Adventurers, you know by now that I love me some challenge: Sleep Lab, Wheat-free weeks, vegan baking… Now prepare for the Craziest Challenge a beauty insider can take up!
“Disclaimer” of sorts:
No horrifying images or descriptions ahead.
No medical advice included.
Describes only my experiment, and while I believe that we over-do skin care, our skin is our biggest organ and shouldn’t be approached with bits that we pick up on the Internet. I sure did my share of research and medical consultations prior to this decision!
WHY I’M GOING MOISTURISER-FREE
Dear kittens, here’s a second “sort-of-disclaimer” for you.
You know, I have fought with myself, deciding to put up a picture of myself or not.
I didn’t feel like doing so.
Especially a close-up of really not perfect skin.
But then I thought, heck, that’s how I look, and that’s also exactly about the point I’m making, and it’s not THAT bad at all, given WHAT I’m talking about.
You might’ve guessed already, I’m in my thirties. I consider it as great an age as any decade before.
And while my skin, hands and neck included, is fair, firm and healthy, and doesn’t give away my age – no wrinkles, no weird pigmentation (except for a sprinkle of freckles), no sagging – it’s really prone to irritation of any kind.
Now, of course I’ve tried every moisturizer, serum, face oil, cream, mask, peeling, treatment… out there!
I’ve had a 24-carat-gold treatment that left my skin clogged with “high tech dry oil” (read: pure silicone), and I went to amazing Dr. Hauschka lymph drainage sessions that left my skin glowing – but the irritations and inflammations stayed, no matter what.
Each and every new product would start amazingly well for the first two weeks.
After that time while I’d be thinking “yes! I finally found it!” the skin rocketed back to normal aka bad:
The pores – clogged, the skin – irritated on a scale from “oops, a zit” to “probably a stress-induced acne flare” to “wonder what it says in braille?” 😦
Dermatologists offered even harsher methods: killer peelings and antibiotic serums. One of those pharmacy-made creams gave my skin the look & feel of white plastic, but I don’t want to look back in anger, really.
The problem, of course, was me.
BAD DECISION #1 >>> I’ve been competely reluctant to the fact that my mother, who looks nothing like her age, only started using moisturizers in her early fifties, finally succumbing to beauty ads.
BAD DECISION #2 >>> I’ve been ignoring the fact that my boyfriend got his skin issues only after I talked him into men’s moisturizers.
Men’s moisturizers are a brain-child of devilishly clever marketing guys who thought that the smell of marine freshness and a gel-like texture plus a manly blue shade (sometimes orange, the colour of power), was all a guy wants. My boyfriend, though, quickly started a “Leave Me Alone with Your Girly Stuff, Woman!” revolution and his skin relaxed.
BAD DECISION #3 >>> I’ve been totally oblivious to the fact that the most fragile skin on my face, the skin under my eyes, the one that “beauty experts” say needs the most slathering-on and covering-up was completely skin-care free. And miraculously it looked the best.
(I was just too lazy for it, in fact. Dotting eye serum around the eyes, ain’t nobody got time for that!)
MY BEAUTY DOOM LOOP OF DOOM
I had (and I still own) a lot of products.
I admit, I was addicted to my face tonic, several moisturizers for different skin conditions, a soothing serum, a night serum, an eye serum I never used but kept updating, a couple of masks and peelings, different face oils, makeup base/primer, foundation, cover stick, powder, makeup remover(s)…
I swear, at that time I thought that if I lost those, I would not survive. I kind of got over it a couple years ago, but I thought organic would then be the cure for me – but not all things organic are great things organic, either.
The trouble was: the more products I used, the more other products I needed to balance out.
The more products I used, the more problems occurred.
I used drying serums for the zits, and then I needed a powerful moisturiser. I used more and more efficient peelings to fight the not-too-small pores that suddenly popped up out of nowhere, but the reddened skin asked for a foundation with strong coverage, etc.
Doomed, doomed, doomed!
TO BOLDLY GO…
But I knew that one day, I had to give the “moisturizer cold turkey” a try. Deep down inside I knew it.
I’ve given up smoking – so I could give up this vicious circle, too.
You can’t simplify your food from ‘overprocessed’ to ‘home-cooked’, and try to go as toxin-free as you can, and not smoke, not drink, go veg, AND THEN LOOK LIKE BLOODY CRUMBLE CAKE! It’s no good advertisement for a healthy lifestyle!
Sure, my diet really helped my skin, but it wasn’t enough.
Health checks with several specialists proved only one thing: I was perfectly healthy. No room for improvement.
Not even excess weight to drop for improved metabolism.
So what the hell was wrong!?
There were few, precious days of amazing glow and pureness, followed by weeks where I was forced to hone my makeup–artistry, applying as much makeup as a Geisha would, just trying to make it look as natural as possible.
Ironically, many people would compliment my skin on bad days precisely, and I knew they were not lying – I have the best primers and finish products and beauty tricks on hand.
And if you can draw or paint, you can draw and paint your face, too; period.
PHASE 1 ‘MOISTURIZER COLD TURKEY’
A deep breath.
It was a Monday. The last Monday in May. Four weeks ago.
I looked at my cosmetics shelf in the bathroom and bade adieu to three moisturizers that looked at me sadly with their innocent certified-organic seals, waving their meter-long ingredient lists…
I washed my face with a very soft, organic lavender liquid soap.
On day one I dried it. Big mistake! As big as the Sahara desert!
So starting with day two I didn’t even dab it with a towel. While my face was still wet from washing, I sprayed on a good amount of thermal water and let it air-dry. Much better! No burning, no itching, no cracks in the surface of the moon… Just kidding 🙂
Thermal water in spray bottles is really THE cure for me. This, and my charcoal Konjac sponge.
The only product I have permitted myself to use, is face oil. I have a bit of a range to pick from (of course).
I use Skin & Bones, Talika, and a selection of organic cold pressed oils, bought at food shops and pharmacies.
I’m not ready to roam the streets bare faced, but the skin has gained a sort of a balance.
On days I use makeup, I apply a small amount of an organic liquid foundation.
If it’s not enough, I apply Everyday Minerals concealer or/and mineral foundation which has very good, natural-looking coverage – with cotton pads, a trick I’ve learned from a Erno Laszlo beautician – makes it almost germ-free.
I remove makeup as soon as I can.
For this, I use Santé makeup remover tissues, then I wash my face. If needed, with a sponge.
Then again, the wet skin gets a thermal water splash, and I’m done.
While my skin is not looking gorgeous, it doesn’t certainly look worse.
Indeed, there is slow improvement I can feel – and see – in slightly smaller and finer pores, in less irritation.
I think I will experiment with lotions and waters, say, Dr. Hauschka Face Toner or Night Treatments; test other thermal water brands and organic plant water (rosewater, neroli water, lavender water). I will use a little dab of oil here and there, and probably get vitamin E capsules at the pharmacy and apply those to the skin. I heard Martha Stewart swears by it 😉 [UPDATE JULY 2014: VITAMIN E CAN CLOG YOUR PORES LIKE NOTHING ELSE BUT IT SEEMS TO BE AN INDIVIDUAL REACTIONS: SOME BREAK OUT, SOME DON’T] I just don’t want anything emulsified and complicated on my skin anymore.
So yes, I’m following this simplified beauty routine Quest whenever it takes me, but heck, it already saved me a month’s worth of moisturizers!