I believe most women spend years slathering products on their skin in a trial and error sequence, adjusting them to age and needs. Since I moved to California my formerly combination skin has become rather dry. Who knew I would miss the humidity? I realized fairly quickly that the light moisturizers I was used to would not do the job here.
Moreover, with aging and the ensuing loss of collagen and elasticity, moisturizing properly becomes even more challenging. Add the estrogen suppressing pill I need to take and, without help, my skin would become a close relative of parchment paper in no time.
I have been using these products for over a year now and, while none of them will erase your wrinkles, they all do a great job of keeping the skin protected, moisturized and smooth. None of them are super cheap but they are not at the high-end of the cosmetics spectrum either and they all share one characteristic: they last an awfully long time, between four months and over a year.
Most importantly, nobody paid me to publicize them.
BASIC MOISTURIZER: Khiel’s Super Multi Corrective Cream $62/$82 depending on size
I have been using many Khiel’s products for 20 years, since the days they were only to be found in one store on Melrose. Now it’s a nationwide chain with fair prices, natural ingredients and no animal testing. I started using this moisturizer as a night cream but I loved it so much it now does double duty. While the claim is that it’s supposed to sculpt and erase fine lines, what I have noticed is that my skin is definitely smoother and hydrated. The large size lasts me approx 4 months. (and if you are in a Khiel’s store, I highly recommend their hair conditioners).
HEAVY LIFTING: Pestle and Mortar’s Hyaluronic Acid Serum $60
Hyaluronic acid is present in our entire body but its highest concentration is in our skin. As we age, surprise surprise, we produce less and less, contributing to a loss of elasticity. Hyaluronic acid serums are much more concentrated than products that claim to contain it. Pestle and Mortar is based in Dublin, with an office in NY, and they only make three or four products which contain few ingredients and are not tested on animals. They also have to comply with the much stricter European cosmetics standards. The claim is that the serum will erase fine lines and plump up the skin. All you need is literally two drops, morning and night, applied before the moisturizer. It feels dry when you first smooth it across your skin but it is a miracle worker. My skin is definitely happier and, even on particularly dry days, it stays soft. I got this in March and I still have 1/3 of the bottle.
FOUNDATION: Giorgio Armani Luminessence CC Color Control $55
Not a foundation actually, but what used to be known as a tinted moisturizer, now renamed color control. Whatever. I battled for years with founding a foundation that worked: too heavy, too pasty, too dry, too whatever and I would end up wearing it only at night, for fancy occasions. But, after trying this a couple of years ago, I really enjoyed how this product unifies the color of my skin. I use a few drops to even out my natural color and hide some imperfections – it is pretty matt but not dry and it looks as if I am wearing nothing at all. It comes with SPF 35 as a bonus. I buy it twice a year.
BLUSH: Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer $62
Not a blush either. I was conned into buying this from a nice sales girl at Nordstrom, on a day when I felt particularly charitable. They call it an illuminator and it comes in a million shades. I suppose you can use it to contour but I use it as a blush because it blends perfectly with the tinted moisturizer: the end result is that “Armani glow”. Very understated. It’s expensive but it lasts forever. I have had mine for over a year.
DEODORANT: Real Purity $10.99
While the myth that the aluminum in deodorants causes breast cancer has been debunked, I have been looking all my life for a deodorant that will not leave marks on my shirts. In the long run, they all do, unless they are natural deodorants that, let’s face it, don’t work. A friend gave me this to try and I have to concede that 1. it does work 2. it’s fragrance free 3. it doesn’t stain. Only drawback, it is not available at your local drugstore. A bunch of natural beauty websites stock it (and Amazon). I buy it at a local pharmacy.
FEET: Udderly Smooth $4.99
I love to rub pure shea butter on the heels of my feet to keep them from drying up but it is bloody expensive. I already talked about this cream I was given while undergoing radiation – I don’t use it on my body anymore but I found out it works wonders on my feet. Fragrance free, I rub it on my heels before going to bed or when I put socks on and it keeps my skin soft. And you can’t beat the price .