Friday, January 26, 2007

Best Face Forward

Since I was what they call an "early bloomer," I had the misfortune of dealing w/ "problem skin" from a very young age. I was constantly teased about my breakouts, as the rest of my eleven and twelve year-old counterparts had smooth, clear, flawless faces. My mother told me to ignore them, and that by the time I was 16, I would outgrow my bad skin while everyone else would just be beginning their bad skin years.

She was wrong.

Though my breakouts subsided a bit in my mid-teen years, I have struggled with not-so-great skin for almost half of my life, and being only 22, that's a looooong time.

I remember looking at all of the beautiful models in teen magazines praying for skin like theirs. I tried everything. In my younger years, it was Clearasil, Noxzema, Clean and Clear, Seabreeze, etc. No luck...ever. In fact, these products only made my skin worse. Granted, I never had the really bad red, angry, cystic acne - but my breakouts were enough to bother me...a lot.

I submitted to the Pro-Activ infomercials, and at first it worked for me, but then my skin seemed to plateau. When I left home for college, the newfound stress coupled with late nights, homesickness, the dreaded dining hall food, too many mixed drinks, and the worst roomate/living situation know to man, my skin went absolutely haywire. I ordered over $200 worth of Sonya Dakar products, including the infamous "Drying Potion," a supposed "beauty secret" of many celebs. I was sure that these products had to work, especially considering the cost.

So, I waited. And waited. And waited. skin got even worse! I was devastated. So, I switched to the Murad system. Like the Pro-Activ, the Murad system worked up to a point, then my skin just plateaued again. It wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible.

Finally, for my nineteenth birthday, I received Paula Begoun's book, Don't Go To the Cosmetics Counter Without Me - a dictionary thick book filled with reviews on every single makeup and skincare product known to man, from Wet and Wild to La Mer. Thinking that Paula must know her stuff, I decided to purchase some of her skincare products, and my life has never been the same.

Since using Paula's products for oily/blemish prone skin, my face has never been so clear. Her products have been an absolute a life-saver and confidence builder. The key to her products are gentle yet effective cleansers and chemical (not abrasive) exfoliators like alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and beta hydroxy acid (BHA).

I use Paula's Skin Balancing Cleanser, Skin Balancing Toner, and the Extra Strength Blemish Fighting Solution as part of my daily regimen. I also use the 2% BHA Lotion and Liquid and occasionally, I'll use the Oil Absorbing Carbon Mask when I have a bad case of shiny face!

They work beautifully, and I haven't had any big "underground" PMS type of breakouts for about three years now. Of course, I'll get the occasional pimple here and there, but Paula has worked miracles for me, and her products are fairly inexpensive compared to the higher-end skincare lines. PLUS - Paula's website has sample sizes of almost all of her products, including her eyeshadows, lipsticks, and blushes.

Visit her site at

Friday, January 19, 2007

So This Is the New Year...

I've been meaning to create a beauty blog for months now. Inspired by my love of all things beautiful, I feel the New Year is the perfect time to begin this blog. I know, I know. It's already the 20th of January, but better late than never, right? Plus, I am one of the worst procrastinators that has even graced the face of this Earth...and I do actually have a bit of an excuse. The spring semester of my junior year (in college) just began last week, and being an English major, I'm already innundated with reading, reading, reading. So sad. But hopefully this blog will be my esacpe from all things tedious and mundane.

I suppose I should tell my prospective readers a bit about my plans for this blog. I'm hoping to do review posts about beauty products and other items that strike my fancy, be it books, films, websites, and the like. My blog will not be as glamorous as the Beauty Addict's, seeing as though I'm still a student and cannot afford the frequent Sephora splurges (and the Sephora closest to me is over an hour away - oh, the misery). However, I have a vast knowledge of maaaany beauty products, and I think it will be fun to share my reviews and opinions with others, and I also hope to learn about any tips, tricks, and treats that my readers may have.

Thanks for reading, and please stay tuned for new posts.

(And incase you were wondering about my title - it's a play on words, coming from Sir Philip Sindey's sonnet cycle "Astrophil and Stella," meaning "star-lover and star" - code names for the poet and his unrequited lover. So, instead of Stella, I put Stila, the cosmetics brand beloved by many women the world over. Hee! I'm so clever!)