Friday, December 27, 2013

Probably Unsurprising to Everyone But Me

Well I've gone through quite the (expensive) experiment in face cream lately. I spent a lot of money on some high end brands of skin care that, sadly, did nothing for me. In fact, I have come full circle and ended up with almost the same skin care products I stared with. What I have learned is $$$ doesn't = quality.

Having recently entered my 40's I figured it was probably time to kick up my skin care regime. It's not that I haven't looked after my skin, I have, but with the appearance of lines around my eyes I wondered if I was doing enough. The problem was I had no idea what enough was. Before I started this journey, about 6 months ago, I had never even heard of serums. I though all you need was a good moisturizer with sunscreen. I didn't realize SPF 15, as found in most moisturizers, isn't even close to the amount you need daily to stop sun damage. In fact, you probably need to apply sunscreen (50 or higher, preferably) on top of your moisturizer

So I've been trying to educate myself on what works, what products I need (toner - yes or no?) and why some products are better than others for certain skin types. I have to tell you there is a whole lot of contradictory info out there. Do you believe what is recommended in magazines? How do you parse out if a product is any good when looking at glossy ads for high end products? What I have learned is that you can't even judge a product on its ingredients until you learned a whole new lexicon. BHA? Packed with antioxidants? Which ones? What do those do? Fortified with Vitamin C? Is that good? BB? Do I need that? So many questions! And I had no way to answer any of them. 

It appears I spent hundreds on fancy products that are classified as 'toxic' by Paula's Choice (, the skin care website I have come to rely upon. Because if there is one thing that is true about skin care products, it's that you need guidance to try to make sense of where to put your cash. There is so much marketing, celebrity endorsements and magazine editorials devoted to the multitude of products available it's almost impossible to understand what you need. Let alone what ingredients it should contain to be worth your hard earned cash. For instant, did you know you are throwing your money away if you are buying products that come in a jar? I had no idea that jars expose fragile ingredients & chemicals to germs, air and light that render them moot? How would I know that?

I have also come to hate stores like Sephora. I though these places would be great repositories of skin care knowledge. What I've learned is that the staff at Seohora no nothing. They only actively push products they are prompted to. They have very limited information about any of the products they carry. The staff have rarely tried any of them, and when you asked them questions, their response is to read the box or label. Exactly what I could have done myself. There is no insight offered on the ingredients they read off or why one might be better than another or for certain skin types. I could have done the same thing myself, and ended up in the same bewildered state. 

I did have better results with the staff at Shopper's Drug Mart. They also recommended expensive stuff, but were able to answer my questions without just regurgitating what could easily be read on the packaging. In a few case, they were even able to suggest cheaper, worthy alternatives. They didn't appear to only push certain products (pay for play) & asked enough questions to at least get a sense of what skin type I had, and what I was looking for. 

After months of experiments and research I've ended up using  Oil of Olay, which is what I had started with. Of course, I'm using a more expensive and supped up line of the brand then I had been using, but the point is: I thought I needed to get serious about my skin care & get off the cheap stuff and ended up using something very similar to what I started with. It appears what I was doing wasn't so too bad to begin with. I might not have been the best I could do, but in the attempt to throw money at the problem I ended up using products that were far worse than what I had been using. But finally, the most important thing I've learned is: it doesn't matter what your using (serums, moisturizers, toners, etc.) or what brand, if your not using a strong sunscreen everyday your skin will continue to deteriorate. Period.  

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