Nature's first and best answer to anti-aging is to age gracefully; to become ever more serene and appreciative. Through your lifetime, your every thought shows up on your face, sending either a frowning, angry, worried message, or a smiling and compassionate message. Repeating these thoughts over the years will create a permanent display of your inner thought life. There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who is comfortable with herself and kind to others, regardless of her age.
If you're coming into serenity late in life, or just wanting to avoid looking older than you feel, a combination of the right natural ingredients and safe active ingredients from cosmetic science brings a new freshness to your skin and hair.
First skin objective: Glowing.
Even the oldest skin is more pleasant to the eye when it glows. Exfoliation – just the right amount – is essential. Gentle, consistent exfoliation is more effective and long-lasting, (not to mention less poisoning) than aggressive, but infrequent, exfoliation.
Glycolic acid is one of the most popular alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) used to achieve a glow. It is derived from sugar cane. When you apply it to your skin, it exfoliates the outer layer of dead cells, encouragements renewal of the cells, and creates skin that is softer, smoother, and with fewer wrinkles.
You will want to avoid facial skin peels that have high concentrations (20% to 50%) of glycolic acid. They are overly expensive, often irritating, and can lead to sun sensitivity. Skin care products for home use are usually limited to a 10% concentration, which is better for your skin in the long run. The results will take weeks rather than minutes, but the result will be glowing skin without the undressed side effects.
In addition to the AHAs which provide long term skin renewal, routine physical exfoliation in the form of microdermabrasion is excellent for instantly smooth skin. The use of waxy jojoba beads naturally moisturize your skin while sloughing off surface cells, and aluminum oxide crystals provide professional results. The key to any scruffing product is to always use a light touch and let the active exfoliants do the work. Your skin will be radiant and more youthful. Just sit back and wait for the compliments.
What should be obvious but often is not, is that the most basic path to a luminous complexity is to keep it clean. Each night you go to bed without removing your makeup adds three days to your age. It adds up.
Remove your makeup by gently massaging a cleanser with penetrating actives into your skin, then remove excess with a clean, wet face cloth. Splashing water is not effective for deep cleaning. Always follow cleansing with an active toner for exfoliation and cellular renewal. Use facial pads for just the right amount of distribution and to insure deep penetration.
After cleaning and toning, apply eye treatments and facial oils. Apply the right serums for your skin type to your face, neck, and even the back of your hands. Moisture oils are most effective at night, working their magic while you sleep, unencumbered with makeup and exposure to environmental stress. Your nightly routine should also include a gentle facial massage and a misting with a hydrosol or a facial mist. As you massage in the treatments, always move your fingers from the center of the face outwards. Thirty seconds to several minutes is sufficient.
Repeat the same routine each morning, including the massage, prior to the application of your makeup. This daily nighttime and morning routine will ensure a day-long glow.
Here's another tip. After you apply your mineral makeup, use a setting mist, which will add an almost instant radiance to your complexion. We have found that mists containing hyaluronic acid are the most effective and have the added benefit of helping the skin retain moisture.
By the way, your choice of cosmetic brushes determines the ultimate elegant appearance of your mineral makeup, especially when you want subtle accents or careful camouflage. You can achieve a timeless airbrush effect, excellent coverage, and pore-minimizing smoothness with both soft animal-hair brushes and brushes made with vegan-approved synthetic fibers.
All brushes should be washed frequently. Powders should glide onto your skin. If the brush starts to pull on your skin, it's overdue for a cleaning. Use any gentle shampoo or bar soap to clean your brushes, rinsing until the water runs clear.
Second skin objective: Firming.
Glowing skin is the first objective. Firmer skin is the second, and the two most effective agents for firmness are peptides and toners.
The foundation of firm skin is collagen. Collagen gives the skin its support and thickness. Young people have lots of collagen. With each passing year, collagen levels decrease. Skin becomes looser, thinner, and wrinkled. One of the goals of all facial creams is to encourage natural collagen synthesis within the skin.
Collagen is protein. It is made of long chains of amino acids strung together. Shorter chains of amino acids are called peptides. When collagen breaks down in the skin, it forms specific peptides that signal collagen damage. The skin receives this alert and the metabolic machinery is directed to make more collagen.
Many think that you can increase skin collagen by applying it directly to the skin. Not so. Collagen is a very large molecule that can not penetrate the skin's protective barriers.
Peptides solve this problem. Peptides are small molecules that reach the deer layers of the skin. When we apply peptides directly to the surface of the skin, we are tricking it into thinking that its collagen was damaged, and that it needs to make some more.
Peptides with copper attached are now becoming more available and offer an additional benefit. Copper has long been a useful agent in treating chronic wounds. Copper peptides seem to encourage collagen production and serve as an anti-aging antioxidant in regeneration of skin. They are naturally healing and appear to remove damaged collagen.
Peptides do not work alone. They have to be delivered to the skin in a carrier that gains penetration. Avoid heavy creams; they deter penetration.
Another way to firm up the skin's surface is by toning with hydrosols. Hydrosols are 100% pure from nature. They can not be synthetically manufactured, as they are created by distilling plant material. As steam or boiling water moves through the plant, it nudges open the cellular structures that contain the essential oils and other components. When the distillate is cooled, the oil is easily separated, leaving the distillate, which contains a mild form of the essence of the plant. Each hydrosol is unique, carries its own scent and taste, and has a perfect acid balance to match human skin.
Hydrosols treat a number of skin conditions and promote emotional balance. They are also natural toners that clean, clear, and shrink pores, and tighten the skin. They are often antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. They can calm sunburn, reduce razor bumps and burn, soothe diaper rash pain almost instantly, clear acne, reduce redness, and tie itching.
The main aim for hair: Shine.
Even the most weathered face looks younger if it is surrounded by luxurious, shining hair. Making sure your hair stays that way as you get older does not require heroics, just gentle and consistent care.
The first place to start is to fuss less. Take a break whenever possible from blow dryers, brushing, curling, chemicals, violet towel rubbing, and styling. Heat is your hair's number one enemy.
Protective oils on the scalp, such as sebum, act as nature's conditioner and give hair its shine. Hot water strips the scalp of these oils and leads to dullness. Always use lukewarm water to wash and rinse your hair.
To minimize sun damage during the summer, start by wearing a hat. Hair gets sunburned just like our skin does. You can also condition dry hair in between washing's to protect it from sun and wind. Squeeze a small dollop of conditioner into your hand, rub your palms together to distribute it evenly, then work your fingers through your hair. Massage it into the roots and scalp and move outwards toward the ends.
Every so often, if your hair is dry, indulge in a do-it-yourself hair masque. Start by warming two towels in the dryer. Slightly warm a cup of olive oil, mayonnaise, or a mixture of both in the microwave. (Make sure it is only warm, not hot.) Whisk in two eggs. Massage the mixture through dry or wet hair, wrap with one of the warm towels, and let your hair absorb the masque. (You can accelerate absorption by wrapping your head first in kitchen clinging plastic wrap.) Replace the first warm towel as it cools with the second towel. Leave all this on for 35 – 40 minutes. Then, work shampoo through your treated hair, before adding water. Step into the shower, lather up, rinse, and wash one more time.
Make sure that your shampoo is right for your type of hair. For example, we have created Coffee and Cloves shampoo and conditioner for dark hair (discussed at MyBeautyBunny.com), Chamomile shampoo and conditioner for light hair, and Lazarus shampoo, conditioner, and scalp treatment serum for thinning hair. Lazarus includes Kinetocyte Growth Factor, which promotes cellular protective mechanisms and has increased growth, thickness, and coverage in a number of laboratory studies.
As My Beauty Bunny rightly recommends, avoid life-stripping chemicals such as Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES). Harsh chemicals will strip your hair of its natural oils, which is where the best shine comes from. The closer you can get to natural and organic hair care products, the better.
One final tip: if you feel better, you'll look better
We're back where we started: talking about how your thoughts are reflected on your face. Pain or discomfort is reflected there, as well. Of course, being concerned about wrinkles is not the main reason to get rid of pain, but it's a great side benefit.
Hydrosols can help here, such as hydrosol extracted from yarrow. Essential oils can be very effective. One of our most popular solutions containing essential oils is St. Louis. Luke's Pain Relief, which I formulated by combining aloe, witch hazel, vegetable glycerine, menthol, emu, and eighteen essential oils, including peppermint, camphora, eucalyptus, rosemary, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, grapefruit, pine, and basil. The resulting non-greasy gel penetrates deep into tissues to treat chronic pain, soreness, and itching.
Soothing and smoothing are closely related. If your soul is soothed, your face will be smoothed. And that is very, very beautiful.