Are women really using too many products on their skin?
Yes. We bombard our skin and bodies each day so we are overwhelmed physically and emotionally. When people cut back on anything, for example their skincare, they experience immediate relief. Their skin gets to rest and reset, they spend less money and have more time. There are no downfalls aside from the discomfort of breaking your habits.
What’s the most common mistake you see women making with their skin?
Listening to other people about what they should be doing. You’re the expert on yourself and your skin. You know what to do and if you don’t, you should tune back in because you’ll soon get to know. Stop being bossed around by people who don’t know you. We tend to trust products more than we trust our bodies, and this has to change.
What kind of products should you be using, if any at all?
It depends on your lifestyle, but cutting back on your routine can have a dramatic effect on your skin. If you’re a hardcore beauty junkie you’ll notice the effects from a break much more than someone who doesn’t do much to their skin.
To start, try swapping your regular moisturiser for one with a single ingredient, such as olive, avocado or hazelnut oil. Literally doing nothing to your face at all (no make-up, soap or moisturiser – just water) is a real challenge but if you can stick it out for a few days you’ll reap the benefits. The first few days are the trickiest – your skin is used to moisture from your products and may feel dry – but eventually skin is softer, more even and breakouts heal faster. I’ve yet to hear from one person whose skin got worse from simply using water.
So it’s okay to use just water on your face?
Absolutely. What do people think we did for most of time? Until very recently in human history, we washed with water and that was just fine.
How long will it take for our skin to improve with a pared-back routine?
Some people experience a purge, similar to what happens after a facial – your skin has a little freak out and might feel drier or oilier. But persevere, as it’ll pass in a couple of days. For others, skin can be instantly calmer and happier.
Do you believe particular ingredients are causing havoc with skin?
I personally believe perfumed products are some of the worst you can use on your skin. A tonne of research suggests perfume (often listed as parfum) in a product does your body no favours and may be quite damaging. Perfume can be made up of thousands of legally protected secret compounds, which is scary, however perfume is easy to spot because it is listed clearly on product ingredients.
Also be aware of phthalates, formaldehyde, asbestos and lead.
And are our lifestyles having an effect on our skin?
Absolutely, lifestyle has much more effect than anything else. You can’t cheat your way to good skin with a poor lifestyle. Good genes help and good enough genes can buy you more time, but eventually your skin will reveal if you don’t take care of yourself – this encompasses your diet, hydration, stress, environment, mental state and exercise.
What about water – can this really make a difference?
If you frequently give blood or have had a blood test, you may have noticed your hydration levels affect how easily your blood flows out. A nurse recently explained that, when dehydrated, your blood quite literally gets stuck and doesn’t flow as easily. This is precisely what’s happening inside your body when you don’t drink enough water – not enough blood flow and bad circulation leads to puffy, imbalanced skin. Make an effort to sip water throughout the day – it really is vital.
What’s your stance on make-up?
My ultimate goal is to get as many women as possible feeling good about themselves, so if make-up makes you feel good, wear it. Bear in mind, daily foundation and concealer will clog your pores and cause break outs, so cutting back can benefit your skin, which in turn makes you need less make-up.
I’d never knock a red lip or a cat eye, but if you feel unattractive without make-up, you should be asking yourself why. Remember make-up is supposed to be fun – far too many products out there make women feel ugly, making them believe they have to ‘fix’ something.
Is there one make-up item you’d ban if you could?
Yes – primer, as it’s full of pointless chemicals. Focus instead on moisturising your skin and drinking plenty of water. In fact, you should be protecting your skin from your foundation with a natural base layer such as olive oil or your favourite clean serum.
Finally – what’s one thing we can all do to get better skin?
Relax. Figure out how to feel better about yourself, and when it happens, let that feeling wash over you. I promise you’ll look in the mirror and see something different.
If you’re looking to cut back on your skincare routine, start small – two days is plenty to give your skin and hair time to reset themselves. If the thought of putting nothing on your face for a weekend sounds unbearable, try starting with a hair detox (that means no shampoo, conditioner or styling products), before ditching your make-up for a few days or editing your skincare routine to a simple cleanser and moisturiser.