Is adjusting your skincare routine with each season (in this case, summertime in the northern hemisphere that brings with it hot, humid days, as well as increased sun exposure as we spend more time outside) really necessary?
For many of us, especially those with sensitive or acne-prone skin, the answer is a quick “yes”!
Adjusting our skincare routine, and more speciﬁcally, the products we’re using, as we move into a new season ensures that we are nourishing our skin in line with the current climate and changing environmental factors.
Below you’ll ﬁnd seasonal suggestions (as well as one MUST DO) that are can be worked into a supportive, mindful, well-balanced slow skincare approach.
Sun Protection + Facial Sunscreen Guide
It’s no surprise that sun protection is included as our MUST DO for supporting our skin during the summer (and all year round, to be honest). Preventing inﬂammation, sensitivity, sunburns, and clogged pores (due to oxidized oils from UV exposure) are things we can all get behind. The tricky part is ﬁnding the right sun protection for our skin – especially if our skin is prone to acne breakouts, congested clogged pores, or sensitivity.
To help you out, I’ve put together a Guide to Facial Sunscreen (based on the brands that Radiant Rebels in the Facebook group wanted to know about the most). To get your copy of the guide, simply make a purchase in the online shop anytime this summer and it will be delivered to your inbox within minutes.
During the summer we don’t want to be holding onto heat within our skin by using rich plant-based oils and butters. Instead, now is the time to lighten up your moisturizer by switching to a formula with deep-absorbing plant-based oils that don’t hold in the heat.
Light, natural summer moisturizer picks are:
Cucumber Refresh Facial Moisturizer is great for combination, extra sensitive, and acne/ congestion-prone skin.
Raw Radiance Facial Moisturizer is best for acne-prone skin that wants more acne-speciﬁc targeted ingredients.
Calendula & Oat Facial Moisturizer is great for oily skin that’s also sensitive.
Another way to keep our skin cool (which reduces inﬂammation, sensitivity, and breakouts) besides sun protection and switching up our moisturizer, is to make sure we’re including lots of cooling, water-rich ingredients in our skincare routine.
Here are my top picks for:
Body care: Aloe-ver Body Hydrator & After Sun Care (can also be used on the face + body for after sun care)
Nighttime toner: Hydration Mist (the vitamin B3 supports a healthy microbiome on your skin)
Daytime SPF boosting serum: Vitamin C + Probiotic Serum (apply after cleansing and before your light summer moisturizer)
Need a routine template?
It’s not easy to making sure you’re using products that all play nice together while also protecting your skin from skin-damaging (and aging) UV exposure, nourishing your lipid barrier (to prevent dehydrated skin), and supporting a healthy microbiome (just like your gut bacteria, the skin has its own collection of bacteria that need to remain in a healthy balance).
That’s why we’ve put together a template for creating a balanced summer routine for both the morning and evening. The template provides an example of how to seasonal support your skin by hitting all the pillars of balanced skincare (while also taking into consideration factors we experience in hot days – and nights – of summer).
When it comes to supporting our skin over the long haul, we don’t need to have elaborate routines or follow the latest beauty trends. Keeping our skin happy and well supported involved a few key concepts (one of which I’ll cover today – see this post for more). Within each concept, we each have the freedom to ﬁnd ingredients, products, and routines that work best for us (more on that here).
Today I’ll be talking about antioxidants. You’ve probably heard that we should eat an antioxidant-rich diet, but what about an antioxidant-rich skincare routine? Keep reading to ﬁnd out more about this pillar of healthy skincare.
Pillar 2: Topical Multi-Vitamin.
Daily use of topical antioxidants
Think of topical antioxidants as your skin’s version of a multi-vitamin: while you may not see immediate results by taking vitamins for your body, doing so will help keep your body healthy over the long haul – topical antioxidants are like that for your skin.
Topical antioxidants help stop inﬂammation from leading to skin damage. This interruption of potential damage has fantastic long-term eﬀects on our skin by helping it stay healthy.
Through the use of skincare products packed with antioxidant-rich ingredients like vitamin e, vitamin b3, vitamin c, green tea, licorice, grape seed, sea buckthorn, sunﬂower, argan, fruit extracts, cucumber, white tea, etc.
Wondering which products in our line up are packed with antioxidant-rich ingredients? You’d be hard-pressed to ﬁnd a product we make that doesn’t have oodles of antioxidants, but here are a few examples of products that would be my top picks for adding a “topical multi-vitamin” to a simple skincare routine:
If you are anything like me, following a plan that was developed without any consideration to my personal preferences and concerns isn’t likely to be something I’m going to follow for long – or at all! I’m looking at you “whole 30 diet”.
While I may be a stubborn rebel who’s always quick to dismiss conventional ways of doing things, there is an important lesson I’ve learned over the years. That lesson is:
Figure out the rules of the game (the boundaries that you will bump up against), then ﬁgure out how to play within those rules if, and only if, those rules/reasons/boundaries make sense for you.
And while that may sound selﬁsh, taking this approach in all aspects of my life has made me a happier, healthier person. When I’m happy and healthy, that positivity spills over into my relationships (with myself and others), into my work, and into the broader world (though philanthropic endeavours).
When it comes to skincare, there’s a lot of diﬀerent approaches. A lot of diﬀerent rules. A lot of diﬀerent (and sometimes misguided) reasons, and there are deﬁantly a lot of boundaries.
You’ve probably heard it said before that you know you best – or in our context, you know your skin best.
Of course, that is true but we also need to know more than our subjective observations to…
really know what’s going on (why we do what we do – or what our skin does what it does),
so we can develop self-compassion (understanding the “whys” always makes me more compassionate with myself),
develop insight as we start to connect the dots, and should we choose to, develop habits or routines that support balanced skin, a “skin-positive” mindset (body positivity), and long term health for our biggest organ (the skin).
In the next few posts on the blog, I will lay out a “framework” (the “rules of the game”) for what helps keep our skin healthy over the long haul when it comes to topical approaches. I won’t be going into internal considerations (yet) as that’s a much broader topic (though we will be diving into this topic with special guests on the Ground Sage Podcast over the next little while).
The framework I’ll share covers 4 pillars that, if worked into your beauty/skincare regiment (in a way that works for you), will give you the peace of mind that you’re supporting your skin in a way that works (without needing to keep up on trends, fads, or anyone else’s notion of what’s healthy for your skin).
The beauty of taking this approach is that while there is a framework, each component of the framework works like an umbrella that encompasses so many diﬀerent ingredients and products that can satisfy each requirement of supportive, healthy skincare. In other words, once you know the pillars, you’ll be able to pick and choose products and ingredients that work best for your preferences, concerns, and unique combination of external and environmental factors that your skin faces.
The pillars we’ll cover (starting next week) are:
Sun protection (don’t discount this one even if you feel like you’ve heard “be sun safe” a thousand times)
Lipid barrier support
Cell turn over
Learning about each of these pillars will give you a baseline for how to keep your skin healthy on the most basic (yet nourishing) level. We’ll touch a bit on special considerations for diﬀerent skin concerns (outside of healthy maintenance), but for a complete approach that covers your biggest skin concern, looks at the products you’re already using (and gives honest feedback about the ingredients), and covers supporting the health of your skin over the long haul, check out my “Piece Together Your Skincare Puzzle” workshop.
In this episode, I speak with Whisper Gardiner, the owner of Alternate Routes (in Woodstock, On). Whisper is one of the most compassionate people I know. She’s also a personal trainer, registered holistic nutritionist, fascial stretch therapist, a mom, and a huge animal lover.
We discuss the benefits of nutrition + movement + a healthy mindset as well as compassion (how not to burn out, simple ways to be compassionate with ourselves and others) and how all of that benefits our skin and long-term health.
Whisper also explains where to start when it comes to supporting your body for long-term health (which includes the health of our biggest organ – the skin) and WHY (this is eye-opening)! As well as some simple suggestions to get us started.
One of the things I love most about taking a holistic approach to skincare is that I’m able to infuse seasonality (inspired by nature) into how I support my whole self – mind, body, and soul.
A “whole self” (aka holistic) approach to skincare is important because our skin isn’t an organ that does its own thing outside of what’s going on with our body, mind, or emotions. They are all connected, and all impact each other.
There are so many examples of our how our body, mind, and emotions are all connected and all can have an eﬀect on our skin, but let’s look at one speciﬁc example: our hormones.
Our hormones are aﬀected by many factors including…
… our body – which is aﬀected internally by factors like our genetics and what we eat, as well as external factors like what we’re exposed to in the environment
… our mind – which is aﬀected by factors like our level of stress, how we’re feeling emotionally, ruminating thoughts, mental health, mindset, etc.
So… if we want to support our skin, we need to support our bodies and our minds in a way that encourages the healthy production of balanced hormones.
While the basics for caring for our whole self doesn’t change from season to season, how we apply those basics can. For myself, I don’t change a whole lot from season to season (I’m a creature of habit!) but I do like to incorporate small seasonal actions as it keeps things fresh (which keeps me motivated to integrate self-care into my routine) and keeps me feeling connected to nature (which reduces my stress levels).
If you’d like to take a few season-inspired actions, below you’ll ﬁnd my holistic skincare suggestions for spring.
Holistic Skincare Suggestions for Spring
Emotional Skin Support:
Where’s your relationship with your skin right now? Perhaps you’ve been feeling anxiety around the tone, texture, or completely normal signs of ageing that your skin has? Creating a mindset shift that takes us from stressing about our skin to working with our skin as part of a wellness journey can feel like a breath of fresh air. To get you started, journal or type out on your phone one promise you’d like to make to your skin this month. Ideas could include:
“I promise to treat you as part of my whole body and not treat you as a single facet to judge, ridicule or stress over.”
“I promise to be grateful for all the things you do for me daily like protect me, regulate my temperature, perform sensory functions (like touch), synthesize vitamin D, and temporarily store fats, sugars, vitamins and salts.”
Internal Skin Support:
Consider embracing the arrival of spring by supporting your body with skin-loving, spring-inspired foods. Spring is a season for clearing, cleaning, detoxifying, and making room for new growth. Here are some seasonal suggestions for foods that nourish our skin from the inside out that are also in line with springs themes of renewal:
Lots of cleansing, hydrating ﬂuids like lemon water and dandelion root tea.
Foods that support your body’s inherent detoxiﬁcation processes like arugula, spinach, watercress, asparagus, artichokes, and radishes.
Topical Skin Support:
Supporting our skin at the very beginning of spring means focusing on our skin’s natural protective barrier (which has often taken a hit thanks to the harsh elements it faces during the winter).
Fortifying and supporting our skin’s natural barrier takes the form of supplying the skin with compatible lipids – thankfully Mother Nature provides these to us in the form of plant-based oils like jojoba, sunﬂower, saﬄower, hemp, olive, grapeseed, rosehip, etc. and plant-based butters like shea and cocoa.
Look for plant-based oils and butters in moisturizers and plant-oil blends (sometimes called serums) to get the most barrier repairing properties.
After we’ve supported our natural barrier, often in mid to late spring, we start to focus on renewal (shedding the heaviness of winter) and hydration (April showers – for your skin). Read about both in this blog post.
Lastly, embrace all that spring has to offer. There’s a sense of renewal and new beginnings in the air that can rejuvenate our minds, bodies and spirits.
After years of being told that using oils on our skin will lead to blackheads, breakouts, and more oil, it’s no surprise that there are a lot of myths around using oils in skincare. More on where the fear of using oils came from in this post.
Sadly, the idea that avoiding oil was the way to go kept me from ﬁnding a skincare routine that worked for me for a long time! The key is to ﬁnd the right oils – oils that support our skin’s lipid barrier, calm inﬂammation, breakdown clogs in our pores, and gently remove dirt, debris, and makeup.
In this post, I’ll run through 2 of the persistent myths around using oils in skincare – particularly when using them to cleanse with.
Myth 1: Oil Cleansing Clogs Pores
This myth is understandable – there are a lot of oils out there that aren’t great for cleansing the skin with. It’s also an understandable myth because it’s a half-truth! Let me explain
Some oils will clog pores for speciﬁc skin types. The tricky part is that no two people are the same. For example, some highly acne-prone folks can use rich oils that would cause other folks with highly-acne prone skin to breakout.
However, just because some oils have a love/hate relationship with our skin depending on the dosage, our skin, and how we’re using them, that doesn’t mean all oils act this way. Thankfully, other oils remove the risk pore clogging chaos and are well tolerated by even the most congestion/acne prone skin types.
I’m a perfect example of that! My skin is sensitive, clogs easily, and is prone to cystic, widespread acne. And guess what? I cleanse with an oil cleansing blend without any issues. In fact, my skin stays clearer when I’ve regularly included an oil cleanser into my routine.
Plant-based oils that are great for oil cleansing without the risk of congestion are:
Wild Basil (Perilla) Oil – minimizes the appearance of large pores, reduces excess oils (sebum) production, gently cleanses without disrupting our lipid barrier.
Saﬄower Oil – a gentle, deep cleansing oil that breaks up blackheads and impurities in the skin, minimizes inﬂammation on the skin and leaves skin feeling soft and smooth.
Cucumber Seed Oil – a refreshing lipid barrier-supporting oil that leaves the skin smooth and shine-free. Its high antioxidant content (including vitamin E) soothes acne, sensitive skin, and redness.
Find all 3 of these oils plus Elderberry (a super fruit that is packed with antioxidant, anti-inﬂammatory, antimicrobial, and astringent beneﬁts) in our Wild Basil & Cucumber Oil Cleanser.
Myth 2: Oil cleansing Causes Breakouts
We’ve already established that by using non-comedogenic plant-based oils, clogged pores isn’t a problem. But acne is more than just clogged pores. It’s also aﬀected by our lipid barrier, microbiome (bacteria on our skin – and whether or not they are in a happy, balanced state) and inﬂammation. Not to mention all the internal factors that need to be addressed to clear acne like internal sources of inﬂammation, blood sugar spikes, hormonal imbalances and ﬂuctuations, and more.
Oil cleansing with the right oils can support a healthy lipid barrier, balanced microbiome and reduce inﬂammation – 3 of the most important external factors for keeping skin clear, calm and comfortable! Especially when paired with a soothing hydrator and calming moisturizer.