Mark another one on the chalk board for team oils, girls! In the September issue of Elle there’s a whole feature devoted to revealing to the readers that oils (oils!) can actually reverse the excesses of, you know, excessive skin care.
The piece’s author is one of those product junkies—hey, we can relate—whose multi-layered, supposedly multitasking, 100-step skin care routine has left her skin worse for wear: red, irritated, and congested beyond belief. So she heads to a derm in search of help. From the piece:
She basically goes on a major product detox, replacing her chem-laden crap with gentle, skin-friendly oils instead. And guess what? Her skin calms down. Ahhh.
This article reminded me of some very stupid behavior of my own back when I was a product hound. I must have been 26 or 27 when a very old woman (who’d clearly had several facelifts) working at a fancy beauty store convinced me and my even younger, baby-faced, wrinkle-free friend that we must—MUST—start using glycolic acid NOW. In our twenties. Otherwise, we would be in big trouble. We should also never, ever, under any circumstances go in the sun. And we should change our pillowcases every night and wash them after one use (with toxic laundry detergent, no doubt). Of course, I ate up this advice.
I applied the glycolic acid as instructed, slowly building up my tolerance to several applications a week. My skin looked… dewy, I thought. Definitely my pores were smaller. At any rate it would prevent me from aging, I told myself. Then I went snowboarding one weekend and my skin turned a color of tomato red I’d never seen before on a face. I kept using the glycolic though. Duh, it was making me younger. But before long, I had—rosacea maybe? Hard to say, but my skin was angry and irritated and red and bumpy, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that it took years (and a whole lot of natural oils) to reverse the damage I’d done.
Needless to say I’m thrilled to see Elle telling this skin detox story. The whole article isn’t online, but I did find this link to product recs.
Did any of you engage is these charming burn methods? Were the results fab or frightening?
You know when you meet a new person and you’re so wild about them that even their snoring is adorable? You think about them when they’re not around and find ways to work them into conversations no matter how much of a stretch it is? That’s basically how I feel about the Kahina Giving Beauty Toning Mist, which I’ve been using religiously for exactly a month now mainly because…
It’s not every day one of your favorite brands puts out a new product, and it’s not every day you find a product that is loaded with actives, feels and smells good, and—gasp—works.
A word about the word “works.” This is obviously to a certain extent subjective, but seeing is believing when it comes to skincare and based on what I see in the mirror (even in the super-unflattering lighting in my bathroom) and on the ingredient list (posted below), I’m a believer. I feel almost certain that my skin has been more hydrated, calmer/clearer, plumped and glowy since I started using it—which I credit to the sodium hyaluronate, argan leaf extract, willow bark and rose water. There are also a lot of antioxidants in there.
Here’s how I use it: After my morning shower, where I typically wipe my face with a muslin cloth from Pai (with no cleanser), I spray my face with Kahina’s Toning Mist, wait a couple of minutes, and then apply moisturizer and sunscreen. And at night before bed, after washing, I spray, wait a few, then apply my night oils and an eye cream. It’s also nice over makeup (it sets minerals very nicely) and as a refresher after a long flight. So far, so great.
Plus, 25 percent of the profits are set aside for the Berber women in Morocco who harvest and produce Kahina’s argan oil.
You can get it from their site, for $36. I’m not sure how long it will last but with a month of twice-daily use I have a long way to go before it runs out.
Ingredients: aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, aqua, rosa damascena (rose) flower water*, salix nigra (willow bark) extract, populus tremuloides (aspen bark) extract, medicago sativa (alfalfa) extract*, sodium hyaluronate, argania spinosa (argan) leaf extract, oryza sativa (rice) seed extract*, camellia sinensis (white tea) leaf extract*, sodium PCA, glycerin, sodium levulinate, sodium anisate, maltodextrin, sodium benzoate.
Have you tried this mist? Do you have a toner you like?
I’m really pretty pink. Of course, there are triggers that worsen it, like standing on my head for too long, or red wine, or sending embarrassing text messages. But even when I wake up after a deeply restful nine-hour sleep, I tend to be a little bit flushed.
For a long time I didn’t really think about it. I didn’t wear much makeup, so color-matching wasn’t an issue, and I grew up around a lot of other Irish kids, so they were kind of pink, too. At some point, though, I started thinking about the color of my skin as a problem that had to be fixed. Indeed, my pink skin had become the thing I hated most about my appearance.
It started when a famous dermatologist, who I went to see for an annual skin exam, walked in the room, took one look at me, and said “Okay, so the rosacea. There’s a new pill out…” as she reached for her prescription pad and started scribbling.
That was the first time my pinkness had been “diagnosed,” and it was the first time it occurred to me that it wasn’t stray blemishes or moles I had to worry about, but my whole entire face.
I’d never heard of rosacea, and the last thing I wanted to do was take a pill for a problem I didn’t even know I had. I left her office feeling horrible (and hideous).
It’s hard to explain, but there is something about being told your whole freaking face is a problem that really kind of stings. Since then, I’ve had makeup artists suggest I prime my entire face with something tinted green; I’ve been prescribed topical steroids; I’ve had estheticians suggest expensive five-packs of “cool” lasers; I’ve had ayurvedic doctors forbid me from eating tomatoes for four months; and I’ve had makeup-counter people point me to lines for women with “rosy undertones” by Clinique or Origins. There are even infomericals on TV for skin like mine.
In our book, we interview Evan Healy, a holistic esthetitian who has a skincare line that we really like. She talks a lot about rosacea, and how common it has become, suggesting that the widespread use of aggressive peels and acids has resulted in an increase in the number of women with red, irritated skin. Even Alexandra, who is anything but pink, battled with redness a few years ago when she was still using acids on her face and getting regular facials.
But here’s the thing. I don’t do that stuff, and I never really did. Over the past two years, I have completely detoxed my skincare regimen, I am incredibly gentle with my face, I am careful about what I put in and on my body, and yeah, sure, my skin has calmed down a little. But it’s still totally pink. And I still have doctors suggesting I fix it with topicals and drugs.
This isn’t life or death stuff, of course, but these are nonetheless the things we all live with—our own impressions of our own appearance, based on personal hangups as well as what we are told is pretty. And for whatever reason, this one has been the hardest for me to make peace with.
And yet…I kind of have. It’s part of what this natural-beauty thing is all about for Alexandra and me. Somehow, along the way, your perspective shifts, and you stop feeling like your hair, or your skin, or your body are things that need to be tamed and molded into submission. You learn to smile when doctors give you bad advice, because you know your skin better than they do, and you trust yourself. And then you go stand on your head for as long as you want, and you eat tomatoes because they’re delicious, and you send those embarrassing text messages. Sure, your face turns pink as hell, except now, you really, truly don’t care.
What has been your biggest hurdle?
Beautiful girl via