Foundation optional: The best beauty practices happen before makeup.
Whether or not you wear makeup, you may have felt at some point that your skin (for better or worse) is the first thing people see about you. Despite the adage that “the windows are the eyes to the soul,” we often judge ourselves—and sometimes others—based on the condition of that person’s skin. This seems especially true with our heightened awareness of the effects of sun, alcohol, stress, and poor eating on an individual’s physical appearance. When I see my skin looking less than perfect, instead of blaming the accursed, amorphous skin gods like I used to, I now blame and scrutinize myself—what did I eat last week? Did a negative thought cause this breakout?
In the effort to avoid this neurosis, rather than add fuel to its fire, I try to direct my attention to other, less counterproductive activities. I keep up with a fairly regular skin regimen that not only improves the health of my skin, but also makes me feel more beautiful—probably because I am giving myself a little love.
If you can relate to the first paragraph in anyway—that is, if you have your own nagging skin battles, I suggest easing into a skincare routine. Of course, it’s a good practice for prepping your skin for wearing foundation, but it may also change your attitude towards wearing foundation. By giving my skin a lot of healthy attention, I’m less inclined to pile on the coverage. Foundation goes on with a lighter touch, and I feel more confident about showing a little more skin—above the neck, at least 🙂
The following are a few practices to make your skin more radiant and improve, if not completely perfect, your relationship with your skin.
1. Cleanse gently. Cleansing your skin at the beginning and end of the day can be a calming way enter the next phase of the day, whether you are getting ready to head out for work or turn in for bed. As a wash my face, I imagine I’m being cleansed on all levels. In the morning, it helps me feel like I’m starting fresh, and in the evening, it helps me feel like I’m washing the day off—dirt, sweat, and anxiety go right down the drain. If these visualizations are a bit much for you, there are some practical things you can do to elevate your cleansing experience. To boost the softness and radiance of your skin, use a gentle exfoliant. Most of the time, I skip scrubs and use a Konjac sponge. Many are infused with skin-loving ingredients (like red clay), and it’s almost impossible to be too rough with them.
2. Protect skin. I won’t belabor this one too much because I’m sure you’re hearing it everywhere, but try to wear broad-spectrum SPF 30 every day. Too much sun exposure is unkind to our collagen and is often to blame for an uneven skin tone. Fortunately, sunscreen doesn’t have to be a hassle. Many natural options include a healthy supply of moisturizing and hydrating ingredients as well as some major antioxidants (like Vitamin E), so the right sunscreen can accomplish multiple jobs and save you from shelling out on an expensive serum—unless you want a serum as well! John Masters Organics and Suntegrity are lovely sunscreen options.
3. Get to know your skin through massage. Facial massage has an array of benefits, including increased circulation (and therefore increased nutrient absorption), reduced puffiness, and improved skin tone (as in firmness, not the color tone of your skin). Also, regular massage helps you get to know your skin and facial muscles. Through massage, I can tell where I hold tension (mostly between my eyebrows) and where my skin feels congested. You can massage your face using any product that allows a nice glide so that you’re not tugging on skin. It could be your serum, sunscreen, favorite organic oil, or moisturizer. The point is to make contact with your skin for about five minutes—and hopefully relax while you’re at it.
4. Eat simply. When I hear the phrase, “Eat Healthy” or “Eat Clean” I sometimes think of elaborate detox diets and cleanses. While I’m not knocking either, I find it more effective to remind myself to eat simply—whole foods with lots of brightly colored veggies and fruit. I try to go organic when possible, but I don’t stress too much if my fridge isn’t 100% organic. Eating fresh, whole foods helps maintain proper hydration in your body (many veggies are mostly water, after all!) while supplying you with easily accessible vitamins. In my experience (and from what I’ve heard from others), eating a plant-based diet can make you feel lighter in many ways. When eating simply, I feel spiritually lighter and therefore more at ease with myself, which has a funny way of doing good for your skin.
With all of these tips, they’re only truly effective when you practice them regularly (while finding a bit of joy in them). Although my skin isn’t perfect—and neither is my relationship with it—I feel more confident wearing minimal coverage on days when I’d like to show off my natural glow—blemishes slemishes.
Do you have any tips for caring for your skin pre-foundation?
More natural beauty tips: My Nightly Vegan Skincare Routine
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Photo: Valetina Manjarrez via Flickr