How to be a more conscious (skincare) consumer in 2020.

Skincare is a lot of fun. Buying new products, testing them, learning about new ingredients and their combinations, getting to know your skin better and better each day – what’s there not to like? But as with all good things in life, love for skincare comes with a price.  

From the impact on the planet to personal finance issues, this fun little hobby can quickly spiral out of control if not approached responsibly. Sure, it’s fun to giggle at a “my bank account vs. me” skincare memes until you’ve spent half of your paycheck on skincare and have to eat instant noodles until the end of the month just to make it through. Yes, this comes from personal experience, and no, it wasn’t as fun.

So today, we’ve compiled a list of actions that you can start taking right now that will hopefully help you to develop a healthier and more responsible relationship with skincare in the upcoming year. Read along!

Setting a budget (and sticking to it)

Whether you’re an aspiring skincare blogger or just an enthusiast who lives and breathes for new releases, it’s essential to know your boundaries. There are so many great products out there, but it’s impossible to buy and try all. After all, you’ve got only once face. Plus, with all the buzz happening on YouTube or IG, it’s easy to lose track of what it is YOU really want/need to try vs. what social media makes you believe you want. Budgeting is an excellent way to cut out the noise and hone on to your inner (skin) cravings. Since you can’t go over a certain amount per month, your brain will start prioritizing and hopefully save you from many an impulse purchase.

Track skincare spending

Even with a budget, it’s a good idea to record every skincare purchase you make. By doing this, you’ll be able to go back and review your buying patterns and might get some interesting (and eye-opening) insights like routinely buying lipsticks when all you wear is a tinted lip balm. If you want to take it one step further, when you do a monthly review, write a quick note next to each purchase. Did you enjoy it? Did you use it as much as you thought you would? Did you have something similar already, and how did this new item compare? These quick notes will help to understand why you make certain choices and to avoid buying mistakes in the future.

Make a wish list

This is an oldie, but goodie and works like magic every time. When a product is not a necessity, don’t rush into buying. Put it on a wish list first and leave it for a couple of weeks. If, after all this time, you’re still thinking about this product – get it. But most likely, you’ll have already forgotten all about it and moved on.

Use it up

This is self-explanatory, but you’ve got to use the stuff up. If a product wasn’t the greatest fit for your skin, see if there any friends or family who might enjoy it. If not, repurpose! Face cleansers can be used as body washes or for cleaning your makeup brushes and sponges. You’ll be surprised to learn that old creams can be used to remove makeup. Just google it, and you’ll find plenty of articles and videos showing you exactly how to do that.  

Try shopping fast

There’s a growing number of people going on various shopping fasts from no-buy months to no-buy years or replacement-only purchases. It’s easy to get caught up in a cycle of needing (or thinking that you need) more and more, which often leads to anxieties and stress. These kinds of exercises help to stop chasing elusive trends and just enjoy what you have since you’re not constantly thinking of what to buy next.

Bottom line. Ultimately, conscious consumption isn’t about numbers or excessive restrictions. If ten different serums make you happy and serve a purpose in your skincare routine – so be it. If you’re happy spending more money on skincare/makeup because it’s how you care for yourself – by all means, do it. The purpose of conscious consumption is not to not buy or consume, but to buy with meaning and purpose.

Common CC cream mistakes and how to avoid them.

Let’s be honest. Finding your dream CC cream is like choosing a pair of perfect jeans – it’s hard, it’s a lot of work, and it might take years to find THE ONE that ticks all the boxes. After many costly mistakes, you might even decide you’ve had enough, call off the search, and declare that CC creams suck.

But what are those boxes that no CC cream could ever tick?

Skincare ads trained us well to believe that there’s a “magic” product that will solve all the skin problems, and our bar is set higher than ever. This narrative is especially true in the base make-up realm. As a line between CC, BB, and foundation becoming increasingly blurred, so are the product claims. (If you want to read more about the differences between them, we’ve written a dedicated blog post). Regardless of the alphabet signage, base products often promise to do everything from hydrating, sun protecting to giving a flawless coverage that lasts all day. And this can be very misleading because it creates unrealistically high expectations that are bound to get shattered to pieces when a product doesn’t’ deliver.  And how could it? There’s a good reason why we don’t call CC cream a foundation and vice versa – they’re not the same!

So, in the spirit of bringing clarity into the issue, we’ve gathered common misconceptions and mistake people make when buying or using CC creams that are probably stopping you from getting the most out of yours. Keep reading to find out more!

Mistake number 1. Relying solely on CC cream for hydration.

Sure, some CC creams can feel very moisturizing, but it’s not their core purpose to provide an adequate hydration level to last all day. If you notice your skin gets uncomfortably tight by noon with dry patches showing, most likely, that’s not a CC cream’s fault. Consider adding another layer of cream or lotion before applying the CC cream and note the difference in how your skin feels throughout the day.

Mistake number 2. Expecting CC cream to cover blemishes, erase pores, be lightweight, natural, AND last all day.

Phew, quite a list, huh? It sounds like nothing short of a miracle product, and such extreme multitasking is by far the biggest misconception about CC creams. So often we hear people complaining about “poor longevity” and that it won’t cover an annoying pimple or pores.  But the truth is, it was never meant to do that, it’s just isn’t pigmented enough! CC isn’t foundation and can never give the same amount of coverage and longevity on its own. So, if you’ve always fancied more of a medium to full coverage look, well, honey, let us tell you right away – you’ll be disappointed. CC cream is many things, but it’s not a substitute for a full (even medium) coverage foundation.

Granted, some CC creams are buildable, but even then, there’s a limit to how much you can layer. If you’re after a flawless-looking skin, try using CC as a primer, and you’d be surprised how much more you’ll enjoy it.

The best blending tool for CC cream is… your hand!

Mistake 3. Not using the right tools to blend it.

There isn’t a universal consensus on what’s the right way to apply a CC cream, but it seems like the best CC blending tool is…. your hand — fingers, to be precise. Because CC creams are lightweight and don’t require application precision as much as the foundation does, using tools other than your fingers will rub you off a lot of product and coverage. Using fingers will also give you more flexibility –  you’ll be able to concentrate on areas that need more evening out and spot-correct. Just make sure your hands are clean 😉

Mistake 4. Applying too much.

For some people, even the most lightweight CC cream can feel too heavy and suffocating. But don’t be in a rush to declare yet another one a failure. Most likely, the problem is not the formula but your perception. If you’re going make-up free most of the days, even the slightest tint can feel like a lot of color.

What to do you do? Less is more in your case.

Rather than blending the CC all over the face, mix a drop of the cream with your favorite daytime moisturizer or sunscreen to create a very subtle tint. It won’t last long, nor will cover much, but that might be exactly what your skin needs.

…some CC creams are buildable, but even then, there’s a limit to how much you can layer. If you’re after a flawless-looking skin, try using CC as a primer, and you’d be surprised how much more you’ll enjoy it.

Mistake 5. Using the same CC in summer and winter….

…and expecting the same result. Ok, so this is a more advanced level mistake since you need to have used CC creams for a while to make it, but we decided to throw it in the mix anyway.

Tweaking a skincare regimen based on the season might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how often people forget that the same rule applies to your base make-up. This rule is especially important to remember for combination-oily skin that’s prone to dehydration. CC creams that work wonderfully in summer will be too dry in winter and vice versa. If budget allows, it’s best to have dedicated summer and winter base make-up. But if not (or if you don’t want to collect too many products), try looking for a CC cream that isn’t overly dewy, but not matte either. That way, you can mattify it in summer with setting powders or primers and make it more hydrating by layering heavier moisturizer underneath in winter.

And there you have it! Like and share with your friends if you found the post useful!

Stay warm and talk to you soon,

MOTHER MADE team xxx

Choosing skincare according to your skin type is likely damaging your skin. Here’s why

If you’re religiously following a routine designed to treat your dry/oily/combo skin, please, stop. Wait; what? Isn’t that the opposite of what beauty bloggers, self-professed skincare experts, dermatologists, and aestheticians have been telling us to do? Figure out your skin type and choose products accordingly. 

Well, in an ideal world – a world without stress, pollution, sun-damage, makeup, birth control pills, monthly hormonal rollercoaster, and god knows what else – sure, that would be sound advice. 

But here’s the truth. While our skin might be genetically predisposed to have less or more oil, larger or smaller pores, more even or rough texture, everything that comes after is a result of our own making. 

So, what does it mean? Skin types don’t exist? 

They do, in theory. Skin types are sort of like color types named after seasons or geometrical body shape types (an Hourglass-shaped Inverted Triangle, anyone?) – constructs that are way too simplistic to describe real, living and breathing people. They are a vast generalization that serves as a guide to understanding our skin and bodies a bit better, but it isn’t meant to be the be-all and end-all. 

In real life, things are rarely as black and white as having just dry skin or oily skin. The “type” we have is a combination of many many factors where genetics certainly plays a role, but not the leading one. Season changes, weather changes, hormones, hydration levels, sleep hours, and a number of drinks you had last night – these are all things that guarantee your skin condition will fluctuate. For instance, you might have been born with a skin type that tends to have more oil, but years of harsh cleansers, mattifying toners, and excessive tanning can and will eventually take its tall, bringing you closer to the dry type. And even if you’ve always moisturized diligently, applied your SPF, and never ever went to bed with makeup on, the skin will inevitably lose its youthful vigor, a.k.a. being able to hold on to moisture, as the years go by.

Skin types are sort of like color types named after seasons or geometrical body shape types – constructs that are way too simplistic to describe real, living and breathing people.

So, you see now how skin type-specific regimen might be problematic. You might be sure you are quote-unquote oily when really all the excess oil is a result of an inadequate beauty regimen that made you severely dehydrated. Swap a mattifying toner with an ultra-hydrating one, and your skin will transform. 

Let’s take another example. Imagine a young woman named Julie. Julie’s always been confident her skin is dry as a desert. She’s been diligently applying heavy, oil-based emollient creams because, as we all know, dry skin lacks oils. But to no avail. No matter how much cream she’d put on at night, her skin would feel uncomfortably tight and even itchy the next day. She’d assume that that’s just how her skin is and kept going. What she should have done, however, is to realize that tightness and itchiness are also signs of dehydration (a problem any type can face at one point) and that her skin is in desperate need of water. 

Do you see a pattern? There’re so many external factors that contribute to what is happening to your skin, and it’s very easy to get it wrong. You might be sure you’re oily when your skin is just perpetually dehydrated. You might be drying out your acne with bacteria-killing toners and masks when what you should be doing is to lay off sugar and stress less. 

The bottom line. Skin types should be treated for what they are – rough guidelines. Remember, your skin is too unique to be boxed into just one category. The best way to build a solid routine is to focus on current skin problems and work from there. Take the time to get to know your skin. Learn how it reacts to external stress factors. Apply products you think might be right for your skin and observe. How does your skin feel? Does it like the product? Does it want more? Less? None at all? You’ll be surprised to learn that what you though your skin needs, might be far away from what your skin actually needs.

Common sheet mask mistakes and how to avoid them

Sheet masks are amazing. No one will argue with that. They’re fun, relatively inexpensive, and have the power to transform our skin instantly.

Using a sheet mask might seem like the easiest and the most straightforward thing on earth. And for the most part, it is. But if you really want to make the best of your sheet mask collection, it’s crucial to know common mistakes people make along with some tips that will help to take you masking game to another level.

If you’ve ever felt that sheet masks aren’t doing much for your skin or just generally confused about where they belong in your skincare regime, this post is for you!

Mistake #1. Using the wrong sheet mask.

Similar to serums or ampules, a sheet mask is an extra slot in your skincare routine that you can and should use to address specific skin concerns. Skin feels like the Sahara Desert? Deep Moisturizing masks are your best friends. Pore and texture issues? Look for the masks with clarifying acids and pore-caring ingredients. If you don’t see the effects, that’s likely because your targeting is off.

MOTHER MADE Deep Moisturizing Rich Snail Mask

Mistake #2. Not patch testing a mask before applying.

Sheet masks are essentially a highly concentrated booster for your skin. That’s why some ingredients that don’t bother you in toners or creams can trigger a reaction when used in a sheet mask. Always patch test the essence first on your arm before slapping the sheet on your face. 

Mistake # 3. Not prepping your skin.

By now, everybody knows that freshly cleansed complexion is a non-negotiable prerequisite. But prep work doesn’t end there. If sheet masking is a weekly ritual for you, it’s best to exfoliate before to help the essence to absorb better.  We also recommend to at least prep your skin with toner. Why “at least”? There isn’t clear and cut answer to that, but some savvy skincare enthusiasts recommend finishing your whole night routine, except moisturizer before relaxing with a sheet mask. This will, arguably, help to seal all the layers you’ve applied before and to make your sheet mask to work even harder.

Mistake # 4. Not customizing your mask.

Everyone’s face shape is different, so making a pattern that would fit everyone effortlessly just isn’t possible. Some masks will fit better than the others straight out of the box, but some will require a bit of work – and that’s completely normal. If you feel like the eye or mouth area is a tad bit small, go ahead –  make small rips in the mask to adjust the fit to your liking.

Mistake # 5. Keep the mask on for too long.

It might sound counter-intuitive, but when it comes to sheet masking, longer doesn’t always mean better. As the sheet starts to dry, it can actually strip hydration and nourishment away from your skin. It’s better to always follow the instructions on the packaging the first time you use a mask and see how it behaves on your skin. You might find that it still remains drenched in essence even after 30 mins of wear. Then, by all means, feel free to keep it on longer. But usually, 10-15 mins is more than enough to get all the benefits your skin needs.  If you want to wear the mask longer, flip it over when you’re halfway through and apply the remaining essence to prevent dryness.

Mistake # 6. Skipping moisturizer.

It might seem like overkill, but moisturizing after a mask is super important. Use your favorite light- to medium-weight moisturizer (go easy tho, a thin layer will do) or oil to seal in all the hard work your sheet mask has done. My skin is too hydrated – said no one ever.

Mistake # 7. Washing your face after a mask.

Sure, there must be a good reason why you’d want to wash your face right after a sheet mask, but whatever it is – try not to. The essence takes at least 30 mins to fully absorb and deliver the necessary nutrients to your skin. By rinsing your face even with just water is basically flushing your money and efforts down the drain. Not only you’re undoing all the effects of the sheet mask, but you’re also wasting your toner and serums you’ve applied before.

But wait, what if the mask feels unbearably tacky? That is, of course, not the nicest of feeling. But instead of rushing in the bathroom, apply a moisturizer. It will help with the tacky feel, and all your skincare layers will remain intact.

When it comes to sheet masking, longer doesn’t always mean better.

Mistake # 8. Wasting the extra essence.

There’re so many ways the extra essence can be used. Apply over the sheet once you’ve flipped the mask over (as mentioned earlier) or slather it all over your neck, arms, and legs. You can also transfer the essence in a separate, tight lid container to make a DIY mask with facial cotton pads in the future.

Mistake # 9. Storing the extra essence for too long.

Decanted extra essence shouldn’t be stored for longer than a couple of days. Sheet masks are single-use products, so their formulas aren’t designed to withstand prolonged sun and air exposure. The essence can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria, and if you’re not careful, you might end up doing more harm than good to your skin. We also don’t recommend using stored essence instead of toner or regular essence. The formula is entirely different, and you won’t get the same benefits by using it without a sheet mask.

And there you have it! Comment below if you have more tips to add!

Happy sheet masking!  

Essential books every skincare addict should read

Over the last years, the Internet has become a proverbial well of skincare wisdom that never runs dry. And fair enough. The knowledge you can get from reading skincare/beauty columns, blogs, and even Instagram captions (feels surreal to say this) is invaluable. 

It’s plenty.

It’s easily accessible. 

It’s relevant and up-to-date. 

But as with everything instant and immediate, information fished out of the Internet has its limits. It often provides quick-fix solutions for your concerns rather than equipping you with an in-depth understanding of how your skin works so you can make an informed decision. Plus, all that hottest and trendiest knowledge right at your fingertips often leads to spontaneous purchases that neither your budget nor, frankly, your skin needs. 

That isn’t to demonize beauty blogosphere or say that all online content is inherently flawed. But if you feel uninspired, overwhelmed or lost, we recommend to turn off your computer and pick up a book instead. 

But what book? 

To get you started, we’ve put together a list of five books that anyone interested in beauty and skincare should read. Whether you’re a skincare newbie or a savvy enthusiast, looking for an entertaining read or a serious dive-in into how our skin works, there is a book for everyone! 

1. Clearing Up Skin Care: A No-nonsense Guide to Finding a Routine that Works

Photo: Courtesy of the retailer

New to skincare and feeling overwhelmed? Skincare addict who got sidetracked by all the marketing noise? Then this book is for you. Board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Jennifer Janiga offers sensible advice on how to approach your skincare regimen – from building to sustaining it long-term. She will guide you through a bizarre world of skincare ingredients, sharing useful insights about skin, health, and busting a few beauty myths along the way. After reading this book, you’ll feel empowered not to be bothered by distractions, set clear skincare goals, and choose products that work for you. 

2. The Beauty Geek’s Guide to Skin Care: 1,000 Essential Definitions of Common Product Ingredients

Photo: Courtesy of the retailer

If you’ve always been wanting to “clean up” your act vanity and possibly even venture into the world of DIY beauty, this book is for you. It offers a realistic perspective on what clean, nontoxic beauty is without being preachy or patronizing. The author, Deborah Burns, won’t tell you that natural is better, nor that synthetic is toxic. Instead, she’ll arm you with essential knowledge on how our skin works, common ingredients, and their functions, so you can choose what’s right for you. And in case, you decide au naturale is the way to go; she’s got ten easy DIY recipes to get you started. 

3. Skincare Bible. Your No-nonsense Guide to Great Skin

Photo: Courtesy of the retailer

While the books introduced above focus more on the ingredients and how to spot those that work for your skin, this book dives deeper into various skin conditions. Dr. Anjali Mahto has long recognized that beauty blogosphere is saturated with conflicting (and sometimes straight-on harmful) advice. With this book, she aims to offer unambiguous, scientifically-backed advice for common skincare conditions, such as acne, rosacea, age spots, and moles. Despite being chock full of scientific facts about our skin and body, the book is written in simple language that’s easy to follow and understand. 

4. Great Hair Days and How to Have Them

Photo: Courtesy of the retailer

Technically, this isn’t a skin care book, but it deals with a topic surrounded by as much mystery and pain as skin care. And this topic is hair. Specifically, how to care for and style it. This book is for everyone who have you ever left hair salon feeling cheated. Or stood in front of the mirror for hours trying to tame unruly locks without much luck. Written by an acclaimed British hairstylist, this book is full of easy-to-follow, no b.s. advice on how to take matters into your own hands and become an expert in your hair. A great hair day every day? Yes, please. 

5. Pretty Iconic. A Personal Look at the Beauty Products that Changed the World

Photo: Courtesy of the retailer

An entertaining, spritely written page-turner that any self-respecting #beautyjunkie must-read. Sali Hughes, an eloquent British beauty journalist, presents her take on what’s become iconic in the beauty industry. Each iconic product is a personal story that is masterfully interwoven with nontrivial historical facts that altogether make for a very entertaining read. Sali acknowledges that her answer to “what makes an icon” is heavily biased – by being a woman in her forties and British to the core. But it is this bias that makes the book well worth the time because it makes us, readers, wonder: “If I were to write this book, what stories would I tell?”

How stress affects your skin and what can you do about it.

Spoiler alert: it takes more than learning a couple of breathing techniques.

If you’re a living and breathing human, you’ve most likely had those weeks, months even when life turns upside down. Your job responsibilities are spiraling out of control, personal life becomes a complete mess, and on top of that, upstairs neighbors flooded your bedroom. You’re always on your toes, stressed out, tired, can’t sleep, can’t eat. And your skin starts to ACT UP. Flares of eczema, severe dryness and, of course, new pimples popping up daily.

You might think it’s all in your head – as long as you do your best to manage stress, all your skin troubles will disappear without a trace. But in reality, it takes more than learning a few deep-breathing techniques to clear your bout of stress acne or eczema flare. So, what does it take? Read along to find out.

First, you need to understand what exactly happens to your skin when you feel stressed.

  1. Stress triggers an inflammatory response. One of the main reasons why your skin flares up are because of an inappropriate release of inflammatory chemicals. Under normal circumstances, these chemicals are good for you. It’s a natural way to protect your body’s health and fight unwanted viruses that enter the system. But since stress isn’t the flu and there’re no actual viruses to go to a battle with, the inflammation causes your skin to misbehave. If you are susceptible to a particular skin condition, say rosacea or eczema, stress will be a trigger that leads to dry, itchy, irritated patches of skin across your body. Inflammation can also mess with your immune system, making you more prone to infections. On top of that, in some cases, you’re also running the risk of developing an autoimmune disease. Your body starts to attack and damage its own healthy tissue resulting in such conditions as alopecia (hair loss), psoriasis or vitiligo.
  2. Stress sends sebaceous glands into overdrive and contributes to premature skin aging. Stress triggers the production of a hormone called cortisol, which causes your skin to produce more oil. Excess oil leads to pore clogging, creating the perfect environment for acne bacteria to grow. Hello, unwanted acne! But not only that, cortisol increases blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and fat storage while lowing growth hormone. It ain’t called the “aging hormone” for nothing. Stress triggers an inflammatory response.
  3. Stress dries out your skin. Stress damages your protective barrier by destroying hyaluronic acid in your body and makes you more susceptible to dryness. You might have also noticed that whenever you feel stressed, you’ll sweat more than usual, which also contributes to skin dehydration.

If you are susceptible to a particular skin condition, say rosacea or eczema, stress will be a trigger that leads to dry, itchy, irritated patches of skin across your body.

So, then, what can you do?

Don’t get us wrong; learning how to deal with the stress when you’re feeling all the feels is something we definitely recommend doing. It won’t clear up your acne, or calm down inflamed skin right away. But it will help to feel less stressed, which in turn might have a positive effect on your skin.

At the same time, don’t rely on meditation alone. Yes, skincare is probably not what you want to engage with right now actively. But developing a clear, thought-out regimen is crucial to help your skin to become healthy again. Take a step back, look at your medicine cabinet/vanity, and re-think your skincare routine. You need a break, and your skin needs a break, so going on a skincare diet and sticking to the basics is the best thing you can do.

You need a break, and your skin needs a break, so going on a skincare diet and sticking to the basics is the best thing you can do.

Here are a couple of ground rules to follow when building your “stressed-skin-approved” skincare routine.

  • Choose the most gentle and non-irritating cleanser you own. One thing you don’t want to do is to dry out or sensitize your skin even further. But don’t eliminate a face wash from your routine completely, especially if your skin oils are going out of control. You need to keep those pores clean to prevent them from clogging again and again.
  • Don’t use exfoliators, chemical, or physical. Remember, we need to add to our skin, not subtract. And while there are plenty of great gentle peels on the market, your skin is not in the position to handle them just yet.
  • A good moisturizer is your friend. Use a toner if you must, but skip serums and ampules. We’re trying to put as little on our skin as possible to minimize the risk another eczema flare. A nice moisturizer – preferably low pH with ceramides and hyaluronic acid – is all you need to restore your compromised skin barrier.

Don’t use exfoliators, chemical, or physical. Remember, we need to add to our skin, not subtract.

Finally, if you’ve run into a wall and feel like nothing is working, it’s always best to consult a professional. Book an appointment with your dermatologist and see if you might benefit from several therapy sessions to get you through the rough patch. There are plenty of online mental health services that you can use from the comfort of your own home.