Don’t let people tell you your 30s will be the best time of your life in a tone that suggests your looks will fade so you better find inner peace. Vicki’s Pick is a weekly beauty column that features Vicki’s all-time favourite beauty products and latest discoveries for women in their 30s who plan on staying pretty on the outside for a long, long time. Inner peace is optional.
Ah, the fall. If there was a time of year when Canadians were the most joyful and at home in their own skin, it’s not during our harsh winters and the hockey seasons they usher in; it’s in autumn, when there’s a brief three-week window of crisp air – the perfect temperature for layering but also warm enough for aimless strolls just to take in the changing colours of leaves. It’s the only time we all agree the temperature is just right, and about the only time of year when a weather-related complaint isn’t the first thing out of a Canadian’s mouth whilst attempting awkward elevator conversation. If Goldilocks was a nationality, she’d be Canadian – always wishing for something a little more warm or a little more cool than whatever was at hand, save for the baby bowl of happiness that is the fleeting season of fall.
While the delightfully brisk autumn air hushes our Canadian impulse to verbally assault Mother Nature, the season still does a number on my skin. After a summer of fresh air and natural vitamin D intake from the sun, I tend to break out in dry patches, especially on my face, as soon as indoor heaters and cooler outdoor temperatures disrupt my summer skin’s natural hydration levels. In autumns past, I’ve switched to a heavy-duty moisturizer almost immediately, but this year I’ve changed my fall beauty regime entirely: I’ve switched to an oil-based cleanser, and not just any random one.
I’ve always been curious about Shu Uemura’s famous cleansing oils, given that they’ve been a celebrity beauty product favourite since the brand’s founder, Mr. Uemura, experimented with an oil as a makeup-removing cleanser while working as a makeup artist in Hollywood in the 1950s. Harsh theatre makeup, intense lighting, and long work hours made his clients’ skin particularly vulnerable to dryness, but with red carpets and events to attend in the evenings, actresses still had to look picture perfect at all times. Impressed with the results of the oil on the skin of Hollywood’s elite, he developed his first cleansing oil for the masses in 1967, revolutionizing the skincare industry and leading to today’s beauty market where a bottle of Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil is sold every seven seconds.
While women the world over don’t blink an eye at the relatively expensive prices of the various Shu Uemura cleansers, the price-tags always kept them out of my shopping cart during my 20s, when pimple prevention was my main skincare concern – back when using a Dove bar meant I could spend more money on wild lipstick colours and mascara. Now that I’m in my 30s, there’s no mascara on the market that can make me look good if my skin looks like its making like the autumn leaves – drying up and flaking off as the sun moves further away. Even the most delicate of eye makeup removers can irritate my eyes in the fall due to the cotton pads it requires to do its job, which is why I was all about trying Shu Uemura High Performance Balancing Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula ($79 for 450ml), which is made for all skin types but strong enough for those of us who wear waterproof eye makeup. In fact, of all the Shu Uemura cleansers, it’s the best at removing even the most stubborn of waterproof mascaras and eyeliners.
I have to admit, I get a kick out of this facial cleanser every time I use it. Instead of rinsing your face with warm water before lathering up, you actually take about a couple pumps of Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil and massage the oil directly onto dry skin on top of your makeup. Immediately, you’ll start to see everything from your mascara to foundation lose hold as you make gentle circles. I feel like I’m putting on my own magic show for myself right before the bathroom mirror. If it’s that good at seemingly melting away my makeup, I can’t help but imagine it’s pulling out the dirt that’s clogged in my pores. The oil lubricates and loosens dirt from clogged pores and, once you add lukewarm water to the mix (emulsifying the oil-based cleanser into a white lather), the impurities dislodge and wash away.
Once I’ve completely rinsed off the cleanser, I towel dry my face and am always overjoyed by how clean and moisturized it feels. Although I was worried the oil-based cleanser would leave a residue making me more prone to zits, my skin just feels soft and refreshed after, and that’s coming from me, a girl who still gets pimples of teenage proportions in my mid-30s.
In fact, what’s great about this cleanser is that it actually helps strengthen your skin’s natural defense against dryness, unlike other cleansers that strip it of its natural oils leaving you at the mercy of moisturizers that tend to feel cakey over-top of oil-stripped skin. Sure, I’ll be investing in hardcore moisturizers too (my current favourite, go figure, is Shu Uemura red:juvenus Vitalizing Retexturizing Cream, which so far has been the best moisturizer I’ve tried this fall, particularly on my eyes which can even go red and scaly during temperature changes), but it turns out that keeping my skin’s natural oils in check even while I remove makeup and dirt is far more important to having nice skin than I was willing to give the idea credit for in my 20s. Gravity might be less kind to me in my 30s, but what I lack in elasticity I make up for in smarts and open-mindedness to new beauty regimes.
What cleansers do you switch to when the weather starts to change? Comment below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe!