Pages

8.25.2012

Mama Matsuo Musing #2: The Skin You're In

It's time for another installment of "Mama Matsuo's Musings" where I get to tell you about my chic Japanese mother's sage advice. So, here we go...

Mama Matsuo Musing #2: Take Care of Your Skin!

Didn't you know?
I know what you're thinking. "Duh."

It's something we're told to do all the time. Fashion magazines, health magazines, beauty blogs. Everyone is talking about skin. It's our biggest organ and the one people see right away. What kind of idiot wouldn't take a minute to give it a little TLC? No one's an idiot. Life is crazy enough as is, so it's understandable that doing all this extra self-care is the last thing on your list of priorities. (It's probably somewhere between getting your tweezers sharpened & going through that stack of mail you've been meaning to organize - guilty as charged.)

But, seriously, skincare can take up precious hours of your day and you have to be diligent. None of that "I'm too tired to take my make-up off. I need to just sleep." or the famous express washing of the face that's basically you scrubbing at your face like it's a washboard for 30 seconds and rinsing it off with the foolish assumption that you've rid your pores of all those youth-killing offenders.

I learned very early on, by watching my mother, that taking care of your skin is a process and one that, when you get into it, you can really enjoy and luxuriate in. And I'm not just talking about your face, folks. You need to take care of all the skin on your body. I mean, having a youthful face and a leathery beef-jerky-esque body would be a little disturbing, no? Yes. Yes, it would be disturbing. Don't be that person who disturbs other people.

So, let's start with the steps:

For your body:  

Dead Skin Demolition:

I didn't pick this up from my mother, but she would approve. Dry brushing is basically a way to slough off dead skin pre-shower while your skin is still...dry. (Yes, it's not a misnomer.) Using a brush, you gently brush the skin (see? really not a misnomer) in small strokes from toes to chest and fingers to chest. You want the brushing to always go towards the heart. Don't know if this is an old wives tale, but I'm willing to keep with tradition. Think of it this way, scabs come off easier when they're dry. Dead skin is the same. 

Here's the Scrub:

I use a good ol' exfoliating towel in the shower. The same kind of towel I've been using since I was about 5. They have them at Japanese markets. Just textured enough to catch any remaining dead skin, but not so textured that you come out of your shower looking like a burn victim. You want to get the dead skin off...NOT the live skin. That can stay. 

Hot & Steamy...and Moisturized:

Wait! Do not open the bathroom door just yet! Dry yourself off and let the steam hang out for a little while so you can properly moisturize your body. The minute you open that door, that loving steamy air is gone and in its place, mean, drying, cold, relentlessly harsh air that will steal your body's moisture and NEVER GIVE IT BACK. Protect yourself from that situation by slathering on the moisturizer and locking that water into your skin before opening the door. Also, invest in a good body moisturizer. "Good" doesn't mean expensive. "Good" means "works for my skin type." I use LIERAC Hydrofilia Anti-Dessechement.

Something's Afoot:

Oh, puns! How I love puns. I just want to say, don't forget about your feet. We're so busy standing on them that we forget to take care of them. Get a pumice rock and give your footsies a good exfoliating at least once a week. They'll thank you. Trust me.
For your face: 

Remove the Excess

Before you start getting into washing your face, remove all the extra gunk GENTLY. No using semi-decent make-up remover and then staring at your eyelashes a centimenter away from the mirror to neurotically pick off bits of waterproof mascara. I'm actually a big fan of straight-up jojoba oil (you can get it at your local natural foods shop). A tiny little puddle in your palm and a dip of your finger tip will melt through any type of make-up. So, use it to remove all the excess stuff first.  

No Express Lanes

Remember that thing I was telling you about earlier? About scrubbing your face for 30 seconds and then calling it a wash? (MORE PUNS!) Don't do it. First, get yourself a facewash that you love. (And not because it smells good, but because it works well for your skin.) If you have dry skin, consider a cleansing milk or cleansing oil. For oilier skin, consider a lathering kind. I use Shiseido's White Lucent Brightening Cleansing Foam. I lather it up really well in my palm and then gently apply it to my face, keeping away from my eyes and massaging in small circles. I concentrate on my nose area because, girl, I've got some serious blackhead issues there. Do that for about a minute. Trust me. You want a real cleaning. Then I take a gentle swipe at my eye area (no heavy rubbing here, please) and rinse with lukewarm water. 

Soda Scrub (a Dub Dub):
So, I'm a wimp and chemical peels scare me. I don't like melting things off my face and microdermabrasion always leave me looking like I stood in a windy desert for two hours (complete with particles lodged in my teeth & eyebrows.) So, I go the old fashion way with a little secret. I use baking soda as a facial scrub. Once a week, I gently rub it on my face before I wash it. Just put some in your palm, add a tiny bit of water to make it pasty (I know, it sounds lovely) and then start rubbing...just not too hard. The skin on your face is already a little thin, so don't go having a massage party. It's still abrasive. Then rinse and wash as usual. Trust me, your face will be porcelain smooth.

It's All or Nothin':

When it's time to moisturize your face, don't skimp. The worst is being all, "oh, this moisturizer is so expensive, I should just use half the amount I need. It'll last longer that way." Yeah, great. Your moisturizer will last twice as long, but will be half as effective. I, personally, need to slather it on at night. Partly because my face gets dry naturally and because I live in Los Angeles where there's no such thing as humidity. I become, in essence, slightly shriveled.. Constant fans & air conditioning don't help the cause, but further my downward spiral into dehydration, rendering me a more wrinkled, slim-jimmy version of myself. Not good. If you're going to use moisturizer...use it. F'real. I'm a fan of Shiseido's White Lucent Brightening Moisturizing Emulsion for night & Lierac Intiatic Fluid for day. (No giving me flack on not using SPF. That'll come later down the list!)

Eye Creams:

If you're prone to a crow's foot or ten, consider an eye cream. I actually like crows feet. I feel like it's a dignified and honest sign that someone has smiled a great deal in their lifetime. I probably need to use eye cream, but haven't invested in one yet. If someone has a recommendation, I'm all ears. My mother is probably shaking her head right now. Yes, yes. I know. I need to get eye cream. Geez. OK!

For Your Skin Overall

You've Heard It All Before:
Ready for the obvious stuff now? Hey, eat healthy & keep hydrated! (Duh. Yes, I know, but it's part of Mama Matsuo's list, so I'm putting it in here.) Your skin is your body's health billboard. Eat well, take your vitamins, and drink tons of water and you'll become the Vegas of health in no time. Ok, you knew this already, so I can move on.

Enough of the Puff:

Don't smoke. (Insert a long sigh here.) I'm guilty of this. I know, I know. Horrible. Dastardly. How could I? I actually quit for a year, but one trip to Paris did me in and I was sprinting to the Gare de Lyon by the evening of my first night, so badly did I was to have a cigarette with my cafe creme. I can beat myself up over it all day long, but the bottom line is that I know I need to quit and if you haven't picked up the habit, then awesome. If you are smoking, make like me and promise yourself you'll quit soon for the sake of yourself & everyone around you. Mama Matsuo is very displeased about this one.

(Don't) Burn, Baby, Burn:

Sunscreen. Yes, you know that already too. I'm a big believer in BB cream. Coverage, extra moisture, and SPF (plus some other antioxidants & fun stuff depending on which one you try - I love Dr. Jart+'s Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45 PA+++) in one product. Perfect. Slap that on and you've evened your skintone, blocked out the sun's rays, and given yourself a little extra protection from dryness. And I'm a fan of Aveeno's Continuous Protection, SPF 70 sunblock for the rest of me (as much as I want that beef jerky body - that was a joke.)

Hot, Hot, Horrible:

Hey, I love a hot shower as much as the next person, but it turns out that that's a baaaad move for anyone who wants to have hydrated skin. Hot water just strips away all the essential oils and leaves you parched. So, do yourself a favor and shower with lukewarm water. It's just as good at rinsing away the soap, but it won't rinse away your youth! (Yes, I know that was a bit dramatic, but I'm trying to make a point here.)

Aaaaaand I think that covers it. With enough practice, you'll be able to do all of these things in your sleep. Or, at least, I hope you learn to because I still think that showering is such a waste of time. Why can't I just have an auto-clean button and do other stuff in the meantime? (Are you getting a better idea of how neurotic I am yet?)

Anyway, why do I feel like this is such important advice? Because my mother, despite being in her mid-60's, still looks like she has the skin of a 30 year old. I have to concentrate really hard on pointing out any wrinkles...even when she smiles! (Ok, ok, her Asian genetics help, but still...and, NO, she hasn't had any work done.) So, for all of you out there who haven't taken the time to take care of your skin, it's ok. I'm not going to chide you, but I highly suggest you start as soon as you can.

I can't promise that every time you take care of your skin you'll feel like you're in some sort of beauty advertisement (cue the background music & British female voice-over talking about the newest skin technology) and I definitely won't promise that you'll love every minute of it. (Between an extra few minutes of sleep & properly washing my face, I still would love to choose the former.) 

In the end, however, you'll be thankful you took the time when you're 90 & people are cooing about how you don't look a day over 70. Now, go forth & pamper yourself like you mean it!

No comments:

Post a Comment