Hi friends, I'm gazing at the backs of my hands as I write to you this afternoon. I think they're beautiful- a bit pale after a long winter, covered in freckles, crisscrossed with small scars, a little oddly shaped from some broken bones and an old monkey bite, with short unpainted nails and a faded tattoo that matches my husband's. These are the hands that have shaped a life. They've seen far too much sun, clawed their way up towering cliffs, chopped mountains of wood, created many skin care formulas and prepared countless meals for my family. My hands have created so much beauty in a lifetime. They are mine and I love them.
These hands also need a lot of help to stay healthy and youthful! I want mine to be strong and soft as I grow older, so I've come up with a few rituals that I want to share with you. I like to think of myself as a "minimalist", but after writing down my skin care rituals, I realize that I love to have a full apothecary at home to pull from.
Daily Morning Ritual
Every morning, I wash my face with water and restore my pH with a few spritzes of our Bulgarian Rose Hydrosol. To ward off sun damage, I apply a thin veil of the Ultra C Serum to the backs of my hands. Then I apply it to my chest, neck and face, working my way up, massaging it in. Next, I apply our Youth in Bloom Phytoactive Firming Day Cream to my hands, chest, neck and face. Finally, I apply a generous layer of our Broad Spectrum Sunshade Lotion.
Daily Evening Ritual
After showering, I pat my skin dry. When my skin is still moist, I massage a few drops of the Blue Sapphire Facial Oil into the backs of my hands, then massage it into my chest, neck and face. I breathe in the scent and smile. What a luxury! Next I apply the thinnest veil of the Youth in Bloom Phytoactive Firming Serum right over the oil. I try not to use too much, or it can feel a bit sticky. Next, I massage in the Youth in Bloom Phytoactive Firming Night Cream. By now, my skin is feeling nourished. My hands usually want even more hydration. As I lie in bed (usually reading yet another book), I get out a tin of the Skin Doctor salve. I love spending several minutes massaging the thick salve into my hands. If they're sore from the day, I'll add a smidge of the Deep Freeze Sore Muscle Rub and work that in. It always feels like a miracle the next morning when I awaken to soft, smooth hands!
Twice Weekly Brightening Treatment
I get way too much sun for my Scots-Irish skin to handle, so I'm working on reversing a lifetime of playing and working outside. I wear gloves when I can, but who can stand to wear gloves in the heat of summer? Not this girl. So, twice a week, I treat the skin that gets the most sun to a ritual designed to not only lighten those "age spots", but what it really does is help reverse the years of UV damage and (hopefully) prevent skin cancer.
Step 1 Cleanse: Wash with your favorite aos cleanser. These days, I'm really into the fresh smell of our Detox Lemon Drop Brightening Hand and Body Soap.
Step 2 Exfoliate: Take a few minutes, scrubbing every inch of your hands, fingers and forearms with the Detox Lemon Drop Brightening Sugar Scrub. Rinse and pat dry.
Step 3 Exfoliate Again: Apply an exfoliating mask- either the Coconut Lactic Peel or the Prickly Pear AHA + HA Peel-whatever you have on hand. Let it sit 10 minutes, then rinse well. I like to remove mine with a warm wash cloth.
Step 4 Treat: Blend a few drops Blue Sapphire Facial Oil into the Youth in Bloom Sea Mineral Radiance Mask and let sit 10 minutes. I like to spritz every few minutes with the Bulgarian Rose Hydrosol to keep it moist, but that isn't imperative. Remove with a warm, wet washcloth.
Sad Hands Sunburn / Windburn Treatment
In spite of my best efforts, my hands sometimes get burned. Often, I'm traveling through the mountains, over snow and glaciers and the sun bounce off the snow is powerful at those high altitudes. I wear gloves as long as I can stand it, but my hands get hot and sweaty (I'm all enthusiasm, but not in the best of shape!). I'll remove the gloves and apply sunscreen, but it always wears off as I sweat and deal with gear. This happens sometimes while I'm out rock climbing too. I intend to reapply sunscreen, but my hands are so covered in dirt, that it's often just too gross and I don't want to use my precious drinking water to wash up. Someday, I'll remember to pack wet wipes! As it is, I often come home with the backs of my hands and often my forearms glowing bright pink.
When I get home (or back to camp), I wash and gently pat the burned skin dry. While the skin is still moist, I apply a thick layer of Cucumber Aloe Rescue Gel. At home, I keep it in the refrigerator and breathe a sigh of relief as the cool sinks in. If we're car camping, I leave it in the ice chest.
The tricky part of dealing with a sunburn is keeping the skin moisturized without trapping in heat. I find that frequently applying gels and light lotions works much better than using a heavier moisturizer. To amp up the anti-inflammatory treatment, I add a few drops of the Blue Sapphire Facial Oil. Just before going to bed, I like to blend the same oil into our Cooling Rescue Mask and apply a heavy layer to the burned skin and let it work its magic overnight.
The next few days are a crucial time in healing your burned skin. I use the Ultra C Serum to help reverse some of the damage and to sop up those harmful free radicals created by the UV rays. On top of that, I layer our Broad Spectrum Sunshade Lotion, even if I don't plan on going outside. I figure my hands will get sun at some point during the day and need all the protection they can get!
Immediately Upon Return: Gently cleanse burned skin with your favorite aos cleanser and cool water. Pat dry. Apply a thick layer of Cucumber Aloe Rescue Gel. Optional: A few drops of Blue Sapphire Facial Oil.
Repeat these steps every day until your skin is healed.
Softest Hands Deep Hydration Ritual
Sometimes, it seems like no matter what we do, our skin just stays dry, dull and flaky! Does that happen to you? It seems like a constant problem in Bend, Oregon, where the dryness of the high desert air is amplified with heaters running 24/7 and wood stoves sucking out any remaining moisture. Or maybe it's summertime and we've been gardening or in and on the water all day. Deep hydration is a nightly ritual, when my skin can really soak everything in.
Step 1: Cleanse and exfoliate with a vigorous scrub. I'm really digging the Detox Lemon Drop Brightening Sugar Scrub these days. I use soap if my hands are dirty, but otherwise I use the scrub to preserve whatever small amount of moisture I have left in my skin. I wander from one of our sugar scrub scents to the next, enjoying them in turn through the months. Rinse and pat dry.
Step 2: Massage the Honey Avocado Rescue Mask into your skin. I add a few drops of the Blue Sapphire Facial Oil (you can see a pattern here- I add it to most treatments because it's so powerfully healing). Leave this on overnight.
That's it! My most simple hand care ritual. The Honey Avocado Rescue Mask is rich in soothing, nourishing ingredients like raw honey straight from the farm, healing and detoxifying Ayurvedic herbs and rich cold-pressed avocado oil. I always put some on my lips (it's delicious!) and if my face, throat and chest are dry, I massage it in and leave it to work its magic overnight.