For Mature Women Only—The Skin Care Diaries. Part One.

Last month, my friends at Skin Actives Scientific (Please get rid of the term Anti-Aging on your website) sent me a boxload of products to try and review.

Lot’s of goodies and I have been using them regularly for just about a month. I would say now is a good time to review3!

Skin care products are a different ballgame when it comes to testing.   With cosmetics, what you see is pretty much what you get.  If an eyeshadow isn’t pigmented, ain’t nuthin’ gonna change it overnight!  If a lipstick goes on hard and dry—it isn’t going to be hydrating two hours later.

With skin care, you need to test the waters for a few weeks—and sometimes even longer. Remember—our skin started to age the second we slid out of our mother’s womb and hit the atmosphere!

And speaking for myself (and I’m sure many others), through the teen years and into our twenties, the only moisture we gave our skin was either from Baby Oil and iodine or Noxzema skin cream.

Baby oil and Iodine.  Probably the worst stuff I could have put on my skin…

Unless you count Noxzema as a skin cream. Trust me, I don’t know how this passed as a skin cream because it dried my skin. It was soothing, though after the sumburn that I got from the baby oil and iodine!

It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with Squamous Cell on my face, and after Mohs surgery, that I woke up to skin care.   That was seven years ago.   I was 55 years old.  I’m late to the party.

But—better late than never.  And these days I’m diligent about my skincare routine.

First—lets’ get to the reviews—then I’ll cover my skincare routine in Part 2!

Note how the back of the package states that the Desert Salt Scrub is not formulated for the face.  I love this for my face!

Desert Salt Scrub:

This retail price is $24.50 for 4 fluid ounces.   Skin Actives will be ready to kill me for this but—I love this as a facial exfoliator.  Why will SA want to kill me?  Because this is not formulated for the face.  Hold on here.  I have been using this on my face twice a week for a month and I have had no breaking out.  In fact, this Salt Scrub (rotated with another product that I’ll cover in my next post) not only exfoliates, but it makes my skin feel super-smooth after I rinse it off.

The scrub has a pleasant scent and has that salt-rough, slightly oily texture.  I’m a fan. This works—on the face!

Overall thoughts.  A+ for the product.  C- for the price.  I do feel it is a bit expensive for the two-ounce jar, especially compared to other products and facial scrubs.  I think if the price came down to between $10 to $15, this would be an epic product for an excellent value.

The Sun Set contains quite a bit of product for the price.

Sun Set

Skin Actives sent me the “Sun Set” package.  This set retails for $49.00 and in it is a 3.3-ounce bottle of the Advanced Protection SPF 30; 1 ounce of the Skin Soothing Serum; a 2-ounce jar of the UV Repair Cream and a Booster to be used with the UV Repair Cream (optional). I will review each product separately.


At $15, this is an outstanding value and a  fantastic sunscreen lotion!

Advanced Protection SPF 30:

Hot Damn!  At $15 for 3.3 ounces, this is da bomb!  I need a moment here because my eyes are misting up from being happy.  For years I had been using Peter Thomas Roth Max Sheer All Day Moisture Defense Lotion SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion which retails at $42 for    1.7 ounces.  Both lotions have Octinoxate 7.5% and  Octisalate 5.0%. Skin Actives also contains 7% Zinc Oxide.  The important thing about this lotion is, like PTR’s, it doesn’t sting my eyes.  If you have eyes that are sensitive to sunscreen, then this is the product for you!  When I know that I’ll be outdoors, I apply this as a moisturizer.

Overall Thoughts: A+ for the product. A+ for the price. This is going to be a Holy Grail sunscreen for me.  It applies nicely, soaks into the skin quickly and doesn’t bother the eyes! And the price.  A little goes a long way, I might add.  One thing I’ve learned is to squeeze the bottle gently because if you are heavy-handed, quite a bit will come out.  This. Is. A. Winner!

UV Repair Cream (notice how messy the jar is. That’s because when I use to review–I don’t fool around!.  The photo on the right is after the Booster and a bit of  Argan Oil and the Sea Kelp Coral.  


 UV Repair Cream/Booster:

The UV Repair Cream retails for $29.50 for 2 ounces. The optional Booster is $5.50

This is one of the most unusual creams I’ve ever put to the face. Skin Actives does state that the Booster kit is optional. I did add most of the Booster kit to the cream but left most of the powder out due to fear that it would have a drying effect. It is also stated that the Booster kit gives the cream a strong odor.    The scent, with the Booster is strong but certainly not overwhelming.  It’s a bit like the scent of cumin or turmeric with a bit of Play-Doh thrown in—but dissipates when you apply the cream to your face.

I’m not gonna lie here.  I didn’t like the way this cream felt when I first started to use it.  It didn’t feel hydrating to me. And it’s weird because reading the favorable reviews, I thought there was something wrong with me.  I had a bit of the brand’s Sea Kelp Coral (Note to self—order more Sea Kelp Coral ASAP) left and decided to add it to the jar of cream. I also added a few drops of Argan Oil and mixed well. The addition of the oil and Kelp didn’t make the cream feel any more hydrating, but it left my skin looking dewy.  It’s just the oddest thing.  And you don’t need a lot of this either. A tiny bit goes a long way.   Something must be working with this cream (and another one I’ll review in this post) though because I’ve been getting quite a few compliments on my skin the past two weeks.  Perhaps it is beginning to make a change.

Overall Thoughts:  I’m stumped on this.  It’s working—and for that I’m giving it a B+ because I had to add some enhancement.  On price, I’m giving it a B+ A-.  Although I can’t put my finger on it, there’s something about this stuff that I find fascinating.  And it is  tons less expensive than the Crème de La Mer.  The only “mer” I’ll spend money on is our annual stay at Theoule-sur-MER in France!  Would I buy this?  I don’t think so—but then, I don’t know. I mean, I’ve been using this for almost a month and hardly put a dent into the jar—so I’ll have this for a long time.  Maybe I should change the price to an A- instead.  I did.


Sorry I took this stock photo off the site, but I was so hooked on the Collagen Serum that I forgot to snap a pic of this Skin Soothing Serum

Skin Soothing Serum:

This Serum retails for one ounce at $15.  I happen to be a fan of Skin Actives Serums.  I’m a serum kinda gal. And nothing beats the brand’s Collagen Serum.  I’m on my third bottle.  But I will say that this serum does help stop irritation but lots of other products do too. I applied it when I came home from getting my lip waxed and the redness went down.  I also applied some to a mosquito bit I received on my foot—it wasn’t Bactine, but it helped.

Overall Thoughts:  I can’t compare this to my beloved Collagen Serum. For a dolla more, you can purchase, what I think, is the greatest serum of all time.  The money is better spent on the Collagen serum—it does wonders.  Look, I’m not saying this isn’t good. It’s just that I’ve been keeping it on the back burner. I’ve used it twice because I just go for my Collagen Serum.

Guess which Collagen Serum is almost empty and which one is the backup?  I LOVE THIS!!!

The Sun Set:

At $49, the price is fine if you want to try all three (four with the booster) products as a set.  Purchased separately, the cost would be $65.

Overall Thoughts:  The products as a bundle: A-.  The price as a bundle:  A.  The huge winner in this set is, hands down, The Advanced Protection SPF 30.  It protects. It moisturizes.  It doesn’t irritate the eyes.  And the price is dirt cheap!  Also, separately, I would pass on the serum and go the extra buck for the Collagen Serum.  However, at the price of the set, it’s good for the UV Repair and the SPF. It is a minus short of A because I had to add to the UV Repair.

Skin Brightening Cream.  If those pesky dark spots are bugging you, this is your product. But remember-it doesn’t work overnight–and that’s a good thing!

Skin Brightening Cream:

Sometimes my lack of intelligence never ceases to amaze me.  Me, the queen of selfies, never snapped a pic of the large, dark, age spot (or perhaps sun spot) on the left side of my face.  I wish I did and there is a reason.  It’s only been a month, but I have noticed a very slight difference.  Skin Actives has a caveat that to really see an improvement, or brightening of spots this needs to be used for a few months.  I’ll take their word for it because I have noticed a brightening effect on the skin.   Coming in at $28.50 for 2 ounces, my guess is that it would take two or three jars before seeing a complete difference. That’s $85.50 spent on three jars.  If you have age spots that you find to be incredibly annoying and you want them to fade over time, then you may find this to be the perfect solution.  And even for $85.50 over time, it’s less expensive than laser treatment. Right??

Overall Thoughts:  The product—A. It does the job. The price. B.  You need more than one jar for the complete job.  As I stated, if your age spots or sun spots or darkened areas are really bothering you, then go for this.  If you are like me and the spots don’t phase you that much. Pass because concealer and foundation will do the job—albeit temporary.  It depends on what you are looking for.

Bright I-Cream. A nice product in a little jar!

Bright I-Cream:

The price for this .05 fluid ounce jar is $17.50.  For the 2-ounce jar, it’ll cost you $57.00. Fortunately for me, I was blessed with good genes and do not have dark circles under my eyes. I do have that blue-ish thing going on where tear duct meets nose bone.  And because of my uber-sensitive, crossed eyes—not to mention being blind in one eye so I should protect the good one, I kept this cream away from the spots that would have needed it.  That’s not to say I haven’t been using this.  ‘Because I have!   I like this cream. A lot and have been rotating it with another brand’s eye cream. I’ll use this every other day.  It is very hydrating. My little lines are still there. AT 62 years old, they only way I’ll get rid of wrinkles is with fillers or a full-on face lift, neither of which I can afford.

Overall Thoughts:  Product: A-, Price: B.  Although I can’t give a true review because I don’t have dark circles, I do like the hydration that this cream offers.  In addition, it doesn’t irritate the eyes.  Lancôme Renergie eye cream caused me so much irritation that I had to trash it.  While it isn’t a “Wow” product, it does a decent job.  The price—meh, it’ isn’t cheap and isn’t ridiculously expensive. Considering a touch of this goes quite a long way, I would consider buying this.

Oh momma!  This is one incredible product! Dermagen Hyaluronic Acid Serum

Dermagen Hyaluronic Acid Serum:

The price of this little bit of heavenly elixir is $10.50 for one fluid ounce.  I received 4 ounces and can’t find this size on the Skin Actives website.  Let me grab a tissue because I’m getting emotional right now.  I’m emotional with love. There’s collagen in this because of the odor. But—the odor dissipates once it hits your skin. Remember the song “Torn Between Two Lovers”  that Mary MacGregor sang back in 1976?  I’m torn between two serums. This. And the Collagen.  The consistency is that of a thick gel. It is clear and colorless.  It spreads on like silk.   And it soaks into the skin so beautifully!  I’ve been using this every day since I received it and I swear it has assisted in improving my skin.

Overall Thoughts:  Product: A+.  Price: A+.   This is a complete winner in every way.  At $10.50 an ounce, it is worth every cent. This is a beautiful product.  After the skin absorbs it isn’t tacky, it isn’t filmy, it’s just—well, it’s brilliant!   Look—I have quite the selection of serums. It’s important to me to keep rotating, but this, along with the Collagen Serum, could be Holy Grail Status.  The $10.50 for the one-ounce bottle is a great price as well. Serums aren’t cheap, they run the range of prices up to ridiculously expensive.  I highly recommend this product!  And remember, I’m not getting any kickbacks!! So, if I recommend it, it’s because I love it!

Lip Care Kit.  If the contents of this kit were shrunk into mini sizes this would be THE perfect travel lip care kit!

Lip Care Kit:

For $27 the kit contains, a soft lip balm in a squeeze tube, a stick lip balm, lip collagen serum and liquid rainbow.  The kit costs 25% less than if the four products are purchased separately.  My reviews are below.

Overall Thoughts:  I’m “overalling” this as the kit and not separately.   These products were my least favorites.  There’s nothing wrong with them but they aren’t “miracle” workers.  I was shocked at the reviews because people were writing that they could see a difference with the first time they tried the products.  Of course, you can!!! That’s what lip products do!!  My rating –Product:  C+ because they do moisten and help in a temporary way but I didn’t notice a long-term affect.  Price:  C+.  The products in the kit will last a while—for the four items, the price isn’t that bad. However, most other lip products will do the same job for a lesser price. The one product from this kit that I will be purchasing is the soft lip balm. I think it’s a good buy.

Now—while this kit was my least favorite, if Skin Actives created a travel-sized lip kit, it would be worth purchasing and I would stash it in my travel kit immediately.  A travel-sized version would be perfect for long flights and drier climates.  Are you listening????

The products. From Left to Right.  Liquid Raibow. Lip Collagen Serum.  Soft Balm and Earl Gray Lip Balm!

Collagen Lip Serum: 

At $10.50 for 10 milliliters, can I just say, go and buy the Dermagen Hyaluronic Acid Serum for the same price or the Collagen Serum for $16. (I can’t help it; those two products are that great!

This lip serum comes in a tube akin to lip gloss. It has a doe foot applicator. The product is thin—like a liquid.  It feels a bit tingly when applied and that feels good!  The color is a caramel tan that goes on the lips clear and does not interfere with the color of your lipstick or gloss.  It works nicely as a primer for your lips.

Liquid Rainbow:

This retails at $13 for 10 milliliters.  This is a luminous product that glides on the mouth nicely.  It’s thicker than the lip serum and has a stronger tingle—but it’s refreshing, kind of minty.  The luminescence does not interfere with the color of any lip gloss/stick you would wear.  The effect that this has is softening but it doesn’t last all day. I’ve applied this in the morning (along with the lip serum) before doing my “face”.  And being completely honest, once it wears off, my lips go back to being dry.  My lips have not become any plumper (I have a big mouth anyway), and those little lines above my mouth are still there.  Sadly, this just doesn’t work for me.

Soft Lip Balm:

Coming in at a retail price of $7.00, this is comparable to the Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm—and it is fifty cents cheaper.  Like the other two products in this kit, the product is in a 10-milliliter tube.  This is my favorite product in the kit.  I like a soft balm and, as a fan of the Jack Black balm, this is just as good.  The price is right on target and I like the consistency of this balm better than the Kiehl’s which also costs $7.00.  In fact, I keep this tube in my purse and use it throughout the day when need be.

Lip Balm Stick:

$18.00 for a set of three sticks of balm.   This is pricey.  My favorite stick balm is one euro and I pick a ton of them up when I’m in France.  Other than that, I have Chapstick tucked away in all corners of the house.  This is an Earl Gray Lip Balm and I don’t know if that changes the quality of the balm or what.  Regardless, I feel that $6.00 for a stick of lip balm is a bit expensive.

Last Notes.

I’m a fan of Skin Actives.  The brand makes a quality product, and, even though I find a few of the items on the pricier side, most of the products are very affordable.

Also of note, the Skin Actives Formulation for Beginners Kit is a great, great DIY cream! I’ve had two of these kits and the cream that I made lasted for a long time. It was hydrating and moisturizing.  And fun to use because you have control and can customize the cream to fit your needs. Now that I think about it, I’ll probably order another one of those kits because the Sea Kelp Coral is included.

I’m going to be ordering the following

  • Desert Salt Scrub when my current jar runs out. And YES! I’ll continue to use it on my face!
  • The Collagen Serum is a regular in my house. I have one that I’m using now and a backup.
  • Advanced Protection SPF30. Oh, you know this will be purchased. I cannot believe how wonderful this is and is so much less expensive than the PTR. This is great stuff! And very moisturizing
  • Dermagen Hyaluronic Acid Serum. This is right up there with the Collagen Serum.  I think this has worked nicely on my skin!

 After a month of regular use:


Natural Light…and..

 The natural light upstairs in the room where I put my makeup on.  I think my skin has improved!

Next post I’ll be covering my morning skin care routine and my evening skin care routine!

Remember, we need to experiment and work with various products to figure out what works for our skin needs.  What works for you may not work for me and what works for me may not work for you.

This review was based on what worked and what didn’t work for me.

And, as always, I thank my friends at Skin Actives for sending these products to me for review. This is a “mature” woman friendly company and I like to give companies that are supportive of us business.  But—they need to drop their “anti-aging” wording and start using “pro-aging”.

And—they need to make a travel sized Lip kit!

This just in. I’m back in Buzzfeed!!

24 Photos that Prove Makeup Isn’t Just For People Under 40!


About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to For Mature Women Only—The Skin Care Diaries. Part One.

  1. Q.D says:

    Go Go Buzzfeed!

    $15 for a litre of sunscreen isn’t a bad price at all! I will say that is one thing we can get for a reasonable price here in Australia, decent sunscreen. Unless you are a snob like me and pay for the pricey stuff, but with multiple skin cancers removed under the age of 40 (I am genetically predisposed), I will wear all the sunscreen all day every day! Even in winter i am slathered up. Slip Slop Slap!

  2. hipchick66 says:

    I really enjoy your in depth, realistic reviews!

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Lori. I have to thank the Skin Actives peeps for being patient. I refuse to post a skincare review after one or two tries. The skin care is more important than the makeup!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  3. bluetulips says:

    Great in depth review Catherine, I agree with skin care you got to give it time to see results. Have to say as previously mentioned by others on a previous blog, your skin does look amazingand girlfriend you are GLOWING!!!!!!!!
    As for sunscreen, got to admit as young kids growing up here in Australia, we got sunburnt heaps and quite a few times with major skin peeling. As time progressed from my 20’s to 30’s I would use Reef Coconut Tanning Oil with hardly any SPF. In the past 10 years I avoid the sun due severe eczema. Last 3 to 4 years I would use pure coconut oil as moisturiser, as all the other moisturisrers would irritate the eczema. Now I don’t have severe eczema anymore, I don’t know if it was the coconut oil or a change in my body as eczema is an autoimmune disease. Now I put SPF on my hands, but need to get in the habit of applying on my face. I see my dermatologist for annual skin check up. I know I am lacking in Vitamin D because I avoid the sun which ain’t good for my bones. aaahhh it never ends.

    • Catherine says:

      Dianne. Can you eat foods that are rich in Vitamin D? Wow! I had no idea that eczema is an autoimmune disease! I’m glad it’s gone for you! Yeah–when I think of the way I abused my skin, it makes me sick. I am so careful in the sun these days. I only fake bake!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

    • Q.D says:

      Blue Tulips, I have an AMAZING face sunscreen that I use every day, even through winter, it doesn’t make me break out, or effect my skin the way most sunscreens do (I just put up with the ugly skin in summer when I wear full on sunscreen for a couple of months all day every day). I don’t have it here at work, but when I get home I will look up the brand for you. It is an Australian made/owned small company, not one of the big names.

  4. Bridget says:

    Thanks for these reviews, I think I’m tempted to try the Collagen Serum and the Sunscreen. (But I’ll need to be able to afford them first, LOL.)

    You are getting to be so famous … I hope you won’t forget us “little people” when you get to the top. 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Bridget! The collagen serum is ridiculously wonderful..and the sunscreen–it is on par with the expensive PTR!!!! LOL!! You’re too funny. I only wish I was that famous to get paid for writing! I couldn’t even pick up blog followers at that meeting over the weekend!! LOL!!!! Dayum. I would love to be paid a famous salary so I could move back to New York City!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!

  5. 3C Style says:

    Wow! You’ve been busy, busy like a bee. Perhaps, that is your beauty secret. You are glowing my friend! Beautiful. I enjoy reading your honest reviews.

  6. calensariel says:

    You’re lookin’ bright and shiny there, kiddo! 😀

  7. Nancy says:

    Hi everyone- I have lost volume in the skin under my eyes and it appears as dark concave circles. I am afraid the only thing that can help is fillers which I do not want to do. Has anyone else dealt with this and found either some help to improve the area or something that truly covers the darkness and brightens it up? I wear so glasses so its not quite as noticeable but I looks so old and so tired with my glasses off and this area visible.


    • Catherine says:

      Hi Nancy! Did you try a brightening concealer like YSL’s Touche Eclat or Tarte’s Shape Tape? Although I don’t have dark circles, I am a huge fan of Bare Mineral’s Well-Rested! LADIES!! LET’S HELP NANCY HERE. ANYONE GOT ANY SUGGESTIONS??????? XOXOXOXOXO!!!

  8. HelloIm50ish says:

    I agree that skin care companies need to drop the anti aging terminology. The only anti aging I know of is fillers, injections, and plastic surgery.
    I love your honest review of these products!


  9. Juliet says:

    I think your skin is looking fantastic, I guess skin care wasn’t thought about when I was growing up – Mother was always flinging us outdoors to do stuff when all I wanted was to be inside reading, skin care was considered a bit conceited and frivolous. I wised up when I left home – my skin broke out for every reason under the sun, both my sister and I have that very fair pinkish skin (the bane of my life) that blushes and flushes and tends towards broken capillaries if shocked. Now I am religious about skin care AND drumming it into my kids (female and male), I have done too many searches at work on literature around skin cancers to be blase, and remember to protect your eyes too. Now when I go home to NZ I see people have wised up, but my family are a little behind the curve – sad as the consequences are not good

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Juliet! Same here. It’s funny because even though my mother was obsessive with her creams, that was the extent of skin care. There were no facials or masks and it was considered a bit frivolous! Times have changed and the beauty industry has hit paydirt with all the skin care products available to us now! Oh. All my kids take good care of their skin. Oona is obsessive!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

Leave a Reply