Ladies! It’s almost Thanksgiving. This month, we’re all about being thankful for the things we have and opportunities we have been given, but we don’t have to be the only ones who are thankful – your skin can be too! Recently, I have had a lot of people approach me about their skin care problems. Ranging from acne and breakouts to dry skin and chapped lips, I realized that I had a lot of experience in caring for these problems – so why not share what works for me and what could possibly work for others?
One thing to remember when approaching these problems, is that everyone is different, and these things take time in finding out what actually works for us, individually. I say this because when I tell people my skin care routine, they give me a “really?!” face; therefore, as I go through these routines, I’ll also explain how and why this works for me.
Surprisingly, I don’t wash my face often. In fact, I only wash my face once a week. Yes, you read that right – Once. A. Week. Crazy, right? I mean, I take a rag or my hands with just water and will wipe my face or splash it, but with actual face wash, only once a week.
Here’s why: my face is really sensitive. I’ve learned this in the past seven years – that no matter how “sensitive” or “dermatologist tested” or “scientifically proven” the face wash was, if I used it every day, I would breakout more than if I didn’t use it at all. My understanding was that I had a skin type similar to my mother’s; she can’t wash her face every day either, and when we do, we have to be cautious about what face wash or soap is used because we have a breakout, allergic reaction, or overall negative effect if not one for sensitive skin. My understanding medically is that our skin creates and releases its own oils and bacteria that protects us naturally, so when we wash it off every day, our skin becomes used to being “clean” and without any oil/bacteria, which leads to breakouts; therefore, if you’re one of the people who washes their face daily, you notice breakouts when you don’t wash your face.
I believe in natural oils and bacteria, so I’m completely against the overuse of soap. Yet, this idea and non-frequent use leads to clear skin for me. So when people say they use soap and face masks daily, but are seeing breakouts, I usually recommend to stop washing their face excessively and give their face a break from chemicals. My normal routine is to use a face mask either once or twice a month and face wash once a week. The weeks that I use a face mask, I don’t wash my face because the face mask is so harsh on my skin, that it literally takes off a layer of dead skin and blackheads allowing my skin and pores to be vulnerable to either bacteria or extra oils. To combat this, I allow my skin to recreate its own oils and thus, a barrier to protect my skin.
For face masks, you can create your own or use a pre-made store bought one. A recommended recipe for a homemade face mask is powdered clay and apple cider vinegar. My preferred ingredients are the Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay – this can be replaced by charcoal tablets too – and Bragg’s Organic Raw-Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar, mixed until it makes a watered-down paste. You don’t want it too watery because you want it to stick on your face, but you don’t want it to be too thick or it’ll hurt more removing it from your face. For store bought, I use Freeman’s face masks simply because they’re cheap for single use applications and they have a variety that has different targets (like deep cleaning, rejuvenating, anti-stress, purifying, etc.) – I typically use anti-stress or deep clearing.
After my shower (because my pores will be open), I apply the mask and leave it on for 10-20 minutes. I sometimes keep it on longer than the recommended time because I like it to fully dry and reach into my pores. It does hurt removing the face masks because they are attached to your facial hairs, but the removal of dead skin is necessary for healing and rejuvenating for your face.
For face wash, you can also create your own or use a pre-made store bought one. I usually go for a pre-made store bought one because I don’t keep the ingredients for a homemade one with me all the time. My preferred face wash is the Bioré Deep Pore Charcoal Cleanser simply because it has charcoal in it and charcoal is one of my “swear-by” ingredients for any bodily-cleanse. It also has an effect where your face will feel cool while massaging the cleanser and after your face is dried – allowing me to really feel my pores opening. For a more natural cleanser, you can create a scrub using either sugar or coffee grounds and coconut oil (if you want a scent with the sugar scrub, use essential oils – it can moisturize your face in addition to the smell). You don’t want more sugar than coconut oil because you’re not trying to scrub your face off, but create an exfoliant.
I usually use the face wash with lukewarm water and massage my face in circles to promote circulation of blood in the face. It’s also the best way to remove dead skin, blackheads, and prevent sagging in the face. After rinsing with warm water, I also splash cold water to close my pores and blot (not wipe or scrub) my face with a clean towel – this also applies to after the face mask.
For moisturizer, you can use either a lotion of your preference, facial moisturizers, or for a more natural approach, use coconut oil. Many people skip this step believing it’s not necessary to moisturize, but this is the most important step. After closing the pores, you want to aid the skin in creating a barrier against other oils and bacteria, as well as prevent the skin from drying too quickly. Depending on how dry or sensitive my skin is after the face mask or face wash, I use either coconut oil or Caudalíe’s Vinoperfect Radiance Serum and Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet*. On a daily use to prevent drying, I apply whichever lotion I have in my room, currently it’s Jergen’s Shea Butter Lotion.
For lip-care, I create a scrub similar to the own used for face wash (sugar and coconut oil, sin essential oils) or my toothbrush while I brush my teeth. It removes any dead skin and prevents further feeling. The circulation by toothbrush or exfoliant also helps plump lips without any harsh treatments. Afterwards, I apply coconut oil or chapstick (carmex is my go to). Nightly, I use Vaseline as an overnight treatment to moisturize my lips and prevent chapping.
Again, these are products and routines, that after years, I figured out that worked for me. It’ll take time, but if you feel as though these might work for you, try them! I’m a firm believer in not frequently washing my face, but everyone is different!
*All of these products can be found in Walmart, except for Caudalíe which is found in Sephora.