06 Jan BEAUTY ON A BUDGET
BEAUTY ON A BUDGET
Ever wonder why the rich and famous always look so fabulous? I know I do! I mean, how do they roll out of bed with that perfect, fresh-faced girl-next-door look? Maybe, as the Maybelline commercials tell us, “maybe they are just born with it?” Maybe it all comes naturally to them. Maybe…
Nope. Not a chance in hell. (Especially if they are over the age of 45!) So, does that make them just like the rest of us? Again… not a chance in hell! You wanna know the difference between the rich and famous and the rest of the world? They are RICH and they are FAMOUS. (Hello?) Not only do they have the kind of money required to buy top-of-the-line beauty products and afford the latest cutting-edge procedures, they can also afford to hire expensive experts to tell them exactly where they should be spending their wads of cash in order to look their best. And spend they do.
As for all of you who do not fall into the category of rich and famous? Sorry folks, you’ve just got me: your self-proclaimed, beauty-blogging, guinea pig. Like you, I know the struggles of the wrinkle-obsessed, frugal woman. Remember, I was the 15-year-old girl who saved money from her minimum wage job at a bakery so that she could buy her first jar of wrinkle cream. I knew from my childhood growing up in the central valley of California that it was almonds, not money, that grew on trees!
But I also became familiar with what it takes to grow those almonds – fertilizer. So I can smell bullshi*t a mile away. And one thing that is NOT lacking in the beauty and age-reversal products found on shelves around the world is lots of that!
You see, there are tens of thousands of beauty products out there and billions of dollars that go into advertising. Television, magazine, billboard and internet ads fill our heads with empty promises, while simultaneously emptying our wallets. It’s all pretty overwhelming and absolutely frustrating! The thing is, unless you are a scientist in a lab, researching the ingredients of these products, or an experienced dermatologist (although, these days, most of them are plugging their own skincare lines alongside one of those “rich and famous” types), or a celebrity with a team of doctors and aestheticians on speed-dial, it’s really difficult to know which products you truly need. And don’t we all want to get the most bang for our buck?
So, let’s cut through the bullsh*t of empty promises and fancy packaging, and talk about the bare minimums you need to take care of your skin with affordable products that actually work. Because there are skin care products that work just as well (if not better) than their pricier, and fancier-packaged, competitors.
So here is your guide to anti-aging skincare on a budget.
You need to cleanse morning and night (with a gentle face wash), protect during the day (with antioxidant serum and broad spectrum sunscreen) and exfoliate at night (with a retinoid product, or prescription-strength Retin-A). Seems simple, right? And it is. But while the rich and famous may spend upwards of $1000 on the products they deem necessary to do this, today, I’m going to give you my list of favorites that work just as well (if not better) than the expensive brands.
1. Facial wash: I’ve never understood why someone would pay $100 for a face-wash. This is something that you wash OFF of your face! You do not need an anti-aging face wash. That is money, quite literally, spiraling down the drain. All you need is a basic face wash that cleanses your face without over-drying or leaving a film on your face. Because you want to start each morning or evening routine with a clean slate, giving your products the chance to have maximum absorption. For face wash, I like PHisoderm for normal to dry skin. They also make an anti-blemish formula, as well as one for sensitive skin. It leaves my skin clean and PH balanced. And it costs less than $5. I also like CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser $8. Like I said, that other stuff? Money down the drain.
2. Antioxidants: After washing your face in the morning, apply an antioxidant serum containing Vitamin C. Skin Ceuticals 20% C-E-Ferulic Acid is excellent, but it does cost $162.00 for 1 ounce! Ouch! Now that one ounce will get you through a few months, and it’s a fantastic product, but not everyone can afford this. TIME-LESS makes virtually the same product- 20% CE-Feurlic Acid serum, and their 1 ounce goes for $24.95. That’s a savings of $137.00, folks. (Hooray!)
Remember, serums are almost watery, so they are the first thing applied to clean, dry skin.
3. Sunscreen: If you do nothing else each day, you need to protect your skin from the sun. I know this is not as exciting as the latest anti-aging magic potion, but it’s the number one, most important weapon in the war against aging. No matter how much you spend on miracles in a jar, if you don’t protect your face from the sun, you are wasting your money. As for the “bullsh*t,” you don’t need to buy some designer sunscreen from Paris or Amsterdam, folks. You just need a basic, broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 25 or higher. I like Neutrogena Pure & Free Liquid Broad Spectrum SPF 50 ($12.49). If you have dry skin that also requires a moisturizer, I suggest opting for a moisturizing sunscreen, instead of adding yet another product which you’d need to purchase separately. I like CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM. It contains ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid that work to draw in moisture, and it contains SPF 30. It strengthens and “plumps” the skin, yet it still feels light. And at $13.00, it’s a steal. Let me just remind you one more time, before we go into the night-time regimen and products: sunscreen is a must, 365 days a year, rain or shine. This step is non-negotiable. Sun damage is the number 1 cause of aging skin. Furthermore, an important part of the night-time ritual involves exfoliants, such as retinoids, which help to bring the fresher, newer skin to the surface. But just as a newborn baby is more susceptible to sun damage, so too is your new “baby” skin, after using an exfoliant.
Which brings me to the next point. Night-time ritual. After you cleanse, with that basic, affordable face wash, giving you the blank slate…. Two basic steps await you:
4. Exfoliate: This is an extremely important step in the fight against aging. We need to keep our cells behaving in the way they did when we were younger. To do that, we need to continually be removing the older, outer layers of our skin. This stimulates collagen, resurfaces the outer layer of the skin, and leads to a more youthful overall complexion. I’ve long been preaching about prescription-strength trentenoin (Retin-A), and for $50-$85 (depending upon where you get it), it’s a real bargain because a little bit goes a very long way. I spend well under $200 a year (that’s right, a year!) on Retin-A. However, this does require a trip to your dermatologist. There are over-the-counter retinoid products that are even more of a bargain, while still packing a powerful punch. RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream $17.99 is my favorite. This is a serious bargain that actually works! SkinMedica brand Retinol Complex 1.0, for example, a much higher-end retinol cream, costs $90 for the same, 1 ounce size.
5. Moisturize: If your skin is dry, you may need to layer a moisturizer on top of the retinol product at night. I like CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM $13. Another favorite is Olay Regenerist Night Recovery Cream $20. Olay has been around forever. I’m sure many of our mothers and grandmothers used this brand. And there is a reason for that. With a peptide-B3 complex, niacinamide, and powerful antioxidants like vitamin E and green-tea extract, this stuff really works! However, if you don’t want to buy 2 different products for your nighttime routine (we are on a budget, after all), why not switch to a retinol product that is also ultra-moisturizing? I like Resist Intensive Repair Cream by Paula’s Choice $30. This ultra-rich, moisturizing night cream with retinol restores moisture to even the driest skin, while repairing signs of aging. If you choose this option, you wouldn’t need the extra moisturizer on top. Personally, I rarely use a moisturizer. Over moisturizing makes your skin cells lazy. If you really want to increase cell turnover and have your skin begin to produce its own moisture from within, then you need to dry out the outer layers of your skin. It seems counter-intuitive, I know. Click HERE to watch my interview with world-renowned dermatologist, Dr. Zein Obagi on this topic.
Now most people would assume the last step would be an eye cream. However, you do not NEED a special eye-cream. I repeat… You do not need to purchase a special cream for your eyes. You can use the exact same treatments and moisturizer for the area around your eyes as you do for the rest of your face. Anyone who tells you that you NEED a special moisturizer and different products for the delicate eye-area is trying to get you to spend more money. Don’t fall for it. We are on a budget here, people. Does that mean I don’t splurge and buy those eye-creams that I know scientifically are no better than the products I’m using for the rest of my face? No! Of course I buy them! (I’m the bakery employee who, at 15, bought her first eye cream instead of saving up for a car, remember?) But when money has been tight, the eye cream is the first product to go.
So, if we add up the cost of all these products I’ve listed above, then the “Beauty on a Budget” grand total is around $75-$85 – for a supply which should last you a few months. That is a far cry from what the rich and famous pay for very similar products. The inflated price tags and fancy packaging are not going to help you with your wrinkles. But with savings like these, you, too, can roll out of bed looking fresh-faced and fabulous, with enough money left over to buy that eye cream that you really don’t need.