Wedding Skin Prep with Beauty By a Sparrow – Part 1

Ok, soooo as of today we are officially 12 months out from our wedding, ah!

*insert panic attack here* 

And while I am literally the most useless bride ever (seriously, just ask my bridesmaids) I have realised there are some not-so-scary wedding planning details I can start working on as early as right now.

One such detail, and quite the important one, is the beauty factor. I have all intentions of being the glowing, blushing bride we all hope to be on the big day but am relatively clueless when it comes to long term beauty and skincare planning.

Enter my girl Bronte. *applause*. Bronte is a Skin Care Specialist Extraordinaire, beauty blogger at Beauty By A Sparrow and self confessed skin care and beauty junkie. Who better to ask for advice on the subject! Plus she’s an incredible babe and loves a good pun

Look at this face! This is the face of someone you want, no, NEED to take beauty advice from.

So ask I did. Interrogate, actually..:

 Hey doll! Let me first open the floor for a humble brag; tell the people about yourself:

Haha don’t mind if I do. I’m a full time Ancient Worlds (old stuff) student and part time skin specialist at Australia’s BEST beauty hub. I fell into the role after about three months of being on the shop floor, as our gorgeous OG Empress of Skin Centaine (owner of gloss co., check her out) and our managers realised I am a freakin’ sponge and can parrot back information and facts without a second’s hesitation (a handy skill to have in skin) and I also just really, really love people and helping them feel beautiful in the skin they’re in (ha, a skin pun, there’s many more to come!).

Now, being 12 months out from my wedding day, what are some things I can start doing now to ensure glowing day-of skin?

Skin is all about balance, so finding a routine that allows your skin to balance itself and keep itself working at its absolute best is so important. If you’re looking to start any sort of treatments or active ingredients, now is the time to work out what those are how they’ll fit into your routine.

For example, if you were going to start laser treatments or something quite intensive, now would be the time to start working that out with your facialist/dermatologist. Even getting a professional facial as a treat-yo-self experience can be a learning curve too, as the experts will be able to guide you towards products to look into/avoid.

It’s also a good time to really nail what ingredients your skin likes and hates; for example, vitamin A affects different skin types differently, so finding the right form of vitamin A for you and your skin is a little bit of a process. (More on vitamin A and why you want it later on!) And it’s much better to have a reaction to something NOW rather than, I don’t know, three days before the big day!

How much does your diet affect your complexion reaaally?

Ah well we are what we eat, in the conventional sense. Chocolate doesn’t cause break outs but WHOA, don’t go busting out a full block of dairy milk just yet. Junk foods that are high in sugars and bad fats can lead to inflammation in the cells, which is one of the quickest ways to age the skin aside from sun exposure. It’s also important to be mindful of how you feel when you eat certain foods and what foods impact what skin conditions. For example, sufferers of eczema are often advised to avoid dairy as this can agitate the condition. Just like everything in the busy lives we live, balance is key.

Think about it, yeah it’s fun to go out for burgers one Friday night but if you ate like that for every meal of every day would you feel healthy and glowy? Probs not. And likewise, your skin will reflect that as well. The key is a diet high in the good stuff, and by good stuff I mean avocado. Ok, well, not just avocado, but think of foods high in omegas, antioxidants, good fatty acids and nutrient rich.

Perricone MD is an amazing skincare brand that also prescribes diet plans over in the US, and they have a trial version available for free online. Think very Scandinavian; lots of salmon, lots of spinach, all the good (albeit boring) stuff! Health in general is such a holistic thing and I’ve realised since I’ve started working in skincare that it really can be an inside-out approach. Dietary issues will often manifest themselves in the cheek area as break outs or upset skin.

So, are you saying I should ease up on the wines?

Well it depends on how your skin reacts to you drinking wine. Some people find that wine causes them an almost-rosacea like flushing of the skin, and this can be a symptom the skin experiencing erythema (intensive flushing) or acetaldehyde build up, which is a metabolic byproduct of the catabolic metabolism of alcohol.

That’s very science-y, so lemme break it down; if you drink wine and get MORE than just a generous flush-blush to the cheek, it can be a sign of an alcohol flush reaction, which has been associated with some cancers and other complications. If you get this sort of intense flushing every time you drink wine, then yes, ease up and speak to your GP. Otherwise, half a glass a night won’t kill you; just remember that alcohol and sugars can cause that pesky cell inflammation which can prematurely age the skin…

My wedding will be not long after a cold, dry winter. What are some thing I can do during those winter months to prevent dryness/dullness?

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! And gentle exfoliation! Exfoliation is key for two reasons; firstly it gets rid of dead skin cells and prevents them building up, which dulls the skin and can contribute to congestion and break outs. Secondly, exfoliated skin is able to take in 60% more of skincare ingredients, more effectively. Think of it like clearing a blocked drain; once you get all the gunk out, the water can run through more easily.

Hydration and moisturisation might sound like the same thing, but they’re a little different. A dehydrated skin desperately needs water, something we lose through sweat, etc. during the day, and particularly in winter when the humidity is low. Moisturising, on the other hand, refers to balancing your skin’s lipid (oil) barrier. Naturally our skin produces sebum (oil) for a myriad of reasons, not limited to reinforcing this protective barrier. When this barrier is compromised, for whatever reason, the skin reacts accordingly to re-balance itself and re-fortify its protective barrier. A dry skin lacks oil, hence, the skin starts to crack, peel, and carry a touch of redness, and it is often sore and tight. Even oily skins need that little bit of oil to keep themselves at that perfect medium. In winter it’s so important to keep your skin at that perfect balance, and to give it all of the ingredients it needs to get through the extremities of outdoor weather, well-meaning indoor heating, and too hot showers (we all do it but remember, if it’s scalding hot on your arm it’s going to be SO MUCH more on your precious little face).

Some prettiness from Bronte’s Instagram. See? Told you. Skincare and beauty junkie.

Keeping in mind that I am possible THE laziest bride in existence, what is the absolute bare minimum I should be doing as part of my daily skincare regime?

Day time; cleanse, eye cream, serum, moisturiser, (an oil if you like) and SPF.

Night time; cleanse, eye cream, any sort of treatments with actives, serum, moisturiser.

That probably sounds like a lot, but believe me once you get your routine downpat you can do it even when half asleep (and possibly half sober). Exfoliation ideally should be chucked in there about 2-3 times a week, but depending on your skin and what it needs that amount can vary. As a fellow lazy girl, I usually exfoliate in the shower, or use exfoliating peel pads in the evening before bed.

What the hell is double-cleansing and is it really necessary? (Keeping in kind I’m very bloody lazy. Like, very.)

Ah I wish I could make a GIF set of me explaining this the way I do in store. So think of your skin; it’s a layer, with pores (teeny holes where our hairs come out, yes we all have facial hair, it’s a thing, deal with it). On top of this layer, on a daily basis, you’ll have loaded the good stuff (serum, moisturiser, SPF) and the ok-stuff (make up, concealer, powder, etc.) and the bad stuff (air pollution, dirt, dust, grime, spit, sweat, food… you get me.) So on top of your layer of skin is that bulky layer.

Your first cleanse – whether that be a cleansing oil, a make up wipe (but pls no, so much alcohol) or a micellar water – gets rid of that big bulky layer. Visibly, your skin is clean. Ok, great, awesome, on to bed? NOPE. You forgot your pores! That first cleanse is essential for getting the bulk of the muck off of your skin, but rarely will it get deep enough into the pores to remove make up, etc. from that finer layer of skin.

Enter: the second cleanse. Whether you use the same cleanser again for a second time, like a cleansing oil, balm, or gel, or follow up with something a little different, a second cleanse is really great for ensuring you’ve gotten all of the ‘bad’ stuff out of your skin, so it’s prepped and ready for all the good stuff, like your serums and moisturiser.

Now you don’t have to do a double cleanse in the morning; I do a quick little rinse with a cream cleanser, because although I’ve worn my good stuff to bed (hello, La Mer concentrate!) I know, and I don’t deny, that I drool in my sleep, I touch my face, I’ve been told I talk, I’m lying on the same pillow case that’s been on my pillow for the last week including the night I didn’t take my make up off properly, and I’ll sweat if I’m hot, and all those other glamorous things we do in our sleep. Again, we don’t want that layer of muck (however thin it may be) staying on our skin.

I also find a quick cleanse in the morning wakes me up and helps me fake my way through appearing human before ten a.m. If you’re a lazy gal (like me) balm cleansers, cleansing oils and cleansing gels are the best. You can literally smear them all over your dry, made-up face (it’s awesome, you look like a Picasso) and then use a lovely flannel or muslin cloth to take it off. You rinse, then go over one more time with a tiny bit more cleanser, rinse again, and that’s it! Done! Depending on how heavy my make-up is I’ll go in with micellar water and cotton pads first to get off that bulky layer, and then follow with my Nude Perfect Cleanse Omega Jelly, twice, if it’s a super-heavy-I’m-not-a-drag-queen-but-damn-that-contour kind of day.

Stay tuned for The Interrogation – Part 2 coming very soon! 

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