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A Loveletter to my Face Cloth - no flannel!
It's February, so I'm writing some love letters to my favourite Skincare bits! This week: the humble facecloth. Lets clear something up right away. The face cloth goes by different names. Face cloth, wash cloth, flannel. It's all the same thing - it's just regional variations. Basically we are talking about a cotton loop-terry-cloth square, like a mini bath towel, that you use to wash or dry your face. But I'm a splasher! If you're a splasher, there's not much I can do to help you - you've made your own destiny. But... I guess there's room for everyone in this little world, so if you're happier not using a face cloth to cleanse, then that's fine with me. It's weird! But it's fine. Let me count the ways - What I love about you, face cloth: - I use you every day, morning and night, and you are always there for me - I don't need to re-purchase again and again - You exfoliate like nobody's business - You make me glow - You clean my face so that my products work better How to Use Your Face Cloth By now you all know my prime directive: DO WHAT WORKS. So if you have your own technique that suits your skin and you're happy, then I'm happy. Otherwise, here are some tips. Use a clean cloth. Wet your cloth under the tap, use warm, not hot water. Wring it out so that the cloth is damp, not dripping. Drape the warm cloth over your face and enjoy! This is particularly effective if you use a balm or oil cleanser as these products work better when they melt a bit. This is basically Hot Cloth Technique, but the water shouldn't actually be hot. Draping feels great, but it also helps to start to loosen everything up. Massage: don't just rub and scrub. After massaging the cleanser onto the skin, I use a three-finger approach with my cloth: I drape the damp cloth over my three extended fingers and then proceed to massage in small circular motions all around the surface of my skin. Reposition the cloth as you work different areas. Adjust the pressure! Even a light touch will yield great results. You don't need to apply much pressure, a gentle massage can be just as effective as a hard scrub. If your skin is tough and likes the exfoliation, go for it! Take your time. Your first cleanse should be the quick one so you're not just pushing grime around your face. Your second cleanse should take longer - this is where you really wash the surface of the skin and prep for your next steps. Rinse and wring as you go. If you like you can fill the basin and rinse it out that way. But if this is your way, make sure the sink is clean, and don't reuse the water! What is the role of a face cloth in Skincare? There are two main jobs that your face cloth will do. Soften and melt the dirt from the surface of your skin. When you cleanse you shouldn't just be counting on your cleanser to do all the work, your cloth is what clears it all away. Exfoliate by clearing any loose dead skin. This is true for everyone, whether you use chemical exfoliators or not. If you DON'T use chemical exfoliation then cleansing is the main step for exfoliation and your cloth will be doing most of the work. If you DO use acid exfoliation then it's especially important to use a cloth the next day - chemical exfoliators don't remove the dead cells! They only loosen the cells to prepare them for removal by physical means. a Crazy thing I do with my face cloth I use it dry sometimes. Wait? What! Yep... I guess you could call this more of a *polish* than a cleanse. I love doing this right after a bath, in combination with a treatment cleanser like Sanscrit Saponins, or a clay mask, even an exfoliator (but only the right one). Different types of face cloth MICROFIBRE: I'm not personally a huge fan. I don't like the feel of it on my skin. I don't like the fact that it's polyester and will shed micro-plastics. I find microfibre too soft. I especially don't like the idea of Face Halo type water-free systems. But, if you do, that's just fine. Do what works! FANCY FACE CLOTHS: it depends a bit on what makes the cloth fancy. If it's fancy because it's all soft and fluffy then it's probably not going to be great for washing your face; it will probably shed and be too soft to be very effective. Keep your expensive and pretty cloths for show. Unless it makes you feel special, then use what makes you happy (and works). SPECIALTY FACE CLOTHS: these are fancy face cloths made of skin-friendly alternatives to cotton terry. For example, hemp or linen. The are likely to be a flat weave, rather than having loops. These cloths can be an excellent way to go *luxe* in your routine and are a great investment as they are very long-wearing. Hemp and linen have anti-bacterial qualities so that's great for skincare. These cloths are also more environmentally friendly and more likely to be ethically produced. EXFOLIATING CLOTHS: are usually rough, often plastic, scrubby cloths that are probably too harsh for use on the face. Purchasing your face cloths Get what YOU like and get lots of them! Many big box stores carry jumbo packs of cloths in every colour. I personally prefer cheap cloths because I don't like it too soft or fluffy. I don't like it when cloths shed on my face, and this stage lasts longer with more expensive cloths. Check out places like: IKEA, grocery stores, household stores, discount shops and online retailers. DON'T SHOP AT AMAZON (not because the cloths are no good, but because they don't pay taxes or fair working wages). HOW MANY? I literally have dozens of cloths. Get as many as you will get through between wash days, and then double it! DOES COLOUR MATTER? This is another personal area. Some people like white because they like to see the dirt coming off. Realistically, white cloths will never stay white. On the other hand, dark cloths will bleed dye for the first little while, which isn't great for the skin, but this will stop after a bit. I don't really feel the need to match them to my decor because I don't put my giant bin full of cloths on display. I guess unbleached cotton would be best skin-wise, but hard to source. Pick whatever sparks joy! Tips for caring for your face cloths Change your cloth at least once per day. I grab a new cloth for second cleanse, then hang it up, use for my AM face swipe the next morning (I don't use a cleanser in the morning, just a quick layer of oil and hot cloth technique), then hang it again and use it for first cleanse that evening. You may want to change your cloth MORE often than that, but probably not LESS often. If you use your cloth more than once make sure to hang it up between uses so it can dry. If you don't have a hook you can hang it over the shower bar or side of the tub. I wash my cloths on hot because that's my default temperature for stuff that touches my skin. But if your machine is doing it's job properly your cloths should be okay with cold water wash. Try and avoid detergents with fragrance. If you don't want fragrance in your skincare you don't want it on your cloth either. Don't use fabric softeners on your cloths. Fabric softeners work by depositing an oily buildup on the surface of the fabric. Those oils will end up on your skin if they are on your cloth. Fabric softeners also prevent the cloth from being as effective as the cloth has less grip. If your cloths get funky you may want to give them a vinegar soak (diluted) or consider switching your detergent. Wow! Who knew there was so much to say about face cloths? Thoughts? Let's talk cloths... Have a great day xx
A Loveletter to Rosewater
February is LOVE MONTH, so it's a great time to share some of my favourites with you. And when I look at my routine the product that I've been using the longest, with the most consistency, the one that I am NEVER without, is PURE ROSEWATER. Let me count the ways I love you, Rosewater: - You're the least expensive product I own - You can be used by almost everyone (I give some on a cotton pad to my kid so she can do a routine too!) - You make everything else work better - You are pretty much impossible to fuck up! - MOST OF ALL: You give me plump, luscious skin :) But it's just water, right? Yes, it's water that smells nice - AND - it's been distilled so that it's very pure; there's really not much more to it. Rosewater is made by distillation - roses are macerated in water and then the water is boiled off and the steam is collected and condensed back into water. Sometimes there is a small amount of citric acid added as a preservative, but I haven't found that to make a difference (for me) in how I use it in my skincare. What's so great about it? Couldn't I just use water? Of course you could use water - water is water. Usually. Unless you live somewhere where the water is really hard, or you have to use water softeners, or the water is chlorinated, or fluoridated, or minerally, or smelly. So, maybe it's not the same? What's the point of misting? I don't find that there is much point of randomly misting throughout the day. Well, in the summer it can feel lovely and soothing to give yourself a spritz of refrigerated rosewater. However, random misting could pull water from the skin, because you're not sealing it in. But I'm not talking the occasional spritz - I'm talking supercharging your routine with a ton of hydration using Rosewater as a mist! Maximise your products! Watery hydrators help your other products to absorb. So if you want one or two drops of that precious serum you love to spread evenly across your whole face... mist with Rosewater first. You find that anhydrous active just a bit sticky? Drop the serum into the palm of your hand and add a few drops of Rosewater to thin it out. Rosewater drives those products into the skin so none of that goodness is left sitting on top. HYDRATION TO THE MAX! My Hydration Equation is: Humectant+Water+Occlusive = PLUMP JUICY SKIN! I won't repeat my full article on Hydration, you can check it out yourself if you need a refresher. But suffice it to say that you can't have hydration without water! If you want all that lovely hydration to stay in place then don't forget a humectant in your routine (HA, glycerine, etc) and don't forget to seal it in with a final layer that's water-resistant. What's the best way to keep and store Rosewater? I generally keep a small bottle that I regularly top up from my big bottle of rosewater, and I keep the big bottle in the fridge. Actually, I have a couple of smaller bottles - usually a dropper bottle and a spray top bottle. In the summer I'm happy to spritz all over the place, but in the winter I don't like that chilly mist. I like to have options. Even with a spray bottle I usually spray into the palm of my hand and then pat into the face. Or the same with a dropper. I also use Rosewater as the base for my *hydrating slush*. It will take an entire post to fully explain my *slush* but it's basically Rosewater mixed with whatever random goodies I have around and then use as a hydrating toner. Where does it go in my routine? Everywhere! I basically do a layer of my Rosewater slush between every step in my routine! How else can I use Rosewater to maximise hydration? It can be used for 7 Skins. It can be used if you live in a hard water area (you can google your area to find out if that's you) to rinse your face after getting it wet from cleansing, showering etc. It can be used when travelling so your skin doesn't get stressed from unfamiliar water. But it's water, it's thin, shouldn't it go thinnest to thickest? By now you know how I feel about *Rules*! You've got to figure out for yourself the best way to use it in your routine. I tend to alternate a layer of hydration between every step because that works for me. Play around and see what works. Does Rosewater have any conflicts? If you're allergic to roses then it's probably not for you. As with any product there is always the potential for irritation or reaction because ... there always is. There are also conflicts with watery products that are not specific to Rosewater but are true for anything water-based. Any acid that relies on it's acidity to perform can be adversely impacted by any water (so don't combine hydration with AHA exfoliation, for example). Also, keep in mind that hydration and the use of watery products within the routine can assist actives and other products by drawing them into the skin. So it's not a great idea to do tons of hydration before or after a new active or product if you're unsure that your skin will be happy with deep absorption. These conflicts aren't specific to Rosewater though, they are generally true of all watery products. Other great things to do with you Rosewater: - you can use it to swish around a bottle of almost-done serum to get that last drop! - you can use it to moisten your beauty blender or make-up brushes - you can use it dilute skincare products (if you know what you're doing) - you can use it to re-moisten wipes or dried out makeup - make baklava! But I don't like the smell of roses... Are there options? Of course! Most places that sell Rosewater also sell Orange Blossom water so that's a straight swap. The difference pretty much being the smell. But you can actually get a wide range of similar products if you search for Hydrosols. This is the technical name for flower water. There are many many different hydrosols available, but because this is more of a specialty product it is likely to be both more difficult to find and more expensive. However, it still might be cheaper than commercial *hydrating toners*. I'm sold! How do I get me some of that goodness? My rule of thumb is: if a place sells lentils there's a good chance they sell Rosewater. I buy food grade as it's pure, although there are some beauty brands that are good. If you buy food grade make sure there are no sugars or added extras. I tend to look for Rosewater made in Lebanon because they have a big industry there - Cortas is a brand that's widely available. Health food stores, Middle Eastern stockists, Turkish corner shops, Baking suppliers and even big box grocery stores are all good places to look. You may have to poke around a bit because there is no universal agreement as to which section in should be in! At Sainsbury it is in the international aisle, and it's £1!
The House of Sparkles Bullet Journal Circle, Post 1. INTRODUCTION, FAQ & STARTING YOUR JOURNAL
INTRODUCTION & FAQ Welcome to the Bullet Journal Coaching Circle! Your goal is to give yourself the best chance of Skincare success by learning how to document, track and plan your Skincare Routine using a Bullet Journal. 💙 Who can join in? Circles are available to anyone. Content is free. Commenting, feedback and Coaching from me is reserved for Skincare Heidi Members according to Membership Level. 💙 How do I join? RSVP on the main page to add your name to the waiting list. You'll receive a message to let you know when the next round is set to begin. 💙 What is a Coaching Circle? A Coaching Circle is a way to work together in small groups to give you the tools to get the skin you've always wanted. Learn more here. 💙 What is a Bullet Journal? A Bullet Journal is a way to track your progress, so it can be whatever you want it to be, as long as it works for you. Most participants choose to use the Skincare Heidi Bullet Journal Group on Facebook, but you may prefer a notebook or even just a file on your phone. You may want to combine different options depending on how you end up using your Journal. Let's get started! 💙 Why choose the Bullet Journal Coaching Circle? All of my Coaching Circles have the same reason for being: to give you the tools that will put you on the path to great skin! And for anyone who wants coaching or mentoring, I need a way to learn about you. I give Coaching priority to those who have completed this Circle and gone through the steps so I can get the information I need to get a full picture of your situation. GETTING STARTED ON YOUR BULLET JOURNAL The Skincare Heidi Bullet Journal Coaching Circle will introduce the basics of documenting, tracking and planning your skincare routine. Skincare often involves a lot of variables and it can get complicated quickly! Let me help you keep it all straight. You may get the impression that keeping a Bullet Journal is tedious or complicated, but this doesn't have to be the case - as with all skincare, simpler is often better. Your Bullet Journal only needs to be as complicated as is helpful. Your Journal is there to give you the information you need to keep your routine going in the right direction. If your routine is simple enough to track on a post-it then by all means, use a post-it as your Bullet Journal! The likelihood, however, is that you aren't able to keep track of all your trials and results on a post-it. This is where it comes in handy to have some notes you can refer to. We all process information in different ways and we all have different lifestyles, so it's important to choose the format that will work for you. The *right* format is the one that you'll use. The one that's convenient. The one that's going to make your life easier and will give you answers you need when you need them. Your first task is to decide what format will work best for YOU. IDEAS FOR YOUR BULLET JOURNAL: The Skincare Heidi Bullet Journal Group is an option I urge everyone to consider. Especially if you are hoping to get feedback on your progress or Coaching from me, it's hard to beat Facebook for convenience and ease of access. It's also fun to snoop on one another's posts and be inspired! To join the group click here: Skincare Heidi 💙 Bullet Journals If you're already in the group but don't yet have a Journal, let Gemma know and she'll set you up! OTHER OPTIONS A notebook - sometimes the classics are the best Notes on your phone or device A section in your Filo-fax (there must be some people who still use these!) A handcrafted scroll (ok, I'm really stretching it now) Make your own app (if you can do this, please message me - I need you for a *little project*) Be creative! Google Bullet Journals and see if anything calls out to you SKINCARE HEIDI WORKSHEETS Available for you to print, these Worksheets are a great way to document your progress. More on this in the next Circle Post. FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING YOUR TYPE OF JOURNAL: Bullet Journaling should be fun. Choose a format you like and that appeals to your own personal aesthetics and style. Bullet Journaling should be easy. Whether you use a notebook, your phone, your Journal Post in the Facebook Group or a combination of these (or even something else entirely) whatever you choose should be easy to access and easy to use. You don't need to be good at it before you even start. You may have an idea in mind what you want your Bullet Journal to look like and then realise that you need to adapt or change it as you begin to use it. That's fine. You might want to start with something simple and use this challenge to figure out what will work - test it as you go! If you feel that you don't know where to start with your Bullet Journal I recommend that you not decide right away. Use this Challenge to explore your options and see what works for you. There's no point in trying to squeeze yourself into a round hole if you're a square peg - try different methods and see what works best for you. TASK - CHOOSE YOUR BULLET JOURNAL Your first task is to decide on a format for your Bullet Journal. This may be straightforward for some of you, if you're already a *journal-er* by nature you may already have an image in mind. For others you may have no idea where to start. If you've completed the Skindergarten Circle you've already had a sneak peak at tracking your routine. A plain sheet of paper is a perfectly good place to start. Please keep in mind that part of this Circle will be to share your Bullet Journal with others so whatever you choose you should be able to photograph or share it somehow. TASK - SHARE YOUR JOURNAL WITH US! Add comments and pictures to show us your Journal.
The House of Sparkles Bullet Journal Circle, Post 3. Routine Tracker
In the first two posts of this Coaching Circle you were tasked with starting a Journal and documenting your Skincare Snapshot. We will now move on to aspects of skincare that are changeable over time, starting with your routine. There are two main goals to this task: - to document your routine, obviously. - to get you thinking about your routine and the factors that make up a great routine First Things First - write down your routine Writing down your routine isn't always as easy at it sounds. That's why I created my Skincare Heidi Routine Tracker (with some help from the lovely and talented Dana Carter). Over the course of the week you will fill in your tracker day by day, in real time. The idea here isn't to try and guess your routine, or to create an ideal routine. With this week's tracker you should simply document exactly what you use for a week. There's no judgment! It's more important to accurately reflect your actual routine than to try and *fix* it or improve it as you go through the week. Upload your Skincare Heidi Routine Tracker here: Filling in Your Tracker The reason that this post is part of a Coaching Circle, rather than simply just an article, is that documenting your routine is not necessarily a straightforward process. Very few of us have a set routine that we do in exactly the same way every day. I tend to look at how my skincare and actives are distributed over the course of a week, because not every product needs to be used every day. For the next week we will go step by step filling in your tracker each day. If you're involved in any kind of Skincare community you've seen that routines are generally divided into AM and PM. Most people simply list the products that they use and the order in which they use them. This is called the Routine Sequence. This is a great start, but your sequence doesn't show the whole picture. The three variables of Skincare Routine Tracking are: Quantity, Frequency and Sequencing (or HOW MUCH, HOW OFTEN, and WHAT ORDER). You will, of course, list the the product. Additionally, we will consider if you also want to take note of other factors, like technique. This may seem like a lot to consider for EACH STEP of your routine. But actually you are already making these decisions every time you do your routine. Each time you open a dropper bottle you decide whether to drop into your hand or directly on your face. Each time you apply a serum you choose whether to swipe or pat. These decisions may be automatic for you but they ARE decisions. That's A Lot to Track! Don't worry, I'm not suggesting that you document every drop of serum or each spritz of mist every time you do a routine! The level of detail that you include in your Journal will depend on what you're trying to achieve. For this Circle we will look at tracking in great detail, so that you are comfortable with exactly what you are doing. Once you are familiar with your routine and all its components, you can use your Journal to accomplish specific goals in your Routine Planning. If you're introducing a new strong active you will want to track much more closely than if you're in maintenance mode. You may need to pay closer attention during seasonal changes. You may have a specific issue that you're looking at and need to pay close attention to the state of your skin on a day to day basis. Start by documenting one specific routine, don't try and capture a general routine that you're *supposed* to do. Start by writing down a specific routine that you *did* do (ie: this is my routine from last night). But my routine changes all the time! Realistically your routine isn't a static phenomenon. Even if you documented one specific routine you will also want to document variations that occur daily, weekly, occasionally etc. Even if your list of products is relatively static you are probably making little adjustments each time you do your routine - hopefully you are because that means you are paying attention to your skin's needs every day and each step of the way. And there are times when your routine won't be the same two days in a row, for example when you are in a trial or introduction phase. Don't worry, we'll explore this over the course of this Challenge.
The House of Sparkles Bullet Journal Circle, Post 2. SKINCARE SNAPSHOT
In the first post of this Coaching Circle your task was to consider what type of Journal you would use for your skincare tracking. The next task is to start to fill in your Journal. Your skin is changing all the time and so is your routine. Even if you stick to the same products you probably make little adjustments, maybe without even realising it. Bullet Journals are a great tool for building and tracking your routine. This post will examine some of the many different types of information you can add when starting your Journal. TASK: Choose your Bullet Journal Format. Should you track your routine in a notebook or online? Most of you will know right away which will work better for you - you're probably already doing it. Some of you may want to combine both. Even if your Bullet Journal is in a notebook you may want to have an online Journal Post as well, for storing pictures, for example, or dates. If you don't have a strong gut feeling for your journal you can always keep your options open and experiment until you are sure that you've got the right format. What format will work for you? Old School vs. New School Old School: pen and paper. New School - electronic tracking: On the SH Facebook Bullet Journal Group, on your phone or other private system. Once you've decided on the format of your journal you can go ahead and start to fill it in. If you are creating a Bullet Journal for your own personal use (rather than for Mentorship or Coaching) you can add whatever is most helpful to you. If you are hoping to get feedback from me as part of your participation in this Coaching Circle then please follow my Step-By-Step Journal Set up, starting with your SKINCARE SNAPSHOT. STEP ONE: The SH Skincare Snapshot Worksheet The SH Worksheets are formatted to help you take the guesswork out of your Skincare Routine Building and Tracking. They are also my primary Coaching tool. This is your opportunity to document exactly where you are at with your skincare right now. Before you start to list your routine (we will look at this in the next post) you need to consider where you are at in your own journey. Upload the SH Skincare Snapshot Worksheet here: This worksheet prompts you for information in specific categories. If you are receiving Coaching or Mentorship from me this is also how I *refresh* my memory when looking at your specific situation, so it's super helpful if you can follow the suggested format as it makes it much quicker for me and allows me to spend more time on my actual coaching! SKINCARE SNAPSHOT YOUR BIO - Tell us about yourself! Please include your name, age (or as close as you feel comfortable) and where you live. Also feel free to share a bit about your life: who you are and what you do, your family, your lifestyle etc. YOUR SKINCARE HISTORY • EXPERIENCE: How long have you been doing skincare? • CONSISTENCY: Do you do skincare every day? • INTEREST LEVEL: How long have you been doing your current routine? Have you ever used a Journal to track your Skincare? What got you interested in Skincare? • LIFESTYLE: What external factors play into your Skincare? YOUR SKINTYPE - How would you describe your skin? • SENSITIVITY: Is your skin reactive? • BLEMISHES: Are you acne-prone? • BALANCE: Is your skin dry (lacking oil, flaky), dehydrated (lacking water), oily, combination, or other? YOUR SKINCARE DREAM - If you discovered your PERFECT routine, what would your skin look like this time next year? YOUR SKINCARE OBSTABLE(S) - What's getting in the way of your Skincare Dream? Feel free to *Copy and Paste* these headers into your Journal: BIO SKINTYPE HISTORY AND EXPERIENCE SKINCARE DREAM SKINCARE OBSTACLE Questions? Comments? Let me see your routines!
Bullet Journal Circle, Post 3. Routine Tracker
In the first two posts of this Coaching Circle you were tasked with starting a Journal and documenting your Skincare Snapshot. We will now move on to aspects of skincare that are changeable over time, starting with your routine.
5. HYDRATION: Locking It In - How to Stay Hydrated
How to keep all that hydration in your skin once you've worked so hard to get it in there! 🏺💜🏺💜🏺 Why oils? 🏺💜🏺💜🏺 Firstly it's important to be aware of the difference between skin that's dehydrated (lacking water) or dry (lacking oil). Your skin does not produce water but it does produce oil. The most popular misconception about using an oil is that it will just make oily skin more oily. In fact the OPPOSITE is true! If your skin is oily then it's lacking balance (that lovely feeling when everything is just right). Oily skin craves oil and is going into overproduction to try and compensate. Adding an oil to your routine will signal to your skin that extra oil is not required. (I admit, my skin is on the dry, not oily side, so if anyone has had this experience feel free to back me up!) 🏺💜🏺 Oils and Barrier Function🏺💜🏺 Another reason for using oils is related to the reason why our skin produces oil in the first place. Our natural oils are there to prevent moisture-loss (seal water in) and to lubricate the skin (elasticity). If the surface of your skin is compromised with blemishes or broken skin the natural barrier function of the skin has also become compromised. Adding oils to your routine is a way to mimic this function when your skin can't do it. This enables skin to take a break from protection and can revert to healing.
Definitely something to consider if your skin is damaged and doesn't seem to be able to recover. 🏺💜🏺 Locking it in 🏺💜🏺 Yes, oils will contribute to your overall skin health. However, there's a more pressing reason to get oils into your routine. In the immediate they are essential for locking in all the lovely hydration you just put into your skin. Your moisturiser is key here as well. Not all moisturisers are occlusive (water-blocking) so some will perform better than others. 🏺💜🏺💜🏺 Technique 🏺💜🏺💜🏺 Sealing in the hydration works in a similar way to adding hydration in the first place. It's not so much about finding one product and sticking to an exact procedure. It's about knowing your skin and what it needs at any given time. Finding which oils and creams work best for you is something you must discover through experimentation. 🏺💜🏺💜🏺 Layering vs. Mixing 🏺💜🏺💜🏺 This is an age-old question! My preferred method is to mix. But sometimes I layer as well. Sometimes I layer before. Sometimes I layer after. I guess you can see where I'm going with this... You have to experiment! Some people will have a whole explanation of how oils won't work if you put them before/after, etc. But I don't really like these kinds of rules as it may stop you from finding something that really works for you. It's similar to the concept of using a skin of hydrator as a last step: it seems like there no point but actually it helps everything to absorb. 🏺💜🏺💜🏺 Moisturisers 🏺💜🏺💜🏺 Not all face creams are created equal. Some are much more occlusive than others and will do a much better job preventing TEWL (trans epidermal water loss) because they are thicker, richer and contain hydro-phobic ingredients (ingredients that repel water). Think Vaseline: completely occlusive, as compared to a gel cream: not really occlusive at all. Generally moisturisers fall in between - this allows your skin to breath but still helps to contain the precious moisture. When you consider your moisturiser keep in mind that choosing and using your face cream is a whole topic to itself. We'll cover it in more depth in another Unit but you can't really have a full hydration without addressing your moisturiser so this might start to get you thinking. 💬💬💬 Do you feel that you know how to seal in hydration? What oils and creams do you use for this? Do you stick to the same combo or do you switch it up? How do you know if it's working? Do you think that your current moisturiser is effective at preventing water-loss? Any other comments or questions about locking it in?
4. HYDRATION - Experimenting with Hydrators: Layering & *Skins*
How to find *Skins* that work for you. Now that you’ve got a greater understanding of the kinds of products that introduce hydration into your routine it’s time to learn how to use them. This subject is more about technique, rather than directing you on specific products. You will have to discover what works for you. It’s time to become comfortable with the process of EXPERIMENTATION. EXPERIMENTATION is a crucial part of the Trial and Error approach to Skincare. This is how you play around with the variables and observe how your skin reacts. There’s a reason why we look at Experimentation at the hydration stage of analysing your routine: it’s hard to mess up with hydration! Because everyone’s skin needs water it’s not so much a matter IF you need to hydrate as it is HOW best to hydrate. Most people need additional hydration as your body will prioritise the water your drink for internal function. Some people have skin that hold onto enough water but it’s rare to find someone who holds too much water (bloating can occur, but it’s more likely associated with non-skincare issues: over-consumption of salt, health issues, etc.) Previous hydration posts looked into the many terms and various products commonly associated with getting moisture into the skin. Not only the water or water-based products but the products that assist and support the hydration process. Now you need to figure out what will work for you. Before you begin to play around and the best way to add hydration into your routine you’ve hopefully been able to experience the hydrated feeling you are aiming for. The Hydrating Mask Challenge is a great way to get this feeling and you may want to review the post on dry vs. dehydrated skin in order to see some of the qualities of hydrated skin. A plump feeling. Bounce-back when you poke the skin. Hydrated skin draws products into the skin. Hydrated skin absorbs products better (picture water running straight through to the dish holding a bone-dry plant, as opposed to slightly damp soil holding water within the soil in the way a sponge would hold water). Hopefully the Hydrating Mask Challenge will have helped you to identify the feeling of well hydrated skin. The next step is to find a way to achieve that same feeling within your daily routine. The most popular way of doing this is the Seven Skins method. Many other bloggers and experts have explained this method much better than I would so if you’re not entirely sure about it then you might want to do a bit of research on your own (if you find anything good feel free to add the links in the comments for the rest of the group). But basically 7 Skins involves adding layers of hydration into your routine. This method comes from Korean where the word for *toner* is the same as the word *skin* hence the term 7 skins. But for our purposes the term *skin* has basically come to mean *a layer of a product used to add moisture*. Now it’s time for you to start playing around. I find it works well to have everything in small dropper bottles and to drop the drops in my hand and then rub my hands together and pat onto my face. I don’t generally recommend mixing products ahead of time but having things in separate dropper bottles gives you maximum flexibility for fine-tuning your Skins. 💦💦 Layers vs Hand-mixes 💦💦 The main variables to experiment with is whether to use your hydrating products in layers of single-product skins or whether to hand-mix to combine products. This is where your experimentation begins. Remember that the key to Experimentation is to only change one variable at a time. This may help you in thinking about your variables:
Doing 7 layers of pure Rose Water will provide lots of water to your skin but not much to hold it there (humectant) and not much added value (as you would get from Amino Acids, for example). Your skin might prefer Aloe to Rose Water, or a combination. Your skin may prefer to have HA serum as a first step and then the moisture layered after. Or it may prefer that each skin has a tiny bit of humectant added in. I won’t lie. There are a lot of variables. But you can start really simply, with one or two products. The important thing is that you’re looking at your skin each time to see what happens. At this stage I would try and stick to one technique per routine. So if you’re layering your hydrators separately then keep them separate (ie, one skin of Amino Acids, or Marine Hyaluronics, then skins of Rose Water). If you are mixing then use the same mix, not a bunch of different ones (ie, 5 drops Rose Water and one drop of Amino Acid in each skin). Its a good idea to come up with a plan of a few ideas you want to try. 💬💬💬 Decide on three combinations that you can try for 2 days each. The reason for doing it the same way for 2 days in a row is to find a way to remember what you’re doing. It will become habit once you start to find combos that work for you. In the meantime I encourage everyone to add their Experiments to this post! 💦💦💦💦 Happy Hydrating! 💦💦💦💦
3. HYDRATION: The Hydrating Mask Challenge
What does hydrated skin actually feel like? We all want lovely plump, line-free, smooth skin but can you identify the feeling of being truly hydrated? Knowing the answer to this will help you develop hydration within your daily routine. We've already looked at assessing your own levels of dryness and dehydration so you know that skin in balance has the right amount of water and the right amount of oil. In order to get the right hydration into your daily routine it will help to know what your skin is like when it's fully hydrated. Signs of fully hydrated skin include: Products absorb well (but not too well - if you've done 15 skins and your skin is still thirsty then there might be something you're missing). Makeup goes on smoothly. There is little to no redness or irritation. Your skin feels comfortable, soft and smooth. Skin feel plump and bounces back when poked. Fine lines are minimised. The easiest way to test how it feels to achieve a state of hydration is using a sheet mask. If you have any tendency towards dehydration you'll be amazed how much of that gloopy serum your skin can suck up! Sheet Mask Challenge Goal: To feel true hydration and treat yourself.
Specifics: get a hydrating sheetmask (or get 2 and do your neck at the same time!), or you can make one if you prefer (you can find a recipe that uses products you already have). If you have the kind of skin that's all plump and glowy straight out of the shower or bath try to bathe first and plan to do your mask right away. If your skin tends to be a bit tight or sore out of the bath just do a gentle cleanse first. You'll want to find a comfortable place to sit and chill out. Get comfortable, get that mask on your face and start patting. Pat, Pat, Pat. You basically want to keep gently tapping your face until that sucker is dry!
Once the sheet is starting to feel dry go ahead and squeeze every last drop off of goop out of the packet! If you feel you've gone as far as you can go you can save the leftover serum for your routine. But ideally you should be able to get all of the serum into your face even if it takes a while and a lot of tapping!
Straightaway you'll want to have a nice rich night cream to seal it in. If you have an oil you like you can do a layer of that as well or mix a few drops into your cream. You may find you need a second layer of cream after a few minutes. LOCK IT IN!
Take a photo.
Post it here.
2. HYDRATION: Building Your Hydration Wardrobe
Hydration isn't just a single step like an active or even a moisturiser. It's more of an awareness. A way of looking at your skin and understanding where it's at. I will keep coming back to the concept of BALANCE. When I mention balance all I mean is keeping your skin where both your moisture levels and oil levels are in check. Now that you've assessed your skin for dryness and dehydration you are probably spending more time poking your face (to test if it bounces back), looking at the colour before showering, and after. Just generally keeping an eye on how it reacts to different situations and when it's happy. This will be essential as you try to find the right hydration solutions for you. As with all Skincare, no one can give you a perfect recipe for hydration. And as always it will be up to you to experiment to see what works for you. Today we will start to look at some of the products that may be helpful in helping you build a HYDRATION WARDROBE. These are the products that will form the basis of your routine. Because water doesn't remain within the skin hydration is a part of skincare that you need to monitor every day. TYPES OF HYDRATION PRODUCTS 💦 H2O. WATER. Aqua. Yes, that's what hydration means: Water content within the skin. It fills your cells, lubricates the tissues, helps actives to penetrate and all products to do their job more effectively without sitting on top of the surface of the skin.
Water can be just that: the water that gets into your skin from cleansing or bathing. Thermal water sprays. Water-based hydrators. And yes, tap water. The only issue to consider is the hardness/softness of the water where you live (London has particularly hard water, I had to be careful using tap water on my face when I lived there). You can check your water hardness online. 💦 ROSEWATER. The best Rosewaters are pure distilled rosewater. Rose petals are soaked in water and then distilled (boiled and the steam is collected) which yields a very pure product. These Rosewaters are food-grade and often available in Middle Eastern or Turkish grocery stores. Or sometimes in the baking section of large grocery stores or speciality shops. Make sure there are no other added ingredients like sugars etc. Sometimes there is a small amount of preservative added and is listed as an ingredient. That's fine.
There are also *beauty* type Rosewaters that have added ingredients, sometimes glycerine (ok) or perfumes (not great). I generally avoid these anyway as they are much more expensive and don't really offer much additional value. The beauty of rosewater is that it's cheap and you can splash it with abandon without counting the pennies. Sometimes Orange Blossom water is for sale alongside Rosewater. Personally I use both interchangeably but some people with sensitive skin can find Orange Blossom more likely to cause reactions. 💦 HUMECTANTS. These are products that help to hold water within the skin. The most obvious example is HA. Hyaluronic Acid is naturally occurring within the body and comes in various forms: powders, gels, serums, etc. You are probably aware that it can hold up to 1000x it's own weight within the skin. You can find out a ton of stuff online about how it works if you want to get into the mechanism of it. But the essential thing to remember is that one drop of 2% HA serum can hold about 20 drops (roughly 4 skins) of hydration within the skin. Another common humectant is Glycerine. It works in a similar way and has the advantage of being even more gentle and good value so it's found in many products. Products containing Glycerine will help to hold onto hydration. The Ordinary also offers Marine Hyaluronics which functions in the same way as the HA serum, although it's not as clear how to calculate the amount of hydration it holds. In the absence of a clear directive on this I would judge a *dose* to be the standard TO 3-4 drops. 💦 HYDRATING TONERS/ESSENCES
These are mainly Korean or Japanese Beauty products that are formulated with humectants to hold the water within the skin. Some are more concentrated and you only need to use a small amount but the moisture needs to come from elsewhere. Some are watery. These are the products that are most closely associated with the 7 skins method. 💦 OTHER HYDRATING PRODUCTS:
- Aloe Gel, available from healthfood stores or fresh from a plant!
- Hydrating mists
- Hydrating face masks (sheet masks)
- Face gels and jelly-type moisturisers 💦 PRODUCTS THAT ENHANCE HYDRATION BY ENHANCING BARRIER FUNCTION:
- Face creams. Not every moisturiser will add hydration but most face creams are emulsions (an oil suspended within a water formula) which will help to keep water within the skin. This is why aqua is listed as the first ingredient in most face creams.
- Barrier support formulas like the TO Amino Acids. This type of product helps to enhance the skin's function and help it to retain hydration within the skin. That's a lot to absorb! Questions? Ask me all about hydrator and hydrating products. The next post will be about technique so lets try and stick to the actual products for now and we'll move on to how to use them in the next post. 💬💬💬 What's in your hydration wardrobe? What have you tried? What do you want to try? What results have you had? What questions do you have about hydrating products?
1. HYDRATION: Assessing Your Skin for Dehydration & Dryness
Normally the first post of any new Unit I'll post the Unit Topics and give you an idea of what the Unit will cover. But before we get to the Hows and Whys of Hydration let's talk about about ASSESSMENT.| ASSESSMENT is a concept I will return to over and over again. Basically I'm talking about looking at your skin. If you want great skin you need to get to know your face. You need to know how it behaves, how to tell when it's happy and when it's not. You need to know what causes issues and reactions. Soon you'll start to see warning signs that can tip you off before things get out of control and then you can respond more quickly and with proven solutions.
I wish I had a bible of how to assess your skin, but I don't. It's really just about looking. I can give you clues and categories that can help you know what to look for but it really comes down to taking the time to look. DEHYDRATION AND DRYNESS. Your skin is dull, tight, itchy. It just doesn't feel right. What the heck is going on? The season is changing, it's that time of the month, you drank an extra glass of wine last night... Is that it? Or is it something you're doing? Good questions. To answer you'll need to know if your skin is dry or oily, dehydrated, both or neither. 💬💬💬Before you continue with the Assessment take a guess: Do you think your skin is dry/dehydrated, both or neither? You may already know that DRY skin describes skin that is lacking oil and DEHYDRATED skin is lacking moisture. For your first ASSESSMENT I want you to look at your skin and figure out if it's dry/oily, dehydrated, both or neither. I'll add some 💬💬💬 and you can start to think about where you fit in. 🐫🐫DRYNESS 🐫🐫
If your skin is dry it's lacking the oil to remain supple and conditioned. If it's oily there's a good chance it's because it's not getting enough oil to keep itself protected. Dry skin can be both tough (from extra layers of cells building up) and easily damaged (because its likely to crack).
If your skin is oily, well, it's oily. Probably. It may actually be dry. More on that later. Oil level is determined by your genetics. So if you're dry then that's your skin-type. This is important: If you're dry you can treat it but maybe not *cure* it. HOW TO TELL IF YOUR SKIN IS DRY: Examine your skin when you get out of the bath or shower - If your skin is had a grey tone, cracks easily, or is angry when you get out of the shower or bath (ie, it's at it's worst right afterwards) or, right after cleansing, these might be signs of dryness. Actual dryness (to the touch) and flaking are also signs. So is oiliness. 💬💬💬 What's your assessment of your skin's oil levels? 🐳🐳 DEHYDRATION 🐳🐳
Hydrated skin is plump, even-toned and easily absorbs product. Dehydrated skin is prone to fine lines and redness (especially if it comes and goes). If your skin is happiest when you first get out of the shower but that feeling quickly goes away it means your skin wants hydration but is losing the moisture. You need to lock it in. HOW TO TELL IF YOUR SKIN IS DEHYDRATED: Examine your skin right after a bath or shower (or cleansing). If this is when your skin is happiest but that feeling quickly goes away it's a sign of dehydration. It means your skin craves the hydration it gets from bathing but is losing the moisture afterwards. Hydration needs to be locked in. 💬💬💬What's your assessment of your skin's moisture levels? ⚖️⚖️BALANCE⚖️⚖️
Lock in your hydration with oils or emulsions (some creams, but not all of them) and you'll find yourself moving into a state of balance. The oils prevent the water from evaporating out of the skin. Hydration can come from shower or tap water (if the water isn't too hard where you're at), hydrating spritzes, Rosewater or other hydrators. Glycerine and hyaluronic acid help to hold water within the face but can in fact contribute to water loss if you live in very dry conditions. DRINKING LOTS OF WATER It's great to drink loads of water, buy your skin won't really be visibly impacted from water that you drink. Your body will prioritise that water for organs and vital functions. I'm not saying don't drink water, just don't expect it to be enough.
SH DECIEM CHAT: Dry vs. dehydrated
🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋 DRY VS DEHYDRATED I've seen lots of questions lately regarding this question.
Here's my take on how to tell the difference
🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫 Dry: skin lacking oil
Dehydrated: skin lacking water Your skin is dull, tight, itchy. It just doesn't feel right. Now it's red, now it's not. What the heck is going on? The season is changing, it's that time of the month, you drank an extra glass of wine last night... Is that it? Or is it something you're doing? All great questions.
To answer them you'll need to know that your skin can be:
It can even be dry in some spots and dehydrated in others. Or both, or neither. 🐫🐫DRYNESS 🐫🐫 If your skin is dry it's lacking the oil to remain supple and conditioned. If it's oily there's a good chance it's because not enough oil is present to keep the skin protected - your skin will produce more oil if oil is being stripped. So your efforts to solve the oil issue might actually be causing it.
Dry skin can be both tough (from extra layers of cells building up) and easily damaged (because its likely to crack). Edit: in the comments it was mentioned that dryness is a genetic condition. So if you're dry then that's your skintype. This is important to note. If you're dry you can treat it but maybe not *cure* it. HOW TO TELL IF YOUR SKIN IS DRY:
Examine your skin when you get out of the bath or shower - If your skin is had a grey tone, cracks easily, or is angry when you get out of the shower or bath (ie, it's at it's worst right afterwards) or, right after cleansing, these might be signs of dryness. Actual dryness (to the touch) and flaking are also signs. So is oilyness. 🐳🐳 DEHYDRATION 🐳🐳
Hydrated skin is plump, even-toned and easily absorbs product. Dehydrated skin is prone to fine lines and redness (especially if it comes and goes). HOW TO TELL IF YOUR SKIN IS DEHYDRATED:
Examine your skin right after a bath or shower (or cleansing). If this is when your skin is happiest but that feeling quickly goes away it's a sign of dehydration. It means your skin craves the hydration it gets from bathing but is losing the moisture afterwards. Hydration needs to be locked it. ⚖️⚖️BALANCE⚖️⚖️ Lock in your hydration with oils or emulsions (some creams, but not all of them) and you'll find yourself moving into a state of balance. The oils prevent the water from evaporating out of the skin. Hydration can come from shower or tap water (if the water isn't too hard where you're at), hydrating spritzes, Rosewater or other hydrators. Glycerine and hyaluronic acid help to hold water within the face but can in fact contribute to water loss if you live in very dry conditions. Occlusive: a cream or product that stops other products from passing through. Literally, it blocks. This type of product could be an oil, a cream, a balm or an emulsion. Water-based creams will not fulfill this purpose and many moisturisers are water-based How do you diagnose your own dryness and dehydration?
Please share your tips and hints on what works for you 💙 Find this post helpful? Please comment so that others can see! Have a great day! 🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫