And it's no one's fault. It's true in life and it's true when it comes to beauty products. I've been really struggling with which night cream to purchase (an old fave? a possible new fave from a trusted brand? something completely different?) and luckily the return policies at my favorite stores Sephora and Ulta make it easy for me to test out different ones before settling on the best.
While killing time on a lunch break in Ulta last week, I used up every available space on my hands and arms testing different moisturizers. When I left the store, only one spot (other than the abhorrent reaction I am about to describe below) was irritated -- from a Dr. Perricone cream, and I don't remember which it was. Luckily Dr. Perricone is a pretty expensive line, and I'm OK with crossing it off my list based on just that one experience. Of course, crossing something off my beauty list doesn't exclude it for life.
Case in point: Clinique. Some time ago, I had a bad allergic reaction to one of their face sunscreens, and we called it quits. Last week in Ulta, I decided to give it a go again. I dabbed on Moisture Surge, Moisture Surge Intense, and Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturizer. Almost immediately, and I mean literally within about 10 seconds, the skin where I had applied the Intense version of Moisture Surge was itchy. 20 seconds later it was red. 30 seconds later it was itchy, red, and blotchy. A minute later small hives were visible. A minute and 30 seconds later the small hives were white mountains in a red sea and I couldn't resist scratching it. Even after washing my hands, the reaction area was itchy and visible for a few hours, and 8 hours later (after showering, mind you) there was still little dots and blotches that provided evidence for what had occurred earlier.
Clinique is 100% fragrance free and "allergy tested," and yet this product somehow caused the worst allergic reaction I have had in a long time, and at the same time the other two Clinique products showed zero signs of irritation. I actually went ahead and purchased the regular Moisture Surge and used it for two nights, only to return it. Although I wouldn't go so far as to say that I'm "allergic" to it, it made my cheeks slightly red and blotchy, and I'm just not comfortable dealing with that at $40 a pop. In comparing the ingredients lists of the regular Moisture Surge and the Intense, there are so many different chemical ingredients that I wouldn't know where to begin in guessing which one caused the reaction. The Super Rescue is my next try, and seems to have the best online reviews for effectiveness and gentleness, so we'll see if that means anything for me.
I also tried Ole Henrikson's sensitive skin moisturizer, Nourish Me, only to return it after a few uses. For one, it smells like a cross between fruit loops and a creamsicle, and it's a very strong fragrance. It didn't do much in terms of adding moisture and it made my skin just a little itchy.
All of these products have high-quality ingredients, minimal preservatives and harmful chemicals, and thousands of reviews from loyal users online. But they just weren't for me. Time to move on.