Saturday, January 28, 2012

Skincare 101

With new products hitting the shelves continually the world of skincare can be a bit overwhelming and finding the right regimen can seem an insurmountable task. Here are 10 tips and tricks that have proven useful in my quest for healthy skin that may help you navigate your way through the world of skincare.

1.    Know Thy Skin:  Determine your skin type and skin issues correctly. Determine your skin type, tone, level of sensitivity etc…
2.    Select the right products for you: Choose products that suit your skin type and address your skin issues. Tip: Just because it works for someone else does not mean it's right for you.
3.    Do not try to tackle all issues at once: For instance you might want to deal with the acne first before taking on your issues with hyper-pigmentation.
4.    Seek professional help if possible: There are so many reasons why you may be experiencing breakout or dull skin that cannot be easily diagnosed; hormones, underlying illnesses etc… So seek expert advice if you can.
5.    Do your own research: Do not take any one person word for it, yes, even if he or she is a licensed doctor. Research products and treatment methods before using, and even research the professionals themselves.
6.    Do not feel obliged to buy the whole line: Many products will state something to the effect that to get the best results you have to use the other products in the line …meh… that is not always true. In my case this has never been true. Many brands make one or two very effective products then use the success of these products to sell us duds. So customize your regimen to suit you; feel free to experiment and mix and match, selecting the best of best from each brand or line. Tip: Ask for a sample before you buy.
7.    Be patient: When you add a new product to you regimen or start a new routine give it a few weeks before you decide whether it is working or not. My rule of thumb is three to four weeks.
8.    Stop picking: I know this is a bad habit that is difficult to break. Try to remember that picking and touching your face with dirty hands will make your skin issues worst. Let the horror of permanent scars scare you into keeping your hands off your face. Tip: Remember to clean your cell phone and headsets with an antibacterial regularly.
9.    Be Healthy: Healthy skin starts from within. Help your body fight off free-radicals and regenerate healthy skin cells by improving your diet, exercising, and getting lots of rest. Tip: Be sure to include nuts, fruits, fish oil, and veggies in your diet.

10.  Drink water: There is a good reason why you have heard this a million times; it helps A LOT!

My Skincare Routines for Oily/Combination Skin: Weekly Routine

My weekly treat J
Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Concentrate ~ comes in small capsules
I wash with my Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel and follow with the Microfoliant, the only difference from my nightly routine is that I exfoliate for a bit longer than normal to really get rid of any dead cells on my face. It is really important to avoid scrubbing any harder than usual because you do not want to damage or irritate the skin.
Now on to the good part…
I smooth the Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Mask on and leave it on for 10-15 minutes. I cannot say enough good things about this mask. It nourishes and moisturizes my skin. It smells great and it is particularly soothing during the dry winter months.
I then take a clean towel and run a bit of hot (not scalding water) over it. I squeeze out the excess water, open up the towel, and cover my face to get that “at the spa” feeling *contented sigh … so relaxing*. When the towel cools I gently wipe of the mask (Re-wet with lukewarm water and repeat).
Then I tone, apply my Multivitamin Power Concentrate, eye-cream, spot-treatment, and moisturizer.
*I am on the hunt for a deep cleansing mask*

To see my Morning Routine for Oily/Combination Skin click here
To see my Nightly Routine for Oily/Combination Skin click here

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Skincare Routines for Oily/Combination Skin: Morning Routine

Gentle Cleanse: I smooth the Estée Lauder Soft Clean Tender Crème Cleanser onto my face, apply a short gentle massage, then I use a tissue to wipe off the excess. Note, I do not wash my face in the morning because there is no need for me to do so as long as I followed my “never go to bed with a dirty face” rule the night before.

Toner: I damped a cotton pad with my LancomeTonique Douceur Softening Hydrating, and wipe my entire face.
Eye Care: While I give the toner a few seconds to absorb, I apply my La Mer Eye Balm Intense (soon to be replaced with … still researching)
Spot Treatment: I dab a small amount of The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil on my pimples as well as the area surrounding the pimple to prevent any more from forming.
Moisturize: I use the Body Shop Tea Tree Lotion to help control shine during the day. I apply these to my oily areas; forehead, temples, cheeks, nose, and the tip of my chin.
In the mornings I use the La Mer Lotion on my dry areas; around my mouth and along my jawline.
I apply my lip balm and then take on the day.

To see my Nightly Routine for Oily/Combination Skin click here
To see my Weekly Routine for Oily/Combination Skin click here
*Check out My Battle with Adult Acne for my full skincare arsenal.

Monday, January 23, 2012

My Skincare Routines for Oily/Combination Skin: Nightly Routine

My personal beauty rule; “Never go to bed with a dirty face”.

Pre-Cleanse: If I am wearing make-up I wipe it off with my Yes to Cucumbers Facial Towelettes; these are my favorites because they are very refreshing and soothing (great treat after a long day).
*However, just about any moist towelette will do. I also use Neutrogena wipes, baby wipes, and even some good old-fashion Extra Virgin Olive Oil on a cotton pad; they all do the trick.

Cleanse: I wash my face with my Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel.
Exfoliate: While my face is still damp, I moisten a small amount of Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant with water, and I gently massage the paste onto my face.
*Pat dry with a clean towel*
Toner: I dampen a cotton pad with my Lancôme Softening Hydrating Toner, and wipe my entire face. The purpose of this is to get rid of any residue left on my face and to prepare my skin to receive the most out of the moisturizer and treatments to follow.
*I prefer non-alcoholic toners because for one, they do not make my face feel like it’s on fire and two, they do not dry out or irritate my skin.
Eye Care: While I give the toner a few seconds to absorb, I apply Estée Lauder Advance Night Repair Eye around my eye area.
Spot Treatment: I dab a small amount of The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil on my pimples as well as the area surrounding the pimple to prevent any more from forming.
Moisturize: I alternate between moisturizers. If I use the Body Shop Tea Tree Lotion tonight, tomorrow I’ll use the La Mer Moisturizing Lotion. I apply these to my oily areas; forehead, temples, cheeks, nose, and the tip of my chin.
Then I take the tiniest amount of Crème De La Mer between my fingertips, rub, then press it onto my dry areas; around my mouth and along my jawline.
Last but not least I apply my lip balm.

To see my Morning Routine for Oily/Combination Skin click here
To see my Weekly Routine for Oily/Combination Skin click here

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Foundation for Oily Skin

Personal Favorites:
M•A•C Studio Tech (NC50)
Black Opal Perfecting Powder Makeup (07-Beautiful Bronze)

I am sure there are liquid foundations that work great with oily/combination skin, but I have found cream-to-powder formulas work best for me.
Studio Tech is phenomenal; easy to apply, medium coverage, natural finish. What I like most about this product is how easy it is to apply; it just glides onto the skin and gives you a smooth finish. What I do not like is the smell … it’s not terrible, but it’s not great either.

Black Opal Perfecting Powder Makeup is the boss! First off, it is the best color match I have found. Secondly, it covers my dark spots with very little effort. Thirdly, it stays on. The only issue; it is not available in as many shades as M•A•C Studio Tech.
*Now, I am no stranger to Black Opal. I started using this line about 6 years ago back home in Antigua (you’ll find it at Glenette’s on Long Street). But back then I knew nothing about skin types, undertones, finish etc…so I used True Stick; great coverage, bad for oily skin. I am really happy I rediscovered Black Opal and pleased that they now cater for oily skin.
*I always set my foundation with a setting powder. I featured Black Opal Invisible Blocking Powder, but I also use M•A•C Deep Dark Blot Powder.

If you’ve found a foundation that works great for oily skin please share. I am always looking to find the next best thing.

Clarins Baume Beauté Eclair “Beauty Flash Balm”

This is another product that surprised me because it worked! It did exactly what it says on the package; Brightens &Tightens, and then some.

I bought this because I was searching for a primer/base to apply before my foundation. I tried several brands, including M·A·C and MUFE, but they just could not cope with my oily skin. My foundation would basically slide off my face after a few hours, plus I would get breakouts L
As a primer, the Beauty Flash Balm helps me achieve a smooth finish. I dab a tiny drop onto a clean face then immediately apply my foundation. My results; a silky, dewy finish.
However, this is not a miracle product that is going to magically keep your foundation in place all day. You will still have to 1) apply a foundation that is suitable for your skin type and 2) set your foundation with powder. If your skin is as oily as mine, you might also have to blot ever so often. But at least your foundation will last for as long as you want it to (within reason).
If you are searching for a primer Beauty Flash Balm is worth a try.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

La Mer :)

Émulsion De La Mer ‘Moisturizing Lotion’
Crème De La Mer ‘Moisturizing Cream (LOVE)
Baume De La Mer ‘eye balm intense’

*I know these products are ridiculously expensive but they work so well I can’t help myself ….

The Moisturizing cream does wonders for the areas of my skin that are dry. The worst area is around my mouth, which gets tight and flaky particularly during the winter. Because I use so little (with La Mer a little goes a looooong way) the 1 oz container lasts me 8 – 10 months. The way I see it, I could spend roughly the same amount testing and throwing away cheaper lotions that aren’t as effective or I can stick with something that works. This does not mean that I am not interested in finding a cheaper alternative, because I AM! If you know of any please share.
It is extremely difficult for me to find a moisturizer that I can use during the summer or warmer months that will not cause breakouts. Most just sit atop my oily skin, clog my pores, and cause my foundation to slide right off my face. So the Moisturizing Lotion has been a real treat for me. It moisturizes, but does not leave me greasy, because it absorbs quite nicely.
The Eye Balm Intense is my least favorite of the La Mer products. It works okay, but I think there should be better eye creams out there. So I am in the market for a new eye cream, one that helps with puffiness and dark circles … any suggestions?

My Favorite Toner: Lancôme Tonique Douceur Softening Hydrating Toner

I use to think tonics were a waste of money till I tried this. I really did not expect to like it, and perhaps was secretly hoping to hate it to justify my belief that they did nothing for your skin, but now I am hooked! Hence the reason I got the BIG bottle ;)

After adding this to my regimen for about a month I noticed that my skin became softer and more radiant.  Note, I do not think just adding this to your daily routine will magically give you the same results. However, I do believe that adding a tonic to an already effective routine will help you achieve healthier-looking skin.

I use this every time I cleanse my face and  follow with my moisturizer. I always use it at night to boost the benefits of my moisturizer and serum.

My Favorite Dermalogica Products

Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque, Daily Mircofoliant, Special Cleansing Gel  
As long as Dermalogica continues to make these products, I will continue buying them. I use the Cleansing Gel every night and it does not strip my face, but manages to get rid of any makeup, oil, and other impurities.  *As I have oily/combination skin, I do not wash with a cleanser in the morning. Instead I use a wipe-off gentle mousse from Estee Lauder to avoid irritating my dry areas.*
If there ever was a “clever” product, it would be the Microfoliant. It is coarse enough for you to feel it sloughing away the dead cells, but gentle enough that it is not abrasive. I do not use it every day, but I do use it every time I've worn makeup during the day and before every Recovery Masque treatment.

This is my favorite product from Dermalogica. I use the Recovery Masque at least once a week or anytime I need to boost my skin appearance. It leaves my skin soft and radiant.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil – Best Acne Treatment “Possibly EVER?!”

This is the ONE!!!
The one product that has helped tremendously with my ongoing battle with adult acne.  It’s been 8 weeks since I added it to my daily regimen; applying it twice daily after cleansing. It’s been an entire month since I’ve had a pimple … YAY!!!

 At first I used it as a spot treatment only, but was so impressed that it was not drying out my skin but somehow was still zapping my zits, that I began applying it to my T-zone as a preventative measure. So slowly but surely my dark spots are starting to disappear and my skin looks healthy.
After 6 weeks of basically dousing my skin with the 15% tea tree oil formula twice daily, I moved on using the Tea Tree Clearing Lotion on my oily areas, and using the oil only on very specific areas of my face; my temples and the hollow of my cheeks.
Final word: It is an inexpensive product that leaves my oily/combination skin acne-free. However, neither the oil nor the lotion smells good, but hey, for these results I could live with that
So let me know if you have tried these products and whether they work for you too.

My Battle with Adult Acne

I started this all on war with acne in 2008. A dermatologist explained that my sudden move from a tropical climate to South Africa exposed my skin to unfamiliar bacteria and climatic conditions. Add those ingredients to oily skin and you get acne. I tried a myriad of over-the-counter products, then went on to regular spa treatments and ridiculously overpriced spa products to no avail.

Then I got serious. I saw a dermatologist who prescribed a soap and Ponds cream. Yes I paid to get a prescription for over-the-counter medicine … smh. Needless to say that despite using these religiously for 2 months, the regimen did not work. So I saw another dermatologist, who after closely inspecting my skin with what looked like Sherlock Holmes old magnifying glass for about 40 seconds prescribed a topical ointment called Retin-A gel and instructed that I wash my face with Dove soap. Thanks to that “genius” of a doctor my results were acne, severe drying around the mouth area plus Permanent Scaring to boot!
Then I got Furious! I found a plastic surgeon. He conducted a complete skin analysis then recommended 4 months of treatment. I received a mild chemical peel once a week, and two light treatments, one blue and one red, a week for four weeks.  I continued light therapy for another four weeks while taking a break from the chem. peels. The repeated the whole process again. This reduced my moderate acne to mild acne; irregular breakouts and I rarely had more than two visible pimples at a time. But these still bothered me, mainly because they left me with spots L
 so I am thrilled that I have put together a regimen that works for me.
My Current SkinCare Arsenal

Cleansers: Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel, Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant, & Estée Lauder Soft Clean Tender Crème Cleanser
Toners/ Tonics: Lancome Tonique Douceur Softening Hydrating Toner
Moisturizers: Crème De La Mer ‘Moisturizing cream’, Émulsion De La Mer ‘Moisturizing Lotion’, & The Body Shop Tea Tree Clearing Lotion
Eye-cream: Baume De La Mer ‘eye balm intense’, & Estée Lauder Advance Night Repair Eye.
Spot treatment and Acne prevention: The Body Shop Tea tree Oil
Hydrating/Vitamin Masks: Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque & Clarins HydraQuench Cream-Mask
Sun Protection: Dermalogica Skin Recovery spf 30
*Note: I do not use all of these products at the same time or even within the same week. I will do more detailed reviews of how I use these products in my skincare regimen, but if you are curious about any of these products or have any other questions please do not hesitate to ask J