Forty years ago, give or take, my Lovely First Wife came home from shopping and handed me a little jar: it was moisturizer from Clinique, her preferred brand.
“Here,” she said. “You need to use this.”
Whatever, I thought, but I started using it and have used it every day since. Here’s the deal: everyone tells you to moisturize, but hardly any of us do it. I’ve done it, and although it’s primarily due to my mother’s genetic donation I am often mistaken for being much younger than I actually am.
This is not new. Until I was 35, I was often mistaken for being 16, which was pretty irritating. However, now that I am gray and officially old, it’s amusing to be taken for a 50-something. (Sidenote: when I started going gray, my hair stylist at the time asked if I were considering coloring my hair. Bah, I replied, now people will start taking me seriously. And lo, that’s exactly what happened.)
All this is prologue. I needed a new jar of moisturizer, so yesterday I headed to Belk’s Clinique counter. They have often not stocked the stuff, but this time they had it. The sales assistant alerted me that “it’s a new formulation,” as if that makes a difference. For the record, they “reformulate” the stuff every couple of years or so and change the color of the jar.
And here’s why I’m writing this. Curious about the “new formulation,” I actually read the blurbage on the box:
This addictively refreshing gel-cream instantly boosts hydration and rehydrates for 72 hours—even after washing your face. Auto-replenishing technology with activated aloe water helps skin create its own internal water source to deliver a superior level of hydration in a lightweight, oil-free texture.
Honey, please. Any verbiage describing any cosmetic or the benefits thereof is always pure puffery, but really, Clinique—auto-replenishing technology, activated aloe water, create its own internal water source? Suddenly my dermis has transformed into a fusion reactor? And what the hell is “activated aloe water”?
The latter is described by Clinique as “created to hold both positive and negative ionic charges,” which is supposed to “increase your skin’s affinity to [sic] water.” I have my doubts, especially since the only description/evaluation of “activated aloe water” I could find on the intertubes was Clinique’s own puffery. There is no scientific evaluation anywhere that I could find.
And what is this “auto-replenishing technology?” It seems that squeezing the entire description onto the tiny box (in multiple languages) created an editing situation. Here’s the same puffery from Clinique’s website:
This addictively refreshing gel-cream instantly boosts hydration and rehydrates for 72 hours—even after washing your face. Auto-Replenishing Technology with caffeine helps trigger skin’s own rehydration system. Hyaluronic Acid fragments and Activated Aloe Water infuse skin with moisture. A super-holding matrix of humectants and polymers help reduce water loss and seal in moisture.
Caffeine. Well, there we go. I’m smearing coffee on my skin to wake it up.
I’m good with that.
 Amazingly, “hyaluronic acid fragments” is not only a real thing, it’s an important part of our epidermis and is used to heal damaged skin. The More You Know™.