Put on a fresh face with natural products as winter gives way to warmer weather
Spring is the time for cleansing.
Winter can be harsh on your skin so try a facial mask or scrub at home to get rid of dirt, dry skin and other damage. A facial mask generally stays on your skin for 10 to 15 minutes and contains ingredients such as clay, black moor, mud, aloe vera, seaweed, algae, essential oils, massage oils, herbs and vitamins. A facial scrub is a beauty product or treatment which cleanses and exfoliates the skin of the face.
Some treatments can be both a mask and a scrub. Both rejuvenate the skin.
“I like doing the masks and scrubs at home,” says Jessica Graves, owner of Una Biologicals in Lawrenceville, a company that makes and sells hand-crafted organic beauty and wellness products. “They are a great way to keep your skin soft and exfoliated, because you can’t always afford to go to a professional salon for a facial.”
This is the perfect month to try one because we are escaping the cold weather and we have all those extra dry layers of skin, Graves says. So do some extra exfoliation depending on your skin type, but she doesn’t recommend over-doing it if you have oily skin, because that can have the opposite effect.
It’s important to double check ingredients, especially if you have sensitive skin or allergies, experts say. And these facial cleansing products aren’t just for women.
Men can benefit from masks and scrubs too, Graves says.
“Men have skin, and their faces are out in the harsh weather, too,” Graves says. “There is less of a stigma these days with guys and beauty products. A lot of these products don’t have perfumes in them and they are great for guys with acne or shaving problems or just rough skin.”
Marianne Skiba, Emmy-award winning makeup artist and owner of Glam Earth Natural & Organic Beauty Boutique in Carnegie, says she starts thinking about masks and scrubs around Lent.
“Mardi Gras is truly the time of masks,” Skiba says. “It’s the best time of year to clear away any debris from winter’s harshness. Your skin is probably very dry, so you need to exfoliate. We want to keep our skin looking optimum. Beauty takes work. Give yourself time to do this. Our skin is considered an organ, and it needs to be taken care of.”
A good regimen is to do a mask or scrub at least once a week or every 10 days.
“I love that scrubs exfoliate and unclog pores and whatever gets trapped under the skin,” Skiba says. “One thing to remember is don’t be heavy handed. Be gentle. And don’t stop at your face. Do your neck and décolletage.”
Skiba says people will tell her they get professional facials so doing the at-home treatment isn’t necessary, but it still is, Skiba says. Doing your own masks and scrubs will complement the professional facial, which most people don’t do regularly.
“If you have never used one of these masks or scrubs, try them, because you will love how great they are,” Skiba says. “They will make a huge difference in your skin, and get you ready for springtime. Your skin is constantly changing.”
Skiba recently held a class on masks and scrubs at her boutique.
“Everybody needs a little advice,” says Mamie Falick of Heidelberg, who attended the talk. “With the scrubs, I thought you had to really scrub hard. No one ever explained that to me, but Marianne is so knowledgeable. I am definitely going to try the products she recommends.”
So will Katie Keirs of Mt. Washington. She says she doesn’t use a lot of beauty products, and it’s not always so easy to sort through all of the advertisements about which products are best.
“I know there are a lot of products out there that aren’t good for me, because of what’s in them,” Keirs says. “I need to read more of the ingredients, because I want more natural products.”
Choosing the proper product is key, says Lani Lazzari, Strip District resident and Fox Chapel native, who founded Simple Sugars, an all-natural skincare company. As someone who has always had incredibly sensitive skin, she says she is super aware of how traumatic it can be to try a product and have your whole face break out.
“First and foremost, before trying any new product, read the ingredient list,” Lazzari says. “It’s always best to stay away from any products that include ingredients like parabens, PEGs, sulfates or phthalates, which are all harsh and potentially harmful chemicals. It’s also best to avoid any products that list fragrance within the first three to five ingredients on the list, especially if you have sensitive skin.
“If you’re sensitive, it’s best to avoid any products with any type of acids, or any products that contain a very aggressive exfoliant like salt, walnut shells or any type of chemical peel. Sugar is the best, most gentle.”
It is always best to test a product on the inside of your elbow or wrist before you apply it to your face, Lazzari says. She recommends doing this the day before or at least a few hours before you’re planning to use the mask on your face to allow plenty of time for any reaction to appear.
“Your skin takes a beating in the winter, especially here in Pittsburgh with the constant temperature changes, our skin has not had it easy lately,” Lazzari says. “A scrub is one of the best ways to get your skin back in shape. Exfoliating is super, super important, and unless you exfoliate daily, everyone has a layer of dead skin cells that sits on top of their skin. This creates a barrier for any products that you apply, so you’re not getting the most out of your moisturizer or serum or mask unless you exfoliate first to remove that layer of dead skin.
“This is even more important if you have dry skin, like many of us do this time of year. If you apply a moisturizer, most of the moisture is going to evaporate right back out of your skin again before it can ever really absorb, unless you exfoliate regularly.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-853-5062 or [email protected].