Today I’m going to share some of my best skincare practices with you. Being a skincare professional as well as a woman of a certain age, I have tried a plethora of potions and notions to try to keep my skin as healthy and happy as possible. Through years of research and trial and error (and, eventually, success!) I have developed a pretty fool-proof plan to keep my skin looking and feeling young, beautiful and glowing. In fact, I get compliments on my skin all the time – even from strangers on the street! People are often surprised to know my age when I divulge it, commenting that I look so much younger. I’m constantly being asked what my secret is. And the answer is …
… it’s no secret at all! It’s good, simple, healthy living! There is a caveat with that, though. “Good, simple, healthy living” means different things to different people. In many cases, what is commonly believed to be healthy and natural is simply not so. It is just the current conditioned way of perceiving healthy and natural. I truly believe that the way I live is in much closer alignment to true and natural health, and that shows in my appearance. To that end, I’m going to share my not-so-secret secrets for amazing skin with you right here and right now! Plus, as a special bonus, just because I like you, I’m going to include my favorite DIY home facial regimen for all skin types at the end of the post … so keep reading!
My Best Skincare Practices are:
- Get a lot of good quality sleep! I aim for ten hours of sleep every night. Most people really need between 8 and 12 hours of good sleep nightly for optimal health (and optimal skin), despite what the current accepted ‘wisdom’ tells us. It’s during sleep that our bodies are given the time and rest needed to make repairs and manufacture new cells. This is the time of elastin and collagen production, which are two very important components of firmer, more resilient skin. It’s also the time for repairing things like scars and discoloration and, yes, pimples. Give your body the time and rest it needs to heal itself and you will see miraculous results!
- Eat fresh, ripe fruits and vegetables! Eating a low fat raw vegan diet consisting mostly of sweet fruits and tender leafy greens is ideal. Everyone I see transitioning to this more natural way of eating very quickly develops the same amazing results: a clearing of blemishes, the return of a rosy bloom to the complexion, and a healthy glow that instantly makes them look younger and incredibly beautiful and vital. It never ceases to amaze me the transformations that can take place in one’s appearance with such a simple (and delicious) change in diet. However, if you are unable or unwilling to consume only ripe, raw fruits and vegetables, then at least add more of these amazing foods into your daily diet. Try eating a smoothie bowl for breakfast made from a blender full of ripe sweet fruits like bananas, mangos or papayas. Then have four or five oranges before lunch. Add a large green salad with dinner. Your skin (and the rest of your body) will thank you for it.
- Stay hydrated! If you are already eating a largely fruitarian diet, you will already likely be as hydrated as you need to be. But, if you’re eating any foods other than ripe, raw fruits and tender leafy greens, then you will likely need to supplement your diet with lots of liquids. Purified water or spring water from the source are, of course, ideal options. Herbal teas and fresh squeezed fruit juices are good secondary options. Generally speaking, the drier your insides, the drier your outsides. And the drier your skin, the more wrinkles you develop, the more congested your face is (read: more pimples), and the more likely your skin is to flake and crack.
- Use less stuff on your skin! I know this one might sound a bit radical what with people everywhere telling us we need tons of different products to fix tons of different problems. But I’m here to tell you, the less you put on your skin, the more beautiful and healthy it will be. When we apply a specific packaged product designed for a specific targeted need, our skin has to work hard to filter out all the extra preservatives and emulsifiers and various and sundry other chemicals (natural and/or synthetic) that it doesn’t need in order to make use of the ‘action’ ingredients for which we bought the product. Those action ingredients may or may not give you the results promised, but with the use of these products come new problems as a result of the toxic byproducts caused by our skin processing all those chemicals. What cosmetics companies don’t want you to realize is that using all these fancy specialized products actually cause our skin to look worse in the long run than using nothing at all. A person who is living in optimum health will have naturally beautiful, healthy, young-looking, glowing skin. Plain and simple. However, if you are not living in optimum health, as many people in modern society are not, there are simpler ways you can address some of those negative effects of less healthy living. Don’t wear makeup. Or, at least don’t wear a lot of it. If you must use makeup, stick to things like mascara, eye liner and lipstick. This will allow you to play with a number of makeup looks without adding too many chemicals to your skin. Also, use simple, natural foods when caring for your skin. Yes, foods. Your skin absorbs everything you put on it and sends it into your body for processing, so keep your skincare products simple and clean. Check my DIY Home Facial below for ideas on what to use to clean, treat and pamper your skin in a healthier, more natural way.
- Get regular sunshine! Yes, I know, the current recommendations are to keep skin always protected from sunshine. But this is faulty logic. This is blaming the sun for the sins of the unnatural and unhealthy lifestyle. Sun doesn’t cause cancer. Exposure to sun can exacerbate already unhealthy cells in a body that eats a standard modern diet, gets too little and/or poor quality sleep, endures unnecessary stress, and takes in toxins by the boatload in the form of cleaning products, personal care products, recycled air, automobile exhaust, and even the sunscreen they are told will help protect them from the very cancer it contributes to. But the sun, itself doesn’t cause cancer. Our bodies are designed to work in harmonious conjunction with sunshine. It is understood that the Cradle of Life, the birthplace of the human species – was a warm, tropical environment. Our physiology suggests that we are designed for warm, tropical living. Our body relies on regular direct sun exposure to perform vital bodily functions. It is unhealthy and unnatural to deprive our skin of that regular direct exposure. So, here’s my recommendation: If you are living a healthy, low fat raw vegan lifestyle, then don’t wear sunscreen … ever. If you are living a lifestyle in which you are eating fast food, meats, dairy, lots of cooked meals, and lots of fats, are overworking, over-stressing, under-resting, are perpetually dehydrated, and using a lot of commercial products for home and body, then use sunscreen. But, regardless of your lifestyle, give yourself at least 10-20 minutes a day – every day if possible – of direct sun exposure without sunscreen.
- Find ways to increase mental and emotional poise. This is a fancy way of saying ‘relax’. Learn to cultivate equanimity in the midst of the chaos and tension of modern life. Practice yoga, do some breathing exercises, meditate, journal, take walks … whatever it is that allows you to decompress and detach from your monkey mind … do that. The stress you carry in your life shows up on your face.
There you have it. It’s simple, really. It’s like I always say: We tend to get healthier, happier and more radiantly beautiful the closer we live in accordance with the Natural Order. Find that alignment with Nature in simple living: eating raw fruits and greens, lightening your load with minimalism, finding center with meditation, breathing fully, getting good and ample rest, smiling and laughing often. Using our natural resources to cultivate health and wellness is always a good way to live.
As promised, here’s a good, simple go-to DIY home facial regimen for those who are looking for one. Admittedly, if you are living a fully raw, Naturally-aligned lifestyle you will not need to do even this much work for pristine skin. Still, it’s a nice way to treat yourself to a little indulgent self-care when you’re feeling in the mood to be pampered. If you are not living a fully raw, Naturally-aligned lifestyle, as most people are not, then you will benefit a great deal from implementing this facial regimen into your regular practice. In fact, you can mix and match pieces of it to create your own daily skin care routine that will leave your skin glowing with health and vitality, not weighed down with chemicals and toxic byproducts from the commercial tinctures, creams, lotions and potions sold in most boutiques and chain stores. Enjoy!
DIY HOME FACIAL
- CLEANSE – The best cleanser I’ve found anywhere is raw honey. Apply in gentle circles for approximately one minute and rinse completely with water. It works for all skin types. It’s antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic, and antimicrobial which make it great for oily and acne-prone skin types. I recommend raw honey because it still has those wonderful enzymes in tact which provide exfoliating and skin softening power. It’s got humectant properties which make it great for dry and mature skin types. It’s inexpensive and readily available. There is, however, an ethical question to ask when choosing whether or not to use honey. Honey is one of those “gray area” subjects in the vegan world. On the one hand, it takes a lot of bees a great deal of time and energy to produce even a small amount of honey. For humans to take that honey – and in great quantities – is exploitative. On the other hand, bee populations have been dwindling at alarming rates in recent years. Many beekeepers are taking on the role of stewards for the bee population as a whole, fostering careful colony expansion and cultivating species growth. These beekeepers are supported, often, at least, in part, by the sale of honey produced by the bees for which they are caring. It is up to every individual to decide if honey is an appropriate product for humans to consume. If you decide to use honey, I strongly recommend purchasing it from a small-scale local beekeeper who uses ethical beekeeping practices. If you choose NOT to use honey, African black soap is an awesome alternative that is totally vegan. It can be slightly drying to some skin types, but is still an all-around excellent cleanser.
- EXFOLIATE: finely ground oats (preferably organic) OR baking soda – Mix with a little water or 100% aloe vera juice or coconut milk to make a paste. Apply in gentle circular massaging motions. Rinse completely with water. *If in a hurry you can combine the oats and honey together for an exfoliating cleanser*
- MASK: For inflammation/heat: cucumber – Peel and thinly slice cucumber (preferably organic). Apply thin slices all over face. Leave on for 10-30 minutes while you lie back and relax.
- MASK: For acne/congestion: betonite (or other) clay – mix with a little water or coconut water to make a paste. Apply to face all over OR just in areas of congestion/breakout. Leave on until it is just shy of dry. You will feel it beginning to draw and tighten the skin. Rinse with water.
*Masks do not need to be used super regularly. At most, I would do one or both of these once a week, but it’s fine to do them once a month or not at all.
- TONER: rose water or 100% aloe vera juice (or a mix of both) or witch hazel – Apply via spray or cotton round before moisturizing. This will help to soothe any irritation and calm redness.
- DAY MOISTURIZER: jojoba oil, or any lighter oil (sunflower, grapeseed, sesame, apricot kernel, etc.), or De La Terre Sun Diffuser – Apply all over to face, neck and décolleté. (De La Terre is a holistic skincare line out of Asheville, NC. It’s a bit pricey, but the products are super pure and simple and based around herbs, clays and oils.)
- NIGHT MOISTURIZER: coconut oil or shea butter (or a mixture of the two) – Apply all over to face, neck and décolleté. You can enhance the effectiveness of the night moisturizer by mixing coconut oil and shea butter, then warming them in a double boiler and adding some lavender oil and lemon balm. Once they’ve cooled, you can then put the mixture in an airtight container (preferably glass) and apply as needed. The lemon balm will reduce inflammation and acts as a good preservative due to its high antioxidant activity, and the lavender helps soothe inflammation/irritation and promotes skin cell regeneration. Plus, it smells nice. You can also just use the De La Terre Sun Diffuser if you like it, followed by the De La Terre Balm (for drier or more mature skin).