When it comes to skincare, we are inundated with opinions on different routines, rules, and products. But with the overwhelming amount of information out there, where do we begin? What simple steps can we include in a hectic day, that will make a real difference to our skin?
The biggest impact on your skin comes from your environment, and while we can’t control the air quality around us, we can certainly choose what we consume, and what we put on our skin. Here are 3 fundamental steps to include in your daily inner and outer beauty routine.
Keep hydrated! Before your morning shot of coffee, have a mug of hot water. Flavour with peppermint leaves or a lemon slice for a refreshing start to the day. If you are constantly in an air-conditioned environment, or are drinking lots of coffee and/or alcohol, make sure you are drinking enough water.
Prioritise essential fatty acids (EFAs), in particular, omega 3 fatty acids. Our bodies don’t produce these fats, (which are the building blocks of healthy cells - especially for our brain and skin), so we need to make sure we include them as part of a healthy diet. If you're not getting enough EFAs, your skin may be dry, inflamed, and prone to spots. Increase your intake of oily fish, flaxseeds or walnuts, or try a quality omega 3 supplement. This can also really help with minimising PMS break outs each month. For a list of omega 3-rich foods for a quick skin-makeover, read our previous post here.
Your skin recharges and heals while you sleep, and to minimise inflammation and breakouts you want to make sure all the dirt and pollutants accumulated throughout the day is properly removed.
Oil cleansing is great for every skin type, even oilier skins. Organic jojoba oil or coconut oil are effective makeup removers, or try our favourite, Kahina’s Oil Cleanser. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to massage the oil onto your face to break up and remove dirt and makeup (done with dry hands on a dry face, and remove with a warm wet cloth. We love double cleansing by following this with Sûrface’s ultra gentle gel Face Wash, which doesn’t leave skin feeling stripped in any way.
Kahina, Oil Cleanser, HK$490
Toning is an important step in a skincare routine, ensuring dirt and debris are removed from your pores. Soak a cotton pad with non-alcoholic witch hazel for combination skin or rose water for mature or drier skin types, such as Mun’s Anarose Rejuvenating Rose Toner. Kahina’s soothing Toning Mist is also wonderful for an extra dose of moisture.
Once a week, do a scrub or mask to remove build-up of dead skin and any impurities, especially if you are living in a city (air pollution can clog your pores and give skin a dull appearance). Use a gentle scrub on your face, or mix a teaspoon of caster sugar into your moisture or oil and gently massage in circular motions, avoiding the delicate eye area. Wash off with a warm cloth. For a deep natural cleanse, try Carbon Scrub’s Activated Charcoal Body and Face Scrub.
But avoid over-washing and face wipes!
Whilst face wipes may seem the easy option, they are not only terrible for the environment, but they are also very irritating and drying on our skin. Cleansing and scrubbing your skin too much can have the same affect. The more astringents or harsh scrubs you use on your face, the more oil your skin will produce to make up for the lost moisture. More oil equals more blockages and break outs! Sometimes, a simple splash of cold water in the morning (or a very gentle cleanser) followed by a good moisturiser with SPF may be enough. However, cleansing properly is essential in the evening.
For day, sun protection is obviously essential. While some people's skin can hydrate itself sufficiently, for many it will make sense to rely on topical hydrators for extra support (genetics, our environment and other stressors can all have an effect). Either way, hydration is what helps keep skin looking young and healthy. Try natural, hydrating oils, like argan or jojoba, straight from the shower when your face is still wet, or just after toning. Add 2-3 drops of oil onto wet hands and gently rub into the skin in circular upward motions. If you are using water-based serums, do so before applying oil-based products.
Suntegrity, Impeccable Skin Moisturising Face Sunscreen with Mineral Matte Tinted Coverage, HK$360 (coming soon)
Resident GSB nutritional expert, Alice Fotheringham, is a registered nutritional practitioner and chef, specialising in working with young children and women’s hormone health. Based in London & Hong Kong, Alice has a successful clinical practice as well as running aromatherapy candle & beauty workshops.