An Indulgent Skin Care Routine for After Illness

I’ve been suffering from this awful cold for almost two weeks now. Wednesday night it became so terrible that I went to the urgent care center for trouble breathing. It’s nice to know that “I’m having trouble breathing without dissolving into a coughing fit” is a reason to be moved to the front of the line. Two and a half hours, a session with a nebulizer, and a handful of pill bottles later, I’ve been advised to rest and avoid being outdoors in the cold. As we’ve just recently enjoyed the advent of true winter weather, this means avoiding most enjoyment of the outdoors.

It also prompted the doctor to advise me to work from home so as to avoid my rather bracing daily¬†walks from and to the train station. Thankfully, my boss agreed and I’ve spent the last two days working¬†in the comfort of my own home. Now, the last few days I’ve done the bare minimum to maintain my skin care routine. Washing in the evenings, tone, moisturizing, and a little herbal balm around my nose where it’s been chafed from tissues. While taking a break for lunch, I decided I ought to take a little time and pamper my neglected skin.

I started with a good massage with some grapeseed oil to loosen dirt and debris. This I steamed off with a warm washcloth and followed with a good cleansing with my Earth Science cleansing gel. Thoroughly cleansed and prepped, I applied a sample packet of Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask. This lovely soft-pink gel smelled lightly of flowers and remained on my face for 20 minutes before rinsing and applying a Sephora Pomegranate sheet mask. I prefer the Rose mask, but was out of them and the Pomegranate was supposed to be “anti-fatigue,” which I thought might benefit after weeks of late nights and sleep interrupted by coughing. Thankfully, the fruity scent of the mask was light enough and actually quite pleasant.

I applied the sheet mask, made a pot of lavender Earl Grey tea and got back to work for a half an hour. After I’d marinated under the mask for a half an hour, I decided it was enough. I removed it and patted the remaining serum in. I finished up by massaging in some True Nature Botanicals Face Oil. I got a deluxe sample of this oil from True Nature Botanicals last time I ordered and it smells absolutely divine. If it weren’t so dear, I would spring for the full size. For now, I’m rationing it, as I can’t justify shelling out for just a nice-smelling face oil.

I have to say that in addition to making my skin look absolutely lovely, this routine was relaxing and uplifting and made me feel a bit more like a productive member of society again. Although my instructions to avoid exertion and cold air does leave me feeling a bit like a consumptive Victorian literary heroine.

Lady Elizabeth and the Quest For the Holy Grail

A rather whimsical title because I’ve always been a reader of Arthurian lore. But instead of the miraculous cup, I refer instead to Holy Grail (or HG) beauty products. I do read some modern beauty publications to get ideas for my makeup, and occasionally, they will list their HG products. I have to say, I’ve never understood such an idea.

I mean, I spent a month wearing all my red lipsticks to decide what I wanted, and then bought a lipstick that I like a lot. But it’s not the ultimate red lipstick. It’s just the best I’ve found so far. I still have complaints. And I’m going to keep buying lipsticks, even red ones. In fact, I’ve already bought two red lipsticks and a couple of sheer red lip stains since then. So no mythical status.

And yet, recently, I discovered the meaning of the HG product. It was after a years-long journey that I discovered it, and I didn’t even know how much I needed this particular product until I found it. I almost bought it on a whim, which is ludicrous considering how expensive it was, but I consider it worth every penny and I will not hesitate to buy it again.

You see, I try not to wear a full face of makeup every day. But I do need sun protection every day, and since I prefer more natural, mineral-based sunscreen products, I like a tinted sunscreen moisturizer to avoid the white cast that mineral sunscreens leave. But I have rather oily skin, and I’ve found that every tinted sunscreen I’ve tried has left my face looking shiny/oily, even the oil-free one. I had resigned myself to using a bit of powder, even though that ruins the light feel of tinted moisturizer.

Enter True Nature Botanicals. On a whim, I typed “matte finish natural tinted sunscreen” into Google, and got a bunch of hits about their Pacific Everyday Sheer Coverage sunscreen. It’s an all-natural tinted moisturizer with SPF 20 and it supposedly dries to a matte-powder finish. Huh. Sounded interesting. The price was less interesting, but after checking out their return policy (30 days, for any reason, satisfaction guaranteed), I decided it was worth it to buy a bottle, use it for a bit, and if I had to return it, the cost of return shipping was probably reasonable for a sample of a luxe product.

And it does have good ingredients. Even though it’s not oil-free, the oils are high-linoleic oils, mostly, which I know work well with my skin. Some of the oils are oils I use by themselves, or oils I’ve looked at buying. Intriguing. I ordered a bottle of the “Light” tint, and it came a few days later.

I have to say, I’m kind of hooked. I need about 2-3 pumps to cover my face generously. It smooths on and then starts to dry to a truly matte finish. The only issue I’ve had is that if I sweat profusely, it will sometimes dry a bit patchy. But other than that, it’s weightless, natural, matte sunscreen that makes my skin look flawless, but without looking like I’m wearing makeup. I’ve definitely gone a couple of days with just this moisturizer and maybe a touch of lipstick.

The other thing I’ve noticed is that my skin is actually looking really good, even bare. I generally have pretty good skin, but it started breaking out around my chin a couple weeks ago and I had two giant pimples on my chin for an audition early last week. I got my tinted moisturizer that evening and started wearing it daily on Tuesday and I’ve noticed that the pimples have gone away a lot faster than usual and haven’t left a lot of lingering marks. Perhaps it’s my new attempt at oil cleansing, but I think the botanicals in this moisturizer couldn’t be hurting. At the very least, I know it’s not causing me to break out.

So that’s the story of my quest for my first Holy Grail product. I’d be interested to hear about any Holy Grail products you readers have found!

Disclaimer: I purchased this product with my own money and have not been offered any incentive to write this review.