After the long, cruel winter (not to mention the dreaded Beast From The East) has had its way with our skin, it's time to rethink the skincare routine. We got the low down from skin expert and author of the new skincare bible, Glow, Kate O'Brien on how to brighten up our complexion to match the (hopefully) brighter days ahead.
1. Regardless of weather – keep it simple – cull unnecessary steps and products because if you believe all the marketing talk, your days (and indeed your cash) could be spent on products you don't really need. This said, my three non-negotiables are: Cleanse - Tone- Moisturise - without exception.
The evening cleanse is crucial for effective skin repair through the night and the earlier this is done (as in when you come home from work or your duties) the more time your skin will have to rejuvenate. During harsh winter weather,a gentler balm or oil-based cleanser is best.
3. Look out for these ingredients:
- Hyaluronic Acid (HA) Very common in skin products now, this clear, sticky substance occurs naturally in the body, where its main function is hydration. It works like a massive sponge on the skin, pulling moisture from the air into the skin and holding up to 1,000 times its weight in water to soften and plump the skin. Young skin is smooth, elastic and rich in HA, but as our skin ages, the natural production of hyaluronic acid slows.
- Antioxidant Vitamins C, E
Vitamin C - also called L-ascorbic acid- is a powerful antioxidant and skin brightener and my choice for bringing on the glow. It penetrates into the skin to stimulate fresh collagen, while also helping to smooth, brighten and revitalise the complexion.
Vitamin E - This fat-soluble vitamin (also called d-alpha-tocopherol) is a powerful antioxidant and skin healer that helps restore moisture and is suitable for use as a cleanser, while simultaneously working to maintain skin’s oil balance (a feat that many other cleanser-type ingredients fail to achieve).
Concentrated Vitamin E capsules are also useful as a top up during harsh weather - simply pierce the capsule with a pin and apply directly over the face, massaging gently around the eyes.
4. Now more than ever your skin needs natural and nourishing face oils - the purer the better - apply over cleansed and toned skin - while skin is still moist. This increases absorption, especially at night, to nourish and enhance skin repair when you sleep. They feel so luxuriously soft and really do repair and nourish the skin - oils like argan, camellia, prickly pear seed, rosehip and borage seed oil amongst others are ideal during cold harsh weather.
5. Eat colourful skin nourishing foods – Kate's new book Glow is full of fresh, healthy recipes to nourish the skin.
6. Although we don’t often feel thirsty during colder months - we still need to drink plenty of water and/or herbal teas.
7. Move your body. The cabin fever has hopefully worn off by now and you’ll have had the chance to give your body some much-needed movement. Exercise is a proven method of getting your skin in better shape.
For more tips like this, plus delicious recipes to get your skin glowing, pick up a copy of Kate’s new book GLOW: Your Complete Four-Week Guide to Healthy, Radiant Skin with 60 skin nourishing recipes (Gill Books, €19.99)
We have two pairs of tickets to give away for Kate's gorgeous Mother’s Day Skincare Masterclass in Arnotts Department Store this Thursday, 8th March at 6pm. Enjoy drinks and nibbles in Clodagh's Kitchen while Kate reveals her secrets to glowing at every age. Email [email protected] putting 'GLOW image' in the subject box for a chance to win.