Ghosts of Deodorant Wars Past
Dress for Success, or Merely Survival

This Old Skin

This post is sponsored by NxN

A few years ago, I showed up at a client's office for a meeting and was immediately asked if I was feeling okay. Because (groan groan groooooan guys don't ever say this to people) I "looked really tired." 

I felt fine, and had actually slept very well the night before. What happened is that I forgot to put on any foundation or concealer, and -- GASP -- had inadvertently revealed my actual human face to my coworkers. 

This weekend, on the other hand, I went out on a date night with my husband and very much deliberately left the foundation (and concealer and bronzer and highlighter and all that other jazz) at home. Nobody said I looked tired, and instead Jason told me several times that I looked pretty. 

Yes, he's biased. THAT SAID, my skin! Look at my actual human face skin right now.


It's 39 years old and it is happy. 

So let's talk a bit more about my skin, because this is a blog and that's what we do here: It is technically combination, though probably more on the oily side overall. Other than the occasional hormonal breakout, I've outgrown the acne that plagued me as a teenager. BUT after years of torturing it with unspeakably harsh, chemical-laden products, my pores are gigantic and prone to all sorts of lovely congestion and blackheads. I thought I had a reasonable handle on my skincare routine (although using a face soap you have to steal from a hotel isn't the most sustainable or convenient regimen) ...but then at my most recent visit to the dermatologist, there was much tongue-clucking over the state of my pores/blackheads and a recommendation for benzoyl peroxide. 

I nodded and pretended like I would consider the advice, even though 1) I've used it before, and 2) will NEVER use it again, because it sent my poor skin into a wicked sort of overdrive: My t-zone went nuts with oil production overcompensation, while the rest of my face withered up in patchy red dryness. Also, hives, lots of hives. No thanks. I'd love to have great skin, but at this point in my life I'm happy to settle with good-enough skin, rather than risk making everything a million times worse with harsh, irritating products. 

And I admit that I was similarly skeptical/cautious when NxN asked to send me a skincare kit to try and possibly write about. My skin is already pretty temperamental from the oily/dry perspective, then when you add in the million and one ingredients that give me hives...well, I'll try it. But don't get mad if my skin pitches a massive hissy fit and calls the whole thing off. 

I was willing to try it, though, because NxN is free of artificial colors and fragrances, plus no parabens or sulfates. It's hypoallergenic, made in the U.S., and never tested on animals. I like all of those things! Those are good things. So a couple weeks ago I stated using the product lineup for oily/combination skin. And you know what? They are also very, very good things. 


My pores are CLEAN. Like, deep below the surface crud that I'm 90% positive hasn't budged since puberty is now GONE. No zits, no dry patches, no redness, no hives, no mid-day oil slick of shine to powder away. I use the cleanser daily, alternate a couple times a week with the mask and the exfoliator, add in my moisturizer and then basically wear the primer alone, with just a touch of blush, mascara and lip pencil. 

(And my eyebrows, which practically do not exist on their own at this point. Thanks, junior-high friends, for all your terrible sleepover beauty advice!!)

Get $30 off your starter set!  The first 100 readers will receive the Zero Shine System for Oily/Combination Skin By NxN for only $9.99. Simply click here and enter in the code AMALAH.  (Note this is a membership site and products will ship every 45 days, although you can cancel, skip or edit your shipment preferences at any time!) 



Are their products only available via subscription? Right now I am on the "total neglect" skin care regimen.


Thank you for this. Is is also all you use for anti-aging? My little eye wrinkles are dying to know... :)

Becca Lynn

I legit wanna try this! I have had ALL the problems you just described! I have been struggling with my face regimen for years. I have to have something to calm down my oily skin and not let it break out but also won't let it get tooo dry, making it go crazy and break out.


Can't wait to try this!!! I'm a 38 y/o mother of 3 boys too!!! My skin is terrible.

Heather D.

So I am aware you are an adult woman and not a 16 year old boy, however, my son who is a 16 year old boy has had so many issues with acne. So much that a doctor prescribed pills that unfortunately gave him drug onset lupus and the benzoyl peroxide made his face swell and hive up. After some steroids and time, he is better. Now we are trying proactive which again is making it worse and I have cancelled our subscription. Do you think this product would work for him? Or is it for the more mature skin? I feel horrible for him and want to find a solution for him.


The set in your link only includes three products, not the four pictured (it looks like the exfoliator is missing)--should it be included, or is that an extra product you liked and purchased separately?


Just ordered mine! Super excited to try a system that isn't Proactiv, I've spent a fortune on that in my life and it always stops working after a while, and basically anything I get at the store gives me massive chemical burns all over my face. Hopefully this works!


Love the idea but I'm currently banned from an subscription products as I am currently paying of over $1000 in Cindy Crawford Meaningful Beauty that doesn't do good things for my face and just kept coming because the only way you could cancel was by calling and talking to a human person. No email, no website. Like the Dark Ages.


So does this mean I shouldn't enlist my army and send you a box after my convention at a Hyatt next month?


The discount code also worked on their Dry/Sensitive skin line which I am trying. Also 39 year old skin, also prone to hives and redness. I'm hoping NxN works well for me.


What moisturizer do you use with these products? In overhaul my skin care mode!


Code Offer must be used up. I would love to try it, so please keep us posted on how you are continuing to use this and if your skin is still doing well. My face was burned in a car accident, so I have a lot of redness. I'm constantly on the hunt for something gentle and would LOVE to be able to go out in public without makeup one day!



Only ships to the U.S.


Yay! It worked for me, can't wait to try it. And they didn't charge an arm and a leg to ship to Alaska.


I'm bummed because your link got me caught up in only a $10 discount instead of the $30 discount, no matter what I did, so I finally gave up in frustration and now I'll only comment that I thought your shirt read, "ESCORTING" upon first glance. I was like, you GO girl with your fancy skin! (I want fancy skin too! I won't escort though.)

Cheryl S.

Can't wait to try this! I called when the code wouldn't work and they gave it to me over the phone. I'm 45, red, oily, sensitive skin, I'm hoping this might help!


I feel like maybe a new dermatologist is in order? They can actually be quite helpful, yours sounds...not helpful? I love mine - and I too hate benzoyl peroxide with the heat of a thousand suns. But my skin woes at 30 are still firmly in the "let's just get to a point where you aren't actively breaking out like a teenager and then we'll deal with enlarged pores, scarring, know. The REST of your issues" camp" so I'm always interested in seeing what people with more reasonable skin are trying out.

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