My life is complicated enough, a girlfriend recently said to me. Does my skin care routine really need this many steps? We were discussing the merits-and demerits-of the myriad of beauty products we use, and wondering if we could find a way to simplify.
Yes, you should be using a night treatment, co-founder of Pure + Simple spas in Canada and natural beauty expert Kristen Ma says. (www.pureandsimple.ca) “Living in Canada, a night treatment really helps maintain our skin’s moisture in the dry winter season. Also, we absorb key ingredients more deeply at night.
But not all night treatments are created equal, cautions Ma.Petroleum based skin care only clogs our pores and impedes moisture permeation. A naturally based nourishing serum and face oil made up of pure vegetable oils and extracts is a good choice for proper penetration at night.
Fair enough. But why, I wondered, can’t I just use my day cream at night time? Ré©gine Perron, Clarins Skin Spa national trainer, (www.clarins.ca) set me straight. A day cream is used to protect the skin from daily pollution, sun (UVA and UVB), and free radicals, with active ingredients that focus on hydrating the skin. A night cream is used to repair the skin from daily aggressions and has higher levels of active ingredients, such as vitamins, to help boost skin’s function as well as moisturize.
I decided to put some night creams and treatments to the test, to see if regular use of them–as in every night, no matter how desperate I was to hit the sack– actually improved the condition of my skin.
Metamorphosis Damage Control Moisturizer (50 ml, $54, available at select spas or metamorphosisskin.com)
I love this line because it doesn’t contain any parabens, propylene glycol, petroleum, lanolin, fragrance , or sodium laurel sulphate. And yet Damage Control is one of the most hard core creams I’ve ever used, in an incredibly light base of aloe vera and sea algae. It also contains green tea pine bark, nettle, grape seed, and turmeric extracts, all of which relieve inflammation, redness, and heat in the skin. Before I started using this cream, I had some redness and bumps near the tops of my cheeks, and occasional dry flaking on my chin. Post Damage Control, these imperfections were no more, and my skin was softer, too.
Clarins Vital Light Night Revitalizing anti-ageing comfort cream (50 ml, $98, available at Shoppers Drug Mart and The Bay)
The texture of this new Clarins cream is truly luxurious and, as usual, the company has tapped into some botanical heavy hitters to create a product that practices what it preaches. In the case of Vital Light, plant extracts firm the skin and improve its light reflecting abilities while you sleep, and also deliver a concentrated dose of nutrition that help rehydrate and smooth lines. I noticed the biggest difference in the grooves in my forehead (I’ve named these grooves after my children, and they’re getting deeper by the day.) Forget Botox!
Pure + Simple Nourishing Sunflower Cream (50 ml, $34.95) with Nourishing Vata Face Oil (50 ml, $49.95)or Refining Peach Enzyme Treatment (50 ml, $44.95, all available at Pure + Simple spas or pureandsimple.ca)
Kristen Ma recommended using the Nourishing Sunflower Cream in tandem with the face oil or the enzyme treatment, because the skin has different needs each day, she explained. On the days when my skin feels dry and in need of nurturing, I’m to use the Vata oil. And on the days when my skin feels uneven and in need of exfoliation, I’m to use the enzyme treatment. This doesn’t necessarily accomplish the task of simplifying my skincare routine, but Ma has a point: my skin behaves differently every day, so it doesn’t really make sense to always use the same products. And after alternating these treatments for a few nights, my skin tone imrpoves, and my pesky breakouts calm down. I’m starting to look positively dewy, and no longer care about streamlining my routine. The quality of my skincare regime has become much more important.
Orlane Paris Nuit Extreme Anti-Wrinkle Regenerating Night Care (50 ml,$225, available at cosmolaneboutique.com, The Bay and select Sears locations.)
This one is a splurge, but a little goes a long way and it’s hard to argue with firmer skin, which is what I notice after only about a week of use. The intensive ingredients are designed to target cell renewal and longevity, and while this seems like a tall order for a cream, my skepticism is quickly replaced by awe as the days (and nights) pass and my skin condition improves. I feel like I’ve had a pricey facial treatment, but the best part about this one is that I get to do it every day.