So, we’ve talked about pre-cleansing, and actual cleansing, and exfoliating, and serums. Now it’s time for the top layer.
I am a life-long fan of a good moisturizer. Using the right one at the right time can make a massive difference to your skin. I’m also at the age when a lot of my friends seem to be living overseas, and many a late-night Skype session has featured someone in London/Paris/somewhere-else-far-cooler-than-where-I-am, laughing at me as I earnestly dab eye cream around my eyes while chatting.
What everyone needs is a good day cream and a good night cream. These can both be the same moisturizer if you like, but often you’ll want to do slightly different things for your skin in the mornings and evenings, so a specialized moisturizer for each can be a good investment.
I’ve said before that you need to find out what works for your skin via trial and error because everyone is different. This is particularly the case for face moisturizers. It’s taken me years to find the perfect routine for my skin, and this changes based on the season and where I happen to be in the world. I will tell you what I use and give you a basic starting point for finding your ideal moisturizer.
What I do: After cleansing and using a face oil, I pat on some Dermalogica Intensive Eye Repair. I’ve been asked before whether eye creams are essential, and the answer is yes, they are. This is because the skin around your eyes is different from the skin on the rest of your face. It is very thin and delicate, so much so that the molecules in regular face creams are too BIG to be absorbed by the skin near your eyes. A specially formulated eye cream will do the job properly, and keep the area nice and hydrated, which is key to minimizing lines and avoiding looking permanently tired.
Such. Good. Stuff.
I love the Intensive Eye Repair because it is easily absorbed, a little goes a long way, and it makes my skin feel hydrated all day.
What you should do: Find an eye cream that suits you. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from your beauty therapist or samples from department stores. Jurlique’s Herbal Recovery Eye cream is beautiful, and for slightly *ahem!* older faces, I recommend Dermalogica’s Multivitamin Power Firm, which smells so delicious you’ll want to eat it.
Make sure you PAT your eye cream onto your skin. Stricly no rubbing or dragging. The skin around your eyes lacks the elasticity of the rest of your facial skin, which means it doesn’t have the ability to bounce back after it’s been pulled or rubbed, and treating it roughly will cause lasting damage and wrinkles. Use the tip of your index finger and work your way from the inside corner of your eye, underneath and along the orbital bone (the hard bone you can feel underneath your eye), and around to the other corner, where you should spend a bit of time patting because it will help increase blood circulation and reduce dark circles.
Then make your way along the bone at the top, just under your eyebrow. I can’t stress enough that you should do this with little tiny pats like a fairy is dancing on your face. You will feel like an idiot. Your partner/flatmates/children will laugh. Do it anyway. Your eyes will thank you later.
What I do: I use Dermalogica’s Active Moist in the mornings, on my face, neck, chest, and décolletage. It is the product I have been using for the longest, and I have never found a basic moisturizer that suits me better. Light and quickly absorbed, it hydrates my face without making it oily, which is crucial for someone who has oily skin, to begin with. The only time I don’t use Active Moist during the day is if I am in a very cold climate (Europe, or indeed, Canberra, springs to mind!), and I will be spending a lot of time outside. Then I will use something richer and heavier.
What you should do: Figure out what your skin needs. I recommend going to a qualified beauty therapist for a facial, at least once, and asking them to make a recommendation for you. Your beauty therapist will, in all likelihood, recommend products from the range stocked by their particular salon, but if you don’t like it or can’t afford it, there’s nothing to stop you from finding a great option in your local Priceline. Once you’ve been told you have dry/oily/sensitive/combination skin, you’ll have a much better idea of what products will suit your skin.
When you’ve found an appropriate day cream, you will need some sort of sunscreen option to go on top. If you’re short on time or just can’t be bothered mucking around with multiple products in the morning, find a day cream with sunscreen included. If you’re going to do this, particularly in Australia, make sure the sunscreen is at least SPF30. I’m sorry, but all of the lovely moisturizers out there with SPF15 are just not going to cut it. Dermalogica’s Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF50 is an excellent place to start.
Beauty sleep is an actual thing, okay?
What I do: After face oil or serum and eye cream, I use Go-To Skincare’s Very Useful Face Cream. Full of antioxidants to prevent free radicals from playing merry hell with your skin, it is also beautifully hydrating and smells good to boot. This is a great product to use at night because the antioxidants have a chance to address any damage that’s been done to your skin during the day.
Very Useful Face Cream is marketed as an all-purpose moisturizer for morning and night, but I still choose to use something lighter during the day, as I find this one makes my skin look a bit oily. If you’re less oily-skinned than I am, though, you should be able to use this product day and night, which will cut down nicely on how many products you need to keep track of.
Very Useful Face Cream admirably fulfills its duty to be both very useful and face cream.
What you should do: Night time is when you sleep and when your skin cells regenerate. This is the time to put on treatment products like serums and rich face creams designed to do their work while you rest. Pick a night cream with words like “nourishing” and “replenishing” on the packaging. I highly recommend the Very Useful Face Cream, but Dermalogica’s Intensive Moisture Balance is also excellent if you’re looking for something different.
My arsenal of moisturizers.
Bonus notes on body moisturizer!
This little series is mainly about the skin on your face/neck/chest, but the skin on your body can get scaly and dry if you neglect it, especially in winter. I usually manage to moisturize my arms, legs, etc., once a day, and all the fancy creams in the world can’t do better than Vaseline Intensive Care. I keep a giant yellow pump pack next to my bed, in my bathroom, and on my desk at work. It sinks in easily, doesn’t leave a residue, and is inexpensive enough that you can use it as often and as copiously as you like.
If I’m feeling dehydrated or just want to smell lovely, I switch to Go-To Skincare’s Exceptional. The company describes it as “a nourishing multi-purpose oil that smells like holidays,” and that’s basically what it is. Exceptional is 100% made of natural oils and butter. It’s a fantastic body moisturizer but can also be used as a bath oil to smooth flyaway hair, and (at a pinch) you can put a few drops on your face as a serum substitute. In addition to all of this, it has an EXCELLENT pun name and smells so good; you won’t need perfume.