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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:
🐫 dry
🐋 dehydrated
or both
or neither.
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! 🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫🐋🐫

SH DECIEM CHAT: The Hydration Equation

⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲
🐳🐳🐳🐳🐳🐳
💦⛲ The HYDRATION EQUATION. ⛲💦
⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲⛲ Humectant + Moisture (water) + Occlusive
= plump, toned, even skin. Yes, that's it! The secret to skin that bounces back when you poke it, that's free from fine lines, that's elastic and toned, that's comfortable and is the best version it can be. If your skin is dehydrated it's unlikely you'll ever feel completely happy with your skin. Hydration provides a cushion which gives a smooth appearance. Hydration isn't just a single step like an active or even a moisturiser. It's more of a way of looking at your skin and understanding where it's at. And then finding the right products and technique for getting the moisture into your skin and making sure it stays there! I've covered the difference between dryness and dehydration in another post (link in comments) but mostly everyone can benefit from having a good plan for hydration. So let's look at the individual components of the hydration equation 👁️👁️👁️ 🐳🐳🐳💦💦💦 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 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. 🐳🐳🐳💦💦💦 MOISTURE 💦💦💦🐳🐳🐳 🐳 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 helps 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 for most.
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 more expensive and don't really offer any 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. 🐳 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 🐳🐳🐳💦💦💦 OCCLUSIVES 💦💦💦🐳🐳🐳 🐳 Occlusives are products like creams (emulsions) and oils that seal in the hydration. After you've got all that hydration into your skin you don't want to let it escape! 🐳 MOISTURISER: your moisturiser probably has occlusive properties (unless it's a gel or very light). But there is no general rule for knowing how well it's doing its job, you have to evaluate that for yourself. Some people need a really thick heavy cream to hold onto hydration, others don't. 🐳 OILS: a great way to make your moisturiser more water-resistant is to use oils. Again, there is no definitive rule that will cover every oil and face cream so the best thing to do is to experiment and observe your own results. Oils can be layered before, after or mixed into creams. Find what works best with the products that suit your skin. 🐳 EMOLLIENTS: these are creams with hydrophobic (water-resistant) ingredients. Rather than sink into the skin they sit on top and create a barrier. This is the ultimate way to prevent TEWL (trans epidermal water loss). However, by definition these creams will be thicker and more likely to block pores. These products are also more likely to contain ingredients that are less environmentally friendly, such as mineral oils and paraffins. But if your skin is dry, as well as dehydrated, these can be a godsend because they mimic your skin's natural barrier. 🐳🐳🐳 PRODUCTS THAT ENHANCE HYDRATION BY SUPPORTING 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 although they don't actually provide much moisture - the water is in the formula to suspend and deliver the oils. - 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. Niacinamide is also known for barrier support, as are ceramides. That's a lot to absorb! 💬 What's in your hydration wardrobe? What have you tried? What do you want to try? What results have you had? What was the lightbulb moment for your personal hydration journey? Feel free to add any relevant links to your favourite hydration tips! 💙💙💙 Have a great day! 💙 Heidi 💙💙💙 💦 🐳🐳🐳🐳🐳🐳 💦💦 🐳🐳🐳🐳🐳🐳 💦

SH DECIEM CHAT: Sequel to The Cautionary Tale

🌻🌻💙💙🌻🌻 The Theory! 🌻🌻💙💙🌻🌻
🌻💙💙 (Sequel to The Cautionary Tale) 💙💙🌻 Many many of you lovely people took the time to respond to my recent post about itching and irritation. Thanks so much for all your answers - you've given me much food for thought!
As promised I've been working on a theory. Let me start by saying my eyelids have healed dramatically in the past few days so obviously all your kindness has had magical skincare properties! Another benefit of this group! 😍😊😍 My theory deals with *Sensitisation* and *The Tipping Point* 💙💙 Sensitisation 💙💙 A trend I've noticed amongst group members recently:
💙 Long term users who are happy with their skin and routine
💙 Reactions including itching, irritation or rashes, seemingly out of the blue, and maybe only in certain areas, not the entire face
💙 Not related to the use of one specific product Clearly irritation and rashes happen all the time when there's been undue stress to the skin, overuse of certain actives, lack of acclimatisation, etc. But the profile above doesn't fit into these common occurrences. We coach each other to help with gradual introduction but it is less common to post about scaling back when everything seems to be just fine. My theory of Sensitisation is a theory of happiness 🙂🙂🙂 It seems like once we've got a routine really dialed in that's when the magic happens. It makes sense. By practicing common sense, finding the right products and techniques and with consistency we are conditioning our skin. Specifically the top layer of dead cells. [From Wikipedia: The stratum corneum (Latin for 'horny layer') is the outermost layer of the epidermis, consisting of dead cells (corneocytes). This layer is composed of 15–20 layers of flattened cells with no nuclei and cell organelles] This layer of skin is the main factor deciding what goes in and what stays out of the skin. We also know is as a Moisture Barrier or Acid Mantle. When it's too thin the skin is easily damaged. If it's too thick our precious products can't sink in. Get it just right and actives can get where they're needed most. Sounds great, right? The only problem is if you don't pull back as your skin becomes more and more efficient you will be heading for: 💙💙 The Tipping Point 💙💙 By this I mean a reaction where you normally wouldn't have had one. It could be your usual routine, or a new product that is quite gentle or used in very small quantity, or even just a general build-up. In my case I believe my skin became sensitised from using the Vitamin C 23%. I love this product and have written about it over and over. My results at first were almost unbelievable. But after months of use I accidentally got some on my eyelid and suffered a small burn that took months to heal. I stopped the C, of course. I adapted my routine, I scaled back, I hydrated. I haven't used it as a serum since. If I used it anywhere on my face it made my eyelid sting so I switched to EAA for daily use. A while later I tried introducing Resveratrol+ferulic. My skin was not happy. It was very very itchy, literally from the first drop, but just my neck and then my eyelids as well. I regrouped, tried it a few more times then dropped it. But the itchiness never left. After about a month it turned into a rash. It's healing now but ever since I've barely been able to tolerate any actives. Anywhere on my face. Even products I've used successfully in the past. I tripped The Tipping Point. My moisture barrier was compromised in these spots, but not on my face.
A lot of you have said this has happened to you as well. My skin looks great, my irritation is receding and my routine is simplified. But I can't help but wonder if I could have caught it earlier and avoided moving from itching to irritation to rash. In many ways this theory seems obvious. On the other hand it seems counter-intuitive to pull back on a routine because it's working so well. How would you know when it's time? Thoughts? 🌻🌻🌻💙💙💙Thanks to everyone for reading 💙💙💙🌻🌻🌻 And thank you for all your lovely comments and opinions - please keep em coming!
💙💙💙🌻🌻🌻 Have a great day!

SH DECIEM CHAT: A Cautionary Tale

🔥🔥🔥 A Cautionary Tale 🔥🔥🔥
(or how the burn snuck up to bite me in the neck!) Hi lovely people!
I've noticed lately a lot of members posting about their troubles with burns and irritation. Well, of course, you say ... Newbies get into all kinds of trouble when they get overexcited and start mixing every product under the sun.
But this is different.
This time it's experienced TO users who have reasonable routines, a consistent approach and, importantly, have taken the time to know what works and when to pull back.
I'm talking about myself, obviously 🤣🤣 The backstory: a few months ago I started getting an itchy neck. No big deal. I pulled back on acids, slowed any planned introductions, increased hydration and tried to forget about it. Fast forward and this itching has gotten worse. As a result of my inevitable scratching I developed a welt on my neck. Not cute. 😖
I did the obvious, eliminated each product, one at a time, waited for the miracle recovery... It never happened. Not one single product seemed to be responsible for this itchiness... An itchiness that was rapidly becoming irritation and then turning into a rash. It happened so gradually that I always just assumed it was just a temporary annoyance. But no, months later and it's still there 🤔
To make matters worse the same thing happened on my eyelids! I've posted about this before - I accidentally got some of the Vitamin C 23% on one eyelid which caused a small chemical burn. But why would both eyelids now be affected?
Hmmmmm...
Nothing has really worked... I don't currently use any of the products that I was using when the whole thing started. I'm pretty sure it was the Resveratrol+ferulic that triggered the initial reaction but I stopped it as soon as I realised that even 1 drop once a week was too much. I probably used it 5 times total. I was able to eliminate the rash with cortisone but the itching came back.
I guess I broke my moisture barrier, but only on my neck and eyelids. The skin on my face is in great shape! Weird. As I've pondered my dilemma I've had a few realisations:
- that my neck and eyelids are probably more sensitive as they have been exposed to fewer actives over the years
- that products on my face and other places can affect these areas even when no product is directly applied
- that itchiness is not a benign symptom and I should have payed attention earlier.
My question to you lovelies:
Have you had a similar experience?
Do you have any suspected culprits?
Do you have any theories?
I have a theory I'm working on but I'd love to know what you guys think. Especially those of you who have been using TO for a year or more. For scientific purposes 😉 please state how long you have been using TO.
Here's a lovely super close-up shot of my eyelids just to get sympathy!
Have a great day!
💙💙💙🦋🦋🦋💙💙💙

SH DECIEM CHAT: Springtime Spotlight

🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱
🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻 Springtime Spotlight. 🌻🌻🌻🌻🌻
🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱 I wrote this for my Protégés but I thought it would be fun to share it! Spring has sprung! (At least it has for some of us – we got a snowstorm in Montreal this week but I digress). The changing season makes this the perfect time to shine a spotlight on your current routine and make sure that every product you use is doing its job. The real difference between Basic and Advanced Skincare is not products, but planning – having a vision of where you want to go. Living in a city with extreme conditions I have no choice but to adapt my routine. But wherever you live you will likely find that there are new products you want to try and products that aren’t giving you the boost they once did. Spring is a great time to take a look at the big picture and do some planning. Winter is tough. Maintaining hydration, protecting your barrier and trying to maintain consistency throughout holidays and down time can take it’s toll. But the sun is coming out! We will be heading outdoors and showing our faces to the world again. It will be easier to maintain balance. You can use gentler products and ones that are lighter and less likely to cause congestion. Before you get all excited and accidentally introduce multiple actives you should make sure you've prepared and your basics are solid. 🌻🌻🌻SUNSCREEN🌻🌻🌻 If you haven’t been fully on top of this during the winter now it’s time to get back in the habit! You may be able to get away with a combination moisturiser with SPF for now but start thinking ahead so that you’re ready when the weather gets warmer. 💬💬💬 CURRENT SUNSCREEN. What Sunscreen are you using today? What’s the SPF coverage? Are you sure that you are using the full amount – have you tested or measured lately? Have you checked it to make sure that it’s Broad Spectrum? If you’re not happy with your current sunscreen what are you looking for? Time to get cracking! 💬💬💬 SUNSCREEN FOR SUMMER. Unless you use a full on SPF50 year round you’ll probably need additional SPF coverage for the summer. Have you got one you love and will use everyday? Is it one that you can reapply during the day? Do you have a favourite or are you still looking for a HG sunscreen? 🌬️🌬️🌬️SAYING GOODBYE TO WINTER SENSITISATION 🌬️🌬️🌬️Winter gives your face a lot to contend with and it’s not surprising if you’re feeling a little lacklustre. Often it’s only at the bitter end that your skin really shows the effects of the harsh conditions. The good news is that it’s easy to get on back on track! I recommend a two-pronged approach: review your basics and give yourself a bit of pampering. As you move from spring into summer you will probably be looking at adjusting your actives so it’s important to make sure that your skin is at it’s best and that you can maintain your balance. 💬💬💬 BASICS. Have you evaluated your basics lately? Are you happy with your cleanser? Your hydration levels? Your moisturiser? Do you feel like your skin is holding onto it’s hydration? Are your oils sinking in or sitting on the face? Do you feel like you are confident managing your hydrators and oils on a daily basis to adapt to the current conditions? 💬💬💬 TREAT YOURSELF. Sometimes if your skin is feeling a bit raw, irritated or even just feeling a bit lacklustre all you need is a nudge in the right direction. Remind your skin what it feels like to be hydrated with a hydrating mask. Better yet, plan several over the course of a few days or a week. If you’re feeling red or irritated it may be time to add an extra drop or two to your routine, or even add an extra layer of oil before or after your night cream. If you’re feeling grey or dull then you might want to look at your exfoliation and consider adding in an extra C23% treatment or a Sunday night acid peel. Whether it’s April showers or May flowers, enjoy the warmer temperatures! Unless you live down under, in which case do it all backwards 😘😉 🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷🌱🌱🌱🌱🌱
🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷💙💙💙 Skincare Heidi 💙💙💙

SH DECIEM CHAT: Skincare Ennui and other feels

🔜🔜🔜 Skincare Ennui and other feels. 🔜🔜🔜 - or - Put down the glycolic and chill! I hope everyone is having a great day! I've noticed lots of posts lately from people who are frustrated with their progression. This makes me jittery - I always feel like the next post is going to be 'How do I repair my barrier now that I've overdone it?' So I thought it might be fun to get a Friday Topic up and running: lets talk about the emotions involved in Skincare 💙💙💙💙💙
🔜🔜🔜 Skincare Ennui: how to tell the difference between being bored and being ready to move on!
Skincare is weird. You do it every day. You've learned a lot about your skin, about products, about building a routine. But still, you can't help but wonder... Is this all there is? Am I THERE yet? Will I ever be? AND WHY ISN'T MY SKIN PERFECT YET?
These are not easy questions. I hope you've discovered that skincare is a process, not a routine. It's about constantly assessing your skin's needs and evaluating your products to ensure that you have chosen correctly to address those needs. It's also about knowledge: perfecting techniques, research and planning.
🧘‍♀️🧘‍♀️🧘‍♀️ But it's also about WAITING.
This can be really hard to deal with. We all want a magic potion, it's human nature. The Skincare Industry is build on this false notion that if only we try the right product, or combination of products, then our skin will magically flourish overnight. But we know that there's no way that this can be true. If it were true then we would all use that magic potion and be done with it.
🧘‍♀️🧘‍♀️🧘‍♀️ Success in Skincare depends on PATIENCE but it also depends on your EMOTIONAL OUTLOOK.
This is where it starts to get a bit philosophical. You can't really decide if you're bored or ready without examining your emotions. Skincare is emotional. There's no way around it. You see your skin every time you look in the mirror. How you feel about your skin is so often a reflection of how you look at yourself. You have to be honest with yourself. Are your emotions driving a feeling of *more more more*? Because that's an issue that no routine will solve.
💬💬💬
Are you feeling frustrated? Do you feel like you're standing still?
What strategies can you think of to battle ennui?
How do you think you're affected by the emotional side of skincare?
🧘‍♀️🧘‍♀️🧘‍♀️🧘‍♀️🧘‍♀️🧘‍♀️🔜🔜🔜🧘‍♀️🧘‍♀️🧘‍♀️🧘‍♀️🧘‍♀️🧘‍♀️

SH DECIEM CHAT: Black Friday and how to survive it!

📆📆📆🛎️🛎️🛎️🛎️🛎️📆📆📆🛎️🛎️🛎️🛎️🛎️📆📆 📣📣📣📣📣📣A Year of Skincare:📣📣📣📣📣📣 How to Plan Your Purchases In Advance.
OR - Black Friday and how to survive it!
📆📆📆🛎️🛎️🛎️🛎️🛎️📆📆📆🛎️🛎️🛎️🛎️🛎️📆📆 Last week Deciem announced that this year they are doing Black Friday a bit differently this year. Personally I applaud their efforts to draw attention to consumer habits and to the impact of our personal choices. Of course there will always be grumblers, but for a brand that's as inexpensive as TO a 23% discount feels generous. Transparent pricing is one of the things I love about Deciem and I appreciate the way they use marketing to expand the thinking of the beauty industry.
I feel like it's something Brandon would have done 💙 🛎️🛎️🛎️🛎️🛎️ MY BLACK FRIDAY ORDER🛎️🛎️🛎️🛎️🛎️
A quick summary of my order: basically one of each product (I didn't order multiples) from these categories:
🛎️ Regular Use Products. This is basically everything that I use on a daily basis or that I rotate into my routine seasonally. Including hydrators, actives, oils, etc.
🛎️ Products I've been wanting to try or test. This includes products that are new to Deciem (Subq mist) or upgrades on products I usually use (C25 instead of EAA).
🛎️ Treats! I figure that Black Friday is usually my chance to nab a deal so why shouldn't I? My treats this year were Hydration Vaccine (which is a similar price to my normal moisturiser anyway) and Modulating Glucosides (because I can't get my head around what this product actually is so I feel like I need to try it if I want to find out).
🛎️ Extras. I also ordered some stuff that I want to test. Things that probably won't make it into my regular rotation but I want to see what it's like so that I can speak from experience if anyone asks me about it (the SA mask).
🛎️🛎️🛎️ SPENDING: I spent about $200, which is pretty much what I plan for my Black Friday purchases.
All good and well, you think, but how does that help me? No, I'm not recommending that you 'do as I do'. My reason for posting a summary of my purchasing is to demonstrate that there is a thought process there. A reason for each thing I ordered. It's up to you to figure out your own logic. 📆💡📆💡📆 THINKING THROUGH YOUR ORDER
Once you've been Bullet Journaling for a while it's a snap to look through your records and see what you use and how often you replenish. But, if you're new to tracking your skincare you might not know how much you use and therefore how much to order. Let's take a look by category to break it down.
😃Basics: Cleanser, Moisturiser, Sunscreen. If these are your Go-To basics then order as much as you think you'll use in a year.
😃Hydrators: HA, Marine Hyaluronics, Amino Acids, mists, etc. Order as much as you can! These are products you will use. They are generally easy to fit into any routine and make your skin happy. Go for it.
😃Oils: most of us can use the barrier support provided by oils. This is a good opportunity to sample a few to test how they work for you. Some oils are best seasonally so you may want to prioritise the ones you'll use for winter.
😃Actives: If you are set with certain actives already then go ahead and order what you know you'll use. Where it gets more complicated is when you are considering *bumping up* or moving to something stronger. Generally I would say that you don't really need more than one product from each category: retinoid, direct acid, etc. Especially if you are ordering any products that cause re-surfacing, don't overload on actives.
😃Anti-oxidants: ok, these are technically actives, but I like having a few different ones to rotate so I'm putting them in their own category. And always a Vitamin C!
😃ANYTHING NEW: If you haven't tried a product before then I wouldn't recommend ordering multiples. Unless it's really cheap and you don't mind spending the money on something you might not use. 💙💙💙💙💙PRODUCTS I RECOMMEND TO PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE!
💙Hylamide High Efficiency Cleanser. If you've never used an oil cleanser before then this is a great place to start. You only have to use 4-5 drops at a time and it's good to remove make-up or as both a first and second Cleanse. A bottle lasts forever.
💙Marine Hyaluronics: the easiest to use of all the humectants
💙Squalane: barrier support that is unlikely to clog pores or cause congestion
💙Sea Buckthorn: just wow! You'll thank me.
💙Argireline: this one takes some time. But if you are concerned about lines on your forehead this is the one to try.
💙NAAP: anyone who wants to use regular chemical exfoliation should strongly consider this one instead. This is a HG product for me. 🌊🌊🌊🌊🌊PRODUCTS WORTH CONSIDERING
🌊LVCE: this Niod cleanser seems expensive but the bottle is huge and it lasts FOREVER. Niod is special - it leaves a film on your skin that helps your actives absorb.
🌊Pycnogenol: anti-oxidant powerhouse
🌊Euk: I love those ant-oxidants
🌊Peptides: I prefer the Subq formula to the TO peptides, but it's personal.
🌊Eyes: I don't necessarily use anything specific for the eye area, but the peptides are great around the eyes as they are light and hydrating. Buffet or regular Subq are good options as an eye serum.
🌊The Red Peel: even though this is a strong acid I often recommend this one. Because you wash it off it's easier to control than leave-on acids.
🌊Sunscreen: I know the TO sunscreens don't get a lot of love but I use mine all summer long. It's so hard to find a decent mineral sunscreen so this one is worth a shot. I order the SPF30 and use less of it during the winter.
You may notice that I haven't mentioned any retinoids (I don't really use them and which one you use is very individual), direct acids (so harsh for general use, but if you have KP or *chicken skin* anywhere on your body you might want a direct acid) or anything too *luxe* (by all means, splash out if you can afford it - but if that's the case then you probably already have your eye on something). Am I forgetting anything? What are your HGs? Let us know what you're ordering/have ordered.
Not sure? Have questions? Comment with your Wish List and let us help you out!

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SKINCARE HEIDI

Heidi Van Regan

Montreal CANADA

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