Ten approachable and practical ways to get glowing skin and put your best face forward.
My skin is far from perfect, but I’m so grateful for how it is now. At 31, my face is starting to show signs of graceful years and I’m here for it. As I’ve been reflecting on all the lifestyle changes I’ve made, I realized my skin is one of my favorite transformations.
In this post, I’ll share with you my ten commandments to glowing skin so makeup can be an accessory to your beauty rather than a necessity!
1 Manage inflammation in your body
When I was a teenager, I had major acne.
I worked at an ice cream shop. I ate a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast. I had a hot pocket once a day. My snacks of choice were chips, candy, chocolate, and cookies. My meals were pizza, burgers and fries, and tacos. Basically my diet was all junk and all inflammatory. It’s no wonder I was suffering major acne. Worst of all, I found out I was lactose intolerant in high school. That finally explained why I would come home from my ice cream job in so much pain!
My skin was just a reflection of what was happening in my system. It was a mix of food intolerances/allergies, inflammation, and sugar overload.
It was a long road to learn how to eat better. But when I started to eat better, my skin got better too. I pretty much stopped eating dairy because the pain wasn’t worth it. Once I stopped consuming dairy, the acne on my forehead cleared up. Once I limited how much fried food I ate, the blemishes around my cheeks and the overall oiliness of my skin decreased.
It’s crazy how drastically noticeable these changes are once you try it for a few months!
I still enjoy a burger and fries once in a while. And pizza too. But my junk food intake is nowhere near where it was before. My skin is so much happier because of it.
Inflammation in the body doesn’t just come from food. There are environmental, hereditary, and immune system factors.
But food is often times the biggest shift you can make to see the greatest results.
2 Balance your hormones
Another cause of unwanted skin problems are hormones. It’s the biggest mystery and struggle sometimes.
I tried going on birth control pills as an adult and it gave me acne after years of not struggling with blemishes or pimples of any kind. I was shocked. Some people go on birth control pills to heal their acne. It had the complete opposite effect on me. I started breaking out all over my forehead, my temples, my cheeks, and my chin.
The pill threw my hormones out of whack. I quickly stopped taking them.
I’ve heard of so many people quitting the pill after years of use and their acne came back.
This is an incredibly frustrating and embarrassing thing to go through, especially as an adult. You feel like you’re doing something wrong or you’re unhealthy somehow.
My biggest advice if you’re dealing with hormonal imbalances that are causing skin problems is to see a naturopathic doctor or a holistic women’s doctor. I started going to ND appointments this year to try to optimize my health and do some digging on a mystery allergy I have. We’re still working on it but what’s great is they have you do labs and they analyze everything. They truly take the time to hear every single symptom and concern, they take a deep look at your lab results and assessments, and they help you with an overall plan to get better. There are ND schools that offer consultations at a lower cost. This makes it more approachable, especially with the multiple appointments it takes to get a whole plan going. If you’re resourceful, a whole world can open up to you! Don’t give up.
3 Understand your skin type
We all have unique skin types. Just take you and a few friends for example. Chances are, you all have different skin textures and tones. It’s so critical to get to know the kind of skin you have. If you have oily skin, it’s important that you keep your pores cleansed, unclogged, and toned. If you have dry skin, it’s important to focus on hydration and boosting collagen. There are all sorts of combination skin types too.
When I was doing modeling and commercial work in LA, I booked a shoot by a skincare brand that created products specifically for women of color. There were so many ethnicities represented in the room and it was a powerful experience. The message of this brand and the science behind it was about how skin care is not a one-size-fits-all thing and how it’s about time that products were created for all the different skin tones.
I agree completely and I’m so excited there are so many brands doing the research and creating such innovative products. So many of these brands offer free tests on their websites that help you discover what kind of skin you have, what problems you are prone to getting, and how to solve them.
Understanding your skin type is the first step to finding skincare that truly works for you.
4 Consciously and slowly try things until you find the perfect products for you
Naturally, the next step is actually finding the right skin care for your skin type. This process took me years to figure out. Some things worked for the season my skin was in but things changed as I got older.
During my high school acne phase, products that had benzoyl peroxide worked best for me. It cleared up large and small blemishes. My skin didn’t agree with anything that had salicylic acid and caused me to have tiny little breakouts. My skin didn’t like parabens and I had an allergic reaction to products that had them. It’s shocking how many reputable brands have parabens in their products.
Here’s a check. If you break out right after using a skin care product, discontinue it. That’s my opinion. Some people say it takes time for your skin to get used to it. But if your skin has an immediate reaction to something, to me, it’s not right.
I can’t tell you how many brands of skincare I’ve tried over the years, especially during the high school years. Some were really expensive too and my mom was such an angel for paying for them at the time.
In more recent times, I’ve had a number of brands reach out to collaborate on their products. My skin agreed with one or two brands and disagreed with all the others.
A success story for me was a brand that is higher end (around $50 dollars for their facial cleanser) and had packaging that looked really pretty. It was a well-established brand that had a ton of history. All the products in their line worked for me. I still use them! Will everyone get the results I did? I can’t say 100% for sure, that’s why I’m not calling out any brands in this post.
Then there are the not-so-successful experiences. For all these products, my face broke out. One type of skin care line was designed for people who live an active lifestyle and sweat often. Another brand was a celebrity favorite and so many people I knew swore by them. The last one had a lot of rose products that smelled great but irritated my skin. Skin care is truly such an individual thing.
This is why I recommend slowly trying things to see if they work. It’s really about trial and error. You won’t know until you try. I know it sucks to have a full-sized product of something but you can always try their returns department (if you’re nice they will usually be nice back) or try to get ahold of samples before you buy the full-sized one. If it doesn’t work for you, your friend may want to have it!
You will want to be kind to your skin and not introduce all sorts of products all at once. Take time to isolate each step of the process.
Here are some other helpful product tips:
Use sensitive skin body wash, laundry detergent, and face wash if you’re all of a sudden getting skin problems out of nowhere
Wash all new bedding, clothing, and towels before using them for the first time
Inspect all your products of harsh chemicals and irritants
Keep trusting that you will find what works for you!
5 Go through a nighttime routine, every single night
I’m religious about my nighttime routine. I take a hot shower. I allow the steam to build up. I wash my face with a sensitive skin face wash. I dry my face and immediately use toner on a round cotton pad and start massaging the toner on my skin in circles, sloughing off dead skin as I go. I continue until the cotton pad comes out clean. I moisturize with a simple lotion. Then, I apply eye cream. After that, I brush my teeth and floss. Then I’m off to bed. While in bed, I moisturize my hands, put on lip balm, and lastly, I wear my retainers. I fall asleep shortly.
That’s my nighttime routine. It’s a little weird sharing because unless we’ve traveled together or you’ve stayed over, you wouldn’t know this about me. I feel like I go to bed with such a clean slate that I wake up with a glow in the morning.
I also make sure to wash my bedding and towels often, that’s a given.
I can’t remember the last time I’ve missed this nighttime routine. It’s been working for me all these years. The shower feels like a mini facial for my skin every night. I get a real facial maybe once a year (if at all) so I feel like my nightly steamy showers take care of that for me.
My morning routine is a lot shorter and consists of washing my face with the same sensitive skin face wash, moisturizing, and wearing sunscreen every single day (+ reapplying often).
6 Sleep soundly and effortlessly
By the time I’ve completed the nighttime routine, I’m ready for sleep. The magic number for me to feel completely rested and satisfied is around seven hours. That number will be different for everyone. Adequate and quality sleep is the foundation of health. Your body regenerates, heals, and restores itself during sleep. Your mind too. There are many factors that can affect sleep. It’s important to figure this out, not only for your skin but for your overall vitality.
If it takes time for you to finally fall asleep, I recommend listening to soothing music, nature sounds, or a sleep meditation. I also believe in putting the phone away at least ten minutes before bed.
Every night, I like to reflect on the day, repeat affirmations to myself, and allow my mind to dream and visualize into the future. It puts me in such a positive state right before my brain goes into the deeper wave states.
7 Hydrate with the good stuff
Our bodies are made up of mostly water. Hydrating well is extra important to keep your skin clear and help you glow. There’s a sweet spot to how much water you need. You’ll notice it’s an intuitive thing. Some days, you need more water depending on what you did that day or how hot it was outside.
The general rule of thumb is multiplying your body weight by 2/3rds.
Some days, I drink a little less than that of plain water, but I also drink lots of herbal teas, matcha with oat milk, hot lemon water, homemade smoothies, and wine once in a while. When I start my cycle or when I get a good sweat in, I usually drink a lot more water.
I keep it pretty basic when it comes to hydration and take my water bottle with me everywhere I go!
There are many cool new ways to track your water intake, including apps and techie water bottles. I like the more old fashioned way of just reminding myself throughout the day to hydrate.
8 Eat nutritious and real food most of the time
Once you’ve been able to lower your inflammation and balance your hormones, you’ll most likely discover an eating lifestyle that works for you. I’m all about intuitive eating and allowing your body to choose what to nourish itself with.
Story time. After watching a few plant-based documentaries and being really moved by them, I decided to try the vegan diet. I had tried in the past but this time, I really wanted to give it a good shot. I ordered meal plans from a fully vegan meal service for a month. During that period, I discovered that I felt extremely hungry all the time. I was eating plenty and no, the meals were not just salads. My body was communicating that it needed something else. I know there are many fully plant-based diets that work for people but it didn’t fully agree with me. I eat a good amount of fish and seafood, the occasional red meat, and some white meat too. I’ve found that’s what works for me.
On top of having animal protein (which was also a recommendation from the naturopathic doctor), I started adding more cruciferous vegetables into my diet. The appointments with the ND helped educate me on a few supplements that would be beneficial for me to take daily. I also started mixing in more healthy snacks like nuts, nut butter, avocado, berries, and a few others. Then, I stopped guilting myself when I wanted chocolate, oat milk ice cream, and other “not-so-healthy” things. I enjoy them and move on. It removes the charge out of them and I find I actually want them less.
That’s the balanced approach I have with food where I’m not restricting nor am I bingeing.
9 Sweat daily and shower right after
The body cools and detoxifies itself through sweating. Back when going to hot yoga was a thing (hello 2020 in California), I loved going to class to get my sweat on. I also remember (and really miss) spending time in the sauna at my gym while meditating or journaling. Now I’ve found other ways to sweat and it’s been so necessary.
Working up a sweat means you’re working your heart, your circulatory system, your lymphatic system, your digestive system, basically all the systems and this is so critical to healthy and glowing skin.
Even 30 minutes of walking outside can stimulate your body. When I do anything active, I always take a shower right after so I can calm my nervous system, refresh my senses, and prevent breakouts on my back, chest, and face.
Getting out of the shower after anything active is such a luxurious feeling. I also light a candle while I’m in there and it feels like the ultimate treat.
10 Cultivate a beautiful inner world
After you’ve taken care of your body, there’s one more thing. And you can’t see it with your eyes.
I’ve always believed that having an uplifting inner world makes you more beautiful. Having beautiful thoughts gives you an unexplainable glow. Living with peace in your heart makes you exquisite.
There’s no substitute to inner beauty. No amount of treatments or products can accomplish what healing your mind and heart can.
When your inner world is at rest, your cells organize themselves into coherent patterns. We can’t see it. But we can surely feel it.
If you find that you’ve done all the physical things to heal your skin, the last place to look is your inner world… your emotions, your thoughts, your unhealed places.
These could be the very blocks keeping you from fully glowing from the inside out.
Everything is connected and all flows together.
You are a beautiful, multi-faceted, complete being.
Allow yourself to uncover the illustrious gem that you are.