At Shakti School we emphasize the importance of educating yourself as much as you can. Knowledge is power. One of the key factors in the evolution towards a more enlightened woman is her wisdom. But, just as the women of Shakti School believe inner beauty to be essential to evolution, we want to radiate on the outside too!
Radiance is achieved through the state of your emotions, it's achieved through your lifestyle habits, what you are putting into your body (the state of your gut), and what you are putting on your body.
The glow of your skin can say a lot about your health. Our skin is actually one of our best indicators of our overall well being.
We can look at the skin to point to certain imbalances that are happening internally. However, even after the imbalances have been addressed inside the body we can still be confronted with disruptions to the skin through our external environment.
This can become especially challenging during the harsh winter months when the weather is cold, dry, and rough. If we look to the wisdom of Ayurveda we know that it is best to let the seasons be our guide, and if we apply this to how we take care of our skin it becomes a little easier to know what to do.
In the fall and winter when skin is dry and rough, we want to treat it similarly as we would treat the food we eat: nourishing and wet. Cleansing, feeding, and restoring the skin using oils that will help protect, nourish, and deeply moisturize will be the most beneficial.
There are so many beautiful products we love (see list below), but beyond the use of expensive products there is so much you can do yourself to help maintain that healthy glow throughout the dry season.
Here are a few of our favorite skin care tricks that will give you that healthy glow when you’re needing a little extra boost.
Facial & Mouth Exercises
Facial massage has amazing benefits for the skin. It can help to improve sinus drainage, stimulate your lymphatic vessels, and it can also help to prevent wrinkles. We often carry a lot of muscle tension in our face without even realizing it. In addition, a recent study on facial massage showed that it can even help to reduce anxiety and negative mood status.
Did you know that they are approximately fifty muscles in your face?!
Just the same as any other muscle in your body, getting into a regular routine of exercising those muscles will help tone and firm the muscles and additionally will help to tighten any sagging skin.
Ben Greenfield, an expert in the biohacking world, recommends these exercises for the longevity and radiance of your skin. I’ve been incorporating them into my exercise regime and have noticed some amazing benefits:
Forehead and Eye Exercises:
These strengthen the muscles around your forehead and eyes to smooth wrinkles and produce a more awake look:
- Put your index fingers about a centimeter above your eyebrows, above the middle of your eyes, and apply gentle pressure. Close your eyes while trying to raise your eyebrows up against your fingers. Repeat 10 times.
- Make peace signs using your index and middle fingers and place your middle fingers where your eyebrows start above your nose and your pointer fingers at the end of your brows. Gently push your fingers up and down while flexing your facial muscles to move your brows up and down, simultaneously. Do 3 sets of 10.
- Close your eyes and with your eyelids relaxed, lift your brows with your index fingers. Keep your eyes closed while lifting, stretching and strengthening your eyelids, and hold for ten seconds. Repeat 10 times.
These will strengthen the muscles around your mouth and jaw and give you better control of facial movements.
- Smile big and press your fingers against your cheeks to hold it in place. Close your lips halfway and hold for ten seconds, then close lips fully and hold for ten seconds, using your fingers to resist each movement.
- Hold your mouth, teeth and lips tightly closed, then separate your teeth as much as you can while keeping lips closed. Slowly move your lower jaw forward as far as you can and hold for five seconds. Return jaw to the original position and repeat five times.
Dry Brushing is a great way to facilitate the skin’s ability to naturally detox. It sweeps away dead skin cells, improves the appearance of the skin, and encourages lymphatic drainage. I’ve also found that it leaves me feeling more energized.
How to Dry-Brush — It's best to use on dry skin before you take a bath or shower. Start at your feet and work your way upwards. Brush in a circular motion always in the direction of your heart. This will help increase blood flow throughout the body. Try to brush for at least 3 minutes working your way up to 5 minutes. After showering make sure to lather yourself in some kind of amazing moisturizer or use your dry brush right before Abhyanga. (See our favorite products below)
The practice of Abhyanga has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda. It's an lymphatic massage usually done with infused oils. It improves circulation, gives you softer and more toned skin, helps to strengthen bodily tissues, lubricates your internal organs, joints and bones, and has even shown to improve vision. It also leads to better sleep! For best results try it before a bath at the end of the day.
Choose your favorite oil (warm oil is ideal) and start by massaging your legs and working your way up to the neck and even your scalp if you would like. Massage every part of the body. Use long strokes for your limbs and short circular strokes for your joints and your abdomen. Spend a little extra time on your feet. There are so many nerve points in our feet that are associated with our entire body (including our face). After you’ve finished do some easy breathing or meditate while the oil soaks in (about 5-10 minutes). Afterward, wash off the excess oil in a bath or hot shower.
Red & Infrared Light Therapy
Red and infrared light is an incredible tool for healing and for anti-aging. It helps to improve the circulation of oxygen-rich blood in the body, helps the body’s collagen to unwind, boosts collagen production, promotes faster healing, and has amazing pain relieving benefits. When you use red and Infrared light therapy it mimics the heat you feel when you are exposed to the sun, so it’s also a great aid in melatonin production.
Sleep & Managing Stress
Getting proper sleep and managing your stress levels is going to do wonders for your skin. When we aren’t getting an adequate amount of sleep we jeopardize the body’s natural ability to repair itself.
Stay Away from Synthetics
It is truly simple. If you wouldn’t eat it, do not put it on your skin! Make sure to read your labels and look for words like: bpa free, paraben free, free from synthetics, toxins, or fillers, and free from artificial fragrances. It’s also good to get into a habit of checking your own products at home to make sure everything is up to date and not expired.
Create Your Beauty Regimen
Now that you’ve got some helpful practices to start incorporating into you skincare routine let’s get into how you can create the best beauty regime for that lasting life-giving glow.
We like to wash in the morning and the night, but depending on your skin type you may only need an evening Wash. Cleanse your face with warm & your favorite oil cleanser. Oil cleansers are amazing. They help to cleanse the skin without drying the skin out. This is especially good for the longevity of your skin. Cleansing will also help get rid of any sweat, bacteria, or environmental toxins that may have accumulated on your skin’s surface.
Use a misting toner to keep your skin cells plump and hydrated. This will help to protect against dehydration and will also contribute to skin regeneration, smoothness and elasticity.
Our favorite way to moisturize the skin is with oil. A high quality oil will actually help to prevent congestion, moderate inflammation levels, and will also protect the skin from environmental toxins.
Vitamin D is SO important. We love our sunshine, but it’s also important to protect the skin from overexposure. Using a zinc oxide daily sunscreen will be super helpful in delaying aging and promoting long term happy skin.