Saturday, September 13, 2014

"Well, if it works for a BABY--"

There was a time when, like many beauty fanatics, I cleansed my makeup brushes with Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo. It was a great product: a tiny amount cleansed my brushes, rinsed out easily, and left everything supple and soft. Hilariously, I'd also run in to a few people who were appalled that I would use "regular shampoo" on my brushes. I didn't quite get the shock--if it's delicate enough to work on an infant, then how bad can it be for my brushes?

I switched to Dr. Bronner's bar soap, simply because the bar makes cleaning quicker and less messy. (My dad has commandeered the baby shampoo to clean his CPAP machine.) But recently, I've been looking back on the Days of J&J Goodness and wondering if I've let go of something really amazing. This is especially pertinent as I age; my skin has become more sensitive, more acne-prone, and slightly more textured over the past year. Now I'm using several products designed for children and babies, and I couldn't be happier with my skin.

Johnson's Baby Lotion -- Truth be told, half of the reason I bought this lotion is because it smells like baby powder. My mother has always used baby powder after she showers, so the scent reminds me of her. But it's also a nice, light lotion with a very basic, won't-eat-your-skin-alive formula. Applying this immediately after I shower leaves me with silky-smooth and lightly scented skin. It won't be enough for extreme winter dryness, but in the summer? Perfect. This product contains mineral oil (more on that later), so some people also use it to remove their makeup.

Coppertone Water Babies Pure & Simple SPF50 Sunscreen -- It's mind-boggling how many sunscreen lotions, sprays, and sticks I've tried over the past few years. I'm always looking for something that protects well without feeling heavy or clogging up my skin. Finally, I've give up the ghost. I've admitted that if I want decent sun protection at an affordable price point, I'm probably going to have to deal with something that's a tad heavy. Enter Coppertone's Pure & Simple line. While I can definitely feel this stuff when I'm wearing it, it's not sticky and it doesn't break me out. It's also fragrance-free, which is a major bonus.

Johnson's Baby Oil -- I used to spend a good chunk of change on oil-based makeup removers until I realized that the active ingredient was plain old mineral oil. In fact, most of the products I used were just mineral oil with one or two softening agents and some fragrance. I've been removing my makeup with ordinary baby oil (which is just mineral oil, sometimes with added fragrance) for at least 5 years now. Nothing tops it! It breaks down every bit of makeup and doesn't dry my skin out. It does take some getting used to, because...well, it's oil, and that greasiness can feel weird to some people. But I can't imagine using anything else. Just a pro-tip: after you apply the mineral oil to remove your makeup, you'll want to use a dry tissue or facial cotton to swipe most of it off of your skin. Otherwise, you'll have too much oil on your face, and your skin won't wash clean when you cleanse.

Baby Wash Cloths -- I've loved konjac sponges, but it's always been a pain to order them from China and replace them every month. It's also kind of icky to me that you can't really CLEAN them. You can rinse them in hot water with some gentle soap, but still, it bothers me. So I asked the folks on MakeupAlley for recommendations. The overwhelming favorite? Baby wash cloths. And I can see why. These cotton wash cloths are incredibly cheap (I got 10 for $5 at Wal-Mart) and can be laundered after every use. I've been rubbing my cleanser in with my hands, then gently removing it with a soaked wash cloth, rubbing in circular motions with hardly any pressure. It exfoliates my face and leaves me glowing without irritation. I might need a stronger exfoliant every once in a while, but for now, this is my new favorite!

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