Woman with radient face

Skin care

Most women do not give a second thought to sitting in the hairdresser for an hour or so on a regular basis, but how many of us consider doing the same for our faces?
So important to our confidence, it’s the first bit of us that people notice when we meet.

Now you have the opportunity to put in some “me” time on your face. Yet why is it that somehow having a facial is regarded as an indulgence, and buying an expensive moisturiser an extravagance?  Whilst we readily devote time to keeping our bodies fit and active, how much time do we spend doing the same for our faces?

Whatever your age its never too late to improve the appearance of your skin, and rediscover some of that youthful radiance, so here are a whole range of natural ideas to give you some wow factor.

Face Exercises

Our bodies contain about 600 muscles, of which 90 are in the face. Yet we are far more likely to exercise our bodies, and our faces don’t get a look in.

If you want a toned body you work out, so the same goes for the face. If you are a Botox user this is particularly important as your face muscles are frozen and not given the chance to be stimulated by normal facial movement. A good facial massage or short daily exercise regime will exercise and tone the muscles, but it won’t happen overnight, so you will need to be patient and not give up before you start to see the benefits.  Facial cells take about 30 days to come to the surface, so if your skin feels tired, dull and dehydrated then give it a boost to get started, with a couple of good face massages two weeks apart.

  • If you feel you can regularly commit time to facial exercise the guru to use is Eva Fraser Even 10 minutes a day, 3-4 times a week, gives really impressive results and firms and tightens the muscles in your face and neck. She looks in her 50’s but amazingly is in her 80’s, so she is a great advert of the exercises. Look her up on the web and try a one-to-one starter lesson if you can get to London, or buy her DVD.
  • Or try the rejuvenating exercises in “Quick & Easy Face Massage: 5 Minute Massages for Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime” by Beata Aleksandrowicz from Amazon. They are great for a bit of pre-party rejuvenation.
  • Give your face a morning exercise. Lift your chin up to stretch your neck. Open your mouth as wide as you can and slowly circle your jaw. It gets the circulation going and makes your face glow.

Nourish Your SkinWoman smiling holding health drink

This month’s star products are:

  • So Much to Dew Midnight Mask by Sampar is a silky smooth overnight serum for a soft fresh complexion.
  • Miracle Skin Transformer from Sarah McNamara is a cocktail of nourishing antioxidants with SPF 20
Lanolips 101 Ointment, 100% natural lanolin works miracles on cracked lips and skin
  • Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser is a fantastic plant based product and often rated 10/10

Drink more water

Drink more water during the day, before you go to bed, and definitely drink lots if you are drinking alcohol. It really does plump up the wrinkles and you should soon notice the difference, particularly around your eyes. Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum.

Get more sleep

Get more sleep – more regular early nights, a light supper, no coffee or alcohol and a large glass of water, and in bed by 10.00pm reduces under eye shadows and improves general skin tone.

Polish skin to make it glow

If you want to make a huge and immediate difference to your skin, exfoliation is the answer. Choose one with fruit enzymes, glycol acids and retinols and use twice a week.

Cleanse thoroughly

Ask any beautician or skin specialist what is the best thing you can do to make your skin more radiant and they will say ‘clean your face properly’, not only to remove dirt and make up, but also to remove dead skin that accentuates lines and stops skin absorbing moisturisers.
The smoother our skin, the more it reflects light and looks luminous. Also the active ingredients in the products you apply will have much greater impact if they don’t get clogged up in old skin cells.
So, a cleansing balm is the first step. Then you won’t need a toner or face scrub.

  • a quick first cleanse to get rid of make up, then
  • a second cleanse and massage it in
  • remove with a warm cloth to leave skin really clean

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser and Elemis Pro -Colagen Cleansing Balm are both excellent. Or try Moringa Cleansing Balm which doesn’t damage the skin’s acid mantle but removes impurities without stripping the skin.
You could also try No7 Beautiful Skin Melting Gel Cleanser (£9). It is refreshing and gentle but effective, and an excellent price compared to premium brands.

Give your skin a boostWoman with mud facemask

Kick start your skin, and adjust your skin care to the seasons. Think of it as changing your face’s wardrobe.
Winter is tough on your skin and extra help is needed in the winter months to help stimulate cell renewal and restore radiance. A radiance boosting serum will help enormously – see below.
Age can make your skin thicken and look duller, so you really do need to use products that penetrate the layers rather than sit on top of your skin. Products that contain fruit acids help remove the top layer of dead skin cells to reveal the fresher layers. Others with hyaluronic acid work by trapping moisture to give a dewy bloom to the skin.

Hydrate your face

Use a hydrating face mask to cleanse and nourish tired dehydrated skin. These masks are tried and tested and have good results:
Espa Essential Mineral Mask doesn’t dry into a cake, skin feels soft and more refined and it smells lovely
Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Masque is expensive but users say its like 8 hours sleep in a tube. Skin feels plumped, looks fresher and fine lines vanish – a good winter hydrator
Organic Pharmacy Honey and Jasmine Mask is rich, indulgent and smells gorgeous. A real treat for the skin and a good one to leave on all night
Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Mask is a refreshing gel that leaves your skin feeling really smooth, and is very effective around the eyes

You could also use multiple masks for a super boost. Use an exfoliating mask and then follow that with a hydrating one.

Have regular facials

Regular facials every couple of months clear out dead skin and clogged pores, and pump moisture into your skin. Go to a professional. A good facial will improve your skin’s texture and tone and maximize the effectiveness of your beauty products.

What makes a good facial? Well generally its best to steer clear of the department store/salon chain facial as generally the staff are on a mission to sell you their products, and tend to deliver a formulaic service. A good facial is much more about good technique – its all in the hands, and the skill used in applying the treatments.
A good facial massage with firm kneading will stimulate lymphatic drainage to release toxins, and reduce puffy under-eye bags and ease frown lines, leaving the face feeling invigorated whilst aiding the effective absorption of the serums applied to plump up and hydrate the skin.
It is worth visiting a few therapists to find one who knows her stuff. For a one off treat, one of the best in London is Sarah Chapman. She has a long waiting list to prove it, but after a session with her you will at least know what to look for in a local therapist. Her charges are high end, but her results are truly impressive.
Una Brennan also does amazing facials. To give your skin a revitalizing boost, especially after too much sun, or a drying winter of central heating book one of her tailor made treatments 020-7313-9835
. Her products are available at Boots.
If you can find a clinic that offers hydra facials using SkinCeuticals products, the facials are expensive but ideal as a winter skin booster. A serum is applied under pressure to maximise penetration into your pores.

Rehydrate mature skin

Rehydrate mature skin in an instant by using serums and facial oils, as an alternative to expensive moisturiser, to give your skin a nourishing boost.
Keep skin looking radiant by using a boosting serum with antioxidants underneath your moisturiser to repair and rejuvenate your skin. All the big makeup houses now sell them and for older skin they really do brighten your complexion, improve skin tone and make it smoother and more even toned.
Serums also make a big difference to the effectiveness of your tinted moisturizer or foundation. The tendency is to apply more of the latter to cover flaws, but you can end up with skin looking heavily coated – instantly ageing and certainly not radiant!
Serums have a higher % of active ingredients than creams, they can be mixed with your regular products (like moisturiser or foundation) and are targeted to do specific jobs – hydrate, peel, brighten etc.

They don’t make your skin feel oily or greasy, and they restore elasticity and comfort to mature skin.

Moisturise daily

Moisturise daily and use minimum SPF 15 protection. There are so many moisturisers on the market and we all have our favourites, but skin care is constantly being refined in the battle to reduce wrinkles and restore that elusive youthful radiance, so it is worth considering a change to your moisturiser as a new product can give your skin a boost and you will benefit from new advances in skin care. Incorporate a product with an SPF of 15 or over into your daily routine – whether you are in the garden, walking or just out and about. Boots No7 ‘s Protect & Perfect range is a high street favourite, but many facial experts would say don’t waste money on high street brands – price doesn’t guarantee results. SkinCeuticals is a fabulous range. 
My current favourite moisturiser is Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Beauty Elixir containing rosehip oil (a rich anti oxidant ) plus Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and essential oils for a nourishing boost.
 Skin really does feel rehydrated and stays soft all day.