Those free radicals can really get to you, especially walking through downtown Manhattan with mysterious smoke and odors taken in constantly. You make it look gorgeous, yet it is still unpleasant each time you pass that same Chipotle. You feel your skin absorbing the fumes, there’s this loss of glow. All you want is to go back to your apartment and finish watching that X-Files episode you watched three times over, but you notice your face breaking out along your jawline, or maybe even a touch of redness exposing your pores.
Being the skincare/face mask addict that I am, I have tested, struggled, and cycled through different routines, masks, and trending skincare technologies to find what suitably helps my dry/sensitive skin. Moving from Hawaii to New York has been a shift for my skin, and it has helped me polarize what I should be using and what I should ditch.
Although I cycle in and out of toners, essences, cleansers, and moisturizers, I will always hold my masks in a space untouched by the other steps. Masks are specialized treatments just for your specific need that day. I gravitate towards Korean sheet masks because they are affordable, and there are many different kinds that can be tested and best matched to your skin type.
For example, I love tea tree oil for its remarkable ability to transport me to a spa in Soho with low lights sipping on peppermint tea to ambient jazz. I always use tea tree sheet masks whenever I am having a hard day. You can pick up a tea tree mask at any Asian beauty store, or tea tree oil from a wellness shop. Aside from smelling luxurious, tea tree oil soothes redness and irritation collected throughout the day and calms my acne-prone and sensitive skin.
Skin has its ups and downs, but from conversations with my friends and peers, pores and pimples tend to be the most talked about. Pores are inconvenient for most, and we all work towards minimizing or at least making sure they are clean and not transforming into pimples. We should all remember that pores are genetic, that all these harmful ads trying to convince you to be poreless are expecting the impossible. Your face is alive and it is breathing. Pores are beautiful and allow your skin to inhale and expel oils and other excess material out. I use Origins’ Ginzing Peel-Off mask which not only refreshes but lifts off dead skin/dirt to restore your skin. If you are looking for something more heavy-duty, Boscia’s Luminizing Black Facial Peel has never let me down and it does not hurt your skin like those memes circulating think it does. If you want an easy go-to mask mix for pores and restoration, the Aztec Secret Indian Clay mixed with either apple cider vinegar or rosewater does the job. It is heavy duty and reliable, my mom turned me onto using rosewater in my masks for added anti-redness effects.
Over the many failures and successes of skin treatments, I have learned that you should not force yourself to reach perfection. It is intoxicating to walk into a beauty store and feel like this product will make your skin perfect within a day’s usage. It is equally intoxicating to binge on a bunch of products and believe they are working when you are really taking away from your body’s natural processes.
In Hawaii, I was blessed to grow up with moisture-packed air and circulating tradewinds in the valley I was raised in. Now that I live in the city, my skin has been the front of all internal and external trials. For me, pimples and redness start appearing when I am stressed or stop taking care of myself, or when it is close to my-time-of-the-month. It is usually your best indicator on why you are feeling so bad–or great–since it actively reflects what you put in or endure with your body.
Your bare face is working its hardest, and you can assist it by drinking lots of water and allowing your face to do its gentle work. Skincare should supply and help your skin’s already-working process. Your skin, specifically your face, works like a team with your eyes, lips, and nose. Sensations become flexible as you are actively irradiating moisturized goodness. Removing the gunk out of your face throughout a busy day is awarding to not only your skin, but yourself. Going through the day and its harmful material is both exhausting and irksome.
Skincare, overall, is self-care. Your body works together and all you need to do is actively support them. Working with your body in a compassionate manner is just another reminder of how uniquely individual all our tired bodies are, and I believe how we treat our skin is micro-cosmically reminiscent of how we take care of ourselves in general.
© 2017 Reef Magazine