How are you, people?
I’d asked on my Instagram (@quaintrellevibes) recently if some of you would like to take up a 21-day skin care challenge with me this December and I received quite an amazing response. So here is the routine I drew up for myself this winter that I plan to follow religiously for the next 3 weeks (I’d read once that it takes 21 days of consistency to form a habit so I thought why not make skin care a habit?). While eating healthy, drinking loads of water and exercising regularly are definitely a part of effective skin care, in this post I plan to narrow down my field of focus to the very basic steps of skin care. Before we begin, let me just put it out there that I am no expert and am just trying to share what has been working for me. I have combination skin and the products I’m going to talk about have been working well for me in the moderately cold month of December here in Mumbai. Feel free to make your own changes in order to come up with what works best for your skin type and the climate of your city and let’s all enter the new year in the process of making skin-care a habit!
Let’s just pretend that you didn’t know that cleansing is the crucial first step in your skin care routine (what an amateur!). So there. Now you know. Moving on. Start off your day by massaging your face well while washing it with water as soon as you wake up. There are cleansers available for every skin type and I have been recently using the Seaweed Deep Cleansing Facial Wash by The Body Shop. Though I only got it because I can never use the same product for too long, I found out that it is specially formulated for combination /oily skin. It is gentle, oil-free and soap-free and it leaves my skin feeling clean and shine-free without drying it out. Massage it onto your face and then neck in gentle motions from bottom to top. Use warm water to open up the pores on your face before application.
The next essential but often skipped (guilty!) step is toning your face immediately after cleansing. It removes all the residual of dirt and grime missed during cleansing (You’ll be surprised by what you see on the cotton pad at the end of toning even after having just cleansed. Comment if you’ve been there!) More importantly, it restores the pH balance and helps hydrate the skin. I have been loving the Vitamin E Hydrating Toner by The Body Shop and I must say, it is one of the most effective toners, especially during winters. Pour a small amount onto a cotton pad and apply it all over your face and neck. This is a gel-like formula that gets absorbed easily and does not feel greasy or uncomfortable while claiming to provide 48 hours of moisturisation. As I’d mentioned in my previous post about the moisturiser from the same range, Vitamin E is an antioxidant and it helps to protect and repair the skin from harsh environmental damage. It is also powered with Bio-Fermented Hyaluronic Acid and its advantages are endless. It is a hydrophilic polysaccharide that helps to soften fine lines and plumpen the skin. It stimulates collagen production in the skin and not only intensely hydrates it but also promotes elasticity. It has been shown to help fight free radical damage that contributes to ageing of the skin. As you can probably tell from the picture, I’m going to run out of this bottle in a week. I’ll make sure to update any changes in my routine at the end of the upcoming 21 days.
Oh, yes. Bio-Oil is a step in my skin-care routine. Though I read that it can be used as a serum, which typically is the step following toning, I find this oil to be useful in a myriad of ways. If I am ready to use one product consistently for the rest of my life, this is it. With an intent of delivering its powerful ingredients directly into the skin, I apply it straight after toning and before moisturising. I take a few drops (2-3) of it and rub it in between my palms in order to warm it up and then massage it onto my face and my neck. Though it is popularly known to help with scar marks and stretch marks, Bio-Oil is a wonder when it comes to nourishing the skin and evening out the complexion. Surprisingly, I’d bought it to treat a surgical scar on my neck and read about it online. To my surprise, its uses were endless. Bio-Oil helps with signs of ageing, uneven skin tone and of course, treats scar marks and stretch marks. It is now a product both I and my mom swear by. The results have been speedy and visible in under a week of regular use. I also massage a drop of it onto my scar mark (since it’s the reason why I bought it in the first place) and as you can by now tell, the results have been more than just satisfactory.
- Eye Cream/ Lip Balm:
I have been using the Oriflame Tender Care Protecting Balm because its key ingredients include Beeswax and Vitamin E. I’ll stop myself from raving on and on about the advantages of Vitamin E (in case you missed it, check out my previous review here). But Beeswax (*evil chuckle*). It locks in the skin’s hydration by not only keeping water out but also locking it in. It forms a protective but breathable layer over the skin. This results in smooth, supple and hydrated under eyes and lips. I skip applying it under the eyes in the morning because it gets too oily for the day. However, at night, be sure to apply generous amounts of it both under your eyes and on the lips.
Now for some of you with oily skin types, it might become necessary to skip this step if you’re using the Bio-Oil (or you might skip the Bio-Oil and invest in a good moisturiser instead) but for me, this step acts as an extra step of moisturisation since it is winter. I use a sparing amount of The Body Shop Drops Of Light Brightening Day Cream in the morning and a generous amount of the same at night. It melts into the skin and is absorbed really quickly while being really light and highly moisturising at the same time. A few days of usage and I could notice my skin getting brighter, smoother and more supple. I’ve also noticed a significant reduction in the number of dark spots on my skin and I like to believe it to be a result of using Bio-Oil and this Day cream on a fairly regular basis.
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again. Use a sunscreen every time before you step out of the house. I personally have never been serious about this step before but better late than never, right? I’ve been using the Lotus Herbals Safe Sun Intensive Sunblock Spray with SPF 50. It is made for all skin types and is sweat-proof and waterproof. Sunscreens must be applied at least 20 minutes before stepping out of the house and must be reapplied at regular intervals throughout the day. This formula is not at all greasy and it absorbs quickly into the skin. I had bought this bottle when I was planning two different trips to two extreme kinds of climates in a month and failed to use it regularly once I got back to the city. So, making sunscreen a habit is now high up on my list!
I’ve been using and loving The Body Shop Olive Exfoliating Body Scrub (both on my face and body). Though it is a body scrub, the granules are rounded and not very coarse and I thought it left my skin feeling moisturised and not ripped off of its oils. It has a creamy texture and when used regularly, it helps avoid spurts of ingrowth due to waxing or shaving. It smells earthy and exfoliates the skin perfectly well and leaves the skin feeling supple, hydrated and polished. I use a small amount of this creamy scrub on my face and make sure not to go all out with the scrubbing. I also plan to include the habit of exposing my face to steam for a few minutes before exfoliating at least once a week in order to open closed pores and redeem full benefits.
Charcoal powder is an ancient beauty secret. It is supposed to draw out impurities from out of the skin. For my weekly or bi-weekly mask, I’ve been using The Body Shop Spa Of The World Himalayan Charcoal Body Clay. Though I haven’t been using it regularly on my body, I’ve used it a few times on my face. On days I wake up with breakouts, I cleanse my face and apply a thin layer of this mask to my face. And- it makes a difference. The mask has a really strong smell and it makes your eyes squint but it does the job. Newly appearing pimples disappear in the first use itself. I’ve read in a lot of reviews that this mask is very difficult to wash off. What I suggest is wetting your palms and just massaging the dry mask well before washing it off and voila! It comes off easily. I have noticed a brightening effect in a few uses and can’t wait to see what it can do to the skin with regular use. Also, once the mask is set to dry on your skin, its smell is really pleasant and is said to have relaxing effects. Perfect for a spa day at home, isn’t it? Also, I don’t plan to use the scrub and mask on the same day. I plan to spread the routine out through the week.
That has to be all, folks! This is my plan for the next 21 days and hopefully, the rest of the year. Leave me suggestions or tell me what you’ve been using or are planning to use in case you intend to join this movement. I’d love to hear from you in the comments or personally. Feel free to leave a message on Instagram or drop a mail on firstname.lastname@example.org about your routine. It’s time to take charge of your skin while you have the time.