Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I’m overwhelmed by all the facial moisturizer options at drug stores, department store cosmetic departments, the giants like Sephora and Ulta. How do these moisturizers stack up?
— E. R. M.
Dear E. R.: Ahh, the eternal question — and not just about moisturizers! Do you get what you pay for? Is a 1.7-ounce little pot of Chanel Sublimage la Crème (chanel.com, $400) worth it? How about the whopping $715, 1.7-ounce pump bottle of la prairie (laprairie.com) Skin Caviar Liquid Lift. Good luck pressing the “activation button” on this pricey “freshly blended” stuff to get at the $$$ last drops of this precious potion.
I’ve tested a wide range of moisturizers at a big array of price points and here’s my bottom line: There are no miracles in a bottle. More expensive creams, serums and lotions might have a smoother, more luxurious “feeling” but won’t undo a long run of sun exposure and living life.
My advice: Head for the drugstore or big box stores like Target or Walmart for CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion with Sunscreen (SPF 30) for daytime and PM CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion for bedtime (2 ounces for under $13 each at Target). Try them and tell me what you think.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I’m going on a trip and can’t find a decent pair of black pants that pack well, look flattering and are comfortable all day but would work for dinner or cocktails in the evening. I know you don’t like the look of capris and I don’t either but what about “cropped?” Or ankle length? Please help.
— Frequent Flyer
Dear F.F.: One brand’s “ankle” pants are another brand’s “cropped” pants and depending on your height, they can both be capri length (if you’re tall) or just what you’re looking for — a classic pants length — if you’re on the shorter side. Confusing, for sure. It shouldn’t be this hard, should it? If you’re a bargain shopper, go to a thrift shop in the nicest neighborhood near you (where the donations are often high end). There, you’ll find a daunting long rack of black pants. If that’s not the way you like to shop — and many of you don’t — I’m a fan of Lululemon’s Keep Moving High Rise Full Length Pant (online only) (lululemon.com, $118). It killed me to pay full price but they’re the only pants I pack for a trip now. Chico’s (chicos.com) has some similar styles — pull-on, no-wrinkle — in the $70-$80 range. It’s nearly impossible to look at black pants online and figure out details like whether they have pockets or zippers and often the “details” listed are not very detailed. For what you’re looking for, shopping in person is really recommended.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: My bubbly summer drink of choice, prosecco, is bottled like champagne with a cork. It is almost impossible for me to pop off the cork no matter how I twist and pull…and pull and twist. I’ve taken to prying it off with a scissors, which seems dangerous. Surely I’m not the only one to have this admittedly small “problem.” What’s the answer?
— Makenna A.
Dear Makenna: This was a whole new area of research for me, but that prosecco idea is a refreshing winner. In the course of trying to answer your question, I ordered a DeVine Bouchon Champagne Opener, which is small (packable!) and worked pretty well (amazon.com, $12.95). Little did I know there are all kinds of gizmos for this purpose, some of them pretty complicated and not all that cheap. Any reader suggestions welcome on this one.
Marge B. writes, “I have found a Dr. Scholl’s product: SNEAKERS: Soft cushioning insoles for casual and fashion sneakers (target.com, $7.99). They include an arch and a slim design (thin) insole that I find very comfortable in my sneakers. A great product for a small price!”
A word from Ellen: I’m overwhelmed by the response to my reader request for recommendations on comfortable, cute, wear-all-day flats. Keep those suggestions coming and look for my full report on your favorites soon.©2021 Tribune Content Agency, LLC