The sun. Is there any topic that causes heart palpitations quite like the sun? You need more Vitamin D! You should avoid any and all exposure! And none of that even touches on the topic of sun damage. Oh, dreaded sun damage. While there is no clear consensus on how much (if any!) time in the sun is the best, there are tried and true ways of undoing sun damage and achieving a more even, vibrant complexion!
Manual Exfoliation: Kickstarting cellular renewal is a quick way to more even-toned skin. Imagine lifting those pesky spots up and out! As we age, this process of cellular renewal naturally slows down. Exfoliation picks up the slack by signaling the body to produce new skin cells, while hastening the process of sloughing off the old ones. Sensitive and dry skin types may prefer to exfoliate one time per week or even every other week, while oily, congested skin types should aim to exfoliate two to three times per week or even every other or every day. Our pick - Cocovít Besan + Turmeric Polishing Grains.
Chemical Exfoliation: For those who avoid manual exfoliation in favor of something a little more gentle, look to acids (fruit, lactic, beta hydroxy) for support. The thought behind chemical exfoliation is the same as manual exfoliation - moving newer, fresher skin cells to the surface. Not sure where to start? Try mixing your clay mask with yogurt, apply a fruit enzyme-based mask, or seek out a nighttime treatment that fosters cellular renewal. Our pick - Kypris Moonlight Catalyst.
Vitamins: Vitamins A, C, E, and K are your friends! These skin-care gems will lighten, brighten, and protect your complexion from future damage. Vitamin A makes a particularly effective nighttime treatment, Vitamin C is perfect for daytime use, and Vitamin K will transform those dark under eye circles! Seek out these all-stars in serums, oils, creams, and balms. Our pick - Laurel Facial Serum: Sun Damage Repair.
Essential Oils: Often overlooked and entirely undervalued, certain essential oils harness amazing healing power. Frankincense, geranium, rose, helichrysum, and lavender are exceptionally adept at fading marks, diminishing scars, and generally reducing inflammation. In fact, helichrysum contains the highest known amount of beta diketones, which are reputed to promote the formation of new tissue. Our pick - Mahalo The Rare Indigo.
Seed to Serum Tip - Spent a little too much time in the sun? Look to traditional homeopathic remedies to reduce any discomfort caused by sunburn and heat rash. Our pick - A.S. Apothecary First Aid Kit #10: Summer & Skin.
Which comes first - serum or oil?What's the difference? Do I really need both? When face oils burst onto the scene, it most definitely sparked a new obsession... and a lot of confusion. The word serum is often used when talking about face oils too, which only adds to the confusion. So what's the deal? Don't worry, I'm here to help!
First things first, what's the difference? Serums are ultra-concentrated, typically water or aloe-based, lightweight products that should be applied immediately after cleansing and toning. Then follow your serum with your face oil and finish with sunscreen (during daytime). Think of serums as targeted treatments and face oils as moisturizers.
Now the crucial question, do you need both? Well, it depends on your skin. Because your skin has both water and lipid-loving layers, you might be doing yourself a disservice if you stick to oils alone. I typically recommend an antioxidant or Vitamin C serum for daytime and a brightening, decongesting serum for night. For additional skin-plumping nourishment, follow your serum with your favorite face oil, balm, or lotion.
What about balms? Balms are face oils butter-filled, richer cousins. They can be applied day or night, but remember to apply with a light touch for daytime. Balms provide an epic base for makeup - it glides on with ease.
What if I prefer lotions or creams? Fantastic! Use what makes your skin feel and look its absolute best. I'm a cream fan myself. There is something old-fashioned and downright lovely about applying a rich cream at night. Apply your lotion or cream over your morning and evening serums. If you still want to use a face oil in addition to your lotion, you can apply it before or after. I prefer to pat on a few drops of oil after applying my cream to seal everything in, but the choice is really yours.
If you are still a little confused, we've broken it down for you here!
In order to determine the best course of action for your skin, it's incredibly important that you understand the mechanisms behind your skin concerns. For instance, if you have acne, you might be wondering WHY you have acne. Persistent breakouts are caused by a number of different factors, one of which might be linoleic acid deficiency. Head on over to my coaching site for a discussion on this fascinating, yet rarely discussed topic! I hope you enjoy it!!
Exfoliation - how much is too much?I want to preface this by stating that exfoliation is very personal. What works wonders for one person might yield disastrous results for another. So don't blindly follow advice when it comes to exfoliation. Really check in with your skin to determine if a product or technique is working. You want soft and glowing, not red and dry. Okay, on to the good stuff.
Physical or chemical? To be honest, I like incorporating both. Physical is great for heartier, congested skin types. I recommend starting with a physical exfoliator two times per week and adjusting from there. You can overdo it, especially if you are using a cleansing cloth to remove your oil or balm at night AND a chemical exfoliator. Yes, the cleansing cloth counts. If you have congested skin prone to breakouts, in addition to a physical exfoliator, I recommend adding a nightly chemical exfoliating serum. This will really help to keep pores clear.
What about sensitive skin? A cleansing cloth at night might be all that you need. Another great option is honey. A honey cleanser gently exfoliates without over-drying AND it can double as a delicious mask. Additionally, sensitive skin types can try incorporating a chemical exfoliating serum a few times per week or use an enzyme-based exfoliating mask once per week.
The mini-facial. For a wonderful weekly treat, try applying an enzyme-based exfoliating mask for 5 to 15 minutes and follow with a physical exfoliating mask for another 5 to 15 minutes. As you are rinsing, massage the exfoliating mask over your skin. It's so good!
Anything else? Avoid plastic microbeads and sharp fragments in your physical exfoliators.
Need specific product suggestions? I got you covered!
We have so many decadent masks in the shop and I wanted to shine the spotlight on a few of the more versatile options! We tend to think of masks as a once or twice a week treat, which is definitely appropriate for the more clay-heavy masks. (Clays have incredible drawing properties and can be disruptive to the skin's acid mantle if used too often. In fact, I recommend keeping your favorite hydrosol handy and misting regularly to prevent the mask from drying completely. Don't worry, it's still working!) But honey, oh sweet honey, can be used every day. I find the mornings to be an especially lovely time to incorporate a honey masking ritual.
The ritual is fairly straightforward. In lieu of cleansing, mist skin with your hydrosol (or dampen it with a little water), and smooth on a thick layer of your honey mask. While your skin is doing a little honey happy dance, brush your teeth, read a magazine, or fire up your favorite podcast. This is where things get a little decadent... or at least they do for me. I heavily mist my skin with hydrosol and begin massaging the mask. If you feel that this is wasteful, you can wet your fingers with water, rather than using your hydrosol. You want to dampen your skin enough that massaging is a breeze. Then simply rinse the mask away with water. Your skin should feel insanely soft and hydrated (thanks honey!)
Ready to give it a try? Here are some of my favorite honey masks:
Leahlani Honey Love 3-in-1: This mask alone transformed founder, Leah's skin. Imagine what it could do for you? Combining organic Hawaiian Raw Honey with skin superfoods like organic Noni Fruit and wildcrafted Maqui Berry, this cleanser/mask/exfoliator softens, smooths, and helps improve the tone and texture of skin. For a little more exfoliating oomph be sure to mix the jar with a spoon prior to applying (the magical corrundum crystals tend to settle at the bottom). Acne prone skin, prepare to meet your new clear skin companion!
LILFOX Jungle Glow: Oh my oh my, I could go on and on about this mask. Jungle Glow singlehandedly turned me on to the morning masking ritual. Raw Honey, Raw Cacao, Rosehip seeds, Maracuja oil - this mask is a dream. And it's so silky and easy to smooth onto skin. As an added bonus, it smells like heaven (then again, what LILFOX product doesn't?) I highly recommend sitting back and allowing this one to work its magic for as long as you can!
Mahalo The Petal: If you are looking for more targeted enzyme exfoliation, this pink potion is where it's at. The gel-like texture is really fun and I love the inclusion of power players like Hyaluronic Acid and Manuka Honey. Hyaluronic Acid holds 1,000x its weight in water so deep hydration is pretty much guaranteed. Choose this mask if your mornings are typically rushed. 5 minutes with this mask is more than enough time to achieve the glow goal.
- Mahalo The Bean: The newest arrival, the Bean is downright sinful (okay, it only smells that way). I am incredibly impressed by the number of antioxidants in this honey-based mask, including Cacao, Lycopene, Green Coffee Bean oil, and Astaxanthin. (Random aside - I recently started supplementing with Astaxanthin and so far I'm loving the results!) The antioxidants are really just the tip of the iceberg. The Bean is absolutely jam packed with skin-loving nutrients. Hello, glowing skin!
If you are looking to spice up your morning routine or really just want a brightening boost in the am (who doesn't?), I highly recommend incorporating a masking ritual!