It has been a stinker of a summer. Endlessly hot, long and humid. It’s relentless and exhausting. I’m the first to admit, that I am very lucky and generally #blessed with a good complexion, and apart from a little oli on the T-zone by mid-afternoon, and the odd hormonal spot and blemish – I breeze through life not really having to give too much thought to my skincare regime.
However this summer has been different. The dense, hot air, sweaty days, and stifling nights has been making us all shiny, greasy, grumpy messes. Clogged pores, an inability to feel truly refreshed, and a general, ongoing, feeling of ick.
About a month ago, during a particularly hot day in the office, I reached breaking point and declared ENOUGH. I needed solutions. Like, right now. Always one to take control of my own destiny, I headed straight to Mecca on my lunch break and decided that I wasn’t leaving until I found some products to deal to my heat related oil, shine, clogged pores and general feeling of grossness.
I came away with a few new products, and set about reinventing my skincare tactics, which I have been continuing to work on over the past month. And so far I’m really happy with the results I’ve seen.
So I thought that, today, I’d share the key items that I’ve cultivated as part of my Sticky-Summer-Skincare regime, in case you have been seeking a little Humidity S.O.S. of your own.
I do wish to note that I have relatively normal, product-friendly, skin. If you do suffer from acne, allergies, or any other conditions, I’d recommend doing a lil research about if / how these products can be used for you, or speaking to a dermatologist.
Mario Badescu – Silver Power
On my visit to Mecca that day, I headed straight to the Cult Skincare display and this Silver Powder was at the very top. I hadn’t ever encountered the Mario Badescu range before, and knew nothing of it – but this mysterious Silver Power sounded like everything I was looking for: cleansing, drying, can be applied for spot treatment, or as a mask, and best of all, it was only $18 for a large tub.
Plus it sounds kind of mystical and witchy, which I’m always up for.
This product is a very fine, loose, dry, powder – a lot like talc – that is designed to dry up excess oil, and extract dirt and gunk from your pores.
It’s incredibly gentle, and easy to use. Simply wet a cotton pad, dip it into the powder then apply to the areas of the face that you wish to treat (it can be a single spot, or you can go for a complete T-zone application). It goes on like a paste. Leave it for 10-15 minutes until dry, then rinse off with water, or a toner.
In terms of immediately clearing pores, it’s not as instant a fix as, say, black-head cleansing strips. However you can use this product quite safely a few times a week and you’ll very quickly discover how much it draws out of the pores.
On a day-to-day basis, I’ve found it really helps to keep excess oil and shine at bay, and will often just apply a very thin layer of the product as a general all-over mask. A tiny bit of powder goes a long way and I reckon I’ll get a good 6 months out of this single tub, using it several times a week. It’s a nice, easy, gentle, and inexpensive product to have on hand in between full face masks and scrubs, which we need to take it easy with.
Mario Badescu – Facial Spray with Aloe Herbs and Rosewater
This was the second product I purchased at Mecca, having already picked up the Silver Power, and having sensed that there might be something in this Mario Badescu range.
I’m a big fan of facial sprays and at $18 for a large 236ml bottle, and a quick Google which revealed to me its cult status online, I knew I had to have it.
I saw a meme on Twitter yesterday that was something like “When you ask Beauty Twitter for an effective acne treatment…” with a picture of someone getting aggressively ambushed in the face with this Aloe spray. And whilst it’s by no means a cure-all acne treatment, it is a pretty phenomenal general purpose product, and I can see why the internet won’t shut up about it.
The spray is light, and its fragrance is beautiful – of elegant rosewater and herbs. It smells very expensive! Like something Elizabeth Taylor would have used in the 1960’s.
I’ve been using it endlessly – far more than I ever anticipated when I bought it: after getting out of the shower, as a primer before putting on make-up, on my eyeshadow brush during application, all over my face to set my make-up once complete, to refresh and revive during the day, on a cotton pad to remove my silver power mask, then after cleansing my face at night.
It helps make your make up last, calms and soothes the skin after cleansing, relieves shine and oil during the day, revives you when you need a pick-me-up and helps create a soft, dewy and even skintone.
I’ve been using it several times a day for a month now, and the bottle isn’t even a quarter empty, so at $18 for a large bottle, it’s amazing value, and you really do feel like you’re adding a super luxurious step to your skin care when you use this.
I’m really excited to have finally discovered the Mario Badescu range, can see why it’s so highly revered, and I’m very eager to try more. The entire range is in stock at Mecca, which is great as it’s always nice to be able to touch and smell skincare products before purchasing.
Japanese Blotting Papers
An old-trusty favourite of mine to help with oil and shine during the day is Japanese blotting papers. I have a huge box in my desk drawer at work, indulging in a little dab right before heading into meetings, and keep packets in my make up bag, the car and every handbag / clutch I own. I won’t leave the house without them. If you’re not familiar they are the simplest little sheets of fine, absorbent paper. Just take one, blot it over you T-zone and you’ll be amazed at how much oil they pick up, leaving you nice and shine free.
Don’t pay a fortune for western versions of these. Just go to any Asian beauty store, or pick some up online – Ali Express have loads – they are a fraction of the price, and superior in quality.
Angels on Bare Skin – Lush
I’m usually a devout fan of just using Micellar Water to remove my make-up at the end of the day, however with this heat, it just hasn’t been leaving my skin feeling quite clean enough, and I’ve been worried about residual dirt and make up settling into my pores. So decided to add another cleanser to my routine, for use after my Micellar Water, to really ensure there’s nothing left (followed up with the Aloe spray).
I’d long heard about Lush’s Angels on Bare Skin from gorgeous people online who had the best complexions. So when it came time for me to consider another product, I knew that this was the one for me. After all, things typically achieve cult status for a reason.
I’ve only been using Angels on Bare Skin for a handful of days, but really love the ritual of it – the way you have to rub a small amount with water, in your hand, to make a milky paste, before applying. Like all Lush products, it looks and smells pure, earthy and natural, has a limited shelf-life and the moderate amount of roughness in it is a good gentle exfoliant, which is exactly what I was after.
Already, I’ve noticed how much smoother, brighter and clearer my skin is. I suspect that this product will be staying in year-round use.
Lush Fresh Face Masks – Don’t Look at Me / Mask of Magnaminty
In the quest to Live My Best Most Fabulous Life, I’ve long aimed to do 1-2 face masks a week – so that hasn’t changed this summer.
I know that sheet masks are all the rage, but I’m not a huge fan. They’re awkward, messy, uncomfortable, and never really leave my face feeling that clean or invigorated. I like paste formulas that dry and leave your skin feeling tight and purged of the days sins.
Which is why, Lush’s fresh face masks are my everything. I’ve tried nearly the entire range, however Don’t Look at Me is my absolute ride-or-die mask. It is the most magnificent bright blue, the lemon juice is zingy and brightening, and the ground rice acts as a wonderful exfoliant. Whenever I use this, my skin is left baby-soft and gleaming bright.
Plus! If you accidentally get it in your mouth, it tastes lovely – like lemon icing/ gin and tonic!
I have, however, added Mask of Magnaminty, to my collection, in the past month. Like everything else in this post, I wanted something to really target my pores, and shine, and this product is Queen. The peppermint is so refreshing and thick consistency is drying. Everything I’m looking for in a mask. You can also use it on your body if you suffer areas of acne on your back or neck. It a wonder product!
All of Lush’s fresh face masks have a limited shelf-life due to their raw and natural ingredients, so you are best to only have 1-2 in the fridge at a time, and buy only what you can use in a month. And remember, as with all Lush products, if you return 5 x clean, empty pots, you get a free fresh mask, which is just glorious.
I am lucky enough to live in a house with a bath, however I have to admit – I haven’t always been the biggest fan. Sure a bath was fine…but I’d get so bored and twitchy after ten minutes, and end up confused as to what I was meant to be doing. My idea of what a bath was, was that it had to be scorching hot, designed to warm you up, or relax you if your muscles were tired and weary. As a result my use of the bath was limited to maybe three a year. I just didn’t see the point, they seemed like so much effort.
That was until a friend started preaching the joys of tepid baths on hot nights.
And oh my goodness. My world has changed. I am obsessed.
A bath for me has taken on a whole new meaning, now that the aim of it is to cool you down. And as a result it’s become an almost-nightly ritual.
About 9pm, I’ll fill the bath with tepid water (which is a little warmer than cold, but a little cooler than warm), make a peppermint tea, light a lavender candle, pop in some bath salts or a bath bomb (though only half of one these days, as my bath consumption has got so frequent, I’ll bankrupt myself if I use a whole bomb each time), put on a Lush mask, or some silver powder, and spend at least an hour just shrouded in beautiful, calm, coolness, in the dark, whilst listening to BBC6 radio. I feel like some kind of nocturnal mermaid of zen.
Not only is a tepid bath the most effective way at dropping your entire body temperature, but it really helps you to relax and ensures a good nights sleep – which is something we’ve all been struggling with in this heat.
Soo’s Garden make the absolute greatest lavender candles, and I can’t recommend them highly enough. They’re made with 100% natural lavender oil, come in a lovely and practical tin and has a really clever wide wick that ensures even burning.
You can get these from Frances Nation at the Arts Centre, in Christchurch, or online.
Be your Best Mermaid Self – embrace the tepid bath.
I hope that some of these products might help you feel a little more Goddess-Like, if you too are experiencing this Summer of Suffering.
Good quality beauty products need not cost a fortune, and I’ll always choose to spend on high-quality, long-lasting, natural, products, rather than gimmicks and fads in ridiculous and wasteful packaging.
What are your go-to skincare tips for when humidity and the Dreaded Shine strikes? Let me know, and let’s combat the Humidity Monster together!