Skin care loveliness
Products I use/have used, the routine I follow, and things found in the kitchen cupboards that I happily put on my face and body!
There’s loads of information on the internet for creating your own cleaners, moisturisers, exfoliators and face masks. In this blog I’m writing what I use myself and my experience of these.
The routine I use at home (not for facials in the clinic!!) breaks beauty rules but I excuse myself for the following reasons 1, I have sensitive skin 2, I rarely wear make up beyond mascara and maybe some concealer and 3, I work in an area that doesn’t overwhelm my skin with too much heating or air con. So here it is my confession – I cleanse, tone and moisturise ONCE a day. Any beauty therapist will recommend twice a day. My sister – whose skin is amazing – follows this advice as well as a strict facial care routine of using masks and exfoliators, day and night creams, eye creams etc. so that’s may be a better lesson!
A standard facial routine
If you were to have a professional facial it’s likely to include:
A deep cleanse – normally you will be cleansed twice, hence the ‘deep cleanse’, the therapist will use circular motions and other techniques to work the cleaner into the neck and face thus enabling it to get a grip of make-up, oils and dirt which is then removed by removing the cleanser.
Tone – depending on the facial (different brands use different techniques) toner will often be used after each step. This helps to tonify the pores, cool and calm the skin and remove any excess product from the previous step if applied with cotton wool pads or a cloth. Why are toners different to water? Normally water has a slightly alkaline nature yet the skin has a natural acid mantle to protect your skin and body, the alkaline nature of water can have a drying affect on the skin where as the toner shouldn’t do this.
Exfoliation – to slough away dead skin cells and leave your skin looking brighter. Generally applied in a circular motion to assist the exfoliation effect.
Massage – using lovely natural oils (though again this varies from each product line, I had a gel used on me recently and did not like it) a gorgeous facial massage will help stimulate the skin cells by encouraging the flow of blood. You can easily do this at home every time you apply moisturiser. This, combined with exfoliation should give you that unmistakable ‘I’ve-just-had-a-facial’ glow as well as relaxing you no end.
Mask – this enhances all the previous work that’s just been done. Masks all contain
different ingredients and generally they’ll help the oil penetrate whilst also lifting off any remaining dirt and grease ready for the final tone and moisturise.
Moisturiser – to top off that lovely treatment a suitable moisturiser will be applied to rehydrate and nourish the skin.
Products I have used/use:
I’m still working my way through the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish cleanser, because I only need to use a small amount it lasts an age. I like the cleanse and polish because it’s easy to apply and remove and because it contains eucalyptus it smells really fresh. Once I’ve finished this I will make my own using the base cream I have from ID Aromatics with added oils and essential oils – I have a lovely mash of marigold/calendula flowers in oil just waiting to be used.
I have a Neal’s Yard exfoliator (though I do think the grains are a little too harsh for the face so sometimes use oatmeal – see below). Neal’s Yard stuff is a little dear (though you can pay a lot more for beauty care products) however I trust the ingredients and a little often goes a long way.
Beyond Organic’s Geranium and Rose toner smells gorgeous, freshens the skin and returns some moisture after the cleanse. I also like to use pure flower waters (hydrosols) available from aromatherapy wholesalers such as ID Aromatics. With these you can choose one to suit your skin type e.g. witch hazel for oily/spot prone skin, rose for mature skin, and lavender or orange as a good general toner if you’re not sure of your skin type. I have also used Beyond Organic’s rejuvenating serum which contains rosehip oil that has wonderful skin healing properties. If you were to buy a job lot of stuff from an aromatherapy wholesalers you can get larger volumes of the pure oils there rather than smaller, more expensive pots of pre-blended oils and toners.
Note: when I mention oils I mean literally oils; for example, almond oil, jojoba, grape seed oil. Essential oils are different as they are plant distillations and carry a smell. These oils are concentrated and should be use with caution, guidelines, appropriate training or after consultation with an Aromatherapist.
For masks I have a couple of dried clays that I mix with hydrosols and add oils and essential as appropriate.
Out of the kitchen and onto the face
What’s good for the inside can be great for the outside too!!
Honey for a mask – naturally antibacterial, containing antioxidants sugars and proteins to nourish, as well as being handily common in many cupboards. I was first recommended to use pure honey as a mask by a lady who came to the spa I was working at. It can be a messy but leaves the skin smooth as well as helping to protect the skin and reduce spots. I cleanse my skin first then apply a thin layer of honey over my face avoiding the delicate eye area, lie down, add cucumbers to eyes and leave it for 10 minutes or so – up to 30 minutes is possible. Cucumbers are naturally hydrating and cooling great for tired, puffy eyes and feels soothing whatever condition your eyes are in. Damp cotton wool is nice too.
Oatmeal and ground almonds to exfoliate – both of these are lovely and gentle which is very important for the skin on the face. I blend either the oatmeal or the almonds with oil, water or a hydrosol depending on the condition of my skin this makes a paste which I then work in with my fingertips in small, soft circular motions. Rinse, pat dry and tone.
Oils, moisturiser and massage. My skin is dry, dehydrated and sensitive so I mix up what I want to use and make an effort to spend a little extra time massaging in either oil or cream from the neck upwards. Favourites for my face are virgin coconut oil, rosehip or jojoba oil and I blend my own moisturising cream using base cream plus added oils and essential oils.
Treats for the rest of the body
I’ve used both sugar and coffee grinds to exfoliate the skin on the rest of my body (not the face as the granules are too harsh) – be aware coffee grinds are messy. I mix both with a little grape seed oil so it’s easier to use and has a moisturising effect too. Essential oils, flower petals and other plant extracts can be added for different effects – again if you’re interested in giving this ago do a bit of research online or look at the back of commercial products of more natural ranges – Boots Botanicals, Body Shop, Liz Earle etc. – for inspiration.
Organic, virgin coconut oil I find soaks in well and is easy to apply NB virgin coconut oil doesn’t carry a smell, I’ve been told the smell we know of in coconut oil is synthetic. Olive oil is an old time skin favourite, rubbed into the skin after a salt scrub lay back, relax and feel like Odysseus.
These are all things I have tried myself, and they work for me and my skin they may not for you. If you want to try any of this yourself it’d be a good idea to try a patch test for sensitivity first.
Thanks for reading I hope you’ve enjoyed it.