As the weather turns grayer and dryer by the day, our skin takes quite a toll. It’s around this time of year that my complexion seems to get splotchy, dry and overall a complete disaster. Luckily, over the course of my time at Cornell I’ve tested just about every facial moisturizer under the sun (or clouds, in Ithaca’s case). Before heading off to college, my mother endowed me with the largest bottle Clinique produces of their Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. It had been her staple beauty product since just about forever and kept her skin dewey and wrinkle-free, so I figured it’d be the best product for me. While it did in fact keep my skin moisturized until about December, after that I started to require a thicker and more powerful lotion. Apparently, the Ithaca wind / cold / snow combination was no match for my bright-yellow moisturizer. — $24 for 4.2 oz.
After quickly realizing that Ithaca did not exactly have the type of beauty store I was looking for, I quickly headed to Target in search of a new moisturizer. The moist obvious, and heavily advertised, choice was Neutrogena. The Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer comes in a variety of SPFs, which is perfect for those of us who don't want to have wrinkly pug faces by the time we are 30 (orange girls who constantly use the tanning beds, this moisturizer is not for you). While the Neutrogena was certainly affordable, and easy to replace (it’s sold just about everywhere, even Wegmans), the relatively thin formula just didn’t cut it, and I switched back to the Clinique until a better option could be located. — $10.99 for 1.7 oz.
Eventually, I found the magical aisle in Target that sells higher end beauty products. And with that discovery, I found Kiehl’s Abyssine Cream. Abyssine is apparently some magical little ocean molecule that does wonderful things for your skin. While Abyssine Cream is made for women explicitly trying to prevent or smooth wrinkles, given that I would like to have smooth skin forever, I decided to give it a try. While the application was a bit annoying (no pump!), the lotion worked wonders on my skin. The only downside: Sometimes, it would hurt. Beyond a little tingle, every once in a while, after applying the lotion, my skin would sting. Badly. Maybe it is just my skin, but after several of these painful episodes, I decided that the miracle cream wasn’t worth it. And so, sadly, I began the search for a new lotion. — $42 for 1.69 oz.
It wasn’t until this past summer that I gave up my pride and asked a fantistically flamboyant male Sephora worker what to do. The unusually wet New York City summer was wreaking havoc on my skin — dry patches here, normal patches there. My collection of moisturizers couldn’t keep up. And the Sephora man produced a bit of a miracle: the aptly named Hope in a Jar, by Philosophy. While I love Philosophy body washes, I had never thought to try their moisturizers, which is regrettable. This stuff was like liquid gold. While it didn’t have a pump, it went on smooth and cured all of my skin problems after several applications. I am now hooked, as is my mother (I finally got her to relinquish her Clinique, after decades). When the Ithaca weather worsens (yes, it does get much, much worse), this stuff will do the trick for your precious face. Trust me. — $38 for 2 oz.
The Verdict: Hope in a Jar doesn’t lie — in fact, “Miracle in a Jar” wouldn’t be a stretch. The best moisturizer I’ve ever used.