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Magnifying mirror on the way, who's the fairest of them all?

I've been slathering anti-aging creams on my face since the day I stopped mopping it with astringents to control acne.

That's been about ... well, let's just say decades.

Oil of Olay was what I first used. The Queen of Moisturizers. That was back in the day when she stood alone on a shelf next to Jergens hand lotion, Pond's Cold Cream and Johnson's Baby Oil.

The Big 4 of slick stuff.

To this day, I can't pick up a bottle of Oil of Olay without thinking to myself "Oil of Old Lady" and getting a kick out of it, especially now that I am an old(er) lady.

Expensive cosmetic creams, like expensive shampoos, are a heavenly luxury. Whether they are luxurious enough to warrant the cost depends on how much money I (don't) have in a given week.

While I can't put "makeup expert" on my business cards, I'd say ... well, decades of applying things to my face makes me exactly that.

My morning routine is always the same. I do this in one of those makeup mirrors with an extendable arm that a man who loved me bolted to the wall next to the sink.

• First I take off yesterday's makeup with the most expensive product I buy: Lancome's Bi-Facil makeup remover. At $28 a bottle, it's expensive but not expensive enough to qualify me for the "Free Gift With Purchase of $35 or More" promotions. (By design, I'm sure. I just growl and buy two.)

• Then comes the face cream(s). I use the best (the most expensive, which is usually the sample size out of my Free Gift) under the eyes and in my smile lines. Brown-spot fader on my cheeks, and then I apply whatever I happen to have. (Clinique if I have any left from my birthday gift, or whatever was on sale at the drugstore if I don't.)

• I brush my eyelids with just enough eye shadow — greenish, usually — to hold on the eyeliner.

• Then, the most important part: eyeliner, a medium-thick line drawn as close to my lashes as possible with a jet-black kohl crayon sharpened to a point. (I know it's old-school, but hey, so am I.)

• Two coats of a mascara that called out to me from the store shelf with words like "jumbo" or "plumping" or "voluminous."

• And sometimes, if I'm in the mood, lip stuff ... stain or gloss but never, ever that gets-all-over-everything lipstick.

Voila. I am ready to be seen in public.

I know that some of the above might make you cringe — if not the stuck-in-the-'80s eyeliner, then the words "yesterday's makeup." But I stand by my practice of only washing my face when necessary to preserve the small quantity of natural oils I still have. (If I'm crazy, then so is actress Salma Hayek. She's a nonwasher, too. Then again, she is just in her mid 40s. The practice could catch up with her in the next decade.)

Do you have any odd beauty habits? Tell me.

Tell me about your beauty regimen — yes, you men, too — and I'll use what you tell me in an upcoming issue of LifeTimes. We're all looking for tips to staying beautiful, right? (Or, if not, we're all looking to read what works for others.)

Send them to pewald@ tampabay.com and please put BEAUTY in the subject line.

The test

Companies are always looking for the latest, greatest way to keep us looking young.

In the past few months, I was able to sample — with surprising results — two products making news for their innovation. There really was a noticeable improvement in my skin, especially around my eyes (even though they are not specifically designed for that area).

Both lotions start with natural components — DermaLastyl-B with skin cells and LifeLine products with non-embryonic stem cells — to kick-start our skin to heal itself. Beware: They are a tad expensive.

DERMALASTYL-B INFUSION THERAPY

• Its magic bullet: tropoelastin, a protein produced by skin cells and found in connective tissues.

• How it works: The active ingredient encourages skin to produce a synthetic elastin that integrates itself with your skin to restore its youthful look and feel. As we age, elastin begins to break down. The result: wrinkles.

• Wrinkle-rid rating: 9 out of 10

• Price: $89 for a two-month supply at dermalastyl.com

LIFELINE DEFENSIVE DAY MOISTURE SERUM

AND RECOVERY NIGHT MOISTURE SERUM

• Its magic bullet: Human stem cell extracts from unfertilized eggs. The company emphasizes that it maintains a pro-life position and does not use embryos (eggs that have been fertilized).

• How it works: Protein extracts from skin cells (peptides, amino acids, enzymes and growth factors) stimulate the skin's ability to protect and renew itself, replace damaged collagen fibers — and cause a proliferation of new skin cells.

• Wrinkle-rid rating: 9 out of 10

• Price: $340 for a 40-day supply at lifelineskincare.com

Magnifying mirror on the way, who's the fairest of them all? 01/22/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 12:40pm]

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