If your face is melting, apply more makeup

Some of the usual complains I hear about makeup are: “It changes color,” “It fades,” and “It slides off my face.” The problem isn’t your makeup. It’s your skincare. Skin that is dry will suck the moisture out of your foundation; thereby, changing the color or causing it to fade. Skin that is too oily can lift the foundation, making it feel like it’s dripping off your face.

Skincare should not be an expensive, complicated regimen. The objective of department store sales associates is to sale you as much stuff as possible. So that clutter of products on the counter can seem overwhelming.

You already get up every morning to wash your face and brush your teeth. What if a good skincare routine involved just two more steps, would you do it?

Step 1: Use a facial cleanser made for your skin type. Oily-skinned individuals prefer gel and foam cleansers for that squeaky clean feel, but they don’t dry out the skin like bar soap can. Dry-skinned individuals prefer creamy-type cleansers, which leave a just moisturized feel to the skin.

En Femme Style

For those who aren’t sure where you fall, here’s a clue. Oily people know they’re oily. Dry people know they’re dry. If you’re not sure-a little dry on the cheeks, a little oily on the forehead and nose-you have combination skin. Most people do. I have yet to find that elusive “normal skin-type” person. For those with combination skin, the type of cleanser you choose is a matter of personal preference. Try different types until you find one you like. And don’t spend tons of money. Grocery store brands are fine. The only no-no is bar soap. It is too waxy and contains deodorants and other chemicals not made for the face.

For those still battling acne, find a cleanser with an anti-bacterial ingredient, like triclosan or salicylic acid. My favorite is Bath and Body Works Antibacterial Hand Soap. It’s sometimes on sale 4 for $10.00. Buy the gel. The creamy cleanser burns the eyes.

Step 2: Most people have no idea why they should use a toner, so they don’t. Toners wipe away any residue from your makeup and cleanser. They can soothe irritated skin. But most importantly, they help your skin absorb moisture. Skin is like a sponge. When a sponge is damp it absorbs spills easier. If your face is damp, it absorbs the moisturizer better.

It is best to stay away from astringents, even with oily skin. They have too much alcohol and are drying. People with oily or acne-prone skin do everything to dry it out. Problem with that is skin needs moisture. By drying it out, the oil glands work harder to compensate; thereby, causing the skin to become oilier.


My favorite toner is good, old fashioned Witch Hazel. It’s a natural astringent that won’t dry out your skin. Look for it in the first aid section of your neighborhood pharmacy, next to alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. And it’s cheap.

Step 3: Daytime and nighttime moisturizers do two different things, so yes, you need both. Daytime moisturizers act like a protective shield over the skin, keeping out debris, while locking in moisture. Daytime moisturizers absolutely, positively, without exception should have an SPF 15. If your moisturizer has less than 15 or none at all, apply the moisturizer then a sunscreen.

SPF 15 is a total block. Higher than that is just marketing. The difference in protection between SPF 15 and SPF 50 is only about 1-2%, but the additional chemicals can be double.

When you are at rest, the body repairs itself. Nighttime moisturizers increase the process by penetrating the skin to firm and smooth fine lines. In the past, moisturizers could only help stop further damage from happening. New technologies help active ingredients penetrate deeper into the skin, actually repairing damaged skin. (If you are a sun goddess or smoker, no amount of moisturizer will repair the damage.)

You don’t have to spend lots of money. Oil of Olay and L’Oreal are just as good as anything you might spend $80-100 for in department stores. The key is consistency. Cleanse, tone, and moisturize, every morning and every night. Three basic steps to better skin.

So what is all that other stuff for: eye creams, exfoliants, masks, makeup removers, and more? I’ll touch on that next time. So stay tuned.

Christina Evans

Vanessa here – Christina, thank you for your first article on a skin care routine. I concur completely, skin care is one of the most important aspect of looking good. Dermalogica is a mid-range skin care line that I enjoy using. I use Dermalogica Special Cleansing Gel to cleanse and Dermalogica Multi-Active Toner for my toner. I normally don’t wear sunscreen, but rely on the sunscreen in my mineral makeup instead.


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I’m passionate about creating a safe space for everyone in the transgender community to find laughter and friendship on their journey. I completed my physical transition in 2011 and through it I lost everything, and gained everything. I am blessed that I was forced to gaze inward and embark on the journey to discover and live my authentic self. My deepest wish is that all who wander here may find peace, happiness and freedom.

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