A recession is coming! Oil and food prices are skyrocketing! Consumer confidence has never been lower! (Well, it has, but not since, like, Karen Carpenter was alive.) Which brings us to: rice. Rice is the main thing Americans have been stockpiling in case of economic apocalypse. Have you no imagination, America? Is RICE going to exfoliate your skin at night? Okay, possibly, but rice is NOT going to flush your cheeks with a healthy glow, it is not going to make your eyelashes thicker, and when your water gets turned off for nonpayment, it is not going to mask your body odor! Which is why we're introducing Recession Possessions, a series in which Sephora Spy stenographer and chronic broke person Loren Hunt offers a few of her own personal cheapo drugstore classic products to get you through the rough times.

Pond's Deep Cleanser Cold Cream
This has saved my face from falling off due to overzealous use of Retin-A so often that I eventually just switched from using it occasionally to using it every night. I feel like a movie star the second I smell its old-fashioned rosy goodness wafting up from the jar and there is nothing better for removing a face full of makeup with relative ease. This is pretty much mineral oil, which is a widely controversial ingredient in the beauty industry. Upon initially smearing this on my face, I could almost hear the potential zits rejoicing at its undeniable greasiness, but I haven't had any problems in that department after two months. It just makes me soft, moist, and glamorously ready for my beauty sleep. You want to make sure you get the right one, though, so read the ingredients on the back of the jar before you purchase something completely different. The Deep Cleanser comes in a green jar and contains mineral oil, water, beeswax, ceresin, sodium borate, fragrance, and carbomer. Don't ask me what carbomer is. Or ceresin for that matter. All I know is that it worked for your grandma, and will probably also work for you. This will set you back $7.57 for the big 9.5 oz jar, or a few bucks less if you go with the generic (I do).

Sun-In Hair Lightener


When I met Moe back in 2002, I remember asking her who did her highlights. They looked really good, almost uncannily good, like maybe they were not highlights at all in which case I would have to hate her. She gave me one of those characteristically inexplicable answers that make it impossible to hate her: "It's just Sun-In." I have not stopped marveling over this yet, because my experiences with Sun-In were all back in high school, and while I could use it to a decent sun kissed effect maybe once or twice a summer, continued use always seemed to produce a brassy, trashy nightmare. I asked her what kind she uses ("I dunno, the normal kind"), and what her secrets for applying it were ("I spray it in and blow-dry"). I'm not going to try this out myself, just like I don't attempt to put on lip liner without a mirror, which is another thing I have watched Ms. Tkacik do consistently well over the years. I do badly want to believe that something that cost $4.99 at a drugstore would do this to my hair. Is it really possible that fear of the cheap is the only thing holding me back? Uhh, someone else try this and report back. [Hey! Hi. Um, yeah, there's new packaging now. The secret is using it on only a few strands, and I think having really thin hair that used to be blonde when you were a kid. That is all. I would have tried to make this sound a little less gratuitously flattering to me but...I'm writing another post. -Moe]

Unscented Alcohol-Free Baby Wipes


Read your labels, ladies, there are several brands of these readily available as well as their generic counterparts, running you about seven bucks give or take for a hard plastic tub of 80. Like many of you, I am not a big fan of doing laundry, so these are my cheaper versions of the despised disposable washcloths. Most of the ingredients listed on the box are agents that prevent the wipes from drying out and are safe to use on your face. Baby wipes readily multi-task, though, and I find that the times I am most grateful for having a pack of them handy are the times I wake up in the middle of the night filled with the kind of horror that only a half-asleep leaky tampon crisis can produce and toilet paper alone is not going to end. They also give a decent sponge bath when you should shower but know you're not going to. What I do not think that baby wipes should not be used for is wiping your ass in lieu of toilet paper. You're gonna be itchier than you ever knew possible after a few days of this, and while I feel the strain on the environment that comes from using disposable products is justifiable maybe once a day... make your baby wipe judgment calls responsibly.

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