Let it glow

A skincare routine can be a way to nourish yourself inside and out

An interest in skincare needn’t be a superficial luxury for only those with surplus amounts of time. You can create a skincare routine that suits your own preferences with the purpose of it being a mindful exercise, as well as being something good for your skin. In the morning or evening (or both), carving out time to stimulate your senses, encourage bloodflow in your face and nurture your skin can do a world of good for your mind. Instead of viewing the combination of various creams, serums and toners as a solely outward endeavour, notice the internal soothing potential this can bring in your daily life.

Time for yourself can often dwindle away until it vanishes completely. Something else always comes first – responsibility to others, work, social activities. You name it, it comes before you do. A beauty routine is one way of allocating time to yourself and by making it a daily or weekly practice, it’ll be easier to maintain. Slowing down and applying products in a methodical way does several great things for an anxious or overwhelmed mind: it forces your body to physically move, occupies your mind’s concentration function, stimulates your senses with textures and scents, and invites you to be present in the moment.

A skincare routine could include several products and take place at different points of the day. Taking a moment in the morning will help you feel awakened and mentally ready for what’s ahead. Starting your day in this way immediately puts some personal investment (albeit five to 20 minutes) into yourself and the mindfulness of your morning routines. And slowing down a little after waking will set the tone for greater self-care in the hours that follow. Practising this at night, meanwhile, can help to produce a sense of calm before hitting the pillow. It’s a useful go-to technique for creating a more mindful headspace and maybe greater confidence, too, as a result of your softer and lit-from-within skin. Building this routine will be entirely individual, but see the six tips that follow to get you started…

You don’t have to be a makeup wearer to enjoy a proper skincare routine

Most skincare items require your face to be a clean and blank canvas – so, besides a cleanser, toning and moisturising are good ways to introduce a basic ritual to your daily habits regardless of your interest in makeup. If you’re a makeup wearer, the removal process can become a key part of your ritual – instead of rushing to wipe off makeup, take the time to be gentle on your skin.

See it as a healthy alternative to spending time on social media

It’s a common habit to end a day by scrolling, often mindlessly, on social media, but multiple studies have proven that looking at blue light (from phones, laptops and TVs) right before bed can disrupt sleep patterns and prevent you from drifting off quickly. Swap your phone for a face mask and you won’t even have to make extra time in your schedule – if anything, you’ll stand to gain yourself a little extra sleep.

Try to use lighter products in the day and heavier ones in the night

In the mornings, while rushing to get ready for work, the thought of stopping to apply heavy creams and other serums is hardly appealing, so save these for the night. Your skin will have the time to absorb night products while you sleep, meaning that when you wake up, a light layer of moisturiser and sun protection factor (SPF) will see you through the day and ensure you’re taking a moment to consciously slow down and fully awaken. Lotions with cooling sensations may make the mornings feel less sluggish.

Pay attention to ingredients

The beauty industry is seeing an increase of products containing acidic and other potentially irritating ingredients. Make sure you’re careful with the combination of formulas you choose. Many people suggest using SPF after an acidic or exfoliating treatment. Different ingredients benefit different skin types, so it’s worth looking into this or asking for advice when purchasing.

Minimal mess and quick application

Masks can be a great way to unwind and soothe your mind, but envisioning a messy clay one can be off-putting when your 10 minutes of relaxation come to an end and you’re left with having to remove it. This can be avoided by using a leave-on mask that’s applied before going to bed and left to soak into the skin overnight (and it’s disappeared by the morning).

Enjoy the present moment

Applying skin treatments is a small physical act that can occupy your mind. You have to pay attention to the movement of your hands, the tubes or pots you’re holding and the way you apply creams or gels. All of this can help to shift your thoughts. Whether it’s the act of massaging a cream into your face or the process of organising your pots, tubes and bottles, take the moment as an opportunity to be there – just for you.

This article was originally published in Breathe Issue 17, Going with the flow - View Magazine

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