Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Poodle Pampering: Spa Day!

Poodles I have been experiencing the bane of winter skincare- Dry Skin!!!

Dun dun duuuuunnnnn!

What's a poodle to do when winter winds make skin itchy, sensitive, and dry? Did someone say spa day?! Oh yeah!!!

Since I'm saving all my money for my May vacation, a trip to a spa isn't in the budget. A home facial is.

Poodles, don't you wish you could spend all day at a salon like in The Women (1939)?

Best line in that movie: Mary Haines- "I've had two years to grow claws Mother. Jungle Red!"

I know, I know, GET TO THE POINT!!

Have I ever mentioned I'm a licensed Esthetician? I can't wait to share all my skin care tips with you poodles. This is liable to be a long post, so sit back and relax... or procrastinate, look at the pictures, and read the whole post later. We all do it, don't pretend you haven't!! HeHe.

Skin cells turn over in a 28 day cycle. Sound familiar to another wretched cycle we're familiar with? As we get older our skin takes longer to turn over. It needs a little help. That's where exfoliation comes in.

Here's the deal with exfoliation: it's OVER-PRACTICED!!! You do not need to exfoliate every day. Even if you have oily skin, I would only recommend 2-3 time a week. If you have normal to dry skin, 1-2 days a week is plenty.

Image found at Vintage Ad Browser

Exfoliation is the process of breaking down skin cells so that they can be sloughed away, either through a chemical process, or physically with a scrub product. If a product says it contains AHA, BHA, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Retin-A, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, etc., it is a chemical exfoliant. Chemical exfoliants work like little pac-men eating away at skin cell bonds. A scrub is a physical exfoliant with which you manually break down skin cells. You don't need both! Pick one or the other. If you over-exfoliate, you are drying out your skin and depleting it of natural oils. Your skin will react by then overproducing oil to hydrate itself, and you'll find yourself in an endless breakout/oily skin battle. Or with even dryer skin then you started with.

The week before your period, is the perfect time to give yourself a facial. Especially if you are prone to hormonal breakouts i.e. on your chin or jawline.

Of course if you have the time, a once a week facial is great too. So is visiting your esthetician at least once every 4-6 weeks. Industry shout-out!!

But in the meantime, here are the steps to an awesome do-it-yourself facial:

Step 1: Cleanse. Wash your face and neck with warm, not hot, water, and a milky cleanser. Or try my favorite, cold cream. Foaming cleansers can strip your skin of necessary oils. Something you want to avoid if you already have dry skin. Bar soap is also drying, but a beauty bar like Dove is ok. Use a warm, damp, soft cloth to remove the cleanser.

Always use an upward motion. No one wants
saggy skin!

Step 2: Exfoliate. Take your pick of a scrub, or an exfoliating mask/peel. Follow the manufacturers directions. If you choose a scrub, never use one with ground apricot or walnut kernels. They can be much too harsh. Save them for your next pedicure!

Awesome scrub I found on Etsy.com from Ayelet Naturals!
Paraben free and ingredients I actually understand!

Step 3: Apply a serum to damp skin. Serums can be applied either under a mask, or under your moisturizer. Serums have a much smaller molecular weight than moisturizers, allowing them to penetrate deep into your skin's layers. They deposit necessary nutrients that can make a huge difference in the appearance of your skin. Pick one based on your main skin concerns. You can also layer serums for more benefits.

This serum seems to be helping my
sun-damaged skin tone. It's on
trial right now.

Step 4: Apply mask in a thin layer. You do not need to use a ton of product. Usually masks fall into 3 main categories- hydrating for dry/sensitive skin, balancing for combination skin, and purifying for oily/acneic skin. You can use just one type, or a combination of masks for different concerns. I like to use a hydrating mask on most of my face, and a balancing or purifying mask on problem areas. You could also use a firming mask on your neck. No chicken neck here!! Leave the mask on for 10-20 minutes. Remove with a warm, damp washcloth.

I used the MyChelle mask for most of my face, and
the naturallogic mud mask for my breakout zones

Step 5: Tone. I prefer to mist on my toner, but you can also apply it with a cotton ball. Pick an alcohol free toner to rebalance your skin's natural pH. Skin's pH falls at 4.5-5.5, and is slightly acidic. Toner can help your skin absorb products more effectively.

Step 6: Apply an eye gel or cream. Use a pea size amount and keep the product on the ocular bone, never going too close to the eye. The product will absorb into the surrounding skin, so if you apply too closely to the eye, it will actually end up in your eye, possibly irritating it. Always pat the gel/cream on starting from the outer corner of your eye and working in, using your ring or middle finger. Continue around the eye onto your brow bone.

I use this eye product strictly at night and
a tightening eye gel during the day.

Tappety Tap!

Step 7: Moisturize! Despite popular belief, moisturizers do not deposit a large amount of moisture. Their main job is sealing in water found in the skin's outermost layer, and then they create a barrier against harmful environmental elements that can irritate skin. Pick the right moisturizer for your skin type e.g. lighter moisturizers for normal to oily skin, heavier moisturizers for dry to mature skin.

If I'm feeling really dry, I love this cream
from Glory Be Herbals.

I often use this moisturizer from Avalon Organics.
I used to love their products, but I'm not a big
fan of their recent reformulations. *sigh*

Remember that scene in Gigi? Her grandmother
in the bathtub diligently massaging her neck?!
French women know skincare!

Step 8: Gaze in a mirror to see your healthy, glowing skin!

Look at that glow!

Facial DO'S and DON'T'S:

*DO NOT cover-up that clean skin with makeup! All your effort at removing oil and dirt will have been wasted. That is why it is best to do a facial late in the day or before bed. You won't have to go out anywhere, and your skin can soak in all that facial goodness overnight.

*DO NOT exfoliate if you are using a prescription like Retin-A, or are under the care of a dermatologist. Retin-A is an exfoliant, and your dermatologist can recommend the best skincare for your needs.

*DO NOT exfoliate if you have recently had a facial waxing service. Waxing exfoliates the skin. Wait at least 3 days before exfoliating again.

*You DO NOT necessarily need a department store or expensive name brand skincare line. Pick products that seem to work best for you. DON'T always believe the advertising hype!

*DO give a new product a chance! It takes your skin a full cycle to adjust, so sometimes a 7-day trial just isn't enough. Of course if you have an immediate bad reaction (rash/irritation), discontinue use.

*DO read labels! If you have no idea what an ingredient is, research it. I prefer more organic skincare, or skincare products that utilize essential oils.

*DO be consistent!!! Each day practice the big 3: Cleanse, Tone, and Moisturize!!! Then add in an exfoliant a couple times a week, and maybe even a mask once a week. Your skin will radiate with beauty!!!

Facials can help combat the drying effects of cold winter air and stuffy indoor heating. They can also help combat the signs of aging. Who doesn't want that?!

But don't just take my word for it- give yourself a facial tonight!!


  1. gee I wish my "licensed esthetician" sister would give me a facial...

  2. Ah, the women. Not a big fan of Crystal Allan, as she was the other woman, but she cracks me up with "There is a name for you, ladies, but it isn't used in high society... outside of a kennel."

    1. Agreed! I'm not a big fan of Joan Crawford in general. Bette Davis is my gal!

    2. Kindred spirits! I feel the same way! I saw Dark Victory the other day--sobbed like a baby. Everytime.

    3. Anne-spelled-with-an-E kindred spirits! ;) My favorite Bette Davis film is Now, Voyager. "Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars."--Sooo dramatic!!

  3. Excellent tips. I'll have to try them.

  4. Agreed..I need to start pampering myself.

  5. Hey!!! I just found this today. I'm Toni, from Naturallogic (the second mud mask). I'm so happy you're using my mask - I hope it loves your skin!. And please tell me in the future if you ever post about any of my other products - I will tell everyone in my circle about your blog! Thank you so much :) xoxo