If there is a product that is sold, promising to renew your skin to its once youthful glow, I’m sure I have tried it at least once. My best friend Maura and I would comb the make up counters in NYC in our twenties, half-listening to the hard sell sales lady raps about the miracle cures these beautifully packaged items offered, while giggling to ourselves, knowing that most of what they said was pure malarkey. We fell for it nevertheless, coming home with our pretty packages, to set up a girl’s night of face masks and tall boy Buds, talking about guys we liked. We’d meet after work, to get our nails done, or go get facials, all while smoking cigarettes, eating too much junk food and hanging out in the Irish bars that populated 52nd Street until they closed. We travelled to Mexico together, two Irish American girls, and fell asleep in the sun, after drinking too many tequila shooters, baked ourselves into painful lobsters, only to spray on fake tans before boarding the plane for home. Sitting next to each other on the plane, with our tubes of over the counter Retin-A ,we bought at a Mexican pharmacy, we couldn’t help laughing at how bad we looked with our orange skin, debating on how long it would take to wear off, since we couldn’t scrub our skins, due to our severe sunburns. Our forees into the pursuit of beauty were entertaining foibles of two lost girls, with too many problems, trying to act like grown ups. Little did we know that our natural skin and hair would never look that good again and we didn’t need any help. We had youth on our side. Years later, now in my 50’s, with my friend who passed away at 45, I’m stuck with aging all alone, while she will remain beautiful forever.
Clearly, like most mature women, we know that drinking our water and eating right, applying sun protection (at least to our face, hands and decollete) are so important, unless we want a TSA-approved giddy-up into the gargoyle lookalike line. No, let me stay in the slow line, for as long as possible, thank you very much! And smoking, ohhhhhh, nooooooo. Never! It’s a bad day, when you look in the mirror and, suddenly realize, wow, I’m looking old. Mature skin lacks luminosity, it’s dull and dry, pore size grows, makeup settles in the cracks, lack of collagen leads to pitting in the chin and more apparent dark circles. The eyelids droop down. The eyebrows disappear. Ugly hairs pop up in places they shouldn’t. We never leave our house with out our tweezers, because in certain light that shines into the car….oh, God….tweezers are the one beauty tool I would take to a desert island. To my best friends: If I’m ever in a coma, please tweeze me, thank you, and I will do the same for you. My Mom passed in 2016 at almost 96. She remained vain to the end about those stray hairs. She loved to be plucked!
So, now that I’ve gotten serious about my skin in my 50’s, I’m a big believer in getting Botox or Dysport, if you can afford them. The prevention they offer by relaxing those muscles in the forehead is very therapeutic, both emotionally and physically. I wish I had started using this earlier in life, but couldn’t afford it then. Groupon is a great place to find deals in your area, as well as deals on various laser procedures, microdermabrasion and peels. I’ve found that Dysport lasts longer than Botox, for me. I get 50 Units in my forehead once a year, or so. For those who know, this is a very conservative amount, especially for a gal in her 50’s. Mostly, it’s because I’m so busy, a bit cheap and, frankly, it is hard for me to remember to book it. I’ve done Juvederm and Restyline one time too each, but found them a little disappointing, as they disappear too quickly. If you have the bucks to get them repeatedly throughout the year, I’m told that getting them before they totally wear off, helps their staying power.
What I’ve found that works well for me is my NuFace Mini Facial Toner, when I remember to use it. It’s easy and can be done at night, while watching t.v. When I do use it regularly, their is a definite lift to my skin, improved tone and disappearance of wrinkles. My understanding is the microcurrents (which feel like little rubber band snaps), help to improve skin turnover and increased collagen production. I’ve also take collagen pills and drunk bone broth, etc…, but didn’t see any real improvement with those. While NuFace isn’t as dramatic as invasive procedures at a MedSpas, I really like it and see definite improvement in my skin. For a great explanation of NUFACE, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ge7W58Mu2A, a video by Angie at her Channel, “Hot and Flashy.” She is a veritable fount of knowledge.
Now, there are two serums that are under $100, that I can’t say enough about. The first I got at my dermatologist’s office, for $87. It’s called: HQRA+, by brand MD skin care. It reports to “decrease the overproduction of melanin and diminishes fine lines and wrinkles.” While I had been using a blend from the mail order service Curology at night on my skin, this worked dramatically better. I saw significant improvements very quickly. I did see improvements with Curology, just not so dramatic. For those of you who don’t know Urology, it is a mail order service, where you send photos of yourself to a Nurse Practitioner, who sends you a prescription blend made just for you, at a cost of about about $40/month.) My blend had Tretinoin (0.035%), Vitamin C (5%) and Niacinamide (4%). The HQRA+ has Tretinoin 0.1% and Hydroquinone 7%. While the Curology service is a neat, easy way to get skincare, without going to a dermatologist, reasonable priced, HQRA+ to me was a game changer. HQRA+ is only available through a medical provider, however, you can buy other products in this line at www.brandmdskincare.com. I look forward to ordering some of these products, once I get finished with my storehouse of scrubs/washes/toners I use regularly.
The second serum I recently discovered was at the Clinique counter. I went there to take advantage of their “Gift with Purchase,” a while back. I had remembered how much I use to love the “7 Day Scrub,” when I was in my 20’s and wanted to see if it still worked well for me (it does!), when I fell upon their anti-aging skin care line. I was impressed to see how much the Clinique brand had advanced. (I remember back in the day buying those big bars of complexion soap and toner kits, when oily skin was a problem. Oh to have that problem again!) Anyway, they sell a product called: “Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum.” See: https://www.sephora.com/product/clinique-smart-custom-repair-serum. (The smaller 1 oz bottle sells for $59.50, the 1.7 oz for $89.00 and the 3.4 oz for $154.00.) I bought the small bottle to see if it works. I will definitely buy the bigger size next time!
Finally, living in Hawaii, and being a busy Mom, means that I’m always on the run in the sun, and don’t always have the time to carefully put my makeup on in the morning, But, I never forget my sun protection, which I literally keep all over the house, car, purse, etc…, so there is no excuse! I got into a discussion with one of the ladies at the Shisheido counter at Macy’s (Queen Kaahumanu Mall). She told me about a product that all the outrigger canoe paddlers use. Well that was reason enough for me to buy. It is definitely my favorite new product! I keep it in my purse and I can put it on in traffic without a mirror and just my fingers. It seamlessly integrates into my skin, doesn’t smell bad, isn’t greasy or drying and stays on all day and comes in four shades. If you haven’t tried this yet, it is a must for skin protection and a “quickie red light makeup routine” that won’t get you ticketed. It would not be an exaggeration to say I am in love with this product!