Beauty Blogger Confessions: No Manicure, No Pedicure, Just Calluses

Here comes a confession: I don't have pretty, modelesque feet or hands. As much as I love beauty and taking care of my skin, nails and hair, I've never had a pedicure or a manicure. But these imperfections don't bother me as I take care of my hands and feet in another way - and that's what I'm going to talk about today. If you're hysterical about soft hands and feet, look away now!

 Beauty Blogger Confessions | Laura Loukola flatlay peonies

How Hands and Feet Are Treated in Finland

Fist of all, in Finland we spend most of the year wearing (rain) boots and not sandals, so pedicures aren't a standard in here. Professionally done they're also on the expensive side. Last time I saw an ad for a full pedicure it was €79 which is around ~$93. NINETY THREE DOLLARS. Some people do get nail extensions if their nails are fragile or show their hands a lot at work, but it's more common to see natural or self-painted nails. However, Finnish people are addicted to hand creams and moisturizers. Everyone and I mean everrrryone has a hand cream in their purse, desk, whatever. Yes, this is to make your hand look nice but also protect from cold and windburns.

 Beauty Blogger Confessions Feet Care Flatlay

My Relationship To Hand Care

I first tried bouldering about 1 1/2 years ago and got immediately hooked. At the same time I kissed goodbye to hand creams and started embracing my calluses. You see, the harder my hands are the longer I can climb and hang without feeling any pain, my grip feels also firmer. To me soft hands mean vulnerable hands and baby-soft skin may get flappers (skin tearing off) more easily, which needs a band-aid and taping. My hands are more comfortable with magnesium powder than manicures.

I do like to paint my nails from time to time as I like the extra touch they add to outfits - just like jewellery, but color! I like Essie polishes and Take the Day Off top coat as they last almost a week on me, but usually I need to remove the polish after climbing sessions. I don't really mind as I like switching the color. I need to keep my nail length at minimum so I won't scrape the wall and hurt myself. Imagine your nails scratching a chalkboard - not very comfortable. I've grown to like my nails short, I understand if some people have very fragile nails and choose to get extensions, but it isn't for me. I always file my hand nails to the same direction and take vitamins regularly (Biotin is magic for hair and nails!) to keep them from flaking or tearing.

 Otaki Climbing Shoes

And Feet Care (or Not-Care)

My feet are naturally odd shape and they naturally get a lot of calluses: especially the tips of my toes, the sides of my pinky toe, heel, etc. One of my earliest memories as a child is my Mom treating my calluses: that's how I learned the difference between left and right. A few years ago I started to see a foot therapist: to my readers living near Helsinki-Espoo area, I can recommend Foot Vision in Leppävaara.. Far from the pretty foot baths, massages and manicures. She uses a machine to sand my calluses and removes the rest with a surgical blade. I visit her 1-2 per year so because calluses on my feet can hurt walking sometimes.

My foot therapist has advised me to moisturize my feet every night (I'm lazy) and keep longer toe nails, but because of my hobby I really can't have my nails long. Climbing shoes are tiny and I recently went down a whole size to get a better grip on the wall. I do need to take the shoes off from time to time as my toes start to ache, but performance-wise it's worth it!!

How do you care for your hands and feet?
How much does a pedicure cost in your city?

5 things that transformed my skin

A couple of nights ago, I was doing my evening skincare routine I started thinking what what is the core thing of my routine? What has really proven effective over the years? This post is all about it.

 5 Things That Transformed My Skin

Yes, I still do have imperfections, fine lines, acne scars, dark circles (heck, even my dark circles have dark circles) and I had just attacked the blackheads on my nose before taking this image of me without makeup.. But I'm grateful my skin looks as good as it does. I'm turning 30 this year (yikes!) and I refuse to use the impression "looking good for my age" because that's just silly. I'd say my skin is doing pretty good by my standards or compared how it used to be: very prone to acne, spotty and flakey. Some of this advice might sound obvious, but I wanted this post to serve both as a roundup and a remainder of what I've done to maintain my improved skin!

1. Non-smoking

Look, I'm not giving any life advice to anyone. I just chat about beauty. You can [insert here] all the babble about daily drinking of hot lemon water, green juice, 8 hours of sleep, exercise and whatnot that gives you a great skin. Of course it's important to be healthy and our habits have an impact on our bodies, but I'm not here to tell you how you should live. However the research is evident: smoking damages your skin. The lack of oxygen, breakdown of collagen and elastin dulls, yellows and dries the skin. From my personal experience when I've compared my skin to smokers' around my age the difference is pretty drastic. Some of my smoker friends have developed early wrinkles and sagging skin much younger than I have. There could be bazillion of other reasons too, but I believe that being a non-smoker has only done me good.

 5 Things That Transformed My Skin

2. Roaccutane / Accutane

This medication is abrasive, but I'm very happy and grateful I ended up trying Accutane medication. I used to suffer from mild yet very annoying acne that simply didn't want to go away. I tried every topical treatment there was, but no acid, spot treatment or doctor prescribed gel could helped me. I also tried lifestyle changes like cutting out dairy and gluten, but those pesky spots just kept coming. I was totally hopeless with my skin, which had a great impact on my self-esteem. When I got prescribed Accutane I decided to try it despite knowing its harsh side-effects. Luckily my skin has been clear ever since! I've written several posts about my acne journey if you care to read more. Only take prescription medication under doctor's supervision, ask more at your local health center.

3. Sunscreen

I'm a big sunscreen advocate ever since I learned about the importance of sun protection. Rain or shine, I slather it on. Even if it's cloudy, our Sun isn't taking a nap or being switched off - the rays will still come through. I won't apply a tiny drop on the tip of the nose but a generous amount covering my whole face, neck and décolleté if I'm not wearing a high-neck top. In the Summer time I make a note to reapply my sunscreen and make sure the backs of my hands get some too. Sunscreen is THE most important thing when it comes to prevent untimely signs of wrinkles and sun spots. If you decide to spend a small fortune on a treatment or a serum it may go in vain if you decide to skip sunscreen - especially if the active ingredients (retinols, acids, etc) may cause sun sensitivity. I recommend budget sunscreens (Korean are often cosmetically elegant) and a liberal application!

4. Double cleansing

Going down to the very basics here! I think I first discovered double cleansing years ago (what feels like a lifetime) from Japan: first you remove all makeup, SPF, dirt and grime with an oil-based cleanser and secondly cleanse the skin with a foaming cleanser. What seemed revolutionary back then is an everyday routine for me now and I do it every single evening. Yup, even after those late nights dancing I wash my face before crashing in bed. These products can be whatever suits your taste and skin type, but oils and balms work excellent to remove makeup and other gunk BEFORE you cleanse your skin. I swear this routine will have a positive impact on the clarity of your skin.

5. Layering water-based products with oils

I like to refer to my skincare routine as the "sandwich method" aka layering hydrating skincare products and topping everything with a beauty oil or a balm. I start from light textures and move my way up to heavier emollients. For example: a lightly exfoliating toner that doesn't strip the skin, a hydrating essence, a hyaluronic acid or other hydrating serum, let them sink in and follow with an oil and cream/balm depending time of the day. I feel that "sealing in" humectants with an oil helps to retain the hydration while oil gives the final moisture boost. If you don't like oils, an occlusive cream is a good option. 

+1 Extra: Be Kind To Yourself and Take No BS

Even if you're not very into skincare, small and easy changes can have a great impact on the look and feel of your skin. I believe that taking time and allowing superficial care also affects how you feel in your skin. In the end it's not all about the looks, but you being healthy and feeling good enough. If saying a kind word to yourself in a front of a mirror feels overpowering, how about skipping one word of self-blame? Never forget that confidence doesn't come in a jar and self-care doesn't require hocus pocus potions with $$$ price tag. (More about skincare as a form of self-care coming in another post)

What's your best, simple, foolproof skincare advice you've proven effective?
(Also, what was the last time you posted a makeup free selfie on the Internet?)

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