TRANSFORMING YOUR LIFE. LITTLE CHANGES MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
"When practicing holistic wellness, feeling good about ourselves means feeling good about every part; mind, body, and spirit, inside and out."
Today we’re focusing on the outside. Our skin! Why? Because if your skin feels nice YOU feel nice… and feeling nice is GOOD! Our skin is our body’s largest organ so let’s take care of it! Here are some very simple and inexpensive ways to keep you skin feeling soft and looking healthy, right at home.
Exfoliation, as I’m sure you know, is the sloughing off of dead cells from the surface of the skin. While beneficial, we need to be careful not to overdo lest we sensitize and dry the skin, nor do we want to be pulling on it. It’s better to do a little at a time for a cumulative and lasting effect than too much too quickly.
What you’ll need:
Once a Week to Once a Month
First, let me say that the term “Sugar Scrub” is a misnomer. You don’t need or want to “scrub” your skin! Moving forward, let’s call it:
Take about a cup of sugar in a shatterproof container into the shower, keeping it out of the direct flow of water. Wet you skin, turn off the water, and with a palm-full of sugar at a time, give yourself a nice light buffing, working your way from your collarbone* down to your feet. Use a soft, circular motion until you feel the sugar dissolve, paying extra attention to your elbows, hands, and feet. I never add any oil to the sugar simply because oil and water on the smooth surface of a tub or shower is a recipe for disaster in my little world! Rinse thoroughly - and please remember to rinse away ALL the sugar that may have found its way to the walls and/or shower curtain… ants and other critters LOVE sugar! If you’ve ever been to South Florida and left a soda can on the counter for a couple of hours you know what I’m talking about!! Proceed with the rest of your shower.
*A word about sugar on your face and neck: DON’T!! Sugar crystals have sharp edges and will cause micro-tearing on facial skin. Please don’t do it. Use a bamboo cloth or facial round instead. It’s gentle yet effective, sustainable, and has naturally occurring anti-microbial properties.
Every Day or So
Before you get in the shower, if you take a minute to softly brush your skin with a good quality, natural bristle body brush, you will not be sorry. It gently removes dry flakes, increases circulation and invigorates the skin. And it feels SO good!!
In the shower, set the water temperature to a comfortably warm level then make it just a little bit cooler. You don’t need to freeze but too hot dries the skin. I admit, I used to take scalding hot showers and baths but I’ve grown wiser with maturity (and when I say “with maturity” I, of course, mean with menopause and hot flashes.) Now turn off the water and suds up using your favorite (organic, naturally scented, paraben and sulfate free) soap. You can do this with or without your washcloth but if you put a dollop of soap into the cloth you’ll use less, and it adds one more exfoliating opportunity. Rinse off, using the washcloth to help gently wash the soap away from your skin, squeezing fresh water through the cloth as you go, until all the soap is gone. Turn off the water and while still in the shower use your wrung-out washcloth to “dry” yourself off, wringing out the cloth a few times as you go, removing the drops of the water from your skin. When you squeeze out the cloth, you’ll see how much water you actually remove! No need to scrub, a gentle gliding action will do the trick. Once again, pay special attention to your hands, heels, and elbows, giving them an extra polish. Step out of the shower and apply your favorite lotion or oil to your still lightly damp skin** - don't forget your feet - then air dry, no need for a towel. In just a few days you’ll really feel a difference in the softness of your skin!
** On really hot, humid days I use a lighter body lotion, applying a richer option to my hands, elbows, and feet. On cold or dry days or in arid climates, a couple of drops of oil in the lotion is very nice! I use unscented oils and lotions, adding a few drops of organic essential oils to customize.
To Shave or Not to Shave. That is the Question.
Only you can answer it. My suggestion is to do what makes you feel best, and do it for yourself. I lived alone for years and, even in the dead of winter, I shaved. Why? Because I love the way my legs and underarms feel when they’re smooth and freshly shaven. I did it just for me and for no other reason than because it made me feel good.
Hands and Feet
Soft, smooth, well-groomed hands and feet feel fabulous! Conversely, have you ever kept them hidden when you’re out because they looked like hell? I have, but no more. It’s so quick and easy to keep them in shape that there’s no need. Exfoliation, lotion, and simple nail grooming are your hands and tootsies best friends!
Before your fabulous shower sit for a moment on the edge of your tub or nearby stool, take your foot emery and spend a few minutes on the rough parts of your feet. It will take a little more time when you’re just starting this grooming ritual, but less and less as your feet improve. Remember, as when filing your nails, it’s best to move the emery in one direction across the rough, dry skin and PLEASE, be very careful not to over-do! It’s easier than you’d think to get down to tender skin, which often doesn’t reveal itself until hours later. It doesn’t feel good and you’ll have to wait to let it heal. Go easy and take your time, this isn’t a one-time fix it’s a cumulative process and part of an ongoing self-care ritual!
After your shower, and any other time you think of it, moisturize your feet. A couple of drops of peppermint essential oil added to the lotion is fabulous! Just be care not to slip afterward!
Do this foot treatment for two or three days in a row when you’re first starting out. Once your feet are soft and smooth, one or two times a week will do it, but apply the lotion every single day!
Wet your hands in the sink and “wash” them with sugar until it dissolves, then rinse and wash with soap as you normally would, dry and moisturize. If your hands are really rough, do this a few days in a row then once a week or so to keep them soft, liberally applying lotion every time. For daily care I find that drying my hands with a nubby towel after I wash helps to keep them soft.
There you go! Does it sound like a lot? It is! But like anything if you want something you need to put forth some effort! If you like, just pick and choose one or two things you’d like to try, but it’s really just two steps: exfoliate and moisturize.
Common sense guidelines:
I’ll be posting more specifics on skin, nail, hair, and face care in the upcoming months!
Please comment below!
Let me know if you’d like to see some skin care videos. How about some videos featuring some French experts from Paris, where I live?
Let me know if this is working for you, or any tips, concerns, or skin care woes you may like to share. Don’t forget to subscribe to have the blog posts delivered right to your inbox!
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