I believe some of the most effective ways to mind our skin and get our glow back are also some of the most ancient and inexpensive. These all-natural treatments are, however, somewhat time-consuming and require us to dedicate a few extra minutes to look after ourselves.
These old ways are effective because they are based on touch (e.g. massage, face brushing, facial yoga) and all advocate a connection between mind, body and soul as a way to boost our complexion and overall appearance.
This week, in the final week of my Natural State Skin series, I’m focussing on some (very) old tricks that you can use to reboot your skincare regimen for 2018. I’ve road tested all of these techniques and would whole-heartedly recommend each and every one of them to you.
Face Work Outs
Yoga practice pre-dates Christianity by millennia, and it’s still as popular as ever, so there must be something to it. Yoga is known to shape and sculpt our bodies, but there are also facial yoga moves designed to tone and sculpt the muscles on our faces and jaw lines. Science has now proven the benefits of facial exercises with a recent study by Northwestern Medicine finding that 30 minutes of facial exercises done by women age 45-60, can shave years off their faces, without Botox, fillers or any surgical intervention. If you fancy ditching your turkey neck or slimming your cheeks, there are tons of DIY online tutorials on YouTube — I like The Uma Show Anti-Ageing Face Yoga tutorial.
Best for — women suffering from turkey neck, sagging jowls and loss of tone in face, who don’t fancy getting Botox or fillers.
This is such a brilliant way to banish eye bags, swollen ‘lumps’ on cheekbones and face bloating. Angelina Jolie has raved about the healing benefits of this treatment and credits it with curing her of a debilitating bout of Bell’s Palsy.
Best for — those with eye bags or swollen face bloating. See Ask the Expert, right.
Facial Holistic Healing Hybrids
In the last few years, holistic facials have exploded in popularity. We are the internet generation and it is showing in our faces, with younger women showing signs of ‘Tech Neck’ and sagging jowls caused by constantly looking down at mobiles and devices. Facials that include some calming, healing work as well as skincare have become more and more common — crystal therapy, reiki, chakra work and reflexology hybrid facials have tapped into a need for us all to wind down and calm our minds as well as our bodies. Celebrities like Victoria Beckham and Miranda Kerr laud the mental health benefits they get from their use of crystals. Search the net for a holistic facial treatment near you.
Best for — those looking for the skin-boosting effects of a facial combined with overall calming, healing, holistic mind, body, and soul approach to their wellness, and those suffering from stress or insomnia.
Facial massage and LDM (lymphatic drainage massage) are proven to help with puffy eyes, sagging jowls, acne-prone skin and circulation. You don’t have to book a costly salon treatment to get the benefits of facial massage — you can incorporate it into your own skincare routine at home, it’s cost-free and can be done in minutes. See Alexandra Soveral’s tutorial on her YouTube channel for a one-minute demo to get the complexion-boosting benefits of facial massage.
Best for — everyone! If you incorporate just a few minutes of facial massage into your skin routine this year, you should see your skin get back its natural glow in a week or two.
Dry Face Brushing/ Gharsana
Dry facial brushing is inspired by a technique from ancient Ayurveda, called gharsana. A dry brush for the face is an entirely different tool to the one used on your body — the bristles are much softer and it feels a lot like a stiff make-up brush. As with your body, facial dry brushing can help stimulate the lymphatic system and move out any built-up toxins, and it gently exfoliates. Try the Aveda Tulasara Morning Awakening Ritual Set (€90) with face brush, and apply lashings of the 100pc naturally-derived oleation oil after.
Best for — eye bag removal, mature skin and deadened skin, as facial dry brushing can replace those harsh exfoliation habits you’ve been meaning to kick. It’s gentler than an electronic brush such as a Clarisonic. Use for one to two minutes at a time, once or twice a week. Not suitable for people suffering from ultra sensitive skin, rosacea, psoriasis or inflammation prone skin. From department stores nationwide.
Ask the Expert
Caitriona O’Kelly Facial Acupuncture
Neuro muscular therapist Caitriona O’Kelly, is an ex Irish hockey player and acupuncture therapist who specialises in skin rejuvenating facial acupuncture treatments. She outlines the ancient alternative to Botox…
What is Cosmetic Acupuncture?
Cosmetic acupuncture is also known as acupuncture facial rejuvenation, and sometimes called an 'acupuncture facelift'. It's the use of traditional acupuncture to slow the signs of aging in your face, tune up your skin, and to bring back that youthful glow to your cheeks.
What does the treatment entail?
Cosmetic acupuncture is the use of tiny needles placed in the face and on points of the body for the purpose of facial rejuvenation. It's finished with a relaxing and skin-revitalising facial massage to help boost the effect of the needles.
Who should go for facial acupuncture?
It is a great choice for those who want to give their skin a little boost, but don't want to inject Botox, fillers, or go the surgical route. Some of the benefits of choosing cosmetic acupuncture over chemical or surgical options include:
1 Cosmetic acupuncture increases the circulation in your skin. Your circulation tends to get a little sluggish as you age. Cosmetic acupuncture brings all those nutrient goodies like collagen and elastin back to where you want it - in your face and neck. The increased circulation translates into better skin tone, fewer fine lines, and even some lift around sagging jowls and baggy eyes.
2 It's safe. No side effects here, other than the occasional bruise, which heals in less than a week. You don't have to worry about scarring, lumps, or botched procedures. Your health benefits from the sessions, too. During a cosmetic acupuncture treatment, your acupuncturist also treats any health concerns that you have. They do this because beautiful skin is linked to good health. You can't have beautiful, glowing skin if your health is suffering.
3 Cosmetic acupuncture is effective in treating acne, eczema, and rosacea.
4 It's relaxing. Acupuncture increases the release of endorphins, those feel-good chemicals in your brain. So from the time you're on the table for hours, and sometime days after your treatment, you'll feel mellow, rested, and less stressed.
5 Cosmetic acupuncture is chemical-free. There are no acid peels, Botox, or injectable fillers involved.
6 You'll spend less money on cosmetic acupuncture than if you go the plastic surgery or injectable route.
7 The effects of cosmetic acupuncture can last years with just minor tune-ups every six months or so.
8 There is no down time with cosmetic acupuncture. You can have a treatment at lunch and head back to work.
How does it work?
Many of the effects of ageing are due to a decrease in circulation. Based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, cosmetic acupuncture works to increase the circulation of energy and blood to the face. This increase in circulation causes an increase in the amount of nutrients, collagen and elastin moving to the facial area.
What are the results?
A more even, glowing complexion, a decrease in fine lines and softening of wrinkles, diminished puffiness around the eyes, and a general lifting of the face, including jowls.
how long does it take?
A course of treatment involves up to 10 visits over the course of 5/10 weeks. Visits typically last about an hour-and-a-half to two hours and cost ¤120.
Why is it so effective?
I incorporate full body acupuncture into our cosmetic treatments, so systemic imbalances that might affect your face are also resolved during your treatment.
See sportstherapyandacupunctureclinic.com and Facebook: InjuryPreventionAndhandsOnTherapyClinic
5 of the best wellness/skincare gurus to look out for in 2018
Perfect Skin book, €18.19
The natural skincare guru and much lusted after facialist has launched her guide to minding your skin naturally. The 47-year-old combines her knowledge of biochemistry, aromatherapy and anatomy with organic skincare expertise and gives some pretty no-nonsense advice (i.e. ditch the soap, up the oil, go to bed). Her biggest piece of advice is to simply invest more time in our skincare. She also gives DIY skincare recipes that are very inexpensive to make at home. Follow: Alexandrasoveral.co.uk and Instagram @soverallondon
for Neal’s Yard Organic Skincare
Global wellness entrepreneur and cookery author Ella Mills has continued on from her healthy eating mantra into the arena of natural skincare by collaborating with organic skincare brand Neal’s Yard.
Try: Deliciously Ella for Neal’s Yard Facial Duo, €40, from health food stores nationwide.
Follow: deliciouslyella.com and Instagram:
The supermodel and entrepreneur has delved into the world of nutri-cosmetics with the launch of her WelleCo Super Elixir Company. This nutri-cosmetics field (which means ‘beauty and skincare from within’) advocates getting your glow not from make-up and chemical-laden skincare products, but from healthy eating and by drinking nutritional powders and skin drinks. It’s an industry that predicted to be worth $7.4 billion by 2020! Try: The Super Elixir 300mg, €112, net-a-porter.com Follow: welleco.com and Instagram @ellemacphersonofficial
Beauty From The Inside Out book, €23.80
In this beauty book, the make-up maven focuses on how to get a natural glow, with a focus on skin-boosting recipes and techniques. She also shares the best beauty food recipes, fitness tailoring, recommendations on nutrients and restorative yoga and mindfulness. Building on her lifelong philosophies, she provides essential skincare routines, cool makeup techniques, the latest cutting-edge beauty treatments and stunning makeovers to complement that inner glow.
Follow: Instagram @bobbibrown
Skin Deep book, €27.99
Bee Shapiro is the NY Times beauty writer and founder of the natural, eco-friendly beauty line Ellis Brooklyn. Her book is a collection of more than 40 of her columns from the New York Times where she gets the world’s most photographed people such as Kylie Jenner and Natalia Vodianova to share their most intimate skincare rituals.
Try: Ellis Brooklyn’s Fable Body Milk, €45. Follow: @beeshapiro