The fine line between moisturizer and rocket science

I’ve always bought drugstore moisturizer. I’m not devoted to any particular brand. I pick out something inexpensive with some SPF in it and get on my way. A few months ago, I read a blog post by another woman who said that she had started buying expensive moisturizer and that it seemed to have improved her skin. She couldn’t be sure, of course.

Shortly after that, I bought a sample-sized jar of expensive moisturizer. It was called Hope in a Jar, perhaps the most brilliant name ever for a cosmetics product. My skin did seem to glow after I used it. Or maybe the suggestive name got to me. Regardless, the moisturizer had a pearly sheen to it and a light, airy texture. It was luxurious compared to my drugstore stuff.

This summer, I’ve had several age spots show up on my face (The Texas sun is vicious!). I try not to worry too much about my appearance, and I hope to age as naturally as possible. I am not convinced that something I rub on my skin is going to change what is happening beneath the surface. Stretch marks seems sufficient proof of that. Still, I would love to have these dark patches fade.

I hesitated at the idea of shelling out for more Hope in a Jar, so I decided to see what else I could find that would be less expensive but still have that magical property to it. Friends, the moisturizer market is insane. Based on the descriptions, some of the best chemists and physicists must be working to smooth our fine lines and plump our skin. I had hundreds of choices.

I finally settled on a highly rated concoction called Belif the true cream aqua bomb. This was going to be a moisture attack. Alas, UPS lost my aqua bomb in transit. While I waited for its replacement, I ran out of moisturizer and had to buy another bottle at the drugstore. For the second time in a week, I pondered the marketing tactics. Did I want age-defying? Line-erasing? Spot-reducing? Pore-minimizing? Gosh, ladies, pretty much everything is wrong with us, isn’t it?

I chose positively ageless youth perfecting moisturizer. I have no idea what that name means. A few days later, my aqua bomb arrived, and with it, a free sample of yet another moisturizer. This one is future response age defense creme, which sounds like it might be a more Republican-leaning brand of moisturizer. I like the aqua bomb so far. The label says that it contains lady’s mantle. Be honest with me. Is that something out of Harry Potter?

In the midst of my moisturizer experiment, I read this article last week about the make-up tax. The gist is that women who wear makeup earn more money and are often treated with more respect. The typical woman is spending at least an extra hour to get ready every week compared to a man. That’s time that she could spend on hobbies or working or hanging out with her friends. Also, the cosmetics industry makes $60 billion every year.

That got me thinking about how our society could change if we changed expectations. What if we quit spending all of that time and money on our appearances? What if we spent it fighting for paid family leave or flexible work policies? Even our female leaders who are fighting for those things are expected to have perfect hair and makeup while doing so.

There’s a lot here that I would like to discuss. First (and most important, obviously), is whether expensive moisturizer is any better. Second, is there a way for us to overturn this societal expectation that women devote so much time to their appearance? I love the idea of a boycott (I call it No-Makeup Mondays.).

5 thoughts on “The fine line between moisturizer and rocket science

  1. Wow, I didn’t realize how much time I was saving by not wearing makeup :) My mom got me a sampler kit from Sephora with all different types of moisturizers, and that’s been great to try out different brands, although I honestly can’t tell much difference between most of them. Sign me up for the movement!

  2. I tried Hope in a Jar. And I hated it. I felt like it dried and then flaked off my face. I use Olay like an old lady and have since I was a teen– the sensitive skin + SPF and no fragrance kind. This last time, I bought the “age defying” kind or whatever. I think it’s for women over 50. But what does that mean? Some ingredient in there is not good for my 32-year-old self? Hmm. I don’t know.

    I just had sunspots start to develop on my forehead and have been wearing hats every single time I spend more than a few minutes in the sun. I don’t want age spots (but also hope to just age as I will with precautions taken to avoid skin cancer). Who does though?

    I am anxious to read what others write. Are the other moisturizers REALLY better or are they just in fancy packaging?

    Lady’s mantle. Is that like placenta? Fake placenta?

  3. I’m gagging over lady’s mantle fake placenta. I do love my origins moisturizer and I swear it really works, but I’m with Brandy in not liking Hope in a Jar. Have you been on the cosmetics database that tells you how toxic it all is? (I obsessed over that when pregnant with Eliza–for all the good it did me.) one more layer of complicated. And the time and money thing is no joke. Still, I splurge on moisturizer and buy cheap mascara.

  4. Brandy, there has been some discussion on Facebook, so I will let you know what others said. One friend said that she gets a facial four times a year and buys skin-care products from the woman who does her facials. She says that it is worth the money and is her only beauty splurge. One friend with sensitive skin said that she spends a lot on moisturizer because it makes a difference for her. Another friend buys whatever organic stuff she can find with SPF but pays no attention to brand. So, we definitely don’t have a consensus yet!

Comments are closed.