How to have good skin and hair: part two (in which I end up sounding like your mother…)

Hello again!
Last time I talked about the most important things NOT to do. Today I’m going to talk about some really basic things you NEED to do if you want to have good skin and hair.
It’s really important to remember that good skin and hair require good health. Yes, you can fake it pretty well with makeup and procedures.  So what. Isn’t it better to be able to skip makeup entirely and still look lovely?
Okay then!

1. Get enough sleep.
The term “beauty sleep” exists for a reson.  During sleep the body repairs itself and renews the skin. If you skimp on sleep, not only will you look tired, but your skin won’t recover from the environmental damage it got during the day. 8 hours is about right for most people. No less than 6 though, and more than 10 is not so good either.
Bonus: if you can sleep on your back you will wrinkle less. If you can’t (like me. I keep trying though) use a satin pillowcase and try to put less pressure on your face if possible. Satin pillowcases also prevent tangled hair, so they’re a hood choice for anyone.

2. Get some exercise regularly.
You don’t have to spend hours at the gym, but you really should get off the couch and do something almost every day. Not only does it make you healthier, but it improves blood flow to the skin. Better blood flow gives you a glowing complexion and helps your hair grow faster! About 30 mins per day is good. Anything will do. A brisk walk is nice. I like strength training and HIIT but I’m a glutton for punishment.  If you’d rather play tag or go dancing, go for it!

3. Eat your vegetables.  (And fruits, and protein and good fats)
Vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.  So are fruits. The more colorful your diet, the better! However, don’t forget that you need protein for healthy hair, skin, and nails. You also need good fats (omega fatty acids) to avoid dry skin and reduce inflammation.  I like sardines and salmon because they have protein and good fats, but if you don’t eat fish there are plenty of other options.
Bonus: make a skin smoothie.  Put 1 cup skim milk in a blender with 1/2 cup each frozen strawberries and blueberries and a peeled banana. Add about a teaspoon cocoa powder and blend until smooth. Yum!

4. Keep your skin and scalp clean. (Gently)
Don’t sleep with makeup on. Ever. I wash my face twice a day, but a lot of people just wash at night. I like to get the night products off before I put on my day stuff because I think the spf is more effective on clean skin. Some people might go for three times if oil is a problem or the gym is a priority. If your skin is dry and tight after you wash your face, use a gentler cleanser and wash less often. I also LOVE my Clarisonic brush. It’s a bit spendy, but it leaves my skin really clean.
Some people say you shouldn’t wash your hair every day. I really think it depends on the person. I have eczema, and if I don’t shampoo daily my scalp gets super itchy and I end up scratching/picking at it until it bleeds. It won’t hurt you either way, as long as you use a low/no sulfate shampoo and a good conditioner.

5. Drink plenty of water.
Hydration makes a big difference in how you look and feel. Most people don’t drink nearly enough water. Carry a bottle (preferably a metal one that you fill yourself) with you everywhere. Green tea and white tea (brew them yourself and don’t add sweetners or dairy!) are awesome since they have minimal caffeine and tons of antioxidants. I love the using loose teas, but there’s nothing wrong with the humble teabag. (Bag tea isn’t as tasty though.) Decaf green is actually great too, but try to find the oxygen decaffeinated kind, rather than by water or chemicals. I love Bromley decaf green when I get teabags, because it’s decaffeinated the right way and the customer service people were super nice and very responsive when I emailed to ask! Coffee and soda, are not so good. Juice isn’t great either, since it’s mainly sugar. Vegetable juice is better than fruit juice, but not as good as whole veggies. Just get a bottle you love and keep it full of water. It’ll be your best friend before long!
Bonus: filtered water is better tasting, so get a filter pitcher and keep it full. I track my water by keeping 4 20oz bottles in my fridge filled with water and trying to finish them by the end of the day.
Bonus 2: learn to make green tea properly. Most people use water that is way too hot and then wonder why the tea ends up bitter. Different teas require different temperatures and steeping times, so learn about the tea before you brew it. There are also lots of different kinds of green and white teas, so try as many as you can! I like sencha, which tastes kind of asparagus-like and vegetal. I also love silver needles, which is a white tea where the leaves are rolled into long, thin needle shapes. It tastes almost sweet, and is a subtle flavor.

Reapply every couple hours if possible.  I admit, I cheat on reapplication if I’m not going to be outside, but I am always wearing SPF 70 mineral block, over a moisturizer with sunscreen. Powder sunscreen is a nice way to reapply since it doesn’t leave you greasy or smear makeup.
Bonus: mineral block also blocks infrared light, which may increase photoaging. There isn’t a ton of evidence since UV is the supervillan in sunlight, but it doesn’t hurt to err on the side of caution. 

Well, that’s the basics. Again, probably stuff you already knew. And probably not the answers you were hoping for. In the next post in this series I will get into what ingredients to look for in skin care/hair care products and why they work.

In the mean time, let me know in the comments if you found this helpful/interesting,  and if you have any tips to add!


How to have good skin and hair part 1 (and a quick workout update)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Let’s talk beauty.

I have had many people ask me why I have such nice skin. I rarely break out, and I don’t look my age at all.
The problem is, when I tell them, they act like I’m hoarding a magic potion or something!

This is me in natural light with absolutely no makeup on a relatively bad skin day. (Scary) Bonus points if you can guess my age! (Unless I told you. That’s cheating. )

Here’s the deal: a lot of this is not going to be news to anyone. I’m not breaking any new ground here.  I’m not a dermatologist, but I challenge anyone to find a derm that disagrees with most of what I’m going to recommend.
I’m gonna warn you right now:
You probably won’t like some of this advice. Suck it up, buttercup. Pretty isn’t always fun, and it doesn’t come from a pill, bottle, or can.

I’m starting with the most important things today.
1. Do. Not. Smoke.
2. Do. Not. Tan.
3. Alcohol is not your friend.
If you already avoid these things, pat yourself on the back and skip the rest of today’s lecture.
So the obvious reason not to smoke and/or tan is that IT CAN GIVE YOU CANCER! I know, if you don’t know this you’re probably living under a rock. I’m saying it anyway. 
If cancer doesn’t scre you enough, then you should also know that you will age MUCH faster by doing either of these things.  Both is even worse. Tanning gives you sunspots,  wrinkles, and leathery skin. (Ew.) It fades hair color, and makes strands dry and brittle too. Smoking gives you wrinkles, especially near the mouth from the combined action of the smoke and pursing your lips. Nicotine can stain the fingers too. It also takes away the healthy glow that makes you look beautiful.  If that wasn’t enough, it can cause your hair to thin, and the nicotine can affect your hair color too.
If you think you can fend all this off with creams and procedures, you are deluding yourself.
Both tanning and smoking have been deemed addictions, so quitting might not be easy. Get help if you need to. The short term problems of quitting are nothing compared to the long term cost of not quitting.
And speaking of costs, both of these habits are very expensive.  Use that to motivate you! Save the money you would have spent for cigarettes or tanning, and have a vacation! Or a skin treatment to undo some of the damage!  Or buy a fancy treat! 

You’ll notice I didn’t address alcohol yet. I don’t drink. At all. That said, many people do. A drink or two occasionally won’t really do much damage, so you don’t have to abstain entirely unless you want to. That said, drinking too much (and too much is probably less than you’re thinking it is) will affect your appearance.  That cliche of the drunk with the red nose? Yeah, that can happen. It damages your liver too, which prevents detoxification and can leave you looking sallow and greyish. Not pretty. Alcohol also dehydrates you, which deepens wrinkles and make your skin less plump. For your skin, happy hour is not so happy.It’s not the same level of damage you’d see with smoking or tanning, but it’s still hurting you. Remember too, anything that harms your skin is harming your hair too. A healthy scalp means healthy hair.
If you don’t believe me about the effects of alcohol on the skin, check out this article! Even knowing the effects I was still shocked how obvious the difference was when the woman in the article quit her “moderate” drinking habit for a month.

I know none of this is what you want to hear, and that giving up your addictions isn’t easy. I also know that deep down you know this is the truth.

In my next post I’ll tell you some important thangs you SHOULD be doing to have good skin and hair! (And you may not like those either…)

Workout update:
So the new workouts ramped up pretty quickly. I’m really sore in my shoulders and upper back, which has always been my weak spot so it’s a good sore. My nutritionist cancelled, so more on that next week.