Hookay- so, my skin. It doesn’t like stress. (And, probably, neither does yours.) In the days and weeks leading up to my wedding, I was doing everything I was “supposed” to be doing: Getting errands handled, eating well, exercising, drinking plenty of water, sleeping lots, following my usual skincare regimen with unwavering devotion, etc. And yet, somehow, my skin still looked… off. No mountains of blemishes or anything, just… it did not look good. My skin was dull, creased, kind of flaky and generally lifeless-looking. I was all, “what’s the deal? I’m about to marry my best friend (who happens to be the cutest, sweetest guy in the whole world). I’m supposed to be all glowy and Kate Winslet-looking right about now, so why do I look like the chalky, silten MAC-residue left in the sink after Christina Aguilera washes her face at night?”

Look at her. Seriously. I want to hold her down and pour makeup remover on her mug like I’m putting out a fire. Stop, drop,and roll, Christina, right onto this dropcloth made of Olay Daily Facials.

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I was doing everything “right”, so it was truly perplexing trying to figure out where I was going wrong with my skin. Normally, I’d play around with toner levels and ramp up or scale back the aspirin masks, but with only a few days to go until the most photographed day of my life, I did not have time to fuck around. Little did I know that my saving grace would be the most ubiquitous, most head-slappingly obvious beauty product of all time.

Fucking Pond’s Cold Cream.

Yeah. I don’t know how I wandered my way back to this stuff, but I’m sure glad I did. Overcleaning was probably the culprit behind my dull skin, and no amount of troweling on my retardedly expensive Lancome moisturizer was going to fix it. I swear, I wanted to hurl that overpriced plastic jar across the room. “Why isn’t this shit working?! I plop down nearly a whole paycheck of my hard-earned American middle-class dollars and THAT ONE (*points at Lancome jar*) decides to crap out on me! This moisturizer has a fancy department store pedigree, so it doesn’t understand the struggles of Real Americans (TM)! This moisturizer is an elitist!” After my townhall-style tantrum in the bathroom, it occurred to me that maybe *I* was the problem. It had been getting colder and drier out for weeks, but I was still following my regimen from the summer. Oops!

With no time to research a new product on Makeupalley or drive the hour drive to Ulta and Sephora, I was left trying to remedy my beauty crisis with only what Rite Aid could provide. Which, as it turns out, is pretty OK. As quick as I am to pooh-pooh drugstore products like St. Ives Apricot Scrub (seriously- horrible!), Cover Girl foundation, and certain Aveeno day lotions, I tend to forget that not everything that can be procured from a Wal-Mart shelf is all bad. Some of my favorite things have humble origins:

Johnson’s Baby Oil Gel (thanks be to Trixie for the recommendation)

Caress Exotic Oil Infusions body wash in Japanese and Moroccan

L’Oreal Bare Naturale mascara (review to come) and, of course, Pond’s Cold Cream

Notice, that in 3 of the above items, the key ingredient is OIL. I have the driest dry skin that ever parched on this planet, apparently. Of all of the things I could have inherited from my mom (decent boobs, a figure stuck on “Perma-Zero” even after 3 kids, those 2 extra inches of height), all I got was this thin, dry, crepe-y skin. Thanks, Ma! Anyway, given that I know I’ve got delicate Irish skin, I’m so not afraid to slather my skin in the cosmetic equivalent of axl grease to prevent flaking and aging. But, as I’ve said time & time again- what works for me may not work for you, as there are many types of skin out there. If you have greasy skin and know that using cold cream will result in Undead Mutant Zits From Hell, then by all means ignore my suggestions. However, if your skin is normal or combination OR if you have oily skin and aren’t scared- try using some cold cream instead of cleanser for a few days. It only took 3 days of using Ponds for my skin to make a complete turnaround- from dull to dewy. Practically overnight. Here’s how:

1. First, splash face with warm water to begin the loosening of the makeup and to open the pores a bit

2. Then, with clean hands, get a dime-sized amount of cold cream out of the jar.

3. Smooth onto face & neck, rubbing in for about 30 seconds.

4. Take a clean, soft washcloth and run very warm (but not quite hot) water onto it.

5. Squeeze out excess moisture and press the warm washcloth onto the face without rubbing or pulling too much

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 two or three times or until all cold cream residue is removed.

7. Pat dry and follow with toner on breakout or blackhead-prone areas.

8. Finish by patting in moisturizer.

9. Only wash your face once per day- in the evening. Overcleaning is a hard habit to break, but you really only need to wash once.

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For some gals that like to kick it old school, the use of cold cream is a given. But for those of us who’ve been brought up on newfangled cosmetic lore, where everything we saw advertised as teens relied on the phrase “oil free”, a product in which mineral oil is the #1 ingredient is kind of a hard sell. It defies all conventional wisdom about skincare, really. Mineral oil is a hardcore irritant and I can’t abide it in anything else, but my skin absolutely loooooves Pond’s Cold Cream. At this point, I’m just going to try to ignore the ingredients list and convince myself that it’s an exception-to-the-rule of a product made by magical elves and delivered to store via sparkling winged ponies. If the bright, clear, dewy, lovely skin I’m sporting right now really is the result of PCC and not newlywedded bliss, then this stuff will not leave my side all winter.

What are your failsafe beauty rescue products? Do you use PCC? Tell me about it in the comments!

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