Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cetaphil: the fresh maker

I just had to pass along this brilliantly written review of Cetaphil from the Sephora Spy at Jezebel. 

My favorite line: If you get the big 16 oz. size that comes in a pump and the pump gets slightly stopped up, does it sometimes go squirting across the bathroom and stick to the wall like a load of slightly iridescent semen from hell? Absolutely.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Tell Me What You Love

I'm really curious about what you consider your "holy grail" beauty products. If you've just read this, I implore you to leave a comment and tell me at least one thing that you couldn't live without, or that you think is the cat's pajama. I'll probably test a few of the products and write about them here if they're enjoyable.

Ladies and Gentleman: The Ped Egg

If you're like me, you saw the informercials for the Ped Egg months ago and thought, "Fuck me, that is a cheese grater for the foot!"

I stand here before you as a die-hard Ped Egg fan now. And I know others who will stand up on this podium with me and shout to you non-pedeggers: GO. BUY ONE. NOW.

The concept is this: you have a little vessel with a grater-like contraption on one side. You rub it against your dry foot and it *gently* removes any of the calloused skin and collects the shrapnel inside the vessel.

Sounds disgusting. I know. 

But for some reason I bought one. It ended up being the best thing that ever happened to my feet.

The best way I can explain the beauty of the Ped Egg is this:

When you get a professional pedicure, they use a "shaver" to remove the dry skin from your foot. The shaver works beautifully. Your feet are smooth and soft. But your feet are going, "HOLY SHIT. SOMEBODY JUST SLOUGHED OFF A FEW LAYERS OF SKIN. WE NEED TO MAKE MORE DRY SKIN TO PREVENT SUCH AN ATTACK IN THE FUTURE!" It's a great business model. They take it off, your feet make more, you go back again in a month.

Those little pumice stones are supposed to remove dry skin without shaving it off. The problem is that they're worthless and no matter how long you soak your feet and rub the pumice over them, your feet never quite get that baby smooth feeling that they do with a professional pedicure.

The Ped Egg comes in right in the middle: removes ALL of the dry skin, minimum amount of work on your part, and the callouses don't come back because you haven't removed *too much* of your skin. It's a beautiful solution to an oft-not-talked-about problem.

You're welcome.

Skincare 101, updated

This is a long one. Brace yourself.

I've nestled into a really great skincare routine lately. One product I've been using for several months is something that I'm a little reticent to rave about. It absolutely deserves a rave, but it goes against a lot of the things I've learned about skincare and it took *me* a while to accept it, so I wonder how my faithful readers will take to it.

It's Jojoba Oil. Yes, on the face. Yes, rubbing oil onto your face. As a cleanser. Years ago I was told by a dermatologist to never use products with oil on my face, so the thought of putting pure oil on my face...well, it had me nervous to say the least. But when I read about it, and really put some thought into it, I decided to give it a try. The idea is that oil helps to attract and whisk away oil, without upsetting the natural balance of your skin. So much of the "oil-controlling" crap that we put on our faces actually makes our skin dry, and therefore it will create more oil to compensate. The oil cleansing method is supposed to gently restore your skin's suppleness and doesn't leave you greasy at all, which is sort of counter-intuitive but I assure you, it works.

Even on the first day, it *felt* right. It felt wonderful to massage it into my skin, and I noticed improvement in the texture of my skin immediately. I used it for a month, and the results were quite good. Then I got a little freaked and stopped for a few weeks. That was a mistake. I realized that using the jojoba oil as a cleanser really was making my skin soft and smooth and luminous. So now I'm hooked. I do it every morning, and I follow-up with a small dab of gentle cleanser to emulsify the oil and wash it away. I don't really need to use a cleanser afterward, because the oil itself is the cleanser. I guess a small part of me is still nervous about not getting it washed off completely. 

I use Desert Essence Organic Jojoba Oil, about $10-$15 for a bottle that will last a long time.

The other two products I've been using have reached holy grail status quite quickly:

The first is Neutrogena's Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream. This cream was listed in Paula Begoun's media list for 2008, and got huge rave reviews from women online. I am never convinced about a product even when it has great reviews, but this one won me over completely after the first week of use. I use it at night after cleansing. It's a retinol cream, but unlike other retinols, it's so gentle and doesn't irritate me at all, but has helped to make my skin smooth and shrink pores.

The second is actually a product meant for psoriasis, Dermarest's Medicated Skin Treatment. I don't have psoriasis, but I decided to give it a try because it's really just a 3% salicylic acid BHA product and a lot cheaper than most BHA's, which tend to come in small bottles marked as "spot treatment" and cost an arm and a leg when you're using it all over your face. In case you haven't read my previous posts, BHA's are really just made of aspirin (salicylic acid) that penetrates the skin to exfoliate gently and remove dead skin cells. There are oodles of BHA's out there, some have inactive ingredients or formulas that make them worthless. This particular formulation is a gel consistency and I really love how it penetrates quickly but is easy to spread. It contains anti-redness ingredients too, which aren't necessary for me but certainly haven't hurt. This is by far the best BHA I have ever used, and I can't get over how huge the bottle is for only $10. I found it at my local CVS.

So to sum things up, here's what I'm using on my face:

Gentle Cleanser
Neutrogena's Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream

Jojoba Oil, rubbed on face and left on for a few minutes
Small dab of gentle cleanser to remove oil
Dermarest's Medicated Skin Treatment (3% BHA)
SPF 15