About Me

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I'm a mom, a wife, a best friend. Sick with CFIDS/ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia since 1975 as a result of a nasty flu while still in grad school, it wasn't until the late '80's that I received a diagnosis. Until that flu I'd never really been ill before. With each year I get progressively worse and add to the bucket load of symptoms I'm living with. I've been blessed with an incredible family and best friend who've stayed with me through my struggles as we continue to find a way out of this monstrous illness and its complications. We've tried seemingly every approach to find my way back to health. Often I think our best weapon in this undesirable and unasked-for adventure has been laughter.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Beauty products and "The Suitcase Test"

When you travel half-way round the world - literally - and realize that you really need to scale down what you're going to carry with you, it makes one realize just which products you really love, rely on, and can't do without. With me, the obvious are Dove soap, which I've used religiously since high school, and Créme de LaMer, which I've used as often as I'm up to it, since at least 1996.

I do always love to experiment with other products, some successfully, some not. Since I've started this year's resolution to look "more human" (darling hubby would quibble about that but he just doesn't get a woman's need and desire to look the best she can and besides, as I believe he's still in love with me, he thinks I look good all the time - gag!), I've tried a lot of new beauty products. I'm trying hard to at least give myself a psychological triumph over the constant battle with CFIDS/ME/fibro. And since I started this blog and it's taken a decided beauty direction (who wants to read about lumbar punctures, migraines, BP regulation problems, endocrinological concerns, etc, right?), I've tried even MORE beauty products.

The interior of the Petronas Towers

So, I thought I'd mention a few products that have become firm favorites of mine, which passed "The Suitcase Test":

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanse:

I've already mentioned this product but I wanted you to know just how much I really do love it. I find that I use it anytime I do not want to think about experimentation and want to go into automatic pilot - usually! - or when I know my face needs some TLC, yet a good scrub. I definitely wanted it on this trip and have used it twice daily since arriving. You apply it to your dry face (that took a bit of getting used to, I must say!) and it's so gentle that you can spread it all through your eye area and it will dissolve all eye makeup. After that, getting rid of anything else on your face is a breeze! A muslin cloth is used to wash off all the mess and as you take it off, the bit of "texture" from the cloth works to gently exfoliate your skin. I took my large bottle with me, not bothering with decanting into a smaller pot...I knew I'd consistently use it and couldn't be bothered with figuring out how much I'd need. It's a bit difficult to find and I've ordered Liz Earle's prize-winning products through the Liz Earle USA website. The Brits have absolutely gorgeous skin, so I must admit I do have a bias toward using British skincare products, but I absolutely think going through the extra bit of trouble of ordering is really worth it. See my review here .

Alpha-H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid:

This is part of an Australian line of products that are also worth the trouble of hunting down. The description calls it an "overnight facial in a bottle” and for once the words are true, not hype. It "revitalises, firms and gives radiance in a single application." I find that it evens out the skin tone and since I have a few age spots and very old freckles, this has been really successful in terms of making them appear less prominent and truly making the skin more, well...radiant! I don't use a moisturizer after I apply this to my skin and for some reason my skin will produce just the right amount of moisture needed, all on its own. When I finally (!) got to my hotel room here in KL, the first thing I wanted to do after giving my face a good scrub was to apply the Liquid Gold. I knew it would address the slight dryness and dehydration I had (only "slight" thanks to the DYI facials I gave myself during the flights, as well as drinking tons of water). When I first started using the Liquid Gold, I bought the "beginner's kit," which included a prep that allowed your skin to get used to the glycolic acid gradually, but I think I could have gone straight into it, really. I normally use this every two or three nights, leaving it on overnight. Love it! I haven't found a source I'm enthralled with. I just order from a reputable place when there is a free international shipping promotion. Cultbeauty.com is one such source. (Ah! A rain is coming down. Perhaps I should stick myself out on the balcony for a nice moisturizing mist to work its magic! Whoops! Thunder and lightening: perhaps I'll stay in!)

Phytodefrisant Botanical Hair Relaxing Balm:

This has been around for quite some time and I cannot imagine what I'd do without it. I'm so paranoid about not having it when I get out of bathtub or running out, that I have about four or five tubes of it, stashed in overnight bags, each bathroom and in the back of my hair cabinet where "extras" of any products are kept. Given that I'd read that KL is humid, I was so paranoid about forgetting to take this product that I found that I'd somehow stashed TWO tubes in my luggage. (Fibro-brain, anyone?)

This relaxing balm has not only won countless beauty awards, but like my beloved LaMer, has even been put into at least one hall of fame in order to allow other products to have a chance of winning an award. I smear a bit of it all over my (very short) wet hair and since I started using it about twenty years ago, I have no frizz problems, even when my hair was a bit long. It does have silicone in it*, I believe, or something that makes my scalp itch at times (this is definitely a CFIDS/ME problem, not a "normal" problem, because my scalp area has a tendency to swell up and I then need to take a medication that will bring down the swelling - a normal "water pill" doesn't help). At any rate, I avoid getting it on my scalp, just applying it to my hair, especially the areas that will get wet from sweating; often I look as if I've just gotten out of the shower, my hair is so wet after all the work involved in getting dressed, putting on the minimum of makeup and sunscreen. I can get surprizingly close to the roots with no added problems to the "swollen head" concern (oh, I can just hear the jokes!). It works so well, I don't care WHAT it has in it but luckily, all Phyto products are botanically based. I buy mine at drugstore.com (at the beauty.com part) and it last forever since such a small amount is needed.

I'll be experimenting with cosmetics today, hopefully, as I continue to rest up after this trip and try to build up as much energy as possible for the shopping of an appropriate dress for the wedding, as well the for the wedding itself. I realized I needed to know exactly which cosmetics I'd wear on the big day, no fooling around at the last minute, which robs one of said precious energy. I'll let you know which of my favorites make the cut!

Until then, I hope everyone is feeling as well as can be!

*CORRECTION: It doesn't appear that there is any silicone in the Phyto.


  1. Sounds like you're hanging in there! I'm hoping you find the perfect dress and enjoy the wedding very much!

    1. Thanks, Martha! And I'll let you know how it goes with the dress!
      Irene xx