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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Help My Face, Please

I had a facial yesterday. Not just any facial, either, but a luxurious, lasts-and-hour, requires multiple lotions, potions, scrubs, steams, and periodic hot towels applied to the above-the-shoulders region facial. A could never confess how much it cost, thank goodness I had a gift certificate, still shudder to think of the price facial. One that started with tall glasses of chilled water that was faintly tinted with watermelon flavor and that ended with a hand and lower arm massage (love love LOVE that my face goes all the way down to my fingernails, by the way). One that left me, apparently, wholly incapable of writing or thinking in complete sentences.

Have you ever had a facial like this?

It's heavenly. My skin feels so supple and smooth that I swear a picture of me right now would look just like a newborn baby's bottom. In a good way. Obviously.

I went for the facial at a spa that is so upscale that I've never breached the front door before yesterday. The lovely thing about this place is that I didn't feel all condescended to, even though I will not be able to schedule the next, more involved, chemical peel facial my lovely consultant (we'll call her Sarah) recommended for me until the kids are in middle school because it will take me that long to save up for it. (For clarification, that's approximately six years and twelve weeks longer than Sarah recommended I wait between facials.)

Why did I do this ridiculous indulgent thing? Well, partly because I turned [redacted] old a few days ago, and partly because I have a friend who was shocked to learn that I do not wear eye cream, and partly because I am noticing some fine lines appearing around my eyes. ("Do you wear bangs?" asked Sarah, which was her subtle way of saying, "Actually, the horizontal lines on your forehead are much more prominent than those little tiny things you say you're worried about around your eyes.")

So, during the facial, I spent a lot of time asking questions about what my skin-care regimen should be. (For a start, I should apparently have one.) I fessed up that I have used Oil of Olay as my only moisturizer since I was about fourteen. My concession to becoming a grown-up was to shift to buying the one with the built-in SPF a few years ago. Though I do have a facial scrub in my shower, I perhaps exaggerated a little when I told Sarah I exfoliate once every other week. I did tell the truth about using my body wash on my face in the shower. She was appropriately horrified ... but in a very kind, gentle, don't break the mood of bergamot and eucalyptus and piano music kind of way, which I appreciated, given what I was paying for that mood.

Sarah gently indicated that while Oil of Olay is a good choice when you're young because it is "inexpensive" (funny, I'd always thought of it as my little indulgence -- $8 for that small bottle?!), it might be time to try something more grown up. Something with deeper cleansing properties, and firming potential. Something that would cleanse, and deeply moisturize, and plump, and firm, and tone, and I don't know what else, but it did all sound really wonderful.

Since I am now a woman of a certain age (read: I finally no longer get carded), I also think perhaps I should start wearing makeup. Don't have a heart-attack -- I wore my fair share of blue eyeshadow in high school. I mean start wearing it again on a regular basis. I bought some multi-use creamy rouge (cheeks and lips!) from Stila a year ago, and they gave me a free sampler of a powder foundation. I LOVE that stuff. And yet, the sample-size compact is still more than half full, which tells you roughly how often I wear makeup.

But if I start wearing makeup, then I also have to start washing my face properly. And if I don't like these little lines, then I should probably also "nourish" it properly. And have you noticed that as soon as you move from moisturize to nourish, the price of the bottles jumps from $8 to $28? Or $54? And, really, although I'm not loving these forehead lines, it's a little bit much to expect me to drop $125 on skincare products when I normally spend approximately $12 every six months.

So here's my question for you: what are your favorite, your very very favorite, products for your face that won't leave my children without a college-fund contribution this month? I'm willing to admit that $2 per month is perhaps too small a budget. But, realistically, I am not willing to go all crazy indulgent either. So the prime concern is figuring out where to splurge and where to buy brands available at Target. I have normal skin that needs, according to Sarah, a moderate cleanser, a deep exfoliater, a serum to help lock in the other products, and a "grown-up moisturizer" (her words). Can you suggest any wonderful moisturizers, or serums, or washes, or exfoliating scrubs that are perfect for the not-getting-carded-but-nowhere-near-facelift set?

Or do you have any other ideas for being a little less fourteen-years-old in how I take care of my face?

Alternately, I'd also welcome advice about where I can apply for a grant to cover the cost of the fabulous Sonya Dakar skin care line that this very chic salon recommends.


Candace & Anna said...

I'm no better than you lol. When I decide to clean my face I use Aveeno products. They have seemed to work for me lol.

MultiplesMommy said...

The facial scrub I use is Estee Lauder. I've used it for probably 5 years or so and have been quite happy with it (tho' word to the wise, don't scrub too hard under your eyes!!) It's $20 something a bottle, but seems to last FOREVER. I use it every few weeks, and buy a bottle once every 9-12 months. Beyond that, I'm so very picky about SMELL of lotions that that takes precedence over the "nourishing" capabilities of a given brand. I currently use Curel Original and love it. I also think the Clinique "yellow" lotion (not sure it's proper name, but it's their famous "standard") does a great job. And like you, I'm probably 3 years overdue for a real facial! :-) Glad you enjoyed yours!

MIQuilter said...

I use that Clinique "yellow" lotion too (except in the wintertime when I have to use heavier lotion to keep my face from peeling off). I have no other face regimen except "wash it with bar soap in the morning" and "splash cool water to rinse off the sweat if I've just exercised". (If "Sara" reads this, she might have a heart attack - don't let her know about this blog) Perhaps, being that I got old this year too, you need to tell me everything you learn about a "regimine". I, however, will refuse to wear makeup for a while longer.

LceeL said...

Lava soap. Exfoliates like crazy. And then I use Naval Jelly to gently remove the top few layers of old skin, keeping everything pink and fresh. And I use Neosporin to keep the scarring to a minimum.

Judith Shakes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Judith Shakespeare said...

You can't go wrong with Clinique's three step system which is a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. All are relatively budget-friendly and are great for the basics... I use them and a combination of Patricia Wexler's line (you can get it a bath & body works). She has a glyco-peel system that is a bit expensive ($60 for 30 days)if used daily, so I only use it about twice a week, and the results are amazing.

But I do wonder if you've been using sunscreen in place of make-up all these years... If not, that could be where the lines are from. Perhaps it's because I basically glow in the dark and burn to a crisp if the room is too hot, but sunscreen is a MUST.

And now that I've just written a small book on your post, I'll just shut-up now and pretend that no one noticed my *ahem* minor obsession with my skin...

(Dude, I'm so glad that it was a guy commenting above me about the lava soap... For a moment, I was in utter shock. LOL)

MommyTime said...

Judith, thanks for the excellent suggestions. I'm especially excited for the glyco-peel idea. I do wear sunscreen every day -- the only moisturizer I've used for years is one with built-in SPF, so I always have a little something on. And if I actually go out in the sun on purpose, I put on additional sunscreen. So I don't think the lines are from that. I think they're just from getting OLD. :(

Also, Lceel: your suggestions are perfect. So perfect I'm tempted to close the comments and run right out and de-rust my face. :)

Dette | Dance of Motherhood said...

Okay - I am right there with you. I definitely need to start paying attention to my face. I like to keep it as simple as can be and use Dove to wash and Oil of Olay for moisturizing.

But now you've talked me into a facial - I hope I can find a good one around here in Podunk. I might just steal a couple of these wonderful ideas here as well ;)

lol - Happy Belated!!

Lisa said...

I am not big on skincare, but in my pre-kid days I did more.

One word of warning about Clinique: I am prone to acne anyway, but using the Clinique line gave me a face covered in small pimples. Probably an allergic reaction which wont affect you, but thought I'd pass it on.

If you want to nourish your skin from the inside out try cod liver oil...no seriously. It is full of Vitamins A & E, which is what they put in those skin cremes (among other things). So it should help skin all over your body, not to mention your hair, ligaments and heart. And they make it in flavors now, so it is not so icky tasting. I have been taking it lately, and it has had the unintended side effect of helping me lose a few pounds (I haven't dieted or anything) and decreasing my sugar cravings. It is $16 a bottle for the good stuff and lasts 42 days.

zoeyjane said...

i have really sensitive, dry skin and a budget close to what you've hinted at. i find a bottle of clarins green cleansing milk lasts me about 6 months - which works out to about $6 a month. I just use it with a regular old face cloth and i'm exfoliating at the same time!

for a moisturizer, i use loreal wrinkle decrease all over my face. but heck, if you don't have dry skin, with the right cleanser you can totally get away without a moisturizer at all, me thinks.

Mrs F with 4 said...

In the UK the 'big' thing is Boots No 7 Protect and Perfect Beauty Serum (Boots is a pharmacy!). Very inexpensive and works unbelievably well - they were limiting customers to one each!

So, I tried it (northern European, pale, sensitive, and now approaching-40 (aaagh) skin), as did my BF who is more of a facial every-week-money-no-object kind of girl, and she reckons it's the best thing since sliced bread (only better for your skin).

But the best news is that you can (apparently) now buy it in Target, under the name No7 Restore & Renew Beauty Serum, and it's around $20. Takes about 3 weeks to really show the difference on the facial crevasses, sorry, wrinkles.

mommypie said...

I'm all about Clinique -- been using it about 20 years now and I swear by it! The soap is only about $8, and lasts a few months. I don't use the toner, because my skin is too dry as it is, but I do use the Moisture Surge Extra cream morning and night. Plus, I use All About Eyes every morning, which incredibly, has a decongestant and takes away the puffiness plus lessens wrinkles! Bonus! I've just started using their Deep Wrinkle lotion (the name escapes me) for the lovely little vertical lines that recently started showing up above my lip, and it's crazy how well it works.

That being said, if you want to go less expensive, can't beat Dove and a somewhat bumpy/rough washcloth morning and night. I only exfoliate by using a washcloth, and I think it works just dandy. (But you have to get really CHEAP, aka NOT soft, washcloths for it to work. Like shop towels or something.)

I think I just wrote my next Absolutely Banana's Hot Mamas Know post!

LaskiGal said...

Same here . . . I'm for quick, easy, and cheap! So, I've been using Cetaphil and/or Eucerin (washes and moisterizers) since my first visit to the dermo. I have sensitive skin and focus on SPF and not a lot of ingredients.

I kid you not, after trying a bunch of stuff (expensive and inexpensive), I use plain old Dove (sensitive) bar soap while in the shower . . .

I am eager to hear what people use!

Iceel has me chocking on my chips, um, I mean carrot sticks.

foolery said...

Hey MT,

My best friend discovered after 40 just how sensitive her skin really is (plus a new case of roseacea), and started reading up on it in great detail. She bought me a book that she swears by, The Skin Type Solution by Leslie Baumann, M.D. at this link:


My friend says once you take the quiz at the front of the book you'll know what to avoid, and the author breaks down the whole gamut of products appropriate for your particular skin type, from dirt cheap to ungodly expensive.

Have I taken the quiz? Well, I started, but, since I am a Dove-in-the-shower, Oil of Olay kinda girl, um, well, you see where this is going.

My favorite skin treat? Plain old olive oil and a bit of soap on a wet washcloth when my skin is really dry. FANTASTIC.

MommyTime said...

Thank you thank you thank you all for all the great suggestions. I will make a long list of all these wonderful products, and take the quiz Foolery mentions, and make some great choices, I'm sure. I really appreciate your help!

BTW, Foolery, you crack me up with the olive oil trick. I know you're serious, but color me impressed that you've managed to come up with something that works so well for you and is available in a grocery store! :)

Sandy C. said...

Oh I am in desperate need of a facial. I've had one once, and it left a lasting impression :)

I love to use my neutrogena products to clean and moisturize my face. I also use a heavier creme at night. But those forehead lines *sigh* I think mine are beyond helo :(

Aimeepalooza said...

Ah, you and I are kindred spirits. I use Clean and Clear daily pore cleanser with "micro-scrubbers." Also, I'm learning to take vit D. An older woman (friend of my Mom) started having horrific skin (Her face was coming off in flakes) problems and rather than apply expensive things to the outside, her doctor put her on a high dose of vit D. She saw results within a week. And you can justify that as a health not beauty expense. It is also good for the joints, heart, and immune system.

Aimeepalooza said...

Side note: I CANNOT use Clinque. Makeup yes, facial stuff no! I am naturally very dry and it turns my face red, patchy and peeling. If you're going to try that, I would say ask for samples and see how your skin reacts first. I have heard from several dry skin types that they have had really bad reactions. A friend of mine had to take her daughter to the dermatologist after she used the clinque skincare products because her whole face looked chapped/burnt. Different skin types have different reactions.

MIQuilter said...

MT - I'm happy to split the book with you - I'm interested in taking the quiz too and finding out what I'm *supposed* to be doing as opposed to just what I'm actually doing :)

MIQuilter said...

MT - Borders in Brighton has the book - I'll buy it today - we can share if you like.

Kimmylyn said...

I am going for my first facial ever in two weeks and I giddy like a school child about it.. I normally use the Olay product line as well. I guess I am not grown yet.. hahahaha.. but I am happy with my results so far.. so why change? And tell you the truth $125 for a jar of cream seems a bit crazy when I have Superman and Batman dolls to buy!! :)

K8spade said...

Is it wrong that I just read through all of your comments and took notes? I need to start asking questions on my blog. Like, how can I make a million dollars without really trying?

Betsy Bird said...

I love anything by Cetaphil. They have a cleanser for dry to normal skin and one for normal to oily, both of which I use. You can generally get them at the grocery store. They also have a great moisturizer and a heavier cream. Our dermatologist recommends them both for me with my wrinkles and my 17-year-old with his acne.

I first learned about Cetaphil from Paula Begoun's book Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me. She rates every skin care product and cosmetic known to man, including telling you whether it's worth what it costs. She also sells her own line of reasonably priced products called Paula's Choice, which you can buy at www.paulaschoice.com. (Obviously she thinks her products are great, but she also raves about many other products, which is why I trust what the book says. Plus, the products are great.) I get an exfoliant, a summer weight moisturizer, and several cosmetics from her.

One of the things Paula recommends as a cheap exfoliant is a mixture of Cetaphil cleanser and baking soda. You can't get much cheaper than that, and it works.

Sorry to have been out of touch for a week, MommyTime. But I'm back!

supertiff said...

complete sentences are SO over-rated.

supertiff said...

oops! left the first comment without reading the whole post. am impatient. and am still all about the non-complete sentences.

here are my recommendations:
a) go to the clinique counter, and buy the 'all about eyes' moisturizer. it will cost you $27, but if you go in the next two days you will get an awesome make-up bag filled with 'the yellow lotion' that your sister mentioned along with a lipstick that will look good on you, an eye make-up remover, a scrubby face soap (because i don't know how to spell exfolliate, or whatever) and a mirrored compact with a blush and two eye shadows that would probably look good on you. oh! and i forgot that it also has a small mascara, which i've bought before i which l love more than any mascara on the face of the planet.

so, yeah. i recommend that.
the bonus is at the A2 macy's, by the way.
if it's too late, i'll give you one of mine.
i'm kind of sneaky, and i got three. i'd be MORE than happy to give you one, in the name of skin-care education.

in the meantime, i also have to recommend that you go to amalah.com

i think you would enjoy her main website, but in this case, check out her side bar. she writes at several different places. one of them is called 'the advice smackdown.' it's in the right-side side-bar, if that makes sense. she answers beauty and fashion questions once a week, and she's tried about every make-up and skin-care product known to (wo)man. it's worth a try.

i'm almost sorry that i just wrote you a novel, but i get REALLY excited about make-up and face products. i would LOVE to give you one of my extra clinique bonus bags, just so you can know how awesome it is. it totally sucks to spend a lot of money on something that doesn't work for you...whatever you decide, try to look through the sunday paper ad-things and see who's offering a bonus. that way, you can buy one thing and get to sample a bunch of other stuff.

is my comment longer than your actual post?


supertiff said...

well, what do you know?
i have one more thing to say:
i wear make-up EVERY DAY, and i can't remember the last time i put soap on my face.
that may seem disgusting to some people, but here's the point: if you're not 'washing your face properly' every single day, and your face isn't going bat-shit crazy...well, you're probably alright.

i've been known to wear the same make-up two days in a row, and my face cooperates just fine.
i have to wash my armpits, yes. my face? not so much.

adding a touch of makeup probably won't send your face into a tizzy. if does? well, i'd just give it up. you've looked beautiful everytime i've seen you.
and i've seen you when you were nearly in labor.
so, you know.
i think you have some room to work with.

and, really.
this is my last comment for the night.

Anonymous said...

I'm a 50 year old black female and I have great skin. I've always taken care of my skin, and I look thirty. My daughter is 27 and she ask me for some beauty tips yesterday. Ladies continue to take care of your skin and feel good about your self. Keep a positive attitude.


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