A Skin Care Odyssey

I am blessed with oily skin. That seems like a strange statement and certainly not something I would have said in my teens as I suffered through legions of zits.  I still haven’t completely irradiated the blackheads that launch sneak attacks on my complexion, but I consider the oil that oozes from my pores a blessing regardless. Why?  Because I learned at an early age to take good care of my skin. There was no forgetting to wash my face at night because it always meant a pimple later the next day. I also realized that it wasn’t easy to find good beauty products, so I experimented, and experimented. I wonder how much money I’ve spent over the years on less than stellar skin lotions, potions, and serums. A lot, no doubt.

At some point I realized that the sales people at the upscale stores were going to recommend expensive skin care products regardless of whether they worked well or not. Often the products were useless, but sometimes they were fabulous, like the time I bought a bottle of DDF’s Protective Moisturizer SPF 15.  It was my favorite daytime facial lotion in my late 20’s and early 30’s but eventually my work situation changed and I could no longer afford it. Nor could I afford to continue experimenting with $50 beauty products that might, or might not, help my complexion. So I turned to the less expensive stuff at the drugstore. Promises of radiant skin filled the shelves but I quickly learned that the claims of perfection were no more reliable than the one’s on the $50 bottles. Where to turn?

Around this time I discovered “Don’t go to the Cosmetic Counter without Me” at the library. It was a revelation. The author offered page after page of product reviews for makeup and beauty products. Unfortunately the beauty industry thrives on change and many of the cosmetics outlined in the book were already discontinued, but it was a start. Not long after I found the website attached to the book, Beautypedia.com and have been a regular ever since. (At one time there was a membership fee, but now it’s free. You just need to register.) Using the  reviews as a guide I started buying affordable drugstore brands for my makeup and beauty product needs. I saw my skin improve and my makeup become more reliable.

Image property of Beautypedia.com

I now have the Beautypedia app on my I-phone and use it when I’m looking at new cosmetics. I have learned that the author’s name is Paula Begoun and she has been reviewing cosmetics for over 25 years. I don’t always agree with Paula on makeup. She likes her colors restrained and her lipstick long-lasting while I’m a bit more free-spirited in that department. On the other hand I’m rarely let down by her skin care reviews. If she says it’s good, it’s good. If she says it’s bad, it’s either useless or disastrous.

Paula reviews almost every beauty product on the market but she also sells her own skin care line called “Paula’s Choice”. This collection of lotions, toners and potions reflects her well-researched opinions on beauty products. Everything is fragrance free, filled with antioxidants, and affordable. After trying most of the recommended drugstore brand beauty products I finally decided to buy some Paula’s Choice products and have been using them for over a year.

End result?  My skin looks better, much better, than before.  These really are stellar products. I never break out and only rarely see a blackhead. I have complaints of course, but my face at 42 is not my face at 32.  Still, it looks as good as it can without surgery. Interestingly my skin is no longer as oily as it was before I started using Paula’s Choice. It seems to have mellowed into a slightly combination set up, with a bit more oil on my cheeks and forehead, but nothing like it was.

RESIST Clearly Remarkable Skin Lightening Gel with 2% BHA – Image property of Paulaschoice.com

Here are some of my favorite Paula’s Choice beauty products. I am not sponsored by Beautypedia.com or Paulaschoice.com but I’ve been so happy with the stuff that I really want to spread the word.   I should warn you though, once you start using fragrance-free face lotions it’s hard to go back to the scented stuff.

My morning routine includes a slathering of Skin Balancing Daily Mattifying Lotion SPF 15 & Antioxidants, a lightweight daily facial sunblock that doesn’t sting or make me break out.

At night after cleansing my skin I use the Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner before applying moisturizer. Does it do anything?  I don’t know but it removes any last trace of makeup and feels rather refreshing.

Most evenings I smear on a few pumps of RESIST Anti-Aging Clear Skin Hydrator for normal, oily or combination skin. It’s lightweight and like the daytime lotion creates no pimple issues. At $23 a bottle it’s affordable enough to use under makeup before I go out for the evening as well as at bedtime.

RESIST Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum – image property of paulaschoice.com

Paula offers all sorts of speciality anti-aging products. One I’ve tried and liked is the RESIST Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum. I also started using RESIST Intensive Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum a couple of months ago and I have noticed that my skin is a bit more resilient. Is my neck just a bit less droopy?  I think so.

My absolute favorite “Paula’s Choice” product, and one I will probably always have on hand, is RESIST Clearly Remarkable Skin Lightening Gel with 2% BHA. This has lightened the brown spots on my skin, an unfortunate side effect of sun bathing and childbirth. Mostly I love it for how it makes my skin look. It wipes out blackheads and makes my skin GLOW. I kid you not. 

On a different note, my daughter, who is 12 and starting to suffer from pre-teen white heads, loves the  Exfoliating 1% BHA Lotion, though she can’t ever remember what it’s called.

Do you have a fabulous line of products that you swear by? Ever tried “Paula’s Choice ” products, or perused her website, Beautypedia.com? Do tell!

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18 Responses to A Skin Care Odyssey

  1. Mary Jo
    August 4, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    Heather, it was so interesting to read your evolution in beauty product choices. I’ve been obsessed since I was a teenager and like you, will no longer shell out for the expensive stuff, which is often filled with toxic stuff anyway. But the natural beauty revolution really affected my life and having sensitive skin it’s been a godsend in terms of makeup. I will have to check out Beautypedia!

    xo Mary Jo
    Mary Jo recently posted..laguna libertine: mary jo matsumoto 4free fall ’12 nail colorsMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

      I’m interested in natural beauty products as well, thought as you can see it’s not what I usually use. I’d love to know what you use on your skin and what you’d recommend in terms of natural beauty products.

  2. Donna
    August 5, 2012 at 1:20 am #

    Paula’s book was my BIBLE for several years! I was thrilled to find it. Like you, I didn’t agree with everything, I like my MAC lipstick and eye shadows. But it’s was a great source of info and I had forgotten about her web site. I’ll have to check out her site and products.

    I also have oily skin, and I think another blessing of it is that we don’t get wrinkles as easily. At least that’s how it seems to me. I’m well over 40 but I have very few lines. Although I still get more blackheads and acne than I’d like to have, I’m glad that my skin still looks so good. (If only the rest of my body would stay so young, that would be great!)

    Thanks for reminding me of Paula.
    Donna recently posted..Atlanta trip Day 2 – colorful maxi dressMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

      I agree Donna. I think my oily skin has kept the wrinkles at bay, regardless of what I’ve used on my skin over the years. I also have a major sunblock habit, which I didn’t discuss, but I thin the use of sunblock has really saved my skin.

  3. A Brit Greek
    August 5, 2012 at 2:42 am #

    Heather, what a fantastic post! Like you, my skin is oily/mainly combination in summer but much drier in winter, but having moved countries, my skin has changed how it deals with the environment and also over the past decade!

    I was also obsessed with splurging on ‘designer beauty’ buys in my 20’s spending upto 50 quid on a jar of day-cream that contained oxygen or something… lol!

    I spend a lot less on just normal high street brands now, but am more aware of what’s on the label… Boots drugstore in the UK has their own range called Botanics which is pretty awesome – the main ingredients are from plant extracts via the Botanical Gardens in Kew – one of my fave places in the world!
    Anyhoos, I am drawn to Paula’s range for so many reason – great site she has too, thanks doll!
    A Brit Greek recently posted..Best of… Beauty, Cocktails, Classic Movies, Delicious bites & TechMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

      Paula reviews most of the Boots products too. I believe that you can find good products for a reasonable price, but sometimes that extra money is worth it, I just like having proof! The main problem I have with the site is that it’s hard for them to keep up with all the new product, so even though they update it all the time there’s still a lag.

  4. Alexis Grace August 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    It is really interesting reading your skin journey.

    I have been blessed with (generally speaking) well behaved skin (yes, occasional breakouts, but I am talking a single zit at a time…). The unfortunate part is just what you spoke of— I did not learn proper skin care at a young age. And spent many years doing, well, nothing to care for it.

    These days I try and use all natural, chemical free products. Hopefully, I started embracing these practices in time to see the long term benefits.
    Alexis Grace recently posted..Style Icon: Diane KrugerMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

      I think if you use good quality skin care products you’ll see the benefits quickly, if you want to see long-term benefits wear sunblock everyday! I think it’s my sunblock routine that has keeps my skin in good shape, regardless of what I’m using now.

  5. John Curran August 8, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    Wow! Your face is looking great and it doesn’t look like oil face:) you look awesome, i think Paula’s products are awesome:) It changed your complete look.

  6. M August 8, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    I came to your blog from another post and then continued reading and saw this post. I’ve been using Paula’s choice for 1+ year and I super love her products and the customer service. My skin now is clear and hardly any blackheads. My whole beauty regime (minus makeup) is all PC.

    • Heather Fonseca August 9, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

      Hi M and thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment too! I’m glad I’m not the only one who loves Paula’s products. They are really great and affordable too. I’ve tried some of her makeup as well, but I still like buying that at the stores, mostly because its’ fun.

  7. Stacey - Total City Girl
    August 9, 2012 at 4:35 am #

    I am always on the search for skincare products find that nothing really works. I’ve tried many of the drugstore brands and have recently tried Cindy Crawford’s Meaningful Beauty. As of now I’m thinking there’s nothing great about it wither but it has been less than a month so will hold out a bit. Also, my summer schedule has been so crazy with not enough sleep, eating on the run and no exercise so I am sure that is adding to the blahness of my skin.

    More so than skincare, I am ALWAYS trying to find something that will work with my hair. I’ve noticed a drastic change after 42. I am now 46. I feel like every day is a bad hair day!! We have completely different hair so I am sure it is not much of an issue for you. Ahhh – to have straight hair – must be so easy!
    Stacey – Total City Girl recently posted..Chip Chat: Deep River NY Spicy Dill Pickle ChipsMy Profile

    • Heather Fonseca August 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

      Hi Stacey, I’ve tried most of the drugstore beauty products and I have found some great options, but they’re few and far between. I love my paula’s choice lotions and every time I think of switching I’m reminded of the strong scents in most of the competition at that price point and I go right back to her website for more of my favorites.
      I have no advice for curly hair at all! I’ve always loved the look of curls as my hair is really strait with no body, but it also has no frizz, so I guess it’s a trade off. Strait hair is pretty easy. If I want it to have some bounce I blow it dry with mousse, otherwise I can let it dry naturally and it will just sit there and look at me. Boring!

  8. Sarah
    August 10, 2012 at 8:18 am #

    Awesome post! This is my first visit to The Style Confessions, and I’m definitely bookmarking the site. I struggle with oily skin (not so much a blessing because I haven’t found anything that works yet) and this post introduced me to a whole slew of new products to look at. Thank you!!

    • Heather Fonseca August 11, 2012 at 10:03 am #

      Hi Sarah, Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I’m glad you like my blog and hope to see you around again. Mostly my posts center around my outfits, but I do beauty reviews occasionally too. Paula’s Choice products are great! She has an oily skin line that I haven’t really tried. She sells trial sized products as well, which is how I first tried out her line.

  9. Renewing Serum January 7, 2016 at 7:11 pm #

    The products sure are effective. The outcome is indeed amazing. Beauty products are girl’s friends since they know how to take care of themselves. Girls never wished to take a day without applying anything. With these simple tips, natural skin care really gives the best result you have been searching.


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