Beauty on a Budget-Spring into Summer 2017

Spring is finally here and with the changing of the seasons comes the need to change one’s skin care routine. In this posting I’ll share how I do that and manage to stay within the target range I plan to spend on each item. That targeted price is never to go above $5 per item whenever possible. I achieve this by looking for store brands with comparable or the same ingredients. If I am shopping at 99 cent stores then purchasing a store brand is not possible but I look for products by the same manufacturer whose products I have used in the past and which peformed well.


Rite-Aid’s daylogic cleansing cream and astringent.

As the weather gets warmer my skin produces more oil. Especially on hot and humid days, a rich cleansing cream and moisturizer prove unnecessary. I have always done well with Noxema medicated cleansing cream and Sea Breeze astringent during the hot weather. Both reduce the oil and deep clean my skin without resulting dryness. I attribute this to the camphor and eucalyptus oil in these brand name products. Since they are not always available on sale at Rite-Aid Pharmacy, I look for the daylogic brand distributed by Rite-Aid. The daylogic deep cleansing cream has the same ingredients as Noxema while the daylogic astringent has similar ingredients to Sea Breeze, including that important euclapytus oil and camphor. With the Rite-Aid membership card you can save even more money when the daylogic products are on sale. The regular price for the daylogic Deep Cleasning skin cream is $4.59 and the daylogic Deep Cleasing Astringent is $4.49.


Delta Brand’s Lucky Aloe Vera Sun Gel.

During the hot weather, the skin on my legs, arms and torso does not absorb a creamy lotion as quickly as it does in the winter. It is very important to keep the skin supple and moisturized during the summer months. Drinking lots of water helps from within and applying a lotion or gel on the skin’s surface does the work from the outside. But what kind of lotion or gel should you use? I have found an unexpected answer in Delta Brand’s  “Lucky Sea ‘n’ Sun Aloe After Sun Gel”. The green gel is very lightweight and quickly absorbed after a hot bath or shower. I find that it works very well even on skin that is not tanned. This product contains Aloe Vera juice and glycerin but no alcohol. I bought this product at Deal 99 cents and Up in Bay Ridge for $1.49.


Delta Brand’s Lucky Citrus scented Kitchen Anti-Bacterial Liquid Hand Soap.


Delta Brand’s Lucky Daily Moisturizing Lotion.

Hand care in the summer months may require a change in products as well. I use Anti-Bacterial Hand Soaps year round but find that a lighter version works better for me in the summer months. Delta Brands makes a line of anti-bacterial hand soaps that are pleasantly scented and do not dry the hands. I prefer their citrus scented hand soap which is labeled as a “kitchen citrus” but I find it works good for all-around use. After hand washing I follow up with Delta’s Lucky Daily Moisturizing Lotion that contains colloidal oatmeal derived from oat kernel flour. The lotion is of a medium consistency and quickly absorbs into the hands. I find both products work well together. I bought both at Deal 99 cents and Up Store in Bay Ridge. The lotion is $1.29 a bottle and the soap is sometimes on sale for 99 cents but usually sells for $1 or $1.19 a bottle.

I hope you will get some ideas for the challenges of treating combination skin during the spring and summer months. It is possible to do so while staying within a budgeted amount if you’re willing to devote some extra time to comparison shop, as well as trying out different products.

I bought the products at these stores in Bay Ridge:

daylogic deep cleasing cream and astringent at
Rite-Aid Pharmacy, 7118 Third Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY.

Delta Brand’s Lucky Sea ‘n’ Sun Aloe After Sun Gel, Lucky Kitchen Citrus Anti-bacterial Hand Soap and Lucky Daily Moisturizing Lotion at
Deal 99 cents and Up, 7019 Third Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn NY.


Note: I do not receive any payment in cash or kind for writing about the products featured in this blog. The postings are intended to be informational. Should you have serious skin problems please consult a dermatologist before beginning any kind of a skin care regimen.







Beauty on a Budget for March 2017

Although tomorrow is the first day of Spring 2017, winter is still hanging on here in Brooklyn, New York.  We were hit with very heavy snow fall during a Nor’easter two weeks ago.  Since then the streets are clear but piles of hardened snow and ice remain.  It is cold and damp so my outings in search of bargains are still limited to the immediate neighborhood.


I happened upon Personal Care’s Deep Cleansing Skin Cream while out on Third Avenue in Bay Ridge this past Saturday.  As the seasons change, so does my personal care regimen.  In the deep of winter I often use only cold cream to remove my make-up and clean my face.  As Spring nears I do not need such heavy moisturizing.  I sometimes use Noxema to clean my face during the Summer but I do not buy it on a regular basis because the price is too high for a chain drug store product.  I was very pleased to come upon Personal Care’s version of Noxema.  It contains camphor, menthol and eucalyptus oils but in smaller quantities.  There is also soybean oil to give this cream a light and moisturizing consistency.  My skin was not irritated when I used this product and so far I am very pleased with how clean my face feels after washing with it.



I wanted to find a rich, creamy bar of bath soap that provides an alternative to Dove which is not over $1 a bar.  Silk Route Beauty Products makes a packet of 3 bath sized soaps that is available in my neighborhood for $1.19.  The soap, according to the label, does not contain any fragrances containing alcohol nor animal fats.  It is rich in milk cream and promises an luxury bathing experience.  I decided to give it a try.  I figured if I didn’t care that much for it I would use the bars of soap to hand wash my lingerie.  This morning I opened a bar and was very pleased with the floral fragrance and the rich lather.  My skin was smooth after the bath without any tautness or dryness.  Plus the rich purple color is very appealing when the soap is placed in a pure white soap dish.


For days when I need an extra treat I bought Perfect Purity brand’s Sweet Pea Blossom Body Wash.  The light fragrance is indeed sweet but not cloying.  It reminds me of the perfumes that were sold for little girls when I was growing up.  The Sweet Pea Blossom layers well with the Midnight Orchid bath soap.  I find it an uplifting little treat at the start or end of the day.  By the time the warmer weather comes I will be in a spring time mode already with all thoughts of winter already in the past.

The products featured in this posting are available at Deal 99 cents and up in Bay Ridge Brooklyn.  The prices I paid are very reasonable and the quality more than I expected.

3-bar pack of Silk Midnight Orchid Soap….$1.19

Personal Care deep cleansing Skin Cream…$1.19

Perfect Purity’s Sweet Peal Blossom Body Wash…$1.29

Store Information:  Deal 99 cents and Up, 7109 Third Avenue, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY.

Note:  This posting is for informational purposes only.  I do not receive any payment from the stores or from the manufacturers of products I write about.






Beauty on a Budget: Light, fragrant body and face creams

Every woman needs a light moisturizer to keep her skin supple.  One that is lightly scented adds to the enjoyment of using the product.  I have very sensitive skin and am hesitant to spend a lot of money on a new skin care product.  I’m also unwilling to pay $20 and up for brands sold at chain drug stores.  To satisfy my needs I’ve tried experimenting with inexpensive products by testing them first on a small area of my neck or cheek.  To my surprise I have found a very good moisturizer that satisfies both my need for a light, absorbent moisturizer and one that has a pleasant fragrance.


Age Defying Skin Cream may not actually halt the aging process but I find it makes my skin smooth and soft after I use it.  It is very light and not at all greasy.  I can use it over my face and neck and even under my eyes without any irritation.  It contains Vitamins A & E according to the label.  I use it instead of a liquid make-up base and find that face powder and powder blush stay on my skin longer.


I also bought a jar of Cooling Aloe Skin Cream to use on my hands.  Now that winter is over I don’t need a heavy hand crème with ingredients like cocoa butter.  This cream works well as is very absorbent.  The Aloe leaf juice added to the product would, you think, make the price higher but it doesn’t.

Both of these skin creams are made by Universal Distributors, manufacturers of products for discount and dollar stores.  I bought mine at Deal 99 Cents Store, 7019 Third Avenue (near Ovington Avenue and 71 St.) in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY.  The Age Defying Skin Cream cost $1.19 and the Cooling Aloe Skin Cream cost $1.29.  The packaging is lightweight plastic so there is no worrying about it slipping and breaking.  I’m very satisfied with both skin creams and recommend you give them a try.





Beauty on a budget: A touch of Spring

After weeks of being cooped up because of the cold weather I took a long walk this past Sunday.  It was a day where hints of Spring were everywhere in Bay Ridge.  I saw bees flying in one garden where a few flowers had begun to bloom.  The tips of the trees are looking fuller, a sign of the green buds that are forthcoming.

I longed very much for a light floral fragrance to fill the air but it’s still too cold for the earth to send forth the fragrances of grass and flowers.  I was in the mood to buy a fragrance but without the money for any kind of a name brand, pricey purchase.


I ended up at one of my favorite 99 cents and up stores where they are selling copies of designer fragrances at $4.99 a bottle.  My late Mom loved Anais Anais, a fragrance that not only evokes Springtime for me but a feeling of well being since memories of my Mom always lift my spirits.  When I saw the tester bottle of Ana Ana I was very skeptical.  I decided to try it.  To my surprise Ana Ana was very light, reminding me mostly of lily of the valley.  I went outside the store and waited a few minutes to see what the fragrance was like after a few minutes.  It was still light but growing faint.

I decided to buy the bottle anyway.  The fragrance remained faint but that is fine with me because I do not like a fragrance that is very noticeable.  I decided to use Ana Ana as a tool for aromatherapy.  In the evening I will spray my bed with it before going to sleep or spray my lingerie before getting dressed.  Having this fragrance around me even for a short time is very pleasing and worth the $4.99.  So many happy memories arise and you really can’t put a price on that.

I bought Ana Ana at New Wang Fa Trading at 6926 4th Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY.


Note:  This posting is for informational purposes only.  I do not receive any merchandise or remuneration from the manufacturers of products featured nor from the stores mentioned.


Soften winter weary skin with a Cucumber Extract Facial Mask


Packet containing facial mask by Cala Products.

I’m continuing a series of home treatments using different products from the 99 cents & up stores in my part of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.  Today I tried a facial mask made by Cala Products.  The label describes it as containing Cucumber Extract and being good for all skin types.  It also claims to relax the skin.  My skin is showing signs of stress from the cold weather and the many matters I have to attend to right now.  My eyes are very puffy, too.

I have repeatedly heard that putting two cucumber slices on my eyes would bring the puffiness down.  But I’m a little reluctant to use a food product on my skin since it is very sensitive.  I once tried a homemade mask made with egg whites and honey as a teenager.  My skin was very oily at that time.  The mask did tighten my pores but also irritated my skin.  I do not want to have any problems with my eyes so I’ll skip experimenting with cucumber slices.  I went shopping for an eye mask but could not find such a product.  When I saw a Cucumber Extract facial mask I thought it might be good to try since I want to find a product that will give my skin a boost, a kind of substitute for a mini-facial.

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Epielle Deep Cleansing Nose Strip


A box of Epielle’s “Deep cleaning nose strip” comes with three strips.

I’ve always wondered if these strips you put across your nose really worked at clearing out the dirt that accumulates in enlarged pores.  I decided to give them a try when I picked up the Epielle brand of “Deep cleansing nose strip” at a nearby 99 cents and up store.


The strips are very easy to use.  First wash your face and dry.  Moisten your nose area with some water and then apply the strip according to the directions on the box.  The important thing is to smooth the strip so that no air bubbles remain.  The strip stays on for 12-15 minutes.

In the beginning I did not feel anything but gradually the strip began to harden and I felt a tingling.  It did not hurt but it definitely felt like something was happeneing.  I just hoped my skin would not look red or puffy when I took the strip off.

When I took the strip off I was surprised by how many blackheads had been lifted up and out from my pores.  At first my skin was a little puffy but after a few minutes it was very smooth.  The pore size had minimized.  I decided to forego make-up or moisturizer until my skin no longer felt puffy.  The package directions state that the strips can be used every three days but I think given the sensitivity of my own skin I’d use them once every 7 to 10 days.

I think the strips do a superior job of cleaning and tightening pores.  I plan to use them rather than a mask.  Epielle “Deep cleansing nose strip” is made in Korea for KareWay Products.  I paid $1.29 for a box at New Wang Fa Trading at 6926 4th Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY.

I have placed a photo of what the strip lifted out of my pores behind the cut which follows.  It’s really icky to look at so if you’re easily grossed out just skip to a different posting.

Please note:  I do not receive remuneration of any sort from the stores or manufactures whose products I review.  This posting is for informational purposes only.  Before using any type of skin care product do a test on a small part of your face or arm to ensure you do not have any negative reactions to it.

Behind this cut is a photo of the gunk the strip lifted out of my pores…

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Is $9.99 a pound a bargain price for good quality coffee? I say “Yes!”

My first bag of Javatazza coffee.

I finally did it.  I spent more than planned for on a pound of coffee.  I love a cup of flavorful coffee early in the morning.  I also love using an old percolator for the nostalgia value.  The aroma of coffee perking early in the morning takes me back to some very good memories.  My Mom used a percolator and my favorite Auntie used an electric percolator.  I have many happy memories of sleepovers at my Auntie’s house with my Cousin Jackie.  All that comes back with the sound of the percolator and the aroma of the coffee!  It’s a pleasant way to gradually wake up in the morning.

The store brand of canned coffee or even brands like Chock Full O’Nuts don’t work well with this percolator.  So I decided to take a chance and buy a pound of Javatazza at the Food Dynasty on Third Avenue between 74th and 75th Streets.  I chose the “Coarse Ground” setting when grinding the beans.  The French Vanilla Decaff sounded like the new flavor I was seeking.  It didn’t disappoint.  I’m very happy to spend $9.99 for a pound of this flavorful and mellow coffee.  It even has a slight touch of chocolate.

The reason why I’m now perking my own coffee is that lately the coffee I’ve bought is either bitter or too strong.  When I think of a cup of coffee costing $1.25 and up I start getting more fussy.  I drink two cups of coffee between breakfast and break time when I work at my home office.  If I was to buy a large coffee or two cups of coffee per day, I’d spend almost the same amount in one week as what the pound of Javatazza cost.  After a week, there was enough of the Javatazza coffee to take me through another week.  So although the outlay was more, the purchase was worth it.  I loved the flavor and enjoyed my coffee so much more because it is so mellow.  And at two weeks, two cups per day that is a total of 28 cups of coffee.  Each cup cost less than 35 cents each!

Making muffins using Jiffy Muffin Mix.

I’ve also started using Jiffy Muffin Mix to make corn muffins or blueberry muffins to go with my coffee.  It’s not fancy gourmet quality but I’m fine with my home made muffins using Jiffy Mix.  Using a small sized muffin tin also helps with portion control.  I’ve spent $2.00-3.50 on oversize muffins often feeling disgusted by the price and the amount I can’t finish.  Even if the flavor is good, the amount left over does not justify how much I spent and how much is leftover.

I like perked coffee much better than coffee from a coffee maker.  If you’d like to try an old school way to make coffee here’s how:

1.  You’ll need a stainless steel or aluminum percolator, one cup measuring cup, measuring spoon for 1 tablespoon, coffee with a grind suitable for percolators.

2.  Measure one cup of cold water for each cup of finished coffee.  Put the water into the coffee pot.

3.  Add one tablespoon of coffee for each cup of water added.  Then add one more tablespoon for a fuller flavored coffee.  I find that for three cups of water I need four tablespoons of the Javatazza coarse ground coffee.  The brand and grind you use may require more or less.

4.  Place the top on the basket and close the top of the percolator.

5.  Put the percolator onto the stove using a medium-low flame.  Keep close to the kitchen to listen for the “perk-perk” sound that starts once the water begins to boil.

6.  As the water boils it rises up the stem, hits the top of the glass and then falls down into the basket where it seeps through the coffee grinds.  Lower the flame a little.  You don’t want the coffee to bubble over and out onto the stove.

7.  Time the coffee to perk 7-8 minutes for a light-medium flavor.  For stronger coffee let it perk for a longer time.  The time may have to be tweaked depending on the grind and brand you choose.

8.  After the coffee has finished perking, shut the flame off and let the pot rest for a minute or two.  Then remove the basket.  Never pour the coffee with the basket still in the percolator.  The brew will become bitter.

Now you can enjoy your coffee in a cup or pack it into a travel mug like the one I got from Birdie at GreenNY.  If you’re at home, you can reheat the coffee later and it will still have a good flavor.  I don’t recommend letting it sit in the pot all day but an extra hour or so is ok.

Use soap and water to clean an aluminum or stainless steel coffee pot instead of Brillo.  Once a week you can soak everything in a mix of baking soda and white vinegar for an hour.  This removes all the oil that builds up on the inside of the basket and percolator.  It will also also leave everything shiny clean.

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You can buy Javatazza coffee in any quantiy you want. I’ve bought 1/2 lb this week for under $5.00.  I shop for it  at Food Dynasty, 7414 Third Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, NY.


This review is provided for information only.  I do not receive any remuneration for my write-ups of stores or products.