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 ?)

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.

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!

Beautysalon Chantilly

Every now and then I visit a beauty salon. Not by professional interrest only, but also to give my skin a boost.

This week we went to Chantilly, in the small village of Eigenbilzen, a few kilometers from Maastricht (Netherlands). The owner, Chantal Houbrechts, gives her clients highly professional treatments in her small, discrete salon she runs from her home. To Chantal, personal advise and  time for each client, are the key factors to her success.

We opted for a facial plus pedicure.

In my article “Should you go for a facial ?” I mentionned what to look for when you decide to have a facial/look for a beautician.

+ Chantal works with her exclusive “all-in one” principle, meaning : one price, all your skin needs. She will decide what is good for your skin that day.

+ Long time experience (30+ years).

+ Chantal is actually working on you all the time ; no endless masks !

+ Hygiene is optimal.

This was by far the best treatment I had in my entire carreer in the beauty business! This might seem exagerated, but when I look at my face now (two weeks later), it still shows.

Her unique combiation of stimulating (heating) mask, followed by an AHA peel, was new to me. Never thought it would work so well…. But it does, obviously.

Even if a facial can be nice/relaxing, it should also be a boost for your skin. This one certainly was!

Facial 75 Euros.

Pedicure 30 Euros. LASER TREATMENT for nail mycoses is available.

An absolute must!

“INTELLIGENT PRODUCTS”

The more the cosmetics industry evoluates, the more special terms and words are being used to convince consumers of how highly technological products can be.

One of the things I regularly come across is the idea of “self-adapting” or “intelligent” products. Ever heard of them? I suppose you have!

Meaning: products that “follow your skin cells rhythm” or “adapt themselves to your skin’s needs”.

Like anti-ageing creams or serums that know when your cells need a cetain substance and will deliver it on command. Or a cream or make-up product designed for a “combination skin” (parly oily/partly dry), that will hydrate the dry parts while mattifying the oilier zones.

Foundations or tinted creams that have a “self-adapting color”. Meaning that whatever your skin tone, the product will be right for you, because it will automaticlly match the colour of your skin.

Get back on your feet, PLEASE!

There is NO SUCH THING  as self-adapting, intelligent or whatever the cosmetic industry wants us to believe. Stop taking consumers for being stupid and focus on the science behind formulations.

Cosmetic science and dermo-cosmetology have been through a HUGHE development in the past ten, say twenty years. Ingredients have been PROVEN to work. That’s what it is all about.

Focus on what is good, make lovely, really skin-improving cosmetics and forget about all that crap. You don’t need that.  Thank you.

EYECREAMS: YES OR NO?

I have to be honest, I never really believed in eye creams. Not only did I consider them to be a total WASTE OF MONEY, I also thought that there was nothing the eye zone needed more than the rest of your face.

Paula Begoun, Beauty Guru and “Cosmetic Cop” also wrote about eye creams and described them as “ very little product for a lot of money “.

I thougt the same. Until she changed her mind. And I did too ….

“Eyes are the mirror of the soul”, as we often hear, or read in advertisements for eye creams. A good way of convincing tired people to try their luck with the latest eye cream.

Normally, eye creams do nothing for me, NOTHING. Some even cause me to wake up with swollen eyelids, or bags under my eyes  (which they are supposed to prevent). I never used to advise them to clients.

But then, giving a series of seminars to beauticians for a German cosmetics brand, I realised how many really professional beauticians (and I mean REALLY professional), believed eye creams to be one of the most important products in skin care.

So, now I’ve decided to give them a try. Not necesarilly for myself, but for the simple reason that so many of them give excellent results. Most ladies I spoke to at the seminars had a great eye contour and ALL of them used at least one eye product!  Having said this, nothing is more PERSONAL than an eye cream (well, maybe a serum ; we’ll come back to that).

After 40, our skin changes. Yes, I hear you saying : “not only after 40”, you’re right! But many of us start seeing the first signs of ageing around this age. Dehydration lines,  crowfeets, dark circles, you name it, after 40 we’ve got it ! So a good reason to decide and do something about it; or maybe a little before, from the age of 30, wouldn’t be a bad idea…

Try and get some samples first, I would say. Not every skin has the same reaction to a product. To  eyecreams in particular. And if you decide to give it a go, buy a good one. You’ll need to spend some money. Really good products don’t come cheap.

Plus, think reasonable: if your skin is generally dry, your eye contour will be even more, so go for a rich cream. If you tend to wake up with swollen eyes, a gel formula will generally suit you better. Fragrance free is best: an eye product should’t be fragranced.

Skin care, or rather skin improvement, can not be achieved in just a few days. But a few days can give you an idea of what a product could do for your skin.

Several brands make excellent eye creams (sorry, if I forget to mention some, this list is far from being complete):

Darphin (especially the Stimulskin), Clinique (All about Eyes, both versions), Estee Lauder (Night Repair Eyes), Chanel (the Hydra Beauty Eye Serum), Clarins (Haute Exigence Series), Klapp (Repacell), Paula’s Choice (hope you read my article).

www.darphin.com

www.clinique.com

www.esteelauder.com

www.chanel.com

www.clarins.com

www.klapp-cosmetics.com

www.paulaschoice.com

TOP TIPS FOR GREAT SUMMER SKIN

Summer is coming and you might want to get your skin prepped for the warmer months. Just like seasons change, our skins’ needs change with seasons too.

As warmth, dry air from airconditionning and even changes in your diet, can affect your skin, there are a few things you can do to get your skin through the summer:

  • Change your moisturizer. In warm weather, your skin can not absorb as much nutrients (think oils), as in winter, so a lighter formula will be better.
  • Keep hydrated! Drinking enough liquids (not just water) will keep your skin hydrated from inside. “Eat your water” would also be a good idea : fruit, vegetables (soup), smoothies.
  • If you have been on a plane (or even during the flight), apply a leave-on hydrating mask: Clarins SOS Hydra mask is perfect!
  • Don’t forget your sunblock if you’re travelling by car: UV rays go straigth through the windows.
  • Vitamin C – as a serum – will prevent Hyperpigmentations (sun spots), and control existing ones. You can use it directly under an SPF, or under your moisturizer (with your SPF on top). Some of my favorites: Flavo-C, Helena Rubinstein Force-C, Vichy vitamin C serum.
  • A gentle cleansing milk will feel nicer than a cleansing oil during the summer. Clarins “Herbes des Alpes” or “Gentian” are excellent choices. So is l’Occitane Cleansing milk with Karité.
  • Keep up with your toner, especially because it is (should be) your first “layer” of moisture you apply to your skin. Glycerin, plant extracts and sodium hyaluronate are ingredients to look out for. Personal favourites: Lancôme Tonique Douceur (a classic one, reminds me of my mother), Clarins Chamomile or Iris, Clarins Wake-Up Booster (mornings, but evenings too if you feel like it), Klapp Repacell and Bèta-Glucan, Caudalie Grape Juice Toner, Indi Lee Co-Q10 Toner.
  • If your skin gets very oily during summer, or you feel it is getting out of balance, use a mild clay mask several times a week. I would advise you to massage it gently for a few minutes and then leave it another few minutes, instead of letting it dry for too long. This might bet o drying/dehydrating. If the products gets dry while you are massaging, just wet your fingers and continue. Follow with toner, serum and a (light) moisturizer. Cattier makes nice clay masks and the Clarins  and Origins masks are also highly recommended.