The festive season is upon us, ladies. And festive season calls for festive skin – skin that’ll put the bronzer and the Instagram filters to rest. Now, I know that between work and all the burdens of adulthood, you barely have any time for a proper skincare routine. But stick with me through this 7-day plan that’s designed to save your time and your skin, and together we will shine brighter than the brightest lantern this Diwali.
Ready? Let’s go.
What? Repeat after me, “CTM! C – T – M!” (Cleansing – Toning – Moisturising)
Step 1: Use a cleanser suited for your skin type. Gently massage with your fingers, moving in a circular motion. Do this for up to 30 seconds. Rinse thoroughly and pat your face dry with a soft clean cloth (DO NOT rub your face).
Step 2: Soak a cotton ball or pad with a facial toner (rose water works just fine). Swipe it across your face two or three times, but more so around the particularly oily and acne-prone areas such as the T-Zone and the chin. Let the toner air-dry or once more, pat your face dry with a soft clean cloth.
Step 3: Apply and massage gently in a circular motion for up to thirty seconds, to promote blood flow to the face. For the day, use a lighter cream, whereas for the night choose something heavy duty that works its magic while you sleep.
Why? Cleanser cleans out the grime, dirt and excess sebum; toner wipes out the residue minerals, helps retain moisture and Ph balance, and tightens the pores; lastly, moisturiser gives your skin some much-needed nourishment and hydration.
Time taken: 1 minute 30 seconds. (You have NO excuse.)
What? Let’s get steamy. (Cleanse – Steam – Serum – Moisturise)
Step 1: Keep about a cup of water to boil while you cleanse your face with a good, deep cleanser (this really needs to take a permanent spot in your skincare routine). Pat your face dry.
Step 2: Add boiled water and a bag of green tea to a bowl. With your face hovering about 5-10 inches from the bowl, cover your head with a towel so that the steam doesn’t escape. Sweat it out for about 5 minutes. Do not over-steam, as it may dry out your skin. Pat your face dry, and immediately proceed to the next step.
Step 3: Invest in a Vitamin C serum. Put tiny dots of the face serum all over your face. Blend it all lightly with one or two fingers. While the serum is still wet on your face, tap it gently for about 30 seconds. Wait till the serum is fully absorbed (should take a couple of minutes).
Step 4: Moisturise.
Why? On the second day, not only are we keeping up with the cleansing routine, we’re also giving it some extra nutrient boost. Why steaming? Steam opens up your pores, releases the stubborn debris and prepares your skin to absorb the serum. We add green tea so that while your pores open up, they absorb all the antioxidants. This gives your skin a lovely natural glow. We reinforce this with a touch of serum, as it contains more active ingredients which can now be easily soaked up thanks to your clean, open pores. Vitamin C serum repairs damage caused by pollution and UV exposure, reduces wrinkles and promotes an even skin tone.
Time taken: 7 minutes 30 seconds. (With unmissable benefits!)
What? For ‘aspirin’ational skin. We’re making an Aspirin face pack! Wait, what? Yes. Dive into your first aid kit, where a beauty secret has been hiding this whole time.
Step 1: Cleanse your face as per usual.
Step 2: Crush 8-10 aspirin tablets. Add just enough water to make a paste. Massage the mask all over your face and neck. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes or until your skin feels dry and stretchy (whichever comes first). Rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry. (Note: dry skin types can add a few drops of olive oil for an extra boost.)
Step 3: Moisturise.
Why? Get this – Aspirin contains Salicylic Acid that gently but effectively exfoliates skin, fights acne and early signs of aging, and reduces discoloration. Aspirin is also anti-inflammatory, which means it zaps away the puffiness. What’s better, EVERYONE has Aspirin stashed away somewhere, so you can whip this up anywhere. That’s not it, you can easily improvise this face pack by adding ingredients to suit your skin’s needs.
Time taken: 16 minutes.
Go for uncoated aspirin, since it dissolves faster, and you’re a busy girl.
This face pack is a strict no-no for anyone with an Aspirin or dairy allergy.
What? Repeat the Day 2 plan.
Step 1: Cleanse.
Step 2: Steam.
Step 3: Apply serum.
Step 4: Moisturise.
Why? Steaming at least twice a week helps you maintain that healthy glow. And a serum helps you replenish the nutrients and lock in the radiance.
Time taken: 7 minutes 30 seconds.
What? Let’s go back to basics.
How? Give your skin a breather. Just follow the basic CTM routine from Day 1.
What? Exfoliate, again. Because the big day is right around the corner and we mean business. We’re going for coffee – the stuff that shakes our souls into existence should work for our skin too, yes? Absolutely.
Step 1: Cleanse.
Step 2: Mix ½ tbsp. ground coffee with 1 tbsp. coconut oil. Apply onto your face and neck. Leave for 30 minutes or until your skin feels tight (whichever comes first). Rinse with lukewarm water.
Step 3: Moisturise.
Why? Coffee beans contain flavonoids – antioxidants that fight free radicals and slow down aging. It’s also a famous diuretic, meaning it quickly takes away puffiness from the face. Coffee grounds are perfectly effective exfoliants – as they thoroughly slough off the dead cells and dirt without being too harsh on the skin. Coconut oil, on the other hand, is naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and an excellent moisturiser. It treats acne, soothes irritated skin, reduces appearance of fine lines and revitalises your skin!
Time taken: 35 minutes.
What: Say, “Oh sheet!”. Bring out the sheet masks, put on your favourite music and lie back.
Step 1: Cleanse.
Step 2: Steam (OPTIONAL, but very helpful).
Step 3: Tone.
Step 3: Apply sheet mask of your choice. Leave it on for 30 minutes. Once you remove the sheet mask, pat the excess serum on your face. Leave it be until your face dries up.
Step 4: Apply serum.
Step 5: Moisturise.
Why? Firstly, after all the running around in the name of festive prepping, a full thirty minutes of doing nothing except sitting tight in one place is a true gift from the Gods. And sheet masks help you do just that. Apart from that, sheet masks are loaded with serums and nutrients that have nowhere to go but inside your skin, since the sheet itself acts as a barrier and prevents the serum from evaporating. It soothes tired skin, replenishes the nutrients, gives you really soft, radiant skin.
Time taken: 45 minutes.
Important things to note:
- There’s no face pack that can fix an unhealthy lifestyle. For the best results, complement this routine with a clean diet – eat plenty of wholegrains, green, red and yellow veggies and fruits, eggs, nuts and seeds. Include a green smoothie such as a Parsley-Cucumber-Avocado smoothie in your diet. Have 8-10 glasses of water every day and a minimum 8 hours of sleep. Stay away from oily and salty foods, and maybe lay off the alcohol for a bit.
- You can follow this routine in the morning as well as night. But if you’re pressed for time, a night time routine should work just as well.
- Pick skincare products that are suited to your skin type. Go for moisturisers and cleansers that are non-comedogenic and fragrance free.
- Do a patch test before trying a face pack.
- If you feel tingling sensations when you apply a serum or sheet mask, it’s just the serum acting on the skin. It’ll fade soon enough.
- Always proceed with clean skin and hands.
Ladies, if you’ve stuck with me so far, you can almost hear the sweet sound of your skin thanking you. You’re welcome. Go bask in the compliments now!