On Beauty…

11 Jul

This morning, as I groggily opened my bathroom cabinet to pull out my facial cleanser, I paused to marvel at the entire ROW of different cleansers and moisturizers and creams that sat in front of me. (All Neutrogena, so I’m consistent that way, aren’t I?) Each one boasting the wondrous things it would do for my face, each one promising, essentially, the same thing. So why do I have an array of different beauty products promising the same thing sitting in my bathroom cabinet, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you, since you asked so nicely:

I happen to be a beauty product collector.

Specifically, I’m a 1) beauty product collector with 2) rabid amnesia and 3) a case of paranoia.

1) I walk through the aisles and a few carefully placed words jump out at me. Non-oily formula. Non-greasy. Light and refreshing. All-in-One. Like a Neutrogena Stepford wife, I obey, grabbing as many of those lovely promises as I can. I want what they can give. And so I buy. To further the problem, 2) I have completely forgetten that I already own half these products already, or items similar to them, and do not actually need any of them. However, 3) what if the formulas in the products I already own are outdated? What if some Neutrogena scientist has discovered a stronger non-oily/non-greasy/light and refreshing/All-in-1 solvent that is far more powerful than the ones I already own, thereby rendering my daily skincare regimen utterly useless, ineffective, and potentially poisonous? Riiiight. It’s clear now, isn’t it? I’m a beauty product collector with rabid amnesia and a case of paranoia.

Blame puberty. Like every other girl on the planet, my growth spurt came bearing gifts: pimples, even bigger pimples, oily skin, and a suspicion that me and this guy might be related. At first, I relied on plain old soap and water (which dried out my skin to no end). Eventually, when I started working and earning all my Benjamins (funny how $6.50 an hour meant something when you were 17 years old), the beauty product collecting began. No more soap and water! Now Salycylic acid!  Nevertheless, despite my current purchasing/amnesia/paranoia problem, things are far more stable and, dare I say it, glowy, when it comes to my skin. I try to regularly cleanse and moisturize, I drink far more water than I did as a teen, I takes care of business.

But enough with all the me, me, me, shall we? Let’s hear from my lovely cousin, J (you know how I feel about government names on the interweb), who, hands down, is a veritable skincare expert. I posed a few questions about her personal skincare regimen/ongoing journey with beauty products.

Ok. You’re an expert when it comes to beauty products. Do you research what items will work for you? If so, where do you get ideas on what to buy?

I’m more of a spontaneous product junkie. If I see an ad for mascara, I buy it and try it out. Because of my unique skintone to the demographic area I live in, I do have to venture out to the high end product line. But even with that, i just buy and try. Usually my ideas come from makeup advertisements, the Maybelline commercials on TV, and sometimes in articles fashion articles where I see models with similar skintones, i look to see who the makeup artist is or the product used, and then go from there.

What’s your daily skincare regimen?

My daily skincare regimen is quite sporadic and probably should be improved. In the shower in the a.m., I wash my face with either a creamy Burts Bees cleanser or a light Boots gel cleanser and finish off with a Boots day moisturizing cream. I’m not as diligent in the evening as I should be. I’ll cleanse with a combination of black soap from Ghana called Chocho and Queen Helene’s Mint Julep Scrub. Then I finish off with a teeny dab of choco creme.
What products do you think are good for African-American ladies who have oily skin? Or dry skin?
I have dry skin and so far the best products for me have been Burts Bees “beeswax” brand (can only find this particular line for skincare at Whole Foods and online) and Boots creams and cleansers for normal/dry skin (can be found at Target).
Are you a collector? Or do you stick to one brand?
I am definitely a collector.
Some ladies say to go the natural route for skincare: drink plenty of water and use the simple basics, like Vaseline or Shea Butter, and avoid the chemicals. Thoughts about that?
I say yay and a teeny nay. Natural is always good, but depending on our imperfect skin, we may need a lil extra help. I say if you do decide to use products that are not 100% natural or raw, at least look at the labels. I try to pick brands that don’t have a lot of chemical ingredients.
Any concluding advice for women who are looking for the right type of skincare maintenance?
It is good to be consistent, but sometimes based on changes with our hormones and environment we may need to change up our routine. Don’t always go for the cheapest and you don’t have to go for the most expensive. Try to find that happy medium in the middle.

Thanks, J! For the good advice, the good tips, and admitting that you, too, are a collector! Incidentally, I will be pursuing some, if not all, of the products you mentioned. Unsurprisingly.


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