I remember being an 11-year-old sitting in the warm and humid auditorium of Raffles Girls’ Primary during a weekly Character Development Programme (CDP) which would always follow a day of school on a Wednesday (or was it Tuesday?). We had a speaker from Clean & Clear come in and teach us clueless girls a thing or two about maintaining facial hygiene. I say “clueless” because when the speaker did a quick survey of who regularly cleansed, toned and moisturised, only one girl from my class and about a handful from the rest of the cohort raised their hands. A few of us had an early start to puberty and were – as expected – rather unsuccessful in defeating the pimple monster(s) every now and then, so many of us saw this CDP session as a godsend.
“So girls, first You cleanse, then You tone, before finally moisturising Your faces. Let’s do a little recap… What do You do first?”
“Mhmm and then??”
We’d drag the words a little longer each subsequent time we were asked to respond… I remember looking at all of my friends around me and laughing as hard as my little heart could take. We all found it all the more hilarious the longer we held each word! Ohh were we a barrel of laughs that afternoon! It’s so lovely to think that our hearts were so full of appreciation for the little cheeky things. This type of response-prompting sessions happened about 3 to 4 times throughout the entire 90-minute talk so naturally, something I took away from that fateful day was, “Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise!”
Nevertheless, I must admit that despite the understanding for the need to cleanse tone and moisturise (Read *this* if You’d like to find out why!), I never did it till about 7 months ago, i.e. when I was 19.5 years old. Yes, 8.5 years, my friends. Eight and a half years before I started cleansing, toning and moisturising…
… and this is how I go about doing it.
TO: The readers who’ve requested an insight into my skincare routine, here it is!
Step 1: CLEANSE
First, I’d use The Body Shop’s *CAMOMILE WATERPROOF EYE & LIP MAKE UP REMOVER* to remove any make-up I may have on at the end of the day, which usually only is a thin layer of The Body Shop’s *TEA TREE CONCEALER* to cover up my occasional dark eye circles (sigh) and a good layer of a lovely eco-friendly frosted plum lip balm to keep my lips well-moisturised. Then, in the shower, I’d use The Body Shop’s *TEA TREE FOAMING CLEANSER* for my face and Sante Naturkosmetik’s *BIO-ACAI ENERGY SHOWER GEL* (which has unfortunately been discontinued, so I might switch over to another brand or be a little adventurous with their *other amazing Vegan, eco-friendly products*; they’re *an excellent brand to support*!) for my body.
*Note: I skip the ‘Make Up Remover’ step in the morning as I don’t leave any make up on my face throughout the night.
Step 2: TONE
First thing I do after stepping out of the shower is shake the bottle of The Body Shop’s *TEA TREE FACIAL TONER* (the shaking has to be done to get a homogenous mixture out of the liquid and the denser particles which have settled at the bottom of the bottle) and pour a bit onto an *ORGANIC COTTON ROUND* (*Here* is why it is highly recommended to opt for the organic cotton version.) before wiping it all over my face, with special focus around the blackhead-prone areas.
Step 3: MOISTURISE
Once my face isn’t wet to the touch, I’d apply a good layer of The Body Shop’s *VITAMIN C GLOW BOOSTING MOISTURISER* (absolutely in love with the citrus-y scents oh my my!) and afterwards apply The Body Shop’s *TEA TREE BLEMISH GEL* over any blemishes I may have left from past pimples. Once I’ve got my face covered, literally, I slather a thick, generous layer of Cocona’s *VIRGIN COCONUT OIL FRANGIPANI BODY CREAM* all over my body. I got to know about Cocona (in a cruelty-free body care-oriented shop whilst walking around the Seminyak area) during a trip to Bali with Mum in June 2015 and have been hooked on using coconut oil-based body products ever since. Do pay a visit to *Cocona’s lovely site* to find out why!
*Important Note: Be mindful of Your own skin type when choosing the products for Your skincare routine. Each and every one of us are different and what may work for me may not for You. *Here* is a good guide to help You discover which skin type group You belong to. The Body Shop has a wide range of products (of many many delightful scents ahhhh heaven on Earth!) suitable for every skin type.
It must be quite apparent to You by now that I absolutely adore The Body Shop, considering a majority of the body care products originate from their incredibly-scented stores. (More on that here: Cruelty-Free Body Products – Original, Natural & Ethical) I support them because of their stand against animal testing, their fair-trade movement their core values and also because of the fact that they are a charitable foundation. Yes, they are a Vegetarian and not a Vegan franchise, BUT they are Vegetarian not because they use milk in their products, but because they use honey. Even then, they source our Community Trade honey from the UNESCO Sheka Forest Biosphere Reserve in the southern region of Ethiopia, where African bees distil the nectar of rainforest flowers to create a distinctive floral honey. To collect this precious honey, they work with the ‘bee whisperers’ (how cure!) of Beza Mar, a group dedicated to improving the livelihood of Ethiopian beekeeping communities and maintaining their traditional, natural way of working with bees.
Step 4: I EAT WELL, i.e. I nourish myself through a Vegan way of life.
My skin enjoyed some major and much-needed healing ever since becoming a Vegan. It truly is based on what You put into Your body and the products You apply on Your skin. Stay away from anything artificial or processed – this applies for both the food You’re consuming and the skin products You’re using.
What we put put into our mouths is as important as the products we apply on our skin. We literally are what we eat! Foods get digested and broken down into vitamins, minerals and amino acids that Your body can eventually use to build healthy skin. If You crash diet or eat highly processed foods, Your skin won’t be as strong and supple as it could be. For instance, if You don’t eat enough protein, You are depriving Your skin of the amino acids that go into making collagen (which makes Your skin strong) and elastic tissue (which makes it supple)!
Here are a few points I gathered regarding what we should/ shouldn’t eat to properly nourish our bodies in order for our skin to regenerate beautifully. I truly hope these help You in one way or another!
a) Make it a point NOT to consume dairy, because the high IGF-1 hormone level in dairy products causes inflammation, spikes insulin levels and plays a role in excess sebum production which in turn clogs pores and promotes acne (more on that *here* << I HIGHLY recommend a read) AND also because dairy is meant for their babies, not for You or for me. 😥
b) Avoid refined sugar, because the sugar will quickly get into Your bloodstream, making Your insulin levels spike, which can aggravate acne, wrinkles and rashes. If You really need some sweetening of Your beverage, opt for unrefined sugar such as coconut palm sugar/ coconut sugar/ etc.
c) Consume avocados, because it supplies the skin with healthy fats and phytonutrients!
d) Make Your plate supercalifragilisticexpialidociously colourful! Vegetables in these three colours are recommended: red (specifically tomatoes), yellow and green. Tomatoes are good for helping reduce sun damage because they’re high in the antioxidant ‘lycopene’, which helps fight free radicals that break down collagen over time, so they can help support the delicate, thin skin around Your eyes.
e) Drink water! Hydration will help to flush out toxins.
Besides Your diet, discipline comes in handy too.
a) Keep Your hands off of Your face. Don’t pop pimples/ squeeze blackheads, they’ll naturally go away when Your face clears up. Be patient. 🙂
b) Develop a face cleansing routine: cleanse, tone, moisturise. Do it regularly, maybe once every few hours, especially if You’re having a particularly active day.
c) Make it a habit to moisturise Your face before before putting make up on. The moisturiser acts as a protective shield against chemicals that may cause our skin irritation/ contaminate our pores.
d) Don’t exercise with make up on. When we exercise, the pores open up to release sweat more efficiently, and this means that there is easier access for the make up chemicals to enter the sweat pores. Again, something that isn’t desirable at all!
e) Be mindful of the sun. Apply sunblock/ screen to shield Your skin from UVA/ UVB rays to keep Your skin looking youthful in the long run. Take note that there are differences between sunblock/ sunscreen and thus their frequency of usage/ application differs. Some people may find it troublesome to apply moisturizer, then sunblock/ sunscreen, then make up. An option would be to purchase a facial moisturiser which provides both moisturising and sun protection. *These* are a couple of good examples.
What is the difference between sunscreen and sunblock?
There are two types of protective lotions – chemical and physical.
Sunblock, the physical kind, contains both organic and non-organic ingredients that sit on top of the skin acting as a barrier between Your skin and damaging UV rays by reflecting or scattering UVB light. Look for products with octyl methoxycinnamate, octyl salicylate and octocrylene.
Sunscreen, the chemical kind, penetrates the skin and absorbs the UVA rays before they are able to reach and damage Your dermal layer. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the active ingredients in deflecting harmful UV rays before they reach the protective outer epidermis layer of Your skin. Another ingredient to look for is ecamsule, which is a photostable sun protectant that blocks out photoaging UVA rays.
Sunblocks are formulated to shield against UVB rays, while sunscreens protect against UVA. In order to fully protect Your skin, choose a broad-spectrum protection formulated sunscreen that will protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Luckily these days, formulas often contain a mixture of both sunblock and sunscreen.
Earlier on when I said “My skin enjoyed some major and much-needed healing ever since becoming a Vegan”, the “healing” I was referring to was from the period of relentless little pimples I’d get on my forehead and cheeks prior to adopting the skincare regime I currently have. Training conditions weren’t the best for keeping a clean and clear face, and despite knowing that, I didn’t do anything about it… It’s beyond me as to why I was that ignorant of my skin’s needs. Ah but we all learn from mistakes, don’t we. 🙂
It took a little time before everything cleared up. I’d say… about 3 to 5 weeks till my skin completely regenerated and all sneaky pimple scars had faded. If You’re facing any sort of skin conditions as of yet and encouraging results aren’t showing quickly, please continue to have faith in the promises that Your skincare regime holds. Time heals everything.
“Don’t forget that healing takes time. Don’t expect to try meditation and a new skincare line and end up with perfect skin in a week. Give yourself the gift of time and patience. The body is a complicated, miraculous system and each body processes change in its own time.” – Yancy Lael, Glowing: Soulful Skincare
Ellen Fisher is one of my biggest inspirations in life, in terms of the way she raises her kids, the way she eats and the way she believes in being as close to nature as possible. She dishes out some pretty amazing Vegan hair and skincare tips in the following video, so if You’re on the lookout for more cruelty-free body care ideas, do give this video a watch!
Even as we speak in great lengths about taking care of what’s on the outside, never forget that at the end of the day, it is what’s inside that really really matters. This is so terribly clichéd but it is only this way because it’s undeniably true! Your family and friends love You for who You are inside and not for how You look. If how You look is what makes these friends stay, then I’d suggest re-thinking the validity of the friendship You share.
“You are not your skin. You are not your body. You are a soul. You are a cell in the body of the Divine. You are a magnificent product of Divine Creation. You are a moment of inspiration made manifest in a human body.” – Yancy Lael, Glowing: Soulful Skincare
Smile and let that inner sunshine glow right through Your skin. You are worthy and appreciated soul!
“If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it. A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.” – Roald Dahl, The Twits