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Bien dans sa peau , a common French phrase refers to beautiful skin ( as well as body and soul) , and is what this weeks French Girl Friday post is all about. I shall be taking a lead from Part Two, Chapter 7 of Lessons From Madame Chic written by Jennifer L. Scott, " Take Care of Your Skin" . I often get told I have beautiful skin, even my dermatologist despite the skin damage I have from years of sun worship as a younger woman, broken capillaries and the occasional blemish tells me that. It is the latter things that do not have me believing that, top it off with a horrible T zone , and I always think I have horrible skin. I have spent loads of wasted dollars trying to reverse, I truly wish I knew many of the French secrets that Jennifer shared in her book. Maybe it is not too late to at least prevent further issues. There are some basics that can go a very long way towards that goal. Some I have been doing for years, so guess it has helped, and others I am eager to try.
The taking care of and getting beautiful skin is not all about skin creams, something so simple as drinking plenty of water goes a very long way to hydrating your skin from the inside out. I have always drank a lot of water through the day, yes at time it is in the form of herbal and decaf tea, but that counts too ( caffeinated not so much as it zaps moisture) and it helps with not only your skin, but also hair and weight maintenance as well! How you eat of course, plenty of fruits and vegies really help, and guess what because they contain water, they count as well to your daily totals. Water flushes toxins out of the body , and if you add a squeeze of lemon in it, even more so. It is my number one go to trick. I love that these two things are natural, easy and though not free, feels like it.
Confession time. I am horrible about washing my face. Oh I always remove my make up, I love make up removal sheets, and now you can find the ones that exfoliate on one side and cleanse on the other, and have additives to them that help tone, or prevent blemishes, even help prevent wrinkles. My favorite ones are from CVS, they are not too pricey, are the same as the more expensive brands, plus I get points with their beauty club and get money back after spending 50.00 , so I can get some for free every so often. I do wash my face every other night in the shower and give it a good exfoliation. I know shock and horror. I buy special face washes and mean to do it, but I am just so exhausted by the end of the day.... but that being said, I do pay the price with blemishes that pop up and not just normal pimples, but ones that have a life of their own and nothing seems to help them. I am aiming to do better , really!
One of the tips that is talked about in the book is getting massages. YES! I can get behind this and do as a matter of fact. I now get them professionally, but ones given by my husband can happen on my time line and are free! They help the body, like water, rid the body of toxins, but over that stress, and stress is a huge factor in keeping skin beautiful, just remember to drink extra water after. My massage therapist gives me a glass before and after with a gentle reminder to up my water intake for the next two or three days to help flush things out of the system that she has released. So another thing that I already do is get plenty of exercise, it too helps to de-stress, works toxins out of your body and in turn leads to more beautiful skin. I walk a lot; I rarely drive, and when it is hot out, it truly works the toxins out!! That leads me to the other major secret, sunscreen. Being out in the sun a lot, my skin easily gets red, blotchy, dark spots get darker, new broken capillaries pop up , and squinting causes more wrinkles...none of that is beautiful, and having had skin cancer in two places, it is more important than ever to wear sunscreen. I buy mine at Trader Joes, and I get the kind that is good for faces, meaning it will not clog pores. I wear it daily, even under my make up.
I wish I could afford to get facials, that is the next tip in the book. It simply is not in my budget, but I used to get them and they are so worth it if you can manage the cost. I do like to do facials at home, there is so many products out there that can be bought even on a tight budget and with hot steam from a boiled pot of water that you put your head over it while draping a towel over yourself ) on your head of course) maybe popping in some essential oils into it or even slices of fresh fruit, for aroma therapy, you can create a spa experience. Make some fresh fruit infused water to drink, light the candles and put on some soft music ( maybe some French Music of your choice) and you have your spa day.
So what about products you ask? In the book it states ..." The French are known for spending a lot of money on skin care products...." , but there are many of us that do not have a huge budget for such products. I buy the best that I can afford, and have tried nearly every drug store brand out there, and to tell you the truth most of them I have not seen any difference in my skin after using them. My Grandmother always swore by Oil Of Olay, my other Grandma only ever used Ponds cold cream. I like Garnier products, and even buy the CVS equivalent, as long as they have the same strength ingredients. I also like to buy more natural products. Rose water is a great toner, I have bought mine of all places in the liquor department at a local store, but often you can find it in international food isles, even on Amazon.... making your own is pretty easy, but time consuming. I like rose water with glycerin, I put mine in a small spritz bottle, and it makes a wonderful moisturizer for the skin. Coconut cream and oil works wonderful as moisturizers as well. Neither cost a lot. You can exfoliate with sugar made into a scrub or coffee too... there are loads of homemade, low cost to make concoctions out there that can go a long way to beautifying your skin.
I mentioned above that I do get blemishes. They are more like cystic and do not really respond to anything. They come out of no where, and at nearly 50 and not even any real hormones of my own, I thought they would pass, but they keep coming. I know, I know if I washed my face each night they would not happen, or at least not as frequently.... but when I was washing my face each and every night, and there was a time I felt up to it ( in case you are new here, I have fibromyalgia that just zaps me by days end) , it was worse for me. Go figure. So what do I do? Well I do my best to leave these painful, and ugly, monsters alone, and do my best to dry them up. One odd little thing I find works, is calamine lotion, I like Aveeno. It dries up the blemish and not the surrounding skin. I do have acne scars from the past when I was not able to just leave it be.... oh come on you have done it too! Anyway, I do my best now and just use concealer to cover it up and eventually after a few days it does start to shrink and go away. Blemishes are a part of life, at least for a lot of us, apparently, according to the author of Lessons from Madame Chic , you rarely see any on the faces of French women, so I am very inclined to try out all the tips given for how the French women take care of their skin. How about you??
So what is my routine? In the mornings I wipe my face with a clean, wet washcloth. I then apply my facial cream, after which I apply my sunscreen. I wait a good five minutes in between to allow it all to soak in, and then apply my make up. In the evening I remove all my make up with a facial wipe, and then wipe my face down with a washcloth, after which I apply a dark spot serum and firming cream to my face and a bit lighter under my eyes with same cream, that part with my ring finger very lightly..the skin is delicate there. I also use a lip balm before bed to keep my lips soft. Every other night I exfoliate my face and body in the shower. Each day I apply plenty of body lotion and body butters through out the day as I have very dry skin from both age and lack of hormones and my health issues, I also use the rose water as mentioned, right after my showers which also helps my dry skin.
At the end of each chapter in the book Lessons From Madame Chic, the author does a wonderful little recap of all the tips given, and normally I do not share them with you, hoping you will buy the book, but this time , and hopefully Jennifer does not mind, I want to do just that as it is wonderful advice as obviously I am not perfect or an expert in this area, I kind of fumble along and do enough, though I do aim to do better, it is never too late to start channeling that inner French girl!!!
Make water your main beverage of the day, limit your intake of
caffeine and alcohol
Manage your stress levels. When you feel stress creeping up, lighten things up!
Get regular massages from a professional masseuse or a loved one.
Consult professionals and get regular facials if they are in your budget, or give
yourself a facial at home.
Do your research and purchase the best products you can afford.
Protect your skin by always wearing sunscreen. And don't forget your
neck, shoulders, arms and hands! ( side note from me , or your ears and
your rest of your body!!)
And most important, no matter what state your skin is in, strive to be comfortable in it.
Doing so will make you most attractive.
* via Lessons From Madame Chic
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