When is the best time to start taking care of your skin? The best time is really start from 6 months old! Yes, 6 months old babies should start wearing sunscreen. Sun damages are accumulative so start early! Of course a baby can not BUY a sunscreen themselves, thus you as a reader/parent can help to make it happen. This blog post will be more specific on 20’s and above that you can take the control of your skin’s destiny!
In general, all skin care products should really do three things- protect, comfort, moisturize. No matter if you purchase your skin care in drug store or in premium beauty retail. What differentiate the pricing lays in the packaging, the active ingredient used, and the clinical promises that how it will make your skin looking more smart and beautiful.
In your 20’s– all you really need is a basic hydrator and a sunscreen. At this time, your skin should be either oily or oily-combination. Chances are you are active and may lose hydration due to active exercise and moving around. Make sure not only you are drinking 8 glasses of water, you should also do the same to quench your skin thirst. Look for ingredients such as glycerin, hyaluronic acid, watermelon or honey to keep your skin hydrated. Wear SPF 50 if you are outdoor a lot. Prevention is easier than treatment. If you take care of your skin early, you have less issues down the road.
In your 30’s– You may start experience early signs of aging. It’s time to use a more sophisticated moisturizer with good lipid replenishers and an eye product. Products contains squalane, triglycerides, argan oil, coconut oil, avocado oil are all good choices to help moisturize skin. A light weight eye cream or balm or gel should be added to the daily regimen especially if you tend to have dark circles due to lack of sleep. Ingredients to look for in eye products are buckwheat, or caffeine to help reduce puffiness, licorice, vitamin C, or algae to help with dark circles. It’s also a great time to add in skin perfecting polisher to help exfoliate the skin so your moisturizers can penetrate better. Once a week skin perfecting mask is also suggested for the extra smart move!
In your 40’s– It’s serious skin game time! Not only you have preventative work to do like when you were at 20’s and 30’s, you may have some corrective work if you haven’t been so diligent doing your skin care work. So what does it entail? Amp up your exfoliation game- you may want to increase exfoliation to 2-3 times a week as skin cell turn over can be sluggish if you don’t help it going. Pay extra attention to the eye area– that crows’feet, that hallowing under the eye may start to show. You will need a powerhouse eye cream packed with peptides, retinol-like actives, algaes, lentil extracts, green banana extracts for extra firming and moisturization. Since the skin underneath the eyes is similar to our lips, yes, go ahead massage in the leftover eyecream on our fingertips to your lips. It’s also time to add in a skin serum treatment under your moisturizer as serum is packed with the highest level of actives possible. When you use a serum, do not just slap it on. Try to PRESS the serum on to the skin with outward motion to enhance penetration and follow with a moisturizer to seal in all the greatness of the serum. Oh, and don’t forget to treat your neck as well! Neck is the area even cosmetic surgery will have a hard time to correct once you have that Turkey neck. Protect NOW. Of course, a weekly skin perfecting mask will also help to keep your complexion glowing.
In your 50’s & beyond– Are you hopeless at this stage? Absolutely not! The skin care work at this stage will involve intensive night time skin repair and continue to avoid sun exposure with great sunscreen during the day. My absolute love sun product is Clarins UV plus 50- best invention ever. It’s non-greasy, non-whitening, and smells absolutely fabulous (so you WANT to put it on). At 50 and above, for women, it’s menopausal stage and you will experience hot flash, loss of collagen and elastin so this is the last opportunity to really turn back time. This is also the stage age spots tend to pop up on your cheeks or even hands, so take absolute care with vitamin C or licorice infused products along with gentle physical exfoliation such as cellulose beads or fruit peels from Alpha hydroxy acids or Beta Hydroxy acids. The Skin Perfecting Polisher by Grand Central Beauty is a great combination of both physical exfoliation and fruit acid peel. Just like when you are at 40’s, use your eye creams, serum, and anti-aging moisturizer. You may upgrade your moisturizer at this stage for intensified anti-aging results. You may find ingredients that sooths hot flashes or calming desirable such as alpha bisabolo or chamomile. Multi-peptides, multi-antioxidants, multi-collagen and elastin inducers are much needed at this stage. Check to see if the products have any clinical support on their claims. Again, don’t forget about your neck area, and even hands at this time.
Bottom line for skin care is exfoliation + moisturization + sunscreen and you should have a glowing complexion no matter the age!
Smart & Beautiful Skin To YOU!
There are two special days that you want to be pampered and ready from head to toe- namely New Year + Valentine’s day. Since today is the first day of lunar new year, you can try this head to toe beauty guide for a radiant new you and also ready for a romantic Valentine’s day ahead! In case you don’t know, I am a cosmetic chemist + skin care expert + makeup artist. Beauty is in my blood.
1) Hair– Use a hair mask (Neutrogena Triple Moisture) to keep hair ultra soft for your and his hands to run through. This is by far the most softening hair mask in mass market.
2) Brows– Groom it with Maybelline Brow drama for a natural yet intensified look. It’s so natural!
3) Eyes– Less on eyeshadow. Big on cat eyes with liquid eyeliner (Maybelline Stileto liquid). I love this liquid eyeliner. It stays put yet removable with a wet Q-tip for any mistakes.
4) lips– smooth with lipscrub and apply lip gloss (Clinique sweet pots). They are fun, functional and inexpensive!
5) Face– Multi-tasking mask for S.M.A.R.T. results (Grand Central Beauty Skin Perfecting Mask). Hands down the best mask! You do not need to buy 5 different masks to get 5 desired results!
6 )Neck– Clarins Firming Neck Cream. Addictive soft texture. You need to love the texture to use daily right?
7) Hands– Clarins Hand Cream. Non-greasy. Moisturizes hands and cuticles.
8) Body– Use fragrance layering of shower gel + perfume lotion + eau de parfum + powder. Prada Candy make you extra sweet. If you have dry skin, fragrance does not last on you. Always LAYER it.
9) Nails– Chanel Vamp is back in style. Sheswai Winesnob shade is also awesome!
Happy Year of Fire Monkey! Happy Valentine’s Day ahead!
The honest truth from a cosmetic chemist.
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Christmas is less than one week away. If you are still scrambling for what to get for holiday gifts, fragrance can be a good option as fragrance is personal, and often being regarded as a luxury gift. People often ask me why does the fragrance cost so much? My simple response- Because you don’t want to smell cheap :-).
Below are pointers for all the fragrance questions you may have when you approach the counter:
WHO ARE YOU BUYING THE FRAGRANCE FOR?
- Are you buying for yourself? If you buy for yourself, how do you want the fragrance to make you FEEL? Like Estee Lauder Beautiful? Clinique Happy? If you are not sure, jump to the fragrance types section to see what type of fragrances may appeal to you.
- Are you buying for someone else? What type of person are you buying for? their age? lifestyle? what kind of climate they live in? These all can determine the type of fragrance you should get. Athletic people may like Chanel Eau Fraiche. Office ladies or younger generation may like Chanel Eau Tendre. If she is sophisticated, chances are she would love Coco Mademoiselle. In hot climate weather, Estee Lauder White Linen, Dolce Gabana Light Blue are great choices.
WHAT ARE THE FRAGRANCE TYPES?
Traditionally, fragrances are divided into 4 types with some variations- Floral, Oriental, Woody and Fresh.
- Floral– This is the most popular and most safe option if you do not know what kind of fragrance you should get. Floral can be a single note or a bouquet of flowers. The most iconic fragrances usually contains rose and jasmine such as in Chanel No.5 , Estee Lauder Beautiful and Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb. More modern fragrances tend to use peonies as the key flower such as Versace Bright Crystal, Chloe, Estee Lauder Pleasures, Grand Central Beauty Peony Roller Ball. Within the floral family, you can also subdivide to fresh floral or fruity floral.
- Oriental-This is the spicy category with cinnamon, clove and patchouli specifically. It tends to give a more mysterious night persona and images of exotic lands. YSL Opium, Estee Lauder Youth Dew and Cinnabar are prime examples of this type of classics.
- Woody– This is a warm fragrance often infused with sandalwoods. Estee Lauder Knowing, Sensuous Nude, Modern Muse are in this category.
- Fresh-Often consists of citrus notes to give a clean feel. Dulce Gabbana Light Blue, Clinique Calyx are in this family.
The modern version of fragrance type are ozonic (Davidoff Coolwater. Armarni Aqua di gio), gourmand type (Angel, Lancome La Vie Est Belle, Prada Candy). The gourmand trend will continue in 2016.
WHAT ARE THE FRAGRANCE INTENSITIES?
Fragrance make people feel good and confident. Pure fragrance oil can be very expensive thus they are often diluted with solvents like water or alcohol or with emollients so it is more affordable. Based on the concentration of oil, the fragrance lasting power can vary.
- Parfum 20% fragrance, lasts 24 hours
- Eau de Parfum 15%, lasts 6-8 hours
- Eau de toilette 10%, lasts 4 hours.
- Eau de cologne 5 %, lasts 2 hours.
- Eau Fraiche/Veil/Splash 3% about 1 hour.
WHAT ARE THE FRAGRANCE NOTES?
Similar to intensities, fragrances is like a piece of music with three main notes. The top notes usually consists of florals and last for 8-15 minutes. When the body temperature is warm, it blooms to the mid notes usually consists of essences from lavender/rose for another 30 minutes. What determines if the fragrance will stick longer usually is in the base notes consists of woods, musk and vanilla. The basenotes can last for hours. Having said this, needless to say if you will be going camping and can not bathe for a few days, pick a fragrance that is in the oriental/woody family as they tend to have stronger base notes.
WHAT ARE THE DO’S AND DON’TS ON FRAGRANCES?
- Do know which type of fragrance you prefer. Often times people are tired of what they are wearing. They want a NEW fragrance. However, when they switch the types of fragrance, they do not care for it after a few days. Chances are you are already accustomed to the old fragrance type and your skin takes it well. So, instead of jumping from floral to oriental, stick with floral but with a twist such as floral gourmand, you will have a better luck. It is true fragrance can smell different on different people but it can not deviate that much. When people walked by with a Chanel No. 5, you instantly can tell what it is So, the fragrance evolution on your skin would be minimum if you stick to the type of fragrance you like.
- Do wait 5 seconds before you sniff the blotter. If you smell the blotter immediately, you are getting whiffs of alcohol. You’d be “drunk” before you know what you are buying.
- Don’t spray more than four fragrances at a time on your skin. You have your two clean wrists and two clean elbows. Those are the four spots you use after narrowing down from the blotter. You must try on skin to see how the fragrance evolve.
- Don’t rub your wrists against each other. You will destruct the fragrance molecules and not getting a true wear of the fragrance.
How Should You Wear A Fragrance?
According to Coco-Chanel- Wear fragrance where you’d like to be kissed.
According to Estee Lauder- Spray your fragrance in air and walk into it.
According to fragrance expert Sue Phillips- Spray on knees & on pulse points. Fragrance travels from bottom to top. If you just spray your hair, you are attracting flocks of birds.
Personally, the best way to wear it is fragrance layering. This is why you often see sets of fragrance and lotion together for you to layer. Often times people complain the fragrance do not last on them and refuse to buy a companion body cream or lotion. However, think for a second, if your skin is dry you have noting to grab on to the fragrance you are buying. If you apply a lotion or cream first then spray, the fragrance will be softer and stay on longer. You can even spray on the fragrance after you use your unscented body lotion and see if fragrance lasts longer on you. Chances are you do not own unscented body lotion, so why not get the entire set of fragrance? Boxed deals are the best deals when it comes to shopping the cosmetic department. Always, always, get the value set!
Lastly, you have your summer and winter wardrobe, so should your fragrances. According to industry reports, the fragrance trend for Spring/Summer 2016 is praline, sorbet and freesia. Sounds so much like Prada Candy! The trend for Fall/Winter will be winterberries, violet and Oud (a type of wood very popular in men’s fragrance) so fragrance like Balenciaga B for woman and Ralph Lauren Supreme Oud may be popular.
Yes you can choose to have one signature scent but isn’t life more fun with more? It is just like a woman will never just have one lipstick. Build your fragrance library today. Personally, I wear a different fragrance each day according to my mood and who I will be seeing that day. Have some fun!
As a cosmetic chemist, a skin expert and a makeup artist, I have been asked many questions by consumers and editors. Below is the Q&A for the commonly asked questions and my professional opinion.
- Is red-lipstick the best hack for under eye dark circles? Heck NO! Red lipsticks contains certain dyes that can be irritating on the eye area. The pigments are regulated by FDA. Unless it’s an all-over color stick (tested to be safe around eye), do not use a red lipstick as a concealer. Your better option is to use a powder or cream blush. Additionally, lipstick usually contains high level of wax. You do not want to clog the pores on the thinnest area of your face- the under eyes.
- Should I stick with one brand or can I mix brands? In general, it is preferred to stick with one brand because when companies do testing, they often will do testing with the companion products to make sure there is no adverse reaction or pilling on the skin. Exceptions are products which you do not use every day, such as facial polisher or mask, you can use whatever brands that please you. For hair products- in general, fragrance is key in hair care. You want to keep the consistency of scents. Additionally, almost all hair companies conduct their performance claims based on the use of their shampoo AND conditioner so they can entice you to buy more.
- Do I really need to use a hair conditioner? If you are on a budget, please splurge on the hair conditioner and skimpy on the shampoo unless you are using a cleansing conditioner. The number one function of shampoo is to clean. As long as you are using a good conditioner, it is okay to use any value-priced shampoo for your hair.
- Why should I use a day and a night cream? The day cream is designed to protect your skin. The night cream is formulated to nourish and repair you skin. The functions are very different. It is best to use a separate cream. If you absolutely has to pick one, get the day cream as it should have the SPF protection, granted you do not have much “damages” to repair.
- Is department store brands better than drug store brands? A lot of times, you are not only paying for the product, you are paying for the packaging too. While every cosmetic brands have different practice, I found mass market color cosmetics work just as well as department stores. However, when it comes to skin care, I prefer brands with clinically proven claims and not just stories of green marketing.
- Should I be buying only natural products? Everything is a chemical, including water as you can spell out H2O. The question is really- is what I am buying SAFE? When companies boasts of its naturalness, it does not equate to better or more effective. As long as Repeated Insult Patch Testing (RIPT) has been done and the toxicology profile has been reviewed, you can feel safe to use it. Nature does not equate better but only a piece of mind, in YOUR own mind.
If you have any beauty questions, please feel free to comment.