Our skin does an amazing job. It protects us from the sun, from disease and from pain every day of our lives. In return it asks for very little when you think about it. In fact, after all that work during the day, it needs just three things from us to stay in prime condition. If it could speak, here’s the help your skin would ask for after dark…
Your skin’s night-time wish-list
1. Cleanse me (properly)
Remove make up first then wash – Think of your night-time face cleanse as a two step process that starts by removing the stuff you can see (the makeup and grime) and ends by washing off the stuff you can’t (the pollutants and bacteria that build up through the day).
Start the remove makeup part with your eyes – Use an oil based cleanser as that will be tough enough to dissolve the stubborn stuff like eyeliner and mascara but gentle on your skin. Soak two cotton wool pads and place one over each eye, pressing gently. Most of the makeup should come away first time, wipe the rest away gently with the reverse side of each pad.
Clean the rest away with cottonwool pads and water – Take a fresh cottonwool pad and soak in lukewarm water (too hot or too cold shocks the skin) and use to wipe the rest of your face in circular motions to remove the rest of your makeup until the pad comes away clean. Then you’re ready to wash.
Cleanse gently – With all the gunk gone, you are ready to wash. Whatever type of cleanser you choose, make sure it’s nice and gentle. Squeaky clean isn’t good. You want to remove pollutants and bacteria without stripping the skin of its own natural oils.
Fingertips on dampened skin – Dampen skin with lukewarm water then use the fingertips of both hands to apply a small amount of your cleanser, moving round your face in small circular movements. Start at your mouth, move up the centre of your face and then round your eyes (extra gentle) and then down both sides. Don’t forget your hairline and your chin and neck.
Rinse thoroughly – More lukewarm water. Make sure all the residue of your cleanser is removed by splashing with water. Then dab (don’t rub) dry with a clean towel or tissues.
Don’t overdo it with toners and exfoliators – While both can work wonders to ensure a deeper clean, it pays to choose well and not over do it in terms of how frequently you use them. Over use of toners can strip away the skins own oils making it vulnerable and forcing your skins own natural oil production in to overdrive to compensate. If you want to add a toner in to your routine, go gentle – avoid anything with alcohol or strong astringents in. Opt for flower waters instead and start every other night to see how your skin reacts. Being over zealous with exfoliators has the same effect. While a once or twice (gentle) weekly exfoliation is helpful to slew away dead skin cells, more frequent usage or over harsh scrubbing will disrupt the surface layer of the skin and pave the way for dryness or infection. Choose well, choose natural and be gentle to get the best results.
(Check out our new After Dark Face Polish for a 100% natural face exfoliator that combines natural sugar AHA’s with skin soften mango butter and nourishing (and gorgeously scented of course) GLOW essential oils. £30 for 100ml)
2. Nourish me
Nourishment from the inside and out – Skin needs a plethora of vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Well known among these are Vitamin A (also called retinol) – which promotes cell growth and the antioxidants C & E which build healthy cells and help deal with skin ageing free radicals. Less well-known are the army of trace minerals skin relies on. For example, zinc which helps healing and has a soothing anti-inflammatory effect on the skin. Great skin needs both a healthy diet and the right type of skincare products. There’s little point doing one without the other.
Eat right through the day – Keep your diet balanced – lots of colourful fruit and veg, healthy oils from fish, seeds and nuts and a splash of dairy should do the trick. Go easy on the sugar and the saturated fats. And keep drinking that water.
Protect skin by day – Our skin protects us through the day, everyday, It prevents dangerous and nasty infections by keeping out bacteria and keeps us safe from the sun’s harmful rays. The cost of all this is that it gets bombarded with free radicals which speed up signs of ageing. So the top priority through the day is to choose a day cream which offers a good UV protection. After that it’s about keeping skin well moisturised so the surface layer remains intact.
Nourish skin by night – Day creams don’t cut it at night – there’s little point slathering on UV protection when all you are about to do is go to bed. Instead what your skin needs is nutrients to help the cell repair process it is working hard to do while we sleep. So after cleansing nourish your skin with a nutrient rich cream or oil before going to bed.
Night oils work harder – Given a choice, we’ll always choose a facial oil at night over a cream. That’s because high quality oils are loaded with natural nutrients your skin really craves at night. They’ve been used around the globe as part of women’s beauty regimes since ancient times – so there’s real natural wisdom behind them. The simple chemical makeup of the nutrients in the oils mean they can penetrate deeper in to the skin where the nutritional hit is needed most. Check out our range of After Dark Face Oils – loaded with 100% natural essential oils to look after your skin overnight and also help you get in to sleep mode.
3. Go to sleep
Sleep is skin’s essential repair time – While we’re sleeping tonight, our skin cells will be hard at work. Deep down under the surface, tomorrow’s skin is being created. A flurry of activity is going on to repair cells and keep the layers of your skin intact. Our body needs this ‘down time’ to do essential maintenance at a cellular level. Disrupted sleep messes with this process and that’s where problems start to show.
Poor sleep stresses out our skin – Poor sleep also has been shown to result in increased production of stress hormones. They in turn interfere with the body’s ability to produce collagen – the building block of healthy skin cells.
Take the Morning Mirror Test – Tired skin is hard to hide. To check whether your skin is getting enough sleep, just take a look in the mirror when you wake up. If you notice puffy eyes, signs of dryness, breakouts or dullness, it could be your sleep patterns that are part of the problem. Check out our blog post all about tired skin to find out what to look for and what to do about it.