Winter Skin Care: 5 Time-Tested Face Creams

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Face creams can be credited as the savior and culprit of most of facial ailments. When they’re good, they’re very good, and when they’re bad, they're UNFORGIVABLE. Let's focus on the positive, though, and talk about the kinds of face creams that inspire loud praise like there’s music playing, or soft praise that's almost like praying (and the ones that inspire me to quote West Side Story, apparently). 

Here I am, examining five different cult creams, all supposedly with the middle name, “OMG.”

The Old School: NIVEA Creme

NIVEA Creme, true blue

NIVEA Creme, true blue

This vanity staple has been around since 1911, seeing several similar iterations since then. (Marilyn Monroe is said to have sworn by it.) The original formula used lanolin as its main ingredient, with much success. The tub I buy at CVS, however, lists mineral oil as the second ingredient (preceded by water) so things haven't changed too much in this glorious future time we live in. Mineral oil has a pretty poor reputation as far as skin stuff goes--my skin has no aversion to it, but many people experience breakouts. I love the slightly medicinal camphor aroma of NIVEA, and it does moisturizing wonders in dry weather. 

The All-Natural Spiritual Balm: Egyptian Magic

Egyptian Magic: The secret is bees.

Egyptian Magic: The secret is bees.

I was introduced to Egyptian Magic by hearsay. The all-natural, all-purpose cream has only six ingredients: honey, beeswax, olive oil, royal jelly, bee pollen, and bee propolis. With thick, balm texture, the Magic smells a bit earthy. I haven’t had many scars to heal, but this stuff is purported to be a cure-all balm for eczema (check!), burns, rashes, and healing wounds. I don’t know if acne-prone individuals would like this since it’s oil-based, but it never made me break out, though my face looks and feels a bit oily when I'm wearing it. I can’t speak to its healing powers, but it totally banishes dryness. A little goes a long way so a large tub could last about a year. 

The Ooh-la-la Lotion: Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè

french face cream

Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè could very well translate to something I'd put in my coffee.

Regardless of how you feel about French-girl style/beauty, they have some great beauty products. Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè is one of them. You’ll find it in makeup artist kits and celebrity medicine cabinets alike. It’s a quality, hydrating face moisturizer that doesn’t feel greasy and looks perfectly dewy. It boasts being a primer, moisturizer, and makeup remover in one. Hyaluronic acid and glycerin are the hydrating dream team within. It’s not cheap but it's certainly affordable, and if you happen to get all three uses out of it, that's more bang for your buck! It's the beefier O.G. version of Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer, which I daresay was inspired by Embryolisse.

The Japanese Standby: Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream

Yu-Be in for a serious treat with this cult cream

Yu-Be in for a serious treat with this cult cream

Another oldie, Yu-Be came to be in 1957. Concocted by a pharmacist (not a cosmetic company) as an alternative to petroleum-based moisturizers that were too greasy, the formula is high in glycerin, vitamin E, and B2. It has a rather strong camphor odor, but I actually like that smell. The cream is supposedly great for face, lips, feet, cuticles, elbows, pretty much anywhere thirsty. As a winter moisturizer, this stuff is pretty unbeatable.

The Trick Of The Trade: Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream

Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Cream: Fancy Feast for your face

Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Cream: Fancy Feast for your face

Charlotte says this is her secret weapon, the product that makes models' skin look glow-y, flawless, and alive. Although it's new to beauty counter shelves, Charlotte was using it on clients and doling it out to celebs well before she bottled it for sale. The rose-scented potion boasts a perfectly balanced formula of glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and something called the “BioNymph Peptide Complex.” Rose hip oil, camellia oil, and vitamin E are the sad-to-glad actors in this cream, transforming dull, tired skin into a post-vacation version of itself. There's even massage instructions to promote collagen production in the endless quest for a youthful complexion. True, it's $95, and it probably won’t give you model skin right off the bat, but it’s cheaper than La Mer and it feels just as good, if not better.

  • What are your favorite face creams? 
  • How does the longevity of a product or brand play into your skin care buying decisions?