asian skincare: 3 posts

Roses and Jasmine : Skin Toners

One of my favorite discoveries during my stays in Japan was the skincare. Any beauty store, from the glitzy establishments like Mitsukoshi and Takashimaya to the emporia like Matsumoto Kiyoshi and Ainz & Tulpe, has knowledgeable staff that not only can help you select the right products, but also diagnose your skin type and choose the right regimen. This is how I discovered the versatility and usefulness of face toners and mists. In my new column, Putting on the spritz: face mists, I cover some of my favorite products, both naturally scented and fragrance-free, as well as ways to incorporate them into a skincare routine.

spritzes
Although my face toner schooling took place in Japan, most of the products I use are made by the American and European brands that offer well-formulated and interesting choices in all price ranges. I mention all of my top favorites in the article: Clinique, Tata Harper, May Lindstrom, Omorovicza, pure rosewater and more.

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Favorite Unscented Sunscreens

I’m going to let you in on a secret–there is something I’m even more obsessed about than perfume, travel, food, and books. It’s sunscreen. I realize that it may not sound like a particularly interesting passion. It sounds a little boring (or plain odd, depending on your thoughts about tanning). In my world, however, sunscreen is wonderful and fascinating, and searching for the next perfect product can be an exciting adventure. I learned Korean to read sunscreen labels. (Yes, I admit, I’m a little odd, but I assure you that my eccentricities are mostly harmless.)

sunscreens1

My interest in sunscreen was precocious. I never enjoyed tanning, and I figured that it would be easier to keep my skin in its natural pale state than try changing it into something it refuses to be–fashionably bronze. Little by little, I started exploring sunscreens and accumulated quite a repertoire. I wear sunscreen every day, and I enjoy the process.

I also enjoy the results from using sunscreen. It helps to keep my skin smooth, resilient and free from sun spots. No other cream or skin care trick will achieve the same effect over the long run. But when people say that they don’t like sunscreen, I can easily understand their sentiment. Many sunscreens available in the US and Europe are far from ideal.  Their finish is either too greasy or too white. US sunscreens don’t offer full spectrum protection, because many active ingredients still haven’t been approved by the FDA. Also, they are often too strongly perfumed. As much as I love scents, I don’t want to smell my sunscreen.

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Many Wonders of Facial Mists

I didn’t realize, until my husband pointed it out, that I have quite a collection of facial mists. Besides several bottles on our bathroom shelf, I carry a small spray in my purse and always keep an extra one in my travel case. As far as I’m concerned, facial mists are among the best skin care tricks for sealing in makeup, getting a quick dose of hydration and feeling refreshed. Another bonus is that many facial mists are naturally scented, and their light, mild fragrance of rosewater, linden, lavender or orange blossom offers a dose of aromatherapy throughout the day.

mists

My staple facial mist is a simple blend of rose and distilled water, which I either concoct myself (1 cup of distilled water, 4 Tablespoons all-natural rosewater) or buy it ready-made at the pharmacy. In the US, Whole Foods and other health food stores carry several good brands of rosewater* in small, handy atomizers.  Rosewater is a boon for my combination skin; it’s soothing, calming and has a delicate scent of sun warmed petals. The scent is all-natural, fleeting, but stimulating while it lasts. Besides falling into a rose perfumed reverie, you can use a mix of rosewater and argan oil to remove makeup, including water-proof mascara and eyeliner. Instant radiance is guaranteed.

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