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Wedding Hair Jitters…& Oh Yeah, What’s the Deal With That Monistat-Gel-As-Primer Stuff?

By Amalah

I am a new reader and already a convert. I have switched to Philosophy Hope in a jar and Hope in a tube. My skin is already glowy which is really great because I am getting married in October and I want to look my most fabulous so that my future husband has an inappropriately high expectations for how his future wife will look. (I haven’t mentioned the newlywed 15 yet ssshhh!)
Anyhoo, here’s my issue, my hairstylist of 10 years has been drooling over the chance to do my hair for my wedding. She is doing our whole bridal party for FREE as a wedding present. Woo hooo! Right? WRONG! I do not like how she styles my hair. I love how she cuts and colors my hair and she always gives me huge discounts because of our friendship so I don’t want to hurt her feelings but I am totally scared that I will hate my hair and have a complete meltdown on my wedding day. PLUS did I mention the FREE?? Because really we are on a wedding budget that has been blown twice over and I really can’t add anything more without an ugly discussion with the bank, ahem, Fiance’.
Oh and one last thing if you aren’t too busy… What is the story with the Monistat stuff being used for a primer? It was in the comments so of course I decided to try it. I don’t think it does anything special. I don’t know if that is normal or not because I tried the Smashbox stuff and didn’t notice anything earth shattering there either. What am I supposed to be looking for? Also, is that Monistat stuff ok or is it just weird to put cooch stuff on your face?
Ok, I am done! Thank you for listening! You are my favorite blogger, I am excited everytime I see a new post on any of your pages!

Okay, here’s what you do about the hair thing: find a photo of EXACTLY what you want. Go out and buy every bridal, prom and/or hairstyle mag you can get your hands on. Enlist friends with a general description of what you want (up? down? sleek? curly?) and have them scour red carpet photo galleries on the Internet for you.
Take this photo to your stylist and request a pre-wedding dry-run style session. Tell her you just want to make sure the style works for your hair type, but don’t be afraid to be firm if you notice she’s going off in a…ahem…slightly more creative direction than you’d like. Keep the focus on that photo and everything you like about it.
HOPEFULLY, she’ll get the point and stick to the style you’ve provided. If not, you’ll at least have the opportunity to go home and see if the style can be tweaked a little into something you like better (junior-high prom tendrils sprayed and pinned back, extra top poof smushed and deflated a bit, etc.), AND THEN YOU SPEAK UP ABOUT THESE THINGS NEXT TIME.
If you’re a giant chicken (like me), you can phrase it all nicely, but still, SPEAK UP.
“So last time those spiral curl tendrils around my face went straight after 40 minutes, so I’d rather have all my hair off my face for the real thing.”
“Could you tease the top a little less? I lost chunks of hair last time when I combed it out and I’d rather avoid that on my wedding night, yanno?”
And etc.
The dry-run style is nothing out of the ordinary — tons of brides have one ahead of time to make sure that their dream hairdo is actually, you know, do-able — and it will probably help calm your fears of Terrible Wedding Day Hair with an extra chance to tell her what you like and what you don’t. Which you will have to do. Clearly. Emphatically, even. Yes, she’s your friend and she’s doing your hair for free and THAT IS INCREDIBLY AWESOME, but…you are still allowed to be honest with friends (in a polite, diplomatic way) and express your likes and dislikes about the hairstyle.
powder-gel.jpgAnd oh, about that Monistat stuff — Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Gel, to be exact.I rushed out and bought a tube after reading this great review by Isabel and all the “me toos!’ in the comments. I was a little skeptical (I don’t usually have great luck with MacGuyver-like approaches to cosmetics), but the active ingredient in the Monistat chafing gel is dimethicone, which IS found in all of my favorite high-end foundation primers, albeit in a much smaller amount. Dimethicone is the sole “active” ingredient in the Monistat, with an over 1% concentration, while it’s usually on the “inactive” ingredient list on other primers, with less chemical-soundy stuff like Vitamin E and aloe getting top billing.
My first impression of the Monistat gel was…whoa, this is stuff is seriously… dimethiconey. Heavy-duty, managing to feel both greasy and powdery at the same time. Dimethicone is a silcone-based polymer, and in cosmetics it’s responsible for that silky-smooth feeling all over your skin — you’re essentially putting a thin layer of silicone in between your skin and your makeup. The silicone absorbs oil and shine and gives your makeup a nice, even base to slide effortlessly over, meaning your foundation goes on easier and stays put longer.
But is increasing the amount of silicone on your face better? Seems to be, for some people. Since the Monistat is meant to go on sensitive, moist areas and keep them dry, it totally makes sense that it should keep oily skin on your face under control. (Which is what I notice with the Smashbox and Dr. Brandt’s primers that I love — less shine, less oil.)
But personally (and this is why I’ve dragged my feet and never written an official Price Tag Cage Match about the stuff)…it made me break out. Like, RIDICULOUSLY. The coating of dimethicone was too thick, too much, and the oil my skin produced got trapped underneath and wreaked complete, utter havoc. Bumps on my forehead, zits around my nose, blackheads on my chin and whiteheads all along my under-eye circles (also known as millia, something I’ve actually never experienced before IN MY LIFE). This was after…oh, two or so days of use.
I got the hint. I stopped using it.
But! I later found out that I was about 10 minutes pregnant when I first tried it, so I figured that probably had something to do with it. I put off reporting my experience and waited until my skin calmed down later in the pregnancy and tried again, this time on clear, glowy pregnancy-glow skin.
Same thing. Bumps and whiteheads and blemishes, no matter how thin of a layer I attempted to use. Bah. So more…MacGruber than MacGuyver.
So there you have it. My much-delayed opinion on “that Monistat stuff.” To be fair, it sounds like I’m a weird exception to the rule, since you can find TONS of testimonials from oily-skinned users who experience zero breakouts or problems and LOVE the idea of a super-cheap alternative to pricey primers. But hey, at least I can always use the rest of my tube for its intended lady-parts purpose.

Published August 4, 2008. Last updated August 4, 2008.
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • BaltimoreGal

    August 4, 2008 at 11:34 am

    This stuff IS great for chafing/heat rashes, tho. Slap it on the inner thighs and you will NOT get burned. Cause I have super-delicate, sensitive. baby like skin and it burns up on a hot day like nothing else- this is the only way I can get away with not wearing spanx every day during the summer.

  • Cassie

    August 4, 2008 at 11:37 am

    If it is really bad, you can always blame your future mother in law. Even if she is nice. Of course, that means paying someone else to do it, and free is always better, BUT if it is so bad, and you feel like you can’t speak up, then schedule something else.
    I scheduled a run-through at a tiny local salon a friend recommended. The run-through was terrible. I looked uncannily like Christopher Walken in Balls of Fury. Definitely NOT what I was going for. She said she had to tease the sides (the SIDES OF MY HAIR) to “balance out the dress” – my dress was not big. I wanted simple, half-up so that my veil would stay in, and the rest blown-out and smooth. This was so far off I didn’t feel I could explain what I hated about it.
    So, I called later and told her that my mother in law had gone ahead and booked something without telling me and I decided it was easier to go along with it then to fight it.
    Then, I called Mario Tricocci, which is kind of overpriced, but realiably decent, and went there for a trial. So much better.
    The last thing you need on your wedding day is to feel like you look bad because your hair isn’t what you want. Yes, it is a small thing, but it is also sort of a big thing. Your hair will be in all the pictures with you, you know? If you feel like you can’t speak up, or like she is so far off-base, you don’t think she’ll be able to find the base, this is an easy-out option.
    Ideally, though, stick with the pictures. When she’s done, if it is different, point it out. Tell her what you think is wrong. I bet she’ll try to get it right.
    Good luck!

  • Jenny

    August 4, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Just a quick comment on the foundation primer. I haven’t tried the Monistat thing for that, but I’ll put a HUGE plug in for Dr. Brandt’s stuff. Holy crap, do I love that stuff. I totally notice less oil and less plugged pores. (that kind of gross time when you don’t have real blemishes, but you can literally see the oil in those stupid pores). I just wish it came in untinted since I wouldn’t mind using it on my shoulders which unfortunately have the same problem.
    And when put some foundation on this weekend with out the Dr. Brandt’s stuff, I was surprised at how awful it was to put on without the primer.

  • Sarah

    August 4, 2008 at 11:47 am

    I just have to say that as an oily skinned, prone-to-breakouts person in her late twenties, I am in love with the Monistat anti-chafing powder gel. I used to use Dr. Brandt’s primer, but mostly saved it for special occasions since it’s so expensive, but now that I discovered the Monistat stuff (thanks to the Smackdown!) I’ve been able to prime every day, which has greatly helped my seriously oily skin. I’m generally hesitant to put new things on my face, but I’ve been using this for a few months now and haven’t had any adverse reactions.

  • Erin

    August 4, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    OK, speaking of MILLIA — how do you get rid of them. I have several on both of my eye lids, and I hate them — help?

  • NGS

    August 4, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    I got married in May and did a full trial run for both hair and makeup a couple of weeks beforehand. It was great because the stylist and I had different ideas about what “sleek” meant, but we were able to work out those differences before the big day.
    Plus, the benefit was that then I had my hair and makeup done and my fiance was obligated to take me out to eat to show off that hair and makeup! Two for one!

  • Cattieboombattie

    August 4, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    I love the Monistat stuff!! I have classic combo/t-zone oiliness going on. I personally have not broken out by it. I find that a little goes a long way too. It’s definatly worth a try even if its to cure your curiosity about it! And like Amy said, if you don’t like it as a primer, you can always use it for what it’s intended!

  • Jenny

    August 4, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    On the millia….a dermotologist can get rid of those. They poke them with a knife type thing and kind of clear it out. Maybe something to ask the derm when you go in for a body scan.
    And on the don’t try this at home front, I will sometimes use a needle and VERY carefully poke them myself. I haven’t had a problem doing this, but messing with the skin near the eye is a definate no-no.

  • jmylaw

    August 4, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    Eek–I would not let your stylist even do a hair trial with you. Even if she’s close to what you want, you’re still going to worry. And I don’t think you should have to find time to tweak whatever she does to you on your wedding day.
    I would start looking for a stylist, pronto. Get recommendations from your local message board on The Knot, ask recently married friends, etc. If the stylist you find and like is pricey and you can’t afford to pay for your bridesmaids’ hair, tell them the cost and tell them they can either do their own hair or pay to get it done–they will understand. Then tell your stylist that your future mother-in-law or aunt or someone wants to pay to have your hair done by this wedding hair expert she found who will come to your house, lalala and you hope that the hair stylist can do your hair for the rehearsal dinner, maybe, or your shower, or something.
    You DO NOT want to have one whit of worry about your hair and makeup for your wedding. You’ll have enough else to stress over.

  • andi

    August 4, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Stick with your stylist ONLY if you’re willing to speak up!! My hubby’s sister is a hair stylist and insisted on doing my hair for my wedding. Not wanting to make waves in my new family I didn’t speak up and completely regret my “wedding hair”. Take Amalah’s advice and bring lots of pictures and do a run-through!!

  • Meredith

    August 4, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    A question for the fellow Monistat and primer users…I’ve just recently switched to the Monistat after being fed up at having an oil slick on my T-zone by 9:30am every day. Do y’all apply the stuff after a daily moisturizer, or before? I have been applying moisturizer and eye cream twice daily for a long time, and I haven’t figured out if it’s supposed to go on before or after the Monistat or primer.
    FWIW, I have noticed a significant reduction in oil in the T-zone after using the Monistat, so I would definitely endorse it as a cheaper alternative to primers.

  • Cattieboombattie

    August 4, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    I put the Monistat stuff on AFTER I moisturize and put on my eyecream.

  • Miss Britt

    August 4, 2008 at 11:10 pm

    I got (and continue to get) so. much. crap when I did a post admitting that I put the monistat stuff on my face.
    But I got EMAILS by the dozens from people who tried it and LOVED IT as an alternative to the Smashbox photo primer. 😉

  • DebiDebi

    August 5, 2008 at 1:48 am

    Amy, thanks for answering my question. YOU are the BEST!! I have pictures in hand already and I think I will feel comfortable enough to give her a gentle smackdown if she gets too “pagenty”.
    Now, on to worry about other things such as renting tents on the .003% chance that it will rain in Phoenix on our wedding day. Yeah, I am serious, I am that much of a freak.
    NGS- I am TOTALLY going to take your advice and have my fiance’ take me to a fancy dinner with my “done” hair and makep. Hmmm maybe I need a few trial runs!

  • Tiffany

    August 5, 2008 at 11:16 am

    The Monistat stuff is also good for putting on your heels when you’re breaking in a new pair of shoes. Ah, so much better. It clearly has a plethora of potential applications.

  • Amy J

    August 5, 2008 at 11:37 am

    OK, WHERE do you all find the Monistat stuff? I looked all over Rite Aid, Harris Teeter, and CVS. Do they hide it?

  • DebiDebi

    August 5, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    I got mine at Target next to the pregnancy tests. It was way on the bottom shelf and I had to ask a clerk. I got all TMI on her explaining it was for my face. Yeah, like that makes it better

  • Words

    August 5, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Target is a good place to find the Monistat, although some places have real problems keeping it in stock since it apparently IS as good as all that. After having read about it here, I searched for several days before just ordering a 3-pack for $18 from Amazon. I figured there’d be plenty of other uses for it if it didn’t work as a makeup base. But… DOES!!! I used to use DHC’s Velvet Coat, but this works every bit as well, and doesn’t irritate my skin. Also, it is stellar at its originally intended purpose.

  • MooMeow

    August 5, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Let me focus on the dimethicone products for a second. Mary Kay has two really good products, Velocity Lightweight Moisturizer and Oil Mattifier. I have confused skin, it’s sensitive, breaks out easily, gets dry fast, etc. etc. The Velocity moisturizer is nice and lightweight (like the name says) and it makes you feel kind of powdery-smooth without actually being powdery and enough moisture to not feel parched. Good stuff! The Oil mattifier helps keep shine down in the extra shiny areas. Don’t put it on too heavy because then it get’s weird looking and weird feeling. You can buy them from a MK lady or off ebay for next to nothing.

  • Heather

    August 6, 2008 at 10:44 am

    I can’t see myself putting it on my face, but that Monistat chafing gel is awesome for where your inner thighs meet during the summer when you don’t want to wear tights or (GASP!) nylons.

  • yet another amy

    August 6, 2008 at 11:06 am

    So, I haven’t tried the Monistat, but can I just put in a plug for that Boots stuff that I know our beloved Amalah hates? Because as much as I love you Amalah, I gotta say, as a super oily, super pale type person, a little of the Boots primer over the SPF 276 in the morning *really* does the trick for me. And I’m not so much a fan of the Smashbox (it’s fine, but it really does nothing at all to stop my oiliness). The Dr. Brandt stuff is definitely better, but still not as effective for me as the Boots. And no, the Boots stuff is kind of crap as a primer, but just think of it as pre-primer! Then you can put your Monistat over it. 🙂

  • RuthWells

    August 6, 2008 at 4:44 pm

    FWIW, I wouldn’t ask the hairdresser friend to do a free dry run. If I were in her shoes, I’d feel insulted and taken advantage of. If you’re not comfortable with her doing your hair, just hire someone else to do it.

  • Rebecca

    August 7, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    I think asking the friend hairdresser to do a practice run would be fine. Almost everyone I know that has been married recently had a practice run ahead of time to make sure they loved their hair for their wedding day. It is completely normal these days and I don’t think she would feel taken advantage of for something like that. If I were you I’d still tip her or get her a gift to say thank you, if you do decide to stay with her for your wedding day.

  • TasterSpoon

    August 7, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    This is what’s nice about bloggy advice, the variety of perspectives in the comments.
    With RuthWells’s thought in mind, maybe you could finesse the situation by telling your stylist/friend that you just *know* you’re going to have a huge, anal, bridezilla meltdown on the day of your wedding, and it’s not her, it’s you, and although you’re so grateful that she’s offered to do the bridal party you just don’t want to jeopardize your relationship by having her do *your* hair. It has nothing to do with her hair skills, and everything to do with being a bride.
    And then you explain that you’re going to hire someone for your own hair particularly so that you can ask them to do a dry run – and maybe SHE will volunteer and say, “but *I’LL* do a dry run!” and then you’re golden. Or maybe she won’t offer, and you hire someone, but then you know what you’re getting, and she’s still doing the rest of the party without hurt feelings. (And then even if your third-party hair is magical, you and she can bitch about it afterwards to make her feel even better.)

  • Isabel

    August 14, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Amy, I’m so glad you finally talked about the “magic vagina cream” on the Smackdown!!
    Reading your thoughts and the comments made me happy I never shelled out the money for the Smashbox primer. I know I would have loved it too much to stop using it! The stuff really does sounds like the perfect aid for my ultra oily face. Alas, I’m too broke. (Poor Isabel, feeling all sorry for herself!)
    Anyway, bring on the magic vagina cream.
    (Sounds like I need to try this vagina cream stuff out all over my body. Apparently it’s magical in many different uses. I wonder if it will clean my toilets for me?)

  • Valerie

    February 11, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Alert! Alert! Revlon Beyond Natural now has a perfect primer! Just like the super-spendy kind! I picked it up at Target last night…