Queen's Beauty

Skin can be dry on the cheeks and oilier in the “T” zone (the forehead, nose, and chin), presenting challenges that are common in both skin types. Women with combination skin are often unsure how to care for their complexion, as it can be unclear which products will best suit them. There are several approaches for combination skin. You can use a serum (a skin-care product targeted to a specific issue) only on the area where the skin is having an issue. You don’t need to treat all your skin with the same active ingredients.

Or you can work on cleaning and unclogging your pores. Oftentimes, women will develop combination skin with weather changes, or through hormonal changes. By deep cleaning your pores, balancing your pH, and proper oil and hydration balance, some women find this the effective solution to restoring a unified skin type. Other women will always have a bit of excessive dryness in one area or excessive oil in the T-zone; for them, the deep cleaning will help along with spot treating the problem area with different products. A facial oil, such as jojoba oil, can moisturize dry areas while bringing balance to oily zones. This makes it the perfect choice for both oily and dry skin. Choose an oil that also has skin-loving ingredients, like carrot oil (which is high in vitamin A) and rose hip oil (which is high in vitamin C). Additionally, using a pH-balancing toner, like the Tea and Vinegar Detox Toner (here), can keep dead skin cells turning over and prevent clogged pores.

Daily damage:
From car exhaust fumes to cold viruses, our skin is constantly being challenged. Taking care of our skin and reducing the exposure burden is crucial if we want to stay as healthy as possible. Knowing the different sources of damage is an important first step in protecting our skin so that our skin, in turn, can protect us.

Chemicals in skin-care products:
The average American slathers on or lathers up with eight personal-care products every day. Just this seemingly harmless combination of deodorant, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, and lotions exposes us to about 138 chemicals daily. That is a huge burden for the skin and body to absorb. The thought of changing your entire routine and letting go of all your favorite products can leave a person paralyzed. Although it is a great idea to switch chemical-laden products with natural-ingredient counterparts, there is no need to feel that you have to switch everything.

Start slowly and do what is easy and feels right for you. Even a small reduction will lessen the load. Rather than aiming for perfection, and driving yourself crazy, it’s fine to take steps to reduce some of the chemical exposure. I always discuss deal breakers with my clients. What products can’t they live without? We make two piles of their everyday products. One pile is “can live without,” and the other is the “have to have” pile. When we go through this process, it’s surprising to my clients how many products they can actually live without! Then, I offer swaps for the “have to have” pile, like the ones you’ll find in the DIY recipes in this book. The pile of toxic “have to haves” shrinks quickly. This can happen for you, too, when you begin to make changes in the products you use daily. Start with the ones you have the most exposure to (for example, those you soak in or apply all over your body, as opposed to a product you’ll wash off or one that covers little surface area). Then consider the alternatives and try them out.

Smoothing out rough patches:
If there’s one part of the body that feels the impact of our busy lives, it’s our feet—literally. They support us all day, every day, and often get jammed into tight boots in the winter and exposed to dirt and elements in summer. Giving your tootsies a little pampering can go a long way to relax your entire body and nourish those soles. At my spa we often begin treatments with a foot soak. It is amazing how you can see someone completely relax from head to toe by just soaking their feet. The shoulders and jaw drop and their eyes start to close. Remember everywhere you go, your feet get you there! On one of those days where you are over exhausted and overstressed, try relaxing feet first. For the ultimate in quick relaxation, try the Tea Tree Foot Soak here and follow up with a rubdown of body butter or a spritz of neroli hydrosol (a sweet distillation of orange blossoms, which helps ease tension). It’s incredible how much five minutes can pay off when it comes to resetting the entire body.

Poor nutrition:
What we put into our bodies can certainly affect our skin, so we want to take steps to avoid foods that are going to put a burden on our organs. Foods and beverages such as alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and white flour can be dehydrating and have negative effects on skin, as well as highly processed foods, fast food, and not having enough variety in your diet to supply the needed nutrients for glowing healthy skin and hair. Try adding dark leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables as well as flaxseed, chia seeds, nuts, seeds, herbal teas, and whole grains to your diet. Eating as close to the source is one of the best healthy skin diets. That said, life is just too short to skip what I call vitamin J (aka “vitamin junk”—those little items that bring us happiness, but aren’t necessarily loaded with nutrients). When it comes to vitamin J, it’s not just about the food; it’s whatever we know isn’t healthy for us but we choose to indulge in anyway. For me it is not the vitamin J that concerns me, it is making sure you are educated so you are consciously choosing your poisons, not letting them choose you. Having said that, I like to live by what I call the 85/15 percent rule. Eighty-five percent of the time, I try to do what is best for my body and health. Fifteen percent of the time, I indulge in my version of vitamin J. You might find a 90/10 or a 50/50 lifestyle works best for you.

Harsh exfoliants:
Scrubbing our skin can feel so satisfying; it’s like our minds know that our bodies are sloughing off dead cells and impurities to reveal a fresh, new state. Some exfoliators, though, can cause microdermabrasions (little tears that damage and age the skin). Avoid ingredients like apricot kernels and walnut hulls. No matter how powdered they seem, they’ll still have jagged edges, which will scratch the skin. Unlike sugar or salt, which dissolve and get smaller, walnut shells and apricot kernels stay hard, as they do not dissolve in water. When I was a kid growing up in New York City, we used to scrape apricot pits on the sidewalk after we ate the fruit. (I don’t remember why we did this, but the memory is vivid!) Those kernels were so hard that they never seemed to grind down. The same is true when they scrape against the skin. When looking for exfoliators, choose those with ingredients that are round (have no jagged edges), are dissolvable in water, and/or absorb dead skin cells. Gentle exfoliators that absorb dead cells are a wonderful alternative to the tougher scrubs. Goat milk and apple cider vinegar are two ingredients that help skin cells turn over without causing damage. If you love the feeling of scrubbing, salt and sugar can be great for your body. On the face, I like to use mild exfoliators, such as almond meal, quinoa flour, and ground sunflower seeds. Try the Quinoa Cleanser (here) or Detox Cleanser (here), which leave behind essential fatty acids in addition to buffing.

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