The rituals and habits we build around our daily lives are what keep us centred and grounded. They ensure we prioritise focus and incorporate moments of tender loving care into what can become a busy and bustling day with no reprieve. When you keep your body’s largest organ, your skin, happy and healthy, the return will be more than worth it. If you’re looking to rearrange or improve your current skincare routine or build it from the top, the vast number of products, techniques and ingredients out there can feel dizzying. If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed already, look no further. Curating a cost effective routine that caters to your needs is more than achievable. That blushed beauty look that us women so yearn for is within reach and realistic. A well balanced complexion has less to do with how blessed you are by the genetic gods and more to do with consistent application and a thorough, well researched selection of products that are tried, tested and founded in beauty and wellness science. Ultimately, how you care for your skin is a personal matter- however, it’s necessary for you to sort through the noise to find your holy grail. Here’s what to keep in mind as you begin.
First and foremost, consider your lifestyle, activity levels and the makeup products you have on rotation. What aspects of the skincare checklist do you have down pat and where could you make improvements? Beyond that, how might you introduce an element of sustainability to your routine? Don’t allow yourself to be fooled- it’s more complicated than banishing questionable products in exchange for an entire line of clean, cruelty free goodies with that much coveted green tick. It’s all good and well to be a conscientious consumer and read your labels, deciphering them mindfully, but wellness is much more comprehensive and multi faceted. For your skincare routine to be easy, breezy and light on you and the environment, it has to keep you in mind. Here’s some food for thought. Are you a morning or night owl? Do you prefer a lengthy routine or something sharp and to the point? Are you fortunate enough to have a facialist and dermatologist on speed dial? Do you tend to apply beauty products overnight and allow your skin to rejuvenate and heal as you catch a much needed and well deserved snooze? On the contrary, do you remain bare faced throughout the night after going through your favourite wash off products, opting to skip the inevitable sticky feeling of leave in treatments? Either way, I hear you. On days where my skin is clearer I feel more comfortable skipping a few steps. However, this is a double edged sword as a lack of moisture within the skin’s layers is a significant contributor to acne and problem skin. You’re much better off building up your skin’s nourishment levels and therefore increasing its tolerance to the elements.
There is a definite element of discipline to keeping a skincare routine but this works in your favour. It takes the stress and guesswork out of applying your products and leaves room for you to switch things up and keep it fresh. In addition, skincare routines have important health benefits. They keep your skin’s natural defence barrier functioning properly, working on preventing any intrinsic and extrinsic damage. If you require the extra motivation and want to feel more pep in your step, make it fun. Set some soulful, engaging and kind affirmations and repeat them back to yourself as you study your reflection in the mirror. Don’t be afraid to address any feelings that come up with inner counsel. Perhaps your thoughtful words to yourself revolve around coming to embrace your appearance, being more than your looks or admiring your skin in its state of au naturale. If you don’t have the memory for memorisation or find yourself settling into a low mindset, record messages of wisdom and hope to carry you through tough times. You may even choose to get your markers out and decorate your mirror with encouraging notes. If all else fails, play a song that makes you feel like a world conquering badass. Get your girl power on and positively reframe your experience in the moment.
Just as sweet words help a plant’s growth, tender and vulnerable moments spent embracing your perceived imperfections will give you a unique, transformed perspective. I remember going through a stage where I wore makeup everyday. After I was all dolled up, it became worth it. I’d very gingerly dress myself and bask in the validation of other people’s approval as I went through the motions. It became an unhealthy competition with myself where I was obsessed with outdoing yesterday’s look. It served to boost my confidence in the moment but masked a deeper issue of discontentment. As soon as I’d get home from school or a day out, I’d be eager to hop in the shower, wash off my many layers and rest in bed with my comfies on until it was time to call my partner. As I grew out of this stage of self obsession and minute fixation on spots, redness and skin texture, I become more self assured and mature. Why be a harsh critic when I could be a fierce supporter of my health and optimal functioning?
A rule of thumb to follow is applying your products in the correct order so you reap the most benefit and allow them to be effective. Your routine will depend on your individual skin type, the ingredients and formulations of your products and the time of day. Generally however, you’d apply in order of texture from thickest to thinnest. Predominantly liquid based products cannot properly penetrate the heavier ones. I’d also advise that you wash your face with cold water or a micellar formula to seal your pores after cleansing. Whilst warm water can soothe achy muscles and repel the cold outside, a steam bath doesn’t do your skin any wonders, unless your wish is to purge toxins and draw pimples to a head. In that case, you’ve got yourself an effective solution. Any further fuss and frills depends on your areas of target. In my case, I go to lengths to reduce puffiness and dark circles around my eyes. I’ve found that cold compresses, crystal rolling and certain under eye balms work like a charm. Although, a luxurious bedtime routine and the subtraction of external stressors almost eliminate the need for these extras. I wake up with a certain sparkle in my eyes after a few consecutive days of proper sleep. Seven to eight hours is considered a full cycle for adults but teenagers need ten to eleven hours to feel adequately rested. Sleep hygiene is crucial as it promotes uninterrupted nights where you go through the necessary stages of light, moderate and deeper rest. This process starts before your head hits the pillow and will affect the course of your day greatly in either positive or negative ways. Furthermore, a no brainer is to keep your bedding washed and spritzed with a linen spray regularly as you shed skin and transfer oils throughout the night. It’s recommended that you go through this process every fortnight. If you experience night sweats, you may choose to bump this up to every week.
I’ve identified my skin type as being normal and am fortunate to have bypassed many of the common skin concerns others deal with. As this is the case, I tend to keep a selection of products on rotation. There is a false perception out there that mixing and matching products from a variety of brands is harmful but I can attest to the opposite. In fact, it’s been proven that sticking to a set routine for a donkey’s age gives your skin too much time to become accustomed to the products in question. You build up a general resistance to any initial affect your go to’s may once have had. Any benefit dwindles over time and you slowly but surely fail to see results. Keeping a set skincare routine is also a big seasonal no no. In the drier months you’ll require a heavier moisturiser, vitamin c drops to make up for the lack of sun and a thicker moisturiser. In the summer, toners, sunscreen and a good spritz of sea spray are a dream and protect you from suffering under severe conditions.
Remember to always take things back to basics and ensure that you are thoroughly hydrated. The human body is seventy percent water after all. I understand that keeping up your fluid intake can be a chore if you are repelled by the taste of plain tap water. It can be somewhat murky and taste awful, making you wonder if you’re doing yourself more harm than good. In this case, I’d suggest distilled or mineral water. You can buy filters that remove dirt, sediment and chemicals. Another idea is to add lemon and cucumber slices or a dash of juice to your water. The temperature of your drink makes a difference to how appetising it is as well. Keep ice cubes on hand. Personally, to keep my system balanced and my gut health in check, I like to have green juice or kombucha. The former contains a plethora of fruits and veggies, particularly leafy greens with enough sweetness to be appetising and provide a kick with each sip. The latter contains live cultures and helpful bacteria that overcrowd any nasties in your body. If you take vitamins, have these at the same time for an added boost.
All this being said, I’m just as prone to skin changes due to hormonal fluctuations, unpredictable weather patterns and so on. When I do experience breakouts, I rummage through my essential oil collection and apply a diluted amount to my skin so as not to burn it or cause further irritation, inflammation and redness. My skin tends to remain calm but responds quickly to dabs of tea tree oil when needed. Thursday Plantation’s version is highly effective as is Lush’s Grease Lightning Spot Treatment. After a tough week, I’ll use my self care Sunday to soak in the bath with Alya Skin’s Australian Pink Clay mask. There are many versions of this product floating out in the ether but I’d highly recommend this one for its incredible product to cost ratio. I like to apply my face mask with a makeup brush to avoid wastage and then leave it on for ten minutes. My skin always feels smooth and tighter after the fact, though never to the point of being uncomfortable. Of late I’ve done a few stints of work for various skincare and beauty labels and have almost settled into being an influencer of this niche. I was lucky enough to have received bundles from Alya Skin and Real-U, both of which I’ve used religiously ever since. I am under no obligation to share my thoughts or opinions and, as always, you can expect them to reflect my honest experience.
On an alternating basis, I use the following products, the first five being from Alya Skin’s Supercharged Skincare Bundle. It’s packed with aussie botanicals, fruit and hyaluronic acid and earthy ingredients the like of Kakadu Plum, Lilly Pilly, Desert Lime and Live Caviar. These work in conjunction to reduce skin ageing, the effects of inflammation, the appearance of fine lines and speed up healing and regeneration whilst giving you a soft, glowing and vibrant appearance. Their line includes The Australian Pink Clay Mask, Pomegranate Facial Scrub Exfoliator, Australian Native Berries Moisturiser, Foaming Micellar Cleanser and Supercharged Vitamin C Serum. As you might have guessed, they work like an absolute dream.
The Foaming Micellar Cleanser is usually my first port of call. It removes impurities, works as a makeup remover and strips away any excess oiliness.This helps to reduce and eliminate any bacteria which may cause infection or acne breakouts. Next comes the Pomegranate Seed Facial Scrub which provides a deep, satisfying clean, breaking down dry and dead skin whilst smoothing texture, giving the appearance of more uniform skin over time. Another alternative to this product is Frank Body’s Original Face Scrub. Its winning blend of coffee, walnut, bamboo, white clay and rosehip, coconut, grapeseed and sweet almond oil fades scars and marks. It contains much smaller and more concentrated grains than Alya’s version. Personally, I prefer this and have seen incredible overnight results with a simple thirty second massage. Then there’s the Vitamin C Serum amplified with Hyaluronic Acid for plump and dewy skin. Lastly, the Australian Native Berries Moisturiser contains three Aussie Super Berries that promote collagen production. Application is lightweight and doesn’t smother the skin.
Meanwhile, the team at Real-U sent me their Green Three Step Skinfit Kit to try and I was impressed to say the least. Their entire range is free of irritants like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid making them perfect for those with sensitive skin. They are also cruelty free, hypoallergenic, vegan friendly and dermatologically tested. The real-u products are designed to help your skin achieve maximum health. Each advanced formula is the result of many hours of scientific research into what does and doesn’t reduce acne. Real-u are not only there to treat your skin issues but to get to the bottom of them. What more could you ask for? I received the Cleanse Gentle Foaming Wash, Control Acne Serum, Hydrate Lite Moisturiser and Real-U’s signature skin fit chart loaded with tips and tricks to help you get the best results. Their pH balanced Cleanse Gentle Foaming Wash contains aloe vera and doesn’t over dry skin, making it perfect for those with acne or spot prove skin. Next is the Acne Control Serum which clears pimples gently and effectively. It contains a potent and unique marine complex salt and is their hero product. Finally, the Hydrate Lite Moisturiser leaves skin feeling velvety smooth as it glides on. My only complaint would be that it seems to sit atop your skin instead of soaking in. It’s never clogged my pores or caused breakouts so I have no question or complaint about the quality of the formula. I could probably attest this to my tendency to squeeze out more than a pea sized amount. Less is more after all!