Monday, August 24, 2015

#BeautySegment: Weekly Facial Regimen

I turned thirty last September  and in about a month I turn thirty one and for some reason that seems more serious like ish just got real. Among other things it means I cannot be my usual laissez faire when it comes to my skin care more so my face as I plan to age gracefully yet remain my smashing old self. I have a facial routine that by some miracle I have managed to follow for two weeks and hoping I can keep at it for at least three months. Consistency is my main challenge as I tend to get bored easily or get lazy. Every healthy skin care regimen includes daily-use and weekly-use products

My skin is oily and sensitive . It throws hissy fits for no particular reason and at times drives me nuts! A product that could have been working for months can suddenly make my skin break out in rashes for no logical reason. It's like my skin is some wicked witch at times. My grandmother keeps reminding me that I will be glad I have oily skin as I age as no one wants beef jerky kind of skin at any age. I am really into natural ingredients as part of my regimen as they are effective, safe, cheap and readily available. They will greatly feature in most of my routines from skincare to hair. That said and done, Clinique products are the ish. When my face is not being a nasty co-wife those products do my face a world of good and I would recommend them for anyone with an oily or combination type of skin.

I got this facial routine from youtube videos and just tweaked it to make it work for me. I don't like the feel of honey/yoghurt etc on my skin hence I don't use them on my skin or hair. If you have dry skin perhaps try them but as I said I have an oily skin hence don't need any of that.

The routine includes steaming my face, a scrub, then a mask , cleansing it, a toner and moisturising it.

I do this routine three times ; Monday, Wednesday and Friday with a break over the weekend but I tend to find that I have more time over the weekend to do the facials rather than weekday so you can start on a Saturday then on a Monday there after on a Thursday. You make it work for you. The other thing it's the steaming part. That for me is the most challenging and one i'm most likely to skip  when I'm lazy, but it's so key so find ways incorporating it in your routine. I do this facial in the morning but some prefer to do it at night and either way as long as you do it then you are sorted. The three times a week is for those times your face is breaking out like mad or is just not where you want it but once my face takes a chill pill and allows me to be great then I will do it once a week . Knowing your face and what is working will help you in determining what frequency is required.

Let me get into the nitty gritty of each step :

1. Steaming
Before you steam, wash your face because you don't want impurities getting into your pores as steaming will open your pores and help in pulling impurities deep within your skin to the surface. Initially when you start steaming be warned that you will have some break outs as impurities are pulled to the surface. If you persist with steaming and doing a facial mask regularly then you will see these breakouts clearing up. There are various ways to steam your face from face steamers, steam rooms or a bowl at home. I usually boil water in a kettle or microwave then I pour it into a bowl while it is still steaming hot. I fill the bowl halfway then lean over it with a towel to keep the steam from escaping. Ideally you should steam your face for 10 minutes but so far I've only managed to do 5 minutes as I get claustrophobic, I've  also noticed that my posture at this time contributes to my discomfort leading to the 5 minutes. The other option is plug your sink so water can't escape and fill it with hot water and lean over it as you cover your whole head with a towel.

A twist to the steaming is to boil the water with freshly cut lemon or lemon juice in the water and steam your face using the mixture. Others add essential oils like tea tree oil but if your face is sensitive and prone to acne then stick to simple hot water. Lemon is also drying more so if your skin is the dry type so be cautious when adding elements to the steaming process. Peppermint oil is also a good addition if you have it.

2. Scrub/Exfoliation
Immediately after steaming your face you need to scrub your face to get rid of the impurities that have been brought to the surface and to prevent them from clogging your pores. Further to that a scrub ensures that dead skin that usually gives you a dull complexion is removed and you have a glowing refreshed look. You can opt for a store bought scrub or exfoliator but in my opinion there are plenty of natural ones in your kitchen from sugar,coffee, floor to bicarbonate powder.

My favourite scrub is Sodium bicarbonate, most commonly known as baking soda not to be confused with baking powder which will burn your face if you dare use it on your face. I like using bicarbonate as a scrub by adding water or my facial wash which is a liquid. The beauty of it is that it's not as abrasive as sugar or coffee so you gently scrub your face and it leaves your skin so soft and smooth. You only need a small amount about a tea spoon size . Add a few drops of water then scrub your face in circular motion. There after you rinse your face till it's clean. This shouldn't take more than 5 minutes. On days when I am super lazy then clinique has a great ex foliating scrub that I use but I must say bicarbonate of soda still beats it in terms of effectiveness.

3. Mask
Most people don't do masks since they believe the daily cleansing and toning does all the cleaning that their skin needs. The daily cleansing and toning only deals with surface dirt while the toxins deep within your skin keeps bringing you issues such as breakouts and acne if left untreated.  I love how masks leave your skin feeling tightened and refreshed plus the whole ritual is like being at the spa being spoiled senseless. There are different kinds of masks for different kinds of skins and depending on the condition your skin as there are times you will need hydrating mask rather than a clay mask etc. The store bought masks will tell you what type of mask it is and for what skin. The home remedies ones you need to do your research. As earlier stated my skin is oily and sensitive hence I can only give my experience from that point of view.

The two masks that I frequently use are turmeric mask and bicarbonate lemon mask. The turmeric mask is more of an every day or long use mask as opposed to the Bicarbonate lemon which is effective when I have blackheads and breakouts.

Turmeric is yellow in colour and is a spice used in cooking or colouring. If you can get it from your Indian shops then you would be getting the freshly ground one. I use it in powder form rather than the root itself which would be too much labour. Your local supermarkets should have it or try Ng'ara or Biashara street at the spice shops or wherever it is you are sure you will get fresh spice.

I did the daily mask for about ten days and for that I used to mix a pinch size of turmeric with water till it was a paste and apply it on my whole face other than my eyes and lips. I would leave it on for 5 minutes as I brushed my teeth and generally got ready to shower then I would wash it off using my facial wash.  I left my face really clear and smooth but I got lazy and it really stained my fingers and I realised the daily mask thing was a bit harsh for my face.

For the weekly one I mix about a handful of turmeric powder with my facial wash or just water. I tried to do it with milk once but I didn't like it . Once it's a gooey paste i apply it on my face and leave it on to dry. This should take about ten minutes but you don't have to time it as you  will feel the mask tightening your facial muscles . You can then wash it off. You will need your normal soap or gel or whatever you use to wash your face to remove the yellow colour but your face will feel so great. It's better to do this mask in your bathroom or outside to avoid staining your stuff.

On those days when i feel my face is being some alien with breakouts and scars I use the bicarbonate of soda with lemon juice mask. When you mix the two you will see a fizz as they react, worry not that is just chemistry. This mask may sting a bit especially if you have pimples but it's quite effective. I usually leave it on for less time around 7 minutes then wash it off.

3. Cleansing
This part should be part of your daily routine both morning and night. That's another post. In my quest to get the ideal cleanser I have tried several products and my skin for most part can only tolerate two store bought brands- Clinique and Neutrogena. I use oil free facial washes or gels as the creams just leave too much oil on my skin leading to clogged pores. I use them as I shower hence my love of facial washes rather than traditional cleansers that you use with cotton pads. I need to feel like i am fully washing my face as water runs over it but that is just my quirk. I am tempted to try the Black African soap though i fear it may over-dry my skin leading to overproduction on my already oily skin. So after the mask you need to use cleanse your skin to ensure all those ingredients and dirt are all washed off.

4. Toning
This is another step that is both in the weekly and daily beauty routine. Again your skin type will determine the type of toner that you will use. It can either be a moisturising or clarifying toner I used to really disregard the toning process as I felt it was superfluous and just annoying but you need to tone your skin after cleansing it. A toner restores the natural ph of your skin which should be 5.5 but may be distorted by the water you use to clean your face or cleanser that you use. In addition to that a toner removes any excess oil or dirt that may remain on your skin after cleansing. If you doubt that take a cotton pad with a toner and wipe your face after cleansing it and I bet it will have stuff on it .  A friend swears by rose water as a moisturising toner but I really can't say since I don't use it . I used the Clinique Clarifying toner on and off when I was not being lazy and presumptuous. I am currently using a natural one I saw on youtube. It is an ACV with water toner. ACV is apple cider vinegar which is another home remedy I swear by. I mixed  ACV  with water on a 1:1 ratio some say use 15% of the ACV with 75% water. Your skin will determine the ratio. I really love this toner and for some reason I have been mostly diligent with it. You will need to buy cotton pads and have them nearby. You pour or spray the toner onto the cotton pads then wipe your face avoiding your eyes as it will sting. I include my neck area in the cleansing and toning part. Let the toner dry on your face

5. Moisturize

Every skin needs moisture! It took me a long time to really get this key fact. If I don't moisturise my face then my skin works overtime to produce oils to compensate. This part is both part of my daily and weekly routine. For this part I wholeheartedly recommend Clinique's dramatically different moisturising gel. To me that product is a work of art. For a person with an oily skin there's nothing as uncomfortable as the feeling on oil on your skin yet Clinique was able to create a product that moisturizes the skin without that yucky oily feeling. This product is so light that I only use a tiny amount. I bought the 125ml a year ago and it's only halfway done.  Moreover it has sunscreen, something that is so important seeing as global warming has wreaked havoc on our climate. For night time I try to use the  clinique night cream though it's a bit more creamier hence I use it thrice a week.

So below are some pics of me and products used or mentioned in this post. Feel free to comment or ask questions or share.

The steaming water with lemons

Steamed face...only lasted 5 minutes :(
I'm so random decided to use the lemons to scrub my face after steaming my face
I used this with water as a scrub

Turmeric with water paste. I use my hands since I know it's clean no cross contamination

Without flash. My camera is always trying to lighten me and stuff so I decided to have two pics of the turmeric paste

I scared a friend of mine by sending this pic. The Turmeric mask is on and making faces as I wait for it to dry.

I decided to do the facial after my workout hence was in my trainer bra which wouldn't get stained by the turmeric. 

Could feel the muscles tightening

I realised that I had used too much turmeric. Next time I would use half the quantity shown in the palm pic
Face all clean

Toner applied

Face moisturised using Clinique Moisturizing gel

My day to day low maintenance look. No foundation. Eyebrows done and lipgloss.

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