Real Girl Beauty

For every girl who's imagined herself as Lucky Magazine's "Lucky Girl." Or who's conquered her addiction to the bitchier-than-thou forums. Or who reacts every day to her Daily Candy email with the same: "Who can afford that?" Here are some heartfelt health and beauty tips from one Real Girl to another.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Always Use Protection!

By far the most asked question that Real Girl gets is: What’s the one product I need to take care of my skin? Now, for La Real Girl, this is kind of like asking: What’s the one pair of shoes I need in my closet? Or what’s the one food group I need to eat? I could survive on one skin care product like Pamela Anderson could survive without silicone.

But you have already gotten the picture and are bored of me. So let’s think back, all the way to early January, when we all chipped into one glorious list that was the profound opposite of just-one-product. See the DDF Daily Organic Sunblock SPF 30? Yeah, well Sephora’s not stocking the SPF 30 in winter, so I nabbed myself a neat little sample of the SPF 15. Actually, two samples. Because there are two Sephoras near my house. And since when are two samples not better than one?

But there I went and jumped the gun. Sunscreen. The “one product I need” answer? Totally sunscreen. In this day and age, you are now scrunching up your nose at me and thinking, Um, duh. But trust me, you don’t realize how often you need la ‘screen, or—and this is stunning—how much you should be using. Spending your day near a sunny window? Stepping out on a cloudy day? Breathing? Yeah, then you need the screen. Every season, every day. It’s the only thing that will literally save your skin. Yes antioxidants fight damage, and yes antioxidants improve sunscreen’s performance, but they can’t act as a substitute.

Ummmkay. Ready for my confession now? Or are you so over Real Girl’s confessions? I cover my entire face with sunscreen every day. But never, not once have I used the amount I’m supposed to (except around the eyes). The truth is, I’m probably not getting my full SPF protection because I apply a thin-ish layer. You’re supposed to be liberal. Very liberal. So if you want to use foundation or powder (or both!) with SPF in addition to your base sunscreen lotion, you’re probably getting closer.

But enough with this all, because I’m sure it’ll come back another day. Why? Because Real Girl is searching for the PERFECT SUNSCREEN! Wheeee! Ok. So according to Very Important Skin Care Experts, the three most effective sunscreen ingredients are avobenzone, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide. The lore goes that avobenzone, a chemical sunscreen, can be absorbed by the skin and so works better for oily skin, doesn’t clog pores, blah blah wonder of the world. The other two, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, are physical sunscreens that work as a shield, deflecting the sun’s rays so they can’t even hit your skin. Aveobenzone doesn’t fight UVB radiation, however, and so is often paired with another chemical sunscreen that does. So you need 2 chemical sunscreens, then, to block all the nasty UV rays. HOWEVER (always! however! bah!). There has been some research that shows that avobenzone may not only be a less effective sunscreen than the other two, but that it ALSO might cause free radicals. I’m not sure if I believe that avobenzone does, indeed, cause the FREENESS and the RADICALNESS that we HATE, but you can read more info on all the hooplah here. Do I endorse or believe it? You know, I’m just not sure. But my motto has always been better safe than wrinkly.

Short story long, it’s been my mission to find a perfect titanium dioxide based or zinc oxide based sunscreen that can replace my beloved Clinique avobenzone ones and make my face all safe and snug in its healthiness. By the way? This is FRIGGIN’ HARD. Because physical sunscreens? Are tricky little devils. For one, since they cover your skin, they have the potential to clog pores. This can be fought with a good salicylic acid treatment at night, which I do. The other annoying factorama? These sunscreen ingredients may leave a chalky or white tinge to the skin. So the perfect product here will not cause blemishes and will not appear too white. Let the search begin.

Until I find La Perfect, I’ve been using basic old Olay Complete, which has a low whiteness factor, but alas causes a shine that I wouldn’t call my favorite look.

Which brings us to…(FINALLY because shut up already you Real Windbag, right?) the DDF Organic SPF 15. I have to say, this is one of the least greasy sunscreens I’ve ever come across. There’s not much moisturizing going on with this product—all it wants to do is protect your skin. So if you’re on the shiny side, like me? That’s a huge plus, especially in summer. If you’re dry, however? Move along to another option. And…the whiteness. Well, the DDF Organic suffers from the whiteness. I combat this by applying evenly and then covering with bronzer (I should be using SPF bronzer, but, well...). As a winter sunscreen? This probably isn’t the best one, unless your skin is very oily and not too olive-toned. As a summer sunscreen? I will be revisiting the DDF Organic if I don’t find something else more absolutely extraordinary.

So let the search continue! Wanna help La Real Girl find the perfect sunscreen? Please share your wondrous product recommendations! Got any questions about the ‘screen? Or just come along to chat, because I remain, as always…

Your Real Girl