Monday, June 28, 2010

Summertime skin

It's no secret that I love everything about summer. I love the hot, hot heat, days spent lazing at the beach, sipping iced coffee and tea-lemonade, taking in an air-conditioned movie, eating juicy watermelon... you name it. But I would love the season so much more if my skin wasn't bumming me out. You see, all that lovely heat and humidity turns my skin into a war zone. Dirt, oil, makeup, it all turns my face into a red, sticky mess. I hate it. It makes me feel gross and uncomfortable. So what to do when nature messes with your body? Fight back!


For the past few weeks, I've been trying to switch up my routine. I've started going for daily, outdoor runs (sweat is supposed to be good for cleaning out those pores!). I'm trying different facial products (no luck so far, but it can take several weeks to see results). I'm even trying to improve my already healthy diet, amping up my water intake and cutting back on sweets and sodium. Another biggie: washing makeup brushes! I know it's obvious, but it's something I've never really done... and I didn't realize until I was scrubbing away just how grody they'd become! All that powder builds up, turns into gook, and can ruin a perfectly clear complexion. So take it from me... if you haven't done so already, give those brushes a good scrubbing!

I've combed the web and women's magazines for some of the best tips for goddess-worthy summer skin. Below, the ones I've deemed the most helpful:
  • Try to go as au naturel as possible. Barefaced is best, but if you must wear makeup (like me! Without it, I'd look like a zombie at work), look for products that are organic, "natural," oil-free and/or non-comedogenic. Sometimes you can luck out and find cover-up that does double duty and supposedly fights acne as you wear it, but the fact is that all make-up clogs your pores to an extent, creating a breeding ground for bacteria (ew). A good rule of thumb is to...

  • Treat your skin gently. All skintypes across the board are more sensitive this time of year. Even if you've got a hearty disposition, outside factors like heat, pollution and free radicals will affect you. So, again, shop for cleansers and moisturizers that are oil-free and won't clog pores, and be sure to wash gently; no harsh scrubbing with washcloths, loofahs or even cleansing scrubs that could scratch and irritate your already sensitive skin. Baby your face! But do...

  • Wash often. You may worry about over-cleansing and drying your skin out, but you should wash your face at least twice a day, if not more, especially if you spend lots of time outdoors. If overdrying is a concern, simply rinse with warm water (finishing with a blast of cool to close your pores) and use a good oil-free moisturizer (with SPF!) afterward.

  • Don't forget those brushes! If you keep getting zits in the same spot and can't figure out why, chances are your brush, sponge or powder puff is a culprit. It took me a little while to figure out that constantly redipping my kabuki brush into my loose powder and using that same brush every day for months caused some major breakouts on my chin, forehead and cheeks. Ok, so sometimes I can be a little dense. But now that I know how to take care of my brushes, you can bet I'll do so at least once a week! There are few different cleaning methods to try...

  • 1) Spritz with a professional brush cleaner. This seems to be a make-up artist favorite, but most cleaners contain some level or alcohol, which can be drying and pore-clogging. And I've heard that most sprays leave behind some filmy residue, and that's probably not great for your skin.
  • 2) Shampoo your brush with baby shampoo. This is a gentle way to cleanse that still gets rid of the bulk of leftover powder or concealer. Rinse and scrub gently and watch in amazement as all the gunk is washed away. I didn't have any baby shampoo, but you can use any gentle or natural one. I used Aveda's rosemary and mint shampoo; not only did it get my brushes squeaky clean, but now they smell sooo good.

  • 3) Dip and swish in a homemade, all-natural cleanser. An easy (and effective) cleaner for just about anything is water mixed with vinegar. This works great on make-up brushes for getting rid of build-up but, yes, they will be a little stinky. You can sub the vinegar for tea tree oil instead (my Portuguese grandma has me use tea tree oil on just about everything, so for me it's a favorite natural remedy). Simply mix equal parts water and oil in a small bowl or dish, dip your brushes in and swish 'em around. Rinse with warm water. The remaining water in your dish will be make-up tinted... that's how you know it's all gone and your brushes are like new!

  • And the last rule for cleaner, clearer skin... Hydrate! Listen to your body, and when you feel hot, thirsty, hungry, tired... drink. We often mistake dehydration for hunger, when really a glass of water will do the trick. Need a little more substance? Make your own popsicles or smoothies with fresh fruit (watermelon is so yummy blended!). Fruit-flavored water tastes good and quenches your thirst but also contains excess sugar, so when that craving strikes, reach for the real thing instead! I like to keep totable fruits like plums and nectarines on me, just in case. They're the perfect portable snack to fill you up and cool you down. Try cutting up watermelon early in the week and keeping the slices in a refridgerated tupperware; then they're always good to go. And don't leave home without your reusable water bottle! It's a corporate cliche, but I love my office's water cooler and visit often!
I know you are all smart, savvy girls who manage to look amazing year-round. So if you have any hot tips for staying cool, please share! What's your stay-gorgeous secret?

P.S. WEAR SUNSCREEN! I love you. ^_^

6 comments:

Lexie, Little Boat said...

i have had troubled skin since i was 12 or so ... i have found sticking to the same routine, birth control, and lots of water are about the only solutions for me :(

i do need to clean my make-up brushes though!

Emily said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emily said...

Lots of good tips, dearest. I'm actually quite pleased with my skin right now. Hurray! While I cannot seem to say no to the sweets, I do stay hydrated and limit my salt intake. I have been taking a prescription and using a soap my dermatologist gave me, but for a while I was just as red as ever. I recently started using Yes to Tomatoes facial lotion and um, hello clear skin! I think I'll get the accompanying face wash once this bar from the doc is used up. I feel obligated to use it all since it was quite expensive as far as bars of soap go... then wouldn't you know I saw it at GNC for 1/3 of what I paid for it. Ugh.

Have you tried the Yes to Carrots sunscreen? I've been thinking of giving that a go, as well.

Loving the dress and hat. I can't wait until we're out strolling in the sun together. Soon!

Jaime @ La vie...J'aime said...

I am fair and wear lots of sunscreen!! I hope to get to the beach this weekend :)

皇銘 said...

知識可以傳授,智慧卻不行。每個人必須成為他自己。....................................................................

Raquel said...

oh my tip, never wearing make up! hehe! but I have a problem, i get very oily face with sunscreen, but then again we must protect first!

well and I'm so jealous of your hat, I need to get one but still haven't found the perfet one...