Skin Care

By Betsy Aaron

If the last unctuous potion you tried was baby oil, I’m here to tell you times have changed. I never thought I’d let oil anywhere near the pores on my nose but now that I’ve tried Aftelier’s Facial Elixirs, I’m a believer. Choosing between Rose, Sandalwood & Frankincense, Jasmine, Geranium & Ylang Ylang and Lavender, Clary Sage & Cistus is the hardest part of the process. After cleansing, deeply inhale the elixir of choice. These relaxing scents are blended in a base of apricot kernel, grape seed and rose hip oils with squalene and promotes cell regeneration. They are readily absorbed and feel luxurious. Your infused dreams will be sweet and when you awake, your face will look smooth, radiant and rejuvenated.

Available: Henri Bendel and

I continued my oily exploration with Skin by Monica Remove Make Up Remover. It’s made with evening primrose oil, vitamin E, organic jojoba and olive oil. It not only gently removes eye and face make up but also the rest of the day’s residue, a.k.a. gunk. You won’t get that tight, stripped feeling that often comes after cleansing and your soothed face will be protected from the arid climate change caused when apartments convert into winter kilns.

Available: select Duane Reade stores and

When I tried Melvita Huile de Bourrache, I had no idea that borage is also known as starflower, that it originated in Syria and that the oil of its seeds is anti-inflammatory. Borage oil is a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that diminishes with age. The delicately scented organic emollient restores softness, firmness and elasticity. It is light, soothing and best kept refrigerated after opening. This ancient beauty secret, in this incarnation organic, is indeed a natural and effective way to prevent your beauty from looking ancient.


Bio-Oil is simply a miracle product. It is inexpensive, can be used to smooth all kinds of desiccated body parts and though it felt like the oiliest of the oils I tried, it too was readily absorbed. Unlike most of the products I experiment with, Bio-Oil is not entirely natural: it contains retinyl palmitate and that is a plus since this ingredient makes lines and spots less apparent. It also contains Vitamins A and E, lavender, rosemary, calendula and sunflower seed oils. If you only try one new product this winter, make this the one and use it everyday, everywhere.

Available: CVS and

Arganica, a blend of organic argan oil –harvested by women’s cooperatives in Morocco – and essential oils of lavender and frankincense, is food for the skin. It is deeply aromatic and my face must have been hungry because it absorbed this product almost on contact. Argan oil is a rich source of antioxidants and vitamin E and in addition to nourishing skin, strengthens nails and helps prevent stretch marks. I wiped the excess from my hands onto my hair before calling it a night. The next morning, I liked what I saw in the mirror. Arganica is green from product to package, benefits Berber tribes and best of all– performs.


Even with a cold and my impaired olfactory ability, I found de Mamiel Winter Facial Oil sweetly redolent of neroli and rose geranium essential oils. The scientific looking bottle comes with these delightful instructions: “…breathe deeply for a count of 3, then slowly breathe out for a count of 5, releasing all tension.” Having a lingering cold does cause tension and I did seem to let out a lungful of stress. I massaged a few drops of the oil in and it was readily absorbed into my more serene face. The winter facial oil is a blend of antioxidants and omegas including macadamia, rosehipseed and argan oils and is 100% organic. I do believe that this potion is a divine preparation for the brighter days ahead.

Available: Shen Beauty, 315 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 and

Originally published February 2011
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