When the skin can no longer retain its moisture levels it results in dry, unbalanced skin. It occurs when the skin’s barrier is compromised. Winter weather can easily tip the balance, the cold air, rain, central heating and icy winds all contribute to the breakdown of the skin’s barrier and can result in dry, tight and sensitive skin.
Caring for dry skin doesn’t just mean applying generous amounts of moisturiser. Skin prone to over-drying requires careful management and a skincare routine to suit.
A skincare routine designed to nourish and protect the skin can help win the battle against dry skin, below are some products designed to nourish, treat and to prevent dry skin.
It is important to gently remove the dead skin to allow your moisturisers and serums to penetrate, otherwise they sit on the surface of the skin without being absorbed correctly. It is important that a gentle exfoliator is used as you don’t want to irritate sensitive skin. Either a mild chemical exfoliant with lactic or glycolic acid or a gentle physical scrub. Use a couple of times a week to lift away dead skin, this then allows the products applied afterwards to be absorbed and the skin can benefit from the ingredients invaluable properties.
Avoid Harsh Cleansers
Cleansers formulated with SLS or fragrance can be super drying for the skin. They strip the skin of its natural oils and can leave it feeling dry and irritated. Chose a gentle cleanser and wash using warm but not hot water
Switch to a deeply hydrating moisturiser
Opt for a heavier cream moisturiser rather than a lotion to provide deep hydration. Moisturisers rich in fatty acids and omega’s help keep your skin deeply hydrated and supple whilst natural peptides and hyaluronic acid provide and lock in moisture.
Oils are a great way to nourish the skin and help build the skins lipid barrier. Oils provide deeply moisturising qualities and can help protect the skin against environmental factors.
Hydrating Treatment Serums
Apply after cleansing but before your moisturiser to help plump, smooth and hydrate the skin. Serums have a lightweight fluid texture which means they are easily absorbed and their beneficial ingredients penetrate the skin. A serum with Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is great for adding hydration, known for its extremely hydrating properties, it has the ability to hold up to six times its own weight in water. Our skin naturally produces Hyaluronic Acid to aid the skins moisture levels but due to ageing and environmental factors these levels can decrease.
There is not one rule that fits all when it comes your skin care routine, everybody’s skin is different but there is an optimal way to apply your products to get the best results from them. The order in which we apply and layer our skin care products is important when we want to get the best out of the products we are using. Whether it be a simple three step routine, or a nine step routine of essences, acids and retinol, it is important to layer them correctly for them to be most effective.
Below is a simple guide to show you the optimal way to apply your products:
Step 1: Makeup Remover
This step should be carried out in the evening to remove any traces of the days makeup and to prepare your skin for cleansing. This will help make your cleanser be more effective and ensure that any traces of makeup and pollution are removed before applying any more product.
Step 2: Cleanser
Definitely one of the most important steps and one that should never be skipped. In the morning a gentle cleanser should be used to help remove any excess oil and dead skin but without stripping the skins natural oils.
In the evening after removing any makeup you can then follow with a cleanser that is suitable for your skin type, if you have oily or blemish prone skin opt for a mildly exfoliating cleanser that will help unclog pores. If you have dry to normal skin use a hydrating cleanser which is formulated with natural oils and peptides.
The job of the cleanser is to remove any dead skin cells, excess oil, bacteria and dirt but you need to be careful not to use a harsh cleanser that can either over dry your skin leaving it feeling tight or that has the undesired effect of stimulating oil production, so try to avoid cleansers with sulphates, especially those with a more sensitive skin types.
Step 3: Toner or Essence
This step should be carried out in the morning and at night following on from cleansing. Originally toners used to be alcohol based liquids that left your skin feeling taught and a bit stingy but there are toners available today that are formulated with hydrating ingredients or exfoliating acids depending on your skin type. Toners are designed to balance your skins PH and prime it for your other products. If you have oily, blemish prone or acne prone skin it is recommended that you look for a toner formulated with exfoliating acids such as salicylic acid, beta hydroxy acid (BHA), alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), lactic acid or glycolic acid. These will help prevent blemishes and breakouts and unclog and minimise the appearance of pores. If you have normal to dry skin opt for a hydrating toner or essence that will help lock in moisture and look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, aloe vera and vitamin E.
Step 4: Eye Cream
The skin around our eye area is thinner than the rest of our face which is why eye creams tend to be of a lighter consistency than our facial moisturisers. Look for eye creams including hyaluronic acid which help lock in moisturiser, natural peptides which will help to tighten the skin around the eyes and caffeine which can help reduce dark circles and brighten the skin under the eye. When applying eye creams gently pat the cream under the eye area to avoid tugging or stretching the skin.
Step 5: Serums
There are so many serums on the market now for every skin concern, whether it be large pores, dry skin, pigmentation, uneven skin, anti ageing, blemish prone problem skin, you name it there’s a serum designed to help. Serums can be applied in the morning and the evening after cleansing and toning, as a rule you should apply the heavier and thicker formulations last, otherwise the active ingredients in the products might not be able to penetrate to the skin and have the desired effect. During the day apply a serum designed to help lock in moisturiser and protect your skin from environmental factors and pollutants, look for serums with Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid. If your skin is more oily or blemish prone apply a serum with Niacinamide (vitamin B3) it helps reduce redness, evens out skin tone and helps balance oil production another key ingredient is Salicylic Acid helps to clear pores of bacteria also green tea which is high in antioxidants. At night you can apply an exfoliating serum these help with cell renewal and rejuvenation whilst also correcting skin pigmentation, these tend to be better applied at night as the key ingredients in these products (acids) can make your skin more sensitive to the sunlight. Key exfoliating ingredients include AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acids), BHA’s (beta hydroxy acids), glycolic acid and lactic acid.
Step 6: Retinol
This step should only be applied in the evening, retinol’s can increase your skin sensitivity to the sun and increase your chances of sun damage. Retinol is a vitamin A derivative, it increases the rate of cell turnover and boosts collagen production. Retinol can be used for many skin concerns including acne, uneven skin tone and anti-ageing. It helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, balances out oil production, helps unclog and reduce pore size and fade pigmentation and scarring. So its a bit of a beauty holy grail but it can take a bit of getting used to and sensitive skin may struggle to use it. It should be added gradually to your routine, start by using it just one or two nights a week to begin with depending on the strength of the product and then increase it over time. Your skin may experience dryness or purging (where your skin flushes out excess sebum and buildup from pores which can result in breakouts, before the healthy new cells can surface) but its worth the wait especially those with acne prone skin and those looking for an anti-aging product that actually gets results.
Step 7: Moisturiser
This step is another must, even if you have oily skin you should never miss this step. Moisturisers help maintain your skins balance and hydrate and lock in moisture. There’s one suitable for every skin type, if you have dry skin use a moisturiser formulated with natural oils, Hyaluronic acid and ceramides which provide the skin with hydration and seal in the moisture. If you have oily or acne prone skin you should still moisturise but chose a lighter moisturiser, skipping the use of a moisturiser can actually stimulate oil production. Look for ingredients like green tea, niacinamide and zinc these all help balance oily production and matifiy the skin.
Step 8: Facial Oils
Applying a facial oil at the end of your skincare routine helps seal in the moisture and all of the ingredients you have just applied to your skin previously and ensures your skin is getting the most out of your products. Facial oils are not just for dry skin types either, they can be greatly beneficial for oily skin too. Oils like Jojoba and Rosehip oil help balance oily, blemish prone skin by decreasing the production of oil and regulating your skin’s sebum production. For dry skin types look for nourishing ingredients such as Marula Oil, Aloe Vera Oil and Almond Oil this provide soothing properties and intensive moisture.
Step 9: SPF
This is another step that should never be missed, even in winter! It is well known that the suns rays have damaging effects on our skin, not only does it speed up the ageing process causing premature wrinkles and age spots, it can also potentially leave us at risk of skin cancer. There are two different types of sun protection products, physical and chemical. Physical blockers are formulated with minerals including Zinc Oxide and titanium dioxide, these reflect the light away from your skin to prevent the damaging rays penetrating your skin. Chemical blockers work by absorbing light and converting it into heat, which then stops the light from penetrating into your skin.
Over the last couple of decades, it has become more and more apparent that we are facing a global environmental emergency and climate crisis. Increasing sea levels, melting arctic ice caps, extreme weather and huge and sometimes unmanageable amounts of waste create fear and frustration in many of us. So, to combat this I imagine that you, just like me, try to do your part to make a change a little bit at a time to try and combat or at least reduce the potentially devastating consequences the world is facing. We look to do this in various ways like switching to a green energy company or switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, reducing or eliminating the amount of meat that we eat, taking public transport or by trying to recycle the waste that we produce wherever and whenever possible, especially plastic.
If you have ever had the chance to visit many of the beautiful coastal beach’s around the UK and Worldwide, experienced the sound of the sea washing in and out, the feel of the sand between your toes and the smell of the salty air only to have the scenery broken by specs of various colours of plastic. It can often be upsetting to see a beautiful place spoilt by something unnatural and it can be even more upsetting when you see the larger impact those specs of plastic are having. All over social media and in the news, you can see photos of wildlife being harmed by what we throw away and what we class a disposable. I am sure you will have seen the photos of turtles and fish caught in nets or a whale that’s has passed away due to plastic in its stomach and thought to yourself, surely this shouldn’t be happening? So, what is it that we can do to help prevent this from getting worse and is it something that we can avoid? Just what does it take to recycle plastic or is it something we should not use entirely? Well hopefully this will help, I don’t have all the answers but it might just be a good place to start.
This seems like a good place to start, what is plastic made from and why does it seem to cause so much damage? Well to begin, plastic is made from several different materials and these materials vary depending on the type of plastic being produced. There are over 40,000 different types of plastic and roughly 99% of them are formed from either oil, natural gas or coal, all of which are classified as fossil fuels.
To turn fossil fuels into plastic they use several chemical treatments to bind the different molecules. Once the correct sequence of molecules has been bound together they form what is known as a polymer, hence why most plastics have poly at the start of their name e.g. polythene. This process allows the plastic to be extremely versatile as they are moulded into all sorts of shapes, sizes and strengths.
Now, I am not saying that all plastics are bad. I know that this could be seen as slightly controversial, but the fact of the matter is, they are extremely useful. It would be very difficult to avoid plastics as they are used in pretty much everything in our day to day lives, from your phone and computer to your house and household appliances. It has a lot of medical uses too, including being a vital component in knee replacements and other surgeries. What I do have an issue with, is disposable, single-use plastics! We seemed to have got complacent over the past century and we have adopted a disposable culture. Rather than reusing or making do, we throw away and buy new not considering where what we have thrown away might end up, because, let’s face it, we just don’t know.
So, to put things into a little perspective, considering all of the plastic we see and use regularly across everything, still a staggering 40% of the plastic produced in Europe is single-use packaging. In the last decade, we have produced more disposable plastic that we have done in the last century and this has made it overwhelming for the world to deal with. This is particularly clear in Asian and African nations where rubbish collections, never mind treatment facilities, are often unreliable or non-existent making it difficult to prevent discarded plastics entering the natural world. Due to this, it is estimated that around 8 MILLION TONNES of plastic escapes into the oceans from the world’s coasts each year. Once in the ocean’s plastics can take up to 400 years to decompose and break down which essentially gives it 400 years to eventually trap wildlife or be eaten by an unsuspecting animal.
As it is light, malleable and strong, it easy for the ocean’s currents to move the plastic around the globe effecting inhabited and uninhabited islands and countries alike.
Once in the sea the water, sunlight and wind break down plastic into smaller particles also known as microplastics. You may have remembered a couple of years back microplastic being in news with unsuspecting people not realising that many everyday items like exfoliators and face washes contained microplastic to exfoliate the skin and that these where eventually ending up in the world’s oceans through our sewers. These microplastics are responsible for killing millions of animals each year from birds to fish with nearly 700 species of wildlife being affected. In many cases, microplastics may just pass through wildlife but it is often seen that they can cause blockages or even pierce through organs.
Further to the waste created from disposable plastics, it is estimated that 4 – 6% of all the oil and natural gas used in Europe is to produce plastic with 87% being used for transport, energy and heating. Considering all the houses, cars, buses, planes etc across Europe 4 – 6% being is used for plastic is pretty massive. This in itself will have an environmental impact.
Just to put a spanner in the works though, imagine replacing all of the single-use plastic, like drinks bottles with say, glass bottles. Now, although this may seem better to us when we go and do our shopping or fancy getting a drink from the corner shop but in actual fact, the increased weight and size means it is more difficult to transport and will eventually lead to an increased environmental impact from greenhouse gas emissions released during the increased transport required.
As I mentioned earlier there are over 40,000 different types of plastic, however, these can be all broken down into 7 categories. I’m sure you will have seen the small triangle of chasing arrows with a number 1 – 7 in the middle on the bottom of a plastic container and this represents the plastic category it sits in. You may have heard that this means that the packaging is recyclable or you may have heard that actually hardly any of them are recyclable, well it could be said that both are true, just to be awkward.
The good news is that most plastics, in fact nearly all plastics are recyclable and can be reprocessed by some form or another. The issue is down to cost and the number of specialised recycling plants there are around the UK and the world that can process the less common and less useful plastics. It is also difficult to separate all the different types of plastic and the cost that would be involved in this. Generally, we put all plastic together in our recycling bins at home and can you imagine the effort of going through each plastic bin from each of the 29 million UK homes and picking out over 40,000 different types of plastic, or even just the 7 plastic categories? That’s an immense amount of work. So many councils and companies will choose to pick out the most valuable plastics and leave the rest. Some companies say that they can sort through the millions of tonnes of waste with expensive plants full of different types of mechanical sorting processes but let’s face it, that’s a lot of waste and even the most advanced technology is unable to process it all and I should know, I used to work in the waste industry. Sorting plants just cannot cope with volume and variety of waste products and a lot of the value in recyclable plastic is controlled by the price of oil. So, essentially, when you are paying more to fill up your car at the petrol station it becomes more valuable and cost effect to recycle plastic.
Well, it lies with us, the individual. We need to just take a little extra consideration to the waste that we are producing. Like I said before, plastic is not all bad and there are some simple solutions of ways you can reduce the amount of plastic you use. Use plastic-free products where possible, some things are easy like soap and shampoo, use a bar rather than a bottle. As a consumer you can choose not to purchase the broccoli that is wrapped in plastic and ensure that other items such as cotton buds are made from bamboo rather than plastic. Fill up a reusable bottle with your water rather than continually buying one from the shop.
Or even, just making sure that you actually recycle the plastic you use. Make sure that it is clean and in the correct bin, find out about your local private recycling companies and see if you can drop off plastic there, in most cases they will take for free if it is clean and already separated because they can sell it to processing plants.
The biggest change we need to make is to our everyday lifestyle, being more considerate to what we are buying, not buying into trends or fast fashion but thinking about what we need. Thinking about what is going to happen to our waste and items that we throw away and thinking more about environmentally friendly solutions to our waste. I know it may seem hard at first, but when you get into the swing of things it becomes a lot easier. Just recently Charlotte and I signed up to Growing Well, a charity that supports mental health by growing organic veg. You pay a monthly subscription and collect a fresh bag of plastic-free veg every week, what could be better. Simple initiatives like this are popping up all over the UK and Europe so have a look at what is near to you and over time you will see the amount of waste you produce dramatically drop. Just little changes will make a big difference.
Are you looking to reduce some of your plastic waste this July? Here are some simple sustainable changes you can make to your normal beauty routine. We believe that just one small change can make a huge difference and we are here to help.
Switching from your plastic toothbrush to a bamboo or beechwood toothbrush is probably the easiest eco-friendly change you can make to your beauty routine and the first step I made. It is recommended by dental practitioners that you should replace your toothbrush every 3 months, this means that 265.6 million toothbrushes are disposed of every year within the UK, with the majority ending up in landfill or the ocean. Toothpaste tubes and standard toothbrushes are difficult to recycle because they combine different materials. Toothpaste tubes tend to made from various types of plastic and a thin aluminium layer and toothbrushes are made from different types of plastics, which makes it challenging for recycling plants to process and separate the materials.
Ditching the plastic cotton buds for bamboo alternatives is another simple change. The plastic versions take up to 300 years to decompose, they cannot be recycled and many ending up in the sewers and oceans. During 2018, 22 cotton buds were found within every 100 meters of UK beach surveyed, these plastic cotton buds have harmful effects on marine animals. Sea life can be found with ingested fragments that remain trapped in their digestive tract causing damage, cotton bud fragments have been found in seabirds stomachs and whole sticks in turtles.
Soaps and Shampoo Bars
Traditionally when you think of soap bars, you think of dry, tight skin, this was due to the harsh foaming agents used to formulate these soaps. However, there are now plenty of great facial soaps and body soaps that are kind and nourishing to our skin making them great for everyday cleansing. Additionally, switching to a shampoo bar can help save the use of shampoo bottles, the UK alone uses 13 billion plastic bottles every year. Only 7.5 billion are recycled. The remaining 5.5 billion are landfilled, littered, or incinerated. The average person uses about 10 shampoo bottles a year so switching to a shampoo bar is a great way to reduce your household plastic waste. There are so many different types of shampoo bar available now so you are sure to find one thats right for you.
It is estimated that disposable razors are only meant to be used 6 to 9 times before being thrown away. In the early ’90s, the US Environmental Protection Agency reported that America produced 9 billion disposable razors. Unfortunately, the plastic used to create disposable razors is normally made up of several different materials making it near impossible to recycle. Safety razors, however, can be used time and time again, with the blades being easily recycled. These are not just a low waste alternative to plastic razors, you’ll also be amazed how easy they are to use and how smooth your skin feels afterwards.
Traditional beauty accessories such as disposable wipes and cotton pads are very useful in our skincare routine, however, they have been found to have a damaging effect on our environment. Unfortunately, most disposable wipes contain plastic fibres that end up as microplastics in our oceans harming and even killing its wildlife. A recent UK study showed that disposable wipes were responsible for 93% of all blocked sewer pipes! But don’t worry, there is a solution! Tabitha Eve has produced a range of re-usable makeup and beauty accessories, that are not only a low waste alternative but will also save you money in the long run as they can be reused time and time again.
With the worldwide beauty industry producing over 120 billion units of packaging each year, it is easy to see why sustainable options are becoming even more important and that it is encouraging to see some companies looking to alternatives to plastic where possible. Now there are some great plastic-free skincare brands on the market, covering everything from moisturisers to toners or even things as small and simple as a lip balm. These companies specialise in creating some of the best high quality and sustainable skincare products that don’t cost the earth.
Sleep – Healthy adults should get an average of seven to nine hours of sleep per night, sleep can have a huge impact on how we feel both physically and emotionally. So try to have a fairly a healthy amount of sleep without oversleeping as this can make us feel worse!
Routine – Even though you may not have to get up for work it is still important to have a routine to your day. Divide your day into work, meals, exercise and any hobbies you may have so there is still some structure to your day.
Exercise – it is well known that exercise releases feel-good hormones. If running or walking outside isn’t for you then have a look at home workout videos or yoga guides on youtube. You can find plenty of exercise videos to watch suitable for all abilities.
Eat well – cook healthy and balanced meals, try to still eat fresh fruit and veg, have a look to see if there’s a local veg box company in your area that can deliver fresh fruit, vegetables and salad to your doorstep.
Limit social media – replace social media time with reading books and limit your screen time. Even if it’s just making sure you set a specific time before bed where you unwind with a book instead of scrolling through social media.
Indulge in a long bath or shower and enjoy a face mask, I always apply a facemask when I have a headache as it helps soothe the tension.
Spend time doing things you enjoy and maybe discover a new hobby. I’m using my time to start growing fruit and veg, many online companies are still delivering products so you could have a go at knitting, painting or growing herbs.
Keep in contact with friends and family – even though you can’t see them in person you can still facetime or call friends and family to check in on them and make sure they are ok.
1. Toothbrushes – switching from your plastic toothbrush to a bamboo or beechwood toothbrush is probably the easiest eco-friendly change you can make to your beauty routine and the first step I made. It is recommended by dental practitioners that you should replace your toothbrush every 3 months, this means that 265.6 million toothbrushes are disposed of every year within the UK, with the majority ending up in landfill or in the ocean.
2. Cotton Buds – Ditching the plastic cotton buds for bamboo alternatives is another simple change as the plastic versions take up to 300 years to decompose and many ending up in the sewers and oceans. During 2018, 22 cotton buds were found within every 100meters of UK beach surveyed which has several harmful effects on sea life.
3. Soaps and Shampoo Bars – Traditionally when you think of soap bars, you think of dry, tight skin, this was due to the harsh foaming agents used to formulate these soaps, however, now there are plenty of great facial soaps and body soaps that are kind and nourishing to our skin making them great for everyday cleansing. Additionally, switching to a shampoo bar can help save the use of shampoo bottles, the UK alone uses 13 billion plastic bottles every year. Only 7.5 billion are recycled. The remaining 5.5 billion are landfilled, littered, or incinerated.
4. Safety Razors – It is estimated that disposable razors are only meant to be used 6 to 9 times before being thrown away. In the early ’90s, the US Environmental Protection Agency reported that America produced 9 billion disposable razors. Unfortunately, the plastic used to create disposable razors is normally made up of several different materials making it near impossible to recycle. Safety razors, however, can be used time and time again, with the blades being easily recycled.
5. Plastic-Free Beauty Accessories – Traditional beauty accessories such as disposable wipes and cotton pads are very useful in our skincare routine, however, they have been found to have a damaging effect on our environment. Unfortunately, most disposable wipes contain plastic fibres that end up as microplastics in our oceans harming and even killing its wildlife, especially as over 8 million tons of plastic finds its way into the ocean each year. A recent UK study showed that disposable wipes were responsible for 93% of all blocked sewer pipes! But don’t worry, there is a solution! Tabitha Eve has produced a range of re-usable makeup and beauty accessories. These will not only help save the impacted planet but will also save you money in the long run as they can be reused.
6. Switch some of your skincare products – There are now some great plastic-free skincare brands on the market, covering everything from moisturisers to toners or some of the easiest changes can be as simple as a lip balm.
Making the switch to shampoo bars is a great way to reduce your plastic waste, the average person uses 10 bottles of shampoo a year making shampoo bars a fantastic plastic free, eco-friendly alternative. Plastic free shampoo bars are one of the best selling products at Be Kind Beauty so we will keep expanding the range so there are plenty on offer for all hair types! We currently stock Bain and Savon, EarthKind and Friendly Soap. There can be a transition period for your hair to get used to a new and more natural product especially if you have been using traditional shampoo’s, so here is some tips on how to make the switch to plastic free shampoo bars:
How to use a Shampoo Bar:
- Make sure you comb through your hair before washing.
- Wet your hair like normal.
- Rub the shampoo bar into your scalp, then section your hair and run the bar down the lengths of your hair making sure you cover each section of hair.
- Alternatively your can rub the bar into a lather in the palm of your hands then apply to your hair, which ever works best for you.
- Make sure you create a rich lather with the shampoo bar, massage and work it into your roots and the lengths of your hair to remove all the grease and dirt.
- Rinse thoroughly, some people redo this step depending on how thick their hair is.
- Depending on how greasy or dirty your hair gets you might want to repeat step 3 through to 6 to ensure you remove all traces of build up.
The transition stage.
Your hair and scalp may need a transition period for it to detox and rebalance depending on what shampoo you have being using before switching to a plastic free shampoo bar. You may discover your hair feels greasier than usual. This is due to the fact that most commercial shampoo’s contain SLS which is a foaming agent that helps shampoos to lather. These harsh foaming agents strip your hair of its natural protective oils which then stimulates your scalp to produce more oil to compensate. Once your hair has rebalanced it will feel and look much healthier. There are a couple of tips to help you get through this transition period including using vinegar rinse and/or a baking soda rinse.
Using hair rinses.
Many shampoo bar users recommend using a vinegar hair rinse after using a shampoo bar. This can help if you live in a hard water area as it can be difficult to rinse all the shampoo residue from your hair. The vinegar rinse ensures all the shampoo residue or grease is removed leaving your hair gorgeously soft and shiny. Don’t worry the slight vinegar scent disappears once your hair is dry!
We stock a lovely scented hair rinse by Bain and Savon simply apply (you could use a refillable spray bottle) or pour over your scalp and allow the mixture to run through your hair. Leave the vinegar rinse on your hair for 1-2 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. You can then follow with conditioner if needed.
Baking Soda Clarifying Rinse.
Baking soda helps lift any grease or product residue from your hair. Combine 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1-2 cups of warm water, apply to wet hair and work it thoroughly through. Rinse your hair as normal and follow with the Shampoo Bar.