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Age: 30-something

Location: Orinda, CA

Skin Type: Combination

Skin Concerns: I'm prone to eczema, acne and have fine lines. And I worry about sagging and loss of facial volume. I don't show it now, but it seems to be how my family ages.

If you had told me at 16 that my eczema and acne were blessings in (very clever) disguise, I would have flung my Clearasil at your head. But nearly 20 years later, I have to admit that those zits and patches of eczema taught me to take care of my skin early on, and I’m especially grateful for the Retin A that forced me to wear sunblock on a daily basis. Hypoallergenic was the first fancy skincare term I learned, then non-comedogenic, and today I’m near-fluent in the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients, which makes me a useful, if not critical, cosmetics shopping companion. My bad skin also taught me to focus on the good in my face and that when it comes to dealing with zits, sometimes a little lash-and-lipstick distraction is more effective than pancake camouflage.

Because my skin reacts to stress and poor diet, I’ve come to believe that clear, happy skin is a reflection of good health. And having lost my mother to cancer, I’m especially committed to spreading the good word about products that are non-toxic and eco-friendly (though given a choice between dubious sunblock or none at all, I’d go with the SPF – we all have our weaknesses). In fact, I first discovered TIA on a Google search for mineral sunscreen, and it was love at first sight – I even remember where I was and what I was wearing (Starbucks, yellow dress). Since then, I’ve relied on TIA for all my product info and for the great reviews that help me decide what to try next. And of course, I regularly browse just for the fun of it!

TIA is a whole lot of fun, easy access to an abundance of otherwise-diffuse information, and great marketing for products I wouldn’t discover on my own. I really appreciate the well-researched information, and the opportunity to find quality products and make educated purchases. Thanks a ton everyone for all the work you do!

Articles By Nina

  • December 30, 2016

    TRU Rating

    Arosha Purifying and Regenerating Cream

    When it comes to skin care, one whiff of the EU and I’m sold. Such was the case when I saw that Arosha Purifying & Regenerating Cream ($54) was Italian made. My obsession with EU products stems from the stricter ingredient regulations, which I think make for better formulations. And while I’m sure it’s true that a mainstream product sold in the EU is safer than a mainstream product sold here, this product trial has taught me that strict regulation doesn’t equal amazing formulation. This is where — with a heavy heart and bit of cringe, because I do ha ...Read More...

  • January 27, 2016

    TRU Rating

    SimySkin Plase II Anti-Aging Eye Serum 25-45

    When TIA asked me if I wanted to try to SimySkin Phase II Anti-aging Eye Serum 25-45 ($85), I happily said yes: I was facing down the last few weeks of my master’s degree and anticipating a run of all-nighters. I didn’t expect a miracle, but figured that a little extra support would be good while I abused my eyes with too much coffee and the inevitable frown your face settles into as you stare down your blinking cursor at 3 a.m. 

    But a miracle indeed I got! Too much caffeine and not enough of sleep are hard enough on your eyes, but my poor peepers r ...Read More...

  • September 16, 2015

    TRU Rating

    Your Best Face Luxury Shave Cream

    “More for your skin than just a great shave” is how YBF describes its Luxury Shave Cream and Post Shave Balm . YBF is a great brand that uses quality ingredients, I’ve loved the YBF products that I’ve tried and so I embarked on my test with visions of smooth and gleaming legs (though I think is where I tell you that I tried YBF Shave Cream all over my body). I have coarse hair on my legs and underarms and light arm hair. So was it more than just a great shave? Overall, yes! I tested Your Best Face Luxury Shave Cream ($32) all over my body, got a clos ...Read More...

  • May 27, 2015

    TRU Rating

    Royal Nectar Bee Venom Eye Cream

    Bee venom treatments are a favorite of Kate Middleton and Camilla Parker Bowles and indeed I’ve seen some pretty impressive before-and-afters of Ms. Parker Bowles, so I when TIA offered me the chance to try Nelson Honey’s Royal Nectar Bee Venom Eye Cream ($35 in the shop), I was hopeful that it would ease the crow’s feet that have begun to settle around my eyes. While these lines aren’t yet deep and appear mostly when I smile, I do want to stay ahead of them ...Read More...

  • December 29, 2013

    TRU Rating

    Medik8 Red Alert Cleanse

    For my latest trial, I’ve been using Medik8 Red Alert Cleanse ($42.50), a foaming face wash for redness prone skin. I have both acne and eczema, which has left me with broken veins on my cheeks, nose and upper lip area, so, I imagine I’m a good test subject for this “ultra gentle and calming” cleanser for skin with “broken capiliaries, hypersensitivity and redness,” that cleanses “deep within the pores.” I had high hopes for Red Alert (I adore ...Read More...

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