On caring for your skin (and a memory of our aunts)

We must confess:  When it comes to almost anything, we’re a maximalist, believing with 1930s movie bombshell Mae West that “too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” But lately we’ve been hearing that when it comes to skincare, too much of a good thing can be, well, confusing for the skin.

The new thinking? Less is definitely more. (Indeed, we have an aunt with excellent skin – which is true of virtually all the women in our family – who has never used anything but water and Bio-Oil on her face.)

We’re not willing to go that far but we have been thinking about paring down of late — a facial cleanser, a serum, a moisturizer and a sunscreen in the a.m. and a makeup remover, cleanser, toner and a night cream in the p.m. Oh, and a once a week facial mask. Did we mention eye gel and cream? (We told you we’re a maximalist.)

Now you’re going to ask, What products do we use? Given that one of the joys of this job is sampling many products, we’re going to stress that the following is what works for our mature skin. First, a few general observations:  If you’re looking for great products and money is no object, go with Biologique Recherche, La Mer, Sisley Paris and Valmont. You’ll be glowing.

If money is not a priority but you’re not quite in that stratosphere, check out Clarins and Lancome. However, remember that Lancome is owned by L’Oréal Paris, and that brings us to the nub of what we want to say:  If you are budget-minded and want a lot of bang for your buck, you can’t go wrong with L’Oréal and Olay Regenerist in your local CVS, Rite Aid, etc. (Indeed, we had another aunt – we’ve been graced with a lot of aunts – who swore by Oil of Olay back in the day when it was just a moisturizer in a pink bottle and sold for $10. Aunt Millie was a pacesetter.)

So now, ’fess up time:  What do we use? First, we love and have used L’Oréal Age Perfect Daily Cleanser, Olay Regenerist Regenerating Cream Cleanser and Lancome’s Crème Mousse Confort Creamy Foaming Cleanser over the years as a morning facial wash. For a serum, we found nothing that beats Clarins’ Double Serum,  the No. 1 selling face serum worldwide. It’s an instant facelift in a bottle, just as its Eye Contour Gel is great for our dark circles and under-eye bags. On a budget, go with Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Serum.

And while we’re at it, there’s a reason Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream has defeated more expensive rivals in a Good Housekeeping Institute survey. It’s been a go-to for us, along with L’Oréal Paris Age Perfect Day Cream. (Although for guilty pleasures we love Lancome’s High Résolution Refill-3X day and night creams, better actually for younger skin, for the same reason we love Valmont’s L’Elixir des Glaciers line:  They’re luscious and smell divine.)

For makeup removal, we’ve never found anything that tops Ponds Cold Cream. (Yes, we’re that old-fashioned, but remember that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis used to swathe herself in this stuff before going out. So if it was good enough for Jackie, it’s good enough for us. And anyway, Ponds has lots of new products for the Gen Z crowd.) You can teach us a new trick, however, and we also use Trish McEvoy Face and Eye Longwear Makeup Remover Cleansing Water for stubborn mascara – although our sister Gina swears by Lancome’s Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover, which also comes in a facial version.

For toner, we’re loyal to Lancome’s Tonique Confort Hydrating Facial Toner. It’s pink, it’s velvety and it truly is a comfort.

Finally, for sunscreen, we wear Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Face Sunscreen or Neutrogena Age Shield Face Oil-Free Sunscreen, the higher the SPF the better but never less than 70. And we use the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen Lotion for the body, with an SPF of at least 100.

Do you need all these products? Of course not. Try a few, don’t be afraid to ask for samples or look for travel sizes. Test them on your hand first.

As for makeup and fragrance, well, those will have to be other conversations.

Georgette Gouveia

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