BECOME SUN SAVVY:
1. Sunscreen. Every time you step outside your skin is exposed to UVA & UVB radiation whether it’s a cloudy day or sunny. It’s advisable to apply sunscreen prior to sun exposure and again 20-30 mins after being outdoors if you are in full sun. Apply after swimming regardless of water resistant formulations. The best kinds are those that contain no chemicals and instead use microfine titanium dioxide or zinc oxide that reflect and block the harmful rays from penetrating skin.
2. Find yourself a good natural or organic SPF lip balm that contains good amounts of skin emollients like plant and nut butters to keep your lips protected and smooth.
3. Invest in a decent pair of sunglasses – preferably the wrap around variety to protect the sides of your eyes/face. Good quality lenses are critical to shield the eyes and filter out UVA & UVB rays.
4. Besides a killer pair of gorgeous shades, a hat is the next most important piece of clothing for Summer. There are a huge number of styles out there to satisfy even the most discerning eco-fashionista among you!
5. Throw on cover-up. Lightweight but densely woven clothing is the best thing to act as a barrier. Remember, skin will burn even through your clothing so if you’re spending extended time outdoors, make sure you still have sunscreen on underneath your clothes and move to the shade as much as possible.
6. A pretty parasol or vintage umbrella will not only protect you but can make a beautiful and unique fashion statement.
7. The peak hours for sun exposure are between 12-2pm in Winter, and in Summer from 10-3pm. If you live in a really hot climate, use your judgment to adjust those hours accordingly.
8. Tanning Beds will burn you just as the sun will so don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a safe way to tan. If you simply can’t give up your sessions, make sure you apply sunscreen so you protect your skin and won’t burn.
9. Use fake tan. I’m not suggesting you give up wanting that healthy, sun-kissed look – just that you do it in a healthy way. There are several natural fake tans that will give you a realistic, golden glow.
10. If after all this good advice you still get burned – and let’s fact it, it happens – make sure you have some after suncare products stashed in your home just in case. If you don’t have anything at hand, Aloe Vera, Green Tea, Yoghurt and Cucumber are all particularly soothing. Note: the skin can keep burning for hours after sun exposure without you even realizing. Keep all your suncare products in the fridge for a cooling sensation that will help stop the burn.
11. Keep it clean. Throughout the day your skin accumulates all kinds of unwanted debris as well as going through its’ own cycle of renewal. It’s especially important to clean at the end of the day to remove all of that so skin is refreshed and can breathe. In the morning it’s a great way to freshen and prep skin for moisturizer and makeup.
12. Exfoliate. Don’t use a harsh scrub but do use an exfoliant that’s been specifically formulated for delicate facial skin. This will polish, refine and help your skin glow as well as stimulate blood flow and cell turnover. The number of times you should use one depends on your skin type – refer to manufacturer instructions on what’s best for your skin.
13. Moisturize. Use a moisturizer that’s specifically formulated for your skin type. Moisturizers perform various functions such as preventing moisture loss (your skin loses a lot of moisture during the day without you realizing); creating a protective barrier while allowing skin to function normally; providing essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals vital to maintaining the structure, elasticity and youthful appearance of skin.
14. Take care of your body. Your entire body needs the same care and attention as your face. Wash daily, exfoliate, and moisturize to keep your skin looking great and functioning properly. Remember that certain parts of your body may be prone to extra dryness so use a richer cream for these areas.
15. Different skin types need different skin solutions. Make sure you assess your skin properly before selecting the skincare you use. Avoid harsh, drying formulations for oily skin – these will only serve to destabilize your skin’s balance creating more problems than you started with. Similarly, don’t go overboard with ultra rich creams for dry or dehydrated skin – these may over burden the skin, also leading to problems.
16. Keep hands away from your face. Hands are subject to a myriad of germs and bacteria throughout the course of the day. Wash them regularly or use a natural hand sanitizer and try not to touch your face so you’re not transferring those germs.
17. Do not pick or squeeze no matter how tempting it is or how crazy it drives you! Squeezing can cause scarring of delicate facial tissue, broken capillaries and unsightly healing. Also, the area underneath your nails is full of bacteria so you can create more infection than you started with.
18. Keep your hair clean – especially if you wear a style that falls on your face.
19. Use organic and/or natural makeup and wherever possible, use the lightest form of cover you feel works for you. You don’t have to use it all over – only on the areas you want to apply it. Also, if your foundation is a little on the heavy side you can mix it with your moisturizer to form a light, tinted cover.
20. Don’t neglect your feet. Taking care of this part of your body not only feels good but your feet contain a multitude of reflexology points that are great for restoring a sense of balance, calm and well-being. Plus we rely hugely on our feet – they deserve a little TLC!
SKIN IS WHAT YOU EAT, DRINK & SLEEP:
21. Water! It’s generally considered that 8-10 glasses of water per day is a good amount to consumer. The human body is approximately 70% water and needs a consistent supply to replenish what we lose throughout the day. Lack of hydration affects concentration, proper bodily function and will lead to dull, dehydrated looking skin.
22. Sweet Dreams. If you’re not sleeping properly or lacking sleep it’ll show in your skin. Dark circles, discoloration and puffiness are some of the symptoms you might experience. The skin rejuvenates and restores itself during this important rest time so make sure you get enough.
23. It doesn’t matter if your exercise kick is jogging, yoga, running around with the kids or ballroom dancing! Whatever you’re into, make sure you get 30mins of exercise every day to promote healthy blood flow, oxygenate your system and generate a sense of vitality.
24. Keep stress levels to a minimum and find healthy ways to relieve yourself of any build up. Stress is the cause of so many health issues – the more you can avoid it, the healthier and happier you’ll be.
25. Try not to diet and instead maintain healthy eating habits. Eliminating refined and processed foods, trans fats, excess saturated fats and sugar will have a huge impact on how vibrant and healthy you feel – and in how your skin looks.
26. Fresh fruit and veges are critical for maintaining overall health. With the exception of meat, if you must cook your food steaming or grilling are two of the best methods to do this. Only cook your food as much as is necessary – overcooking results in destroying the vital minerals, vitamins and nutrients.
27. Spend time in nature whenever you can. Nature has a beautiful way of restoring clarity, calm and focus.
28. Massage isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity. Regular massage is very important not just because it feels good, but any kind of physical or mental stress can cause muscle tension over time that if left unchecked, can cause all kinds of greater issues.
29. Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your skin and the effects are widely documented. If you do smoke, your skin will not only suffer from lack of oxygen, it is bombarded with somewhere in the vicinity of 3,000 toxins every time you have one cigarette – all of which accelerate signs of aging.
30. While the bioflavanoids contained in one or two glasses of red wine can be beneficial for health, an over-indulgence in any kind of alcohol can become a problem for you and your skin. Everything in moderation!
31. There’s no question we lead busier lives than ever in this day and age and we don’t always have the option of eating the way we know we should. Supplementing your food intake with good quality vitamins and minerals will ensure you’re getting everything you need on a daily basis.
32. Make sure you include some kind of whole fiber in your diet to ‘flush’ out your system and help create healthy digestion. Some ancient grains provide more protein than meat and are more resistant to bugs making it less necessary to use pesticides. Amaranth, quinoa, spelt are all great alternatives to wheat – the first two in particular are gluten free.
SUPERSTAR ORGANIC & NATURAL INGREDIENTS:
33. Antioxiants are the superstars of the skincare world. Behind sun exposure, the damaging effects of free-radicals are the second biggest cause of aging. Our skin is under constant seige from free-radicals that are formed when skin is over-exposed to conditions such as sun, smoking and pollution. Use skincare that contains high amounts of antioxidants to scavenge and neutralize free-radicals.
34. Vitamins A, C & E are thought to be the most potent antioxidants but everyday new discoveries are being made of new sources, rich in antioxidant ingredients. Australian Kakadu Plum, Green Tea and Oat Beta Glucan are just a few. Look out for antioxidant ingredients on the labels of your organic and natural skincare.
35. Otherwise known as Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s), Omega 3, 6 & 9 are considered critical at a cellular level for healthy skin. Nut oils, butters, olive oil, borage oil, pomegranate seed oil, flax seed oil and fruit kernel oils are all good sources of EFA’s. Beware, not all oils are created equal. Cold-pressed, virgin and organic are the best to buy and make sure you store flax seed, borage and other temperature sensitive oils in a cool place to prevent the oils from becoming rancid.
36. Common household ingredients are great for making your own body scrubs. Mix organic sugar or salt with your favorite oils & herbs and voila! Brilliant for moisturizing and exfoliating while showering.
37. Alpha Hydroxy and Beta Hydroxy Acids are amazing for dissolving dead skin cells, encouraging skin renewal and generally refining the overall texture and tone of skin. Using these gentle fruit acids will make your skin smooth, even and radiant. Tip: The inside of a pineapple rind is full of coenzyme Q10 and fruit acids so before you throw them in the compost, smear them all over clean skin and leave on for 10-15mins, then rinse.
38. The potency and variety of uses for every part of a coconut is nothing short of a miracle. Well documented for a myriad of health benefits, the oils is amazing for hair, skin, nails and wounds – in fact, it can be used for almost any kind of skin issue. On top of that, drinking coconut water daily provides more energy, electrolytes, minerals and potassium than an energy drink – without the added calories, sugar or salt.
39. Jojoba Oil has an almost identical lipid profile to skin so it’s able to be more readily absorbed into skin than almost any other oil. For that reason you’ll find this beautiful, lightweight, emollient oil in many organic and natural beauty products.
40. Shea butter is almost the holy grail of emollients. Absolutely loaded with good fats and oils, it’s renowned for its skin softening and healing abilities. This also appears in a huge number of organic and natural beauty products.
41. Aloe vera is one of the most potent healing plants on the planet. Particularly useful for after sun care and most recently being used to replace water as the base ingredient in many skincare products, reducing the need for anti-microbial and anti-bacterial agents in organic & natural beauty products.
LAST BUT BY NO MEANS LEAST:
42. Avoid using temperature extremes of water on your face. Water that’s too hot or cold can cause broken capillaries, dryness, inflammation and upsets the natural balance of skin.
43. Not all skincare is created equal so choose wisely. There are varying degrees in the quality of ingredients used in beauty products. Do your homework, read labels and get the background on the companies you’re buying your products from. At Futurenatural.com for example you’ll find an onsite glossary, full ingredient disclosure and the wonderful stories behind the brands so you can make an informed decision about your purchases.
44. All the natural scents & essential oils used in organic and natural beauty products have aromatherapeutic value – they don’t just make you smell good, they make you feel good. Avoid using brands that list the smell of their products as ‘fragrance’. Often this masks some very nasty chemicals. Always opt for products that contain cold-pressed, steam-distilled or otherwise cleanly processed essential oils.
45. Remember that every single purchase you make from a company that uses organic and certified natural ingredients contributes to a healthier planet and a healthier YOU.
46. Be mindful of expiry dates. Everything has a shelf life and particularly with organic & natural cosmetics it’s important to observe these. Preservatives are often kept to a minimum using the mildest forms available. A general rule of thumb is to try and use your open skincare and makeup products within a year and buy a fresh supply whether they’re used up or not.
47. If you live in a warm climate, make sure your organic and natural beauty products are kept in a cool, dry place – ideally below 75deg to ensure the ingredients are kept fresh.
48. Make sure your tools are kept clean. If you use brushes and sponges, make sure these are washed at least once a week. They become a breeding ground for bacteria, collect oils and grime from your skin, and will not work as well if dirty. Also, most good quality brushes are built to last a long time if you take care of them.
49. Your skin changes with the season and so should your beauty routine. It’s important to adapt your regime to suit the ways in which skin alters during the hot and cold months. What you use in Summer is likely to be lighter than what you use in the drier Winter months.
50. Lastly, it’s been said many times but here is the most important thing to remember. Your skin absorbs up to 60% of what you apply to the surface depending on the formulation. Skin is a living, breathing, absorbing mechanism that is constantly bombarded with stresses and is in a constant cycle of renewal and defense. Among other things it has responsibility for regulating body temperature, protection, eliminating toxins and providing water resistance. Taking care of this magnificent part of our bodies by using good quality organic and natural beauty products isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.