Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

April 14, 2010

Five Great: Plumcake-tested Skin Care Products

Filed under: Five Great...,Makeup,Plumcake's Closet,You Asked For It — Miss Plumcake @ 12:38 pm

Know what I love? Stuff that works.

I feel like I spend a disproportionate amount of time trying to find things that DO what they say they do.  And you know, I’m not raising kids or brokering world peace, but my time is still valuable.  I mean, I’m not in my twenties anymore…I’m only going to stay wrinkle-free and immaculately bosomed for so long, and each moment I spend in the grocery aisle debating which glass cleaner will make computer-generated birds fly into my French doors  is a moment I’m NOT slipping roofies into the bourbons of easily-entrapped elderly rich dudes and frankly, I just can’t live with that.

Another thing I love is “The Natural Look.”

No really, I do. Mine are some very lazy bones and although I am perfectly capable and willing to wear a full face of makeup when it is required, for the most part, my day look involves nada in the way of paints and powders.

I subscribe to the French technique  –it sounds fancier than just saying I’m lazy– which is relatively little in the way of actual cosmetics, but a serious skin care regime. Honestly, if you’ve got great skin and a well-shaped, flawlessly groomed brow (and if you’re me, a draconian position on unwelcome facial hair) you should –theoretically– be able to wake up, wash your face, moisturize and be ready for your close up.

Here are the exact products I use and love:

Full disclosure:

I’ve got big ole eyelash extensions comme ça, so keep in mind you might want to add a slick of mascara –or better yet, lash tinting– for a natural-but-polished look.

Plumcake mid-scrub

(oh what, you thought it was all glamor? This is mid-exfoliation, yo! And you say I don’t love you.)

Here is what I use for skin care:

Aveeno cleansing pads

Aveeno Positively Radiant Cleansing Pads

I was looking for something that didn’t require rinsing as I can’t get my eyelashes wet for 24 hours after a fill when I bought these by mistake. Happily it was one of those rare mistakes that work out in my favor.  My skin –which had been suffering– noticeably improved within a few days. Each pad has a little scrubby side and a lathery side. The scrubby side is perfect for gentle exfoliation, but when I want something a bit stronger –about once a week– I pour a little rice flour onto the pad and scrub it into my face.  Rice flour is an excellent and dirt cheap natural exfoliant. It doesn’t get super sudsy (see picture above) but has a nice little lather that rinses off easily.

Aveeno moisturizer

Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 30

This isn’t the best moisturizer/radiance serum I’ve ever used –those awards go to Sisley, Chanel and Caudelie– but it’s the best one I’ve found for under $90.  My skin tone is more even and brighter, and the lotion absorbs quickly, which is nice because “glowy” is a good look for me, “greased up like Charleton Heston” is not.

Olay Regenerist Firming night cream

Olay Regenerist Night Recovery Cream

I use this before bed, on top of my Aveeno moisturizer. Again, it’s not the best I’ve ever used but it’s the best for under $90, and it’s not markedly less effective than my $200 cream.  This is some thick goop though, so a little bit goes a long way. While I wouldn’t say it’s greasy, it stays on the skin longer than I’d like for day wear so this night cream really is better just at night.

CG Clear Mascara

Cover Girl Professional Natural Lash No Color Mascara

Really any old clear mascara should do to run over your brows to keep them nicely shaped for the day but I like giving my money to Cover Girl because I appreciate they use plus-size Queen Latifah and other women of color in their ads.  Next week (I hope) I’ll show you how I do my brows when I’m wearing makeup, but usually it’s just the clear mascara and a very good waxist.

lip venom

Lip Venom by DuWop

This is the perfect lip gloss because it just brings a flush of blood to your lips. I’ve never noticed any real lip plumping, but I’ve got a big mouth (hush, you know what I mean) so I’m not sure I’d notice it if it did. Incidentally, if you don’t have high coloring in your cheeks, a little bit of this on your fingertips and rubbed into your cheeks like a cream blush should do the trick.

So there you go, the five products I use every day to get a fresh, polished natural look. If you decide to try any of them –and I highly recommend them all– be sure to let us know!


  1. Does the Lip Venom hurt? Because it sounds like it hurts.

    I will definitely try the Aveeno day lotion because I’ve been on a desperate search for the perfect daily sunscreen for ages now.

    Comment by JennyKnopinski — April 14, 2010 @ 2:02 pm

  2. I always thought that eyelash extensions were a beyond ridiculous expense, but now that I’m seeing them–oh, my! I might have to eat my words. Nom, nom, nom.

    Comment by wmnslibr — April 14, 2010 @ 2:48 pm

  3. Jenny, no it doesn’t hurt. Tingles a little, but doesn’t hurt at all. If you buy it and find it DOES hurt, leave it out in the sun or in a hot car for a day. I accidentally did that and the tingle factor went down to barely anything.

    Comment by Plumcake — April 14, 2010 @ 2:54 pm

  4. Libby, I was the same way –“Eyelash extensions? That’s definitely for people with more money than sense. Besides I have pretty long/thick lashes anyway, I’ll just use a good mascara.”– until I decided to just go ahead and splurge. It’s been worth. every. penny. Oh sure, it’s an expense –I get a fill every three weeks and I usually spend $70 including tip– but for the amount of time and effort it saves me, it’s totally worth it.

    I pretty much just don’t even bother with make up anymore, except for lip gloss. I pretty much wake up looking like I’ve made up.

    Of course, if you decide to get extensions, there’s nothing saying you can’t go for something a little more natural than what I’ve got going on. I err on the side of fabulous, so I get close to the darkest, longest lashes they offer.

    Comment by Plumcake — April 14, 2010 @ 3:05 pm

  5. I’m interested in the pin curl configuration and process?

    Comment by Holls — April 14, 2010 @ 3:14 pm

  6. Re: the eyelash extensions

    I’m caving and getting them when I go home for summer. I can’t quite decide what kind to get. To indulge my inner Ms Vida or to go for the doe-eyed look. (Although I always find women the media describes as ‘doe-eyed’ incredibly wishy-washy and annoying. I prefer murderous, death-glaring broads with a stiletto in their hands)

    The longest parts of my lashes touch my brows, though, so I’ll probably go for the fan-shaped, long-on-the-corners kind.

    Comment by Frances — April 14, 2010 @ 3:15 pm

  7. Oh Holls, would that I could help you. Unfortunately/fortunately, my hair just sort of naturally does that, I just get out of the shower, comb my hair with a fine rat-tail comb and after about five minutes dry-time it’s curled up into almost-perfect finger waves. I just push them along a little bit and clip them with duck clips unless I want to go fully curly (think Clara Bow). If there’s enough interest I’ll TRY to do a tutorial, but I’m not sure how valuable it would be.

    Comment by Plumcake — April 14, 2010 @ 3:27 pm

  8. Frances: I don’t know your eye shape, but I actually get the longest ones put in the middle for mine. The long-at-the-edges looks funny on me. If you find a great gal who really knows her stuff, she’ll be able to set you up with a look that works for you the first time, and you can tweak from there.

    Comment by Plumcake — April 14, 2010 @ 3:58 pm

  9. Love the picture of you: only you could look so glamorous in hair clips. I also like Aveeno products in general, and I’ve used the SPF day moisturizer before and liked it. I use a daily body lotion of theirs which I think is one of the best I’ve tried. I’ve got very dry skin, especially in winter, and it really does the trick.

    Just my two cents worth, but I’ve become a recent convert to Lumeme products, especially their ExCellent series of serums and creams. They’re Finnish, I think, and have some nearly extinct magical apple substance. At least that’s what some article in Vogue said. Anyhoo, they work for me, though I think I’ve got a good ten or fifteen years on you.

    Comment by Mrs. Hendricks — April 14, 2010 @ 4:30 pm

  10. Mrs Hendricks, thanks! I feel like I should have a pink cigarette out of the side of my mouth in that photo, but it illustrates the point. I hate being asked to take skincare/makeup advice from people whose skin I can’t see.

    Comment by Plumcake — April 14, 2010 @ 4:52 pm

  11. Well, I obviously have to go out and get those scrubby pads, as I already own the other four products. I feel inordinately happy to know that my taste is similar to that of the fantastic Plumcake!

    Comment by La Petite Acadienne — April 14, 2010 @ 9:35 pm

  12. I didn’t even read this post – I just saw those eyelashes and thought “I MUST have those”

    Where do you go to get these extensions???

    Comment by Cassandra — April 14, 2010 @ 9:42 pm

  13. Cassandra: Where do I go specifically or where does one go in general? Personally, I go to Tabitha Lauderdale at Westlake Faces here in Austin. She is by far the best in town (in fact, I just got a rave from one of our superfantastic big girl readers who had been going to another place for years. She booked with Tabitha on my suggestion and was THRILLED) and extremely reasonable for such a labor-intense process.

    If you mean generally, you either go to a place that does lash extensions exclusively, or a salon or medspa. Fair warning: the difference in the quality of your aesthetician can vary as wildly as any other stylist, so ask around, look at yelp, etc.

    Also, the length, number and thickness of your natural lashes has a lot to do with the extensions you can get. I’ve got lots of thick, long, healthy lashes (I think it’s nature’s way of making up for my rather impressive moustachio) so they can support really long and thick extensions –I believe those are mostly 14 mm lashes with a few longer and shorter to make them look natural…ish– if you have finer, fewer or more delicate lashes, or if they’re particularly curly, you might not be able to get the exact look I’ve got, but you can still load up with as much as your eyes can take. Good luck!

    Comment by Plumcake — April 14, 2010 @ 10:59 pm

  14. La Petite, I’m flattered! Tell me how you like them. It took about four days to make a difference in my skin.

    Comment by Plumcake — April 14, 2010 @ 11:00 pm

  15. I will give one word of warning on the day cream: if you tend to be sensitive to different kinds of sunscreen spot test this one before you use it. I didn’t because someone told me it was super gentle, no reactions on anyone, blah blah and I had a horrible reaction to it. My face was red and itchy for a week. I’m assuming it’s the SPF, because that’s usually what does it to me and their other products are fine. Anyway, everyone I know who doesn’t react to the SPF loves it, and the scrubby pads are great, but yeah, learn from my mistake, spot test the SPF.

    Comment by Beth C. — April 15, 2010 @ 2:28 am

  16. It IS crazy how hard it is to find products that actually work. I mean, I don’t think of my skin as particularly sensitive or reactive or even difficult, but it’s taken me the better part of three years to find a regimen that works with my skin type, budget, and climate.

    Comment by Evie — April 15, 2010 @ 3:01 am

  17. Re: Lash tinting: The single best lash-tint I’ve found is something called 1000 Hours. It’s produced in New Zealand or Australia, I forget which, and it absolutely rocks. I’m a light-lashed redhead, so I mix equal parts of the brown-black and blue-black and get dark, but not scary dark, lashes in twenty minutes. You can do it yourself, it doesn’t stain your skin if you get it off reasonably fast (the brown-black alone doesn’t stain at all), and it’s a whopping $25 for something like six or ten applications.

    I use a regular old mascara brush to apply it and do it about once a month, when I color my hair. I’m Dye Girl for about half an hour, but Lordy does it save time.

    Comment by Jo — April 15, 2010 @ 3:11 am

  18. Does anyone have any recommendations for a retinol cream? I mean, one that’s a) affordable (i.e. less than $40); b) I can buy without having to go to Le High Price Snooteria; and c) WORKS??

    I’m befuddled on what to use (too many options!!) and figured since I’m on other side of 40, I probably should be using something. :)

    Comment by Mrsbug — April 15, 2010 @ 8:34 am

  19. Mrsbug: Avene Ystheal Lotion or Creme (depending on your skin type), which you can buy at I think it’s $30-$40. It’s gentle enough that it won’t sear your skin (you do have to be careful with retinol!) and I have yet to hear anyone having less than great results with it.

    Comment by Evie — April 15, 2010 @ 10:09 am

  20. Mrsbug: I like and regularly use Perlabella Retinol Anti-Aging Pure Dose Pearls. They’re little capsules that pack a wallop of Retinol (a lot more than most lotions) but is designed for minimum irritation. Plus you know you’re getting the dosing right so you don’t have to worry about putting too much or too little on. I turned one of my clients on to them and I’ve personally seen the difference in her skin.

    Comment by Plumcake — April 15, 2010 @ 10:42 am

  21. Jo, interesting! I don’t know if there are any DIY lash-tints in the States and of course Manolo for the Big Girl and Shoeblogs, LLC does not recommend tinting your own lashes with products not intended for at-home application.

    Comment by Plumcake — April 15, 2010 @ 10:46 am

  22. Evie: Right? And of course just as soon as you’ve got a good thing going, either your skin will decide it wants something different or they’ll discontinue your favorite products. NOT THAT I’M BITTER.

    Beth C.: Good thinkin’, it’s always wise to do a test.

    Comment by Plumcake — April 15, 2010 @ 10:48 am

  23. Evie and Plumcake, oooh, great! thank you so much for the recommendations!

    Comment by Mrsbug — April 16, 2010 @ 8:19 am

  24. Does anyone know what lash tints are made of? I’d love to try it, but I’ve got fairly sensitive eyes and had Lasik done last year. I’d hate to give it a whirl and then have my eyes swell shut.

    Comment by zuzu — April 16, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

  25. I’m almost to the bottom of my first container of Aveeno Positively Radiant Cleansing Pads. I’ve been using them and the SPF in the morning and the Olay Regenerist at night and… there is a difference! I inherited good skin from my mother, but my face is definitely brighter and my color is better.

    I have Archbishop of Plumcake’s pants Canterbury eyebrows courtesy of my father, and I’ve juuuust started plucking a little bit – a little off the top and a little from the middle. I think the interior arch is all right. I’m using the clear mascara to try and keep them in order, but I’m not sure it makes much difference.

    I didn’t get the Lip Venom but tried a similar product from Boots. I’ve only had it a week or so and I’m not using it regularly so the jury is still out. I admit I’m less than thrilled at the idea of putting so many substances that end in -zene that close to my mouth.

    Comment by TeleriB — May 18, 2010 @ 10:33 am

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