Beauty products are a funny thing. When I was young and wrinkle free with nearly perfect skin, I spent a lot of money on products to correct problems I didn’t even have. Exfoliants, anti wrinkle creams, blemish coverup, you name it, I tried it.
Now I am older, and dealing with all the fun that goes with being in my 40s. I don’t know what this season of life is like for men, but for a lot of women, this is apparently the time in your life when you get to deal with wrinkles and pimples AT THE SAME DAMN TIME. Not cool. Anyway, my skin has a lot going on right now, and so, I actually find that it is happier with products that do less.
I have also learned that price is no indicator of quality or safety in a lot of cases. You could spend $30 on a bottle of skin toner only to find that the only active ingredient is a chemical normally found in nail polish remover. A little healthy dirt starts seeming like less of a problem when you read the ingredient lists on some of these products.
Basically, I am looking for products that “do” as little as possible. The skin is what it is, and the more I leave it alone, the better it seems to look. My new and absolute favorite beauty product is actually an old favorite from my 20s that I forgot about: witch hazel.
It’s cheap, it’s safe for sensitive skin, and it works for many applications. It tightens pores and refreshes tired skin. It soothes burns, bruises and bug bites. It make your under eye circles go away, for heavens sake! It even seems to help with some new redness that has recently started cropping up on my cheeks. What’s not to like?
It is actually pretty amazing all the things witch hazel can do. Everyone should have a bottle, as it is extremely useful.
And the best part is you can get the generic witch hazel at any drug or grocery store for about $2 a bottle. Sold!
My next favorite is another oldie but goodie that I had forgotten about. Back when I used to be a big spender on beauty products, I had a roommate who used cheapo Dove beauty bars. You know the stuff – it’s not soap, it’s basically a bar of lotion. I always wondered why she used it until I once ran out of soap and had to borrow hers. I had to admit that it made my skin feel pretty nice.
I never converted over to it though. I liked how it felt, but was still convinced that spending more meant I would find magic in a bottle. So I forgot about his little gem until recently. Ever since I started swimming, I have been struggling a bit with dry skin that is irritated a bit by the chemicals in the pool. So I’ve been looking for a soap that is unscented, good for dry and sensitive skin and doesn’t contain parabens or other cancer causing chemicals.
On a whim I decided to give Dove another go. I went with the Dove Unscented Beauty Bar for Sensitive Skin, and was immediately sold on it. After washing, my skin didn’t feel dry or tight at all – it almost felt like I didn’t even need moisturizer. It’s so gentle I can even use it on my kids (one of whom has somewhat dry and itchy skin) and it makes their skin soft and clean too. It seems to be a lot more gentle, and makes my skin feel less tripped and dry than the Olay and Basis bars I had been using before.
So that is the basis of what I am doing to keep my skin happy these days – Dove bar and witch hazel. I top it off with color correcting moisturizer with SPF, slap on the Fresh Sugar Rose Lip Treatment and I am out the door.
If I were going on a date or to work, I might also throw on some eyeliner, mascara and a red lip but otherwise I am just looking for a fresh and natural look.