The Price of Beauty

OK, this NYT article has been making the rounds in the blogosphere, and may I just say, What. The. Fuck. $1000 per week on a beauty regimen???? And I thought I was high maintenance with getting my hair cut and colored every 5 weeks, and a pedicure every 2 or 3 during the summer. While I do think there’s a little bit of New York superiority complex informing the article (“oh, those silly, shallow LA women!”) it’s just scary how someone can live in such a bubble that this is considered “typical.” And even pushing aside the expense, who has the time to devote to all of the blowouts and hours in hyperbaric chambers to keep skin “baby soft”???

Naomi Wolf was right.

I’ve been trying to streamline my skincare routine lately, and eliminate products that are unnecessary. I have my favorites; some are a bit pricey, others not so much. My skin has tended to be on the oily side most of my life, though I notice it’s getting less so as I age.

Cleansing: I don’t use soap on my face anymore, or purchase expensive cleansers. My #1 top favorite product is St. Ives Apricot Scrub. My skin isn’t particularly sensitive, so I use this every couple of days. To remove what little makeup I wear anymore, I like Pond’s Clean Sweep Towlettes. Other than that, I just rinse well with warm or cool water.

Sunscreen: During the day, I’ve started skipping the moisturizer and just using a heavy duty sunscreen instead. My current fave is the one I bought in France, and I’ve just found a way to order online from Canada (the active ingredient, Meroxyl, is not yet available in the US above an SPF 15). With the skin cancer that runs in my family, I’ve taken to wearing at least an SPF 50 daily. Neutrogena also makes a nice SPF 70, but I’ve found that it doesn’t soak into the skin as well, and sometimes I’ll notice some white streaks a few hours later where I didn’t quite rub in enough.

Eyes: I’ll cop to using expensive eye creams. I’ve tried the drugstore brands that everyone recommends, but have mostly found that the texture just isn’t the same and doesn’t soak in, or worse, the fragrances irritate the skin around my eyes. I don’t have a lot of wrinkles, but have started getting the crepe-y, saggy skin above my eyes. The one exception to my preference for expensive products are the Olay Regenerist Dermapods. At first I thought, “what a gimmick!” but started reading some good reviews on beauty product blogs. I’ve been using these for a week, and they do really seem to work. I’ve never had much trouble with undereye circles or bags, but they do seem to smooth out the stuff I’ve got going on on the upper lids. You’re only supposed to use them 3x per week, so in between I’m still using the pricey stuff (currently Clarins).

The only time I use a heavy duty moisturizer anymore is at night. I tend to find Lancome Primordiale Nuit works best for me. One jar lasts me several months. I did try the Olay Regenerist Night Recovery Treatment but again find the texture is a little waxy and it doesn’t feel like it soaks in.

I don’t use a toner anymore, as I’ve read in enough places that they don’t really do anything except dry out the skin. I think I have my routine down to the basics. Mornings it’s rinse with water, eye cream, sunscreen. Nights it’s makeup removal, scrub (usually 4 or 5 times/week), eye cream and moisturizer. If I’m going to be outdoors and in the sun, I have an SPF 30 eye cream that I’ll use instead of the regular.

There’s only so much money and time I’m willing to spend on maintenance. I believe that aging isn’t a crime against humanity, and will never be one of those women who goes to extraordinary measures to look younger. I don’t have the time, and can’t justify the expense.

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  1. The Anthelios is great, isn’t it? I get mine from my dermatologist, but have also ordered online. They carry the spf15 at CVS, but as you’ve pointed out, it’s impossible to get the higher dosage here – why? So frustrating! My favorite is the Fluide Extreme spf 50. It’s made for the face, and is non-greasy. I mix mine up with my foundation and it looks, feels, and works great.

    Not to go on an on, but I must tell you about a recent vacation I had in Beverly Hills, where all I did, basically, was loll around by the pool. The high-SPF Anthelios was my only armor, and let me tell you, I didn’t burn or tan a bit. I seriously could not believe how well this stuff works.

    Very much enjoying your blog!