Wednesday 12 August 2015

How to get healthy, glowing skin.

I'm not a beauty or health blogger, but I do like to look after my skin. Since January after sticking with some New Years Resolutions - as well as continuing with a few changes I made almost 9 years ago - I've noticed a huge improvement in my complexion. And the best thing about them... they easily tie-in with a busy daily routine!


Coconut oil pulling
This was one of my 2015 New Years Resolutions which I made sure I kept up. If you're not familiar with coconut oil pulling you can find out more about it here. But basically, it's the practice of swishing coconut oil (which turns to a liquid once it's inside your mouth) around your teeth for 20 minutes first thing in the morning before you eat or drink anything. The oil in your mouth acts as a cleanser, pulling out toxins. It has lots of benefits, but I especially love that it whitens my teeth and keeps skin clear. It's also great feeling that you've detoxed at the start of everyday! It's so easy, all you need to do is swish while you’re preparing breakfast or getting little ones ready. You won't be able to talk for 20 minutes but they get used to that very quickly - you might even find they actually like it!  

500ml glass of water with slices of lemon
Next, after oil pulling, and again before I eat or drink anything I make sure I have a 500ml glass of water with a few slices of lemon - which I freeze in slices for handiness. Drinking water first thing in the morning has lots of benefits. It purifies the bodies internal system, cleansing the colon which makes the body better able to absorb nutrients from food. The vitamin C from the slices of lemon helps by purging toxins from the blood which keeps skin glowing and clear. Follow this with the recommended 8 glasses of water throughout the day (I carry a bottle in my handbag or changing bag as a reminder if I'm out and about) and you'll have beautiful hydrated skin that looks fresh, dewy and youthful. 

After breakfast I take vitamins, including Vitamin C, D and evening primrose oil. These all have a number of benefits for your skin including skin regeneration, aiding in the production of collagen, and nourishment. 


After my eldest son was born (9 years ago) my skin was at its worst. I felt tired due to sleepless nights, I wasn't eating right or drinking enough water. I was adjusting to being a Mum but forgetting to properly look after me and my skin. At the time, I became a little intrigued at how Japanese women had such great skin - I worked in a Japanese restaurant just before he was born so I was seeing more Japanese women with great skin than ever! I made it my mission to find out what they did differently to me, it couldn't all just be in the genes... could it? Here's what I discovered for naturally glowing, smooth, healthy skin - and what I've been doing faithfully for nearly as long as Ross has been here.

Drink more green tea
Japanese women drink lots of green tea. When I swapped my daily afternoon cup of black tea with milk, for green tea instead, I really noticed the benefits on my skin. Even as a hot beverage it's refreshing and thirst quenching, I absolutely love it! Green tea is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, these also help to naturally protect the skin from UV rays - one of the main causes of wrinkles.

Slap don't rub!
This is a technique used by Japanese women when applying moisturiser to achieve youthful-looking skin. Since I discovered this, I now apply my moisturiser going upwards from the chin, and gently pat my skin while I'm applying which helps to stimulate blood flow and and increase skin cell rejuvenation.

Eat lots of fish, fruit and vegetables
The Japanese diet has a reputation for being one of the healthiest in the world. It's based on fresh fish, vegetables and lots of whole foods.

Fish - Unlike our diet, the diet in Japan consists mainly of seafood (fish, shrimp, seaweed) cooked in all sorts of ways - including eaten raw, grilled, and pickled. Fish (especially oily fish like salmon) contains essential oils, fatty acids and nutrients which all contribute to youthful skin.

Vegetables - People who eat less meat and plenty of fruit and vegetables, as part of their daily diet, have a reduced risk of many chronic diseases. Increasing vegetables in your diet - which in turn increases fibre intake - helps keep the colon working properly, getting rid of toxins before they are reabsorbed back into the bloodstream. By keeping toxins out skin is brighter and clearer.

Fruit - Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants is good for your whole body, including your skin. I add fruit - blueberries, for example - to my breakfast every morning and always make sure I have a piece of fruit before 11am. When I eat fruit my skin is clearer, pores are smaller, and always looks much healthier.

Wear hats!
When it comes to sun protection many Japanese women prefer to protect the skin on their face from sun damage with wide-brimmed hats instead of applying heavy sunscreens that can clog pores. A great excuse to go hat shopping!

Avoid stress
I know what you’re thinking, this can be almost impossible to achieve in a busy household with spills, whining and unreasonable little people - but try! Japanese women make a conscious effort to keep calm as stress is the enemy of beautiful skin. There is a Japanese concept known as Mie-nai Osharé which translates as unseen or hidden beauty. Mie-nai Osharé is a belief that true beauty radiates, and a calm, confident demeanour is key. To help with this, and something else I started at the beginning of the year and stuck with is mindfulness. This is a great practice for de-stressing and calming down in general so its easier to tap into ‘your inner calm’ when you need to. The four second pause - the length of time it takes to take a deep breath - is another good way of achieving calmness when your stress levels are about to go through the roof. A delay between the cause and reaction is sometimes all it takes to prevent cortisol (the stress hormone) from travelling around your body. Stress is one of the main causes of premature ageing so avoid it at all costs. I wish someone had told me about this before I got that deep frown line between my eyes!


8 hours sleep at night is key
I cannot emphasise enough the importance of sleep for our overall well-being, as well as for our skin. It's not called beauty sleep for nothing! I know that this is extremely hard with newborns who are waking every 2-3 hours, but as they start to get into their own sleep routine work out how to get at least 8 hours sleep each night yourself. This could mean going to bed religiously at 10pm every night (which I try to do) - or even earlier! Babies can wake up during the night for various reasons until they are two years old, but if you're getting a good nights sleep at least a few nights a week, at this stage, your skin will benefit. 

Even though I cleanse my skin every night and moisturise every morning I've never had a strict cleansing and moisturising routine. I change it around depending on what my skin is telling me. Here are some of the products I use and love with links to where they are available...

Lancôme Advanced Génifique serum
I use this product after cleansing and before applying moisturiser. My skin is unbelievably hydrated and smooth after it's applied. 

Lancôme Génifique day cream
This is honestly the best moisturiser I've ever used! It's Lancômes new range of products for first signs of ageing. It's light, super hydrating and when applied after the serum I really find that my skin looks younger - seriously! I was given the Génefique range of moisturisers recently as a gift from an amazing friend and I can't recommend them highly enough. 

Lancôme Génifique yeux
This is a wonderful eye cream which visibly reduces the fine lines at the corners and underneath my eyes.

Génifique night cream
I absolutely love this night cream. I wake up the following morning with skin that feels hydrated, super soft and healthy.

Lancôme spf 30
I've been using this for about 15 years and absolutely love it! I apply it every day during the summer over my moisturiser. I always get an even, healthy looking tan but avoid the sun drying out my skin excessively during intence heat. It's the only sunscreen that doesn't feel heavy on my skin or clog my pores.

Lancôme self tan flash bronzer
Another Lancôme product that I've been using religiously for years. I apply this every second day even in summer-time as it gives my skin a healthy, sun kissed glow even with a tan.

Dermalogica daily microfoliant
Even though you can use this exfoliator every day I use this once or twice a week whenvever I feel my skin is oilier than usual. It contains rice based exfoliating powder and ground oats - a really great natural product.

GlamGlow youth mud
I love the tingly feeling I get on my skin after this is applied! My skin is super soft afterwards and any blemishes I have are visibly reduced. I apply it when my skin needs a little extra TLC.

Coconut oil
Available in pharmacies, coconut oil is amazing as a moisturiser. I slather it on at night whenever I feel my skin needs extra hydration.

When my skin looks good, I feel good, it's as simple as that. And that's all the motivation I need to keep up this simple skincare routine. So, for your clearest, healthiest, most luminous skin ever, the next time you're feeling stressed or your toddler is flinging spaghetti all over the walls remember your inner Mie-nai Osharé. Your skin will thank you!


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