I'm not an awesome guru wizard thing, but I'll just share some general concepts and products that work for me. It's different for everybody, but I hope this will be helpful! For your sreference, my skin type is combination: normal to dry with an oily nose. Hahah! Not my T-zone, just my nose!
Recently, my male friends had gotten very interested in makeup for cosplay and asked me for tips on how to go about it. (I think this was fueled by Kaname's visit to our country for Cosplay Mania '12, and they saw how beautiful he looks. ) I decided to ask them about their skincare regimen to figure out what products might work for their skin type.
When I asked what they wash their face with, a lot of my friends (especially guy friends) gave some answers that made me give them a look of horror.
"Soap? The... same soap I shower with"
And I'm like
NO NO NO NO NO NO Especially since these are guys who are often exposed to polluted air in the city, using public transportation, and doing intense physical training outdoors. And also who have a habit of touching their faces.
This brings us to the first item I cannot be without!
Essential Product #1: Facial cleanser
Facial cleansers come in many forms, and are made to clean off impurities from your face without damaging the skin. Soaps that are meant for washing the body are usually too harsh for the more tender skin on your face. Body soaps could leave your face dry or even cause irritations. (Except for Dove, which does not contain lye. I hear it's actually nice for the face. But maybe still keep a separate bar for your face, because do you really want something that has cleaned the rest of your body to go on your face?)
The one in the photo is what I'm currently using — It's a green tea facial bar soap with a small percentage of glycolic acid. (The dried-up bubbles look cool! It's like frost, hahah!) I first started using this type of soap after my dermatologist recommended it for my skin type. This green tea variation was a gift from a friend, though. All I know is that she got it from Thailand.
Wash your face only twice a day: right after you wake up, and before you go to bed! More than that could strip your skin of its good natural oils too much, which will later make it produce too much oil to compensate! And when you dry your face, pat gently; don't pull at it and rub vigorously! That's bad for you!
Also, my facial bar is sitting on the greatest soap dish ever, from MUJI. That bubble-like bed is made of plastic and prevents the gross residue wetness puddles that usually happens with other soap dishes.
A bit of info about glycolic acid:
"Glycolic acid is used to improve the skin's appearance and texture. It may reduce wrinkles, acne scarring, hyperpigmentation and improve many other skin conditions. Once applied, glycolic acid reacts with the upper layer of the epidermis, weakening the binding properties of the lipids that hold the dead skin cells together. This allows the stratum corneum to be exfoliated, exposing live skin cells." (Source)
I also have other cleansers with more specific functions. I use St. Ives Apricot Scrub which helps exfoliate. So when I have dry, flaky patches on my face, I use it to scrub them off gently. Also, when my pores feel clogged with excess oil or makeup, it seems to help push the gunk out and my pores are left feeling cleaner. Just be careful not to be too rough on your skin with this! And only use it 2-3 days a week.
Other brand recommendations for newbies: Cetaphil, Neutrogena
Essential Product #2: Moisturizer
The one in the photo is one of my favorites — a moisturizing toner/lotion from a Japanese brand, Hada Labo. We don't have this in Manila so this pack was brought back by my friend who visited Singapore. (Thank you!)
Common question from guy friends: "Why do I need to use moisturizer? Won't it make my face sticky?" or "My face is already oily, I don't need to put moisturizer" NO NO NO NO.
They made me very sad. Hahaha! I always enjoy using moisturizers because they make me feel refreshed. Again, I have several kinds because I enjoy switching them up depending on how my skin feels for the day and trying new products. Skincare is like a hobby for me.
I like getting refill packs of the Hada Labo lotion I mentioned earlier, and transferring them to small bottles like this:
That water-like substance in the bottle is the moisturizing lotion. It's unusual to call such a watery liquid a lotion, but it does do an excellent job of refreshing my skin and locking in the moisture so it feels soft and supple.
It's best to use moisturizer right after you wash with facial cleanser! That way, your face is nice and clean and ready to absorb the good moisture. If your skin is properly hydrated, it is less likely to produce unnecessary oil. (I think some people have the impression that moisturizer is sticky because they imagine putting in on their faces during midday when it tends to be oily. NO NO NO NO THAT'S NOT HOW IT WORKS)
So what is the importance of moisturizer?
Dry skin is more likely to wrinkle or sag. It's not very flattering for a person's face to appear cracked or flaky. It could even itch, and scratching could lead to breaking the skin which means openings for infection.
When your skin is too dry, your face tries to make up for the missing moisture by producing oil. (This is why some people's skin get oily!) Too much oil on your face is generally uncomfortable, and it can also lead to more acne. And acne is never fun, because it's itchy or painful, prone to infection, and takes a toll on a person's looks and consequently, their self-confidence.
Our bodies are 80% water and our largest organ is our skin. Doesn't it sound like it could help to reinforce the moisture on our face, which is usually most exposed to the sun?
Brand recommendations for newbies: Celeteque has nice, no-frills, affordable moisturizers. They're hypoallergenic, water-based, oil-free, and fragrance-free. You can get them at Watson's. They even have moisturizers with SPF, which brings us to the next essential product—
Essential Product #3: Products for sun protection
My bros kept making me weep. I ask, "Do you have a daily sunblock?" And I get answers like, "I thought sunblock was just for the beach."
Our country is near the equator and it's always hot around here, so I'm never very comfortable going out without sun protection. I think we all know that it's bad to soak up too much of our dear sun's rays.
Sometimes I use a normal non-tinted moisturizer with SPF, but I've developed a habit of using BB creams for everyday sun protection. I enjoy the fact that BB creams are multi-purpose: Apart from the SPF, they also moisturize, certain types help with oil control, and they have just enough coverage to even out my skintone.
I have more than one BB cream because I use different kinds for different days. I pick according to consistency, level of coverage, and SPF level to suit the day's activities.
Essential Product #4: Lip balm
I alwaysssssss have lip balm. (This isn't my whole collection. OTL) Maybe I have fussy lips but I'm not comfortable without a stick of lip balm on me. My lips don't really get dry or chapped otherwise but I suppose it's a quirk of mine to want to pamper them, hahah.
My favorite one is the Palmer's Cocoa Butter lip balm because the consistency is unlike any other that I've encountered, and it has SPF 15. Most balms feel waxy and just feel like they're sitting on my lips and not doing anything so I just want to wipe them off after a while. The Palmer's one melts in an almost buttery way, and leaves my lips feeling moisturized and happy without the feeling that it's coated in something thick. And it smells like marshmallows!
Lip balm isn't just for girls!!
This is usually met with a resounding, "WHAAAAAT??"
And WETTING YOUR LIPS WITH SALIVA IS BAD. Here's why:
"At this point, you might be asking yourself whether you really need a lip moisturizer at all. The answer to that question has to do with the unique nature of lips. For one thing, the skin on your lips is very thin. The blood supply is very close to the surface, which is why lips appear pink or red. In addition, your lips don't contain any oil glands, so they don't produce any natural oils like the rest of your skin does. As a result, lips tend to become dehydrated and chapped more quickly than the rest of your skin would.
To make matters worse, you might think you're adding moisture when you lick your dry lips, but the relief is only temporary. Once the saliva dries, it takes with it any natural moisture on your lips, leaving them even drier than before -- so the more you lick your lips, the drier they become. An effective lip moisturizer needs to do what sebum, your skin's natural oil, does for the rest of your skin: Keep moisture in and protect lips from any drying environmental conditions." (Source)
Essential Product #5: Makeup remover
How many of you have friends who just use soap and water (or worse, just water) to take makeup off after cons?
If you plan to use makeup, it's important to invest in makeup removers as well! Makeup can clog your pores and cause acne, and really, who wants that? Makeup is made to adhere to skin, so they won't easily wash off with soap and water. And you really shouldn't scrub too hard to clean up your face because that much pressure and pulling on your skin will cause wrinkles and make it more prone to sagging. Makeup removers exist to loosen up the makeup and help you get the job done with as little stress to your skin as possible.
Yet again, this type of product comes in many forms and you can try them out to see what works best for you. The two in the above photo are items I normally use after cosplay makeup.
The one in the jar is Happy Teatime Aloe Tea Cleansing Cream from Etude House. It's a cream-type makeup remover that does a good job of melting off foundation-type products like BB cream. I suppose it's kind of like cold cream, but less oily than other cold creams I've encountered. You can actually wash it off with water, and it doesn't leave the face feeling oily and gross. Other cold creams which would resist water because of the oil content. (I still like to use tissue to wipe it off then use a facial cleanser after this, just to be thorough.) It's also got a very nice scent and leaves my skin feeling nourished. The price is very reasonable, at Php120+ for this jar that lasts for quite a while. So don't skimp on it! Your skin will thank you.
Look at this lovely sparkly pink bottle of unicorn tears.
This two-part concoction in the bottle is just called Mascara Remover, and is also from Etude House. Funny thing is, I don't even use mascara. I use it to clean off eye makeup. Eyeliner can be particularly tricky to take off, but this makes it a lot easier. Its removal power is stronger than the cleansing cream.
You use it by shaking the bottle up to combine the pink oil and clear water-like liquid, then using it to dampen a cotton pad which you clean up your eyes with. Again, avoid excessively pulling on the skin! The eye area is particularly sensitive and has a greater tendency to sag. Also, try not to let it seep into your eyes because while it doesn't hurt, your vision can get weird and cloudy for a bit because of the oil. That can't be good for you.
Another makeup removal product that is handy to keep in stock is this pack of cleansing facial wipes. Again from the Happy Teatime line of Etude House. They're not like regular wet wipes, some of which are soaked in cleansers with alcohol and other strong chemicals in them because they're meant to clean your hands, not your face. These tissues are soaked in makeup remover, which leaves the skin feeling fresh and moisturized. They also smell really nice! My friends and I often use these to let our skin breathe the moment we leave a con.
Strongly avoid going to bed with makeup on because your sleeping time should also be time your skin can heal and repair itself. It can't do that very well when you've got all this junk all over your face. So if you're ever too tired to wash your face properly, at least try to use these wipes. However, I still insist on using my facial cleanser after using this!
One time, a friend (whose name I will not mention because he has learned since then and will now be ashamed of what he did) tried some theatrical makeup on his face and since that stuff was made to stick to skin well, normal soap couldn't wash it all off. What he did was scrub his face with a pumice stone.
scrub his face with a pumice stone
his FACE with a PUMICE STONE
[sound echoes through the ages]
I told him never to subject his face to that kind of torture again and if a makeup removal emergency ever presents itself again, that he can use baby oil or extra virgin olive oil instead. Lesson learned.
Use a facial cleanser to wash your face everyday, twice a day. Once when you wake up, and another time before you go to bed.
Use a moisturizer after washing your face. Get some on your neck as well.
Make sure to apply products with sun protection before going out. Again, spread a bit down your neck.
Keep a lip balm handy. Lip balms that contain SPF are especially great!
Use proper makeup removers to gently but thoroughly clean your face on days you wear makeup.
Order of products when washing your face:
1. makeup remover / cleansing cream
2. facial wash
It's really not very complicated when you get used to it! Don't be too lazy to care for the part of your body that you regularly present to people, and that you greatly rely on to convey emotion! It'll only take up a few minutes of your day, and it'll be worth it.
LISTEN UP, MEN! There is no shame in wanting to take care of what you have! If other guys will poke fun at you for wanting to keep your skin healthy, let them laugh! One day you'll laugh at their saggy skin and bad complexions! Go shop for your skincare products with your heads held high! Hahahahahah
I guess that's it for now! Oh, and of course also drink lots of water, get sufficient hours of sleep, and eat stuff that's good for you! If you're having some major problems, you could try consulting with a proper dermatologist.
I often get questions about my skin (it's far from perfect, but I appreciate your interest) so I hope this provides sufficient answers! I'll post the long overdue updated version of our cosplay makeup tutorial sometime after this!
I JUST REALLY LIKE SKINCARE OKAY
Some recent uploads
Portrait commission post
Tuxessories.net Lucky Bags promo photo
Kuroko no Basket trial shoot
My creepy shirt design was printed!