You Beauty

MY PERSONAL CARE REGIME

These days, a lot of us are aware of how important it is to exercise, eat a healthy diet, and meditate, in order to look after our wellbeing. These are all positive steps, but they’re undermined if we don’t also think about our personal care regime and the type of products we’re putting on our skin, in particular.

When it comes to cosmetics, we slather up to 168 different chemicals on our skin every day. This, despite increasing evidence linking some of these chemicals to problems like obesity, allergies, and infertility, and to diseases like cancer and heart disease.

Ultimately, our personal care regime should add to our sense of wellbeing, not compromise it. By choosing what products we use carefully, and by incorporating elements of ritual into our skincare and makeup routines, we can not only look good, but feel good too.

If we want to care for our skin as well as our looks, there’s a number of steps we can take to protect ourselves.

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  1. Be careful when it comes to ‘traditional’ cosmetics. Most cosmetics are full of synthetic chemicals. Up to 11,000 different chemicals are used to make personal care products, and of those, only 11% have ever been properly tested for safety!28 With links increasingly being made between some of these chemicals and a variety of illnesses and degenerative conditions, it is almost impossible to know whether the lotion or spray you’re putting on your skin is safe or not.
  2. Buy natural and organic personal care products instead. Organic products are free of synthetic chemicals. They contain purely natural ingredients, with the occasional addition of a tiny number of synthetic ingredients that have been rigorously tested for safety. Better still, they contain a host of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals which can help replenish and nurture your skin.
  3. Make sure the product is certified. Because natural and organic skincare has become so popular, a number of companies have jumped on the bandwagon and adopted marketing techniques designed to convince us that their product is made from natural sources. Unfortunately, this is often not true. Just because a product has a natural sounding name, or contains a natural ingredient, it doesn’t mean it is wholly natural and good for you. In the absence of government regulation to stop this unscrupulous practice, the only way to be sure you’re getting what you want is to look for products that are certified organic or as made from organic.
  4. Don’t forget your makeup! Organic skincare is hugely popular these days, with its benefits widely understood. The same can’t be said for makeup, and yet most women (and an increasing number of men) apply it every day. Unfortunately, much of this makeup is no less toxic than conventional skincare. It’s known, for example, that a woman will ingest an average of 1.5 kilograms of lipstick in her lifetime. This is troubling, given that most commercial lipsticks include ingredients – like methylparabens and propylprabens and retinyl palmitate – that you would never dream of putting anywhere near your mouth, if you were offered them individually. To avoid chemicals like these, it’s strongly recommended that you look for natural and organic alternatives to conventional makeup options.
  5. Keep healthy! A good diet and exercise will do wonders for your skin. They’ll not only keep you healthy on the inside, but looking good on the outside too.
  6. Choose your sunscreen wisely. Applying sunscreen has become second nature to almost all of us. Trouble is, we’ve become so intent on avoiding sun damage that we haven’t really stopped to question what’s in the sunscreen we’re applying to our skin. The answer, in most cases, is nothing good. Many conventional sunscreens include chemicals like benzophenone and PABA which are known endocrine disruptors and which have been linked to cancer.29
    They are also designed to absorb easily, meaning they quickly get into our bloodstream, where they can have toxic effects. It’s strongly recommended that you seek out natural sunscreen alternatives instead.
  7. Most deodorants stink! The widespread expectation that we should smell nice is doing us harm. These days, most of us use antiperspirants to stop us from sweating, which is a wholly natural process and an important way we get rid of toxic build-up. Unfortunately, almost every antiperspirant contains either aluminium chlorohydrate or aluminium zirconium. These ingredients are designed to plug the sweat ducts, meaning that toxins we need to eliminate are trapped under the skin, where they get into our blood system and are selectively absorbed by the liver, kidney, brain, cartilage and bone marrow. Current research indicates that this is very bad for us, and – whilst definitive evidence does not yet exist – antiperspirants are now being linked with Alzheimer’s Disease and breast cancer.30 As an alternative, we can use a natural deodorant, like a good quality crystal deodorant. These are free from chemical nasties, leave no sticky residue on the skin, and they neutralize the bacteria we produce when we sweat, thus preventing odour from happening.
  8. Think supercritical. Although organic cosmetics are undoubtedly a better choice than conventional cosmetics, they’re not all born equal. One reason for this is the quality and variety of ingredients used, whilst it can also help to consider how the various oils and nutrients derived from these ingredients have been extracted. Whilst most extraction methods rely on chemical solvents or alcohol, there’s a new, revolutionary extraction technique that some companies are turning to, called supercritical, or CO2, extraction. The magic of supercritical extraction is that it captures the maximum nutritional and beauty benefits of the whole plant – literally thousands of important compounds – and not just isolated chemical constituents. Not only that, but supercritical extracts per weight of herbs are between 50-500 times more concentrated, as well as being ultimately more pure and ‘whole’, than traditional herbal extracts used in most skincare today. If you get the chance, take the time to look around for products that use supercritical extracts. Your skin will love you for it!
  9. Here’s something that might surprise you. Your vegan makeup? It’s likely no good for you.

    Right now, vegan beauty is trendy: a rising, powerful market segment that promises riches for those who can tap into it. Sadly, this has led to unscrupulous behavior. You see, whilst vegan claims might guarantee that a product is cruelty free, it doesn’t mean that the product is good either for you or the environment, as so many manufacturers claim.

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That’s because a lot of vegan makeup, in particular, is made almost entirely from synthetic chemicals; nasty toxins manufactured in a lab and – because they’re entirely man-made – marketed as vegan. But does that mean they’re 100% safe? Good for you? Good for the planet? No, no, and no. Many of the chemicals used in cosmetics, and promoted as vegan, won’t break down easily, if at all.

When you wash them off your face, you wash them into the environment, where they accumulate, exposed to the very animals that most of us want to protect. And as for what they’re doing to your skin? Well, you be the judge.

Sadly, when it comes to beauty products, vegan claims often amount to another form of greenwashing.

The good news is, once we understand this, we can take action. We can start to learn about the ingredients in the products we use, we can take advantage of apps like ‘Think Dirty’, and we can look for truly natural vegan products that are certified organic. Do this, and we’ll be doing ourselves, the environment, and – ultimately – the whole vegan movement, a favor.

Beauty is about a lot more than how we look, it’s about how we feel too.
When it comes to our beauty routines, there’s a lot to be said for practicing and maintaining rituals which not only nurture our skin but also our general wellbeing. To this end, we should not only choose the products we put onto our body wisely, but also think about how we apply them and experience them, as the beauty we’re seeking comes from inside-out even more so than from the outside-in.

Ultimately, what these rituals look like will come down to how much time we have to commit to them and what, exactly, we want to get out of them.

Here’s a few different beauty routines we all might like to consider:

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CHERISH THE PERSON IN THE MIRROR

This isn’t so much a beauty ritual, more an absolute necessity. In the end, no matter what your diet or exercise regime, no matter what book you read, nor what skincare products you use, if you don’t love and respect the person in the mirror, you’ll never be able to enjoy your true beauty. So, give yourself a break! Be ready, every day, to practice a little self-love, using affirmations to break down any negativity you have towards yourself. When you look in the mirror, tell yourself what you need to hear, using words that are personal to you and which give you the confidence and self-esteem to share your beauty with those around you. And repeat them! Say them until they anchor inside you, until they become a part of you… ‘I am beautiful, inside and out’. ‘I am remarkable and loved’. ‘I am worthy’… Whatever the words, you’ll know them. Practice them. Become them. Because that person in the mirror? That person’s worth it.

FACE YOGA FOR YOUNGER LOOKS

We all know how good exercising our muscles can be for our general health and wellbeing, but it turns out that exercising our facial muscles can provide great benefits too, especially for our appearance and the elasticity of our skin. Sometimes referred to as Face Yoga, facial exercises involve targeting the muscles below our facial skin and outer fatty layer, helping these muscles to strengthen and thereby compensate for age-related volume loss. And, as a study conducted by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine shows, these exercises are more than just fanciful theory.31 In fact, the study demonstrated that with consistent practice, facial yoga can help people look up to 3 years younger! Like any exercise though, it needs to be done consistently for results to show.

TAKE A SAUNA OR A BATH

A sauna or bath is one of those rewarding luxuries we should all indulge in, at least once a week. Not only do they help to relieve and relax tired muscles, they also increase circulation, help release toxins via the GI tract, and lift our mood. In other words, they’re a fabulous ritual for mind and body, with saunas having the added benefit (if they’re used regularly) of helping to relieve stress, control blood pressure, generally improve cardiovascular performance, and even help us sleep better! When bathing, our experience can be enhanced further by prepping the skin with a spot of dry brushing prior to the bath, as well as by the addition of quality salts and essential oils to the bath itself. But be warned about essential oils! They should only be added to the bath via a carrier oil like olive or grapeseed oil. Adding them directly will leave them sitting on top of the water, where they’ll likely come directly in contact with the skin, something which can sting or cause irritation.

 

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RUB YOUR HANDS TOGETHER BRISKLY FOR 20–30 SECONDS

Buddhists and healers have long held that rubbing our hands together can help create essential energies that are great for healing. This energy will not only help you get ready to meet the day, but If you consciously think about transferring it when we apply our skincare, then it may well have positive benefits for our skin and our overall wellbeing. At the very least our hands will be nice and warm when we put our moisturizer on!

LISTEN TO YOUR SKIN

We listen to our feelings, our intuition and (for better or worse!) even to our food cravings. Why then, shouldn’t we listen to our skin as well? For our skin, every day can be different. Not only does it have to deal with seasonal change but also emotional and hormonal changes that will place different demands upon it and require different treatment. On some days it will be okay to run with a minimal beauty ritual, whilst there will be others where we’ll want to mix up our products and use different massage and breathing techniques. Our skin provides all the information we need to make these decisions, all we need to do is to pay attention and respond.

MASSAGE OR PAT PRODUCTS IN, TAKING THE TIME TO APPLY WITH A LOVING ATTITUDE

Therapeutic skin massage, warm compresses and fragrant botanical oils make aromatic, sensory beauty product application a treat for the soul as well as the skin. Studies show that massaging products into our skin helps increase blood circulation and encourages lymphatic drainage, something which holds true even when we focus on one small area of our body, like our feet, giving it our undivided love and attention for the day. Note though, that there are areas, like the delicate skin under our eyes, where we may find it more beneficial to gently pat the products in.

DON’T GO TO BED BEFORE DOING THIS!

Too often, after a long, taxing day, it’s all we can do to take off our makeup before scrambling into bed. But if we’re really interested in the health of our skin, then we need to take a little more time, following a night-time ritual that will leave us relaxed and our skin glowing. Whilst this ritual might vary in terms of length and products used (we always recommend skin-loving organic products, of course!), it should, as a minimum, begin with careful cleansing, followed by the application of a night-time moisturizer and – before we snuggle beneath the covers – a little pampering with a quality body oil. Do this and we’ll not only leave our skin soft and dewy and ready for the next day, we’ll also find ourselves more relaxed and ready for the kind of quality sleep that is another, oh-so-important part of our overall wellbeing.

In the end, a slower, more mindful approach to natural, ritual-based beauty practices can help us appreciate ourselves and infuse meditative benefits beyond the results that come from simply adding products to our skin. This is because such an approach is focused on authentic wellness, with an acknowledgement that true beauty is multi-faceted and encompasses the nurturing of the whole person, not just the outer layer of skin.34

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Daily rituals with The Organic Skin Co.

If you’re looking for a daily beauty ritual to call your own, here’s a step-by-step guide we recommend, using our nurturing, healing products, of course!

– Set your ritual up in a place where you can find peace and calm and at a time that suits (e.g. after the kids have left for school; after exercise; after meditation).
– Put on a head band or clear the face of hair before applying any product. Doing this helps create a fresh and free canvas to work with.
– Wear comfortable clothes to help you feel relaxed. If you’re including the décolletage, then a robe or open necked top will help.
– Start your beauty ritual with an acknowledgment that you’ve made it here to this space of self-nurturing. It’s a good time to feel grateful for just being.
– Take some deep, slow, gentle breaths. It might help to close your eyes to center yourself inwards.
– Smile! Smiling is good for you. It helps activate positive neural messages and physiological responses that can reduce stress, boost your immune system, lower blood pressure and elevate your mood. Note too that your smile doesn’t need to be ear-to-ear, an inner smile of gratitude that’s genuine and heartfelt is just as therapeutic.
– Massage or pat your chosen products into your skin, taking time to enjoy the sensations that accompany their application. Note that the choice of products here is entirely up to you. What you choose will depend on variables like the amount of time you have to give to the ritual, how you’re feeling, what the weather’s like, and the condition of your skin.
– Stop and smell the roses! As you apply your products, take the time to inhale deeply, enjoying the restorative aromas of the essential oils, which can uplift, inspire and enhance your experience of self and beauty.
– Enjoy and cherish the experience of being gentle and loving with yourself. Take a gentle breath and visualise every cell of your body filled with loving kindness and peacefulness.
– Consider finishing your ritual by setting one clear goal for the day. It may be as simple as connecting with a friend or as difficult as completing that work assignment that you’ve been stressing about, but make sure it’s achievable and that you put a timeframe to it, so that it doesn’t stretch out to the point where you miss doing it or it becomes an unattainable drama.

AND A FEW EXTRA TIPS…

– As a regular component of your beauty ritual, remember to gently exfoliate 2–3 times weekly to remove dead skin cells and oils that create blackheads.
– Changing things up occasionally can be good for body and soul, so be prepared to mix different products together and concentrate on different body areas on different days. For example, be prepared to adjust your oil-to-water ratio (and moisturizer-to-face oil product usage) with the weather, as your skin will most likely need more oil when it’s dry and more water-based products if it’s hot and humid. As you connect to your skin and how it responds to different products, you will become more attuned to its needs.
– If you feel particularly stressed, an all over body oil is recommended as it can be a great balancer.

28‘Evaluating the Safety of Cosmetics’; Morning Signout; http://morningsignout.com/evaluating-the-safety-of-cosmetics/ https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797613478949?journalCode=pssa
29‘How Supermodel Gisele Bundchen Infuriated Cancer Experts’; Mercola.com; http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/04/22/new-study-shows-many-sunscreens-are-accelerating-not-preventing-cancer.aspx
30Markham Heid; ‘You Asked: Can Deodorant Give You Cancer?’; Time Magazine; http://time.com/3922814/deodorant-cancer/
31Association of Facial Exercise With the Appearance of Aging; JAMA Network; Murad Alam, MD, MSCI, MBA; Anne J. Walter, MD, MBA; Amelia Geisler, BS; Wanjarus Roongpisuthipong, MD; Gary Sikorski; Rebecca Tung, MD; Emily Poon, PhD; https://jamanetwork.com/searchresults?q=face%20yoga&allSites=1&allJournals=1&SearchSourceType=1&exPrm_qqq={!payloadDisMaxQParser%20pf=Tags%20qf=Tags^0.0000001%20payloadFields=Tags%20bf=}%22face%20yoga%22&exPrm_hl.q=face%20yoga