Hello from Denmark! Temperature here has dropped from 20 degrees to 10, signalling the start of autumn and the coming of what is thought to be one of the coldest Danish winters in six years. As Danes and foreign students such as me prepare for subzero Scandinavian cold, let me share here some steps in shielding the face from the menace of drying.
Mild wash, Toner
Of course, you don’t want to put layers of moisturizing agents on a dirty face, so the necessary first step is to wash it. After bathing the face with mild facial wash, apply toner with cotton balls or sheets. When I was in Manila, cleaning the face with toner showed how loaded the air is with impurities, and thankfully this isn’t the case in Aarhus, Denmark. I read somewhere that you don’t want to splurge on facial wash because the soap is washed away anyway and that you’ll want to invest more on the creams or serum than toner.
The cosmetics industry doesn’t seem to stop expanding its range of products, but consumers find themselves interested in the newest fad in skincare. One of the latest products is ‘essence’. Whether it’s essence oil or essence lotion, this initial step of skincare regimen has received mixed reviews. The first oil I used was made of sunflower, and while it smelled good and the texture not too sticky, it didn’t work for me because I have an oily face and the temperature in Manila back then only made the sebum production worse. When I was in an airport a few weeks ago looking for a low-cost serum, I saw this essence lotion and was drawn by its price – lower than creams and serums, and thought to give it a go, since I was looking for something that could tame the breakout I was having due to stress. Its texture is like water and it smells fresh. The Korean brand I picked up says it has “extracted stem cells from 3 resilient plants” and that sounds interesting so I tried it. After a couple of weeks using it, I couldn’t say if it’s the essence lotion or less worrying that gave my skin a slightly better look, but the gel-to-water formula might’ve helped.
I have a love-hate relationship with serums – some days they work, some days they don’t, even if it’s the same brand. Perhaps that’s because many factors go into maintaining a plump skin: age, diet, lifestyle, skin type and environment, among others. For now, I am trying a tiny pump given by a friend. The smell reminds me of my mother’s facial creams when I was a kid – not very pleasant, so I just dab seed sized amount on my cheeks, to check too whether it has any effect on the skin. It’s quick absorbing, so I’m not worried about ending with an oily face.
Of course: moisturize with a moisturizer. I am not big on this product because for the longest time I’ve been living in a region where 32 degrees is the normal. But when I moved to Denmark, welcomed by chill winds, this became a staple. My mother handed me a 177 mL sunscreen moisturizer when I was packing my things, and I am thankful I took it despite initial fears that my face might look greasy. The bottle has vitamin E, aloe, SPF 15, and no grease; neat shield from the sun whenever I’m rushing from home to school.
After layers of these moisturizing agents, I usually lock them in by applying baby powder and put some tint with BB cream.
Finally, a tip that will be cheered on by the Beauty From Inside Crusade: drink water – while trying to have a positive outlook in life. Cells need nourishment, and time and again we hear dermatological advice of drinking enough water to replenish our skin. I’m not a dermatologist to recommend any specific brands or practices that will best work for the face, but the water tip must be a good tip for anyone. To cap this list, it’s not easy to feel beautiful and happy when surrounded by model looking, content Danes, but with a strong will to go on every day and belief in oneself (not really a belief that you’re beautiful, but a belief that you’re fine), one might just see how healthy living and thinking can reflect in the skin.
Written by: Ai Macalintal. Ai couldn’t stay in one place for too long, so she’s always walking, traveling or changing address. She’s been an editor in Singapore and has written for Aussie magazines, but penning stories about the Philippines delights her most.