First of all: I am hosting another vegan skincare giveaway! You can win an exfoliating facial mask and soap bar from Luminance! This giveaway is on Facebook so check it out here. Movin' on.

This is the third post in a self-care and body-care series I am doing in collaboration with Luminance Skin Care, an organic vegan skincare company that I love.

Here in the pacific northwest of Canada (where I live on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations) summer is coming. If you didn't already know this about me: I prefer to wear as little clothing as possible when I can get away with it. Having said that I do love to layer up in the winter with a mug of hot chocolate. But I am a girl/woman of paradoxes. Back to summer. I will be wearing less and less clothing from here on out thanks to the weather warming up, so I'll be showing off more and more skin. I want my skin to not only BE healthy but also look healthy. Because if I am being honest I'm as vain as the next person and having glowing skin never hurt anybody.

Paramount to good skin care is regular physical activity that gets ya sweatin, a whole foods diet rich in a variety of colourful plants, plenty of water and consistent sleep. If you're into that stuff: great. If you're not: totally cool too. It's your life and your body and you have the right to do whatever ya want with it. But whether you're incorporating those components into your daily routine or not, there are other way to take care of your skin... like exfoliation! This is where the glowing skin comes in I was talking about a minute ago. I find that when I GENTLY exfoliate my face and bod once a week, my epidermis really does get its glow on. When you exfoliate your skin you brush away dead skin cells that aren't doing you many favours and stimulate blood flow which encourages new skin cells to do their thing. Clearly I am not an expert on this, I just have my own anecdotal experience, so take it or leave it baby.

I wanna say a few important points in the context of exfoliating: be gentle, don't over-do it, and make sure to moisturize afterwards! 1) If you exfoliate too harshly you actually brush away most of your skins natural moisturizing oils, beginning a cycle of dry, flaky, thirsty skin. Trust me, I have been there and it sucked. Luckily Luminance Skin Care saved me. 2) You do not need to exfoliate everyday for the same reason you shouldn't exfoliate too intensely: you don't wanna deplete your skin of its moisturizing oils. I exfoliate once a week (sometimes less) and I hear that's what a lot of folks recommend, including Kim from Luminance. 3) Moisturize your skin after exfoliating because first of all it's good for ya anyways, but also because when you exfoliate you are gonna be brushing away some skin oils, leaving your skin a bit drier than it was. So balance that out and rub on moisturizer.

For my personal exfoliating regime I use a few different products. For my face I sometimes make scrubs out of oats, coconut sugar, almonds, coffee beans and other whole foods: I grind them into a gritty paste and gently rub it all over myself, rinse off with warm water and moisturize with Luminance's facial moisturizer. But frankly this is rare because I am lazy and would rather have something pre-made in a container to exfoliate with. Voila: the VERY gentle exfoliating facial mask from Luminance! It's totally smooth so it actually doesn't scrape away any of the good stuff on your skin; it exfoliates with papaya enzymes and BELIEVE me papaya extract is hardcore. I once made a facial exfoliant by grinding up papaya seeds... oh it burned. And not in a Bernie Sanders kinda way. Fortunately Kim has refined the beneficial properties of papaya and subtracted the painful ones. After washing my face with water I will spread on some of the exfoliating mask, let it sit for 5 minutes, rinse it off with warm water then moisturize. I do this once a week or less. Occasionally - perhaps once a month or whenever I remember - I use a facial dry brush, VERY gently scrubbing my face with it to stimulate blood flow and new skin cell growth. But if you have dry skin already, I might suggest not doing this.

For my body I use scrubby gloves and Luminance's soaps. I used to be against any soap on any part of my body because I had become brainwashed by the ideology of strict "natural hygiene"... I was young and naive, mkay? Now I realize that hey, soap does some good and keeps me from getting really smelly. After hopping in the shower I lather up and get to it. I use the exfoliating gloves once a week or so but otherwise I just rub my soapy body vigorously by hand and that is enough to stimulate blood flow and gently rub away dead skin. I love Luminance's soaps because Kim adds seed and fruit skin oils to all of them so they SMELL GREAT, make the soaps a skin-friendly pH, and strip away dirt from your skin while simultaneously replenishing with hydrating oils (many wild-crafted or organic). Kim is basically the boss of soap and in fact there's a beautiful 3 minute film about him and his soap you can watch here. In short: he is a soap artist.

As always, the ritual of taking care of my body is something I look forward to and I see it as self care. There are all kinds of ways to practice self care, this is just one I enjoy. XO

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