I still do a double take in the mirror most mornings. I can't believe my eyes. I have clear skin! I once was plagued with chronic, painful acne that lasted for over a decade and led to comments from strangers in the street.
"Ooh your skin looks so sore, have you seen a dermatologist?" Imagine my embarrassment? I felt ashamed every time someone said anything about my skin. I saw many specialists including Harley Street dermatologists and an endocrinologist. Skin care was seldom mentioned.
Fortunately, whilst in New Zealand, a lady told me all about synthetic chemicals in skin care. I subsequently stopped buying into skin-care consumerism. I began to scrutinize all labels.
I don't believe we need half of the skin care products available. How many skin care products do you have in your bathroom? Five? Ten? Twenty? What attracted you to these products; was it claims of cancelling aging or delivering youthful hues? I bought into these claims for years, damaging my skin and improving shareholder dividends.
You do not need to "strip and dip" your skin each day; a harsh cleanser leaves your skin dry so you apply lashings of lotion. This can create a vicious cycle and I, thankfully, have stopped it. Less is more when it comes to healthy skin care.
Now I oil cleanse despite my oil-phobic past. I use Helena Lane's Chamomile and Mandarin Cleanser, which is soothing, uplifting and oily, but it works. At night my skin is cleansed without the need for moisturizer or night cream. Simplicity itself.
Lane, previously based in England, now lives in British Columbia. She has a similar story to mine in that she suffered from chronic eczema in her late teens and early 20s but a switch to natural, plant-based skincare was a major factor in healing her skin.
She spent a decade working for Neal's Yard Remedies and for Whole Foods Market, which means she knows exactly what's what in the multi-million dollar skin care industry.
"Simple plant oils are basic nutrition for the skin. By using them to cleanse and nourish the skin you are respecting how it is truly made and how it works best," says Lane.
Her sought-after cleansers are beautifully simple; organic jojoba oil, beeswax and essential oils. Her products contain no water or synthetic chemicals.
I love the Lavender and White Willow Exfoliator and Mask, it is all dry ingredients negating the need for preservatives. The mask is literally four ingredients including Rhassoul (Moroccan) clay and organic white willow powder. White willow powder is rich in beta-hydroxy acids, which encourages cell renewal and often results in brighter skin.
Don't be apprehensive of simplifying your skin care routine, as I was, you may just find your skin loves it.
You can now buy Helena Lane skincare at Nesters Market.
Skin care consultation:
Come along and meet Helena on Saturday (Feb. 16) and enjoy a free skin care consultation. You will be able to try the products, learn all about oil cleansing and caring for your skin naturally. Visit between noon and 4 p.m. at Nesters Market.
Joanna writes regularly about enjoying a chemical-free beauty routine on her website www.ActualOrganics.com.