Three years ago, I was completely discouraged by my skin.
My face was definitely not glowing or luminous, but quite the opposite. Every time I looked in a mirror, there it was: my dull reflection, staring back at me.
My face had a sort of permanent greyish color and my skin was dry and greasy all at once. Go figure. I had tried face creams, lotions, toners, serums, make-up… nothing was working.
I was growing more and more frustrated with my face, but above all, I was growing tired of always spending money on beauty crap.
That is until I decided to leave my skin alone completely and turn most of my habits upside down. And that included my beauty routine.
No more chemicals, expensive beauty products, drugstore fix-ups… Nothing. Instead I opted for an extremely minimal skincare routine (that turned out to cost me less than 8$/year).
Oh well! Guess it was for the best as I am now happy to report that my face has never looked better. Even in my younger years, it didn’t look this good. And it’s cheap!
Most days now, my face is glowing, clear, and looks super healthy.
And I’m saving tons of money and precious bathroom space.
The habits I will talk about here came at a time where I was becoming more and more mindful of what I was putting on my skin, but also in my mouth, and in my mind.
Which brings me to the first reason why I was, and still am, able to achieve and maintain such glowing and healthy-looking skin even during harsh Canadian winters without using a ton of products or chemicals:
1. No more makeup
This low-maintenance skincare regimen is possible because I don’t wear makeup at all.
Once every blue moon I will wear some concealer if necessary or if I feel like it. But I usually don’t. I just can’t be bothered anymore, and anyway, my skin looks better without it now.
Do I sound full of myself? Sorry 🙂
The only makeup I wear is on my lips. It adds color and life to my face and I enjoy wearing different colors depending on my mood, the weather, or what I’m wearing.
Not wearing makeup eliminates the need for me to use harsher soaps, makeup removers, and other products on my face, therefore, enabling me to maintain my low-maintenance/natural skincare regimen.
And so, be aware that if you wear make-up daily, this regimen will probably not be appropriate for you (as you will have to use more products to remove said makeup), and you will most likely not obtain the same results if you try it.
Related post: How to be more attractive [without wearing more make-up]
2. Demineralized water
I’ll be honest, I did this for about 3-4 months and the improvements on the overall glow and health of my skin were undeniable. However, I don’t do it as regularly anymore as I no longer feel the need to. Maybe my face has gotten healthier now?
Regardless, I’ll still mention it here since the impact was drastic, especially in the beginning when my skin was more fragile and “broken”.
Hard water strips away the natural moisture from your skin and can leave your skin feeling extra dry (source: Skin Kraft). This means goodbye glowy, healthy-looking skin.
I live in Canada, and although that varies from city to city, several municipalities across the country have hard to extremely hard water (source: Aqua Master).
To put this in perspective, water is considered moderately hard at around 100 mg/L.
In Vancouver, the water is considered soft, at less than 17 mg/L. Well, in Montreal, where I live, hardness ranges from 109 to 124 mg/L! (source: Aquatell).
Add to this the impact of harsh Canadian winters and excessive heating, and you can be left with a skin/face disaster.
So, first things first, I decided to start washing my face with demineralized water. I simply go to the store and buy a four-liter gallon of demineralized water and it lasts me about 10 days.
Note: Before you buy demineralized water, make sure it has 0 PPM dissolved mineral salts.
It’s not the most eco-friendly solution (hello plastic bottles!), but it was the only option at my disposal so I went with it for a few months.
After a few weeks, my face felt considerably less dry, I had a lot fewer breakouts, and slowly but surely, my skin started revealing its natural glow.
3. Gentle soap, or even no soap if you don’t wear makeup
About 18 months ago, I switched to hand-made “surgras” soaps and never looked back.
A “surgras” soap is a lipid-enriched soap that protects your skin’s natural oils.
These days, I only use soaps from La Savonnerie M’nonga d’Amour on my face. It’s a Montreal-based small business that creates 100% hand-made natural products, and they are made with love. The owner is super nice too.
My face absolutely loves the Lavender soap (but the other varieties don’t work as well). This soap specifically makes my face brighter and softer.
I usually use soap on my face once a day, in the evening, especially if I’ve been out during the day. But in the mornings, I can usually get away with just washing my face with water.
4. Organic Damask Rose water
I only use 2 products on my face daily, 3 if you count the soap: floral water and oil.
I love rose water specifically because it gives my skin a natural glow but also because it removes any oily residue I might have left after putting oil on my face. Plus, somehow, right after applying it (and even after that), my face looks clearer and brighter.
I use rose water both before and/or after putting oil on my face and once it all dries up, my face looks luminous. And the best part is: it lasts all day!
Note: When buying a product, always beware of the ingredients! Many products claim to be “rose water” (or whatever else they claim to be), but they might contain a lot more than what the name says.
5. Organic Helichrysum Water
Although I mostly use rose water on my face, I’ve discovered Helichrysum water about a year ago and still use it consistently, especially in the evenings.
Helichrysum reportedly has anti-inflammatory properties as well as regenerating and anti-aging properties.
It doesn’t smell great but it’s nothing too over-bearing, and the smell only lasts a few seconds. I alternate between helichrysum water (sometimes, in the evenings) and rose water (mornings and/or evenings), and my face loves it.
I use it when my skin is more irritated, if I have a few pimples, or if I’ve just waxed my eyebrows or upper lip for example.
6. Gentle cucumber face cleansing
When my face needs some extra love (for example, after a long day out in the sun or the cold), I slice up a small piece of cucumber and gently rub it on my face. I usually keep my cucumbers in the fridge which makes it even more soothing and relaxing.
Cucumber is a great and super effective way to clean your face, (bananas work great as well), and it’s way more gentle than using a cloth or some type of exfoliator.
Remember, the skin of your face is very thin and fragile so be gentle with it.
I then let it sit for about 15-30 minutes, and then I rinse it out with just water and continue on with floral water and oil.
Oh, and FYI, I usually do this at night before going to bed.
Now, just because cucumber works for me, does not mean it will work for you. And just because it works for me today, does not mean it will always work, even in 10 years.
Be curious and don’t be afraid to experiment with other fruits/vegetables. Try using strawberries, grapes, papaya, or whatever else you have at hand, and see what works best for your skin.
7. An appropriate oil. For me: Organic Sesame seed oil
I’ve tried different oils on my face with varying success. Sometimes my face likes something, and the next day, it doesn’t. But I had never found anything particularly good, until now.
Now, my all-time favorite so far is Organic Sesame seed oil.
Sesame seed oil is high in Vitamin E and my face loooves vitamin E (and most likely, yours too).
It’s also known for reducing inflammation and it’s non-comedogenic which means it won’t clog your pores (source: Healthline). This is great news for my acne-prone skin.
Sesame seed oil is said to be one of the most effective natural sunscreens, which is the main reason why I decided to try it on my face in the first place (source: OPW Ingredients). Little did I know I would love it so much.
I have been using plain and simple organic sesame seed oil on my face (scalp and body too) for almost 2 years now and my face absolutely LOVES it. I’ve used it both during summer and winter, day and night and it still works wonderfully.
When I wake up in the morning, my skin is clear, soft, and supple.
It does leave a slightly oily residue on my face right after I’ve applied it but:
- it goes away by the time I finish getting ready (5-10 minutes);
- that is why I spray some rose water on my face shortly after applying the oils as it helps to mattify my skin; and
- at night, I don’t really care.
8. DILUTED baking soda cleanse no more than once a week
After a few days (1-2 weeks), I can tell that my skin needs “deeper” cleansing (especially noticeable on my nose), and I still get blackheads from time to time.
This means it’s time for me to take out the baking soda.
- Don’t scrub it on your face!! Dilute a small amount of baking soda in warm water and make sure you use the “liquidy” part to clean your face, NOT the “grainy/pasty” part. It’s way too harsh and I do not recommend you do that. Gently rub it on your face focusing more on the sides of your nose and other areas that “retain” oil.
- Pick the extra fine kind if your bulk store has it. The store near my house calls it “cosmetic grade baking soda” but I think that’s just them (?)
- Do it only once every 1 or 2 weeks and only if needed. Do not do this daily as it will just damage your skin.
- Do not do this after a day in the sun as your skin will be too sensitive and fragile.
I make sure to soothe my skin afterward with rose water or cucumber, and a little bit of oil.
9. Drink lime or lemon juice
When I have lime or lemon juice or water on a certain day, I always have clearer and brighter skin the next day, and my pores seem tighter.
It’s pretty noticeable. Enough for me to make sure I do it on most days.
I usually have vegetable juice/smoothie in the morning, and always add half a lime juice to it.
10. Nontoxic diet
Ever since switching to a paleo-style diet and having almost completely eliminated processed (and highly inflammatory) foods, my face looks better. I also avoid caffeine.
But as soon as I eat sugar (you know, doughnuts, cakes, ice cream, or even just pasta or bread. Ahhhh! Why is it so good??), well… I can see it on my face.
My pores are not as tight, my skin is not as bright and the glow starts fading away.
So, I suppose I should credit this (at times) highly restrictive but oh-so-worth-it diet for playing a big part in my new, glowing, and fabulous skin!
11. Running outside
Maybe I’m crazy, but I promise you, when I go for regular runs outside (no treadmills!) during the week, my face looks clearer and brighter.
I don’t know if it’s due to the sweating and elimination of toxins (?) or if it’s the impact of colder air on my skin (?), (guys, I’m no scientist)… But it works.
When I skip running for a couple of weeks, my face looks a bit more dull, even if I still maintain good eating habits and take walks.
There’s just something about running specifically that makes my face clearer and brighter.
That’s one extra (and very compelling) reason for me to keep jogging all year long!
Here! Now you know all my secrets for clear, glowy, and luminous skin all year long, even with the added challenge of harsh Canadian winters!
And I believe this is thanks to my unwillingness to put anything toxic both on and inside my body over a relatively long period. This means consistency is key, people!
I thought I would miss wearing make-up but honestly, and at the risk of sounding obnoxious, my skin looks so good most of the time that it almost feels like a crime to hide it under layers and layers of foundation. I’ve tried it; the result was disappointing.
This does not mean that I will never wear makeup. Why put constraints on myself? I might consider wearing mascara if I feel like it one day, or maybe a touch of blush. It’s just that so far, I haven’t felt the need to.