At this time of year the television is full of beauty products and creams to buy ourselves as gifts. And, as the party season gets into full swing, our skin will show just how much we’ve been enjoying ourselves! Now, do you want to trawl through the shops looking for ethical, natural products? Or do you want to learn how to have naturally beautiful skin?
Beautiful on the Inside: So many products contain nutrients to make us beautiful. The most common in skincare products are B vitamins, vitamin E and Co-enzyme Q10. Did you know that most of these nutrients do not benefit you skin when applied in a cream? [We actually have a scientific report from Nivea to this effect, obtained through the Advertising Standards Agency – Admin]. So many people spend their money on expensive moisturisers, and then neglect their food! So, the first and most important step to beautiful skin is to eat a healthy, balanced diet. Drink plenty of water, make sure you get your fruit and vegetables at this time of year, and don’t cut out your omega oils in your party dress diet!
A Beautiful Mind: Stress and exhaustion are your skin’s enemies. Between the parties, shopping and family engagements, make time for yourself (even if it’s just meditating over the washing up). If your exercise regime suffers at this time of year, try to make time for a walk in the fresh air. Daylight will help you combat the ‘winter blues’ and help your skin to synthesise vitamin D.
Cleanse, Tone and Moisturise: Models swear by a traditional skincare programme. You’ll be pleased to know that it doesn’t need to be an expensive one! Premium skincare products like She Uemera include cleansing oils and toning water, derived from products made and used in homes for centuries.
A cleansing oil can be any vegetable oil. Oil-based make-up removers are essentially cleansing oils, usually made with lanolin (from sheeps’ wool). The oil is applied to the skin using a cotton pad. This oil mixes easily with excess oil on the skin, including dead skin, dirt and oil-based make up. The resulting oil mixture is wiped away (you may need an extra cotton pad).
A toner is essentially water. When applied to the skin, it will emulsify any remaining oil (water and oil do not mix easily, but can temporarily form a mixture known as an emulsion). When wiped away, the skin should feel soft and non-greasy. Cold water also has the effect of closing the pores of the skin, and helping prevent acne. You’ll also notice that toners help to bring out many types of haircuts such as the teeny weeny afro style.
A moisturiser is, again, oil based. The creams and lotions you buy in the shops are mixture of fat or oil and water, which is made stable (i.e. it doesn’t separate out) by an emulsifying agent like beeswax or stearates. For dry skin, you can just wipe a little olive oil over the skin. For oily skin, you may not need to use a moisturiser (especially if you just used a cleansing oil).
You’ll notice that this regime doesn’t involve any soap. Soap works by emulsifying the oil on your skin with water, so that it can be washed off. This is why soap can dry your skin out. If your skin is naturally greasy, you might want to use soap or a soap-based cleanser before toning. Everyone’s skin is different, so you’ll need to experiment a little to find what’s right for you.
Anti-Aging: Moisturisers in particular contain all kinds of exotic ingredients that allegedly halt the effects of time on the skin. The active ingredient in most of these is a sunscreen (I’m sure we’re all aware of the effects of sun damage on the skin). If your skin is already damged, there is evidence to suggest that vitamins C and E (either eaten or applied as a cream) do “reduce photodamage, wrinkles and improve skin texture.” [www.webmd.com]. Of course prevention (in the form of a large floppy hat) is much better than cure. The ‘plumping effects’ boasted by many creams are temporary – again, it is better to prevent wrinkles by keeping the skin moisturised and out of the sun.
Clear Complexion: there is a town in Cornwall where the girls are renowned for their beautiful, clear complexions. The reason for this is trace levels of arsenic in the local water supply! Now, we do not recommend poisoning yourself in the name of beauty, but it goes to show that killing the acne-causing bacteria works. If you suffer from acne, try adding a natural astringent (like a drop of tea tree oil) to your cleansing oil or moisturiser. And make sure you drink plenty of water, even if it isn’t Cornish!