Winter is hard on our skin, leaving it chapped, flaky, and itchy. Now, as the days get warmer and more of our skin peeks out of our clothing, it’s time to pamper ourselves! A few natural beauty routines will get our skin glowing and springtime-ready in no time.
Slough off rough skin
Exfoliating after a long, dry winter is key to finding glowing skin for spring. Make sure to use a gentle exfoliant and don’t over-scrub, as skin can be sensitive from the winter months.
For the face (and even the body), use something gentler than a mechanical scrub—use a cleanser containing alpha-hydroxy or beta-hydroxy acids to remove dry and dull skin cells. These ingredients gently loosen the dead cells and help make room for fresh new cells to grow. Keep in mind that these acids can increase skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so always use proper sun safety.
When exfoliating your skin, use warm water instead of hot water (the latter can cause dryness). Apply an exfoliating cleanser in a circular motion with your fingers or a gentle exfoliating cloth, then rinse your skin thoroughly and follow up with a natural moisturizer formulated for your skin type.
Lips are often forgotten, but they too can be exfoliated for optimal smoothness. Lips also need a very gentle exfoliant (try a rice bran powder or a lip scrub found at natural health retailers) and should not be exfoliated more than once per week.
Cellulite can be a woman’s worst enemy. The look of dimply skin may be minimized for the warmer months, though, with some straightforward treatments.
Dry brushing is thought to reduce the appearance of cellulite, can rid the body of dead skin cells, and may increase circulation. Plus, it feels great!
Dry brushing before you shower is best (so you can rinse afterward). You can brush either from head to toes or from toes to head; use long sweeping motions toward the heart with a soft natural fibre brush. Apply very light pressure on places of the body where skin is thinner, and heavier pressure where it’s thick (such as the soles of the feet). Avoid sensitive or damaged areas of the skin. Shower after brushing, and then apply a moisturizer containing a natural plant oil such as olive oil or coconut oil after you’re dry.
The best cure and prevention of cellulite? It’s a healthy diet and exercise. If your healthy habits have lagged a bit recently, spring is a great time to dust off the old jogging shoes and take a look at your eating habits. A balanced diet, aerobic exercise several times per week, and regular resistance training can be an effective way to reduce the look of cellulite.
Remove hair naturally
Some women tend to get a little lazy with their hair removal habits in winter. As soon as hemlines shorten and the bikini reappears, we turn our attention back to our unwanted hair. There are many great natural methods available to get rid of unwanted hair to make our skin smooth and spring-ready.
Tweezing is probably the simplest and most inexpensive method of hair removal. It’s a great way to groom eyebrows since it’s quick and easy, but it’s not recommended for sparse facial hair or large areas of hair such as the underarms (since it can be painful). This method removes hair from the root, so it takes longer to grow back than shaving.
It’s best to tweeze after a warm shower or bath so the skin is softer and pores will release the hair more easily. Pull the skin around the hair taut, and tweeze the hair out in the direction of its growth. Make sure to sterilize your tweezers before use to avoid skin infection. For an environmentally friendly shave, avoid aerosol cans of shaving creme and cheap disposable razors—opt for recyclable or reusable instead.
Shaving is another simple and inexpensive way to remove unwanted hair, but it is the most temporary. It’s most often used on underarms and legs because stubble will appear within a few days and those areas aren’t as noticeable. Shaving does not cause the hair to grow back thicker or faster, but it can appear more noticeable because it will have a blunt tip instead of a tapered tip.
Shaving can also cause irritation (“razor burn”) or ingrown hairs, so make sure to shave with caution.
- Don’t shave over already-damaged areas of the skin.
- Shave after you’ve bathed or showered for several minutes so that the skin softens.
- It’s a good idea to use plenty of natural shaving creme or gel and as few razor passes as possible to avoid unnecessary irritation.
- If you do notice painful areas after a shave, treat them with a lotion that contains soothing calendula or aloe vera.
Waxing is a common hair removal method that pulls hair out by its roots in large quantities, so it’s a smart choice for legs, bikini line, or underarms. Waxing lasts longer than shaving and can be done professionally or at home.
Getting waxed by a professional esthetician is a wise choice, but if you choose to DIY you have a few natural options. You may want to opt for a water-soluble sugar-based wax, which makes for easier cleanup and is gentle on the skin. Another great option is a soy-based wax, which tends to bond to the hair rather than the skin, minimizing damage and pain. If you’re using strips to wax yourself, opt for cloth ones rather than paper or plastic so that you can clean and reuse them.
It’s wise to stop using abrasive scrubs and exfoliants a week or so before getting waxed to avoid irritation, and remember that you may be prone to a more painful wax just before and during menstruation.