury products (and my employee discount), compel me to buy certain basics such as mascara, foundation, and many a lipstick at a department store. However, when it comes to the staples of my beauty routine, I am just as much a patron of Duane Reade as Bloomingdale's.

A sufferer of acne throughout my teens, I have used a multitude of prescription and over-the-counter products, with my only success resulting from Accutane. It was not until I reached my mid-20s, that I determined my most effective skincare regimen came quite cheaply.

Let me first state a disclaimer: I am not a dermatologist. I do not know your skin type. I just know what works for me and that it works well - so I'm sharing my experience, hopefully for your benefit. That being said, here are my favorite (and inexpensive!) beauty products:

1) Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Wash: It is orange. It is just under $8. You can get it at any drugstore. And it works. My skin has never looked better.
2) Neutrogena Healthy Skin Lotion w/ SPF: Sunscreen is key. It's not too greasy either, especially for my combination skin. It's around $14, but, even with everyday use, usually lasts a long time.
3) Johnson & Johnson Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment: The commercials don't lie when they say 100% (yes, that's right!) of people in clinical testing showed improvement within a day. It's about $8 and it effectively eliminates surprise breakouts.

My last drugstore obsession coincides with my infatuation with lip products: balms, glosses, sticks. You name it, I've tried it. As a younger girl, I had quite the Lip Smacker collection. But that doesn't surprise you, I'm sure. If a new lip product was marketed, I had to have it. (Does anyone remember the chocolate flavored glosses from The Body Shop?) If it was innovative, made lips glossy, or hell even just made them smell, I bought it.

As I got a little older, I was swayed less by the novelty of a product, and more by claims of being a great lip balm. I moved from Chapstick to Lip Medex to Kiehl's to Rosebud Salve. And while all of these are pretty good (Rosebud would be my top choice), none of these products come close to how great my favorite lip balm is, and you can get it at the drugstore for $3.50! Behold Palmer's Cocoa Butter Stick. It smells great, feels amazing, and, like many lip balms are, it is not addictive. Sure, it looks more like a glue stick than anything, but I'll take the stupid observations over dry lips any day.

The bottom line is this: I love luxury products. Unfortunately, expensive skincare is not in my budget, and most of the time I find that the effort (and body armor) it takes to find a product worthy of its insane price tag is much more than I'm willing to commit. Instead, I have proven that you don't have to spend lots of cash to get great skin and soft lips. Sometimes a simple regimen is all you need. Now, don't you feel just a little more...

At Ease?

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