20

Help! When Should You Exfoliate Your Face?

Do you exfoliate your face? Do you use a physical exfoliator that scrubs your skin clean with ingredients that grab ahold of and sweep away goop? Or do you use a chemical exfoliator that contains something like fruit enzymes or naturally occurring alpha hydroxy acids, which dissolve and eat away the dead skin cells? Most of you who practice exfoliation will likely have strong opinions about what type is best for skin (some of you may shun it entirely), but what about the best time of day to exfoliate? That’s what one of our readers, Christine, wants to know. Here’s her question:

I am wondering if you all have an opinion on when to exfoliate your face. I have always heard that your skin is more sensitive in the morning so it is better to exfoliate at night, however I find that in most of your “Morning Routines Exposed” people seem to exfoliate in the morning. Do you have thoughts on this?

Personally, I am a morning exfoliator, and I tend to exfoliate every other day. That may be too much for sensitive skin types, but I find a light, gentle exfoliation really preps my skin for the day and gets my blood flowing. It creates a smooth canvas, so to speak, so that everything I apply afterword—from sunscreen to foundation or powder—goes on without a hitch. Three exfoliating products that are in constant rotation at my house include One Love Organics Brand New Day, May Lindstrom The Clean Dirt, and Josh Rosebrook Active Enzyme Exfoliator. I’ve listed these from the most gentle to the most intense. Another reason I exfoliate in the morning is because I oil cleanse in the evening. Exfoliating in the evening would probably invigorate my senses at a time when I’m trying to wind down.

So when do you exfoliate? Does it matter to you what time of day you do it? Why? Tell us in the comments!

Sometimes our best intentions can complicate life. (Of course I want to get up early, but I also want to stay up late! And I’ve been trying to find the time to make this loaf of bread for weeks, but… sheesh. You can relate, I’m sure.) One of our readers, Susannah, wrote to us about this very subject — bumping into logistical challenges in pursuit of health goals — and we aim to help her figure this out. We’re recruiting you, too. Here’s the challenge:

Please help! I have just started a new exercise program and aim to attend every weekday – the only downfall is I am a SWEATY SWEATY girl and all this health and fitness is ruining my hairdo. I have long, thickthickthick curly hair and I used to wash only 1-2 times a week. Now I am either forced to wash daily or wear a sweaty bun all day. I cannot forgo washing and just rinse either because I air dry my hair and that can take all night long. Dry shampoo only takes me so far because I literally have to blow dry the sweat from my hair beforehand, and I can’t really comb the dry shampoo through either because then I am left with a frizzy, yucky mess. Am I alone in this or are there other sweaty girls out there trying to get fit and have nice hair at the same time? 

What’s a lady to do? We know some of you must have already found the ideal strategy for this lifestyle conundrum. Help a sister out!

And we’re back after a lovely holiday weekend! Did you take advantage of the CV Skinlabs Friday Deal? Let me tell you, I inadvertently got a little too much sun yesterday and found myself with sunburned limbs. I applied CV Skinlabs Rescue + Relief Spray and this morning the burn is GONE and my skin is even-toned—no awkward tan lines! Their products are going to be a summer staple. I just had to share because I love when a product does exactly what it promises to do. Back to the task at hand. Makeup!

A reader named Aneta wrote in with a question we’ve often pondered ourselves: Can you suggest a natural eyeshadow primer for oily lids that actually works?

For real, though. Some of my favorite clean eyeshadows seem to just slide around and settle in creases or melt away altogether, and I know Aneta and I are not alone here. Before going clean, I personally used Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer. Not so clean, but boy did it work. I threw the darn thing out just so I wouldn’t be tempted by its magic fixing abilities.

My current method is to apply foundation or concealer to my eyelids first. A mineral powder foundation is great for this, and right now I’m having a love affair with W3ll People Altruist Mineral Foundation applied with their Foundation and Concealer Brush. Then I apply whatever shadow I’m using, and dust a fine layer of RMS Beauty Un-Powder on top.

Have you found a natural eyeshadow primer that works? If not, what tricks do you use to keep your eyeshadow in tact and fresh? Let us know!

Skin tones. There are so many shades of human. Sometimes you find the perfect makeup formulation for whatever reason—dry skin, sensitive skin, it has SPF, it doesn’t have a certain ingredient—but it only comes in three shades. Or it only comes in shades that err toward pink. Or orange. You name it. We’re all individuals with our own cosmic make-up, preferences, needs… and color. We can find 50 shades of red in a lipstick but the foundation, concealer, and powders are limited beyond belief.  A recent email from a reader struck a similar chord and we wanted to pitch it to you. Take a look…

“I’m a recent convert to natural beauty products, taking the approach of just replacing my old dirty products as they run out or after I’m fed up. I love your blog but I was wondering if you’ve ever featured a black girl. I would love advice on finding natural makeup that covers the full range of skin tones without making chocolate skin look ashy.”

Let’s hear it ladies. What’s up with the limited color range in makeup and what makeup lines have deeper colors that meet all our expectations for natural and effective makeup?

Apparently, it’s time to start planning summer activities! One of our readers wrote in with a great question about skin maintenance while road tripping. We love that Kaitlin is factoring in skincare while venturing out into nature. Here is her letter:

“This may be a hard question to answer, but I am going on a road trip/camping adventure across the US in August, and I’m on the hunt for a great “one step” skin regimen. I’m looking for something I would be able to use without water, such as facial wipes. I also am up for tinted moisturizer suggestions with SPF in it. I will not be wearing much makeup on this trip so makeup removal is not a concern of mine. I really do need help with this. I want to treat my skin well, even though the rest of me may get a little…. dirty? Haha! Please let me know. I would really appreciate all the help I can get.”

For a minimalist routine, Kaitlin has the right products in mind. Here are my suggestions:

Kaia Naturals Juicy Bamboo Facial Cleansing Cloths: These wipes are a cleanser, toner, and eye makeup remover in one! They are made from 100% biodegradable, unbleached bamboo cloth. This is probably the cleanest, most natural facial wipe you will find on the market. The ingredients are full of goodness like organic honey, sunflower oil, and antibacterial essential oils. You can purchase as individually wrapped travel packs, or a full size box. I took these to the beach last summer and loved being able to wipe the sweat and sunscreen off quickly at the end of the day. So refreshing! They are effective but gentle (no alcohol, sulfates, parabens, or synthetic fragrance), and the cloth is super soft. Consider this the “Swiss army knife” of your skincare routine on-the-go.

Suntegrity “5 in 1” Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen (Tinted, Spf 30): This chemical-free tinted sunscreen relies on zinc-oxide to protect your skin from harmful rays. Zinc not only protects, it is anti-inflammatory and helps problematic skin conditions like acne and rosacea. Win! This sunscreen contains some serious skin boosting ingredients like plant-derived hyaluronic acid, astaxanthin, red algae and certified organic aloe vera, jojoba, sunflower, pomegranate, cucumber, and green tea. There are a couple of ingredients I am not a huge fan of (namely, dimethicone), but the formulation is cosmetically elegant — it blends into skin effortlessly — and it has been featured as one of the best sunscreens in the Environmental Working Group’s sunscreen guide for the last two years. You can order trial sizes to figure out the best tint for your skin tone and see whether you like the finish.

One more thing, Kaitlin. Consider taking a light facial oil with you to apply at night and recharge your skin after a full day of outdoor activity. Not knowing your skin type, a safe bet is Lina Hanson Global Face Serum. This blend sinks in quickly and leaves a velvet finish. Plus it’s full of restorative, nutrient dense oils like baobab, argan, and marula. It also smells gorgeous and relaxing thanks to the neroli and frankincense oils.

Now, let’s hear your thoughts and suggestions for Kaitlin in the comments. Happy camping, Kaitlin!