Have you ever noticed how fictional characters usually have perfect skin? Or, failing that, they have a whole host of ways to combat less than photo-ready faces? If only we could sit down with them and learn their secrets!
Wait – maybe we can! Keep reading to find out how to keep your skin fresh and glowing, literary-style!
Katniss Everdeen – Say no to sun damage
As the weather gets warmer, no doubt you’ll start choosing your sunscreen for the summer. But did you know you should be wearing it every day, no matter the weather? Regardless of whether it’s a sunny or rainy day, harmful UVA (aging) and UVB (burning!) rays can break down your skin, causing premature aging, loss of elasticity, age spots, and even skin cancer. As well as that, UVA rays can still penetrate glass, so even if you’re not outdoors as much as Katniss, you could still be letting your skin get damaged if you sit by a window in the office, or drive a lot.
Stop damage in its tracks with a broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen. Try to aim for SPF 50, as that blocks around 98% of UVB rays. (SPF 30 blocks around 97%, and SPF 15 around 93%. Above SPF 50 only has a very, very minimal increase – it’s virtually impossible according to dermatologists to block more than 98%). Remember, even if you’re not fair-skinned like Katniss, skin damage can happen without skin reddening. Tanning is actually a sign of sun damage, so you still need to apply sunscreen even if you tan, not burn!
When applying to your face and neck, go for an oil-free sun screen like Heliocare Advanced Gel. I use Altruist SPF 50 – it was developed by dermatologists and a skin cancer surgeon, and has 5 star UVA/UVB rating. Plus, it’s water-resistant, hypoallergenic, and donates profits to charity. As well as that, it’s actually a lot cheaper than other sun screens suitable for the face! Dr Anjali Mahto advises putting your sun screen on then waiting at least 5 minutes before applying your make-up.
Hermione Granger – No nonsense cleansing
Hermione is a woman on a mission. She doesn’t have time to remove her make-up, cleanse, then dry her face with a special towel, ya da ya da! That’s why micellar water is her go-to. It removes make-up and cleanses in one step, meaning she can just tip some on a cotton pad and gently rub away the dirt. There’s a range of micellar waters for different skin types, so depending on whether you have sensitive skin, oily skin or dry skin, you can buy a bottle with key ingredients to help. From rose water and seaweed infusions to delicate oils, there really is something for everyone.
Hermione also follows up with a refreshing toner to make sure her face is super clean and to target any skin problems she might have. I particularly like Lush’s Tea Tree Water, which contains tea tree, grapefruit and juniperberry. Tea tree is antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial, so it keeps away the bacteria that causes breakouts, whilst the grapefruit nourishes and cleans the skin, and the juniperberry acts as an antiseptic. It comes in a spray bottle, so it’s great to squirt on your face when the weather’s hot! I personally tip it on a cotton pad at other times though, as I find it’s easier to judge how much you’re using!
Lara Jean Song – No to oil toil
I remember Lara Jean talking about skin troubles in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy, and my biggest skin trouble is oil! Coupled with the tips Hermione would love above, I also carry some charcoal blotting papers in my handbag. You just gently pat your face in any shiny areas throughout the day, and it absorbs the oil brilliantly. Seriously, with one blotting paper, I can not only get rid of the oil, but give myself a just-powdered fresh look! I use Pleasing Care’s Natural Premium charcoal oil blotting tissues. (Say that three times fast!)
Snow White – smooth skin superstar
To keep your face as smooth and rosy as Snow White’s, use a face scrub a few times a week. My favourite is Lush’s Ocean Salt. It’s made of all natural ingredients and nothing bad for the skin, and uses sea salt to exfoliate, coconut oil and avocado butter to moisturise, and seaweed absolute to control oils. I go for the alcohol-free, self-preserving version as it’s the most natural, and having tried the standard version, I can vouch that this one’s a little coarser, so it’s even better for buffing away that dead skin to give yourself a healthy glow.
Tom Hazard – baby face forever
Tom Hazard didn’t have to worry about wrinkles due to his crazy slow aging process, but we can get similar results with a few nifty ingredients! Hyaluronic acid is one of these, so make sure you use a night cream with it in. No matter your skin type, it’s a must. Youthful skin retains moisture, and using this at any age sucks moisture into the skin’s layers, plumping it out into soft, baby skin and ironing out any wrinkles before they’ve had time to set in. I’m currently using Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Water Gel, which makes my skin super soft and smooth! Another favourite is Garnier Miracle Sleeping Cream, which smells lovely. Look for “sodium hyaluronate” in the ingredients list – the higher up it is, the more of it there is in the cream.
When you get to your late twenties, introduce retinol into your night care routine. This is the big cheese of anti-aging ingredients! Dermatologists recommend introducing it in your late twenties, as that’s when your skin starts to slow down its regenerating process and the first signs of aging set in.
Blue Sargent – legs get down to business
Blue’s a fan of skirts, so if you want perfect pins, try this! Use a scrub on your legs before shaving such as the Ocean Salt scrub I mentioned above, or Soap and Glory’s Pulp Friction. If you have really sensitive skin, you can make your own moisturising, exfoliating scrub from ingredients like sugar, coarse sea salt, honey and avocado.
Then, lather your legs up in a deep conditioner. Yep, as in the type you put on your hair! Leave it on for a few minutes and it will soften any leg hair to give you a smoother shave, plus it will get to work moisturising your legs. Once you’re done with all that, rub some coconut oil into your legs for silky smooth skin and a red-carpet shine!
Bonus beauty tip!
Rapunzel: shiny, healthy hair
A super easy trick to up your hair health is to switch your shampoo to a sulphate-free version. Look for shampoos that say sulphate-free or SLS free on the front, and if in doubt, check the ingredients for sodium laureth/lauryl sulphate. These ingredients are also found in washing up liquid and car cleaner, and I bet you wouldn’t put that on your head! It’s what makes your shampoo lather up, but it can also be harsh to the hair. Using sulphate-free cleanses your hair just as well, without drying it in the process. I’ve also found it makes your hair easier to style afterwards! (Organix shampoos are sulphate-free and found in supermarkets, so they’re good to grab if you’re not sure where to start!)
After that, use a conditioner with a coconut or argan oil in it, and leave it on for 5 minutes or so before you wash it off. Use a Tangle Teezer brush to glide through tangles without breaking your hair, especially after showering! I also spray my hair with leave-in conditioner such as Schwarzkopf Gliss Liquid Silk Express, which contains silk extracts and keratin to nourish your hair and repair damage. To top it off, I squirt an argan oil shine spray on the ends of my hair for a healthy shine, frizz-control and also a lovely scent!