how to create your best/ideal beauty ritual
Updated: Sep 10, 2019
Why have a skincare routine?
We all, of course, have time for extended floral milk bathes like in the photo below—yes, I’m totally kidding. None of us in the real world have time for ahem, that kind of pampering. However, I think we are aware that we should be caring for our skin regularly. Why? Of course there’s the simple act of self care first thing in the morning before we rush off to go to work or care for our children or to class. That alone is a gift to yourself. But if we are looking for a long term benefit, then safe and effective ingredients gently and consistently applied will be rewarded with beautiful skin down the road. Your skincare routine need not be expensive, but it is an investment of your time and a little bit of cash. And by time, I mean only a few minutes morning and evening.
I’m a firm believer in caring for skin first, then makeup to enhance your natural beauty—not cover up. I’m finding that especially with women between teen years and twenties tend to reach for color cosmetics first, and think about nourishing skin only when a problem arises. We younger women (myself included) have allot to learn from women of another generation. They know the secret that by caring for your skin as first priority, your skin will thank you later on. I think part of the problem, is we are looking for quick fixes because we have been spoiled with instant gratification in this instant age we live. Most often, seeing results in your skin will take some time and consistency, a month at the least as this is how long it takes for our skin cells to regenerate.
So how can we know what our skin care ritual should look like? It’s going to be unique because there is no cookie cutter skin out there! However, I’ll do my best to give you some tools and show you what I use. Whether you are looking for some ideas to enhance your current routine or start anew completely, I think you will find something useful to fit your needs.
1. Know the Skin You’re In
Before you begin browsing new products or searching for DIY recipes, you absolutely must know what you are working with—namely your own skin. Can you identify your skin type? Did you know that skin types and skin conditions are different things? Skin types are hereditary. The oil gland function (dry/oily etc) of your skin is determined by your genes. However your skin type may also reflect where you live, so it can possibly evolve if you move to a different climate. The fundamental skin types are oily, dry, normal (balanced), and combination. There are more detailed classification systems out there, but these are the basic and most commonly acknowledged.
For a long time I thought I dry skin, even in my late teens and early twenties. It felt tight and itchy and rough. Naturally I assumed my skin needed plenty of nourishing plant oils, which were wonderful but did not make my symptoms any better. One day at the chiropractor after my treatment was finished and I peeled my face away from the paper on the table, I noticed oil from my skin was left behind. It was a sort of “skin awakening” moment. If my skin did produce enough oil, why was my skin feeling so miserable tight and itchy and dry? I did NOT have dry skin. I did in-fact have normal or balanced skin. The symptoms I was having were something else entirely, not my skin lacking oil production. And that brings me to my next point.
2. What’s your condition?
Skin conditions are something that develop over time. The variety of skin conditions combined with our skin types are what make our skin so unique. Some examples of skin conditions include acne, dehydration, aging, sensitivity, rosacea, pigmentation, and couperose.
What I thought I had was dry skin, in reality I had a skin condition of dehydration. For one, I wasn’t and almost never had used water based skin products. Dehydration is a lack of sufficient moisturizer and caused by compromised permeability of the lipid barrier. It’s actually one of the most common skin conditions and one of the most difficult to diagnose, as it is often confused with dryness and it can happen to any skin type. Dryness is a lack of oil, while dehydration is a lack of water. However water based ingredients like aloe, plant hydrasols, etc can not be used alone. Moisturizing ingredients that help “seal” if you will, will help skin retain inner moisturizer so transepidermal water loss is reduced. Humectant Ingredients such as Hyaluronic acid also help by binding water from the atmosphere around you to your skin. It should be noted that if you live in a dry climate or if your humidity is too low, this will actually result in moisture being pulled FROM your skin instead of TO your skin.
This is only one example of the several skin conditions out there. Once I realized my skin condition, I was much more equipped to tackle it. It took a few months for my skin to fully become hydrated, smooth, glowing. But the effort was totally worth it.
3. Understanding skin and ingredients go hand in hand
One thing that was ingrained over and over when taking my class with Formula Botanica is this: remember the ingredients ARE the product. So if a product claims to reduce fine lines and wrinkles or diminish acne scars, it had better have ingredients that are known to help with that. This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes we can get so caught up in the twenty fancy extracts being used or the pretty packaging that we forget that often simple and direct can be better. Plant extracts can be amazing for example, but if there are too many you must realize that such a small amount is being used that all those extracts are not going to be very affective. My point here is that it can be helpful to do a bit digging to see what kind of ingredients help with your skin type and condition, and look for products that way. This is one reason I so much enjoy making my own products as much as I can. When I find a particular ingredient that matches my need, I can formulate around that. My point here is to find ingredients that match your needs and build your routine around that. Just because a brand says you need every product in their acne line, doesn’t necessarily mean so.
Also, here’s my take on product labels. We all know it’s important to to know your labels, right? Yes, many ingredients in skincare products today can be full of harmful or questionable ingredients for your skin. One thing I appreciated about being a Beautycounter consultant was learning about how many harmful ingredients are simply allowed to be used in cosmetics in the United States. Now, as an at-home skincare formulator how much more I recognize that plant ingredients have so much potential to heal and balance skin. And also, that just because we can’t pronounce an ingredient on a night cream, for example, does NOT mean it is bad. Many of those ingredients that are hard to pronounce serve a purpose to emulsify your day cream or preserve your product so that bacteria doesn’t grow. All I’m saying here is let’s not assume and instead see if we can’t learn a bit about the ingredient instead.
4. Creating Your Ideal Beauty Ritual
This is the best part!! Once you know your skin type, condition, and have a handful of ingredients you’d like to incorporate on hand, it’s time to write this on paper and ask yourself what are your skin goals? You can now being creating your ideal morning and evening beauty ritual, tailoring it to your personality.
Here’s a few questions to get you started:
What is my budget for skincare?
Do I prefer making my own recipes or purchasing products?
Do I enjoy complex or minimal routines?
How long do I want to spend applying my skincare?
Are goals prevention and sun protection, or clear blemish-free skin etc?
What is my lifestyle?
Here’s my example:
Environment: tropics (intense sun, humid, hard water)
Lifestyle: stay at home mama to toddlers
Skin type: normal
Skin condition: dehydration
Skin goals: proper hydration and prevention/aging gracefully
My skin needs: gentle cleansing, plenty of deep hydration, collagen building ingredients which helps skin retain inner moisture, sun protection, preventive ingredients such as antioxidant rich plant oils and ingredients that scavenge free radicals
Products used: rose oil cleanser, rosewater mist, Hyaluronate Acid 2% from The Ordinary, my own Sea-boost Hydration Cream, my own Youth Boost Face Oil Serum with Q-10 and Cloudberry, my own green tea under eye cream to fight under eye circles and wrinkles
I hope this gives you a few new ideas, and you came from this post with renewed energy to care for you skin. Thank you for reading, dear friends! If you have any questions or comments, please share. Until next Monday...
* As a disclaimer I am not a doctor, and this content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This blogpost is simply based on my research and knowledge as an skincare formulator.