It’s cold out now. Personally, not my favourite time of year. I feel like I should embrace winter a bit more, being Canadian and all, but I just can’t really get into it. Skiing is fun. Maybe a half hour of skating. I am on board with hot chocolate, preferably spiced. Fireplaces are awesome, and board games inside during a snowstorm are the best.
But the part where you have to go outside for a while with all the wind, the freezing, the ice, the sleet, the hail, the gray skies – no thanks. And it’s not just me, it’s my skin that dislikes it too. The weather, combined with heating systems and constant temperature changes from going in an out of buildings and my summer-smooth skin is freaking out like a 15 year old on the first day of school.
MORE OIL? ON MY FACE?
I lived for years not knowing what to do about this until I walked into my favourite spa and got a real-grown-up facial. Despite my protestations that I really don’t need any more oil on my face, Tamila (my skin guru) insisted that I load up on heavy moisturizer and – gasp – oil. She wanted me to slather my face with full on actual liquid oil. OF COURSE, not just any oil – face oil. But still. This went against every fashion magazine and trashy drugstore rule that I knew. What about my toner? What about my blotters? I’m going to look disgustingly greasy.
Shockingly, as it turns out, she actually knows what she’s talking about and after a few weeks of oil and proper moisturizer, lo and behold, dewy-ness was mine.
If you are like I was and aren’t already on board with this concept, it’s the perfect time to try it out. A well formulated face oil will make you look and feel softer, gonna say it again – dewy. It helps regulate oil production, can be used with moisturizer or without and works all year long. I use a heavier one in the winter, and a lighter one in the summer.
Once Tamila explained it to me (possibly while holding my hesitant & dramatically trembling hand), it started to make a lot more sense. Your skin has oil glands all over it called sebaceous glands, and their job is to keep your skin moisturized. If you start stripping the oil from your skin (for example, with harsh cleansers or Canadian winter), they freak out and overproduce oil in an attempt to keep your skin soft and crack-free. Adding a face oil helps regulate their production and keep it at a normal level during these drying winter months.
SOOOO LAST YEAR
It was news to me, but I’m not terribly with it, clearly. It’s been around for a long time – the Greek and Roman ladies were using face oil as far back as 3,500 BC – and has definitely hit a bit of an upwards trend in the past few years. Because oils sink right into your skin, you want to make sure that whichever brand you buy has a list of ingredients you feel comfortable with. My personal standard is that if I can eat it, then I’ll put it on my body. Your skin is your largest organ, and everything you put on it gets absorbed into your pores right into your system. If you see mineral oil – run. Petroleum – GOOD LORD put it down. These things will just clog your pores. If you can’t pronounce it – well, start by looking it up, it might just be the latin name for an herb. Not everything unpronounceable is bad for you.
Look for nourishing natural oils like Avocado, Jojoba, Rosehip, Geranium, Hazelnut, Neem, Evening Primrose – there are lots of variations depending on your skin. For example, rosehip oil is great for some people, but not for those with roseacea as it can be irritating. Apply your moisturizer first, then finish with a small amount of oil to seal in the moisturizing effects.
For myself, I use the Rejuvenating Face Oil from my #1 all-time favourite skin care shop where Tamila works, Pure & Simple. It has Evening Primrose, Borage, Organic Avocado, Organic Jojoba, Squalane and organic Geranium. They make it in-house, it’s affordable at $29 for 50ml, lasts a long time (maybe a bottle per season – the cost of a nice bottle of wine,
or two cheap ones), and is literally a life saver.
Literally. It threw itself in front of a bullet for me once. But that’s a different story.