Tip: Multi-Sunscreening for Maximum Protection and Minimum Grease

Tip: Multi-Sunscreening for Maximum Protection and Minimum Grease

Here’s a simple skincare trick that I’ve found ridiculously useful lately that I thought I’d share in case it helps anyone else out. I’m sure I’m not the first person to do it, but I also haven’t seen it discussed anywhere else (though I haven’t been looking very hard).

I’ve started doing something that can be best described as “multi-sunscreening”, a bit like the “multi-masking trend” that a lot of brands are jumping on. I was inspired to do this when I watched Fiddy Snails apply her sunscreen using a BB cushion puff on Instagram, when she patted her sunscreen in all over her face using the puff then went back to part in extra on her pigmentation problem areas.

Here’s my issue: I get pigmentation very quickly on the tops of my cheekbones. It’s an annoying genetic thing that a lot of East Asian people have, and I’ve managed to inherit it from my dad’s side (thaaaanks). Right now it’s not too bad, but mostly because I throw hydroxy acids and vitamin C at it all the time to try to lighten it, and cover it with high UVA protection sunscreen to stop it from getting worse.

The problem is that I also have oily skin, from my mum (again: thaaaanks). The sunscreens with the highest UVA protection that I know of come from French brands Bioderma and La Roche-Posay. And unfortunately, they’re greasy, at least on my oil slick face. Even their “fluids” designed for oily skin turn me into an unsightly mirror ball at the end of the day. So I find myself reaching for more “cosmetically elegant” sunscreens most of the time – usually BiorĂ© Aqua Base Watery Essence – which keep my oily areas manageable but aren’t waterproof or sweatproof, and have lower UVA protection as well. I’ve noticed that my sunspots are steadily creeping back.

Here’s where multi-sunscreening has saved both my long-term skin health as well as my daily try-not-to-look-like-melting-wax efforts. My sunscreen routine now goes like this:

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End-of-Year Empties

empties-face-dec-2015

I really didn’t get through as many products as I’d hoped to this year – I’m hoping 2016 will be better! Here are my final empties for the year:

empties-face-dec-2015

Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar – I used this for my Aztec Secret clay masks, but I’ve switched to citric acid instead to avoid the vinegar stink. I don’t think I’ll be rebuying this for a while.

Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA+++ Sunscreen – This is the old version, I’ve repurchased the newer, reformulated PA++++ version already. I love how light and non-greasy this is!

Nivea Repair and Protection Lip Balm – My trusty favourite lip balm. I have so many open tubes lying around my room.

Crop Gentle Cleansing Gel – I really like this foaming cleanser. It doesn’t strip your skin of oil, and I haven’t found the essential oils irritating on my skin either. I’ll be repurchasing this!

Banila Co Clean It Zero – I love this mineral oil-based cleansing balm for taking off heavy make-up. I have a bunch of little samples to go through, and I’d love to try the other varieties before going for a full-size tub.

Enbacci Vitis Vinifera Rejuvenating Gel Cleanser – This is a really nice, non-drying cleanser sample I received at the Bloggers United Australia event in Sydney earlier this year. I have a whole heap of other Enbacci samples I’m working through too!

Marc Jacobs Daisy Perfume – This has been my emergency handbag perfume, and I’m sad to see the end of it… lucky I have a few more sample sprays from various subscription boxes! Perfume samples are definitely one of my most used items from subscriptions.

Models Prefer Multi-Purpose Sponge – This is a nice sponge that’s a similar texture to the Beauty Blenders that are really popular now (I have a bunch of those too!). I find the sponge shape a little harder to work with, but it’s handier and a lot cheaper, and easier to wash.

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How to Exfoliate 1: All About Physical Exfoliants

exfoliation-tools

Are you confused about how to choose the right exfoliation method for your skincare routine? This three-part series rounds up all the types of exfoliants for your face, with examples of products and their pros and cons!

This post covers all the physical exfoliation options. Part 2 will be on chemical exfoliation, and Part 3 will be a guide on how to choose the one(s) that will work for you. For a more barebones overview, check out this exfoliation basics post.

What is exfoliation?

Your skin consists of living skin (the epidermis), covered in a 15-20 layers of dead cells (the stratum corneum). The dead cells in the stratum corneum have an important role in protecting your living tissue from the outside environment. They’re completely replaced around every 2 weeks – the cells at the surface are constantly shedding. However, the shedding isn’t always regular, and sometimes it happens slower than it should. This leads to your skin being covered by too thick a layer of dead cells, which looks dull, uneven, scaly and flaky. Exfoliation helps the shedding along, ideally without compromising the ability of the stratum corneum to act as a barrier.

There are 2 main categories of exfoliation: physical and chemical. I’m including exfoliation tools under the banner of physical exfoliation, and enzymes in the chemical group.

What Is Physical Exfoliation?

Dead cells are buffed away mechanically using grainy products or tools. It’s a lot like sandpapering a block of wood or scrubbing tiles – the friction from rubbing an object back and forth over the skin lifts stuck cells.

Much like sandpapering wood, the harshness of physical exfoliation depends on a few factors:

  • what the exfoliating objects are like (how large, how hard, how smooth)
  • how you move them over your skin (how hard you press, what direction you go in, how long you rub it in for)

I personally find that rubbing lightly in small circles for a minute or two is more effective and less irritating than rubbing hard for a short period, with any physical exfoliation method.

Physical exfoliation has a reputation for being harsh, but I think it’s unfair – it can be very gentle, but most people use physical exfoliants way too frequently, and feel like it’s not working if they don’t feel raw and tingly afterwards. Don’t fall into this trap! It’ll make your skin worse in the long run, reducing the ability of the stratum corneum to act as a barrier against the outside world and prevent moisture from leaving (its barrier function).

Product categories

Click on each heading to jump to that section.

Plastic microbeads

These round beads are made of plastic and come in every imaginable colour. They used to be in tons of products because they’re really cheap and smoothly shaped, so they were budget-friendly and gentle on the skin.

However, it turned out that microbeads were an environmental pollutant – they made their way through the sewage system and into waterways, where environmental toxins (actual toxins) like pesticides latched onto them. When aquatic animals ate them, they would release the toxins. Nasty! (You can read more on microbead pollution on this post.)

Plastic microbeads were banned in a handful of US states after research showed that the beads were turning up everywhere. The Netherlands are in the process of phasing them out. Other Western countries are moving in this direction, so plastic microbeads are found in less products these days.

You’ll see them listed on the ingredients list as:

  • polyethylene
  • polypropylene
  • nylon-6
  • nylon-11
  • polymethyl methacrylate

You can find lists of microbead-containing and microbead-free products in your country on Beat the Microbead.

How to use

These are the standard scrub products – squeeze some into your hand, slap it on your clean face and rub around, then rinse.

Examples

plastic-microbead

It’s actually been quite difficult to locate plastic microbeads in my skincare collection – I only managed to find an old tube of Nivea Pure Effect All-in-1 Multi Action Cleanser, and a couple of Asian products (Muji Scrub Face Soap and Missha Cacao & Cream Facial Scrub).

There are lots of replacements for plastic microbeads available now, so you can still get your scrub on without as much guilt.

Jojoba Beads

One of the most popular replacements for plastic microbeads are jojoba beads. They’re made of chemically processed jojoba oil (the same process used to make solid margarine from liquid vegetable oil), and are usually listed as “hydrogenated jojoba oil” or “jojoba esters” in the ingredients list. These beads are translucent white, and they’re usually found in products as very fine grains.

How to use

Just like microbeads, these are straightforward scrubs. Rub them onto clean damp skin, rinse away afterwards.

Examples

jojoba-scrubs

These are particularly popular in products marketed as natural – they show up in Jurlique, Moreish and Neutrogena Naturals scrubs, as well as a Guinot Gentle Face Exfoliating Cream, a scrub/peeling gel hybrid. They’re popular but I’m personally not that fond of how they feel on my skin, so I don’t reach for these that often.

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Biore Self-Heating One Minute Mask with Charcoal review

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biore-mask-IMG_6719

Biore Self-Heating One Minute Mask is one of Biore’s new look range featuring charcoal as its star ingredient. Activated charcoal is known for sticking to non-polar substances, so it could potentially stick to dirt and oil so they can be washed off the skin easily. I was excited to try this product, but at the same time I was a bit hesitant – Biore’s skincare products contain menthol, which gives a tingly cooling effect that I find unpleasant, and I always manage to spread the menthol to the wrong bits of my body in the shower!

Here are the ingredients:

Butylene Glycol, Zeolite, Kaolin, PEG-8, Methylgluceth-20, Cellulose, Talc, Parfum, Lauryl Methacrylate/Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer, Charcoal Powder, Dimethicone, Hydroxypropylcellulose, Menthol, Disodium EDTA, BHT.

To use this mask, you apply a layer to your wet face. You then massage the slightly grainy, sticky mask over your face for a minute with wet hands, then rinse it off. The mask contains a fair bit of zeolite, which heats up in contact with water – I found that it got surprisingly hot. After rinsing off, the menthol gives a cold tingle. It’s an interesting sensation! I wasn’t a huge fan of feeling the tingle for hours afterwards, but I’m sure a lot of people would enjoy it. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to proceed carefully.

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July & August Empties

empties-july-august

empties-july-august

I went on holidays in the middle of July, so I didn’t have enough empties to post about. Here’s my last two months of beauty stuff:

Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Sulfate Free Shampoo* – I was pleasantly surprised by this shampoo! It’s the first sulfate-free shampoo I’ve used that made my hair feel clean and didn’t leave me with an itchy scalp.

Biore Charcoal Pore Strip* – I haven’t used a pore strip in years, but I had to try one (for science). It did pull out a few sebum plugs, and it was satisfying seeing all the bits sticking out from the strip afterwards, but I’ve noticed some broken capillaries around my nose recently (from other stuff like horrific allergies), so this paranoid vain freak won’t be trying another strip anytime soon.

Covergirl Lash Blast Waterproof Mascara – This was my favourite mascara for a long time – it hold a curl like nobody’s business, but it’s really hard to get off, even with oil and two-phase makeup removers. I’ve now moved onto Maybelline Full and Soft Waterproof, which is a bit easier to remove.

Bioderma Sebium Purifying Foaming Cleansing Gel – I really love Bioderma’s skincare products! This is foaming and cleanses really well, but somehow does it without stripping your skin of moisture.

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Asian Beauty Favourites

Asian-beauty-favourites

I am a big fan of Asian beauty products, which I suppose isn’t that surprising given that I’m Asian. Asian beauty products tend to be cute, suited to my colouring and great value. Here are my all-time faves – I’m always on the lookout for more products to try, so if you have any recs please let me know! The …

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My Top 8 Beauty Finds of 2014

2014-favourite-finds

It’s the end of 2014 and it’s gone by so quickly! I decided to do a round-up of my favourite products I discovered this year – I tried a LOT of products, so these are the best of the best! La Roche-Posay Cicaplast – This has been amazing for my chapped areas. It’s soothing and protects raw skin until it’s …

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Asian Sunscreen Showdown: Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence vs Shiseido Senka Mineral Perfect UV Gel

This is part of a continuing series on sunscreens. The first installment with two physical sunscreens is here. One of my biggest issues with sunscreen is the greasy feel and the pain of trying to get them to sink in, so I was bound to eventually end up at Asian sunscreens. Asian sunscreens are well known for their high SPF …

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