Change is hard but it’s a necessary thing. Especially in the face of dry, transitional weather. Especially when it concerns the efficacy of your twice-a-day skincare regime.
As the deafening roar of Halloween dulls into a leisurely march towards Thanksgiving (that’s the end of November, for those who don’t subscribe to American exceptionalism; or paganism), there’s one almost-sure thing. Well, two. Someone, first, will have already started a WhatsApp group chat for a hairy-crab all-you-can-eat get-together, as tell-tale a sign of cold weather here in Hong Kong as any. And second, those vacuum-sealed dockets shoved into bins and shoved to the brim with knits and discernible sleeves must now be unearthed and resuscitated. Welcome to autumn/winter 2022, clothes from seasons well before autumn/winter 2022. We’ve been expecting you.
Now, there’s a specific seasonality to the crab-eating and the warmer clothes-wearing. It’s a polite acquiescence to cause and effect, wherein the crustacean in question is particularly roe-y and, therefore, delicious and worthy of devouring. The temperature in question is particularly, and if we’re so lucky, appropriately cool and, therefore, an increased square footage of fabric in length and density is necessary. This same occasion- specific logic should extend to what you slather on your face – and body; and hair – every blurry-eyed morning, every equally blurry-eyed evening.
SWITCH 1: BIG OIL
“Given the cooler air outdoors and, alternately, the air-conditioning indoors in Hong Kong,” says Anna Flores, industry veteran and industrious founder of The Chaless, the unassuming spa centre perched on the slope of Central’s busy Aberdeen Street, “we must be mindful of our hydration and moisturisation.”
Hydration and moisturisation are descriptors often used interchangeably in snappy beauty copy with editors hellbent against repeat appearance of words within reading distance of each other. But hydration and moisturisation, while synonymous in contexts more generic, are not equivocal as measures of moisture-retention at the dermis level. Consider the facial oil, which Flores heartily recommends as a key part of any cold-weather skincare regime. (Another proponent of the facial oil as a transitional staple: make-up artist-extraordinaire and stalwart judge of Prestige’s Beauty Awards, Sapphire Shen, who swears by Botanic Pretti5’s Miracle Glow Facial Oil.)
Oil, which stubbornly floats above water; above Balsamic vinegar, does not mix, no matter how vigorously you happen to agitate your fifth-grade science experiment. Facial oils moisturise but cannot hydrate for the same chemical reason: oil is – science-term incoming – immiscible.
The industry insistence on the transitional addition of facial oils, however, sees the product as a complementary step to hydration. It’s an emollient that seals in already-hydrated skin, supplementary to its ability to prolong said hydration by creating a pseudo-barrier that sits pretty atop the skin, black-clad bodyguard-style. It’s an important step. Yet, moisturisation does not hydration make.
SWITCH 2: MEANINGFULLY MOISTURISED
“Moisturiser is the foundational product in an effective skincare regime,” says Dr Maryam Zamani of MZ Skin. “It’s the formula that provides a daily protective barrier for the skin.” To wit, not all moisturisers are made the same. And, considering MZ Skin’s latest duo-release, not all moisturisers from the same brand, even, are made the same.
There typically is rhyme and reason to any successful beauty launch. Diversity, with products that can stand to all be cogent purchases judiciously made by a single, spendy consumer in a single, spendy transaction, becomes paramount. It’s, after all, the risk-averse choice. MZ Skin’s The Light Moisturiser and The Rich Moisturiser, launched in tandem, in identical peach-pink packaging that can only be differentiated from an assiduous perusal of the fine print, takes no heed of such rhyme or reason.
“I wanted to create a gold-standard formulation that would deliver solid protection from external factors, while turbo targeting common complexion concerns like lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, dullness and dehydration,” Zamani continues. “We created a lightweight and a rich option to support skin through different climates and conditions.”
The onus is precisely calibrated on to the customer to know exactly how their skin functions; to know exactly how their skin might react to changing temperatures; to know the intricate nuances of how, exactly, a higher percentage of sodium hyaluronate, the key difference separating The Rich Moisturiser from its lighter counterpart, might soothe and nourish.
And, if so, how the inclusion of both The Light Moisturiser and The Rich Moisturiser – and whatever else variants you have on your radar; we’re a brand-agnostic bunch – might complete a transitional skincare regime that’s punctiliously comprehensive.
SWITCH 3: DO NOT FORGET!
Unlike a complete rehaul of a summer-to- winter wardrobe, it might be less jarring to think of transitional skincare as a routine with more in similarity to a capsule collection. Think simple additions, subtractions and substitutions.
“The layering of products is the formula to keep your skin healthy and hydrated,” says Flores. “Switch to milky cleansers as they’re gentler. And start adding a hydrating mask weekly.”
A punctual slathering of SPF is non- negotiable, no matter the weather. Eye creams, another step Flores heavily advocates for, are also unmissable. “This thin skin around the eyes is where skin lacks the most moisture,” she says. “Take time to massage around the eye area using your fourth finger for increased circulation.”
SWITCH 4: PRO LEAGUE
And sometimes, it’s best to leave it to the pros.
“During the winter months, your skin needs all the professional care it can get,” says The Chaless founder, whose spa has just introduced an Ultimate Hydrating Skin Programme for the season. “Facial spas have potent skincare products with stronger formulations that can get deep into the skin,” she insists. “Skin has immunity too, and that’s something your skincare therapist can help solve in these transitional months.”
The Chaless, G/F, 16 Aberdeen Street, Central, +852 6829 1055