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by Elizabeth McCarron

Your Clean and Green Routine

“Clean and Green” are buzzwords in the beauty industry, so why are so many anti-ageing treatments focused on harsh chemicals, fillers, and even surgery?

As a beauty therapist and anti-ageing expert, I understand how traumatic the ageing process can be. It is easy to jump on the latest bandwagon in search of the elusive fountain of youth. But plenty of options exist that use elements found in nature that give similar and often better results.

Skincare often falls into the realm of ‘daily tasks’. Consider your skincare routine as a ritual rather than a task. Carving out a slice of time in your day where you’re solely focusing on your skin will be beneficial not only to your appearance but also to your overall wellbeing – it’s forced meditation time dedicated solely to you.

Evening rituals are often the easiest to maintain. Some people light candles, others lock the bathroom door and refuse to open it despite whining from children or pets. My skincare ritual happens immediately after I return from work. The timing is irrelevant; what matters is consistency.

Double-cleansing is a good habit to start, especially for those who wear a lot of makeup (if you don’t, double-cleansing is only necessary a few times a week). Start with an oil-based cleanser; organic coconut oil is ideal. Spend around four minutes – yes, four minutes! – working the oil into your skin in circular motions, always moving upwards. Sweep your fingertips around the eye area, work the oil into the crevasses of the nose, the top of the upper lip, the jaw line. Take your time to massage this into your skin.

Next, use a damp face cloth at a medium temperature (hot cloth cleanses aren’t good for everyone!) and sweep off the oil, rinsing the cloth in cold water and lifting off all residue.

For your second cleanse, follow all of the instructions above but use a cream cleanser instead, and consider using full-fat milk as a toner.

Whilst skin is damp, apply your serum and/or any special actives such as vitamin C, rosehip seed oil (nature’s Retinol), a nourishing oil like Lumity, or a thin layer of organic avocado or thistle oil, or almond oil for more mature skin.

Next, if you’re over 25, apply a moisturizer. Organic almond oil and olive oil make great moisturisers and are likely in your cupboard at home.

Finally, do your best to sleep on your back. If you are a side sleeper, consider investing in a silk pillowcase.

This double-cleansing routine will take around 15 to 20 minutes and will ensure that your face is in excellent shape for the 24 hours until your next double cleanse.

We’re all busy in the mornings and double-cleansing at night means you are able to skip your morning face cleansing. Never wash your face in the shower. Many products you use in the shower include harsh solvents, and the pulsation from the water strips the natural oils from your skin.

Pat your face dry when leaving the shower, don’t rub or pull your skin, then use a rosewater spritzer which is wonderfully moisturising. Next, apply your serum. I recommend hyaluronic acid, which is essentially a fancy name for a sugar that occurs naturally in our bodies. Hyaluronic acid works like a giant sponge as it has a remarkable ability to hold water in the skin, plumping it and reducing the appearance of fine lines whilst improving hydration. This, followed by your moisturizer – again, organic almond and olive oil are ideal – gives you an excellent base for your day.

Always, always, always follow your routine with an SPF. Go for something hypoallergenic and don’t worry about the chemicals – the benefits of SPF outweigh any drawbacks from chemicals. Extend your coverage to include the décolletage (think: my face ends at my chest!).

Your Clean and Green skincare routine continues throughout your day. Happy skin requires at least two litres of water a day. If you’re not a fan of plain water, make an infusion using lemon, cucumber, basil, or mint. There are countless ways to trick yourself into drinking more water; try them all until you find one that works for you.

For glowing skin, add supergreens to your diet. Wheatgrass or barleygrass powder make excellent additions to your breakfast smoothie as they make up for essential vitamins and minerals that may be missing from your diet. Including a collagen supplement is also a great way to buttress your skin health.

Finally, be mindful of your skin throughout the day. Avoid touching your skin, which is harder than it may seem! Be aware when you rest your cheek on your hand, hold a phone up to your face, or rub your forehead or brow.

Also be mindful of what you are eating. Think healthy food choices, especially fruits and vegetables. Fatty fish, avocados, broccoli, nuts and seeds, soy, and even dark chocolate and red wine are scientifically proven to improve skin health.

So what should we stay away from? A good mantra to consider: if it stings, feels harsh, or is abrasive, it’s likely causing inflammation or micro-tears in the skin. Harsh, foaming cleansers do more damage than good. Your hands and a cloth make your best cleansing tools; you don’t need machines for daily use, and some gadgets can be detrimental to your skin health.

Finally, be wary of skincare trends. For example, the currently hot 10-step Korean beauty routine is a great example of a trend that means well but is likely disturbing the natural acid balance of the skin. And just because your favourite celebrity or magazine is singing the praises of a certain product doesn’t mean it is perfect for you; it could just be excellent marketing at work.

Finding a “clean and green” routine that works for you could give your skin exceptional results. Most importantly, be mindful, both during your daily skin ritual and throughout your daily life.

Elizabeth McCarron is an anti-ageing and holistic skincare expert with expertise in non-invasive, non-surgical technology solutions. Her bespoke treatments are available at her spa in Edinburgh’s West End.
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