A blog about the never ending search for the absolute best—rather than the most hyped—products for our skin, which is the largest organ in our body and the only one we can see and touch (try doing that with your liver).

And I am qualified to write about this topic…why? Because even as a four-year-old kid, skincare was important in my life.  I was plagued with Atopic Eczema, which means that my skin was highly allergic in a very nasty way. You don’t want to know about weeping sores and tiny clouds of floating skin when my undershirt was pulled over my head (I told you, you wouldn’t want to know).

Fortunately the condition had become somewhat milder by the time I became a beauty-obsessed teenager, soon to morph into a photographic model in first Toronto, then Paris, LA, and New York. Working for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Ladies Home J, Cosmopolitan, Look Magazine, etc., I began to take make-up and skin care slightly more seriously. 

Make-up has always been an art form for me.  I was my own painted creation. I observed the same phenomenon in at least one of my two teenage daughters before she found her career path.  I understand that some people will scoff when I refer to make-up an “art form,” I might have done it myself, except that now that I paint, particularly portraits, I realize how much I owe to the gooey make-up skills, and years of finely attuned observation of color, shape, and detail, which I acquired as a model—who happened also to appreciate art.

The most highly paid make-up men (and they were almost exclusively male at the time) in the business were very glad for me to do my own make-up, even for the most important Revlon cosmetic and Vogue editorial shoots.  They were well paid no matter who applied the make-up, and they got the credit. The late Wayne Bandy was the only make-up artist who could make me look better than I could. (I’ll try to locate an unretouched photo from one of our shoots for you to judge, but much has been lost or destroyed in moving, and in not one, but two floods.)

I never had the opportunity to work with Kevyn Aucoin, whose skill and artistry I came to admire in print (check out his books). Stan Winston and I often worked together for Revlon and we got along well.  He was a really nice guy, but not a great cosmetic artist, and in fact, left the make-up business in New York to move back to California, where he achieved HUGE success in Hollywood, winning 4 Academy Awards creating monsters and space beings!

At the peak of my modeling career I began to really focus on my skin. I had already noticed that the biggest companies sold hugely marked-up and lavishly marketed junk! not to mention toxic chemicals. They still do, although they now add a few “botanicals” to the mix, and they have thoroughly beaten and tortured the concept of “natural” to death.  In the sixties the cosmetic industry had virtually no awareness of the commercial potential of organic products, and were only beginning to misuse the word “natural.”  It was my direct experience that they did not want to know about such things. 

I read about and experimented with every skin care product I could get my hands on, settling on whatever offered the greatest benefit to me as a model. Doctor Erno Lazlo’s expensive products in their then unusual grey and black plastic jars proved extremely effective in preparing the canvas, my face, for paint, i.e. make-up. (See my short story, Snakes.)

Though modeling is far behind me, I continue to experiment with make-up and skin care products, preferably organic, but always in the direction of greater purity along with effectiveness. The question is: If I ever find a magic bullet product that does everything I want, and none of the things I don’t want, will I use it even if it’s non-organic?  Will purity win out over vanity? I sure hope so, but the jury is still out on that one. 

So far the absolute best single thing I’ve ever found to regenerate skin is ORGANIC and has been used for thousands and thousands of years!  It’s fabulously restorative, and not cheap.  But compared to the toxic junk out there, it is extremely good value, and I promise to tell you ALL about it as soon as Dosha Guru can make it available in our online store.

Let’s face it, most skin care lines that use either man-made chemicals or grown-by-God organic chemicals, are DISAPPOINTING!  I don’t care how much they cost, they don’t deliver on their promises!

Some things “kind of” work to moisturize, others are drying, and many are too greasy and stay on top of your skin, shining away until they rub off on your clothing or upholstery.  Shea Butter, for instance, is the new and improved version of Lanolin/Avocado/Mink/Coconut Oil of bygone days.  And let’s not forget highly touted Jojoba now that we have finally learned to pronounce it (Ho Ho Hoba).  But Shea Butter (butter as in what, grease?) is the latest favorite cheap product to foist upon us (though I admit that lately there have been some improvements in its delivery).  We’ve been thoroughly brainwashed with hype on each of these oils in their time, until inevitably, reality dawns as the vast ocean of consumers begins to catch on that the hype is a whole lot better than the product! It’s not that Shea Butter doesn’t have its use, as do Jojoba and Coconut oils, and maybe Lanolin is great for conditioning leather or something, although for several years now the big leather conditioning promotion is Mink Oil, which used to enjoy the claim of being an oh, so precious skin care ingredient to help moisturize.

We can go into the uses for various oils another time, but,at best, Shea Butter is useful mainly because it is a moisture barrier, keeping in whatever moisture you already have.  In blasting wind and freezing temperatures I encourage you to grab the best organic Shea products you can find and slather!  They are certainly better than that old petroleum by-product, Vaseline, which served the same purpose for over a hundred years before Shea Butter came on the market.

In terms of highly refined and esoteric knowledge of oils, Ayurveda, possesses a remarkable tradition of massage, called Abhyanga, for the purpose of purifying and balancing the doshas, using specific oils with different types of massage for each particular dosha imbalance. The appropriate oil can do a great deal more than merely help to moisturize and soften the skin.  For example, two of the many benefits of the specific use of oils in Ayurveda are the rejuvenation of both the mind and body, and extended longevity. Compared to these results, consider skin care might be considered a “side-benefit!”

I just bought a tiny vial of organic Argon Oil, a recently touted “magic” oil.  I’m not madly in love with it, but I think I like it.  (I’ll let you know when I’ve used it longer.)

*The real reason that I keep trying different products, is that even though I already know a few which are supreme and actually work, they are both expensive and difficult to find in the US.  So I’ll keep looking, and from now on, reporting in this blog.



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*Regarding petroleum by-products: I recently read that the gum part of ALL commercial chewing gum is now entirely made from a petroleum product. Aieeee!

See https://fakeplasticfish.com/2010/01/chewing-on-plastic-yum/ (among other sites) and check it out for yourself.