Vanity + Wearables

Since you asked…

Every time I post a photo of myself, someone inevitably comments on my supposedly “lovely” skin. Whenever this happens, I immediately feel embarrassed and ashamed for even taking the photo in the first place. I feel like a fraud. An impostor. Like someone playing the part of a girl with nice skin. I deny, deny, deny…and then I change the subject.

No one is ever going to see me in person and compliment me on my skin. Ever. Trust me. On a good day I’m invisible, and on a bad day I’m a troll. Honest.

See, here’s the thing: I’m not going to put a photo of my myself with full-on trollface on the internet. Why would I? Isn’t the beauty (pun intended) of the internet—and of digital photography—that you can represent yourself visually in the best possible way? The truth is that I hate having my photo taken by other people. It literally makes me feel nauseous, especially when the photo is being taken with a camera other than my own, and I know I won’t be able to control its destination. If I could get away with wearing a surgical mask and sunglasses in public at all times, believe me, I would.

I don’t take photos of myself on bad days. I wear makeup. I take photos in good light (this is why so many of my pictures are set in the bathroom at my office—the fluorescents in there are weirdly flattering). And, if anything still looks bad, I take full advantage of Photoshop.

There’s still real life, though, and until I achieve my dream of being a brain in a jar capable still of communicating (don’t try to tell me it’s not possible), I do what I can to keep my skin looking at acceptable and non-trollish as I possibly can.


This isn’t even everything. I actually put a few items back in the cabinet because I was so embarrassed by the sheer number of bottles and jars.

Like Martha Stewart, I’m kind of obsessed with Mario Badescu products. There’s a product for just about every skin type and condition you can think of, and the amazing thing is that it all works. I know I sound like a shill here, but I swear on my dogs that no one is paying me or compensating me in any way. If you have grouchy skin and you’re not happy with your current skin care regimen, go fill out this questionnaire. In a few days, you’ll get an email with product recommendations and an offer to get a bunch of free samples. Take the samples. They are generous enough to really be able to tell if a product is going to work for you.

It’s really, really hard to recommend skin care products. Body chemistry from one person to the next is so different, and there are just so many variables that will cause us to react in our own ways to different things. Skin is so personal. I actually still feel terribly for recommending Mario Badescu products to a friend who wound up not getting the great results that I have, but at least she was able to return most of what she’d bought (hooray for great customer service!).

My own skin can vary wildly from excessively oily to very dry from day to day, and is often a combination of the two. I’m prone to breakouts, and during hot weather, I get patches of acne rosacea on my cheeks. Stress, dehydration, lack of sleep, and too much sugar have a really bad effect on my complexion. My experiences with prescription dermatological products have been very bad. In general, I find that the gentlest products with the shortest lists of ingredients tend to have the best effect on my skin.

In addition to the wheelbarrow of Mario Badescu stuff (which, I should note, I don’t use all at once—I vary products depending on the current state of my skin and its needs), I also really like Kiehl’s Supremely Gentle Eye Make-up Remover and Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado. I’ve been doing a trial run with Philosophy When Hope is Not Enough serum at night (I got a free sample), and so far, it’s nice. Whether I still like it a month from now is another story, though, so the jury is still out.

In general, though, things have been looking okay lately. Not perfect, but okay. I’ll take what I can get.

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  • Reply Lori November 22, 2010 at 11:47 am

    I’ve been meaning to try some Mario Badescu products so thanks for the heads up about the questionnaire and samples. I have rosacea and my cheeks are in a perpetual state of redness. I saw some recommendations online for the healing cream and I see it in your picture. Is is really helpful? I’m in agreement with you about dermatological products not helping so I’m always on the lookout for gentle products that will calm my redness and cut down on oiliness.

    I also feel exactly the same about photos…thank goodness for Photoshop!!

  • Reply megan November 22, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Right on time. I just started the Oil Cleansing Method this weekend; 50% castor, 50% grapeseed and while I’m hoping it works the wonders my homegirls say it does, I’m a little nervous about putting oil directly onto my face. I’ve read about MB products and had forgotten the name. I’ll give OCM a month and see how it fares. I also plan to buy that ridiculously expensive serum. I found my first wrinkle and I am not pleased.

    • Anna @ D16 November 22, 2010 at 11:56 am

      My experience with the OCM was not positive, sadly. I tried for months to make it work for me, but I just wound up with really congested pores and really dirty washcloths. Some people have amazing results, though!!

  • Reply amymezzell November 22, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Thank you for posting this! I love your more personal entries just because I love anything that makes me feel like I know someone better. Also, I have already visited the website and saved their recommendations on my Favorites list. It’s not nearly as expensive as I assumed it would be; I can’t wait to order a few things! If it works, I’ll owe you forever. My skin sounds similar to yours, and nothing ever helps that much, including prescription meds.

  • Reply dew i November 22, 2010 at 11:59 am

    I go for facials at his place on east 52nd street.
    Have you gone in to his shop for a facial, if not you really must. It’s in a 1960’s apartment building lobby professional office.

    It ranks up there with a true old New york experience, the staff is all rude, brusque Russian women that do the facials.

    However, it is inexpensive for a NYC facial,and best facial you will ever get, it’s also irresistible that the place has ZERO glamour or pretense.

  • Reply SFDC November 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    I am also a MB devotee. My favorites ares the glycolic cleanser, the glycolic body wash, and of course the pink stuff! That’s how we refer to it at our house, anyway. The pink stuff is probably the best skin care product I’ve ever used, period.

  • Reply Kristin November 22, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Thanks! I’ve been experiencing a very odd & sudden occurrence of skin issues. I’ve always had “incredible skin” (so say others), but since I cut my hair to a pixie-ish cut from a long curly bob, I have dry scalp around my forehead, random little bumps & a constant dry feeling. It’s driving me bananas. I tried using some drugstore moisturizer after being on a YonKa regimen for years (can’t afford that anymore) but obviously that was a bad plan.

    I did the Mario Badescu questionnaire and while I doubt I’ll buy all of the stuff the recommend, I’ll start it out and hope it reverses these problems I’ve never had before!

  • Reply verhext November 22, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    The healing cream is actual genius. I’ve gotten horrid red scaly patches and it’s cleared it up overnight. I need to buy a new jar of it!

  • Reply Toni November 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    I would love to try out some of these products, especially the glycolic ones someone mentioned above. For now I use Alpha Hydrox products through because they are so affordable. Honestly, if I were better at sticking to any skincare regime I would probably cut down on breakouts.

    Thank you for your honest posts which I always really appreciate. (And oddly enough, I think the only other time I’ve commented on your blog was another time you were discussing beauty/skincare products.)

  • Reply TERI REES WANG November 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I’ve been well familiar with Mario Bedescu for years, but never have a tested out the entire line!… this is a good education.

    And yes, the simpler the list of ingredients the better, generally.
    The short list also has a shorter shelf life, so as long as it’s all being consumed with a few months, it should stay fresh.

    Lately, I have been using Bio oil on my face full time. It has seemed to settle everything down and even me out through all the weather changes.

    Food grade Castor oil is good all over the body, after the shower/bath while still wet.
    It is a thick, non-oily/non-lotion solution that soaks right in the skin and heals.

    Be well. Be swell. Be smart. Cheers!

  • Reply pennyrounds November 22, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing the Mario questionaire! I’m so excited to get the email with recommendations! 🙂

  • Reply Laurie November 22, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Too bad you put things away, I was just comparing my MB recommendation’s with your stash picture to see what might be worthwhile 🙂 drying cream?

    Currently I’m lazy and the only thing I use on my face is Neutrogena face wash and Eucerin Every Day Protection, which reminds me of your Nov 09 post on your makeup bag, I have randomly wondered since what happened with your mascara.

    • Anna @ D16 November 22, 2010 at 3:22 pm

      The Drying Cream is in the photo! It’s the jar on the bottom right. 🙂 The only things I put away were Enzyme Cleansing Gel, Drying Mask, and Whitening Mask.

      I’m still struggling to figure out the mascara problem. I’m currently using (and liking) Cover Girl Lash Blast in the orange tube, but I don’t want to keep buying from a company that does animal testing. When my current tube runs out, I’m going to try MAC.

    • chrispito November 22, 2010 at 8:41 pm

      anna, I hear you. (this is also why if i have fabulous photos of my friends, i email them immediately. hello? who doesn’t want a great picture of him or herself?)

      when i travel to tropical climates my skin is perfect and so is my hair. alas i live in canada. ha ha ha!

      the word ‘mascara’ piqued my interest. i’m still searching for something that doesn’t smear down my face. i’ve been looking since i was 12 and i’m 33 ffs!!

    • Anna @ D16 November 22, 2010 at 8:50 pm

      My mascara trials have been going on for YEARS. I curse the day that Diorshow stopped working for me.

    • AHJ November 22, 2010 at 10:00 pm

      Sephora does a great mascara. Waterproof in Noir is my go-to.

    • dew i November 23, 2010 at 8:39 am

      Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara.
      I worship this product!!

  • Reply elisabeth November 22, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Is it wrong of me to want to look at all of your skin care products, or really, to check out your makeup bag? I love your vanity posts and remember how much time, pre-motherhood, that I would spend on fixing my face each morning. Now, thanks to you, all I use is LM tinted moisturizer and lipstick/lip gloss. Nothing more (I have good skin and dont need much else! Or, so I like to tell myself.) I have gotten some very good tips from you! Really! So, I am thinking that who cares if you need products to make your skin look good, for many the products dont often give such good results. No need to apologize or feel like a fraud.

  • Reply elisabeth November 22, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    oh, i forgot to add, have you been to scandanavia house lately? they have tear drop mugs that i think you would like v. much, and some others too that you might fancy. and, oddly enough, it is a good place to go for dinner and if you go for a late lunch on weekend, the food is discounted! (although, maybe not now that you are full on vegan.)

    • Anna @ D16 November 22, 2010 at 3:27 pm

      Are these the tear drop mugs you’re thinking of? I have eight of them. 🙂

    • elisabeth November 22, 2010 at 3:31 pm

      Yes, and I did not realize that you had eight of them. Have some other pretty mugs as well. The place is all decked out for the holiday….you should go take a look.

    • Anna @ D16 November 22, 2010 at 3:40 pm

      I definitely should, you’re right—I just need more hours in my days. 🙂

  • Reply Suzanne November 22, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Have you ever tried rosehip or argan oil? I know you said you didn’t have any luck with the OCM, but I use literally two drops of each of these oils after cleansing, & my skin (combination) glows. The trick is to apply to damp skin so that you can distribute the oils easily. I started using them because I wanted to cut way down on the number of products I use; I also feel better about using them since they’re natural.

    • Anna @ D16 November 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm

      I’ve used rosehip oil in the past (no discernible effect), but never argan oil. I’ll look into it!

  • Reply chelsea November 22, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    I love your ability to be honest and straightforward.

    I have sort of the same issue with needing to use only very simple and gentle ingredients. After years of pretty much using the same routine and only suffering from the usual PMS-related breakout, I now have an ongoing battle with perioral dermatitis. The derms have blamed it on everything from strawberries and mangos to an allergy to my (now ex-) husband. I think its just as you said – Stress, dehydration, lack of sleep, and too much sugar, they all wreck me. Plus, at 34, having the hormones of a teenage boy probably don’t help. I think I’ve used some Mario Badescu before but given my new crop of challenges, I think I’ll give them another go-round. Already filled out my form:)

    • Anna @ D16 November 22, 2010 at 5:27 pm

      An allergy to your ex-husband?! My goodness!

      I’m sure this has been suggested to you already, but just in case, have you tried changing to an SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate)-free toothpaste? The DermaDoctor website has an article that might be helpful. There are a few other suggestions there as well…

    • chelsea November 23, 2010 at 8:10 pm

      yeah, some doctors are waaay tactful. Mind you, he jokingly said this while I was in the midst of my divorce. Oh the irony.

      Thanks for the link to the article – that’s one I hadn’t read yet! I did read about the toothpaste and SLS previously too. I have given up anything fluoridated and any products (even my shampoo) containing SLS. Basically, I use an eye-makeup remover and only water to cleanse my face. Aveeno’s sensitive skin moisturizer seems to be the best (and I’ve tried all the pricey stuff). Oddly, none of those very easy ideas were suggested by any of the derms I’ve seen – they’ve only pushed prescriptions.

      I did get my Mario Badescu suggested products response and I’m pretty interested in the results. Looking forward to trying some of them out!!

  • Reply jen November 22, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    thank you for the product tip! acne has been a struggle since i was 12, and at 36 i’m seriously tired of zits. especially the newest ones: giant cysts that appear during pms. i need something to fend them off, so i’m going to give mario a try!

    • Anna @ D16 November 22, 2010 at 7:07 pm

      Try the Buffering Lotion! It’s amazing for those horrible cysts!

  • Reply Kerrie November 22, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Thought you might find this interesting:

    This woman, Annie Leonard, is making great animated shorts about the life cycles of stuff. The cosmetics short is particularly disturbing, because it covers the lack of regulation in the industry and incredible number of toxins in health and beauty products. If you go to, you can look up the products to find out the ingredients and what they issues they are linked to…Mario Badescu is not there, but other products you’ve mentioned are (e.g., Essie, NARS and Philosophy) and some of their ingredients are linked to cancer and reproductive toxicity. I hope you’ll consider checking it out. I read Eating Animals on your recommendation and it has significantly changed my supermarket choices. As much as I love my product, it has been hard for me to keep paying for and using personal care products that have ingredients linked to cancer and reproductive toxicity while shopping at the farm market for organic and local foods.

    • Anna @ D16 November 22, 2010 at 8:11 pm

      Hi Kerrie, this might sound irrational, but the incredibly unprofessional, disorganized presentation of material on both of those websites ( in particular) makes it very hard to (a) actually find information and references in a usable manner, and (b) to find a level of believability greater than that in a mass-forwarded email hoax. Furthermore, I am EXTREMELY skeptical when it comes to website that are filled with referral links. Did you notice that EVERY PRODUCT (including the ones they call “hazardous”!) have embedded referral links, ensuring they get kickbacks from Amazon, etc., from every clickthrough? This is a very dubious practice. I’m amazed that they apparently have non-profit status!

      They also provide no information on the method of application, quantity, or level of absorption possible depending on the type and usage of product. These are very real factors that need to be considered. The presentation of their data is unscientific and uncompelling, and, in a number of cases, totally contradictory with other similar guides to “toxic cosmetics”—and even within their own website, which is disturbing.

      There is a LOT of money to be made by selling fear to a public wanting to protect the health of themselves and their loved ones, and I am extremely careful about falling prey to the agendas of this type of group.

      As someone with an autoimmune disorder of the nervous system, I’m well aware of chemical sensitivities and hyper-allergens that can have a devastating effect on the entire body, and I am working on being as conscious of what goes on my body as I am of what goes in. It’s a learning curve, to be sure, and I truly appreciate your input (I agree with you completely in theory, it’s only the references I take issue with). Please take my response not as an attack or criticism, but as a skeptical response from someone with an interest. 😉

    • Anna @ D16 November 22, 2010 at 8:16 pm

      FYI—you might find this interesting:

    • Kerrie November 23, 2010 at 6:04 pm

      Thanks, I’ll check it out. Certainly not offended. You raise some valid points and the issue is to important to have any conversations halted by ego. If you find anything else that is reliable on the subject, I hope you’ll share. Happy Thanksgiving.

  • Reply Juli November 22, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    Thanks for this post! I have been struggling to get a proper skin care regimen for years. I am afraid of most products out there because of all the chemicals that they use. I just don’t see how they can be helpful. That paired with super dry skin that breaks out with crazy deep pimples, I am at a loss. Totally going to look into this – it’s worth a shot!!!

    • Anna @ D16 November 22, 2010 at 8:52 pm

      The buffering lotion is AMAZING for the deep pimples, and the anti-acne serum is nicely moisturizing during the day if you tend to get dry. I also like to use the Healing Cream to sooth any redness that might come from overdrying. The only thing worse than a blemish is a blemish that’s dry and scaly!

    • Juli November 22, 2010 at 8:57 pm

      haha, I just did the questionnaire and now I want to buy everything! At least the price points aren’t bad. I spend way more on Vichy and Roche Posay and they aren’t doing a darn thing for me. And I have yet to find anything that works on those crazy pimples…thanks for the feedback. I know everyone’s different but it’s good to at least hear that it works on someone, so maybe it’ll work on me too!

  • Reply cajeta November 22, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    My skin was always oily and prone to redness and blemishes (from stress, pms, & touching my face). I noticed a dramatic shift in my skin after I started drinking 1-2 liters per day of “green smoothies” (as explained by Victoria Boutenko in her “Green for Life” books). Now, i’m not 100% raw, but I do believe that adding these home made green smoothies to your diet makes a big difference. Of course, you need an expensive blender and access to fresh greens and fruit, but if you can get past that then it is really amazing how these green smoothies affect your overall health (and skin)! I also buy natural oils & herbs from Mountain Rose ( i like avocado oil, sea buckthorn, & argan). in terms of cleansers, for morning I just use a TBL of my green smoothie and for night time I use a cleanser made in my blender using avocado (my skin loves avocado…apply it like a mask, let sit a bit, then wash). I apply the oils right before I shower (this keeps my skin from drying out, but does not leave it feeling oily). For daytime I use the Marie Veronique tinted sunscreen (which gets a very high sunscreen rating from EWG).
    I’ve heard the Aveda mascara is free of “bad stuff” and I want to try that one after my MAC runs out.

    • Anna @ D16 November 22, 2010 at 8:50 pm

      1-2 liters!! Wow. That’s a lot of smoothies! I’m a big fan of raw smoothies, too…I have one almost every night. My skin really loves avocado, too!

  • Reply L November 22, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    i always love these vanity posts, too. you’re the best, anna!

  • Reply RebeccaNYC November 23, 2010 at 12:58 am

    whoa mama, thats a lot of stuff. I am so minimalist I am ashamed. Baby Shampoo on a wash cloth to wash my face (it is soap free and removes waterproof mascara) hand lotion for moisture. Thats all. People compliment my skin all the time. Sheer genetics. But I hear you completely about not being able to take a compliment on your appearance…when someone says they think I am pretty, I usually make some self-deprecating remark along the lines of “oh yes, and I have the pictures to prove it!” because every photo of me is just a heartache. But my friends and family are kind, and they mean well. I just attempt to avoid photos. And seriously? I need to shut up and learn to say “Thank you” and mean it.

  • Reply mel November 23, 2010 at 3:56 am

    Thanks for the links above. I’m the same age as you, but I have the weirdest skin-oily, dry, starting to get fine lines, but still get beak-outs if I use ‘anti-aging’ products! So frustrating. I’m going to fill out the questionnaire ASAP! Thanks for always giving such helpful info 🙂

  • Reply Liz November 23, 2010 at 7:21 am

    I found Mario Badescu when you mentioned their products in an older post a while backc. My oldest son (18) struggles with acne. Bad. For about 3 years now. He was on antibiotics for 2-3 years. Finally, I said we were throwing in the towel. I didn’t feel good about the antibiotics and there really was no improvement. Enter MB, thanks to you! I ordered him several products and while I can’t claim a miraculous healing, his skin does look better. Acne removal is a slow process, especially given the severity of his. He’s been great about doing all the various steps (not something a teenage boy gets into) and I do think his skin is improving. I’ve been meaning to comment and thank you for a few weeks now and here you are today talking MB! I can’t thank you enough. You are wonderful and generous with your information, projects, and observations. Have a lovely Thanksgiving.

  • Reply emily @ thirtyeight20 November 23, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Funny, about 12 hours before you posted this, I did a search to find the post you did several months ago about your facial products. I have very sensitive skin, so I’ve been doing research about healthier/more natural skin care products. I figured as a vegan you might have some good recommendations and couldn’t remember what they were. Then you posted this the next morning. Uncanny timing.

    I’m trying avoid petroleum-based products, and so many go-to products for dry skin have some petroleum derivative or another in them. And after looking up my usual skin care regimen on (that will make you paranoid fast!), I’ve decided to avoid a lot of other harmful chemicals as much as possible as well. I’m becoming more and more hesitant to put things on my skin that aren’t safe to ingest. So I’m starting a new regimen of non-comedogenic oils, avocado, gentle sugar exfoliation and other super hippy-sounding things. I’m sure I’ll be tweaking things as I go, but you have to start somewhere.

    Thanks for sharing your secrets, and brilliant movie reference!

    • Anna @ D16 November 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm

      I don’t think I ever did a post about skin care products before! Cosmetics, yes (about a year ago), but I’ve always been too shy/embarrassed to talk about skin stuff. I’m so self-conscious!

      Mario Badescu products are almost completely vegan, by the way, tough there are a few exceptions. Their ingredient lists are short, and nothing has added fragrance. The only downside is that they have a shortened shelf life, yet the quantities are HUGE…

    • emily @ thirtyeight20 November 23, 2010 at 6:45 pm

      Yes, that’s the post I had remembered! I had forgotten it was just cosmetics when I dug it back up, so this MB post came at a perfect time during my research. The MB products are suprisingly affordable, so I’ll have to see what might work for me. Fragrance-free and vegan are super important for my skin.

      I understand the self-consciousness. But I think some people (like me) are more interested in your authentic perspective and experience with a product than whether or not you have perfect dewy skin, a perfect house, etc. It can be hard to find unbiased, unpaid, unperked testimonials and opinions about anything these days. The fact that you put so much of yourself into your posts is why so many people want to know what you have to say, unnerving though it may be to have everything dissected in a public forum. Part liberating and part terrifying, I’m sure!

  • Reply jennifer in sf November 23, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    How do you like the Keihl’s Eye Treatment? I was just thinking it was time to try another eye cream thing.

    • Anna @ D16 November 23, 2010 at 2:42 pm

      The avocado cream, you mean? I love it. I’ve been using it off and on for a few years, and I keep coming back to it. The application takes some getting used to because the texture is weird, but once you have the patting technique down, it’s great.

    • jennifer in sf November 23, 2010 at 6:20 pm

      Yes! That’s the one I meant. I look forward to working on my patting technique:)

  • Reply Ellen November 23, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I have mixed feelings about this post just because of what it means for me personally. I’ve always had trouble skin and the moment when I finally think I’ve found a solution and I’m managing it, I have a disastrous breakout.

    I want to hear you say that while you’ve have trouble in the past, now you DO have perfect skin! I want to find some magic solution or even if it’s something that’s really difficult, I’d do whatever if I knew it would work. It’s nice to know that other people struggle with the same things, but it’s also depressing to think this problem is never going to go away.

    At least I’ll always have Photoshop

    • Anna @ D16 November 23, 2010 at 4:06 pm

      Oh, Ellen, I completely understand where you’re coming from. I really, really do. I wish I could tell you that there’s a magical solution, but the truth is that skin disorders can be incredibly difficult to treat. I think the most important thing to remember is that no one thinks it’s as bad as you do. I know that might be a small comfort and very hard to truly believe, but it’s the truth.

  • Reply PamDammage November 23, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    I read your comment on Manhattan Nest about your Clairisonic knock-off, and was also surprised not to see it in the photo. Do you use any of the MB products with it? And do you still love it? As much as I love your blog (a LOT)?

    • Anna @ D16 November 23, 2010 at 7:53 pm

      I don’t have a Clarisonic…or a knockoff. I replied to Dan’s mom and said I want one, but that’s it!

    • Anna @ D16 November 23, 2010 at 7:54 pm

      I just found the comment you’re talking about—it’s from someone named “Ana”. That’s not me. 🙂

  • Reply dee November 24, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Anna you are beautiful, and not at all troll like! I hope your boy reminds you of that everyday! I’ve always had a battle with my skin.. I get bouts of it being good and then really bad and sore for ages… all stress and diet related I suspect! I just wanted to say I love your honesty but you are stunning and I hope you make a new years resolution to work on accepting your beauty!

  • Reply kay* November 25, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    i really really need to try these products! i wonder if they ship samples to canada? gonna go find out!

    (i was having lots of problems with my skin in august/september but i think i’ve found a routine that has been working….always room for improvement though!)

  • Reply jja November 26, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    “I find that the gentlest products with the shortest lists of ingredients tend to have the best effect on my skin.”

    I agree with this. I tried this brand and had really bad experience:

    1. All Purpose Sun-Tan Milk SPF 12 – no ngredient that can turn skin color tan and lists no active ingredients to support its SPF rating?! No UVA protection.

    Minus for jar package, since any sensitive good stuff won’t live long – too much air and light.

    2. Dryin lotion ruined my skin since it is full off alcohol, camphor and sulfur (?!), all exceedingly drying and irritating ingredients.

    3. Block cream SPF 30 – no active ingredients are listed (?!) as in all SPF products from this brand, but they list sunscreen agents on the regular ingredient list (which ignores FDA and European sunscreen regulations) that do not provide sufficient UVA protection.

    What I did like was Cellufirm Drops and Aloa Vera Toner.

    You have nice skin, at least what I can see here but I am not sure it is from M. Badescu products.

    • Anna @ D16 November 26, 2010 at 2:17 pm

      Everyone’s skin is different, and as I said in my post, I would never suggest that the same products will work for everyone.

      I have struggled with various skin issues for my entire adult life, though, and I have had excellent results from Mario Badescu products. It’s been life-changing for me. I’m not sure why you’re suggesting that I’m actually using something else—I assure you that the products in the top photo are exactly what I’ve been using for my skin. There is no secret advertising deal going on here! I am adamantly opposed to any kind of paid or quid-pro-quo promotion on personal blogs.

      I’m sorry you had a bad experience, but we are all individuals.

  • Reply jja November 26, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    “I’m not sure why you’re suggesting that I’m actually using something else—”

    Hm, I real didn’t mean nothing like that. Sorry for my bad english, maybe this is the reason? I would never think you use anything else then you wrote. Why should I?

    My blog is all about cosmetics and I would never say somebody advertises something since I know how bad it feels when I hear the same.

    I am still shocked how you actually undersood my comment and shocked about your answer…when I only gave a compliment about your skin.

    My last sentence meant: maybe your skin is better then you think and nice skin now is maybe a merit of the fact that our skin changes over years and cosmetic has there only party influence. Anyway my comment tend to be nice and friendly.

    Greetings from Germany

    • Anna @ D16 November 26, 2010 at 7:00 pm

      Sorry—I thought when you wrote that you’re “not sure it is from M. Badescu products” (meaning my skin’s condition) that you meant it was due to some other kind of product. My apologies! I obviously misunderstood what you meant.

      At any rate, it’s definitely not due to a change in age or any other factor. I am 100% positive that the change I’ve seen in my skin is due to the MB products. There’s no question. My skin has been absolutely horrible this past year (this isn’t dysmorphia speaking, it really was to the point of being considered “severe acne”), and I had an immediate and lasting improvement upon switching to Mario Badescu products a few months ago, and it’s only continued to improve since then.

      I appreciate the compliment, but please do understand that my skin is a HUGE issue for me and has been for a very long time. I am extremely sensitive about comments that seem to diminish how emotionally difficult it is to deal with acne at age 35. Having found products that have such a profound effect on the quality of my skin (to the point that I no longer get cystic acne, and breakouts are almost non-existent—and with NO irritation or dying whatsoever) is a big, big deal for me.

      And again, I apologize for drawing the wrong conclusion regarding the advertising. I don’t think it was a language barrier issue so much as it was my own jumping to conclusions!

  • Reply jja November 27, 2010 at 8:10 am

    Thank you for apologies. 🙂

    “I appreciate the compliment, but please do understand that my skin is a HUGE issue for me and has been for a very long time. ”

    I understand this part, since this is what I am experiencing too last years. Exactly something what your are describing above.
    In fact, this problem motivated me to start learning more about cosmetics. I simply didn’t have any other choice.
    I generally hat lot of sucess with BHA products and some luck that my husband was in cosmetic industry as chemist with lots of inside knowledge.
    Even now, when my skin looks good, I still am very mistrustful when I get compliment about it. I can accept any other sort of compliment, but this one comes fake to me.
    I understand what a relief it is when finally something works.

    Greetings from Germany

  • Reply Suzanne November 27, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Thank you for coming clean about your skincare (sorry, couldn’t resist…) I’ve been meaning to dive into Badescu products for years, but for some reason whenever I’m in dire straits I go with something else – whoever is making the most noise via advertisements, probably. Anyway, the day of your post I ran out to Nordstrom and bought some Control Cream to get my latest, rare rosacea breakout under control, and man oh man, that stuff works! In the morning the redness was gone. After two weeks of fighting with it, this stuff knocked it out in a matter of hours. Wonderful! So then I went to the website, filled out the questionnaire and the next morning they responded with my recommended products. If it wasn’t holiday-hell at the mall I’d be there picking up what they suggested. But then again, maybe I’ll wait for the samples….
    Anyway, thank you! Love your style. You’re inspiring.

  • Reply Livi November 30, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Great post – thanks.

    I just ordered some products to try. Any experience with the silver powder?

    I also love Kinerase.

    • Anna @ D16 November 30, 2010 at 5:10 pm

      Yes, I have the Silver Powder! It works really, really well if you have any blackheads, but it’s too drying to use often. I find I only need to use a bit on my nose every few weeks.

  • Reply erin@designcrisis December 2, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    I love that you are brave enough to be upfront about your vanity. I mean, I sure as $%^& wouldn’t post a bad picture of myself, and I am not above photoshopping out, uh… well, I’m too vain to tell you 😉

    Plus I am a super skin care freak, and I respect that you know what goes into what goes onto your face. I use a lot of DHC products and I am freakishly addicted to their cleansing oil and soap. Great stuff!

    ps: Loreal seems to change their mascara formulations every 5 minutes, but I’m liking the Voluminous Naturale stuff. Not clumpy and it holds the curl on my stick straight lashes.

  • Reply Suzanne December 2, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    woot!! I love the MB stuff so much!

    The first thing I ever used was the Azulene Calming Mask (BRIGHT pastel blue – best used when home alone) it’s fantastic for sensitive skin that tends to flush and get blotchy easily. I don’t really have bad skin but I go red and greasy at the drop of a hat and this does wonders for me. REALLY recommend that one.

    LOVE this post. thanks heaps!

  • Reply Ashley M. [at] (never home)maker December 3, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    I really, really, really appreciate this post, Anna! My skin is actually quite awful more often than not. I can’t believe as an adult I still get acne. It’s infuriating! So . . . I, too, take full advantage of Photoshop whenever posting photos of myself 🙂

    Anyway, thanks for sharing what you use. And just for your honesty <3

  • Reply Ana December 4, 2010 at 11:45 pm

    That was me on Dan’s site talking about the Clarisonic knock-off.

    I went and filled out the questionnaire and received my samples. It’s only been two days so I can’t comment on how they’re working but they smell and feel great and I’m hoping they do the trick.

    I haven’t used my Clarisonic-ish brush with it yet, normally I use it with my Neutrogena bar soap and I do feel that it cleans better that your hands or a washcloth. I only use it at night because I think twice a day would be to drying on my skin.

    Thank you Anna for the recommendation and I appreciate the “real” posts as well.

  • Reply Ana December 5, 2010 at 5:27 am

    Ugh that should be *than* and *too*

  • Reply Michele December 19, 2010 at 10:53 am

    I’ve just started using Mario Badescu products and so far, I love them!!! The drying lotion is the best product I have ever used, in 12 years of dealing with acne. I get so excited now to wash it off in the morning and see the improvement!

    I just ordered the acne facial cleanser, and the buffering lotion (really excited for this one)

    What do you think of the special cleansing lotion ‘c’? Have you tried it?

    I use the 8% glycolic neostrata toner, but I’m open to a new one, and I’ve read amazing things.

    oh! and I randomly tried a mascara recently that turned out to be amazing – it’s cargo’s texas lash, you should try it!!

  • Reply Suzen December 30, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Hello Anna, On the basis of your celebrity alone, I bought a slew of these products! They really need to add your name to the list of referrals. (Would that be referrents, referees…no, that’s me, seems like there is a word that needs inventing there.) Anyway, got them yesterday and was so excited! I really love that they are not very expensive, come in plain containers and they sent me a bunch of freebies, which was REALLY fun! Too late for my entirely aged skin, but keeping the “nooks and crannies” moisturized is really good. Thanks again!

  • Reply Lisa January 4, 2011 at 12:13 am

    Hi Anna,
    Long time reader – wanted to echo the above thanks for linking to the Mario Badescu questionnaire. I have been using their generous samples for a couple of weeks now and am really happy with the quality so far – and impressed with the pricing, which is comparable or less with a brand like Kiehl’s. I let them know that I hear about them from you.

    • Lisa January 21, 2011 at 3:29 am

      Following up on my comment above – I just purchased full-sized products from them because they really did deliver, thanks to the samples. Many thanks, Anna!

  • Reply Jesica January 9, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Anna, I cannot thank you enough! I, too, tried quite a few Mario Badescu products due to your recommendation (and did list your blog as my referral!) and have been in love. My skin wasn’t completely horrible (or so I thought) before – fairly clear, but a bit blotchy in tone.

    After using the Enzyme Cleansing Gel, Seaweed Cleansing Lotion, the occasional Drying Lotion and Seaweed Night Cream for a week, I noticed a significant difference. I didn’t even realize I had a texture problem, too!

    I’ve since added the AHA & Ceramide Moisturizer, the Cucumber Cleansing Lotion (for particularly “gross” days), Glycolic Foaming Cleanser, and the AHA Botanical Body Soap (I don’t have “bacne” but it’s been fabulous for exfoliation) – it’s all worked SO well.

    I cannot thank you enough. I look in the mirror these days and marvel at the drastic improvement. It’s truly changed my life!

  • Reply Laura January 28, 2011 at 2:00 am

    You are no troll. I have just found your website due to being nominated for The Homies. I LOVE it. You are not invisible.

  • Reply Niki Huntsman February 6, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Thanks for the heads up to MB products. After running out of my old acne wash I started my samples today. Here’s hoping for good results!

  • Reply AlisonM May 14, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    I just wanted to say thank you – I filled out the survey right after you posted this back in November, and have been so happy with everything I’ve ordered from MB. It’s amazing stuff and has been exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!!!

    • Anna @ D16 May 14, 2011 at 11:24 pm

      That’s great, Alison, glad to hear it!

  • Reply Bright November 21, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    So, I’ve been reading your blog for a year now and I remember when this post came up. I didn’t buy any Mario Badescu products at the time but recently, my face exploded and nothing (NOTHING) was helping it heal. I remembered that you had some products that really worked for you and after I found the post, I got the Drying Mask and the Buffering Lotion.

    It was delivered Friday. It’s Monday and my face hasn’t been clearer in months. I feel like every morning, I wake up and my skin looks visibly better. My mind has been blown and I’m super grateful that you made this post. I went from “what is my face/I can’t leave the house like this/I’m never going to get married because my face has the plague” tears to major wanting to show my face to people, just because it’s cleared up so nicely!

    Total love affair with the company. Thank you again, seriously.

  • Reply dean February 10, 2014 at 12:35 am

    Hey Anna,

    It’s a bit random to comment on a post that’s 3 years old, but I just made a scary discovery and thought I’d see if you knew about it…Note that I’m posting this publicly, since I thought it might be important for any new readers who came across this post and make it through the comments…

    Did you know that Mario Badescu quietly pulled the Healing Cream and the Control Cream off the shelves in 2013 because it contained a steroid (specifically corticosteroids) that was not included on the ingredients? Corticosteroids are not supposed to be used for more than 10 days and can have horrible after-effects on your skin…I am learning this the hard way, as I used Control Cream for 3+ years. I ran out over the holidays and couldn’t buy it anywhere…It’s now been 2 months w/out using the Control Cream and my skin is suffering from severe TSW (topical steroid withdraw)…It’s bright red, hot, itchy, bumpy, flaky, scaly in patches, breaking out, it’s painful to wash, and it seems like nothing will fix it.

    I never had “problem” skin, just some mild rosacea and the occasional breakout, but when I was using Control Cream, I had dream skin! But now my face, and many others’, are at risk of being permanently damaged by the long-term use of Control Cream and Healing Cream. This includes thinned skin, scarring, facial stretch marks, and permanent redness. It’s really bad…

    There’s surprisingly little info about this online, other than in the Amazon comments and you can occasionally find some comments on the MB Facebook page, before they’re deleted. Just thought you’d be interested to learn about it. I just found out today and have been reading up for hours…I thought I was having some kind of hormone or allergy freak out (or that I was just crazy), but now at least I know why my face is in such terrible, painful shape. I was a devout MB user….Until now.

    Just thought you’d be interested to learn this, in case you had any similar experiences when you stopped using the Healing Cream…

    • Anna @ D16 February 10, 2014 at 1:47 am

      Hi Dean, yeah, I did know this! My friend Tamera told me, and then I read a bunch of stuff over at Makeup Alley. Horrifying! I haven’t used either the Control or Healing creams in several years, fortunately, and I don’t think I used it with enough regularity to experience those withdrawal symptoms. What an absolutely horrifying situation—I’m so sorry you (and others) are having to deal with this. Have you been able to find out any information about a possible class action lawsuit? It might be worth bringing up the subject in the forums at Makeup Alley. I hope you can get some resolution, and more importantly get your skin back to where it should be.

      Take a look at these comments…might be worth sending an email:

    • Jessica Val March 22, 2014 at 3:06 pm


      Please get in touch with the lawyers on this case. The class action settlement is a joke and all the victims want to contest it with the help of this law firm.

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