I saw a blue sky this weekend. That should be topic enough to blog about, given that I rarely venture out of my casket, but here we are: the sun was out. What truly sparked joy and triggered a frantic hunt for shorts and bikinis quarter of a century ago (I’m only joking, it never did, even back then) is now merely an additional cause of anxiety: how to deal with the sun without adding to the wrinkles of last summer.
For wrinkles there will be. I’m not actually massively against them, but I do want to take good care of my skin. (By the way, the ongoing awards season is an excellent opportunity to observe the different approaches celebrities take on ageing. Opting for dramatic, invasive situations in the very last minute while reapplying the final layers of Body Blur does show on the red carpet the next day.)
How anyone’s face will age is a sum of myriad of different factors including genetics and lifestyle choices. Exposing oneself to the sun is probably also a lifestyle choice to an extent, but sun remains one of the few universally recognised factors that will cause irreversible damage to skin, no second opinion needed. The latest Western medicine consensus seems to be that 20 minutes of sunshine a day is ideal (and enough) to restore the skin’s need for vitamin D. This can be acquired also on a cloudy day, which is comforting information for anyone who lives in the Northern hemisphere. (Anything else would be practically impossible.)
So I’m cool with the 20 minutes a day, and even then I don’t leave the building without at least SPF30 on my face, no matter what time of the year it is. Finding a good city SPF can be a bit of a trial and error. The heady smell of the glittery Tahitian gardenia sun oil is definitely perfection at Club Tropicana, but less so in an office environment, especially if makeup is involved. Many SPFs also tend to be on the pasty side, leaving a white film on the skin, or just being otherwise maddeningly rich and not suitable to mix with makeup.
During the Nordic Mordor-winters a makeup foundation with an SPF might do for non-outdoorsy days. For any other circumstances I would opt for an actual SPF. I have a reactive skin with bouts of rosacea (which gets absolutely wild in the sun). I get freckles and do not tan. My product requirements in a nutshell are the following: the SPF factor needs to be at least 30, preferably 50, the cream shall not pill nor roll when I apply makeup on top of it, and it absolutely must not stink of Monoï de Tahiti. I have worn Zelens Daily Defence Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF30, which is the most state of the art SPF-deal I have tested during the last years.
Reminder for SPF-wearers: you need to properly cleanse your face in the evening if you’ve had an SPF on during the day. Preferably double-cleanse. SPF is designed to stick to the skin and stay on in windy and watery conditions, so you want to get the gunk off completely.
The good thing about the long, seasonal darkness is that it is absolutely excellent for testing potentially skin-sensitising anti-ageing products. If you haven’t jumped on the retinol-train yet, there’s still ample time before the sun is properly out in two months’ time. Read everything about it here. I was quite hesitant first, mainly because my skin can go berserk over these kind of things, and experimented with natural alternatives such as bakuchiol before going for the real McCoy. I am currently using Medik8 Crystal Retinal in strength 3, and have not had any negative reactions from the product. I started with this one in December and might take a pause during the brighter summer months (retinol sensitises skin to sun, that’s why).
While I am not a fan of the tan look on me, I still do not want to look like death warmed up when I’m out and about. I have been very pleased with Westman Atelier’s Beauty Butter Powder Bronzer (repeat that quickly 10 times), which rather improves the skintone than delivers any dramatic bronze. The product is actually surprisingly generously sized as far as luxury products go, which is very welcome as it is on the spendy side – and there are gazillions of brilliant, more affordable alternatives around. Anyway, just don’t waste your money on their mascara, which is no good. Buy a penthouse apartment instead – they cost approximately the same.