Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Weekly Beauty Edit 2.14.2016 Morning Skin Care Routine

Thank you! I've hit a milestone with 30,000 views. Smooches from me to you!

I've had every kind of skin type from extremely dry to extremely oily. Most women tend to get drier with the years, I'm going in the opposite direction. I'm getting oilier. About 10 or 15 years ago, I had very dry skin. I would slather olive oil or shea butter on at night and still wake up with flaky skin. Luckily, I have never had sensitive, reactive or break out prone skin. The only exception is my under eye area. It is highly reactive, sensitive, flakes at the drop of dime and Sahara Desert dry.

Let me back up a little. I love research. Ingredient decks give me butterflies in my stomach. I remember helping my mother put away groceries. It was impossible for to put anything in the pantry until I read the ingredient list. Of course, ingredient lists were much shorter back then! When I'd eat cereal, I would put the box in front of me so I could read the back over and over and over. Fast forward, I feel the same about the ingredient decks on skin care products. Some people bookmark vacation itineraries, I bookmark skincare articles.

Simple but effective is my goal when it comes to skin care. These are my issues today, these are issues I want to prevent, what ingredients will help, what ingredients are pointless. Next, wrap that up with personal preferences. How can I address all that with the least amount of products in the shortest amount of time? In the morning, I want to cleanse, prevent, hydrate and protect. You may want to exfoliate, firm, fight acne, uber moisturize, mattify, etc.

Purity Made Simple cleanser by Philosophy
I don't like foaming cleansers. To me, it's feels like cottage cheese on my face. Plus the foam is always going up my nose. Apparently I'm a heavy breather when I wash my face. Personal preference is no scent or a slightly herbal scent, nothing fruity or floral. I don't like to feel overly moisturized from a cleaner nor do I want a tight, squeaky clean feeling. For me, the answer is Purity by philosophy. It is the longest used product in my entire beauty, hair care, or skin care arsenal. I've used Purity for at least 15 years. Plenty of other cleansers have come and gone in that time and I always come back to Purity. Bonus point is it leaves skin at proper pH, therefore, no need for toner.

Next step is an anti-oxidant serum. I'm not loyal to any particular brand but what I am loyal to is rotating between a 20% Vitamin C serum and a potent, blended anti-oxidant serum. My number one most annoying skin issue is uneven skin tone and discoloration. Do wrinkles make me crazy? Yes. Does sagging skin make me cry? Yes. For me, though, uneven skin takes the cake. Vitamin C helps slow down the clock on discoloration and may even lighten spots. Based on research, Vitamin C also helps new collagen to form. If you the read my blog post about anti-oxidants, collagen is key! I'm losing a lot of collagen at my age. If a product can build a tiny bit back, happy dance! Good collagen levels help prevent wrinkles and keep skin bouncy. The other anti-oxdiant serum needs to have multiple anti-oxidants in it and I don't much care which ones they are since they're all good. Personal preference is watery Vitamin C serums for quick absorption.  Whichever 20% Vitamin C serum is the best price on amazon is the one I buy. At the moment my blended, multi-action antioxidant serum is Paula's Choice for combination or oily skin.
Paula's Choice Resist Ultra Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate
Majectic Pure 20% Vitamin C serum with Vitamin E and Ferulic
I list this as a separate step but with my oily skin I don't need this to be a step on it's own. My preference is for hydration to be taken care of as part of the Protect step below. If we are having a bitter cold day in the Chicago area, I'll use a separate product for moisturizing. When I reach for a moisturizer, I always choose one that also has anti-aging ingredients. Heck, if I'm adding a product it better give me more than moisture. Right now, my moisturizers of choice are Philosophy Hope in a Jar or Algenist Anti-Aging Moisturizer.

This is the most important step in my routine, the SPF. I don't like layers and layers of product on my oily skin. This step must combine a highly effective SPF and hydration or SPF and primer. If I can get anti-oxidants thrown in, the more the merrier! Paula's Choice Resist Super Light Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 is my go to. It is broad spectrum, loaded with anti-oxidants, and just enough moisturization for my skin. As importantly, there are two things it does NOT do. Many SPF products make oily skin even oilier. This does not. Some SPF products cause other product to ball or pill up. This never does that. If I know I'm going to use a foundation that is not great with pore coverage, I might use a a primer with broad spectrum SPF 30.

It is my opinion that SPF is the single MOST important step in anti-aging and skin care. Period. Chase your retinols, peptides, anti-oxidants and exfoliators all you want. If you're not using an SPF every day of the year, you're missing the boat on skin care. Heck, you're missing the entire ocean.
Paula's Choice Resist Super Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30
Bare Mineral Prime Time SPF  30
Murad Invsiiblur Perfecting Shield SPF 30
Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus
Colleen Rothschild
Wei East Eyes Alive
My under eye area has a mind of its own. I need serious hydration. For whatever reason, the majority of eye creams sting the heck out of my under eye area. Stinging is always followed by red, flaking, uber crepy skin within 24 hours and will last at least 4 or 5 days. If a product is geared for dark circles or puffiness, it is usually a no go for me. If a product contains retinol that is also a deal breaker. Most odd, no matter what, I can't use an eye cream for more than two weeks. At about the two week point, my under eye area rebels. As much as I need deeply hydrating and emolient eye cream, I do wear under eye concealer so it can't cross the line of being too emollient. During this snapshot in time, my under eye area will tolerate Clinique All About Eyes, Kiehls Rosa Artica, Colleen Rothschild, and Algenist Eye Renewal Balm, Wei East Eyes Alive and Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus. I apply the Wei East Eyes Alive OVER my concealer two or three times a day by using a tiny bit and patting it on so as not to disturb my concealer.

I always bring the Vitamin C or antioxidant serum down to my neck as well the SPF. Next comes the neck cream. Skinn Neck Armour, sold on evine shopping channel, is incredible. Neck Armour, a thick cream, "glues" the neck in place for about 4 or 5 hours. At about the 5 hour mark I try to add a moisturizing cream to rehydrate.  I'm repurposing my failed eye creams into mid-day neck creams. Because they are small, it easily fits on my purse. Plumping up the neck skin with moisturizer is the answer to firmer, less crepy skin.
Skinn Neck Armour
It really is simple. Purity cleanser, 20% Vitamin C or Anti-Oxidant Serum, and broad spectrum SPF 30 moisturizer.

As the hands of time keep ticking, I need to consider upping my AM game a bit.  Thanks to the internet, Westerners are quickly learning about Korean skin care. Skin care claims are much more closely monitored and measured in Korea as compared to the US. If a product claims a certain outcome, Korean regulations say prove it or we'll yank it. Well, maybe not in those words but you get my drift. In turn, this has made Korean consumer very critical of skin care claims. If a skin care company want to succeed in Korea, they had better deliver as promised. Korean essences are catching my eye. It would be an easy, fast step to add right after cleansing. I'm thinking about it. Need to do my research!

Thank you for carving time out of your day to read my blog!


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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Weekly Beauty Edit 2.07.2016 Mascara and Foundation

Is anything more hotly debated in the makeup world than mascara? Yes, foundation! Foundation and mascara. I'm active on a number of makeup boards, groups, forums and inevitably someone will ask the group for a recommendation on either. If there are 100 replies, 95 of them are different. I understand why there is variance in foundation recommendations but it does surprise me how the same mascara can react so differently from person to person. There's not a lot of real estate when it comes to eye lashes so what the heck makes mascara so gorgeous on one and go wonky on another? For Pete's sake, it's an eye lash!

If you've been following my blog for any amount of time, I have two very odd beauty attributes. Nail polish does not chip on me and mascara does not smear, flake, transfer, smudge on me. Brand does not matter in either case. I often post pics of my manicure after one week of wear and not a chip to be seen. I will be asked what brand, what base, what top coat but I tell you, it does not matter for me. My nail polish does not chip 99.9% of the time. I change my polish because I want a new color, not because I have to.

Sorry, had to stop and watch the half-time show. I'm guessing most will not give it a thumbs up but I loved it. It was happy and joyful!

At this very moment I have, never mind, let's just say I have a lot of mascara. Most expensive is Serge Luten and least expensive is Wet N Wild. Do I love them all? No. But not one has ever flaked or smudged on me. My biggest concern is if a mascara will hold the curl. In the event you don't know this tidbit, waterproof mascara will hold your curl better than non-waterproof due to the higher wax content in waterproof. The only possible reason I can think of for mascara not misbehaving on me is my application.  I only use one coat which I define as one dip of the brush in the tube. I apply using many very fast, short strokes and don't go to the root most of the time. Thanks to YouTube makeup tutorials, I've watched many women apply mascara and it seems my method is unique. If I'm going to an event and want a very done and made up look, I'll apply a second coat to the tips only. The brush is more important to me than the formula although I prefer a wetter rather than dry formula but only by a tinge. I like traditional vs rubber bristles, curved shape, small brush, short bristles and length over volume but getting both is a bonus.

I can do calculus and I can do foundation. I find them both equally challenging. I choose my foundation each morning based on the day. What's the weather? How long do I need it to last? Do I want to look done or natural (almost never)? What am I wearing? Do I want to look really great for a short time or so so for a long time? Will I spend more than 5 minutes outdoors? As you can see, my morning starts with a vigorous workout for my brain. Gets me ready for my day, which trust me, is not for the faint of heart. Some eat their Wheaties, I choose my foundation. Personally, I think it's easier to pick a winning stock than it is to pick a winning foundation.

The question I get asked most is what foundation I recommend or which foundation is my favorite. Impossible. If you ask me this question, be prepared for a barrage of questions. What do you want your foundation to do? Is your skin dry or oily? Do you use a primer? How are your pores? Do you sweat? How long will you be wearing the foundation? What level of coverage do you want? Is there a preference for serum, liquid, cream or powder? Do you apply with fingers, brush or sponge? Do you want to set with a powder? Where do you shop? What is your budget? Do you regularly self-tan? What is your undertone? Do you like a matte, demi-matte, natural, satin, luminous or dewy finish?

For me, the number one most important factor is color, I want a perfect color match. Second, I want medium coverage. Third, I want a satin finish.  Fourth is pore coverage and fifth is long wearing. Can I get all these in one foundation? No. Do I want all these factors every day? No. When I'm going to an event, I want a luminous finish. I also don't care about pore coverage because if I'm going to an event, I know I will use a primer which will take care of the pores. However, I will also want full coverage. If I'm in the office all day in office lighting, I need a different tone than when I will be attending a graduation party outdoors in natural light.

I'm thankful I have the resources to chase my windmills when it comes to foundation. I bought three disastrous foundations last month. I always experiment on weekends because I have the freedom to wash them off. And I did. There is no doubt in my mind each of these three foundations are someone else's holy grail. As a matter of fact, yesterday I read a post about One by Kose gel cream foundation. The poster said she finally found "the" perfect foundation. Her search was over. I bought that foundation and it arrived last week. Wore it to breakfast yesterday. As soon as we got home, about two hours later, I washed it off immediately. My face was so greasy and shiny someone could have used it to send Morse code to the moon. When I first put it on, One was gorgeous, simply gorgeous. There's another lesson. Give foundation time to marry with your skin before judging.

This internet is a wonderful thing. Plenty of reviews, plenty of videos, plenty of information. My most important advice is to know what you want your foundation to do for you. When reading reviews, check to see if the the reviewer's skin type is mentioned. You might have a favorite YouTuber but if she is 20 years younger with oily skin and you have menopausal dry skin, think twice about a foundation she loves. Right now there are lots of  'how to' makeup looks for Valentine's Day. Sitting across the table in a dimly lit restaurant is very different than working under the florescent lighting of a hospital or chasing around second graders in the playground.

Happy hunting!

Thank you for carving time out of your day to read my blog!


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