Skin Care

By Betsy Aaron

At the time of this writing, I am feeling hard-wired to stock up for back-to-school. Though I am a lifelong learner, I haven’t bought loose leaf paper since The Beatles were together, I haven’t fallen asleep sedated by the specific scent of new school shoes parked bedside, I haven’t had nightmares about forgetting my lock combo. Instead, I have laid in the basics I will need to nurture, protect and pamper my personal temple from now through the hols, the next season in which we are hard-wired, not by DNA but by marketers, to consume.

A basic approach to skincare is to invest in a regimen of products that work efficiently together. I love all things French: bouillabaisse, Isabel Marant, the idea of one day visiting the former “colonies” of Pondicherry, Morocco and Vietnam—and Clarins. What’s not to love: the products keep their promises, in this case to cleanse, firm, lift, protect and super restore.

The One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser economically performs “4 in 1” to cleanse, exfoliate, detoxify, through the addition of moringa (horseradish,) and tone with the aromatic treat of refreshing orange extract. The Super Restorative Replenishing Comfort Mask calls for 10 minutes to nourish but I say, why not indulge in 20? You will attain both inner calm and outer radiance. Pueraria Lobata, “the forever young plant,” a key ingredient in the mask, also lends its superpowers to the Super Restorative Total Eye Concentrate that really does the heavy lifting of de-puffing, lightening and lifting “from temple to temple.” The Super Restorative Serum comes with instructions on applying Clarins’ “Manual Auto-Lifting Method.” This face yoga takes 30-60 seconds and it’s not only a nice ritual that has you take time before you rush into your day—it works to smooth and re-new. I find this charming, innovative and super impressive. Protect your face with Super Restorative Day Cream SPF 20 and off you glow.

Available: Fine department stores and http://www.clarins.com

In the category of newest new basic, I nominate Antioxidant Face Gel and Antioxidant Face Firming Serum, from The Organic Pharmacy. While remaining free of things you don’t need, like preservatives and coloring, they manage to be extremely high-tech and radically effective. Mix together the prescribed number of drops morning and night and I promise: you will notice the difference. They go beyond the mere basics by not only lifting but also repairing—and for some of us, that is now a new basic requirement. Ingredients include herbal collagen boosters, marine algae and sea minerals. The Organic Pharmacy has an extensive line of products but if you don’t want to go all in, definitely start here.

Available: http://www.theorganicpharmacy.com

Is there any more imperative basic than a good bath? Mais non – especially delightful when days begin to cool. Hailing from my beloved home sweet Brooklyn, and handmade to boot, Metropolis Soap Company Honeysuckle and Violet Collection are basic must-haves. I loved the Artisan Soap so much that nary a drop now remains. It is long lasting; I just loved it a little too well. (Hint: if anyone wants to gift me, get me more of this soap.) The honeysuckle is anti-inflammatory, the violet is anti-septic and I can attest, the bergamot is uplifting. I exfoliated residual summer dryness away with Exfoliating Sugar Scrub but happily, I tend toward dryness so it’s become a new weekly basic. I look forward to overdoing it in yoga so I can go home for a leisurely soak in the Herbal Spa Soak. I now think naked Epsom salts way too basic. In addition to sea and Epsom salts, this divine bathing basic contains Balsam of Peru—the sound of which sends me away. Far, far away.

Available: http://www.metropolissoap.com

For a traditional basic, we have the women of East Africa to thank for wild harvesting Marula The Leakey Collection. The packaging describes it as miraculous and I concur. The consistency is light; it is readily absorbed and extremely moisturizing sans oiliness or goo. I use it on my face at night and then rub my lightly oiled palms into my hair and onto my heels. The oil is cold-pressed, fat with omegas and basically will work wonders anywhere and everywhere. A pleasure to use and I plan to continue.

Available: http://www.marula.com

Upon parting, here are my basic words of advice: buy what you need; use what you have.

Originally published October 2012
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