Thursday, January 03, 2013

A City Girl's Beauty Picks- By Kelly Kreth

Is there a difference between the shopping habits of city dwellers and suburbanites? Do they pick the same products? I've been living in the comfortable environment of Northern NJ for over 13 years now with ample storage space, huge malls with vast parking lots, and nice UPS guys who bring packages to my door and help me carry the heavy stuff inside. My friend Kelly Kreth lives in NYC. She agreed to share with us her list of favorite beauty products and little secrets:

Being a Manhattanite, I have a relatively small apartment and not that much storage space so I tend to only buy basic things for my health and beauty needs. Also, I tend to be frugal when it comes to most products and often buy drugstore brands or order online. Here are some of my favorite products that I always have on-hand:

Facial Cleanser: I tend to use Shiseido Benefiance Cleanser but also love mainstay Noxzema original cream cleanser in the summer and Ponds Cold Cream in the winter. At night  I use eye makeup remover clothes to remove any leftover eye makeup. I tend to buy them in bulk at the 99 cent store because I also use them to clean my dog’s paws and ears.

Facial Moisturizer: I typically use Crème de la Mer moisturizing cream in the morning right after showering. Yes, it's a pricey item, I’m lucky to have a friend who can get me 50% off! I have also found the next best thing to La Mer which is cheaper and as such, can be used more liberally: Egyptian Magic cream. It heals scars, stretch marks, burns and most of all it softens your skin everywhere. At just under $40 I find this all-purpose product to be a real steal. Lastly, in summer I often go without moisturizer and just use sunscreen along with Shiseido Benefiance Skin Softener. In winter I use it under my primary moisturizer.

Soap: My favorite soap is Dove, but I tend to try any interesting scented soap I can find whether in bar or liquid form. For hand soap I tend to use one of four: Any Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap product (I also stick to her products for household cleaning and doing laundry. Her laundry detergent and softener is the best cleaning and smelling I’ve found and am loyal to that brand.) I love the scent of Bath and Body Works Jasmine Vanilla (smells like musk) so I tend to stock up on the hand soap and body wash when they have it; I even have the perfume. I also like Mr. Bubble hand soap because it reminds me of the smell of my childhood.

Powder: I like traditional Johnson’s Baby Powder but the Talc-free version that uses cornstarch instead.

Body Moisturizer: I discovered Parachute Coconut Oil while I was vacationing in India several years ago and have been a loyal user since. It is really inexpensive and smells like a tropical vacation. It would be used for massage in India but I like it as an all-over post-shower body moisturizer. I also love Palmer’s products, particularly their body oil and lotion because it smells like cake batter and is very affordable and lasts all day. On a related note, Palmer’s used to have the world’s best product: It was called Palmer’s Skin Success FACE LIFT SERUM and EYE SERUM. I’ve used tons of supposed skin tightening creams and this is the only one that ever showed a noticeable difference. I am sad it's no longer made.

Shampoo/Conditioner: Revlon Flex Balsam and Protein Shampoo and Conditioner. I took them for granted for years. Flex was one of the cheapest and best products on the market. Then in 2010 it was discontinued to my – and tons of others across the land—horror. Seriously, go online and Google this. You will see forlorn masses searching endlessly for a way to get some. What used to cost under $2 a bottle is now going for about $20+ per bottle on the black market eBay. When I first found out about the discontinuation I bought 14 bottles of the conditioner online and still have a few proudly displayed in my bathroom. I only use it on special occasions; when I do it my hair not only looks great but inevitably someone will comment on how good I smell. I have tried, to no avail, to find a substitute for the scent but nothing comes close. I recall years ago I bought a generic version of balsam and protein conditioner at a Walgreens in Florida while on vacation. If anyone knows of any generic type of this product out there that smells the same, please let me know. Or if you have any stashed I will pay for it!

Toothpaste: I hate the taste of mint so I stick with cinnamon-flavored toothpastes. My favorite is Cinnamon and Clove by Tom’s of Maine but Aim’s pink gel also works well and tastes great.

Deodorant: I used to love Lady’s Speed Stick Musk Scent but can’t find it anymore (why are my favorite products always discontinued?).  So I’ve been using Avon’s Night Magic roll-on which smells great and is only $1 a bottle. I also use any baby powder scented one or Lady Speed Stick Lilac when I can find it.

Makeup: I tend to wear all Bare Escentuals for foundation/powder/highlighter/blush because I like how light and natural they look and feel. My mascaras are Chanel Inimitable Waterproof and L’Oreal Voluminous Waterproof. I use E.L.F. Clear mascara on my eyebrows. I wear a red lipstick from Chanel that is no longer made so once it runs out—I only wear it on special occasions—I do not have a go-to yet for a semi-matte true red. I like Lancôme Ultra Shiny Lip gloss in Miracle or Ticked Pink and Flirt! Squeeze Me! Super Shiny lip gloss. Otherwise I always carry MAC’s clear Lipglass with me to put over whatever light color I may be wearing. I use Dermablend Professional Coverage Cover Cream as a concealer under my eyes. It is the only thing that works.

Other standout brands I love: Bonne Belle for flavored lip gloss and the only toner I’d ever use (only in summer) called Ten-o-six which was rebranded last year to Formula 10.0.6; anything in Caswell Massey’s  lilac scent; and Relief MD scented Epsom salts.

A freelance writer and publicist, Kelly Kreth is also a malcontent who often feels trapped in a Seinfeldian Hell. She'd like people to love her for her flaws, not in spite of them. That rarely happens. She lives in NYC with her dachshund, Mini. You can read more by her at:

Artwork by Leeay Aikawa via Trendland.


  1. What a great post! Funny and I can never get enough of a virtual peek into someone's bathroom cabinet. Thanks for sharing!

    I too loved Flex Shampoo & Conditioner- nothing smells as good as they did. I also love musk deodorant and have been using Alyssa Ashley Musk deo, but I will totally try the Avon Night Magic - who can argue with $1? I am also a fan of the original Noxema cream cleanser. Clearly we are from similar generations...

  2. Strange but we have many similar loves. I too use both noxema and ponds cold cream AND creme de la mer! I thought it was strange. I used to use the lady speed stick musk or lilac but can't find it any more so I just use the mens musk one. I don't like the night magic I bought as a substitute but I may have gotten a bad batch because they smell off. I still like the EDT though. I have two bottles you can have if you want. Just let me know.
    I too share your love of the Flex scent. Honestly I was just mentioning to my coworker how much I missed it.( shampoo dry damaged formula) I don't use condish but let me know if you do come across any I'll do the same. They(revlon) also used to have an similar smelling lotion under aquamarine line, it was the one for extra dry skin. Smelled like Flex.
    I agree so many of my faves get disconned.

  3. I am an exiled New Yorker due to circumstances beyond my control. I used to use Flex and it worked well, especially with the soft water I love and miss so dearly.
    Now on to Flex - living or interred in California, I have, found Flex in the oddest places, usually 99c stores and stock up as I go along. If you ever go to Canada , they still sell it.
    Revlon really gave up the gauntlet on products, such as Moon Drops, Intimate perfume which oddly enough I found in a strange thrift store in Bisbee, AZ a whole carton of. I have a separate fridge for my perfumes.
    I enjoy your blog to the nth degree.
    My products of choice which are still available are Eterna face cream (this climate is so dry it dries up my skin like tissue paper), Ponds (blue top), vegetable glycerin which I mix with a bit of rosewater, Dove shampoo/conditioner,
    Dove soap, and baby oil after shower. Since Givenchy went insane discontinuing my love, Le De & then Organza Incence, it's Paris by St. Laurent or Gres by Cabochard. The only perk to where I now live is that it caters to high end vacationers, and I have found treasures, fragrance wise, in thrift stores here at season's end.
    Thank you for your wise and witty site. It's 3 AM and I'm still reading.


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