TIRED SKIN

You’re tiredYou look tired. Your skin look tired. You name it, you’ve got it! Or rather: you’ve lost it …

Lack of colour, freshness, vitality. Dullness, dry patches, oilyness you never had before, all signs your skin has gotten out of balance. In order to get your skin back in order, there are a few – quite logical – steps you can take.By this, I don’t mean a miracle cure; there is no such thing as a miracle cure. Just as miracle products simply do not exist.

–   Obviously, if you don’t get enough sleep, your face will show it. So try to get back to a healthy sleeping pattern if you know you’ve lost some hours of sleep in the past few weeks. In order to get our organism (and thus our skin) to recuperate and regenerate well, specialists recommend 6 to 9 hours of sleep.

–   Vitamin intake is very important. No use spending money on regenerating skincare products, if your nutrition is lacking vitamins, minerals and proteins. Check your diet, or consider consulting a specialist. In some cases, supplement scan help improving your skin, with some quite dramatic results! Important vitamins/minerals to consider: vitamin C (for collagen build-up), vitamin D (especially when you are indoors a lot and use sunblock when you go outside), Omega 3 fish oils (fatty acids help regulate oil production, nourish and hydrate our skin), magnesium (will help with our stress!). B-vitamins like B12 (often associated with B3 and B6) are also helpfull (and for this reason, often present in “hair-nails-skin” specialty supplements).

–  Exfoliate your skin on a regular basis. Peeling creams, buffing creams, as long as the particles are very fine, are good. Creams with AHA/BHA Acids do a great job too. Use them for 3 to 4 nights a week. Exfoliating toners are TOP. They are used on a daily basis and allow everything you put on your skin afterwards, to sink in better. Clarins Doux Exfoliant is my personal favorite (see article), but also the “cult” Lotion P50 from Biologique Recherche is loved by many skin care addicts all over the world. Be sure, however, to make a choice: it’s either a peeling cream with particles, a peeling AHA/BHA night cream or a peeling toner.

–  Apply a vitamin-loaded serum every morning and night. I recently discovered the Mad Hippie versions and they are great! Vitamin A and C serum can be used alternatively and will really “boost” your skin.

–  Even if you never took time to lay down/walk around for a few minutes with a mask on your face, consider it now. Facial masks can be just the thing you need to “push” your skin back into its usual self. White clay (kaolin) is a great ingredient and does’t dry out your skin. Plant-based masks with herbal  extracts like clary sage, rosemary and (a little) peppermint are excellent skin revitalisers.

Good luck looking fabulous again! (well, we can try it at least, can’t we ?)

BUDGET BUY: YVES ROCHER LAIT REPARATEUR

Repair Lotion, Shea Butter, Extra Dry Skin.

Mineral Oil-Free

Yves Rocher is a French brand, that has made its name with “natural cosmetics”.In this product, more than 91% of the ingredients is nature-sourced. The Karité Butter (Shea) is from Biological – Sustainable agriculture, meaning it was raised without the use of pesticides and grown with respect for nature and the next generations that will be living on our planet.

Ingredients:Aqua, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, PEG-2 Stearate, Methylpropanediol, Glycine Soja Oil, Dimethicone, Cocos Nucifera Oil, Brassica Campestris Seed Oil, Glycerin, Isopropyl Palmitate, Caprylic/Capric TrIglyceride, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Trilaurin, Behenyl Alcohol, Aphloia Theiformis Leaf Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Parfum, Ceteareth-20, Xanthan Gum, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sorbic Acid, BHT, Sodium Hydroxide, Sorbitan Isostearate, Polysorbate-60, Tocopherol.

Although Yves Rocher is not a brand I would normally be very enthusiastic about, I must admit that sometimes, they have rather nice surprises when it comes to the products they offer. Like some other products (from other brands) I wrote about earlier, the excellent price/quality is remarquable. All this, plus the fact that the product is very nice to use and does what it promises, you have a real winner, as far as I’m concerned.

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Ingredient-wise, it’s excellent, with a hight content of Karité (Shea) Butter, a nourishing, natural plant oil/butter from the Karité tree.  Other beneficial ingredients are Coconut oil, Glycerin and Soy oil, all helping nourish/hydrate dry skins. One word of remark, however: although the product is rich and nourishing, I’m not totally convinced i twill be rich enough fort he dryest skin types amongst you. It has the advantage of penetrating almost immediately, which means you can get dressed in a minute or so. This also means, that it doesn’t leave any “film” on the skin, which in some cases (extremely dry skins) can be an advantage.

Strong points: texture, quality ingredients, price. No mineral oil, which I think is always a plus !

Weak points: maybe not rich enough fort he dryest skin types.

Lait Réparateur can be obtained through Yves Rocher boutiques or through their webshop.

www.yvesrocher.nl

www.yvesrocher.be

ESTEE LAUDER ADVANCED NIGHT REPAIR SYNCHRONISED RECOVERY COMPLEX II

Estée Lauder’s legendary Night Repair serum was introduced into the cosmetic market in 1982.

It was the first skin treating complex that promised to FIGHT against environmental DAMAGE, REPAIR it partially and PREVENT new damage.The product proved  to be an enormous succes and has, since then, been “facelifted” two times. Starting as a “cellular recovery complex”, it became “protective recovery complex” and now has become a “synchronised recovery complex II”, working with the “carcadian rythms” of our skin, meaning it follows skin’s own natural rythm of protection and repair.

Ingredients:Water/Aqua, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Methyl Gluceth-20, PEG-75, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Kola Acuminata (Cola) Seed Extract, Hydrolised Algin, Panthetine, Caffeine, Lecithin, Tripeptide-32, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium RNA, Bisabolol, Glycereth-26, Squalane, Sodium Hyaluronate, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Caprylyl Glycol, Lactobacillus Ferment, Oleth-3, Oleth-5, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile), Yeast Extract, Choleth-24, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Ceteth-24, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Hexylene Glycol, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Trisodium EDTA, BHT, Xanthan Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Red 4, Yellow 5.

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Whatever the theory that comes with this product, every time I open a new bottle, just the smell gives me an immediate wooooooooooooooow effect. I don’t know why, but there’s something magical about it.

Ok, enough of that, back to scientific skincare analysis. The product is loaded with PROTECTIVE– cell protective – and skin REPAIRING, ANTI-AGEING ingredients. It will, as the Lauder Company claims, help our skin DEFEND itself against environmental stress-factors, such as environmental pollution.

The bifida ferment lysate is an interresting active ingredient, that more and more cosmetic companies tend to use these days. Let one thing be clear: Estée Lauder has been using this ingredient for years and has been a real trend-setter in that respect. (Like they have been more than once in the history of cosmetics). It is supposed to help our skin cells REGENERATE themselves and is a COLLAGEN-promotor in this sense.

The texture of this serum is in between a moisurizing and a silicone-type product. Those of you who are real serum junkies will know what I mean. It’s slightly moisturizing (Hyaluronic Acid) and glides over the skin at the same time. You’ll just need a few drops for your entire face and neck.

This just is a WONDERFUL, ACTIVE serum for those who are looking for an “allrounder”.

Skin types:all

Age group:all, as it helps prevent (futher) damage.

Texture:light, smooths over skin.

Strong points:everything I mentionned above.

Weak points:will not give you the same “wet”/ moisturizing feeling as a (pure) hyaluronic serum, so if you have a (very) dehydtrated skin,  you will either have to combine it with a really moisturizing toner (before), or even  another serum. Of course, a good hydrating cream on top could also do the job.

Estee Lauder products can be obtained through perfumeries and department stores.

www.esteelauder.com

ALCOHOL IN MY SKIN CARE PRODUCTS: FACTS AND FICTION

Alcohol in skincare products has been a point of discussion for as far as I can remember. One says: no way! The other will say: no problem …

Now what to believe?

The word alcohol refers to a group of substances, that can have various effects on our skin. Not just on skin, by the way!The glass of wine, Prosecco or Limoncello you have, might also have a certain effect on you: but this is more related to quantity, isn’t it J?

Where skin care is concerned, there are two groups of alcohols: de “good ones” and the “bad ones”.Does this mean, that not every alcohol is bad for your skin? Indeed, that’s exactly what it means!

Bad alcohols have a “low molecular weight” (this is chemistry),good alcohols have a “high molecular weight”. De bad ones DRY OUT YOUR SKIN, while the good ones HYDRATE. It’s as simple as that.

The bad guys are: Isopropyl Alcohol (Isopropanol), SD Alcohol, Alcohol denat. (sometimes just “alcohol”), Ethyl Alcohol (Ethanol), and Benzyl Alcohol. They dry out your skin, because they dissolve all the lipids (oils), that are naturally present on (in) your skin. Theoretically, this would mean they also disrupt your skin balance. Taking away all the lipids means you also take away all the MOISTURE, which is not ok, of course.

Amongst the good guys are Cetearyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol and Cetyl Alcohol; these are MILD for your skin and even help lock in MOISTURE !

The very gentle Butylene Glycol and Pentylene Glycol also belong tot his group of ingredients and also have MOISTURE BINDING properties.

Does this mean, that all products with a “bad alcohol” are completely useless? No, absolutely not!One has to consider their dosage in the product. This is difficult to check for us, as the exact percentages aren’t mentionned on the ingredients list. However, the higher the ingredient is on the list, the higher its percentage will be.

To give you an example:Isopropyl Alcohol as the second or third ingredient, is quite different from being somewhere half way or towards the end of the list. In that case, the amount is probably neglectable and will have no negative impact on your skin.

The TYPE OF PRODUCT also determines, whether “good” or “bad” alcohols are used. A tonic designed for oily skin, will be more likely to have some “bad” alcohol than, let’s say, a product for dry skin types. Anyway, a tonic will be more likely to have some alcohol, because of the “refreshing” effect it has on skin.

Now you will wnat to know how to pick your products! This is how I CHOOSE MY PERSONAL SKINCARE and WHAT CRITERIA I USE:

  • When a SERUM or a CREAM, has a “bad” alcoholwithin the first 5 ingredients on the list, it’s in no way an option for me. There are enough other products on the market, that don’t have this problem, so I’ll go for an alternative. “Good alcohols”, however, are very welcome !
  • In case of a toner, I will look at its purpose, skin feel and smell. Meaning : in case of an exfoliating (peeling) toner, I might forgive the presence of alcohol. Especially, if the bad one is compensated by some “good ones” or by Glycerin and Butylele/Pentylene Glycol.
  • If, however, I can clearly feel or SMELL the alcohol (like with rubbing alcohol), I’ll discard the product.
  • What is “too much” in one brand, can be perfectly ok for me in another brand !

I hope that, after reading this article,  you’ll be able to see more clear and select your skin care products with some extra expertise. Enjoy your shopping!

FACIAL OILS ARE HOT!

Although brands like Clarins have been making wonderful skin oils for decades, many cosmetic brands have now discovered the market for this type of products.

If the word “oil” makes you shiver, don’t compare these skin oils to any greasy product you might know. A good skin oil is light, sinks in quick and doesn’t leave your skin greasy. Nor do good quality skin oils block your pores.

Skin oils can have many different properties: they can hydrate, nourish, calm or even regulate sebum (oil) production. For every skin type, there is an oil. Depending on your skin condition, you can use them in your skin regimen during day- or nighttime.

Where does a skin oil fit in to your skin care routine?

Depending on the brand, and the purpose of the product, they can be used INSTEAD of a classic SERUM or OVER a SERUM. If your skin is both dry and dehydrated, you can use a facial oil over your moisturising serum and under your cream. Both during the DAY and at NIGHT. If your skin is oily/combination or “out of balance”, you can use a regulating skin oil instead of a serum AT NIGHT.

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Many facial oils use (precious) botanical – meaning plant based – extracts. Some use high-tech active ingredients like RETINOL.

Whatever oil you choose to use, make sure you use only VERY VERY LITTLE of your product.A FEW DROPS will do! Less is more, in his case.

For myself, I like to use both.This is what I would advise you to do also. Have one plant-based and one high-tech. The plant based one will be  the vitalising/correcting one, the other one will bring you the “anti-ageing” benefits. Make sure there is no MINERAL OIL in your product. Mineral oil could clog your pores and prevent precious ingredients to sink deep into your skin. Silicone is not a problem for me, although most botanical facial oils tend to avoid this ingredient too.

As a facial oil does NOT REPLACE your SERUM, make sure you keep using a good (moisurizing/hyaluronic) serum also. If you like to use your facial oil OVER your serum, make sure it is a water-based one, as any creamy texture will prevent your skin oil to sink in deep into your skin.

A few examples of facial oils that are worth the try :

Plant based;

  • Clarins Huile Santal (dry skin), Lotus (oily/combination skin) and Orchidee Bleue (dehydrated skin)
  • Primavera Moisturizing 3-in-1 Face Oil (if you have budget issues, try to get this one)

High-Tech;

  • Klapp Faciol Oil with Retinol

This represents the ones I’ve tested so far: more reviews will follow.

HOW MUCH PRODUCT SHOULD YOU USE?

A question that I’ve been asked many, many times is : “how much product should I use to make sure I’m taking care of my skin without wasting any (precious) product ?”

The answer to this question is, that this depends on the type of product. As a guideline :

  • Cleanser:take a 10-Eurocent piece (I suppose it would be “pence” in UK, or let’s say; two nuts) in your handpalms. One quick wipe to spread it onto both your handpalms en straight on the skin with flat hands. Massage for a few seconds, then rinse/take off. I always recommend using a washcloth (see my blog on washcloths).
  • Day/Nightcream:one nut size for face and neck. If you treat your décolletage too, take half a nut extra.
  • Sunblock:Difficult one, as dermatologists tell us to use it abundantly. But this often becomes sticky. Oil-free and “dry-touch” textures work well for this reason!
  • Serum:serums are concentrates, so use sparingly. One pea-size is ok.
  • Ampoules:are meant to be a single dosage, but in my experience this can be a bit too much. There’s no harm in using it in two times : morning and evening, for example. Make sure to use it up within 24 hours.
  • Eyecream:one pea-size for both eye contours is fine.
  • Facial oil:if you use one, use it very sparingly ! Less is certainly more here. Take two to three drops in your handpalms and “press” it into your skin.
  • Bodylotion:here you know best what works for you. Dry skins need more. Also depends on the texture (“richness”) of the product.

ISANA KÖRPERMILCH UREA + 10% UREA

Bodylotion 10% Urea

Skin calming, fragrance-free.

Sometimes in life one has to make choices. When it comes to cosmetics, not all of us (myself included) can just spend eldless amounts of money on products. We all have a budget to respect.

So when it comes to body care, this might be the occasion to save some money. Don’t get me wrong now, I don’t mean you should NOT SPEND any money on your BODY care! I’m just saying that when you are ON A BUDGET, there might be a focus on face care. Body care still has to be good quality too, but does not necesarilly need to have the high-tech ingredients you want for your face! (and pay for, of course).

Isana is one of the brands of the German drugstore Rossmann, who’s “Serum for very Mature Skin” JI reviewed several weeks ago. The Bodylotion with 10% Urea caught my attention, as it is designed especially for people with very dry, sensitive skin.

Ingredients:Aqua, Urea, Helianthus Annuus Hybrid Oil, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Glycerin, Isopropyl Myristate, Polyglyceryl-4 Diisostearate/Polyhydroxystearate/Sebacate, Panthenol, Bisabolol, Tocopherol, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Piroctone Olamine, Sodium Lactate, Magnesium Sulfate, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid.

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The nice thing about this product is, that it does what it promises. It hydrates, nourishes and sooths very dry, rough skin. I’d even say atopic skins and skins which tend to develop  neurodermitis/eczema might benefit from this product. This is, by the way, what it says on the bottle too. It’s fragrance-free, very nourishing(some of you will say: greasy) texture is ideal for anyone who struggles with allergies and a very dry skin.The 10% Urea is what really does the trick : Urea is a skin-identical, natural moisture binding ingredient. It is naturally present in our body and helps our skin retain moisture. A 10 percent concentration is REALLY HIGH and is the reason this product works so well.

Other beneficial ingredients are Panthenol (vitamin B5) ; skin calming, Bisabolol, from Chamomile ; skin calming, Tocopherol ; Vitamin E, is an Anti-Oxidant.

Similar products/formulas can be found in phramacy brands, but these will cost you at least three to four times the price of this product….

Pro’s:price, no mineral oil (which is great for a product in this price category!! Congratulations Mr. Rossmann). Nourishing enough for even the driest skin types ; 10% urea helps very dry skin to hold its moisture better.

Contra’s:texture. Absorbs slowly (well, on my skin and I am realy dry on legs, arms and ellbows). You can’t just get dressed after one minute or so.

Isana Products can be obtained in Rossmann stores or through their website.

www.rossmann.de

WASHCLOTHS

Cleaning your face morning and evening is one thing.

Using a good cleanser is another.

Method, however, is equally important.

Many of us like to splash our faces. Water is nice and purifying. However, to get a really good result, using a washcloth would not be a bad idea. Whether you’re using a milk, an oil, a balm or a gel, imagine how many products “stick” to your face… Think of make-up, including all the “modern ones” like BB creams, CC, creams,  sunblocks and mineral make-ups.

To really remove them well, whether you like to splash or not, a washcloth is ideal. It can be either a “classic” one, or a more sophisticated version.  Some like to use muslin cloths, other micro-fiber cloths, but the latter I find a bit too agressive.

The best ones I have discoverd are those made by the German brand, Dr. Grandel (and its daughter company/ brand called Phyris).They are very soft and “fluffy” (see picture)and remove whatever you need to remove, really well, without causing even the slightest irritation.

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Although I have the Grandel version myself, I could’t find them on their internet site. The similar Phyris are the only ones mentionned on their website.  They seem to be exactly the same as the ones I have. To get the dr. Grandel version  I use, get in touch with:

Ilona Blank Kosmetik.

+49 208 67 62 72

She also does marvelous facials, by the way !

kosmetik-blank@arcor.de

www.drgrandel.com

THE SEVEN WORST THINGS YOU CAN DO TO YOUR SKIN

As we’re all used to read articles, tips and whatever material about good skin care (like my blog) , here’s the opposite:what should you absolutely AVOIDto do in order to prevent PREMATURE AGEING.

  • Use peeling products with harsh/abrasive particles.Any “scrubbing” product that has particles that are not completely rounded, can do severe harm to your skin. Imagine you’re scratching your skin with a steel wool sponge …. Not very skin-friendly, is it ?
  • Pop pimples before they are completely mature or using a needle to open them. Pimples are very unpleasant, I know, I’ve been there myself…. You’d do anything (well almost) to GET RID of them. Remember, however, that any agressive treatment will only make things worse. Trying to “push” the liquid out of a pimple before it has a white head, is useless and will give you more redness and possible scarring.
  • Go to bed with your make-up/sunblock on. You’ve heard this one before, sure, but we need to stress the fact that certain substances can become harmful to your skin when you leave them on overnight.
  • Use products that don not require rinsing and have surfactants in them that dry out your skin.Meaning : you clean your face and the product you use contains something to designed to “wash” your make-up/dirt of your skin. But you don’t rinse it off. Because the manufacturer tells you you don’t need to….. Are you still with me ? “Washing” means cleansing substances or something that resembles soap/detergent. Get what I mean now ? AND YOU LEAVE THAT ON YOUR SKIN ! Absolute HORROR.  So forget stop being lazy and get into a good cleansing routine. (seem my articles on cleansing).
  • Copy your mother’s, friend’s or aunt’s skincare routine. Your skin is YOUR skin, not your mother’s. So it will probably need something different, won’t it ? Using the wrong products – even if they are good quality – will absolutely not help you maintaining a healthy, younger looking skin; Get professional advise and choose products according to your skintype and –condition.
  • Buy moisturizers designed for “mature skin” (whatever that may mean), when you still have a combination/oily skin type even when you are mature. As we age, skin texture changes. Oilier skin types don’t get as many (fine) wrinkles as dryer skin types do, but experience a change in texture with enlarging of the pores. If you use products that have too much oil for your skin type, this will get worse AND MAKE YOUR SKIN LOOK OLDER INSTEAD OF YOUNGER. So invest in a good serum and use a light moisturizer on top.
  • Foam:the more a product foams, the more it will dry out your skin. Robbing all the precious moisture (we are trying to preserve) out of your skin. The more a product foams, the more that’s what it does. That’s why diswashing detergents work so well. But not for your skin, please.

Feel free to leave any comments!

CATTIER PARIS : ROSEE FLORALE – SOOTHING BEAUTY LOTION

Rose – Chamomile

“ This lotion completes your cleansing routine and gives you a radiant complexion. It is enriched with rose and chamomile water and biological calendula extract. Calms and refreshes. Wheat proteins firm skin”.

Ingredients: aqua, rosa damascena flower water, Glycerin, anthemis nobilis flower water, calendula officinalis extract, hydrolyzed wheat protein, Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate, parfum, benzyl alcohol, Sodium benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, limonene, linalool.

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Cattier is a French brand that was created in 1968 by Pierre Cattier. The BIOLOGICAL PRODUCTS are based on NATURAL ingredients, partially from BIOLOGICAL agriculture. The first products were clay masks, which are still very popular these days.

Cattier does not use Parabens, Phenoxyethanol (preservative), synthetic perfumes or colorants or petroleum derivatives (like mineral oil).

Rosée Florale is a refreshing, hydrating toner in a spray.

How to use: spray over face after cleansing.

Active ingredients:

Rosa Damasceana is not just “rose water”, but has ANTI-OXIDANTS that PROTECT our skin cells from environmental damage (stress, pollution).

Chamomile and Calendula extract SOOTHE and CALM skin.

Glycerin and wheat protein lock moisture into skin.

Smells of roses (very lightly).

STRONG POINTS: organic/bio, if  this is important for you. Plant extracts.

MINUS: be careful if you’re allergic to essential oils. Not as hydrating as many other toners.

Available: I bought mine at DI in Belgium.

www.cattier.com and www.cattier.be