Photo: Via Trader Joe's.
A surprising thing happened when I became a beauty editor: People kept asking me, more than anything else, what kind of skin care I used. Now, this is a little bit awkward. Do you want to know the best new lipstick shades? I'll tell ya. Want to know the difference between three-free and five-free nail polish? Yep, I can explain it. But skin care? Well, for the past two years, my "fancy editor beauty routine" has revolved around this certain moisturizer from Trader Joe's.
Let me explain. Since entering the beauty industry, I'm (embarrassingly) showered with new products, all day, every day. I love trying all of the new makeup and nail shades and spritzing on new hair products, but when it comes to skin care, the products that often land on our desks are usually seasonal, and not often for my skin type. "Basic, fragrance-free, oil-free moisturizer with SPF" does not a very sexy PR pitch make. The latest skin-care launches usually feature the latest super-duper-anti-aging or anti-acne voodoo — and, while I'm all about the latest and greatest in certain beauty categories, I have to admit that, when it comes to skin care, I tend to have the perspective of, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
So, of all of the plain-Jane moisturizers to use, why Trader Joe's? Well, it ended up in my medicine cabinet for one reason: convenience. Since moving to NYC, I've been obsessed with the great deals at TJ's. And, when I know I'm going to be schlepping pounds and pounds of groceries home, skipping a stop at the drugstore is key. So, this humble little bottle made it into my cart, next to the almond butter and can of black beans, and I brought it on home, despite my doubts that such a cheap product would actually pass muster.
Well, color me surprised: My skin loved this super-plain lotion. It's surprisingly challenging to find a day lotion that's light yet thoroughly moisturizing, and this stuff hits the nail right on the head. It ensures that my skin never feels dry, but it doesn't break me out either. End story? It is perfection.
The problem is, of course, the peer pressure. My friends and coworkers are not impressed when they ask which lotions and potions I have been loving, and I shrug and say that I use the lotion from the grocery store. So, recently I decided to throw caution to the wind and try out a night cream with glycolic acid, and a new day lotion, both from super high-end lines. My skin really isn't sensitive (or so I thought), so how bad could it be?
Sadly...bad. Very bad. My skin totally freaked out, and I was back to hitting this black-and-white plastic bottle by the end of the week. I will admit that this change also coincided with a stressful time at work, and a change in seasons. But, nonetheless, I appreciated my bare-bones face routine more than ever. Of course, I will continue to dutifully try out new skin-care products (because, you know, #werk), but I learned an important lesson: When it comes to beauty products, sometimes the most unlikely candidates can be the best.
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page!