Charm School: Your Best Face Forward
I think I was about ten when my skin took on a pebbly sort of appearance and I began to be plagued with breakouts. While my skin condition overall wasn't horrible, it wasn't perfectly smooth. As I got older I had frequent breakouts. I took a home economics class as an elective and can tell you sincerely that I gleaned one little bit of information from that class. A woman who sold a cosmetics line came in to demonstrate how to care for facial skin and show us girls how to properly apply our makeup. In her demonstration of cleansing she made mention of a fact that sort of changed my skin care routine forever. She said that if you were prone to breakouts on the face a moisturizer could correct your skin.
This was revolutionary information. True, Granny had instructed me at twelve to get a face cream and use it, but every bit of information available at that time suggested anyone with an oily complexion and breakouts should avoid moisturizers. Despite the use of a Clair Sonic facial brush and specialized soap as well as the twice daily usage of Sea Breeze astringent, and being very careful to remove all of what little makeup I wore daily, I still had breakouts. I purchased an inexpensive moisturizer and immediately noted an improvement in my skin. Just goes to show that sometimes the 'experts' may be wrong and a woman who applied practical advice could be right.
Just a little note here to say that skin care on Granny's side of the family has often been important to the women. Granny told me that her grandmother not only washed her face in rain water but she skimmed the cream off the milk each morning and evening, "and always used some of it on her face."
So how do you cleanse your skin? First you must identify what type of skin you have. Typically skin falls into four categories: dry, oily, combination, and sensitive. And yes, you can have dry sensitive skin or oily sensitive skin or even combination sensitive skin. Your skin can change over the years, as well. I had very oily skin in my younger days, but I truly believe it was so oily because it was dried out by the soap and astringent routine I used. When I changed to a milder soap, skipped the astringent and used the moisturizer, the oiliness decreased as did the breakouts which thereafter were limited to those higher hormone days.
Dry skin can be thinner and often has fine lines. Oily skin will have an obvious sheen. Combination skin often has oiliness in the forehead/nose/chin area, known as the 'T' zone, but the skin about the eyes and cheeks and throat might well be dry. If your skin feels taut when you clean it, you likely have dry skin.
There are two schools of thought about cleansing. Some believe strictly in cleansing creams, clarifying lotions and moisturizers and absolutely shun any water or soap. This can be effective if you are careful to thoroughly clean your skin. You cannot do this haphazardly!
The other school of thought is soap and water cleansing followed by a moisturizer. My method involves using a cold cream to remove makeup and then following that with soap and warm water. I wash twice to insure I remove all the makeup residue on my skin, then rinse really well. My final rinse water is a little less than lukewarm. I then apply a moisturizing lotion. This method works well for me. I use a soap/cleanser/cold cream/moisturizer that is formulated for sensitive skin. I prefer the store brand Cetaphil products and often will use the cream moisturizer as my cold cream.
The very best care you can give your skin is good food, plenty of water and a little sun and fresh air and exercise every single day. I mentioned last week that ten minutes of sun daily was recommended for maximum absorption of Vitamin D3 but I must share that this morning, I found a medical article online recommended at least 30 minutes of sunlight daily. That's triple the amount of time we've been told, but studies have proven that it takes at least 30 minutes to absorb that beneficial Vitamin D.
I mentioned diet affecting our skin. What we eat plays a big role in skin health. Fatty fried foods and sweets upset the ph balance of the digestive system. Fruits and vegetables and lean meats, the right balance of dairy and butter all go hand in hand to creating a beautiful complexion.
I'd noted before that I was prone to breakouts in certain areas of my face. I made the connection one day that I often touched my face in those areas. I'd rest my chin in my hand, for instance. Once I broke myself of that habit the breakouts considerably reduced.
If you are prone to breakouts there are special products which may be bought. I'd consult a skin care specialist if you have really painful breakouts. Amie had uneven skin and deep cysts for many years. I was shocked at a recent picture in which her skin was clear and smooth. She'd found a formula of some sort online and started using it. It was a homemade product that used honey, of that I'm sure. So yes, home remedies may work for some as well.
Now let's briefly discuss makeup. You know that I keep my own routine fairly simple. I like multiple use products and just a natural enhancement of my own features. Not for me the multiple highlights and low lights and bronzers and nine eye shadows, nor the monochromatic face. I have been looking at Pinterest this week and I am astonished at the vast amount of detail some young women go into putting on their makeup. It's mind boggling. I wonder how on earth they ever get to leave the house. It surely must take hours upon hours. They look beautifully unrealistic when they are all done.
That's all fine and well, but I do truly believe that a woman should look like herself when she finishes her makeup, not a stranger who was transformed from the nineteen bottles. One of the loveliest compliments I've ever been given came from a friend who sold me skin care products. She said she liked that I didn't wear so much makeup. Well the truth is I wear enough but not nearly as little as she assumed I did! Still, she had seen me without my makeup so I obviously hadn't put on a mask that made me unrecognizable.
I've written about the products I like to use here on the blog. Suffice it to say that I am a 'keep it simple' sort of girl.
Look through magazines to see what's current. In the 1970s there wasn't a school girl alive who didn't have a flavored high gloss to go over her lip color. Now the trend is to use a matte lipstick. I've noted a sort of monochromatic look to makeup as well that keeps eyes and lips and blush all in the same tones. Not a huge fan of that look myself. My favorite look? The 1950's red lipstick, lined eyes with neutral eye shadow and defined brows. That is the look I generally work towards for myself. You can get an idea of how I like my makeup to look by the photo that heads this post.
My suggestion to you if you've been wearing the same makeup 40 years or so you is to look into changing things up. Your face changes. Hair color changes, eye color may lighten, skin tone changes. Your makeup should change, too. There are department store makeup counters and private consultants who will happily help you find a pleasing and current look. You're under no obligation to purchase products though I will confess the few times I've done this I've usually purchased one item because these people do work on commission for goodness sake and it's courteous to realize that their time is as precious as yours or mine.
Take notes of how the technician applies makeup and what sort of brushes or sponges, etc. that she uses. Ask to look at the product she's applying and get a good look at the colors. Ask her to jot down the color numbers that she's used so you can find the same tint in another product, perhaps. It's not a state secret and of course, she's hoping in your taking notes that you plan to return and purchase a few more products as time goes along and do if you like what she's using. There are no rules says you must buy it all the day you do the consult.
Of course, you can look about online and get a world of hints and tips about makeup applications. You tube videos abound, as well. Or if you happen to have a younger family member who knows these sorts of things you an always ask their advice. I wore brown eyeshadows for years and still use them but I was bored to death with brown the day I texted Katie and asked, "Could I do gray perhaps?" Her affirmative reply gave me the assurance to try something different which I liked very well. And by the way, in our family, we go to Katie for makeup advice. She stays atop trends and application techniques.
Look at what colors are suited to your eyes and hair and skin tone. You can, if you really need to disguise or enhance a feature, learn to make your nose shorter, or thinner, your jaw line more prominent, etc. by the judicious placement of highlighters and shadows.
You can also, if you really like a look on a model in a magazine, experiment with that. My desire to shop for a red lipstick was inspired by a Revlon ad. I found the lipstick that I'd liked so well but in the end it didn't suit my coloring. I ended up with a lovely deep pinkish red that really brightens my smile. I love it!
Look at what eyebrow shape best suits your face shape. I just entered into a search engine "brows for a square face" and there were all sorts of sites. I discovered that I'd accidentally hit that shape just right for my face shape. Remember that brows serve as frames for the eyes. As I've gotten older, I need to enchance the color of my brows a little because they have thinned and lightened. I don't use a heavy hand in applying my brow color. I don't want to look hard as Joan Crawford in her middle years!
While you're checking out which brow shape best suits you, look up which eyeglass shapes best suit you. I'm not sure that my current glasses are at all the right shape for me. I get a lot of compliments on the glasses themselves because they are unique and pretty but I'm not sure that I'd choose this style a second time around. In looking at styles that best suit my facial shape, not one pair look like mine! My instincts are right, at least. I'll be careful to check styles online BEFORE I go to choose my next pair.
Finally, check your attitude and thoughts. Negative thoughts, poor me complexes, and constant worrying show on your face. Cultivate a peaceful countenance. You'll be shocked at the change that comes about in your appearance! I do realize that sometimes worries plague us and so does pain and all can show on the face but we must learn to control what we reveal in our facial expression. I knew a woman years ago who was fairly young and quite lovely. She had the most pleasant face and sweetest expression at all times. I can't tell you how shocked I was one day to look down at her hands and see how horribly twisted they were with arthritis. Then I noted the cane near her chair. This lovely woman was in constant pain on a daily basis, and had to work outside her home. I'd never have known she was experiencing pain had I not seen her hands. I think of her often when I catch myself grimacing or frowning and try to smooth away that expression right away.
Your attitude is what people will see on your face so make it a point to cultivate pleasant and sweet thoughts. Yes, you will still be worried at times or hurting but there's no need to let it control you to the point that your face is ravaged.
Now go show that lovely countenance to the world. And smile! Those are the best cosmetic 'surgeries' and makeups you'll ever need.