Photo by: Kerry Beyer.
One of the features I get complimented on the most is my skin. So, today I'll be sharing my favorite head-to-toe skincare tips, tricks and products!
*Disclaimer* I am not a Dermatologist or skincare expert of any kind. The products and views expressed within are solely based on my opinions and experiences as a professional Alternative Model and Actress. These are products that I use, and they may not be suited for every individual. These are items and brands that I prefer and do not necessarily reflect the views of Sinical Magazine. Nor are they endorsed by Sinical Magazine, its publishers, parent companies or affiliates. Please consult a Dermatologist before starting any new skincare regimen.
GOLDEN RULE #1: Wash your face! No matter how tired, drunk or lazy you feel, NEVER go to bed without washing your face and removing your makeup. I know we all have nights when we just want to fall into bed and pass the fuck out. Lord knows I've been there. It's rare, but on those occasions I will at LEAST give my skin a good twice-over with Witch Hazel. My favorite brand is Beyond Belief Witch Hazel. It's an astringent and toner. I soak a few cotton balls and wipe my skin until the cotton balls show no signs of makeup or dirt. Pay special attention to your breakout areas.
That said, thoroughly removing your makeup and washing your face properly is always your best bet.
The hands-down BEST makeup remover I have ever used is Equate Facial Cleansing Towelettes. Yes, Equate is the generic Wal-Mart brand. But I'm telling you, those towelettes work wonders. They will remove the darkest eye makeup with ease. I love 'em for 3 reasons:
1. They don't burn your eyes. You can really get into mascara and liner removal without any stinging or burning.
2. I wear extremely long-lasting lipstick. Vaseline won't even get my lipstick off. Not soap or lotion either. The towelettes make it a breeze.
3. They're super inexpensive. Only available in the facial skincare aisle at Wal-Mart, $6 will get you through two months at least.
After removing my makeup I lather up with Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Facial Cleanser. Use your fingers and really get it going. Your fingers are more than enough. One major skin no-no that women do is over-exfoliating. This can cause redness and irritation. You should only exfoliate 2-3 times per week at most. When I exfoliate, my fave product is Aveeno Clear Complexion Cleansing Pads. They're round pads with just the right amount of scrubbing beads and foamy lather.
Instead of making a watery mess on your countertop when rinsing by cupping your hands and splashing water on your face, try simply sticking your face under the warm running water. The cleanser will wash away naturally and take all of the dirt and oils right down the drain. Gently pat your skin dry with a towel. Don't rub. ALWAYS keep a special towel that you use ONLY for drying your face. Change it out regularly.
GOLDEN RULE #2: Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Even if you have oily skin. There are tons of oil-free moisturizers specially designed for oily skin. My fave is Aveeno Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer. (Clearly, I am a big fan of Aveeo products) It contains just the right amount of salicylic acid and soy complex. It's Oil-free, hypoallergenic and noncomedogenic (that means it won't clog pores).
If I feel a breakout coming on, or know it's that, ahem, certain time of the month when breakouts are common for us ladies, I will mix a few drops of Neutrogena On The Spot Acne Treatment with my moisturizer. There are tons of spot acne treatments on the shelf, but most of them contain 10% benzoyl peroxide. This percentage is too high for most skin. It can cause redness and peeling. We all HATE peeling, don't we? The Neutrogena acne treatment contains only 2% benzoyl peroxide. The perfect amount. Way less harsh.
*Neat Trick time: How to Murder a Zit* If you do see a blemish starting to rear it's ugly head, your first instinct is to attack it. DON'T. Leave it the fuck alone! Wait until it reaches the surface completely (you'll know when it's ready to go). At this point, it's time to pop that sucker! But there's a proper way to do this!
I ALWAYS use a 10x magnifying mirror to perform this procedure. It helps you see what you’re doing in great detail, which is good.
Get prepared. Grab the Witch Hazel and cotton balls, 2 Q-tips, a small sewing needle and some Visine anti-red eye drops. Trust Me on this.
1st: Make sure your hands are completely clean and dry.
2nd: Drench the Q-tips with the Visine and place them in the freezer on a clean little dish of some sort. Even a shotglass will work.
3rd: Wipe the blemish and surrounding area with a cotton ball covered in Witch Hazel. Let it dry completely. This should only take 45 seconds or so.
4th: Surgery time. Take your sewing needle and wipe it clean with the Witch Hazel. (Always use a sewing needle, NOT a safety pin. Sewing needles are much sharper and thinner, minimizing the risk of scarring.) Stick the needle directly into the center of the blemish and remove it quickly.
5th: Squeezing! Make sure your fingers and the skin around the blemish are completely dry. (You'll get a better grip) Gently squeeze the zit from each side and also from the top and bottom. Squeezing too hard can cause bruising. (This is where it gets gross) Push until all of the white substance is completely removed, this usually includes a tiny, white, hard solid chunk. At this point clear puss may ooze out. If blood appears STOP! Absolutely do not poke or squeeze anymore.
6th: Cleanup! Use the Witch Hazel on a cotton ball to clean the area until the oozing stops. You may have to use a couple of cotton balls. Use a dry one to apply light pressure and soak up any excess ooze.
7th: Aftercare: Once the oozing stops, retrieve your Visine soaked Q-tips from the freezer. Gently rub the icy cold, wet Q-tips on the blemish. Visine does the same thing for skin that it does for eyes, it helps eliminate redness. The cold will help with swelling. After a minute or two of the Visine cool down, one last swipe of a Witch Hazel cotton ball and perhaps a tiny dab of acne treatment and you have won the battle! Wash your hands thoroughly after trashing all of your dirty cotton balls and Q-tips. This keeps you from spreading the acne bacteria to other areas of your skin.
*Final tip* You can continue the iced Visine trick for a couple of days after to keep any redness or swelling in check.
GOLDEN RULE #3: You're never too young to start. Why wait until you already have wrinkles to start treating them? I started using anti-aging products the day I turned 25. Preventative measures!
It's bedtime. Hopefully you've washed your face and patted dry. You've applied moisturizer and acne treatment to your breakout prone areas. Now it's time to focus on wrinkle-prone areas. I use a generous amount of L'Oreal Revitalift Complete Night Cream mixed with just a drop or two of Neutrogena Ageless Intensive Wrinkle Serum. I apply it under and around my eyes, around my mouth (for laugh lines) and don't forget to spread it to your jawline and neck. Women's jaws and necks are where wrinkles start to show first.
GOLDEN RULE #4: Tanning is BAD. You know those older women who look like a beatup piece of leather? They were probably sun-worshippers in their younger days. It's not their fault. Back then no one knew the damage and danger that UVA/UVB rays could cause. Tanning beds are NOT safer. I am vehemently against tans, period. It takes an act of the Universe to get me out in the sun (I am, afterall, a natural red-head). But if I do have to spend time outdoors, I will wear a ridiculous amount of broad spectrum sunblock. My favorite brands are Water Babies or Banana Boat. I Prefer an SPF of 90, but I'll go as low as SPF 50 in a pinch. The result? My skin is soft, smooth and even. If you absolutely must have that sun-bunny look, do yourself a favor, invest in a great spray or rub on tan. You'll thank yourself in 30 years.
GOLDEN RULE #5: Don't neglect your epidermis! The skin on your body is just as important as the skin on your face. I think we can all agree that we want soft skin that smells great. Well, here's MY way of achieving that! People often say to me "You smell great, what is that?" A friend once knew I was in his building without even seeing me because he picked up a hint of my perfume in the elevator.
It all starts in the shower/bath. I have extremely sensitive skin, so I have to be careful what I put on it. Even fabric softener gives me terrible hives. Sometimes you just want to get clean. Whenever I wash my sheets and pillowcases, I find there's nothing better than getting clean and fresh before crawling into a clean, fresh bed. When I wash at bed time I always clean my body with Dove White Moisturizing soap for sensitive skin. It's practical and makes me feel clean and smooth. The best time to apply body lotion is after you've bathed and patted dry, but your skin is still warm and slightly moist. Your pores will drink it up! When I want practical body care I reach for my Johnson's Deep Hydrating Extra Dry Skin Moisturizer. I slather my entire body from heels and toes up to my neck (remember we have different products for the neck and face.) I pay special attention to areas that are prone to dryness or roughness like elbows and heels. I even use it to soften the cuticles on my toenails. Don't forget to keep your underarms moisturized as well! This helps prevent razor burn when you shave.
*Quick note* I ONLY shave with a men's Gillette Mach 3. No other razor can compare in my opinion. I was blessed with very little body hair and what little I do have is baby blonde or red. There isn't a black hair anywhere on my body. Even my lashes are dark blonde. I spend a ton on mascara.
Now, my body care regimen is much more complex when I'm prepping to go somewhere. Be it work or play, if I'm going to be around people I handle body care very differently.
Back to the shower! This time I use a loofah to scrub every inch of my body. On that loofah, my favorite thing to use is Burt's Bees Baby Bee Tear Free Bubble Bath. Yes, it's a bubblebath for little ones, but I find that it also makes an excellent body scrub. It makes a wonderfully rich lather, it's safe for even the most sensitive skin and it smells wonderful. Like honey, but not overpoweringly so. Once I'm clean and my skin is almost dry, but still hot and moist, then I apply scented body lotion all over, really focusing on the places that I know people are going to smell. If I'm going out, you can bet I'm going to get hugged and kissed, so I make double sure that my neck, shoulders and arms are soft and smell delicious. I also rub the scented lotion into my underarms. (For obvious reasons)
When it comes to smell good-lotions my personal favorites are Scentsations Vanilla Sugar Body Lotion, Bodycology Juicy Pomegranate Body Cream, and Avon Naturals Banana & Coconut Milk Body Lotion. Sometimes I mix Vanilla Sugar with the Banana & Coconut Milk to create a scent. Don't be afraid to experiment with mixing scents. Some are hits, some are misses, but it's definitely worth playing around with.
*Awesome Tip* Mosquitos hate bananas and banana scents. Avon's Banana & Coconut Milk scent also comes in shampoo, conditioner and body mist. I have all 3. Beats smelling like mosquito spray, doesn't it?
Once I'm moisturized and smelling good, I take it to the next level. ---SPOLER ALERT!--- I do NOT wear deodorant. Two reasons: I wear a lot of black and deodorant gets on everything, AND ... I have something better than deodorant: Essential body oils. My fave body oils are made by a company called Love is in The Air. They are only available online or at some mall kiosks. I've never seen one of their kiosks so I order online. They come in a wide variety of scents ranging from Baby Powder, to Eqyptian Musk, to Opium and Myrrh. Don’t be scared when ordering. They smell EXACTLY like what they say they do. My personal fave? A scent called Love. I can't describe what it smells like but other people often comment that I smell like cake. I rub the oil into my pulse points. (places on your body that give off the most scent) I hit my neckline, my wrists, between my breasts and of course, under my arms.
You'd think all of these yummy smells would be enough, but I'm not done yet. I hate traditional beauty-counter perfumes. I think they all smell like chemicals and they're so overpowering. I prefer a body spray or mist. I recently sat down next to a fellow actress at an event and she immediately said, "You smell great, what is that?" I thought for a second and replied, "It's a bastard." Because my final step in smelling great is a bastardized bottle of alchemy that I put together using various products. It includes some of each of these products; Scentsations Vanilla Sugar Body Spray, Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush Slice of Heaven Body Mist, Love is in the Air Essential Oil in Love Scent and Coconut Scent, and Bodycology Peach Mango Body Mist. It's a super yummy cocktail of scents that once gone, will never happen the same again. Victoria's Secret discontinued the Slice of Heaven Beauty Rush Body Mist. I'm pretty pissed about that, but finding a substitute is just a matter of seaching.
Anyhow, I spray this concoction all over my naked body, before sitting naked at my gorgeous depression-era antique vanity letting the scents soak in while doing my hair and makeup. The last thing I do is put on my clothes and then I spritz myself one last time with my crazy body mist.
We're almost done!
GOLDEN RULE #6: Don't forget to take care of your hands, feet and lips! You're always meeting people, which means you probably shake some hands. You don't want to have hands like a cattle rancher do you? Take a little time to file your nails and clean beneath them. Every night before bed I slather on Burt's Bees Hand Salve, even rubbing it into my cuticles. This prevents those painful skin slivers near your nails and it makes your hands supple and soft. This goes for feet too! Summer’s upon us. You're probably already wearing your sandals and flip flops. Nobody likes looking at busted feet. Keep your toenails clean and trimmed. (I even file mine) Pumice those heels! Your heels won't be dry, cracked and ashy. Massage Burt's hand salve into your feet as well. You'll see results instantly.
Last but not least...LIPS! People are constantly asking me how I get my lipstick to stay on for hours on end without reapplying. It’s starts at night. Every night as I crawl into bed, I put on a thick layer of Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm. This will keep your pout from cracking and peeling. The next day, as you’re washing your face the BEST trick ever is exfoliating your lips! Our skin is designed to shed constantly. Ever find yourself biting or chewing at the excess skin on your lips? This bad habit can be completely annihilated by exfoliating your lips to remove all of that dead skin. You can use an exfoliator or just a washrag will do. Scrub away until your lips feel soft and smooth. TRUST ME, you will feel the difference immediately.
Now it’s time to apply lipstick. Lip liner is your FRIEND! Not only does it prevent your lipstick from seeping outside the natural line of your lips, but when applied all over the lip, it provides an excellent base primer for lipstick. My fave lip liner brand is Palladio. It’s inexpensive and available at Sally Beauty Supply in a variety of shades. (I also adore their eyeliner.) Next I apply lipstick. The ONLY lipstick brand I will use is Revlon Colorstay Overtime. You’ve seen it. It’s a stick with color on one end and clear gloss on the other. Fuck that gloss. It sucks, but the color is great. Apply carefully and liberally. Smack your lips together ONCE and wait about 15 second for the color to set and dry a little. Now it’s time to apply gloss. I’ve already stated that in my opinion, the gloss provided with the lipcolor sucks. My alternative? L’Oreal Colur Juice Sheer Juicy Lip Gloss. In my opinion it is not as thick, sticky or goopy as the Revlon gloss. Also, it comes in a tons of great shades and flavors! The best way to apply it is with a lipbrush instead of straight from the tube. I just squeeze out a small amount and then carefully paint it onto my lips. Smack your lips together once and presto! A perfect pout that will last and last!
*TIP* Drinking from a straw will help your lipstick stay on longer.
I hope I've introduced you to some new tricks you'd like to try and told you about some new products you're interested in.