Skin Care

By Andrea Toochin

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Summer is a time when weather justifies somewhat-inappropriate office attire, long weekends and unhealthy behavior. Last year by the elevators in the Conde Nast building, I saw a girl wearing a Kelly green terry mini dress created as a beach cover-up, but in this case used as an attention grabber. When you embark on your weekends away or sleepovers with ‘fun for the summer’ partners, you may let up on your exercise and skin care regimen. This is probably when you’ll start to blame a lack of sleep or the heat for your breakouts but in fact it’s probably just bacteria and dirt buildup. This in mind, we realize whenever you go on vacation it’s almost certain you’ll forget some product, so we’ve created a guide to our favorite drugstore products. We have to offer our seal of approval to CeraVe, a company whose cleanser might come to parallel Cetaphil and whose cream moisturizes- leaving a barrier to the elements, despite exceptionally drab bottles. Although there many worthy products our search led us to the ones even freebie-loving editors will pay for.

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Sometimes the solutions spill and the cutter gets to be too much, or better yet, your travel companions actually demand some sink space. That’s when these babies come in handy. When it comes to skin care it’s OK to join the throw-away generation. Both Clean & Clear and Neutrogena make double-sided pads with an open side for your fingers; cleanse with one side and gently exfoliate with the other, and toss. There’s something indescribably satisfying about being able to use up an entire product on vacation.

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I always associate this brand with my teen years so I had very low expectations. Once I tried this product, I forced my haughty friend to test it; he too held snobby low-hopes but was pleasantly surprised. I’ve tried countless exfoliants but this worked just as well at cleaning my pores.

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No matter how many, scrubs, peels, or microdermabrasion products I use, none of them remove 100 percent of the dirt in the pores around the T zone. Bioré Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips not only cleared up my nose but also demolished the lurking dirt around my chin.

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This Finnish company combines scientific research and botanical ingredients to create gentle yet effective products. In addition to skin care, they also have a line for men and makeup products. The Lifting Mask is a winner because it makes it skin smooth and taut, but the dual products are perfect for summer, and travel in general. Each sealed dual-chamber bottle contains two products; the Radiant Dual Serum offers berry-infused day and night serums, while the Instant Sun Dual Pack contains an SPF sun cream and a tinted day cream.

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Purpose and Eucerin have long been the recommended names for those with dry sensitive skin. At the height of summer, everyone should be wearing a moisturizer with SPF 15. Eucerin has topped the others with Extra Protective Lotion, a glycerin based moisturizer with lactic acid and silicon that contains SPF 30 via chemical and physical sunscreen. The oil- and fragrance-free lotion provides just enough moisture and absorbs quickly.

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You’re probably thinking a lip care system is the last thing you need to spend money on but here’s a hypothetical. We apply anti-aging products to our face, hair and body so why not try something that’ll keep one of our most important features soft and smooth. If this means I’ll never attempt a collagen injection and I can avoid any mishaps that’ll have me looking like senior-aged women who resemble a bruised boxer, I’m willing to commit.

Dr. Jeffrey Dover’s set is a three-step system. The sugar-based scrub is applied via the tilted applicator tip to smooth the lips. The line-minimizing peptide treatment prevents lines and provides a good lipstick base. The creamy balm goes on over color for sun protection with a practical sponge tip applicator.

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Everyone complains to me about having sensitive skin so despite the countless self-tanner and shimmer lotions in stores, I have to endorse Aveeno Continuous Radiance. Available in two colors, this glycerin-based soy infused daily moisturizer slowly adds and maintains color.

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The latest in nature-inspired lotions is Curél’s Natural Healing line, a collection of three varieties to revitalize, soothe and moisturize skin. The revitalizing formula contains vitamin B and C, aloe, cucumber and green tea; the sweet, tropical smelling moisturizing contains shea butter, honey, and vanilla; and the soothing formula contains oatmeal, chamomile and lavender extracts.

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Working in the beauty industry has made me into a serious fragrance snob. I balk at the scents emanating from a cosmetic giant while I walk past the corner store to the subway, cheap fruity scents oozing onto the street. So, when I saw CVS’s Essence of Beauty line, I assumed the fruity scents would nauseate me.

Coconut lime and sweet pea are respectable unusual scents but the sparkling grapefruit won me over. Available in a body lotion, mist, shower gel or cream formula, this refreshing scent is powerful enough to stir coffee addicts before their daily drip thanks to its genuine smell; CVS has succeeded in bottling pink grapefruit and at drugstore prices shopping is guilt-free.

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Perusing the aisles of CVS I was shocked to see Aromafloria, mainly because the packaging is reminiscent of boutique brands from small town America or the quaint cities in southern France. This body care collection is designed to help relax the muscles through herbs.

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The Salt Glow Body Scrub with a sugar cane base is a gentle enough to use everyday to main soft skin. The Bath and Body Massage Oil hydrates skin and relaxes the mind and body with eucalyptus, peppermint, and my favorite ingredient, lemongrass. The scent is so subtle it’ll keep you sniffing but it’s the texture that impressed me. I don’t quite know how you develop a bath and massage oil that moisturizes without leaving a greasy feeling, but this company has mastered it. Finally, yet importantly, the product that made me a true believer in aromatherapy, Aromaremedy.

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Aromaremedy is a line of six different varieties of ‘inhalation beads’ packaged in cotton pouches made from 100 percent organic essential oils. The six varieties include peppermint-heavy Memory Boost to energize; valerian-based Sleep Ease; minty Headaid Relief; and Plane Defense, a strong mix of tea tree, rosemary and spearmint to strengthen the immune system. However, my two favorites are Sinus Help and Stress Less. Sinus Help is a powerful fusion of the same ingredients found in the massage oil – eucalyptus, peppermint, and lemongrass – but in a higher concentration. The smell is strong it immediately reaches the depths of my nasal passage and my throat. Stress Less employs the power of relaxing herbs – chamomile, lavender, and sage; this scent is so delicious I’ve taken to grouping it with my keys and my Metrocard – the items I can’t leave home without.

Products listed above are available at drugstores, including Walgreens, CVS, and online retailers including,, and

Originally published June 2006


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