Your Skincare Routine

Organic Facial Oil bottle with rose, geranium and lavender flowers, by OV naturals.
Ever wondered how to do an at-home facial? Do you look after your skin, or is it just a case of splashing your face with water in the shower? Do you feel your skin needs more but you don't know where to start? How often should you exfoliate (if at all)? Are masks necessary? And what about toners, do you bother? Here's a 5 minute read to help you figure out what your skin needs. 

How to Care for Your Skin at Home

Let's start with the premise that health and beauty are interlinked. Skincare is to be approached holistically, looking at external & internal factors that may be influencing the way your skin looks & feels. Having time set aside to look after your well-being also helps reduce stress & anxiety. So a simple skincare routine followed daily is a great way to help your mental health, too. 

Skin – The Basics
Skin is a living, breathing organ, the largest in the body. It:
  • protects us
  • regulates our temperature
  • receives information through nerves
The skin has several layers:
  • 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
  • genetics
  • hormones
  • nutrition
  • lifestyle
  • stress when it becomes acute or chronic
  • environment e.g. central heating, air conditioning, pollutants
Skin benefits from lots of simple activities such as:
  • 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. You know the drill - cleanse, tone, moisturise... here are the steps you might like to consider.

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’. Avoid 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, although providing you use a gentle toner it can help with hydration.
With? We use OV naturals Beauty Waters. These are all-natural, plant-based floral waters made from the process of distillation of essential oils. Gentle & aromatherapeutic, they smell gorgeous & are beautifully refreshing. We love toning because it removes residues & dirt particles and also gives the skin a boost to encourage the absorption of moisturiser.

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 remove dry skin cells, which gives the skin a refreshed appearance & helps your products to absorb.
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 (many should be followed with a sunscreen so do read the label).
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 & gently buff the skin. Or wait for your therapist to do the work at your next Facial Treatment.


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? You can buy masks which promise everything from cleansing to nourishing, so choose what your skin needs at the time. Or make your own from the kitchen cabinet using natural ingredients such as honey or probiotic yoghurt. There are lots of beautiful, traditional DIY recipes you can discover.
If you’re not sure where to start, a clay mask is a good bet. These 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 often use these in our Facial Treatments if suitable for you, along with a selection of products from independent, natural & organic brands that we love. We make your facial treatment a bespoke experience, for what you need on the day you visit.

Facial Oil
When? There’s an ongoing debate about which stage you apply your facial oil.
Our rationale is that because our formulas are packed full of plant actives including vitamins, antioxidants and emollients, we want that to go straight into our skin’s epidermis as soon as we’ve finished cleansing & toning. We then add moisturiser on top or sometimes blend in our palm with our moisturiser - for a demo, 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 moisturiser first.
Of course we’re going to recommend our own facial oils! 84-99% organic, 100% natural, cruelty-free, vegan. For simplicity’s sake we’ve listed them for you by skin type:
-  Dry Skin: Vital & Lustrous 
- Sensitive Skin: Serene & Vital 
- Mature Skin: Buoyant
- Combination Skin: Serene & Buoyant
- Oily Skin: Serene & Buoyant
- Normal Skin: Serene & Vital
OV naturals Organic Botanical Facial Oils

When? Morning & night.  
WithIf your skin is dry, OV naturals Organic Face Cream. If you have oilier skin then you may wish to choose a lighter 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 brainpower 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. Read our in-depth blogs about Sunscreen to make an informed choice.

A note on serum
I haven't mentioned serum here, which is usually a hybrid of oil & moisture plus other nutrients. If you like a serum, then use this before you moisturise. We use a facial oil rather than serum. Some brands call their facial oils serums, so read ingredients labels to be sure of what you’re getting. 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.

Skin Types & Conditions
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. Skin types are a simplistic way of looking at your skin, they are generally considered to be the skin you are born with, for example, dry or oily. Skin conditions are dependent on external & internal factors, such as age or hormones. So 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.

Have Your Say
What's your skincare routine? Will you change it after reading this? Do you have any questions? Please let us know in the comments (:

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own & there are no affiliate links. References are correct at the time of writing to my knowledge. Information provided by this blog is subject to change. We recommend that you do not take any information held within as a definitive guide to the matter being discussed. You are advised to seek legal or professional advice where necessary rather than relying on the content supplied by the author. Lucy Stevens, 2020.

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