I’m in my forties, so skin care has become increasingly important to me. Actually, I’m borderline obsessed. We’re living is a sort of ‘golden age’ in skin care, and the technology and treatments are creating near-miraculous results, not just snake oil in the jar like the old days. Skin care is a multi-billion dollar industry and price ranges from just a couple dollars to upwards of $1000! But are they worth the money? Can you get effective skin care without taking out a second mortgage? In addition to the following recommendations, check out Beautypedia for product reviews and unbiased feedback about new skincare trends and treatments.
- Infinique Enzyme Refining Foam Cleanser and Micro Seed Exfoliant Cleanser (both $99) Disclaimer: While I think these products are good, I don’t think I would pay $100 for them. I bought these items on Gilt.com as a combo for $39. They’re sold out now, but monitor the site. They come back about once a month. The foam cleanser is super rich and luxurious…I just love how it feels on my skin and leaves it feeling clean without feeling stripped. I mainly use this to remove my makeup. The exfoliating cleanser has both mechanical and chemical by using ground walnuts, salicylic acid and glycol acid. The only complaint I have is the walnuts are a little hard to get off with a face towel. Again; both work well, but definitely NOT worth 100 bucks a pop.
- Sampar Nocturnal Line-Up Mask: I started taking this with me on overnights because the packaging allows for less chance of leakage in my suitcase. But I couldn’t help but notice how clear and even-toned my skin looked in the morning, and the large pores on my cheekbones were virtually invisible. The company makes some big claims: “Nocturnal Line-Up Mask offers the 1st overnight mask to reclaim youth, boost collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid. A sophisticated alliance of advanced technology and over 90% of natural elements. Proven Efficacy: Immediate lifting effect for 75% of users.” I says it’s effective, but again, not worth the $90 price tag. I bought it on Gilt.com for $49.
- VenEffect: I was recently sent samples of this product to review, and I must admit, I paused a bit when I looked at the price points. This anti-aging line is sold at high-end department stores like Neiman Marcus that range from $85 to $195. If you’re under 35, you might scoff. But get to be close to 40 and over, when you observe a marked difference in the glow of your skin, the plumpness of your lips and the overall tone and those prices all of a sudden don’t seem so outlandish. Much of the change is skin integrity is hormonal in origin–as you age, the hormone (estrogen) responsible for making you looking fetching to the opposite sex begin to decline. The creators of VenEffect, sisters Rebecca Booth, M.D., a gynecologist and hormonal wellness expert, and Cecil Booth, a 28 year beauty industry veteran create beauty products that contain phytoestrogen, or plant-based sources that produce estrogen in the body, along with all the other fancy new anti-aging ingredients. While I tried everything in the line, my two best recommendations for women of color “over a certain age” is the Anti-Aging Eye Treatment ($125) and the Anti Aging Lip Treatment ($85). When I look at black women experiencing the aging process, I don’t notice wrinkles, but I do recognize the dark circles and hyper pigmentation around the eyes, as well as loss of ‘plumpness’ in the lips. The lip treatment is bomb.com–you literally FEEL your lips smoothing and plumping, but not like the cheap stuff that just uses peppermint and similar ingredients to irritate the skin in order to swell it. In fact, there’s no burning at all–just smooth, full lips that make my lips look fetching and kissable with or without lipstick. The eye cream is smooth and creamy, but not oily, and leaves my eye area looking like I’ve had an amazing beauty rest. Here’s an untouched photo the morning after using the eye and lip cream…untouched, unedited.
- GLO Whitening and Antioxidant Toothpaste: My smile is important to me, and white teeth are part of my beauty routine. While I whiten with peroxide-based products to lift the discoloration from coffee and wine around once a year, doing so more than that can damage the enamel. So the best bet is maintenance. When I first discovered GLO at Sephora, my first thought was, “Why is this toothpaste $16?!” Then I looked at the label: “GLO Science introduces a revolutionary, multifunctional toothpaste combining the power of antioxidants, vitamins, and CoQ10 with natural whitening silicates for lasting results and a brighter, healthier smile. GLO Whitening Toothpaste features unique micro-capsules packed inside every application, bursting as you brush, continuously releasing active ingredients to promote gum health. Available in Superberry flavor (acai berry, blueberry, and pomegranate) for tasty, natural flavoring, it contains fluoride to help prevent tooth decay and is good for even the most sensitive teeth. The longer you brush, the better your results.” The product definitely does as promised, but it is expensive. It’s for that reason I use it only at night, and brush with the regular stuff in the morning.
- My beloved Clarisonic: I love this product. There are many imitators, and I’ve tried a couple, but nothing measures up to the quality of the Clarisonic. What you need to understand about skin care is that the elemental key to clear, smooth skin that glows is exfoliation. This brush works with whatever facial cleanser you choose to sluff off dead skin cells, which helps minimize the frequency of blackheads and pimples. While the company offers a wide array of models, I’m cool with the basic Mia, which costs around $99. I bought one for Maxi too. I love that it’s waterproof and the batteries last for a long time.