Beauty Life Style Travel

Skin-deep: facing your face needs

20th August 2015

I’ve got a(notherconfession to make (yes, I like FF): my skin hasn’t always been like this. Don’t get me wrong – I mean it in a good way (because I like it better now). Apart from when I was in the pre-teen phase, I believe I have never had a better skin than the one I have now. Of course, it’s far from perfect! I was recently diagnosed with melasma – a very common non-threatening condition that makes your skin look darker ie. hyper pigmentation and dark spots tend to appear on your cheek and forehead area. While the reasons are many – hormonal problems, pregnancy, sunburn, genetics… – the only unpleasant thing about it is that it does show (and it’s on your FACE) and all you can do is use creams to reduce the darkness of the skin (and use them for life). In a nutshell, there’s no life-long remedy to make it go away. I do not tan so that’s easier for me – whitening creams are effective but tend to be problematic on naturally darker skin types so I call myself lucky because mine is mild. Then there’s spots and pimples: I once had a mild adult acne – yes, I was 25! I was in shock: normally, you expect to have skin problems when you’re 14 and you hope for it to go away by the time you go to uni. Instead, I struggle with it for a few years and it made very conscious and very careful with creams, sun and tanning and scarring. That’s why I’m happy now it has gone – even though I cannot really say what changed or what worked. One thing I can say for sure: having a regular diet does help reducing breakouts and even though I’m no doctor, I assure you that it makes a big difference to mild cases at least. While I get the occasional manifestation from time to time, I’m mostly blemish-free and I think it also has to do with cutting out refined sugar from my nutrition. Last year I finally gave up sugar (with 6 espressos a day, just do the maths…) and all fizzy drinks. I have no sweet tooth so cake has never been a problem – and with a low-carb diet, my skin has really improved to what it is now. But I have not dragged you here to listen to my face story – I’d rather you learnt how I cope with the traveling that our jobs often imply.

Over June and July, I boarded an average of 4 planes a week (sometimes more) and while it’s good for my miles plan, my body kinda complained about it. On top of that, we need to consider the number of hotels I’ve been staying at, and all hotels, especially over the summer, have a necessary evil in common… air conditioning (no surprise it’s called air-con, all it does is tricking you, by faking a climate that is not at all real – #punmoment).

Last year I finally gave up sugar

So what skincare regime items do I pack in my wash-bag when I travel, esp. fly?

  • CLEANSING: Shu Uemura cleansing oil – a staple for years now, it’s a delicate, all-purposes oil that helps rebalancing your skin oils and also removes any trace of makeup. I carry a small sample bottle that I promptly refill.
  • HYDRATING: La Mer soft cream – not too greasy, not too light, it’s ideal for my skin and good all over face neck and also hands.
  • EYE CARE:  Le Lift eye cream by Chanel.
  • TONIC: SK-II tonic
  • HANDS and LIPS: Chanel hand cream and Eve Lom’s Kiss Mix, one of the few balms that does not dry my lips and it’s not super sticky.
  • WATER-BASED: When I fly, I use Caudalie, Chanel or Evian water to stay hydrated.
  • TREATMENT: At night or when you land, remove make-up and try a mask or a leave-in super hydrating cream (I love Sisley’s) – your skin is dry after flying and hotels are very hot or very cold as well. I also apply Chanel LE BLANC BRIGHTENING MOISTURIZING CREAM TXC, a recent acquisition from Japan and I find that my skin is brighter and more naturally glowing.
  • BLEMISHES: I swear by Eve Lom’s Dynaspot is fabulous and if used under foundation, it does mattify the problematic areas smoothing it out for easier application of the next product.
  • PROTECTION: eye mask – not a staple necessarily, but it can help rest your eyes and shield them from drafts. I’m trying this by Albion, another purchase from Tokyo.

Air conditioning… that necessary evil!

On the plane:

– spritz the water from time to time and pat it with cotton or a tissue if it’s too wet.

– don’t reapply makeup because it adds to dryness. I never do, but ideally go makeup free and just lather face and hands in cream to keep them moist.

– close that vent: especially if you’re seating in the aisle, as I do most times, you do not need a direct source of air onto your eyes. Recently it got me so bad that my left eye was blood-filled for a day.

Drafts on the plane are the worst – and can make your eyes really dry and red.

When you land:

– remove makeup (I am not a fan of tissues, but they are practical… Nivea are the ones I prefer).

– wash your face and apply mask or paper patches, wash it off finishing with a spritz of cold-ish water (good for boosting circulation) and make sure you massage highly moisturizing cream in. The first sign of tiredness show in the eyes – treat the contour with the right cream – the one I’ve been trying in the past month is from Kiehl’s.

Interpreting can be a mentally AND physically challenging activity

What’s are my takeaways then?

Freelancers tend to have less-than-perfect timetables. And when it comes to translation and interpreting, you don’t need me to repeat it is a mentally AND physically challenging activity. Even when you make sure you get your beauty sleep, sometimes even after a good 8-hour rest, your face and skin do not seem to think alike you. In my case, tired eyes, dark circles and lack of skin brightness are the first things that gives me away – and I hate those indelicate ‘You look tired’ comments! Each individual’s body reacts differently but I found that it does make a difference if 

– I drink a lot while travelling,

– I reduce to a minimum the intake of refined sugars,

– I step up the moisturizing game and cover myself in rich cream, 

I really can minimise the impact of air conditioning and travelling. Of course,these are not the key to success, but I’m open to your suggestions and tricks to add onto my list.

 There’s no magic formula, but this has proven like a good strategy for me so far.


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  • Reply Olga 20th August 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Ciao Val!

    I’m sorry to hear about your melasma diagnosis. Patience, dear. I really believe it’s the enviroment which causes these skin changes even we take such care of us. In my case, I have porcelain skin, so sun completely banned and always with high protection, and I barely tolerate cosmetic products. My dermatologist said as natural as you can and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. So it’s tonic and moisturizer that incorporates sun cream, both from Belnatur, every day and cleansing milk once a week because my skin can’t tolerate it. I recently started using a serum with oxygen before applying the moisturizer after a facial session. Was a great recommendation from my beautician. You can give it a try, it’s really good for hyper pigmented skins and getting rid of stress. My mom uses it because she has red spots and you can definitely see the difference.

    Air conditioning… that necessary evil! – That’s sooooooo right!
    Take care!

    Olga x

    • Reply Val @ TSF 18th September 2015 at 12:29 pm

      I know, right? Air con is just a curse. I’m getting better now summer’s over – clearly, I didn’t have to wait around for long in the UK hahaha. I am getting better with the TXC cream from Chanel, amazing texture, scent, effect… everything.
      Thanks for your feedback and for sharing – I love being pale really 😀

  • Reply Tiffany Jewelry Discount 15th September 2015 at 8:50 am

    I’m really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one nowadays..

  • Reply Irene 24th September 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Hi Valeria,
    I would normally not read articles about creams, but I have to admit the title made me want to click!
    After reading how much you know about products and the effort required to look good and healthy I feel like I should dedicate a bit more time to take care of my skin, which has not been looking great in the last year.
    I have to say I have never been really interested in knowing about beauty products, and I don’t know much about what is good for what and so on. I know diet is very important. I don’t drink any coffee, I cut down on sugar and I am incorporating more and more vegetables into my diet.
    Creams can be really expensive. Do you have any tips or recommendations of low-budget products or quick (>30 min) daily routines or techniques that make a difference in your skin?
    Thank you very much!

    • Reply Val @ TSF 8th October 2015 at 3:44 pm

      Hi Irene! It’s great that you found this interesting and engaging despite being out of touch with the subject. I’m feeling accomplished 😀 I believe it’s about trying, really. The so-called French pharmacie is very good ie. all those pharmacy-only French products that you can find in Boots in the UK like Avène or La Roche Posay are good, neutral products to start with. If you’re ready to spend a but more, anything by Eve Lom – specialised in skincare – can really get you started for the face in particular. Or my all-time fave, Shu Uemura. Walk into the shop in Covent Garden and ask for a sample of their cleansing oil and your life will change…. 😀 Keep reading! x

  • Reply Irene 8th October 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Thanks, Valeria! I am writing down the names just know. I will give a try to those French neutral products and see how it goes. I hope to be able to join you again at the London TweetUps soon, it’s been a while! Keep up the good work :).

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