Tag Archive | skincare

My Morning Routine — Slow Living

So, following up on my last post on how not to carry out your morning routine, this is what I actually do do every day.

Morning Routine With Cup of Coffee

Lately I’ve noticed that it’s become quite the rage on YouTube for everyone to vlog about their morning routines, especially the slow living ones.

Well, I don’t have a vlog or a YouTube channel. However I do have this blog. So I thought I’d share my morning routine here.

I’m not a morning person at all. I have a hard time getting up early, although sometimes I’ll suffer from the opposite problem and go to bed too early. Then I’ll wake up at 3 in the morning and I can’t get back to sleep.

Although I think perhaps the reason I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night is precisely because of the anxiety I feel about not being a morning person. Because of the pressure I feel — which most night owls like me would probably identify with — to get up earlier. Which makes me feel like I ought to wake up earlier. Then said anxiety makes me overdo it and I wake up too early.

Because let’s face it. We live in a society which tells us that morning people are overall BETTER and SUPERIOR to the rest of the mortals in the world: morning people are supposedly more productive, morning people catch the worm, etc.

Because since they get up so early supposedly they work more hours than night owls. Although if you stopped to actually calculate it, if you work 8 hours a day from, say, 5 o’clock in the afternoon till 1 in the morning, you’re still working exactly the same number of hours as someone who works from 9 to 5.

But it just feels like the person who started work earlier worked more hours, because he began earlier. Never mind that the person who started working later also finishes later. People still get the impression that the person who started work earlier, worked more hours.

But that’s getting off the subject, which is how I begin my day (regardless of what hour I actually begin it lol).

I recently took a meditation course. I would really recommend it, it’s called Sahaj Samadhi meditation and it is THE BEST technique of meditation I have ever tried, and I’ve tried many. But maybe I’ll write more about this in another blog post one day………….

So as I was saying, I recently learnt a new form of meditation. The teacher advised us to begin our day first thing with meditation. We should meditate as soon as we wake up, she said. Before our first cup of coffee. Before we even brush our teeth.

But I found that it just simply didn’t work for me. Because I usually wake up raging with hunger. So then I spend the whole meditation only dreaming about breakfast.

I guess you really just have to do what works for you. So I start my day by brushing my teeth.

After that I wash my face. I just use water, I find that works best for me. I usually take a shower the night before and do my facial routine at that moment, which includes moisturizing my face with oil. So by washing your face with only water you’re not removing the healthy oils you put on it the night before.

At least that is what works for me. If you’ve got an extremely oily face naturally though you might not want to do this. I have combination skin so it’s fairly dry except for my nose.

Next I need to have something to eat because as I said I always wake up raging with hunger. Something light, so I can meditate. I like to start with a glass of fruit juice supplemented with supplements.

After that, with hunger pangs appeased for a few minutes, I do indeed feel free to meditate.

After meditation I take a few moments for gratitude time. Then I envision what I want, or whatever I’m working towards.

I continue with a fairly long yoga routine and a workout. If I’m running short on time though I’ll usually postpone it till the evening.

After that it’s “official morning drink” time haha. I’m too lazy to boil water. I don’t have a kettle and even if I did I’m just too impatient to wait for the water to boil anyway. So I usually just prepare a cold drink such as a smoothie.

(Note: I’ve since then bought a kettle, best investment ever and it only costs around 20€. I now make about 3-4 cups of tea every day.)

Although most people start their day with hot chocolate — when I visited France I began each day with a croissant and a bowl of hot chocolate — I like to drink Eko. Eko is made of barley, malt and chicory.

When I lived with a family in Italy we began every day with a mug of Orzo and I loved it. Orzo is simply barley and you dissolve it in milk the same way you do hot chocolate or cocoa.

After I returned from Italy I searched everywhere for soluble barley and I couldn’t find any. But eventually I did discover Eko, which is nearly the same thing.

But as I said, I’m usually too lazy, too impatient and too hungry to wait for some frozen liquid to heat up and boil. So I just have Eko cold.

My breakfast changes every day and in accordance with my changing moods. I tried having the same thing for breakfast every day but I got bored. I need change!

If I had a shower the night before I just jump straightaway into my day. But if I hadn’t, because sometimes I’m just too tired and I conk out without taking a shower, this is the moment for a shower.

I talk extensively about my natural hair care routine in several posts on this blog, so if you’re interested you can check them out. Basically, I don’t use sulphate shampoo and I haven’t done so in about 3 and a half years.

If you wanna know what I use instead of shampoo (and no, it’s not baking soda and vinegar, ugh! Those left my hair drier than a broom!) do have a look through the blog posts in this category.

I know about some people who like to begin their days with a refreshing and energizing walk………… out in the middle of nature………. surrounded by birdsong and waving green leaves, the soft pounding of the ocean………..

But this is the view out my window, and when I go out the door of my high-rise apartment building.

Grey Skies and Highrise Buildings

So alas, faint little birdsong or waving green leaves to be had in my walk, I fear. Maybe the cooing of a few pigeons……………

And although I am indeed blessed to be able to go and listen to the waves pounding against the sand whenever I want, I have to walk half an hour in order to be able to do so. So unfortunately it’s not something I’m usually able to get around to on a typical, rushed and frenzied day.

After the shower it’s time to begin my day. I never do the same things from one day to the next. And because of this current situation I’ve been fortunate enough to now work partly from home. So I don’t have a fixed work schedule and it changes from day to day.

If you’d like to incorporate some relaxing reading into your daily routine, I’d love it if you began with some of my novels. You can check them out here: Thrillers by Moi.

So how do you begin your day? Have you heard about slow living? Don’t hesitate to leave me some (positive, non-spammy) comments below.

Adorable black cat

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

Grey Skies

A Treasure Cave

On Christmas Day in the Morning

Pizza Makin’

Natural Skin and Hair Care Routine

This is my current natural skin and hair care routine.

I’ve written many posts on natural skin and hair care, and in this post I’d simply like to sum up what I myself do personally, what works for me and how I do it.

First off, I haven’t used a conventional store-bought cream on my face for over 13 years now.

But I am not all covered with wrinkles. Nope. On the contrary, people always think I am younger than my years, and I’ve got a few anecdotes to prove that. But more on that later.

Nope. Ever since I acquired a book on All Natural Skin and Hair Care the Ayurvedic Way (which unfortunately got lost in one of the 50,000 moves we’ve made), I’ve never picked up a jar of Ponds, Olay (well, except sunscreen, of course) or, G-d forbid, the one million dollar La Mer, again. (Not that I had ever tried out La Mer, I might add, fortunately for my pocketbook.)

My natural skin and hair care routine these days is the following:

I use oil to remove my makeup.

Now, I do have to add that I do use chemical, store-bought makeup. I do own and use all-natural mineral makeup as well as natural lead-free kohl, and I love it. But, you know, you get bored and you want to shake things up and try out new things, right? And much as I love, love, love kohl, the sultry, smoky, smudgy look really isn’t too work appropriate.

Well, as I was saying, getting back to my natural skin and hair care routine, I remove my makeup with just oil and some tissues to wipe the oil off. Then I rub my face a few times with a very hot, wet washcloth.

Later, I do my face in the shower. I shower at night, so it’s the perfect time to remove every last spot of makeup and go to bed with a fresh, clean face.

Once I hop in the shower, I rub oil all over my face again, then wash it off using all natural handmade soap. I have a whole bunch of them, which I alternate. And I’m always on the lookout for more every time I go to handicraft and medieval fairs, so I never run out.

But if I ever did run out, I could always resort to the all-natural handmade olive oil soaps—the original castile soap—which is made by local housewives here and sold in local drugstores.

Very, very occasionally I will put on a turmeric masque or exfoliate my skin with sugar. I do that once in a blue moon, though, because I’m lazy.

After I get out of the shower, I do NOT slather chem-filled creams all over my face. Instead, I use OIL.

I’ve written a short little guide on several oils that you can use on your face, depending on your skin type and/or problems. Oils are the main part of my own natural skin and hair care routine, and you can easily incorporate them into yours.

I, personally, like to use a variety of oils, alternating between them. Once upon a time, I used to create my own facial cream by combining these same oils + vitamin E (wheat germ) oil, aloe vera gel and a few drops of sandalwood essential oil, for the fragrance. But one day I said to myself: what the ****. Isn’t it easier to just slather on the pure oils?

So that’s what I’ve been doing every day ever since. Now, every night, I choose between extra virgin olive oil (easy to acquire here in Spain, the land of olive oil), coconut oil (not as easy to get here, but I can always find it at the pharmacy), sweet almond oil and rosehip seed oil, depending on the mood and what my plans are for the next day.

I know that there are others available, but they either don’t go with my skin type, or are hard/impossible to find here in Spain, which like many European countries has not yet discovered the modern, new-fangled, natural, going-back-to-the-land trend yet.

(Nope, it’s still chemicals all the way for Spaniards. If you ask a Spaniard about natural skin and hair care they will think of The Body Shop. Or even Mercadona.)

I find that olive oil is the greasiest, so if I’m off to an early start the next morning, I usually won’t use it, since I’m not a fan of leaving home with an oily face haha. But I once met a man who used it every day as part of his own natural skin and hair routine, and claimed he was 62 years old and he didn’t look a day over 40, not a single wrinkle. So if we can trust him about his age, well, something’s gotta be up, right?

I find almond oil the most soothing. However, rosehip seed oil gives me the MOST INCREDIBLE GLOW and makes my face look about 30 years younger (so now you know I am at least over 30).

I only use coconut oil in the summer when I have an oily face because, paradoxically for an oil, it actually dries your skin a bit since, more than making your face oily, coconut oil tends to regulate oil production. Which could mean, it makes your face dry haha.

In the morning, I actually don’t wash my face. Okay, so that makes me sound like a pig haha. But really, my face isn’t really all that dirty in the morning. I mean, what could I have possibly done to make it dirty, anyway? Rub it all over my pillow? Well, usually my pillow’s fairly clean too, so not very likely to get my face dirty from that.

(It’s a little less clean now since my cat’s discovered that he loves to curl up on it, but you probably don’t have that problem with your pillows.)

(This is my cat, not that it’s very relevant to this post haha.)

Black Kitty Cat

Nope, in the mornings, usually most of the oil has absorbed, leaving me with a bright, healthy-looking, moisturized, glowy but not oily face. In the case that it should be oily even so—which sometimes happens when I’ve used olive oil the night before—I simply wash my face with hot water and a washcloth and problem solved.

I don’t even—blasphemy and heresy!—use face cream during the day. And my face doesn’t look awful. On the contrary, my skin has never been better.

Just as an anecdote (and cos I love to show off hehe), one day last year I was walking down the street with my son, and we passed a group of his schoolmates. They all started whistling and jeering at him (but in a good, fun-loving way): “Whoo-hoo, Ermenegildo*! Hey, look, Ermenegildo’s got a girlfriend. Who’s your girlfriend, Ermenegildo?”

My son looked at them and asked: “Who are you talking about?”

They pointed at me!

Well, he burst out laughing and told them: “That’s not my girlfriend! That’s my mother!”

Well, to continue with the anecdotes (even though they are totally irrelevant to this post, but I love to show off and they do at least give you an idea of what my skin is like as a result of following this natural skin and hair care routine for the past 13 years).

My son has decided to change high schools this year. So that, of course, led me to run around the city scouting out different high schools for him. Yes I know, he could do it. But does the youth of today ever do anything nowadays if you’ve got a mami to do these things for you?

So I entered into a high school to find out about the programmes that they offered, and the lady at the desk asked me: “Yes, are you interested in attending this school next year?”

Now, I nearly did a double take. I mean, this was a high school, not a university. And I haven’t stepped foot in a high school since…… well, let’s say people the age of my son hadn’t even been born yet the last time I attended a high school haha.

And one last anecdote, which I love love love. One day, I opened the door to—surprise surprise—a sleazy salesman. But unlike other sleazy salesmen, he didn’t plunge right into his boring spiel right off.

Instead, he stared me over, then blubbered out: “Young lady, would your mami or daddy happen to be in the house? I’d like to talk to them, if you don’t mind.”

I kid you not. This actually happened to me. And not such a long time ago, so it’s not like I’m telling you about something that happened in the twentieth century haha.

Well, I nearly leapt onto this salesman and hugged him. But I didn’t do that. I slammed the door in his face instead. Not because I was upset with him nor even because he was a salesman, but because I was so flabbergasted I didn’t know what else to do. A minute later, I wished I’d hugged him instead, though.

So, if you should just happen to be the salesman in whose face I slammed the door, or if you happen to be a salesman and someone (who apparently looked like a teenaged girl) once slammed the door in your face, please know that I’m sorry, and it had nothing to do with you as a person.

On the contrary, I’d love to hug you.

But back to this blog post on my all natural skin and hair care routine.

As I was saying, I don’t use face creams or day creams, not even during the day. Usually, the oils that I’ve dumped on my face the night before are more than enough to keep my skin wildly gorgeous.

Chemical-filled, store-bought creams have no place in a natural skin and hair care routine, or at least not in mine. And that includes the creams that you wear to face the world every day.

However, sun protection is a major issue in our life, and I don’t believe in skimping on sun protection.

Having said this, I know that chemical sunscreens are also a major source of cancer. I have a vague idea that there are studies out there that sort of prove it, although I can’t actually give you the references at this moment, because these are just the little tidbits of information you go along picking up as you go through life or browse around on the internet on a lazy day.

But we all know (or at least suspect) that chemicals are toxic and do at the very least often contribute to the development of cancer. So it only makes sense to avoid them in every way possible. And that includes in your sun cream.

I’ve never as yet found any brand of sunscreen which is 100% natural and also satisfies me and also works. I think the ones I liked best in the past were all the ones by L’Oréal, because they use Mexoryl, which is a broad spectrum sunscreen and when I used it, I didn’t tan at all. And it didn’t leave me all greasy.

But although Mexoryl has been shown in studies to be innocuous, the medium it’s in, which is, after all, a chemical-laden cream, is not so innocuous. Such creams certainly don’t fit in with the natural skin and hair care lifestyle. Hence I’d like to avoid them if possible.

I recently found a couple of brands of sunscreen which are made of all natural ingredients and which I can get in Spain (ie. I don’t have to order them from the US, which is both pricey in terms of shipping as well as taking a long time to arrive). As you might expect, since Spain hasn’t exactly jumped on the natural skin and hair care bandwagon yet, I do have to order them online.

These brands are Badger and DeVita. I just ordered Badger yesterday and I’ll let you know how I feel about it in a future post. (I ordered it from iHerb which carried it at the lowest price plus—the shipping was free!!)

Well, as I was saying, in my natural skin and hair care routine, I don’t use face creams other than sunscreen. However, I do use makeup, as I’ve described above.

Incidentally, aloe vera gel has an SPF of about 6, I believe it was (I read about it in some article on the internet but of course I didn’t take note of the source). Shea butter has an SPF of about 4-6 and coconut oil has an SPF of about 2. I’ve read some sites that say 4, but if you only use coconut oil you do tan, so obviously it isn’t keeping all the sun’s rays out of your skin.

Nonetheless, if you wish to continue with your natural skin and hair care routine all the way, you might wish to consider these for sun protection if you are only going to be outside for a few minutes. For example, walking from your car to your office, or running to the neighbourhood grocery store.

At any rate, it’s important to get your 20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure on your skin every day in order for your skin to produce vitamin D, which is necessary to protect yourself from cancer. But on the other hand, if we go out all day, we’re in the sun for way more than 20 minutes. So then we need sun protection.

How I wash our clothes also came under bombardment when I jumped on the natural skin and hair care bandwagon. After all, you wear clothes every day, and they touch your skin every day.

I’ve now also switched over to using natural soap flakes to wash all our clothes.

I’d already been doing that for years, but other people were all swearing by their respective laundry detergents and I wanted to give them a try. Well, not only are conventional laundry powders and liquids expensive, they don’t even work as well as soap. At least not on our super dirty, male-dominated laundry.

So it’s back to soap flakes for me. Our clothes come out clean and spot-free, even when they’re very dirty. And it’s cheap, too. Well, cheaper than laundry detergent, at any rate.

Plus it’s all natural.

I’ve also started on a new no ‘poo routine. Which you’d only expect, seeing as I’m writing about natural skin AND hair care. You can read all about what I’ve been doing so far, here: Going No ‘Poo.

And while we’re at it, not to sound like a sleazy saleslady but I’ve written a few thrillers so, if you’re into creepy, scary, suspenseful novels, I’d love it if you’d check them out, here: Thrillers by Moi.

So how about you? Do you have an all-natural skin and hair care routine you’d like to share? Don’t be shy, tell tell! As you know, I LURRVE to receive (positive, non-spammy) comments!

*not his real name

If you enjoyed this post (I really hope you do!), maybe you will also like:

All Natural Skincare

Bentonite Clay for Hair

Going No ‘Poo

Thrillers by Moi