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ATB Learning Curve: Perfect The Skin

I've been not blogging as often as I'd like. I want to, but I've been busy making some changes - changes in my lifestyle & a beauty trip. I will be blogging about both, but all in good time.

There is a quote attributed to the great Kevyn Aucoin, it goes something like this 

‘You’ve got to perfect the skin—the actual skin, and then the makeup.’

That pretty much sums up what I'm gonna be talking about in this post today. So if you are in a hurry and have to log off now, just keep that quote in your mind & think about it. 

Those of you kind enough to read on, let's go....

A lot of blogs do seem to concentrate a lot on makeup, and I get that. Makeup is just so much more fun, it is colorful, bright, neutral, shimmery and all sorts of awesome. You can create various exotic looks. You don't have to apply and wait for three weeks for results. But I'm going to make a case here now for the boring, mundane world of skincare. 

If you want makeup to be effortless, then it has to start with the skin. A lot of us essentially want to look like healthy, natural beauties on a daily basis. Good skincare will get you there. Makeup will help you enhance it, deal with that stubborn redness around the nose. There is no foundation till date that will look like real skin.

Here are some tips that I have found to be very useful in taking care of my skin

1. Adjust your budget: If you still haven't found your perfect skincare products, then experiment around. I would say keep 70% of your budget for skincare & the rest for makeup. It is just an initial investment when you are trying out products - some of which might be duds. But once you have figured out your best products, this expensive will automatically come down & you can go back to splurging on makeup.

2. Use a sunscreen. Always. If you don't use because you don't like the one you have, then shop around till you find the perfect one. But get it & then use it.

3. Don't buy products that don't list the complete ingredients list: I understand that this can be bit drastic for those of you who love brands like Fab India. Just a few active ingredients listing doesn't cut it for me. If I'm gonna put it on my face, you need to tell me what it has. I think that if a company has nothing to hide, it should list out all the ingredients. If they don't don't think I as an consumer am worth the information, then they aren't worth my money.

4. Moisturizer is more important than Foundation:
A lot of girls will carry compact for touch-ups, but won't carry a small pack of their moisturizer. Working in dehydrated AC environments will make even the best skin look dull at the end of the day.  During summers I use tinted moisturizer on top of an Olay moisturiser. In winters, I forgo base like primer et al. and replace the Olay lotion with a thicker cream.

5. Trust pharmacy products more than cosmetic lines. Why? Because pharma products need to prove their efficacy & safety in mandated clinical trials that span years & hundreds of people. Most cosmetic companies tout lines like "93% of women felt a difference in their skin". First of all "felt" is subjective - unlike a pharma study where they actually have to show dermal changes & improvement. Secondly if you follow the asterisk on the cosmetic claim, it will eventually say in tiny letters at the bottom "As observed by 28 women". The study group used by cosmetic companies is too small at times.

6. The dermatologist is your best adviser  when it comes to skincare. They aren't there just for when your boils or acne won't go away. Ask them for best anti-aging treatments, the best moisturizer  the cream to deal with your dark circles & spots of hyperpigmentation (it is better to get a pharmacy grade product than rely on whitening creams if the problem is big enough to bother you). The pharma products they recommend will be far more effective and at times cheaper than branded cosmetics. (The salicylic acid cream I use for acne is 1/20th the cost of the Kiehl's one, it has 3 times more salicylic acid, plus it is equally gentle). 80% of my skincare products come from the pharmacy. I could list the products for you here, but since these are medical products, I think it is best you get these only after a check-up / prescription. They could be too potent for your skin.

7. Educate yourself: The net has made it very easy to obtain access to information on ingredients. Read up on blogs that are dedicated exclusively to skincare. Know about scientifically validated ingredients for skincare, for example Vit E for skin hydration & softness. And then look for products that actually have these. Ideally these should be amongst the top 5 ingredients in a product. Ingredients are listed in order of quantity in a product. The top 5 makeup close to 80% of the product. Sometimes even more. Two of my favourite sites for skincare education are & FutureDerm.

8. Start early: Make sure that you have a skincare routine in place by the time you are 12-13 years old. And Anti-aging, I'd say start at 16. Don't wait till you hit 25 & 30 to do something about it. By then you have already accumulated damage. They only way to make your skin look good is to prevent. By 16 make sure you are using a sunscreen daily, moisturizer and an anti-oxidant serum at night. With the kind of polluted environment & stress we face, it never hurts to start early. If you didn't start at 16, don't worry. Start now. I started at 26.

9.Cleanser is the most important: I have said this before in another blog, I'll say it again. The most important product in your arsenal is your cleanser. A wrong cleanser will either dry out your skin too much, or else not clean it well enough leading to dull skin. It doesn't have to be expensive, but put some thought into this. I generally prefer using non-foaming cream cleansers. I find foaming cleansers too harsh for daily use.

Those are my skincare mantras. Is my skin perfect? 

Not at all, I have pores issues thanks to harsh oil clearing packs (Himalaya Neem Pack to be specific. I know ppl love it, but it was too harsh for my skin) I used in my teens & because I ignored the blackheads I had.  I still have some acne pigmentation & my skin easily looks dull if I forget to moisturize during the day in office. But is it better than what it was four years ago? Hell, yeah!

So what are your skincare mantras? Share please! :) 


  1. Take a bow, Tanveer! This is one of the most intelligent and sane articles I've read in a long, long time. In this era of 'information overload' where 'sponsored' posts appear to drown your voice of reason, it's nice to finally hear someone who advocates going back-to-the-basics and making informed decisions.

    Trust me, I like makeup as much as the next girl but sometimes it seems we get a little carried away with our obsession for lip glosses, nail paints,and what-have-you. I mean at the end of the day, how much makeup can one possess? And whatever happened to acting-thinking-feeling beautiful (from within)? How come no one ever talks about that?

    I suppose I should stop right about now. You get my point, right? :)

  2. Thnx for such a lovely post Tanveer..very informative... :)

  3. Wonderful post....I totally agree with you that skincare is truly more important than makeup. Love the way you have written the post...keep it up!!!

  4. I am all for skincare :) Sometyms we get so distracted by the colors and magic of makeup that we forget the basic rule:makeup would look better on smoother and even toned skin!And the compact thing is so true Tanveer :) Moisturizing is so underrated.I have started using anti aging now at 21 :D
    U r awsum yar :*

  5. I totally second your point on cleansing, cleansing skin and moisturizing it right is half the battle won.Thankfully I have well behaved skin, and I try not to tinker too much with it,normal CTM works wonders well for me and yes a good anti aging cream and under eye cream are very important..personally I feel my skin condition is lot dependent on my diet and stress levels than the skincare products I use, that being said, I have been spending lot of my beauty budget on skincare of late and totally agree no amount of makeup and substitute for great skin :)

  6. Great post and thanks for the kind words about my blog! I appreciate it!

  7. great to see you back...Tan :) great tips!!! yup, sunscreen is so damn imp and in fact i was prescribed one when i was in 9th or something but i never really bothered to use it till almost two years back very regularly. I am also all for skin care which you already know :) and, yup, moisturizing especially for oily skin gals is sooooo imp but many skip it!!!

  8. This has to be one of your best posts!!! I agree-CTM is very imp, but yeah yet to figure out a good CTM. Also I've tried anti-ageing creams-they tend be too oily for me n I get horrible acne coz of them :(
    I hav a lot of prdts tht I need to start using imme., but it sure does take time to figure out the best ones.
    Thanks for the amazing tips
    P.s. I really liked the images u used! :)

  9. Well said Tanveer!! I tend to skew towards medical products for skin care too

  10. hey..this is exactly why i love your blog! you always give importance to things which are really important and the fact..that we should not follow trends(or products) blidnly - know what you are using is the simplest and most important thing to be taken care of ..i love this article ! and so believe and follow all written here ( ok..will start following 2 things from today :P)
    keep writing such informative articles ..and thank u :)

  11. hey..this is exactly why i love your blog! you always give importance to things which are really important and the fact..that we should not follow trends(or products) blidnly - know what you are using is the simplest and most important thing to be taken care of ..i love this article ! and so believe and follow all written here ( ok..will start following 2 things from today :P)
    keep writing such informative articles ..and thank u :)

  12. hey..this is exactly why i love your blog! you always give importance to things which are really important and the fact..that we should not follow trends(or products) blidnly - know what you are using is the simplest and most important thing to be taken care of ..i love this article ! and so believe and follow all written here ( ok..will start following 2 things from today :P)
    keep writing such informative articles ..and thank u :)

  13. Good post, Tanveer! and I love the images used.

    Your closing line is my story too!

    And like u said it's difficult to find that perfect sunscreen, I'm still in search!

  14. loveddd the post Tanz :D and as long as am getting to know things like these i dont mind waiting for the post :D love all your post and this one goes in my mail box :D ( i store them in my mail box to read ) .... i still swear by the eye cream i purchased from medical shop :D

  15. Omg!!I so loved this post!!!!awesum work..I think I'm gonna bookmark it!! ^_^

  16. Intelligent! Wow!:) I agree with the line ‘You’ve got to perfect the skin—the actual skin, and then the makeup.’ I SO believe in that. Natural and beautiful skin is more important for me than perfectly made-up skin. And that's why I pay more attention on my skin care products. I use Ecobeauty products for my skin. And it works for me quite well. Plus I know what I'm using.


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