What’s the best skincare routine?
It’s best to develop a routine to really see and sustain healthy clear skin. Once you do it a few times it will become quick and easy and eventually second nature. Just get in the habit of doing what you need to do to achieve the results you’re looking for.
Step 1: Cleansing
For best results, cleanse your skin at least twice a day. First thing in the morning and last thing in the evening. When you first wake up and just before you go to bed for the night.
In the Morning
While you sleep, your pores open up and expel toxins and excess sebum (oil). About 10 minutes after you’re up and moving around, your pores will close up and shut down. If you don’t cleanse your skin adequately and quickly enough, your pores will reabsorb those toxins when they shut down, trapping and clogging them with dirty oil. This is a recipe for acne disaster!
Your skin is a living, breathing organ. It’s like a sponge; very porous and full of your environment. It will really absorb the smog, smoke, sweat, grease, sneezes, kisses, germs and bacteria you expose it to. The LAST thing you want to do is go to sleep in that nasty germy cesspool!
Again, your pores will relax overnight. If your face is covered with toxic soup, your pores will drink it up and deliver it to the deepest layers of your skin (dermis and subcutaneous layers), while you sleep! Then your pores will be sick in the morning! Keep your pores healthy by removing the day’s environment from the surface of your skin and adding healthy night serums or moisturizing skin cocktails, before bedtime.
My #1 Favorite Cleanser
My favorite facial cleanser is HONEY! Yep….HONEY! Regular honey that you would eat! Just plain ole honey.
Just squirt about the same amount into your wet hand that you would your regular cleanser, emulsify and apply to your skin in small circular motions. NOTE: Honey looses it’s stickiness when it gets wet.
Gently massage. Rinse clear with lukewarm to cool water.
Re-apply and repeat, as cleansing twice is most ideal. Gently massage into damp skin. Rinse clear with cool to cold water. Get ready to tone.
NOTE: A general rule of thumb is to cleanse with warm water initially and do your final rinsing with cool or cold water. The warm water will open your pores and the cool water will close them down.
Plain honey makes a perfect natural cleanser for ALL skin types. Whether your skin is normal, oily, dry, acneic, aging or anything in between, honey can literally heal your skin and most skin conditions.
Honey is anti-microbial and anti-bacterial. It’s a natural humectant, which will gently hydrate your skin without any extra oiliness. It dissolves excess sebum (oil) and feeds your pores rich natural nutrients. It will naturally regulate the pH level of your skin and keep it balanced and happy.
You will see results after the first uses, but will really reap the benefits with continued regular usage. The cumulative effect of consistent honey usage on your skin is healthy, clear, glowing skin.
Using honey won’t guarantee that you’ll never get another break-out, but it will minimize the frequency of future break-outs and reduce the duration of any existing inflammation.
Before I started using honey about 7 years ago, I had what most would consider ‘problem skin’. It was overly oily, acne prone and very temperamental. Since honey has been a regular staple in my skincare program, I rarely have any skin issues at all. My skin is not just clear, but balanced and healthy. Much of this is due to my consistent usage of the nectar of the gods, which I regularly use in cleansing, exfoliating and masking.
Step 2: Toning
Toning is an integral component in your healthy skin regiment. A good toner is a multi-purpose tool for skin health and beauty. Not only will a toner remove any trace elements of cleanser you may have left behind, but a good one will also restore the optimal pH balance to your skin. Toning primes your skin nicely for a moisturizing sealer.
Toning is a very important step that many often overlook. Most skin issues arise from an imbalance in your skin’s physiology. They can also be caused by an imbalance in your body’s physiology. So either outside or inside, if you have chronic skin issues, you are out of balance Dear Heart.
Very good, stand alone, toner options are:
- aloe juice
- rose water
- rose water
- witch hazel
diluted apple cider vinegar (the one used in many Ninja air fryer recipes)
a little diluted vodka
even fresh juiced ginger or cucumber
All of these are great options for healing, soothing, hydrating and imparting a dewy glow to your skin. These “stand-alone” ingredients are also great to add to your more complex recipes.
Toning with natural, products will help to restore and or maintain optimal balance for your skin. I make my own toning solution and just keep it in a small 12 oz. bottle in my medicine cabinet. Usually my toners are Aloe Vera juice based; again, chosen because of its natural healing and pH balancing properties.
Very often, I mix in a little booster of Tea Tree Oil with my Aloe Vera juice based toner.
Tea Tree Oil: Tea Tree Oil is great for your skin! If you have particularly oily or acne prone skin, I would strongly suggest you start incorporating Tea Tree Oil into your skin care regiment slowly.
It will help to combat the growth of any bacteria that may be brewing on the surface or even at deeper layers of your skin. Tea Tree Oil will not only treat and minimize existing acne issues, but can stop future outbreaks before they even get started, or at least decrease the length of time and severity that they present.
It’s very strong, so you only need to mix a few drops in with your aloe juice, witch hazel, green tea, or diluted vodka to create a fantastic and budget friendly toner. Play around with your ideal proportions. You will only need a couple, few drops for about 24oz. of toner.
Bamboo Extract is another fantastic toning booster, I love to include in my skincare program.
Yep, I’m talking bamboo, like from the tree! The silica in Bamboo will help stimulate cell turnover in the epidermis (top few layers) of your skin. Increased cell turnover means that your skin is creating more new healthy cells and shedding the older, duller, lack luster cells faster. The results are the appearance of clearer, healthier skin. I order my Bamboo extract from Amazon.
Bamboo Extract is tremendous for stimulating and accelerating hair growth as well!
Just shake your mixtures well, before each use. Lightly moisten a cotton round or cotton square and gently dab your toner all over face and neck after cleansing. I don’t even dry my face after the cleanse, I just grab a cotton round, saturate it and wipe my face and neck down.
Recipes for Homemade Facial Toners
If you’d like to customize your toner even more, here are a few recipes for you to choose from. Pick the ones that address your specific needs and preferences.
Easy Green Tea Toner: This is a favorite of mine. It’s super simple and leaves your skin glowing and toned. Gently boil (on low) a bag of your favorite Green Tea (look for those that are high in anti-oxidants) in 2 – 3 cups of water. Allow your tea bag to steep for 15 minutes to a half an hour. This is a great time to make a fresh scrub and exfoliate your face! You can also use the steam to give yourself a soothing treatment. Once done remove your tea bags and allow tea to cool. You can either use your Green Tea Toner as is or dilute/stretch it with 1 – 2 cups more water, or even better, Aloe Vera Juice.
You can also add 1 – 2 Tbsp of honey for increased hydration, up to 5 drops of tea tree oil to reduce bacteria growth, or a splash of Vodka to increase the astringent qualities of your toner.
Chamomile Toner: If you have inflamed, irritated, problematic or very sensitive skin, chamomile tea makes a great choice for a very mild healing toner. Steep your tea bag or loose tea in a cup or more of water for at least 5 minutes. Apply with cotton round. No need to rinse or refrigerate.
Sweet Apple-Tini Toner
The vodka in this one makes it a more astringent. If you’re looking for a stronger toner, use this one. Blend together 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon of vodka, ½-1 cup of water or aloe juice and one peeled, cored apple. Apply this refreshing mixture and allow it to sit for at least 15 minutes. Go have a conversation with someone you love. Tell them how much you love them!
Once you’re done, rinse your face clear with lukewarm water.
Apple Tart Toner
This powerful toner is an excellent choice for oily skin. Witch Hazel and ACV are gentle astringents that will help restore your skin’s natural pH balance, while lavender soothes sensitive skin.
- ⅔ cup of Witch Hazel
- ⅓ cup of Apple Cider Vinegar
Several drops of Lavender Oil (or Essential Oil of your choice)
Mix ingredients thoroughly in a clean bottle. Shake vigorously before each use. Dampen a cotton round with toner and gently wipe across face. Can be stored at room temperature.
Just a note: Most Sisters of Color that I see in my treatment room complain of oily skin. Many will try to combat and “dry up” this oiliness with alcohol based toners and even worse, isopropyl alcohol ITSLEF! BIG NO-NO! I repeat…..DO NOT DO THIS! This will only make a bad situation much, much worse!
By stripping your skin and temporarily drying out your pores with harsh alcohol, you are basically programming your pores to go into over-drive producing excess oil and sebum. It’s a biological, physiological chain reaction that you have set into motion.
If you use alcohol on your face, get ready for an oil slick in…
Just don’t ever do it!! You’re making the problem so much worse. The most important factor in your skin health is balance. Isopropyl alcohol will throw your skin totally out of balance and it will never naturally recover! Your pores will be in a perpetual state of shock and hyper activity. So check the ingredients in your retail products and steer very clear of any products with even a drop of alcohol. You and your skin will thank me later! Have fun making these dynamite toners and get ready to fall in love with your clear fresh skin. Ahhhh….now your skin is nice and fresh and ready to receive your moisturizer.