Empowering Every Woman to be Beautiful

My Big Splurge

A few weeks ago I made a trip to the mall because I'm just about going insane being frugal. The funky new economy means my freelance work has come nearly to a halt. I've had to make some "adjustments" to my living style, as I know many people have.

But months on end without a trip to a proper mall (that would mean one with Neiman Marcus as an anchor store) is a lot to ask of anyone. I woke up in a terrible funk one day and decided I'd had enough. I'd been good. I hadn't charged anything in forever. I deserved a trip to Neiman Marcus.

So, with plastic in hand, I headed out to my favorite store. I knew I wouldn't do anything stupid (like that time I bought a pair of Tod sandals that was about a third of my New York City rent). I just don't have it like that anymore. But something small would make my day a little brighter.

Because I buy most of my makeup from truly natural and earth responsible vendors (over the internet) I don't normally walk through the makeup sections of department stores. But I considered treating myself to a fragrance this day at NM, so there I was in the cosmetics section.

One of my favorite brands of fragrance is Fresh. They make wonderfully light and airy fragrances that work well with my body chemistry. I enjoy a new one each summer. Positive I was just going to buy a bottle of Sugar Lychee Eau de Parfum, I walked right past everything else.

When the sales associate at the Fresh counter asked if I'd consider trying their newest skincare products, I explained that 95% of my skincare purchases are all natural. Department store brands are full of parabens and other chemicals I choose to keep out of my body. She said I should try their new line, CRÈME ANCIENNE.

Before I could protest, she'd placed a dab of a thick white eye cream on my hand. "Rub that in," she said. I did. It was smooth and rich feeling. But most department store creams are. Before I got absorbed into the silky texture and the high priced scent (you know how expensive creams smell different from cheap ones?), I asked for the box so I could read the ingredients.

As I tried to read, the sales associate went on about how this formula is made by monks in some far away land. It's supposedly stirred by hand. It's from an ancient recipe used on gladiators to help heal their wounds (yeah, I know. But this is what she said. I swear.)

I'm probably making the sales associate sound annoying, but actually she was quite pleasant. She just really wanted to make a larger sale than my original $32 fragrance purchase. As I read (and she went on about the miracle product), I was surprised to find the cream to be relatively healthy.

There are no parabens (instead it contains Ethylhexylglycerin,a natural preservative derived from grains and plants. Tocopherol is used as well) and no suspect chemicals. There were lots of good-for-me oils like meadowfoam seed and jojoba seed. I checked every single ingredient against my Consumer's Dictonary of Cosmetic Ingredients. They all checked out as safe.

Convinced this was in deed a product I didn't have a problem using, I told the sales associate to add it to my bill. She was delighted. She decided I was also a good candidate for their moisturizing elixir. From experience I know anything with "elixir" in the title is going to be expensive. I was right. $250 for 1.7 oz. Yeah. I don't think so.

Then it hit me that I hadn't even asked the price of the miraculous hand-stirred-by-monks eye cream. $95. For half an ounce. Ouch. I took a deep breath and said, "Okay. I'll take it." I don't normally do impulse buys. But it was refreshing to find something in a department store that passed my purity test.

I've been using it for two weeks now and I have to say I love how it feels around my dry eye area when I apply it at night. I can also wear it underneath my concealer during the day. It gives the perfect amount of moisture without looking greasy. I can't yet speak to its long term wrinkle protection. We'll see.

I do like that I only need the tiniest bit, so I suspect the jar will last a while. And thankfully, the inclusion of meadowfoam seed oil ensures a long self life.

Do you know of an all natural eye cream that works well? Preferably for less than $95. Please share the info!