Sunday, July 20, 2008

Get your "fashion forward face" in no time at all.

I have a small confession to make. I didn't exactly pay attention to the homily at church this morning. There is a moderately attractive woman in the congregation that usually catches my eye. Quite honestly, her ensemble is always elegant, slightly flirty, and just perfect. But the thing I noticed today, for the very first time, was that her skin is absolutely flawless, and seems to be her best accessory. I began thinking about all the other people who get noticed for their fashion, and they all also have fantastic skin. And since I dominated the skincare/cosmetics industry for a couple of years, I thought I'd give a no-nonsense rundown of what you should generally be using, so you too can get your "fashion forward face" in no time at all. If you have specific skincare concerns, I definitely recommend paying your dermatologist a visit. (You do have a dermatologist, right?!).

To start, exfoliate your skin at least twice a week. Exfoliating removes the dead skin, debris, and other pore-clogging gunk from your skin. I keep Origin's Never A Dull Moment in my shower for easy use. It's an all natural exfoliant with alpha-hydroxy fruit enzymes, crushed walnut shells and apricot seeds, mango, papaya, and other goodies. The enzymes and rough ingredients basically unlock the glue that holds dead skin cells to your face. Thinking of exfoliating as though you SWEEP a floor before you MOP it. Fresh skin is good skin.

Next, cleanse. You should wash your face at least once a day. And if you're wearing makeup, or slathering anything else on your face for that matter, you should gently wash your face before bed, too. I use the Bliss Fabulous Foaming Face Wash. It's a two-in-one oil-free exfoliating face wash for all skin types. This fresh, fruity cleanser contains rose hip extract, milk thistle, passion flower and chamomile in a non-stripping formula that balances even the most schizophrenic of skins. Try it, and fall in love.

If you have problem skin (dry and flaky, oily and shiny, redness, or any one of a number of possibly situations), I recommend using a corrective mask once or twice a week. I actually use 2 masks, once a week. Too keep your skin pure and healthy, I use a detoxifying mask. Origin's Clear Improvement has the active charcoal pulls out impurities, and white china clay absorbs toxins. This mask is absolutely amazing - just don't panic when you make up and have a blemish or two (that's just the toxins that have come to the surface of your skin). I also use a hydrating mask as needed, but it's not available in the US anymore.

Once your done in the shower, gently dry your face and neck. First, tone your skin. I like Clinique's Scruffing Lotion because it helps eliminate shine and excess oils. Now, there are a number of different lotions, potions, and serums on the market. Anti-aging, anti-dry, anti-oily, anti-oxidant, anti-shine, anti-wrinkle - it's all there and more. Every day, I use Origin's A Perfect World to help keep my skin looking great, and feeling great. I protects against dehydration, deterioration, and oxidation. Then I apply Murad's Energizing Pomegranate Moisturizer SPF 15 - it moisturizes, stimulates healthy skin function, protects against skin stressors, and provides great UV protection. I definitely recommend this moisturizer for people who don't have a lot of time in the morning and don't want to use a lot of products.

I know this can seem like a lot, but it's really not. So let's review. Here's an order of what to do, and when.

1. Exfoliate (1-2 times a week)
2. Cleanse (1-2 times a day)
3. Treat (use appropriate masks 1-2 times a week)
4. Dry your skin
5. Tone (every time you wash your face)
6. Treat (every time you wash your face)
7. Moisturize and Protect (every time you wash your face)

Voila. Skincare made easy. Follow these easy steps, and unlock the keys to this season's must-have accessory - flawless skin. So put your best-face forward and get your fashion on now!

PS - great skin isn't cheap, or necessarily travel friendly. With the cleansers and exfoliants for face, body, and scalp, plus serums, potions, lotions, masks, and tonics, I could fill a whole suitcase with skincare alone. Better retailers will sell small travel kits with empty bottles and jars for all of your grooming products. I bought one at Aveda a few years back that works well, and still allows you to carry on your luggage. Hopefully one day soon TSA will have mercy on us all who just can't fathom traveling without our skincare favorites!

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