so what’s the deal with biologique recherche?

jerry-seinfeld-593-2
Sometimes there’s just a little buzz at the edge of your perception, a little noise alerting you to the prospect of something important slightly beyond. That’s how it was for me and Biologique Recherché. A casual mention of “BR P50” on a website, piquing interest in the form of an informal acronym that basically implies if you’re anyone, you’ll know what this is, DUH. Thank you, Google, for saving me from my own ineptitude.

So once I learned it’s only available from, like, two websites, smells atrocious, and makes your face numb after using it, of course I HAD TO HAVE IT. Wait, you’re saying, what is “it”? (Name that tune!) Turns out it’s some “acid toner”, basically a chemical exfoliant, which comes in multiple formulas since the original was banned in the UK or some nonsense. One website actually referred to it as “Jesus in a bottle”. Okay, then. SOLD. I ordered a big bottle of it, making sure it was the original, most carcinogenic formula (the P50 1970) and waited with baited breath for its arrival.

I knew this version was (in)famous for having phenol in it. I couldn’t remember what phenol smelled like, until I cracked open the bottle and took a whiff. Have you ever taken high school biology?

frog-dissection

Holy. crap. This magic fluid smells like goddamn HIGH SCHOOL BIOLOGY. I can’t imagine being immediately transported back in time by a smell more profoundly than this besides, like, the cologne your first boyfriend wore. I was instantly surrounded by pickled small animals of lesser taxonomic class than ours pinned into wax-lined trays, crudely dissected by a bunch of disinterested teenagers. (I am totally pouring some out now for the various creatures that had to suffer in the name of my education. Sorry, little dudes.) So here I am, awash in pickled frog memories, about to wipe pat this noxious shit on my face. I brace myself for the burn. Oh yes, it burns. Yes, your face goes numb. It smells to high holy hell, and the fumes waft upwards to irritate your eyes. At this point, you can’t help but wonder what the fuck is wrong with you to make you think this was a wise decision.

Because I am a trooper, I stick with it. Twice a day, after cleansing, with the recommended 10-minute window of nothing to allow the acids to neutralize or some shit. My bathroom garbage can, with its P50-soaked cotton pads, becomes the biggest fire hazard in the house. After a few weeks, my skin looks… nice. Not like the second coming of Jesus, they-just-trimmed-my-umbilical-cord-before-I-climbed-this-yacht-in-Cannes amazing, but good. I feel like my skin is a little brighter, more smooth, more luminous. I never suffer from retaliatory pimples, rashes, redness, or dryness. It’s sort of like post-Good Genes, slightly less amazing, but for a lot less moolah.

So is this mysterious BR P50 1970 worth the hype? I’m not sure I buy the hooey about “pH balancing”, but no doubt it is an excellent exfoliant; it contains lactic acid, just like Good Genes does. The addition of sulphur makes it excellent for acne-prone skin. Comparatively, it’s not going to break the bank; you can get a little travel size to try out for less than thirty bucks. There’s nothing else just like it on the market that I’m aware of. What do you have to lose. Come on. All the cool kids are doing it.

I washed my face about eight hours ago. No makeup. No filters. Just a quick selfie while writing this so you can see I am not totally full of shit.

involuntary manslaughter / repentance


Drew Barrymore was my first real girl crush. Half I wanna look just like her and half I wanna make out with her. She was the original DGAF free spirit. I was the opposite, seeing as I had carefully cultivated the same perfectly grown out shade of blond, the same perpetually messy choppy short haircut, the same shade of brown lipstick, and the same tortured little 90s brows, in a concerted effort to look as if I gave as few fucks as Drew. (The irony is not lost on me.) I retained a shred of dignity and bypassed the daisies in the hair, but this was probably just because cut flowers bummed me out. Eventually, my hair grew out and the brown lipstick (Aveda’s lip gloss in Cinder, actually) was relegated to the “retired” section of my makeup stash. What failed to return to baseline, however, were my brows. It had only taken a few years of overzealous plucking to ensure their permanent demise.

I’m pretty light haired, so the four surviving brow hairs on each side really didn’t have a chance in hell in making up a remotely normal looking brow. Since high school, I’ve relied on pencils, powders, gels, waxes, and tints in every permutation, formulation, and shade (to match the revolving door of hair colors) in an attempt to humanize the swath of hairless skin on my face. Sweating and face wiping were red-security-level risks. God forbid if I was in a hurry or having a bad makeup day; I couldn’t get them to be remotely the same shape, much less symmetrical. When you’re drawing them on from scratch every day, you never know what you’re going to end up with. How many times did I get so pissed off I just wiped it all off and started from scratch? What a tremendous fucking waste of time.

A few years ago, the very chic and sexy woman who does my extensions one day just casually mentioned she’d had her brows tattooed way back when she was in cosmetology school. Pump the brakes. What!? I associated permanent makeup with old ladies and Google search images of “scary eyebrows”. The wheels started turning, and before I knew it I was in a dentist-style reclining chair trying not to have a full-blown panic attack while a woman ran a humming tattoo machine over and over the same tiny area on my brow bone until it felt like it was raw. What if they were too dark? Too thick? Too chola? Too red? At that point, I really didn’t know how I’d gotten there and felt like I was viewing a horrifying lapse in judgment from above, a total out-of-body experience likely fueled by the panic- and pain-induced endorphins frantically squirting from my adrenals. The permanent makeup artist had a billion years experience, had a full face of tattooed makeup and was a fair-skinned redhead also to boot. She didn’t look like a drag queen or a grandma. Of all people, she could be trusted. She’d warned me the brows would be thicker and way darker at first, but would lighten once they’d healed. I did not find this reassuring as I held a little hand mirror up after, still supine in the dentist chair. We’d edged past mere panic mode and had reached full on WHAT THE FUCK HAVE I DONE. I’ve only reached this level of self-induced horror a few times in my life, like those times involving platinum blonde and an inadvertent mullet. (Not at the same time, mercifully.) In the car afterward, I sat, dazed, my brow throbbing.

WHAT HAVE I DONE TO MYSELF

Thankfully, like all tattoos, the brows lightened dramatically upon healing, which was uneventful despite my defying orders to “not put anything on besides Aquaphor”. Their shape became far softer. They needed virtually nothing in the morning. The experience made the full circle from totally horrifying to why didn’t I do this years ago. All was well and my brows and I lived in harmony… for a little while.

THEN, big defined brows had to come back with a vengeance.

I admit it, I got sucked in. Reflexing back to my arsenal of products, I tried. I made them thicker, I arched them higher, I tried. I indulged in many of the new generation of brow products — from glorified felt-tip pens to pigmented waxes. The end result ranged from “okay, not bad” to “frankly bad”. You never know how something works — or doesn’t work — until you scroll through photographic evidence of it randomly while looking for that one picture of the cat sitting in the bathroom sink. (I have to laugh at what Benefit’s Brow Genie wanted to do to me. At least I did better than this on my own.)

  

The universe sends messages in mysterious ways, though, and in regards to forcing my brows to overachieve it came in the form of a kitschy work event where staff were to dress as their favorite decade. I put on a flannel over a Nirvana shirt and layered rolled up jean shorts over black tights (which is really, horribly uncomfortable, or maybe it just sucks to wear sitting at a desk all day) and topped it off with some nice Converse. I made a deep side part, flipped the hair over, and applied a thick coat of my whitest sunscreen (to recapitulate the truly unfortunate foundation scene of the era) along with some raisin-brown Revlon Longwear lip color (purchased when Bill Clinton was in office, yay for hoarding!). The piece de resistance was the brows. One dark brown Revlon Longwear eyeliner; one uniform line curving in a gentle comma. No sharp arches, no defining with concealer — the diametric opposite of on fleek. It was an epic rebirth and a total what-the-fuck moment, as in what-the-fuck have I been doing to my poor brows, forcing them into some unnatural cookie-cutter arch. The thinner, gradual curve was far more flattering for my prominent brow bone and bore a similar emotional effect as putting on ancient and perfectly worn in sneakers. With that, I happily gave Instagram brows two middle fingers pointed high.

It’s one of the unexpected benefits of getting older, having the experience and awareness and lack of give-a-shit that allows one to overtly reject a look that is universally touted as contemporary or youthful or slimming or whatever other horseshit they say. Because we know that while thicker brows (or dewy skin, or lots of highlighter, or whatever shitty advice you’d like to insert here) may make one appear younger, nothing is as aging as unnatural or contrived, and nothing will ever, ever make you 25 again. So let that shit go, do what you like, and be the best (insert your age here)-year-old you want to be. (Because if you want to be haggard, I totally support that too.)


Okay. Enough of that namaste stuff. I saw a blacked out Rolls-Royce parked at the trendy brunch place by my house this weekend and it had an enormous, lumpy bird turd running down its otherwise gleaming and spotless side. This (along with the orange-sized vanilla bean scone I’d just inhaled) completely made my day.

poor impulse control

adhd-2

If you recall my ill-fated recent trip into an actual Sephora store, you’ll remember me being distracted by YSL Rouge Volupte Shine, which is essentially a hideously overpriced yet deliciously luxe tinted lip balm. I’d decided I wanted some sort of neutral-brown tinted lip color that wasn’t Kylie Jenner matte, that would allow me to cosmetically partake in the 90s revival in an age-appropriate (SIGH) way. I am excruciatingly picky about lip products which is why I typically default to my go-to cheap ass lip balm — it’s the perfect blend of emollient and thick, without being waxy or sticky, and free of offensive scent and/or taste. Since they are practically free, I wait till the weather cools down and buy 30 at a time and then stash them literally everywhere so I am never without. It’s basically a desert island item.

The YSL ain’t too shabby though. It has a really nice texture, and would satisfy even the pickiest Goldilocks in her quest for just tinted enough and just glossy enough. I was agonizing between shades 09 (Nude In Private), 10 (Chocolate Instyle) and 11 (Beige Instinct) (who the fuck makes up these names?). 09 had a good dose of pink but ended up being a little lighter than my natural lip color, so in fear of looking like a corpse, I passed. 10 was a little too goth, a little too jarring for this face. 11 was… say it with me… JUST RIGHT. I love that you can slap it on without a mirror, and you don’t have to worry about looking like a drunk sorority girl with lipstick smeared across your face after you wipe your mouth or eat or whatever. It’s just enough to make you look like you tried just a little bit. Plus, the case is all fancy, and who doesn’t like to feel fancy in the middle of an otherwise blah workday. Please admire it below, and don’t mind the tomato red neck and chest. It was hot as hell and I am a delicate flower.

Because inquiring minds want to know (and since this photo was at the end of the day, know it all looked FAR better 12 hours prior — trust:
Brows: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Brow Color in Light
Face: Iope Air Cushion SPF50 in N21
Blush: Perricone No Blush Blush on apples, Nars the Multiple in Portofino under cheekbones, although this appears to have not survived the day, and Perricone No Highlighter Highlighter, well, duh, as highlighter
Eyes: MAC Paint Pot in Bare Study; some nameless ancient matte taupe Aveda powder eyeshadow; Kevyn Aucoin Volume Mascara

penis envy

credit to http://www.madscientistblog.ca for the gratuitous dick shot

Okay, yes. It’s time to discuss the much heralded penis cream: SkinMedica’s TNS Recovery Serum. I oohed and aahed over it on Into The Gloss, because it’s that incredible AND it is bad joke fodder for days. (In fact, we should play a drinking game with this post. We will all drink when I make a shitty penis-related joke.) I was more than a little surprised to see my ITG post had been edited after it went live, tweaking the wording to say the product “was once thought to contain” ingredients derived from foreskins, with some additional statement about what it “really” contains. That means some asshole must have made a stink to ITG, which means I hopped on my pony named Google to find out what really went down.

Apparently, lots did, all while I was busy working and shit. Years ago, Oprah publicly proclaimed her love for the D cream which provoked protests about the exploitation of helpless male babies, forced to sacrifice their foreskins in the name of female vanity. One protestor asked how Oprah would feel if they harvested the tissue from female circumcision for similar use. Okay. Really? Does anyone really think SkinMedica staff are loitering outside hospitals, hoping to score some baby scraps? Deep, deep sigh. I really do not care for Oprah, but cut the girl some slack. 

Laboratory magic has helped certain cell lines perpetuate indefinitely in the warmth of a Petri dish. The HeLa cell line — the most (in)famous of them all — was derived from cancerous cells taken in 1951 from a cervical tumor from a woman named Henrietta Lacks. Ms. Lacks died shortly thereafter but her cell line survived — it has since contributed to vaccination development, cancer and HIV research, infectious disease testing, and on and on and on. Point being, in the 21st century, cell cultures are no biggie. The ingredients in SkinMedica were probably derived from a fibroblast cell line developed from one foreskin before we all were born. I am not shedding a tear for the lost foreskins of today (at least in regards to their role in cosmetics), and as far as I can tell, SkinMedica’s ingredients haven’t changed. Priapus lives on.

Next, much to my surprise and amusement, Google took me on a ride down Medico-legal Nightmare Lane, in the form of a class action lawsuit against the owner of SkinMedica, Allergan. From the law firm’s release¹:  According to the firm’s investigation, SkinMedica’s TNS products, which have been sold nationally through doctors’ offices and retailers, contain a proprietary mix of “human growth factors” derived from human foreskin tissue. Human growth factors are intended to mobilize, stimulate, or otherwise alter the production of cells, including the ability to initiate cell division, which could stimulate growth of cancerous tumor cells, according to the complaint. The suit alleges that in marketing their TNS products, Allergan and its subsidiary SkinMedica did not adequately disclose the health risks associated with these growth factors. SkinMedica’s TNS products – which the company calls “cosmeceuticals” – did not have government approval and could not be sold lawfully in the U.S. without such approval, something else the company did not disclose to consumers, according to the complaint. The suit alleges that because neither the U.S. Food and Drug Administration nor the California Department of Public Health found TNS products to be safe for their intended use, and because TNS products omit required disclosures relating to safety concerns, the products have been misbranded under both federal laws and parallel state laws.

TNS products currently only list the active ingredient as “Human Fibroblast Conditioning Media”. Buuuuut, “media” is a vague term just referring to the soupy nutritive broth used to grow cell cultures. The true active ingredient, which appears to be the growth factor mix trademarked as “Nouri-Cel”, is not included in the ingredient list. Nouri-Cel purportedly contains Transforming Growth Factor-Beta (TGF-b), which promotes collagen growth; Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) and Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF), which promote new blood vessel formation; and Keratinocyte Growth Factor (KGF) which promotes epithelial cell growth³. All of these serve to promote wound healing in damaged tissue.

Welp, according to the good old FDA, if your product directly affects the biology of tissues, it’s a drug, and it’s then subject to FDA approval and regulation. TNS products were never submitted for FDA review as far as I can tell. I can see filing a complaint about inadequate or noncompliant product labeling, but a class action lawsuit? Suggesting SkinMedica is liable for failing to disclose a “significant” (but yet undefined and unproven) cancer risk is silly. Of note, Nouri-Cel does not contain Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), the only of the wound-repair growth factors with a recognized role in cancer development. The others have no known to only questionable roles in cancer growth; in fact, KGF (palifermin) can be used to prevent mucous membrane damage caused by chemotherapy in certain settings.²  The lawsuit attempts to highlight SkinMedica’s sins by comparing Nouri-Cel to the few FDA-approved prescription drugs containing similar growth factors, using big scary terms like  BLACK BOX WARNING and FIVEFOLD INCREASE IN CANCER DEATHS, never mind that they’re different kinds of ingredients used in different clinical settings on individuals that are already ill.

Saying that Nouri-Cel (and similar products) cause cancer is like saying this book of matches causes cancer. Yes, matches can be used to light the cigarettes that might cause cancer under certain conditions, when consumed at a certain rate over a certain time period. So do matches cause cancer? I just cannot get on board with this level of hysteria.

(If you are so inclined, you can view the legal complaint in excruciating detail here: http://www.hbsslaw.com/Templates/media/files/case_pdfs/SkinMedica/complaint%20-%20secured.pdf )

So is the product safe? Should we all worry that we’ll wake up one day with penis cream-induced tumors exploding all over our faces? No. You are more likely to get skin irritation from the fragrance in the product. I am not concerned about risks to my health because of this product. However, would I recommend it to someone who already has cancer, or is otherwise immunocompromised? Not necessarily — we don’t know enough about its potential in that setting, and is it really worth the risk?

All told, despite its hair-raising price tag, nebulous origin, and possible (albeit remote) health risks, I continue to use and recommend the heralded penis cream. While I have used TNS Recovery Complex exclusively so far, when it’s time to reload next, I may give Skinmedica’s Essential Serum a try — it’s a two part product composed of Recovery Complex plus APS Corrective Complex. The latter contains a bunch of antioxidants, “skin brighteners”, “tightening agents”, and hylauronic acid. It’s even more hideously expensive than TNS Recovery Complex, but I’ll take one for the team and give it a shot. 

One last note: resist the urge to buy the D cream at a discount on eBay or Amazon. Just like Air Jordans and Louis Vuitton bags, counterfeits exist, and while carrying a fake bag might be just tacky, applying a cream containing God knows what to your skin is plain old risky. 

¹http://www.hbsslaw.com/cases-and-investigations/cases/SkinMedica

²http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/98/12/812.full

³http://www.10news.com/lifestyle/health/frequently-asked-questions-about-tns-recovery-complex

you’ll shoot your eye out, kid

I rarely go to the mall anymore. I don’t have time, and let’s be honest: it’s annoying. It’s crowded and loud and it’s virtually impossible to walk past one of those pretzel places without stopping and inhaling 800 calories’ worth of buttery, warm, soft bread and gooey faux cheese. But, desperate times call for desperate measures: my inability to locate satisfactory gray jeans online made me do it. (I don’t care how many points they’ll give you at Nordies, I am physically unable to pay $200 for jeans. JEANS, people. Who wears jeans anymore anyway? I only have them because I need an intermediary for casual Fridays, because leggings won’t fly.)

Like moths to a flame, my estrogen-powered GPS delivers me to Sephora with nary a conscious thought. Naturally, they don’t have the one single item I want to swatch, Nars blush in Dolce Vita. There is a sad empty spot where the tester was, and no product in stock. Bastards! Derailed, I find myself swatching $35 tinted lip balm and getting flustered over which shade to get because every single one is so perfect. I am also juggling two bottles of nail polish and am on the precipice of needing a basket, which I try to avoid because that’s when all hell breaks loose.

Because I’ve scrubbed my dirty little hand with makeup remover to get rid of all traces of blush, foundation, and other shit I’d slapped on it, I need to find a sunscreen tester to reapply before the drive home. (Yes, I am THAT obsessed.) I stumble across some testers on a lonely end cap at the very back of the store, but am immediately distracted by this magic spray, Supergoop Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50. Sets your makeup? Matte finish? SPF-motherfucking-50?? I basically drop everything, shake the hell out of the bottle, and spray. Perhaps I am mislead by the word “mist”, but it feels like someone nailed me in the forehead with a spray bottle of water on full blast, like you’d do to reprimand a cat who’s trying to eat your houseplant. Flustered, my hand-eye coordination, whose baseline is special-needs 12-year old, goes all to hell as I deliver the next blast with my eyes half open. Holy SHIT!!! Who needs pepper spray when you have this!? Now I am blind and unable to examine the effects of what felt like a 6-inch soaking wet patch right on my forehead. This, of course, is the precise time a Sephora employee first approaches me, even though I’ve already been fucking around for twenty minutes in the store. NO-I-DON’T-NEED-ANY-HELP-THANK-YOU. I stumble to a mirror and am surprised that I look (relatively) normal. A little greasy dewy maybe, but that’s not unexpected by noon. Certainly not matte.

I take this minor trauma as a sign that my time in public is up for the day and get the eff out without further incident (impressive, considering the checkout line and general state of confusion of the lone employee behind the counter). (Side note, am I the only one that gets all judgy about other people’s points? I hear said confused employee go to the customer ahead of me, Well, look at that! You’ve got THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY POINTS! What sample would you like today? and I’m mentally scoffing Three sixty? Pfffft. Okay, lightweight, outta the way already.) (I was really, really thirsty, like hangry but thirsty, and my eyes were all burnt up, so cut me some slack.)

By the time I get home, I am all tuckered out from road rage, so I have some soup and take a nap. Many hours later it occurs to me that I should check on the status of the Supergoop. Look at this! The little makeup I’d put on this morning is still there (except for the brows, but they’re usually the first casualties) and somehow I look really dewy, and NOT greasy! Hashtag no filter/nap hair, ya’ll! Maybe I need to get this death spray after all.

  

it’s getting hot in here

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Come one, come all! Welcome to the first post in a “what’s in my makeup bag” series, where I’ll break down what products in my arsenal are on heavy rotation, and why they are superstars.

We’re going to start with sunscreens, because they are CRITICALLY IMPORTANT. Why spend any time or money on skincare if you’re just going to bareback it and let the sun destroy your hard work. It’s like eating Oreos while on the treadmill. Wait, no. Bad example, because I could totally see myself doing that.

There are literally a shit ton of sunscreens available — creams, oils, sprays, chemical, physical, waterproof, tinted, broad spectrum, dear God, it’s enough to make your head explode. You’ve gotta know what makes a sunscreen a good one, and you’ve got to know what you like. If it smells weird or feels yucky on your skin, you’re not going to wear it, and it’s not going to protect you sitting in a drawer. Unfortunately, that calls for a lot of trial-and-error, and that can get really spendy really fast, and nothing says regret like a drawerful of barely used products. I like to pick up sample sizes off eBay — if they made a sample size, someone’s selling it there. If you pick up a full size item that ends up sucking, don’t throw it out — use it on your hands and arms. This goes for all anti-aging products, because nothing says cognitive dissonance like a flawless face and mottled old lady hands. (Madonna, I love you, but I’m looking at you.)

So, sunscreen. Let’s touch on some basic facts first. We are interested in blocking both UVA and UVB rays. Most of the UV rays given off by the sun are UVA; these little bastards penetrate the skin quite deeply and are largely responsible for damaging your dermal collagen, which leads to that lovely saggy and leathery skin we all crave. UVA rays are equally intense throughout all times of daylight and all seasons of the year, AND they penetrate clouds and glass, the little shysters. UVB rays, on the other hand, do not penetrate very deeply; they mostly effect the epidermis (your outer skin layer) where they cause DNA damage that leads to skin cancer. UVB rays are most intense during midday and summer, but do not penetrate glass. Clearly both UVA and UVB are bad news, so we need a sunscreen that protects against both (“broad-spectrum”), and we need to wear it all.the.time.

The active ingredients in sunscreens are either physical (which bounces UV rays off the skin surface, preventing them from breaking and entering); look for “titanium dioxide” and “zinc oxide”) or chemical (which “absorb” UV light by undergoing a chemical reaction that renders it powerless; look for “avobenzone”, “oxybenzone”, “octinoxate”, “Meroxyl”, etc.). Because nothing is perfect, there’s good and bad about both. Physical ingredients are notorious for their chalky white Casper effect and tend to rub off more easily, but they are mostly non-irritating (unlike your co-worker in the next cubicle) and quite safe. Chemical ingredients must be fully absorbed into the stratum corneum (the dead outermost skin layer), so they need 20 minutes to become effective; plus, the UV-zapping reactions can actually produce free radicals which can cause irritation and skin damage, which is laughable in its irony and causes me an irrational amount of distress. However, they protect against a greater range of UVA and UVB rays than physical products, and don’t leave a funky white cast. Is your head exploding yet?

So, dermatologists recommend using sunscreen that contains both physical and chemical ingredients. (I always love statements that start off that way, “dermatologists recommend”. It conjures up an image of a bunch of studious people in long white lab coats having a serious discussion around a workbench in a laboratory. Do you know any dermatologists personally? I don’t think my mental image could be more inaccurate, because the dermatologists I know have nipple rings and cry when they get their hair cut.)

Those same emotionally crippled dermatologists also love to lecture about how we fail to use enough product. Yes, sadly, it’s true; if you skimp on sunscreen, you’ll never get the stated SPF. That’s why I like to layer sunscreen-containing products, such as a sunscreen proper followed by a BB or foundation with sunscreen. You’re more likely to hit areas you might have missed on your first pass, or give enough extra protection in areas you’d applied too little. And for the love of all things holy, don’t forget your ears and eyelids. Do you know how hard it is to excise a basal cell carcinoma with clean margins off an eyelid? No bueno.

Okay, so enough with the backstory. Let’s get on to my favorite sunscreens.

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, $32
This product contains 9.0% zinc oxide and 7.5% octinoxate, as well as niacinamide (which is supposed to reduce redness). For having a decent amount of zinc oxide, this somehow leaves no white cast. The formula isn’t too thick or goopy, and it hasn’t given me any trouble with pilling (MAJOR pet peeve). It does contain hylauronic acid, which is moisture-attracting — good on your cheeks, bad on an oily T-zone. If I use this on my forehead, makeup doesn’t stay as well, and I am shining like a little star in the afternoon. I use it everywhere on my face except the T-zone.

Sunday Riley Cashmere SPF 30+ Sun Defense, $125
Yeah, no, that’s not a typo. I really dig this product, although its price is prohibitive. It contains titanium dioxide (although I couldn’t find the exact concentration) as well as a bunch of floofy “anti-aging” ingredients. I love this product for how it feels — the name is spot on. It’s just a decadent, luxurious consistency and feels magnificent on. It can get a little goopy if you apply too much, with a little pilling and white residue. The price point keeps me from using this often, and it is a little heavy for the summer, but it makes for a beautiful treat for your skin when it’s irritated or dry, or following a peel or laser treatment. If you’d ever incorporate a sunscreen into a spa day, this would be it.

MDSolarsciences Mineral Creme Broad Spectrum SPF 50 UVA/UVB Sunscreen, $30
This is an exclusively physical sunscreen containing both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide in a silicone base. It goes on very smoothly, does not pill, and leaves no white cast. I like this for my T-zone, although it can feel greasy by the end of the day.

MDSolarsciences Creme Mineral Beauty Balm Broad Spectrum SPF 50, $39
This tinted physical sunscreen contains 2% Titanium Dioxide and 17% Zinc Oxide. Despite it being tinted, it never looks makeup-y — I don’t know how they did it. Like its untinted buddy above, it has a silicone base, but this one never feels greasy — it is a T-zone superstar.

Most recently I’ve had my eye on Skinceuticals Physical Matte UV Defense SPF 50, in the eternal quest for a shineless forehead, but alas, it is out of stock. Booooo. :(

On the upside, it’s triple points at Nordie’s through the weekend. GO BUY SOME DAMN SUNSCREEN ALREADY.

 

 

we get (high)

  

Once we hit May 1, I give up blowing out my hair and aggressive air conditioning mandates bringing a hoodie or cardigan everywhere despite the 115 degree foolishness. My beloved coffeemaker gets drained and cleaned before it goes into hibernation because hot coffee in the summertime is just no. However, coffee itself is nonnegotiable. I would rather give up alcohol than caffeine; truth. 

Summertime iced coffee is great because it’s just so easy. You take one large mason jar or thermos, and put maybe 3/4 cup of hot water in. Throw in however much instant coffee or espresso and some Leaner Creamer and mix it all up. Now fill it maybe halfway up with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and toss in a tablespoon or so of vanilla Quest protein powder. Top off with water (leaving room for ice) and give the container a good violent shake. This makes a rich, creamy caffeine delivery system that is filling enough to serve as breakfast for little calories. Or, you can add a donut and not feel awful about it.