Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Anti-Aging (ha ha)

There was a time when I could say with confidence that my skin and hair were my best features. But I'm 70 now, and it appears I've run out of best features. Hair stylists still compliment my hair (that is, on the rare occasions I drag myself off to have it cut), but there's less of it now, with lots of grey mixed in with the blonde. As for my skin, well . . .

I've been moisturizing since I was 16. In my fifties and even into my sixties, I was rather smug about that. Smart me at 16, creating the foundation for a lifetime of gorgeous skin. Did I say lifetime? Not exactly. Five or ten years ago, when people told me how young I looked, I would joke that I'll probably age all at once, overnight. That's pretty much what happened over the past year.

Besides using moisturizer, at 16 I was baking in the sun, getting the annual burn followed by various shades of tan. We had no idea that the sexy darkening of the skin was actually evidence of skin damage. If we'd known, would we have behaved any differently? Probably not.

So those summers at the beach started to show on my face . . . and kept showing. Smug turned to desperate. I started trying different moisturizers. Added specific night creams. Graduated to serums. Saw no difference whatsoever.

This summer I decided to get a little more scientific about it. Armed with recommendations from friends, plus an extensive article from Good Housekeeping in which a multitude of creams, etc., were evaluated by a panel of women testers, I took my credit card to the Health & Beauty departments of a couple of stores and websites. A couple of months later, here's my report. I'll include a few products I've tried in the recent past.

I don't like the smell of perfume on my face. I guess I'm in the minority, because several popular face creams are decidedly perfumey. Olay Regerist night cream is one of these. I didn't care for it, but many women do, judging from the reviews. Aveeno Positively Radiant night cream surprised me by being heavily perfumed. Somehow I expected it to smell like oatmeal, which would have been acceptable, especially with a little honey. Aveeno's tinted moisturizer in that line is not perfumey, however, and I like it. But I don't wear tinted moisturizer very often.

Walmart's version of Aveeno's Positively Radiant day moisturizer (called Naturally Beaming), is very nice. A gentle scent, great consistency, and costs less than Aveeno. Alba Botanica Natural Hawaiian Refining Aloe & Green Tea smells edible (I like edible) and feels good for rehydrating during the day. But on me it soaks in and disappears too quickly. A friend says just the opposite, but she has Eskimo in her lineage and I don't.

Estee Lauder's Perfectionist Serum makes my skin feel like velvet. But since people are more likely to see my skin rather than touch it, for me it's not worth the price ($50/oz. on Amazon). I was able to afford only tiny sample sizes, which I bought on eBay. I'm actually relieved that the serum didn't work miracles. Reviva Firming Eye Serum didn't seem to do anything for me, but 191 enthusiastic reviewers on had much better experiences, so perhaps I should give it another shot--and be consistent about using it this time.

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair is said to produce visible results in a week or two. Many consumer reviewers agree. I haven't given it a fair test because its heavy dose of Retinol reddens my skin and makes me reluctant to use it every day. But if you want to try it, Amazon's price is much lower than Walmart's.

Avon Anew Advanced Perfecting Creme didn't perfect anything that I noticed, and it left my skin so shiny that every imperfection was magnified. Actually, all day moisturizers containing sunscreen leave skin at least somewhat shiny. To counteract this, I wait till the product is absorbed and then apply Jason C Effects Pure Natural Creme over it. This cream leaves a matte finish and has a nice, light scent. I've been using it for years.

Reviewers in the Good Housekeeping article raved about Aveeno Positively Ageless Skin Strengthening Body Cream. I shouldn't even comment on it because I haven't used it faithfully every day. But I probably should; the tube says it's "for dry, fragile skin . . . restores and strengthens . . . moisturizes for 24 hours." How do they arrive at that 24-hour mark? Anyway, as I said, the women on the panel gave it high marks.

Finally, the star of the show turned out to be Boots No7 Lift & Luminate Night Cream from Target. It, too, got rave reviews by the panel, and this time I can agree. I honestly have noticed that my face looks slightly less scary when I get up in the morning. It's made in England, and pricey by my standards ($22). But I would buy it again. And when my day moisturizers are all used up (2017?) I plan to try the daytime cream in this line.

I did say my face looks slightly less scary. I'm still open to suggestions.