British style Queen, Louise Roe has one of those complexions that makes your eyes water; but in her debut book Front Roe, she’s devoted an entire section to her secrets to clear, glowing skin. No matter your complexion Louise says, there are some universal tips and tricks that will transform and nourish your skin.
In this special guest feature, we asked the Style Network and MTV presenter to share her non-negotiables for younger, fresher looking skin – which she attributes to smart lifestyle habits. Plus below you’ll also find Louise’s own beautiful nourishing, skin-brightening smoothie recipe! Prepare the Vitamix.
YOU SNOOZE, YOU… WIN!
Deep sleep produces hormones that stimulate the production of collagen and elastin (the key ingredients that keep skin youthful, but that we produce less of naturally as soon as we hit our twenties). Aim to get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night. I need a minimum of eight hours a night, otherwise I notice a complete difference in my skin: it’s lackluster and dry, and makeup just doesn’t hold to it in the same way. Lack of sleep overall causes dark circles, eye bags, and in the long term, crow’s feet and frown lines, so skip that late-night movie and get to bed!
Exercise boosts the oxygen and nutrient supply to skin and helps remove toxins, meaning you’ll glow. But make sure you throw some yoga, Pilates, or power walking into your workout mix. Too much extreme cardio puts stress on the body, which in turn can unbalance hormones and cause dehydration. The same idea goes for stress in everyday life. The more irritated you get with situations, the more facial muscles start to stiffen, leading to lines; all the more reason to relax and chill out.
Every nutritionist, personal trainer, and doctor I’ve ever spoken to says that sugar is a bigger evil than all the naughties in our diets, including booze, caffeine, and simple carbs. Certainly in terms of aging the skin, having a sweet tooth can backfire. Here’s the science bit: sugar creates these things called “advanced glycation end compounds” in our bodies, which damage collagen and neutralize antioxidants. In a nutshell, sugar messes with the clear, dewiness of your skin and eventually makes it look grayish and thin. I’m not saying never have frozen yogurt ever again (I wouldn’t swap anything for that) but be aware that sugar hides away in things like white bread, sauces, and dressings. So switch white bread for whole-grain, white rice for quinoa, and pasta for sweet potatoes, and if you have time, make your own dressings from scratch. You’ll see a big difference.
… BUT EVERYONE HAS GUILTY PLEASURES
I’m a big fan of treats, and no healthy lifestyle is fulfilling without them. Giving up the foods and beverages that make you happy, quite frankly sucks, and will make you crave them even more. So instead, make a few adjustments. If, like me, you can’t go without your milky, sweet breakfast tea in the mornings, then switch to almond milk and sweeten it with agave nectar or stevia, both natural alternatives to sugar. Have a sweet tooth? Switch your candy for dark, organic chocolate, at least 7O percent cocoa. This has way less sugar and is a potent antioxidant, too.
– LOUISE’S SKIN BRIGHTENING SMOOTHIE –
I make this about four times a week, and it 1OO percent makes a difference to the brightness of my skin and my energy levels. Head to your local health store, Feelunique.com, or iHerb.com to find the various ingredients below, and don’t worry if you can’t obtain them all. As long as at least four of them are whizzing around your blender, the smoothie will have an effect on your complexion. The consistency should be that of a gloopy milk shake, and taste like a vanilla cinnamon one. Absolutely delicious, I promise. Here’s the breakdown:
3 CUBES OF ICE
1 TEASPOON ACAI POWDER: Acai is a Brazilian fruit and a potent antioxidant that boosts energy and digestion.
1 TEASPOON GOJI BERRY: Grown in the Himalayas, goji berries have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries as a powerful antioxidant that improves circulation. They contain vitamins C, B1, B2, B6, and E, all of which contribute to better-looking skin.
1 TEASPOON CHIA SEEDS: Hailing from South America and having been used consistently in Aztec and Mayan diets, chia seeds are one of the richest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s help make up the cell membrane that allows nutrients to enter the skin cells. Think of them as the nightclub bouncer, responsible for letting a queue of nutrients inside.
1 TEASPOON GROUND FLAXSEED: Flaxseed provides more omegas, in particular alpha linoleic acid, which keeps the skin and hair hydrated. The human body doesn’t naturally create omega-3 fats, so you need to get them from your diet.
1 TEASPOON RAW CACAO POWDER: This is not the same as throwing a bar of chocolate into the blender! Raw cacao is not the same as cocoa. Cacao still tastes good though, and is packed with skin-friendly magnesium, vitamin C, and omega-6 fatty acids that increase blood flow and promote cellular healing.
1 TEASPOON GREENS: You can find powdered greens at most health stores, but the key ingredient I’m talking about is chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the green pigment in plants and veggies that harnesses the sun’s energy in photosynthesis. It fights free radicals, improves oxygen supply, and helps remove toxins, all of which equals much clearer, younger skin.
1 TEASPOON MACA ROOT: Maca is a plant that has been harvested in the Andes Mountains in Peru for 3,000 years. Along with numerous health benefits, it is known to reduce acne and blemishes.
2 WALNUTS: These reduce breakout-causing acidity in the diet.
SPRINKLE OF CINNAMON: Besides smelling like Christmas, cinnamon balances your blood sugar levels and fights off sugar cravings.
1/2 CUP COCONUT WATER: Antioxidants and cytokinins present in coconut water have an age-defying effect on skin, plus it’s full of electrolytes, which makes it a more hydrating drink than water. Make sure you buy the raw, unsweetened variety.
1/2 CUP ALMOND MILK, UNSWEETENED: A great alternative to dairy, which can cause breakouts for a lot of people, almond milk is full of nutrients like vitamin B2 (also known as riboflavin) and E, which hydrate cells and protect the skin from sun damage, respectively.
Louise’s tips and recipe come from her debut book, Front Roe which is out now.