A Simple Skincare Routine Explained | How to Care for Your Skin at Home, Naturally
Where do I Start?
Let's start with the premise that health and beauty are interlinked. Skincare isn't just about products, although of course, they play a part. Skincare is to be approached holistically, looking at external & internal factors that may be influencing the way your skin looks & feels.
The Skin – a Living Organ
Skin is a living, breathing organ, the largest in the body. It:
- protects us
- regulates our temperature
- receives information through nerves
- The epidermis is the outer layer and contains cells with no blood vessels
- The dermis underneath (also called ‘true skin’) contains blood vessels, nerve endings and glands
- The hypodermis (subcutaneous layer) consists of connective tissue and fat.
The appearance of our skin is affected by many different factors, such as:
- sun and UV exposure
- stress when it becomes acute or chronic
- environment e.g. central heating, air conditioning, pollutants
- protecting from UV rays
- plenty of beauty sleep to allow time to repair
- physical exercise to enable healthy functioning
- drinking plenty of filtered water for hydration
- eating good quality, fresh food and a balanced diet for nutrients
- taking in fresh air
Last but not least, looking after our skin with products & massage plays a part.
A Simple Skincare Routine
We’re not talking about machines or advanced treatments such as botox, fillers, retinoids, light therapy, pharmaceutical drugs… just simple steps you can take with nutritious, natural products, for a healthy complexion.
When? Morning & night
With? Your skin cleanser should be able to perform its function while maintaining the skin’s natural barrier. If your skin feels tight after using your cleanser, it’s time to switch to something more hydrating. Avoid anything too ‘foamy’ & basic Soap on your face so as not to dry out & compromise the skin’s protective barrier. We prefer plant-based, milky cleansing lotions to hydrate & cleanse gently.
When? When you like. Not everyone bothers to tone the skin.
With? We use OV naturals Beauty Waters to tone the skin. These are all-natural, plant-based floral waters made from the process of distillation of essential oils, these are gentle & aromatherapeutic, smell gorgeous & are beautifully refreshing. We love toning because it removes residues & dirt particles and also gives the skin a boost to encourage absorption of moisturiser.
Unlike tap water, our Beauty Waters will not dry your skin. They are real multi-taskers and at OV, we’re just a little bit addicted & our clients are too.
When? Occasionally, if you feel you need to. Maybe once a week? We advise against using anything too harsh, or too often.
With? You're doing this to help removal of dry skin cells, which gives the skin a refreshed appearance.
The traditional way to exfoliate is to use a physical product. In recent years other products have flooded the market, such as acids & retinols, which exfoliate without physically scrubbing.
If you're choosing a physical exfoliant, for your face, avoid ingredients such as ground apricot stones, for example which can be too abrasive. You could simply use a soft organic flannel or cloth to remove your cleansing lotion & wait for your therapist to do the work at your next facial treatment. One of our favourites, which you can experience in your Facial Treatments, is enzymatic fruit acids in a mask.
When? Occasionally, if you like. Masks can have a beautifully luxurious feeling & give you a sense of self-care. They are used to add moisture or to help clear the skin depending on the formula. They're a 'nice to have' rather than a 'must have'.
With? Clay masks are sometimes seen as ‘old school’, but we love them. They help to extract toxins from deep within pores and to nourish at the same time, leaving you feeling fresh and clean. We use these in our Facial Treatments. Also on our trolley is our enzymatic fruit mask which we discussed above. Plus a selection of product from independent, natural & organic brands that we love. So we have a choice & make your facial treatment a bespoke experience, for what you need on the day you visit.
When? There’s an ongoing debate about which stage you apply your facial oil.
Our rationale is that OV naturals organic botanical facial oils are packed full of plant actives including vitamins, antioxidants and emollients, so we want that to go straight into our skin’s epidermis as soon as we’ve finished cleansing & toning. We then add Organic Face Cream on top or sometimes blend in our palm with our moisturiser.
Watch this 1 minute tutorial on You Tube.
We would generally recommend the same for you, unless your skin barrier is compromised in some way or your skin is very dehydrated - in which case, we’d suggest moisturizer first.
OV naturals organic botanical facial oils, of course.
When? Morning & night.
With? If your skin is dry, OV naturals Organic Face Cream. If you have oilier skin then choose a light moisturising cream or lotion.
Skincare Tip: Drink more water and your skin will look clearer and brighter and your body will function better. Natural, simple & easy. We are so lucky to have clean tap water in the UK. It’s easy to filter with a filter jug. Received wisdom suggests 8 glasses of water a day. Drink too much & you flush out vital nutrients. Not enough & you feel sluggish, your brain power slows down & your skin looks slacker, duller, more congested. So drink water & watch your skin wake up! Eating foods containing water is a great way to keep your body hydrated, too. Think salads!
When? Whenever the UV index is moderate to high and you'll be outside or next to a window.
With? A marine-friendly, physical sunscreen would be my own personal preference.
A note on serum
I haven't mentioned serum here, which is usually a hybrid of oil & moisture plus other nutrients. If you like serum, then use this before you moisturise. As a rule of thumb, apply your products from the lightest first to the heaviest last. But always apply your sunscreen on top of everything else.
A note on allergies & sensitivity
Before choosing products, especially if you have allergies or sensitive skin, and for children, try to find out what you can about ingredients and what to avoid. People often talk about essential oils being a problem, but if you are using a professional formula, often this will be well tolerated, even by people with sensitive skin. A dermatologist told me that the only problems with essential oils that she sees are when someone has used them irresponsibly, for example, undiluted on the skin. However, please always carry out a patch test if you are unsure whether a product will suit your skin.
People talk a lot about skin types. But what constitutes ‘normal’ for one person on one day may be very different to the next. Our skin changes from day to day, month to month, year to year, season to season. So skin types are a very simplistic way of looking at your skin. Think about what your skin reacts to, how it feels. Does it feel comfortable? What do you love about it? How can you enhance it, easily & naturally, without invasive or expensive treatments? If you like to take a holistic approach to skincare, then do come & see us for a Facial Treatment.
Lucy Stevens, OV naturals Skincare.