Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Are You Up for a Challenge!?. . .

So we are in the swing of things for 2017 and it is time to check in and see how we are doing with our self care. Rituals are important to living a happy and healthy life and it is good from time to time to check in and see whether we are making "me time". It takes time to create habits and rituals that are lasting so if you had made resolutions that aren't sticking have no fear. That just means it is time to check in and see what it is that you need. Small little shifts really make big changes over the year.

It seems that there are all kinds of challenges these days. I have seen sugar free challenges and plank challenges or even hula hoop challenges. So how can we apply this to skincare you ask?
It's time for the 2017 30 Day Masking challenge.

 Set the clock for 30 days and set a goal to mask every day. If you mess up, forgive yourself and start over. With that said I just spent a wonderful weekend with all the top Estheticians in the nation. It was a true mastermind and allowed me to plug in and really think about my goals and get some great ideas on self-care as well.

We had a module with renowned Global Beauty Expert Mary Schook. She enlightened us to what is going on in Korean and Chinese beauty. This is an area of the world where they are light years ahead of American Skincare. We asked her what is the one tip she would give to us that is successful in Asia that we are not doing in the US.

"You need to mask EVERY day."- Mary Schook, MS Apothecary

She said without hesitation. "You need to mask every day." The one advantage that they have in beauty is a commitment to this self-care ritual.

Masking seems to be an afterthought in skincare routines and after hearing this from her I wondered why it was so important to do this every day. It seems, that the simple answer is just for the same reason it is beneficial in a facial. Basically, when you occlude the skin temporarily with healthy nutrients it kick-starts the skin's innate self-cleansing mechanism. The mask will signal to the skin that it needs to clean itself and will start bringing circulation up to absorb nutrients as well as improve lymphatic circulation to remove impurities.

This technique can be a lot of fun. With so many types of masks and ingredients as well as serums to mix in or apply under the mask the possibilities are endless.

One thing I was taught in school is that clay masks are drying and to only be used on oily skin. Over the years I have learned that actually clay is great for all skin types and it is how you apply it, the type of clay and how you use it that makes the difference. So clay masks can be used daily if customized to your needs. Ingredients and sourcing matter as well especially for a mask because you will be absorbing more of the ingredients than with a cream or serum. I only use premium holistic ingredients in my practice for this reason. There are many options for types of masks and mixing it up will allow you to get the best results.

In addition to clay masks, there are cream or gel based masks, and even more popular lately are sheet masks. Never choose cotton sheet masks as they dry the skin out. It is best to apply a gel or bio-cellulose material for sheet masks. For my challenge I am choosing to use clay masks 3 times a week, a gel mask once a week, and a cream based mask as a sleeping pack 2 times a week and a sheet mask once a week. below are my top picks for my favorite masks. PM me to find out the right combination for your skincare needs!

My top 5 picks for masks

Alitura Naturals Clay Mask $60.25. It has the perfect blend of nutrient dense ingredients to assist in detoxifying, stimulating blood flow as well as stimulating new skin growth. All the ingredients are sourced from the cleanest places and is made with tons of love.
You can mix this mask with a variety of supplements, oils, serums etc. My favorite is to mix it with apple cider vinegar. It gets really frothy and makes your skin feel alive! You can also mix in sea buckthorn oil or pair it with Osmosis StemFactor, Rescue or Correct Serums. Are you short on time? Do a clay mask in the morning. Skip the cleanser and apply the mask while you are setting up your clothes or dry brushing your body. Get in the shower and at the end of your shower gently massage the clay off of your skin and rinse. This will cleanse and lightly exfoliate your skin. Apply moisturizer and go!

Osmosis Polish $50 this delicious cranberry enzyme mask is perfect for gently exfoliating dull skin while it firms with peptides and antioxidants

An easier method of masking is to use a sheet mask. These masks create almost a vacuum onto your skin and this allows you to wear it while you are walking around and doing other things. I use these when I have a special occasion because I can do chores around the house with it on or sit on the couch and lounge. The end result is brightening, tightening and lifting that lasts a few days! It is important to use a gel or bio-cellulose material rather than cotton. Cotton will actually pull moisture out of the skin and give you an opposite effect, eek! My favorite sheet masks are Bioxidea Miracle 24 Face Mask $60. It is great for all skin types Fine Lines, Wrinkles, & Crows Feet, Dryness, Dullness and Uneven Texture/ Dark Spots, Redness. 

Lastly, for my sleeping beauties, try a sleeping pack. This is a gel, cream or lotion based mask that you can massage a thin layer onto the skin. Massage is an important component to stimulate the skin to self-clean as this type of mask won't occlude the skin. Then, go to bed and wake up in the morning completely beautified! My picks are Osmosis Skincare- Repair $56 as it helps to improve your natural barrier function and it's great for healing irritated skin as well as anti-aging.

Ok ready to take the challenge?!. . . 

Talk to your skin care expert about the right combination of masks for you and set a goal for the next 30 days to mask once a day. Aim for 5-7 masks a week, but if your schedule is tough you would still get benefit from any amount of masking. I am excited to try this challenge and would love for you to join me! Contact me at americanapothecaryskin@gmail.com with any questions on how to get started or how to choose the right mask regimen for your skin! Oh, and don't forget to take a before picture!


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