(As per my opinion).
There are so many things that I’ve learned over the years that I absolutely should have given more weight to. I’ve gradually started to acknowledge them over time and doing better at looking after myself in these ways, but here are some of the key things I wish I started earlier…
1. Drinking enough water
Need I say more? This is literally the number one beauty product out there, and ironically one of the cheapest (is it really though?)
When I don’t drink enough water my skin is noticeably more angry, I feel bloated and I get headachey. I also find that I’m more fatigued, but that may just be down to my rubbish sleep… So I’ve been aiming to drink as much water during the day as I comfortably can and I must say I’ve been feeling much more energised, motivated and healthier. It’s nice to have my skin clearer for once as well – I always get hormonal spots around my jaw but even they have been kept at bay while I’ve been drinking a lot of H2O. It’s also probably best to try it out while I’m working from home as I’m running to the bathroom every 5 minutes!
So to summarise: a mood-booster, slimming, skin clearing miracle that comes straight from the tap was overlooked too much in my earlier youth. Are you drinking enough water? Set yourself a goal to drink a small glass on the hour, every hour if you haven’t got into the habit of it yet and see how you feel.
2. Using SPF
The other most important thing: suncream. When it comes to sun protection factor, of course the higher the better. But that’s not the only factor to consider (pun intended)…
As a lot of us know by now, there’s two types of damaging UV rays we need to be aware of:
- UVA rays
- UVB rays
The easiest way to differentiate between the two is by remembering A = aging and B = burning. UVA rays penetrate deeper in the skin, cause damage that results in premature aging and contribute to skin cancer.
Basically, if there’s anything we need to know it’s that we need a broad spectrum suncream that protects against both types of UV rays and preferably has a higher SPF. Any tan is skin damage!
Because skin damage is not only important for our complexion but also our health, here are some resources to learn a bit more about it:
Have you ever gone down that internet rabbit hole where people later in life tell you what they would have done differently?
One of the ones that always pops up is “better dental hygiene”, weirdly enough! This one really stuck out to me. When I started using flossing harps, I really noticed why dentists say that just brushing your teeth isn’t enough. It’s pretty gross how much is still left wedged in after brushing…
Our smiles are something that is so easy to take for granted, but once you need any teeth removed the damage is irreversible. And I for one don’t want a gappy smile to that extent! I’ve also got an irrational fear of the dentist, so there is that. But seriously – the earlier you start looking after your teeth properly, the less likely the chance of anything going wrong.
I’ve been using some biodegradable flossing harps from Amazon – link to them here. This makes me feel a bit better because it’s such a wasteful process otherwise! I’m trying to be more eco-conscious and find better alternatives for everyday products like that.
Of course this is on top your brushing twice a day, as well as mouth wash if necessary. My dentist doesn’t feel that mouthwash is necessary if you brush and floss adequately, but I personally like the trio just so I know I’ve done all that I can to look after my teeth.
4. Binning the face wipes!
Following on from the wasteful comment, for one thing face wipes are another product that just litter the earth and contribute to the damage we’re doing.
They’re also rubbish in a skincare routine! They don’t remove enough product to properly have cleansed your skin, and the pulling and dragging of the skin when used is closer to ‘skin damage’ than ‘skincare’. They remove eye makeup and lipstick a reasonable amount, but come on – give your pores a bit more respect than that. I guess the best time to use these to remove makeup and cleanse your skin is when you have no other option (aka when I’m already almost comatose in bed and there’s no way I’m making it to the tap, but that rarely happens I swear!). It’s also not worth putting the delicate skin around your eyes through the trauma. No thanks, saggy eye skin! (Could it sound any more gross?).
I will admit to using face wipes to ‘tidy up’ my makeup when I’m applying it, for example if I’ve got a wonky wing, but I only use biodegradable wipes and just for a quick clean-up around the edges.
The real takeaway here is: cleanse thoroughly and be gentle when removing your makeup.
5. Getting enough sleep
When I don’t get enough sleep I feel disgusting in every way. I feel unwell, I look tired and I just feel generally ‘yuck’.
Another absolute necessity when it comes to beauty is this simple hack: sleep. No matter how many benefits products may be able to boast, there’s nothing that trumps getting enough sleep. Bags under the eyes and bad skin don’t get fixed in a bottle – your best bet is to hit the sack and get into a good routine. 7-8 hours per night is the recommended amount, but to be honest I could do with 1000 a night.
There are wider implications to lack of sleep that affect your appearance too: when we’re tired, we’re more likely to snack more (junk food) which in turn affects our skin. This will also increase the likelihood of weight gain, especially as we’re less likely to exercise when we don’t have the energy, so there are multiple reasons why we need enough sleep.
6. Maintaining a good diet
I’m a fine one to talk… I yo-yo like nobody’s business.
Which is why I’ve noticed the importance of a good diet, because when I have a bad period after being healthy for a bit my skin will tell me about it.
Piggy-backing off the point from eating junk food after not getting enough sleep, a bad diet will cause weight gain and break-outs. It’s also less likely that you’ll be getting the vitamins and nutrients your body needs for balance and general health, which will also be evident in your skin.
Do the research and make sure you’ve got enough of a balanced diet and packing in the nutrients and vitamins you need for a natural glow to add to the skincare glow we’re all chasing!
7. Being gentle to the skin around your eyes
I think we all know that glorious feeling when you’re running you’re eyes and it just. Feels. Good.
Well I’m double-weird because I love that feeling when taking off my eye makeup! There’s something so therapeutic when it comes to using a warm flannel and a bit of cleanser and giving your eyes one of those massages that you really shouldn’t do. Just me? Oh, ok.
This is somewhat a follow-on from the facewipe section further up this post, because in my teens I was one for removing my eye makeup with a faceup and jusr draaaaagging my skin around like there’s no tomorrow. Well there is a tomorrow: it doesn’t look pretty and it comes around WAY too soon. Hello, skincare regrets at 26. Looking forward to meeting the rest of you.
The skin around your eyes is so much more delicate than the rest of you, so you really need to be careful and loving towards it at all times. It’s super thin so pulling at it and just generally being rough will soon show. Concealer under your eyes takes no prisoners when it wants to highlight what you’ve done wrong over the years. I also have to be extra careful with mine because my eye skin is hyper-sensitive and I had to use steroid-based eye creams when I was being harassed by eczema as a kid.
In addition to not being rough, moisturising is crucial to keep any skin happy, so don’t slack when it comes to your eyes! In fact, just moisturising in general is crucial whether it be eye skin, face skin or body skin.
This article from a Dermatology PhD student gives a heap of useful information. I may rabbit on about things but it’s so important to be educated and learn about these topics from the experts.
So there you have it; my thoughts on the minimum key requirements for a beauty routine. As I always like you let you know, I’m by no means an expert so please do enough of your own research. These are just some of the points renowned for a better complexion.