My biggest beauty pet peeve? Pilling, no question.
This anomaly is way more common than you think. Pilling is merely makeup jargon for when your skincare clumps up into small little spheres on your skin. These pills of product (hence “pilling”) are incredibly irksome because they muss up your makeup and are the prime cause of patchy-looking complexion.
But what causes pilling, exactly? We won’t delve into the complicated cosmeceutical chemistry behind the phenomenon, but Dr Calvin Chan, medical director at Calvin Chan Aesthetic & Laser Clinic, says gel- or alcohol-based products tend to “pill” in the presence of sebum on your skin, in much the same way oils float on top of water.
Try these top tips to put an end to your pilling problem:
TIP #1. Skin still damp? Patience, my friend. Dr Chan’s ace advice to preventing pilling? Give your face some time after each step to fully absorb each layer before adding the next.
A good rule of “thumb” (and I mean this quite literally): If your fingertips feel damp when you press them into your face, give the product another two minutes, then test again.
TIP #2. Indulge in some heavy "patting". This is the single best bit of advice anyone can possibly give you, IMO: Always pat, never rub. Not sure how to actually apply your product?
To get the most bang out of your beauty buck, try this technique courtesy of Alyssa Ng, Estee Lauder Singapore’s senior field education executive: “Dispense five drops of a serum into your hands, then trace a heart radiating from the centre of your face out towards your ears.”
“Finish by ‘closing’ the heart at your chin and sliding your fingers down the sides of your neck.” Beauty bonus: This massage method also aids in draining excess fluid from your face, and makes for a seriously relaxing ritual at the end of the day.
TIP #3. Oils are the skincare equivalent of your nail’s top coat. Face oils function as an absolutely essential “top coat” to prevent us water babies from drying out like prunes, so slick them on as the final step of your routine. Take it from Dr Alvin Wong, medical director at SKN Mediaesthetics, who advises against using facial oils under your serum, as said oils can inhibit the absorption of products applied on top.
By applying an oil after your anti-aging serum, fat-soluble ingredients like glycolic acid, retinol and vitamin E dissolve in the oil, tricking your skin into driving the good stuff deeper into the dermis. Pretty neat, yes?
Selection-wise, zero in on “good” plant-based oils like lavender, chamomile and rosemary, which are supremely soothing and smell so very sublime, too. Steer clear of petrolatum and mineral oil, especially when they’re high up on a product’s ingredients list: These synthetics are the “bad” pore-cloggers which give oils a damaging rep.
Better yet, some oils – think tea tree, lavender and grape seed – even boast zit-zapping powers. Try rubbing a few drops of tea tree oil into blemish-prone zones as an acne alleviating alternative to crude chemical creams.