Monday, October 21, 2013

Get skin ready for Fall-Winter

Break out the sweaters, fall is here! It's a season I've come to love as it means I can walk along to campus to gorgeous autumn foliage. It also means that it's time to transition your skin care. I've compiled some tips to help prepare your skin for the colder months to ensure you maintain that radiance.

1. Humidifier

Winter is notorious for dry and chapped skin. Invest in a quality humidifier to put moisture back into the air. Not only is this wonderful for maintaining skin moisture, it also keeps your immune system in shape to fend off the spread of seasonal diseases and viruses. I personally prefer the humidifiers that allow you to adjust strength and temperature because there is no "one size fits all". I like to set the humidifier slightly hotter than room temperature so that I don't need to use the heater as much which helps maintain the natural moisture in the air.

2. Exfoliate

It's not just the lack of sun making you feel that your skin is more dull and lifeless during the colder months, its actually the combination of the drier climate and application of more occlusive moisturizers that can keep dead skin cells from turning over. This contributes to the dull, sallow complexion and can even clog pores. May Lindstrom's The Clean Dirt is one of the most well known green exfoliators out there. Some people call this a cleanser, she calls it a cleansing clay, but I think of it as a clean version of Bobbi Brown's Buffing Beads except with spices to stimulate circulation. This is sure to slough off dead skin cells. Sensitive skins should not use this more than twice a week to prevent the possibility of irritation.

Photo from Eva Chen's Instagram

3. Face Oil

I was surprised to see on my instragram feed over the weekend that Lucky's new EIC, Eva Chen posted the above picture with the caption: I know it's officially fall when I start using face oils. These are my four favorites!

It's good to see a face oils get recognized in the mainstream because they're so efficient. A few drops provides the moisture capabilities of a moisturizer while also feeding skin with a lot of nutrition. It is really the best combination of a serum + moisturiser. And because it is so pure and concentrated, the chances of congestion and irritation are actually less than using a cream moisturiser which tends to use more chemicals, emulsifiers, waxes, etc which can clog pores and irritate skin.

To read more about picking oils, read my post on how not all oils are equal and for those with acne-prone skin who are taking the plunge into oils, this is a list of recommended face oils.

Photo from YULI's Facebook

4. Anti-irritants

Our skin is sensitive to temperature extremes. In brisk, harsh cold climates, the winds and snow can feel like whips lashing against the delicate skin. I remember a key sign of winter when I was a child was when my dad would bring home hand balms. Balms not only help skin retain moisture, but their thick barrier also forms a protective shield against the harsh environmental exposure.

I really like YULI's Cocoon Elixir because it contains anti-irritants that help to relieve redness and soothe skin with calming calendula, chamomile, and healing lavender. And for when skin is really problematic, it contains anti-inflammatories to treat those painful itches caused by dry harsh air.

Photo from Salonzola Instagram

5. Protect your lips

This should be obvious as your lips are one of the most exposed parts of your face. To prevent chapped, dry lips, I recommend an occlusive balm. A personal favorite is Intelligent Nutrient's Lip Delivery which features beeswax, coconut oil, and shea butter which are among the most powerful moisture retaining ingredients by far comparable to even their chemical sibling petrolatum. I also love that besides just waxes and thick oils, it has antioxidants and real nutrients which makes it almost like a balm-serum.

Photo from I Am Natural Instagram

If your lips are beyond the need for a simple moisture fix, use YULI's Cellular Lip Conditioner to heal and treat dry/cracked lips and layer it under your balm to fix damaged lips and soak in moisture. It's called a super-concentrated lip serum which means there are more actives that repair lips beyond forming a barrier.

Both products are not only natural & mostly organic but they're food-grade and safe enough for pregnant women which is so important because upwards of 80% of lip products are ingested.

Photo from Clementine Fields Instagram
6. Moisture

Everyone should use a moisturiser but if you have dry skin, it is even more important to step up moisturisers in the winter to keep your skin in check. I personally like Tata Harper's moisturisers, I buy the Repairative Moisturiser (above) for my mom as it is suited for dry/mature skin, while during the coldest bits of winter, I apply a pump of the Rebuilding Moisturiser over dry patches around my mouth. My favorite quality about the moisturisers from this line is that they're packed with skin restoring ingredients. Some moisturisers just help lock in hydration but Tata definitely makes hers a hybrid between moisturiser/anti-aging treatment. I almost see no need to add an anti-aging treatment on top of her creams for this reason.

Some people don't like that the Tata Harper line is very fragrant but I consider it a step above other companies that use parfums (synthetic fragrance). So if you don't have any sensitivities to the fragrance she uses, I consider her moisturisers really effective for dry skin.


Have any questions over how to transition your skincare regimen to winter? Ask in the comments!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Green Beauties, Your Makeup Could be Causing Your Breakout

One of the greatest ironies I see in the green beauty world is women with acne switching to green makeup in hopes of getting their skin under control. While it is true that mainstream beauty brands use more chemicals and toxic ingredients, what causes acne are suffocating or irritating ingredients such as fragrance, mineral oil, and silicones. All this aside, switching from these ingredients to lines that use coconut oil and waxes is not going to be better for your skin.

I would almost say as a rule that if you have blemish prone skin, do NOT use RMS Beauty which uses coconut oil in nearly everything. My parents have seen many patients who go to them with massive clogged pores and breakouts after switching to "holistic natural" products and cleansing/moisturizing their skin with these thick oils. I'm not saying coconut oil is a bad ingredient, not at all, if you have dry skin or skin that just doesn't break out, you will even find it to be very useful but for people who break out, you should absolutely refrain from using this on your skin. The moisturizing properties aren't worth it because it will break you out eventually.

So that is makeup itself, now let's talk about how we remove makeup. Many green beauties swear by oil cleansing. I can see why, it works wonders in removing stubborn makeup as the oil pulls products from skin that water cannot. However, if your skin is prone to breakouts, I would definitely advise against just oil cleansing. No matter how well you wash, there will be residue left over that accumulates in your pores leading to more breakouts down the road. If you want the performance of a oil cleanse, I suggest the double cleanse method. Use an oil to clean your face, wash it as much as possible. Then go over it with a traditional cleanser that can take off the left over oil and actually clean out the other grime in your skin that oils do not remove.

Remember that just because something is holistic and green, it doesn't mean that it is suitable for you. Acne is a treatable condition, for most people who have those persistent but not severe types of acne, it is nearly always preventable by changing a few things in their routine.