It’s so hot, I’ve switched over from Celsius to Fahrenheit. Sorry metric system, I’ll get back to you when I move back to north. Basically, when the mercury decided to go past 100 over the past few weeks, I decided it was time to implement my “hot season” mental health routine again. I’ve spent the past eight years in the region, with varying levels of humidity, air pollution (I’m looking at you, Manila), and dustiness all getting together in some form of hot. I honestly started doing all of these things with a view to calm down and cool down during the hot season and only recently did I realize the skin-side benefits of it all. And since it went up to 115F yesterday, I thought it would be a good time to share.
My most recent discovery comes by way of our lovely Jane. In person and over her Snaps, she’s been extolling the benefits of snail slime! (Read more about that here) So when I stumbled upon these masks in our local Japanese grocery store’s toiletries aisle (for 90 cents!), I went a little nuts. Here’s the lowdown: snail mucin, the stuff that keeps our slow shelled friends mobile and happy, contains hyaluronic acid. (Sidenote: This is the point at which my science geek/undergrad major goes nuts). Hyaluronic acid is part of the extracellular environment which holds everything together and keeps our skin supple and elastic. Our bodies makes it on its own, but as we age (hello 30s), that whole process slows down and that’s when our skin might start to get all saggy and wrinkly. But there are two ways of getting it back in you. I’ve been a fan of eating beef tendon, cartilage (always yummy in pho) and all that connective tissue to get collagen and hyaluronic acid back into your body (which will also help your joints too!). Bone broth is also a great source. But if you’re not so into those (yummy) bits, you can get it through your skin. And my new favourite way is through these amazing little snail slime masks. Produced by plenty of high quality Korean beauty brands, you can infuse your skin with the stuff as part of your daily face routine. And if you stick the masks into the fridge for a couple of hours, it is beyond heavenly when it’s +100F outside.
I’m no longer pedalling and sweating my butt off (well, sometimes). But I do get hit with a lot of dust and all that fun particulate matter that comes with living in an emerging Asian city. I renewed my love for Canada-based Lush products when I lived in Manila. The combination of poor air quality and humidity was a total bummer there and my skin was feeling it. That’s when I was re-introduced to Lush’s trove of organic and environmentally friendly products. My two faves are their Cup O’Coffee and Mask of Magnaminty masks. They are the best two-for-ones: scrubbing out all the bad stuff you get exposed to during the day, and giving your skin a nice healthy glow. Resting with a minty-fresh or coffee-scented mask for 10-20 minutes isn’t a bad thing either. I also keep these guys in the fridge to prevent them from deteriorating in this heat, which means they’re also going to keep me cool in this heat.
Cocokhmer also comes from two places I have lived and loved: Canada and Cambodia. Founded by fellow Canuck, Rob Esposito and produced with a social enterprise mind in Cambodia, Cocokhmer products combine locally processed coconut oil. I’ve got their stuff all around my house. But the one I’m constantly replenishing are their Body and Foot Scrubs. The combination of coconut oil and sea salt with organic lime and ginger flavours is such a pleasant way to start or end the day. Plus the coconut oil leaves you nicely moisturized.
My final secret weapon is Origin’s Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask. It’s also the most powerful of all these products. I didn’t really realize it’s benefits until I moved to Asia, but not only does the mask seriously do some deep pore extraction of toxins and general bad stuff, but it is probably the mask I look forward to the most when it’s terribly hot. I keep this guy in the fridge through the year, so when I do slather it on, the combination of that pore extraction and cool mineral feeling gets me feeling terribly calm. It’s like a big exhale for your skin and mind.
And even if it isn’t over one hundred effing degrees where you are, I still recommend all of these.