Last month I had the unfortunate coincidence of running out of my day cream, my night cream and my night time cleanser, all at the same time. Ever since starting my career in cosmetics nearly 20 years ago, I have always relied on reasonably pricey department store brands (made much more affordable when I was receiving it all free or heavily discounted!), and have been quite happy with them. But when faced with an over $400 outlay in one hit, I not unexpectedly balked at shelling out all of that money. That same day, I came across this article in the Daily Mail comparing Nivea with Creme de la Mer, and I thought "what the heck, I'm going to give a retro skincare routine a go!" Worst came to worst, I would have wasted less than $20, and if it did work out for me, then what a saving I would be making long term.
Heading down to my local Priceline I "invested" in Pond's Original Cold Cream, Nivea Creme and Nivea Soft, and for just under $20, almost my whole routine was sorted. My mum has used the Pond's Cold Cream for almost all of her life, and she easily looks 15-20 years younger than she really is, so I was pretty certain this would be a winner. Created in 1907, by a company that has been creating beauty products since the 1840s, this is a vintage gem. I've been cleansing with oil for quite along time now, so using the cold cream was not an unusual feeling, other than it being a tissue-off formula rather than washing it off with a hot flannel. The smell is delightful (like a rich rosewater), and as I am gently rubbing it in, I automatically feel more glamorous!
Next was the Nivea Creme, which I used to replace my night cream. First produced in 1911, Nivea Creme is a true classic that has often been overlooked as high-tech products have come and gone. Using this as my night cream was an adjustment, as the texture is incredibly rich and thick. I wouldn't go so far as to call it greasy, but someone like me with combination skin definitely wouldn't be able to use this as a day cream. As thick as the Creme was, it never felt heavy on the skin, and I could absolutely see a difference in how my skin looks each morning - it is much more supple and radiant. A week after starting to use this, I ran out of my eye cream (running out of everything like this has never, ever happened to me before!), so I just started to use the Nivea around my eyes as well. The Daily Mail testing showed a clinically noticeable difference in fine lines across the whole face, and I can attest to this as well.
Finally, the Nivea Soft was used as my day cream. A much lighter version of the original, this has been a lovely day cream that doesn't leave me overly shiny and doesn't seem to affect how my makeup wears throughout the day. I don't like the fragrance as much as the original, but it is light and inoffensive, so I'm not bothered.
Of course, these are not the only three products I am using, since I'm not ready to go totally retro yet! Instead, I am saving my dollars for modern products that are clinically proven. I am using a clinical grade Vitamin C serum (Ultraceuticals) in the morning under the Nivea Soft, topped with a broad spectrum sunscreen (La Roche Posay), both products that have been scientifically proven to help prevent (and in the case of the vitamin C, reverse) spots and fine lines. At night, I am alternating a prescription strength retinol (again, scientifically proven, this time to reverse fine lines and spots, and boost collagen) with a high strength glycolic acid peel. I am also still using my Clarisonic twice a week with my La Roche Posay cleanser.
After using this routine for a month, I have to say that it is working a treat. This combination of scientifically proven with proven by the test of time products has seemed to strike the sweet spot. My breakouts, even the hormonal ones, have lessened considerably, and my skin is looking much smoother and softer. My hyperpigmentation hasn't faded at all, but it hadn't faded with all the specialised department store brands I was using before, so no loss there, even if there was no gain. Most of all, though, using these vintage products just seems to make me take some glamorous pleasure in routines that bookend my day.