The basics of skin care
MYTHBUSTERS 1- The first thing to do is to buy a good cream
MYTHBUSTERS 2 – Good skin care is important to look pretty / handsome
Skin care routine – tried and tested
1- The best anti-aging cream ever is sun block.
People back home wonder how I don’t have a permanent tan living in the tropics. Simple. I stopped tanning, it’s bad for you. End.
2- Be water my friend
3 – Relax your face
I love meditation and relaxation. I loved it since my science teacher in primary school decided that we would do it once a week. So I highly recommend it. In fact I’m currently working on my first ever meditation workshop. Yahoo!
TIP 3 – MASSAGE OR RELAX YOUR FACE OFTEN TO REDUCE ACCUMULATED TENSION
4 – ABC = Clean, tone and moisturize
I don’t claim to have perfect skin but every time I go to get a facial (once every 3 months I have to confess) the therapists praise my skin condition, so something I’m doing must be working… even if I see the crow’s feet so obviously.
PRODUCTS FOR CLEANSING
I also use Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser daily when I shower, and have been doing so for at least 10 years. It looks I’m not the only one apparently. Some celebrities are fans and also praise the gooey stuff. It’s a soap-less, fragrance-free thick gel lotion, and can be used as daily face wash and as a balm form rashes, to sooth your skin.
It removes make up with a cloth or cotton wool, or just rubbing and rinsing. It’s the most skin friendly product ever invented, and you can buy it for 10$ in any supermarket or pharmacy. It’s highly recommended for people with highly sensitive skin too.
The ultimate trick is to mix the Clinique make up remover with the Cethaphil in the shower. It’s a 2 in 1 face wash and they go well together. Put both in a container with a pump (if you don’t have go to Muji) and voila you got yourself a life hack! If there’s any leftovers you can put some make up remover on a cotton disk and finish the job out of the shower the traditional way. Going to bed with the make up on can be a thing of the past with this little tip.
PRODUCTS FOR TREATMENT
Toners are the forgotten cousin of skin care. I broke up with them because of Clinique’s 3 steps clarifying lotion. It has done some damage to my perception of toners and to my skin at the time. This was the first wash-tone-moisturize set I ever used. The soap was great for oily teenage skin, but it became too harsh as I grewp up. The toner was simply abrasive and the dramatically moisturizing lotion was like putting raw cocoa butter on your face. Sounds lovely, right?
The therapist from St Gregory Spa, at the Park Royal hotel in Singapore (where I go for a facial every once in a while) once told me: ‘If you don’t use toner, the mismatch of PH between the water you use to wash and the cream, makes the cream so much less effective’. She was sooooo right. I tried it. Wow! Then my mother introduced me to spray toners and the two ladies have given me my faith back in toners.
TIP 4 – PUT YOUR TONER ON A SPRAY BOTTLE
A simple spray bottle makes the whole experience so much more convenient and saves you cotton disks. If your brand of choice does’t come in this format but a spray bottle from Muji
There’s only one cream in the eye department that I have seen a radical difference with. That’s the ARTISTRY™ Creme LuXury Eye, but the moment I stopped using the effect was gone. And I had to stop because It was just too expensive…
It’s only available through Amway direct sales but lately you can buy anything online, in Amazon. At 150$ per bottle you really feel the price and the results that come with it. In firmness, fullness and dark circles. Out of all Amway products I tried I was only impressed with the LuXury collection. The eye cream and their face cream too. I highly recommend as a rich night cream.
A few others have been OK so far. Clinique All About Eye Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage when you need refreshment and both versions of Dermalogica: Age Smart MultiVitamin Power Firm that has a lovely velvety texture and smells of berries, and Age Smart Reversal Eye Complex
After cleansing and toning apply eye cream or eye serum and tap slightly with your fingers to activate circulation and facilitate absorption.
This is probably one of my favourite skin care products because I can really feel it working. I love Bobbi Brown’s Intensive Skin Supplement when I’m on dry weather, but Nuxe Creme Fraiche De Beaute Serum is inexpensive and works better in the tropics.
Forrest Essentials India makes this lovely Advanced Soundarya Age Defying Facial Serum With 24k Gold gold that smells on sandalwood. It’s very oily but I use it instead of a night cream every once in a while and when I wake up in the morning my skin is plump and glows. Aesop’s Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Serum is also divine. I’m a huge fan of the botanical aromatherapy theme of the brand, but the price…
Remember that the serum goes after the toner and before the cream, because it goes deeper with its oil or gel texture, getting in through the smaller and more narrow holes.
Earlier I mentioned that a cream to use for the day should have SPF and that I prefer the ones with color, so I’m going to go straight to the night cream in this section. The holy grail of night creams is SK-II. Stempower was the previous one that I have, now they call it SK-II RNA Power but it’s a refined version of the same. I don’t put it under day because It does not have SPF and you will need a separate cream for that, which I think it’s too much hassle.
They have a Rich Cream version for night but this is good enough and doesn’t feel like a mask. The eye cream is good too by the way. All are quite expensive. I can only advise you to buy the big pot and at the duty free shop in the airport, but it’s 220$ minimum. It does last, you need only a bit every time, so it’s worth it.
Only the Artistry LuXury face cream, from what I have tried, can be put at the same level as this one.
There’s hundreds of options for face creams. I think that’s why probably people think it’s the first or most important think to buy. Just in a quick trip to Sephora, a department store or the duty free cosmetics area can drive you crazy. Remember that a cleanser is actually more important.
I have tried many face creams in the Duty free, as part of my super moisturizing routine to survive long lights . Including the outrageously expensive ones like La Mer (500$ a bottle) and La Prairie (1,800$ a bottle), and I did not feel much difference at a glance. I’m sure they work better with continuous usage but for that price it better give you instant youth! I can’t afford them anyway so let’s leave it here.
NICE TO HAVEs
There are many other products out there related to skin care. I do not want to call this a miscellaneous section but I do now know how to classify them, except they are not essential but nice to have. Here’s a few I have used:
- Dermalogica Phyto Oil – you could say this is a Serum, but it’s like a dry oil. I usually blend it with my daily tinted moisturizer to give it a treatment boost, and sometimes when I’m not going out of the house I just use it instead of cream. It’s one of those things that you just have to try to see the difference. It goes under your skin and plumps, softens in an few seconds. A bit like an instant boost that’s very visible. Magic! That’s why I love it. Thanks to Laura Kee from Le Petit Spa for the tip!
- SK-II Facial Treatment Essence with Pitera
Once upon a time in Japan, somebody noticed that the hands of the ladies that brew Sake were incredibly clear soft, white and smooth, whereas their faces really showed their age. 30 years later, the rest is history. This facial water is the signature product that made SK-II famous, the most awarded bestseller, that has over 90% PITERA™, the main ingredient, that comes from fermenting rice… I’m guessing.
You can also put this in the treatment section under serums because it’s used like one but it’s a special one you could say. I have tried it long ago. I liked it I did not love it. Maybe I was too young to see the difference but I have friends, Asian friends, that swear by it. Maybe it doesn’t work the same for Caucasian skin… It evens your skin tone which essential means it whitens.
What you eat, obviously affects the quality of your skin too. My beloved Glamour Magazine UK published a article about Vitamins for skin care before me, so I might as well just redirect you there. Learn what Vitamins are responsible for what when it comes to your skin.
In a nutshell:
Collagen is made by Vitamin C. This one deserves an entire chapter. There’s no such a thing as too much Vitamin C, because the body disposes the excess in the urine. What’s interesting is that It’s more effective if you eat it than if you put it on the skin but like the article says: “skin is the last organ being addressed within the digestion process, so there was a gap of a ‘topical Vitamin C’ formulations that work efficiently within the skin’s metabolism.”
Vitamin E is another one of my favorite because it’s hyper moisturizing and makes my skin instantly smooth. Most Palmer’s products have it. Body Shop used to have an entire range of Vitamin E, but they don’t have it in Singapore shops anymore. Sad face… It works great for dry skin and to reduce and prevent stretch marks during pregnancy.
To sum up. Like my doctor said, when it comes to vitamins you are good to go with one multivitamin and fish oil, but if you eat a lot of salmon like me you don’t even need the fish oil. If you live in a country where food is fresh, no imported, not GMO and organic you can probably take anything your body needs from a good balanced diet.
In Singapore the cost of eating ‘that well’ is astronomic so we will stick to the vitamin supplements and the salmon sashimi for now.
MEDICAL / FACIAL TREATMENTS
If the world of creams is crazy the world of facial treatments is bananas. All those branded terms and jargon confuse me all the time. Daily care doesn’t mean you don’t need a professional treatment every once in a while, and well, admit it, getting a facial is a bit of a treat, isn’t it? This is a small glossary of what I learnt about facials.
- Sharplight skin rejuvenation- Using IPL (Intense pulsed light) to reach the deeper layer of the skin and promote collagen creation. Cold or warm therapies also do this. You really see the difference, quite fast, but needs a few treatments to make a massive change.
- Microdermabrasion – it’s basically ‘fancy’ for scrubbing your face with a special machine. It’s either a strawberry shaped rotatory metal head with sand paper, or a vacuum tube with sandpaper on the edge. Objective? to remove dead cells and promote better product penetration or products, and cell renewal. To do once or twice a year I would say.
- Medical grade facials – The difference between a normal facial and a medical facial is that the first one is applied by a beautician and the second one by a dermatologist, using medical tools and products instead of cosmetics. Read stronger products and stronger treatments. These are the people that also do invasive treatments like fillers and Botox. For people 40-60 this is much better use or their money that normal facials, but for 30 year olds is a bit of a treat at 500$-1000$ a session.
- Laser/chemical peelings – This is an extreme cell renewal method that basically uses chemicals (read a mild form of acid) or laser to remove (burn) the upper layer of the skin so you grow a new smoother one. Seriously consider if you have acne scars. I would say this is more a once off thing do do if you really have a serious problem. You will be red for a good two weeks. Celebrities love it. It’s like growing a new face.