Thursday, April 29, 2010

Basic Daily Skincare

I have been in the beauty business for over 15 years. What really impresses me is the ratio of women (American vs. women from other countries) and how they view skin care. American women (for the most part) are more interested in makeup and color and tend to neglect skin care. They just want to cover it all up. Women from other countries (most notably Europe, Asia, Russia ) go for the skin care first and just use a touch of makeup to enhance. Unfortunately, no amount of covering up is going to hide bad complexions that are the result of lazy habits over time. Covering up too much can make the condition worse and is not pretty.

A daily skincare routine is healthy, prevents complexion problems, prevents wrinkles and just the act of taking care of yourself releases stress and is good for the soul.

Here are the basics:

1. Determine your skin type
Dry - feels tight all over all the time and after cleansing your face
Oily - you see and feel oil all over
Combination - Oilier in T-zone (forehead, nose, chin) than cheeks

My advice: Got to an Esthetician and get a consultation and facial. It is so worth it. Otherwise, go to a department store cosmetics counter and ask there. These people have skin care training and some are even estheticians.

2. Cleanser
Dry and/or Sensitive - use a milky cleanser only
Oily - usually these people like foaming cleansers
Combination - milky cleanser in morning and foaming cleanser at night

This is to be used day and night. If you wear a lot of makeup, you may need to use a cream or milky cleanser first just to remove the makeup and then cleanse again with water and your cleanser.

3. Toner
Please do not skip this step! I read so much about supposed professionals telling people not to use a toner. This is what a toner does: It removes anything you may have missed when cleansing your face and lightly exfoliates. Also, many cleansers are alkaline in nature because they need to effectively remove debris from the skin. Your skin is more acidic (4.5 to 6.2 on the pH scale). Toners are acidic and bring the pH of your skin back into balance.

You will notice that your moisturizers will penetrate better if you use a toner because they get every last bit of debris off the skin. More recently, many local water sources have a lot of chemicals in them and people find that this irritates their skin. A toner will help counteract this.

Dry - Alcohol free or low alcohol
Oily - Purifying toner
Combination - A little bit of alcohol

Alcohols used in this product today are not bad. They are better formulated and a little bit of alcohol is beneficial. The problem is (and this is true even for oily skin) using a product with too much alcohol can dehydrate.
Just moisten a cotton ball with toner and sweep across your face.

4. Serums
The latest technology in skin care is serum. They are usually oil free and applied under your moisturizer. Serums are very concentrated with molecules that are smaller and penetrate right into the epidermis. The job of the serum is to address a specific concern you have about your skin.

Dry - Hydrating
Oily- Mattifying
Combination - Both hydrating and Mattifying
Mature - Anti-Aging

Note:Some anti-aging serums also address hydration. The first sign of aging is dehydration.
Serums are oil free. They address targeted concerns. The hydrating serum will add some moisture, but most importantly they help your skin retain moisture. If you are already using a moisturizer and add a serum, you will notice a nice improvement in the effectiveness of your moisturizer.

5. Moisturizer with an SPF of at least 15 (SPF 30 or more is best)
This is your moisture and protection. Even oily skin needs moisture (we are not talking oil here, just moisture).

Dry - Use a cream texture day and night
Oily - Use an oil free lotion day and night
Combination - Usually lotion for day; cream for night
Combination skin tends to be a bit oilier in the summer and drier in the winter. But everyone is different. You be the judge.

6. Eye Treatment
So important! The first signs of aging show around the eyes. Rule of thumb...once a girl starts high school...she needs to use an eye treatment. Prevention is the key here.

There are generally 2 types of eye treatments:
Cream for dryness and wrinkles
Gel for puffiness and dark circles

Remember with eye creams a little goes a long way. Just pat a small pea size of cream around you eyes with your ring finger. Be gentle.

7. Exfoliant
This is an extra step that is to be done 2-3 times a week. It will exfoliate any dead skin cells and your serums and moisturizers will produce better results because they will penetrate better. There are 2 types of exfoliants:

Mechanical - these are polishes and granules and physically remove dead skin cells
Chemical - these are the glycholic, alpha hydroxy, beta hydroxy or fruit acids

If you have sensitive or acneic skin then I would recommend to use the chemical exfoliants. Other skin types can usually use either type. Be careful not to overuse these products! I have seen many people who do and they are only doing damage. Consult with your dermatologist or esthetician if you are unsure.

Well, I hope this was helpful. French women take skin care very seriously and the results are truly apparent Take time and invest in yourself and your well-being.

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