The third and final part of Amy Saunders of Get That Glow's blogger residency at Content is here! We're 'content' to hear that her brilliant wellbeing and nutrition tips have resonated with many of our readers - so we've no doubt you've been anticipating a make-up post! We've asked the holistic beauty blogger to share her natural skincare routine and organic make-up tips with us. Discover them below.
To celebrate our collaboration, we're also hosting a competition over on Amy's Instagram profile from Monday 23rd of November and giving away her favourite organic make-up essential - so head down there to be in the chance to win a fantastic prize!
"I spent my teen years and early twenties plagued with acne. Sometimes the breakouts were manageable, sometimes unbearable, but one thing remained true - I was never able to enjoy constantly clear skin. As I got older, I hoped I would ‘grow out of it’ and my skin would sort itself out, but my poor diet and high stress levels meant it never did. In early 2014 I suffered from an exceptionally bad bout of acne which inspired me to act upon the root causes of my constant breakouts – working on my poor eating habits, simplified beauty regime and stressful energy to achieve the beautifully clear skin I’d been craving since I was 12 years old.
Simple Skin Care
When my skin first started to break out as a teen I threw every single acne-clearing product available at my face, none of them really made a difference and it wasn't until I started becoming more aware of what I was putting on my skin 5 years ago, that I decided to strip my routine back, using a simple, natural and organic routine to help clear my skin.
Mainstream beauty products are filled with toxic pore-clogging ingredients, which can lead to breakouts and skin drying ingredients. These nasties include alcohol, which although dries the skin out temporarily, in the long run it will cause your skin to produce excess sebum – therefore more oil and spots! Natural and organic products on the other hand are full of skin-loving plant extracts which can actually help to balance sebum production, reduce inflammation, redness and can improve the overall tone and texture of your skin. Shop here for acne-friendly green beauty.
My top tips for a simple acne-friendly skin care routine:
- Stick to pure, light plant oils such as Jojoba for cleansing, removing make-up and moisturising. Jojoba seeds contain a liquid wax which closely matches the fatty acid profile found in healthy sebum. This Pure Jojoba oil from MV Organic Skincare is great for balancing the skin and helping to eliminate pesky bumps and whiteheads on the skin.
- Don’t overload on rich products that contain oils like avocado or coconut as these can be too heavy for acne-prone skin types.
- Treat yourself to a mask once a week. This will help to increase circulation, reduce congestion and promote radiance. I’m a huge fan of The Problem Solver by May Lindstom but you can easily make your own recipes at home using honey, yogurt, teas, herbs and spices.
This is probably the most common, yet most overlooked reason for skin problems caused by unhappy hormones! If you’re stressed out, then your adrenals will be overworked and high levels of cortisol will throw your entire endocrine system out of balance. Stress can also deplete vital vitamins and minerals including B, C, A and magnesium - all off which are important for healthy, clear skin. Studies have shown that deep breathing can help to balance your hormones, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day! If you’re like me and struggle with self-meditating because your brain Just. Does. Not. Stop. Try some guided meditation apps such as Calm, Headspace or Walking Meditations.
Hormone imbalance and coming off the pill are some of the main reasons adult women suffer from terrible breakouts - ironic when many of us are put on the pill by our GPs to prevent acne! Remember, the pill is designed to flat-line our hormones and prevent pregnancy - so it’s only natural that when we stop taking these synthetic hormones, our system can be thrown out of balance. Our bodies can take up to 2 years to calm down after coming off the pill and hormonal acne isn’t always an immediate indicator that things are ‘off’. Personally, I was fine for 3 months after coming off the pill before my skin went crazy but I’ve heard stories from my readers that their hormonal acne appeared nearly a year after coming off the pill.
As well as messing with your hormones, the contraceptive pill can also depletes your levels of several B vitamins (including B6 and B12), vitamin C, magnesium, and zinc so whether you’re on the pill, or coming off it - it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough of the mentioned vitamins and minerals, whether it be through diet, supplements or both! Phytoestrogens in birth control pills can contribute to unnaturally high oestrogen levels which can result in a high oestrogen, low progesterone hormonal imbalance. This imbalance could be the reason your skin is causing dramas since coming off the pill. To boost your progesterone levels naturally, you can take Vitex Agnus Castus drops twice a day. It can take 3-6 months to reach its full effect so you need to be patient, but this tincture has a great track record and has been touted as a miracle treatment with many ex-acne sufferers.
Exercise is great for balancing your hormones but too much can make your symptoms worse! Over doing it on the cardio workouts can put too much stress on your body and spike cortisol levels which can cause inflammation and trigger hormone imbalances. Light, regular exercise such as yoga, walking, swimming or pilates is a great way to reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) levels and short interval training for 20 minutes 3 times a week is enough to help boost your immune system, reduce stress levels and balance hormones.
Food for Thought
Acne sufferers want to keep their blood sugars as stable as possible to prevent spikes. When you eat something sugary or you skip a meal, your blood sugar will spike. When sugars get digested, they can cause the pancreas to produce more insulin and the insulin like growth factor (IGF-1) to help maintain the balance of blood glucose. Too much insulin and IGF-1 will, in turn, trigger a release of androgen hormones, which is another leading causes of acne. An excess of androgens means that our skin will produce too much sebum, which will then lead to clogged pores, blackheads and whiteheads which can then lead to further acne inflammation.
Let's face it, we all consume way to much sugar on a daily basis. Over time, all this sugar can lead us to become less sensitive to insulin (also known as insulin resistance), meaning that our pancreas has to pump out more and more insulin and IGF-1 to compensate. In fact, studies have actually shown higher rates of insulin resistance in acne sufferers compared to people with healthy skin. To cut a long story short: sugar = bad news for acne sufferers!
For more nutrition tips for acne-prone skin and the recipe for my favourite green juice, check out my previous post ‘What I’m Eating Now’.
Love Your Liver
The liver is the target for nearly every toxin, chemical and contaminant that we come into contact with during the course of our busy lives, whether it be from pollution, chemical-laden cosmetics or pesticides and preservatives in food. The liver also has the important role of breaking down and removing hormones from the body, therefore it's vital to support our liver to ensure it can do its job of storing vitamins and minerals and detoxing out excess hormones for optimum health and acne-free skin.
As well as Milk Thistle there are other herbs that can help support your liver:
- Artichoke leaf - Artichoke-leaf extract improves the liver's eliminative function, the acid components in the extract stimulate production of bile.
- Turmeric - Turmeric helps reduce free radical damage and increases the livers detoxification ability.
- Dandelion - Dandelion nourishes and strengthens the immune system. It's also great for the digestive system!
- Oregon Grape - Oregon Grape stimulates liver function, improves bile production and helps cleanse the blood.
- Fennel - Fennel is a powerful antioxidant and also contains lots of fibre for healthy digestion.
- Liquorice Root - Liquorice Root supports your adrenals and your liver. Studies have shown it enhances liver function and defends against liver inflammation.
- Burdock - Herbalists use burdock root as a diuretic (elevates the rate of urination to remove waste from the blood and body), diaphoretic (sweating to remove toxins from the skin), and a blood purifying agent (to destroy bacteria and fungus).
Conceal: What's in My Make Up Bag
I like to think I know my way around a make-up brush, with 13 years of battling skin problems, a degree in Specialist Make-Up at the London College of Fashion and a career in the beauty industry I've had plenty of practice when it comes to camouflaging and concealing. When it comes to covering spots, it can be a tricky task to effectively conceal without looking cakey! I’ve spent years learning the tricks of the trade and working out how to cover my spots and scars, whilst still looking fresh and natural.
The most important factor to remember when it comes to keeping acne-prone skin calm is to avoid any harsh, synthetic ingredients. Stick with trusted, green beauty brands that don’t contain pore clogging mineral oils and silicones or irritating alcohols and preservative and you won't have to worry about your make-up making your acne worse.
Amy’s top acne-friendly products
PREP: Prep and prime your skin with this Pure Jojoba oil from MV Organic Skincare. Jojoba nourishes and protects the skin without clogging pores - making it the perfect natural moisturiser for acneic skin types. You can also use jojoba as a cleanser and make-up remover too!
BASE: Use a tinted moisturiser like the Creme Du Teint from Absolution to even out skin tone. Tinted Moisturisers tend to be lighter than foundations so are more comfortable to wear on a daily basis. This one is light, dewy and contains Tamanu oil which is high in vitamin E - great for healing scars!
CONCEAL: Over the years I’ve always struggled with finding a great natural concealer for acne-prone, oily skin. They were either too heavy, would melt and separate as my skin got oilier throughout the day or they just wouldn’t offer the coverage I needed. After swatching the Studio 78 Paris Off We Go Concealer in the Content shop, I knew I’d found a keeper! This concealer provides perfect coverage and has a nice powdery feel to it so it stays put comfortably all day! Plus, when using it under eyes to hide a sleepless night, there’s no need to worry about it collecting in creases.
POWDER: To set your make-up in place for as long as possible, I recommend setting with a fine powder. If you’re happy with the coverage achieved by the tinted moisturiser and concealer then opt for an ultra-fine translucent powder like the rms beauty ‘Un’ Powder. If you’re looking for a heavier, more ‘made up’ look then opt for a tinted mineral powder like the W3LL PEOPLE Altruist Mineral Foundation. It comes in 8 natural shades which will leave you skin perfectly polished, without clogging your pores!
BLUSH: Add a flush of colour to your cheeks with a dusting of blush or bronzer. For my super-oily skin, I prefer a powder blush as I find it stays put longer and is less likely to cause the layers beneath to separate when blending. My favourite blusher is the Barely Rose Pure Pressed Blush from Jane Iredale. Cool, rosey pinks work really well on my fair, golden toned skin to achieve a pretty, everyday natural glow.
HIGHLIGHT: Another type of cosmetic that took me a long time to find ‘the one’ was a highlighter. I found that they looked beautiful on fresh, dewy skin that had very little base make-up but just didn’t quite give the glow on skin that required heavier coverage. That was until I discovered the Radiance Highlighter from Kjaer Weis, it’s still beautifully subtle but the soft lavender tone boosts the glow factor and give your skin an irresistible finish.
MIST: Inject a little more moisture into your make-up with a toning mist. Spritzing your skin with a mist post make-up application will give your skin a fresh, dewy finish and will help set your look and prevent your make-up from sliding throughout the day. The Live Native Essential Mist MSM Corrective Toner is perfect for using to set make-up and also as an extra skin boost before you apply your moisturiser. MSM is one of my favourite topical ingredients for acne scars - it is an excellent source of natural sulphur which is vital for healthy, plump skin as it aids in the development of collagen and keratin.
ON THE GO: Ilia Beauty’s Fade Into You Finishing Powder contains calming Passion Fruit and Rosemary oil to reduce inflammation and redness. Light and soothing, I recommend keeping this handy refillable finishing powder and brush component in your handbag to help control that oily t-zone throughout the day.
Amy's Top tips to concealing blemishes and getting your glow on:
- Match your foundation to the skin just above your collarbone - NOT the back of your hand! This prevents any ‘tide marks’ and means you can get away with a little extra coverage.
- Try a tinted moisturiser as a base instead of a heavy foundation, it’s lighter in texture so looks more natural so you can build up the extra coverage on just the areas that need it with a concealer.
- Apply your tinted moisturiser/foundation in gentle, circular motions. This helps achieve even coverage and prevents areas being too thick and slipping throughout the day.
- Build up thin layers rather then applying lots of product at once. This will help you achieve a more flawless coverage as you can build up extra layers on the areas that need it most.
- By all means use a brush, but in my experience I find dabbing concealer to blemishes with a finger achieves better coverage and blendability - plus, it’s easier to control the pressure on delicate skin. Just remember to use clean fingers!
- Don’t be afraid of a bit of blush! If you’re going a little heavier on the coverage - it’s important to add a little flush back into your cheeks to prevent you from looking washed out.
- Achieve a ‘faux glow’ with a little help from highlighters! Apply small dabs with your finger on your cheek bones, brow bone, down the bridge of your nose and on the inner corner of your eyes for beautiful sculpted features.
- Always finish with powder. Oily skin and acne often go hand-in-hand so a quality powder is good investment and helps prevent the dreaded oil-slick T-zone come 10am.
- Set your make-up and give your skin a boost throughout the day with a facial mist. Simply adding a spritz of your favourite mist over your make-up will intensify the colour and illuminate the reflective minerals of your make-up, giving you a radiant and dewy glow."