The 5 Pillars of a Natural Skincare Routine
We’re living in the golden age of skincare.
There is more knowledge available for skincare consumers than ever before. Pair that beautiful fact with the reality that we have more options for high-powered organic and natural skincare than at any other time. We’re officially moving out of the dark ages of having no idea what we’re putting on our face!
And yet it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start with building a clean beauty routine that nourishes your skin. While the internet is going wild with 10 step skincare routines, there are really only 5 basic steps necessary for your skincare routine. Feel free to add onto this but it's nice to keep things simple and start with the basics when crafting your routine, especially if you’re just starting to seek out non-toxic products.
As always, treat your body with the best care possible and stick to non-toxic products that are free from parabens, formaldehyde releasers, EDTA and a bunch of other nasty chemicals that are lurking in drugstore and luxury products alike. I'll cover how to read labels, what to look out for, and cleaning up your beauty routine in my upcoming workshop, "Creating a Gorgeous Clean Beauty Routine That Serves You" (stay tuned!).
In the meantime, read below for the five basic pillars of a gorgeous clean beauty skincare routine:
Cleansing is the foundation of any skincare routine and it doesn't need to be complicated. For normal and dry skin, a cream, oil or balm based cleanser works best. You want something that's not going to strip your skin of its natural oils and disrupt the very important lipid barrier function. For oily or acne-prone skin, a gentle, non-drying cream, oil, foam, gel or bar (whatever appeals to you). Again, avoid a cleanser that is too harsh which can strip your skin of its oil, leading to even more oil production and more problems. Despite the trend to exfoliate at every given turn, using an exfoliating cleanser daily can damage your skin's natural lipid barrier and should be undertaken no more than 1-2 times per week. If unsure, consulting a skincare professional for your specific skin is really important and highly recommended. You don't want to over-exfoliate- believe me!
Toner is also something that you don't have to spend tons of money to get the best possible outcome. The idea of a toner is to cleanse any last vestiges of soap or cleanser and prepare your skin for the next steps. Anything with rosewater, witch hazel and other natural botanicals will work really well as a toner. My personal favorite is a simple rose water and witch hazel toner by Thayers that I pick up from Whole Foods.
Treat + Serum
This step is where you can really pack a punch with serious anti-aging actives to help you achieve radiant, glowing skin. Serums are mainly active ingredients so you can get the most powerful results versus having the actives suspended in a moisturizer which can alter the PH and make the actives much less active. If you want to blow some cash, the serum is the product to do it. Pick something that packs a powerful punch and you won't be sorry. I'll go into actives for specific goals in a different article, but the basics include retinols/retinoids, collagen, peptides, and various vitamins and antioxidants for anti-aging, brightening, etc for normal and dry skin. Oily and acne prone skin can benefit from salicylic acid, retinols/retinoids, tea tree oil, vitamin C, etc. Again, if your skin is inflamed, I highly advise taking your gorgeous self to a skincare professional so you can treat the core of the problem without creating any additional skin inflammation.
This is my favorite step, I love lathering a rich moisturizing cream on every night. In the morning, I use my Vintner's Daughter oil which is enough hydration for me during most of the year. Moisturizers, creams, and oils plump your skin so your it looks smoother while strengthening the skin’s barrier function, making it less vulnerable to inflammation and irritation. When hydrating your face, it’s very important to hydrate the skin around your eyes, which produce very little oil. The skin around your eyes is also the thinnest skin you have. If you are an overachiever, grab yourself an eye cream. Otherwise, just make sure to gently tap your moisturizer on your eye area with your ring finger so you don’t tug on the delicate skin.
Protection is all about sunscreen and this is probably the most important part of your daily routine for keeping your skin youthful as long as possible. If you're unconvinced, google "twins sun damage" and be prepared to start slathering sunscreen on like crazy. Avoiding chemical sunscreens is your best bet but picking a natural one can be a bit tricky since many of them can give you a ghostly cast and just aren’t that fun to use. Goop has a great selection of natural sunscreens that are actually wonderful to use. I’ll dive into choosing a clean sunscreen in my upcoming workshop as well.
*** BONUS POINTS: Massage + MicrocurrenT ***
For all you overachievers, this is extra credit that I personally abide by daily. Taking the time to do some form of massage, either when putting on your moisturizer or following a basic lymph drainage massage while cleansing, keeps your skin bouncy and lifted and will pay dividends as you grow older. If you really want to go above and beyond, add a micro-current device to your daily routine for long term lifting benefits. I'm a huge fan of the microcurrent NuFace which I massage over my face daily after my toner and before my serum. Microcurrent devices are incredible for maintaining muscle tone in your face and you can also get micrcurrent treatments done by a skincare professional for a much stronger effect. For more info, Into The Gloss did a great article covering microcurrent treatments.