Put GOOP on your face: the best in drugstore beauty

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Tired of rich people and their blow-outs? Was that facialist (that I got on Groupon) right when she said I should be going monthly? Are those wrinkles, already?! Someone help! Enter Gwyneth Paltrow, and her latest blog post: The French Pharmacy. Yes, GP has a blog, called GOOP advising you what to do or buy. They are the most useless streams of information, especially for Brokesters. She gives a head’s up that the presidential suite at the Mandarin Oriental is really where you should stay when in Hong Kong. She doesn’t understand, um, money, or lack thereof. 

The French Pharmacy outlined Gwyneth’s favorite beauty products that she stocks up on when in France, or “asks friends to buy when they’re passing through.” My favorite recommendation is Alfalux Baume Levre, but if you don’t live near a Parisian pharmacy, then you have to live in your ignorant chapped life.

Instead, I took some polls from all the ladies in my e-mail contact book, as well as from different trusted BK spas and salons. Here is “The Brokelyn Pharmacy:”

Product Advice:

Cetaphil. ($10-12, found at any drugstore). This won an overwhelming amount of shout-outs. It’s also my personal go-to. It’s an ugly name and medicinal looking packaging, but proven to be a very clean, simple, effective moisturizer or cleanser.

CeraVe Moisturizer. ($12.99, drugstores). Very similar to Cetaphil, but for more sensitive skin. It’s veeeerrry smooth and light. It also soothes rashes. For both Cetaphil and CeraVe, go for the bulk sizes. They’re $3-5 more, and that’s about how many more months they’ll last.

Cocoa Butter scored high. You can get it on the street for $2, or $4 at Duane Reade in fancier packaging. Rub all over once a day for really smooth skin.

Speaking of: Coconut Oil, Food-Grade, from Whole Foods ($10). Slap some on your legs in the summer. You can guess the result.

Baking soda as an exfoliant. Yes. Baking soda. (Uh, $1.50? Anywhere). Mix it with either water or a gentle cleanser until it makes a paste, then use it just like any other exfoliant. Don’t scrub too hard. Your face will be soft and luscious and it’s NOT harsh on your skin like almost every single other exfoliant.

Burt’s Bees ($3-15, anywhere). It’s not a secret, but it’s not a marketing ploy like some of ’em. It’s all plant-based, and this stuff works. Especially the lip stuff. (oh, but beware of the Lifeguard one — it doesn’t look cute).

Clarisonic had this face brush that was going for $200. Everyone wanted it, only Gwen and friends could afford it. BUT Oil of Olay just came out with one for $29; allegedly it cleans pores 6x better than washing with your finger tips.

Now, there is one item that Gwen included in her GOOP that I actually want to buy. It’s Klorane Dry Shampoo, and it’s on Amazon for $20 (Gwen probably doesn’t know that, shhhh, she’ll have to ask Beyonce to pick her up some on her next tour). I’m always looking for a good way to hide unwashed hair. Baby powder works, and of course that’s cheap, but I’ve been doing that for a long time; I’m tired of smelling like a baby’s butt.

Tips from Professionals:

Use a Skin Brush ($5). “Dry skin brushing is not only great for removing dead skin cells but highly effective for lymph movement aiding in circulation and immune support.” This advice comes from a trusted homeopath. It’s also common sense, duh, get rid of that old skin,  and it has totally rejuvenated my skin this winter.

“Only wash your face with a cleanser twice a day at the most. After the gym, or mid-day, just use soap. The only thing worth really investing money in is a good moisturizer. It’s on your face all day.” Lily, facialist at Element Natural Healing, Cobble Hill.

“Never, never go to bed with make-up on.” Marsha, at Cynergy Spa, Fort Greene. Cynergy also sells and recommends DCL (“affordable and effective,” Marsha says.)

“An anti-aging tip: apply sunscreen as your last step in the morning, and always incorporate Vitamin C in your daily skin care regimen. Vitamin C also stimulates collagen reproduction and lighten and brightens skin for a more even tone.” Holly Graham, esthetician at Slope Suds, Park Slope. FYI: In the winter, the sun is closer to the earth and its rays are even stronger, so don’t think you only need sunscreen when you’re on the beach.

Word on the Street/Try if you Dare:

Hemorrhoid Cream: Good for puffy eyes, and make-up artists say it hydrates your skin and can give you that dewy look. It also helps your make up to blend more naturally.

Good jelly or jam mixed with honey, microwave for 20 seconds. Apply to face and you get a fruit acid peel. That’s what a good hippie facialist will tell you to do if you can’t afford their expensive stuff. Also: avocados and honey. Smooth results. And it isn’t so bad if you accidentally get some in your mouth.

Toothpaste on zits.

No-Doze. A 60-year-old woman with 30-year-old (looking) skin told me her secret is to put a few capsules of No-Doze in water, let it dissolve, and pat on your face every morning. The caffeine rejuvinates your skin and repairs sun damage. I’m going to try it. I’ll get back to you in 30 years. I have no research to back this up. I just know what this woman’s skin looked like, it was amazing, and that’s why I titled this section “try if you dare.” Do you want to avoid wrinkles or not?!



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  1. Fantastic. Any recommendations (from anyone) for a facial sunscreen with at least 15 SPF that isn’t super-expensive?

  2. People generally think I look younger than I am, but I also have very sensitive skin. My best advice is to be careful with shampoos. I think many wreck your facial skin as you shower, and you don’t even realize it. Other than that, I eat a piece of fruit at every meal and never smoked. I drink here and there, but far less than many people. I tend to wear a foundation that has SPF mixed with a little Roche-Posay moisturizer every day (a little pricey for a drug store at $20 , but way cheaper than other goop. I also use their scrub. Everything else at drugstiores including the Cetaphil line wasn’t working me. For summer days, I’ll put on a little of a push up stick sunscreen (looks like a deodorant). R-P sun products don’t work on my face. I liked Sea & Skin but never see it.

  3. I agree with Holly, the Aveeno moisturizer with sunscreen is gentle and very well priced. I’ve been using the Treseme dry shampoo ($5) and like it a lot. I wash my hair less often which has made my color last longer.

  4. The best insider tip I’ve ever heard is from a friend of mine who is a makeup artist and says that the anti-chafe gel that Monistat sells has almost identical ingredients as a smashbox primer that costs ten times the price. Put a penny sized blob on your face before foundation to diffuse small lines and fill in pores.

  5. I didn’t make it past the part about Gwyneth when I stopped to post this on FB:” See! I knew I’ve been right to be annoyed by Gwyneth. I went nuts when she was in Nashville filming “Country Strong” and went on and on in the papers not about how great the people were, not how moved she was by the thousands of dedicated musicians and songwriters were who toiled each day to keep a roof over their head in the name of their art, but how delightful the (high-end)shopping and (high-end) restaurants were- places most of us couldn’t get a job at. The WORST was seeing the ad for her movie sprawled across the city busses I was boarding-my cross to bear.”  A recent Nashville to NYC musician transplant. Ok, now I will read the rest of your great post.

  6. Please remember that not only americans read her website. I live in central Europe and the French pharmacy post was one of my favorite! I can get all the products in pharmacies, drug stores, online and via friends. The products are not cheap but also not ridiculously expensive. I’m a college student and can afford them! And they are working very well, my skin is better than ever. Also: gp included a list of products that are available in the US as well.

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