How to get glowing skin, naturally + ideas for a zero waste skincare routine

Glowing skin is what so many of us are chasing these days. Glowing skin tells the world you are hydrated, healthy and attentive to your skincare routine. Around here, we tend to ignore the makeup trends that waffle between dewy and matte, and prioritize personal style and chasing that inner glow. I have my share of breakouts from time to time, but my skin problems really seemed to clear up when I began sticking to a specific skincare routine. As our team has gotten more and more into skincare, we've been researching everything from the best ingredients for each skin type to best practices for cleansers, moisturizers and masks. If I've learned anything thus far, it's that (aside from drinking a ton of water and eating fresh foods), a consistent and simple skincare regimen is the number one key to happy skin. Here are my top tips for how to build yours.

Little disclaimer - I love learning about clean skincare and trying new things, but I am in no way an expert. I look to some of my favorite beauty brands like Follain and Tata Harper and publications like Mind Body Green for casual research. At Eco Collective, we view skincare as part of our wellness routine. It's about feeling good and taking care of ourselves so we can keep caring for mama Earth.

It wasn't until I figured out my skin type that I finally started to find skincare that worked for my skin. Knowing this one thing about yourself is like unlocking a custom set of solutions to support your skin and bring it back to normal. It can be tricky at first, especially if you aren't dealing with any major issues, but most of us lie somewhere within three categories: dry, oily or combination. If your skin has a natural sheen or enlarged pores or you struggle with breakouts or blackheads, you probably have oily skin. If your skin can be oily or shiny at times but not overly so, and you tend to break out in your t-zone or get dry patches around the edges, you might have combination skin. If your skin appears matte or you're always layering on the creams, you most likely have dry skin. You can still get acne with dry skin, and you can have sensitive skin within any of these categories. In the end, it's a bit of a sliding scale, but knowing where you land will help you pick the right products and find happier baseline skin.

From what I've read, you should pick a skincare routine that matches the way your skin behaves most of the time, and then use special treatments to deal with seasonal issues. My primary routine reflects my skin at its norm (oily/combination) and then I can keep some go-to treatments in my cabinet to address seasonal dryness (like a hydrating mask) or hormonal breakouts (a gentle clay mask or blemish treatment). Wherever you land on the spectrum, we have learned some tricks for building a routine that, over time, can lead to effortlessly radiant skin.

We believe the real secret to good skin is to simplify. If you are experiencing any problems with your skin - dry patches, blackheads, breakouts, oil, or redness, you won't know what's helping or hurting until you pare down your routine. Below, I'll list the four simple steps I use to get glowing skin, but first I want to touch on a few secret ingredients to look out for that might just be your skin's new remedy.

  • Hyaluronic acid - hydrating and beneficial for all skin types. This ingredient can also help your skin stay balanced through changes in the weather! Find it in our rooibos eye cream.
  • Meadowfoam seed oil - an often overlooked ingredient that works to regulate sebum production (in other words, balance you skin's natural oil production process)
  • Vitamin Cencourages your skin to produce both collagen and elastin, which helps keep your skin plump and firm. Look for the ingredient "L-ascorbic acid" to get the best form of vitamin C. We have a vitamin c serum that contains this form and is wonderful for dry skin.
  • Rosehip seed oil - brightening, smoothing, and anti-inflammatory. It boosts collagen production and contains fatty acids that fight acne! We carry this ingredient by itself because its liquid gold for the skin, but you will also find it in our organic oil blend for oily skin.
  • Argan oil - a thick oil that locks in moisture for dry skin. Sweet almond oil is good for this as well. If your skin is dry and irritated, simplifying to just one nutrient rich, hydrating oil and building your blend from there can do wonders.
  • Bentonite clay - wonderful for oily/combination skin, to draw out oil and impurities and treat breakouts as they come.
  • Squalane - helps calm inflammation and redness, and is the most beneficial for dry or irritated skin. It will calm, soothe, and protect. It can also help balance oil levels in oily skin.

In creating a skincare routine, we suggest four simple steps: cleanse, tone, hydrate, and treat.

  1. Cleanse to remove any makeup, dirt or environmental pollutants from your skin.
  2. Tone to nourish your skin, remove any impurities from your pores, and prime your skin for any moisturizers.
  3. Hydrate to lock in moisture, balance your oil production levels, and protect your skin. This step should also include an SPF during the day.
  4. Treat to address any flareups or seasonal responses from your skin. I'll dive in a little bit to some zero waste options I've loved for each step in this simplified routine, and what to look for.

Cleanse

Cleansing daily is vital to a balanced skincare routine, and with the right ingredients, it can pack huge benefits for keeping your skin in check. Those with dry skin might want to avoid cleansing in the mornings and go for a gentle cleanser at night. For me, the Fresh face bar soap totally changed my skin. I have fewer breakouts and a more balanced complexion since I started using it every night. We also have a hydrating facial cleansing bar for dry skin and a detoxifying bar soap for oily skin.

In a pinch or when I'm traveling or camping, I use micellar water as a cleanser. This is one of our favorite things in our refillable skincare collection because it is so luxurious to use and such a wonderful cleanser or makeup remover.

Tone

If you grew up in the '90's like me, you'll remember toners that were meant to fight acne, but they were often very harsh and drying. It is a new age my friends! Rosewater toner is the most refreshing, vibrant, hydrating part of my routine, and it feels like laying down in a bed of rose petals. I love to mist some toner midday to freshen up or lift my energy. 

Toner does so much for skin health. It's an extra step to remove impurities after cleansing, and it helps to protect your skin by reducing your pore size and keeping those impurities out. As a layer between your skin and your moisturizer, it helps to lock in hydration, add vitamins and essential nutrients, and make your moisturizers more effective by acting as a primer. Toner is basically the bomb.com.

Hydrate

Something that surprised me is that people with oily or combination skin (hi, it's me!) actually do really well with oil based skincare because oils have a superpower for balancing your natural oil production and getting your skin back in check. I use this oil at night (with my own fireweed infused meadow foam seed oil mixed in) and a serum in the mornings. I've learned that those of us with oily or combo skin should stick to serums, oils, or light lotions and stay away from creams. Dry skin loves a cream or even more than one moisturizer in a layered routine. Our new vitamin C serum is wonderful for dry skin, especially in the winter for a dose of radiance and brightness.

*One thing we just want to shout from the rooftops real quick - coconut oil does not make a good moisturizer! It is comedogenic, meaning it will clog your pores, so please stay away from this one oil in your facial skincare even as a makeup remover. Summer actually taught us this, originally a tip from her dermatologist.*

Here at the Loft, our latest obsession is a brand called Dew Mighty. These little jelly serum bars are so cute and come packaged in a simple metal tin. I've been using mine in the mornings for about two months now and it feels so light and fresh on my skin. Should we carry these in the store?! Let me know.

Treat

Treatments really are a treat! We love a good clay mask, and we wrote an article chock full of clay mask recipes for every skin type. I use clay masks to detoxify, balance my complexion and target blemishes, or rehydrate.

I also use a spot treatment stick from Thayer's that is lemon and rose scented. Burt's Bee's makes a nice herbal one as well, that you can apply on a blemish and leave overnight.

A note: Be sure not to over-exfoliate, regardless of whether you're trying to scrub away flaky skin or get rid of acne. Often times, what your skin actually needs is help getting its oil production levels in check or managing irritation or damage on a cellular level, and exfoliating too much can really worsen your issues.

One of my all time favorite beauty tools is this mini jade roller from Mount Lai. I use it in the morning to stimulate circulation and drainage and de-puff. It instantly releases any tension and makes an immediate difference in de-puffing my skin. Pairs perfectly with a gel or serum for a dreamy cooling effect and an instant glow. The mini size makes it great for travel or just to keep in your bag. Mount Lai has lots of other beautiful tools like eye masks and gua sha, and even a little skincare fridge, which all ship carbon neutral. I love the story of their brand, which is rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine: "Mount Lai was inspired by founder Stephanie Zheng’s grandmother, who has been jade rolling and practicing gua sha for over fifty years. Her grandmother treated her skincare routine as a breath of calmness in her busy life. A daily ritual, an act of self care."

I hope this article was helpful as you craft your zero waste skincare routine. Let me know if you have questions as you go!

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