Just before my daughter turned 13 I took her through a lesson on how to look after your skin. Actually, I had to give her several as she was distracted by her phone, her Hudl and her Instagram posts.
I decided to take a leaf from Oriental culture. Everyone waxes on (and waxes off, joke!) about the Japanese culture of good skin care. And lately we’ve started to realise the power of the new beauty capital of the world: Korea. When I first visited China in 1995, aside from marvelling at the number of bicycles and so few cars, (unfortunately the complete opposite now) I was struck by what beautiful skin the majority of girls had. Girls here in UK generally have good skin, but in China, girls’ skins were achingly beautiful.
My skin has suffered over the years from harsh treatment with the wrong skincare, generous bouts of UV exposure to nuke my spots, anti-biotics and lastly picking. I vowed to educate my daughter. Here are a few of the pointers I’ve given her.
1) Cleansing is as important as moisturising. No use slapping on the moisturiser if you haven’t cleansed first, it doesn’t work as well.
I knew my daughter was lying to me from the start about cleansing. She swore she did it every night but I could see and feel her skin wasn’t right. Then I found her cleanser and it was still full from 3 months previously. When she started cleansing, it transformed her skin!
2) Cleansing is more important than make-up. Ask any make-up artist if they’d prefer to do make-up on a good skin or a bad skin and they’ll all give the same answer. There is make-up now that looks after your skin but make sure you do your cleanse all the same. There are few girls out there who can sleep in their make-up and not suffer the consequences but they’re freaks of nature and the rest of us quietly hope nature will get its own back some day.
3) Use something gentle. I’m not into anti-bacterial, exfoliating, refining, purifying or de-greasing. Not at this age, it can be too harsh. Your fingers are best for applying cleanser and massaging it in. Don’t use your fingertips, they don’t do the job as well.
In the image below, I've drawn arrows to show the ideal part of the fingers to use.
4) Use a soft cloth to remove cleanser. Something that won’t scratch. My favourite is the Kanebo sponge chief which is fantastic for removing make-up as it’s so soft. Make sure your cloth isn’t thick. Ideally, you want material that will dry quickly as the longer it stays wet, the longer it will attract bacteria and start to smell. I once had a double-lined muslin cloth that I used at night and in the morning was still damp. Eugh! Have more than one face cloth. That way, you can wash them regularly.
5) Don’t try to wash until your skin is squeaky clean. Your aim is to remove excess oils, dead skin and bacteria.
Cleansing oils and balms are all the rage now but Japanese brands have had them for decades. When I trained with Environ we were using them and I had a job trying to convince my clients that oil was good for the skin! There are lots of brands offering this now. Go for something simple with not too many ingredients.
Environ Pre-cleansing Oil is very light, with no fragrance and a little goes a long way.
Be careful with facial washes as they may be astringent and dry your skin. If your skin is oily, you may think this is great, but stripping your skin of more than just the excess oils will cause more oil to be produced, leading to more spots.
Epionce does a really gentle facial wash, based on botanicals willow bark, date and marshmallow.
For really lazy teens who can’t be bothered:
Dermaviduals do a spray solution which is best likened to a toner in texture but officially it isn’t. In UK it’s called Soothing Lotion. Around the world it’s called Lotion P.
It’s easier to spray this onto your hand, apply to your face, then wash off. Spray again and it’s a moisturiser. Magic!