Today’s post is not about reviewing products!!! For that, go to Beauty Diaries: My College Skincare Routine.
Not only have I tried no new products in my four months of stay-home hermit life till August, but my 8 and 10-step morning and night skincare routines (which I once thought would persist till the end of days) have also tapered off: I now do 0 steps in the morning and 4 steps at night. 😵
YET, even without my extensive product routine, my skin condition has remained surprisingly stable with some noticeable improvements on good days (when I’m not eating junk food or staying up late 🧟♀️).
I have found certain little habits in daily life—I dub them SKINCARE LIFE HACKS—indispensable for my skin condition. As basic as they are, if you can integrate them into your lifestyle, these life hacks are cheaper, healthier (no chemicals!), and more sustainable and effortless than a 10-step routine. (Though maybe the real trick is to find the best of both worlds.)
👉 DRINK WATER — water is the real fairy potion (not SKII) 💧💧💧
TBH, my skin was not that great back in JC. I used to barely drink water—one cup in the morning and probably at most a small water bottle’s worth throughout the rest of the day.
To solve the problem, I have made drinking water the essential start to my day. Before I allow myself to eat anything in the morning, I drink four cups of warm water, ~800ml. For lunch, I drink another cup around 30 minutes before the meal.
I am a warm water addict. I never drink plain water cold, not even at restaurants!!! (American restaurants, weirdly, automatically serve iced water even in the depths of winter.) Not only does warm water in the morning help flush out toxins and cleanse the digestive system, studies have shown that it helps with weight loss and combats premature aging.
Now, on average, I drink at least 2000ml of water per day. I’ve kept it up over the past two years. Healthy hydration starts inside out!
👉 GLOW FROM WITHIN — what you eat > what you put on your face 🍽️
Eating healthy once in a while doesn’t help, so I try to make healthy foods part of my routine.
Integral staples of my daily intake include (I do NOT put them on my skin though some do):
- Lemon 🍋: Part of my biggest motivation to visit the dining hall at Harvard was to restock tiny lemon slices HAHA. I add a slice of lemon to my water bottle each day. At night, when it’s no longer that sour, I eat the lemon. Vitamin C helps with whitening and clarifying. [Read: benefits of eating lemon.]
- Honey 🍯: Probably the closest thing to the Greek gods’ ambrosia. I usually add honey to my first cup of warm water. Both honey and lemon have antioxidant properties that combat aging & wrinkles.
- Fruits 🍌 and vegetables 🥦: Do I need to say more? I generally make sure I eat three fruits per day.
👉 STOP TOUCHING YOUR FACE! 🙀
How apt for COVID-19 times, no??
Even outside of the pandemic context, I don’t touch my face without having cleansed my hands. The bacteria on our fingers can easily cause irritation and inflammation. Curb the urge to touch your pimples!
For objects that come into contact with your face, make sure they stay clean. I use wet wipes on my glasses and phone daily to keep bacteria at bay and oil from clogging pores. Pillow sheets, which can collect sebum and skin residue, should also be changed frequently. (I change mine once or twice a week.)
👉 DO-IT-YOURSELF FACIAL MASSAGE 💆🏻
But…When your hands are clean, MASSAGE AWAY~
At night, after cleansing and showering, I use my thoroughly cleaned hands to apply products to my face.
While applying these creams, a daily DIY massage can keep your face young and supple, firming facial muscles and boosting blood circulation.
To keep it short and simple, I apply each product with a massage:
- Tapping the forehead. Press between brows and slide up and over the forehead.
- Firming with serum. Push skin from chin to cheeks in vertical upward strokes. Prevent saggy cheeks and deep smile lines.
- 👀 Contouring the eye. Lightly sweep under the eyes and stroke up. This promotes collagen production and allows the eye cream to penetrate. Say no to crow’s feet!
- Jaw lifting with moisturizer. Use your palms to slide up-and-out from mouth to ear. This reduces jawline puffiness and also creates a lifting effect. End with five sweeping motions down the neck.
👉 GOOD OL’ FASHIONED FACIAL STEAMING ♨️
Caveat: does NOT work for all skin types. Be careful if you have sensitive skin.
I used to be skeptical about the method because the whole opening-up-your-pores rhetoric sounded like pseudoscience. My mom, however, swears by this practice. For a woman in her fifties, her skin condition (sun spots but no wrinkles) convinced me to try it out.
Every morning, I boil water and pour it into a big bowl. At a safe distance, I put my face over the bowl for around 1-3 minutes and wash my face with tap water immediately after. Some people use facial steamers; others add ingredients to their steams (herbs, oils, etc.).
While initial effects may be subtle, after a few months my face now looks firmer, younger, and more hydrated than ever (even without copious amounts of serum and cream). My pores have also shrunk. If you’ve ever been to the sauna and onsen, you know how good this feels. ❤️🔥
What skincare life hacks do you use?
Stay safe, stay RADIANT!