Saturday, August 12, 2017

Surviving August- Products For The Dog Days of Summer (and some nagging about SPF)


In all truth, this post should feature nothing but a single photo of the mammoth-sized air conditioning unit that sits behind the house. I owe it my sanity and should decorate it with flower garlands and assorted precious offering (preferably such that don't attract Arlo the groundhog). still, this is a blog about personal grooming, and as such we need to talk products. I'll skip the obvious: deodorants and blotting papers, a good rapport with one's pedicurist, and a large hat collection. Instead,let's look at the little things.

1. A good body powder to be used after the shower and before getting dressed. I'm all for luxurious Chanel after bath powders and even have a couple of pristine Givenchy III and Jovan Sculpture (a fogotten chypre) that I use before bed, but for daily use in generous quantities (and then some) I go with a classic, Roberts Borotalco, which you can find in various sizes and cheap prices on Amazon. It keeps my skin comfortable, non-sweaty, and fresh smelling from head to toe.

2. La Roche-Posay Serozinc spray. Not pictured here because I was distracted by something shiny while arranging the shoot, but this high-zinc water spray is calming my face and neck after scrubbing them to remove sweat and sunblock,  to recover from a heat rash or an allergy reactio, or just when my face is telling me that we both hate August. American stockist of La Roche-Posay don't have this miracle in a blue atomizer, but it's hard to find online from store like Notino.

3. Here's another essential  forgot to put in the photo. My old Clarisonic brush works extra hard during the summer (nothing like the gunk of a full day makeup, sunscreen, and good old sweat). I also has a Clarisonic Mia that was sent to me by PR a couple of years ago and has traveled the world with me. Since my skin is of certain age and more sensitive than ever, I use the brush with the dirt-cheap yet extremely gentle Cerave hydrating cleanser (it doesn't remove a speck of makeup by itself, but as the Clarisonic's sidekick it's excellent).

4. It's no secret that when I'm not out among people I keep my hair (all or partial) away from my face, up in a bun, half-and-half Middleton-style, or just twisted into one big mess at the nape of my neck (most likely). Even more than I like to hold my hair in pretty things I need said fripperies to be of an industrial strength. None of this is relevant if you have wispy silky strands that can be braided into glorious Daenerys Targaryen hairdos, but I need the big guns which I find at France Luxe. Some of these clips and barrettes are full glam and cost as much, others are a good balance of style and quality. I bu several new ones a couple of times a year because a girl with big hair needs a) variety, and b) some air flow on the back of her neck.

5) Dry Shampoo. Actually, all the shampoo in the world. But I've had days when my recently washed scalp was already crying for mercy by the time I was getting ready to go out for dinner in the city (also known as the polluted sauna). Bridging the gap is a good dry shampoo, and while I've recently tested that much-hyped foam one from Ouai, I was not impressed and promptly went back to my old favorite, aptly named New York Streets. I used to buy it by the dozen on Amazon, now it looks like a Walmart exclusive, which doesn't thrill me, but I'll pay the devil if I have to. Or switch to Colab.

6) The problem with waterproof mascaras is how cumbersome it is to fully remove them by the end of the day. Soaking, oiling, carefully babying, and you still end up with a faint trace under the lashes come morning. Tubing mascaras have been around for over twenty years, and I've recently gone back to the classic, Blinc. It forms a coat around the lashes (hence increasing volume), stay in place without disintegrating even under the worst conditions, and come evening you can take them all off with no rubbing or tugging, just use a washcloth well-soaked in very warm (not too hot) water.

7) Pure Aloe Vera gel. Yes, I also have Benadryl in cream and gel stashed in handbags ad around the house, but aloe is kinder and more versatile (burns, rashes, scrapes, bites, annoying people). I've been buying the one from Lily of the Desert for as long as I can remember. Some drugstores offer non-pure ones that are enriched with lidocaine or various antiseptics.

8) Waterproof eyeliners in easy to use gel formulas are everywhere. I'm an equal opportunity liner and my favorite come from many brands. Lancome Liqui-Drama (Sephora Exclusive) and YSL are outstanding for the range of gorgeous colors, but the Essence waterproof gel pencil ($1.49 on essencemakeup website) is among my (many many) staples.

9. Forgetting that one's lips require an SPF is the easiest thing in the world. You do your makeup, you prep, prime, line. and color, then you start your day and not always remember to do the whole thing right away between lunch and the car trip back. Any other scenarios apply. I love (love love) Coola Lip SPF. Tinted, plain, mineral, whatever. They all come in an SPF 30 and are very literally life savers.

10. Which brings us to the other life savers, and I mean that without a shred of sarcasm. The anti-aging benefits are nice and all, but a zealous and fanatical use of sunscreens does save lives. I'm cheating a bit here, since it's not an August or a dog days of summer product, but a 365 day a year thing, no exceptions. It's frustrating to see every corner pharmacy in France offering a variety of top-notch cosmetically elegant sunscreens at reasonable prices while our drugstores dole out those heavy white goops that promptly break me out and are impossible to use under makeup (and not that all of the eye-watering expensive stuff at department store counters is all that fantastic, either). Lucky for us this is 2017, consumer needs are heard (at least in some markets), and this internet thingy is making life easier.

I generally favor chemical sunscreen because they're the lightest and my skin is happy with them even if they contain alcohol. I buy tubes upon tubes of Japanese ones (Hada Labo and Biore) either online or at the local Japanese market, and use them like water (at around $13 a pop it's never an issue). Both my mother and husband have now converted. I also adore many French SPFs (see "cosmetically elegant"), though I purchase the European formulas and ot the USA versions, and do it through frenchcosmeticsforless.com (try sticking to your shopping list and not buying half of France). It's worth the wait time. They sell many brilliant sun protection products from bigger and smaller brands. My two favorites (texture and performance) are Uriage Bariesun SPF50 Cream (fragrance free) because it's gentle enough even on allergy days, and Bioderma Photoderm SPF50+ Laser Cream because it's the lightest and most pampering, yet effective enough for people undergoing laser treatments, so it's a no-brainer for a heavy retinoid and acid user like me (about $30 at the retailer mentioned above).

When it comes to purely physical sunscreens I've never had much luck until I've discovered Hydropeptide Solar Defense. The previous incarnation was only 30 SPF which I didn't consider enough for a midday outing but was adequate for a pre-sunset drive. It's now replaced with a beautiful SPF 50  ($48 on dermstore) that has a certain opalescent finish which I love under my foundation. It's the one SPF I'm willing to use instead of a primer, as it does a phenomenal job on both counts.



13 comments:

  1. I heard Biore- made in Japan SPF lotion is pretty good. Ten dollars a tube. No pasty white face after application.
    But it from Amazon or some Japanese store in the U.S.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly. The light Japanese lotions that leave no white residue were an amazing revelation. I usually order from Amazon but I'm also lucky to have a local Japanese mega store not far from my home. Prices are similar.

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  2. I've never heard of body powders, but now I want to try one!

    I have to say I'm a big fan of the Shiseido Urban Environment sunscreen - I've bought others from Japan and Europe, and that feels like more of a hassle than it's worth. Having something I like from Sephora is a big plus.

    Have you tried the Klorane dry shampoo? It's my favorite.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a mini Klorane hiding somewhere. Might be a good time to test.

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  3. Yep, loving my Japanese Biore (kinda aqua colored tube) from Amazon. Anyone have a more reliable source for Japanese sunscreen? I'm always looking for affordable sunscreen. SkinMedica's newest formula is fantastic but EXPENSIVE!

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    Replies
    1. Unless you live in area that has a Little Tokyo or a large center of Asian stores your best bet is Amazon. I've never had any issues.

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    2. Cool, great to know. It's just tough to tell with amazon sometimes, or rather the company from which you are actually buying stuff.

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  4. What a helpful post! Thanks for the incredibly useful tips. Do you continue to use retinoids in the summer, or do you cut back somehow? I have heard conflicting opinions on the issue of retinoid use in the summer sun, and it would be so interesting to hear your take on it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The short answer is that I still use PTR retinol about 4-5 times a week, alternating with Biologique Recherche p50 original, plus a weekly acid peel. I also avoid the sun diligently, wear hats and scarves at all times, and generally look crazy. But my skin is happy :)

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  5. Our summer in Australia is fast approaching, so I'm already looking for good body powders and cool and fresh smelling shower gels. Thanks for the tips!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ingrid, I don't know if you have Sabon stores down under, but you might enjoy several of their body products.

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  6. I guess I'm low maintenance! Or maybe it's my age. ;-} I'm 66 - I use Hada Labo UV Creamy Gel SPF50 that I buy on Amazon - $13. I guess I should put something additional on my hands...but I've got spots and it may be too late for them. Other than that, I use moisturizers on my face, including oils. No retinol. Clarisonic several times a week, alternating with Lancer The Method Polish. Body oil or lotion on my body after morning shower - no powder, never liked it. I really don't need it...I don't sweat that much.

    My hair is longer than it's been for many years - short compared to yours - but it's almost mid-back. It goes up with one of those coiled plastic things the minute I go home - hair is never really hanging on my neck unless I'm out in public in air-conditioning. I don't go in the sun - ever - except to get from car to building and back. My hair gets washed 2 - 3 times a week - no problem with sweating, so no need for dry shampoo.

    I don't like the heat, but it hasn't really bothered me for the last several years...I have more trouble keeping warm in air conditioning! Not that I'm about to turn it off...and I don't understand people who drive when it's 98 degrees with their windows open!

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  7. Hi Gaia, the essence gel pencil is discontinued, the few remaining shades are 50% off at the website. In case you would like to stock up :)

    Otherwise the new essence extreme lasting eyepencil is very similar, and lasts all day even on my oily eyelids.

    ReplyDelete

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