Routines, practices and bits of knowledge that have stood the test of time…
Unless you’ve been blessed with the world’s best DNA, it’s almost impossible to sustain clear, healthy skin without any effort at all. Anyone who tells you otherwise is full of crap. And while skincare isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of thing, there are certain habits you can adopt to set you up for skin success. What’s more, skincare shouldn’t feel like a burden. So stick with the classics, the little things you can do every day without even realizing that will make a world of difference to your skin. Below are 15 skin routines, practices and bits of knowledge that have stood the test of time and work. Many are no-brainers and most are so simple you’re probably already doing them.
You’ve only got once face, take care of it.
Pay attention to what your skin needs, and cleanse accordingly. Wake up feeling particularly oily? Your skin probably wants something with suds, like the Black Clay Facial Soap from Osmia Organics. But on days you’re feeling dry, reach for a cream cleanser like this one from Juice Beauty, or just splash some water on your face. Listen to what your skin is telling you and be ok with not sticking to a strict, rigid routine every single day.
But don’t over-cleanse.
Washing your face a million times a day with harsh foaming agents may make you feel like you’re doing your part to battle skin issues, but chances are you’re only making things worse. Skin need balance, and when you launch an attack in the form of cleanser, that balance gets thrown way out of whack. Your sebum goes into overdrive and you end up flakey and oily at the same time. Just like above, listen to your skin! And when in doubt, opt for a product that can pull double duty as a cleanser and moisturizer, like the Skin Savior Multi-Tasking Wonder Balm.
Never go to sleep with makeup on.
For the love of all things holy, if you only follow one thing on this list, make it’s this one. Sleeping with your makeup on is never a good idea. The hours you spend sleeping are when your body goes into repair mode, a process your skin is very much a part of. If there’s day-old makeup (or the day’s grime and pollution) sitting on top of your skin, it can’t breathe and heal itself.
Oil cleansers like The Great Cleanse Cleansing Oil from Maya Chia are incredibly easy to use and do a bang-up job of gently removing makeup while also hydrating skin. Throw a konjac sponge into the mix and you’re golden. And if you’re really “too tired” to stand over the bathroom sink for a few minutes for the sake of your skin, keep these Labotica Cleansing Tissues on your nightstand. No excuses!
Resist the urge to pick and squeeze.
Just don’t do it, ok? You know it’s going to end badly. No matter how satisfying that first popped blackhead is, you’ll inevitably enter a fugue state and come to an hour later with a splotchy, picked-over face and wish you had just kept your hands off in the first place. Plus, your fingers are dirty. When you touch your face, you transfer that dirt to your precious pores. Lay off! Instead, let something like the Mineral Face Peel from O.R.G. Skincare do the work for you.
Your body is roughly 60% water and, since skin is your body’s largest organ, it makes sense that drinking ample amounts of the stuff would keep your skin happy. Water also helps your insides flush bad stuff out—bad stuff that if left to fester might show up on your face in a few days. A good rule of thumb is to try to drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day (so if you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim for 75 ounces of water throughout the day, or a little more than two liters).
Plain water will do wonders, but if you really want to take things up a notch (or you don’t like the taste of plain water), adding supplements is a good way to add a little oomph. Natural Marine Collagen sachets from Vida Glow help promote healthy hair, skin and nails, and come in three tasty flavors. The Beauty Chef’s Inner Glow Beauty Powder is packed with skin- and gut-friendly probiotics, and their Inner Beauty Boost in Hydration provides electrolytes for skin and whole-body hydration through coconut water and aloe vera.
Don’t skip the SPF…
SPF is not just for beach days. The presence of UV rays is pretty much constant, so you need to protect your skin at all times: driving, strolling in the park, flying. Taking the extra step to protect your skin from the sun’s rays will pay off in the long run, I promise. And now that you can find SPF incorporated into makeup like the CCC Cream from CLE Cosmetics, you have no excuse.
…or the lip care.
Chapped lips are the worst, so don’t ever get to that point. First, get ‘em silky smooth by regularly exfoliating with something like the Rose Lip Exfoliator from Henné Organics. Then lock in moisture with a rich balm like the magical unicorn that is The Original Lano 101 Ointment Multipurpose Superbalm.
Stick with what works for you.
Just because something is the new “it” product or ingredient doesn’t mean you have to trip over yourself to get your hands on it. If you have a skincare routine that works and makes your skin look and feel great, stick with it. Once you’ve landed on your hero products, there’s little need to experiment unless you start to feel like something isn’t working the way you want it to anymore. Then, by all means, get to playing.
Pay attention to application order.
You could be using the best products in the world but if you’re applying them haphazardly, they’re not going to be nearly as effective. When it comes to skin care, always apply your products from lightest to heaviest—the lighter the product, the closer it should be to your clean skin. For example, after you’ve taken your makeup off at night, first spritz with a hydrosol, then apply a few drops of your serum of choice before you add a moisturizer and finally an oil, if using. (Oils can penetrate moisturizers, but not vice versa.) An eye cream and lip treatment should top it all off. Just remember to wait a bit between layers to really give each one a chance to sink in and let their active ingredients get properly absorbed.
Realize that smell ≠ effectiveness.
Just because something smells like it’ll do a good job cleaning your skin (looking at you, astringent!) doesn’t mean it’s effective or right for you. In fact, a strong alcohol or chemical scent probably means 1) it’s not green and 2) it contains skin-drying ingredients. Additionally, if something smells too sweet or floral or fruity, aka an enhanced natural smell, it likely contains fragrance, a serious allergen and endocrine disruptor.
I know that the smell of some natural products can take some getting used to, but it’s important to remember that what you’re smelling is the healing plant or herb in its unaltered state. That strong earthy scent means you’re getting all the goodness that botanical ingredient has to offer. And if it really bugs you, light a candle and turn your skincare routine into a mini-spa ritual.
Did you know that you lose millions of skin cells every day? After they die, most of those dead cells stick around, making your skin look dull, clogging up pores and letting oil build beneath them. You’ve got to let that (living) skin breathe! Exfoliating helps to remove those dead skin cells to reveal the fresh ones underneath. Just make sure to choose a gentle formula for your face, like Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Enzyme Exfoliating Mask. Over-exfoliating or using a harsh product can aggravate your skin even more. The skin on your body can stand up to something a bit tougher, like a scrub with a sugar, salt or coffee base.
Learn to speak your skin’s language.
Skin flare-ups are often your body’s way of letting you know there’s something weird happening internally. Did you eat a ton of cheese and then wake up with an angry pimple? Maybe you’re lactose intolerant. Suddenly have a gnarly breakout on your chin? A hormone imbalance is probably to blame. If you can figure out what your body is communicating through your skin, you can take the steps to combat it.
Another thing your skin might be trying to tell you? It’s not down with your hair care. If your scalp is acting up, or you find that you’re consistently breaking out around your hairline and jawline, the products you’re using aren’t playing nice with your skin. Experiment with cleaner products like those from Josh Rosebrook, Rahua and Living Libations, all of which are formulated with your hair and skin in mind.
Do laundry more often.
I know this seems like a weird directive as far as skin goes, but hear me out. Even if you’re washing your face right before bed (like you should be doing!), your pillowcase is still going to accumulate sweat and grime, not to mention whatever product might rub off on it throughout the the night. It may seem excessive to change your pillowcase every couple of nights (one night on each side), but I promise it’ll make a world of difference. Even better if the pillowcases are made of natural fibers since these materials breathe better and trap/transfer less oil.
You’ll also want to make sure you’re using two different towels come shower time: one for your body and one for your hair. Even though your hair is clean post-shower, oils from your scalp and any shampoo or conditioner residue on your strands can end up on your towel. If you use that same towel to dry your face, transference will happen and that stuff is far too heavy for your delicate facial skin.
And while you’re not throwing your phone in the washing machine—or at least I hope you’re not—please please please make sure you’re regularly cleaning the surface of your phone. Every time you tap or swipe, throw your phone in your bag or accidentally drop it on the ground, it picks up bacteria. Then when you hold that dirty phone to your face…that gross bacteria will find its way to your skin.
Treat your kitchen like a friend.
Whether it’s Kapuluan’s Cold Pressed Coconut Oil, a DIY oatmeal soak, Anima Mundi’s Blue Lotus Tea, a sugar scrub you just whipped up, the Matcha Green Tea Skin Treatment Scrub from Flora Remedia or a manuka honey mask, chances are your kitchen is already stocked with a lot of skin-friendly ingredients. What’s more, the foods you choose to eat can have a powerful effect on your skin as well, so make sure you’re eating things that nourish it, and stay away from the ones you know cause flare ups.
Don’t be afraid to accept a helping hand.
Your skin isn’t going to be perfect every single day and that’s ok. Sometimes there are things you can’t control, not matter how many times you change your pillowcase or how well you moisturize or whether you nail product application order. So there is absolutely no shame in turning to makeup when you want a little boost. And if the makeup you choose can double as skincare, even better!
The Living Luminizer, for example, will impart a natural-looking glow while also calming and moisturizing the skin thanks to ingredients like coconut oil and rosemary extract. And lük beautifood’s Lip Nourish offer a natural-looking wash of color while also hydrating and protecting lips with antioxidants, vitamins and anti-inflammatories like avocado oil, ginger and citrus..
+ Have some beauty tips of your own? Let us know in the comments below!
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