First let me say, I am by no means a skin care expert. I’m not the woman on YouTube whose skin is perfect in every frame and has a pristine morning/night routine. In fact, I’m the opposite. I probably have the worst manageable skin honestly. Oh, and scarring, and I’m pretty sure I have a mild case of what Morgan Freeman has on his face: dermatosis papulosa nigra. So, not blemish free by any means. My face is extremely sensitive and very combination with an emphasis on dry. When it gets cooler, my skin gets extra dry. I’m still trying to find good products for that, but being in France, it’s a little more difficult. I’m giving you my holy grail products that have never let me down!
It’s full on fall here in France. That means cooler weather, RAIN and, let’s face it more rain. I looked at the forecast today and it’s literally raining every day for the next week. Everyone knows that when it starts getting colder, the skin is the first to suffer. We tend to have to take extra care of our skin (especially our face) when it’s cold. Because of my very sensitive skin, I do not use typical facial cleansers you’d find in a store and I definitely cannot use bar soap (no one should.) It might sound crazy that I literally wash my face with water in between masks. Yes, just water. Until I find a skincare brand that is not harsh on my skin, this is my routine. I have heard good things about Kiehl’s brand so I may have my friends bring me some of their products when they come for Christmas!
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1.Aztec Indian Healing Clay
Most of you have probably heard of this holy grail product. I swear by it. It is 100% bentonite clay, which has been used for centuries dating back to ancient Egypt where Egyptians used this for clay baths and face cleansing. This calcium bentonite clay is harvested in the Death Valley Desert in California. This clay can be used for a variety of things such as: facial masks, clay baths, even insect bites. Bentonite clay is a powerful detoxifying mineral that draws out excess oil and dirt while exfoliating the skin. The key is to use this clay with non-metal materials (just use a plastic bowl/spoon). All you need is apple cider vinegar (another great natural skin toner). Mix the two together until you get a good paste and apply to skin. Leave on for 10-15 mins and remove with warm water. Be sure to moisturize after. You can get it on Amazon here!
2. Lush Mask of Magnaminty
This is another great mask that I use when I can get my hands on Lush products. Luckily, there is a Lush store in the next town over so I have been using this a lot lately! This is an amazing peppermint smelling, tingly, refreshing, cool sensation packed into a mask. I absolutely love this mask when my skin just feels disgusting. I have read that people will apply this mask to their face/neck when sick and it helps clear their sinuses! There’s something about peppermint smelling, tingly sensations that I love. It is also a gentle exfoliant. It contains honey which is a great humectant and moisturizer. All in all, a great mask to incorporate into your skin regimen, especially if you have acne prone skin. You can find it in their Lush store or online here.
Now, let’s talk about toners. What exactly is a toner? Toners get a bad rap as being ineffective, harsh and downright bad for your skin. Toner should be the second step in your skin routine, after cleansing your face. For me, i will use after a mask, or after I wash my face (with water). Think of a toner as a primer for your skin. After you wash your face, your skin gets dry. A toner, which is water-based, revives your skin, while bringing your skin back to its natural acidic state so that when you apply your moisturizer, the pores can welcome it with open arms. Let’s talk my two holy grail toners to date.
1. Lush Tea Tree Water
Tea tree oil is a great natural toner. However, when not diluted, it is very strong and harsh for the skin. Enter Lush Tea Tree Water. This product is water based and contains tea tree oil. Tea tree oil does what any toner should do: it helps tighten skin and clear pores. It’s a one stop shop: it’s antibacterial, moisturizing and an astringent. Because of its power, again, i recommend a water based toner that contains tea tree oil or using natural tea tree oil but diluting in water. The Lush Tea Tree Water gives me that perfect balance for my sensitive skin. Always remember to moisturize after using a toner. You can find this product at Lush stores or online here.
2. Pixi Vitamin C Tonic
Vitamin C is another powerful one-stop shop, especially when it comes to skin care. You all know I’m all about natural products for my skin and when I don’t have any of these lying around, I will rely on my good ol’ apple cider vinegar toner and manuka honey as a moisturizer. Anywho, Vitamin C promotes collagen production (hello youthful skin), and more importantly is an antioxidant. What is that you say? Well, antioxidants protect our skin from free radicals in the air caused by UV exposure. Basically, Vitamin C protects our skin from the crazy stuff in the air trying to kill us all slowly. This tonic smells AMAZING and I definitely see a natural glow after using this. You can find this product in Target or on the Pixi website here.
Now, moisturizers are always a topic of debate. I love natural stuff ( as in I better be able to know, pronounce and recognize every ingredient). Because of this, I tend to lean toward natural oils as moisturizers. I tried coconut oil and my skin rejected it. Most people swear by coconut oil as a natural moisturizer so I would definitely try it out if you have great, non-sensitive skin. For faces like mine, I had to try a different natural oil.
Right now, I am using shea oil but my go to is jojoba oil or almond oil. Shea oil is like shea butter, but in oil form (AKA not as thick).
I recommend jojoba oil, and almond oil and then shea oil. I know you’re probably like “Oil? On my face? Won’t I breakout?” No. As long as it’s natural and a lighter oil like the 3 I listed. They all have their own amazing benefits. I’d try them out to see what your skin and YOU love the most.
Jojoba oil is anti-inflammatory, shea oil heals and softens the skin, and almond oil is a nutrient-dense oil that does everything from reducing puffiness, to improving complexion, and of course, antioxidant protection. Make sure to get SWEET almond oil. Obviously, if you are allergic to nuts, I wouldn’t recommend this, and I would recommend doing research as to what effect using a nut-based oil can have on you.
So there you have it. These products are products that have not had a negative effect on my skin yet and ones I would recommend. Of course, I would recommend you determine your skin (face) type: oily, combination, acne-prone, sensitive, etc. and then look into natural ways of moisturizing, cleansing and toning. I am very particular about what skin products I buy/try and have gotten used to much more natural products that I know have been used for centuries.
If you try any of these out, I’d love to hear about your experience!