Confessions of a Beauty Junkie

Friday, January 8, 2010

So It's Cold as a Bitch Outside...

... and there's no reason to venture out of doors. What to do? Peep my column for the January issue of VIP (and eat every carb in sight, New Year's diet be damned! Wait-- no? So just me, then?)!

“A Clean Start”

Happy New Year! Wow, 2009 sure went by quickly. Hopefully you all rang in the new year beautifully. Now, it’s back to reality: back to school, back to the gym, and back to basics with your skin and makeup routine. The most essential piece of this puzzle is cleanser. Let’s discuss.

Finding the right cleanser for you can be a daunting task. If you recall, I hit the high points back in September as to how to determine your skin type (oily, dry, combination, sensitive). From that point, you have a couple decisions to make: do you want to remove makeup and cleanse in one step? Do you like a bar soap, a liquid, a gel? Are you looking for a foaming cleanser or a non-sudsing milk or oil? Decide what you like, and which option you’ll be most likely to make a habit morning and night.

Personally, I like a one-step, do-it-all cleanser that will even take off mascara. For that, there are many options, and I have three favorites. Yon-Ka Gel Nettoyant is exceedingly gentle, yet removes absolutely everything with a lovely, non-irritating lather. Next, we have DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, an awesome all-in-one that’s best applied onto a completely dry face and rinses everything away. Finally, we have Cor Silver soap, a revolutionary bar soap that doesn’t irritate and makes use of silver, Chitosan, and collagen to offer makeup-dissolving, bacteria-busting benefits. Cor soaps aren’t cheap, but they last forever, and even the last teeny-tiny shard will lather up beautifully.

For those of you willing to remove makeup and cleanse in separate steps, you simply HAVE to try the Babor system. The first step is HY-OL, a water-soluble oil that dissolves the day away. The next step, Phytoactive, is selected according to your skin type and is applied on top of HY-OL. You swirl the lovely combo over your whole face, rinse, and ta-da! Beautifully clean skin! I’d say it’s worth the extra step at night, but I just can’t be bothered during the week (read: I’m lazy). Don’t let that stop you-- try it. Another option is Take the Day Off by Clinique. Offered in a balm and a liquid, Take the Day Off does a great job of sending makeup and dirt down the drain. Follow up with one of their famously-gentle cleansers-- I like the Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser.

If you’re one of those waterproof-mascara wearers, you need an eye makeup remover in addition to your cleansing routine. Lancome has a great one in Bi-Facil, a gentle lipid-and-water combo that has been dissolving my special-occasion eye makeup for years. A tip: take off eye makeup prior to cleansing, as bi-phase removers like Bi-Facil and Take the Day Off can leave an oily residue. (For this reason, they’re also NOT the best way to correct eye makeup mistakes. Better to use a cotton swab doused in either facial moisturizer or eye cream to gently erase the occasional errant mascara smudge.)

You lovelies in search of a cleanser/exfoliant combo can rest easy: you have options! Clarins One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser is pure genius, and is a sunny orange color-- perfect for brightening up dreary winter mornings. Philosophy Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash also takes basic cleanser up a notch, thanks to antioxidants. Another fave is Therapy Systems Amazingly Gentle Scrub, a lovely pink gel that uses jojoba beads and uplifting grapefruit oil to take scaly skin off your mind. Another tip: please don’t get any exfoliant anywhere near your eyes. It’s not pretty.

For those of you with fragile, sensitive skin, take heart (and bless your heart): there are several cleansers out there with your names on them! I’ve found that the gentlest cleansers aren’t always the best at removing eye makeup (with the exception of Yon-Ka), so you may want to invest in a separate remover. That said, Clarins Cleansing Milk and Environ Interactive Cleansing Cream do a bang-up job of cleansing without causing a fuss. Our friends at Philosophy offer Purity Made Simple, another fabulous option for temperamental skin. Avoid any artificial fragrances and harsh exfoliants whenever possible. My secret for exfoliating sensitive skin? Sugar and honey. It works like a dream! So lather up, ladies!

Buying Guide
Yon-Ka: Wax Nashville
Babor: Brentwood Salon and Day Spa
Clinique, Lancome, and Clarins: Dillard’s
Philosophy and Therapy Systems: Private Edition