There are many things to consider when getting ready to purchase an exfoliator. What should you look for in a good exfoliator? What is the difference between an exfoliator for the face versus one for the body?
An exfoliant is an important part of any beauty routine. It can be the use of a washcloth for the face or a razor for your legs, as long as you are gently rubbing your skin or even scraping it, you are removing excess dead skin cells. A good exfoliant will smooth your skin because it removes the dead cells to reveal the newer ones underneath.
When you are out shopping for an exfoliant note that they come in different shapes and sizes:
Abrasive sponges, pads, brushes are not unlike something you might use for your dishes, tread carefully and you may want to soap these up and use them on the body only, not the face. Facial scrubs are ones with very subtle grains, like finely milled apricot pits. If used gently on the face they can be very effective. Facial masks perform exfoliation, when they dry they take the dead skin cells with them. Some facial masks have a grainy texture that helps smooth the skin during the rinse cycle. Toners are even exfoliating products and work by removing dirt and cells via a cotton ball or pad. Toners are used on the face and neck.
When choosing a scrub for the face, make sure it has a light texture and fine, even particles. Chunks of scrub ingredients are best saved for the body as they will be too harsh for the fine and delicate facial skin and may leave it red and irritated. Don't choose something with a lot of oils or you may have more clogged pores than you want to deal with. Blot your face dry when you rinse the product off and use a moisturizer at night and one with a sunscreen in the morning.
If you are using an exfoliant for the first time, use it once a day (at night) or a few times per week. Allow your skin to recover before you make another attempt and always stop if your skin is uncomfortable or you feel pain, switch products immediately and give your skin a rest.
When you are out shopping for an exfoliant, consider a cream with alpha and beta hydroxy acids because they can get deeper into the skin's layers than a loofah could. If you use a facial scrub consider one that has some moisturizing or skin softening ingredients so when you are finished blotting your face dry, you're not reaching for a heavy moisturizer to soothe your skin.
Exfoliating is best done a few times per week, once a day is not necessary. Some of my favorite exfoliating products are:
Fresh - Brown Sugar Body Polish
Philosophy's - under your skin
Clinique - Sparkle Skin Body Exfoliator
Origins - Ginger Body Scrub
You don't have to spend a lot on the exfoliation process but it sure makes a shower that much more fun. A clean washcloth soaped up will do the trick as will a dip in cornmeal and water. I find it a more pleasurable experience when a fragrance is involved and all of the above will leave your senses reeling.
Messy makeup? Taking care of your cosmetics and storing them properly will extend the products' shelf life and eliminate clutter.
Many of us rely on cosmetics to give our skin a healthy, flawless look. Unfortunately, we don't always take care of our makeup, leaving it lying around the bathroom or rattling about in our purses. Proper storage of cosmetics increases their shelf life and is essential for keeping your skin healthy and beautiful. And with the variety of cosmetic cases and other storage options available, there's no excuse not to go out and get organized!
MAKEUP STORAGE AND CLEANLINESS. The most important thing to remember in storing makeup is to keep it out of direct sunlight. Light and heat can degrade the products' preservatives, not to mention bleach out the colors over time. Keep your makeup in a cool, dry room. (This goes for fragrances, too.) It may seem most convenient to store cosmetics in the bathroom, but the constant changes in heat and humidity every time someone takes a shower may affect the products. Moreover, it isn't sanitary: studies show that every time a toilet is flushed, bacteria is released into the air, settling on every surface in the room. You definitely don't want to leave your makeup and brushes lying out there!
AT-HOME STORAGE. A hard-sided train case (Samsonite is a good brand) or multi-shelf cosmetic box (like the kind made by Caboodles and sold in department stores) is ideal for storing cosmetics at home. In fact, any box with separate compartments may be used to keep products from rattling around, breaking, or smudging each other. Molded plastic cases are practical because they are easily cleaned. If you choose to keep your cosmetics in a drawer, use a compartmentalized cosmetic tray (an odds-and-ends desk drawer tray from an office supply store will also work and may cost a bit less). Keep cosmetic brushes and applicators in their own compartments and clean them with soap and water on a regular basis.
TRAVEL CASES. Frequent travelers will definitely want to invest in a sturdy train case for makeup and other personal care items. Professional-quality aluminum cases are good for this; they're relatively expensive, but a good investment. Look for one with a shoulder strap for added convenience. If traditional leather luggage is more to your liking, find a well-made piece that is fully lined with a spill-resistant material and contains easily accessed pockets and compartments. If affordability is an issue, go ahead and take an inexpensive plastic case. Just be sure that it is durable and can take a lot of knocking around in overhead bins and car trunks. When traveling, avoid leaving your makeup kit in a hot place like a locked car; everything will melt! If you fear that exposure to heat is going to be unavoidable, invest in a small freezer pack or two and keep them in your case when you're on the go.
FOR YOUR PURSE. Let's face it: the purse is the most common place to keep makeup, and is often the messiest. Who hasn't cracked a lipstick tube or broken a compact hinge when fumbling around in a purse? Hard-sided lipstick cases and small, zippered leather makeup bags are a necessity for keeping your cosmetics intact and your purse clean. If you're prone to having a dozen lipsticks littering your purse, a palette compact is the perfect storage item for you. This slim unit contains a mirror, lip brushes, and a number of wells; all you do is add a slice of each of your lipsticks to the wells and there you go: many colors, one small compact.
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