rubber gloves

It's alarming to attempt even a rough estimate of all those potions and lotions that I have tried over the years. Sometimes, I'll admit it, I've been seduced by advertising or have succumbed to a pushy sales person in Saks only to find myself with a bottle of toner that is definitely superfluous to requirements. But mostly, I have tried something out because some glossy magazine gushed that a maturing celebrity never leaves home without it. They are inevitably the most disappointing.

I still find it embarrassing that I actually fell for the La Mer hype and paid decent money for what can only be fairly described as hocus pocus. The description of the secret 'broth' based on a rare sea kelp that can only be harvested twice a year challenges you not merely to suspend disbelief but to switch off your mental faculties - especially when you get to the part about the harnessing of 'unique energy sources' such as sound and light. At least the manufacturer has the grace to admit that even they don't know how it works. Perhaps because it doesn't. At least not for me. The only result I saw was a breakout worthy of adolescence.

Personal recommendations tend to be more reliable. I had a relatively good run with Amore Pacific's eye cream after it was recommended by a gay man that I met at a dinner party. If it hadn't been for his testimony that it was the best product he'd ever used and he looked five years younger (since we'd just met I had no way of judging the authenticity of this), I would never have gotten past the part on the website that talks about 'nano delivery technology' (the faux science equivalent of sonic stimulated kelp). The basic ingredients of green tea and red ginseng seemed more reassuring and I decided to give it a go. In all fairness, it wasn't bad at doing the job of an eye cream: firming and lifting the eyelid and plumping the skin under the eye. Half way through the second pot I started to discern a fall off in results. Now, I find that this often happens, particularly with products that are based on synthetic rather than natural ingredients. And the thing about Amore Pacific is that the products are highly perfumed. About a year ago I opened a jar of moisturizer (Amore Pacific Time Response Skin Renewal Cream) and the smell was so harsh that to this day I still have never used it.

Another product that seemed to work for a while - even eliciting comments about my skin from friends, and then after several months actually made my skin dryer -  was Stryvectin. There is some evidence that synthetic or chemical ingredients are not properly absorbed by the skin. So perhaps, after a while, the superficial effects of the product either wear off or are recognized for what they are while any deeper improvement has failed to take place. I'll be doing more research into this in the coming weeks.