There are many things I’ve learned over the course of my brief professional career behind the beauty counter of Neiman Marcus, assisting make-up artists backstage at shows, speaking with professionals in the industry and of course combined with my long and detailed personal experiences with my skin and beauty products.
Through all of the differing philosophies, the multitude of product options to do so many different things I’ve developed a very basic list of 5 habits that I recommend for all readers as a starting point for treating their skin well.
1. Take off the day! Every night before bed no matter how tired or busy you are, always make time to remove the day that has built up on your skin: make-up, moisturizers, sunscreen, dirt, pollution, sweat, you get the picture. This is a crucial step to loving your skin because you’ll be giving it a fresh palette every night which in turn means your skin will get to ‘breathe’ and reward you with skin that is less sensitive with fewer breakouts and no lackluster complexion.
Recommended: I love double cleansing to accomplish this with an oil cleanser like Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Cleansing Oil to remove make-up, sunscreen and oil-based moisturizers and following with a light, low-foam cleanser like Yuli Halcyon gel to get deeper down to remove the impurities that have accumulated deeper down.
2. Oils at night / Moisturizers for day: I know this might run counter intuitive to so much that is published with urging use of heavy moisturizers at night right before bed. Through my own personal experimentation as well as speaking with beauty professionals there is a consensus that one should go lighter during the night and save the heavy moisture for the day to get the best results for skin. This is because at night the skin needs to ‘breathe’ and refresh itself, so weighing it down with heavy moisturizers (often full of butters, silicones, waxes) can severely compromise it’s ability to function, resulting in faster aging, dryer skin and more sensitivity. Oils are lighter in weight and don’t hold any of those ingredients that can suffocate skin yet they are really rich and moisturizing, so I like to use a heavier dose of oils in the evening. For day, we’re actually much more likely to put our skin in severe environments as we venture outside so having something more protective makes sense, thus the heavier armor of a day moisturizer.
Recommended: I love the Omorovicza Balancing Moisturizer which is light and beautiful and won’t clump under sunscreen and make-up. I also love the Kahina Giving Beauty Night Cream which I don’t think will cause photosensivity if worn during the day. Another green option that I’ve been using recently is Aurelia’s Day moisturizer which I will put up a review before winter ends – hopefully! When it comes to oils there are just so many good ones from Mun’s Aknari Night Serum to the versatile Dr. Alkaitis Treatment Oil, and if you want something a little more personalized for your skin type go with one of Yuli’s that have a fit for every skin type. I am currently alternating between Lina Hanson’s Globel Face Serum which is delightfully rich yet uplifting and Yuli’s Modern Alchemist serum which is so nourishing but don’t worry – no breakouts, only plump, soft skin. Both are beautiful to massage into the skin and you really feel them absorb and relieve skin from the tightness of winter. If oil base is not enough by itself for you, remember to spray your skin with a botanical mist which goes a long way to increasing hydration: Kahina, Tata Harper and Yuli all have mists that contain hyaluronic acid which is really good drawing and retaining moisture.
3. Morning detox. This has become so important for me. I’ve been learning so much about how our body goes into a state of cleansing when we fast throughout the night. So I’ve moved away from rich, oily breakfasts of pancakes, bacon, and so forth and started being much more complimentary to my body. I begin each morning with a warm glass of water and then squeeze a quarter of a lemon in there. This helps to purify the blood and detoxify the body. I follow by drinking a green tea, honey and lemon mix which replaces coffee in waking me up, and continuing the purifying trend. Then I begin with a light breakfast of fiber rich oatmeal or I make a organic smoothie for myself. This helps to stimulate my digestive track without overloading it. In general I feel ‘lighter’ and the benefits show in my skin as it has become much more balanced and just looks well cared for. Happy digestion = better complexion!
Recommended: The foods I just listed. Make sure the lemons you use are organic as we don’t want pesticides mixed in with the warm water!
4. Consistency. Having irregular patterns can really mess up skin. This applies to both products used and lifestyle. I realized that no matter what I was using, if I slept at odd hours and threw off my bodies natural rhythm too much, my skin would not be happy. By making an effort to manage my sleeping and eating, and scheduling my day out I noticed my life was not as hectic and became incredibly more manageable which really reduced stress and led to better rest, resulting in a beneficial vicious cycle that led to really happy, complacent skin.
When it comes to beauty products, I have a lot of them. But I manage them by only using a couple and no more than 2 per category within a 3 week period. So many people who want results from products can get a little impatient and just move between so many products which ultimately ends up throwing off their skin and being counter productive. Stay the course, wait for results to show. Your skin wants to be at its best so give it the opportunity to do it rather than throwing new things at it all the time.
Recommended: This is more of a habit but for those who have trouble sleeping or managing stress, I’ve really begun to embrace flower remedies (Alexis Smart has good ones) and aromatherapy. Hope Gillerman‘s collection is particularly well known and they all smell amazing, even the fashion crowd gets into her stuff (https://instagram.com/p/uf-L4FCotX/?modal=true)
5. Make-up should be an asset. Call me new-wave New Yorker with this thought but I’ve always believed a girl should focus primarily on getting her skin in shape first and see make-up as a tool to hide the imperfections and accentuate the positives. It shouldn’t damage your skin or be something that you rely on as a crutch. If it comes to that point invest your time into a good skincare system that will save your skin and ‘beneficial’ makeup. I almost never go a full day with make-up because most of them do more harm than good since they’re literally designed to sit on your skin surface. I will go made-up to a function or event, and if there is something particularly important on campus then I’ll go with a very subtle make-up look that only elevates. After whatever event, the first thing I’ll do when I get home is remove the make-up even if it’s still the afternoon.
Recommended: I like light make-up that won’t clog skin so a lot of natural, green options are out. Save for lip products which I believe really should be as green and natural as possible since we do ingest so much of it. For that my favorite has to be from Ilia for the sheer pigment and wearability. The biggest difference I notice is that they are a little drier or harder but once you get used to it, the lippies are amazing. The Kjaer Weis line is amazing for everything else and is the green option I would lean toward but since I only need the make-up to perform for a short time I have no problem using light yet high-performance non-green lines such as Koh Gen Go, Ellis Faas and Laura Mercier. I absolutely draw the line at MAC which is just so terrible for skin, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone working at MAC who has good skin and there is a reason for that. Another line I don’t really like is Make Up Forever which has the best full coverage liquid foundation but wow is it trouble for your skin!
Of course these aren’t all the healthy habits for skin but they’re just a starter, any tips you’d like to share? Leave them in the comments (I just realized that they’re located on the top!)
Fantastic list with formidable product recs, to boot! I’ve become more and more aware of the type of water we are using and drinking inside and out. I’m lousy at keeping hydrated but I’ve seen women with plumped skin who swear that adding more water is all they changed in their routine and that made a huge difference to wrinkles, hydration, and overall health. Alkaline water is best for drinking since most diets are overly acidic, a leading cause for skin inflammation. Another factor is that every city has different water conditions that externally affect skin too. Whenever my sister visits our parents in Florida, she says her skin clears up instantly. I’m convinced it has to do with the humid environment and the condition of the water. So getting a good water filter for the shower or home delivers results. (Aquasana has been recommended several times as being the right pH.) Thanks for another great post!
You’re completely right! I think part of why adding a squeeze of lemon helps my skin so much is because it’s metabolized as an alkaline. Same for pressed juices, beyond all else I feel they just help balance the pH level.
I always love your advice. I remember the first time I heard about using less at night for the moisturizer and thought it was crazy but then I did it and first time felt like my skin was going to fall off but the next morning my skin was glowing! Been sticking with this and my skin is younger than most of my age would lead you to believe!
Thank you BB. It is a little odd at first isn’t it? But my skin is just like yours, it always glows when I stick to something simple and light at night.
Have you used the Nudus lipsticks? Been reading lots about them. Really love everything I have used from YULI, Halcyon is a fabulous cleanser and already repurchased twice.
I haven’t used Nudus yet, just have so many more on the list to try including Tata Harper, RMS and Kjaer Weis lip colors. Halcyon is such an innovative and brilliant cleanser and all around product in general, I’m so glad you’re loving it too!
This is such a good post! I couldn’t agree more with number 4; if my sleeping pattern isn’t consistent, my skin responds with a vengeance and when I was switching products all the time, my face was in absolute havoc. Consistency is so important.
Thanks for the post! Our Night Cream can absolutely be used during the day and does not cause photo-sensitivity.
YAY! That’s fantastic because it is exactly how I’ve been using it (a jar lasts for a long time!)
Lovely article! I am sticking to all of these recommendations already too although I also use green make up, incl kjaer weis and ilia (I have dry skin and live in a cold climate so it works for me). No spf for you…? One thought: have you tried gressa’s foundation? It has no waxes/butters and has been called the green koh gen doh. Would love to know your thoughts.
SPF is important but you know… been changing it up I’m not using a clean one right now. Tried a sample of Gressa’s foundation and it’s okay. I need about 8-10 drops for visible coverage which means the full bottle probably won’t last very long and it makes dry areas so pronounced (I wouldn’t even describe my skin as fully dry)
That is a shame with gressa…i wonder why it seems to stick like that to dry patches…
Hello! Great tips; i wish regular sleep patterns would be more doable for me; i work in the news media and have been working shifts for a decade now… Have you tried the new mun toner? It also contains hyaluronic acid – would love your thoughts on how it compares to the metamorphic. I would also like to try gressa; but it is not available where i live – sigh. Have you tried it? Might be a green non waxy option. There is also ilia’s tm spf 20, it is lightweight but sadly contains some silicones. Have you tried it yet?
I haven’t used the new MUN toner yet but I would use them both because the MUN toner is more like an essence that you swip on with a cottonball. The ingredients are very different so I think skin can use both. I haven’t tried the Ilia for the reason that it uses silicones, my personal take is if a green brand does it, I might as well go for performance and just get something non-green but performances beautifully.
Have any tips or insight for those of us who work night-shift and might have an “off” sleeping schedule a few nights a week! I’m a nurse and I usually do 3 12-hour shifts in a row! I’m going to 2 shifts a week in a month (super excited) but still know that I’ll be somewhat off! Everything else is great in my skincare…besides needing to clean up the diet a bit!
I think if your schedule doesn’t allow regularity then it’s just important to not “push” your body schedule in the sense that when you’re not working and you feel tired/sleepy that you just do it and don’t resist it. From what I know when we resist the urge to sleep or force ourselves to stay up it pushes out hormones balance.
Thank you for all the great tips – am trying to abide by them ;-)!
What do you think of having regularity … through rather irregular patterns: ie. am trying to bring into my night routine the Pai oil in the evening – but it is recommended only to use it 2-3 times per week. Does that seem like regular enough if the other nights are consistent?
Also, Yuli sounds wonderful, you are always raving about it … but almost impossible to get in Europe. What do you think of Pai or Aurelia oils? do they compare or are we simply missing out over here?
Many thanks in advance for you responses (i love your blog by the way – even if i have older, more pigmented and more thin skin than you, i still enjoy the suggestions as your write-ups always seem so thorough and genuine. Thank you!)
One more question: do you think it is necessary to have a cleanser in the morning (if so, an oil or cleanser?)? or would just a spritz do? in the quest for gentleness – but also efficiency – for skin…
many thanks for your response.
Ahh – cleanse!! Oil is best for removing so since the only thing you really accumulate overnight may be dead skin cells and excess sebum, I save the oil for make-up/sunscreen.
Great, thank you for your response … i will follow your advice and re-introduce cleanser in the morning. Love your blog!