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Summer Skin Solutions

Well hello there readership! While sadly I can no longer claim that I am still within gazing distance of a palm tree (that photo is from my last day in Florida), we have been having a remarkable spell of weather here in Scotland, and I have been very busy trying to lap-up every last moment of sun and warmth while it's here. You just never know. This time of year, when you have a protracted spell of beautiful weather, that might very well be your whole allotment of summer, you just never know.

That said, there's no time like the present to have a brief discussion about what on Earth to do with one's skin during the warmer summer months. This is something I grapple with every year. In fact, it's probably safe to say that I never stop grappling with it, and it isn't just limited to summer. Basically, I loathe wearing foundation. I need something  to even-out my skin tone a bit and provide a little SPF, but for several years now, I have not been able to bring myself to like what I see in the mirror when I'm wearing foundation. Long story short, I have essentially given up, electing instead to try to create a halfway-decent facial canvas by focusing on skincare and a few well-appointed illuminating products. Full disclosure: I was encouraged by a friend to make this post into a video, but as much as I loved the idea, I didn't have the time to figure out lighting and backdrops that would enable you to see these products in action. As it is, there is still no better way to try something than just to try it, so with no further ado, here are my current products in my rotation that are a part of my everyday routine. They've made my life easier - I like them a lot, and I think that you might too.

It was actually on this last trip to Florida that my friend who was visiting convinced me to try a cleansing oil. Both of us are from the Sea Breeze Generation - in our formative teenaged years oil was treated as something that should be removed from the body with the same enthusiasm as a demonic attachment. While those days are long behind us, there is still that little part of me that is always a bit shy of putting something oil-based on my face. Even when I need to, and I have definitely reached that time in my life when there is no question that I need to.

I chose this one because it gets the highest rating from the Environmental Working Group's cosmetic safety database.  I try to use the database whenever I can (note: they don't always have everything you might use in the database). In the world of cosmetic safety, it is still very much the wild west, and there are a lot of products out there that have all sorts of strange things in them, and labelling requirements are different from country to country, and are at best, inconsistent.

But I digress. Squalane is a pretty cool thing; it's a lab-engineered compound that is bio-identical to the squalane that your body makes naturally to moisturize itself (allegedly this compound was once only available commercially from sharks, yikes!) I also purchased a moisturizer from them, and it's great! Both the facial wash oil and the moisturizer keep my skin soft and supple without irritation, funky perfumes or overreaching claims of turning you into a Goddess - it just works.

I couldn't find either of these products in the EWG database, but my desire to try these products overwhelmed my sense of self-preservation (doesn't it always), and I went for not one but two different gold-infused oils to try.

Granted, I did not need two of what is essentially exactly the same product, but I was feeling a bit experimental. Basically both of these products are moisturizing facial oil blends with little bits of 24k gold flake floating around in it. When you spread it on your skin, on your lips, drop it into your foundation (well, not me), or just put it wherever, it imparts a lovely glow to the skin.

What's the difference? To be honest, not much. The Farsali product is a lighter-weight oil to feel; it spreads easily, has a lovely light scent, and soaks in in about 5 minutes. The Ulta oil is a thicker oil, has a lavender essential oil scent (which I love), and despite its heavier feel, soaks in much more quickly. Oh, and at $20 it is also less than half the price of the Farsali. I plan on using both of them, so I didn't mind buying two of the same product. I would however, probably save some cash and just go right for the Ulta version, but the Farsali version is lovely too.

Both of these products are really lovely. The Boots City Light I actually purchased for the first time in a fit of fed-up impulsive "I quit foundation forever" exasperation. The very first time I tried it I was hooked. It comes in three shades (light, medium, and medium-dark), is moisturizing yet soaks in quickly and leaves a nice satin finish to the skin, and with just a hint of evened-out color. I use Medium in winter when I'm pale and Medium Dark in the summer. It's always a bit of a celebratory moment when I get to graduate from Medium to Medium Dark. I'm onto the medium-dark right now - because I know you were curious.

The Laura Mercier Illuminating tinted moisturizer is one that I have tried in the past and liked very much, but decided it was too shiny for me. I revisited it recently because I realized that time has moved-on, and I am not very deeply ensconced in the "illluminating" period of my cosmetic lifespan - the perfect time to give this one another go. It did not disappoint. It's quite a bit pricier than the Boots version - $45 as opposed to $14, but it really is a lovely product. In fact, I was debating whether or not I was going to spend the money while I was at a Sephora in Tampa, having just been in there and smeared it all over my face. I decided to go walk around a bit to think it over, and went into Gap to buy some bras. At the checkout, the lady told me, unprompted, that my skin looked amazing. Sold. I practically ran back to Sephora to get the stuff.

Another impulse buy that I ended up loving and keeping for the forever pile. Actually, when you go on an impulse makeup search and destroy mission, this is actually probably a sign that you are looking for something to meet a need that is currently unmet in your current regimen. This stick was a purchase meant to replace the little tubes of highlighter, and eyeshadows and whatnot  - to replace all of that with just one product. It worked, and to this day, it is literally the only "eyeshadow" I even use. It's incredibly user-friendly and goes on in a pinch. A swipe on the browbones, the cheekbones, the chin...done. Don't bother me with things I have to "dust" or "dapple" or anything like that. I've got this big crayon for my face and it's all I need. This comes in a variety of colors too for those who might want to play with color.

I'm on my second tube of this concealer, which I have found is the perfect under-eye concealer for me.  Granted, it's very lightweight, so if you've got serious bags, you may find that this doesn't have enough coverage, but I absolutely love it. The applicator makes it easy to apply with a few swipes and I use my fingers to blend. I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of eye makeup that I have to keep dipping my finger into. I use the Medium color, which has just a hint of peachy tone to it which is perfect for covering-up the blue in under-eye circles. There is just a hint of highlight in this as well, sometimes I might use it at the corners of my nose or on the "marionette lines" at the corners of my mouth just for a bit of lift - it's so lightweight it just sort of blends right in. If I have any blemishes that need concealment, I keep a heavier-duty concealer (I think I use L'Oreal True Match in beige) that perfectly matches my skin tone on hand for those. Thankfully, old age seems to be going easier on my in that department. For now.

Even when I've been outside a lot and don't really need color on my face, I like to add just a hint of rosiness to my rather yellow-olivey complexion. This cream blush stick from No. 7 is perfect, and just like with the NYX highlighter stick, the same ease of use rules apply. Easy to travel with, easy to apply - you don't need a lot of tools. You don't need any tools, actually.

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