I don’t claim to have perfect skin. There are some women I know who have skin that is literally flawless, like refined alabaster. And unfortunately, I think a lot of it comes down to genetics. Different races and different blood lines, all have different skin types, and some skin types age more beautifully than others. So, I think skin care has more to do with working with what you’ve got, rather than trying to achieve perfection. I believe the same holds true for many things in life, but today, I’m just talking about moisturizer, so let’s proceed.
Moisturizing my face is probably my favorite part of the entire facial skin care process. After I apply a moisturizer, I see and feel the most noticeable difference, so perhaps this step gives me a feeling of satisfaction, like I have accomplished something. I also think that moisturizing is the most important part of the process, especially as we age, so every time I moisturize, I feel like I’m contributing to the ultimate fate of my face in some really significantly life-altering way.
I also realize that the above justifications may be completely false, and I might be totally delusional about everything when it comes to skin care, aging, and moisturizing. And if this is in fact true, then I will offer the realest, most honest reason for why I love moisturizing more than any other step in the process.
Moisturizers smell divine, and lovely smelling things fill me with bliss. That is all.
SUNSCREEN: NO FUN, BUT ESSENTIAL
Unfortunately, I can only have my real fun with moisturizers in the evening, because during the day, I MUST apply a moisturizer that contains sunscreen. I think every goddess should follow suit, no matter your age, no matter your color, and no matter what type of skin you think you have. The sun is a powerful force beyond measure (I think it’s force is actually fairly measurable, so let’s just say, it’s a pretty wicked hot force), and our ozone, the gaseous shell of protection that used to semi-shield us from this intense orb o’ heat, is now a thinly layered veil of vaporous stuff that continues to deteriorate with each passing year.
I’ll get right to it and say that I use Oil of Olay Complete Lotion All Day Moisturizer with SPF 15 for Sensitive Skin. I like this product, and have been using it for years, because it goes on lightly, smells fairly neutral, and doesn’t feel greasy. After I cleanse and tone in the morning (details of my cleansing and toning process are discussed at length in my previous post about facial care, Beautiful Face, Part I: The Naturals), I use this sunscreen moisturizer, every day, without fail.
I never thought very much about using sunscreen. I just always did it because I have always been fair and I burn very easily, so it was just something I instinctively knew that I needed to do. Then one day, I was out in the sun for far longer than I expected to be, and that evening, I was amazed by what I saw in the mirror. The area of skin along my hairline (where I had missed applying my sunscreen) was charred bright red, and the rest of my face looked and felt completely normal. This indicated to me two very important things. First, this sunscreen that I’m using WORKS, because I applied it very early in the morning, was exposed to lots of sun all day without reapplying, and I did not get burned on that area of my face. And two, the sun is powerful, and when I don’t apply my sunscreen to every area of my face, I am exposing those unprotected areas to ridiculous amounts of damage.
Whether or not you are fair, and whether or not you burn easily, the sun is the sun. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that just because your skin isn’t screaming for protection like mine is, that you are any less vulnerable to sun damage. I am lucky because my body alerts me to things in fairly obvious ways, and I have enough sense to pay attention to those alerts. But not everyone has this built-in alarm system. So, let my experience be an alert to you, and please start using sunscreen daily if you don’t already.
NIGHTLY MOISTURIZER: THE DEW FACTOR
This part of the process is so exciting to me that I don’t even really know where to begin. As I’ve said before, I’m obsessed with things that smell good, and on many occasions, this is really the driving force behind my product decision making. However, the scent is not the only thing I look for in a moisturizer. The product has to do its job or I have to part ways with it. It can often feel like a painfully tragic goodbye at times, but I’m doing it for the greater good of my face. And a new, even lovelier smelling product is always bound to make its way to me eventually.
After all of my years of moisturizing, I really have not found another product that smells as pleasing to me as Mario Badescu’s Honey Moisturizer. It’s kind of an unassuming little product and it doesn’t claim to do much more than moisturize, but for some reason, it hits all of my moisturizing sweet spots. It’s good for combination, sensitive, or dry skin, so this might not be the best for someone who is has an oily complexion. But my skin tends to be oily sometimes and dry at other times (combination skin) and this works perfectly for me, so it might also be worth a try for you. If you look at the list of ingredients, there are some chemical-y sounding items that can be a concern when you’re trying to stay all natural. But since I’m pretty natural with the cleansing and toning, I turn the other cheek when it comes to moisturizer ingredients. All things in balance, goddesses. Take the good with the bad, and welcome both the light and the dark into your life.
Aside from the divine scent,* this product actually makes my skin look dewy, both after I apply and also in the morning when I wake up. That’s a 37-year-old woman’s dream, to wake up with supple and dewy skin. It has also never made me break out, not even once, although I do know that everyone’s skin is different and reactions might happen with some people. But for me, this gorgeous potion goes on smooth, never feels greasy, absorbs easily, and does its job throughout the night. I can go on forever about this gem, but the best way to find out about this is to just give it a try yourself. It’s a tiny bottle, but you only need a small dollop every night, so this baby lasts for months and months.
*Mario Badescu is good about sending samples, so if you want to place an order for some products, but you aren’t sure about this one, I believe you can request a sample at the online check-out, or even give them a call and ask them to send one to you. They have always had very good customer service.
MASKS: UNNECESSARY BUT INDULGENT SO THEREFORE NECESSARY
Honestly, I don’t always have the best experiences with masks. Over the years, I have found them to be cumbersome and at the same time, not very effective. They are fun to apply (sort of) but they are such a mess to clean off. And often times, with many masks there seems to be a leftover residue that almost feels like it shouldn’t be there. I also often break out from masks because it’s just too much stimulation for my sensitive face. However, The Doctor has forced me to change my masking tune just a bit.
I had a membership with Birchbox for a year, but I did not find it was worth the money. I think the idea of Birchbox is fantastic—this company sends you samples of multiple beauty products once a month—but many times I found that the products were of poor quality. And so, I found my leftover samples piling up in my bathroom and didn’t know what to do with all of them. I tried giving them away but nobody wanted them. So, it became wasteful. However, every once in a while, they would send me a sample of a product that I would devotedly hinge myself to, and that is how I discovered Dr. Jart, a Korean-based skin care company. Birchbox sent me a sample of Dr. Jart’s Ceramidin Cream and I was really wowed by it. But it was so very expensive and not in this goddess’s budget. So, I had to un-hinge myself from that product, and of course I was already fulfilling-ly attached to my Honey. But it did open my eyes to this company, and I discovered their incredible cloth masks that are so affordable. You don’t need to apply these masks or deal with the mess of washing them off. It’s a cloth sheet (cut out in the shape of your face with holes for your eyes, nose and mouth) that comes individually wrapped (I believe they are around $7.50 at Sephora) and is saturated with replenishing goop. You just place it on your face for 15-20 minutes, and then trash it when you are finished. The goopy serum stays on your face and you are supposed to massage it in and then just let it absorb and dry naturally. Genius.
My face is always a bit flushed after I use this mask, and is also a bit tingly, but in a good way. After about thirty minutes, the flush fades and my face looks dewy and supple yet again. My skin is even more gorgeous the next day, so I recommend this product to anyone who wants to give their face a bit of a texture reboot. Dr. Jart has many different kinds of masks, so experiment and try them all! I usually buy several at a time and then save them for rainy days.
I really don’t believe that masks are ultimately necessary. I think goddesses could probably have beautiful skin for most of their lives if they maintained a healthy skin care regimen without fail. BUT, I think that there is something to be said for the spirituality of indulgence. This entire process (and this entire blog for that matter) is all about learning ways to be happy, to live a balanced life, and to love ourselves. And balance is key here. Because I tend to be quite regimented when it comes to certain things. But it works for me because I ALWAYS leave room for indulgence. And the indulgence part is the emotional component of it all. Even using my beautiful Honey at night can be a bit tedious, and sometimes, I want to have a bit more fun. That is part of keeping things in balance, and part of loving myself. And masks (and indulgence in general) are FUN! They also do make your face look fantastically gorgeous. So, for all of my talk about how unnecessary they are, who knows, maybe they really do make a difference. Either way, $7.50 once a month, or even once every few months, is worth it if it makes you feel (and look) good.
I hope you enjoyed my suggestions and please keep a look out for the final part of my Beautiful Face series, coming soon!