To really save some serious money on skin-care, you must check out Paula Begoun’s book The Beauty Bible. She may also save your skin. She explains how sometimes the products we use can be the cause of our skin problems, and how to correct this. This new book was available at my local library. I learned from her how to best care for my skin while using fewer and less expensive products. She also describes and evaluates many skin care and make-up products in her book Don’t Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me. Nobody does skin-care better than Paula, so I am not going to go very much into this area.While I feel make-up product evaluations (except when analyzing ingredients) can be very subjective and a matter of taste, her skin-care product evaluations are based on objective scientific analysis of ingredients. She describes what various ingredients are, their purpose, what they can and can’t do, and which can be skin irritants. See the bookstore to order.
She also has her own line of skin care products you can buy mail order called Paula’s Choice. She decided to take her knowledge and provide women with another reasonably priced option. Her products do not contain skin irritants, fragrances, or coloring agents. You may want to take a look at this line, especially if you have sensitive skin. I have not tried any of her products because they are a little more expensive than drugstore products, and you also have to pay for shipping. However, one of my viewers, Ivonne, has been using several of her products and highly recommends them. She says the cleanser works great, even on eye make-up, and that you only need to use an amount the size of a pea for your whole face. One product that sounds especially promising is the Non-Greasy sunscreen for oily skin. It is very difficult to find a sunscreen for oily skin with good UVA protection. Ivonne says the sunscreens aren’t greasy or sticky and that the one for oily skin is even a bit drying. See my links page for her website.
Here’s my position on skin-care products: I am not a believer in using any department store skin care products. I feel is unnecessary, very expensive, and there are more products that can harm your skin than in the drugstores. The only exception I can see is if you found a particular department store AHA product that worked really well with your skin, although there are many good ones that cost less. Right now is an especially good time to avoid department store and boutique skin care products because the current fad is to put plant extracts in everything. Even if you are not allergic or sensitive to most plants like I am, many of these ingredients can be skin irritants and nevertheless, affect your skin. The best and safest products are the ones with the most simple, boring, basic cosmetic chemical ingredients, and fragrance-free with no coloring agents.
Eye creams. Please don’t waste your money on these! They are just moisturizers and can’t do any “lifting” or “firming” or eliminate wrinkles. Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline) is an excellent moisturizer for the eye area at nighttime and it is really cheap. It is a major ingredient in many eye (and face) creams.You probably already have some in your medicine cabinet. If petroleum jelly is too sticky for your taste, you can try Albolene instead. You can also use any face moisturizer. Some women have an aversion to using petroleum products (petroleum jelly, mineral oil) because they don’t consider them “natural.” Petroleum products are some of the most benign skin care ingredients in existence, and are much less likely to cause reactions than products containing plants. Petroleum comes out of the ground from dead dinosaurs. What could be more natural and organic than that?
In the daytime, you should be using sunscreen in your eye area anyway, as well as the rest of your face, your neck and any other exposed areas, or wearing a foundation with sunscreen. How many eye creams have you seen that contain sunscreen? Yet, sunscreen is the only thing that will prevent wrinkles. The FDA says that we also need to apply sunscreen to our eye area and eyelids and that sunglasses protect the eyes, but not the skin around the eyes. If you have very sensitive skin around your eyes, I have had good luck with Eucerin Dry Skin Therapy Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 25. You can also try Purpose Dual Treatment Moisturizer with SPF 15. Just keep trying different ones until you find one you can use. Generally, titanium dioxide is considered the least likely to cause irritation or reactions among sunscreen ingredients, but you never know what your skin will be sensitive to.
Important Information About Shopping for Sunscreens. This is one of the most important things I learned from Paula Begoun’s books. I hope she doesn’t mind me paraphrasing her here, because it is so important to spread this information. In order for any sunscreen to truly protect you from both UVB rays (cause sunburn) and UVA rays (cause skin cancer and wrinkles), a sunscreen must contain either titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or avobenzone. If one of those ingredients is not listed on the label, don’t buy it. Be very careful, because the labeling on the packages can be deceiving. A sunscreen can legally say on the package that it provides broadspectrum UVA/UVB protection, but in reality provide you very little UVA protection. You must check the ingredients list for either titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or avobenzone. Those are the only ingredients that can give you decent protection against both UVA & UVB – no matter what claims are on the label. Remember to also check for these ingredients on the labels of any make-up products, foundations or day creams containing sunscreens. Also, price has nothing to do with effectiveness. Paula recommends not spending a lot on sunscreen, since you are less likely to use an expensive sunscreen as liberally as necessary to give you adequate protection. When they test for SPF, they use 1oz. of sunscreen to cover an adult’s body. That is 1/4 of a typical 4oz. bottle. In addition to checking the ingredients list, don’t forget to pick a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, and get a waterproof formula if you will be swimming or exercising.
Cost of eye creams and moisturizers.If you compare these products based on the cost per ounce and per pound, you will be astonished. Clinique makes an eye cream that sells for $25 for .5oz. I am using Clinique as an example because it is a very popular line for skin care, and it is not one of the most expensive. I have been using Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream (which, like any moisturizer can also be used as an eye cream) from Drug Emporium for around $8 for 16oz. The Clinique eye cream is $50 per ounce, and the Cetaphil is 50 Cents per ounce. It would cost you $800 for 16oz.of the Clinique cream! Would you ever pay $800 for a jar of cream? But that is what you are doing when you purchase the .5oz. jar of cream for $25. But you say that it lasts a long time because you use so little. You would apply the same amount of the Cetaphil cream, and that 16oz. jar will last you a heck of a lot longer. Like a year or two longer. Let’s now look at Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizer. This is Clinique’s basic moisturizer that they recommend for most skin types. It sells for $19.50 for 4oz. That is $4.88 per ounce. A 16oz. bottle would cost $78, as opposed to $8 for the Cetaphil. Not as expensive as the eye cream, but still more than most of us would feel comfortable spending. The tiny sizes fool us into thinking it isn’t that expensive. When I tested Clinique’s Dramatically Different Moisturizer, I found that it was not emollient enough for my dry skin in the wintertime. I could get the same effect from using a regular body/hand lotion on my face (which you can do by the way, if you want a lightweight lotion moisturizer). Another thing to think about is that for all the expense, neither of these Clinique products contain a sunscreen which makes them utterly useless for daytime.
If you wish to use a special wipe-off eye make-up remover. Don’t bother buying one unless you want one of these non-oily removers to change your make-up away from home. Otherwise, baby oil or petroleum jelly work very well and are really cheap, especially if you buy the generic brands. You can also try using your regular nighttime moisturizer (Don’t use anything with a sunscreen to remove eye make-up), but it probably won’t work as well for removing mascara. Moistuizer also works well for removing makeup from the rest of your face and is a less greasy alternative to cold cream. Another cheap option is to use baby shampoo diluted with water. This is what my Ophthalmologist recommends. This is the best for removing eye make-up. It removes it all quickly and easily (even heavy eye make-up and waterproof mascara), without any oily residue. Dilute it 1 part baby shampoo to 5 parts water.
Generic Brands. These can be real money-savers. Drug Emporium has a line of skin-care knock offs. The ingredients are the same as the national brands they are copying, and they tell you right on the label which brand to compare it to. I use the Cetaphil skin cleanser copy, the fragrance-free copy of Lubriderm, and the copy of Eucerin’s heavy cream. They also have their own cold cream. These products are priced at generally less than half the price of the national brands, and they often come in larger containers. Drug Emporium also has their own generics of many other supplies such as baby oil, petroleum jelly, hydrogen peroxide, cotton swabs, baby powder, baby shampoo, and much more. I love this store. They have a large selection and very low prices. They are in about half the states in the U.S. Check out their web site on my Links page for the location nearest you. I can’t wait to get a Wal-Mart in my area!
One of my viewers, Kimberly, has brought to my attention that Long’s Drugs, Rite-Aid, and Save-on all sell a generic Cetaphil. They are more expensive than Drug Emporium’s, but if you don’t have a Drug Emporium in your area, they are still cheaper than buying Cetaphil in these stores. Rite Aid is the cheapest, but keep an eye out for Long’s half-off coupons.
Penny-pinching with baby oil. If you use baby oil to moisturize your skin in the shower, try diluting it with water in a bottle. Shake the bottle vigorously to mix it well before you use it. Not only will it last longer, but it will go on lighter and less greasy.
To exfoliate dry, flaky lips. Make a paste with Cetaphil cleanser and baking soda and rub it on your lips. You can also use petroleum jelly and a toothbrush.
The cost of my personal skin care routine. In the June 1998 issue of Allure, there is an article called “Doctors’ Orders.” They sent three dermatologists shopping for a comprehensive skin care regimen with three different budgets: $25, $75, & $250. I wanted to see if my complete skin care routine was $25 or less and how the products compared. I have a problem with some of this dermatologist’s choices. While she wisely chose Cetaphil cleaner (as they all did), I require that my products containing sunscreens have adequate UVA protection, and that everything be fragrance-free. Her lip balm and moisturizer don’t meet this criteria. She chose a moisturizer containing both sunscreen and BHA to meet her budget, but I would never use a moisturizer with sunscreen at night, and my sensitive skin can’t handle exfoliation more than once or twice a week (Paula Begoun also says that it is a bad idea to combine AHA’s or BHA’s with sunscreen in the same product). This dermatologist also bought a special eye cream which is completely unnecessary. Here are the products I use on my face. One dermatologist also bought sunblock for the body, which is very important (I like Shade UVA Guard and Johnson’s baby lotion with daily UV protection $4 for 4oz.), but she seemed to be deviating from the spirit of this particular quest.
|Drug Emporium Skin Cleanser – A copy of Cetaphil Cleanser.||$4.00|
|3% Hydrogen Peroxide – As a toner on my T-zone to prevent breakouts. (Keep away from hairline and eyebrows)||0.50|
|Cetaphil Moisturizer – For a nightcream.||8.00|
|Baking Soda - Mixed with a little of my skin cleanser as gentle exfoliating scrub.||0.75|
|Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline) – For removing the last traces of eye make up, and as a nighttime eye cream and lip balm.||2.00|
|Purpose Dual Treatment Moisturizer with SPF 15 – Daytime moisturizer.||8.00|
|Eucerin Dry Skin Therapy Facial Moisturizing Lotion SPF 25 - I use this on my eye area in the daytime, because everything else stings. I prefer the consistency of the Purpose on the rest of my face, so I use them both.||7.00|
|Sportz Bloc - I use this Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide block on my lips and nose when I exercise outdoors. I have found no lip balms with adequate UVA protection.||5.00|
Well, I came in over the goal, but mine is a much better regimen. Also, if you figure in that the sunscreens last me twice as long because I buy two bottles, the total is more like $28.00. I feel it is very important to watch our costs on most skin care products, because we must spend on sunscreens. It is unfortunate that moisturizers with sunscreens are so much more expensive than those without. Before I knew that I should be wearing sunscreen everyday, I used to get a 16oz. jar of a lightweight moisturizing cream for $4.00. These $7 & $8 bottles of moisturizer with sunscreen are only 4oz. each. Even my $8 Cetaphil cream comes in a 16oz. jar. And these are the cheapest I could find with adequate UVA protection.
I learned about Cetaphil, and the Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide tricks from Paula Begoun. My routine is tailored for my sensitive dry skin and normal T-zone that’s prone to occasional blemishes. She has other advice for different skin types. For example, she recommends using plain, Milk of Magnesia as an oil-absorbing facial mask for oily skin. Get her book The Beauty Bible or check it out from the library.