SKINCARE DICTIONARY


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by FEM

We're often witness to confused and vague conversations around skincare. Is micellar water the same as toner? What the hell are serums and essences? What are Koreans blabbering about in their ten-step routines? Aren't emulsions the same at moisturizers? It's clear that the market is changing so quickly and that makes it difficult to follow. Anyway, who even has time for all that? Oh, wait. We do! We have time for that! We're here for you and all your confused thoughts. Let us at least make it a bit easier and provide you with a little confidence for your next shopping venture. Come on, let's go!

 

MICELLAR WATER

Intended for facial cleansing. Above all, removing makeup. Do not mix micellar water with toner, these are two very different things. Due to the high content of surfactants that form into micro-bubbles, they are at the same time extremely effective and much gentler than other cleansers. The trick is that conventional cleansers contain a small number of these active substances and therefore do not form into bubbles but float freely. Thus, they are more aggressive to the skin than they would be in balloon form micelles.

 

CLEANSING OIL

Oils are usually better at removing makeup and dirt because of their structure. Oil attracts oil and attracts all oil based impurities. Be it sebum or makeup. They are especially effective in dissolving mascara. But be careful! Oil cleansers might be too heavy for oilier skin types so it is always wise to rinse them off with...

MILK / FOAM / GEL / CLEANSING BALM

The unpleasant feeling of oil on the skin can be easily avoided by a second cleanse with a water-based cleanser. This will get rid of oil and other water-based dirt. You will need to choose the type of cleanser according to your skin type and current condition on your skin. Opt for gentler versions and spend a minute more when cleansing. Give the product a little leeway to dissolve dirt and makeup.

 

TONER

An almost water like liquid which, after cleansing, balances the skin's PH and prepares it for further care. Also removes makeup residue and excess sebum. They can be moisturizing (rose water, vitamin E), calming (chamomile, aloe vera), regulate sebum (tea tree), antiage (with antioxidants added) or act as an exfoliator (AHA/BHA acids). Toner is not the same as micellar water! Toner is not intended for cleansing.

 

ESSENCE

There is a fine line between a toner, a serum and an essence. Essences originate (at least such are the tales) from Korea, where in their ten-step regime, they naturally use both toner and essence. They are basically the same thing as serum. They differ in that they are less concentrated and usually lighter than a serum.

 

AMPULES and BOOSTERS

Another serum cousin. The only difference between the serum and the ampoules is that the ampoules are intended for specific issues and time limited. In principle, they are used only when a certain skin problem arises, or when we want some additional boosting.

  

SERUM

Highly concentrated liquid, sometimes in oil-like consistency. Most often you'll find them in smaller dropper bottles. Serums contain active ingredients that target specific skin issues (pigmentation, wrinkles, acne). The concentration of active ingredients in the serum is usually much higher than, say, in a cream.

 

EMULSION

Lighter than lotion or cream, and also contains oil. It's less concentrated than serum tho. Let's say it's a more watery version of a face cream. Perfect for skin types that need moisture and hydration but don't need the weight. If your skin is really dry, you can layer it under your cream to add a bit of extra hydration.

 

CREAM

The only product on this list that doesn't need a special introduction. In one form or another, we all have it in our bathroom cabinet. Creams are intended for hydration and moisturizing. One might think that these are two of the same things. Nope. Hydration means the volume of water in our skin and hydrating products help bind water in the skin. When we talk about skin moisture, we are talking about the amount of sebum (oil). Moisturizing creams therefore support the natural production of lipids and prevent water loss. Hydration and moisture go hand in hand and are crucial in maintaining healthy skin. The type of skin that lacks oil is dry. However, the lack of water in the skin leads to a state of dehydration. So, dehydrated skin is not a skin type, it's a condition! However, it is true that dehydrated skin compensates for the lack of water by increasing oil production. And so, we find ourselves in a vicious circle.

MIST

Because humanity cannot make wine out of water, we made mist. Improved version of thermal water, to which various active ingredients, vitamins and minerals are added to help refresh the skin throughout the day or as a final step in skin care. Makeup artists also use it for setting makeup.

 

OIL

Great addition to the cream. Ideal for colder months when our skin becomes dry and cracked due to external factors. Think of oils in terms of something extra rather than a standalone product. Oils won't hydrate your skin the same way a cream will. It works more like a shield. That's why we tend use it at the end of our skincare routine. However, you can also mix it with your day or night cream. Just don't mix it with SPF creams as this will reduce the level of protection. Essential (rose, mint, lemon...) or mineral (synthetic) oils are usually added to the base oils (jojoba, almond, argan...). Mineral oils have a bad reputation in the world of skincare. But mostly without any real evidence. Also, be careful when using essential oils because fragrances irritate the skin.


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