Lifestyle blogger and wellness advocate, Niomi Smart has built her whopping 1.4 million Instagram following from the ground up. Having first started sharing beauty tips and lifestyle hacks via YouTube, she now continues to inspire her followers to look after their skin with sustainable and natural and completely vegan products thanks to her beauty business, My Smart Skin. Her products provide gentle care for fresh and glowing looking skin.
We chatted to Niomi to get some advice on skincare and understand more about the effectiveness of her plant-based ingredient skin products. Here is what she had to say…
What inspired you to set up Smart Skin?
I’ve been living a plant-based lifestyle now for years, so skincare being cruelty-free and vegan is incredibly important to me. I really wanted to create my own brand that was exactly what I was looking for. Smart Skin ticks all of the boxes an incorporates the things I’m passionate about; being vegan, using sustainable packaging, and natural ingredients, but also most importantly has the most incredible skin benefits. I came up with a list of my non-negotiable’s when it comes to skincare, and I made that a reality so I’m really proud to be sharing it with the world.
What should a skincare routine include?
The biggest breakthrough I’ve had with my skincare routine is that simple is best. I’ve massively cut back on the products I use, and this has been ground-breaking for me – my skin has a natural glow and isn’t as congested. My morning and evening routines are very similar – I start the day using the Smart Skin purifying Golden Jelly which turns to oil when you mix it with warm water, and I use it again at night to remove any makeup or dirt. Then I use our Super C moisturiser which contains Superox C, a really unique ingredient that is incredibly hydrating.
What do you believe is the most important part of a skincare routine?
I think moisturising is one of the most important things you can do for your skin so I try to do it as often as possible. My best skincare tip has been passed down from my great-grandma to my grandma, to my mum and now to me! It’s to always be extra careful with the skin around the eyes because it’s so delicate. I’m always cautious to take my time applying and removing eye makeup and to never ever stretch that area of skin.
Everyone knows that when you start to really look after your skin, your beauty routine becomes so much more of a joy than a chore. I feel my best when I am able to let my skin breathe without makeup and have a natural glow shine through.
What do you believe are the biggest mistakes to make with skincare?
I think even the most sensitive of makeup wipes are harsh on your skin and using them to remove makeup can often mean you tug at the delicate areas around the eyes. Very rarely are they capable of removing all makeup and impurities, and the environmental impact single use wipes have on the environment is devastating. It’s always best to use a cleanser, warm water and a natural, reusable cloth to take off makeup. Our Smart Skin Organic Bamboo Washcloth is incredibly gentle and soft, and is ideal for sensitive skin.
What are your biggest tips in dealing with oily skin?
I think the biggest tip is to cleanse your face twice a day to ensure you’ve removed all traces of makeup and impurities. However, make sure to use a cleanser that isn’t drying. The Smart Skin Golden Jelly Cleanser is perfect for this because it’s totally natural and works hard to break down dirt and unclog pores, without any drying sensation. There’s also a huge misconception that using oils on oily skin will cause breakouts, but actually this isn’t always the case. Look for facial oils that use the highest quality ingredients, that replicate the oils of the skin. Our Smart Skin Multi V Elixir is suitable for all skin types, including oily skin, and it provides the most beautiful natural glow from the oils including avocado and rosehip. It’s important to avoid products with harsh ingredients, chemicals, perfumes etc which can aggravate the sebum in the glands under the skin and cause them to become overactive (and therefore make the skin more oily).
What are your biggest tips in dealing with dry skin?
Definitely a facial oil. If my skin feels like it needs an extra boost of hydration, I gently pat a small amount of the Smart Skin Multi V Elixir over the top, providing a natural glow and layer of protection from the high antioxidants. I think a lot of people are hesitant to use facial oils as they think it will make their skin shiny or greasy, but they’re perfect for mixing in with moisturiser if your skin is feeling dry and dull. Keeping hydrated from within is one of the most important daily changes you can make to your skin. Try to get into the habit of drinking a large glass of water first thing in the morning before breakfast, and that small change should encourage you to keep drinking throughout the day. Your skin will thank you!
What are your biggest tips and tricks to keep your skin fresh and healthy during lockdown?
Most of us are spending a lot more time in front of screens during lockdown, and the HEV (or blue) light emitted can be damaging to the DNA of our skin, leading to visible wrinkles or sagging down the line. Of course, screen time is pretty much unavoidable at the moment, so I would recommend using products containing antioxidants (like the Smart Skin Super C Moisturiser) to help repair damaged skin cells. Also, try to get outside once a day for a walk for a healthy dose of Vitamin D.
Some people have experienced major breakouts during lockdown despite not wearing make-up – how do you advise coping with this?
I think as above, this could be down to stress or wearing masks. It’s so important to keep the skin clean, especially if you’re required to wear a mask for a long period of time, and try to only use products with natural ingredients, free from harsh chemicals and perfumes that can aggravate the skin. Allow your skin to breathe and take a break from makeup if you can. Cut your skincare routine down to the bare minimum and slowly introduce more products one by one to see how your skin reacts. It’s a bit like with food intolerances, noticing how your body reacts to new foods being reintroduced! This is a great way to become more in tune with your skin and your body, and noticing how each product makes you feel. You may even discover it’s one particular ingredient that isn’t agreeing with you. I would recommend seeking professional help from a GP or dermatologist if you are in a lot of discomfort.
People are suffering with stress and mental health issues particularly right now – how can this affect your skin and how do you advice coping with this?
It’s no secret that stress hormones can impact on our skin. It can cause everything from an increase in oil production, to flare ups of acne and even more serious issues like rashes or breakouts of psoriasis and eczema. I am a huge believer in the power of natural ingredients to help soothe and ease skin concerns. Ingredients such as rosehip and turmeric oils are hugely beneficial in doing exactly that, due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric has been used for centuries as a natural remedy to heal wounds and address skin concerns.
Be gentle and kind to yourself and your skin. I have learnt over the years that less is more, especially when your skin is suffering as an impact of stress, so go easy on the products. This is when natural products really come into their own. Be mindful with your skincare, and treat it as a relaxing and calming ritual. Just because we are at home, doesn’t mean we can’t treat our bathrooms as a blissful spa. Take your time in the evenings to unwind, and give yourself a gentle facial massage when applying your products. A weekly mask such as the Smart Skin Miracle Meta Mask will help renew, nourish and hydrate for a fresh glow, and help you feel more uplifted.
Why do you believe it is so important to use sustainable and vegan friendly skincare products compared to other products?
Sustainability and conscious living is at the heart of everything I do and has been for many years. I’ve always wanted to create my own skincare that aligns with my ethos and passions – and that’s no easy feat! It’s why Smart Skin was two years in the making. Prioritising sustainability comes with its challenges – we searched far and wide for manufacturing partners who share our vision for creating skincare and beauty products that are kinder to ourselves and to the planet. We work with amazing companies like the FCS to ensure all of our outer packaging is made using certified recycled paper that has been responsibly sourced, and we use aluminium for our product packaging, which can be easily recycled. All of our products are cruelty free and vegan, and our ingredients are at least 95% naturally derived. Ultimately, I believe the future of beauty can be sustainable – and Smart Skin proves it.
Do you have any other tips to stay healthy beyond just skincare routine?
It’s an absolute classic but it has to be to drink plenty of water. Drinking enough water doesn’t come naturally to me, and I really have to force myself to drink throughout the day, but I really notice my skin benefits from this, and also in the way I feel. Living a plant-based lifestyle has also made the world of difference to my overall wellbeing. Over the years I have come to realise it isn’t necessarily a good thing to put a label on the way you eat, so I’m not saying we should all be vegan to be healthy, but if you can make a small few changes here and there throughout the week – swapping meat for a plant-based whole food alternative, it will go a long way to feeling better and have a positive impact on the environment. It’s all about progress not perfection.
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