Neostrata

Sunday Facial

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Facials Facials Facials, something I’ve tried in so many places from all over the world. Everyone has their own method, technique, products and most important is philosophy. So the question begged to be asked is what is my philosophy? Well its a holistic combination of atmosphere, state of mind, products and LOT of facial massage. I’m not particularly huge on gadget treatments but I do use a couple at home. Another crucial aspect for me is skillful, experienced hand at Extractions! Another reason why I have regular facials to maintain the health of my skin and ensure any underlying congestion is addressed. Generally I go for professional facials every 6-8 weeks however it can be a pricey affair so I do many interim maintenance facials at home. This post delves into how I indulge in at home facials.

Atmosphere: Typically I would also indulge in bath, so water in running in bath with capful of a bath oil (Aromatherapy Associates bath oils are amazing). The bathroom air fills with relaxing aroma of bath oil while I get started with a double cleanse. In addition, a gorgeous soy wax based candle is burning. Cleansing the skin with an oil or balm, taking it all over my face, neck, chest, behind ears and massage. Cup my palm over my nose and take deep breaths as I massage. This helps calms my raging mind, center my energies on the moment I’m about to indulge in.

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To remove the balm or oil, I have warm steaming wash cloth, air it for few second before I slap it on my face to ensure the temperature is not too hot for the skin. Cocoon my face in warm towel before I compress the towel on my face. The warm towel steam’s amalgamation with rich essential oil balm is truly transcending.

Next up, prep for exfoliation. Either physical, acid or enzyme, or combination. Choice is entirely yours! I have a separate post on all types of enzyme and physical exfoliators. Upon schmearing my enzyme exfoliator all over, I will steam my face. Steaming with enzyme exfoliator loosens surface dead skins and making it a whole lot easier to buff it away. Also preps skin for next step which is extractions. Not something I’d recommend to do at home – go to a professional if you don’t know what you’re doing. I typically only limit to extraction for blackheads, whiteheads and spots only if they’re ready to pop.

Skin can be stimulated at this point with steam, exfoliation and extraction – so Pause, Breathe. Mist some rose water. Dry your face and next up is a gadget High Frequency Facial Machine.

fullsizeoutput_435e.jpegHigh Frequency  helps treat and prevent stubborn acne, shrink enlarged pores, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, decongest puffy eyes, fade dark eye circles, rejuvenate the condition of the scalp and nourish hair follicles for healthier hair growth.

Most professional high frequency machines used in spas, salons and medical offices operate at a frequency of 100,000-2500,000+ hertz (cycles per second). However the machine I have here is only 50-60 htz, which is enough for regular at home use. Also assuring to know with such low frequency it isn’t going to damage especially when it is in DIY spirit.

Basically two types of high frequency with orange (neon gas) used to treat aging, promoting hair growth, tightening pores and skin elasticity and on the other hand is violet gas (argon gas) which is anti bacterial and wonderful for treating acne.  The violet argon gas frequency is typically used in spa’s however for at home function I find the orange neon gas works just fine on spots, pores, elasticity, blood circulation and  promoting overall health of the skin.

Soon after high frequency, I follow with clay or mud mask to tighten the pores after the treatment and continue the spirit of detoxifying and purifying the skin. Leaving it on for no more than ten minutes and I do not let it dry completely. When its completely dry (to a point where you’d need a chisel) you’ve drawn out all moisture from skin too. Taking it off with warm towel, next up is my personal fave step. The step for which I desperately and achingly look forward to a facial.

fullsizeoutput_4395Massage with a light, high linoleic acid carrier oil. The mantra here is firm pressure, no feathery, flimsy, sissy massage, you need firm pressure upward and outward. Following the muscle structure in the face. When hands, palm and fingers are tired, I employ Jade Gua Sha. This is literally the bomb of blood circulation and lymph drainage.

Massage has endless benefits some of which include: promoting blood circulation, lymph drainage (stuff that has toxin build up and makes you look puffy and dull), supports vitality in your skin, pressure point massage particularly fantastic for sinus sufferer like myself, better absorption of products in skin and most important of all it is incredibly relaxing. A good facial massage can put you to sleep (of course when someone else is massaging). To remove oil from skin, followed by another warm cloth compress, followed my misting with rose water again.

Here on, I begin layering products on skin to wrap up the facial. First up is acid treatment, followed by toning mist. Next up is one more gadget for eyes, from Dr fullsizeoutput_4396Dennis Gross DRx SpectraLite EyeCare Pro, a FDA approved device featuring 72 LEDs, with a full spectrum of therapeutic light. Again a tool made for home use to replicate the professional light therapy used in medical clinics. I was extremely dubious about this product however using it for 3mins for last 20 odd days, I’ve noticed a visible difference in skin around my eyes. It’s tighter, firmer and smoother. I don’t have deep set wrinkles, I have fewer lines under my eyes but nothing that is major aging (if you know what I mean). I’ve also noticed when applying eye makeup, my skin near eye is more resilient and not so thin. I will continue using and keep you posted if I see more improvement. So following the light therapy near eyes is a retinol based eye serum.

From here, I finish off routine with an active Serum, treatment cream or balm or oil and hydrate a LOT with water. My choice of products and ingredients can vary for each facial however it is really driven and dependent on what my skin needs.

Also I specifically wanted to call out one more point about which type product I like to use in each category. This topic could be a post in itself however this gives you an indication where I’d like to put my money.

Medical cosmeceutical product vs. Green/natural product

  • Green/Natural – Cleansers, Toners, Masks, Balms, Oils – Typically on the surface of skin, and not much ‘face time’
  • Cosmeceutical (blend of cosmetic and pharmaceutical) or Over the Counter  – Acid Treatment, Serum, Eye Cream, Active ingredients (retinol, aha’s, peptides, etc) – This is deeper penetrating in skin and one which will show more visible results

*Personally I dont use any pharmaceutical product (yet)

There are other types of facials I do as well, which include micro dermabrasion but that facial routine looks completely different. Im curious to know, how do you do your at home facials?

HHW.com

xx

Liquid Gold VS. Neostrata Oily Skin Solution

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So we have all heard the hype on Alpha-H Liquid Gold and Neostrata Oily Skin Solution. I will share my experiences and results with you.

Alpha H Liquid Gold – This product is raved endlessly in blogging world and I’m sure we would all have heard amodelrecommends rave about it. To be honest, Im not very far from giving it 5 stars either. Only reason I wouldn’t give 5 stars is for its availability (mainly online, Australian made brand).

In saying so, it has revolutionized the way I perceive gentle chemical exfoliation. I apply it with a cotton pad on my face and get a sheer kick out of how it picks up all impurities from my face. My skin is so accustomed to AHA’s & BHA’s that I don’t feel the tingly sensation anymore (weirdly enough I miss it because psychologically it made me feel product is working its magic!). It dries almost immediately without leaving a sticky feeling. Next morning, my skin feels softer and smoother. Over a period of time I have also noticed it has helped with uneven skintone, skin congestion and pigmentation. However I alternate the use with Alpha H Intensive Night Repair Serum (review coming soon).

The ingredients of this product are Aqua, Alcohol Denat., Glycerin, Hydrolysed Silk, Glycolic Acid, Potassium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Glycyrrhiza Glabra Extract. I’m not exactly thrilled to see Alcohol Denat in the listing. This ingredient is used as preservative in skincare which may lead to dryness to skin (not that I have experienced any). Based on that, I’m assuming they would have used in this ingredient to preserve the effectiveness of Glycolic acid. The concentration of Glycolic acid is not mentioned on product packaging or website. On further research it was noted the Glycolic acid concentration was 5% (http://www.adorebeauty.com.au/alpha-h/alpha-h-liquid-gold.html)

Price point – 100ml $40 and 200ml $58 (http://www.beautybay.com/skincare/alphah/g/liquidgold/)

Neostrata Oily Skin Solution – This product on other hand is 8% Glycolic acid and does tingle my skin. The method of application and results are not hugely different to Liquid Gold. In saying so, the ingredients are a distinction point.

Key ingredients – Aqua (Water), Alcohol denat., Glycolic Acid, Propylene Glycol, Ammonium Hydroxide, Polyquaternium-10, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Polysorbate 20, Tetrasodium EDTA.

Price point – 100ml $30 (http://www.neostrata.com/product/neostrata+oily+skin+solution.do)

CRUNCH DOWN COMPARISON – Neostrata is cheaper, easily available in US, Glycolic acid third ingredient listed (8%). Whilst Liquid Gold is steeper in price, available online and Glycolic acid is fifth ingredient listed (5%). The packaging, method of application and results are not hugely different. Perhaps for USA consumers Neostrata is a viable option. For starters, Liquid Gold may be good option as it may not be as strong on skin. However one would have to fork out more moolah! However if you are willing to take a leap of faith with stronger product at cheaper price your bank account and skin may thank you!

As for me, I own both products and enjoy using them both. Next I “might” try layering or mixing the product (I doubt if that would be good idea)