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5 Ways to Combat Winter/Dehydrated Skin

I guess I should preface this by saying that I am not a skin care expert, all this is based on my (all too numerous) experiences with dehydrated skin.

What is dehydrated skin?

There seems to be some confusion as to what dehydrated skin actually is. Basically it seems that skin needs two things to stay soft, supple and smooth: hydration and oil. Hydration is there to do most of the work, and the oil is there to seal it all in so it doesn’t just leech out of the skin.

So if you have oily skin but it’s often flakey, has ‘dry’ patches, redness around the patches, or it feels tight, it might be dehydration. Basically you have the oil to seal stuff in, but you don’t have much hydration to be sealed.

It’s kind of like installing double-glazing on an igloo. If there isn’t any heat (hydration) inside in the first place, the double-glazing (oil) isn’t really going to make it much warmer. (sssh this is a very good analogy)

This is your skinIn winter, drier air and central heating can exacerbate dehydration issues which is why people advise adding more hydrating products to your skin routine in wintery months. It’s not just winter that can make your skin dehydrated though, if you start spending a lot of time in a place with drier air – e.g. if you move to another country, or even if you start work at an office building with mega air-con – that can be a factor as well.

1. Go teetotal

Regular readers might know I have a *bit* of an aversion to products containing high levels of alcohol. This is a personal thing because my skin is particularly sensitive to it, but for other people who don’t seem to have a reaction to alcohol then I say go for it.

However, if you notice your skin getting dehydrated or flakey, you may want to alter your routine to cut out the alcohol-products for a few months. A lot of foundations contain it, perhaps you could use a different one for now?

(not all alcohols are bad; don’t worry if you see cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, and cetearyl alcohol in your products)

2. Use a hydrating serum

This is probably the most important tip for dehydrated skin – if you had to follow just one of these tips, this is the one.

So personally, I find using an extra regular all-rounder moisturiser doesn’t really help when my skin gets dehydrated. It’s just too general use; I need something specific like a serum.

Personally I like:

Mandom Barrier RepairMy favourite is the Mandom Barrier Repair.

In terms of performance it’s actually about the same as the Juju Aquamoist (I put one on each side of my face for about two weeks and noticed no difference between them), but the Juju Aquamoist is a tad more expensive and it runs out really fast.

Using two pumps of the Juju Aquamoist every night gave me about 3 or 4 weeks before I started having to scrape the tiny amount of remaining product out of the bottle. Using the Barrier Repair in the same way gives me about 4 months.

As you can see from the ingredients, the Barrier Repair has more fillers so it’s more spreadable, but like I said it’s just as effective as the Juju Aquamoist. I would only recommend the Juju Aquamoist if you have a known sensitivity to an ingredient in the Barrier Repair.

3. Use an Oil

Now I know I said that dehydration is not necessarily a lack of oil, but:

  • Often in drier air your regular oil production isn’t enough to keep in hydration, so you need to top up
  • I find putting oil over my hydrating serum makes it more effective, probably because it seals it all in so it doesn’t just dry off your face.

This is my way of telling the world that my coconut oil was cheap!Oils are difficult to recommend because they’re very personal. Here are a few that people often use for skin care:

Personally I like to use Rosehip Oil on my face at night (after I’ve put on my other products). I like Rosehip Oil because it softens my skin and it contains little doses of vitamin C and vitamin A. Jojoba Oil is apparently the oil that is most similar to the skin’s natural sebum.

When buying these oils, check your local independent health shop before you go to big chains because often they do better deals. I got my Rosehip Oil BOGOF (so, two 25ml bottles for £16~) at a health shop near where I live. If you can’t find them there (mostly info for UKers):

4. Humidify

I’d say this is more of a last resort if the others haven’t worked for you. Get a humidifier to restore some moisture to the air around you. Even if your dehydration issues are caused by the air-con in the office, having a humidifier in your bedroom that you can turn on while you sleep could counter-act the effects from the office that day.

(Although Japan has a wide range of portable humidifiers to solve all your away from home dry-air issues!)

Some of them plug into your computer…

A nifty humidifier in disguise

This one was sent to earth to DESTROY you

5. Drink Water

Ok, truth is I don’t really have a number 5 – but I thought ‘5 ways’ sounded so much better than ‘4 ways’ – so I’m going with ‘drink water’, which is pretty sound advice for any ailment.

I will say:

Drinking water is not going to solve your dehydrated skin issues

It’s just not.

But – drinking water does improve your skin overall. I’m terrible at being vigilant with water-drinking, but when I do get it right I notice lots of (good) differences in my skin. So drink water.

(images for this post from here, here and here)

 


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Top 10 of 2011

Oops, I completely missed the ‘11 of 11’ idea; I am not on the ball! I mean…uh, I totally knew about it I’m just eschewing convention…

Anyway these are my favourite things from 2011. It was difficult to narrow everything down, but these are products that have transformed my beauty routine completely, and products that I would buy over and over. Every time I use these (especially the make-up products), I fall in love with them all over again. It’s clichéd but true, and that’s why these are my favourites.

If I’ve reviewed a product, the product’s name will link to the review.

My 5 favourite make-up products of the year

Suqqu, Shu Uemura x 3, Beaute

Shu Uemura Stage Perfomer – I’m pretty sure that this is the closest we’ll ever get to airbrush in a bottle (or tube, in this case).

I’m going to write a full review of this soon, but basically it’s a product that moisturises a bit, smoothes out pores, makes skin glow, and has a very faint tint that evens out skin tone and covers a few imperfections. I hesitate to call it a primer because: it has a tint, it’s technically meant to go under your sunscreen (ie. not the final step before foundation – but most people I know use it after sunscreen), and most of the time it negates the need for foundation. Anyway, this product has completely revolutionised my make-up, I hardly ever wear foundation over it – only when I really want to look flawless. It makes me look healthy because of the glow, and it gets rid of most of my red areas.

Shu Uemura Nobara Cream Cover Stick – I’ve said just about everything in my review/love letter. It is still my go-to foundation, and I love it to pieces.

M Soft Mauve 225Shu Uemura Glow On – M Soft Mauve 225 – On first look, this blush looks scary. I mean, that is one mauve blush. On the skin, it looks amazing. Not editorial, edgy amazing, but natural amazing. The blush wears like an angelic pink, and the purple tone in it brightens up my entire face. Never has a blush given me such a glow.

Beaute Liqui-gel Stain – Fever – I have tried a lot of stains this year, I still find that this one is better than any other. It never leaves my bag, even if I’m wearing another blush or lipstick that day, I’ll have this on hand for touch-ups because it’s so easy to use. Its handiness is just a perk of the product, even when I’m at home and I have free reign over my whole make-up collection, I reach for this one the most.

Suqqu Ginbudou 06

Suqqu Blend Colour Eyeshadow – 06 Ginbudou – I have such a soft spot for this palette. Like I said in my review for Keshizumi, I know that Keshizumi suits me better, but I love the opulence of Ginbudou. Also, it was with this palette that I realised purples suit me – and that my eyes were more green than blue!

My top 5 skin care products of the year

IMG_6322

Coconut Oil – My love for this is still going strong; Coconut oil is doing wonders for my hair, I use it before every wash and on the ends afterwards. Recently I’ve been using tiny amounts to calm frizz. It’s still my sole body moisturiser, I like to use it a day or two after shaving to restore my skin. My only issue is that in this cold winter I have to microwave it for 30 seconds, otherwise it’s rock solid!

Paula’s Choice 2% Beta Hydroxy Acid Liquid – I’ve been using this since around March and it has really helped my skin. My blemishes weren’t horrible beforehand, but they were pretty bad. My skin has cleared up a lot since I started using this every night, and my sebaceous filaments appear smaller. Now I’ve switched to every other night and I use it to spot treat as well.

Mandom Barrier Repair Concentrate – this serum saved my skin when I was in Japan, and I’ve been recommending it to people with dehydrated skin ever since. I know a lot of people who use it and love it, and it’s especially useful in these winter months to combat all the dry air from central heating etc. I mix it with my usual antioxidant serum every other night to ward off winter skin. If my skin’s a little dry or angry, I’ll just put this on the area and it rights itself. This is really amazing stuff.

Silk Naturals Super Serum (the tiny bottle) – I’ve only just finished my second sample bottle of this – they lasted me 2 months! This serum is so effective – it has lightened my freckles and it’s got rid of almost all the tiny bumps that were around my chin. It also brightens my skin. I have to dilute this serum (with hada labo gokujyun hyaluronic acid lotion) when I apply it every morning because it’s very strong, but even using just 2 or 3 drops gets results.

Rosehip Oil – I can’t be without rosehip oil; it’s the last thing I apply at night before I go to bed and I wake up with such soft skin. I feel like this oil is so nourishing for my skin, especially because as well as sealing in moisture, rosehip oil also contains a little bit of vitamin c and retinol.

5 Products I Love

Mandom Barrier Repair Masks

These were indispensable when I was in Japan; other sheet masks were nice but their effects were very short-lived. These ones really inject a load of hydration into skin, making them great for instant (and lasting) relief from dehydrated, tired or aggravated skin.

The Barrier Repair range makes amazing products in general, I have been nothing but impressed.

Juju Aquamoist Cleansing Milk

This is my favourite make-up removing cleanser

  • Can be used on the whole face including eyes
  • Removes make-up thoroughly (including heavy eye make-up if you focus on that area, but often I use the Micellar on a cotton pad to save time)
  • Doesn’t leave skin tight after washing
  • Doesn’t leave any residue on skin

La Roche Posay Physiological Micellar Solution

Gets rid of everything on your face, I use it to get all my make-up off before cleansing, or I just use it on its own when I’m feeling lazy.

My friend borrowed some of this once – after using two face wipes already to remove her make-up – and after wiping, the cotton pad came back loaded with make-up; this cleanser is really effective at getting every last scrap of make-up off your face.

Ben Nye Neutral Set Translucent Powder

This is the best setting powder I’ve tried. It mattifies the shine from my sunscreen without highlighting little flaws like hair, tiny lines, or flaky patches. Leaves skin looking like skin.

The price is pretty incredible as well.

Shu Uemura Cream Eyeshadow in M white

I use this as a base to stop any discolouration on my eyelid from showing through, thus enhancing any eyeshadow I use on top. Now and then I use it on its own as a natural highlight (I am pretty pale after all). It doesn’t crease and it gives even coverage, unlike other cream shadows I’ve tried.