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The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Oh Girlfriends, it is my firm belief that the age of a woman directly correlates to the price of her face cream. The older you are… the higher the price.

Here’s the deal...

When I was in my twenties- moisturizer was like a mother’s advice…. It was some I used when absolutely necessary and only if in a crisis. I would get a sunburn on my face and find myself at the pharmacy with a jar of “after sun/aloe vera” in my hands ready to lather rinse and repeat.

In my thirties- I began to dabble in moisturizers. I never really knew which one to buy. Do I need to regenerate or should I just use a regular day/night cream? Did cost really mean that I was getting a better product or was my money better spent on footwear? Which company should I choose? Do I go for a French made fancy name that I can have several pronunciations depending on whom you ask or should it be a straightforward Oil of Olay kind of product?

Finally my cybersisters....WHERE should this product be bought? Should I consult a fancy make up counter for advice from some lovely woman who was wearing far too much perfume and equally far too much make up or should I fend for myself in the cosmetics isle at the pharmacy?

Decisions loomed in the air as my thirties whizzed by. I dabbled in one cream or another feeling that time was on my side as promises were made all in the name of youth, beauty and a good few dollars spent.

And then came forty. At 40 I was no longer dabbling. I was not leaving my face’s texture or future to chance. I was spending no less than $100 on something French and something with a name that had both a clinical edge and a bunch of accents over its letter.

There would be Chanel’s REGENERISTE whose price is that of a car payment for 2 fluid ounces of hope in a bottle.

The jar that holds this precious serum (insert sarcasm here) is stunning. It is a champagne coloured glass square with a gold embossed top. It weighs as much as a watermelon and holds only 60ml of cream. My science brain knows that whatever is in this little jar/brick/paperweight of broken dreams really will not keep its promises.

That does not stop me. I happily hand over my credit card and let the dream begin.

There we are in Holt Renfrew at the scene of the crime. The woman helping me at the CHANEL counter is called Maria and she is lovely; sweet, considerate and kissing my ass just enough to make me feel special. She comments on my handbag and tells me I ‘ve lost weight. Yes, somewhere another fairy gets her wings and here I am the latest sucker to be born that minute.

After an obnoxious amount on money is spent, I am sent home with my new jar of REGENRISTE (insert French accent here) and the cycle of madness continues.

According to an expose in the British Daily Mail, a jar of Crème de la Mer which retails for 350 British pounds contains only 25 British pounds worth of materials.

The skin care market in the US is a $2 billion dollar annual industry. Sales in 2008 in the premium skin care lines (defined as products over $70 per unit) grew more than 8%. Recession? Not when it comes to the face….

According to Information Resources, Inc. in 2008, Americans spent a total of $605.7 million for facial anti-aging products, $569.6 million for facial cleansers, $345 million for acne treatments, $320.4 million for facial moisturizers and $27.8 million for body anti-aging products.

A study published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 2010 looked at the ingredients of the high end face creams on the counters today.

Moisturizers are based on occlusive substances (petrolatum and dimethicone) and humectant substances (glycerin) with a variety of sunscreens and botanicals for added functionality and marketing impact.

Among the moisturizers examined (over 200 brands in total) 80 percent of the formulations had remarkably similar products regardless of what was added to the cream. The study found that regardless of whether the product is a facial foundation, an antiaging night cream, a sunscreen, a topical antioxidant, or a skin-lightening serum, the formulation is basically a moisturizer with some added botanicals and sunscreens.

There is no randomized trial in existence that compares one moisturizer to another.

And so my girlfriends this leaves me with my usual leap of faith…. Marketing. Am I weak? Perhaps. Easily influenced? Somewhat. I’m just a girl at the big 4-0 trying to find her way at the cosmetic counter. That being said as with most of my shopping endeavors I am always in search of a better way of life.

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