It's taken me a very long time to get to know my skin. I had acne all throughout my teens and I've tried an insane amount of different products and routines with varying amounts of success. I'd only just nailed down my "perfect" skin care routine and gotten my skin issues under control when we made the decision to go vegan, and of course, not a single one of the products in my skin care lineup was cruelty free. Ugh, isn't that how it goes? Now we've been vegan for 3 years and I've got a collection of natural, vegan products that I love! I've finally got my skin under control naturally, it's completely manageable and I no longer feel the need to wear a full face of makeup just to feel confident enough to leave the house. I've picked up a ton of tips throughout the years and I'm excited to share them!
So, here is my complete skin care routine and my top vegan skin care recommendations and tips!
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Ayushi, makers of high quality vegan skin care products that use natural, organic ingredients. After using these products for over 4 months now, Ayushi has seamlessly integrated itself into my skin care routine and I'm so happy to support such a quality cruelty-free brand!
I cleanse my face 1-2 times a day (morning and/or evening) using Ayushi's Rose Garden Facial Wash. It works well for both cleansing and removing makeup. It's potent stuff so I don't need to use much, as with any cleanser it will be drying if you use too much or leave it on for too long. The pump is great because it only dispenses a little bit at a time so I never waste any of it. I use 3-4 pumps to remove makeup and just 1-2 for cleansing bare skin. I absolutely love using this stuff along with a konjac sponge - my skin feels so supple and clean afterwards. I've been using My Konjac Sponge's french green clay facial sponge.
After cleansing, I gently towel dry my face (dab, don't rub!) and moisturize immediately using 2 pumps of Ayushi's Facial Glow Lotion. This is my favourite lightweight moisturizer ever. You can read all my gushing about this wonderful product in this post. After moisturizing I apply a layer of beeswax-free lip balm (in the evening, I make that a nice thick layer of balm.) I've been using Hurraw! and S.W. Basics for vegan lip balms.
Weekly (or as needed):
I love steaming my face! It increases circulation, softens my skin for deep cleansing, and it's so relaxing. It really soothes my sinuses too which is a big deal to me because it is unbelievably dry here in southern Alberta.
For something that feels so luxurious, steaming is super easy and inexpensive! All you need is boiling water, a big heat safe bowl (I use a stainless steel mixing bowl), and a towel.
Boil at least 1 liter of water, pour it into your bowl and place it somewhere safe where you can't accidentally knock it over - you might want to put a towel under the bowl too. Position your head above the steam (keep far away from it to begin with - you don't want to burn yourself!), and lay a towel over your head and bowl to trap the steam. You can steam as long as you like, I prefer 5-10 minutes or until the water loses its heat. You can add teas bags or essential oils to the water for a nice aromatherapy experience too!
(The heat should be never feel uncomfortable, stay far enough away from the steam to avoid burns. If you start to feel drowsy, stop! You do NOT want to fall asleep with your face over a bowl of scalding water!)
Using a nice grainy scrub to remove dry skin is my favourite part of my skin care routine! Unfortunately it's not something that should be done daily so I limit myself to 1 or 2 times a week. I like to use a mixture of coconut oil and fine white sugar (Red Path is my favourite vegan brand - the granules are nice and small for scrubbing.) I like to scrub at the end of my shower or after steaming my face when my skin is soft and hydrated. I scrub my entire face and neck using a very light touch and small circular motions. After scrubbing for about a minute, I quickly rinse off the sugar in lukewarm water and very gently towel dry my skin. This leaves a fine layer of moisturizing coconut oil on my face leaving my skin feeling incredibly soft and supple.
Keep in mind, coconut oil is solid at room temperature so avoid letting it go down your drains because it can cause plumbing issues. I try to leave most of the coconut oil ON my skin which is why I rinse the scrub off quickly without hot water. You can substitute coconut oil for other oils such as almond or jojoba. I use approximately a 4:1 ratio of sugar to coconut oil.
I use a toner after cleansing and before moisturizing a couple of times a week. When my skin is irritated or broken out, I like to gently massage a pea-sized amount of Ayushi's Aloe Vera Gel into my skin and let it absorb for about 5 minutes before moisturizing. If my skin is puffy or tired I brew some strong green and/or white tea, chill it, and apply a liberal amount to my skin with a cotton ball. You don't need to rinse, just let your skin air-dry before moisturizing. (Oh and don't throw out those tea bags! For a seriously heavenly experience, chill them and lay them over your closed eyes for 5+ minutes to soothe tired, puffy eyes. Prepare for bliss!)
Everyday Skin Care Tips:
Eating and drinking for healthy skin - I always try to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Staying hydrated is so important for healthy, moisturized skin - nothing else matters if your skin is dehydrated! I make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats in my diet. And above all, I make sure to eat enough total calories. I know my body needs plenty of energy in order to properly replenish and nourish my skin! This post about vegan foods for healthy hair has lots of great info that applies to skin too.
Protect your skin - I'd like to think this goes without saying, but make sure to protect your skin if you're spending prolonged time outdoors! (Even if it's cloudy!)
Avoid irritating your skin - Avoiding irritation is one of the most important factors for keeping clear, even-toned skin. Keep your hands off of your face (and only touch your skin with clean hands), and never pick at blemishes. Always use a feather light touch during your entire skin care routine. Whether you're cleansing, using a konjac sponge, applying moisturizers or oils, scrubbing, towel-drying, or applying makeup - always treat your skin as gently as possible. Be very careful not to scrub your skin too often, once a week is plenty.
Give your skin a break! - This goes hand in hand with the whole "avoiding irritation" thing. I rarely wear makeup when I'm at home and I make sure to spend at least a few days each week bare-faced. I find it's really beneficial to give your skin a break from your skin care routine too! Our bodies are pretty darn good at knowing what is best for our skin so it's good to stop interfering and leave it to its own devices from time to time. If I need that "clean feeling" or I want to perk myself up in the morning I'll just give my skin a quick splash of cool water. If you're having chronic skin irritation or breakouts, try leaving your skin alone for a few days (or as long as you can!), you might be surprised by the results!
This post is sponsored by Ayushi. We love this company for its lovely cruelty-free vegan body care products made with high quality organic ingredients and no GMO’s, artificial dyes or fragrances. Use code veganlove2015 to receive 20% off of your 1st order. Thank you for supporting the brands that support I Love Vegan!