Cleaning Oily Skin Properly

Photo by stock_colors/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by stock_colors/iStock / Getty Images

As anyone who knows me is aware, I have loved removing blackheads and milia since I was old enough to know what they were. I can be having a terrible day and a new client with blackheads puts a smile on my face and I do thank them so as not only to put them at ease, but because I will get to show them that they don’t have to live with clogged pores. However, what I find frustrating is the fact that they have them in the first place because the products they are using are usually too strong or not enough to clean the skin properly. By properly, I mean using cleansers that will remove dirt, but not strip the skin of its essential oils.

One of the biggest misconceptions, we have of oily skin is that it needs a cleanser that will dry it out and that moisturizer shouldn’t be used because the skin has enough oil to keep it hydrated. These two myths alone add to more unwanted acne than is necessary because both will add to dehydrating skin which will clog the pores with unnecessary dead skin which causes surface oil to sit on the skin and the pores won’t be able to breathe. The reality is that an oily skin needs to be balanced which can be done easily by using cleansers that will leave moisture in the skin because our bodies produce sebum which is pore clogging and very little actual moisture. This starts as early as nine or ten as children start to enter puberty.

As we start to notice tweens and teenagers getting blackheads or mild acne, the tendency is to get blackhead removing pads or Stridex pads to clear the skin. While these pads can be a go to in an emergency, they are drying and definitely the start to stripping essential oils. Most often, dry and flaky skin will appear and the pores will start to clog at a quicker rate. This is because the surface of the skin is not actually being cleaned and dead skin has nowhere to go but into the pores. Eventually, acne may start to develop because the skin actually has dirt built up to a level that the surface and pores have no moisture which will cause the pores to expand because they are blocked. This is not a concept just for young adults; any person with oily skin will have the same problems.

With the emergence of multi-purpose cleansers, blackheads, milia and acne have increased because the skin is too delicate to handle a cleanser that exfoliates it daily, has acids that will turn the skin over too often and is either stripped by gels that have too many drying agents or too many moisturizing ingredients that won’t clean it will enough. The best example that I use is too think of the beautiful new car that you have just purchased. Would you use something on it that would strip the finish on a daily basis? Why do we do the same to our faces. Unfortunately, cleansing the skin often ranks on the lower end of what we are told we need to do to avoid aging when it is the most important thing we can do to leave our skins feeling clean without feeling tight and parched.

One of the benefits of having oily skin is that when treated properly, it will tend to show the effects of aging later rather than sooner. Often women with oily skin think that as they age that their skin type changes and becomes dryer. Our skin types never change, but the conditions that affect the skin can. Sun damage, medications, hormone inbalances, incorrect cleaning products, pollution and stress will take a toll on any skin type and the key to treating it is understanding that your skin is still oily, but that you may become dehydrated. Dryness is a lack of oil in the skin and dehydration is a lack of moisture which will affect all skin types, but often affects oily skin because of efforts to dry out oil.

Whether you are fifteen, fifty or seventy, the best way to care for your oily skin is to remember that you still need moisture on the surface and locked into the pores. As a person who dealt with cystic acne in my teen years, I can attest that having a proper moisture level in my oily skin always benefitted my acne over making it worse. For daytime cleansing as long as you have cleansed the night before, starting with a soap free gel cleanser or a soap free foaming cream cleanser that will take off overnight build up is a good base to work with. Toners are important, but I find that using them at night to get any remain makeup or dirt is often enough. Using alcohol free toners assure that your skin will continue to stay soft. For oily skin that is thicker, you may need a toner with a mild astringent to get into deeper pores that can occur on thick skin. If you are using a serum, apply that next followed by a moisturizer with an SPF and an eye cream.

Nightly cleaning takes a little bit more because you will be removing makeup or if you don’t wear makeup, the dirt and oil that will build up on your skin during the day will need an extra cleanser to break up the residue. Although cleansing oil seems like it would be contradictory to oily skin, it is the best way to work through makeup, remove mascara and prepare your skin for your cleanser. Although cleansing wipes have become a fan favorite, they often contain alcohol which is drying along with the fact that the fibers they are made of will be scratchy to the skin, not remove all dirt and makeup and can cause unnecessary irritation and dead skin build up. If a cleansing oil is not your choice, a cleansing cream will also break up makeup before you use your cleanser. After removing your oil or cream, you will find that when you use your nightly cleanser, not only will your skin feel amazingly soft, your serum, moisturizers and eye cream will soak into your pores and leave them softer and smaller in appearance.

Exfolitation for oily skin is another essential step that when done properly, will reduce oily shine on the face, reduce the appearance of pore size and your makeup will lay like silk. For years, physical exfoliators have been ill advised in favor of chemical exfoliators because chemical exfoliators don’t have any grit and can be wiped off easily in lieu of rinsing. While in concept this seems like a great way to care for the skin, I find that it is the other way around when the right exfoliator is used. Because our pores work inward on our skin, chemical exfoliators can get surface dead skin, but they can’t get deep enough to get the dirt that builds up in the pores and the pores start to get a build up. A physical exfoliator can get into the pores without damaging them and leave the surface of the skin cleaner. As I don’t like exfoliating at the sink because it is messy, I suggest taking your exfoliator into the shower with you and using it after you wash your face. Cleansing and exfoliating are two different steps as cleanser removes dirt and residue and exfoliator removes dead skin. The other reason I like the shower is because the steam is opening up the pores making it easier to remove dirt and to rinse if off after you are finished. You will then finish with your final products for either daytime or nighttime.

If you are using retinols, Retin A or anything other prescriptions to clear acne, it is essential to not over use them and to make sure you are following a cleansing routine that does not dry your skin even further. One of my biggest issues that I see today is when someone on Accutane or topical solutions is told not to use moisturizer. These prescriptions thin the skin making it more susceptible to drying which again works on the idea of leaving dead skin to clog the pores. Drying the skin out more will not help acne and it often will cause it too become worse. For topical solutions, the best use is to put it where cysts or actual acne occurs versus all over the face. The results you will see with proper skin care and the prescriptions together will be much more rewarding and often results will be seen sooner.

Creating Beautiful Bridal Makeup

The designer bridal shows are always beautiful and show the most elegant of what is going to be in fashion over the next few seasons. While clicking through the dresses for Spring 2019 on, I was totally in love with what I was seeing. The styles were so different in looks, but one consistent thought went through my mind and that is what I was seeing could be worn by so many different women and look chic yet romantic and soft.

I was already putting together makeup looks for the dresses in my head and starting to sketch them out on face charts. Makeup that can be feminine and pretty and include more color than I have seen over the past few years. Berry stained lips and rosy cheeks with a soft gleaming eye being great for the bride who wants her dress to be simple and classy while a smoky eye with a softer lip will make any bride who has more pattern and design to her dress feel like the exquisite details will be accented in any picture. 

The best part of any bridal look which is where I get to play a part is getting to create a look that is unique to every bride that I work with. Much like the details of the dresses I was in awe over, every bride that I see has something unique about her that she often doesn't see that helps me accentuate her face so when all eyes are on her, she feels like no one will ever have the day that she is relishing.

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Kevyn Aucoin is "Larger Than Life"

There are very few makeup artists that not only receive international acclaim and also have a documentary that is shown at international film festivals. Kevyn Aucoin is one of them. Last night at the Cleveland International Film Festival,  I had the thrill of getting to see one of my idols back at work on the screen when Tiffany Bartok created the documentary "Larger Than Life" about the life and career of Kevyn Aucoin. I remember first seeing his work in every fashion publication I owned along with getting to work with Ultima II Cosmetics when his Nakeds collection took American makeup by storm by showing women that makeup could be very natural and still be elegant. Like a little kid in a candy shop, I waited in line at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chicago for Kevyn to sign his book "The Art of Makeup" which he did with excitement and in usual Kevyn style he went above and beyond what you wanted him to write. Meeting him only validated what I believed about women and makeup: Makeup isn't used to change a woman, it is used to enhance what she already has. 

"Larger Than Life" did not disappoint. Over sixty interviews were done to capture who Kevyn Aucoin was from the intimate memories of his family to the models, fellow makeup artists, stylists, friends and countless celebrities whom had the chance to be a part of his magical work and his world in which he believed that anyone he touched should be treated with perfection and love. Bartok was able to tell his story which unfortunately ended in 2002 due to a long term brain illness in a manner that the audience could see his successes, love for people and his career and the self esteem issues that ultimately drove him to be a genius with his makeup brushes ,but took a toll on his ability to see how gifted he was with an uplifted view of how one person can make a difference in many lives.

I was in awe of all of the people in Kevyn's life that were interviewed and shared their memories for the documentary and the honesty that they shared. Cher, Tori Amos, Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and Isabella Rossellini were just a few of the biggest names of their time that brought back the 90's celebrity and supermodel makeup explosion to a poignant interview with today's top artist Mario Dedivanovic who counts Kim Kardashian as one of his top clients. Dedivanovic shared how much of his inspiration was built from watching Kevyn's videos and by using his book "Making Faces" as a tool to build his own career. Like that little kid in line at Saks Fifth Avenue, I sat with my eyes peeled to the screen getting to see the countless covers and fashion spread pages that I have in at least fifteen big binders that sit with all my makeup books. My only wish from the movie that will be released for sale on July 31 is extra hours of outtakes that had to be pared for the original.

Why Exfoliate??

With Summer ending, you may have noticed dull skin buildup on your face from that extra sunscreen or time you have spent on the beach and your moisturizer and makeup may not be wearing as well. Using an exfoliator one to two times a week in the shower will help keep your skin glowing all week and keep that dead skin from clogging your pores. Many clients ask me if exfoliating is to harsh on the skin because many products that are chemical exfoliators are on the market and remove dull skin while still feeling silky. While chemical exfoliators are great for the surface of the face, your physical exfoliators will actually get into the pores and remove deeply embedded dirt that will prevent blackheads from forming. 

My favorite tip on how to exfoliate your skin is to do it in the shower after you wash your face with your cleanser. Often cleansers and exfoliators are thought to be the same product. Your cleanser actually removes surface dirt and debris so your exfoliator can get into your pores leaving your face soft and better able to hold serums and moisturizers so you use less product and your face feels glowy and not greasy. After you cleanse your face, the steam from the shower will have opened your pores and your exfoliator will be easier to use because you can rinse your face with the water without having to use a wash cloth which can often irritate the skin because of the fibers. When using your product, be sure to hold fine lines tautly apart so you can exfoliate between lines which will get dull skin out and make wrinkles softer and less defined. Enjoy your fresh glow!

GLO and GO!

I wanted to take a minute to let you know about a special treatment I’m currently offering with Glo Therapeutics products called GLO and GO. After only one 20 minute treatment, you will see your skin become instantly brighter and smoother overall!

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