5 habits for great skin

May 12, 2011

With summer around the corner (finally!), even here on this windy island called Montreal, you will want your skin looking amazing. I don’t think that having clear, glowing skin is something that anybody doesn’t want, despite age or gender. Nice skin is a sign of health, and whether you have model good-looks or not, looking  your best is always a great thing.

Here are my tips to maintaining a healthy complexion for the summer and beyond! These aren’t meant to be revolutionary, just a reminder that common sense and simplicity is key.

Oh, and I didn’t  mention this but OBVIOUSLY, WEAR (natural) SUNSCREEN (or sunblock)!

Stay hydrated.

Water is your friend! If you “don’t like water”, tough. Get used to it, and learn to love it (mean, aren’t I?). Every system in your body (and the earth, basically) relies on water. Not celebrity endorsed hydrating cocktails. Not moisturizer. Not even vitamins. Water.

You cannot replace water with sugary juices, colas or even tea. Only water is water! Some summer fruits are high in water content, such as watermelon, so I might budge a little and say go for it, but lugging a melon around < a (reusable) bottle of water. Right?

Do try to get into the habit of drinking about 2 liters (those 8 glasses of 8 ounces) of water. A good way to start your day off right is to drink a BIG glass of H2O (I drink out of big mason jars now because I’m too lazy to keep refilling glasses with water). I like to dress up my water a little with some lemon juice and honey… it’s a lot like lemonade but better for your body. If you stop reading this post now, just this one tip will make a big difference in a short(ish) amount of time, I promise. Try staying very hydrated for one week, and I promise you will have clearer skin.

Stop sudsing up! (At least not every day)

This is difficult for many people because we are lead to believe that we need squeaky-clean faces in order to have blemish-free, awesome skin. Nope! Your sudsy face wash isn’t doing you any favors. In fact, all those little bubbles are most likely just harsh chemical surfactants, stripping the good, healthy oils from your skin’s mantle, causing either more oil production (and making you believe that you have skin that just drips with oil) or drying your skin out completely (leading you to believe you have flaky, dry skin).

At least once a day, use gentle, cream-based cleansers that are natural and free from any harsh chemicals. Also, there’s nothing wrong with washing your face with several splashes of PLAIN TAP WATER! Truly. Unless you’ve been sweating or getting grimy or wearing makeup, water can go a long way to get you clean without stripping your good healthy oils away, so this is a good morning practice.

You’ll notice that you need a lot less moisturizer once you stop ruining your natural oil levels, and your skin will breathe better.

Another option, if you really can’t live without a few suds, is to shop for artisan-made, handcrafted facial soaps. Etsy has hundreds (seriously) of bar-soap options, from plain to exquisite. Don’t believe the hype that soap isn’t good for you… it just depends on the soap. Only buy high-quality, organic soaps that use ingredients chosen for their skin benefits, and that never use any animal products (no tallow…gross). Don’t overdo it, because even quality soaps can dry your skin out if used too often, and thus the dry/oily skin cycle continues.

Give your skin a break!

I’m a culprit of this skin sin. I pick! I prod! I make a barely visible spot into a red, very visible and oozy pimple! I especially tend to do this when I get nervous, which always means that I’m wrecking my face at the worst possible moment. Then I go overboard with washing, masks, serums, spot treatments, switching things up so quickly there’s no way my skin can get the chance to even get any of the benefits of the treatments, and generally ruining my face for no good reason.

Listen to the advice your mom gave you a long time ago and just “leave it alone!” Don’t pick at tiny, practically invisible clogged pores and the like, especially when your skin is looking relatively clear. If you do get a breakout, don’t overdo it with washing and treatments. Just keep your fingers away from your skin, keep it clean, and do spot treatments on the problem areas….and drink more water! And relax! And don’t pick!

There. Better.

Exfoliate.

Instead of equating suds with clean, equate exfoliation with clean. Remove dead skin cells to allow your skin to breathe and to actually absorb your fancy serums and creams once you apply them, and isn’t just sitting on a layer of dead skin! (this was an a-ha moment for me, when my sister told me this years ago). Pick up a natural scrub, such as my Juicy Scrub, and use a few time a week or more, depending on your skin type. Try to listen to your skin. If it’s dull, give it a firm yet gentle scrub. If it’s all irritated and breaking out, don’t aggravate it further. be careful not to scrub around your delicate eye area, and don’t forget your neck! Common sense should be your guide, here.

I also like using face cloths or muslin cloths and giving myself a good old fashioned scrub in the shower. When did the basics become so foreign to me? I’m not sure, but I bet I’m not the only one.

Consider Ditching your Makeup.

At the beginning of a new season, it’s a good time to consider replacing your makeup. I admit that I don’t throw out makeup very often because I never really wear it, but if you wear it daily (and there’s nothing wrong with that) then you should know the importance of keeping your makeup and tools fresh. not only because different seasons require different coverage and looks, but also because makeup can easily become grimy and unhygienic, especially if you’re lugging it around in your purse every day.

Consider investing in some natural mineral makeup and cruelty-free brushes. Mineral makeup contains natural sunblock and is a nice look for warmer months; light, natural and fresh. Certainly not cakey or waxy! My sister, who is a makeup artist, suggested using my rosewater mist (*not on Etsy at the moment….will be back shortly!!) to set mineral makeup and to make sure it doesn’t settle into lines on your face.

Hopefully this wasn’t exactly all news to you, but just some reminders or refreshers. When it comes to taking care of your skin, simplicity is key (and not picking!!!). Take care of yourself from the inside out, and your skin will thank you for it.





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