Thorough cleansing removes more than makeup, grime, and cellular debris. It also strips your skin of its protective shield. Toners, fresheners, and astringents restore the pH balance of the acid mantle; remove any remaining makeup that was not cleaned up, oily cleanser, or soap film.
After the skin is thoroughly clean, apply a skin toner or rinse that has an astringent effect. This will close the pores, tighten the skin, and keep it from being exposed to many of the toxins that are floating in the air or other environmental pollutants.
A wide variety of toners are available. It is recommend that you avoid those products that contain alcohol. Alcohol dries the skin and harms the soluble collagen below the surface of the skin.
The common herbs used in toners include witch hazel, geranium, honey, lemon, ivy, sage, nettle, and burdock. Witch hazel has a tendency to dry the skin. So, this should be balanced with moisturizers such as Vitamin E, honey, etc.
Essential oils are the gentlest way of toning up. Rose water for normal or dry/sensitive skin or witch hazel for oilier skins are ideal bases for fresheners. These can be applied with cotton wool or for a more refreshing tone, sprayed on to the face.
Herbal tea infusions are also ideal toners. Boil a cup of water and infuse chamomile, marigold, rosehip or nettle teas (you can also use herbal tea bags), add 2 drops of orange or lavender oil and leave to cool. Oily skin benefits from juniper or lemongrass whereas drier skins would benefit from rose or sandalwood.
Water is the secret ingredient for dewy-fresh skin. Well-moisturized skin is soft and supple, reflects a healthy glow and ages less quickly. They prevent the skin from drying and chapping, thus slowing the aging process.
Water moves through the body to the surface in a process called "transepidermal water loss" leaving skin pleasingly plump and firm. If your system is deficient in water, the skin's upper layers become dry and brittle.
Drinking at least six glasses of water daily and eating fluid-rich fruits and vegetables help normalize dry or oily conditions, and is essential for preventing your body from robbing its necessary moisture at the expense of your skin.
In addition to internal liquid refreshment, skin requires external water replenishing. Moisturizers or humectants attract moisture to the skin's surface and hold it there.
Younger skin only needs light conditioning whereas older skin needs specific nourishing treatments.
A wide variety of moisturizers are available that range from very inexpensive to very expensive. Examples are: vegetable glycerin, rose water, jojoba oil, vitamin E oils, sorbitol (derived from plants), honey, aloe vera, and iris.
Aloe vera is very good for skin care. Since ancient times, it has been used effectively to treat everything from dry skin, burns, and insect bites to skin irritations, acne, cuts, and abrasions.
Mineral oil, used in many skin care products, can dry the skin, block pores, and prevent it from breathing and eliminating waste.
Most moisturizers soothe and sit on the surface of the skin, but essential oils, with their fine molecular structure, work their way through from the surface to the inner dermis. Mixed with the correct amount of base oil, these pure essentials do not clog up pores on lubrication. They are light enough to be absorbed spontaneously by skin.
Use 30 ml (2 tbsp) of base oil and add 6 drops of essential oil (maximum of 3 different oils) to suit individual needs. (See individual skin type description for recommendations on type of essential oil to use.)
Facial masks are some of the oldest known beauty treatments. The ancient Egyptians used mud and clay to remove dead skin cells and heal blemishes. Seventeenth century European women experimented with milk and egg masks. Fresh foods, flowers, and herbs were used to cleanse and nourish the skin. A mask softens the skin, unclogs the pores, and removes the impurities. It also replaces lost moisture and sooth the skin. It is also very relaxing.
Clay and oatmeal are ideal ingredients for any face mask. A natural powdered clay is fuller's earth, which can be mixed into a paste with hot water. Cool and then add yogurt for a smoother consistency.
Mix finely ground oatmeal into a paste. Let it cool down. Add 15 drops of essential oils that is recommended for your skin type for each cup of this paste. Apply this to your face. Let it dry slightly and then sponge off.
For particularly dry/sensitive skins add 15 ml (1 tbsp) evening primrose base oil to give a more moisturizing mask. Do not apply the mask on or near the eyes.
Mix regular or quick-cooking dry oatmeal with water or milk. Allow it to dry on your face and throat for 10 to 15 minutes. This will smooth, soften, and remove the dead cells. To multiply the benefits, blend 1 egg white, 1 tablespoon of instant nonfat dry milk, and 1/4 teaspoon almond oil with the oatmeal.
For sensitive skin, pulverize the oatmeal in an electric blender or food processor; or stir 2 tablespoons oatmeal into 1/2 cup milk and cook it to soft mush.
Yogurt mud refines pores and tightens normal or oily skin. Here are three recipes you can use:
Mix 1 egg white, 1 tablespoon yogurt, 1 teaspoon each fuller's earth and honey.
Mix 2 tablespoons yogurt, 2 teaspoons fuller's earth, a few drops of mint extract, and enough water to make a creamy paste.
Mix 1 tablespoon each yogurt and fuller's earth with 1/2 teaspoon honey and 1/8 teaspoon baking soda.
Determining your skin type
To determine the type of skin you have, wipe your face with a dry tissue when you wake up in the morning. If there is oil on the tissue, the skin is a greasy type. If there is grease on the center panel only, then it is a combination skin. If there is no grease on the tissue at all, it is either a dry skin or a normal skin. If the skin is left feeling stretched or too tight, shiny and parched, it is dry .If the skin feels smooth, supple and elastic, it is normal.
Skin Care for Normal SkinThe only care this skin requires is cleaning it twice a day with a mild baby soap and water and toned with something mild, like rose water.
At night, to keep your skin's normal moisture- balance apply a thin film of home-made moisturizer.
Any time your skin becomes slightly oily or slightly dry in any area correct these tendencies by following the advice given regarding these types of skin.
Follow every cleansing with a mild freshener to keep pores tight and to remove traces of cleanser clinging to the skin. Use an astringent with a low alcohol content.
Avoid direct heat on the face-including that from blow dryers.
Always use a mild, oil-based moisturizer under makeup to help retain surface moisture.
Guard against the drying, aging effects of the sun by using makeup products that contain a sunscreen.
Once every two weeks, stimulate the circulation and smooth the surface of the skin by using a nondrying mask.
Massage helps the skin to absorb oils and creams easily. It relaxes you. It relieves tension. It restores energy to your body by stimulating the blood flow.
- Pour a small amount of the blended oil into the palm of your hand and gently apply all over the face. Avoid your eyes.
- With the backs of your hands, gently tap the skin around the jaw-line and underneath the chin to stimulate the skin cells.
- Apply small circular movements to the chin area, using your thumbs. This will tone, help circulation and eliminate toxins.
- Make an "oooh"-shaped mouth. Massage either side easing out fine lines.
- With your fingertips, press along the top of the cheekbones and massage outward up to the temples to release toxins.
- With the middle fingers, apply pressure to points above the bridge of the nose and underneath the eyebrows. Hold for 5 seconds and smooth across from the inner to the outer corners of the eyebrows and continue up to the temples.
- To relieve tension, apply firm pressure at either side of the temples, and rotate backward.
- Stroke up the forehead to the hairline with the palms of the hands, smoothing out fine lines.