summer skincare favorites

On July 31, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

In the summer I am, like most, drawn to lighter skincare formulations. Here are my current favorites, for face rather than body this time, in the order I would apply them.

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Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Toner

Key ingredients here are avocado and apricot kernel oil, and squalane, a botanical lipid that behaves much like skin lipids. This has a milk-like texture and a faint, aloe-ish scent. I like to pat this on with my fingers rather than involve a cotton pad. Wonderfully hydrating, the main idea being that you get some hydration going on before you try to seal that moisture in.

This is one of my favorite face products at the moment, up there with the Clarin’s Blue Orchid face oil. Picked up on a recommendation from Brit facialist Caroline Hirons, a great, straight talking resource. It’s a kind of serum/oil hybrid, a fantastic light liquid serum that has played well with everything I’ve layered over it. It smells like perfectly ripe peaches, sinks in promptly, leaves a healthy fed-ness behind. I plan to repurchase.

[OR]

Sunday Riley Juno Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil

The most expensive of the lot, but really nice. Really very, very nice.  A complex blend of superfood oils, basically it does everything.  A “blend of lightweight, fast absorbing oils extremely high in natural retinol, Omega-3, 6 & 9, essential amino acids, Vitamin C, UV shields, and natural anti-inflammatory agents for luminous skin. Anti-aging, antioxidant.” It doesn’t smell especially good (not bad, just vaguely herbal), and this is because they didn’t add anything (especially no essential oils, which can cause reactions in sensitive skin) to make it smell a particular way. Same story re: the healthy nourished effect mentioned with the REN serum. We’ll see how long it lasts before making any plan to repurchase, but I approve. Maybe I’ll talk about it more when I’ve used it a while longer.

Clinique Smart Custom-Repair Serum

Lisa Eldridge recommended this in a skincare video and I was curious to try it out. Clinique, for the record, has an awesome return policy, and you can try the product and still return if unsatisfied (others with great return policies: Sephora, Mario Badescu, Beauty.com, Ulta). I like it so far, but not sososo much that I wouldn’t switch it up when it’s gone.

(I like to use the REN serum in the morning and the Clinique at night)

Regenerist Luminous Tone Perfecting Cream Moisturizer

I’ve been using this for about 2 months. I don’t know. I can never tell if these things are helping with my pigmentation (my main skin issue at the moment). If I see a difference (and lately I do), there are always too many factors to determine which product deserves the credit. I’m inclined to chalk most of it up to the prescription retinol (if you have skin issues, step 1 is to see a dermatologist. For one thing, my prescription retinol is much, much cheaper than its over-the-counter equivalents) but active brightening ingredients here and there (and there, and there), don’t hurt. I figure. Nice creamy texture, not a bad price point. 

A solid moisturizing SPF [Always check for ‘UVA/UVB’ or ‘Broad Spectrum’ in the description] with some bonus skincare benefits. This is my budget option, and I’ve repurchased it a few times.

[OR]

Origins Mega-Bright SPF 30 Skin tone correcting oil-free moisturizer

Smells great, a light citrus scent, lovely texture, plays well with others. Not cheap, but really nice. Really nice but almost gone and I’m going to try this Murad Essential C one next, about which have heard no end of good things.

 N.B. I like these products but, of course, they may not work for you. Try first!

the morning routine

On February 22, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

There was a post recently on Garance Dore’s blog about morning routines in which a few people chimed in with the key aspects and products of their regimen. I enjoyed this post so much, as I enjoy so many kinds of detailed glimpses into the daily routines and practices of others, especially the ones most often done alone, the result public but the process private.

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The morning routine is the kind of thing that varies widely from one person to another, and from one day to another for any given person. It’s the kind of thing one often doesn’t think much about (rather like, as a small child, for a while it doesn’t occur to you how bizarre your parents are; you don’t know any other parents, you don’t know any other life). These kinds of routines, often established early in life, changing periodically—but perhaps not consciously, perhaps arbitrarily—highly personal and often featuring illogical elements (ingredients you use independent of scientific evidence to prove their efficacy, a faithful order of operations which, if compromised, throws off the whole morning), often entirely unknown to any but you (often entirely uninteresting to anyone but you), are deeply interesting to me.

Here’s my morning routine at the moment:

10 mins: Shower (maybe, if time), shampoo every few days with Klorane Chamomile or Organix Coconut Milk shampoo (not too fussy about shampoo, have a few inexpensive/good ingredient options at any given time, and these change a lot). If my scalp is feeling dry, maybe once every few weeks, I’ll use Phyto Phytéol Intense. Condition with whatever is on hand (these change a lot as well), I like Neutrogena Triple Moisture and the L’Oreal sulfate-free line (the rosemary mint ones), as well as conditioners from Organix and Pantene. For body wash I often use Dr. Bronner’s castile soap. I like the peppermint and eucalyptus scents (not so much the rose), want to try the almond next. Once in a while I’ll get something more luxurious like the La Roche-Posay Lipikar Surgras body wash. Exfoliate with a loofah or sugar scrub. I don’t shave anything without a compelling reason.

1 min: Massage conditioner (this Awapuhi Wild Ginger line from Paul Mitchell smells great) throughout the hair and an oil blend into the ends, throw into bun and pin into place. If it’s humid or I want a bit of added shine and definition, I’ll add some Aveda Brilliant Anti-Humectant Pomade to the top layers.

1 min: Moisturize with a blend of sweet almond oil and brazilian nut dry-oil. Put on underwear. [Possibly also a bra but nothing else. This is key, giving the moisturizer a chance to be absorbed. Also, though, this has been the routine for so long that it feels totally wrong to have clothes on at this point in the process. If I accidentally put clothes on here I get confused (now why did I do that? we don’t do that…) and take them off again.]

2 mins: Wash face, massaging cleanser into skin for a full minute. Currently switching between the Neutrogena Grapefruit scrub (though I think I prefer the one with no exfoliating beads) the Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser and the Murad Time Release Acne Cleanser but there are many I like. [Unquestionably I have too many, as a result of a couple of quests. Nighttime is an entirely different story, with its own set of products.]

2 mins: Brush teeth (I really like my electric toothbrush).

2 mins: Apply moisturizer plus treatments as needed (currently liking this Olay one but not loyal to anything, I like a lot of French pharmacy brands as well), eye cream (one or the other of these Vichy ones, but again not loyal, and not sure if I quite believe in eye cream but, well, I bought it, so I will use it) and sunscreen, lip balm, deodorant (this Vichy one or a Dove one). Tap cream or gel blush onto cheeks (often Tarte cheek stain in Blissful, just with my fingers).  Brush eyebrows (maybe a few quick swipes of Benefit Gimme Brow to define). Apply perfume, currently loving Bruno Acampora Musc for winter but I switch it up a lot (or go without). If I’ve got extra time I may apply a natural, brown mascara like the Almay One Coat Nourishing Mascara. I’ll curl my lashes beforehand if feeling fancy.

1 min: Get dressed.

et voilà

total time: 18 mins

There are extended and severely truncated* versions of this routine as well.

*i.e. dampen and regroup hair, brush teeth, wash face, sunscreen, tinted lip balm or lipstick (which can be later tapped onto the cheeks). 6 minutes.

How about you?

Alternatively, any suggestions for me?