Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Ultimate Luxury: Affordable, Drugstore Skin Care Products

When I think of luxury, I am reminded of what the brilliant photographer Annie Leibovitz once told a reporter. While other famous people were revealing that their idea of luxury might be getting a facial at a fancy spa by a celebrity esthetician, or eating a pint of ice cream with no remorse, or curling up in a cashmere blanket, Leibovitz responded by saying, simply, “Living alone.”

annie-liebovitz.jpg

To her, freedom and privacy are the ultimate luxury. We all have our own idea of what luxury is. For me, luxury is feeling pampered without spending a fortune. It’s impossible for me to relax nowadays on an esthetician’s bed, despite an orgasmic facial massage, when I’m just pondering the impending price tag. But that’s just me.

As a quick aside, I have my esthetician’s license, and I will be the first to say that a great esthetician can do wonders for skin that does not have a lot of problems. For truly troubled skin, seek the care of a qualified dermatologist.

But as I was saying, I love a good bargain just as much as anybody else. There’s a time to save, and a time to splurge.

That being said, there are a few great buys to be had in the drugstores. Here are two of my favorite cheap thrills. These products make my skin happy without straining my Gucci wallet.

aveeno-DML.jpgAveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion, at around ten bucks for 18 ounces–yes, 18 ounces–is a staple in my home. I keep one by every sink in the house.

Fragrance-free, penetrates fast, and with the powerful skin protectant dimethicone, it will leave your hands baby soft in seconds, without a greasy residue. Works great on the whole body. ‘Nuff said.

aquaphor.jpgAquaphor ointment is like an offering from the skin gods. You just need a little bit on your lips. Blot it down so it’s not greasy. It really works.

A petrolatum-based balm is packed with age-old therapeutic goodies such as panthenol, glycerin and bisabolol.

Panthenol is a humectant–that is, it binds moisture to the skin–in addition to being a natural moisturizer and emollient. Glycerin is another humectant. It is very healing and improves the smoothness of the skin’s texture. Both of these ingredients are widely used in skincare. Bisabolol, on the other hand, is derived from German chamomile and has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties.

The combination of these quality ingredients, in the particular percentages of Aquaphor’s recipe, render it a necessity for chapped lips and dry cuticles, plus it’s great for cuts, scrapes, burns and a lot of other uncomfortable skin conditions.

These are just a few of my favorite things. It just so happens that they’re also affordable. Now that is luxury.

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