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« Beauty is everywhere | Main | Makeovers at the Beauty Counter of Happiness »

May 18, 2005



I rather think all those women shelling out all that money to fuel their illusions are giving a great big finger to the beauty-police-state. They're addicted to hope, and no matter what anyone says, or how much it costs, they will chase it.


I too easily scoff at miracle-cream junkies, but I myself have fallen for the vitamin-of-the-month on more than one occasion. At root, the problem isn't the hope itself, it's the need for hope. The real self-deception we suffer from is our delusional, obsessive magnification of our own "flaws." How many women do you know who don't suffer from this particularly modern form of OCD? Sometimes, when I'm talking to my girlfriends about our looks, I step out of my body to observe what's really happening, and then I feel like I'm watching an episode of Monk.


Such an objective approach to the business of beauty has never been uttered (both nancy and jackie).

Love this blog!

Donna B

But does Creme de la Mer work? The word is that it does. They don't need their own PR, when they already have had it for decades - like Kiehl's.
I would be interested to know the exact wording of the FDA on this again. For instance, something like iodine on the skin works. Did the FDA approve it? It's not a medicine, but it works, right? (Actually, I've never used it, but I know doctors do.)
So I don't know if they would have any ignorant bureaucratic idea whether a skin cream had results.
As far as cellulite cream, I read that Clarins was one of only one or two creams that do work, because it has some kind of green tea, I forget, in it. This was in a woman's magazine. FDA is not going to test these creams unless there's a complaint, I bet. I guess I should read Don't go to the Cosmetics Counter without me...

I did ask my dermatologist - since it's Kaiser, sometimes it's different ones, and I ask each - if there is a difference in the dept store creams. They never say there isn't a difference. They say the expensive ones "may be slightly better." Hey, 5% or 10% is good enough for me! (not that I've ever tried de la Mer...)


The one woman I know who spluges on La Mer is quite fair and red-haired; she's nearing 50 and her skin is thin and extremely delicate; she looks good because she has an excellent haircut, a biting sense of humor, great style (she's a prop mistress), and she's a fabulous cook, to boot. Her skin does not look great. It's just not in the cards/genes for her. And La Mer cannot fix that.
As for green tea on your thighs: I think it's caffeine that supposedly shrinks cellulite, and I think it's a crock. Spend the money on a good pair of running shoes.

Donna B

You're right, Nancy, I think it's caffeine!

I've been thinking more about cosmetic companies. Probably Hillary knows a ton of stuff about this, but I would think one reason cosmetic cos don't WANT any testing by the FDA is that they may use common ingredients, even if in an unusual way, that other cos could easily imitate. (Plus, very very unfortunately, most cosmetic companies, and even cleaning house products due extensive testing on animals - particularly rabbit's eyes- just so they won't be sued.)
I have a friend who is trying to invent a solution for vinegar syndrome, which destroys old films. He's been doing this for year, in his house, and tries all sorts of common ingrediants like alcohol or something. He's taken out patents, etc. I think he's a little naive about making money on this, but...the point is sometimes something used a different way might have great results.

One reason I like Clarins so much is that they use all plant/flower extracts, which reminds me of the Bach flower remedies (in health stores). They're never going to list all the ingredients in their products- why should they? And I mentioned Kiehl's earlier. They've been around for what, 100 years? They're famous for their lip balm. I've tried maybe 20 kinds of lip balm, and still trying! This is my second favorite, and the only brand I've ever bought 3 of. Why would they want to be tested by the FDA? Word of mouth works.

So, okay, maybe I'm one of the hopefuls, but I'm quite sure that some products work better than others. Or how about the new products with copper in them? (Blue Copper, and now the new much cheaper Nivea one.) Copper was used to heal wounds in the World Wars. I don't know, but I don't think the FDA tested any of the cosmetics, or even the mineral copper itself. Much testing in real life just say that it works to heal and repair skin.


Donna, the FDA only concerns itself with whether or not something is harmful to humans when used. They don't test whether or not the products actually do what they claim.


...Which reminds me of something that Dr Danné King, a skincare expert, says in Baird-Murray's book:

"There are such rigorous checks now; you only have to look at the insurance companies and law firms in the US and see how it all begins. America is a really litigious country, and that is why they don't have a law that really affects things for over-the-counter sales. For example, sometimes when you are changing or revising a bad skin condition, there is an uncomfortable period you go through. People love to say, "I'm breaking out! I'm suing!" As a result, the skincare companies don't really want to rock any boats."

Imagine what kind of advances in skincare we'd have if not for those litigious types.


Again, I will take the contrarian view to Jack. We now pay to have botulism toxin shot into our faces; dermabrasion and its more evil cousins essentially sand and/or burn the skin off one's face and body. Liposuction. Eight-hour hair straightening sessions. Electrolysis. Most of these have been going on for decades. I am sure some people sue (sometimes they may be right to, say, if a cosmetologist punctures a customer's eyeball while dyeing her lashes), but I will wager that their absolute quest for more, better, truer, longer-lasting beauty, regardless of the possible pain (or more possible nothing), trumps any litigious tendencies.


The guy could be lying, Nancy, but I don't think he is. Having dealt with the outrageous expectations and demands for compensation from customers of a salon for a couple of years, I don't think he needs to make this stuff up.


I scoffed at Creme De La Mer, because at the price they charge it seems like a ripoff. However, I bought a small jar from Nordstrom's in L.A because of their return policy, and I can't believe that I'm saying this, but it worked wonders for me. I'm super fair skinned and had acne scars from my teen years, and it helped. The biggest benefit? A one oz. jar? It lasts about 6 months. But it isn't for everyone and I wouldn't have tried it without having a complete moneyback return policy.

Donna B

Thanks for sharing that, Suzsqueak! Did it actually heal the skin, do you think? Or whiten it, as some Japanese lotions do, or claim to? (Even Mac has a special whitening lotion.) Jackie, I wish we could know if this thread was updated, as I'd love to see further comments on this.

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