Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Warmer Weather Skin Care by Laura

And here, as promised, Laura's first guest post! --Ed.


My skin is not only aging, but is also somewhat troublesome because it can’t decide whether it’s combination dry, combination oily, or something in between those. A lot of my skin’s confusion probably comes from the changes in my body as I age, but also from the weather, which is dry as a bone in Winter here in New York City and like a sauna in the late Spring going into the Summer.  Result: flaky dry skin in Winter and oily skin with breakouts in Summer. For that reason, I do tend to change my skin care routine (although not radically)  as Winter starts, finally, to turn to Spring.

I’ll also mention another little quirk of my skin that will seem a little woo-woo but I promise you it’s absolutely true: like clockwork, I break out around the solstices and equinoxes. Honest. And it’s been happening for so many years that I know I’m not imagining it (or if I am, it’s more sustained than any hallucination I’ve ever heard of). I don’t know whether it’s due to hormonal changes, my changing the amount of time I spend outside, or something entirely different; I only know that it happens. For that reason, as well, I change my skin care routine depending on the season. In this post, I’ll talk a little about how I modify my skin care routine to account for the changing seasons.

For cleansing, I love Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser  ($6.50), so I don’t tend to change that step no matter what the season; part of the reason I like that product as much as I do is that it’s effective but not harsh. However, when the weather gets more humid, everything seems to cling a little more to my skin and I feel a little more anxious to remove every little bit of perspiration, makeup, and whatever other unspeakable pollution has chosen to cling to me after a stroll in the East Village. For that, I use Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm ($27.50).  Although this product does cost a little more than I usually like to spend on skin care, especially for something you wash off immediately, I think it’s worth the price because it’s a brilliant product. You don’t have to use very much – a dollop about the size of a nickel does the trick – so you get a fair amount of bang for your buck. The balm is a thick consistency – think ChapStick after you accidentally leave it in your car in June – so I was initially a little hesitant about putting it on oily skin. But it emulsifies in water, so after you’ve rubbed it onto your face and dissolved your makeup, it rinses off very easily.

Of course, I use sunscreen no matter what the season, but in the dry Winter, I use something a little richer than usual – namely, Yes to Carrots Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15 ($14.99). I like this product not only because it uses zinc oxide for sun protection, which I find less irritating than avobenzone, but also because it contains anti-oxidants (pumpkin seed oil and tocopheryl acetate), which go hand in hand with sunscreen. When the warmer weather comes around, however, I like to switch to something with more SPF protection and a little less emollience.  I’m a bit late to the La Roche-Posay party, but I just recently tried out Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid ($32.95) and I like it a lot, high price aside (that $33 bottle gives you only 1.7 fluid ounces -- eek!). As you might have guessed from the world “fluid” in the name, this sunscreen has a light, sheer texture and contains titanium dioxide, another ingredient I prefer to avobenzone. If you’re looking to spend a little less, or if you prefer avobenzone, I also like Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid ($11.99). The Neutrogena is SPF 55, has a similar consistency to the La Roche-Posay, and contains Helioplex to stabilize the avobenzone.

One last thing I do once the seasons start turning and I spend more time outside: I always wear a hat to protect the skin on my scalp.  A lot of people don’t think much about their scalp, since it’s covered by hair and doesn’t wrinkle (or at least you don’t see the wrinkles). However, not only is it just as prone to developing melanoma as any other part of your skin, but there’s evidence suggesting that melanomas developing on the scalp are more dangerous than the ones you might develop elsewhere. Lots of cute hats out there, including ones that scrunch into your purse so they’re not a nuisance to carry, so don’t forget to cover up your head as well as your face, neck, and any other skin exposed to the sun.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

To introduce our guest star, that's what I'm here to do...

It really makes me happy to introduce to you..........

Our special guest blogger LAURA!

In addition to being one of my closest friends since we shared an office 15 years ago (and have barely missed a day of contact since), she's also about as cosmetics- and perfume-obsessed as I am. In fact, she's often responsible for introducing me to things I later get completely hooked on (hi, BPAL!). In addition, she's very interested in skin care. Here, I'll let her introduce herself:
Laura “came of age” in the 80s, so she considers herself a survivor of some very disturbing fashion and makeup trends, like shoulder pads, acid-washed jeans worn unironically, streaky blush, and thick eyeliner that we softened with a lighter before putting it on–don’t even get her started on what women wore to the gym in those days! She now works in a more conservative field, and she’ll get an odd look or two if she wears crackle nail polish (and she expects we’ll look back on that trend with the same disbelief we now reserve for horizontally-striped leg warmers).
Laura sometimes thinks she may need an intervention for her beauty product addiction, because the inside of her bathroom looks like an Estee Lauder warehouse. When she’s not unhealthily obsessed with beauty and fashion, she lives and works in New York with her husband and two cats.
Expect to hear more from Laura soon!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Am I Blue?

I will confess to a propensity to go more matchy-matchy than is currently fashionable. Since childhood I've often dressed in one (or coordinating) color down to my underpants. Sometimes I'll start to get dressed without having thought through what to wear, only to find I unconsciously grabbed for underwear that matches everything else I'm wearing. What can I say, it is a sickness. I associate smells with colors too, so sue me.

So when I put on this pretty blue sweater today, I had to stop myself from rifling through all the lovely blue eyeshadows I've acquired but rarely wear. Instead, I grabbed MAC pigment in Blue-Brown, which just adds a layer of teal shimmer to a red-brown shadow, and blended that with a little Bootycall from the Urban Decay Naked2 palette.  I added a touch of a blue-violet pencil in the outer V and black mascara. Blush is MAC Dainty and lipstick is MAC Viva Glam VI.

OK, I see I look slightly deranged in that photo, but I'll post it anyway. I bet you all look like it's the end of the week too. Just keeping it real.

Perfume of the Day: BPAL Womb Furie from the 2012 Lupercalia collection. "Snake Oil and three types of honey." Sanke Oil, BPAL's creator's signature scent, is really growing on me. When I first tried it I thought it was too heavily resinous and musky, but now I've come to appreciate how rich it is and how it dries down with a lot of depth and vanilla sweetness. It's extra great in this blend with honey.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Great minds...

Just yesterday I was looking at my nails (which are sporting an adorable pink with black lace design from Sally Hansen Salon Effects) and wondering if there are any topcoats out there that can add sparkle without completely obscuring the polish underneath. This morning, I opened my email to find an announcement of just that from Essie -- the Luxeffects collection. I'm very intrigued by this, and definitely want to try As Gold As It Gets and Shine Of The Times. Gold, check. Iridescence, check. Yep, they're obviously reading my mind.

Anyone trying these things out yet? Let me know!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Going for the Bronze

I've been blogging a little for Painted Ladies, and was recently asked to review Murad Absolute Bronzing Boost. I'd never really worked with bronzer before, but figured I'd give it a shot. Bottom line, bronze probably isn't a look I want to go crazy with, but judiciously applied and worked into a summery look, it might help me look a little rested and sunny.

View the results here!