travel skincare tips: 2 posts

French Pharmacy Micellar Waters and Cleansers

I’ve been loyal to La Roche-Posay Toleriane and Johnson & Johnson Purpose cleansers for many years, but I still like to test new products to see if there is something better out there. After all, skin changes over time, and so do product formulas. When I was recently packing for a trip, I discovered that I had accumulated quite a few skincare samples and testing notes and I thought that I’d share them here. These products are among the most popular ones at the European pharmacies.

Since everyone has slightly different skincare goals, I might as well mention what I like in a cleanser. As I’ve described in My Skincare Route, for my first cleanse in the evening, I use an oil-based cleanser such as DHC Cleansing Oil. For the second cleanse, however, I turn to a gentle foaming cleanser that doesn’t dry out my skin. It should leave it soft, with a comfortable, soothing feel. I use micellar water to remove makeup, refresh my skin after I get home in the evening, or during travels, when I need to streamline my routine and skip the oil cleanser. Even if some of these products haven’t passed the goldstandard test for me, many came close.

Micellar waters, by the way, are not the same thing as toners. The names comes from micelles, tiny spheres* of cleansing compounds suspended in the aqueous solution. One part of a micelle is hydrophilic, with an affinity to water, while another  is lipophilic, ready absorb or dissolve in oil, and as the argument goes, with skin sebum and dirt. Each brand uses a slightly different formula for the surfactants that aggregate into the micelles, but the idea behind all of them is similar–a water-based cleanser that requires no rinsing.

*Actually, micelles can come in shapes other than spheres; it depends on the molecule shape of the surfactants that make them. Just a chemistry geek note.

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Skincare Tips for Travel

The concept that underpins my travel skincare has a clever and original name. It’s called a Giant Ziploc Bag. It looks as glamorous as a giant Ziploc bag can look. I gaze with envy at the cute travel cases real mavens sport (one of whom is my mom), but I remain loyal to my method, because for all of the advances of the beauty industry it hasn’t created a travel case that satisfies all of my needs while not taking up half of suitcase. A Ziploc bag may lose out on charm, but it can’t be rivaled on practicality.

For me the goal of packing for a trip is to ensure that away from home I can find the same comforts. The insouciant advice of beauty magazines to pack the essentials and buy the rest at your destination is fine if you stay at luxury hotels in NYC. I’d love for one of those editors to end up in the Ukrainian countryside, or worse, Paris on a Sunday evening, and try to find a store where a toothbrush can be procured, to say nothing of more involved toiletries. When I speak of comforts, though, I don’t even need a soft bed and functioning plumbing. Those I can do without. What I can’t do without is my sunscreen and a rosewater spray. For all of my idiosyncratic ways, I’m an easy traveler. I just love taking care of my skin. Suffice it to say, if you’re a minimalist and happy just with soap and water, then this post is not for you.

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