Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. Today is also my 9th wedding anniversary!

In the name of Loyalty and Commitment, I’m showing you 9 products that I have purchased over and over again. These guys are as eternal as true love. Well… not quite, but you know what I mean.

Clockwise, from top left: Tend Skin; Derma e Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A Glycolic Toner; Cotz Face cream; Dermadoctor KP Duty Lotion; Atopalm Intensive Repair Cream; Soap Glory Heel Genius; Philosophy Purity Made Simple; Perfect Formula Pink Gel Coat; Nivea A Kiss of Moisture Lip Balm
Clockwise, from top left: Tend Skin; Derma e Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A Glycolic Toner; Cotz Face cream; Dermadoctor KP Duty Lotion; Atopalm Intensive Repair Cream; Soap Glory Heel Genius; Philosophy Purity Made Simple; Perfect Formula Pink Gel Coat; Nivea A Kiss of Moisture Lip Balm

Now is a great time for me to explain my mentality on this stuff. I believe ingredients are everything, and what makes up a person matters above all. If you know what’s quality and what’s junk or filler, you can start making educated skincare and cosmetic decisions, and pick a mate. (I knew my husband was made of the good stuff.)

Once you’re past the age of “puppy love” and reach your mid 20’s and 30’s, you’ll want to start incorporating an anti-aging regimen into your routine (above and beyond SPF). But, to which brand should you give hundreds of dollars every month? My suggestion is to skip the $50 serums and $70 creams and become familiar with the major categories of skincare ingredients so you can make better decisions.

You’ll need to know how your skin reacts to the various ingredients in the marketplace. Does one ingredient make you peel or breakout? Retinol is a star ingredient but can irritate skin. Do you need a buffer ingredient in there, or do you just need to start with a lower dose of it? To put a point on it, my husband does irritate me a little bit. Well, actually a lot. But he’s shown his value over long term use, and he’s certainly evened me out.

All of this knowledge will help you determine if you’re buying cosmetics for substance or form. You’ll know if you’re buying a fancy product made of junk. Maybe the packaging is so cute you cannot resist, but if you hand over your money knowingly, no problem! Similarly, if that guy you’re ogling is eye candy but fresh out of Rikers Island for arson, at least know upfront what you’re getting into. However if he’s fresh out of Rikers for internet piracy or tax evasion, maybe you have a winner after all– those are smart people crimes, right? (kidding!)

derma e Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A Glycolic Toner and Cotz Face Cream SPF 40
derma e Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A Glycolic Toner and Cotz Face Cream SPF 40

Getting back to my 9 “forever” products, I’ll talk about 2 in particular today: Cotz Face Natural Skin Tone SPF 40, 1.5 Ounce, and derma e Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A Glycolic Toner, 6-Ounce, beginning with derma e.

The reality is we buy many different products that target our different concerns, but we may just need one or two products. We want to prevent or reverse aging/ wrinkles; exfoliate; clear pores/ prevent acne/ refine skin; and moisturize.

If you look for some power players you can mix and match ingredients like a pro. Look for these 4 acids that show up in all sorts of serums, toners, masks, lotions, and creams.

Retinoic acid (often masquerading as Vitamin A, retinyl palmitate, or retinol in cosmetic form) - anti-wrinkle, exfoliating, pore refining, skin softening
Lactic acid (sometimes called or part of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) combos and sometimes on ingredient list as an actual fruit (like papaya) extract) - exfoliating, pore refining, good for tough jobs like feet and elbows
Glycolic acid (sometimes called or part of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) combos) - anti-wrinkle, exfoliating, pore refining - works on the upper layer of skin to break it down and therefore soften scars, evens pigment, and refines
Salicylic acid (from willow bark, derived from same source as aspirin) - pore refining, acne preventing and clearing - also works on top layers of skin

When you’re buying a cream or lotion you’ll also want to look at the moisturizing ingredients, or emollients.

Emollient - a broad term used for ingredients that moisturize or seem to moisturize - it's important to know the difference between a barrier and a true nourishing moisturizer.
Barriers - keeps water from getting in or out: beeswax; petroleum/ mineral oil/ paraffin
Moisturizers - sunflower oil (helianthus annuus), castor oil (ricinus communis), glycerin, aloe, shea butter, cocoa butter, or many other natural oils or butters

derma e Toner costs around $9 for 6 oz (I’m on “subscribe and save”). I use this toner on my face, upper arms and decollete, to smooth and clarify. It helps to get rid of upper arm bumps, uneven skin, rough skin, and helps treat my wrinkles. It leaves my skin so smooth and contains at least 5 power ingredients (bolded):

Ingredients: Purified water (aqua), glycerin, propanediol, polysorbate 20, glycolic acid, retinyl palmitate (vitamin A), panthenol (provitamin B5), hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) extract, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, carica papaya (papaya) fruit extract, macrocystis pyrifera (sea kelp) extract, organic chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract (.5%), organic aloe barbadensis leaf extract (.1%), polysorbate 60, potassium sorbate, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin, floral fragrance.

Sidebar: I want to point out that some brands use more than just the standard retinol, glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salcylic acid. I'm thinking of brands like RéVive, Sisley-Paris, La Prairie, SK-II, etc. Once you get to that level of quality you're better off heading to Bergdorf Goodman's instead of Amazon.com anyhow!
Cotz Face Natural Skin Tone SPF 40, 1.5 Ounce
Cotz Face Natural Skin Tone SPF 40, 1.5 Ounce

Next let’s look at Cotz Face Natural Skin Tone SPF 40, 1.5 Ounce. This is $15 for 1.5 oz (again using “subscribe and save”). I just don’t know why this product isn’t talked about everywhere. It’s a do it all day cream. If it were packaged up with pizzazz it could sell for 5x its current price.

Cotz swatched thickly (left) and blended out (right) - natural light
Cotz swatched thickly (left) and blended out (right) – natural light

Here is what I use it for daily: my daily moisturizer (note it doesn’t have a true emollient so you may need a face oil or light lotion first or put it on when your skin is still damp from the shower), primer (the ingredients ending in “cone”), SPF (titantium and zinc oxides- physical sun blocks so no chemicals are needed), tone corrector and light base makeup (also courtesy of the titanium and zinc).

Prime, Protect, Correct, Color — Isn’t that what BB or CC cream is supposed to do? Oh, and Cotz’s ingredient list is short and sweet. All the ingredients are identifiable and justifiable.

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 8%, Zinc Oxide 3.8%. Inactive Ingredients: Alumina,Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crossspolymer, Dimethiconol, Lauryl PEG/PPG 18/18 Methicone, Methicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone (May Contain Iron Oxide).

Trust me that I’ve bought and tried loads of luxe, premium, and drugstore products and shown my love by returning to Cotz. I’ve even spread Cotz on my lips as a balm in a pinch and put it on my kids’ faces as sunblock. Oh, I also skip eye cream and just use the Cotz!


The other 7 products shown in the beginning (Tend Skin, Heel Genius, Nivea A Kiss of Moisture, Perfect Formula Pink Gel Coat, Philosophy Purity Made Simple, and Atopalm cream) deserve time in a post, too. But remember, it’s my anniversary and now I’ve got to get prettied up for my “forever” man!

Have a great day! But first please leave me some comments or feedback.

Ciao!

-JGG

–These products were chosen, purchased, and paid for in full by me, Jackie. However this post contains an affiliate link or links so that I may make a few dollars or cents for all my hard work!  For more information please see this page.–

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