Campus Life

Figuring Out Fashion

Some Beauty Is Skin Deep

A couple days after last week’s column came out, we overheard a group of unsuspecting critics reading the article on Tech Shuttle and comparing thoughts. We were confronted with overheard questions like, “why would they include drinking a glass of water?” and “what the **** does exfoliating mean?” So, we duly apologize for not explaining ourselves thoroughly and hope to do so this week.

When we called our column Figuring out Fashion, it was under the broad definition of fashion that is truly applicable to any place, even MIT. Fashion is the art of presenting yourself to the best of your abilities, and we’re here to explore not only all the outward aspects of fashion, but also the unexpected side effects that come from being self aware. From our own experiences, we never knew how self-conscious we could be about our senses of style until we realized that we weren’t even following half the advice we wisely wrote in this column.

There is much more to looking good than clothes, especially since most of us don’t have the money, time, or tolerance to wear couture to class every day. Today we will explore the incredibly important question of how to feel good on the inside, which is the only way the outside will ever come together. We ourselves are far from achieving this goal, but we know that when we take care of our bodies and keep our outlooks positive, we look amazing no matter what we wear.

So on to the more important question — what does “exfoliating” mean? And what is an exfoliant? Well, an exfoliant is one of the three main skincare products available for your beautification — cleanser, exfoliant, and moisturizer. Now, what do all these do?

1. Cleansers do the work of soap. Soap itself is usually good enough for the body, but a gentler and more specialized mixture is more appropriate for the face since soap does dry out the skin. Choose this product carefully. There are many types of cleansers out there, including cream, acne-fighting, and foaming. The only way to choose is to stay focused on your own skin type. If your skin gets cracked and chapped in the winter, your skin is probably dry, while if it oozes oil even when you are inactive, it’s probably oily. Simple. An easy way to find the best cleanser for your skin type is to head down to Sephora and ask them for some free samples of their most intriguing formulas.

2. Exfoliants are products that have small rough particles in them that are used to rub off dried skin layers and reveal fresher skin below. These are also often marketed as “scrubs,” but it is best to check the consistency before buying. In general, these products aren’t very abrasive, and can sometimes be combined with cleansers. These also work great on your body, but since they tend to dry out the skin, it’s best not to use them every day. We suggest exfoliating moderately, at least once a week.

3. Moisturizers are absolutely essential. We know from experience how much of a turn off it is when a good looking, interesting person reaches out to shake your hand and their skin is rough, ashy, and generally unpleasant. Moisturizers usually make use of fats, like oils and butters, to smooth over the surface of the skin. There are some oil-free varieties available for those prone to oily skin. Use moisturizer daily on your body and your face and make sure to go out and find the moisturizer that is right for your skin.

If you feel like you have absolutely no time whatsoever to integrate cleansers, exfoliants, and moisturizers into your daily life, then at least try and add one of the three. A very simple and cheap option is using the classic, St. Ives Apricot Scrub. It works for almost all skin types and is very inexpensive.

As one last tip, an easy way to tell if your products are too intense for your skin is if you complete a routine and your skin feels tight on your face and has a matte tone to it. This is an indication that you think you’re oilier then you are. Also, remember that time of year, diet, hydration level (hence the suggestion for drinking water), and amount of sleep, all have a large impact on skin tone, so keep in touch with yourself.

We hope you’ve gotten some basic ideas of how to take care of your skin from this week’s article, and that you were inspired to be a little more caring about the most important person in your life — you.