September 4, 2012

girl in the curious city

Here's an update to my previous skincare routine. A few new products to combat the hot summer climate and a lesson in deep cleaning.
To start the day, I wash my face with my all time favorite Naruko Rose Foaming Wash, which I've already reviewed here. Then with a cotton pad, I tone my face with Naruko's Narcissus Total Defense Moisturizing Dew. This toner is all natural, hydrating, and cleansing. I make sure to use it on my neck and I'm always surprised by the slightly browned cotton pad which shows how much melanin buildup occurs overnight. The toner also preps the face to absorb whatever you put on next, which for me is Josie Maran Argan Oil. I decided to give this a try after all the Youtube raves and 3000+ 5 star reviews on Sephora. I needed something for the dry weather but something light too so it didn't feel like my face was melting under the sun. Although it's an oil, its surprisingly not oily and yet it still gives a slightly dewy finish. Lastly, I apply Naruko's Ampm Tone Correcting Tinted Sunshade. It's barely tinted and I can't really tell if it's really tone correcting. I mostly wear it for the SPF 35, so I'm not sure if I will be purchasing this again.
If I didn't wear makeup, I just wash my face with the same Naruko Rose Foaming Wash. If I did wear makeup, I first pour Shiseido's Ultimate Cleansing Oil on a cotton pad and gently wipe off my mascara, eye makeup, and face. Then I squeeze a dollop of Naruko Rose Foaming Wash on my Clarisonic Mia and gently brush off any remaining gunk. Even after using the cleansing oil, makeup can still be trapped inside pores, so only the soft tiny bristles of the Clarisonic can really get in there and remove it entirely. The proof is all in the bristles which become tinted afterwards and subsequently need to be washed. The Clarisonic Mia came with a Sensitive brush head but I still think it's too much for daily use, though it's perfect for removing makeup. I plan on getting the Delicate brush head for more regular use and mild exfoliation.

After washing my face, I again apply Josie Maran Argan Oil. I like it that much. The last step before bed is applying Naruko's Job's Tears Whitening Night Gelly. Job's Tears, or coixseed, is a grain often used in Asia for medicinal purposes. In Chinese herbal medicine, it is prescribed as an anti-inflammatory and helps improve water circulation in the body. I grew up eating it and whenever my mom makes soybean milk, she adds some Job's Tears into the blender. It is also nourishing for dry skin. After being out in the summer sun, I use this at night like a face mask because the jelly texture stays on the skin like an extra layer that gets absorbed throughout the night. In the morning, I really do feel that my skin looks brighter (not whiter) and well hydrated.

For my hair, I use Bumble and Bumble's Seaweed Shampoo. It's a really mild shampoo, the only one that I can use without using a conditioner afterwards. I usually don't like using conditioners because although my hair becomes super soft, it also becomes super limp. I have fine hair so limp is my enemy. The seaweed shampoo makes my hair soft and also gives it some body. I also love how it smells - don't worry it doesn't smell like seafood. It smells slightly minty and lemony.

Ok finally, I've been looking for a better moisturizing spray. I've been using Evian Mineral Water Spray for those emergency skin situations like being on a long plane ride or traveling to a new city/climate or I'm about to meet someone important but look like ____. The Evian spray is alright but I've been reading into other options like Aesop's Immediate Moisture Facial Hydrosol, Jurlique's Rosewater Balancing Mist, and Caudalie's Beauty Elixir. But which one to try?

I am not much of a Youtube watcher, beauty blog reader, or generally informed about skincare. I've never given much thought to my skin, except for switching to organic products and using eye cream at night. Recently, I've discovered some bumps under my eye (probably "milia") that have prompted me to do some research. I've always been best motivated by fear.

The first time I was scared into behavior change was with my first facial. Marc Edwards scolded me for not wearing sunblock, and he showed my face under a special light that showed the damage to my skin UNDER my 1st layer of skin. I was not happy with the sunspots/freckles, and so now my mantra is: sunblock sunblock sunblock. If you ever read any woman's interests magazine for more than 10 seconds, you'll notice that everyone everywhere always stresses the importants of wearing sunblock. It's the number one way to prevent wrinkles. There ain't no fountain of youth - it's about wearing sunblock consistently over a long time. I use MyChelle sunblock, available at your local Whole Foods, because it's nongreasy.
[right side = sun exposure over 25 years. see more here.]

Cleanse and Exfoliate:
Recently, my discovery of milia plus the realization that my pores are big have led me back to revisit the facial at Heaven Skincare Spa. Pores enlarge when they're clogged with dead skin cells. It doesn't mean you're dirty, or that you don't watch your face! Enter Exfoliation. I never really understood why exfoliation is important until now. Basically if you don't exfoliate, you can't get the gunk out of your pores with just a regular face wash. (Lightbulb!) Although I wasn't happy with the lack of extractions from my facial, I'm going to use this clean start to exfoliate regularly with Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant. My sister just bought it for me, but I haven't had a chance to try it. But Lisa Elridge recommends it (see here), and the way she describes her skin is really similar to mine. That video is a great source for other cleansing products to try too.

As for the milia, they seem too occur when there's too much oil. So, I'm going to try easing off my usual night routine lotions to see if that makes a difference.

By the way, an extraction is when a professional (not you in your bathroom with your dirty hands) remove things like pimples, blackheads, and other gross stuff. It makes me feel squeaky clean, but what I am secretly obsessed with extractions is the extraction of a calcium deposit during my first facial. I learned that calcium deposits can occur to those of us who consume a lot of dairy (and I consume A LOT of it) in an area of your skin without pore. That means it's stuck in there until a professional comes and zaps it.

Do you have any skincare tips you've learned along the way?

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