Lotions and potions for glowing skin

BEAUTY CORNER

Shahnaz Husain

It is the health of your skin, and not its colour, that constitutes true beauty. And it helps to know that beauty can be acquired through a combination of  internal good health and regular external care. Internal health and external care are but two sides of the same coin.

For external skin care, you need an understanding of your skin, in order to judge its requirements. In other words, you should know your skin type.

Wipe your face with a tissue before you wash or cleanse it. If the tissue is clean, you have normal or dry skin. If the tissue is stained with grease, you have oily skin. Wipe the forehead, nose and chin with the same tissue, but use a fresh one to wipe the cheeks.

Daily skincare involves cleansing, exfoliation (use of scrubs), toning, moisturising, nourishing and mask application.

*Cleansing helps remove dirt, pollutants, sweat, oil, dead skin cells and make-up. Washing with soap can dry the skin. So, pick a mild soap for the face. Use a cleansing cream or gel to trap moisture into dry skin. A light cleansing milk or lotion is ideal for oily or combination skin. For pimple-prone skin, use a medicated cleanser.  

*Exfoliation allows for deep-pore cleansing and removes dead skin cells. Facial scrubs do a good job of removing dirt and dead cells. Those with dry skin may exfoliate it once a week. Those with oily skin and pimples may use a scrub more often.

*Use a toner after cleansing. Toning helps improve blood circulation at the skin surface, close pores and refresh facial skin. Rose water is one of the best natural skin toners.

After cleansing, use a wad of cotton, soaked in skin tonic, to wipe and pat the skin.  
Sun protection is an important aspect of skin care. Most sunscreen lotions come with built-in moisturisers. Moisturisers are available in both liquid and cream forms. Oily skin may need a water-based moisturiser only during the dry season. 

Nourishing is important for normal and dry skin. It keeps the skin lubricated and soft, so that it can hold in moisture. After a round of cleansing, apply a nourishing cream and massage it into the skin for 2-3 minutes. Wipe off with cotton. 

Masks play a vital role in skin care as they tighten the skin, improve the cell renewal process and delay signs of ageing. When applying a mask, avoid the lips and the area around the eyes. Wash off well when the mask dries. 

The concept of beauty has undergone a big change, with the emphasis shifting from superficial treatments to natural and long-lasting approaches.

Getting fresh, are we?

Skin fresheners and skin tonics are cooling. Floral water, containing rose or lavender extracts, are effective fresheners. Pick up a tonic or freshener that contains cooling extracts.

Astringents help remove grease, but it is important to ensure that you use a mild astringent. Some astringents can be harsh on the skin due to their high alcohol content.

A skin tonic or freshener should have a gentle action, so that it can be applied several times a day.  Rose water is one of the best known skin fresheners. If you have oily skin, add a few drops of lemon juice to rose water and use as a skin tonic.

DIY remedies

Make your own skin freshener with rose water and witch-hazel. This combination not only tones the skin, but also has an antiseptic effect. It can also tighten the skin and reduce puffiness.

For normal skin: Mix together ¾ cup rose water with ¼ cup witch-hazel.

For greasy skin: Mix rose water and witch-hazel in equal quantities.

For dry skin: Mix ¾ cup rosewater, ¼ cup witch-hazel and half a teaspoon of pure glycerin.

You can also use mint leaves to freshen and tone your skin. Crush the leaves and add them to water. Let it stand for an hour. Strain the water and use it as a refreshing skin tonic.

If you have oily skin, mix lemon juice with egg white and a few drops of honey. Apply this on your face and wash off after 15 minutes. It cleanses and refreshes the skin, reduces oiliness and closes large, open pores.

Essential oils: Add a few drops of essential oil to water to make an effective skin freshener. Many herbal skin fresheners contain essential oils. Remember to dilute the oil with water before applying. This can be poured into an atomiser for a fine spray effect on the skin. Avoid the area around the eyes. Two essential oils may be mixed and applied as well. Store the freshener in a cool place. Essential oil of rose, lavender or geranium works well on normal skin.

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