A good skin care routine is a must. No matter how great you can do your makeup, if you’re using the wrong skin care products, over exposing your skin to the sun, or flopping into bed every night without washing your face, your skin is going to suffer. You’ll end up looking tired and older.
First off, protecting your skin from the sun is a must. I can’t stress it enough. I’ll just out myself and admit that I did tan when I was younger. I really loved the look, but it wasn’t long before I noticed sun spots and fine lines starting to appear. Invent purposely gone tanning in years, but I would say it’s been two years since I really got serious about protecting my skin. I’ve used self tanners if I was really desperate to get a glow. However, there is some concern about the main ingredient in most self tanners, dihydroxyacetone(DHA). DHA is a chemical that interacts with the amino acids that naturally occur in skin to produce melanoidins, which give the skin a darker pigment. Although generally considered to be safe, much safer than exposing your skin to UV rays, there is still some question as to whether or not DHA is carcinogenic. Honestly, there are so many great options for bronzers that are natural and harmless, there’s really no need to bother tanning at all. A matte, pale look can be really sexy and beautiful, while a dewy, light skinned, highlighted look is doll-like and perfect for daytime. And if your skin is already dark, then you have nothing to worry about! Although people with darker skin tend not to burn as easy, it’s still a good idea to take care to protect your skin from the sun. Don’t go overboard; a little sunlight is actually necessary to alleviate depression and regulate circadian rhythms and boost vitamin D absorption. I wear my Eminance Tropical Day Cream SPF 32 daily, on my face and décolletage (don’t forget your décolletage when applying skin care products. As you age, this area will start to look saggy and wrinkly if you do). If I’m not doing anything important, just running around town, I’ll throw on a cute ball cap, and wear loose fitting but long clothes. I’m especially careful to make sure that my colourful tattoos are either covered or slathered in sunscreen. People often remark that my tattoos look like they were just done, when in fact some of them are nearly ten years old. My secret is keeping them shaded from the sun.
Aside from protecting your skin from the sun, using good quality, natural cleansers, exfoliators, and moisturizers is so important. We can absorb and inhale so many chemicals from our body products, even if a product seems gentle, it can be loaded with parabens,
sulfates, fragrances and colours. For people with food allergies or sensitivities, such as Celiac disease, it’s extra important to read labels. For example, if someone has a severe reaction to gluten, they may not be aware that if it contained in lip balms, face washes, shampoos,it could trigger symptoms…just about anything that could come into contact with their mouths.
Reading labels and being educated about what you’re putting not just into, but on your body, is so important. It’s good to be aware of natural and organic products as well; certain ingredients like peppermint could cause irritation in someone with sensitive skin. Likewise, citrus essential oils such as orange and lemon are considered photo toxic, meaning that they can increase your sensitivity to the sun. It’s all about knowing your body and figuring out what works for you. Call me crazy, but I think that intuition plays a role too. Sometimes, if I’m trying to decide on a new product, or what to make for dinner, I close my mind, take some deep breaths, and just try to listen to what my body is feeling and trying to say. Our bodies have their own amazing intelligence, and so often we just rush around trying to cram them full of what we think is best without even stopping to listen.
All that being said, I will now list some products that I use regularly and some tips on how to go natural no matter what your budget.
I just went on a big rant about protecting your skin from the sun, so I won’t go into much more detail about why I think it’s important. There are some sunscreens that contain some sketchy chemical ingredients. The main concern about chemicals such as Oxybenzone are hormone disruption and negative effects on the environment and wildlife. Mineral based sunscreens usually use zinc oxide, which forms a barrier on the skin to protect it from UV rays, and is generally regarded as safe. I picked up a jar of Eminence Tropical Vanilla day cream SPF 30 last year. It was about $70, but the jar has lasted nearly a year, and I use it practically everyday. It’s lightweight and gentle on my skin. It takes about ten minutes to fully absorb into my skin before I can apply my makeup, but this is pretty much the same for any moisturizer. My only concern with this product is the ingredient Octinoxate, which could have hormone mimicking effects. I doubt that the small amount I’ve been using on my face (and tattoos occasionally) has had a negative impact, but this chemical can accumulate, so it’s probably not wise to use indefinitely, in my opinion. So, as much as I love this product, I think I will be searching for something new once this jar is done!
Face masks are a great addition to any skin care routine. There are so many natural ones available, and you can make your own too! I found a great one at a local shop made out of Dead Sea mud. It’s great for when my skin is oily; it’s just lifts all the impurities, my skin feels so much lighter afterwards. I also stumbled upon this great brand called Whistler Naturals, and I use their face mask as well as cleanser, toner and moisturizer. A DIY face mask can consist of just about anything in your kitchen, such as oatmeal, avocado, banana, honey, yogurt. If you have some extra time, be creative and try making your own. If not, don’t worry, there are many natural brands out there such as Eminence, Whistler Naturals, and Rocky Mountian Soap Co, to name a few.
I’ve always used coconut or olive oil to remove my eye makeup, but I didn’t try using an all over face oil until recently. Oils like argan and rosehip aren’t as greasy as other oils, and are really gently. Once you’re skin has been thoroughly cleansed (I like to exfoliate first), just take a few drops of the oil (they usually come in a little vial with a dropper) and massage between your palms. Give yourself a little face massage with the oil, a couple of minutes is good. Your face will soft and glowing afterwards! Just remember to use your face oil at night; don’t go out in the sun after applying face oil or you might get a burn!
If I don’t exfoliant regularly (once every week or so) my skin becomes dull and I don’t feel that my moisturizers and oils fully absorb. At the same time, it’s really important to use exfoliants that are fine enough that they won’t just scratch and irritate your skin. You want your exfoliant to gently buff away dead skin and give you a nice glow from the increased circulation.
Please don’t ever use products listed as containing microbeads. These things are little pieces of plastic that are terrible for the environment. They don’t biodegrade and go on to pollute our oceans. They’re unnecessary anyway; a bit of ground up sugar or almonds will do a better job of exfoliating, and you don’t have to feel guilty rinsing them down the drain.
Im currently using Eminence Acai skin cleanser, which is a gentle exfoliant. I’ve also used good old St. Ives before, and it works just fine, but is a little more coarse, so I have to use it gently. I don’t really see a point in going overboard with exfoliants; u could just add some finely ground sugar to water cream cleanser you ordinarily use and that would be just fine. Most commercial exfoliants are basically some mixture sugar, salt, or ground up seeds or coffee, baking soda, things like that. It’s worthwhile to experiment making up you own exfoliant, as long as you remember to grind up whatever your using finely so it won’t irritate your skin. Also, I don’t personally recommend salt scrubs: the salt is way to drying for my face, and as for body, let’s just say if you have any nick or cut anywhere, the salt will find it! Save the salt for your soup(Himalayan rock salt preferably. I have to post a recipe soon!).
Cream and foaming cleansers
I find it best to use a foaming cleanser at the end of the day. You don’t want to go bed with any residue of dirt, oil, or makeup on your skin. Right now I’m using a brand called Sukin, which I picked up at my local Donald’s Market. Honestly, there are many natural body washes out there that are gentle enough to use on face. I’ve used my Gardener’s Dream body wash on my face as well as my Everybody lavender body wash, and it’s been fine. These products are sulfate and paraben free, and generally free of harsh ingredients that would sting your eyes or irritate your face.
If you’ve done a good job of cleaning all that dirt, oil and makeup off your skin at night, then you don’t really need to use a foaming cleanser in the morning(unless you have super oily skin). Right now I’m using Whistler Naturals Cucumber Sunflower Sensitive Skin cleanser. It’s really gentle and has a light fragrance and is very mild. I use a warm washcloth to gently rinse it off.
This is is just a basic rundown of my routine and the products I’ve tried and liked. Some other great natural brands I’ve used include Andalou Naturals, Dermal-C, and Burt’s Bees (they have a full face and body line, they don’t just make lip balm!). Once you’ve committed to using mostly or only natural skin care products, you will find a ton of great companies out there who actually care about their customers and the environment. Think of all the chemicals that wind up going down the drain and sprayed into the air every year. If all you ever do is replace your face and body washes with natural ones, you will drastically reduce your carbon footprint, and your body and the earth will thank you!