Foundation is one of the most important products in your makeup arsenal: Unless you're lucky enough to be blessed with flawless, even skin, you're likely to pull out the big gun—foundation—to help smooth out any trouble spots. The best foundation makes you look as though you're not wearing any at all, but finding that perfect match can be a major wrinkle-inducer in itself. Fear not! The secret to flawless coverage? Knowing your skin type.
Mineral powder foundation is best for sensitive, oily, or combination skin. It provides medium to full but gentle coverage with a matte finish, and is best applied with a brush. Avoid powder foundation if you have very dry skin, as it can exacerbate the problem and leave you looking patchy and splotchy. Fresh Faced pick: Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation. Silky, weightless, and easy to apply, Alima Pure foundation helps even out skin tone, enhances the complexion, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and pores.
Cream and stick foundations tend to be thick, so they are best suited to normal to dry skin types. They provide medium to full coverage with a flawless, natural-looking finish. Fresh Faced pick: Vapour Organic Beauty Atmosphere Luminous Foundation. It gives a luminous, glowing finish, and the precision stick application allows for maximum control. A professional luxury foundation with none of the chemicals found in department store brands.
Liquid foundation is best for normal, dry, or mature skin. It provides a boost of moisture along with medium coverage and a dewy or matte finish. Fresh Faced pick: Vapour Organic Beauty Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation. Soft Focus leaves a smooth base while achieving a natural, soft satin finish. I also like Nvey Eco Moisture-Rich Fluid Foundation, especially as the plummeting temps of Canadian winter leave our skin gasping for moisture.
Tinted moisturizer is my personal choice—I'm really a low-muss, low-fuss kind of gal. Tinted moisturizer works on most skin types to provide a hint of colour while helping balance skin tone. Fresh Faced pick: Suki Tinted Active Moisturizer. It combines moisturizer with 100 percent pure mineral pigment for natural, very sheer coverage. A great option for those who don't like wearing makeup or don't have a lot of time.
And here's a follow-up issue: Do you need primer underneath your foundation? Maybe. Primers are meant to provide a barrier between the skin and your foundation to create a more even surface. A good primer is a sheer, lightweight base that helps fill in
fine lines and reduce the appearance of pores while creating a silky-smooth canvas for your
foundation. Plus it helps makeup stay fresh longer, and is especially beneficial for women with oily skin or scarring from acne. Fresh Faced pick: Vapour Organic Beauty Stratus Soft Focus Instant Skin Perfector—a 3-in-1 moisturizer, primer, and no-colour foundation. Stratus Soft Focus
balances all skin types, including combination and oily skin, and
leaves a smooth base for makeup application. (Choose Vapour's Stratus Instant Skin Perfector if you have dry or mature skin.)
As much as I'm enjoying cooler nights and humidity-free days of September, these mild changes in weather signal the approach of fall and winter—in other words, months of cold and dry. Just as you pack away your summer dresses and pull out those sweaters and coats, your beauty routine needs a reboot, as well.
Keep your skin looking (and feeling) beautiful in the face of seasonal climate change with Fresh Faced's fall skin-care tips:
1. Two words: gentle cleansing. Consider switching to a cream-based cleanser, which contain higher concentrations of oils, water, and emollients. I like Pai Camellia and Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser or Suki Moisture-Rich Cleaning Lotion. Or try an oil-based scrub, such as Pai Kukui & Jojoba Bead Skin Brightening Exfoliator, to reap the benefit of exfoliation with the bonus of feeding your skin with hydrating oils.
2. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. The best time to feed your skin is directly after cleansing, as soon as you step out of the shower or bath. It helps seal in whatever moisture your face has already absorbed. I'm a huge fan of facial oils and serums, which can help calm the skin and regulate oil production. Oils can be used to supplement your daily moisturizer or on their own, no matter your skin type.
3. Be aware of changes. If you've been prone to oily skin all summer, you might notice it evening out as the temperature drops. And if your normal summer complexion becomes dry, adjust your go-to products accordingly.
4. Remain diligent about sunscreen. Sun protection is essential year-round. This one's not negotiable.
5. Give your hands some extra love. All that handwashing may be good for your health, but it sure takes a toll on your skin, especially as the air begins to lose humidity in the fall. Keep your favourite hand cream handy—even consider tossing one into your bag for on-the-go treatment. I am seriously into Revolution Organics All-Over Body Balm for just this reason (I have them stashed all over the place: in the car, by the kitchen sink, on my desk, etc.).
6. Protect your lips. Find a non-petroeum-based lip balm and start moisturizing early to prevent dry and chapped lips. My absolute favourite is Pai Bergamot Lip Balm, but all of Fresh Faced's lip treatments are lovely, effective, and petroleum-free.
Months ago, while waiting for a facial, I overheard an esthetician tell a client, "I healed my sun spots and acne scars with rosehip oil." My interest was piqued, to say the least: What, no expensive laser treatment? No chemical peels? Healed by nature? Sign me up!
Rosehip seed oil, or "rosa mosqueta," is extracted from the seeds of a wild rose plant native to Chile. It has been used by the people of Chile for centuries, but only recently been recognized in other parts of the world for its anti-aging and skin healing properties. Studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in reducing scars, wrinkles, and dryness; and in helping repair damaged skin cells and promote skin regeneration.
In other words: it's perfect.
The benefits of this natural wonder come from its high levels of vitamin C, omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, and retinoic acids. Vitamin C stimulates collagen production and helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Essential fatty acids have been shown to reduce scarring and promote cell regeneration, and retinoic acid (vitamin A) penetrates the skin to improve moisture levels, skin tone and texture, and pigmentation. Rosehip seed oil is a "dry" oil, which means it soaks into the skin easily and does not leave a greasy residue. It is more potent—and less expensive—than other popular face oils, including rose otto. And anyone can use it, even women with sensitive skin conditions like rosacea and acne.
Rosehip seed oil can be used in its pure form or incorporated into a lotion, facial oil, or cream. See what all the fuss is about with these Fresh Faced buys:
Most of us can agree on this: A good facial cleanser is the first step to taking care of your skin. In addition to removing dirt, grime, and impurities; dissolving makeup; and unblocking your pores (without stripping away moisture), proper cleansing opens the door for other skin care products to perform at their best.
Not all cleansers are created equal. How should you choose from among the thousands of products on the market? A few good rules of thumb: Always avoid putting harsh detergents on your face. No matter what your grandmother may have told you, good old soap and water is not your best defense. If your skin feels tight, dry, or squeaky when you step out of the shower, you need a creamier cleanser. If you have oily skin, try a gentle foaming cleanser.
That said, whenever I see the words "foaming" and "gel" in the name of a product, I worry about it containing harmful ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate. These petroleum-based foaming agents are inexpensive surfactants often used in personal care products that can cause endocrine disruption, affect the nervous system, and lead to cancer. A healthier choice is a cleanser that depends on coco glucoside, a gentler, non-ionic surfactant derived from renewable raw materials like coconut oil and fruit sugars. My best-bet picks for all-natural cleansers suited for oily skin are John Masters Organics Jojoba & Ginseng Exfoliating Cleanser, One Love Organics Easy Does It Foaming Cleanser, John Masters Organics Rose Foaming Face Wash, and Suki Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser.
For dry or mature skin, look for creamy, soothing cleansing lotions and milks, which contain higher concentrations of oils, water, and emollients. Rose water helps the skin to retain moisture, and glycerin is a natural, gentle humectant that draws moisture to the surface of the skin. Try Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, John Masters Organics Linden Blossom Creme Cleanser, Suki Moisture-Rich Cleansing Lotion, or Kahina Giving Beauty Facial Cleanser.
Glycerin is also beneficial for sensitive skin, since it has been shown to encourage normal cell maturation. Steer clear of exfoliating cleansers and scrubs if you are prone to irritation or rosacea, and avoid alcohol in your skin care regimen. Aloe vera is excellent for combating swelling, inflammation, and redness. Give these natural cleansers a go: Green Beaver Daily Facial Cleanser, Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, or Pangea Organics Egyptian Calendula & Blood Orange Cleanser.
If you have combination skin, it may take a bit of trial and error to find a cleanser that doesn't leave your face feeling tight but does leave behind your skin's natural oils. Thyme, tea tree oil, aloe vera, clay, and witch hazel are effective at calming acne. Foaming cleansers may be too drying for acneic skin, leading to excess sebum production as your skin tries to overcompensate for the loss of its own oils. Take the middle ground and consider Green Beaver Daily Facial Cleanser, Kahina Giving Beauty Facial Cleanser, or Pangea Organics Egyptian Calendula & Blood Orange Cleanser.
Most of us could use a little toning in the rear end department, but what about our skin? I have to admit, I've always erred on the side of minimalism when it comes to my skin care regimen, opting to cleanse and moisturize but skip the middle step of toning. Since I can attribute that to laziness more than anything else, I decided to do a little digging about the purpose of toners.
So what is a toner? In general, toners are said to eliminate oil, tighten pores, and prep the skin to absorb moisturizer. They fall into two broad categories: those intended to remove excess dirt, oil, or makeup missed by your cleanser (called astringents), and those that impart vitamins, minerals, and hydrators to nourish the skin (called fresheners or balancers). Seems pretty win/win, all in all.
If you have oily or combination skin, you might want to consider an astringent toner. Good astringents help clean the pores and reduce oil using alcohol or witch hazel. Pangea Organics French Rosemary with Sweet Orange Toner or Italian Mandarin with Sweet Lime Toner are great options. If you're rather go alcohol-free, Suki Concentrated Balancing Toner is specially formulated for acneic, rosacea, eczema, and dermatitis-prone skin; and Pai Rice Plant & Rosemary BioAffinity Toner contains pure "living waters" that have the exact pH and biochemical balance of healthy skin.
Those with dry or mature skin should definitely avoid alcohol (at least in your toner!), as it can be too drying and may even cause breakouts by disturbing your skin's natural oil balance. Look for a humectant such as rose water, which can help lock moisture into the upper layers of the epidermis by preventing evaporation. Pai Lotus & Orange BioAffinity Toner hydrates and protects dry and sensitive skin and helps calm visible redness.
If maintaining your youthful glow is your skin-care goal, check ingredient listings for antioxidants such as white tea, natural salicylates such as aspen bark extract, or rose or chamomile extract to seal in moisture. John Masters Organics Rose & Aloe Toning Mist has all three.
Toners come in especially handy during the (sweltering!) summer months when your skin feels more oily and you don't need intensive moisturizing treatments. When the sun goes down tonight on Toronto's 43-degree-celsius skyline, I'll be reaching for a toner (and an ice-cold Corona!) rather than my usual night cream.
Collagen is the most common protein in the human body: It's in tendons, muscles, bone, cartilage, and skin. In fact, it's the main structural component of the dermis—the lower layer of the skin—and it's how our skin gets its elasticity. As we age, collagen production slows, and elastin—the substance that enables skin to "snap" back into place when it's pulled—gradually loses its spring. Collagen production is also hindered by environmental toxins, sun exposure, and smoking.
Collagen as an ingredient is often sold as a miracle wrinkle eraser—in the form of creams, injectables, and oral supplements—but the effects of these products are debatable. Creams and other topical skin products that contain collagen may help moisturize, but they don't provide any firming benefits since the collagen molecule is too large to be absorbed through the skin. And most of us are blissfully ignorant about the source of the collagen used in these products (it's usually derived from cow and pig tissues). According to Ecoholic expert Adria Vasil, some collagen injectables even contain genetically engineered human collagen made from lab-grown human skin. Pretty gross.
If the idea of ingesting, injecting, or applying bovine and porcine proteins in the hope of smoothing away your wrinkles is more than you can stomach, consider a more natural approach to refreshing your skin. Vitamin C is essential for the synthesis of collagen, so increasing your intake through food and personal care products (see our suggestions below) can help improve the health and appearance of your skin. At lunchtime tomorrow, think sweet potatoes, strawberries, broccoli, kale, and oranges.
While you're at it, you might also increase your dosage of antioxidants. By definition, antioxidants inhibit the oxidation of molecules (which can produce free radicals), and therefore they can help prevent some cellular damage that contributes to aging and disease. Foods rich in antioxidants include beans, berries, broccoli, pecans, and green tea.
Consider these Fresh Faced goodies before you reach for the collagen pills or go under the needle:
Let’s face it: acne isn’t just a problem for kids. Zits, pimples, whiteheads—whatever you want to call them—are also a common skin concern for adults, too. Caused by an overproduction of oil that clogs pores and attracts bacteria, acne vulgaris is linked to a range of factors, including genetics, hormones, stress, diet, and—you guessed it—cosmetics and skin care products.
It’s definitely important to consider holistic treatment of acne, including dietary changes (eat less dairy and sugar) and hormonal balance (a naturopathic doctor can help), but most of us run for the beauty counter the minute we spot an angry red pimple peering back at us in the mirror. The problem is that most conventional acne treatments depend on one of two controversial ingredients: benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. The former can cause burning, peeling, over-drying, and irritation of the skin, in addition to generating free radicals, which foster premature aging and a decrease in the skin’s natural healing abilities, and have been linked to cancer. Salicylic acid, while a naturally occurring beta hydroxy acid, causes sun sensitivity (the U.S. FDA recommends extra sun protection when using products containing salicylic acid) and can accumulate in the body and affect organ toxicity. And Environment Canada has found salicylic acid in major water bodies like the St. Lawrence.
Fortunately, there are a few gentler means to achieving calmer, smoother skin. Enter thyme, tea tree oil, aloe vera, clay, and witch hazel. Researchers at Leeds Metropolitan University discovered recently that herbal preparations of thyme could be more effective at treating acne than prescription creams. In fact, the study revealed that thyme tincture has a greater antibacterial effect than standard concentrations of benzoyl peroxide.
Because tea tree oil has antiseptic and antifungal properties, it helps kill bacteria that cause acne and other skin and nail conditions. But proceed with caution: Tea tree oil is very strong and should never be applied directly to the skin unless diluted properly with a carrier oil that suits your skin type.
Aloe vera can be used to help reduce any swelling, inflammation, and redness associated with acne. You can use skin care products that list aloe vera among their ingredients or even extract the sap yourself from an aloe vera plant.
Another effective natural treatment is clay. Rich in minerals and enzymes, its drawing power will clean and open up pores, extracting excess sebum. Clay also has exfoliating properties.
No need to blow your budget on expensive toners—witch hazel, extracted from the leaves and bark of the witch hazel shrub, has strong astringent and antioxidant properties. The tannins in witch hazel help tighten pores and reduce inflammation, and it’s a great gentle and non-drying alternative to conventional alcohol-based toners.
If you're not keen on turning your kitchen into a chemistry lab, try the following Fresh Faced products the next time a breakout has you freaked out.