Made Up in Boston

"A man's face is his autobiography. A woman's face is her work of fiction." -Oscar Wilde

Friday, May 20, 2011


Like many, I've had problems with my skin for as long as I can remember. Redness, bumps, flakiness; I've seen it all. I've had my fair share of dermatological consultations in my time. I've even resorted to medication.  I've worn foundation masks that would make a porn star jealous. And as I've grown older, the bumps has slowly started to ease into fine lines, which of course presents a whole new set of problems.

All of those women you see on the street with perfect, clear, and glowing skin? Freaks of nature. All of them ;P

Ok, so that might be an unfair statement. Some people are just genetically blessed with smooth skin. As I am not one of those chosen few, I have to work to keep my skin looking healthy and young. 

The following are a short sampling of the products I use routinely to prep and pamper the skin on my face.

Face wash:

Trader Joe's Spa Gentle Facial Cleanser: a newer addition to my routine, this liquid cleanser gently removes dirt and makeup without drying skin. It's loaded with vitamins C and E, as well as orange extract. It leaves my skin feeling refreshed and airy, so you know your pores are open and breathing! It also smells like Ricola cough drops taste. Very citrusy!

I've been using this product for about two weeks now, and I haven't noticed any adverse reactions to the formula. Naturally if this changes, so will this review.

Aveeno Skin Brightening Daily Scrub: first of all, let me state the obvious: this is not really a daily scrub. You should never exfoliate your skin every day. Daily exfoliation leaves your skin prone to irritation, and even infection. In my opinion, exfoliation is a two to three times a week process. 

That said, I swear by exfoliation. Sloughing off dead skin and grime is a must for healthy looking, bright skin. This product has tons of little micro beads, which you can really feel when you're using it. I've found this is a great product for ridding myself of those annoying dry skin flakes and annoying blackheads. This Aveeno product can always be found in my shower!

Olay Refreshing Toner with Witch Hazel: There is a right way to use toner, and surprisingly I have found most people are not familiar with it.

Toners are meant to balance one's facial PH levels and to remove residual dirts and oils. They are formulated to address individual skin concerns, so when choosing a toner, be sure to pick one that is suitable to your needs.

The very simple toner process:
1. When using a toner, it's important to have clean skin, so start with a recently washed, dry face. 
2. Use a cotton ball or pad to apply the toner.
3. Blot the toner across your T-Zone (forehead, bridge of the nose, chin). NEVER rub toner into your skin as this could cause irritation.
4. Allow the toner to dry completely before moisturizing.

This particular toner works wonders for me. The witch hazel is cooling and tingly, but it can leave my skin feeling a little dry, especially in the winter, so I always make sure I hydrate my skin immediately afterwards.

Masks and Facials:
Dead Sea Premier Lifting Mask: I've read lots of varying reviews on this product. Some people love it, and some people hate it. I'd always avoided it because it makes me think of those annoying mall kiosks, where it's marketed poorly and priced at a ridiculous amount. For the high price, you expect it to work miracles. Fortunately, the husband picked this up for me in Israel, so U.S. price points don't matter here and I feel perfectly fine in stating that this product, while OK, is definitely not worth the price.

I only use this product when my skin feels really dry. It definitely does not "lift and revitalize" like it claims to, but it does help a bit with dry skin. It is an oil-based cream that once applied to the face, draws out your skin's natural oils. It's kept my skin relatively hydrated in the winter, but this product should be avoided in the summer, as it can leave your skin feeling a bit greasy afterwards. 

One should also avoid this product if you plan on applying your makeup immediately afterwards. It will cause it to slide right down your face unless it is entirely absorbed into your skin.

Hot, no?

I'm not certain I'd recommend this product to anyone else.

Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleaner and Mask: for the longest time I avoided Neutrogena products. A dermatologist had told me how damaging the acids and chemicals could be on skin, and so I tossed all my Neutrogena products and never looked back.

Cut to five years later and the endless complaints about how clear Neutrogena had left my skin and how nothing else even came close. Finally, after an epic battle with some stubborn cystic acne,  I said, 'screw it!" and picked this mask up.

Genius. Perfection. A Godsend in a plastic bottle.

My skin cleared right up and I haven't had any serious issues since I started using this. As it does have some slight exfoliant in it, it works wonderfully as a facial scrub. You can also apply it as a mask or spot treatment, washing it off after several minutes. It literally clears pimples up overnight (though I wouldn't recommend wearing it overnight as I found it tends to bleach pillowcases. Oops).

Be sure to moisturize with this baby. It's very drying, but such is the price one pays for no pimples.

As a facial scrub

As a drying mask


God old Cetaphil. There is a reason why this product is consistently ranked as one of the better, low-cost moisturizers. It works really well, and you only need a little to tide your skin over throughout the day. It's definitely a heavier moisturizer but I haven't had any issues in using this daily yet *knocks on wood*.

Dead Sea Premier Moisture Cream Complex: Again, something my husband got for me in Israel, and significantly cheaper there than here in the U.S.

This is a water-based moisturizer so it absorbs quickly into skin. Unfortunately, it can also leave a immediate, thin residue on the skin, which, for a texture person like me, can feel greasy and slimey. However, most of the time this residue wears off within minutes and skin is left feeling soft and silk.

The packaging comes with a small pumice like tablet of soap. It doesn't lather, but you can feel a gentle smoothing of your skin while you're using it. 

Not a bad product, but certainly not worth the U.S. price. If you're lucky enough to travel to Israel, I'd recommend picking it up, since apparently the cost there is equivalent to any drugstore brand here.

For a side by side comparison of the two moisturizers:
Cetaphil (top) vs. Dead Sea Premier (bottom)

Any recommendations or must-have products you want to tell me about? I'm always on the lookout for skincare products!


  1. My skin is so finicky. I went off prescription medication (for acne) last December and slowly but surely my skin got worse. So I'm back on it - I don't care... when your skin is smooth, you just glow. The rest of my products (face wash, moisturizer, toner) I keep changing up. Sounds like you found some great products that work for you!

  2. I have terrible skin as well -- not fair for a 25 year old! My tricks are using just a few products, not over cleaning, and always using moisturizer, no matter how oily I think my skin is!

  3. Moisturizer and water are the two biggest secret ingredients to healthy looking skin. They will always do the trick in a pinch :)

    Elina - you're so right! Have you been able to find a natural product yet that helps keep your skin in line?

    Sophiegoose - may I ask what products you use? Do you find a stricter regime with less products helps keep you clear?

  4. I miss the days when I didn't have to do a thing to take care of my skin. I started using aveeno and neutrogena products because the dermatologists I worked for always recommended them. Here's to hoping they'll fix constant dry skin.