Tuesday, November 30, 2010

30 days of beaucell!

the end of 30 days of testing the beaucell skincare. given that my skin was cooked to a weird brown tone, it was sunken and sallow and my eyes tiny and swollen, i am totally impressed.

again, it's expensive. and i don't know what would happen if you used it every month.

if you want a topical product that will actually grow collagen and change the structure of your skin, this seems to be it.

here i am in july - rara videotaping my new hair - before i attempted anything on my face.

Monday, November 29, 2010

day 26, 27, 29

day 26
day 27
day 29
ok, it's almost over. sitting here with a gel-mask thing on my face for the LAST time.

i got home from dc and mary schook was hysterical - "oh my god, you look better than you did before you left!" (that was tuesday)

her friend ronnie kroell, who i haven't seen since i emerged from chemo in march, said, "you look BEAUTIFUL!"

i thought i looked great (and so did all kinds of random guys on the street, which is pretty thrilling on its own) but my mum didn't notice at all. 
i had to say, "doesn't my skin look good?" 

she said, "it always looks good. your skin has looked good since you were a teenager and i made you drink lots and lots of water." needless to say, she didn't notice that i lost my nosepin in the swimming pool either. what i notice is the big dark circles under my eyes have faded, the hollows in my cheeks and forehead have filled in. last check, the sun damage was greatly reversed, the circulation was improved all over my face. my upper lip pulled back up.

mary thinks i've taken 10 years off my face.

as i am typing, zarina and rara just came over and stared at me and said, "your skin is so oily!" (just slathered on the night cream and eye cream. i swear, this product works but it IS high maintenance. thank god i live with three teenaged girls and not a man because he would walk out the door - i would).

tomorrow is day 30. the moment (or photograph) of truth.

also day 29, i still have enough product to probably last me another 2 to 3 weeks, so it's less expensive than $2,000 a month.

if i had the money and the time to do this to my face forever, i probably would. mary's going to keep testing my face to see if the effects last over six months.

in the meantime, back to gossip girl and being low-maintenance, except for $1,500 a month worth of vitamins and supplements and psychic healing.

beaucell: to buy it & try it yourself on ms apothecary

Saturday, November 20, 2010

day 18

what i notice is that my skin is getting brighter - less of the darkened, sort of "cooked" way it looked post-chemo. the brown spots are fading away and my jowls are less jowly.

my hair is just as mad curly as ever and it doesn't curl in the way i want it to. sadly. it is not keeping up with my improving face.

what's silly about this part of the experiment is that the photobooth images are so bad that you can't really tell the difference. i will have to ask sasha, my genius photographer, to photograph me properly.

after the three-hour harry potter movie, the minivan battery died last night, it took about an hour for AAA to get there and it was freezing cold and 11:30. by the time i dropped rara's friend sarah back off on sutton place, checked out the preparations for the MS Apothecary event tomorrow, and massaged all the products into my face, it was 2:15am.

and then the next you know, i was wide awake at 7am in a panic thinking about all my unpaid bills. then i tried to be all metaphysical about it. i tried to separate from the concerns of the material world and i closed my eyes. i decided to do that sufi thing of "dying before you die."

so i lay there and meditated on making all the material things unimportant. i thought about how, if i was dying, all the struggles and pleasures of life would seem so brief and ethereal. i imagined myself sinking into darkness.

then i thought about rara, lying beside me, and suddenly i panicked. i had so many things i needed to tell her. and the darkness seemed so scary and i had no idea where i would be if i ended up in that cave where i couldn't talk to anyone.

i freaked myself out so well that i came up breathless and choking - as if i had almost suffocated - i had to kiss rara ten times and inhale and exhale so deeply to remind myself that i was still on this plane.

god knows i am still very superficial.

Friday, November 19, 2010

day 17 - you looked fantastic!

 left side


so i got that text message from my friend tony today. i'd dragged the amazons to see him in macbeth and we were all a bit tired still from the eid festivities and my mum and dad visiting the previous few days. so i zipped myself into my standby herve leger skirt that is so stretchy, it fits immediately post-chemo and now that i am 12 pounds heavier, too.

i texted back, "not fishing for compliments but what looks fantastic?"

he texted, "hair looked nice, well-dressed, nice make-up and earrings."

since the extent of my make-up is kajal (which i put on once every few days) and blush (which i put on after the pool in the morning) and the only thing i was wearing which he hadn't seen before were my grandmother's earrings, my reaction to his enthusiastic compliment (and he doesn't give lots of compliments either) was:


so the cream is working.

i walked in on mary schook who is madly preparing the shop to be the msapothecary winter wonderland holiday destination and she said, "oh my gosh, your cheeks are higher!"

the current consensus: the beaucell cream has - in 16 days - taken about five years off my face.

again, it costs $2,000 and is only available in korea, japan and, possibly, at mary schook's shop (if it keeps working).

in case you couldn't remember what my face looked like in april (2 months after the end of chemotherapy) - here's my college trip with sasha and aaron up to syracuse university. sasha filmed me sitting on the shore of the river.

what's tragic is that i thought i looked GOOD. phew. i must have looked really really bad during chemo. i remember reading some kind of statistic when i was working on anti-ageing skincare for loreal. about 75% of women don't realize how much they are ageing and how much their faces have changed.

i do know that i don't look in the mirror often - and when i do, i am so surprised at how different i look that how i feel (like 10 times bigger, taller) that i rarely get past that to notice the details - like the little wrinkles around my eyes or my sagging jowly chin - until i see a photograph or a video.

those have to be pointed out to me by my daughters.

also, i am so thin and pale in the video that i am amazed i thought i could jump in the car and drive 6 hours back and forth to show sasha colleges. no wonder people were alarmed!

anyway, if you have $2,000 to spend on face cream - i should add that this is an ENTIRE kit: day cream, toner, eye cream, night cream, face masks, so you needn't have anything else and the texture and scent (very very mild) is really nice - this DOES seem to make a difference.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

two weeks and 1 day

day 8

day 10

day 12
day 16

first off, please ignore the increasingly large and bizarre hair. at least, i can now push it back successfully with a hairband from duane-reade - but the point is my face and BEAUCELL - the $2,000 face care set.

here's what mary says (or the camera that takes pictures beneath the skin's surface) - the sun damage has been visibly reduced on my forehead and cheeks and the circulation has improved around my lower face face (chin, lips). the collagen has increased from 53% in my forehead to 78%.

i went to a party last night and EVERYONE kept saying, "oh i can't believe you have teenagers, you look like a teenager yourself." (that said, it was a lovely party given by my mum's very close friend so the majority of the guests were old enough to be my mum or dad - however, one young woman who is launching her own bodycare line did say, "i can't believe you had kids and cancer and everything, and you look so great!"

i noticed a freshness to my skin but not a majorly obvious change. my nasal-labio folds are still there, though slightly lessened, and i still get tiny lines around my lips (though fewer).

that said, a single $1,000 treatment at mary schook's space gives me skin like a baby (i am not kidding, my brother said he felt like i was going back in time - and that was when i HAD cancer and losing weight like crazy but was as yet undiagnosed).

so i expected miracles.

according ms schook, who spends all her time looking at peope's faces, this is an unprecedented effect from a purely topical product for home use.

i don't know. for $2,000 - a 25% increase in collagen isn't sufficient. it now makes me think differently about skincare ads which talk about increasing collagen or firmness in small percentages. unless you are obsessive with a magnifying mirror, you won't really really notice. you might just be happy and rosy.

i missed the chance to take pictures for the past few days since my mum and dad were in town and the nieces and nephews were around and i spent enough time locked in the bathroom with the toner, ionizer, ampoule, gel, cream, etc that i couldn't add more time dragging around my computer and secretly taking pictures of myself (they think i'm out of my mind enough as it is).

plus, there were only two bathrooms shared amongst 3 adults, 3 teenaged girls and 2 smaller kids (part of the time) so i couldn't justify the extra hogging and i was too ashamed to do it in plain view.

i am halfway through the treatment. i've started using a heavier dose of the ampoule and massaging my skin more with the ridiculous little ionizer (which is just a stand in for a good facial massage to get the blood flowing, i think).

more to come!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

spacey sunday

ok, it's late in the day and i'm in the wrong place. my skincare routine was somewhat interrupted by an incredibly restful day.

the amazons spent the night with james (yes! my first minor-free night in months!) so of course i was out late last night and exhausted all day today. but the wonderful thing about it was being able to go back to bed at about noon and sleeping til 4. despite the construction on the building next door, i slept mostly peacefully.

that said, the amazons all returned at 4pm and leapt on top of me. thrilled to see them but somewhat envious as their bedrooms and kitchen space in james' new house - as viewed on sasha's iphone - look bigger than our entire apartment. 

however, given my strange sleep schedule, I only managed to apply my day products midday. i am just about to go to bed now - i LOVE daylight savings but i miss the mat, i can't sleep properly without it.

i will apply the ampule (refrigerated stem cells) and the gel and night cream and eyecream just now.

darn, doorbell. because our buzzer is separate from all the rest, the delivery guys always ring us and i am always opening the door and telling them to go back outside and ring the right one. thai restaurant guy is actually from nepal and gave me a brochure about visiting katmandu.

will have to ponder the universal message of that.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

day 4

here i am yesterday (day 3) - though i only remembered to take the picture in the afternoon when the light was totally different.

so here i am first thing in the morning. see all those wrinkles around my eyes? also, one eye is a little puffy - maybe a slight allergy to the eye cream? i have to be careful not to get it into my eyes. it seems that, for the greatest bang for your buck, the face mask makes all the difference. also, cold damp weather is great for your skin.

here i am this afternoon. post-shower, product and a little make-up (for me, that means some blush and kajal). honestly, i am not seeing a huge difference. also, the battery-operated device no longer turns on by pressing the button. i have to pull the battery door open and then it runs for a little while and eventually turns off. also, on a dry day, the two day products - the gel and the emulsion - seem to dry up very quickly and i find myself wanting more moisturizer.

ok, i will have to wait until i see mary to hear her thoughts because i am not seeing a huge difference.

and actually, it may be day 5 now. wait, i started on tuesday. no it's 4, i guess.

i am withholding judgement just now.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

day 2.5

bad hair day but good skin day. not sure one can really tell the difference because the lighting's all gray and sad and rainy.

went swimming today against my better instincts, nothing like a good dose of chlorine to kill everything. but i asked mary and she said, "you shouldn't have to change your life for a skincare product to work." so i didn't.

but as the duchess of windsor says, you have to choose which side you want to focus on. today, i gave in to my bottom.

my second problem with the skincare regimen - if you have to use it all the time, they should have little mini-vials for travel. i got out of the pool and used my sustainable youth products. then ran an errand. came home at 12 and used the toner, the gel and the emulsion. so the day products won't go into effect until half the day is over.

even rara and sasha seemed to notice the difference. my brother walked in and i asked him how my skin looked. he said, "you look younger than me!" (but he's been well-trained by my mum).

ok back to work - am on deadline.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

testing, testing

i have been given the quite wonderful job of guinea pig for my friend mary schook (beauty engineer extraordinaire) http://www.maryschook.com/

she literally knows EVERYTHING about beauty and aging (follow her on twitter @beauty212 ).

i am testing one of the most expensive anti-aging creams in the world by a korean company called beaucell.

it costs $2,000.00 for a one-month supply and comes in this very sleek, futuristic packaging, lying on a bed of silvery satin.

its claim to fame - medical-grade human stem cells.

the complicated process involves a serum that must be refrigerated upon opening and applied to the skin once a night using a small battery-operated electrical device that helps it penetrate the skin better. then there's a gel, then a mask (pictured above), then a night cream and an eye cream!

during the day, there's a toner, another gel and an essence.

the question is - 1. can a topical product really make a difference? (i have never had botox, collagen, silicone or any other injectable nor any anti-aging cosmetic surgical procedures) 2. for an advertising person like myself - in this economy, will people buy it?

in my mind, the first problem is that there are no real instructions. there's a very beautiful silver but totally vague brochure. everything on the package is in korean except for a stick-on label that says, in english, made in korea. (um, yes).

i like instruction sheets myself. especially if they are well-written and give you a bit of story. it makes you feel looked after, and as if you are using something important, that someone has put a lot of thought into. i like the conversation with the company who's produced the product.

without a good instruction sheet, especially with all these silver packages, i feel like i am in limbo. i have to keep emailing mary with questions. this is not good for a $2,000.00 at home treatment.

rara is laughing at the mask as she watches tv.

for now, my face feels super-moisturized but that's it. (mary says i look brighter, but that might be the glare of the light in the grease. the night cream is very rich.)

supposedly, this should work no matter what the chemo has done to my skin. once a week, i'll go to mary's for a picture that shows the thickening of the collagen and the reduction (i hope) of the sun damage (the chemo drugs made my skin overly sensitive to the sun this summer).

i'll put up a picture every day...

this is me, this afternoon. mary tested it last night.