Wednesday, February 25, 2009

About Face

In addition to being assaulted from all sides by the toxins in our household products, we also are apparently absorbing some worrying things from our beauty and grooming products.  I have no idea if this is true, but I've read that our skin absorbs 60% of what we put on it, so it certainly is worth knowing what you're slathering yourself with.

There is quite an extensive list of ingredients common to skincare products that one is supposed to avoid.  I can only ever remember one or two of them...parabens and pthalates are generally the ones that stick out.  I think because they both disrupt hormones and or cause cancer somehow, prospects that I find to be particularly unappealing.  But my point is that I cannot be trusted to weed out the OK products from the not OK products so I often throw up my hands and go for the hippie organic brands where I know everything is OK.  So if my skincare regime seems a little granola, that is why.


Forever I was in love with Shu Uemura's Cleansing Oil.  I would rave about it to anyone who would listen.  But then I began to realize that it was essentially mineral oil.  The formulation was genius, I mean this is mineral oil that washes clean away when you combine it with water, but mineral oil all the same.  And then I read somewhere that mineral oil essentially creates a plastic-like layer over your skin, which immediately grossed me out.

So I did a bit of internet research and discovered that one can make cleansing oil at home without too much trouble.  Just mix castor oil (this is apparently a cleansing, occasionally drying element) with some sort of carrier oil like sweet almond oil or sunflower oil (my personal preference).  For dry skin, it should be about an 80/20 split between carrier and castor, for combination skin (mine) 70/30, and for very oily skin, 60/40.

Now the one drawback is that the oil does not foam and wash completely away like Shu Uemura.  Instead, you need to rub pretty long and hard with wet hands, and occasionally you'll get a little oil on the towel you use to dry your face afterwards.  But, that aside, my skin has been looking absolutely great if I do say so myself (usually winter is a disaster for my face), and this little concoction costs about one tenth of the Shu Uemura cleansing oil.


ARGAN OIL.  Enough said.


I have been using Retin-A for about fifteen years, and will never give it up.  It would have to be pulled from my cold dead hand.  It makes my skin clear, smooth and soft like nothing else I have ever tried.  I have no idea if it is toxin free, but nothing evil jumped out at me when I perused the list of ingredients, so I will pretend everything is on the up and up.  I highly recommend begging your dermatologist for a prescription.

Eye Cream

Eye cream is a hard thing for me to evaluate.  I don't quite have wrinkles around my eyes yet, just a vague crepeyness at the corners, so I don't know if the eye cream improves anything since there isn't a huge amount to improve (if I do say so myself).  I just use it to avoid future drooping and creasing.  And I have to say, I have really been enjoying Juice Beauty's Smoothing Eye Concentrate.

I will say that my little crepey droop does seem to be much improved after using this product.  Juice Beauty is such a lovely line (and all green/organic!) that I suppose I shouldn't be surprised.


I have been fairly obsessive about sunscreen my whole life.  My skin is pale, so my mom was slathering me on a regular basis when I was very young.  And from about the age of twelve, I began to use sunscreen daily, so I am at this point fairly informed when it comes the the product.

There are two different types of sunscreen:  those with chemical blockers and those with physical blockers, like titanium dioxide.  For quite some time I have been using Anthelios SX Daily Moisturizer (chemical blocker), and had been loving it.  But sadly, I discovered the dreaded parabens on the ingredient list so had to change.

Most organic sunscreens have physical blockers.  The one downside with these is that they give your face a whiteish cast when you first apply them.  The cast disappears shortly, but it is a little disconcerting at first.  I've tried quite a few different brands, and have found that they all have this same effect, so it is just something that I've learned to live with.  And I ultimately decided to go with Juice Beauty's Mineral Sheer sunscreen because I like the level of moisture it offers, plus it smells good.

Tomorrow:  Green products for the body

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