With heavy-handed contouring on its way out and strobing the buzzword for 2016, healthy skin has never been so desirable. Foundations are lighter than light, and BB and CC creams all the rage, but complexion perfection really starts with you. New Year’s resolution? The healthiest skin, ever. Here are our 8 commandments for naturally glowing skin, as well as some of our favourite skin saviours from cult ethical beauty brand The Body Shop to help you along the way.
#1 – Drink more water
Not only do you need adequate hydration to keep your organs running efficiently, water is also the number one beauty elixir for flushing away toxins and keeping skin supple and radiant. (Have you seen your skin after a night on the savvy bs? I rest my case). It’s widely recommended you sip your way through two litres of H20 per day for optimal health. If you struggle with the lack of taste, spice things up with some mint and cucumber, or a splash of citrus.
Vitamin C is a health and beauty powerhouse, strengthening cells, aiding with wound healing, and protecting against damage from free radicals – believed to be responsible for several serious health conditions.
When it comes to glowing skin, antioxidant-rich Vitamin C helps ward off icky environmental pollutants and delay the signs of ageing by strengthening blood vessels and building and maintaining collagen for firmer, smoother skin.
bellabox pick: The Body Shop’s Vitamin C Instant Glow Enhancer
This little pocket rocket does double duty, adding instant radiance while treating your skin to a hit of Vitamin C. A pea sized amount is all you need, applied over your moisturiser for a fresh, youthful glow. I was a bit hesitant when it came out orange as my skin is ultra fair, but it blended in well. I love using it under my foundation for a little boost when my skin’s looking a bit dull – it’s the perfect primer.
#3 – Avoid sugar
While there’s a lot of controversy over the sugar-free diet, with many nutritionists maintaining fibre-filled fruit should be part of your daily diet, there is a concensus when it comes to processed foods and added sugar. Without getting into the nitty gritty, the sugar found in simple carbs like white bread, biscuits, soft drink etc causes inflammation in the body, which is known to break down collagen and elastin. And we all know what that means… Sadly, if you don’t want to resemble a Shar Pei, it’s time to put down that second slice of chocolate cake.
#4 – Get sciencey with plant stem cell technology
Really want to regenerate your skin? It’s time to look at plant stem cells, which have the ability to self renew and, when used in skincare, are said to be able to kick-start your own stem cells, in addition to boasting antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties vital for youthful skin.
According to The Body Shop’s Beauty Botanist Jennifer Hirsch, “Plant stem cells are the source of a plant’s vitality. These stem cells never go through the ageing process other cells do. Instead, they constantly regenerate themselves and create all the specific cells the plant needs elsewhere.” Makes sense you’d want to harness this regenerative power in your skincare, right?
The Body Shop’s super-popular Drops of Youth collection is based around three powerful plant stem cells, painstakingy selected for their skin renewing, anti-ageing properties: Edelweiss is protective, Sea Holly is firming, and Crist Marine aids natural skin renewal.
bellabox picks: The Body Shop’s Drops of Youth Youth Essence-Lotion, and Youth Cream (both new to the range)
With a fresh, uplifting scent and a consistency somewhere between a beauty water and a heavier serum, a few drops of the Essence-Lotion quickly absorbed into my skin, with an instant firming sensation.
The Youth Cream was the highlight, though – gorgeous and velvety, this light cream left my skin with a sensation of instant hydration. I could see an improvement in my skin’s smoothness after just a few applications.
#5 – Get your downward dog on
Any form of exercise is great at getting the blood pumping for a youthful glow that can’t be bought. But yoga’s a stand out as it lowers stress levels, improves circulation, helps eliminate toxins and aids digestion (gut health also being vital for an enviable complexion). Practice a sequence of soothing poses before bed to help you drift off to sleep.
By now you’ve heard me yammering on about the benefits of oils in skincare for quite some time. Which is why I was jazzed to try the luxe Oils of Life range from The Body Shop.
The range boasts four products, enriched with three potent seed oils: Black Cumin Seed Oil, known for its high concentration of antioxidants; Camelia Seed Oil, naturally rich in nutritive oleic acids; and Rosehip Seed Oil, rich in Omega 3 and 6. Oils of Life is all about maintaining maximum skin health, by revitalising, nourishing and replenishing the skin, while enhancing radiance and minimising the signs of ageing.
bellabox picks: The Body Shop Oils of Life Intensely Revitalising Facial Oil, and Intensely Revitalising Gel Cream
I loved the daily ritual of applying the beautiful facial oil – it had a gorgeous, slightly herbaceous scent that made me feel I was enjoying a pamper session at the day spa. It absorbed really easily, and left no oily residue, just a feeling of nourishment and softness.
The gel cream is incredibly refreshing on the skin and, due to its illuminating micro pearls, imparts a well-quenched, dewy finish. It’s a lovely, lightweight version of the more hydrating cream, making it perfect for warmer weather.
#7 – Clean your iPhone screen, often
In the grossest news flash you’ll hear all year, recent studies have found that smartphones harbour more germs than your average public toilet. So you’re basically spreading that bacteria to your face every time to make a call, which can cause breakouts. Invest in some antibacterial tech wipes and get swiping. Regularly.
#8 – Eat more nuts
The essential fatty acids found in nuts act as a natural moisturiser for the skin, keeping it plump and healthy. Almonds, hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts are not only delicious, they’re also high in Vitamin E, a hard-working antioxidant that helps maintain and repair the skin, while the selenium in Brazil nuts helps boost elasticity. Don’t go too nuts though (#sorrynotsorry), as the tasty little devils tend to be calorie-laden.