It has been suggested that I seek professional help so many times that I’ve lost count. There was the recommendation of grief counseling after my parents died, the prevention of postpartum depression when my daughter was born, and spiritual sessions during my aunt’s residency in a hospice center. But then, things got weird. It was as if everyone knew my life needed expert care to whip it back into shape.
My house needs a deep cleaning. You should call (this company).
I can’t lose 10 pounds, let alone 40. You should call (that trainer).
The roof is leaking in the kitchen. You should call (these contractors).
We need a sitter for a few hours each week. You should call (those caregivers).
But my stubborn streak keeps me from accepting help before it’s a lost cause. This is how I got into trouble coloring my own hair (Mike called me “Patches”), trying to groom the Golden Retriever (Mike called her “Patches”) and stripping the bathroom wallpaper (Mike called me lots of names).
When Ulta opened this past year, I did it again. I must have bought everything in the store to try to reverse sun damage. There was this serum for this problem, and lift gel for that one, de-puffing cream and firming lotions, dark spot eliminators and line fillers. I self-diagnosed my face through online quizzes and virtual evaluations, and I tried all of the new age treatments that relied on nature’s greatest assets to blur creases and wrinkles. Nothing worked (aside from staying out of the sun). Then, I found an article in one of the many beauty magazines that endorsed a top of the line cream harvested from the deepest crevices of the Mediterranean Sea. Women wrote that it worked like “Jesus rubbing His hands on your face.”
I bought two jars.
Two weeks later, I was at Rite Aid buying Clearasil.
Recently, I took Ava and Maryn to visit my hairstylist, Nancy, at Angela’s Salon. It should come as no surprise that I had attempted to trim the girls’ bangs with kitchen shears.
First, Nancy asked me not to do it ever again. And then she asked me what I had done to myself.
“Everything,” I replied.
Nancy told me to toss the high-priced, low-quality shampoos in the trash and to start over with a clarifying product that would undo all the “essential” oils I had poured on my tresses trying to bring back a glossy sheen. Then, she told me to toss everything I had been slathering on my skin — even the Jesus cream — and to start over with a regimen that was age and stage appropriate.
OK, Nancy. Step one is accepting that I have a problem. Step two is seeking professional help. Fix me.
Nancy put me on a special skincare program designed by two dermatologists, Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields. After a thorough consultation, it was determined that I didn’t have serious problems. I did have an addiction to bottles and boxes. I’m hooked on packaging, and I end up giving myself troubles that weren’t there before.
Stress has beaten up on my face, though, as a previous blog of mine revealed. I have goal posts between my eyebrows from scowling, lines around my mouth from pursing my lips to prevent saying things I shouldn’t, and fan-type designs around my eyes from squinting because of a cataract I still haven’t dealt with. My skin is dull from harsh soap, and there are splotchy marks from lightening creams that bleached the area rather than fading freckles.
(Click on the images below to get a close up look…if you dare.)
The Rodan and Fields’ program appropriate for my condition is called REDEFINE. There’s nothing famous about it — no cosmetic counter registries to make sure I haven’t bought more than one miracle in a month, no celebrity endorsements, no opportunities to buy it in stores from uneducated sales associates. It’s just a doctor-recommended program to undo damage (that I’ve brought on myself) and to slow down what I can’t totally prevent.
“You have to follow the directions,” Nancy warned. “There’s a reason you do what the doctors say.”
There are four steps to follow — a cleansing mask, a toner, a day cream (and then a night cream). While it doesn’t sound unique, it’s the difference between a beauty gimmick and skincare therapy.
- Step one: Remove makeup with a product of your choice (I like Cetaphil, found at Target or Walmart). Then, apply the REDEFINE Daily Cleansing Mask. Massage a quarter-sized amount into your skin with wet fingers for about 10-15 seconds, and then let it dry – yes, dry. Leave it on your face as a mask for 2 minutes, and then rinse off with cool water. The cleanser turns into a clay mask, which pulls out impurities.
- Step two: Apply the REDEFINE Pore Minimizing Toner. Use a cotton pad to swipe a quarter-sized squirt of this alcohol-free liquid to remove traces of the mask and to exfoliate the skin.
- Step three: Apply a dime-sized amount of REDEFINE Triple Defense Treatment, which is a daily moisturizer with SPF-30 coverage. (I added a REDFINE Multi-Function Eye Cream to produce quicker results in that area.) Apply your regular cosmetics, if you wish.
- Step four: Repeat all of these steps at night, but apply the REDEFINE Overnight Restorative Cream, which is the product that turns around the effects of the day. Firm your skin, lessen lines and minimize the appearance of anything else that’s annoying.
The booklet states that users should start to see changes in about a week, but if they don’t like the line of products for any reason, customers can get their money back.
With all of that said, I’m giving it a try — and yes — I’ll post before and after photos to see if Rodan and Fields helped me undo my evil ways. My hairstylist, Nancy, was able to give me 10 years back when she cut several inches off my hair. I trust her to erase the same time off my face.
* This is not a sales pitch, but another one of Katy Brown’s many experiments. She paid for all services and products (about $140). Only the advice to seek professional help was free! For a consultation with Nancy Hilliard to find the regimen that’s right for you, visit her Rodan and Fields page: www.nancyhilliard.myrandf.com.
Katy Brown is the Monday blogger in The Mommyhood. She is the owner of The Write Word, LLC, the author of Kat Tales: Stories of a house…broken, a college instructor of communication classes, and a speaker on the topics of parenting and elder care. The mother of two daughters ages 9 and 7, Katy’s first children’s book will be published in late spring of this year.