It took me until I was past thirty to find a regular hair stylist. Before that, I’d hop around from place to place, partially because I moved so much in my twenties, partially because I never found sometime to really love, but mostly because I associated regularly visiting the same hairdresser with something that only fancy people did. Not considering myself fancy, I convinced myself that returning to the same stylist for more than one cut was somehow indulgent or spoiled or just a thing that people like me simply didn’t do. (Truly, whatever that means.) I am now someone who is very much enamored with my stylist (Christine Morris at Fringe Salon in Manhattan, ilu) no matter how infrequently I visit her or how often I allow my bangs to become a mess before getting them trimmed.
This post is not about hair, but it is about focusing a bit of time on myself and reveling in it; developing a routine and sticking to it, for a while anyway. Specifically, it’s about my face and what I’m doing to take care of it and feel comfortable in it. Mostly, it’s about finding something that’s working for me and embracing it. What works for me might very well not work for you, but so it goes. Clearly, to each their own on all of this forever and ever, amen.
As always, I try to use products that are gentle on my body, gentle on the planet, and thoughtfully made. In a few cases, the products mentioned were sent my way as press samples, but in all cases my reviews reflect my personal experience, opinions, and point of view and I haven’t shared anything here that I don’t use use myself.
Here’s what’s happening skin-wise lately:
I’m not much a face-washer generally, as you might recall. But when I recently shared that fact with a facialist (thank you James for the birthday gift; I only regret waiting four months to use it), she was mildly appalled and started saying something about congestion. Well. I’m not usually persuaded by other people telling me to add anything to my routine, but she had me convinced that perhaps at the ripe age of thirty-five I should be cleansing my skin. More than that, in pregnancy I’ve been wearing slightly more makeup than is typical for me, and I knew that I could really use something with a bit more power behind it than New York City tap water alone. This is what I’ve been using lately:
- Freegirl Kindhearted Cleaning Milk: It’s a creamy soap-free cleanser that’s gentle and mild. It doesn’t suds-up and it doesn’t leave my face feeling taut or dry. It’s also Made-Safe certified and cruelty-free which are both nice things to be.
- I’ve been rinsing the cleanser with the help of my Washable Cotton Rounds (note: this shop is temporarily closed, but will be back again soon!) or a Cotton Washcloth, both of which I’ve taken to hanging in my bathroom using one of these beauties and a magnetic hook stuck to the burning hot steam pipe.
- After cleansing, and any old time I’d like, I love to use a toner or facial spritz. It’s my longest standing skin-care ritual and not one I see myself ever giving up. My very favorite, and I’ve tried many, are the tonics from Marble & Milkweed. I just started a new bottle of Briar’s Rosehip & Calendula Tonic and it’s as lovely as everything else she churns out of her Lower East Side studio.
My skin tends to be on the dry side, especially in the winter when the steam radiators and city wind tunnels blast it into oblivion. Here’s what I’m doing to prevent winter wreaking havoc:
- Following an enthusiastic spritz with my toner, I’ve been letting a pump or two of Naturopathica’s Carrot Seed Soothing Facial Oil soak into my skin. This particular blend came recommended by my dear friend the aforementioned, slightly concerned facialist. It’s really mild and lovely. Carrot Seed Oil has been recommended to me several times by women of a certain age who have noticed their cheek creases no longer disappear so quickly post wake-up and I can confirm that it does seem to be performing something of a miracle in the way of plumping my apparently prune-like skin into something closer resembling a plum…? Anyway, I really like it.
- I’ve been following the facial oil with Naturopathica’s Calendula Essential Hydrating Cream, also recommended by you-know-who. I’ve been using facial oils for years, but I think perhaps I didn’t appreciate how much they could be improved upon with something that seals in all that goodness. My parched skin takes a dose of this golden stuff twice a day, morning and night. Would you believe me if I said the combination appears to be truly diminishing my fine lines? ‘Cause sure does seem to be.
- When I’m feeling virtuous I wear sunscreen. Sundaze C-Shells Broad Spectrum Daily Sunscreen is the one I’ve been using lately and despite being a physical sunscreen, it doesn’t leave a terribly white cast behind, which is about the highest endorsement I can give to any sunscreen.
I’m really not much of a make-up person. I never really learned to apply it properly, for one thing, and for another, I just don’t really like the way it makes my skin feel. If I ever need to wear full makeup, I spend the day with my eyes smarting and feeling like my skin can’t breathe. Still, sometimes I find it useful, even pleasant. In pregnancy, when contending with dark eye circles and blood vessels bursting to the surface of my cheeks, nose, and chin, I’ve found a bit of covering up has improved the old spirit. Here’s what I’ve been using:
- RMS un-coverup has been so handy for subtly covering areas I’d like to blend in a bit more. It’s light and easy to apply and even though I still feel like I want to wash my face at the end of the day, it’s not heavy or oppressive in the way that I find so many other similar products to be. I bought mine at a local shop that helped me find the right shade (22!).
- My go-to bit of color these days is the Marble & Milkweed Rosy Lip Tint. I use it on my lips and my cheeks and while it does need to be reapplied to maintain its hint of color over the course of the day, it’s so easy and soothing to put on, I don’t mind a bit. I love that it looks (and is) totally natural, but still makes an impact.
- I’m a fairly regular mascara-wearer and for the past few months I’ve been using Blinc Mascara. It’s a tube mascara, which I prefer over most others that tend to flake and smudge and generally leave the skin under my eyes looking like a mess. (Full disclosure: A few years ago I had a long post about mascara planned and drafted, but at the end of the day, after trying a bazillion natural mascaras, I couldn’t find any I truly wanted to recommend.) This one, on the other hand, stays put all day and washes away easily with water and without leaving even a trace behind.
- If I’m going out someplace special, I sometimes use a bit of Noto Hydra Highlighter. I usually rub it down the bridge of my nose and on my cheekbones. It’s a bit of a wild card for me and I have no idea if I really use it properly, but I like the little shimmer it adds and so that’s that.
- Finally, and only occasionally, I’ve been experimenting with eyeliner. After being photographed at an evening event where I felt like the photographer was showing me a shot of a very tired and pregnant ghost, I decided to expand my makeup collection with a bit with eyeliner. I have a hard time finding an eyeliner that doesn’t irritate my eyes, and while I can’t say this one is completely perfect, I’ve been using the Ilia Clean Line Gel Liner in Twilight and find that it’s really pretty good, easy enough to apply, and not too terribly smudgy.
And, that’s it. Written down and photographed all together, it feels like kind of a lot, but it’s really a pretty simple routine that I’ve found to be totally manageable and quite lovely. I don’t always bother with the makeup bits, but committing to the the cleansing and protecting parts have been nothing short of wonderful. Cheers to cheeks, etc.
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