Skin Care – Your Makeup is Only as Good as Your Skin Underneath
The following is meant as guidance only and is generally relevant to people who do not suffer from any sort of medical skin condition. If you have any doubt at all about whether you may suffer from a skin condition, go and see your doctor. This blog has been put together by Pops our head of quirk based on years of personal experience as well as professional experience through Style Me Quirky makeovers. In addition, we have consulted with our top makeup artist Margarida Marinho www.mm-mua.co.uk who kindly gave up about an hour an half of her time on the phone to share with her expertise as a professional beautician. Margarida or (Magui as we know her!) has been instrumental to the writing of this post – thank you Magui!
Three Elements of Skin Condition
There are three key elements to your skin’s health;
- Oil production and levels – (commonly described as how greasy your skin is)
- Dryness – how physically dry the skin is
- Hydration – how much water is in the skin
Dryness and how hydrated your skin is might sound like the same thing but it isn’t. You can have hydrated but dry skin. You can also have dehydrated and oily skin, and all sorts of variations of the three main elements!
Even if your skin is dry and or dehydrated, you can still have oily eyes. They eyes generally aren’t ordinarily dehydrated but tend to retain their oiliness. Its important to cleanse your eyes as well as your face before applying makeup. Use either a very gentle cleanser or a cotton pad soaked with an alcohol free toner, such as rosewater or witchazel – for the more oily types. Don’t trust the the product name or description usually on the front of the packaging, always look at the ingredient list, sometimes seemingly simple/ gentle products are actually mixed with alcohol.
Frequently people who have naturally oily or greasy skin often try to reduce the skins oiliness as it may appear as though they are constantly sweaty or greasy looking. This can be deemed an unattractive characteristic or worse still you may have a complex about it. At Style Me Quirky we have several clients with oily skin and at least two of them hate it. One client memorably reciting all the names he used to get called at school! Fret not, you can balance out your skin without damaging it!
The problem with trying to solve greasy skin with the scrubs, lotions and potions available is that your skin is particularly sensitive to change. When it senses all its natural oils are being removed, your brain compensates by instructing your oil glands to produce more oil, thus exacerbating your skins oiliness! Applying a moisturiser, is always important in all weathers and all year round, for all skin types but it is not the only resolve of a skin that has been stripped and therefore unbalanced and in distress. To help avoid cases of extreme skin distress is to use a very light moisturiser, maybe even a gel texture for an oily prone skin. This way the skin shouldn’t feel overly ‘greasy’, but the correct product for your skin achieves protection, which is one of the main objectives of a moisturiser.
A big problem with trying to balance oily skin types is trying remedies that push your skin too far thus giving you dry, dehydrated and flaky surfaced skin.
If you have oily skin, use a gentle face-wash once or twice a day. After using your face-wash or use a gentle cleanser on a cotton pad to cleanse your skin and you can use a toner to help balance your skin and then moisturise straight afterwards. If that all sounds too much, skip the toner. If it still sounds too much, use face wash and moisturiser only and watch in the mirror in dismay as you age you lazy cretin!
Exfoliation is an occasional process for use on normal dry or oily skin, types, usually not more than once a week. It can also be done not as part of your regular skin care regime but as and when your skin may need it. Exfoliation is when you use tiny sand-like granules in creme or gel to (supposedly) ‘gently’ remove dead skin cells on the top layer of your skin. It is particularly helpful for men (like me) who suffer ingrowing hairs in their beard area. However, by its very nature, scrubbing your largest and most sensitive organ is very bad for you unless you do it right! Remember you only have 7 layers of skin and aggressive or excessive exfoliation will rip off more than just a few dead skin cells that weren’t doing you much harm in comparison to all the live skin cells you rip off over-doing it!
- If you exfoliate too often or two vigorously, you will damage and dry your skin out and may even look pink or burnt, especially if you’ve overdone it on sensitive areas, such as the upper cheek area
- Your body may release more oil to repair the damage which may cause problems with even more shiny, oily or greasy skin
- Moisturising skin after aggressive or excessive scrubbing or using cleansers and lotions will only help with the dehydration of your skin and do nothing for the amount of natural oil in your skin, if the over vigorous use of abrasive products continues, but will help to achieve balance if used in moderation.
Oily Skin Makeup Preparation
Its important to cleanse oily skin before applying makeup as it helps the makeup stick better and the process of applying it much easier. If you have oily skin, prepare it by using a gentle cleanser or better still, get some rosewater (if you have some sensitive areas e.g. blemishes), or witchazel from your local chemist and wet a cotton pad and gently wipe your face to clean off excess oil and dirt that even after washing your face can still be there. It can be surprising to see how much dirt/ grease/ oil cleansing can remove in comparison to face washing alone, even immediately after washing your face, try it, especially at night after a day out in the city!
If you have naturally dry skin, or worse if you have aggravated dehydrated skin that was once oily, it’s essential that you use a moisturising face wash and moisturiser once or twice a day.
Dry Slippy Skin
With regards to applying makeup to dry skin, one problem you may encounter is flakey skin or ‘dry slippy’ skin where the skin feels taught and dry to the touch. Whether the skin is flakey and/ or flaking off even on a tiny scale or you have dry slippy skin which is almost like a microscopic layer of cellophane across the top of your skin’s surface, makeup is likely to either go on and come off again along with the flakey skin cells or it simply won’t stick at all no matter how good you are at makeup and no matter how good the quality of your makeup and tools. Also, if the skin is really flaky, it will leave very flaky finish on the makeup too where it juts out from the skin or falls off taking sections of skin and makeup with it!
Dry Skin Makeup Preparation
Dry skin may need very gentle exfoliation to remove flakey dead skin cells and/ or the tight dry slippy layer of skin to release the healthy new skin underneath. Its so important that this process is done gently with the care and with the right products as aggressive or excessive exfoliation will further damage your skin and lead to it potentially drying out even more.
Our resident beauty and makeup artist expert Magui recommends using ‘Lucas Papaw Ointment’. This can be used, in combination with a soft sponge, as a very gentle exfoliant that you usually only need half a pea sized amount warmed up in your fingers and applied gently with a clean sponge dampened in some toner. Use gentle circular motions over the whole face to remove those dead skin cells and release the fresh healthy skin underneath. That said on a daily routine basis, using an exfoliator that is right for you and at the right level of frequency will help you maintain a much more balanced skin surface, just don’t over do it!
After the ‘Lucas Papaw Ointment’, gently remove with a cotton pad soaked in rose water or withchazel (available at many high street chemists). The whole process should be a pleasant one and is a good healing process for the skin. Then follow with a moisturiser especially if the skin is more prone to dryness (rather than unusually dry).
Dirt, Dust Grease and Grime
Anyone who has been on the tube in London and noticed all the black dirt that comes out in your tissue when you blow your nose will understand just how much general dirt dust and grime there is floating around in the air – gross huh!? If it isn’t already part of your skin care regime, each morning you should always wash your face with a gentle face wash like the Simple brand and then use a decent moisturiser and eye cream or serum. If you have any interest in healthier and a more youthful skin, you need to do it at night tome too!
Men’s Skin Care Products
I gave up on all men’s skin care toiletries years ago as they are so full of additives and chemicals and scents and all sorts of things made up by clever highly paid marketing people that for me don’t work. I’ve tried loads over the years and couldn’t recount the number of men’s deodorants, moisturisers, face washes and worst of all after-shave balms that are supposedly good for men that at best, aren’t very good, and at worst irritate my skin and make it worse! I’m sure at the top end of the beauty market there may be tiny differences in skincare products for men and women but for the price range I can afford and from personal experience, women’s skin care and beauty products work so much better on men, certainly for me. Over The Counter Skin and Beauty Products
A difficult aspect of skincare, especially for men is that no one really tells you how or what to use to care for our skin. Generally the options are to ask a girlfriend or do what the advertisement or the back of the packaging advises. Unfortunately everyone’s skin is different and while offering a plethora of products with complicated scientific sounding active ingredients is a marketers dream, using the products following the directions may not be right for everyone.
Don’t forget marketers want to sell more products too so directions to use an exfoliator for example 2 or 3 times a week might be too much for your skin. Also, if you think the directions aren’t enough and use a product as damaging as an exfoliation product more than directed, you can really aggravate and damage your skin.
Professional Help and Advice
If in doubt, ask! I know its tougher for men than women but these days men’s grooming is fully accepted and commonplace – you think David Beckham and Brad Pitt don’t put effort into their skin care regime? Of course they do! So buy your skin care products from a chemist, Boots are probably the best (not to mention you should get a Boots card because they are awesome!) rather than a supermarket. If you are in doubt about the right product for you, grab it and wander into the makeup and perfume section and boldly ask one of the beauty assistants. They will of course advise you to buy the expensive stuff they are selling at their Clinique counter or whatever but they are at least part qualified to give you advice as to what products to use and how to use them. Ask them what they think about your skin type and see what advice they give.
Remember your skin changes too. Most of us have oily skin going through puberty but its quite possible for your skin type to change over the years so don’t just assume that you are definitely a certain skin type and treat it thus, pay close attention to your skin and keep tabs on whether it is changing and treat it accordingly. Not only does the skin change over the years but throughout the seasons and depending on its environment so, be mindful your skin will have different needs throughout these short term and long term changes.
Of course you could visit a beautician! Pop into a beautician’s and ask at the counter if you can get a skin care consultation. Alternatively book in for a face massage and get chatty with your beautician!
Style Me Quirky takes absolutely no responsibility for any of the advice in this blog. Everyone’s skin is unique, If you are unsure about your skin type and or how to care for it you should always consult with a professional.