Sunday, 4 January 2015

The Base: Skincare

I learned from reading a fair amount of reddit that makeup really can't do a lot for a person if the base, i.e. your face, isn't shipshape and Bristol fashion. Like all things beauty, I hadn't really paid that much attention to skincare.

I assumed that any old cleanser would be fine as I've never had to deal with any skin problems, other than some oiliness later in the day in the forehead/nose area - aka the t-zone - and some cheek redness. I used a moisturizer after cleansing (usually with an Aveeno ultra calming wipe) at night and in the morning after a shower. I've since learned that wipes are good for removing surface dirt and makeup, but not much more. I've been committed to Health & Beauty moisturizers for several years and have been working their products into my new routines as much as I can. And that, my friends, was that. Until about six weeks ago.

I learned from the good people of a sub-reddit called Skincare Addiction (warning: rabbit hole) that as a person gets older, their skin changes and needs more care, if that person cares about their skin. It began as an "ought to care" and turned into an "I totally care" situation because in my regular mirror I started to see the dreaded fine lines where none had been before. This is the reality of Beauty Over Thirty, friends. If you don't deal with these things, then, well, you know what happens.

The Importance of Being Clean. And Moisturized. And Serumed. And Acid...ed. 
Alright - let's get down to business. Everyone knows why you have to have a clean face. It's because of science and getting a bit older. And as you get older, your skin generally gets more dry, necessitating moisture(izers) and if you want to deal with fine lines and such, serums can pack a real punch.

Finally, you need to help your face get rid of dead skin cells by exfoliating. Manually exfoliating with microbeads and that kind of thing is not only bad for the environment, but also not too terribly effective. This is where the acids come in - AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids). These gentle acids chemically exfoliate your skin and clear out your pores so that the nice new skin forms your base. Cool, huh? I never knew! Just a caveat - if you don't use acids now and have sensitive skin, you might need to build up from 1% to 5% over time. Acids can take some getting used to!

My Skincare Routine
To be clear (punny!), this is just my routine to address my own concerns, which are fine lines, facial redness and overall skin clarity. I cannot recommend Skincare Addiction enough, or alternately, Paula's Choice is an excellent source of information. Yes, she has her own range of skincare, but her education is top notch.

1. Splash face with warm water (cold water first thing is insane) and drink a glass of cold water. 
2. Paula's Choice 2% BHA all over face and neck with a cotton pad. Wait til dry, about 10 minutes.
3. Health & Beauty Lifting & Firming Serum on face and neck with fingers. Wait about 10 minutes.
4. Health & Beauty Pomegranate Firming Cream with SPF 15 on face and neck with fingers.
5. Health & Beauty Anti-wrinkle Eye Cream with SPF 20 on, uh, eyes, out to temples with fingers.

1. Wash face with Aveeno Ultra Calming Foaming Cleanser or Neutrogena thingy. I'm not committed to a cleanser yet.
2. Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Pad (AHA) all over face. Wait about 10 minutes.
3. Health & Beauty Pomegranate Night Cream all over face and neck with fingers.
4. Una Brennan Neroli Firming Eye Cream (just til it's done, then I'll use the H&B eye cream).

2x Each Week
About twice a week I do a masque of some kind, usually one of the Balea masques you can get at Shoppers Drug Mart for 3/$5 in the skin care section. I have several kinds, but I like the exfoliating and the microdermabrasion masques best. Here is a good review on Makeupalley.

A few little things I've learned...
  • You don't need to spend a gazillion dollars on this stuff. No one product I use is over $25. I've got about 1000 high-end skin care samples and have tried them, but not one (not even the Guerlain Abeille Royale serum) is any better than what I use. 
  • SPF is ultra important, even in the winter. Make sure you use it if nothing else!
  • If you're going to use serums and acids, the wait time is essential so that the product sinks in. I've tried it both ways (one quickly on top of the other/waiting for product to dry) and I swear by letting serums and acids dry.
  • When you start using acids, a "purge" is normal, i.e. it's normal to break out as the acids clear out your pores and exfoliate. 
  • Consistency is key. My skin looks frakking fantastic after about 3 weeks with the same routine, day after day. I'm going to post pics so you can see it too. 
Share your skincare tips and routines with the class, will you? I'm not married to my routine and am interested in what everyone else does. 

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