Just kidding! Those of you who know me, know I’m a plain jane when it comes to anything cosmetic or skincare related, however, I do have a general routine that I stick to on a daily basis.
Do I break out? Yes. Do I have the first signs of aging? Yes. Are there days/weeks when I don’t drink enough water or don’t get enough sleep and my skin feels like an alligator? Yes. This is not a “I will have perfect skin all the time,” solution. This is a cut back on toxins and minimalize my skincare routine solution.
I try to keep things as natural and toxin-free as possible. I also keep things fairly simple. The reasoning behind this is partially a laziness factor (I’m very low-maintenance), but I also believe that with many things- especially skincare- less is more.
Truly healthy skin starts with a good amount of water intake, eating healthy foods and making sure you get lots of needed rest. Everything in moderation.
Even for those who are regimented from a dietary and lifestyle perspective, it’s important to take a look at the products and chemicals you’re putting on your skin. Your skin is the largest organ on your body, and it’s porous- meaning it absorbs almost everything you put on it.
In East Asian Medicine, one of the diagnostic tools we use is looking at the face. The Shen, or human spirit, can be seen through the face and eyes. Clear eyes, healthy tone and good color all come from good health. You know those people who just shine from something internal? You look at them and they are beautiful in a way you can’t quite explain? This is good and healthy shen. It starts with nutrition, exercise and a good healthcare regiment (including regular acupuncture).
Here are some chemicals/ingredients I try to avoid in skincare products:
- Parabens (preservative)
- Artificial Fragrances
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and/or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
- Polyethylene/PEGs- the tiny plastic beads found in scrubs
- BHA & BHT- commonly found in perfume
- Triclosan and triclocarban- commonly found in toothpaste and deoderant
- Coal Tar (Aminophenol, Diaminobenzene, Phenylenediamin)- commonly found in hair dye
- Retinol-derived ingredients- found in several moisturizing skin products
- Petroleum- commonly found in mascara
- Oxybenzone- found in several skin products
- The Toxic trio (dibutyl phthalate, toluene and formaldehyde)- found in nail products
- Hydroquinone- found in skin lighteners
I know, this seems like I a long list, but I am sharing with you today all the brands and items that I use, all relatively affordable (especially compared to “designer” brands). I am as cheap as I am low-maintenance.
Looking for an affordable, toxin-free skincare routine? Here’s my regiment:
- Wash: The simpler the better, as a daily wash I use plain castille soap. I also really love Alba Botanica and Avalon Organics brands. Depending on your skin type, you may be using the wrong kind of cleanser:
- Normal Skin: Balanced oil throughout face
- Combination Skin: Oily through T-zone area
- Gel Cleanser
- Oily Skin: Overall oily complexion, enlarged pores
- Dry skin: Dry areas or overall dry skin (this can be seasonal)
- Sensitive Skin
- Rebalance: A great natural astringent is witch hazel without alcohol, I apply this daily after my wash and let it completely dry before moisturizing.
- Moisturize: I really love this Alba moisturizer, it’s light and smells great. It’s great for my combination skin. I also love Dr. Guo’s Skin tonic, which I’ll put on 2x/week in place of my regular moisturizer.
- Exfoliate: 3x/week. I love Jason Apricot Scrubble.
- Moisturize: at the end of your shower and before drying off, apply grape seed oil after you exfoliate onto face and drier areas of your body (knees, elbows, etc.).
- Dr. Guo’s Skin tonic (see above).
- Homemade Facial: Mix half water, half apple cider vinegar (Braggs is my favorite) with bentonite clay until it becomes a muddy mixture, apply to your face, let it dry, and then rinse. I start with a tablespoon of water, a tablespoon of vinegar and two tablespoons of dry clay, slowly adding more clay until I reach the desired texture (a mud-like substance). I will alternate between this face mask mixture and plain raw manuka honey, which is great for anti-aging and moisturizing.
- I also give myself facial acupuncture once every week to two weeks. You can find out more information here.
- Get a good loofah and pumice stone! Make sure to exfoliate 3x/week, especially extra dry areas including elbows and feet.
- In the winter, I use grape seed oil at the end of my shower for additional moisturizing.
- In the winter, I apply my favorite homemade body butter. It’s amazing! I also really love Emily cream for the redness and irritation that may occur with dry, winter skin. Emily cream is also really great as a hand cream to throw in your bag or for any irritating skin conditions including: eczema, psoriasis, rashes (including diaper rash), keratosis pilaris and rosacea.
- Everyday body lotion I really love: Lotion for Everyone and Naked Bee brands.
Think about your exposure to the elements. Stay covered up in the winter with warm clothes and shoes, keeping your face covered. In the summer lather up with non-toxic sunscreen like Badger wear sunglasses and an eco-friendly UPF hat or clothes.
When looking into getting massages, facials, mani-pedis or any spa services, search for organic spas in your area. It’s worth spending the extra money on quality products being put on your skin.
Keep in mind that less is more and if you have any other questions, never hesitate to reach out.