Dear Skin, how much do I love thee?
Photography by Ronald Suelo | HMUA Divine Tayrus
Let me count the ways….
I’m one of the billion people who spend money on skincare products. My spending habit over five years ago is vastly different from where I invest now when it comes to taking care of the largest organ of my body. I’m grateful that my parents passed on the good skin genes and I’ve always wanted to maintain it, more so, improve it. Who wouldn’t want a healthy and younger looking skin all the time?!
I’m not denying that I also went through the stage of break-outs and unhealthy looking skin during some periods of my life. Ergo, I was also one of the billion people victimised by aggressive marketing campaigns on skincare products – which actually did more harm than good at times – not just my skin but also my budget! Glad the skin cells regenerate every 7 days (according Standford School of Medicine) and thank God I’ve got a job to recover my unwise-impulsive-skincare-shopping-habit – that’s learning it the expensive way!
Over time, I’ve realised that the importance of a healthy-looking skin goes a lot deeper. Reading various articles also helped me discover and rediscover facts about skincare. Dedicated to everyone who’d been asking me about my skincare secrets and to all my readers out there, I’m more than happy to share (publicly as I’ve been sharing a lot via private messages, skype and chitchats over a cup of green tea) the things I use and do and most importantly, how I prioritise my budget when it comes to my skincare expenditures.
So I’ve created a skincare spend-o-metre starting from the highest to the lowest:
SPENDING LEVEL: HIGH
1. Kitchen Machines
a. JUICER. About five years ago, I didn’t care that we had an existing juicer at home. Weronika, my bestfriend /ex- housemate, bought a juicer for her post-surgery diet. That time, it came in for free! Oh I had no idea what joy it could bring into my life back then (which reminds me of this bible passage – people perish because of lack of knowledge! Lol). However, as I moved to France with my husband, I’ve learned the importance of juicing along the way (featured in my previous blog, Let’s Juice it Baby! and seen on some of my Instragram posts). I initially bought a juicer for just under a €100 and now investing into a €400+ Hurom Slow Juicer. My skin benefited a lot from juicing fresh vegetables and fruits and my juicer has been one of the busiest machines in my kitchen. Did you know that my juicing guru / friend, Bambi Young has the most beautiful skin I’ve ever seen on this planet?! She’s been juicing for over 10 years. Now that’s an inspiration too! I’ll also encourage you to read my previous blog about juicing (if you haven’t yet) by clicking here.
Frequency of Spending: Twice – one for my previous juicer and one for the slow juicer.
b. In-home alkaline water ionization technology . Actually this came into our home first before the juicer. “Drinking plenty of Alkalized water will maintain the pH of our bodies neutral, between a healthy range of 6.8 to 7.8, ideally 7.4. This neutral pH, not acidic-not too alkaline, prevents our immune system from malfunction or get weaker and disease to develop and keeps it strong and healthy” (please see source here). To put it simply, healthier body = healthier skin. After careful research and consideration, we chose Kangen by Enagic USA but this machine comes with a huge tag price (you may want to close your eyes like we did when filling up the order form and handed the payment!).
Frequency of Spending: Once in a lifetime (filters have to changed yearly though)
2. Fruits and vegetables.
You’ll probably notice that it’s cheaper to buy a big pack of Haribo Gold Bears or Doritos rather than a 100g of blueberries-rich-in-antioxidants or a bag of vit-c-filled-oranges for snacks; it’s cheaper to fry pork chops or grab those processed food rather than making your own pesto sauce if you buy the complete ingredients (basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil) or make a hearty salad with the 5-a-day component. – well I do! If I have €20 in my pocket and drop by at the mini supermarket, I could easily fill my shopping basket with junk with that amount versus going green – but I’d rather not. Fruits and veggies can also be used for some D.I.Y. skincare treats at home such as the famous diminishing-dark-circle-around-the-eye cucumber and avocado-super-face-mask to name a few (but to be honest, I haven’t done one in a long time since I love eating or juicing them!).
Buying organic produce also brings these green love goodies on this high spend-o-metre level. But trust me, it’s worth it.
Here are the usual fruits and veggies that I incorporate in my daily diet which are good for the skin: spinach, avocado, lemon, banana, cucumber, carrots, oranges and the following depends on their availability: berries, broccoli, mangoes, tomatoes and sweet potato.
Frequency of Spending: Daily.
3. Good exercise outfit.
I strongly believe that when you like what you’re wearing, you exercise better. Sports bra, running shoes and others to complete the fitness outfit are quite pricey! Make sure you buy comfortable and long-lasting items. It’s worth checking outlet stores too :-)
Okay what’s the connection with skincare? You’ll see later on.
Frequency of Spending: Once in six months (sometimes more if I reward myself from working out)
SPENDING LEVEL: MEDIUM
1. Nutritional Supplements.
As I become more health conscious, I’m so paranoid of what I put in my body including what fitness drink or vitamins to take. I choose Juice PLUS+® since it’s plant-based and super safe even for pregnant nursing women and kids. JP Complete (choco / vanilla shake x 6 cans) costs around €160 inc. VAT and JP premium costs €76.75 per month, including VAT and delivery, that makes it €2.55 per day of full nutrition from 26 different varieties of fruits, veg & berries – which you cannot get that amount of nutrition under €3! In total, both JP Complete and JP Premium capsules cost €3.85 per day (or like buying a cup of cappuccino everyday). I thought it’s quite pricey (esp for people like me who don’t buy a cup of coffee daily) but equating the costs vs the nutritional benefits makes sense so it goes under this level of spend-o-metre.
Frequency of Spending: Monthly
2. SPF protection
I do invest into a good sunscreen protection especially when I’m out and about. I use Avène Sunblock – it’s more expensive than generic brands since it comes in a smaller bottle but I’m happy with its light fragrance, easy-to-apply texture without leaving those annoying white marks like other sunscreen creams do and it provides ultimate protection while being gentle on the skin. I also had the privilege of visiting Avène’s Hydrocentre and their team showed me how they make their products. Please click here to read the full story.
Frequency of Spending: My Avène sunblock was part of goodie bag from my previous trip at their Hyrdrocentre (yahoooooo, freebies! love the perks!). But probably I’ll be buying it once a month depending on how much I go under the sun during summer (less frequent during winter).
Well, I just have a few basic essential things in my kikay kit (as every girl would need to have). I opt to be make-up free most days of the week. I think that my skin needs to breath and make-up clog my pores – oh that’s just me. I put make-up at this level of spend-o-metre since they are expensive pretty little things plus they must come with a gentle make-up remover, however, they last a long time since I hardly use them :-)
Here are some of the make-up free, no-filter, no-edit selfie shots I’ve taken using my iPhone since I started juicing:
(Top L-R: Lake Garda-May2013, Milan with hubby June2013, After running by the beach as seen on this post, Below L-R: Both photos from last week - sorry Mark you had to go in there, Taken in the car last May2013)
Frequency of Spending: Once a year.
4. Facial Cleanser
Here’s another revelation: after cleaning my face with a paraben-free facial cleanser (I use La Roche as seen on this post), I spray Avène Thermal Spring Water on my face and leave it til it gets dry before I moisturise.
Photo taken during my trip at Avène Hydrocentre
Frequency of Spending: Every 6 weeks.
Mark and I eat fish at least 2-3x a week. Fish is more expensive than meat here in South of France (not sure about your area – hope it’s the opposite as fish is supergood and yummy!). Salmon and other cold water fish are high in protein which can help to speed up the skin’s natural healing process according to Glamour.
Frequency of Spending: We buy supply good for a week, so weekly.
SPENDING LEVEL: LOW
1. Daily moisturisers
JLo said in an interview a few years ago, if there’s one thing she’ll teach her kids, it will be to moisturise. Moisturising is a skincare essential. I used to be obsessed in buying the mid-range to expensive pots. Oh I loved seeing them lined up in the special section of my bathroom back in my London days. I fell in love with Liz Earle’s Organic Moisturiser, Mandelular Sensuous Body Soufflé by Sanctuary and of course, my super love Molton Brown products. Moreover, I kept collecting bottles from other brands too. Can you imagine how my bathroom looked like then?
Don’t get me wrong, I still love Liz Earle and those nicely packaged creams but like what my husband told me, if you find products that are good for your skin, stick with it. Nowadays, I’’ve been using the affordable Oil of Olay Day and Night Cream for the face (each pot costs Php 300 – shipping is free since my friends travelling from Manila to EU get me these as their pasalubongs – thank you guys!) and for the body, I use Nivea Soft Cream daily (under €5).
I’ve also read somewhere that experimenting on different products may be harsh to our skin. Well, it’ll be a quest to find what really suits your skin type before sticking on it and I’m not stopping you if let’s say Crème de la Mer is the one that works for you but living a healthy lifestyle can save you from spending too much on creams and reallocate your budget such as sustaining the juicing habit.
Frequency of Spending: Face creams last upto 6 weeks (with Mark sharing it and I have a good stock in our cupboard) and 7-10 days for the body cream shared between us
2. Other Basic Toiletries
I try to keep a low maintenance practice on the basic toiletries such as body wash (currently, we are using Dove); deodorant (I always use the DEOROCHE SPRAY – an all-natural potash alum spray (a.k.a. tawas in liquid form) with no colouring agents and fragrance plus it’s paraben free; and hair removal tools i.e. Veet facial/body easy-wax strips and Venus razor.
Frequency of Spending: Between 2-3 weeks
3. Green Tea and Eggs
Super cheap anti-oxidant polyphenol-rich green tea’s good for the skin too and eggs too – I don’t take them together though :p
Frequency of Spending: Between 2-3 weeks for a pack of green tea and every 3-5 days for the eggs
SPENDING LEVEL: NADA
It’s free and it makes me sweat! “Sweating is our body’s way of helping to keep our skin clean. Every day, toxins build up in our pores that need to be released. If they’re not, then our skin can break out and cause pimples, rashes and other skin infections. By sweating out these toxins, our skin stays cleaner and, over time, it will appear to look healthier than ever” (please click here for the source). Amen. Since I started running, I never had any breakout even before I get my monthly period (normally, I’ll have 1-2 prior but now – nada). If running is not for you, walking is also free :-)
I don’t count the water bill on my skincare spend-o-metre as I charge it under monthly household expenditures (which by the way is included in our rent!). On top of juicing greens, I drink loads of water throughout the day and avoid sodas and other fizzy drinks. I know coffee has benefits too but I don’t drink coffee, I prefer green tea (a good source of antioxidants too).
My best friend used to have this pink pillow with a caption – Live Now Sleep Later. I’m not denying I went through that kind of lifestyle which was so-against skincare 101. According to Day, who wrote the book, Forget the Facelift, “Your skin, and your whole body, goes into repair mode when you sleep. It’s repairing and restoring and rebalancing”. My gorgeous uni friend once said, “if I sleep late, I don’t feel better the next day. If I don’t feel better, I don’t look better”. Hear, hear! Oh you must see her well-maintained skin too! In the past few years, I try my best go get 8 hours of sleep daily and I think I’m pretty good at it (*wink). Day added however, “do not oversleep as it can actually increase skin cell breakdown”.
Smiling is always free and it always adds glow to the skin.
Hope you find this useful. Remember having a healthy glowing skin comes from the inside out. It’s living a healthy lifestyle – proper diet, regular exercise with good sleep and hydration plus the help of the skincare products that work for you. Don’t forget to smile too! It’s important that we take care of our skin – it’s the only skin that we have :-)
I’d love to hear about your skincare regimen too! Please feel free to share yours below.
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