A while back, one of my lovely readers put forth a request to discuss all face wash products that I have liked & disliked. Being a serial face wash changer, I have tried loads of them and the post would have been as drab as the PTV tractor shows we hated watching when we'd successfully bunk school pretending to have a stomachache... and no other program would be on the TV :-/ So, the scope of the face wash post was narrowed down to 5 best/worst in my experience. The post is in the making - yes! However, it will be pushed back a little as I take my sweet time to decide what should be the most appropriate format :-)
To make the wait easier, let me introduce my Summer Skincare Essentials - 8 products that I have in my arsenal right now and you should too - if you have combination/oily skin during hot & humid weather.
Fair-Medium complexion prone to sun tan in Summers. Combination/Oily skin with a T-Zone that remains slick. Noticeable pores and embedded blackheads on the nose and cheeks. Fairly even skin tone with darker puffy undereye circles and slight pigmentation around the lips. Selectively sensitive skin - reacts in red patches when exposed to heat & bleaching agents. Tendency to sweat - a lot. Smooth skin except 4 chicken pox scars.
OLAY PRO X ADVANCED CLEANSING SYSTEM is a battery-operated rotating facial brush, for those who are not aware of it. This has become my staple since I have started using it - you can read my detailed review HERE for more information. It has been a year long companionship till date, and I have nothing but good words for this friend. Clarisonic has been the patented 'sonic' cleansing technology which has taken the beauty world by the storm. While the price of Clarisonic was a bummer for a newbie like me, I opted for the second-best that many bloggers recommended - Olay Pro X. Now, however, you would find the cheaper chinese products on the same principle with different brush heads. I have not personally used any of those, so would recommend that you only try a reliable one when it comes to your skin. Bad quality bristles, battery mess-ups, inadequate cleansing will do more 'bad' for your skin than 'good'.
Olay Pro X can be used daily or on alternate days as per your need. In Summers, I make use of this once a day (instead of twice that I previously did) to remove makeup and cleanse my skin deep down. The trick is not to use this vigorously. Else, it might overstimulate your skin and keep your pores open. Just a 5 minute gentle cleansing with a scrub/cleanser/face wash as per your skin needs in circular motion. You may be a little firm on areas that need more exfoliation like I do on my nose for blackheads. Don't concentrate too much on any specific area though. The bristles are extra soft, so my sensitive skin gives it a thumbs up, but caution is still necessary.
After washing, I let me skin air-dry under the fan or lightly pat with a soft facial tissue. Don't use towel or any shared item because the open pores will be prone to clogging, breakouts, and, in rare cases, infection. Also, it is strongly recommended not to put in a moisturizer or anything else on your face before 15-20 minutes. If you're in a hurry, rub a little ice on the face so that the pores return to their normal closed self - and whatever you apply does not cause any zits. These tips might sound finicky, but believe me, they create a lot of difference.You can order it via Facebook pages or Just4girls.PK since it is not available in stores in Pakistan.
L'OREAL PURE ZONE EXFOLIATING GEL WASH has been featured in my 2013 Favorites and then made a reappearance in 2014 Favorites. By these standards, you can very well understand how much this particular face wash means to me. Although I use it all year round, I particularly benefit from this exfoliating goodness during Summers when the blackheads come back with a vengeance. It contains fine exfoliating granules that do the job very well of cleaning the skin gently... yet neatly. I use it in the morning with my fingers to massage on the face lightly. At night, I use it in conjunction with the Olay Pro-X. Either way, I love the smooth skin and the subtle after-glow- like the one you get with your facial! It is best suited for oily-combination skin, because I find it a tad drying in the Winters when my skin leans drier than oilier. If you face the same issue, it is best to limit its usage in Summers. This is locally available in Pakistan on all L'Oreal counters and good superstores.
LA ROCHE-POSAY ANTHELIOS XL SPF50+ is my Sun-Block KING! First things first, you should forget eating a meal, but not forget putting on a sunblock. No matter whether you're indoors or outdoors, the sunblock is not for the "sun" protection only. UV ray exposure happens in front of kitchen stove, electronics and so much more. Sun might be the biggest culprit, but you do need something containing adequate SPF otherwise too. The requirement of SPF varies according to your particular skin condition and the surroundings, HEREis a good resource on WebMD about how much SPF should you use daily. La Roche-Posay has a bunch of SPF products which boggle your mind once you stand in front of the counter at Boots. I checked a few in Dubai, but couldn't make up my mind. Some PBBC girls recommended this particular one, and I have nothing but sincere gratitude for them. I have used several locally available sunblock or sunscreens that vow to be 'oil-free', yet with the first sweat-bout or heat exposure, I turn into a slick-y mess. It will eventually be a turnoff for me. Now, this one does not keep my face flat matte, but I never get the residual feeling of applying a sun screen, yet it has the required slip to get applied all over my face. I use it alone and over my moisturizer. Even with the foundation and subsequent makeup, I don't have any complaints :-) It is pricey - as the European skin care brands are - but if you are using it regularly, trust me - totally worth it! The key is to use SOME form of SPF in your daily routine :-) I purchased it from Boots, Dubai. Many pharmacies in Dubai/KSA carried this. It is a European company, so ask your friends visiting from UK/EU to bring it for you or pre-order via Facebook pages :)
LUSH MASK OF MAGNAMINTY is another one of my 2014 Favorites! My current tub is almost finished and I am looking for a replacement right now, but it truly is one of the things everyone should have for the extreme summers we have. It is a thick and strongly minty mask - which might irritate very sensitive skins, so beware! I have never faced the issue of redness as an aftermath. Infact, I find the minty tingle very cool and relaxing for my facial skin. It is a thick mask which you can apply and relax. Revel in the joy of cool freshness on your skin and listen to the pores singing along! Once the mask dries, you can take it off by using damp fingers and lightly massaging the mask on your skin. It is coarse in its texture, so it gives a good exfoliation to your skin. Concentrate a little more on your problem areas - like the ones having blackheads and whiteheads. Again, don't go overboard as the pores might open. Wash off the residue and let your face air dry. You will feel your skin to have been regenerated. My absolutely favorite feeling <3 You will need to preorder this from a Facebook page or a friend/family visiting from Dubai/US/UK - Although it has a self preserving formula (which I have not tried yet), this one comes with an expiration date of 2-3 months only. Get a smaller tub if you are going to use it just by yourself and not too often. Even that lasts you a good long while.
THE BODY SHOP VITAMIN E SORBET is a favorite, yet again. Although, my jar has finished and I have put the repurchase on hold for a while. I still strongly recommend everyone to try this one out! I am not a big fan of Vitamin E range at TBS. It is okay for the normal skin, but does not do any wonders for the oily-combo one like mine. It was an impulse purchase of a new launch that paid off big time! You'd love it in Summers when the texture reminds you of a frothy airy mousse-like sorbet and blends in your skin with a cool hydrating effect and instant smoothness. Between TBS Seaweed Day Cream and this, I took a liking to this one more than my previous Seaweed favorite. You need moisture in Summers, no matter what your skin type is. Interestingly, your skin produces more oil/sebum when it is not moisturized. Applying a good one will ensure that your skin cells are not parched and adequately retain the moisture. Do you know that water strips your face of the moisture? It is true! When water evaporates, it dries out the skin. Just washing your face with water too often in Summers will be counterproductive in minimizing the sebum. The drier it gets, the more oil it will produce. Moisturizer like Sorbet will ensure your oily skin gets essential moisture and will keep you significantly hydrated. If you go a little overboard with the amount you apply, the Sorbet balls up and comes off, so take care of that! You only need a little for your face. Another point - since it is a light product, apply it directly on your face and blend on it. Don't try the age-old formula where we mix on our hands before applying on face. Little or no product will transfer that way. You can purchase this from any local The Body Shop outlet or preorder from different sales and discounts that US/UK sites have.
THE BODY SHOP TEA TREE OIL has been in my skin care kit since my friend recommended it a couple of years back. Tea Tree Oil has antibacterial and antiseptic properties on top of many other qualities. You must have it in your kit as a small bottle will be with you through months and may be even longer. I use it on any zit, pimple, cold sore, mosquito bite, irritation, etc. which are pretty common for me during the hot weather. It has a strong smell, but I don't find it irritating. It has that slight tingling feeling to it as well, when applied. However, you might not feel it every time. I like the fact that it soothes any irritation and vanish the zits (which are not cystic) very quickly. One should know that this did not do anything to the scars or marks of any previous acne/breakouts. Using Tea Tree Oil will not ensure that the breakout will not leave marks either. It will, however, stop a secondary pimple from developing due to bacterial infection. You can purchase this from any local The Body Shop outlet or preorder from different sales and discounts that US/UK sites have.
BIODERMA SENSIBIO H2O has been another favorite which I have been reaching for more in Summers than the colder season. It is a 'water' cleanser - to put it crudely. You can use it as a makeup remover, cleanser, or even toner. That's multipurpose, no? It will clean out the dirt from your skin without stripping the skin of natural oils. I love it on lazy nights when I don't want to haul my a** to the washroom and wash my face properly after a makeup. Instead, I take cotton balls and use BioDerma to remove the makeup and have an additional one to ensure that no residue is left. I sleep and wake up without finding my face full of pimples. It is not a good routine to have - will not recommend it you, but BioDerma is awesome for all skin types and you'd be able to club your cleansing and toning routine into a quicker one :) Due to its formulation, I never felt any burning tingly feeling that most toners have on me. Another plus point - you can use it on face AND eyes. Even for waterproof makeup - this be the BOMB! The fragrance-free, paraben-free, alcohol-free formula is designed specifically to calm your skin and cleanse when chemical-heavy products wreck the active acne on the skin. The medium and full-sized packaging of BioDerma is easily available at good pharmacies across Pakistan as well as at Hyperstar. It's a European product, if you ever wish to ask a friend/family member to get this one for you :)
CLINIQUE DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT MOISTURIZER was featured in my March Favorites as being my recent moisturizer love. Once applied, Clinique gives a very lotion-like feeling, but it gets absorbed within few minutes and from then onwards, I don't have to worry about excessive shine on my face! It does not give the primer-like smoothness I achieved with the Sorbet, but instead makes skin very plump and soft to touch. It is one of the cult classics of the brand - and rightly so! <3 It does burn a hole in your pocket, but given the quantity and pump dispenser, one pump is enough for your face and neck - this is coming from a giant-faced person like me! So, this will last you a long while. Like I explained previously, I hold off the use of moisturizer till my facial pores are back to normal. Even if some moisturizer is non-comodogenic, I don't take the risk of clogging my pores, if that can be avoided. So, it is best to wait 15-20 minutes before applying anything after washing your face - especially when you are using any form of cleansing/massage/rotating brush/warm water. In Summers as well, a good moisturizer/serum should be the step 1 of your makeup. My Clinique Moisturizer is for Oily/Combination skin, so you know there are options for dry, normal and very dry skinned beauties too. Also, you can find this in deluxe size for the first trial and see how it suits your skin. I am certainly not leaving mine any time soon <3 You can pre-order a deluxe, medium, or full-size via Facebook pages taking US orders. Else, you can also find a few pieces in places like AlFatah, GreenValley, ENEM, Raja Sahib in Lahore and Vicky's, Farid's, Scentsation, Naheed in Karachi. Do take care in checking the expiration date on these items before purchasing.
Update: The post has been updated to contain the availability information that was skipped previously.
Phew! It is getting hotter by the day. I am super finicky when it comes to bearing the heat. How are you guys coping and what is your skin care routine in Summers?
If you have any recommendations regarding any awesome products that I should try during the summer, do let me know in the comments!