Hi, there! I hope you’ve been doing something nice for yourself every day! (And if you haven’t, here is my most important beauty advice: try VERY HARD every day to keep yourself as happy and joyful as you can! There is SO much research behind it and it’s a fact: the feelings of joy and content let your body know that life is good. To that your body responds by regenerating its sells, healing the aches and reducing the inflammation. In other words your body makes sure that you are healthy, youthful and ready to deal with whatever is coming your way!
OK, enough psychology (although I LOVE psychology; there is nothing more interesting and captivating to me than our own minds…) Back to skincare!
By the time I’m done with my days full of running around I am tired. As in VERY tired. And I want to get to bed as quick as possible. I don’t even want to brush my teeth I’m so very tired! But I just know how yucky it will feel to sleep all night without brushing my teeth… And I kind of feel the same about my skin… No matter how tired I am, to get a good night’s sleep I need my skin to be clean and nourished too, and that means – to the sink I must go!
But still, there is no way in the world that I’m going to spend an hour or even twenty minutes doing all sorts of procedures now! Besides, I’ll repeat it again, I don’t think that my skin needs them: I am a strong believer in powers of our own nature that does most of the job for us by regenerating our cells, producing the oils and healing the inflammation! And sabotaging it by using more chemicals than we need may only do more harm than good…
But I didn’t say that our nature doesn’t need a little help… So here are a few simple but undeniably necessary things that I know I need to do to maintain my skin’s beauty, youthfulness and health:
- Since I usually wear sunscreen every day and since it’s waterproof and full of chemicals I believe that it’s absolutely necessary to wash it off! So I start my routine with removing it with my cleansing oil. I love my cleansing oil! This luxurious substance never burns my eyes and never causes irritation to my skin. On those rare days when I do use my foundation, I use the same oil cleanser to remove it.
NOTE: Sometimes I’m EXHAUSTED to stand by the sink rinsing my face for two-three minutes. So then I just smear the cleanser all over my face and go straight in the shower. This way I combine the face cleansing with taking a relaxing warm shower all at once.
- No matter where I rinse my face, in the shower or at the sink, I begin with rinsing it with warm water: it actually says it on the cleanser, that you should foam it up with some warm water since its warmer temperatures help remove all the grime. Also it’s nice and relaxing to start up by rinsing my face with the warm water.
NOTE: On the other rare days when I don’t wear a sunscreen or a foundation I only rinse my face with the warm water and then splash it with the cool water to give it a rest from all the cleansing.
- Although it is nice to feel that warm water on my face, I always make sure to finish cleansing my skin with splashing some cool water on it. I am not usually very excited about even putting my hands in that cold water, but as soon as I start splashing my face with it, it actually feels good: it’s refreshing and I know that my skin needs it. The cool water shrinks my pores, it also sort of soothes it and I know that when I don’t splash that cold water on my face my skin feels rough and might even inflame. I guess leaving the pores “open” leaves them more prone to an inflammation. After this cool-water splash my skin feels much silkier and smoother thanks to the now closed pores.
Note: I’ve heard many good things about rubbing your face with ice. It actually made sense to me: I was born in Russia and I can tell that people who live most of their lives in colder climates usually have smoother completions (smaller, usually invisible pores). I knew that it might also be because people who live further north are less exposed to the sun’s burning rays. But still, one of my theories was that it’s the cold temperature that makes the northerners’ skins smoother. Besides I am a big believer in keeping your whole self cool as much as you can (temperature-wise, well, and otherwise, too J since even the groceries last longer when they’re refrigerated. Right? It’s just that I just feel more toned and lively when my body is rather cool (comfortably cool, of course)). So I decided to give this idea a try and started wiping my face with ice instead of rinsing it with cold water. I liked it because it’s faster and not as splashy-messy as rinsing it with the cool water. But I had to give this idea up after I, for the first time in my life got very bad pimples. I don’t know exactly why it happened: it may be because the ice has scratched my sensitive skin. Or maybe when you put your skin through this contrasting-temperature turmoil, the skin “rebels” against it. I hated those pimples! They didn’t look and didn’t feel good. And also if you pick on them to relief the discomfort – it leaves your skin scarred (the scars disappeared by now, about 5-6 months after they’ve appeared)…
- There is one more thing that I try my best to do at least once or maybe twice a week in the summers: I deep-cleanse my skin. But the deep cleansing in my case isn’t a half an hour of scrubbing or a five-step procedure that leaves my skin burning. Not only I don’t have the time for it, once again, I believe that rubbing and scrubbing your skin too much and too often can actually damage it by stretching it, stripping it off of its natural oils and thinning it out with all the chemicals. If you have an oily skin, I guess you’d need to cleanse it more often than if you have a dry skin like me, but even then I wouldn’t take the scrubbing to an extreme since it will stretch and irritate anyone’s skin. Once again, I think that it’s important to keep an eye at what FEELS good to YOU: if your skin is already irritated, don’t bother it for a while. If it feels like your have a dead skin “build-up” – then cleanse away!
*Here is what I do to deep-cleanse: before I got a cognac sponge, I’ve been using cloth baby wipes (I kept them from when my kids were babies because I realized just how useful the wipes were for my deep-cleansing) But when I’ve heard about all the benefits of the completely natural and very gentle cognac, I decided to give it a try and I bought it in Planet Beauty for $7. And you know what, it’s really good! It’s VERY gentle indeed, it FEELS good when I massage my face with it and it also cleanses all the “dead-cell build up” that keeps your skin from glowing very well. So to deep-cleanse I just apply my usual cleansing oil on my skin and soak the sponge in warm water until it’s soft. Then I gently massage my whole face with it for a few minutes. It’s important to use the warm water since it opens up all the pores. I usually try to coincide this procedure with washing my hair since then I spend longer time in the warm shower, which naturally “steams” my face and opens up the pores making it even easier for the sponge to cleanse. Well, this is it! When I’m done rinsing off the cleanser with the warm water I always make sure to rinse my face very well with the cold water: now that my pores are all clean, but open, it’s very important to “close” them! Now I actually feel that my skin has become silky and very soft!
- Now that all this rinsing is done, just as always, I don’t ever wipe the water off my face except those few drops that drip off my nose and my chin. I go straight to applying the creams. I start with the eye cream because I want to keep that most delicate and prone to dryness under-eye area especially moist and dewy. So I know that I need to lock that moisture in right away. Again, I use my favorite Dr. Hauschka balm. The balm works great as it sticks to my skin creating that perfect silky barrier that prevents all that water from evaporating and keeps the skin underneath elastic so that when I smile those little wrinkles smooth out right away.
- Finally I apply the night cream. My cream is very rich (I will be writing about my creams and the brands that I use in one of my next skincare articles) and this is exactly how I like it: just as the balm it seals all that water that I didn’t wipe off my face. Well, at first it gets a little messy when I apply this rich cream to my wet and cold face: it doesn’t smear right away as the oils in the cream harden from the cold. But just in a few minutes the cream smears perfectly as my body heat melts it up. When I’m done smearing this cocktail of water and cream, my face looks very shiny. It actually shines like a mirror. But I don’t mind that at all (I ran down to a market one night after cleansing my skin and I was a little self-conscious as my face was VERY shiny; but a few people actually complimented my “healthy glow” and asked me if I just went to a salon for a facial). And I just love that luxurious sensation of my well-hydrated and greasy skin! It feels GREAT!
Note: I’ve been a little bit adventurous lately as I got that idea that since my usual night cream is like… VERY cheap, I should probably give it a little “boost”. I’ve heard many good things about serums and I thought why not give it a try. Once in a while I conduct such experiments since some of my favorite brands discontinue the creams that I’ve been using for years or the brands themselves go out of business. To see what comes out of it I just added a serum to my usual night cream and started closely watching the consequences. First I tried the samples that I kept from those “gifts with the purchase” packets. Those serums were kind of slippery, but they claimed to have all the Retin-As and important acids in them that my cream doesn’t have. I applied a serum first on my still wet after the rinsing skin and then layer it with my usual cream to seal all the moisture in.
Well, the slippery substances didn’t work for me right away. In just a few days of using them I started breaking out badly. Perhaps it’s the alcohol that they contained or maybe it was all those acids, but my skin was red and irritated. I actually knew that they probably wouldn’t work for me since right away it didn’t FEEL good when I put them on. Like with any other experiment the first thing I know to be looking at is at how it FEELS when I apply a product on my face: does my skin feel smoother, soothed, nourished or does it feel drier with the stingy sensations?
But I still didn’t give up on a adding a serum to my routine. I decided to try the oily serums. I loved how one of the serums that I got as a sample (these things are expensive and I wouldn’t buy the whole jar to just give it a try) felt on my skin. I also loved how my cream spread over my face so nicely since the oil gave it traction.
Since I liked how this serum felt, I kept using it, although I couldn’t say that I was seeing any changes to my skin. Maybe, just maybe, it was a little smoother than before. But what made me really give up on this experiment (at lease for now) was that after a week or two of following this new routine my skin started to break out again and I got a few pimples. I actually gave it a few tries when I’d stop using that serum, wait till my skin went back to normal and tried to add a new serum (from another brand but also oily) again. And the same thing happened over and over again.
Well, I am not making any statements against the serums just yet because first, finding a right product is difficult and it usually takes more than a few tries for me to find the right one. Also I believe that it might be essential to be using a serum for someone who has already developed such serious issues as wrinkles or saggy skin by sabotaging their healthy skincare routines for years. I don’t have these issues thanks to my healthy routine and my lifestyle that have been helping me keep those problems at bay… Also everyone’s skin is different and if YOUR skin doesn’t break down and the product feels good to YOU when you are using it, then you can probably stick with it.
When it comes to me though, I decided that in the future I might give some other brands a try, but for now since I don’t yet have any visible issues that I’d need the serums’ help with, I should stick with what I’ve been doing instead of creating other issues for myself by trying to make a good thing better…