Beauty on a Budget

The other day I was turning down the bed when I took a glance in the mirror and my brain froze.


I have a Gordon Ramsey wrinkle.

Oh, HELL NAW!! I will embrace my gray, I will enjoy making laugh lines, and I won’t mind the crow’s feet (much). But I refuse —REFUSE!!— to have a single wrinkle like that. IT’S NOT SYMMETRICAL, FOR GOODNESS’ SAKE!!! If I had two wrinkles mirroring each other…..well, ok, I would still be upset but in an “I-am-the-cryptkeeper” kind of way, and eventually would accept it and turn it into part of my Halloween ensemble. But a single, solitary crater by my chin??

No, just no.

So, I did what any level-headed woman would do: I cried and yelled at the wrinkle and then decided to be all sciencey and test out some beauty products. It was either that, or eat two quarts of Baskin Robbins’ World Class Chocolate. And I can’t do that because I gave up everything joyful for Lent, so beauty products it is.

First: skin upkeep doesn’t have to be expensive. I tried several expensive products which compared favorably, and in some cases were not as good as inexpensive drugstore brands. Second: your face wash can be a different brand from your moisturizer, but the moisturizer must be compatible with your foundation. That makes a big difference. So if you have a preference for a matte foundation, use a moisturizer that is oil-free. If you prefer the dewy look, use a moisturizer for drier skin. Otherwise your foundation will look like spackle. Third: some products are better used during certain seasons. It’s standard to need something more moisture-rich in the winter than in the summer. Fourth: what works for me may not work for you, thus test and trial! So think of this post as a guideline, not a hard fast rule. Anyway, on to fighting aging like two women over the last pair of stilettos at DSW!!


I tried several eye creams, some with hyaluronic acid, and some with retinol. I found the retinol-based creams to be thicker and a bit heavier than I prefer. The hyaluronic (I love that word) acid-based ones are gels. Of the two I tested, Olay Eyes Deep Hydrating Gel just edged out Neutrogena Hydro Boost HA Gel Eye Cream, but barely. They both hydrated the under eye area well, but the consistency of the Olay gel was better, IMO. It helped minimize lines and made my eyes look less tired. For winter I like using R+F Redefine Multi-Function Eye Cream. It’s a bit pricey, but that little jar lasts a loooooong time.


Oh, this was fun. And by *fun*, I mean aggravating. This is one area I literally bought the hype. Living in Texas, dry lips is something that comes with the territory. I tried three different lip conditioning treatments. On the losing side, Estee Lauder Lip Conditioner was a big disappointment. It goes on very smooth, but has almost no staying power. I wore it under lipstick, and the lipstick didn’t last as long as without it. I wore it overnight, and it didn’t keep my lips moisturized. The winner was R+F Redefine Lip Renewing serum. The 60-capsule jar is on the higher price range, but each capsule has enough serum for three applications. I wore it overnight and my lips were full and smooth upon waking. And under lipstick, it worked well. In a close second, Neutrogena Hydro Boost Lip Treatment was very smooth and worked well as an overnight treatment and bonus: VERY affordable.


I swear, I had more jars of face cream than could fit on my counter top. I was fanatical. This wrinkle has to go. So I tried three “winter” and three “summer” facial moisturizers.

I did say “fanatical”.

First, the winter editions. The first one to try was Olay Luminous. This is a lighter-than-average face cream. Not only does it feel smooth, but it hydrates very well with a minimal, pleasant scent. It also plays well with my liquid foundation. The next one I tried was  Clinique Repairwear Sculpting Night Cream, and I was rather disappointed. It didn’t target the wrinkles much. The third one I absolutely love, L’Occitane’s Immortelle Divine. By far the most expensive of all I tested (thank goodness for the small sample jar in the gift with purchase), it also performed extremely well. My lines were minimized and the scent was so nice, it helped to relax me as I fell asleep. In all, the best one in this case was the most expensive, but the least expensive was a very close second.

Now, the summer editions. These are more light and refreshing. The first one I tried was Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream by Fresh. It was….ok. I wanted to like it because ROSES, but it was meh. And I ended up breaking out a bit, as well. The second one I tried was Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturizer. This gel is very light and feels like water on the skin, leaving it very hydrated. No break-outs at all, and the lines looked minimized. Also, it plays well with liquid foundation. The last one I tried was Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench. Also, thank goodness for travel sizes because this one is also pricey. Even so, it performed well when used alone. I found I had to apply another moisturizer before using foundation, otherwise the foundation would become cakey. So in this round, the least expensive was the best performer.

Ooof, that’s a lot of writing for a simple blog. I hope y’all found this bloviating useful. One thing I have learned is that my *like* of a beauty regimen changes with time, because your skin changes along with it. In any case, this wrinkle must be eradicated with extreme prejudice, and you can bet a jar of Pond’s Cold Cream I will win. 😀

About LC Aggie Sith

Machete-wielding zombie killer when not shopping for shoes. View all posts by LC Aggie Sith

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