The winter has dried out my skin and lips a lot. While at work, I got so desperate for relief, I ended up taking a tube of moisturizer from the supply room at the hospital. Surprisingly, it was hands down one of the most effective moisturizers I’ve ever tried, and I’ve tried a lot. The other night, I wondered out loud to the BF why there weren’t more highly effective beauty products without all the gimmicky marketing features that drive up costs but add no real value. Why aren’t there more products like the ones you can find at the hospital?
Then I read about The Ordinary, a brand that does just that. They focus on active ingredients with no added frills, all at a very affordable price point. I bought a few products that have gentle anti aging properties as a preventative measure. I just received them today and can’t attest to their effectiveness yet, but so far the immediate experience of the products has been exactly what I was looking for: totally neutral… not luxurious at all. I can’t even tell that I have 3 layers of products on my face right now. That’s a good thing.
Angie gives an in depth review of a few anti aging products from The Ordinary. I was most interested in what she had to say about The Buffet serum and the Natural Moisturizing Factors + H.A.. I read a lot of reviews and most people recommended these two products as good basic starting points. I bought these two and the Rose Hip Seed Oil. Angie seems to be very knowledgeable about skincare, plus I tend to trust her opinion on the efficacy of anti aging products because she is actually over age 50 and has to deal with aging skin herself. It never made any sense to listen to all these wrinkle-less young youtube gurus in their 20’s and 30’s review anti aging products.
If you want a broad overview of The Ordinary’s products, check out these youtube reviews (part 1 and part 2) by Renee (aka. Gothamista). Renee works in the skincare industry and seems very knowledgeable about the science behind skincare ingredients.
I was curious to find out what the cosmetic chemists at the Beauty Brains podcast thought about the Ordinary products but sadly, they haven’t produced a podcast in a really long time. I mention it here in case any of you wanted a resource to nerd out on this topic.
As I mentioned earlier, I just found out that I’m low on vitamin D and whenever I’ve mentioned this to anyone, the response is “You need more sun!”. Um, no thanks! I’d rather take supplements than expose my skin to harmful UV. It got me thinking of replacing my near empty bottle of sunscreen. I read some articles about some more effective and purportedly safer (more stable) chemical sunscreens ingredients that have been approved in Europe and Asia but hasn’t gone through the FDA approval process in the United States yet. Some of these newer ingredients are much better at blocking UV A (which is what is responsible for our wrinkles) than what we have here in the US.
I got really curious about this topic and went down an internet rabbit hole looking for a good sunscreen with these second generation ingredients. I ended up choosing the Anessa Essence, an off-shoot of the Japanese company, Shiseido. I’m not an expert on this topic by any means, and I feel like I’m taking a risk when using chemical sunscreens but I’m honestly not that diligent when it comes to using all natural sunscreens consistently (because of their consistency and the white cast), and I figure the best sunscreen is the one that I’ll actually use everyday. There are potential risks to chemicals, but there are well known risks from exposure to UV rays too. Weighing the pros vs. cons, I’ve decided to take a risk and use these newer sunscreens.
I used to obsessively look up ingredients on the EWG website, and then get frustrated that literally everything they investigated caused cancer. But after I heard EWG were also anti-vaccines, I lost faith in them, and wondered if they were doing more harm then good by all of this fear mongering.
I completed my first online class with Barre3! I finished part 1 in the beginner series which has 8 parts. You can try it for free for 15 days here. I actually enjoyed the class, but I don’t have much experience with working out so take my opinion with a grain of salt. The instructor was a good motivator. She made you feel comfortable in your own skin. I like that there are easy and hard versions of each exercise. And the instructors and classmates come in different body shapes and sizes. They are not all anorexic looking.
It was nice to be able to work out in the comfort of my own home. I think anyone who is a home body like me would prefer this format. You can pause the video, use the restroom, get a glass of water, etc. and come back to it. I didn’t have to buy much equipment either because I already own a Manduka yoga mat and was glad I found another activity to get my money’s worth.
Barre3 has more dynamic large movements than you’ll find at Pure Barre, but it also includes those tiny 1-2 inch movements as well. I’m kind of bored with yoga though and Barre3 does incorporate some of that into the routines but it has been pretty minimal thus far. I’ll just use all those downward dog parts to take a break and drink a glass of water. The movements do work up a sweat but the intensity of the workout was slowly built up. There was never a part where I felt like I couldn’t push through it. I’d switch to the easier version of the exercise whenever it felt like I couldn’t go any further. So I felt productive throughout the class and felt enough momentum to want to take the next class.
And lastly, check out this beautiful music video by Aldous Harding. She’s a critically acclaimed gothic folk singer from New Zealand. It takes a lot of patience to appreciate her music but even if you don’t have the patience for it, I think you’ll still enjoy this video, if not for the music, than for the clothes. Her mother is featured in this all white futuristic Eileen Fisher-like get-up. It’s rare to see an mature female protagonist in anything these days, which is why I love this video so much. Aldous Harding looks menacing in a structured all black robe with seriously badass bell sleeves.
I wonder what’s the story behind the video. Seems like the woman in all white is warding off evil and temptation. (Here’s a video of the same song performed at NPR. She such a visually interesting performer! Plus, that white cotton canvas jacket she’s wearing is to die for!).
[photos: candle, eucalyptus, and salt on my living room bookshelf; Skincare products from the hospital and The Ordinary on my bathroom shelf]