Real Girl Beauty

For every girl who's imagined herself as Lucky Magazine's "Lucky Girl." Or who's conquered her addiction to the bitchier-than-thou forums. Or who reacts every day to her Daily Candy email with the same: "Who can afford that?" Here are some heartfelt health and beauty tips from one Real Girl to another.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Let's Cheer Like Phonetic Spaniards: Olay!

Real Girl tip for the day: Don’t let your computer die. Because it sucks buckets. Huge, bulging buckets of suck. Thankfully, my computerless two weeks are over, and now Microsoft Word can once again tell me that words like “computerless” do not actually exist.

So, you patient superstars. And now back to our regular programming. (After one question: am I really the only one who’s flabbergasted by the separated at birth resemblance between Mickey Rourke and Kim Jong Il?? Erm…okay, then…)

Before we talk product, here’s a confession. Real Girl has not yet gotten her coveted Clinique Superdefense in “Normal to Oily.” Because in the meantime, I’ve been subsisting on another product sample. One that covers a lot of skin care bases, and is definitely going in the makeup bag rotation. Best part? It’s under twenty bucks. Yeeee-haw!

It’s time to talk about Olay. Many people have mixed feelings about this brand, and let me hasten to say that some folks break out wildly from their products. But I’ve found one I like, and I want to talk about it! Olay Total Effects 7x Moisturizing Vitamin Complex, UVA+UVB protection, fragrance free. Got that? Basically, it’s the Total Effects option with sunscreen and without fragrance, which irritates the skin. (FYI, the link I’ve used was the cheapest option I found. Normal price is $18.99.)

Let’s start with the ingredients. Real Girl likes to “advise” a hell of a lot more than she likes to “lecture,” but really, if you’re not using sunscreen every day, you’re just asking the aging gods to attack your face. I’m a huge fan of antioxidants, but when it comes to skin damage, here’s the analogy I like to use: Let’s say you’re jumping off a ten-story building. Which would you rather have, a harness to save you from harm, or a net at the very bottom to maybe stop you from dying? SPF is the harness; antioxidants are the net. Point being, the Olay Total Effects has good sunscreen, which is a gift to your skin.

The second cool thing in this product is something Olay calls “VitaNiacin,” which is really the ingredient Niacinamide (also known as Vitamin B3), which does have some proven benefits for the skin. Here’s what the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology had to say about it: “In ageing skin, topical application of niacinamide improves the surface structure, smoothes out wrinkles and inhibits photocarcinogenesis…Because of its verifiable beneficial effects, niacinamide would be a suitable component in cosmetic products for use in disorders of epidermal barrier function, for ageing skin, for improving pigmentary disorders and for use on skin prone to acne.” I will not pretend to know what epidermal barrier function is…but still, niacinamide sounds pretty neat, no? In addition to sweet little Niacinamide, Olay Total Effects also has Vitamin E, which is a swell, proven-to-fight-free-radicals antioxidant that you should seek out eagerly.

Now, the drawbacks. 1) The scent. Yay that there’s no added fragrance to irritate your skin. But you know that unique sunscreen smell? The one that reminds you of when you were a kid at the beach, and your mom would instantly grab you and smother you in white lotion? Yeah, that’s the smell. I’ve gotten used to it, however, and can deal. 2) No Vitamin C. I’m a big fan of products that include both Vitamins E and C, as both are reliable antioxidants. But one way to pile on more antioxidants would be to use a serum first, like my divine When Hope is Not Enough. 3) Break-outs. Here’s the thing. So far, this product has not made me break out awfully. But I must admit. After weeks of trying new facial lotions, I had to start using break-out prevention. I’m only willing to suffer so much for the ultimate beauty products. I have been applying the magical Oxy Balance for Sensitive Skin every night, and it works wonders.

There you go! A new product for the skin care rotation! I can see myself alternating days between the Olay and the Clinique Superdefense. Or, maybe I’ll use the Olay as a base, and then concentrate the more expensive Superdefense on the key areas near the eyes, around the laugh-lines, and on the forehead. Because wrinkles? You are on Real Girl's “do not fly” list; your visa to RealGirlLand has been categorically denied.

All you lovely readers? Approved.

Care to share your Olay loves and hates??? Are there other drugstore brands you love? I've been without you for so long!

With love,
From one Real Girl to another.