Damn Good Stuff

Damn Good Stuff: Alba Botanica & Good Intentions

A while back, I had posted about how 2016 is the year I intend to (to paraphrase) live intentionally. This is a multi-part process which involves an over-all investment in body, mind, closet, and  (eventually) wallet. One aspect was decluttering- I eliminated one very large bag of clothes, one almost equally large bag of beauty products, and four boxes of books. At some point, I went all Marie Kondo and just wanted to cut the crap. My new rules are as follows:

  1. If there’s something wrong with the fit and it isn’t worth fixing, give it away.
  2. If I put it on and the reaction is just “meh” and it isn’t intended for chores (i.e. good ol’ basics and yoga pants), give it away.
  3. If it’s seen better days, give it away. If it can’t see better days, recycle appropriately (H&M recycles and animal shelters always need textiles).
  4. If it’s a beauty product that doesn’t work, hasn’t been used, looks off, is too old, is no longer my style, dispatch appropriately. Nordstrom’s return policy is generous to say the least.
  5. If it’s a book I don’t love and haven’t gone back to in ages, donate.
  6. No matter how cute or awesome it looks on the rack, if I put it on and I know there’s something about it that will prevent me from wearing it, it stays in the store.
  7. If the beauty product up for consideration is 1) stupid expensive and not very useful, 2) brand obsessive, 3) overly trendy, or 4) made with sketchy ingredients, walk away.

And these are really, really hard! Just last week I raided TJ Maxx (because paying full price for clothes is for fools!) and ended up returning almost half of it! Because seriously, the leopard print sweater was cute but not me, the pink embroidered shell had giant arm holes, and the blue top would shrink instantly. Back they went. I hope that in the future I can be more disciplined the first time around so that I don’t waste time going back to return later on.

After I raided my bathroom cabinet, I was kind of stuck with the notion that there really wasn’t a whole lot that I actually liked. I have sensitive combination skin that has acne flare-ups (I seriously thought that by the time I was this old this would not be a problem) which range from almost rash-like patches to the dreaded cystic knots. It can never decide whether it wants to be dry or overly oily. The face wash I had (Purpose) had been recommended for years by a smattering of dermatologists but my skin just kept on getting more ornery. So, in throwing out way more than I’d like to admit, I decided it was time to reboot the ol’ medicine cabinet too.

I invested in a super-late-to-that-trendy-bandwagon oil cleanser, I also added on a Rosehip Oil serum, a chlorella based eye cream, a manuka honey and oat face/body serum, Kiehl’s eye primer, and Laura Mercier undereye concealer (banishing the old standby, Bobbi Brown, from the makeup table). More on all those another time once they’ve had a chance to settle…

One thing that I did keep from the massive overhaul was something that has served me so, so well these past few winter months: Alba Botanica’s Good & Clean Pore Purifying Mini Peel.

I am a massive sucker for masks and peels. I pretty much collect the little Nugg masks, I’ve tried Bliss algae masks, super pricey Trish McEvoy acid pads, Aveda fancy-schmancy earthy-crunchy masks…none of them work as well as this one. And this one is only $6 and, and, I don’t have to go to the mall!

So what makes this one super special?

I used to think stronger acid was better but then I’d kind of just get stuck in this cycle of stripping down dead skin with harsh acids, getting super dry, peeling, flaking, getting overly oily, breaking out and then starting over. All those super harsh acids are like your one friend who “only drinks tequila” when you want to hang out with a wine and cheese kind of girl. You want Netflix nights, she wants raves…Alba B is your wine and cheese, Netflix movie night friend.

This particular product has an aloe base which means that while its many fruit acids (Bilberry, Bergamot, Orange, Lemon, Strawberry, Radish, Ginseng, Apple, Blackberry, Grape, Sugar Cane, and Sugar Maple) break down dead skin, you aren’t left with a super dry face afterwards. And this stuff is really magical sometimes- I’ll put it on rather thick, let it sit for ten minutes or so, and everything sloughs off without scrubbing. It’s somewhat terrifying, somewhat awesome. I like to do it once a week while I shampoo my hair- any more than that seems to too drying. It has never made my face go into hyper-oil production but instead seems to balance it out.

More balanced means less breakouts which means less makeup…which means more time to sleep in…which is damn good stuff too.



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