I've noticed doing the Clinic these last two months that I am repeating a lot of the same basic tips week after week. None of which I mind, that's the point of the Clinic - but it did get me thinking that it might be useful to do a quick cheat sheet about basic care and how to get the most out of your skin.
Interestingly, most of the tips are based around diet and lifestyle - not particular products - but I will do a follow up of good products too...
Obviously everyone is different - but in general - these are your basics if you're wondering where to start....
- Cleanse your skin every night without fail - cleanliness is next to Godliness. Double cleanse if you are wearing make-up or sunscreen - which means most of us. I've already written a cheat sheet on cleansing - read that if you haven't already - incorporate the massage techniques here - and you're pretty much done.
And a little tip for those of you that say you have no time: either take your make-up off as soon as you get home OR take your make-up off before you take your bra off (if you sleep in your bra then do the first tip!)
- Cleanse your skin every morning. It obviously doesn't have to be as intense as the night time - but a quick hot flannel and milk/balm/gel wouldn't go amiss to get rid of the overnight shedding. *gross* I know some brands say you don't need to cleanse your skin in the morning. That's OK. They're wrong. If you're body doesn't sweat/shed why do we have to change the bedding? Yeah. That's what I thought.
- Do not smoke. I won't dwell on this one because its obvious and I've preached before. Unfortunately, in my experience the majority of smokers don't care. They'd rather smoke than have good health. That's really the beginning and end of it. Also - sidebar - they are more likely, again in my experience, to have Botox/fillers/use fad products - like BB creams for example. Why? Because they aren't willing to do the work themselves. Sorry smokers - but in your heart of hearts you probably know it's true. And if you're in the minority who smoke and do everything else organically, you still smoke.
- Get some sunshine. The term 'everything in moderation' really applies here. For normal day-to-day use, I get my SPF from my make-up. But then I work indoors all day and live in the northern hemisphere. I of course use SPF if I am sitting on a beach - but no higher than 30 if I'm honest. Otherwise I wouldn't reapply and I'd look like a beetroot. I don't use skincare with SPF. I apply it separately in between moisturiser and foundation/primer. SPF is too active an ingredient and can interfere with other anti-ageing ingredients, making all of your expensive moisturisers potentially redundant.
The fact is that yes, obviously too much sun is damaging to the skin. But so is too much chlorine. And too much pollution. Get out there and get some sunshine. We need it. And in the right dosage it can be amazing for your skin. Some brands would have us believe the sun is the ultimate enemy. That's only true if you don't respect it. Get some sun. Not a lot, some. Just don't be stupid about it. Read my SPF Cheat Sheet.
- Sugar. You need to think of sugar as the Devil. And fizzy drinks/soda as Liquid Satan. Empty calories. Drink water. Sugar is the easiest addiction to stop - after a few days you won't even think about that mid-afternoon chocolate. Trust me. One of the best things you can do for your health and skin.
- Stop eating crap. It's not rocket science. If 'cooking' to you means 'piercing the film', you are not cooking - you are reheating. And eating processed food. Which has no benefit to your health or skin. I'm not going to tell you what foods to avoid. You're not a moron.
A tip - if you're a parent and you won't let your toddler eat what you are eating - why are YOU eating it?
- Consider supplementing your diet. If you have problem skin and don't take fish oil, try it - in large doses. If you are vegetarian try flax - but in my experience its not nearly as powerful. I am big on supplements and have posted a frequently about them - most recently, here.
- Cut down on dairy. Dairy is designed to take that cute calf and turn it into a 1500lb cow/bull in under a year. And it does a bloody good job of it. I have skimmed milk in my tea. That's about it these days. Yes, I've even cut back the cheese. *skimmed milk has been proven to be the unhealthiest milk to drink - typical that it is the one that I like.
- Watch your alcohol intake. It's extremely dehydrating and again is predominantly sugar. If you are disciplined and can have the odd glass of good red wine, fine. If not, you may want to reconsider altogether - especially if your idea of a good drink is beer or a Bacardi Breezer.
- Use quality skincare. I'm not talking about £400 creams, I'm just suggesting you step away from the £2.99 packet of wipes and moisturisers in the chemist/supermarket and step it up a gear. Outside of the organic market - up to around £150 you get what you pay for (in some circumstances - you still need to check the ingredients to see what you are paying for!). After that you're paying for packaging, the rent and payroll and holiday home of the name on the box. I fully get that the majority of us are on much smaller budgets - but honestly - you need to look at the £40-£100 mark for serums and moisturisers if they are hi-tech. Cleansers can all be around the £25 - £60 mark - but it would have to be a bloody good cleanser/larger size to get me to £60. If you want quality skincare and are willing to forgo the hi-tech, you can get amazing quality natural/organic products that are very affordable.
- A final tip - equate your skincare spending to what you would spend on a handbag or shoes. I'm not saying you should - I'm saying you should be willing to. If you would spend more on a bag than your face - you're reading the wrong blog.
I welcome you with open arms, but you are reading the wrong blog.