Friday, October 10, 2014

Low Maintenance Health, Beauty Arsenal

I am a low-maintenance kind of gal when it comes to health and beauty aids.  There is a HUGE market in health and beauty aids, and there has been for a long, long time.  I love looking at advertising in vintage magazines, along with all the claims of marketing gimmicks written for products.  Many magazines now have annual write-ups of the "Best of _____", with blank as varied a category as the marketers who slap their advertising budgets on those magazines to get published in whatever "best of"  they push.

One of the things I love best about shopping these days is the ability to research customer reviews prior to making a purchase.  While I am suspicious that even some of those reviews are written by people paid to do it, I am not one of those people.  I still read them when I'm interested in a product, though, and, for what it's worth, I am going to offer my two cents worth of my consumer-tested, tried-and-true health and beauty aids, here, all in one post.  You can take it or leave it, but they're all part of my personal arsenal for health and beauty.  Let me make clear that this post is in no way a sponsored post - all opinions are solely mine, uncompensated.

A little background info on me:  I am 50+ (or 60-, depending on the half-full / half-empty view), have a freckled, less than smooth skin which has been exposed to more rays of sun than I care to admit. My skin and hair used to be oily, but are now much less so (sometimes downright dry).  I generally don't have skin breakouts, but certainly had my share before age 40.  Although I regret not taking better care of my skin before age 20, I've done fairly well most of my adult life.

I broke the photos into product uses of logical steps I take each day in my personal care.  I placed a number on each product, and links for each and their availability are located at the end of the post. Note that some brands have updated their packaging since I wrote this post (another marketing gimmick).
FACE (CLEANSE, PROTECT):
My regimen is basic:  wash and protect.  I use a locally made and internet available [goat] milk soap with lavender (1), and I purchase it in long bars (cheaper), and cut it myself.  I simply wrap the slices in brown [craft] paper and tape closed.  The bars double as drawer & shelf fresheners / insect repellents (lavender is a natural insect repellent) - hence, the paper wrap to ensure no oil stains on textiles.  I have used CLINIQUE products for years, and the dramatically different moisturizing lotion (2) is just fantastic. It does not interfere with contact lens use when applied to eyes, and it's available in a gel for oily skin types.  Neutrogena Age Shield face (3) works wonderfully, even when you sweat, or use scuba gear and do not want issues with [prescription] goggle lenses.

BODY (WASH):
Olay makes a variety of different soap blends, but I prefer the subtle fragrance of the age defying blend soap (4).

FACE (MAKEUP):
I am not a big investor in facial makeup; in fact, I do not wear foundation - never have (with the exception of stage) - and only wear blush occasionally.  These products pictured above are my regular regime lineup.  CLINIQUE khol shaper for eyes (5) gives a precise line (sharpener is built in), stays intact all day, yet can easily be 'smudged', if desired, with fingertip or Q-tip.  Maybelline's Great Lash mascara (6) has been a staple of mine since 9th grade, when I first started wearing it. I layer it with 2-3 coats, but prefer a brownish-black for my fair skin coloring.  CLINIQUE high impact mascara (7) is what I use on lower lashes, for a no-smudge effect.  After receiving it in a 'gift with purchase' package many years ago, I preferred it over Maybelline for lower lashes.  Although the Lancome photogenic skin-illuminating concealer (8, pictured) is no longer readily available with a working link to be able to provide, I have to list it for its properties I covet in a concealer:  it's silky smooth to apply (creamy), it smells wonderful, it has staying power, and it works.  Obviously, it also lasts forever - into obsolescence, apparently.  I looked at current Lancome concealer products available, but will refrain from reviewing anything I have not tried.  My lip conditioner, Blistex DCT (daily conditioning treatment, (9) is my ONE AND ONLY beauty product I would have to have if stranded on a desert island.  Especially if stranded on a desert island, as it is the ONLY lip gloss I use that really works to protect from sunburn (SPF 20), and doesn't make my lips feel irritated, as so many lip balms and lipsticks do.  Last, but certainly not least in my facial makeup, is my preference in lipsticks.  Again, I am partial to CLINIQUE, as they do not make my lips feel irritated, they are affordable (often free in 'gift with purchase' promos), and the color choices are great.  Two of my favorite lipsticks are pictured here: Long-lasting lipstick (10), (sugar bean is my preferred color) and Butter Shine lipstick (11), (pink toffee is my color choice in this line).

HAIR (WASH, STYLE):
I color treat my hair, and the one luxury / high maintenance I allow myself is professional cut and color, every three weeks, so my ends are trimmed regularly and I keep one, consistent color (vs. the caught-in-the-wind grey roots look).  Pantene's color preserve shampoo (12) blend works well for me, but there are a slew of other blends for your hair type.  I used to use the conditioner of the same line when my hair was longer, but generally go without it now that my hair is short, unless I'm at the beach.  Before drying my hair, I use a dollop of Pantene's triple action volume mousse (13) at my crown.  All I do each morning to style my hair is dampen the crown to remove any bed-head parting, and fluff with my fingers.  The mousse helps keep the shaping in my hair between washings (every 2-3 days), but I only apply it after washing, not in between washings.  Kenra's matte texture putty (14) is sometimes used on my crown while the hair is just damp and almost dry, (after washing), to put a little staying power to styling (a more sporty, spiky appearance vs. soft and rounded).  A little dab will do ya (about the size of a dime).

SKIN (PROTECT):
People, we should all wear sunscreen, and I'll be the last to preach the dangers of not wearing it (guilty), but when I do wear it, Neutrogena's ultra-sheer dry-touch sunblock (15) is the BEST!  When vacationing near the equator, it is hard NOT to get burned, even with just fifteen minutes exposure.  But with this and my Blistex DCT (#9, above), I am good to go, without burning.  I guess this should be tops on my list if stranded on a desert island, but I'll still hold to the DCT as my number one pick, then the Neutrogena sunblock.   Bath and Body Works True Blue Spa super softening hand lotion (16) is the best in my book.  It protects hands, yet doesn't leave a greasy feeling on the palms, and smells great (a light citrusy fragrance).  I love it after I've been in the kitchen with hands in water, or when I've been gardening and hands are dry.  Cerave moisturizing cream (17) was first recommended to my husband for his extremely dry, itchy ankles (where his socks rub), especially during winter months.  What I have found in using this is that the protection lingers from shower to shower.  It really is amazing stuff, especially during winter months, or if your skin tends to be dry most of the time.

SKIN (FRAGRANCE):
Even though I am keenly aware of the sensitivity of those with asthma (my husband is borderline), or the fact that I cannot stand wearing someone else's perfume, either from standing near them or passing them, I still enjoy a fragrance, and generally choose soft ones.  I personally like a floral undertone, not real spicy or woodsy.  CLEAN brand makes this line, Skin (18), which is a wonderful blend.  Here's how Sephora's website describes it:
"hints of dewy flower petals wrap around notes of pure creaminess and warm musk to evoke the simple scent of touchable skin. Enticing, fresh, pure: clean skin at its best."
"Notes: Honeydew, Lotus Blossom and Fresh Air Accord, Dewy Petals, Aquatic Notes, Blue Rose, Musks, Amber Wood, Vanilla"
I also enjoy the fragrance of the soft body lotion (19) with the eau de parfum spray.  

Although I listed sources for each of these products below, there are several more beyond the links I provided.  I generally will shop as frugally as I can, but sometimes items are hard to find (e.g., Blistex DCT). Then, when I find it, I will literally buy out the store's stock, just so I don't run out.  As for CLINIQUE, I take advantage of their 'gift with purchase' promotions which vary with department stores, but are generally in February/August or April/October, staggered every six months.  I stock up on what I normally use, then test the freebies received for other products, use them as travel sizes, or gift them to my daughters, sisters and/or nieces.  Using Sephora with a registered account is a great way to accumulate reward points and score bonus items for less (or free), and receive 15% sale notices on occasion. Their online website is great for reading reviews of new products also.  I use several other fragrances, most of them purchased from Sephora, and/or received as samples (you get to select three with most orders), all of which I read descriptions and reviews of first.  Here's an example of one of the bonus packages I received by redeeming points, (20) a Laura Mercier Flawless Face package set :  
20  
While I would not routinely allow myself the luxury of Laura Mercier products ($$$$), this was a great opportunity to try a few items.  The tinted moisturizer (nude) with SPF 20 is silky, and the lip glace in rose doesn't irritate - always a plus for me.  There are less pricey products out there that accomplish the same results, just sayin'.

Last but not least, I am sharing my latest finds, as recommended by two of my older sisters (who shall remain unnamed): (21) Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair serum (for daytime) and (22) Neutrogena Rapid Repair Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer (night).  I've only recently started using these last two products (daily), and can already see fading in freckling from recent, tropical sun exposure (which is hard to avoid, even with sunblock). Generally, I find Neutrogena products consumer-friendly both in purpose and cost.  I am applying these onto my skin after washing, before moisturizing, then sunscreen and/or tinted moisturizer last.

We all have our arsenals of products we love, and if you had to choose just one for that desert island, which would it be?  For me, it's been made pretty obvious here.  It doesn't matter what you wear on your lips, just wear something!  

Here's the source list roundup of all the products mentioned in this post, none of which sponsored me or my mention of them.  I just like the products and use them.
8 Lancome skin-illuminating concealer SPF 15 - sorry, no longer available

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