Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dr. Murad's assistants, or, what I did to bump up my skincare regimen

If you've been reading The Beauty Boomer for a while, you might remember that last May, I popped for a Murad Resurgence 90 Day Kit.*

I never really reviewed the kit, because I felt that I hadn't given the products enough time. I didn't want to be one of those Makeup Alley reviewers who use a new moisturizer and are all "Squee! Holy Grail!" and then two weeks later are leaving another review saying "THAT CRAP GAVE ME HIVES."

But at this point, I think I can give a pretty thorough review of the products, and explain why I added some additional skin care products to my regimen.

Mostly it's because the Murad products are so gentle. I have dry, fair, freckly skin, so you'd think it would be sensitive, right? But it really isn't. And I don't know ... maybe it was Death Becomes Her, or too many episodes of AbFab, but I kind of equate effectiveness with a degree of stinging, redness, and/or peeling. When a product warns me that my skin might react, I'm like a kid at a horror movie. I think "Cool!" grab a tub of popcorn, and get ready to watch the show.  What can I say? When it comes to complexion flaws, I'm a little bloodthirsty.

So I ended up being a little disappointed in the Murad products. The very slight tingle I felt the first couple of times I used Murad Resurgence Age-Diffusing Serum dissipated pretty quickly, to the point where I started using it every night. In fact, of the four products I received in my starter kit, it's the only one I've almost used up. But honestly, it's just an AHA product, and the stuff at the drugstore is probably just as good.

As for the other products in the kit, I've got about half a tube left of the cleaning cream and the AHA BHA Exfoliating Cleanser. Just as I had suspected, the cleansing cream didn't leave my skin feeling particularly clean, while the exfoliating cleanser was so incredibly gentle, it didn't feel like it was doing anything at all.

The Murad night time moisturizer is lovely, and I love its cake batter smell, but I find it a little rich for summer. So I'm saving it for colder weather, when my skin will appreciate it.

Long story short, the Murad kit is only OK. So I added a few products to my regimen. Here are two products I've liked. And one I've hated:

1) NuFountain® C20 Vitamin C Serum (19.99/1.0 oz.)
NuFountain's serum comes in a brown bottle (since Vitamin C degrades with exposure to light) and is dispensed with a dropper.
You're advised to start by putting five or six drops in the palm of the left hand, and painting it on with the right. This is another one of those products that warns you your skin might react to it. It has a pH of 2.5, so it's sort of like applying lemon juice or vinegar to your skin. I didn't have a problem with it at all, and since it's only 19.99/bottle, and since the manufacturers warn you that the product will degrade over time, I've been applying it all over my face, neck, décolleté, hands, and rubbing what's left on my lower arms.

I can't really describe what I think it does. I've seen some lightening of age spots, and my skin feels firmer, but more than that, there's a kind of ... well, the word is glow. I've gone through two-thirds of the bottle and will definitely be ordering more.

2) Avene Eluage Cream ($40/oz.)
This is a retinol product, where the retinol is suspended in a very emollient base. I've used both Retin-A and Renova, Retin-A's supposedly more moisturizing little sister, and Eluage feels completely different. It has Hyaluronic Acid Fragments and feels like a luxurious night cream. I've noticed no particular benefit from it, but I've also noticed no dryness or peeling from the retinol. Again, the price is right, and even if it only has a slight effect on surface lines, it's a keeper.

3) Retin-A (by prescription only, unless you sneak some of your son's supply)

OK, leading up to BlogHer I felt a certain pressure to look AMAZINGLY YOUTHFUL, stylish, slim, and gorgeous. Naturally there was nothing I could do about the slim part of things, but I got my hair color refreshed--no tell-tale roots on the Beauty Boomer--stuffed my Stila train case full of fabulous makeup, and made sure I left my baggy t-shirts and Mom Jeans at home.

But I also dipped into my son's supply of Retin-A.

I know, I know. Bad Poppy! But Internet, I couldn't help myself. He gets 11 refills in the next year! There's no way he could use even half that, and it would just be going to waste.

So this is how my skin punished me for sneaking dabs of someone else's prescription and blithely applying it every night for five nights:


And that's why this beauty blogger used nothing but Vaseline on her face for a few days before BlogHer.

Of course, when I showed up at Blogher, I was probably DIVINELY EXFOLIATED. But I don't recommend it.

So here's my current regimen:

  • wash face with uber gentle Murad cream cleanser
  • apply nufountain Vitamin C serum
  • apply Garnier Nutritioniste eye cream
  • apply Garnier Nutritioniste SPF28 moisturizer
  • remove eye makeup with eye makeup remover of choice
  • wash face with uber gentle Murad cleanser
  • apply Garnier Nutritioniste eye cream
  • apply Murad's Age Diffusing Serum/Avène's Eluage on alternate nights

*This link, as well as most of the other links on my site, goes to Amazon. Full disclosure: I finally managed to get the Amazon Associates doohickey set up properly, and last time I checked, I had earned forty cents! So feel free to click through and purchase stuff I link to, even though at this rate, it will take me until Christmas to earn a cup of Starbucks.


  1. My goodness!
    I was wondering HOW the Vaseline and Vitamin C stuff fit into your beauty regime and never had a moment to ask you.

    (Perhaps I was distracted by the sound of your toothbrush.)

  2. I get Retin-A from Mexico, no prescription needed and I know people, my parents live there in the winter. ;) I found that even the 5% or .5%, I have to mix it half and half with Vitamin E oil or else I am a flaming red, peeling faced mess for DAYS! I have sensitive skin, which may be part of the problem. I also found that if I am using this combo I have to stay out of the sun or else the red peeling starts up again. I mainly use this in the winter as my nighttime moisturizer and it has decreased some wrinkles and lightened up some of my 43 year old freckles.

  3. At th erisk of sounding really STOOPID, why is son entitled to Retin-A?
    Since I started reading the beauty boomer I found out I have done absolutely NOTHING for my face. I am freaked out. It's also too late ot freak out ... Wish I met you 20 years ago ...

  4. Bird: Hey, by the time I saw you, my face was all better! And I always carry Vaseline. I was using the Vitamin C, though. Didn't you notice my healthy glow??

    Shanna: Thanks for not tolerating Retin-A, because I thought I was the only one. I was doing what Mary Ellen Brademas suggested and applying it without cleansing my face first. She told Allure magazine that she put it on right on top of her makeup. And for three days or so, I thought I had the problem solved. But then the redness and peeling started. Hmmm. Vitamin E, eh? And maybe using it every other day? Hmmm.

    Paola: Retin-A was originally prescribed as an acne treatment, and that's why my son has it.


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.