This is not the kind of post I normally write, but recently I’ve acquired an addiction to watching beauty-related videos on YouTube. I think part of it is thanks to a great facial experience in Chinatown in NYC. If you can believe it, my dad had the idea to get one. He went to get his first, as I still wasn’t sold and preferred getting what ended up being an extremely painful back rub next door. After nearly two hours, he met us with glowing skin (LOL) and equally glowing reviews of the facial specialist who apparently helped to remove his many blackheads.
OK. So it was time for my first professional facial ever. As soon as the specialist turned the bright light on my face, she asked rhetorically, “It’s been a long time since you had a facial, huh?”
Ouch. Try first time. Maybe she just said that as part of the whole experience to make you believe this is super effective. After all, I’ve never had major skin issues (e.g., acne), and as the facial specialist (whose name I’ve unfortunately forgotten—darn my lack of blogging) pointed out, it’s because I have dry skin. And quite a few sun spots…
So I’ve been actively trying to change my decade-long skincare regimen, which I took directly from my mom, whose lucky genes, apparently effective skincare regimen, and perfected makeup have allowed many strangers and friends alike to remark how young she always looks. The things I did adopt from her were bare: Clean & Clear face wash at night and Olay moisturizer. Seriously, I’ve used those two products and those two only for as long as I can remember. On rare occasions, I’ll curl my eyelashes and wear mascara. It’s quite ridiculous how I haven’t really branched out into other products or cared to until now.
Right now, I would consider myself in the emergency transition phase, meaning I’m not committed to any new product yet but am using what I have to experiment (which ironically might hurt my skin, but I’ll find my way eventually).
1 — Trésor Rare Ultimate Exfoliating Cream Cleanser
Let me say this before anything else: Trésor Rare is a total scam. My friend somehow got me sucked into it at its store in Fort Lauderdale during a layover, and we each spent about $105 (maybe more for her, not sure) for a body scrub ($80 on website for a different line, mine came in a cheap blue plastic container), ultimate pearl facial peel ($400), cream cleanser ($149), some kind of cream ($400 to $1700!), and a receipt for a free facial in one of its stores in NYC or elsewhere. First, I must admit that my friend bargained to get a ton of additional products so in the end, although it was clear we were scammed (even a random local seeing us on the street with these bags indirectly told us), for $100, we got a LOT.
The only products I have left from this experience in January are the peel and cleanser (and somehow even the receipt that I forget about every time I go to NYC)…although I’m not quite sure what I did with the peel when packing up my apartment at BU. A wonderful post-realization was how little product these cheap plastic containers contained, so that’s why I finished most of them so quickly.
Especially after Googling the company, I just want to point out how amazing the whole scam of an operation is. They go the whole nine yards and lure street shoppers in by letting them test the scrub on their hands. Of course, rubbing hard salts like that on your skin for a long period of time will shave off all of your dead skin so of course it will seem effective. The salesperson has its impressive website already loaded on his iPad to show that the prices are around $1,000 but we can get a great deal. You’ll find maybe one review on a product that of course is raving about the product that is ridiculously overpriced for about 2 ounces of “luxury product.” They even have pages for “awards” and “press,” which includes one random blogger and some other unknown outlet. How amazing. It makes me believe those stories about how people build fake college websites offering fake diplomas, and people fall for it. Google it. It’s an incredible feat.
So that long diversion aside, I use this in the mornings and continue to use the Clean & Clear when I shower at night. I admit it looks and smells great for the scam that it is, but for the love of God, do NOT buy any of its products (not that anyone would be able to afford its outrageous online prices).
2 — Blue Lagoon Mineral Moisturizing Cream
On the theme of scams during layovers (don’t worry, this time I didn’t have a gullible self-indulgent friend with me to waste money), while visiting the amazing Blue Lagoon thermal spa in Iceland, one of its admission packages includes a moisturizing cream that claims to contain “Blue Lagoon natural minerals.” The packaging advertises that it’s “hypoallergenic, dermatologically tested, paraben free, and fragrance and colour free.” I have a small one-ounce bottle of this and a sample mask from Blue Lagoon that I have yet to use. The cream is quite watery, so a little goes a long way. I wouldn’t buy a whole bottle of this (ugh, 40 euros) but I use it to moisturize my face at night until I run out and get to try out a better moisturizer. Recommendations, anyone? I’m saving the mask for a more special occasion, whenever that is 🙂
3 — TruSkin Naturals Vitamin C Serum
It feels like I so easily fall victim to scams, so trusting me as a source for beauty products may only help to inform you what to avoid. But I’m more optimistic about this one. I tried checking out the company’s website and more critical reviews on Amazon, but in the end, this sells for $20, so it’s relatively cheap to at least give it a try. Why it’s easy to think it’s a scam is how its list price is $90 on Amazon, then $38, and now “on sale” for $20. Plus, I’m always wary of “No. 1” products on Amazon that have so many raving reviews and annoyingly long marketing titles like “The BEST ORGANIC Vitamin C Serum for Face…” where you literally have to click an arrow to expand on this product’s name. But this one has more than 1,500 reviews and again, it’s a serum. Can’t go THAT wrong…right? Just started using it so I’ll update in a few months.
4 — L’Oreal Restoring Day Cream SPF15
Yay, moving on from scams to reputable brands! I picked this up in duty free at Charles de Gaulle airport, and after using it these past few weeks, I can definitely say my skin feels softer and more hydrated. And the SPF is totally necessary given my sunspots, which I hope to help reduce with that serum.
5 — Clarins Extra-Firming Eye Lift Perfecting Serum
My mom gave this to me, since she apparently went on a shopping spree of expensive Clarins products. This one retails at $62 and is sketchily sold on Amazon for around $30. I would suggest not getting it on Amazon due to the possibility of refill packaging or some other sketchy reason for it selling so cheaply. Side note: Nice to see so many other retailers selling a product, rather than just one fake website selling lotions for $2,000 (ahem, Trésor Rare). Anyway, if my never-aging mom uses this, you know it’s legit.
6 — Tea Hut Shea Sugar Scrub
So although the Trésor Rare products are overpriced scams, using the body scrub made me realize its value in truly making your skin softer. Sugar scrubs are supposed to be less harsh and better for people with dry skin, so I chose this over a salt scrub. I’m saving using this until I go to China, because from experience with traveling with the cheap Trésor Rare body scrub, it could leak. Thanks to all these YouTube videos I’m watching, sugar scrubs are actually super easy to make at home, but hey, we’re lazy. And for under $20 for three tubs, this is a bargain.
What beauty products do you swear by? It’s clear I need some guidance…