Tuesday, September 15, 2009
With the weather here in Alberta on the verge of turning frigid, it seems the perfect time to discuss skincare. I have notoriously sensitive skin and in the wintertime, even more so. Alberta's winters are extremely dry. Imagine stepping outside in the middle of January and having all the moisture sucked out of your body with one strong puff of wind. Still don't get just how dry it is? Every person I know has had, at one time or another, the experience of making a fist and splitting the skin on one or more of their knuckles. That is how dry it can get here. It's not just hands that suffer though. With all the wind we can get, our faces are subjected to the harshest elements Mother Nature has to offer. Wind, snow, sleet - we get it all. Combine this with my delicate, pale skin and the quest for the perfect cleanser and moisturizer becomes more difficult than trying to find the elusive Holy Grail.

Up until I was a teen, I was an Ivory Girl. Not by choice mind you; it was just what my parents bought for all of us to use. Good ol' bar soap. However, as peer pressure took over in junior high and high school, I began to venture out and try various products over the ensuing decades. There were various drug store purchases all of which were overly perfumed and/or designed to counteract the bane of teens everywhere - the dreaded pimple - something I was fortunate to never suffer too much of. As I reached entered university and beyond, I made what I thought were more "adult" purchases in terms of skincare products: I tried Clinique first. Not bad but I hated the feel of their soap (again a bar) and their toner smelled like gin. Ick. On top of that, my skin had a weird reaction and became super red and splotchy in various places. I will say though that they make one of the best moisturizers I've ever tried. After that, there was Lancome. Way too perfumey - everything smelled like fake roses and I gave everything away within the first three days of trying it. My skin had a worse reaction than with the Clinique line. About five years ago, I tried Clarins. Their products were a bit perfumey but in a nice way and my skin didn't least not as much as the other expensive lines. Nothing ever seemed to make my skin happy. Nothing except ... Noxzema.

While the rest of the family was making due with bar soap, my mother had always used Nivea Cream or Noxzema on her face. Now, for those of you who've met the Admiral or seen pictures of her, you'll realize she's not really a "girly girl". Gee, I wonder where I get that from... She's not into hair, makeup or clothes. This however was always the one girly thing I remember her doing. In between my various attempts at finding my own skincare regime, I had begun using Noxzema skin cream to clean my face. It always left my face feeling clean, smooth and refreshed. Plus it has a wonderful eucalyptus/menthol smell to it that I loved. At the time though, it just didn't seem ... fancy enough (?) ... to admit to using all the time. While all my friends had various bottles of fancy cleansers, toners, exfoliaters and other potions, I felt embarassed to admit I was using a product that I could get at the drug store for $5 a jar. It didn't help that I was also reading just about every fashion magazine available at the time, all of which pushed the high end, high cost lines down my teenaged throat. And yet, it was the only thing my skin truly loved.

My earliest memories of Noxzema were in relation to lifelong battle with the sun. As a fairskinned, freckled redhead, I have burned since I came out of the womb. When I would get too much sun and my skin would threaten to peel off, my dear mom would whip out that beautiful blue tub of delicious smelling icy cool cream and slather it all over my skin. It helped instantly. It wasn't until I was doing some research for this post on the history of Noxzema that I realized it was originally marketed as a sunburn remedy!

It has only been in the past couple of years that I've come to terms with my love of Noxzema. It cleans my skin, moisturizes rather than dries my delicate skin (a HUGE plus), it helps my sunburns, I can shave with it...the list goes on. And, on top of all of that, it's affordable. While it's no longer a mere $5 for a tub at the drug store, it still under ten dollars which is a fraction of what I've spent on most of the higher end lines that do nothing except make my skin rise up in revolt. I love this stuff so much, I'm afraid to venture too far out of my comfort zone to try new products, even within the Noxzema line! I have used their exfoliating cleanser which is fantastic and I have used the "original" cleansing cream in the pump. I'm not so fond of the pump though - it's not as thick as the cream in the tub but it works fantastically as a shaving cream (and that's not just a tip for the ladies...!). For those of you prone to breakouts, they also offer a Triple Clean line. I haven't tried any of these products though because, as I mentioned, I'm pretty fortunate when it comes to the dreaded pimple.

If you're looking for a skin cleanser that's gentle and affordable, try Noxzema. It's been around for almost 100 years and the formula really hasn't changed. Heck, even the container is still that same cobalt blue tub that it was first sold in (with some minor changes, 'natch). I only wish someone had sat me down sooner and made me realize that there was a reason I kept returning to the joys of Noxzema; I could have avoided all those expensive missteps along the way.

So, ladies and gents, what are you washing your face with???

PS: No, I'm not getting paid by Noxzema to schlepp their products although I'd be happy to do so! I just wanted to share the love.


tweetey30 said...

I like Noxzema too. I think I spelled that wrong.. LOL.. I am half a sleep here..

Barbara Bruederlin said...

The dryness here is absolutely insane. Whenever I am back in Ontario or in BC, my skin just feels so much better and I can all but here it sucking in the moisture.

I use Spectro Gel to wash my face, as I have a perfume sensitivity and this is one of the only things that does not irritate my skin.

SME said...

I used Noxema all through my teen years and had pretty good results with it, but as I got older I wanted as little fragrance and as few ingredients as possible because I'm pale to the point of translucence - it's sensitive, and any little splotch shows up. Now I use the bare minimum: Cetaphil, Aveeno moisturizer (with sunscreen, of course), and EarthSafe lotion for hands/body.

Milla said...

Great post, Karen!
I had never heard of Noxema before actually, but I had heard and seen in the shops all the other products you mention.
I am already 37 and my skicare routine is non existent and I MUST begin using at least some cream to protect my skin in winter. Last year I said these same words, bought a cream and used it for a week. And that's it. I am very inconsistent, and lazy. My skin care routine is: wash my face with cold water and nothing else in the morning and with warm water and Nivea soap in the evening and that's it. I am so fuggen lazy! Terrible.

Captain Karen said...

Barb, I know what you mean. When I went to England this spring, my skin felt fantastic! As soon as I stepped off the plane back home...sandpaper.

Milla, it's like we're two peas in a pod. My mornings are limited to warm/cool water (nothing else on my face) in the shower and then Noxzema at night before I go to bed.

My skin is still very dry in the winter but that's due to the climate rather than the Noxzema. This past winter mom and I tried using Dove facial moisturizer and there was no reaction. It worked alright as a moisturizer but definately not as well as I'd like. It's tough finding one that will provide the moisture I need without being so heavy that it clogs my pores or so perfumey/chemically that I have a reaction. Any moisturizer suggestions are most welcome!

Shelagh said...

I love Noxema too!! I use it almost every night and the smell still reminds me of my grandparents.

When I lived in E-town I used to use Aveeno moisturizers, there's one for clear skin, for unlucky people in their thirties like me who still have to worry about clear skin like the teenagers.

Captain Karen said...

Welcome Shelagh! I had tried one of the Aveeno moisturizers a few years ago and hated the way it felt on my skin - can't remember exactly why or what it was now though.

sp said...

I can still smell the Noxema my mom used. I did know it was still being used.
Clean for a Day cream cleanser from Kiss My Face is my cleanser of choice. It smells like creamsicles and feels wonderful.

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