Saturday, May 21, 2011
Taking good care of your skin
Originally posted on La Vie En Fifi, 29 November 2009
I have my Mother to thank for having a smooth complexion at 40. From about the age of 12 or 13, Mum bought me good, basic skincare to use twice a day. I think first it was Simple soap and Simple moisturiser, trying different brands along the way. I remember a Revlon foaming cleanser and moisturiser and after that the famous three step Clinique soap, toner and yellow moisturiser.
I progressed to Estee Lauder in my 20s and loved that. It kept me broke but I didn’t care. Then, I put expensive skincare as a priority above hair products and even clothing. After working for Parfums Christian Dior (skincare, makeup, fragrance) I got to try their wonderful and pricey products and for the first time used serums under my moisturiser, day and night.
Even though I spent a lot on skincare I always secretly wondered if serums were a have. I don’t have an answer for you even now sorry. I think if you can afford them they are lovely to use and do seem to sink in straight away, and your skin feels extra lovely after you put the night cream or daytime moisturiser over top.
The funny thing is, I always had problems with oiliness and also acne for a while when in my late teens and early 20s, so it’s quite novel for someone to come up to me and say ‘You have beautiful skin’ or my husband to remark on it looking nice. I heard a long time ago that if you have oily skin when younger it will age well, as opposed to people who have less oily, less troublesome skin as a teenager (are they drying out like an Autumn leaf as they get older?).
I realise now you don’t need to spend a fortune on skincare. Or perhaps there are just more and better budget options these days. I have heard that because L’oreal is owned by Lancome, the L’oreal products are much the same as Lancome products without a few of the more expensive ingredients.
I prefer to go down the more local route. There are wonderful New Zealand and Australian made skincare lines which just offer good, basic products without the many chemicals that big brands seem to list on their packaging.
No matter the brand, the main ingredients you want to avoid are petro-chemicals. Petrolatum and mineral oil (or ‘huile minerale’) are dreadful for your skin. I found that I had tiny bumps all over my skin which disappeared when I read labels and avoided anything with these ingredients.
I am currently enjoying Australian brand Natio products. The packaging is all white, with simple containers and tubes and plain yet chic labeling. The products are scented with essential oils so they smell pretty yet fresh. I love a nice light fragrance in my beauty products. 'Fragrance free' is not a selling point to me! Prices range from around $14-$30. Quite different to brands I have used in the past.
Another favourite is New Zealand brand Skinfood. I buy their cleanser and facial/body moisturisers from the supermarket and they are around $13. They do not have parabens or horrid ingredients and I love the refreshing scent from orange and lavender oils.
Here is my regime.
In the morning I wash my face in the shower. I use a tiny amount of foaming cleanser as my face can be quite shiny when I wake up. Then I mist or pat an alcohol-free toner over my face to moisten and apply my serum and SPF moisturizer. A light eye cream patted underneath my eyes rounds off my skincare routine for the morning.
I let this all soak in while I have my breakfast (a poached egg on Vogels original wholegrain toast, no butter – an egg a day must be making my skin happy too).
In the evening I put a white towelling headband on to hold my hair out of my eyes and apply a thick, creamy cleansing cream massaging it into my skin and removing with a large size facial tissue. Rubbing the cream gently around my eyes removes all mascara and eye makeup too (I don’t wear waterproof mascara though).
Then I apply my alcohol free toner to a flat cotton pad and refresh my face, making sure all makeup is gone from around my eyes. When my toner runs out I plan to try making my own toner. One simple recipe I read is to make a strong green tea brew and when cool decant into your toner bottle. I have purchased rose water and glycerin, and witch hazel from chemist shops before, but they seem to have not good ingredients listed on the label as well so haven’t used those again.
After toning I apply my serum, a rich and creamy night cream and richer eye cream than the morning.
Doing your cleanse, tone, moisturise, two times a day, every day for more than 25 years, that is how you keep your skin looking as nice as it can, for as long as you can. Genes play a part but environment is so important.
I read a terrible statistic about how aging going to bed with your makeup on is. I can’t remember the numbers but it made me vow never to do it. I can remember a handful of times in the past 10 years I have done this. It’s not good the next day. My poor skin felt like sandpaper crossed with a dried out piece of driftwood crossed with gravel.
That combined with a hangover, which, lets face it is the reason why we fall asleep with our makeup on, do not for a fresh complexion make. I don’t have any at the moment, but have found a pack of moist facial wipes and a thick night cream in my bedside drawer to be very useful for late nights. Definitely better than nothing.
And while I’m on skincare, remember your neck and décolletage. In the morning I apply an SPF30 sunblock to neck and chest, and in the evening before retiring (this is also in my bedside drawer) I apply a body butter or body cream to the same area. I live in fear of finding myself with a crepey and lined decolletage one day. My morning and night routine allays these fears somewhat.
Basically the top drawer in my bedside table is full of skincare for hands, elbows, décolletage, face and lips. And a notepad and pen to empty my head.
I can’t believe I almost forgot my favourite part of le regime. Twice a week when I’m in the groove, or twice a month when I’m not, a gentle exfoliation and then facial mask, both washed off with a face cloth and warm water. Lovely.
And to finish: my favourite skincare quotes:
‘Nature gives you the face you have at 20, it is up to you to merit the face you have at 50.’ – Coco Chanel
‘There are no ugly women, only lazy ones.’ – Helena Rubenstein
‘Beauty is an attitude. There's no secret. Why are all brides beautiful? Because on their wedding day they care about how they look. There are no ugly women – only women who don't care or who don't believe they're attractive.’ – Estee Lauder
Image of the fabulous spa at George V Four Seasons Hotel in Paris