I wasn't really into skincare until about a year ago; before that the only product I used on my face was a Johnson's baby wipe! But taking care of your skin is something we should all take seriously, and I consider it to be as equally important of maintaining a healthy diet and exercise regime. Follow these steps and create your own skincare guidelines and I can assure you that your skin will stay happy and healthy!
1. Limit your sun exposure. It's no secret that I have extremely pale skin, and I actually go to lengths to ensure that my skin stays fair and protected against harmful UV rays. Obviously that's not to everyone's taste, so just try and stay out of direct sunlight between 11-1 - That's the time the sun is at it's highest point so the rays will be stronger. Also ensure that you use makup and skincare that has added SPF, such as Benefit's 'Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow!' and Carmex lip balm so that your skin is protected all year round.
2. Keep hydrated. This seems like such a boring and tedious piece of advice, but drinking as much water as you can (You are advised to drink 8 glasses a day, but realistically that isn't achievable for everyone) can really help rejuvinate and brighten the skin, as well as increase skin elasticity and replenish skin tissue.
3. Weekly face masks/scrubs. Regardless of how much you look after your skin on a daily basis, after a while your skin does need a more intense treatment to revive it of all of the general wear-and-tear it's developed throughout the week. Depending on your skin type there is a limit to the frequency in which you use masks or scrubs, but I would advise to apply no more than once a week. I love the Good Things Five Minute Facial Face Mask, as it gives your skin all the help it needs to get back to top form in just 5 minutes. Remember, when you apply certain scrubs be sure to check that it contains no harsh chemicals (You can get some great natural masks, there's no need to bother with chemicals!) or that you exfoliate with the scrubs gently so that it doesn't strip your skin.
5. Remove makeup. This seems such a stupid point, but you'd be surprised at the amount of people that fail to remove their makeup properly, or commit the number one beauty sin - sleeping with their makeup on! Leaving makeup on for long periods of time clogs pores, which can result in blackheads, and layering fresh makeup on top of older product just makes things worse! I like to use larger cotton pads to remove makeup, purely because they cover a wider surface area (I use Body Shop organic cotton pads). If you can, remove your makeup as soon as you can, try and make it the first thing you do when you get in. If you know you aren't going out anywhere or seeing anyone that would require you wearing makeup, take it off - your skin will thank you later!
In order to eliminate unnecessary steps, try and use a makeup remover that doubles as a cleanser .. which brings me onto my next point!
6. Cleanse, tone and moisturise. It really is as simple as that. I will do a seperate post about this, but getting into a daily skincare routine is the easiest way to ensure that you always look your best. Following those three steps twice a day will ensure that all the dirt and excess sebum (oil) has been removed and your skin is ready for the next day! I currently use Micellar Purifying Cleansing Water from Etat Pur, Moisture Prep Toning Lotion by Benefit, and Lush's Enzymion moisturiser. Suffering from oily skin is no excuse for skipping steps, there are products for every skin type so there's no excuse!
7. Blot away. Layering on extra foundation and powder in an attempt to mattify greasy skin will cake your pores and cause all sorts of problems, so be sure to always carry around blotting paper to absorb the excess oil and ensure that you don't have to apply extra product. These are very inexpensive, and are compact so they can reside in your makeup bag permanantly so you'll always have one handy!
8. Sleep! This seems like such a boring one, but getting a full 8 hours sleep every night will really do wonders for your skin. It will illiminate dark circles and bags, which are a sign of not enough sleep, and it'll make you feel better on the inside too - which, believe it or not, will give you a great healthy glow.
9. Sanitise. This is something that not enough makeup users do, i've noticed. So many people apply makeup with their fingers, but seem to forget where there hands could have possibly been beforehand. Therefore, essentially you are spreading bacteria into the layers of makeup, building up the dirt and oil that causes blackheads. Be sure to avoid that by adding a small bottle of sanitizer to your makeup bag so that you get into the habit of cleansing your hands before applying anything.
10. Clean your brushes. I had the shock of my life when a friend of mine said that she had never washed her makeup brushes. Bacteria grows from the mixture of old product residue, moisture from your body and dust, meaning that you could essentially be the owner of a bacteria breeding ground. And you're going to allow that to touch your face? Use a tiny blob of Johnson's Baby Shampoo (You can buy travel size bottles for less than £1!) or Tea tree wash on the brush, and massage the bristles under warm water until it runs clear. Reshape if needed, remove any dripping water by blotting with a towel and leave for up to 24 hours to dry naturally. This is so quick, and will extend the life of your brushes aswell as ensure that your makeup is applied hygienically. It is advised to clean your brushes weekly.
11. Don't touch! We all know how tempting it is to squeeze a blackhead or examine a coldsore with our fingertips, but it's actually one of the worse things you can do. Squeezing spots actually pushes the dirt and oil further into your skin as well as cause scarring, and the bacteria that can gather from touching both spots and coldsores is the fastest way to ensure that it will spread to other parts of your face. If you feel a spot or coldsore coming on, visit your local pharmacists who can advise a treatment for you.
11 is a really odd number, but my last tip isn't going to be a popular one. If you're like me and can go without makeup and don't mind people seeing you bare-faced (And that's only because I only started wearing makeup when I hit 18) try and have a day off from it once a week. Sunday's are usually my makeup free days, unless i've had a heavy night on the Friday therefore my 'natural day' would be the Saturday. Makeup is amazing for so many reasons, but regardless of how much water is in it or how organic it is, nothing beats being fresh face and allowing your skin to breathe without any obstructions. Give your skin a break and try it!